Yet Another Stokian
"Could it be him?" Leguna asked.
"In terms of ability, Grandmaster Myr is the most probable one," Annelotte said with a furrowed brow, "Even though the conference spell is a simple one, Innie was researching magic cannons for the past month as you've said. Few people in Melindor apart from Myr would be able to use spells so near me without me detecting the mana waves."
"What is it?"
"Actually--" Innilis looked Eirinn in the eye for a moment. "--Actually, that voice played a part in something else. Most of my breakthroughs in herbalism came from it."
"From it?" the three asked in unison.
"Some of the thoughts I have on herbalism occur to me in dreams," Innilis explained, "It explained that it created them."
"Mental Guidance, huh?" If that person could use Mental Guidance, then it was even more probable it could be Myr. Even so, she shook her head. "I still don't think it's Grandmaster Myr."
"What's your reasoning?" Leguna asked.
He didn't think Myr was the culprit either, but he wanted to know why Annelotte thought so.
"He doesn't have a motive. Why would he harm me?"
Myr didn't have any motive for doing so. It was impossible for him to be jealous of Annelotte's talent. Myr's personality was quite well known and if he had been some close-minded, salty fellow, the court magi association of Hocke wouldn't have developed to that point. Leguna didn't think someone could hide who they were for decades.
Not to mention, Myr admired Annelotte for her talent rather than being jealous of it. He had offered more than once to take Annelotte as his disciple, only to be refused by her politely. Despite that, he had shown her much care. The reason she was able to finish her magic cannon research project so quickly was partly due to Myr's secret aid according to the information Leguna collected.
If not for Myr's generous contribution of the association's best alchemists to her, there was no way Annelotte could've finished her work so quickly.
Additionally, Myr was going around busily trying to help after she got hurt and collapsed as well. If he truly was the mastermind, there wouldn't be a need for him to be so anxious to help. He could simply watch from the sidelines or let Annelotte remain unconscious for good.
For those reasons, the two didn't think Myr would do it despite fitting the bill in the ability department.
But to be safe, Leguna believed it best to talk to Marolyt privately after this discussion. Even though the swordsaint seemed to not get along well with Myr, in fact, he was his comrade from the days of the founding war. If anyone was to be familiar with Myr, Marolyt was no doubt one of them.
"If it isn't Myr, who else could it be?"
Leguna seemed to be asking Annelotte as well as mumbling to himself at the same time.
"Then it depends on what happened in the beginning. There are only two explanations for this. First, the power of that person from Seatide is far greater than what I understand to be reasonably possible, so he can achieve seemingly impossible feats. The second possibility is that there's another magus not inferior to Myr in Melindor and everything was because of him."
"You can't leave out divine miracles as a possibility either," Leguna said, "It could be a Stokian priest for all we know."
"I'll get my teacher to pay attention to that," Eirinn offered.
She knew she was far too inferior in that department, so getting Madin to help with the investigation was the better choice.
"I will think about other methods myself to account for the magus side," Annelotte said.
"Then leave the rest to me--" Leguna scratched his head frustratedly. "--Even though we've been talking for so long, we have yet to get any results."
"I'll pay attention, too. If the voice comes again, I'll tell you immediately," Innilis said sincerely.
"Alright, Innie--" Leguna couldn't bear to see her acting so sheepishly. He stroked her long, blonde hair with a smile. "--Don't blame everything on yourself. You were swayed by that voice, and I failed to notice the chain in you. You had no fault in this. I don't blame you, and neither does Annie, so lighten up."
Her eyes reddened again, but she resisted the urge to cry.
"Alright, this is it for now."
Annelotte prepared to leave.
"Annie…" Leguna called.
Annelotte felt a shiver of disgust run through her at his intimate call.
"Where are you going to stay?"
"In Galestorm Manor, of course, or maybe in the academy," she said as if stating the obvious.
"You aren't… coming back to my place?" Leguna asked pleadingly.
Annelotte blinked and her voice chilled.
"I think you've misunderstood something."
"I came here to get your help with this because you're the head of the bureau. I need your connections and resources to solve this, that's all. This has nothing to do with you yourself. Understand?"
Leguna's heart shuddered.
"If that's all, I'm leaving."
Annelotte felt queasy when she saw the brat look like a wounded puppy, so she turned to leave.
"Are…" Leguna began, his voice hoarse, "Are you going to pull away from me just like that? Does everything we've been through mean nothing to you? I… I can't accept something as stupid as a bottle of poison ending us."
"I don't have the foggiest clue what our relationship used to be, but I don't want any of that now. I have enough complications in my life, I don't need another right now."
Her face was a complex mixture of inexplicable sorrow at what she was saying, and an almost reflexive desire to get away from the young man she deeply despised as quickly as possible. So that's what she did.
"Don't worry, Big Brother. Sis just isn't accustomed to you yet. The two of you will be back to normal in no time," Eirinn consoled.
"Don't worry, I'm fine," Leguna said, forcing a smile.
"It can't be Myr."
During the afternoon, Leguna went to talk to Marolyt about the matter. Even though he was greatly against letting Myr save his daughter, Marolyt gave his response to Leguna with utter certainty.
"Why? Didn't you suspect him back then?"
"He did help me out a lot after that," Marolyt shrugged, "Also, I wasn't suspicious of him, of Hocke. I wouldn't have stopped him if he came alone, but back then, he came with a large escort of magi from the court magi association. I chased them away because I couldn't let them enter.
"That means, you don't suspect Grandmaster Myr at all?"
"I've never suspected him. Even though he has quite the temper, despite his short stature, I do admire his abilities. He's really stubborn and wouldn't agree to anything he doesn't agree with. Just like you said, he adores Annie and would never let even Hocke harm her."
"So even the empire can't order him around?"
Leguna had thought that Myr had to be loyal to the imperial family given that he was the chairman of the court magi association. Why did Marolyt seem to suggest otherwise?
"Kid--" Marolyt gave Leguna's head a knock. "--You don't seem to be that familiar with the empire."
"Pops, just tell me," he said humbly, begging to be expounded to.
"Well, look--" Marolyt stretched two of his fingers out. "--Hocke had been founded a short 20 years ago. Do you think the empire can really raise so many organizations loyal to it in that short time? Just take the old Duke Mellin for example. He had a great background, but he wasn't a king back then, so he didn't have many organizations serving him. That was why the military intelligence bureau and court magi association were basically formed with the help of outside forces.
"Even though the court magi association looks to be subordinate to the imperial family, they are in fact magi employed by the empire. They aren't really talent cultivated by the empire itself and wouldn't share a singular goal with the empire. Additionally, do you think getting magi with their lofty status to serve as the empire's loyal dogs is possible?" At that point, Marolyt paused for a moment, before saying, "Also, Myr's actually a Stokian."Previous Chapter Next Chapter