Misfortune is Brought by the Mouth
Leguna and the other two traveled on in Nightsong Forest to escape their pursuers.
Annelotte furrowed her brow in slight pain. They had been traveling in haste for the last four days. And currently, an unexpected problem had surfaced: blisters were forming on her feet.
She had been in a rush to notify Kurdak, so she hadn't thought much before she left home. Though she usually had two sets of magus's robes in her dimensional pocket, she hadn't prepared any extra shoes in her haste. The only shoes she now had were the slippers she had popped on before leaving home.
The two days of heavy walking had long worn the smooth and delicate skin of her feet through. Her feet were pockmarked by small bloody blisters.
In contrast to her precarious state, her two companions were doing just fine. Leguna hadn't even had time to rest for three days. He had rushed to Starfall from Daver, encountered Annelotte and her captor attemptees outside the city, and rushed off into the forest immediately after. They had also been running ever since. As a result, he only had his weapons and light traveling attire.
Innilis owed Vera. The latter had predicted the girl would have to run for her life for a while, and had had her put on appropriate clothes. Leguna had carried her for stretches from time to time so she was the least exhausted of the three. She could still skip about energetically as if she were on a field trip.
While Annelotte didn't want to hold her comrade back, the pain was becoming unbearable. She eventually couldn't bare it anymore and muttered, "Leguna..."
"Huh?" the boy turned back curiously.
"Let's take a short rest. I..."
She suddenly silenced herself.
Leguna noticed the pain in her eyes.
Annelotte resisted the urge to throw a fireball at the bastard's face and nodded with great difficulty.
"I was in too much of a rush so I didn't get to change my shoes."
The twerp nodded and called a rest.
"We can't stop for long. The Eye isn't far behind."
Leguna instinctively took over Kurdak's role whenever the man wasn't present. Annelotte hummed in response before sitting down. The wounds no longer having to bare her weight, the pain slowly eased, she sighed at the glorious sensation. Leguna looked at her for a moment before kneeling down and grasping her ankles.
"What are you doing?! Don't touch me!" snapped she anxiously.
The boy snapped and rolled his eyes at her, "I'm just checking your blisters."
Her leg muscles were pretty tense. But now she knew Leguna had no ill intentions, she forced herself to relax. The top of her feet were still beautiful and petite, but her soles were badly blistered. Near a quarter of the skin had been ruined and blood was still oozing out of the burst blisters.
Leguna scratched his head helplessly.
"Young Mistress, there's a limit to how much you should endure silently you know. Why did you wait until your feet were in such a horrible condition before speaking up? I really don't know how you managed to hold on for two days."
Annelotte wasn't about to let the brat lecture her.
"I only need ten minutes. We can get going again soon, I won't drag you down."
"So you're going to grit your teeth and endure until your legs turn to mush?" countered the brat.
His tone tinged with anger.
"I won't drag you down."
Leguna sighed exasperatedly as he stared at the girl's exquisite, stubborn face. He looked around and picked some grass.
"Innie!" waved he at the girl.
She had been playing by herself on the side so she hadn't noticed what had happened between her two companions. Leguna handed her the grass.
"Help me a little. I need you to look for grass like this in the area. Pick some for me."
The girl took the grass and skipped on her way. Leguna gave Annelotte another glance before he too started searching. The two had gathered enough two minutes later. Leguna chewed some and spat the moist paste onto the palm of his hand.
"Stretch your leg out," said he, turning to Annelotte.
The girl had been looking at him for a while now, completely confused about what was going on. She was mad at him, so she didn't want to ask either.
"To stop your bleeding," Leguna nagged as he held her ankle and worked, "My saliva is a little dirty, I hope you won't mind, Young Mistress. That aside, this will be very useful. When I was a child in the slums, I didn't have shoes, so my feet were constantly worn. That old guy used this thing to treat me. It only takes two or three days to heal after you apply this. We still have a long way to go, so please bare with it, Young Mistress."
"You!" Annelotte was infuriated by Leguna's constant mocking. Though she wanted to lash out, seeing how Leguna was lazily, yet attentively, applying the medicine, she forced herself to swallow her rage. While she wouldn't normally let a man touch her feet, she could feel the pain ebb away as the boy rubbed the medicine in. She could only endure the awkwardness and embarrassment and silently wait for Leguna to finish. Her glacial stare was on him the whole time, though. If he did anything weird, she would definitely make him suffer.
While his expression was one of annoyance, Leguna's movements were serious and focused. He wasn't actually as lazy or annoyed as he appeared. For reasons unknown to even him, he was angry at how little Annelotte cared for herself. Hence his lecturing tone. When he finished he realized what he had really said, his mind was overcome, paralyzed by fear. He was only frozen for a moment before collecting himself, though. He knew pretending nothing had happened was the best way to mitigate the damage. He thus continued applying the medicine oblivious to what had transpired, internally, however, he was preparing himself for the coming ice flames of the girl's anger. When he finished, however, the girl only muttered 'you' annoyed.
Did I just... lecture Annie? I just lectured Annie and.. I came out safe and sound? What's going on? Have the peasants taken power? Has misandry been overthrown? Did I, Leguna, just reinstate male glory?
Leguna was very proud, nose held high, when he had made sure Annelotte really wasn't angry. In his mind was a miniature man dancing with joy and singing 'Joyous Liberation of the Helot' with a loud and bright voice. But when he finished everything and was greeted by Annelotte's cold stare, the small singing man died from asphyxiation.
"Well... Hehe," Leguna laughed dryly, "How is it? Feel better?"
Annelotte's expression shifted. It slowly became a lot gentler. "Yes... Thank you..." she nodded.
Leguna happened to recall the soft and mystical feel of the girl's feet and blushed.
"Alright, let's get going," said he, trying to hide his red face.
Annelotte nodded and stood up. The blisters on her feet shot waves of pain up her body and spine as she put her weight on them again; her brows furrowed. She didn't stop, however; she was ready to tough it out.
Leguna noticed her expression and knelt down. "Get up. I'll carry you."
Annelotte shook her head. "No need. I can walk on my own."
"Get up!" he barked sternly, "The herb won't solve your problems instantly. If you keep this up, things will only get worse!"
The girl suddenly froze. How many times had the kid lectured her today? Has he lost it? She glared at him before walking on quickly. Angered by the girl's pointless stubbornness, Leguna quickly swept her onto his back before she could react.
"Let go! Let me go!" yelled she, shocked at his boldness.
She struggled with all her might in Leguna's embrace… but how could she wrestle a proper fighter?
Innilis picked her slippers up behind Leguna before skipping over.
"Sis's being spoiled by Big Brother Leguna!" she smiled.
Both Leguna and Annelotte were stunned. The former fought to control the awkward feeling in his throat. The latter, however, went completely berserk.
"Nonsense! Put me down now! I don't need your help!" snapped she before biting into the boy's arm.
Leguna inhaled sharply from the pain. The rage he had suppressed burst out uncontrollably.
"Know when to stop!"
Shocked by Leguna's sudden reaction, Annelotte opened her small mouth, which had drawn blood, completely dumbstruck.
"What's the point of acting so stubborn? What if you get even worse, like injuring your leg? How will we get away then?! You're one of the strongest party members, I can't take on the Eye without you! You're being extremely irresponsible, with your health and other people's lives!" yelled he at the girl in his arms.
The little girl was completely speechless. She didn't want to show weakness to him. But his forceful side had frightened her, she had never seen this side of him before. She also realized how ridiculous she was being. She struggled with herself for a few moments before her faint voice escaped her mouth, almost unconsciously.
"Then... carry me on your back..."
Leguna put the girl down lightly and hauled her onto his back. While his back wasn't broad, the girl still felt a sense of safety when she leant against it. She couldn't help but relax. Even her attitude mellowed considerably. The red marks on his hand drew Annelotte's attention. She wiped her mouth only to realize that there was quite a bit of blood. She had really bitten his arm badly.
After some hesitation, she finally whispered, "Leguna..."
The youth's expression was an awkward mixture of trouble and bliss. He could feel the girl's small, soft, perky breasts squashed against his back. The two lumps came into contact with his back from time to time and drove him crazy.
"Does it... still hurt?"
"Of course it does."
His attention had long been drawn to the heaven on his back, so he started to speak without the slightest restraint.
"But, I'm sure it'll stop hurting if you give me a kiss or two."
Sometimes, misfortune was brought by one's own mouth.
"Aaaargh! I wanted a kiss, not a bite! Aaaah! Nonono, it's my bad! My bad! I was completely bullshitting! Aaaah! Stop biting! My shoulders will fall off! Aaaaaaah! Madam Annie, spare me!"
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