Chapter 77:

The Vampire Court (Part 4)

The Children of Eris

After Lord Ruthven and Lilith had left their rooms, David and his council began getting ready for the ball.Bookmark here

With the help of Eva and her maids, they were all bathed, had treatments applied to them and were being dressed into smart outfits. Bookmark here

David was to wear a black tuxedo while the women, excluding Hilda, were all going to wear dresses.Bookmark here

To properly show the world David’s chosen knight, David wanted Hilda to remain in her full suit of armour at the ball. He wanted to show off not only her strength, but also the power of his empire by displaying that they had enough Draconic metal for an entire suit of armour and a weapon.Bookmark here

As he and the generals were being changed, David had Jessica’s party stand guard outside with Hilda to scare off any prying eyes or ears from the Court. Jessica’s party and the twins had been changed before David and Rebecca.Bookmark here

“What do you think of Lord Ruthven’s terms?” David asked Rebecca.Bookmark here

The two were being dressed on opposite sides of a green screen door; Eva and two maids attended to Rebecca whereas the other three attended to David.Bookmark here

“I think they’re very generous, Lord Allaric, if a bit too generous,” Rebecca said as Eva tightened her corset. Bookmark here

“Do you think it’s a trap?”Bookmark here

“If it is, it’s a well hidden one. I triple checked the clauses again and again, even checking if the wording could be seen as ambiguous, but it’s too clear cut and dry. When you took control of the Dread Keep, you offered us terms but left parts unclear so that you could use them to your advantage later.”Bookmark here

David chuckled. “I hope you aren’t criticising me, Rebecca.”Bookmark here

“Far from it, your majesty!” She apologised beneath her breath, cleared her throat and continued. “What I meant was that I’m more suspicious because of the treaty’s wording than anything else.”Bookmark here

“Yes. They seem agreeable enough, at least.”Bookmark here

“They also knew how to properly respect you, your majesty,” Eva added as she helped Rebecca put on a necklace. Bookmark here

“They did, indeed,” David concurred. “Then again, the Gørviligr treated me in the same way.”Bookmark here

“However, Lord Allaric, the Gørviligr weren’t observing you in secret for months,” Rebecca said.Bookmark here

“That’s what concerns me most.”Bookmark here

If someone’s able to spy on us even with Mimir’s Ravens and Jorōgumo’s spiders in place, then that means other people could and that means highly important information could be leaked. Bookmark here

“They did acknowledge that they couldn’t possibly defeat you, Lord Allaric,” Rebecca said.Bookmark here

“Anyone can easily lie about such a thing,” David whispered. “It might be worth having Lord Ruthven and the other members of the Court demonstrate their strength against the twins or Hilda.”Bookmark here

“I volunteer, master!” Scylla eagerly cheered, poking her head around from the next room. Bookmark here

“I would gladly do the same, master,” Charybdis followed up.Bookmark here

“If that time arises, then I shall count on you both.”Bookmark here

The twins beamed and thanked him. They were both wearing elegant teal-blue dresses and had their hair done up by the maids; Scylla had hers in two small buns and Charybdis had hers in a braid. Bookmark here

Then, the maids who had been dressing David finished; they presented a mirror to David.Bookmark here

“You look awesome, master!” Scylla shouted.Bookmark here

Rebecca stepped out from behind the screen and smiled. “You look very handsome, Lord Allaric.”Bookmark here

“Thank yo-”Bookmark here

David trailed off when he saw Rebecca.Bookmark here

She was dressed in a stunning emerald dress; her hair was tied up in a bun on her head and she was wearing very fine jewellery. Without makeup, Rebecca was a pretty woman but, with it, it made her look gorgeous.Bookmark here

“L-lord Allaric?”Bookmark here

“You look amazing,” he whispered.Bookmark here

Rebecca, slightly confused and embarrassed, smiled awkwardly and scratched her cheek. “T-thank you.”Bookmark here

Out of the corner of his eye, David could see the twins pouting.Bookmark here

“Sis, he didn’t react like that to us, did he?” Scylla muttered.Bookmark here

“No, Scylla, no he didn’t,” Charybdis mumbled sadly. She put her hand on her sister’s shoulder. “Alas, there’s no hope for you.”Bookmark here

“Huh?!”Bookmark here

As the twins fought, David sighed before Jessica stepped back into the room.Bookmark here

“Forgive the interruption, your majesty, but Lady Lilith is here to see you.”Bookmark here

Lilith is? Bookmark here

“Send her in.”Bookmark here

Jessica bowed and let Lilith inside.Bookmark here

David once more found his heart skipping a beat when he saw her.Bookmark here

She was just as beautiful as she had been earlier, but the pure white dress and ornaments she was wearing made her look even more attractive.Bookmark here

…What the hell? Why is this happening now? David thought. Like the twins said, I didn’t react to them like this and they’re pretty girls. I didn’t even react like this when Mania slept with me.Bookmark here

What’s wrong with me?Bookmark here

“What brings you here, Lady Lilith?” David asked.Bookmark here

“U-um, I was wondering, Lord Allaric, if, um.” Lilith trailed off and played with her fingers. Her cheeks were slightly flushed and, for a small time, she didn’t say anything more than gentle whispers beneath her breath. Bookmark here

Then, with her courage restored, she asked, “C-could you be my escort for tonight’s ball?”Bookmark here

The room went silent.Bookmark here

“…You want Lord Allaric to escort you tonight?” Rebecca repeated.Bookmark here

Lilith nodded; her cheeks became a deeper shade of crimson. “I-it was my father’s idea, originally. He thought it would be good to demonstrate to the rest of the Court that we were on friendly terms with one another, so that they would be much more accepting of the alliance with your majesty.”Bookmark here

“I understand that, but even then-”Bookmark here

“Exactly!” Scylla cried, getting between David and Lilith. “It’s one thing to ask to call our master by name, but to ask him to escort you? Wouldn’t that be the same as declaring that we’d accepted when his majesty clearly said he wanted more time to think about this?”Bookmark here

“…I know, but…” David could see a tear form in her eye. “I just…”Bookmark here

He sighed and walked over to her; he took her hand in his and said, “I will gladly escort you, my lady.”Bookmark here

Lilith brightened up, wiped away her tear and smiled. “T-thank you! Also, please, call me Lilith, Lord Allaric.”Bookmark here

David smiled back. “As you wish, Lilith. I will be out in a moment, so could you wait one minute for me?”Bookmark here

“Yes!”Bookmark here

Lilith excitedly left the room and David ordered Jessica to bring Hilda into the room.Bookmark here

“Why did you accept her-?” Charybdis tried to ask but a sharp glare from David made her quiet.Bookmark here

“I appreciate your concerns about how this will appear to the Court but, remember, I always act for a reason,” David coldly said. “Do not, I repeat do not, upset Lord Ruthven, Lilith or the Court for the duration of the ball. Is that understood?”Bookmark here

“Yes, your majesty,” everyone answered.Bookmark here

“Good. Now, as we discussed earlier, I do not completely trust the Vampire Court and I will gladly bide my time until I am confident that I can. However, until such a time, remain on high alert and gather what information you can about them during your assignments that I give you tonight.Bookmark here

“Rebecca, keep Jessica’s team close as you go and make yourself known to as many of the most influential members of the Court as possible. Given what Lord Ruthven has said, it seems likely that a number of them could be high ranking nobles and thus you are the best among our party to talk to them.Bookmark here

“Scylla, Charybdis; protect Eva and the other maids as they attend to our party tonight. Further, I do not want any of you eating or drinking anything that hasn’t been delivered to you by our party and checked for poisons and other such things. Remember, you can only trust those who came with us here with your lives.Bookmark here

“Hilda, I want you to shadow me as my guard. I want you to be keenly paying attention to any and all potential threats, but do not engage unless they make a direct move at me or another among our party. If they do, do not kill them; merely incapacitate them.Bookmark here

“Are there any questions?” Everyone shook their heads. “Then, let the Vampire Ball begin.”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.