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451 An Otherworldy Meeting, The King and Queen of the Stone Fortress and the Representatives of the Races

 Day ▮▮ - ▮▮:▮▮ ▮▮- Stone Fortress, Eastern Duende Territory

A fortress made of stone, it was the castle that was inhabited by the Duwendes in the eastern mountains for several centuries. Compared to other kingdoms of Spiritual and Elemental Races, it was a young kingdom. However, in terms of defense, it was more powerful.

Before this kingdom was established, the mountain was only inhabited by several tribes and small colonies of Duendes.

It was until an attack of a powerful demonic entity happened. The demon was something that the Duendes had never seen before. It was a tall humanoid with a body that was glowing due to heat. The eyes and mouth of the demon were burning with fire, and it would spit flames to attack everything it saw.

The demon was transported to the mountain from a rift in space that opened. These portal-like cracks would happen from time to time swallowing things around it until it closed. Those that were sucked in by the rift were more likely to die, while the lucky ones would found themselves transported somewhere else.

Casualties emerged from the ranks of the dwellers of the mountain as they tried to fight the demon. The worst thing, a large part of the mountain was burned along with their trees and homes. Their mounds were also destroyed by the heat, making everyone homeless.

The warriors and leaders of the tribes of Duendes fell on the battle. As for the remaining members of those tribes, they joined other tribes in an attempt to survive the disaster. It was until the Duendes had only one large tribe left, and they were left in desperation.

They asked help from other kingdoms. Although it was sure that help was coming, they might have been wiped out before the support they needed would arrive.

Their homes and trees were burned, and the demon was still running amock. They were losing hope. That was when one of the remaining warriors thought of an idea. He urged the members of the tribes to unite their magic and create a home that could not be burned, a place that was made of stone.

That was the birth of the Stone Fortress that managed to hold out until a Diwata came to banish the demon.

After the demon was banished, the Duendes wanted to return to their previous lives. However, with what had happened, it was impossible to do so.

And thus, they decided to stick together and formed a Kingdom in this mountain.

The warrior that led the hopeless Duendes was crowned as the first king of this kingdom. He was Batumana, who was given the title of the first Rey of the Eastern Mountain.

As centuries passed, the kingdom managed to recover. The position of Rey had been passed down trice. The fortress was also remodeled and furnished many times that they stopped counting. The main areas of the fortress were made bigger to allow larger creatures into the fortress. It showed their hospitality and friendliness to others due to respect to the Diwata that aided them in that crisis.

Now, the third Rey of Eastern Mountain was facing a dilemma far worse than the first Rey.

Inside the large conference room made to welcome their large important guests, current Rey, Hieromano, sat on his small throne. Beside him was his queen, the current Reina of Eastern Mountain, Malabinia.

Together with the king and queen, there were also the representatives of other races.

When the invasion of the soulless humans and animals they called Infecta, those races that had nowhere to go took shelter in this fortress. The Infecta turned their own kind against them, and many fell from their relentless pursuit.

Thus, they all decided to form an alliance to preserve one of the last places they could go to in the mainland.

Except for the king and queen of this fortress, there were eight more creatures from different races in the room.

One was a tall man who could barely fit the height of the room and had no choice but sit down near the doorway. He had black skin, rugged hair, think beard, and was smoking tobacco. The creature was a tree dweller known as Kapre. He was the chosen representative of their kind and was called Ubaga.

Just beneath the throne, a beautiful woman with a jeweled horn on her forehead. The most eyecatching thing about her, however, was that from her waist, was a body of a horse. Her name was Amayana, an Anggitay who was also known for their love for Jewels. She represented both the Anggitays and the Tikbalangs.

Another was a heavily built man whose name was Purugus. He was a Sarangay. A race of creatures with humanoid bodies, but his head and lower body were of a water buffalo's. They were known for the beautiful jewel on their ears that they treasured the most. He was currently hiding his ear, though, as Amayana was glancing at it with obscure intentions.

A Kibaan was also present in the room. He was Goroyo, an old chief of one of the Kibaan tribes that managed to survive.

Beside Goroyo, a small girl with golden hair was present. She was the representative of Bukaws, Igana.

The sixth was called Salvorio, an old-looking man with skin that looked like carabao hide, wings of a bat, and fingers facing backward on both hands and feet. This Encanto was known as an Alan.

As for the last two, they were husband and wife. The king and queen of the destroyed kingdom about two mountains to the west. They were the King, Buhawi, and the Queen, Banaya. Of course, without a kingdom, they were just a representative of the surviving Sylphs and not a pair of king and queen anymore.

These representatives were here to discuss their next actions. They were still able to hold their fort using unconventional methods and keep the Infecta at bay for years without a problem.

The pressing thing, however, was that the drained land at the west was continuously spreading. In another few days, the river that kept the boundary of his mountain to others would start to dry up. If this continued, not only that they would lose the mountain, the main defense they were using would be rendered useless.

Not to mention, they needed to eat and drink. The spread of the Infecta already destroyed the balance of their ecosystem. Sooner or later, food and water would be scarce for them. This situation would even come faster if they did not address the cause of the drought in the areas west of this mountain.

"Everyone knows why we are here, am I right?"

Hieromano spoke in which everyone nodded in agreement. Of course, they did that while throwing stern glances at the pair of Sylphs inside the room.

It was not surprising, and the two Sylphs could only look down. The main cause of this crisis was their fallen kingdom, after all.

"It won't be long, the Tikbalangs would not be able to use their abilities," Amayana spoke. "Once that time came, expect more trouble with the Infecta gathering outside this fortress."

"We all know that," Goroyo said with his deep soothing voice. "But does anyone have an idea we can use to deal with the situation?"

Everyone went silent. It seemed that no one had any idea to destroy that thing.

Igana then raised her small hand, which took the attention of everyone. She had to do this as her small voice could get drowned easily by the gigantic creatures in the room.

"Is it possible for us to meet a king of Sirenas? We can ask him to make it rain. Maybe, it will delay the situation until we can find a good solution."

Everyone started to consider what the golden-haired girl said. But then, some of them shook their head.

"You should know that it is not easy to meet a king of Sirenas," Hieromano spoke. "They are very wary against us land dwellers. Furthermore, there is no way for us to reach their kingdom under the sea. Unless we have a Siyokoy with us. Unfortunately, not even one turned up in our fortress to take shelter against the Infecta."

Everyone agreed at what the King of Duendes had said. Furthermore, it was also possible that they were having the same problem with the invasion of the Infecta. Some of the nearby Kingdoms of Sirenas already faced the same fate as what happened with the Sylphs.

"Just get everyone out, march to that place, destroy everything, done!"

Purugus said with his deep loud voice.

"Right... Let... us... do... that!"

Another deep voice echoed as Ubaga agreed with the Sarangay.

Of course, the two received annoyed stares from the others because of their simplemindedness. They started to regret letting these barbarian races to join the meeting.

"Where is Danaya in the first place? If she is here, we might be able to find a solution."

Salvorio's gruff old voice was heard as he questioned the only person not in attendance at this meeting.

Danaya was a young Diwata. Even though she was young, she was the most powerful among the individuals in this region. She was also the one bringing survivors to this fortress.

To that question, Hieromano answered.

"Danaya went out to look for more of those that survive the catastrophe we are facing. Right now, she is searching in the mountains to the north."

Hearing that, they all sighed. Danaya was such a good-natured girl. She went out for the nth time to face danger in order to gather the poor souls that were still fleeing from he Infectas. In fact, the lives of the remaining Sylphs of that fallen kingdom owed their lives to Danaya. If not for her, none of them would have been able to survive.

Thus, while waiting for Danaya's return, they all started to rack their brains out for ideas. Well, except the two muscle brains, of course. They continued giving suggestions and weighing the pros and cons of that suggestion. They also put out what the Sylphs knew about that carpet of flesh and considered the information to their ideas.

Amidst the discussion, a Duende appeared by the door of the room at a very fast speed.

"A message for our Rey, Hieromano!"

The Duende said as loud as he could while kneeling on the floor.

"Speak!"

Heiromano gave his permission.

"Two gigantic beings are seen by our sentries moving down the mountain to the west inside the dead territory! The one leading the way is suspected to be a dragon! Th-"

"What?!" Buhawi shouted in shock that he unknowingly cut off the messenger. "Dragons in the surface had gone extinct thousands of years ago! The only ones left are the sealed ones, demonic ones, and undead ones! And none of them should be able to come here!"

"Buhawi..." Heiromano spoke. "Calm down first and let him finish. Besides, it is only suspected. It is not confirmed yet."

Buhawi realized that he was being rude. He apologized and retreated.

"Continue!"

The Rey of Duendes commanded the messenger.

"The two giants seemed to be serving as mounts. Several individuals are riding on their backs. Also, the sentries suspect some of them to be humans."

"What?!"

Now, it was everyone's turn to be shocked.

Humans being lost and entering this dimension by accident was not new. There were also times that a group of humans appeared.

As such, the sudden appearance of humans was not what they were shocked about.

They were shocked by the fact that humans were traversing the dried land they labeled as Dead Territory and was still alive.

"Are they going here?"

Hieromano asked.

"Yes. It seems." The messenger replied. "The sentries witnessed them pointing at our fortress and are heading towards this direction."

"Our soldiers and the sentries are humbly asking for your instructions, Our Rey." The messenger then added.

"Humans..." Hieromano took in a deep breath. "Tell our soldiers to prepare to escort us. Before doing anything against them, we should ask their purpose first."

"Yes, our Rey."

The messenger bowed and ran out of the room. He was really fast to the point of leaving afterimages.

"What is the point of meeting those humans?" Purugus spoke. "Just kill them."

Hearing that, Amayana sighed in exasperation. He glared at the jewel on Purugus' ear.

"Will you get smarter after I rip that jewel out of your ear? I'll be glad to keep it as a keepsake."

"NO!"

Purugus covered the jewel with his large hands and retreated a step.

"Then shut your mouth." Amayana continued. "The messager said that some of the individuals are human, not all of them. There might be a reason why they appeared here and is going to this fortress."

Everyone, except for the Kapre, nodded. The Kapre did not get it the meaning of Amayana, although he was also against blindly killing humans.

Thus, the meeting was postponed. At first, it was just Hieromano who was going to meet the visitors. However, it ended up with all of them coming. After all, who would not be curious about these unusual visitors at a very unusual timing?