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What was the meaning behind striking a pose with a closed fist raised towards the sky?
Endou Kouya, who knew of three different worlds, found it strange that the meaning behind this pose was largely the same in all three.
“Maybe it’s a sign that even in different worlds, people are still people,” he murmured to himself.
Perhaps it was only logical that people of different worlds still had similar societies and values due to sharing the same physical appearance and body structure.
“Kouya, is that your way of escaping reality?” asked Izumi, his fellow familiar spirit, bringing him back to reality.
“… I guess it is,” said Kouya as he looked at Rodcorte, who had fainted while holding what looked like a pose of victory.
“But I’m surprised he managed to recover Rikudou’s soul, even after he said that he didn’t know whether he would be able to or not. I mean, Rikudou’s a god now, isn’t he?” said Aran, looking at the motionless Rodcorte’s closed fist.
Inside that fist were the souls of Rikudou Hijiri and Moriya Kousuke.
Rodcorte was a god who ruled over reincarnation, but the souls of gods were outside his jurisdiction, and he had never handled any up until this point. In Lambda, there were gods who had once been humans. According to Rodcorte, he had only handled their souls while they were humans.
On top of that, Rikudou hadn’t only become a god, but he had also constructed his own circle of transmigration system – or rather, he had become a god because he had constructed his own circle of transmigration system.
Thus, under ordinary circumstances, Rodcorte shouldn’t have been able to do anything with Rikudou’s soul.
“It’s probably because his circle of transmigration system stopped functioning when he died. It seems that even if one becomes a god, it’s possible to fall from divinity for one reason or another, and in Rikudou’s case, that reason was the circle of transmigration system. Rikudou must have fallen from divinity and become a mortal again because his death caused the system to stop functioning,” said Kouya.
Beings that became gods didn’t always remain gods for all of eternity. It was possible for them to fall from divinity – for example, if other beings no longer worshiped them, or if they were no longer spoken of in myths or legends.
In Rikudou’s case, the source of his divinity was the circle of transmigration system that he had created. But to him, it was nothing more than a device to facilitate his rebirth as ‘Arch-Avalon.’ He had merely considered it as an object that was necessary for the process of becoming a god.
Therefore, Rikudou had paid no further attention to his circle of transmigration system after he was reincarnated as ‘Arch-Avalon,’ as he had no more use for it. He had paid no thought into measures to maintain the system or adjust it so that it could be used by others.
Thus, the moment he died, his circle of transmigration system had stopped functioning.
As a physical apparatus, it still existed in Origin. But according to the memories of Rikudou when he was still human, this apparatus was specialized for conducting Rikudou’s reincarnation as ‘Arch-Avalon,’ and it would be almost impossible to use it to facilitate the reincarnation of anyone else.
Thus, it was unlikely that someone else would ascend to godhood by using the apparatus that he had left behind in Origin. It would be another story if someone were to take it apart and reverse-engineer it to create a new one, but… it was likely that Amemiya and the others would destroy it and all related data once they learned of its existence, so there was no need for concern for now.
“So I suppose that means that the Rikudou inside Rodcorte’s fist is just a mortal soul,” said Aran.
“It is a mortal soul, but it’s also the soul of a former god. I’m sure the quantity of his Mana hasn’t changed. I think he still has the death attribute – for now, that is,” said Kouya.
“So, he just reverted from a god to a mortal… Do you think he’ll be like this when he’s reincarnated in Lambda?” asked Izumi.
There was a big difference between Rikudou being reincarnated in Lambda as a god or as a mortal. If he were to be reincarnated as a god, he would be unaffected by the Status System and unable to acquire Jobs or learn Skills. But if he was a mortal, the Status System would apply to him.
If he was reincarnated as the latter, his ‘Increased Learning Speed’ and ‘Unlimited Development’ would have an even greater effect than it had in Origin.
“Even with my ‘Oracle,’ I have no idea. It all depends on how the gods who rule over Statuses interpret a reincarnated individual from another world who was once a god,” said Kouya. “Besides, we don’t even know if it’s even possible for Rikudou to be reincarnated in his current state.”
Rikudou had not only acquired death-attribute magic, he had also created his own circle of transmigration system. He was a threat to the continued existence of Rodcorte’s system, but not only that – he was a threat to the stability of Rodcorte’s existence as a god.
If Vandalieu was a bug that threatened Rodcorte’s system, Rikudou was a business rival.
Of course, the difference in scope and precision between Rodcorte’s circle of transmigration system and the one that Rikudou had created was night and day.
“But he does intend to reincarnate him, doesn’t he? He did go out of his way to recover his soul, after all,” said Aran.
Rodcorte had recovered Rikudou’s soul before it could be devoured by Vandalieu, and also recovered Moriya’s in the process. Vandalieu had stretched a part of soul to devour Rikudou’s, making that part of the dome thinner, and Rodcorte had thrust his hand through that thin part and barely managed to snatch Rikudou’s soul away.
Immediately after that, Nabeshima and Yazaki’s souls had been devoured. The parts of Rodcorte’s own power that he had given them were also devoured, causing him to lose consciousness from the extreme pain.
“No, it’s also possible that he doesn’t intend to reincarnate Rikudou, and he recovered his soul just to prevent Vandalieu from gaining more power. Well, I don’t think it would make much difference at this point, though,” said Kouya.
When Vandalieu descended in Origin with just his soul, Rodcorte had felt what had once been the souls of other reincarnated individuals within it. And he had also noticed that his own power was a part of those souls.
When one considered it, there was nothing surprising about this. When Vandalieu devoured the soul of a reincarnated individual, he was also devouring Rodcorte’s power that had been granted to them.
Vandalieu had never been observed using a cheat-like ability of another reincarnated individual, so it was possible that they were simply providing him with another powerful source of Mana rather than becoming abilities that he could use.
But the unlikely alternative was still possible. If Vandalieu were to acquire Rikudou’s cheat-like abilities, it was highly likely that his development, which already defied all common sense, would become even more extreme. It was possible that Rodcorte had made a move out of a fear of this possibility.
However, Kouya believed that an increase in learning ability would make little difference for Vandalieu now. The difference wouldn’t be entirely insignificant, but it would not be so great that Vandalieu had to be stopped from acquiring it at all costs.
As for ‘Unlimited Development’… Vandalieu’s development was as if he had possessed this ability all along. Nothing would change from him acquiring it again.
“Or maybe he just wanted to prevent Vandalieu from devouring four souls,” Kouya suggested. “After all, he’s fainted after only two of them were devoured.”
“That might be a part of it, but I think he was desperate because he thought that this might be his last chance to secure more reincarnated individuals that he can use to fight Vandalieu,” said Izumi.
“Ah, you might be right about that,” Aran agreed.
As familiar spirits, they knew the contents of Amemiya and the others’ conversation with Vandalieu, having learned them from their memories. They were aware that the two sides had largely reconciled and were now in a cooperative relationship.
Vandalieu was likely just prioritizing Mei and Hiroshi’s happiness, and didn’t consider this relationship to be one of mutual understanding. But the Amemiyas trusted Vandalieu and were relying on him to a considerable extent. If that wasn’t the case, they wouldn’t have left their children in his care.
They had been betrayed by Amemiya’s best friend, Rikudou, and their other companions, and there was no nation or organization in the world that they could trust. It was possible that their trust in Vandalieu had only become relatively strong because of these events. Or perhaps the Amemiyas simply couldn’t afford to become Vandalieu’s enemies now. It was likely that they had clashing opinions, but it was difficult to imagine that the Amemiyas would be the ones to start a genuine hostility with violence.
That would likely never happen unless Rodcorte erased their personalities and memories, then replaced them with the values of the Church of Alda before they were reincarnated.
Well, if Rodcorte took measures that extreme, the two of them would become the people who had previously been Amemiya Hiroto and Amemiya Narumi; it would be difficult to say that they would truly be the same people.
The same was likely true not just for the Amemiyas, but Iwao and Derrick as well, as they had directly witnessed everything. It was possible that Baker and the other Bravers might become hostile towards Vandalieu, but… the chances of that would dramatically decrease once Amemiya told them what had happened.
It was possible that one of the Bravers might have religious beliefs that would make them reject anything with a connection to the death attribute, unlike Amemiya and the others. But even if there was such a reincarnated individual, they would be one of the insignificant ones that Rikudou hadn’t deemed to be a threat.
Rodcorte wouldn’t count on someone like that.
“I see. So, the situation has changed in a way that has only made Rikudou more valuable to Rodcorte,” Aran said. “The only other problem is if Rikudou will obediently do as Rodcorte says, but… if he doesn’t, there’s always the option of erasing his memories and knowledge and have him reincarnated as an ordinary person with cheat-like abilities. As for the death attribute, he could just give him affinities for other attributes.”
“Didn’t he say that he can’t change affinities for the attributes?” said Izumi.
“Izumi, I don’t think he’ll be doing things by the book now that a flame has been lit under his ass. And besides, he’ll probably say something like ‘Is there a problem with telling a lie in response to a human’s question?’”
Izumi and Kouya agreed that this was certainly possible.
“Well, what happens to Rikudou is all up to Rodcorte. Let’s leave him be, there’s nothing that we can do about it,” Kouya said.
“No, there is something we can do. It’s a real pain, though,” said Aran.
“… I wish you would let me forget about that for a little longer,” said Kouya.
He turned and looked at the souls of the reincarnated individuals who had joined Rikudou’s side – the ‘Balor’ Johnny Yamaoka, the ‘Ares’ Sugiura Nanaya, and the others.
They were sitting down, hugging their knees or clutching their heads as they sobbed helplessly. It was a miserable sight to look at.
The ‘Sahadeva’ Da was in a better state compared to the others, but even he was in a dazed state, as motionless as a stone statue.
That was how shocked they were by Rikudou’s defeat.
All of them had sworn loyalty to Rikudou, and that loyalty could be described as fanatical. When Rikudou was reincarnated as ‘Arch-Avalon,’ they had cheered with joy, forgetting their mental scars.
They had believed that their contributions and their deaths hadn’t been for nothing. Even the ‘Balor’ Johnny had praised Rikudou in tears, overjoyed at having played a part in the birth of a new god.
But ever since Rikudou’s defeat, he had broken down crying, and his normally intimidating-looking face was a mess.
The familiar spirits had explained that they would be reincarnated into another world for their next lives. Rodcorte had conveniently lost consciousness, allowing them to discourage them from becoming Vandalieu’s enemies by explaining just how powerful he and his allies were in Lambda.
But it was questionable as to whether they had absorbed this information.
“In any case, we have no choice but to leave them be for now. And honestly, I feel sorry for them, but we’re not obligated to comfort them,” said Kouya.
Although Johnny and the others were shocked by the defeat of the one they had believed in, they were all traitors of the Bravers. And their betrayal hadn’t been recent – they had sworn loyalty to Rikudou even before Murakami and the others joined forces with the Eighth Guidance.
To Kouya, Izumi, and Aran, they were basically enemies. They weren’t obligated to treat them with kindness just because they were dead now.
“Well, you’re right. But as for anything else that we can do… There’s always the maintenance of the circle of transmigration system, I suppose,” said Aran with a dry smile, looking at Rodcorte’s circle of transmigration system that was now filled with countless errors.
Because Vandalieu’s soul had descended upon Origin, those who had seen it were being guided by him, one after another. There were even some who praised him as the god of a new era.
Fortunately for Rodcorte, the ‘Embodied’ soul of Vandalieu had left behind no words for the masses and never expressed his will to them.
Because of that, although many were shocked by the sight of his grotesque soul, the only ones to be guided were the worshipers of the Eighth Guidance and people whose personalities were particularly compatible with Vandalieu’s guidance… though this still amounted to tens of thousands of people.
Incidentally, there were millions more who simply revered Vandalieu’s soul or were interested in it. A mere interest wasn’t enough for them to be guided.
However… if Vandalieu had given a reasonable speech to the world, it was possible that these people would have been guided too.
If that had happened, the alarms alerting the familiar spirits of errors in the system would be ringing dozens of times more frequently, and they probably wouldn’t even be able to have a conversation.
Rodcorte now regarded Origin to be of so little value that he didn’t mind discarding it entirely, but because Vandalieu had made it impossible for him to do so, it was still connected to his system. The system’s current state was due to this fact.
In a roundabout way, Vandalieu’s actions to protect the masses of people in Origin had successfully created a great burden on Rodcorte’s system.
“But it’s only made more work for us rather than Rodcorte, huh,” Aran complained.
“It can’t be helped. Rodcorte’s out cold, after all,” said Izumi.
Grumbling under their breath, they began their maintenance work on the system, which they were now very used to.
《You have acquired ‘Knight’ and ‘Issun-Boshi!’》
《‘Issun-boshi’ has combined with ‘Golem Creation,’ and ‘Knight’ has combined with ‘Soul Destruction Fighting Technique!’》
With the incident in Origin over, Vandalieu was now attending the entrance ceremony for the Adventurers’ School with Pauvina. Regardless of his troubles in another world, school was beginning.
At ordinary Adventurers’ Schools, the entrance ceremony was short and simple. But at the Hero Preparatory School, the ceremony was a proper one that included an admonitory speech from the principal.
“There are only two things that I ask of you. I’m not asking you to achieve good grades or learn as much as you can. That’s already expected of you, given that you have enrolled at this school and are striving to become adventurers. It is undeniable that all of you have more exceptional qualities than other boys and girls of your age, However, that isn’t enough for you to stand out as adventurers!” the female Elf principal said, her clear voice amplified by a Magic Item. “Therefore, these are my requests. The first is to forget any differences in birth between yourself and your peers. While you are students at this school, I expect you to encourage each other and devote yourselves to your studies. And my second request is that you do not die after you graduate! I’m sure the latter will be something that you are very eager to obey even if I don’t tell you to, so be sure to make an effort to obey the former.”
It seemed that there were conflicts at this school every year due to differences in social status, as many of the students were the children or illegitimate children of noble families. Adventuring was a profession that relied on one’s skill rather than the strength of their lineage, but it seemed that it didn’t always work out this way in the small world within this school.
“Van… The principal’s speech is too long… I’m getting a bit sleepy,” said Pauvina.
“Pauvina, the principal’s speech is actually relatively short,” said Vandalieu.
Principal Meorilith’s speech was far shorter than the ones he had been given in school on Earth.
But it seemed that Pauvina, who wasn’t accustomed to such speeches, was reaching her limit.
“You don’t mind speeches, Van?” Pauvina asked.
“On Earth, I did. But now that I think back to them… I am getting sleepy,” said Vandalieu.
It seemed that even though Meorilith’s speech was short and meaningful, any speech given by a principal induced sleepiness.
Given that it was making even Vandalieu sleepy despite his ‘Status Effect Immunity’ Skill, perhaps it was, in a way, a powerful hypnotic weapon.
“Come to think of it, Van, will you be alright on your own?” Pauvina asked.
Although Vandalieu and Pauvina had taken the entrance examination together, because of their results, they had been placed in different classes.
After the principal’s speech was over, the students would be separated into their respective classrooms for what was called classroom learning but would actually be idle talk. They would introduce themselves to their classmates and talk about the weapons, magic, and Skills they were proficient with, providing information with which to form parties. After that, there would be training, and then the day would be over.
In other words, Pauvina and Vandalieu wouldn’t be able to see each other until school was over, except for the small breaks between classes.
“I’ll be fine… I think,” said Vandalieu. “I have everyone with me, after all. Princess Levia and Orbia will be accompanying you as well, Pauvina.”
“You can leave her to me!” said Princess Levia, puffing out her chest and looking dependable.
Orbia, on the other hand, had succumbed to the principal’s hypnotic weapon. “Ugh… Huh?! Ah, is the speech over?” she said, hastily looking up.
Vandalieu was accompanied by various elemental Ghosts – Jane, Kimberley, Chipuras, and the others – and Gufadgarn was behind him as well.
Despite appearing to be alone, he was actually surrounded by many friends, so even if he were to end up by himself when the teacher asked the class to form pairs, he would be fine.
“And besides, if the situation becomes desperate, I’ll focus on talking to the people inside me,” said Vandalieu.
“The situation becoming ‘desperate’ is a mental struggle, isn’t it?” said Pauvina.
“You could say that.”
Even now, Mei, Hiroshi, and the others were inside one of Vandalieu’s ‘Inner Worlds.’ In fact, Vandalieu had only been able to resist the sleepiness induced by the principal’s hypnotic weapon because the Vandalieu and Demon King Familiars inside that ‘Inner World’ were talking to them.
The ‘Inner World’ whose environment had been adjusted to resemble Origin’s, which had previously been off-limits, was undergoing remodeling at a rapid pace for a second time.
Mei and everyone else had agreed to undergo the procedure that would allow them to live in Lambda.
“Dad and everyone else promised that they’ll do their best to return the world to normal as soon as they can, but I don’t think it can be done in a month or two, or even by the end of next year,” Hiroshi had said.
And so, he had chosen to go through the procedure, dissatisfied by the idea of staying inside Vandalieu the whole time.
And so, the off-limits world had served its purpose, and Vandalieu had decided to return its environment to the same environment as the other ‘Inner Worlds.’
And everyone had displayed an incredible adaptability – not just their bodies, but their minds had adapted quickly as well.
“The speed of our work has increased now that we don’t have to pretend to be humans, hasn’t it,” said one of the Demon King Familiars.
“I’m so glad that everyone got used to us so quickly,” said another.
At first, Vandalieu had altered the appearances of the Demon King Familiars, worried that their grotesque appearances would scare Rikudou’s former experimental subjects and victims.
He had hidden parts of their bodies with costume-like suits and clothes, concealing how many legs they had and making them move in the most human-like manner they could. But naturally, this made them less efficient at working. To begin with, Vandalieu – their main body – had the kind of personality that made him terrible at acting. Putting effort into making his poor acting somewhat less poor took up a significant amount of his focus.
Now that they didn’t need to do that, there was a liveliness in the Demon King Familiars’ compound eyes, and they were using all of their countless arms and tentacles to work.
Vandalieu watched them work from a distance, ensuring that there were no errors… though he personally found this difficult, as he was essentially monitoring his own work.
“I had numerous dreams of Ricklent watching me and Zuruwarn comforting her three shoulders with his front paws and tail while I built this place, but I ended up not needing it for long,” Vandalieu said.
“Hey, who are Ricklent and Zuruwarn?” asked Hiroshi.
“They’re gods of this world,” Vandalieu replied.
In order to create an environment that was the same as Origin’s in this off-limits world, the first thing Vandalieu had needed to do was take thorough measures to ensure that no Mana of the time attribute, which didn’t exist in Origin, was added to it.
It seemed that this had very much upset Ricklent, the Genie of Time and Magic. Ricklent either took the form of three beautiful women or the form of an old man, a young man, and a boy; it seemed that God of Space and Creation Zuruwarn, the god whom Ricklent spent much of his time with, had struggled to comfort Ricklent.
“I also took care to adjust the components of the air, the plants, and the microbes. And the temperature and humidity, too,” one of the Demon King Familiars explained to Hiroshi, extending multiple legs and tentacles to erase an engraved magic circle.
“Well, I only recreated Origin’s air, then used ‘Sterilization’ to kill the germs and viruses,” added another as it passed by, carrying materials.
The Demon King Familiars were very busy.
“Come to think of it, did you really mean it when you said you made an amusement park for us? Are you getting rid of that as well?” Hiroshi asked.
“I did create an amusement park. I’m just going to move it; I’m not taking it apart. The attractions are powered by Mana and the Demon King Familiars’ manpower rather than electricity, however,” said Vandalieu.
Vandalieu had created not only a playground, but a small amusement park as well, for Mei and Hiroshi to play at. However, he wasn’t able to create complicated machinery, so they were powered by Magic Items fed by Mana and pedals and levers that were pushed and turned by Demon King Familiars.
“… Manpower?” Hiroshi repeated.
“The ridden attractions like the merry-go-round are mostly powered by the Demon King Familiars. It’s easier than using Mana to power them,” Vandalieu explained.
Just to be extra safe, Vandalieu hadn’t used any Golems in this off-limits world, as the spirits he’d need to do so were from Lambda. Thus, the Demon King Familiars were responsible for providing labor.
Beneath the merry-go-round, where wooden horses and carriages spun around with music playing, there were grotesque Demon King Familiars spinning the gears and playing the music. The fake monsters inside the haunted house were also actually the Demon King Familiars underneath.
“No, I mean… ‘Man’ power?” said Hiroshi.
It seemed that what he was actually questioning was Vandalieu’s use of the word ‘manpower’ to refer to the labor provided by the Demon King Familiars.
“Hiroshi, you might say that because you’re used to Banda, but I’m human. So, the Demon King Familiars, which are my split entities, are also human,” said Vandalieu.
“Hmm, are you sure about that?” said Hiroshi, not believing Vandalieu’s ridiculous argument.
Seeing that he wasn’t convinced, Vandalieu remained expressionless, but he wondered what he should do. Unlike Meh-kun, wriggle-wriggles don’t work on Hiroshi. Maybe I should bribe him with snacks?
A moment later, Gabriel came looking for Hiroshi. “What are you doing, Hiroshi? Class has started.”
“Huh?! I have to attend class as well?!” Hiroshi exclaimed.
“Yes, you do.”
The majority of Rikudou’s victims that Vandalieu had taken into his care, including Hiroshi and Gabriel, were underage, so he had created a temporary school for them. The classes were taught by the Undead created by Mei, and their classes would be focused on the language and mathematics taught in Origin.
This was to ensure that they wouldn’t have any difficulties when they returned to Origin in the future. It was possible that the victims who hadn’t undergone the processes to grant them the power of the death-attribute would be able to live ordinary lives in Origin if they kept their pasts a secret.
Of course, the majority of them had decided to move permanently to Lambda, so all of this was being done just in case.
“By the way, Hiroshi, they’ll also be teaching the language, magic, and legends of Lambda, so make sure to pay attention,” said Vandalieu.
“That sounds interesting, but when you call it ‘study,’ I don’t feel that excited about it. You should watch my magic training instead!” said Hiroshi.
“I’ll do that after you’ve finished studying.”
Although this wasn’t his original intention, Vandalieu had to live up to the trust the Amemiyas had placed in him – though education would be an asset to Hiroshi in the future, so Vandalieu had intended to make him take classes regardless.
Of course, Vandalieu was setting aside the fact that he himself was feeling pressured at school.
“That’s a promise! If you break it, I’m going to worship you, okay?!” said Hiroshi, making a threat that was very terrifying to Vandalieu.
“That’s enough childish behavior!” said Gabriel, taking Hiroshi’s hand and dragging him to school.
Incidentally, the teachers were the Ghosts of Origin’s elite – those who had served as presidents and the directors of organizations. They had graduated from prominent universities, so even though they had betrayed their nations in their previous lives, they would probably do a fairly good job at teaching.
After seeing Gabriel and Hiroshi off, the Vandalieu of this ‘Inner World’ headed to where Ulrika and Mari were. These two didn’t need to study in the ordinary sense, but they did need another kind of study… or to be more precise, persuasion.
The two of them were sitting on a picnic mat in a grassy field, talking to Kanako and Hitomi.
“I see, so that’s how things have been in Origin recently… To think that she would establish herself as a top-class idol after her sudden debut,” said Kanako. “Do you know who her producer is?”
“No, I have no idea. After all, I didn’t need to know about idols to be a body double for Rikudou,” said Mari.
“I’m not sure, either… I only remember her name because she was the idol who sang the opening theme for the anime that I watched with Mei-chan,” said Ulrika.
“… I’m surprised you can remember her name, considering that you have no interest in idols at all. I never learned any artists’ names until I met Jack,” said Hitomi.
It seemed that Kanako and Hitomi hadn’t started the real persuasion just yet.
“I see. The truth is, she’s the daughter of one of my seniors from my idol days – they’re both entertainers, from two different generations. So I was just a little curious,” said Kanako.
“… Kanako, you’ve become quite sociable now that we’re not on Earth or a part of the Bravers. You’ve got a different air about you,” Mari remarked.
“I think so too,” Ulrika agreed.
Both of them were bewildered by the ‘Venus’ Tsuchiya Kanako, who was different from how they remembered.
“Well, it’s been a while since we died, after all,” Kanako said. “Four years… no, has it been five?”
“You don’t remember?” Ulrika asked.
“No. I’m permanently fifteen years old now, so I don’t keep track of my age anymore.”
“I still count my age. Since Jack and I became one, every day is a day to celebrate,” said Hitomi.
“… Perhaps Hitomi has changed more than Kanako. She’s like a completely different person,” said Mari.
Kanako and Hitomi were on friendly terms with Mari and Ulrika.
“With Amemiya and the others, things will probably end peacefully if I give them a shallow apology, but I don’t need to do that with you guys, right?” Kanako had said.
“That would be best for everyone,” Mari had agreed.
Meanwhile, the four of them and Banda were looking after Mei, who was playing and making wriggle-wriggles from a huge mass of flesh-colored clay… Legion.
“If you’re permanently fifteen years old, Kanako, does that mean I don’t need to bake birthday cakes for you anymore?” said Vandalieu, joining in on the conversation.
“Hey! I told you before that keeping track of my age and celebrating my birthday are two different things, didn’t I!” Kanako protested in an attempt to secure her birthday cake for this year.
Mari and Ulrika gave wry smiles.
The two of them had heard from Kanako herself that she was one of Vandalieu’s fiancées, much to their great surprise.
He calls Narumi, who went looking for him because he tried to save her on Earth, ‘Meh-kun and Hiroshi’s mother.’ But he calls Kanako, who was just one of his classmates, ‘Kanako.’ You really never know where life will lead, Mari thought.
That was just how much of a difference there was in the way Vandalieu treated Kanako and Narumi. Kanako was one of his companions, while Narumi was Mei and Hiroshi’s mother… In other words, he didn’t place any value on her beyond that.
Vandalieu – Amamiya Hiroto – was nothing but a memory to Narumi now, and she had already married Amemiya Hiroto, but even so, it was possible that she wouldn’t be happy if she were aware of this… though she might have already faintly sensed it.
Well, it might not be anything that I should feel any sympathy for her over, Mari thought.
But she would surely have felt more sympathy for Narumi if she was aware that Vandalieu had considered making alterations to Narumi and the others’ brains.
But sympathizing with them was all she would do. Mari also valued Mei more than Narumi and the rest of her former companions.
“Leaving the jokes aside, I have to make everyone’s transformation equipment, don’t I? Though I suppose Hiroshi will be fine with his defense-specialized type for a while. Do you have any preferences?” Vandalieu asked.
“Ah, then I’d like a cape like Joseph and Amemiya’s ones. A helmet, too… It seems like they would be useful for hiding my face and my body,” said Ulrika.
“I think mine is fine the way it is,” said Mari. “It would be helpful if it would transform with me when I use ‘Metamorph,’ even if it’s just the color. Is that possible?”
“We also need to make sure they look good on stage,” Kanako interjected, as if this was a perfectly natural thing to say.
“Why do they have to look good on stage?!” Ulrika and Mari exclaimed simultaneously in surprise.
“Looking good on stage is important. I don’t know if you’ll actually make your stage debuts, but there’s no need to limit your choices from the beginning,” said Kanako, her expression completely serious.
Hitomi gave the confused Mari and Ulrika a smug smile. “You two asked Vandalieu to teach you all kinds of things, didn’t you? And Vandalieu introduced you to me and Kanako, his ‘acquaintances,’ and you approved of his choice of companions, didn’t you?”
She was implying that they didn’t have a choice here, and Mari and Ulrika became aware that they had fallen into a trap.
“Umm, you’re not suggesting that we should debut as idols too, are you?” said Mari, alarmed.
“S-surely not, Mari,” said Ulrika. “You can make yourself appear younger, but I’m in my thirties already. I don’t sing other than at karaoke, and I have no experience in dancing. And I’m mentally unstable.”
“You’re right. The only dancing I know is the male part of a ballroom dance that I was made to learn for acting as Rikudou’s body double.”
There wasn’t a single talent agency that would allow someone to debut as an idol under these conditions – though Mari might be able to make it work with extensive use of ‘Metamorph.’
“That’s my goal. You’re two new promising talents, after all! But don’t worry too much. The entertainment industry is less developed and less competitive here than in Origin, and you’ll be provided with support that’s as steady as a mountain range. We’ll figure something out,” said Kanako.
The most influential producer and idol in Lambda’s entertainment industry gave her seal of approval, which neither Mari nor Ulrika had asked for in the first place.
“Is she serious, Hitomi?!” Mari exclaimed.
“Ah, I forgot to mention, I’ve already made my debut. I just wanted to drag you two down with me,” Hitomi said. “By the way, Pluto and the others have, too. We’ve recently become able to take human forms for short periods of time even when we’re separated from each other, so we even have dedicated performances with just us.”
Ulrika let out a shout of despair. “My former companions have tricked me into falling for a trap! Help me, Banda!” she pleaded, latching onto Vandalieu.
“I’m Vandalieu, but we’re the same person, so I suppose it doesn’t matter what you call me,” said Vandalieu. “Leaving that aside… Whether you actually debut as idols or not, I think singing and dancing as a form of self-expression is a good thing.”
Unfortunately for Ulrika, the ‘support that’s as steady as a mountain range’ mentioned by Kanako was Vandalieu.
“It’s good for stress relief, and they say that dancing improves one’s strength in combat. How about having some courage and giving it a try?” Vandalieu suggested.
“Ah… Alright… If you say so, Banda… I’ll give it a try,” said Ulrika, an empty look in her eyes.
Her mental health was supported by Banda, Mei, and Hiroshi; with Vandalieu’s persuasion, the idea that it wouldn’t be so bad to give it a try had entered her mind.
Mari looked at Ulrika and sighed. “… Well, now that I think about it, joining a group where I do things together with people might help me become a more open person,” she said, as if trying to convince herself.
At this point in time, neither of them intended to make a genuine debut, but Kanako was already aware of that, so she had made plans for their future.
First, I’ll have them perform in front of their peers. Then, I’ll have them perform at their friends’ home parties, and once they get used to Talosheim, they can be background dancers… This process will work! Kanako thought.
Thinking of it as ‘being an idol’ was what made it so daunting. If they numbed themselves to it and made dancing on a stage a part of their lives, making a debut would become possible.
Having them perform solo concerts or dance in the center of a group could be thought about after they’d made their debuts. After all, each person had their own needs and things that they weren’t suited for.
It was certain that there would be people who were more suited to achieving things as adventurers (explorers) rather than performing on stage, too.
I’ll be leaving the combat training to Zadiris-san, and I’m sure she’ll be able to teach them the benefits of transformation equipment in battle, Kanako thought.
“So, we’ll be having you two join in on the lessons, then,” Kanako said in conclusion. “Ah, your legs are melting,” she said, pointing at Hitomi’s legs.
“Oh dear. I suppose it’s time,” said Hitomi, whose legs had melted into a flesh-colored clay-like state. “Well then, I’m going back to where everyone else is.”
She undid her transformation, turning back into a person-sized mass of flesh that crawled back towards Legion.
“I’m back, everyooooone! I’m being stretched out!” said Hitomi as Mei grabbed her and stretched her out into a thin, wriggly shape.
“Welcome baaaack. You’ll become stretched out to be long and thin, toooooo.”
“Banda, I did it! I made a wriggle-wriggly Legion, Wri-gion!” Mei said happily.
“That’s amazing, Meh-kun,” said Banda. “Everyone, thanks for making yourselves moldable for Mei to play with.”
“She’s like a mini-Pluto, after all.”
“Her parents might object to it, but she’s more or less one of us.”
It seemed that Legion and Mei were getting along peacefully.
Unlike Vandalieu’s surroundings outside his body, his ‘Inner World’ was lively and cheerful.
Job explanation: Hollow King Mage
A Job that can be acquired by someone who has awakened a superior version of ‘No-Attribute Magic’ or has a high potential to do so in the future. In Lambda, the majority of people who use no-attribute magic apply it as a practice tool for learning magic of the attributes, or as a way to improve the versatility of their magic. Thus, although there are many who have awakened superior versions of Skills related to magic of the attributes, nobody had previously awakened a superior version of ‘No-Attribute Magic.’
This is why Vandalieu was able to acquire this Job, despite his ‘Cannot learn existing Jobs’ curse.
Naturally, this is a newly-discovered Job, but the Mages’ Guild theorized that a superior version of the ‘No-Attribute Mage’ Job could be acquired by someone who mastered the use of no-attribute magic.
However, it seems that nobody was willing to dedicate their entire life to mastering ‘No-Attribute Magic’ in order to confirm whether such a Job truly existed.
Even if they were to awaken a superior version of the Skill, the average quantity of Mana possessed by a first-rate mage is about ten thousand. Given the quality of the magical media (staves) available in Lambda, it would be difficult for one to even cast ‘Hollow Bullet,’ even if they spent all their Mana to do so, let alone ‘Hollow Cannon.’ Therefore, it is the correct choice for most to not choose to dedicate their lives to this Skill.
Job explanation: God Spirit Mage
A Job that can be acquired by someone who has formed cooperative relationships with Ghosts who have become so powerful that they are within the realm of divinity. It is mainly related to the ‘God Spirit Magic’ Skill that allows the user to share their Mana with these Ghosts and have them cast magic on their behalf. It is equivalent to Jobs such as ‘Spirit King Mage’ and ‘Eminent Spiritual Mage,’ which are superior versions of the ‘Spiritual Mage’ Job.
As none have previously been able to form cooperative relationships with or command Ghosts of Rank 13 or greater, Vandalieu was able to acquire this Job.
Naturally, it is a newly-discovered Job, and the Adventurers’ Guild and Mages’ Guild have no way to predict its existence as they are unaware that Rank 13 Ghosts even exist.
Job explanation: Dungeon Master
A Job that can be acquired by one who creates and rules over Dungeons. Naturally, this Job cannot be acquired by the races generally considered as Lambda’s ‘people,’ nor can it be acquired by the races that Vida created. (Some of Vida’s races build their settlements inside Dungeons, but they are simply using the Dungeons as places to live; they do not rule over them.)
Vandalieu is the first, and likely the last, to acquire this Job – unless Gufadgarn were to undergo a complete reincarnation as a mortal, like Jurizanapipe (Lissana).