The assassin didn't fall for Annelotte's provocation.
He dashed forward quickly, intent on forcing her into a corner.
Even though he was only of the 14th stratum and Annelotte was a high-order magus of the 17th stratum, the assassin didn't really mind the gap. He believed that it could be made up through other means.
Those means included time, status, terrain and positioning. Stok's harsh training imparted upon him the importance of such factors.
That was why he decided to begin his attack in the tight space of her room where she wouldn't be able to put much distance between them. A magus without the advantage of range was a dead person in the eyes of an assassin!
That was why he was feeling so confident. He had dropped off two bombs at the alchemist lab just now. Those new bombs researched by the Stokian magic school were quite effective. He could hear the sound of the explosion from so far away.
After making sure that Kadir completed his mission, he undertook the next phase of his plan. He was going to wipe out the crucial person working on the magic cannon replication project: the new high-order magus of the Hocke empire, Annelotte!
I wonder if my reputation will explode if I manage to kill her... thought the middle-aged assassin as he glared at her. The girl was no different from a sheep waiting to be slaughtered before his eyes.
However, Annelotte didn't seem tense at all. She took out a long robe from her dimensional pocket. Otherwise, she would be fighting in her sleepwear, which left both her legs exposed. Even though it wouldn't wake long, she wouldn't want to let him catch a glimpse of her body even a moment longer.
The assassin adjusted his breathing before going in for another rush.
Annelotte just finished putting on her robe. Even though it was still messy, it was already good enough that it covered her body.
She didn't hold back any longer and agilely rolled to put a little more distance between herself and the assassin. After that, she dictated a weakening spell and a petrification spell immediately.
She can dictate so fast?! His eyes widened from the shock. He had the body count of some five magi in his hands. Even though it was his first attempt at a high-order magus, he never would've imagined that they could dictate so quickly!
She seemed to be rolling on the ground just now, right? The two restrictive spells shot out from her fingertips the moment she got stable footing again! That kind of speed isn't just rare, it's completely unheard of!
However, Annelotte didn't give him the slightest opportunity. The moment she unleashed her two spells, she didn't hesitate to instant cast a force-field spell to block the assassin from retreating. The two beams of spells shot into his body after that.
She nodded after inspecting the unmoving assassin. But it instantly occurred to her that if she was attacked, what of the lab? There was also Perelia, who was living in Galestorm Manor. She was key personnel to the research and couldn't be harmed no matter what!
Just as Annelotte was about to dash outside, Marolyt charged towards her the moment she left her room.
"Waaaaagh!" Marolyt was the exact antithesis of his usual, neatly dressed self. He had nothing but a pair of black pants on and his hairy chest was in full view. However, nobody could tell that he was an old man with silvering hair based on his figure alone. He probably had bad sleeping habits as his hair was messy beyond the point of comprehension. Even hens wouldn't want to use his hair as it was now as a nest.
The sight of his daughter's unkempt clothing reddened his eyes immediately. His body blurred as he broke through the window into Annelotte's room.
Before she could finish, the crazed man shot a stream of sword essence through the man's head from his fingers.
"Annie, are you alright?" Marolyt no longer cared about the assassin and turned to his daughter concernedly.
"--t..." She finished blankly.
"Huh?" Seeing that she wasn't in big trouble, he breathed a sigh of relief. "What's there to wait for?"
"I wanted him alive for Leguna to interrogate--" She shot him a dissatisfied glance "--I already had him subdued."
"Ugh..." He scratched his messy head awkwardly like a student being lectured. "Well... I'm sorry. I was too anxious just now and didn't see it clearly."
Annelotte shot him a helpless glance. She was quite infuriated at what he did, but the sight of him with his unkempt hair and wearing nothing but a pair of pants softened her heart.
"Master may be quite crazy sometimes and make you angry, but I hope you tolerate him a bit. He has never born any malice towards you and is only a little clumsy at times." Annelotte couldn't help remembering what Lisana had told her.
She sighed. "I don't blame you... father... that person seemed quite well trained and I doubt we would've been able to extract much information from him, anyway. But I still need you to not act so recklessly in the future."
"Ah, sure. There definitely won't be a next time, promise!" He was relieved and elated to hear her call him 'father'.
"Miss, ah!" Alaine cried the moment she saw the corpse in the room. She had rushed over to see what was going on.
"Dumb lass, what's there to cry about? Aren't you afraid of disturbing the neighbors?" Marolyt reprimanded.
"But... but there's a dead man inside!" Tears were already welling up in her eyes.
"Lady Annelotte..." Perelia had also come, but she didn't have that great a reaction Alaine did. Her expression merely shifted slightly at the sight of the corpse.
"Is that a Stokian assassin?" she asked.
"I can't be sure yet, but it's possible. Do be careful."
"Hey, what's-your-name!" Marolyt yelled at the servants, "Get rid of that corpse for me and clean up the lady's room. Oh, wait, don't bury the corpse. Just toss it out."
"Leave that to me!" Leguna said as he blinked into existence. He was still stained with the blood of Kadir.
"Did something happen at the lab as well?" She gathered what had happened from his sudden appearance.
"Yes," he said with a gloomy nod.
"What about Innie..."
"Don't worry, she's fine," he forced a smile and said, "she did get a little injured from the shockwave of the explosion, but she's fine otherwise. She fell asleep before I came here."
"Is that so... It's all my fault. If I hadn't asked her to help out..." she said with a guilty look.
"It's not your fault. My defenses were too lax. And..."
Leguna's eyes burned with rage, "It's those Stokian pigs! They really asked for it this time!"
"Let's not be reckless." She knew that he was truly angered. If she didn't say something to stop him, he might be up to something foolish.
"I know." He took a deep breath. "Gerd!"
"I'm here!" Gerd was covered in sweat from having to keep up with his pace. The other agents behind him also seemed to be out of breath.
"Inspect the body properly, right now! Tell me right away if you find any leads!"
"Hey, my home isn't your autopsy hall!" Marolyt protested.
"Please bear with us, pops. We're in a rush," he pleaded. They were in the home of the swordsaint after all.
The old man looked at Annelotte and saw her nod. "Fine! But make sure to cleanup before you leave! I don't want to see a speck of blood or meat around my house!"
"Master, don't say it! It's terrifying to hear!" Alaine said with a pale look.
"Hahaha, lass, come warm my bed!" Marolyt said after dragging Alaine away.
"Are you really gonna let that fly" Leguna asked at the sight of the struggling maidservant.
"Don't worry. Alaine isn't that easily handled. And father... shouldn't do anything excessive... probably..."
"Sir, we found a crest!" Gerd said with the golden crest in hand.
Leguna received it and saw the eagle on the crest as well as the name.
"Geoffrey you bastard!" he said with grit teeth.
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