Surprisingly, the one who broke the silence wasn't Larwin or Leguna, nor was it Harrison. It was Wendy.
She slumped forward with Innilis and Eirinn's help.
"I should've been punished for not being able to protect Miss Eirinn anyway. There's no need--"
"Shut up!" Leguna snapped, "Stand back! Know your place! It's not your turn to speak!"
Startled by his sudden rage, she took a few steps back.
Eirinn and Innilis met gazes before winking. They seemed rather satisfied with how he was dealing with things because they believed he could settle the matter.
"Can you give me a reason?"
Larwin seemed rather surprised. He knew Leguna was protective of his own, but the girl was a mere pawn in the bureau. Was Leguna willing to go against him for the sake of a girl he barely knew? Didn't he know when to quit while his losses were light?
But he simply didn't. He had never considered himself someone above others. In fact, his dream was to be able to serve and protect his wives and children. He never had the desire to climb up on top even after the passing of so many years.
Since he had no desire to fight for power, he didn't really care about offending the emperor. All he wanted was to defend Wendy. He didn't think he'd lose much by getting on Larwin's bad side, anyway.
He locked gazes with the emperor for a while. From the moment he talked back to him, he no longer found himself fearing the emperor's gaze.
"Wendy acted on my orders to protect Eirinn. She did no wrong and doesn't deserve to be punished."
Xeno, who looked like he came with Larwin, attempted to persuade Leguna. But Leguna shot him a glare and made him step back.
Larwin calmly looked at him before he smiled.
"This matter isn't urgent. While these people are in the wrong, they are warriors of the empire, after all. Leguna, Harrison, let your men recover. We'll settle this later."
Larwin's words finally eased the tension. However, Harrison seemed quite dissatisfied with the concessions made for Leguna. Even so, he was not stupid enough to complain about it at a time like this.
So, the matter didn't escalate. The celebration thereafter was relatively peaceful. Harrison didn't dare trouble Leguna thanks to the emperor and Leguna didn't get back at him either since he felt guilty over Wendy's injuries.
Eirinn, for her part, was picked to make an address as Annelotte had guessed from the polls.
The moment she got on stage, she only managed to make a greeting after much fumbling around. Even Annelotte and Leguna couldn't bear to watch.
However, a survey after the celebration showed that many male students of Second Magic Academy gave her performance on stage full marks. It wasn't because she said anything moving or insightful. All they wanted to see was how cute she would act in a public space. Based on what they saw of her alone, the money they paid to participate in the celebration was worth it.
After the celebration, Leguna didn't just sit around. He had to find out how Eirinn managed to get the ability to fight like that all of a sudden.
She was just a priestess, after all. For a job class that was among the least capable of fighting to be able to defeat eight mid-order warriors so easily within that short a time was definitely weird. That kind of combat prowess was huge pressure even to Leguna. He couldn't help but worry it could have bad side effects for her.
Additionally, Eirinn aside, there was the matter of One and Pyro's relationship. He wanted to have a chat with Pyro, though he doubted that could be achieved. At least, he hadn't given up on it yet, since Eirinn was involved.
So, he decided to visit Eirinn's teacher, Madin, with her. Madin seemed rather troubled by his request."
"This… My Lord is a supernatural existence. Normally, getting a reply from our prayers is already something we devotees couldn't be more thankful for. But you want to have a conversation with Him… To be honest, Sir Leguna, it could even be construed as an insult to my Lord."
"Please trust me, Mister Madin," Leguna sincerely said with both hands held together, "I have the utmost reverence and respect for the Sun God. I only asked for this because I have too many doubts. Is there a way at all that you can let me contact him?"
Madin furrowed his brow and sighed. "I believe we'll need Eirinn for this."
"Teacher, you mentioned me?" She pointed at herself, surprised.
"Don't forget, my child, you're a divinely favored--" He smiled benevolently. "--My Lord gives those favored by him extra care. If you pray to Him sincerely, you might just get a response."
"Then let's give it a try, Eirinn."
Leguna didn't even hesitate. He had far too many questions and couldn't wait to talk to Pyro.
Madin took them to a prayer room. Looking at Pyro's idol, Leguna couldn't help but feel hostile against it.
Yes, hostility. Even though Pyro gave Eirinn the power to help others and even made sure she could protect herself, he still couldn't help but feel that. It was instinctual for him.
"Let me not dally. I hope my Lord can give you his graces." Madin left the two in the room.
Leguna eyed the idol a little longer. "Let's begin, Eirinn."
"Okay." She knelt before the idol and humbled herself in prayer.
Leguna looked back up at the idol. Truth be told, he couldn't be sure why he was so against Pyro. Even seeing Eirinn kneel before him made him rather uncomfortable.
However, he had to do this to understand what was going on. He gave the idol a look of disdain before sitting down to wait.
He wasn't too confident that Pyro would answer the prayers anyway. He was a mere mortal and Pyro was a deity with hundreds of thousands of devotees. So what if another mortal prayed to him? It was no different from a peasant asking a noble for a loan of ten thousand gold coins to start a business.
That was why he sat there quietly, waiting for the improbable to happen.
A few minutes later, the idol glowed golden, much to his surprise. Pyro had responded to Eirinn's prayer and agreed to send part of his will down to converse with Leguna.
Madin immediately knelt when he saw the greatness descend.
Pyro… Pyro… you have finally descended. Is Eirinn really that important to you? he thought.
Eirinn fell unconscious. The idol glowed golden, seemingly alive.
It looked at Leguna and said in a pompous, male voice, "We finally meet again, Lord of Shadow."Previous Chapter Next Chapter