No Hero Volume 4: The Ancient Vampire Castle
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我(Yu Wo)
The Lost Files of the Ancient Castle Chapter 6: Heroes, Believing and Being Believed—translated by Doza (proofread by Arcedemius & Erro; C/E edited by lucathia)
“Idiot Ah Ye, what’s wrong with that Ezart? What kind of person says that they have stuff to do and leaves halfway through saving the world? There really aren’t any normal people around you!” I shouted angrily at An Xiang Ye. However, after I’d shouted that, he and Briar both looked at me with a strange expression.
What? Why are you looking at me like that?
Briar reminded me, “Aren-gē, you’re also one of the people close to Ah Ye-gē!”
“That’s right, you’re even my neighbor!” An Xiang Ye said matter-of-factly. “Neither Briar nor Ezart live nearby. If we consider distance, Aren, you’re even more abnormal than Ezart and Briar!”
The young master and I looked up at the building in front of us. The young master’s eyes widened, and I was even more at a loss for a response. I had never expected that I would actually be brought to a place like this… It was a place that I should never visit my entire life.
The young master asked in bewilderment, “Yue Gang-gē, why are we here?”
“To eat, of course!” Yue Gang said as if it were obvious. “Ah, I know this isn’t a restaurant, but trust me! There’s food, and it’ll definitely be delicious!”
It is not a matter of trust, but, but… I looked at the cross hung on the door with a growing feeling of helplessness in my heart. Even if I am not actually afraid of the cross and there is probably not a Sin Elimination team stationed in Sunset City… No matter the circumstances, a vampire cannot just openly walk into a cathedral, can he?
“Gē, the sun has risen already. Aren’t you feeling hot?” the young master suddenly asked me. “Take off your cape. I’ll hold it for you!”
I blinked and only then remembered that I was wearing the full set “standard vampire” outfit. I hurriedly removed my cape but held on to it myself instead of passing it to the young master.
After Yue Gang knocked on the door, he turned around and patted me heavily on the shoulder. He tried to reassure me, “Relax! No one will mistake you for a vampire! The priest here is an atheist.”
A priest who is an atheist?
That statement sounded completely illogical. Both the young master and I gave Yue Gang a doubtful look.
Yue Gang shrugged and said, “It can’t be helped. My old man simply doesn’t acknowledge that there are intelligent life forms aside from humans in the world, so naturally he doesn’t believe that there are gods, either! Even previously when there was footage of werewolves on TV, he said that since it’s called a werewolf—‘wer,’ as in ‘man’—it’s just one of the many races of humans. Anyway, still human.”
“Your old man?”
At that moment, the small door of the cathedral swung open. Unsurprisingly, the person who had come to open the door was a clergyman. Yue Gang used his thumb to point at the man and affirmed, “My old man.”
I stared with large eyes. The clergyman, who appeared about fifty years old, smiled as he looked at us. He seemed very kind. He is Yue Gang’s father? Yue Gang actually grew up in a cathedral?
The young master exclaimed, “Your papa is a priest?!”
“Ah Ye, he would be called a pastor,” I advised the young master.
“But I am a priest. You can call me Father Yue,” the clergyman chuckled as he corrected me.
I fell silent for a while, then said politely, “However, Yue Gang said that you are his father. If I remember correctly, celibacy is a requirement for priests.”
“Correct. That’s why I didn’t get married!” Father Yue’s smile brightened even further. Both his appearance and smile were very similar to Yue Gang’s. It was almost as if he were an older and neater version of Yue Gang. It left one with no doubts that they were indeed father and son.
A married priest versus a priest who did not get married but had kids. Is the latter less serious? Being a vampire, I had not researched too deeply into the church.
Yue Gang casually rested his hand on Father Yue’s shoulder and asked, “Old man, I called and told you I was bringing some friends over for breakfast. Is it ready?”
“Of course, and like you requested, it’s a very lavish breakfast!”
The moment he heard the word “breakfast,” the young master’s shoulders immediately sagged, and he cried out pitifully, “I’m really starving!”
“Oh!” Seeing this, Father Yue immediately warmly welcomed us in, “Then, hurry and come in! Don’t let this child continue to starve.”
We walked through the door. It was not the main entrance of the cathedral, but a side door. So after walking in, we were not at the sanctuary, but in a long corridor. On either side, there were various religious items on display. A cross hung on the wall, and there were various editions of the Bible lined up on a bookshelf; but the item that made my heart beat faster was a rifle placed in a transparent glass case.
From the information that my father had gathered, I remembered reading that that kind of silver-white rifle with the cross motif was used from the 1930s to the 1980s. It was a gun that the Sin Elimination teams used specifically to hunt vampires. The bullets inside were always manufactured from silver, as was the bayonet attached to the rifle.
How many vampires has this gun killed? I felt somewhat uncomfortable.
“That is part of my collection,” Father Yue’s voice suddenly rang out right in my ear. I was quite alarmed, and turned around to look at him. He smiled and said, “Isn’t it pretty? Those yellowish areas on it are all made of silver!”
“It is very beautiful.” I spoke the truth. If I assessed it as an art piece, I would have to say that the silver-white gun was stunning. Even though it was inevitable that tarnish would form on the silver parts, considering the age of the gun, it was truly quite well preserved.
“It’s really ironic.” Father Yue sighed and said, “We made such a beautiful object, but it’s designed to produce an ugly massacre.”
“Guns can kill people, but they can also save people.” I smiled in response. Even though I was well aware that they were pretentious, the words were also something that most people could accept. The odds of a gun killing someone truly were much greater than of it saving them.
“A person holding a knife can only kill one person at a time, and he can protect that one person behind him; a person holding a gun can kill several people at a time, and he is still only protecting that one person behind him; a person in control of the launch button for a missile can kill several thousand at a time, but he too actually only wants to protect that one person behind him… So who is the person behind your back?”
I was stunned for a moment and turned to look at Father Yue. He smiled at me. Then, as if he had never said a thing, he gestured toward the end of the long corridor, saying, “Come and eat breakfast. Yue Gang has already taken your little brother to the dining room.”
Having said that, he walked off by himself toward the doorway on the other end of the corridor. The door was not fully closed, and I could see the young master’s and Yue Gang’s figures. They were already seated in front of the dining table and eating ravenously.
Behind me… As I pondered over it, I walked behind the young master and stood to his left. That was the place a butler should stand. Then, I noticed Yue Gang giving me a puzzled look. I quickly pretended I had only needed to pull a chair out, and sat down.
The moment I had done so, Father Yue passed me a plate filled with scrambled eggs and bacon. That was a lot more down-to-earth than thinking over what sort of person was behind me. I had to consume an entire plate of things that I simply did not want to eat… No, he also took a few round buns and placed them on my plate, and then filled a bowl with oatmeal, topped up my glass with fruit juice, and piled some sausages on my plate.
Father Yue said warmly, “I heard that you two had to search for my idiot child the whole night, and never got a chance to eat! So eat more. Please don’t be courteous!”
“… Thank you.”
If I had realized earlier, I would have done all that I could to reject Yue Gang’s invitation. Unfortunately, a thousand gold cannot buy foresight. I could only pick up my knife and fork and get rid of the food in front of me mouthful by mouthful, although from time to time, the amount would actually increase…
When I had finished about half the plate of scrambled eggs and bacon in addition to the food that had been repeatedly added on, I stood up and said, “My apologies. I would like to visit the restroom.”
Father Yue smiled and said, “Go through this door, walk to the end, and then turn left.”
The moment I entered the restroom, I closed the door and squatted beside the toilet, throwing up. After vomiting for a while, I felt much better.
Even though I could consume food other than fresh blood, being a vampire, I was still unable to eat a great quantity. That was because a vampire’s stomach and intestines were simply unable to digest such food. Father had made full inquiries about things of that nature shortly after I was born, so I knew I could not eat great quantities of human food. As a result, I had never tried to eat so much before.
So it turned out that if I ate too much, I would throw it all back up. It was apparent that I had better use an excuse such as being too full, and stop eating.
I carefully tidied up my appearance and returned to the dining room. However, everyone else had already finished. It seemed that I had truly been away for too long. The young master was listening attentively to Father Yue, and Yue Gang was on the phone.
As I walked past Yue Gang, he rolled his eyes at me and said crossly, “Did you fall in? We left your plate there for you. If you’re still hungry, go to the kitchen and get more food yourself.”
“I cannot eat any more.” I forced a smile as I replied.
He merely grunted in response and resumed his phone call.
I returned to my seat. At the moment, Father Yue was giving a detailed explanation to the young master.
“The most important thing is not whether God exists, but what you believe in. This ‘what’ is then your god—your hope, because you can believe that miracles are possible, and so you will be able to stand strong and not crumble.”
The young master asked uncertainly, “But, what should I believe in? God? But if God doesn’t exist, then how can I believe in him?”
“Old man!” Yue Gang suddenly shouted at us. “I have to go back to the station. That bastard Xie Wei actually lied to me. Last night, he told me that he would conduct a police raid on the bar N/H, but he never showed up. He nearly got me killed by those guys! And in the end, he actually ran off to look for trouble with Dragon Peace… Tsk! Charles, stay here with your little bro and enjoy yourself. In any case, my old man is sick of doing nothing, and he especially loves talking to people about atheism.”
Father Yue glared at him. “I’ve told you many times before, I’m not an atheist, you little brat!”
Yue Gang grabbed his bag of guns and jacket lying off to one side and patted my shoulder, saying, “Then I’ll be leaving! If I have time, I’ll invite you for a meal again!”
I nodded. “All right.”
After Yue Gang left, Father Yue continued to talk with the young master. “Fine, then let me ask you, when you are in despair, who or what will you pray to for a miracle?”
The young master thought for a while, then said, “I don’t pray.”
“You really are a special young man.” Father Yue laughed as he said, “In Sunset City, whenever I ask people this question, usually the answers that come out are all the heroes’ names. You don’t believe that a hero will come to save you?”
The young master looked at Father Yue, but did not give him an answer.
Upon hearing Father Yue’s words, I had a spark of understanding. He truly was not an atheist. He just did not insist that a god should definitely be called “God.” Humans had many different religions, and different religions prayed to different idols. But no matter whether the idol that one prayed to was called a god, or a demon, or even a hero, all humans prayed for the same thing—a miracle.
Perhaps, a hero truly is a god. The religion of the new age.
I do not know if gods and demons despair, but what I do know is, heroes are human beings, and there are times when humans will despair. When a hero is in distress, who should he pray to? I was rather expectant of the young master’s answer, but at the same time, I also felt that the answer might again be… a lonely perseverance.
The young master said with utmost seriousness, “I will not cry for help. I have already relinquished the privilege to cry for help. I can only stand up by myself.”
As expected, I was not wrong.
Father Yue chuckled and asked, “So, this is a hero’s answer?”
I froze, and slowly registered what he had said. This priest actually knows that the young master is a hero?
The young master’s expression was still very calm. He asked quietly, “How did you find out? Does Yue Gang also know?”
“I was the one who told Father Yue.”
I looked toward the source of the voice. A slim woman, whose face was very familiar, stood by the door.
“Yina-jiě!” the young master exclaimed.
Yina was one of the members of Anceo’s three-person team, and she had once been held captive by Melody. I had thought that she had left Sunset City a long time ago.
Yina came toward us, looking somewhat apprehensive. Father Yue waved her over, and after a brief hesitation, she sat down beside him. Father Yue smiled and said, “Don’t worry. That child of mine does not know who you are. He really does think that you two are ordinary people.”
I was rather surprised and asked, “Why did you not tell him?”
At practically the same time, the young master also opened his mouth to ask, “Since you know that Charles is a vampire, why did you keep giving him food during breakfast? He doesn’t eat human food.”
… I also want to know the answer to this.
“Because…” Father Yue clapped, and laughed happily as he said, “It. Was. Fun!”
On second thought, I would rather not have known the answer. The young master did not seem to know how to respond to that, either. He looked at Father Yue suspiciously, but Father Yue only looked back at him with a cheeky grin.
The young master switched his gaze to Yina and queried, “Is Anceo still here too?”
“No,” Yina said coldly. “There’s no need to panic. You should understand that Sunset City is not under the Church’s influence at all. This cathedral has only been built for show. To the Church, this cathedral is like a trash bin. Unwanted people are thrown here, and whether they live or die is not at all important. Perhaps the Church simply assumes that the people dispatched to this cathedral will all be killed by the non-humans sooner or later.”
She paused, then continued frostily, “So you can relax. The people in this cathedral will not divulge your identities. We certainly don’t wish to be killed by you or the vampire.”
The words were truly filled with deep hostility… but the young master merely nodded his head and did not say anything else.
“Oh, oh right, is that vampire called Melody still doing all right?” Father Yue suddenly asked. “Yina often speaks of her!”
“I do not!” Yina, whose face was perpetually cold, was suddenly agitated. “She is a vampire. How could I harbor any good will toward her?!”
“I never said you harbored good will toward her. I only said that you often mention her.” Father Yue’s expression was full of innocence. It was just like Yue Gang’s expression whenever he spent all his money on buying weapons and had no money to eat, and so had no choice but to ask me to treat him to a meal.
I smiled gently as I looked at Yina. She was a bit flustered as she explained, “I only… She, she didn’t abuse me when she held me captive, and even lent me clothes and taught me how to put on makeup. Those parts were quite good… No! It’s not good in the least bit. I am a nun. How could I put on makeup! And she’s even a vampire!”
Father Yue continued to look innocent as he said, “Oh, she sure is a vampire. This butler is also a vampire, and he’s not bad either! It’s only because my child looks for him from morning to night to borrow money that he hasn’t starved to death yet.”
Yina said sternly, “Do not lump me in with that idiot!”
“That idiot is my son…”
“You are also a scoundrel. What kind of priest has a child with a woman?!”
“Yina, you are my subordinate. It isn’t good to call me a scoundrel, is it… Ah! I’ll go get a blanket! Yina, I’ll have to trouble you to brew some tea.”
I was startled and traced the priest’s line of sight. It was only then that I realized that the young master was sprawled on the table and fast asleep. Had he actually been this tired? It looks like last night’s event was not easy to resolve.
Father Yue had left the dining room, and the young master was asleep. That left only Yina and me. She walked to the side to brew the tea. The expression on her face was extremely cold, but after what had just happened, I did not believe that indifference was real. I smiled faintly as I said, “Melody is doing well. If you wish, you are welcome to come and find her. There are not a lot of females with us, so if you are willing to accompany her to go shopping, that would be great.”
Yina glanced at me. Even though she did not agree, she did not say “no” either.
Very soon, Father Yue returned to the dining room, humming a song. As he covered the young master with a thin blanket, he sighed in amazement. “This child is truly adorable. If Yue Gang’s mother saw him, she would definitely like him. What a pity…”
“Yue Gang’s mother…” It was only then that I suddenly understood. Since Father Yue had not gotten married, then it was most likely that Yue Gang’s mother had been “taken care of” by the Church, right? After all, a priest getting married was a huge scandal.
The mood turned rather gloomy. Father Yue sat down and drank a few sips of tea. Then he set the cup down and mumbled, “The child’s mother left me and went traveling by herself. It’s already been three months. Even now, she still doesn’t want to come home.”
“… Didn’t you not marry her?”
“That’s right, and so I’m very worried. On paper, the child’s mother is still single. She’s also ten years younger than me—young and pretty. Who knows if she’ll return from this trip with a secret boyfriend.”
As I looked at the anxious Father Yue, I suddenly fully understood where Yue Gang’s carefree and heedless behavior came from.
Father Yue gazed at the sister with a concerned look, like a father looking at his daughter, and muttered without pause, “On the other hand, Yina, why don’t you hurry up and find a boyfriend? Should we have Yue Gang introduce a policeman to you? Even though policemen are very busy, and they may not have a lot of time to spend with you, civil service is still a stable job. Layoffs are less likely, so you can be more assured of a good life.”
“I am a nun, and I’m not interested in having children out of wedlock!” Yina replied coldly. Then, she turned her head and stalked off, slamming the door behind her.
Father Yue sighed and started to pour out his woes. “Charles, look at that, just look at that. My wife spends whole days running around outside and doesn’t remember to return home. My son buys so many weapons that he doesn’t have money to eat for entire days. The sister fiercely refuses to marry. Each and every one of them makes me so worried! Sigh, and they’re not the only ones! The Church always dumps problematic priests and nuns here, and nearly all of them are in need of long-term counseling. I’m not a psychiatrist!”
“Every family has its own problems. Kids nowadays are all quite rebellious.”
I tried to console him. However, I could only offer platitudes. After all, none of these worries should exist in the first place, right? A priest should not have a wife and a son, and nuns cannot marry either, right? Also, priests and nuns should be counseling other people and not be the ones receiving counsel, correct?
“Oh, Charles! Listen to me! Even though pretty much nobody in Sunset City believes in God, they all love to come here and confess their sins. They’re practically treating me as a free counselor, and I end up being awfully busy all day. On top of that, the priests and nuns that the Church tosses here are all even crazier than the people who come here to confess. None of them are any help. Boohoohoo, I also need to confess! Would you be willing to hear me speak?”
“Yes, please confess… No, I meant, please speak.”
If you do not mind that the person to whom you are confessing is a vampire. But in my opinion, even if I were a demon from hell, Father Yue probably still would not care.
The young master slept until two in the afternoon, so I listened to Father Yue confess for an entire morning. He complained that his wife, his son, the priests, and the nuns all behaved like children; the money the Church gave was insufficient, and they kept sending mental cases; the cathedral was too small and would soon run out of space for everyone, but they did not have money to renovate the place, either… and occasionally he would draw a cross in front of his chest and repent for complaining too much.
“Are you not an atheist?”
“I am repenting about the child’s mother. She calls me every day, and yesterday she even said, ‘Father of my child, my beloved, I really miss you, I love you, come! Give me a kiss.’ I really should not be complaining this much about her.”
To thank me for listening to him, Father Yue gave me a Bible and a necklace with a cross before we left. He even insisted on helping me put on the necklace, which made the young master laugh happily.
Father Yue stood by the door of the cathedral and waved goodbye to us, saying, “You’re welcome to attend service every Sunday!”
The young master agreed loudly and happily. “All right, I will definitely bring Charles here for service!”
Young Master, can you not develop more ordinary ways to be happy that are more suited for young adults?
“Don’t cry Hallelujah… Maria is also asleep; I coolly fling my cape aside; bare my fangs at you… When you meet vampires, hurry and scream… God bless you!”
After we walked out of the cathedral, the young master’s mood was surprisingly happy. His footsteps were light, and he was even singing the “Vampire” song. Along the way, he attracted the stares of numerous people. Every one of them pointed excitedly at him, asking each other softly, “Is that him? The last angel?”
There were even some people who walked over from afar and started following us. Initially, I was a little worried that the young master’s mood would be affected, but he looked like he did not mind in the least. When a girl screamed at him, he even smiled at her, and then continued to sing “Vampire.”
The young master suddenly stopped singing, and he turned his head and asked, “Charles, are you sleepy?”
“No, I am not sleepy at all,” I quickly replied. If I hesitated, the young master might be worried about my being a vampire and let me return home to sleep.
“Then, let’s go to X-Killer and look at clothes!” the young master said happily. “Last time, I said I would buy you some clothes that don’t expose the skin, but we haven’t gone yet! But I spoke to Luo Lun and told him to help me select twenty pieces ahead of time. You can go and try them out. If they fit, we’ll bring them all back home!”
I forced a smile and said, “Young Master, twenty is too many.”
“Too many? Really?” The young master tilted his head as he thought. Then, in a carefree manner, he continued, “In any case, you’ll wear them sooner or later! Don’t forget, we have an ‘Endelis contract’!”
Endelis contract… An endless contract…
“So it doesn’t matter how many we buy!” The young master laughed, “It doesn’t matter even if we buy fifty! Right?”
Even though it is an endless contract, you do not have an endless life. If the person dies, then what use is the contract?
“Right?” As he did not receive a reply, the young master turned around and asked hesitantly, “Charles?”
I lowered my gaze and replied respectfully, “Young Master, twenty pieces is too many. The period of employment stated on the contract is two years. Soon, it will be one year. Therefore, I will not be able to wear that many clothes.”
The young master froze. The smile on his face had vanished, and there was only a vacant look. At a loss, he stuttered, “B-but, you agreed to an Endelis contract…”
“Young Master, a verbal agreement has no effect in the eyes of the law. Only a paper contract is…”
I paused, and saw the young master glaring at me. It seemed like he wanted to glare fiercely at me, but his eyes were red, like he was about to cry. I continued, “Only a paper contract is legal.”
“Liar!” The young master clenched his fists and scowled. He screamed furiously, “Your words can’t be trusted! You big liar!”
Even though he was scowling, there were tears in the corners of his eyes, and his underlying expression was more sadness and hurt rather than anger. He was trying hard not to let the tears fall as he squeezed out a smile and said, “Charles, you’re only explaining to me the purpose of a paper contract. You don’t mean anything else, right? In any case, something like a paper contract… only has to be signed again, right? Right? Right… Charles, why aren’t you saying anything? Say something!”
The young master gave an order, so I had to open my mouth and answer him. “Young Master, in one year’s time, I may…”
“Don’t say any more!” the young master suddenly shouted. He used both his hands to cover his ears, and even closed his eyes. However, he could not stop the two lines of tears from running down his cheeks.
I took out a handkerchief and walked up to him, thinking of helping the young master wipe his tears. Just when I was about to touch his cheeks, he said in a hoarse voice, “Go back by yourself. I don’t want to see you right now.”
“Understood, Young Master.”
I hesitated for a moment, but kept the handkerchief without wiping the young master’s tears. Even though I knew that the young master had his eyes shut, I still bowed deeply to him, and then I turned around to leave.
My footsteps halted, and I turned back to look at the young master. His eyes were open, and he was looking at me with a mixed expression of fear and distress, but also a tinge of hope, like a person who had fallen into deep despair and was praying…
“When you are in despair, who or what will you pray to for a miracle?”
The most important thing is not whether God exists, but what you believe in. This ‘what’ is then your god—your hope, because you can believe that miracles are possible, and so you will be able to stand strong and not crumble.
Young Master, what is the meaning of your asking this question? You do not pray, but you are asking me about what I pray to and what I believe in. Teach me, how should I answer you, so that I…
…will hurt you less?