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59 Living Weapon

    Bursting back into the morgue, I look around the room to find all the vampires sitting around talking. I dip behind a corner and press the flower in my hair turning it back into a top hat. I remove two bags of platelets, plasma, and red blood cells.

    Walking up to the group holding the bags, "Hey, fools." I say proudly.

    Aponi looks at me, "Hey, Eira. Whatcha holding?"

    "Blood bags. What are you guys talking about?" I ask.

    "Well, actually, we were talking about ways to get blood in the longer term, but it seems you've solved the problem in the short term." Aponi answers.

    I blink in surprise, "Oh? You guys were talking about such a thing?"

    "Of course. After all, we need it to live now." Terry replies.

    "Oh, well here." I lay the bags between the group. "I want you guys to experiment with these. Try different combinations to see if you can find one that tastes best."

    "You're not going to help?" Eden asks.

    I look at Eden, "Do you want me to help?"

    Eden nods, "It would be a good opportunity for us to talk."

    "..."

    Aponi cuts in, "You know we've never had a very good opportunity just to talk. It's always some intense life or death moment."

    'I kinda wanted to get back to my god space, but...'

    "Uh, okay," I answer.

    I sit down and look between the group. To my left is Eden, followed by Sam, Terry, the soldier, and Aponi to my right.

    "So for red blood cells, we have a bag of O+ and a bag of AB- here," I say.

    I remove twelve shot glasses and six bottles of water from the storage ring. I place the shot glasses in a circle and fill five with O+ and five with AB-.

    "Is this a wine tasting?" The soldier says.

    "Yes, if you're going to make me stay, then we're going to do this right, uh, what's your name again?"

    "Jimmy."

    "Oh, yeah. That's right." I reply.

    "By the way, how did you get these? We were talking about trying to get some from across the street." Aponi asks.

    "From the blood bank?"

    "Yeah, from the blood bank, but we weren't sure how to go about it."

    I look at the group with even more surprise, "Ye-yeah. We can always use more blood. I got these from the blood storage room here."

    "Weren't there soldiers there?" Terry asks

    "Yeah, there were."

    Terry looks at me, "Did you kill them?"

    "Yes, I did," I reply without emotion.

    The five grow quiet, "Oh."

    I stare at the group with a stern expression, "If anyone's got anything to say, feel free."

    "No. We don't have anything to say." Aponi says.

    "Really? What's wrong with you guys today?"

    "Nothing's wrong with us." Aponi continues.

    I raise an eyebrow, "Okay. Well, you all seem to have come to some kind of agreement?"

    "We... we just haven't had much time to really think about things until recently. We're still talking and working things out."

    I glance between them and see that they all clearly don't want to continue the line of questioning for now.

    I shake my head, "Let's all take a shot of the O+ blood to start. It'll be underwhelming, but then we'll try mixing other things into it."

    The reactions are about the same among everyone. Everyone agrees the O+ is okay. After that, we drink some water to cleanse the palate and then drink the AB- most describe it as okay or below average.

    "So, the O+ seems better."

    We continue to experiment, mixing different quantities of platelets and plasma. Sam even combined the two types. The plasma seemed to add sweetness while the platelets seemed to make it more savory.

    Sam stands and looks at me, "Platelets on a steak would probably taste great! Can I go get some steaks!?"

    I nod, "Sure. I have something else to do anyway. I guess it will only take a moment, though."

    "Hell yeah!" Sam shouts as he slaps Terry hard on the back. "Come on, Terry. Let's go see what we can find."

    "Have fun. Oh, but avoid any soldiers. Some squads seem to be checking body temperatures."

    Terry looks at me with confusion, "So?"

    "I guess you haven't noticed? Anyways, your body temperature is probably around 10 degrees cooler than a human."

    Sam's eyes grow big, "What? Really!?"

    "Yeah. You should also avoid cameras or even disable them if you come across them. In fact, Sam and Terry, you guys have the job of disabling any cameras you come across."

    "Will do boss," Sam replies.

    "Fine." Terry answers.

    The two walk away, and I also stand, "I'll be back in a few minutes."

    'At least it'll seem that way to them.'

    Walking into the stairwell, I concentrate and soon find myself back in my god space. The large obsidian black press, fangs, and hearts are still waiting for me to initiate the ritual.

    "Okay, let's do this."

    Converting the flower back into the top hat, I hold it in my hand and reach into the hat, pulling out bag after bag of blood. Finally, after pulling out thirty bags, I take each one and proceed to the first heart.

    "System, how much of this do I need to use?"

    [Host, around three-quarters of a bag, is necessary; however, extra blood can help the process.]

    "Okay, well, I'll just do the full bag for each heart then."

    I cut the corner of the bag and position it in a way that allows it to drain into the heart's internals. I go heart by heart, doing the same thing to each. After a bag of blood has been added to each, I move to the press.

    I take a moment to look over the press one last time before moving on. It is simple with two rectangular halves made of the same material the platform is constructed from. Both the base and the top of the press basically resemble huge, solid, and polished pieces of obsidian. Without actually measuring, I'd say both pieces are around 5 feet wide, 9 feet long, and 4 feet thick. Due to the height of the base piece I'll typically have to jump or climb onto the press to make any changes which has been a bit annoying.

    At each corner, there are simple cylinders that allow the top piece to slide and press against the base. The surface itself is smooth as marble and is capable of warping into simple shapes and designs once instructions and essence is added to it. It is different from a press in the human world or even in the magical era of the past.

    As for the engravings, these were a huge pain. They are complicated and contain a combination of the Blood language and a few other languages that are not found within my inherited memories. I was able to engrave them only because of the systems instructions. The purpose of the engravings is simple. They are meant to direct the essence and materials to their proper locations and also allow for programming of the press accordingly.

    The entire surface has a reflective shine that the blood moon that floats above here frequently reflects off of, and due to this, I've decided to name this the "Moonlit Press."

    "Okay, system. Are you ready to help me with this?"

    [Yes, Host. This system will focus on essence control while the host is asked to focus on mana control.]

    I nod and stare at the fangs I left placed upon the press last I was here. I've decided to make a small change after speaking to the group a moment ago. This will both help me feel more comfortable and also help further, well, indoctrinate the vampires. I hop onto the press and start making changes. I group twenty of the fangs into pairs of two evenly spaced toward the outside edges of the press so I can easily add an additional item later and avoid the system objecting. The last nine fangs, I place in a line in the middle of the press which will be part of the main product. Thus begins the ritual.

    I begin to focus my mana on the blood in and around the hearts. I watch one of the hearts making sure I'm performing the process correctly.

    Small drops of blood begin to float around the hearts. I push more mana into the process, and strings of red extend from the arteries of the heart. The strings start to run in a circle from heart to heart, forming a ring of red lines similar to that of veins. The blood moon above the platforms begins to shine in bright red.

    [Ding!]

    [Main Task: Investigate the Nightclub - Complete]

    [Distributing essence. Host, compensation of 75 essence required. The remainder provided by this system as the reward for the previous task.]

    [-75 Essence]

    Red sparks begin to flow from my body and run along the floor towards the hearts. Soon the entire platform is covered in the sparks, but they concentrate around the hearts.

    With the essence flowing through the platform, the echoes of the hearts increase to an audible level.

    "Please... kill me."

    "The flames....hot...no more."

    "What did...to...Mother? Where's...?!"

    But other sounds soon begin to fill the space.

    **Thump. Thump. Thump.**

    The sound of heartbeats fills the air. First one then two and then an ever increasing number. The veins that link the hearts together begin passing blood between each heart like an interconnected system. The voices grow louder.

    "Our Goddess is dead."

    "The shadows will be done."

    "Tired. Sleepy."

    I move onto the next part of the ritual and extend my nail. I slice long ways up my arm to release blood that immediately removes itself from my wound. It streams toward the area above the press while twisting and weaving itself together. Settling above the press, the blood extends tendrils to each heart and toward the receptacle.

    "Our enemies shall know our fury. They shall know your pain. Together we will deliver both upon them," I shout.

    The heartbeats grow louder, and they begin to match each other's rhythm. Blood begins to run through the center receptacle and along the sides of the press where the engravings are. The engravings turn red as the blood runs over them. The echoes grow louder. Thirty disembodied voices fill the air, merely repeating their last thoughts or feelings before their death.

    [Insufficient Host blood. Please increase the flow rate.]

    I extend my nail and cut the length of my other arm, increasing the amount of my own blood two-fold. I hold up my arms and watch as my blood joins itself with the already swirling blood mixture. Suddenly, a wave of essence is released and flows toward the bending bloody mixture above the press.

    It's around a foot tall at this point and also takes on the shape of a heart. It begins to put off its own beat along with the rest of the hearts and becomes the center of this system of hearts and veins.

    The thirty voices fade, and a single one speaks in the blood language.

    "Who are you?"

    "I am the Goddess of Blood."

    "Goddess is dead. Goddess is dead. Goddess is dead."

    The voice repeats over and over as if in a never-ending loop.

    "Dead, but I'm right here! Very much alive!"

    "Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead." The voice yells furiously.

    "I am alive. Different, but alive."

    "Different? But alive?" The voice asks in confusion.

    The system sends more essence into the floor and throne. Causing it to light up brightly.

    "Alive! But different." I yell.

    "Alive...but different." The voice says.

    "I need help. I need someone to support me. I need a weapon to bring down upon our enemies!"

    "Weapon. Enemies." The voice repeats.

    "Together, we shall bring back the glory of the blood race. Together we shall weather the uncertain future. Together we shall grow stronger. Be my weapon."

    "..."

    "Speak! I am the Goddess, and I need your help." I shout.

    "Help. Blood race." The voice says.

    "Do you remember?" I ask.

    "Remember." The voice answers.

    Suddenly a change takes place. The thirty hearts shrink in size, and they all move along the veins toward the main heart in the center. The main heart liquifies and pours into the center. Despite that, the single loud heartbeat continues. With every beat, a red glow pulses from the veins leading toward the receptacle and through the engraved text.

    A click comes from the four corners of the press and the top piece of the press begins to slide toward the base. I remove ten metal rings from my storage ring and coat them in a layer of blood.

    [Host, what is it you're doing?]

    'I also want to make something extra.'

    [What are you making that requires... shower curtain rings?]

    "Where the metal comes from doesn't matter! They'll shrink, and the metal will change... also they're titanium shower curtain rings. Robert, paid extra for these!"

    [Yes, Host, and what is it you want to make?]

    'I want to make rings that interface with the weapon so that I can hand them out.'

    [I think I understand. This will require you to put more time into your weapon.]

    'It'll be worth it in the long term.'

    [Understood.]

    I place a ring around each pair of fangs, excluding the nine in the middle.

    The beating, bloody concoction runs across the face of the press, rings, and fangs. The fangs and metal melt into the concoction, and the press begins to shape itself with the help of the system. The top of the press comes down and strikes against the base with a crack. The last of the blood enters the receptacle through the top of the press and **Boom**.

    I feel a tremendous force blast me back and away from the Moonlit Press. Sliding against the platform I quickly find myself at risk of going over the edge. Just before I go over the edge, the platform turns liquid, and a wall is created. I slam into the fluid-like barrier and slide down. I accidentally bite into my lower lip from the impact causing a sharp pain to run through me.

    "I didn't know it would do that..." I say to myself.

    I stand and stumble toward the press just in time to see the top half begin to rise up. I walk up to see vitrified blood crack and fall to the floor like glass. I gaze down to find a simple war scythe laying there. At the bottom, I see ten rings attached as if extending the length of the scythe. When I pick it up, a heartbeat can be felt through the shaft of the living war scythe.
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