Wayerliss and Marolyt
Kurdak inspected the traces left on the scene. From it, he surmised that Leguna had probably been too excited at finding the millennium snowlotus and had dropped his guard. He had been taken by surprise as a result. Despite that, he believed the attacker was an assassin whose abilities far exceeded their own.
Impeccable stealth, terrifying patience, and an incredibly clear mind... The assailant was probably around the 14th stratum. It must be an assassin just below the high order. An enemy like this could wipe out the whole party if he were prepared. Fortunately, the assailant was only interested in Leguna and it seemed he had dealt a non-fatal blow on purpose.
Looks like Ley is being dragged down into the murky waters of Moonshadow's dealings, Kurdak thought, worried.
At present, he wasn't too worried about Leguna's survival. He trusted Annelotte as much as she trusted him. The girl wouldn't let such an important target die so easily. However, he was still worried that the kid would end up in countless complicated and intricate conflicts because of this. If this came to pass, not only would he have an even harder time getting out of the mess, he might even drag his two companions along. But, no matter what, he wouldn't leave Leguna to himself. He had decided to deal with it all by the youth's side regardless of what would happen.
"Kurdak, Ley'll be fine, right?" asked Vera anxiously.
Even though the kid had only received a single wound, his chest was pierced through and it seemed rather serious. Annelotte had also brought up the fact that he had been poisoned.
"Don't worry, it'll be fine. Didn't Annelotte take him back?" asked he with a smile.
He looked at the millennium snowlotus not far away.
"Now we've found this, we ought to head back. We'll know how he's doing once we get back."
"I take it my mission is over, then," commented Daver as he walked over.
"Yes, Mister Daver. We're heading back and regrouping with the two. What about you?" asked Kurdak.
"I should be heading back as well. Let's go together. You should save some time with me guiding you."
Daver was actually getting a little impatient himself. He wanted to absorb his newly acquired fiend core as soon as possible.
"Many thanks. I'll remember this favor."
Annelotte held Leguna, slung over her shoulder, tightly. The poison had knocked him out, he was as soft as a noodle. It was fortunate he didn't have a well-set build. In fact, he was even slightly shorter than Annelotte, only 1.6 meters tall. She didn't feel too worn out from hauling him around, but it was also due in part to the fact that she had physical capabilities far in excess of normal magi.
There were still several dozen kilometers between her and Snowrock, but she was running out of magic. Her face was paper pale. Even though she was out in the freezing cold, drops of sweat gathered on her refined nose. The girl looked at Leguna, whose face was gradually turning red. He didn't have much time left. If she didn't detoxify him first, things would end very, very badly. She grit her teeth and the seemingly cold and frail girl actually lifted Leguna into a piggyback position. The temperature of his body felt like a fireball against her back. Just as she was about to start running again, a person appeared in front of her.
'Old geezer' didn't seem quite appropriate a descriptor for him. The man with a full head of silver hair and some faint wrinkles on his forehead was actually of relatively old age. However, he looked vigorous. He sported a neat mustache and a defined figure. Clad in a noble black robe of masterful tailoring, he gave off the aura of a mature and elegant noble from a well-established house.
Annelotte didn't think of him like that at all, because he was looking at her with an odd squint, one with which stared at beauties. She gave him a single, fleeting glance before preparing to set out once more. She couldn't be bothered to waste her time on him. However, the other party was intent on stopping her; he appeared in front of her before she could react.
"Can you please step aside? I'm in a rush here cause I need to save my... my friend," said she coldly, her hesitance quite pronounced at the end of her sentence.
"Oh? Well, I certainly cannot stand by the wayside when I see such a beautiful girl running about helplessly. Why don't you let me help?" said the old ruffian warmly.
"I don't need it. I'd be incredibly grateful if you'd step aside."
Annelotte's voice froze over. She didn't want to waste her precious time dallying anymore.
"Don't be in such a hurry to refuse. I really can help you two," countered the old man as he stretched out his hand.
A glint flashed in Annelotte's eyes that moment. She realized there was no way she could leave without giving the old guy a lesson. Fortunately, she didn't feel an ounce of power radiating from him. She could deal with him quickly and be on her way in no time.
But the moment his hand touched her, an undetectable wave of wind appeared between the two. The man jerked his hand back immediately and jumped backwards. He looked around alertly but he wasn't able to see anything at all. Another wave appeared. This time, it was heading for the old man's hip.
Metal clashed with metal, or so it sounded. A turquoise longsword was held in the old man's hands before anyone realized. Its design was minimalist and natural. It matched its wielder's decent looks. It had been that to block the odd blow coming its wielder's way. The air shook yet again, this time, two waves headed for his throat and chest. He waved his hand and blocked the strikes again at a speed which Annelotte couldn't see.
"Come out, you've messed around enough," spat the man.
Nothing. Not a sound. The only reply came in the form of four waves, all of which the man blocked again.
"Hey! This isn't funny! Come out now!" yelled he, waving his sword about.
The response he got was the same, more waves. There were eight of them this time, though. He again waved his sword to block them, but one near his head got through his defenses and cut off two strands of his silver hair.
"Dammit, Wayerliss! If you keep messing with me, I'll go uproot your headquarters! Wanna bet?! Do you know how hard it was for me to get my hair done right?! I had the hairdresser in the Hocke's palace take a whole month to design this hairstyle for me! What am I going to do with the two strands you cut off?!" cried the old ruffian without a care for his reputation.
"Oh, it's quite rare to see you throw a tantrum, Marolyt. Kevin wrote me a letter about how you messed with him quite thoroughly over years!" said an elegant and deep voice.
Immediately after, Wayerliss's figure gradually appeared next to Annelotte.
Upon seeing the president arrive, she sighed and blacked out. Using the transference spell five times in a row had drained her dry. The only reason she managed to hold on was her will. With Wayerliss's appearance, her mission was complete, so she fainted the moment she relaxed.
"Annie! Annie! What's going on?!" cried Marolyt, no longer looking crude and perverted.
Instead, he wore an expression of intense worry and anxiety he didn't bother to hide.
"Hey, don't approach my subordinate lightly," said Wayerliss as he stepped forward.
"Back off!" Marolyt's gaze was incredibly savage, like that of an agitated great dragon. "I don't want to hear you calling her that in the future! My daughter is nobody's subordinate! Not even yours, Wayerliss! Let me warn you now. If you have Annelotte do anything unpleasant in the future, I'll dismantle your guild and deal with you later! You of all people should know I'm perfectly capable!"
The person in charge of Moonshadow, one of Lance's four factions, didn't look the least bit enraged after hearing these words. He just shrugged.
"I was just joking around. You're as irritable as always."
Aware of how he lost his cool, Marolyt took a deep breath.
"Never joke about this, my friend. You can joke with me about anything else, but not my daughter. I'm incredibly thankful you helped raise her, but it's best you don't agitate me."
"No worries. I understand you more than you think," smiled Wayerliss.
"Is Annie fine?" asked Marolyt as he looked at his daughter, collapsed on the ground.
"She's fine. She just passed out from fatigue. She used too much magical power," answered Wayerliss as he handed Marolyt a bottle of potion.
It was a solution made by Eye of Arcana to put a person to sleep for a short while and recover large amounts of magical power while they slept. Marolyt knew it well and poured it into Annelotte's mouth carefully. But, looking at her pale face made the old, yet handsome, face crease with regret and pity.
After he finished feeding her the potion, he stood up and waved his hand to stimulate his powerful impetus from the depths of his body. He then made the sleeping Annelotte rise up gently in mid-air so her body wouldn't be in contact with the cold, ground.
"Your control over Wind's Palm has improved considerably."
"You looked incredibly relaxed using Wave Blade eight times in one go yourself. That aside, is this the kid I sent you a few months back?" asked Marolyt as he kicked the unconscious Leguna.
"Yes. Now you mention it, I think I owe you a word of thanks. This kid is rather intriguing."
"Oh? He's poisoned? Haha, serves him right!" said Marolyt, with a tinge of schadenfreude.
"I recall that apart from almost stealing something from you, he didn't do anything to offend you, right?" Wayerliss was quite taken aback.
"He didn't offend me, but he sure did offend my precious daughter!" Marolyt said harshly, "Where do you think you come from, brat?! It's one thing if you try to pick up my girl, but now you had her pick you up and carry you over such a large distance until she fainted out of exhaustion! Yet, you are just lying there, unconscious and ignorant of everything happening around you. If this isn't dastardly, I don't know what is! Gah, just thinking about it makes me fume! I can't forgive you until I have you castrated! That's right, I'll see if you still dare to set your sights on my Annie then."
"It seems you made the right choice in not allowing me to tell her you're her real father. If Annie knew her father was actually such an unreliable and aloof person, she'd kill herself by banging her head against a wall," Wayerliss shrugged, "Alright, leave the talking for later. Let's get them back to Snowrock."
Previous Chapter Next Chapter