My Vampire Little Sister
Chapter 25 The Winter Hunt (3)
The Winter Hunt. An annual tradition when the members of the Everwinter House gather together to fight off the threat of the Outer Demons. Ever since they first appeared a few centuries ago, the Outer Demons had long become the worlds most hazardous threats.
No one truly knew where the Outer Demons came from. Some speculate that they were using wormholes to transcend from planet to planet. Others believe that they were gateways to a different dimension. However, while their origins were unclear, their motives sure werent.
The Outer Demons are beings that sought to conquer the blue marble that we called home.
Just like the top Hunters and elites from the other races, the Outer Demons were proficient in using magic and other mystical abilities. Some might say that they were the evolved versions of our species, with even the weakest among them already powerful enough to contest with a Hunter.
Fortunately enough, for the most part, they were creatures without higher intellect and could only fight how beasts and animals would. However, their instincts alone were dangerous enough to wipe out entire countries within a blink of an eye.
Thats why it was so important to seal the major Gates that they used to invade our planet. While smaller Gates do exist, the most dangerous ones were still the twenty-seven major Gates that plagued the Earth.
The best method of dealing with the Gates was to seal them up, but unfortunately, if you were to leave a Gate sealed for too long, it would lead to an overflow which could turn into a major catastrophe.
Which was why the Winter Hunt was so important…
“Were here, Young Miss. Master Jin.” Variel bowed his head respectfully toward Irina and me, gesturing us to leave the monorail that we had been riding.
For some reason, after Id defeated Zuno, Variel had stopped calling me by name and had added an honorific in. Id tried to question him about the change, but hed always evaded the subject. And since I had better things to do, I helplessly accepted the change after a few days.
I looked outside the thick glass and was instantly taken aback at what I saw. A humongous ice dome, one with a bigger circumference than any caldera I knew, stood taller than the highest building man could make. It wasnt just massive; the amount of magical power flowing from the austere ice walls was utterly unlike anything Id felt before.
Against that massive structure, I felt like I was a firefly trying to fly into the moon. Just by being near the dome, my skin started to crawl, and my back began to sweat. Even my meeting with Matriarch Innocence didnt wield such a strong response from me, and not to mention, I was much stronger now.
“So? How do you like the Winter Graveyard?”
“Thats what we call this place,” Variel answered my question with a proud smile. “To seal the Northern Pole Gate, the Matriarch and several Elders joined forces to create a prison that no Outer Demon could ever hope to escape from. It consists of approximately seventy-three magical seals, a hundred and fifty-four physical restrictions, thousands of traps and instant death mechanics… And of course, this physical ice dome.”
While the Everwinter House might be deceitful and conniving, they werent going to kid around when it came to guarding one of the most dangerous places on the planet. To protect our inhabitants from the threat of the Outer Demons, the Everwinter House went above and beyond to ensure their protection.
Some might add excessively as well.-.
“While the seals and contraptions within will be changed and updated as new technologies emerge, the ice dome has remained this way for centuries. It is the Everwinter Houses bastion of strength. Our one and only true pride.”
“… I didnt think that the Everwinter House was this thorough.”
“How is it different from the other Gates youve been to, Mom?”
Naturally, as I made my decision to follow Irina to the Winter Hunt, so did my parents. While their main reason was to protect and guide me, they too had an interest in how the elusive Everwinter House kept the Northern Pole Gate in check. Besides, they had been sitting around all day, and their Hunter instincts were itching for a date with the Outer Demons.
“They are all about the same,” my mom answered while shaking her head. “However, Id never heard of any Gates having so many protective layers. And this ice dome… This is a first for me.”
It looks like even my mother was in awe of this amazing structure.
However, the surprise didnt end there. As we ventured into the Winter Graveyard, we were greeted with a plethora of new sights that could only be described as surreal. The first thing that came to mind was a dungeon that was filled to the brim with perils and traps. Shards of ice, each one sharper than any spear or sword lined up on the domes ceiling.
Gardens of ice flowers, which I could only imagine were traps made by the Everwinters, blocked the exit paths, making it nearly impossible for an Outer Demon army to march through. Magic seals, homing cannons, machine guns…
The list was endless.
To call this place a fortress would be an understatement. Like Variel had mentioned, the only apt name to call the ice dome was a graveyard… A graveyard for Outer Demons.
Variel continued to lead us down numerous checkpoints until we reached the deepest part of the ice dome. Hundreds, if not thousands of Vampires, stood all around us, each one seemingly more powerful than the next. Judging by their scent, most of them were Blood Servants, but there were a few True Vampires mixed in with the crowd.
It was my first time seeing so many Vampires grouped together in one place. Some of them were over two metres tall. Others seem to be barely taller than a ten-year-old child. Some of them had youthful looks even though their demeanour betrayed their actual age. Some had unnatural wrinkles on their face as if they had purposefully aged on purpose. However, there was one thing in common. All of them possessed breathtaking looks.
The gathering of Vampires was much tamer than Id thought. They werent monstrous beings or any supernatural elites. If anything, this gathering could easily be mistaken for a model show or a red carpet event where the worlds most attractive people attended.
But naturally, that was far from the truth…
The moment Irina and I stepped foot into the large amphitheatre, a collection of eyes landed on our shoulders. Mainly the white-haired girl who was happily clinging to my right arm.
“Theyre all looking at you, Irina. Shouldnt you greet them?”
“No, theyre just a bunch of nobodies anyway,” Irina whispered softly as she couldnt hide the disgust in her voice. “If I talked to one of them, the rest would start to think that Im approachable. One comes and then the next, the next, the next… In the end, Ill spend my entire time talking to them. Id rather spend all that time with you, Brother.”
“Hah… You little one…”
I sighed helplessly. I had mixed feelings about Irinas behaviour, if I were completely honest. Unless she was going to completely renounce her blood ties, Irina was undoubtedly going to join the upper echelons of the Everwinter House. And to do that, she needed to have good connections or, at the very least, not antagonise the people in her family.
At the same time, I knew how much Irina had suffered under the Everwinter House. The fact that they only protected her because of her potential and not due to any affection they had made me sick to the stomach. And so, I didnt want her to play nice with the people who tortured her as a child.
Urgh… Why am I thinking so much about this? If Irina couldnt use the Everwinter House and a protective umbrella, all I needed to do was to become strong enough to protect her, right?
Looks like I have to grow much faster now…
“Irina! Youve come!”
As I contemplated doubling my training hours, a melodious voice beckoned toward us. Well, there was only one person that voice was calling out, but the person in question didnt feel like answering. Putting on her annoyed face, Irina looked over and growled:
“What do you want, Trent?”
“Haha, dont be that way! Im just glad that my little sister has decided to attend!”
Like before, Irinas real brother came up to greet the young girl, totally ignoring her complete disdain for his character. Well, for a shameless hack such as himself, I guess this behaviour was to be expected.
“I know that youve been skipping the past two years, so you might have forgotten some of the procedures. How about it? Do you want a companion? I can assist you in anything you might need.”
“I refuse,” Irina snorted and looked away.
“Haha, dont be like that.” I could feel the amiable Vampire radiate a tinge of anger, but it was so expertly hidden that even Irina couldnt notice it. “If youd like, I could ask Sir Damien to send some guards over as well. You wont need to lift a single finger during this Winter Hunt.”
“… So youve finally joined a faction.”
If Irina wasnt irritated before, her face was fuming now. Vampires werent immune from politics that stained every complex society. In the race for supremacy, the Everwinter House had split themselves into many factions, each hoping to vie for the throne one day.
And while there were many heirs-in-training, and each of them could potentially take Matriarch Everwinters seat in the future, only three factions stood out. The faction led by the current Steward of the Everwinter House, Magnus Everwinter, and the one with the longest history. The faction helmed by one of Irinas aunts, Hilla Everwinter, and possibly the strongest female Vampire in the clan other than Matriarch Innocence herself.
And finally, the faction led by Damien Everwinter. A five-hundred-year-old Vampire that had taken the younger generation by storm. While he was still considered young by Vampire standards, that genius had worked his way to the top, becoming as strong as any High Elder and had been raking in achievements like they were wheat to be harvested.
Each of these factions was immensely powerful, and they all possessed an unquestionable right to aim for the throne. However, Irinas Winter Sovereign Aspect had thrown a wrench in that delicate balance.
Some of the factions felt that Irina should be eliminated, while others thought it necessary to bring her over through any means necessary. And if that meant bribing her only brother…
“Irina, we will have to choose a side sooner or later.” Trent shook his head as if doubting the naivety of his sister.
“Sir Damien is the most obvious choice for that. Hes only five hundred years old, and hes already contesting against those more than five times his age. A thousand years later, the Everwinter House will undoubtedly be in his hands. If we join then, it would be too late. In fact, if you were to join as his wife, we could even eliminate the other factions entirely.”
“You want me to do what?!”
“Irina, youre no longer a child. You should know that while having a boy toy is fun and all, eventually, well need to make marriage alliances. I could put a good word for you if you want, and Im sure Sir Damien will accept you with open arms.”
“… What did you say?”
At this point, Irina didnt need to breathe a word. It was one thing to be a bad brother, but to actually sell his sister for his own personal glory… This fucking asshole!!!
“Shut it, mongrel. Im talking to my sister.”
“How dare y-…”
My own magic power spiked before Irina could even get angry on my behalf. The Soul Armament that Id become so accustomed to instantly appeared on my hand. The metallic sound of clanks echoed through the large amphitheatre, and the ring on my middle finger started to glow.
“You scum… You actually wanted to prostitute out your own sister!”
“Mongrel, watch your words.”
While Trent needed to show some form of respect to Irina, he didnt care about my existence. To him, I was just a mere boy toy that Irina had brought home and was a thing that could be squashed anytime he wanted.
But if he really thought I was just a weakling… He was in for a rude awakening.
“No, I dont need to watch anything. You are the one that has crossed the line, and so…”
Blood rushed to my eyes, and the world changed in my mind. I could feel the fabric around me moving. The flow of magic slowing. And most importantly… I could feel my own power spiking. My mind cleared, and I could clearly feel my raging emotions. I wanted to give Irina some semblance of protection, some form of revenge. And thus, I pointed at the good-for-nothing Vampire and said:
Trent fell straight to the floor like a puppet whose string was cut. The full force of my Telekinesis towered over the Vampires body, making sure that his knees werent able to even move a single inch.
Surprised by the fact that hed lost his body, Trent howled in agonising pain. However, like any good Everwinter, he quickly found out the precarious position he was in and attempted to struggle out of it. His magic power rose, and his eyes turned blood red. A mark began to shine on his chest as he likely attempted to use his Aspect. But no matter what he did, my control over his body remained firm.
Seconds passed, and the pressure I was pushing down on him only increased. Blood began tearing out from his wounded knees as the colour on his face disappeared. Although I didnt intend it, it seemed like my Telekinesis was straining his air supply as I could see the Vampire struggling to breathe.
Wait… Is this what a fifty-year-old True Vampire was like?
How is he so… weak?
Werent True Vampires trained to deal with Telekinesis? So why was he struggling so much? It felt like I was against a weaker Blood Servant rather than a True Vampire.
“Hey! Stop that right now!”
Before the weight of my magic could crush that insolent Vampire to death, a group of older Vampires rushed to the scene. Judging from their clothes and scent, they were likely True Vampires as well. However, unlike Trent, they seemed to be much more competent.
“Are you trying to kill someone on the day of the Winter Hunt?!”
“… We just had a small disagreement.”
Rather than fight the two older Vampires, I decided to release my grip on Irinas supposed brother. As my Telekinesis wore off, the man immediately gasped for air as snort and tears fell from his face. Blood was still dripping down from his knees as his body slowly began to heal up. Although I couldnt ascertain it, I reckon that he also had some broken bones.
Seriously… Was this guy really a True Vampire?
“Still for you to have the audacity to raise your hand against an Everwinter member! State your name and affiliation!”
“Hes with me,” Irinas voice boldly resonated through the massive halls. “Youve got a problem with that?”
The moment Irina stepped in front of me, the two older Vampires instantly pieced together the missing puzzle. They looked at each other once before straining their eyes between Trent and us. It didnt take long for them to make their decision.
“Do keep your personal affairs private, Young Miss. The Winter Hunt is about to commence, and any disturbances might reflect negatively on you.”
“I understand,” Irina folded her arms and spat. “Just keep him away from me. If he approaches me again, I cant promise that hell return in one piece.”
“… Ill let him know.”
Not willing to fight with Matriarch Innocences favourite granddaughter, the two Vampires grabbed onto Trent and firmly dragged him away. The fifty-year-old Vampire didnt regain his wits once throughout the ordeal.
As Irinas blood relative, Id thought that the man must have had some ability. But to actually faint on my first attack… The little respect I had for that man had all but evaporated. If he didnt have the skill, why even try to provoke me?
Our little stunt caused quite a big stir as most of the Vampires near us began to stare. Even though they didnt breathe a single word, I felt like I could decipher their every thought.
Who am I? Why did Irina protect me? What ability did he use?
It didnt take long for us to steal the spotlight. Fortunately, being the elite butler that he was, Variel quickly moved to help us.
“Please, follow me. The opening ceremony will begin shortly. We need to be seated by then.”
As we followed the wizened butler down the stretch, I couldnt help but feel awkward at all of those piercing eyes. Alas, if I wanted to survive in this world… This was something that I had to overcome.
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