After taunting them for a couple of minutes with uncomfortable silence, Master Naveb finally spoke, facing Connor. “Ah, so you are the one. The Greencloak who took Takoda from the monastery. The one who succumbed to the Wyrm in Sadre, and eventually turned on him and his allies.”
Of course, Connor was quick to defend himself, and just as predictable, his friends began to argue on his behalf. Anka remained unseen in the background of the library, seeing no reason to join in. As impassive as she was, she still recognized the severity of the situation. Naveb is the key to finding the Stormspeaker. What do I do if he refuses to help because of Connor’s participation? Yet from the way he composed himself, the oh-so esteemed elder seemed to be plotting something.
It did not take long for Anka to confirm her suspicion though. Having seen the four heroes’ loyalty to each other, Naveb revealed that it was all a test. “Despite being young, you have endured much, and yet you’re still united. That is why I will help.”
Anka realized her error too late. If it was a test for loyalty, should I have supported Connor too? Oh well, nothing could be done about it now, and Naveb certainly would not raise a problem over it: He was already pulling out a book on the Stormspeaker to set on a desk. At laaasst… Anka groaned in her head. The old monk was tactlessly overbearing – he could not even open the book without critiquing Meilin.
“A fighter who must battle herself to achieve what she truly wants.”
“I don’t even know what that means,” the warrior girl said with a scoff.
Yet, Anka could not help but reflect on Naveb’s words, because they rang true. Meilin was a skilled fighter who loved her nation completely, but the Greencloaks restricted her service. If it wasn’t for her attachment to her army, Meilin could achieve so much more. For the time being, Anka held out her hope that the girl would finally realize that one day.
The Greencloaks were gathered over the desk now, analyzing the pages on the Stormspeaker. Once again, Naveb tested the young heroes by having them figure out what the gift was for themselves. It was Abeke who exclaimed in triumph, “Stormspeaker is her crown!”
Anka appeared next to Abeke, squeezing past Conor, Rollan, and Meilin. “You’re right. It’s made of gold and the front has a bird grasping a green stone in its beak.”
“Not just any bird,” Naveb corrected, unfazed by the woman who had suddenly appeared. She did not trust the way his eyes had met hers, glinting with the hint of suspicion, but she retained a cool composure. No one else had even noticed.
“A hammerkop, also known as a lightning bird.” Abeke smiled.