The first chapter. Enjoy!
Chapter 1 - The Council of Vampires Dances, and...
In the beginning, there was color.
Tables were laid out in the deep darkness.
It was a large room. A small-scale banquet hall in which was set up many small, round tables.
The walls of the room were majestically decorated, but because there were only a few candles lighting the area, any extravagance it might have borne was concealed. In fact, the uneven illumination of the decoration lent a chilly air to the hall.
Pieces of cloth, each of a different color, were draped on the backs of the chairs at the tables.
Filling the banquet hall was not the presence of people, but the splashes of color flaunting their hues in the emptiness.
Suddenly, a man appeared in the deserted room.
The man, looking to be in his late twenties, carried himself much like a scholar. There was a pair of round spectacles over his eyes.
“...Ahem. Let us begin proceedings.”
The man, who had taken a seat at the chair with the blue cloth draped over its back, looked around at the many seats in the darkness and spoke.
“Hm... This is no time for tasteless pranks, my friends. Show yourselves.”
The darkness had no response for the man.
He waited several seconds for a reaction, but the room remained silent.
“...Is... no one really here yet...?”
The man’s confident expression faded as he slid out of his chair.
He lay on the floor without even making to stand. He crouched there with his head in his hands, mumbling to himself.
“...Urgh... That was embarrassing! There was no one here! ‘This is no time for tasteless pranks, my friends. Show yourselves’? Shameful! It’s not as though I’m a terrified ignoramus who screams in the middle of the night, ‘I know you’re out there!’! I made an effort to sit down without making a sound, but nobody saw it! Damn it, that was a one-man comedy show! This is embarrassing! I have to kill myself. I have to go back in time and kill myself five minutes ago! This is JUST TOO EMBARRASSING!”
Dignity drained from the man as he rolled on the floor screaming to himself.
Several minutes passed. The man heard the click of the door opening, and came back to his senses.
The woman who entered the hall stopped in her tracks, bemused by the sight.
“...Why are you rolling on the floor, Caldimir the Blue?”
“...Never mind, Dorothy. I tripped on a chair.”
The man called Caldimir stood as though nothing had happened, and once again took his seat with dignity.
Meanwhile, the woman called Dorothy gave him a dubious look and took a seat quite far from Caldimir, at a chair draped with white.
From that point on, many men, women, and creatures so inhuman that their genders were not immediately clear began to filter into the hall, each taking their seats one by one.
By the time half the seats were filled, Caldimir, whose blue seat had a clear view of the entire hall, said the same thing as he had before, as he tried to quiet the occupants of the room.
“...Ahem. Let us begin proceedings.”
His elbows were on the table, and his chin rested on his clasped hands. A pose worthy of a true mastermind. The banquet hall went silent at his call. It was quiet enough to hear a pin drop.
“I, Caldimir the Blue Flow of Blood, will act as the chairman of today’s conference. I expect there will be no objections.”
A smile-happy man sitting at the yellow seat raised his hand with a cry of “Objection!”.
“I see there are no objections. Then allow me to disclose the main objective of today’s conference.”
“Are you ignoring me, Mr. Caldimir?”
The man sitting at the yellow seat did not hide his displeasure as he interrupted Caldimir.
“Be quiet. Why don’t you go ahead and stuff yourself with curry, as your color should?” Said the man sitting in the indigo seat.
Strangely enough, the men at the yellow and indigo seats bore identical facial features. But the man in the yellow seat had blond hair and blue eyes, while the man in the indigo seat had black hair and black eyes. The caucasian man complained at the Asian man’s interjection.
“You may be my big brother, but even I don’t get what you say sometimes. What’s this about curry? Anyway, you’re not even a member of Rainbow. Keep your mouth shut, will ya?”
“Indigo is a color of the rainbow.”
“In England, the rainbow’s only six colors. There is no indigo. Just ‘cause you live in Japan and they say there’s seven colors--”
“Hmph. Don’t be so ignorant, little brother. From a scholarly perspective, even the English agree that there are seven colors in the rainbow.”
Caldimir the Blue, ignoring the brothers’ increasingly tangential argument, calmly continued to address the others gathered at the conference.
“In any case... As I mentioned recently, a certain phenomenon has been brought to our attention. Recall last year’s incident, where a lone vampire managed the feat of synchronizing with the entire island of Growerth. The research undertaken by our friend Melhilm the Violet has finally borne fruit! Yet the problem remains in that our all-important ‘Relic’ remains in the hands of our former comrade, Gerhardt F. Waldstein. What is our next course of action, then? This is why I have called this conference. Hm... Seeing as over half of our officers--the Colors--are here, I see that my influence is nothing short of stupendous at this point.”
Caldimir’s satisfaction at only half of the officers being gathered today likely meant that attendance was low at best at most conferences. Caldimir looked quite smug, but his moment of pride was interrupted by the man in the yellow seat, who had just come out of arguing with the man in the indigo seat.
“Like any of us are here to see you. I’m only here ‘cause you mentioned Mr. Gerhardt and I wanted to show my respect for him.”
“Ha! Show your respect for a traitor like him? Preposterous.” Caldimir said, maintaining his cool demeanor. But the Asian man sitting at the indigo seat mumbled as though supporting his brother.
“If I recall correctly, he only left us. There was no betrayal.”
“Anyway! Let us return to the matter at hand!” Caldimir cried in an attempt to drown out the Asian man.
The air in the banquet hall finally grew solemn as the conversation was brought back on track.
But Caldimir ended up destroying this moment of seriousness with his own two hands.
“Because I had already foreseen such an occurrence, I have taken it upon myself to take immediate measures. I have dispatched our currently-absent comrade Sigmund the Green, along with Rudy the Nidhogg and Theresia the Hraesvelgr as Melhilm’s guides as they infiltrate the island of Growerth!”
Sound once again returned to the hall at the chairman’s revelation.
“Hmph. If I’d had it my way, I would have dispatched our fiercest fighters, led by Garde the Black, to annihilate the island. But not even our finest could so easily defeat our target, Relic F. Waldstein. This is why I’ve sent in our most flexible forces for this mission. Do you have any questions, my friends?”
Caldimir finished with a laugh. The murmuring in the hall went silent.
The silence soon gave way to a deafening outcry.
“Acting on your own again, Caldimir?! What have you done?!”
“Was there even a point to calling this conference?!”
“I came to Paris, this backwater city, all the way from Antarctica, you hear me?!”
“Why is violence the first conclusion you jump to?!”
“Those three are the biggest loose cannons in the Organization!”
“You talk big, but I bet you sent in Sigmund because you can’t order Garde around, am I right?!”
“Now that I think about it, Garde isn’t here today.”
“I bet you didn’t even send Garde an invitation!”
“Gerhardt is more inclined to listen to reason than any one of us here, you idiot!”
“What are you thinking, turning him against you from the very beginning?!”
“Calling a conference just to announce that you acted on your own? What is this, a dictatorship?!”
“You could have just called or emailed us if you wanted to keep us in the loop!”
“That’s not the problem here. Don’t drag us into any of your creepy plans!”
“I demand that you abdicate your officer position this instant!”
“I demand a recount!”
“All of you, SHUT UP!”
Caldimir’s determined voice seemed to swallow up the entire banquet hall.
No one had expected such spirit from him. The officers were silenced in the midst of their angry howls.
“Hah... So you have a problem with this? Friends, what are we? Power. Yes. Power. With a swing of the arm we destroy tanks, shatter the laws of physics, and persist longer than any dictator has ever lived. That is our true nature. And if you wish to oppose the Blue Flow of Blood--the man who rules over power... Then I will accept your challenge. But do any of you have the gall to take that chance, I wonder?” Caldimir said, glaring at the occupants of the room without budging an inch.
A terrible, heavy air loomed from behind his back as he laid pressure upon the banquet hall.
Under his piercing gaze, the fancifully-packaged dictatorship in the form of a conference would continue--or so Caldimir wished.
“Bring it on, you asshole!”
A figure leapt forth from the yellow seat, kicking Caldimir in the mouth. His front teeth snapped and went flying as the candlelight shook from the impact.
“Wh... wha?! You actually attacked--?!”
“Shut up, you third-rate narcissist! You were asking for it! And what’s wrong with you, calling yourself ‘Blue Flow of Blood’? Aren’t you even a little embarrassed to call yourself that? What are you, the final boss in a video game?! That title’s too ostentatious for you, bastard!”
As the young man from the yellow seat berated him, Caldimir shot back:
“Why, you little brat! I give you a chance to talk out of the goodness of my heart, and you take it as permission to lord it over me?! Fine! Physical strength isn’t everything, but I’ll show you my true power, right here and now! All right! Anyone who’s got a bone to pick with me, get in line!”
His broken teeth turned into fog, then returned to his mouth and fixed themselves. Caldimir then made to transform to launch a counterattack at the man from the yellow seat.
“No you don’t!”
The Asian man leapt from his indigo seat and turned his right arm into acid. He poured it over Caldimir in the midst of his transformation.
“AAAAAARGH! Th-that was cheap, attacking me before I could transform...”
With that as a signal, about half of the vampires gathered at the hall leapt from their seats to join the brothers in their attack on Caldimir.
“Ugh... No, sorry... Not all at once... One at a time’s enough...”
Caldimir’s pleas were soon buried in tremendous noise.
“I suppose the most important qualities in a leader are his charisma and magnetism, not his individual talent. Don’t you agree?”
“Indeed. Caldimir is at a great advantage in one-on-one duels, but he can never win if he is outnumbered.”
“Our former leader was the complete opposite, wasn’t he? He made up for his physical weakness with his amicable personality... Although he’s left us, now.”
“...I am quite surprised that the Organization is still standing, despite this madness erupting at almost every conference.”
The creature sitting in the dark grey seat was speaking with Dorothy, who sat at the white seat. It was as though the brawl against Caldimir had nothing to do with them.
“Really, it’s only Bridgestone the Yellow and Ishibashi the Indigo that are fighting seriously today. It’s a relief that Black, Mirror, Gold, Silver, and Pearl are absent today.”
“That is not the problem, Dorothy.”
“But Romans, it is. After all, the Organization lives by no ideology or goal in particular. And it isn’t as though membership grants us money or power. The Organization is nothing more than a social gathering. A neighborhood meeting. And who would risk life and limb to become the leader of such a group?”
“You are right, Dorothy.”
As Tromm Ed Romans the Dark Grey fell into thought, Dorothy quickly appended her statement.
“I do suppose I’ve forgotten one thing. This Organization of ours does share a singular goal. The goal of protecting ourselves from human persecution.”
“Yes. Of course.”
‘Dark Grey’--the creature agreeing with Dorothy--trembled slightly. His appearance was something straight out of a horror movie--a strange mixture of centipede, beetle, construction machinery, and predatory dinosaur. It was difficult to imagine from his appearance, but he seemed to be smiling.
Dorothy was unfazed by this strange sight. She once more went over the situation at hand.
“Sigmund is a loyal follower of Caldimir. At this point, we have no way of stopping this mission with words alone. And setting the viscount aside, we’ll have a terrible mess on our hands if we turn his familiars against us. And as for the rest... We have Melhilm’s future actions to be wary of. If only he would refrain from allowing his personal emotions to get the better of him on this case.”
Melhilm was the officer to whom the color violet had been assigned. Dark Grey had also heard that Melhilm shared a history with several individuals on the island.
“On that note, what of those two Eaters? Will they be all right?”
“...Rudy and Theresia? Oh, yes... they may not be able to control themselves once they find out that they were sent to deal with members of the Waldstein family.”
“Hm... I’ve never personally met Gerhardt myself. What kind of a man is he?”
“Oh, the viscount?”
Dorothy smiled nostalgically. She recalled the former member of their Organization as Caldimir’s screams echoed behind them.
“...What kind of a man is he... Well, I suppose I should say... He can be a very difficult man to understand.”