Traitor to the cause
"Eh? What do you mean 'the plan is already in motion?"
Completely stunned, Ruthen lets the doubt slip through his lips.
"As you heard, the plan is already underway. In a few hours we will ambush Iren's soldiers at the planned location and assassinate them."
Ruthen's face was unable to decide what expression to have, what feeling to show ... Surprise? Fear? Despair? Confusion maybe?
Just earlier, he had arrived to report that he had not poisoned the soldiers. Not finding Laru and Sallo in the shelter, he had to go to the resistance headquarters. Once there, he found that everyone was agitated, hurrying in their preparations to fulfill their roles.
No doubt they had all taken it for granted that he had accomplished his mission and were preparing for dawn, not knowing that he hadn't been able to poison the soldiers. Due to this, he toured the place, bumping into his eager companions from time to time, until he reached Sallo, who was speaking with Laru and other resistance leaders.
Before he could report on what he heard the soldiers say, Sallo told him the plan was already in motion.
"You can't, don't you understand? I didn't poison them, I ..."
"We know. We were already informed of your actions ... or lack of them. They also tell us that the bartender succeeded in poisoning them in your place".
"What did you say?"
Ruthen's eyes widened almost as wide as plates, as he understood what those words implied. The confusion on his face disappeared as despair grew; for the fear that he had felt hours back when he was about to condemn Iren's men, resurfaced.
The strength left his body, beginning with his limbs. And on his knees, with the horror he had seen years ago reflected in his eyes, he let the air rush out of his lungs to say weakly ...
"He will come here ..."
"Ruthen, I understand that maybe we asked too much of you this time. Fortunately there was no damage thanks to the bartender's help, so there will be no consequences. But we think you should stay out of this until it's over. Take him out".
And with these words, a couple of members of the resistance took Ruthen by the arms and led him to the entrance, where they closed the door to the voice of "You heard it".
"He will come here ... after all, I didn't avoid it... the end of the city".
The powerful voice that muffled Ruthen's murmur belonged to the burly man who was a father figure to him.
"I heard what happened. You don't need to feel bad, you didn't do anything wrong. This is a war, and in war, sometimes there are sacrifices. But those men will not die by your hands, your hands are clean".
"You don't understand, no one understands".
"I understand. In my days as a knight, there were times when I had to face terrible decisions, that's why ..."
"NO! It's not about that! We are doomed! HE WILL COME !!"
And between screams and cries, Ruthen let out the despair. At times it seemed that his tongue was stuck or he was gasping for air, but finally, after a lot of shouting, his words were finally transmitted to Molak, who could barely assimilate the weight of what he was hearing, a weight that until a few moments ago crushed the poor boy's heart in front of him.
"... I'm sorry I yelled at you."
"This is bad. Even if we report this, nothing can be done, the soldiers have already been poisoned. Even if the ambush is not carried out tomorrow, when they fall under the effects of the poison and die, the result will be the same".
Ignoring the boy's unnecessary apology, since he didn't blame him, Molak expressed doubtfully.
"What? There must be something ... something we can do!"
Finally, after sharing the load and letting go of his fear, clarity returned to Ruthen.
"Maybe, if we had the antidote for the poison, we could give it to the soldiers to save them ... No, it won't work, it would be the same as admitting what we did, it would be the end of the resistance, and the rulers of the city would be completely unscathed. It would be the worst case scenario".
"The worst scenario ... Is the demon completely destroying the city and its inhabitants".
"Even if it's the case, the resistance leaders will never accept an end like that, they will not give them the antidote under any circumstance, there is no turning back for those responsible. Most likely they will continue with the plan, hoping for the best".
"It can't be ... Wait. Maybe ..."
Molak watched Ruthen carefully, who seemed to have found a glimmer of hope.
"The man who saved Albert's sister. We must find the man who saved Selia!"
Hearing this, Molak understood what he meant.
"Argent ... Was that his name? If you think that man may have an antidote for the poison ..."
"It's not impossible. When we met him, he looked very confident that he could cure Selia, and the antidote he gave her worked wonderfully ... At that moment I saw it, the little sack where he kept the antidote, it didn't seem to have changed".
"An Item Bag!"
"I thought the same. Although he tried to hide it, I could tell that that bag did not change at all after taking out the vial with the antidote. Anyone else would not have noticed, but my senses are very acute. It is possible that his confidence was due to that he has various kinds of antidotes to him".
"Maybe it is possible for him to have one for the poison that was used on the soldiers".
"We must find him and ask for his help. Only then will we avoid disaster".
"Debemos encontrarlo y pedir su ayuda. Solo así evitaremos el desastre".
"Do you realize what you're talking about? That would be betraying the resistance. Are you prepared for that?"
"No matter what, I won't let this city end up like Vangar".
Finally the doubt left Ruthen's eyes. Now he knew what had to be done.
Unfortunately, the same applied to the figures who had been listening to the conversation so far, three figures that showed themselves.
"I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't heard it myself. Ruthen and Molak plan to betray us".
"To think Sallo was right when he said 'He looked more shocked than expected, it is possible that he will try something'. They don't call him 'the face reader' for nothing ".
"Obviously his suspicions were correct, for that he sent us to watch them".
Surrounded by his former companions, Ruthen found it difficult to think quickly. So just trying to reason with them was the first thing that occurred to him.
"If you were listening, you know we must act. We can still avoid attracting the demon's attention".
"Don't make us laugh. Do you have any idea when was the last time a general from Iren traveled to the North? If that is already unlikely, to think that he would be interested in a small town like this that was abandoned by its own kingdom..."
"Impossible. Those were just the ravings of drunken soldiers. Even if they are strong, they can be just as illogical as anyone when drunk".
The refusal of the three was reasonable. But it was a risk Ruthen couldn't afford to take. If there was the slightest chance that the soldiers were right and the actions of the resistance attracted the attention of the demon and his red army, the consequences would be dire.
"Well, we could keep chatting all we want, but that depends on you joining us inside".
The man's tone grew sharper as his expression turned serious.
"... I'll entertain them as long as I can, go find that Argent. The men who were with him were not rookies and he looked formidable himself. I don't think they can deal with them while they are preparing for tomorrow".
As he let out his scream, Molak threw his massive body at the closest of the spies, knocking him down instantly, but putting the other two on guard.
"We may not be as strong as an ex-knight, but we are agile and outnumber you. You won't beat us if we don't lower our guard".
"Tell that to this one down here".
"I think he played his role well."
And without warning, a slight stabbing pain made Molak lose the mobility of his left arm, with which he had subdued the spy. And in it a needle can be seen stuck.
"Paralyzing poison. Not deadly, but will render you completely immobile in minutes. Rest while we do our work".
"Grr. Doesn't matter, Ruthen is faster than anyone. You won't be able to catch him".
"That's because you assume there were three of us watching you".
Ruthen's memories were somewhat blurry, but he managed to remember the moment when another member of the resistance appeared in front of him and inserted a needle into his neck.
"It can't be ... It's daylight".
The morning sun peeking through the walls of the alley he was in should bring light, but for Ruthen, it meant that the shadow of death was looming.