I Love You
As a man and as a boss whose underling was in trouble, his choice was...
Running for his own life of course!
He didn't have the luxury to caring for him in this kind of predicament! Eirinn was one thing, and Kurdak could barely deal with Innilis. But Annelotte? Annelotte?! The Annelotte that was raging mad?!
If Vera's ability to inflict damage was set at a thousand units, then Annelotte, normally, would be a hundred. She was slow to heat up and was pretty docile even when mad. This, however, was not a normal situation. She wasn't just mad; she was livid. She was at least 1500 units right now.
Vera was enough to crush him already. He didn't hesitate to sell Leguna out at all. Camaraderie existed only between those whose lives were not at stake.
"Annie," he interjected.
"Yes?" Annelotte gazed at the man coldly. She only said one word, but her gaze said the rest.
'Say one good word about him and I'll end you!'
Kurdak wasn't foolish enough to touch a tigress's rear when she was already roaring.
"Vera's injured and I'm worried about her. I should be going back now. Let's meet up again when we have time."
'Good thing you can read between the lines', Annelotte's eyes flashed.
"Boss..." Leguna pleaded.
Kurdak turned back to see a face raving with fury and blame. If looks could kill, he would be dead a hundred times over. Guilt stung at his heart, but the cowardly thing shrugged it aside. He shot the little brat as vicious a gaze as he could muster and stomped out of the room resolutely.
None of the crowd still stood at the entrance. Kurdak fled like a dying dog for the inn and his mistress. His cowardice aside, he was indeed worried for Vera, though it was far from the overriding reason for his flight. Her injuries had yet to recover and he wouldn't have left her side if not for her insistence.
"You came back alone?" asked his mistress, seeing nobody else entering the room.
"Leguna's dealing with the three. I don't want to be the thi-- I mean the fifth wheel," Kurdak shrugged.
"Tch!" Vera could tell the male had escaped when he saw danger and judged him severely.
"Three girls? So you met Annie."
"How'd she act?"
"How else? She pretends Leguna doesn't exist. If not for Eirinn she wouldn't even have let him see her."
Did Vera think Leguna was going too far with so many women?
"Think about it. If Annie had cut him out of her heart, if she made him a stranger, how would she behave towards him?"
"Hmm… She'd act the same as when we first met. She wouldn't even twitch at him."
"Yes. She's still acting angry at the brat, which means she hasn't cut him out of her heart. She's just not ready to forgive him. She's still too angry. She'll eventually get over it and things will return to normal."
Vera hadn't spoken about it with Eirinn, but the two spoke as of from the same mouth. Women, for all the chaos they were, at least understood each other's chaos.
"You have a point. But Annie's now a consultant for the court. She won't be able to spend time with us even if she eventually forgives the kid."
"That doesn't matter for now. We'll worry about that when the time comes. For now the biggest issue is that she forgive Ley. Besides, it's not like we can keep being mercenaries. Chino is far more peaceful and civilized than Lance. Mercenaries aren't really needed. What little work there is for them is barely enough to put bread on the table."
"Yeah..." Kurdak nodded thoughtfully.
"Girl, I think you're finally growing a bit of brain!"
"Of course!" Vera smiled, "I said I wouldn't rely on others anymore. I have to learn a lot of things. How can I keep up with you guys, especially Ley? He's no longer that silly brat from two years ago,. He's one of the strongest in the party now. You can barely fight him as he is, much less when he uses his gifts."
"Yes," Kurdak sighed, "It's an understatement to say he's changed a lot. I can't keep up with the kid anymore. We're getting old, aren't we?"
"This ol' gal's only 21!" Vera protested as she poked Kurdak's forehead furiously. "And you're only 24..."
"Yes. After experiencing so much, I can't shake the feeling that I've gotten much older."
"Well, it's more meaningful that way. Wouldn't life be all stale and boring if nothing changed?"
"What's stale and boring?" Innilis asked as she came into the room.
"Oh, you're back so soon?"
"Big Brother has something to say to Sis Annie alone," Eirinn answered.
"Well aren't you considerate?" Kurdak sighed.
He had to admire the girl's generosity. She was assured enough to leave Leguna alone with another woman.
"I didn't want to make it hard for Big Brother," Eirinn smiled.
Leguna stared wordlessly at Annelotte. He wanted to speak, but the words didn't want to leave his mouth. Annelotte glared at him coldly just as silently, but without any words on her mouth. Leguna's only consolation was that, though she didn't speak, she didn't leave either.
"Umm... Annie..." Leguna started after a long moment, "Can you say something? Even a word will be fine."
"Leave!" Annelotte spat.
Leguna smiled self-mockingly. He took a deep breath.
"Alright, I know you don't want to see me, but please listen to what I have to say. There are some things that I've kept bottled up and I'll go insane if I don't say them."
I wish you would go mad! Annelotte screamed in her head.
She murmured and a layer of ice formed around her ears.
Leguna looked at the ice silently.
"Alright, here goes, no matter whether you want to hear it or not."
The words clawed at his throat as he spoke, like unnatural things that should not be let out, but he kept going.
"I'm really sorry for what happened back then. I misunderstood you and failed to save you in the battle with Hladik."
"I hurt you a lot, I know. Even worse, I couldn't protect you. You might not have cared whether you survived, but, but I do! You're really, really important to me. I promised myself I would not let anything happen to you, but I did. I promised I would protect you, but I didn't. I can't forgive myself.
"I know you aren't mad because of that. I know you don't care about it, but I do. I have to apologize for it. It's fine if you never want to talk to me again. If you want to beat me to a pulp to vent, then I'll stand here and not move so you can. Please, just don't let this hurt you forever. Whatever you have to do to get over this, do it. Just don't walk around with this shadow forever. I want you to be happy. I'm here to say sorry and give you that chance to get over what happened, whatever needs to be done for that to happen. Can you forgive me?"
He stared at Annelotte, the first part of his speech finished. The girl didn't twitch; she barely even breathed. Her eyes just remained locked on him, staring icicles. She clearly didn't care that she hadn't heard what he'd said. He might as well be a fly buzzing in the window.
"I also want to thank you. Thank you for still saving Boss and Vera even after I hurt you. We all owe you."
Annelotte's stare continued, unchanged..
"Finally… I… I just want to say..."
His voice trailed off as his lips murmured slurred sounds.
"I want to say..."
He took a deep breath as his face turned red.
"...I love you."
Again Annelotte's expression remained unchanged she stared as if through him at the wall behind him.
Laughably, it relieved Leguna.
"I only realized how important you were after I lost you," Leguna blurted as if high on some kind of mushroom, "I've dreamed of you almost every night since I lost you. I know I don't just like you. I'm completely, head over heels in love with you."
"I know I'm a toad trying to eat a swan. I'm poor, powerless, and a coward. But I won't stop chasing you. As long as you don't tell me you hate me, I'll never stop coming after you. I will not let any other man have you. I will become the man that you should be with. I know you don't trust me, I know you'll never believe me. But I promised this to myself and I won't give up."
His mouth kept moving after that but there were no words left in him. He didn't even care whether the girl had heard him anymore or not. In a sense, she didn't matter anymore. All that mattered was that what had been bottled up inside of him was out, and he felt better for it.
"I've said my piece. I see you don't want to have anything to do with me anymore, so I'll go now. I won't bother you again. I'll fight until I can face you in the finals. Talk to me then."
Leguna waved at her and walked to the door. He stopped there and murmured to himself before leaving.
"Such a fool. Why'd I even bother, she didn't hear a word of what I said."
Fool... Do you really think the chairman hasn't taught me how to read lips? Annelotte thought, staring at the kid as he left.
The door closed, her faced exploded in a red fury unlike anything that had been on it ever before. Her hard burst into her mouth and beat so hard her mouth couldn't stay closed and her nails dug into her hands.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter