"The emperor is dead? Who told you that?" Annelotte wasn't informed of anything during her imprisonment, so she was shocked to hear about Larwin's sudden passing.
"Lisana. She said Alissanda told her that personally," Leguna replied as they ran.
"That fat mister emperor is dead?" Innilis seemed a little saddened by the news. While she hadn't seen Larwin often, he gave her the impression that he was a strict, but kind, emperor. She didn't think he would die just like that.
After pondering for a moment, Annelotte asked, "What do you think is going on?"
After some hesitation, he said, "I trust Lisana. I think she's merely being used by Alissanda."
"I'm of the same opinion," Annelotte said. She had gotten along with Lisana for a long time and knew the kind of person she was.
"I hope she'll be fine through all this." He gripped Eirinn's hand tighter. It felt cold and sweaty to him, which was how she reacted when she felt anxious and fearful. He turned back and smiled at her. "Relax, Eirinn. We'll be fine."
"Alright…" She forced a nod and calmed herself and inspected her diatagi. After ensuring that the object was still there, her fear and doubts grew even more. That was the gift she received when she first met Pyro, the one she gave up looks, authority and power for -- the egg-sized stone. She had long had an inkling as to its purpose, but she didn't know where she would be able to use it. It was only now that she felt that Pyro gave it to her for a purpose.
"Alright. We've left the city gates. Now, we only need Annie to use a transference spell and we'll be safe for now!" Leguna breathed a sigh of relief.
"Stand beside me," she said before she began her dictation.
Spatial magic congregated around her fingertips and moved according to her will. She tore space itself open and input the spatial coordinates to connect the spaces.
"Alright, we'll-- Careful!" Right as she was about to pull them through, a shooting star flew towards Leguna.
Even with her warning, he wasn't able to evade something as fast as a lightning bolt, powerless as he was.
"Leguna!" Eirinn and Innilis cried out at the same time.
"Cough, cough! I'm fine… I think…" Despite the loud sound, he didn't seem to be hurt apart from being choked with dust.
"What's wrong? Come, quick!" Annelotte felt something was off and used a windstorm spell to blow the dust away. She couldn't help but start at the sight of him.
"I'd like that too," he said frustratedly.
"What's that?!" The other two gasped.
While he wasn't injured, there was an even larger problem. He had been completely subdued by the cuffs, which were held down by chains of pure light stuck to the ground. There was a fixed point on the ground where the chains were linked to, also made of pure light. The chains were really short and he could only barely kneel on the ground without being able to stand up.
In actuality, the cuffs, Godbinder, had two keys. The one Lisana stole could unlock the metal chains. There was another for the cuffs themselves and that was the compass Alissanda held. The compass is the real device that could control the Godbinder. Apart from undoing the seal on the cuffs, the needle of the compass would always point in the direction of the cuffs. Additionally, it could fire a beam of energy to pin down the person wearing the cuffs in a humiliating posture on the ground.
"Don't panic. Let me take a look," she said as she approached. She closed her eyes and sensed that the space around Leguna had been locked in. There was no way for her to use a transference spell that way. She tried other ways to dispel the magic and even tried using the disintegration spell on the chains, but it was futile.
Magic won't work on the chains. Then, the only way is to undo the cuffs to free him. She gave it some thought and had a rough plan. "Innie, come here."
"Huh? Okay!" She ran over quickly.
"I will use my enthymema to display the magic formation on the cuffs. Let us try to see if we can undo it." While Innilis wasn't that powerful as a magus yet, she had a unique understanding of magic theory.
"Okay!" She nodded hard, her emerald eyes filled with nervousness and solemnity.
Annelotte gathered all her enthymema. Breaking a magic formation was far more difficult than dictating a spell of the same formation. It was akin to picturing a finished machine based off nothing but the blueprints. She could project the magic formation with her enthymema and understand how the components were formed, but both of them were necessary to understand and decode the circuits in the formation. Once they cracked it, they would be able to destroy the chains easily.
But the moment the formation was projected atop Leguna's head, the two furrowed their brows. It was far too complicated. They would need at least a month or two to work at it, and they were pressed for time.
"There's no need for us to crack it completely. We'll only need to find a weak point in the formation," Annelotte suggested as she used a light pen spell to trace out her calculations in the air.
"Okay…" Though she responded, Innilis still felt urgency and despair. She knew that even that simplified task could easily take three to four days.
"If it won't work, you guys should leave!" Leguna cried. "I'll be fine! You guys go first!"
"Shut up!" Annelotte spat, before returning to her calculations.
"We won't leave you, Big Bro Leguna…" Eirinn, unable to do anything, could only sit by him.
"Don't worry, Eirinn. I'm quite tough, you know. I'll be fine. Please promise me you'll leave if there's danger, alright?" He hugged her to console her.
"No! No! I…" Before she finished, she felt warmth in her neck and fainted.
Leguna sighed helplessly. He knew that Eirinn wouldn't change her mind once it was set. So, he gave her a tap on her pressure point and knocked her out. Even without his impetus or gifts, knocking a girl out was still something he could easily do.
"I put her to sleep. Make sure to go if someone comes chasing, alright?" He lowered his voice and attempted to negotiate with Annelotte.
She gave him a look, went back to her calculations, before nodding. "Okay…"
Leguna breathed a sigh of relief.
"I say, are you guys into outdoor play? I see you have a thing for chains too! How about letting me join the fun? I, Queen Angelista, am an expert in this, you know!" Angelista said, looking at the busy few with an expression of shock.Previous Chapter Next Chapter