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A tube connected two barrels together. One was filled with a liquid in which countless small bubbles rose, and the other was filled with a black liquid. The gas contained inside the bubbles of the liquid in the first barrel dissolved in the liquid of the second barrel.
As Vandalieu managed this process in the Dungeon he had created beneath his house, he pondered the contents of the Divine Message that Juliana had received.
“‘A place that is equally to the north and south of here’ probably refers to a continent or island on the opposite side of the world from the Bahn Gaia continent,” he said.
“I suppose so. Equally north and south, even though they’re opposite directions from each other, probably means that,” Darcia agreed.
“So, people in this world know that their planet is round,” said Kanako, sounding a little surprised. “There are maps, but nothing that resembles a globe, so I was sure they had no idea.”
Having seen the world of Lambda from Rodcorte’s Divine Realm, Kanako and the other reincarnated individuals knew that it was round, just like Earth and Origin.
They had only ever seen Lambda, so it was possible that it was different in size from Earth and Origin. It was even possible that the orbits of objects were reversed… with the sun and moon orbiting around Lambda. However, there was no doubt that it was indeed round.
But that was something that the reincarnated individuals knew only because they had seen it from the outside. They had never seen any globes of the world, so Kanako had very naturally assumed that the inhabitants of this world did not know that the world was round.
“Not everyone knows,” Darcia said, correcting her. “To elaborate, the fact that the world is round is taught to children around the same time that they are told myths and legends and learn how to read, write and do basic arithmetic. But we don’t pay it much conscious thought after that – whether the world is round or not, that is. I’d forgotten it until I was reminded about it in Vida’s Divine Realm, and it seems that Juliana-san forgot as well.”
“Ah, don’t look at me! In my previous life, I was a human who received some of the best education in this country, and yet I forgot! Please don’t look at me!” Juliana cried in shame.
“Do not be so harsh on yourself,” Zadiris told her. “Even if you tell me that the world is round, I do not even really understand.”
“Yeah, Julie-chan. Don’t worry,” said Pauvina.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make fun of you,” said Darcia.
The fact that Juliana had said, ‘I don’t know!’ to Vandalieu, whom she worshipped, seemed to have inflicted great mental damage upon her.
“Since us Ghouls lived in seclusion in a Devil’s Nest, we don’t have opportunities to learn about the world’s geography. I don’t think anything we say would be of much comfort, Mother,” said Basdia.
“Most human households are similar. We learn it once when we’re very young and then don’t think about it much after that. I almost forgot myself until Vandalieu-sama mentioned it,” said Tarea. “In my case, it was over two hundred years ago, and the education I received was similar to today’s. Isn’t it?”
She looked around, hoping that someone would agree with her.
Simon and Natania nodded with a perplexed look on their faces.
“Yes, now that you mention it, I do remember learning that the world is round when I was a kid… though the world looks pretty flat to me,” said Simon.
“Yeah… Even with the mountains, hills and valleys, the world looks flat… but I kind of have the feeling that maybe someone taught me that it’s round…” said Natania.
Simon and Natania had been taught that the world was round, but it seemed that this knowledge had become buried in dust over time.
“Is it because it was considered to be knowledge originating in another world, so Alda and Bellwood’s believers avoided teaching it?” Doug suggested.
But even for children, it was unnatural to teach them that the world was round as part of their basic education.
Princess Levia appeared behind Vandalieu and joined in on the conversation.
“No, the fact that the world is round shouldn’t be knowledge that originated in another world. The stone plate that bears mythological tales in Talosheim’s Church also contains the parts relating to the world’s creation, and it says that the world is a sphere,” she said.
“… Boy, you are the one who repaired the temple, are you not?” said Zadiris.
“It’s been about nine years since I repaired it. I didn’t have ‘Perfect Record Technique’ back then, either,” said Vandalieu. “But thanks to you, Princess Levia, I’ve got a good idea of why the fact that the world is round hasn’t become established knowledge despite the fact that it is known.”
The clear difference between Lambda and Earth was that the gods of Lambda had existed before its people. And after the gods created the people, there had been an age when the gods ruled the world, living alongside the humans, teaching them and guiding them.
The gods had still been young, and they had not taught the people any skills or knowledge that was beyond them… such as how to cast offensive spells that were too powerful to be used in hunting or how to create torture tools that inflicted deep wounds on the body and mind.
But they had likely taught the people about this world. That it was round.
Or perhaps the people living in that time had realized it themselves in the midst of the gods’ teachings.
Warnliza was the guardian deity of the High Goblin nation and subordinate god of Zuruwarn, the god of space and creation. She had taught the people the knowledge of measurement and how to draw maps.
In any case, the people of this world had known that the world was round before the champions came from another world. Back then, there had been no dangerous monsters, no nations and the gods ruling the people had a more proper relationship with one another than they did now. Traveling would have been far safer back then, too.
But the war against the army led by the Demon King Guduranis had changed the world completely.
The fierce battles had changed the world’s geography, and the maps drawn before the Demon King’s arrival were no longer accurate. On top of that, corrupted regions haunted by dangerous monsters had appeared – Devil’s Nests, Devil’s Seas and Devil’s Skies.
And having lost a significant portion of their power during the war against the Demon King and the war between Vida and Alda that followed, the gods of Alda’s forces had left the world and now resided in their Divine Realms. The gods of Vida’s faction were also secluded within the Boundary Mountain Range and on the Demon Continent.
The world was not in a state where the gods could teach the people about its geography.
The people had also been unable to traverse long distances and conduct large-scale surveys. Indeed, the Demon Continent had been considered to be an unexplored land in human societies prior to the Storm of Tyranny, led by the ‘Thunderclap’ Schneider, reaching it.
These were not circumstances in which people could create maps or globes of the entire world.
And currently, many ordinary people died in or around the cities and villages that they were born and raised in. Overall, there were few who made frequent, long journeys as a part of their lives. Thus, ordinary people needed extremely little geographical knowledge to get by.
Thus, even though the knowledge that the world was round still remained, it did not establish itself firmly in the minds of the people who learned it.
Hearing this tentative explanation from Vandalieu, Darcia and the others nodded.
“I understand, but… what do we do?” said Kanako. “It seems pretty difficult to measure an equal distance to both the north and south.”
The mystery had been solved, but that did not lead to the unraveling of the Divine Message.
“I do not believe there is a map of the entire world even in the High Goblin nation whose guardian deity is Warnliza-sama, who herself is a subordinate god of Zuruwarn, the god of space and creation. And Warnliza-sama herself has not been outside the barrier in over a hundred thousand years,” said Princess Levia.
Orbia appeared to make her own suggestions. “How about asking Schneider? His party has been to the Demon Continent and back, so they should have been able to measure the distance to some extent by using the stars, right? Wait, doesn’t Gufadgarn have any idea?”
But Gufadgarn shook her head. “My apologies. It is not within my knowledge.”
She was the only god in Vida’s faction who had been outside the Boundary Mountain Range – by teleporting her entire Dungeon, the Trial of Zakkart, from place to place. However, she had been focused on the maintenance of the Dungeon; she had not paid much attention to the geography of the world outside it.
“If only I had a better understanding of the goddess’s will, I would have been able to receive the Divine Message in a way that is more easily understood!” Juliana said, disheartened.
“No, Juliana, do not blame yourself. It is unlikely that we will need to measure distance to the north and south so accurately. The other clue, ‘jaws that are unpleasantly-colored,’ should serve as a more accurate marker for the precise location,” said Zadiris. “It is likely referring to an area that geographically resembles the jaws of a beast, so perhaps it is an oddly-shaped, venomous-colored valley, ravine or cave entrance. In any case, it should be quite conspicuous.”
“The Divine Message is cryptic, but I do not believe that Peria-sama deliberately made it difficult to understand out of malice. I am sure she did everything she could to make it as easy to understand as possible so that you could receive it, Juliana-san,” said Princess Levia.
Vandalieu put a reassuring hand on Juliana’s shoulder. “They’re right, you don’t have to worry about it. Nobody can speak to gods from the very beginning. Even I took eight years after being born to become able to speak to them.”
Vandalieu first encountered and had a conversation with a god, the dragon god of five sins Fidirg, when he was around eight years old… Incidentally, the first time he ate an evil god was one year prior to that, when he was seven.
“… Master. I don’t know if it’s right for you to compare Juliana to yourself, you know,” said Natania, narrowing her eyes.
But Vandalieu didn’t really understand what she was trying to say.
“Well, there’s no guarantee that everyone becomes able to speak to the gods when they turn eight,” he said. “Well then, Juliana, let’s aim to become Rank 13. If you do, you’ll be able to speak to the gods face to face.”
“Yes, I’ll do my best!” Juliana nodded immediately, her eyes sparkling.
But Rank 13 was not something that one could attain simply by aiming for it. However…
“I get the feeling that if you’re around Van and you do your best, you’ll be able to do it,” said Pauvina.
Though she had no Rank herself, she had high-Rank monster friends such as Rapiéçage and Yamata.
“Yeah. I was Rank 4 when I first met Van, but I’m now Rank 12, the same as Mother and the others,” said Basdia with a nod.
Members of Vida’s races originating from monsters possessed not only Ranks, but Jobs as well. Considering that she received bonuses to their Attribute Values and growth from two sources, Basdia was likely already more powerful overall than a Rank 13 monster.
As she was now, she would probably be fine even if she met Fidirg face to face.
“As for the ‘jaws that are unpleasantly-colored’…” said Vandalieu, moving on.
“Why don’t we ride in Father’s carriage and search areas where it is likely to be?” suggested Rita. “Father is faster than migrating birds now!”
“If we need to, we can enter his alternate dimension, so there’s no need to worry about encountering monsters,” said Saria.
The twins’ father, Sam, was a Dimension Lord Carriage. As they said, riding in his carriage would likely be a fast, safe way to reach the other side of the planet.
“About that, I’ve received a summons from Duke Alcrem. I want Sam to be on standby near me,” said Vandalieu.
“Umm, Van-sama. Are you intending to deal with both the Divine Message and your business with the duke at the same time?” asked Tarea.
“Don’t you think you should leave the visit to the duke for later?” said Basdia.
The dukes that ruled the duchies of the Orbaume Kingdom each had authority equivalent to that of a small nation’s king. In ordinary circumstances, it would be difficult to delay the wishes of a duke to prioritize other matters.
However, in this case, it was a Divine Message sent by a goddess. People called Darcia ‘Holy Lady’ and ‘Holy Mother,’ and Vandalieu himself was the ‘Patron Saint of Transformation Equipment.’
If they informed the duke that they had received a divine message, even the duke would not be able to bluntly deny their cause.
“And even if it is the will of the duke and the headquarters of a Guild, that doesn’t mean you have to go right away. If they wanted you to come immediately, they would have told Bachem to bring you alone on his Wyvern,” said Darcia. “Walking from this city to the capital would take at least two weeks, so you have time.”
Vandalieu could simply use those two weeks to search for the place indicated by the Divine Message, then go to the capital via Legion or Gufadgarn’s teleportation.
There would be no problem with this, as the duke and the others did not know that Vandalieu and his companions had the ability to teleport.
But Vandalieu shook his head. “Something that can’t be taken care of quickly will probably happen at the place indicated by the Divine Message, so I think it’s best that I handle my business with the duke and the others first. And we probably shouldn’t take a year or two to respond to the Divine Message, but it’s unlikely that time is desperately of the essence. Well, I’ll go to the Church and ask the gods myself about this. Even if I can’t talk to the goddess who sent the Divine Message herself, I’ll probably be able to learn a lot.”
“… I see. By the way, I want to ask… what’s inside those barrels?” asked Legion, who had simply been lying around like a mass of flesh.
“It’s an improvised setup to produce carbon dioxide and make carbonated water,” Vandalieu replied as he prepared cups for everyone. “I need people to taste it before I take it as a gift, after all. Well then, let’s begin the tasting.”
Using the recipe taught to him by the gods of earth as a reference, he had blended caramel produced from Gehenna Bee honey with several spices and fruits to create a prototype Cola.
That night, Talosheim was filled with loud cheers. The people celebrated their emperor achieving his goal and even defeating Fitun, the god of thunderclouds, who had been one of the most combat-specialized gods among the forces of the enemy god Alda.
They also rejoiced in Vandalieu’s strengthened influence in human society, becoming someone whom even nobles could not ignore, and welcomed his new companions.
A parade was held, with all kinds of dishes being served, and people of every race gathered to celebrate. Its scale and liveliness was several times greater than the parade in the city of Morksi.
Late that night, a boat creaked loudly as she departed Talosheim’s canal. It was Cuatro, the ghost ship that Vandalieu had built by combining the wreckages of multiple ships.
It was unusually large for a ghost ship in Lambda, and she spread her sails to head south.
“You scurvy dogs! It’s His Majesty’s first order for us to set sail in over a year! Look lively!” shouted one of the Four Dead Sea Captains that commanded Cuatro.
“Yes, Captain!” the dead sailors said in response.
“But our mission this time is to conduct reconnaissance and preliminary surveying. We must be quiet so that we remain unnoticed. Do you understand?” said another one of the Four Dead Sea Captains.
“Yes, Captain,” the dead sailors whispered.
The only sound that could be heard other than their voices was the wind… because Cuatro was flying through the sky.
The Undead who was once the captain of the sorcery ship used to build Cuatro raised his saber into the air in triumph. “This is a true airship! And I am certain that she’s superior to the airships of the worlds that His Majesty and the champions came from! We have surpassed the technology of other worlds!” he declared.
“But Captain, I heard from Doug that the airships in other worlds are things that fly with big bags attached to the roof, not flying boats,” said one of the Undead sailors, his bones rattling as he spoke.
“Indeed! That’s a design that clearly limits mobility! And they would apparently sink if a hole formed in the bag! Our Cuatro is clearly superior!” the captain said confidently.
“No, what I was trying to say is, maybe you can’t really compare them… No, forget I said anything,” said the Undead sailor, stepping back a little as he realized that the captain was in some kind of high state.
But it was true that Cuatro had become something very different from an ordinary ghost ship.
As a result of her special training with Sam a while ago, she had become able to fly through the sky. This had created new weaknesses, such as having a new blind spot directly beneath her, but her operational capabilities had expanded vastly.
That included her mobility. Cuatro had always been capable of sailing the seas through her own will even without the wind, and although she still wasn’t as quick as Sam at flying through the sky, she was far quicker in the air than in water.
“With that said, we must be wary of unexpected battles with monsters. And we must be vigilant against attacks from the gods’ subordinates, even if they are unlikely,” said the one Dead Sea Captain who hadn’t spoken yet – the former captain of the merchant ship, as he inspected the weapons.
Cuatro was equipped with ballistae, which were essentially enormous crossbows, whose huge arrows looked capable of taking down Dragons. The cannons created by Doug and the others had been newly installed as well.
The gunpowder was stored in Magic Items with water-repelling properties in order to prevent it from becoming wet and unusable.
And Cuatro’s crew, the sailors working under the captains, were all quite powerful Undead. At the time of the first journey to the Demon Continent, they had needed the leadership of Bone Man and his Dragon Zombie mount Leo, but now, they were capable of dealing with any unexpected monster encounters on their own.
However, it was uncertain as to whether the same could be said if physically incarnated gods like Hajime Fitun, heroic spirits or heroes with divine blessings were to appear.
That was why the ‘Divine Spear of Ice’ Mikhail and the Dark Nights Knights’ Order – consisting of Vampires who had been turned into Zombies and Zombie Giants created using Vampire corpses –were on board.
“We’ll be counting on you if the time comes, Mikhail-dono. And everyone of the Dark Nights Knights’ Order,” said the former merchant ship captain.
“Leave it to us,” said Mikhail.
“Yes! If such a time comes, you can show us that His Majesty the Emperor’s dogs are superior to the hunting hounds of the gods!” said another one of the captains.
A Zombie Giant groaned in agreement.
With these forces on board, Cuatro would be able to repel any enemy forces including heroes that were hastily raised by the gods.
“But Captains, we are a preparation for situations of emergency. Do not forget that we will be fighting to escape,” Mikhail reminded the captains.
They would not fight if enemy forces as powerful as those led by Hajime Fitun were to appear. That was why they had agreed to summon Vandalieu and his companions in a situation of emergency and escape via teleportation.
“We understand. Of course, the gods are unlikely to take notice of us in the first place,” said one of the captains.
The gods were far less omniscient than humans thought they were. They could only see the world from their Divine Realms… from far above the clouds, or through the eyes of their believers.
It was unlikely that the gods of Alda’s forces would take notice of Cuatro as she set sail in the ocean from the Merfolk nation, on the southernmost tip of the region within the Boundary Mountain Range in which none of their followers lived, under the cover of a storm.
And since this ship flew through the night sky, it was unlikely to be noticed by vessels that had set sail from human nations, either.
“However, there is always the small possibility of something happening,” said Mikhail. “We must not let our guards down –”
“It’s sunrise, scurvy dogs! Get ready! Move the cargo inside so that it won’t get swept into the water!” the pirate ship captain shouted in command.
The horizon had started to grow brighter. Sunrise had come, and the sailors began to move about in a hurry.
They quickly carried the ballista arrows and gunpowder inside the ship and folded the sails.
“Now let’s go! Begin the underwater voyage!” the captain shouted.
In response to this command, Cuatro’s bow dipped, pointing towards the sea in a nosedive. The bow approached the still-dark water surface and crashed into it with an enormous splash. Cuatro continued to sink into the sea, bow first… and then turned her bow back to a horizontal direction once she was deep enough to not be seen from the surface.
“We will be sailing underwater until the sun sets again! Masters, Cuatro will probably keep the water flow out but it won’t be perfect, so be careful not to fall overboard!” the captain warned the others as the last of the remaining air in his head bubbled out of his eye sockets.
Indeed, Cuatro was now a ghost ship that could not only fly through the air, but sail underwater as well.
No matter how much she flew through the sky, she was unable to fly above the clouds yet, so it was possible that other ships would spot her from the ocean below during the day. But if she was underwater, there was no way that her presence could be noticed.
“If that happens, I’ll swim on my own,” said one of the other captains. “Let’s be careful of any legendary sea monsters until we get close to the land indicated by the Divine Message.”
Cuatro flew through the sky by night and sacrificed speed to travel through the ocean during the day. It was quite unlikely that the gods would take notice of her.
But it wouldn’t be strange for servants of the gods to be on the lookout around the place mentioned by the Divine Message, where a goddess was sealed away.
Once a place resembling the Divine Message’s description was discovered, Cuatro was to remain on standby in the ocean nearby.
“Well then, our enemies for now will be legendary sea monsters, I suppose. I’ve heard that there’s a mysterious monster with such a fearsome appearance that it causes insanity in every sailor that lays eyes on it, and another monster in the deepest parts of the ocean that sinks every single ship that encounters it. Are these rumors true?” asked one of the captains.
“No matter how fearsome a monster is, they’ll be like a kitten if you compare it to His Majesty the Emperor when he’s going all-out! And we’re already beneath the ocean’s surface, you know!” said another.
A third captain laughed. “There’s no mistake about that! If any legendary sea monster dares to show itself, we’ll fillet it and make curry with its meat!”
“… Why curry?”
“Apparently, good boats have delicious curry in other worlds.”
The ghost ship Cuatro, who herself would likely induce fear to the point of insanity in any who noticed her presence and was capable of dragging any ship in her way to a watery grave, calmly traveled through the dark ocean.
The group’s leader was Arthur.
He was standing before a metropolis with a population of a million. It was a city so large that he couldn’t even imagine its scale, as he came from a small village in the mountains.
He hadn’t even entered the city yet, but he was already feeling overwhelmed from just looking at its walls.
There was a long line of people waiting to fill out their paperwork to enter the city, and as an introvert, he couldn’t help but to tremble. He felt pathetic. He felt that his fingers were going to tremble as well, so he clenched them tightly into fists so that he wouldn’t look even more pathetic to the people around him.
Arthur’s younger sister giggled nervously. “Alcrem. Our destination.”
Her voice was trembling too, but Arthur couldn’t blame her. She was even shyer than he was, and slightly scared of men. Her anxiety made her want to stare at the ground, but she was strong at heart, so she looked straight ahead at the city.
“… The goddess’s… Divine Message,” said the Dwarf mage who was Arthur’s childhood friend, his face pale and his eyes open wide.
He was tired from the journey, the longest journey he had ever made in his life, and it seemed that the effects of the poisonous plants mixed in among the wild plants they had eaten on the way still hadn’t completely worn off.
Arthur wanted to hurry and find an inn for him, but…
“Umm, everyone. Why are you so… I don’t know, suspicious?! Everyone around us is really scared of us, you know?!” said the fourth member of the group – an archer and thief by the name of Miriam – looking like she was about to cry.
“Scared…?” Arthur murmured, looking at Miriam with a doubtful expression. “Of us? Who is?”
Arthur was a large man with chiseled facial features and long black hair, and he was casting an ominous-looking shadow.
Kalinia, Arthur’s sister, didn’t resemble him at all except for the color of her hair. She was a beautiful woman but with an unpleasant look in her eyes, with which she was casting a sharp gaze around her.
The wide-eyed Dwarf named Borzofoy, who was prematurely balding and had a scrawny figure, let out an unhealthy-sounding laugh. “Such silly things, you’re saying…”
“I’m telling you, all of you are super scary and suspicious right now!” said Miriam, who was a rookie adventurer from the countryside and certainly didn’t look like she was with these three.
Needless to say, these four were stopped by the guards as they tried to enter the capital of Alcrem, and the barrage of questioning took several times longer than the normal process.
- Name: Cuatro
- Rank: 8
- Race: Terror Ghost Chimera Battleship
- Level: 59
- Passive Skills:
- Special Five Senses
- Physical Resistance: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
- Mental Corruption: Level 7
- Strengthened Attribute Values: Sailing: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
- Strengthened Attribute Values: Creator: Level 5 (LEVEL UP!)
- Self-Strengthening: On Water: Level 5 (LEVEL UP!)
- Self-Strengthening: Guidance: Level 4 (LEVEL UP!)
- Impact Resistance: Level 3 (LEVEL UP!)
- Superhuman Strength: Level 3 (NEW!)
- Airborne Sailing: Level 3 (NEW!)
- Underwater Sailing: Level 2 (NEW!)
- Rapid Regeneration: Level 1 (NEW!)
- Water Attribute Resistance: Level 3 (NEW!)
- Active Skills:
- Surpass Limits: Level 9 (LEVEL UP!)
- High-Speed Cruising: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
- Projectile Fire: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
- Scream: Level 5 (LEVEL UP!)
- Aura of Fear: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
- Artillery Technique: Level 4 (LEVEL UP!)
- Silent Steps: Level 1 (NEW!)
- Familiar Spirit Demonfall: Level 1 (NEW!)
- Unique Skills:
- Vandalieu’s Divine Protection (NEW!)