"Don't think that I'll thank you just for helping me today," Annelotte immediately said after she stepped out of the room.
"I don't need any thanks." He shrugged as if he predicted she would do that. "I was only trying to help, not trying to earn your gratitude."
"You!" Annelotte didn't think her blow would land on air. How thick was Leguna's skin?
"Alright, Annie, you don't have to admit or deny anything. Just follow your heart. I'll be more than happy if you act like your original self."
She fell silent and felt rather moved by what he said. But when she thought deeper into the phrase 'like your original self', it occurred to her that he wanted her to be as intimate as they used to be! How shameless!
Leguna had wanted to leave with her, but she overthought the meaning of what he said. She barely made it out of the palace with him before refusing to board the same carriage he did.
"Come on, it's not like we didn't share carriages together in the past. Why not now?" Leguna said, exasperated.
"Mention it again and I'll tear apart your carriage!" she said with a harsh glare. She didn't seem to be lying.
"Alright, fine." He raised both hands and surrendered with a bitter smile. "Do whatever you like. Be careful on the way back."
"I don't need your concern!" she snapped as she turned her head back angrily. But just as she was about to leave, an agent of the bureau appeared out of nowhere and ran to Leguna. "Sir, there's a letter here addressed to Miss Annelotte and you."
"Oh?" He almost wanted to praise the agent for being so timely. Waving to her, he said, "Annie, come here! There's a letter for us!"
She frowned but stomped over angrily, anyway. Leguna opened the letter and saw the messy handwriting. He couldn't help it and exclaimed, "It's boss! He wrote us a letter!"
Annelotte searched her memories and recalled it was someone called 'Kurdak'.
She retained quite a lot of memories of that burly man. To him, she ascribed labels like having a strong sense of justice, easygoing, attentive to detail, loves Vera and has an amazing background.
Even though she could more or less find memories relating to those labels, the last label, having an amazing background, rang no bells.
She vaguely remembered reading about a file on Kurdak by Moonshadow, but she didn't have it backed up, probably because it wasn't relevant to Leguna or herself.
Wait, why would Leguna's relevance even matter?
She cleared such thoughts out of her mind. "What did Kurdak say?"
"Looks like you really did forget lots of things!" he exclaimed.
He recalled she called Kurdak boss just like he did.
"So what? Answer my question!"
She raised her voice in frustration.
He pulled his head back fearfully. Even though Annelotte had lost her memories, her power and domineering stature hadn't faded in the slightest. No matter what, he still wouldn't dare piss her off. It was best to go along with what she wanted!
It wasn't like he was afraid of women or anything. A gentleman didn't pick fights with women, that was all there was to it.
He browsed the letter and frowned.
"What in the world is happening?"
She couldn't wait any longer and chilled him with Glacial Domain.
He gasped coldly.
"Boss says he is coming back to Melindor soon and hopes to meet us."
"Isn't that normal?"
"The problem is when and where he asked to meet--" He handed the letter to her. "--Boss says he will arrive tomorrow night. He wants us to go to the small lake outside the west gate… only the two of us."
Annelotte didn't say anything. She eyed Leguna before turning to read the letter.
Leguna wasn't kidding. Kurdak did ask to meet under such circumstances. She scrutinized it and found that the letter was unambiguous.
"Are you sure the one who wrote this was Kur-- boss?" she said as she handed the letter back. She wasn't confident she could make the correct call, given what she had forgotten.
He gave it another read and nodded. "Yes, it can be no other person but him. From the tone, choice of words and other tics, everything screams boss. More importantly…"
"What's more important?"
He smiled awkwardly. "Nobody apart from him has worse handwriting than I do."
Annelotte was speechless. She adjusted her emotions and said, "Then it's even weirder. Why would he be in such a rush to meet us, during midnight no less? The location is also suspicious. Why would there be a need to meet at the outskirts for a chat?"
Leguna gave it more thought and added, "Also, boss only mentioned Sis Vera in passing. That's really odd."
"What in the world is going on?"
Annelotte began to wonder. The current her felt less emotionally invested in Kurdak and analyzed the matter from multiple less biased perspectives.
"Perhaps… he has some secret to tell us?" Annelotte said with a glint in her eye.
"Who knows?" he shrugged, "Since it's him, he definitely won't harm us. We'll just go out there in the cold night. I'm sure he has his reasons for doing so. I'll go. What about you, Annie?"
Though she had wanted to refuse at first, she changed her mind just before she said so. She nodded, despite not understanding her change of heart. "I'll go too."
"Great, that settles it then."
The next day, Leguna worked through his tasks more quickly and managed to get two hours of extra time.
It's about time I left, huh? he thought when he looked at the magic clock beside him.
His gaze swept through the work on his desk. After making sure everything was in order, he left the bureau.
Xeno was still slaving away inside. Even though most of the unimportant documents were sorted out before being handed to the top administration of the bureau, some reports marked urgent wouldn't be looked through by the grunts. They would be sent directly to the top.
Nowadays, Annelotte no longer helped Leguna with his bureau work due to her preoccupation with the academy and Gerd had been kicked out for not knowing his place. Arikos didn't even need to be brought up; he was the source of much of Leguna's recent troubles.
So, only Xeno remained as the head's assistant. The workload was so much that he could barely take a breather. Yet, he never uttered a complaint and worked away like a machine without feelings.
While what kind of person he was back then wasn't known, Xeno adopted a really low-key lifestyle since coming to Hocke. He hadn't changed even after being promoted to the head's assistant position and acting head for a time. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that few people in the bureau knew what kind of person that slender, young man was.
If those in the bureau didn't know him well, those outside it would know even less. Few even knew he existed, to say no more of his position or motivations.
He took a quiet sip of coffee; the long work hours had worn him out considerably and he needed some stimulant to stay awake.
At that moment, a grey envelope was sent to him from the magic platform. The platform was used to deliver documents automatically; it was an innovation by the court magi association. As it was powered by mana crystals, Xeno only had to switch it out when it was running low.
"An urgent report?" Xeno snapped wider awake. Only urgent reports were sent using the magic platform. Given the grey envelope, he knew that it contained sensitive personal information.
Leguna had instructed to be kept informed about those he cared about and the grey envelope was for precisely that purpose.
Xeno opened the letter and there was a single sentence inside it. 'Independent Division Commander Kurdak is AWOL, current whereabouts unknown!'
Xeno's expression changed immediately. He rushed out of his office and asked a guard, "Where's the head?!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter