[Hey!] Annelotte patted Leguna on the shoulder. After so many years, she still mostly addressed him with a curt 'hey' instead of using his name.
'What?' Leguna conveyed with hand gestures, 'Got a method?'
[This cannon is already ruined. Its power core is actually a power crystal. Low temperatures can destroy it.]
'But I can't create low temperatures. You aren't asking me to stuff ice into the cannons, are you?' He had completely no clue with regards to magical machinery and didn't understand the significance of them being fire crystals.
[Idiot! Fire crystals are structurally weak in the first place and you only have to shatter it to make it lose its effect.]
'So I only have to slash it once or twice?' he waved.
[That's right.] Annelotte stretched her hand out to hold on to Leguna's.
Wait, what? Did our relationship improve so much during the mission? Leguna's mind was sent into frenzy the moment he touched her hand.
But she wasn't aware of what he was thinking of. She was only trying to guide his hand to the part of the cannon where the power core was.
[Right here,] she continued to send using the conference spell, [the fire crystal is located around 30 centimeters from this point.]
The material for the shell looks quite sturdy... Normal slashes would probably cause quite a bit of commotion. Do I have to use Spatial Cut then? he thought with his hand on his chin.
[You have to use Spatial Cut with Wave Blade,] Gahrona reminded, [can you do it?]
[Of course!] He drew Lighteater soundlessly and used Wave Blade with Spatial Cut at the same time.
Lighteater pierced into the insides of the cannon without a sound. However, the illusion shrouding the blade shook slightly. Thankfully, it was currently midnight and the guards wouldn't notice unless they were paying hard attention.
[Good, just like that.] She nodded and inspected the cannon with her enthymema to confirm that Leguna did indeed hit the fire crystal.
[I'll accompany you for two more cannons. If those go well, we should split up and act.[
As Leguna wasn't quite certain about the location, he usually needed three to four tries to properly cripple a cannon.
Even though Wave Blade and Spatial Cut weren't that taxing on the body, it required great control and concentration. Being able to pull of Wave Blade was already phenomenally difficult for normal people, yet Leguna had to convert impetus with his sword at the same time while maintaining stealth.
Though he only struck less than ten times, he was already sweating. It was indeed a rather taxing task.
[Alright, you more or less know the place already. Let's split up.] Annelotte couldn't see his sweat thanks to the stealth, but at least she could tell that the blur before her was getting the right spot more or less, so she split up.
Leguna nodded without saying a word. Destroying all 50 cannons was going to be a troublesome affair to begin with. Annelotte probably wouldn't fare much better for having to use her Glacial Domain in succession like that. It would definitely be a test of determination and endurance for her.
Regardless, those two didn't complain. They were confident in each other that they could complete the mission. That was a trust borne from long before the past half year they spent.
For instance, back when they were in the town of York, Leguna's odds against two high orders were horrible. Yet, Annelotte was still capable of leaving him to his own devices in favor of taking care of Innilis. Part of it was due to Leguna's own begging, but another was because she didn't think he was completely hopeless in that situation.
Had she been certain that Leguna would die without a doubt, she wouldn't have left him alone.
Leguna believed that the one who understood him the most would be Eirinn, but the one who trusted him most was Annelotte. She trusted him far more than he did her. Though he wasn't sure about the reason, it was actually rather simple: he was the first one to trust her and shamelessly stuck to her through all this time.
Just like that, they began their respective tasks with full trust in one another.
Either way, Leguna wouldn't have had it that easy had it not been for Annelotte's magical knowledge. Without it, he might've had to rely on cutting the whole cannon into pieces. Not only would that expend lots of energy, it would also expose him easily. The mission was far simpler with her on board.
[Ah, let me rest a minute...] Leguna was no longer able to hold on after his seventh cannon. It would be easy if he didn't have to sustain stealth, which would require him to maintain mental balance and that was akin to walking a steel wire.
While balancing on a wire for three to five minutes might still be fine, having to stay up there half an hour while dancing, that is, while using Wave Blade, was maddeningly hard.
[Tch, that's all you could take?] Gahrona mocked, not quite satisfied with his performance. [I bet that Annie's still working hard over there!]
[I see that you're growing to like her more and more.] He rolled his eyes. From time to time, Gahrona would compare him to Annelotte and always praise her as a paragon while talking down on him.
[That's a given. I thought that she was among the top five talented youths when I first met her. But after this past half year, my evaluation of her changed quite a bit.]
[Oh? How good do you think she is?] he couldn't help but ask. Annelotte's talent was undeniable, but what did a saint-ranker like Gahrona think about her?
[Number one,] Gahrona said frankly, [Annie's the most balanced out of all the youths I met. In terms of intelligence, raw power, knowledge and attitude, she's top three among all of you. Put all that together, she's a rare genius. I've never seen anyone more outspoken than her.]
[Do Saron and Alissanda pale in comparison, too?] The way he saw it, Stok's Saron and Hocke's Alissanda were attention-grabbing figures. Could they be inferior to even Annelotte?
[Even though Alissanda's a genius too, I don't like his personality.]
[I think he's a rather fine guy though.] Given that he had some ties with him, he thought it would be better to defend him.
[Everyone has different opinions,] she glossed over, [As for Saron... he's just an arrogant prick. I doubt he's much more talented than you!]
[Why does that sound more like an insult than a compliment?]
[Alright, that's enough chit chat! You've gotten more than enough rest. Continue your work!] She couldn't be bothered to explain further and rushed him to finish his job.
The plan Annelotte came up with on the fly wasn't perfect, but it seemed to be the safest and most effective method so far. Leguna wasn't obstructed in the slightest as he moved from one cannon to another. Apart from making a slight noise when he wasn't paying attention, he didn't make any mistake.
Around an hour later, he met up with her again. The two of them managed to sabotage all 50 magic cannons under their enemy's very noses and weren't discovered.
They had agreed to meet at a corner on the walls when they finished. When Leguna arrived, she had been waiting for ten minutes. Thanks to her high-grade shroud spell, however, he wasn't able to see her.
[Are you done?] she sent after a light pat on the shoulder.
'I should be. Perhaps some of the crystals aren't completely destroyed, but most of them should be', he waved to his invisible partner.
[Then that's fine. A few cannons won't pose a threat at all,] she said with a nod, [I'm finished as well.]
'Then let's scoot!' He didn't want to linger for one moment longer. They were in enemy territory after all and he wasn't keen on any more thrills.
Right after the two left an elegant-looking middle-aged man appeared on the walls of Seatide. Even without using a shroud spell, the guards wasn't able to notice his presence at all. It was as if he wasn't there.
He closed his eyes as if sensing something before a sinister look flashed across his face.
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