Chapter 81:

The Vampire Court (Part 8)

The Children of Eris

After the ball had ended, Lord Ruthven had retired to his bedroom and found two women inside waiting for him.Bookmark here

One was stood by the window and the other was hidden beside the door with a dagger in her hand.Bookmark here

“I wonder if his majesty knows that you two are here,” Lord Ruthven whispered, locking the door. “Have I done something to offend him, or have I offended you two?”Bookmark here

Scylla poked his back with her dagger urging him forward towards Charybdis who had an unusually fierce scowl on her face.Bookmark here

“Did you tell her to do it?” Charybdis demanded.Bookmark here

“Do what?” Lord Ruthven asked back. Scylla prodded his back with her dagger. “Are you asking if I told her to seduce him or not?”Bookmark here

“Did you?”Bookmark here

“No, I did not.”Bookmark here

“Liar,” Scylla drove her dagger a bit harder into his back, just enough to draw a drop of blood. Bookmark here

“Why would I lie to you?”Bookmark here

“Why wouldn’t you?”Bookmark here

Lord Ruthven sighed and smiled. “Because it wouldn’t be of any benefit to me, would it? What would I have to gain by lying to my new master?”Bookmark here

“You are someone who has ruled over the Vampire Court for hundreds of years, yet you handed over that power and your beloved adopted daughter to our master so willingly that I can’t help but be suspicious,” Charybdis said. “If you told Lilith to seduce our master and make him fall for her, you could, in theory, use that connection to gain control over the whole Demon Empire.”Bookmark here

“I wouldn’t dare do such a thing,” Lord Ruthven replied.Bookmark here

“Why wouldn’t you?” Scylla asked.Bookmark here

Lord Ruthven exhaled and gently pushed Scylla’s dagger away. “Because I love Lilith. I would never, ever order her to do something so abhorrent. I’ve raised her since she was a babe and all she’s known is a life inside the castle’s grounds. Bookmark here

“She’s never seen anything beyond the Beast Woods, but she’s read every book in our library a dozen times at least.” He smiled remorsefully. “I’ve always been looking for a chance to take her and the rest of the Court back out of hiding and into the world. I’ve always been scheming in the shadows to find a way but, alas, nothing ever truly came about it.Bookmark here

“As powerful as we are, we only held that strength in the shadows, never in the light. If serving the Demon Emperor allows us to stand in the light again, then I will gladly do anything for that.”Bookmark here

“Even selling off your daughter to our master?” Charybdis asked.Bookmark here

Lord Ruthven scoffed. “Lilith’s the one who asked me to put that clause in. After we began observing his majesty and hearing more of his deeds, Lilith fell in love with him. She wanted to be with him. She knew that the marriage would also solidify the Court’s allegiance to the man she loved and vice versa, so I couldn’t object to it.”Bookmark here

“So, you’ve done all of this for her sake?” Scylla questioned. Bookmark here

“If it was for my daughter’s sake, I’d do anything.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

After Lilith had fallen asleep beside him, David stared aimlessly up at the ceiling for ten minutes before he gave up and admitted that he wasn’t tired.Bookmark here

Carefully, he climbed out of the bed to not disturb Lilith, put on the dressing gown that he’d been provided with and walked out onto the balcony. With a weary sigh, he lent his arms on the railing and gazed down at the beautiful lake.Bookmark here

Like Lilith had said, the forest was truly a beautiful, wonderful place at night. Bookmark here

He could see three moons and countless stars in the sky, animals and creatures of all shapes and sizes moving gently through the darkness and there was a soft, pleasant breeze in the air, drifting a sweet fragrance to his nose.Bookmark here

How did such a place ever get the name ‘Beast Woods?’ he thought. He then looked back at the bed and saw Lilith’s cute sleeping face and smiled happily. I never thought I’d be the type of guy to fall for someone after a single day, yet here I am. He closed his eyes as his heart filled with warmth. It’s quite a nice feeling.Bookmark here

Then, he felt someone hold him from behind and froze.Bookmark here

“The moon’s beautiful tonight, isn’t it?” Eris whispered beside his ear as time stopped once more, draining all the warm colours from the world.Bookmark here

David slowly opened up his eyes as a bitter feeling gathered in his chest and he sighed. He gently pushed her arms off him and asked, “Is being happy a violation of your rules, Eris?”Bookmark here

She giggled and shook her head as she spun through the air before him. “Not at all. I just came to congratulate you for managing to be happy after everything you’ve done.”Bookmark here

David frowned a little but quickly recovered and shrugged. “David Athelward didn’t do any of that. The Demon Emperor did.”Bookmark here

“Oh, is that so?” Bookmark here

Even though David was speaking so confidently and dismissively to her, she still didn’t lose her smile.Bookmark here

“No matter what you do, Eris, it won’t work,” David continued. “I’m not going to bend and break like you want and, more than that, I have something that I’ve wanted to say for a while now.”Bookmark here

Eris purred. “Go on.”Bookmark here

Upon hearing how eager she was, David involuntarily gulped and paused before he spoke again.Bookmark here

“…You lied to me. You’ve been interfering with this world, haven’t you?” David didn’t look her in the face as he continued talking. “I started suspecting as much back when I heard the report from Mímir about the Great Disaster rumours, specifically about how the bishops were saying that the Great Goddess had visited them and told them of the coming doom. More than that, I heard from one of Jorōgumo’s spider spies in Elvast about the Divines and that they can hear the Goddess’s voice as well.Bookmark here

“Apparently, it only speaks to them during times of great crisis and compels them to act as well, which means that either you have been intentionally stepping in and pushing pieces around as you so please to make things more entertaining for yourself or that you’ve had someone else do that for you, thus making sure that technically you haven’t broken your own rules about not interfering with this world.”Bookmark here

“That seems to be based an awful amount on conjecture and no definitive proof, but you aren’t wrong,” Eris said with a carefree tone. “I did move things around just a tad to make the show more interesting.”Bookmark here

David sighed and frowned. “I knew it. Doesn’t that go against one of your rules about this game? That you wouldn’t interfere?”Bookmark here

“So what?”Bookmark here

“So what?!”Bookmark here

Eris flashed David a devilish smile. “That’s right. So what? Does it matter if I did lie to you or not? Don’t forget, David Athelward, that I am not bound by those rules; you are. If you break them, then you suffer. If I break them.” Eris giggled. “It doesn’t matter.”Bookmark here

“…I thought as much,” David said dejectedly.Bookmark here

“Oh? I thought you’d be more upset about it.”Bookmark here

“If I wasn’t already used to you lying to me, then I would be. If anything, it makes it easier for me to distrust everything you say and suspect that everything’s a trap or intentional ploy by you to sabotage me.”Bookmark here

Eris laughed. “Is that so? I hate to break it to you, David, but that won’t be the case moving forwards.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

Eris floated towards him and landed before him. “Once the heroes have been summoned to this world to fight you, we will draw up a new contract, one whose rules we’ll both have to follow. Unless you break one of those rules, I won’t interfere anymore.”Bookmark here

“And why should I believe you this time?”Bookmark here

“Because, at that point, I won’t just have one person summoned to this world to watch: I’ll have thirty-one people and all of them will act differently so there won’t be any need for me to do more than make things fair for both sides.”Bookmark here

“Since when did you care about making things fair?”Bookmark here

Eris giggled. “Since I decided you had a year to build up your empire.” Eris flew up in the air on her wings and cutely spun in the air, her body slowly turned into butterflies. “I can’t wait to see the day the Satyr Skull flies high above the cities of the Holy Empire and spreads terror throughout the world.”Bookmark here

With that, Eris disappeared and colour returned to the world.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.