The One who Cleans Up After
“Looking for me?” Leguna was stunned. He didn’t think anybody from the palace would want to see him. It’s not like I know anyone here... unless... it’s Annelotte! Could it be her?!
“Who is it?”
“Apologies, I’m not allowed to tell you. You’ll see if you come with me,” the soldier replied politely.
Leguna glanced at Kurdak and decided to pay a visit. Since he was at the palace already, what else could he do?
“Go ahead, I’ll wait here,” Kurdak said.
He knew he couldn’t go back right away. He still had to attend the banquet. Geoffrey would be the host. He didn’t like the prince but he couldn’t turn the invitation down.
“Alright,” Leguna nodded.
He circled the palace under the guard’s lead. They came to a stop just as Leguna was becoming faint from trying to remember the path they took.
“Sir, I’ve brought the one you asked for,” the guard said as he knocked on the door, “Please enter.”
Leguna opened the door and walked into the room.
Annelotte sat on a chair quietly sipping tea. She didn’t like strong beverages like coffee. At least that habit hadn’t changed.
“I’m didn’t call you here,” She said coldly, furrowing her brow when she saw who it was.
“Oh... fine,” Leguna murmured, a little crestfallen. Is she really still angry? I guess it’s an improvement, at least she’s willing to acknowledge I exist now.
Leguna pressed another question, intent on forcing her to talk to him more.
“Why didn’t you go pick a reward? You’re the champion, after all.”
“I already got mine.”
She shot Leguna an annoyed glare and took out a fiery-red staff, the same one she’d used in her first match of the tournament.
“This is my reward. Geoffrey gave it and the robe to me when I joined the magi court. They’re just shy of divine items, so I don’t need another reward.”
“I see...” Leguna forced a smile. Annelotte looked like she didn’t want to get too close to the imperial family, but he wasn’t happy to see them give her stuff. It slapped him in the face with his own poverty and weakness. Geoffrey could so easily gift his woman two quasi-divine items, but what could he do? He couldn’t even protect her.
Silence ruled the room again. Leguna shot her a careful glance. She was in deep thought.
“Do you... know who asked for me?” he finally asked, unable to bear the silence.
“He’ll be here in a moment.”
“Why’s he being so mysterious?” Leguna murmured.
“I might be a little mysterious, but I can’t compare to you, Mister Leguna. Heh! Dark Requiem. I didn’t think your name would pop up as soon as you came to Chino. I reckon you have a talent for that,” said a man’s voice.
Leguna zeroed his gaze on the voice and saw the same small man that had stood by the emperor’s side during the ceremony.
He again felt that sense of familiarity from the man even though he was absolutely certain he didn’t know him.
“What, can’t recognize me through a simple disguise?” asked the man, now with a different voice. Leguna finally recognized him.
“Well, at least you caught on quickly with a hint,” Arikos nodded.
“Why are you here?”
Leguna didn’t like being bound to Moonshadow, but he had a good relationship with Arikos, so he was happy to see him. The man had looked after him diligently back on Lance and Leguna respected him a lot.
“Aren’t you embarrassed?” Arikos snapped, rolling his eyes, “I wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t shirked your responsibilities. Did you think you wouldn’t attract the bureau’s attention even after you participated in such a high-profile tournament? You think your disguise will really hide you from the bureau if they get serious? If not for me, you would’ve been dragged back already! Hmph! What do you think I’m here for? I’m cleaning up your mess!”
“Oh. Okay,” Leguna smirked, “You’ve cleaned up after me so many times. What difference is one more time going to make?”
“Tch, you shameless brat. I wonder which part caught Annie’s eye.”
Arikos squealed in pain and shut up immediately.
“What’s going on?” Leguna started.
“If this happens again, your tongue will freeze and fall off!” Annelotte spat.
Leguna gave up finding out what had happened when he saw it angered Annelotte. This is no joke... I’d rather suffer Vera’s wrath than tick off Annie! How can a ranger compare to a magus?!
“Mmmf! Mmmff!” Arikos looked pitifully at Annelotte and mumbled pleadingly.
Annelotte sighed and deactivated her gift.
“Ah... Annie, your Glacial Domain’s gotten stronger...” Arikos mumbled, his tongue still numb.
“Enough nonsense! Finish up, I have more important things I would rather be doing!”
“Okay, Okay! What do you want?”
He was afraid that Arikos would say more wrong things and end up even worse off. He knew Arikos’s a snide personality.
“What else? I’m here to hand over the bureau.” Arikos shrugged.
“What? You don’t want to? I thought Annie would get you to agree!”
“I will not. I can’t stop worrying about Boss and the others.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well... I want to go south with everyone. We’ve lost Annie, so...”
Annelotte stared at the wall indifferently.
“The party will be too weak without me. I need to go with them. I’ll come back once the army recruits him.”
“You know how long this will take?”
“Half a year, I guess.”
“So you expect me to keep your seat warm until then?” Arikos asked, his eyebrow raised.
“Well... hehehe… Just help me out a little more, please?”
“I’ve done what the chairman asked. I don’t care about this anymore,” said she expressionlessly.
Leguna was filled with joy.
Looks like she’s still worried about Boss and the others.
Arikos was speechless.
“I asked you here to help me talk him into it. Why are you doing this...”
“I’m just a young rookie. No one will follow me if I don’t have a reputation and a track record. Wouldn’t it be better to build up a reputation before taking over? I need you to help me sort out the bureau before I take over. Just do me this favor.”
“Tch, I wonder why the chairman picked such a shameless brat to succeed him...” Arikos moaned helplessly. He had never counted on getting Leguna take over during their meeting. He only wanted to test how the brat would react. Guess the president was right. He would definitely be happy to crawl out of his little den to do any sort of work as long as Annelotte is calling the shots.
“Will you help me?”
“What choice do I have? Force you to take the position with a knife to your neck?”
“Hehe, thanks! I’ll treat you to a drink sometime!”
“You better hand over every penny you have for drinks, then!” You want to pay for half a year’s suffering with just a drink?!
“Oh, I need your help too, Annie,” Leguna ignored.
“What?” Annelotte spat.
She didn’t recall saying anything about forgiving him, but Leguna’s expression seemed to spell out ‘since we’re good again, I need you to do me a favor’. Where did he get such gall?
“It’s about Eirinn’s face,” Leguna said gingerly, “I heard the wishing spell can be used to heal her scars and return her to normal. Since you’re a magus, can you help me?”
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