Supported by Senri, I walk through ‘Dessend’ at night in my human form.
This was my selfishness. Know thy enemy, know thyself, and know the earth. That’s how I’ve been surviving ever since I was revived by the Lord.
The townscape of Dessend was clean and beautiful even at night, and had a historical atmosphere.
This town probably shone the brightest when it was fighting against the undead. The waterways and the symbols of crosses inlaid all over the place must be the remnants of that time.
There were many doors at the inn too. Wooden doors are unreliable enough that even slightly strong humans can break them down. Though, it’s different for vampires.
The door symbolizes a boundary. I’m a lower rank, so I have a few restrictions, but this down is really hard for vampires to live in. The Mirage Demon King was said to be a Skeleton, so I really can’t understand why there are so many measures against vampires here.
It’s been a while since the Sun went down, but there are still many people on the main street. The lined up street lights repel the darkness and look peaceful at the first glance.
I mingle in with the crowd while walking around, but nobody realizes my identity. Sometimes people would look at Senri, but they wouldn’t even spare a glance at me.
Only those who have undertaken training can identify an undead that closely resembles humans. People with good intuition might look at me and be instinctually struck with fear, but when I was going around and crushing the Mafia and bandits, nobody realized my identity either.
When it comes to sensing me from afar, only Death Knights and Necromancers are capable of doing that. Due to blood power, the negative energy I give off is considerably repressed.
I took a quick look around the town and didn’t see anything strange. There are no mercenaries around, and of course, neither are there undead.
Just like Senri, I can also sense negative power. There’s also a way to discern them by the smell. If anybody’s walking around smelling like a corpse, they’re undead. But I can’t feel either of those.
After patrolling the town for a while, we entered the least garlic smelling fancy restaurant.
We’ve only walked for a while, but I’m already feeling pretty sick. It’s because of the garlic, the crosses and the flowing water. It’s far better than what I was feeling when I was alive, but since it’s been a while since I’ve had to experience the long-standing pain, I have to put up with it.
As we go to the table in the back of the restaurant, I verify with her while checking the surroundings with caution.
"Any chances that the undead you sensed were strays?"
"No. There has been no information about a war occurring nearby recently."
Senri replies immediately in a whisper.
The undead can be broadly classified in two categories; those created by Necromancers and those created naturally.
But, as long as there aren’t many casualties in a large-scale war, it’s unlikely that a lot of undead will appear naturally.
The undead Senri sensed seem to be of a remarkable scale. They aren’t very strong, but they seem to be dispersed in all directions.
I ask while twisting the seafood pasta (without garlic) with a fork.
"Do you think they’re targeting this town?"
Senri seemed to be puzzled, but she still answered with conviction.
I agree with her. It would be quite hard to crush this town with how many undead countermeasures it has. If these undead have been created naturally, they would instinctively avoid this town and the undead with high intelligence would understand this town’s vigilance at a glance.
If anything, I think that there’s a higher chance that their destination is the same as ours, the castle of the Mirage Demon King.
We must act with caution. But the situation is definitely not that bad.
Half of the reason why we arrived in this town was Senri’s intuition. I was considering about the possibility of not finding anything, but if there are other suspicious creatures appearing, something might really turn up,
I ponder for some time while gazing at Senri’s silky silver hair.
I was thinking that it would be better to investigate the castle in the morning. The Skeletons won’t turn into ashes even if they’re hit by the sunlight, but it’s not like they won’t be weakened at all.
I can’t exactly explore without Senri, who had abundant knowledge and experience, so it makes sense that I’d choose an advantageous time for her.
But if there are other undead, who are also aiming for the castle, we can use other means too.
"Senri, between you and those undead, who do you think is stronger?"
Senri frowned as if offended and sipped on the orange juice. No, it’s not like I’m doubting your strength Senri, so please don’t make that kind of face…
"Between me and those undead, which one would be stronger?"
"… you would probably be… slightly stronger."
Just who are those undead that are just slightly weaker than me? Someone who survived a fierce battle against the Demon King, Rainel?
The enemies outnumber us, so my strategy might end up being useless. Looking at my expression, Senri uncharacteristically rephrased herself.
"… You will probably not lose."
A strange silence falls. Looks like I really wounded her pride.
Feeling like running away, I no longer touch on that topic anymore and continue.
The number of customers is increasing. But, nobody is eavesdropping on us.
"So, about your detection ability, can it still feel presence even if it’s been erased by the Night Crystal?"
"… I wouldn’t know if they are undead or not."
It was an expected answer. Once at the merchant group, Senri detected the movements of Monica, who was looking for a chance to attack from far away. If the Night Crystal only suppresses the emission of the negative energy, there’s no reason why a ‘body’ without it wouldn’t be caught in Senri’s wide-area detection.
We have two options.
All of these come with a certain degree of risks. After hesitating for a second, I suggested.
"Let’s go hunt down those undead. I want to accurately understand the situation."
"Naturally I’ll also come with you."
"… I know."
It would be easier to steal their gains, but Senri still has the spirit of a Death Knight. It goes against her conscience to leave the undead alone while aware of their presence.
To start with, we don’t know what will happen if we leave them alone. In case of an emergency, we can just run away.
Senri looks straight at me with her bright eyes and nods.
The gate was closed. Unfortunately, it seems like this town doesn’t accept nighttime walks. We’re forced to walk along the tall town wall.
Now that I’ve seen it for myself again, it really has amazing defensive capacities. Vampires could pass over it but the big rumbling water canal waiting beyond it can’t be so easily dealt with. If I was outside andI jumped high, I could overcome it with the help of inertia, but it would be difficult to detect the existence of the canal from the outside.
However, it looks like there’s only a minimum amount of guards on top of the town wall. The light is also faint.
Considering that they were perfectly equipped, they still feel slightly pathetic. I poke the shoulders of Senri who’s walking in front.
"Hey, don’t you think we can do anything with just us two?"
Vampire who’s invincible at night and a former Death Knight who’s invincible even during the day. While we might not be able to save a nation together, we can definitely run away to the world’s end.
The journey while escorting the merchant group was fun. I don’t hate humans, but thinking about all the ties of obligation arising with them, I can’t help thinking about the merits of traveling with just us alone. If we weren’t with the merchant group back then, I wouldn’t have separated from Senri and got taken away to Rainel’s army.
Senri stopped and stared back at me with an exasperated expression.
"… Baron, turn into a dog."
Sure, it’s easier to jump while holding a dog, but it’s such a pain to change clothes. I’ve been in dog form since noon as it is. It’s not like I’m being forced into it like Albertus…
Perhaps because of the pitiful expression on my face, Senri smiled for the first time in a while.
"Just joking. End… hang on."
Senri holds my shoulders. Senri’s body is slender and supple, it’s also soft and smells sweet. When she gets closer, I feel the urge to drink her blood, but if I bring this up, I feel like she’ll tell me to stay in my dog form forever so I’ll refrain.
I can feel Senri’s heartbeat through our touching skin. Blessing is exploding in her body, but it’s not reaching the part of her skin that I’m touching. Her mastery over blessing is perfect. Maybe this could be a good reference for controlling blood power.
And, holding me, who’s much bigger than her, Senri strongly kicks off the ground.
A faint sound. The ground instantly becomes distant, followed by me losing strength. And we immediately landed on top of the town wall. Senri bends her legs to absorb the sound of her footsteps.
Her power is definitely beyond human. No mercenary would be able to pull off such a stunt. A tall town wall is meaningless to a Death Knight.
When I think about it, it seems only natural that the Order of Death Knights decided to only use their powers against the undead as an ironclad rule.
This power is just too terrifying, if it’s not used for justice.
Senri wasn’t even out of breath. The guards also didn’t seem to have noticed us.
Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I’ve fought alongside Senri.
When we were escorting the merchant group, I was Baron and we breezed through the journey. When I was fighting with bandits and the mafia, Senri and I acted separately.
This might be a good opportunity to show my current power to Senri.
I turn in front of Senri and pick her up without a warning. Senri startles.
She’s as light as always. Well, for vampires, even a large man fully wrapped in armor would be light, but when I’m in close contact with a delicate body, my fangs ache.
Senri isn’t wearing armor. She has also taken off the gauntlets she was originally wearing. It’s because since the armor of the Death Knights is mixed with silver, it would be harmful for me.
I’m already used to the urge of Feeding. Even if I don’t get to suck her blood, I’m invigorated just from being hugged.
"It’s been a while since I’ve last carried you on my back in human form. I want you to put your hands around me firmly."
"End… I can run too."
Looks like she’s too used to riding on me in my dog form, she seems to have reservations about riding on a person.
I protest to Senri, who’s whispering into my ears.
"You haven’t been hugging me at all recently except for when you’re giving me blood, Senri. Plus, I should do half of the work too."
Senri keeps saving me. I’ve not been able to repay her this debt at all.
Because of the circumstances, this debt can’t be cleared, but if I don’t repay what I can when I can, I’ll be abandoned one day.
Senri stayed silent for a while at my words but she firmly put her hands around my neck and entrusted herself to me.
I run through the moonless night.
It was towering from the peak of a very steep mountain, a remarkable distance away from Dessend even with a full power sprint.
It was a huge castle, enough to see even before climbing up. In terms of scale enough, the simple castle Rainel was using as his stronghold couldn’t even come close to it.
It would probably look better in daylight, but the old castle seen from the darkness looked like a monster even to the eyes of somebody like me, who could see well in the dark.
But the path it’s built on is so steep, it looks like they didn’t think about the convenience at all. Wouldn’t living in this castle be too inconvenient?
Senri on my back explains.
"The Demon Kings usually build their castles at places that are hard for the human army to attack. If they’re Undead, they wouldn’t need food either…"
"I see… I thought it was a waste that they abandoned the castle they so painstakingly stole, but I guess it was only natural that it was abandoned."
I wouldn’t be able to live here. As expected, human town sounds like the best place for living in hiding after I get a Night Crystal. It would also be abundant in nutrients for Senri.
"There’s a presence of a single undead in the castle. The rest are all around the castle. Their movements have stopped. They probably have ―― the same master."
Did they send in one of them, letting the rest be on the lookout?… I don’t know who’s controlling them, but their movements are well organized.
The Lord was selling Skeletons to Hack. It’s not like only necromancers can make use of them.
I don’t know who’s their master yet, but it looks like whoever’s using the undead doesn’t have much clue about this castle either.
So they’ve already infiltrated the castle, huh. Even if we had to check the situation in the town, we were still a step behind.
Would it be dangerous to follow them inside? According to the information Senri gathered, nobody had gotten lost inside the castle… Now that I think about, being able to use the undead as disposable pawns for watching the development of the situation is really convenient for the necromancers
… Maybe it’s better to wait for them to come back?
I don’t understand the situation at all. Staying safe is the highest priority. If I die in order to obtain a Night Crystal, all will be in vain or if Senri was wounded or died, I wouldn’t be able to die in peace. Well, I’ve been dead for a long time now though.
Perhaps thinking that it wasn’t necessary anymore, Senri got off my back, even though she didn’t have to. I would be happy just carrying her on my back all day long…
"… Let’s start by carefully checking the surroundings first."
"… End, pull yourself together."
I even kept a serious face on purpose. How did she find out?
Senri said with a deep sigh.