No Hero Volume 1: Vampire Butler
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Diary of a Butler Chapter 2: Assisting the Master in Learning How to Sing – translated by ErodingPersona
I cannot help but repent to you, as I have made an inexcusable mistake. In the first week of work, I burned both the young master’s dinner of broth and bread. If you had been aware of this in heaven, you would definitely have fiercely scolded this worthless child of yours!
Please bless me from the heavens so that I do not make any mistakes ever again.
“That’s all right, the steak is delicious! The ice cream dessert is also great!”
This time the young master comforted me instead.
I cannot let my master comfort me. I drew myself up and said, “Young Master, I shall call for a cab. The karaoke center is a little too far from our residence.”
The young master shook his head and said, “There’s no need for that. Let’s ride over there. I have two motorcycles.”
Two? He must be referring to those two motorcycles in the workshop. However, were those not placed there for decorative purposes? I asked in bewilderment, “But, how will you move those heavy motorcycles downstairs?”
The young master replied instantly, “There’s an elevator in the workshop.”
It looks like this house has far more secrets than I initially imagined. I had been cleaning it for a week, but I had not noticed any elevators within.
“That is fine, but Charles does not have a driver’s license for heavy duty motorcycles. Charles might have to very impolitely trouble Young Master to give Charles a ride.”
The young master looked at me strangely and asked, “Driver’s license? I don’t have that kind of thing either. It’s fine even if we don’t have one, right?”
That is a good question.
As there has yet to be a vampire who died due to a motor accident, I believed that I had no need to worry about whether the driver had or did not have a driver’s license. Hence, I got onto the young master’s motorcycle. Thus began my first ever Fearful Motorcycle Ride.
When I first went around hunting for a job as a butler, I had often encountered obstacles due to my identity as a vampire. Today was the first time that I had ever felt so thankful that I was a vampire… At least I have no need to worry that I would turn into a ‘ghost’ if the motorcycle crashes in the next second.1
Nevertheless, in spite of this, the young master still obeyed the traffic rules quite well. The speedometer’s needle was always exactly on the speed limit. He also obeyed all traffic signals. It was just that other than when the traffic signals were red, he disliked stepping on the brakes; hence, when there were cars before us and on all sides blocking the way, he would use ingenious angles to cut through them and then continue to bypass a third car, a fourth car…
Once, the young master even slanted the body of the vehicle down… to an angle of less than 45 degrees to the ground and slipped through a small gap between a tour bus and sidewalk.
The young master said loudly while threading his way through, “Charles, I forgot to ask you. Do you know how to fly?”
Is this him trying to confirm that if an accident happens, I can carry him and fly away in time? I shouted back, “Charles does not know how to fly, Young Master, but Charles can jump great distances and heights.”
“Oh, that’s truly a shame.” The young master sounded disappointed.
I hurriedly yelled, “It is not a shame, Young Master. Charles can still manage to carry you and leap away in time.”
The young master suddenly braked his motorcycle. Due to my inattentiveness, I almost slammed into the young master’s back. Luckily, I am a vampire; my reflexes are far superior to those of humans, and I could even go against the law of “upon stopping hurriedly, the object would still move forward” and make myself motionless so as to not crash into the young master’s back.
The young master removed his helmet, turned around, and asked me, “What did you say? Take me where?”
I was so terrified that I was drenched in cold sweat. Only after freezing for three seconds could I explain to the young master, “To somewhere safe.”
The young master looked like he didn’t really understand. He tilted his head and asked, “A karaoke center should be a rather safe place, right?”
I looked up and realized that we had already arrived at the place commonly known as a KTV.2
I disembarked from the motorcycle. The young master parked his motorcycle in a parking lot by the side, pulled out his keys, and made ready to leave.
“Young Master, are you not going to secure your motorcycle?”
I was very worried. With a single glance, one would be able to tell that the young master’s motorcycle was not ordinary. No matter how many locks were placed, there would be no guarantee that when the young master and I were done singing and came out, we would still have a motorcycle to ride… Even though I very much wished to take a taxi, I definitely could not just watch the young master’s motorcycle get stolen away because of that.
The young master patted my shoulders and grinned as he said, “Don’t worry. I didn’t shake off the bodyguards sent by Gēge. Those people will help me guard the motorcycle.”
I stilled. I see.
The young master and I stepped into the KTV. This shop was designed with a futuristic look, the type of place that youngsters would feel is in style. The moment we stepped in the young master looked curiously at all the items around us. He seemed to have a special interest in the recycled mechanical parts used as decoration on the wall.
I started chatting with the young master. “Young Master must dislike modifying the human body, right? Charles has not seen any parts of your body that have been modified.”
The young master turned to look at me and smiled. Afterwards, he asked, “What do we do now?”
I looked at the young master’s reactions. He did not seem as flustered as he had been when he had arrived home at night. This was good. Bringing the young master here so he could familiarize himself with the surroundings in advance was indeed the right thing to do. Humans will always unconsciously feel nervous and fearful when heading to unfamiliar places. However, they also adapt easily to new surroundings.
I explained carefully, “Now we will go up to an employee and convey that we wish to sing and book a vacant room.”
The young master performed splendidly, doing it as casually as if he did this every day, and he kept a smile on his face the entire time. Finally, I even noticed the female worker slyly slipping him a note.
While we were following the escort, the young master forced a smile and passed the note to me. On it was written a name and phone number.
I said teasingly, “This is good, is it not? Young Master is a stunningly attractive person!”
The young master passed me another note and with a wickedly happy look on his face said, “Another female employee wanted me to pass this to you. This is great too! Mr. Butler is also a stunningly attractive person!”
“Young Master, please do not tease me.” I smiled wryly and shook my head, saying, “Charles is not as good looking as you.”
The young master laughed, “Charles, you don’t look at yourself in the mirror very often, do you?”
I glanced at the escort ahead of us. Even though he was leading us, he was walking very slowly. It was very obvious that he was currently eavesdropping on us. I smiled faintly and said, “Young Master, we are about to arrive. Let us discuss this later.”
When we walked into the room, the escort explained the necessities and then left.
The young master was completely disinterested in the surroundings, staring at me instead, as if waiting for an explanation. I smiled, opened the door to the washroom, and stood before the mirror.
I stood between the young master and the mirror, but the mirror showed the young master’s reflection clearly.
I turned around to look at the wide-eyed young master and feeling amused, explained, “Young Master, the mirror cannot reflect me. Even cameras are unable to record a vampire’s presence.”
“Then how do you all know your individual appearances?” The young master was very surprised.
I smiled faintly and said, “If the vampire was turned, then he would already know what he looked like. For pureborn vampires like me, we normally hire artists to draw our portraits. However, I have never done so because my father told me that, to a butler, being neat and presentable is far more important than knowing what our features look like.”
The young master nodded his head and remarked, “You really do give a very neat, presentable feel in this attire, Charles!”
Speaking of attire, I suddenly remembered the simple clothing in the young master’s wardrobe and hurriedly said, “Young Master, you ought to buy some clothes.”
“I do have clothes,” the young master tilted his head and said, confused.
“Young Master, young people rarely wear dress shirts anymore these days,” I reminded him tactfully. “If Young Master wishes to be able to integrate more successfully into a student’s life, then you ought to dress more like a young man.”
Although I myself disliked the modern youth’s fashion preferences, if the young master wished to better his interpersonal relationships, he could not dress like the youths of a century prior.
The young master laughed and said, “Okay then! We’ll go out together to buy clothes some other day. You can help me pick them out.”
He spread both his hands out and said helplessly, “You know how it is. I really don’t know how to differentiate between what looks good and what looks tacky. Like last time, there were two students who came to class wearing clothes that didn’t look very different. In my eyes, they looked the same, but my other classmates’ reactions were different. One of them got laughed at, but the other gained a lot of the girls’ attention. It was so strange!”
The young master’s so-called ‘didn’t look very different’… I’m afraid it must have been a difference of nearly a century, right?
Luckily, as a butler, helping the master match his clothes is a basic requirement. I have always paid attention to fashion trends. I immediately replied, “Very well then.”
The young master smiled and then looked around. His line of sight stopped on the machine used to pick songs. His expression instantaneously turned nervous and he yelled, “Charles, Charles, what is this?”
“Please don’t be so tense, Young Master.”
I smiled warmly. This seemed to make the young master calm down significantly. Thereafter, I stepped toward the machine and as I chose a song, I said, “Charles will first pick a few songs for you to listen to.”
I selected three sentimental, rock, and pop songs that were currently topping the charts to gauge which genre the young master preferred.
After the three songs finished playing, I smiled and asked, “Young Master, which song do you prefer?”
The young master replied truthfully, “I still think that Beethoven’s The Symphony of Destiny sounds a lot better. Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, otherwise known as Pathétique, also sounds good.”
Maybe the young master is not a young man from a century ago, but rather two centuries ago?
I pondered this for a while. The Symphony of Destiny has a very strong beat. Maybe the young master prefers songs with a stronger beat? I tried choosing a song of this type.
Halfway through the song, the young master’s eyes lit up. Before I even asked, he shouted out, “This sounds a lot better.”
I relaxed and nodded my head. Luckily it wasn’t true that the young master only liked symphonies. After that, I asked, “Young Master, I will first play the song with its original singer. After listening to it a few times, you should be able to sing it.”
Hearing this, the young master nervously said, “Okay.”
However, after the song played once, the young master announced, “I can do it now.”
I nodded my head and played the same song again. This time, I turned off the singer’s voice, leaving only the music for the young master to sing to.
The music played, but when the young master started singing, I was startled and blankly listened to him finish singing the entire song…
When the song finished playing, the young master stared at me nervously and asked, “Was my singing all right?”
I hesitantly said, “Young Master…”
“Was my singing horrible?” The young master asked worriedly.
“Young Master, you sang very well.”
I worked hard to prevent too strange an expression from surfacing and explained, “However, generally, normal people do not have the ability to sing in the exact same tone and the exact same voice as the original singer.”
If I had not personally witnessed the young master singing with his mouth, I would have thought that it was the original singer singing… Seems like the young master’s secrets are not any fewer in number than the secrets held by that strange workshop of his.
“Th-then how am I supposed to sing?” The young master became even more nervous and stuttered, “I-I don’t know any other way to sing.”
I hurriedly comforted him, “Young Master, it will be fine if you use your own voice to sing. I will play the song again. Please relax and just use your speaking voice to sing the song.”
However, when the music played, the young master gripped the microphone and mumbled a few words, then stared blankly at the screen. Finally, he looked at me miserably and said, “Charles, let me listen to you sing first.”
“As you wish.”
I looked at the song selection screen, wanting to pick an easier song to allow the young master to learn while listening to me. At that moment, the young master drifted closer, and I hurriedly stepped aside to allow the young master to be able to see the screen clearly.
“Charles!” He cried out and pointed to one of the songs on the screen. “Look, this song is called ‘Vampire!’”
I looked at the screen, nodded my head, and said, “I know that song.”
“Sing it for me!” The young master’s eyes lit up.
I selected the song and raised the microphone. When the music sounded, I opened my mouth and sang…
The ancient clock chimes twelve times
A shabby coffin lid opens
The charming sunlight of day
has been slain by the black shroud
Night is only the haunt of darkness gone mad
Just sleep tight
No blood-sucking monsters wander in daylight
Vampires stalk the streets; Strangers don’t come near; Fresh blood is my favorite drink
Don’t cry Hallelujah; God’s on vacation; Maria is also asleep
I coolly fling my cape aside; Bare my fangs at you; Don’t struggle I’ll be gentle
When you meet vampires, hurry and scream
God Bless You
When I finished singing, the young master was laughing so hard that he fell from the sofa and rolled onto the floor.
I took out a comb, helped to comb the young master’s disheveled hair, and then straightened his clothes. He laughed while commenting, “Charles, oh Charles, where’s your cape?”
“There are almost no more vampires in this era that would walk about on the streets wearing a cape.” I replied truthfully, “If I wear a cape, people would not think that I am vampire. Rather, it is highly likely that they would mistake me for a cosplayer and request to take pictures with me.”
Hearing this, the young master laughed hard for quite a while. Then he asked, curious, “Then do you really sleep in a coffin?”
The young master had never stepped into my room before. When I moved my things in, he was attending class at school, so he had yet to see the things inside. I nodded my head and gave a brief explanation, “I sleep in a metal cabinet similar to a coffin. It is far sturdier than a coffin. If it was attacked, it would even wake me.”
This time, the young master didn’t laugh. He frowned and asked, “A metal cabinet… That can’t be comfortable to sleep in, can it? Why don’t you sleep on a bed?”
“It’s too bright. Only complete darkness can help me drift off peacefully.”
Although this was something that I should not inform a human about, I had no intention of making the young master unhappy. This was, after all, not some grand secret. I explained in more detail, “If it is not completely dark, even if only a light as weak as starlight is present, my rest will be fitful. If it is for a short while, it would not be a problem, but in the long run, I would become very weak.”
“Oh.” The young master nodded his head and didn’t ask any more questions about vampires. He pointed towards the screen and said, “I want to learn how to sing this song.”
After that, the young master started singing very happily using his normal voice. Just this song about vampires, he sang three times. I sneakily inserted the previous song with a heavy beat. When the young master heard it, he flinched but sang the first few lines reflexively. After looking surprised at himself, he continued on singing the song.
Starting after that, everything became a lot easier. I sang one song, and then the young master sang it once more. The young master’s ability to learn was very high. After hearing a song once, he could sing the song perfectly.
We sang like this for three hours until an employee came by to ask whether we wanted to extend our stay. I looked at the young master. He seemed indecisive. I was just about to tell the employee to extend our time by two hours…
The young master cried out, “Oh no! I forgot to call Gēge!”
I hurriedly changed my mind and told the employee, “There is no need. Please bring us the bill.”
When we walked out of the KTV, the young master seemed to be in a very good mood. He was even humming songs; mostly he was humming that song “Vampire.” Looks like I should buy that album.
We walked to the parking lot, and sure enough, the young master’s motorcycle was still around. His bodyguards were very dutiful. We walked toward it. The young master put on his safety helmet, and I was putting on my safety helmet as well…
“This is a robbery!”
I turned and saw two figures rushing toward us. They were both holding guns and eyeing the young master’s motorcycle, faces alight with glee. They roared at us, “Hand over your wallets and helmets, then scram!”
I frowned. The robbers are already aiming their guns at the young master. Why haven’t those hidden bodyguards appeared yet?
I looked at the young master. He had already finished putting on his helmet. It offered full-protection, and the visor appeared silver from the outside. I couldn’t see his face and thus I also could not see the young master’s expression. This made me unsure of what course of action I should take.
“Hurry up and move!” The robbers had already lost their patience, and it seemed like a bullet might fly out of their guns at anytime.
I frowned, wanting to stand before the young master, but I saw the young master calmly reaching into his jacket, his movements as fluid and as natural as if he were about to pull out a handkerchief… However, he drew out a pistol.
This massive discrepancy caused both the two robbers and I to stare. Just when the robbers were about to shoot, and while I was debating between stepping up to block the shots or leaving this matter to the hidden bodyguards who had yet to make a move, the young master fired without warning. His shooting speed was very fast; it sounded as though he had only made one shot.
However, I could distinguish that there had been four shots made: two shots at the robbers’ guns and another two at the robbers’ knees.
As the robbers fell to the ground and screamed, hugging their knees, the young master calmly holstered his gun as if he were slipping a handkerchief back into place.
I had no idea what to say and could only compliment him. “Young Master, excellent marksmanship.”
The young master raised his visor, smiled at me, and then yelled to the surroundings, “Don’t kill them, or I’ll make you regret it!”
I started, and after mulling it over for a while, I realized that the young master was speaking to the bodyguards hiding in the surroundings.
“Let’s go, Charles.”
I turned my head to look. The young master had already started up his motorcycle. I got on the motorcycle and thought that maybe I had been mistaken earlier. The young master must be a combat student in the actual combat department rather than the theory department.
The next day, when the young master returned home in the afternoon, he passed me a portrait. It was an oil painting and very realistic, almost like a photograph. The black-haired man in the portrait was wearing a western-styled vest with a tie. He had a gentle smile and a pair of gentle lake-green eyes.
I looked up at the young master.
The young master smiled and said, “This is you in my eyes, Charles.”
Hearing this, I could not prevent myself from looking down at the picture again. I could vaguely find some of my father’s looks in the features of the man in the picture, so it must be my appearance indeed, but how is it that the man appears so gentle?
Although I had never seen myself before, out of all the vampires I have ever seen, vampires were usually sinister and bewitching. Not a single one of the vampires ever gave off a gentle aura.
Or maybe, the young master unconsciously painted his own perception of me? Does he think that I am very gentle?
I looked up and was about to thank the young master, but suddenly I smelled something strange on him… It was the smell of food. A vampire’s food. Blood.
However, when I took a more careful sniff, I felt confused. The smell was a little strange. It didn’t seem to be very pure blood.
After some consideration, I could only ask, “Young Master, are you hurt?”
He gave an “mmh” sound and said nonchalantly, “I just cut my arm.”
I was stunned by his casualness but then remembered that the young master was part of the combat department. Getting hurt must be normal for him!
“Is the wound serious? Is there a need to call for a doctor…?” I was so worried that only halfway through my question did I suddenly remember that in the contact list of the cell phone Mr. Kyle had given me, there was no one addressed as a doctor.
Then, the young master rolled up his left sleeve.
I looked and drew in a sharp breath. The young master’s left forearm had a slash about twenty centimeters long. It was jagged, as if it were caused by some weapon that was not very sharp. This sort of injury definitely needed stitches and might even warrant a tetanus shot to prevent infection.
“There’s no need to look for a doctor. I just sprayed on some medicine to stop the bleeding. Later, I can use artificial flesh to create…”
The young master spoke nonchalantly but stopped abruptly halfway through his sentence. He raised his head to look at me, as if at a loss for words.
I noticed it and immediately changed the subject, asking, “Young Master, does Charles need to help you bandage it?”
“No, there’s no need to bandage it.” The young master hesitated, but ultimately shook his head.
It’s ‘no need to bandage it’ not ‘no need for my help bandaging it?’
I bowed my head and lowered my eyes, politely answering, “As you say.”
The young master stood silently, not making a move to bandage his own wound, but not giving me any signals to do other housework. So I stood there and waited. Sure enough, after a short while, the young master asked hesitantly, “Charles, do you feel that… I’m very strange?”
I lifted my head and looked at the young master. He looked back at me timidly. I smiled and instead of replying to him, I asked, “Young Master, do you feel that it is strange for a vampire to desire to be a butler?”
The young master blinked and then laughed.
“It is very strange! It’s so great that Charles is so strange!”
1 “Today was the first time that I had ever felt so thankful that I was a vampire… At least I have no need to worry that I would turn into a ‘ghost’ if the motorcycle crashes in the next second”: In Chinese, vampire is literally “blood-sucking ghost” (吸血鬼xīxuèguǐ). 吸血(xīxuè) means “blood-sucking” while 鬼(guǐ) means “ghost.” Since Charles is a vampire, which is already a type of “ghost,” he has no need to worry about turning into a ghost.
2 “KTV”: A KTV is a karaoke bar. KTV is short for karaoke television. At a KTV, you can choose songs to sing, generally from a karaoke machine or from a booklet with a list of songs. You can book private rooms to sing with your friends. Some KTVs require you to order drinks.