The Empress' Fall
"Noooo!" Innilis cried as she leapt for the vial in Annelotte's hand and knocked it over.
Annelotte was shocked and looked puzzledly at Innilis. Even someone as sharp-witted as she was, couldn't figure out what was going on.
After Innilis knocked the vial away, she leapt onto Annelotte like a madwoman and pressed her mouth as she mumbled, "Don't drink! You can't drink it! It's poisoned! Sis Annie! Noo! I beg you, spit it out! Please!"
Annelotte's expression changed immediately after hearing it was poison and reacted quickly. She channeled her magic to force out the concoction.
She spat out only a small mouthful and the look on her face turned grave.
It was far too easily absorbed! It had been less than five seconds since she ingested it, yet most of it was already absorbed.
"What kind of poison is it?" Annelotte asked.
"I don't know either…" Innilis was so terrified that she was in a daze. She mumbled, "I didn't come up with the recipe… but I made it… I think it has something to do with diatagi herbs…"
"Diatagi…" Her brow furrowed at the realization. The diatagi was connected directly to the brain. A fighter relied on his circulation nodes to channel impetus and the diatagi was the magi's version of that. It released enthymema to allow for control of the flow of mana. While impetus circulation nodes resided in the various parts of the body, the diatagi was located inside the brain.
The thought of that caused her to hurry up and prepare. Even though she didn't know what exactly the effects of the toxin did, she could still put up some defenses against it if she knew what it targeted. For instance, she could stabilize the diatagi or set up certain defenses for her brain.
When the pain spread to her head, she winced. Her defenses were already working to some degree. Otherwise, it would hurt her far more.
As she laid down one defense after another, she considered what she missed out.
Missed out… forgot… memories!
It just occurred to her that one's memories might be affected if one's diatagi was injured. Thankfully, she did know some spells to back some of them up. Enduring the pain, she began to make a backup.
Innilis paced around the room helplessly. Leguna was currently away from Melindor and Eirinn was staying in the church for most of the day. She had nobody to rely on at all!
"Kuuuaaaaah!" Annelotte finally cried, unable to endure the pain. She felt like her head was about to crack open and wasn't able to maintain her calm. Hugging her head with both hands, she rolled about in her bed.
"Sis Annie!" Shocked, Innilis went to her bed, but she didn't know what she should do.
"Get out of here, now!" Annelotte practically shrieked. She knew that she was losing hold of her diatagi. The moment the damage set in, the enthymema storm that was unleashed was enough to reduce a normal person to a blank-minded idiot.
It was quite possible for Innilis to be wrapped out in the enthymema storm, so Annelotte hurried her to leave. Even though she didn't know the reason Innilis poisoned her, even though she had tried to kill her, Annelotte was still trying to make sure she was safe. She didn't know whether she truly cared more about Innilis than she thought or whether she didn't want Leguna to lose two people he cared about at once.
"No!" Innilis stubbornly said. She was already feeling the first waves of the enthymema and was fully aware of the consequences of an enthymema storm of a 17th-stratum magus. But she wasn't willing to leave either way since it was her fault to begin with.
If Annelotte managed to survive this, Innilis decided she would apologize sincerely and take any punishment. She wouldn't have any complaints even if she ended up killed. It was her fault for having an inferiority complex and succumbing to her jealousy.
But if she didn't survive… Innilis would follow her, even to the depths of hell. That would be her penance!
"Leave! Remember, I've backed up my memories! They're in this sigil!" Annelotte pushed her away to the ground roughly and sent a beam into the middle of Innilis's brows before it gradually disappeared
She knew that she didn't have much time left and only backed up a part of her memories. But the pain was now unbearable. There was nothing she could do about it. She had used the last vestiges of her will to beam the sigil to Innilis.
The girl sat back up, but she wasn't willing to leave. Instead, she approached Annelotte again.
"It's all my fault! I want to bear this with you!" she said as she sobbed.
"Why don't you listen?!" She was getting ever more anxious. Tried as she may, she wasn't able to control her diatagi. The effects of the toxin put her in a state akin to a balloon constantly being inflated and deflated. She could feel her diatagi being stretched to its limits. It was possible the next inflation could finally crumble it.
"Leave, nowaaaAAAAAHHHH!" she shrieked, unable to endure it.
'Fall of the Empress? Glacial Empress Magic Goes Berserk!' was the headline in Melindor Daily the next day. Apart from that publication, Northern Winds and Hocke Weekly also published what happened last night.
To attract more readers, the heartless publications intentionally used odd and exaggerated headlines, such as 'Darned the Stokians! Imperial Sapphire Cracks!', 'Fallen From Inner Strife? The Answers to the Mysteries of the Empress's Fall!', and 'Infighting Between Geniuses -- Dark Requiem's Plot'. Apart from them, some more ridiculous ones were in the same vein as 'Rest in Peace, Goddess'.
By the time Leguna was near Melindor, word of Annelotte's death had spread far and wide. Some sighed at all the unrealised potential while others cursed. Some even cried.
The one most worried about Annelotte was no doubt Leguna. It was a miracle he didn't go insane from the headlines. He knew Annelotte hadn't died yet thanks to his agents. Innilis and Annelotte had fallen unconscious. The former was heavily injured while the latter seemed to have suffered some kind of enthymemic shock.
Leguna rushed back with a heavy heart. He couldn't be bothered with the media's comments. Whether they claimed she was dead or he poisoned her didn't matter. All he wanted to do was to get back to her side.
When he needed her, she showed up without hesitation and offered all the help she could. Now, it was his turn. He wouldn't hesitate to stay by her side either.
The first reaction of the guards of Melindor when they saw a distant figure radiating bloodlust was to check him out first. When Leguna neared, the guard felt that the bloodlust was far too heavy and opted to stay silent for the sake of his life.
"Sir, please come with me." Xeno had long had eyes outside of the city to notify him when Leguna was near so that he could make it there in time to welcome him back.
When he saw Leguna's expression, he didn't say a single word. He cut to the chase and skipped the greeting to take him to the church where Annelotte currently was. He knew Leguna couldn't be bothered with any pleasantries and the slightest mistake of his could get him killed.
Xeno understood Leguna's personality far too well. He explained Annelotte and Innilis's situation as they walked on. He only gave a brief summary without making any judgments, knowing that Leguna would come to his own conclusion.
"So, this is definitely not the work of Stok?" Leguna asked after a moment.
"That's what we inferred as well. There isn't a trace of Stokian operations here." Xeno felt a little odd hearing the word 'Stokian', as he technically was one too.
"You said their lives aren't in danger? Then why are the newspapers saying Annie's at the brink of death?"
"The commotion was too big," Xeno explained, "That kind of explosion was even stronger than magic cannons'. Buildings all over were flattened and tens of unfortunate passers-by were injured. It was a miracle that Miss Annelotte and Miss Innilis were able to survive."
"I don't care about the deaths of others as long as those two are fine," he said with a relieved breath. "Eirinn's taking care of them, right?"
"Affirmative. Miss Eirinn and her teacher, Reverend Madin, have been praying to Pyro for divine miracles day in and out. It's thanks to them that the two's conditions managed to stabilize." Running as they talked was an easy feat for two high-order assassins. It didn't take long for them to reach the church.Previous Chapter Next Chapter