As Big as It Gets
That day, many people acted very odd. First, there was Eirinn. After drawing first blood with Leguna, she began to feel a little unwell, or rather, too well. Her face was red and flushed for the whole day and she even sounded really shy when speaking to the students that went to see her.
The female students didn't think too much about it apart from noting how unusual it was. But the male students who came to see her alone thought she was shy specifically because she was talking to them. So, a few daring ones decided to make their move. Some gave her flowers or proposed or asked her out on dates. They were all refused awkwardly, however. Right after that, they were dealt with by Innils's Eirinn protection corps.
Sasha picked up on Innilis's odd behavior. She had been dragged along by her on a shopping trip and noticed from her expression that she wasn't in a good mood.
More specifically, the usually savvy Innilis went on a spending spree and bought whatever she saw, be it low-grade magic materials or clothes and accessories.
She also noticed Innilis gritting her teeth every time she took out her wallet as if she was exacting some kind of revenge.
It made her feel a little scared. While Innilis usually treated her rather well, Sasha was famous in the academy for her timidity, so she had been shuddering for the better part of the day. Even when it was time to sleep, she was worried Innilis would jump into her bed to pick on her.
Big Brother Leguna… come save pitiful Sasha, please…
She prayed fervently for the protection of the only person she didn't feat. Little did she know that very person was the reason for Innilis's bad mood.
Innilis was no idiot. Though younger than Eirinn, she knew a great deal more than her about certain topics. She knew after the shocking experience with Annelotte something would happen between the two if they were left alone.
While she was a little unwilling to let it, she thought the same way as Annelotte. There were some things Eirinn simply deserved and they didn't. They shouldn't fight for those things. If Annelotte had chosen to take a step back, she had even less right to fight.
Eirinn was Leguna's first ever friend and the one who had given him a second chance at life. Had the kind silver-haired devil not existed, the sneaky, yet gentle Leguna wouldn't either. This was one thing for which Innilis was quite thankful.
Had it not been for her, he would've starved to death, or become a savage street thug (though he wasn't that far off now), or wouldn't go to Lance to meet her and Annelotte.
So, regardless of how unwilling she was, she knew Eirinn held a special kind of special place in Leguna's heart. It was only right for them to be each other's firsts.
However, letting Eirinn take first dips didn't mean the other two were going to give up. It was merely a minor concession they made thanks to how much they liked her.
It didn't make her feel any better about it though. Hence her swiping 500 coins from the man she supposedly loved, for how dare he be purely happy, blew it all on frivolous things, and buried her head in her pillow to sleep. The next day when she saw her almost full dimensional-pocket, she broke into a slight smile.
What was there to worry about? There would always be someone who was first. Would it be fair if it had been her instead of Eirinn? Since it wouldn't, it was best to not obsess over it.
There was another half a year before she turned 16. She would then… he would have to take her as his fiancee as he'd promised! Haha!
Compared to Innilis, Annelotte's way of coping was much cruder. She drank the whole night with Angelista and downed one for each cup her drinking partner finished.
It ended the same as it did the last time she did that. She got beyond drunk soon while Angelista seemed completely fine. Angelista didn't really care about her like Leguna did, however, so she merely tossed her on the nearest bed before preparing to leave.
"… Why do you… always vex me so…"
Angelista stopped when she heard Annelotte's drunken muttering. She knew about whom the little girl was talking and smiled.
"Human emotions, huh? They seem rather interesting! I want to see to what extent you humans will go to follow your hearts!"
She ignored her and decided to get her attendant, Cydek, to warm her bed.
Life returned to normal the next day. With Leguna and Eirinn having broken through the last barrier, quite literally, Leguna visited her nearly daily to 'revise'.
The girl could barely keep herself together, but Leguna just enjoyed it more for her attempts and shy refusal, which never worked, of course, she loved every moment of it as much as he did. He only needed to pressure her slightly or look like he was about to beg for her to give in.
Even more laughable was the fact that both of them broke through their respective bottlenecks on their first night. Leguna broke through to the 17th stratum and Eirinn finally entered the high order, becoming a 15-stratum priestess.
Alaine and Annelotte both stared at him scornfully every time they met. He was always greeted with an insult when he ran into one or the other. Even Eirinn was so ashamed she wanted to burrow into the ground and hide.
Though she was glad to finally advance, using such a method was a little too…
Unlike Eirinn, Leguna was completely ecstatic. Every time Annelotte insulted him, he proudly proclaimed, "That's right! I didn't think it would be another way to train! If I had known earlier, I wouldn't have bothered training my swordsmanship for four hours a day! Doing a cute girl every other day is much more fun than swinging my sword around! By the way, Annie, why don't we give it a go? You've in the 17th stratum for quite a while now; why don't I try to help you go to the 18th?"
Her reaction didn't even need to be described.
"Big Bro Leguna, I want to break through!" Innilis cried, "I've also been in the 7th stratum for a while! If I can become a mid-order magus in the first semester, I'll receive a reward from the academy!"
Leguna stared at the pretty and maturing girl and had to admit he was somewhat tempted. However, the killing intent from Annelotte was unmistakable. The two slaps he had just got still pulsed painfully, so he steeled himself.
"No! You're too small! Wait till you grow bigger!"
"Huh?! So you have a problem with B cups? This is as big as I'm going to get! Don't say I didn't tell you beforehand!"
"Hey! Aren't you intentionally misinterpreting my words?!"
He felt the things they taught in the academy had been becoming weirder and weirder since Angelista arrived. What had they been teaching his cute Innie?! What kinds of things were they learning in class?!
He couldn't say he hated it though.
Annelotte smiled at their banter.
"Innie, I'm not trying to stop you, but you should wait. You're still young. At least wait until after you're 16… Otherwise, this might negatively affect your development."
"Mmmmmh!" the little vixen groaned unwillingly; she forced herself to nod, however, "Fine! I'll listen to you, Sis Annie! 16 it is!"
"Alright! Definitely!" Leguna nodded frantically.
Annelotte rolled her eyes at him.
"Did anything come of your investigation?"
His expression grimmed, but the two fresh palm marks she had planted on his face made it looked far smoother than it actually was. After some hesitation, he decided to tell the truth.
"Nothing. I haven't located even a single clue about pops, at least not in Chino. Do you think… he could still be in the Dusk Zone?"
"It's possible--" She frowned in thought. "--Help me investigate the Dusk Zone too, but don't let up here."
He agreed easily as helping her out was a given. Not to mention, Marolyt symbolized a great deal in Hocke. So even Larwin had grown a little anxious over his disappearance. He wouldn't be considered using the bureau for his personal gain this time.
"Don't worry, Annie. Pops is strong. He'll be fine."
"I know. At least, he's still alive. I can feel it."Previous Chapter Next Chapter