Alissanda spat out a mouthful of blood. Even though Kurdak wasn’t his match, he didn’t expect that he would fight so desperately. The first three to five bouts should be testing bouts to see what the opponent was capable of. But Kurdak fought like a rabid dog and used full force, which took Alissanda a little by surprise.
In that short time fighting him, Alissanda finally managed to break out of the frenzied attack by suffering a blow. Kurdak wasn’t faring that well either. His constitution was far from the saint-realm Alissanda’s and blocking his counters was taxing enough already. His innards were also harmed by the blasts of holy impetus.
“Boss!” Leguna felt a little anxious seeing Kurdak hurt within five minutes of the fight. He stood up and tried to charge in, but Vera stopped him.
“Don’t interrupt,” Vera said, looking at Kurdak. “He has to do this!”
“We owe you too much, Ley. Every time we’re in trouble, you come to save us. We couldn’t help ten years ago…”
“I know. Perhaps there’s some things we can’t help at all,” Vera interrupted, “But no matter what, we’re your brother and sister. How could we let our little brother be bullied? No matter how weak we are, we have to stand up for you one way or another.”
Leguna fell silent and chose to watch the battle.
While their duel wasn’t as impressive as Leguna and Nidhogg’s, it wasn’t one bit less dangerous. Kurdak was fighting without regard for his own life and Alissanda struck back with anger, frustrated from being pushed around. The both of them fought like sworn enemies and tried to end each other’s existences for good.
Kurdak’s greatsword struck Alissanda on the chest, but the impetus armor and actual armor he wore mitigated the blow, leaving only one obvious mark on the armor, not damaging Alissanda much at all. Instead, Alissanda used that chance to land a savage kick against Kurdak’s arm. Even Vera could hear the heart-wrenching snap from a distance.
They retreated from each other. Alissanda spat out another mouthful of blood and Kurdak’s left arm hung limply from his shoulders.
Despite Kurdak’s heavy injuries, he was still filled with fighting spirit. He raised his greatsword with his right hand and prepared to charge in again.
Alissanda hesitated for a moment before raising his hand and yelling, “Heed my orders, soldiers of the empire!”
“Ptooey!” Kurdak spat out some phlegm and blood. “What is it, Your Imperial Majesty? Didn’t you want to duel me?” he mocked.
“I have no obligation to risk my life in unnecessarily dangerous situations,” Alissanda plainly said before he waved for the troops to continue the encirclement.
“Ptoooey!” Kurdak spat once more and slung the greatsword on his shoulders, before walking back to Leguna.
“I’m sorry, Ley. I’m useless. I couldn’t even make the stand for you count,” he said apologetically.
“No… Boss, Sis Vera, you’ve been wonderful to me. I know that.”
Kurdak smiled. “Let’s leave the catching up for later and leave first.”
“You have a way, boss?”
“Of course. I came all the way here to save Innie. Now, I just have to take you and a few others along,” he said, like everything was under control. He then turned to Alissanda. “Your Imperial Majesty, I would advise you not to act rashly.”
“And why should I listen?”
“They’ll tell you…” Kurdak smiled mysteriously and snapped his fingers.
Half a minute later, nothing happened.
Awkward silences and stares ensued.
“Hey! Come out, quick! That’s the cue! Don’t you see it?” Kurdak yelled with his face flush from embarrassment.
“We agreed on coming out after you called. We just arrived, but didn’t hear you call at all. Did you hear that? Sir Kreighdon?” A petite man said as he appeared beside Leguna out of nowhere.
At the same time, another figure jumped off the distant rubble and landed near Leguna and the rest like a bomb. Surprisingly, the huge figure landed without causing any fuss. Not one bit of dust was beaten up.
“I didn’t hear it either,” Kreighdon said with a chuckle. His voice sounded like a deep bell. Those who knew this orc knew that he was far more powerful than a decade ago.
“Arikos? Sir Kreighdon?” Leguna was quite surprised to see the two of them. Since when did the orcs work together with Moonshadow?
“Yo, Ley!” Arikos said with a smile.
“Kreighdon! It’s you!” Alissanda’s expression darkened. Kreighdon had saved Leguna ten years earlier as well. If not for the empire still recovering from the war and the disaster, he wouldn’t gone to war against the orcs that moment.
“Indeed, the one and only. I’m here to take them with me like last time. This is the great Oljharok’s will. I represent my orc empire.” Whether intentional or not, Alissanda felt that Kreighdon’s laughter alone was enough to cause his blood to boil to the point of hurting him.
Alissanda turned to Arikos with a grimace. “Is this what Moonshadow wants as well?”
“As the second chairman of Moonshadow, I believe I am qualified enough to represent it,” Arikos said with an elegant bow. “Greetings, Your Highness. Oh, I mean, Your Imperial Majesty.”
“Let’s go!” Even though he wasn’t the one who frightened Alissanda, Kurdak was still the most boastful of them all. He didn’t care about Alissanda at all and patted on Leguna’s shoulder before turning away.
“Then, I won’t be seeing you off.”
When she saw that there was nothing else she could do, Angelista prepared to leave.
“You’re not coming with us?” Leguna asked.
“Forget it. Over here, the humans treat me like a queen. Why would I go to the other continent with you lot?” She shrugged.
“Aren’t you afraid?” He hinted at Alissanda’s revenge for the help she offered them.
“Afraid of them?” She clicked her mouth with contempt. But when she saw Leguna’s worried gaze, she smiled, “Don’t worry. Second Magic Academy will protect me. At the very least, Alissanda doesn’t dare piss off the academy for now.”
“Alright. Good luck.” Seeing her so insistent, he didn’t bother to talk her out of it. Waving her goodbye, he slumped away with the help of Kurdak.
Alissanda’s face was filled with so much blood it darkened like a piece of liver. Seeing them leave so nonchalantly, he yelled, “Halt!”
“What? Wanna fight?” Kurdak turned and asked.
“Leave her behind!” He pointed at Lisana, whom Vera was cradling.
“She’s leaving with us. It’s what she wants,” Leguna expressionlessly said.
Alissanda grit his teeth so hard they cracked. He fell silent for a whole minute before he finally calmed down and looked at them.
“In ten or twenty years at most, the Empire will send its troops east. The golden eagle will soar through the skies above Lance!”
“I like that spirit,” Kreighdon said with a chuckle, “I hope your troops won’t disappoint our younglings.”
Arikos glanced at the emperor silently.
After Alissanda made up his mind, he no longer hesitated. He waved for the troops to make way for them.
Leguna looked at the path that opened up and called out to the two most important women in his life. “Eirinn… Innie…”
“Big Bro…” Innilis said, pushing Eirinn’s wheelchair. Eirinn seemed to feel something and gripped his hand tighter.
“We…” He gulped audibly. “We’re going home.”
A breeze blew the dust away from the plaza, revealing the blue skies once more. Leguna looked up at the skies. A few clouds clumped together from the wind and formed what seemed to be the frame of a pair of eyes with the blue skies as the irises. The blue eyes looked lively and beautiful and looked at Leguna with a gentle gaze. They seemed to blink mischievously before slowly dissipating.
A smile formed on his lips at the sight before he limped away with Kurdak’s support, leaving Melindor for good.
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