The Attentive Marolyt
Kurdak finally let himself breathe. Thank the gods nobody commented on his nickname. This entire charade would have been worthless if they had.
"Nice to meet you, Sir. I'm Londo," a two-meter-tall man said as he approached.
Kurdak glanced at him. The man was at least forty. His face betrayed his volatile and explosive nature, but his current attitude showed Kurdak that he was loyal once someone finally won his respect.
"Londo? Why didn't you answer my summons?"
"I thought we'd been sent another useless commander, and I didn't want to deal with his strutting, so I just stayed in my tent. I've been properly chastised by that man over there--" he pointed at a little brat, "so decided I'd come take a look."
He was surprisingly cordial for someone who'd just suffered a pummelling.
Kurdak glanced in the direction he pointed. Leguna smiled at him.
"I'm happy to hear that, but tell me, what did he do to you?" Kurdak asked.
"Hehe!" Londo actually chortled. "We sparred."
"It's nothing much," he said that, but his eyes were worshipful, "I am just one stratum short of him, but he beat me in less than twenty minutes despite all my experience. I don't listen to anyone weaker than me, but he isn't, and he has my respect. I will do whatever he asks."
"Not to insult you, but I've seen him beat people with several strata more than him in less time, so it's no mean feat to last that long against him when you're a stratum short!" Kurdak smiled.
He himself would definitely never claim to be able to hold out against the little brat if he only had 13 strata. Thirteen strata was already very significant in the empire, added to that his years of experience and his obvious ability, it no wonder he refused to deal with just any palooka of a commander.
"It's such a shame…" the man said, lowering his gaze, but unable to contain his question, "Major, are you Ironblood Greatbear Kurdak? Mister Dark Requiem's leader?"
"Yes..." Kurdak felt the urge to pummel Leguna again, but he endured… for now, "I'm his leader, he likes to call me boss."
"Then it's settled," Londo said, patting his chest, "My respect is for Mister Dark Requiem first and foremost, but since he listens to you, I will as well."
"Good. Remember your words well. I promise I won't disappoint you. I'll show you why Leguna follows me," Kurdak replied.
"I will be watching," the man nodded.
"Alright, fall in with the rest of them."
Annelotte returned with three crestfallen magi not long after. The three weren't as lucky as Londo; they were all injured. The wounds were far from serious, but for magi who avoided physical confrontation like the plague, even a simple bruise was a severe slight to their egos. That at least one of each of them's bruises was a palm on one of their cheeks, was even worse. Some magi had killed themselves of such a humiliation in the past.
If she had been anyone else, they would have sworn vengeance in the gods' names, but alas, she was a court magus, the empire's number one magus genius, and a saint-ranker's daughter. Even the whole empire had to think twice before slighting her, much less three single magi.
The three had been keeping to themselves, doing everything possible to not have to deal with any of the lowlife former-mercenaries, when the girl had barged in. Her spells to make people miss her looks didn't work on them, so they noticed all too well. The three had stared at her unreservedly.
"I didn't think our new major would be so considerate. He even sent such a lovely girl to wait on us," one had said.
"I'm here to get you out there where you belong," the girl had said, pointing back out the tent, "Move it!"
"No need to rush, little girl. Come, sit with us. We'll listen to your major if you can make us happy," another had said.
"You'd better get a move on; I don't want to have to be rough with you," she'd insisted.
"I didn't think you'd be so feisty. Not that I'm complaining," the first had said.
The three got up and walked towards her, eyes gleaming.
"I'll count to three," she'd said calmly.
The third number left her mouth just as one magus was about to touch her face, and he screamed.
Light burst out of her and filled the room… and the three magi screamed. Alaine had taken the chance to peek at her male master's face, and she was left praying for Kurdak's sake the three would see sense soon, otherwise he'd have to explain why his three magi turned up dead right after he arrived.
Annelotte only stopped five minutes later. The three men were bruised, battered, and in shambles.
"You... you actually dare attack a magus!?" one shouted.
His affront at the prospect of being physically accosted made him completely forget that she'd attacked them using magic.
"I do," Annelotte answered flatly.
She raised one hand, and a serpentine formation of ice deposited around it.
The three stared at her in shock.
She had ice-blue hair, and a terrifying control over an ice aspect… Could she really be?... Please don't let her be...
"You actual dare?" the third spat, oblivious to what the ice and hair meant.
So what if her control was excellent? She dared to attack three magi! There was no way she would get away with this no matter how nice her tricks with ice!
"I'm going to lodge a charge! Tell me your name!"
Marolyt charged through one of the tent walls before his daughter could speak.
"Who are you?!" the magus raged.
This was a magus' tent! When did it become a place people could just enter and leave how they pleased?
"F*ck you!" Marolyte spat as he got to the magus.
His palm connected with the man's cheek in the same instant. The poor magus was flung through the other wall of the tent and collapsed on the cold muddy-ground outside.
The curses rang out again, and the third finally realised who these people were.
"Stop! Please stop!" he'd shouted.
"What? Anything you'd like to say?"
"I'll do it myself!" he had shouted, before slapping himself.
It didn't lack the strength, but it was just soft enough to spare his mouth losing any teeth.
"I guess you're not too dumb," Marolyt said.
"I was ignorant and foolish! I didn't recognize Miss Annelotte and yourself. I deserve to be punished!"
The other lay where they were, afraid of even twitching. What the hell were these two walking time-bombs doing there? Which god had they offended to bring this calamity down on them? They could do nothing against these two even if they tortured them unjustly. Not even the entire empire would stand up against them, especially not on these three's behalf.
"Buzz off!" Marolyt barked as he shoved the third away.
"I've taken care of these bastards. Give them the word!" he said, turning to his daughter.
The three stared at him even more surprised by his behavior than his presence.
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