The Harbor of Loners was one of the famous bars in the Thirteen Co-City.
Its boss was a fifth generation Kindred and his noble status determined how guests treated him. Up till now, there had not been more than 50 fights in the bar—49 incidents definitely did not count as 50. For an old establishment with a thousand and some years of history, that was not an easy record to have.
But after having experienced these 49 fights, the boss had developed eagle-sharp eyes, capable of telling which guests would be troublemakers and which guests would be quiet ones with just one look.
For example, the two guests that just entered very accurately represented these two types.
One looked wild and unruly; despite wearing sophisticated clothes and behaving elegant, the very air around him seemed to scream death to those that defied him.
And the other one, from his appearance to the air around him, seemed to exude the gentle aura of someone who was like a little lamb, defenseless against slaughter.
As the owner watched them slowly approach the bar, his nose twitched. From the troublemaker, he smelled the scent of a sixth generation. But that scent didn’t seem to come from his body and rather from his pocket? The sensitivity of his nose ranked at the top of the list in the Kindred Realm. He didn’t doubt his judgement.
“What can I get you two?” Though he was shocked and confused, the owner’s expression remained calm and steady. The bar has been open for so long that he’d seen his share of strange things. He had a pretty good idea of what things he should care about and what things he should pretend not to see.
“Fruit juice,” the troublemaker answered calmly.
The owner blinked and asked, “With red?”
Of course, red referred to blood.
The little sheep next to the troublemaker frowned, clearly bothered by the stench of blood coming from the owner, and his face turned ashen pale.
The innocent owner received an angry glare from the troublemaker.
“Will milk be alright?” The owner smiled and then rapidly walked away.
The troublemaker and the little sheep were, of course, Baal and Wang Xiaoming respectively.
Though Wang Xiaoming had mentally prepared himself before walking in, the contamination in the air was much higher than he had estimated. Even if he covered his nose, he could still feel the blood stench crawling into his body through his pores. That wasn’t the worst part either. The worst part was that his ears were filled with strange, droning music and the teasing laughter of the other vampires. Because he was covering his nose, he couldn’t cover both ears.
“Want to go into my space?” Baal noticed that he was acting listless and couldn’t resist asking.
“Can’t.” Wang Xiaoming shook his head rapidly. Then he said in a quiet voice, “Edwin said that spatial ability is something unique to angels and fallen angels. If you use your space, people will discover that you’re pretending.”
Baal frowned. He wasn’t worried about them discovering that he was a fallen angel. He was worried that after being discovered, he wouldn’t be able to go to the Bloodnight Mountain. At that thought, he couldn’t help but feel extremely vexed with the Bloodnight Mountain’s restrictive zones.
The boss quickly returned with two glasses of milk.
The one in front of Wang Xiaoming had a faint green tinge to it.
“Mint flavored,” the boss explained with a smile as Wang Xiaoming gave him a puzzled look.
Wang Xiaoming took a small sip and instantly felt his entire body become refreshed; even the blood stench he was inhaling didn’t seem as intolerable.
Baal noticed that he was drinking it happily and pushed his own cup toward Wang Xiaoming.
Wang Xiaoming asked in surprise, “You’re not drinking?
“Do you think I like drinking this kind of thing?” Baal demanded unhappily.
The door behind them opened again.
This time, a group of people entered. Each of them wore jeans of about the same color, with giant holes around their knees and thighs, revealing their pale legs. They either wore jackets or jean jackets and their hair was dyed various colors and styled into all kinds of shapes using hair gel. There were cannons, squares, ram-horns… Basically any one of them could be used as a weapon.
Their appearance was quickly met with the other guests’ clapping.
A series of whistles rose and fell.
The owner explained quietly to Wang Xiaoming, “They’re a very well-known band around here.”
“So they’re celebrities.” Wang Xiaoming realized.
Baal looked guardedly at the boss. The temperature of a Kindred’s blood determined their passion for guests. No matter how he looked at it, this boss seemed a bit overly excited.
The bar owner met his glare with a calm smile as he answered, “I just want to be a suitable member of the service industry.” He took out a small pamphlet and put it on the bar counter. “This is something I brought back from the Mortal Realm. I’m trying really hard to learn the etiquette and protocols of a five-star hotel.”
Wang Xiaoming glanced at it and thought the logo on the pamphlet seemed a bit familiar. He thought some more and then suddenly thought, “Isn’t this the logo of cousin Tony’s hotel?”
The owner quickly put the pamphlet away and reassured, “So believe me. All I’ll provide is appropriate service. As for the guests’ secrets? I’m not interested.”
Baal squinted his eyes. “What do you know?”
The boss answered with a smile, “I only know what my guests want me to know.”
Baal examined him, as if trying to judge how trustworthy his words were. A long moment later, Baal looked away.
The owner sighed in relief. According to his past experience, that expression on a guest’s face usually hinted that they’d come to an agreement, which drastically reduced the troublemaker’s possibility of causing trouble in his bar.
Wang Xiaoming suddenly asked, curious, “How come I can understand what they’re saying?” It was quite normal for him to understand Shi Feixia, but why had he also understood what Gin, Layton, Isefel, and even Edwin said?
“Because we’ve always talked like this,” Baal answered.
“…” Wang Xiaoming murmured, “Chinese? Why?” He had always assumed that fallen angels and vampires belonged to the Western culture, so why Chinese?
The owner suddenly interrupted, “Legend says it’s because of a pie that only knows how to write in Chinese.”
“Huh?” Wang Xiaoming stared wide-eyed at him. He was sure that sentence was not Chinese because Chinese didn’t have that weird kind of combination of words.
“Is that important?” Baal raised an eyebrow.
“… I’m just asking.” As long as he understood the language, everything was okay. Wang Xiaoming very calmly accepted the situation.
One of the band members in ragged jeans slammed a hand down on the bar and made Wang Xiaoming jump.
Baal’s gaze chilled.
The owner hurriedly tried to smooth things over. “How may I help?”
“The freshest blood you have. 100% purity.” That band member turned around to look at Wang Xiaoming, his gray-blue eyes glinting with a strange light.
Baal hooked Wang Xiaoming into his embrace and killing intent spilled out unrestrainedly from his irises.
“Your drink!” This time the owner appeared even faster and set down a glass filled with blood-red liquid in front of the band member.
Only then did the band member slowly withdraw his gaze from looking at Baal. He sniffed lightly and asked, “Is this chicken blood?”
The owner quickly retorted, “Duck blood.”
“…” The band member frowned in disgust. “No human blood?”
The owner sighed, “Ever since the human protection laws were put in place, the number of Blood Slaves has been drastically reduced. And there’s a limit to how much blood can be withdrawn from a Blood Slave every month. As awareness for human protection is rising, there are fewer and fewer humans who are willing to sell their blood.”
The band member’s gaze slid from the cup all the way to Wang Xiaoming and he smiled chillingly. “There’s one right there, right?”
The owner’s nerves suddenly tightened.
Could the fiftieth fight be happening today?
Perhaps it was because Baal’s killing intent was too scary, but the other guests in the bar very quickly realized that something strange was happening. The other members of the band all drew closer.
The owner struggled and finally said, “I have two human blood wines in my cherished collection, but the price is a bit expensive…”
“Price is not a problem.” As soon as he heard there was human blood available, that band member’s expression visibly calmed down.
“While price is not a question, the question is whether you’ll be alive to drink it.” Baal interrupted. It had been a very long time since he’d met someone who wanted to die so badly!
The tension, which had eased, suddenly tightened.
The bar owner practically sighed. “If you are willing to fight outside, I’ll give one of the human blood wines as a prize to the victor.” He really hated renovating; in addition to having to close his business, he also hated those creaking and cracking sounds. After all, he lived right behind the bar.
Baal answered, “I don’t like to drink human blood.”
“…” The bar owner continued, “The two glasses of milk are free.”
“Deal.” Baal stood up.
Wang Xiaoming suddenly grabbed him and asked quietly in his ear, “Aside from the space, what other spells do you know?” Ever since he had met Baal, he seemed to have only seen Baal move people around. He was very worried that Baal only knew that single spell, which he couldn’t use at the moment.
Baal paused at the question.
“And you can’t show your wings.” Wang Xiaoming was even more worried. “Maybe we should let it go.”
Their whispering made the band members assume they were afraid, and they couldn’t help but smile mockingly. “If you want to apologize, you should do it soon. Otherwise, the problem becomes whether you’ll be alive to apologize.”
The other band members instantly joined in the fracas.
Each and every guest adopted the look of a showgoer. Though they could smell that Baal was a sixth generation Kindred—actually that was because of Xiang Wenjie’s blood in Baal’s pocket—that band member was also a sixth generation, and had been one for a very long time. No matter from which angle they viewed the problem, Baal had a greater chance of losing—of course, they couldn’t see the problem from the fallen angel’s perspective.
Wang Xiaoming gripped Baal’s sleeves. He knew that, given Baal’s personality, he’d never be able to bend his pride and apologize. But it wouldn’t be hard for him, Wang Xiaoming, to apologize; the problem was how to convince Baal and that Kindred to let him apologize on Baal’s behalf.
While he fretted, he heard Baal describe his own troubles. “I’ve suddenly realized…”
Wang Xiaoming turned to look at him.
“I know quite a lot.” Baal cracked his knuckles. “Sometimes having a choice is a painful thing.”
The band members and the other members of the audience who were interested in the show chattered like magpies as they rushed out the door.
Baal and Wang Xiaoming were about to join them when the people who had rushed out rushed back in like the retreating tide.
“What is it?” that band member asked confusedly.
“Daniel is here,” his companion answered excitedly.
The band member’s mood changed and his entire face turned bright red from excitement and he shoved his way toward the door without another word.
And so, Baal and Wang Xiaoming were openly shoved to the edge of the crowd when they had been at the center of the storm before.