After taking a short break, Irina and I walked over to the Kouthus to check on its defeat. Since Id used my strongest attack yet, it had taken massive amounts of damage, with most of its tentacles torn to shreds. Its singular eye was filled with blood and what little life it had left seemed to be leaving its body.
“It didnt die from that What a tenacious fellow.”
Outer Demons really were something else. If it were any regular human, they would have been crushed by the makeshift meteorite impact that Id created. However, the Kouthus survived a direct hit from my most powerful attack.
“Irina, why dont you finish it off It counts to your tally, right”
“Huh But didnt you take it down, Brother It doesnt seem right to steal your prey…”
“You stupid girl. Its not like Ill get anything by taking this kill.”
I was literally just a carry-on for Irina during this Winter Hunt. All of my kills would just add to her tally, so there was no point in me taking this final blow. Besides, after learning the true nature of my telekinesis, Id lost all interest in the Outer Demon. I was more excited to test the limits of my power now that I knew what it truly was.
“Still… It doesnt feel right to take your achievements.”
“Hah… If you really want to make it up to me, can I get the answer to my question from earlier” I earnestly looked at my little sister and repeated myself. “Will you travel with me to meet the other three”
Just in case Irina thought Id forgotten about it, I made sure that the girl remembered my proposal. I knew that Irina wasnt comfortable with talking about the other three, but I knew very well that they existed. More so since my soul starts to yearn for the other three with every passing day.
I would often see images of them within my blurred out memory and as my soul recovers, so do my sealed up emotions. I knew that just like the bond I shared with Irina, the other three were individuals who were important to me. I just didnt know why yet due to my annoying amnesia.
But then again, I couldnt just leave Irina all alone in the Everwinter House, especially since I knew how much she sacrificed to be with me. I couldnt just abandon my adorable little sister. And so, I needed to bring her along on my adventure.
But before I could hear her answer…
“… Were not alone.”
Almost simultaneously, Irina and I snapped our heads to a gap within the forest. As True Vampires, our senses were far above any regular human beings and sensing changes in our environment was as natural as breathing, even if they were kilometres away. And true enough, about a dozen Vampires emerged from our line of sight.
“Mistress Irina, please pardon our intrusion.”-.
The first one to reach us was a charming young man who possessed similar traits to the girl by my side. With strikingly long white hair and a petite face that seemed to be moulded by marble, Id almost mistaken the Everwinter Vampire as an androgynous female.
“Who are you, and what do you want”
Obviously, Irina was on guard. There werent many people that she could call her allies in the Everwinter House and those that swore allegiance to her were all by her side. The rest of the Everwinters all had their own respective schemes and desires. And for them to approach so blatantly…
“My lowly name is not worth mentioning. However, I am part of Lord Damiens youth corp. We are participating in this Winter Hunt on behalf of his name.”
Its a name that I keep hearing. Perhaps it was due to the fact that he was the weakest faction and was desperately trying to improve his standings in the family, from pulling Irinas blood-related brother onto his side to messing with us so openly. It feels like this wont be the last time that Im clashing with this asshole and his faction.
“I really have to apologise, but we were tracking this Kouthus down from a while back. We seemed to have scared it in your direction. To prove it, we have made a scar on its back.”
To prove his case, the True Vampire got his underlings to flip the Kouthus on its back and showed a deep scar that I hadnt noticed before. No, given the circumstances, it did seem likely that this Outer Demon was running away from their group before stumbling across ours.
“Hmmm, so what Are you saying that you should be given credit for the kill”
“… We arent so brazen as to ask that of you,” the man continued smiling and hid his intentions masterfully. “Its just… Weve been tracking this Kouthus for the past hour, and we have sustained some casualties due to this Demon. Allowing it to fall into the hands of another… It wont sit well with my injured brothers. If you might, please allow us to take this kill. We will be certain to award you handsomely once the Winter Hunt is over.”
Hoh So it was a matter of revenge Well, it cant be that simple…
“Why should I give in to you That Kouthus came towards us, and we killed it. Even if youd been hunting it, we are the ones that killed it.”
“As Ive mentioned, we would be most grateful if you gave us this kill. We will reward you handsomely for it.”
“Even if you-…”
Before Irina could deny their words, I pulled her aside and whispered: “Irina, just give it to them.”
“B-Brother! But thats your kill! They cant just…”
“Irina,” I made sure my voice was soft enough that none of them could hear. Just to be on the safe side, I isolated the space around us to prevent noises from escaping. “I dont think theyre just here because we stole their prey. Itll be better if we leave now before they can pull any stunts.”
“Are you saying… Theyll start a fight”
“I dont know what their intentions are, but…”
Once more, I examined the individuals that faced us. Fifteen Vampires came from the forest. All fifteen of them were True Vampires rather than Blood Servants, and the density of their magic power seemed well above average. To give a comparison, if Trents magic power was that of a wild boar, these True Vampires all had auras that surpassed that of a bear. Not to mention, other than the one that talked to us, the others didnt have friendly faces in the slightest.
But the thing that bugged me the most was…
“They said they have been chasing the Kouthus for an hour, yet their clothes are squeaky clean. They wouldnt be this unscathed if they really had such a difficult battle.”
“… Youre right.”
Everything about their appearance was suspicious. From the fact that they accurately knew where we were to the spotless clothes they wore. If I were a betting man, I would bet that they came here with a hidden purpose.
“Its a different matter if they tried to hurt you. However, if its just one random Outer Demon, we dont have to risk anything just to confront them. Besides, killing a Kouthus means nothing to us. Its better to just retreat.”
“You make a good point…”
Safety came first. I wouldnt risk the safety of Irina and my parents just because of some ego kill. Fortunately, Irina agreed with my analysis and hollered back at the unwelcomed guests.
“If you want the Kouthus this badly, you can have it.”
“… Thank you, Mistress Irina.” As Id expected, the lead Vampire faltered for a second. Evidently, he wasnt expecting us to give up the Outer Demon this quickly. Still, as a professional, he bit down his frustrations and continued:
“Would you want me to draw up an agreement”
“No, theres no need for that.”
Irina frowned angrily before grabbing onto my arm. We turned around abruptly and walked briskly back towards Luminita, Variel and my parents. However, even with our backs turned, the majority of our senses were locked in on the fifteen True Vampires.
One… Two… Three steps.
We kept walking, not at all bothered by the fact that we had just given up an Outer Demon for free. But the True Vampires behind didnt bulge in the slightest. Normally, when a hunting group had finally obtained their prey after an hour of tracking it, they would kill it immediately to claim the kill. However, none of the fifteen True Vampires did that.
In fact, they were just staring at Irina and me. As if…
We were their prey all along.
“I knew it!”
The second one True Vampire made a move, I instantly turned around while summoning my Soul Armament. As if in concert, all fifteen of the True Vampires leapt up into the air, each one exuding a tremendous amount of magic power from their Aspects.
Almost instantly, weapons appeared in all of their hands, and a select few had summoned animal companions to assist in the fight. However, their objective was clear. They wanted to fight, and they wanted to see blood.
My parents were the first to call out their attack. My mother brought out her wand and instantly created a wall of fire to separate us from the attackers. My father too slammed his fists together and rushed to our side. Variel and Luminita, on the other hand, werent in a hurry to defend me. Rather, they flew to Irinas side and ensured that no harm could ever fall on her.
“You **ers! What do you think youre doing!”
“Dont blame us, Princess. We are just following orders!”
Five of the True Vampires rushed towards Irina, each one seemingly aiming to aim for her head. Variel waved his hand and summoned thousands of icy needles in a calm gesture. With a second movie, the needles circled around him at Mach speed, creating a protective layer that couldnt be penetrated unless one was willing to be ripped to smithereens.
But alas, it didnt seem like the True Vampires target was Irina.
The remaining ten flew faster than most birds could move and had already surrounded me. My father and mother werent consequential in their eyes, and so they simply had two of their buddies keep them company. However, the bulk of their manpower was concentrated on eliminating me.
Irinas cries sharply resonated within my mind. Ah, I see… They wanted to remove me from Irinas side. I dont know what their motivations were, but they saw me as a pest that needed to be extracted at all costs.
Hahaha… This is frustrating.
Even after training for this long and after awakening my Aspect, Im still being belittled. Even after proving that I was capable, people still thought I was a disposable toy that Irina had brought in.
That was how the Vampiric world functions. It was a society where only the powerful got a voice, and those who couldnt fight were treated as second class.
But I aint no second-rate, am I
I am a man who has fought against death itself. I am a man who is destined to climb to the top and, most importantly…
I am Irinas big brother.
I cant afford to die to some measly underlings, can I
I raised my hand and forced everything that I had into the ring on my middle finger. Space contorts, and the fabric that made up our dimension wobbled. I locked all of my attackers down in a stranglehold in a blink of an eye.
“F-Fuck, careful! His telekinesis is strong!!!”
The True Vampires cursed and moved to break free from my spatial hold. Surprisingly enough, many of them did manage to break free from my grasp. I guess that was the difference between True Vampires that had trained adequately. They werent Blood Servants who were innately unable to resist me or weak True Vampires like Trent who couldnt resist me. They were elites that had been trained and fought to be the very best.
If we were in any other situation, I might have befriended them and asked them to be my training partners. However…
“Make sure to pay attention to his telekinesis! Once we deal with that, hes nothing but a boy toy!!!”
“Aim for his head!!!”
“No, you wont!”
My father broke free from the deadlock that he was in and attempted to rush to my side. My mother was trying to do the same as well. In a frantic state, her wand was spewing out random spells while ignoring the fact that she could be hit. If nothing was done, both of them might get injured by their opponents who were actually paying attention to them.
And I wont let that happen.
“Mom! Dad! Stop where you are!”
I leapt a dozen metres in the air and easily dodged the attacks that came my way. Levitating in place, I made sure that everyone could see me. Be it, Irina, my parents or the opponents that attempted to reap my life away.
I made sure that everyone could see me. Thats because I wanted all of them to know that I was no pushover. I am not a boy toy. I am not someone that needs protection anymore.
“T-The Ice Dome! Its breaking apart!”
Using all of my remaining magic power, I targeted the one thing that the Everwinter House was most proud of. Not because I wanted to send it crashing to the ground. Even I wasnt naive enough to think that I could do that. All I wanted to do was break a few pieces of ice off the impregnable Ice Dome, the Winter Graveyard that the Everwinters were most proud of, to attack the assholes that thought that I was a pushover.
And true enough, none of my opponents moved a muscle. They watched in horror as I opened a hole in the emblem of their pride, the supposed invincible wall of ice that protected the Everwinter House with my very own spatial abilities.
Fifteen massive shards fell towards me before hovering about like levitating blades. Using my authority over space, I ensured that the ice fragments were akin to homing missiles that never lost sight of their targets. And while the True Vampires were stunned, I raised my middle finger and pointed my shining ring at the individuals that sought to take my life.
Only this time… I wasnt the one who was going to see the Grim Reaper.
“Die, you bastards.”