Master and Disciple
Leguna turned and left stunned faced behind him as he marched out. Alissanda stared at the door, his mouth agape, and sighed helplessly.
"Hmph! I can't look up to someone who does this, either!" Vera snapped and she, too, left.
"Apologies, Your Highness. They don't mean ill," Kurdak said, a slight headache pulsing at his temples, "They..."
"Say no more, Mister Kurdak. I understand," Alissanda said, his head shaking loose a forced smile, "This is not the first time this has happened. I understand you don't agree with my methods. They criticized me because they saw me as a comrade. I feel better for it. But I am a commander first."
"I am glad Your Highness understands." Kurdak smiled. His gaze turned to Lisana, but she was asleep again. He hesitated for several long moments before he spoke again. "Are you really..."
Alissanda did not answer.
"I understand. I'll should be going," Kurdak nodded and left.
Only Eirinn and Alissanda remained. The second prince turned to the girl. She returned his gaze quietly.
"Do you wish to critique me as well? She's your patient, after all," Alissanda said self-mockingly.
"Big Brother said what needed to be said," the girl answered, her voice cold.
"Then... is there anything else?" the prince asked.
"A question, Your Highness," Eirinn snapped for the first time in her life, "This place is for patients. Do you have any other patients you wish to visit? If not, please leave!"
Alissanda's cheeks tensed, but he left obediently. He had been rebuked by many people, and, if he were honest, he was not a little but angry, but his gentle demeanor would not let him show it easily, so he still closed the door lightly.
"He's gone. No need to pretend anymore," Eirinn said softly as she tidied up the room.
"How did you know?" Lisana asked curiously, opening her eyes slowly.
"You're my patient." Eirinn smiled, "If I don't know your state, I won't be fit to be a medic."
"You have a point," Lisana returned the smile.
"You really going through with it?" Eirinn asked.
"If that's what the captain wishes, I have no objections. This is how things should be in the first place," Lisana said logically, "I'm still grateful for Mister Leguna and the others' words on my behalf. I hope you can pass my gratitude on to them."
"I will," Eirinn nodded earnestly, "I'm not just a medic, I'm also a priestess, I have a lot of pain-dulling miracles, just let me know if you need some that day, okay?"
"Can you make it so normal people won't notice?"
"Hmmm... If Sis Annie were here, I suppose she could help. I'm can't do that kind of thing myself, unfortunately," the girl said, her head drooping slightly.
"Then forget it. There would be no point," Lisana calmly accepted.
"Okay." Eirinn wasn't surprised and left the room quietly.
Lisana gazed at the silhouette of the busy girl, a smile creeping onto her lips. She agreed with Leguna. They really were similar. They might have become best friends if not that they'd met in the middle of a war.
Leguna and his companions' days were free. Tamro had kept his word and let them be. Alissanda, on the other hand, continued doing missions with his men at a frenetic pace. They pushed the advantage they'd gained from the enemy commander's death and pushed the enemy severely. Leguna didn't dare claim to know the full extent of his actions, however. He instead indulged himself in his freedom, especially where food and sleep was concerned.
The next fortnight passed thusly. Lisana also recovered quickly under Eirinn's ministrations, but everyone knew all her progress would soon be reset.
The court martial had been called and was already underway. Many in the brigade voiced their objections, but Alissanda refused to break the regulations. No matter the circumstances or reasons, disobedience could not go unpunished.
He did not exempt himself from discipline either, however. Everyone was shocked when he announced he would share Lisana's punishment since he shared her guilt because his actions were what had brought about her disobedience.
His subordinates nearly tied him down to keep him put while they argued against him, even Tamro got involved, but Alissanda would not budge. In the end, Tamro and everyone else received twenty canes each.
"Hit Lisana lighter. It's fine to hit me harder to compensate," Alissanda half-joked, "Don't forget I'm a lightbreaker. If I can jump around in a lively fashion by tomorrow, you punishers will have to take 20 canes!"
"Hahahaha!" the less refined men laughed.
"Alright, execute the punishment!" Alissanda declared.
He turned to Lisana and mouthed 'I'm sorry'.
The arm-thick canes fell, but no slap, no grunts of pain came. The caners looked down to see their canes cut just in front of their hands.
An old silver-haired man appeared on the roof of a dormitory nearby. He wore an elegant, deep-blue noble robe, appearing like an exiled noble.
"Hey, that brat of Kevin's, I didn't think you'd grow so big after a few years of not seeing me!" the old man spoke.
Gold-eagle's captain noticed him only after he spoke.
"Protect His Highness!" Jast shouted in a panic.
The old bastard had come to right next to the prince without anyone noticing him. Even Jast hadn't sensed him at all. How powerful was he? If he was an assassin...
"Jast, don't be rude!" Alissanda rebuked, "He's Hocke's sword, galestorm swordsaint Marolyt!"
"Marolyt?!" Lisana froze.
"Kevin really has some guts... It's one thing to mess with me, but even his disciple wants to bully mine! What's with this, huh," Marolyt jumped from the roof, a displeased frown on his face.
The noble galestorm swordsaint everyone knew had a continental temper, especially where his juniors were concerned. He didn't give even the emperor face when he thought he'd messed with one of his juniors.
The most exemplary case was that of Annelotte and Geoffrey. Alissanda's elder brother had been taught a harsh lesson after faffing over Annelotte. The first prince hid like a timid mouse whenever the old man came into the vicinity thereafter.
While Lisana wasn't as important to him as his daughter, she was still half his successor. Seeing his own disciple punished for no good reason, as far as he was concerned, was unacceptable. Not to mention that her punisher was Kevin's disciple!
"Why is Mister Marolyt here?" Alissanda bowed as he asked.
"I'm here to see my disciple," Marolyt snapped, "I heard Your Highness was here too, so I decided to come visit. I never expected to find you doing this! Heh, I came rather timely after all."
"Disciple? Do you mean..."
"Ah, her," Marolyt said, pointing at the pink-haired girl, "At least greet your master, Lass. Show some respect."
"Master..." Lisana turned mechanically. The girl, easily tougher than many of the men in her brigade, actually teared up.
She had only gotten along with him for a short seven days, but she knew it was thanks to that that she survived in this world and continue to strive while keeping her fond memories. Her vengeance would also be thanks to him. That old man had changed her life.
More importantly, his appearance also triggered long-repressed memories. Lisana was no longer the precise and ruthless swordswoman; she was the naïve little girl, spoiled from her parents' love again.
And so, she cried.
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