First chapter by the professional translator. Welcome to the family Jay_Forestieri! 😀
Chapter 0158 Kalinikos Part 2
Translator: Jay_Forestieri (Professional)
The vampire was confined in an ice wall invoked by Ryo.
“Well. Count Haskil, was it?”
Hugh called out to the vampire, Count Kalinikos, whose limbs had been cut off and was hanging his head dejectedly.
By then, the rearguard had moved up.
Naturally, they were within the range of the spell Evil Protection deployed by Priest Graham.
Maurice, the scout, was looking curiously at Ryo and Hugh, who were out of range but seemed unaffected.
“I’m Count Haskil Kalinikos.”
Well, he wasn’t going to keep his head hanging down forever.
He looked up and gave his name.
“You win. You do know how to kill a vampire, don’t you? Make it quick.”
Kalinikos said, with all the dignity he could muster.
“There’s something that we would like to know. And, it would be nice if you could be a little forthcoming.”
Hugh told him clearly why he would not kill him immediately.
Hearing this, Kalinikos’ mouth twisted into a wide grin and said.
“You really think I’ll tell you anything?”
But Hugh must have expected that reply as well.
Without a moment’s pause or change of expression, he continued.
“Count Haskil. If you call yourself a Count, then it means that you are also bound by Noblesse Oblige. We defeated you hands down. We defeated your entire army without a single casualty, and we even vanquished your Dark Magic. If you won’t give such worthy opponents even a single piece of information…then I guess that title only amounts to that much if you can spit on it so blatantly, right?”
It was a taunt against the dignity of one bearing the title of ‘Count’.
In negotiations, it is fundamental to make a play on what the other party values most.
Normally, it is difficult to find out exactly what that thing is, but in this case, it was easy to grasp because his intense self-esteem was evident even before the fight.
‘Noblesse Oblige, huh…?’
Kalinikos muttered quietly.
“I never thought I’d be admonished by the likes of a human about what it means to be a noble…. Very well, I will answer you, maybe not all, but you have my word.”
Kalinikos replied in a strong voice, puffing his chest.
Hugh’s plan had worked.
“The first question I want to ask you is why did you seize control of this fishing village?”
“I said I would answer your question, but you need to put a little thought into how to go about asking it. How do you expect me to answer such an ambiguous question?”
Kalinikos answered Hugh’s question with a sigh of dismay.
“Is that so? Then how about anything and everything that comes to mind then?”
“Yeah, very funny. Some things I cannot say. But…as for why I took over this fishing village, it’s simply by chance.”
Kalinikos answered without any change in expression.
“By chance, uh. So, will there be more vampires coming in after you?”
“Not a chance. I was…chased out of the country. Don’t ask me why. I simply got the short end of the stick in a power struggle, something that happens all the time. So, I was traveling by sea when a storm hit and swept me away to this fishing village.”
Kalinikos replied as he shrugged his shoulders.
“Why did you turn the villagers into Strigoi?”
“Right…there it is, that irreconcilable difference of opinion between my kind and humans. Humans raise pigs and chickens and eat their eggs and meat, don’t they? Yet, you don’t see anything wrong in that. What we vampires do to humans is no different. It may be unforgivable from your point of view as humans. But I don’t think the pigs and chickens would forgive you either.”
(That’s right…according to 『Phi』, humans are not at the top of the food chain. Back when I was on Earth, humans were basically the top dog, but here…one look at a dragon or a griffon and you would instinctively understand that there are a lot of creatures way stronger than humans roaming around. I guess humans, from the vampire’s point of view, aren’t considered adversaries either.)
That’s what Ryo was thinking.
(He is the only vampire. No backup. Meaning, there is only one thing left to confirm.)
Hugh, after sorting out what Kalinikos had said, continued.
“What can you tell me about the Majin that rests in this land.”
At the moment he asked that question, Hugh saw Kalinikos’ eyebrows move just a little.
It returned to normal in an instant, but he remained silent for a good few seconds.
Kalinikos then sighed heavily and began to speak.
“Just west of this square, in the woods, about fifteen minutes in, there is a cave with a stone coffin in the back. Perhaps you are referring to the guy inside?”
Hugh tilted his head and asked.
“I didn’t look inside the coffin. But the moment I put my hand on that coffin, it took away half my mana. So I knew there was something terrible inside. I didn’t even want to know what was in there, so I left it alone…”
Kalinikos paused for a moment, his face contorted, then took a breath before continuing.
“It’s been left alone so far, but perhaps…it will come out on its own soon.”
“I’m afraid by sucking away my mana, I may have accelerated its recovery considerably. That’s probably bad news for you humans.”
Then he laughed without making a sound, the edges of his mouth contorting into a wide smile.
It was Rashata, the Folklore Officer, who muttered quietly.
“Sure enough, I am running short of blood…can you put an end to my misery now.”
Kalinikos’ voice sounded much quieter than it had at first.
His complexion remained unchanged, as he was originally pale, but it was clear that his death was imminent.
“That’s all from me. Does anyone have anything they would like to ask?”
Saying this, Hugh turned to Priest Graham.
But Graham shook his head. Saying he had nothing to ask in particular.
“Oh, if there’s nobody, then may I ask something?”
Ryo raised his right hand asking Hugh for permission.
“Sure, go ahead.”
Hugh nodded his head and gave up his spot in front of Kalinikos to Ryo.
“Count Haskil, you said earlier that you were ‘exiled’ from your country. Could you tell me the location of the vampire country?”
The question was heard by everyone in the group, and many of them opened their eyes.
He certainly mentioned about being exiled from the country…which stands to reason it meant, from a vampire nation.
“Hmph. I guess I slipped up. And here I was feeling relieved the question and answer session was finally over…only for you, kid, to come over and ask me a tedious question at the last minute.”
Self-mockery was the only thing Ryo could think of befitting the expression on his face.
‘Exiled from the country.’
That sentence, however, had a rather serious meaning for humans.
At least in the Central Nations, the existence of vampire countries was not known.
The fact that a vampire had been expelled from his country and had made his way to this place alone…meant that there was a high possibility of there being a vampire country somewhere in the vicinity, as opposed to some imaginary location in one corner of the world.
That was a serious problem.
“I did say I would answer your questions, but I can’t answer the kid’s question. That would be putting my former compatriots in harm’s way. I do have a grudge against the ones who drove me to exile, but I cannot betray the rest of my kin.”
“I see, that’s too bad.”
Hearing Kalinikos’ reply, Ryo withdrew without any particular resistance.
He knew he wasn’t going to tell anyway.
He only wanted to confirm one thing.
‘There was actually a vampire country, and it seemed to be nearby.’
If it were at the ends of the earth, or in the western or eastern countries, the ‘Count’ in front of him would have answered.
However, the fact that he refused to answer was itself proof that it was ‘nearby’.
Of course, Ryo was not thinking of destroying the vampire country, but was merely asking out of curiosity.
Kalinikos muttered in a voice so tiny that only Ryo could hear it.
It might have been meant for someone back in the vampire country.
“To think that we spent a century emphazing the reciting of chants such that they would only be able to invoke feeble magic Yet, none of these lot recited a single chant the entire time.”
Ryo had finished his questioning and was in the process of moving to give the spot in front of Kalinikos to someone else. Then the muttering reached his ears.
“Sorry, what was…”
But Ryo’s words were interrupted by Graham.
“Then, I will put an end to this vampire. Ryo, please undo the ice wall.”
Ryo missed the timing to ask Kalinikos because of the request.
He then dispelled the ice wall that was covering Kalinikos.
Kalinikos looked at Graham’s outfit as he came in front of him…probably saw the symbol of the Western Church hanging from his neck, and gave a small snort.
“I didn’t realize there was a priest from the Western Church among you…oh, you’re the one who was chanting Evil Protection, huh.”
“I’m afraid you’re wrong, vampire.”
Graham said and pulled something out of his staff.
Ryo looked at it and thought.
(A sword cane! )
A straight sword appeared from within the staff like…it was a scene straight out of Zatoichi. (TLN: Reference to a 2003 Japanese film of the same name)
“I am not a priest. I’m an archbishop. It’s Archbishop Graham.”
Graham said, holding the straight sword.
“Archbishop Graham…? Wait a minute…the Grand Inquisitor…vampire hunter…master…Graham…”
Kalinikos’ eyes widened in astonishment.
“I’m afraid you’re wrong again, vampire. Not master, Doctor Graham. In vampireology, you see.”
Kalinikos’ eyes went from astonished to furious.
“You lowly wretch…. How many vampires have you killed so far…”
At that moment, Graham’s straight sword decapitated Kalinikos and, without a moment’s pause, pierced his heart as well.
“You are the 256th.”
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