"The millennium capital… I didn't think I'll return to this place again…" Leguna looked at the ancient city and couldn't help letting out a sigh. It hadn't been more than two years since he last came to the city. In that short a span of time, the old and prosperous city was now old and nothing more. The atmosphere there was depressingly silent.
Annelotte and Lisana seemed a little downcast at the sight of the city. It was the oldest and most prosperous city in the whole world and they had imagined how it actually looked like on many occasions. They didn't think they would get to see it in such a dark and deathly state.
"That's right, I'm back…" Myr sighed. That was where he grew up. He was no doubt the one that felt the most loss for the city's current state. What else could he do apart from sigh at the sight of the place that held so many memories for him?
"Let's go," Leybecca said, not the least bit surprised by how it looked. She was the first to head for the gates.
"Doesn't Nidhogg have anyone standing guard there? It's his base of operations, you know."
"Don't worry. It's not just the gates; the whole city is deserted. There's not a single undead patrolling it," she nonchalantly explained, "Didn't I mention that he was expecting you?"
"And didn't I say that can't be possible? I mean, look at me!" He paused, before saying, "It'd best to be more careful."
"Suit yourself. Let's just have a group invisibility spell cast on us," she said, not bothering to argue any more.
It was as she had said. The millennium capital was now a ghost city. There wasn't a single undead on the empty streets. Leguna stood outside Sartre's mansion for a good, long moment before the rest decided to set up camp there to rest up and prepare for the assassination. Killing Nidhogg was no child's play. The plan they came up with on the way there was to scout out the forest of the magic academy first. Only after they made sure Nidhogg was there would they carry out the operation at night.
"This is where we first met," Leybecca said as she approached Leguna, who was zoning out alone in the garden's pavilion.
"First?" He turned to look at her, before asking out of the blue, "You're an extraneous lifeform, right?"
"Yes," she admitted. There was a hint of joy in her eyes that she couldn't hide when he figured it out. "Do you remember anything now?"
"I'm sorry to disappoint you. I'm only guessing based on your actions."
After some hesitation, he awkwardly said, "Umm… I have another guess about our relationship."
"Let's hear it." The light of hope burned in her eyes. While she couldn't reveal anything, she could still give a positive or negative response to his guesses.
"Alright, I won't."
"Well… Since we look so… so similar… and… you're always helping me out… so could you be…"
"Could I be what?" Her eyes glowed.
His voice was softer than a mosquito's buzz. "Could you be my… mother?"
She froze completely upon hearing that.
He knew his guess was mistaken the moment he saw her reaction. "Well, you do behave like one! I feel close to you for some reason and you're always helping me out without any good reason! With the two of us looking so similar and you being an extraneous lifeform, I've been wondering whether my mother could've turned into an extraneous lifeform somehow to protect me or something… Aaaaghhh… I know my guess was wrong. Forget what I said!"
"So you still haven't recalled anything, huh…" She sighed in disappointment. After a moment, she broke out into laughter. "Hahaha… Mother? Why aren't you a daring one? Hmhmhmhmh…. I can't take it anymore! Hahahahahaha!"
"Hey! You said you won't laugh!" he cried in exasperation, not worried about raising his voice in the slightest since Myr and Annelotte had used some silence barriers around the mansion.
"I'm sorry! I really can't hold it in! Hahahaha!" She clutched her stomach tight and almost fell over. She was laughing so hard her face was flushed. Her long, black hair gave off an alluring luster under the moonlight.
Leguna felt a little dazed. He didn't understand her at all! She was a bundle of mysteries. Was she really the Stokian assassin, One, shrouded in mystique? If so, why would she help him time and again? If not, who in the world was she? Why would he feel such an inexplicable, unconditional trust for her?
In a few short seconds, countless questions flashed through his mind, not a single to which he had an answer. But now, he no longer needed one. He once more confirmed how he felt. He was certain that this extraneous lifeform that looked so much like him, this mysterious female assassin, wouldn't lie to him at all. The only reason he thought that was the genuine, heartfelt smile and laughter she showed. It was something no liar could possibly act out.
Leybecca had her fill of laughter and noticed him zoning out at the sight of her. Blushing, she whispered, "What are you looking at?"
"Nothing! I just thought you looked pretty good!" he stammered like an idiot.
Her blush reached the tips of her ears in an instant. She held her cheeks tight with both hands. After a while, she squeamishly whispered, "Can… can you hug me?"
"Can you hug me?" she asked, louder this time.
"Umm…" He turned to look around. After making sure nobody was around, he sneakily stretched his hands out and pulled the girl into his embrace.
Leybecca breathed in greedily as if she was trying to engrave his scent into her mind. She then pointed at his chest and asked, "Do you feel guilty because of Annelotte and the others?"
"Umm…" he muttered in a blissful and pained voice. To be honest, he did feel rather apologetic to them, but he couldn't control himself. For some reason, his opinion on Leybecca increased to new heights. He felt that even if she didn't make that request, he would've hugged her all the same.
However, he dared neither to affirm nor deny her statement. If he denied, he would merely be a shameless liar. But if he agreed, he would be a shameless cheater. Since either option cast him as shameless, he decided to shamelessly dodge the question.
"I'm sorry… Let me be selfish just this once! I've become so tired after so many years…" she muttered while hugging him tightly.
"Let me be selfish just this once… since I won't be here for much longer… This only time… will also be my last…" she said, but not at a volume he could hear. She didn't even let him notice the tears welling up in her eyes.
"Is that really fine?" Lisana asked Annelotte from a distance, seeing the two hug so tightly.
"Why do you all ask me that? This has nothing to do with me."
"You know you are."
"Is there a point for us to argue like this?"
"… so what?"
"Why don't you stop them?"
Annelotte paused for a long moment. "I don't know. But I feel like this is something Leybecca deserves."Previous Chapter Next Chapter