Annelotte to the Rescue
Within the meeting room of the Association branch at Starfall…
“So, you want me to let him go just like that?” asked Cordon with a peaceful smile.
In front of him stood a little girl. Even though he did not know the girl’s background, the rank of her Moonshadow badge was rather high. That was why he didn’t lord over the stunningly beautiful girl despite his high status as a branch manager of the Association.
According to what he knew, the only person with a badge of that rank in Moonshadow was Chief Executive Arikos.
Maybe Arikos sent her? he reasoned.
“Yes. I’m really sorry about what happened but both Leguna and Orwen are members of Moonshadow. We don’t want any awkward situations to develop, so we’d rather the Association release him. We’ll deal with him ourselves. You don’t have to worry, we’ll give you a satisfactory answer for what happened,” explained Annelotte.
She sounded cold as ice even while making a request.
Cordon really didn’t take Annelotte’s last sentence seriously.
Give us a satisfactory answer? You think we’d press the matter with Moonshadow for a small fry like that?
Then again, what caught Cordon’s attention wasn’t the fact that both Leguna and Orwen were members of Moonshadow, but rather, why a rookie working for their odd-job department had the higher-ups’ attention.
“Maybe you don’t know how the Association works. The punishment department isn’t under any branch’s control. They independent. Everything might have happened in Starfall, but I’m not the one you have to explain this to, the punishment department is,” explained Cordon in a troubled manner.
Annelotte smirked inwardly.
Cordon is too curious for his own good. He won’t let anyone go without an explanation.
She had already predicted something like this would happen. Her eyes flashed cunningly, she looked at her surroundings in a suspicious manner.
The guards stood at the entrance of the room expressionlessly, like sculptures. Annelotte raised her fine, beautiful eyebrow slightly as she looked at Cordon.
“Please forgive my transgressions.”
Annelotte made a few simple gestures as a faint magical light emanated from her fingertips. The guards tensed up in preparation. Even though they didn’t understand magic, even an idiot could tell the girl was dictating a spell. Cordon waved to calm the guards down. As a magus of the 13th stratum, he knew the girl was one training in the same discipline as he and was a magus of the 11th stratum. The spell she was currently dictating was one that even magus apprentices could use: the conference spell.[Please understand that this matter is best not known to many,] rang Annelotte’s deep, conferred voice in Cordon’s mind. [Naturally. Feel free to speak,] conferred Cordon after he dictated the spell. [You must’ve guessed who sent me from the badge, right?] [Sir Arikos? I heard the only person in your guild with such a badge is him,] replied Cordon after some thought.
A hint of a smile flashed across Annelotte’s eyes, the kind one got before playing a prank. She conferred, [You really know a lot. That’s right, this badge belongs to Sir Arikos.] [Then, his intention is…]
The moment Arikos was mentioned, Cordon began to worry. After all, the guy was Moonshadow’s chief executive. If Cordon heard something he shouldn’t have, how would Arikos deal with him?
While he’d never met the man personally, he was terrified of him just from hearing the rumors passed among the high-ranking members of the Association.[Mister Cordon, don’t worry. It’s actually nothing serious. This is just a debt the philanderous Sir Arikos incurred a few years ago. He had fallen for some girl at Starfall… Well, I won’t tell you the details… Basically, Leguna-was-the-result-of-that-incident. So, Sir Arikos sent me over to deal with this after hearing about it,] replied Annelotte.
“Ah, that’s how it is…” Cordon no longer bothered to use the conference spell and spoke with a smile.
While he didn’t show much of a reaction on the surface, his mind had fallen into complete chaos.
I knew it! When Annelotte mentioned that it was a debt because of Arikos’s philandering, I knew something was off! I was going to ask her to stop, but she suddenly sped up and revealed all of it! I’ve already heard too much!
Not a big deal?! The deal’s so big Sir Arikos’s reputation is at stake! This is a scandal concerning Moonshadow chief executive! One that concerns a high-order assassin of the 18th stratum! One that concerns the man known as the Shadowy God of Death! Aaaaaaah!
I bet he doesn’t want anybody to know about his past… Since I heard all of it, what will happen to me? Will I be silenced? I won’t believe you’ll spare me even if you tell me! Why did you speak so fast, little girl?! You seemed like a quiet person from your cold demeanor, yet your words push me into a pit of fire in an instant! Do you know how deep and hot the pit is?! I can never climb out of it! Just tell me it’s something you can’t reveal for goodness’s sake! You did this intentionally, didn’t you?! You blurted it out even though I didn’t ask you to!
“Let’s go fetch the kid. In only a few short hours… the young master shouldn’t have experienced any harm. Let’s go!” beckoned Cordon anxiously.
“Please wait,” Annelotte said as she looked at Cordon’s greenish-blue eyes that twitched in disappointment, “Leguna doesn’t know about this, so I can’t show myself. May I ask you to bring him out on your own? Just let him head off to the inn. Also, please don’t mention any of this to him.”
“Oh, I see. Alright. Don’t worry, I won’t say anything and won’t remember anything either. Sir Arikos doesn’t have anything to worry about! I swear!” pleaded Cordon as he cursed his own curiosity.
“Alright. I leave the rest to you, Mister Cordon. If there’s nothing else, I’ll take my leave. Thank you. I’m sure Sir Arikos will remember this favor,” nodded Annelotte politely.
Cordon sweated coldly.
“There’s no need! No need at all! It’s my pleasure and honor to be able to help Sir Arikos! He doesn’t have to remember something so minor!”
“Either way, thanks for your help today,” thanked Annelotte with the same cold tone that lacked sincerity.
Cordon no longer minded her attitude, however, and nodded before seeing her off.
“Come on! Follow me. We have to let the kid go!” roared Cordon to the guards after the girl had left.
Leguna sat on the chair and drank yet another cup of water, bored. He had been locked up in the basement and had been worrying about what the Association would do to him. But nothing had happened even after so much time. Though bored, he couldn’t resist the thought that the place was rather comfortable and even provided free water.
It wasn’t that the Association didn’t want to punish him for his transgressions. The degree of trouble the incident had caused had yet to be verified and they had to determine the appropriate punishment they would give out first. While punishing only the instigator had its own share of problems, there had to be some kind of consequence to deter further repetitions of similar transgressions by others. If the punished were brought down into a cell and given a pummeling without any reason, it would breed enmity between the punished and the union. So, though the punishments were usually cruel and violent, the Association would make sure to analyze the incidents objectively and give the fairest trial they could on a case-by-case basis to make sure the resolution satisfied all sides.
The metal gate was unlocked and a middle-aged man dressed in a light grey magus’s robe entered. It was none other than Cordon.
He checked the boy and thought, Tsk tsk tsk, I knew he wasn’t normal. Look at his slender figure… it allows him to stay out of sight easily no matter where he hides, just perfect for stealth missions. And those eyes… Those sinister and insidious eyes… As expected of Arikos’s son. They look exactly the same…
While Cordon hadn’t met Arikos before, he had built up an idea of how he would look from all the rumors he heard. After seeing Leguna’s troubled expression from hearing him click his tongue, he instantly decided Leguna was Arikos’s own flesh and blood.
Being stared at for so long by the magus, Leguna couldn’t help but let his imagination run wild.
Don’t tell me my punishment is to be stared at this weird-looking man until I break down. Wait, is he using a psychic attack? No wonder I’m starting to feel a little weird!
In actuality, he only felt ill from drinking too much water and having to hold back his urge to pee.
“You’re free to go,” said Cordon as he personally unlocked the cuffs on the boy’s feet and hands.
Weren’t they going to punish me harshly? Why’s it over already?
“Just leave, there’s nothing to be surprised about,” Cordon said.
He turned to the guard.
“Take him outside. Don’t tell anyone I gave the order. You don’t need to explain anything to anyone.”
Seeing Leguna leave, Cordon hesitated before he used the conference spell.[No matter who you come across, remember. I don’t know anything about this!]
After giving Cordon an odd look, Leguna nodded.