Chapter 143: Hungry Hounds (Part-1)
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Zakira? Emergency?   

I get attentive immediately. This is probably related to what happened in the morning— my over-the-top performance at the magic tournament.   

And here I was thinking that Rebecca stayed for the threesome Layla promised me… Ah… Never mind…   

“I see. Let’s get inside then,” I say, giving her a solemn nod.   

Closing the door behind, we quickly walk to the living room. Zakira, Maya, and Layla— all three of them stand up the moment they see me enter the room, looking extremely relieved for some reason.  

 Damn… I can already tell that there’s something wrong.   

“Thank god, you’re here! That means she hasn’t made her move yet,” Zakira says, closing her eyes for a second.   

“… Whom are we talking about?” I ask with a frown.    

“I will tell you about it later. First, sit down and fill me in about the magic you used against Ilyrana,” she says, looking quite serious.   

…   

Suddenly, pink light flashes in front of my eyes, and words start appearing.  

[Hey, listen here for a second, buddy.]  

What? You fucked me up back at Kate’s place and now you’re showing up?   

[Eh… I-It was a slight blunder on my part. Sorry. We will talk about that later, okay? For now, be careful of what you say here. Don’t let it be known that you are aware of the Primordial Elements.]  

I know, I know…  

…  

“I am not sure about it myself, Zakira. A few days ago, I was practicing fireball magic, and I don’t know how, but I produced that strange element instead. After using it for a while, I discovered that it was quite powerful. So, I decided to use it against Princess Ilyrana,” I answer with a shrug, sitting down on the couch.   

“…”  

Zakira silently stares at me for a moment. Then, looking away, she sighs to herself.   

“I see… So, even you don’t know anything much about it. I was hoping you would,” she mutters grimly.   

“What are you talking about? Is there something wrong about my spell?” I ask, trying to sound confused.   

“Not something, a lot of things. A spell capable of defeating Ilyrana— someone even I cannot hope to defeat at my current level— should be really powerful. You shouldn’t be able to cast it, Jacob,” Zakira replies.  

“But well, you did— shocking literally everyone out of their wits. And as this incident is far from being a small matter, it’s being reported back to the higher-ups of all the races that were present there. Obviously, I had no choice but to tell my father as well. Others would’ve informed him anyway.”  

True…   

“Understandable,” I say with a nod.   

“Thank you. Anyway, so this is where our problem lies, Jacob. After giving all the details of your duel, I asked my father about the magic you used. But, of course, he didn’t give me an answer even though I am sure he knows about it. All he told me was that you’ve now become really important for us Vampires and that I need to hurry up to your place and abduct you,” she says.   

…  

“What the fuck!? Abduct me!?” I nearly shout out in surprise.   

“Well, not immediately. He asked me to demand an answer to our invitation first. But should you decline or ask for some more time, I have strict orders to knock you unconscious and abduct you,” she tells me.   

…  

“And he didn’t even tell you why, did he?” I ask.   

“Nope. He was quick to specify that he’s ordering me as the King of Vampires, not my father. I couldn’t ask anything after that,” she says, shaking her head lightly.   

“But still, he mentioned the fact that we’re not the only one doing this. Other races will try to do the same— either demand an instant answer or abduct you. In fact, according to my sources, Ilyrana and Leena are already on the move. They will be here any minute now,” she replies.   

“Wait, now!? Are you serious??” I ask, bewildered.   

Shit… Pink warned me that these people will come after me, but I didn’t expect all of this to happen so soon.  

“Yes, but we don’t have to worry about them right now. At least, we know where they are and can plan things ahead. The person who concerns me the most is the White Fox, Naomi,” she says fretfully.  

“Why, what did she do?” I ask.  

“Absolutely nothing. That’s what makes me worried. She clearly held a great advantage over others up until now. You see, unlike us, she was aware of the peculiarly of your spell from the beginning. In fact, she interfered in your duel because of this knowledge.   

“And what’s more, she didn’t even have to report this matter to her superiors and wait for their orders— because no one in the Beastkin countries is above her. She can just act as she sees fit.   

“And because of all this, I honestly didn’t expect you to come back from your friend’s house. I thought Naomi would make her move immediately after school—abducting you the moment you’re away from the rest of us. But for some reason, she didn’t do anything,” Zakira says, not looking much thrilled about it.   

I see… this is actually quite strange.  

“But you’re still concerned because you know that Noami wouldn’t just waste an opportunity like this for no reason, right?” I ask.   

“Exactly. She’s definitely planning something. It’s a pity that I can’t figure out what it is,” she says regretfully.   

“Anyway, there’s no point in talking about this anymore. We don’t have much time left before the other Princesses arrive. Let’s quickly decide whose invitation you’re going to accept,” she says.   

“… Huh? But why? I don’t plan to accept any of their invitations. That’s what you asked me to do, remember?” I say.   

“That’s no longer an option, Jacob. Rather than keeping each other in check like before, the representatives from all four races are going to focus on snatching you first. And if you don’t accept an invitation quickly, I don’t think you will make it until tomorrow morning without getting abducted.   

“You know, I am permitted to use all the underhanded tactics I can to get you— regardless of the risks involved. And I am sure others are allowed to do so as well,” she tells me.   

The fuck…?   

“And no one will try to abduct me if I accept an invitation?” I ask doubtfully, raising my eyebrows.   

“According to my father, they won’t. Though again, he didn’t exactly tell me why…” Zakira says, sighing to herself.  

…   

“Well, if your father says so, then I guess it must be true. He is the Vampire King, after all. So, I really don’t have a choice, do I?” I ask with a sad smile.   

“No, I am sorry… But you don’t have to worry, Jacob. I believe I will still able to help you out in certain ways to make sure you’re safe. First of all, let’s cut down the options you have right now,” Zakira says, trying to cheer me up a bit.   

“Obviously, you can’t come to my country. We will constantly face the risk of my dad finding out about—   

*Cough*   

“I-I mean, you know… Your blood is really special. It would be dangerous to go among so many Vampires. Someone will probably lose control and attack you as I did.”  

For a second there, Zakira forgot that Layla and others are sitting with us as well. She almost blurted out about the Blood Bond.   

Well, nice save though…   

“True, I don’t feel comfortable letting Jacob go to the Vampire country,” Layla strongly agrees to this.   

“Hmm… So basically, you have to choose between Ilyrana and Leena, right? In my opinion, you can go with either of them. Things are going to be the same no matter who you choose,” Zakira says with a shrug.   

“Hey! You skipped me for no reason! That’s not fair at all!” Naomi protests with a pout.   

“Well, we still don’t know what you’re planning. Choosing you is not the right— AAAAH!”  

Zakira jumps up, screaming loudly. The rest of us reacts similarly as well. Meanwhile, Naomi just chuckles at us, leisurely sitting on one of the sofas. 

 

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