Lisana appeared in the palace like a suspicious wraith. It was only then that she understood how tough it must've been for an assassin to infiltrate the palace.
I must be going crazy, she thought as she evaded a patrol guard.
During the night, Lisana came to visit Leguna…
"I…" Upon hearing that sudden request, she hesitated. Imprisoning Leguna was something Alissanda had been informed of and agreed to. Would she really go against his will? Back when the decision had been made to lock him up, she had argued with Alissanda about it. Surprisingly, however, the usually easygoing prince didn't give even an inch on this matter. While the order to imprison Leguna came from Geoffrey, Alissanda didn't make any attempt to object to it. He even seemed a little angry when Lisana brought up freeing him. Would she really be going against his wishes at this point? For nobody's sake but Leguna?
Leguna saw her expression and didn't say anything else. He knew she had refused. While she didn't say it clearly, her expression had told him all he needed to know. She didn't wish to go against Alissanda, her fiance.
"I'll try it!" she said all of a sudden after a long silence.
"Huh?!" He was genuinely surprised. He himself thought that he had owed the girl far too much. Whether she agreed was one thing; even if she decided to slash him to pieces, he wouldn't have a word of complaint. After all, without her, Eirinn would've died at Fort Kesta. Yet, she was agreeing to his request…
"Think through this properly. I don't want to force you to do it," he said after some hesitation. "This is something you can't take back. You don't have to take this kind of risk for me and go against Alissanda's will."
"I am well aware of what I'm doing," she said resolutely. While Alissanda was her one and only love, that didn't mean she would lose her own will and stance on certain matters. That was blind worship, not love. She would never become that and would hold her own views. If she felt anyone was wrong, she would correct them, even if that person was Alissanda.
That was why she decided to sneak into the palace. Alissanda had casually mentioned that the cuffs that sealed Leguna's power was a divine item. It could seal all sorts of power, be it impetus, mana or gifts, of the target and it required a specific key to unlock, which was located in Alissanda's office desk's drawer.
After this corridor, I'll reach his office… Even now, she still couldn't believe what she was doing. She was actually going to steal from Alissanda for Leguna's sake. Whom among the two did she trust more?
I trust myself and my own judgments, she thought to herself. It wasn't that she didn't trust him. Her judgment simply told her he was in the wrong.
After she steeled her resolution, she continued to move. At that moment, a patrol guard suddenly walked out from the corner without giving off any sound, not even is footsteps. Lisana drew a cold breath and immediately jumped the moment the guard stretched out one leg.
The guard walked past her without batting an eye. She landed lightly on her feet and breathed a sigh of relief. She had used her impetus to fixate herself on the ceiling, which was a really difficult feat to do using impetus. Had Marolyt been there, he would have been cheering for her amazing performance.
She finally came to Alissanda's office. It was the office of the field marshal of the empire, but Alissanda was seldom there as he always joined the troops when they deployed. She drew her sword, Gale, and infused a fine trace of impetus into it before cutting the door open. The door was locked with magic, and to enter, one would have to use a magic crystal key with the correct mana wave signature to resonate with the lock and unlock it. Obviously, the crystal was always on Alissanda's person, so Lisana had no choice but to force her entry.
"Huh? Why is there a sound?" a guard wondered.
Lisana heard the guard, but she focused her attention on controlling her impetus to cut at the door.
The footsteps gradually got louder. She sneaked into the small hole she made in the door like a nimble kitten and quickly replaced the hole with the piece she cut open before the guard noticed.
"Phew…" She let out a relieved sigh after the guard left. Sweeping her gaze across the office, she began her search.
The key should have some runes on it, she thought. She had observed the cuffs properly yesterday. There was indeed a keyhole on them. What she had to find was a key that had similar runes.
Found it! It went so well! She finally found the key in a large drawer of the desk. It was a silver key that gave off the same magical light as Leguna's cuffs. She knew on first sight it was what she needed.
After that, she left from the window. She had to rush to his side immediately and release Leguna.
Not far away in a nondescript room in the palace, two figures stood in silence as they watched Lisana sneak into the office to steal the key.
"Looks like things are going well," one figure standing by the window said. The moonlight shone against his golden locks. The rest were all covered in the shadows.
"Your Highness…" pleaded the other person, kneeling on one knee.
"Alright, Xeno, you don't have to do this," the person addressed as 'His Highness' said, shaking his head. "Didn't I promise you that I'll go according to your wishes?"
"Thank you, Your Highness!" Xeno changed his pose and kneeled on both legs with an agitated look before kowtowing to the person nonstop.
"Go, quick. I believe Leguna will go seek you out soon enough." He smiled at the sight of Lisana disappearing into the shadows. "It is an important day for you. Go forth and prepare!"
"Thank you, Your Highness!" Xeno thanked once more and impatiently left the room.
The figure left behind in the shadows looked outside at the night view of the palace. Not long after, footsteps could be heard approaching.
"Your Highness," another person greeted as he bowed to show his submission.
"Say, do you think I'm taking a wrong course of action?" the person asked.
"There's nothing wrong about it--" The person shook his head. "--The late emperor had confirmed that Your Highness is the true heir to the throne. What Your Highness is doing is merely taking back what belongs to Your Highness."
"But, I feel like I'm doing a lot of wrong for the sake of the throne," the person said with a hint of bone-deep pain. "For this throne, I have to kill my own brother and… plot against my lover and my good friend."
"Leguna isn't necessarily a good friend. As far as I'm concerned, Your Highness can't even compare to Kurdak, Annelotte and the rest in his eyes," the person said in a low voice. "I'm sure Your Highness has also noticed that the empire, nay, the whole continent, can no longer endure any more conflict. Currently, we need a great and wise leader to guide us. Your Highness is the only candidate fitting of such a role."
"Another sacrifice, huh…" He sounded soft spoken, but he didn't seem to be willing to accept such a result.
"That's right, a sacrifice. Your Highness has long understood this principle, no? For the sake of the peace of the majority, the sacrifice of the minority is necessary. And now, the next person to be offered up for this peace is your own brother… and… a so-called friend."Previous Chapter Next Chapter