The Drunk Man and the Little Girl
“Sniff… Eirinn, don’t go, alright? I’ve already become stronger. I can protect you now. You don’t have to feel scared anymore. You don’t have to fear anybody… I’ll beat up whoever dares to bully you. Sniff… Cyranos… I have wronged you. Even though I’ve already avenged you, I still feel horrible. No matter how many orcs I kill, you wouldn’t be coming back. Sniff… Boss… Boss I’ve wronged you as well… I shouldn’t have been so cowardly. If I were braver, you wouldn’t have ended up like that… Sniff… Sis Vera, don’t worry. I’ll go look for Balor and I’ll turn him back into the obedient brother you used to know him as. Believe me, Sis! I will definitely be able to do it! Annie… Annie, you don’t need to worry either! I’ll be able to protect you! As long as I’m alive, Balor will never be able to harm you again! I know you’ve been looking out for me all this time, but I’ve also grown powerful now. I can protect you back. I will no longer fear Balor! And you all won’t be leaving me either! Don’t worry, I’ve truly become stronger! And I’ll grow even stronger than that! So, don’t leave me… alright?”
Leguna mumbled on as he clutched Innilis’s hand tightly. Given how drunk he was, what he said wasn’t all that clear, especially with the intermittent sobs. Though both Leguna’s eyes were shut, tears flowed out of them without stopping. But no matter what he said or how much tears he shed, he didn’t let go of Innilis’s hand as if holding it was akin to holding his whole world together.
Innilis tried to free herself, but Leguna’s grip was too tight. She had no way of doing so. After that, she tried to call for help. But though her mouth was open, no words came out of it for some reason.
The other two men in the house were already dead drunk, while Vera and Annelotte were within the room on the first floor. There was no way they’d be able to hear what was going on upstairs. Innilis was alone in the room with Leguna, someone she hadn’t known for more than a day.
The moment that occurred to her, she started to feel afraid. But seeing the elder boy who claimed to be a mercenary far stronger than her own brother muttering and crying like that, the fear faded from Innilis’s mind. All she did was look at Leguna pitifully. She felt that he was not that much different from her own brother, Jaehart.
Even though Innilis was the youngest in the house, she was the most sensitive of them all. From time to time, she would notice her brother crying into his blanket with the door to his room closed. She didn’t know why he did so; all she knew was that her brother was feeling lots of grief. So, the little girl would often shed tears soundlessly outside her brother’s room.
However, she never once entered the room because she knew that her brother didn’t want her nor her sister to see him that way, given how he chose to cry when he was alone. So, she never disturbed her brother. She felt that perhaps that was why she didn’t want to shout for others to come and see Leguna when he was in that state.
“Don’t leave… don’t leave… all of you…” muttered Leguna on and on as tears continued to seep out of his eyelids.
Innilis looked at Leguna for a while, before she stretched out her hand hesitantly to stroke his forehead.
“It’s alright… Innie won’t leave. The others won’t either. Mister Leguna, you must be a good boy and stop feeling so sad. As long as you stop crying, Innie will sing you a song, alright?” As she didn’t know how she should console Leguna, she resorted to repeating whatever her mother said to her when she was young.
After she said that, she actually started singing a lullaby while stroking Leguna’s head nonstop.
Perhaps due to what she had done, Leguna began to calm down. The stable breathing replaced his unclear ramblings and he fell asleep just like that.
Innilis stuck out her tongue mischievously, but she didn’t stop singing because she was afraid Leguna hadn’t completely fallen asleep yet. So, she continued singing for a little while and only prepared to leave when she was certain he had entered slumber.
Despite being asleep, Leguna still clutched the girl’s hand tightly. Innilis tried once more to break free only to find that she wasn’t able to do so.
Pouting angrily, Innilis was suddenly inspired to play a trick after hearing Leguna’s rhythmic breathing. She used her free right hand to toy with Leguna’s long bangs and made a cute braid out of it.
After doing all that, Innilis had nothing better to do. Leguna’s hand was still tightly clenched, and she didn’t want to bother him during his rest. So, the girl resolved herself to sit there for the whole night.
But it didn’t take long before Leguna’s grip loosened. Innilis couldn’t help but smile when she regained her freedom. The day of housework had worn her out considerably and she was more than happy now that she could finally get some rest.
The girl gave Leguna a glance before she waved and soundlessly mouthed ‘good night’ and prepared to leave.
Outside the room, Annelotte waved to dispel the residual mana left behind from her dictation of Magus’s Hand. Before Innilis noticed her, she soundlessly made her way down the stairs and back into her room. Nobody noticed her doing all that as she was being incredibly quiet. It wasn’t known how long she had been standing outside the room before that either.
Morning the next day, a wave of laughter rang out in Jaehart’s house.
Leguna looked at Kurdak and Jaehart with confusion. Both of them looked at him as they would clowns. What are they laughing about?
“Hey! What’s there to laugh at?!” Leguna stroked his face and didn’t find anything amiss.
“Hahahaha! Vera, Annie and you two little ones! Come up here now! There’s something amazing here to see!” Kurdak didn’t bother to explain it and called for the rest, in fear that they would miss that amazing sight.
The moment the four women took a look, Vera broke out into a fit of laughter, before Minnie and Innilis started to giggle. Even the usually expressionless glacier girl could barely contain her smirk as her eyes squinted slightly.
“Hey, this ain’t funny! What’s going on with me?! Is there a joke written on my face?” Leguna felt incredibly awkward being surrounded and laughed at by the rest.
“Haha… There’s a mirror in the washroom. You… hehe… you ought to go check it out yourself.” said Jaehart with ragged breath as he clutched his stomach.
“What the hell… You all must have gotten seizures,” muttered Leguna as he headed for the washroom.
Before long, Leguna’s high-pitched shriek could be heard. There was nothing wrong with his face. The problem was his hair, more specifically, the braid Innilis had made out of mischief the night before.
Though Leguna had always been on the slender and fair side, spending two years of his life as a mercenary built up a domineering aura that seemed to dampen his less-than-masculine features. But the small change to his hairstyle with the braid Innilis made changed the vibe around him quite substantially.
The little braid hanging over his temple looked incredibly cute. It added a hint of girliness to Leguna’s overall outlook. If others didn’t pay close enough attention, they might just take Leguna as a girl.
The shriek was soon followed by laughter and mocking.
“Haha, Ley, I think you should let your hair grow to shoulder length! That darned Orwen couldn’t even come close to looking so feminine like you even if he wanted to!”
“Oh! Ley, Sis has always thought you to be somewhat of a cute little boy back then. i didn’t think you’d actually be hiding the qualities of a cute little girl in you! Man, girls these days sure grow up fast!”
“Whoa! Brother Leguna actually has the qualities of a beauty! Thank goodness I don’t swing that way. Otherwise, it’s hard to say whether I’d be swayed by his looks. You better watch out when you bathe in the future, especially if someone asks you to pick up their soap! Don’t ever agree to that, remember this well!”
“I believe that you have the most talent for disguise among everyone else in the guild. I don’t think anyone can compete with you in this.”
Hard as Leguna tried to undo the braid, he found himself in a tough spot, being someone who never braided his hair before. The more he fumbled around, the tighter the braid got until it rolled up into a ball of hair.
As Leguna was fumbling about in anger, he suddenly recalled something.
“Innilis, you were the one who did this last night, right?” said Leguna as he looked straight down on the little girl’s face. He could barely make out that it was Innilis who brought him back to his room the night before.
Faced with Leguna’s frighteningly angry expression, Innilis didn’t show even an ounce of fear. She blinked her emerald eyes and nodded. “That’s right, it was me. You got really drunk yesterday and kept on rambling to me about this Ei– Mmmpf!”
Leguna’s expression warped immediately as he pressed his hand against Innilis’s mouth. With a loud laugh, he said, “Ahahaha, I must’ve drank a little too much yesterday… I’m sure you’ve forgotten what I rambled on about already, right?”
As the others were giving him odd looks, he didn’t dare to hold the girl’s mouth close for long. Seeing Innilis blink, he had no choice but to let go and look at her nervously.
A hint of mischief flashed through Innilis’s eyes as she said, “Well… I seem to remember something, but…”
Leguna started when he heard what she said. But when he heard what came next, he asked, “But what?”
Innilis smiled. “If you can bring Minnie and I out to buy some snacks, I’m sure I’ll forget it all!”
“Innie, how can you have our guests buy snacks for you like that?” rebuked Jaehart. However, all Innilis did was pout her little mouth fearlessly.
“That’s not a problem!” Leguna didn’t mind it at all. He said as he smacked his chest, “The two of you will follow me today. I’ll buy you so much snacks from day to night until you eat to the point of puking! Come on!”
To prevent the others from asking any more embarrassing questions, Leguna hurriedly brought the two little ones out.
Behind Leguna, Minnie looked at her younger sister with shock. Innilis merely winked to her elder sister before following Leguna with a skip in her step.