Her body is disappearing ...
All pain is already gone, only light and heat surround her.
A warmth and excitement she has never felt before. And joy.
Her chest is filled to the brim with emotion.
No one has ever challenged her like this.
No one has ever drawn out her strength to such an extent.
No one else has ever made ... her so serious.
Ah~ ... how wonderful. There are no other words to describe it.
She had lived a long and tedious time. But in this moment, for the first time in her life, she felt a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
(Ah, and yet I still ...)
A new emotion emerged in the midst of this contentment.
It was neither relief nor a sense of liberation.
It was a desire for more.
(I wanted to know more, to see more)
Despite the fact that the heat that has been poured into her has already consumed her body, and even her soul is about to be extinguished, the little bit of "her" that remains is still yearning for him.
Now that she has found "satisfaction," she wants the "next satisfaction" so badly that she can't help wanting it.
(How can I remain in this world? How can I stand in front of Nozomu Bountis one more time?)
"Well, there is nothing to doubt that he has the qualifications. But sadly, because of his outstanding ability, he will never be able to achieve perfection. An incomplete vessel, huh ..."
What comes to mind is the only one who, 150 years ago, with his breath and claws, broke through her power and wounded her. The only person she has ever known who could rival Nozomu Bountis.
"But fortunately for you, you are still yourself. It is better for you to remain as you are. For the sake of your own kind ..."
And then there was also that rude person who barged in on his own because he was curious, disappeared when he said he had figured it out, and never showed himself again.
She had no idea what the h.e.l.l he was trying to say, but since she remembered it at this moment, then maybe it meant something.
(Ah, well, ... It's not so bad to do some last exercise)
She exerted all the strength she had left. However, not only her body, but also her soul couldn't be regenerated.
There was already only a fragment of her soul left. Without the element as foundation, regeneration would be impossible.
The excess of magic power and physical strength that she had was now gone.
(Is there something left? Anything? The only thing left inside me ...)
In the seconds before she completely disappeared, she desperately searched for what was left. At that moment, she sensed a slight presence.
Somewhere far away, yet so close. A slight force, reminiscent of spring water, seeped from deep within the frozen rock. It was dull, blood-colored crystals.
Her consciousness which had been dissipating was finally reaching its limits.
Desperately, she reached out her hand as if clinging to it, trying to touch its power.
The moment the tip of her finger touched the tip of the power, light burst, and countless bubbles appeared. Within the bubbles, which float and then disappear, spread a scene she had never seen before.
A beast traversing through a lush forest. A snake that endured in the sweltering hot sand. A swarm of insects feasting on dead corpses. Water seeping into the earth and sinking deep into the earth.
As she saw more and more sights, her sense of time accelerated.
In a moment, time pa.s.sed so quickly within her soul, which had been on the verge of disappearing, and it rapidly returned to its original state.
No, on the contrary, her sense of awareness kept expanding.
Like a bird flying in the sky, like an insect burrowing in the soil, like a whale moving through a raging sea.
And then the final scene unfolded before her eyes.
The sky was shrouded in darkness.
There was a dark hole in the sky, surrounded by a darkness that made it difficult to tell whether it was day or night.
The hole was colored with red edges like blood. The blood dripping from the hole stained the ground, while her body was also stained red.
(Ah, I see, the person who was my parent, had this in mind from the very beginning)
And finally, she became the "true her" and her consciousness was colored with frozen fresh blood.
In just a short time, the area where the luxurious Francilt mansion had stood just a few minutes earlier had been completely razed to the ground.
The mansion was completely destroyed, down to a single stone, and a huge crater was drilled into the center of the land.
"Haa, haa, haa..."
Inside the crater, Nozomu was breathing heavily.
An all-out [Light of Extinction]. Nozomu was sure that he had finished the job, and that Vitora's soul had been annihilated along with her body.
Wrapped in a cloud of dust and the residue of the elements, Nozomu had no time to catch his breath before turning his attention back to Irisdina and the others.
Nozomu finally breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that they were safe and sound.
(Thank G.o.d, I was able to protect them....)
He turned and began walking toward them.
After a few steps, Nozomu looked back, feeling a twinge in the back of his head.
There was nothing in the center of the crater created by the [Light of Extinction] but the gouged-out ground.
She must have died for sure.
The fact that he had killed her weighed heavily on Nozomu's shoulders.
A sense of relief and guilt came over him.
With this indescribable feeling in his heart, Nozomu once again tried to go forward to the ones he had decided to protect.
But then, he heard something crumble under his feet.
As if guided by the sound, he looked down and saw something strange.
A distorted crystal that resembled a stack of rhombuses. It was red in color, as if it had been solidified with blood, and was peeking out from the crumbled ground.
Nozomu looked at the crystal, wondering what it was. At that moment, Nozomu felt a chill like a needle p.r.i.c.king his entire body.
(Thank goodness. We meet again...)
Without thinking, he turned himself around and reached for [Mumei], which he had sheathed in his scabbard.
However, a hand suddenly sprang out of the crystal and flicked [Mumei] away along with his sword belt.
A spear made of crystal then flew out and pierced through Nozomu's left shoulder.
The crystal then flickered like the beating of a heart and began to take in the surrounding elements and magic power.
With a resounding heartbeat, the red crystal transformed into a humanoid shape. It became a different kind of being with crimson skin and hair.
While generously flaunting its attractive limbs, the humanoid exhaled pa.s.sionately and turned its gaze toward Nozomu.
Its appearance was undoubtedly that of Vitora, which should have been obliterated. However, what was constructing its body had clearly changed.
A power that was neither Qi nor magic. A primordial existence like the one that Nozomu came to be able to sense more keenly after signing a blood covenant ceremony with Shina.
It was, without a doubt, a pure primordial element. It was the very power used by the spirits.
"Ah, finally made it back. It's been a long, long time..."
Without a sound, Vitora quickly approached Nozomu and suddenly embraced him.
"Fufu~, you haven't changed. Well, no wonder. For you, it was only a short time ago."
While reflexively releasing Tiamat's elements, Nozomu escaped from Vitora's restraints.
"What a pity~, even though we've just met again, it would be nice if you let me hug you a little longer..."
Vitora, on the other hand, was clearly dissatisfied, and her mouth was pouted.
Her behavior was a complete change from her previous uncooperative behavior. She looked like a little girl who had just had a toy taken away from her, and Nozomu was momentarily taken aback, but he quickly pulled his expression back into a more serious one.
"I thought you were dead."
Surely, he should have finished her off. Tiamat's elements had definitely obliterated Vitora's body and even swallowed her soul.
"Yeah, indeed, I died by your power. I should have been absorbed into the dragon's vein and disappeared. But as they say, 'you can achieve anything if you approach things with strong conviction.' And thanks to the last remaining of my unique ability, I was able to come back..."
"Unique ability, you say?"
"[Rebirth of Origins]. My personal unique ability. If I were to say it on your terms ... what was it again..."
"Yes, that's it. It is a special ability that awakens one's true origins at the moment of death and brings one back to life. However, once used and awakened, there will be no second chance. If I were to be killed again, I would have no choice but to die ... but instead, I have gained this power."
(TLnote : Vitora said it in kanji 異能 while Nozomu said it in katakana アビリティ)
The element that erupted from Vitora's body turned the surrounding area red. Not only the ground and debris, but even the air.
Faced with such a scene, Nozomu reflexively struck Vitora.
The converging crimson elements caught Nozomu's fist strike. As if synchronized, the speed at which the crimson s.p.a.ce expanded slowed slightly.
"Nice instincts, as always."
Tiamat's elements annihilate Vitora's elements and push her body away.
The debris crumbled within the red s.p.a.ce and turned to slurry blood, confirming Nozomu's premonition.
"You're eroding and absorbing your surroundings with your own elements!"
"Yeah, it seems that this is how I am supposed to be as a spirit. I guess you could call it a spirit of blood..."
Blood-colored elements erupted from her body as everything was reduced to blood and poured into Vitora in a disintegrating manner.
The s.p.a.ce was dyed a darker color of blood, and the scattered snowflakes were also dyed bright red.
Even the [City Isolation Barrier] that had been deployed in the surrounding area gradually turned red and began to crumble.
Nozomu immediately released Tiamat's elements and leaped backward, repelling Vitora's erosive elements. He leaped backward and attempted to pick up [Mumei], which had fallen to the ground.
However, Vitora, not caring that she herself would be burned, jumped into the blasting element of Tiamat and grabbed Nozomu's hand again.
"Guh!? Your power is truly amazing after all. Even my current self can't withstand it..."
While the two elements produced sparks, Vitora pulled on Nozomu's arm and swung her other arm.
The element of blood extended from her arm and became a huge blade, closing in on Nozomu.
Nozomu reflexively twisted his body in response to the approaching blade and leaped up onto Vitora's inner elbow, grabbing her arm with his free hand as he stepped forward.
Sliding his body inside the gap of the reaping blade, he lifted her body, and while brushing away the restraints, he struck Vitora's stomach again with his [Light of Extinction].
However, even though Nozomu's fist pierced Vitora's stomach, the five-colored elements did not burn her body, but vanished like a candle that had run out of its wick.
"As expected, Tiamat's elements are too much for even my current self to absorb. Thus, I have returned it to the Dragon Vein instead."
"Dragon Vein, you say..."
"What is there to puzzle about? My current self is a spirit. Isn't it natural?"
He sent Tiamat's elements into his other hand and released them toward the ground.
The [Light of Extinction], which was activated at close range, blew away both Nozomu and Vitora.
"Hmm!? How reckless. Who would have thought you would burst Tiamat's elements at point-blank range?"
After bouncing off the ground, Nozomu stood up and reached for [Mumei], which fell to the ground again.
"I won't let you."
However, the ground suddenly rose up and a red wall appeared, blocking Nozomu.
In the meantime, the crimson element clung to [Mumei], which fell to the ground, and pulled Nozomu's katana to her hand.
"I don't know what you would do with this katana in your hand. I'm sorry, but I can't give it back to you."
"Now, let's play again. I'll win this time!
Vitora, who had dropped [Mumei] behind her, exerted her power toward Nozomu.
What appeared was a swarm of blood icicles that covered the sky.
A fierce onslaught, reminiscent of Tiamat's spirit magic, was unleashed toward Nozomu, who had lost his weapon.
Irisdina and the others were at a loss for words in front of Vitora, who had awakened as a Spirit of Blood.
Someone who originally had the power of a natural disaster became a spirit and became even more powerful. The reality was so surreal that all they could do was stare wide-eyed in amazement.
"Is this her true form?"
"Yes, that is correct."
"Although she was a monster to begin with, she turned out to be even more dangerous than that..."
In the midst of all this, only Mars and Shina, who had barely come to their senses, were able to question Rugato with a leaden expressions on their faces.
The old gentleman with monocle gazed at the awakened Vitora with deep emotion and began to answer their questions.
"The former Lord ... Vitora's father created a vampire who was made as pure as possible in order to protect his own people. But the one who was created, though perfect, was not complete."
An unfinished masterpiece. The previous head of the Waziart family attempted to awaken it. However, the previous head of the family was defeated and died.
What was left was a perfect but unfinished product that lacked a creator.
"All that was needed was death and an intense greed that comes to the surface at the moment of death. That was what was needed to awaken my Lord's abilities. However, I thought it would never be possible. Until this very moment..."
Rugato gazed at the Dragon Slayer who had awakened his Lord, his eyes shining with emotion and joy.
"I thank you, Nozomu-sama. Thanks to you, my Master has been able to attain her true form."
At that moment, a sudden pain in her neck made Irisdina involuntarily fall to her knees.
"Wait-, what happened!?”
The bite marks on the back of her neck were hot, as if a hot iron had been pressed against them.
The white-haired girl's face tensed up due to the remnants of power that tingled violently inside her body even though it was sealed.
A sticky liquid flowed from the hand that was pressed against her neck. When she realized it, blood was oozing from the wound where the vampire princess had bitten her.
Somia and Lisa treated the wound, but the blood continued to flow.
"The remaining power within Irisdina-ojōsama must be resonating with my Master's awakening."
"... you, were you aiming to turn that princess into a spirit from the very beginning?"
Mars, who doubted the tone of Rugato's voice, which was full of emotion, questioned the old vampire again.
Rugato, on the other hand, shook his head slowly, as if to deny his words.
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"No, I was only carrying out actions on behalf of my Master, who was interested in Nozomu-sama. I did not expect that Nozomu-sama would be able to completely control the power of Tiamat, much less show the ability to kill my Master..."
Only a certain conviction and relief filled her chest.
She meditated once and looked down at the chains that were protecting her.
(What do you wish for?)
It felt as if the white chain, the [Dream-Uniting Chain], was speaking to her.
"I want to stand next to him. And protect the people I care about. For that reason..."
As if saying so, the chains unraveled and became countless white rings that began to disperse into the crimson-tinted darkness.
Her vision gradually turned white. In the midst of this, the crimson crystals also began to a.s.similate with the surrounding scenery as if they were melting.
Then, her vision turned dark once again.
What she could see was the dawning sun. And the moon shining while bathed in the morning sun.
It was just a brief scene, switching from night to day.
But strangely, she felt nothing.
No wind, no heat from the sun. It was silent, as if time had stood still.
"I see, so you want to say that it will come true, huh ... I don't mind. I've decided I'm not going to hesitate anymore."
Irisdina, while still convinced of what was about to happen, answered with determination.
(I will continue down this path)
The next moment, the dawning moon shone and the dazzling moonlight enveloped her body.
Vitora, who had turned into a Spirit of Blood, was now on the offensive, and Nozomu, who had lost his katana, was being driven back into the corner.
Vitora, with a blade of blood sprouting from her arm, turned her waist and fired a slash diagonally.
Long, lengthy slashes. The blade, which was many times longer than Vitora's height, sliced through the air as it approached.
Meanwhile, Nozomu attempted to close the gap between the two while avoiding the blade, but was blocked by the swarm of icicles that Vitora randomly launched at him.
In addition, while he stopped for a moment, Vitora also struck him with a red torrent of elements reminiscent of [Thin Garment of the Ice Demon].
He used his [Light of Extinction] to dispel the oncoming swarms of icicles and thin red curtains, but he was unable to push back Vitora's onslaught. He was completely on the verge of defeat.
"Nozomu, get down!"
A voice suddenly shouted at him as he began to be cornered.
A silver wind pa.s.sed over Nozomu's head as he reflexively got down.
A girl carrying a silver rapier exposed herself before the blade of blood, which had the destructive power to kill.
Nozomu's eyes caught sight of the girl. Long silver hair. And a dignified, charming face that captivated all who see it.
Above all, her eyes, stained crimson like blood, but with a strong will, convinced Nozomu of the girl's ident.i.ty at first glance.
“Iris? -no, don't!"
Vitora's blade of blood was closing in on Irisdina. Vitora's blade has a power that is out of the norm. It can cut through human beings more easily than paper.
Facing such a blade, Irisdina drew the rapier at her waist.
The mithril blade, shining silver like the color of her hair, was swept toward the approaching blade of blood.
Compared to Vitora's blade, which was br.i.m.m.i.n.g with power, the mithril blade was as unreliable as a toothpick.
However, the moment the silver blade made contact with the raging blade of blood, Vitora's blade dissipated like a haze.
Irisdina stepped forward while Nozomu and Vitora were surprised.
An enormous amount of magic power erupted at the same time. Shining in black and silver, it was an incomparable amount compared to the previous Irisdina.
She also activated her enhancement magic with her ability [Immediate Deployment], stepped toward Vitora, and released a sharp thrust.
Irisdina's rapier grazed Vitora's shoulder as she reflexively turned her body away from it.
The vampire princess, who frowned in pain, flew backwards to distance herself.
It was an odd sight considering her power that had turned her into a Spirit of Blood.
"What happened? This is..."
Vitora muttered with a dumbfounded look on her face as she held her wounded shoulder.
Looking closely, blood kept flowing from the wound inflicted by Irisdina's rapier. Yes, from wounds that should have recovered instantly even when inflicted by Nozomu's blade...
"My body… it won’t regenerate?”
For the first time, fear flashed across Vitora's face.
"What did you do? No, what have you turned into!?"
"Who knows ... I don't know either. It's just that he granted my wish."
Irisdina, fluttering her silver hair filled with magic power, gave Nozomu a quick glance and smiled.
"... What did you say?"
Vitora, on the other hand, looked at Nozomu as if to ask him what she meant, but he himself was wide-eyed and perplexed.
In fact, he himself was not quite sure what was going on with Irisdina at the moment.
Vitora swept her long arm and released a huge ma.s.s of crimson elements.
The huge ma.s.s was then pierced unilaterally by countless magic bullets.
The crimson elements were being torn to pieces and dispersed. Vitora's power, which was supposed to erode all existence, was dissipated by the mere magic bullets, although they were numerous in number.
"Hmm, I see, our difference in firepower, huh... So it's still not enough."
"This magic power is very similar to that of mine. Did you absorb my magic power and become a vampire!?"
"Vampire? That's insulting. I'm still a proper human being. Probably..."
With a grin, Irisdina pulled her lips up with her fingers.
The white teeth revealed were definitely that of a human being. No sharp double canine, the characteristic of a vampire.
"... Then, what the h.e.l.l happened to you?"
"I don't know. But it seems that my current power works on you exceedingly well."
Words that were spoken with conviction.
The elements and the magic power. Above all, the total amount of power between Vitora and Irisdina, who has been transformed into a spirit, must be overwhelmingly different.
Nevertheless, Irisdina's magic power unilaterally eradicated Vitora's elements.
It was as if the morning sun was cutting away the darkness of the night.
"At last, I can fight alongside you. Come on, let's go, Nozomu. With these hands, we will seize our future."
A declaration filled with elation and confidence.
With an appearance reminiscent of the silver moon at dawn, Irisdina swung her rapier with a black-silver sheen.
Dhampir, the one who dispels the night.
Awakened by the bond that binds her, she stood with the one who had slain a Dragon in order to seize the future.
The long dawn was just around the corner.
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