Can't Afford to Stay
"Eh?" Arikos gagged, "Somehow, you don't seem as angry as I thought you'd be."
"I'm only acquainted with Legg. I didn't want to kill him, but I don't really mind that he died in the end," Leguna shrugged, "He was going to kill me, anyway... What? You not happy that I'm not trying to get back at you?"
"No!" Arikos waved.
He didn't know Gahrona's words had already calmed him considerably.
"Legg and I aren't friends, just acquaintances. So it makes little difference to me. I don't appreciate being used, however. You will be the one to bleed if you try something like this again, and you'll lose your head if you involve Annie."
"That so..." Arikos asked, his entire face twitching.
"Well, tell me why you killed him then," Leguna sighed.
Leguna really wasn't happy being played for a fool.
"Remember the main reason we came here?" Arikos asked.
"We are to stop the barbarians from invading. Didn't I tell you killing Legg would only postpone it? The whole reason we came to negotiate instead of just coming out to assassinate him quietly was to find a permanent solution."
"Yes. I wasn't lying. His Majesty does want to trade a province for peace."
"So why have Legg killed despite having come to an agreement?"
"Because the emperor wants more," Arikos shrugged, "An agreement of support isn't worth a province. The king wants their allegiance."
"That's why you had Legg killed? So the emperor was worried Legg would know he was being used and make plans to break with the empire once he'd settled down?"
"And how do you know the barbarians will be obedient with him dead? Aren't you afraid they'll hate us for this?"
"We killed their king, so just give them a new one, one that won't be getting any ideas about breaking with the empire. We've long planted people with them for exactly this sort of thing."
"We knew something like this would be necessary long before you took over the bureau. Samm, a 17th-stratum warrior is our main candidate. We've had him with the barbarians for several years now."
"So he's going to be the new king? Is he strong enough?"
"There are only 200 thousand barbarians. 18th-stratum unicorns the likes of Legg are unicorns. Samm's at least in the top ten, if not at the top of it, and with our support, none of the barbarians will be able to challenge him. There were one or two, but our agents took care of them at the same time Legg died.
"We were also very careful with the poison. He was fed two ingredients that would not harm anyone if taken separately, but are fatal together."
"Impetus Dread?" Leguna guessed.
Impetus Dread was something Moonshadow's alchemists came up with. It didn't strictly qualify as poison, at least not one that would kill someone outright. But if the poisoned used impetus, trouble would surface.
The mechanism of action of the toxin was that it would widen the paths along which the impetus traveled in the body. If a large amount of impetus was circulated, their pathways would explode and result in death.
To put it simply, if the impetus pathway was ten units thick, the outer layer would be six and the actual pathway would be four units wide.
But after intoxication, the thickness of the pathways themselves wouldn't change, but the walls of the pathways would thin to around two units, Leaving eight units within for impetus to flow through. The thinned walls of the pathways wouldn't be able to endure the pressure and would rupture from too much impetus traveling through. That was why overuse of impetus after intoxication would cause the internal impetus pathways to be destroyed and possibly even result in death.
Leguna finally understood why Legg's power soared so ridiculously after that. It wasn't just going berserk that amplified his abilities. The improved flow of impetus was also a factor. However, Legg wasn't able to notice the change inside him after he entered the berserk state, so his overuse of impetus led to his death.
"Come to think of it, this poison really is useful," Arikos said, "To prove that your weapons aren't poisoned, all I had to do was cut myself with it. When they see that I'm not harmed in the slightest, they won't even think that the weapons were actually poisoned."
"Then all you had to do was to put the other toxic components in Legg's food. That's where your moles come in, right?" Leguna sighed. "I suppose this would go better with the barbarians. We didn't touch the king's food after all. Our moles did the job.".net
"That's basically it."
After understanding everything, Leguna couldn't help but feel fear. He would no doubt end up with the same fate if he was the one plotted against. Thankfully, Arikos wasn't his enemy. Regardless, having someone so insidious beside him still put him on edge.
"What do you plan to do after this?" Leguna asked.
"I will stay here and help Samm stabilize the situation," Arikos replied, "We humans will be welcomed for dealing with the barbarians who plotted against the barbarian king. Naturally, not all barbarians will buy our story, so that's where our moles come in."
"Is Samm reliable?"
"I have his weakness. If he wants to live, he'll have to listen to me," Arikos confidently claimed, "I'll be making him barbarian king anyway and let him lead his tribe down south. He'll be remembered as the only barbarian king that changed the life of his people for the first time in centuries. He has much to gain and all to lose if he listens to me, so why wouldn't he?"
"I'll leave this matter to you then," Leguna said weakly.
"Are you going back now?" Arikos asked, feeling a little guilty.
Leguna coldly said, "Since you've got everything planned out, there isn't a point for me to stay. I had better head back sooner."
Arikos mulled it over silently before he nodded. "Good. Then let's go back sooner. Perhaps there will be things that you need to tend to there. When will you be ready to move?"
"Just let me rest for today. I'll make a move tomorrow," Leguna said with a wave of his hand, "You can keep the others from the envoy here if you want. I can go back alone."
"Understood. I'll get things running here. Just rest for now." Arikos turned to leave.
When the man left, Leguna looked at the door shaking from the blizzard winds and sighed.
[Tired?] Gahrona asked.
[A little.] He scratched his head in frustration. [All this time, I've been thinking of things too simply. I didn't think Arikos would actually plan something so complex behind my back and even use me as a pawn. I...]
[I already told you that you don't belong in this kind of world, given your personality,] Gahrona said with a sigh, [I only hope that you'll learn a lesson from this!]
[I will...] Leguna nodded. After this matter, he was sickened from a life of deceit and treachery. He felt that he should leave this convoluted game should the opportunity present itself. It was far too complex and dangerous. He couldn't give it another go. He couldn't afford to stay in the game.
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