Leguna the Witty
Leguna considered it for a moment and nodded.
"Alright. I have something I want to ask him, too."
"Should we go now?" Gerd asked.
Since he didn't have anything better to do, he might as well sort this out right now.
He got a few things out of his luggage and left with Gerd.
They went downstairs and Leguna stopped to order Innilis dinner and took it back to her room himself.
"Innie," he said as he opened the door to her room, "I brought dinner. I have to go out for a bit.
"Okay," the girl answered, not even taking her eyes off her work.
The girl had little talent, but she was very stubborn. She never gave up once she put her mind to something. She'd been doing nothing but eating, sleeping, and working since the two had returned to the inn.
Leguna often spent long hours watching the little girl. She was so engrossed in her work she didn't even insist on sleeping with him anymore.
"Do your best," he said, trying to sound like an older brother, as he stroked her head before leaving.
"You seem to have it for that girl," Gerd said circumspectly.
"You would too if she trusted you the way she does me," Leguna answered, oblivious to Gerd's hidden implications.
The bureau's headquarters wasn't in the palace. It was instead a non-descript building in a common business neighbourhood somewhere halfway towards the city's suburbs.
It actually reminded Leguna quite a lot of one of the regional guild offices so commonplace on Lance. Moonshadow's headquarters, for example, were just as unobtrusive.
No one would suspect anything untoward of the business going on inside the building unless they paid exceptionally close attention, and even then coming to that conclusion was far from certain.
"It's very similar to Moonshadow's headquarters," Gerd offered, "You should find it very familiar once you're inside."
It was indeed so. They walked through corridors which would have fitted in perfectly in the assassin's guild's headquarters for several minutes. Leguna's internal compass struggled to keep up as they passed corridor after corridor, took turn after turn, and swivelled down staircase after staircase, but he knew one thing for certain: they were underground. They initially passed dozens of people, but those thinned out once they got deeper into the maze. One might be forgiven for thinking most of the people they passed towards the end were normal office clerks going about their business like they had initially, but Leguna noticed the slightest bulges in their tunics where daggers hung, and the icy gazes that shot at them momentarily until they noticed the badge on Gerd's chest.
The pair came to a random door in the middle of yet another random corridor, all completely unmarked, and Gerd knocked before he entered. Leguna found Arikos inside. Only the petite old man's head was visible from behind a mountain of paperwork under which Leguna was certain hid a desk.
"Uncle Arikos..." Leguna said, fighting to keep his facial muscles under control.
"Ah!--" The man jumped with an agility unfitting of his aged appearance. "--You're finally here, Brat! If you'd come a little bit later, I would've gone insane."
"Alright, sheesh, calm down, Uncle."
"If you'll excuse me," Gerd said quietly and left with a slight bow.
"You have no more excuses now, right?" Arikos said, clutching Leguna's collar, "You wanted me to take care of this place for half a year. Well, it's been just over half a year! You're taking over this very day!"
"No buts! This was your job to begin with! You should be grateful I've kept this place running for six months, but not a day longer! This place is yours starting right now!"
"Don't be so worked up. I'm here precisely to talk about this whole business," Leguna said.
"There's nothing to talk about, everything's yours now. Goodbye!"
The old man darted for the door with that same unnatural nimbleness.
"Hey! You're being too hasty!"
"What else do you want?" Arikos rolled his eyes, stopping halfway out the door.
"At least give me a few days to get up to speed!" Leguna said coquettishly.
Even Leguna couldn't believe he was capable of such a voice, it sickened him to his stomach that he was even capable of such a thing, much less that he'd just used it. If any of his friends heard it, he would never be able to get back his dignity no matter what he did.
"Buzz off! Are you trying to make me sick?"
"But, Uncle, just look!--" Leguna waved his hands helplessly. "--I just joined. I know nothing! How am I supposed to make head or tails of this without your guidance?"
Arikos gave him a frustrated glance. Was the brat not going to let him go after all?
"Hehehe!" Leguna snickered.
He shoved himself at the man as he spoke.
"I bet Teacher wouldn't let someone like me who doesn't know the first thing about the bureau take over everything, right? He must've given you additional instructions, yes?"
Arikos's eyes twitched. The brat looked like a fool, but he was just playing it up to get his way. Arikos knew he had a decent head on his shoulders, it was just that he didn't like to use it unless he absolutely had to, but he didn't hesitate to use it to try and get out of having to do something he didn't want to. Damned lazy brat!
Wayerliss did tell him to help Leguna initially. For all the potential the elf say in Leguna, he knew better than to trust him with something this important without several backups in place.
Arikos rarely complained, even to himself, about his orders, but he really didn't want to babysit this brat. The boy would only push everything onto him if he got the smallest chance and this whole appointment would be useless. No matter how much he detested the assignment, however, he would still have to do it, so he nodded after several long minutes of silence and cold stares.
"Fine," he muttered like a man resigned to his prison sentence, "You're the one in charge now, though, and I'll only give you pointers here and there. I'm not going to actually do any of your work, you understand? And I'll only be here for a year, I leave exactly six months from now."
"Deal," Leguna grinned like a thief that had just made a big break.
He had honest intentions, despite everything Arikos knew about him. He really didn't feel comfortable being dropped into the deep end like this and was really just looking for someone to teach him the ropes for a while.
Gerd might know enough to do that, but he was ultimately just an attendant, and it wouldn't be proper for him to be seen asking him for the kind of advice he was likely going to have to seek.
He really didn't want to do this, but he had little choice, and it would be a good distraction from his loneliness.
"When will you officially get to work?" Arikos asked, his voice irritated.
"In a few days. Annie's absorbing an emperor whale's crystal core. I want to be there when she comes out of seclusion."
"Oh? Is Annie coming back as well?"
"Yes. She even got into a huge fight with her dad over it." Leguna said, scratching his head.
He and his woman's father were on good terms again, but the father's relationship with his daughter was still far from fixed.
Arikos wasn't concerned with that relationship, however.
"So how did you fix your mistake?"
"What? Oh, that reminds me."
"What happened to Balor after our fight?"
Arikos watched him quietly for a few seconds. He didn't think the brat would suddenly ask something like that.
"I heard Annie mention you said I killed him in your report," Leguna said coldly, "You also said I cut off his head and delivered it to the headquarters. What in the world is going on?"
"What do you think is the truth?"
"I don't know, that's why I came to ask you. I only know I defeated him. I definitely didn't kill him. And I didn't cut off his head either."
"I know you didn't cut off his head," Arikos sighed.
"Then what happened?" Leguna couldn't hide the arrogant anger in his voice.
He had worked so hard to find a way to defeat the bastard without killing him, and had worked so hard to convince him to fix his relationship with his sister, even if it had been unsuccessful. But now he would never know if he'd succeeded or not.
"I don't know how he died, but I know who cut his head off."
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