Innilis's face lost color in an instant. She widened her eyes with terror and muttered, "No… It's all me… It shouldn't be like this… It's all my fault…"
"Innie--" Leguna was quite surprised to see her act like this. He hugged her tightly. "--It's fine. Everything will be alright, both you and Annie. Don't worry, it's not your fault."
"No…" Innilis said with a pained look, "It's all my fault…"
"Don't blame everything on yourself," he said as he held her shoulders, "It's all the dastardly assailant's fault. It has nothing to do with you. You weren't able to protect yourself ro Annie and that couldn't be helped."
When she heard that, it only just occurred to her that nobody knew that the 'dastardly assailant' was her because Annelotte had lost her memories. If she continued to hide it…
"Innie," Leguna said in the gentlest tone he could muster, "Annie has lost her memories. You were with her there to the end, right?"
Innilis kept silent for a moment before admitting it. "That's right."
"Then--" A fire of hope was ignited in him, "--Did Annie tell you anything? Such as what we should do if something happens to her… Given how smart she is, she definitely had something prepared. Think about it."
Annelotte was quite speechless. The person Leguna was talking about didn't feel like it had anything to do with her. Even though the person was herself… No, a better way to put it was: was she the same person with the same brain and body, but without the memories?
At least, she felt like the Annelotte Leguna was talking about was a complete stranger.
The old me sounds quite amazing, she thought.
Innilis gave it some thought and shook her head. "I don't really remember…"
"Is that so--" The despair was almost leaking out of his eyes. He took a few steps backwards and tried to smile encouragingly. "--Innie, you must still be weak from the accident. It's okay… Just take your time. Tell me if you think about anything."
Innilis felt pain in her heart at the sight of his expression. She knew everything. Annelotte had said that she made a backup of her memories and gave it to her. It was inside her mind. Even though she couldn't see or use it, she could feel the sigil inside. However, she didn't choose to give it to Leguna.
Because, if she did, Annelotte's memories would be restored and there was a good chance she would reveal the truth. If that came to pass, she would no longer be able to stay by Leguna's side. She would rather die than let that happen.
Would she really sit by as Leguna grieved and suffered for Annelotte's lost memories? The two of them were the ones who watched after her the most. They had defended her with their lives! How could she be so cruel and selfish?
Even if she could harm everyone else, the one person she didn't with pain on was Leguna. Seeing him in pain hurt more than having to part with him!
She then turned to Annelotte and saw the subtle bruises and wounds on her. She turned back to herself and saw that she was fine.
The thought of that caused tears to flow from her eyes. She recalled the moment right before Annelotte caused the enthymemic storm when she lost control of the diatagi. The spell she dictated in utter agony wasn't to kill Innilis, who poisoned her. Instead, it was to protect her.
It was an energy barrier.
Even though Annelotte knew the one who poisoned her was Innilis and that she could die because of that, she didn't even blame her. Even at the last moment, she didn't hesitate and chose to protect her and went through such lengths and suffered that much pain to do so to try to make sure she was just this slightly more protected against the damage.
Sis Annie, don't do this! I'm not worth it! Why did you protect me even though I did this to you? Why didn't you blame me at all? It's not worth it! Do you know that the scar on your face made you less pretty than before? You look worse than even me now and don't have any memories! How are you going to compete with me for Big Bro Leguna? Why did you do so much for me?
While the scars could gradually be completely removed using healing divine miracles, Annelotte did look uglier than she used to be. There was a huge bruise on her left cheek and dark red bruise near her eyelids. Even her beautiful icy blue hair lost its luster and style.
She truly did look uglier compared to her previous self, the glacial empress that looked beautiful from any angle. Yet, Innilis teared up the moment he saw her like that. Her tears flowed out like water from a broken dam.
Unlike her bawling from before, she only teared up without making a sound. She didn't even sniffle.
Leguna thought Innilis was shocked after she suddenly cried. He assumed she was emotionally unstable and asked Eirinn to use a few calming divine miracles on her.
"There's no need," Innilis refused with her hand raised.
She stared Leguna in the eye.
"I remember now. Sis Annie told me something."
"What ?" Leguna said, energized.
Innilis felt a slight hint of disappointment at how easily Leguna's mood swayed when it came to Annelotte. But Sis Annie deserves that much! Compared to a venomous woman like me, Sis Annie is a better fit for Big Bro. This is what she deserves! As for me…
The girl pointed at her own temple.
"Sis Annie made a memory backup and stored the sigil in my mind. I can feel it."
"Really?!--" Leguna was so elated he almost jumped. The turned to Myr, "Grandmaster Myr--" He stopped himself, shook his head, suppressed his emotions, and turned to Innilis. "--Since we know how to solve this, let's not rush. Innie just woke up, after all, so she must be feeling quite weak. We can afford to wait a day or two. Grandmaster Myr, the sigil won't disappear all of a sudden, right?"
"It won't. Even the weakest kind can last for half a year," Myr said with a smile.
"No!" Innilis shouted.
She raised he heard again, face full of tears.
"I said no, it must be now!"
"Because I'm afraid I'll regret it! I don't want to turn into that again…" she whispered.
"What's going on, Innie?" Eirinn asked.
She used a simple divine miracle to analyze her and found nothing amiss.
"If there's anything troubling you, tell me. I can help. You can also tell me if you have anything you want to share."
"Don't treat me like this!" Innilis shrieked and slapped Eirinn's hand away.
Eirinn was quite startled and pulled her hand back awkwardly. Her beautiful cheeks flushed instantly.
Seeing Eirinn's reaction, Innilis knew she had gone too far. She tried to calm down.
"I'm sorry, Sis Eirinn, I wasn't…"
"It's alright," Eirinn smiled gently.
Innilis quieted down for a moment.
"Let's restore Sis Annie's memories now," she said with all the courage she could muster, "I have one condition."
"Condition? You want me to take you out for some fun? No problem! After this, I can accompany you for a whole week!"
"No…. My condition is you must forget me. I won't ask you to… But at least, don't forget me."
Leguna was utterly confused. He turned back and secretly asked Myr.
"Grandmaster, the sigil couldn't threaten Innie's life, could it?"
"How could it?! I've never heard of such a side effect."
"No exceptions? Why does it sound like she's making her final farewell?"
"Definitely not!" Myr declared, "She'll feel a little weak at worst. It definitely won't harm her. Don't worry! I'll just check the sigil before retrieving it. I'll make sure no harm comes to her."
"Good. I'm counting on you."
"I promise, Innie," Leguna said as he turned back to her.
He didn't know what she meant with her demand, but he decided to go with her decision.Previous Chapter Next Chapter