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Chapter 577: The lady of the lake.

England.

Natashia, Tatsuya, and Sasha were walking through what looked like a sea of trees.

"Hmm, the Demons haven't reached this place," Tatsuya muttered. He was a little surprised that this forest was intact. On the way to this place, they saw several houses and buildings destroyed, as it was quite obvious England suffered an attack from the Demons, but they were quickly dealt with by the Supernatural Beings around here.

Due to being a horde of low-level Demons, they didn't do as much damage, but since the attack was sudden, it caused a lot of death.

It was worth mentioning that the climate of this place was not like the surroundings at home, people were visibly afraid, and 'normality' was thrown out the window.

Everything did not descend into anarchy because the government quickly mobilized its troops, but it was evident that everyone was tense.

"This is a hidden place; we were only allowed in due to our Lineage."

"… Our Lineage?" Tatsuya raised an eyebrow.

"My Grandmother, your ancestor, was a Lightning Spirit, and even though we became Noble Vampires, we still have a 1% trace of that ancestry in our Souls."

"Oh... I assume that's where our Lightning Power comes from?"

"No, this is where our 'potential' comes from. The other Clan members can inherit the Power of Lightning, but the potential to reach new heights only comes from the Main Family Line."

"... Huh? Is there a difference between the other members of the Fulger Clan and us?"

At that point, Natashia and Sasha stopped walking and looked at Tatsuya as if he'd grown a second head.

"... What?..." Tatsuya felt uncomfortable with the stares of both mother and daughter.

"Did my sister not teach you anything about how the Clans of Vampire Counts work?"

"…N-No?" He stuttered a little.

Natashia facepalmed; she couldn't believe that her genius sister was so... careless.

"Is this something important?"

"Of course it's important! As my sister's son, you are part of the Main Bloodline, and you should know that so as not to be deceived. Ugh, it's a surprise he hasn't fallen into any traps so far."

"Mother, Tatsuya rarely leaves the house and spends most of his time training or with Hecate," Sasha explained with a slight tone of disbelief.

"... That's true, and knowing that woman, she wouldn't let that happen either..." Natashia thought about Hecate.

"Hmm, can you explain it to me instead of making fun of me?"

"… We are not making fun of you. We're just in disbelief that my genius sister forgot something so simple." Natashia sighed.

"It's understandable that she hasn't said that in the past, but by the time you settled back into Clan Fulger, this was something you should already know."

Tatsuya was silent and just looked at the two with a blank expression.

"Haah, Tatsuya, just use your head."

"How many Fulger Clan members do we have?"

"Around 500?" Tatsuya spoke an approximate number.

"It's not that much, but it's not far off," Sasha spoke.

Ignoring her daughter, Natashia said:

"Now, do you think all these people are your relatives like us?"

Tatsuya opened his eyes slightly; he understood that it didn't make sense. With the low fertility of Vampires, it was impossible to have that many Family members like this:

"… B-But how can everyone use the Power of Lightning?"

"It's simple, Tatsuya."

"A Clan Initiation Ritual."

"Huh?"

"This is something only the oldest Vampire Families of the Nobles know. Newly inducted members undergo a Ritual of Servitude which consists of the Clan Leader giving their blood to another Noble Vampire."

"… I see… A Servitude Ritual, huh… But-."

"I know what you're going to ask, isn't the Servitude Ritual supposed to prevent traitors?"

Tatsuya just nodded his head in agreement with his aunt.

"Unlike Vampire Slaves who were once human or another Supernatural Being who died and was then turned into a Vampire, the Servitude Ritual only amplifies the feelings of 'serving' the Clan Leader's Main Bloodline."

"This is not a form of Slavery. We want Clan members who are loyal to us, not lifeless puppets."

"Hmm..." Tatsuya nodded as he remained silent, absorbing the information.

"How exactly does this Ritual work?"

Natashia and Sasha looked at each other, shrugged, and then started walking forward.

Tatsuya followed the two women, a few minutes passed in silence, and when Tatsuya thought he wasn't going to receive the answer, he heard:

"Let's talk about a hypothetical scenario. Imagine that Hecate is a Noble Vampire without a Clan."

"Mm." Tatsuya made a sound to indicate that Natashia should continue.

"You, as a Main Member of the Fulger Clan's direct Bloodline, want to bring this Noble Vampire into the Clan as a member. What should you do?"

"…I will contact the Clan Leader and ask for permission."

"Correct; with permission granted, the Clan Leader herself will test Hecate and see if she is worthy of being part of the Clan with her own evaluation criteria."

"If Hecate passes the test, she will be taken to do the Ritual. The Ritual consists of the Clan Leader giving a drop of their blood and Essence to Hecate. Upon receiving that blood, the physical characteristics of Hecate will change, for example."

"If it's Clan Fulger, she will be given blonde hair and gain the potential to acquire the Power of Lightning."

"If it's Clan Scarlett, she will grow red hair and gain the potential to acquire the Power of Ice, just like Siena, Lacus, and Pepper."

"Oh, and don't think the Noble Vampire will be as powerful as the three sisters. Siena herself is an anomaly for developing such strong Ice Power, but that's understandable given who her Clan Leader is."

What Natashia didn't tell him was that there was a method, albeit a risky one, of increasing the other Vampire's potential:

'Scathach must have used this to amplify Siena's potential. Knowing the woman, she wouldn't want a weak member, and Siena was the first daughter she took in the human world.'

"The potential of the Bloodline depends on the individual themselves, but one thing is certain, the Clan member will never awaken a stronger power than the Main Bloodline members."

"I see..." Tatsuya spent some time storing everything he'd learned and said, "Is that why Lacus and Pepper don't use their Ice Powers?"

"They can probably use Ice Power, but it's easier to train something you've had since birth than something you've acquired."

"Does that mean Siena has a Bloodline of her own that she never used…?" Tatsuya spoke.

"Mm." Natashia just nodded her head.

"Siena has a strong hatred of her past, I once asked her about it, and she reacted really badly," Sasha added.

"Hmm..."

"Anyway, let's concentrate on our task. We're here."

That's when Tatsuya stopped thinking then looked straight ahead, and all he saw was a forest.

"We've arrived?" he asked, confused.

Natashia just flashed an amused smile. She found his reaction amusing because it was similar to what she had done when her mother brought her here the first time.

"For an Illusion Expert, it's ironic seeing you fooled by this… Well, I guess it's only natural. After all, your opponent is a Demigod."

The stoic-faced Tatsuya trembled a little when he heard his aunt since he felt she was belittling his capabilities.

Sasha narrowed her eyes as she felt something calling her in that direction, and what did she do? Did she walk towards that suspicious voice?

Of course not! She had seen many horror movies with this same premise.

"Mother, I feel something calling me in that direction."

"Hmm, looks like you can hear them."

"Hear who?"

"The Fairies." The moment Natashia said this, several points of light began to appear around the forest,

Creating a magical scene that seemed to come out of a fantasy book. The environment began to lighten more, flowers began to bloom, and energy threads seemed to pass through the flowers, trees, and grasses.

Tatsuya looked around, specifically at the points of light, and he could hear giggles coming from them. The moment he blinked his eyes, he realized that the place he was previously standing in had completely disappeared.

'What?' He immediately went on guard.

"Relax, we've been invited to the Kingdom," Natashia spoke calmly.

"Ugh, they're annoying, those voices." Sasha felt like several small children were talking in her head. It wasn't very pleasant, especially the giggling.

Tatsuya blinked and blinked again as an expression of shock slowly started to appear on his face. The place he was in now was simply magical.

He thought that if there were a paradise, it would definitely be like this place.

But soon, that expression disappeared when he started to hear several children's voices in his head.

Those voices were... Simply annoying.

"Let's move. Don't stand still, or the Fairies will continue to annoy you. They are playful by nature… Oh, don't harm the Fairies, or things could get ugly." Natashia warned in a serious tone. She didn't want them to repeat the same mistakes she had made in the past.

The two, who had annoyed expressions, just nodded their heads.

Soon the two began to follow Natashia, and after just a few minutes of walking, they came across a large lake where a woman with long black hair was sitting with her eyes closed. She seemed to be meditating on top of the lake.

The woman was beautiful and had an ethereal beauty that seemed unattainable by mere Mortals, the Charm of being Half-God, Half-Fairy was just too mystical.

She wasn't voluptuous like Scathach or curvy like Natashia; her body was lean, slender, and graceful. She was the perfect example of youthful beauty.

She was wearing a simple white dress that seemed to enhance the image of purity.

Pure, youthful beauty, along with a mystical charm. That was Tatsuya's perception of the woman sitting atop the lake's surface.

"Viviane, The Lady of The Lake, the woman who gave The Holy Sword Excalibur to the young man who would one day be called the King of Great Britain, Arthur Pendragon."

The woman opened her eyes, revealing dark blue eyes, matching the color of the lake she was in, eyes that conveyed tranquility and serenity.

"You reek of corruption, Vampires." Even though her words indicated annoyance, her voice was still calm.

"Oya? Don't you know what's going on?" Natashia completely ignored what she said since she knew about this woman's temper.

The Fairy looked at Natashia, her eyes falling toward Natashia's belly. She felt an incredible vitality from that place, but she realized that Natashia was not pregnant.

Question marks appeared in Viviane's head, and soon her gaze shifted to Sasha, and she was surprised that the girl looked a lot like Natashia.

'Probably her daughter.' The Fairy's eyes moved down to Sasha's belly, and again she felt that immense vitality.

"... Yes, I know. The vile Creatures of Hell are contaminating Mother Earth once more... Not that the humans were worse than them."

"Haah, I understand where you're coming from, I really do, and I share some of my thoughts with you, but… isolating yourself in this place while the world is burning is sheer folly, as far as I can see. You don't know anything that's going on, right?"

Viviane's face twitched a little, enough to let Natashia know she was right.

Fairies, like Angels, were a very pure Race, so they hated any kind of impurity and loved being in nature, which was their natural habitat.

Despite being a hybrid of a God and a Fairy, Viviane grew up as a Fairy, and her tastes were intertwined with them.

Unlike Mortals, especially opposing races like Vampires and Werewolves, trouble didn't arise through crossbreeding when a God had a child of any Race.

And this was due to a single simple reason, they were indeed Higher Existences than 'Mortals', and their nature was more in line with the Conceptual. They were something closer to High Spirits; therefore, their Race could be seamlessly combined with all others, and genetic problems would not arise.

Unless, of course, a God had a child with a Demon or Infernal Creature. The child would die due to the opposing nature of their parents. Just as the Gods were closer to High Spirits, the Demons were something more comparable to High-Level Evil Spirits, a Soul that had acquired a body to sustain their Sin. They didn't really have 'mortal flesh' like humans and other Races.

"Viviane-." Natashia was going to say something, but Viviane interrupted.

"What is that vitality?"

"... Huh?"

"I'm asking, what's that strong vitality in your womb? From what I can see, you two are not pregnant. Something like that is not normal." She was more curious about it than vile creatures.

Viviane focused her gaze again on the belly of the two women as she felt a nostalgic feeling: 'It's like I'm being bathed by mother Yggdrasil, but why is this vitality in their womb? This is weird.'

"That is-." Sasha was going to say something, but Natashia just looked at her daughter and shook her head.

Sasha pouted and nodded. She was feeling very embarrassed now since she knew very well what 'vitality' Viviane was talking about.

"That 'vitality' you speak of is the Essence of my husband."

Viviane raised an eyebrow at that.

"Is your husband a God of Life?"

'If so, it will explain the intense vitality, but it doesn't explain the nostalgia I'm feeling.'

'Oh~? Are my husband's seeds so strong that he could be mistaken for a God of Life?' Natashia found this fact quite interesting: 'Well, he is The Beginning of An Entire Race, so he needs to have energy.'

She couldn't help flashing a tiny victory smile, a smile that was a little perverted, a smile that, for some reason, irritated Viviane quite a bit.

And to make her mood even worse, she looked at the woman's daughter and saw the girl with the same smile as her mother, but hers was almost imperceptible. It seemed that Sasha had the same thoughts as Natashia.

"Of course not; he's a Vampire." Natashia corrected the woman.

"A Vampire…?" Viviane looked at Natashia as if she were stupid:

"A common Noble Vampire doesn't have that much vitality. Stop lying."

"…Who said he was a common Noble Vampire~?"

"..." Viviane looked at Natashia, and for some reason, everyone could see the gears in her head working.

'Only one being had this much vitality, the being that was The Beginning of An Entire Race. Only those kinds of beings could rival a God of Life in terms of vitality.'

"The Progenitor, huh… Did you sleep with Vlad?"

"HUH?" A look of utter disdain and disgust appeared on Natashia's face, which surprised Viviane at this sudden outburst.

"Of course not! Who would sleep with that eunuch, son of a bitch!? UGH! Just the thought disgusts me! BLEGH!" Natashia looked like she was going to throw up at any moment.

"My husband is the Second Progenitor of our Race! Not that piece of shit, Vlad!"

Tatsuya broke out in a cold sweat with that outburst. Why so much gratuitous hate? The King has done nothing to you, woman! Is this woman right in the head?... Oh, she's not right in the head.

Even if it was his aunt, he knew that the head of Natashia wasn't very good, although it was more stable now.

"Lady Viviane, please do not speak such barbarity about us. I feel nauseous and want to vomit just thinking about it. That is absolutely disgusting, thank you very much." Despite the polite words, Sasha's words held the same level of gratuitous hatred as her mother's.

"O-Okay…" Somehow Viviane felt she'd stepped on a mine she shouldn't have.

As soon as Viviane understood Natashia and Sasha's words, she quickly voiced her disbelief:

"Wait, Second Progenitor!? How did a Second Progenitor appear so quickly? Did Vlad die? And more importantly, are you sharing the same man!? MOTHER AND DAUGHTER!?"

"..." Natashia and Sasha just looked at each other. With just one look, mother and daughter could communicate, and they were saying:

'This is going to be a hassle.'

It was pretty obvious that the Fairy was utterly isolated from the world.

"Haaah, this is going to take a while." Natashia sat on the grass.

"Look, I'll tell you the important events and leave the details aside. We really don't have much time to fill in everything you missed."

"... Thank you for understanding." She was quite humble. It was at these times that Viviane regretted keeping herself isolated a bit, but... Just thinking about leaving this place, her whole body shook in disgust. She knew that the outside world wasn't as pure as it used to be, and few people knew about this place.

'At least here I don't have to worry about humans wanting to kill me to get immortality or something like that...the fools they are.' She thought in disdain.

"Daughter, do you want to explore? This will take a while."

"... Can I?" Sasha looked at Viviane.

"... Just don't destroy anything or hurt my Fairies."

"I won't do that," Sasha spoke resolutely and soon turned and left to explore the place.

"Your daughter seems more sensible than you."

"...She had a good mother."

Viviane raised an eyebrow at Natashia's wistful tone: 'Did she? Her mother died? Are you not her mother? Huh?' The woman was perplexed but just dismissed that thought. There was no point in overthinking, after all.

"Tatsuya, accompany her. It will be a good learning experience for you too."

"Yes, Lady Natashia."

'Natashia?' Viviane thought, confused. 'Wasn't her nickname Natasha?'

When Tatsuya left the place, Natashia started:

"Let's start at the beginning, specifically since I was last here."

"Mm." Viviane nodded.

....