My vision flickered. Regardless of my will, I was forced to feel insignificant in front of that storm of light.
The Death Knights claim that their duty is one of purification.
If this really is purification I am being subjected to, then the objective of this fire that burns my soul, the pain, must be to purge all the karma I have accumulated.
I am well aware that my second chance at life goes against the fundamental rules of this world. Even so, I did not wish to die.
Not because I was particularly ambitious. I simply had too many regrets to easily accept death.
It felt like a storm, a tide and the sun at the same time.
Amidst my fleeting sense of consciousness, I desperately tried to move my absent limbs and fought against the power that wanted to return me to my original state.
I accumulated negative energy. I could feel myself slowly getting stronger.
However, that was all in my head. If all of this is just a single human being’s strength, then I should consider myself lucky for having survived this long.
Oh how harsh this world is on the undead.
My existence was being wiped out. Erased without even given the time for my life to flash past me. My consciousness was fading.
I was miraculously revived the first time. I was saved by Senri the second time. However, I doubt history will repeat itself a third time.
I tried to scream out, but my voice was no more. And so, I died just like that.
☠ ☠ ☠
I jolted awake on the bed.
It was almost completely dark. Thick curtains were draped over the windows and not a sliver of moonlight slipped into the room.
My head prickled. I clutched at my violently throbbing heart as I slowly took a look around the room.
“Haa… haa… haa… shit, it’s that dream again…”
Lesser vampires do not perspire. If they could, I would be drenched in cold sweat from head to toe.
They do not need to breathe either. My ragged breathing was no more than something that I retained from my life as a human.
If I close my eyes and focus, I can sense my dark soul. My arms, legs and whole body were shaking.
However, all of that is proof that I am alive. Had that incident occurred when I was asleep, I would have died without even feeling any of the dread I feel now.
“End… you had that dream again–”
“Yeah… but I’m okay. I’m getting used to it.”
Senri, who lay curled up next to me, slowly stretched out and held my arm. A vulnerable Senri in a nightgown.
Almost a week had passed since Epée’s sudden onslaught.
My life has gone through a few changes.
First, I began to sleep at night. Second, I cuddled up to Senri while I slept.
It was only a temporary measure, but being close to Senri made my nightmares a bit better. Besides, if that attack were to happen again, I could get some blood right away while I wait for it to cease.
It was simply good fortune that I could survive that storm of light.
I had been awake and Senri had been close by. Those two things saved my life.
I would have died without so much as a struggle if I had been asleep. If Senri had not been close by, then I could not have fought against the purification by drinking her blood as I was dying.
According to Senri, that light was called Soul Release and it was one of the basic skills of the Death Knights.
The skill that is mostly only used to kill lower level undead, almost completely ate my soul, a lesser vampire’s.
Moreover, there was still quite a bit of distance between Epée and us.
We ran at full speed, Senri during the day and I at night to further that distance. Even if he were to ride a carriage, he would not be able to catch up with us.
I breathed in deep the sweet scent that wafted from Senri.
Dressed in nightgown, she lay curled up. Her exposed nape shined bewitchingly despite there being no light in the room. I am grateful that she scoots over out of consideration for me, but my thirst gets a bit stronger after I wake up from a nightmare, so holding back is very difficult.
I cannot possibly pin her down and feed on her after she saved my life twice.
Senri whispered reassuringly.
“It’s okay… don’t worry, End. Taking into concern the scope and strength of the attack that almost killed you, Master… must have pushed himself too hard. The power of blessing can be exhausted, so… it shouldn’t happen twice.”
“That’s true. Yeah, you’re right. …. Impossible. It can’t happen again.”
I told myself over and over. I was aware that it could only give me some peace of mind.
Epée… that man, is my archenemy.
Senri is a wonderful partner. She is fair, gentle and a kind soul who would sacrifice herself for others.
And that is precisely why Epée, deprived of Senri, is trying to decimate me with so much power, enough to reduce those benefits to nothing.
I am sure Senri is right about him having exhausted all of his power. If that kind of power could be wielded without any limitations, then all the undead would have disappeared from this world a long time ago, and though a week had passed since then, there has been no other such attack.
But at the same time, I cannot imagine that not happening again.
I have no idea why he decided to do the deed himself despite having entrusted the job to the Keeper. Perhaps Albertus had informed them of their failure or he had grown tired of waiting for the report of success that never came.
However, even if that skill takes an enormous amount of power… as long as it was possible to do it again, I am sure that man would do it. Until Senri returned, as many times as necessary.
I am scared. I ended up incurring the wrath of someone way more powerful than me. Even the thought of returning Senri crossed my mind. Although I cannot live without Senri anymore, I am well aware of the part I played in distorting her life.
But even if I were to go ahead and return her, I am sure Epée would still never forgive me.
The most that could happen is, he might not want to smite me but give me a merciful death by purification. Neither of which I want.
As of now, I have no way to counter that attack. Because the enemy does not even come into view.
All I can do is to stay out of the range of Epée’s attack and quickly accumulate energy to evolve into a vampire.
Recalling the incident still makes me shiver. As I grew timid in spite of myself, I looked at Senri beside me to raise my spirits.
Senri is trying to keep me alive. So, no matter what… I need to outrun Epée.
“Thanks, I’m okay, I’ve calmed down. You should… sleep some more. Since we need to move once the sun rises.”
“It’s no problem. … Do you need blood?”
“Nah. I’m fine… still good.”
I need to get a control myself. The vampiric instincts are trying to overwhelm me.
If Senri forsakes me, then this time around, I really will need to live my life as a monster.
“I see. That’s good then. Good night, End.”
I made sure Senri lied down before laying down myself. I scowled and bit my tongue at the delightful scent that came from such close-quarters.
I gingerly extended my arm, found Senri’s hand and squeezed it. She trembled for a moment before squeezing back.
We need to travel far. Head for a place out of reach of humans.
Epée is freakishly strong. I almost died due to an attack from a super long distance. If I were to encounter him in person, death would be inevitable.
However, there was one other concern.
Senri’s hand, a bit cold, I could sense the blood flowing through her veins. My head grew hot.
Weird. This is weird. I had drunk more than enough of her blood.
Vampires grow stronger the more blood they drink. Senri thinks my physical abilities already rival vampires.
In truth, I am a bit stronger than Albertus when she did not exert her full strength. That meant the amount of negative energy I possessed was much closer to a vampire’s.
However, I am still yet to evolve into a vampire.
The Lord mentioned that I was special.
The blood I received regularly from Senri was of no doubt the finest quality and I have also killed countless beasts.
It would not be too strange for me to have already evolved. No. It was unusual that I had not evolved considering I have lived this long.
Although the skill Soul Release is quite powerful, its effects differ depending on the type of undead.
Simply put, it does not work very well on undead with a tough body. It works best on spirit type undead, and is effective on lesser vampires whose soul is out in the open, and has noticeably weaker effect on vampires.
Lesser vampire is the chrysalis of a vampire. So, it is incredible to emit enough power with Soul Release to fill their abyss, but, it did indeed end up being more than effective. Chances of dying to that skill will get considerably lower if I were to become a vampire.
I need to accumulate more energy by any means necessary. I need to spare no effort.
Before Epée torments me to death.