For a split second, I look at Zakira in confusion, wondering why her dad would come to the Elf country so suddenly. But then, my eyes automatically move to the TV again, realizing what’s happening immediately.
Zakira’s dad, Lucias Vondrack, is the king of all Vampires. So, of course, he’s going to attend the USDCA meeting. But needless to say, Zakira and I definitely don’t want to meet him right now— lest he finds out about the Blood bond between us.
“Get inside,” I pull Zakira inside the room, closing the door behind. “So, what are we going to do?” I then ask, looking at her intensely.
“… What can we do? The only reason I didn’t want you to come to my country is to avoid this exact situation. And now, here we are…” Zakira says, shaking her head helplessly.
“Obviously, as his daughter, I cannot avoid meeting him. And you cannot avoid meeting him, either— after all, you’re the whole reason why he’s coming here. I guess the only thing we can do now is to try not to be anywhere near each other in his presence. This should prevent him from discovering the Blood Bond, but well, I have no idea how we’re going to do it.”
Zakira doesn’t sound much optimistic about this situation. And well, I feel the same way. Her father already knows that I am her friend, and it’s highly likely that he would like to meet us together.
“Hey, what if you just tell him that we’ve had a big fight and that we’re no longer friends? This way, you can just say that you don’t want to be anywhere near me,” I say, feeling positive about this one.
But Zakira immediately shoots down my idea by shaking her head.
“That would’ve been a decent plan in any other case, but we shouldn’t even consider telling that to my father. He never forgives anyone who hurt me— whether it be physically or emotionally. And believe me, you don’t want my father to hold a grudge against you— especially when I am involved. He can be really nasty about it,” she tells me while shuddering a bit herself.
I gulp down the saliva in my mouth.
Well, that’s out of the window, then…
For the next few minutes, Zakira and I just sit on the bed silently, racking our brains for any ideas. Though unable to come up with anything good, Zakira sighs weakly before taking out her phone and checking the time.
“We need to meet up with Ilyrana and the others in a few minutes. And I need to change my clothes as well. Do you wanna go down to the second floor with me? I will show you my room,” she says.
I glance at the door again. I’ve been waiting for Layla to show up, but I guess she must’ve gone straight to her room. Well, we will meet again downstairs anyway, so…
“Yeah, let’s go,” I say, standing up.
Together, we leave my room and get into the giant disc-shaped lift. Thankfully, its speed has been adjusted to human standards— otherwise, I fear I would’ve started free-falling by now.
“You know what? If I try really hard… I think we might be able to do something,” Zakira suddenly says, her eyes closed and a deep frown on her face.
Oh, she is still thinking about that…
“You see, my mother is coming here as well. Usually, she’s extremely busy with her work but she’s cleared her schedule this time around. Even I don’t get to meet her often, you know— maybe once or twice a year if I am lucky,” she continues.
“So, there’s my excuse. If my father asks us to meet him together, I will just tell him that I am with mother and that he shouldn’t disturb our quality time together. Obviously, this might not always work— especially if there’s an emergency or if he orders me as the king of Vampires— but this is the best option we have.”
“But wouldn’t your father want to be included in that ‘quality time’? I mean, if it’s like what you are saying, then he must not be spending that much time with your mother, either,” I say, raising my eyebrows.
“Hmm? Why would he want to spend time with my mother?” Zakira asks as if I am saying something absurd. “It’s not like they’re married or anything.”
“Huh? They’re not? Are they divorced?” I ask, surprised.
“Not really. Marriage isn’t really a norm among Vampires. In fact, it’s quite rare. It’s just that my mother is a pure-blooded Vampire, and my father chose her to produce a pure-blooded heir— that is, me. That’s all there is to their relationship,” She answers nonchalantly.
… I see.
“But wait, wouldn’t your mother be able to detect the Blood Bond as well?” I ask.
“Nope, you don’t have to worry about that. My mother is one of those rare few people among us Vampires who don’t focus too much on leveling up. While her level is still probably higher than us, it’s nowhere near my father’s level. She won’t be able to detect the Blood Bond, I am sure of it,” she answers confidently.
“Well, if you say so… Let’s go with this,” I say with a shrug.
A few seconds later, we reach the second floor and the barrier around the lift disappears. Though, as I step out of the lift, I come face-to-face with an unexpected person— Layla.
“Jacob…!” She takes a step back in surprise.
“Layla? What are you doing here?” I ask, frowning.
“Oh, i-it’s nothing. I just came back from the throne room. There was no point in going to my room this late, so I decided to come to the second floor directly,” she answers, showing a strained smile for some reason and looking somewhat fidgety.
“So, why did the Queen ask you to stay back? Did she say anything… important?” I inquire curiosity.
But Layla doesn’t answer me immediately. She looks at Zakira as if reluctant to say anything in front of her.
“Oh, don’t mind me,” Zakira says, raising her hands. “I need to go and change my clothes anyway. See you in a few minutes, Jacob.”
With this, Zakira quickly walks away, leaving the two of us alone in the corridor. Layla watches her disappear into one of the rooms before suddenly, her expressions become very serious and she starts speaking in a low voice.
“The queen wanted to talk to me about my system, Jacob. She can see the system information of all of us using her skills!” She tells me, looking amazed and slightly terrified at the same time.
“What!? Really!?” I say, trying to sound surprised even though I am already aware of this.
Layla nods her head vigorously.
“Well, what did she say then? Is there something wrong with your system?” I ask, grabbing her shoulders.
“Well, not in the way you might think… but yes. Queen Ilsevel talked to me about this problem and… and she finally made me realize that I was being delusional about a certain thing. She also convinced me to ask you for help because you’re the only one who can help me,” she says, looking anxious.
“… Layla, I am more than happy to help you with anything you want, but you need to be more clear. I cannot understand what you’re trying to say here,” I tell her honestly.
“Don’t worry, I will come to your room tonight with Rebecca and explain everything to you in detail under her barrier. Just don’t mention anything about this to Maya, I don’t want her to worry.”