"Did I... fall asleep?" Annelotte said, surprised. Even though she was tired, it was the first time she dozed off like that. Did she relax her guard around Leguna? What kind of joke was that?
"Maybe you're just tired," Leguna said, trying his best to keep cool.
"How did you approach me?" She knew how alert she was even in her sleep. The assassin back then only had to touch the door to her room the slightest bit to wake her. Oddly, she didn't notice Leguna until he lifted her up.
"I... I only held you up a little gently."
After a moment of silence, she whispered, "Put me down..."
"Okay..." But just as he was about to do so, he noticed that her legs were bare. The slipper she was wearing had fallen off. The girl's bare right foot sported finely tended nails and looked rather cute.
He hesitated and said, "Hmmm. I think it's best I take you back."
'Can't you just put me on the chair?' was what she wanted to ask. But for some reason, the words caught in her throat and she couldn't say them.
While she was hesitating, Leguna already carried her into her new bedroom. The previous one she used was covered in bloodstains from the battle and Alaine managed to break free from Marolyt to prepare a new one.
By the time she noticed, Leguna had already put her in bed.
"No, the lab was attacked. I have to go look!"
"I'll deal with the lab. You just get some good rest!" He pushed down her shoulder lightly. "You don't really have much opportunity to get any proper rest, so make sure not to waste tonight."
Given her personality, she would definitely not let Leguna do something like push her down. But ever since that night at Seatide, she started to find her behavior weird. For instance, she didn't even bother to resist right now.
"Ummm... I think it's best you pull your blanket up yourself." Leguna's mind seemed rather sluggish as well, making him say something so unnecessary. It was the summer and blankets weren't really needed. Her unique condition as a water swayer also meant that she couldn't catch a cold.
"Thanks, lecher. With me here, the mistress will be fine. I think it's best you leave immediately!" Alaine stepped in at the most inappropriate moment. When she saw Leguna carrying Annelotte into her room, she was fuming mad. That was a bad influence on her mistress! And he was going to tuck her in too? There was no way Alaine would allow it!
You lass... call me lecher again and I'll string you up for a beating at the bureau! I'll even let my hard-working subordinates there relieve themselves after their long work! Let's see whether you dare to call me lecher again! he cursed venomously.
But on the surface, he did nothing more than stick his tongue out. Alaine was Annelotte's cherished personal maidservant after all and they were closer than most sisters were. He merely let the room obediently.
"Hey!" Annelotte called out right before he stepped outside?
"What is it?"
"Just think well about what I said today! I don't--"
"Don't worry! I trust you. I'm glad that you told me that without holding back!"
A little taken aback, she nodded and whispered, "That's good."
"Alright, get some good rest!" He waved and left the room.
"Hey, Miss!" Alaine approached the bed and twitched her eyebrows. After spending quite some time with Annelotte, she soon learned about her hot-cold personality and noticed the change in her.
"The lecher seems rather gentle today! He's not like his usual naughty self!" Alaine said excitedly, "Your training worked wonders on him!"
"Don't talk nonsense, Alaine!" Annelotte's face flushed pink, but the maidservant didn't quite catch it in the darkness. Despite that, Annelotte turned around and had her back face her.
"It's not nonsense! I think..."
"Take my slipper back for me. One of them is left in the guest room next door," Annelotte coldly instructed after she regained her cool.
"Fine..." Alaine weakly replied. "Seriously... It's the first time I've seen someone as tardy as you, Miss!"
"You little!" She turned around with the intent on teaching her a lesson, only to see the maidservant stick her tongue out and dash out.
Even though quite a commotion occurred at Annelotte's lab, it was nothing more than a noisier night for the folks of Melindor.
Morning the next day, Annelotte made her way to the lab. Leguna did as he promised. Even though the explosion wrecked the lab considerably, the highly efficient bureau managed to restore it to its former state in a matter of hours.
By the time she arrived, the bureau agent handed her the summary of the casualty report.
There were three dead and two injured alchemists and eleven dead and thirteen injured assistants.
Annelotte felt rather guilty about the whole thing. It was her lack of preparation that allowed for this accident to happen. Apart from himself and Perelia, the other alchemists working on the project were those she invited from the court magi association.
Even though replicating the magic cannons was a huge undertaking, there were only some ten alchemists working on the project. After the attack, three of them died. The specimens of the magic cannons they spared so much effort to procure was also ruined. The attack to the lab set their research back by quite a bit.
Annelotte wasn't the only one who was pained by the incident. Master Myr, the chairman of the association, also saw it as a huge shame. However, he spoiled Annelotte a little too much and didn't say a single harsh thing to her. Instead, he dragged Leguna and the imperial capital guard captain for a long lecture.
Myr pointed at the captain and said, "And you call yourself the imperial capital guard? What exactly did you manage to guard, huh? How many crooks did you manage to arrest?"
Wasn't I caught by them and locked up a long time ago? Leguna thought lazily.
"You can't even deal with a Stokian agent? Let me be frank here. If the Stokian troops reach our gates, what good can you do?" Myr turned around and saw Leguna's gleeful expression at the sight of the captain being lectured.
"What are you laughing about?!" he said with a glare.
"No... i wasn't... I wouldn't dare..." Leguna hurriedly lowered his head. Even though he didn't interact much with Myr, but he knew from hearsay that he was a man with a heated temperament and a stubborn personality.
That aside, he was a rather fair and impartial person. Not only did he not flaunt his status as chairman around, his stubbornness was also rooted in his righteousness. However, his most impressive aspect was his might.
Myr was known as a quasi-myth.
In the whole of Hocke, apart from yet-undiscovered hermit experts, Myr was acknowledged to be the strongest magus on the continent. The only one who he could compare to was the principal of the Stokian school of magic, who was also hailed as a quasi-myth. However, the principal had a far worse reputation than Myr.
Apart from him, the only other person that could lay claim to being quasi-myth was the Stokian emperor, Jilroan. But his advanced age probably meant that his magical capabilities had begun to deteriorate.
Leguna was quite respectful towards Myr. Even though the old guy was quite irritable, he was capable and reliable. Leguna also tended to appreciate people who acted frankly and straightforward. Not only that, ever since Annelotte joined the court magi association, Myr treated her well and even admired her talent.
Leguna had thought Myr to be an old man trying to take advantage of Annelotte, but after much observation, he realized he was merely projecting his pettiness onto the man. That only made his respect for him grow.
That was why he didn't feel the slightest bit awkward or pissed at being lectured by Myr, despite his position as bureau head. The old man had even chastised the two imperial princes before, to say no less of a grass roots orphan like Leguna.
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