Satou here. Don't you think that the most terrifying thing about vampires that come up in movies and stories is their ability to turn people into vampires? Since their proliferation rate outstrips even that of rats'.
"Snacks that Satou made really are the best."
"This liquor is pretty nice too, no? Saga Empire's brandy huh?"
"Ale is nice too, but this snack go down the best with strong stuff!"
Rusus and Fifi sipped their glasses in good moods in the airship's main cabin.
They're already without their armor, wearing risky-looking clothing.
Liza is in the room too, she's currently absorbed in sampling the seven types of jerky we stocked at Pier Rock kingdom.
"Where'd the lil' girls go?"
"I asked them to do some errands for me."
The drunk Rusus puts my head under her arm.
The sensation on my cheek is quite wonderful, but the impregnable fortress pair would intrude in if this kept up, thus I steel myself and get away from the sweet powerful shackles.
"You're gonna fight dragons once we arrived at Dragg Kingdom 'rite?"
Fifi said some dangerous sounding words.
Come to think of it, the treasures in my Storage belong to [Dragg Holy Kingdom].
Since they look like old coins, it might be a currency used in the country that precedes Dragg Kingdom.
"I can't wait for it. How bout you Liza, ever fought a dragon?"
Replying Rusus, Liza who blurted out unintentionally realized her verbal slip and looked at me.
"--You fought some lesser dragons when we visited the western countries, remember."
"Lesser dragons huh--Well, I guess that's only right."
"True dragons are on a whole different level than those."
Rusus and Fifi nodded at each other when I replied in Liza's stead.
"Is that true?"
"Those guys are simply outta this world, just you know."
"There was this time we ran into a blue and a red dragons at Saga Empire, they were way out of league it wasn't even a fight."
"I mean, a single breath managed to blow us away."
"On top of having a wide range, it was unbelievably fast, we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Hayato's protection given by god."
Rusus and Fifi narrated their story while looking boastful somewhat.
Hearing that, Liza replied with, "Truly", with a meaningful look on her face.
Indeed, there's no way to evade those laser-like breaths of a true dragon without something like Ground Shrink or Flash Drive, no way to block them either without a Fortress-class barrier at least.
While we were having such a conversation, I caught sights of overflowing refuges in the towns and forts trailing to the neighboring country, thus I landed the airship and shared provisions to them many times.
Food in the form of portable carry cereal bars made of a mix of Giant Kelp fine powder, finely chopped dried fish and sea serpent meat.
"Think we're about to arrive soon?"
Leaving the dead drunk Rusus and Fifi in the main cabin, I went to the deck with Liza.
I realized that we were out of Pier Rock Kingdom on the Map, so I used [All Map Exploration] from the magic list.
I don't see any vampire in the monster domains around the neighboring kingdom.
I used [All Map Exploration] again once we got out of the monster domain and reached the neighboring country.
"--Lots of them seem to have been scattered about."
Not insignificant numbers of Vampire Slaves and Blood Stalkers are still lurking in the two destroyed towns, while one Vampire and several Vampire Slaves are hiding in the subterranean tunnel of the Royal Capital.
"I shall immediately go exterminate them if Master wishes so."
According to the documents I have on hand, only Vampire class and above have the ability to increase their numbers, I should leave the clean up in the destroyed Tokislu town to Saga Empire's expeditionary force and to Tokiswolk Kingdom's troops who must be hellbent on getting their revenge.
Since Vampire Slaves and Blood Stalkers are relatively strong, they will likely suffer some casualties, but from what I've seen through space magic Clairvoyance, butting in here seems like it would invite their grudges instead.
"...We should leave this area to the local troops, I'll be counting on you to look for the vampires in the capital city later."
Liza gave her affirmation.
The airship came nearby Tokislu town while were conversing, thus I decided to land the airship there to offer our help.
I'm not going to participate in the subjugation, but there should be no problem in sharing provisions here.
I gave them lots of magic potions, magic tools embedded with light gem that vampires hate, and a few simple version of holy monuments.
I hope it could ease Tokiswolk Kingdom's generals and soldiers even a bit.
I also asked about what happened during the vampire raid.
"--It just suddenly happened?"
"Yeah. Missing persons increasing, weird incidents happening, monsters and beasts shifting locations, it was completely void of those omens."
According to the soldiers, no [Vampire] was ever sighted here since the country was founded.
"This Tokislu town was overrun by vampires the same day the Royal Capital's Parion Temple Miko received an oracle."
"Lots of rumors flying about like maybe the gate of hell had opened, or that they were summoned through a ritual by an evil sect's Soul Art users, but the truth is shrouded in darkness."
The two towns were destroyed practically in the same day, the capital suffered an attack by masses of vampires when the other six temples were on their way to convey the oracle they received.
"The attack was carried out in daytime?"
"Yea, there was an out of season torrential rain on that day, musta because the sun those vampires hate didn't show up then."
"Now that ya mention it, the survivors of Tokislu town also said there was a torrential rain on the first day too."
"Damn, what a totally shitty coincidence in this dry season."
I heard some troubling words in the soldiers' conversation, so I tried to search the Map and found neither evil sect nor Soul Art users in this country.
Didn't catch any sight of people powerful enough to cast magic capable of manipulating weathers like reincarnated people with Unique Skills either.
After thanking the soldiers for the info, I took off on the airship.
"Where did those vampires come from--"
I'm pondering while feeling the winds on the airship's deck.
According to the documents I have on hand, the vampires in this world cannot multiply as easily as they would in tales about vampires on earth.
Vampires here have three specific skills that can be used to increase their numbers; [Blood Covenant], [Blood Contract], and [Blood Subordination].
[Blood Subordination] is used to create [Blood Stalkers] from corpses.
The ability to create Vampire Slaves and Vampires, [Blood Contract], has some restrictions; it needs a ritual to be performed during a night of full moon, thrice. Once a ritual has been performed, the recipient will have [Blood Contract: In Progress] state.
In other worlds, creating one vampire above Blood Stalker class needs at least two months time.
The documents state that Appraisal skill cannot see through the [Blood Contract: In Progress] state, however, it's hard to believe that no one noticed the amount of vampires needed to destroy a countries the entire time.
Additionally, the [Blood Covenant] greater vampires have can create vampires with [Blood Contract] ability.
"--Guess asking the person itself will be the fastest."
I muttered so while gazing at the Tokiswolk's capital city in the distant.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"...This is terrible."
"Yes, it's like a village in the wake of war."
I'm currently strolling the capital city with Liza.
Lethargic people sitting beside rubbles and burned down houses, the sights of piled up bodies being burned with fire magic and oil, and the figures of people crying around those piles.
These sights would have been enough to make me hate vampires as a whole if I wasn't acquainted with true ancestor Ban Hellsing and vampire princess Semeri.
I asked Rusus and Fifi to get a permission from Saga Empire's garrison in the capital city to let us through.
Of course, my goal is to separate the two away from us.
"Looks like we can get into the tunnel from there."
I head for a drainage trench at a riverside.
To meet the vampires lurking in the capital city of course.
I buff Liza with dark magic [Night Sight] and went into the tunnel without lighting.
Red dots are reflected in my Radar.
"Yeah, they're here."
They seem to have noticed us, they're moving toward the Vampire's location, slightly away from them.
"Hold it, Liza."
"Should we not run after them?"
"We can't get through that path with our physiques."
I stopped Liza who saw the red eyes, and picked the shortest route to the Vampire's hiding place.
Someone was waiting for us when we got close to the hiding place.
The voice of a boy.
Six red lights float in the darkness at the direction of the voice.
It's the Vampire Slaves.
"I need to interrogate them, no killing, got it?"
Liza closed in on the Vampire Slaves with Flickering Step and suppressed them with a single blow.
Without even giving the Vampire Slaves a chance to use their specific ability, [Mist Form].
"Cats and children..."
I restrain the Vampire Slaves with soul magic [Soul Bind (Hold Undead Soul)].
They'd get away with Mist Form if I used ordinary ropes.
This magic seems to be painful to undeads, the Vampire Slaves are groaning in anguish.
I feel pretty bad since their appearances are that of cats and infants.
The last red dot approached us while I was thinking that.
A shadow jumped out of an inconspicuous corner in the tunnel.
Liza quickly holds down the shadow on the ground while leaving trails of red light from her magic spear, without me having to do anything.
"Torque! Please, I don't care what you do to me, just please let them go!"
The hiding Vampire was a girl.
Moreover, her attire is that of a normal village girl you could find anywhere.
According to AR readings, she's a level 20 Vampire with all the specific abilities peculiar to the species, but she's only 12 year old without skills nor gifts.
Detailed info taught me that she was a daughter of an ordinary family that lived in the capital city.
Dunno if I could get any info out of her, but I should ask just to be sure.
"Tell me all information you have. I'll let them off with their lives if you could give me a satisfactory one."
"Information? What kind of information? I'll tell you anything!"
She's more obedient than I thought.
Looks like there was no need for hostages and interrogation.
"When did you become a vampire?"
"I don't know. I had fangs before I realized it, and when I saw mom and my little brothers, their blood..."
The girl mumbled at the end.
When our eyes met, the girl hesitantly spoke, "Thirsting for blood, she was afraid she'd assault her family and ran out of her house."
"Then tell me what you can recall about the time before you turned into vampire. No matter how trivial it is."
"Before I turned?"
"Before you have fangs."
The girl closed her mouth with a serious look afterward.
She's probably retracing her memories.
"I got unusual jerky from the uncle next door. It was really tasty."
Liza who's standing next to me is slowly swinging her tail, probably piqued by the girl's story.
"I ate the jerky at the fountain since my little brother would have snatched if I went home... A hunter with his dog came by to get water from the fountain, and I was injured by the dog who jumped for the jerky. Huh? But it's healed. Even though it was really painful and I had it bandaged."
The girl recited the day in stutters.
Even though there were some suspicious episodes, none seemed to be related to the vampire yet.
"Come to think of it, there was someone weird at the fountain square."
"Un, he was fetching water from the fountain even though he was a noble."
Well, normally nobles would have sent their servants to do that.
According to the girls, his entire body was hidden in a hooded mantle, the girl concluded that he was a noble since the clothes seen from the mantle's gap was that of a foreign high-class suit.
I urged on the girl who hesitated to continue on.
"That person went away somewhere after leaving the pot he used to draw water."
That's suspicious for sure.
"Did anything unusual happen afterward?"
"Nn, I don't think so."
I asked the girl about the location of the fountain in question, and checked it with space magic [Clairvoyance].
There was not even a trace of the pot.
It was either taken away or destroyed during the vampire raid.
The girl raised her face.
"I got stung by a bug."
The girl raised her skirt and pointed at her leg.
Not a trace of bug bite there.
It must have been healed by the recovery rate of a vampire.
"Remember anything about your surroundings? Like how other people were like."
"Other people? Oh right, lots of people were yawning."
"At what time?"
"At the second afternoon bell, I think? Even though it was the time when I was usually awake and hungry, I felt really sleepy so I went straight home, I think."
And apparently, she was a vampire when she came to.
Something bothered me with what she said.
"Un, I don't really remember what happened after I felt sleepy."
It seems like her memories are quite fragmented.
I tried to probe for her missing memories with mind magic as a form of hypnotherapy, but I only found out that there was nothing unnatural involved, like memory deletion or tampering through some means.
The seemingly nobleman that drew water with a pot at the fountain is the most suspicious.
The unusual jerky and the hunter with a dog are suspicious too, but it's impossible for them to be involved with the vampire incident.
The bug is suspicious too with the bloodsucking thing and all, but these fiction on earth-like stuff like turning people into vampires by means of insects can't possibly exist in this world.
Just in case, I contacted my beloved high elf Aze-san at the Boruenan forest, Hikaru who was acting as the founder king, and the [Master of Forbidden Library] princess Sistina through space magic [Telephone], and re-confirmed that the only ways to create vampires are through the three methods found in my documents and a ritual to bring forth True Ancestor.
"Now then, what to do with these kids..."
Apparently, my whisper was heard, as the kids began to hug each other while looking terrified.
I forgot about the outstanding senses of vampires.
"Don't worry, no need to get frightened. At the very least, we're not going to kill you."
These kids have no Crime of harming people carved on their status.
They must have been terrified and fled here.
I asked them about their ages and their family names, but I couldn't find those names in the country with Map search.
Unfortunately, they seem to have passed away during the vampire incident.
"Liza, please take care of things here for a bit."
I entrusted the kids' safety to Liza, teleported to the True Ancestor Ban's castle in the labyrinth's lower layer, and requested them to take the kids and cats into custody.
Of course, they asked me back for compensations, but they readily agreed to my request while also using this opportunity to kill their time.
Well, compensations here mean three bottles of a cheap wine [Lesseu's Blood], so it's really just for form's sake.
"Aah, you must be talking about Prof from the 『Sage's Tower』. He came to this country to conduct a research or something, methink?"
Sage's Tower should be the name of a city state where the Karion Main Temple resides.
Apparently, there were reports of suspicious individuals sighted by the citizens, one of the guard even dropped by to question him.
"Do you know his name?"
"Ah, I sure do. It was Shigan Saga or something."
"Is it perhaps."
"Yea, forgot if it was illegitimate child or grandchild prince, the stuff about having 100th seat for the succession got a laugh out of me."
A family member of Saga Emperor huh... The fishiness has been turned up to eleven.
I should search the Map just in case.
--There he is.
Or rather, was.
Shigan Saga has become a corpse in a forest near the capital city.
There's no other corpses around him in the Map.
Checking with space magic [Clairvoyance], he had been outfitted with thief-like attires, his face had been crushed, and there was nothing in his belonging that could be used to trace back his identity.
Well, Appraisal skill should be able to identify him to an extent, but there's no way anyone would dispatch an appraiser to a mountain where a bandit's corpse was found, neither would they carry a bandit's body down the mountain.
Judging from the situation, high chance he was killed to silence him.
I had declared that [There is no next time] when I put the [Damocles's Sword] in the emperor's bedroom, so even with the circumstantial evidences, I'm hard pressed to conclude that Saga Empire is behind this vampire incident.
I should investigate Saga Empire once again, which means I ought to meet Meiko at Dragg Kingdom.
I was planning to go ahead to the next trial after escorting Rusus and Fifi there, but the plan has changed.
I let out a small sigh as the plan that's gone awry crossed my mind.
※Next update is planned for 6/10