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Leonel didn't look in the direction he sent his volley of attacks, his focus still concentrated on Keiza. Despite what seemed like disregard, he found this woman to be very dangerous and he didn't like the idea of turning his back on her.

'She's flying but she hasn't flown very high… There's probably a good reason for that.'

Leonel made a mental note of this. He, too, could fly. But, he hadn't done so because he needed to escort everyone else. Obviously, though, from what it seemed here, there had to be some hidden danger in taking that route. Leonel didn't believe that there weren't Cursed Flying beasts, they were just lucky that there was a thick canopy of trees here, or else maybe they would have to deal with attacks from the sky as well.

Leonel suddenly felt his connection with Aina waver, causing his expression to shift.

'I didn't account for that. There must be a great strain on her mind right now to not only assimilate Yuri's senses but then also pass them off to me. I can't press this situation anymore.'

Aina hadn't said a word from start to finish. In fact, even now, she still protected Leonel's back, swinging her ax and ensuring that no Cursed Beasts could attack from the back.

Seeing such a scene, Leonel didn't hesitate any longer. Not sparing Keiza another glance, he turned and retreated, wrapping an arm around Aina's waist as his Universal Force flourished. Almost the instant he did, Aina weakly wobbled, but his grip was firm.

Keiza found herself caught off guard again before clicking her tongue.

"Asking me such intimate questions and then running off with another girl. How rude."

Keiza giggled to herself, seemingly not realizing that her team members were still on their backfoot in this situation due to having placed too much attention on Leonel and not enough on the beasts surrounding them.

Leonel pretended as though he hadn't heard a thing, heavy droplets of molten gold becoming his footrests as he shot through the skies, relying on his Artistic Conception of Spring.

In a few massive leaps, Leonel landed beside the still rampaging Blackstar. By this point, the safe zone could be seen with the naked eye. A thin gold barrier surrounded yet another village. Cursed Beasts rushed around it, not daring to step foot within.

Leonel gave Aina another glance, but he chose to hold onto her in the end. Her brows were marred with sweat and breathing was heavy and labored. She had clearly pushed herself very hard. Since the safe zone wasn't far away, he didn't think it was right to leave her be like this. He could only ignore all the knowing stares and winks he was getting right this moment.

Soon, the group had made a final push and crossed the safe zone barrier.

Leonel looked back and met Yuri's gaze. The latter was silent and didn't have much of an expression right now at all. In fact, she seemed to be quite a muted version of her current self.

"I'm sorry. I was ignorant and made an inappropriate ask of you."

Yuri took a while to realize that Leonel was actually speaking to her. But, even after she did realize this, she didn't know how to respond. The result was her mouth hanging open for a moment, but not the slightest inkling of sound coming out.

He apologized to her?

In truth, Yuri had already guessed that Leonel had misspoken. But, she had a lot of anger for him and couldn't stand to explain herself.

Leonel understood where Yuri came from with a lot of the ways she acted and he didn't blame her. If Aina's best friend didn't always have her back even when the world was against her, then who would? If even the far more reasonable Savahn didn't like his actions very much, Leonel wasn't arrogant enough to still believe he was perfect.

That said, the only reason Leonel hadn't tried to see things from Yuri's perspective earlier was because she hadn't explicitly told them that their minds were being targeted or that they were being followed despite the fact she should have known.

Unfortunately, what Leonel was unaware of was the fact that Yuri hadn't known. She had a habit ingrained into her by Miel to always hold back her true strength. In reality, even the 100 meter estimate she had given Leonel was a lie, that was just a fraction of her true range even in this environment. It wasn't until she realized they were being targeted that she let loose a little bit.

In addition, the reason why she used such a roundabout way to inform Leonel was also because of her habit of hiding herself. Not everything she did was from a malicious or petty view. It was just that Leonel didn't know about her past and why it had to be hidden…

But that was also precisely why what Aina had done hurt so much more than anything else. Anyone else could be ignorant, but Aina knew all of those things… And still chose Leonel's side. It was like she had drawn a hard line in the sand. It was either Yuri accept that she would always have feelings for Leonel, or they wouldn't be sisters anymore.

These were the emotions that Yuri was trying to process when Leonel so suddenly did something she hadn't expected.

Unable to come up with a proper response, Yuri crossed her arms and looked away.

"… You're too nice for your own good. And, somehow also not nice enough when you should be." Yuri mumbled beneath her breath.

These words were only meant for her to hear, but she had clearly underestimated Leonel a bit too much. Even hearing this, though, Leonel could only chuckle.

Seeing that this matter was resolved, at least for now, Leonel began to look around. He needed to find a place to allow Aina to rest and he also wasn't sure how long it would before this safe zone was no longer a safe zone much like the previous Village 0012.

Before he could find an answer to this, though, another group charged in from a separate entrance.

Beaten and bloodied, the Libra brothers and what remained of their cohort collapsed. The Libra brothers themselves seemed to be fairly unscathed, but their expressions were very much dark.

By their sides, a smiling Keiza stood, unblemished and beaming like a small star.

Sparks almost instantly flew through the air.