Hunt 25: The Alliance
Twenty-eight day of Sat’xahr, Alti’zien
Past two o’clock in the afternoon
Evan has reserved a place in a restaurant in District 3. All members of the club Asylum, excluding Primrose, are gathered in one of Pazakonte restaurant’s VIP room to meet up with the representatives of the red zone’s club, Smash. While waiting for the representatives of the said club, Azalea, Blair, Tristan, Emil, Duke and Evan are making themselves at home inside that large closed room. They are seated at one side of a single long meeting table facing the empty side across where Hakusen Ahmil and his company will be seating once they arrive. Blair, Azalea and Duke are looking at the menu while casually discussing what they should order. On the other hand, Tristan appears tensed. He keeps looking around, clasping his hands and pulling his white gloves every now and then. Evan is silently sitting beside Duke. He has his creepy sword set aside, close to his left. After listening to his companions’ squabbling, he then moves to advise them of which serving they should order.
Out of the 278 students in the red zone, Smash is only able to gather 88 members all in all which makes them the smallest club in that zone. Their rivals, Executioner have 95, and Headless Warriors are able to increase their numbers to 92. Their quantities are not that far apart from each other however, the real problem seems to be more than just numbers. Since they are already behind in terms of members, they are eager to get some powerful allies. If the regular red-zone students namely Primrose, Duke and Emil stays with the tradition and has joined a red-zone club, they would be able to lessen their disadvantage. Hakusen, who is currently the president, is hopeful that the three mentioned names will be listed in their members’ roll at the end of the meeting. They are not planning to poach them out of Asylum since each student is allowed to join a maximum of two clubs.
After sitting for roughly five minutes, Blair is starting to get bored so her attention drifts to the view outside the large fiberglass window. She becomes absorbed to the dazzling look of the city’s towering buildings outside, and while she is on it, her sight catches the presence of a sabercat silently sitting by the window pane. She then leaves Azalea’s side, who is sitting closest to the door. She runs over by the large window, steps on the chair beside Emil, and then leans forward on the glass window. She enthusiastically looks around the magnificent view.
Emil grabs her left shoulder. “Cut that out,” he says while Blair is fussing over Q, that purposely followed them for unknown reasons. “Are you a kid?”
While the two pay little attention to what is happening inside, three knocks echoes inside the room.
Azalea turns her gaze towards the unruly friend. “Stop that,” she demands. “Leave Q alone and get your floating mind back into the meeting room. Sit properly while you’re at it.”
She pouts while returning to her sit between Azalea and Evan.
A group of five people enters the room.
“Good day, I am Hakusen Ahmil, current president of the red zone’s club, Smash.” The guy who is leading the group says courteously. He is wearing his casual clothes, a long Yahlbar traditional vest and trousers. He is about 5’2” to 5’4” tall with slim body build, neither thin nor muscular. His hair is bleached blonde, thin lips, and fair skin complexion. He wears sweatband on his forehead slightly covering his dark brown eyes.
“Welcome,” Azalea greets politely with her usual smile. “It seems like you took your time.”
The only girl in the group steps up arrogantly. “Don’t get too carried away just because we accepted your request to meet up!” She is wearing a traditional Adillac garment, a right sided long sleeve for her top and brown straight leg jeans, both of which are colored yellow and dark orange. She has long black hair in dreadlocks, dark brown eyes and her lips are thick. She is dark skinned, and very tall; maybe more than six feet high not including her two inches high heels.
“Don’t get too agitated, Ophelia,” says Hakusen while gently tapping the girl’s back. He leads them into the meeting table, across Asylum, facing them directly. “I will properly introduce my people to you. This is Ophelia Leto, our secretary. The one beside her is Daisuke Nekogami, our vice president.” He points at his companions as he says their names.
“Hello,” Daisuke bows. His eyes are golden brown and slimly squinted, ebony black hair, tiny nose, slim lips and fair complexion. He is most probably the same height as Hakusen but have a fleshier built body. He wears pink polo with fish bones printed as design around it, light brown shorts and sandals. He appears quite odd. He points at the other two guys behind them. “By the way these guys are Brandon and Lario Ingot.”
Both guys look similar. They are wearing yellow skin tight shirts, brown maong shorts and a combination of brown and yellow sneakers. They are both blonde, tanned and have a huge muscular body build, only that there is considerable difference in their height. One is taller, a towering height of 6’3” to 6’5 while the other is about 5’8” to 6’ standing side by side.
“Yoh,” the taller one raises his right hand to greet them. “I am Brandon, and this is my friend Lario.”
“We might seem like we are siblings,” the shorter guy continues in a cheerful fashion. “However, we are not related at all. We’ve just adopted our benefactor’s name because neither of us can recall ours.”
All of the representatives from Smash gently take their seat facing the members of Asylum. From the large window sits Brandon, Ophelia, Hakusen, Daisuke and Lario sitting nearest to the door. Before they properly start their topic discussion, Azalea’s group introduces themselves as well. In the middle of introduction, the waiters knocks and then comes in to deliver their ordered food and drinks and then immediately left the room the moment they have secured that everything has been properly served.
“At last, all this waiting made me starve. Can’t fight in an empty stomach, they say.” Blair babbles without a care. “Can we let Q in too?”
Azalea sighs. “Pets aren’t allowed inside, you know.”
“So he’s your pet after all,” says Blair while chewing her food.
“Who in their right mind would bring a sabercat inside is restaurant? Ugh…”
“I see,” Ophelia snorts. “You are a rowdy bunch, huh.”
While everyone else is busy examining the other party, Duke, sitting between Tristan and Emil, straightens his back. He calmly slices the piece of steak on his plate. “I don’t know which of these utensils I should be using but this is okay, right?” He asks while chewing his food. “By the way, can I take out some of these back? Prim will definitely love them.”
“Don’t worry,” Azalea responds with a confident smile. “Everything will be taken care of by my generous self.”
“You’re that rich?” Tristan wrinkles his forehead while turning his gaze to Azalea. “The StuCo hasn’t approved our club budget yet.”
She picks up her utensils and then focuses on the meal in front. “I earned quite a bit back in the days.”
“You didn’t have to do that.” Evan interrupts. “I could have prepared this kind of stuff. I’m the treasurer, after all.”
Ophelia clicks her tongue and rolls her eyes. “Some blue-guy is flaunting his assets in front of us, just as expected of those filthy rich nobles. So, it’s true he is your leader, huh?”
“Even though he is wearing blue, no one in this group is going to follow that creepy looking guy.” Azalea responds wearing her usual business smile.
“Hm? Creepy?” Evan mumbles without letting his smile fall.
Blair and Emil, side by side, forcefully taps Tristan’s back making him cough a little. “This is our boss,” they say in unison.
Tristan jolts. His back slums while his head hangs low. “Y-yes, sorry we only gave you our names and not our positions. N-now that everything seems to be settled, let’s d-discuss our main topic.”
Brandon and Lario burst out in laughter like they have gone crazy all of a sudden. Hakusen glares at them. He coughs to clear his throat pulling everyone’s attention towards him. “It’s not unusual for the blue and green to be in the same club, but normally the blue is always the leader. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a blue that willingly joined a club governed by the greens. Not only that, there are two reds here, not counting the most dangerous one. Your group is certainly odd… and at the same time, quite fearsome.”
After hearing Hakusen’s statement, Tristan momentarily reflects on it. “P-please, we’re nothing like that.” He stutters and panics while trying to bring the meeting into its supposed direction. “Erm… As for our purpose right now, we’d like to learn about the brewing turmoil in the red zone. The situation seems very unsettling as of the moment.”
Ophelia furrows her brows. She turns her eyes to Tristan while tapping the table with her index finger. “You seem to be so out of it, Mister. Prez. If you are going to take the job, you should have more confidence in yourself.”
“Won’t that behavior of yours be giving your farce away?” Daisuke adds wearing a sly smile. “You surely don’t have the charisma or the determination of a leader.”
“So,” Ophelia frowns while glaring at Evan. “It’s that blue-boy after all? It’s not a surprise at all if the Naoe’s, as part of the current Balaam Knights, would want to produce a different faction so that they could spy on us. We are still considered as ‘threats’ despite everything.”
Even though the air is starting to feel heavier, Evan keeps his smile. “I swear, our club wasn’t created to be the BK’s pawns.”
Chills run down Ophelia’s spine. “You are not BK’s pawns? How could you say such things when you are the younger brother of BK’s commander?” With doubt filled eyes, she questions Asylum’s true intentions. “Did you seriously think that we’ll give you any information that could most likely put at in a direr situation?”
Azalea gently puts her fork and knife down, beside the plate. With a calm tone and business-like smile she declares, “I do not see how being connected to BK is a disadvantage to us in this meeting. You see, are you not making it too obvious that your group is hiding something?”
Hakusen glares at her. “Are you threatening the eighty-eight members of Smash with the mere seven of Asylum?”
She grins without turning her gaze away from Smash’s leader. “Seven? Have you not counted wrong?”
“You witch,” Hakusen mutters gritting his teeth.
Tristan gulps while looking at Azalea’s cunning smile, that indirectly communicates what is about to happen next. “Yes, we were indeed given the task to investigate the uneasiness which is growing in your zone but we do not intend to put you in a difficult situation.” He coughs trying his best not to stutter again. “If you are willing to cooperate by exchanging information with us during this investigation, then I believe that there won’t be any problem.”
Smash’s leader only stares at the other group with his piercing eyes, his lips curves down. The sound of the stainless steels sliding at each other startled him making him turn to the direction where it comes from. Daisuke is playing with his fork and knife. He smirks like a child pulling a prank. Hakusen then takes a deep breath. He appears to have a colder expression now.
“Your newly founded club seems to be feeling too self-assured just because nobody really gives a damn about what you do.” Daisuke says after he sets down the knife and fork. He slowly takes a clear look at each of Asylum’s members. “Should I remind you that our positions are very different? Honestly, the real reason why we decided to come here and meet with the lot of you is to simply try and persuade our red comrades on your side to return to us. Duke, Emil, aren’t the two of you getting too comfortable blending with the middle class?”
Emil yawns while answering. “We have no intention of leaving Asylum. Even if you say that each student could join up to two clubs, I still won’t join yours, squinty.”
“S-squinty?..” He puts his hands together while smiling merrily. “Why is that?”
“I don’t like your face,” he sneers.
The tension is rising.
“What is Azalea thinking?” Tristan turns his head around checking everyone’s expression. “She looks so calm; does she have any plan in mind? I wasn’t told anything about this.” His panicking mind is starting to review everything that happened that might be connected to this meeting. Then something suddenly clicks in his head, like all the pieces are suddenly falling in their place.
“What’s so great about being the back-up dogs of BK?” Hakusen argues while the other Smash member’s brows has furrowed with unpleasant expression.
Tristan takes a deep breath. “We are not anyone’s dogs or lackey.” His face is now more relaxed with his back straight. He is facing the other party while looking into their eyes. “Part of our club’s function is ‘doing odd jobs’ and that’s what we’re hired for. We are doing a favor for someone in exchange of something. I think, that’s what best describes our club.”
“What the hell is your point?” Hakusen frowns.
Without turning his gaze away, Tristan replies slightly lowering the tone of his voice. “Let’s take this as a business deal. Our club wants to purchase information from you.”
“Well,” Hakusen ponders considering Tristan’s words. He taps the table with his finger. The resounding of the every light tap continues for several minutes. “It seems that you are not some dumb puppet carrying that title. However, we are in no need of money.”
“We won’t be paying you with money,” he smiles. The silence around him, being surrounded by his friends who are letting him take the center stage, makes his smile that usually radiates an amiable personality seem rather malicious and powerful. “We’ll be paying you with service, our club’s specialty. If the members of Smash get in trouble, you can ask for our help and we will find a way to fix it for you.”
Daisuke chuckles and then he rubs his nape. “We might be in real trouble then.” He tilts his head looking at Hakusen as if signaling something. “It’s not a bad offer.”
“Then, shall we start the exchange?” Tristan asks while leaning closer to the table. Then he turns his gaze to the side. “Vice president, please.”
They all then follow Tristan’s eyes that are staring at that girl who is nonchalantly taking a spoon-full of her soup. “Ah, it’s my turn now.”
“It’s about time you do something about this suffocating situation you’ve put me through!” Tristan screams inside his head while narrowing his eyes towards that sly girl.
She smiles, almost laughed a little, when she notices how stiff Tristan looks. “For the exchange of information,” she says looking up the ceiling trying to recall something. “Of course, there are some questions we want answered asap. But if you don’t have the answer we don’t mind waiting a little.”
“Are we going to get one service ticket for every question?” Hakusen asks with his arms crossed over his chest.
“Not quite.” She sits with her back straight, her hands lying steady on the table. “We’d like to call for an alliance.”
“Alliance?” Daisuke mumbles. He hangs his head low while rubbing his chin.
Ophelia rolls her eyes. “With a club that is only composed of unrefined and rowdy members? How are we supposed to believe that you are going to keep the end of the bargain? Won’t you discard us once you got what you need?”
“It’s not pleasant to be called unrefined, you know… though I can’t deny the rowdy part.” Emil grumbles at the corner.
“You can look at this alliance like having extra members,” Azalea responds. “Seven shadows that are not listed in your club roster and can move as freely as possible.”
“Aren’t you bluffing too much?” The furrow on Ophelia’s brows grows deeper.
“Wait,” a firm voice cuts off their conversation. Their eyes turn to the odd guy wearing pink. “After getting a good look at you… I might just have remembered something quite intriguing!” Daisuke fixes his eyes on Azalea. “It’s been more than a year… and I never would have expected that I’ll find you here after all this time, that’s why I didn’t notice immediately. Aren’t you Azalea, the Bewitched?”
She tries to keep her crooked smile from falling. “I’m not really fond of that name, you know.”
“Is that so,” he continues changing his tone to sound more polite. “You weren’t as infamous back then, but you sure do carry a different aura around you now.” Now, all of Asylum and Smash’s attention revolve roughly on Azalea and Daisuke.
Evan’s light and kind expression suddenly turns into a cold gaze. “Infamous? What might you be talking about?”
Both sides fall in brief silence.
“It feels different from what I initially thought.” Daisuke mumbles evaluating her expression. “She sure gives off a different aura today. The Azalea I know used to give off a piercing cold aura while hinting unfathomable darkness hidden behind her indifferent facade. She was totally unapproachable, back then.”
“Dai, we can’t follow your conversation,” Hakusen is wearing a confused expression while turning his eyes back and forth from Azalea and Daisuke.
Azalea forces a laugh. “Now, now, let’s not stray far from our real topic here.”
“Sorry,” Daisuke relaxes his shoulders and then leans with his arms over the table. “But this might as well concern how this negotiation will end. Everyone who has heard of the bewitched demon hunter knows how strong and foreboding she is; as well as the danger that follows her name. I used to be monster hunter but some accident happened a year ago which made me lose my license and so I ended up confined here.” He then turns towards Hakusen. “President, I’ve heard different stories about this Azalea, some might be exaggerated but her achievements are the real deal.”
“To hear you talk about another person in high regard is very rare.” Hakusen’s interest is piqued. He turns his eyes back to the girl in question.
“I never would have thought that someone else in this academy have heard of that cursed nickname.” Azalea mutters while trying hard to prevent her lips from frowning.
While Asylum is keeping quiet restraining their curiosity within, Hakusen continues. “What do you suggest? Do you think a person like her can change the waves of a losing battle?”
“It probably won’t,” Daisuke replies. His tone is calm. “However, if we take into account the value of information along with how it’s used, we’ll surely be able to do something. If things, due to unfortunate events, would break out into a battle then we should take into consideration not just our numbers but the actual fighting experiences of our people. In this case, a person who went through plenty of demon hunting and possesses good strategic intellect could surely influence the outcome.”
“Why do I feel like they are trying to poach me instead?” Azalea murmurs. “Taking those into consideration, are you going to accept an alliance between our clubs?”
Hakusen covers his mouth while staring blankly on space. “This isn’t a bad trade,” says he. “But then again, we have no proof that your group would stay true to our alliance. We can’t just trust you when there is nothing at risk on your side.”
“Should we sign a contract then?” Emil snorts.
“Jokes aside,” Ophelia responds. “We’d like to ask for a tangible proof of our alliance.”
“If you don’t like written agreements, what else could satisfy you?” Tristan asks clasping his hands together.
Hakusen turns his eyes on Emil and Duke. “That is… If you fail to uphold your promise, then the three red-zone students in your cub will join ours too.”
Emil frowns. “Why are you that eager?”
“You see, Smash currently does not have any exceptionally strong members.” Hakusen explains. “I mean, of the few collared students, we don’t have any under our banner. In terms of power balance we are greatly falling behind. The last collared who has not joined any club in the red-zone yet is the younger Saintgregor.”
“So that’s what’s you’re after, huh.” They turn their attention back at Azalea. “How about I join instead?”
“W-what?!” Tristan silently fusses. “I don’t remember her mentioning anything about this? In fact, it sounds like something she just said in a whim!”
Blair immediately stands up. She fixes her eyes at her reckless roommate. “Az, what kind of ridiculous act are you trying to pull?”
“Let’s not go overboard with the jokes,” Evan joins in the fray with a calm appearance yet the way he grips the scabbard of his sword says otherwise.
“How about we stop being hysterical at the moment,” she answers wearing her sardonic smile, as if she is so confident about something.
Blair returns to her sit looking away from Azalea, like a sulking child. Emil and Duke are keeping their silence though the way they both crossed their arms over their chest while leaning on the chair seems that the turn of this conversation is taking away their patience little by little.
With inquisitive look in his eyes, Hakusen touches his chin and stares blankly into the air. “Miss demon hunter, Smash has only accepted red-zone students and we are not planning on breaking that tradition. Furthermore, once a green-student joins a red-zone exclusive club, won’t the other club get the same idea? Your suggestion is going to destroy the power balance in the red-zone. I cannot accept it.”
“So, it’s fine if I’m the red zone… right?”
Club President [Smash]
Club President [Smash]
Club Vice-President [Smash]
Club Vice-President [Smash]
Club Secretary [Smash]
Club Secretary [Smash]
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The Bewitched Demon Hunter
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