“?! … So, you’re still here…”
It was the Lord’s voice. He was simply too tenacious that I would have laughed out loud if I could.
Horus Carmon’s illusion stood before me and scowled.
“Don’t tell me… you came back… for my body? Sorry… but all that’s left of it… is my head!”
“Fool. I have no power to do that. Because you swallowed me! I’m no more than a remnant of my remnant now.”
“Does… a remnant of that… remnant exist… then?”
“End, you will die. Had you surrendered your body to me, this wouldn’t have happened.”
However, that would have been the same as death. No different from now.
Maybe he was speaking the truth about not having enough power, for he did not seem like he was trying to pull something. It would have been great if he could have helped me, but an illusion is not really all that useful.
I suppose he would serve as a conversation partner. Even if he and his voice were no more than an illusion, it would still be alright.
“Why… am I… still alive? I don’t… even have… a heart.”
A vampire’s heart is its weakness if I recall correctly. Considering I am missing a heart, it is rather unnatural that I am still alive.
Of course I feel really grateful for it…
The Lord frowned and looked at me as if I was some unruly student.
“The reason vampires die after being stabbed with a stake to their heart is because of the curse. If they aren’t stabbed, they don’t die immediately.”
“Hah… haha, what’s… with that! What a weird creature! It lives against the rules of nature!”
It is simply too absurd that it can exist even after losing the better part of its body. If that is true, then it would mean that removing the heart would be akin to getting rid of their weakness.
The Lord snorted at my response.
“However, there’s no doubt that the heart is a vampire’s source of power. If the heart is lost, so is most of their power. And the same goes for a ‘Lesser Vampire’ like you.”
“I… never had any power… to begin with.”
I never attained any power. Even after I was reborn, I was still overwhelmingly weak.
Amongst the people I came in contact with, the only ones who were weaker than me were Roux and the civilian Huck. But then again, I was much weaker than either of them when I was sick.
The Lord paid no heed to my comment and simply continued his soliloquy.
“A Lesser Vampire is a stepping stone to becoming a Vampire. The pupa, so to speak. You would possess almost none of the vampiric abilities or their weaknesses. So you wouldn’t turn to dust as soon as you’re exposed to sunlight.”
“Ah, ahh… glad… to hear… that.”
“That only means you’ll be tormented for a longer time. You’re running low on power, you can’t regenerate. You will have your soul devoured by the sun and experience a slow death. Your abyss is deep, probably a whole lot deeper than they think, but it is impossible… for you to survive too long. There’s only about an hour to dawn.”
“Is there… a way out… of this?”
There is not much I can do. My mouth is the only thing I can move, and it is quite possible that I would not be able to move even that very soon.
The Lord did not scowl even a little to a question from someone who had devoured him. He answered right away.
“None. There’s nothing you can do as a Lesser Vampire that’s slowly losing its power.”
I see…so this is the end.
The illusion disappears. His words come crashing down on me.
Then, this is going to be a battle of endurance with the sun. I shall fight the pain. Keep my head straight. I shall fight death. I shall only be doing what I had already done in my previous life.
And with that, my final battle began.
The dark sky grew brighter and dim light shone upon me.
At first, it felt like a sunburn. The pain started at the apex of my head and spread out and invaded my whole face, and changed into what felt like heat from fire.
I thought I would be able to handle it when I received the punishment. I imagined that it would be much better than death.
However,I soon realized I could not have been more wrong. Positive energy was slowly eating away at my body and my mind. With only my head left, I cannot even writhe in agony.
I felt like I had been exposed to direct sunlight for several hours. The pain was slowly, bit by bit, killing me. It was trying to return me to a corpse.
I open my eyes wide and desperately fight the pain. The
My temper gradually got worse with every tick of the clock. I was assaulted with despair and intense dread that I did not feel even during my encounter with the Death Knights.
My instincts were sounding alarms in my head at the invasion of its great enemy, the sun. Thus was my condition when the sun had not even fully risen yet.
Well it is rather strange that I am still alive. My abyss is being filled. It is going to return to zero. Into nothingness.
Light and Darkness are waging a war inside me.
I shall bear with the pain as best as I can. The sunlight shining down on the grave slowly grew stronger.
Suddenly a question popped into my head.
The Lord mentioned that there was but an hour to dawn. But an hour has long since passed.
Then how much longer will I live? How much longer will I be able to endure? How much longer will I be forced to bear with it?
And… is there any meaning to this struggle?
I finally understood why Neville, the Death Knights had called this the most awful way for an undead to die.
I had to remain highly alert at alltimes. This is… torture.
Constant pain and punishment under the sun that will continue for God knows how long. I can almost hear the sound of Death’s footsteps. The farther an undead is away from death, the more unbearable is this form of punishment. Owing to the fact that there is no real enemy in front of you, makes it hard to throw away the very last bit of hope.
My mind will die before my body does.
My throat felt terribly dry. The pain that felt like I was being burnt alive made tears run down my face. I took some frantic breaths and fought to remain conscious.
It would really be the end the moment I accept death. I am well aware of that as someone who suffered through an illness for several years.
In my previous life, seeing me in a weakened state, enduring the torturous pain, all the while clinging on to life, the doctors had called me a miracle. The pity they felt for me at first changed to amazement later.
The doctors, my family and the mages, all believed that I would not last long. However, I survived. Well, although I did die eventually, I never gave up on life till the very end.
I reprimand my faltering heart and raise my spirits.
I shall not give up this time either. I have already died once. Died and revived miraculously with my memories intact.
Like hell I will lose hope because something like this, to this pain or despair.
I looked up with just my eyes, and fixed a death glare at the hateful sun.
I am an undead. A vessel worthy of becoming the King of the Undead, that Horus Carmon had set his sights on. This is not enough to kill me.
I shall not scream. I can distract myself from the pain if I scream but it will exhaust me. It was a trick that I had discovered during my previous life.
I shall stay quiet, keep my mind alert, and fight against the pain that wishes to lower the curtain of darkness over my consciousness.
There is no chance of victory. Nor do I have a plan.
What I wish for… is a second miracle.
I wonder how much time has passed.
The sun rose higher in the sky and with it grew stronger the sunlight shining down on me. I seared the image into my eyes.
Blinding. Painful. Dreadful. And… beautiful.
It is impossible. I cannot win. The morning, the sun I had once loved, is trying to expel me from this world.
I will perish. My soul will vanish. It hurts. I wonder what has become of my face that has been exposed to sunlight.
The sunlight is so strong that I cannot see anymore. Only, everything felt hot like I was surrounded by hellfire.
… I do not… wish to die.
I screamed in my mind.
I feel my consciousness slipping when my head is suddenly lifted up.
At first, I imagined my soul was ascending into heaven. But I soon realized that I had been wrong.
They say that a soul defiled by a necromancer will never go to heaven.
The sunlight grew dimmer and the first thing that entered my line of sight, was silver hair.
And a familiar pair of deep purple eyes that looked surprised.
My mouth opened. All I could utter were broken syllables.
“… Se… n… ri—-”
“…!!… !!… !!”
“Can’t… hear… ahh…”
My tongue was burned. I was lucky that my eyes were still functioning.
I am at my limit. I… cannot hold on anymore. Almost all of my abyss has been filled. I cannot bear even the dimmest ray of sunlight anymore.
Amidst the vague sense of awareness, I pulled on the string connecting me to life.
What do I do? What would help me? What do I need to do, to move this girl who possesses a weakness unbecoming of a Death Knight?
I have no strength left in me. There are very few options left. There is no time to even talk.
And thus, at that moment, I hurled my carefully chosen final word.
The hands that carefully held my head, trembled for a second.
I instinctively realized that I had succeeded in my endeavour and felt relieved.
Senri was clever but had a fragile heart. Stubborn, does her best in everything, wields immense power, and as Neville mentioned, she is the kind of person who would take to heart the passing of a random undead.
They, Neville, should have killed me. Without letting anger cloud his judgement and punishing me, or giving me time to repent, he should have made sure to put an end to me.
So, they are going to lose. Someone truly dear to them.
I only felt her waver for a second. I sensed my head move again, and felt cool, silky hair caress my cheek.
I could not see anymore. I could see nothing in front of me. Yet, the sensation of something smooth and soft touching my lips was not an illusion.
The sweet smell that emanated from her blew away my pain and despair. My tongue that could not move before, moved on its own and took a taste.
A wonderfully pleasant feeling shot through me, jolting me awake. The drained reserves of my energy were filled a tiny bit.
My vision was restored.
“Thank… you… for… the… meal.”
I properly whispered my gratitude in her ear and sunk my fangs into her trembling nape.