The two kids fell silent.
Kreighdon stroked Innilis’s small head as he muttered.
“She really looked like you a lot. They saved my life, yet my existence was the thing that doomed them.”
“Don’t be sad.”
Innilis was startingly obedient. She lowered her head and accepted Kreighdon’s stroking.
“That’s why, after I took power in my tribe, I forbade my tribesmen from invading human settlements,” Kreighdon said, “There was no way to pay them back, this was all I could do.”
“What’s past is past. They don’t blame you. It’s okay to stop grieving.”
“Makes sense. Since the past is immutable, there’s no point in wallowing in regret. Alright, let’s stop talking about this.”
“What did you do, Big Bro?” asked Innilis suddenly.
“Yup,” Innilis said as her eyes widened, “Even he talked about his past. You should too.”
“What’s there to talk about? I’m an orphan. All I did my whole life was rummage for food.”
His face smiled, but melancholy swam in his eyes.
Kreighdon pat the kid’s shoulder.
“We have nothing better to do, don’t keep it bottled up. Let’s hear it.”
Leguna finally nodded. His life was quite simple. He focused on the important bits and left all the mundane stuff out. Eirinn and the old guy were his everything in the first 15 years of his life. He went over how the old guy raised him and how Eirinn brought him happiness. He had nothing else.
Kreighdon sighed as the story caught up with the present. Innilis stared at her big brother, teary-eyed.
“Did you find Eirinn in the end?” asked she.
Leguna forced a smile.
“No. I searched everywhere when I was in Melindor. I even had the guild search as well when I came here, but nothing.”
“She’s a fine soul. I’m sure she’ll be fine,” consoled Kreighdon.
“Thanks. I’ll find her, eventually. Annie as well.”
Innilis stared at the boy and started laughing.
“What are you laughing at?” asked Kreighdon.
“I just had a thought. It’ll be interesting to see Big Bro sandwiched between Eirinn and Sis when he finds them!”
“Well… Haha… hahaha…” Leguna laughed dryly. He didn’t doubt his feelings for Annelotte, but he wasn’t sure how he felt about Eirinn. Regardless, he still had to look for her.
The three chatted as they dined. They were soon full and returned to their rooms.
Leguna pushed the door open to find Kurdak waiting for him.
“What’s up, Boss? It’s late.”
“It’s about time we left.”
“Leave? To where? Now?”
“Leave here,” Kurdak said, “Because… because Vera…”
“Do the orc trouble Sis?”
“Of course she’s unsettled. Her family was killed by orcs. That’s also why Balor wants to kill her. Her aside, I’m uneasy staying here. I don’t like the thought that the same kind of things that killed Cyranos are walking around laughing and being merry!”
“But we killed the ones who killed Cyranos. The orcs here have nothing to do with it.”
“I know with my head, but my heart won’t listen. I’ve been thinking—” Kurdak inspected the room, hallway, and windows carefully, “—Let’s assassinate Oljharok!”
“You’re crazy! Boss, don’t frighten me like that! Oljharok is a high-order shaman and Kreighdon is always by his side. How could you ever stand a chance?”
Kurdak smirked and looked at Leguna.
“We have you, don’t we?”
A sudden dizzy spell assaulted the youth.
“No. I have no idea whether I can, and Oljharok has been very kind to me. Even if I had the strength, my conscience won’t let me.”
“I doubt I could do it either,” Kurdak shrugged.
Oljharok had given them good food and treated them kindly since their arrival. He even had his best shaman look after their wounds. Kurdak hated orcs, but he returned kindness and grudges in kind. Oljharok had been nothing but good to them, he could not act against the orc.
“Then why bring it up?”
Kurdak rolled his eyes.
“So you’d agree to leave immediately. Think about it: if either I or Vera lost control and killed a couple dozen orcs everyone associated with us would be in trouble! It’s best we leave so it doesn’t come to that.”
“Well…” Leguna was still hesitant. A chance to train with a saint-ranked expert wasn’t commonplace, after all. While there wasn’t really a reason, he felt that it would be best to raise his abilities before he left for Chino.
“Hey, kid, don’t tell me you’ve gotten used to living here?”
“No… it’s just…”
Kurdak had no choice but to bring out his trump card.
“Oh, so you’re not in a hurry to look for Annie? There are quite a few nobles in Chino. It won’t take long for one of them to notice someone with her beauty and marry her.”
“I won’t let that happen! Her dad won’t allow it either!”
“Tch!” Kurdak smirked, “If not anyone else, would it be a poor pauper without power and status like you? How handsome do you think you are to think the Galestorm Swordsaint would go all the way to look out for you?”
Leguna’s heart chilled. The moment he imagined rich young masters like Bjord surrounding Annelotte all day he became furious.
“Let’s go! We’ll pack tonight and leave tomorrow!”
“That’s more like it,” Kurdak nodded, self-satisfied. He had convinced Leguna, so he need not bother with Innilis. She chased after the boy blindly so she was no issue. They could finally get away from these heartless beasts.
“Let me pack. I have to say my goodbyes to Oljharok and Kreighdon. We’ll leave tomorrow afternoon. Where do we go?”
“Do you have money, Boss?”
The ferry ticket to Chino wasn’t cheap, and Leguna didn’t have much on him. The burden fell on Kurdak.
“No… Those bastards in the Eye took everything when they locked me up. Neither I nor Vera have anything.”
“Alright. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
“Everything else is up to you.”
He knew how Leguna used to make a living. Given how much he’d grown, how hard could it be to get some coin?
Leguna went to Oljharok to say his farewells first thing in the morning. Oljharok kept his word, he didn’t trouble Leguna after his successful assassination. The great chief accepted the kid’s farewell without protest or complaint.
“We’re not of the same race, but I hope we will one day be able to form a friendship as strong as the brightest flames. I, Oljharok, will not forget the help you have given me.”
Oljharok looked at Leguna and gripped his hand tightly. “Thank you.”
“Thank you too,” Leguna stumbled in orcish.
“Kid, I don’t care what you do to yourself, but make sure you take good care of Innilis. I’ll storm Hocke and kill you if you don’t,” said Kreighdon seriously.
Leguna nodded solemnly.
Kreighdon sent Leguna out of the great chief’s palace. Just as the kid was about to bid him farewell and leave, an orc ran up to them.
Surprised, Kreighdon handed Leguna a letter.
“The guard says an orc left a letter at the great chief’s palace addressed to you this morning.”
“A letter addressed to me?”
He opened the letter. His face contorted violently when he read its contents.
“Boss, you will have to stay here a couple more days.”