Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“Why do you need to use the Phantom Leaf again?“
Duan FeiZhou’s home, 49 Frances Square.
He had just entered the Secret Trading House and pulled off another Phantom Leaf. When it saw how he wasted such a valuable commodity, Sword in the Stone was so distressed that it yelled.
“It’s not like I ate your rice.” Duan FeiZhou rewarded it with a blank stare.
It was late at night and Al had been sent home, so Duan FeiZhou waited patiently for the clock to strike twelve before he carried the Sword in the Stone out. He hailed a night cab and headed straight for Whitechapel. When he heard that he was going to the worst area in London, the cab driver wasn’t happy about it, but Duan FeiZhou gave him an extra pound, then he shut up and drove.
When he arrived at Whitechapel, Duan FeiZhou got out of the coach and walked to the sanatorium.
At night, the Whitechapel area wasn’t much colder than the daytime. People lived at night and only woke up when the sun went down. Then they started their day. Specially dressed professional women roamed the streets, throwing their eyes at every man who passed by. Men wrapped in airtight clothes hovered in the shadows, waiting for a knowledgeable buyer to come over and talk business.
Duan FeiZhou put the Phantom Leaf into his mouth. The taste of mothballs mixed with soap filled his mouth in no time. He always felt that the frequency of the thing was almost the same as the invisibility cloak. However, if the scar-headed wizard had to eat a leaf every time he went on a night out, the number of times he broke school rules would probably be greatly reduced. 1
Those women who were originally scratching their heads at him immediately lost interest in him, and went to pull in other potential customers, since Duan FeiZhou disappeared from their eyes.
With the protection of the Phantom Leaf, Duan FeiZhou walked silently towards the building that was out of place in the slums.
The door of the sanatorium was locked and the gatekeeper was sitting in the duty room dozing. Duan FeiZhou looked up at the towering iron gate and asked in a low voice “Sword in the Stone, can you help me climb through?”
“It’s a piece of cake. Give me your body.” Sword in the Stone was confident.
Duan FeiZhou held the hilt of the sword and let Sword in the Stone control his body.
He grabbed the iron door with one hand, leapt up to the top with ease and landed lightly.
The door clanged. The doorkeeper in the watch room moved and opened his eyes lazily. Duan FeiZhou hastily lowered his body, and held his breath. With the protection of the Phantom Leaf, as long as he didn’t make movements that were too exaggerated, others wouldn’t be able to detect him.
The gatekeeper yawned, and closed his eyes again.
Duan FeiZhou breathed a sigh of relief, and tiptoed towards the main sanatorium building.
The sanitorium was as quiet as a tomb at night. Duan FeiZhou expected there to be a nurse making her rounds, but the corridors were empty. He felt his way into Louisa’s room, while he bowed his head and secretly asked for the ladies’ forgiveness. He came to find out the secret behind Beautiful Gaia, but this behavior was a bit like a perverted stalker…
Louisa was lying on the hospital bed, sleeping very peacefully, breathing evenly, and the disease attack was like the other two people. The red lines on her arms seemed to have faded some more, but the two tooth mark-like holes hadn’t disappeared.
The red lines on another patient’s body were even lighter than Louisa’s, having almost turned pink. But when Duan FeiZhou lifted her wrist, he also found teeth marks and holes. Just as he was about to examine a third patient, a sudden flurry of footsteps sounded in the hallway.
Duan FeiZhou hurriedly retreated to the corner of the ward and covered his mouth. Duan FeiZhou prayed that they were going to another room, but his prayers weren’t answered. The footsteps stopped at the door of that room.
The door opened quietly, without a sound.
A stunningly beautiful woman walked in.
— It was Evangeline Black, the Councilman of the board of trustees of Beautiful Gaia.
She was followed by four men and women. The preacher, Annie Hall, was among them. Councilor Evangeline made her rounds of the ward, her eyes sweeping over Duan FeiZhou and apparently not noticing him. This proved that the protection of the Phantom Leaf was still valid.
Duan FeiZhou breathed a sigh of relief.
But immediately afterwards, the Councilor stared at Louisa.
“Carry that girl away,” she commanded, her tone cold and condescending.
Four of her men swarmed over, and lifted Louisa up. A patient next to her heard the movement and opened her eyes slightly. Evangeline snapped her fingers at her, and she passed out with a tilt of her head.
Duan FeiZhou was so frightened that he almost forgot how to breathe.
Evangeline really was an occult practitioner!
They carried Louisa out of the ward and up the stairs, and Duan FeiZhou hurriedly followed. With the effectiveness of the Phantom Leaf, even though he was trailing behind, the group didn’t notice him.
They went up to the top floor, and entered the office of the Chairman of the board.
The place was dark during the day, so Duan FeiZhou thought it would be even darker at night, but he was wrong. The office was brightly lit – but instead of electric or oil lamps, it was lit by a cascade of blue ghostly flames suspended in the air.
Four men placed Louisa on the floor, then lifted the carpet in front of the desk. Under the carpet there was painted a huge spell. They moved Louisa to the center of the magic circle, and then spread out in silence, each standing in a corner of the formation.
Councilor Evangeline walked into the magic circle. She knelt down by Louisa’s head and pressed her hands to the young girl’s temples. “Brothers, sisters, we are gathered here today to redeem this poor woman.”
The four men chanted in unison, “Redeem her, our master.”
Evangeline added, “Free her from darkness, free her from hardship. Restore her to her normal nature, and return to earth.”
And the four men said in unison, “Redeem her, our master.”
…Duan FeiZhou was dumbfounded.
Evangeline lifted Louisa’s arm and rubbed her thumb over the two teeth-like holes. “I’ve come to purify you, my child.”
After saying that, she opened her mouth, and revealed a pair of sharp fangs. Just as she was about to bite Louisa’s arm, a rusty sword suddenly stabbed out of the void with a strange stone stuck on its tip.
Duan FeiZhou wielded Sword in the Stone and moved close to Evangeline.
Evangeline, startled, let go of Louisa’s hand, then leapt up in the air, as if without weight, and floated towards the back. Her four men were also taken aback. Preacher Annie Hall’s expression was the most brilliant.
“It’s you!” She exclaimed, somewhat in disbelief that her savior would suddenly appear here and attack her Councilor, “Who sent you? What is your purpose?”
Duan FeiZhou held Sword in the Stone across his body. The four men realized that the sword was an extraordinary object, and didn’t dare to approach for a while.
“I have to ask you guys,” Duan FeiZhou said coldly. “What is the purpose of sucking human blood under the banner of curing Etheric diseases?”
A Beautiful Gaia member said in a loud voice, “Cut the crap with him! Let’s go together!”
The four of them got their spirits up and pounced on Duan FeiZhou at the same time. But they saw a flash of sword light, and by the time the four of them reacted, they had all fallen to the ground. Duan FeiZhou didn’t even look at them, as he turned to face the other side.
At the end of the office, Evangeline, with her feet off the ground, was suspended in mid-air, like a giant bat. She was no longer so beautiful now. Fangs stuck out over her lips and destroyed her beauty. The once-white skin glowed green, while her long, slender fingers turned into sharp claws. The woman who once ranked second in the world’s beauty value in Duan FeiZhou’s mind had now turned into a green-faced monster with fangs.
“What the hell are you?” Evangeline asked in a stern voice. “A Nightman?”
Duan FeiZhou didn’t answer. There was really no way to answer this question. He was indeed a member of the Nightmen, yet he was not here today as a Nightman.
“I’m just a mediocre occult practitioner,” he replied with his head held high. “Miss Louisa is my friend, and I will never allow you to hurt her!”
He raised Sword in the Stone, ready to block Evangeline’s attack.
“You’re…Not a Nightman?” Evangeline sounded hesitant.
“Can’t you understand human language?” Duan FeiZhou was a little impatient.
Evangeline landed slowly, like a light feather.
Her four men groaned and got up, then tried to attack Duan FeiZhou from behind, but Sword in the Stone had already sensed their attempts, and Duan FeiZhou tensed his muscles under its control so that he could counterattack as soon as they launched their assault.
Evangeline held up a hand to her men. She commanded, “Stop.”
The four henchmen looked horrified. “Councilor, he attacked us!”
Duan FeiZhou was also greatly puzzled. Could it be that this woman…No, the female monster, wanted to fight him single-handedly?
“Since you are also an occult practitioner, this is a misunderstanding.” Having said that, Evangeline’s appearance changed. Her skin gradually reverted back to white, and the fangs retracted back into her lips. The horrific claws slowly disappeared and returned to a pair of slender hands. She once again changed back to the appearance of a beautiful woman.
Duan FeiZhou was at a loss for words. What was this? Reconciliation? Or did she want to play a beauty ploy? First of all, the beauty plan wouldn’t work for him. He had seen the most exquisite beauty in the world, and his eyes could no longer tolerate other people.
“You…are not sucking Miss Louisa’s blood?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
“I do want to suck blood,” Evangeline said calmly. “But I’m trying to save her.”
“I’ve only heard of bloodletting therapy, never bloodsucking therapy.”
Bloodletting was a classic Western medieval treatment when things didn’t work out. All diseases could be bled. Some doctors would use leeches to suck blood, but the doctor himself sucking blood, it was Duan FeiZhou’s first time hearing that.
Louisa, who was still lying on the ground, suddenly let out a painful moan. She closed her eyes tightly, her eyebrows knitted slightly, and her expression was very pained as if she was having some kind of nightmare.
“Can I treat her?” Evangeline asked.
Let this woman suck Louisa’s blood? Duan FeiZhou was tempted to answer ‘no’, but Louisa’s pained appearance softened his heart. After Evangeline’s ‘treatment’, she was indeed much better. That proves that the blood-sucking therapy was effective. He pointed at Evangeline with Sword in the Stone and cautiously said, “If you dare to harm her, I will immediately cut your head off.”
“If I wanted to harm her, she would be in the grave by now.” Evangeline gave him a weird smile.
She walked over to Louisa, lifted her skirt and knelt down. Louisa twitched, lips slightly open as she whispered dreamily, “He fell from the vault of heaven…”
Evangeline interrupted her, “Do not say it, child. He has nothing to do with you.”
She lifted Louisa’s arm, stretched out her fangs, and bit down. Blood gushed out like a spring. Evangeline’s throat rolled as she swallowed all the blood. Duan FeiZhou felt physiological discomfort. But then again, he had also eaten ashes mixed with rice, so he seemed to be in no position to say anything about others.
As the blood was swallowed by Evangeline, Louisa’s expression calmed down. She no longer dreamed, her brow was no longer knitted, and had reverted to a tranquil sleeping face. Evangeline raised her head, and wiped away the blood from the corner of her lips.
“Now you believe it, don’t you?” she said. “I really only did it to cure this lady. The Etheric disease can only be cured by this method.”
“By…Sucking blood?” Duan FeiZhou couldn’t believe it.
Evangeline nodded her head, “The cause of the Etheric disease is actually a substance in the Etheric crystals that has entered the human body and contaminated the human blood. This substance is ineffective on me. Therefore I regularly suck the patients’ blood to dilute the harmful substance in their body. When that substance is completely removed, they will naturally recover.”
“Just like hemodialysis?” Duan FeiZhou said subconsciously.
Evangeline looked at him in confusion, not understanding the meaning of hemodialysis. Dialysis machines hadn’t been invented yet in the current era, and she certainly didn’t understand the concept.
“I mean,” Duan FeiZhou tried to get back on track. “Why does that substance not work for you? And don’t the experts say that Ether crystals are pure energy crystals? How could it contain harmful substances?”
“That’s a long story…” Evangeline gave a wink to the four men, “You men carry this lady back first.”
The four men looked at each other. No one was willing to move, as if they were afraid that once they left, Duan FeiZhou would immediately inflict harm on their dear councilor.
“What are you still frothing for?!” Evangeline raised her voice, and her tone was stern.
The four men had to reluctantly lift Louisa and leave the office.
Duan FeiZhou wanted to go after them and confirm with his own eyes that they had returned Louisa to the ward, but he was afraid that if he left, Evangeline would immediately vanish and she would never be found again. He hesitated for half a day, and finally decided to stay. As the saying went, capture the thief first. As long as he controlled the Chairman of the council of Beautiful Gaia, the other people of Beautiful Gaia would not dare to act rashly.
“You still haven’t answered the question just now.” He pointed Sword in the Stone at Evangeline, still not willing to let down his guard.
Evangeline made a gesture toward the carpet. As if it had gained life, it automatically rolled back to its original position and covered the spell on the floor. She walked to the window and opened the curtain. “Since you are also an occult practitioner, you must know the story of the forerunners, right?”
The moonlight spilled on her, but did not bring light to her. Instead it made her figure more shadowy. It was as if she was enveloped in some kind of aura invisible to the naked eye that automatically absorbed the surrounding light.
Duan FeiZhou searched his heart and soul to recall the poor little mysterious philosophical knowledge he had learned.
“The forerunners are the most powerful occult practitioners, the ones closest to the mysteries.” He said, “There are only eight occult practitioners who have ever qualified as forerunners, of whom four are known to be dead, two continue to climb, and only two are still alive.”
Xenophon quizzed him on the same question back in Scotland Yard.
“Good. It seems you are indeed a veteran scholar, not some bluffer.” Evangeline smiled, “The Forerunners are immensely powerful and can be called gods. In certain times in history, they were indeed known as gods. For example, the third forerunner, the ‘Protector of the Crossroads’, who was known as ‘Hecate, the Goddess of Death’, was worshiped and revered by countless people.”
“What does this have to do with your blood-sucking? You seem to have gone too far.” Duan FeiZhou stared coldly at her.
Evangeline twirled a strand of her own hair and fell into deep thought. “In ancient times, our clan was once the apostles of a certain forerunner. We served Him and worshiped Him as a deity. He was the Second Forerunner, best known by the name of ‘The Great Lord of Light’.”
This was the first time Duan FeiZhou had ever heard of this name. Neither the notes left to him by Uncle Joseph, nor the textbooks given to him by the Nightmen, nor the textbooks bought from Yeats, had the names of the eight Forerunners been fully recorded. The only forerunners he knew were the two surviving ones – Hermes, the originator of alchemy, and Hecate, the Goddess of the Crossroads.
As for the remaining six people, especially the four dead forerunners, it seemed to have completely disappeared from the historical record. Present-day occult practitioners might have forgotten their stories, or for some reason they dare not write down their names.
“You have never heard of the name of the Great Lord of Light, have you?” Evangeline gave a sad smile.
“I am the one who is ignorant.” Duan FeiZhou grunted.
“No. The present-day occult practitioners have almost forgotten Him. People don’t dare to mention Him, do not want to mention Him, and gradually, His name has disappeared from people’s memory – only our clan still remembers.”
“Because you are the apostles of the Great Lord of Light?”
Evangeline’s smile became even sadder. “My ancestors served the Great Lord of Light, believing Him to be the most powerful and distinguished of all the Forerunners. As His name implies, He was as glorious as the sun, immensely high and righteous. But because of this, He could not bear the defilement of the world. So He made a decision. He would destroy this old world and create a new one.”
Duan FeiZhou was dumbfounded. What was with this Code Geass plot? Was the Great Lord of Light a chuunibyou?
“You’re surprised to hear that, aren’t you?” Evangeline misunderstood the reason for Duan FeiZhou’s surprise.
“Uh…I guess so…” Duan FeiZhou stammered. “But He didn’t succeed in the end, did He?”
“Exactly. Some of the Forerunners disagreed with the idea of the Great Lord of Light and joined forces against him. But the Great Lord of Light was too powerful and surrounded by allies who supported him. Even if the other Forerunners joined forces, they were no match for him. At this time, my ancestors made a major decision.”
Evangeline pulled the curtain closed and gazed back into Duan FeiZhou’s eyes.
“They betrayed the Great Lord of Light and told His secret to the other Forerunners. So the other Forerunners defeated the Great Lord of Light and made Him fall from the highest part of the vault of heaven, all the way down to the deepest part of the earth. As a result, my ancestors were cursed by the Great Lord of Light. We lost the favor of the Light and could only live in darkness for the rest of our lives. People call us the ‘Dark Ones’.”
“That’s vampires.” Duan FeiZhou blurted out.
“You could say that, too.” Evangeline shrugged.
“But what does this have to do with Etheric disease?”
“What exactly do you think the Etheric Crystals are?” Evangeline gave a sly smile.
“Pure energy of…”
No. Duan FeiZhou stopped. The world he was originally from had no such substance as Ether crystals. In that world line, the energy source of the industrial revolution was coal, and the dirigible and mechanical prostheses that replaced technology did not exist in the industrial era.
The reason why the difference between the two worlds was so great was precisely because of the existence of Ether crystals in this world. If Ether crystals were crystals of pure energy, why was this substance not found in his original world?
“Then what would you say the Ether crystals are?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
Evangeline said, “You know, energy is something that neither appears nor disappears out of thin air, but only moves from one place to another, or changes from one state to another.”
“The principle of conservation of energy.” Duan FeiZhou said. This was common sense that even junior high school students know.
“You can think about it, when a powerful forerunner like the Great Lord of Light fell, where did the huge amount of energy He had go to?”
Duan FeiZhou stared at the ceiling. “It should have dissipated into the air? Like the heat of a person’s body escaping into the surroundings after death?”
Wait a minute. Although the Great Lord of Light was close to the existence of God, in the end He was also an occult practitioner.
Occult practitioners don’t necessarily return ashes to ashes, and dust to dust when they die, did they? There was also the possibility of turning into undead. Wandering in the world forever, just like the generations of Lady Perlillas, just like the Nightmen’s dungeons of the dead who were bound for eternity. So where did the Great Lord of Light’s energy go after He died?
A creepy answer came to Duan FeiZhou’s mind.
“Does it mean that…” He suddenly felt that his throat was dry and it was hard to make a sound, “Those energies turned into…”
Evangeline nodded approvingly, “Etheric crystals.”
DFZ is intelligent and quick to understand… wish I was as bright 😏
This seems a win-win to me. A vampire gets their food and etheric disease victims get a cure.
No way would/will Z ever accept this though.
Thanks for translating and editing and the T/N.
Happy New Year!
Interesting vampire origin story! And cool concept of where the Etheric crystals come from. Wonder if the people with Etheric disease see the whole story of the Great Lord of Light play out in their minds which is why they recite those lines before their death.
Thanks for the chapter!
Ok, good, he didn’t become sick. I wonder if Duncan is this other forerunner? And maybe DFZ has the potential to be one?
Thank you for the chapter!