This is why you never try to steal from a vampire. In my defense, though, the pay is too damn good to pass up. I’ll never need to work another day in my life if I can get out of this predicament of mine.
“You did exceptionally well to make it this far,” the beautiful, pale woman says as she runs the tips of her red nails across my neck. Just being grazed by those nails is enough to cut my skin. “I must admit that I am appreciative she sent such a handsome man this time. Tell me, human, who do you believe is more attractive? Myself, or that demonic woman who sent you here?”
I might as well be honest and enjoy the sight while I still can. “Don’t know. That dress of hers showed lots of leg. I’d need to see yours to compare properly, ya know?” I reply.
“Is that so? Well,” she pauses, bringing one of her heels up to rest against my thigh as she lifts that long dress of hers up.
Just as I thought. This woman has got legs to kill for. Slender, long, and not a single imperfection anywhere on her skin. A bit more color would be nice, but you can’t ask a vampire to not look pale.
“Well? Have you seen enough to make a decision?” she asks me.
I look the rest of her over. Long, blonde hair. Red eyes. Great chest. A womanly face that is every bit as seductive as is it feminine.
“No question about it. You win. Always had a fondness for the gals like you who look out of my reach, plus I like legs. And tall women,” I tell her.
She smiles, showing off her fangs that are sharper than a snake’s.
“Tell me something before I feast, street rat,” she says.
“Hey now, that’s offensive. Just ‘cause I’m immune to the aftertaste of trash doesn’t mean I’m a rat,” I tell her.
“Very well. Do you have a name that you would rather I call you?”
“How about ‘Daddy?’ Wouldn’t mind a lady like yourself callin’ me that.”
She laughs and says, “Perhaps if you ever find a way to grow older than me. It would be odd to call somebody likely hundreds of years younger than myself that, no? Alas… doing something such as that will likely be impossible for you in just a few more minutes.”
“Well, you’re not wrong about that. It’d still sound nice, though.”
Her hands run over my own. I have no choice but to stand here as these magical chains of blood keep me held for her.
“Rather than call you that, I shall upgrade your status from rat to dog. Does that sound better?” she asks me.
“Woof,” I bark at her.
She smiles and laughs again. Even just the way she laughs feels so… regal – so sophisticated. “I shall take that as a yes then. Now, do you have any information you would like to divulge with me before my feast?”
“I mean, I already told ya everything that I could think of to try and get my ass spared, and it don’t exactly feel like any of that worked. All I’ve got left to offer you is my body, and I think we might have two different meanin’s of what it means to offer that.”
“Do not get me wrong, dog. Were your target me rather than my jewel, I may have allowed you to indulge in me before my feast. Alas, you have proved that a little jewel is more tempting than me. I feel hurt. Is that jewel truly more beautiful than I?”
“Well, it does have a pretty nice shine to it.” Looking to the other side of the room, my mark is sitting there on top of her counter. It’s a glowing ruby filled with the raw essence of magic. Just being around it is enough to make me feel a stronger magical presence than anything I’ve ever felt before. There’s probably enough magic in that little jewel of hers to blow this city up and then some. “But really, it just pays more.”
“Why did you not try to kill me beforehand?” she asks, tapping the tips of her fingers against her cheek.
“Yeah, a nobody killin’ the Queen of Blood. My ass would be hunted down for the rest of my life. Plus, the lilith didn’t tell me to. She would’ve had to pay extra for that.”
“Please, dog. You should at least take pride in your status. I doubt that a ‘nobody’ would have so many titles and even be referred to as the ‘S-rank Gambling Addict.’”
“Come on. Couldn’t ya at least have used one of my cooler nicknames if ya know who I am?” I mean, that nickname isn’t wrong and does fill me with a bit of pride. Too bad it doesn’t fill my pockets.
“I must admit that I thought such a legendary thief would be… younger – well, younger relative to human years. No offense, of course. I just did not expect such a gruff, older man. Especially not one so scarred and… stubbly.”
“Hey, if I could grow more than stubble, there’d be more. Insult me all ya want, but don’t make fun of my failure to grow a beard.”
“Very well, dog. Now then, I do believe that this conversation has run its course. As much as I have enjoyed our little discussion, I cannot pass on such a fine feast waiting for me,” she says, closing the distance between her lips and my neck. Those fangs of hers that protrude out farther than the rest of her teeth are just barely about to touch my neck when…
Houdini’s Final Escape.
The chains around my wrists and ankles are immediately broken, giving me the opportunity to raise a hand up between me and my would-be devourer. “Flashbang,” I tell her, snapping my fingers.
Being a legendary thief is all about style. Saying that skill out-loud and snapping my fingers is too cool to resist.
A brilliant light explodes between me and the queen. While I’m immune to its blinding and deafening effects thanks to my resistances, she isn’t. She covers her eyes and recoils backward.
[The Blood Queen, Zurie Sânge, has been blinded and deafened!]
Now’s my chance.
All I have to do is grab the jewel and get the fuck out of here. She won’t be able to target me as long as she can’t see me, so I need to get out before she regains her sight.
I smash the glass covering the jewel and take it into my hands.
Time to get out of here.
Waypoint Recall: Home.
That is, admittedly, not good.
She’s got to have a barrier up.
Shit, that’s what I was fearing. If I can’t teleport out, I won’t be able to just run out of here either.
The only way to deactivate the spell is by either convincing her to or killing her.
I’ve got no choice other than to unfuck this the hard way.
If it means surviving, even if being hunted for the rest of my life is my fate, I will do what I have to. Nobody is going to treat me like some snack.
Five dice pop out of the air and roll on the ground.
[Lucky Dice |R10|: You have rolled a: 2, 2, 3, 1, 6
-80% LCK! Unlucky!]
Another five dice pop out and roll around.
[Loaded Dice |R4|: You have rolled a: 6, 6, 3, 1, 2
-20% LCK! Unlucky!]
Unlucky! Seriously unlucky! I knew I should have leveled up this skill more so that the rest of the rolls would be fixed!
Now I’m down a good chunk of SP and all my luck.
[Loaded Dice |R4|: You have rolled a: 6, 6, 6, 4, 2
+80% LCK! Lucky!]
One more time now that it’s balanced out.
[Loaded Dice |R4|: You have rolled a: 6, 6, 6, 6, 2
+80% LCK! Lucky!]
Alright, I’ve got a boost now, but I can’t risk using that anymore.
[Critical Boost |R10|: +100% critical damage for 10 seconds.]
[Headhunting |R10|: +50% critical hit chance and critical damage against targeted necks and heads for 60 seconds.]
[Precise Strike |R10|: +100% critical hit chance for next attack.]
Let’s see her try and survive this.
With my trusty daggers in each of my hands, I charge forward at my target and slash at her head!
Her head gets sliced into three sections as my blades cut through it horizontally.
[Blood Clone took 0 damage!]
The body that I just cut dissolves into a large puddle of blood now pooling on the floor beneath me.
Her voice says from behind, “I am disappointed, dog. That would—"
[MP-SP Conversion |R4|: 40% of MP converted to SP.]
I throw my left dagger at her with all possible strength and speed forced into the attack.
She raises a single finger to try and stop it. Her eyes widen when the dagger manages to slice right through her finger, tearing the upper half of it off.
[The Blood Queen, Zurie Sânge, took 1,982 critical damage and is afflicted by Purified Giant Reaper Spider Venom!]
Grabbing her finger, she stares down at it in disbelief as a sinister smile takes to her lips.
“Purified spider venom? From a giant reaper? I see that you have earned those other nicknames of yours,” she – Zurie, says.
I draw the silver sword I brought as a last resort.
Calling in a favor means I was able to get it blessed for the night, so all I have to do is—
“Blood Supremacy,” Zurie says, staring me in my eyes as she smiles a sadistic smile.
She forces the blood in my fingers to loosen my grips, dropping the sword and my remaining dagger.
Next, my own blood forces me onto my knees.
Zurie walks up to me, swaying her hips as she does, and leans down in front of me. I wish I could enjoy the view of her cleavage hanging in front of my face instead of having to try and kill her. “You have proven yourself. Now, relax your muscles and allow me to feast. I will even make it pleasurable for you as a reward for your entertaining defiance.” I look down. Her finger is in a state of back-and-forth regenerating and burning. “Now—”
I loosen the pill behind my teeth with my tongue and bite down onto it.
[Control Immunity Drug consumed!
You are now immune to all control skills for 60 seconds.]
It doesn’t even take half a second to pick my sword and dagger back up, running the former through her gut as the latter slices her neck.
[The Blood Queen, Zurie Sânge, took 4,444 damage!]
Cold blood from her neck sprays onto my face as she lurches forward onto my sword, grabbing my shoulders to help keep herself up.
“You are clearly too talented to feast upon,” Zurie says.
I look up at her and see her grinning. Her neck has already healed and she doesn’t even look the slightest bit of pained in her eyes.
“Men far older and angrier than you have tried to kill me and failed to do even half as much as you have,” she whispers, her left hand gently cupping my cheek. “For a human, you are truly impressive. I would love to hear of the environment that raised a human to be as desperate to survive as you.”
I slice her neck again with my dagger.
[The Blood Queen, Zurie Sânge, took 789 damage!]
[The Blood Queen, Zurie Sânge, took 1,188 damage!]
[The Blood Queen, Zurie Sânge, took 790 damage!]
Her neck regenerates in only a couple of seconds after every slice. With my remaining SP, I reactivate my best skills.
And since her health should be low enough now, Final Blow.
One last time, I slash her neck and make the cut as deep as I can with my dagger.
[The Blood Queen, Zurie Sânge, took 23,760 critical damage!]
Her eyes go lifeless and her lips go straight.
Then she smiles and looks into my eyes just seconds later.
“Congratulations, dog,” Zurie says.
“How?” I ask. “You’re just a vamp! How the – there’s no way you survived that. How? You can’t possibly still have any HP left.”
“I do not.”
Shit, I fucked up! I need to finish her with—
“That is right, dog. You may have reduced my health to below zero, but that means nothing if the final blow does not come from your silver blade. Unfortunately for you,” she pauses, placing her hand on my left arm – the arm holding the sword inside of her gut. “Blood Burst.”
The blood in my left arm boils and explodes with enough force to shatter the bone and leave me armless up to my shoulder.
[You have taken 1,083 damage and are now bleeding for -303 HP per minute!]
“What happened to making my death fucking pleasurable?” I groan out at her.
Damn it! All I need to do is slide the blade a little to cut her and she’ll be done!
“Who said anything about you dying?” Zurie asks me.
“Ah, did I? Apologies, for I have changed my mind.”
…what? This crazy woman isn’t going to kill me after just trying my absolute hardest to kill her?
I still have one arm left.
I grab the sword’s handle with my right hand and—
“Blood Burst,” Zurie says, touching my right arm.
[You have taken 1,121 damage and are now bleeding for -673 HP per minute!]
“Fuck you,” I shout, spitting on her face.
“Such crude language for a dog. Well, that is alright. Get it out of your system now, for you will not be able to soon,” Zurie says with her sadistic smile.
“The fuck are you talking about?” This fucking hurts!
“I must admit that I am disappointed in only one thing. You should have used your skills before impaling me on this sword. Had you done that, you would have killed me. Though… I would not have let you impale me in the first place had you done that.”
This fucking woman. She’s playing with me.
“Fortunately for you, I am an understanding woman. I am sure that your brain is too high on adrenaline to think clearly at the moment. Am I wrong?” she asks.
“Just kill me already. I don’t want to waste my time bleeding out,” I say.
“Who said anything about bleeding out? Why would I waste such an ideal candidate for one of my… pet projects? I have been too busy to seek out a candidate, but now I have the perfect candidate on his knees before me. You see, you have proven that you are what I need. You should be proud, truly. I am also thankful for you saving me the effort of capturing an S-ranked adventurer. Thank you, my dog,” she says and leans lower to place a kiss on my forehead.
“The fuck are you talking about?”
“My offer to you. You may either die here, or you may become my dog. I will raise you and you will become one of the most powerful monsters that this world has ever seen. You will become my cerberus.”
This woman is seriously crazy. “I’m a fucking human. How am I supposed to become your cerberus?”
“That is simple, dog. I will take your soul and give it a new host. In exchange for being my cerberus, not only will you be granted life and power, but you will have anything and everything that you could ever ask for. Food, wealth, security – even women. You may even have me if you prove yourself. So, dog. Choose. You may die, or you may become mine until the end of time. You will serve me, live for me, and die for me if I so wish for you to. Of course, I would not wish for such a thing as long as you remain loyal and obedient.”
“Why not you? I have simply not gotten around to finding a proper candidate, and now the perfect man for this has fallen into my lap. I need somebody with your skill and desire to survive, and it is not as if you have a choice at the moment. Now, do we have a deal?”
“Woof,” I bark at her.
Zurie smiles and says, “I hope that you retain your sense of humor in your new body.”
If being a crazy woman’s dog is the only way of surviving, then I might as well.
I might as well lunge downward to grab the handle of the sword with my teeth, and—
She places her hand on the back of my head.
[You have died.]
[Your soul has been transferred into The Queen of Blood’s Sealed Ruby.]
Now I’m just… here.
I’m nothing more than thoughts within a void now. Is this all there is to the afterlife? Is this what it means to just be a soul?
Time both flies and crawls by. I am acutely aware of every single second that passes while I’m in this… place, but at the same time, time feels like it moves far faster than it should be.
Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months in the same amount of time that it takes to think an idle thought.
There is nothing in this abyss with me.
There is no sleep, no pleasure, no pain, no eating, no feeling… nothing.
That is, until I am no longer alone.
Another spirit is in this void with me now. Only, it’s too weak to survive on its own.
I feel its essence being absorbed into mine.
It’s… a dog – some kind of canine. I can’t tell exactly what kind, but I can tell that… it’s happy? It’s grateful?
Its memories become mine as my soul overwhelms its own.
Pain. Cold nights. Abusive street brats. A sickly girl. Scavenging for food in the trash.
We’re not too different from one another, are we, pup?
Sorry it has to end like this for you. I can’t exactly stop this from happening. If I can, I have no idea how.
A final memory – one of the pup’s most recent memories, becomes mine.
The memory is of an unbelievably beautiful woman in a red dress with huge tits leaning down to scoop the pup out of the snow.
Cradled against her bosom, the pup was taken back to her room where… the jewel that is containing me is.
The pup’s death was gentle. Its life slipped away and the last feeling it experienced with its body was the numbed sensation of fangs sliding into its neck.
A single tear dropped onto the back of its neck as the woman whispered, “I am sorry, and thank you,” to the pup.
The pup’s soul is gone. All that is left is my own, ever so slightly strengthened and modified by the pup’s.
More time passes.
This time, it is not a soul that enters this void, but the overwhelming presence of magic. I was wondering why I couldn’t feel any of the stored magic within this jewel, but now I can, and it is all flooding into me.
Even if it is just raw, magical energy, I feel more powerful than I have ever felt before! This kind of power is too good to be true – it’s addicting.
I want more of it.
Hungrily, I draw in as much of the energy into my soul as I can.
I don’t care what happens to me. I just want more. I need more.
But it stops.
Why? Why did it stop? I want more! Don’t just cut me off like this! This is the first thing I’ve felt since I was alive, and it feels better than anything I’ve ever felt before!
Damn it! This is more frustrating than fucking being dead in the first place!
I want more power. I need more power. I need it. I want it now.
I feel as if I’m going to go insane if I can’t get more of it.
I will do anything for more. Just… please. Please let me taste that raw power again.
[Do you accept The Curse of the Blood Queen’s Kiss?]
Fine! Sure! I accept! If it means another taste, I will do anything for it!
Mustering all of my soul into one tangible finger, I reach out and accept my fate.
An unbelievable amount of energy flows into me and overwhelms my very being.
I’ve lost all sense of… everything.
All I care about anymore is this energy.
All I know anymore is the feeling of this energy.
This energy is—
It’s mine? Me?
What was once a void devoid of all but thought is now a myriad of colors flashing and swirling around me.
Faces, names, friends, marks, brothels, employers – memories. They all flash around me.
Colors, shapes, lighting, and sensations flood my feelings.
My energy condenses and takes on the form of something foreign yet familiar.
Red eyes, a smile, and huge tits. I can see them all. That smile is looking down at me and those lips part to say, “Good boy,” before everything turns to darkness once more.
The next time I open my eyes, I find myself in a dimly-lit corridor only illuminated by the glowworms hanging from the ceiling.
It’s rocky underneath me.
Where am I? What happened? Wait… wasn’t I dead?
I let out a loud yawn and stretch my legs and back before shaking my head.
Is… do I…
I – my arms are gone.
There are just two short, furry stumps there now! These things don’t even deserve to be called arms or legs!
And what the fuck is that sound coming from my mouth? “The fuck is going on?” I ask, but all I actually hear is some sort of… barking?
Wait, there’s a pop-up. I should check to see what it says before freaking out.
[You have been reincarnated under The Curse of the Blood Queen’s Kiss!]
[You are now a level 1 Cursed Pup.]
What the fuck?
I’m… a puppy?
This has to be that vamp’s doing.
Damn it, why is it so itchy behind my ear? How am I even supposed to scratch it without hands?
I guess… I could try doing it how dogs do it?
I lift my front-right paw to try and scratch it, but my leg can’t reach.
Wait, dogs usually use their back legs to scratch. Alright, I’ve got this.
Just need to sit down and use my back-right leg to try and hit behind my ear, and…
And I’ve fallen over. My leg can’t even reach
Screw this. I’m just going to rub my head against the ground to scratch it.
This actually feels kind of nice.
What’s that feeling behind me?
My tail is wagging on its own. “Hey, stop that. It’s annoying,” I tell my tail. “Don’t make me bite you.”
The more my tail swings around, the more I feel tempted to chase after it. It’s like a forbidden snack that I know is just part of my body, but at the same time, it’s like prey challenging me.
No. Stop it. Do not attack your own tail no matter how tempting it might be. You are a thirty-three-year-old… puppy.
What the fuck has my life come to?
Where even am I?
[You are currently on the fifth subterranean floor of the Magnurr World Tower.]
Why am I this far down in the city’s tower, and how the fuck am I supposed to survive as a level one down here?!
I need to learn more about myself before doing anything else. I need to figure out what my stats are, skills, paths – I need information.
Eh? Seriously? Do low-level monsters not have access to something so basic?
What about my other skills?
How am I supposed to – damn it, my ear is itchy again. I swear if I’ve already got a flea or some shit like that.
Dogs have it rough.
Something hisses from behind me.
Hissing, with that rattling sound…
I stop scratching my ear by rubbing my head against the ground to look behind me.
A Magnurr rattler.
These oversized, spotted salamanders wouldn’t normally be a problem. A single slash from a sword could kill one before it can get close enough to inject its paralytic venom. Besides, they’re only the size of dogs.
Except… I’m a puppy and I have no sword. Something that I used to be able to kick away like a minor annoyance is now ten times my size.
It lifts its tail up and vibrates its rattle.
Venom is already dripping from its bared fangs.
If there is one thing I learned from my time as a legendary thief, it is this: know when to run.
These stumpy legs better be good for something.