Leguna left the military camp slowly. He found Marolyt standing not far away. The moon shone brightly on his large body and illuminated his handsome face. The old man was a very mysterious and magnetic man, when he didn't speak.
"Is there anything you need?" Leguna asked, his snicker fading.
The old man hadn't acted seriously the whole day. This was his first time seeing him so solemn, so he didn't know what to make of it at first.
"Of course I do!" Marolyt said coldly.
"Pray tell." Leguna said, a chill sparking down his spine.
"I saw you going into Eirinn's room after dinner," Marolyt said.
"Stalking me, Sir?" Leguna's expression darkened.
He did not like being stalked, even if the stalker was his prospective father-in-law.
"Don't worry, this is the only time. If not for Annie's sake, I would not do something so lowly," Marolyt countered, "And, no, I didn't eve's drop."
"Even if you didn't, you could still guess, right?" Leguna's expression softened to a bitter smile.
"Yes, I guessed," Marolyt nodded, his eyes darkening, "You want to leave with Eirinn, but she wasn't willing to. So you looked for someone you knew and asked them to take care of her in your stead, right?"
"Yes." Leguna sighed, "What does any of this have to do with you, though?"
"What does it have to do with me?!" Marolyt's eyes flashed furiously all of a sudden.
Leguna's body froze. Marolyt wasn't just his usual angry, he was absolutely furious, truly, deeply, raging. His gaze alone nearly killed Leguna with terror for real. He felt his heart fighting to find something resembling a rhythm.
"You dare ask me that?!" Marolyt's eyes burned, "What's your relationship with my daughter and Eirinn?! Huh?!"
"I..." Leguna had no words.
He finally understood why Marolyt was so furious at him. What father would be happy to see a man betraying their daughter with another woman?
"Hmph! Don't think I don't know what you think of Annie! You like her, don't you?"
"Yes," Leguna admitted, squaring his shoulders with a deep breath.
He had seen this coming for months, though he had not expected to come up against it quite this soon. Now that he had, however, there was no point avoiding it.
"At least you have that smudge of integrity left in your damned rotten soul!" Marolyt barked, "I am not some stubborn fool who treats his daughter like his property.am her father, and it is my responsibility to ensure she's happy, and my duty to ensure whatever man she may choose to adopt in the end is faithful to her. And you, you little snide brat, are not. Tell me, honestly for once in your damned life, what's going on between you and that half-elf?!"
"She's one of the most important people in my life, at least as important as Annie. I will eventually marry her," Leguna answered calmly.
The words came out as he had rehearsed them many times.
He didn't know what would come of him and Annelotte. He couldn't. But Eirinn was different. He didn't doubt his feelings for her, nor hers for him. Barring heaven intervening, he was going to take her as one of his wives.
A small vein burst in one corner of one of Marolyt's eyes and a small red smudge slowly took shape around it.
"So you're trying to seduce my little girl with your left hand, and seducing Eirinn with your right hand?! Do you have any shame, any integrity, any character at all?! Don't think at all that you're going too far?"
"I know!" Leguna half-melted, "But both are important to me. I will not let either one go and I will not choose between them! You may think it shameless, but I will have one on either side of me! I have been bleeding here for so many months exactly for that purpose! I will be their match, someone worthy of being both of them's man!"
"I won't interfere with your relationship with my daughter, as I've already said, but if you want to pursue her, you will pursue only her. You'll dump your half-elf--" Marolyt swung Leguna around by his collar, "--or you'll leave my daughter alone! I know Annie, no matter how strongly she may feel about this, will not say, so I will. She will never accept the man she chooses to adopt fornicating with other women! No woman would ever accept it, for that matter. You only get one woman, Leguna. Either she is my daughter, or she is that half-elf of yours, but I will not stand by and watch you play with my daughter's heart while playing daisy with someone, anyone, else. If you ever want to lay your eyes on my daughter again, you will end whatever is going on between you and Eirinn. Do you even know that Annelotte hasn't smiled since she's come to Chino?!"
"I haven't seen her smile much in the two years we spent together either."
"What the f*ck does that have to do with anything?!" Marolyt roared, his fist clenched so tight it nearly bled as well, "She doesn't smile often, yes, but I can tell she's been unhappy since she came here. Really unhappy. Why do you think I've had so much trouble getting her to accept me? I was the one that brought her here, after all. I weep to see my dear daughter befuddled by the likes of you! Even worse, now I see you fornicating behind her back?! What kind of father would I be if I did not put a stop to this?!"
Marolyt's first punch minced Leguna's nose. He was still staggering backwards from the force of the blow when the second slammed into his jaw, and he felt a slight crack run up his right cheek. The third came barely a moment later, slamming into his chest, and he could swear he heard a similar sound from there as well. The fourth came almost at the same time, then the fifth, then the sixth. Punches literally rained down on him, striking his face as much as the rest of his body.
His prospective father-in-law, for all his fury, did not use impetus, but his punches still rang with all the righteous fury of a father who'd found the man in whom is daughter was interested playing coy with another woman and making light of his daughter's affections in the process. By the time the punches petered out, Leguna had two broken ribs, a minced nose, a shattered tooth, a cracked jaw, eyes nearly swollen shut, and his body was already turning azure under the bruises. Leguna hoped the reason the old man hadn't held back was because he knew there was a kind priestess ready to heal him the moment he got to her, and not that he was truly so furious that he didn't care whether Leguna could recover from his wounds at all or not.
Though there was no way he would have been able to escape from the old man, he should at least have been able to avoid a few of the strikes, he definitely should have been able to put some distance between him and the man since the latter was not using any impetus. But he knew doing that would only make the beating he would get once the old man inevitably caught him again even worse, so he stayed put obediently.
He told himself, however, that it was because he deserved every punch. That he was doing it because he wished to pay the debt he owed Marolyt, as Annelotte's father, for his frivolousness, though he most fervently denied any of it was fornication.
"Not resisting? Tell me, what hubris makes you so obedient?" Marolyt said finally, wiping Leguna's blood off his hand like it was pig shit.
"Because it is no less than I deserve," Leguna mumbled, halfway prideful about his obedient acknowledgement of his guilt, "You really didn't hold back. You even punched Eirinn's share out of me."
Marolyt stared at him, muted by his once-again-rising fury, and silenced by perplexion at the damned worm's words.
Leguna was right. Annelotte was a young girl, but so was Eirinn. The only reason no one had come to beat him up for her sake was that she had no father who could. Marolyte supposed that made him doubly responsible for beating integrity into the brat. He had to act on the girl's deceased father's behalf as well. He had no doubt that, if she truly had feelings, if anyone could have feelings, for this rat standing in front of him, then she felt the same way his daughter did, and at least as strongly. He had watched the girl for a while now, however, and if she did feel that way, she would only not have spoken because she was to kind, too timid, rather, to say anything.
That the boy was bringing her up, meant he at least knew how she felt. Though Marolyt didn't know if his care for her, enough so to notice how she felt, made him less angry, or his temerity to go right ahead with his two-way fornication anyway made him even more furious. No matter which it was however, it had no ultimate bearing on his position, however. He was Annelotte's father, and he would sort this rat out one way or another.
"You think I'll go easy on you just because you say a few nice words?!"
"I know you won't.--" The corners of the brat's mouth twitch in the direction of a smile, though the swelling of his cheeks stopped them from actually going anywhere. "--I'm only paying my credit."
Marolyt shoved his face into Leguna's sphere where his face used to be.
"I'll say this only one more time, you poor excuse for a bilge rat: leave… her..."
Leguna's neck muscles tightened in the pattern of a shake of his head, though his head didn't move.
"No. No matter what you say, or what you do, I will not let go of either of them."
Marolyt stared death itself into Leguna's eyes for a few, long seconds before abruptly turning around.
"What are you going to do?" Leguna asked, anxiously, as he realized Marolyt was far from done despite what his movements might indicate.
"I had hoped to beat integrity into you. Unfortunately it seems you don't have a single honest bone in your body, so I'll wipe your sin out for you."
"I'll kill Eirinn."
"You won't!--" Leguna, more by instinct that actual intent, leapt at the swordsaint. "--I won't let you! You'll have to kill me first!"
Marolyt grabbed Leguna's collar so violently it tore halfway loose from hiss shirt and flung him into a nearby wall by what thread still held the two together. He was on him before he'd slumped out of the crater he left in the wall, shoving him into the ground to form a second one there.
Marolyt struck at him again, pounding him deeper into the ground. Leguna's mouth opened involuntarily and blood fountained out of it mixed with vomit.
Marolyt didn't even notice as the mixture splattered his face, neck and shoulders.
"Kill you? Do you think I won't even if I have to face Annelotte's anger? Even if she'll hate me for the rest of her life, if I believe killing you will spare her more heartache, I'll do it without a second thought!"
Leguna felt the marrow of his throat straining, on the edge of cracking, under Marolyt's massive hands as they tightened around his neck. He reached up with his hands, weakly trying to clutch the father's arms, but there was no strength in them and they eventually fell back to the ground as his vision blurred, his lungs burning with more than the pain of the tear the old man's punched had ripped in one just a few moments ago.
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