She came in the nick of time again, thought Leguna.
He felt the urge to give her two kisses of gratitude when she came to his rescue.
In fact, her arrival was a little too timely. Whether it was this time or the previous -- during the fight in the Association -- Annelotte would be there to rescue him in a moment of danger. He had long heard from the old guy that raised him about tales where the heroes saved the beautiful damsels, but he had never thought the trope would be inverted in his case, twice in the past two days at that. He didn't really qualify to be a hero yet. He was just a young brat. Despite that, he wasn't aversive to being rescued. Surviving was the most important thing, not to mention that his savior was such an amazing beauty.
"Release him and I will let you leave," said Annelotte with her usual chilling tone.
Leguna had wanted to greet her with a smile, but he realized she hadn't so much as glanced at him after she showed up. All she did was glare at the bleeding man behind him with her beautiful, pale-blue eyes. He doubted whether she was even there to rescue him at all.
The man looked at her, uncertainty burning in his eyes. He had long been instructed by Balor before he returned to Starfall not to offend a select few people. The girl in front of him was one of them. He didn't know her name or much about who she was -- in fact, she was someone he had never heard of before. Her signature blue hair and cold temperament were all too recognizable. It was precisely the description Balor had given him when he warned him about who not to offend.
Seeing that the situation was getting out of his control, he thought there was a good chance his operation would be revealed. Neither the Association nor the Eye would let them off if they knew about the matter. It was imperative he kept it all a secret. However, Balor had instructed him to not mess with the girl, so he hesitated, uncertain of what to do.
The other two attendants used the opportunity Leguna's distraction offered to subdue him. With a longsword pressed against his neck, and his hair standing on end, he had no choice but to simply stare at Annelotte without saying a word.
He believed now that she had shown up, there was nothing he needed to worry about anymore. It wasn't that he had become dependent on her after the previous incident. Rather, it was because of a sense of trust he had in her. Trust that she would be able to bring him out of his predicament safe and sound.
Even though the time he'd spent with her was short, he had come to trust and become familiar with her. As unreasonable as it sounded, he was certain of his feelings.
"Leave now or I'll kill the boy," threatened one attendant viciously.
He had seen the girl dictate a level five barrier spell, so he knew he was nowhere near her match. He had no choice but to resort to underhanded tactics.
"Release him now and I promise I will not speak of this matter. Otherwise, I could kill you just as easily and get him out of here alive," countered Annelotte as her eyes glowed azure.
The room's temperature plummeted. White mist formed around her. The water vapor had crystallized instantaneously and formed a thin mist.
Her threat was very effective. The three shivered from the bone-chilling cold as they looked at her, their expressions fear-ridden and angst-soaked.
"Fine, release him," interjected Bjord from a corner.
He kept his eyes trained on Annelotte despite the drool leaking out of the corner of his mouth having frozen. It was obvious the perverted and cowardly young master had been charmed by the girl's beauty. In spite of noticing Bjord's perverted gaze, she didn't react, she kept her neutral expression. However, the three fighters were horrified at Bjord's actions and greatly feared that any reckless mistake the young master made would greatly anger the beautiful girl -- foremost a terrifying mid-order magus.
"Release him!" cried the man to the attendant when he was no longer able to resist the cold.
Since their master and the man had spoken, the two attendants no longer kept it up and shoved Leguna forward after giving each other a look.
Leguna stumbled towards Annelotte as his left leg had been harshly twisted. A bulge had already taken shape. While the pain from his injuries hurt much worse than that, he resisted the urge to groan, he didn't want to show any weakness. Already rather embarrassed that he had to be rescued, he wanted to keep whatever dignity he had left by not complaining like a child about the pain.
Annelotte looked at him. She noticed he could still walk and turned to leave without a word. Leguna followed behind.
"My most beautiful lady, I believe there's been a misunderstanding about tonight's incident. I hope you can forgive us for our transgressions. Could you please tell me your name so I can make it up to you?" asked Bjord with the most magnetic tone he could muster.
However, Annelotte didn't bat an eye at him Bjord. She just continued on her path. Only Leguna turned back to give Bjord a mocking stare before he turned and left.
"Who was that girl?" asked Bjord, not satisfied with how things had turned out.
"Apologies, Young Master. We do not know," said one attendant.
"Then you better find out!"
Now that only his attendants were left, Bjord no longer bothered to act respectfully.
"Young Master, I advise you refrain from acting such. That girl... is not the kind of person you want to offend according to Sir Balor," said the man.
He didn't want Bjord to ruin Balor's plan just because of some insignificant matter.
"Hmph! I don't think there's anyone I can't afford to offend in Starfall! The women that catch my eye will all be mine!" cried Bjord hatefully.
His underling furrowed his brow frustratedly.
Leguna looked at Annelotte from behind and said, "Well, umm... Thank you again for rescuing me."
Annelotte stopped in her tracks and turned around. She gave him a momentary glance before she headed off again.
"How are your injuries?"
"I'm fine, they're mostly superficial and will recover with some ointment," said Leguna nonchalantly despite his pallor.
"Please, I can tell you're in danger of death if you're not treated in a few minutes." She could tell Leguna was understating his wounds and didn't like him pretending to be tough, so she intentionally tried to frighten him.
"Ah, haha... Then, I'll head back immediately to deal with my injuries... It won't do any good to look so bloody either," said Leguna as he prepared to sprint for Starfall.
Annelotte called out to stop him.
After hesitating for a short moment, she said, "You'll never make it back in time to Starfall with your injuries. It's best you come with me."
She brought Leguna to a house nearby. Even though it wasn't that large, the courtyard's vintage and elegant decorations were more impressive than anything a bum like Leguna had ever seen.
"Do you live here?" asked Leguna, awed, as he looked at the courtyard.
"Yes, but keep it to yourself," said Annelotte without intending to waste words.
She called for a servant to bandage him up.
Meanwhile, she sat in the lounge and began to think in silence. She had been following Leguna since the previous night. Even though Wayerliss had only wanted her to gather experience as mercenaries with him, she didn't understand why the chairman regarded the youth so highly.
In terms of status and ability, she was far above him and felt she was acting as his bodyguard. However, it wasn't an order by the chairman but an act of her own intent.
After today's incident, she also learned of Balor's plans. While the guild had their own ways to deal with the matter, she still decided to write a report and have the servants deliver it to the president.
"Ack," gasped Leguna after feeling the cold, numb sensation of the medication.
He looked at the expressionless servant.
"How long has Annelotte been living here?"
"12 years," replied the servant.
His cold manner was an obvious indication of how Annelotte's personality formed.
"Is that so? I heard she has a teacher too. I wonder where the great magus is?"
"The master has left to deal with some matters."
"Is that so," nodded Leguna.
At first, he suspected Annelotte's identity as her timely appearance in both of his troubled times were a little too coincidental. But after hearing the servant's testimony, which was consistent with her own, he berated himself for his suspicion towards his benefactor that had saved his life twice.
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