One time, Leguna had been rather worried about Eirinn in recent days as he hadn’t gotten to see her for quite a while. Even though she occasionally wouldn’t be let out of the house by her adoptive father for a time, this particular time felt longer than usual.
He didn’t want to visit her at her home because when he had done so once, her burly father threatened to beat him and it also lengthened Eirinn’s grounding. He had not gone to her home since. The fact that he hadn’t seen her for more than two weeks, however, was worrying. After much consideration, He made the decision to go to her house.
Knock knock! Leguna tapped the door.
“Good day. May I know if Eirinn’s home?”
He was given no response even after a few tries. At first, he thought nobody was home. But just as he was about to peek through the small opening at the bottom of the door, it opened and a pair of eyes reddened by alcohol stared straight at him.
“And here I was wondering who it could be. Aren’t you the little lass’s loverboy?” slurred the man.
Leguna could smell the pungent stench of alcohol on his breath.
“Good day, Sir. I’m looking for Eirinn. Is she around?” asked he, not caring about how rude the man was.
“Eirinn? She’s not here!” yelled the man before he slammed the door shut.
Through the door, Leguna could hear the man mutter.
“That stupid lass… Getting unhappy just because I wanted to feel her up a time or two… Ptooey! Who would want to touch an ugly thing like her?!”
He knocked on the door once more.
“Will you quit it?!” roared the man angrily.
Leguna looked at the man’s well-defined muscles and gathered his courage. He took two large gulps of air, straightened his back, and spoke up.
“Is Eirinn not home? Where is she?”
“I already told you she’s not here! Don’t f*cking bother me again!” barked the man before he slammed the door.
A little worried and panicked, Leguna continued to hammer against the door and cried nonstop, “Is she really not home? Where did she go? Just tell me and I’ll go look for her! Please, just tell me where she went and I’ll go off to look for her and stop bothering you!”
The door bust open for the third time. The man could no longer suppress his anger.
“Darn it, can’t you just leave me in peace? I already told you she’s not here! She won’t ever come back here! Stop bothering me and scram!” yelled he.
Upon hearing Eirinn wouldn’t return, Leguna got even more desperate. He mumbled incoherently and tried his best to peek into the house to see whether Eirinn was there, but before he stretched his head inside, he was pushed away. The man slapped his face and kicked him in the gut.
“Come again and I’ll break your leg! F*cking hell, what’s so good about that thing anyway?!” shouted the man before he shut the door.
Leguna groaned in pain for a good moment before he crawled back up. Kneeling by the wall, he began to cry softly. It was the first time he cried since the old guy’s death. He was sad, anguished even.
The two had been each other’s first friend. The kids in the slums loved to gang up to bully others, and the introverted Leguna naturally wasn’t included in their groups.
That’s why, apart from the old guy, Leguna had no one else to talk to. He withdrew even further following the old man’s death, but Eirinn brought light back into his world. She gave him hope and joy. She made him more optimistic and pleasant with each passing day.
Leguna knew that had it not been for Eirinn, he would definitely still be wallowing in lonely sorrow. He might not recognize who he became after all that had happened. It was Eirinn that changed him, changed his life, by becoming his first friend with whom he could share thoughts, talk, and joke.
But now, that friend was gone. His light was gone. All that remained in his world was darkness. What would he do? What could he do?
Where’s Eirinn gone? Would she be bullied again? I’m no longer by her side, and there’s nobody I can talk to anymore! I can’t protect her anymore!
Leguna despaired, he had lost everything. There was no one in the world who’d talk to him anymore. He remembered the words the burly man had said just before he slammed the door the last time.
“What’s so good about that thing anyway?!”
There were some things in the world some would regard as trash, and others treasure. While people valued things differently, nobody would let anything precious be trampled on. It felt worse to have what you value looked down on than if it happened to you! Perhaps Eirinn was someone the man could do without. Maybe he even regarded her as a good-for-nothing only good for wasting his food. But Eirinn was Leguna’s everything. She was the only person he cherished. While he didn’t mind that a kid like him from the slums was treated like garbage, he wouldn’t let that happen to the only thing he had.
It’s one thing for you to call me pathetic, but I won’t let you do the same to the only person I have! She’s my only thing, my everything! If I let you do as you want, I would be worse than garbage! I won’t let you deny my reason for living!
The words the man uttered sent pain burning through Leguna’s chest. Each time he repeated them in his mind, he felt a needle pierce through his heart. More than grief and pain, he felt anger. He hated others for looking down on him and even more those who did the same for Eirinn. Wiping the tears from his face, he gradually stood up.
Even though he was cowardly, he never failed to resist the best he could when others picked on him, even if he would end up even more injured. He wanted those who wronged him to know what he was capable of. And that day, the person in the house was the one that infuriated him!
Bam! The door to Eirinn’s house was smashed open for the fourth time. This time, however, the whole door was sent flying.
Leguna had already stopped sobbing. Even though tears still marked his face, his eyes still puffy, he wore a mask of emptiness when he stared at the man.
“Hell, aren’t you a strong one? I guess you really want your leg broken, huh?” said the man with a higher-pitched voice, as if it would give him more courage.
He felt something change in the boy and thought even he might not be able to handle him.
“Tell me where Eirinn is and I won’t kill you.”
“To hell with you. Let’s see if you can stay this arrogant after I break your leg!” The man, angered by the boy’s attitude, swung his huge fist.
The speed at which it traveled foretold the loss of four of Leguna’s teeth.
Something unexpected happened instead. Leguna lightly clenched his fist like he was holding a small feather in his hand. The small arm, about as thick as a branch, unleashed extraordinary power as he grabbed onto the man’s fist.
“Tell me where she is if you still want your arm,” repeated he once more, expressionlessly.
When the man saw his eyes, he felt an odd sense of fear. He recalled the boy’s irises were bluish-black, but now, they had turned pitch-black. It was a color so dark not a trace of light could be seen within.
The pain coming from his wrist snapped him out of his stupor. Leguna gradually squeezed and caused the man’s bones to creak under the immense pressure.
He cried out like a pig before the slaughter. After seeing that he had struck enough fear into him, Leguna loosened his grip.
“I… I sold her,” stammered the man like a frightened deer.
A chill flashed across Leguna’s eyes as he unconsciously applied more power.
“Who did you sell her to?”
“Agh! Stop! I can’t tell you who I sold her to, they’ll kill me! Aaaagh!”
“I won’t let you off either,” said Leguna coldly, clenching even harder.
“They’re not people you can afford to offend! Aaaah!”
“That’s my problem. Consider whether you still need your hands for your work.”
“Alright! I’ll tell you! Damn, just let go! It’s gonna break! I’ll tell you everything!” cried the man.
Leguna loosened his grip. The man slumped to the ground, panting. Droplets of sweat as large as beans filled his forehead as if he had just done extreme exercises.
“The Lorsen Merchant Guild… I sold Eirinn to them for three gold coins…” panted the man with his head lowered.
There was nothing but silence for a while. The man didn’t know what Leguna was doing, and he didn’t dare to raise his head to look. All he did was look down to Leguna’s dirty pants. He had no idea what would happen next.
“Aaaaaahhh!” cried Leguna like a wolf that had just lost the last of its pack.
It was heart-rending to the point the man could feel the pain and grief hidden inside.
Hearing Leguna’s cry, he suddenly recalled how good Eirinn was. That ugly little girl seemed happy no matter which day it was. Every time he returned home from a hard day of work, she always had bread and mead prepared, silently waiting for his return.
Even though he sometimes beat her when he was in a foul mood, Eirinn always wiped her tears away in the corner before she proceeded to clean the house without uttering a sound or complaint. He suddenly felt rather regretful, but upon thinking back to the three gold coins he received from Lorsen, all sense of remorse he felt vanished. After all, the money allowed him to frequent a brothel for three whole days, and the women there’s fair bosoms weren’t something he could feel normally.
Leguna’s body shuddered. He clenched both his fists so hard his nails drew blood.
Eirinn’s gone… Sold for a measly three gold coins!
Anger and frenzy filled his mind, clouding his consciousness at the same time.
Leguna really wanted to give the man a harsh beating. He wanted to cripple him, maybe even kill him. But he managed to hold back. No matter how vile he was, he was still the one that had raised Eirinn and Leguna knew if she were here, she wouldn’t want him killing the man.