A dull light flickered before my eyes. It might have been calming like watching light dance through a glass of water, but I couldn't feel anything. I was like a husk, void of thought.
I strained my body in an attempt to get upright, but I collapsed back down about half-way through my effort.
That's when I saw the marking on the flat stone floor, a vast labyrinth of markings that I could barely raise my head enough to witness the horizon of. Some of the markings were charred to burning ash, some boiled and cracked like burnt caramel and the chalk danced like it had just come out of a furnace.
My straining head collapsed forward, although my arm managed to find its way in front of me just in time to cushion it.
I heard a muted yell of sorts as a cloaked person, likely a woman from her silhouette, yelled and rushed towards me.
Then my eyes grew heavy.
I woke in a bed with a roof of its own, bedecked in a royal red that would have been about as neon as would get in a Medieval Isekai.
I checked under the covers quickly. Thankfully, someone had put some boxers on me, even if the idea of someone touching me down there was a bit embarrassing. The rest of me though, was almost all bones. I had some amount of muscle on me and I could even feel a semblance of strength coming back to me, but that was mostly on a technicality.
Anyone in the street would have looked at me with worrying pity.
Is this what Isekai means nowadays?
Then, on that note, I tried to talk.
I sighed with a small relief. I really wasn't in the mood for someone to swoop in and tell me that I had to grind ten billion slimes and get money swindling every sword off every foe I'd fight for the next ten years. As calming and relaxing that might otherwise be, the roofed bed told me that something else was planned for me, something completely different.
I don't think I'm ready for this.
"Hey there." a voice called out to me. Something about it felt off, as if I wasn't really hearing it properly, like it had been processed through something or other…
Then she entered the room. I was just under six foot, so the both of us were similar in height, but I think it was the first time I'd seen someone with such white skin. Not in the European or Russian sense mind you, but as white as washed sheets. Her face had a naturally smug, cat-like smile to it while her translucent snow hair was braided into a tight flower bun. The autumnal cloak she wore blocked her figure for the most part, but above all else were those protruding, light pink bat ears that almost gave her another head to work with. She was a… bat-woman?
She exhumed confidence like nothing I'd ever seen, something that I actually found pretty disconcerting.
"Oh come now, am I really that scary now? See, I brought you some porridge." She said, moving forward with a small wooden tray to place on what had been my unconcious lap. The thick steam caught me off guard for a moment as I lifted off the bowl lid.
"I imagine you have a lot of questions, considering I was the one who summoned you a week past, so we'll take it nice and simple for now, alright? Let's start off with your name then…" She asked, sitting herself at the edge of the bed.
My name… oh yeah it's Amaiishi Satoshi.
Wait, I have to do it the Western way around…
Wait, she's a westerner so I doubt that she'll even be able to say my full name anyway. Guess I have to use my nickname here.
"Ash Satoshi Amaiishi." Thankfully that name was too nerdy to really get bullied over.
She looked kind of puzzled for a while and then replied back "Ash Satoshi Amaiishi… you Summoned have pretty weird names, you know that."
"What's your name then?"
"Ynqths Hereid Seraien."
"Yeah, welcome to my world. Everyone just calls me Inks anyway."
"I usually get called Ash when I'm travelling too. People can't say a name as soon as it reaches over three syllables from what I've dealt with. To be perfectly honest I'm pretty surprised that you're also able to speak Japanese."
"Japanese? Oh I think that's one of the names that comes up on occasion in the books. I'm not actually speaking it."
"So then how come we were able to have a complete conversation just now?"
"It's Runic, something of a universal magical language. We can only communicate because you are able to acknowledge it on a subconscious level, or something weird like that. I don't care about it, it's just super useful when it comes down to using magic more or less."
"That… sounds pretty useful actually."
"It isn't. I don't always like broadcasting what I'm saying through the entire hallway," She said bluntly, "You're an exception and you're going to have to learn Kevirn regardless. Sorry to burst your bubble."
"You want to ask one more question?"
"Uhh…" Honestly I was lost for words at this point. My head was increasingly swirling out of my control. Damn headaches.
"It's pretty obvious that you're still not feeling well enough at this point, so I'll just tell you the problem I had with the whole ritual thing because you're going to have to deal with it once you're up and able."
"I think the problem was on your end, since you died prematurely."
Yeah I think that was the train. Not like she'll know what a train is anyway though.
"Obviously I managed to get you back around without any permanent damage which I was very thankful because you're kind of cute-"
"I'M NOT CUTE!"
"Have you ever chatted to a girl ever?"
"Family not counting, no."
"Literally no girls whatsoever?"
"They probably pitied me from a distance if anything."
"Wait why did you just say lol?"
"Lol? It's probably just Runic being Runic and communicating an idea that you understood as 'Lol'."
Runic is the worst language I have ever heard of- Ugh… my damn head.
"You really need some rest, so I'll just come out with it. I had to stabilize your body with my own blood, and since vampirism is transmitted through Demons like myself, you're a vampire now."
"Don't worry, I managed to prepare for this scenario."
"WHY WOULD YOU BE PREPARED FOR A SCENARIO LIKE THAT?!"
"Because you're currently in a castle run by a vampires. Trust me, you'll be fine!"
A castle full of Vampires. Scratch that one off the list.
"They're not going to suck my blood?"
"Vampire blood doesn't really sit well with other Vampires. Any other race works a hell of a lot better. I'm also talking about blood in the metaphorical since we're not really talking about blood but life force, although that kind of gets mixed up with ecchi stuff."
Vampire stuff is ecchi? Would definitely explain some people's tastes on the matter.
"So… things will be fine provided that I don't become addicted on blood?"
"Provided you don't become addicted on blood," She nodded, "Although your first taste is something no one can imagine. Outside of sex which, quite honestly, it's not like you can imagine that either."
"Shut up." I sighed, finally about to dig into the oatmeal before Ynqths continued.
"Honestly I only think I have a week and a bit to teach you the language though, since there's a war on the horizon." Ynqths said, lifting herself off the bed.
"A war? With who?"
"Several of the Rodien Counts have it in for your liege, who I intend you to meet within the next few days or so. Me performing a Summon wasn't something he was particularly fond of, but he's nice enough to let it slide, although I have no idea what he'll get you to do in the meantime. Probably conscript you and then get you to do things you really aren't ready for. I'll try my best to keep you studying magic since Summoned have great affinity with it, but war is coming. You can't predict war." She sighed. "You eat up now, you're going to need as much strength as you can get."
With that, she left me to my porridge. The porridge was by no means incredible, but with what's happening now, I think it's what I needed the most.
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