Linq the Traitor
The moment Jayla spoke, all the dark elves chattered amongst themselves while trading gazes with one another.
Some looked at the female dark elf warrior in the center of the hall with glee. They began to plan how they could get the most benefit out of Jayla's fall. Some men even considered how they could keep her around and get her to serve as their pleasure slave. Naturally, her impetus would first have to be crippled.
Quite a number of elves who had good ties with Jayla, however, seemed rather grim. They knew that if something happened to her, they definitely wouldn't escape unscathed either.
However, Jayla didn't seem at all nervous and stood there relaxedly as if she was waiting to hear what Brani would say next.
"Give me a reason you did that, a reason I can be satisfied with," Brani said.
"What if my reason doesn't satisfy you?"
Jayla looked around and said, "I wanted to test something."
"Test whether you have the ability to lead this house. I'm sure all of us here know that we've been seriously messed up by having a fool like Sala running the place. We used to be top three of the seven great houses in Darklight. But ever since she took the position of matriarch, we ran the risk of being eliminated from the seven great houses altogether within two short decades. So, I don't wish the next leader of the house to be as foolish as Sala. If that really was the case, I won't mind letting the Elvin name disappear from Darklight entirely."
"So, my sister, do you think I'm a qualified matriarch?" Brani asked with a smile.
Jayla looked at her, then at the other dark elves and nodded. "Yes. At least for now, I believe you're the one who can lead us to our former glory."
"But how much responsibility do you think you have to take for disseminating classified information of the house?"
"The house didn't lose much. As a wise matriarch, you should understand that every matriarch transition would prompt attacks from other houses. So, I don't feel I should be held responsible for this at all," Jayla directly said, "I wonder if this response satisfies you."
Brani gave it some thought and nodded. "I can barely tolerate it. I'll delay the time of your punishment. How you'll be punished will depend on how you act."
"I can agree with that. Let me once more pledge my loyalty to the house," Jayla said.
"Then…" Brani stood up and looked at all the other elves in the hall. "Now, offer up your loyalty to your new matriarch!"
The only response was deathly silence.
Some three seconds later, Jayla was the first to move. She stuck her enchanted blade into the ground and knelt on one knee with her two hands on the hilt. "I, Jayla Elvin, captain of the Elvin guard, acknowledge Brani Elvin as our matriarch. My sword shall move by your will and follow your vision. I will be your sharpest and most loyal blade and slay all the enemies of House Elvin for you and the house! Let the goddess of dark elves, Ross, bear witness to my oath!"
Right after Jayla came Brani's two brothers and pets, Gassos and Wesley. The two of them proclaimed their loyalty to her before everyone else.
At that sight, most intelligent dark elves came to understand something. Gassos represented the elite warriors while Wesley represented the elite magi in the house. Jayla, on the other hand, was the leader of the normal guard. All the forces of the house now belonged to Brani. In other words, she had planted herself firm in the throne of the matriarch.
[These sisters really work well together,] Gahrona commented.
[You mean to say that they've planned this ahead of time?] Leguna asked with surprise, but he soon realized what she meant.
[Of course. How would Brani be able to find out about Jayla's servant so easily otherwise? If she really had eyes on all members of House Elvin, how would she miss an information leak to the smaller houses?]
[Then, Brani and Jayla have been working together all along, huh? That way, Brani can prove that she's a merciful and forgiving matriarch and also use this chance to reinforce her position. Furthermore, her apparent disagreement with Jayla on the surface could also bait those who didn't share Brani's will to reveal themselves! And lastly, by leaking the information, they made the attack occur sooner while I'm still here rather than later and got me to help! Damn, she really is a true schemer!] While Leguna wasn't that good at schemes, he was no fool. There were many things that he could understand if he only put more thought into it.
[That's exactly the case. As Jayla's a warrior, there was no way she could be matriarch in the first place. That's why Brani recruited her. Jayla's also no fool and is aware of her place, so the's more than willing to cooperate with Brani,] Gahrona said, reinforcing Leguna's conjectures. [Alright, you're only here to watch the farce. I hope you at least learn a lesson from all this. Don't ever be convinced by what's on the surface, or you'll stand to lose a lot.]
"Matriarch." Jayla was really aware of her position. After acknowledging Brani's authority, she no longer called her sister or by her name. It was as if Brani was matriarch and nothing more, like they weren't related at all!
Jayla waited for everyone else to quiet down. "I noticed some who are not loyal to the house on my way back from the mithril mines who tried to escape our control. However, I managed to capture him. But I'll leave his judgment in your hands."
"Oh?" Brani seemed rather surprised. She really didn't seem to know what this was about. "Let him in."
When the person was brought in, Brani gasped with surprise. The tied up elf was none other than Linq!
As Brani's subordinate, he was tied up to restrict his movement, but not to bind him painfully. Had it not been for that special consideration, he would've been in a much worse state, given how harsh the dark elves were. He would've been on his last breath.
Even so, there were still wounds on him. His neatly combed hair was all messed up, though, he didn't seem particularly frightened. At the very least, he didn't shirk back from Brani and Jayla.
Brani looked at Linq for a moment and laughed. "Oh, so you meant Linq. Then you're mistaken, Sister."
"What?" Now, it was Jayla's turn to be surprised.
"Linq wasn't trying to escape. I merely tasked him with something," Brani said, "This matter is best left for the future. But I can attest that Linq isn't a traitor at all.
Jayla gave Linq a look before turning back to Brani and nodding. "I understand."
That didn't, however, mean that the whole thing was over. After Brani formally declared herself the new matriarch of the house, she joined Gassos, Jayla, Wesley and Linq for a meeting.
What came as a surprise to Brani was that Leguna and Annelotte seemed interested in the meeting. Angelista also tagged along. For some reason, Angelista was getting quite close to Leguna and the rest, especially Eirinn. The soulgrasper seemed really interested in the young half-elf for some reason. Did Angelista swing that way and try to court Eirinn? Brani couldn't help but shake that thought.
What she was more concerned with was Linq's desire to leave House Elvin. In actuality, Brani didn't know about his departure and didn't give him any mission to do. That was only an excuse to give her a reason to keep Linq alive. She couldn't afford to do something as risky that would end Linq's life.
Leguna, Eirinn and the others found a seat in the room and listened. Only Linq stood to the side with a dark look as if the meeting had nothing to do with him.
"Why betray me?" Brani asked with a grim look. She had plans for Linq, yet he actually dared to play up at a time like this?
"I'm not betraying you, Matriarch. I have always been an Elvin in heart soul. I am also loyal to you and the family.
"Enough! Don't use those words to placate me!" Brani snapped. While Linq wasn't too strong, he had a really sharp mind. The house had also been in relative good luck. The tasks he were given were usually red-light operations, much to Brani's kindness.. Yet, his sudden desire to leave bad as he had another large client.
"I wasn't lying, matriarch," he replied seriously.
"Then, why do you want to leave the house?" Brani asked after taking in a deep breath.
"I heard Gurdir say that Linq seems intent on going on a journey outside," Jayla responded. While she wasn't as hard to deal with as Annelotte, she did only ever wear a couple expressions on his face. He coldly said, "I think he wants to see even more sights of the world and experience different cultures:"
"I knew he would rat me out," Linq said in annoyance.
"Oh, Matriarch, it's not just Linq!" Angelista interrupted all of a sudden. "I also have a desire of going out to the after the battles. So, I want to leave House Elvin with Cydek and head to the human realm for a spin."Previous Chapter Next Chapter