Lamir and Kurdak
"Who should I look for? Lamir?"
Kurdak thought he had misheard. His eyes widened like a bull's as he asked the soldier to repeat it.
"Yes, Miss Lamir," the guard confirmed, "She left General Manhattan a few days ago and her current whereabouts are unknown. The general said she might've come here."
Kurdak ruffled his thick, black hair and said, "I didn't see her. I just returned from the frontlines, you know. How can she be here?"
"The general is quite certain she has come here," the guard emphasized mechanically.
"Well, she really isn't," Kurdak said with an annoyed sigh.
"Then can you let us do a search?" the soldier asked expressionlessly, "Only then can we report back with a clean conscience."
"What a joke! I'm a commander of a division now, you know. I can't allow you to search my turf without a badge from the top! Forget it!"
"This is General Manhattan's badge."
The soldier wasn't bothered by Kurdak's attitude at all and calmly took out the badge and flashed it.
"Can we please do the search now?"
Kurdak didn't think the soldier would be that direct and couldn't react right away.
Seeing that he wasn't responding, the soldier took it as a yes and waved or his subordinates to begin. While the division had five thousand men and searching the whole camp wouldn't be easy, they knew that Lamir could only be hiding in Kurdak's tent if she was there. They only had to narrow the search to the nearby area.
"Wait! Come back!" Kurdak snapped out of his stupor and yelled, "I let you search and that's where you go?"
"I already showed the general's medal. Do you have a reason you won't permit us to search?" the guard asked with a weird look.
"Nonono!" Kurdak said as his arms flailed. "I can't let you search!"
"I'm not in a good mood!" he said with his voice raised.
Though it didn't quite follow, it was nonetheless true. He had been feeling rather annoyed over the past few days, but he didn't know why either.
Was it Leguna?
It didn't seem like it. Even though the kid did rush headfirst alone to Saron and was beaten up badly, Kurdak heard about this alongside another piece of news.
He was informed that Annelotte went to Fort Kesta alone and saved Leguna, who was at the brink of death, and even defeated the ultimate crimsonflame fiend, Saron and a thousand Stokian troops!
Even Kurdak was shocked to see those kinds of results. Ever since he first met Annelotte, he had a rough idea how terrifying she was. So, he always behaved cautiously around her. It was only after their many experiences together that he slowly grew to trust her and changed his views on her.
But trust was a separate matter. He knew that Annelotte was better than most to a scary degree in most aspects, yet he didn't think it would be to that extent. After hearing about it, he could finally feel relieved. He understood why Annelotte had tried to hide her strength. She didn't do it to avoid suspicion, but rather, out of concern for Leguna's feelings.
The thought of that made him aware to the extent she cared about Leguna and because of that, Kurdak finally agreed with Vera that Annelotte was definitely not a spy for Wayerliss.
So if he wasn't worried about Leguna, what was it then? War? Even though the battles were tough, it was plain for all to see that Stok wouldn't be able to hold on for long.
But what else could bother him then? Could it be Vera?
How could it? She was quite sharp and had most likely reached Melindor by now. Perhaps she was just so busy that she had forgotten to write to him.
What else could it be? Kurdak didn't understand where his worry stemmed from and it bothered him greatly.
"Please don't be unreasonable," the soldier said.
"You're the unreasonable ones!" he said with an accused expression, "You came here out of the blue to demand me to hand someone over and search my turf. My patience is running thin! Lamir isn't here and you're just wasting your time!"
"Boss!" Londo called out from a distance, "There's a lass who insists on seeing you! She calls herself Lamir or something! I can't stop her! Is it your mistress? Ouch! Darn… how dare you hit me, woman?!"
"Hmph! That'll teach you to think twice before speaking!"
Kurdak facepalmed when he heard the woman's sound. It was indeed Lamir.
Darn… I just said she wasn't here, and out she pops. I bet they're intentionally teaming up to frame me…
"Kurdak! Come out to see me! Didn't you promise you'd help me out if I have trouble? I'm here! So are you going to help or not?" she cried, completely unlike the graceful self she showed back then.
"Gosh, why is she acting just like Vera?" Kurdak sighed helplessly and instructed a nearby soldier, "Tell Londo to let her in."
Not long after, Lamir was brought to Kurdak's camp. Unlike before, she looked really haggard. The golden robes' luster faded into a dark yellow and her pretty face was mired with grime. Her dark blonde hair was messy and clumped up from the lack of washing.
"I thought you weren't going to see me," Lamir complained, though she tried her best to control her emotions given the number of people present.
"Why would I?" He smiled bitterly. "Are you doing well?"
"Do I look well to you?" she snapped with a glare.
"Well… not really." He rubbed his nose and smiled. "You must've had it hard, huh? So, did you come to me for anything?"
"Of course! I…"
"This one greets you, Miss Lamir." Before she even began, the soldier there to find Lamir spoke up. "I am the squad leader of the first squad of General Manhattan's personal guard. I have been ordered to bring you back, my lady."
Lamir's expression darkened. She didn't think her grandfather would guess where she was heading so quick and even send his men to arrive earlier than she did. What could she do? She might be forcefully taken back before she even got the chance to explain herself to Kurdak.
"I'm not going back!" she yelled, "I'm not marrying that pathetic loser! What is Grandpa thinking?! How could he do this to me?!"
"I don't know much about that. All I'm ordered to do is to bring you back."
"You're getting married?" Kurdak asked.
"Yeah! So what?"
Kurdak had to admit he felt a little dazed by what she said. He didn't pay attention to her gaze and simply gave a reply.
Her face paled at his response. She wanted to tell Kurdak something, but the soldier stepped forward.
"Miss Lamir, please return with us. The general is really worried about you," he calmly said.
"I'm not going back!" she cried, looking in Kurdak's direction from time to time as if she was begging him to help.
But Kurdak let her down. He seemed to be out of it since a while ago and not notice anything that went on around him.
"The general has said we are to use force if you don't comply. No matter what you do, it'll end up the same. I believe it's best if you cooperate."
"Hmph, what are you going to do if I don't?"
Lamir was behaving just like a general's spoiled granddaughter would.
"Miss Lamir, please don't make our jobs more difficult."
"I'm not going back! You can go back yourselves and marry Kanjiras if you want to! I'm never going back!"
As disappointed as she was at Kurdak's behavior, she stubbornly refused to follow them for the sake of her own happiness.
"Then, we'll have to apologize in advance," the soldier helplessly said.
The soldier was naturally stronger than normal people, given that he was the squad leader. Though he wasn't a high-order warrior, his 13th-stratum impetus was more than enough for him to subdue Lamir. He gave his subordinates a look and they held down the struggling woman in a practised manner.
"Since we found her, we'll be leaving now. Apologies for the intrusion," the soldier said.
Kurdak still didn't react.
The soldier didn't wait for his response and nodded to his subordinates before they left with the struggling Lamir.
Kurdak finally called out just as the soldiers were about to leave the tent.Previous Chapter Next Chapter