Leguna and Innilis, even Angelista, who had spent much of the past decade with Eirinn, were shocked. The dark elf had never expected Eirinn, who turned from a healthy person to a blind, deaf cripple who was no better off dead, to face life so bravely in the past decade, all the while carrying such a heavy secret. She had been waiting for Leguna to show up.
And now, he was finally here, much to her relief, and she handed the soulstone she kept for so long to him. She didn't know what good it was for. Even though she had become a high-order priestess a decade ago, she hadn't heard of any divine miracle that could bring the dead back to life. But that didn't mean it didn't exist. She had held on to that soulstone with Annelotte's soul to give Leguna a bit of hope, however, miniscule.
It was only a minute later that Leguna truly understood what she was saying. He looked at her in disbelief and carefully clasped her hands shakingly. "Eirinn… is that true? Is Annie's… soul inside this? Is this really true?"
"Hey! Sis Eirinn can't hear you!" Glad as she may be, Innilis was far calmer than he was.
"Oh!" He clenched her hand to get her to hold the stone properly and wrote what he asked on her back.
"Of course!" she said with a confident nod. "This was something Pyro gave me. The sun god won't lie!"
"Pyro?" Leguna suddenly calmed down upon hearing that name. After some deep thought, his face turned grim. He wrote, 'Eirinn, this comes with a price, right?'
Her smile froze for a moment.
"What are you asking for? Whatever, Sis Annie's soul is inside. That's enough!"
'There's a price, isn't there?!' he wrote, this time with punctuation to stress his tone. He had no other option to show his insistence, given that she couldn't see nor hear him to pick up on the cues.
She fell silent and stopped smiling.
'Answer me!' he asked again.
"Big Bro…" Innilis didn't know why his mood changed suddenly upon mention of Pyro.
"I'm sorry… I wasn't powerful enough, so I only managed to collect half of her soul."
'What's the price?' he wrote again.
After a tough smile, she said, "Big Brother, you understand the gods, right? The gods won't grant mortals anything for free. A mortal has to give something of equal value in return. The price of a soul… is a soul. The price for half a soul… is half a soul."
Innilis and Leguna were struck with realization. Shakingly, Innilis came behind Eirinn and wrote, 'Sis Eirinn…'
"Innie, don't ask." She could tell that it was Innilis based on the strength of the finger. "Pyro has been quite gracious. He didn't take half my soul immediately he's let me pay it down over time. Big Brother wouldn't have found me if I had to pay everything up front."
Leguna hugged her tightly. He didn't know how many times he had cried already today. He now knew why Eirinn was a cripple. Pyro would collect a part of her soul every year, and a person with an incomplete soul couldn't properly control the body. That was why she had slowly decayed. If Pyro had taken half in one shot, she might've become a vegetable.
"Don't cry!" she said, stroking his head like she was comforting a child. "I will always stay with you, Innie too. Sis Annie will also come back. That's why, you have to be strong. Life will get better."
"Okay… okay!" He forced his tears to stop and rubbed his eyes forcefully. "Thank you, Eirinn… Thank you!"
As if she could hear him, she smiled brightly like she did ten years ago. "You are my everything, so as long as you're happy, I will be! But don't dare complain about me being a cripple! Sis Annie won't forgive you for that when she comes back!"
"Of course, I definitely won't!" He hugged Eirinn and Innilis tight. The three of them laughed and cried for a moment. It seemed horribly odd to Alissanda, though.
Does the blood of dark elves really flow in you? Angelista thought as she gave Eirinn a complex look, feeling an odd feeling welling up in her. She had a taste of this sensation a decade ago, and now, it was so overwhelming that it filled her mind completely.
She rubbed the corner of her eyes unconsciously and noticed she was crying.
I didn't think I'd cry over this! she thought, self-mockingly, Is this what humans called… feeling touched?
Ten years living among humans had changed Angelista much, but she had always lived her life as a dark elf. Today, however, she oddly felt human, and not in the sly and cunning way. It was a wondrous, perhaps even happy, feeling.
Perhaps she was simply interested in Leguna's story, or maybe she wasn't willing to let the feeling fade. When she saw Alissanda charge towards them, she did something no dark elf ever did. She used her soulgrasper powers to stop him.
"I believe your grudges are settled. Your Imperial Majesty, what are you about to do?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter