As soon as we reached the Magic Swordsmen Guild’s base of operations, Nee-san got called away to some meeting.
Apparently it’s a gathering where top magic swordsmen discuss and plan out the subjugation.
I was not invited.
Nee-san tried to protest, but even she couldn’t do anything about it.
Nee-san told me “quietly wait for me” and left for the meeting.
So I decided to go take a walk. Quietly.
When I make my way out, the sun has already set. The sky is still slightly lit up by the afterglow, but in the east, the reddened moon has already come up.
It is just my imagination, or is the moon getting more and more red by the day?
None of the residents of Outlaw City pay the moon any mind as they walk on.
All of them are frantic about today’s survival, dealing with the customers before them, the prey before them.
In such a way, I met my commemorative 10th pickpocket of the day.
I purposely keep my wallet in my trousers pocket so it’s easy to pickpocket, but whenever it gets pickpocketed I make sure to pickpocket the pickpocket who pickpocketed me.
In other words, my wallet gets recovered, while I recover the other side’s wallet.
This world is, after all, survival of the fittest.
Within this short period of time, the contents of my wallet has already grown from 40k Zeny to 110k Zeny. The world sure works in mysterious ways.
Perhaps my vocation is to be Resident A in Outlaw City.
This Outlaw City is the best, I get to earn money just by going out for a walk.
As I walk on while feeling like humming, a scream suddenly rings out.
“It’s a ghoul!! A ghoul has appeared!!”
Apparently it’s close.
The reactions of the residents of Outlaw City are fast. Those who can’t fight immediately run away.
However, there are many stores who continue business as usual, not paying the scream any mind.
Furthermore, there are those who head towards the scream with smirks on their faces.
“Did you hear? A ghoul just showed up. Haven’t there been a lot of them lately?”
“Let’s go let off some steam then.”
Some are cracking their knuckles, while others are drawing knives.
I stealthily follow the crowd towards where the ghoul supposedly is.
By the time I arrive, the ghoul has already been captured.
Its legs must have been broken already, as it’s only crawling on the ground.
“You fucker! How dare you bite my arm!!”
“You son of a bitch! I lost fucking huge at gambling!! It’s all your fucking fault!!”
“Mary-chan turned down my proposal even though I financed her more than a million Zeny!! It’s all your fucking fault!!”
A sea of blood spreads over the ground.
I see, a ghoul’s high vitality makes it the perfect punching bag.
The ghoul just goes “aaaaAA……” while letting people do whatever they want to it.
Looking at this scene, I catch myself thinking that Outlaw City really is great. Surely an incident of this level is just an everyday occurrence that no one would blink an eye at.
A city smeared with blood and slaughter——how cool is that.
I chuckle while leaning against a wall with my arms crossed. I’m in the mood to play at being a mysterious young man.
Eventually, the ghoul that is being absolutely wailed on loses strength and falls over, which causes the gathered crowd to lose their interest.
It seems to be over.
The sky has already gotten quite dark.
I am about to head back when suddenly, I feel a breath of life reviving the ghoul.
“Hii!! St-, stop!”
The man’s scream and blood spurting happens almost at the same time.
The suddenly revived ghoul has bitten onto a man’s neck and is tearing his throat apart.
“Wh-, what’s with this one?! It’s different from usual?!”
There goes one more person.
However, despite being unsettled, the other men all draw their weapons.
The revived ghoul…… is red.
Its skin and its eyes are both red like blood. Brandishing its razor-sharp teeth and claws, it…… roars.
The ghoul abruptly jumps like a beast.
One mow of its sharp claws sends one man’s head flying.
“R-, run away!!”
It seems that even the residents of Outlaw City would run away from this.
The ghoul starts feeding on a corpse. I chuckle like “fufufu……” while still leaning against the wall.
Well then, what should I do now?
Should I run away like a mob…… or should I continue with pretending to be a mysterious young man?
These residents of Outlaw City, I’m pretty sure I won’t ever meet them again. So let’s go with the non-mob option then.
But then, at that instant.
I look up from feeling a presence, and witness a magic swordsman with a small build jumping down onto the ghoul from above.
The swordsman’s sword flashes at the moment of landing, which causes the red ghoul’s to be bisected from the head down.
What a well-performed strike.
The swordsman who took down the red ghoul in a single strike wipes the blood off their sword and turns around.
Then our eyes meet.
The swordsman with a small built who has on a jet-black garment and a witch-like pointy hat——turns out to be a beautiful woman with red hair.
The two of us wordlessly look at each other for a while.
“You would do well to escape……”
So she says in a surprisingly cute voice.
“The Rampage is about to begin……”
Then she looks up at the red moon with a brooding expression.
“The moon is red…… there is no more time……”
Seeing the lady about to leave after saying what she wanted to say, I call her back.
“I am the Eldest Vampire Hunter, Milia…… The one who shall put an end to Elizabeth, the Queen of Blood……”
With that, she melts into the darkness of night.
What is this that I’m feeling?
This feeling is——throbbing.
I look up at the red moon and grin. It seems that I might be a bit late returning to the base. I hope Nee-san doesn’t get mad at me.
Even in Outlaw City, the most bustling place is of course the red-light district.
Girls dressed up in clothing with lots of exposure can be seen tempting the men passing by.
In such a red-light district, a scream suddenly rings out.
“It’s a ghoul! A ghoul has appeared!!”
However, everyone is used to a problem of this level.
The bodyguards of the nearby brothels quickly show up to make short work of the ghoul.
What happens everyday, is supposed to happen today also.
A prostitute’s scream and a bodyguard being torn to pieces happens almost at the same time.
What has showed up in this red-light district is, different from the usual, a red-colored ghoul.
The red ghoul easily reduces the bodyguards to pieces of meat, then leaps at a prostitute whose legs have given out.
A friend of hers calls out her name, but it’s already too late.
But the next instant, the red ghoul is bisected.
From behind the two congruent halves of the red ghoul appears a swordsman wearing a jet-black longcoat.
He flicks his jet-black blade to rid it of blood, then looks down at Mary.
Deep within his dark hood shines two red eyes.
Those sinister eyes causes Mary to shiver and back away.
“If you don’t want to die, then run away……”
So says the man in a voice like a reverberation from the depths of the earth.
‘I would run immediately if I could’ is what Mary is thinking.
“The Rampage is about to begin……”
So the man murmurs while looking up at the red moon. His entire being seems to be exuding a sense of sorrow.
“The moon is red…… there is but a tiny sliver of time left……”
Recently, the moon has for some reason been turning red.
Mary did think it strange, but not a single one of her prostitute colleagues paid it any mind.
Even if the moon becomes red, nothing would change in the world. That’s what everyone thought.
“W-, wait…… you are……?”
Mary calls back the man in jet-black.
He seems like a scary person, but it is true that he just saved her. At the very least, she wants to thank him……
“My name is Shadow…… He who lurks in shadows, he who hunts shadows……”
With that, Shadow melts into the darkness of night.
“Mary!! Are you alright?!”
Her senior snatches her up in a hug.
“Y-, yes, I’m fine……”
“I’m so relieved…… this kind of thing’s been happening all the time lately. I don’t know care who the Queen of Blood is……”
“D-, don’t, you can say that out loud……”
“Hmph, like I care. Rather than that, didn’t that person just now call himself Shadow?”
“You know of him?!”
“W-, well, yes. Just the rumors, though. He’s the head of some organization that’s attacked some academy and obliterated some holy site and basically done whatever they wanted.”
“So he’s a bad guy……”
Though he really was scary, but he didn’t feel like a bad guy. What she did feel from him was that he possessed a powerful will.
“Of course he is, perhaps even on the level of one of the Monarchs in our city. But why is such a large villain in Outlaw City……”
“He mentioned that some rampage is about to begin. And also that the moon is red, and that there is no time……”
“What is up with that? Recently the Queen of Blood has been raising a fuss about something too. Could it be that she joined hands with Shadow and is about to start another fight? I wish they’d give it a break, it’s always the small people like us that become victims.”
“I can’t tell for sure, but…… I don’t think that’s it.”
What is about to happen?
Mary looks up at the red moon with unease.
But mysteriously, she has a feeling that Shadow is about to do something about it. Surely, that is why he has come.
Turning towards the direction that Shadow has disappeared in, Mary softly murmurs a word of gratitude.