"Angelista?" Leguna turned his head with great difficulty and saw the dark elf. After experiencing so much together, she had more or less become someone he could trust. While she was a little wild, she wasn't nearly as sinister as those of her kind. In contrast, she was among the most gung-ho person he knew. During the battle at Fort Kesta, she had protected Eirinn and Innilis, and that was proof enough for how reliable she was.
"What are you doing? I haven't seen you two for a while. Were you going after the big bad?" she casually asked as she came over.
"How did you know?" he asked. Nidhogg was something the empire's elite kept to themselves, after all.
"Isn't it obvious? There's definitely a good reason behind the sudden end of the Tide of Death. The first thing that came to my mind was the mastermind behind all this was gone. Coupled with the fact that Annie and you disappeared a few days before that, it's obvious how that came to pass. Come to think of it, shouldn't you be a hero that saved the human empire? Well… not that it has anything to do with me… Alright, answer me now. Why are you out in the wild? Mating?"
"Hero? I was set up. Now, they want to frame me as the one who killed Geoffrey. We had to escape from Melindor immediately, but I'm trapped, as you say. I can't leave."
"Oh… Is that so…"
"You don't sound too surprised, though."
"Not really. More like, from the point of view of dark elves, this result almost seems obvious," she said with a shrug.
"How so?" He felt a little miffed. He believed he had been unfairly treated through the whole affair, yet Angelista was acting like he deserved all of it.
"First, the empire gave you a dirty job they couldn't make public. While it must've been really hard for you, you were never going to receive fair treatment for it in the first place. Second, you're far too defenseless. You aren't wary of the people around you at all. We dark elves think we can only trust ourselves. So, being sold out by the empire should be among the first things you considered. Lastly, your deed is far too great. You humans have a saying: 'holier than the lord'. This is your exact situation. Think about it, if everyone knows that you were the one who saved the continent, your influence would eclipse that of the emperor! Do you think they'll let you off just like that? That's why wiping you out is the logical conclusion the empire will come to."
Leguna fell silent. He couldn't argue with her sensible explanation at all.
"Come to think of it, isn't it the ideal time for me to distance myself from you?" She giggled as she backed off.
"Do whatever you like…" He wasn't too disappointed in her response. If even Alissanda was going to come for his head, what could he expect a dark elf to do?
"Help us," Annelotte finally said, breaking out of her focus.
"Oh? How can I benefit from that?" She had been waiting for those words with keen interest all along.
After a pause, Annelotte said, "I don't have anything to give you now, so I can only promise you that I'll help you out unconditionally once."
She didn't really think she could convince Angelista to actually do anything. She could tell dark elves valued promises really lightly. They might as well be completely worthless.
What she didn't expect was Angelista to agree so easily. "A high-order magus's promise? Sounds good. Deal."
"You…" Even Annelotte was taken aback.
"Alright, I'll admit I want to help you lot out. Actually, I'm quite curious about your story, you see. I want to see how it ends with you. That's all."
"You think we're characters in a novel or something?!" Leguna muttered.
"Since that's the case, come help with the calculations! As long as we can crack this formation, we'll be able to leave." She didn't say anything else after shooting Angelista a glance.
"I think your plan won't work." Angelista turned towards the city gates. Being a dark elf, she had far better senses in the dark than humans. She could already hear the guards approaching. They were nearby.
"Sis, what do we do?" Innilis's eyes reddened with anxiety as she heard the footsteps grow louder.
"Quick, go. It's what we promised." Surprisingly, Leguna felt rather calm.
"No! I won't leave! I want to be with you, Big Bro! I'll be wherever you go! We promised!" Innilis hugged him without letting go, and Leguna knocked her out like he did Eirinn.
"Quick, go," he said to Annelotte, who was still making the calculations. "Leave first."
She bit her lip and looked at him, before ultimately choosing to give up. She went to a less exposed location and dictated the spell. A glowing mark appeared at her feet. It was a spatial marker, and with it, she would be able to use the transference spell to come back to that location.
"I'll be back." She carried Eirinn and Angelista helped carry Innilis. The dark elf didn't seem pressured by the approaching pursuers at all and even teasingly pinched her cheeks as she held her up.
"Don't come back. If I can escape, I'll do it alone. You don't have to risk it," he said helplessly.
"I will be back," she repeated before she entered the portal with Angelista.
"Goodbye, Annie," he whispered.
Annelotte paused for the slightest moment, before continuing without turning back.
"Come at me, you ungrateful, traitorous dogs!" He looked at the warriors that surrounded him and decided to struggle one final time and tell the truth. Even if he knew it'd be useless, at least, Alissanda would have to come face to face with the man he betrayed. So much for the sacred golden eagle!
However, things didn't go according to plan. A light shot towards him from afar. The burning energy from the sacred light knocked him out immediately. The one who dictated the spell scattered the remaining mana and told the soldiers, "Take him away."
"Yes, Lord Premier."Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Really sorry for how late this came out! Here it is!