Preston waited for me at the small clearing just across the pub. He used his ghostly abilities to see if there is anything that I should be aware of before going in. The bumbling fool has his uses sometimes, especially when he’s not distracted by his phone.
“All clear, Doc.” The armored ghost comically salutes as if he were a soldier.
“Are you sure?” I had to make certain that there were no guildspawn in the vicinity.
“Yes, Doc. Just the barkeep, a few patrons, and a really drunk man who passed out in the corner.” Preston reports with pride. Hearing about the drunk man was unnecessary, I wanted to tell him.
“They might be members of the Guild. Did you check the personal effects of the patrons?”
“Just regular folk who work here, Doc.” The ghost says as I see a man in business attire pass by looking excited to go into the pub. “No hidden medallions.”
“All right, good job then.” I was satisfied as Preston had performed adequately. “Those meddlers from the Guild can be quite troublesome.” I say as I look at the pub again and see the patrons inside having a good time. The Guild, or the Vampire Hunters’ Guild is exactly what the name suggests, a guild of vampire hunters. Their services include vampire hunting, purification rites, and very affordable plumbing services. The last service that they offer is surprising but true. They probably realized that they needed to fund the Guild with a very practical service.
I call the Guild meddlers because they have been disrupting my operations while cooperating with the local police. Thinking about the revenue I lost just drives me mad sometimes. I’ll be the laughingstock of the Association at this rate. As I think about it more, it gives me a slight headache.
“Are you okay, Doc?” my concerned minion asks me.
“The Guild is giving me a headache, Preston.” I say as I massage my temples with my hands. “Our operations haven’t been going well, which is why I went here to take away some stress.” I then think about getting a massage at the spa near the hideout.
“Don’t worry, Doc! It’ll all be well. I’ll just keep an eye out for things.” Preston says with confidence.
“The last time you kept an ‘eye out for things,’ you lost the late 19th century painting of ‘The Descent From the Commode’ by Alexander Hidalgo!” I snap at Preston, remembering how much I wanted to add that painting to my collection. There is no other painting in the world that depicts a naked virgin finishing her business in the ladies’ powder room.
“I’m very s-sorry, Doc!” Preston apologizes. “You probably just need some plasma juice, to calm down your nerves.”
I just let out a sigh.
“I suppose you are right.” I agree with Preston, for once. “Come, let us enter the pub.” I beckon the ghost as we finally cross the street and go through the door with stained glass. Preston then makes himself invisible to everyone except me.
I have somehow become a regular here at the Shrieking Llama. The barkeep knows my usual order and probably thinks I’m one of those human hipsters who drink plasma juice because it is apparently organic and full of healthy nutrients. If it weren’t for the discovery of plasma fruit, more humans would have been killed by vampires by now.
The scents of alcohol, old wood, and repulsive body odor welcome me into the pub. Most of the humans seem to be watching a television program called “A Certain Metal Chef,” which Preston seems to be a fan of. It is one of those cooking competitions that seem to be really popular these days, though in the past, cooking was considered a woman’s job. I find it amazing that humans have elevated this once mundane task to the level of art… and sensationalism. The dramatic music plays as the text of “A Certain Metal Chef” displays itself on screen.
“Oh boy, oh boy! ‘A Certain Metal Chef’ is on! And Chef Horikawa is butchering a chicken! Yeah! Cut that bloody chicken’s wings off!” Preston says with excitement.
“Do not let your guard down, you fool!” I whisper into Preston’s ear while making it look like I’m not talking to air.
I sit at the bar while Preston watches his stupid show, ignoring what I just told him. I shall reprimand him later.
“Oh, welcome back sir! So what’ll it be tonight? Maybe you’re in the mood for a ‘Llama on the Rocks?’” the barkeep, a young man in his late 20’s asks me in a raspy voice.
“The usual, please.” I don’t talk that much with humans, even if they were friendly. Small talk can be draining.
“Always the Plasma Bomber, huh? People are really trippin’ with plasma fruit drinks lately.” The barkeep says as he gets a piece of plasma fruit from the fridge and prepares the drink. “I heard that it’s good for the skin, which probably explains your complexion.”
“Yes, of course.” I reply while feeling a bit flattered as I watch the bartender shake up the mixture and pour it into a little glass.
“Here you go. Enjoy!” the bartender says as he resumes his menial task of polishing glasses.
“Thank you.” I thank the barkeep as I get my fix of plasma and hand him some money. Vampires naturally crave human blood, but plasma fruit juice is a good alternative. It tastes just a bit different from human blood, but it satiates our thirst nevertheless. It’s best for those vampires who absolutely detest drinking blood from humans, just like how human vegetarians do not want to eat meat. I drink a bit of the juice, and it satiates my thirst a bit. As I drink more plasma, Preston sits beside me and has somehow acquired a bowl of chips to eat.
“Where the bloody hell did you get that?” I ask the knight as he slightly opens his visor and pops a chip into his helmet.
“Someone just left it alone on the table.” Preston speaks while making crunching noises. “You want some, Doc?” The foolish ghost tries to offer me a chip.
“I cannot eat that, you fool.” I shake my head and remind my minion of how vampires cannot eat what humans normally eat.
“It was a jest, Doc! A jest!” the ghost laughs causing the chair to shake and make noise.
“A jest? A JEST? You should be more of a JESTER than a knight then! Do you not understand that you are supposed to be the lookout instead of watching a TV show?” I raise my voice in irritation without realizing it, and the barkeep gives me a strange look. Before I can even say more things to berate my minion, I get interrupted.
“Hey, pal.” A gruff voice to my right speaks as I get poked with a finger that derails my train of thought. “Keep it down, will ya? I’m trying to watch the show. And keep your imaginary friends at home! Crazies like ya shouldn’t be allowed in public places.” The man mutters the last sentence under his breath.
I slowly look to my right and see a bald man with a strange beard. It looks as if his barber shaved the middle part of his chin by accident. Humans can think of the weirdest fashion styles. This man has offended me not because he interrupted me reprimanding my subordinate but because he poked me. He. POKED. ME. Barely able to control my anger, I manage to compose myself and give the man a straight look in the eye and politely greet him.
“Good evening, sir.” I put down my Plasma Bomber on the counter. “I believe you’re picking a fight with the wrong person tonight.”