The Saint’s energetic voice echoes.
The curtains had already been opened, illuminating the various pieces of furniture in the room.
The antique designs and gothic atmosphere betray the taste of the room’s owner.
There were already two people in that room.
One is a girl in a maid dress, a familiar.
It stood in the corner of the room silently, as if just another piece of furniture.
The other person was an older looking man.
Scraggly beard and unkempt white hair, albeit looking somewhat dandy in his gown like pyjamas.
The man was sitting on the guest sofa.
A wooden chessboard had been placed on the table in front of him.
On the other side of the chessboard, there was a dog.
This dog happens to be covered in scales, with reptilian eyes and leathery wings ―― Biologically speaking, this can’t be anything but a ‘dragon’.
But, ‘dragons’ no longer ‘exist’.
Vampires and their familiars are also said to not exist anymore, belonging only in fairy tales.
Of course, if you met someone who proclaimed ‘I am God’ when you met them, you would think they might be slightly touched in the head.
Surely it must be the same for the Saint when encountering vampires or dragons――the passage of time is a cruel mistress.
The man smiled subtly and called out to her in a deep voice.
“Oh, miss Saint, welcome.”
“I’m glad that mister is so keen this morning! Let’s work hard to return to society today!”
“Now, now. Today, this uncle wants to suggest a different topic.”
“Oh! Just seeing mister so active is a relief to me!”
“Little miss Saint, do you know how to play chess?”
“I know how the pieces move, at least…”
The Saint looks a little modest.
‘I see’, the man was relieved and nodded his head.
The worst-case scenario was her responding with ‘Chess, what’s that?’.
If she had said that, he had intended to explain the rules to her――but in a way, it’s quite amazing to see that the rules haven’t changed even after hundreds of years.
“How about it? I’m usually always the one going along with your suggestions, right? So today, why not keep me company with a game of chess?”
“I see! In that case, I understand! I may be new to the game, but let’s have a good match!”
The Saint sat in front of the man.
The dragon sat up next to the board that lay on the table cushioned between the two of them.
“…Oh? Mister, are these pieces handmade?”
“Ho, so you noticed?”
“Yes! Mister, you’re very skilful you know! This is amazing!”
“I see, I see. Well, it’s not a big deal, but I think they turned out well.”
The man said so happily.
He heard his familiar sigh in the corner of the room.
The man decided to ignore her――
And picked up one of the pieces at random.
“Let us play the first match. Afterwards, if you like, I can play with a handicap.”
“Mister, are you experienced at chess?”
“Well, somewhat. I played for about fifty years.”
“Isn’t that sort of amazing!?”
Indeed it would be, by a human’s standard.
But if he were to scale those years back to a human’s lifespan compared to his, it would be close to him saying ‘I played for about two years’ ―― So the man, who doesn’t quite grasp the human perspective is a little confused.
“50 years a chess player… Huh? 50 years? Mister, are you over 50 years old?”
“I’m slightly over 600 years old.”
“Hmm, you look quite young for that age though?”
The Saint didn’t seem to react to it like she usually does.
The man decided not to prod it further.
“Oh, right, why don’t we have a reward for the winner?”
“Jeez-! Isn’t that a little unfair, since mister is so experienced!?”
“Even though I say reward, it won’t be anything serious. That’s right――If I win, why don’t we have another match sometime? Is that fair?”
“I see, in that case, I accept. Even if I won though, I’d still keep you company! Because I want to get along even better with you, mister!”
“Is that so?”
“Yes! In order to help you reintegrate into society, it’s very important that you trust me. Besides that, maybe if mister becomes good friends with me, you’ll start to think ‘Friends aren’t so bad’ and look for more!”
Like this, it’s easy to see why Saints are also known as ‘People of Light’.
They completely believe in doing what they can for the community around them.
Because the old vampire was a person of darkness himself, he hadn’t ever seen the point in pursuing human relationships――In the first place, he isn’t human, so why should he care for such a thing?
“Ah, that’s right, for my ‘reward’ if I win, would it be fine if I bring some friends of mine to visit?”
“…………………That sounds troublesome, so I’m not going to go easy on you.”
“Ehh!? You hate the idea that much!?”
“…That said, ‘friends’, huh? You seem to be quite the sociable one.”
“W-well, I was thinking that if I brought someone who could get along with mister…”
“Listen here, little miss Saint, in this world there some people who get along with everyone and people who don’t, do you understand?”
“But, since my friend gets along with everyone so well, I’m sure that mister would like them as well!”
“Just as I thought, maybe you and I really are a little too different, little miss Saint…”
“Eh… Ehhh!?! What do you mean!? Did I say something wrong!?”
“You and I live in different worlds.”
Too strong a light will only make a shadow darker.
It was that kind of feeling.
Lying on the table, even the dragon was a little put off by the Saint’s words.
He is also someone in the darkness. Like the vampire, he can’t help but react negatively to a phrase like ‘friends with everyone.’
“We will decide who goes first with a coin toss.”
The man suddenly seemed serious.
Between light and darkness, a decisive battle with their principles at stake was about to commence.