The Children of Eris
The woman sat beside Lord Ruthven stood up and curtsied beautifully to David.
“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, your majesty,” Lilith said with a bright smile that made David’s heart skip a beat. “My name is Lilith. May I have the honour of knowing his majesty’s name?”
“Aren’t you overstepping your bounds-?” Scylla tried to say but David interrupted her.
“May I be permitted to call you Lord Allaric, your majesty?”
“That is definitely-”
“Feel free to.”
Lilith’s face lit up and she giggled happily. “Thank you, Lord Allaric.”
David’s council behind him struggled to not let their shock show on their face.
Only a handful of people at the Dread Keep were allowed to call him by his name, but his chosen generals were not among them.
To Scylla and Charybdis, they couldn’t understand their master’s intentions.
David himself was a little bit surprised at himself.
Why did I allow her to call me by my name? He locked eyes with her, causing the vampire’s cheeks to redden. What the hell is with that reaction?!
“My daughter has been eager to meet you since you first arrived in this world,” Lord Ruthven said.
“F-father!” Lilith became more embarrassed. “You promised not to tell Lord Allaric!”
Lord Ruthven chuckled. “Sorry, but I couldn’t help it, not after you acted so giddy upon seeing a portrait of his majesty.”
Lilith went silent and sat down, hanging her head in shame.
“…You have a portrait of me?” David asked.
“Oh yes, your majesty. Originally, I had our men who were observing you from a distance draw up a reference for both myself, the Court and, as it turned out, my daughter. We even had it painted so that we could fully appreciate your imposing form.” Lord Ruthven laughed again. “It’s currently hanging in-”
“Father,” Lilith growled beside him, baring her fangs.
“A-Apologies, but I seem to have forgotten where it is.” He cleared his throat. “I hope you do forgive me, your majesty, but it was essential that the Court saw who it was that we were to pledge our allegiance to.”
“Why is that?” Scylla demanded.
“Lady Scylla, do you truly think that the members of the Vampire Court could agree to ally with someone without ever seeing their face?” Lord Ruthven asked. “If you so wished, your majesty, we could order more portraits of you created. We have many great artisans among our members. If you’d prefer, we could create a marble version of your majesty to display in the centres of your cities.”
“I-I’ll have to think about that,” David said; he cringed inside when he imagined a large statue of himself in the centre of the capital. “But I am interested in seeing this portrait at some point.”
Lord Ruthven nodded. “I’m sure my daughter would be more than willing to do that, your majesty.”
“With pleasure, Lord Allaric,” Lilith beamed.
David’s heart skipped again.
She’s so beautiful…He thought. I’ve seen lots of attractive people since coming to this world, including my generals, but she’s just so…captivating. Why? David frowned a little. Is it possible that this is a trap of some sort?
What if she’s using some sort of charm magic on me to make me feel this way? That would make sense, given how cute she’s acting. And she is really pretty.
When I summoned my first generals, Mimir said that I couldn’t be affected by charm magic like Mania’s, so that isn’t it.
It’s the same sort of feeling like when I met-David bit down on his lip. When I met Kella.
…It’s just like then. This same happiness, this warmth, it’s just missing the feeling of disgust that comes after it.
After all…David shut his eyes. Kella could be dead in a few weeks’ time.
If we make this alliance, Lilith will join us and become my wife.
I could have some semblance of normalcy in my life.
“Lord Allaric, is something wrong?” Lilith inquired.
David reopened his eyes and saw that almost everyone in the room was gazing at him anxiously.
I wonder if they think I’m upset. David scoffed. Well, they aren’t wrong.
It’s not their fault.
“I was lost in my thoughts for a moment,” David said dismissively as he waved his hand. “Lord Ruthven, you have given me much to consider today. As such, I would like some time to think things over and discuss this alliance in more depth with my generals.”
“Very well, your majesty,” Lord Ruthven said. “As I mentioned in my letter to you, we will be hosting a great ball in your honour tonight. I hope that you will enjoy it and will see first hand just how powerful the Vampire Court truly is.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
Deep in the Beast Woods, Fenrir ran through the trees, sniffing and searching for any signs of the werewolves.
After three hours of nonstop searching, she had found a faint trail but hadn’t found any werewolves yet.
She transformed out of her wolf form and conjured a portal behind her. Two Machai stepped through from the Dread Keep.
“I need to speak to Abaddon,” she said.
The Machai bowed and returned to the keep. A minute later, the demon general appeared.
“What do you want?” Abaddon demanded.
“I…need your help,” Fenrir whispered.
“Werewolves?” Abaddon looked around them and didn’t see a sign of another lifeform near them. “What werewolves?”
“No, I mean…um.” She rubbed the back of her head and screamed in frustration.
“I need you as backup in case something goes wrong!” She howled; her cry echoed around them for a few seconds.
Abaddon looked at her in stunned silence.
Once Fenrir had calmed herself down, she said, “Just in case is all.”
“Is this about what happened in Stonefall?”
Fenrir meekly nodded. “When we went to finish off the Sons of Tartarus, I messed up badly. Herakles almost knocked me out before I’d even realised what’d happened. Then, against those A-rankers, I struggled because I was still disoriented by that first attack which made me realise something.”
“That there are those that can rival our power?”
“…Yeah. I don’t want to ever go through that humiliation again; I don’t want to make any more mistakes like that.”
“So, you want me to hang back and keep an eye on things in case the werewolves are stronger than you think?” Abaddon asked.
“I can do that, but I don’t have much time. I’ve still got my orders from the Demon Emperor to follow and I might not make it if I’m away for too long.”
“How much could you take off?”
“Two hours, maximum. Hopefully though, we’ll be done in an hour.”
Fenrir grinned. “I hope so too and.” She turned away from him to hide her embarrassment. “Thanks.”
“Don’t worry about it.”