Past the midway mark, and here is the after story for Abraham Van Helsing (CV: Suwabe Junichi). Enjoy!
Everything started from a single man’s “ideal”. Death, fear, despair. His life was twisted around by that man’s hands, whom found all the above more beautiful than anything else. His family was killed, and when he swore for revenge – even all of that was being manipulated. Just as that man wished, Abraham Van Helsing became a “monster” driven by revenge. As long as he had his revenge, he felt that he had no need for comrades, happiness, or even warmth from others. Especially not when he stole the happiness of the innocent vampires. Feeling that it was a appropriate punishment for him, he remained alone, unaware that this was Arester’s goal.
It was a single girl who saved him. Cardia, who was called a poisonous “monster” and forbidden to touch others, never left him alone. Despite having endured greater loneliness, she kept chasing after him. Looking at her, even his own loneliness and pain felt foolish. That’s probably why he did not die then. And did not kill then. He did not want to leave her alone, the girl who had endured greater loneliness. He found her dear from the bottom of his heart. And that’s how he closed the chapter on his revenge. But not everything is over yet. Even if the vampire royal forgave him and the bane of his life has disappeared, her body is still poisonous.
Back to present day, and Van is dashing with all of his might to where Cardia is. It’s truly unlike his usual self. Earlier on he was accompanying Renfield as his bodyguard at the palace, when a message came for him from Fran. Before the messenger could finish speaking, Van immediately left. He should’ve left a word for Renfield, but he’s sure Dela will deal with it somehow. At least for today, he needs to see her first. Van rushes into the room, and Cardia almost drops the empty bottle out of surprise. She asks if he’s alright, but his gaze is focused on her ungloved hand holding the bottle. As he whispers her name, she knows that she has to convey this important piece of news to him.
Before she can do so though, he embraces her firmly and kisses her. While taken aback, she happily accepts this gesture. It isn’t long before someone awkwardly coughs to announce his presence. The couple separate from each other, and Fran apologises as he failed to find the right timing to interrupt. He was surprised to chance upon the scene when he had just left the room, since Van showed no hesitation in kissing her. After all, the neutralisation of the poison is almost completed but he was supposed to carry out the final check now. Though Van had just carried out the final check himself. It looks like the chance of failure did not occur to Van at all, as he proudly remarks that he was right to trust in Fran’s skills. The latter chuckles at this.
The alchemist thanks them for believing in him, as he sees them holding hands. The couple thank him instead for this miracle. He corrects them, adding that it’s thanks to Lupin, Impey, Saint, Dela and even Sissy. He and Van shake hands, and then he offers his hand to Cardia. She hesitates, for she is still not used to it. But she slowly takes his hand in return. Fran cautions them that while it is a success, there’s no telling what may happen. So he’d like Cardia to take a suppressant he had prepared for the first few days as a precaution. He’s helping Impey out so he won’t always be around, but he tells them to let him know if they need anything.
It’s been one year since the incident with Jimmy A. Arester. Everyone had gradually moved onto their separate ways for their own goals. Fran is still in London, helping Impey out. The latter is currently searching for something important. Lupin is supporting him as well, while chasing after the terrorist case. Van is working together with Dela as they aim to build better ties between vampires and humans. Just like today, they’re negotiating as each day comes with Renfield as the representative. As for Saint, he returned to France for a personal matter and regularly sends them letters and souvenirs. A letter came today as well, along with some tea. Cardia believes that he will return to London someday. Afterwards, she pens her reply. She has much to thank to the rest of the gang, and hopes to convey even a bit of her gratitude to Saint in her reply.
A few days later, Impey and Lupin drop by for a surprise visit. They had heard the good news. She confirms this and thanks them for everything till now. She removes her garden gloves, and offers her hand. The two of them each reach of their hand to hers. Lupin pulls her into a quick hug, before releasing her. He’s incredibly delighted at her happiness, and congratulates her. Impey complains at how he’s being left out, prompting the gentleman thief to jokingly ask if he wants a hug too. Cardia giggles at this and says that she hasn’t forgotten him. She thanks him as well, and hugs him. Impey freezes out of shock, and Lupin laughs at this sight. He comments that Impey will probably remain like that for as long as she hugs him. She has no choice but to let him go, though he remains immobile even when Sissy bites him.
Meanwhile, Lupin asks how the couple has been doing. When her answer is vague, he guesses that it must have to do with Van’s cooking. But she says that it’s not, and that Van has been treating her kindly too much. For example, he stopped her from doing housework the day after her poison was treated and offered to do the rest. And on another day, he brought back about 100 books for her to pass time at home. Cardia is happy that he’s kind to her, but it makes her feel uneasy at times. Lupin is quiet at first, admitting that he is surprised to hear this change. However, he remarks that she’s truly a “princess” to Van and notes that they’re happy. She can’t deny this, but also can’t erase the feeling that something’s off.
Impey returns to his senses after a while, and the three of them have some tea. As time passes, Van eventually returns. He questions why they are here, and Cardia informs him that Fran shared the news with them. As she’s about to add that she’s happy to have them come over, Van smiles gently and pats her head. He’s well-aware of her feelings. He joins them for tea, and Impey expresses his happiness once more. While it was Fran’s goal from the start, it was also something the rest of the gang aimed for. Lupin adds that things are going well for the two of them too. Cardia notes that it’s because of everyone’s efforts. It feels like they’ve returned to the past, though Fran, Saint and Dela are missing from the scene. Perhaps she feels nostalgic, as those were the times which changed her as a “human”. Lupin and Impey inform that they’ll be staying in London for a while. So it looks like they will be able to meet more often for the time being.
Time flies by, and the two friends soon take their leave. When Van offers to whip up dinner for them, they immediately decline the kind offer and tell Van to enjoy Cardia’s cooking instead. They avoid disturbing the newly-weds any longer, and say goodbye. After they leave, Cardia ponders over those words – newly-weds. She asks Van if lovers eventually marry. With her poison gone, it’s taking everything she’s got to understand what is a given for humans. One of which is marriage. He tells her there’s no need to rush things, when she has just adjusted to life as others do. She should enjoy to the fullest for now. He’s fine as long as she is happy, as that is his happiness. Cardia nods in return as he hugs her shoulder.
It’s thanks to everyone, and to Van who loved him, that she has this happiness now. As he remarks about how noisy they were, she observes that he looks happy as he’s smiling. He replies that it’s as if he never smiles, even though he’s always smiling in front of her. Cardia notes that his smile is beautiful, though different. Van merely answers that it’s reserved for her only. She giggles in response, not having expected that reply from him. He mulls over her words, before saying that they should head back inside. She instinctively draws back when he touches her face, but quickly apologises as she isn’t used to it. His expressions turns to one of relief.
The next morning, Van suggests going to town over the weekend. She misunderstands him, thinking that he needs an extra hand for work. He chuckles at this, clarifying that he had taken the weekend off. Hearing this, Cardia eagerly accepts his offer. She would like to try touching more items outside, as she gradually gets used to it. However, she is concerned about his well-being as he has had much time to rest recently. In that case, perhaps he should just rest over the weekend. However, he insists otherwise as seeing her smile is the best way for him to recover. Unable to argue against his choice of words, she eventually agrees. She lets him decide on the destinations. All she would like is for them to hold hands then. Van gently calls her over, and embraces her.
Cardia thinks to herself that he has really changed. Previously, he was more unapproachable and hardly smiled. She doesn’t deny that she is happy that she was the changing factor. When she comments that he is kind and smiles more often now, he pauses and asks if she dislikes it. She denies this. While the change took her by surprise, he is still the same. Van says that he’ll go out and do some research for the weekend, and agrees to help her but some food for dinner on the way back. He gives her a peck on her cheek. His touch is kind and warm, but she remains bothered by the sad gaze in his eyes.
The weekend arrives and Cardia has already encountered 5 cats. She finds that each of them appears to have a unique personality, almost like the gang. The brown cat with amber eyes in the park reminded her of Lupin. The white cat was like Saint, and the fluffy one was like Fran. While the cat which failed to catch a bird was similar to Impey. And the one which just ran away from her reminded her of Van because of its blue eyes. As they continue walking hand-in-hand, he asks if she’s having fun. She confirms this. He’s relieved to hear this, feeling that she should experience much more happiness than others do, given what she has gone through. Van patiently answers all of her questions, as she slowly takes in all the new experiences. She also notices that not many people are holding hands, though he refuses to let go as she will be targeted otherwise. Cardia is confused by his words, for neither Tasogare nor the army are chasing after them anymore.
He eventually leads her to a street filled with clothing, accessories and household goods stores, as he wishes to buy her a present. As the items she used all had to be anti-poison, they were all rather limited. So he would like for her to choose items to her liking now. She honestly admits that she isn’t sure of her preference and apologises. Seeing her down, Van kisses her on the cheek, taking her by surprise. He just didn’t want to see her sad, and apologises for his lack of experience. Cardia can’t help but feel embarrassed, especially because they’re in public. Van worriedly questions if she disliked it, and she shakes her head in response.
As they look at the window displays, she is reminded of the trunk she had received from Lupin. She finds it cute, and has taken a liking to it. Van soon spots a store mainly selling leather goods and other items, and Cardia’s eyes are drawn to a pouch. However, the price tag is rather alarming. But Van is sharp enough to pick up on this, and encourages her to accept his offer. Moreover, he’s a bit jealous that the item she likes is a gift from Lupin. He pulls her inside, and they end up buying quite a bit. But aside from the pouch, the other items are to be delivered to the mansion on another day.
They continue looking at shops, and all the stores he brings her to are popular with the ladies. It really goes to show how much he had looked into it at first. But she worries if he is pushing himself when he’s already as busy as he is. Van shows her into a restaurant, admitting that it’s his first time here too. The food tastes delicious to her, as she remarks that it’s completely different from her cooking. Cardia hopes to become as skillful, and promises to practice more. While he’s happy to hear this, he points out that it gives them less of an excuse to dine out. He’s happy to see her smile, and she thanks him for bringing her around today.
Looking around, she notices that all the other female customers are dressed up and feels out of place. Van thinks that she need not feel so modest, and should be more aware of her own charms. Without any hesitation, he asks the bartender his immediate impressions about Cardia. The latter answers that she is stunningly beautiful, and compliments the couple. The restaurant doesn’t have a strict dress code, so he asks Cardia to keep patronising them. Hearing all of this, Van smirks at her in response, prompting her to relax as well.
As the meal draws to a close and the other customers gradually leave, Van asks what she thinks of him recently. She replies that he has changed a lot compared to their first encounter, and that the atmosphere around him has softened. He smiles in relief. Cardia thinks to herself that his kindness had been there all along, and that he is merely expressing it more often now. But she adds that perhaps it’s a bit strange, to see him change so much. Van remains quiet, not responding to her calls. He quickly smiles and says that he’s a bit drunk. When she asks if he feels alright, he insists that he is.
A week has passed since then. As usual, Van treats her kindly. Something still feels off to her, though she can’t quite grasp the answer. That being said, it’s not like he would answer her question directly. When Cardia goes to prepare breakfast, she finds a note left by him, saying that he has left early. But he would also like to meet her in the afternoon. She goes to the stated location later in the day, and meets up with him. A kind expression, kind words. There shouldn’t be anything she is unsatisfied with, but the uneasy feeling spreads in her. After they have some tea, they stroll around the town.
Midway, Van recalls a personal appointment and asks her to wait here while he disappears into a nearby alley. While she doesn’t see what is going on, she can more or less guess it from the familiar smell of gunpowder. There is probably a store selling those items. Cardia finds it hard to believe that he would forget such an agenda. Thinking about it, Van often pulled out his gun even when he was playing around. But he probably no longer does it in front of her, after having pointed it at her during that incident. He probably doesn’t want her to remember that past, even though she is fine with it now. Just then, a church bell rings in a distance, for someone else’s wedding. As if drawn to that same possible future, she finds herself walking towards the nearby church. As Cardia witnesses the wedding, for some reason this scene feels distant to her. Even though she is happy, and she loves Van.
Just as she’s about to return, Van comes running towards her. She apologises for disappearing, and he sees the wedding taking place in a distance. He remarks that they may also require one in the future. He recalls that there was a shop around here, and leads her there. The shop is filled with gorgeous dresses, and Van encourages to try some on. The only dresses she has is the one she wore when she was at Wales, and the one Van gave her and she wore when they danced atop of the palace. So she doesn’t feel confident. He is sure that she will look good in any of the dresses though, and the shop attendant also recommends Cardia to try on one.
After she changes into one, Van unwittingly hugs her and kisses the white horologium on her chest. He whispers that she looks a lot more beautiful than he’d expected. Still, he feels troubled if she were to look like this in front of other people during their wedding. However, he’s fine as long as she’s happy. Even though he is smiling and his words are kind, he feels distant. After that, they look at more dresses, but bought none in the end. As they walk back towards the mansion, the uneasy feeling overflows inside of Cardia. Van asks if she enjoyed herself, and she nods in return. He’s glad to hear this, and his smile remains beautiful – so gentle and kind, but as if hiding something as well. It’s a smile he doesn’t show before the rest of the gang, only towards her. Cardia asks if he enjoyed himself, and he looks taken aback by her question. But he soon smiles, and answers that he did. He wonders why she’s suddenly asking this, and is willing to correct anything he did.
He reaches his hand out towards her, and she unwittingly draws back. She apologises, adding that she doesn’t dislike it. A heavy silence falls over them, and eventually whispers that he feels distant despite being here, and that she was lonely. She feels uneasy at not being able to see his true feelings. She knows that he may hate her for saying this, and feels the urge to apologise. But before she can do so, Van firmly wraps his arms around her. He apologises, for he never wanted to make her sad, and merely wanted to make her happy. So he wanted to be her ideal. He says that she’s not at fault, and that he needs to be better. A church bell rings in a distance. He slowly releases her, and smiles faintly at her. With just a gaze, they slowly turn to walk back towards the mansion. They remain quiet, till they arrive home. Van weakly says that he recalled an agenda, and leaves again.
A few days later, Van is at the palace waiting for a meeting to end. It seems to have ended earlier than usual, and usually he would’ve looked forward to returning home to Cardia earlier too. The doors open, and the participants start to leave the room. The number of people have increased as of recently, probably thanks to Dela’s efforts. He feels proud of him, but it also makes him hateful of his own past. He once thought that he would have no regrets once he exacted his revenge. Van is reminded of Cardia, and wonders what went wrong. Renfield appears and sees that Van doesn’t look well, and tells him to take the rest of the day off to rest. The streets have been peaceful these days, so he should be able to reach home just fine. Moreover, Van is a “human”, and not a “weapon”. So he shouldn’t push himself when he clearly hasn’t rested well.
After leaving the palace, Van ended up visiting the restaurant from before instead of going back to the mansion. In other words, he’s avoiding Cardia. She clearly enjoyed herself when he showed her around the streets, so why was it that she said that he felt distant and that she felt lonely? He’s at a loss. Just then, Lupin and Impey happen to spot him. The latter observes his difficult expression, and casually questions if the couple had an argument. They didn’t expect it to be true. But even if it wasn’t a real argument, Lupin can tell that something did happen. The only reason Van is this down, is surely none other than Cardia. Impey persuades Van to confide in them, at least to make himself feel better.
After he does so, Lupin concludes that it’s just a lovers’ spat. But Van can’t comprehend it, stating that he was doing everything for her sake. Impey adds that it’s a sort of blissful worry. As Van continues to look down, and the two friends suggest touring London for a change of mood. The gentleman thief says that he’ll introduce a good tailor store to him too. Before Van can respond, they grab him by each side with a wide grin on their faces.
Cardia is at home, reading a book Van had previously bought for her. She recalls that there is an important meeting today, as Dela had happily mentioned a month ago that his fellow comrades can finally participate as well. He also said that he would like to invite Cardia to his home village one day. Of course, she looks forward to it. He has changed a lot since their first encounter. Of course, it’s not just him, but Van as well. She sees that he’s late today as well, and is fully aware that he has been avoiding her ever since that day. A knock interrupts her thoughts. It’s Fran, who is here for the regular check-up. It had totally slipped her mind.
Fran completes the check-up, noting that everything is okay. However, Cardia is rather listless. When he asks what’s wrong, she tears up as she recalls the incident. She had rejected Van, even though she loves him this much. She ends up crying for a long time, and Fran holds her hand while waiting for her to calm down. When she stops crying, he offers to hear out her thoughts. After hearing what happened, Fran chuckles as he admits that he’s a bit envious. In a way, this sort of situation could only have happened to them. He explains that the reason she feels lonely is simple. There are two of them, but they each only think for the other person – that they have to make the other person be happy and smile. However, they put themselves as second priority. His words make everything fall into place.
Van is always only thinking of her, but he never mentions anything about himself and puts his own happiness as second priority. Fran says that there’s no need to feel lonely, since they’re both in love with each other. She nods in response, saying that she wants both of them to be happy. He’s glad to see that she’s feeling better, and Cardia thanks him. He’s always helping her out. Fran pats her head, saying that Van’s not the only one who doesn’t want to see her sad. He soon takes his leave, not wanting to get in the way. He’s sure that Van will soon return home.
Meanwhile, Lupin and Impey has been bringing Van around. He’s thankful for their concern, but he thinks that it’s about time for him to go back. However, the two of them refuse to let him leave till he’s smiling again. Moreover, it’s been rather meaningful experience. Van admits this, but he never asked for this. Impey replies that he’s never the type to voice his desires, so they were merely observing for themselves. He shouldn’t have any complaints, as they’re doing this for Van’s sake – as long as Van is happy. Impey’s choice of words strike a chord in Van, as this conversation feels familiar. Irritated, Van points out that they’re not considering his position at all, and that it’s a bother. Impey stops him from leaving, noting that he understands the point. But it seems that he fails to realise the obvious when he’s with Cardia – that he’s one-sidedly forcing his love onto Cardia.
That being said, he knows that Van is always thinking for her. And of course, Cardia probably doesn’t feel that he’s one-sidedly forcing his love. Moreover it’s not just Van, but the rest of the gang also wish to see her smile after all that she’s been through. That being said, he shouldn’t deny Cardia’s feelings, that she felt lonely. Impey suggests for Van to cool down first. The latter questions what he should do then. He can’t endure losing anything anymore. He didn’t mean to hurt her, and only wanted to have a happy future with her. Lupin remarks that they’re finally hearing his true feelings. Before Van can question what he means by that, Dela spots them from a distance. As they exchange greetings, Van expresses his surprise as he thought that Dela had already left the country.
The young vampire shares a piece of exciting news. Renfield is holding a tea party and has invited all of the vampires who were in the earlier meeting. He’s delighted because this is an informal occasion. So surely everyone can exchange opinions in more relaxed atmosphere. He heard from Renfield that Van isn’t feeling well, and laughs that even he can defeat Van in this current state. Lupin tells him that Van is feeling a bit down at the moment due to a certain relationship. Hearing this, Dela asks if he tried talking to the person. Van realises that he only avoided her, not wanting to hurt her any further.
Dela elaborates that he didn’t even want to interact with humans at first. But it’s because he did, that he found a person like Renfield who understands. And now, he has gathered all the vampires and also earned the understanding of more humans. He believes that surely one day, humans and vampires can coexist. Impey is touched at how mature Dela is, and Lupin teases that he’s still as small in size though. Van himself knows fully well how important it is to talk to each other. But to be honest, he’s at a loss at how to approach Cardia now. The young vampire grows impatient and tells him off. He was still somewhat himself even when he was obsessed with revenge. Right now, he’s like an empty shell, and incredibly cowardly and hesitant. He can’t believe that he’s the same Van whom he had previously approved. The reason he chose to live on, was because he found someone to protect. But looking at him now, Dela feels that it’s not even worth offering Van’s life to his parents and he should reflect on himself now.
Van starts to laugh, making Lupin and Impey worried if he’s too angry and lost his senses. The former takes a deep breath, admitting that he is indeed unlike his usual self. Robbed of his family and trapped in hatred, he was obsessed with revenge and didn’t feel a need for happiness. After his desire for revenge was crushed, all that was left was his love for Cardia. She had changed everything, his life which was coloured with revenge. That was why he wanted so much to make her happy. But he doesn’t think that the him obsessed with revenge was how he is supposed to be. The him now, only feels fulfilled because of Cardia. Lupin agrees that it’s important to talk things out, and Impey adds that Cardia will keep waiting for him no matter what. This prompts Van to immediately return to her side. But first, he thanks them for their help.
Once more, Van is dashing to where she is. Looking back, she used to be the one always chasing after him. No matter how much he tried to push her away. But she insisted otherwise, as it scared her more to leave his side than to die. And he doesn’t want to lose that warmth anymore. Once he arrives in her room, he slowly approaches her. Both of them are silent, as they both feel the need to say something. Both of them apologise to each other at the same time, even bowing to each other. It takes a while for them to register what just happened, till they both break out in laughter. They did not expect the other person to do the same thing.
Van asks Cardia to hear him out. He did everything to make her happy. But it was merely for his own self-satisfaction. He never sought out what she truly wanted. Because the everyday life they have now is so blissful, he thought that she would be happy as long as he kept it this way. He forced his own ideals upon her. He apologises for making her feel lonely. She shakes her head, saying that she didn’t convey her feeling directly to him either. But she will from now on, as she wants to make him happy too. She wants both of them to be happy. She won’t put herself after him, but walk next to him at the same pace and view the world from the same perspective as him, while holding his hand. Because she loves him. Her words catch Van by surprise.
Soon, he recovers himself and vows to make her happy, as well as himself. To become the happiest people in the world – thinking about it, it’s an obvious thing. But in the past, it was such a distant thing to them. Van kisses her, and later admits that he thought that he shouldn’t be happy – that it was his atonement for his sin. But he realises now that thinking this way, won’t make her happy. That’s why, he will be happy too, so she won’t be alone. He will remain by her side forever, even if she hates it. They kiss once more.
A month later, Van is seen apologising to Cardia. She turns around. While she is touched by his thought, she finds trying on 20 dresses a bit overboard. He smiles, saying that she looked beautiful in every one of them. That’s why he couldn’t decide. She knows that it’s his way of expressing his love, but she still feels embarrassed. She replies that the blue dress he gave her that night is still her favourite though, probably because of it has an irreplaceable memory. But Van is reluctant to have her wear that in front of others. It was their special night, and they don’t need to tell others about it. Cardia giggles at his selfish request. Soon, Van grows tired of being followed, prompting Lupin, Impey and Fran to reveal themselves.
Lupin: Don’t speak badly about us. We only wanted to watch over our friends’ happiness.
Fran: I-I was against it though……
Impey: But-but aren’t you curious!? Just how lovey-dovey the two of them are……!
Van: Ohh? But if you were watching, you know well enough now right?
Impey: Kuu……! Fran mama……! Lovey-dovey glasses is bullying me~……!
Fran: A-ahahahahaha……but it’s good to see that the two of you have made up.
Fran calls Van to one side, whispering about how Cardia cried that day. He didn’t tell the others, but he hopes that this won’t happen again. After all, it’s Van who will stay by her side. The latter nods, remarking that he’s indebted to Fran. The alchemist corrects him, that he is indebted to everyone. Van laughs in agreement. Seeing his smile again, Cardia feels relieved.
Lupin and the rest announce that it’s about time for them to take their leave. Lupin reassures Cardia that they will meet again soon. Impey adds that Saint will have to be present too. Van asks for their address at least, so that he can send the invites. The conversation confuses Cardia, and Van only pats her head. Van thanks them once again, and they exchange handshakes. With that, they part ways for now.
Van leads Cardia to a park which was recently built, and she is impressed by its beauty. Just then, they hear the church bells in a distance. He removes her hat, and gently caresses her cheek. Without any warning, he lifts her up. And with a gentle smile, he proposes to her. They will become a normal family, and gain normal happiness. They may collide and not understand each other, even so he wants to always be with her as he loves her. A breeze blows past, causing a flower petal to brush against Cardia’s cheek. She smiles in return, answering that she wants to be with him too – her husband. He grows a bit shy as she mentions that words. The bells of blessing ring in a distance. It isn’t meant for them yet, but it will in the future.
Honestly, Van’s route was disappointing as there wasn’t much of a story. Since this is a FD, I am fine if it were just about them being lovey-dovey (and Van being sexy and teasing like in the extra scene from the first game). But it wasn’t, and they had to make Van feel the “pain” again. I am okay with that, if it were like in Saint’s route, where at least there was a decent backstory and we found out more about his past. But this wasn’t the case. And…can’t they just skip forward to the actual wedding. Sigh.
But again, the CGs were beautiful. (Would’ve been better if that last CG was the wedding scene though.) And I love the gang. I was amused that it was Impey giving Van the lecture though. Because we know how Van always makes fun of Impey by pointing his gun every now and then, and now the tables are turned. Anyway, the next post will be Fran’s!