Meanwhile, in Castle Eir…
The sky above the ancient castle was filled with austere killing intent. Many of the vampires walked out to gaze at the highest point of the castle, their expressions filled with fear and complicated emotions. Many of the soldiers dropped their blades, and the experts looked pale, their auras weakened by a level.
A suppressive might as deep as the oceans could be seen coming from high up on the ancient castle. It poured down wave after wave, washing over all the vampires in the ancient castle. The ancient vampire aura contained within caused every vampire to tremble. That fear arising from the depths of their bloodline weakened their ranks. The experts felt as though their blood cores were sealed in ice; it was almost impossible to accumulate blood energy.
That suppressive might was a clear declaration of bloodline authority. It was vampire tradition that those closer to the source of the River of Blood possessed greater natural authority and righteousness. That was precisely why most vampires in the ancient castle lost the power and will to resist. The deep-seated ideology was that they were committing a form of treason by going against such a superior expert.
A different blood energy gushed into the air from the top floor of the castle, tearing through the suppressive might covering the entire building. A cold but pleasant voice echoed between heaven and earth, “Eir will submit to no one!”
A thunderous roar emerged from the depths of the void as the River of Blood emerged—it was formally responding to her call. The phenomenon was brief and the response was vague, but obtaining any form of response meant that the summoner had been blessed by the river.
Eir laughed loudly as her blood energy rose repeatedly, its color growing deeper and a tad golden.
“See? The River of Blood is responding to me! I’m a duke now, you daybreak-tainted bastards! Do you not know your crime?!”
She laughed maniacally as she pushed Nighteye’s blade little by little, struggling to get up.
The Dark Gospel Howard sighed. “Yet another genius who can call upon the River of Blood, what a pity.”
Nighteye was holding Awakening Dream rather carelessly, keeping it on Eir’s shoulder and pinning her down. Now, however, the vampire lady had actually erupted with great power and broken through to the duke rank, even stirring the River of Blood in the process. This was perhaps due to the unwillingness or the humiliation of defeat.
Even Howard sighed in admiration. The Dark Gospel had been active throughout the recent centuries, so he knew that the river was moving further and further away. It was extremely difficult to obtain a response from it.
Ironically, a genius who could call upon the river’s power had actually betrayed the race. From the looks of it, she had given the Demon King her unswerving loyalty.
All this time, the River of Blood had been the faith of the vampire race, the only righteousness in their world. Howard felt somewhat embarrassed; just what did the Demon King offer that was more important than their faith?
Nighteye’s expression was indifferent, without the slightest bit of emotions. It was Qianye who seemed to have some doubts.
Just as Eir managed to return to her feet, Nighteye covered her mouth and yawned. She then exerted a bit more force, sending Eir back to her knees.
“Is it so hard to call out to the River of Blood? Qianye, when was the first time you obtained the river’s inheritance?”
Qianye gave it some thought. “Probably when I was a viscount?”
“Viscount?” Howard was visibly moved. The river had surged only a handful of times in recent years. Judging from Qianye’s age, it would seem that most of those instances were due to him.
Qianye was shrouded in faint golden sanguine flames, leaking a constant stream of suppressive might. This bloodline power was keeping all the vampires in the castle in check.
Qianye snorted after seeing Eir break through and claiming she would not submit. The golden flames turned dark golden, and an ancient aura descended upon them, one that seemed to have come from a distant era. This energy immediately extinguished Eir’s blood energy and silenced the entire castle.
Eir was pale and trembling. The most difficult thing for her to accept was that there was a deep-seated fear of Qianye inside her, and it was even stagnating the normal rhythm of her blood core.
This also meant that Qianye’s bloodline was far superior to hers. Their statuses were no different from that of a superior and subordinate.
Her prideful self couldn't come to terms with this truth.
“See? Our vampire race has never lacked geniuses. We have no need for traitors and watered-down geniuses.” She flipped the blade and pressed down lightly into Eir’s body. The latter’s expression was full of terror as her blood energy fell step by step until it was finally silent.
Nighteye had acted so quickly that Howard didn’t even have time to stop her. He sighed. “We should’ve asked her the reason for her betrayal. It’s such a pity to kill her just like that.”
“We’ve always attached great importance to bloodlines. People could get away with anything as long as they were talented enough. Unfortunately, she miscalculated because I will never forgive betrayal. Besides, the future of our race does not depend on her. Qianye is enough.”
Howard watched those dark golden flames in a daze. “True.”
With Eir dead and Qianye suppressing the entire castle, all the vampires lost the will to fight and surrendered one after another. The Azure King’s clansmen who were being imprisoned here were also released.
Within the parlor of Castle Eir, Qianye finally met Van Cleef, but he simply couldn’t connect this plump white man to his name.
Van Cleef’s aura was weak, but there were no injuries on his body, nor were there any signs of torture. It would seem that Eir was someone who followed traditions as proven by the level of respect given to Van Cleef as a prisoner.
But this made it difficult to explain the man’s weak aura. Qianye felt that the glorious marquis he had encountered before were stronger than this vice-duke. He suspected whether this man had even reached the mighty marquis realm.
Van Cleef entered the room with a big smile, but his eyelids began to twitch when he scanned the room.
In terms of seating, Qianye was at the center, with Nighteye and Howard on either side. This seniority arrangement felt unreal to him.
He was of course familiar with Howard. He also recognized Qianye soon after entering the room. After all, he occupied a special position despite being a vice-duke.
Van Cleef’s smile became even more resplendent. “Greetings, Your Highnesses.”
Qianye started speaking, “Duke Van Cleef…”
“Just call me Vanny!”
Qianye was so astonished that he didn’t know what to say. He composed himself before saying, “That’s not… quite appropriate, is it?”
Vampire elders rarely used nicknames like this, unless they were close descendants who were intimately familiar.
A vampire and his direct descendants shared not only a bloodline relationship but also absolute control authority. This was completely different from the human race. Hence, the relationship between them was usually even closer than father and son. That was why Van Cleef’s suggestion gave Qianye the goosebumps.
Van Cleef ignored Qianye’s ugly expression entirely. He said with a smile, “Why not? It’s actually very much suitable. You are Her Majesty Nighteye’s… ah, I mean Her Majesty Nighteye is yours…”
Qianye felt the urge to curse and almost did blurt out profanities. He turned to glance at Nighteye, only to find her almost smiling. The room almost seemed brighter all of a sudden.
Van Cleef said, “The Great Dark Gospel Howard is also your friend. He’s my senior, someone I’ve admired since childhood. That’s why it’s only right that you call me Vanny.”
“Duke Van Cleef, let’s discuss the issue of your address later. We should get down to business.” Qianye had no choice but to cut him short.
“I’m listening to instructions.” Van Cleef was as respectful as a subordinate.
Qianye finally understood why this fellow had surrendered. It was hard to say if it was the correct decision or not because he did manage to save most of his clansmen and avoid pain.
“How many clansmen do you have left? What resources do you have remaining?”
“We have three hundred or so men remaining. One hundred of them are warriors, and fifty of them are titled experts. Our castle is gone, along with its treasury and blood pond. I do have some secret stashes outside. I can offer all of them up. It’s not much, but please accept my sincerity.”
Qianye didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Did this Van Cleef think he was asking for benefits? Qianye couldn’t be bothered to explain. “The resources here and your stashes combined should be enough to get your clansmen to the nearest secret location, right?”
“Secret realm? We have one close by, I do maintenance on it quite frequently. Let’s head there, then,” said Van Cleef.
Twilight Continent was the main base of the vampire race. The world long ago wasn’t so peaceful, so several secret hideouts had been constructed throughout the centuries. Most of the secret realms here were from before the rise of the human race, constructed as defensive strongholds and hiding spots during times of strife.
Many major characters would also construct smaller secret realms for themselves. For instance, the place where the Azure King had sent Qianye and Nighteye was one such place. Van Cleef wasn’t strong, but he sure was afraid of dying. He even constructed one for himself.
Qianye said, “Very well, take your men there along with the vampires in this castle. Wait for us to contact you.”
“No problem, I’ll keep a close watch on these traitors. How long should we wait there?”
Nighteye said, “No need to wait too long. We’ll send airships to pick you up.”
Nighteye didn’t mention their final destination, and Van Cleef didn’t dare ask. He simply withdrew and went off to make arrangements for the retreat. With Eir dead, the highest-ranked among her clansmen was a count. Van Cleef was more than enough to deal with them.
After the man had left, Qianye pointed at his seat. “Are you sure this is okay?”
The Dark Gospel was the first to speak. “I think it is. Since this is war, we need someone with war experience to lead us.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie