We landed at Teterboro Airport around half past 10, and to be honest I wasn’t quite myself during the trip from the airport in Richmond to New York.
I spent the hour long flight lost in thought about the chaos that engulfed Detroit. I kept asking myself whether or not we could have done something about it, whether or not we could have anticipated such an attack. I asked myself those questions again, and again, and the answer was always the same, we were grossly underprepared for the demon threat, and in our current state of organization, and taking into consideration the resources we had at our disposal, there was no way we could have done anything about the attack. If we decided to intervene and help the humans in Detroit as a knee jerk reaction, it’s highly likely that our agents would have died in vain. As much as I hate to admit it, not sending agents to Detroit was the right decision. It’s been more than half a millennium since the demons roamed the earth; we never expected them to be so bold as to attack a major city in broad daylight. The demons seemed to have no qualms about an open attack against the humans.
Unlike the vampires, werewolves and most of all the elves, the demons seem to have no intention of hiding in the shadows. I had that sinking feeling, it was just going to be a matter of time before their next move. The attack in Detroit for me was the opening salvo in the war against the demons.
It only sank in for me that we arrived, when I saw Victor half naked with a towel around his waist preparing for a shower. I didn’t even realize that we had already checked into the hotel.
“Are you sure you’re okay Chris?” Victor asked with a worried expression. His face not hiding the concern he felt for me.
“Uhh, yeah, just tired” I softly replied as I started to get my bearings and gather my wits.
“Where are dad and the rest?” I asked.
“Your dad is in the room next door, Yal as well. Nomir and Etalos are bunking in together and are on the same floor too”
“Ohh... I see”
Victor approached me and beckoned me to return the hug he was giving me. “You need to rest. You’re clearly stressed out” he whispered to me.
“Yeah... I think I might get some sleep after I take a shower”
“Hmm... wanna join me?”
I gave him a soft smile. “That would be great, I’d love to join you”
I took a quick nap after the shower and then went to the realm. When Etalos heard about me taking Yal to the realm earlier, he insisted that I take him with me this time. I was about to protest; I felt it was not fair to expect him to work such long hours. I could function with barely any sleep, I’m not sure that’s the case for all elves. Etalos argued that as my Chief of Staff he needed to be in the realm as often as possible as well. I relented by making him promise that he would not over exert himself and sleep or take a rest whenever he felt drained.
I made my way to Patri’s office while Etalos visited the administrative wing of the palace. It seemed that he had some urgent business to tend to in that area.
I entered Patri’s office, he had a worried expression on his face as he sat behind his desk. Uncle Rehanmir, Uncle Selvenus, and Jetan were in the room with him.
“Chris, I’m glad you were able to visit,” Patri said with a half smile.
“I had to Patri. I assume you’ve heard about what happened in Detroit?” I asked.
“Yes, we have been made aware by Yal’s Ministry.”
“It was total chaos Patri. The National Guard couldn’t even enter the city. Military choppers were even attacked! They openly attacked the military!” I exclaimed.
“I know Chris. I know” Patri replied.
“It appears we’re up against a demon general that does not intend to fight in the shadows” Uncle Rehanmir said.
“Were the demons always this brazen Patri?”
“No Chris. Father said that most demon generals are not as flashy as whoever the mastermind behind the attack on Detroit is. Even during the 12th and 13th centuries, the demons only attacked large villages or small towns at worst, never large settlements to avoid a massive response from the humans.” Patri replied. My grandfather closed his eyes and took a deep breath as if to gather his thoughts. “This makes it easier for us to narrow down who the demon general behind this is.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“We never knew how many Demon Generals there were, up until you found the book. However, we have records of three generals. These are the generals that revel in attention. They bask in the glory of their crimes.”
“Who are they?” I curiously asked.
“Yonthar, Thazwil, and Sereba” Patri replied.
“What do we know about them?”
“Yonthar is the demon general that King Ethnar faced in his youth” Patri answered.
“The one that nearly killed King Ethnar?” I asked.
“Yes” Patri grimly replied.
“What of the other two?” I asked.
“We have records of Thazwil from the 9th and 10th century. It seems he’s behind the downfall of several city-states in Central Asia during that time. He triggered famines and plagues as well. Sereba, we have records of her manipulating various human kingdoms into war in the 8th and 9th centuries. She’s also mentioned in a text that credits her with attacking multiple Heradeya villages in Anatolia.”
“That’s Etalos’ tribe, right?” I asked.
“Yes, it seems Sereba was mainly based in the Near East and Middle East” Uncle Rehanmir answered for Patri.
“Any other information?” I asked.
“Other than that, the three of them are very powerful demons, we have none.” Patri sighed in almost a defeated tone.
“It’s safe to assume that whoever is behind this is just as strong as King Ethnar.” Uncle Selvenus remarked.
“That doesn’t sound good,” I noted.
“How on earth are we going to defeat someone as strong as my great grandfather?” I incredulously asked. “We’re totally at a disadvantage if each of these generals is the equivalent of King Ethnar,” I added.
“We fight them like we used to,” Patri said.
“How?” I asked.
“With numbers,” my grandfather replied. “We’ve always kept the demons at bay due to their small numbers relative to ours. That’s one of their key weaknesses. Even the book you found confirmed that. No general has ever had more than a thousand demons.”
“There are 90 million elves, 50 million vampires, and 40 million werewolves today,” Jetan piped in. “We outnumber them 20,000 to one.”
I did the numbers in my head and they were right. If there have been no records of a general having more than a thousand spawns at the same time, then we’re basically up against 9,000 demons at worst. But Jetan missed something and as much as I hated to point it out, I had to.
I gritted my teeth in frustration and then bitterly remarked, “there are almost 8 billion humans for them to use to replenish their numbers”
The four of them went silent for a few seconds, clearly measuring their next words.
“Chris, don’t tell me you agree with Havar.” Patri said. His face was serious, and I sensed he was afraid that my answer would be a ‘yes’. I knew deep inside if I decided to cast the spell, the spell whose existence I refuse to recognize, none of them would be able to stop me. King Ethnar could try but as they said, I am only growing in strength by the minute and they’re not wrong about that.
“Of course not Patri” I replied.
There was relief in their faces as I uttered those words.
“What I mean is that we should stop the demons from replenishing their numbers. We should isolate them from humans as much as possible,” I said.
“You’re right, as we fight them, we should make sure their supply lines are cut off,” Uncle Selvenus noted with determination in his voice. He looked at me and the others in the room for agreement and we all nodded in the affirmative.
“With the vampires and werewolves at our side, we’ll be in a better position to cut the demons off,” Patri said. “We can only allocate a few dozen Akros agents for deployment on earth. We can’t mobilize the Royal and Civil Guard for a cross realm operation, that would compromise the security of the realm.”
“Then we leverage the numbers of vampires and werewolves to our advantage,” Uncle Rehanmir said as he put his hands together like a steeple.
“Then it would be a matter of convincing the vampires and werewolves to spare more of their troops,” Jetan replied.
“They don’t have a choice, it’s their world that’s at greater risk,” Patri said. “We can threaten them with us pulling out of the alliance if necessary”
I gave Patri a confused look. He can’t be serious about that. The vampires and werewolves will stand no chance without our magic.
Patri gave me a conspiring smile, “it’s just a ploy Chris. Just in case things get heated in the discussions”
“Ohh... I see”
For another hour or so we further discussed the upcoming summit in New York. We thought of possible roadblocks we could face in the negotiation of the alliance. Due to their clannish nature, and tradition of respecting those who were stronger than them, we expected more resistance from the werewolves than the vampires. It was of utmost importance that we were able to get the WCC co-leaders, Luigi and Juan onboard.
Etalos and I made it back to New York at around 3am. *Sigh* At least I had a few more hours to sleep.
I expected to find Victor asleep, instead I found him busy typing away on his laptop.
“You’re awake,” I said smiling at him.
“You broke curfew again,” he teased.
“Hehe, sorry... ambassador business. Why are you up?”
“Councilor business,” he said winking at me. Victor then closed his laptop as he patted the bed beside him. “Come here... I missed you.”
“You’re too sappy to be a 260 year old vampire,” I grinned at him as I got onto the bed.
“Everything alright at your end?” I asked as I laid my head on his bare chest.
“Yeah. So far so good. Hopefully it goes smoothly tomorrow.”
“Jetan will be bringing several Akros agents as additional security”
“Hmm... more elves eh?”
“Seems to be the case.” I took comfort settling into Victor’s warmth and sighed in contentment having him in my life. “This is good...” I whispered.
“What do you mean?”
“Having you beside me, feeling your warmth around me, and taking in your scent. It’s comforting,” I remarked.
“Now who’s sappy?” He teased.
“Hey... I’m 18! I have the right to be sappy!” I said in mock anger as I softly slapped his toned abs.
“I know,” I sighed again.
That night, I fell asleep in Victor’s warm embrace.
We woke up early the following morning. The meeting was in an upscale VHC owned hotel, in midtown Manhattan at 10am.
We had our breakfast buffet together, trying to avoid discussing the summit, we talked about other things. It was already stressful enough, so the few minutes of respite was a welcome treat for me.
Victor left ahead of us, the VHC representatives had a pre-summit meeting of their own. Not long after he left, I left for the hotel with Nomir and Yal. Etalos was left with dad at the hotel, Yal already made arrangements for three additional agents to serve as their security in our absence.
With the summit being in New York, we had several elf agents at our disposal, excluding the several dozen that my uncle had cross over to serve as additional security. A handsome elf served as our driver, I could sense he was nervous throughout the short drive to the hotel, maybe it was his first time driving around New York, or it could be because he was driving for me, I dunno.
We arrived at a modern, glass covered building, and the interior was sleek and minimalist. As I entered the building I could already sense that several of the men and women in suits were either vampire or werewolf, in the lobby alone there was at least a dozen of them, I could feel the presence of two elf agents within the vicinity as well.
We made our way to the 42nd floor where a conference room and lounge was reserved for exclusive use of the elvish contingent. The vampires were in the 41st, the werewolves on the 44th, the Summit was in a large conference room in the 43rd floor.
As the elevator doors opened to our designated floor ,I could immediately sense the presence of at least a dozen elves in the area. My uncle’s agents no doubt.
We had more than 40 minutes to spare when we entered the lounge. Nomir stayed outside to serve as additional security.
Patri, King Ethnar, my uncle, and Zenfar were already inside when we arrived. To see them in “human” clothes and have rounded ears felt weird for me, all four of them were in white long sleeve shirts and dark pants and leather shoes.
“Good morning,” I greeted.
“Good morning Chris. Are you ready?” Patri asked.
“Getting there...” I replied.
“Don’t worry about it. Just relax, don’t let nerves get to you. Remember we’re not the only ones that have something to gain out of this.” King Ethnar said as he squeezed my right shoulder while looking me in the eye. “Okay? You’re a Haldruin remember? And we Haldruins don’t back down.”
“Any updates from Detroit?” Zenfar asked.
“The National Guard was able to regain control of the city earlier this morning. It seems the demons have left the city. I have a team already working on tracking the demons and the vampire and human syndicates they are working with.”
“What’s the final death toll?” I asked.
“1,094 people dead, that includes 67 from the police, 50 from the National Guard, and 27 soldiers. The rest are civilians. Thousands more are injured and it seems the government is too caught up with the chaos that they haven’t noticed the missing individuals yet” Yal replied.
“Is it a mistake to not include the humans in this meeting?” I asked.
“I was thinking the same thing but with FRUSI significantly compromised, I doubt they’d be of much help to us right now. And talking to the humans is a complicated matter, it’s a different agency for every country, unlike the Vampires and Werewolves where we can directly talk to the VHC and WCC,” Patri replied.
“I think we should solidify the three-way alliance first, before talking to the humans. With that, we can present a united front when dealing with them, if it comes to that,” King Ethnar added.
I expected us to attend the conference in our human appearance but no, before we left our lounge, we changed into our elvish robes, and removed the glamour on our ears as well. Us four royals wore tight fitting red robes with golden accents, while Yal and Zenfar wore blue robes with silver accents.
All eyes were on us when we arrived on the 43rd floor. Vampire, werewolf, and elf agents stood in silence and awe as our presence flooded the corridor.
There were at least half a dozen agents from each race manning the corridors, while one agent from each guarded the large doors of our conference room.
Entering the large conference room, I could see that everyone else had taken their seats. The room was well lit, with floor to ceiling window on one side providing us with a magnificent backdrop.
Three long wooden tables were arranged in a triangular manner facing one another. One table for each race. There were name plates in front of each seated individual and the flags of each race were proudly displayed behind each contingent. The werewolf flag is dark blue with the phases of the moon adorning it , waxing crescent on the center left, with the full moon in the center being more prominent, and waning crescent on the center right; The vampire flag on the other hand is red with a golden rose in the center encircled by a serpentine golden dragon; The elf flag is black, with a gold 8-pointed star in the middle surrounded by a gold laurel wreath.
At our table, from left to right we sat at follows: Yal, me, King Ethnar, King ZoHal, Prince Rehanmir, Zenfar. The werewolf table on our left had: August, Luigi, Juan, and Olaf. The Vampire table on our right had the following: closest to us was Konrad, then Marta, Jeppe, Reza, Victoria, Luca, and Victor.
The other races went silent as we took our seats. I could only assume, despite seeing us in the flesh, they still couldn’t believe that we were actually here, right in front of them.
The silence was deafening, Reza broke it when he spoke, “Thank you everyone for coming to this conference.” His voice measured and calm. He took his time to set his gaze on each and every one of us then continued. “We all are aware of the return of the demons, we know the threat that they pose to us, and we know that the incident in Detroit is just the beginning.” Reza paused for a second then spoke again. “Upon learning of the Anami threat a few weeks ago, it’s clear that none of our communities can face this alone. When I learned that the elves are still alive, I reached out to His Majesty King ZoHal.”
“To say that we’re surprised to have the elves in our presence would be an understatement” said Luigi. His voice was deep and imposing, similar to his presence. His build like the rest of the other werewolves at his table, is very muscular. Luigi’s brown eyes complimented his wavy dark hair, and his clean-shaven face, clearly Italian in features. He looked to be in his early forties but I’ve already read on his file that he’s actually 317 years old.
Juan then piped in. “The demon threat can’t be ignored, the WCC is willing to listen to what the VHC and the Elves have to say.” Juan is a Spaniard and his features clearly showed that. His skin is lightly tanned like Luigi, had light brown wavy hair, green eyes and a clean-shaven face.
“The VHC and WCC have cooperated in various endeavors in the past, and continue to cooperate today in research and several business ventures,” Jeppe remarked. “The VHC strongly believes that we should expand that to security and intelligence sharing.”
“What do the elves think about that?” Luigi asked.
Patri spoke, with a small smile on his face, “We elves are willing to cooperate. It was us that provided the intelligence to your communities regarding the FRUSI and Detroit attacks. We have the means to gather and provide intelligence.”
“We are also willing to provide several dozen Akros agents in joint missions,” Uncle Rehanmir piped in.
“Just several dozen?” Marta, the Portuguese VHC Councilor asked.
She’s a beautiful woman who looked to be in her mid thirties but the file I read on her stated she’s 317 years old.
“A single Akros agent is adept not only in combat but elemental magic. The presence of a few in each joint mission should suffice,” my uncle clarified.
“Are the elves expecting the werewolves and vampires to take on the brunt of the manpower?” Olaf asked. There was a slight edge on his voice and his demeanor clearly showed a hint of agitation. Olaf has dark blonde hair, steel gray eyes, handsome, and his closely trimmed beard gave him a rugged vibe.
“We’re willing to provide intelligence and powerful, skilled elemental mages. What more can you ask for?” King Ethnar piped in.
“Are you saying that our intelligence gathering and fighting capabilities are weaker than yours?” Olaf asked in an accusing tone.
“No,” King Ethnar tersely replied. He let out a small smile of his own then continued. “What we are trying to say is if we combine our resources, we will be more capable in facing the demon threat.”
“So, intelligence sharing and joint missions. That’s what we’re talking about?” Luigi asked.
“For starters yes.” King Ethnar replied.
“Joint training with Akros, Stratos, and the WCC too” Patri added.
“We have very little information regarding the demons. They’ve been absent from this world far longer than the elves were” Luca said.
“You’re right councilor. But we’re uncovering more and more information by the day,” came from Patri.
“What do you mean?” Konrad asked.
“So far,we know that there are 9 demon generals. However, we don’t know whether we’re facing one or all nine.” Patri replied. “We recently discovered that a single demon general can control up to 1,000 demons at any given time.”
“A thousand?” Juan asked in disbelief.
“Yes, and let’s not forget that each demon can create an Anami out of each and every one of us.” Patri added.
“We’re also willing to provide healing magic to any of your agents that have been infected by demon magic,” Zenfar remarked. “That’s something else only we can offer. Only elves have the magic to reverse the Anami creation process.”
“What do you have to gain from this?” Olaf asked. He eyed us with suspicion.
“What do you mean?” Yal asked.
“August informed us that you already have a realm of your own. Why are you willing to help us?” Olaf asked. His arms were crossed, and he sat straight against his chair when he spoke.
I decided to chime in. “If you aren’t aware, the realm is engaged in trade with this world. We import products we could not produce, and we export some of our products as well. If this world falls into chaos, that would compromise our standard of living. We would like to avoid that as much as possible.”
“The Ambassador is right. When I visited their realm, it was evident that they had earth based technology.” August said. I internally thanked August for coming to my aid. Hehe, couldn’t exactly tell them about the dark energy issue now could we.
“With FRUSI barely operational, how are we going to engage the humans?” Victor asked.
“That’s a concern indeed” Juan nodded in agreement. “It’s good that our three races are in talks now, but the humans have the most to lose.”
“We can engage with the other agencies of other countries. Though there are very few that come close to the level of organization that FRUSI had” Victoria said. Her brows were furrowed as she spoke, she was clearly thinking of her connections with the humans. “But it seems the threat is mainly within the United States as of now.”
“We have intelligence that there is some movement among the demons in Canada as well” Yal added.
“What?” Victoria asked with concern in her voice.
“The demons have been abducting humans in various American and Canadian cities. We have proof that the incident in Detroit was a cover for them to abduct several thousand people.”
“Why would they do that?” Luca asked.
“What could they possibly gain from abducting so many humans?” Konrad added.
“Don’t tell me they eat humans,” Olaf smirked.
“You’re not far from the truth,” Yal answered. “Humans serve as the raw material for the creation of new demons.”
“What did you just say?” Luigi asked with a confused and surprised look on his face. “Humans? For new demons?”
“How many humans do they need to create a new demon?” Jeppe asked.
“We don’t know” Yal replied. “We’re looking into it.”
“It’s also safe to assume, demons have the capacity to manipulate humans and temporarily grant them enhanced strength. Records on the FRUSI attacks show, no demon, vampire, or werewolf was involved”
“I am the only one here who is old enough to remember the time when demons still roamed this planet. I can assure you, they are all skilled with magic and their generals are very powerful. Demon generals can easily match the strongest in each of our race”
“Then why did they disappear then?” Juan asked.
“If they were so powerful why would they disappear, then suddenly appear out of nowhere” Olaf added.
“We don’t know.” Patri calmly replied.
“This alliance that you’re proposing, I see the benefit, but you know us werewolves, we respect and follow the powerful, too close a cooperation with the VHC and elves might put us in a bad light,” Olaf commented.
“Are you saying that we are weak?” King Ethnar chuckled.
“I could barely feel any aura from you,” Olaf replied.
“That’s because I’m tightly dampening my energy, councilor,”King Ethnar put emphasis on his last word. “If you insist...”
A second later King Ethnar let his aura fill the room and the reaction was immediate. Olaf flinched, August hissed and several of the vampires were visibly uncomfortable.
“Strong enough for you councilor?” King Ethnar said with pride. “I’m not even the strongest among us. Would you like to feel a fraction of his power?” My great grandfather offered.
“That won’t be nece...” Olaf started but my great grandfather cut him off.
“Prince Christopher... if you may be so kind to show us half of your aura”
“Fine... a quarter then” King Ethnar smiled at me.
I let out a small sigh, pulling some of my energy around me and started to release it. I closed my eyes and felt a wave of energy leave my body.
As I opened my eyes, I could see that the werewolf and vampire delegation were frozen in their seats and the lights seemed to be flickering as well. I could also feel the walls and floor vibrate.
King Ethnar smiled from my right and tapped my shoulder, “I think that’s enough Chris.”
“Too much...” Yal muttered almost breathless beside me.
“Any more questions regarding our power?” King Ethnar asked.
It took a few more seconds before everyone regained the color in their faces.
“Let’s formalize things, shall we?” Patri suggested. “Prince Christopher will be the primary liaison officer for the elves”
“August Smith for the WCC” Juan said.
“Victor Meyer for the VHC” Reza added.
“We shall draft a formal Treaty of Cooperation. I will sign for the elves,” Patri said.
“Luigi and I for the WCC” Juan replied.
“I will represent the VHC” Reza added.
“Marvelous” came from a beaming Patri. “Now let’s discuss the terms of cooperation...”
For the next few hours, we discussed the details of the alliance. Who knew the drafting of treaties was so tedious. *sigh.
The room broke into applause and cheers after Patri, Luigi, Juan, and Reza signed the papers.
“It’s so good to see you again,” I said to Luca as I hugged him.
“Hmm... I feel the same way,” he replied. “Stefano and Hashim are with me, how about dinner together?”
“Sure. Let’s invite August, Reza, and Konrad too,” I suggested.
“That would be great.”
“You really didn’t have to show off your powers you know,” Victor chimed in from behind Luca.
“King Ethnar’s orders” I shyly replied
“Still...” Victor gave me a teasing smile.
We mingled for at least a half hour after the treaty was signed.
Patri and King Ethnar were busy talking to the werewolf contingent. While Prince Rehanmir, Zenfar, and Yal spoke to several VHC representatives. Victor and I stood looking through the large window, as we silently enjoyed the sunset bathing the skyline in various shades of red.
Thanks to @tigg615 for helping me with this chapter.