“This is unexpected… it seems you underestimated that young man.”
It was early in the morning on the following day of the massacre and it had taken some time for word to spread about what happened. Although the authorities hadn’t been notified of what happened yet, those belonging to the pantheon of the northern churches had already become aware. The Bishop of the Church of Mimir had gone to the manor early in order to discuss the results of the previous evening. He hadn’t expected to walk into what had been a bloodbath. Every person in the manor, from the guards to the servants, were dead. Most hadn’t even realized how they died. This was clear on their expressions which lacked any sense of fear or regret.
“Well, even if this wasn’t a battlefield, they can be considered to have died in battle. May they find honor in Ásgarðr in the halls of Valhöll.” Bishop Girard said solemnly, his hands clasped atop his rotund belly.
Another similarly garbed man was standing next to him. However, he was tall and muscular while Girard was shorter and quite fat. He also had a full set of dirty blonde hair and a well developed beard which he had braided into many exquisite braids. There were some loose gray hairs, but nothing too noticeable.
The other man snorted, “We have become too soft and weak. This is pathetic, to have died without even knowing who their enemy was. How useless! Only heroes will be honored in Valhöll, not these weak and useless scum. This young man on the other hand, he is quite capable. It seems your information is inaccurate. You only mentioned the master and advanced class beings which stood at his side, but it appears that is not the entirety of his strength. Even Sigurd, who was a mid-advanced class assassin, was killed without knowing how he died. This means that the boy has a powerful assassin as well. Otherwise, Sigurd wouldn’t have died so pitifully.”
Girard mumbled under his breath for a moment while contemplating, “There was only a maid who was very young and an Orc who was clearly an Intermediate class being, at least from what I could see. If he has an assassin with such skill than it would be impossible for me to notice with my abilities. You can’t blame me for that, but now we know. Unfortunately, to learn this Baron Ulfert had to act as a sacrifice.”
“Then he has done a meritorious service.” The other man said dismissively.
“Either way, this was very clean. There is no evidence left behind and we can only make assumptions, but it is obvious who is the culprit. We should clean this up regardless without letting the authorities of the city know. This would be too much of an embarrassment to explain and they won’t be able to find anything anyway. How should we respond to this?”
The tall and muscular man wearing similar, but more resplendent, regalia compared with Bishop Girard sneered, “Nothing has changed, we either convince him to join us or we find a way to kill him. He has proven his capabilities, or at least the capabilities of his subordinates, and could be of great use to us. If we can’t convince him, then he must die as he poses too much of a threat in this competition. Our faith has been constrained to the North for far too long. Now that we have grown in strength and influence, it is time we expanded. This is the best opportunity to do so which doesn’t involve coming into direct conflict with other pantheons. Competition and conflict is inevitable and not something we should shy from, but we can’t deal with the other pantheons at this time. We do not have sufficient strength. It is best we weed out or rein in any unknown factors and those without the backing of powerful churches. Those who do not stand with us, must be removed. It is enough that we must share this land with those other churches.”
Bishop Girard nodded, “But how will we convince him? He is stubborn and was very direct with his answer. There was very little room for negotiation.”
“We just need to show him both our sincerity, and our strength. I will go myself, and I will bring the twin Direwolves.”
“Those two lunatics?” Bishop Girard said shocked.
The tall and muscular man’s response was simply a smug grin.
Lenia was pacing about in the hotel room in embarrassment. She had acted like a fool the previous night and had even fallen asleep along with Nelay without realizing it. She didn’t know why she had acted in such a way, or rather it was more like her feelings of jealousy had driven her to act like a child but she didn’t want to admit this to herself.
At least Nelay didn’t leave any better of an impression on master. Ugh, he woke up before the two of us and even saw us laying on the floor in such an embarrassing way. How can I look him in the eye now?
She was clearly flustered and hadn’t even noticed Aleks approaching her.
He called out to her without any response. He had to say her name three times before she finally noticed his presence which only made her more embarrassed.
“Do you know what you did wrong?” He asked calmly.
She nodded her head, but he continued anyway.
“You allowed yourself to become careless, but I can’t place all the blame on you. I must share part of the blame, I am the one who made your personality this way. You still have too little experience and to suddenly gain a female companion must be a difficult adjustment for you. However, consider this an opportunity to overcome your flaws. You must get your act together if you are to be a proper leader of my army.”
Lenia’s cheeks were burning and she couldn’t look up at Aleks, instead looking at the floor while she nodded.
“You are still young and I am placing a great burden on your shoulders, but this is part of your purpose for existing. Do not disappoint me.”
“Yes master.” Lenia replied in a tiny voice.
Aleks nodded, seemingly satisfied. He moved over to one of the cushioned chairs and sat down. Nelay promptly walked over with a cup of tea which she served to him skillfully.
“As for you Nelay, it is truly neglecting your duty as a maid for your master to awaken before you.”
Although Nelay wasn’t so obviously as embarrassed as Lenia, a slight redness tinged her cheeks. She was much better at covering up her emotions. She said nothing and only continued to serve Aleks.
“Yesterday was your first day and as such, it is understandable for your emotions and personality to have changes which might be difficult to adjust to. It took Lenia weeks to fully adjust her consciousness and personality and she still seems to be having some trouble with it. I expect better from the both of you going forward.”
“Yes master.” They both replied at the same time, but Lenia’s voice was still a whisper while Nelay spoke in a bland and emotionless tone.
The scene became peaceful with Aleks saying no more and only quietly sipping his tea. Lenia had yet to lift her head due to the embarrassment and Nelay continued to skillfully serve Aleks. It was a picturesque scene with two absolute beauties and the leisurely seated Aleks sipping his tea while deep in thought.
This continued for a short time until Brock returned with Grobak. He had taken the Orc with him since Nelay hadn’t woken when he left. Of course he wasn’t expecting much from Grobak, but he was an extra hand if needed. The two quickly made their way into the room, closing the door and reporting immediately to Aleks.
“I made the full payment on the contract with the adventurer’s guild, we should be able to meet the advanced class party soon and determine their strength. I also negotiated a plot of land outside the city for our camp, we just need the manpower and resources to begin construction. Since it will only be a temporary camp it shouldn’t take too much work. We can have the slaves do it once purchased. I investigated the prices of elite battle slaves and equipment a little as well. Prices are going up quickly but we should still be able to manage as long as we act soon. Horses are going to be an issue though, we need to purchase them today or there might not be any left by tomorrow.”
Aleks listened attentively and considered for a moment before replying, “I will leave everything to your judgement. Use all the wealth I brought as you see fit, buy the horses and get those Orcs I need first. Purchase some other slaves to begin construction of the camp. I want construction to begin today and be ready for us to move into tomorrow, even if the entire camp isn’t complete. I don’t want to waste anymore time. We need to begin training our forces without delay and we will set out within a week. You can take Nelay and Grobak with you, they should be of some use.”
Aleks waved away Nelay and the other two who said a few more words before leaving the room. Only Aleks and Lenia remained within, but Lenia had yet to regain her calm.
“Starting tomorrow and for every day thereafter, you will no longer be just my companion. You will be a commander, a leader of men, and their lives will be your responsibility. I will not interfere unless absolutely necessary. Are you prepared for this great responsibility and this burden?”
Despite her embarrassment, Lenia no longer hid her face in shame. She gritted her teeth and nodded with determination.
“I’m ready. I won’t disappoint you master.”
“Good. This is only the beginning of our rise, and of my revenge.”