A few days later, Leguna, Geoffrey, Alfreid and the other ministers of the kingdom went to the gates of Melindor to welcome Lisana. Larwin had arranged for the reception to show his support for Alissanda's choice and to test out the unfamiliar swordswoman. If she didn't perform well on such an occasion, he would have to revise his evaluation of his second son.
He was surprised that Lisana practically shone in front of the crowd. Though she returned in full gear, she was well presented and clean. Though she lacked the elegance and beauty of most noblewomen, her prestigious and brave air more than made up for it.
Additionally, she didn't falter in her conversations with those who received her. She didn't even wince when dealing with the troublesome Geoffrey, which earned her the approval of many.
Naturally, that was thanks to Annelotte and Leguna's help. One of them was the principal of the rival magic academy and the other was the head of the bureau. Geoffrey didn't dare to cause a public scene.
Lastly, Annelotte also declared that Lisana was her father, Marolyt's only disciple. After she showed her closeness with Lisana, many in Melindor began to accept her as the second prince's fiancee.
The reason Annelotte did so was due to the letter Leguna sent her before she returned. He reminded her that while Larwin had acknowledged Lisana's status, that didn't mean the public would necessarily agree. Many jealous and envious noblewomen had formed little cliques to show the 'women for whom His Highness had somehow fallen' what a proper noble was. Some peasant girls with princess complexes also had ruffled feathers and carried out a small demonstration in the city.
To prevent Lisana from having to go through any trouble, Annelotte had to publicly announce their friendship. Given her popularity and fame in the empire, the noblewomen and peasant girls had no choice but to relent. While some wouldn't admit she was superior to them in terms of beauty, nobody could argue they were more talented than her.
In the end, Lisana made her return without a hitch, much to Leguna's relief.
He quite liked Lisana. She wasn't a schemer and had a likeable personality, not to mention her sharp wit and keen understanding of others. Most importantly, she had saved Eirinn's life before, something which put him forever in her debt.
As for Annelotte, she had been quite fond of Lisana since the moment they'd first met. The two had also spent quite some time together when Marolyt was giving her personal instruction. It wouldn't be wrong to say that they were as close as sisters.
That was why the two of them worked together to help her out without any reservations. They genuinely wished she could have the ending she always dreamed off with her brilliant prince.
When the reception was over, Lisana went to the palace to see her father. After seeing the old man ramble on with tears for a long moment, Leguna and the rest left out of boredom. It wasn't the first time she was at the palace anyway, so she would know how to deal with trouble if it came.
But to thank them for their help, Lisana extended an invitation to get them to stay for dinner she and her father prepared. The hungry few didn't turn it down and decided to have a cookout in the palace's kitchen.
Surprisingly, while Lisana had been with the army for the past five years, her culinary skills were still sharply honed. Her father was also at least as capable as the chefs of the palace. The dinner made Leguna's mouth water so much and the secret voracious eater, Annelotte, didn't hold back either. Even Leguna, who knew about her huge appetite, was shocked to see the amount she ate that night.
In the next few days, Leguna and the rest returned to their usual routine. He wracked his mind in the bureau thinking up ploy after ploy to get the Stokians and Annelotte resumed her duties in the academy. Eirinn, on the other hand, remained in her infirmary to stay clear of Leguna's nonstop 'harassment'.
Innilis, however, began to suffer from nightmares rather regularly after she returned.
She opened her eyes and saw the ruins of a fort. She was standing in front of the entrance and the weed that grew all over it looked like sharp demonic claws.
She turned around and recalled that this was where the nightmare had begun. It was the hellscape covered in blood, limbs and corpses: Fort Kesta.
Though she knew she was only dreaming, there was nothing she could do about it. Unlike meditation, she wasn't able to break out of the dreamscape with her willpower. She couldn't even freely control her thoughts and body.
"Don't think about it… don't think about it…" she reminded herself with what little will she could muster.
The gates of Fort Kesta gradually opened.
A dry sound of iron being dragged across the ground could be heard.
In the weak light, she could see a figure slowly walk out of the gates, dragging a heavy greatsword behind him as he limped and stumbled forwards.
She felt her scalp numb. Her instincts yelled at her to run, but her body was completely paralyzed. She could only shiver.
The figure was closer than ever. Innilis could see its… no… her face… and to her horror, it looked much like her own.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Hey guys, apologies for the late release! Expect one at the usual time today!