“Are you sure you want to let them join us? Sure, they saved our lives, but ―― they’re obviously suspicious. Also, they’re ‘Vampire Hunters’ of all things.”
Lazar answered his teammate with a silent, disappointed look.
Mercenaries also fought against the demons sometimes, but ‘Vampire Hunters’ were a group of madmen who even mercenaries feared.
The way those small humans confronted monsters despite not having any special powers like Death Knights might’ve been interesting inside a story, but seeing it in person was the most frightening thing ever. They were different from Lazar and his teammates who were happy enough with just crushing Skeletons.
There were only a few vampire hunters. Many named themselves as ‘Vampire Hunters’ to make use of their prestige, but these two were obviously no ordinary mercenaries.
The air around them was different. Coming in without any light and defeating ‘Black Bone’ in the darkness with a single blow is impossible for ordinary mercenaries, and if it was possible, they most likely wouldn’t think of doing it.
They also looked strange. The man, who named himself as Baron, was wearing sunglasses even though it was midnight and the woman was dressed unbelievably lightly. It wasn’t like Lazar and the co. were heavily equipped, but her outfit wasn’t suitable for visiting the basement of the old castle of the former Demon King.
“It can’t be helped. Just be happy that you’re still alive. Besides, that Baron guy. His power is nuts. You saw it, right? He can crush a copper coin. That’s not something a human can do.”
Lazar had seen plenty of people bragging about their strength, but this was the first time he had seen a man crush copper coins with just his fingers. What’s more, the person involved didn’t seem to be boasting of his strength, so it felt extremely strange. While it wasn’t a humanly possible deed, it was understandable if the other person was a vampire hunter. Vampire Hunters were strange in a head and they also had strange powers.
“Besides, they said that they didn’t want the reward. We, on the other hand, can work more safely than usual.”
He continued as if trying to convince himself.
Asking to join their job without demanding reward was a strange request. Lazar would feel suspicious too, if the other party was in the same trade.
But they were vampire hunters. The only purpose of vampire hunters was to hunt the vampires. Of course they probably received money too, but since they could earn money more easily as mercenaries, they were definitely focused more on hunting monsters.
And, in the first place ―― it would be one thing if they were on equal grounds, but there was no way he could refuse in that situation. Lazar and others already owed them.
Then, Lazar glared at one of his teammates, Boris, who got into many troubles because of his womanizing ways.
“More than that, Boris. Don’t you dare put your hands on Roux. You saw that power. A single punch will easily break a few of your bones.”
They were too young to be a married couple. Lazar didn’t know if those two were really in that kind of relationship, but Roux herself didn’t deny it with words and Baron’s eyes and tone were intimidating enough to think that he would actually beat them up.
Perhaps Boris’ instincts were sharper after going through a lot of painful experiences, he trembled with an unusually serious expression.
“Yeah, I know. Even I know how to choose my opponents.”
“Still, the fact that vampire hunters would come here on a business trip… does it mean that this job is―― pretty dangerous?”
Lazar was fully aware that things were getting fishy. He relayed the information about the appearance of ‘Black Bone’ to the employer but their reaction didn’t change much. ‘Black Bone’ was a strong enemy, but it wasn’t that rare. It was unbearable for Lazar and his teammates who actually encountered it, but it couldn’t be helped that the client’s reaction was weak.
In the first place, it was common sense to call the Order of Death Knight if undead started to appear. From the fact that they hadn’t done this, it was obvious that ‘Dessend’ didn’t consider this matter to be of high importance.
“Yeah. Isn’t that why we’re letting Baron join in? Besides, if you’re worried, you can just put up a silver cross in the castle.”
Why did an easy job turn into something like this?
Lazar sighed and looked outside. The night was coming again. They had to keep defeating those abominable undead in the basement of the castle again.
I decided to put the small, fragment size Night Crystal in the locket and hang it around my neck to not lose it.
The locket that Senri bought for me is made of pure gold and it’s not very strong, but it’s originally just an accessory and we’re in ‘Dessend’ that’s known for its silverwork and to start with, even if this locket was made of steel, I’d still lose it if I’m not careful, so I have to compromise.
If I hang it around my neck, I won’t be detected to be a vampire. For some reason, Senri looks at my happy mood with exasperation.
“End, you’re letting your guard down.”
“I’m not End, I’m Baron. And you’re not Senri, but Roux. You’re my wife Roux.”
“… That’s a simplistic setting. There should have been other better excuses.”
“It’s better than not doing anything.”
Senri sighs deeply.
I gave the setting I wanted to play. I have to regularly suck Senri’s blood. During that time, we have to be alone mostly for self-defense. Thus, this is a reasonable setting. Besides, this way, if those gruff mercenaries try to lay their hands on Senri, I can beat them up without hesitation.
To start with, it was Senri who said that she’d always stay with me. In other words, she would be my family. And, in order to stay with an undead like me, we would need to have an even stronger connection than that. In other words, we would have to be a married couple. I say with a serious expression.
“There is clearly something in that castle…”
“… The Mirage Demon King was a mage.”
Senri says expressionlessly.
The information we got from asking mister Lazar and the others again was too little. But we did find out some new things.
The undead started invading from outside quite a long time ago and several parties have already been involved in the mission to repel them. It seems like the higher-ups of ‘Dessend’ don’t intend to report this situation to the Order of Death Knight at the moment. And, even when they were told about the appearance of an evolved undead, they didn’t particularly show a strong reaction.
In other words, this matter is not that unusual of a situation – Evolved undead have appeared before this too.
The ‘Black Bone’ that almost killed mister Lazar and his teammates isn’t exactly the kind of monster that’s impossible for humans to beat. It seemed like those higher up would change their mind if casualties appeared, so I’m sure they’d subjugate it without any problems at that time.
And, now I can somehow guess why this town has so many anti-vampire countermeasures.
Every nook and cranny of the basement should’ve already been checked by ‘Dessend’, but there’s a chance that they overlooked the Night Crystals and found something that only undead could identify.
“Let’s go sightseeing if we have the opportunity. I couldn’t look around Rainel’s castle in the end and I wanted to go around it at least once.”
Senri frowns lightly. But she doesn’t say anything.
Either way, Senri should also be curious about the castle, which we would need to check.
The castle of the Mirage King stood calmly today as well. The old castle illuminated by the moonlight was somewhat devastated, but still looked hauntingly beautiful.
I don’t want to be a Demon King, but I want to build a castle like this one day.
Mister Lazar and the others were waiting in front of the castle. I don’t feel the presence of undead today.
“We’re always ambushing them in the basement. Most undead come here aiming for the basement.”
“No idea. But, it’s said that powerful undead usually live in underground labyrinths so maybe they just like basements?”
These people really don’t know anything.
I look at Senri, but she’s slightly shaking her head.
I agree with her. I love coffins and I also love basements where the sunlight doesn’t reach, but I’m not drawn in like moths enthralled by the light. I’m sure the other undead are the same.
That being said, I also don’t think that those Skeletons were aiming for the basement because they felt the presence of the Night Crystals. Sure, I felt the presence of the Night Crystals too but that was only after I went to the basement. Its power isn’t strong enough to be detectable from above ground.
The movements of the Skeletons had purpose. In other words, somebody gave them orders beforehand.
Right now, I can defeat most Skeletons. It wouldn’t be a problem even if on top of that, Mister Lazar and others betrayed us and attacked us. And, if the owner of the Skeletons from the other day came too ―― if I’m with Senri, I should at least be able to run away.
I wanted to look around the castle too, but I followed Mister Lazar and his teammates who have already been hunting the undead for two weeks and headed for the basement.
The moment I took the first step towards the basement while following Mister Lazar and others, I stopped.
Senri, who was walking behind me, stopped immediately.
“… Is anything wrong?”
“… No, it’s nothing.”
I frown, close my eyes and sharpen my mind.
I don’t take much time. I thought it was my imagination for a second, but it wasn’t. Neither Mister Lazar’s group, nor Senri seem to have realized it.
I can feel the presence of Night Crystals.
I squint and look into the darkness. There is no sign of life in the underground passage that was most likely built by the Mirage King.
“The Night Crystal… seems to be a part of the undead. The Ruler of Darkness ―― The Skeleton King who once led ten thousand Skeletons ―― ‘Night Closer’. Kukuku… I don’t know how true this is though.”