"Go to the magic academy?" Innilis asked blankly.
Annelotte nodded. "Yes. Since you now have decent magic talent, I can recruit you into the academy without problems. You can even join the top class."
"It sounds like you were planning on getting her in even if she didn't have talent, right?" Leguna said, picking up on the implications.
"So what?" Annelotte said without a change in expression, "I'm the principal, so I can do whatever I want for Innie. I don't care how others perceive me!"
"You haven't changed a bit in that regard," Leguna said with a joyful nod. That was how she had been after all.
She wasn't a just, bright person, but neither was she selfish or thick-skinned. She did what she wanted without any consideration for ethics or the law and had never cared about what others thought. The only motivation for her actions come from within herself. If she believed something was necessary, she would stop at nothing to achieve it.
For instance, she didn't hesitate to receive the two divine items, Flame-charged and Bluestar of the Frozen Sea from Geoffrey and refused to have dinner with him.
In some sense, she had inherited aspects of Marolyt's personality well. The father and daughter pair did everything without considering the opinions of others, only their own. However, Marolyt's mind was a little off, so he gained the reputation of a madman while Annelotte became the publicly praised cold and proud glacial empress.
Nevertheless, Leguna was thankful that those two didn't have any ill intent. It was dangerous enough that they were untethered as they were and possessed great power. If they had dangerous thoughts… Leguna was afraid Annelotte would become a female version of Saron, which was probably even more terrifying!
"It's none of your business whether I change or not!" Even though Annelotte didn't care about most people's thoughts, there were still some exceptions.
"Alright, fine," Leguna said in a tone of an elder brother patiently dealing with a little girl.
He then jumped from the chill Annelotte sent his way.
Annelotte acted as if nothing had happened and asked Innilis, "So, do you want to go?"
Innilis took in a deep breath and loudly cheered, "I want to! Of course! I want to learn magic in the best class in Hocke and become the best student!"
"Good, so long as you're willing. Just leave this to me."
"Thanks, Sis Annie!"
She leaped into Annelotte's embrace joyfully.
Annelotte stroked Innilis's head nonstop as she hugged her before turning to Eirinn.
"Eirinn, I have something to ask of you as well," Annelotte said. Leguna felt a little ominous about it.
"What is it, Sis Annie?"
"Well…" She glanced at the nervous Leguna and said, "The magic academy also has a medic course. Since magic experiments can become quite dangerous, injuries are almost inevitable. So, I would like you to be the medic instructor and healer of the school. Even though the shrine has many priests and priestesses, I believe you're still the best fit."
"Can I really do it?" Eirinn asked hesitantly.
"Of course. Do you still doubt your healing abilities? You're one of the few people who know how to heal with divine miracles and medic techniques. Who else can do it but you?" Annelotte said as she shot a snide look to Leguna, "Isn't that right, Leguna?"
"Yes, definitely…" he said crestfallenly. What he wanted to say was 'you won'.
"Then…" Eirinn looked at Leguna with a teasing smile. "Since Sis Annie asked me to do it, I don't have a reason to refuse."
"Good!" Annelotte nodded with satisfaction.
"Hey! Who will I go with to the opening ceremony of the academy two months later now that you've taken those two away?"
"Oh? So you can't survive without either of them?" Annelotte casually said.
"I…" He grit his teeth and spat, "That's right! I'll miss you all!"
Annelotte's face reddened at hearing 'you all' instead of 'them'. Obviously, Leguna meant to include her. Was he trying to mess with her again?
However, regulating her feelings was something Annelotte was best at. She glared at Leguna without hesitation and said, "Then do all the missing you want!"
He slapped his forehead in loss.
"Don't worry, Big Bro," Innilis said as she came over to shake his arm, "I'll come to see you when I'm free."
"Boy do I have to thank you for that…" Leguna felt that Eirinn had tricked him the night before. She said she would never leave me! But now, she's gone! I just recovered from a break off with boss, you know? I need girls to stay with me for all times of the day!
Regardless of his complaints, he was lower on the pecking order than the other three women, so he had no say in it.
While he seemed to have recovered, being betrayed by the one he trusted most wasn't something easily forgotten. He was only barely holding on and he tried to work as much as he could in hopes that his mental wounds would numb and heal.
A few days passed just like that. Even though Leguna tried his best to hide information about Kurdak, the cat had to get out of the bag eventually. A few days ago, the ministry of defense released word of Kurdak's disappearance.
Hmph, I'm just paying you back the last bits I owe you! I've done my best, so you have nothing to do with me any longer! Leguna thought after word of it got out.
In some ways, he didn't want to see Kurdak dead just like that, so he tried to shut down all reports about Kurdak and forbade anyone from tailing him. He hoped that Kurdak, Vera, and Lamir could safely escape to the south. Perhaps he could get a good position there and live a stable life without having to meet him ever again.
That would be the ideal outcome, but fate loved playing sick jokes on him.
The wind blew strongly and made a sound that reminded him of a wolf howling in the wild, but that wasn't the most important thing. The most troublesome part was the never-ending snow, which was dotted from time to time with bits of hail.
The hailstones fell with great speed thanks to the wind. Given that it was thirty degrees below zero, it felt like a cold slap every time it hit his face.
Kurdak rubbed on his face, which had long been numbed from the pelting. That kind of weather would cause even the poorest farmers to stay home for the day to skip work, but Kurdak couldn't do so and had to continue.
If Leguna still kept track of Kurdak's movements, he would definitely be confused by where he was going. He wasn't heading to Stok like he said he would. Instead, he was traveling northward to Semralsin. That place was really close to the snowy northern highlands and the weather was far worse during winter.
"You darned brat!" Kurdak couldn't help but curse.
He couldn't be referring to anyone other than Leguna. But unlike the last time when he said that with a hateful scowl, his tone was infused with brotherly love.
"Can't you buy me more time?" he muttered.
He wasn't complaining about how he lost to Leguna or the torture he received, but rather, how Leguna didn't cover his tracks properly for him.
If Leguna saw that, he would definitely be cursing Kurdak to no end. You almost took my head off and killed me, and now you're complaining that I'm not helping you enough? Can your skin get any thicker?!
If they still got along like back then, Leguna would definitely do his utmost to help him, but that had since changed. The two had become sworn enemies, so Leguna pushed the limits of what he should.
But Kurdak didn't see it that way. Leguna would forever be his little brother, not his nemesis.Previous Chapter Next Chapter