It was then that he heard the sound of hurried footsteps.
"Sudryal!" A water mage shouted causing Sud to put on a slight grimace. He was still not used to being called so informally.
"What is it?" Sud asked the agitated water mage calmly.
"Alolvi and a few others have returned injured!" Hearing this news, however, Sudryal had to put aside any silly thoughts.
"What happened? Take me to Ed" Sud said as he exited the calming bath. The water mage nodded and led Sud outside the room. They were now traversing what was called the main hall of the Bloodhaven refuge base.
As Sud and the other mages didn't have much to do, there were many rooms connected to this main hall. The one Sud was being led to was of course the healing ward. As for why Sudryal even needed to be led… Well, it was plain to see he had been taking things easy.
With age, his memory sometimes failed him so he developed a habit of not bothering to remember unimportant things, or that was his excuse for his lack of dedication.
After Sudryal entered the room, he was met with the sight of a few Elven warriors resting on uncomfortable earthen beds. That was except for one bed which Sudryal assumed Ed had put together due to its visible comfort.
This earthen bed appeared to be cushioned by a crimson cloth and had a few things to prop Alolvi up. Whether this was the cloth's natural color Sudryal did not know but what he did know was that Ed would be asking him questions judging by the tense atmosphere in the room.
"Sudryal, how did your people deal with this in the past?" Ed asked before Sudryal even had a chance to get close to Alolvi and investigate.
"Wha-" Sudryal was of course startled by what he found to be an excessive worry.
Sudryal shot Alolvi a proper glance before responding with a troubled shrug. This made Ed's face contort visibly.
"You don't know?" Ed asked in an evidently angry tone. How could the great Elder Sud, a relic of the old generation, not have a solution to Alolvi's ailment?
Ed had always been suspicious that Alolvi was hiding something- no he was in fact certain he was hiding something. The word suspicious was long since not fitting.
"You… what did you actually do as part of the expedition?" From what Alolvi had previously told Ed, the expeditions did not take water mages with them. This was something he suggested of his own volition and he came to regret it.
If one interpreted the story another way… Wasn't Sudryal nothing more than a prideful coward?
"I told you already didn't I? I was just a brat that knew not how to tell the height of the mountain before me" Sudryal answered.
"I handed water while toiling for my life. What else could I do?" He added.
"Who can vouch for that?" Ed said with a serious expression.
"Wh- Who can vouch for that? No one! No one can vouch for that! But now is not the time, Alolvi needs-" Sudryal answered quickly before diverting the subject.
"Answer my question, 'Elder'" Ed said with some emphasis.
"But Sir Ed!" Sudryal exclaimed politely perhaps a result of being addressed as Elder.
"Alolvi can wait" Ed was not keen on changing the topic, however.
"No, he can't-! Why are you?!?" Sudryal was now staring at Ed as though he was a madman. His actions made no sense, when did he start hating Alolvi? Why was now a good time?!?
"You… You think this is my fault for not warning you?" Sudryal said in realization. This train of thought was the only thing that could logically explain the illogical response from Ed who replied with silence.
"I can't warn you about what I don't know!" Sudryal harrumphed.
"But why don't you know?" Ed asked calmly.
"Ah…" Sudryal let out a gasp.
"You don't believe me anymore huh…" No one could vouch for the story that Sudryal concocted. He was the oldest Elf in the village by a long shot. Thanks to the culture of the previous village, all the elves were also taught to believe unquestionably the words of water mages. They were pure beings after all!
"Wow..." Sudryal said in disbelief. He had an incredulous expression on his face.
"Watch your attitude, Sudryal. You've been rather flippant with me since the start" Ed said as he lunged forward and grabbed the elderly man by the neck. The elves in the vicinity who had been simply observing all gasped. That move was completely unprecedented!
"I've let it slide up until now but you've forgotten how I got everyone under me to begin with" Ed did so by force, overwhelming numbers to be exact. Right now, Ed was threatening an old man. That was what anyone would see from an outsider's perspective.
But there were only insiders present.
"You can create fairy tales all you want but the moment it costs the life of someone it becomes a problem" Ed continued his verbal assault on the old man before loosening the grasp on his neck.
"Why don't you believe me…" Sudryal struggled to say in a raspy voice.
"You know nothing, why would I believe you?" Ed said coldly.
Was Sudryal a prideful coward? Well, that was certainly debatable. But what couldn't be denied was that he was a wise old man, almost too wise. It was hard not to think of him as a conniving coward instead.
All of Sudryal's acts were calculated for his own self-preservation. He was a top-ranking official before Ed came in and was at risk of being reduced to another one in the crowd.
But if the Bloodhaven was a dangerous place, how did Sudryal outlast everyone? His brave tales should have been passed down to others. Each of the Elven families had their own folktales related to the Bloodhaven it was evident that there was a tendency to pass down important information. Sudryal by all means should have qualified as a visitor and survivor of this place.
If Sudryal as the only survivor passed on his teachings from the start, the tales Ed heard on the journey would have been a lot more uniform as they would all come from one source.
"You weren't part of this village originally, isn't that right?" Ed did not know the answer to this question because he hadn't asked anyone. At this moment, he was making a bold assumption.
Sudryal did not try to answer, so Ed tightened his grasp on Sudryal's neck.
"Your life is still in my hands, Elder" Ed warned before finally letting go of the man.
"Cough cough, you… you are right…" Sudryal coughed before giving in.
"But why does that matter? Your detective game is killing a man. Me being from another place doesn't matter right now!" Or not… Sudryal was still indignant and more than willing to move on from the matter.
"Did you already forget my words? Alolvi's state is partly your fault" Ed was going into the whole thing dark but that was because what was supposed to be a source of information was being uncooperative up to this point.
Truthfully, Ed did not know if all of Sudryal's words were a lie or not. But he did know that his attitude needed to be corrected if Sudryal intended to maintain a high position within the Elven City.
To summarize the whole ordeal, Sudryal had proven himself to not be trustworthy. As such, Ed needed to make a decision. Alolvi's situation was the perfect opportunity for Ed to catch Sudryal off guard and question him.
"I- I-..." Sudryal could not utter any coherent words from this point on. He had run out of excuses. How many times did you have to hear a person say they don't know before you come to the conclusion that they were not all they made themselves out to be?
Whatever the answer to that question was, it was certain that Sudryal had surpassed the number.
"I tried to warn you! I told you it was dangerous!" But Sudryal did eventually manage to lash out. He found a new way to defend himself... pushing the blame.
"Really? I don't recall you warning me after receiving your reward, not even after I told you to accompany me" Ed suspected that although Sudryal did not want to leave for the Bloodhaven, he still saw an opportunity in accompanying Ed, the true leader.
"That-" was true. Sudryal couldn't tell Ed he was misremembering.
"You are opportunistic and uncaring. But those characteristics can be good in an advisor. I'll give you a chance Sudryal, come clean" Ed put on a whole show for this moment. His decision would be based on Sudryal's own decision.
Sudryal was now put on the spot. The person before him was an almighty being. If he wanted him dead, the steps he was taking right now were not necessary. That meant, he truly meant that these negative traits could be positives.
After a painfully long few seconds, Sudryal's mouth parted.
"I'll come clean…" Sudryal could only give in to the pressure in the end.
The tension in the ward finally relaxed a little following these words. The elves present all felt relieved knowing they wouldn't be witnessing a murder of one of their own.
"Umm… I can get up now, right?" A ward patient asked quietly.
"Sure" Ed responded.
Immediately, 3 other people all stood up from their beds. That included Alolvi who was believed to be fatally wounded. Sudryal's eyes nearly popped right out of his socket. Did Alolvi get turned into an undead!?!
The Novel will be updated first on this website. Come back and continue reading tomorrow, everyone!