Chapter 78:

The Vampire Court (Part 5)

The Children of Eris

The grand ballroom of Castle Bathory lived up to its name.Bookmark here

It was the largest room in the building, stretching for more than two hundred metres in length, and it was even more spectacularly decorated than the rest of the castle. Food and drink tables lined the walls and there were hundreds of guests, dressed in their finest clothes, gathered in small groups, sharing small talk amongst themselves.Bookmark here

There were more than a hundred servants on duty and there were guards stationed at every door, window and balcony. Further, hanging like bats from the ceiling upside down, were dozens of the grey monsters David had seen earlier.Bookmark here

When he’d asked Lilith what they were, she’d confirmed what he had already suspected; they were gargoyles. Bookmark here

“Introducing his lordship, Lord Ruthven, head of the Vampire Court and his royal majesty, the Demon Emperor Lord Allaric and his escort Lady Lilith.”Bookmark here

All went silent as Lord Ruthven led David’s party onto the upper floor of the ballroom. From there, they stood atop a balcony that hung over the room and Lord Ruthven stepped up to the front to begin his address.Bookmark here

“Esteemed members of the Court, welcome,” Lord Ruthven said with a friendly smile. “It has been quite some time since we had this many members of the Court in the same place, though I’m sure you will all agree that such an occasion deserves such attendance. Bookmark here

“As I’m sure you all already know, today is a special day. Today, marks the day we have the great Demon Emperor himself, his majesty Lord Allaric, here.” Lord Ruthven gestured to David behind him. “In less than a year, he has fundamentally changed the state of Themis forever. His strength is so great that he could defeat all of us here alone, without breaking so much as a sweat.”Bookmark here

I hope that’s the case, David thought. Bookmark here

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Scylla smile and puff out her chest, whispering, “At least they know their place,” to her sister.Bookmark here

“If you would all join me in raising a glass to his majesty, the Dark Lord Allaric. Glory to his majesty!”Bookmark here

“Glory to his majesty!”Bookmark here

The crowd then applauded as Lord Ruthven and Lilith knelt before David once more. Bookmark here

I can see a few eager faces, and more than a few bitter ones too, David thought as he scanned through the crowd quickly. No one seems to be openly hostile per say, but I wonder how many of them are truly happy to be serving me.Bookmark here

Lord Ruthven said that the Court knew they were beaten, but did its members?Bookmark here

“And now, I would like to invite his majesty to share a few words with us before we begin tonight’s celebrations,” Lord Ruthven proclaimed, stepping off to the side. “Your majesty, the floor is yours.”Bookmark here

You never mentioned this, Ruthven! Bookmark here

David cleared his throat, thanked Lord Ruthven and stepped forward; every set of eyes was locked onto his.Bookmark here

Thank God I don’t have a fear of public speaking.Bookmark here

“Thank you, Lord Ruthven, esteemed members of the Vampire Court, for your invitation here tonight,” David bellowed. “I have heard many great things about you and I look forward to strengthening the relationship between us. I hope you all enjoy yourselves this evening.”Bookmark here

David stepped back and the crowd clapped slightly quieter than they had during Lord Ruthven’s speech, a detail David, Lilith, Ruthven and David’s party didn’t miss.Bookmark here

I just hope there’s no trouble tonight. Bookmark here

After his speech, David and Lilith descended holding hands and were quickly surrounded by members of the Court, though most kept a good distance between them.Bookmark here

They were eager to meet the Demon Emperor, but were anxious about getting too close to him.Bookmark here

Three of them, however, were invited over by Lilith.Bookmark here

One was a man who looked to be in his early twenties with light brown hair, blue eyes and he was wearing a suit that was just as fancy as Lord Ruthven’s.Bookmark here

Another was a woman dressed in an elegant grey ball gown wearing a pearl necklace and white-gemstone rings. Her hair was a pale white and was flowing down her back.Bookmark here

The third was an elderly looking gentleman in a white suit and with a black tie, and he also had glasses. Despite his apparent age and that he used a cane to support himself, David could tell that he was, or used to be, a strong warrior.Bookmark here

“This is Spurius Lartia, owner of the second largest mercantile company in the whole empire,” Lilith introduced, gesturing to the younger looking man.Bookmark here

“I have heard many great things about you, your majesty,” Spurius said with a grin. “I eagerly await the day when I may proudly display the Satyr’s Skull on my men’s shoulders.”Bookmark here

“Likewise, Spurius.” David shook the man’s hand. “I hope that you and your company will serve the empire well.”Bookmark here

“Beside him.” Lilith indicated to the next of the three. “Is Lady Guinevere Fabia, the Lady of the town of Frostfall.”Bookmark here

As Lady Guinevere curtsied before him, David whispered to Lilith, “I thought Frostfall was ruled by a male mayor?”Bookmark here

“It is in the eyes of the public,” Lilith said softly back.Bookmark here

“Fear not, your majesty, I assure you that I control Frostfall and will gladly rule it per your wishes,” Guinevere said with a sly smile. “The people might think that my husband rules the town but that is far from the truth.” Her eyes changed to a soft amber. “He is nothing more than my puppet.”Bookmark here

“…Is that so?”Bookmark here

So, these vampires really do have powerful charm magic? I wonder if it’s as strong as Mania’s or not?Bookmark here

“And finally, I have the honour of introducing you to the new lord of Silverten, Lord Valeria Gens.” The elderly looking man bowed deeply to David. Bookmark here

“The new lord?” David repeated.Bookmark here

“Yes, your majesty,” Valeria said with a sneer. “The former lord among others betrayed the Holy Empire recently by not sending their soldiers to Black Port. They betrayed their prince and he, among others, was purged by Prince Julius following his conquest.”Bookmark here

David didn’t try to hide the disgusting smile that crept across his lips.Bookmark here

“Who could have known that there were that many traitors to the empire?” He mused with a small chuckle which Lord Valeria shared with him.Bookmark here

“It’s a great tragedy, but, thankfully, they have been replaced with much more loyal ones, your majesty.” Lord Valeria showed his fangs. “They would never betray their master.”Bookmark here

To think that the Vampire Court had a hand to play with the situation in Black Port, David thought. As Lilith and the others continued talking without him, David’s eyes wandered Merchants, lords, ladies and more.Bookmark here

It’s almost impossible to refuse this alliance, isn’t it?Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.