Snow started to fall along with the night. During that snowy night, most of the city's residents chose to stay home and keep warm. Melindor was quiet and peaceful just like the ancient and quiet village it used to be.
However, not everyone chose to remain indoors. At the very least, there were two people standing in the yard outside the church. The falling snow slowly painted white spots on their heads.
"Why isn't it done yet?" Leguna said by the entrance, anxiously.
He seemed no different from a husband waiting for his wife's successful delivery of the baby outside the operating theater.
"Don't be so impatient, Big Brother Leguna."
Eirinn tossed a calming divine miracle his way; it was already the fourth one. Even so, Leguna's impatience still skyrocketed to the point he was immune to Pyro's miracles!
"Innie just woke up and is still weak, but she insisted on going through the retrieval right away. It's not even certain Annie can retrieve the memories yet. How can I not be anxious?"
Eirinn stuck her little tongue out and made a cute expression. She felt her fair share of worry, but her usual optimistic personality and the fact that those two girls were largely fine put her at ease. After all, Annelotte had begun her memory recovery process already.
After about ten minutes, the sigil was successfully retrieved by Myr. Innilis walked out of her too, but Myr still had to implant the memories into Annelotte. They remained in the room.
"How was it?" Leguna asked, slightly pained at the sight.
The girl looked completely pale and her legs were shivering. She looked really weak.
"It has been extracted successfully," she said in a low voice.
She could hardly feel happy about the completion of the taxing endeavor. As long as Annelotte's memories were recovered, Leguna's impression of her would undergo a huge change. He would no longer be able to accept her and that was something she definitely didn't want to come to pass.
She didn't know what she would do if it really turned out like that. She didn't even dare to imagine it. Currently, she felt only endless pain and regret. A fifteen-year-old girl like her had to bear that kind of torture.
She closed her eyes with despair and felt light-headed all of a sudden before slumping to the ground.
Leguna darted forwards and held her up.
"Innie, what's wrong? Are you too tired?" Leguna asked anxiously.
Even someone as dense as him was able to tell that Innilies wasn't behaving like usual, but he didn't dare to ask why, lest it be something private he shouldn't inquire about.
So, he held her in a princess carry gently.
Eirinn used a divine miracle to restore some of her vigor and breathed onto her palms to warm them before pressing them on Innilis's cheeks. It was already winter and even with Leguna's impetus and Eirinn's Breath to stave off the cold, a powerless girl like Innilis shouldn't be in the cold weather.
Innilis gradually closed her eyes and breathed Leguna's scent in deeply.
How nice it is to have the one I like, elder sisters that care about me, a family, and everything else…
But I threw them all away… she thought. Even now, she couldn't understand what drove her to poison Annelotte. She couldn't fathom even doing that now. Why would she willingly destroy all she had gained?
She couldn't understand it no matter how she agonized over it. But reality was deeply embedded in her mind. It definitely wasn't a mistake. It was as real as her memories of her own brother and sister being killed. Innilis believed that this incident would plague her nightmares just like the last one and cause her to no longer be able to have a night of restful sleep.
Back then, she had Leguna, Annelotte, Eirinn, and many others by her side. But she had just driven them away by her own hands.
Everyone she could rely on was now gone and the burden of her guilt grew ever so heavy. What would the future hold? She teared up silently again at those thoughts.
Leguna saw that she was crying again and chose to not pry. He hugged her a little tighter, as if he was trying to convey that he would be there to protect her no matter what.
Innilis burrowed her head deeper into his chest and greedily sniffed at the light scent he gave off. Everyone had a unique scent on her body, but only Leguna's could make her so drunk with affection.
I'll consider this my final pleasure, Innilis thought, before the weight of her eyelids became too heavy to bear.
Clack! Someone opened the door after some time.
Innilis was startled awake. The calm in her heart was once more thrown into turmoil Her heart beat rapidly as if she was doing strenuous exercise.
Leguna could feel the sudden change in her mood. He stroked her head and tried to calm her down.
"How did it go?" he asked as he stepped forwards with Eirinn.
Myr's expression was difficult to decipher. It didn't look like disappointment, but it also didn't seem like the joyful expression of relief one would expect from a successful memory recovery. It seemed more like he didn't know how to feel about it.
"It's better if you check it out yourself," Myr said exasperatedly.
Eirinn and Leguna met gazes and entered the room. Annelotte was as expressionless as ever, but she made the first greeting when they entered.
"Eirinn, you're here."
"Are you healed now, Annie?" Leguna stepped forward with Innilis in his arms and a look of joy.
Annelotte looked at the excited Leguna and furrowed her brow unconsciously without answering.
Leguna's smile froze.
"I'm not completely recovered," she said, but she wasn't looking at Leguna; her gaze focused on Eirinn behind him, "I think my diatagi was injured so I couldn't make a complete memory backup. I only have some of my memories. I can only remember your faces and some basic info about you, but not all of it."
"That so…" Leguna said without a look of complete disappointment.
He pointed to Innilis in his arms.
"Can you remember her?"
Innilis shrunk into Leguna's arms.
"Innie," Annelotte said with a smile and a gentle gaze, "She's Jaehart's sister, and my good friend and little sister. I taught her magic theory, right? Innie?"
Innilis poked her little head out.
"Yes, it's me!" Annelotte answered with the thinnest hint of a smile, "How could I forget you?"
Innie could tell her words were sincere, so she breathed a sigh of relief. She struggled for Leguna to put her down.
"Sis Annie!" she shouted as she leapt into the girl's embrace the moment she was put down.
"It's fine now. My memory isn't complete, but I definitely remember a lot about you."
Annelotte felt a little scared when she recalled what had happened a few hours earlier.
Innilis hugged her tightly and constantly mouthed 'I'm sorry' so quietly even Annelotte couldn't hear her.
Seeing Annelotte indulging Innilis, Leguna breathed a sigh of relief. It appeared a good part of her memories had been restored.
"Annie…" he whispered gently as he approached her
The girl spared him only a hateful and annoyed glance, however.
"What do you want?" she asked emotionlessly.
"I… You couldn't have forgotten me, right?"
"Leguna, Leguna Dark Requiem," she answered mechanically.
His mouth cracked into a wide smile, but Annelotte didn't say anything else.
"Is... is that all?!"
"What else do you want?"
"What about our relationship… and all we've experienced together? Don't you remember any of it?"
Panic started colouring the boy's voice as his last words left his mouth.
Annelotte looked at the three and sighed.
"I only have a couple vague memories. But very few are of you. In fact, at best about a quarter of my memories have returned, and they're very select, specifically picked to help me remember important information. I didn't waste space on frivolous and unnecessary stuff. I do have several labels for the various people in my memories stored as well."
The three of them were speechless.
"I labelled Innie as cute, lively, and magic theory genius--" Annelotte omitted the label 'lost her whole family'. "--Eirinn I labelled as kind and gentle--" Her warm eyes froze when the turned to Leguna. "--I labelled you as hated, thick-skinned, peeping Tom, shameless, and frivolous."Previous Chapter Next Chapter