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Takkard Alcrem was not someone with exceptional instantaneous decision-making skills or a particularly good intuition. His bold decision to align the duchy he ruled with Alda’s peaceful faction had only been made after over a year of discussions with his vassals, careful consideration and trying to predict the response from his opposition in the duchy… though perhaps for a prominent nobleman, this had still been a relatively quick decision.
But it was certainly true that he had not made some hasty, immediate decision after meeting Heinz’s party, whose praises were sung by bards everywhere, and being impressed by their open-mindedness as heroes.
He was not in a state to think calmly and logically about Vandalieu’s question.
Talks had been going well, but they had been interrupted by the discovery of the betrayal and true identity of one of his most trusted knights.
The discovery of the cruel fates that had been met by those who had married into Goldie’s family.
He felt grateful towards Vandalieu’s offer to put up a united front against this enemy and then continue to cooperate in order to deal with everything that would come later.
The benevolence Vandalieu had shown in trying to save Baldiria, one of Takkard’s subordinates, and the empathy he had shown for Takkard and his allies’ anger towards Goldie, made Takkard feel a strong sense of companionship towards him.
“Very well. The Alcrem house will fight on your side against those monsters, and we will continue to work with you after that,” Takkard said.
… He had seen things that made Vandalieu’s humanity come very much into question, including the regrowing of his left arm within seconds after it had been torn off and eaten by Goldie, but it was what it was.
It was best to have as few monsters as enemies as possible. And most importantly, Ralmeya, who possessed the ‘Demon Eye of Appraisal,’ was still in more fear and awe of Vandalieu than Goldie. These were also significant factors in Takkard’s decision.
“Understood. Well then, let us continue our discussions, including organizing a Gobu-gobu tasting session, at a later date. This problem comes first,” said Vandalieu, directing his gaze back towards the Mimic Humans that Goldie was continuing to produce.
Goldie and the newly-formed Mimic Humans that had split off from him laughed in mockery. “So what if you join forces with the duke! He won’t provide any useful fighting forces for you. Did you think that we would hesitate to kill those fools?!”
Goldie was standing behind numerous Mimic Humans with human forms, including Goldie’s father and Jistina, as well as multiple Mimic Humans with the forms of monsters. Vandalieu raised his right palm towards them, and… activated the Demon King’s eyeball.
The Mimic Humans made an incredulous noise of disbelief, but Vandalieu ignored them and activated the Demon King’s luminescent organs, unleashing a beam of light.
The beam pierced through the wall of Mimic Humans and closed in on Goldie. However, one of the newly-formed Mimic Humans pulled Goldie aside, narrowly preventing a direct hit from Vandalieu’s attack.
“I-impossible! Those are fragments of the Demon King. Why would you go as far as to risk them rampaging out of control to use them?!” Goldie shouted, his right arm missing from having been disintegrated by the beam of light.
As if in response, Vandalieu raised his right hand. “Deploy cannon.”
A red-black fluid, the blood of the Demon King, gushed out from his hand and coagulated in a cylindrical shape. Vandalieu then activated the Demon King’s oviduct.
“‘Strengthen Lethality,’” he murmured, spending multiple hundred times the amount of Mana that this spell would normally cost. “Fire.”
With the lethality-enhancing enchantment applied to the eggs produced by the oviduct, Vandalieu used ‘Telekinesis’ to accelerate their velocity and launch them as cannonballs.
“‘Magic Steel Wall!’” one of the Mimic Humans who had survived the beam of light shouted.
“‘Ice Magic Armor!’ ‘Shield of Earth!’” shouted another.
With defensive spells cast, the Mimic Humans formed a shield in front of Goldie, and a third with the form of a Troll let out a roar as it joined them.
However, the egg projectile had a drill-like shape, similar to the egg of a bullhead shark. It penetrated the first Mimic Human right through the shield it was holding, and the Troll-form Mimic Human behind it collapsed, succumbing to the venom inside it, which had been secreted by the Demon King’s venom gland.
《You have acquired the ‘Death-attribute Magic’ Skill!》
“So, he’s firing venom-filled projectiles. Each projectile has a large amount of venom, and it is so toxic that it is dangerous even if you have the ‘Poison Resistance’ Skill at Level 10,” said the Mimic Human with the appearance of Goldie’s father. “What will we do, Goldie? At this rate, you are just expending Skills –”
In the next moment, the Mimic Human with the appearance of Goldie’s father collapsed, half of its head crumbling away in pieces. In its final moment, it had immediately cast a defensive spell to protect Goldie from an attack that combined ‘Demon King Artillery Technique’ with the fragments of the Demon King, but at the cost of its own life.
“Why are the fragments not rampaging out of control? I have stolen the Skill that he uses to control the fragments… the Skill that makes him the Demon King. And the spell he just used was of the same attribute as the ‘Dark King Magic’ Skill that I stole. Why is he able to use them?!” Goldie muttered in frustration.
He was shaken by the fact that Vandalieu was using the Demon King’s fragments without hesitation and repeatedly, as if he had not been affected by his Skills being stolen at all.
“If you’re wondering about the ‘Demon King’ and ‘Death-attribute Magic’ Skills, I’ve reacquired them. You don’t need to worry about the fragments going berserk,” said Vandalieu.
Naturally, he wasn’t telling Goldie this as a parting gift before he and the other Mimic Slimes died; he was telling him this because he knew that it would cause even more discomposure in Goldie.
“What did you say?!” Goldie shouted.
“Impossible!” Goldie’s partner exclaimed. “Are you saying that you regained the Skills stolen by us on your own?!”
As planned, Vandalieu’s words seemed to have dealt a significant blow to the Mimic Humans.
Mimicry and the ability to steal Skills were the Mimic Humans’ greatest weapons, and their identity as a race. This was their first time encountering an enemy that these weapons were ineffective against, and they were so shocked that they were now frozen in place.
Of course, Bravatiyu was even more shaken than them. “W-what in the world is this?! Some kind of spell or Magic Item? No, there is no doubt that these are fragments of the Demon King, and… Wait, they are fragments of the Demon King?! And he has acquired the ‘Demon King’ Skill?!”
“Hey, old man! Shut up and cooperate! That Dhampir is probably more of a monster than Goldie, but just let it go! It doesn’t matter if he’s an incarnation of the Demon King himself!” said Serjio, focusing his entire attention on the battlefield before him rather than thinking about the absurdity of the situation.
The duke was also just standing there, dumbfounded.
“This way, Your Excellency. This place is dangerous,” said Ralmeya.
The knights and spies led the duke away to somewhere that would be at least a little safer than here.
“Partner! Things will not go well at this rate. We are not limitless in number,” said Goldie’s partner, panic audible in his voice.
Mimic Humans were able to split and create more of themselves, and Goldie’s ability to do so had been boosted significantly with his theft of the ‘Demon King’ Skill – to the point that if he was simply aiming to split and create more Mimic Humans, he could do so endlessly.
However, the Skills that he could share with the new clones he created were limited. Mimic Humans were able to stockpile Skills that they had gained on their own and Skills that they stole, and they were also able to combine multiple instances of the same Skill.
However, they were not able to split one Skill into multiple instances. If they stole the ‘Swordsmanship’ Skill at Level 10, they would not be able to create ten instances of the ‘Swordsmanship’ Skill at Level 1 to split among ten new Mimic Humans.
Rather than this being a limitation of Mimic Humans, the Status System had likely not been created with Skills being used in such a way in mind.
These facts remained true for Goldie even though had acquired the ‘Demon King’ Skill and even though he was the most superior specimen among all currently-existing Mimic Humans.
Even if he ran out of stockpiled Skills, Goldie would still be able to create Mimic Humans that were stronger than usual.
But Mimic Humans without Skills were nothing more than monsters that could take on the appearance of humans. They would not even serve as a meat wall against ordinary knights, let alone Vandalieu and his companions.
“I know, partner,” said Goldie. “Vandalieu. Can you remain calm even after seeing this?!”
He created yet another new Mimic Human. It was a Mimic Human with the form of a Dark Elf wearing a gentle smile – Darcia.
“Vandalieu. It’s me. It’s your mom,” it said.
Vandalieu’s movements froze for an instant.
“Is that Darcia-dono? You fool, Darcia-dono is currently treating Baldiria,” said Bravatiyu, stepping forward. “This is obviously an imposter, so I shall –”
“Bravatiyu-dono! It is dangerous, do not interfere!” Myuze shouted in warning, hastily stopping Bravatiyu from swinging his weapon at the fake Darcia.
Seeing this, Goldie realized with certainty that the information he had been provided by Zerzoregin was correct.
It is difficult to understand, but this fool is hesitant to attack enemies with the appearances of his mother or his companions, even if he clearly knows that they are imitations! Goldie thought gleefully. I’ll take this time to make more –
“Fire,” said Vandalieu.
The barrel of his cannon narrowed, firing a precise projectile like a sniper rifle. The attack found a small gap past the fake Darcia.
Goldie screamed as the projectile tore off one of his ears. “I have to make more!” he shouted, continuing to make more clones.
Mimic Humans with the appearances of Kachia, Natania, Simon – and even those were weren’t here, such as Zadiris, Basdia, Eleanora, and Miles.
I need to use this opportunity to deliver the ‘Demon King’ Skill to Zerzoregin… Goldie thought, trying to escape under the cover of the fakes he had just created.
“‘Thundering Screw Arrow!’”
“‘Boulder-splitting Axe Throw!’”
An arrow fired from the side blew away the fake Darcia’s head, and a hand axe sank deep into the flesh of Goldie’s partner.
Everyone looked to see who would dare do such a terrible thing in front of Vandalieu, only to see the real Darcia, who had returned after finishing her treatment of Baldiria.
“Vandalieu! I’m the real one! Don’t pay any attention to the fakes!” she said.
“I’ve managed to get some payback,” said Baldiria, whose neck was still stained crimson, raising another hand axe.
It seemed that Baldiria was no longer affected by her wound or the poison.
“Mom, I understand that, but…” Vandalieu said hesitantly.
“I know, it’s hard for you even if you are aware that they’re not real, isn’t it? Everyone else will deal with the fakes, then, and you go after the main enemy,” said Darcia. “Come, everyone! We’re going to take care of the fakes!”
Darcia and all of Vandalieu’s companions, including the relatively new additions of Simon, Natania, and Juliana, were aware that Vandalieu felt great distress upon seeing his companions wounded, even if he knew they were clearly fake.
Darcia’s orders gave them a dose of fresh morale to continue the fight.
“I wonder why there aren’t any fakes of us?” said Privel, realizing that there weren’t any fakes of her, Gizania or Myuze.
“Though this is only conjecture, I suspect that it is because we have many body parts that humans don’t have. Although it is also possible that it is simply because they have never consumed any victims of our races before,” said Gizania.
“It seems to be the latter in my case,” said Myuze. “Well then, I suppose we should deal with the fakes whose real counterparts are not present here!”
“Yes. The duke and the others are all in the same boat as us now, so let’s go all-out!” said Privel.
With that, the three of them deactivated the Magic Items they were using to disguise themselves, revealing their true forms. The Dragon heads at the ends of Privel’s tentacles spouted deadly elemental breaths as she supported them with spells, and Myuze leapt in with the crystal blades of her sickle arms raised, while Gizania swung her own enormous blade.
The fake Miles, fake Eleanora, and fake Basdia met them in battle, while the fake Zadiris cast spells from behind.
Gizania’s enormous blade clashed against the fake Basdia’s axe, and with a contest of strength ensuing, her eyes opened wide in surprise.
“This fake, it’s… far weaker than the real Basdia?!” she exclaimed.
With the explosive power of Gizania’s eight legs driving her weapon forward, the fake Basdia’s guard was broken immediately, leaving her open, and she collapsed immediately after a follow-up slash.
“The fake Miles-dono here moves quite well, but… it is still considerably inferior to the real one! It does not seem to be using ‘Beast Transformation,’ either,” said Myuze.
The fake Miles wasn’t as weak as the fake Basdia, but even so, it was being wounded continuously in a one-sided manner, unable to fend off all of Myuze’s attacks from her sickle arms and kunai.
“The same over here!” said Privel.
Fang barked in agreement.
The real Eleanora would never be defeated by Fang and the rat sisters, but she was being mauled, unable to put up any meaningful resistance.
A blast of cold air from Urumi turned the fake Eleanora into an ice statue, and a body slam from Suruga caused her to crumble to pieces. It was quite disappointing.
“Don’t be fooled, everyone! According to the legends, Mimic Humans can infest and consume humans, gaining their Attribute Values and memories! Looking at it the other way, fakes created without killing the hosts have only taken their appearance! They’re not as powerful as the real ones!” Baldiria shouted as she buried her hand axe in another Mimic Human.
Damn it, stop blabbering! Goldie cursed to himself.
What Baldiria said was almost entirely correct. Zerzoregin’s power had grown after devouring the Evil God of Pillaging and the God of Mountains, and the Mimic Humans he had created had also evolved as a result.
Thus, they had become able to do the things described in the legends Baldiria had heard: They could steal the Attribute Values, Skills, and memories of their victims, and they could even do it by devouring the victims quickly without going through the process of ‘infesting’ them.
TLN: The author noted that Attribute Values can’t be stolen in the previous chapter so this seems to be some kind of error, but I’ve been told it’s not a relevant detail.
However, if they didn’t consume their victims, they couldn’t steal anything other than their appearances and voices.
Moreover, when Goldie created these Mimic Humans to throw Vandalieu off, he had given them suitable-seeming Skills to make them play the part. However, he had not granted them any high-Level Skills like the ones that the real Basdia would possess, as they were too precious.
As for their Attribute Values, they were essentially a reflection of the Mimic Humans’ actual low Ranks and Jobs, with only a slight boost from the ‘Demon King’ Skill.
Thus, the fakes were nothing more than feeble imitations of the real ones when facing Gizania and the others.
“So, our fakes are pretty strong because… we’re still weak, I suppose. That’s hard to hear,” said Simon.
Simon and Natania, for example, weren’t as powerful as the others, so the fake versions of them were considerably strong.
“But these guys are fakes, down to the artificial limbs!” said Natania.
Indeed, the Mimic Humans could not copy her and Simon’s artificial limbs and their functions. They were only able to copy their appearances… and they had not been able to steal Skills like ‘Spirit Form’ and ‘Long-distance Control’ from the humans and humanoid monsters they had been consuming, so it was impossible for them to use martial skills such as ‘Rocket Punch’ and ‘Flying Sword.’
Thus, Simon and Natania’s fakes were quite formidable, but the real Simon and Natania were superior to them.
“My fake is very weak!” Juliana exclaimed. “And if you look closely, the horns and tails are quite poorly done! This is unacceptable!”
She fired an arrow from her short bow at her fake, which fell immediately.
Goldie and the other Mimic Humans didn’t know of the new half-Minotaur race; in order to mimic Juliana, the features of goats and goat-type Beast-kin had been used to make a rough imitation. However, Goldie hadn’t gone as far as to give her any suitable fighting strength.
“It seems that he is nothing more than an inferior version of Curatos, the God of Records,” Vandalieu commented.
Goldie smiled bitterly at being compared to the god Curatos, who had been capable of creating accurate replicas of people with their exact Attribute Values and Skills from a given point in time. “I am nothing more than a god’s creation; you are giving me too much credit by comparing me to an actual god. However… after I use ‘Absorption and Assimilation,’ I am greater than the original! Behold!” he shouted.
Multiple Mimic Humans emerged from him, with the appearances of past generations of the ‘Knight of the Collapsed Mountains’ and victims like Jistina.
“No, I think we’ve had enough,” said Vandalieu, dematerializing his cannon barrel and pulling his arm back.
In the next moment, Goldie was bewildered by a powerful force pulling him towards Vandalieu. Looking closely, there were a number of thin, transparent threads attached to his body.
“You put threads in those projectiles?!” Goldie shouted.
“After all, if it’s possible to take back my Skills, it would be best to,” said Vandalieu. “For now, let’s try devouring you.”
The threads were made with the Demon King’s silk glands and pulled with a monstrous strength that one wouldn’t expect Vandalieu to be able to produce given his appearance; Goldie had no opportunity to resist being pulled at all.
Goldie’s wounded partner and the other Mimic Humans immediately attempted to cut the threads, but the threads created by a fragment of the Demon King could not be cut by average attacks or bladed weapons. The partner, who was wielding the treasured sword, was unable to move due to his wounds and Baldiria’s incoming attacks; a Mimic Human in the form of an Ogre attempted to cut the threads with its arms and was dumbfounded to find that its own arms had been cut by the threads instead.
Goldie let out a frustrated scream. “In that case, I’ll take some more Skills from you!”
Perhaps having steeled his resolve, or perhaps simply in a move of desperation, he attempted to charge towards Vandalieu of his own accord. Activating the ‘Monstrous Strength’ Skill that he had stolen from a monster in the past, he raised his sword and dashed forward.
“So he says, but he is expelling small Mimic Humans from his back. They are becoming invisible with magic and running away from here. It is likely that these small Mimic Humans are carrying stolen Skills. What will you do?” asked Gufadgarn.
Goldie’s plan wouldn’t escape the notice of Gufadgarn, who was lurking in a sub-dimension.
“Demon King’s carapace, claws… If they’re heading outside the city, that’s convenient for us, so let’s leave them for now,” said Vandalieu.
Unaware that his plan had been seen through, Goldie shouted ferociously and charged in along with the other Mimic Humans. With the Demon King’s claws activated on his feet to dig into the ground and the carapace forming an enormous shield on his arms, Vandalieu took on this attack. However, the impact of this collision was quite powerful.
It seemed that Goldie had transferred his Skills to the Mimic Humans, but that made no difference to the fact that he was still the main body.
“However, would it not be problematic to leave them until Zerzoregin makes a real move? The northern region of the Alcrem Duchy will become a wasteland,” said Gufadgarn.
“That wouldn’t be good,” Vandalieu agreed.
“What are you blabbering about…” Goldie muttered.
“Well then, everyone, I will leave reinforcements behind, so please take care of the rest. I’m going to where Zerzoregin is,” Vandalieu said.
“Alright, leave it to us!” said Darcia.
“What?!” Goldie shouted, who was blocked by the enormous shield and couldn’t move. “There is no way you could possibly know the true location of the ‘Sacred Wastelands,’ the true sacred grounds!”
A Teleportation Gate opened behind Vandalieu.
“I’ll be back, Mom. As for the location, I have been told where it is by the spirits of the dozen or so Mimic Humans who have already been killed,” said Vandalieu.
With that, Vandalieu disappeared, and Goldie could only watch, unable to even let out a shout in time as he realized his mistake.
Vandalieu’s shadow remained on the ground, and ‘reinforcements’ emerged from it in quick succession, throwing a flurry of kunai.
“Black-skinned Goblins?!” Goldie shouted, bewildered by his enemy yet again, as he deflected the kunai flying at him.
“Faker who imitated us! Faker who does poor work!” said Braga.
“The way you guys peeled the faces was sloppy! Only a second-rate would kill them before peeling the faces!” said another Black Goblin.
The Black Goblins were angry, having learned from the spirits of the Mimic Humans through Vandalieu that the Mimic Humans were the ones behind the imitation of their work. The imitated work had been done to a poor standard in their eyes.
An enormous silhouette appeared next. It swiftly picked up the enormous shield made of the Demon King’s carapace that Vandalieu had left behind. With an adorable cry, it thrust the shield into Goldie.
The impact of the Demon King’s carapace crashing into them sent the Mimic Humans that had charged in with Goldie flying, as if they had been hit by a carriage.
“Nice to meet you! I’m Pauvina, younger sister to Van and older sister to Juliana!” Pauvina said in greeting to the duke and the others who were behind her.
Worried about Juliana, she had been hiding in Vandalieu’s shadow under the promise that it would just be for the day of the tea party.
Next to emerge from the shadow was a party of four adventurers. They were more normal in appearance than Braga or Pauvina, but the impact of their presence was even greater.
“… To think that the fake ‘Face-tearing Demon’ was you, someone who has for generations protected a holy ground where an evil god is sealed away! You betrayed your master, your fellow knights, and the women who married into your family; you trampled on the trust and respect of the people! This cannot be forgiven! Though I may not be of much assistance, I shall join this battle!” declared Arthur, trembling in anger at the Mimic Humans’ evil deeds.
Borzofoy, aware that these enemies were more powerful than him and his companions, was trembling. Still, he put on a fake smile to try and look brave. “I wonder if there is anything we can do with our level of strength,” he chuckled uncertainly.
“I have your back,” said Kalinia, preparing to provide support from behind while keeping herself safe.
Serjio, Simon, and Natania shuddered at the bizarre presence of these newcomers – as did the duke and the others.
“W-who are these people?!” the duke exclaimed.
“We’re just an E-class adventurer party! Your Excellency, and sir knights! Please get in this carriage! It’s safe inside!” said Miriam, guiding the trembling duke and the others towards the carriage of Sam, who was the last to emerge from the shadow.
One of the small Mimic Humans created by Goldie… was currently in the form of a Harpy child, whose appearance it had learned from consuming a Harpy from a country of Harpies that had existed in the northern part of the continent in the distant past. It was flapping its wings as hard as it possibly could.
It had turned itself invisible with a light-attribute spell, and the flaps of its wings had been silenced with a wind-attribute spell. With the ‘High-speed Flight’ Skill, it was flying faster than an arrow.
If teleporting with space-attribute magic was impossible, then there was no choice but to move physically this way.
It flew over the city of Alcrem, heading towards the ‘Sacred Wastelands.’
Mimic Humans did not have any emotional attachment to their birthplace, the place where their kind had originated. However, because their creator slumbered there… the Mimic Human felt more love for it now than ever.
The Mimic Human was consuming a great deal of physical strength, as it was using Skills that were not appropriate for its current body. As it flew onwards, a familiar wasteland and temple entered its vision.
A rustic stone temple… the true base of the Mimic Humans, disguised as a temple that worshiped Borgadon, the God of Mountains.
A person with a bizarre appearance stood in front of the temple’s door. Its head was flat and gray, with no eyes or nose, and its body had no features at all that could be used to determine its gender. However, there was a single line deeply carved from below its chin to the bottom of its torso.
“Welcome back, my child,” it said.
“Zerzoregin-sama?! You have already descended upon a vessel?!” the Mimic Human exclaimed in surprise.
“I understand that this is a situation of emergency. Return to this vessel and hand over the Skills you stole from him.”
The vertically-engraved line in Zerzoregin’s body opened wide horizontally. Rows of sharp teeth lined the inside, and a red-black tongue could be seen wriggling from within.
This was the only feature of his body – the mouth.
“At once!” said the small Mimic Human, leaping into the mouth with no hesitation. Zerzoregin’s mouth closed immediately, sending blood and feathers scattering into the air.
Zerzoregin let out a triumphant chuckle. “So, this is ‘Dark King Magic,’ and this is the ‘Demon King’ Skill. After lying in wait for so long, I have finally obtained them! It seems that you have been brought here by the Evil God of Labyrinths, but you were one moment too late, former Demon King,” he said to Vandalieu, who had appeared from a teleportation gate.
“No,” said Vandalieu. “My timing is perfect. I was planning to do something about you anyway… and if I use my full power here, the only consequence is that this ‘Sacred Wasteland’ will become an ‘ordinary wasteland.’”
Princess Levia and the other Ghosts appeared behind Vandalieu, along with Gufadgarn, and further reinforcements emerged from his shadow.