I learned that the chiefs name was Quotas. We were alone, Quotas and I. The others at an appropriate distance where they could not listen to our conversation. We were sitting crisscrossed on the grass plains. There was some silence for a time as we were gauging each others situations. I broke the silence as I couldn stand it anymore.
”How do you know English? ”
Quotas started laughing. ”I don know English. ”
He said it in English.
Now I was dumbfounded.
”How come you are speaking it now? ”
”Only English I know is from your dream. ”
I was trying to comprehend what he meant. He saw me deep in thought and spoke in his own language.
”Try to speak Ral Elvish with me like you did with the others. I am limited to the dream you had. ” Quotas spoke again
Quotas began by explaining his dream catching ability to clear up some confusion. His ability could let him view dreams of the people he looked in the eye. The longer he looked the more time and dreams he could see. When we first met he was staring for probably five or six seconds and I wondered how much he could see of my past dreams. Just now when we were alone he must have been using his ability too.
I wondered what his limits were for this ability. If he could see three days or more he would be able to know I had been on a path of vengeance for my sister. That frightened me a bit, not because of the vengeance I was pursuing but because it made him one heck of an information broker. He has a lot of information on me and he could use it to his advantage. If I can not trust him I will have to leave and travel this unknown world. Depending on what the chief is like and depending on the circumstances it may be worth the risk to pick that option. This ability of his is one he would keep to himself in most cases so he was putting some on the line too.
”Excuse me. Let me formally introduce myself. I am Chief Quotas of the Quision tribe. ”
”Jared, sir. ”
”You don need to add the ”sir ”. We are alone right now. I have a lot to discuss with you. For now just call me Quotas ”
”Okay then, Quotas. Meeting me here in person alone is bold of you, what is your goal here? ”
”To get straight to the point, Jared, I am here to make you the next chief after me. ”
”Huh? ” I was going to say something but decided to keep my mouth shut and think about what he said. Why would he want to do this? I had the heterochromia trait so whether he knew I was a former human or not, he had physical proof for his subjects to make me his heir. Having the chief back me up gives me a foothold in this forest and I could learn about the world from the dark elves. But what are his own merits?
”You see, I believe that the chief can only be of royal blood. Now, you may not be literally royal, but you appear that way. I would have a way to ensure that the next chief is legit in my own faction. I am part of the royalist faction and that means that without an heir of my own, the next chief could be a non-royal and part of the might-makes-right faction. That is my public view on the matter. ”
It was quite convenient for me to be summoned and have a new body that resembles the dark elves a bit here. Quotas went on to speak. His personal reason for me to be chief was that he wanted to raise another son. His late wife died over a hundred years ago. She was in battle with a high elf. The high elf was going to destroy her entire tribe but she used all her mana to save her tribe. She pushed back the high elf and saved her people but she died from using all her mana.
Quotas and his wife had one son who died in a battle for the right to be the next chief. The Verax Pugna was a battle for the chief candidates to decide the next chief. They are usually supposed to take place when the chief himself is 400 or if he is deceased. This was a premature duel but his son was part of the might-makes-right faction which had duels on occasion to have worthy candidates for the official duels.
So Quotas had lost both his wife and his son. He was sure the next chief would be a noble of the might-makes-right faction. But when he heard from Zoren, the captain of the Zeknad, that I was unique and had heterochromia, he had hoped that he could keep his own faction from collapsing and being lost from history. After meeting me. He placed his trust in me.
”When I was speaking with Zoren earlier I told him I would give you the right to choose between the three options that are available. You can choose to travel elsewhere to stay out of our political squabbles, you can choose to stay and be a guest, or you can be my adopted heir. Which do you choose? ”
I wanted information on this world. The best way to get that in my current circumstances was to live with the dark elves. It made a lot of sense to accept his offer. I didn know if I would travel away someday. I didn really want to stay here forever but only time would tell what would happen later.
”Alright Quotas. Father, I will call you, and be your successor, I will be ”
My grammar in Ral Elvish wasn the best at this time.
”Splendid! Then we will come up with a cover story for your current situation. ”
”First father, My dreams, in the past how far can you see? ”
”Ha ha ha, one secret of mine is enough, is it not? This ability is my trump card afterall. ”
Shucks, I knew he wouldn give that away so easily but it didn hurt to ask. I doubted he could see all my dreams even if he stared at me for years but I was still curious about the exact numbers.
The story Quotas and I came up with is that I was the son of a banished royal dark elf. A dark elf and a deep elf had me. I could pass as having some traits of deep elves. Deep elves had even browner skin than mine. So my skin was a blend of dark elves and deep elves. Deep elves lived underground in the subterranean. I got caught in a random dungeon teleportation circle which sent me out in the plains. Some dungeon teleportation circles only teleported living flesh and so that could explain my nakedness when Zera and Zoren spotted me.
”Jared. I think it is time to regroup with everyone and discuss what happens next. We have two more hours before sunset and I would like to get back to headquarters before nightfall. ”
When we were all together I told them the story that Quotas and I came up with.
”So I have decided to adopt Jared as my son and appoint him my successor. ”
Everyone was surprised except Zoren and Zera. Zera didn show any expression as usual. Obviously Zoren knew this was coming.
Quotas was telling them that my family was going dungeon exploring and I set off a trap which teleported me out here.
After some questions and answers from the group they were becoming more and more accepting of the story.
What quotas said next was even crazier than what I have seen and heard today:
”I have been informed by the Shadowverse spies of everything that took place during the battle against the earth golem. They had found the summoner who was hiding further in the forest dead. He apparently slit his own throat. Unfortunately we found no further leads on that situation. ”
Shadowverse spies? They must be a secret intel gathering group that keeps tabs on important things. Quotas continued to talk to Zoren and the four other Zeknad to address the rules that they broke. All information that the Shadowverse spies told Quotas about. The first rule that Zoren broke was not having a replacement be sent so that Zera would have a partner. Zera was alone with me for a couple of hours so that was too long for any scout to be alone. The second rule that was broken was that each one of them, not including Zoren, showed emotion while on duty. I learned there were four scouting groups each representing the four tribes. All scouts were to show no emotion when they encountered people. Emotion gives too much intel for enemies and I could see why from my own experience fighting them.
The Zeknad scouts were positioned around the Dark Wood Forest in groups of three except the captain and the adjutant who were always stationed together and moved positions to help the other groups. This was information they taught me much later on. The group of three usually had a ranger, a mage, and a swordsman. The rangers were location group leaders. They were third in rank from the captain so the other two would answer to them. The closest group to where the earth golem fight happened was the group of Zishna, Zox, and Zotan. That is why they were there for backup. Zera had sent a wood phoenix to call for their back up as soon as she spotted the earth golem.
Zishna, Zox, and Zotan could get away with a demotion because they only broke one of the rules I mentioned before. But Zera didn call for a replacement the moment Zoren left to get Quotas approval for me to stay in Dark Wood Forest. Zoren didn do that either so they couldn get off with just a promotion.
Zishna, Zox, and Zotan were demoted to scout wyvern riders, the lowest rank that you could technically call the Zeknad. They would be doing the transportation for the Zeknad when shifts ended. Zoren and Zera were basically fired. Zoren also broke two rules, technically, when he interrupted the meeting Quotas was having. That is why Zoren couldn get away with just a demotion. But that was part of Quotas plan. Quotas wanted Zoren and Zera to be trained under the Shadowverse Spies and become my shadow guards. They would still be doing important work like they had been; they would just be part of the counter intelligence group called the Shadowverse Spies. I thought it was pretty cool. They did both border intel and gathered intel of their own people. Every nation had its foreign enemies as well as domestic enemies so spies were necessary to collect information on both.
Zera changed the subject and asked Quotas how the earth golem summoner could make one in my image. Quotas said that there was illusion magic cast on it when it was summoned. I guess without the illusion magic it would have looked like the dark elf that summoned it. The summoner was after Zera from the looks of it but used me to conveniently set me up. If the earth golem couldn defeat them maybe I could was probably what he was thinking. When he realized I destroyed his golem and the others were not attacking me anymore he killed himself. That was the working theory anyway.
It was time for some of us to get back but the sun was going to set in about an hour. We were going to have to set-up camp here and wait until tomorrow morning to go back. Zishna, Zox, and Zotan were going to head back at daylight and walk back to their locations. Their shift wasn over for about another 22 hours or so. They would be demoted after their shift ended. The nights in this part of the world were roughly 15 hours long and the day time was 10 hours long. That left Zoren, Zera, Quotas, and me. We had one wyvern so Quotas sent a wood phoenix to headquarters to get another wyvern over here. A wyvern could only carry three people at a time. They could fly for about two hours and then they would need rest. They covered a lot of ground though so they were essential for placing scouts at appropriate distances and locations.
Quotas was happy to be explaining many things to me. I was picking up on my grammar issues as the time went by. I am lucky to have five parallel minds learning things at once. Makes learning a language a lot easier. It was difficult to decipher what was the subject, object and verb of a sentence and so I often flopped it like Yoda.
I still found it interesting to have a chief like Quotas be alone without guards. He wasn a king, Ill give you that, but he was a sovereign and his safety would be important. I suppose that speaks to how much I underestimated this guy. He said his trump card was the dream catching ability but that could have been a lie. It certainly was a strong card but there was so much of this world I needed to learn about for me to be able to accurately gauge his strength.
I was on watch with Captain Zoren. We had split the night into three shifts. Five hours for each shift. We would always have two watchers and then swap with another two and then they would swap with the final two. The next shift would be Zera and Zishna and the final one would be Zox and Jared. Of course we allowed the chief to get some rest. He apparently had a few important executive meetings and then, on top of everything, he came all the way out here. Putting his chief status aside, he deserved to rest the entire night. Captain Zoren told me we had the Shadowverse spies as a last resort of defense. He was curious about my battle.
”What was your fight with Jared like? ”
”He was unarmed with only a helmet made from his blood magic. I should have been able to kill him but he was faster than I expected. I could tell he didn know my sword style but he was able to anticipate and predict my moves. His speed and agility saved him for a while. ”
”From the look of Jared today, Zotan, he doesn seem like he would be especially fast. ”
”You are right. He wasn incredibly fast but he was fast enough to dodge me and after thinking it through afterwards I realized he probably had more combat experience than me. ”
He may not have been familiar with my sword style but his experience in fighting another person, versus me fighting monsters on occasion, gave him an advantage. I have had many more years of sparring practice of that sort but I am a scout who typically does not engage in battles. I do the reporting. So in terms of real world experience, it seemed that Jared had me beat.
”Tell me more about his blood magic. Was that the reason he was able to get out of your stalemate? ”
”Yes. He is a blood mage, and specifically a blood smith. His crafting skills are incredible and he could be classified as a veteran blood mage. But what was even more amazing was that he had hit me in the head with an arrow head with my battle aura on. My battle aura is armature at best but he still penetrated it. ”
Actually it wasn incredibly fast but I lost concentration and momentarily lost my battle aura. I had put it back on at the last moment, saving me from a much worse injury, possibly death. I didn want to tell Captain Zoren that though. I underestimated him and let my guard down.
Captain Zoren didn believe that explanation though. He was looking at me like he caught me stealing the cookies.
”Zotan, Jared does not have any way to boost his physical strength. You lost composure didn you? ”
”Right, I forgot that you have some sort of appraisal skill. ”
”Even without my appraisal skill that story made no sense. ”
Almost everyone is born with a unique skill. Captain Zorens is his appraisal skill. I had found out about that when he saved me once about 40 years ago.
”On a different note, Zotan, whats with the awkwardness between Zishna, you and Jared? ”
”I don know. ”
”Are you dense? ”
That was a bit harsh of him to say. Though he was right. I had a feeling Zishna loved me. I just didn know how I felt about her. I was fighting Jared because I thought Zera was in danger. I am no longer going to be working with Zera and she will not be marrying anyone if she was a Shadowverse spy. I didn know how I felt about Zishna.
”I don know if I love Zishna or not. ”
We went silent for a while. We did have other conversations after that though.