The moment Leguna reached the entrance, he saw Marolyt sitting outside quietly.
His calmness was just a facade. He could be seen rubbing his beloved sword, Azureflash. The azure blade reflected blue light in the sun and looked really eye-catching.
Apart from the bright color, Leguna could feel the seething killing intent in the air. He felt a gust of it come for him the moment he entered the yard.
Droplets of sweat could be seen on his forehead. He wasn't worried that Marolyt would kill him as that was impossible. Even though he looked insane and thuggish, he was someone who understood sense. Even though Annelotte was injured this time, it had nothing to do with Leguna at all, so he trusted that Marolyt wouldn't lash out at him for no reason.
He only sweated nervously out of pure fear. Someone described as a saint of myth rank wasn't just above the 20th stratum, their training also improved in a qualitative sense. Someone who wasn't able to achieve that would never be able to break through to the 20th stratum.
The change in realm not only brought with it access to higher strata of power, it also changed the body fundamentally. It was as if creatures who practically lived on two-dimensional planes like ants evolved into three-dimensional animals like dogs and cats. There were many changes that came alongside change as fundamental as that, and that included reaction, lifetime, understanding of the world and matter, grasp over the laws and so on.
In other words, when a human broke through that level, their lives would turn fundamentally different. The changes would manifest themselves in a kind of pressure. For instance, humans in the eye of ants were terrifying and mysterious creatures, and that was how saints or myths appeared to normal people.
But since they looked identical, these experts could hide among the populace if they managed to remove all traces of their aura. But now, Leguna could feel the pressure inside Marolyt's killing intent. That showed how truly mad he was.
"You're back," Marolyt said coldly at the sight of him.
"Yes. Things went well," he carefully replied.
He understood what Xeno felt like when facing him. It was no different from facing an angered Marolyt.
"Alright. I'll leave the rest to you."
Marolyt prepared to leave.
"Where are you going, pops?" Leguna couldn't help but ask.
The look on the old man's face spelt 'I'm in a bad mood and going to kill a few people'.
"Avenge Annie, of course." He kept his sword away through some unknown means. In a strikingly calm voice, he said, "There was actually someone who dared to harm my precious daughter… I have to make sure they pay no matter what. So what if it's an empire? Anyone who dares harm my daughter will be cut down, empire or not! I'm going off to take apart that old undying Jilroan's palace!"
Leguna could tell that the old man wasn't kidding from his expression.
But pops! The palace is not somewhere you can just waltz in! Even though Stok doesn't have saints or myths, who knows what they have hidden away? I happened to encounter a myth-rank magus as crazy as you! I think he's most likely stronger than you! You'll be heading to your death, not to take them apart! Think twice! Haste makes waste!
The thoughts flashed through his mind as he considered how he should calm him down.
Ever since taking three slaps from Annelotte, Leguna stopped acting as rashly as before. He knew that Marolyt definitely had his judgment clouded by rage, so he tried to stop Marolyt and even shot Xeno a gaze.
In the end, Xeno's eyes flashed with inspiration. "According to the bureau's investigations, the Stokians are definitely not involved in this."
"What did you say?!" Marolyt yelled with his eyes widened, "Who else could it be? Someone from within the empire?"
Xeno looked at Leguna to hint whether he should tell Marolyt about the incident. It was the bureau's secret intel, after all, and it might not be appropriate to leak it.
Leguna nodded. Stopping Marolyt was the highest priority and the intel wasn't that crucial anyway, so there was no problem with leaking it.
After getting Leguna's affirmation, Xeno said, "Even though Sir Leguna didn't instruct me to, I had a lookout posted near Miss Annelotte's quarters. He's only there to ascertain her whereabouts, not to observe her."
"You did well," Leguna said in an attempt to sooth Xeno's nerves.
"The lookout went in to help the moment the incident happened. According to him, he didn't see any suspicious person entering and leaving the premises. The corpses in the rubble were also registered and they shouldn't be Stokians either."
"So you're saying someone inside the quarters could be responsible for it?" Leguna asked.
He was the one who arranged for Innilis and Annelotte's quarters and it was actually property of the bureau. It was quite inconspicuous and he didn't have many servants posted there. Annelotte only went there after she finished her research. It was so sudden that even her personal maidservant, Alaine, wasn't aware of it.
In other words, there was only one explanation for the plot against Annelotte and Innilis. The culprit had this long planned out and was able to act at any moment Annelotte returned.
Stok probably had an informant hidden deep within their ranks, but that didn't make too much sense either. If they wanted to take Annelotte out, they should've done it before the magic cannons were completely restored. But Larwin's announcement was made a few days ago, so what was the point of it? To show their objections?
But if the Stokians didn't do it, the puzzle got even more complicated. Who would plot against Annelotte at a time like this?
Even though Marolyt looked rather like a madman, no fool would actually be able to reach the saint realm. He understood the implications of the intel.
There were only a few people who would act at this kind of timing: Geoffrey, Alfreid, or even Larwin and Alissanda. How should he deal with this if that was the case?
If it were them, Marolyt wasn't afraid of tearing down Larwin's palace to get him. But he couldn't do so until he was certain. The Hocke imperial family had funded him for nothing in return for years. Even the emperor himself would address Marolyt with a respectful 'mister' when they met. If Marolyt was playing into the hands of others and turned against his benefactors, his reputation would be completely ruined.
So, he began to hesitate. Leguna noticed it and struck while the iron was hot. "Pops, don't rush this. Annie and Innie are till unconscious, right? With Eirinn and her teacher's care, I think they'll be fine. Let's wait until they regain consciousness. Maybe they know something."
Marolyt kept silent for a moment and nodded. "Alright. Let's do that."
"By then, I will make sure we have an explanation for this. The bureau will work hard to investigate this, rest assured," Leguna added.
"Alright." Marolyt breathed a deep sigh and looked at Leguna. "Kid, you've matured quite a bit from back then."
"How can I not after all that I've suffered?" he said while scratching his head awkwardly, "I don't want to see Annie and the rest getting endangered because of me."
"I feel relieved hearing you say that." He patted Leguna on the shoulder. "Alright, since you're back, I'll take a rest first. I really am feeling a little tired."
"Sir Marolyt hasn't slept for four days since it happened," Xeno whispered.
"Thanks for the hard work. Leave the rest to me, pops." Fighters weren't magi after all. Even for a saint, going without sleep for four days was no doubt harsh.
Marolyt waved solemnly and left.
Leguna entered and noticed that Eirinn and Madin weren't there. Alaine alone was standing by the beds of the two girls like an unmoving log with a desolate expression.
The sound of the door opening caught her attention. When she saw Leguna, she suddenly broke into tears. "Lecher… you're finally back…"Previous Chapter Next Chapter