The Vampire Empress.
“My lady! We have found a slave trader about to leave the town to sell a group of slaves!”
Almost immediately after my ears caught wind of the word ‘slave trader’, I stood up and dashed in front of the knight, grabbing his neck as I stared at him, “Lead the way immediately! Don’t waste time! Four knights in two groups will follow after me, both groups will flank from an alleyway if there are any!”
“The others will catch up to Leo at the town hall, get moving now!” I shouted while releasing the knight who was sweating nervously as we immediately started moving. The speed we ran at was high enough to cause large gusts of wind to blast behind us as we continued turning around at several corners before the cries of children came screaming over the distance.
With the help of my vampiric eyes, the figures of the children who were being collared and a man carrying a metallic black whip on his hand came to sight. My body immediately exploded in anger as I kicked the ground which touched my leg, propelling myself even more forward as I passed by the knight and grabbed his sword.
“MAMAAAAA!” a loud scream echoed over the distance as the man rose his hand together with the whip while facing a tiny blonde-haired girl.
Almost like I had broken through the sound barrier, time suddenly slowed down as my dashes became even faster. My eyes could see the wind curving around my body as I soon reached in between the man and the girl, unsheathing the sword as time instantly resumed where I sliced off the man’s head cleanly.
In an instant, blood rained down from his head that flew up in the air as his body stood still for a few seconds before lifelessly falling down as I immediately lowered myself to the same height as the little girl before hugging her tightly while covering her eyes from the gruesome sight.
The sword in my hand fell from my arms as my heart ached from the coldness the little girl felt, my body could feel her trembling as she dug her head deep onto my chest, tears rolling down her cheeks as anger fueled the insides of my heart.
“Humans are indeed disgusting creatures…” I mumbled in the softest voice I could muster, closing my eyes as I hugged the little girl tightly, taking a few deep breaths to try and quell the raging fire inside of me… who would have thought HUMANS WERE THIS DISGUSTING?!
It was the first time where I truly felt like annihilating the entire human race… to think that I am helping their race out by assisting them… isn’t this pathetic?! THEY CAN’T EVEN SAVE THEIR OWN RACE YET THEY GO AROUND AND DO THESE… AAAAAA! Why do I even care about them?! They were the ones who were responsible for my ancestors’ deaths anyway… yet, haaa…
I felt perplexed over the situation as I opened my eyes and looked at the little girl who was trembling before me. She was an adorable blonde little elf, her wide golden eyes were sparkling yet tears rolled from them, bringing aches onto my heart.
Her soft and beautiful cheeks were dirtied with the blood of trash, I couldn’t stand seeing the blood of a piece of trash on her cheeks, my hands wiped it off almost instinctively using my dress as I looked at her with a bitter smile.
“Are you an elf?” I asked despite knowing the answer. She didn’t reply but instead trembled a bit, she showed fear in her eyes as she nodded with visible hesitation, “What were you doing before you were caught by those slave traders? Do you know where your parents are?”
While I asked those questions, I also looked at the other knights and gestured them to help the other children which they all followed without hesitation as I turned my attention back to the little elf whose beauty was almost at its limits. It was my first time seeing an elf and it indeed intrigued me as all the novels I have read did little to no justice to their appearance.
She did have pointy ears, but her overall appearance simply could not just be described by mere words. She looked ethereal, pure, and wondrous—even though she was only young, you could tell when she grows up, she will be a star among all especially with those eyes of hers that were like diamonds with golden paint.
“Are you listening? Do you know where your parents are?” I asked one more time before she looked at me straight in the eye, filled with emotions before her lips curled down as tears rolled from her eyes.
“Mama…” she mumbled which surprised me as she hugged me tightly. My eyes widened from her sudden move, there was no ulterior intent that I could feel from her… it was just the pureness of a child, “Mama….!”
“Mama…?!” I looked around confused, no one looked like an elf here. There were only the knights that I had assigned who were guiding and counseling the other children, I was confused and turned back towards her as she looked at me with sparkling eyes before a sudden realization came to my mind... “Eeeeeh?!”
“Wait…! You can’t be thinking I am your Mama, right?! I am still young; I haven’t even reached my 20s yet! I am only still 19 years old!” I complained before she looked at me confused; her face turned gloomy as a river of tears suddenly exploded from her eyes paired with her intense cries. My inner self was panicking as I unconsciously picked her up and closed her lips while saying, “I don’t know what you see in me, brat… but I can't leave a child alone.”
“Mama?” she tilted her head confused, her ears twitching a bit with happiness before my neck was embraced by her as she screamed, “Mama!”
As if that wasn’t enough of an insult, a familiar voice of someone who took a little too long with his job came from behind, “It seems like my lady has earned herself a child! Who is the father?! Is it His Majesty?!”
I felt a bit irritated hearing ‘His Majesty’ since that would be the last person I would approach… someone who couldn’t even take care of his own citizens, heck… I’d probably die of hunger if I was Her Majesty!
“Leo… how dare you come back here after taking a long time?!” I turned around, unsheathing the sword that was on the ground before throwing it straight at him as his eyes widened before he unsheathed his sword as fast as he could, blocking the flying sword with a loud clang as his body moved back a bit from the impact.
I was a bit surprised to see how strong the impact of that throw was, even though it was only a very soft throw—it was similar to that time against the wolves, that kick wasn’t even a lot of force, yet it managed to make the bodies of the wolves explode literally… I wonder if I have Herculean Strength as a benefit…
“Woah there, my lady! I didn’t mean any harm, don’t kill me suddenly!” he said while sweating nervously as he sheathed his sword.
“The next time you mention that idiot of a ruler of yours, I will literally chop your head off. Anyway, where is the town chief? Did you fail your mission?!” I looked at him in the eye with an unfazed gaze before a sudden hand grabbed my clothes which surprised me as I turned towards the culprit who was none other than the little elf.
Her arms were wide open as if she was telling me to carry her… she reminded me of my old self who longed for love from the people who only regarded her as a chess piece. I felt bad and picked her up from the ground as she happily laid her head on my shoulders, closing her eyes as she mumbled a name happily, “Mama…”
“Ehem… about the town chief, he isn’t in the town anymore according to the people. He left around three years ago, bringing along with him as many funds as he could gather. We tried looking for clues over where he left but we ended up realizing he was caught one and a half years ago,” he spoke in a soft voice which made me satisfied as he clearly knows how to read the room.
His report didn’t satisfy me though, but it was well within the range of my expectations, after all, no one wants to take care of a broken town like this with little chance of recovering. The people around here only number around a few hundred from what I can tell, it’s practically a ghost town at this point.
There was also a problem with who will assist me in managing the town, from what I have experienced in the past as the heiress of the vampire clan, there would usually be a butler who would help you in managing a lot of stuff, but I didn’t have that—I was given military power instead which makes me smile bitterly inside as all of them are muscle heads except for maybe Iona and Felice.
“Haa… whatever. Iona and Felice, since the two of you are free, please head to the town hall and organize all the documents you can find especially the ones before the curse happened which includes the finances, harvests, and all those other details. As for Leo, you will be accompanying me in finding the heart of the curse,” I instructed while patting the little elf’s back.
“What about the little girl?” Felice who came back from helping the other knights in assisting the other children together with Iona asked as I looked at the sleeping girl’s face with a bitter smile.
“Hmm… bring her with you as well, I don’t want to endanger others from my actions,” I said before she nodded as I tried to gently hand over the little girl to Felice before her eyes opened as a golden flash appeared on her eyes for a second which surprised me as Felice and Leo were knocked back a little bit away.
“Mama… don’t leave me…” she clung to me even harder, shivering as all of us looked at her shocked. To knock Felice back without even touching her… what kind of power is that?! You have to take into consideration that the two of them were pretty sturdy.
“I am not going to leave you, I am only letting someone take care of you while I do some important stuff, little br—ehem…” I said, almost letting out a curse word in front of a child… I felt a bit embarrassed by what I almost said.
“Mama…” her hug grew even tighter that it was practically suffocating, “Don’t leave me…”
My head started hurting from what she just said… if only this girl realizes that I am not her mother, that would definitely help me a lot but from the looks of it, that seems like some kind of passing dream for now. She could simply be a bit traumatic from what had happened to her which would make her actions even more logical.
“Ugh…” I sighed before looking at the three with a nod, “I will take the little girl with me then, the two of you will continue with your assignment. Make sure to also write down every report the other knights will give once they come back from their assignment.”
“As for the knights that have finished their work, let them rest for the remainder. I will only take Leo with me since this curse may have something to do with the abundance of mana in the past… I suspect there is an earth vein around the land here which should have been blocked…” I said with all seriousness before all of their eyes widened.