Chapter 52:

Family Dinner

Mad God


“A dinner?” Emi raised her eyebrows.


“Yup. My distant relatives came to mess things up. They are coming over for dinner tonight.” Ren repeated it.


“And how does this concern me at… all?” She asked, raising her eyebrows, while she was submerged in the bath, up to her neck, down in the basement, enjoying the hot spring-like treatment.


“It’s not like I commanded you to attend, it was a suggestion.” Ren shrugged “Only they come from the Kingdom and we don’t have the best relation to be honest. I would call it… volatile.”


“So? It’s none of my business.” Emi replied immediately but after a little silence she continued “The Kingdom… is it the other human empire?”


“Yeah, my mother was born there, but later on got exiled, before I was even born. Now they are here to cause some trouble. I’d wanted to show them at least we are not barbarians, keeping demons as pets. But well, I can’t order you to a dinner you don’t want to attend.”


“What did you just say?!” She stood up suddenly.


“Huh? That I won’t force you.”


“No, not that! About that kingdom and us!” She said, his hands balling up into a fist.


“What? Keeping pets? I thought you knew, being so against us at first and everything. Niji never told you?”


“Explain. Now.” She said with an annoyed voice as she got an itch that Ren was just playing with her yet she couldn’t ignore it now.


“He was snatched up when a little baby and raised there, being a pet and entertainment. They keep demonfolk as household pets and slave labour or something like that, I never went there myself, it's only hearsay.”


“Those scum…!”


“Easy there, you are still weak, they consist of almost a dozen, strong experts, if you pick a fight even we couldn’t defend you in time!”


“...” Emi trembled, as she knew Ren was speaking the cold truth “You clearly have something planned or wouldn’t waste your words on me like this.”


“Nothing, really. I just want you and Niji to attend.”


“To be… decorations?” Emi asked, slowly unfurling her fingers.


“It’s just for dinner.”


“I may be hot tempered but I am not stupid!”


“Bait. You are going to be bait.” Ren came clean.


“You want to use us as bait?” She whispered, slowly sitting back down, watching Ren who still stood, smilingly at the edge of the pool.


“Yup. I want to know are they here to make my marriage hard on me or they are here for something else. If they are here for you and Niji, trying to maybe capture or kill you to throw my… our plans into the trash, then it will come out naturally if they see you two.” Ren explained, walking around the pool’s edge. “As we didn’t introduce you to the masses, the least thing they will expect is to show the presence of yours to foreign people, especially if those are clearly not on friendly terms with us! This will throw them into disarray and if you are their target it will show. Especially that Yurik fellow.” she chuckled, nibbling on her thumb while speaking “I enraged him enough that he wouldn’t be able to control his feelings and we can read their intentions through him. They want to play? Then I’ll flip the table on them!”


“What if they attack on sight?”


“It’s a risk. But it is better than be a target of assassination that we can’t defend against or predict!”


“You are playing with my life here. But at least you became honest about it! Why bullshitting me from the start?” Emi shook her head.


“Ehehe, you spent some time with Poli to pick up lines like that?” Ren giggled playfully but before Emi could splash some water on her she was already on her way “Wear something sexy, we want this to be effective!”


“Such a… tsk…! After I recover I’ll mop the forest floor with her…” Emi grumbled, touching the long scar on her body, running her finger along it as Poli’s determined face came up in her mind, holding his sword “Hmf!” She shook her head and submerged herself in the water, trying to wash out her own thoughts.


….

…..


“Being bait? Sure.” Niji nodded immediately as she started to explain it to him.


“That was fast!”


“I have no problems with it. I’m also interested in them, I never met with the Naulin royal bloodline, only heard about them. I really want to see their special eyes in action.”


“Special eyes?”


“You don’t know? I thought you did. Your mother did not tell you?” Niji leaned back in his chair.


“We never talked about her family. Every time it came up she had the expression of having a dagger twisted in her heart. I never asked because of it nor I ever cared!”


“I see. Well, it has something to do with a special affinity. It is not clearly an elemental based thing as it always acts as a second attribute, but more… mmm, how did she say… soul based.”


“They… have an affinity for… souls?” Ren murmured, thinking about it, holding her small chin.


“Something like that, I don’t know the specific. But those who have talent for it, or performed some big merit and carry the Naulin bloodline’s specialites, the silver hair and amethyst like eyes, can learn it from the King.”


“Only those?”


“Yes, especially the eye color, it is the important part, it represents the capability of learning it. It works like… a hypnosis? I’m not so sure, my previous owner never explained it clearly as it is the royal family’s secret. We only know that it can manipulate and dominate other’s minds and the only ones seen using it were all purple eyed, royal family members, just like you.”


“So I could learn it? Mmm, intriguing. Now I am really interested! Maybe if they stir up some trouble I should capture some of them and extract the information out of their own minds.” She smiled, with a dangerous light in her eyes.


“You plan on capturing them? Wouldn’t it cause some trouble?”


“Hm? Who says they disappeared here? They were on their way back home, who knows if a dangerous bandit group jumped on them or something! The roads are not safe, especially now, as I heard some small kingdoms are having a hissyfit at the borders. Usually it happens as a new Emperor gets elected and different interest groups fight to pledge allegiance or switch sides~” Ren giggled dangerously “They could’ve gone missing somewhere there, get into trouble, the possibilities are endless!”


“You are… something else.” Niji shook his head.


“Ahaha~ I was always told that. Some even called me mad.”


“Close. Anyway, I’m up for it if you think this is a good idea.”


“No worries, It will be fine. We will play with them! Today I only want to enrage them as much as possible so they make a mistake that we can capitalize on. Sentios looked calm and collected, but that Uncle of mine is an idiot. I’ll push him to the limit~ It’s going to be fun!”


“Well… now I also look forward to today’s dinner!”


….

…..


“I hope you will control your temper now.” Sentios said as they neared the General’s house.


Only Sentios, Yurik, Astair and two of the other Naulin experts came for the dinner, as the rest were hiding in the shadows, ready to use the night’s cover to sneak around and try to find clues about the possible whereabouts of the demons.


“I will, relax.” Yurik responded in a calm voice.


“What do we know about the prince’s strength?” Astair asked suddenly.


“What we could gather is limited. He started young, younger than you did. He won, a few years back, a competition. In the final match he matched up against Ren.” Sentios explained.


“She is stronger than her?” He asked back, surprised.


“Back then they were close in strength, since then the girl skyrocketed. I scanned the prince, he was not at the Harmony Realm but I felt a strong aura so he must be close.”


“You say he is stronger than me? How old is he? 20?” Astair scoffed.


“18.”


“Nonsense! I can’t believe it!” He harrumphed, biting into his lips angrily.


“It is hard to believe, I agree. Still, better be safe, you are still young and have years ahead of you to catch up.” Sentios tried to calm him down.


That was when they arrived and Hal greeted them at the main entrance.


“I welcome you all. Please, follow me to the dining room, we already prepared everything.” Hal said with a calm voice as he led them on.


“So my sister is not even here to welcome us-” Yurik smirked but as soon as the words came out from between his lips, the rest were stuck in his throat. The reason was simple; When they walked in, they were greeted with a long table, full of delicacies but the most shocking thing was the giant chimpanzee sitting there, next to a foxgirl.


Their brains suddenly couldn’t process the scenery and it was Sentios who recovered the fastest, just coming in without a change in his expression. Besides the fact that his pupils were thinner than before. Yurik swallowed back everything he planned to say, following his example, trying to maintain his calmness while sitting down where he was shown. The last guest, Astair, immediately locked onto Ren, who was lazily sitting in Leinor’s lap, enjoying his hand on her stomach while he fed her, like two lovebirds stuck in their own little world.


“Where is the General and the Madam?” Sentios asked, looking around as nor Xendar, nor Anya was there.


“Mm?” Ren looked over, smilingly “They won’t be coming, especially mother, she doesn’t want to meet with you. Also, my father is afraid he wouldn’t be able to control himself and kill you.”


“Preposterous!” Yurik slammed his hand on the table “You are making a mockery out of the official envoys of the Kingdom!”


“Oh? I thought this was a family dinner… Uncle.” Ren leaned forward, getting hold of a cup, sipping some wine before leaning back in Leinor’s lap while Emi and Niji just continued having dinner, ignoring them “I’m more surprised you asked for mother and not about my guests. Have you already met?”


“Nope.” Niji looked up, focusing his eyes on Yurik “I never met any of them.”


“Emi?”


“No.” She replied with a short, cold answer not even looking at anyone.


“We are used to seeing demons.” Sentios answered, signaling with his eyes to Yurik to calm down “The Kingdom is no stranger to demonfolk, unlike the Empire. We have a long standing connection with them.”


“You mean the kidnappings?” Emi grumbled, folding her fork into two, looking at them sideways with murderous eyes.


“We do not kidnap, but yes, we defend ourselves from the demonic attacks that periodically happen. I’d call them… prisoners of war.”


“Sure.” Emi grabbed another fork, ignoring them once again.


“I see.” Ren nodded “Well, they are no prisoners, but friends we made. Let me introduce them to you. She is Emi, emissary of Lady Rumira, leader of the fox tribes, also Lady Rumira is a lovely, friendly and smart leader, you should meet with her sometime. It was very beneficial to have her meet with the Emperor, he is strong, I could only guess that she must be at the level of the Third Harmony realm. Emi here is like a daughter to her~” Ren giggled, going on her little nonsense that almost made Emi choke on the chunk of meat she was chewing on “Niji here is the leader of another demonfolk city, it’s a union of multiple tribes and their separate leaders all strong fighters, commanding a horde of lesser demons. It’s great to have friends like this.” She smiled as Niji went with her little story.


“Please, putting aside our differences we found a lot of common interests, we are happy to work together.”


Sentios was listening calmly yet deep inside he was cursing, looking at Ren who bravely met his eyes, smiling innocently.


“We need to go… we walked into a trap.” Sentios groaned deep inside, transmitting his voice to the rest.


“You are sowing alliances with… demons?” Yurik gritted his teeth, ignoring Sentios.


“Mmm? What, you just said you have a long history with demonfolk.” Leinor snorted.


“I’m not talking to you, boy! And even then, what is this setup!? Don’t you feel ashamed?” Yurik spat everywhere, watching the two lovebirds not giving them any face. He felt like being slapped every minute he had to watch them act like this “I see my sister raised a whore of a daughter! Like a mother, like a daughter!”


Surprisingly Ren did not react, just smiled, taking a bite from the slice of fruitcake Leinor put before her mouth.


“She is my wife. This is a family dinner. I see nothing wrong here.” Leinor answered, while Ren was gently sucking on his fingers, licking it clean, making even Emi blush, averting her eyes.


“Family dinner? This is a farce!” Yurik smirked.


“I agree.” Astair also nodded but Sentios just sighed as he knew they miscalculated. They never expected Ren would go against any reasonable thinking or tradition, forsaking any unwritten rules of nobles to adhere to and just do what she wants.


“This is just a dinner, what are you so upset about? You didn’t even take a bite yet. You are the rude one here, refusing to eat the food we carefully prepared for you!” Ren snorted “What, is our food too mundane for your taste? We are sorry, we are just a small noble family and not royalty here, we can’t please the fancy needs of someone who was spoiled since childhood!”


“Nobles? You act like an uneducated commoner, a cheap whore at a brothel!” Yurik continued, now completely loosening his lips.


“I heard that before!” Ren rolled her eyes, looking up at Leinor “Say, LeiLei, what do you think, he was hit on the head too much when he was a child? Maybe that’s why he repeats himself so often.”


“That is a probability. His face too… It looks deformed, maybe it’s a birth defect.” Leinor pondered.


“Luckily Mother didn’t inherit the same looks... “ Ren sighed with a sad voice, looking at him with pity in her eyes.


“There are some monkeys that carry the same face structure, I saw their skulls at Shaman’s place.” Niji added, while Emi just lowered her head, trembling, holding back her laughter as this was the first time she was part of something this… childish and… fun.


“Oh, oh, you’re right, they did say they have a long history with demons… maybe they really love them!” Leinor nodded with an expression, showing realization.


That was the point where Yurik lost his composure and just simply tried to assault Leinor with his aura, expecting to overpower him as he had the lowest cultivation level here, beside Astair. As soon as it hit them at the other end of the table, it just dispersed like nothing as Ren continued.


“Did you feel that?” Ren looked around, sitting in Leinor’s lap.


“Mmm? I don’t feel anything.” Leinor answered, shrugging.


“Exactly.” She giggled before turning to Sentios. “Your boyfriend here doesn’t like the food as I see it! If it’s not to your taste, maybe you should go.”


“You are playing with fire.” Sentios answered who was silent, until now.


“Do I?” Ren asked, tilting her head sideways “You are onto a rude awakening if you think that. I don’t know who fed you the idea to come here and mess with my marriage or do something else, shady, underhanded, vile. But you are in over your head if you think the amount of people you brought is enough.” she threatened him openly.


“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Sentios stood up, pushing Yurik back to his seat, keeping his hand on him. The uncle of Ren was clearly weakening and Leinor immediately realized Sentios was sapping Yurik from his energies to prevent him from doing something. “But you just insulted the official envoys of a different country. Don’t you think you are untouchable. We came because the King wishes to meet with his offspring and accept you back to the royal bloodline, giving you the role of Princess… and you act like this. You bring shame on everybody around you!”


“Insulted? You?” Ren giggled, still looking relaxed “I have not done that yet. Also… I’m already a Princess~” She said as she caressed Leinor’s face, before giving him a deep kiss in front of them “I can’t care less about your Kingdom’s titles and rules as I am the Princess of the Empire of Aerthus.” She climbed out of his lap, standing up on a chair next to them to be on level eyesight with Sentios “But what would a dog like you know? You were spared by your brother and my Father and you joined another country’s royal family as a hound. You lost any respect you deem for yourself right then and there. You came here parading around and acting like you are still royalty. You are nothing but just unwanted guests who came for my wedding. No?”


“...” Sentios still looked calm, not leaking out any aura, yet his eyes were cold and turning even colder by the minutes.


“Or you came for something else?” Ren smiled at him “If not, then honestly… I feel like you should leave and go back home to your own country.”


“We came-” Astair stood up, holding the order of the King but then a thundering boom resonated in the room and Ren was already before him, lifting him up like a chicken by the neck, holding the paper in her other hand, turning it into scraps


“Another word and I will break your neck.” Ren whispered as now everyone was standing and different auras clashed with each other.


“Release him.” Sentios said, his voice calm and unbothered.


“Sure.” Ren tossed Astair to him “Now I am ready to start insulting you. Gather your shit and leave! You are no longer invited to my wedding, not that you were in the first place! Bring my message to your King, and relay it word by word.” she looked into his eyes “If you have something to say, come by yourself and ask for forgiveness from my mother first. Then we'll talk.”


“I will relay it. Just as you said.” Sentios answered with a monotone voice before taking a last look at everyone and leaving, literally grabbing onto Yurik and dragging him away while Astair just followed them with a lowered head, rubbing his throat.


“That was fun!” Ren clapped as they left, while another door opened and Xendar walked out with a smile, followed by Hal.


“I’m glad you had a fun night, but go and cheer up your mother after this! She is still not feeling well.”


“I’ll do it.” She nodded immediately “How’s the haul?”


“We got one. He is down in the basement. You will be able to interrogate him tomorrow. Your mother comes first!”


“Mm. Thanks dad! Uncle Hal!”


“Ahaha, take it as a present from your daddy~” Xendar laughed happily, hugging his daughter showering her with kisses, making Ren laugh out like a child.


“Humans are weird.” Emi murmured.


“I agree.” Niji nodded, sighing at the same time as her.