Thanks to this chapter’s sponsor, Alan D. ($150)!
Vandalieu’s morning was… well, for him, there was no distinction between morning, day, and night.
He was a single person, but at the same time, he was a group of a countless number of entities.
Had he become a part of the God of Origin, or had a part of it become Vandalieu? In any case, Vandalieu was watching over the people of Origin with his countless number of enormous eyes.
After all, his form was that of just his soul, with which he had descended upon Origin… the form of a dome with a countless number of eyes and tentacles on its surface. This form was very good at watching things.
24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There was no rest. Or rather, there was nothing else for him to do.
One might imagine this to be very boring… but that wasn’t the case.
“To think that I get to watch as many movies and read as many books as I want for free. Being a god isn’t too bad,” remarked Vandalieu.
“Right? And if we want, we can look inside thick jungles or the deep sea,” said the Pluto that was also a part of the God of Origin.
“That’s amazing. We’ll never get bored.”
Vandalieu and Pluto were watching the world’s people and enjoying the beauty of its nature.
This wasn’t non-consensual photography or peeping against the people’s will. The people were praying for God to watch over them, after all. Vandalieu was simply doing as they asked.
And there were some people who were exceptionally easy to watch over. These included Joseph, Nanamori, Sergei, and the worshipers of the Eighth Guidance. He was particularly watchful over these people.
“After all, these are your worshipers and those who have been guided by you, Vandalieu. I find it easier to watch over Eighth Guidance worshipers than other people, too,” said Pluto.
It seemed that for the deities of the God of Origin, which was an amalgamation of numerous gods, some people were easier to watch over than others. But with that said, it was like the difference between watching through an old television versus watching through the newest model of television; it wasn’t as if some people couldn’t be seen at all.
“I see,” said Vandalieu. “By the way, the God of Origin, which is currently us, we –”
But a number of the other deities suddenly shouted out, interrupting him.
“Stop! Stop saying ‘us’ and ‘we!’” one screamed.
“Don’t come this way! Stay away!” another shrieked.
Wondering what they wanted, Vandalieu turned his gaze towards the deities who had shouted at him, causing them to cower and hide behind the other deities. Unable to understand their behavior, Vandalieu blinked in confusion.
“It looks like they’re scared of being absorbed by you, Vandalieu,” said Pluto. “After all, there are several deities who have lost half their power since you appeared. And you currently hold the most power within the God of Origin.”
The God of Origin’s existence was sustained by the worship and fear of the people living in Origin. Thus, gods that nobody worshiped anymore and demons and monsters that weren’t feared anymore simply vanished, and their resources were absorbed by the gods that were worshiped more and the demons and monsters that were feared more.
It seemed that these deities were afraid of this… though it all depended on how the people felt towards them, so there was no point in fearing Vandalieu himself. However, Vandalieu was a peculiar being in the fact that he was both a part of the God of Origin and a part of Vandalieu. They were wary of him because it was possible that the common sense they had known up until this point would not apply to him.
But there were deities in the God of Origin other than Pluto who were friendly to Vandalieu.
“I’m sorry about the others. Don’t pay them any attention,” one said.
“It cannot be helped that there are a number of gods who cannot get along with one another due to differences in their doctrines,” said another.
“And it can’t be helped that we’re forced to be neighbors with them,” added a third.
It seemed that they were having a hard time, too.
“I see. Anyway, as I was saying, is there some list of criteria for granting people our divine protection or sending them Divine Messages? I’d like to know, for future reference,” said Vandalieu.
“There’s none in particular. Up until now, attempts to do so failed due to conflicts among us,” said Pluto.
Each deity had their own criteria for supporting people. Even if they wanted to grant someone a divine protection or send a Divine Message, another deity or demon would interfere with it. Thus, it was constantly almost impossible for any of them to do so.
Thus, the God of Origin making a miracle happen would truly be a miracle, unless there was a threat to the world’s existence like Rikudou Hijiri.
“I see… If I can just use my strength to have things my way, then I’ll do that,” said Vandalieu.
It had only been a few days since the conclusion of the incident caused by Rikudou Hijiri. The countries of Origin were still in a state of chaos. The only exception was the Federal States, but it was barely managing to maintain order by suppressing the mobs that refused to accept Sergei as president due to him having risen to the position through a coup d’état.
Amemiya Hiroto and the others were working with President Sergei to stabilize the world, but it seemed that they would still need a lot more time. The world was in the process of dividing into two major factions – one comprised of the two nations that had fully cooperated with Rikudou Hijiri – the Nordic Federation and the Chinese Republic – and the other comprised of the rest of the nations, such as those of the European Union, where only a portion of the upper levels of government had been involved in the conspiracy.
It was possible that a Second World War would break out in Origin.
Well, it was because of this situation that not many were clamoring for the Bravers to take responsibility. There were likely nations and organizations that wished to hold them responsible, but they were unable to proactively take action to do so, as this would lead to people pointing out that their own leaders had joined forces with Rikudou.
And they also seemed to be afraid that if they drove the Bravers into a corner, the being that Sergei claimed was ‘God’ would appear once more.
Vandalieu had a favorable impression of those who were working hard for the sake of their nations and their families despite this chaotic situation.
“… If I can’t grant Divine Protections as the God of Origin, then hopefully I can just guide them in their dreams and grant divine protections that way,” said Vandalieu.
《The ‘God of Origin’s Divine Protection’ Skill has transformed into ‘God of Origin!’》
Vandalieu heard this notification in his head, but he ignored it as he continued his work during the night. He spent his time in his dreams encountering various people.
In some people’s dreams, Vandalieu chased them in the form of an enormous severed head, and in others, he took the form of a countless number of tiny people that could fit on someone’s palm. In others still, he was a mysterious giant whose head the dreamer was sitting on top of.
And all of these were Vandalieu’s own dreams.
And more recently, he had frequently begun to appear in a certain person’s dream, along with Kanako. But with that said, he was simply the audience and the support staff who watched that person and Kanako perform on a stage.
However, it seemed that this person didn’t really want to be guided. Vandalieu had the strange feeling that he had seen this person somewhere before, but the color of his hair was different.
And even outside his dreams, the Demon King Familiars were at work on the Demon King’s Continent, the Demon Continent, and in the region within the Boundary Mountain Range, though this was largely due to a difference in time zones.
They served as various different construction vehicles, provided support for explorers, made transformation equipment, and did paperwork.
But Vandalieu’s main body was asleep throughout the night.
And then he woke up.
“Good morning, Eisen,” he said.
“Good mooorning,” Eisen replied.
She had been photosynthesizing with the morning sunlight. Now that Vandalieu was awake, she released him from her vines and arms.
Vandalieu often slept in someone’s presence these days. That was Darcia most of the time, but he sometimes slept in the garden with Eisen or Pete like he had done last night, or with Mähne and Hof in their shed.
“Good morning, Danna-sama. It’s good that you are awake and alert, and I understand that it feels freeing to be away from home (the castle in the Demon Empire of Vidal), but I do have to question your habit of frequently sleeping in the garden,” said Bellmond.
“Then let’s sleep together tonight, Bellmond. Chipuras and the others will be with us too, though,” said Vandalieu.
Sleeping with Vandalieu was very popular and hotly contested by his companions and vassals, regardless of gender. Those who did not contest, such as Luciliano and Simon, were in the minority.
“… I think that I would not be able to sleep very well, for a variety of reasons, so I must decline. I am afraid of what Isla would do if she were to find out,” said Bellmond, shaking her head as she imagined Chipuras and the others shining brightly.
And there was no telling what Isla, who was one of Ternecia’s Five Dogs like Bellmond, would do if she found out that she had been left out.
“It seems that Bellmond would prefer it be just the two of yooou,” said Eisen.
“I-I did not say that!” Bellmond indignantly. “More importantly, Danna-sama, if you do not eat breakfast and get dressed, you will be late for school.”
“‘Late for school’… A phrase that was common to hear on Earth, but it sounds so fresh now. I wonder if it would be fun to ride to the front of the school in Sam’s carriage, just once? I’ll give up on flying to school on Cuatro,” said Vandalieu as he began walking towards the mansion.
He imagined scenes from manga where children from wealthy families arrived at school in a limousine or a helicopter. Such scenes were likely not very common in real life, but…
“It may not be seen at ordinary Adventurers’ Schools, but it is not unusual for nobles’ children to travel to school by carriage,” said Bellmond.
“As expected of nobles,” said Vandalieu.
It seemed that such scenes were quite common in Lambda.
Incidentally, cooking was a duty that was done in turns.
Silkie Zakkart Mansion, a Cursed Mansion, had a dedicated chef, but… he could only prepare sashimi, slicing up fresh ingredients with a carving knife the size of a greatsword, so he had been taken off duty for now.
There were several other chefs who had come from other Cursed Mansions, but they specialized in tasks like smashing ingredients into a minced paste using a spike-covered club or deep-frying ingredients while they were still alive – very much unsuited for home cooking. Thus, they were currently undergoing training from scratch.
“Good morning, Van! I made today’s breakfast, with Darcia-Mama’s help!” said Pauvina.
Today’s breakfast was an Orc meal, made by Pauvina. Bread with Orc meat that was fried with salt, and a vegetable potage. Dessert was Eisen’s fruit, which had been steamed to make them softer.
Although there were substitutes for every kitchen tool that one would find in a kitchen on Earth, like the food-processor-type Golem, a lot of effort had been put into this breakfast.
“Thank you, Pauvina. It looks very delicious,” said Vandalieu.
His own ‘Cooking’ Skill had awakened into a superior version, but he always found food that had been cooked for him by someone else had a special deliciousness to it.
Pauvina giggled happily.
After everyone ate breakfast together, Vandalieu got dressed, and then it was time to go to school.
Before they left –
“Here. This is your lunch for today,” said Darcia, handing them extra-large lunch boxes that looked like jubako.
TLN: Jubako are Japanese multi-tier boxes for holding food
There was a cafeteria at the Hero Preparatory School. The food there was prepared by skilled chefs that even met the standards of students from noble families, and offered at a price that was a little expensive but still affordable for the students who were commoners.
… In the past, it had been an ordinary cafeteria, but it had become this way after frequent troubles with students from noble families bringing their own personal chefs because they were unsatisfied with the food the cafeteria provided.
Students who had less financial freedom either brought their own lunches or ate at the food carts that operated near the school.
Thus, it wasn’t necessary for Darcia to make lunch boxes for Vandalieu and Pauvina, but she wanted to make the effort to give them hand-made lunches.
“Thanks, Mom,” said Vandalieu.
“Thanks, Darcia-Mama!” said Pauvina.
Pauvina was delighted by this, of course, and so was Vandalieu. They put the lunch boxes in their bags and headed to school in high spirits.
“Van, what classes do you have today?” Pauvina asked. “I have self-study in the morning, and then a little classroom lecture in the afternoon. Apparently, we’ll be learning about the plants that grow around here.”
“I have self-study in the morning, too. In the afternoon, I have cooking class,” said Vandalieu.
The Hero Preparatory School’s curriculum was credit-based, just like the ordinary Adventurers’ Schools, but it was a rule that all new students would receive the same lessons to learn the bare minimum knowledge and skills that they would require as adventurers.
Learning about wild plants would be useful when they accepted commissions to harvest rare plants, and knowledge about medicinal herbs would improve their chances of survival when they ran out of Potions.
As for cooking class… Many of the students from noble families were incapable of preparing even the simplest of meals for themselves, so this class aimed to correct that.
It was strange to think that someone who wanted to be an adventurer was incapable of even adding dried meat to boiling water to make a basic soup, but… it seemed that children from noble families were told at home that it was shameful for a noble to prepare their own meal, even if it was unlikely that they would ever become the head of their house because they had been born after their other siblings.
So then, one might ask, how could they cook at school? But it seemed that most parents came to the decision that if it was the Hero Preparatory School’s policy, then they had no choice.
Apparently, when Principal Meorilith learned of this, she had been outraged and attempted to add cooking to the subjects tested during the school’s entrance examination, but the other staff had stopped her.
“That’s a lot of self-study, isn’t it. Van, are you going to be alright with the cooking? Will you be able to hold back properly?” asked Pauvina.
“We’ll probably be using normal ingredients, so I think I’ll be fine. Probably,” said Vandalieu.
The two of them conversed as they walked to school… though Vandalieu was being held by Pauvina, so it would be more accurate to say that Pauvina was the only one who was walking.
After morning classes were finished, Vandalieu and Pauvina ate the lunches that Darcia had made for them and discussed the special training they would be doing outside Orbaume. This time, Reinhardt and the rest of Pauvina’s party would be joining in as well, so it would be a lively event.
“For Elizabeth-sama’s sake, I suppose it would be best to use monsters whose meat is edible for the training?” said Vandalieu. “But if we only use Orcs, their combat experience will lean too heavily in one direction…”
“Yeah. It would be best for them to fight beast-type and plant-type monsters too, not just demi-human monsters,” Pauvina agreed.
Demi-human monsters had more or less the same body structure as humans, other than their size. Thus, fighting against them was easier in the sense that it felt similar to fighting against other people.
However, if someone only fought against demi-human monsters, they could be caught by surprise and heavily wounded by beast-type monsters that moved completely differently to humans, or plant-type monsters that didn’t falter and were capable of moving normally even when they were heavily damaged, as they had no internal organs and no sense of pain.
“How skilled are Elizabeth-sama and her party?” Pauvina asked.
“As they are now, Elizabeth-sama and the others can defeat Rank 3 monsters almost without a doubt, as long as they don’t panic. Rank 4 monsters would be difficult for them, and Rank 5 monsters… It is likely that there would be unforeseen accidents unless I were to proactively fight at the front for them,” said Vandalieu.
“Hmm, I see.”
Pauvina made a dissatisfied noise, but defeating Rank 4 monsters through a difficult battle was still plenty of strength for students at the Hero Preparatory School – though Alex would be able to defeat Rank 4 monsters with no difficulty and even defeat Rank 5 monsters if they were few in number and he had his party with him.
“Then I think Walking Giant Mushrooms would be perfect,” suggested Chipuras. “They are human-shaped, but they are in fact plant-type monsters, so they have little sense of pain and no internal organs, so different methods must be used to defeat them than Orcs.”
“Chipuras-san, those monsters are Rank 4, aren’t they?” said Princess Levia.
“They are indeed, Princess Levia. But it should not be a problem as long as there are not many of them. And about twice the amount of food can be taken from a single Walking Giant Mushroom compared to an Orc, as they do not have any bones.”
“I see. Then I’ll ask Simon and the others to prepare some for us right away,” said Vandalieu.
And so, it was decided that the enemies for today’s special training would be enormous, walking mushroom-men.
Randolf got up early in the mornings. Ordinarily, he would wake up just a little before sunrise, get dressed, and have a modest breakfast just as the sun began rising.
But today, he had a bad dream.
He sprang up off his bed, covered in sweat and panting for breath, and drew the dagger that he kept hidden under his pillow.
A moment later, he realized that he was awake.
“A dream…” he murmured.
He wiped the sweat off his forehead with his arm and returned the dagger to its sheath. He wished he could say that it had been a long time since he was woken up by a dream, but… that wasn’t the case. Ever since Vandalieu enrolled at the Hero Preparatory School, he had been dreaming almost every night.
The first dream was one where he was walking across a grassy field at night. He thought he was walking towards the stars in the night sky, but at some point, he realized that they were enormous, glowing eyeballs, and hastily turned around to run away.
In the next dream, he was on the bank of a river that was so large it looked like an ocean, and he was staring at an enormous monstrosity that was playing on the opposite bank.
And in today’s dream, he was performing on stage with Kanako and some other performing members. It was a spectacular stage, and the venue’s seats were completely filled. It wasn’t like Randolf to have dreams like this, but given the strange dreams that he’d had recently, it wasn’t so bad to enjoy dreams like this from time to time. Or so Randolf thought, but then he realized that the spectators in the seats were monstrosities that were like a cross between an octopus and a crab, with numerous human eyes plastered on its surface.
With the tips of their jointed legs glowing and their tentacles waving, the monstrosities were dancing to the rhythm of the song being played by Kanako.
And once Randolf realized this, the grotesque spectators crawled onto the stage and swarmed towards him. It was a nightmare.
“What’s up with this, seriously. Since when did I have a fear of crustaceans… No, maybe they’re related to ammonites? In any case, since when was I so scared of them that I would have dreams about creatures like that?” he wondered.
But what he found most curious of all was that these dreams could only be described as a nightmare, but they didn’t feel like nightmares to him.
Even now, he didn’t feel any fear. He didn’t feel reluctant to sleep, nor did lying on his bed make him depressed.
However, he did find it bothersome and irritating.
How long has it been since I felt like this? If I recall… I haven’t felt this way since that old man died. That meddlesome old man at the Adventurers’ Guild who always lectured me when I was young to form a party and stop doing things that bring bad luck.
Randolf didn’t know why that dream had made him feel this way, however.
“… I’m sure it’s just the stress from dealing with Vandalieu and Pauvina,” he told himself. “I’ll just wash my sweat off and have some breakfast.”
After getting dressed and leaving his room in the faculty dorm, he washed away his sweat with cold water he conjured using spiritual magic, then ate breakfast in the dining hall.
Rewinding time to just after Vandalieu’s first special training session with Elizabeth and the others.
After defeating the Orcs and dismantling them for their materials and Magic Stones, Vandalieu and the Heart Warrior Brigade insisted that everyone should take their share. Accepting this offer, Zona and the others took some of the best parts of the meat and Magic Stones, while Elizabeth took all the meat from their heads and Mahelia took the rest of the Magic Stones.
They said that this was training too, and that they would share it with their servants.
Each of them received about a hundred kilos of Orc meat, but Elizabeth wasn’t a student at the Hero Preparatory School for nothing. She could carry that much.
“Do you need any help? And do you want any of the meat that Macht-senpai left behind?” Vandalieu asked, perhaps sensing something, or perhaps simply out of kindness.
Elizabeth was honestly very tempted by the offer, but firmly refused. The reason for that was… she didn’t want him to see where she lived, or what she would really be doing with the meat.
After returning to Orbaume, Elizabeth and Mahelia parted ways with everyone else, then disguised themselves out of sight – though their ‘disguise’ was simply changing their hairstyles and covering their clothes with plain cloaks.
And then they sold the parts of the Orcs that served as proof of killing them, as well as the Magic Stones and nine-tenths of the meat, to the Adventurers’ Guild. Their Adventurers’ Cards were authentic, with their names written on them, so there was no problem with the paperwork.
With the rest of the meat, they headed for a butcher that they were acquainted with. They had him turn half of the meat into jerky for them, giving him the other half of the meat as payment.
They used the money they had received from the Adventurers’ Guild to stock up on daily necessities and food, then finally returned home.
The place they lived was Earl Reamsand’s mansion, on the edge of the high-class nobles’ district… or rather, a detached building on the corner of the grounds. It was a hut that had previously been used as lodging by an assassin he had hired in the past, so it was large enough… and although it might have been suitable for Mahelia, who was just an attendant, it was certainly unfit for Elizabeth, the daughter of a duke.
When Elizabeth was first taken in by Earl Reamsand, she and her mother lived in one of the mansion’s good rooms. However, her chances of becoming the head of the Sauron house dwindled, and her mother’s illness worsened, causing her to be admitted to a specialized facility.
And once the earl decided that there was no hope for a comeback to be made, he pressed Elizabeth to yield to Rudel. When she refused, he had forced her to live in this hut.
“It’s good that we were able to come home early tonight thanks to Vandalieu… though it was really heavy,” Elizabeth said.
“Yes. We did not have to do our night work, so you can rest your body, my lady,” said Mahelia.
The two of them put down their belongings, then began preparing a simple dinner. They had bought plenty of ingredients, so today’s dinner was a little more extravagant than usual.
Incidentally, the ‘night work’ mentioned by Mahelia was nothing indecent. They were nighttime jobs negotiated by the Adventurers’ Guild.
This included waitressing, washing dishes, and tasks that involved magic at restaurants. In Elizabeth’s case, she used life-attribute and earth-attribute magic to speed up the decomposition of kitchen waste, so she earned a relatively good amount with part-time garbage-processing jobs.
Naturally, Earl Reamsand was continuing to provide support. What he provided was more than enough for an ordinary person to live on. But it was just barely short of what a noble lady needed to live like a noble lady.
As a daughter of the Sauron house that was indebted to Earl Reamsand, she had an obligation to attend parties hosted by the earl and the parents of Macht and the others.
In order to do that, she needed dresses and accessories. Fortunately, there were still some of the things that the previous Duke Sauron had given her mother when they escaped the Sauron Duchy, so she could have those mended for her to wear, but… it cost a staggering amount just to maintain them.
Even so, she couldn’t hide the fact that they were out of fashion now, but she had managed to scrape by, selling the dresses that the earl had given her when he thought she still had a chance to become the head of the Sauron house.
And she couldn’t afford to let how poor she was be shown at the Hero Preparatory School, and she couldn’t cheap out on her equipment, either. She also had to act generous to her party members.
All the money Elizabeth received from the earl was spent in no time. Thus, despite knowing the position that she was in, she had to cut down on the expenses that wouldn’t be seen by anyone other than Mahelia.
Ordinarily, housework would be taken care of by servants, but Elizabeth shared the burden with Mahelia, and she occasionally ate simple food that no noble would normally touch.
Earl Reamsand seemed to have thought that she wouldn’t have been able to endure more than a few days of this, but Elizabeth hadn’t been raised like a true duke’s daughter. Her mother and her late grandfather had made sure to teach her how to take care of herself… though she wasn’t particularly good at it, so she had struggled a little.
“We were really saved by him joining us. And after today, I’m certain that he’s significantly… no, far stronger than we are,” said Mahelia.
“There’s no need to tell me; I already know,” said Elizabeth. “I only half-believed the rumors that he overwhelmed not only his classmates but the instructors as well during training, and I was surprised when seven Orcs came out of nowhere, but… no normal person can destroy an Orc’s eyeball by throwing a pebble.”
Even as she said that, Elizabeth suspiciously questioned why such a powerful individual would attend the Hero Preparatory School and become one of her party members, but she couldn’t even imagine what he could possibly be thinking.
Could it be that he genuinely mistakenly thought that I was inviting him to join us, and just ended up following us? No way, that isn’t possible. But he doesn’t seem unpleasant…
“In any case, let’s get some rest. If we show weakness and he abandons us, it really will be the end of us… I don’t want to be that earl’s concubine or a tool to be married off to stabilize Rudel’s rule,” Elizabeth said.
“That’s the spirit, my lady!” said Mahelia.
Perhaps things would have been easier for them if Elizabeth could just give up and resign to becoming a concubine or a tool to be used by her half-brother.
At the very least, they wouldn’t be so desperate just to keep up outward appearances.
But Elizabeth couldn’t do that. If she were to give up, then what had her mother endured so much suffering for? This was the reason why she couldn’t stop keeping up this act.
Returning to the present.
Elizabeth got up early in the mornings. She woke up while it was still dark, and whispered, “Good morning.”
“Good morning, my lady,” said Mahelia.
“Mahelia… When did you manage to sleep?” Elizabeth asked groggily.
“Shortly after you did, my lady. And I woke up before you. Come, you should wash your face.”
Elizabeth washed her face with the water that Mahelia conjured with water-attribute magic, waking herself up completely, then got dressed.
“Let us go and visit Mother sometime – though it will have to be on a day when we do not have special training with him,” said Elizabeth.
“I shall ask, then,” said Mahelia.
And with that, they went to the Hero Preparatory School. After school, however, their eyes filled with tears as the seven of them – including Vandalieu – were forced to fight against three Walking Giant Mushrooms.
Incidentally, Pauvina’s party members, including Reinhardt, only faced a single Walking Giant Mushroom. Although they struggled, they managed to defeat it, and all of them except Pauvina cried tears of joy when they did.