Episode 4: The Council's Proposition
Ilya keeps looking at Cassius and Faulch in surprise as she doesn't really know what to say at first. Eventually, the white-haired girl decides to face her brother without advancing towards him and says with as much of a composed voice as she can due to her still being a bit surprised, "What are you doing here? Are you here to let us know that the Royal Council already determined what they wish to give Dante in exchange for his Sealing Glove?"
Cassius remains silent while thinking back on the words that Miro specifically stated from his throne to Cassius and Faulch in the Royal Council's Chambers, "Despite that boy's claim to make business with us, we cannot just carelessly trust him. We must fully investigate what Dante Einsburn is capable of and see if it will be wise in following through on the offer we've decided. Of course, that is if he even survives." Miro smiles in a sinister manner.
After quickly remembering that, Cassius shares a brief glance with Faulch, who immediately nods at the white-haired man prior to vanishing, and then refocuses his attention on Ilya as he speaks in a stern tone, "Ilya, whatever is about to transpire, please stay clear and don't interfere."
Confusion can be noted on Ilya's expression as she's about to let out a retort, but got distracted by Dante unexpectedly shoving her away from him via his left hand coming in contact with the hazel-eyed teen's shoulder while displaying a hint of urgency. After that, the green-eyed gentlemen swiftly leaps backwards while narrowly dodging a right-handed palm strike from Faulch, who had descended from above Dante's person and plants his hand onto the still damaged ground, which caused some dust to arise. As a result, a dumbfounded look appears on Faulch's face as he slowly shifts his gaze to his left since that's where Dante's located.
A few seconds later, Dante places his feet on the ground while sliding a little due to some remaining momentum until stopping about ten meters from Faulch and cheerfully locks eyes with the black-haired man. "Did you really think you could get me twice with the same trick? I'm already used to the Speed Spell and can react pretty well."
Faulch straightens his posture without taking his eyes off Dante as he stands sideways. "Indeed, however, you aren't used to a Class S Spellcaster's Speed Spell, which is greatly different." He suddenly vanishes again with dust rising from the ground again. Afterwards, Faulch appears behind Dante as he's about to do a double palm strike while stating in a cold voice, "And don't believe I will waste my time with seals, when my physical attacks are more deadly than them."
Having said that, Faulch follows through with his palm strike, but misses because of Dante successfully accelerating enough to become an after-image and then instantly stands face to face with the silver-eyed individual at an extremely close distance while maintaining his cheerful demeanor. This startles Faulch as he desperately backs away from Dante while thinking in a bit of a panic, "He actually kept up enough with me to avoid my strike and close the gap? Impossible. It must have been a fluke?" He then reaches what he believes to be a sufficient separation from Dante without diverting his gaze from the blonde-haired young man as his back is almost against the stadium's wall.
In the meantime, Ilya's baffled by what's occurring before her very eyes until setting her sights onto Cassius with a distressful expression. "What's going on, brother?! Why is Faulch attacking Dante?!"
Cassius responds while keeping his focus on Dante and Faulch. "You don't need to concern yourself with that, Ilya. Just do what I asked you and everything will be fine. Trust me."
Worry rapidly takes form on Ilya's being as she returns her attention to Dante and softly says, "If you say so, big brother. I'll trust you like always."
As Ilya continues to watch him, Dante mildly moves his body a bit as if trying to eliminate any stiffness he might be feeling and casually talks. "You know... You really shouldn't be surprised that I kept up, considering you had already showed off your speed to me beforehand. So obviously, I made the proper changes to deal with it."
Faulch's eyes narrow a little out of seriousness. "I take it you removed the seal I placed on you... However, it doesn't make much sense how you managed to dodge me when I was going faster than I had when I placed the seal."
Dante tilts his head to the right while putting both hands on his waist. "Like I said, I made the proper changes."
Suspicion joins Faulch's seriousness as he thinks, "That can't be possible. Who could possibly gauge so well what my near full speed would be after such little confrontation?"
Dante chuckles while closing his eyes. "By the way, just to clarify, I didn't remove that seal you put on me."
Faulch's eyes widen as he's greatly shocked by Dante's words. "What do you mean?!"
Dante removes both hands from his waist while lowering his left and raising his right to display the Sealing Glove to Faulch. "You see, one of the three Forbidden Sealing Gloves that resides inside this fused one was actually the # 9 glove, which happens to be the Anti-Seal Glove. It basically places a seal within the person that wears it and prevents any additional seals to be placed on them for the rest of their lives." He brings his right hand down after fixing his head's posture. "That means I've been able to hear everyone's thoughts, even after you attempted to restrict me."
Cassius couldn't help but to be angered by Dante's statement while faintly gritting his teeth and thinks, "That deceitful bastard...!"
Dante peers at Cassius out of the corner of his left eye while speaking with amusement in his voice, "I heard that! Say what you want about me, Cassius! I really could care less!" He then gives Cassius a sincere smile with his eyes shut.
While Cassius' anger begins to boil, Faulch regains most of his composure as he analyzes Dante while thinking, "If that is how it's going to be, my only hope is to take him down with my most powerful palm strike..." Mild concern then overtakes the black-haired man's face after checking out the destruction that was inflicted onto the arena by Dante as he thinks, "But there is a huge margin of error. The only way of success would be..." His eyes promptly meet with Cassius' eyes as the two stare at one another for a moment until sharply nodding and then directs his attention back to Dante before suddenly vanishing once again.
Dante contentedly smirks while hurriedly readying himself with his legs lightly bent prior to accelerating into the air in the form of a blur. Then, right where Faulch had appeared in the sky, Dante meets the black-haired individual as they're face to face for the second time with his right arm pulled back and a confident grin brimming while the red-letter "D" on his glove greatly shines. Not long after that, the green-eyed gentleman hastily thrusts his right hand at Faulch in the attempt to grab a hold of his new opponent's face, but luckily for the black-haired man, Dante's hand comes up short due to Cassius unexpectedly intervening by catching the blonde-haired individual's wrist with his left hand.
Ilya's immediately overcome by disbelief with her eyes glued onto Cassius. "Brother!"
Cassius ignores Ilya's outburst as he tightens his grip on Dante's wrist so he can't escape and then shouts in a commanding tone, "Now, Faulch!"
On cue, Faulch pulls both arms behind himself as his muscles are clearly heard flexing from how much of his strength he's concentrating for the palm strike and then launches them onto Dante's stomach, which results in a loud impact to resound from the attacked region. This forces a pained look to surface on Dante's person as he's sent crashing into the stands behind him right after Cassius had released his grip on the blonde-haired young man's wrist.
Cali witnesses Dante hitting the stands as she tends to the still downed Soren with high sums of astonishment showing while saying under her breath, "This is insane. I've never seen two Class S Spellcasters go so far against just one person." The brunette veers her attention to Ilya with seriousness emitting. "Who in the hell did you bring here, Ilya?"
At the same time, Ilya's overflowing with fear and worry while gazing at the smoke that was made from Dante colliding into the now empty stands since the spectators who were in that area finally realized they were already pushing their luck in sticking around just to watch this fight as the white-haired beauty screams out, "Dante!" She's then about to run towards the stands with the thought of checking on Dante's condition, but is stopped by Cassius instantaneously arriving in front of Ilya while giving her a firm stare.
Ilya locks eyes with her brother as she's perplexed by his actions and then clenches both hands into fists after displaying immense discontent. "What are you doing?! You said to trust you, but you're hurting Dante! Why are you-" Just as she's about to finish that last question, a slap swiftly goes across Ilya's face from her left cheek that deviates her attention to the side while stunned by what happened, slowly places her left hand on her cheek after a few seconds had passed and reverts her eyes to Cassius.
Not much after that, Cassius harshly retorts with his right hand lifted near to his left shoulder since it was the same hand that slapped Ilya. "I told you to trust me! Not constantly question me!" He then lowers his right arm to his side without taking his eyes off Ilya. "Everything I do is to secure the safety of both you and our Holy Sanctuary! Understand that already and stay out of the way!"
Ilya's unable to respond to Cassius' words as Faulch saw the conflict between siblings after landing several meters away. Then, a sudden ominous feeling shoots up the black-haired man's spine with his eyes widening out of surprise prior to snapping himself around to look at the stands where Dante's located and mumbles, "This is..."
Meanwhile, the last bit of smoke covering the stands clears up as Dante gradually makes his way to the border while seemingly unfazed by the previous assault, excluding the small amount of additional damage done to his clothing. Once he reaches the border and stands on top of it, the green-eyed young man says with a vaguely impressed tone as the "D" on his Sealing Glove steadily shines, "That really was a good one. It's been a while since I felt pain inflicted on me by another person."
While Faulch stares at Dante, Ilya hurriedly rushes next to her brother to see the blonde-haired individual and removes her hand from her cheek while revealing a small bruise as a result of Cassius' slapping her in the face. Concurrently, Cassius joins Ilya with a dumbfounded demeanor as he thinks, "He's unharmed! But how?! That was Faulch's strongest palm strike without any strength modification!"
Ilya quickly grabs onto the center of her chest with both hands while a hint of pain surfaces and mutters, "I can feel it. There's Dark Magic coming from Dante's glove like last time."
Dante soon sets his gaze on Ilya, instantly takes notice of the bruise on her left cheek and narrows his eyes with no emotion resonating in them. "Ilya... Why are you hurt?"
Ilya's eyes widen before the hazel-eyed girl hesitantly glances at Cassius with sadness establishing itself on her person. This forces an agitated scowl to take shape on Dante's face as his right hand twitches a little and then speaks in a menacing manner towards Ilya's brother, "And why would you hurt your own sister like that, Cassius? What possible good reason could you have?"
Cassius gives Dante a cold glare. "Because of you. It's because of you that my dear sister questioned me for the first time and made me lay my hand on her in a way I would have never before." He then yells out with anger arising after tightly clenching both hands into fists without lifting them, "This is your fault!"
Dante's about to let out a rebuttal, however, Faulch interrupts him as the black-haired individual arrives in front of Dante while in mid-air and attacks with another double palm strike. Unfortunately for Faulch though, Dante swiftly caught both incoming limbs by the forearm via his own hands before the attack could make contact, intently stares into the now bewildered eyes of his opponent and comments with a severe lack of emotion, "This really sucks... I was having so much fun too." Dante promptly raises his right leg while having it curled up, and after letting go of Faulch's arms, connects with a powerful, thrust kick that sends the silver-eyed man flying.
A few moments after being sent flying, Faulch's back rams into the border's edge that resides at the other end of the stadium with a great amount of agony displayed on the man's person and then harshly falls face first on the ground below. Having witnessed that, concern can now be seen on Cassius' person as he briefly watches Faulch's unmoved body until directing his attention back to Dante, who had just put his right leg down without any change to his composure. In Ilya's case, the white-haired teen frantically double-takes between Faulch and Dante as she's unable to find the words to express how unbelievable it is that the blonde-haired young man just defeated a Class S Spellcaster.
Then, without any warning, Dante lightly squats with his posture slouched forward after placing a focused gaze on Cassius. Not even a second later, the green-eyed individual accelerates from the stands' border, which forces a bad reaction out of Cassius, and reaches Ilya's brother within two seconds as he's ready to lay his right hand on the white-haired man, however, stops short from Cassius' chest. For a small moment, Dante maintains an emotionless expression on his face while looking into Cassius' eyes until smiling as he scans his surroundings in three specific directions and says in amusement, "Whoa... That was close."
It's immediately revealed that the reason Dante spoke those words was because three people had suddenly appeared in the same white cloak as Cassius and Faulch while each aiming a blade at the blonde, which all are in contact with Dante's neck from different sides. In the meantime, Cassius calmly checks out the two light-skinned men, who seem to be close to Cassius' age while having the same appearance of a Chinese Monk with one being more muscular than the other as both of them are holding a short sword to Dante's neck from the front and back. "Carlile, Kinu."
Both men sharply nod at Cassius after hearing him say their names as Dante is the one to take notice of the third person, who's holding a halberd that's pointed to the left side of the green-eyed young man's neck, and gets a little excited without putting his right arm down. "Oh, it's you. So that means you're a Class S Spellcaster too, huh? I didn't expect that... Celty."
In response to Dante's statement, Celty firmly stares at him without having her hood on while keeping her halberd on the blonde-haired individual's neck as Ilya's overcome with an awestruck look and asks in a hesitant tone, "C-Celty... W-What are you doing?"
Celty hurriedly cuts Ilya off with an upset voice while shifting her attention to the left so she can see the hazel-eyed girl. "What am I doing?! I should be the one asking you that! How could you bring an Einsburn into Velkry and act like it was nothing?! That he was someone who wouldn't cause any problems!"
Ilya replies with a distraught tone while taking her hands off the center of her chest. "I promised him that I would! He even said he wouldn't do anything to endanger our city!"
Celty retorts as anger joins in. "Are you blind?!" She removes her left hand from her halberd while pointing at the arena. "Look around you! Do you see what he's done to the training facility alone?! Did you feel the tremor from before?! Because a lot of people outside did, which is why the three of us are here! We know that was him because no one who trains in here can do such a thing without it being concealed by the barrier!" The red-head lowers her hand. "So, just imagine what he could do to Velkry! Are you seriously willing to risk the lives of our citizens just to keep a lousy promise?!"
Ilya's eyes widen out of shock as she takes a step back and gently utters, "Celty..."
Cassius interjects himself into the conversation while changing the topic as he's focused on his fellow Spellcasters. "Well, I do appreciate you three coming to my aid and all, however..." He shuts his eyes while emitting a cool composition. "I had everything well under control." Cassius motions his head downward after opening his eyes as the rest of them see the hazel-eyed man's Longsword almost digging into Dante's abdomen.
Dante can't help but to be surprised while thinking, "Holy crap! That was even closer!" The blonde-haired individual then grins with excitement resurfacing as he glances at the three Spellcasters who haven't retracted their weapons yet and thinks, "I actually owe my life to these three now. If they hadn't interfered, I would have been done for." Dante sets his sights onto Cassius as he continues to think with a content smile. "You're in a complete different league, aren't you? To have responded in such a way without putting any thought into it, just goes to show how good you are."
Having taken notice of Dante's expression, Cassius becomes a little annoyed with his eyes currently narrowed and asks in a serious tone, "Why are you smiling?"
Determination resonates within Dante's eyes as he replies. "Because I'm starting to enjoy myself again." He switches his gaze from Cassius to Ilya with a slight apologetic expression surfacing itself. "I'm sorry, Ilya. I put you in a really tough spot. I hope you can forgive me for it and for what I'm about to do."
While Ilya just stared at Dante with bewilderment, Cassius and the other three Spellcasters, who still have their weapons keeping the green-eyed young man at bay, give Dante a fierce glare due to not taking light of the words he had just spoken. Afterwards, Dante digs his left foot into the ground's distorted dirt and speaks to the four Spellcasters who are surrounding him with a carefree demeanor. "Now, shall we resume?"
With that said, urgency takes form on the four Spellcasters' beings as Dante quickly accelerates and disappears from the spot he was being held. As a result, they all hastily search for Dante until seeing that the blonde-haired young man's at a good distance behind Celty, which forces the red-head to frantically spin around to face him while Ilya and the other three Spellcasters intently watch Dante. Not long after escaping that predicament, Dante peers down to his shirt as a new tear has been made where Cassius' blade was in contact and thinks with a faint grin, "Yup, he really is good. Right when I accelerated, Cassius tried to thrust his sword and almost cut my skin."
After finishing that thought, Dante veers his attention to Cassius while softly talking to himself. "I'm still not happy about him hurting Ilya, but I have to accept that he'll be tough to beat if I don't get more serious." He promptly takes into account the other three Spellcasters before happily smiling as his right hand twitches again. "And there's those three to deal with. They aren't like Faulch, who was automatically at a disadvantage against me since his seals wouldn't do anything to me." The red "D" on Dante's Sealing Glove then starts to shine once again, however, even brighter as excitement emits from the blonde-haired individual. "I'll just bring you out, then."
Following that statement, a huge, black pentagram rapidly appears beneath Dante's feet that almost reaches Cassius and the others as an immense amount of Dark Magic expels from it. Because of the fact there's Dark Magic, Ilya tightly clenches onto the middle of her chest again with both hands while feeling like she's going to collapse from excruciating pain as she thinks in a panic, "Oh, no! Is he going to use Hell's Gate?! But he said that he couldn't!" She then notices something as she focuses on the positioning of the pentagram while thinking, "Hold on... Why is it under him like that?" Ilya immediately recalls when Dante used Hell's Gate Seal against Gunta and thinks, "It wasn't like that though."
In the meantime, Cassius realizes that Dark Magic is radiating from the pentagram, hurriedly sets his attention onto Ilya, sees that she's being affected by it and shouts out with concern in his voice, "Ilya, get out of here! You know what happens to you when your near a Dark Magic user!"
Dante instantly hears the thoughts residing in Cassius after hearing his warning to his sister and sees an image of a little Ilya wearing beige clothing as she received a severe injury to her chest in front of a younger Cassius while both are surrounded by flames. Having witnessed that within his mind, the blonde-haired individual's a bit taken back until shutting his eyes and taking a deep breath before looking at Ilya with a somber expression while thinking, "I'll be sure to remember that for the future, but right now, I'm not turning back on this." A sinister smirk then arises prior to Dante lifting his right arm to the side with his Sealing Glove continually shining and says out loud, "Come forth...! Hellfire Fiend!"
At the moment Dante made that command, the entire pentagram circle brilliantly glowed with an array of dark, ominous colors masking the area where both the green-eyed young man and circle reside. As this occurs, Cassius, Ilya and the three other Spellcasters shield themselves from the emitting colors with their arms while breathing for the white-haired girl becomes very difficult due to the intense amounts of Dark Magic radiating. Meanwhile, Cassius shows a lot of agitation on his face as he can barely see what's transpiring and thinks, "The thing he just said! He called out for something! That must be a Summoning Port, then!"
Not even a couple of seconds later, the multiple colors displayed commence to die down as Dante replies to Cassius' thoughts while sounding quite laid back. "Close, but the proper word for what I created would be called a Summoning Seal... Since it's the specialty of the # 7 glove I have." He's then revealed to everyone who remains within the stadium, which isn't much due to the majority of the spectators having been wise in evacuating at the sheer sight of Dark Magic, and simply grins with both hands placed behind his head after the "D" on Dante's Sealing Glove had stopped shining as he stands sideways via his right foot towards the Spellcasters.
Cassius' the first to see Dante as he's immediately baffled by witnessing an unknown being who's a few inches taller than the blonde-haired individual while lightly leaning its back against Dante's since it's standing sideways as well. It can then be noted that the being is wearing what resembles a pitch black jester's outfit as it has a big, white, round-shaped head mask with an evil-like face that's seen commonly from the theater mask of joy while gripping onto a large Death-Scythe within its hands that are lowered in front of the ominous being.
As Ilya also witnesses the appearance of the unknown being standing near Dante, her consciousness starts to fade while almost gasping for air without taking her hands off her chest and mumbles, "That... Creature... Why would... Something like that... Be with you...?" She then closes her eyes and begins to fall forward while uttering in a faint tone, "Dante..."
Cassius quickly snaps his head to Ilya with concern returning. "Ilya!" Then, just as the hazel-eyed man was about to reach out to Ilya in the attempt to prevent her from falling, Dante accelerates fast enough to make him disappear from the spot where he was standing, and within a second, Ilya disappears too right in front of Cassius' eyes. After that, the white-haired man frantically searches for his sister with an upright posture. "Where did she-?!"
Celty suddenly shouts out in a firm voice while pointing towards the entrance way that's located behind Cassius and the other two Spellcasters with her left arm extended out, "Over there!"
The other three Spellcasters hurriedly turn to the entrance way and immediately see Dante gently resting Ilya against the entrance's right side wall while squatting down. Having done that, the green-eyed individual lightly caresses her hair with the back of his right hand, so the white-haired beauty's face can be clearly seen as she's currently unconscious. Afterwards, Dante moves his hand to place it over his right lap and simply stares at Ilya while softly saying in a caring tone, "You'll be safe here. And you don't need to worry about your brother and friend... I won't kill them." He then stands up straight, veers himself away from Ilya to face the four Spellcasters who are awaiting him and speaks with determination resonating. "Though, there's no guarantee that they won't get hurt."
Carlile, the bigger of the two Monk-looking individuals who's standing to Cassius' right side, calmly asks without diverting his gaze from Dante as he prepares himself for whatever may come, "How should we go about this, Cassius?" The bald man glances behind himself as he takes into account that the unknown being continues to stand where it had been summoned and says with a hint of worry taking form, "That isn't any ordinary Demonic Creature. It's oozing with Dark Magic that knocked out your sister within a few seconds."
Celty joins into the conversation while looking at Cassius out of the corner of her left eye as she stands a bit behind Carlile. "He's right. Even though Ilya's sensitive to Dark Magic, she lost consciousness way too fast." She then shifts her attention to the ominous being without turning around and takes a big gulp. "And this is the most Dark Magic I've ever experienced."
Kinu adds as he's watching Dante so he can make sure the blonde-haired young man doesn't do anything while remaining next to Carlile, "This is the most Dark Magic ANY of us has ever experienced, I bet."
Cassius shakes his head with his eyes momentarily shut and then focuses his attention to the unknown being without turning away from Dante's direction in a emotionless manner. "No... There's actually one person who I met in the past that showed more Dark Magic than that creature."
All three Spellcasters give Cassius a look of disbelief, and at that exact moment, Dante sees an opening while once again accelerates fast enough to become a blur. About a second later, the blonde-haired individual shows up in front of Ilya's brother with his left arm already pulled back and hand curled into a fist as he's standing sideways in a semi-lowered stance. "You really shouldn't take your eyes off your opponent." He lightly chuckles.
In response, Cassius' quite baffled as his eyes lock with Dante's while Kinu yells out in a panic after taking a few steps forward to see past Carlile, "Cassius!"
Having heard Kinu's outburst, Dante used it as the signal for him to throw out a fierce punch aimed at Cassius' torso. Fortunately for Cassius, he's able to react quick enough to bring up his sword with it pressed onto the white-haired man's body and shields himself from Dante's fist. As a result, Cassius doesn't receive a direct hit from Dante's punch, however, is sent flying backwards while gritting his teeth since the hazel-eyed man still felt pain from his long-bladed sword ramming into his body. After that, Cassius collides his back into the same wall Faulch currently lies nearby while still staying on his feet and slouches forward due to suffering some damage from hitting the wall.
Dante's eyes widen out of surprise while maintaining his left arm extended forward with his sights on Cassius and thinks, "His sword didn't break and even reduced half of my glove's power... It must be an Enchanted."
Anger quickly takes form on both of the monk-looking men after witnessing what happened to Cassius and redirect their attention towards Dante while saying in unison, "Why you...!" They then lunge towards Dante from behind with their short swords pulled to their sides to mirror each other so they can simultaneously attack the green-eyed young man at opposing sides of his person.
Dante cheerfully smiles after putting his arm down as the two Spellcasters are closing in and softly utters with his head lowered, "It's time... My Fiend."
With those words spoken, the two monk-looking men hastily swing their swords at Dante, but are unexpectedly interrupted by a large blade blocking Carlile's sword, who was coming in from Dante's left, and the end of a staff blocking Kinu's sword, who was coming in from the other side. It's then revealed that the unknown being Dante had summoned is the reason for the two men's attack failing as it faces towards both of them with the ominous being's Death-Scythe keeping Carlile and Kinu at bay.
Dante continues to smile, turns his head to the left so he can look at the two men behind him and calmly says, "Allow me to introduce you to my Hellfire Fiend." He lightly laughs. "And I'd watch myself if I were you... Because in no way is he a push-over."
After the two men received Dante's warning, which left them a little concerned, Hellfire Fiend unpredictably repels both of their weapons, pulls its Death-Scythe in a horizontal angle to the ominous being's right and swings the bladed-end with a great amount of speed. Carlile hastily responds to the attack by ducking down as the blade narrowly missed the top of his head while Kinu makes an attempt to block the scythe with his short sword, although unsuccessful due to how strong the swing was and effortless destroys the monk-like man's sword. Lucky for Kinu, his sword permitted him to evade the rest of the incoming blade while taking a few steps back as he's clearly bewildered by his weapon's destruction
Celty's instantly worried about her companion while trying to head over, but is stopped by Dante elevating himself towards the red-head with his right shin about to hit her in the left temple. This profoundly startles Celty as she reacts without thinking, brings up her halberd and barely manages to fend off the kick while stumbling back a little. After that, the red-haired woman tries to regain her footing while quite surprised by Dante's sneak attack. "You?!"
Dante nonchalantly stands several meters away from Celty in an upright posture with his right hand planted on his waist. "What? Did you think that I wasn't going to fight you just because I know you and Ilya are close friends?" He deviates his gaze to the right so he can see Cassius, who has just established his composure again, and speaks in a laid back manner. "I know the current situation, so I can't really afford to let anyone off the hook for that." Dante grins with confidence. "Isn't that right, Cassius?"
Cassius' eyes widen out of realization as he remains near the wall that he collided into and mumbles, "So he read my mind." The white-haired individual then glances to his left to look at Faulch, who's still unconsciously lying on the ground not too far from Cassius. "He must have done it when fighting Faulch." He presses his lips together with mild irritation showing while thinking, "That would explain why he's so determined to fight."
Dante immediately starts laughing in a somewhat hysterical way with his left hand placed over his face. This forces the four Spellcasters to watch Dante with confusion as Hellfire Fiend intently stares at the green-eyed individual. Not long after, Dante puts his left hand down while tilting his head to the left as he makes eye contact with Cassius. "You've got it completely wrong. I'm not acting the way I am because of that little secret residing in your head." He swiftly accelerates to stand a few inches away from Cassius and says in a delightful tone, "I act like this because I love to fight!"
Cassius' stunned by both Dante's appearance in front of him and the words he spoke.
At the same time, Carlile and Kinu are assaulted by Hellfire Fiend again as it rapidly releases a couple of swings at them while between the two of them. They both then frantically avoid the ominous being's attacks while creating some distance and quickly ready themselves to properly fight it. As both of them do that, Kinu can't help feel intense pressure from Hellfire Fiend, who had just locked its attention onto the two men, and quietly speaks to Carlile with his eyes glued to the ominous creature, "That thing's fast!"
Carlile replies with seriousness brimming while focused on Hellfire Fiend. "It sure is... And that scythe is dangerous. It managed to break your short sword that is made of fortified steel. That isn't an easy feat to attain."
Kinu shifts his gaze to Carlile. "We only have one choice now, huh?"
Carlile sharply nods while putting away his short sword in a holster that's on the monk-looking man's right side. "Indeed. Let's go for it."
Both men promptly cross their fingers while keeping them down as their clothing begins to lightly flutter due to a semi-powerful gust of wind expelling out of them. As a result, Dante turns his head to the right so he can witness what's going on since he felt a bit of the wind on his back and displays a bland expression while continually standing in front of the still stunned Cassius. Then, the two monk-looking men simultaneously talk in a firm tone as a good amount of colorless magic emits from their bodies, "Shadow Animation!"
Following those words, both men's shadows unexpectedly fluctuate beneath their feet prior to extending towards Hellfire Fiend with outstanding agility from opposite sides of the ominous creature. After that, both shadows arise from the ground in a human form that resembles the owners while firmly holding Hellfire Fiend via a bear-hug to pin the ominous being's arms. After achieving that, Kinu and Carlile happily nod their heads as they declare in unison, "We got it!"
In the meantime, a faint laugh escapes Dante's mouth as he maintains his focus on the two monk-looking men and Hellfire Fiend while softly saying, "So, that's their magical ability... That just leaves-"
Just as Dante's about to finish his sentence, Celty appears behind the green-eyed young man while their eyes meet and shouts with her halberd pulled to the left, "Out of the way, Cassius!"
Cassius finally snaps out of his paralyzed state before hurriedly dashing to his left in avoidance of the incoming blade. Meanwhile, Celty follows through with the swing that she has positioned herself in as both of her hands tighten their grip on the weapon. A split second later, the red-haired woman's halberd nails the wall in front of her and completely breaks through it without any real effort while releasing a lot of smoke. Afterwards, Cassius quickly turns to face the smoke while standing several meters from the wall as he searches for any signs of Dante with both arms lowered after deciding to hold his long sword in the white-haired man's right hand and mutters, "Did she get him?"
Celty brings her weapon's blade closer to herself while getting into a defensive position and gently utters, "Darn... I barely saw him do it." She then briefly recalls that the moment her previous attack came within a couple of inches from the blonde-haired young man's midsection, which was what she was aiming for, Dante dodged by simply leaping into the air with the help of his Accelerator. Once she had finished remembering that, Celty mildly bites her tongue due to feeling irritated at her failed attack as the vanishing smoke reveals a five meter gap where there used to be a concrete wall with rubble on the ground.
Not long after, a long whistle is heard by Cassius and Celty as they both shift their attention to its origin with quite a bit of urgency brimming. Soon enough, they see Dante standing on top of a wall that's on the right side of the big gap with his arms folded together and speaks while staring at it. "That was really impressive. Now I know what I'm dealing with." He sets his sights onto Carlile and Kinu. "Those two over there are Shadow Manipulators..." Dante diverts his attention to Celty with a confident grin. "You are an Impact Spellcaster, who adds an EXTRA kick into the weapons or objects you wield..."
Having said that, Dante veers his gaze to Cassius with no change to his demeanor. "And you... I know what you are too..."
Cassius' eyes widen with anger overflowing until the hazel-eyed man makes an unpredictable move by darting towards Dante's direction with great speed. In reaction to Cassius' advancement, Dante's excitement once again makes itself obvious on his person before accelerating to meet the white-haired man halfway and stands on the ground while awaiting for whatever Cassius will throw at him, however, he's caught off guard by a sudden diagonal slash coming in from nowhere.
As a result, Dante finds his t-shirt with a huge tear, which exposes a decent amount of his skin, and slowly glances down at it while bewildered by what just happened. After doing that, the blonde young man takes into account that Cassius has his blade's tip pointed at Dante's neck with the hazel-eyed man's right hand and thinks, "He just did that on instinct. Not a single thought went through his mind, just like earlier." His eyes then locks onto Cassius' eyes with a shocked expression while thinking, "I was right. He's something else."
Cassius gives Dante a cold look. "I can tell by that expression on your face that you're starting to understand your predicament. If it really was up to me, you wouldn't be alive anymore."
Dante momentarily remains shocked until contentedly smiling. "That's good to hear. Then, let's wrap this up before you choose to ignore the orders you were given."
Suddenly, a vast amount of Dark Magic explodes from behind Cassius as the hazel-eyed man frantically swings his head to investigate what's going on. Immediately after that, Cassius witnesses the two shadows that were holding Hellfire Fiend disintegrate while it can be noted that the unknown creature is engulfed in Dark Magic with its clothing fluttering in a wild manner. In the meantime, both men are doing their best to keep their ground as they're overwhelmed by the ominous being's Dark Magic.
While suffering by the unbelievable pressure of Hellfire Fiend's Dark Magic, Kinu shouts out in a panic with both arms shielding the monk-like man as his eyes are glued onto what's before him, "Impossible! It eliminated both of our shadows like they were nothing!"
Carlile adds in while practically in the same position as Kinu, "And it managed that with just its Dark Magic!"
Dante joins into the conversation with confidence showing while grabbing a hold of the white-haired man's sword via his left hand so he can move it to the side and lightly plants his right index finger on the center of Cassius' chest. "Well, of course... After all, my Hellfire Fiend isn't your run of the mill demonic creature. He's in a category all by himself."
Cassius snaps his attention to the blonde-haired individual with surprise emitting until noticing that the red "D" on Dante's Sealing Glove brightly glows, which profoundly threatens him as he thinks, "No! He took advantage of me being distracted by that thing! Did he planned on that happening?!" He then quickly attempts to create separation, although can't due to not being able to free his sword from Dante's strong grip.
Dante tilts his head to the left while somewhat arrogantly stating, "You lose."
A distraught demeanor rapidly takes shape on Celty's face after looking towards Cassius and Dante.
At the same time, Cassius braces himself as he feels there's no way to escape from this situation, but is promptly dumbfounded by Dante letting go of his sword and lowers both hands while the "D" on the Sealing Glove ceased glowing. After that, the hazel-eyed individual sees that Dante's calmly staring towards the entrance way, which is towards the blonde young man's left, with a composed posture. Soon enough, Cassius joins Dante after lowering the hand that's holding his sword while surprise hastily returns to his person and lets out a small gasp.
Celty's briefly confused at why Cassius reacted that way until shifting her gaze to what her companion is focused on and is instantly taken back by what she's witnessing. Concurrently, Hellfire Fiend's Dark Magic dissipates with its clothing no longer fluttering as it seems like the ominous being's also watching what's located at the entrance way. This grabs the attention of the two monk-like men as they too look towards the entrance way as they're baffled by the sight of what's there. Soon after that, Dante is the first to speak with a carefree tone while maintaining his sights on the entrance. "It's nice of you to join us... Lady Adalia."
With that said, it's revealed that what had gotten everyone's attention was the arrival of a Royal Council member as she's currently crouched down where Ilya's resting and has both hands placed on the hazel-eyed girl's cheeks while responding without taking her eyes off Ilya. "Why thank you, Dante." Her hands then begin to emit a vague, pink-colored light as Ilya slowly awakens while Adalia diverts her eyes to Dante. "Sorry for interrupting though. You seemed like you were having a lot of fun."
Dante faces Adalia before kindly shaking his head with his eyes shut. "No need to worry." He looks at his left hand as it came out unharmed from holding the blade of Cassius' Longsword, which is thanks to the durability that his Power Glove has, and then resets his sights onto the beautiful woman that's several meters away. "The fight was over anyway."
Cassius grits his teeth out of irritation due to him knowing what Dante's implying with that statement as he momentarily glares at the blonde-haired young man until remembering something and reverts his attention to Adalia while concern arises onto his person. "Milady! What are you doing out, anyway?! It isn't safe!"
A slight scowl appears on Adalia's face as her eyes meet with Cassius while waving her right hand at the white-haired man in the attempt to calm him down, which that hand had stopped radiating the light for that action. "Oh, hush now. I never agreed to that silly motion of us council members always remaining in the mansion for our safety." She lowers her right hand to place it back on Ilya's face while it again expels a small light as the brown-haired woman refocuses her gaze onto the girl. "That was Miro and Slate's ridiculous idea. I'm actually always sneaking out without them noticing." Adalia glances at Dante and the four Spellcasters with an amused grin. "Don't tell them about that."
Dante restrains himself from laughing while thinking, "She kinda' reminds me of..."
Ilya suddenly begins to open her eyes and peers at Adalia with a vacant expression. "Lady Adalia."
Lady Adalia cheerfully smiles at Ilya while keeping her hands on the girl's face even though they're not glowing anymore. "Good, you're awake." She then moves her hands from Ilya's face to grab a hold of the hazel-eyed teen's hands as the two ladies rise up to stand upright. Afterwards, Adalia releases Ilya's hands as she starts walking towards Dante while motioning at the white-haired beauty with her left hand. "Come on, Ilya."
Ilya's unable to move for a moment since she's still a little out of it, but eventually manages to do as she was told and follows Adalia to Dante.
As the two ladies head towards him, Dante nonchalantly swings his right arm partly out to the side so he wouldn't accidentally hit Cassius since he's next to him while looking at Hellfire Fiend, who's located at the right corner behind of the green-eyed young man and says with a light smirk, "I'll be seeing you later, my dear Fiend."
Hellfire Fiend nods in acknowledgement prior to gradually fading into nothing, which surprises the monk-looking Spellcasters since the ominous creature's exit was so subtle. After that, Dante puts his arm down, resumes his attention onto the two ladies and is face to face with them. Simultaneously, Adalia looks into Dante's eyes with sincerity brimming from her person. "You know why I'm here."
Dante cocks his head to the right with his eyes closed. "Yup. You're going to make me an offer."
Adalia grins without losing any bit of her sincerity. "Correct."
Cassius' quite baffled and interjects himself after taking a step forward. "But I was to be the one to tell him the Royal Council's decision, Lady Adalia!"
Adalia closes her eyes while calmly replying with her head lowered a little. "Indeed, but if left up to you, I believe death may have resulted even before our proposal was even discussed." She returns her attention to Dante with a caring look. "So, allow me to tell you our proposition, although, you certainly already know since you've had plenty of time to read the minds of those who know."
Dante nods while displaying a charming demeanor. "It's fine. I rather hear you officially make your offer to me out loud anyway."
Adalia responds in a composed manner with her right hand gently placed between her breasts. "Alright. Here is the council's proposition. Instead of you giving us your Sealing Glove..." The brown-haired woman then extends her right hand out to Dante and wholeheartedly speaks. "Why don't you join us?"
Ilya's completely caught off guard by Adalia's words while standing to the beautiful woman's left. "Huh?!"
Cassius grinds his teeth with frustration overflowing as the other Spellcasters are shocked beyond words since they didn't expect that, or even knew there were any dealings to be made between the Royal Council and Dante. Meanwhile, Faulch finally regains consciousness, struggles to reach the area where everyone's standing due to still being fairly injured and awaits Dante's answer. Silence then plagues the stadium while Dante contemplates Adalia's offer with his arms crossed and eyes shut. "Hmm... And what exactly would I gain from joining you?"
Adalia answers in an optimistic way after putting her right hand down. "Well, first off, you will have a place to call home."
Everyone's immediately dumbfounded by Adalia's words as Dante simply nods while continually contemplating in his mind about the offer. Not long after that, the blonde individual makes eye contact with Adalia in a serious manner. "Anything else?"
Adalia's a bit surprised by the fact that what she said wasn't enough to win Dante over until saying with a mildly nervous tone, "Well... If it means anything, if you do decide to join us, the mission Ilya was on when you two met would be accomplished. " She shifts her attention to Ilya. "After all, he is strong enough to keep up with a couple of our Class S Spellcasters, right?"
Ilya briefly hesitates before replying with a hint of confidence. "Well, yeah." She deviates her gaze from Adalia as worry overtakes her expression while scanning her surroundings and thinks, "Though, I did miss the last part."
Dante quickly changes his attitude and speaks in a hyperactive tone. "Good enough for me!"
Ilya and Adalia snap their heads to Dante with disbelief showing as they say in unison, "Really?!"
Dante bursts out laughing due to the fact of how the two ladies reacted while holding onto his stomach with both hands and shuts eyes. "Yeah, why not?!" He stops laughing as Dante sets his sights on Adalia with both arms lowered. "On one condition though."
Adalia becomes a little confused as she slightly adjusts her head to the side with her eyes still on Dante. "And what would that be?"
Dante smiles while veering his attention to Ilya. "That she would always be by my side for every mission the Royal Council give me."
Ilya instantly blushes while stunned by what she just heard as Cassius hurriedly interjects with an upset voice. "Not a chance! What did I tell you earlier?!"
Dante calmly looks at Cassius out of the corner of his eyes. "I don't care. Ilya's my friend. It would only be natural that I want to be with her at all times to make sure that she's okay. Not like you, who just lets her face dangerous missions all by herself."
Cassius' anger begins to boil. "What was that?!"
Adalia interrupts by focusing on Ilya with a curious expression. "What do you say, Ilya?"
Ilya's bewildered by Adalia's question as she points at herself with her left hand. "Me?"
Adalia nods with a sincere look once again taking form. "Of course... If you don't want to accept Dante's condition, it's fine. No one wants to force you to do something you don't. And you don't need to feel obligated to agree because of what the council may want. All that matters is what you want."
Ilya stares at Adalia for a few seconds until changing her attention to Dante, who's watching her and nods at the hazel-eyed teen to assure her that the decision is up to her. After that, Ilya sees the enraged look on Cassius' face as he waits for his sister's response. Having put a little more thought into it with her eyes shut and head down, the white-haired girl takes in a deep breath while everyone's anxious to hear her verdict. Then, Ilya sternly says as she looks at all of them, "Okay. My decision is..."