The summer days were sweltering hot. Zero didn’t like his body sticky with sweat after a day’s work. He used to bathe in that stream where the vampire had died but now, it wasn’t possible. First, Zero thought the water there was very dirty. Secondly, someone might suspect him if he or she investigated that area.
Left with no other option, Zero could only go upstream and bathe in the waterhole which he had found. Even though the distance was a bit far, the waterhole was deep enough for Zero to freely swim around. It allowed his body to get the exercise that it needed since he hadn’t trained in a long time.
As usual, Zero walked up to the waterhole in the middle of the night.
Zero placed his folded clothes on the shore and removed the tattered towel from his head. His shoulder-length swayed in the night wind, refreshing his entire being. Afterward, Zero dived into the water. The coolness of it enveloped his body like a pair of warm, gentle hands massaging him. Relieving himself from a day’s of hard labor made Zero temporarily forget about the frustrations that this strange new world brought him.
With one breath, Zero dived to the deepest part of the waterhole where the fishes swam around. In the midst of growing, the pig feed given to him couldn’t provide the proper nutrients which Zero needed. Ever since he had discovered the waterhole, he would catch a fish every night to fill his stomach. Of course, this did not exclude the fact that Zero had a habit of eating whatever was ‘edible’.
He was in the water for quite a while already. A big fish then appeared. Zero rapidly lunged towards it. No matter how nimble that fish was, it couldn’t compare to Zero’s speed and dexterity. After a moment of struggle, the black-haired youth resurfaced. A delicate face appeared with light shimmering around him. In his arms was a silver-tailed fish. The youth revealed a smug smile. Underneath the glowing moonlight, he looked even more enticing, beyond what any words that could possibly describe him.
All of a sudden, he withdrew his smile and his vision sharpened. The youth released a murderous aura. He, who was normally composed, quickly retracted his aura and then revealed a clumsy, helpless expression. The fish, which took him great effort to catch, struggled in his arms, broke free, and escaped into the water.
Frustrated, he pouted his lips. He grew displeased.
It only took a blink of an eye for his expression to turn from wary to clumsy. If it was an average person, he or she might have fallen for his facade. However….
Out of nowhere, he was suddenly pulled back and then locked in a tight embrace.
“Little thing, you’re very sensitive!” A deep but sensual voice echoed into the youth’s ears. A warm breath tickled his neck. “Your acting’s quite good.”
The youth was secretly surprised. He revealed a helpless, frightened expression as if another person might also jump out and scare him. He then tried to break free. His slender and small body lightly trembled, making him look even more pitiful.
The man behind him devilishly smiled. With one arm around his waist and the other holding back both of his arms, he watched the youth resist as if it was some sort of entertainment.
After a fruitless struggle, Zero inwardly cursed at the tranquility that had been disturbed. He finally gave up. Even though his facade had been stripped off, his frame was still thin and frail. He didn’t look lethal but one had to be aware of his sharp claws and teeth.
“Not pretending anymore?” The man behind him mockingly asked and chuckled.
Zero had already grown mad but he sensed that the man behind him had released a dangerous aura. Although he was a vampire, he was much stronger than the one whom he had just killed. No. The difference was too vast. Zero didn’t turn his head to take a good look at him but just from his instinct, he could feel that his deathly aura had already engulfed him. This type of darkness seemed to extend its reaches far beyond the dark night.
Was this the difference between a lowly vampire and a vampire noble?
Zero panicked but managed to suppress the fear in his heart. When facing a stronger enemy, emotions played a strong factor in the outcome of a battle. To be honest, before Zero could even make his move, he had already lost. It was all because he feared.
“Who are you?” Zero opened his mouth. He wasn’t sure what this vampire would do to him but he at least must know the identity of the victor.
“Haha. It looks like I should be asking you this instead. Little thing, did you know that you have already invaded my territory?” The man’s voice was deep but it sounded like the chanting of the monarch of the night. It brought terror to those who heard it. It made them fear him. His supremacy reigned far above any living creature.
Zero’s animal-like instinct told him that he couldn’t dodge the danger that was to come. Still, he was unwilling to give up. He countered, “Oh yeah? Your territory? If I remember correctly, this land belongs to his lord, Duke Alois Sol Retter of William-Wallace. I heard that the duke has a head full of fiery red hair. As for you….” Zero glanced at his wind-blown, silky, black hair.”
“Tell me, are you the duke or the duke’s whoever? Relative? Friend? Or…. bedmate?” Zero wickedly smirked. He then turned his body around to take a good look at the man. He wore a black trench coat, had long black hair and violet eyes, and his face was very handsomely chiseled. No matter how he looked at him, the man looked mixed. He was very beautiful. Actually, he was extremely beautiful. However, it was a bit comical to call this man the duke’s pet. His temperament undoubtedly belonged to that of a ruler.
Anger overtook Zero’s rationality. In the spur of the moment, he had neglected the facts of the situation.
He continued, “With such an exquisite face, you definitely have what it takes to be a male pet.”
“Little thing, do you really think so?” The man before him chuckled but his tone was icy as if it was cold enough to freeze him over.
“Otherwise, what kind of explanation would you have for your claim that this is your territory? Perhaps, you can tell me that you’re the duke’s elder brother.” Zero looked at him from head to toe. His thin, small body showed no hint of fear. His eyes were full of confidence and pride.
[Pft!] The man snickered. He wasn’t angry and instead, teasingly eyed Zero. “Your body’s not bad and you have a gorgeous face. Perhaps you’re the one who’s the duke’s…. sex slave?”
After he had spoken those last two words, the man seductively licked his lips.
Zero looked down and realized that he wasn’t wearing anything. The water was very clear. With just one sweep of the eyes, everything was visible.
Rather, he wasn’t concerned and smiled. “Are you admiring my body over yours? Don’t be angry, young one. You’ll get your chance. A chance to climb into…. the duke’s…. bed!”
The man laughed and then tightened his grip on Zero. “I’m more interested in climbing into your bed, my little slave.”
“We’ll see if you’re able or not!” Once he had finished, Zero exploded and aimed for his lower half with a knee strike.
The man quickly darted backward and held his leg with one hand. Zero then targeted for the man’s neck with his other. The kick was extremely powerful. If it was a common man, he would’ve died already.
Zero wasn’t used to combat but his assassination skills were definitely on point. Each move was deadly. Close combat depended on kinesthetic awareness and agility. Zero’s execution was perfect — for a human.
Unfortunately, his opponent was a vampire with top-notch speed and power. To him, Zero’s movements were like watching slow motion scenes. He didn’t immediately grapple Zero. Instead, he slowed down and toyed with him for a while. Zero’s every attack shocked the vampire.
For a human youth to have such skills…. If he was a vampire, even if he didn’t use the power of his blood rank, his level would be on par with a baron’s.
The man thought that Zero’s expressions were very intriguing. He suddenly wanted him beneath his body. He was more interested in seeing him writhe in pain.
He really wanted to take him. As the man contemplated, he had lost interest in playing on. He quickly grabbed Zero and locked him in his arms.
T/N: It’ll be explained later in the story but I’ll clarify now. Vampires of an older generation can control vampires of a younger generation. For example, a 4th gen can use his blood power to naturally pressure a 7th gen into submission, without the need for combat. That is why coups rarely exist. It’s also why vampires willingly revere more powerful vampires (groveling at their feet, etc.)