[You’ve gained a Wanted Rep with the Lot City Vampire Clan. Current Wanted level: 1/5. They are cautious of you.]
Clyde finished off the fifth consecutive vampire then pulled a health potion from his inventory. He opened it and sniffed. A strong smell of vinegar and something else made him flinch. Good thing he wasn’t the one taking it.
“Here, chug this,” he said to Toru. “The magic in it will heal you.”
Toru gave him only the briefest skeptical glare then downed the potion. He coughed a few times, but the liquid did its magic. His wounds closed, leaving just the faintest of marks. The young man’s demeanor and mood seemed to improve too.
Just then, he noticed a familiar young woman walking toward them dressed in the red and white garb of the traditional maiden. Clare. As beautiful as always with long dark hair, large breasts, and radiating dignity mixed with seduction. Her flirting and teasing sometimes drove Clyde nuts.
“Clyde, I’m so glad I caught up to you,” she said then told him a lot about Seth. Clyde nodded, listening intently.
“Didn’t know Seth had a brother,” Clyde said.
“It’s a sensitive topic,” Clare said. “But believe me, Seth never meant for things to get so out of control. The sincerity in his eyes…”
Clyde nodded, then pulled the enchanted arrows from his inventory. Despite seeing him utilize the inventory more than a few times, Clare still flinched.
“Take these, make use of them,” Clyde said.
“Oh wow, enchanted arrows,” Ming said. “I can see various elemental enchantments, even some light and holy.”
Clare gazed at the young man, maybe gaped.
“I can’t accept these, Clyde—they’re really expensive,” she said softly.
“Please do,” Clyde said. “Went through a lot to obtain them.” He chuckled. The Ashfall family had no used for them anyway—finders keepers. “Study them, see if you can make more. Maybe I’ll ask you to teach me the bow and buy arrows from you. I do have to ask, hopefully not beg, a certain kid witch to teach me how to enchant things. Then fix up everyone’s equipment.”
[Your relationship with Clare has increased to friend, closer level 3.]
[A gift made it jump two ranks!]
“Thank you,” Clare said, cheeks faintly coloring.
“Of course,” Clyde said. “Are you up for testing them out?”
“No, not yet,” she said. “I need to study them. And I’d rather not have to clean vampire goo off them.”
“Fair enough.” He addressed the entire party. “Let’s get moving. We got a Seth to help out.”
Clyde kept an eye on the battle log as they drew closer and closer to the clash of two auras. Everyone kicked ass, which wasn’t surprising—Alice, Tear, Nata, Yuki, Har… Where did Harumi go? She was with the sisters, right? Her HP and MP were above average.
“Kitome, Ming, you two go find Harumi,” he ordered. “Have your guard up, strongest spells ready. Go.”
They nodded and sprinted off, Kitome leading them back to where they last saw her.
“Hey,” a feminine voice called to him.
Yusuke and Ruri approached the party. The hellhound seemed cheerful, while Yusuke was…well Yusuke.
“I’m glad you’re here. Ruri, can I ask a favor of your nose?” Clyde said.
She glanced at Yusuke then back to Clyde.
“Only if you chat with Matsume,” she said.
“Why? Never mind, don’t have time for this—I’ll chat with your friend. Now go help Kitome and Ming find Harumi, please.”
“The pink-haired breast girl?” Ruri said.
“Yeah,” Clyde said. “Harumi.”
Ruri saluted him.
“Let’s do it Yusuke, follow meeee. And you owe me more meat after this.”
Yusuke nodded at Clyde, acknowledging him and his orders then took off behind the hellhound. Clyde could hardly wait until they became an official couple. Some humor will be found there.
Without missing a beat, the young man led the party on, even closer to the auras. In fact, they were so close that the smell of smoke plagued the air. It came as a surprise that nothing was on fire, nor civilians hurt. The phenomenon protected them.
Suddenly, Seth ricocheted out of nowhere, skidding onto the ground, back-first, less than a dozen feet from the party. He looked beaten and bruised, shirt torn and shred, dirty. A man who looked to be in his mid-twenties emerged from the smoke, walking toward Seth at an unhurried pace. Dark blond hair, grey aura, he looked as if he took a beating, though not as bad as his downed friend.
“Seth,” Clyde said. To his surprise, the blond young man stood back up, though with a struggle.
“Am I still on the team?” Seth said.
“I never saw your letter of resignation,” Clyde said then grinned. They both bumped fists.
[Seth was added back to the party.]
[Seth’s relationship has jumped to friend, respect, close level 1.]
“So this asshole is your brother, I take it?” Clyde said.
“The one and only,” the man said. “And I take it, you’re the Stone. Or the phony who’s posing as him—I highly doubt someone like you would be him. You took down the demon lord with luck and some tricks.”
“That’s Julius,” Seth said. “Master of manipulation. And a mental magic user. By the way, I’d like your help in finding some way to resist that shit. Not a fan of someone messing with my head.”
“It took no effort, really. I’m that good.”
“Dude, how about fucking off,” Clyde said. “Why are you—”
“He already tried to kill you,” Seth said.
“Seth spotted him and I let my arrow foil the spot,” Clare said. “He’s a sharp one, dodging it like that.”
“So, it was you,” Julius said. “You will pay, maiden worm. No matter. Seth, give me the Omen’s sphere.”
“Oh this,” Seth said then passed it to Clyde. Clyde noticed the look of relief that flooded into Seth’s eyes for some reason. Most likely due to the evacuating taint. Omen’s spheres could only be handled by certain people, himself included. Not even Alice’s angelic mother wanted to be near one.
The taint of Seth’s sphere felt energetic, but like the rest of them, was purified instantly by Clyde’s aura.
He finally reached enough to unlock the next ability—but he didn’t have time to look. Julius walked toward them again, grey aura raging around him like a mini-tornado.
“You…absorbed it,” he said. “Goddamn insane.”
Clyde pulled a health potion from his inventory, frowning at the remaining two, and passed it to Seth. The blond downed it without questioning.
“How’d it taste?” Toru said, evil grin on his face.
“Like…” Seth made a face one would make if consuming very sour candy. “Fucking awful.”
“Use that rage on the guy ahead of us.”
“Six on one,” Julius said.
“Well, Sazuki and Kiko aren’t fighting,” Clyde said. “So, four on one. I’m going to do to you what you’ve done to Seth, maybe worse.”
He didn’t say anything else, just took a fighting stance. The last thing he wanted was some corny friendship speech coming out of his mouth. Knowing this world, it would probably happen.
“Four, six, twelve, Seth, you may want to warn your friends,” Julius said. “I went easy on you because you’re my brother. Now, I won’t hold back.”
“Holding back,” Seth said. “You know what, someone needs to kick your ass for how you’ve treated our parents. What you’ve done to Dad…I’ll never forget it—you and your fucking power.”
Julius grinned then took on an unarmed fighting stance.
“All of you come at me. Watch me dismantle you.”
At the center of the festival, a woman stood, watching everything with sharp eyes that were unaffected by the night’s touch. So much intrigued her, the chaos…but the presence of a would-be legend. To think the stone-viper games started again and for the first time in history, with the true Stone. How did the gods find him among millions of worlds?
She found a lone human, a pink-haired girl taking down one of her newborns. The girl killed him quickly, wielding lightning and even light. A nice snack. The woman grinned. She wasn’t a virgin, but the only person she had sex with was… the Stone. The next best thing. The woman giggled.
“They don’t call me the vampire princess for nothing,” she said, licking her lips. The aroma of sweat from the prey made the woman hungrier. She needed to find a man to have sex with after the meal—a drink drove any vampire’s hormones into chaos. And she definitely didn’t fancy women. The Stone was very handsome, alluring and filled to the brim with spiritual, holy and even purity magic. Sex with him would be the most thrilling thing she’d ever do in her life. After the meal, she’d hunt him down. Some would call it rape, but the vampire princess called it sport. She could charm the Stone and they’d dive into some pleasure. Or she could just simply seduce him. A man is a man after all. Seduction was more fun anyway.
At an unhurried pace, she started toward the pink-haired human, licking her lips again. “A taste, a few sips. Maybe turn her too.” She giggled. “We vampires do suck.”