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[My sincerest apologies for the wait, ladies and gentlemen! It has been much too long. Ah, in the spirit of wishing for cordial relations between you and I, allow me to tell you a tale about the relationships between vampires and humans. There was, you see, a mass disappearance in southern Germany. Our Organization called a meeting to discuss this incident, but at the same time, Young Mihail left the island of Growerth with some resolution in mind! Naturally, my daughter Ferret followed after him to the mainland... If only it had ended up a bittersweet elopement between two young people... What will come of the connection between this human-vampire couple? Tragedy? Or romance? I truly look forward to seeing what you think of this long, long tale that stretches on even to this very day.]
[Now, allow me to introduce to you today those who are often at my side.]
[At this point, I believe there is no particular need for me to introduce Relic and Ferret to you, my friends. But as Relic has recently succeeded me as the Lord of Growerth, he has been burdened with many more responsibilities. But I have faith that the maids who play many indispensable roles in the castle will assist him.]
[Some among the maids are witches, but most are vampires known as baobhan sith. They use the color green as their trademark, and often work in teams of four, as per some rule by which they abide. Initially, there were only eight serving in the castle. But before I knew it, there were over twenty baobhan sith in the castle’s service. I could scarcely hide my shock.]
[My predecessor, though human, was beloved by nonhumans. In that sense, Young Mihail is very much like my father.]
[But in any event, there is much to be learned from these wonderful vampires. I ask that you forgive their impudence, if that is how they strike you, and treat them with grace.]
[…Of course, as there is no official contract binding their terms of employment, I couldn't fire them even if I wanted to.]
[I presume there is no particular need for me to speak at length about the officers of the Organization.]
[There are many colorful characters in the Organization, and it is often the case that the more distinctive vampires tend to possess great power in proportion. Of course, there are some exceptions.]
[To digress, beings whose powers distance them from death cannot maintain a sense of self without also being possessed of such idiosyncrasies. Eternity, after all, is a poison that slowly eats away at the heart.]
[…It seems to me that these vampires are, in fact, addicted to this poison—and I am no exception.]
[What do I think of humans, you ask? I recall discussing my opinions on romance in the past, but are you asking for more specific thoughts on our relationship?]
[Ah, the gap between humans and vampires is not a significantly large one. But depending on the era, it can deepen infathomably. One could easily make the leap across, so long as he is filled with determination. But it would be a difficult task indeed to try and fill that gap. And those who attempt to make the crossing without sufficient resolve will find themselves falling into an endless abyss.]
[Not only have we vampires been turned into symbols of evil in the history of humanity, there are also many of us who behave in ways that only affirm that belief. As a result, even humans who attempt to grow closer to vampires are sometimes pushed into that abyss at the hands of fellow humans.]
[But the same also applies for vampires. Even those who pose no harm to humans are treated as devils, executed for being a so-called sinful existence. It is no wonder that so few vampires attempt to make that crossing over the gap between these two species.]
[And what of me, you ask? I have no particular intention of making that leap. Humans and vampires must both live by their own ways. We cannot so easily force a co-existence, either allowing vampires to drink blood wantonly or forbidding the act entirely. I suppose… yes. What I wish is not to cross the gap between humans and vampires, but to fill it, little by little. So that one day, if someone should fall into that gap, they could at least climb back to where they had been before.]
[The most important thing about time is the way one uses it. Time, on occasion, will solve one's problems. But on other occasions, it will only worsen them. Sentiments between those of different species or those of the same species, whether it is love or hatred, can sometimes be strengthened by time. But at other times, it can distort their sentiments unrecognizably.]
Extra Episode A: Vampires and Humans
Somewhere in Japan. The words of an anthropologist.
Are you asking me about vampires? Me, a country scholar who's never published a single book on the subject?
I won't mince words. Please drop this idea.
Seeing as you mentioned the topic to me, I suppose you must be in the know. But it's best that you keep your nose out of this business as much as you can.
If it's immortality you seek, there surely must be a better method.
If it's power you want, it might not be a bad idea to join the military or become a mercenary to strengthen yourself. Or I would recommend you enter politics or commerce, so you could take hold of political or financial power.
…Oh. So it was just curiosity?
I'd still advise you to keep away from this business, but… I'll answer your questions. Although I can't say just how much my meagre knowledge could help you.
You want to know about the relationship between humans and vampires.
The answer to that is at once complex and simple.
That is because, put in extreme terms, 'case by case' is the only way to put it.
What are humans to vampires?
Beings deserving of love?
Creatures lagging behind the process of evolution?
Demons who drive stakes through their hearts in a bid for extermination?
Or are they simply prey?
What are vampires to humans?
Are they simply monsters?
Pitiful neighbors who cannot even die?
Exalted myth and immortality in the flesh?
Or are they useful tools?
There would be countless answers to these questions; a different answer for each perspective and bias.
Bias, you see, is generally born from the loudest voice.
A vampire crying, "Give me blood", or "You are nothing more than prey".
A human crying, "They're monsters", or "If we don't kill them, they'll kill us".
An agitator's potency is in large part determined by the volume of their voice. After all, they are the ones who deeply engrain the roots of ideology into the thoughts of those who never once paid mind to such things.
Of course, indoctrination of ideology aside, witnessing creatures like vampires is generally enough to rob one of all reason or thought.
The sight of a vampire sinking its fangs into a human's neck to suck their blood.
Seeing such a scene may very well instantly turn reverence for these mythical beings into fear.
Or, perhaps, the sight of a vampire soaring through the air, elegantly living out its eternal life.
Seeing such a scene may very well turn even the most adamant of hatred into something like this.
"If only we could be immortal, too!"
In other words, the relationships between humans and vampires is flexible. It can change depending on the era and the situation. And as so many are capable of communicating flawlessly with humans, we can't even place them into a simple food chain.
I'd go so far as to say that this is a sensitive issue—one that rivals discourse concerning the relationships between nations, peoples, and religions.
Of course, these days, a vast majority of humans are afraid of vampires.
At this point, humans treat vampires as terrifying monsters. Of course, if vampires were to come out in the open and it turned out that the cure to cancer lay in their cells, humans' opinion of them might do an immediate about-face. It just unfortunately happens to be the case that they have been feared by humans from ages past.
Perhaps the only ones who do not fear vampires are fanatical worshippers, or those who have been enraptured by portrayals in Hollywood films and Japanese animation.
Now, according to statistics that only matter to us, people who mutually acknowledge the existence of vampires…
At present, there are at least fifty thousand vampires living on the Earth. Of course, we have no way of knowing if extraterrestrials, and extraterrestrial vampires exist. On that note, have you ever heard of a movie called 'Space Vampire'?
I’m sorry for the digression. In any case, there are no less than fifty thousand 'Others' inhabiting this planet alongside us.
Does it seem like a large number to you? But let's put this into perspective. Fifty thousand is less than 0.001 percent of the human population. Less than one in a hundred thousand. There are over twelve million humans squirming around the city of Tokyo alone. Fifty thousand is not a large number. And that number drops dramatically when one narrows down the list to vampires that are capable of defeating a hundred thousand humans simultaneously.
From the vampire's perspective, this is a terrifying situation.
For each vampire, there are a hundred thousand hostile beings with the power to destroy them.
Perhaps the less powerful vampires are living out the story of the protagonist in a zombie movie.
…Does this surprise you?
Aren't humans just prey to vampires, you ask?
Why does Superman have to fear a horde of zombies, you wonder?
Your questions aren't without their merits, but… Ah, have you ever heard of an American comic book series called 'Marvel Zombies'? …Excuse me. I digress.
Let's talk about the sea.
Did you know that dolphins hunt sharks in schools?
Of course, they don't hunt sharks for food, but for their own safety.
If vampires are creatures who think nothing of killing us and sucking our blood, then they are like the sharks.
Creatures at the very top of the food chain.
Now, we humans are creatures that look similar to these sharks, but are completely different—the dolphins.
Dolphins hunt sharks through teamwork.
Whether you believe me or not is up to you.
One dolphin lures out a shark, acting as bait. Then other dolphins sneak in from the side and tear at the shark's belly with their sharp beaks.
Yes. Just like white stakes.
Some of the bravest and fiercest among humans are less like dolphins and more like orcas. Vampires seem to call them 'Eaters'.
In any case, the dolphins have countless methods of killing the sharks.
Then, what must the sharks—the vampires do?
If things continue, even harmless sharks that feed only on plankton would fall prey to orcas.
Thinking over this issue, they reached a certain conclusion.
Couldn't we also band together?
It's very simple.
The vampires created an alliance.
To make it easier for them to live on in this world.
Broadly speaking, there are currently three kinds of vampires.
The first are rabble who act alone, or in small groups.
The second are 'family' centered around Clans. As far as we know, there are seven vampire Clans in the world. One even exists in Japan, but in any case, each Clan is quite small. Think of them as 'aristocrat vampires' you see in movies and books.
And as for the third and final category… This is the large-scale Organization I'm about to describe to you.
The Organization has no other name. According to a member I spoke with in person,
"I'm not really sure, but I heard that when everyone came up with suggestions for a name and held a meeting over the issue, the Organization nearly fell apart.'
…is what this vampire told me.
Hm? Oh, yes. That vampire seems to be an officer, but he's… a good person. Someone who treats humans like me with kindness. Yes. A good man. So kind that he suffers from a digestive disorder. You might wonder if being sick is even possible for vampires, but such kinds do indeed exist. After all, vampires are an incredibly varied and diverse species.
Now, this vampire doesn't seem to understand just how influential his position as an officer really is.
After all, members of the Organization number at twenty thousand, and there are about three hundred officers.
Just how did they gather such numbers, when there were only twenty or so members at its founding…?
Does an Organization of twenty thousand vampires sound threatening to you?
But don't think of the Organization as an army. It's actually much closer to a social club.
Do you know the number of people who take part in organized crime in Japan?
Did you know that there are over two hundred and fifty thousand police officers in Japan alone?
How do things seem in perspective? Twenty thousand isn't much more than the number of students at a decent university.
And it would be a lie to say the Organization is, in any way, prone to unity.
In fact, it's a good day if a fight doesn't break out at all among the members.
Vampires, you see, are highly individualistic. Each individual comes from different places, has different families, and professes to different faiths.
Of course, some of them possess a magnetic sort of character that draws in followers around them.
So how is the Organization doing now?
Even I don't have all the details, so I can't give you an informative answer. But if I had to say…
…Pandemonium itself, I'd wager.