This is unfair. This is really below the belt. I lay dispirited on Katerina’s lap.
The scent of Senri’s blood is the best but Katerina also gave off a very delicious scent. It goes without saying that I cannot indulge in my cravings, but the simple act of laying on her lap felt tantalizing. Had I been just any other vampire, then the girl would have found herself devoid of all the blood in her body.
As she gently caressed my white fur which I took pride in, I set my eyes on our surroundings, watching every movement.
I can sense what people feel from their scent. The camp was enshrouded in a bit of fear and relief.
The ones who could not fight were all gathered around the bonfire. The mercenaries spread out, forming a circle around the group, guarding them. Most of the mages were out to fight alongside Senri, but one had remained in the camp. Every precaution had been taken.
That said, we would still find ourselves in trouble if the enemy were stronger than me, but there does not exist a lot of monsters stronger than vampires, so there is no point in worrying. If it ever comes to that, we have no choice but to accept death.
There were a lot of little boys and girls gathered around me and they took turns stroking my head. They were all kids I had grown close to in my time travelling with the group.
I almost never had a chance to be the center of attention of so many people even in my past life, so this was certainly a new experience.
The kids were not their usual self and appeared a little nervous.
“Baron, once everything is over, will you become mine?”
Would you give it to me? Would you give me your blood? Really? Are you okay with not being able to take me out on a walk in broad daylight?
… I felt like a king. Is this what being the “King of the Undead” feels like?
“I hope the plan succeeds…”
“All we can do is pin our hopes on them. We can’t really make it out alive, just us.”
Men, who looked like owners of different companies, threw kindling into the fire as they discussed their predicament.
Senri is strong. I know that better than anyone. So, I do not doubt her capabilities, but at the same time, it is also true that there is only one of her.
Even when I was attacked by Albertus, Senri was not by my side.
Her power is hers alone. Hence she cannot protect the whole group by herself.
The fact that we had little to no information on our enemies was also cause for concern.
As I carried out my duty as a guard dog vigilantly, Senri’s scent wafted through the air and into my nose. Looks like the fight had begun as per the plan.
The fight was taking place quite far away from where we were camped, so, no sounds of battle were heard. However, the downwind carried her scent to me.
If I were to ever catch a whiff of Senri’s blood, then I intend to rush to her rescue. My nose twitched in an effort to glean as much information as I could about what was happening.
And then, I craned my neck to look up.
Is this not strange? We are camped downwind. The direction of the wind has not changed that much either.
During our first encounter with the woman who pretended to be the victim, Senri mentioned that she was found out through her scent. So, the enemy should be aware of my sharp sense of smell. In that case, they should have attacked from the direction the wind is blowing.
Actually, since Senri employs wide-range detection magic, it did not really matter which direction they came from, but they are not aware of that.
The first attack was pre-planned.
In the wild, learning to read the wind was a necessary tool for survival. I cannot imagine they would not know something as simple as this. Our opponents have the upper hand in terms of movement speed. They could have masked their scents if they so wished.
They intended for me to know the location of the battle…? Why? Am I overthinking this?
I jumped out of her lap and stood on the ground. I felt unease prickling my skin, however, it was simply too late to warn Senri.
The scent of blood reached me.
Close. But it was not from the battleground. A groan echoed through the trees and was followed by a delayed scream.
Flustered, I turned around to look in the direction the scent of blood came from.
There stood a small man near the bonfire.
At his feet lay a mercenary who had been enjoying a recess. I have no idea how he was attacked, but his head was barely hanging on to his neck. Death must have been instant.
Dark red liquid gushed from the gaping hole where his head once was. His eyes were wide open looking in my direction. There was no more light in those eyes, but I could see the regret in them.
“Ahh, Oliver, w-what did you…”
“What you ask…? Have you gone senile, Master?
The mercenaries who were on guard around us, heard the screams and began to gather.
However, the man called Oliver did not look in the least flustered. Nor did I smell any fear from him.
It was the coachman. A black hat on top of his head, well-tailored clothes that invoked a different feeling of comfort from the kind mercenaries wear. A small whip dangled from his hip.
He had a small build with barely any muscle. He did not look as strong as a tough mercenary.
However, the fingers on his right hand were wet with blood. Drops of blood dripped from his fingertips.
He smelled human, but I doubt humans are capable of lopping off another person’s head with their bare hand.
He was an enemy. He had infiltrated the group. Got himself hired as a coachman and became part of the group and travelled along with them.
And thus, the moment the secret weapon, Senri, had left the group, he made apparent his real identity.
The man who lay dead was one of the finest mercenaries among the ones who stayed behind. However, he still could not defend himself from a sudden attack from a man who he believed to be a comrade.
The guards were on the lookout for any movements from outside the group. They could not have foreseen this and so they cannot really be blamed.
The merchants are transporting goods from far away. If he had joined them at the very beginning from where they set off… then this must be one truly patient plan they put in motion. Moreover, the fact that he chose to reveal his true colors now must mean he saw his chances and took it.
A young man who may have been his employer, shrunk back as he censured him.
“H-Have you lost your mind…are you biting the hand that fed you?! I paid you plenty…”
He really has gone senile. He cannot even read the situation.
“Well. That young Miss Senri is certainly strong, but no matter her strength… she can’t carry the whole group on her shoulders.”
There is a right place and a right person for everything. If Oliver’s intention was the destruction of the supplies, then he has no need to kill Senri to accomplish that.
Oliver shrugged and a big fireball landed square on his face and exploded.
“You traitor! Don’t think you can win against so many of us!”
The mercenaries’ eyes glinted with anger as they surrounded him. The merchants had grown pale and did their best to keep the helpless folk at a distance.
The fireball was from a mage who had been left at the camp as a precautionary measure.
Offensive magic was strong and even a lower-rank mage should be able to fatally wound at least a single person by themselves.
It would no doubt cause a fatal wound. That is, if the opponent were human.
The smoke cleared away. The mercenaries’ eyes almost popped out of their heads and they stepped back.
Oliver was utterly unharmed. His hat had been blown off and half of his shirt had been reduced to ashes, but there were no discernible wounds on his skin.
“Wow… how could you be so mean to an ex-comrade… I really liked that hat.”
“W-What in hell are you…”
The mercenaries looked speechless at Oliver speaking away nonchalantly.
He brushed off the ashes and said in a regretful tone.
“I intended to keep that hat. Well, no matter. Since the moon is almost full, I would probably wreck everything anyway.”
Saying so, thick blood vessels bulge on his body. It creaked and groaned as his small figure underwent extreme transformation.
This caused unrest among the mercenaries, their faces grew white as a sheet and they shrunk back.
I recognized that transformation. Albertus.
His average sized body enlarged to the extreme, tearing apart his clothes, pants, shoes from the inside.
His height, which was about 150 centimeters, almost doubled. Brown fur akin to wires enveloped his scorched skin. However, the most shocking change was the one to his face.
Its skeletal structure changed. His jaw jutted out, nose grew long, ears stretched upwards transforming into huge ones. All of the changes happened in a matter of seconds.
The children witnessing the horror at a distance all began to scream. I wagged my tail and glared at Oliver.
One of the mercenaries uttered its name even as his voice trembled.
“Well, it looks like I don’t need to introduce myself. Humans.”
Werewolf. A combination of wolf and man.
A being different from Albertus who was closer to a beast. He was the very image of what I had pictured a werewolf to look like.
With a wide smile on his face, Oliver shot off the ground, raised an arm as huge as a log and attacked the mercenaries surrounding him.