11-10. Vampires (2)
Satou's here. I think the saying [Noblesse Oblige] is from France, but I wonder when was it got popularized.
I've only ever seen the words in manga or anime in Japan, but it seems to be a relatively common deed in another world.
"That stand-up collar, black hair and eyes, and that name. And above all, that face! 『Are ye a Japanese?』"
『That's right. Just as you can see, I was born and raised in Japan.』
"It is so dearuka."
Since the latter part was said in Japanese language, I also replied back in one.
The True Ancestor before me is a young man with seaweed-like naturally curly violet hair.
Even though his skin is pale-white and his face looks like a Frenchman, his accents when he was speaking Japanese was in Kansai dialect.
No, I guess his current appearance has nothing to do with his previous one.
Maybe the name Ban (「番」) was from the kanji 「播」?
"You don't seem to be a hero of Saga Empire, are you a <Lost One> who has been spirited away dearuka?"
"I'm not familiar with that <Lost One> term, but I'm probably one of those so-called teleported people."
"Hou? Several hundreds years ago, the holy kingdom Hellon imitated the Saga Empire's hero-summoning ritual, and summoned heroes from Japan, so another kingdom is repeating the same thing again huh..."
He mutters some dangerous things like, "Kidnapper bastards", and, "Should I get rid of the summoner and the kingdom's central figures again" with a grim face.
From his perspective, teleported person=summoned person huh.
The True Ancestor is level 61, but if he leads the level 40-50 Vampire Princesses, they can destroy some small kingdom easily.
Most of all, as far as I know, there is no kingdom called Holy Kingdom Hellon in this continent.
Let's do something about it for Princess Menea's sake.
"There is no need to do that. It seems they were already attacked by a Greater Demon, and the summoners, including the people involved had already been eliminated."
"Even demons do some good thing sometimes dearuna."
I tell the True Ancestor the thing Princess Menea has told me.
Although I don't know whether it's true or not, there was probably no point for the princess to lie at that time, so there's no need for me to excessively doubt it.
"I would like to talk about various Japanese things, but you would be better off finishing your business first dearu."
"Right. My business is--"
After apologizing for destroying the barrier and the castle during my rescue, I asked him to release the women who were with Zena-san.
"Those women are people whom I've legally bought as slaves dearu."
"I can pay the compensation if you want?"
"I am not troubled with money dearu."
--Not possible huh.
"By buying legally, don't tell me you went to the city?"
"Certainly not, dearu. A secret market opens in the upper layer of the labyrinth once every two months. There, I bought the exhibited slaves with the money made from selling magic cores and monster materials dearu."
Moreover, he seems to be a regular customer there, they even brought expensive slaves that only him would buy.
"Are you keeping the slaves as the source of blood supply?"
"Watch your tongue dearu. Those women are important servants of the castle. I will have your retract the 'keep' part."
<TLN: The 'keep' here is like for 'keeping pets'.>
"Excuse me, I withdraw my words earlier."
I purposely tried to provoke him, but he denied it unexpectedly fierce.
"I ask the slaves I've bought to provide several dozens cc of blood every month, but other than that I only have them work as maids in the castle. I do not turn them into vampires against their will, nor I do cruel or sexual violence against them."
I feel that I'm not wrong about them being blood supplies, but it seems the vampires don't take away the women's free will.
It seems his normal sexual desire has gradually disappeared ever since he became a vampire.
All the vampire princesses seem to be his wives, but their relationship only goes as far as hugging and exchanging kisses.
His only desire is to drink a cupful of wine with a droplet of blood three times day, it's a bit different than the image of vampires I have in mind.
How do I say this, he's the kind of vampire that appears in the woman-oriented stories and novels.
"I will free those who wish for it in 5-10 years, but since I provide them education and skills, and also living expenses enough to play around for years during the period of their employment, the slaves choose for themselves whether they want to be freed."
With all those hospitalities, there's probably a lot of people who want to work under him even though he's a vampire.
The vampires give education and skills to the slaves partly for their self-reliance after they've been freed, but it's mainly a way for the vampire princesses to spend their free time.
The purpose seems more vampire-like than charity.
However, they can't get sunlight here, they'll likely become ill if they're here for 10 years.
"That worry is unnecessary dearu. There is a hermitage of a light elemental magician at the end of this big area. I have ordered the maids to sunbathe there once a day."
"A light elemental magician in the domain of vampires?"
"It is of a man and his daughter and her husband who have ran away to the labyrinth after getting victimized by a stupid son of a grand noble who tried to rape his daughter. I provide them with food and necessities in exchange for their works dearu."
I feel that he's a bit too considerate to the slaves, but he also has his own reason for that.
"A hero will come here if we recklessly abuse and slaughter them. Co-existence and co-prosperity are good in moderation."
The True Ancestor boasted so while smiling pretense of evil.
"However, there's no need to abduct Miss Gelca and the others if you buy your slaves right?"
"Umu, there is no need."
"The black market didn't open this month, when I was going to see the the lost thieves who are the market's boss, I caught sight of some dying girls."
According to the True Ancestor, Gelca couldn't move since she was stabbed with a poisonous dagger, and going to be eaten by monsters, while Zena-san was dying after getting hit by a Soldier Mantis's attack, he saved each of them.
The poison and bleeding would stop when they became mist together with a vampire, so he brought them to this castle and healed them with the magic potions stocked here.
I'm interested with just how is the [Became mist] part possible, but let's quench the curiosity later.
"Are you doing charity for your pastime?"
"Fumu, the greatest enemy of living a long life is boredom dearu. I decided to help someone who had a bad luck before me on whim. And when they are beautiful girls, is there any reason not to help them?"
Though, it seems he only ever came to the black market whenever he went out of the lower layer, so him bringing someone to the castle to save them like with Zena-san happened for the first time after a century.
I thanked the kind True Ancestor for saving Miss Gelca's and Zena-san's life, and asked him if he wanted anything from the surface as the reward.
"Umu, I'd like to drink some 『Blood of Lesseu』 dearu."
I thought that he would say that he didn't need anything, but he unexpectedly replied immediately.
If my memory serves me correctly, it should be the name of a cheap wine brand.
"Quite an unusual wine of choice. I have Item Box and Teleportation, so I can provide fresh foodstuff and cloth you know?"
The True Ancestor looks at the Vampire Princesses who are waiting upon him nearby.
"Mithril, or if there isn't any, iron or silver ingot."
"I want paper and ink."
I wrote the items that each of the vampire princesses told in the companion column's memo.
Except for the [Blood of Lesseu], they were all items that I already had in the storage.
I can hand it over immediately, but it's probably better to do it together with the True Ancestor's wine. After confirming the item by reading the memo out loud, I make a promise of the time I visit here again.
The True Ancestor stopped me when I was going to leave.
"Since you've already come here and all, why don't we have a match."
It was a close battle at the beginning, but the match with the True Ancestor is ending with my complete victory.
"Wait, don't do that move."
"But, didn't you say that the 『Wait』 earlier was the last?"
"Gunununu. Then I'll give you three Blood Spheres, please wait for it again dearu."
"Okay, this is the last y'know?"
Yes, the match is for Shogi.
The match began with the Shogi board that the True Ancestor had prepared, but his skill is only at the level of someone who's crazy at but not good at it.
Doing the wait is okay since I'm getting rare materials of vampire-san for it, but playing Shogi with him is accumulating me some stress.
I'm relatively strong for a beginner (Shogi player) since I was given some devilish training by Mr. Metabo during the meeting for the making of Shogi app for my work.
Moreover, since the app has several difficulty level, I'm well-informed with the way to skilfully hold back, yet right now it's next to impossible for the True Ancestor to win this match.
Even if I plainly make an opening, he would make a move that can't be said to be anything but suicidal.
No matter how much he relies on [Wait], his chance of victory is thin.
Although, the vampire princesses who are watching the match don't seem to care about the outcome.
Whenever the True Ancestor calls for [Wait] like a child, groaning while looking vexed, the girls look at him adorably with eyes full of affection.
Well, let's not find faults on someone else's hobby.
The Shogi showdown with him continued until near dawn, when a certain person visited.