“A King of the Night… an Ancestor, you say?”
“Yes. There’s no doubt as Oliver has a keen sense for sniffing out vampires.”
There exists a being called the Demon King.
It is a title given by the weakest and most populous under the sun, the humans, to a being that rules over enemies of mankind.
There have been many different kinds of Demon Kings. Intelligent beasts as well as dragons. Or even what was once human.
Most of the magical beasts live in a world where only the strong can survive. As long as one is strong, it is not all that hard to subdue monsters that display hostility towards mankind.
Rainel, who Monica was prostrated before, is also such an existence. He used his strength alone to expand his influence and before long, he had attained the title of Demon King.
His hoarse voice had the power to make anyone shrivel up.
Perhaps the reason Monica felt his presence oppressing, despite being on her knees and not even seeing him in the eye, was because she was afraid of him.
Rumors say, the blood of a famous, magnificent and ancient dragon flows through his veins.
The Demon King, Rainel, grunted as Monica silently knelt with her head almost touching the ground and said in an exasperated tone.
“That damn Oliver… strong he may be, but knows no pride.”
“Vampires are the personification of fear to werewolves. Since the king of the night from ancient times is third in rank after the king of beasts, they can be considered quite strong. Dare I say Oliver’s reaction was only natural.”
Vampires are capable of turning the ones they feed on, who are called progenies, but that ability does not seem to be passed on in its full effect down the generations.
The curse gradually grows weaker with every generation. Basically the ones turned are less powerful than their master. Rank Three means a third generation descendant of a Rank Zero Ancestor.
The one who turned Oliver was the progeny of the progeny of the progeny of the ‘King of Beasts’. Though a Rank Three, the origin of their power was a once well-known ‘King of Beasts’, so they must have had unparalleled strength.
Rainel snorted as if he was disinterested in Monica’s statement.
“So, is this man… strong?”
“Forgive me, Lord Rainel, but… there is no such thing as a weak vampire. Though… he seems a little peculiar, it would put a crimp in our plans for us to become opponents. He could help in conquering Romberg if we make him an ally.”
“Vampires have too many weaknesses.”
“Those weaknesses… are nothing but the flip side of the powerful curse. As abominable as it may be, vampires live in contradiction to the law of life. You are well aware of Oliver’s strength, my liege.”
Rainel laughed for the first time. His deep voice reverberated in the dimly lit fortress.
“Kekeke… he didn’t die despite being torn to pieces. That was enough to take even me by surprise.”
Vampires… and the strong point of undead in general is something that cannot be found in other beings. That is their ability to regenerate.
The undead are not living beings. It is no ordinary feat to kill them simply with force. Oliver has inherited only a portion of the regenerative ability.
And what if he were to come face to face with a genuine vampire that possesses powers beyond regeneration and other numerous powerful abilities?
Hot breath blew over Monica’s head.
“I welcome anybody strong with open arms. But… you should know the rules here. I understand your thinking but I don’t intend to bend those rules for anybody even if they may be a King of the Night. My followers will not stand for it. Nor will I.”
“… As you command.”
The King’s will must be established.
However, what kind of effect will all of this have on a vampire, in a world where power reigns supreme and the strong make the rules?
Monica Ultivia could not help but feel ill at ease.
☠ ☠ ☠
Vampires do not sleep. As to whether they can or cannot sleep, they can but they just do not need to.
Actually, I was awake the whole time Senri kept me in the carry case. I might hit my limit if I go for several days without sleep but that has not happened so far.
I had made the decision to not sleep behind enemy lines. Naturally, I do not intend to escape from here on the very first day.
I closed my eyes and patiently waited for Monica to return.
Monica’s place was close to the fortress. Unlike easy to set up fixtures like tents that I was used to, these dwellings were proper ones made of bricks. The house even had a separate bedroom and living room. There were no windows but that only meant that no sunlight would seep in if the door were properly secured.
Though a lot more modest than a room at an inn in town, it felt rather comfortable.
Hierarchy probably exists in the Demon King’s army. The closer you get to the fortress, the fancier the dwellings become.
Going by that, Monica must be quite higher up the ladder.
The sun went down again. I awaited her with my eyes closed, when I sensed her scent drawing near. The sound of the door opening. The presence entered the house.
Monica casually climbed into bed and rolled over to me as I lay with my eyes closed. She lay still for a while but eventually put down whatever she was carrying on the floor.
She did not seem to want to attack me. Well if she really intended to kill me she would try to do so during the day. Although her actions were within expectations, I still felt a little relieved.
I rubbed my eyes as I got up.
“Did you wake up just now, Lord End?”
“Yeah. It wasn’t a bad sleep.”
It would have been perfect if I could have had Senri’s blood. Monica pointed to what she brought and spoke in a matter-of-fact tone.
“It’s nothing too grand, but I brought you some clothes. I couldn’t bring you any armor or helmet as I wasn’t sure of your size…”
“Ahh, that’s alright. I’m not really particular about my clothes and I’m built pretty tough. Not to mention they’re all gonna come off when I transform.”
I was always in the nude in my dog form so I was starting to grow accustomed to it, but that was scary in a sense, as I was so close to losing something important as a human.
The clothes she brought were smooth to the touch and made of fine material. There was even underwear. After putting on a black shirt that fit me perfectly and a pair of pants, I finally felt human.
A rudimentary question popped up in my head so I voiced it.
“… Does anyone in this army wear clothes?”
“Almost none. Those garments were pilfered from a human settlement. Protective gear like armor or helm are more in demand but there aren’t many that could fit into them. Since clothing is the most blase thing ever, we have a mountain full of those. They are being used as fuel but firewood lasts much longer, so…”
Well, I guess beasts would not feel the need to cover up. The members of the army I spotted while being carried by Monica were mostly of the beast type. There were also bipeds but I doubt even they wear clothes.
“Well it’s nice that I get to look smart.”
“A plus point of having a human form.”
Monica grinned for a second but soon her expression turned serious.
“I was tasked to relay Lord Rainel’s intention for you to pay him a visit and I also got you the approval to take a look around. Also… there aren’t a lot of humanoids in this army. The unshakable rule we live by is the ‘survival of the fittest’. All of us are rather bloodthirsty, so you might find yourself entangled in something sooner or later.”
Well it is true that I do not really exude strength at a glance. I grew a little muscle when I evolved into a lesser vampire, but it is still pretty modest compared to anybody belonging to the beast race.
However, this is still better than my dog form in which I look a little too adorable.
I would like to avoid getting in trouble to be honest. I do consider myself to be fairly strong but that does not mean I like being in fights.
Not to mention, the soldiers in this army are probably all best of the best.
“There’s nothing that can be done to prevent trouble?”
“It’s difficult… to get everyone to comply. For anybody to gain anything in this army, they need to win it with their own hands. Everybody in the army was chosen for their strength, even the top brass, except for outliers like me.”
What a terrifying place! I cannot conceive of this as a human society… ahh, I guess it is not one.
I am just a peace-loving vampire, who is totally content as long as he is fed a bit of blood.
I grimaced and Monica spoke with a determined tone.
“On that note… I’m ashamed to request this of you… but if possible could you please refrain from killing any who might attack you?”
“They won’t really come at you with intent to kill. I kindly beg you to consider my request.”
I stood a little dazed and Monica once again bowed deeply.
☠ ☠ ☠
The fortified city, Romberg was filled with an air of exaltation and anxiety that is often the atmosphere during wartime.
Romberg was originally built to prevent invasion from the north. Therefore, a better part of its population was composed of soldiers and people involved in military affairs.
After somehow managing to lead the merchant group safely into town, exchanging information for a whole day, Senri was finally set free.
Living up to the name of a fortified town, its defenses were impeccable. The whole town was surrounded by a solid wall with water flowing here and there as part of anti-vampire measures.
“I was afraid that something would happen on the way, but I’m really grateful for all your help this time. If possible I’d like to request you to continue to assist us, Senri…”
The current leader of the merchant group, Laurel, bowed deeply.
He looked worn out and appeared to have aged several years since the first time Senri met him.
That said, maybe having delivered the goods safely had set him at ease for his face looked a bit brighter.
“I’m sorry but I have things to do.”
I need to meet up with End one way or another.
In the end, they never doubted Senri.
A dog capable of transforming into a human is quite uncommon and it may have been a mistake for him to travel along with this group, but it was also thanks to that that they were saved. If they were to condemn her for bringing him into the group then they would also need to address the fact that they attracted a werewolf to join their ranks.
The fact that Baron did not kill anyone must have also worked in his favor.
Although they seem to be of the opinion that it was possible only because Senri had kept a watchful eye on him, the reason behind the deaths was abundantly clear.
Senri tried to steer the conversation towards Baron several times, but the information exchange ended with him never being brought up.
From the view of the general populace, forces of darkness are enemies of mankind. And they are right to think so.
Even Senri had slaughtered countless vampires up until now, but all of them had been genuine threats to mankind that gleefully attacked humans.
End is simply a miraculous outlier. So Senri could not carelessly allude to the fact that End had contained himself only because he obeyed her will, as that might lead to a misconception and result in more victims down the line. It was rather unfortunate that End had to break away but it was the right choice.
Katerina, who treated Baron with much fondness, called out nervously.
She was the daughter of a merchant and a few years younger than Senri.
“Miss Senri… are you going to look for Baron?”
“To kill him?”
Katerina had tears in her eyes.
Looks like she really loved Baron and those feelings had returned to her.
She might not be aware of the threat vampires pose. Senri looked her full in the eye.
“For now, I’ll restrain him. Vampires don’t really transform into white dogs and though we travelled for a long time, he didn’t really feed on anyone. Perhaps that werewolf was mistaken and… Baron is just a relatively friendly beast.”
Senri had to add to it. She put on a grim expression.
I am sure End will forgive me for saying this.
“Vampires are basically… terrifying creatures. They are the enemy of mankind. The Death Knights simply possess the right abilities to fight them, but in general… not even a hundred ordinary humans are a match for them. Don’t ever forget that.”
End is strong. I doubt he would lose to that werewolf.
He is yet to go through the next stage in evolution, but he is already a monster in his own right.
His physical abilities are already on par with that of a vampire’s and he also possess abilities vampires do not usually possess.
Everything is decided by affinity. And it was lacking until now.
End will probably soon find out. Just how dangerous a vampire is in a situation where its weaknesses cannot be exploited.