Another Vamp! update.
Prologue C - The Petty Mayor
Neuberg City Hall. The Island of Growerth, Germany.
‘Things never change.
‘Right. The biggest headaches always show their faces when I wanna avoid them the most.’
There was a youthful man sitting in the ostentatious seat in the middle of the mayor’s office.
He was wearing a navy blue suit and a set of glasses perfectly suited to a tactician. The light reflected off the lenses in such a way that his eyes were obscured from sight.
The man tapped on his luxury mahogany desk with his index finger and addressed the secretary before him.
“...And? Someone’s here?”
The secretary, a woman in an expensive suit, responded calmly to the irritated man. The woman gave off an unusually seductive air, making her look less like an officer worker than a woman running a high-class bar.
“Yes, sir. This letter is all the proof we have, but there’s no doubt about it, sir. It’s him.”
“Talk about a pain in the ass...”
The man--the mayor--violently snatched the letter from the woman, behaving nothing like a man of his position and influence should.
“Shit. I gotta get over to the count’s place for the Carnale Festival soon.”
The Carnale Festival was a celebration held in honor of the artist Carnald Strassburg, who was born and raised in the city of Neuberg on the island of Growerth.
The most famous man in the history of the island, Strassburg was a painter, a musician, a playwright, and even an actor. ‘Artist’ was one way of describing him, but he was, to be more true to his reputation, a professional entertainer.
Strassburg had worked as the court painter in Waldstein Castle several centuries ago. And now, the castle--now merely a tourist attraction--would take center stage in the festivities hosted by the entire island.
In the spotlight of the festival was the mayor of the city of Neuberg (the city to which the castle belonged).
Neuberg was a very recently-formed city, born from the merging of the two settlements on the south side of the island--the cities of Rukram and Mozartzungen. The governments of the two cities were completely reformed. But thanks to support from the citizens, the mayor of Rukram was once again made to govern this new city.
This year’s Carnale Festival was the biggest event ahead of the city since its recent founding, and it was simultaneously one of the island’s greatest honors.
But the mayor’s eyes scanned the contents of the letter with a look of supreme irritation.
He then stared down at the paper in the enveloped for some time.
Eventually, he tossed it to the floor as though he had lost interest in it altogether.
“Oh? Wasn’t that an important letter, Watt?”
As soon as the scrap of paper fluttered to the ground, a woman’s voice sounded from somewhere in the room.
The secretary looked around, eyes wide as dinner plates.
And before she knew it, there was a woman standing behind the mayor.
The woman was of Asian descent, wearing a white jacket and still looking young enough to be a student. Her long hair was tied back, and her dark eyes were glaring daggers into the back of the mayor’s head.
The woman’s words themselves were quite agreeable, but there was no affection or friendship in her eyes. There was an air of hatred and something else over her expression, making it very difficult to read her intentions.
“...Tracking dirt all over the mayor’s office with those muddy shoes? Why, you’re just a fur coat shy of being a dog, eh?”
“Hey, everyone’s wearing shoes here, you know.”
“You’re a poor excuse for a Japanese if I’ve ever seen one. If you’re in someone else’s place, you take off your shoes. And while you’re at it, why don’cha try touching the floor with your head, too?”
“What are you, a moron?”
At first glance, they looked rather like a pair of friends affably showering one another with vitriol. But upon closer inspection, it was clear that neither party was making any attempt to hide their bloodlust or scorn. To be specific, the bloodlust belonged to the woman and the scorn belonged to the man.
As if to prove this observation, the woman suddenly jabbed her arm clean through the mayor’s chest.
Her slender hand, covered with blood, emerged from his back.
The secretary screamed without even thinking. The mayor made a face and turned his head towards the Asian woman.
“Hey, hey. This suit was freaking expensive. I’d like to see how an unemployed vagrant like you could pay it off, Shizune.”
The mayor glared at the woman, looking sincerely annoyed by the fact that his suit was ruined. He then wiped the blood from his glasses and produced a pair of sunglasses from his desk, switching them out for no particular reason.
As the mayor went on as though nothing in the world was wrong, the woman--Shizune Kijima--muttered to him:
“...Hmph. Looks like you’ve left your heart somewhere else. Turning into a regular pansy now, are we?”
“I prefer the term ‘pragmatic’. I’m just watching out for a certain bitch who’s trying to steal my heart away.”
“Don’t get the wrong idea, Watt. I’m not necessarily going to kill you. All I want to do is make your life a living hell.”
The secretary could feel the air growing cold. She kept her eyes trained on both Shizune and the mayor, standing powerlessly before the mahogany desk.
“I could even go out and turn myself into a mass murder in the city streets right now. Remember, humans are no longer my allies.”
“Don’t underestimate our police force.”
The tension in the air froze solid. But several seconds of silence later, Shizune sighed as though in defeat.
“I was kidding. Your cops don’t scare me, but I’d hate to turn those guys at the castle against me. Who’d have thought it’d be full of monsters?”
“True. Most of ‘em were away when you first came to Growerth.”
Shizune Kijima was a Hunter and an Eater. She had come to this island over a year ago, and through certain circumstances found herself turned into a vampire.
At the time, she had targeted a vampire they called a ‘viscount’, and his family. She had cornered them nearly to the point of victory, but now they were under the watchful protection of powerful creatures that she could not dare to attack without good reason.
“And that moronic count just had to host that fighting tournament last summer. Where the hell’d that come from?”
“The viscount. He invited me, too. I didn’t accept, but I went to check it out quietly. Seriously... what’s with that castle? Werewolves, maids, scylla, witches, flower girls, robots, and skeletons. I thought I wandered into a local world fair by accident or something. And each and every one of them--this is going to sound pretty cliched--had this incredible power.”
Shizune did not want to pursue this line of thought any further. She turned to the secretary in an attempt to change the topic.
“So, is Miss Trembling-in-Her-Boots over there one of your people, too?”
The mayor did not respond to Shizune’s derisive tone, but he answered her question.
“That’s right. A newbie from the Organization. She’s not used to this job yet, but I’m happy enough with a working meatshield.”
“Huh. That’s a surprise. I can’t believe you’re still affiliated with the Organization.”
“Speaking of... perfect timing. I wanted to ask you something.”
Shizune made a dubious face and came round to the other side of the desk. The mayor gestured at the secretary to hand Shizune the letter.
[I shall forgive all transgressions, Mayor. But I shall also take back all that is mine, Mayor.]
It was a complete mystery.
Shizune tried to read the signature scrawled at the bottom of the letter, but everything was written in cursive and was in German. She could not read a single word.
“If you want me to react to this, you’re going to have to give me a translation or something.”
“Let me ask you a question, Kijima Shizune.”
The mayor ignored her complaint and went straight to the point. He went on the speak of the one who had signed the letter.
“About what happened last year... Are you absolutely sure that you ate every last bit of Melhilm Herzog?”
‘Ah, damn it.
‘Things never change.
‘The biggest headaches always show their faces when I wanna avoid them the most.
‘Therefore, this must be another headache just waiting to blow my brains out.
‘And so what? I know it’s coming now.
‘All I have to do is knock it aside. Trample it to pieces.
‘Don’t you think so, Count? Tell me I’m right, Gerhardt F. Waldstein.’