No Hero Volume 8: The End, the Beginning, Part Two
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我(Yu Wo)
The Beginning NO.8: Pandora’s Box—translated by TaffyGirl13 (proofread by Trespasserby; C/E edited by J Tao & lucathia)
Ah Ye stood before the shattered French window. He looked down below as the strong winds blowing outside caused his hair to fly all over the place. My first instinct was to take off my windbreaker and put it over his shoulders, but I refrained from doing so, since I knew well that cold of this degree simply couldn’t affect him. Rather, I was the one who needed the jacket at all.
He turned around, asking simply, “Why?” His expression was one of utter loss and helplessness, as though there had not yet been enough time for him to register grief.
I indifferently explained, “It was just to draw you away from Luo Ye. No need to go downstairs. He’ll definitely be dead either way!!”
Ah Ye stared at me with the strangest emotion in his eyes and shook his head with a bitter smile.
Since when did my Ah Ye start holding back his tears? That child had clearly loved to cry before. All it took was for someone around him to be injured, and he would weep and cry out in pain. Yet now, that butler had even been shot at, and Ah Ye is still able to hold back his tears?
“Gē, you still don’t understand. I simply can’t leave. Charles wants to kill you, and he’s so powerful, I can’t leave your side. Forget Luo Ye, even if the adjudication squad was sent to dispatch Melody and the others, there’s no way I could leave you.”
No way… as in “would never,” or “not possible”?
“Gē, why did Charles attack you?” He stared straight at me, as though he believed in that butler even more than he trusted me.
I gave a displeased expression as I replied, “He’s the one who attacked me, yet you’re asking me why?”
Ah Ye opened his mouth, but could not explain. He turned his head away and said, “Charles left. I can’t ask him.”
“In that case, just wait until I find and drag him back here. You can ask him then.”
A look of fear suddenly showed on Ah Ye’s face as he pleaded, “Gē, please don’t bring Charles back. Don’t go searching for him!”
I froze. This had not been part of the plan. Immediately, I feigned anger and shouted, “He dared to raise a hand against me. No matter how you beg, I just have to make him pay!”
“Make him pay?”
Ah Ye’s smile was filled with indescribable pain. It was an expression I had never seen him wear before.
Ah Ye, you’ve only been living outside for a few years, yet you’ve grown up so quickly. Your gēge is starting to feel that he can’t keep up. Could you go a bit more slowly and let Gēge take care of you for a few more years?
“Gē, Charles has already raised a hand against you. The moment I see him, I… I’ll have to kill him. As for payment… if only it could be resolved with a simple punishment.”
I finally saw tears welling up in Ah Ye’s eyes. Although the sight was heart-breaking, it was also slightly relieving.
Not yet. He had not yet grown to the point where he wouldn’t cry anymore.
In the end, I couldn’t suppress the desire to comfort him and said, “You may not even be able to kill that guy in the first place. Did you see how fast he is?”
Ah Ye hesitated for a moment, and his look of agonizing despair finally eased a bit as he nodded and said, “Mm, he was probably the one tailing me before. I felt like something was off the whole time, but I could never find anything. So, turns out it was Charles… Ah!”
“What’s wrong?” I hurriedly asked.
Ah Ye’s face fell as he answered. “Ezart! He must have been helping Charles hide right under my nose.”
His pupils flashed unceasingly. This wasn’t a metaphor; a great many symbols were actually flashing by in an orderly fashion. This phenomenon would happen whenever he switched into “Dark Sun mode.” Every time I saw those eyes, I would always wonder just what kind of world Ah Ye saw through those eyes of his.
Ah Ye would always say that it wasn’t very different, but he had been modified when he was seven years old. Could he really still remember how the world had originally appeared?
Ah Ye took out his phone to make a call. “Ezart, come up right now, I’m on the… Help me, quick, I—”
While I was stunned, Ah Ye had already hung up. From beginning to end, his expression remained calm and unruffled, yet his tone was as urgent as if he were on the brink of death. It was just like before, when he had said “Save me” to fool that butler into turning around.
He looked at me with a cold and detached expression. The tears in his eyes had vanished without a trace.
Now Ezart had also become involved. While this was advantageous for my plans, it also raised the stakes. If something went wrong, Ah Ye would…
Did I bet a bit too much this time?
X, get away from here. I deeply apologize, but please, you must leave immediately. Do not respond to this, and do not trust any other messages. Flee now, and hide someplace where no one can ever find you!
Just as I sent this message out, I immediately prepared to close all my browser windows and leave. However, a new unread message notification suddenly appeared on the screen… Can he not listen to advice even once?
I hesitated for a moment, but was still unable to restrain myself from opening the message.
Where are you?
If this were the only line, perhaps I would not have even dared to reply, afraid that the Sun Emperor or Curtis would intercept the mail. For that matter, it was possible that it had not been written by X at all. However, these three words were followed by a line of fine print: In the past, when you were working as my butler, there was a woman by my side. What was her surname?
Tong. I could not give him my location, since our messages could be monitored. I had to leave within five minutes. What was Miss Tong’s first name?
That young miss… Thinking back to that time, X had been enshrouded in as many secrets as there were stars in the sky. However, the only way to get along with him in a friendly manner was to not investigate his matters. As a result, I could only swallow down his many secrets.
Xiao Ai. You’ve seen the directory log in the cell phone I once gave you, haven’t you? My number is in the log. Call me.
I stared for a moment. The cell phone, an ancient model to begin with, had already been broken when it was sent and had been impossible to turn on. Moreover, it had been left in the metal cabin back in Sunset City.
What could X’s words mean, then? I considered it carefully. While the cell phone had been unable to be powered on, there had been an accessory hanging from it with a phone number and written message: “Please call this number to return this phone if found.”
Although the phone was not currently in my possession, I did indeed remember that phone number. At first, when X had suddenly sent the phone to me, I would curiously flip it around now and again to inspect it. However, since I had been afraid of provoking X’s rage, I had not dared to actually call the number.
Is it possible X wanted me to call that number? After considering this for a moment, I responded with one final message before shutting off the device and standing up to leave.
The cell phone is not in my possession and I cannot check the directory. I must leave. What happened to Miss Tong in the end?
I did not know the answer to the last question. Of course, I did not expect a response from X either.
When I walked out of the internet café, it was only after stepping straight into a puddle that I belatedly discovered it was drizzling. I pulled my windbreaker’s hood up further. I had never considered that this piece of clothing might also function as a raincoat and provide cover from the rain. It was truly an essential piece of clothing for staying hidden. As expected of the young master…
A sharp pain suddenly came from my left shoulder, where a bullet had been embedded. I had not yet had the chance to treat it. Despite having painkillers which numbed the pain, I would still have to find an opportunity to remove the bullet. Otherwise, it would end up impacting any future movements. Fortunately, it was not a silver bullet—a truly rare occurrence, seeing as all of my recent injuries had contained traces of silver.
The young master had not prepared to face me as an enemy… I shook my head.
He had used his words to deceive me into turning around, and had then fired at me without hesitation. The bullet in my shoulder was even still aching faintly. The situation has already come to this. What am I still thinking! If I make the slightest mistake now, I will have no hope of reprieve. I cannot have such hesitation anymore.
Concealing myself in the darkness, I treaded up the walls and moved between buildings. After crossing several streets, and with much difficulty, I eventually found a public telephone booth, something that was truly hard to find in this day and age. It rang over and over, and just as I was starting to think I had mistaken X’s intent, the line finally connected.
“Endelis, where are you?”
It really is X’s voice…
I could not help but furrow my brows as I stated, “X, the phone might be monitored—”
“Shut up with your nonsense. Where are you?”
I fell silent, uncertain of whether or not I should tell X. His troubles were already plenty enough, and the city I was located in was simply too dangerous for him. If I told X, and he actually came over…
X coldly said, “Charles Endelis, if you don’t speak up, don’t think about ever seeing me again!”
“If you do not see me again—that may be for the better.”
I no longer had the protection of the Elysees Family. Based on my previous experiences, I was afraid that I would become X’s greatest weakness. If X truly did end up being captured by the Church because of me, a hundred deaths would not be enough to make up for my responsibility!
I took a deep breath, only then gathering the courage to say, “So long, X—No, it should be farewell.”
“Charles!” X roared in fury, “If you dare actually mean ‘farewell,’ I’ll go to the Church in Daystar City right now and scream your name!”
“…” I was a bit nostalgic as I answered, “It has been a long time since I last heard you call me just ‘Charles’.”
“Charles. Endelis!” X ground each word out individually through his teeth, “Where in the world are you?”
I helplessly replied, “X, what would you do if you knew where I was?”
“Go find you.” I never thought X would be so straightforward.
I chuckled bitterly and shook my head. “This is Daystar City, the city where the Church’s headquarters are located. How could you come here? Moreover, what could you do even if you did?”
“Give you blood and money.”
…These really were things I urgently required. I did not have much cash on me, and I could no longer use a debit card or credit card. However, X could not come to Daystar City under any circumstances. I had to persuade him to give up on the thought.
After speaking for so long, I raised my head to glance outside the telephone booth, deeply terrified that people might be lining up outside. Only then did I discover the force of the rain was actually getting stronger and stronger. The people on the street passed by, one after another, and there was nobody waiting outside the telephone booth.
I suppose that makes sense. These days, who would still be using a telephone booth?
Thinking back to the past, there used to always be people lined up outside telephone booths. Even when it was raining, there were many people who would refuse to leave. Who could say for what or for whom, but they would stubbornly persist in lining up outside in the pouring rain to make a single phone call. But then, cell phones appeared, and the even more advanced smartphones came out immediately afterward. How could something as outdated as telephone booths not be replaced…
“Charles? Where is your hideout?”
“By the ruins at the edge of Daystar City, inside a standalone red building.” As soon as I said this, I suddenly realized that I had actually exposed myself! Why is that? Could it be related to the tranquilizer’s effects?
“Ruins? That place with a lot of abandoned buildings?
“You know of it?” X had come to Daystar City before? This city, where the Church has its headquarters?
“I’ve lived there, in the past.”
I closed the door as I entered the room and walked over to the bed. The person tied to it turned his head to look at me, his expression no longer stupefied, but completely serene.
I placed some clothing down next to him and said, “I apologize for my rudeness, Head Butler Kyle.”
“I’m a secretary!” Head Butler Kyle raised a brow and replied, “How many times must I correct you for you to no longer mistake my title? Charles Endelis, it seems you are not as obedient as your outer appearance indicates.”
I untied the ropes binding his hands and feet.
Head Butler Kyle stared blankly for a moment, then sat up and stared at me suspiciously as he asked, “Are you sure you want to release me?”
“I am right here. Moreover, if I do not release you, how could you change clothes and eat something?”
Head Butler Kyle was currently only wearing a bathrobe. Although the night was not very cold, having him wear such clothing while trussed up was truly too humiliating.
Since there had been no way to confirm what items on his person may have had hidden tracking devices, I could only leave everything in the hotel and grab a bathrobe to clothe him in.
I had even given his teeth a once-over. After all, movies often included plots where transmission devices were hidden in someone’s molars. Fortunately, Head Butler Kyle’s teeth were clearly untouched—I had not wanted to remove any of his teeth on the spot.
Head Butler Kyle unworriedly donned the clothing and ate all the food without asking a single question. Once he cleared every bit of food, he put down the utensils and unflinchingly asked, “Why did you capture me?”
“Head Bu…you should know something.” I omitted his title. There was no longer a need to speak respectfully to anyone, including the young master—no, including Ri Xiang Ye!
Head… Kyle furrowed his brows. He was not wearing his glasses, which was honestly an unfamiliar sight for me. However, I could not complain, as I had been the one to discard his glasses.
“No, I do not know anything regarding this issue.”
I remained unmoved as I said, “You act in the highest position of head butler for the Sun Emperor. How could you not know anything?”
“That highest position is ‘secretary.’ I really don’t know anything.” Kyle massaged his temples, feeling a headache come on as he answered, “What did the Sun Emperor do this time?”
I smiled thinly and answered, “I did not say the matter was caused by the Sun Emperor.”
“If you came to capture me, that means the issue is not about the young master. Only the Sun Emperor would make you think of me, correct? You knew I was staying in this hotel because the young master brought you—”
At this point, Kyle abruptly paused before continuing as if he was speaking to himself, “No, the young master would actually have you return to the protection of the Elysees Family, because he would not want you to wade into these murky waters, which means he would not have helped you hide in Daystar City.”
He raised his head to look at me, asking in a somewhat uncertain tone, “You followed the young master to my location? You actually have a way to tail him?”
“I do. Now it is your turn to answer questions. Why did you lead Briar away?”
Kyle studied me but did not take long to respond. “The Sun Emperor wanted to kill Luo Ye, so he had me lure the enemy away from its territory and deceive the young master into coming out. Those were the orders I received. Anything after that is likely Secretary Bai’s affairs. He has recently been staying at the Sun Emperor’s side. I was assigned elsewhere, so I do not know much.”
He sighed and added, “Since the situation has now come to this, I more or less understand why the Sun Emperor has recently been bringing Secretary Bai around and delaying my transfer back to my original position. I would urge the Sun Emperor too strongly not to interfere with the young master’s matters; however, Secretary Bai would not do so.”
At this point, he met my gaze with utmost sincerity and said, “You must first tell me, what exactly did the Sun Emperor—”
A sound suddenly came from outside the building, as if someone had kicked a metal can. The two of us glanced backwards. When Kyle guessed, “Perhaps it’s a homeless person,” I knocked him unconscious once more.
I started. This voice is—
I promptly rushed out and spotted him in the hall without too much searching. It truly is X!
I stared in disbelief as the person walked over. He wore a formal suit, which was a rare sight. He even wore a pair of glasses, which made him look like an everyday white-collar worker. To be precise, he seemed to be the kind of white-collar worker Kyle was: one filled with an imposing confidence.
“X, you…” I stuttered in shock and asked one question after another. “You… How were you so fast? Don’t tell me, were you in Daystar City from the start? How could you hide from the Church’s pursuit?”
“Mm.” X’s only answer was a sound of affirmation as he removed his glasses and stowed them in his front pocket with a look of extreme loathing.
“You were actually staying in the city where the Church’s headquarters are!” Completely exasperated, I asked, “What could you have been thinking?”
X indifferently replied, “Generally speaking, I don’t stay here much. But—why not?”
I anxiously said, “This place has many of the Church’s troops, you—”
He waved a hand impatiently to cut me off. “It’s not like I plan on facing them head-on. When it comes to the ability to escape, who could beat a vampire?”
Who could beat you, you mean?
X looked me up and down. “What exactly happened? You’ve even stopped trusting in the Elysees?”
I fell silent for a while before I gestured toward the room Kyle was in, and said, “Let us first go inside.”
Since I was in a rush earlier, I had not tied Kyle up. Leaving him in the room alone made me uneasy. I was afraid that if he managed to escape, X and I could face impending disaster.
Fortunately, Kyle was still inside, head against the bedside, just as I had left him after knocking him unconscious earlier. I placed him back on the bed before rebinding his limbs.
During this time, aside from raising an eyebrow at the initial sight, X paid no attention to who this person was, without asking a single question. He simply watched as I lifted Kyle onto the bed. Only then did he turn and glare at me with an extremely dangerous expression. If I did not clear up the situation, I would likely not have to wait for the Sun Emperor to get rid of me.
I could only tell X the full story, omitting no details. However, the narrative was riddled with my own doubts and suspicions, as I could not comprehend why the Sun Emperor would personally appear. Moreover, exactly what exchange had he made with Curtis and the Church?
After hearing everything, X only let out a cold chuckle. “Using you for a transaction? Hah, regardless, you are all alone in the world now. It does not matter what truly happened—”
“No!” I interrupted with an angry roar. “It is very important!”
I was filled with unfathomable fury. Is it due to the tranquilizer? However, I could still feel the stabbing pain from my left shoulder, which meant that the tranquilizer’s effects should have mostly subsided already.
I was so agitated I could barely control myself, yet the other person remained as calm and unwavering as before. This was nothing like my usual interactions with X. Typically speaking, the opposite was true instead. I was truly too upset, which was not good… I must calm down. Calm down!
X unexpectedly asked, “Exactly what is very important?”
I raised my eyes to look at him. Since I had been trying to calm myself down the entire time, I had trouble understanding the meaning of X’s question.
X seemed to take pity on me as he asked, “Kaius died long ago, and recently, so did Sadina. To the you of the present, what else is important?”
I had not expected X to say such a thing. I stared at him blankly for a while before demanding in a low, enraged voice, “X, what is the meaning of your words?”
X answered even more coolly, “I mean to say that since all your loved ones have died, is the ‘very important’ thing you just spoke of actually important? Right now, there should no longer be anything important to you. In that case—”
“You are very important!” I glared at him. The fury that I had just managed to somewhat restrain flared up once more, and this time, I could not hold back.
X paused upon hearing this answer.
“The young master is very important.” After opening my mouth, I could no longer stop. Face after face flashed through my mind as I shouted out each name. “Curtis is very important. Melody is also very important. Mr. Briar’s group and DSII are very important. The heroes are very important. Even the apartment the young master and I reside in is very important!”
Without my realizing, the number of people and things that were important to me had become very large. After losing my honorable father and then losing Sadina, the amount of important matters had instead continued to grow… I did not want to lose it all. I did not want to lose the young master I had finally found after so much difficulty!
However, as matters stood, I had ultimately raised my hand against the Sun Emperor. The young master’s instinct was to eliminate all of the Sun Emperor’s enemies. Is there really any opportunity to recover the situation?
Why has everything advanced so suddenly? Even as I thought we could return to our daily lives in Sunset City after the matter was resolved, have things already reached the point of no return, right before my eyes?
“The truth is very important… I want to know everything! I want to know why the Sun Emperor is set on killing Luo Ye. I want to know what the unspeakable secrets the young master had referred to are. I want to know why Curtis betrayed me, and what deal it was that he made with the Sun Emperor. And most of all, I want to know—”
I halted sharply. I had really lost control… However, I really did want to know; I desperately wanted to know exactly what had really occurred that had suddenly caused me to lose everything!
“Most of all, you want to know what?”
X stared straight into my eyes, not giving me any chance to avoid the question. I had already lost control to such an extent, yet he still had to be so forceful!
Having been pushed to this stage, I could no longer differentiate the emotions rising endlessly in my chest, and I had long been unable to tell apart anger and grief. If it were not for the fact that X was my elder who I regarded as both a father and a brother, I might have already thrown a punch at him. However, even now, both my hands were clenched tightly into fists, and I was unwilling to flee from any more questions.
“Most of all, I want to know if the young master had even the slightest hesitation when he shot at me.”
The pain in my left shoulder was growing stronger and stronger. Have the painkillers already worn off? I really should have removed that bullet.
X suddenly laughed and lightly exclaimed, “Very good! You’re finally acting like a young person.”
“… I am already a hundred and fifty years old.”
I weakly opened my fists, finally understanding why X had to say these things. Even in these heated circumstances, just as he had in the past, X had actually used any means necessary to exasperate me.
X uncaringly replied, “You are not even two hundred years old. Compared to someone as old as me, a vampire as young as you could even be considered an infant! Any other arguments?”
I was at a loss for words.
Somewhat impatiently, he said, “I don’t know when it started, but you’ve always been completely apathetic like this. After Kaius’s death, all you wanted was to quietly hide until your own death, as though you, and not I, were the one who had already lived a thousand years. Do you know how many more centuries, or even millennia, you would need to wait before dying? Do you plan on living like this forever?”
“I don’t even want to live for millennia.” The mere thought of passing a thousand years was incomparably terrifying.
“Then, what are you afraid of?”
“What?” I was dumbstruck. Afraid?
X grabbed my shoulders, the pain forcing a low grunt from me. However, he did not pay it any mind, and he continued aggressively, “You’ve lived a hundred and fifty years and already feel like you’ve lived long enough, so what are you still afraid of? Why must you force yourself to live cowering in fear, daring to do less than even someone like me, who is being hunted? If you really want to understand those great secrets, you must throw caution to the wind and be willing to risk your life!”
Throw caution to the wind… If that is what needs to be done in order to learn the truth of why I lost everything, so what if I use my life in exchange for it!
“Understood,” I bit out through clenched teeth.
X showed a rare happiness when he heard my reply, as though he were not hearing about circumstances in which lives may be lost, but rather about some momentously joyous occasion. If I did not understand X as well as I did, I might have assumed that he was looking forward to me throwing my life away.
“X, please release me. I was shot in the shoulder.”
X went so far as to ask, “Shot by your young master? Does the injured area hurt?” He then actually grabbed my shoulder again.
“Yes, it hurts…”
X was silent for a moment. Then he answered, “I merely rested my hand on it. Your knee injury seems far more severe. If anything, that should be what hurts. What in the world did you do? I feel like there’s something off about your condition—your complexion is white as a sheet of paper.”
“Perhaps it is due the effects of the tranquilizer. I injected myself four times.”
However, as I spoke, I also became uncertain. Even if the painkiller effects had faded, X was correct: it should be my knee that hurts instead. Why is it that my left shoulder keeps hurting? Is there something special about the young master’s bullet? Or…
X’s eyebrows furrowed as he said, “From what you’ve said, you must have exceeded your limits already. Even with the tranquilizers, it’s been so long that you should have already passed out from pushing your limits. But from what you described, it sounds like you didn’t pass out even once?”
“I never lost consciousness.” After a moment of contemplation, I continued in confusion, “I seem to have no sense of sleepiness either, despite having been active for over thirty consecutive hours. Moreover, most of that time was spent in battle and using x-speed for long periods of time. What exactly—”
I suddenly recalled—Lieder’s drug! The power to not require sleep!
“You’re not feeling any pain at all.”
“What?” I looked at X, not understanding his words.
X’s brows were knit together as he explained, “While you were in a daze just now, I pressed hard on your shoulder, but you didn’t react at all. The painkillers’ effects have not subsided yet.”
I started. If the effects have not disappeared yet, why does my left shoulder keep hurting?
“Your young master hurt you too severely.”
After saying this casually, he lifted the suitcase he was holding and dropped it on the table, before pulling blood bags out of it and throwing them at me.
“Drink these quickly, and listen to me in the meantime.”
I nodded and bit down on the blood bag. As soon as the first sip of blood entered my throat, I realized just how thirsty I was. These tranquilizers were truly dangerous, especially when combined with the ability of not requiring sleep… Could it be that I no longer even have the ability to lose consciousness?
This was a truly unnerving turn of events. Fainting was actually a defense mechanism to notify you that your body has exceeded its capacity and can no longer continue… Never mind, if I am throwing even my life to the wind, not being able to pass out is a good thing.
“I do not have much cash. Most of this is gold.”
X opened the suitcase. The items inside had been divided into multiple boxes, making it impossible to identify them. He opened one at random and showed me the gold baubles inside. Moreover, since they all seemed old-fashioned, bringing them to a pawnshop would not actually draw too much attention.
“You should only sell off one or two of these gold accessories at a time. Too many would draw unnecessary suspicion. The others are blood bags. There are not that many since they take up a lot of space and were harder to pack. If no one is too close on your tail, just find some human to drink blood from. Only, do not kill them.”
I asked in confusion, “However, if they make it known that I am a vampire, the Church may be able to gradually close in on my location.”
“Relax.” X said, undisturbed. “This is Daystar City, a city I am very familiar with. The people here would not casually say anything like ‘I was bitten by a vampire.’ They are terrified of being treated as an abnormal or lunatic, and fear others’ suspicion that they might turn into a vampire after being bitten. So as long as you do not fatally harm them, they will not publicize this information lightly.”
X reached out to open a flat box in the suitcase, revealing a suit. He then opened another, square-shaped box, containing a bundle of brown hair that was likely a wig.
As he pointed at the objects, he explained, “Your disguise is not bad, but in this kind of city, dressing up as a white-collar businessman is more appropriate.”
I bitterly smiled and asked, “I thought you were an old-fashioned vampire that did not care for mundane matters. I never would have imagined you would turn out to be capable of integrating into the masses of mankind.”
X was silent for a while. Then, he spat out with an immeasurable amount of resentment, “You’re right, I do not care for mundane matters. At the very least, I did not in the past, up until every city became full of surveillance cameras, and every human possessed cell phones and could contact others at any moment. There is also the damned internet that can broadcast information to the entire world!”
I quietly listened. Although it had not been for long, I had already started to experience the terror of surveillance cameras myself. If not for the young master’s prior advice on how to evade them, I likely would have no way to stay on the run and avoid capture for very long.
“If I did not learn how to assimilate with humans, the Church would have latched onto me like maggots, impossible to get rid of. There would be no place I could find shelter, and no moment I could relax! This, this… damned world!”
I did not know how to console the other person, especially since, in a few years, it was possible that I might also be complaining of such things—if I were still alive in a few years.
X put the clothes and wig in my hands as he said, “Charles, wear this wig and glasses. If the Elysees Family will no longer protect you, you will be in great danger. Following me will not be any safer either. Two people together make too obvious a target. Moreover, the Church is always right on my trail.”
As he spoke, his brows knit together more tightly, as if the person fleeing for their life for the first time was him and not me.
“You should not have any issues though.” X studied me, his expression easing slightly as he continued, “You have always lived among humans, and you appear to be gentle and easy to pick on. As long as you do not encounter people you are well acquainted with, nobody will believe you are a vampire.”
Is that a compliment?
“Toughen up, Charles, and become stronger!” X forcefully patted my shoulder. “I know Kaius did not want you to become too powerful, but those were the 1960s when you could stand still, letting the humans shoot at you, and still not die!”
X, there must be something wrong with your perception of a vampire’s strength. Sadina once nearly killed me with a letter opener.
“Yet because the Elysees Family Head was your father, Kaius, he had enough power to protect you. Now, however, the humans keep modifying themselves to become stronger, and Kaius has long since passed away. With Sadina dead now as well—”
I suddenly looked up at X, who only raised a brow rather than avoiding the subject. He had always been like this, even in the past: when my honorable father had passed, X had also acted like this, as if someone’s death was nothing to grieve over, or was even a happy occasion worth celebrating… To someone like X that has lived for millennia, perhaps death truly is a joyous event?
After making this connection, I no longer minded if X constantly mentioned Sadina or my honorable father.
I placed the empty blood bag down and asked with a bitter laugh, “X, I am too weak, am I not?”
X laughed and passed another bag of blood to me and, contrary to my expectations, answered, “You finally care about strength. In reality, you are not weak considering your age. Rather, you are exceedingly strong.”
“Exceedingly strong?” I shook my head. “Are you certain you are referring to me?”
He disinterestedly responded, “What kind of vampire less than two hundred years old is not darting around in hiding? Who would be like you: you, who knows me, whose residence everyone knows the location of, who even found a hero for a young master? It would be easy if you lived on Elysees territory the whole time, but you did not stay there for very long, did you?”
I quietly said, “Despite not living there, I still received the family’s protection.”
“That’s right.” X nodded. “So I’m quite satisfied that the young master you found knows how to stir up trouble, which has given you substantial training.”
“Young… Ri Xiang Ye, he…” Is very well-behaved. Yet, after recalling everything that had occurred these past few years, I could not say these words out loud.
“Your young master is indeed not bad. However, since you have already had a falling out with him, he has become your most frightening enemy.” X’s gaze locked onto me as he stated, “He taught you a lot, but it is precisely because he taught you that he is also the one that understands you best. If anyone could capture you while you are in hiding, it would have to be him!”
Indeed, anything he did not teach me was taught to me by Poseidynne, which was not too different, since Poseidynne was right by the young master’s side.
How can I become stronger in a short period of time? Strengthening my blood ability was impossible; it was an ability that could only be improved bit by bit over time. The only part that could be improved to some extent was fine control, but that had already been enhanced greatly under Poseidynne’s guidance. Even she had once mentioned that my ability could only continue to advance through engagement in actual combat.
After pondering the idea for a while, I suddenly recalled a previous conversation with Lieder.
“X, would an energy weapon help my strength at all?”
X turned his head to look at me. After a long moment of silence, he answered, “You could purchase a dagger-type.”
Dagger-type… I really am an assassin.
“Why did you think of using an energy weapon?” X furrowed his brows and asked, “You are a vampire. A blade produced by our blood ability is a vampire’s source of power. Although your current situation is an emergency for which you might use an energy weapon, you absolutely must absolutely not lose sight of your bearings. A vampire’s strength is their blood ability!”
“I understand.” I quickly explained, “Someone once told me that I could be very powerful because of my extremely high speed. He said, abilities can always improve with external help, but speed will always be a limit, so no one could stop me if I possess an insurmountable weapon.”
After saying this, I was a bit unsure. While Lieder had spoken these words confidently, X, the one standing before me, could already resist me easily. Claiming that no one could stop me was truly an exaggeration. However, with the urgency of the current situation, I could not care whether Lieder’s words were excessive flattery or not.
“My blood ability is very far from the level of being insurmountable, which is why I thought of using an energy weapon to supplement the deficiency.”
X frowned deeply, his expression giving me a somewhat uneasy feeling that reminded me of the young master… No, Ri Xiang Ye! Why am I unable to change how I address him? If I have no choice but to face him directly, and I call him Young Master while fighting him, it would truly come out as too derisive!
I took a deep breath. Ri Xiang Ye also used energy weapons and was undoubtedly much more practiced in using them than I. In that case, what could I even do with an energy weapon? It was merely wishful thinking to hope that using an energy weapon would allow me to become stronger.
The corners of X’s mouth tilted upward, his smile not quite reaching his eyes as he stared at me. I had witnessed him smile more today than I had over the past hundred years, a realization that made me feel profoundly powerless. X seemed very happy that I had finally been caught in dangerous circumstances…
However, he did not harbor any ill intent. He simply believed that I had been too well protected, and that my combat ability was too lacking. I could not continue relying on the family forever, and the current situation was proof of this. X was correct.
“Charles Endelis, perhaps you are a being more terrifying than even your young master.”