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“This is…” Rodcorte murmured.
Upon learning that a boy with a Unique Skill called the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ had tried to look at Vandalieu’s Status, Rodcorte had immediately taken a look at his memories… the memories of Alex.
“… It is unreadable.”
Vandalieu’s Status, seen through these memories, was completely censored.
Although he was willing to discard the entire world of Lambda if it meant he could be free of his role there, he still ruled over reincarnation in Lambda – for living things other than Vida’s races and monsters.
And because Alex was a human, his reincarnation was governed by Rodcorte, and Rodcorte was able to look into his memories.
But these were nothing more than the memories recorded by Alex. Thus, since Alex’s ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ had only been able to see a wall of censored text, that was all Rodcorte could see as well.
“…The only thing that can be discerned from this is the number of digits in his Attribute Values and the number of Skills he possesses. I was hopeful for a moment, but I suppose this is all I can expect from a human who just happened to be blessed with a mere Unique Skill,” Rodcorte muttered in disappointment.
If Alex was one of the former Bravers, a reincarnated individual sent by Rodcorte, he might have been able to read a part of Vandalieu’s Status.
And if the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ were a cheat-like ability rather than a Unique Skill, then Rodcorte might have been able to strengthen it so that it could make Vandalieu’s Status readable.
But the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ was a mere Unique Skill. Rodcorte was unable to make any changes to it.
“Should I have given him my divine protection?” Rodcorte wondered.
If Rodcorte or any other god had taken notice of Alex earlier and granted him their divine protection, he might have developed to the point where he’d be able to read Vandalieu’s Status by now.
But there was no way that Rodcorte could have shown any interest in a mere human child that wasn’t a reincarnated individual or a hero. And because Alex was less religiously devoted than the average person in Lambda, the other gods hadn’t seen him as someone to give their divine protections, either.
This was very fortunate for Alex.
“No, if I’d granted him my divine protection, his soul would have been devoured on the spot,” Rodcorte realized. “Even though Vandalieu lied when he said he possesses Demon Eyes that reflect other Demon Eyes, it is true that he saw Alex’s Status.”
Vandalieu’s ‘Root Source’ had reflected the effects of the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal,’ causing him to see Alex’s Status. If Alex possessed the divine protection of Rodcorte or any of the gods of Alda’s forces, Vandalieu would have immediately become aware of it.
And as Rodcorte suspected, it was possible that he would have firmly decided that Alex was his enemy and devoured his soul.
It was unlikely that the gods of Alda’s forces would grant their divine protections to Alex in the future. After all, Vandalieu already had his eye on him. Vandalieu had acquired a ‘Guider’ Job, but even so, he had guided an extremely abnormal number of people. The gods knew that, and they would likely believe that Alex could be guided at any moment, too.
Rodcorte suspected that no god would want to help nurture someone who could potentially become an enemy.
Even Randolf ‘the True,’ an S-class adventurer, was on the verge of being guided. Not a single god would believe that a mere boy with a Unique Skill would be able to continue to resist being guided – not unless they did something about Vandalieu.
“Well, that doesn’t matter in the slightest. The number of Skills he has is not useful information, but it is fortunate that I have learned how many digits there are in his Attribute Values. I must ensure that Tercatanis’s movements are not noticed by Alda…” Rodcorte murmured, losing interest in Alex and shifting his attention elsewhere.
The fact that Rodcorte had lost interest in him was one of Alex’s greatest strokes of fortune.
After leaving Alex and Towa behind, Randolf immediately went after Vandalieu and Zona.
“Huh? Dandolip-sensei?” said Zona in surprise.
“What’s the matter, sir?” asked Vandalieu.
“There are a few things that I wanted to confirm with you, and a few things I wanted to say,” Randolf said. “First, a question. Do I not need to be silenced?”
Although Randolf had been present during the conversation with Alex, Vandalieu hadn’t forced him into a contract – something that Randolf found strange.
Vandalieu thought silently for a few moments.
“There’s no need for me to silence you, sir,” he said. “If what just took place became known, it’s Alex and his friends who would be troubled, not me.”
“I mean, you said something about having Demon Eyes that reflect other Demon Eyes,” said Randolf.
“… Ah. You’re right.”
Vandalieu had lied without much thought in order to avoid revealing his ‘Root Source’ Skill, so he hadn’t thought that far ahead. But now that he did think about it, it was indeed information that needed to be silenced.
“Well, it’s not a big deal compared to other Demon Eyes, so I don’t mind. Besides, whether that information becomes publicly known or not, the circumstances around me probably won’t change much,” Vandalieu said.
He’d already created a large number of enemies. There were the people from the Church of Alda, as well as the people from the Church of Vida who had friendly relations with Alda’s peaceful faction. Most of the nobles weren’t direct enemies that would attempt to take Vandalieu’s life, but they certainly weren’t allies.
And on top of that, there were the forces of Alda, the God of Law and Fate, and Rodcorte. Even if some nameless rabble went after Vandalieu because they were after his Demon Eyes, it would be a negligible addition to his long list of enemies.
“I see… Then I have another question. Do you have a space-attribute mage among your companions?” Randolf asked.
Knowing that he was referring to Gufadgarn, Vandalieu’s shoulder gave a violent twitch.
“I do,” he said.
“I see. Then I’ll just make it clear that you will be penalized if you receive aid from anyone who isn’t a student at the school when completing school tasks, unless they’re your slaves or familiars. Consider yourself warned,” Randolf said, giving a warning rather than pursuing the matter deeply.
Ordinarily, a teacher would strictly investigate any signs that a student had brought outside help into the school, but… Randolf didn’t want to poke the bush, since he didn’t know what would come out.
TLN: There’s an idiom in Japanese that roughly means “poke the bush to draw the snake out.”
There weren’t any signs that this space-attribute mage from outside the school had aided Vandalieu in his practical training or lessons so far, so he decided to just leave it at a warning.
“And one more thing I’d like to confirm… How long do you two plan to be embracing each other?” Randolf asked.
Vandalieu was still holding Zona in his arms. In addition to that, Zona had wrapped her arms around his neck and was clinging to him even more tightly than before.
“I’m sorry, sir. I’m still so scared of you and Vandalieu that I can’t walk yet,” said Zona.
“… It doesn’t look that way to me, but it’s fine to have the nerve to be so bold. Still, moderate yourselves. Leave that kind of thing for after school,” said Randolf.
There were no rules at the Hero Preparatory School that forbade illicit sexual relationships. But Randolf still made it a point to warn them, as clinging onto each other during practical training could certainly have negative consequences.
Zona reluctantly began to climb out of Vandalieu’s arms, but –
“That’s not necessary yet,” said Vandalieu.
It seemed that he intended to hold onto her for a while longer.
“We can’t say that it’s safe just yet,” he added.
It wasn’t because he wanted to stay in close physical contact with Zona; he was just considering her safety.
“Is there a single spot in this Dungeon that could be considered dangerous for you? If you’re worried about Alex, he looked like he wouldn’t recover for a while,” said Randolf.
“Alex still has two other companions,” said Vandalieu.
“Robin and Anabelle, huh. I don’t think they would pose a threat to you, but… do as you like,” said Randolf, deciding to let Vandalieu do as he pleased.
“And Zona, your decision was correct,” Randolf said.
“Huh? My decision? Do you mean –” said Zona, looking at Randolf in surprise, fearing that he’d known she was attempting to seduce Vandalieu all along.
“I’m talking about your suggestion to look for ingredients other than the fruit and sap of Vandalieu’s familiar, Eisen,” said Randolf.
He was entirely uninterested in the love affairs of students. He was praising the suggestion that she’d come up with in order to create a situation where she could be alone with Vandalieu in order to seduce him.
“Even if you’re in the same party, it’s problematic to be completely reliant on one person – both in terms of practical training tasks, and in terms of being an adventurer,” Randolf said. “Unless you’re planning to be in the same party as Vandalieu for the rest of your life, he won’t always be with you.”
The school recommended that students form parties with one another. And in many cases, people who formed parties during their time at school continued working together even after graduation.
But there were also many cases where parties disbanded for one reason or another. And there were also many cases where parties made temporary changes to their members.
Parties that were completely reliant on a certain member were prone to becoming unable to do anything when that member wasn’t available.
“I won’t tell you to become able to complete any kind of work to the highest standard possible all on your own. But there is no harm in becoming reasonably capable as an individual. You’re a student, after all,” said Randolf. “That’s why your decision to find ingredients on your own was the correct decision. If you’d only handed in food made from Eisen’s fruit and sap, I would have deducted points.”
“Wow. As expected of a senior student,” said Vandalieu.
“I mean, well, I’m older than you, and I’m an upperclassman, after all,” said Zona, blushing at Randolf’s positive evaluation of her and Vandalieu’s impressed attitude.
But Randolf had a far more positive evaluation of her… and far more gratitude towards her than he’d expressed with his words.
I’m very glad that she created a situation where Alex could look at Vandalieu’s Status in a lesson that I was in charge of, he thought.
If Vandalieu hadn’t left Eisen’s side, there would have been no opening for Alex to use the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal,’ and he would have done so on another occasion.
If that had happened, there was no guarantee that Randolf would have been able to intervene, and none of the other teachers were even capable of noticing Vandalieu’s actions, let alone intervene.
In the worst-case scenario, Alex and his companions might have been killed and declared as having gone missing during practical training.
After all, disposing of bodies is simple with the help of a skilled space-attribute mage. Even if people suspected Vandalieu of being behind their disappearance, there would be no proof. He would have gone unpunished, and the incident would never have been resolved.
Randolf was very grateful to Zona for having prevented such an unpleasant outcome. He had also gained a lot of other information from this incident, such as the knowledge that Zona, Elizabeth, and the others were far more effective as brakes for Vandalieu’s actions than he had initially imagined.
But he couldn’t express those thoughts out loud.
“The only thing I’ll say to Robin and Anabelle is that they should find and rejoin Alex,” Randolf said. “I don’t know anything about your contract, and I saw nothing. In fact, I was never even there. That’s all.”
And with that, Randolf left to look for Robin and Anabelle.
“He’s gone… By the way, Vandalieu-kun, do you have any fiancées or lovers?” Zona asked.
“Officially, I don’t,” said Vandalieu.
“Ah. You’re talking about Zadiris-san, Eisen-san, Eleanora-san, and the others.”
Given Vandalieu’s implication-filled wording, and the behavior of the people who were his familiars, Zona could guess what the truth was. But if that was enough to deter her, she would never have tried to seduce him in the first place.
In that case, I just need to become an unofficial lover, too… a mistress, she thought.
Because of the complicated family environment Zona had grown up in, her views on chastity and marriage were quite unique. But the moment Zona’s mother fell pregnant, she had been married off to a servant at the house of Zona’s real father, and Zona had been born as the daughter of a servant.
Zona wasn’t dissatisfied with that series of events. She might have found it difficult to understand when she was a child who didn’t know anything, but now, she understood that it would have been difficult for her mother, a mere prostitute, to become the lawful wife or even a concubine of her father, a noble.
Being born as the daughter of a servant was a far better fate than being discarded entirely along with her mother. Although Zona hadn’t been raised as a noble’s daughter, she’d never struggled to get by.
Zona’s mother had also become able to live a far easier lifestyle than continuing to be a prostitute, and Zona had grown up with more freedom than a noble’s daughter. Even the servant who acted as her father had received a higher salary than the other servants. The three of them had lived very happily indeed.
… She did, however, feel a little animosity towards her real father for his egotistical actions, adopting her as his own daughter the moment he felt like she had some use.
All in all, Zona believed that her mother had done quite well for herself. Thus, she was willing to settle for being a secret lover as long as she was happy, even if she couldn’t become a lawful wife or concubine.
Of course, if her only rivals were the other students in her year, she might have aimed to become Vandalieu’s lawful wife, but –
I have no chance against those people, she thought.
With Eleanora, Bellmond, Zadiris, and Eisen as her rivals, her chances of coming out ahead were far too slim. Zona knew when she needed to give up.
“I don’t have any fiancés or lovers, either, but… it wouldn’t be good for an unmarried noble lady to be alone with a man, doing things like this, would it?” she whispered in Vandalieu’s ear, her breath tickling him.
She had completely tossed her family’s social position and the circumstances of her birth aside.
Vandalieu stopped moving, as if he were frozen.
“Alex and Dandolip-sensei saw us, too,” Zona added slyly. “There might be a misunderstanding.”
The sense of virtues that royals and nobles possessed was very strange – they were tolerant, perhaps far too tolerant, of affairs and adultery that occurred after marriage. But they were very strict when it came to affairs and adultery that took place before marriage.
As Zona said, if rumors spread that she and Vandalieu were having an affair, it could cause complications when she decided to get married in the future. It would also worsen her relationship with her family (or so Vandalieu assumed).
The only ones around Vandalieu – the only ones who knew of the situation he was in – were Princess Levia, Daroak, and Gufadgarn.
“Is this what’s known as forbidden love?! Wow, it’s kind of thrilling, isn’t it!” said Princess Levia, as if she were enjoying a soap opera.
“… Should I go back and eliminate that little boy and his slave after all?” asked Daroak, whose opinions were nothing but dangerous.
“Be silent until the great Vandalieu makes his judgment,” said Gufadgarn, who firmly believed that the world revolved around Vandalieu.
Thus, Vandalieu began to have a discussion with the countless instances of himself inside his brain.
“But if it’s you, then maybe I wouldn’t mind people making a misunderstanding…” said Zona.
Those words made her wishes clear to Vandalieu, and his various opinions came to the conclusion that if her feelings didn’t change, he would do the responsible thing.
… If it were anyone else in his position, in most cases, they would simply decide that adding one more to his list of fiancées wouldn’t make much of a difference.
“Zona-senpai, as you’re aware, I have multiple fiancées that haven’t been made official (in the Orbaume Kingdom),” Vandalieu said.
“There are many more than you know of.”
“Y-yeah? You mean the people who accompanied you as familiars when you were in the Alcrem Duchy?”
“No, there are even more than that.”
To be more specific, there were those inside his ‘Inner Worlds,’ those in Silkie Zakkart Mansion, those in the Demon Empire… and there was also Princess Levia, who was floating right behind Zona and listening to this conversation.
“Huh? Do you really have so many? But, I mean, if it’s just that, then…” said Zona.
Although she was surprised to learn that Vandalieu had more fiancées than she had expected, she quickly accepted it. Whether the number was ten or twenty didn’t change much for her.
And although she was trying to become Vandalieu’s secret lover, he was still full of mysteries. She wouldn’t be too surprised by something like that… She would be very surprised if he were to suddenly declare that he had actually been a girl all along, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
“I also have to add that I’m a mother-con,” said Vandalieu.
“Ah, I already know that. I think it’s fine. You seem to be one of the less severe mother-cons,” said Zona.
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. My mother told me that I should stay away from the type of mother-con who compares their mother to you and gets angry when you behave differently from their mother. Don’t get involved with them unless they’re a very high-ranking customer, she said.”
“What do you mean by ‘high-ranking customer?’”
“Ah, don’t worry about that. So, is there anything else I should know?”
“There is. Although I can’t tell you now, I have circumstances that you can’t even imagine.”
To go into details, the first thing was that Vandalieu was a Guider, and the emperor of an empire whose territory dwarfed the Orbaume Kingdom’s. There was also the fact that he had fought against gods, and that he already had a son that was bigger than a castle.
“But I can’t reveal them to you yet, so I recommend not making a decision until you know the truth. Still, I intend to take responsibility either way,” said Vandalieu.
Naturally, he would take responsibility if Zona didn’t change her mind, but even if she did, he would do everything he could… though this would likely require him to earnestly request the aid of Duke Alcrem.
“Hmm… Alright. It seems that you do intend to tell me eventually, so I’ll accept that. But what should we do about Macht and the others?” Zona asked.
“Don’t tell me Macht-senpai and the others also want to…?”
“No, no, no, that’s not it. That’s definitely not it. I’ll explain while we look for ingredients, so you can let me down now… I’ve already got your word, after all.”
After that, Vandalieu spent about thirty minutes gathering ingredients with Zona while she explained what she knew about Elizabeth’s circumstances.
With the remaining hour, they cooked the ingredients they had gathered, and they ended up achieving the highest grade in the class.
And although Towa wasn’t a student, Alex had points deducted for not doing anything for the entire duration of the practical training, dragging his party’s grade down to second from the bottom.
… This was because Dandolip had dealt with the emergency situation between Alex and Vandalieu by pretending that nothing had happened. Alex had found himself unable to immediately recover after the incident, and thus was treated as having done nothing.
“Well done!” said Macht.
“We are victorious!” declared Taurus.
“I honestly thought it would be impossible, but to think that we’d actually succeed…!” said Yuzef.
“I-I guess we did,” Zona said sheepishly.
Macht, Taurus, and Yuzef were praising Zona – not for anything to do with the practical training but for succeeding (?) in seducing Vandalieu.
“It looks like everyone really wanted to beat Alex,” Elizabeth remarked, under the mistaken impression that they were celebrating having beaten Alex.
“My lady, perhaps something happened that we are not aware of?” said Mahelia.
After school, once everyone was gathered in a place where nobody would see or hear them, Vandalieu revealed that Alex possessed the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal,’ and that he had made a contract with Alex, to the surprise of everyone except for Zona.
The main source of the surprise was the fake Skill that Vandalieu had made up – the Demon Eyes that reflected the effects of other Demon Eyes.
“To think that there are Demon Eyes that reflect other Demon Eyes… Isn’t that even rarer than the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal?’” said Macht.
“I mean, it’s of no use unless you come across people with other Demon-Eye-type Skills…” said Yuzef.
The two of them were peering curiously at Vandalieu’s odd-colored eyes.
“That’s not the problem here! Doesn’t it bother you?! That Alex, he’s definitely been looking at our Statuses! And he’s been refusing my invitation to join us, based on what he saw! He was really looking down on us!” Elizabeth shouted, furious at the thought of Alex looking at her Status.
But Macht and the others were calm.
“I mean, well, you know, it kind of makes sense. We don’t have any Unique Skills or anything, after all,” said Macht.
“I can’t blame him, if he saw what our Statuses looked like before we started doing special training with Vandalieu,” said Yuzef.
“Before, I might have been angry at him for being so impudent for a commoner, but… as we’ve recently learned, the house you’re born to has no bearing on your abilities,” said Taurus.
The three of them had improved their abilities recently – a specific example of that was Macht’s ‘Spear Technique’ and Taurus’s ‘Shield Technique,’ which had been stuck at Level 3, increasing to Level 4. Their minds had also matured far more than they knew.
“Umm… Well, it’s true that I don’t have a Unique Skill either, but…” said Elizabeth, her anger vanishing as it was replaced by confusion at how much the others had grown.
“But I think it’s only natural for you to be angry, Elizabeth-sama,” said Vandalieu.
Although he still disliked Alex, he didn’t feel any animosity towards him. But even so, he would use him as a tool for the development of Elizabeth and the others, as a target for them to aim to defeat.
“We’ve still only defeated him in one practical training. Let’s do it a second time, and then a third, and steadily surpass him,” Vandalieu said.
“That’s right, Elizabeth-sama! I can’t accept being looked down on just because I don’t have a Unique Skill!” said Zona.
“Y-you’re right. Either way, our goal was to have our grades surpass his… Let’s beat Alex in future practical training sessions, too!” said Elizabeth, raising a fist towards the sky.
After school, Vandalieu told Zona that he would show her some, but not all, of his secrets, and took her outside the city of Orbaume, where she was introduced to a female person.
“So, you MUST be Zona-san. Danna-sama kindly INFORMED me about you a short while ago,” she said with movements and a tone of speech that were unnaturally reserved and polite.
She was giving off an air of immense nervousness,
“How LOVELY it is to MEET you,” said Zona, unable to help but be nervous herself.
She was a girl… or was she? She was very tall, and she had sleek black hair that flowed down to her waist. Her features were well-ordered, and her most notable characteristic was her rather thick eyebrows that gave her a very strong-willed appearance.
She was wearing clothes that would be considered unusual in these parts, and her bulging figure accentuated them even further. Her bare skin was visible through the various gaps in the fabric.
Her chest and buttocks were abundantly curvaceous. Her neck and arms were well-trained, as muscular as they could be without distorting her proportions, and her abdominal muscles were clearly defined. Her thighs were like supple bundles of steel. This was clearly the body of a female warrior.
And she had two straight horns on her head, along with lustrous skin that was bright red.
“Umm, are you a Majin?” Zona asked, somehow managing to get her tense voice back to normal.
The red-skinned girl gave a clumsy smile. “It SEEMS that we really are treated the same as Majin… My NAME is Yuuma. I AM of the Kijin race, not the Majin race.”
“Oniwa… Yuuma, you don’t have to push yourself,” said Vandalieu.
This was the Kijin girl with the childhood name of ‘Oniwaka,’ and her real name was Yuuma.
She froze for a moment. “Are you QUITE sure, Danna-sama?” she asked quietly.
“I am indeed quite sure,” said Vandalieu.
“… You WILL not inform Mother of this afterwards?” Yuuma asked.
“I shall not. Zona-senpai won’t either. Will you?” Vandalieu said.
Both he and Yuuma turned to look at Zona.
“I won’t! I definitely won’t!” Zona said, nodding hastily.
The tension finally left Yuuma’s shoulders, and she let out a great sigh of relief. “Thank goodness. That was really tough. When I got back to my country after my study abroad, Mother suddenly told me that I have to learn proper etiquette… and when I tried to escape, she caught me and spanked me. Some people burst out laughing when they saw me practicing, and Mother caught them and spanked them, too. Father tried to scold Mother for that, and she grabbed him and punched him. It was a real ordeal!”
“… Yura-san is quite strict, isn’t she?” Vandalieu remarked.
“Make sure you explain what she means by ‘country’ and ‘study abroad’ later, okay?” said Zona.
Yuuma’s mother, Yura, had sent her to the Demon Continent in the hope that she’d be a bit more of an adult when she returned, but although she had become stronger, she was still behaving like a child. And so, strict training had apparently been imposed to quickly teach her proper etiquette.
But those who knew what she had been like before found the superficial results of that training to be very unnatural. Her new tone of speech and behavior was clumsy and awkward.
“But on the Demon Continent, Kanako taught me how to sing and dance properly! I’ve been given some solo parts as well, so I’m sure I could perform at banquets in this country without embarrassing myself!” Yuuma said happily.
“Did she just say ‘Demon Continent?!’” exclaimed Zona.
“Yuuma, let’s get you registered at the Tamers’ Guild first. And I told you that you weren’t supposed to mention the Demon Continent and things like that, didn’t I?” said Vandalieu.
“… Sorry, I forgot,” said Yuuma, lowering her head in apology.
Zona suddenly looked up in surprise. “I just heard a notification saying that I’ve acquired ‘Vandalieu’s Divine Protection!’ ‘Status’… Wow, it’s really there. Vandalieu-kun, you’re a god?”
“… So, the censored characters have decided to abandon their duty,” Vandalieu muttered.
- Name: Zona Chinos
- Race: Dwarf
- Age: 14 years old
- Job: Magic Axe User
- Level: 34
- Job history: Servant, Apprentice Warrior, Warrior, Axeman
- Passive skills:
- Night Vision
- Strengthened Muscles: Level 5
- Allure: Level 1
- Strengthened Attack Power when equipped with an Axe: Small
- Active skills:
- Housework: Level 2
- Bedroom Skill: Level 1
- Love-making: Level 1
- Unarmed Fighting Technique: Level 1
- Axe Technique: Level 4
- Throwing Technique: Level 2
- Armor Technique: Level 3
- Silent Steps: Level 1
- Dismantling: Level 1
- Detect Presence: Level 1
- Surpass Limits: Level 1
- Surpass Limits: Magic Axe: Level 1
- Unique Skills:
- Vandalieu’s Divine Protection (NEW!)
Zona was raised by her mother, a former prostitute, and a servant who she has no blood relation to but is publicly thought to be her real father. She possesses ‘Allure’ and ‘Bedroom Skill’ as a result of the special education provided by her mother.