The one with the Title of “Scaled King,” the one who ruled the vast marshlands, was being served today, just like he was every day, by the servants who worshipped him.
Over a hundred years ago, he had been nothing more than an Earth Dragon.
He was a member of a race of Dragons feared for their earth attribute, but such Dragons were indeed a lower-class race of Dragons.
He was a monster born in a Dungeon that had appeared in the marshlands. He was not a boss or a mid-boss, but an ordinary monster inhabiting the Dungeon’s floors.
He suffered because those inhabiting the area around him were monsters of the same Rank as him, but one day, a great monster rampage occurred and he was released from the Dungeon.
When he went outside with the other monsters, he found that there were countless monsters that were weaker than him.
He ate them. He attacked, consumed, fought, was attacked in return, fought and was engrossed in consuming more.
Before he knew it, his Rank had increased.
And after some time, he heard the voice of Luvesfol, the Raging Evil Dragon God.
“You have quality. If you worship me, I shall give you my divine protection.”
He obeyed Luvesfol’s words and gained a divine protection. He continued to violently consume, and he, who had once been Rank 7, became a Great Mad Dragon.
His limbs became fin-shaped and his head and torso became like those of a crocodile, but he did not care. As a monster, an increase in Rank was something to be happy about, and if that resulted in a change in form, it was nothing to regret.
The Lizardmen that he had previously obeyed now obeyed him, and now that he had devoured his most powerful enemies, he now spent his pleasant days ruling as the Scaled King.
The Lizardmen would bring him food, and if it wasn’t enough, he could simply eat the Lizardmen.
He stared at the treasures that he had collected and dozed off to sleep while having the Lizardmen polish the scales on his back that he couldn’t reach himself. There was nothing better than this.
He no longer needed to do any fighting himself, but by having the Lizardmen worship Luvesfol as well, he was not reprimanded, but had his divine protection strengthened instead.
He had thought that time would simply continue passing like this forever, but his Lizardman servants had been making noise lately. It seemed that some of the conquered Lizardman groups were no longer obeying.
It was bothersome, so the Scaled King did nothing and simply went to sleep.
The next time he opened his eyes, he was delivered a message that they were under attack.
What insolent fools dare they defy the Scaled King? I will devour them!
After eating the Lizardman who had delivered the report as breakfast, the Great Mad Dragon with the Title of Scaled King left his den for the first time in a long time.
In the vast marshlands, a large number of Lizardmen were fighting an allied force made of other Lizardmen, Ghouls and Undead.
It was the allied force that was pushing forward.
“My army is overwhelming, is it not?” said Chezare, performing general-like work for the first time in a while.
It was so overwhelming that there was no need to tell Chezare that his words were triggering a flag.
“I did make sure that it would become overwhelming,” said Vandalieu, whose skin was as white as wax even in the sunlight of this hot, humid summer.
They had started by searching for the groups of Lizardmen that had made non-aggression pacts with Talosheim two hundred years ago, holding flags of the same color that had been used when negotiating with the Lizardmen back then. But when they found these Lizardmen, who had ruled the marshlands two hundred years ago, they found that there was only a small group of only thirty individuals now.
There hadn’t been any Lizardmen smart enough to understand human words or write characters, so Vandalieu made a Zombie out the Lizardmen he had defeated during the search and had them translate.
Vandalieu learned that the marshlands had now been ruled for a long time by a powerful Dragon and the group of Lizardmen who worshipped Luvesfol, the Raging Evil Dragon God, who had given this Dragon his divine protection.
No matter how much Vandalieu talked to the Lizardmen or listened to the spirits, he couldn’t get any idea of where this Dragon had come from or what kind of Dragon it was, but he did learn that it had adapted to the marshlands and ruled over numerous Earth Dragons and Rock Dragons.
And the number of Lizardmen under the Scaled King’s rule was apparently over three thousand.
The enemy group had used the Dragon’s power to bring many other groups under its command, maintaining their numbers by hunting other monsters and fish and training their warriors in one of the two Dungeons that had appeared in the marshlands.
Lizardmen were Rank 3 to begin with, but they were the most intelligent among demi-human monsters excluding superior races such as Noble Orcs. Lizardman warriors had more endurance, more composure and better decision-making than unskilled bandits.
The fact that they had formed a non-aggression pact with Talosheim two hundred years ago was proof of their intelligence.
It seemed that there were many high-Rank Lizardmen in the Scaled King’s group, so considering that the battlefield would be a marshland with poor footing, conquering them through sheer strength would be a poor plan.
If rock or wood Golems were to be used as disposable soldiers, they would quickly sink into the marshes.
So how had Vandalieu cut through the Scaled King’s intelligent Lizardmen who weren’t affected by Death-Attribute Charm and added them to his own army?
He had shown them his overwhelming power.
“Lizards! Choose whether you want to obey us or die here!”
“Choose quickly! We have short tempers!”
The Rank 10 Zombie Hero Borkus, the Rank 8 Union of Bones Knochen and the Rank 7 Ghoul Tyrant Vigaro had intimidated the Lizardmen with their bloodthirst and anger, with the translating Lizardman Zombies next to them persuading the Lizardmen to surrender.
“Fufufu, it does look quite painful to have one’s limbs severed. Do you wish for us to kill you? Oh no, what we desire is not your lives, but your absolute obedience. Please consider this offer. If you submit to us, I shall sew your limbs back on, just as they were before.” The Rank 10 Bellmond persuaded the Lizardmen along with a Lizardman Zombie’s translation, maintaining her usual businesslike smile.
“Obey us!” Braga shouted.
“You foolish people!” said Eleanora. “I am telling you to surrender to Vandalieu-sama!”
“Aren’t you going to use your Charming Demon Eyes?” Basdia asked.
“There’s no point in doing that because its effects are canceled the moment eye contact is broken!” Eleanora told her.
The three of them had beaten all of the Lizardmen half to death in order to make them understand the difference in strength.
Monsters generally only obeyed those stronger than them, so the only way to bring these Lizardmen over was to use violence and the language of physical actions.
Vandalieu had peacefully sung an endless song among some of the Lizardmen groups as well while scattering paralyzing venom into the air. Of course, with the Scream and Mental Encroachment skill included.
By the time the paralyzing venom had worn off, these villages of Lizardmen believed without a doubt that they had been under the rule of Vandalieu all along, not the Scaled King.
The above methods had been used two months ago on the small groups outside the marshlands, and a thousand Lizardmen had become allies… and, for some reason, the group that had joined Vandalieu and his companions from the beginning, the one that had been friendly to Talosheim in the past, had become much more loyal in the process.
“With things being so one-sided, I have the feeling that it would have been easier to simply conquer them by force,” said Chezare, half-joking.
“Chezare, you are getting ahead of yourself. And Shashuja is making a sad face, so don’t say that,” said Vandalieu, glancing at the Lizardman Geronimo Shashuja, who was acting as a mediator for the other Lizardmen.
He was a descendant of the ones who had made a non-aggression pact with Talosheim, and he was currently looking at Vandalieu with the expression of an abandoned puppy. It was incredible that he could make such an expression with his cold, reptilian eyes.
The truth was that Lizardmen were not a race created by Vida; they were just monsters. Vandalieu and his companions had no reason to give them any consideration.
But Vandalieu had yielded to Shashuja’s sorrowful tears, deciding that the Lizardmen would merge with Talosheim after the Scaled King had been defeated.
Incidentally, the name Shashuja was a conversion of his original name in the Lizardman language so that other races could pronounce it.
“… Your Majesty, even if you are weak to women and children, why were you persuaded by the tears of a Lizardman?” Chezare asked.
“I’ve always liked animals,” Vandalieu explained. “But when I was on Earth, I couldn’t have any pets, and in Origin, I was a guinea pig.”
And in the end, it had simply taken a bit of time, and the Lizardmen hadn’t posed any particular danger to anyone, so he was sure that nobody would mind.
Also, it was true that it would be convenient to use the Lizardmen, who were adapted to this terrain, to manage these vast marshlands.
“More importantly, the enemy has revealed its trump card,” said Vandalieu.
“Oh, those are Lizardman Royal Guards!” Chezare exclaimed. “That is a monster that normally does not appear in the absence of a Lizard King, Your Majesty.”
Powerful-looking Lizardmen with better physiques and equipment than the others crawled out of their den. According to Chezare, they were members of quite a rare race.
They joined the frontlines, but they weren’t enough to turn the tides of the one-sided battle.
There were still two thousand Lizardmen on the Scaled King’s side, but on the side of the Eclipse King Vandalieu, in addition to the one thousand Lizardmen, there was a thousand-strong mixed army of Ghouls, Undead and monsters.
And the Lizardmen were not affected by Vandalieu’s Strengthen Followers skill, but the Strengthen Subordinates skill was taking effect on them.
There was no way that a few dozen elite individuals joining the frontlines could make a difference.
Perhaps flustered because of this situation, the Dragons that were likely the Scaled King’s most powerful servants emerged. Earth Dragons and Rock Dragons, six in total. They were scattering their own Lizardmen as they charged onto the frontlines, so they were making the battlefield even more chaotic.
But the Scaled King’s Lizardmen gave hissing cheers and raised their own morale.
The Eclipse King’s army cheered and raised their morale as well.
“Kill them! Kill them!”
There were no Dragons around Talosheim these days, so everyone was fired up. Although Barigen’s Fall Life-Mountain, a B-class Dungeon, produced many Wyverns, the spawn rate of Earth Dragons and Dragons more powerful than them was low, so this was a chance to have some Dragon meat for the first time in a long time.
In fact, these Rank 7 and Rank 8 enemies stood no chance against the elite members of the Eclipse King’s army.
“Great Splitting Axe!” Vigaro cut through the neck of an Earth Dragon with an axe made of the Demon King’s horns, and next to him, Knochen, who couldn’t be described as anything but a mountain of bones, gave a roar as it swallowed another Earth Dragon whole while gouging out its bones.
“This is the time to show the bravery of the reborn Black Bull Knights’ Order!”
“Run, my beloved steed!”
The Zombie knights of the Black Bull Knights’ Order, who were formerly from the Mirg shield-nation, attacked a Rock Dragon together, mounted on their sturdy, somewhat sinister horses.
The Rock Dragon was Rank 8 Dragon that was as large, powerful and sturdier than anything else, as if it was actually a boulder that had begun moving. However, the knights were making sport of it, splitting its shell with their black halberds and claymores made of Death Iron.
Incidentally, the horses that they were riding were the horses taken from Karcan and the Red Wolf Knights’ Order in the Hartner Duchy, and they had now become monsters.
They were now Rank 3 Demon Horses, feared monsters that war horses who had basked in the endless blood and screams of the dying on the battlefield could transform into.
They had frightening appearances, but they would not be scared even when Zombies approached. They were omnivorous and would eat the weak monsters that they trampled under their hooves, so they were convenient mounts.
Another Dragon was petrified by Bellmond’s transplanted Demon Eye and sliced into pieces by her metal threads. Another was slaughtered by Basdia and Eleanora. One particularly pitiful Dragon had its throat destroyed by Braga and his companions so that it couldn’t release its Breath attack and then used as a living sandbag by the less experienced Black Goblins and Anubises.
Both allied and enemy Lizardmen were dumbfounded at the sight of the Dragons, whom they had always considered to be absolutely superior beings, being defeated one after another. Shashuja, who was in the troop headquarters with Vandalieu, was dumbfounded as well.
“Rank 7 and 8 monsters appear in the Dungeons at home,” Vandalieu explained. “We won’t struggle with enemies like this.”
Dragons themselves didn’t appear in the Dungeons, but monsters just as powerful did, so defeating these monsters was to be expected.
“Your Majesty, it is time,” said Chezare.
“Yes. Well then, I’ll leave the rest to you.”
A few seconds after Vandalieu spread his Spirit Form wings and took into the sky, a particularly enormous Dragon emerged from its den with a thunderous roar.
Not only the Lizardmen, but those in the Eclipse King’s army were quite disturbed at the bizarre appearance of the Scaled King, who resembled an enormous crocodile with fins for limbs.
A Rank 10 monster was one that was powerful enough to destroy an entire nation. It would not be strange for regular monsters and ordinary adventurers to flee in panic from such a foe.
That was likely why Borkus gleefully jumping in with his enormous sword raised was an unexpected development for the Scaled King.
“Finally, someone worth fighting!” Borkus roared.
The Scaled King showed nothing resembling a movement until his snout had been torn to pieces by the tip of the magic sword. As his blood sprayed into the air, he finally roared in anger.
“Spacing out, huh!” Borkus shouted. “Don’t doze off! Open your eyes!”
Vandalieu thought it would have been fine for the Scaled King to keep dozing off, but it seemed that Borkus, who found even the bosses of B-class Dungeons to be not enough of a challenge now that he had become Rank 10, wanted to fight the Scale King in earnest.
As if granting Borkus’s wish, the Scaled King’s fighting instinct awakened. He let out a howl in place of an incantation, released earth-attribute and wind-attribute spells, swung his tail like a whip and thrashed his fins.
His mayhem could only be called a natural disaster; any creature caught up in it would be thrown about and pulverized.
“Gahahaha! Just like that!” Borkus laughed, undaunted.
He was Rank 10 as well, and most Dragons would be more powerful than Undead, but Borkus was a Zombie who had regained all of the strength that he had possessed as an A-class adventurer while he was alive. On top of that, he was equipped just as well as an A-class adventurer, or even better.
And his Attribute Values were enhanced by the Strengthen Followers and Strengthen Subordinates skills.
But at Rank 10, even a level 10 Strengthen Followers skill would make it difficult for Borkus to overcome an opponent a Rank higher.
A Rank 1 Goblin’s physical lifting strength increasing by five hundred kilograms would be a dramatic increase, but for a Dragon who could lift boulders with ease to begin with, a five hundred kilogram increase in strength would still be amazing, but not as dramatic. The same principle applied here.
But Borkus was the same Rank as the Scaled King. Only one of them was under a strengthening effect, so the difference was great.
“Hahaah! The sword that the kid made for me really has a different sharpness to iiiit!”
The enormous, three-meter-long sword that Borkus was currently wielding had been created by polishing the Demon King’s horns with the Demon King’s blood, then combining it with Death Iron.
The Scaled King’s scales were so solid that even a first-rate swordsman would be helpless against them, but they were being torn through by a super-first-rate Zombie swordsman wielding a sword created with a material that could even shred Adamantite.
“I suppose it’s about time,” Vandalieu murmured.
Looking down at the cornered Scaled King from the sky, Vandalieu decided that this was a good time and cut his own wrist with his claws, activating the Demon King’s blood.
Red-black blood gushed out of the wound, rapidly clotting in a cylindrical shape. And then he activated the Demon King’s horns, forming a small, aerodynamically-shaped horn the size of his fingertip.
The Scaled King let out a particularly long, loud roar. A pillar of thick purple light descended upon him from the sky.
This was the Familiar Spirit Descent skill that High Priest Gordan had once used, the skill that allowed a god’s Familiar Spirit to descend upon the user’s body and strengthen their Attribute Values.
The Scaled King was a monster, but he was a follower of Luvesfol, the Raging Evil Dragon God, so he was able to have a Familiar Spirit descend upon him.
This Dragon was powerful to begin with; strengthened further by Familiar Spirit Descent, it was possibly a dangerous enemy even for Borkus.
Vandalieu pierced that evil pillar of light created by Familiar Spirit Descent with a bullet from his Telekinesis cannon, loaded with the effect of Soul Break.
Some kind of indescribable scream echoed out as the pillar of light crumbled and vanished.
Vandalieu’s wings were beating as he hovered over the Scaled King, who had frozen in place in a dumbfounded state. Vandalieu sighed, thinking his work was done, and then felt confused.
“It seems that I succeeded in interfering with the Familiar Spirit Descent using the Demon King’s horn bullet that I fired with a gun barrel made with the Demon King’s blood, but what was that scream?” he wondered. “Could it be that it hit the Familiar Spirit itself?”
Eleanora and Bellmond had concluded at an early stage that the Scaled King might be able to use Luvesfol’s Familiar Spirit Descent.
The evil gods possessed their own Familiar Spirits, and they could bestow the Familiar Spirit Descent skill to their followers. Even if they were monsters.
Therefore, a plan to deal with it needed to be discussed.
But Vandalieu’s apprentice, the former adventurer and current Undead researcher Luciliano, had said, “You can simply shoot through it with your gun thing, Master.”
Vandalieu had been doubtful that the descent of a god’s Familiar Spirit could be interrupted by a gun, but everyone had immediately agreed with Luciliano.
“It’s okay, I’m sure you can do it, Vandalieu! You can easily beat a Familiar Spirit of an evil god,” said Darcia.
“Indeed, you should have confidence in yourself, boy,” said Zadiris.
“Vandalieu-sama, you have already destroyed Ternecia, who was a subordinate god of Hihiryushukaka,” said Eleanora. “A Familiar Spirit is just small fry.”
Encouraged, Vandalieu had decided to give it a try.
The Demon King’s blood, once coagulated, wasn’t as hard as Orichalcum, but harder than Adamantite. Vandalieu had created a gun barrel using this, loaded Demon King’s small horn into the barrel and fired it as a bullet.
As a result, he had actually managed to prevent the Familiar Spirit Descent. It was possible that the Soul Break in the bullet had damaged the Familiar Spirit itself.
“Well then, I’ll leave the rest to you,” said Vandalieu.
“You got it!” Borkus said. And then he raised his sword once more. “Now then… let’s continue.”
For the first time, the color of fear appeared in the Scaled King’s vertical pupils.
『The levels of the No-Attribute Magic, Mana Control, Artillery Technique, God Slayer, Commanding and Strengthen Subordinates skills have increased!』
Nothing particularly miraculous happened. Borkus fought a reasonably fierce battle while saying it was a little lacking and then pierced the Scaled King’s forehead.
He was happy that he had finally gained a sizeable amount of Experience Points from defeating an opponent as equally powerful as him.
And Vandalieu, who received approximately ten percent of everyone else’s Experience Points, had leveled up as well.
“With this, my Tree Caster level has increased to 100,” he said happily.
“I’m looking forward to hearing what kind of new Jobs will be available, Bocchan,” said Rita.
“Will your next Job be Madoushi after all?” asked Saria.
“That’s my plan,” said Vandalieu.
Vandalieu had avoided the Madoushi* Job as it sounded like a suspiciously ordinary Job, but according to the information that he had squeezed out of Ternecia, whose soul he had destroyed in spring, acquiring the Guider Job was a requirement of becoming a champion.
The Guider Job was apparently a Job that made not only the Job holder, but his companions stronger as well. Ternecia hadn’t known the exact details, but perhaps it was possible that it allowed the acquisition of a skill like Strengthen Followers that affected people.
But considering that the effect of Vandalieu’s ‘Eclipse King’ Title allowed all of Talosheim’s citizens to be affected by Strengthen Followers regardless of their race, it might seem that there was no advantage to Vandalieu acquiring this Job.
However, it was still a Job that was a requirement for becoming a hero, even if this fact wasn’t commonly known. There was no doubt that simply acquiring the Job would be enough to gain the trust of the upper echelons of society, such as Guild Masters of the Adventurers’ Guild.
It was a little sinister that “魔/ma” had been added to it, but it seemed that there were multiple varieties of the Guider Job. The champion Bellwood had simply been a ‘Guider,’ but Zakkart had been a United Guider*.
Considering that, Vandalieu decided that it wasn’t that unusual for his Job to have “魔/ma” attached to it.
Jobs like Mage, Magic Warrior, Magic Sword User and Monster User also had 魔/ma attached to them*, but they were all normal Jobs. The 魔/ma in Madoushi probably just represented the fact that he had many monster friends.
“If you become a Guider, please make it so that Father can fly!” said Rita.
Her father, the Undead Sam who was possessing a carriage, still had his sights set on flying through the sky. He had been performing full-speed jumps from high places to increase the level of his Impact Resistance skill.
It seemed that his long experience being a carriage driver while he was alive had given him fixed preconceptions that were hindering his evolution into an Undead carriage that could fly.
Vandalieu had been unable to help him, as there was no telling what effects using the Mental Encroachment skill to remove those preconceptions from Sam’s mind could have.
“Hmm, I’ll do my best,” said Vandalieu. “Now then, I suppose I should help out with the post-battle cleanup as well.”
After the Scaled King’s defeat, the surviving enemy Lizardmen had already surrendered and submitted to Shashuja and the others, dropped their weapons and raised their hands into the air, exposing their bellies.
… This was not an act of arrogance, but surrendering by exposing their soft bellies. It was the same as a beast showing its belly to an enemy.
The ones that were not getting on the ground were staying standing because they were standing in water and would not be able to breathe if they lay down, as their home was a marshland.
Vandalieu had thought that about half of them would try to resist or flee, but that hadn’t happened.
“They switched sides quite quickly. Maybe this Scaled King wasn’t very popular?” Vandalieu wondered.
“That’s not it; I’m sure they just know that they would die if they disobey,” said Rita.
Vandalieu nodded, deciding that this was a reasonable explanation. “This is thanks to Borkus’s hard work.”
Borkus had stayed in an advantageous position the entire battle as he defeated the Scaled King who had ruled at the top all this time, while Bellmond, Eleanora, Vigaro and the others had defeated the Dragons that had been his most powerful servants as if they were small fry.
Nobody could blame the Lizardmen for surrendering.
“No, it was you more than me, kid,” said Borkus, whose entire body was red with the Scaled King’s blood.
“Eh?” said Vandalieu.
Borkus looked exasperated. “You’re really confused, huh?”
“But all I did was hit a large target with the Telekinesis cannon I made by combining the Demon King’s blood and the Demon King’s horns,” said Vandalieu. “I think it’s true that preventing the Familiar Spirit Descent was significant, but I didn’t use any Mana and didn’t put myself in any danger at all, so it was an easy job.”
This wasn’t a small achievement, but nothing that deserved to be taken notice of more than Borkus, who had defeated the enemy general. That was how Vandalieu saw his own actions.
However, the reality was apparently a little different.
“Listen,” said Borkus. “That Scaled King guy was a priest for that Luvesfol guy, the Raging Evil Dragon God, the one that the Lizardmen were worshipping, you know? It was only natural for that priest to be trembling after you shot and killed the Familiar Spirit that he summoned.”
“No, I don’t think I necessarily killed it,” said Vandalieu.
“That may be true, Master, but even I have not heard of any incidents where someone attacked and interfered with the Familiar Spirit itself rather than its host… I was certain that you would be able to, however,” said Bellmond with a bitter smile. Her eye, which had been blinded by burns, had been replaced by transplanting Ternecia’s Petrifying Demon Eye.
“In other words, you shattered the enemies’ hearts, Vandalieu-sama,” said Eleanora.
“Indeed, since you defeated the one that the Lizardmen worshipped,” Zadiris added. “And unlike Goblins and Orcs, they are limited to living near water. Now that we have taken this place from them, they have no choice but to submit to the victors.”
Life seemed difficult for the Lizardmen.
“Well, the more that submit, the better it is… For now, please gather the important individuals among the surviving Lizardmen, and please call Shashuja here.”
And so Vandalieu acquired the great marshlands that had been ruled by the Scaled King.
Incidentally, the total land area of the great marshlands was far more than the Hartner Duchy’s.
Vandalieu was eight years old. In human society, he was still an ordinary person, but he already ruled over a country larger than a duke’s territory, with an army that a medium-sized country couldn’t hope to match.
They are a race of demi-human monsters, and they are considered to be the most intelligent of demi-human races. In truth, their intelligence is not so different from that of Gillmen, but Lizardmen are considered smarter because they have mental structures that are easier for people to understand.
Their base Rank is 3. Their appearance is that of bipedal lizards; they do not have horns or any features like that. Even the largest Lizardmen do not exceed two meters in height, so they are inferior to Orcs in raw strength. However, they possess speed that Orcs do not, as well as the intelligence to think about tactics and the composure to not fall for provocation and baits.
They become even more powerful in groups, giving the illusion of fighting like a trained army.
They use their advanced intelligence to create their own arms; even their lowest-ranked individuals equip themselves with spears, armor and small shields made from the scales of their dead brethren.
They are clearly more powerful monsters than Orcs despite both races being Rank 3, but as they are limited to inhabiting environments with water, there are almost no incidents of them leaving these environments to cause harm to villages and cities of people.
Also, unlike Orcs, they do not desire human women for reproduction; their reproductive power itself is quite low, so they pose less of a threat than Orcs.
However, large groups of Lizardmen normally worship evil gods, so depending on the personalities of the gods that they worship, they sometimes form non-aggression pacts with people. However, as Lizardmen cannot speak the human language, negotiations are limited to body language.
Their scales can become materials for arms and decorations, and their meat is suitable for consumption. Their meat has little fat and resembles chicken in flavor.
Also, calling Drakonids Lizardmen or lizards is an insult, so that should be avoided.