Father and Daughter
"Umm... About that..." Marolyt's face flushed.
He mumbled for a while without making himself clear.
Leguna looked at the old man's awkward expression for a moment before rolling his eyes.
Leguna's voice gave the swordsaint an urge to throttle him on the spot.
"What are you 'oh'-ing about?" he snapped.
"Hehehehe," Leguna snickered mischievously, "Your relationship with Annie isn't that good, is it?"
"How could that be?!" Marolyt started, "That lass's my beloved daughter and I'm her father! All fathers dote on their daughters!"
"Given Annie's water swayer demeanor and her cold personality, I'm sure the doting relationship you have with Annie is causing your heart to freeze," Leguna teased.
"Ou… Our relationship is warm and pleasant! Don't make things up just because yours is bad!" Marolyt argued.
"Master, you're a saint-ranked expert... Please pay attention to your words," Lisana chided somewhat as she approached.
"Are you messing with me now as well? I see my worry was wasted..."
"I only want you to tell the truth, Master," Lisana gave a rare smile.
"Tsk tsk tsk, I can tell Annie's stubbornness definitely came from you," Leguna sighed raising his voice.
"Buzz off! Are you itching for a beating?" Marolyt asked as he slapped that sphere again.
"Just come clean already. It'll make things much easier for all of us," Leguna moaned, his eyes somewhat watery.
The old man had a short temper and his hands were very adept at slapping. Leguna had no just but to endure his pain. It was even harder to spend time with Marolyte than the second prince.
"Fine!" Marolyt caved, waving his hands impatiently. "Alissanda! Take your playmates with you and scoot!"
"As you wish, Mister Marolyt," Alissanda answered, smiling.
It was rare to see the swordsaint so embarrassed. The second prince didn't care about protocol, having gotten to watch such a satisfying scene. He clapped his hands moved the men out.
"Punishment concluded! Time for combat training! The last fifty will only get vegetables for dinner!"
"Yes, Sir!" the knights roared.
"What about your vote?" asked two Gold-eagle knights standing next to the box.
"Oh..." Alissanda smiled and tossed his stone into one of the boxes.
The two soldiers laughed and left with the prince, happy with his answer.
Marolyt nodded at the prince as well and Alissanda felt the pressure on him lighten measurably.
He smiled back at the old man.
The trials of a commander... he thought, shaking his head as he stepped out of the yard.
"Stay here, Lisana," Marolyt ordered as she moved to leave with the prince.
"You're my disciple now, so you're halfway family. You should know what's going on in the family, in that case," Marolyt explained gently, "I want you to tell me how you've been all these years as well."
"Yes..." Lisana answered, her eyes watering again. "Thank you, Master."
Marolyt flashed her a smile, then turned to Alissanda, glaring, who was peaking back into the yard.
"Since everything is fine now, I'll be leaving," Alissanda said quickly and his head vanished again.
"Hey! Kevin's disciple! Aren't you growing more amazing by the year?" Marolyt shouted, staring at where Alissanda's head had vanished.
His gaze suddenly darted to his own disciple.
"Don't you even think about hooking up with that brat, you hear?"
The ungirly sound burst out of Lisana's mouth before she managed to close it. She stared at her master with saucer eyes.
"Hmph! My disciple cannot be charmed by a disciple of that black baldy. He'd mock me forever if that really happened. Lass, you're going to promise me, make a solemn vow that you aren't now, and will not ever allow yourself to be, smitten with that brat! He may have looks, but he was the wrong master..." Marolyt rambled.
"What are you saying, Master?!" Lisana's half-shouted through her hands covering her mouth, her face red as she'd finally realized what he'd said.
"Just promise me!" Marolyt ordered impatiently.
"You're great at changing the subject, aren't you, Sir?" Leguna asked when he saw Lisana wasn't going to be able to answer.
"Oh, right... Annie..."
The old man threw his grudge aside for the time being quickly.
"What happened between you and Annie?" Leguna pressed.
"That girl has only spoken to me… thirteen times… since we came to Chino."
It almost sounded like the old man was sobbing.
"How can you remember it that clearly?"
Marolyt rolled his eyes.
"How can I not when that's all she said to me?"
"What did she say?" Lisana asked.
She'd heard about Annelotte from the tournament and Leguna. She and Lisana were about the same age, so she believed she might have a little insight into her master's daughter's thoughts.
"Hmm, let me think... She said, 'don't come so close to me', 'go away', 'I never acknowledged you as my father', 'stop bothering me'..."
"She didn't talk to you at all..." Leguna said, convinced his woman had done nothing but frown the entire time she'd been in Melindor.
"Ugh... The rest is more of the same."
"I'm sorry to say, Master, but your daughter hates you," Lisana apologized.
"I know. I know! I can tell too. She didn't follow me to Chino because she accepted me. She followed me because she didn't want anything more to do with this brat here. She would have followed anyone coming to Chino."
"How badly does she hate me?" Leguna mumbled.
"That's why!" Marolyt lifted Leguna by his collar and shook him. "I don't understand what's going on now! I heard you even talked to her during the tournament? I also heard rumors that the two of you were growing close again? What tricks are you trying to pull on my daughter?!"
"Cough, cough, cough!"
"If you keep this up, Leguna might die." Lisana said calmly.
"I didn't think you were that weak..." Marolyt snapped and dropped Leguna and patted his back rather harshly.
"I... didn't do… anything... I just... talked to her… properly," Leguna gasped.
So Marolyt really had come all this way just to find out what he'd done to get Annelotte to talk to him again. The old man really was willing to do anything for his daughter.
"Impossible! I spoke to her like I used to when I wooed beautiful girls when I was younger, but she's never smiled at me..."
"Maybe you weren't sincere enough. I even intentionally let her beat me up. That's when she finally started hating me a little less."
"Stop bullshitting! You think I don't know what you can do? You couldn't beat her even if you used Host of Darkness. What is this about letting her beat you? You couldn't fight back against her even if you tried!"
"Fine, fine. You got me," Leguna surrendered.
Annelotte's father was right. No matter how much he pretended he'd let her beat him to soothe his ego, she would have beaten him up even if he tried to fight back.
She was still a mid-ranked magus, yet she could fight was what seemed like myth-realm skills. If she had the same strata as Saron, probably even saint-rankers would have a hard time against her. Neither he nor Saron would be able to blink before they died, at least.
"I considered that as well, so I went and got this to show her how sincere I am," Marolyt said as he pointed at the box in his hand.
"Then why don't you give it to her yourself?"
"Idiot, did you only just get to know her? Don't you know her temperament?"
"I guess you're right."
No matter how much Annelotte needed something, she would never accept it from someone against whom she held a grudge, even if it meant she would die. There was no way she would accept this from her father given how she felt about him at the moment.
"That's why you're going to give it to her."
"And tell her it was from you?" Leguna rolled his eyes. "No, you can't tell her!"
"Because she's never going to believe I have either the money to buy the ore, or I have the strength to kill an emperor whale. Only a saint-realm expert can deal with it. I only have contact with one saint-rank expert on this continent, which is obviously you. It won't take her more than a couple of seconds to put the pieces together and figure it all out.and it must be someone I know too, who's willing to fight a creature like that. It wouldn't take much for her to put the pieces together to figure out that you were the one who did it," Leguna said with a sly smile, "I'll get the credit but she'll know how much you love her. Tsktsktsk, it's killing two birds with one stone."
"Hehehe! I didn't think you'd be such a schemer! Not bad, I like it. We'll do that!"
"Don't be so rash. Think about it carefully. We might even come up with a better way to get through to Annie. If we do, we might even get her so good she'll be clinging to you all day long!" Leguna put his arm around Marolyt's shoulder as he spoke, "Come on! Let's find a good place to talk!"
"Alright, but you're paying! I'm so broke I'm considering robbery!" Marolyt said excitedly.
Leguna was more than willing to spend some money to appease his 'father-in-law'.
Lisana watched the two leaving and shook her head. One was the world-shaking galestorm swordsaint, the other the empire's rising dark horse. The two were no doubt the cream of the crop, so why were they so troubled by a single teen girl? What kind of girl was Annelotte? Were the girls around Leguna all special?
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