“Sorry, Roux. We couldn’t sweep things under the carpet considering the number of undead that were defeated.”
Senri shook her head as Lazar said his apologies.
Honestly, even fairly capable mercenaries would have trouble defeating that many undead. And for a couple of mercenaries to accomplish that feat without even the power of blessing that Death Knights wield would undoubtedly sound strange.
End may have gotten really excited but he clearly went overboard.
While it may have been better to purge the remains, if everything were removed, there would be no way to explain the destruction to the site, and even Senri was not skilled enough to leave only a portion of it and purge the rest. Soul Release is a wide ranged attack.
“I had been thinking of meeting your employer sometime.”
“Hmm… You’re quite the curious cat, I see. He’s nothing but your usual big shot”, snorted Dick, who had come along with Lazar. End’s strength was probably the reason, the guy who had ogled at her in the beginning, began to avert his eyes and avoid looking directly at her.
However, something is not right. The employer is just a big shot he said but this town was obviously hiding something.
First of all, it is entirely odd that they never contacted the Death Knights considering the number of undead that appear at the castle. The undead do a lot more harm than good. They have no practical use unlike magical beasts whose fur could be utilized or horns that could be whittled down to make weapons. The natural course of action would have been to get in touch with the Order.
If the Order were to learn that the undead seemed to target a place that used to be the stronghold of an Undead King, they would never let overlook the matter.
The mercenaries led me to the center of Dessend, and to the biggest building I had seen in town. It was probably the town hall.
There were guards outside the gate, but since Lazar had already acquired permission beforehand, we were let in without further ado.
I scanned the surroundings as it was my habit, but I could not sense the presence of any undead. In fact, just like the other buildings, the town hall was also adorned with silver, the weakness of undead, here and there.
I cannot let my guard down, since something like the night crystal exists, but if there really exists an undead that could make this place its stronghold, then it would be a rather high-ranking one, or….
A few minutes after being led into the parlor, we were greeted by a well-built old man.
Maybe he was neglecting his health for he had a pallid complexion but he was certainly human.
“Sorry to make you wait, Mr. Lazar. Is that who you spoke of… though she doesn’t seem to fit the description.”
“Appearance has nothing to do with purging the undead.”
Senri spoke matter-of-factly to which the man nodded and proceeded to introduce himself. The man appeared to be the mayor of Dessend.
Senri felt something was off when she first entered the town. Because the undead countermeasures, more specifically the anti-vampire countermeasures were a little too extreme.
That is why she investigated. Dessend has always had a strong defense against undead, but apparently, it had also extended to include vampires over the past few years.
Meaning, the man in front of them was the one who put those superfluous countermeasures in place. However, the man’s eyes did not reflect any resentment toward vampires that one would normally expect from someone who takes such measures.
Senri casually tried to get a read on the mayor’s emotions. Her senses that were enhanced by the power of blessing could even pick up the mayor’s heartbeat.
“I must inquire as to your identity… I never imagined that many undead would attack that old castle, but to think you’d defeat them all singlehandedly… simply unbelievable.”
She sensed… doubt, surprise, and slight… fear. Usually it is relief that people feel at the thought that the undead have been taken care of, but for some reason she sensed none of that.
‘As I thought… not revealing End’s existence was the right choice.’
Now, what to do with this odd mayor? Even if he were hiding something, the inhabitants of the town ought to be non-complicit. She could not ignore it. Senri had decided to side with End, but she had never intended to abandon her principles.
At the very least,… she needed to learn what it is that they were hiding.
She glanced at the mercenaries with her and took in the guards at the gate.
The Death Knights are immensely powerful against the undead but through carefully controlled power of blessing, they can display superhuman strength that is effective against other living beings as well.
All is well- for even put together, they would be no match for Senri.
And, Senri inhaled and looked the mayor in the eye.
“I’m a vampire hunter and… also an ex-Death Knight. So that level of undead pose no threat to me. The same goes even if they are stronger.”
☠ ☠ ☠
I am worried about Senri. But my stomach hurts. I wonder how much time has passed since Senri left. I am still writhing in pain inside the closet.
Don’t tell me that Sable entered my body and is wreaking havoc in my stomach by manipulating her blood?
It was so painful that I was pushed to entertain such wild ideas. But at the same time, all it did was only hurt me.
The fact that it would not kill me, gave me relief. The end result of the incurable illness, dead soul disease, that I suffered from in my previous life, was certain death. Compared to that, physical comfort aside, I also enjoyed mental peace in this body now.
Furthermore, I have actually thought of a way to escape this predicament.
The useless Lord’s apparition had stated that the reason for my pain was because the vampires are under a stronger curse than the lesser vampires.
Basically, all I have to do is evolve into a vampire. In that case, the curse cast upon me would overpower Sable’s curse or at the very least, it would be able to stand its ground.
Until a few days ago, I was not aware of why I was not able to evolve no matter how time passed or how to go about triggering the process. But now I do.
The reason I have not evolved is because of the safety plug that the Lord had put in place.
And the only way to pull that plug is… through a word.
If it were too complex, evolution would not happen as soon as he possessed my body, or conversely, if it were too easy, the plug could end up being pulled before he could take full control of my body.
That time when I delved into my mind and confronted the vestige of the Lord in me, the last piece of information I received from him was the key to pull the plug.
It was also proof that the Lord had acknowledged my existence to a certain degree.
All it takes is one word. Crying out the word should probably enable me to evolve.
Into an all-powerful, true demon of the night that is abhorred by mankind.
The only reason I have yet to do it is… Senri.
Let me be honest. I am a little afraid of the change.
One of the reasons being the increase in the number of weaknesses, but more than that – I am afraid of how Senri will react when I have completely turned into a monster. If at all possible, I always wanted to keep things the way they are.
After all, as I am now, there is still a chance for me to bask in the sunlight with Senri.
Senri is kind to me at present, but there is no saying if that would not change once I transformed.
Sable was shooed away successfully. But she was not killed. She is sure to take every precaution and come at me with everything she has.
I am growing stronger and the ability to steal curses is undoubtedly powerful, but I do not know how long, just these abilities would suffice to fend off the opponents. They are an authentic evil group that can withstand long drawn out battles against those fearsome Death Knights.
I curled up, shut my eyes and inhaled deeply. I could sense Sable’s curse raging wild and tormenting me inside my stomach.
However, I can bear with it. No, I must.
Until now, I pushed it off convincing myself that I would do it when I was ready. Making an attempt to evolve, led by the pain, wanting an escape, is simply too pathetic.
Even if all the internal struggle resulted in evolution being the answer, it still needs to happen through my own will.
I am just being stubborn. However, my obstinate nature is what has kept me existing to this day.
All is well. I can still fight. I can still get back on my feet. I sharpened my senses and accepted all the pain.
This body cannot die. Even when I had my head cut off or was burnt by the sun, I survived. The fact that a vampire drank some blood and ended up with an upset stomach would not even make for a funny anecdote.
And so, I slowly unfurled myself. As I tried to stand up, my toe got stuck in the closet and the pain made me choke, but I never did need to breathe anyway.
“Damn you, Sable. But this is nothing! It simply feels like my insides would come out of my mouth any second, just that, nothing more.”
That is right. I do not need organs. I do not need them to exist. However, the curse was not actually tormenting my physical body. It is obvious that the pain would not dissipate even if I were to empty my body of all organs. I am in hell….
But I cannot let Senri carry everything on her shoulder any longer.
Senri is smart, strong, beautiful with delicious blood and simply without flaw, that if the mercenaries were to learn of my indisposition, they might try to hit on her. I am the only one who is allowed to do that.
I let such stupid thoughts rush through my mind, in order to boost my own morale. I told myself….
“Okay, okay, okay, this is nothing. I just feel like I’m dying. That’s all. If you think about it, I’m already dead, hahaha.”
“… End, you seem quite relaxed.”
Looks like a lot more time had passed than I realized. I could see Senri’s purple eyes peering at me exasperatedly, through the crack in the closet.
I could have sworn it was still day out just until a second ago, but it was already completely dark. It was my time.
I slowly moved my legs, pushed the door open and got out of the closet. The pain made me wince but my extremities were not shaking. I probably cannot put up a decent fight yet, and though I have not gotten used to the pain, I can do the bare minimum and walk around.
Ever so kind Senri walked over and lent me her shoulder to lean on. Her silver hair. The sweet scent of blood emanating from her porcelain skin made me forget the pain a little.
“… Are you really alright?”
“Hmm… Yeah, I am. I’m fine now, so tell me everything.”
Nobody but me is responsible for drinking Sable’s blood. Senri has always warned me against absorbing curses. I got carried away after taking in Albertus and Man-eater’s curse.
I clutched my stomach and looked up at Senri observing my expressions.
“Ahh, it hurts. My stomach hurts really bad. So be kind to me if you can. Talk to me gently. I welcome jokes and… if you can, embrace me and whisper in my ear. The pain hasn’t dissipated after so long. We can’t possibly be at a standstill any longer.”