The last of the prologues. Enjoy!
Prologue D - The Vampire Doctor and the Bizarre Professor
“Hm? What business have you with an old man like me, boy?”
[Oh! Come in, come in! What is it? What is it? We haven’t had any guests in soooooo long! Doctor and I will do everything we can to help you!]
—Uh. The viscount said that the two of you could answer my questions.
“Hoh hoh. And he sent you to this old man?”
[Hooray! The viscount is counting on us. I feel so loved!]
—No, well, um... The thing is, there’s this girl I really really like. But I think she must be really shy or something, because she never looks at me. I wanna know more about her and understand her better, but then I realized that I don’t even know much about her body.
“...Hm? Young man, are you by any chance a stalker?”
[Girls hate tenacious guys, you know!]
—Wait, no! No! I’m not a stalker! Um, what I’m trying to say is... I want to know more about her body. Or, more to the point, I was wondering if there was some sort of a love potion that works on vampires.
“Sitting back to make others do your dirty work, young man? What is the world coming to these days?”
[That’s no good! A real man has to properly earn a girl’s heart!]
—That’s not what I meant! Uh... I... I don’t mind if the love potion lasts only for a little bit. But I’m confident that if she looks at me even for a second, I can do everything she wants of me! I even have our future all planned out! I’m going to build us a little house on the hill on the east side of the island. I’m going to become an author and draw storybooks about good vampires and live a happy life with her. I guess we’ll have... three kids? Or maybe more. The more the merrier, right? Especially when it comes to family.
“...Family, eh? Indeed you’re right, boy. Family is a wonderful thing.”
[That’s a wonderful imagination you have! I’m floored! I’m super-duper shocked! But there’s one tiny problem. Does the vampire you like have a humanoid form? If not, you might not be able to have children at all!]
“Now that I think on it... Yes, Waldstein Castle is indeed home to a great assortment of non-human creatures. Yet how many among them have evolved sufficiently on the level of the soul that they would be capable of reproducing with humans, I wonder? Though it is true that many of them are quite close to humans in mindset alone, if nothing else. In other words... hmm... Professor. Explain!”
[Yes, Doctor! You see, creatures that humans call monsters--vampires included--are usually beings that have evolved in a different direction from humans. For example, think of a branching diagram that represents the evolution of species. We ‘others’ are creatures that have crossed from the two-dimensional plane of the diagram to the third dimension.]
—So does that mean that humans and vampires really are completely different? But, um... I heard that our mayor was born from a vampire-human couple...
“Ah, there is, in fact, nothing anomalous about such an occurrence. Let us return to the branching diagram. Supposing that it has been drawn on the floor, the branch that extends into the third dimension would be reaching into the air. But from a bird’s-eye view, this three-dimensional branch overlaps with the human branch, making the diagram look no different from a two-dimensional image. In other words, physically speaking, they are nearly identical. And as for the differences... well... Professor, please explain.”
[Yes, Doctor! So if we suppose that the two-dimensional diagram represents the evolution of the body, the three-dimensional branch represents an evolution of the soul!]
“A catch-all term we use for a certain phenomenon. If the second dimension pertains to physical form, the third dimension covers the evolution of abilities, if we could call it that. Abilities that allow vampires to turn into bats or fog, or allow them to use telekinesis... or even activate their weaknesses to sunlight or crucifixes. All of these characteristics can be attributed to the evolution of the soul.”
[The evolution of the soul has a big impact on the evolution of the body, too. That’s why we all have such varied characteristics, even though we were derived from humans! Although we still don’t know very much about what we vampires call the soul.]
—Huh. Uh... I got it! In other words, Ferret’s soul is more beautiful than the souls of us humans! That makes so much sense!
“Were you even listening to me, young man?”
[Wow! Was Miss Ferret the vampire you were talking about?! That’s amazing! I don’t think you’ll have anything to worry about. Physically speaking, Miss Ferret is nearly identical to a human! You see, vampires who were turned from human beings are always guaranteed to be able to reproduce with humans. But vampires who were born to a pair of vampires are more likely to have evolved further away from humanity.]
“Worry not, young man.”
[Don’t worry! Miss Ferret is special! An anomaly among anomalies. Other than her prolonged youth, superhuman strength, and regenerative capabilities, Miss Ferret is physically closer to humans than most other vampires! She doesn’t even have any weaknesses, so she could live happily ever after with a human as long as nothing terrible happens. If no one gets suspicious about the fact that she stopped aging after a while, that is!]
—That’s all right, then! Because I’m never going to get suspicious of her! That’s because I already understand everything. Wow! This is crazy! This means that Ferret and I were made for each other. I don’t need a love potion after all. We were destined to be together from the very beginning!
“Young man, were you... born this way?”
[Amazing! Normally boys like you would get shut down in an instant, but you’re so easygoing that you might be all right. Maybe you’d be a great match for Miss Ferret after all! But I think ‘destiny’ is a bit of an exaggeration. If she turns you down, wouldn’t it mean she’s denying you your future?]
—I don’t see anything wrong with that.
—If Ferret and I aren’t destined to be together, and she turns me down, I’m the only one that has to be sad about it. But I’m never going to make Ferret sad. I’m never going to turn her away. I’ll accept everything about her! And if she doesn’t like me, I’ll accept that too. But I still wouldn’t give up.
“Young man, do you even realize that you are spouting hypocrisy?”
[Maybe you should take some time to get everything straight in your head.]
—I know I’m contradicting myself, but that doesn’t matter! True love doesn’t lose to hypocrisy! And there’s nothing hypocritical about me loving Ferret. Because that’s the only thing that’s leading me. I don’t get all this stuff about spears and shields, but that’s all just a distraction! ‘Ferret, you’re the only truth in my life’... what do you think? Isn’t that a great line? All right, looks like I have today’s proposal! The world’s starting to look brighter already. It’s all thanks to you, Doctor! Professor! I understand why the viscount introduced you to me--you’ve helped me out so much, even though we’re total strangers! Goodbye now! Thank you for everything! I’m coming, Ferret!
“My word. What brought that human boy here in the first place?” Doctor wondered with a sigh, once the boy had energetically bounced out of the room. “Mihail, his name was. That boy may very well go on to become something great.”
[Doctor, I’ve never met a human being before who didn’t say a thing about the way we look.]
“He’d be the first, even counting vampires and other monsters. In fact, there wasn’t a hint of confusion in his eyes as he looked at us. As though there were nothing more natural than our appearances.”
Doctor picked up a steaming mug and shook his head with a smile.
Sipping the red fluid in the mug, he slowly cast a glance at the being next to him.
“Even setting me aside, he showed no hint of surprise at you, Professor.”
[Eek! You’re embarrassing me, Doctor! Please don’t look at me like that!]
The creature speaking in this way, awkwardly turning left and right, was a terribly strange, outlandish, and bizarre being.
Though Professor knew very well of her own freakishness, she did not show a hint of shame in her voice.
Doctor drained his mug and remembered the boy who had just come and gone.
“...I’m quite envious of that boy.”
Not a single ray of sunshine reached the room. Illuminated only by cold, artificial light, Doctor put on a lonely but happy smile.
But for some reason, there was also a hint of jealousy on his lips.