My Vampire Little Sister
Chapter 26 The Winter Hunt (4)
“Welcome! Ladies and gentlemen! To the annual Winter Hunt!!!”
Standing at the front of the colossal amphitheatre where the Vampires gathered, a handsome young man greeted the audience with an affable smile. He was donned in a top hat with a regal monocle, making him seem like hes cosplaying someone from the eighteenth century. Behaving as any good host would, the man watched every move of his audience and waited for the right time to continue his introductions.
“Thank you all for coming on this fine Winter morning. As you all know, we have switched from a seventy-seven seal system to a seventy-three seal system this year. But not to fear, the quality of each seal has been tested rigorously and…”
The host started to give a run-down on all of the changes that occurred within the past year, from the transformation of the seals to the introduction of new traps. However, that information was useless to me for now. What was more pressing was…
“Irina, which are the Vampires we need to look out for?”
Fifteen minutes had passed since our little commotion with Trent. And while it had mostly flown under the radar, plenty of Vampires were targeting their gazes in our direction. Unfortunately, I knew nothing of those Vampires. Whether they were friendly, curious or even hostile.
And as someone who had come to protect Irina… That was unforgivable.
“… The ones that could threaten us arent present right now.”
“Hmmm? Why not?”
“The most powerful members of the House dont always attend the Winter Hunt. And even if they do, they will observe from afar or assist the operation. Only those from the younger generation would participate in this farce.”
That makes sense. Unlike most social gatherings, the Winter Hunt was serious business. Even if the strongest Everwinters did attend, they would help eliminate the Outer Demons rather than listen in on this weird theatrical performance.
“That being said… Do you see the Vampires in the other booths?”
Following Irinas words, I observed the numerous private booths that were set up. Like how it was in a football stadium, there were public stands and private rooms. The public stands were mainly occupied by Blood Servants, which made quite a bit of sense as the Blood Servants outnumbered the True Vampires nine to one.
As for the private booths…
“They are representatives from each major faction. Every Winter Hunt, they will participate in raking in points to improve their standings.”
“Yes,” as Irina thought back on how dirty the factions were in the clan, her adorable little face trembled. “The Winter Hunt is basically an event that gives bragging rights. Whoever eliminates the most Outer Demons would gain an advantage for the entire year. Its like in the Olympics where countries compete for the most gold medals.”
“And some of the factions follow a sick system where whoever scored the most points would get whatever that person wished. Be it consorts, better training grounds or even the best virgin blood. They will do all that just for a stupid title that renews every year.”
Wow… I didnt think that they would take it that far.
“Urgh… Factions truly disgust me… Why cant they all be like you, Brother?”
“Haha, you little imp.”
Although I said that, my sentiments were similar to Irinas. Why would anyone pit their family members against each other for some bullshit title?
“So, you dont have to worry too much! While we will be forced to go down later, all you need to do is stay behind me, Brother! Variel, Luminita and I will handle all of the Outer Demons.”
It seems like there will be a competition later on in which every Vampire present would compete to kill the most Outer Demons. And since Irina wasnt part of any faction, she didnt have to eliminate many of them. Our Winter Hunt would be over in a few hours as long as she showed her powers and followed the Matriarchs instructions.
Seems like an anti-climatic end, but honestly, I was happy as long as Irina was safe.
“Oh, its starting.”
I followed Irinas eyes back down to the open field of the amphitheatre. Almost on cue, numerous magic runes emerged from what Id thought was an open space, and a massive wave of magic power filled the ice dome. As a student of magic, I recognised many of the runic symbols and could even decipher some of the seals that were being used. There were a few odd ones mixed in, but I reckon they were just an amalgamation of seals developed by the Vampires.
Bit by bit, the seals came undone, and once the fifth one had been released, the illusion of a field of snow shattered. What lay beneath the Winter Graveyard, the entity that the ice dome was sealing… was a cosmic whirlpool of pure energy.
Just watching it from afar made me breathless. It was unlike anything Id ever seen in my life. While it had been covered by seals and even a thick layer of ice, its mystique was something that would be etched in my mind for the rest of time.
“Thats the Northern Pole Gate?”
“Yes,” It wasnt Irina or Variel who answered my question. Rather, it was my stoic father who had been mostly silent throughout our journey here. “Thats a Gate, alright. Its almost as big as the one at the Hunter Headquarters.”
The cosmic whirlpool was easily as large as a small lake, which gave quite some clarity on how Outer Demons could invade our world so frequently in the past. If the tear between our realities were this huge, it would make sense for the invaders to come in droves.
“It has been a while since we last participated in a purge right, Elna?”
“Haha, yeah! My blood is already pumping just imagining what kind of creatures would emerge from this Gate!”
Both my parents watched the unsealing event with sparkles in their eyes. Before they were relegated to protecting their cripple son, both of them were high-ranking Hunters that killed Outer Demons for a living. Although they never once said it to me, I knew very well that they missed the thrill of the hunt. Particularly when their other colleagues were still going strong in the industry.
“Do you need any help?”
As the seals slowly came undone, my mage mother turned to Variel, eager to show a portion of her skills that had been honed for decades.
“Not to worry,” the butler shook his head as he answered. “We have experimented extensively and have developed the perfect procedures. Theres almost no risk of a full break or any Disaster-Class Demons escaping from the Gate. Besides…”
Just as the man had mentioned, as the seals gradually became undone, so did the massive ice wall blocking the spatial vortex. A small portion of the glacial barrier melted away, giving enough space for two elephants to fit through. And with the seals now at their weakest state…
Cosmic thunder struck. The ice dome trembled slightly as a variant light emerged from the now animated spatial whirlpool. As if the fabric of space had been rearranged, the Gate began distorting. And almost immediately after.
Shrieks of reckoning pierced our eardrums. A black figure burst through the vortex of space, emerging like a newborn that fell in love with the beautiful world. That figure possessed three wings with a bloated, round figure. Seventeen tentacles flailed about from the top of its body, making it look like an absolute monstrosity. However, the worst part was its disgusting seven eyes which laid irregularly at the centre of its body, right above its three mouths.
There were no creatures on the planet that resembled that atrocity. No, that mutation seemed like a creature ripped out from the worst Mythos humans could imagine.
Alas, it was a real, living creature. A being that we call…
The Outer Demon looked around, seemingly delighted that it had finally invaded our world. However, it recognised that it was in quite a difficult position. From the numerous seals surrounding it to the traps and weapons pointed in its direction. If it wanted to have any chance of living, it had to escape immediately.
So, thats what it did. Or at least, that was what it attempted to do.
The moment it flew up, a magically enhanced machine gun sent a hundred thousand rounds per minute, bolting right into its disgusting flesh. Before it could even breathe the fresh air of our planet, it had been decorated with bullet holes, causing its life to be forfeited immediately.
“An Obhuirvath. Looks like the first Outer Demon was a letdown.”
“What do you mean?”
Variel tilted his head and continued to explain it to my confused parents and me.
“Well, we dont just blindly eliminate every Outer Demon that comes through. Since weve been guarding the Northern Pole Gate for so long, we have an extensive database of what kind of Outer Demons would try to invade. If they are a new species, we would capture it immediately and bring it to our laboratories for testing. If they are powerful known creatures, our elites will use everything in their arsenal to eliminate them on the spot. And if they are weaker Outer Demons, they will be filtered to the hunting zone for the participants of the Winter Hunt.”
The butler then looked at the corpse of the disgusting-looking monster and snorted.
“But the Obhuirvath is nothing more than cannon fodder. Their only impressive feature is their amazing awareness and tendency to flee. Capturing them for the Winter Hunt would just waste everyones time, so we will kill them immediately.”
Oh damn. So even amongst the Outer Demons, there were useless species. I wonder if I threw Trent into that pit, would he be treated the same way as the Obhuirvath.
The Obhuirvath was just the beginning of the show. Almost immediately, another type of Outer Demon emerged. It was shaped in a jar and had over twenty eyes with dozens of tentacles. If anything, that monstrosity was more disgusting than the Obhuirvath that had been eliminated just seconds prior. However, rather than being gunned down, an ethereal chain emerged from a nearby seal, pulling it to a side as a barrier restrained its movements.
“Ah, a Lauvhoggdaxz. We can use that for the Winter Hunt.”
Bit by bit, the Outer Demons continued to be filtered out by the Winter Graveyard. None of the Outer Demons could showcase their strengths before the might of the Everwinter House. Some of them were instantly terminated by the numerous traps, guns and even magically-enhanced bombs that were littered around the massive ice wall. Others were captured for either testing or hunting. It really was an automatic process that didnt need too much input.
However, as the hour deepened…
“Hoh, now the heavy hitters are arriving.”
Like Variel mentioned, as the seal continued to be open, more and more powerful Outer Demons appeared. The most standout of which was this Elk-like creature. It had tentacles for antlers, and it was bathed in a pale white flame that didnt seem to burn with heat. With its inhuman speeds and reactions, the Outer Demon danced past the hail of bullets and resisted every chain that attempted to capture it. In fact, each one of its tentacles started to emit strong magical energy, destroying anything that came in contact with it.
“That Outer Demon is strong…” Watching that Elk-like creature easily brush past its opposition, my father frowned. “It seems capable of fighting A-Class Hunters.”
“And its not the only one…” My mothers face turned ashen as even more Outer Demons erupted from the spatial whirlpool.
Those monsters were unlike their weaker counterparts. The seals, weapons and traps that the Winter Graveyard provided werent enough to reap their lives away. Fortunately, the Everwinters werent just made up of machine guns and bombs…
“Dont worry, the Elders are present.”
Variels words didnt manage to reach our ears as our complete attention was glued on the three humanoid beings that descended from the apex of the ice dome. Three Vampires, one well-built middle-aged man, one woman in her prime and another in her adolescence, floated down like Angels descending to lay judgement on the beings of hell.
The first woman opened her arms wide like a shaman performing a rain ritual. However, unlike the fake shamans, her ritual worked immediately as snow started falling. The Outer Demons, confused by the odd occurrence, simply watched as the bits of snow graced their skin and melted away.
Little did they know that their hesitance was what sealed their fate.
Without giving any warning, the melted snow bloomed into gorgeous icy flowers. It didnt matter if they were on the surface of the Outer Demon, within their eyeballs, or even absorbed deep into their body. Wherever the snow touched, a bloody flower would bloom.
It didnt take long for half of the Outer Demons to be encased entirely in floral coffins, never again to see the light of our beautiful world.
Seeing their compatriots fall, the other Outer Demons did all they could to evade the falling snow. But alas, that was just the prelude to the Everwinter Elders onslaught.
The humongous male Vampire clenched his fists and moved faster than the eye could track. No, he moved way faster than anyone Id ever seen, and that includes my martial artist father. And if I couldnt even track him, neither could the poor Outer Demons.
His fist landed a clean hit before they even knew that the Vampire was upon them. Within nanoseconds, the Outer Demon he touched turned into pure ice, and with the force of his strike behind him, the Vampire shattered his adversary into mere shards.
Not satisfied with a single enemy, the man continued to pulverise the Outer Demons, all with a single punch. Id never seen someone as efficient as he was. Every enemy he eliminated took less than a second, and they were all decently powerful Outer Demons!
However, there werent just two Elders participating in the unsealing.
The youngest looking Vampire of them all floated down lazily and conjured out a book seemingly out of nowhere. As the books pages flipped, a white light emerged from within the Soul Armament and coagulated into a physical creature. Possessing a humongous lizard body with demonic wings, the white, feathery creature was something taken straight out of mythology.
“Thats right, Elder Jimena is a summoner. Using her Vampire Aspect, she can create a book of summons which can call for creatures far stronger than herself.”
“… So summoners exist even amongst Vampires.”
I watched in awe as the Elder continued bringing out new creatures from Yetis to Frost Wolves and from frosty Terracotta soldiers to Will-o-the-wisps. Each one was capable of taking down an Outer Demon all on their own.
What happened next could only be described with one word.
It was a complete massacre.
Coffins of ice flowers. Pieces of shattered ice. Mythical beasts ripping their enemies to shreds.
None of the Outer Demons could survive the combined power of the three Elders, and it didnt take long until they were completely wiped off the face of the Earth. Corpses were littered all around the ice dome, living up to its name as the Winter Graveyard. And with its army annihilated, the spatial vortex stopped acting up, enabling the seventy-three seals to smoothly restructure themselves.
And with that, the first phase of the Winter Hunt had completed, bringing peace back to the Everwinter Estate.
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