Sala and Brani
"This is all I know!" Linq cried when he saw Leguna's dark expression. While he did have a rather good plan out of it, he knew it would be useless against him now. Leguna was no fool and was much stronger than he was. His tricks were nothing but child's play before absolute power.
"Not enough! It's not enough!" Leguna grit his teeth and snapped, "Don't lie to me! You're hiding something from me! If you were traveling in secret, how could Angelista have known about Eirinn? Is there something you're not telling me? Don't test my patience!"
Leguna had just been made aware of the seriousness of the matter. If Eirinn's true identity was out for all to know, they would swarm to a high-class 'sacrifice' like her like sharks to the scent of blood. Even if they returned to the base plane in Second Magic Academy, they would still be in for much trouble.
That was why he believed there was only one way out of it: kill all dark elves who knew Eirinn's identity!
The thought of that made him regard Linq with bloodlust, but he didn't act. He knew dark elves were a smart bunch and according to Gahrona, Linq was even more cunning. Perhaps there was still some use to him.
"It's all due to the rumors Miss Brani spread!" Linq hurriedly confessed, feeling that his life was under threat.
"She's Miss Eirinn's half-sister from a different father and the second daughter of their mother, Sala," Linq said after he decided he would come clean with it. "In fact, she's my master. I serve her, but not many know about this. On the surface, I serve no one but the matriarch, Lady Sala."
[A fight out between mother and daughter, huh? Dark elves haven't changed at all!] Gahrona commented.
"Thanks, Linq." Leguna smiled and held out Lighteater. "You've given me more than enough reason to kill you, but don't worry, Miss Brani is coming right after you."
"Please calm down. Let's think this over," Linq said, sweating nervously. He forced himself to keep calm. "I still have some uses."
"Then prove it."
Linq brainstormed for a plan at lightning speed. "Sir Leguna… I believe the thing you're most worried about now is other dark elves finding out Miss Eirinn's identity, and the trouble that would ensue, right?"
"Yeah, so what?"
Linq's heart beat with delight. While Leguna had noticed things were amiss, Linq felt things could still develop even better than before. He regained some composure and smiled. "I can solve that problem for you."
"Let's hear your solution."
"I would recommend you become allies with Miss Brani. Help her become the next matriarch of House Elvin."
"And change the one to host Eirinn's sacrificial ceremony?" he coldly said.
"No, Miss Brani isn't like Lady Sala. She is someone that can understand the benefits of taking a step back. In other words, she's intelligent."
Linq's expression shifted into one of respect. "So, you only have to prove two things to her. First, that your power can be incredibly valuable, even more valuable than a child favored by Pyro. Second, that your power is terrifying and anyone that messes with you will suffer a horrible fate. Just prove these two points and Miss Brani should know which action is the most rational to take. She'd no doubt ally with you, and if you help her become matriarch, she can help you find the antidote for the poison that infected Innilis. She can also make sure the rest of House Elvin leaves Miss Eirinn alone. I'm sure that after understanding your might, she'd want to maintain a good relationship with you and not touch a single hair on Miss Eirinn."
"Since that's the case, why would I need you?" Leguna asked insidiously.
"You need me." Linq bowed elegantly and shrugged. "First, you need me to be the middleman between you and Miss Brani. If you just barge in like that, you won't even know who she is. You'd also need me to testify for your strength As for that…"
Linq looked fearfully at the unconscious Angelista and continued, "I can only say that I've experienced it for myself."
"I have one more question. Why would I hedge my bets on Miss Brani? Couldn't Matriarch Sala just offer me something better?"
"I don't have a good answer." Linq no longer felt nervous as he was rather certain Leguna would pick his side. "I can only say that if you see the matriarch for yourself, you'll understand her greed and insanity. In fact, I feel that it's completely ridiculous for her to be the matriarch. Two decades ago, House Elvin could still suppress House Andalir. But ever since she became matriarch, everything came falling down. She is no good for anything but her mercilessness!"
"I didn't think you dark elves would consider being merciless a virtue…" Leguna sighed helplessly. He looked at Eirinn and said, "Listen well. I'm not going to make a decision right now, but I'm willing to give you and Brani a chance. But…"
"But what?" Linq asked pensively.
"I want some insurance." Leguna smiled and blinked behind Linq.
"You!" He lost his cool, but he was knocked unconscious by a chop before he could say anything else. Unlike how he rendered Eirinn unconscious, he almost broke Linq's neck through doing so.
Leguna looked at the unconscious Eirinn again and kicked the three unconscious dark elves. When he made sure that there wasn't anyone else in the surroundings, he took out a small magic item from his dimensional pocket.
"So, you managed to guess right after all…" Leguna muttered with a bitter smile. "Sorry, I'll be counting on you this time around."
When Linq woke back up, Leguna and Eirinn were sitting on a rock not far away discussing something. He groaned in pain and tried to stand up.
"Finally awake?" Leguna approached him with a smile. Angelista and her servant were no longer there and Linq didn't know what happened. But he guessed that Leguna wouldn't let such a dangerous yet foolish woman go so simply.
"You knocked me out with too much force," he complained as he stretched his neck. "So, what did you mean by insurance?"
"This." Leguna pointed at Linq's neck. There was a really subtle white spot that looked a little like a plum flower.
"It's insurance. I want to prove something to you, and that is dark elves aren't the only people who use poisons. In fact, we humans are the ancient masters of knock-outs, poisoning, kidnappings and backstabbing."
"What in the world is this?" Linq's expression changed. He could feel that something bad had happened.
"I only planted an insect larva inside you--" Leguna shrugged and smiled diabolically. "--Under normal circumstances, it won't cause you any harm. However, I have the mother bug in my hand here. The larva is one obedient child, you see, and if the mother bug orders the larva to procreate endlessly… Well, it's not that serious anyway. You'd just have thousands of parasites living off your body. These fellows like to feast off meat and make nests inside you. You'll slowly turn into an insect nest from inside out as they eat one organ after another of yours. Oh, trust me, you'll enjoy this whole-heartedly. They'll try to keep you alive the best they can even after consuming your organs. Only when they have nothing left to eat will you die."
Eirinn looked like she heard something from afar. She perked her silver eyebrows before looking away.
"You!" Linq's face was completely pale after he heard it. While dark elves were familiar with deaths of the most gruesome kind, none of them wished to be the recipient of one. Yet, Linq was going to face something even more fearsome than death. It wouldn't be right if he didn't feel any fear.
"This is a poisoning technique I learned from the orcs." Leguna ignored the murderous glare. "I have a few orc acquaintances and they were kind enough to send me this. Naturally, you can take the gamble if you want. Maybe dark elf biology is different from that of orcs and humans. Or, maybe the mother bug won't listen to my instructions all of a sudden. You can also try to cut the larva out, but I can't guarantee which spot is the right one. I won't force you. The decision is in your hands."Previous Chapter Next Chapter