Silver Cross and Draculea:Volume05 Chapter3
Chapter 3 - Crimson Rampage
"I don't recall authorizing your friends to take part in the interrogation?"
Oogami Rangetsu looked at Mei and Kirika who were following after Eruru and questioned with displeasure.
Kasumigaseki district--The Metropolitan Police Department.
At the Supernatural Investigations Section's headquarters, deep inside the MPD, Eruru and Rangetsu were facing off.
Saturday afternoon, Rangetsu found her generally uncooperative colleague taking the initiative to bow down to her and request permission to interrogate the suspect under custody.
Eruru had interrogated him before and the suspect was currently Rangetsu's responsibility.
Seeing Eruru's firm and pleading attitude, Rangetsu felt curious and approved the request, but did not expect her to bring unrelated personnel along.
"Sudou-san I can understand, but that high school student has nothing to do with this case, right? If you want work experience, go look somewhere else."
"Uno-san is here because I have a request for her afterwards. I will interrogate the vampire alone. That will be fine, yes?"
"Very well, don't get any funny ideas, okay?"
"I am having trouble understanding you. Is there any problem with my interrogating him?"
"...Right. By the way, is Kujou-kun okay?"
This was not only a greeting but also an attempt to get information.
Rangetsu had already received news that Rushella had run away from home and a new vampire had appeared--rather, returned--by Hisui's side.
She wanted to see how Eruru would react to this.
Nevertheless, Eruru did not even twitch an eyebrow.
"Who knows, no one has bitten or drunk his blood recently. Probably lively as ever. How about you try going on a date with him?"
"W-What did you say!?"
Rangetsu denied verbally but her face went red.
Eruru smirked and continued.
"By the way, he mentioned earlier he would like to go for some barbecue. You ought to know a good place, right?"
This was precisely Rangetsu's area of expertise. She instantly brightened up with a smile.
"Eh... Really? T-Then allow me, the barbecue expert at the MPD, to personally take him out...!"
"Just kidding. What are you getting excited about? What an idiot."
"W-Who are you calling an idiot!?"
"I am talking about you, the kind of person who gets worked up over a high schooler. Is there any need to wave your arms around like that? What a waste of energy."
"O-On what basis do you assert this as a waste of energy!? Besides, what right do you have to criticize me!?"
Hearing Rangetsu say that, Eruru instantly frowned.
She really looked like she was angered.
"...Do not compare me with you. I feel nothing about that kind of person."
"Oh really~? I never said explicitly it was Kujou-kun, you know~?"
"...I never said I was talking about Kujou-san either."
"Then who are you talking about?"
Invisible sparks erupted between the two of them.
However, the conflict died down instantly. After all, this was a police station. The two of them quickly stabilized their emotions. Rangetsu unhappily turned her face away.
"Hurry and do what you need to do. Just in case, I will be in the adjacent room. You two, just find somewhere to sit for now."
Rangetsu asked Mei and Kirika to sit down while motioning with her eyes for Eruru to hurry.
Eruru bowed and set off deeper underground.
Rangetsu accompanied her while Mei and Kirika stayed where they were, sitting on a sofa for visitors.
"So... Senpai, did you run into her after that?"
"No, but Grandma saw her once. Judging from what she said, Rushella-san probably will not visit again. In the end, no one knows anything about what she wants to find out..."
Kirika sighed with sympathy.
She had come to seek Eruru today became she wanted to discuss the matter of Rushella visiting her grandmother.
After Kirika's grandmother saw Rushella, she only told one person--Kirika.
You decide what should be done--Entrusted with this heavy responsibility, Kirika decided to tell only Eruru and Mei.
"But Senpai, why didn't you tell Hi-kun? Surely he's the one who's worrying the most about Rushella. Also, what Rushella wants to know... Hi-kun's foster mother should know something, right?"
"That is what I initially thought... But later on, I began to hesitate. Of course, this might perhaps be due to my own selfishness."
Kirika smiled with some level of self-mockery.
Hisui and Rushella parting ways was to her benefit in various ways.
Although it was after much thinking that she finally decided not to tell Hisui, undeniably, part of it came from her feelings as a girl.
"It's very normal, right? Seizing the opportunity to console a guy's broken heart, it's commonplace throughout history. Also, if you really wanted to steal Hi-kun's heart away, then you wouldn't have told us either, right? I think you're quite a great girl for trying to handle this matter discreetly without hurting Hi-kun, you know? Almost as good as me, but not quite."
Mei proudly puffed out her voluptuous chest and leaned back on the sofa.
Kirika smiled wryly while staring at the corridor where Eruru had left.
Currently, all hope was entrusted to that petite girl.
Naturally, she hoped that Hisui's mental scars could heal while at the same time, Rushella could find salvation.
Eruru and Rangetsu walked along the heavily guarded quarantine corridor.
One of the purposes of this underground facility was isolation from the external world. In the absolute worst case, it was possible to cut off all contact with outside, forming a completely sealed space.
Due to a certain incident, the defenses here were strengthened further. In addition, a substantial increase in manpower was devoted towards security.
After multiple layers of verification through ID card checking, fingerprint and retinal scans, Eruru arrived at the lowest level of the MPD.
"Please enter on your own from this point onwards. I could accompany you, but you'd prefer to be alone, right?"
"The security camera is already turned off. Pull the alarm if anything happens... Well, I don't suppose you need more of my nagging, do you?"
"You are truly considerate in your preparations. You do know that I have nothing to repay your favor, don't you?"
"I never expected anything in the first place. Besides, Kujou-kun would be the one I'd want to be indebted to me, not you."
Eruru tensed her face in displeasure.
She never expected to conceal the purpose of her visit in the first place. After all, Rangetsu had inherited the blood of werewolves, she possessed an excellent sense of smell.
"In any case, you're here for Kujou-kun's sake, right? Coming all this way to interrogate a vampire, surely it must be related to that arrogant child, right? What a nice person you are."
"...This is only part of work."
Eruru bowed at Rangetsu then continued on her way.
Made from alloyed armor, the heavy walls of steel parted left and right, presenting the path towards the dark cell in front of her eyes.
The deepest part of the MPD served as a prison.
As an investigations agency, the MPD possessed facilities for detaining suspects to begin with and had no need to set up a specialized facility for detaining those who were already condemned.
However, the cases under the Supernatural Investigations Section were exceptions.
Very often, the suspects here were not even human. Let alone sentencing them to jail, it was impossible to punish them with ordinary laws.
Hence, before cases were completely resolved, "people" who had yet to be dealt with were locked away in this maximum security prison at the deepest part of the MPD.
But once cases were resolved, these "people" who were not protected by laws in the first place could very well be disposed of any time.
Their life and death depended on the overall judgment of the higher-ups and the final results were only known to a fraction of the Supernatural Investigations Section. It was top secret.
Even Eruru had no idea what was the final fate of the majority of imprisoned monsters who were involved in cases.
Nevertheless, she believed with certainty that the criminal she was about to confront would be kept alive for the long term.
Although there was ironclad evidence for his crimes and he would undoubtedly face the death penalty were he human, he was precious specimen after all and would not be disposed of so easily.
Normally, Eruru would have petitioned her superiors for speedy execution, but this time was different.
There were still things to ask him.
"Long time no see, Fergus."
The young man was leaning his back against the wall lethargically when Eruru spoke to him.
Rather, perhaps he did not even have the energy to reply.
He had fought a battle against Hisui and lost utterly, ending up with holy water fusing with his body on a particle level.
Due to metabolism, the holy water would be expelled from the body in the end, but the power of its holy properties, naturally antagonistic towards his body, caused scorching pain to every one of his cells, still tormenting him to this day.
In addition, imprisoned here to suffer harsh interrogation, this was undoubtedly hell for a vampire.
After a series of interrogations, he was tied up using silver chains with scripture carved on them, preventing his body from moving freely.
While he was leaning against the wall, chains secured to the wall had his wrists locked up, restraining him this moment by the power of the sacred.
"I have something to ask you. Can you speak?"
Eruru spoke indifferently without any expression on her face.
The blond young man still kept his head down, not moving.
His pale body was very skinny, clearly malnourished.
"If transfusion blood packs are good enough, I could prepare some for you? It would be a problem for me if your brain cannot work a little."
Eruru said reluctantly.
Using blood as temptation was the most taboo method from her standpoint. If Fergus took the bait, it would only further remind her of her own cursed bloodline.
But right now, every second mattered.
She had to get information out of this man, at any cost.
Fergus seemed to react to the word "blood" and looked up.
Originally a pale and handsome face, exemplifying vampire style, he now looked like he had aged twenty years.
The injuries suffered in the battle against Hisui combined with the hardship of prison had tormented his body and mind. Fergus' face was carved with the wrinkles called pain, all covered in scars.
"...It's you. Accursed taboo child. Never would I have expected myself to fall so low as to be looked down by a halfling like you..."
Fergus' words were full of self-deprecation.
Indeed, one side was the dhampir Eruru while the other side was Fergus the Pure of the Pure, a bloodline of pure vampires descended from the True Ancestor. Their difference in status was as disparate as heaven and earth.
In vampire society, Eruru was at the lowest level while Fergus would be a noble of the highest rank.
But these inane social classes had nothing to do with Eruru.
Pointing the sacred gun Argentum's muzzle at Fergus, Eruru coldly commanded.
"The difference in location between our heads is equivalent to our difference in position. If you do not want to eat a bullet, answer my questions obediently."
"Can you, do it...? Since, I am currently, still alive... That means, I still... have value alive. If orders for execution were issued, surely you'd... pierce my head with a bullet, without hesitation at all... Right?"
He was speaking in fragments but he was correct.
Eruru had the power of interrogation but not execution.
Eruru pulled the trigger.
Witha bang, the bullet was fired suddenly from the muzzle with a puff of smoke, penetrating Fergus' body.
"It hurts so much that you cannot make a sound, right? Wonderful."
Eruru said mercilessly without the slightest shred of laughter on her face.
Her icy gaze focused on Fergus' right leg that had been pierced by the bullet.
"Indeed, I cannot destroy you, but I can do whatever I want apart from that. Every time you piss me off, I will pull the trigger for you, how about that? Please tell me if you get thirsty, because I will bring a cup of holy water for you."
Eruru's words and expression were completely merciless.
This guy was a vicious vampire who had killed many humans callously. Allowing him to live would be an affront to justice.
Eruru's eyes flickered with stern flames of wrath. Fergus' proper-looking face became grotesque from pain.
"That brat made me understand that the truly frightening are not vampires, but humans instead... You too.. as expected of one whose heritage comes halfly from humans..."
"My bullet seems to have improved the fluency of your speech. Now it is my turn to ask the questions. I will not beat around the bush. Who are the True Ancestors? Where did they come from?"
Without putting down the gun, Eruru interrogated Fergus.
This question must have crossed the mind of everyone who had ever dealt with vampires.
Currently, Eruru tried to open the door to this great mystery.
"I know that there were twelve True Ancestors--All of them female. They each established their own bloodline by having children or taking in servants. So, who exactly were these True Ancestors? Monsters from another world? Or from outer space? Or people who underwent some kind of dramatic change?"
"Why... ask about this? Are you curious about your own roots...?"
"I am the one asking the questions."
Eruru pressed the still-hot muzzle against Fergus' forehead.
Scorched, Fergus grimaced in pain but Eruru paid no heed.
"Answer me... Even if the other vampires do not know, a guy like you who is the closest to a True Ancestor, perhaps might know something, more or less? Have you never heard anything about how your own progenitor, the True Ancestor, established her family and rule?"
"...The birth of the True Ancestors is a secret among secrets within our clan. Furthermore, they never revealed much about themselves either. Hence, I know very little. What I know comes merely from fragments of oral tradition."
"Fine. Tell me. What exactly are the True Ancestors~?"
Hearing Eruru's pursuit of the matter, Fergus laughed powerlessly and paused for a while before speaking.
"Those ancestors were called 'those who drank.'"
"'Those who drank'...? Isn't it obvious that vampires drink? Or is it because they drank something that wasn't blood? Or maybe they drank some kind of special blood?"
"God's blood. So goes the rumor, I don't know if it's true."
"Vampires worshiping gods? Deities from where? Like elder gods of antiquity?"
Eruru could not help laughing but Fergus remained serious.
His crimson eyes silently stared at Eruru.
Seeing his eyes, Eruru realized.
What he meant by the word "God."
There were countless deities all over the world but for vampires born in Europe, there was only a single God who stood as a real threat.
"No way... They drank that person's blood... Impossible!?"
"So goes the story. At the last supper, he treated bread as his body and wine as blood to divide and share with his twelve disciples. But the twelve ladies who admired him received nothing. Even at his final moments, they did not get a chance for farewells. Hence, they could only seek to satisfy their desires from his dead body. Sucking the droplets of blood that seeped out, this was the contemptible and pitiful first blood-sucking. However, for my clan, this was the 'first kiss' worthy of commemoration."
The hand holding the gun's grip trembled.
The truth about the True Ancestors, which no expert had ever reached, to think she would hear it in the corner of this kind of jail cell.
And the truth weighed heavily on her.
Trembling slightly, she said:
"Vampires consume human blood to drain the soul and increase their servants. However, there are also rumors that sharing one's blood with others can also create additional servants. But from what I have heard, these attempts usually fail. Humans who obtained vampire blood became monstrosities, neither vampire nor human... Do these rumors originate from the story you are talking about? These twelve women had drunk God's blood once. Nevertheless, they were punished perhaps for defiling God's body, or maybe they were unable to withstand the power they had absorbed. They were meted with eternal punishment. So they are the... True Ancestors!?"
"Perhaps. That's all the rumors say. I have no way of knowing any more than that. But there's one thing you're right about. A vampire sharing one's own blood with someone else, that is taboo to begin with. Very likely, it was a law decided by the True Ancestors themselves."
The mystery that had occupied Eruru's heart for many years was finally elucidated.
Why most vampires had a unique preference for red wine and why they feared the cross.
This all stemmed from reverence towards Him.
"...Then what? This is all you wanted to ask about? I doubt you'd come all the way here just to listen to unverifiable rumors, right?"
"Naturally, next comes the real topic. After the True Ancestors perished, you were afraid that the purity of the vampire bloodline would be compromised, hence ten years ago, you decided to seek Kujou-san's foster mother's help."
"...But after you revived from under the sea, you insisted on Rushella. Since Miraluka was no longer around, changing your target was only logical. But you apparently said to Rushella that the Miraluka was the last True Ancestors ten years ago. Then why did you choose Rushella? If what you said was true, then she is not a True Ancestor. And for you who are so insistent on bloodlines, only True Ancestors or other Pure of the Pure should be the ones who could catch your eye. What is going on?"
Eruru approache the core issue, her tone of voice getting forceful.
In contrast, Fergus' dry lips cracked a grin in delight.
"I was born as one of the Pure of the Pure precisely because of an insistence on bloodlines. There should be many others from other bloodlines who agree with me."
"So? Vampires' inane notions of blood purity have nothing to do with me."
"Aren't humans the same? Ever since antiquity, how many dynasties have sought purity of blood in creating successor candidates to maintain bloodlines? If mortals can think of solutions, why couldn't we vampires?"
"Successor candidates... No way!?"
"The original True Ancestors numbered twelve. But when the surviving True Ancestors were down to half, proponents of purebloodedness in the clan began to take action. If destruction was possible, so was creation. True Ancestors shall be created once again! Created to fill candidates for blood purity!"
Sparkling red light erupted from Fergus' eyes.
But Eruru ignored it. Her attention was focused on organizing the information she had gathered so far.
"Unlike the original True Ancestors, unusual candidates... How to create them? God's blood... No, if that were the case, Rushella ought to be more... Hey, what are you doing!?"
Eruru regained her senses and pointed the muzzle straight at Fergus.
The vampire in front of her was struggling, trying to break free of the chains.
"Futile. In your weakened state, your body cannot break the chains. Even if you struggle free, I will not let you go. Even if you manage to get past me, do you think you can escape this place alive!?"
"True... Yes... I can no longer... do it..."
His tone of voice showed his resignation to his fate.
However, this made Eruru even more suspicious.
Will this vampire bow down to other so easily, given what an authoritarianist to the core he was?
No, this was fishy from the beginning.
Although he was imprisoned here to begin with, deprived of his freedom, would he easily disclose information on the true nature of vampires so easily?
Besides, the person questioning him was a despised dhampir whom he would not deign to bother with in the first place.
Something was definitely wrong to the core.
"What are you scheming!? Do not attempt futile resistance!"
"This is not futile... At the very least, it will catch you people unprepared. Achieveing that is enough. I desire nothing more. Apart from that, I am powerless..."
His emaciated body was giving off an extraordinary aura of violence.
Originally skinny as sticks, his arms suddenly grew muscular, pulling the chains on his arms taut.
His fangs grew long and his claws became sharp.
His crimson eyes were shining ever brighter.
"Where is this power coming from... Drank blood? No, impossible..."
"Indeed... You people never gave me any blood. A high-level vampire like me can endure the thirst, this is what you people judged. A correct judgment. Hence, I seized opportunities to make myself bleed."
"...None of you cared about my self-mutilation. Seeing me make myself bleed, becoming more and more thirsty, you people only treated it as fatigue from being imprisoned here... You have no one to blame but your misfortune...!"
Eruru finally understood Fergus' intent.
A vampire's power would gradually weaken if continuously deprived of blood.
Finally falling to human level in strength or even lower.
But when the thirst reached a limit, their strength would increase dramatically.
Just like the final brightness before a candle burns out, a vampire casts reason aside to become a beast, their consciousness consumed only by the thought of satisfying their thirst.
Talking earlier was Fergus' attempt to stall for time.
Before Eruru reached this cell, his thirst was already approaching its limit.
After Eruru arrived, all he needed to do was wait a little longer.
He only chose to answer Eruru's questions to avoid rousing her suspicions.
"Stop... A last ditch struggle before you die is useless. And for a high-level vampire like you, is this not the greatest humiliation!?"
"Humiliation? I have had enough...!! To think I would be defeated by a bunch of lowly humans and locked away in this kind of place, this is absolutely the greatest irredeemable humiliation... In that case, I will at least take you all down to accompany my journey to hell!"
Eruru reacted just as he finished talking. Without any hesitation, she raised the gun and fired at Fergus between the eyes, but he doddged.
Seeing him dodge a shot fired at almost point-blank range, Eruru could not help but tense up.
Then the chains shattered.
Before her was an uncaged beast, licking his lips, his breath reeking intensely of blood.
"I will abandon my vampire self!!"
Instantly howls resounded through the prison.
This was the fall of a vampire and the birth of a ferocious beast.
Eruru wanted to pursue but a violent claw slashing swung at her abdomen.
The five spread-out fingers sank into her body, tearing her skin open.
Unable to resist in time, Eruru's petite body was knocked away, striking the jail's door.
She barely managed to cross her arms in a defensive stance to soften the impact but it was not very meaningful.
The difference in power was overwhelming.
The massive impact on the back of her head hit her with a wave of dizziness.
In her hazy consciousness, Eruru saw the beast before her.
A beast clad in a strong and muscular body.
Its fangs and claws were long and sharp. The messy blond hair and beard. The long tongue was hanging outside its mouth, licking its lips from time to time.
Unconcerned about the drool dripping from the corner of his mouth, Fergus' bloodshot eyes stared at Eruru.
Even the whites of his eyeballs were blood-red. Not the slightest shred of sanity could be found in his eyes.
Eruru had no power to resist at all.
At this critical moment, the door suddenly opened behind her.
Noticing the unusual situation, Rangetsu burst through the door.
Picking up Eruru in her arms, she instantly understood the current situation from the bestial stench filling the interior of the jail cell.
At the same time, she noticed Fergus approaching.
Rangetsu reflexively entered a stance, trying to subdue the prisoner.
However, she suffered a violent kick to the belly.
The impact almost bent her body in an L-shape while an urge to vomit rose up her throat.
In the end, she endured it and counterattacked with her elbow but an impact to her brainstem paralyzed her.
Although this did not make her lose consciousness, Rangetsu could no longer stand and collapsed on the floor.
After fainting briefly, Eruru woke up first and struggled to get up.
"Are you okay...?"
"Well enough. But forget about power, I can't believe I even lost in speed, unacceptable... This concerns my honor. By the way, what is that thing... Are vampires such absurd monsters?"
"He has already abandon his rationality. By deliberately letting himself reach the limit of thirst, he abandoned everything for a final burst of massive power. He is one of the Pure of the Pure, after all. This is totally terrible."
"I see. But why didn't he try to kill us? To be honest, I can't take another direct hit."
Holding the back of her head painfully, Rangetsu groaned.
Although she belonged to the werewolf race whose immortality was on par with vampires, she was unable to parry the attack just now.
Furthermore, it was currently daytime. Without the moon, her body could not bring out its true power.
"That guy has no sanity remaining. All that remains in his body is the base desire for drinking blood. And we were ruled out."
"Monsters and hybrids are worthless to him. He wants to drink blood from pure humans... And a virgin's blood is the top choice, isn't it?"
Rangetsu understood the situation and immediately issued orders by radio.
The facility had to be isolated as quickly as possible so that the rampaging vampire could be exterminated.
"Please evacuate all unarmed personnel, especially women. Right now, they will be bitten in the throat immediately and killed as soon as they face him."
"I understand! We have to hurry too!"
Eruru nodded in agreement and sprang into action with Rangetsu.
The tragedy that had befallen this underground prison at the MPD headquarters must not be allowed to repeat again.
In order to keep up with the swift werewolf, Eruru ran as hard as she could.
"I've always felt that this place is really too dark and gloomy. What are they thinking, leaving girls in this kind of place?"
"Isn't the lighting installed properly? Aren't you overthinking things?"
Mei and Kirika were chatting in the visitor's lounge to kill time.
Due to expecting no outsiders to visit, the Supernatural Investigations Section's "interior decoration" was quite a mood-killer--Only bare concrete walls.
Although someone served them tea, no one else came to attend to them after that.
"I really hope Eruru-chan is able to get some useful information. Seriously, why do I have to waste so much time on that child?"
Mei sounded extremely displeased. Kirika stared at her as though thinking of something.
"Nothing. You look quite happy to me, actually. Not just Kujou-kun recently, but you have been looking down too."
"Of course not! Could you not make random guesses here, okay!?"
Mei denied unhappily but Kirika remained unfazed. Mei continued:
"...It really pisses me off to hear that from you. I'll be clear with you. That girl is a rival, an enemy. What else could she be? Who knows when Hi-kun might get turned into a vampire any time? In fact, wasn't last time really dangerous?"
"True. But... That child, is she a real vampire?"
Hearing this question that overturned the root issue, Mei felt perplexed.
Rushella was definitely a strange one among vampires, but no matter how you looked, she was undoubtedly a vampire.
"What are you talking about after things have come to this? Oh well, perhaps it's just as you said before, Senpai, on first glance, she is just a willful high school girl who is suffering from an extreme case of princess delusions."
"Yes... Indeed, she is quite far from the image of a True Ancestor who has lived for ages. Completely different from Grandma's descriptions. That is why I felt that something was not right from the start."
Based on her own knowledge, Kirika had also pondered Rushella's origins from a different perspective from Eruru's.
What she was particularly concerned about was Rushella's daily life--especially how she fought and bickered with Mei every day.
"Say, you frequently fight with Draculea-san... Do you go all-out?"
"Huh!? Well, sometimes... I think I still keep pretty good restraint."
"If you were locked in death struggle, will you be able to destroy her?"
"Wow, this 'if' is very scary... Senpai, you're acting more and more like Eruru-chan."
"I am asking you seriously. Not whether you will do it, but whether you are capable of doing it."
Seeing Kirika's solemn expression, Mei settled down and did not joke around anymore.
After thinking for a while, she spoke gravely.
"I believe... I can do it. But it'll take a life-and-death situation for me to bring out my true power. Of course, in that kind of situation, I would prepare myself to be killed as well. Who knows if we might end up in a draw, but for sure, it will be a close fight, right?"
"I see... By the way, your power is much lower than the original Frankenstein's creature, right?"
"Yes, what about it? My focus is more on appearance and techniques!"
"That is the issue. That Miraluka vampire said that it would take the original creature to have a chance against a True Ancestor. At the very least, Frankenstein's creature was superior in strength. After all, he was not affected by blood or sunlight and was more stable as a result. But you can match Rushella despite being made with lower specs than the original creature. Isn't that odd? Does a True Ancestor only have this little power?"
This sharp viewpoint made Mei speechless.
It was indeed as Kirika pointed out.
Precisely because Mei fought with Rushella almost every other day, these words struck truly close to home.
Rushella was definitely a high-level vampire, but she was nowhere near True Ancestor level.
Hence, Mei had always been skeptical of Rushella's identity, often poking fun at her on that issue.
"Then that child really is a fake True Ancestor...?"
"Perhaps. But in that case, Kujou-kun would have pointed it out from the start. That would have made it much easier to investigate her past. In other words, there is definitely more to her than just being a fake. Things are not that simple. Do you have any other clues?"
"Why are you asking me? Shouldn't you ask Hi-kun or Eruru-chan?"
"Apart from Kujou-kun, you and I have interacted the most, right? Tell me if you think of anything."
Hearing Kirika ask so forcefully, Mei recalled how Rushella and her had started their bickering relationship ever since the second day of school.
However... She could not think of anything special.
Rushella was arrogant, noisy, competitive, always getting into arguments... etc. Mei recalled it all.
Throughout each of their bickering days, was there anything amiss?
Her body could still remember that feeling.
After spending so much time with Rushella, that feeling was getting stronger and stronger.
"That child... Isn't she getting weaker and weaker?"
"She should've been sucking Hi-kun's blood all along, so malnourishment is definitely not an issue, but I feel that... The beginning was actually when her power was at its peak and I couldn't be careless with her. Of course, that's not to say that she's gone through an extreme change, the difference is very small... That's what I want to point out."
"Sucking blood all along but weakening in strength...? What might be the reason...!?"
Kirika crossed her arms and pondered. Mei also frowned in puzzlement.
There was a noise.
With keen senses surpassing ordinary people, she captured the roars of a beast behind walls.
At the same time, a stench invaded her nostrils.
There was also the pungent smell of blood.
"Hey... Is there an emergency!?"
Kirika did not understand why.
At this moment, a crack appeared in the concrete wall in front of the two girls.
Meanwhile, at the entrance to the MPD headquarters...
Having visited before, Rushella walked towards the underground without hesitation.
Using her crimson eyes to catch a certain police officer, she ordered him to lead the way.
She questioned everyone using the keywords of "Supernatural Investigations Section" or asking where people who knew of this term could be found. This she did repeatedly.
Finally, with increasing information density, she reached the Supernatural Investigations Section's headquarters.
Taking her time, eschewing impatience, thinking before acting--She changed from her usual way of doing things, trespassing using well thought out methods.
Her efforts were rewarded as she finally infiltrated the headquarter facilities.
But next up was the real problem.
Her current location was nothing more than the outer layer of the Supernatural Investigations Section. External personnel were still active in this area.
Apart from its unusual, underground location, this place was no different from what was usually seen in police drama with people carrying out ordinary business like in a normal police organization.
Using an invisibility spell, a vampire's expertise, to pass through here was nothing hard.
The problem was what came next--How to reach the jail cell in the depths.
In the past, Eruru had told her, partially as a warning and partially as advice:
Monsters that had committed serious crimes were imprisoned in the depths of the Supernatural Investigations Section, suffering what would be equivalent to hellish torment to vampires.
If she was not lying, that guy must be there.
Out of all the vampires she had encountered, of all the monsters she had encountered, he was the only one who knew a little about her origins--That Pure of the Pure.
Suppose he was already executed or there were other monsters being imprisoned there, it was possible that she could find someone else who knew about her origins.
For the sake of this final lead, Rushella hid herself and bided her time.
Naturally, she had thought of infiltrating the interior by covering her tracks completely, but it was very difficult to pull off in fact.
As an anti-monster facility, there were naturally many countermeasures. The police personnel active here were presumably resistant to the mystic eyes.
Just as Rushella was out of ideas, the shrill sound of an alarm was heard.
Then emergency announcements were broadcasted.
"Prison break. Repeat, prison break. Noncombat personnel, please hurry and act according to procedure and await further instructions. Repeat--"
The Section began to get noisy.
But the staff was well-trained after all. Very quickly, they terminated their tasks at hand and took measures according to procedure.
Some of them rushed to the emergency exits and left the scene.
Some of them went inside, put on various equipment and ran downstairs.
Everyone was taking precautions against a certain underground threat, taking clear measures according to their role.
Precisely because of the emergency, confronted with an unknown threat coming from underground, they relaxed their guard against the surface.
Rushella suppressed her breathing and waited for a chance.
Some people evacuated while others rushed towards the scene. After determining each person's destination, Rushella locked onto one of the people who was walking towards the depths of the Supernatural Investigations Section.
Just as Rushella confirmed the last person in a final group of people, she took action.
Hiding her presence, eliminating the sound of her footsteps, walking in perfect unison, she followed after the anti-vampire equipped policemen who were wearing neck protection.
The dark passage was filled with an unpleasant smell.
It was a unique smell different from normal bleeding.
It was the smell produced by reckless blood sucking.
"My kindred is engaged in depraved behavior, I see?"
With a certain level of self-contempt, Rushella clenched her fists.
The scene was utterly chaotic.
As a police organization after all, they were well-prepared against criminals and terrorists.
And as the Supernatural Investigations Section, they also had countermeasures against monsters and humans who conspired with monsters.
However, they were facing an unprecedented formidable foe today.
Simply stated--Impossible to understand.
When they expected him to rush to the ground surface, he lingered underground. All who encountered him met terrible fates.
When they expected to hold his ground and fight, he would move instantaneously, breaking through encirclement with unpredictable speed, concealing himself.
Precisely because the policemen of the Supernatural Investigations Section were well-prepared against traditional vampires, the unpredictable enemy was throwing them in disarray.
For a monster that was supposed to think similar to a human to make unexpected movements again and again...
This alone would not be too bad.
But the problem was that the enemy was excessively powerful.
Bullets shot by the police were effortlessly dodged. Faced with spraying holy water, he was completely unafraid.
These attacks only served to fuel his ferocity while he roared like a beast and attacked.
Switching from bullets to melee weaponry, some people tried traditional methods--hammering a stake into the heart. But as soon as they approached, their heads were torn off, dying right on the spot.
The alloyed armor used to isolate the floor was shattered by his sheer brute force, then he escaped.
An irrational monster was unstoppable.
This clear and massive threat steamrolled all opposition, finally arriving at the top floor of the underground complex.
Smashing through the wall, he found new prey before him. The monster licked its lisp with its crimson tongue.
"Oh dear... Isn't this the vampire from last time? What a waste of that handsome face, right?"
Facing off against Fergus, Mei commented with levity.
However, her face was not relaxed the slightest.
The air was filled with a choking stench of blood. The monster's skin was covered with dried blood. Presumably, he must have experienced a feast of carnage before arriving here.
Those bloodshot eyes also indicated that there was no sanity left in his brain.
He had turned into a beast completely, turning into a demonic beast that only sought fresh blood.
There was no point in capturing him alive. Mei decided to prioritize shooting him to death and began to attack.
However, Fergus did not pay attention to Mei at all.
He was only interested in Kirika whom Mei had shielded behind her.
Fergus gave a ear-splitting howl and kicked the ground hard.
He was focused on his target--Kirika's neck.
At the last moment, Mei rushed in between, using both hands to stop Fergus' claws, the two of them locked in a contest of strength on the spot.
"Target is... a young virgin's blood? That's right, the only one who fits is Senpai here...!?"
Mei calmly analyzed the situation while harsh reality was making her gnash her teeth.
She was using full strength, intending to crush the enemy's hands and break his arms.
Even so--she was still losing.
The monster's claws clenched her hands. Even her bones were screaming.
"Not even sundown yet... Such strength...!? Even for a Pure of the Pure, this is too much...!?"
Mei could not help but feel anxious.
The enemy before her eyes had a confident and violent smile hanging on his face while he cornered his insignificant prey.
Mei staggered backwards, her hands creaking from the pressure.
Unable to match the opponent's strength, Mei yelled out to Kirika behind her.
"Senpai, hurry and run!"
At the same time, a dazzling flash of light erupted from Mei's eyes.
The solar beams shot out from her eyes. This was originally prepared for using against Rushella, a destructive weapon concentrating the power of the sun to counter vampires.
Seeing the beams strike the enemy's face, Mei looked delighted.
Even if it failed to destroy him, it should inflict heavy injuries.
The sound of bone being crushed came from her hands.
Accompanied by a pang of intense pain, she saw her hands crushed and deformed.
Mei went pale as she looked at her opponent, an angry beast.
The solar beams had struck their target for sure.
His hair was burnt while his pale and handsome face was completely incinerated. A tragic sight.
However, his eyes were completely unharmed.
Even greater murderous intent was seething in his eyes as he glared at Mei.
She had never feared any monster before.
That was because she was a monster herself, but more importantly, even against powerful monsters as enemies, she could still defeat them with ease.
But this tradition was overturned.
With both hands crushed, Mei could no longer stop Fergus. The beast grabbed her by the chest and casually lifted her up, throwing her to the side.
This motion was as casual as throwing a scrap of paper into a trash can, but the massive strength turned it into a finishing move.
Mei's body crashed hard against the wall. Unfortunately, she happened to hit the back of her head.
Her clothing and underwear was shredded by the sharp claws, producing red marks on the skin of her chest, exposing her voluptuous bosom to the air.
Having lost consciousness completely, Mei naturally could not hide her exposed chest, collapsed against the wall.
Then Fergus paid no more attention to Mei.
He was uninterested in an artificial human to begin with.
Currently, all that remained inside him was the pinnacle of one desire--the thirst for blood.
The one element causing his desire to expand further was right in front of him--an excellent virgin.
Fergus' eyes flashed with dangerous red light as he approached.
Kirika was unable to move, trembling, rooted to the spot.
Although she knew how to fight against monsters, her enemy was too frightening.
More importantly, the monster's mystic eyes... No, the killing aura exuded from all over the monster had pinned Kirika down.
Like a frog caught in a snake's sights, a virgin intimidated by a vampire.
Immobilizing Kirika, Fergus grabbed her arm.
The beast exhaled large breaths of nauseating stench as he brought his mouth to Kirika's neck.
His blood-red eyes were filled with lust and gluttony, burning with terrifying thirst that surpassed primal desires.
Kirika tearfully shook her head.
Her behavior only served to provoke the beast's sadistic heart. Fergus licked his lips while drooling.
Like a carnivorous beast's, his long tongue slid across Kirika's pale neck.
Shuddering intensely, she struggled with disgust.
Fergus ignored her resistance and opened his jaws.
This method of eating was no longer about sucking blood. Most likely, he would bite off an entire chunk of flesh from her neck.
Then before the sharp fangs could make contact with the skin, a gust of wind swept towards the beast's belly.
With vigor as though trying to gouge his belly, the new arrival unleashed a fierce spinning mid-level kick.
The impact sounded like kicking a heavy tire. Fergus was separated from Kirika.
Surrounded by fear, Kirika noticed her savior.
Rangetsu looked like she had sprinted all the way here, panting nonstop with her mouth open.
She was probably trying to tell Kirika to escape but before she could speak, Fergus attacked.
Rangetsu clicked her tongue and had no choice but to engage Fergus in close quarters combat.
Fergus did not care about tactics at all, simply using his powerful arms, trying to tear his prey's flesh. Rangetsu kept her distance and opposed him using magnificent kicking skills.
Kicking the ground with one foot, Rangetsu used a skillful mixture of power and subtlety to deliver a series of kicks to Fergus' head, belly and ankles.
Given a werewolf's powerful legs, even a vampire could not escape unscathed if struck directly.
However, Fergus was currently a monster that had surpassed vampires.
Every time she kicked her target, Rangetsu only felt the dull pain in her leg increasing.
While Rangetsu was gradually depleting her energy, if she were to be struck by his swinging arms, surely her flesh would be shaved off together with bones beneath.
In contrast, Fergus was not pushed at all. Rubbing the parts that were kicked, it seemed like Rangetsu's attacks only managed to tickle him.
Then the battle reached a critical point.
Originally using astounding speed to keep the battle even, Rangetsu suddenly halted in her leg movements.
Her handsome face was filled with pain and fatigue.
Seeing his contemptible enemy stop attacking, Fergus laughed.
This was the laughing face of a carnivore about to emerge victorious.
Roaring, he raised his mighty arms, swinging them down on Rangetsu's head--
Instantly, Rangetsu vanished.
Fergus' sharp claws slashed through empty space, only catching her jacket.
Just as he felt surprised, a sigh came from behind.
"I knew it... Only this method would work."
Before he could turn around, Rangetsu reached out and grabbed his arms from below his armpits, sealing his movements.
Hand to hand combat was unfavorable for Rangetsu to begin with. Even holding a slight advantage in speed, she was going to lose from exhaustion sooner or later.
Hence, she could only do this to defeat him completely.
Rangetsu yelled urgently. Only then did Kirika notice Eruru's presence.
Arriving slightly after Rangetsu, Eruru raised her arm weakly, aiming the sacred gun Argentum at Fergus.
All she needed to do was aim for the heart.
For silver bullets to produce the greatest effect against vampires, one must shoot the heart.
However, even an amateur like Kirika could easily see that the current shot was full of risks.
Eruru's forearms were swollen and bruised, clearly a recent injury.
But what Kirika did not know was that Eruru had gotten injured when Fergus broke out of prison. Luckily, her arms were not broken but even lifting them was taking her full effort.
Let alone with Rangetsu standing right behind the target.
Considering the sturdiness of Fergus' current enhanced musculature, there was probably no need to worry about the bullet penetrating his body.
But in the event she shot Rangetsu, the silver bullet could very well take her life.
And this was probably the only chance. If she failed to strike the heart and produce a critical hit, he would surely kill her in return.
Pain and pressure was making Eruru hesitate. Argentum's muzzle also trembled from the wavering in her heart.
"Don't hesitate, hurry and shoot!"
Rangetsu desperately restrained the struggling Fergus and yelled at Eruru.
At the same time, Eruru widened her eyes and pulled the trigger.
The gun's recoil caused immense pain to her injured arms.
Then--The bullet strayed from its target.
Although it struck Fergus' body, the bullet penetrated the center of his chest.
Everyone present gnashed their teeth as despair invaded their heart.
Eruru wanted to shoot again but could not endure the pain in her arm. Before she knew it, the gun slid and fell on the ground.
Rangetsu also could not restrain Fergus any longer and he escaped.
The beast regained his freedom.
Having suffered a hit from a silver bullet after all, his movements also lagged during the moment of release.
This brief moment was all that was necessary.
"It's been a while."
These words were probably meant for everyone present.
The first to react was Mei who had finally regained consciousness.
Rushella was standing before their eyes.
Understanding the situation with a sweep of her gaze across the scene, she immediately charged at Fergus.
The two vampires passed by each other. Rushella was wielding her usual dagger in her hand.
The blade pierced Fergus' left chest without hesitation.
Accompanied by a painful groan, blood spewed from Fergus' mouth.
Rushella remained unshaken, using her other hand to push the dagger's hilt, burying the blade deep into his chest.
Blood spurted from the wound, dyeing Rushella's face red.
This was apparently Fergus' silent opposition. Rushella looked up at him with a grim expression.
Bald with a decaying face, his former visage existed no longer.
Nevertheless, his bloodshot eyes recovered his sanity as a former Pure of the Pure.
Gazing down upon the enemy, he laughed in mockery at the True Ancestor who was supposed to outrank him.
Rushella did not understand his intentions but Fergus laughed with even less restraint.
"Next, it's your turn."
"What do you mean...!?"
"You will become like this too."
Fergus laughed while answering.
His laughter was giving every listener the creeps. The ear-splitting laughter did not show any signs of stopping.
While laughing, he slowly turned into ash.
His body collapsed amidst the laughter, the ashes scattering in the air along with his shaking body.
His legs had already eroded while his arms scattered into dust.
But only his laughter lingered in the air.
His body collapsed, his chest decayed, his face broke apart, finally his entire body returned to nothingness. Only his laughter remained resounding in their ears, repeating nonstop.
The surroundings returned to silence but everyone was shrouded under a heavy atmosphere.
After a long while, Rushella picked up her dagger and quickly prepared to leave.
Eruru swiftly rushed over to block her.
"Wait, you came here for a purpose, right?"
"...There's none now."
"Most likely, you wanted to question that destroyed vampire, right? Or perhaps you wanted to go through the Supernatural Investigations Section's information, right? Unfortunately, the Pure of the Pure was destroyed before you could question him. I have already asked him what you wanted to ask. Stay here if you want to know the answer."
Hearing Eruru's suggestion, Rushella seemed to be indecisive.
Rubbing the back of her head that was still throbbing with pain, Mei said:
"I could keep this a secret if you don't want Hi-kun to know. You'll owe me this favor for the rest of your life."
Then Rangetsu also tried to persuade Rushella to stay. Leaning her exhausted body against the wall, she crossed her arms and said:
"I can prepare a room for you immediately. Oh well, perhaps a True Ancestor might not take well to staying at this kind of rundown place."
Rushella looked down.
Finally, Kirika ran over and patted her shoulder.
"In any case... Let's have a good talk together, shall we? Have you been eating properly? Kujou-kun is also worried sick about you..."
Kirika stared at Rushella's face as she asked her.
But Rushella's face remained gloomy.
Just as Kirika tried to convince her further, Rushella suddenly held her own throat and knelt down.
"Hey, what is wrong!?"
Kirika leaned in to ask her.
But Rushella held up a hand to stop her.
"Don't come over... Get away!"
"What are you talking about!? What's happening!?"
Kirika bent down in worry but she immediately understood what Rushella meant.
Rushella's eyes were shining with dazzling red light.
White fangs--growing sharper and longer.
More importantly, her beautiful face was being invaded by thirst.
The way she was panting, Kirika had just witnessed it a while ago.
Almost bitten by those vicious fangs just now--A vampire's kiss.
Before she knew it, Rushella stood up, bringing her lips near Kirika's neck.
"Stop, get away"--Someone was shouting not far away.
But Rushella quickly regained her senses herself.
Fearfully, she embraced herself and withdrew from Kirika's side.
Everyone's gaze was making her uncomfortable. Rushella kept shaking her head as though trying to deny herself.
Then she ran outside.
Kirika wanted to chase her but a painful and sorrowful voice stopped her.
"Get away... Don't come over!!"
Rushella disappeared into the depths of the passage.
No one chased after her.
For some reason, none of them were willing to give chase.
The four of them silently exchanged glances. Shortly after, Rangetsu spoke up first:
"That child... Isn't the situation very bad!? She looks awfully thirsty, we have to take countermeasures quickly."
No one could object.
Only Kirika seemed to have something to say, but in the end, she did not speak.
Even if she tried to argue, she was currently completely unconvincing, given that she had almost turned into a victim just now.
"She's not actually stupid, she's just confused right now. Well... She should be able to make it outside. But what about after that? Once she calms down, I will personally lead a team to capture her... How's that?"
Rangetsu asked Eruru.
Eruru hesitated for a moment then nodded in agreement.
"Do you think that child will catch and bite people? Well, she is not far from her limit..."
Mei analyzed the situation and asked Eruru and Rangetsu.
With a grave expression, Eruru explained the horrifying truth about vampires.
"Normally, a vampire's strength is proportional to the quality and quantity of blood they have sucked. Hence, a vampire who has not drunk blood for a long time will gradually weaken, finally becoming even weaker than a human. However, once the thirst reaches a limit, their strength will rise dramatically instead. This turns them into beasts that only know to suck blood, abandoning all rational thought."
"I already know this from the tragic sight just now. So it's like a final burst of strength before starving to death, is that what you mean?"
"Vampires do not have the concept of starving to death. Before reaching the absolute limit of thirst, they will lose their sanity first. Then destruction is their only salvation."
"Impossible... to turn back?"
Hearing Eruru's cold declaration, Kirika asked with pity.
"...This depends on the situation and timing. If they obtain blood soon after losing their minds, they generally can recover their sense of self. However, there are many vampires who are unable to face the shame and humiliation of how they behaved. Especially high-ranking vampires, this is mortifying humiliation to them."
"Then... What happens if more time goes by?"
"Then there is no turning back. No matter how much blood they drink, their desire cannot be satisfied. Only attacking humans nonstop, drinking blood without pause. Although victims will be many, this type of vampire will usually perish after one night, which counts as the only good news among bad news."
"What do you mean? That kind of rampaging vampire will settle down after one night? But isn't it impossible to recover their sanity?"
Mei asked naturally. Rangetsu answered on Eruru's behalf.
"It's precisely because they've lost their minds. These monsters only suck blood, thinking of nothing else, even failing to notice when the sun comes up."
"Oh... I get it now?"
"Yes. They no longer know to avoid sunlight. Hence, no matter how violent, they perish in the end. Even if they were indoors, as long as there's no prey, they will go outside eventually. Like in this incident, ignoring the matter of victims, leaving him alone is the easiest method. Also, the final fate of critical thirst applies to dhampirs as well. Don't you go trying to test your limits either."
The final sentence was spoken towards Eruru.
Eruru avoided eye contact but could not evade the comment.
"I know. About Rushella... Just do as you like. Anyway, we are leaving."
Eruru left the devastated visitor's lounge.
Mei and Kirika followed and quietly asked here.
"Hey hey... That's it?"
"Shouldn't we tell Kujou-kun...?"
"He is currently useless. We can only depend on ourselves to resolve this matter."
Eruru's answer made Mei and Kirika exchange glances.
However, Eruru continued expressionlessly:
"Capturing Rushella was not impossible earlier, but that would surely mean giving her up to the Supernatural Investigations Section. Since that kind of tragedy just happened, she might end up getting executed on the spot. For her sake, I had to let her escape outside first, even though it is very troublesome."
"Eruru-chan... Well played."
"You should have told us honestly from the start. What you mean is that we have to find her before the police does, right?"
"I will not force any of you. Join in only if you wish."
The two girls tugged at the cheeks of Eruru's poker face from opposite directions.
"Seriously, you're such a tsundere❤"
"You should have your elders dote on you from time to time."
"...Stop it. Also, stop pulling at my face."
"So adorable. Good girl❤"
"You keep silent all the time, but I never knew you were so considerate for Kujou-kun~~ Maybe you're actually my greatest rival."
"Stop it right now, stop pulling my face this way and that!"
The trio departed amidst jokes and laughter.
Rangetsu watched them helplessly.
"...I heard all that, you know? Don't you know about a werewolf's hearing? Or rather... You did it on purpose?"
Rangetsu muttered wryly. Naturally, no one answered her questions.
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