Book 3 Chapter 273

Banquet (3)

Leguna spoke softly, but Innilis was completely deafened by his words.

The girl's face melted into a hopeful hint of a smile through her despair and he gaze was ferocious as she stared at Leguna. She didn't say anything, but Leguna couldn't know better what she was thinking.

"You didn't hear me wrong, Innie," Leguna said, pinching her cheek, "I'll wait for you to grow up."

"Really?"

"Yes. I promise. If you haven't changed your mind by the time you turn sixteen propose to you."

"I won't! I definitely won't!" Innilis shouted as she jumped around, finally acting more her age. She only completed two jumps before she realized she was still in public, and brought her emotions under control, clearing her throat embarrassedly. That didn't stop her from sticking her tongue out at Leguna when she saw him smiling amusedly at her, however.

Annelotte glanced at the two quickly before moving away quickly.

"Annie!" Leguna half-shouted to stop her as he stretched out his hand.

He knew he had just done a lot of damage to their already shaky relationship, but he just` couldn't continue to turn Innilis away without giving her at least something.

Annelotte definitely heard him, but she neither stopped nor turned around. Leguna's hand was left dangling in the air for a few moments before he withdrew it. He supposed that was to be expected. He definitely had nothing he could say to quell her anger. At the same time, however, he would not just leave the little girl beside him dangling any longer. Annelotte just needed a while to calm down. He was sure she'd eventually come round.

"You have to go after her, Big Bro!" Innilis shouted as she shoved him from behind.

"Huh?!"

"Sis is very angry and hurt right now. You can't just leave her be. If you let her anger boil like that she'll hate you and you'll never have any chance with her! I'm not a narrow-minded woman, If it wasn't for Sis Annie I wouldn't have gotten your promise. I won't be happy if you just let her be!"

Gah, why does being a man have to be so hard? Can' you all just sit and wait for me obediently? Leguna complained to himself before he dashed off after Annelotte.

Idiot… You actually chased after her without saying anything just because I told you too... Innilis complained to herself as she watched her man stumbling away.

......

"Annie!" Leguna shouted after Annelotte as he stumbled closer.

Annelotte stopped but didn't turn around or look at him.

"What?" she spat her voice as cold as the void beyond the edges of the world.

Leguna found his voice suddenly frozen in his throat. She'd heard everything he'd just told Innilis, and his meaning had been clear as well. There was no explaining this away. He might just make things worse by trying, no matter how convincing his argument.

"Nothing? Then I'm going." she spat as she started off again.

"I'm sorry..." His breathed, and she stopped mid-step.

"For what? There's nothing to be sorry about. Its your business who you chase after, and it certainly doesn't have anything to do with me, and old acquaintance."

"I..." Leguna's words stuck in his throat again.

What could he say? He was sorry to hurt her? If that were true, then why had he done that in the first place?

"Don't tell me you actually think I feel anything about that little show with Innilis?" she asked, turning back, her face convincingly amused, "Do I look unhappy? And what would I be unhappy about even if I were? Like I said, you can chase whomever you like, it has nothing to do with me. I'm hungry, I'm going."

"That... so..." Leguna stammered.

She'd cut off what little he could say with her response.

"Like I said, there's nothing to apologize for. I went overboard in the tournament, so I'll apologize for that now. I'm sorry I beat you up that badly. There, now everything has been cleared up between us."

"Don't do this, Annie..." Leguna panicked.

Annelotte would only do this if she were either absolutely furious about what he'd just done, or if she really didn't care and Leguna couldn't decide which was worse. If she was furious, then this might well be the end of any chance he might have had to fix things with her, but if she didn't care at all, then it meant whatever chance he had had with her had died a long time ago.

She stared a question at him but Leguna had no answer for her. The two stood there, quietly for half a minute, then Annelotte gave him a very formal curtsy, and turned to leave.

Leguna watched as she walked away, his heart breaking. She'd behaved just as she had when the first met, though she was ever so slightly warmer before the whole business with Innilis. He couldn't pick out anything that felt forced or acted. As far as he could tell, she was being absolutely genuine.

I must just be overthinking thing, he smiled bitterly.

"Idiot!" Innilis shouted as she came trotting over and kicked his calf. "What are you doing? Why are you doubting whether she feels anything for you?"

"Do you know if she feels anything for me?" he asked sincerely.

"Hmph! Sis Eirinn told me that a long time ago! She wrote me a letter before you came back and asked me to make sure you resolved your issues with Sis Annie. She said you didn't know the first thing about how to deal with women, and that you completely hopeless especially where Sis Annie was concerned. She couldn't come with you, so she put me in charge of fixing you and Sis Annie."

"Eirinn..."

Leguna's eyes tendered when he thought about the girl again. He didn't thinks he would see to things this much. She looked like she was obsessed with medicine and didn't care about anything else at all anymore, but she had really been paying careful attention to him.

"Tell what ballsup you just made so I can see what I can do about it." Innilis said like a teacher trying to help a hopeless student.

Leguna gave her the short version of events and she sighed, even more exasperated.

"You idiot!--" Another kick flew into his shin, "--Have you ever heard the saying?"

"What saying?"

"Women are born actresses!--" Innilis's eyes rolled so far back into her head they nearly got stuck there, "You're the only one who's so blind he can't see how Sis Annie feels about you. Your inferiority complex is really getting to be a problem!"

"Hey! I'm Dark Requiem, what inferiority complex could I possibly have?!" Leguna spat as he stroked her little head.

"Oh shove it! We all know you have one. Even Sis Eirinn, who won't say a single bad word about you normal admits you have one as well!"

"How has she slandered me this time?"

"She wasn't slandering you! Everything she's said is true! I'd even say she was understating how bad you are! You act all strong and confident, but you're really still just a little boy who thinks he's not good enough to be anywhere but the slums!"

Leguna's mouth flung open to object, but something deep inside him cracked, and the words wouldn't come.

"Do you think so, too?"

"We all think that," she blurted, the floodgates having opened she could no longer hold back.

She recalled the night she and Leguna first met. He'd been talking in his drunken stupor. He'd nearly broken her small hand so tightly he'd held it. Alcohol, for all its evils, was sometimes the best way to learn what someone was really like.

"You're very talented. I wouldn't call you a genius, you've got way too many problems to be called that, but you're well above average. Sis Annie is a real genius and you can't argue even if you want to. You're somewhat above average in looks, but she's an absolute beauty. I doubt anyone else in the entire world can compare to her. If someone can, there can't be more than two. You're a slum boy, and she's born even higher than many rules and nobles. Everyone can see how that affects you. Sis Eirinn more than all of us."

"Is she a shrink, too?!"

Leguna desperately wanted to shout over her, to yell that she was completely wrong, but that small crack just wouldn't let him, it stopped the words dead in his throat like there was no airway beyond it.

"You can't let any of that stop you, however. You know how proud Sis Annie is. She might not be arrogant, but I can promise you she's got more pride in her than even emperors. She'll never accept you if you aren't willing to put your heart, mind, and soul on the line for her!"

Having said her peace, the little girl turned around and floated back to the crowd like a sage on a cloud.

Leguna stared at her until she vanished between the groups of people, then smiled crookedly.

I really don't get women…

......

Geoffrey was still talking with Alfreid. Their conversation petered out at around this time, however, and he started wandering the hallway looking for another conversation companion.

He wasn't really wandering at all, however, he was walking with a hidden purpose. He'd seen the whole play between Leguna and the two girls, and his suspicions had been murderously aroused. Even more so considering the rumours he'd heard from the other continent about the time the brat and Annelotte had spent together.

He waited for the other little girl to leave Leguna alone, then sauntered over, intent on once and for all confirming or abolishing those suspicions.


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