My strength that was already on the decline, just plummeted.
The pace at which I grew weaker was much faster than I had anticipated. Perhaps my body has completely exhausted all of Senri’s blood.
Vampires have physical abilities that far surpass mankind. So I have no problem trekking through the woods all night, but if I were to get caught in a full-fledged battle, then the difference in my strength between now and before would become very apparent.
If I were to go head-to-head against myself right after I had drunk Senri’s blood, I would be beaten down in an instant.
I speak less. I am in a constant daze. I feel crazy hungry.
My food intake is more than enough. However, it looks like food cannot completely replace blood.
Blood Lust is similar to hunger and at the same time it is not. My body grows hot, and I feel lightheaded. As if my very soul was on fire, my head turns towards Senri’s every move.
Since then, Senri has not made any overt invitations.
However, the soft glow of her silver hair, flawless pale skin, somewhat sombre purple eyes, have grown insanely dear to me.
If the act of feeding satisfies both food and sexual urges of a vampire, then what I feel towards Senri must be a mixture of both.
In fiction and nonfiction alike, there is no such thing as a ‘good vampire’.
Thirst that cannot be satiated by ingesting meat, drinking water or animal blood, the gradually depreciating strength are a few things that make a vampire a truly fearsome monster.
It is truly a ‘curse’. The feeling of impending doom was unendurable even for me, who had once experienced it before.
Senri would have shared a bit of her blood with me had I asked.
However, it was partly stubbornness on my part that stopped me. I have no idea what I need to do to gain her whole trust. All I can do is delay the inevitable.
First, I stopped conversing with her. I only spoke when necessary and fought against the unquenchable thirst by completely immersing myself in my thoughts.
Solitude was nothing new to me. I had plenty to mull over.
How am I going to live my life hereafter? How can I earn Senri’s trust? How to quickly become stronger in order to fight against my enemies? How to make use of the ability of concealing myself in the darknes,s which I cannot yet use since I skipped over the stage of ‘Dark Stalker’ and evolved into a lesser vampire instead? How long do I have before I evolve into the next stage? How do gain a human ally?
Vampires cannot cross running water. It would not kill them, but their body would grow weak and they would not be able to use any of their special abilities.
Consequently, vampires can seldom be found on islands, and most developed cities have a moat built around them. I need to give some serious thought as to where I need to settle while the effects are still mild for me as a lesser vampire.
It is rather difficult to find a human ally who could help us live among humans.
I have no allies. However, I cannot trust any of Senri’s allies either.
There are only two people who could help… two viable options.
The first option, the ‘corpse carrier’ Huck who served the Lord. The Lord, who happened to be much more fearsome than a teeny lesser vampire like me.
Perhaps, he would be willing to help me. I have met him a couple of times. And he is probably my best bet.
However, Huck illegally trades undead, which would put him on Senri’s hit list and even if we get past that, Huck is a businessman. The Lord compensated him handsomely and hence he procured the items the Lord wanted, but I cannot give him anything that would outweigh the risk the job would entail.
And the biggest problem to begin with would be, I have no idea where to locate him. He may be in the town of Engey, but I cannot just waltz in there. There are also chances that he could already be detained.
The second option would be, my family from my previous life.
Though small, my family is nobility of a lower rank. Owing to that, I was able to get regular treatments despite having been stricken with a strange illness. So, they should have enough wealth to support an undead and a Death Knight at least.
The problem is, I have no idea how my family viewed the bedridden me.
Thoroughly absorbed in my never-ending thoughts, I mechanically moved my feet forward.
The only legacy of the Lord that was not seized by the Death Knights since it was buried under all the debris – the black machete ‘Blood Ruler’, proved to be useful.
The profoundly heavy machete easily smashed the skulls of the carnivorous beasts that tried to attack us, all with bare minimum of movements.
If I do not make use of any special abilities, I can control the rate at which my strength declines a little.
At times, monsters that I carelessly missed would try to take a bite out of us, but Senri was even more skilled with the sword than me. So we faced little trouble.
Finally, after two weeks, we safely made it through the dense, thick woods.
And that was also when my thirst reached its peak.
Frustration, hunger and thirst turn me into a monster. My body does not feel like my own.
What welcomed us after making it out of the woods, was an empty meadow as far as the eye could see.
I shook my head in an effort to clear away frenzied thoughts and squinted to get a good look.
Compared to the woods, there was nothing that could shield me from sunlight. I had prayed that something would change once we made it out, but it does not look like things are getting any better.
The moon was three-quarters full in the sky and waning. It was one of the reasons I have been able to endure my thirst.
A vampire is at its peak during the full moon.
It usually hunts for prey during the night of the full moon. The increase in power results in heightened emotions, which in turn probably makes their blood lust stronger.
I am at a loss. I have no idea what to do.
Looking at the empty, sprawling meadow made me feel small and insignificant.
“Keep this up and… you will die, End.”
Out of nowhere, the vestige of the vestige started spouting drivel.
I was not in the least surprised by the shadow that suddenly popped up. I was in no shape or form for such emotions.
I had not realized when it had appeared, but I saw the Lord looking down at me with an exasperated expression.
Given that Senri who was behind me has not reacted in any way, it is most very likely a hallucination.
“You have almost completely exhausted your power. I’m surprised you’ve been able to endure until now.”
“Your struggle is pointless. You are a demon, you need to drink blood to survive. I see you still haven’t realized why I had placed a female slave by your side.”
“?… End… are you okay?”
It is not that I want to starve myself. The reason why I am doing all this is because… I am weak.
Even after everything we have been through I still do not completely trust Senri. To be more precise, I do not trust the part of myself that trusts her.
I needed to be cautious and careful. Perhaps not making a move until the situation gets critical is one of my bad habits.
“The more blood they drink the stronger vampires become. End, that woman’s blood is of the finest quality. If you succeed at drinking every last drop of it, you are certain to reach the peak as a lesser vampire. Be it flee or fight back, you can do whatever you want.”
“After which you can lay low someplace and drink the blood of some pitiful soul passing by. There will be very few… who will be able to harm you.”
Certainly, that would be the most practical solution.
Although there is the question of whether Senri would allow such a reckless act on my part, depending on how I go about, there are chances that I could succeed.
However, I would only evolve into a vampire and the situation would be much the same as it is now. And vampires are destined to be killed someday.
To survive with this body that has a lot of enemies, I need to plan well.
I suppose if the Lord had taken over my body, he would be able to pull it off. The Lord has both knowledge, experience and not to mention, necromancy. I reckon he has connections as well. I, on the other hand, do not have any of that.
“Vessel with an admirable spirit! He lived through solar penalty, resists blood lust and even when half-dead, he still resists me…!”
The Lord looked down at me distrustfully. Whispering empty praises. His form and voice were very clear for a hallucination.
“End, don’t resist me. My soul is within you. Let me take over. And I easily will get you through this pinch.”
The devil whispered temptations. Is this really a hallucination or does Horus Carmon’s soul still remain inside me?
Either way, my answer is the same. Get lost.
I can survive by myself. Alone if I have to.
“End… you look awful, we should return to the woods for now. The sun is going to be up soon. We should come back… tomorrow.
“Ahh… I know. Ahh… I know that. You don’t need to tell me!”
I answered reflexively, without thought. The Lord’s illusion had disappeared before I knew it.
Lead by hand, I reprimanded my staggering body as I followed along.
“… I’m sorry. I can’t let you be out in the open for now…”
Senri’s unexpected apology barely reached my ears. However, who gives a damn. I was in no shape to appreciate anything.
Her silver hair swayed as she walked. Warm, pale fingers made of flesh and blood were holding my arm. I remember seeing a watering hole near the edge of the woods. I suppose she is taking me there.
My eyes probably glow red now.
“End, devour her! You have already had her blood once. You don’t have any other choice. A monster like you has no future without enemies.”
I hear his voice echo in my head although I did not see him.
I clutched at my head. But, my thirst showed no signs of abating.
It is useless… I am at my limit. At this rate, I will end up killing her.
I breathed in and voluntarily sunk my fangs into the flesh before me.