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“Curse?!” Hajime Fitun repeated, and after a short silence, he burst into laughter. “With Hajime’s knowledge, did you think that I wouldn’t prepare myself against curses before fighting against someone who uses death-attribute magic?!”
Still, Hajime Fitun twisted his body about to try and free himself from the tongue that was coiled around him and emitting a venomous-looking purple glow.
In the research laboratory in a military nation of Origin, the researchers had used death-attribute Mana extracted from Vandalieu to develop Magic Items. Some of that research had been related to military weapons whose existence couldn’t be revealed to the public.
It wasn’t only research on creating immortal soldiers; there was research on viruses, venoms… and the possible application of curses as weapons as well.
But the researchers had failed in all of these. They had been first-rate researchers, but the investigation bodies of Origin had concluded that this research had failed because the researchers had been unable to fully control Mana that had been taken away from its original owner.
Fitun, who possessed the memories of Hajime who had seen the reports from those investigation bodies, had expected that Vandalieu would likely be able to use curses.
Thus, he had taken as many precautions as possible against curses in preparation for today’s battle. Not only had he created an Orichalcum talisman that he had cast himself, he was also wearing a charm taken from the treasure house of a Church.
Thus, he was confident in his defense against curses. All he needed to do was get out of this current situation in which his arms had been bound.
But the tongue wrapped around Hajime Fitun was difficult to remove. Its glow grew brighter and brighter, producing a white smoke.
Suddenly, the tongue grew hot, burning his body.
Hajime Fitun screamed in pain. “Impossible! My talisman and charm don’t have any effect?!”
He felt a sense of fear as he experienced the sensation of not only his skin, but the flesh beneath being seared by the curse.
In the next instant, the tongue that had been binding Hajime Fitun’s body like a rope turned to dust and crumbled away. But the parts of his skin that the tongue had been wrapped around turned black, causing an oozing pain.
“Y-you bastard –” Hajime Fitun groaned.
He tried to raise his scimitars and swing them at Vandalieu once more, but his eyes opened wide as he gave a groan, clutching the right side of his chest. He felt a pain that felt as if several of his ribs had been broken.
Vandalieu watched Hajime Fitun and gave a satisfied nod at the fact that his curse was taking effect. “The curse I placed on you is an extremely easy-to-understand one. It returns back to you all of the pain that others have felt due to your actions… the ‘Curse of Consequence of Action.’”
The ‘Whip Tongue Calamity’ Job allowed Vandalieu to curse those he attacked with his tongue. However, there wasn’t a large variety of curses that he could apply.
The curses he could use was one that decreased the Attribute Values of his target, one that blocked one of their five senses, and the ‘Curse of Consequence of Action’ that he had just used.
“The pain that others have felt due to my actions? You don’t look particularly wounded to me,” Hajime Fitun said, still clutching his chest as he gave Vandalieu a doubtful look.
Indeed, Vandalieu didn’t look like he had suffered any broken ribs. Even the tongue that he had bitten off himself had already regenerated.
“I’m sure there’s someone out there, somewhere else. Someone who’s suffered broken ribs because of this plan of yours,” Vandalieu said in a matter-of-fact tone.
Hajime Fitun let out a surprised noise and his face stiffened. “… A curse that reflects not only the pain I have caused directly, but the pain that has been caused as a consequence of my actions!” he muttered in a strained tone, finally understanding how problematic the ‘Curse of Consequence of Action’ was.
The ‘Curse of Consequence of Action’ reacted not only to harm caused to others directly by the cursed target, but harm caused indirectly as well.
In this case, if anyone was to be harmed by the heroic spirits participating in Hajime Fitun’s plan or the monster rampage that he had caused, Hajime Fitun would experience that pain himself.
… But because it has such a broad effect, it fades away over time. And even the ‘indirectly caused harm’ is based on what the cursed target himself defines that to be, Vandalieu thought.
The curse had these weaknesses. But Vandalieu could maintain the effects of the curse as long as Hajime Fitun was within his sight.
The definition of ‘indirectly caused harm’ was unlikely to have any problems in Hajime Fitun’s case either. At the very least, he was the one responsible for making heroic spirits possess adventurers’ bodies, coming up with this plan, executing the plan and giving the orders. As long as Fitun himself acknowledged that he had done that, the harm caused by these things would remain under that definition.
Still wearing a stiff expression, Hajime Fitun looked down at the talisman and charm hanging around his neck to try and remove the curse.
But the charm split apart with a cracking noise and the Orichalcum talisman turned black as well.
“… I see, so that’s how it is. The Demon King is a being so powerful that all eleven of the great gods were cornered one-sidedly, and there was no hope of defeating him without summoning champions from another world. This curse is the curse of the second coming of that Demon King; there’s no way that I, someone who became a god only fifty thousand years ago, could stop it,” Hajime Fitun murmured, snapping the string around his neck and throwing the talisman away.
Even as he spoke, several different pains assaulted him, all over his body. He experienced the pain of having his arm crushed, his head struck, his side being wounded deeply, being scorched by flames and frozen by ice.
Unable to suppress the emotions rising up from these sensations, Hajime Fitun looked up. “I underestimated you… To think that you’d put such a convenient curse on me!”
He was now wearing a smile so maniacal that one might have expected to smell the stench of blood on his breath. And despite having learned what the ‘Curse of Consequence of Action’ was, he raised his scimitars once more and threw himself at Vandalieu with no hesitation.
“Convenient curse?” Vandalieu repeated.
Caught off-guard by this totally unexpected reaction, his claws, which he had turned into the Demon King’s claws for a better defense, were severed along with the flesh of his fingers by the Orichalcum blades.
That pain was reflected back to Hajime Fitun as well, but his movements were completely unaffected; his nimble attacks continued.
“Indeed! From this pain, I can tell just how much damage you are taking from my attacks! This pain tells me how well my subordinates are doing in battle, and whether the monsters have been exterminated yet!” Hajime Fitun shouted with a laugh, as if he were enjoying himself. “I can even tell that the damage I just did to your fingers is no great damage to you! And I now realize that little tricks are of no use against you! I will show you my final trump card! ‘God Transformation!’”
A light emanated from Hajime Fitun, one that could be described as divine in appearance under normal circumstances. Considering the ‘Heroic Spirit Transformation’ Skill used by the heroic spirits, it wasn’t difficult to imagine what kind of Skill Hajime Fitun had just used.
Enveloped with the light and now radiating an overwhelming aura, Hajime Fitun charged towards Vandalieu with even faster movements.
“If you value the city behind you and the damned powerless insects that can live nowhere else, stop this with your own body, Demon King!” Hajime Fitun roared, unleashing a shockwave with a slashing motion towards the city.
“Die in pain, you god who is more evil than actual evil gods,” said Vandalieu.
He crossed his arms and stood in front of the shockwave to stop it, and blood sprayed into the air. As he deliberately increased his sensitivity to pain with the Demon King’s nerves, it was Hajime Fitun who screamed in pain.
But Hajime Fitun’s movements did not stop; with another scream and a maniacal laugh, he engaged in yet another, more intense exchange of blows with the silent Vandalieu.
Having learned of Hajime Fitun’s reckless plan, Murakami and his companions were watching the battle from a forest that had a view of the field. All three of them were holding telescopes.
In this world, the technology of producing lenses wasn’t widespread. However, a limited number of merchants who did business with nobles and nations’ armies were capable of creating them. Murakami and his companions had stolen a number of such products.
Of course, the lenses of Earth and Origin had far superior functionality, but… these lenses were still far better than the naked eye. Considering that Vandalieu’s ‘Abyss’ would detect them if they were careless enough to use magic, there were no better tools than these.
Seeing the phenomenon of Hajime Fitun becoming enveloped in a blinding light, the ‘Chronos’ Junpei Murakami sighed. “At this rate, Hajime’s going to lose.”
Murakami’s exasperation was because he was certain in Hajime Fitun’s defeat… and not because of his former second-in-command Kanako and subordinate Melissa transforming.
“What makes you think that? He’s not like Kanako and Melissa, but isn’t this clearly a ‘This is where the real battle begins’ kind of power up?” said the ‘Odin’ Akira Hazamada.
“Yes, I can hear him screaming something like that. He’s not like Kanako and Melissa, but he might be able to push through,” said the ‘Sylphid’ Misa Anderson.
But Murakami’s certainty did not budge. “He used the same ‘Heroic Spirit Transformation’ as his subordinates or an even more powerful Skill. No matter how you look at it, it’s a power-up with a time limit.”
“… Now that you mention it, he did shout ‘God Transformation,’” said Misa.
She possessed the ‘Sylphid’ ability which allowed her to turn her body into vapor. She was applying this ability to transform just one small part of her body into vapor and shape it into a large membrane of air like an elephant’s ear. This allowed her to pick up vibrations in the air with great precision, so she could hear sounds from great distances away.
She was using this to listen to what Vandalieu, Hajime Fitun, Vandalieu’s companions and Hajime’s subordinates were saying.
She couldn’t pick up the voices of Juliana, Borkus or Woren and the other heroic spirits that were inside a Dungeon, but she could even hear the conversation of Miles and Kizelbyne, who were fighting on a different battlefield.
“Then ‘God Transformation’ probably has a similar effect to ‘Heroic Spirit Transformation.’ If Fitun wields the power of a physical incarnation of a god in the body he’s controlling, it won’t last long,” said Murakami.
“That’s why I’m saying, won’t he be able to defeat Vandalieu with that power of an incarnated god? Fitun was a legendary mercenary and adventurer in his previous life, wasn’t he?” said Akira.
They had learned of Hajime’s current state from the god of reincarnation Rodcorte, the one who had sent the reincarnated individuals into this world. Thus, Murakami’s group had possessed information regarding Fitun since before they joined forces with Alda and his gods… in order to investigate whether he could be used as a resource with which to fight Vandalieu.
They had learned that Fitun was someone who had worked on the battlefield as a mercenary and as an adventurer during times of peace. His activities as an adventurer weren’t well-known in the modern era because Fitun himself had only thought of them as a job on the side to earn a little extra money, and hadn’t put more effort into them than that. Even so, he had received numerous offers to be promoted to A-class.
If the Adventurers’ Guild had taken his achievements as a mercenary into account as well, there was no doubt that he would have reached S-class.
He had gone through a war against a nation taken over by an evil god’s cultists, another nation that worshipped the gods of Vida’s faction, and a powerful Majin who commanded an army of Demons and called himself the new Demon King. In all of those wars, Fitun had raised the severed head of the enemy’s leader.
Even Murakami could not deny that he held some expectations for a god with such a history.
“Akira, if Fitun can push through and overwhelm Vandalieu right now, it’s true that he has a high chance to win. But to me, it looks like he just likes to gamble with the odds stacked against him,” Murakami said. “It’s true that there are times when you need to succeed in carrying out your dangerous plan. Like the time we experienced in our previous lives.”
In Origin, Murakami and his companions had found themselves unable to continue following the Bravers – especially Amemiya Hiroto’s policies – and accepted the offer of the ‘Avalon’ Rikudou Hijiri, who was secretly conducting research into the death attribute.
They had carried out the extremely dangerous plan of infiltrating the Eighth Guidance by pretending they were going to cooperate with them, using them in a battle to the death with the Bravers, then carrying their corpses to the Federal States to sell.
As a result, Murakami had lost half of his subordinates even excluding ‘Marionette’ and ‘Death Scythe,’ whom he had been using as disposable pawns from the very beginning anyway. And after that, he and the rest of his subordinates had met their fate after being betrayed by Rikudou Hijiri.
Leaving aside the fact that the final outcome couldn’t have been changed given that they were betrayed by the one who hired them, it was true that one needed to take great risks if they wanted to reap a large return.
Like Murakami’s group, there was no future for Fitun if he failed to defeat Vandalieu; even if his chances of victory were slim, he had no choice but to fight with all of the strength that he could muster.
The current state of the battle was exactly that.
“… In other words, we have no choice but to intervene. Shit. It would have been the easiest thing for us if Hajime was just able to kill Vandalieu,” Murakami muttered.
The reincarnated individuals had been promised a reward from Rodcorte if they were successful in killing Vandalieu. They were promised that they would be reborn into a wealthy environment on Earth or in a world with a developed civilization similar to Earth. It was likely that they could even ask to be reborn with a talent in sports or art if they wanted.
That reward would be given to all reincarnated individuals, not just the ones who killed Vandalieu… though this would likely exclude Kanako Tsuchiya and the others who had joined Vandalieu’s side, as well as the ‘Mage Masher’ Asagi Minami’s group who had no intention of cooperating.
This was a measure that Murakami had requested of Rodcorte, in order to prevent the reincarnated individuals from hindering one another.
… Of course, Hajime Fitun was unaware of this as Hajime had already fallen to Fitun at that point, so he had not received the Divine Message from Rodcorte notifying him of this.
However, If Hajime killed Vandalieu while having been possessed by Fitun, Murakami and his companions would receive the reward. This would have been the most convenient outcome, as they would receive the reward without exposing themselves to any danger whatsoever, but… it seemed that they needed to give up on hoping for this.
“But what will we do if Hajime starts attacking us instead? Even if he’s been possessed by a god, he’s someone that we deceived and deliberately killed in our previous lives. I can’t imagine that he’d trust us,” said Misa, once more bringing up a possibility that had prevented the group from offering to join forces with Hajime Fitun before he even began his plan.
But Murakami wasn’t worried. “He doesn’t have the spare strength to do that. Besides, the god who’s controlling Hajime now is a god in position, but his way of thinking is more like an evil god. I don’t think he’s so much of the virtuous type that he would refuse our help if we just jumped in and started backing him up.”
“Then I suppose things will be fine until we kill Vandalieu,” Akira said with a nod.
As for what happened after killing Vandalieu… Rodcorte would recover his soul before Vandalieu turned into an Undead and put the same seal on it as the one on the fragments of the Demon King’s soul. Murakami and his companions didn’t need to think about what came after that.
With the Skill called ‘God Transformation’ activated by Hajime Fitun, his body would simply head towards an inevitable collapse, and there was no guarantee that Murakami and his companions would all survive the aftermath, either.
But even if that happened, their reward would be happiness in their next lives. They would be able to claim their reward as long as their souls weren’t devoured.
“Now then, let’s show off the power we’ve gained in our third lives,” said Murakami.
The three of them took out their Orichalcum equipment and placed the rings on their fingers, which contained familiar spirits, against their chests.
“‘Familiar Spirit Descent,’” they murmured.
Vandalieu was not the only one engaged in a fierce battle; his allies were as well. However, there were some one-sided matchups that seemed like they would be decided quickly.
An Elf boy was fighting off a countless number of Skeletons, a scimitar in each hand, as if he were dancing.
“‘Dark Night Blade Wind!’” he shouted.
The humanoid skeletons, made of both human and monster bones, groaned helplessly as they were cut down.
But there was no composure in the boy’s expression.
“I guess I should have brought higher-class Potions,” he muttered.
His ribs had been broken, and they hadn’t recovered yet. At this rate, his broken rib would pierce his lung and prevent him from displaying his true strength. No, at this rate, his body might collapse from the side effects of ‘Heroic Spirit Transformation.’
With that in mind, the boy decided to wield his technique at full strength, right now.
Seeming to sense something about his presence changing, a countless number of Skeletons flooded in towards him.
The Skeleton of a four-legged beast dashed nimbly around the boy with and cast a venomous Breath towards him.
With a groan, a Skeleton with spirit-form wings fired bone and spirit form projectiles at the boy from the sky.
And one enormous creature that could be more aptly described as a Bone Golem made of an assortment of different bones rather than a Skeleton also charged in towards the boy.
The speed and power of the Skeletons’ movements weren’t those of any ordinary Skeletons. They were so powerful that D-class adventurers would be completely overwhelmed by them, even if the numbers were even on both sides.
But although the boy’s body had once been that of a D-class Elf adventurer, it was now being controlled by a heroic spirit of Fitun, the god of thunderclouds.
“‘Transcend Limits: Magic Sword!’ ‘True Rapid Response!’ Mana, imbue my blades with the light of the stars! ‘Shining Star Blades!’” he shouted.
He improved the performance of his Orichalcum-coated magic swords and his own reaction speed with a Skill and a martial skill, and cast a light-attribute enchantment on his weapons.
“I shall show you my secret technique! ‘Great Chaotic Star Blade Dark Night Dance!’”
The heroic spirit’s name was the ‘Star Blade’ Shestun. When he was a human, he had been Fitun’s adoptive parent and his instructor in becoming a mercenary.
He was capable of using all kinds of combat techniques and spells, but he was most proficient at dual-wielding curved swords. People sang his praises, saying his swords were so fast that his swordsmanship wasn’t visible at all, and those who witnessed him in battle were unable to remember anything other than the light reflected off his blades.
The dual scimitars wielded by Shestun destroyed Skeletons one after another. They split the hard skulls and severed the thick femurs as if they were branches, cutting his foes to pieces.
He cut through not only spirit-form wings but the shapeless poison breath as well, and succeeded in defeating over a thousand Skeletons.
His ferocity in battle could certainly be praised as being unmatched.
But victory was not something that he could grasp.
A deafening groan echoed out across the battlefield.
Shestun had destroyed over a thousand Skeletons… Skeletons that were a part of the ‘Bone Pandemonium’ Knochen, who was made of tens of millions of bones. To him, this was no great loss.
Even if his bones were severed, in the end, they were still bones. They hadn’t turned to dust or vanished. They had simply become smaller and grown in number.
And it took Knochen no effort whatsoever to put those smaller bones together to create more creatures that were still a part of him.
On top of that, some of Knochen’s creatures with black bones had started joining the battle. Shestun’s scimitars dug into these black bones, but they did so with a dull noise.
The scimitars, which only had their surfaces coated in Orichalcum, suffered chips in the blades as they met the black bones… the Demon King’s bones.
“… So, this is as far as I go,” Shestun chuckled. “To think that I would face a foe who emphasizes quantity over quality to this extent.”
In addition to his chipped scimitar blades, he had already overused the ‘Transcend Limits’ Skill that he had activated long ago. The collapse of his body due to ‘Heroic Spirit Transformation’ had already progressed considerably.
His fate may have been different if he was facing any foe other than Knochen, if his weapons were the magic swords that he had wielded in his previous life rather than imitations, or if he had not been separated from the other heroic spirits.
Knochen let out another deafening groan.
Still wearing a bitter smile, Shestun was swallowed up into Knochen’s swarm of bones.
The heroic spirit Shestun’s soul appeared, leaving behind the soul of the Elf boy, the original owner of the body. Knochen immediately tried to catch it, but the soul, which had no physical substance, slipped through the bones.
However, Shestun was unable to begin a counterattack against Knochen. He had occupied a physical vessel in this world, albeit forcibly, so he had suffered considerably less damage than he would have if he had descended upon the world directly. But even so, he had spent enough power that he would not be able to influence things in Lambda any further if he didn’t return to his Divine Realm.
Thus, Shestun floated up towards the sky, intending to return to his Divine Realm and recover.
But since this was the inside of a Dungeon, spatially isolated from the outside world other than the entrance and exit. It would take longer for a god inside it to return to his Divine Realm than it had taken to descend here.
And before Shestun’s soul could leave, a voice rang out.
“As I thought, it seems that you will attempt to return to your Divine Realms once your bodies are destroyed,” it said.
A hole ripped open in space, and spider-like legs emerged from within and grasped Shestun’s soul. In the next moment, the legs vanished back into the hole, taking Shestun’s soul with it.
“Retrieval successful,” Gufadgarn murmured.
“Don’t take your eyes off me!” a human woman said, raising her staff into the air.
Aiming at Gufadgarn, she unleashed a barrage of fast-traveling light-attribute projectiles and earth-attribute projectiles that were shaped in a way that made their trajectories complex and difficult to avoid.
“‘Wind Arrow Barrage!’” she shouted, casting yet another spell, one that sent forth arrows made of wind that were extremely difficult to see.
The projectiles from her spells were not very powerful individually, but these offensive spells were well-known for their accuracy.
And the one casting them was not any ordinary mage – it was a mage who had become a heroic spirit. One would not escape unharmed if they were struck by these.
But Gufadgarn didn’t even glance at her.
“However, there is a limit to how long I can hold it,” she muttered to herself, continuing her consideration of what to do with Shestun’s soul now that she had captured it.
The woman’s spells did not reach Gufadgarn’s body. The space around her distorted, with a countless number of holes opening to swallow each and every single projectile.
But the woman didn’t have time to be surprised by this. The space around her was quivering as well.
She cursed under her breath. “‘Lightning Mana Shield!’”
As her projectiles were swallowed by the distorted space around Gufadgarn, a countless number of holes opened around the woman as well, redirecting the projectiles she had just fired back towards her.
Using the lightning she had conjured upon her palm as a shield, she took a defensive posture that was more skilled than one would expect from a mage, protecting herself from the projectiles. She succeeded in blocking all of them, but there was panic in her eyes, and a frustrated-sounding groan escaped her lips.
“So, this is no use, either… I staggered the projectiles’ timing and changed their trajectories, but you still used ‘Teleportation Gate’ in response to each one, without so much as an incantation… Nobody told me that there would be a space-attribute magic user like this!” she muttered.
The woman had wandered across battlefields with her magic and prowess in physical combat as her weapons, and ascended to become a heroic spirit, but she had never encountered such an irregular user of space-attribute magic like the one before her eyes right now, the one who appeared to be a young Elf girl. Not once, even after becoming a heroic spirit. Such a user of space-attribute magic had not existed for at least the past fifty thousand years.
“Ultimately, I will offer it to Vandalieu, but he seems busy. A little ingenuity will be needed to have him consume it now,” Gufadgarn murmured. “… Ah, you still exist, I see,” she said, finally directing a gaze upon the woman as if she were an unpleasant sight, as if she were nothing but vermin.
It was only natural that the woman had never seen Gufadgarn before. Gufadgarn was an evil god who ruled over labyrinths, and in addition to gaining power from people who worshipped her, she also gained power from the emotions of fear and terror they held towards Dungeons.
The only other god that ruled over Dungeons, the evil god of the magic castle, was currently sealed away. Thus, Gufadgarn’s power had reached the point of being equivalent to a great god.
“To think that I, the ‘Tempest Strike Mage’ Matilda, would be treated like some small fry…! I’m sure you have Gufadgarn’s divine protection or something, but don’t look down on me!” the woman – Matilda – shouted.
“So, you know of the existence of the evil god,” Gufadgarn murmured.
Matilda had mistaken Gufadgarn for an Elf mage, so Gufadgarn had assumed that Fitun and his subordinates didn’t know of her existence.
But it seemed that Matilda had not realized that the Elf girl before her was the vessel, the physical incarnation, of Gufadgarn herself.
Gufadgarn was puzzled as to why Matilda had not noticed, but… that just proved how flawless her vessel was as a disguise.
Gufadgarn was an evil god who had served the Demon King Guduranis, arriving from another world that had different laws of physics from this one. Thus, it was difficult for her to conceal her presence when she was inhabiting her vessel.
But she had obeyed Zakkart’s wish (or rather, misspoken words) and created a vessel for herself over tens of thousands of years. Not only the vessel’s appearance, but the presence it radiated unconsciously and even the way it smelled was identical to that of an Elf.
As for her strange manner of speech and movement, to someone who had never seen her before, it might simply appear that she was eccentric because of her fanaticism towards Vandalieu.
Indeed, that was what Matilda had assumed.
“It’s true that I haven’t even put a scratch on you yet. Maybe it can’t be helped that you’re looking down on me,” said Matilda, her voice filled with frustration and anger towards Gufadgarn. “That’s why… I’m going to take my leave now!”
She turned around and attempted to escape.
This was a Dungeon without so much as starlight illuminating it, but the other heroic spirits were engaged in combat here and there nearby, and through the darkness, she could see the lights produced by their battles. Using those as landmarks, it wouldn’t be difficult to regroup with them.
But no matter how much Matilda ran, she could not get further than a certain distance away from Gufadgarn. Space was warping in front of her, hindering her escape.
But that was what Matilda was aiming for – to force Gufadgarn to use her magic.
She fell for it! she thought. Either way, this body is out of time. I’m sorry, Commander, but you’ll have to be satisfied with this Elf’s head!
Matilda’s body was close to collapsing. She cast the spell whose incantation she had been muttering under her breath and rapidly reversed the direction of her body’s momentum.
“‘Wind Air Dash!’ ‘Lightning God Spear Enchantment!’”
She dashed through the air with wind-attribute magic and created a lightning tip at the end of her staff, turning it into a spear. Using ‘Transcend Limits’ and every other Skill she possibly could, she closed the gap between herself and Gufadgarn in an instant.
“‘Tempest God Spear Storm!’ Pay the price for underestimating me!”
Matilda unleashed a deadly martial skill. She had been known as the ‘Tempest Strike Mage’ as a mortal because of her highly-refined mastery over both magic and the art of physical combat.
“I see. You intend to rely on speed and the sheer number of your attacks in order to overcome the speed with which I can process information. It is a frontal approach, but that makes it difficult to defend against it,” Gufadgarn observed, immediately realizing what Matilda intended to do.
She manipulated space just as she had done before, redirecting Matilda’s lightning spear-tip back upon her.
“However, I must make it clear: I have not underestimated you.”
The champion Zakkart had hated such arrogance. Thus, Gufadgarn always did her best to show respect towards her foes in battle in her own way, even if they were clearly weaker than her… at least, towards foes that were worthy of respect.
Matilda screamed in desperation as she performed lightning-fast thrusts, one after another. Even with Gufadgarn’s ‘Teleportation Gates’ redirecting them back to her, she dodged each of them with a hair’s width to spare and continued unleashing her ‘Tempest God Spear Storm.’
Her fast, skilled use of her spear was indeed enough to overcome Gufadgarn’s information processing speed; several of the thrusts did connect with Gufadgarn’s body, as she did not open ‘Teleportation Gates’ in time to stop them.
“It is merely that you are not a being that is worthy of my respect,” Gufadgarn said.
Matilda and the other heroic spirits had robbed others of their bodies and lives, and were now using them as if they were their own. If they managed to kill Vandalieu as planned, they would place the blame for all of the harm they had caused on Vandalieu, or perhaps even on the original owners of the bodies they had possessed.
Gufadgarn did not know all of this.
However, this plan of putting all of the risk upon others while calling it a ‘battle to the death’ was extremely unsightly to her.
She would have thought more of the heroic spirits if they had marched upon the soul-devourer Vandalieu rather than Morksi, a city full of civilians.
“Therefore, I had no intention of fighting you. I was thinking of simply waiting until your body disintegrated,” Gufadgarn continued as she gazed at the astonished Matilda, even as her body was pierced over and over by the spear of lightning.
“Y-you’re not… human… You’re not a living being?” Matilda gasped.
Her spear had pierced several of the human body’s vital spots – the neck, the chest, the stomach – even now, it was burning a searing hole in Gufadgarn’s right eye.
But Gufadgarn continued to speak to her, completely unaffected. “However, I have now realized that this might be considered ‘pitiful’ for the original owner of your body. Having her body possessed by another and being abandoned to die a slow death with nobody putting an end to her misery – I am sure this must be considered ‘inhumane.’ Therefore, although I may already be too late, I shall immediately –”
Space warped in the shape of a sphere around Matilda, and a countless number of small ‘Teleportation Gates’ opened.
Matilda shrieked in terror.
“– drag you out of that body,” Gufadgarn said, finishing her sentence.
Matilda was assaulted by clawed, spider-like legs that emerged from each and every ‘Teleportation Gate.’
Still screaming, she attempted to fend them off with her now tip-less staff and her spells, but her body had already begun to collapse, and she had just spent all of her power on her ‘Tempest God Spear Storm.’
Her entire body was pierced by the spider-like legs, and with it no longer being possible to inhabit the body, Matilda’s soul emerged – only to be immediately trapped and collected by Gufadgarn.
“Now then, I must also recover this corpse and its damaged spirit, but… it seems that the battles are progressing elsewhere as well. I must collect the souls of the heroic spirits and offer them to Vandalieu when the time is convenient,” Gufadgarn murmured to herself.
Even after defeating the ‘Tempest Strike Mage’ Matilda and regenerating her vessel’s wounds, Gufadgarn did not leave. She still had a number of tasks left to complete, such as capturing the souls of the heroic spirits that were trying to escape to their Divine Realms.
- Name: Hajime Fitun
- Race: Human
- Age: 2 years old (17 years old in appearance)
- Title: Reincarnated Individual, God of War, God of Thunderclouds
- Job: God’s Puppet
- Level: 100
- Job history: Warrior, Wind-Attribute Mage, Magic Sword User, Berserker, Dual-wielding Swordsman, Assassin, Dark Fighter, Lightning Blade Warrior, Head-hunting Warrior, God’s Vessel
- Vitality: 104,705
- Mana: 12,561
- Strength: 10,270
- Agility: 21,072
- Stamina: 18,939
- Intelligence: 1,320
- Passive skills:
- Status Effect Resistance: Level 5
- Death-Attribute Resistance: Level 5
- Wind-Attribute Resistance: Level 5
- All Attribute Value Enlargement: God’s Voice: Small
- Murder Healing: Level 1
- Strengthened Attack Power while equipped with Dual Blades: Large
- Mental Corruption: Level 10
- Rapid Healing: Level 10
- Automatic Mana Recovery: Level 6
- Intuition: Level 5
- Active skills:
- Dual Blade Thunderclap Technique: Level 3
- Lightning God Magic: Level 2
- Mana Control: Level 10
- Archery: Level 6
- Dagger Technique: Level 8
- Unarmed Fighting Technique: Level 9
- Throwing: Level 5
- Transcend Limits: Level 1
- Silent Steps: Level 7
- Lockpicking: Level 5
- Trap: Level 6
- Surgery: Level 1
- Survival: Level 3
- Armor Technique: Level 9
- Transcend Limits: Magic Sword: Level 2
- Coordination: Level 1
- Assassination Technique: Level 7
- Assassin Fighting Technique: Level 5
- Dismantling: Level 3
- Chant Revocation: Level 5
- Light-Attribute Magic: Level 4
- Unique skills:
- Marionette: Level 10
- Rodcorte’s Divine Protection
- Fitun’s Divine Protection
- Target Radar
- God Transformation
- Status Effects:
Job explanation: God’s Puppet
A Job that represents the fact that one is the puppet of a god. It provides bonuses to Familiar Spirit Descent and related Skills… This is generally a Job acquired by fanatical humans who sell their souls to evil gods and offer their bodies to them as vessels; it is not a Job that would normally be acquired by ordinary believers of respectable gods.
The reincarnated individual Inui Hajime was originally only about as powerful as the ‘Gungnir’ Kanata and other similar reincarnated individuals, but after following Fitun’s instructions and being strengthened by him, he acquired strength equivalent to that of an A-class adventurer.
He was originally more proficient at covert operations using the power of ‘Marionette’ rather than hand-to-hand combat or firefights, but due to Fitun’s influence, he awakened superior versions of the ‘Swordsmanship’ and ‘Wind-Attribute Magic’ Skills – attaining powers suited for a battle-junkie that leaps onto the front line of battle.
In choosing this path of development for Hajime, Fitun did not put much thought into Hajime’s own qualities; he simply made Hajime into something that resembled his own former body as closely as possible for when he would eventually possess him.
Due to Fitun making this choice and only having two years to implement it, his Status is irregular in various places. His Mana and Intelligence are low because it was Fitun expending Mana and doing the thinking, not Hajime.
In a way, one could think of it as Hajime having acquired the Mana of a god and his help in making decisions, but… in reality, his body and soul have been taken over to an even greater extent than in the case of Gordon Bobby.
There are also imbalances in terms of his Skills, such as the fact that he has not awakened any superior combat-related Skills other than ‘Swordsmanship,’ the fact that he has not learned ‘No-Attribute Magic’ and the fact that his awakened superior Skills are still at a low Level.
His ‘Mental Corruption’ being at Level 10 is due to his body having been taken over.
The ‘Assignable Active Skill’ given to him by Rodcorte has been spent on ‘Chant Revocation,’ a Skill that is normally difficult to acquire.
As a result of Fitun’s strengthening, Hajime was driven to insanity and became useless on his own, but reached a sufficient quality for Fitun to use and wield the power that he possessed when he was a mortal. (Hajime’s low Skill Levels are essentially being compensated for by Fitun’s experience in combat.)
However, in order to acquire ‘Rapid Healing’ and other Skills that are ordinarily difficult for humans to acquire, Hajime has undergone training that scraped away at his very life, so his lifespan was shortened even before he used ‘God Transformation.’