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Published at 29th of December 2018 09:37:23 AM

Chapter 87
Apart from the hulking General Weres who was still nursing his injuries from the stadium and the stern and learned Prime Minister Gurdev, Lars had not yet met any of them . Among those gathered, he was the most interested in the spearman who sat reclusively at one corner of the table .

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Patriarch Hovost Estreya . He was slightly on the slim side, made more so by his advanced age . He looked too old to be Astrid's father, perhaps because he married late . He had kind and intelligent eyes, glittering with life - only, at this moment they were clouded by worry about his beloved daughter who he doted on .

Patriarch Mallard Trenel . Among the four patriarchs, he looked the youngest externally, though he also gave off the air of great age . He looked to be a disciplined body cultivator, one who pursued strength over other things . He had yet to move or to speak, matching his calm, cool and collected appearance . He also had a bright and clear gaze, one that was slightly on the innocent side, as if though his conscience were always clear without guilt . At this moment, he looked very tense, weary and . . . Old . Very very old .

Patriarch Leyo Sarouneh . Red-haired and red-faced right now from anger . It might be thought that this fiery man's temper was where his granddaughter Natalie got her attitude from - but that was not true . His wife and daughter in law were even more explosive than he! He looked visibly upset still from the earlier arguments .

Patriarch Farhan Jamal . He was the calmest among the patriarchs, as his descendant was fortunate to not be involved in anything . The black-haired and tan-skinned man was on the skinny side, even thin, but still looked quick and strong . He looked to be thinking, thinking and thinking, all the time . Lars made mental note to be watchful for this one .

And finally, Duke Leanne introduced the gentleman who was still holding himself aloof from their conversation and talk .

"Last but not least, the most illustrious of all those present today, it is to our great honour to have our Martial Advisor and Honorary Chancellor, Master Alucard with us . Master Alucard is a retired Mythical-stage Grand Warrior from the Leez continent and had unexpectedly visited Gorun City last week . Just a little bit on his background, he chose a life of seclusion and as an educator after sustaining injuries . "

At this point, Duke Leanne smiled slightly and looked like she had cheered up alot as she spoke on .

"It is also to my greatest delight to announce that Master Alucard has just yesterday chosen to accept my daughter, Alayna de Caldis, as his disciple! He had brought her for a test of aptitude just last week upon meeting her for the first time, and they were away during the devil invasion, and returned as soon as they heard news of the events . . . This has not been announced and should be known only to us thus far . . . "

"Though these are troubling times . . . I find that we should take heart in any and all joyous news especially more so in these days! But for now, keep this under wraps . This is an integral part of our plan to track down the devils, as they should not know Master Alucard's identity as of yet!"

Master Alucard did not even nod to acknowledge whatever Duke Leanne said, he merely continued to keep his eyes closed, aloof and solitary .

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Leanne cracked her fingers and stretched, having completed the formalities, it was now over to business .

"Let me get straight to the point . After Gaius Trenel's betrayal, Leocadius Trenel too has turned his back on the city . You might know that Sefir Estreya and Lina Sarouneh escorted Vignis Jamal, Leocadius Trenel, Astrid Estreya and Natalie Sarouneh to leave the Gorun Stadium . When their group returned to the noble district, Sefir Estreya wanted to escort Lina Sarouneh for further treatment at the infirmary . At that time, Leocadius Trenel offered to escort Astrid Estreya and Natalie back to their respective manors . . . "

As Duke Leanne spoke, the various patriarchs seemed to shuffle in their seats uncomfortably at hearing the retelling of events - especially Patriarch Mallard Trenel .

He looked like the disappointment of finding out his son and grandson had both fallen into depravity and allied with the Abyss was too much for him to bear, and had just fallen silent from the weight of it all .

"From there, Vignis was the first to be dropped off . It was then that Leocadius struck . The nearly onlookers said that he summoned a dark devilish creature, not like those four that the patriarchs fought but more like the ones that appeared within the stadium itself . Suffice to say that the girls were soundly captured and spirited away within moments . "

She let out a long breath as the tension filled the room .

"Now the question going on is - how shall we proceed? How do we track down Leocadius and the rest of the Devil Lords? And if we do manage to locate them, do we even have enough combat power to take them on . . . ? These questions . . . Are what weigh heavily on our minds now . . . "

She rubbed her temples with her right hand and closed her eyes for a brief moment's respite, before looking up again .

"And . . . ?" Lars asked . As per their agreement, Charley would stay out of the discussions .

"We . . . Need your master's help . Gorun City is in a state of emergency right now, with not a single hand to spare . At this point of time, not a single one of us leaders can make the trip, lest we be struck once more by the devils and demons!"

'Not to mention, backstabbed by our own beloved human "allies" both within and from outside of the nation . . . Curse those schemers and opportunists . . . !' Duke Leanne thought as she continued to keep a grim expression on her face .

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"That is where you and your master come in . We have--"


Duke Leanne was cut off rudely and suddenly by a frantic Patriarch Mallard Trenel . He had lost his cool and leapt to his feet in anxiety, presumably the moment he received breaking news .

Without waiting for the Duke's permission, Mallard Trenel immediately carried on, saying, "Leocadius has sent word by the secret channels that only the Trenel family knows how to use . . . But it's not from Leocadius . . . . "

Mallard Trenel turned pale as he spoke, trembling and shaking in anguish and pressing his eyes closed .

"The devils . . . They've . . . They've given their demands . . . They said . . . " But at those words, Mallard's brows furrowed as if he didn't quite understand the message .

"What??! What did he say!!?? Come on, man! Speak quickly!!!" Leyo Sarouneh too leapt to his feet, eyes bulging as he roared out in impatience .

" . . . Bring Astrid's goat . . . "

"Goat . . . ? What about a--" Charley was about to speak, out of turn of course, when he stopped, froze and trembled slightly in terrible fear .

The said goat had its mouth open and its teeth conveniently placed right beside his certain body parts that a man must have .

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"Shh . . . Don't interrupt them, man! But, what is it, bro . . . ?" Lars pinched Charley's arm and whispered to him to shut up, but still asked what had just happened .

Trembling in fear, Charley shook his head and sweated a waterfall as he said, "Nothing . . . Nothing at all . . . "

Lars shrugged .

"Bring Astrid's goat and meet them in Faroe city . . . For an exchange . . . During the Battle Through the Heavens in 1 month's time! And a stern warning not to inform any of authorities as well as for no combatants above the World-class stage . . . Or else . . . "

Mallard Trenel sat down weakly, body limp and tired .

"Or else all three of Leocadius, Astrid and Natalie will be t-turned into b-breeding sacs for the d-devils . . . And kept alive for h-hundreds of y-years . . . " Tears fell from the corners of his eyes as the other patriarchs' faces twisted into varying expressions of horror and rage .

There were many fates worse than death . This was one of the worst of all . . . One that should not need to be described .

* * * * *

Lars and Charley stepped out of the inner palace and the throne room area with pensive and heavy hearts .

Duke Leanne had decided to quickly adjourn the meeting so that the various leaders could relay the news to their families, but more than that, so they could get some rest and attend to the countless problems in the city both on the military and civil sides .

Before the two boys left, they were exhorted once more to beseech their master's help .

The plan was for Alayna de Caldis, Lars and other qualified members of the younger generation to head over to Faroe city, escorted by their respective masters to attend the Battle Through the Heavens which had the age limit of 18 years old for entrants .

Of course this assumed that they could make it through the nationals first, held in the capitol city of the Kingdom of the Sands, Danedaar!

This plan came about because it was highly likely that the devils did not recognise either Master Alucard who had been unknown until now, or Mikael who had only emerged after Leocadius departed, they would be able to avoid too much suspicion or attention from the devils . However, if it were only Master Alucard alone, who was still not recovered from his injuries and only able to exert peak-Legendary strength, then the plan did not seem likely to succeed .

Hence, the need for Mikael's involvement .

'So if the nationals are in 3 weeks time . . . Yeah, looks like I'll have some time to work on practising my skills, solidifying my sword arts and concepts of space and time, and exploring the powers of the Demon-Hunter Arts as well as the demon inheritance!'

Lars was deep in thought as he walked alongside Charley out of the inner palace and headed to leave the royal compound .

But it was then that he heard a familiar voice call out to him from the distance .

"Lars . . . ?" A girl's voice rang out, melodic and sweet yet mournful and speaking as if though it carried heavy burdens and sorrows . Yet one that was trembling in happiness and disbelief at seeing him again .

He stopped midstep, hesitant, not knowing himself just how he should react .

"Lars . . . . ! Lars!! It really is you . . . It really is you . . . !"

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