【3rd person’s POV】
The night of the same day Samael and the others arrived at the mansion of the Archduchess Elizabeth.
In a remote location stood a small fortress. It had four watchtowers constructed at the corners of the fortress, and each of them had a large rotating magic lamp to make out any intruder trying to infiltrate the fortress under the cover of darkness.
Feeling safe within the light of the lamps, two gatekeepers, Dobre and Mauvais, were guarding the only gate to the inside of this fortress.
“Hey, want to grab a drink after our shift is over?” Dobre asked after stifling a yawn.
The Daia Fortress was pretty secluded and rarely had any visitors, so the job of the guards could get really boring at times. Their shift ended at the 19th bell, so it would be easy to find an open bar.
“Nah, you know how my wife gets when I go out drinking.” Mauvais complained with a sigh.
“Come on man, you ditched me last time too. A drink or two and she won’t find out. I promise.”
“Oh, she totally will. Besides…” Mauvias looked around and then whispered. “She was in a really good mood this morning and was talking giving Lalu a brother. So…” He winked.
“Ooooh, you goddamn lovebirds!” Dobre exclaimed. “You’re making me so jealous! Aa-ah, I wanna get married too.”
“Ah, what happened to that girl I introduced you to?”
“It turns out that she already has a lover.”
“Sucks to be you, huh…” He smiled wryly.
Just then, both of them heard the sound of footsteps and immediately raised their guard to the max. Judging by the gait, it did not belong to a wild animal or someone who had lost their way and stumbled here; it was confident and steady, belonging to someone who knew where they were going. From the sound, it seemed that the one who was approaching was either heavy or was wearing some type of armour.
The two gatekeepers looked at each other and communicated the necessities with their eyes in an instant. While looking out for anyone else who could be hiding nearby, they readied their weapons and waited for this unannounced visitor. Dobre and Mauvias had formerly been Silver ranked Adventurers, so getting past them would not be easy.
Soon, the visitor came out of the forest and into the clearing.
“Halt! State your business and show us your invitation, or turn around this instant!” Dobre shouted a warning, but the visitor did not stop.
Only when the visitor was face to face with the gatekeepers did he stop. He stared at them, his eyes asking why they were stopping him.
“Who are you? State your name and purpose!” Mauvias demanded again. This was the final warning after which they would be forced to engage the visitor with lethal force.
“Haah…” But the visitor only sighed. “This is why I hate amateurs.”
The visitor moved his left hand, and in the next instant, one of them was blown away to the side.
“Mauvias! Why, you…!” Dobre pulled back his battle axe and slammed it with all his might on the visitor.
Who the hell is this man?! He’s not even budging! His mind raced as the sensation of hitting a rock travelled through his hands. The axe hadn’t even scratched the visitor.
“What the hell? You call this a hit?” The visitor frowned. “You need to put more power behind your fists. Like this.” The visitor stepped in and hit Dobre with the back of his fist.
The fist connected with a loud boom, and the force of the impact overcame Dobre’s defences and sent him flying. He slammed into the castle gates, burst through them and hit the wall at the end of the hallway. With several broken bones, he was rendered unable to fight, just like his comrade Mauvias.
As the explosion raised an uproar inside the castle, the visitor stepped inside with a not so great mood.
Lucia Lumen Constantine, the First Princess of Asmaria and the Pope of Church of Meteron, was currently in a meeting with her Cardinals. Their topic of discussion was the Heroes and their relationship with the Ruby Adventurer ranked at Level 2, Samael. The discussion was about to become heated when she heard an explosion.
They stopped speaking at once and focused on the various explosive sounds coming from the other side of the door. Only a few people knew about this place, and even fewer would actually dare to attack it. A single person popped up in all of their minds; Solomon El Maxwell, the Demon King.
He was the only one who had both the means and the power to attack the Council’s HQ. Just then, a black hazy figure popped out from the shadow of the Owl. The figure whispered some incomprehensible words into Owl’s ears. After finishing its report, the figure vanished.
“It’s not Solomon, or any other demon for that fact.” Owl informed them, and some of them almost sighed in relief.
Lucia, on the other hand, was even more confused than before. Who would attack them if not Solomon? Just then, a figure popped into her mind, and she had her answer.
Before long, the door to the conference room was kicked open and a man stepped in. The man seemed to be in his thirties and had short, wavy azure hairs and eyes. He was someone the Council was very familiar with.
“Lantz, what is the meaning of this behaviour?!” The Cardinal of Glory, Ivo Gloria, roared in fury.
“That’s why I’m here, actually.” Johan Lantz shrugged and seated himself on the empty chair opposite the Head of the table. “I’d like to ask you, what is this behaviour?” While his demeanour seemed nonchalant, his tone was cold.
“What do you mean?” The Cardinal of Grace, Nora Gratia, glared at Lantz.
“Don’t try to play dumb; you know why I’m here, right?” Lantz glowered at the Cardinal of Valour, Aidan Virtuti, and the latter averted his eyes.
Lantz silently held his gaze on Aidan thus making him increasingly uncomfortable.
“W-why are you staring at me?”
“You tell me.”
“H-how would I know…?” Aidan refused to meet his eyes.
“I see.” Lantz continued staring at him.
“May I ask the reason for your… visit, Lantz?” Lucia decided to intervene.
“You tell me.”
“Forgive me, but if you’re here to play your childish games, then I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” Lucia sighed. “Unlike a certain someone, we’re really busy, you see.”
“Heh.” Lantz scoffed. “And you still had the time to send an Ancient Dragon after the Heroes? Even though you are so busy?”
“That was simply necessary.”
“Necessary?” He rolled his eyes. “Go on, explain to me why it was necessary.”
“Because, unlike a certain someone, we are really dedicated to our goal of eliminating the threat to humanity known as the Demon King.” Lucia grumbled. “Besides, the dragon wasn’t even meant for the Heroes.”
“Hmm?” Lantz was confused, but the next moment his eyes widened. “I see… so your target was Samael.”
This was the truth. For various reasons, the Council needed to ascertain the true strength of Samael, and the one chosen to do that had been Aidan, their spy.
Aidan had been following Samael and his entourage for some days. He had been there when they had stumbled upon the dragon and had witnessed how Samael and Mary had knocked the dragon out. That’s when he formed his plan.
He would first steal the egg of that dragon and then wake the dragon up. It would be seething in rage, of course, so its mental defences would have been down. Aidan would have used his Charm skills to take control of the dragon and unleash it upon Samael alone.
It was a test for Samael. How he would have decided to approach the problem would have told Aidan about his personality, while his actual fight with the dragon would have shown him Samael’s powers and abilities.
This was just the basic plan, and Aidan had considered various other things to ensure that Samael would not die, and reveal all of his strength.
But his plan had been doomed at the very first step.
“Lucia, our agreement was that anything related to the Kingdom would fall under my jurisdiction.” Lantz started with a threatening tone. “The Heroes and Samael are currently working with the Kingdom, and as such, are my responsibility.”
Lucia and the others silently listened to him; after all, the one in front of them was humanity’s strongest, Johan Lantz. This was the sole reason the Council allowed his impudence; anyone else would have already been skewered by a thousand stakes.
But the Council wasn’t any pushover either.
“Yes, we know.” Lucia nodded, and Lantz frowned.
“This will be my final warning to you; do not interfere, or there will be consequences.”
“……” Lantz’s furious glare was enough to convey his intentions.
“Now look here, Lantz.” Lucia folded her arms. “We have been really patient with you and have let you play house all you wanted, but the situation has changed now. With the introduction of Regina and a new Dark Hero, the stakes have risen by a considerable degree. I would appreciate it if we could set aside our egos and once again work together.”
“And what if I don’t want to? Would you try to put a collar around me just like you did with Liege?”
“His was a race that had forgotten its place; we just reminded them of their position in the hierarchy. Of course, we wouldn’t do the same to you.”
While Lucia had denied it, anyone who was familiar with her true personality would know that she would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. Naturally, Lantz was one of those people.
“Yeah, right.” Lantz scoffed. “Try me, bitch. Unlike Liege, I have nothing to lose.”
“Wow, now that is a response I really like.” Their conversation was suddenly interrupted by someone’s clapping, and each of them immediately went on their guards.
Standing beside the door was a young man with black hair and black eyes, with an amicable smile adorning his handsome face. The hallway behind was full of ‘death’, yet not a drop of blood was there on him to tarnish his impeccable appearance.
“Oh? Now this is interesting.” The man sneered. “To think I would stumble upon a meeting of Demigods.”
Oh ow who is dis now?