༺ Suspiciously… (5) ༻
“No. I don’t want to.”
“What did you say?”
Hey buddy. That wasn’t very elegant was it? You need to put your etiquette mask back on!
“We are not in the Academy, Senior.”
“And if we are talking about hierarchy, it is you who should be showing your respects, Sir Vlandria.”
Levent frowned as if he couldn’t understand what I was saying.
“What do you…”
“It means that I have a higher rank than semi-Grade 1, Sir Vlandria.”
The young noble masters buzzed and whispered to themselves after hearing me imply that I was a Grade 1 Knight.
“How could a freshman be a Grade 1 Knight? It is not wise to tell lies that…”
“He’s not lying.”
Marie was the one who refuted Levent’s words.
“Korin was promoted at the same time as me. I can guarantee it.”
That was the guarantee of Marie, the lady from Dunareff Dukedom, who became a semi-Unique Grade mage before the age of 20. She was at the pinnacle of the southern regions of the continent and there was thus no-one that could talk back to her.
“B, but even then…!”
Levent Vlandria stubbornly held on as if he couldn’t back down yet.
“Marie’s first dance is mine, you see.”
I gently grabbed Marie by the shoulder and pulled her towards me as she then landed in my chest.
Now, what did it mean for me to do something like this, you might ask?
‘I am so close to Marie that I can even hug her like this and I am free to do so. You are the one that needs to go away.’ – That was what I was suggesting with my action.
“K, Ko, Ko, Ko, Ko, Korin…!”
Marie mumbled something from my chest but I didn’t really hear what she said. It was probably embarrassing but she had to hold on a bit because this was the fastest way to get rid of these people.
While openly hugging Marie, I gave a victorious smile to the infuriated young noble masters.
Seeing them made me recall how the 1st Princess said that the envious face of a man was the most humorous sight out there.
I used to think she was a very bad-tempered princess, but now I could somewhat agree with her words.
“Marie. Can you please dance with me first?”
She replied with her head stooping low. For starters, we walked away from the crowd of young masters.
“You are very popular, aren’t you senior?”
“Was that a bit too violent? Sorry if that put you in a bad mood.”
“N, no! It was feisty and I actually liked… N, nothing!”
Things became a little awkward. It might have been a bit embarrassing for her… I felt slightly sorry, so this time, I decided to be more polite, like a gentleman.
After kissing her on the back of her hand, I offered with a soft voice.
“Will you please dance to a song with me, my Lady?”
Resting on one of my knees, I raised one of my hands and lowered my head. After being frozen stiff for a while, she grabbed my hand with a full smile blooming on her face.
We walked to the dance hall hand-in-hand. The sound of footsteps loudly echoed from Marie’s clear glass shoes as we walked forward with a minimal distance between us.
Stopping our feet, we looked at each other. Behind Marie, I could see that everyone’s eyes were on us.
‘This is not good…’
Even I was feeling quite embarrassed now, and I became worried that she might notice the speed of my heartbeat.
Whatever the case, the music began and we were at the center of the hall. Matching ourselves with the pace of everyone around us and the music, we started to dance.
Gently holding onto both of Marie’s hands, I guided her on.
Honestly, I wasn’t that confident in banquet dances since I only tried it a few times and only had some superficial knowledge about it, but it wasn’t that distressing since it was something that required a physical movement. However…
Unexpectedly, the flower of this banquet, Marie, was fairly clumsy with dancing. It was her second time stepping on my feet and it was quite painful because she was wearing hard heels.
“Ugh… Sorry. I’m not good at dancing.”
It seemed that she just wasn’t good at everything that required her to move her body because otherwise, it would be hard to explain how someone at her social position couldn’t dance.
Marie sweated profusely while trying not to step on my feet. Since she was now intentionally trying to avoid my feet, her steps turned more stiff which ended up interrupting the pace of our dance.
Seeing the reddened face of my partner, I quietly whispered into her ears in a voice that only she could hear.
“Place your foot on top of my left foot. Let’s dance like that.”
“H, huh? But then…”
“My shoes might get a bit dirty and our dance might not be the most aesthetically pleasing one to see, but that’s all there is to it.”
“I, isn’t that…”
Marie mumbled while glancing at the crowd that was focusing their eyes on her. Even though she didn’t need to be conscious of anyone else, she couldn’t help but notice everyone else’s gaze when they were blatantly looking at her like this.
“You don’t need to worry about anyone else right now. Just focus your eyes on me, your partner. All you need to do in a dance is enjoy it.”
Even when I was at the college welcome party; even when I was at a club, and even when I came to a banquet for the first time in this world, what I always thought to myself was that dance was a fun entertainment activity that was fine as long as you enjoyed it yourself.
Honestly, I even wanted to do some breakdancing right now, but it created a commotion when I did that in the last iteration, so I had to hold back on that one.
Acrobatic rock and roll and breakdancing was a bit too much for the people of this era.
I returned the advice I received before to Marie.
“Now. Place your foot on my foot and follow after me. Your eyes are good, right? Look at my eyes, look at my feet and read whether I’m trying to pull or push you.”
Saying that, I looked into her bright golden eyes. Her quivering eyes became stable again after we stared at each other for a while and before long, we started to smile at the same time.
In alignment with the beautiful melodies of the orchestra, Marie did a spin on her foot with the support of my arm embracing her waist.
Under the bright lights of the banquet hall — she and I danced together and shared a dreamy moment together.
After the song was over, we walked away from the center of the dancing hall.
A refreshing breeze swept across as soon as we let go of each other’s hands, and that reminded us how the warmth from before was due to us clinging onto each other. Even though both of us had superhuman stamina, we still had to collect our breath and settle our fever.
“Lady! If you may please…!”
“No! Please let me have the honor of…!”
Guys ran in at her without even giving her the time to have a break. In response, Marie raised her arms with an apologetic and troubled look on her face.
“Sorry. I’m a bit tired and would love to take a short break.”
It was the right of a gentleman to ask for a dance, but it was the right of a lady to accept or refuse the offer. When Marie talked about having a break, the guys had no other option but to retreat back while hiding their dejection.
“Shall I guide you to the resting lounge, Lady?”
“I would appreciate that, Sir Korin.”
Walking up to Count Casseus, we talked to him about how we would like to visit the office as we had mentioned beforehand and received his permission. The Count seemed slightly disappointed by the fact that his son didn’t get to create good ties with Marie, but wasn’t in the position to complain about it.
We unhesitatingly left the banquet hall as laments echoed from behind.
“Lady Marie is being taken away by that scrub…”
Well, they were probably swearing at me for taking Marie away from them.
“Wow~ did you see that?”
“Yes I did.”
“Dancing with their feet piled together… How romantic.”
“The gentleman was very considerate. It was a clumsy but amazing dance.”
“Did you see that bright smile on Lady Marie’s face? That is 100%, right?”
“I would say it is definitely above 99%.”
Ignoring the words of those behind us, we headed straight away to Sebancia Duke’s office.
Using the key we received from Count Casseus, we opened the office and entered the antique-looking room.
The bookshelves were full of old books made of orc skin. From what I heard, it seemed that Count Casseus kept this office as it was without touching anything.
“So this is the office of Sebancia Duke, huh…”
He was the grand general who had the entire continent under his command 800 years ago. He was a legendary figure and a Hero of the kingdom.
You could say he was like the combination of Yi Sun-sin1Yi Sun-sin: A famous historical figure of Joseon Dynasty in Korea who held off the Japanese navy during their invasion. Famous for making the turtle ship and the Battle of Myeongnyang where he defeated 133 Japanese ships with 13 of his own. There is also a movie about the Battle of Myeongnyang. and Cheok Jun-gyeong2*Cheok Jun-gyeong: Called the Sword Master of the Korean Peninsula, he is widely believed by Koreans to have been the strongest swordsman of Korea throughout history..
Since this was the actual castle and office used by someone like that, Count Casseus must have kept things as is since moving things around would be a waste.
Who knows, this castle might become a famous tourist attraction after a century.
“Korin. What are we looking for here?”
“Hmm~. Anything is fine. Let’s try to look for Sebancia Duke’s traces.”
Marie and I started searching through the office. I first went to the bookshelves and found a familiar journal.
This was the article written by Cecilia Duke and was an item describing the histories of Ruina, the wife, and Cecilia, the daughter, that the player had to search for in the game for Sebancia Duke’s questline.
Taking this item to Sebancia Duke was the way to complete Sebancia Duke’s quest.
But even in the game and in the last iteration, he never talked about ‘searching the office’ so what exactly was it that we needed to look for?
For a long time we searched through the office in vain. Drenched in sweat, we threw our body on the couch.
“Uahh, I can’t find anything!”
“It’s certainly not easy.”
“Are there any clues? I was expecting to find some kind of secret passage but there’s nothing!”
We mindlessly searched through the office but couldn’t really find anything. Adding this up with my experience from the last iteration, I had a feeling that we wouldn’t be able to find anything at this rate.
“Uhh… I’m hungry.”
“Did you not eat anything at the banquet hall?”
“I didn’t have time to… Umm, Korin?”
That gaze on her eyes was a signal that was naturally formed as we started this relationship. Undoing my tie, I placed it on top of the coat that I took off a long time ago as Marie started deeply staring at my neck.
“Not sure if I mentioned this already but… your neckline and your collarbone are really pretty, Korin.”
“…I would prefer hearing handsome over pretty though.”
“O, of course, you’re very nice and handsome too!”
“I might smell like sweat a little, but please bear with me.”
“Even bette… I mean, don’t worry!”
In a fluster, she sat on my lap with me still sitting on the couch.
“Uhh… can I start?”
She carefully buried her face into my neck after seeing me nod.
I could feel her sharp fangs digging into my skin, as her soft lips rested on my neck.
– Gulp! Gulp! Haaaa…
—The sound of a gulp and heated breaths echoed at a regular pace. After who knows how long…
I opened my eyes and took a deep breath and Marie flinched in response, but she refused to move away. It seemed that she still hadn’t had her fill yet.
My blood was being sucked out in an irregular direction. At the start, it felt a bit spooky because it felt like my life was being drained away but these days…
‘It feels like I’m sharing my life with her.’
Perhaps thanks to Pain Tolerance, it wasn’t painful in the slightest now that we repeated this process a few times.
Indulged in sucking my blood, Marie pressed her body on mine and squeezed my body. As if trying to make up for the decrease in my body temperature as a result of having less blood, she increased our touching surface area and squeezed me towards her in an attempt to bring our hearts together or something.
Now that I had more room to take in the surroundings after my heart started fiercely pumping out more blood, I gazed down at Marie mindlessly sucking my blood.
What I could tell from her rushed and heated breath was that Marie was frantically craving my blood without even taking a break. And the heat being conveyed from her cheeks was a sign of her satisfaction.
“Are you done drinking?”
After mindlessly drinking my blood, she powerlessly leaned on my body while gasping for breath. Her chin rested on my shoulders as we both took some time to take a breather.
We had a moment of silence without saying anything.
– Thump thump…!
I could hear her heartbeat across the aligned chest.
Unlike my heart that was furiously thumping out blood, Marie’s heart was beating at a softer yet more frequent pace.
After a while, she raised her head back up from my neck and retreated, but she still had a dreamy look on her face as if she had yet to wake up from the pleasure of sucking blood.
I waited a bit for her to calm down and regain her sense of self.
“S, sorry… I drank too much right?”
“I regenerate just as much so don’t worry. It doesn’t hurt either.”
“Nnn… Sorry. When I drink fresh blood… my body doesn’t feel like my own.”
“Ah, it’s okay. Life is about helping each other, isn’t it?”
I wiped the leftover blood around my neck and soon, my skin wriggled and refilled the wound with flesh. The Regeneration of the Tenacious Warrior was at work like always.
Wait a second.
『Regeneration of the Tenacious Warrior』
A grimoire that we gained from Sebancia Duke at the secret area in the Great Library…
Suddenly, a trail of thought sparked across my head so I immediately said to Marie.
“Senior. Can you summon Doggo?”
“Hnn? Okay. Doggo.”
Doggo immediately gained a form from within her shadow. Since his usual body existed in real life, he was closer to a demonic beast than a demonic spirit.
“Senior. Can you make the summon dimmer?”
“What do you mean?”
“Make him closer to an astral body… like how he would look before obtaining a body.”
A vampire’s familiar was by nature a spiritual existence that could gain access to a body using the blood and mana of their master as a catalyst. In other words, just like how gaining a body was possible, going the other way around was also equally doable.
“Okay. Doggo. Can you hold on for a little?”
Doggo seemed discontent from the fact that his body would now go through a semi-destruction and wailed, but Marie started demolishing his body and made him closer to an astral body.
After a while, he was no longer visible to my eyes that could not perceive spirits, and…
It was then.
A faint chilliness started to fill the office. Since I could also perceive this sudden drop in temperature, it was definitely not because of a spirit.
“Senior Marie. Be caref…!?”
My vision turned upside down before I could even say anything.
A thick layer of pressure oppressed my body along with a sticky reverberation of mana. This was something I was used to.
“A Blood Realm?”
Everything flipped upside down and by the time I reopened my eyes, I was at a pitch-black location that was full of darkness.
“Ah~. I wish he explained this to us beforehand at the very least.”
The one that was sealed inside the grimoire of the Great Library was the soul of Sebancia.
Sebancia couldn’t even kill himself and had to constantly suffer from bloodsucking impulses and thus, what he chose to do was separate his body from his spirit. After separating his spirit, he sealed it inside a book forever.
And that raises a question –
Duke Sebancia Duke.
The great and legendary Hero of all time.
He, who used to be revered as the strongest man of all time, turned even stronger after becoming a vampire. At that point, he gained a body that was essentially unkillable.
– The question raised was this. His soul was sealed, but what happened to the ‘body’ of the strong vampire called Sebancia Duke?
The answer to that question was right in front of my eyes.
“This was supposed to be something my soul left behind for my daughter. I wonder why a random bloke came here with the scent of my soul.”
A man wearing crimson plated armor with long hair and a dignified beard opened his mouth while gazing at me.
“Let me ask you, visitor. Why have you come to my castle?”
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- 1Yi Sun-sin: A famous historical figure of Joseon Dynasty in Korea who held off the Japanese navy during their invasion. Famous for making the turtle ship and the Battle of Myeongnyang where he defeated 133 Japanese ships with 13 of his own. There is also a movie about the Battle of Myeongnyang.
- 2*Cheok Jun-gyeong: Called the Sword Master of the Korean Peninsula, he is widely believed by Koreans to have been the strongest swordsman of Korea throughout history.