The meat fell from Frenda's hand, but she didn't take notice at all. She stared at the entrance of her house in disbelief. The person she couldn't be more familiar with was standing there, smiling.
"Sir Leguna… You're finally awake!" Claudius was the first one to react. While he didn't know Leguna that well, given that his memories of a decade ago were quite blurry, he was well aware that he and his mother would've perished in the frozen highlands had it not been for him. That was why he felt really grateful to Leguna. He was all too happy for him, now that he had finally awakened.
"You know my name?" Leguna furrowed his brow and put his guard up. He didn't know how long he had been out, but based on his understanding of Alissanda, that crook would definitely tell the empire Leguna was the one who almost destroyed the continent and made him public enemy number one. Since the two of them knew his name…
"Sir, don't you remember me?" Frenda said as she noticed the alertness in his eyes, "I'm Frenda! Frenda Torimia!"
"Frenda?" He still seemed rather doubtful. Back then, he didn't really consider saving them a big deal, so he didn't really take her name to heart.
"It was back when you went to the northern highlands to seek the king, Legg, out…" She paused. No matter what, Legg was Claudius's biological father. After making sure Claudius didn't react to it, she said, "Didn't you save a barbarian woman and child during the negotiations? We are those two."
Leguna gave it harder thought and could finally remember Frenda from his memories. He slapped his forehead and said, "It's you!"
"Yes, it is us!" Frenda said, happy that he recognized her.
"Us?" Leguna turned to the large youth next to her in disbelief. "Are you the child from back then?"
"Yes, Sir Leguna," Claudius said with a nod, "I'm Claudius. My mother named me that."
Leguna pondered in silence for a moment. "How long have I been out?"
"It's already been ten years, huh…" Leguna muttered, "I didn't think that much time had passed…"
"Yes, ten years have indeed passed," Frenda said with a nod. "Much has changed in the empire. The corpses in the south have more or less been eliminated and the Empire of Hocke is now the one true hegemon of Chino."
Leguna fell silent and looked around. "Did you… take care of me like this for all ten years?"
Frenda and Claudius crossed gazes. She then said, "Umm… Sir, we live only humble lives. If our care has been inadequate in any way…"
"No, you misunderstand me," Leguna said, shaking his head, before he bowed. "I am really grateful to you for taking care of a useless burden like me. I am in your debt."
"Sir Leguna, where did that come from?" She stood up in a panic. "If not for you, the two of us would've died. We're merely paying back what we owe you. How could we accept that bow?"
Leguna looked at the nervous two and nodded. "Alright, I'll stop discussing that then. Also, don't need to call me 'Sir'. I'm just a human fugitive. Just call me Leguna."
"Yes, Si-- Mister Leguna," Frenda said.
"I'll call you Frenda and Claudius then." He knocked on the table with his finger and said, "I now have a rough grasp of what happened in the past ten years, but I want to know about two people. I wonder if you've heard of them."
"Si-- Uncle… are you talking about Madam Eirinn and Innilis?" Claudius asked.
Uncle, huh… he thought as he stroked his bearded face. "Yes."
"Before Sir Kreighdon left, he told me to pay attention to these two women's whereabouts, but it's too bad we didn't hear anything about them in the past decade," Claudius said.
Leguna's expression turned a little sour. He took a deep breath and said, "Alright, I got it."
"What are you going to do next?" Frenda asked.
He gave it some thought. "I will seek out the people I should, and collect the debts I'm owed. I've been in your care for the past ten years and it's about time I left to settle things."
"Can you hear me out on one thing?"
"I know you're worried about Eirinn and Innilis, but I hope you don't be too rash," Frenda said, "You just woke up and are definitely still not well adjusted enough. You need more rest."
"But how can I--"
She didn't let him finish. "Then what can you do even if you find them in this state?"
He was speechless.
"It's one thing if they're living in peace. What can you do if they're held captive by the empire? Based on your personality, you'll definitely charge in without thinking again, right? But that would be pointless. You're going against the whole empire, perhaps even all humans. What you need is great power. I admit that you might have that power already, but you just woke up. There are many things you have to give time to adjust to, including that power. I think it's best you don't leave immediately and only go after you are sure you can control your power well enough."
He gave it a little more thought and nodded. "You're right."
Just like that, his life with the other two began. While some in the town were shocked that the man Frenda had been feeding over the years could finally move about, even more of them were congratulative of him. The town chief and a few other kind households even sent him some health gifts in hopes he would recover faster and support Frenda's family so she wouldn't have to bear such a heavy burden herself.
Even though they had misunderstood the relationship between Leguna and Frenda, their sincerity was genuine. Leguna felt quite complicated when he looked at the rare herbs the townsfolk gave him. He hated the foolish common folk for Annelotte's death, but after experiencing their hospitality, he couldn't possibly vent his hatred on them.
Humans truly are weird creatures… he thought in exasperation.
The bell beside the town's notice board was rung. For normal notices, they only had to be pinned on the notice board. Only national notices had to be alerted through the use of the brass bell. That sound meant that Emperor Alissanda had something crucial to announce to the entire empire.Previous Chapter Next Chapter