Return to Melindor
The group arrived at Melindor a few days later.
"Three years ago, I left in a pathetic state. But now I'm back again! From today onwards, nobody will boss me around!" Leguna couldn't help himself.
"Hey, Ley! Come and pay the coachman, quick! We must pay our bills!" Kurdak cried,
"Ley! Come take Innie and Eirinn's luggage! Why aren't you aware about these things?" Vera rebuked.
"Big Bro, I'm hungry. Let's get something to eat!" Innilis beckoned.
"Thank you, Big Brother."
Eirinn was the only one who spoke to him respectfully. The good vibe he felt vanished and his declaration vanished. He and Kurdak always had to carry the luggage. Kurdak was Leguna's 'big brother', so the kid always had to carry most of it. He was no different from a servant.
He was the strongest in the group, but still sat at the bottom of the pecking order.
Vera was at the top. No one could face her bossiness and bearing. She was gentle at moments, but those were few and far in between and lasted only a few seconds. When she said 'west', everyone went west. When she said it was time to eat, no one dared drink. She was the weakest of the three fighters, but ordered everyone around.
She didn't take things too far, though, granted, 'too far' was a very relative term. Innilis was second-in-command. The little girl was the youngest and the weakest, even weaker than Eirinn, but she rode her big sister's coat tails and lacked Eirinn's sense of propriety. Eirinn was third in line. She was pure, gentle, and timid to the point of cowardice. Her saving grace was that she was female, which meant Vera and Innilis wouldn't let her be beneath the men.
Kurdak was fourth only because he was Vera's lover, and because Leguna was his junior. The women were vixen and jealously guarded their power, even though Kurdak was perfectly suited to being the leader, and was even nominally so, given his intelligence and adaptability.
Leguna was shoved into last place. He was a proud young man, a pride he could only protect by lying to himself and constantly reminding himself that he was the strongest in the group. He wasn't in last place because he was pitiful and lacked a spine, oh no. He just couldn't be bothered to put everyone else in their place. Yes, that was it, he was just humoring the women.
The truth, however, was blatantly obvious.
Leguna negotiated the price with the coachman, and hauled the luggage into the city and ordered some food.
"So, how do you plan to find Annie?" Vera asked, wiping her mouth. She wanted her little sister back in the group. With that she could push the dirty men down the rankings even further.
Leguna twitched noticeably when the girl was mentioned. Everyone know her personality, well, Eirinn aside. She was cold and indifferent and didn't care for anything. Despite that, Leguna had angered her enough to chase her away.
Everyone wondered how angry she still was. They knew she was definitely still mad, that kind of fury didn't go away with time. It would be bad if she attacked them the moment she saw them. The thought of stepping in and holding her down crossed their minds only for a fleeting moment, and sent shivers down their spine. Out of the question!
"I don't know," Leguna confessed, "I should go see her dad first. He should be able to help me out. At the very least he should know why she's so angry."
"Mister Marolyt lives in Melindor?" Kurdak asked.
If that were the case, he really had to pay him a visit as well. He couldn't call himself a man if he didn't thank him for saving their lives twice.
"I don't know. He lived here three years ago. He's the one that sent me to Lance. I don't know where he is now though. He came to Lance several times, so it wouldn't be surprising if he wasn't here now."
"We should check anyway," Kurdak interjected, "Let's find a place to stay first though. We'll go take a look with you once we've settled in. D'you still remember where he lived?"
"Not clearly. But it shouldn't be hard to find. We can just ask around. The galestorm swordsaint is well-known here, someone should know where he lives."
A grand residence built in a prime location. A huge mansion in the middle the capital. A sign reading 'Galestorm Mansion' hung on the gate of the main entrance.
"Whoa! I didn't think Mister Marolyt actually stayed in such a luxurious place," Kurdak shouted.
Melindor couldn't match Starfall, but it was only barely less glorious. Kurdak knew how hard it was to get a place like this in the middle of the city. It wasn't far from the imperial palace either.
"Ah, you haven't been in yet. It's a huge mess inside. I thought I had somehow gone to the city outskirts when I saw the inside." Leguna rebutted, rolling his eyes. He had only been inside for a few minutes, but he could not forget the mess he saw.
Kurdak knocked on the door politely. Marolyt was a nonsensical senile, but he was still a swordsaint and Kurdak's benefactor. Even if the other party was a dog, Kurdak would still be respectful.
A young maid opened the door.
"What do you want?"
"Good day. Is this Mister Marolyt's residence? I am his friend," Kurdak smiled gently.
The maid was pretty attractive; she had fair skin and a good figure. She didn't fail to notice the man's gaze and frowned.
"The master isn't here."
"Where'd he go?" Leguna butted in hurriedly.
The maid's eyes flashed when she noticed the kid. He wasn't unattractive, but his smile was sinister.
"I don't know. It's never easy to say where the master is. How could a mere servant know where he goes?"
"Then... then… May I know if you've seen an incredibly beautiful girl about my age with blue hair?"
"Miss Annie? How would I know where she is?"
"Where is she now?" Leguna's face brightened.
"She isn't here. She's taking part in a tournament somewhere else. She'll definitely win her section." the maid announced proudly.
He recalled seeing something about a tournament on the notice boards all over the city. But as he was looking for Annelotte in a hurry, he didn't bother to look into the details.
"Well, you can find out by checking the notices yourself!" The maid moved to close walk away.
"Wait a second, where can I find Annie?"
"How would I know?" Who do you think you are? A stinking brat like you can't just refer to her like that! "Alright, let go! I have better things to do!"
"Please help me!" Leguna took out a gold coin, "If Annie or Sir Marolyt comes back, please tell them Leguna came to visit."
Leguna thought the gold would work, but the maid didn't buy it.
He offended the mistress, that's a slight on me, Lianne. How would I fall so low to accept money from him?! She pushed Leguna's hand away, "I don't want your money! Don't even think about bothering the master or our mistress."
"You!" Leguna started to panic. He was outside Annelotte's home but he couldn't see her. It drove him insane.
He tried to push the door open.
Seeing the brat was trying to force his way into the mansion, Lianne screamed.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaah! Someone's trying to barge in!"
Her cry was so sharp Leguna was shocked silent. His hands gave in and the maidservant shut the door.
"Hey! Open the door! I'm Annie's friend! Open up! I more questions!" Leguna cried, banging on the door.
"Shut up and go away! I'll call the guards if you don't leave right now!"
Leguna stopped knocking on the door. His face was the picture of disappointment. He was afraid of meeting Annelotte, but couldn't stop chasing after her. He wanted to finish this as quickly as possible so things could go back to how they used to be. He missed the girl so bad he wanted to force his way into the mansion and find her.
"What should we do?" Kurdak asked. He was the party's nominal leader, but he had no real power, and this was something between Leguna and Annie, he was only here for support.
Leguna mucked about as he thought about his next move, but someone disrupted his train of thought.
"Alright, ladies and gentlemen. Forgive my intrusion, but please explain what just happened. If you don't give me a satisfactory answer, I might have to invite you to the constabulary for some tea," the middle-aged man said out of nowhere.
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