The Troubled Innilis
Annelotte accompanied Leguna to his new quarters quietly. Whether intentional or not, he chose to live close to Galestorm Manor.
Annelotte knew she no longer had a reason to walk with him when they arrived. It was a habit she had developed even before she'd lost her memory. If there was something that spurred internal contradiction, she would find a reason to justify something she was usually too embarrassed to do.
The excuses weren't for Leguna, they were for herself. Now, however, she couldn't find an excuse to continue staying by his side.
They were going the same way, but she took a small detour. Her reason had been used up, so there was no more tagging along to be done without confronting that which she explicitly avoided.
Leguna would have been happy to discover this any other time, but now… He couldn't care less. In fact, he could barely even think. He'd kept it together in front of Xeno, but now he had nothing left. He was just a husk. He hadn't even noticed Annelotte accompanying him.
"I will be returning now," Annelotte said.
Leguna stopped out of instinct. He couldn't even process what she was saying.
Annelotte wasn't mad, however. She looked at him, standing in front of his gate like a log, then knocked on the gate for him.
"Big Bro, you're back!" Innilis shouted as she yanked the gate open.
She had probably been waiting right by the entrance for some time; Annelotte's knuckled had barely tapped the wood before she yanked the gate open.
"Innie?" Annelotte felt a little pained at Innilis's chilled red face.
She wiped off the snow on her head and absorbed some of the cold on her.
"Why have you been waiting by the entrance?"
Innilis didn't feel the slightest bit uncomfortable from the cold. Her large, green eyes glowed with a light of excitement as she waved both her hands in the air.
"I have something good I want you to see!"
Leguna had yet to move. He just stared into the infinite distance.
"Do you want to know what it is, Big Bro?" Innilis asked, apparently quite eager to show whatever it was off.
She hoped Leguna would go with her flow and ask her what it was.
She had even thought about how to present it and imagined how he would praise her and how happy she would be.
She had prepared for the whole afternoon and waited in the snow. She couldn't wait to carry out her plan.
However, reality was a cruel mistress. Things didn't go the way she had hoped at all. In fact, it went wrong in every conceivable way.
Leguna didn't say a single word. She grabbed Innilis and pulled her aside before continuing his way forward. Before he left, Innilis seemed to hear Leguna mutter hatefully, "You're a traitor too."
Her expression froze in an instant as she paled at the speed the naked eye could see. Tears began to gather in her eyes.
"Stop!" Annelotte said as she quickly gave the shaking Innilis a hug. She was truly mad this time.
"Don't disturb me!" Leguna said in an annoying tone, not turning back at all.
"What did you say?!" Her rage built up even more. Though she knew that he was devastated and depressed, how could he vent his anger on Innilis, who had nothing to do with this? Some things have to be nipped at the bud and not be allowed to fester!
Her eyes shone with a cold glow. She was ready to teach the insensitive fellow a harsh lesson. So what if it would worsen their relationship? It wasn't like she cared about him or anything!
But Leguna seemed to have realized his mistake as well. He took a deep breath and calmed down, and begged, "Please leave me alone for now. I really need this…"
He then ignored them and continued walking inside.
"Sis Annie…" Innilis cowered in her embrace like a little kitten and struggled to wipe away her tears. "Big Bro… Has he not forgiven me yet? Is he still angry at me? Sniff… I'm sorry, Sis… I really did you wrong… I'm sorry to everyone… waaah… I won't do it again… Please hit me… maybe that'll ease your anger a little… sniff…"
"Alright, stop crying…" Annelotte said as she patted her on the back and spoke in a gentle, motherly tone, "It's not your fault. I've forgiven you already. This fellow is like this because of something else that happened today. Don't cry. Look, your face is a mess now."
"W-w… what happ--ppened today… to make him s-sad? Sniffle…"
Annelotte's eyes darkened. She stroked her head gently and sighed. "Let's talk about this some other time. Now that he's become like that, you have to be strong for him!"
"I will!" Innilis seemed to be empowered by what she had said. She nodded and wiped her tears off before opening her eyes wide to stop them from flowing.
Annelotte found her try-hardy face to be rather funny. "What about Eirinn? Where is she?"
"Sis Eirinn's staying in the church today. She sent someone to tell us that she ran into someone who hurt their neck from falling off a horse, so she has to treat that person urgently."
"Then…" She hesitated for a moment, before gingerly asking, "Innie, you know that my memory isn't complete right now. I need to ask you something, but I'm not trying to blame you for anything. I just want to know something."
"Sis Annie, ask away," she said with a curious blink.
Annelotte wracked her brain over how she should phrase it. "I want to know if… if you know whether… Eirinn has ever done anything that might… come off as betrayal for Leguna. I'm not suggesting anything, but it's important."
"I understand." Her eyes darkened for a moment, but she still forced a smile. Betrayal was a betrayal. Even though Innilis had been used and corrupted, it was still something she did. It was a stain that couldn't be washed off. She could only accept it tacitly and move on.
Innilis cleared her mind of those pointless thoughts. She pondered for a moment and said, "No, Sis Eirinn has never done anything that might wrong Big Bro Leguna. But… aren't you the same, Sis Annie?"
"I…" She shook her head. "It's not like I have much to do with him anyway. Also, he doesn't really trust me now."
Innilis's face paled even more. She didn't know what had happened to make Leguna doubt even Annelotte.
"Alright then. I'll look for Eirinn tomorrow. She's the best at consoling him," Annelotte decided, basing her decision off the labels she attributed to her, such as 'gentle', 'understanding, 'good at consolation' and so on.
"Alright…" Innilis wasn't sure what exactly happened, but she knew Annelotte's decision couldn't be wrong. She had always been right about things.
"Let's let him calm down for today. We'll come again tomorrow. You should sleep at my place tonight, Innie," she said. She felt rather annoyed that she had to worry about his matters even though she didn't have much to do with him.
"Sis Annie…" Innilis couldn't imagine how Annelotte thought. She was focused on only one thing. "Even though I did all that, you still trust me and let me--"
Before she finished, Annelotte smiled and said, "Stupid girl, didn't I say so already? I've never blamed you for it and has always trusted you."
"Sis Annie.." Innilis puffed her mouth again, trying to suppress her emotions, but broke out crying in the end.
Annelotte calmed her down some before taking her to Galestorm Manor.
"By the way… What did you want to show us?"
"Umm… I think we better wait for Big Bro to recover first before seeing it together!"
"Alright, I'm looking forward to it."Previous Chapter Next Chapter