"Don't just stand there! Use a potion!" Alan cried to his dumbstruck servants.
That snapped them out of their stupor as their hurried to apply some potion on Alan. Even though the garish sight made the servants feel phantom pain, they worked away tirelessly without a word. Droplets of sweat formed on Alan's forehead, but even so, he didn't make a single sound. He didn't want to show any weakness at the moment, knowing that the slightest inkling of it would lower the prestige he had.
And he definitely wouldn't want that. He had taken his uncle, Alfreid, as his role model, and he knew Alfreid definitely wouldn't budge in the slightest from physical pain like that.
He grit his teeth tight as his servants patched him up. As the magic formation was made to be used at any time, he had a huge amount of potions stocked up at home that could help with cell regeneration. Even so, it took a good two hours for the wound to be completely dressed.
By the time it was done, it was dawn on the next day. However, Alan didn't have the time to fuss it over or sleep. He dealt with the urgent matters first and got into contact with the magus within city hall for a long-distance magic call.
Half an hour later, the fully recovered and dressed Alan started his call session.
Alfreid's old face appeared on the magic screen. Even though it was only a projection on the screen, Alan still felt that the old man's eyes looked really creepy. It was as if anything could be seen through by those eyes.
"Your face is pale. Looks like you used that thing?" Alfreid said. The backdrop showed that he was in the study. Alfreid had the habit of reading a little before dawn.
"Yes," Alan said with a nod, "Kurdak held me really tight and there was no chance for me to escape at all. I had to use that formation."
"It must've been troublesome on your part." As a former magus, Alfreid knew better than anyone the kind of pain that invoked that formation. However, he was merely paying lip service. He got to the core issue he was concerned with. "So, has the matter of Kurdak's kidnapping been publicized?"
"It has." Alan wasn't the slightest bit dissatisfied with how lightly his uncle described his kidnapping. "I intentionally delayed him by chatting him up. I only used the formation after all the soldiers personally saw him holding me hostage. He's definitely getting convicted with this one."
"Good. Everything is in place."
"Ask away if you have any questions."
"Will things really turn out the way we develop? The old fellow wouldn't act for an outsider--"
"Child…" Through the screen, Alan could see and even feel Alfreid's confidence. The premier continued, "There's one thing you have to understand. What is the old fellow most concerned about?"
"Family? Status?" Alan guessed, but he soon shook his head. "No, House Rodelas has never been good with heirs. That old fellow doesn't really care about his relatives anyway… As for status, I doubt that's his priority either."
"That's right. The only thing he places his hopes on is his blood relative," Alfreid said, "Back then, his son's death almost unhinged him completely, so there's no doubt that he cares for his beloved granddaughter. As long as Lamir speaks out, he'll definitely do something."
"Are you not worried about a civil war?" Alan cautiously inquired.
"He has so much authority over the military. If he wanted a civil war, he would've done so two decades ago," Alfreid calmly said, "But he didn't choose to do so, so it's even less likely that he would now. Also, do you think His Imperial Majesty would let him hold so much military power like that? Plans have long been set into place, you see."
"His Highness Alissanda."
"Once again, thank you for your efforts," Alfreid repeated. "Even though you can't inherit my surname, you're my true heir in my eyes. One day, I will grant you the Rolin name. I promise."
"Thank you, fa-- Uncle…" Alan was so grateful that he almost said 'father' out loud, but he quickly changed it halfway.
"Good. Let's leave it at that." Alfreid was really satisfied with Alan's performance. He smiled and ended the magic call session.
All the servants would never forget the smile on their usually cool master's face. Despite the searing pain on his back, the illegitimate child of House Rolin was in a mood so good that he was greeting his servants with an actual smile, much to their shock.
No more than two days after that occurred, Leguna read the article on Ironblood Greatbear Kurdak's actions in the well-known Melindor Daily.
Leguna only received the news little more than half a day before the publication did. He was quite surprised at how fast the media was able to pick up on that piece of news. He even considered whether he should appropriate these news agencies into the bureau's intelligence collection network.
Little did he know that Melindor Daily's source didn't come from the north, but from within Melindor itself.
However, the current bureau head couldn't be bothered with the shocking speed at which the paper reported on it. He was more concerned about Kurdak. Didn't he say he would be going south for a life of luxury? Why did he travel north instead? Was he a road idiot? He couldn't be stupid enough to confuse the north for the south, could he? And what was the deal with him pissing Alan off?
Regardless of how he felt about it, one thing was for certain: Kurdak was in big trouble.
The next day, Larwin issued orders for Kurdak's capture to the bureau. Leguna hesitated when he received the formal order. But before he passed it down, Eirinn, Annelotte and Innilis came over.
Even though the bureau was considered one of the more secretive agencies in the empire, Annelotte had a right to weigh in on such matters given her position. Xeno also knew that he wouldn't be able to stop the three women from barging in even if he wanted to, so they had no trouble entering.
"Big Brother Leguna, what are you going to do?" Eirinn asked when she saw him.
"The order's already here. What else can I do?" he asked with a shrug. He tossed the documents to her. "Look at it yourself. I wasn't lying."
Eirinn, however, completely disregarded it. "But, it's Big Brother Kurdak! Your boss!"
After a moment of silence, he said, "It's His Imperial Majesty's order. I can't go against it."
"You know full well what you can do!" Eirinn said with a raised voice, "You're just using that as an excuse!"
"So what if I am?" he said as he stood up and slammed the table. Glaring at Eirinn, he yelled, "That's right! He's my boss! My elder brother! But he tried to kill me, take my head, and exchange it for a post in Stok! For status' sake! You weren't there to see it. He swung his giant sword towards my neck! He was trying to kill me without hesitation!
As he said so, Leguna smashed his own head hard. "There wasn't any hesitation of doubt. He was trying to kill me with the weapon I gave him! If it wasn't for Annie's shielding, I would have become a rotting corpse! Ask her! She knows everything!"
"Sis Annie…" Eirinn's face was pale. It was the first time Leguna had vented on her since she knew him. She turned to Annelotte, hoping for some support.
But Annelotte only shook her head. She hadn't said a word, having witnessed what happened personally. She knew what kind of harm Kurdak brought Leguna, and she didn't think she could speak for his behalf. Only someone as naive as Eirinn was capable of that.
"Even though there are many strange points about this, Leguna's right." Even though Kurdak did seem to have betrayed Leguna on the surface, she still felt that he acted really strangely that day.
Eirinn finally understood why Annelotte was a little unwilling to come. But she still had to try. After some thought, she said, "Even if you don't care about Big Brother Kurdak, what about Sis Vera? Big Brother Leguna, please think this over. Don't do something you'll come to regret."
Seeing that he didn't respond, she turned around and left helplessly. Annelotte gave Leguna a look before leaving as well. Only Innilis stood there, seemingly having something to say.
"Big Bro Leguna…" she finally spoke.
"What is it, Innie?" Leguna said in a gentler tone. He couldn't bear to see her so cautious around him.
"Even though I have betrayed you before…" Her eyes darkened visibly at that.
"That wasn't your fault. Don't keep bringing it up."
"Since you can say that, you should understand how I feel. I believe Uncle Kurdak also has his reasons. Think about it properly." She didn't wait for a response and left.
Leguna sat down, propping his head up on his chin with both hands, and thought through this for half an hour.
Leguna cursed, before sending out the order to capture Kurdak.Previous Chapter Next Chapter