"Dark Requiem?" Sala blanked out for a second upon hearing that name.
"Looks like my name has already spread to the Dusk Zone. That's all and well. If you know my name, you should also know my power," Leguna said, his words oozing confidence and arrogance.
"Is that a song or something?" Sala asked hesitantly.
From his expression, it looked as if he had gone up a high tower for recreational gliding only to somehow end up free-falling with the look of bliss frozen in place.
"Pffft!" Sala's handmaidens who stood much nearer to her overheard the exchange and couldn't help but chuckle.
"Where's Brani?" Sala cried out. She ignored the sword held against her neck. "Are you the one who did this?!"
"Mother, please investigate this thoroughly!" Brani said, her face filled with shock. She hurriedly knelt and whispered an explanation. "I don't know who in the world this man is. You should know that I've just finished trading the slaves. I only just found out about my dear sister, Eirinn's return! I really know nothing about this!"
"I wish you were that innocent!" Sala seemed to get even madder than before. Including Eirinn, she had four daughters and two sons. The eldest daughter, Jayla, was trying to get some profit from the mithril mines. She was a high-order warrior filled with bloodlust. While she was usually a quiet person, her visage in battle struck fear in others.
Brani was Sala's second daughter and among the most talented of her children. Though a hundred years Jayla's junior, she was already a 16th-stratum magus, one stratum higher than her elder sister! And according to the customs of dark elves, only devotees of Ross could become matrons. That was why Sala felt rather threatened by Brani.
Her third daughter was Eirinn, who should've died long ago. At the very least, she should be heavily disfigured. Sala didn't think that not only did she not have the accursed skin color signature to their race, she looked prettier than her two elder sisters and perhaps even Sala herself, which she found quite displeasing.
Her fourth daughter was still really young and had just learned to speak. However, Sala didn't really like her as she was borne of a night she spent with a male servant as a result of being unable to control her urges. If she hadn't found out too late, she wouldn't have wanted that child of lowly blood! As for the male servant, Sala naturally had him silenced and killed to protect her dignity.
She didn't care about her sons at all.
All six of her children had different fathers and even Sala herself couldn't remember whose child came from who. The one she hated the most was Brani, who always looked innocent in front of everybody else as if she was a saint or something. How laughable! How could an innocent dark elf without ulterior motives exist?
"I think you need to understand the situation you're in." Leguna pulled the blade ever so closer and made the slightest cut on her throat, letting a little blood out. He finally understood what Linq meant by 'fool'. He wasn't lying at all. This woman only knew to act according to her feelings, just like Saron.
It was a wonder she was able to survive for so long and become matriarch. Even Leguna wondered how she managed to achieve it.
"You dare hurt me?" Sala said, not looking the slightest bit scared.
"Not only that." Leguna formed a shadow needle with his left hand and pierced it into Sala's pressure point. "If you don't let Eirinn off, I'll even kill you."
"Ugh… mmmhh…" she groaned from the pain.
"This is only the least painful pressure point. I can make you hurt thousands of times more. Wanna try?"
"Linq! Linq!" Sala called out.
Leguna kept silent.
"Matriarch, I am here," Linq said as he hurried out.
"What's going on? This… this dastardly man… what is he doing?!" she cried.
"Matriarch, this person is quite possibly the strongest human assassin. He came here to negotiate a deal with you."
"Deal? What deal?!" she asked with grit teeth, before turning back. "Damn you! Pull out your darned needle!"
"Then let Eirinn go!" Leguna's gaze turned unbearably scary in a single moment.
"Release her, quick, now! You fools!" Sala yelled at her warriors. They looked each other in the eye and backed off."
"So, can we move on to proper negotiations?" Sala asked.
"Of course not. This is your turf, Matriarch Sala. So, I need a trump card to ensure I'll make it out of this alive."
"What in the world do you want?!" Sala could no longer stomach her anger. Ever since she became matriarch of House Elvin, she had never suffered such humiliation. Sala made an oath to herself that she would make this male suffer for what he did!
"The antidote," Leguna said without hesitation, "One of my friends was hurt by your enemies, House Andalir, you see. So, I need to get the antidote from them. I believe House Elvin will be of great help for that."
"Is that all?" Sala didn't understand what kind of insanity would drive Leguna into the Dusk Zone, an area populated entirely by another race.
"Of course not." Leguna looked at the other dark elves and said, "I want you to let Eirinn off and pledge an oath that not a single elf from House Elvin will appear before her ever again."
"Then… what can you provide me in exchange? You should know dark elves don't agree to one-sided deals." A glint of scheming could be seen in her eyes.
"A reasonable request, milady." Leguna regained his composure and confidence. He whispered by her ear, "I can give you… Andalir's extermination."
"You really mean it?" Sala's eyes glowed brightly. Andalir had been causing her to lose face over the past few years and almost caused her to lose her position as matriarch. If she could just get rid of those fools, all those in the house objection to her being matriarch would shut up!
"You can judge that for yourself. I have to remind you, though, that your life may depend on that very judgment. Don't ever make an irrational decision."
Sala mulled it over for a moment and turned to Linq. She didn't say anything and made a weak mental connection with him so that they could communicate without using sound. Naturally, Leguna noticed it, but he made no attempt to stop it. Her life was in his hands anyway so what could their secret chat achieve?
Leguna didn't know what she said, but she eventually made her mind up. "Let me go. I'm willing to work with you."
"Then, swear in the name of your goddess, Ross!" Leguna didn't let his guard down one bit. "Swear you won't harm us. Otherwise, I'll just cut you to get this troublesome affair over with."
"In Ross's name, I, House Elvin's Matriarch, Sala Elvin, swear that during our period of cooperation with Mister Leguna, not a single person from House Elvin shall harm him or his companions! We will be close allies against House Andalir until that house is exterminated!" A dark, crimson glow then covered her body.
That light was the mark of a binding contract formed with a deity. Any normal priest wouldn't dare go back on their word with that in place as it meant that they didn't respect their deity. Divine punishment was never a joke.
Leguna finally breathed a sigh of relief when he saw it. He kept Lighteater away and blinked back to the helpless Eirinn's side.
He had initially wanted to help her out, but she was completely paralyzed from what she just witnessed. When Leguna touched her hand, she drew it back reflexively, making it rather awkward.
"Then… we shall let our guests get some rest. Treat them well. As for other matters, we can discuss them later, Mister Leguna." Though Sala still seemed rather pissed, she didn't dare turn back on her word just yet because of her oath. Not to mention, she thought those humans were of some use.
"Sure thing." Leguna bowed elegantly as if there were no misgivings between them at all.
"Eirinn, as a daughter of our household, I've prepared a room for you," she said without caring to smile. While it was indeed her daughter, all Sala saw her as was the beating heart she could sacrifice to Ross to break through the last barrier and become a myth-realm priestess.
"Big Brother… Leguna…" she muttered.
Leguna looked rather weird. Sala had wanted to capture Eirinn and use her to control Leguna and that wasn't the least bit surprising. He was wondering about something else.
"Alright, it's all over." Leguna smiled warmly like usual and gave her head an encouraging pat. "It's alright. I'm here and I'll protect you! Don't worry!"
She began to blush and reluctantly nodded before leaving with the dark elves.
The Dusk Zone was a place without sky, and thus didn't have a sun. There was no difference between night or day. It was quite hard for Leguna to adjust his biological clock without the sun, and he was quite worn out from his fights during the trip. So, he decided to sleep an hour or two first.
His pleasant rest was rather short-lived, however, as he was awakened by Gahrona's cries not long after. He unwillingly got out of bed and started getting his gear in order.
[Most dark elves are asleep now?] Leguna asked.
[More specifically, they're meditating. These blackskins are from the same stock as elves, so they have many similar practices.]
[Alright.] Leguna made a thin layer of shadow armor for himself with Shadowedge and blinked away from his room. He was going to look for Brani, the real person he was trying to negotiate with.Previous Chapter Next Chapter