The investigation department’s confidential file room was a place only 3rd Grade investigators and above could enter; additionally, any investigator lower than 1st Grade had to obtain permission prior to entering.
‘The list of Zero Grade investigators…’ Sheryl went over a file cabinet that had not been touched for a long time, flipping through several files that were covered in dust. She meticulously went over all of the files one by one before finally reaching a conclusion.
‘My hunch was right all along,’ she thought.
There had been a total of eleven Zero Grade investigators since the inception of the investigation department, and they all had corresponding pictures in the files, but the man she had met that night was not one of them. Additionally, no Travelers had been inducted as Zero Grade investigators in the history of the investigation department.
‘He was an impostor posing as an investigator,’ Sheryl thought calmly. She was not worked up by the fact that she had been fooled by an impostor, nor was she glad to have the chance to gain some merits through the event. She neatly rearranged all the files in order and walked leisurely back to the office.
There, a man with a long mustache and a sombrero sat behind a desk sipping coffee.
“Sir Rapentahil,” Sheryl called out.
Rapentahil, who usually dogged his juniors to go out and earn some merits for him, was usually not in his office and instead spent most of his time slacking off outside. It could be considered luck that he was in his seat at that exact moment.
“Sheryl? You came back earlier than expected. Don’t disturb my tea time if it’s not going to get me any merits from the higher-ups,” Rapentahil said.
“There is someone going around posing as a Zero Grade investigator,” Sheryl said.
“Kuheok!” Rapentahil choked on his tea and splashed it all over his pants. His composure went out the window as he immediately stood up and exclaimed, “An impostor is posing as a Zero Grade investigator?! What a fearless guy!”
“Please wipe your pants first,” Sheryl said calmly as she handed a handkerchief to the man.
Rapentahil immediately wiped his soiled pants with the handkerchief before clearing his throat and saying, “Ah, now that I think about it. What happened to that black magician who was spreading the plague? Did you take care of that?”
“Yes, sir. The other investigators and I were burning the corpse dolls that were the cause of the outbreak before I came over here,” Sheryl replied.
“Corpse dolls?” Rapentahil replied with a scoff. He continued, “You really do have some weird cases following you around. Do you remember that lady who acted like she was a young girl? The one who was doing it to inherit the assets left behind by that earl.”
“I do not keep the details of closed cases in my mind,” Sheryl replied.
“That’s not a good habit… Well, if it’s someone of your caliber, that’s a different story,” Rapentahil said. He rubbed and twisted his long mustache before continuing, “Now, who the hell is that fearless bastard who dared to pretend to be a Zero Grade investigator?”
“It was a Traveler from another world. We do not have any other information, aside from the fact that he is in his twenties based on his appearance,” Sheryl responded.
“That’s not enough information… Wasn't there anything special about him? Something that might help identify him?” Rapentahil asked.
“He was extremely expressionless,” Sheryl replied.
“That sounds like you. Ah, who knows? It might be your soulmate!” Rapentahil exclaimed with a snicker.
Sheryl glared at him sharply. She had never once held any affection for a man. Rapentahil suddenly stiffened and hurriedly said with a fake cough, “Ahem, I was joking. It was just a joke.”
Sheryl stared at Rapentahil and said, “The man even had the leisure to claim to have been acquainted with you, and told us stories about you.”
“Stories about me?” Rapentahil asked with a confused expression.
“Something about your non-stop nagging,” Sheryl said.
“Hey! When did I do that?!” Rapentahil’s voice boomed like thunder, causing nearby investigators to jump in surprise. Rapentahil’s face was red as he said angrily, “What a rude bastard. I swear I’ll lock him up and make him rot in prison!”
Sheryl changed the subject before the man could go on a tirade, saying, “I am certain that the suspect will come here to Vulpehin. I saw familiar tracks on the way here from the forest.”
“Hoo, you even remember others’ footsteps?” Rapentahil asked, sounding impressed by her meticulousness.
“Is that not something basic?” Sheryl responded. Rapentahil drank the remaining coffee and stood up, but Sheryl suddenly said, “I will accompany you.”
“Didn’t you just come back? You can go rest for a bit,” Rapentahil replied.
“You will not be able to recognize the man’s face without me, no?” Sheryl responded.
“I was about to ask you to give me a composite drawing of the bastard,” Rapentahil said.
Sheryl took a piece of paper and a quill from the table, then drew a sketch of Kang Yoon-Soo on the spot. She seemed to have drawn it quickly, but it was enough to recognize the suspect’s main features.
Rapentahil looked at the composite drawing Sheryl had made and asked, “Will you still go? It’s really fine if you decide to take a break.”
“It will be faster and more accurate if I investigate it myself,” Sheryl replied.
Rapentahil smirked and exclaimed,, “Alright, let’s go and catch that bastard who dared to pretend to be a Zero Grade investigator!”
The cold female investigator and the chubby old investigator left the investigation headquarters.
Vampires were creatures who consumed blood and lived for eternity. They were known as the nobles of the night, and they were high-rank monsters well-known for their beauty and magical prowess.
“How the hell are we going to hunt those things?” Henrick asked.
“It’s just one… for now,” Kang Yoon-Soo replied.
“…That ‘for now’ part is really worrying me,” Shaneth said.
Kang Yoon-Soo and his party were hiding in the bushes in front of a grape field on the outskirts of Vulpehin. The fragrance of grapes filled the air, tickling their noses.
“I cannot stand it anymore,” Iris said.
“What are you talking about?” Henrick asked.
Iris looked at the grape trees with twinkling eyes as she replied, “I want to go and eat those right now.”
“Hold up. Don’t you see those things under the trees?” Henrick asked, pointing at the army of kobolds lined up underneath the trees. He then rubbed his chin and added, “They seem to be under the influence of mind control magic. There’s no other way to explain how organized they are, since kobolds would never act in such an organized manner.”
“The vampire should be behind it, right?” Shaneth replied, subconsciously rubbing her neck.
Henrick suddenly said in an eerie voice, “They say vampires love the blood of beautiful women.”
“I just touched my neck for no reason! Stop it!” Shaneth exclaimed as her face flushed in embarrassment.
However, Iris’ face turned pale and she asked, “Does the vampire drink blood?”
“That’s why they’re called vampires,” Henrick replied.
“Then will it come for my blood too?” Iris asked, sounding slightly nervous.
“Try to remember how much the mosquitoes loved your blood,” Henrick said in an eerie voice.
Iris’ face turned pale white and she grabbed the hem of Kang Yoon-Soo’s clothes. She looked at him with tears welling up in her eyes and asked, “Kang Yoon-Soo, what should I do so the vampire won’t take my blood?”
Kang Yoon-Soo replied, “The vampire over there is a female.”
“…” Henrick subconsciously rubbed his neck.
It was Shaneth’s turn to speak in an eerie voice this time as she said, “I’ve heard female vampires love to drink the blood of handsome men.”
“I should be worried, right?” Henrick asked.
“Oh my…” Shaneth muttered as her face crumpled.
“…It was just a joke, you punk. Why the hell would you make that face?” Henrick replied.
Kang Yoon-Soo looked at the grape field and said, “That female vampire is attracted to women.”
“…Are there any more plot twists we should be expecting? You’re trolling us, aren’t you?” Henrick grumbled.
“It’s up to you to decide,” Kang Yoon-Soo said as he rubbed the hilt of his weapon, the Sword of Revelation. He thought, ‘It’s a shame I couldn’t use this against Kartheon.’
The Sword of Revelation would deal an immense amount of damage against those who were dead or had come back from the dead. It would have been the perfect weapon to use against Kartheon, who had died and come back to life; of course, Kang Yoon-Soo had been unable to use it since he had turned into a demon during that battle.
‘It’s different this time, though’ Kang Yoon-Soo thought.
The Sword of Revelation came from the Great Temple in the desert, and it was still filled to the brim with holy power. It was going to be a powerful weapon against the vampires.
‘This is one way to close the level gap between me and the vampire.’
Kang Yoon-Soo was at Level 224. He had gained three levels while fighting against the corpse dolls in the Shy Doll Ruin, but the vampire in the grape field was at Level 367.
‘Vampires are still considered high-level monsters even when their blood purity is low.’
Vampires determined their ranks based on the purity of their blood; one would be considered higher-ranked the purer and thicker their blood was. The vampire in the grape field could be considered high-ranked.
‘That’s why we can’t afford to be complacent against them.’
Vampires had excellent magic powers, and there was a high chance that they would be one-sidedly defeated regardless of how well-prepared they were based on the level difference alone.
‘We have to fully focus on this fight.’
It was the same even for him, someone who had lived for the thousandth time. This was the first time in his thousand lives that he was taking on such a risky fight. He was bound to die if he let his guard down even for a split second.
‘We first have to draw out the vampire and focus all our attacks against it.’
Kang Yoon-Soo then called out, “Henrick.”
“What’s up?” Henrick asked.
“Summon Rick,” Kang Yoon-Soo said.
Henrick’s face crumpled and he asked, “Why the hell do you want her now?”
“We need her,” Kang Yoon-Soo said.
Henrick grumbled as he took out his summoning box, then summoned the beautiful young girl.
“It’s boring inside the box,” Rick said while letting out a yawn. She added, “Can’t I just walk with you guys?”
“Are you asking me to hold onto mana threads all day?” Henrick grumbled.
“Come on,” Rick said, trying to appeal to him using her cuteness.
However, her attempt worked on Iris instead; Iris walked up to and hugged her from behind while saying, “Rick is really adorable.”
Henrick, on the other hand, did not feel an ounce of affection for Rick. He asked, “You, weren’t you a serial killer?”
“I was, when I went mad,” Rick replied with a shrug.
“…You really are a ticking time bomb,” Henrick grumbled.
Rick’s mental state went back and forth between normal and mad. She was a cute little girl right now, but nobody knew what sort of chaos she would bring once she went mad.
“Henrick, send Rick to the grape fields,” Kang Yoon-Soo said.
“Are you telling me to make this kid fight alone?” Henrick asked in surprise.
Kang Yoon-Soo shook his head and replied, “The vampire will be drawn out if you send her.”
“Are you telling me she will come waltzing out on her own despite having those kobolds tightly guarding the perimeter?” Henrick asked.
“Yeah,” Kang Yoon-Soo replied nonchalantly.
Henrick was skeptical, but he decided to do as Kang Yoon-Soo asked. He moved the hand that was connected to Rick through the mana threads. Rick slowly started to walk toward the grape fields; a kobold saw the young girl and suddenly barked.
The kobolds drew their weapons as if they were ready to charge at the little girl at any minute, but a voice suddenly commanded them, “Stop.”
The kobolds immediately froze in place, staring dazedly into the night sky. Then, a beautiful woman leisurely walked out from under the cover of darkness. She wore a revealing top, and a cape the same color as the night sky fluttered behind her.
“It’s the first time a young girl has come here,” the woman said. Her skin was as pale as snow, her eyes were as red as blood, and a pair of fangs protruded from her lips.
“Oh, a vampire,” Rick said nonchalantly, completely unfazed.
The tall vampire lady smiled and walked toward Rick, then said, “You don’t seem to be surprised even after seeing me. What’s your name?”
“Rick,” Rick replied.
“Rick? I think I’ve heard that name before… a long time ago. I think I heard it from my parents…” the female vampire said. She rubbed Rick’s soft lips and said, “My name is Rapelka. You really are adorable… and yet so beautiful, unlike others your age.”
Rapelka’s hands brushed down Rick’s shoulders in a slow and seductive manner.
Henrick’s face crumpled as he looked at Kang Yoon-Soo and asked, “How long do we have to just stand here and watch that?”
“I think we can report her to the investigators for pedophilia soon,” Shaneth said with the same expression.
“Wait,” Kang Yoon-Soo said.
Rick stood calmly in place as if it did not bother her at all. Rapelka started to sound more excited and her breathing turned rough as she said, “You’re just like a doll. Ah, I’ve never seen such a beautiful girl as you in my long life. Even a berry in the midst of a snowy field wouldn’t look as luscious as you!”
She started to move her hand, touching Rick’s white neck inappropriately. She then whispered into Rick’s ears, “I love the blood of young girls like you. I wonder what you will taste like? I wonder how sweet and innocent your blood will be?”
She then revealed her fangs and exclaimed, her voice filled with ecstasy, “Ah! I can’t… I can’t hold it in any longer!”
She dug her fangs into Rick’s neck.
“What in the?!” Shaneth exclaimed in surprise, quickly covering her mouth with both of her hands.
Iris was also surprised, her eyes wide. Henrick, on the other hand, seemed to be quite calm as he watched the scene.
“Ahjussi, why aren’t you surprised?” Shaneth asked.
“Dolls have no blood,” Henrick said calmly.
Then, a scream suddenly reverberated across the grape field. “Kyaaaaaaaaah!”
Rapelka’s fangs cracked, but Rick’s neck, on the other hand, was completely fine. In fact, the vampire’s fangs did not even manage to leave a mark on her neck.
Shaneth was surprised once again, and asked, “Didn’t the corpse dolls bleed when we fought against them before?”
“That’s because it was made by unskilled, cheap hands. That kid’s body was made by the best doll maker, you could say, and it won’t even be scratched by most attacks,” Henrick said with a shrug.
Rick furrowed her brows while touching her neck and remarking, “Is that it?”
[Rick has been bitten by a vampire.]
[Rick’s affinity toward vampires will be lower from now on.]
Mental State: -5
Current Mental State: 45
[*Rick’s mental state will lower further if she notices that her owner has used her as bait.]
Henrick was surprised, laughing in resignation as he exclaimed, “What the hell is this…? Mock parenting?”
Kang Yoon-Soo pulled out the Sword of Revelation and pointed it toward the female vampire after walking out of the bush. He said, “Kill it.”
1. Here we have a classic form of wordplay that can only be understood in Korean. Vampires are called 흡혈귀 in Korean, which literally means [흡 = sucking] [혈 = blood] [귀 = monsters]. Iris asked “Do the blood-sucking monsters drink blood?”, which was why Henrick’s response was “That’s why they’re called blood-sucking monsters.” ☜