people who approached her in search of something.

The ability to control blood.
After hearing the name for the first time in a long while, Tyrkanzyaka quietly replied.


[Do you wish to be my servant?]


If you became a vampire, allowing the blood of the Progenitor to flow in your veins, you would naturally come to control blood.
There had been numerous ones who felt greed for her blood over time.
Feeling a bit of boredom, the vampire asked the regressor if she was just another one of those people.

However, the regressor had no intention of being a vampire.
Instead, she wanted something deeper—more original.


“No, I don’t want to gain it that way.
Teach me what you learned before you became a vampire.”


For a split second, emotion quaked.
Deep confusion emanated from the coffin.
All the blood drew close, waiting to pounce.

Still, she was a vampire that had lived for over a thousand years.
It took much more to make her blood boil.
The vampire calmed herself before replying.


[How did you find out about that?]


The regressor faced her with a thought that only a regressor could have.


「You told me yourself in a previous life.」


With a faint smile, the regressor momentarily basked in her memories.

Before Tyrkanzyaka became a vampire, when she was still a normal girl, it was said that she could already control blood.
Helping out her father, who was a local doctor, many people preserved their lives thanks to the young girl.
As a human, all she could do was stop blood from flowing, but it was plenty to buy people’s smiles.

The vampire from the previous life told Shei the story and advised the regressor to learn from her… before dying a lonely death.

The flashback ended.
I put my palm to my head, feeling as if I had just been launched from the depths of the sea.


‘So this is a flashback.
It was extremely short and fragmented, but I gained something from it.’


Not only did I read her mind, but I found out some information about the ‘calamity’.
A calamity would come, and it would be strong enough to kill a monster like Tyrkanzyaka.


[I’ll ask again.
How did you find out about that?]

“If you teach me, I might let you know.”

[…How boisterous.]


A short pause.
Deep thoughts.
Thousands of emotions and grievances passed by.
All of a sudden, her focus shifted to me.


[What do you think?]


‘What, me? I made sure to stay quiet.
Why’s she looking at me?


I stuttered out a reply.


“Do as you please, elder.”



‘Huh? Her blood just quivered.
Did she get mad?’


I rushed to solve the situation.


“Since our positions come before age here, I’ll refer to you as a trainee.
However, since your age is, uh, well… impressive, and the State doesn’t wish to enact harsh restrictions on the elderly… I believe the same.
As long as you don’t think about leaving the facility, you can do as you please.
If you want to keep resting here, that’s fine as well.”



Something dark scratched my cheek as it flew by.
A tiny slit opened up.
Clutching its freedom, blood pushed its way out of the wound, floating and fluttering to the vampire like a butterfly.

I couldn’t even see it.
I didn’t think to dodge as there was no intention to kill, but nothing would have changed even if I tried.

Feeling my hairs stand up, I took a breath and stopped talking.

I heard a voice with a clearly angered tone from the coffin.


[…I’m old, so I should just stay inside?]

“No, not particularly.
If you just did as you had been doing all this time.”



The black lid opened.
Just like its exterior, the coffin’s interior was also filled with black.
Parting the darkness, a white and delicate hand emerged.
My blood, that was fluttering across the room, perched on the back of her hand.
It sucked in the red droplets, like rain on scorched land.

I felt a slight sense of disgust from the vampire. 


[…As expected, even your blood is tasteless.
It’s completely the opposite of my preferences.
You really have no redeeming qualities…]


However, because of it, the coffin stood up.
With wavering darkness, it pushed itself up and faced me and the regressor.


[I usually only prey on the blood of virgin maidens.
Bloods of boys like you two… I use as materials.]


The inside of the coffin remained dark.
With only a pale hand reaching out, a new ball of blood flew in.
It was the regressor’s blood that was used to open the door.

Quenching her hand with the blood, she continued speaking.


[But your blood is alright.
It’s a first… for a man.
To think I would voluntarily drink a man’s blood…]


‘Because the regressor is female…’


Even with such a terrible attempt at crossdressing, the vampire was clueless about the regressor’s gender.
Shei clenched her fists, rejoicing that her disguise was perfect.

The vampire went on.


I will teach it to you.]


[…Having a guest after so long has tired me.
Take your leave now.]


After saying that, the vampire closed the lid to her coffin.
Having gotten what she wanted, the regressor desperately withheld the desire to hop up and down in joy.


「It worked! I didn’t think it’d go so smoothly!」


Suppressing her joy, the regressor carefully asked again.


“When are we starting? It’d be nice if we could start soon. 

[Then… let’s start when the next moon begins to wane.]


That meant in about a month.
Obviously, the regressor refused to wait that long.


“What? That’s too late.
Let’s start tomorrow.”

[What causes this haste? It makes little difference whether we start now or the next month…]

“There’s a huge difference!” 

[Have some patience.
The cycle of the moon is the goddess of the night opening and closing her eyes.
It takes that long in order to observe things carefully.]


‘They’re quarreling again.
I need to step up to diffuse the situation.’


“Trainee Shei!”


I blocked the regressor, ready to give a sermon.


“A month may be long to you, but it’s only a second for Trainee Tyrkanzyaka, who has lived for over 1,200 years.
Please consider who you’re speaking to! Time may seem fair, but it’s more subjective than any quality of the world.
Tyrkanzyaka is—”

“…Shouldn’t you be worried about considering the other person?”


‘Hm? What about it? I’m giving her as much respect as I can.
Why else would I treat her with so much emphasis towards her age?’


While we were arguing, a slow voice came from the coffin.


[…So my slow behavior… is because I’m too old?]

“I mean, I didn’t mean anything negative.
I was just teaching this brat the difference in wisdom that comes from age.”

Then let’s start tomorrow.]


Keeping her eyes on me, the vampire pointed to me and said one more thing.


[Both of you.]



‘Wait, why me too?’


As I was about to retort—


[Now, leave.]


The world fell far away.
That was the only way to describe it.
The regressor and I were moved backwards.
No, not us.
The walls, the ground, the door, the corridor, the ceiling, the room, the stairwell—everything in our surroundings moved forward.
The world slipped right past us, as if we were watching the river flow downstream.
A dark liquid retraced the steps that we took.

Suddenly, we were at the entrance of the armory.
Without having taken a step.
And with a resounding ‘Boom’, the now-closed steel door brought us back to reality.


“Holy shit.”


I felt as if I had just escaped the jaws of a tiger.

Quite literally, the armory… was like the vampire’s body.
She had just spat us out.

The regressor, who seemed as if she was used to it, patted off her clothes.


You look out of it.

“…Not really.”


‘I merely just discovered that an insanely strong monster was actually an irrationally strong monster.’


On my answer, the regressor smirked.


“Let me give you some advice.
Don’t mention Tyrkanzyaka’s age in front of her.
That’s how you treat a lady properly.”


The regressor continued to boast and headed off.
I stared at her in disbelief at her attitude.


‘I didn’t act that way because I don’t know what women dislike.’


Well, whatever.
I didn’t feel the need to reply.

Brushing off my clothes, I stretched my body.


My back is aching from how stressed I was.
Let’s go and sleep early tonight.
I’ll check the kitchen for any leftover cans of food…’


As I was about to head off as well—




I heard a noise that I shouldn’t have heard.
I slowly turned my head.

There sat a dog who had chased my scent and dug through mountains of rubble for the sole purpose of playing fetch—Azzy.

That’s… impossible, right?




The ball rolled to my foot.
Azzy wagged her tail as she tapped the ball with her nose.

The meaning was clear.

‘Toss the ball, human.’


“Hey, Azzy…”


I attempted an immense act of diplomacy.
Dog and man, asking for a compromise surpassing species.


“I-I’m a little tired today.
So how about we… uh…”

“Woof! Woof!”

“…Push it… back a little…?”

“Woof! Promise!”


Smack, smack.

Azzy waved her forearms, showing her frustration.
The winds it generated shook my clothes.
As her arms got closer, it seemed to be a threat, trying to get me to throw the ball.


‘Just when did she even learn the word “promise”? Who taught a dog something as useless as a promise? Even if she breaks a promise, I can’t get anything from her.
But if I don’t uphold my side… she can get whatever she wants from me.’




Like this.
Looking up towards the unobservable sky, I sighed.


“Sorry, shoulder.
I’ll try to finish in 250 throws today.”


I gripped the ball.

I never thought I’d hate to see a dog smile.



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