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Chapter 5. Part 2.

“Hey Jūbei, have you ever seen fireworks before?”

“My good man, of course I have.”

“Oh? Really? They’re kind of beautiful, don’t you think they would go well with drinking?”

“You my drinking buddy are a genius. Truly a good man.”

After that his drunken “army” of fifty men came along with us outside Honnoji Temple at his command. At what we drunks thought was a safe distance, we fired flaming arrows high up in the sky along with poorly made experimental do it yourself fireworks loosely wrapped around them with thin pieces of string. Truly, what could have possibly gone wrong with this simple desire to see fireworks while drinking?

Oh, nothing much really, aside from being remembered as the ones that set Honnō-ji Temple ablaze which led to the warlord committing suicide when we tried to save him. It seems he thought we were plotting to take his head so he chose to commit seppuku and have his body burn up in the flames.

Our group of drunks were then pinned with the crime of murdering and betraying our boss. At that point my drinking buddy Jūbei, in his drunken state declared, “hehe, aren’t we kind of screwed? Well, since we’re basically dead men, why don’t we just rebel like we’ve been joking about over the years? Haven’t we been overworked lately anyways?”

That was what eventually led to the Battle of Yamazaki when Hideyoshi in a fit of rage slaughtered our group of idiotic drunks. I somehow slipped under the radar when I recovered from my drunken stupor. Just for the record, a lot of this dark history was altered and covered up by that lad Hideyoshi afterwards since it was too shameful. This cover up naturally led to the birth of the great mystery behind my drinking buddy’s reason for betrayal.

Anyways, thanks to my careless remark at the time, I fled for my life all across Japan after the incident I inadvertently caused in 1582 AD.

Unfortunately, I was eventually cornered by Hideyoshi’s group, the only reason I survived was because of my silver tongue and vast expanse of experience.

Since the first contact of the Portuguese with Japan in 1543 AD there had been a large scale slave trade developed. After the Battle of Yamazaki in 1582 AD, where I turned that idiotic buddy Jūbei of mine traitor with my careless remark, I was backed into a corner and faced the death sentence when things were brought to light. When cornered, I utilized every single cell inside my brain to its full potential. I came up with my only path to escape and I brought up the rampant slavery to the fellow who won that famous battle.

When he heard what I brought up to save my ass, he was utterly disgusted. He despised how his own Japanese people were sold en masse into slavery to the point he wrote a letter to Jesuit Vice-Provincial Gaspar Coelho. This was done on the 24th of July in 1587 AD. He demanded the Portuguese, Siamese, and Cambodians stop purchasing and enslaving the Japanese. He also imported for the return of Japanese slaves who ended up as far as India. I pleaded with him to be assigned the mission to deliver the letter as atonement for my sins. Of course that bull I spouted was just to save my own skin.

Ah, truly, it was the worst. Anyways, I successfully delivered the stupid letter in the end and got off scot free.

After many years passed, the times gradually changed and it was suddenly the dawn of the industrial revolution during the Meiji period in 1870 AD. During this time of rapid expansion and economic development, I kept a very low profile. After my blunder I decided not to make any careless remarks like I had in my drunken stupor that one time.

I somehow passed my life peacefully from that point onwards. Well, that’s not really true. There were those two bloody world wars I took part in, from 1914 AD to 1918 AD and then 1941 AD to 1945 AD.

I truly watched as wars advanced with the times and bore witness to the rise and fall of countless nations. I experienced first hand how truly powerless one man was in times of advanced warfare. I watched helplessly as humanity repeated the same mistakes time and time again. To be quite frank, I’d lost my sanity by the time things finally calmed down. I was no longer able to integrate with other humans normally when this quasi like peace descended upon the world. Those world wars were the last straw in my heart. By that point, I’d seen far too much of the filth hidden within humanity to open up to another person.

Nuclear armaments crossed the last line. Genocides were all too common throughout history; however at least people had a chance to fight back against the adversity. It was the introduction of atomic bombs in war, a power that none could fight against. A power so great it could wipe entire cities off the face of the Earth in mere seconds. This mad pursuit for power created these cursed weapons of mass destruction.

These disgusting wars always sparked from a difference in opinion. Often times the root cause was religion or a group’s beliefs. Other times it was due to the evolving struggle to obtain resources and the thirst for power.

After those two wretched wars in particular, I was at the limit of what I could put up with. I completely lost faith in humanity and the world. I shut myself away like a hermit in complete isolation. I didn’t bother to get close to people any longer.

I wanted to leave the world behind and go to an ideal world where such atrocities were no more. I kept my head down and spent most of my days reading the earlier versions of manga. As time went on light novels and anime became more and more popular. Eventually I found myself immersed in these fictional worlds confined within my imagination. My head was in the clouds and I forgot all about moving about to keep my identity a secret.

I had grown lax and complacent as I had grown older. Thanks to that, I was eventually discovered by the Japanese government and my unaging nature was revealed.

Some time in the year 2009 AD I was captured and detained in a certain research facility. It wasn’t until 2016 that I somehow escaped their control. During my seven years there, I underwent all sorts of cruel and inhumane experimentation for the third time in my life. What I gained through this third round of experiments were modifications to my genetics. These humans, just like that ancient civilization that gave birth to me, seeked te secrets of immortality.

With a precious sample like me to work with, their research advanced by leaps and bounds. They successfully improved my regenerative abilities. Most of my wounds typically healed rapidly within an hour once they completed their experiments on my body. My eyesight, hearing, sense of smell, reflexes, and intelligence all experienced an immense upgrade.

Ironically, due to their experiments I’d accumulated enough strength and knowledge to out smart my captors and escape. They were unable to control or contain me any longer. It was sometime in 2016 AD that I made my escape when they transported me between two research facilities. After that, I destroyed the transmitter they implanted in my body and completely altered my appearance.

My initial plan after I escaped was to head to America to locate someone I took in before I was captured and detained, but I discovered unfortunate news related to them. They’d already died and met their untimely end. I changed my plans and instead of fleeing the country I chose to stay in Japan and blend in.

Sometimes the most dangerous place was the safest after all. For certain reasons, I transferred into a prestigious high school that was known for its high academic standards.

There were many times throughout history I’d passed time by attending high schools or universities to get a better understanding over the constantly evolving eras. With all the knowledge I’d accumulated over the two millennia I lived through, education was typically a walk in the park for me. I didn’t even need to listen to the lectures and I even slept through most of them since I’d already personally lived through or learned about it all already.

As that was the case, people eventually fell under the impression I was a delinquent or something of that nature. Thanks to those misunderstandings all sorts of strange people created conflicts with me for no particular rhyme or reason. I found I’d gotten into more and more fights as time went on. However, it really wasn’t much of a problem, after all, I was someone with a vast wealth of combat experience.

From the number of armies I’d joined, to the number of weapons I’d mastered, or even the number of martial arts I’d comprehended, they were truly uncountable by this point in time.

Yet, even with the wealth of knowledge and experience I accumulated over thousands of years, I wasn’t even close to a match for this woman known as the progenitor of vampires in the other world I’d long yearned for.

This vampire progenitor was the first woman I’d met in thousands of years that was actually older than me. For such a long time I’d never gotten involved in any sort of serious relationships with women since they all died before I did. I couldn't bring myself to cause them such pain. They aged and wilted while I remained the same; I was someone whose time was stopped. I couldn’t bring myself to let them suffer through that pain, thus I remained single from the time I was born. At least that was the excuse I came up with.

Ugh. When I thought of my first fifty years of my life I realized just how unpopular I was. After 50 I was always behind the times and young women always thought of me as an old fart. It was hard to keep up with the constantly changing fads at times.

When I encountered a woman who was in the same situation as me, for the first time in my life, I lost control over emotions. I was like a horny hormonal teen who’d just seen his first sexy adult woman. Basically just a thirsty brat. I even lost control over my words and pushed my feelings onto her under the assumption she felt the same way I had all this time.

My loneliness really got the best of me this time. It was a feeling I knew all too well. Our circumstances were slightly different, but nonetheless we were two peas in a pod who had undergone the same trials and tribulations in which we suffered through both isolation and loneliness. We were both people who knew of similar pains, at the very least I believed that much was the truth. The torture I went through was definitely not as extensive or graphic as hers though. I was only unaging, not immortal before I came to this world.

“Why are you so quiet all of a sudden?”

Not wanting to talk about it I changed the topic and asked, “aren’t you going to do something about the hero?”

“What’s there to do?”

“Why not suck her blood?”

“Hah? Her? I have no interest in a female’s blood.”

“There’s a difference?”

“Of course! Personal preferences vary from vampire to vampire.”

“What if I wasn’t around, would you have sucked her blood then?”

“Well… mmmm... if they were the only sacrifice this time...I would have probably reluctantly drained her blood.”

“Then why not make her your lackey or subordinate or something?”

Of course, I was no saint, it was merely a malicious plot against the hero to divert her attention between two toys instead of one. Maybe I’d get some slack if there was someone else she could play around with.

“Hmm. So this crossdresser is your type? I really can’t understand my food’s preferences.”

“I’m not interested in this cross dressing weirdo, but don’t you think two people serving at your beck and call is better than one?”

It looked like she was slightly moved by my suggestion as she fell into deep thought.

“Aren’t there also things a female servant can better assist you with compared to a guy like me?”

“...”

Still not enough? She silently stared at me like she wondered what else I had to say.

“Didn’t you also need to bring up a replacement demon lord figurehead within the coming years? You could turn her into one unlike me, right? Wouldn’t she also have vengeful thoughts towards humans after she was betrayed by the humans who she once fought for before she was heartlessly tossed down here?”

Then I can control her from behind the scenes and become the “true demon lord,” who the figurehead demon lord will tell the future hero, “you may have defeated me the demon lord, but you’ll never defeat the true demon lord! Mwahahahaha!”

Of course when my turn comes I’ll also get to use the same line if I were to lose. I’ll just play the part of a middle man if I’m no match. I can pretend to betray her and act like I’ve joined the future hero party and then stab them in the back when their guards are down.

Isn’t that the correct path to becoming a demon lord feared even among fellow demon lords?

“Well, since she is already at level 45, I suppose making her the future demon lord would be convenient. Like you said, she would also likely have the motive to get some payback for how she was treated.”

“What?! She’s already level 45?”

“She has been the hero for five years now, that’s about what would be expected through normal means of leveling up in the outside world.”

Ugh, doesn’t that make me the weakest of the three of us at the moment? I don’t know how old this vampire progenitor may be, but I’m definitely far older than this crossdressing hero. Will I be forced to suck up to her until I’m stronger than her? No way! The order of seniority must be followed.

I’ll fight her to the death if I have to, it’s not like I’m going to die or anything. Even an ant can defeat an elephant by tiring it out.

While I had second thoughts about it, Miss Vampire Progenitor moved closer to the hero and gave out a seemingly light kick to turn her over. She flew several meters into the distance before she landed face up. Yep, I’ve confirmed it, I definitely don’t want to ever have her nurse me when I’m ill in the future if that’s her treating a dead body gently.

The hero who was a bloody mess didn’t budge an inch or retort at all. They just laid their listlessly. Miss vampire progenitor casually walked forward and raised her foot over the seemingly dead hero. A drop of blood then emerged from her toe. Something straight of a porno played out right before my innocent two thousand year old eyes.

Somehow, my eyes felt like they’d been violated and it was as though the door to a strange new world slowly opened up in my mind. At the very same moment the doors appeared in my mind, I used my imaginary body to strongly shut them in fear of what was on the other side.

She pressed her toe onto the hero’s lips. With clear reluctance plastered all over her face, she let her blood slip into the dead hero’s mouth. As soon as she finished feeding her blood to the hero she took her foot away and wiped it like she had stepped on some nasty dog shit.

Was her aversion towards females that great just because of how their blood tasted? Damn it! If it’s like this then my blood will still be sucked dry without any breaks.

“Hey, is there some sort of reason you don’t like female humans?”

“Female humans gossip behind people’s backs too damn much. It’s repulsive and whenever I think about that, it makes their blood taste terrible when I try to drink it.”

“So it’s not a physiological rejection, but rather a psychological one?”

She didn’t say anything, instead she just coldly glared at the female hero like she was disgusted that her bloodline had mixed with hers.

Could it be that she was ostracized by other females in the past for her beauty or something petty like that? Hahaha. That’d be great. An utterly shameless thought flashed through my mind. Should I start cross dressing?

After several minutes passed, visible changes occurred on the deceased crossdressing hero’s body. Her wounds all closed up and healed rapidly. I also noticed her chest now moved up and down ever so slightly which indicated she’d regained her ability to breathe.

Tens of minutes later… we quickly got bored of waiting for her to open her eyes so we played shogi to pass the time in the empty dark room with low visibility.

After several games, where I barely came out on top every time, and after having my finger ripped off a few dozen times by her in her fits of rage after losing, a voice sounded out.

“Uhh… Where am I? Am I actually dead after all? Is this the after life?”

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Kira Minoru

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