I’m normally of a pleasant disposition. Cool, calm, and collected – that’s me. I become stubborn when prodded enough in that direction, and it does take some doing. This time it was when Bong Cha told me that I was quickly becoming her (“their”) Favorite Variable – how sweet of her – and then immediately suggested that I return to Transylvania to hone my skills so I’d have a better shot at things in Tokyo.

I just ran through castles full of vampires, endured ten different kinds of magic, made acquaintance with a talking wagon and its soulmate, slew a vampire queen, brought the spirit of Dracula back from the grave, entertained a dead-to-the-world ascetic warrior poet in his candle-filled chamber of solitude, and did the bidding of an Orochi agent who talks to a teddy bear and completes the love of his life’s sentences as follows: “Fuck…” “…you.”


Tell me again why I should jump right back in to that cesspool of iniquity when there’s a fresh and unfamiliar basin full of filth I could be swimming around in long enough for Sam Krieg to write a best-selling trilogy about it? Did I mention Emma, the young girl with anima levels over 9000 who comes from the land of the Children of the Corn and whose father is probably Alfred Hitchcock?

Don’t get me wrong: I love the Romanian countryside and don’t mind lingering in fog-covered cemeteries and ooky-spooky monasteries. I’m just not quite as enamored with the idea of spending more time than I have to hauling around truckloads full of iron stakes and skull-threshing bastard vampire children into submission. Doesn’t sound nearly as fun as relaxing around a campfire to the megaphone cacophony of “Soul Machine.”

Look, I just went through the Council of Venice’s “certification” process which involved taking part in a murder simulator. I was put in the Hotel Wahid which has won awards for Shittiest Hotel Design ever. My task was to protect survivors who were assaulted from all directions by foes whom I could normally handle in a straight up fight; the problem was that they set the survivors on fire and vomited filth onto them with such rapidity that I couldn’t keep up. I bombed the test. (They called it a “scenario.”) Strangely enough, participation was good enough to secure a certificate and off I went through a layer of faction-driven espionage drama – this time the parties are called “Council of Venice” and “The Phoenicians” – before being granted access to Tokyo, where the real bullshit is.

I’ve earned the right to get my ass kicked.

It won’t be until I hit a brick wall and am repeatedly pounded into dust by those crazed mutations in Kaidan that I come back to the realm of the Drǎculeşti with my tail between my legs. I’m stubborn like that. Just like my mother.


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