Book 3 Chapter 180

Intrinsic Nature

Gerd gazed at Leguna cautiously. He had some inkling about the relationship between the two, so he was both cautious and interested in the kid's reaction. The files he'd seen said the two were from the guild and had spent almost two year adventuring together. It didn't take much to infer their relationship from that; they were more or less of the same age, after all.

"Really..."

"Sir..."

"I understand," Leguna smiled bitterly. "I heard Annie joined the tournament. Why haven't I seen her yet?"

"She did, but court magi aren't required to participate in the qualifiers."

"Oh?"

Gerd scratched his head with his index finger.

"The competition was supposed to pick out 50 competitors without any backgrounds whatsoever. The organizers will also pick 14 people from the military, garrison, court magi association, and the palace guard, for 64 in total. The whole lot will then fight duel each other in elimination matches until the winner is decided."

"I see."

Leguna had joined the competition to find Annie, so he didn't look into the tournament's structure.

"So Annelotte is going to represent the court magi?"

"Yes. There are five from the military, four from the garrison, three from the palace guard and two from the court magi. Miss Annelotte is one of the last two."

"Can I meet her now?"

"It'll be difficult. Normally, court magi live in the palace. The same is true for Miss Annelotte. The palace's security is tight and you are just a tournament participant' they won't let you in. If you take over the Bureau of Military Intelligence, then you shouldn't have any trouble."

Leguna shook his head stubbornly.

"No, I don't want to have anything to do with the bureau yet."

Gerd's face flashed with disappointment.

"Then you can only work your way up the tournament rankings and hope to come across her in the arena."

"I know." Leguna took a look at the bandage and suddenly had the urge to ask, "Are your injuries fine?"

"Just scratches. They don't hinder me."

"I didn't want you to get hurt. Please don't hold it against me."

He knew Gerd had helped him with an agenda, but he still felt a little bad.

"I won't."

"Alright. I'll take my leave now. I'll treat you to a drink in a few days when your injuries recover."

Leguna turned to leave. He didn't ask the man to keep it a secret; Gerd wasn't a fool and would do so of his own accord.

......

{Why didn't you want to join the bureau? You're young, but you can more than pull your weight. It wouldn't be hard to take command,} Gahrona asked.

{I... I don't want to have any ties with Moonshadow.}

{Oh?}

{My gut keeps telling me that I'll be made to do something irreversible if I do. I'm fine with using them when I need them and helping them here and there in return, but I don't want to be tied to them. That's one of the reasons I came to Chino, to get away from the Guild. I didn't think Teacher would leave the bureau to me. Since he didn't order me to do anything, I'll avoid it as long as I can.}

{If you think resisting will do anything, you're wrong. Don't you know Wayerliss yet? If he wants you to do something, you will do it, whether you want to or not.}

{I know. I don't expect to win against Teacher, but I won't just go along with his plans either. I'm not the obedient type, it's just not who I am.}

I hope when your true fate comes, you'll still be this stubborn, Gahrona thought.

{This world is way bigger than I though.}

{Huh?}

{I'm too small. I'm a coward. Taking over the bureau, fighting in wars and conquering the world... I don't want to do anything like that. I just want to enjoy my friends' company and keep them safe. That's why I want to look for Annie, and... if she wants to... I hope she'll stay with me. I don't want to join the bureau.}

{What if she doesn't want to?}

{I don't know. I'll just... find a way to convince her.}

So, you're waiting for him here, huh, Wayerliss? Gahrona thought.

She knew what Wayerliss was trying to do, but she couldn't stop him. Wayerliss knew Leguna too well and was too good at manipulating him. He was exploiting Leguna's nature, so she couldn't do much.

So everything will happen just like you foretold, huh? This world doesn't mean anything to me anymore, but I hope you'll help me just this once, Gahrona sighed.

......

Night descended. Arikos walked into a room in Moonshadow's headquarters.

"Chairman called for me?"

"Have you made the arranged?" Wayerliss asked.

"More or less. The Eye is still tight-lipped about it, but they won't be stubborn for much longer. They've lost most of their elites, they don't have the strength to fight us anymore."

"Very well. If the negotiations goes through, their talent pool will be a total vacuum for several years," Wayerliss said as he nodded, "You did well."

"Thank you."

"Go to the west for a bit."

"West? Didn't you leave Leguna in charge there?"

"I received a report recently. The brat is trying to avoid doing his part. Not many know I've left, but if I don't show my face from time to time people will start getting ideas. I need someone to hold the fort there in my absence. This the brat is being stupid, you'll do that for the time being."

"So he's still sour of that..." Arikos smiled painedly.

He understood Leguna well. The kid was definitely still angry over his comrades being used as bait.

"That won't be a problem."

"How much do you need me to manage?"

"Everything," Wayerliss answered as he tossed a blue-black medallion to Arikos. Show this and everyone will fall in line. I'll talk some sense into the brat."

"Understood."

Arikos put the medallion away. He lifted his gaze back to the chairman, his words caught in his throat.

"Speak freely."

"Why do you insist on having the kid take over the bureau? I've watched the kid for a while now. He is talented and strong, but he's inept when it comes to plots and schemes."

"He's far from inept. Schemes and ploys are in his blood, it's his nature. He can do anything as long as his companions are involved. Besides, he's still young, he has no choice but to learn what he lacks if he wants to survive."

It's a waste to use an entire department to train a kid, isn't it? Arikos thought as he rolled his eyes silently.

"That's all. Go prepare, you leave tomorrow."

"As you wish."

Leguna dictated a spell shortly after Arikos left. The acoustics of the room changed and Wayerliss smiled.

"Annie..."


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