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Chapter 283 The race to the top

They were not the only ones to excuse themselves from the dining room to get some privacy, Markay and Carolyn did the same.

He too had a christmas gift that he wanted to give his girlfriend privately.

Justin gravitated towards grandma Mega and baby Illa so Adler left on his own, slowly walking towards the main entrance before heading in the direction of the Maddox library which was open to all members of the governor's family day or night.

There was an old man on the blue star, the father of an ex mecha warrior who was now officially the oldest person on the blue star at two hundred sixty years old. Given his advanced age, grey hairs and the wrinkles on his face, everyone simply called him old Wyatt.

Old Wyatt was the new guard of the Maddox library and he loved his new job so much that he never went home. He even had a small corner room in the library where he slept and he took his baths from the public restrooms in the servants quarters.

For this reason, whether it was day or night, it was not unusual to find old Wyatt here.

Adler found him sitting at his guard post with a book in hand and a bottle of eggnog sold by Nutri nutrients.

He closed his book and looked up with a bright smile on his face. "Good evening minister Su."

Adler handed old Wyatt a small gift wrapped in a silver packaging. "Merry christmas Wyatt."

"Thank you minister Su, unfortunately I can't accept this." He tried to hand it back but Adler shook his head, refusing to take it back.

"You work for the castle and that makes you one of us. I want to go in and do some reading, I would like not to be disturbed for a while."

Old Wyatt put the gift away and he nodded. Then, he smiled like a fool and said, "Are you and the young lady together?"

'Which_?" Adler asked as he turned around in the direction old Wyatt was looking. "Arya!" he said her name in a voice that expressed how much he was taken back at her sight. She was not wearing pants today, but a dress, one which was long but with a low cut which exposed a bit of cleavage.

Her eyes were larger than usual, and her face was flushed, whether it was from the cold night air, his presence or maybe tipsiness as a result of drinking that bottled eggnog in her hands, he was quite unsure. The only thing he was sure of was that she looked beautiful.

"Hi," she waved and said, with a shy smile on her face.

"Hi," he lifted his hand to wave back at her but he lowered it quickly.

"I did not follow you." she blurted.

Adler smirked, he took three steps closer to her and laughed, "Now I feel a little disappointed, I was hoping that my irresistible charms had enticed you."

Arya covered her mouth, stared at him.

He placed his hand on her back and asked in a concerned voice, "What's wrong, are you nauseous?"

"Yes, I am nauseous from the nonsense coming out of your mouth." She pushed his hand away.

Adler placed his left hand over his heart and said, "Ho, now I am hurt even more, Arya Storm, you just drove the dagger deeper into my heart."

Arya rolled her eyes and marched forward into the library after wishing old Wyatt a merry christmas. Adler followed her inside, specifically heading in the direction she had gone.

Christmas eve came soon, and when the clock struck midnight, Scarlet was off to the underworld while most ordinary humans slept.

The scene at the bottom of the wall was different from when she was last there, the number of spectators had increased. Grim reapers had brought seats, blankets, snacks and someone was even hawking spirit tea loudly as if it was a market.

She found her way towards Severus who was sitting with a few hounds on a thick round fur blanket under a large umbrella which was unnecessary since the sun in the underworld did not burn hot enough to necessitate the use of one.

She plopped herself down behind Severus, and said, "Hey partner."

The hound tilted it's head to the back, saw her and then scooted over to create space for her to sit down comfortably.

She did not turn down the unsaid gesture and she sat down with her legs crossed like she was about to cultivate.

One of the hounds, sent a small gourd filled with spirit wine her way and she nodded.?Then, she sniffed the wine and took a small sip directly from the gourd. It tasted like apples, with some honey and something else but it was quite tasty but strong.

"Um, this is good." she uttered out loud.

"It's hound brew, we make it and sell it ourselves." One of the hounds said proudly.

"I think I will be a regular customer." She told that hound. Then, she looked at Severus and asked, "What have I missed?"

"Your partner has not yet come down, he is still going strong. It looks like he is going to make it past the second crossing point." Severus answered.

"Congratulations," the black hound which gave her the wine said. "You are working hard not to put us hounds to shame."

"Hmm," he looked at Severus.

"Your victory is Severus's victory and he is a hound so it's also our victory." that hound added on to his previous words.

"The race to the top is harder this year but it's more interesting than it has been in the last century. It's fun to watch grim reapers turn against each other for the sake of the prize." Another hound added.

"Even friends are betraying each other and alliances have disintegrated. Miss hound, you have truly created chaos in the realm, that's why most of us have come to watch." another said.

Severus laughed and said with pride, "That's how we roll, we are unpredictable."

His fellow hounds gave him disdainful looks. This was just like Severus, his greed extended to other things as well. He was a credit hog, always had been and forever would be.

"It looks like your fame continues to grow in the underworld. This will probably be another teaching aid on something." the black hound said.

Scarlet had already noticed that many eyes were on her, grim repears were looking at her, pointing, whispering or loudly expressing their opinions about her.

"I don't know if that is a good or bad thing." she said, "But, I will never allow myself to be in a position which is disadvantageous. Initially, reapers in alliances were working to secretly block the path of others so that one person in their group would win and then they would share the rewards. Those without an alliance were being forced off the wall because the others were playing little tricks. If everyone had checked the rules of the games then they would have realized that pushing another off the wall is not against the rules. Those who were doing it secretly had not been punished so, I simply opened it up for them to do what they had already been doing in the open."

"She is right," Ezrah said, and she plopped herself down behind Scarlet.

Grim reapers with their extraordinary hearing would not have failed to hear what Scarlet said.

"Hey friend, Ezrah leaned her head on Scarlet's back."

"Break this up," Severus said and he pointed at Frost who had come down with a white flag. "It's her turn."

"See you later." Scarlet saluted and vanished.

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