In a large room. Sonia, Helven, Syrawi and Zaiyus were seated at a round wooden table connected to the floor, even the tea cups were seemingly carved from wood.
After taking a sip from her tea, Syrawi calmly placed the cup down and spoke. “Sonia, do you think he’s a human spy?”
Sonia wasn’t sure herself, she only did what the oracle told her and had never really doubted Lazarus. That was until she saw him kill off Leo. “I’m sorry…I don’t know much about him...”
Helven frowned. “You’re not sure?? Why did you even bring him here without even knowing a thing about him??” Though his anger was justified considering the circumstances.
Syrawi, seeing how Sonia was pressured raised a hand, signaling Helven to calm down for a moment. “Sonia, I’m sure you have your reasons.”
Sonia was quiet before glancing back to Syrawi. “That’s…. Well, you know….. Whatever we tried only made things worse for grandpa… so I-.”
Zaiyus interrupted. “Oraius has found Eve and will be arriving tomorrow, so there was no need to even bring the humans here.”
“I know but…. “ Sonia lowered her gaze. “ Doesn’t Eve also use mana….?”
“That’s true….” Syrawi knew this which is why she agreed to let Sonia bring in Lazarus. Although risky, it was worth a shot.
Helven being the cautious one, couldn’t risk it. “We still aren’t sure what that so called Rex can do…. He might seem manaless, but he might just be an ability user who can hide his mana….If that’s the case then this would all be pointless”
Syrawi nodded in agreement. They needed to know more about Lazarus so she glanced towards Sonia and spoke. “Do you know what he can do? His abilities? Or anything about him?” if they knew about him then maybe they could lower the risk because she wasn’t willing to let him go just yet.
Sonia lowered her head and averted her gaze, she spoke in a very low tone as she remembered Lazarus words. “I…. c-can’t tell you that…...”
Helven frowned. “And Why, exactly can you not tell us?”
“Because Rex said if I broke off any of his condition, then he wouldn’t help us. And I already broke one…….” - Sonia
“I’m assuming one of his conditions is that you don’t speak a word about what he can do…. If that’s the case then there’s no need to worry as long as he doesn’t know you told us. Right?” Helven had a point, and Lazarus still hadn’t found out about the fact that she told Eris about the ring. So Sonia was somewhat convinced but was still hesitating.
Zaiyus nodded. “A person who hides who he truly is, is either dangerous or wanted. All the more reason we should know.”
Syrawi remained quiet as she didn’t want to pressure Sonia like the two, but she also knew that Zaiyus was right.
At this point Sonia was simply feeling a loud thumping from her heart from the pressure. But everything they said was right, she couldn’t deny that fact. But she couldn’t help recalling what Lazarus had told her before they departed.
The night before the departure-------
Sonia leaned against the city walls while staring blankly at the vast grasslands, it was still a bit early so it was a bit chilly. Then a voice called out. “Elf.”
Sonia was somewhat surprised since he suddenly appeared beside her without even making a sound. “Rex….” she muttered, gazing at the hooded individual with a hint of surprise.
“I’ll get straight to the point. Here are my conditions.” Lazarus raised his finger. “One, you’re not allowed to tell anyone what I can do. Two, you can’t tell Eris about our agreement. And three, you’re not allowed to bring anyone else. Got it?”
Sonia was at a loss for words, as she was somewhat overwhelmed how things got directly to the point. But she still managed to give him a nod as she tried to take note of what he said.
Lazarus continued. “If you break any of the three, then our deal is off.”
“You know…. I can’t even tell anyone what you can do, since I don’t know myself.” Sonia forced a smile. “And you know…..you could try to be more friendly...”
Lazarus huffed, he didn’t have any intention of even involving himself with her and simply wanted to build the tower. “Just keep those in mind. And remember. I’ll know when you’ll break any of these.”
Without even waiting for a reply, he turned on his back and began walking away. He clearly didn’t like any form of idle talk.
It somehow left an impression on Sonia. She hasn’t met anyone who was like Lazarus at all.
Back in the conference room--
”Do you realize the gravity of this situation??” Helven grumbled as he was already irritated that some naive young girl would even risk bringing a human here and won’t even tell a word about him.
Sonia did understand the importance of knowing but she couldn’t shake off the feeling that something wrong might happen if she did. And right now, being pressured like this was somewhat suffocating.
Syrawi frowned as she was becoming even more suspicious. The three glanced towards her, waiting for her decision.
With a sigh, Syrawi spoke in a gentle tone. “Sonia…. I know that you’re worried. Ok?But we need to know….. You know why we can’t easily trust the humans.. Right?”
Sonia looked down, as she knew why. She trusted the prophecy and not Lazarus himself, which is why she brought him here.
“So… can you please tell us?” Syrawi spoke again, this time in a gentle motherly like tone. Making it harder for Sonia to refuse.
Sonia clenched her cold and sweaty palmes, and meekly nodded. Helven huffed, as he knew it was only a matter of time before she gave in.
Inhaling deeply, Sonia spoke. “I-I’ll tell you…. B-but promise me you won’t tell Rex….”
The three nodded, she didn’t even need to say as it was the obvious thing to do.
“One...thing about Rex is that he uses a strange weapon...Back in the forest when a group of bandits chased us….”
Zaiyus was fairly confident in his knowledge about weapons, so nothing Sonia would say could ever surprise him.
“I’m not sure what kind of weapon it was… but it made booming noises….” Sonia took out the letter she recieved from Syrawi, and began scribbling on the back with a feather she also had with her.
The three gazed at the scribbling with curousity and began making wild guesses in their mind.
“A bow?” Syrawi muttered, but wasn’t sure of herself.
“Those edged…… gauntlents?” -Zaiyus
But as soon as Sonia added the finishing touches, the three couldn’t utter a word.
“W-what ‘s that…?” A look of shock formed on Zaiyus face as he uttered those words. Of course, no one in this world could answer his question other than Lazarus.
Sonia was fairly skilled at drawing so she easily made a rough sketch of a 50AE desert eagle, the one Lazarus used to kill Leo. Somehow it was imprinted on her mind.
“Probably some sort of artifact?” Helven muttered but wasn’t sure. None of them were, it was the very first time they even saw a strange looking weapon.
“It was about this size….” Sonia placed her hands in parallel as she glanced at the three who were frowning, they couldn’t even believe something so small without any sharp edges could even be used as a weapon.
“What can it do?” Syrawi curiously spoke.
“Uhmm… like I said. It makes a strange booming noise. A-and I remember it flashed for a split second and-” As Sonia spoke, Syrawi noticed her hands beginning to tremble as her voice crumbled. The memory re-surfaced in her mind as if she relieved that night and she couldn’t help but feel a cold sensation creeping up to her when Lazarus casually pulled the trigger, without a hint of any emotion. “A-and L-leo...was...” Sonia had a grim look.
“Relax…...” Syrawi held Sonia’s hands, trying to calm her down. “So how did you meet this Leo person and why did Rex kill him?”
When Sonia calmed down, she began explaining how they were attacked by bandits and how she saw them being taken down one by one. She assumed that Lazarus used the Deagle since it made a similar sound and carefully explained what happened from then on.
As she explained, she kept on mentioning how she couldn’t feel or even see any mana on Lazarus as he did those things.
“Oh and I forgot to mention. Rex can also turn invisi-” The moment Sonia spoke those words, she was interrupted by the sound of glass breaking. One of the cups fell on the floor, spilling tea.
Probably an accident, they all thought.
Little did they know, that it was a signal to a certain someone in the other room. Rufus casually strolled out as he had already done his job, and of course, no one else could see him.
After hearing the full details of Lazarus’ abilities. Helven couldn’t risk it, he was too suspicious but Syrawi couldn’t let Lazarus go, knowing that he MIGHT be their only chance, even if the chances were low. The three had a mutual agreement.
“Then it’s decided. A dangerous person like him should only be our last resort. Let’s wait for the others we’re bringing in… especially Eve and ONLY if none of them succeed will we let that human help. ” - Zaiyus
Syrawi nodded as she knew this was the best course of action to take and Helven was relatively satisfied with the results. It was only Sonia who was against it, knowing full well that everything they’ve tried with mana would only make her grandfather worse.
But she also knew the dangers of having someone with a very shady background to touch him. Lazarus wasn’t even guaranteed to succeed anyway, so it was better this way…… Sonia thought.
Back in the other room---
The room was relatively silent with just the three of them. Eris with her lavender eyes, kept on staring at Lazarus, she couldn’t help but think that the person Sylphi was looking for was him, and of course Lazarus had already noticed her curious gaze, but he chose not to say anything. After all, Sylphi was watching them, casually leaning against the wall with both of her arms crossed underneath her large bust.
Though she was watching them, her gaze constantly shifted to the ground and back to them. It was clear that she had something on her mind, well at least for now she didn’t suspect anything so it was better for Lazarus.
There was nothing else to do but wait. As Sylphi let out sighs, Lazarus was minding his own business and having his own conversation with FS.
“This Lazarus….. ” Eris suddenly spoke, breaking off the silence. Sylphi hurriedly glanced towards her with eagerness while Lazarus kept quiet, although this was the topic he wanted to avoid most. So he simply complained in his head why Eris even brought it up.
Eris continued. “You also mentioned that he was manaless... like Rex right..? And a sword?”
Sylphi nodded. “A one-edged sword.”
“What about weapons that go boom?” - Eris
Sylphi raised a brow. “Boom?” Thinking back, she remembered the first time they met when they got flash banged. “ Now that I think about it…. He used one back in the forest. Like a small little bottle with a handle….. Why? Do you know anything about him?” She spoke with a hint of eagerness in her voice.
At this point Lazarus was feeling a bit chilly and cornered. If he reacted it might be too obvious, so he continued to remain silent but was hoping for some explosion to happen, just so that the conversation would stop.
Sylphi was hoping to get some leads on him, but as soon as Eris shook her head, her hopes plummeted down. “I see….”
Lazarus was relieved but then a sound of glass breaking caught his attention. His brows curved down to a frown as he felt a boiling sensation swell up from the pit of his stomache. “That damn half….” he cursed.
He was somewhat pissed that his conditions were taken lightly. Lazarus cracked his knuckles as the boiling sensation reached up to his head.
Then a deep robotic voice called out.
-= Master. Blood is rushing through your frontal cortex and your adrenal glands are saturating your system with stress hormones. Your rational thought is getting impaired and I suggest you count to ten.=-
Although it was stupid, it was at these time that Lazarus knew he might do something irrational so he did as FS suggested, no matter how stupid it sounded. He began taking light breaths and, although it was relatively stupid, he began counting to ten, mentally of course, he didn’t want to seem like an idiot counting out loud.
Finally exhaling a bit of air, he somehow calmed down to a degree.
-= Your gratitude is unnecessary for a program……..though, you’re welcome master.=-
It was a bit frustrating to be told off by an AI but Lazarus was grateful. Although he wasn’t going to change his decision seeing how he was taken lightly, well at least not completely, it was better to take advantage of the situation rather than making it worse, he thought.
He waited for a few more minutes till a knocking sound could be heard, followed by Sonia and the elves entering.
Syrawi was the first to speak with a smile. “We’ve finished discussing matters Re-” Lazarus suddenly cut her short.
“I’m also done thinking.” Helven and Zaiyus frowned at his rudeness but before they could say a word, Syrawi raised a hand, signaling them to stop as she knew he had something to say.
Lazarus continued. “I’ll be doubling my fees.”
A look of shock appeared on all the elves as Lazarus spoke those words. Sonia stomped her way forward as her frowning gaze met with Lazarus. “W-why!? This isn’t what we agreed on!”
“Don’t play the victim card with me.” Lazarus huffed. “I told you not to break any of our agreements.” Then he leaned in closer to Sonia who felt his gaze piercing through her soul before he whispered. “Didn’t I?”
Sonia trembled as her heart beat in arrays she couldn’t understand. She was angry at how Lazarus was trying to rip them off. Her head throbbed violently but she couldn’t utter a word and simply averted her gaze while clenching her fist in frustration. “H-how did you..?”
Syrawi’s eyes widened and Helven was at a loss for words. They both knew that Sylphi’s mana hadn’t moved so they were sure that Lazarus hadn’t moved a muscle. So how did he know? This man is indeed dangerous if he could do that.
Zaiyus glance towards Sylphi who shook her head, signaling that Lazarus did nothing suspicious while she was watching.
The elves felt a sort of pressure around them as Lazarus began pacing around. “And as we’d agreed on. I’ll have to leave…. But I’m kind” Lazarus snickered. “ So I was willing to give you a chance of doubling your payment to change my mind.” He wanted to show that he wasn’t one to be taken lightly. He felt it was only right that he did, since breaching a contract would normally mean breach of contract fees back on earth.
Helven frowned. He didn’t like the idea of being ripped off. ”Tsk. If that’s how it is then LEAVE.”
Syrawi intervened. “Wait…. Please understand that-” Lazarus cut her short. There was no point in listening anymore. “There’s nothing to understand. I only want your decision… so far it’s one to none and I don’t care about who’s authority is higher. I’ll go with the decision of the majority of the people in this room.”
Lazarus eyed the elves one by one, forcing them to choose then and there. He was already done playing games.
Zaiyus knew that they had made a mistake of forcing Sonia to talk, he could only let out a sigh as he thought that they should’ve chose somewhere farther to talk. But he also felt that it wasn’t wrong, knowing how dangerous an unknown person can be.
He never let the his emotions get to him so he simply remained calm and weighed the pros and cons. And seeing as how Lazarus found out without even moving a muscle was all the more reason to let him leave.
Ultimately, Lazarus was someone who he felt was more dangerous than helpful. “Then you can go...”
“Two to none.” - Lazarus
Syrawi didn’t want to let him go as she felt that having an insurance was more important. To her it didn’t matter how much they’d lose as long as Mauris would recover. As she looked towards Lazarus, she knew that he would only accept only one of the two answers… Syrawi heaved a sigh. “S-stay….”
“Two to one...” Lazarus then gazed towards Sylphi who was giving him a menacing glare.
“We don’t need you here.” Somehow his attitude got to her nerves.
“Hmmm~...I see.” Lazarus shook his head, feeling a bit giddy on how things turned out. Well, everything doesn’t turn out the way we always want them so it was a given. Without even awaiting Sonia’s reply; he began walking towards the door with a smirk that somehow irritated Helven.
Sonia couldn’t utter a word. She knew it was her fault that things turned out the way they did. So she simply remained quiet while biting her lips in frustration.
Eris, who remained quiet for the entire conversation followed after Lazarus. Her face showed no emotion whatsoever. But before she did, she tapped Sonia’s shoulder and spoke. “Bye.”
“W-wait… you’re going too?” Sonia had a pleading look as she said those words.
Eris nodded. Seeing as Sonia already reached her destination safely then there was no need to stay. Especially if the elves didn’t want them here. Sonia couldn’t exactly keep her here, it would just be plain selfish after all that happened.
With a reluctant nod from Sonia, Eris followed after Lazarus who was already a bit further away.
As she caught up to Lazarus, he eyed her curiously. “Where are you going?”
“With you?” - Eris
“Why?” - Lazarus
“Aren’t you headed back to the city?” - Eris
“Well….. I am..” - Lazarus
“So shouldn’t we go together?” - Eris
“You’re not staying?” - Lazarus
Eris shook her head. “No…. and there was something I wanted to ask you….”
“I see….” Somehow things were anti climactic and he didn’t even get the cash reward they promised. He got hundreds of weapons from the bandit’s hideout so he couldn’t exactly say that he lost anything.
The only thing left to do now was head back to the city and sell them….. And maybe keep the weapons he liked.
As the two passed through the elven homes, the elven people were all giving them strange gazes, some with anger and some with fear. None of them dared to go near them and simply muttered curses under their breaths.
Though, Eris didn’t seem to mind while Lazarus didn’t care so they simply continued their way out. And in just a few minutes they were back into the forest. As Lazarus continued on, Eris called out to him. “Rex...”
Lazarus gazed at her. “What?”
“Are we heading back to the veritas forest?” - Eris
“Yeah…...” Lazarus only recorded this path in his chip so it was a given that he would only use the path that he knows. Otherwise he would get lost. So why was she asking something so obvious? He had planned to head there but then he remembered. Eris couldn’t cloak like he could. “Oh…. yeah there were monsters…. I forgot.”
Eris nodded. Lazarus stopped and was silent for a moment, he needed to get back as fast as he could so he didn’t want to take any detours. They didn’t exactly need to go together so Eris could just head the other way.
As he was lost in thought. Eris let out a sigh, as if reading him, she spoke. “ Rex… if you’re going to go to the veritas forest then I’ll be going with you….”
“Uhmmm… why? You could just head the other way. It’s dangerous you know..” - Lazarus
“I’ll be fine…..and besides.. There was something I wanted to ask you... ” - Eris
“Why not ask me now, then head the other way?” Lazarus spoke curiously.
“Later…..” Eris answered. It didn’t make sense to Lazarus why she insisted on going somewhere dangerous just to ask him something, but then again this was how Eris always was. She always went at her own pace and at this point, Lazarus was already used to it.
Heaving a sigh, as if resigning himself, Lazarus spoke. “Alright… then let’s head the other way… it’s too dangerous there...”
“Hmm? Why?” Eris tilted her head and gazed at Lazarus with confusion. She was sure he’d push through the veritas forest as he was someone who didn’t seem to care too much about other and always did what he wanted.
“Like I said. It’s too dangerous...” Lazarus sighed, he knew that if he headed there then Eris would seriously go with him like she said. She was relatively stubborn so there was no point in arguing with her. So he simply decided to take a detour, losing a few weeks wasn’t that much of a problem anyway…
Actually, it was a problem for him but he couldn’t risk Eris getting killed. Although he didn’t consider her as a friend yet, he didn’t want her dead either.
Eris was quiet, as Lazarus turned to gaze back at her, he noticed she had a stunned look. Making Lazarus wonder if something had gone wrong.
But then, he frowned as Eris chuckled. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing…. Hehehe” It was relatively cute, as this was the very first time Lazarus saw her laugh. And she was laughing at something that wasn’t even funny.
“It’s just that… I never expected you to try and be considerate...” Eris spoke while rubbing her eyes. “It’s fine…. We can head to the veritas forest.”
“No. And I’m not being considerate. I’m just being logical…..” Lazarus turned on his back, trying to hide the fact that his cheeks were a bit reddened from embarrassment. “Just lead the way since I don’t know our way back….”
Eris nodded. “Alright...” and then she began walking infront of Lazarus as she passed by him, she tried to take a peek, wanting to see how he looked like. But all she saw was Lazarus giving her a frown.
“Back to the usual Rex I see...” Eris chuckled.
Several hours had gone by since Lazarus and Eris had left and an elven man, wearing a purple outfit that resembled a shinto priest was heading towards the large tree. This man, was none other than Oraius.
And just behind him, was a silver haired girl, wearing a one piece white dress that was titghtened around her body, emphasize her curves. She had alluring amber eyes that was tainted with a golden yellow and foxy white ears that protruded from the side of her head. As she was escorted to the large tree house, she suddenly stopped.
Oraius had a curious look as he gazed back at her. “Is something wrong?”
Her nose twitched and she began taking light sniffs. “This scent…..” and just like that, she suddenly headed for the door but as soon as she opened it. She was greeted by Zaiyus. “Who are-....” upon gazing at this beauty, her white fox ears and amber eyes made his eyes widened.
“E-eve!?” Then he gazed at the man behind her and noticed Oraius with a large grin on his face. “Yo~”
Eve took a step back and lightly bowed. “Hello, I’m Eve Luxaria of the white fox clan. Pleased to meet you.”
A large grin appeared on Zaiyus face as he screamed. “Lady Syrawi! She’s here!!”
But then he felt a light tug on his clothing. He turned his gaze back to Eve who was giving him a curious look. “Uhm… Can I ask you something?”
“H-huh?? Uh.. sure go ahead.” - Zaiyus
“Is there a human male here?” Eve passed by Zaiyus and began looking at the interior, seemingly looking for something while sniffing around.
“Was….. he already went away. Why?” - Zaiyus
“Hmm…. it’s just that I met a man. Back on the ship. But he ran away when an Elven girl chased him… I didn’t get to talk with him much because of that….” Eve’s fox ears drooped down as she spoke those words.
And as she began walking around the room, she suddenly noticed that by the table was an Elven female with bluish eyes and hair. For a moment, Eve gazed at her intently to try and confirm it. But there was no mistaking it, it was the elf she saw. “Ah! It’s you!‘
Sylphi lazily gazed back at her and frowned. “Huh?”