"Did your memories come back?" Leguna asked a stupid question.
The girl before him wasn't, in fact, Sala's daughter, the half-elf Eirinn, but rather, Annelotte. Since the fight with Angelista, Leguna was made aware of the danger of the Dusk Zone. So, he knew that Eirinn, who couldn't fight at all, could definitely not be allowed to meet her mother with Leguna.
Having no other choice, he could only ask for Annelotte's help.
Fortunately, she had given him another spatial stone before he set out. The glacial girl had a hunch about how dangerous it would be and had rushed to make one for him so that he could call her in times of need.
Since Eirinn's life could be under threat, he decided to discuss a way out of it with Annelotte.
After knowing about what happened, Annelotte casually suggested her bold plan of impersonating her. She was far stronger than Leguna, after all, so there was no need to worry about her safety.
Initially, Leguna objected to it, and he didn't think Annelotte's glamor would fool the dark elves either.
But she stubbornly insisted and guaranteed that she could pass herself off as a dark elf without flaws both in terms of looks and abilities.
After much arguing, Annelotte decided to veto the decision. Leguna had no choice but to agree. The two of them sent Eirinn back to Melindor, made their preparations, before waking Angelista and her servant.
Angelista initially didn't want to go along with his plan. Just as Leguna was wondering how he could get the crazy woman to cooperate, Annelotte appeared.
What she did was simple: they decided on having a low-level spell duel. They could only fight with spells level three or below. It was a match that relied on the understanding and application of spells of the magus.
In the end, Annelotte emerged victorious. Angelista followed through with her word surprisingly easily and even used an order spell on herself to accept her loss.
After setting Angelista up, Leguna woke Linq up and had him bring them to see Brani. But ever since then, he had never revealed Annelotte's presence, not even to Brani. That was one of his trump cards he wouldn't readily use.
"How did that even occur to you?" she said with a flushed face. "Am I behaving weird or something?"
A look of disappointment crossed his eyes, but they soon brightened once more. He smiled and said, "No, it's just that, if this were you before, you would have made an expression like that. I was just surprised."
"If it had been me before, huh…" Annelotte fell silent and looked at him with a distraught heart. Feelings like that were rare for someone as cold as she. She bit into her lip and said, "Hey!"
"Huh?" Leguna seemingly didn't notice the change in her attitude. He scratched his head like a confused monkey.
After letting it simmer for a long time, her face flushed rate as she stammered, "I… I know you… like me!"
"That's right," he admitted casually.
"Don't interrupt!" she snapped like an angered kitten. Though she currently looked like Eirinn, that didn't change how cute she looked given both of them were stunningly beautiful.
"Ah, alright." He shirked his neck back habitually.
"But don't misunderstand! Even though I asked, I'm not interested in you!" she hurriedly explained, but Leguna only took it to mean the opposite since she had to state it for the record.
Leguna didn't take it to heart. He knew what he had signed up for since day one.
"I… I just wanted to ask… whether you like the old me… or the new me…"
"The new you?"
Eirinn's silver eyes flashed angrily.
"Or the new me now, too."
Though he was still in the mood for teasing, Leguna dropped the notion when he saw how serious Annelotte was.
He tried to gather his words. He wasn't trying to make a touching speech, but he wanted at the very least to express his feelings clearly. It took him several long second before he could get a word out. But as the first sounds started leaving his mouth, they were drowned out by a horn blast from the corridor outside the room.
"Is someone attacking?"
He had heard the same sound when House Elvin launched an attack on House Andalir. Brani told her what the horn signal meant, but he didn't think he'd be hearing it in House Elvin.
"What's wrong?" Annelotte asked, alerted.
"I--" He decided to put his words aside for the time being after a moment of hesitation. "--I'm afraid some of the elves think House Elvin's swallowed up too much. They want a piece."
Annelotte nodded her agreement. The foolish Sala was terribly short-sighted. She did deserve the credit for leading the attack that exterminated House Andalir, but absorbing all of one of the great houses in Darklight into House Elvin was impossible.
There were too many interconnected threads of interests in one house alone. House Elvin's monopoly over what was left of House Andalir would cause quite a huge commotion in Darklight. But Sala didn't consider it and only did things her way. It was no surprise that they would experience backlash so soon.
"What do we do? Do we help?" she asked.
Leguna hesitated for a moment and nodded. "We will! Doing so will show Brani our strength so she'll forever give up on Eirinn. If we don't, some other House Elvin dark elf who knows about her might barely survive this battle. It will get more troublesome then. We still aren't able to tear down the whole of House Elvin."
"Is that so?" She blinked and nodded. "I understand."
When the two of them entered the hall, they felt a huge pressure pressing down on them. The source wasn't far away and Leguna could tell that it was pressure from a being of a different level.
He looked at Annelotte with some surprise and saw that Annelotte had paled. Her silvery hair seemed a little messier than before.
"Ross's will might have just descended," Leguna said, "When Eirinn became a priestess, I also felt the weight of Pyro's will. It felt like this, no, it felt worse than this."
"Hmph!" Annelotte was quite unhappy about it. Despite seeming rather cold and aloof, she was actually quite a proud person. She wouldn't let a mere manifestation of divine will make her submit.
"That means, Sala is…" In the end, Leguna did manage to become the one to usher in the death of Eirinn's mother.
"Miss Brani!" Leguna barged in, but Brani couldn't answer him.
She was floating in the air like a corpse by way of some mysterious force. A red light beamed down onto the stone platform surrounding Brani as another stream of light entered her body.
"Brani's receiving some kind of power. It should be Ross's divine grace," Annelotte whispered.
Gassos and Wesley looked at them alertly. It was a crucial moment for her and they definitely wouldn't let anyone interrupt their sister.
"You should've heard the horn too," Leguna said unthreateningly. He had no intention to be Brani's enemy to begin with. "There might be some commotion outside."
"Yes. Thank you for coming to help," Wesley said with an elegant bow. "But please don't panic. Brani is receiving the blessing of the exalted one. It is very important."
Leguna didn't think he'd have to wait a whole half hour for it. The death cries of the slaves outside could be heard. It was a common part of dark elf warfare. While they had few members of their own race, they loved to enslave other races like humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes and so on. Every battle, those slaves would be the first to be sent to take cannon fire, fight other slaves, or soak up the arrows or mana of the enemy magi. The dark elves wouldn't hesitate to spend the lives of others for their own.
"How much longer?" Leguna asked impatiently. He didn't care much for the dead slaves, but he worried the battle will be settled by then. He would have no choice but to attack House Elvin if that came to pass. He would kill off every family member of Eirinn to make sure she would never be betrayed by them.
"It should… be soon…" Wesley said without confidence.
"Not just soon, my dear Wesley, it's now," Brani finally said.Previous Chapter Next Chapter