Chapter 56 - Aftermath V2
Lazarus, not daring to let his guard down, continued to grip the flash bang behind his back as he gave a glare at all the elven people that surrounded him.
Everyone was silent. Looks of shock and awe were plastered on everyone’s faces as they blankly stare at him. It’s as if the chaos from before was a lie. But the silence was immediately broken by a loud voice.
“Men! Create a perimeter! Move the sage back inside!” Zaiyus shouted.
"Yes sir!" The guards replied in unison as they stomped and surrounded Lazarus and the sage, they formed a formation before pushing the people further away.
The crazed elven man resisted and struggled. “No! Can’t you see?! This was his plot! He had saved the sage ONLY because he planted that creature inside!!”
The guards didn’t listen and continued to push him away.
Lazarus straightened himself and let out a sigh. Then a voice called out.
"Rex, could you accompany us back inside?" Syrawi stared at him with brows slightly furrowed. Then her expression softened as Lazarus returned a nod.
But as he went away, his eyes were still focused on the crazed elven man, as if burning the image of his face into his head.
Both glaring at one another, seemingly silently telling each other that this, wasn’t over.
"H-he really did it..... impossible..." Nalar couldn't help but speak out. He thought of him as a mad man when he'd suggested to open Mauris, but he clearly didn't flinch at the sight of his innards and was moving his hands with precision, it was obvious he knew what he was doing.
Nalar felt a bit frustrated that some random individual managed to do what he and Eve couldn't. But it was only for a moment as he began walking inside, wanting to know more about Lazarus.
As he was about to walk inside, a figure raced passed him in a hurry, it was Sylphi followed by Eris who also went after her. "Rude...." he quietly spoke to himself.
"True, though I understand their excitement. After all, that man had done something we could not." Eve chuckled. "Anyway, let us continue inside. I myself am curious about him as well."
They were back in the Mauris' room, where the sage was quietly breathing while laying on top of the white blankets of his bed.
Syrawi carefully eyed Mauris from head to toe as she gently placed a hand on his chest. She closed her eyes and focused.
Lazarus was quietly observing her and was still gripping the flashbang in his hand, he glanced at Helven who was beside Syrawi, seizing the opportunity, he slowly hid the grenade on his back before de-materializing it.
Syrawi's eyes flicked open, she was silent for a moment before she turned and glanced at Lazarus. "Rex.... y-you've done it. Mauris' mana, truly is rejuvinating..."
"Then why do you look so conflicted?" Lazarus raised a curious brow.
Syrawi forced a smile. "It’s just that…. I still cannot bring myself to believe that Mauris' has truly been saved. It still feels so unreal to me...."
"He truly is recovering...... no doubt about it..." Helven muttered with a seemingly conflicted look.
Syrawi nodded. "Indeed, Rex I-..." she stopped and stared for a moment, then frowned and took a few steps forward, getting closer to Lazarus, making him step back a bit and glare. "What are you-?"
"Your eyes..." She interrupted, looking closer. "It's glowing?"
"N-no.. i-it can't be.." Lazarus eyes widened. His heart immediately raced faster. As he took another step back, he felt his body lighten for a moment, before he suddenly felt his head being magnetized to the floor.
As Lazarus was about to fall on his back, he managed to anchor a foot to balance himself.
Syrawi was surprised as Lazarus suddenly gripped his head, clenching his teeth and was beginning to sweat bullets.
"-FS! What the hell is happening?!-" Lazarus felt dizzy and confused. His world was spinning. "-D-did the suppression fail??-"
A deep robotic voice replied.
-= No master. You're merely suffering the after effects of having your thoughts sped up temporarily by the serum. =-
"A-are you alright?" Syrawi reached out a hand, but then Lazarus frowned and smacked her hand away. "I-I'm fine-..... I don't need your help."
Helven looked curiously at Lazarus as he slowly sat on the ground and began taking deep breaths.
Though he didn't look that bad, he was already suppressing the urge to vomit. His head felt light and at the same time, cold. He closed his eyes, not wanting to see the ground and roof spin like a washing machine.
Though, at this moment, Lazarus was somewhat relieved that he wasn’t going to go on a rampage. As he took a few more deep breaths, he somehow calmed down to a degree before speaking again.
"Haa-.... I'm fine now.” He wiped his forehead with his arm. “Anyway, now that your precious sage is in good health. I'll be taking my payment."
Helven spoke. "Double right?"
Lazarus shook his head slowly while looking unamused. This only made Helven frown as Lazarus was seemingly forcing Helven to make a wild guess. And naturally he spoke out the next number. "I-it can't be....Triple?"
And to his horror. Lazarus nodded. Before Helven could lash out, Syrawi cut him. “It was I, who had agreed to it.”
Helven paled. “B-but Lady Syrawi! This village will go broke if you pay him that amount!”
“Yes, I am aware… But he had saved the sage, had he not?” Syrawi lowered her gaze. “He had saved us from a much crueler fate…..So please, prepare the money.”
Helven frowned. “B-but...”
Lazarus frowned, his voice somewhat raised. “Considering that YOU and your people were out for my head, I’d say that it’s a VERY reasonable price.”
Helven glared and clenched his teeth. He couldn’t talk his way out of this.
Especially after attacking Lazarus himself. He huffed and turned. As he was about to head outside. He heard a couple voices, muffled from beyond the door.
“I need to talk to that man….” A feminine voice muttered in a low tone.
Helven furrowed his brows. “Sylphi?”
“No. Lady Syrawi is still discussing some matters with him.” Replied Zaiyus in a strict tone.
With a click, Helven opened the door and incited the stares from Sylphi and the rest. He was somewhat surprised that Nalar and Eve were also behind her together with Eris. He then glanced back to Sylphi with a brow raised. “What is it that you needed to say to that scum?”
Sylphi lowered her gaze. It was obviously something that the others shouldn’t hear. But this only made Helven even more curious. “Well?” he called out, wanting her answer.
Sylphi thought for a moment, before she shook her head lightly and sighed. “Nevermind…. It can wait...” She then turned and left.
This only made Helven even more curious. But he wasn’t about to pry it out of her as he still had things he needed to do. He then glanced at the remaining three and spoke. “And you three?”
“I’ll be waiting for him downstairs.” Replied Eve as she turned and left with a soft smile. Nalar followed after her and only Eris remained, with the same expression she always wore.
Helven simply sighed as he took it as her waiting for him and walked passed her. Though he didn’t like the idea of being ripped off, he honestly didn’t have a choice.
Back in the room, Syrawi sat down, just beside Mauris, glancing at him with a soft yet mature smile. “I cannot thank you enough…....” she spoke, as she turned her gaze towards Lazarus.
Lazarus was silent; looking very unamused. This made Syrawi lower her gaze, feeling a mountain of guilt that was slowly crushing her. “Rex…. I know that my people have wronged you….”
“Wronged me?” Lazarus interrupted with a strict tone, gazing at Syrawi with a frown. “Hmph…it wasn’t your people’s idea to let me operate outside now, was it?”
Syrawi’s gaze lowered even more. “I apologize…. I didn’t think it would’ve amounted to that...”
“Haaa-.....” Lazarus rubbed his temples. “Don’t apologize. After all, it was my fault for even trying. I should’ve left when I had the chance.”
“Please…. don’t say that…..” Syrawi could understand his anger, after they had forced Sonia to break her promise, after kicking him out of the village, and after almost getting him killed. She knew, he had every reason to be angry.
Syrawi simply stared at Lazarus and was bracing herself for every insults he would’ve thrown. But Lazarus didn’t, he simply sighed again before speaking. “When I get my money, I’ll head out.”
“W-wait… please allow us to make it up to you.” Syrawi reached out.
Lazarus sighed again. “No.”
And again, Syrawi could only lower her gaze and give an apologetic look. “I truly am sorry…..”
Then it was silence. Lazarus didn’t want to vent out his anger anymore, as the deed had already been done. Getting angry was already pointless. Now all he had to do was wait for the money.
The silence felt so long. Though, on Lazarus’ screen, he knew that not even a minute had passed.
Just to pass the time, Lazarus closed his eyes and called out. “-FS-”
-= Yes master? =-
“-Did you record the activation sequence?-”
-= Affirmative. Here’s the data of the temporary activation of the serum =-
And just like, several screens hovered around Lazarus’ mind. One displaying a chart with several text and some containing duration of the effects as well as its after effects.
“-Hmmm….. 15 minutes of accelerated thought, but in exchange 10 minutes of dizziness and confusion...-”
Lazarus frowned. It was somewhat risky, considering that the confusion he felt would almost rendered him unable to fight. Perhaps it would depend on the situation and how he used it from now on would determine how useful it was.
“-Save the sequence, we might need it later.-”
-= Yes master, I’ll be saving it as “Neural acceleration”. =-
“-That’s a pretty good name actually-” Lazarus snickered inwardly. But then a voice called out, making him open his eyes and end the virtual simulations in his mind.
“Rex...” The moment Lazarus opened his eyes, Syrawi was holding a large brown back, that was seemingly filed to the brim and was bulging at the bottom, seemingly about to rip off the fabric.
Helven was beside her, gazing at Lazarus with a frown.
Lazarus ignored the senile old elf and felt a bit giddy just watching the bag, but of course, he didn’t show it and casually stood up while dusting himself.
Syrawi carefully lowered the bag, making clinking sounds as she forced a smile, but wasn’t meeting Lazarus gaze.
“Here….” She spoke softly. Lazarus received the bag of gold and pulled a string.
The moment he looked inside, a golden shine blinded him for a moment. It was filled with an assortment of jewelries and piles of gold, then he noticed a strange looking stone and took it out. “What’s this?”
A small pinkish marble was incased inside by a deep blue gemstone, it resembled a diamond but was oddly colored. It was somewhat interesting.
Syrawi spoke. “Sonia’s Orphelium stone…”
Lazarus vaguely remembers Sonia mentioning it, but right now it didn’t really matter. He felt a bit greedy just watching the gemstones and gold altogether. “I take it this amounts to our agreed deal?”
Syrawi nodded with a soft smile. Helven simply clicked his tongue and glared.
Though, it didn’t really bother Lazarus as he gripped the bag and began walking away. As he walked pass Helven, he simply snickered, inciting a glare from the old man.
There were no more words that were needed to be spoken. As Lazarus made a click and was halfway through the door, Syrawi spoke softly. “I hope….that you find it in your heart to forgive us.” before he closed the door shut.
Lazarus didn’t reply and continued on.
And leaning against the wall, gazing at Lazarus carefully was Zaiyus, who was just seemingly waiting for him to come out while crossing his arms. He didn’t say a word and just kept on staring.
Lazarus knew he heard their conversation, after all he was just standing by the door, he didn’t think too much of Zaiyus and simply walked pass him as he headed for the stairs.
The moment he walked down, he noticed Sylphi, staring at him with a frown from below. Though, he didn’t really mind as he didn’t think that his identity had been compromised yet.
As if not noticing her, Lazarus continued walking down and payed her no heed. He was already tired from the recent events and he simply wanted to get to counting the gold.
But as soon as he passed by her, he felt a grip on his arm. Then he shot a glare at the elven maiden. “What now?”
Sylphi seemingly took a deep breath, as if bracing herself before she spoke. “We need to talk.”
Lazarus wasn’t exactly in the mood to talk. And as luck had turned for the best, a voice called out. “Rex!”
A half purpled haired elf smile ever so gently, gazing at Lazarus with somewhat teary eyes. She walked towards him, gazing at directly into his eyes.
“Thank you… so much” She muttered softly before she suddenly stepped forward, her arms opened. Lazarus froze, feeling a strange sense of warmth and confusion from her embrace.
“Thank you...” Sonia muttered again, burrying her face in Lazarus chest, wiping her tears on his robe.
Sylphi averted her gaze. Eve and Nalar stood there watching with widened eyes and Eris, just gazing at them without a change in her expression.
Barely giving time for Lazarus to react, Sonia stepped back and smiled again with her dried up tears creating a sort of mark on her cheeks. “Thank you…..” she muttered one last time, but still, it seemed like no matter how many times she said it, it wasn’t enough.
Lazarus simply nodded. He only did what he was payed to do in the first place. Not something that deserved anyone’s gratitude.
Sonia couldn’t help but chuckle. “That’s so like you….Rex. And….. about what I said before
Lazarus raised a brow. And somehow Sonia could tell that Lazarus had already forgot. She spoke. “Uhmm, before you saved grandpa…. You know, uhmmm about what I said?”
But Lazarus was still furrowing his brows making Sonia simply sigh. She glanced around, and then her face turned to a flush pink.
Lazarus simply had even more questions in his mind seeing Sonia like this, but then she suddenly grabbed him by the arm and rushed him off to her room.
Then she heaved a sigh of relief as she leaned her back against the door.
“Why’d you brought me here?”
“I told you before… that if you saved grandpa. That I didn’t care what I had to do so you’d do it. That… I-I-...” Sonia’s face turned to a tomato red. “T-that I’d be your slave?”
Lazarus sighed, no good can come out from having a slave. Especially a naive young girl. “No. It’ll just be a hassle.”
Sonia was somewhat relieved, but somehow she also felt a bit irritated. “I’m not good enough?” she couldn’t help but ask.
Lazarus shook his head. “There’s something I need to do. And I can do it better if I’m ALONE.”
Sonia chuckled. “Hahahah….. You know….I’m just kidding. You didn’t have to take it so seriously..”
“I see.” Lazarus closed his eyes and reached for the door. Then he eyes Sonia who was still leaning against it. She had a strange but very warm smile as she gazed deeply into Lazarus. “But still, thank you…. Thank you for saving grandpa” she smiled again.
At this point Lazarus was feeling somewhat strange to be thanked so many times. It was a strange eery feeling but it wasn’t bad.
“So, I guess this is goodbye?” Sonia then stepped away then waved her hand awkwardly.
Lazarus simply replied with a nod. Then walked passed her; not wanting to make it some sort of dramatic goodbye and went outside.
As he arrived back in the lobby. Sylphi was crossing her arms, and was just seemingly impatient..
Lazarus ignored her and continued to the door.
As he reached for the knob. He turned and glanced at Eris. “And you?”
“I’ll be coming with you.” Eris stood up, glanced at Sonia who was behind Lazarus and waved. “Bye-bye”
But it wasn’t enough for Sonia, she went towards Eris and hugged her.
Lazarus simply closed his eyes and turned. “I’ll be waiting outside.”
Sylphi followed. Somehow Lazarus cursed in his mind as he had hoped to use the opportunity to slip pass the annoying elf.
The moment they were outside. It was somewhat cold and breezy. Sylphi jestured to him to follow. Lazarus raised a curious brow and had no intention of following her, then she stopped and frowned. “We need to go somewhere private.”
“Haaa-..... I’m busy so-” Sylphi interrupted. “Reisha Valheart”
The moment she spoke those words, Lazarus frowned. “What about the twilight princess?”
Sylphi sighed. “Laz” she called out softly, wanting Lazarus to know that she already knew who he was. There was no point in playing dumb.
“Who?” Lazarus casually brushed it off aside, hoping that she had no concrete proof it was him.
Sylphi’s eyes narrowed. “Do you still intend to play dumb?”
Lazarus sighed. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Lazarus Valheart second prince of the Twilight King-” Lazarus interrupted, his voice somewhat threatening. “Stop it.“
Sylphi felt that he still didn’t understand and continued. “You’re manaless and Eve told me earlier that there was a familiar scent. She told me about a man I chased off in a ship. Does it sound familiar? I don’t think she can go wrong with her scent.”
Lazarus’s brows distorted to a frown as he clenched his fist. “Tsk, what the hell do you want?”
“If you don’t want people to know who you are. Then please, just follow me…. just this one time.”