"Hey! Are you alright?"
He was shocked to see her vomit blood so suddenly and thought that someone had attacked them. But a second later, he didn't feel anyone around him. Then what could it have been? Did One take poison? Was the agency's assassination going to kill One in the first place? Was that why she wanted to help him so that she could get back at Stok?
Does that mean she was doing it out of vengeance? It wasn't something he couldn't consider doing. The two empires were at war anyway and avenging One wasn't something he had to go out of his way to do.
One waved to show that it was no big deal. Her blood stained her mask, so she had to remove it.
Leguna was once more dazed at the sight of her face, but it wasn't because of her beauty. She was indeed good looking, but not to the point of Eirinn and Annelotte, but more on par with Innilis.
Instead, he realized that her face looked quite similar to his!
He had always been rather fair looking in the first place. When he was younger, he looked a little androgynous and Vera even made fun of him for it. But his looks did gradually turn more masculine to the point that others would no longer confuse his gender.
But One looked exactly like how he thought a female version of himself would. Her brows were fine and thin and her nose was rather high up. She also had a rather small mouth. The whole composition of the face and her expressions, however, were quite similar to Leguna's own. If she wore the same hairstyle he did, Leguna would think that he was looking into a mirror image.
It was all he could mutter at the sight of her.
"This is the first time in years since I've shown anyone how I look," she sighed, "Worry not. I won't do anything bad with your face."
"Who in the world are you? Why did you help me? Why do you look like me? Why did you spit blood out of nowhere? What is going on?"
One only shook her head at is questions.
One saw that he wouldn't give up if she didn't say anything. "I only helped you because I've always been on your side."
"Are you from the bureau? No, from Moonshadow?" he said, caution written on her face.
"No, I'm on your side and yours alone. I have nothing to do with those organizations. But I can't tell you exactly how I'm related to you. Those are the rules."
Leguna didn't know how to respond.
"The reason I look like you is because I wish it so. I can't tell you how I did it, since those are the rules as well. As for why I spat blood…"
Before she could finish, Leguna continued her sentence for her. "Those are the rules too, right?"
"I can tell you about this, though--" Her patterns had never been within Leguna's ability to grasp. "--That was because I broke the rules."
"Can you tell me what those rules are?" he asked, but later added, "Forget it if you'll get hurt for it."
"I won't. I know some things most shouldn't. That alone is already an infringement upon the rules… or rather, fate itself. But just knowing doesn't warrant any punishment. However, I can't talk about any of it. If I do, some things will change and the consequences of that change will be borne by the changer, in other words, me, alone. So, I bore the consequences of the changes I wrought."
"Oh!… I didn't get any of that."
"It doesn't matter--" One shrugged and healed herself with her divine miracles. "--Remember what I told you. You'll understand them in due time. However, you better hurry up. Time is running short. He… is already halfway there."
The founding war, huh? What in the world happened then? Why isn't Marolyt willing to talk about it and why was One punished for mentioning it?
"I got it."
Even though he was still greatly confused by the topic, he agreed to look into it when he had the time.
One nodded and looked him in the eye. "Be careful while you're in Hocke too. Remember, sometimes, your enemy isn't just Stokians. They might show up near you too."
He glanced at her in surprise. She had said those words in the exact tone he would. What's even surprising was that it didn't feel foreign or eerie to Leguna. It was as if her behavior towards him was the most natural thing in the world.
He furrowed his brow and thought and was disappointed to find that he couldn't recall anything about One. At least, he didn't know anyone from the opposite sex that shared his looks. Was it tied to his childhood? Only the old man who raised him knew the answer to that, but even he was dead.
Whatever. I won't overthink it. He looked at the unconscious girl and prepared to wake her.
"Leave that child to me!" One said, "I'll send her home."
"Are you really that kind-hearted?"
"Just think of it as me being jealous of her. I don't want her to stick by your side any longer," she blurted casually as she approached.
Leguna didn't have any words for that.
One hugged Sasha, then put her on her back. Leguna watched the girl. Even though her eyes were closed, her breathing was fine. Somehow, he didn't seem that nervous any longer. Did he trust her or did she use some kind of calming divine miracle on him?
Leguna couldn't tell, nor did he want to. He took out a sack of coins and stuffed them in Sasha's clothes.
"Don't take them. They're for her," he shot.
"Do I look like a scoundrel to you?"
Despite their similar faces, One's expressions were far more colored and bright, even when she was angry. If it was Leguna, he would appear sneaky instead.
"I just want to follow through with my help," he shrugged, "Consider it my repentance."
"You're not even 20 yet and you've killed so many people. Do you really think you can make up for it?"
"I don't care about the results. I'll do it all the same. Otherwise, I'd feel worse and would no longer be who they think I am."
"Actually, I've considered assassinating the three women by your side," she said out of nowhere.
"I'll hunt you to the ends of the world if you do," he said, his voice suddenly frigid.
A subtle, dejected look flashed across One's eyes.
"I suspected as much, so I didn't kill them."
"What?" One asked, glancing at him over her shoulder.
"Are you my older sister?" Leguna asked after a long moment's hesitation.
She did betray her nation for him after just one meeting, after all. They shared a strong resemblance as well. He couldn't think of anything else that could explain that. Perhaps the two had been separated and one ended up in Melindor and the other in the millennium capital. In time, One remembered Leguna because she was older while he forgot all about her.
His imagination flared as he filled in the holes of his dramatic story. He was already preparing himself mentally to accept a sudden new sister like her.
But she merely laughed.
"Of course not."
Leguna didn't think she was lying. Either she was telling the truth or she had better acting skills than even the best of performers, and he highly doubted the latter was the case.
"Alright then. Take care," he said, dejected, "Take care of Sasha for me if you can. I owe her at least that much."
She left without turning back.
He didn't see her face as she left, and so didn't see the tears streaming down her face. The mysterious and sneaky woman thus wept silently as she vanished.
He's… really completely gone. Should I still try to chase after him? One thought. But when she recalled the silhouette that had once been, she mustered her energy and continued on.
Even you are no longer him, even if you're just a shadow of what you once were, I'll protect you. It's all I have left to preserve any evidence that you'd once been.Previous Chapter Next Chapter