Chapter 044 – Breaking In
—Third person POV—
The Vlad Castle in the Demon Continent
Up until a few months back it was the home of the whole family of Dan Gate Vlad and their servants.
However, they fell into the patriarch of the Vampire house’s trap, and the family scattered. The servants were also forced out of the castle.
Now the patriarch of the Vampire clan Pylkkänen Vlad and his younger brother Ravino live there.
Their wives, daughters, sons, and family stayed at their own house.
Pylkkänen and Ravino settled down in the Vlad castle while they were in the middle of checking through its assets. They investigated business capital, bonds, household goods, and other things that could turn into money.
Living in the Vlad castle was convenient for that purpose.
Count Dan’s wife, Lady Seras Gate Vlad, was imprisoned in the top floor of the Vlad castle.
There was also the pretense of keeping her under guard there.
Because there was the fear of the former servants of the Vlad house coming to rescue Seras, the former head of guards Gigi was entrusted with the castle’s defense. It was because he was the one with the most knowledge of the terrain inside and outside the castle.
Just in case, there were also 30 of the Vampire house’s magicians ranked B-minus and over prepared for defense. Pylkkänen was not so dumb as to leave the defense to a traitor such as Gigi.
As their wages were paid from Count Dan Gate Vlad’s fortunes, the brothers’ pockets were barely hurting.
Seemingly having been thinking of something, Gigi knocked on the door to the room leading to the dining hall with his usual unfriendly face.
“…… Excuse me.”
When he entered the room, the patriarch of the Vampire house Pylkkänen and his brother Ravino were eating meat while making loud [munch munch] noises. The elder brother was rotund and fat, while in contrast, his younger brother was thin and lanky.
This was the place where Count Dan, Lady Seras, and their daughter Chrisse used to amicably enjoy their meals, surrounded by their servants.
Gigi knew of those days of gentle atmosphere and pleasant conversations.
For that reason, he was the one who felt the biggest gap with the two pigs currently devouring their meals before him, but he did not say a word of it and fulfilled his role as the head of guards.
“I will be delivering today’s report on Lady Seras Gate Vlad. Will it be alright?”
“I don’t mind, continue.”
With Pylkkänen’s permission, he continued his report.
“She’s taking her meals properly as usual, and is fine physically. If I dare say so, she seems to be lacking in exercise. She has ceased acting violently and is quietly abides by our orders, but she hasn’t lost the shine in her eyes. She is probably saving up strength and looking for a chance to escape.”
“Hmph, she’s cheeky for a woman. My brother really has bad eyes for women, I’m appalled.”
“Indeed, elder brother.”
The younger brother was sucking up to his brother with his words.
“Also, I have the report from the slave house that the transport of Dan Gate Vlad had been completed without problems.”
Gigi continued his report, not showing any reactions.
“Hmph, this way he won’t ever set foot on Demon Continent soil ever again. Fool that he is, he is still my blood-related brother, so I won’t take his life with my own hands. He should be thankful for that.”
“Indeed, elder brother.”
Actually, it’s not that they felt afraid that Dan would break out of his magic prevention choker by his own power and come back to them for revenge, but they didn’t have the courage to kill him themselves, so the reality was that they sold him as a slave because of that reason.
Simply because the patriarch of the vampire house Pylkkänen and his brother Ravino were small fry.
The former butler Merry and the others had already found out that Dan was sold as a slave.
They failed to take him back.
But they still hadn’t given up.
If only they could save Seras from confinement, Dan could return to them using his own strength.
This is what they strongly believed.
So they desperately tried to rescue her, but no matter if they did day or night attacks all of them ended in failure.
“In order to break their spirits, we’ll need Chrisse.”
“Indeed, elder brother.”
By simply increasing the rescue targets to two people it would make the objectives harder to fulfill.
Also, in order to make the mother, Seras, do as she’s told, there is nothing more effective than her child.
Then even if in the one in a million chance Dan came back, they could prevent him from doing anything by holding his daughter hostage.
“Then have you finally found Chrisse’s whereabouts?”
“…. No, that is…”
“You still haven’t found her!? Why couldn’t you even find ONE girl, and a good for nothing that couldn’t even use magic, at that!”
“Probably she had somebody’s help and left the continent…”
“Then catch her, go all around the world if necessary! You blockhead!”
Pylkkänen took hold of a plate with half-eaten meat in it and threw it at Gigi.
The patriarch’s half-eaten meat splattered on his face and clothes, but Gigi’s expression did not change in the least.
Pylkkänen let out a yell.
“Listen, you now have no other place to go but here. If I threw you out the former servants with a grudge on you would stab you in the back and kill you. If you don’t want to happen then give me some results! Understood!?”
“…. Understood. I shall make certain to bring Chrisse-ojousama to patriarch-sama.”
Gigi slowly bowed his head.
While they were having that exchange, there was a knock on the door.
Gigi’s next in command, a beast race man, entered the room alone.
He whispered in Gigi’s ear.
“…. Patriarch-sama. It seems like Merry is organizing a large group planning a rescue operation at the harbor town.”
“Tch, those idiots again… Gigi, go take your men and kill Merry and his gang. Be careful not to touch anyone from the other families.”
“Patriarch-sama, this might be a diversion. They had done so many attacks but this is the first time they started one so openly. It’s a trap to attack us with a flying column while our defenses are being shorthanded.”
“Don’t make me say it again! Our castle is strengthened by the Vampire house’s magicians in and out! Go take your men and kill those fools already! Or maybe you’d rather be kicked out of this castle right now!?”
“….. My apologies. I will immediately face them with my men.”
Gigi bowed his head politely and left the dining room with his subordinate in tow.
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It was one in the morning and even the plants had become quiet.
Defenses were laid out with the castle in the center.
It’s as if the enemy were proclaiming [we’re on guard against any attack from outside].
This is all going as we wanted it to.
Merry-san and the others gathered at the port town as a diversion to draw the enemy’s eyes.
Then as planned, they were wary of attacks from the outside.
The plan is for Snow and I to use a passage that leads inside the castle and rescue madam.
The one to get in touch with the vigilant Merry-san and the others was one of ojousama’s friends—the Lamia, Muir Head.
According to Karen, it seems that she is the best at catching people’s eyes.
It’s surely because she’s a snake, right?
Thanks to her the details of the plan safely reached Merry-san.
“But I thought they would take more people to Merry-san’s side. Well, this much is still within expectations.”
Beast race men were riding horned horses out of the castle.
They proceeded towards the harbor town.
The ones left in the castle was probably the vampire house—the magicians and men confident in their abilities.
Right now, the place we’re returning to was in the middle of the woods behind the castle.
I was in the middle of getting as close to the castle as I possibly could and spying on the situation. Because I had finished what I needed to do, I retreated back to the log cabin in the middle of the woods.
After about one hour I was back at the small cabin.
Inside the log cabin, Snow and Meiya were already waiting.
Since there were only these two that had bad relations with each other (though it’s just Snow hating Meiya…) there was a delicate and difficult atmosphere.
When I appeared, their faces brightened up in several senses of the term.
“Welcome back! Lute-sama!”
“Welcome back Lute-kun. How is the castle?”
“I’m back. They took the bait as planned. How are your preparations?”
“I’ve finished laying down the last of the traps in the woods. Chrisse-chan is ready, too.”
“I’ve finished my preparations as well. I can go any time.”
“All right. Well then Snow, should we begin our preparations.”
“Un, all right.”
Snow and I skillfully put on the equipment that were laid down on a rough table.
I was already wearing all-black clothes.
I put in two AK-47 banana magazines in each of the belt pouches hanging from my waist.
I also put a magazine in each magazine pouch attached to my vest.
I loaded the AK-47 with a magazine and pulled the cocking handle. One bullet made its way to the firing chamber.
I equipped a knife on my waist.
In my previous life, I think the number of assault rifle magazines prepared by army infantrymen [one loaded on the gun] + [6 spares].
I loaded one on the gun and prepared 6 spares, for a total of 7.
Which is about the average number.
Snow pushed the [S&W M10 4-inch] and [S&W M10 2-inch] into holsters hanging from her waist and breast.
The cylinders had of course been loaded with bullets.
Because I was busy with work on the sniper rifle, I had no time to make her her own AK-47, so I handed over my revolver.
With this Snow became a dual-wielding gunner.
Snow had 2 speedloaders in both pockets. (6 bullets × 2. By the way, speedloaders are accessories that arrange bullets into a circle that allow revolvers to be reloaded more quickly.)
On the vest that she wore just like I did, a loader called a [speed strip] was put in.
Compared to the speedloader that arranges the bullets in the same circular shape as the cylinder, the [speed strip] arranges 6 bullets with their primers down in a line.
The speed strip is a product that overturned the concept of unwieldiness. As a result, it became as thin as the average auto-pistol magazine and could even be carried in hand. As its weakness, loading bullets became a little bit slower but that can be compensated with the speedloaders.
Snow also had a knife equipped on her waist.
She was also shouldering a small sack.
Our bullets had a little bit of the heads removed from them and a thin piece of silver stuck in.
Silver is deadly poison to vampires.
The combined amount of our armaments is, by simple calculation, just enough to be able to kill all the guards in the castle.
However our goal in the end was madam’s rescue. We didn’t intend to massacre all the castle guards in the least.
The sky was cloudy and there was no light from the stars.
There was no signs of rain going to fall, either.
It was the perfect weather for a surprise attack.
I stretched my hand towards the log cabin’s fireplace.
I had already examined the gimmick that opens the hidden passage as soon as I arrived at the cabin.
I strongly pushed on one part of the fireplace’s interior wall.
Like in the fireplace inside the residence, one of the bricks in the flooring rose up. When I carefully pulled it up, it revealed an iron handle from behind it.
I took hold of the handle and opened the cover to the hidden passage with all my strength.
Firstly I poked just my head inside to check the situation.
“….. All right, there seems to be no problems.”
There was nothing on the dust piled up in the passage besides my footprints from when we left the castle, showing that nobody had used this hidden passage besides me.
The patriarch of the vampire house did not notice this hidden passage.
I entered the passage first, followed by Snow.
After we went in, Meiya replaced the hidden passage’s cover, and headed for her post.
“We should go then, Snow. Tell me if anything strange happens.”
“Un, alright, Lute-kun.”
We talked to each other then started off on the hidden passage towards the castle.
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Last time, I was carrying ojousama, and a one-way trip took 1 hour.
With me and Snow on foot, it took about 50 minutes.
We didn’t activate body strengthening to avoid notice from the guards on the surface.
Magicians are sensitive to magic power.
Which is why it is hard to kill a magician through a surprise attack using magic.
Since they could detect the magic power before the attack happens.
If on the off chance we were detected here by the guards on the surface, then the surprise attack will be a failure.
Even though we were not using body strengthening we felt almost no fatigue since we were just walking normally.
Once we reached the end of the passage I had Snow get up the stairs and check on the situation outside.
She had better nose and ears than humans for being a white wolf.
I wanted her to confirm that there was no sign of life on the other side of the door.
Snow touched her thumb with her index finger, and stretched out the other fingers.
It was the hand signal for [OK].
It was decided beforehand that once we’re here we won’t talk but instead use hand signals for communication.
I had Snow learn hand signals for that purpose.
This was one of those.
I switched places with her and pushed up the door to the hidden passage.
I temporarily handed the AK-47 over to Snow.
If it’s just opening the door with just pure strength and not body strengthening, then I’m the best one for the job.
A loud, heavy grinding sound filled the place.
As the vanguard, I first poked my head out and confirmed the situation with my eyes.
….. no signs of people as far as I could see.
The dining room I had become so familiar with until a few months ago spread out before me.
I lifted the door, trying to make as little noise as possible, and infiltrated the castle.
I put the cover down and called Snow over.
She entered the dining room and handed the AK-47 over.
This time Snow went ahead of me, listening for signs of people across the door.
Moving inside the castle, I had Snow take the lead. She’s the best one to work in the dark, using her nose and ears to quickly detect signs of people.
Ojousama and I made a detailed map of the castle, and had Snow memorize it.
We decided that I could take over the lead and change the route depending on the situation.
Just in case, I put the fireplace cover back on.
With the [S&W M10 2 inch] she was so familiar with in hand, Snow opened the door to the corridor, looked left and right, and called me over.
The two of us carefully walked the corridor, making almost no sound of footsteps.
It was because of the boots I specially made for this day.
In order to keep it from making sounds when I walked, I glued soft monster material to the soles. I inserted a plate made of magic liquid metal to the toe tips so they made good protective shoes.
Of course, if we ran with them they would certainly make sounds, but so long as we walked it was quiet. To start with, so long as we’re far away they wouldn’t notice.
We went towards the tower while minding our surroundings.
The entrance to the tower where madam was kept is roughly on the opposite side of the castle from where the dining room was.
The tower entrance was located underground.
You go one floor down via a stairway inside the castle, go through a door, continue on and there will be another door, if you open that door, go up the tower’s spiral staircase, and open the door at the top, you will reach the VIP room where madam is kept.
It seemed to have originally been a room where they kept royal or elite noblemen as prisoners.
The bricks the tower was made of were specially-made, Mages’ Association produced anti-magic bricks.
It seems to deflect magic over a certain amount.
Because the Mages’ Association monopolized its production, it was several times more expensive than regular bricks.
Due to those bricks, it is virtually impossible to attack the tower with magic from the outside and rescue the prisoner inside.
If for instance you wanted to destroy the tower, you need to use large-scale magic that exceeds the capacity of the anti-magic bricks.
You’ll need something so powerful it’ll destroy the prisoner inside with it.
If your intent was assassination that wouldn’t be a problem, but rescue is another matter entirely.
Snow, who went ahead stretched her hand out fully and extended her palm.
The signal for ‘Stop’.
She then wrapped her left index finger and thumb around the wrist of her right hand that was holding her revolver, with the other fingers outstretched. The sign for ‘Enemy’.
She let go of her wrist and extended 2 fingers.
In other words, it looks like there were 2 people on patrol coming our way.
She questioned me with the signal for ‘Battle’.
I shook my head.
To let the patrol pass, we opted to hide under cover while holding our breath.
I hid under a desk with a flower vase on it, and Snow hid behind a metal full-body armor.
“…. sheesh, I can’t do this, going on patrol this late.”
“Quit complaining. This is your job. It’s fine so long as we get paid.”
“Well, getting paid is certainly good, but they’re working us rough.”
A 2-man group appeared as they turned the corner grumbling.
Now that they’ve come this far I can hear their conversation with my own ears.
“There there, I’ll take you out for a drink next time, after I get paid. I found a nice place.”
“A nice place, huh. A nice place for you is probably someplace you can go gambling.”
“Don’t say that. It’s hard if I go there alone. You can drink as much as you like, okay.”
“‘It’s hard to go there alone’, what are you, a kid?”
The men passed by us, laughing, and turned the next corner.
After a short while the painful silence returned and we got out from our hiding places.
As Snow got out from her hiding place, her arm lightly knocked the metal armor.
That moment the armor’s long battleaxe started to slant, and fell down towards the floor.
I slung the AK-47 to my back and dived!
I barely made it and caught the long axe as it was about to fall on the floor and make a loud clang.
We let out a sigh in relief.
After putting the axe back in its original stand I lightly pulled on Snow’s ear.
She put her hands together in apology.
We got our grips together and continued.
Snow ordered me to stop.
We were on a straight path with nothing in it.
If we continued down this path, turned right, continued again, and turned left, we would reach the tower’s underground entrance.
Snow called me over so she could talk to my ear instead of using hand signals.
(Lute-kun, this hallway is rigged with a barrier.)
(There’s a magic device you surround your bed with when you make camp in the middle of a trip. When an animal crosses the bounded space it makes a loud sound only the user can hear to let them know.)
If I’m not mistaken, 3 years ago those fake adventurers also drove some stake-looking things into the ground when we made camp.
I recalled a difficult trauma.
But I’m glad I had Snow go ahead to be sure.
If there were magic traps there’s no way I would notice.
(You think you can disarm it?)
(No problem, but it’ll take some time, is that alright?)
(How much time do you need?)
(Probably about 5 minutes, I think.)
(Fine if it’s that much… Don’t use magic, okay. They’ll notice you.)
(I know that of course.)
Snow put down the hammer to her revolver and holstered that favorite gun of hers.
In order to disarm the trap she crouched down on a corner of the floor.
There were some stake-looking things put on the left and right walls.
Looks like they’re the barrier devices Snow mentioned.
…… 3 minutes into disarming the traps, Snow suddenly stood up.
She gripped her right wrist with her left hand, stretching out 2 fingers—The patrols roaming the castle are headed our way!
This is a totally straight hallway, and there’s no room to hide.
With the sole exception of a large vase where about 2 children could fit in.
Not having any other choice, we hurriedly hid inside the vase.
Though I said 2 children could fit inside, it’s still a vase after all.
There was no space inside, and Snow and I had to hug facing each other.
I could feel the sensation of her grown up soft chest through her vest and cartridges.
No time to fully enjoy the sensation, footsteps and the sound of conversation can be heard even inside the vase.
“Did you really see a person’s shadow?”
“Yeah, I trust my eyes. I only caught a glimpse but I definitely saw something move.”
“But the magicians and our friends are fortifying the outside, not even a rat should be able to get in. How did they get in here.”
“Hell if I know.”
The two continued their conversation.
They seem to be on guard from surprise attacks because they saw something.
But they couldn’t find any shadow anywhere.
“…. Looks like you’re seeing things after all.”
“But I’m pretty sure I saw a shadow moving.”
“It looks like we’re going to get through this safely.”
I unintentionally let out a sigh of relief.
Suddenly, my eyes met with Snow’s while we were still hugging each other. Her pink lips were there right before my eyes. There was the sweet scent of her breaths, and her pearl-white teeth. Because of her excessive charms, I unintentionally drew my head back to take some distance.
“Who goes there!”
I had misjudged the distance and the back of my head hit the vase, making a light sound!
Of course, the patrol duo noticed and called out.
Snow’s blameful gaze is painful.
They faced towards the direction of the sound–the vase and raised their voices.
“Oi, is there somebody in there?”
There were the sound of footsteps coming close.
Snow asked with her eyes, [Are we going for it now?]
However, the tower entrance is still quite a long way off. Still, we’re definitely going to be found as we are. I guess it’s sink or swim now…?
The footsteps were coming even closer.
“Uwaa! What the… it’s a rat?”
It seems that a rat appeared from behind the vase and scurried away.
The tension between the two men loosened.
“Looks like you saw a rat’s shadow. Never thought your eyes would be too good, eh.”
“Hahaha, that’s for sure. But the higher-ups told us not to let even a rat pass through. This means we’re doing our jobs right, huh?”
The men laughed as they resumed their patrols.
Snow and I each let out a sigh of relief simultaneously.
I never thought I’d really be owing favor to a rat. Thanks to it I was able to keep my head.
After confirming they had taken their distance from us, Snow signalled that it was okay to come out.
We vacated the vase, taking care not to make any sound.
This time, Snow returned the favor and pulled my ear.
I pressed my hands together in apology, like she did a while ago.
Then, Snow once again went to work disarming the barrier.
The barrier was disarmed after about 3 minutes from when she resumed work on it.
Due to it being a cheap item, it’s structure was rather simple, and it wasn’t too difficult to render it inoperable.
We’re lucky they’re not ones intended for indoor security.
We gathered back our spirit and went for the tower entrance.
We turned right, went straight, and there was a door to our left.
Snow stopped to a halt.
She told me with a hand signal that there were 2 people from their scents, men, probably carrying magic-boosting staves. She was able to judge all that from the scent of the special wood.
I signalled her back that we’re going to break in here at once.
Snow will handle the guard on the left, I will handle the one on the right.
As we had decided beforehand, we were to go all out with our magic and run up the tower in one stroke.
It was a race against time.
Snow gripped her beloved gun tightly.
I also made sure of my grip on the stock of my AK-47, and counted down with my left hand.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1–
We immediately gave our bodies an assist with body strengthening.
We jumped out from the cover of the corridor and aimed the AK-47 and revolver at our respective targets.