For all that the book was a hundred years old, the technique was still quite sound and well enough described for Erkan to start the production of new blood. He’d never worked with bone marrow before, but it was related to the blood as its point of origin, so it wasn’t too hard to stimulate it to produce more blood. And then… he waited.
“Hmm…” He tapped his fingers on one leg. “I guess that’s it?” Erkan returned to the book, re-reading a section he had glossed over.
“Though this technique will increase blood production, it is not instantaneous. Instead, it merely maximized the blood output of the body. Like flicking a lightswitch, you can turn blood production on… or off, if so desired. It is also possible and necessary to turn the body back to self-regulation after a certain point.”
Erkan looked over at Nico, who was watching carefully, “I think that’s it. I’m not magically regenerating blood… just maximizing my body’s production. I’m not sure when to stop it, though. I guess when I’m full up on blood which will be…” Erkan scratched his chin, “I suppose I’ll need to know how to determine that outside of being dizzy or weak.”
“That would be quite useful,” Nico nodded. “Vampires have a natural sense of such things, though most don’t develop it much. To them, it is just the same as the hunger they feel, something telling them they need to eat. The exact level is not of much importance to them.”
“That makes sense. Also, why say ‘eat’?”
“Do you not eat when you are hungry? The same is true of vampires, even if we have a liquid diet. The need for blood isn’t thirst, but hunger. In relation, we can get thirsty too, if the blood is from a dehydrated source. We are still alive, after all, and we use water in much the same ways as humans.”
“Right. So… do you know how I would sense blood levels?”
“Though it is natural for me, it is still similar to sensing the presence of the blood of others. I have some practice with it. It’s just a more refined use.” Nico nodded towards the book Erkan still had, “That tome might have some advice for you as well. It is ‘for humans’ after all.”
“Right… can I borrow this for a while?”
“Of course. Just keep it in the condo… for hopefully obvious reasons.”
“Blood Magic for Humans” was short and ultimately rather boring. However, it did cover all the basics. Basic blood control, clotting, regenerating blood, sensing blood levels, how to discern whether someone was a human or not… useful essentials but not many things new to Erkan. However, among the new things was ‘maximizing blood in the body’. Erkan was going to check with Nico if he had any other books on those techniques, which he might. After all, he’d mentioned that.
With his blood regenerating at maximum speed he became very hungry and thirsty. Nico also reminded him to make sure he got enough electrolytes. He was drinking a lot of gatorade- mostly red. Not that it was better than any of the other regular flavors, but that was mostly what Nico bought and Erkan didn’t care.
A few days after he’d moved into Nico’s condo, he got a text message from Savina.
I was just wondering
If you wanted to come hang out with me and some friends?
You have friends?
Sorry, that came out wrong
What kind of friends? Humans or supernatural?
But these are the second kind.
We’re planning to meet up in the back of this bar in a couple hours…
We don’t really drink or anything but not that many places are open
Actually, I kinda probably shouldn’t go
What with the people maybe trying to kill me still
Maybe some other time then.
Or… they could come here?
I’m not actually supposed to invite anyone over though
But they’re your friends so they should be safe
Would just have to check with Nico…
Oh yeah you’re staying at uncle Nico’s place now
He already knows them
I just asked, he said they can come over.
There was a knock on the front door, and Erkan opened it to find Savina along with a handsome young man with black hair.
“Hello!” Savina said as she and the young man stepped in. “Uncle Nico’s place isn’t exactly set up for hanging out but at least there are chairs and a table in the living room.”
“Yeah…” the young man nodded, then turned to Erkan, “Oh, I’m Casimiro, nice to meet you.” He extended his hand.
“Right. Casimiro.” Erkan nodded, and shook his hand, and though he seemed like he was supposed to know who he was, he couldn’t remember.
“Oh!” Savina clapped her hands together, “He’s my brother.”
“Ahh… the one who just finished his business degree?” Erkan nodded, “Not really my area of expertise.”
Casimiro shrugged, “I doubt I’d be of much use in a lab, either. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Same here.” It was nice, too.
Just as they had settled down around the table, the door knocked again with a heavy thump. Savina got up, “That’s Peter.”
Peter had somewhat darker skin, probably natural and not a tan, and a big grin on his face. He held his arms open wide as he stepped in, “Hello, everyone!” Erkan sensed his blood. He wasn’t really trained yet, so all he could tell was that Peter wasn’t a human, vampire, or undead… and he definitely also wasn’t a pig. Beyond that, he could have been anything that had blood. Peter came over to the table, briefly fist-bumped Casimiro, then reached out a hand towards Erkan. “You must be Erkan?” As Erkan shook his hand he felt a very firm grip. “I hear it’s your fault that George’s is shut down.”
“Well-” Erkan started, but was cut off.
“Nah I’m just messing with ya. I know it’s not your fault, really. It’s a shame, though. They always had the best stuff. Even their regular meats were so good…” Peter started to drool, then pulled out a handkerchief to wipe his face. “Excuse me for that.”
Before they could really get settled down again, there was a quiet knock at the door, then a single thud. Savina shook her head, “That would be Miriam, then.”
“Don’t forget to catch her!” Peter called out.
It was an odd statement, Erkan thought, until Savina opened the door and a young woman fell through. She only barely managed to wrap her arms around Savina to keep from falling. “Oh heeeeey Savina. I guess I made it to the right place!”
Erkan wondered if she was drunk. He also wondered what she was. A quick check told him… that she didn’t have blood. If he was correct about that, it probably ruled out being drunk… since that relied on alcohol in the bloodstream. Without a bloodstream, how would you be drunk? Actually, Erkan was more wondering how she would be anything.
Miriam shook her head and opened her eyes wide, walking carefully towards the rest of them. “Hey guys.” Her eyes stopped on Erkan. “You’re Erkan right, Savina’s boyfriend?”
“Uh… I’m Erkan, yes.” Erkan and Savina’s eyes met.
“That’s Erkan!” Savina closed the door and hurried over, just barely grabbing onto Miriam’s shoulder as her eyes closed and she started to slump. Peter helped direct her onto the couch. “Umm… we only went on a few dates and then Erkan got mixed up in the supernatural world, so we’re not necessarily… umm… dating still.”
“Why not?” Miriam’s head jerked back up, “I thought you said you really liked him?” Then her head flopped back, “He was even…” she yawned, “awake… at night… too…” She flopped into the corner of the couch.
“Is she alright?” Erkan asked.
Peter shrugged, “She’s fine. She’s a dryad so she’s basically solar powered. You might think plants don’t sleep, but they do.”
Erkan also shrugged, “Up until this point, I hadn’t had any thoughts about dryads in the context of them actually being real.”
“Right,” Peter nodded, “You’re new. You know those two are vampires… she’s a dryad, and I,” He pointed a thumb at himself, “Am a werewolf.”
“Well, I’m Erkan. I’m just human, I guess?”