Ladies and gentlemen! Here is the first update of Vamp, a story about vampires written by the excellent Ryogo Narita.
On another note, I know absolutely nothing about German and other related languages. Which can be quite the obstacle when you're trying to figure out (pseudo-)German names from Japanese. When I am having problems with figuring out name spellings, I will set aside a section at the end of the update asking for help from the readers. In fact, there's one such section at the end of this very update.
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy this new series!
[Who am I, you ask?]
[So, in an attempt to understand what in the world I may be, and in order to confirm your suspicions about what kind of a creature I am, you have taken it upon yourself to ask me in person!]
[Then allow me to answer your question with the utmost sincerity! My name is Gerhardt von Waldstein. I was granted the noble title of 'viscount' and bestowed lordship over this island of Growerth by His Imperial Majesty the Emperor.]
[Let me begin by introducing to you my family. Ah, they say that one glance at a child will tell you a thousand facts about the parent, do they not?]
[Let us start with Relic--my adopted son, and one who could not be any closer to pureblood status. A pure-blooded what, you ask? Now, what was it that you called those like myself and my son? Masters of the Night, Nosferatu, Night Flyer, et cetera… Ah, of course! I've left out the most recognizable of our names.]
[Perhaps it would be most accurate to call us 'Vampires'.]
[How do you feel about these beings known as vampires? Fear? Hatred? Or perhaps a sense of curiosity or reverence you might reserve for creatures of legend. But if you expect such legendary exploits of my son, I'm afraid you will be rather disappointed. After all, Relic is much too gentle a boy to become anything but himself.]
[My daughter Ferret is Relic's younger sister and twin. I do not mean to boast, but she has grown into quite the beauty. But recently she's become rather strangely proud--or stubborn, perhaps. Of course, it is not vanity I speak of, but her pride in her family and vampiric nature. In fact, I doubt even she is aware of her own beauty yet, but perhaps I would come across as too doting a father if I claimed that is one of the many things that endear her to me so.]
[What I am trying to say is, I can boast proudly about my children--which, at the same time, means that I am boasting proudly about their father, myself, in a very roundabout fashion. Your praises, I beseech you!]
[…That was a joke. I would like to claim that I am not so low as to use my beloved children in order to honour myself.]
[I say that I am lord over this island, but it has been a long time indeed since aristocrats have had any power in this country. In other words, the human side of this island is under the jurisdiction of someone other than myself.]
[The man's name is Watt Stalf. Never mind the circumstances, but he is a powerful figure on this island--and a man who considers me his worst enemy.]
[He is a man who has a sincerely optimistic outlook on his own ambitions. Others born of a union between the opposing worlds of Night and Day might bemoan their circumstances and believe themselves to be neither here nor there. But this man used his double heritage to his advantage--during the day, as a clever human using his wits. And during the night, violently going about working all kinds of wrongdoing as a man of vampiric descent.]
[…I suppose 'wrongdoing' is not necessarily the correct word to use. After all, this man is not swayed by good or evil, acting only as his desires propel him.]
[This is why his actions sometimes look rather mindless, and his plans shoddy and haphazard. Even if his plan was to be carried ninety percent of the way to perfection, he is the kind of man who would abandon it without a second thought if it didn't achieve his desired outcome. And even in this incident I am about to disclose to you, he behaved in extremely irrational ways--all for the sake of handing me humiliation. Although I suppose those who are caught up in his whims might be terribly inconvenienced, I am personally quite fond of this man's pettiness. In fact, I would even go so far as to say I respect this about him.]
[This petty villain is the kind of man who grows and matures. He is a match for most heroes in his will to see through everything he does to the end, but he could never become anyone so great as they. And this is why I believe his underlings have a soft spot for him, deep down in their hearts--fondness for this most noble of petty villains, the man who will never give up on his ideals.]
[It would not be an exaggeration to say that dinner is a microcosm of life itself. You favourite foods, your table manners, and even the conversation in which you engage at the table say something about your beliefs. And speaking of which, I've recently encountered a young lady who was particularly passionate about the art of eating.]
[Her name is Shizune Kijima.]
[How to explain, now? She partakes in certain kinds of food with uncommon drive. After all, she must stake her life on the procuring of her every meal. She is at once a self-serving hunter, a culinary artist, and a gourmand.]
[Hm? You say you wish to try her menu as well, my friends? Though I have no right to stop you, I will warn you first. To eat as she does is not a matter of putting your money or tastebuds on the line--it is a way of life that will haunt you for the rest of your days. The raw ingredients she seeks are--]
[Am I a conscious being, you ask? But of course! In the end, we are creatures beyond the logic of humanity. His Imperial Majesty had a rather cutting sense of humour, bestowing a title that does not exist in his country to myself, a vampire. Is it not pure serendipity? Of course, I hold this title of viscount with pride, as I do with my identity.]
[I protect this island with a noble title that should not exist, yet at the same time, I receive help from the people of this land.]
[To show you an example, do you see those two over there? That energetic boy on the right is young Mihail, and next to him is his younger sister Miss Hilda.]
[Those two are excellent friends of my children--or, I suppose Relic and Miss Hilda are as good as lovers. And as for Ferret and young Mihail… Let us say for now that they have a strong bond of their own. Ah, though I find it rather simple to acknowledge my son's romantic affairs, it is rather difficult to do the same for my daughter.]
[I do not mean that I have anything against young Mihail. In fact, I could never thank those siblings enough for brightening up my children. Their joy compels my children to smile, which in turn brings me pure bliss.]
[These siblings are the kind of people for whom I live. After all, their happiness gives me happiness. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Does it really matter if both are delicious in their own way?]
[Hm? You say you're through with introductions, my friends? You wish to see me in person? Hah, it seems you have not yet noticed. I have already shown you my true form some time ago, dear friends! All this time. Yes, right before your eyes. After all, I--]
Continued in the Prologue.
Continued in the Prologue.
On Names and Lores
This section contains a list of names I could not settle on spelling for, as well as vampire terms that I could not place or figure out. It's also your chance to correct me without mercy. Any names and terms detailed below are open for debate. Have your say in the comments!
Waldstein ( バルシュタイン)[barushutain]: I struggled a lot with this one. The Seven Seas translation went with 'Balstein', and I chose to use 'Valstein' in an earlier draft, as you can see from my sneak preview post. I spent hours looking up the name, and came up with nothing but Vamp! and a Japanese game I'd never heard of. The latter spelt the name 'Balstein', but I didn't know if I could place so much trust in the spelling from another Japanese work.
2. Ferret (フェレット)[feretto]: This one was less a matter of difficulty and more one of 'could anyone take this name seriously?' (I suppose it couldn't be worse than Jacuzzi Splot, but still...). フェレット is the Japanese spelling of the word 'ferret' (as in the small animal), but I didn't know if I should alter it to make it more dignified.
Choices: Stick with 'Ferret', or go with the more name-y sounding 'Felette'
Wat ( ヴォッド)[voddo]: Another tough one. The name 'Wat' seems to actually exist, but because I don't know how to pronounce it properly, I have no idea if this spelling is a good fit for the name.
Michael (ミヒャエル)[mihyaeru]: As is clear in the Japanese spelling, the 'c' in 'Michael' is silent. But can 'Michael' be pronounced 'Mihail' in German with that spelling? You tell me.