Return of the Glacial Empress
"The footsteps of that person?" Leguna asked, unable to contain his curiosity, "Who might that be?"
Marolyt fell silent and returned a question. "You don't know this even though you're the head of the bureau?"
"What are you talking about?"
"I thought you already knew." Marolyt sighed and muttered, "Are both empires trying to keep that under wraps? Hehe…"
"Pops?" Leguna called out probingly.
The man turned around to look at him. "Kid, if you're really interested in the matter, go check up on the founding war. I doubt it'd be hard to unearth this matter with the bureau's capabilities."
There were many records about the founding war, but Leguna hadn't paid them any attention due to how busy he was. Seeing how mysterious Marolyt was going about it, he felt that it was something he had to check out. Only then could he better understand this nation.
Eirinn's crying faded away. Seeing that she had more or less vented her feelings, Leguna stepped forward to calm her down.
The sight of Leguna being intimate with another girl caused Marolyt's brows to twitch. He approached Annelotte and said, "Hey…"
"Don't worry, I'm fine," she replied calmly.
"Alright…" he nodded, "If he dares hurt you, make sure to tell me. I will take him out."
Annelotte merely nodded, though it wasn't sure she was agreeing to her father's offer or thanking him for his concern.
When Eirinn was calmed down enough, they left Fort Kesta. Alpacino's casket would be sent back to his hometown by Leguna's minions.
Dealing with that matter took him up to ten days. During that time, letters asking him to return to Melindor would come for him non stop. It seemed that the loss of Fort Kesta caused quite a lot of trouble for Hocke.
Leguna knew that he couldn't shirk his duties off any longer, so he prepared to go back to Melindor with Annelotte.
He couldn't afford to dally thanks to the urgency conveyed through the letters. Fortunately, Annelotte was a high-order magus and using her transference spells, Leguna was able to make it back in two or so days.
By then, word of Annelotte killing Saron single-handedly had spread far and wide. To welcome the brightest star of the empire back, many citizens in Melindor assembled their own parades.
Not a single citizen was disappointed. Annelotte was the cream of the crop when it came to looks, atmosphere and behavior. Coupled with her magnificent achievement, almost all the citizens cheered the moment she showed up.
Marolyt seemed to enjoy the atmosphere quite a lot and waved his hands nonstop as if he was the star of the show. Leguna wasn't too surprised by that, however. Annelotte was Marolyt's daughter, after all. Who could fault him for being excited about the adoration the others had for her?
Annelotte, on the other hand, seemed quite unaccustomed to being in the spotlight. She furrowed her brow in annoyance as if she couldn't stand the crowd.
Eirinn also seemed rather perturbed, especially when she was standing beside a world-class beauty like Annelotte. She felt it accentuated her ugliness, so she tried to hide in a corner to not catch attention.
How she acted affected Leguna quite a bit and he decided that the first thing he would do after settling down was to recover Eirinn's looks.
But, regardless of how they reacted to it, there was no escaping the grand welcome. Annelotte rushed back to her alchemy lab immediately. Though she began to have doubts about what she was doing, she wasn't one to stop things half way. They were in the crucial stage of the research and she had to put in more effort.
After bidding her goodbye, Leguna decided to find a place for Eirinn to stay. He decided to let her stay with Innilis and him since the two got along rather well. He hoped that Innilis's optimism could help Eirinn forget the recent painful events. It was a relatively quiet residence in which the three lived. Annelotte also had a room reserved for her as well.
When he was done settling her down, Leguna rushed back to the bureau. While Xeno and Gerd were running the place, Leguna no longer dared to so willingly pass his power on to others ever since that incident with Arikos.
He did hear that Gerd did quite a number of small moves during his time as acting bureau head, but he was only reaping a little more benefit for himself without doing anything like scheming against him. Even so, he didn't spare any effort to rebuke Gerd for his selfish acts.
After he investigated the matter, he harshly rebuked the man and relieved him of his position as head secretary. He relegated Gerd to guard Annelotte's alchemy lab.
Xeno, on the other hand, had done his work dutifully ever since Leguna had left without trying anything, managing to win even more of his trust. So, he made sure to give him reward and encouragement, much to the man's surprise.
When he was finally done with handling the internal matters of the bureau and dealing with several pressing matters, he went to heed Larwin's summons. The fat emperor felt so anxious that he was going insane!
Even though he had written him a letter to explain some things, there was only so much he could convey, so he had to go there in person.
Larwin couldn't really trust Arikos since he was someone from Moonshadow and was only working in the bureau because of the guild's orders. Though the emperor did make sure to have someone keep an eye on Arikos, he didn't think the man would do something so simple like hiding reports from Fort Kesta and allowing its invasion to occur.
It simply didn't make sense! While Fort Kesta was no doubt important to both empires, occupying it wouldn't be able to change the tide of war, so why would Arikos expose himself at that juncture?
What was his plan? To topple the empire? But Fort Kesta wasn't nearly that important. What else could he be targeting?
That was something Larwin hadn't been able to figure out, so he wanted to have a talk with Leguna. After consulting with his own intelligence agency, he confirmed the boy had distanced himself from Moonshadow and was acting in his personal capacity. He wouldn't give up everything for Moonshadow.
Because of that, Larwin wanted to draw Leguna to his side. It Leguna belonged to Hocke, the bureau would be working in earnest for the empire in a sense.
So, Larwin revealed his intentions in his secret meeting with the boy. He wished Leguna would give his loyalty to the empire instead of Moonshadow. The boy only gave him a vague response. He said that his wish was simply to have enough power to protect the people about whom he cared, such as Kurdak and Annelotte.
He said he knew neither the empire nor the guild could give him that power, so he had chosen to observe the situation and make his decision later.
He never thought his hesitation would cost him the support of both sides and result in an abyss of pain.
At that moment, he was waiting to see which side had the better offer and had completely forgotten the fact that he was no more than a grain between two mills.
After he came clear to Larwin, Leguna returned to the bureau and spent his time like usual.
As for Eirinn's matter, Innilis needed a few more days to synthesize the concoction. As they were going for the real deal and not a trial run, Innilis was being extra careful under Annelotte's supervision.
The choice of materials, accuracy of measurements and the quality of herbs selected by the alchemists were strictly checked by Innilis. Though the scrutiny earned the displeasure of the alchemists in Annelotte's lab, they didn't dare to talk back given Annelotte's terrifying newfound reputation.
So whenever there would be a problem, Innilis would be able to get her way at the mention of Annelotte's name. In the end, she managed to come up with a concoction she was most satisfied with across her whole career as an alchemist.
When the concoction was ready, Annelotte made a day on her schedule and made its afternoon free for her to dictate the wishing spell on her.Previous Chapter Next Chapter