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Chapter 4 - The Black Vampire

Two people ran through the streets of Heimdallr down cobblestones dewed with moonlight. In the lead was Rose, her navy blue coat flapping in the wind like the wings of a hawk as she pursued their foe. Just behind her (and shocked by her speed) was Alphonse, head whipping left and right as he searched for Lucca. There had been no sign of her on the short path between the tavern and the grocery store where she had apparently been sent.

When Rose had sensed the ominous presence of the vampire outside the tavern she immediately set about following it. Alphonse didn't know what kind of trail she had picked up, but she flew down streets and narrow paths without hesitation, as if following a  puppet's strings back to its master. To find his friend they now followed the vampire, spurred by that terrible certainty that the two were connected.


The sound of a piercing shriek filled the air, sending a chill up Alphonse's spine and freezing him to the spot. There was no mistaking its owner - it was Lucca's voice.

'Lucca?!' Alphonse cried. 'Where are you?!'

'The scent is coming from this way!' Rose called before rushing down a narrow alleyway. 

Alphonse followed, stumbling over his own feet in his desperate attempt to keep up with her. He could barely breathe from running so much, but he ignored the tightness in his chest and sped on. Kicking aside boxes and garbage piled here and there on the path, he eventually reached the other side of the alleyway and emerged into a neighboring street.

In it stood someone - or something. It was draped in a black overcoat, the upper half of its head wrapped in a large cloth. Not even its eyes were visible. The only part of the body that remained uncovered was the bottom half of its face, a deathly pale expanse of flesh with a twisted smile at its center. At first glance, it almost seemed human.  Alphonse was not fooled. 

This is it, he thought. This is the vampire.

It was then that he realized the black-clad  figure was holding something in its arms.


Just as that realization hit, the vampire's rictus of a grin yawned wide as it opened its jaws. Alphonse caught a fleeting glimpse of beast-like fangs, too long, too sharp to be human. Seeing them, Alphonse instantly recalled the bite marks on the murder victims' necks. As he watched, horrified, those needle-like teeth descended towards Lucca's throat. 

Rose was the first to act. In a movement so fast he could barely track it, she withdrew several thin objects from the inside of her cloak and threw them at the vampire. Alphonse remembered her showing him them as a part of her 'vampire hunting' kit. The knives flashed in the moonlight as they sped towards the creature.

As it was about to sink its fangs into Lucca, the vampire turned towards them, dodging the knives just in time. Lucca fell to the ground, and the vampire jumped high into the air, descending just behind Alphonse. 

It happened so fast that Alphonse was still staring at the spot the vampire had been when it landed silently behind him. The creature that was terrorizing Heimdallr, the murderer of countless women, the thing that had attacked was so close.

Anger overrode fear. Alphonse clasped the hilt of his military saber and drew it. He spun around, slashing horizontally across the vampire's chest. The blade made contact. 

The vampire laughed. Alphonse watched transfixed as the wound on the creature's chest healed. The next instant, the vampire punched its right fist out towards the pit of Alphonse's stomach at incredible speed.


The impact was so great that it forced him back, expelling all of the air from his lungs. And while he was able to protect his vital organs, he had still suffered the full brunt of the blow. He doubled over in agony. 

'Get down!' Rose cried out from behind him.

With no choice but to obey her as best he could, he let himself fall limply to the ground. As he did, the stir of air from Rose's lightning fast rapier thrust ruffled his hair as it passed.

The vampire didn't laugh this time. Perhaps sensing danger from the rapier's silver radiance it threw up its left arm in defense.

The blade pierced flesh, and Rose followed through with her strike, skewering the limb right through to the other side. The tip stopped just before reaching the creature's chest. 

White smoke poured from the wound. Unlike Alphonse's earlier attack, it seemed Rose's had actually been able to damage it. Rose tried to move the sword, but it was stuck fast.

The vampire smiled again. '...Heh. So you must be the vampire hunter responsible for sealing those ghouls.'

She ignored him and tried the sword again.

'I had heard that many of my brethren had fallen at the hands of a vampire hunter...' he continued in a low, sibilant voice. 'But I certainly did not expect the hunter in question to be a mere girl.' 

Rose gave a derisive laugh. 'Brethren? I think you will find that word is meant for humans, not beasts like your kind.'

The vampire hissed and she bared her teeth at it as they both fought for control of the sword. Rose tried pushing forward, urging the blade on while the vampire kept the muscles in its forearm as rigid as steel to thwart her movement. Still lying on the ground, Alphonse gathered just enough strength to begin crawling his way to Lucca's side. When he reached her, a quick check lessened the mad pounding of his heart. She was unconscious but otherwise unharmed. Relief washed over him. 

Rose's voice brought Alphonse back to the situation at hand. She and the vampire were still locked together, each refusing to yield.

'If we were to stay here like this until morning, your power would be sure to weaken significantly. I would be happy to spend the night with you until then, if you wish,' she suggested to it.

It made an unsettling sound somewhere between a snort and a laugh. '...I'm afraid I will have to refuse your kind proposal, my beautiful lady. Not least because thanks to you and your pitiful human friend, my evening meal has been rather spoiled.' 

As it uttered those words, the vampire's outline began to blur. Alphonse blinked rapidly, trying to clear his vision, but it was no trick of the shadows. The creature's form was dissipating into a fine, black mist.

Though its mouth was disappearing like the rest of it, its voice somehow carried on.

'Should either of you ever seek to disturb my dinner again, I hope you are prepared for the consequences...' 

And then it was gone. Silence fell.

Gradually, Alphonse got used to the pain in his chest from the vampire's blow. He counted it good fortune that he'd only lost his breath and not broken any bones. With a final steadying wheeze he hoisted the unconscious Lucca on his back and rose slowly to his feet.

'I...guess that's not the end of our vampire, then,' he said unhappily.

Rose was inspecting her sword for damage. Finding none, she returned it to its sheath.

'Turning their body to mist is one of the many abilities vampires have. It escaped from us this time, but I expect that it will take some days for its left arm to heal. At the very least, I think it's safe to assume that no one else will be attacked tonight.' 

'It sounds like vampires are unbelievable foes to be up against... That's a relief, though, at least. Still,' he added. 'You're pretty unbelievable yourself.'

Rose shook her head. Their loss obviously rankled her.

'Next time,' she said with steel in her voice, 'it WON'T get away. I'm going to find some stronger equipment...and I will finish it for good.' 

Alphonse nodded. Next time they would have it. They might not have been able to defeat the vampire, but at the very least, they had earned a short respite from danger having saved Lucca and prevented another murder from occurring. And without Rose's assistance, none of it would have been possible.

'Thank you, Rose. If you hadn't been here--'

She cut him off with a dismissive wave of the hand. 'There is no reason to thank me. I was simply doing my duty.' 

Dejected, Alphonse fell silent.

'But these murders are not over yet. We will need to discover the true identity of the vampire for that to happen.'

'Yeah,' he said at length. 'You're right. Either way, should we go and investigate another crime scene tomorrow like we discussed earlier?'

'Indeed. Farewell for now.'

And with that, she left. She didn't even wait for Alphonse's response - a fact that left him feeling even more downhearted, considering all that they had been through that night. 

Afterwards, Alphonse took Lucca to her home. As he walked, she finally woke up. Finding herself on his back, she flushed and stammered her way through his questions. She remembered nothing of what had happened to her, it seemed. Unable to tell her the truth, Alphonse simply said that he had found her collapsed outside. It was probably just fatigue from work, he told her. Thankfully, she seemed convinced.

All the while, as he tried to feign cheerfulness to put her at ease, his mind was still focused on the battle earlier. He hadn't stood a chance against the vampire. He had even forgotten the silver short sword that Rose had given him. In the heat of battle he had simply fallen back on his military training and used his saber...for all the good that had done. While he had at least been able to avoid getting in Rose's way, he felt ashamed as an Imperial soldier. Next time, he swore to himself, he would not let her down. He would help bring an end to the murders once and for all. 

As Alphonse hardened his resolve that night, Rose navigated the dark streets alone, her mind fixated on the past. The sight of Alphonse on the ground after being struck by the vampire, the image of his friend who had almost lost her life and been turned into a ghoul, the vision of that one cursed memory she  desperately sought to forget... 

'Am I on the verge of making the same mistake a second time..?' she wondered aloud.

She stopped in her tracks, brow furrowed and  expression meek, and looked up to where the crimson moon hung like a great malevolent eye in the sky.

第4回 黒き吸血鬼















あまりにも一瞬の出来事で、アルフォンスの体は咄嗟に动くことができなかった。真后ろにいる。帝都で连続杀人を起こしている——吸血鬼が。奴は今まさにルッカを毒牙にかけようとしていた。绝対に许さん——! 头の中を駆け巡る言叶がそこに帰结したとき、ようやくアルフォンスは腰に供えた剣へ手をかけた。振り向きざまに浑身の横剃ぎを放つ。剣は吸血鬼の胸部を通过し、确かな手応えをアルの手に感じさせた。












「“几人”? ド畜生が人间気取りとは、世も末です」