Have a short update.
Interlude 1: The Dhampyr Doth Encounter!
Watt Stalf was a petty man.
He knew this himself, and was quite content to be one.
[The great petty villain], the former Lord of Waldstein Castle had once described him.
Because Watt knew himself to be petty, he could take on any heavyweight that stood before him.
Though he called himself petty, he did not give up on his goals. In fact, it was because he believed himself small that he could continue to challenge the heavyweights others dared not approach.
He ran for the mayoral elections without a single sponsor, and pulled off a miraculous turnaround victory as a nearly-nameless member of city council.
He never gave up, no matter how impossible the circumstance, and ended up in the mayor’s seat. His story moved many people, especially the young—who formed a large majority of his support base.
Perhaps, from a certain perspective, he truly was the island’s heavyweight.
Of course, even he was once a young man.
He wanted to become a heavyweight. He once wanted to become someone who could conquer all those who looked down on a dhampyr like him and move the world as he pleased.
Many humans probably dreamed of such things in their youth. But most probably gave up quickly, realizing their dreams to be folly.
But Watt was different. He had the blood of a vampire flowing in his veins.
He still remembered vividly the excitement of watching his parents transforming into flocks of bats and taking to the midnight skies.
He believed that dreams which were impossible for humans to achieve could all be accomplished with the power of a vampire.
As he matured, the vampiric blood lying dormant within him would slowly begin to emerge.
In his supposedly mediocre boyhood, that was his only hope in life.
He spent his days thinking of himself as ‘special’. He looked down on the other children around him and ended up isolated from his peers.
But young Watt did not care. Even those humans who had distanced themselves from him would one day change their minds. They would tremble in fear that day, when he revealed his true identity to them all.
His was far from a normal childhood, but for Watt, who thought himself special, it was an acceptable life in its own right.
‘Just wait and see, you fools.
‘Once I harness my vampire powers, I’ll make you all my servants.’
He had no friends.
He had no lovers.
Yet he continued to believe in no one but himself.
Rather, he continued to blindly believe in the vampire blood flowing through his veins.
Most dhampyr went their entire lives incapable of wielding vampiric abilities.
Everything changed when he heard this unshakeable truth from his parents.
Twisted to the point of despair by the revelation, Watt became determined to use the only vampiric trait he had in him—his very slightly superhuman strength—to climb to the top of the dark side of the island.
Of course, this did not mean he wished to take the throne of the vampires on the island. His ‘dark side’ referred to the humans’ criminal underworld.
But there were no large criminal organizations in Germany, like the gangsters of America or the yakuza of Japan. And such things were even more more foreign to the remote island of Growerth. There were no organizations native to the island, either, like the Sicilian mafia.
‘Then I’ll just make one myself.’
Even after his dreams were shattered, Watt still dreamed of becoming a heavyweight.
Unlike his childhood, spent assured of his future, he now spent his days in the hopes of becoming something great.
The fact that he took action for his hopes meant that he was more driven than the average person. Of course, the actions happened to be in the worst direction possible—as the leader of a criminal organization.
However, his dream collapsed all too easily.
He had begun by sneaking into a ruined church to use it as a hideout. He was beaten to a pulp by the elderly homeless man who lived there.
He wondered for a moment if the man was a vampire, but the man turned out to have been completely human.
“Stay awhile, boy. I was just itching for some conversation.”
The old man addressed the defeated Watt.
The delinquents Watt had gathered abandoned him and fled as soon as they saw the old man’s strength. Having instantly lost the gang he had assembled over the course of several months, Watt decided to listen to the old man, defeated.
The old man claimed he was once an officer in a gang, back when Germany was still the Weimar Republic. At the time, all gangs were called Ringverein, and they fought for influence over the cities. But the Nazis came to power and began to crack down on gang activity. Most members of criminal organizations were sent to concentration camps or executed.
“Don’t know if we were lucky or not, but our gang resisted the Nazis to the end. We were ‘bout the only ones who survived to the end of World War II. ‘Course, we were in such a pathetic shape that the gang broke apart in the end.”
The old man spoke as though reciting a line from theater. Watt listened halfheartedly.
Why was a man who took on the Nazi SA sitting in an abandoned church, talking to a delinquent?
But he could not deny the old man’s strength.
Watt was clearly physically stronger than humans. But setting aside the veracity of the old man’s claims, he seemed to be over seventy years old in looks alone.
How had Watt been so effortlessly been defeated by such a man?
As he acknowledged the old man’s strength, Watt began to despise his own weakness.
Was this all his vampiric blood amounted to? Though his physical strength was all he could boast, was it so insignificant that it was beaten so easily by an elderly human?
But Watt had a certain trait.
A trait called ‘hated to lose’, one that didn’t quite count as a talent.
Some might look down on this trait, calling it futile resistance. But in his determination and refusal to surrender, Watt was the picture of optimism.
‘If this demented old guy can do so much damage… what if I could learn his techniques? His skills and my power. I’d be invincible.’
Reaching a quick conclusion, Watt ignored the pain in his ribs and spat, agonized.
“Hey… Fucking geezer. Teach me to get that strong.”
“Why? And is that any way to ask someone a favor?”
“Why do you think, genius? To mess you up real good.” Watt said defiantly, lying spread-eagle on the ground.
The old man’s eyes widened. A moment later, he slapped his thigh as his false teeth rattled in his jaws.
“Hah! You’re the most honest brat I’ve ever seen. I like you, kid. But what to do? I’ve already passed on my skills to another child about your age. The Geissendorfer boy. To be frank, that was the least fun I’ve had in years. Swore I’d never do it again. It’s incredible, what those martial arts instructors do. Just thinking about taking the time to teach people one by one gives me a splitting headache.”
The old man rambled endlessly about the difficulties of teaching others fighting skills, but none of it was interesting to Watt. He thought he could perhaps pick up some tips from the old man’s tales, but the stories consisted of complaints about life—not a single thing about training or fighting.
As Watt’s expectations slowly fell to zero, the old man snickered and called back his attention.
“Now that I think about it, you’re quite sturdy for your build. You’re part-vampire, aren’t you?”
Normal people would not consider this the question of a sane man.
Watt was not a normal person.
Quickly recovering from his shock, Watt stuttered,
“Fucking geezer… who the hell are you…?”
“Haven’t you been listening, boy? …Never mind. Now, if you’re part-vampire, you’d best go greet the Lord of Growerth. From the way you’re acting, I can tell you’ve never seen him before.”
“Growerth has a Lord?”
“That’s right. He’s the head honcho of all the vampires running around the island. I remember the first time I came to Growerth, sick of the Nazi bastards. I snuck into the castle for a breather, and that’s when I ran into him. I thought my heart was going to stop then and there!”
If this powerful man was nearly scared to death, the Lord of Growerth must have been a terrifying creature indeed.
Perhaps he was a monster over three meters tall. Or maybe he had anaconda-sized centipedes wrapped around his body.
Suddenly interested in this mysterious character, Watt shot the old man an inquiring look.
“If you’d like, I’ll introduce you to him. Go see him in person.”
And several days later,
The young dhampyr had a fateful encounter.
With the one who ruled at Growerth’s throne—Lord over countless vampires and the true head of the dark side of the island, the vampire’s paradise.
[Ah, so you are the dhampyr of whom Lorenz spoke.]
The world’s only liquid vampire—Gerhardt von Waldstein, the Lord of Growerth.
Did this encounter change their lives for the better?
Even now, over twenty years since that day, a clear answer had yet to emerge.