"Who's Pulling the Strings?" (黒幕はダレダ Kuromaku wa Dare da?) is the twenty-ninth chapter of the Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign manga series, written by Takaya Kagami and illustrated by Yamato Yamamoto.
Thirteenth Progenitor, Crowley Eusford, and his aides, Horn Skuld and Chess Belle, wait for Lieutenant Colonel Guren Ichinose's arrival while the Moon Demon Company regroups after their battles. Guren Squad, Shinoa Squad, and Narumi Squad team up and leave to challenge Crowley, Chess, and Horn.
Sergeant Aiko Aihara of the Moon Demon Company waits for the remaining survivors. When two vampire choppers arrive, she orders them to flee and regroup at Nagoya Airport. After she destroys one helicopter, Lacus Welt, René Simm, and Mikaela Hyakuya jump down and confront her. Mika states he has questions for her.
List of characters in order of appearance:
- Crowley Eusford
- Horn Skuld
- Chess Belle
- Yūichirō Hyakuya
- Shinoa Hīragi
- Mitsuba Sangū
- Yoichi Saotome
- Shihō Kimizuki
- Aiko Aihara
- Makoto Narumi
- Guren Ichinose
- Mito Jūjō
- Sayuri Hanayori
- Shinya Hīragi
- Norito Goshi
- Shigure Yukimi
- Shūsaku Iwasaki
- Rika Inoue
- Yayoi Endō
- Taro Kagiyama
- Lacus Welt
- René Simm
- Mikaela Hyakuya
In Nagoya City Hall, Thirteenth Progenitor Crowley Eusford and his aides wait for Guren to come charging forward to rescue the hostages made out of the Moon Demon Company soldiers. Seventeenth Progenitor Chess Belle drinks too much of one of the hostage's blood, and Horn Skuld points out that Chess just killed him. Horn scolds Chess for her carelessness, but Crowley says one or two hostages do not matter. An array of Moon Demon Company soldiers tied to crosses that are at least a few meters above ground decorate the courtyard outside their office window. Chess calls Horn out on being stuffy, but Crowley says that Chess could do to be a little more serious, too.
Horn asks Crowley what he thinks about the humans attacking a vampire stronghold. Crowley, takes the dead soldier's sword and draws it. He asks Chess to block his swing, and she does but still ends up forming a crater in the wall. She informs him that any weapon is super strong in his hands.
He wonders why the humans are gaining power so quickly and asks if a high-up vampire is giving knowledge to humans. He intentionally cuts his left index finger on the blade and notes that his wound is not healing. When Horn asks to see to his wound, he offers to let her lick the blood from his finger. She blushes, and Chess claims that that is no fair. Horn reminds Chess that she already drink a ton of human blood, so it is her turn now.
On the streets of Nagoya, Shinoa Squad and Narumi Squad wait for the survivors to regroup. Sergeant Aiko Aihara arrives with a bruised, battered, and bleeding face. Kimizuki notes that Aiko Aihara's squad only has seven survivors, so eight of them died. Yu offers to have his squad take watch while hers rests, and she takes him up on it. Guren and his squad come above ground, but they are all worse for the wear. Narumi reports that Shinoa Squad did very well.
Guren orders Shinoa Squad and Narumi Squad to join his squad and hunt down Crowley, Chess, and Horn. Major General Shinya Hīragi asks Guren if he is okay about all of these deaths, and Guren claims he will cry later but not during a mission. Guren orders them to stage an attack on Crowley that will last ten minutes. If they cannot kill him during that time, they will retreat and tackle the next mission with those numbers. Guren orders Aiko to hold position for thirty minutes and pass on orders to any late teams to report to Nagoya Airport. Anyone late is presumed dead.
Half an hour later, five more soldiers limp to their regroup spot. She orders them to flee to Nagoya Airport as two vampire choppers appear overhead, and she claims she will hold them off. She manifests a bow Cursed Gear and fires an arrow at the first chopper, piercing it and making it crash. Three vampires leap out of the remaining one.
Mikaela Hyakuya lands before Aiko and coolly tells her he has questions for her. He no longer appears to have overwhelming thirst.
At this point, only 47/101 of the Moon Demon Company appears to be alive, but only 28 are free while another 19 are hostages. Over half of the Moon Demon Company is presumed to have been killed off, one-fifth of the MDC captured, and only a quarter still mobile. Only 4/10 nobles are confirmed dead; 3/10 are confirmed to be alive, and another 3/10 are currently unknown.
Manga panels provide a visual overview of the events of chapter 29 with depictions of the characters, Seraph of the End world and scenarios.