Arc 2: Chapter 23: The Pieces Move, The Board Enlarges

A war is waging upon the world of supernaturals.

The six supernatural races – Psychics, Spirit-Users, Aurals, Dragons, Ghosts and Vampires – are all somehow involved in this war.

The Vampire Kingdom – representative of the entire Vampire race – makes up one side of the war.

The Dragon Alliance, which consists of the Dragons, The Ghost Nation and Vermillion, make up the other side of the war. Hence, the representatives of the Dragons, Ghosts and the Psychics are here as well.

But, what about the rest?

Well, Spirit-Users are very few in number. Plus, they have no representatives. Hence, they are somewhat like freelancers who would ally themselves with whichever side they find best. Obviously, that would mean that some may go to the Dragon Alliance and others may go to the Vampire Kingdom. In either case, it’ll only serve to thin their already thin unity and would be harmful for them as a  community.

That all being said and done, what about the Aurals?

In terms of sheer prowess, Aurals can be considered the strongest.

Yes, Dragons may be the most mythical and Psychics may be capable of multitasking to a major extent but when it comes to brute force, no one stands on the same ground as Aurals.

And well, in this upcoming war that might as well be what decides the fate of the entire supernatural world, their brute strength can make a large difference.

So, what is their stance in the war?

And, who represents them?

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Kais: “Aurals?”

Ethan: “Yes, we have a few Aural acquaintances who might be willing to help us out here.”

Looking at Abgere with a half-hearted reassuring look, he says so. However,

Abgere: “I can tell you have a different reason for trying to sought out their help.”

Ethan: “Well,”

Relaxing his arms, he says in an excited voice.

Ethan: “I had been trying to think of a reason to go visit them, since they don’t take it very kindly to visiting them for no reason. And now I have got a reason.”

Aurals, huh? If he wants to bring them on our side, that would certainly help. I mean, the third faction could really use a few more Snehas.

Sona: “Well then, where are they?”

Ethan: “Hmm.”

As if he doesn’t know how to answer, he puts an arm on his chin and starts contemplating. We turn to Sneha for an answer, who proceeds to make a similar expression.

Sona: “What, do you guys not know or something?”

A little irritated by them, she asks so with narrowed-eyes.

Sneha: “Well, that’s the thing. They … wouldn’t be in any one particular place.”

You mean … they are a bunch of nomads?

Ethan: “That doesn’t really mean they are nomads though.”

Oh?

Ethan: “At least, not in the strictest definition of the term. They are more like … a cult.”

Cult? That doesn’t sound very appealing to me.

Ethan: “Hah! You guys will just have to see for yourselves to get it.”

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Angela Holystone has been given a mission to kill Abgere, a mission that might end up with her getting killed.

However, she has no right to complain about it as she herself accepted the mission. And also, this is convenient for her as, if she became a Hellfire some other way, Abgere would probably have come after her life anyway.

And since he would be the one going after her, he will have a mental advantage in that scenario. However, in this scenario, where she hasn’t become a Hellfire yet, where Abgere won’t see her coming at all, she could easily kill that man and become the Hellfire that killed the murderer of two Hellfires.

Wouldn’t that be quite a remarkable feat to be remembered by?

And as it would be something so remarkable, she definitely wants to achieve it.

Angela: “So, that is why I need your help.”

She finishes explaining so to the people in front of her.

Angela: “Will you help me?”

And then, she questions so.

As she does so, the people in front of her, who are dressed as monks and look like a bunch of pilgrims, ponder upon it.

“What benefit is there for us if we help you kill this Abgere person?”

So asks a man from among the monks.

Angela: “Well, if I become a Hellfire, you all, who have a good relationship with me, will obviously be benefited, wouldn’t you?”

“We would, if we really continue to have a ‘good relationship, that is.”

“Yeah, who is to say you won’t cut all ties with us once you gain the position of a Hellfire in Vermillion?”

Since their worries making sense, Angela merely sighs and calmly says,

Angela: “If I do that,”

She tosses a statue at them, and as one of them catches it,

Angela: “you can just use that.”

Hearing so, all of the monks are left wide-eyed with surprise.

And why wouldn’t they be surprised? Something that is valuable enough to her to be worth her very life, she has handed it over to them as a warranty of sorts.

Angela: “Well then, my Aural comrades, will you help me?”

Left with no possible way to refuse, some of them sigh while others nod. And seeing them do so, Angela Holystone smirks.

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Gabriel: “That jackass, he sure has a lot of guts, doesn’t he?”

The one in question is, obviously, Ethan Kales.

Abgere: “I hate to agree with you but yes, he sure does.”

Blatantly telling them that they have one hour to prepare before they leave for their Aural acquaintances, he dismissed them like he was the teacher and they are the students.

The rest of the third faction didn’t seem to mind that attitude, maybe they have grown accustomed to his out-of-place courage. However, two people surely felt really humiliated by that.

Gabriel: “He acts like that just because of the other three. If he were on his own, he would be groveling at my feet the entire day.”

Abgere: “Yeah, except that he would be groveling at my feet, and you would be dead.”

Because Abgere says so like it is a matter of fact, Gabriel takes a whole moment to realize what he just heard. But, when he does,

Gabriel: “Do you want to die so badly?!”

He asks, quite threateningly.

Abgere: “Like you could kill me!”

Gabriel: “Oh, I could kill you, and quite easily at that. The only reason I haven’t yet is because those four want you around. The moment they stop having a problem with me killing you, you’ll be dead.”

Abgere scoffs.

Abgere: “I could say the same.”

This conversation that takes place in the living room, is overheard by those eavesdropping from the adjoining bedroom.

And as they hear it, one of them can’t help but cackle. He muffles that cackle as much as he can so it doesn’t reach the ears of those two in the living room.

Seeing so, the person with him quietly asks him,

Sneha: “Why are we eavesdropping on them again?”

She asks with a deadpan face, but gets her answer with a really elated one.

Ethan: “We are just making sure no one tries to kill each other. You know, we would need you in case they break into a fight.”

Sneha sighs as she hears so.

Sneha: “Frankly speaking, I am weaker than Gabriel. If he actually decides to go on a rampage, I don’t think I can stop him. Plus, Abgere seems to be an anomaly. I can’t quite tell if he’s stronger than me or weaker than me. Hell, I can’t even tell if he’s a Psychic, an Aural, or something else.”

Ethan: “Hmm.”

As he begins pondering on that, Ethan’s expression shifts to a much more sinister one.

Ethan: “I have wondered about that for a while too. However, he’s not a riddle we can solve by just thinking. I realized that and gave up on coming up with any answers.”

Sneha: “Don’t you at least have some theories in mind or something?”

Ethan: “Coming up with a million theories just in the hopes that one of them ends up being correct, that is how Kais thinks, not me. I’d rather spend my time thinking of ways to defeat him.”

Surprised at that statement, Sneha asks,

Sneha: “And have you come up with anything yet?”

With a smirk, he replies.

Ethan: “Oh yes, I have. I have come up with ways to defeat him, quite a few in fact.”

Seeing his maliciousness quite clearly in his eyes, Sneha inadvertently wishes in her heart that they never end up in a direct confrontation with Abgere. Of course, the worry she has is for the safety of that man, not them.

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The Ghost Nation is not a monarchy. Hence, there is no king.

However, there needs to be some sort of ruler in order for them to function. That role is fulfilled by a democratically chosen ruler they refer to simply as ‘The Reaper’. There is not much meaning behind the name and in no way is the ruler anything like the Grim Reaper, but that’s the title that was given to the position and all The Reapers so far have been fine with it.

All, except the current one.

Dyne: “Reaper, do you have a-”

Reaper: “Please don’t call me that, General. Seriously, don’t!”

The Spectre sighs and corrects himself,

Dyne: “Mr. Grisham, do you have a moment?”

Grisham: “Yes General, as a matter of fact, I do. What is it?”

Despite looking occupied with many thoughts, The Reaper says so, albeit with an unfocused face.

Dyne: “There’s someone who would like to speak with you. I believe it is something of importance.”

As he says so, he directs Grisham’s gaze at the man standing a little behind, who takes that opportunity to come forward.

Grisham: “My oh my, the strongest man in the world himself has come to meet me. If I knew you were coming, I could have arranged some hospitality.”

In a very formal tone, The Reaper greets Walter.

Walter: “Then I am glad you didn’t know.”

Grisham: “Huh?”

Walter: “I hate formalities like that.”

In a joking manner, Walter says so while waving his hands around.

Grisham: “Oh well, that’s a surprise.”

With a smile, The Reaper says.

Walter: “Not as much of a surprise as the fact that the one who rules the Ghost Nation is out here in the garden instead of the castle.”

Grisham: “Well, let’s just say, I like to get some fresh air from time-to-time.”

Walter: “Oh?”

Making a doubting gesture,

Walter: “Even though Ghosts don’t breathe air anyway?”

A smile and a sigh comes from him as a result of that question, and The Reaper says,

Grisham: “I was a human once. Even if I no longer am one, doing things like this still bring me peace of mind.”

Walter: “I see.”

With an understanding gesture, Walter bows.

Walter: “If I offended you, I humbly apologize.”

Grisham: “No such thing. But, what brings you here, Walter Schmidt?”

Walter, lifting his head and his smile turning into a serious and grim expression, says,

Walter: “By the looks of how things are, it seems that Vermillion will be back-up while the Ghost Nation and the Dragons will fight the Vampire Kingdom.”

Grisham: “Yes, that is how things stand.”

Walter: “In that case, because of the Dragons’ smaller number and their well-known lack of coordination, most of the fighting will be left up to you.”

It is something all factions of The Dragon Alliance have accepted so there’s no reason to further confirm it.

Walter: “That is why, I have come here to warn you about your enemy.”

Grisham and Dyne, both find that surprising, as the fact that he has come up to warn them about it means that this man has judges the enemy to actually be a threat.

Walter: “I need you to know, Mr. Grisham. Your enemy, the strategist of the Vampire Kingdom, Bronzer, is unbeatable.”

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