The Demon Wolf (Book 1 of The Devil and the Huntsman)

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Chapter 78: Moving on in Life

Mephiles could understand the same pain and fear that revolves around Julius’s mind as he became distressed about his daughter. It seems in his eyes that he can never protect her like he used to ever again, and it would only lead to dire consequences. The days of his human nature would soon be extinct, and Mephiles would be the only friend he has left. He could hear Lucy speaking with Lagertha from a short distance, but he could not find the strength to talk to them before the day was over. Julius sat by himself and looked at the grass which covered the ground; he would never have imagined the last time he saw the grass bloom so quickly.

“Your daughter... she no longer loves you. She would rather roam the world by herself and determine her fate. It’s about time you set her free and allow her to make it out there on her own,” Mephiles said.

“You shut your mouth, demon! I will never allow her to fall into the wrong hands. She’s in the wrong for not knowing what kind of danger Harald will bring upon me and my family,” Julius said.

“There’s a price to be paid, and Harald will pay it... with his life. On that one thing, we agree. With Harald dead at our feet, the castle of Midland is ripe for the taking. We will make them all fear us, but your wife and daughter must remain protected. Even though they now look at you with a fresh eye, you still must keep them alive. They might die anyway, and if that ever happens, you must grieve for them at a later time.”

“You think I should put my trust in you? You judge me for not knowing beforehand what will happen to them? Do you challenge my honor, Mephiles? I honestly don’t care what kind of eye you give me. I will not see them harmed by anyone... even those I have known since the beginning. And I cannot trust that... man to keep them safe.”

“Your grief and sorrow will only impede what is more important for you. Remember what I told you the night you met me and drank my blood? You had a destiny to fulfill, a kingdom to conquer, and a dying world to rule over. If you continue dragging them into this, who knows what will happen when they see your humanity succumb to the darkness? You don’t want to be remembered as the man who will let that happen, do you?”

“Are you blaming me for all that has happened? For everything that I have done to make it where I am now? Now, I must do what is best for my family. Taking them to a faraway land is still my priority, while I’m still with them. They are safe and still draw breath because of me... like everyone else. I would rather throw everything away to make sure they are taken anywhere else in the world but here.”

Even though Julius could not physically see Mephiles in front of him, he still heard him and felt him. He could tell the creature obeyed every word he gave him as he remained inside the hunter’s soul. Mephiles said nothing more to the mighty knight as he realized his own family knew his intentions. The overall experience that they all went through as they returned to Midland has been nothing but trauma and terror. Julius could not change the people’s minds as he knew that Harald controls their minds and forcing them to follow his every command.

Then Julius gets up from the ground and releases the small grass he held in his hands. Mephiles had nothing more to say to the demon hunter, and he was silent as his master started coming back to his senses. Julius walks to his wife and daughter to see if they are done speaking with each other. He felt ashamed of himself, yet he had an important task ahead for him as he continued his journey. It left him a bit vulnerable after his daughter went against him about his reasons for going against the king.

Then Julius watched Lucy stroll to him and noticed her eyes were red after talking with Lagertha. She had no idea what to say to him, and her heartbeat started beating faster than her regular heartbeat. There was no end to her stress, and the time of her fate was at hand. And the night of destiny is coming for all of them. Julius walks to Lucy and tries as gently as possible to see if he can reason with her about everything. He lifts his hand to touch her cheek. But he could not find the courage to give her a reason to have hope in her heart.

“I don’t know what else to do. I got nothing for you... but I have a reason for protecting you. And plenty of reasons to have you by my side,” Julius said.

“Julius... are you... going that low? Do you intend to go that deep into the darkness? Are you planning to abandon the ones who loved you to the very end?” Lucy asked.

“I will not lose you. I’ll never let you be torn apart. I will not die until I have fulfilled my will. My purpose for being a hunter of demons,” he said.

“So I’m told. But how is it you’re willing to do something just for the benefit of keeping us alive? I know you don’t want to tell me, but I must know.”

Julius stood in front of his wife and looked at the long road, which led away from the city and into unfamiliar territory. He gets a glimpse of his daughter, and she was looking away from him because she did not feel like she wanted to speak to him. She already understood what her father was planning behind her back; she believed she needed to find something or someone to put a stop to him. Lucy couldn’t convince Lagertha about what her father is fixing to do as they move away from Midland. Then Julius turned to Lucy and had even more things in his mind as the time is soon coming for them to be on their way.

“There’s nothing left for me here. There’s nothing left here for any of us. I will not live under his rule. Not now... never,” Julius said.

“There has to be another way out of this. There must be. It’s as if they’ve forgotten who you are and what you’ve done for them,” Lucy said.

“There is no other way. This whole thing has been a game made by Midland’s new king. Harald knows me more than anyone. I don’t seek to destroy Midland... only the man who betrayed me,” he said.

“My god... all this talk and moaning about Harald. It’s getting old. Whenever you go back there, whatever day that is, will it all be worth it? Will this burden you carry push me away?”

Julius could not relent from giving her an honest answer because she will just continue questioning him. Julius knew her wife does not enjoy having her time wasted on things that seemed like it would hold her back.

Then he answered Lucy, saying, “Harald... he... he is no longer the man you once knew. If Erica were here, she would have looked at him from a different angle. I am still loyal to her, so long as she’s still alive. But if she ever comes back here, I know what the king will force upon her. And I will not let that happen.”

Lucy now understood half of everything Julius intended to do if he ever returned to the castle of Midland. But she will not be with him to see him proclaim his victory over the new king. She knew because of her heart attack and deep breathing that she will not live long enough to see her home go back to normal. Then, Julius walks away from her and slowly goes to where Lagertha was standing; she began looking at him and feared a bit of what her father would give her. Julius knew her daughter was getting rebellious against him, but he did not know that he might endanger her life.

He stood in front of her and saw what might happen that night as they walked together in the dark forest. Then, she takes one step forward to him, which made him unexpected about what else she might do to him. She then looks down at herself and thinks about what she has done, and she regretted what she did. Julius saw that her mind is set on other things, but he realized his daughter is still by his side until the end.

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