The Moon Chirper had disappeared with the man who hid himself in the tree. And on hearing Nina’s message for assistance, Lafite and Glenn had been on their way there. Lafite arrived before Glenn, and with her was Alastair, whom Lafite ran into on her way here. Hardly had Lafite and Alastair arrived, when the gang of students from the Compass School fled. Lafite and Alastair’s chain marks were sending powerful energy that scared the gutless students away. And Glenn was running towards Nina while pulling all stops. So, his high level energy was felt even miles away.
Lafite saved Nina from the swamp and asked her and Lowry to run. She then stationed with Alastair to face a tough adversary.
The man finally came into sight.
“No. It was Glenn’s mask!” Lafite trembled. She recognized the ashen mask that person was wearing. It belonged to Glenn. The first thing that came into Lafite’s mind was Glenn’s death. Lafite speculated that the mask-wearer must have killed Glenn and had taken it as his own property. At the moment, Lafite’s unspeakable fury and hatred blew up. She was determined to take revenge.
With a painful scream of resentment, Lafite took out an arrow, drew it and released it, which whizzed all the way to the stranger.
Startled at this surprising attack, Glenn yelped. His worried voice reached Lafite’s ears.
“No! Is it Glenn? How could it be possible?” Lafite seemed to have lost her support and kneeled on the ground. She covered her face with her hands, looking aghast. She knew this arrow sorcery well. It was too powerful to be fended off or to be neutralized by an ordinary student. No one had been known to come out well from this sorcery.
The arrow seemed to be so enraged that it moved as if it was a beam of light. Due to its high speed, the arrow produced a giant swirl and forced its way towards Glenn.
Lafite stared at the progressing whirl in astonishment. Nobody could be more clear about the effect of this sorcery than her — it was one of the most lethal sorceries in the world, and there was no way available to stop it. She was aware how the victim would die. The arrow would break into numerous leaves with sharp blades that would readily slice the enemy’s throat.
“What have I done? I…I…Ah…” Lafite’s face blanched. She was overwhelmed with tears.
Alastair who had been watching all this felt shocked. For one thing, he was frightened on seeing the sorcery she just used. The arrow moving at an incredibly high speed aside, it was radiating signals whose effect was as destructive as 100-point-degree energy, and it endured quite a long time. The sharp-tongued queen had been behaving in an overbearing way for a reason!
More than that, Alastair had never seen Lafite being so grieved. Lafite could be sentimental.
“Lafite, it’s me.” Glenn said faintly as he approached Lafite.
“Glenn! Are you okay?” Lafite ran towards Glenn.
The swirl of leaves with sharp blades had faded away. Glenn’s shield had worked its magic again. However, the whirl took a great deal of Glenn’s magical force. The amount of it was even not less than what was consumed in the previous war with Kyrie.
“It’s me, Lafite. I am fine.” Glenn embraced Lafite softly and kissed her forehead. And the next moment, he held her with his firm arms.
Alastair had met Glenn once in the Black Isotta. He was wearing that mask at the ball thrown by the Death Sail League. But now, when he watched Glenn, he doubted his memory because Glenn was waving out signals that were much stronger than Lafite’s. It was unbelievable.
“Glenn?” Alastair asked tentatively.
“Hmm,” replied Glenn who loosened Lafite and turned to Alastair. Alastair was a co-founder of the Death Sail League. He had Glenn’s respect.
It seemed to Alastair that Glenn was still that unsocialized guy, just as he remembered him. Although Glenn was pale, his faint look couldn’t be noticed by Alastair. What Alastair saw was a calm and fathomless man.
“Who could survive an attack with such power?” Alastair marveled. “No wonder Lafite refused Armida’s love several times, even though he was a good man. It was just that Glenn is better.”
Alastair was feeling complex emotions. He had been enjoying the respect paid by the League’s members, and sometimes, even complacency took over. He felt ashamed of his previous arrogance now. But he managed a smile at Glenn with grace. He then left to give them some privacy.
What had worried Glenn had happened at last. There was this deep pride in Lafite’s heart. She was kind-hearted, to be sure. But she was a proud girl. She had always been so. Her father, the governor of Bi Seer city, gave her the privilege of being proud.
“Have you been treating me like an idiot? Like some clown who performs for you?” Lafite looked serious and questioned.
“Why? What is going on?” Glenn returned a question.
“You have such strong energy signals, and you can even defend yourself from the Whirl of Leaves. How could you keep your capabilities from me for such a long time? Don’t you know I was worried about you for this Gory Test? How could you be such a callous man?” Lafite stepped back, and the look on her face said that Glenn was a stranger to her.
“No, I didn’t intend to do that. I was looking for the right moment. That’s all. I had no intention of keeping this from you.” Glenn stepped forward. “You are the love my life. I am going to marry you some day.”
“Love of your life? Marry? Hah! To marry someone who had been treated as a dork? To marry someone who puffed up herself with self-importance? That sounds to me an irony.” Lafite look up to Glenn.
“No, you are important! You are the vine sorcerer. You have always been the one protecting me from danger, on the ship and in Black Isotta. I couldn’t have lived without you.” It was not that Glenn realized that only the mention of Lafite’s strength would have the better chance of calming her down. He meant it. He had thought of Lafite as his protector, physically and mentally.
It had to be admitted that Lafite grinned when she heard “vine sorcerer”. The word ‘vine’ was reminiscent of the days when she was with Glenn back on the ship that delivered them to the sorcerer school. Better, it reminded her when she hung in the air off the ship’s hull and Glenn risked his life to come to her. It was Glenn who got down to the lifeboat and pulled her back.
Lafite had never thought she would love a person to such a degree — a mundane and even lowly peasant. But, when she was nestling in his arms the moment she was saved, she had thought that she was willing to dedicate all she had to him.
Lafite’s sneer dissolved. Glenn’s love dissolved it. She watched Glenn in silence. But her hands were still quivering.
Glenn noticed Lafite’s situation, and he took out a stick and put it in Lafite’s hand.
“Guess what this is? It is the booty I got from the mirror house! I need you to remember. No matter what happens, I will always be with you, to support you and to love you. But you will always be my protector.” Glenn Looked into Lafite’s eyes.