"Grandfather? Marriage?" The others looked at her with a look of puzzlement.
"As you can see," Lamir said with a shrug, "I'm already 26. Normal noblewomen of my age would be teaching their children how to read by now, but I'm still single. Even though I'm not really anxious about marrying myself, my grandfather seems rather impatient."
"Of course he would," Leguna said, "You're almost at the right age to be a spinster."
"Oh? Then, my young Leguna, I wonder if you want an old spinster like me?" Lamir said.
"Well..." He didn't really know how to respond. His rage for her had already faded and while Lamir wasn't the kind of stunning beauty Annelotte was, she was still good looking in her own right. Perhaps because of the time she spent growing up in the church, she also gave off an air of sacred grace. Only her actions didn't match her outlook, but that contrast only served to boost her charm.
As such, though Lamir hadn't practiced seduction before, her attempt at a seductive glance made Leguna's heart skip a bit, causing him to forget how he swooned over Annelotte's surprising behavior the night before.
"Don't even think about it!" Annelotte said with a start. It just occurred to her that Leguna was a good candidate for Lamir's husband too in Manhattan's eyes, maybe even better than Kurdak. As for age... that wasn't an issue!
Annelotte blocked in front of Leguna like a kitten trying to defend its food for the first time in her life. Hmph, Eirinn and Innie is one thing, but I'll never allow another Lamir into the group! If this fellow is really that lecherous, I suppose I'll have to give him a stark reminder!
"Looks like Annie likes you quite a lot!" Lamir said with surprise.
"Huh?!" Annelotte just noticed what she was doing. Weakly, she tried to argue, "I don't! H-how could I? Don't make things up!"
"How am I making things up? You obviously look really anxious about it!"
"You! That's impossible!"
"Fine, it's impossible. You don't need to get so worked up, Annie," Leguna said. He was accustomed to her signature refusal to admit her feelings. Lamir had practically driven a stake through the spot that hurt.
"You, don't listen to her ramblings either!" Annelotte warned Leguna.
"Yes, fine!" he weakly replied.
Lamir chuckled after seeing the two act. "You two... hahaha... you're truly too interesting!"
"Don't laugh!" Annelotte was on the brink of losing herself.
"Fine, I won't... Mmmmff..." Her tears flowed from how hard she tried to stop.
"Hmph!" Annelotte regained control of herself once more and turned away, refusing to look at the general's granddaughter.
Lamir took another half a minute to stifle her laughter. She looked at Leguna and said, "I didn't think that Annie was actually..."
She didn't voice the rest of her sentence in fear of her acting out again. Instead, she mouthed, 'do your best!' to Leguna.
"Ah, I will!" he said, nodding furiously.
"But Annie, don't worry. My grandfather didn't even consider Leguna in the first place."
"Why is that?" the others asked.
"Because of Lord Marolyt," Lamir said, swiping a gaze at Annelotte, "He is the only one nobody should ever offend. That's common knowledge among us northerners!"
"Even if the two of you got married, that's your own matter. What does that have to do with my father?" Annelotte mused.
"Hey!" Kurdak nudged Leguna at the waist.
"What's up?" He shot him a confused glance.
"Did you notice that Annie changed?" Kurdak asked in a whisper.
"Well..." Leguna blushed slightly and replied, "To be honest, I noticed it recently too."
"Oh? Let's hear it. What happened?" Kurdak's interest was piqued.
"What else could it be? It's puberty of course! Boss, you don't know something so simple like that? Annie's only eighteen. It's the prime time for her breasts to develop!"
"You little!" Kurdak almost gave Leguna's face a square slap. "I wasn't talking about her figure! I'm asking about her behavior!"
"Ah... Boss, it's all your fault for asking me something like that with that kind of expression."
"Buzz off..." He suspected Leguna got a few more screws loose after spending half a year at the bureau. "Seriously, did you notice?"
"In terms of her personality... I don't think I see any difference."
"You idiot..." Kurdak sighed. "I can immediately tell that she changed a lot."
"At the very least, her feelings are clearly expressed on her face! Put it simply--" Kurdak patted Leguna on the shoulder, "--she's acting more like a girl of her age!"
"What did she used to be like then?"
"She..." Kurdak wanted to say something else, but he felt a wave of cold from Annelotte's direction, so he hurriedly shook his head. "Whatever, it's nothing."
"Ah, I see..." Leguna also smelled the danger and quickly changed subjects. Lamir was still explaining the reason for her prank.
"So? Even if General Manhattan views Kurdak with high regard, what does that have to do with your prank here?" Annelotte said after turning back.
She smiled and said, "even though Grandfather is quite tolerant on me for most other things, he's insistent on this one. Recently, he's been getting even more anxious about it. So, I worry that he will ignore how I feel and wed me to a man I hate. I think that man might be you, Mister Kurdak."
"Oh, so you hate me after all," Kurdak said crestfallenly.
"Of course not! I like you a lot, but it's not that kind of like. I know that if I alone am against this marriage, Grandfather might ignore me. But if the two of us express our objection to it, I doubt he'd have much to say about it. That's why I came to see how you feel about the matter today."
"Then why did you reveal that it was all a show before I even replied?" Kurdak asked.
"Because there's no need."
"Even though we haven't spent much time together, I can tell how deep the relationship between you and Miss Vera is. There's no way you'll abandon her," she said as she gave the silent Vera a look, "If you really did so, I doubt she would forgive you, nor would Lord Dark Requiem and Miss Annelotte."
"Based on the way you make it sound, I won't be able to agree to the general even if I want to!" he joked.
"That's the point! Alright, this matter ends here. I apologize once more to all of you. If you can forgive me, I'd like to stay and have a chat to hear your adventure stories over the years. If you can't, then I have no qualms about leaving now."
"Come to think of it, I was too rash about it. I am also sorry for how I acted," Annelotte said coldly.
"Great! Now that you mention it, I think it's the first time I've seen the two stars of our empire together! I have lots of questions for you, thought I'm not sure if that's appropriate..."
"Feel free to ask. If it's something we can answer, we won't hide it!" Annelotte was aware that she went a little too far and wanted to make up for it.
"Then... my first question is..." She fingered her lip in hesitation before she said, "When did you and Leguna become lovers?"
"I said that we weren't!" Annelotte snapped immediately.
"But you look a lot like lovers! Even Leguna didn't deny it, right?"
"Leguna, don't laugh over there like an idiot! Let's clear things up!"
"Hehehehe... Owowowow ouch!"
The occupation of Seatide put an end to the tense atmosphere at the army camp. Leguna and the rest enjoyed each other's company till the late night before disbanding. Granted, all of it was obscured by Annelotte's sound barrier. Celebrating so obviously right after a battle was perhaps a little too much.
It was the first time Leguna let himself relax. He finally got to meet Kurdak after all this time, but he would be leaving him for Melindor the next day, so he wanted to make their meeting count.
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