William used just a little bit of magic to clean off the case of his staff. That let him settle down some before turning to face those behind him. William looked at the scar in the leather case. There were several from parrying the sword, but the biggest one was from the final maneuver. The Lord Harridan had cut completely through the leather, of course, only to be stopped when it hit the body of Chris. The momentum of the swing would have still sent Chris flying, but Chris had also used what ki abilities he had to increase his inertia and friction with the floor. Normally, that wouldn’t have been enough to hold completely in place, but he didn’t have to use any for actual defense. Chris’ surface wasn’t even scarred, as normal… though William remembered that he had apparently been damaged after the battle with the Demon King. It was just that he had fully recovered before he saw him again. William slightly shifted his grip on the staff to cover the rather obvious hole… and thus the staff’s true appearance.
When William turned around, one of the lords finally found his ability to speak. “I told you to stop. Did you not hear me?”
William raised an eyebrow, “Huh? What does what you save have to do with me?”
“You-!” The man twitched slightly, “I am a lord! Besides, it is well within our rights to punish you for murdering a lord.”
“Fool!” Lorelei’s voice rang out through the chamber. There was a sudden spark, a miniscule bolt of lightning, but it stretched from her finger to the lord’s eye. He clutched his eye in pain, but after a moment of rubbing it he opened his eye, mostly unharmed. “You do not even remember how you yourself became a lord. I have no patience for this. Is this not an important meeting?” As she spoke, electricity crackled around her. “Did you forget he was with me, or just forget my power because I do not show off as often as you lords?” It was obviously a rhetorical question, because she didn’t wait for his response before he was blasted out of the window with the crackling sound of electricity. William slightly frowned, because he hadn’t even seen the mana gathering into a form that would indicate the lightning bolt was coming. He had seen that it was moving around differently, but normally he could see the full shape of a spell that was going to happen.
All of the lords were stunned yet again. Even Abiel Thorsten hadn’t been expecting the current results, though he didn’t look entirely displeased. William went forward to one of the particularly upset looking lords and patted him on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’ll find a suitable replacement for the vase among Lord Harridan’s things.” The lord was Winfred Castell, the owner of the estate they were at. Winfred Castell chuckled nervously.
Lorelei looked around the room. “Anyway, gentlemen, this is Lord Josef Rutten. I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of him in the future. For now, though, we have business. I believe it was about matters with the Eternal King? I’m sure it was very important since all of you were so worried you forgot to invite me.” Lorelei smiled, pushing past the fact that they had obviously specifically not invited her.
One of the lords finally coughed. “Um… yes. That is right. As all of you know, the Eternal King has not yet returned… or at least not made himself known. It is already… very late. Several of us took note of this, and decided to form this council of… a dozen.” He glanced nervously over at Lord Harridan’s body, and the window, then continued, “I went to speak to the diviners, and they could only say that the signs of his return were… different than before. While he has in the past been a bright beacon, now he is merely a number of spots of possibility. While I was there, I also heard that…” the lord straightened his back and projected confidence, “I also heard that you had been there Archmage, seeking their divinations. They said you had visited them several times, always asking about new places he might appear, and seeking their guidance, even just recently. So, what do you have to say for yourself?”
Lorelei raised an eyebrow, “What do you mean? Of course I had been there. I also noticed his absence, and thus went to them. When he did not appear at some of the possible locations, I went to them for more. I have not yet found him.”
The lord blinked. “Oh. Of course. How could the Archmage not have noticed before us…” He shook his head, “Anyway, before we discuss what else we might do, there have been rumors of the Demon King appearing in Liaoyang somewhat over a year ago. I could not confirm the veracity of those rumors… how about the rest of you?” He looked around the room. Several over lords shook their heads.
After a few moments, Lorelei spoke up, “Well, I can tell you that such rumors are definitely false. As you have already noted, I have been to see the diviners. From them, I received word that the Eternal King might appear in Liaoyang or Ostana. Josef was assisting me in looking for him, but unfortunately some of the more vigilant fellows in Liaoyang discovered us, and our true forms were revealed.” Lorelei shrugged, “As you know, humans aren’t that familiar with our kind, and those from Liaoyang have little knowledge of magic, so it was easy for them to assume any decently strong member of our species was the Eternal King.”
The lord who had spoken previously sighed. “How could it not be something like that?” He shook his head. “So then, the main point of this meeting. What do we do? Without the Eternal King’s influence, there is… more than the usual amount of infighting among gevai.” His eyes once again flickered over to Lord Harridan’s corpse. “He would not be pleased. The human menace is once again growing in strength, but I trust all of you also know how he feels about a war with the humans without him.” The lord shook his head, “So, what do we do?”