I was born into a noble house of a small country.
That said, it was neither a powerful or illustrious house… probably. It was of the title of Baron, and we were never invited to popular huge gatherings. As I was bedridden since the age of ten, I was unable to take a look around our domain or enjoy any of the special privileges that came with the class, but our house was enormous and I never had to go hungry. A number of servants were employed by the family as well.
Well, I suppose we were wealthier than the average house. Or they could not have spent a great deal of money to treat their son who was destined to die of an unknown illness, by calling over light mages.
My family stopped visiting me a few years leading up to my death. However, I did not fault them. I was afflicted by an unknown disease, whose cause was obscure and my family had their own life to live. Even if they had visited me, I was in no state to properly receive them.
I do not resent my family. I am well aware of how apathetic I feel towards them.
At first, I did resent my own circumstances which I eventually projected onto them, but after several years of fighting the sickness, even that dissipated. Unable to feel neither resentment nor loneliness, I died. That is why, my decision to reach out to my family came from a purely practical standpoint.
Baron Formet. I was his third son.
That was my station in my previous life.
If it were not my negative energy that led them to me, then the Keeper and Albertus must have tracked us down through the humans we came in contact with.
We could stay outside in the fields without relying on any human towns for shelter, but that would simply be a stopgap measure. I do not think it would be a bad idea to enter into the protection of authority. We might be able to get ourselves a safe house and they might even help us gather supplies.
More than anything… if we were to escape to some place far away, I needed to make a firm decision.
I bear no grudges against my family, so it does not sit well with me to cause them trouble. I could not say that they never loved me.
“The risk… is pretty high.” Said Senri reasonably, while I pointed to my hair and eye humorously.
“I… take after my father. They wouldn’t want a monster that looks exactly like their son making trouble somewhere, would they?”
For an instant, Senri’s face scrunched up like she was about to cry.
No need to make that face. I do not pity my current circumstances.
Of course, not becoming an undead, peacefully growing up in a noble house, receiving a good education and getting a job does not sound so bad.
Nevertheless, I do not hate my life now.
“… okay, End. If that is what you want, then I shall go along with it.”
“Thanks. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to have my revenge against them.”
Senri’s eyes widened a tad and she whispered.
Although I did not remember the name of the town I used to live in, it should not be too far away.
Huck was the one who brought my corpse to the Lord. And the first prerequisite for the corpse to be resurrected as a fleshman is for it to be fresh.
Even if magic were used to keep it cool, it would be pretty difficult to carry a human corpse over a long distance.
It goes without saying that Huck would have used the shortest possible route. If the town the corpse originated from was too close, then Huck would not be able to keep the identity of the corpse hidden from the Lord. But even that came with its limits.
As it happened, the Barony of Formet was nearby. A map we had bought in Cemeserra only showed the general location, but it should take less than ten days to reach if I ran as fast as possible.
Although it was a wasted trip to come all this way since the Barony was in the opposite direction, it might serve to throw the vampire hunters off our scent since they would not least expect it.
I gathered our things and signalled Senri to get on my back as usual.
I could not sense the Keeper and his companion near us. I am faster than a horse and even if Albertus were faster than me, the Keeper is just a human being. I doubt they would split up and come after us separately.
Come to think of it, I have really grown accustomed to running while carrying Senri on my back. As I stood lost in thought, I felt a sharp sting on my back.
My body shook in spite of itself and I let out a scream. She forgot… to take down her aura of blessing.
“?! Ahh… I-I’m…sorry.”
“Nah. It’s okay.”
I was just a little startled. I should not succumb to it unless I am extremely weak.
However, I do feel the sting. I realized it during the fight with the vampire hunter, that pain was a big weakness of vampires. Since we are normally numb to it, the effect is strong when we do feel it.
Once again, I felt my back grow heavy. But it was pleasant this time.
A slender arm wound around me and I could feel her heartbeat due to close proximity.
Senri is supposed to be carrying all our stuff, but it was an insignificant addition.
I broke off into a run as if I was carrying nothing. My body was overflowing with power from the last time I fed.
It always felt amazing to be physically active. I kicked hard at the earth and thought about nothing but moving forward. It almost felt like I had become one with the wind.
Suddenly, I heard Senri whisper in my ear.
“I’ve been trained to automatically shield myself with the aura of blessing if I lose consciousness… did it hurt?”
“To be honest, it hurt a lot. But it wasn’t unbearable.”
I suppose I should be glad that it was not powerful enough to threaten my existence. If it had, I would have had no other choice but to leave her behind.
I kicked off the ground, flying into the air and night sky. The waxing moon shined down upon me. Jumping around the night sky made me feel invincible.
I could make out trees sparsely spread out, slopes and brilliant eyes of monsters below me.
“I need you to act as the guide.”
“…Got it. Leave it to me.”
I listened to her instructions, descended the mountain and reached an empty meadow.
There was nothing as far as the eye could see, so with my visual acuity I would be able tell if the Keeper was on my trail.
Come to think of it, the crowded town was an ideal playing field to the Keeper. If we had faced off somewhere spacious where I would be able to use my physical abilities adequately, then I could have won the fight. It is futile to think about that now, but I suppose we had been playing into their hands right from when they chose the place of meeting.
However, the Keeper would not have expected for me to get away. The next time we meet… I shall win.
“… That reminds me, Senri, what is this ‘Ancestor’ that the Keeper mentioned?”
It has been bothering me since then. In order for me to survive, I not only need to know about my enemies but also about myself.
Senri said nothing for some time and eventually sighed and spoke softly.
“It refers to a vampire with a special curse… one that a necromancer brought into existence. A dangerous being… that the practitioner pours all of their aspirations into. End, I dare say you fall into that category.”
I suppose the battle with the vampire hunters is more of a hide-and-seek than a game of tag. I am faster when it comes to speed, so even if we were to both set off at the same time, I would still pull way ahead of them.
That would put us in a rather favourable situation, but they would try to fill that gap with wit, courage and skills.
They have already once taken us unawares. So the next time, there would be no pretense of a negotiation I am sure.
“That crystal… is the real deal. Although not as strong as the one you had before, this one should still be able to conceal 80% of your power. And unless you’re within their sight, you should be able to conceal your identity from even Death Knights.”
So Senri whispered in my ear as she rested on my back. I assured her that I would not mind her getting some sleep, but I wonder if she did not feel sleepy.
It felt tingling to have her whisper in my ear. But the sensation was a little enjoyable.
“That’s… good to hear. It’s better than nothing.”
“But be careful, negative energy is not the only thing that gives away a vampire.”
According to Senri, vampires are powerful but come with their fair share of imperfections.
The very first necromancer, in his pursuit of a perfect being, created a wild zombie, giving birth to the art of necromancy which in turn brought forth numerous abominable spells that propagated, but the process itself was never perfected.
The vampire brought into existence using necromancy had several special abilities, a perpetually young body, enhanced physical abilities, but at the same time possessed several fatal flaws. So fatal that even a normal human could stab them to death.
Well, I suppose that is how it was meant to be. They gained power in return for all those flaws.
In the end, the very first necromancer was never able to correct those flaws.
The necromancer’s ritual, the one used to bring forth undead, called ‘Reverse’, is still not in its complete form.
And that is the reason, the art of necromancy did not die inside the creator’s head but propagated everywhere. The first necromancer made sure of that in hopes that his fellow mages would bring improvements to it.
And those are the roots of the necromancers in existence today.
Therefore, ‘Singularity’ exists in the ‘Reverse’ curse.
Something that was brought forth as a result of each and every necromancer trying their hand at perfecting the ritual.
The undead develops in accordance with the curse, and roughly around the time it becomes a vampire, its abilities begin to ‘blossom’.
If the necromancer was unskilled, the curse would be unable to attain balance resulting in the destruction of the vessel, but if things go right, then a special singular undead would be created.
That type of individual is referred to as an ‘Ancestor’.
A product of a necromancer’s aspirations, it would be the forefather of a new kind of monster. They make prime targets for the Death Knights.
In most cases, the process may only result in the enhancement of a previously possessed special ability, but among them, there are those whose flaws disappear or change into something else entirely.
And as Senri speculated, it is highly likely that Horus Carmon did something similar to me.
I cannot argue with that.
The Lord had intended to transfer his soul into my body. And he was someone with great aspirations.
That reminds me, those corpses in the cellar may have been spares to test the ritual on. Or they may have been the result of failed ones….
Either way, I reckon he would not have built any great flaw into a body that he was going to inhabit himself.
This is not the right time for this. I have too little information.
It grew quiet behind me. I suppose she fell asleep.
She is a light sleeper. She would respond right away if I called out to her, but there was no need to wake her up unnecessarily.
I endeavored to keep from swaying too much as I ran single-mindedly.
Finally, after seven days, after repeating the cycle of travelling by night and sleeping in a hole by morning, without being pursued by the vampire hunters, we safely trespassed into the Formet territory.