At first, there was only a single strange lion.
The oldest scenery in his memories was a sacred mountain devoid of life and his roaring self at its summit.
The powerful dragon blood flowing in his body made Rainel ‘aloof’.
By the time he had become self-aware, there was nobody except for the preys around him. It wasn’t until after a while that he found out that lion magical beasts lived in packs.
The trigger was the lone Demon King that had wandered into Rainel’s territory.
It was probably the weakest of all Demon Kings. Rainel ripped apart the intruder who violated the borders of his territory.
And he became the new Demon King. This was a title for someone who ruled over those that were not human. Weak monsters gathered under the powerful.
The only thing needed was overwhelming power. For Rainel, who was born a King, creating his own pack was pretty much instinctual, and eventually, Demon King Rainel became one of the major forces.
Now that his family had become much bigger, it was impossible to keep the pack alive just by protecting their territory.
The pack already was so big that Rainel alone was unable to look after all of them. Next, he had to create a country. Conquering the fortified city, Romberg, was the first step towards that goal.
But more than that, Rainel was thirsting to fight somebody strong.
The dragon race was a species that became bigger the longer they lived. Rainel, who was their descendant, also grew stronger with each year.
He hadn’t experienced a battle where he had to go all out in a long while. When was the last time that he had a desperate battle? Maybe when he fought a powerful magical Beast, Man-Eater Hebram, or perhaps when he went against Oliver? Still, even then, Rainel wasn’t seriously wounded.
One day, even the challengers disappeared. The Death Knights in Romberg couldn’t reach him either.
At this rate, even if he got stronger, his soul would rot away.
That vampire was the first promising fighter in a good while. Truly wonderful. He beat the Number 2 of the army, Man-Eater, who was always greedy for victory. His power, will and even his growth potential was outstanding.
And his eyes, shining like blood―― those were the same eyes his archenemy used to look at him with a long time ago. Right now, he was still weaker than Rainel, but that man would definitely challenge him in the not too distant future.
It was said that Demon Kings, who had taken vampires as their subordinates, would be targeted by Death Knights. But that was also fine.
Rainel was a King. He stood on top of everything that had a connection to the demons. Therefore, he would pride himself in his power and take on all challenges.
As long as End Baron was here, taking over Romberg would be just a matter of time. The more power Rainel gained, the stronger the enemies. The greater the swarm of humans and Demon Kings that would challenge him. Just by thinking about it, he was tingling with excitement. His rotting fighting instincts were thrilled.
The time had come. Although they couldn’t cut off the supply route, they obtained something more valuable. Stagnation wouldn’t be allowed for Rainel’s army.
They would crush Romberg as soon as possible. They would destroy that nuisance of a wall, trample down the city and continue forward, beyond its border.
A rugged castle standing on the mountainside. Deep inside, as he was repressing his overwhelming emotions with the chilly air of the night, a shadow appeared, mixed in with the darkness.
It didn’t have a presence. Nor a smell, or sound. Rainel growled quietly at the petite figure wearing a crimson cloak.
The shadow was a guest. It looked like a human, but it was something else.
A nauseating smell of blood suddenly assaulted Rainel. That person’s skin was sickly white, with no signs of vitality. Their hair was red and was glossy, as if it had been wet.
It looked androgynous. Rainel couldn’t discern a person’s age or sex from their faces, but the guest smelled like a woman. Her corpse scent was hidden by the strong smell of blood.
Perhaps vampires were ―― those kinds of creatures.
The woman was a messenger from another Demon King. She was a retainer of the ‘Stake King’, one of the most powerful forces even within the many Demon Kings.
Their army was made of abominable Undead.
While they weren’t Demon King Rainel’s ally, they weren’t his enemy either. That Demon King’s territory was far away.
Their retainer was sent to observe the situation and depending on the situation, to join hands.
The woman slightly opened her mouth. Her voice, which had been unimpressed ever since she arrived in Rainel’s army, was now quivering, albeit slightly.
“There is no mistake… he’s a vampire… and a True Vampire at that. Unbelievable, there was still somebody like him who didn’t align with any group… “
“Aren’t there plenty of those under your King, Sable?”
Rainel wasn’t the only one watching Man-Eater’s duel.
Somebody, who didn’t have even a sliver of interest in the powerful magical beast, Manticore, was now trembling with excitement. Her original purpose was to check on Oliver―― the werewolf that was created by a certain vampire, but that matter seemed to have already flown out of her mind.
“Demon King Rainel, we shall transfer a certain part of our army to you. An army made up of ten 4th ranked werewolves, and 5th and 6th ranked werewolves, all 200 of them faithful to the King.”
“What do you want in exchange?”
He already knew the answer, but Rainel still asked in a small voice.
The vampire, named Sable, answered immediately. Her eyes were shining quietly.
“In exchange… we’ll take that vampire.”
Rainel rose up slightly. The tips of his sharp claws, made of holy silver, scraped the floor.
Indeed, the werewolves were powerful. They were powerful and few in numbers. If he had an army of 200 that could transform into humans, taking over Romberg would be an easy matter.
However, it was out of the question. He had no intention of going along with the negotiation ever since the beginning. Rainel didn’t allow her into his territory just so he could give her somebody he fancied.
He looked down on the shadow that was much smaller than himself.
“Get lost. Before my claws pierce your body.
“Tsk… you’re just a slightly unique beast.”
As Sable clicked her tongue, Rainel swung down his forefeet. The silver claws – the weakness of the vampires that he had specifically made, cut her body diagonally without giving her enough time to evade and following its course, pierced the castle’s floor. The whole castle trembled from the power of a lion with the dragon’s blood flowing through his veins.
However, he didn’t feel any resistance. Sable, who he definitely tore to pieces, was a few meters away, standing near the window. Neither her cloak, nor her slender body had as little as a scratch on them.
The vampires’ abilities were bottomless. Even after having Rainel’s piercing gaze on her, Sable’s expression remained the same. She may have been wrapped in a strong smell of blood, but perhaps there was actually no blood circulating in her body.
“You will regret refusing this deal.”
“… Make me.”
Sable’s expression strongly distorts. And almost at the same time, her body burst forth.
Inside the darkness, countless bats flew away, squeaking. This swarm, dense enough for each member to bump into each other, went out of the window as if they were competing with each other. Eventually, there were none left.
“What a crafty power. I’ll rip you to pieces one day.”
He could chase her, but she didn’t have any intentions of properly fighting against him. Even if he went after her, she’d just keep running away. That would dampen all his excitement.
Right now, he didn’t have enough time to mind a single outsider vampire.
As he stood up, Demon King Rainel roared loudly.
It shook the air, shook the castle and spread to all the troops that had been positioned on the mountain. Roars came back to answer him.
Well then, the time has come. Sharpen your claws and polish your fangs. Show the humans, show the retainer of the ‘Stake King’, who came to scrutinize Rainel’s army, your might!
It was easy to hide in the darkness. Nobody saw me and nobody seemed to have noticed my presence either.
‘Silhouette’s’ strength lies not just in erasure of sounds and smells, but also the concealment of visual signs. If you pour more blood power into it, you’ll be able to deceive the sensitive 5 senses of the magical beasts and move like the shadows. It doesn’t last for long, but for the time being, that’s not big of a deal.
My mind is hot. I can feel my combat instinct stirring up. Perhaps I drank a lot of blood, or it’s because I’ve been too stressed lately.
There would be no problem if this was just a matter of my mood, but I must not allow my ego to be taken over by the instincts of a vampire. It’s fine during the battle, but when everything is over, I must return to my original self.
For the time being, there is nobody in this army that could defeat me. While they may be big in numbers, that is of no significance to vampires.
Just as I expected, the only ones I have to look out for are Demon King Rainel and Man-Eater. If we’re talking about abilities, Oliver seems to also be strong, but he’s unstable enough that he could come to my side depending on how I act. Don’t really need him though.
The problem is Rainel. His physical abilities are most likely stronger than Albertus and since I haven’t seen him in a battle, he’s unfathomable.
If I want to kill that Gamelyon, I will need outside help. The power to pierce through his fur and wound him.
Man-Eater’s house is close to the castle, in a mountain cave. Two annoyed-looking ogres were guarding the misshapen wooden door.
The door was obviously made in a rush. It was just a few random wooden planks casually put together, full of gaps, not even fulfilling its significance as a door. There was a strong smell of caution leaking from the gaps along with the air.
The door was obviously a countermeasure against me. Vampires cannot enter other people’s houses unless they’re invited in. I bet Man-Eater thought that the cave where he always spent the night in didn’t fit the requirements of a house so he hurriedly made the door. He is right though. My instincts are whispering to me that I shouldn’t enter this so-called house.
As expected, that guy’s ―― I think the Demon King called him Hebram―― a shrewd magical beast.
I assume he also doesn’t use guards usually. The ogres looked obviously dissatisfied.
Looks like I’m hated a lot… Did he perhaps think that I would ambush him as revenge?
As I hid in the shadow of a tree and licked my lips, I decided to think about how I would request his help.