As Darcia waited inside the capsule for her new body to be completed, she slept peacefully like a fetus. Hearing Vandalieu’s voice as a lullaby… did not happen.
She was currently receiving grueling training from an instructor in a field of flowers.
“Keep shooting while running! Don’t let your arms, legs or eyes rest!”
“This is a Divine Realm! You don’t have a body; your fatigue and your physical limits are nothing but figments of your imagination, limits imposed upon you by your own mind!” the instructor barked. “Transcend your mind!”
The male instructor… the Dhampir mercenary Veld, who had only recently finally become a heroic spirit of Vida, the goddess of life and love, was showing mercy as he made Darcia work.
When Veld was alive, he had given harsher training… from time to time, training that was perhaps better described as torture, to the subordinates and newcomers in his mercenary band. But he could not impose that training upon Darcia, even if training was what she herself desired.
What Darcia wanted to become was not a skilled mercenary, but a “strong mother who can do more than be protected by her own son.”
So why has this become my job? I thought I had enough of this when I lived in poverty, Veld thought, but he felt some degree of satisfaction as he watched Darcia running and firing arrows simultaneously.
She learned quickly. As to be expected of a mind, one that had overcome a human’s limits at that. Darcia was highly motivated, and at this rate, Veld expected that she would become incomparably more powerful than when she was a mere Dark Elf.
At the very least, she would be strong enough to not be captured by the likes of the Five-colored Blades at the time.
“Use martial skills next! This isn’t reality, so don’t worry about your Mana and the impact of your actions on your surroundings; focus only on hitting your target!” Veld shouted.
Rapid Fire, Sustained Fire, High-angle Fire, Screw Projectile, Shadow Arrow… All of these were martial skills that could be used with a Skill level of 5 or less, but being able to use them in quick succession and hitting targets accurately while running was quite promising.
“Cease fire! Break time!” said Veld.
“Yes! … By the way, Veld-sensei, is there a point to taking a break when I don’t have a body?” Darcia asked.
“There is. Even if I tell you to not feel any mental fatigue, that’s impossible. You can only take your attention away from your fatigue and ignore it. Do you not feel it?”
Veld, who had wandered Vida’s Resting Grounds for a long time as a demi-heroic spirit, knew from experience that mental fatigue accumulated over time. Because he remained sane, unlike Astral-type Undead, this fatigue had eaten away at him.
“I’m sorry. When I was a spirit, I slept every time I got tired,” said Darcia.
“Well, that’s healthier for you. I suppose we should have some tea for now,” said Veld.
He held out a hand, and a tea set with baked sweets appeared under it.
This was yet another illusion with no physical form, but the scent and taste of the tea and sweets had been reproduced, so consuming them would relieve the stress on their minds.
“Ah, then why don’t we have this?” said Darcia, waving her hand.
A lunchbox containing sandwiches and onigiri, along with some green tea, appeared.
“This is Earth’s food that Vandalieu recreated,” Darcia explained. “Since he shared his senses with me, I know how it tastes and smells, so I can eat it here like your baked sweets, Sensei.”
“… I-I see. Then I shall partake,” said Veld.
Normally, one would not be able to reproduce items from their own memories unless they were a familiar spirit or heroic spirit. Veld concealed his surprise as he ate several onigiri.
The texture of rice, which he had not tasted in a long time, was quite pleasant.
“Once we finish eating, you will be training in unarmed combat and dagger techniques with another instructor,” said Veld. “After that is muscle training. Controlling magic comes after that. Don’t eat too much; your mind will trick itself into thinking that your stomach feels heavy.”
“But is there any point in doing muscle training now? I don’t have a body,” said Darcia, questioning how useful push-ups and sit-ups would be when she was in a state of having only her mind with no body.
“Normally, there wouldn’t be,” Veld replied. “But you’re different. Your body is currently being created from the root of life. The root of life adapts the soul to the body while creating it, so if your soul performs muscle training here and acknowledges that your muscular strength has increased, the root of life will feed that back into your body.”
“Really?! The root of life is even more amazing than I thought, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, so do your best with the muscle training and your archery training,” said Veld as he ate his onigiri, which were more delicious than he had expected them to be.
In the next moment, several silhouettes appeared behind Veld.
“Wait, Veld. Is it not time for us to become Darcia-san’s instructors now?” one of them said.
“To partake in this food without us, despite being a newcomer… I am envious,” said another.
“That’s right, that’s right! Respect the siblings of your ancestors!” shouted a third.
Veld’s expression turned into one of exasperation.
“W-what shall we do?” said Darcia, her smile stiffening a little.
There was a goddess with the appearance of a middle-aged woman, a male god wearing the skull of a beast on his head, a Pure-breed Vampire with the appearance of a young boy, a Harpy that had reached Rank 13 and a Succubus.
“Cooking skills are essential for mothers! Let me, Derborah, the goddess of hearths, teach you how a god handles a cooking knife!” said a goddess with the appearance of a middle-aged woman.
“I, the Pure-breed Vampire Elper, will teach you… something!” said a Pure-breed Vampire with the appearance of a young boy.
“Then I’ll teach you unarmed mid-air combat using the wings of my arms and my talons!” said the Harpy.
“Ah, then I shall teach her how to fight indoors with my tail. Darcia-san’s child is good friends with my grandson Godwin, after all,” said the Succubus.
Veld looked around at them and waved a hand at them with a smile. “Leave, gods and extras.”
The gods immediately began voicing their protest.
“How terrible! Even as a joke, you shouldn’t say that to gods!”
But Veld’s stance did not change. “Enough! If you are gods, then answer only when you are called upon. I am reluctant, but my role as instructor has already been decided!” he shouted, his voice sounding like a roar.
“Wah, Veld is angry!” one of the goddesses squealed, and the whole group fled.
Heroic spirits were commonly respected by the people like the gods were. But although they were in a lower position than the gods, the relationship between them appeared to be one between equals.
“They have too much free time… If you are going to fool around, do it elsewhere, gods,” Veld muttered.
Vida’s faction was different from the survival-of-the-fittest environment in the Demon King’s army and its remnants, where extreme hierarchical relationships existed, and it was also different from the strict authoritarian society of Alda’s faction, where each role existed to maintain order and discipline.
Though it depended on the individuals’ personalities, hierarchical relationships were vague, and there were some merits to this. Veld, a former mercenary, had taken notice of this, but… he did wonder whether his actions were really acceptable.
“Umm… Veld-sensei,” said Darcia, sounding worried.
“Hmm? Ah, those people are always like that. There is no need to worry about them. They do not really intend to teach you how to use a kitchen knife or fight indoors. It is something like a joke of theirs,” he said to reassure her.
But it seemed that Darcia was worried about something else.
“W-will I grow wings, or talons, or a tail? It isn’t like I hate the idea of it, but big changes to my body would change its balance as well… I was wondering whether the training I’m doing now is going to waste,” she said.
It seemed that she was worried about her new, still-developing body.
“That is…” Veld couldn’t immediately think of what he should say regarding this topic.
He was a veteran mercenary, but he certainly hadn’t ever given training for those with bodies that were significantly different from humans’ bodies.
But before he managed to squeeze out a response, the owner of this Divine Realm appeared.
“It is alright, Darcia, my child,” said the gentle voice of Vida, who was enveloped by a warm light.
“Vida-sama!” Veld exclaimed.
Even he would correct his behavior in the presence of a great god.
Darcia’s mind was in this Divine Realm and Veld was here instructing her because that was Vida’s will.
To begin with, summoning someone’s mind into a Divine Realm and conducting training in that state had no precedent. The fact that it was taking place now was because of Darcia’s own desire to become stronger, and also because Vida’s faction could not afford to have her waste the time that her body would take to become complete and ready for her resurrection.
According to Ricklent and Zuruwarn’s information, Alda had recently begun to make his move in earnest. The information stated that it was almost certain that he was taking multiple measures in addition to the trial that he had presented to the Five-colored Blades to make them stronger.
Thus, it was possible that Darcia would become strong too late if she began training after her resurrection.
The reason Vida was going to such lengths for Darcia’s sake… It wasn’t because Darcia was the key to victory against Alda’s forces. But because Darcia’s body was being created by the root of life and Vida’s crystallized blood had been used, it had become possible for her to train inside this Divine Realm, so Vida had decided that it would be best if she did.
Even though the situation was quite different from how it had been a hundred thousand years ago, the one who had almost exterminated Vida’s faction was making a move. It was only normal to want to take every countermeasure possible.
“You say it is alright. Does that mean that you know what form I will be resurrected in, Goddess-sama?” Darcia asked with expectations in her eyes.
“Darcia, Skills exist in this world,” Vida said, bringing up another topic rather than answering her question. “Skills are engraved into the soul. Thus, by training in this Divine Realm where your mind has a defined form, you will build up the technical ability you need to acquire and master Skills. When you return to your completed body, I am sure that the numbers you see on your Skills will reflect your efforts,” she explained. “And if you have the bonuses that Skills provide, it does not matter if your body’s shape and balance change a little. You will become accustomed to it quickly.”
“Umm, I’m happy about that, but… in other words…?”
“I don’t know what form you’re going to be resurrected into, sorry!” Vida laughed, poking out her tongue.
Darcia staggered in exasperation.
It would be fine to be angry about that, Veld thought as he listened in silence.
“Oh my… But if even a goddess doesn’t know, then there’s no use worrying about it!”
It seemed that Darcia had gotten over her uncertainty rather than getting angry.
“It is good that you are positive about things. But we would like to enter the Boundary Mountain Range as well. Rodcorte is making strange movements, and I wish to eat curry,” said a voice from behind.
Veld turned around in surprise to see Zuruwarn, the god of space and creation, whose four heads seemed to be wanting Darcia’s onigiri that were still left. Accompanying him was Ricklent, the genie of time and magic, looking at Zuruwarn through half-closed eyes.
“Zuruwarn…” Ricklent muttered.
“Oh my, you two have come as well. I would like to treat you to tea, but…” Vida said, her smile fading as she trailed off.
Because of the barrier maintained by the gods of the Boundary Mountain Range, Zuruwarn and Ricklent could only appear in her Divine Realm as illusions.
“It can’t be helped,” Zuruwarn and Ricklent said, and then they changed the topic of conversation.
“I have told you previously that Alda’s forces are moving actively, but they have positioned a god of war and a guardian deity at strange locations. It is possible that those locations are where Botin and Peria are sealed, but… I don’t understand why they would do such a thing. They are certainly not trying to protect them from Vandalieu, so perhaps it is some kind of bait? No, it is far too obvious. If the remnants of the Demon King’s army were to notice… No, have they already decided to ignore them?” Ricklent muttered.
“Ricklent, getting lost in your thoughts in the middle of conversations is a bad habit of yours,” said Vida. “And your way of thinking is too logical.”
“Indeed. Unlike before, Alda is currently acting on fear and emotion, merely appearing to be calm. If you are going to read Alda’s future actions, you must read his chaotic state of mind, or you are going to trip over yourself,” said Zuruwarn.
“Zuruwarn, it is good that you are being serious about this conversation, but stop fawning over the onigiri. My child is bewildered by your behavior,” said Vida.
Veld, who could not join in on a conversation between great gods, simply kept his head down in silence.
Meanwhile, Darcia was talking to Zuruwarn. “I’ll have Vandalieu offer them to you… That’s right, once I’ve been resurrected, I’ll have him teach me how to make them and we’ll make them together! Once they’re finished, we’ll offer them to you!”
It seemed that she had become well-accustomed to encounters with the gods that she had already met before.
“Are you serious?! Ah, but if the offerings are made across the barrier, I can’t reproduce them in my Divine Realm…” Zuruwarn said wistfully.
“Zuruwarn…” Ricklent sighed. “Leaving that aside, has Gufadgarn not shown himself, my sister? With the help of this new brother, it should be possible for us to enter the barrier.”
Gufadgarn had been entering and leaving the Boundary Mountain Range, along with the entirety of the Trial of Zakkart. With his power, it should be possible to pass through the barrier.
But Gufadgarn still hadn’t visited Vida’s Divine Realm even once. In fact, he made almost no effort to leave Vandalieu’s workshop.
Thus, Ricklent and the others had been unable to contact him… or rather, her.
“He’s always been the type to hole himself up in one place… and I think he’s over the moon at the fact that he has met Vandalieu,” said Vida.
Darcia let out a surprised “Eh?!” upon hearing Vida say that Gufadgarn was over the moon. This was surprising to her because as far as she remembered, Gufadgarn had always behaved courteously.
“… Then I suppose it cannot be helped. We shall remain outside the barrier for a while and gather information without being noticed by Alda,” said Ricklent.
“Sending a Divine Message now is painful, too,” said Zuruwarn.
It seemed that Ricklent and Zuruwarn understood Gufadgarn being “over the moon.” They knew that Gufadgarn worshipped the champion Zakkart.
Indeed, she worshipped him.
It was strange that a god would worship a human, even one from another world, but that was the only way to describe Gufadgarn’s relationship with Zakkart.
The reason that Gufadgarn had remained in Vida’s faction up until now, the reason she had made accommodations for Vida’s races that lived in the Boundary Mountain Range – it was all because Vida was the goddess who had chosen Zakkart.
Thus, Gufadgarn had often behaved impolitely towards the other gods and had become known within Vida’s faction as the “capable but troublesome guy.” Though such gods were not unusual in Vida’s faction, so he was not viewed as a particular problem.
“Well, if Vandalieu visits anyone’s Divine Realm, make sure to tell him about Gufadgarn,” said Vida. “Now then, Darcia, it’s time to restart your training. I’ll leave it to you, Veld.”
“Yes, Vida-sama!” said Darcia. “I’m in your care, Veld-sensei.”
Veld looked at his master, who was giving a bright smile, and his student who would likely surpass him in the future.
Aren’t I the one being made to work the hardest here? he thought with a sigh.
In a deserted, old, worn-out mansion, the ‘Thunderclap’ Schneider’s wild-looking but handsome face had an incredibly deep frown on it. He would not frown this deeply even if he had just stepped in a pile of horse dung.
“Your will and your son?” he said, glaring at the well-ordered, sculpture-like face of the Emperor Marshukzarl.
But the half-Elf’s expression was calm, with no signs of fear or nervousness.
“That’s right. Soon, they will come for my throne and, in the best-case scenario, imprison me under the false story that I have fallen ill. If the time is right, they will likely have me ‘die of illness,’” Marshukzarl said, his expression still remaining the same even as he spoke of the tragic fate that he would soon meet.
“The standard trick when forcing someone out of their high social position,” Schneider muttered. “Just so I know, what’s the worst-case scenario?”
“A public execution. Being burnt at the stake, most likely,” said Marshukzarl.
“That sounds awesome. I’ll come and watch,” said Schneider, taking something out of the Item Box in his pocket and putting it in his mouth. It was a cigar – no, a stick-shaped vegetable.
“… Why are you eating a root vegetable here?” Marshukzarl asked.
“Vegetables are good for your health, don’t you know? Also, I don’t smoke, so if you’re going to smoke, step out of the room first, you guys,” said Schneider.
He and Marshukzarl were the only ones in the room. The moment he said, “You guys,” the atmosphere in the room was disturbed, just slightly.
“As to be expected of you,” said Marshukzarl. “Though they are different from the Fifteen Swords and the Hilt, it is impressive that you noticed my ‘Shadows.’ I thought they were adept in staying invisible, though maybe not as adept as the ‘King Slayer’ Sleygar.”
An emperor of a large nation always had someone protecting him from the shadows. Marshukzarl had brought someone to this mansion.
“More importantly, why is someone after your throne? The incident in the Sauron region shouldn’t have had that much of an effect, should it, o wise ruler?” said Schneider, taking no notice of Marshukzarl’s words.
The Marshukzarl that Schneider knew ruled the Amid Empire in a way that the humans that made up the majority of the population considered him to be a wise ruler.
At the very least, it would appear that way to the people.
No taxes were collected beyond the fixed tax amount, and other than the retreat from the Sauron region and the expedition that he had forced the Mirg shield-nation to conduct, he was undefeated in war. Monster rampages were suppressed by his subordinates, and public order was maintained by managing criminals such as bandits and pirates.
He lived a more modest lifestyle than previous emperors; he had few wives and the emperor’s harem chamber had been converted into a warehouse when he became emperor.
And he had judged some noblemen as hopeless fools, forgiving people like Schneider when they took actions against such foolish noblemen.
He was an ally of the people, a reasonable man, an emperor with unrivaled handsomeness.
The actual reason why he had few wives was because Marshukzarl had Elf blood which gave him a long lifespan; if he were to have children now and they were born as humans, they would not live long enough to become his successor. He judged noblemen harshly to thin out the noble families, of which there were now too many, as well as to tighten his grip over the other nobles and to give a performance to the people.
His forgiveness of Schneider was… because trying to punish him would have resulted in the army suffering heavy losses. The empire would benefit more by pardoning Schneider and having him hunt troublesome, disaster-designated monsters in return.
Though he had ulterior motives behind his actions, he should at least appear to be a good ruler to the people. Even the noblemen should not have a reason to proactively bring him down from his position, even though that didn’t apply for Vida’s races and secret worshippers of Vida like Schneider.
But if Vida’s allies were to go after Marshukzarl, they would go after the entire Amid Empire and its vassal nations, not just Marshukzarl himself.
“The truth is… there will be a new Pope of the Great Church of Alda. It is the god’s will,” said Marshukzarl, pressing a fingertip against his brow. “About a week ago, one of the grandchildren of the late Duke Marme whom you are familiar with, Eileek, the child of the mistress of the current Duke Marme, said that he has received a Divine Message. It was from the great Alda himself, saying, ‘Take up the position of Pope.’”
“… Isn’t that just an auditory hallucination? Or the idiot is just making it up,” said Schneider.
“As you know, there have been countless swindlers claiming to have received Divine Messages. That’s why the Great Church has a Magic Item that can determine whether one has really received a Divine Message,” said Marshukzarl.
The Magic Item that determined whether one had really received a Divine Message was accurate. Previous emperors had used it to determine whether they had really received a Divine Message before announcing the Divine Message’s contents to the public.
But it could not determine whether the one who had received the Divine Message had interpreted it correctly.
“The result is positive. Eileek Marme has indeed received a Divine Message,” said Marshukzarl.
“I see, so the Pope is going to change?” said Schneider.
“Things haven’t progressed that far yet. It’s certain that Eileek has received a Divine Message, but we can’t tell whether his interpretation of it is correct. But Eileek’s Divine Message contained a prophecy of an event that will prove that this is the god’s will,” said Marshukzarl. “Next January, there will apparently be a solar eclipse.”
The sun was ruled by Zantark, the war-god of fire and destruction; Vida, the goddess of life and love; and Alda, the god of law and fate.
“I had the wise men serving the imperial family investigate the matter, and apparently, there is not supposed to be a solar eclipse happening at that time. If things come to pass in accordance with Eileek’s prophecy, this is proof that his words are the god’s will,” Marshukzarl continued. “The election of the Pope has been done by the people up until now, but one cannot take lightly a boy who has been named by the gods personally. This is the birth of Pope Eileek. And it is likely that I will be removed from my throne before long.”
Schneider didn’t ask why that was.
Out of all of the emperors in the Amid Empire’s history, Marshukzarl was the one who had suppressed the Great Church of Alda the most.
It was difficult to imagine that Alda, who had ignored his believers’ circumstances and laws to personally name a new Pope, would leave Marshukzarl be.
It was unlikely that Marshukzarl would be overthrown without a fight, but his enemy was a Pope who had been personally chosen by Alda, the god of the nation’s official religion. No matter how one looked at it, the situation was not in his favor.
If Eileek were to say that he had received a Divine Message from the gods that denounced Marshukzarl, Marshukzarl would go from wise ruler to national traitor. But even if Alda were to support a change of emperor, as a god who ruled over order, would he support the premeditated murder of the current one?
“You say that, but would Alda really go that far? You’ve been emperor since I was a kid. Even if Alda thinks of you as a nuisance, I find it hard to believe that he’d forcibly eliminate you,” said Schneider. “And the Pope and Emperor are separate positions. What would he do with the country after getting rid of you?”
The Pope was the top position among Alda’s believers in the Amid Empire; he would receive respect even from those worshipping Alda’s forces from other nations. His influence was immeasurable. However, in the end, the Pope ruled over the Church, a place of worship, separate from the people.
The emperor was the top figure of the nation’s politics and military. The moment the Pope were to dethrone him in the name of the gods, the Imperial Family would come under the Church’s influence.
But it was difficult to imagine that the Church’s priests would be able to run the nation. Even Eileek, who possessed the blood of Duke Marme, was an illegitimate son, and he was still an underage boy. It would be impossible.
It was certain that there would be some among the empire’s noblemen who would be opposed to the Church gaining power.
“I’m an outsider and even I know that the empire’s politics would fall into chaos,” said Schneider. “Well, that’s convenient for me… or maybe not.”
“Indeed,” said Marshukzarl with a nod, seeming to agree with Schneider. “But that may be Alda’s will. A nation is a collection of people, but for the gods, there is no reason that my Amid Empire must be the nation that gathers the followers.”
Even if the nation fell into chaos and the Amid Empire fell to ruin as a result, Alda would be satisfied as long as the believers established a new nation. To gods, nations were replaceable things.
Marshukzarl’s words shook not only the Shadows that were hiding, but Schneider as well.
But I suppose it’s obvious if you think about it, Schneider thought.
Countless nations had risen and fallen throughout the course of history. The gods had been fiercely worshipped in those nations, but the gods had never taken sides in wars between humans. To gods, a member of a royal or noble family was nothing more than one believer, no different from a child living in poverty.
A nation as large as the Amid Empire couldn’t be considered worthless to the gods, but it was possible to sacrifice it for a larger purpose.
And Schneider could guess what that larger purpose was. “Is it Vandalieu?”
Marshukzarl quickly nodded. “It is most likely Vandalieu.”
Indeed, Alda and the other gods intended to use the Amid Empire until it was no more in their plan to defeat Vandalieu.
“So, what’s this talk about your will and your son?” Schneider asked.
“It’s an emergency measure for when I make my futile struggle and am dethroned,” said Marshukzarl. “When the empire falls into chaos, the people that oppose the Church can likely be used as puppets.”
“So, it’s a scheme that ensures that the empire’s name and the imperial bloodline is preserved if it works. For me, it’s the perfect chance to have a puppet take the place of emperor and convert the empire from Alda to Vida’s side. I can just take advantage of the chaos and kill anyone who gets in the way, for the most part,” said Schneider. “It’s a logical plan, but… Why do you think I won’t kill your son? I don’t look like a pragmatist to you, do I?”
Schneider thought it best to not create unnecessary casualties, even if they were followers of Alda. But although he and Marshukzarl had taken advantage of each other over the years, there was no changing the fact that Marshukzarl was an enemy to him.
And it didn’t sit well with him to have everything go as Marshukzarl said, and it was too dangerous.
After all, this ‘wise ruler’ was a cold-blooded person who would sacrifice his own son for the benefit and continuation of the empire.
“Hmm, I shall answer your question. The truth is… that son is my illegitimate child, and you are already protecting him,” said Marshukzarl.
“… Wait a minute. Leaving aside the fact that he’s an illegitimate child, I’m already protecting him?!” Schneider repeated.
“I suppose it’s already been three years… Do you remember saving a pregnant woman being attacked by rascals? The father of that woman’s child is me.”
“HUH?! You’re Sieg’s father?! Are you serious, you bastard?!” Schneider shouted while rising to his feet, remembering the pregnant woman that Marshukzarl mentioned.
If he recalled, it had happened on the borderline between the slums and the ordinary city area. A couple had been attacked by a drug-addicted thief, and Schneider had saved them.
But the husband had perished, and the wife had clutched her pregnant belly, bursting into tears and crying that she and her child would have no choice but to fall into slavery.
Schneider had sheltered the widow at a facility that was essentially being run by him, and through various events after that, she was now living in a village of members of Vida’s races as a fine follower of Vida. Her son had been born and named ‘Sieg’ by Zod.
… Now, she was pregnant with her second child.
“Why did things turn out like that?! I checked the corpse of her previous husband myself, and she didn’t look like she was lying!” Schneider exclaimed.
Marshukzarl’s face remained cool as he replied. “The woman is the daughter of a nobleman who was plotting to commit treason, and I had her cooperate with me in exchange for the lives of her young siblings. I altered her memories with a special curse handled by the imperial family, so I am sure that she had no intentions of lying to you. The husband and thief are both bandits that had been captured alive. The one who seemed relatively more evil was killed to play the role of the husband, while the other was overdosed on drugs and made to play the role of the criminal.”
Even the Shadows that protected Marshukzarl felt some withdrawal at Marshukzarl as he spoke of these inhumane acts with a composed expression. They knew that their master didn’t feel a shred of guilt.
“It is a plan that took several years and a considerable amount of the nation’s budget. It would have all gone to waste if you had abandoned her, but I thought it unlikely that a believer of the ‘goddess of life and love’ would abandon a pregnant mother,” Marshukzarl continued. “With that, I successfully left my child who carries my blood in the hands of the one who was mostly likely to be able to destroy the empire at the time. I intended to make use of the mother and child much later, but… It was unexpected that things would turn out this way.”
“You bastard… I’ll kill you where you stand after all!” Schneider roared.
At that moment, Dalton and the others who had been hiding with magic and other various means showed themselves to restrain the enraged Schneider.
“Calm down! If he’s right, killing him will just be playing into Alda’s hands!” Dalton shouted at Schneider.
“That’s right! Even though I understand how you feel! Even though I really understand how you feel!” said Lissana.
“That is right, Schneider-dono… the life of this rotten scum shall be ended by my hands!” said the Pure-breed Vampire Zod, somehow even more enraged than Schneider as he tried to throw himself at Marshukzarl.
“Lissana, you hold Zod back, we’ll take care of Schneider!” said Merdin.
“Oh my, it seems that it is best for me to return home,” said Marshukzarl, placing on the ground an item pouch… a Magic Item that could hold more than it appeared.
While Zod and Schneider were being restrained by their companions, he stood up.
“The proof of my son’s bloodline and the request fee is inside that,” he said. “It seems that the member of my bloodline that is most likely to survive is my son whose face I have never seen.”
These were his last words; in the next moment, the Shadows cast Teleport and disappeared from before Schneider and his companions’ eyes along with Marshukzarl.
In the area surrounding the former Scylla territory in the Sauron Duchy, the roughly 3000 low-quality Undead that Vandalieu had created formed a thick security network.
Previously, they had been mere Zombies and Skeleton Soldiers, and although some of them were Rank 2 or 3, they had been rotating in and out of the D-class Dungeon in the Scylla territory, and most of them were now powerful monsters of Rank 5 and above.
One would not be able to slip through their defenses with superficial skills.
But it wasn’t particularly difficult to just approach the area surrounding the Scylla territory.
“What is that? Take this off, body,” said a Phantom Knight, giving an order to a Zombie berserker.
He had initially found it detestable that a Goblin’s spirit had become an Undead by taking over his former body, but they were a good combination now.
“Gugyagyah?” the Zombie Berserker grunted.
It obeyed the Phantom Knight’s command and removed a white cloth that had been tied around a tree’s branch. But it looked confused as it presented the cloth to the Phantom Knight.
There were two different types of writing on the cloth.
“A message? To Vandalieu… It is addressed to our master, and the other writing… What does this say?” the Phantom Knight murmured.
The message was written in the language of the nation of the military research laboratory that had captured Vandalieu. It read, “We wish to join you. Venus, Hecatoncheir, Aegis.”
Job explanation (Written by Luciliano):
Master has been becoming more and more absurd as of late, so I think that it is appropriate to reflect upon the basic knowledge that we have. Today, I will be writing down what is known about Jobs by the Mages’ Guild and Adventurers’ Guild.
First of all, what are Jobs? In modern times, they are defined as choices of paths for one’s life to take.
When one acquires a Job, they receive bonuses to Skills related to that Job. The Cooking Skill is essential for becoming a chef, so it is the obvious choice to acquire the Chef Job in a Job change.
This explanation confuses Master and Legion, however. It seems that in other worlds, it is strange to acquire Jobs to learn the skills needed for one’s intended profession. Well, Jobs and Skills apparently do not exist in other worlds, so that is probably why.
Leaving that aside, Job changes are important, life-changing choices not only for ordinary people acquiring creation-oriented Jobs, but for adventurers acquiring combat-oriented Jobs as well. Unlike Jobs such as Apprentice Warrior, Apprentice Mage and Apprentice Craftsman, specialized Jobs such as Baker and Swordsman provide effects and bonuses to a narrower range of Skills.
In other words, such bonuses are not useful for other professions.
If one acquires the Baker or Swordsman Job and later realizes that they are not suitable for the profession they chose, they are unable to acquire another Job without undergoing another Job change.
Well, they can still go into similar professions… A Baker would be able to work in another cooking-related profession and a Swordsman would not be unable to equip a spear or axe, so in these cases, a mistaken Job is not a fatal mistake.
But it is troublesome to make large changes to one’s life plan, such as changing from a combat-oriented Job to a creation-oriented one, so caution must be taken around such changes… Acquiring numerous creation-oriented Skills while taking combat-oriented Jobs like Master is an incredible exception.
Next, I would like to go into Jobs’ effects and the bonuses they provide to the acquisition of Skills, but these are carried on to future Jobs following subsequent Job changes. Thus, by acquiring multiple Jobs of the same kind, it is possible to become a specialist in one field. However, it is common to maintain some breadth, as specializing too much will render one useless outside that specialization.
Regarding the number of Job changes, ordinary human citizens undergo approximately four, though this depends on their profession and the Jobs they choose. Using my previous example of Baker, the Job path would look something like this:
Apprentice Chef → Chef → Baker → Renowned Baker
Those with talent and those blessed by Master would be able to progress even further to Jobs such as Master Baker.
The number of Job changes might seem few when compared to Master and his close aides such as Eleanora, Zadiris and Vigaro, but… Considering that it is a creation-oriented Job that is difficult to level and there are numerous barriers to development in the way, that is to be expected.
In addition, it is apparently common for one to be in their forties by the time they undergo their fourth Job change.
Some nations have a conscription system where conscripted individuals are forced to change Jobs to Apprentice Soldier and then undergo training. In such cases, they usually undergo five Job changes on average.
Dwarves, who have long lifespans, would undergo two Job changes in addition to this, while Elves, whose lifespans are even longer, would be able to undergo twice as many Job changes. But in the case of Dwarves and Elves, even ordinary citizens often acquire combat-related Jobs, so they cannot simply be defined as ordinary people.
And I shall address adventurers with the following. No small number of adventurers die while completing requests, and those who reach high status serve noblemen or become noblemen themselves. Thus, it is difficult even for Guilds to acquire detailed information about them, so it does not seem possible to determine an average figure for how many times they change Jobs.
Thus, I shall record an average Job change count for each Adventurers’ Guild adventurer class based upon my own biased knowledge.
- G and F-class:
These are newcomers who have just registered at the Adventurers’ Guild and those training to ascend to E-class, so many of them have not even experienced a Job change.
They are at the stage of becoming proper adventurers. They generally have experienced about one Job change.
Most of these average adventurers have undergone two or three Job changes. Those progressing quickly encounter a barrier to their development at this stage.
These are adventurers who are just above average, and I was of this class when I was an adventurer myself.
They have overcome a barrier to their development in order to reach this stage, and many of them have undergone three to five Job changes.
However, some of them deliberately remain at this class, unwilling to go through the troublesome task of having to suck up to the rich and powerful in order to ascend to B-class. In such cases, they acquire significantly more Jobs than average.
These could likely be called heroes. At the very least, they are able to exterminate Earth Dragons and Rock Dragons, and if they are lucky, they can make achievements that reward them with a court rank. They have likely overcome multiple barriers to their development, and the fortitude and cultivated experience needed to do so are very important.
These adventurers have gone through at least five Job changes. It is thought that this figure can go up to seven.
- A and S-class
I don’t know anything about these adventurers other than that they have likely gone through more than seven Job changes. Once one becomes A-class or above, they simultaneously become an important figure to the nation that they live in, so there is almost no information recorded about them.
It would have been possible to make guesses based on my personal acquaintances, but I did not have any at the time.
There is no accurate information on S-class adventurers… Would they not have gone through at least ten Job changes?
There are some tales of legendary S-class adventurers whose Job count has been recorded. But they are fake… No, since individuals like Master exist, perhaps I cannot dismiss them so easily?
In any case, the ‘Sword King’ Borkus and ‘Saint of Healing’ Jeena, who were A-class adventurers when they were alive, went through eight Job changes while the ‘Divine Spear of Ice’ Mikhail, who was said to have been worthy of becoming an S-class adventurer, apparently went through ten.
Ah, I only just realized this, but I am A-class if only Job count is considered.
With these facts in mind, it is clear just how anomalous Master and those around him are. As for why other adventurers cannot become like Master, it is because everyone values their own life.
Every time Master and his companions encounter a barrier to their development, they either defeat a foe superior to them or spend days inside Dungeons, defeating high-Rank monsters. Ordinary adventurers attempting this would very likely perish.
The profession of adventurer is one with a constant risk of death, but other than a few battle-crazed individuals, they are fighting to get by. They avoid danger that they cannot handle.
The above information is based upon my own opinions, and I am sure that there are many exceptions to the rules I have outlined.
Also, the Adventurers’ Guild would never do something like promoting someone to C-class because they have gone through five Job changes. Acquiring Jobs in and of itself is not difficult.
An extreme example would be someone going from Apprentice Warrior to Apprentice Mage and then Apprentice Thief, going through multiple apprentice-type Jobs that are easy to Level, and this alone would add three Jobs to their Job change count.
But their actual abilities would be spread out and shallow, being able to do a variety of things at a beginner’s level but unable to defeat a D-class adventurer.
Each Job has different ratios of Attribute Value development, different Skills that receive acquisition bonuses and different effects. Also, training diligently in one’s area of expertise and gaining real experience in combat is more important than anything.
One must not forget that.
In addition, I have not provided average values for Vida’s races… in particular, for those that possess monster Ranks and long lifespans. The Explorers’ Guild of Talosheim has not yet introduced a proper class system, so there is no meaningful data to be gathered.