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Chapter 602: A new goal for the fox.

"Haaah~, that attack certainly hurt."

Haruna's face tightened a little when she saw that he didn't take as much damage as she thought.

"... This is disheartening, you know? How did you not receive any damage?"

Victor looked at Haruna, who seemed to be pouting; tiredness was seen on her face.

"I'm built different... Literally." Victor laughed softly.

That answer only made Haruna's bad mood worse.

Victor was amused by the sight of the woman crossing her arms over her generous bust and turning her head with a pout on her face. He could completely imagine Ophis acting like that; they really were very similar.

'I think it runs in the family... I wonder if Ophis's mother was like that.'

"Aren't you going to finish your song?"

"..." Haruna looked back at Victor with a shocked look on her face.

"How do you know there was a final part?"

"How rude. I'm your opponent, you know? I could hear your music."

"...What-...?" Absolute disbelief was seen on Haruna's face.

'H-He can hear? How? Only those who practice my technique can hear this!'

Haruna suddenly remembered something her grandfather had said when she was younger:

"When you use this technique, only those who have practiced this style will be able to hear it... But to every rule, there is an exception. Those who love combat and seek to understand their opponent's 'intent', for those who respect their opponent and have overwhelming talent in the arts of combat, will be able to hear it, but... they will not be able to understand it... Only those who truly seek to compromise will understand your music."

He chuckled wistfully, "That's how I found your grandmother. She was a talented, kind woman."

His face became serious again, "... If you meet that person, and if that person understands your music, you should give him a chance to be your partner, but... Beware of ulterior motives, you are, after all, a beautiful girl, and there is a lot of garbage in this world and many people with ulterior motives. Never stop questioning, my granddaughter."

"One who stops asking 'why' will never conquer their own Hado."

Coming back to reality, Haruna's heart was beating like crazy as she did her best to keep her face neutral. A curiosity filled her heart, and she wanted to know if the man in front of her really heard her or not; with that curiosity in mind, she asked:

"H-How was my music?" She tried to keep her composure but failed miserably.

"Hmm~, it was a gentle song, and comforting, but also lonely... It was like a little girl wanting to honor someone important." Victor spoke in a sincere tone as he looked into Haruna's eyes, who visibly trembled with his words.

"It's a good song... even if the damage from it was no joke." Victor looked around in amusement. He didn't doubt that most noble vampires, except those of the Count Class, would suffer greatly at Haruna's hands.

'If she gains more power and uses this martial art... She will become a troublesome opponent...' Victor just smiled at that thought.

Returning his gaze to Haruna, he spoke:

"I wanted to hear the end of the song..." He sighed a little; he knew he couldn't hear it now. After all, he could tell that the woman was tired with just one look.

"...Maybe another day..." She replied with a little blush on her face. Her heart was pounding wildly, and she swore that if she wasn't very good at hiding emotion, she would be a flushed mess by now.

"Now, I'm completely exhausted, I had to recreate that moon twice, and that takes a lot out of Youki." Haruna didn't comment on the other energies she was learning. After all, fighting using something she doesn't understand is sheer nonsense.

"So you give up...?" Victor asked carefully.

"Hmm... Not yet." She smiled while looking at Victor with a twinkle in her eye.

"... You know, this is the first time I've had so much fun in a fight."

"..." Victor displayed a small smile. It was good to know that he wasn't the only one to feel that, although he already knew that from the expressions of the woman in the fight, but hearing it directly from Haruna just hit different.

"And by fighting you... I feel like I've acquired a new purpose, but..." Haruna's eyes were completely serious as she looked at Victor with a lot of expectation.

"I need to know how far I need to go."

Victor displayed a small nostalgic smile; he was reminded of a similar situation in the past.

When he had just fully awakened as a vampire, he was kidnapped by Scathach for training, and in the midst of that training, he asked a similar question to Scathach. He wanted to know how far he was from her goal and the power he possessed. The woman demonstrated her power that day, and it was incomprehensible to Victor, who was human only a short time ago.

He found this situation ironic; the past was repeating itself, but this time with him, and as someone who had experienced this in the past, he knew how important his own words were.

"Are you sure? You're going to be discouraged, you know? I'm called an anomaly by my wives for a reason." Victor asked with a serious face.

"...I need to know... In Japan, I've never had someone who completely challenged me. Now, as a faction leader that operates in the international supernatural community, I need to understand how things are out there."

"Don't lie to me. Tell me the real reason." Victor narrowed his eyes.

Haruna's face contracted a little as she opened her mouth:

"I want to know how strong I need to become to fight you again."

Victor flashed a big satisfied smile, "Better."

"Scathach, come here, please."

A red blur appeared, and soon the older vampire was beside Haruna.

"If her life is in danger, protect her."

"...Hmm, are you going to show her that form?"

"I can't, yet."

Scathach nodded in satisfaction. If Victor said he would assume that form, she would stop him; after all, she already said that he wasn't supposed to do that until he mastered his basic forms again.

"And I want to motivate her, not cause her despair."

Scathach nodded again in satisfaction, 'Is he going to do the same thing I did to him in the past?' She thought in amusement.

Victor turned his head, and his violet eyes seemed to glow a little as he looked directly at Kuroka.

The cat visibly squirmed when she felt Victor's gaze on her.

'How can he see beyond the reverse world?' Kuroka asked herself.

"Kitten, grit your teeth and put more Youki into this world. Because if you don't... It will be destroyed."

Kuroka swallowed hard; she wouldn't ignore the man's words, as she quickly yelled, "Call the idiot Genji and the Oni here! I want them all now!"

"Y-Yes!"

Victor jumped back and gained a distance of ten meters from Haruna.

"Haruna."

"... Yes?"

"Don't look away." Victor's atmosphere started to get more oppressive as the air around him started to get more suffocating.

"Do not freak out." The surrounding stones began to float around as if defying gravity, and Victor's hair did the same as soon as his eyes changed to blood red.

Storm-filled clouds were forming in the sky, lightning could be heard thundering across the sky, and the air began to enter a paradox of hot and cold at the same time.

Haruna gulped, her heart pounding wildly with anxiety, fear, and excitement.

She felt that a new world would open up to her.

The Youkai in the stands stood up at the same time and stared at Victor; they weren't in awe of his beauty... Instead, they were numb with a feeling of foreboding.

Something was going to happen, and it was going to change the way they viewed their lives forever.

"Look me in the face, and see for yourself." Suddenly, all the weather changes ceased, and a deafening silence fell until he proclaimed.

"This is... Power."

And then it happened. As if the weight of the entire world had fallen on everyone's heads, a great pillar of pure power rose into the heavens.

The change was abrupt, and nobody was prepared for what they were seeing. For a long time, Victor's figure disappeared in that immense amount of power, and the only thing visible was his silhouette and blood-red eyes that never stopped looking at Haruna.

A power so overwhelming that it completely changed the weather just by releasing it.

Haruna tried to stand up, not just her; everyone tried to stand up... But they couldn't. They knelt down and looked at that pillar with numb eyes. They couldn't think of anything or feel anything.

... At that moment, everyone just... existed.

Faced with an unimaginable amount of power they'd never felt before, they felt... small.

Like an ant looking at a giant, the difference was laughable.

'Did I try to fight...this?' A question was asked unconsciously by Haruna. It was a more overwhelming feeling than when Scathach used her power.

'Am I foolish...?' A sense of despair began to wash over her until she heard his words.

"Do not freak out," Victor repeated his words again.

"Feeling fear is not a sin because only fear can point out the weakness we have."

"And by knowing that weakness, you can work on overcoming it and getting stronger."

"... So don't despair because this emotion will only lead you to ruin. Being afraid is a good thing, but falling into despair is just a path of no return." The pillar of energy began to subside, and the mood began to become less chaotic.

"..." Haruna's trembling body started to calm as her fearful expression was slowly replaced by an unwavering determination. Slowly, she began to get up until she stood with an expression that Victor knew all too well.

An expression of pure commitment, she had acquired a purpose.

"That's a good expression." The power began to diminish even more until it disappeared completely, and soon everyone saw Victor with a satisfied smile on his face.

Scathach, who didn't leave her spot, just looked at Victor with a big smile on her face.

'Damn monster, with just pure power, you reached the Elder Vampire Count class... In fact, you might even surpass that class. After all, your energy is much more refined than ordinary Noble Vampires.' in and of itself, it was... terrifying.

Yes, Victor could achieve this power before, but that only happened when he entered vampire count form. Now? With just his base form, he's already reached the level of an Elder vampire count.

'He really cannot be compared to the norm. He completely breaks the common sense of an entire race, and if he continues like this, I won't even be able to classify him correctly anymore.'

"Looks like you found what you must do, Haruna."

Haruna just nodded with the same expression on her face:

"...Are all vampire counts like you?"

"Don't compare me with others."

"All vampire counts are in their own power class. I am an anomaly that cannot be properly compared with them."

"But... One thing is certain, if any of the current vampire counts unleash all of their power, along with the perfect transformation that is said to access the vampire nobles' ancestral powers, they would surpass me."

Haruna opened her eyes wide at the absurd statement she was hearing.

"Each countess has had centuries to train and perfect herself, and time is something that cannot be fought so easily, the only thing I have better than them is... Power."

"And that is something that I have absolute confidence that I can overcome."

Haruna looked at Scathach, and the woman just nodded, not denying it.

Scathach understood from the beginning that, compared to Victor, the power she had was nothing; the amount of power Victor's body possessed was absurd.

The current demonstration was an example. He turned the weather around him into pure chaos by exerting his power. Yes, Scathach can do the same, but she was only able to do so when she reached her first millennium alive.

In comparison, Victor did it in a few years.

Yes, Scathach, Natashia, and Agnes excel in techniques, experiences, and skills since they've had millennia to hone themselves and learn from their own lineage.

But in pure power? That was a stage reserved only for Vlad and Victor.

Progenitors were in their own league; they were the start of a race for a reason.

And abnormal progenitors like Victor have a stage reserved just for them. Since the beginning, Scathach knew it was only a matter of time before Victor got stronger.

... She just didn't expect it to be this fast. The power he wielded just now, she thought it would take 100 to 200 years for him to acquire.

Is Scathach down about this? It would lie if she said no, but she's not a kid who's going to throw a tantrum about it. She knew the world wasn't fair.

Beings like Vlad and Victor were around to prove that point.

She was the teacher of several geniuses, but Victor surpassed them all by a very large margin.

'And... It's good that he's getting stronger fast. If he continues at this rate, it shouldn't take long for him to fight me.' She couldn't wait for that day.

"Haah... That's a lot to think about."

"Take your time. I know you won't give up so easily, my vixen."

Haruna displayed a small smile, and her tails started to move more; she was delighted by the tone in which Victor spoke to her.

The world started to shake, and soon it began to disappear. Haruna turned back to the arena, looking at Kuroka, and saw her subordinate and a group of Onis and Genji passed out on the ground from Youki exhaustion.

Haruna just laughed at that and looked at the audience:

"The duel is over. The winner of this duel... Well, need I say more?"

"I suppose not." Victor laughed.

No one disputed his victory; no one was crazy enough.

.....