"Sir, I do believe that it would be more appropriate to find a girl who is willing to marry you, sir."
"That would be great but you forget one thing," said Alex with a hearty grin. "I'm considered to be a talentless idiot with no inheritance. No girl from the Thirteen Houses will want to marry an idiot like me."
"But sir is not an idiot."
"That doesn't matter does it? I am still powerless after all."
"Then we just need to find a suitable match for you. One with an equal amount of lacking talent."
"It won't work. All the pretty ones were already married off to other families." Alex let out a sigh.. "The only good looking talentless girls left are the ones that are younger than thirteen. And I don't know about you but I really don't have a thing for little girls."
Alex grumbled to himself about the unfairness of the world before glancing around the abnormally large banquet hall. There were tables around the perimeter of the room which held an assortment of exotic dishes and colorful drinks. The sight of people socializing was everywhere around them. Boys would ask girls for dances, girls would forcibly take boys to dance, women would gather to gossip, and men would group up and talk about girls and business while sipping wine.
His father and a majority of the major Thirteen Houses were still absent. At the moment, only lesser influential families and outer branches, scions, and bastards of the Thirteen Houses were there. It also meant that Alex was considered not to be an important member in his family.
Alex shrugged the thought off easily. He had expected as much. His father never truly saw him as a precious son. Maybe as a worthless tool, extra baggage.
"The Thirteenth House, House of Ferrum has arrived."
The two large doors from the side opened with a bang, and in a neat orderly fashion, his father entered.
His father was a man with a stern expression. He had the same black hair and red eyes as Alex, only colder, darker, and fiercer. Behind his father was his mother, an elegant woman with long black hair and startling red eyes which resembled a homely fire place. Behind his parents were his older brother, older sister, and younger sister, all with similar black hair and red eyes.
His brother had adorned a beautiful red uniform with the insignia of the Ferrum House, a black emblem depicting the image of a sword, on his right arm below the shoulder. The uniform was most likely a gift from his father.
His sisters wore similar red dresses with insignias sewed onto the dress near the right side of the waist.
As Alex watched his family afar, his gaze met his fathers and causing his father to stop. After a moment of observing, his father gave him a quick nod before continuing on as if everything was normal. His mother gave him a warm wave which Alex returned.
His sisters ignored him while his older brother hesitated at the sight of him. He was about to call out to Alex when his sisters nudged him and forced him to move along.
It basically summed up his family relationship. His father and sisters barely acknowledged him and looked down on his lack of talent while his mother and older brother showered him with affection.
One by one, the Thirteen Families arrived and lined up amongst the center of the room in a circle, each family taking a section of the circle. Everyone else gathered around the outer circle, Claude and Alex included.
An old man walked up to the center of the circle and coughed once to catch their attention. Silence immediately spread throughout the room.
Satisfied with the quietness of the room, the old man started to speak.
"Welcome everyone to the annual Banquet of the Thirteen Houses. I presume that most of you have no idea an why we have gathered today."
A person from the crowd raised his hand. "Because it's an annual banquet?"
The old man frowned and waved his hand towards the man who spoke up. Instantly the man was cut up into pieces until only his head and torso remained connected.
A couple of at her men moved the screaming man out of the room as the old man began speaking once again.
"I shall make this clear from the beginning. The purpose of this banquet is to find a volunteer who is willing to integrate into human society."
Alex's father frowned. "Are we not already intermingling with these lesser humans already? We live in their world and are prepared to strike them at any moment if necessary."
"Indeed we are, however, we have realized a crucial matter. Last week, humans have invaded into our world and attacked the Eight House. Their intentions were to exterminate as many demons they could. Over fifty fellow demons were murdered and many more were injured. In the end, the humans managed to escape."
Everyone gave a quick glanced towards the Eighth House. Just as the old man had said, some of the demons seemed to be carrying wounds and furious expressions.
A man from the outer ring yelled out.
"Why don't we just kill all of the humans? Exterminate then like the pests they are!"
"Yeah! Kill them!"
"Avenge our fallen!"
The old man sighed. "It is impossible. The humans have seven figures at SS rank. It is nigh impossible for us to exterminate the humans without taking major losses ourselves."
"I do not understand why we waste time on this pointless meeting."
The leader of the Eight House stood up. "All this pointless delay in battle will solve nothing. I am willing to go to battle. To kill the humans like they killed us."
The old man sighed. "Nelian, I know that you are upset but blindly charging into this matter will only cause more suffering."
Nelian growled and drew his sword. "My son died to those filthy savages. If you don't know how it feels, why don't you lend me your grandson? I'll give you a similar feeling so you will be able to sympathize with me."
The old man frowned. "Are you threatening me?"
"Maybe I am?"
The two of them stared at each other when they both exploded into a flurry of energy. The old man drew his sword as space started to tremble all around them while skeletons wearing armor started crawling out of Nelian's shadow.
The old man scoffed. "You were never my match Nelian, are you sure you want to go against me?"
"I might not be able to beat you old man but I will be able to kill off a couple members of your family before you do."
At this point, Alex's father stood up and drew his sword as well. "Nelian, back down. This is a gathering between fellow kin. Save your wrath for when we do go to war."
Nelian scowled before giving the old man one more glare. "Why should I consider this coward a kin of mine? He fears the seven SS ranks the humans have while he forgets that we have thirteen equally strong House Heads."
Nelian sheathed his sword. "All that his power gave him was the ability to run away and kill things from afar. He is but a coward on the inside. He is able to control space yet is afraid to fight humans."
"At least I do not attempt to fight using numbers you gravedigger."
Alex's father reached out into the space in front of him as a glowing sword started to manifest in the air. Immediately, an unknown pressure assaulted everyone in the room, affecting everyone except for the Thirteen Heads.
"We are here to talk, not to squabble like children arguing over a toy. So calm down and act like civilized men."
Nelian scowled before sitting back down in his seat. Alex's father sat down as well, the sword in his hand disintegrating into light.
The old man let out a deep sigh before facing the crowd once more. "As I was trying to say. We need to send a spy to the Human society. That way, we will be able to know the Humans every move as well as prepare for it. And, later on, we will be able to discover their weaknesses."
The old man looked around the room as he scanned for potential volunteers.
"Who wishes to volunteer?"
Alex started to feel a very uncomfortable sensation of deja vu. This feeling grew worse and worse as a certain someone began to raise his hand.
A sudden earth splitting headache assaulted Alex, causing him to crumple to the floor as Claude worriedly caught him and supported his weight.
"Sir, is something wrong?"
Alex shook his head as he stared at the person who rose his hand. His older brother was standing proudly, while looking at the old man directly in the eye.
"I wish to volunteer."