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TLN: Privel is mentioned very briefly at the end of the previous chapter and I somehow forgot to include her. That’s now fixed
Insect and arachnid monsters either had innate instincts that were too powerful or intelligence that was too low for them to be tamed. Perhaps ordinary people who didn’t come into contact with monsters wouldn’t know this, but it was common knowledge for knights and adventurers.
However, although Arachne possessed the characteristics of spiders, they were a race created by Vida. Naturally, the common knowledge of insect and arachnid monsters being untamable did not apply to them, as they were not actually arachnid monsters.
For some reason, it was an elderly knight who was taking care of the process for Vandalieu’s group entering the city instead of a city guard. And he could understand the explanation that Vandalieu had ‘tamed’ an Arachne.
“Still, I’ve never heard of there being an Arachne or Scylla territory between here and the city of Morksi,” the knight said, looking at Gizania and Privel, who had come out of Sam’s carriage.
Incidentally, Privel was a Scylla Origin who had dragon heads on the ends of her tentacles, but like Gizania and Myuze, she was disguised as an ordinary Scylla with a Magic Item.
“If it is true that you tamed them during your journey, I would like to hear a detailed account just in case, if that is alright? I mean, there have been various incidents in the past with people like underground slave traders illegally selling members of Vida’s races, insisting that they had tamed them,” continued the knight, whose cheeks were drooping because of his age, in a polite tone. “Of course, it is not that I suspect you of being such a group. I just need to carry out due procedure, just in case.”
He wasn’t one of the knights who had come to investigate when Vandalieu and his companions first joined the queue. He had been calm from the very beginning.
“… For as long as we can remember, the three of us have always been together. It is likely that we were kidnapped by the underground slave traders that you have mentioned, Knight-dono,” said Gizania.
“And the slave traders must have died somewhere, because the three of us were left abandoned in a cave. We worked together to escape from the cave,” said Privel.
“We stayed together to survive after that. We traveled from place to place, through forests and Devil’s Nests, avoiding places where humans live. But in one of the forests, we were captured after we stepped into a trap laid by bandits,” said Myuze.
“And then we were about to be sold to another group of underground slave traders,” said Kachia. “Incidentally, I’m a former human who was captured by the bandits in a separate incident.”
The four of them spoke in turn, explaining the circumstances that brought them to the forest between Alcrem and Morksi.
“And while we were moving through the forest, Fang caught the scent of the hiding bandits and let us to their base,” said Sam.
“We cleared the bandits out and rescued these four!” said Juliana.
“All of them are very sweet girls and everyone got on well, so we decided to travel together,” said Darcia.
The explanation from these three concluded as to why the four new additions were tamed.
“That’s how it is. Do you have any questions?” Vandalieu asked the elderly knight.
The knight gave a puzzled groan, turning not towards Vandalieu, but towards Simon and Natania. “I suppose this story is the truth?”
“Of course, it is indeed the truth,” said Simon.
“What he said,” said Natania.
The two of them seemed nervous, but they managed to not panic and managed to give the answers they had decided upon beforehand, albeit in a stiff tone.
The old knight sighed and turned back to Vandalieu. “Then I shall ask you just in case, but what did you do with those underground slave traders and bandits?”
“We slaughtered them all,” Vandalieu said.
“And the location of their base?”
“My mother cast multiple offensive spells when we began our attack, and after we saved Gizania and the others, we carefully burned everything to the ground to ensure that the base can’t be used by other bandits. I think the only thing you’d find is a large pile of ash. If you’re still interested, I can give you the location.”
Isla, who wasn’t here, and Chipuras and the other Ghosts who were with Vandalieu right now, had expected the questions that the elderly knight had asked. Thus, Vandalieu had gone to the trouble of using the ‘Golem Creation’ Skill to build several huts and walls using the wood of the trees, then Princess Levia had burned them down to create a ‘burned down bandit base.’
As for the corpses, Vandalieu had buried some bones left over from bandits he and his companions had defeated before.
Even if the elderly knight made a report and Duke Alcrem sent people to investigate, they would likely be fooled.
“Would you like to see the treasures that the bandits had? Though as an amateur adventurer, I do claim ownership of them,” said Vandalieu.
Naturally, these treasures were also to support his story.
“No, that will not be necessary,” said the elderly knight, declining to check it.
Perhaps he had realized that it would be pointless to do so.
Instead, he directed his gaze at Juliana, with his expression indicating that he wanted to say something. He stared at her for a while.
“Knight-sama, is there something on my face?” Juliana asked.
She was aware of the reason the elderly knight was looking at her. He had likely realized that she resembled Juliana Alcrem, the human she had been in her previous life.
But in the end, the knight shook his head and didn’t bring it up. “No, it’s nothing,” he said as he turned back to Vandalieu. “Very well. If that’s how it is, there’s no problem with you taming an Arachne and Scylla. But be sure to register at the Tamers’ Guild and get them proof that they’re familiars by the end of the day.”
With that, the investigation of Gizania and the others was over. The other knights, especially those who had rushed to the back of the line outside the city when Vandalieu and his companions first arrived, were wearing expressions of disbelief. But the elderly knight said nothing more and ignored them.
The elderly knight was aware that Vandalieu’s explanation was suspicious. He was aware of it, but he saw no point in following up on his suspicions and trying to reveal the truth… because Vandalieu and his companions were likely not breaking the law.
It was illegal in many duchies for members of Vida’s races to leave the territories they were living in without permission. However, members of Vida’s races who did not live in territories to begin with were free to go wherever they liked… although this was simply because they were not being managed.
And Vandalieu had said that Gizania and the others had been tamed by him. With that being the case, they were his belongings; they were legally treated the same as an adventurer’s weapons.
Thus, restricting their movements or forcibly transporting them to the respective territories of their races would be equivalent to taking an adventurer’s weapons from him.
And even if the story is a lie and the truth is that he already met the Arachne and Scylla somewhere else, it doesn’t seem like it would affect the city’s safety. It would be a problem if he brought them into the city under the pretense of having tamed them for the purpose of selling them by ‘transferring’ them to another tamer employed by a noble, but… these women don’t look like they are being manipulated through training, drugs or magic, the old knight thought.
His experienced eyes could tell that Gizania and the others were acting. But he didn’t think they looked as if they were being forced to lie through threats or drugs.
And their tamer, Vandalieu, was the ‘Patron Saint of Transformation Equipment,’ and his mother Darcia was the ‘Holy Mother of Victory’ who was capable of summoning a familiar spirit of Vida. Their reputation provided plenty of proof that they would not commit any cruelty against members of Vida’s races.
Trying to investigate any further would be little different from harassment. That was the conclusion that the knight had come to.
“The last thing I wanted to check was these two horses. They’re Demon Horses, aren’t they? The coachman doesn’t seem to be the tamer, but if Vandalieu has tamed them, then I think they should be well-behaved…” the old knight said, unhesitatingly stroking Mähne and Hof’s necks.
At that moment, the other knights and the city guards froze in anxiety, but…
Mähne and Hof neighed softly, seeming to not care.
“Yes, they really are well-behaved. It seems that they are very sturdy Demon Horses, even better than the ones we have at our Knights’ Order,” the old knight said. “Well then, once you’ve paid the entry toll for your coachman, you’re free to pass!”
Familiars were not subject to entry tolls, so the only person required to pay it was Sam, the only one among the party who wasn’t a member of a Guild.
However, a knight with a square jaw, who had been silently watching the elderly knight’s questioning, interrupted. “Wait. You’re being a little easy on them, aren’t you? You are letting such a large canine monster, a Rank 5 Huge Hellhound, and several other monsters of equal Rank, enter the city. I personally think we should investigate more carefully.”
“No, asking any more questions would –” the elderly knight began.
Vandalieu, perceiving that the square-jawed knight possibly held a higher position and the elderly knight could not stop him, spoke up.
“If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them,” he said.
The square-jawed knight cast his gaze around at Gizania, Juliana and the others that Vandalieu claimed were his familiars, and then approached Fang.
“No, there’s no problem here. You just need to… show me!” the knight shouted, suddenly throwing a fist at one of Fang’s front legs.
The punch was a considerably strong one, and it connected with a heavy noise.
But Fang had frozen in surprise, and that was it. He showed no signs of wanting to attack the knight back.
“Alright, you pass,” the square-jawed knight said, giving a satisfied nod at Fang’s response. “Sorry for being violent, but we knights have a rule that one of us will risk our lives to test high-Rank monsters like these when their tamers enter the city for the first time. It seems that this Huge Hellhound is a little cowardly, but it is well-trained…”
He turned back around to see that Privel had wrapped her tentacles round and round Vandalieu’s lower body for some reason. Only one of Vandalieu’s arms was visible between the tentacles.
“What are you doing?” the knight asked.
Privel gave a nervous laugh. “I’m a scaredy-cat like Fang, so I got scared and grabbed onto Van-kun!” she said, trying to pull Vandalieu even deeper into her tentacles.
“It is because you did that without any warning, Knight-dono. I was really surprised, you know!” said Myuze, pushing Vandalieu’s hand in to help Privel.
“If the paperwork is complete, we shall excuse ourselves. We will cause trouble for others if we continue to occupy space at the gate,” said Gizania, somewhat hurriedly lifting Privel along with Vandalieu up and walking past the gate with her eight legs.
“Ah, here is the entry toll. Well then, please excuse us,” said Darcia, paying the required amount.
She and the others hurried to leave the scene as well.
Fang gave a short bark before running after them.
“There’s a homicidal maniac these days called the ‘Face-tearing Demon’ who fancies himself to be some kind of virtuous thief, and he’s all kinds of dangerous! That’s why the entry process was stricter than usual! Sorry about that!” the elderly knight shouted after them as they left.
With a sigh of relief, he gave a light pat to the back of the square-jawed knight.
“You saved me back there,” he said.
“Hmm?” said the square-jawed knight, looking confused for a moment. “Oh, you mean with the Huge Hellhound. It’s nothing; I’m wearing the sturdiest armor among all of us, and I’ve got the highest Level in the ‘Armor Technique’ Skill. Even if it went berserk, I would have lasted a while.”
“No, that’s not what I meant… When you punched that Huge Hellhound, it wasn’t the familiar that looked ready to attack, but the tamer boy.”
“W-what?! I didn’t sense that at all!”
The shocked square-jawed knight looked towards the other knights and city guards around him, but they looked just as confused as him.
“Indeed, I did not even see him move, let alone sense anything. I am sure everyone else didn’t, either,” said the elderly knight. “However, the moment you struck that monster, the boy disappeared – or so it appeared, but the next thing I knew, the mantis-like girl was standing at the front, and the Scylla girl had wrapped the boy in her tentacles. That is all I saw.”
The moment the square-jawed knight threw his fist at Fang, Vandalieu had tried to attack him while keeping his presence erased. Myuze had put herself between him and the guard to prevent that, causing Vandalieu to instinctively stop. And in that tiny moment of time that Myuze had bought, Privel had wrapped her tentacles around him from behind.
Fang freezing in place hadn’t been because he was afraid of the knight. He had been surprised by the rapid series of events unfolding behind him.
This was what the elderly knight had deduced, but the square-jawed knight gave him a skeptical, disbelieving smile.
“You’re overthinking it, aren’t you? I mean, the rumors do say that the Dhampir himself is quite capable, but he didn’t face the monster rampage with his mother, did he?” the square-jawed knight said. “All he did was use poisons and drugs to confuse the monsters from a safe distance, then repel some bandits who were trying to find some loot. Surely he wouldn’t be able to move faster than the eye can see without us sensing anything.”
Indeed, according to the rumors, Vandalieu himself was unlikely to be highly capable in direct combat. That was because Earl Morksi had kept it a secret from the public that the bandits had been individuals as capable as A-class adventurers or even greater, and armed with Orichalcum equipment.
“… I am overthinking it, am I? It would be fine if that were the case,” said the elderly knight.
The square-jawed knight and city guards nodded and reassured him that he really was overthinking things, then began their inspection of the next group of travelers.
If I was overthinking it, why did that girl behave like that? Well, in any case, it is too much for someone like me to think about, just like the monster that looks exactly like Juliana-sama and claims to be the Dhampir’s familiar. And it seems that a report is already on its way to the higher-ups, the elderly knight thought, looking around and realizing that the knights who had rode their horses in a hurry to the back of the line when Vandalieu arrived on the highway were no longer there.
Having entered the city of Alcrem, Vandalieu and his group attracted the attention of the people in it.
Alcrem was a large city with a population of a million people, and many adventurers were based here. There were races like Beast-kin and Titans, and although they were rare, there were Dark Elves and Drakonids as well.
There were also many tamers, and unlike the city of Morksi, the Guild had several dozen tamers who possessed Rank 3 or 4 familiars. There was an organization of Dragon Knights who flew through the air mounted on Lesser Wyverns, and during large festivals, they would soar through the skies above the city in formation as a display of the influence and power of the Alcrem house of dukes.
However, many of the city’s people were seeing an Arachne and Scylla for the first time, so they couldn’t help but stop, stare, point and talk amongst themselves.
But Vandalieu and his companions were having their own conversation, ignoring the eyes of the people around them.
“I know how you feel, but you can’t react like that when even Fang held himself back,” said Darcia.
“Indeed. Even if you were confident that you would be able to bring him down without anyone noticing, patience was the virtue needed in that situation,” said Myuze.
Fang licked Vandalieu all over to try and calm him down, although Vandalieu was still wrapped in Privel’s tentacles so his large tongue was licking her rather than him.
“Hey – wait – your tongue!” Privel said in between fits of giggles.
“… I wasn’t really intending on burying that knight. There’s no way he could have been able to hurt Fang with just an ordinary punch, since he didn’t use an ‘Unarmed Fighting Technique’ martial skill,” said Vandalieu.
He hadn’t released any aura of bloodthirst towards the square-jawed knight; he hadn’t had any intention of killing him.
“So, what were you trying to do?” asked Gizania.
“I felt so much fury that I even surprised myself, and I couldn’t hold it back, so I was trying to go and stand in front of him and glare at him,” Vandalieu replied.
Vandalieu had become intensely furious for some reason the moment the knight punched Fang. He was aware that the knight’s punch, which hadn’t been an ‘Unarmed Fighting Technique’ martial skill or anything, wouldn’t be able to harm Fang.
But he had felt an intense anger towards the knight that was inexplicable even now.
Thus, he had intended to stand in front of the knight and glare at him… with the ‘Demon King’s Demon Eyes,’ which filled their target with terror.
Vandalieu hadn’t said that last part out loud because there were people around them, but Darcia and the others gave a dry smile as they realized that he had intended to use the Demon Eyes.
Incidentally, Vandalieu had once used the Demon King’s Demon Eyes on the rich upstart who treated Darcia like a prostitute, and even though he had held back considerably on their strength, the man had screamed and fled on the spot.
“Bocchan, if you are not careful with those, you might cause people to go insane from fear,” Sam warned Vandalieu quietly.
“He’s right. That person might be able to handle more than an ordinary person, since he’s a knight, but… I’m sure it would have turned into a big fuss,” whispered Darcia.
Indeed, if that knight had become permanently disabled or fled while soiling himself, it would have created a huge scene.
If that had happened, even if there was no proof that Vandalieu had done anything to the knight, he and his companions would have been slowed down by even more questioning.
“Yes, I’m very sorry. Privel, Myuze, thank you for stopping me,” Vandalieu said.
“It is quite alright. We are well aware of your temperament, Van-dono,” said Myuze.
“Yes, don’t – worry about – Fang, can you stop it already!” Privel said, trying not to laugh.
“Well then, I shall dispose of that knight,” said the voice of Gufadgarn, who was hidden in an interval in space.
“… Miss Gufadgarn, I think disposing of him is going a little too far. If something were to happen to him now, Master would be placed under suspicion,” said Simon.
He had become accustomed to her presence, so he was able to speak with her calmly despite her voice speaking out of nowhere. It seemed that he’d been influenced by Vandalieu and his companions quite heavily during the short period of time he’d spent with them so far.
“And I mean, I’m not trying to defend him or anything, but that knight was just doing his job. And the process was only so long because of the ‘Face-tearing Demon’… in other words… you know,” Natania mumbled.
Indeed, if it weren’t for the ‘Face-tearing Demon,’ there wouldn’t have been such a high state of alert in the city with multiple knights deployed at the gate.
The one who did defend the knight was Juliana, who had, in a sense, been a comrade of his in her previous life.
“I don’t think that square-faced knight is rotten at his core,” she said. “That knight was able to choose which familiar to strike. It is only natural to avoid Maroru and Suruga, since his fist would be burned or impaled, but he chose to strike Fang, who is disguised as a Huge Hellhound and looks very ferocious. He did not choose me, even though I certainly appear to be the weakest among us.”
“If he wanted, the knight could have chosen to strike you, because he would likely have been fine even if you attacked him in return. And yet, he chose to strike Fang, so he had no ill intentions. Is that what you are saying, Juliana-san?” said Sam.
“Yes, that is precisely what I mean,” said Juliana.
“Now that you mention it, that is true… Wait, if that is the case, could he not have struck me instead?” said Gizania.
“Gizania-dono, you are just an ordinary large-build Arachne, or you are disguising yourself as one, at least. From the knight’s point of view, you are Rank 4 while Fang is Rank 5. It is likely that he thought Fang would be harmed less by his fist,” said Myuze. “And since you are a woman, the knight was likely hesitant to strike you.”
“I see. We don’t know if he’s a good person, but like everyone has said, he doesn’t seem to be a bad person,” said Vandalieu. “Thank you again for stopping me, Privel and Myuze.”
The conclusion was that the knight wasn’t a bad person.
“Well then, I shall leave him alive,” said Gufadgarn’s voice.
And with that, the square-jawed knight’s mysterious disappearance was averted.
“Come to think of it, are those knights acquaintances of yours, Juliana-san?” asked Privel.
“No, I don’t know them at all. I had a questionable position in society during my previous life, and it was possible that forming too many personal connections would stir paranoia in the people around me, so I did my best not to interact with knights outside the ones under my command unless it was for work,” said Juliana. “However, I believe that all knights knew of me. Even without a claim for the position of head of house, I was a part of the duke’s family, and my troop of knights was the only one that consisted only of women, and these alone were enough to make me a little famous. But since I was not well-acquainted with any of them… it seems that the only one to notice was that elderly knight.”
Juliana’s current appearance was identical to how she had appeared as a child in her previous life, excluding her horns and tail. However, not every knight had known her from her early childhood, and the duke’s house didn’t contain any portraits of her from that stage of her life.
Many were incapable of seeing the resemblances between a woman of around twenty years of age and how she had appeared as a child.
… However, Juliana currently had the appearance of a nine-year-old, and more people would realize as she grew older that she not only resembled her previous self, but looked completely identical.
In that regard, perhaps it had been the correct choice for Juliana to come to Alcrem before her body had fully developed.
“Well then, it seems that Vandalieu has calmed down, so let’s meet up with Vivi-san and the others at the warehouse and living quarters that the people from Starving Wolf Security prepared for us. We need to go to the Tamers’ Guild with Vandalieu before the end of the day anyway,” said Kachia, prompting the group to move on.
Fang finally stopped licking Vandalieu (although he had mainly been licking Privel).
“F-finally,” Privel said in relief. “Well then, shall we get going, Van-kun?”
“Privel, I’ve calmed down, so will you please let me go?” said Vandalieu, who was still wrapped in Privel’s tentacles.
Bashas, the Goddess of Rain Clouds, who was monitoring Talosheim from a great distance above… or rather, pretending to monitor it, listened through the ears of her hero, Arthur. Through the people’s clamoring that she heard, she sensed that the time had come.
“He has come… the embodiment of the evil omen,” she murmured.
At the same time, two other gods appeared at her side. The other gods monitoring Lambda’s surface should have been surprised by their appearance, but the two newcomers ruled over powers that caused them to pay attention elsewhere and take no heed of their arrival.
One of them was a goddess with hair and eyes that were a glossy black, and although her entire body except for her face was covered in black clothing, they did not conceal the plentiful, un-Elflike curves of her chest and waist.
She was Zelzeria, the Goddess of Dark Nights.
The other had an appearance that one might mistake at first glance for that of an evil god. He had the form of a black silhouette of a person’s head with no features whatsoever, with not so much of an outline of the eyes and nose.
He was Hamul, the God of Shadows.
“The portent of dark nights descends upon Alcrem…” Zelzeria said.
“The incarnation of shadow… has appeared,” said Hamul.
“He’s appeared in Alcrem, just as you whispered. Ah, I long to invite him directly as soon as possible…”
“Calm yourself, Zelzeria. We cannot give in to our desires; our plan to give ourselves up to the Demon King must not be known. We must at least carry out our duties as gods…”
“Indeed… We were enticed by the traps set by the Demon King, and without knowing whether we were doing the right thing, we granted divine protections to our believers in order to turn them into messengers. We have done the unthinkable, something that cannot be considered to be the actions of gods,” said Bashas in a melancholy and yet passion-filled tone. “We must continue to carry out the roles that we are meant to.”
She was the one who had caused the other two gods to be caught up in this.
“First, to my Arthur –” Bashas said.
“To my beloved Kalinia –” said Zelzeria.
“To my Borzofoy… Incidentally, what shall we do with the other one?” asked Hamul.
“… I think we should leave it to Arthur and his companions,” said Bashas.
“… You’re right. Giving too many instructions isn’t good,” said Zelzeria.
“Well then, let us leave it for Borzofoy and the others to decide,” said Hamul.