Chapter 23:

Other Half of the Night

Adventures of Zeleon

Leon returned to the capital after the most physically trying month of his life. He slept for most of the three days following his return. He was lucky, he had no broken bones following the hard hitting fight against Varius. There were some serious bone bruises however, making any twist, bend or slightly sudden movement feel painful and labored.

Of all the people who decided to pay him a visit, Katrina was the last on the list. But, she did. Even though her and Leon aren't always on the best of terms. "You look terrible." The first words that escaped her lips as she entered, Leon had tried sitting upright, and winced while he did, showing his body was still very tender.

Katrina wore a burgundy blouse and loose fitting black pants that looked like they were made of silk. Her black hair was neatly done as always, Leon looked at her to try to conjure up a comeback, but had nothing to fire back with, because she looked too perfect. "That's not fair. You look flawless, and I look like a half chewed corpse. So, what brings you to me, you know..other than insulting me?"

"Maybe I just wanted to make sure you're not dead." Her tone of voice sounded annoyed and a bit dismissive, making Leon give her a bit of a side eye afterwards.

"Thaaaaanks." He returned with a sarcastic tone.

"On a serious note, I'd actually like your opinion since you're probably the most blunt person I know. The people of Xavera or now the Blood Apostles as they call themselves, are equals that run via democracy. How much do I need to look into it?"

Leon looked into her eyes the moment she said 'opinion', thinking that she was completely full of it. But after she finished speaking he thought about it for a moment and kind of shrugged at it.

"Yeah, they're not a democracy. I come from a place with a so-called democracy and if they actually made a resolute decision for something that bold, I'd be in shock. There's a leader or leaders giving marching orders. I have little doubt about that. So, definitely look into it." Leon's answer was as clear cut as could be, his confidence gave Katrina a clearer picture.

"My father believes the same, my mother is on the fence about them. Ravlynn and Oni are part of them too." The moment she mentioned those names Leon's eyes widened.

"They were two of the main crewmembers when we made the blood delivery!"

"They said as much, they also plan on entering the Guardian Tournament. But neither of them are a feature head, that title goes to a man in his mid thirties by the name of Brivan. There was something disturbing about him."

Leon sat up a bit straighter as he took in the information, straining his injuries a bit as he did so. "They're entering the Tournament and this guy is pushing them in a direction. What was off with him?"

"I couldn't read his thoughts."

"WHAT?!" Leon exclaimed, straining himself again as he winced a bit.

"My mother is unsure of it too. There's no time that either of us have ever come across that kind of person. I'm kind of scared about him, they want both you and Maeva out of the way."

Her voice trembled as she spoke, feeling like she might've jumped in the deep end by befriending the Blood Apostles.

"Don't worry about them. If I don't win then Maeva will, I promised to face her in the finals. And I plan on doing that no matter what. The cultists are a trivial matter in between that goal."

Katrina softly chuckled. "How high and mighty of you to call people 'trivial'. Seems so very out of character for someone who's rooted into the ground."

"I'm just trying to emphasize the lack of importance they have there. But I'd be diligent if I were you. There's no telling what kind of BS they'll pull." Leon laid back in his bed more, trying to relax while he was still so badly bruised.

"I'm bored as hell up here, so a chat was actually very welcoming. And, just because I don't necessarily like you doesn't mean I'll forget that they attacked me. I hope I get to lay a beatdown on them to prove a point."

Katrina nodded, as she headed back out of his room, she left a few last words. "Unfortunately for you, scorched earth is not something you'll have the liberty of leaving. You'll lose the Tournament for sure." With those words she left, seemingly done with her line of questioning.

"I know you're close enough to hear me. My two losses are going to shape me into being better going forward. I refuse to be underestimated so badly."

His words carried to her through her mind as a shiver went up her spine. She was nervous of just how confident Leon had gotten with how much belief he had within himself.


On the same day, Courtney was marching into the Wolves' territory directly. Unlike the younger Humans and some of the Komodrons, the Wolves knew her quite intimately. However, the moment her scent was caught, she was surrounded by six guards who were still in human form.

Courtney looked at all of them with very little concern, not even attempting to pull out her weapon.

"You all know who I am, don't act like you don't. I'm looking for Fenris or Raffi. I have important information that needs to be relayed to them."

Courtney's words were sincere enough, but the wolven guards weren't buying what she was saying. As she noticed their suspicious movements, she widened her stance and took a deep breath. The bushes of the forest rustled all around her, as she was being circled like a prey item.

None of them tried to turn yet, not because it's daytime, but an unnatural transformation not under a full moon too many times puts them at risk of never being able to turn back into human form again.

The rustling sounds grew more frequent as the guards became more restless, until one of them finally charged Courtney. A loud thud was created, the attacker was quickly put into the dirt after Courtney planted them. The others followed suit at the same time, and within moments all six of the guards were piled on top of each other after being handled with ease by the Vampire's former second in command.

"Well, well. Long time no see my nemesis." A tall man wearing a fur black overcoat with a gray tank top underneath and black pants with no shoes. He looked far younger than what he actually was, underneath a short scruff on his face and his unkempt light brown hair. His eyes looked gold like a wolf's would, as they looked directly into Courtney's.

"How nice of you to show up in such a timely fashion, Fenris. You should know by now that I'll never be rusty when it comes to fighting." Courtney gave a sly smile towards him, which got on his nerves a bit.

"Seems not. So, to what do I owe this disdain to a bloodsucker that decided to trespass on my property?" Fenris seemed like he wanted the conversation over within a short time frame.

"Well, straight to the point then. As you know, the three moons are all hitting their new moon phase within a few months. What you don't know is Charlotte is planning a full scale attack that night in order to wipe you all out."

Her words cut like a knife as Fenris, the Alpha of the Wolves, gritted his teeth. He was seething in anger at this news, under different circumstances he might not have believed Courtney, but her time away from the Vampires made her more trustworthy.

"That snake is back to these antics again? She's officially getting on my last nerve with her constant threats, that this should be like this, humans are unnecessary, we are unnecessary. I'M SO TIRED!!!" His last words came out as more of a roar than actual speech.

"Hey now, settle down big guy. Serena and I have a plan in place to help you." The moment she said the word help, Fenris couldn't help but to be more enraged, causing her to take a couple of steps back away from him.

"You think we're so weak that we need outside help?! If you even try to get involved we'll attack you and whoever you decide to bring without hesitation!"

His impassioned words were shrugged off by Courtney. This was a problem Fenris had for as long as anyone can remember who's known him. He gets way too emotional and makes brash decisions based on these emotional whims over using a logical, cooler mind.

"You realize in all the years we've clashed that you've never been able to defeat me at your best. If you tried taking on Charlotte in a weakened state she would murder you with a smile on her face. We will help you matter what happens, I have a personal stake in this too."

Courtney's words were honest. Though not the kind of honesty that Fenris took very kindly to. He lunged at her in his now blinding rage. She pulled her halberd from its own magic space, and stuck it right against his throat.

"Could you act like an adult for once and not attack out like an upset child? I'm trying to help you so you DON'T get annihilated, and this is the response I get?"

Fenris suddenly came to his senses because well, he had a sharp weapon pointing into his jugular. "Who do you plan on getting for help?" His words still came out in a disrespectful manner.

"Komodrons seem likely, the dragons I'm hoping for. Then of course, the one we hope will be the new Guardian."

He looked at her suspiciously. He wasn't sure what she meant by the new Guardian. "Who might that be? it the Alderwood girl gifted with the nymph spirit?"

"That's a good guess, but no. Leon Atkins is who we're pinning our hopes on." Courtney spoke with confidence, even though it was far from a forgone conclusion she had absolute faith.

"Isn't that...wait….THE EARTH HUMAN?! You want to pin lives based upon what an Earth human might be able to accomplish?!" He stepped back away from her, as the guards slowly began picking themselves back up. "I want you out of this territory immediately. If that Earth human, by some incredible miracle becomes Guardian, I want nothing to do with your plan.

I should've never heard you out to begin with."

The werewolf Alpha and the guards left Courtney there in a hurry. She sighed, feeling like a fool for ever trying to reason with him. Before she put her weapon back in its holding space, another rustle in the trees came about. A shorter, slender build woman, maybe all of five foot three, with gold yellow eyes and an almost deep azure color to her hair. Wearing tight black pants with no shoes, with a black leather jacket and a black shirt tucked into it.

"Raffi. Were you hiding out?"

The werewolf Beta Raffi, the second in command as her title states as well as being the wife of Fenris. She and Courtney were actually friends at one time before both their leaders were at each other's throats constantly.

"Not really. I just heard my husband ranting about something and came to see what the fuss was. But, I'm glad I came. He probably would've said he just wanted to be cautious about the new moon night. The fact you told him makes it concrete that it's a major concern for us. So, unlike him, I thank you."

Courtney smiled softly at her, as she let her weapon disappear seeing her old friend once again.

"So. Why the Earth human? I know that he was handpicked by Serena, which gives him some level of credibility. But, the question is why so much faith in him?"

Her skepticism was much more balanced than her husband's, but was an obvious borderline red flag depending on the explanation.

"Even now I don't know the reason Serena chose him. But he has this mindset that rebels everything that humans are. He doesn't look at our face value and call us monsters, his world is filled with monsters who have a normal exterior. He got battered by Varius but the effort was most definitely there, he very well could have beat him if things even went slightly differently."

Raffi was actually shocked. An Earth human pushing Varius to the limit seemed impossible in her mind's view. But, she believed her anyway. "So there's potential there obviously. Hmm, I might have to come watch him personally. But you, it's been over a quarter century since we've spoken. If you don't mind, let me walk you out of here."

"Lead the way, then."

The two chattered away, losing track of time as Raffi escorted Courtney out of the forest. The two old friends' bond rekindled in a small way that left them feeling a little bit fuller on the inside.