༺ Piss Me Off ༻
I pushed my skewer into the joint of the bracelet I found. As the simply alchemized bracelet was pried apart, the gray bead that was embedded in its center fell off. I picked up the bead with two fingers, and upon examining it carefully, I became certain; its structure was unmistakably that of a clothing packet. The only slight difference this one had, though, was that it activated independently without a bio-receptor, unlike normal clothes.
There were some types of compression packets, the crown of alchemy, which didn’t require bio-receptors to work.
Papyrus packets for containing high-value promissory notes or confidential documents, and weapon packets for forming simple weapons such as spears, swords, and shields. So on and so forth.
Objects of unsophisticated structure that had no relation to the user’s biological information were sold with devices powered by mana. Of them, the one I found was a parachute packet, a device used to descend slowly from heights. Considering that this was the abyss, it wasn’t at all strange to use a parachute packet to drop down, but…
“Something’s off. Hmm.”
I imbued the tip of my skewer with mana and scratched the groove on the parachute packet, partially tearing it open and revealing the empty space inside it. I shone a light to take a closer look, then shook the packet upside down.
Sst. Something quietly leaked out. I put down the packet for a second to look at what it was.
It was a few grains of dirt. Few enough to be counted one by one.
It should be possible to dig up tens of thousands of more dirt on the surface with a single shovel dig, but in this prison cursed by Mother Earth, even this little amount was an unfamiliar sight. It was hard to find ordinary dirt when there was nothing but concrete buildings all around, after all.
“So that’s how it was?”
I rubbed the dirt between two fingers, crumbling it even more and letting it fall onto my desk.
* * *
With the unwelcome guest, Finlay, overstaying his visit, things weren’t going the way I wanted. After frightening him enough, he came to fear me, Azzy, and the Regressor, just as I intended.
But the attitude he took from that point onward was quite different from my expectations.
“Ah, Mr. Finlay. Found you. Come over, I’ve got a small job for you.”
“I have no time for that.”
“The Progenitor will soon be waking up. I must be the first to greet her before she breathes in the outside air, for it is my duty and honor to accompany our maker as she arises.”
Is he messing around with me? Seriously, he is going to camp one spot from morning like that? Is he making excuses to avoid work?
But upon reading his thoughts, it turned out Finlay wasn’t making excuses. The priority of assisting the Progenitor was so high that nothing else came into his mind. Moreover…
｢I am currently an immediate attendant of the Progenitor, and I am too busy serving her to do anything else. Imagine the Progenitor’s servant doing chores. How disgraceful would that be for her? I cannot do that, not over my dead body.｣
Although others might think he was lazing because he didn’t want to work, he was surprisingly genuine in his thought. In other words, Finlay truly believed that his doing chores was, by itself, a disgrace to himself and the Progenitor.
Haha, what an absurd fellow.
If I were as strong as a certain someone I knew, I would’ve cut off his arm before screaming some sense into him. Not being able to do so made me bitter.
“What, then who will do the work? The cooking? The cleaning?”
“That is for you to deal with. We nobles of the night are granted life by the Progenitor’s great power. As such, we have no need for the lavatory, do not defile the ground, and neither require food nor light. We only seek blood.”
“What do you not shitting have to do with not working? If that’s how you’re going to argue, then you shouldn’t drink blood either. You’re not the one who birthed and raised the humans you drink off.”
“We pay a fair price in exchange, for we have the influence and wealth for that.”
It wasn’t like he had influence or wealth down here, so what made him so confident?
While I was dumbfounded, Finlay pompously made a snide jab at me.
“Do you understand, peasant?”
“Buddy. Do you want a taste of a punch from the Military State, a country that has defeated the caste system?”
As I curled a fist and threatened Finlay, he flinched back.
“G-Grrk. I am the Progenitor’s attendant. I cannot succumb to external pressure!”
“You act so privileged, yet you talk like a freedom fighter. The hell is up with that? Talk about being two-faced. Are you kidding? Do you want a flaying to keep a straight face?”
If I asked Azzy, she’d take him apart very nicely, bone, flesh, and blood. A taste of the Doggy Death Roll, also known as the Bio Centrifuge, ought to bring his senses back.
But just as I was getting into bashing the man, the doors of the underground armory opened and the vampire appeared on her coffin. At that moment, Finlay’s face brightened as if he had seen Jesus.
“O Progenitor! Have you awakened!”
“I have, so enough of that.”
Finlay immediately fell to one knee and greeted the vampire. She gestured slowly to him, and Finlay got up to stand in front of her coffin like some trumpeter as he began yelling at me.
“Make way! The Progenitor is coming through!”
“Geez, what gives?”
With the large coffin approaching, I had no other way than to move. Finlay, triumphant about serving the Progenitor, and the vampire, smiling faintly on her coffin, passed by.
The vampire dropped a remark as she went, laughing gently.
“Be understanding, child. He must be quite excited to attend to me.”
For all her mollifying words, though, she was taking enjoyment out of my trouble. I couldn’t help but gape speechlessly.
While I was in a daze, Finlay burst out in a thrilled voice.
“O Progenitor! Where will you be headed?!”
“The 4th floor. I shall teach you the places I frequent.”
“As you will!”
And so, the vampire maker and her retainer slowly, and brazenly, went on their way.
Ever since that encounter, Finlay continued to bother me like an annoying pebble on the side of a road.
“Oh, Trainee Tyrkanzyaka.”
“Why! How could you address the Progenitor with such a belittling title!”
“Settle down, Finlay. I lack knowledge of the present times. Since I require his knowledge, it is not incorrect to name me a trainee.”
Finlay promptly halted his words and prostrated before the vampire.
“I beg your forgiveness! I could not fathom the depth of your thoughts with my shallow blood, O Progenitor!”
“No matter. I shall have a word with the warden.”
“As you will it, O Progenitor!”
As Finlay backed away, still prostrating, the vampire held her parasol gracefully as she spoke to me.
“Yes. So what were you going to say?”
“What do you mean? I heard you called for me?”
“Ahh. I did.”
The vampire clicked her fingers, and the next second, Finlay collapsed from his prostrating position. After instantly taking away his consciousness, she slowly came over to me.
“It will become noisy if Finlay sees, so I put him to sleep for the moment. He will not even know that he passed out.”
The Progenitor’s bloodcraft was at the level of perfectly controlling even the blood of other vampires. She could cut off their consciousness for one moment and reconnect it the next.
Once the vampire silenced Finlay, she glanced around before splitting open her chest with her fingers. Then she slightly leaned towards me, whispering.
“We have been doing it sparsely these days. Now, hurry.”
“Oh come on, you’re doing everything as you please…”
“I cannot show this to him, can I?”
Something about this bothered me. Something! But I didn’t exactly have an excuse to refuse. So I put my finger to her heart, albeit unwillingly.
* * *
“Warden! The Progenitor asks where today’s discourse takes place!”
“Eh? I wasn’t going to do it today.”
“Why! How could one who calls himself a warden laze about! If you are a worker of your country, then do your duty!”
“Ahem, hem! I shall go to serve the Progenitor!”
Finlay strode off as I glowered after him.
I had to say that this wasn’t my problem alone. The Regressor, who happened to be walking nearby, spotted Finlay and called him to a stop.
“You there, vampire. Freeze. Where’s Tyrkanzyaka?”
“Why! How dare you presumptuously call the name of the Progenitor? A brat like you doesn’t amount to her toes, whether it be in terms of position, age, or ability! Therefore, you should know to address her with the utmost respect!”
Hit with criticism out of nowhere, the Regressor gaped in momentary bewilderment, trying to form words. Then she retorted with a cold look.
“…What? Fine. Then let me ask you something. Following the question the other day. How did you get into the aby—”
“Why! The arrogance! Can you not tell from my hints? Figure out such minor questions on your own! I am busy serving the Progenitor!”
With that said Finlay turned straight around and walked away. The Regressor stared quietly at his back for several seconds before raising her hand and grabbing Chun-aeng.
“…I’m going to slice him up. Don’t stop me.”
“If you’re going to do it, please cut him into diagonal cubes no larger than the drain filter. Otherwise, it’ll be hard to clean up the mess after.”
Of course, she couldn’t attack Finlay as he was under the vampire’s protection. The Regressor was holding back from disobeying her master even since her scolding, and as for me, I was even weaker than Finlay.
In the end, we had no choice but to watch him go.
* * *
“Enjoy your meal. And don’t spill.”
Azzy proceeded to eat with relish. She always became the most well-behaved girl at the meal table.
But all of a sudden, she bared her teeth and began growling.
Normally, I would’ve taken fright at her aggressive attitude, but now I was used to it; her sudden shifts in mood only occurred when Finlay showed up.
And I heard his thoughts coming from far off, which also helped me see it coming.
A bloody smell wafted over first before Finlay entered the cafeteria with a stern face. He looked around as he kicked off into a monologue.
“Tsk. There are not enough peasants to provide blood here. I must offer blood to the Progenitor. Is there no one around to give it?”
He meant for me to listen. That crazy bastard came to me, the human who was relatively easier to speak to in this place, to find a snack for the vampire. He acted like I would naturally accept his demand, and that pissed me off to hell. Should I teach him a lesson?
I stroked Azzy’s hair as she growled and whispered into her ear.
“Azzy. Do you want to bite that thing?”
“Wa-Wait! Stop! I came for a fair trade!”
Sensing danger, Finlay hastily held out a hand. I decided to have a listen first and restrained Azzy, who was ready to go charging at any second.
“Wait, Azzy. Even a vampire like him needs to leave words for his gravestone.”
“I said I came to make a deal! This is for the Progenitor!”
“Your next words may be your last, so think well on it. What is it this time?”
“About blood. I request that you peasants pay blood to the Progenitor.”
Finlay fiddled with his mustache as he continued haughtily.
“In the Duchy of Mist, where nobles of the night and peasants coexist, peasants are compensated for the blood they offer. Normally, they are paid food equal to ten times the weight of blood.”
“Azzy. Aren’t you curious how much meat we’ll get out of cooking that body?”
“Wa-Wait! However! Due to blood being scarce at present! I shall pay in silver coin equal to ten times the weight of blood!”
Ten times the weight of blood? Now that much silver was worth consideration. I instantly changed my attitude.
If something doesn’t go well, then get more money. That’s how economies of scale works, isn’t it?
“Hello, dear customer. Welcome to the Bank of Blood. How will you be paying?”
“I will write you a promissory note. Cash it at the Duchy of Mist when you get out.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Are your ears stuffed? I said I will write you a promissory note.”
What the deuce? Promissory note? Even cash wouldn’t be enough, yet he talked of notes?
No, putting that aside…
“How is a human, holding nothing but a promissory note, supposed to go to the country of vampires, visit a bank there, and get money?”
“That is not of my concern. Why should a noble care for the matters of peasants? Receiving the money is your business.”
The vampire was being serious. So basically, he just wanted to throw an empty cheque.
I chewed on the thought for a moment before ordering Azzy.
“Azzy. Kick that thing out and come back. Don’t kill him, though.”
“Gaargh! Dog King! Stop! I am the Progenitor’s—Agh!”
As Finlay took flight, Azzy barked ferociously and chased him out of the building. Once she returned with a proud look, I cooked another piece of meat for her.
Still, that didn’t solve the crux of the issue here.
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