T/N: Short note about the speech style of some characters appearing in this chapter: Veronika is a self-important, flamboyant character that talks quite colloquially. Benett is a boyish character using manly words as woman in a rough manner.
Suspicious looking characters, likely fellow members of Mel and Iriel’s dark guild, each appear from different passages.
One of them is a person with a large build that looks like a cook, and possesses a leopard head.
Another has scaled skin on their face which is covered by the hood of the robe they are wearing.
A female light warrior with longish ears and blonde hair, who carries a unique-looking bow.
Belatedly a white cat accompanied by a black cat appear as well…
Huh? Or rather, when I say 「Rollo?」, Rollo purrs,
and then jumps off the top of the ledge stairway as if flying through the air.
She lands on the round table.
As she briskly walks with small steps on top of the table, she returns to my shoulder.
“Rollo, you came to this place as well?” (Shuuya)
Rollo taps my shoulder once with her paw as if saying “Correct, what about it?”
“Magit, come over here.”
The white cat approaches Iriel, who called its name, while walking elegantly.
I guess she’s Rollo’s new friend?
The white cat is similar to a pet cat.
There is a collar with something like a round, emerald jewel on the cat’s neck.
『Your Excellency, I feel an enormous amount of mana from that emerald jewel.』 (Helme)
Helme, who appears in my field of view, quickly warns me.
『You are right. I didn’t notice due to the cat’s cuteness. Well done, Helme.』 (Shuuya)
『I’m happy to be of service to you! Do you wish to see my new pose of delight?』 (Helme)
Her spirit-like figure has already taken a peculiar pose which exhibits her small butt with its blue, leafy skin and soft elasticity… I can’t even retort anymore.
『… No, well, let’s do that another time.』 (Shuuya)
While I’m having a weird exchange with Helme,
“… Magit, you befriended that black cat properly?” (Iriel)
Iriel lifts up the white cat with both her hands and starts to talk to it, but the white cat stares into Iriel’s face in a sullen manner, though it probably doesn’t mean that it’s in a bad mood.
And, since it seems to dislike being lifted up, it averts its face, gets away from Iriel after wriggling with its paws and jumps on top of the table.
She goes away while throwing a glance at Rollo.
“Geez, stupid Magit.” (Iriel)
“— Leader, what’s the reason for calling us?”
As if ignoring the fooling around of Iriel and the white cat Magit, the person with the leopard head, who’s wearing an apron, faces Mel and asks that question.
Mel is the leader?
Then it means that the inn’s landlady is the guild leader of 【Remains of the Moon】?
Like a leader, Mel looks at everyone and opens her mouth,
“Kazun, sorry for disturbing you during work, okay? The reason why I called all of you is because I want to introduce you to this person—” (Mel)
While Mel says so, her demeanour softens, she calmly stretches out her arms and points her gaze at me.
“This person is Shuuya-san, that lancer who became a rumor in the underground world a little while ago.” (Mel)
Due to her stressing the word lancer, the gazes of all the members present focussed on me.
A gossip in the underground world, huh?
The person with the scaled skin mutters while staring at me with a sharp glint in their eyes.
That look from below their hood is eerie.
It’s completely a look of appraisal.
“This guy has…”
Even the leopard-headed cook checks me out while muttering this short comment.
Somehow, you know…
I am spontaneously introduced to a weird bunch, but I wonder, what is those guy’s objective? An invitation to Remains of the Moon or such?
“So, I wonder, do you have some kind of business with me?” (Shuuya)
“I only wanted to introduce you to everyone. But as for Veronika…” (Mel)
Mel looks at the little girl Iriel as if waiting for something.
This employee’s real name isn’t Iriel but Veronika?
“Yeah, I do have business with you. At first I left it to Paulsen and Angie, but… after hearing your conversation from the shadows, I got really, really interested in you. That’s why I wanted to talk a lot more with you, you know? Although I was stopped by Mel, I can’t hold back my urge—” (Veronika)
Saying that, blood spills out and she suddenly transforms?
Abruptly at the end of her sentence, Veronika shapeshifted.
The hair ornament of roses which she wore as a girl changes into a peculiar hair style.
Her appearance also changes from the classic lolita waitress outfit to her being clad in a black gothic mini dress that seems to be made out of velvet.
Her eyelashes grow long and the reddish tinge of her cheeks increases. Her rouge lips glitter brightly with a nice, glossy lustre.
It brought about an allure.
Even the shoes she’s wearing turn into small, bright red heel boots, just like her hair ornament of roses and her lips.
The girl stands on top of the table while revealing an ecstatic expression.
It was a quick transformation. It happened in the instant her red blood was released.
That girl draws closer while making a clicking sound that reverberates with her heels as she walks on the table.
『Your Excellency, do we attack her?』 (Helme)
Helme is the same as ever.
『No, I think it’s fine since since there’s no bloodthirst. We will wait and see what happens.』 (Shuuya)
The surrounding people also watch in silence.
Once Veronika stops in front of me, she pushes out her face, sniffs with her small nostrils and inhales my scent.
“Wheee, how strong… a male’s blood. Moreover, stronger than that of a founder. A pureblood’s purity. An excellent scent.” (Veronika)
Strong… she looks like a pervert, doesn’t she?
For the time being, let’s ask her about her name.
“Your name isn’t Iriel? Just now you were called Veronika.” (Shuuya)
“Yeah. My real name is Veronika. Iriel is my name as the inn’s employee, okay? Once again, best regards, Shuuya.” (Veronika)
Once she introduces herself like that, Veronika takes a little distance from me and smiles pleasantly, just like a girl.
While in that state, she grabs the edges of her black dress on top of the table and makes a courteous bow befitting of a lady.
Let’s greet her without taking any risks?
“Alright, please take care of me.” (Shuuya)
“Fufu, so, a while ago you said that you don’t know about blood magic, but is that really true?” (Veronika)
Somehow I got the feeling that she’s making fun of me.
“That’s correct.” (Shuuya)
“So it was true, eh? Then, then, I will teach you about blood magic, and in exchange, how about you joining our dark guild 【Remains of the Moon】~?” (Veronika)
She will teach me? This child is a vampire?
The magic that changed her clothes just now is nice. I guess that’s how it is after all.
Certainly, I believe that I will be able to become much stronger if I learn blood magic. But I don’t want my freedom to be restricted by entering a dark guild.
For now, I will put on hold whether it’s good or bad to join them and bring up the topic with Paulsen.
“I guess you talked to me with the same intention, Paulsen?” (Shuuya)
“No, my intention for talking with you was to try asking for your cooperation rather than inviting you, but…” (Paulsen)
Paulsen says while faintly moving his curly mustache and looks awkwardly at the face of the leader and landlady Mel.
Noticing Paulsen’s look, Mel begins to speak while smiling bitterly as she apparently guesses his sentiment.
“… Oh well, since Paulsen and Angie were your acquaintances, I asked them to negotiate with you.” (Mel)
“Though I did oppose cooperating with you, let alone inviting you.” (Angie)
Angie squints her eyes and looks at me.
I could clearly sense the rage overflowing from her gaze.
“Just wait a moment? Right now I’m the one doing the direct negotiations!” (Veronika)
On top of the table Veronika stamps her foot slightly unsuitably for a woman.
But can this childish girl really teach me blood magic?
“To begin with, are you actually able to teach me blood magic?” (Shuuya)
“Fufu~n. You don’t even know that, do you? You have a nice scent, thus I will make an exception and tell you, Shuuya. Since long ago, it’s a standard practise for the relatives of a vampire to teach them about blood magic, you know. I’d say, they take care of the vampire’s studies from the blood flow manipulation of the first, second and third gate up to the creation of a unique skill.” (Veronika)
Blood flow manipulation? Hee, I see.
This child seems to be a vampire after all.
“Ah, this look, are you doubting me? That’s definitely not allowed! Making light of me due to my appearance is nooo good. Even though I might look like this, I’m an offspring of a Valmask branch house that is much older than that of Paulsen, alright? I don’t really want to talk about my age much, but… I have passed more than 300 years! You might consider me to be of equal rank with a founder.” (Veronika)
Whoaa, what a surprise! An old loli, eh?
In contrast to that, she acts quite comically.
She said that she doesn’t want to say it, but hasn’t she actually mentioned her age by herself?
Though, since I can’t say that,
“… Is that so? You have me surprised.” (Shuuya)
“Right? But don’t tell other people about it. It’s a secret, okay?” (Veronika)
“… Alright, got it.” (Shuuya)
Veronika nods and performs a tap dance on top of the table while crossing her legs and jumping slightly.
“— Fufu! And then, then…” (Veronika)
She flexibly moves her small limbs and adopts a pose while flaunting the curve of her bent-back waist.
From such seductive, distinctive stance she turns her small face in my direction.
“— Will you enter our 【Remains of the Moon】?” (Veronika)
She asked with a sweet voice.
“To be honest, I’d like to be taught blood magic. But, I’m an adventurer. I don’t have any intention to join a dark guild. Though I might consider if it’s just cooperation as mentioned by Paulsen.” (Shuuya)
When she hears my words, Veronika suddenly stops dancing and links her arms just like that.
Expressing that, she stares my way with her cheeks puffing out in discontent.
“I’m fine with that. Veronika, you don’t mind, do you? There will probably be many chances to invite him from now on, right?” (Mel)
Gently persuading Veronika, Mel talks while showing an expression similar to that of a mother.
“Yeah, if Mel says so, we will do just that.” (Veronika)
Veronika consents obediently.
Veronika’s appearance is that of a little girl, but does she have a parent-child relationship with Mel?
Veronika is 300 years old… in that case, Mel’s a vampire? Or a simple acquaintance? I don’t really get the nature of their relationship.
It looks like Mel is giving the orders, but there were also times when it felt as if Veronika’s right to speak is above Mel’s.
“… Veronika, you are a good child. Then, Shuuya-san, it’s fine for me to judge that you will be cooperating with our Remains of the Moon, isn’t it?” (Mel)
I believe that I told them that I would think about it though,
“Wait. Even if you call it cooperation, I’d like to refrain from following your guys’ orders. I believe you know about it from the rumors about me, but my destiny is tied with 【Owl’s Fangs】. I’m pretty sure that it will result in a fight against them in the near future. So we can have a talk if this takes the shape of a cooperation with 【Remains of the Moon】 in this conflict.” (Shuuya)
Hearing my words, Mel agrees humbly.
“Indeed, of course we won’t do something like giving you orders. There’s no problem with our cooperation taking the shape you mentioned. I’d like to say that it’s give-and-take, but, I guess it’s rather at the level of us wanting to help you with your fateful connection with them. We have an ongoing dispute concerning the Flavor Block with 【Owl’s Fangs】, and there are also other parties fighting against them in other blocks.” (Mel)
Mel says so with a smile and words that show her conviction.
A turf war, huh?
“Understood. Then I’d like you to let me use the inn here normally from now on as well.” (Shuuya)
“That’s only natural. I have accepted your money after all, Shuuya-san. Although we are a dark guild, this place is an inn, you know? Ah, also, since I didn’t introduce our members present here, I will catch up on that now. The largely-built, leopard man over there is our cook. His name is Kazun. He’s a top-notch warrior and his skills as a cook are first-class as well.” (Mel)
He is proudly introduced by Mel.
This huge leopard man’s race seems to be called Sebaka.
The leopard man with the name Kazun stands up and opens his beastly mouth.
“Dear guest, please treat me favorably. Since I’m always in the kitchen, come there if there’s something I can help you with. I will also keep you company if you got free time.” (Kazun)
This grim beastman is the cook?
His dishes are definitely delicious.
Let’s greet him suitably.
“Please treat me well on that occasion.” (Shuuya)
“Next, the one wearing a robe next to Kazun is an alchemist and maji* tamer of the scaled people. His name is Zeeta.” (Mel) (T/N: 蠱 … something that bewilders or leads astray)
Mel next introduces the person possessing a scaly skin.
His race appears to be called Karamnian.
It seems that he’s not a lizardman or such.
“Thank you for giving me an introduction. I’m always staying in a room of this underground headquarters. Raising maji, I’m allowed to use Veronika-san’s bone servants and repeatedly perform drug experiments. If it’s about using various potions, I will sell them cheaply to you.” (Zeeta)
As might be expected from a maji tamer, a locust-like demon is perched on a shoulder of his robe.
“Zeeta-san, it is. Got it.” (Shuuya)
“The one sitting opposite of him is an elven thief and light warrior. She possesses the nickname of Shadow Archer. She’s mainly in charge of reconnaissance and her name is Benett.” (Mel)
“How weird. He ain’t no newcomer, rite? Gotta greet him?” (Benett)
The elven woman called Benett takes a haughty attitude.
She responds as if it seems to be a bother for her.
Mel stares at the elf with half-opened eyes as if scolding her.
“Gotcha. As leader said, I’m a light warrior. My strengths lie in spying, scouting, archery, lock-picking and trap-discovery. Also, I’m somewhat capable of appraising items.” (Benett)
Hee, a light warrior that can use archery, huh? Her name’s Benett.
She’s a boyish blonde with a unkempt, ruffled hair style.
Her face is rectangular with her cheekbones growing out to the side, she has eyes that look slanting and an aquiline nose, but I suppose it’s a moderately well-featured face.
Her figure looks agile and she’s wearing a jacket that had throwing knives equipped.
She looks like a skillful woman.
Let’s give her a gentlemanly bow and greeting just in case.
“Please treat me well, Benett-san. You are a skillful woman, aren’t you?” (Shuuya)
“Bwha*, Benett “san” he says…” (Veronika) (T/N: Short burst of laughter)
Saying that, Veronika points at Benett and laughs.
“Vero-chin? You find my name ridiculous?” (Benett)
“Noo, sorry, okay? However, it’s the first time for someone to call you like that, Bene-ane! It was somewhat funny.” (Veronika)
“Humph, even I got startled. Treatin’ a woman like me just like a noble lady… seems stupid. Well then, looks like the introductions are finished now. I will go back to my previous cleaning of the trash outside! (Benett)
For some reason she got mad and left this place with swift movements.
“I’m sorry. Because Benett always behaves like this…” (Mel)
Mel shows a troubled expression as she says those words.
Well then, I wonder whether they will let me go back to my room before troubling me with even more stuff.
“No, not at all, I don’t mind after all. I’d like to go back soon as well.” (Shuuya)
“Is that so? Then go back from the place where we entered.” (Mel)
I readily got their approval.
It looks like it’s fine to go back now.
Then I guess I will accept their offer and excuse myself for leaving first.
“Yes, pardon me for leaving.” (Shuuya)
I face everyone and after bidding farewell with a light bow, I turn on my heels and leave the room.
Advancing through the short passage with Rollo on my shoulder, I climb the spiral stairway I descended previously.
I come back to the inn’s dining room.
It’s peaceful as the number of guests has decreased.
Only several guests amusing themselves with a card game are left behind.
While peeking at their hands, I cross the dining room, go up the stairs close to the entrance door and hurry to my room.
As soon as I return to the room, Rollo jumps on the bed.
She plays by jumping around as usual.
You still love doing that, don’t you?
Gazing at the figure of Rollo adorably jumping up and down in a frantic manner while smiling, I take off my overcoat and remove my armor as well.
In the end I got carried away with the flow and formed a collaborative relationship with 【Remains of the Moon】, but I guess that’s fine?
Well, what will be will be?
After changing into my leather clothes, I throw myself on the bed just like that.
I will look at my skills and take a break at the same time.
Name: Shuuya Kagari
Title: Super-Warrior of the Water Goddess
Race: Light Demon Lucival
Combat Occupation: Magic Spear Darkness Warrior – Chain User
Current Status: Calm
If I leave luck out, my parameters exceeded 20 in average.
At that point, I shut my eyes…
I’m woken up from my drifting into sleep by the presence of a magic source.
Mmh, the door’s opening quietly?
“Oi, who’s there?” (Shuuya)
“Ah, I was found out? Hehe~.” (Veronika)
How fake. It’s Veronika.
“What do you want?” (Shuuya)
“Yeah, why did you refuse my invitation a while ago?” (Veronika)
Haa, this girl, she’s deliberately asking even though she’s aware of it, isn’t she?
Man, close the damned door.
Good grief, I got mixed up with a weirdo…
“… I told you before as well, didn’t you listen to me? I hate being ordered around! I-h-a-t-e-i-t. Do you understand?* Did you understand?” (Shuuya) (T/N: Do you understand? in English)
Since she’s obstinate, I emphasise it in English unintentionally.
“Fufu, you are using some strange words there, but don’t be so irritated. But, you know, I’d like you to properly understand my real intention, alright…? Well, you can also say that it’s Paulsen’s intention as well, but…” (Veronika)
Veronika approaches while talking suggestively.
“Mmh? What do you mean?” (Shuuya)
Saying that, I get up.
“For a vampire the act of teaching someone blood magic also carries the meaning of being family, having a deep affection, friendship, love and such. That’s why Paulsen’s servant, Angie, was so irritated. You understand, right?” (Veronika)
Ah, a sort of… jealousy?
That’s the reason why Angie interacted with me while being irritated, huh?
But, I don’t really need love from a man. It’s limited to beautiful women.
“I didn’t know that. If it’s an emotion besides love, I will be honestly happy. I would be grateful, but in your case, you put up a condition like Won’t you join our dark guild?, right?” (Shuuya)
“I said so previously, but it doesn’t matter anymore. Currently it’s just us two. I want to talk with you as an individual with no relation to 【Remains of the Moon】.” (Veronika)
Oh, now she revised it.
Not like I particularly mind though.
“Then I don’t mind at all. So, what do you want to talk about?” (Shuuya)
“Oki. It’s a question, but why are you as a vampire doing something like being an adventurer, Shuuya? I’m not sure what you heard in the labyrinth city, but from our point of view, they are natural enemies at the same level as vampire hunters, right?” (Veronika)
Certainly, there are such adventurer requests.
But, if I tell her that I’m no real vampire, I wonder, will she believe that I’m saying the truth…?
Oh well, I suppose I will explain.
“… Let’s see. It’s difficult to speak about, but I’m not exactly a vampire.” (Shuuya)
“W-What was that?” (Veronika)
When she heard that, both of Veronika’s eyes became red and veins surfaced at the outer corners of her eyes.
Fangs grow out of her mouth.
It’s an expression befitting a vampire, but I can also sense unrest in it.
“A lie, it’s a lie! I won’t be deceived. This strong smell makes me recall the pure-blooded quality of a founder. For this smell to not belong to a vampire is absolutely impossible!” (Veronika)
Veronika strongly denies my words.
“Well, even if you say that…” (Shuuya)
“I mean, this smell is… definitely a scent resembling m-my Slot-otousan…!” (Veronika) (T/N: left the otousan (dad) here cause changing it sounds weird, but it’s the same dad in the next line)
Is she confusing me with her dad?
“… I’m really not a vampire. But, I guess I have to regularly take in blood just like you and your friends, Veronika. Will it be easier to understand, if I call myself a vampire half?” (Shuuya)
“I see… so you are a dhampir, right?” (Veronika)
No, in reality it’s different, but should I really name myself with the race Lucival?
“To be precise, it’s something else. My race is Lucival.” (Shuuya)
“Huuumph, what’s that? I can’t believe you.” (Veronika)
I’m sure you can’t.
“If you don’t trust me, I guess we end it at this point. Please get out.” (Shuuya)
“Wait, if you allow me to drink your blood, this strong blood… then I will believe you.” (Veronika)
Whoa, I guess only a vampire is forthcoming like that.
I don’t mind allowing her to drink it, but I have the light attribute, don’t I?
If I let a vampire of darkness drink my blood, it will develop into something serious…
The other party is one of the leaders of a dark guild.
If I end up injuring her, I might get stuck with fighting against everyone of this dark guild, no?
Besides, the matter of me possessing the light attribute, which is one of my advantages, will come to the open as well, won’t it…?
I don’t want that.
“It’s not allowed.” (Shuuya)
“Why!? It’s not like you lose anything—” (Veronika)
Saying so, Veronika came trying to cling to my arm.
I swiftly avoid her by rotating my feet on top of the bed as if doing a break dance.
“— Wait, wait, do you want to get injured?” (Shuuya)
“Injury? Me, a vampire? To dislike it to such an extent, how weird. What are you hiding?” (Veronika)
Haa, it can’t be helped…
At that time, in the basement of the same inn.
Benett, who finished her work, suddenly appears out of the shadows.
At the same time the magic candle of the candle stand that’s placed on the table reacts. Its swaying brightness was able to completely lighten up the face of the guild leader of 【Remains of the Moon】, Mel.
Mel opens her mouth.
“Welcome back, Benett. So which organization’s trash did he bring along?” (Mel)
Benett answers while wiping her blood-stained dagger with a leather cloth.
“… It was an unusual group. They covered themselves with white fox masks. It’s the first time for these guys to invade our turf, isn’t it?” (Benett)
“If we speak of white fox masks, it’s the war foxes who are followers of the 【Asura Religious Organization】, I think?” (Mel)
While putting the knife into her chest belt, Benett nimbly placed her waist with a “Alley-hop” on top of the table and addressed Mel while twisting her body.
“— That’s them, I guess. According to common knowledge, they are one of the guard groups of 【Eight Lights】. Usually they are a group that won’t meddle in such conflicts and rather stand on the side of arbitration. Mel, don’t you think that it has become slightly suspicious?” (Benett)
Benett lifts one eyebrow and speaks.
Upon that question, Mel crosses her arms, displays a pose of thinking and then opens her mouth.
“… Let’s see. Diviner Kazane of the 【Asura Religious Organization】. The one behind her is one of the 【Eight Lights】, Adolian who leads the 【Assembly of Stars】. But, I don’t understand why he would meddle with him who’s a mere adventurer, albeit a skillful one. Adolian’s dark guild 【Assembly of Stars】 has its stronghold in 【Elephant God City Regeepick】 located in the western imperial domain. No matter how renowned 【Eight Lights】 might be, in the end they are no more than a nominal organization for the two days concerning the underground auction. No way! Are they genuinely expanding to this 【Labyrinth City Pelneet】? I wonder whether they intend to create a new turf…” (Mel)
Befitting a guild leader commanding a dark guild, Mel tries to investigate the war foxes’ reasoning for behaving like this from their background.
“I wonder about that. Or they caught sight of pursuers, who might have followed the lancer besides the war foxes, by chance? I can think of 【Owl’s Fangs】 or the master spies of the thief guild 【Gate of Dark Evil】. But, hell, these guys never invaded our turf directly…” (Benett)
Mel nods at Benett’s information, and rearranging her long, seductive legs which she stretched out smoothly, she starts to speak.
“Apart from it being reasonable for 【Owl’s Fangs】 who are shaky after suffering a hard blow, 【Gate of Dark Evil】 might feel uneasy as well. They are a major thief guild, thus they are probably desperate to obtain information about him.” (Mel)
“Mel, you really intend to add him, err, the lancer and the black cat to our friends?” (Benett)
Upon Benett’s question, the guild leader Mel shifts her eyebrows faintly in a manner of asking “Is it unexpected?”
“Indeed. Are you against it, Benett?” (Mel)
“No, I always welcome strong guys. However, despite being a single adventurer, he’s making too many enemies. For him to not only have connections with 【Owl’s Fangs】, but even 【Asura Religious Organization】 and 【Assembly of Stars】, possibly he might have plenty of other enemies besides those. There might exist a deep darkness around that lancer, no?” (Benett)
Once she finishes her words, she pushes out her rectangular chin that was fully pointed at Mel as if stressing her point.
“I know. But, even though you call it darkness, the person himself is an inhabitant of a deep darkness at the level of charming Veronika, right? Fufu.” (Mel)
Mel separates her crossed arms, lifts the corners of her mouth and smiles happily.
“Mel! You know I wasn’t joking around, don’t you?” (Benett)
Benett’s look was filled with anger.
Seemingly filling her neck with power, the muscles become visible.
“I’m well aware of that! It’s alright. Even if not only 【Owl’s Fangs】, but also the 【Asura Religious Organization】 of the 【Assembly of Stars】 and other dark guilds became our enemies for example, we have the special Magit and Veronika, who’s called Shinigami of Fresh Blood, among us 【Remains of the Moon】.” (Mel)
“Putting aside Magit, hmm, you mean that Vero-chin? That child is certainly close to invincible, but she has weak points too, you know? You should also include Mel the Flash, who’s in front of me, in that lineup, shouldn’t you?” (Benett)
“Benett the Shadow Archer too, right?” (Mel)
Due to Mel’s words, Benett acts as if she feels embarrassed and averts her eyes.
“… I-I’m not someone that significant. Well then, I will go check the perimeter—” (Benett)
Benett vanishes in an instant.
“Ah— geez, she’s fast, that’s why… the nickname of Flash probably fits Benett better.” (Mel)