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While Vandalieu and his companions were overcoming Joseph and Aggar’s insignificant schemes, a certain man entered a nameless bar between the red-light district and the slums with his drinking buddies… or rather, his subordinates that were posing as such.
“Welcome…” a waitress said unenthusiastically.
In addition to the unmotivated waitress, there was a strong-looking but amateur door guard, and a man who served as both bartender and chef, who talked constantly and yet was so unfriendly that it was incredible that he hadn’t been fired yet.
Even the customers were the kind that were satisfied with drinks that had been diluted to mask the fact that the alcohol had been fermented for too long.
“Your order? If you’re still deciding, I recommend the Slum Cocktail. It’s made from the leftover booze that we get given from other places, but tonight’s mix is a good one. You’ll be in paradise for sure,” said the bartender, talking on and on in a gloomy tone.
“One special red wine and sheep cheese set, large,” said the man, placing his order without engaging in the small talk. “I’ll share it with my drinking buddies.”
“… We’re out of that. We do have white wine and normal cheese, though,” the bartender said.
“No, I want the red wine and sheep cheese,” the man insisted.
“Very well. Follow me to the back room,” the bartender said, and with that, he led the men to a room with no windows and nothing inside except for a plain table and chairs.
But one of the man’s subordinates pressed a button, and a staircase leading downstairs appeared in the middle of the floor.
“Let’s go,” the man said.
“Yes, ‘Venomous Snake’ Erkid-sama,” said the bartender.
The man was the ‘Venomous Snake’ Erkid. Like the ‘Hyena’ Gozoroff, he was a somewhat well-known figure in the Alcrem Duchy’s underworld.
And like Gozoroff, he was the boss of a lower branch of a nameless criminal organization. At the bottom of the stairs that led underground was the organization’s headquarters… At least, Erkid had been told that this was the headquarters, and this was where he met with the leader of the organization and the bosses of the other lower branches of it.
There’s no guarantee that what I’ve been told is true information, and there’s no definite proof that the boss that I’ve met is the real boss and not a body double. I have to say, I’ve done well to place myself so deep in a mysterious organization, Erkid thought to himself sarcastically.
But he felt no dissatisfaction towards the organization. There were many things that the organization provided – such as the cultivation of raw materials, their refinement into drugs, trade routes to sell the drugs, information on ongoing drug investigations.
Naturally, Erkid paid the organization a large amount for these services, but… he was still left with plenty of money in hand.
That was why he felt no dissatisfaction… or at least he hadn’t, up until just a moment earlier.
As Erkid and his subordinates descended the stairs and proceeded through the corridor ahead, a woman appeared before them.
“Welcome, ‘Venomous Snake’ Erkid-dono. The leader is waiting further inside,” she said.
She was a Beast-kin woman that the organization’s leader had recently been keeping near him, and her name was Belle. It was rumored that she was both the head’s new secretary and lover. But Erkid thought that she was probably his bodyguard.
The evening dress that was made of thin fabric and even had long slits on the sides, revealing her plentiful chest and the shape of her hips, looked like it belonged to a high-class prostitute rather than a secretary.
But as Erkid looked at her hair that was too short to reach her shoulders, her sharp eyes and her posture that left no openings, Erkid told himself that she was about as similarly capable as himself.
“But before you enter, may I ask what business you have with him?” Belle asked, winding her tail that was a defining characteristic of forest-monkey-type Beast-kin like herself, around her neck like a scarf. “I have heard nothing other than that it is an urgent issue.”
But Erkid gave a weak smile and declined to answer. “Of course, I would not waste the head’s precious time. But it is an extremely important matter… so I would like to tell him directly, in person.”
Belle stayed silent for a moment, and then let out a sigh. “… Very well, if it is insisted by none other than you, Erkid-dono. This way,” she said, giving up on getting any answers from Erkid and leading him and his subordinates further inside.
The eyes of all of the subordinates except for one were fixed on Belle’s white back and her bottom, which bounced gently beneath her tail with every step she took.
But Erkid suddenly stepped forward and forcibly grabbed Belle’s tail. Perhaps she couldn’t have even imagined that the boss of a lower branch of the organization would dare to do such a thing to someone who was the head’s secretary and lover; she made no move to avoid her tail being grabbed.
But Erkid could see that her shoulders were trembling.
“I don’t know if you’re the head’s favorite or something, but don’t be so full of yourself, you monkey bitch. How many women do you think the head’s used and discarded like trash? You’ll be joining them as soon as he gets bored of you. You should be sucking up to me while you can, so then maybe I’ll use you once you’re let go. I’ll be cutting this bothersome tail off you first, though,” Erkid snarled, pulling Belle’s tail a little as if threatening to pull it out, but then he let go.
“… This way,” said Belle, attempting to continue leading Erkid and his subordinates as if nothing had happened.
But Erkid and his subordinates didn’t fail to notice that the blood had drained out of her already-pale face, making it even more pale.
Satisfied, a faint smile appeared on Erkid’s face once more as he continued following Belle, making no further attempt to touch her.
Before long, they reached a large door. They hadn’t met any other members of the organization along the entire corridor.
Though this place was called the headquarters, the boss was not always here, and the authorities would never enter this place, so there was no need for any guards or fighting forces to be present, though it was possible that there was a vault somewhere in here and there were accountants doing administrative work and Erkid just hadn’t been informed.
Belle knocked on the door. “… It’s Belle. I have brought the ‘Venomous Snake’ Erkid with me,” she said.
“Come in,” said a woman’s voice from inside.
Behind the door, there was a large meeting room. However, there were only three silhouettes waiting inside.
“Erkid, you said that it’s an urgent matter, but… you seem to be in quite the good mood,” said the old man who was sitting in a chair that resembled a throne.
Though he had a white beard, it was visible even through his clothes that he maintained his body and kept it muscular. This was the leader of the organization.
The two women standing behind him, one to either side, were his bodyguards.
The woman on the right was a beauty; her body wasn’t quite as sensual as Belle’s, but it was attractive nonetheless. She was clearly older than Belle in appearance, but her skin had a glossy appearance to it that made it clear that her body was not declining. But she had a strangely faint presence; she didn’t give off any signs that she was alive at all.
In contrast, the red-haired woman on the left was about twenty years of age, with a strict-looking, beautiful face. She was wearing leather armor that seemed to be made of a monster’s hide, and a longsword hung at her waist.
And both of them were wearing chokers… or rather, collars. Erkid wondered if these two were slaves that the leader had acquired from somewhere.
There was also an Elf girl standing behind the head. She had the plainest air about her of the three women, but she was a tidy-looking girl who could certainly still be called attractive. There were likely a good number of men who would prefer her over the red-headed, strict-looking woman and the somewhat gaudy-looking, middle-aged woman.
But she wasn’t armed, so it didn’t look like she was a guard, and although she didn’t have a shabby appearance, she didn’t seem to be one of the head’s lovers. She wasn’t wearing a collar, either. Erkid had heard the rumors that this was one of the head’s illegitimate children that he had made with an Elf woman.
After quickly examining the people in the room, Erkid quickly gave a bow before the leader would begin to suspect something.
“Yes, I’m afraid… I have come to check on the organization’s management and personnel,” he said.
“That is your ‘urgent matter?’” the leader asked.
“But of course. Why have you put a hold on my plan to expand my drug business? The plan to take over a remote village and convert the entire village into a drug manufacturing factory… Was there something inadequate about this plan?” Erkid questioned.
Erkid’s plan had been to use brute force to take over a distant village that was only visited by merchants once or twice a year, turn its inhabitants into slaves and use it for the cultivation and refinement of drugs. Of course, the Commerce Guild would pull some strings to switch the merchants out for those working for the organization, and trade drugs illegally under the pretense of ordinary business.
If things had gone well, this would have resulted in the biggest drug-production operation in the Alcrem Duchy within a few years.
The leader of the organization had suddenly put a hold on that plan. He had said that drug controls would become stricter or other organizations might interfere, and instructed Erkid to wait and observe the situation.
Erkid’s intelligence network had found no information about drug controls being tightened or anything about other organizations.
“I believe I have explained the reason. Do you not trust my command?” the leader of the organization asked.
“I don’t. And that’s not all. The ‘Hyena’ Gozoroff is fairly quiet these days, isn’t he? And it seems that there are some other lower branches of the organization that are taking a break,” said Erkid.
“… There are other circumstances that the other lower branches find themselves in,” the leader said in a somewhat flat tone. “Is there any reason for me to require your understanding of each of them?”
The bodyguard women beside the leader were glaring at Erkid with dangerous looks in their eyes. The middle-aged woman’s almost-invisible presence was certainly not invisible now.
“And… who is this ‘Starving Wolf’ Michael? It seems that you have left the surface work to him, but I’ve never heard of the man before,” Erkid continued. “From what I’ve heard, Belle over there and the wenches you have on either side of you are giving commands in your place. As things stand, I can’t trust you like I did before.”
“Erkid, do not misunderstand. Whether or not you trust me is unimportant. Whether I trust you or not is. That is everything,” said the head.
That was how things were in criminal organizations. But upon hearing the head’s words, Erkid hardened his resolve.
“I see… Then I shall stop being your subordinate, starting today! Take this, you guys!” He shouted, facing his four subordinates and raising a hand.
The ring on one of the fingers of his raised hand shone for a moment, and swords, axes and spears suddenly appeared.
“An Item Box?!” Belle shouted.
“Erkid-dono, you intend to betray us?!” one of the other women demanded.
Erkid felt as if his heart was dancing in joy. The organization had changed too much in such a short period of time, and he could no longer trust it. With that being the case, there were only two options to ensure his survival – he needed to separate himself from the organization, or take control of it.
He had made his preparations for this. He had gathered capable individuals, and since it was unlikely that he would be allowed to see the leader while visibly armed, he had purchased a Magic Item that would allow him to sneak weapons in.
Three of the four subordinates he had brought were either C-class adventurers or fighters with fighting strength equivalent to C-class, who had either become addicted to drugs or fallen into debt.
The other was a former B-class adventurer with a bounty on his head for evil deeds such as killing his clients who had made commissions, but he had slain many would-be bounty hunters who had come for him. He was known as the ‘Bounty Hunter Hunter’ Abel.
Erkid himself was quite skilled. Even if he could not take over the organization this instant, he would be able to do severe enough damage for it to become unable to act for a while.
He would use that opening to set up his drug-trading organization independently and make preparations.
The scene before him promised the fulfillment of his ambitions… Erkid let out a triumphant laugh as he watched his subordinates swing their weapons down at the leader of the organization.
“You women, if you surrender, I might spare your lives! I’ll keep you as pets, starting with Belle over there… Huh?” he uttered in surprise as he realized that the weapons of his subordinates, who were supposed to be strong enough to be C-class adventurers, hadn’t harmed the body of the organization’s head.
“W-what is this?! A magical barrier?!” one of the subordinates shouted.
“My special move, ‘Iron Sever,’ had no effect at all?!” yelled another.
A transparent barrier had appeared, wrapping around the Elf girl… Melissa, who was standing behind the organization’s leader.
“This leader isn’t really worth protecting, is he?” Melissa said casually.
“I can’t maintain his Live-dead state if he’s too heavily wounded, so don’t say that,” said the leader.
Erkid’s subordinates continued desperately trying to attack them, but they were all blocked by her ‘Aegis.’
And Abel, who was Erkid’s trump card… had been struck down by the swords of the two bodyguards simultaneously, and was now collapsed on the floor, scattering blood everywhere.
“Hey, why are you going for this one as well?!” the red-haired bodyguard said, looking at the middle-aged one.
“Because he looked the strongest of them all, of course,” replied the other bodyguard. “Well, he was still a small fry, though.”
“Well, whatever… Infinite Thrusts!”
And with that, the red-haired bodyguard… Eleanora, performed a ‘Swordsmanship’ martial skill that unleashed an uncountable number of thrusts at an incredible speed.
With their blood spraying into the air, Erkid’s subordinates collapsed onto the ground.
“Ah! At least leave one of them alive! What are you going to do if my ‘Torture’ Skill gets rusty!” said the other bodyguard… Isla.
“If your skill gets rusty because of something like that, then that means that was all there is to your skill,” said Eleanora. “Besides, the one you want to torture is that man standing over there, isn’t it?”
“So cheeky… despite the fact that your ‘Swordsmanship’ Skill hasn’t awakened into a superior Skill,” Isla gloated.
“Kuh, getting me right where it hurts! I feel like I’ll reach something if I go a little further, you know!” Eleanora protested.
Having witnessed his subordinates being slaughtered helplessly, Erkid stood stock-still, dumbfounded. His brain was unable to keep up with the change in situation, and had stopped thinking entirely as a result.
His subordinates had been a B-class adventurer with a bounty on his head and three men as capable as C-class adventurers. They should have at least been able to put up a fight; Erkid hadn’t even imagined that they would be massacred without even buying him any time.
“It seems that you are unoccupied. Very well, I shall be your opponent,” said Belle… Bellmond.
In his stupefied state, Erkid failed to avoid Bellmond’s tail wrapping around his leg like a snake.
“What the hell, you ape woman?!” he shouted in surprise.
In the next moment, Bellmond smashed him against the ceiling of the room with just the strength of her tail.
A few seconds later, she struck him against the floor. And then back again. Erkid made several trips back and forth between the ceiling and the floor, gasping in pain each time.
Erkid was very quickly turned from a young, aspiring boss of a drug-trading organization to a wounded man on the verge of death.
Just as his face started to become unrecognizable, Bellmond stopped to take the ring from his finger.
“I’ll take this,” she said, and then swung Erkid with her tail once more and let go of his twisted leg at the same time, sending him flying like a piece of garbage.
The corners of Melissa’s mouth twitched, while Isla’s turned upwards in a smile.
“Isn’t he dead? I thought we were supposed to take him alive,” said Melissa.
“Melissa, he’s still hanging on to life. Once a person becomes a D-class adventurer, they don’t die so easily from things like this. It seems you’re still not used to how resilient the humans of this world are,” said Isla.
Indeed, Erkid’s chest was still faintly moving up and down. It was likely that he could still be saved with a Potion or with magic.
“… It seems that I can’t get rid of my habit of thinking of humans with the common sense that applies on Earth and in Origin, though I’m fine with monsters and you people,” said Melissa.
“You haven’t experienced a lot of battles against people since you came to this world, so it can’t be helped. You’ll get used to it whether you like it or not soon enough,” said Eleanora. “More importantly, how is that Item-Box-ish ring?” she asked Bellmond.
Bellmond examined Erkid’s ring for a few moments, then shook her head. “Unfortunately, it’s a low-quality Item Box. It is likely only capable of holding a few weapons, though it is still quite valuable.”
“… He might have acquired it just because it was the right size to carry some weapons. It may be effective for surprise attacks,” said Eleanora. “Anyway, you seemed to be quite rough on him. What got into you?”
“Yes, it was quite a relentless attack coming from you. It does seem that you held back, but… did something happen?” Melissa asked.
“No, nothing,” said Bellmond, giving a smile as she wrapped her tail around her neck like a scarf once more.
Hearing her answer, Eleanora and Melissa immediately knew that Erkid had managed to incur her wrath.
It’s probably something to do with her tail, thought Eleanora as she made eye contact with Melissa.
There’s no other explanation, thought Melissa, knowing that Eleanora was thinking the same thing.
Meanwhile, a fluffy creature emerged from the back of the organization’s ‘leader’ behind them… The Demon King Familiar that had been controlling his mouth.
“Well then, let’s heal this guy and question him, then use him when we destroy his organization,” the Demon King Familiar said. “Good work, everyone.”
From a hidden door in the meeting room, the other members of the organization who had undergone surgery to transplant fragments of the Demon King into their bodies… Aberrations, including the ‘Hyena’ Gozoroff, emerged to carry their soon-to-be new brethren into the processing room.
Erkid would not be punished by the law, but he was likely to continue an existence where he could regret his evil deeds for all eternity.
“Incidentally, Danna-sama… Could you please stop this backstory of me being a secretary and lover?” said Bellmond. “Not that anything happened,” she added.
The Demon King Familiar looked away. “I thought that less people would try to make a pass at you if we made you the organization leader’s woman, but… it seems that it didn’t work out.”
Eleanora, Isla and Melissa nodded in agreement as the Demon King Familiar looked towards them.
“I only got called out to once. Maybe people keep trying to find out information about the organization’s leader?” said Eleanora.
Isla let out a disdainful laugh. “I was called out to five times. It seems that I have a different charm as a woman compared to a girl like you.”
“If looking as if anyone could win you over with some sweet words is a charm, then perhaps so,” Eleanora said in retort.
“… Girl, I shall accompany you in swordsmanship training in the form of a real battle. Make some room in your schedule.”
“Don’t do that. If you two did training in the form of a real battle, this underground base would collapse,” said Melissa. “And I’ve always been staying close to the organization’s leader, so I’ve never been called out to or had men put their arms around my shoulders or waist… though for some reason, it seems that there’s rumors that I’m his illegitimate child.”
“It might be best not to use this method from now on,” said the Demon King Familiar… Vandalieu.
It seemed that when an organization’s unity loosened, the underlings looking to overthrow the leader saw his women as trophies.
“Let’s think more carefully if there is another opportunity. Well, the rebellions seem to be over, though,” Vandalieu said.
“Yes… because there are almost no lower branch leaders left. The only two remaining are the ‘Brown Rat’ and the ‘Vulture,’” said Bellmond.
“Bellmond, why do they have even more unpleasant-sounding names than the ‘Hyena?’” What kind of people are they?” asked Isla, scowling in displeasure.
As a Zombie, perhaps she disliked creatures that fed on the remains of the dead.
“The ‘Brown Rat’ is an old man who is the boss of a group of beggars, and possesses his own information network. He is based in another commerce city, not Morksi, so he is unlikely to show his face,” said Bellmond. “The ‘Vulture’ controls the black market of stolen goods. He is not in Morksi either, so he will not show himself here.”
“Perhaps we can say that the unimportant ones have survived. Incidentally, I wonder why all of the leaders of this organization have Titles named after animals?” said Eleanora.
“Who knows. It could simply be that Titles named after animals that are well-known to many people are easy to acquire,” said Bellmond.
“… This is a northern region. Are there even any vultures around here?” said Isla.
There were no longer any human-hunters like the ‘Hyena’ Gozoroff, mercenary groups or assassin organizations left in the organization.
Vandalieu and his companions had crushed them all.
At first, Vandalieu had only intended to use the organization to gather information, but he had been unable to overlook evil plans such as Erkid’s plan to take over an entire village, so he had put a stop to them. When the leaders of the lower branches disobeyed or attempted to overthrow the organization’s leader like Erkid, they had been crushed.
The only ones currently remaining were the ‘Brown Rat’ and the ‘Vulture.’
“Sorry to change the topic, but you’re not going to use Blood Potion to treat the ‘Venomous Snake’s’ wounds, are you? It might be problematic if he were to turn into a Dark Human and escape,” said Melissa.
She had directly witnessed humans consuming a part of Vandalieu, including Doug, and transforming into members of a new race. She seemed to fear that the same might happen in Erkid.
“You don’t need to worry about that. We tested this on the people from the lower branches of the organization that we captured alive,” said Isla. “Even when they drank Vandalieu-sama’s precious blood and had the Demon King’s fragments directly implanted in them, they didn’t transform into a new race… though they did become Aberrations.”
The result of transplanting materials made from the Demon King’s fragments into a living human was an ‘Aberration,’ a meat puppet that had no will of its own. They had received Vandalieu’s fragments like Doug and Luciliano had, but they were completely different beings.
Perhaps remembering the screams of the victims as they transformed into these Aberrations, a smile of joy appeared on Isla’s face.
“Yes, that’s how it was for the Aberrations that took away the ‘Venomous Snake’… so it’ll probably be fine. But I wonder what the difference is between him and Doug?” said Melissa.
“… Don’t compare him to scum who would do anything to profit from selling drugs. If he knew, I don’t think he would like it very much, even if he knew that you are talking about his race and constitution rather than his personality,” said Bellmond.
It seemed that she really considered Erkid to be absolute vermin.
“The difference between them? That’s obvious. It’s whether or not they’ve received Vandalieu-sama’s guidance. Only those who have given their bodies and hearts to Vandalieu-sama can advance to a new stage!” Eleanora said animatedly.
Before, Melissa wouldn’t have believed in such spiritual-sounding words.
But she gave a nod. “Maybe you’re right,” she said. “Statuses exist in this world, and Guidances affect them, so spirituality isn’t limited to just the mind. It wouldn’t be strange if this affects whether someone mutates or not.”
Perhaps sensing something dangerous in the way that Eleanora had phrased things, the Demon King Familiar’s fur quivered a little.
“Melissa may be right, but let us not phrase it that way, Eleanora. It makes us sound like a cult,” Vandalieu told her. “And you don’t have to offer your body and heart to me, either.”
“Well, Vandalieu-sama is humble as always,” said Eleanora, then her expression suddenly turned serious. “Moving onto another topic, the organization being manipulated by Birkyne isn’t making a move yet, is it? It has been a week since Vandalieu-sama made the fact that he is a Dhampir public. We should have heard some information by now.”
Birkyne was Eleanora’s parent as a Vampire, the last of the Pure-breed Vampires worshiping Hihiryushukaka, the evil god of joyful life. He currently ruled over the Vampire organization of Bahn Gaia. It seemed that his organization’s influence hadn’t reached the city of Morksi, but it was almost certain that his subordinates were present in other cities in the Alcrem Duchy.
Vandalieu had revealed himself in a commerce city where large numbers of people traveled to and from, so news should have reached Birkyne’s subordinates, but…
“It seems that no Vampires have entered the city yet. I’ve turned a part of the city’s walls into surveillance Golems, and set up surveillance Undead around the city,” said Vandalieu. “The spirits haven’t found anyone suspicious either, other than the region lord’s spies and Joseph’s pawns.”
“There isn’t anything in the information from the lower branches that are still active, either,” said Bellmond. “Eleanora, you should be the one who is most knowledgeable about the way that man thinks.”
“You don’t know anything? You were his favorite, weren’t you?” added Isla.
“That’s true,” said Eleanora with a bitter smile. “But although I was his favorite, I didn’t play a big role in the organization. It’s just that Birkyne supervised me directly. I didn’t even have subordinates. Maybe Bellmond wouldn’t know that, but you should, Isla.”
“You say that, but… when I was alive, we were not aware of the circumstances faced by the other factions. And if you’re a leader in a high position like I was, you aren’t interested in someone who is merely Birkyne’s favorite,” said Isla.
Though Eleanora had been said to have great promise, she was but a single Vampire. Perhaps this was the difference between her and someone like Isla, who had acquired a Title as a trusted confidant of a Pure-breed Vampire.
As for Bellmond, she had spent most of her time after becoming a Vampire managing Ternecia’s safehouse at the underground lake. Naturally, she knew nothing.
“It could be that he is having more difficulties than expected with reorganizing Gubamon’s faction now that Miles and the other main Vampires aren’t in it,” Vandalieu suggested. “Or perhaps… Birkyne’s subordinates are actually already inside the city. Ones that are not Vampires, don’t do evil deeds and are not even aware that they are working for him.”
“I see,” said Melissa, nodding. “Someone sends a letter to a family member describing events in the city. The family member who receives this ordinary letter is already a subordinate of the Vampires, and leaks information to places they don’t intend. That kind of method, huh. That wouldn’t be caught by our information network.”
“… That sounds like the kind of method that Birkyne would like,” said Isla. “It seems that he has narcissistic tendencies, so he would like tricks that make himself look clever.”
“It was just a suggestion of a possibility,” said Vandalieu.
“No, Vandalieu-sama. Now that I think about it, I don’t know how he found me when I was a slave who had been sold to a mine. It isn’t as if he gathered his subordinates from random places,” said Eleanora. “I think it’s certain that he’s hiding these human subordinates in places where people gather.”
If she was right, Birkyne was already aware that Vandalieu was in the city of Morksi. With that being the case, he was almost certainly planning something.
If that plan was to avoid and hide from Vandalieu in order to survive, then this plan was a failure, but… if he was planning to look for an opportunity to attack –
“We need to strengthen our watch over the city after all. Everyone, please stay alert,” said Vandalieu.
“Yes, Vandalieu-sama!” Eleanora replied.
“… Ah, I forgot to ask. What are we planning to do about Joseph and Aggar?” asked Bellmond.
“We don’t have time to deal with them, so we’ll leave them be. I don’t know if the Deputy Guild Master of the Commerce Guild can harass us any more than he already is, but I’m sure the region’s lord will do something if he goes too far,” said Vandalieu.
In a dark place, far away from the city of Morksi, Birkyne was reading a written report.
“This is a good sign,” he murmured to himself.
As Eleanora had guessed, he was aware that Vandalieu was in the city of Morksi. From the description of the appearance of the ‘Starving Wolf’ Michael, he had realized that it was Miles, Gubamon’s former subordinate. He was also aware that Vandalieu was with a Dark Elf who went by the name ‘Darcia.’
He had endless questions regarding this information, however.
“So Miles has changed sides… but why is he able to walk in the sunlight? Perhaps he was using a spell or a Magic Item during the battle against the Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords to resist the sunlight for a short while, but he is lurking in the city’s alleyways in the middle of the day. Could it be that he has acquired the ‘Sunlight Resistance’ Skill like Valen did?” Birkyne muttered. “And the Dark Elf who calls herself by the Dhampir’s mother’s name. Who is she? The mother’s corpse was burned at the stake and turned to ash, so she is unlikely to be an Undead… Has he brought a similar-looking Dark Elf relative from his mother’s homeland? If so, what in the world for?”
Despite being a Pure-breed Vampire with the knowledge that came with having lived for over a hundred thousand years, Birkyne wouldn’t have been able to imagine that Vandalieu had mutated Miles into an Abyssal Noble-born Vampire.
But he did make a correct guess regarding the other mystery that he was pondering.
“No, she must be the real mother. If Zakkart’s relics were hidden somewhere inside the Boundary Mountain Range, then the ‘Root of Life’ might have been preserved. So, he used that and resurrected her…”
Before the battle between Vida and Alda, Birkyne had himself once been a Pure-breed Vampire who worshiped Vida. Thus, he could imagine to some extent as to what lay within the Boundary Mountain Range.
“In that case, stirring up trouble with Vandalieu is not the correct move after all. I shall wait and observe for a while longer,” Birkyne decided.
“Are you sure you should do nothing? Perhaps we could advance our plans, using our subordinates and sending in new humans under our control?” suggested his subordinate Mortor, a Noble-born Vampire who had been born as a Dwarf.
“It is crucial that we do nothing,” Birkyne replied. “It is a coincidence that he appeared in the city of Morksi, but he has planned things so that his plans will succeed no matter where he carries them out. And even if we do nothing, my adorable puppet will draw closer to Vandalieu. Naturally, with pure, uncorrupted intentions. Vandalieu is good-natured. You know this from our investigations, don’t you? Even if I do not act, he will show compassion towards my puppet, save it, and become so close to it that he cannot abandon it even if he realizes the truth,” he said with a smile as he picked up his wine glass. “That is when we shall act,” he said as he emptied the glass of its crimson contents.
Earl Isaac Morksi gave a scream upon hearing the report from his spies in his office.
“What the hell is my stupid uncle thinking?!” he shouted. “Have the guard’s direct superior reprimand him! If he disobeys his instructions, I shall send him to another city! As for my uncle, I shall write him a letter! Hand him the letter directly, personally make sure that he has read it, and if he declines to read it or, gods forbid, he tears it to pieces without reading it, make up some charges for insulting the dignity of his lord and drag him here!”