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473 The Celebration, A Whole Day of Headache

 Day ▋▋ - ▋▋:▋▋ AM - Stone Fortress, Eastern Dimension

The next morning, the celebration of the races commenced.

And of course, with Mark at the center of it all. It was despite all his rejection, Diwata Danaya begged him to do so. Even if it was just for a short time, he had to sit on the throne and meet some people.

With the Diwata's persistence and Karlene and Alana's urging, he agreed for one condition. If he could not stand it anymore, he would leave at any point in time in the celebration.

Even though Danaya was not satisfied with it, she accepted his condition. In the least, he would be present for the occasion for some time. Still, the Diwata could not fathom why Mark hated to participate. From what she knew, humans were fond of celebrations.

Thus, with his agreement, the preparation started.

Early in the morning, he had to prepare himself together with Mei, who would step out with him on the podium. She did not find being the center of a celebration a good thing too. However, she became more accepting of it because of how her parents raised her, being the center of business parties and such. Furthermore, Mark was with her this time.

Mark and Mei wore the clothes prepared for them. It was quite amusing how they were able to provide such clothes, a day after the battle. Furthermore, it was a perfect fit. Nevertheless, considering that what they encountered yesterday was already absurd beyond belief, this was way more acceptable.

The clothes were a set of Royal Tribal Attire made of something that was like silk, but as tough as leather.

Mark had a garb embroidered with intricate patterns.

The top was a pair of buttonless long sleeves and an inner shirt. Compared to the inner shirt, the patterns and designs on the outerwear looked more complicated. And even though it did not look like leather or petroleum, it had the same shine. The pair of pants was the same.

Fortunately, they were considerate enough to not make the clothes as colorful as possible. They should have based the color from what Mark always wore. A set of black clothes, and reddish black armor. It was because of the whole attire, despite having a lot of designs and patterns, it only had different hues of black and gray, with a streamline of red.

The pattern of the clothes and the atmosphere Mark had around him made him look fierce and cannot be opposed.

As for Mei, she had black patterned innerwear and a poncho-like outer garment of red color. It was paired with an ankle long red skirt with golden patterns. Aside from the clothes, there was also a box of accessories.

Aside from Mark and Mei, everyone had clothing of their own. Of course, except from the three little girls that the Mark and Mei called daughters, the others had a less extravagant attire.

It was not biased, but Mark was the center of the show, he and his family had to stand out. That was what Felenia explained to them.

Males and females had to separate the places they should wear their clothes. Well, they separated while dragging Karla, who followed Mark instead of the girls.

When everyone wore their clothes, for some reason, Mei was still not out. And it seemed that the girls had some presentation for Mark.

Sure enough, when Mei came out of the room, everyone's skipped a beat. Even Danaya, who was present in the lobby, had to question whether she was the Diwata or Mei was.

Even Teremillio had to be held back by his wives. If they let him go, he would get killed for sure.

Mei slowly approached Mark, who was staring at her. She did not even pay attention to anyone.

"Gege, how do I look?"

She asked with a blush.

"Uhm, you look beautiful."

Mark said as he looked away.

That gesture did not escape everyone's eyes. They were surprised.

"Hoho, what do I see there..."

Alana teased.

Unfortunately for them, the time to tease got cut short. Mark closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Then, his expression return to the usual. It made Mei rather disappointed, but Mark was better looking with a dignified face than an embarrassed one. They were not used to it at all.

An aide of King Hieroman also came knocking on the door to tell Danaya if everyone was ready.

Thus, the celebration finally started.

And Mark almost backed out from the first activity.

To start the celebration, he had to present himself to every citizen that was currently residing in the territory of the Stone Fortress. All the races, big or small, young or old, were gathered at the main courtyard of the fortress. And for everyone to see him, he had to step on the highest podium of the fortress.

And there, a speech would start the occasion.

Fortunately, Mark did not have to say anything. He and Mei, who was accompanying him, just needed to step out after receiving the cue. It was Diwata Danaya and the King of the Stone Fortress, Hieromano, who would give the speech.

And the reason for that was the language barrier. Mark was very thankful that he could not speak their language in this regard.

Diwata Danaya and the Rey Hieromano came out first together with other few people. Aside from the Queen, and the two Princes that Mark and the others saw for the first time, the others were the king's personal guards. All of them right now was in human size for the sake of convenience. Of course, not every Duende was capable of this. In fact, Felenia, who was the princess, could not.

The speech of the two was quite long. Long enough that Mark yawned and felt sleepy. As Felenia and the others were present, they translated parts of the speech for Mark and those that could not understand it in their group.

Diwata Danaya and the King talked about the current situation of the Spirit World. The harsh truth about their low rate of survival considering the threat that they encountered yesterday. That was why they all needed to join forces together and thwart any obstacle that they face.

Diwata Danaya and the representatives of the races wanted to raise the morale of everyone. That was why they pushed this celebration to happen. It was even though their current supplies would take a good hit, it would be easier to make everyone move if the celebration was a success.

After all, surviving the catastrophe yesterday was surely something to celebrate. Even if not all of them died, too few might have remained. Furthermore, they would be left with nothing while wandering the infected world. Fortunately, someone stopped the disaster.

Finally, Mark and Mei were called. Cheers immediately erupted. Many saw the battle, both combatant or not. They all knew that they would not have any chance of survival at that time. And yet, to face the giant that even Diwata Danaya had no way of winning against, Mark appeared with a black trail of smoke.

At first, they thought that he was a human, yet, the truth that he was a Blood Demon soon spread. Many did not know what race that was and thought that they like other Demon Races. And those who knew spread the truth.

The race that maintained the balance between the Surface and the Underworld had returned. And the debut of their return was to kill a giant that could destroy their last home.

With Mark and Mei present for everyone to see, Diwata Danaya continued to speak. It was about thanking him for his help at that time.

And shortly after, the translation for Mark and the others stopped. Felenia and the others that were translating had awkward looks on their faces.

When pressed about it, it became more awkward.

Furthermore, the citizens below were shouting the same words over and over.

Being stared daggers by Mark, Felenia gave up.

Apparently, Mark was being called as Bathala's Envoy.

Mark could not help but cringe.

It seemed that those that were at the walls at that time spread what they had witnessed. After all, it was Bathala who sent Mark to deal with the Giant. Furthermore, his whole group was taken by Bathala, soon after the battle. It further solidified the rumor.

"Hah..."

Mark sighed.

Just the first activity, Mark was all drained.

After that, the rituals started. Mostly to thank Bathala who appeared yesterday in the time of crisis. Especially when he had not appeared for several thousand years already.

It seemed that the races celebrate things differently. While the Sylphs and the Duendes seemed to be more modern in their celebrations, with just a ritual for thanking gods and stuff, the other races were still exercising tribal rituals and competitions.

There was a fighting challenge where the participants were mostly Sarangays and Tikbalangs, who wanted to showoff.

Another was a contest where the contestants would have to kill magical animals, and the one that killed the strongest animal would win. This time, however, was different. The contestants would find an infected wandering in the Forest of Illusions and kill them. Of course, the Tikbalangs managing the forest were ordered to release their magic on the infected that were chosen by the contestants for a fair fight while the Tikbalangs also ensured their safety.

There were also performances that the Dryads led with the Sylphs. The two Races that lived side-by-side gave good dances that were well accepted by the audience, especially males. The Dryads were all beautiful, and seductive looking, despite the tree-like patches on their skin. The beauty of these Tree Nymphs was only next to the Encantadas and Diwatas.

The Trade Area was also special this time. Since most of the people were in high spirits, the items in the Trade Area were better than the other day. Unfortunately, Mark and the others were being held by the representatives hoping that he would last till the most important part.

And thus, lunchtime came. It came with the part everyone was hoping for.

In the main hall of the Fortress, the highest people of the races gathered. Not only the representatives of the races but also the Chieftains of the smaller tribes under them.

And the headache came.

Everyone wanted to form a tie to Mark in one way or another. After all, the prowess he showed, together with his possible connection to Bathala, a relationship to him or his group, was something to invest at. Not to mention that he and his family were the only known people of the Blood Demon Race. There were more reasons to want to get closer to them than not.

However, these races were not living in modern human times. And thus, the easiest, and known approach for these Chieftains...

Was to gift their daughters away.

Relationship ties with most of these races were solid, there were only very few races and individuals that valued familial ties, tike Amayana, or the Tamawos that Pefile belonged to. Stronger ties were also present in the Royal families of Duendes, Sylphs, and Encatados. But to the ones that had a lower place in the society, it was rather common to trade their offsprings if needed by the tribe.

And there was the dilemma.

Forming ties with these non-human races were not bad. But to gift him their daughters was too much. Mark would prefer items or males to add to his workforce.

And if anyone expected that the daughters were forced...

NO!

What was with their happy faces?!

It was obvious that some of them were even aiming at becoming a concubine.

Of course, despite their suggestive actions, Mark did not even bat an eyelid. And surely, Mark had no plan on accepting them.

Mei was enough for him. He did not want any others.

Furthermore, he totally showed that he only reacted to Mei during the lunch gathering. This made many girls disappointed.

But then...

"Master." Aephelia seemed to have an idea. "Accept those with no intention to snatch you from the Mistress."

Mark was confused.

"Why?"

"I already have a body now. It should be fine if I accept trainees. Just Me and Miss Odelina is not enough for your current status."

And thus, the selection started. Mark did not hide his intentions and many were disappointed. However, it seemed that they still had found some earnest candidates.

The gathering inside the fortress lasted till evening.

But in the latter half, Mark and Mei were already gone leaving Diwata Danaya and the others to entertain everyone.