If something can go wrong, it will
Some key members of the resistance were discussing a matter of pressing importance, gathered in the house that until yesterday was occupied by Selia.
"My conclusion is that they are not related".
All those present considered the meaning of the words said by their partner Sallo, the person reader. A scrawny young man with a pale complexion and brown hair with an orange hue.
"I endorse Sallo's opinion. From what we know of him, he has been incredibly generous with his followers, and has spent a lot of time dealing with street merchants since he is in town, he doesn't seem like a bad person. Most suspicious is that he was seen leaving the <Red House> a day before coming here, but since then he has not contacted any city officials".
The first to speak after reflecting on the situation was Laru, whose features were barely distinguishable from the dirt that covered his face. Although his face was not something to remember, his voice was, because it transmitted a feeling of calm and encouragement, which inspired confidence in those who heard it.
"So we go ahead with the plan?"
Who questioned the other two about what they should do, had the largest figure in the place, clearly different from the others. The man was Molak, a former knight from Jagheb kingdom who had retired prematurely and was now part of the resistance in Garush. Although everyone saw him as a father figure, or perhaps as a grandfather, he was far from being in poor physical condition.
"We can't back down now. Ruthen, I hope you're ready, tonight you must successfully accomplish your mission, the plan depends on it ... The city depends on it".
"Don't be nervous, I know you will do the right thing when the time comes".
Although Laru's intention was to remind him of the importance of his role, doubt didn't leave Ruthen's mind. Realizing it, Molak placed his hand on the youth's shoulder and with a slight smile transmitted words of encouragement.
For the plan to succeed, the resistance had kept a close watch on Iren's soldiers, as well as the justice officials and the <Red House> where the city lord resided. The movements of the soldiers, as well as the areas they inspected, were carefully studied, so that they could predict with some degree of accuracy which soldiers would go to which places at any given time.
Ruthen's mission was completely fundamental. He had to make sure to poison the drinks of the soldiers who would go the next day to the place where they could easily be killed. This was of vital importance, since if the soldiers were in perfect condition, there would be no certainty that they could all be killed there before they were discovered.
"I'm sorry to cause you trouble, I will fulfill my mission".
"We hope so, you're the best for stealthy missions, that's why we chose you".
Once Ruthen and Molak left the place, Laru asked the guards to follow them from the shadows to prevent anything from interfering with their plans. They couldn't send so many to the bar where the soldiers were, but at least they could escort them there.
Once the two of them were alone, the organizers of this plan exchanged words that they didn't want to be heard by their most innocent members.
" I'm not sure he will do it. Doubt showed all over his face".
"I noticed. Considering his choice of words, Molak too. I don't need to be a face reader to see it".
"Don't worry, I've already taken precautions. If Ruthen doesn't poison the soldiers, the bartender will. He is one of the citizens who has supported us for a while, my opinion is that he will not hesitate to do so".
"Hah ... If it were any other mission, I would never involve an innocent citizen in something like that, but we must make sure we carry this out without fail ... Regardless of the price".
In a modest but neat bar on the edge of the city's business district, the six Iren soldiers assigned to search the area were drinking placidly, not suspecting that they were being watched by someone other than the two bailiffs Garonte had assigned.
It is because they knew that they were being watched, that their keen instincts didn't alert them of a third man, or rather, a young man who studied their movements, looking for an opportunity to sentence their destinies.
"Hey, listen to what Roland told me. Apparently Jemur of the sixth was about to lose his arm due to his fight against the Saladdi warrior".
"OH! If I remember correctly, the champion of Saladdi was Apoc, a man who had been one of the 32 warriors for 10 years. He was undoubtedly a formidable warrior".
"Wait! Wait! I had heard that his left arm was pierced just above the elbow".
"And you are not mistaken, but it wasn't separated from his body, so he was able to receive treatment to save it. If he had been dismembered, even the Ashma priests could not have done anything".
"Jemur of the sixth, how good it must be ... To be an Acme under the command of the general Demon".
"Don't dream, you couldn't even finish your cadet years. Acme soldiers are Iren's pride. Not even training 30 years without stopping would you be one of them".
"But I have been training for 30 years, if we count my years as a soldier".
"And you're still not an Acme. You see I'm right?"
"Stop bothering. By Founder's decree, anyone who passes the Acme trial will be considered an Acme soldier, regardless of their past, even we would be".
"And you're supposed to pass the Acme trial? I already needed to laugh! Hahaha!"
"I can do it, I may not have passed the cadet tests, but with my years of training and experience as a soldier, I am sure I could do it now".
The weight of the mission had taken its toll on Ruthen's determination, who from the beginning had doubts about the plan. He didn't like the idea of doing anything involving Iren to begin with, he had been traumatized years ago when his hometown was razed to the ground in just one morning and he had barely survived under the rubble of his home, which eventually collapsed when a part from the city gate suddenly fell on it.
Now his doubts only increased. The soldiers he was to poison, these men were not like his image of Iren's soldiers. They were different from the red demons that brought ruin to his home. These were humans, people with emotions, they could make fun of their friends while laughing, they could regret their past failures, they could even dream.
He could not do it. He simply could not become a murderer and sentence to death those men who drank while chatting happily. He was not cold enough.
This was a dilemma, if he did not comply, that would mean putting at risk everything the resistance worked on. Perhaps they would never have a chance to free Garush from oppression again. Although this was not his hometown, the resistance was his family, and over time he had begun to feel the same way about the city as his brothers of the resistance.
"Heh, okay, that's fine. Let's suppose you can pass the trial. Who would give you permission to take the trial?"
"Didn't you hear? Apparently, the general is seriously interested in what we are looking for. I heard that he even left immediately when they found a clue in a northern city. I'm sure he will generously reward whoever finds it. If I can do it, I'll ask to be allowed to take the Acme trial".
"Are you sure about that? The general recently got the freedom to leave Iren on his own. I can hardly believe that the first thing he would do is visit an insignificant city on the outskirts".
"What he says is true. Do you remember Roland being present when the messenger relayed the news to the sergeant? He told me about it. As soon as Jemur of the sixth won his proxy bout, the general left for Kashmir. The way he said it, he was really rushed to check the clue about that object".
"Wow, even if it was just a hint? If he is that interested, I'm sure he's going straight to where something suspicious happens. Hey, you better not give any reports without first confirming it with the sergeant. I don't even want to imagine what if, after traveling in such a hurry, what he find is nothing but a disappointment".
"... You know, I think this is the first time in my life that I understand what chills are".
That soldier's words had reached Ruthen deeply. So much that from the impact he hadn't been able to keep his mouth shut. Fortunately, no one had heard the faint sound of bewilderment and fear that escaped his mouth.
The hand in his pocket, with which he held the poison wrapped, trembled uncontrollably.
What would the general think if he suddenly received the report that some of his soldiers, who were in a city in search of this so valuable object, had been mysteriously killed?
Eliminate the rulers of the city?
They would be lucky if the city ashes remains.
Trying not to be discovered, Ruthen discreetly left the place. Once outside he hastened to report what he heard. It was suicide, if before it was risky, now it was courting death, the plan had to be abandoned, they had to think of something else.
Within all the fear and despair his memories of the day the demon general reached their doors caused him, he was relieved. His doubts, his kind heart that had caused him so much pain in confronting this mission, had saved the city by preventing him from murdering Iren's soldiers.
"Well, you seem very lively tonight".
"You can bet bartender, I will bring glory to me and my family, I tell you, I have a good feeling, tomorrow will be the day that I will earn the right to prove myself".
"Oh, that's a positive attitude. This round is invited by the house. After all, since you come to this bar, no one has dared to cause trouble".
"How generous! You know, even though we don't have conflicts with the towns outskirts, I'm glad I came here. Maybe I don't understand how they live without training and fighting, but they are good people".
And with a smile, the soldier raised the mug to his mouth and drank happily, something that his companions imitated. It never crossed their minds that a foreign citizen had the courage to poison Iren's soldiers.
Cold words left the lips of the one whose silhouette walked among soldiers who prostrated themselves before him.
Even if they weren't soldiers under his command, they'd still get down on their knees, having just witnessed once more what power means.
"Did the reports arrive? Is there news of any discovery elsewhere?"
"Sir, not yet, sir".
"... Which is the closest city that is under investigation?"
"Sir, that would be Garush, it's further southeast. If I'm not mistaken, it was in the opposite direction when we crossed the first crossroads on the way here, sir".
"I am somewhat irritated by this useless journey. Very well, we will pass through that place upon our return".
"Sir, as ordered by the general, sir!"
As the general walked away from the soldier, he observed the place once more. A vacant lot that stretched for miles, and to think that, upon his arrival, this place was still a city.
Special thanks to the following patrons: J.T. , Lancelot9402 and Helen O.