A Father's Pleas
Marolyt's expression was furious. He really wanted to kill little rat, but he knew his daughter would never let him into her sight ever again.
He took a deep breath and finally let the little sack of shit go.
"Cough... Cough..." Leguna gasped and coughed for a good minute, clutching his neck.
"Just go..." Marolyt's voice was cold, dark, resentful, it even hid a trace of deep hatred, but it as also resigned, hopeless, and not a little self-loathing, especially at the fact that he as a father can not even ensure his daughter's man will treat her properly, and value her the way she ought to be.
"No," Leguna rasped through his still-recovering throat, "I won't let you hurt Eirinn."
"Do you want me to kill you?!"
"No I don't, but I won't let you hurt Eirinn!" Legua shouted, stumbling to his feet.
"Eirinn! Eirinn! All you ever care about is Eirinn! What about Annie? What's she to you?!"
"Annie's just as important! I've never put one of them above the other! I can't live without either of them! Why do you want me to break up with Eirinn so much?!"
"Because Annie is more important to me!" Marolyt roared, "I could never be there for her while she was young, and I know she never made any friends. I regret every moment I was apart from her every moment of my life. I had hoped, naively I see now, that you might help me make up for that. But you, the little conniving, heartless rat you are, went and broke her heart! You knew you were the first person she'd ever opened up to, and you still went and broke her heart! No matter what happens between you and her in the future, that, I will never forget, and I will never forgive you!"
Leguna's eyes darkened and his face glowed in shame. Of course, if there was any man who loved Annelotte more than he did, then it was her father.
The father stared at the little shit that had once made his daughter happy, but was now the source of so much of her pain… and sighed.
"Just go. I won't kill Eirinn."
"I can't kill you because I won't hurt Annie. I also won't kill Eirinn because it would hurt Annie…" the old man's lips trembled underneath his red eyes, "I am a useless father. I can't even help her clear her heart, or at least make sure the boy she likes will treat her right. I can do nothing for her."
Leguna stared at the old man, speechless. He felt an even deeper shame, even more so for the relief he felt.
"Motherf*cker! Why's this shit untouchable?" the old man grunted, his anger overtaking his shame and sorry once again.
"Didn't you already beat me up, Sir?" Leguna asked, spitting out a few of his teeth.
"Buzz off before I decide I might as well just kill you an Eirinn anyway! I have traveled the world many times over and I've always done as I pleased. I never thought a little rat like you would become such a pesky leach stuck in my clothes!"
"It must've been tough for you..." Leguna said, one part insult to nine parts praise.
The swordsaint may be able to smite everything in his way, but a father couldn't.
"Oh go swallow a cactus! You have no complaints."
"None, Sir," Leguna answered quickly.
"One more thing..."
Marolyt's tone softened for the first time.
"I need you to... No, I'm begging you… Treat my daughter well, better than any other woman in the world. She puts on that cold facade, but she's very tender on the inside. I've disappointed her for all her life, so I won't let the only other male in her life, a little boy as he may be, disappoint her as well."
"Don't worry, Sir. I would even if you didn't ask me to."
"Alright. I'll let you go this once, this once. I won't interfere with you and that half-elf either, but you damn well better not let it get in the way of you and Annie. And don't come crying to me if she tells you she will have nothing to do with you while you're playing daisy with another woman. Damnit, how can you be so greedy?"
"I'll do my best..." Leguna murmured, his heart torn with guilt.
He knew it wasn't fair for him to go after both women, it wasn't fair to Annie, and it wasn't fair to Eirinn. It was one of the worst injustices he could do them, but he just couldn't choose between them, no, not couldn't, wouldn't. There was only one way this was going to work, and that was for the two to accept that they would not have him to themselves. As for the matter with Innilis… That was a whole other war.
Marolyt finally gave up. Honestly, fatherhood wasn't suited to him.
"I'll warn you one last time. I told you I wouldn't interfere with either you and Annie, or you and that half-elf, but if you dare hurt her again, I will tear you into such fine pieces there will be nothing left to bury! And if anyone tries to stop me, whether it be that half-elf, or those two other children that follow you around, they will join you!"
"I understand." Leguna nodded helplessly.
"Good, I'm going. I can't stand looking at you anymore."
"What? Be quick about it!"
"Actually, I have a question..." Leguna murmured, an awkward smile colouring his face, "Why do you think Annie likes me? I... never picked up that she does."
Marolyt's eyes widened.
"Idiot!" he spat and vanished, leaving Leguna to stare into empty space incredulously.
Leguna stopped by Eirinn on his way back. The girl nearly fainted when she saw his sorry silhouette limp into the room. He'd been gone for an hour and a half, maybe two; how did he get himself so badly beaten up so quickly?
Leguna didn't explain anything. He just sat down on one of the beds gingerly, careful with his broken ribs. Eirinn knew her wounds, however, and immediately realized they were from fists.
"Who was this cruel?!" Eirinn gasped as she tended to his wounds, "Tell me! Hmph! I'll show him when he comes for treatment next time!"
"I didn't think you'd hold a grudge," Leguna answered curiously, "How will you pay him back?"
"Hmph, I'll..." her voice trailed off, "...I... I'll... I won't give them any painkillers! I'll give them only half the medicine so they'll recover slower!"
"Haha-ow… ow-ow-ow..." Leguna started to laugh, then clutched his ribs in agony.
"What are you laughing at?"
Had she said something wrong? Surely being treated without painkillers could hurt a lot… Wait, it would hurt them! She shouldn't be thinking about stuff like that!
"Nothing, it's nothing!" Leguna waved through grit teeth.
"You're just too cute!"
She tugged on his bandages somewhat forcefully.
"I'm sorry..." she said, none too apologetically.
"Quick, heal my teeth... I can't even speak and they're starting to hurt!"
Leguna reflected on the night, and his face was a mix of complex emotions, guilt and shame foremost among them. He was even more tired, however, and slept through the night, thought his was somewhat fitful. He found Kurdak and Vera whispering and giggling when he woke up, glancing at him occasionally. Marolyt stood in one corner of the room, quietly, brooding.
It took him a week to recover enough, even with Eirinn's careful ministrations, to travel, but they set out as soon as he was capable. Eibron and Alissanda joined them, which surprised everyone. Alissanda left his brigade at the fort under Jast's command.
Annelotte opened the door lightly. Inniliss sat by her desk, scribbling notes as she read from a large tome.
"Innie..." Annelotte smiled slightly.
"A moment, Sis," the girl said without lifting her eyes from the pages beneath her quill.
Annelotte gazed over her shoulder, marvelling at the long, neat lines and columns of numbers, most of it numbers and arithmetic symbols with only a few words interspersed sparingly. If this continued, it might be just a few more months before she solved Eirinn's problem.
She waited patiently for the little girl to finish, it took about ten minutes.
"A message from that boy," she said coldly as she handed the letter, which he held like she was afraid it was poisonous.
"Really?!" Innilis shouted as she grabbed the letter and ripped the envelope apart with her teeth. "Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
"You little... You told me not to interrupt you!" Annelotte barked with a smile as she rapped her knuckles on the girl's head.
Innilis poked her tongue out mischievously for a moment, then ignored Annelotte and read the letter.
"What?" Annelotte asked, trying to sound as disinterested as she could despite her heart skipping a beat.
Had something happened to the little brat?
"Big Bro is coming back! He'll arrive in a few more days!"
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