“Now then, we will begin the project to turn the marshlands into a Capricorn farm,” Vandalieu declared enthusiastically, but there was actually not a lot to do. There were still only a few dozen Capricorns that had transformed from goats, so the only thing they could do was make preparations for a large-scale farm in the future.
First, he informed the two thousand Lizardmen with Shashuja as the mediator. But since he was only a Rank 5 Lizardman Geronimo, it seemed that leading two thousand members of his own race was harsh on him.
That was why Vandalieu had left the Zombie of the former Scaled King, who had now been renamed Leo, as well as the Dragons that had been his subordinates, under Shashuja’s command. A Zombie of the former ruler would be serving him. It didn’t have any practical abilities, but this would likely discourage the Lizardmen from disobeying.
“Come to think of it, it was my first time creating a Zombie out of a Dragon,” said Vandalieu.
Knochen, the combination of countless bones, groaned unhappily.
“Knochen, please restrain yourself this time.”
It seemed that Knochen had wanted Leo’s bones, but Vandalieu had given it Earth Dragon bones to keep him restrained.
Vandalieu still felt unsure about the Lizardmen, so he had decided to call Bone Man, who had remained in Talosheim during the battle of the expedition, to come out and be stationed here for a while along with the Black Bull Knights’ Order who were mounted on Demon Horses.
“Jyuuh, please leave it to me, my lord,” said Bone Man.
Demon Horses had the Rough Road Travel skill, so they could run across the muddy marshlands the same as any flat ground. And unlike the horses that they had once been, they could eat anything, so they were easy to maintain.
Of course, Bone Man was planning to replace his Demon Horse mount to Leo once things had settled down in the marshlands. Leo had some difficulties with mobility compared to Demon Horses, but he was Bone Man’s desired Dragon Zombie.
“I’m counting on you,” said Vandalieu. “Well, while you’re here, I’m planning to be going back and forth from Talosheim.”
“After all, you are talented, my lord,” said Bone Man.
There were many things that only Vandalieu could do, and many other things that others could do but Vandalieu could do much quicker and in a much simpler way.
“Well, this work isn’t that impressive though,” said Vandalieu, using Golem Transmutation to build barns with the trees produced with Plant Binding Technique as lumber.
And then he taught the Lizardmen how dairy farming worked with ten of the Capricorns that he had brought from Talosheim.
Of course, the Lizardmen, who had been living a lifestyle of hunting and gathering, were inexperienced with dairy farming. However, there was a race known as Lizardman Riders who tamed and mounted monsters resembling crocodiles, so they immediately understood Vandalieu’s orders to raise the Capricorns.
At first, they had been confused that they would be doing so for milk rather than for combat, however. As their appearances indicated, Lizardmen were oviparous, so they were unfamiliar with milk.
But that didn’t mean that they couldn’t drink it. They were carnivorous, but milk provided animal protein, so Vandalieu had told them to try a cup. While they had been bewildered at first, after a mouthful of milk, they understood that this task was for the purpose of securing a stable food source.
Capricorns were a little more intelligent than normal goats and they were also sturdy and resistant to disease. They ate any algae and aquatic plants growing in the marshlands without specific preferences, so they were popular with the Lizardmen as well for their use in dealing with weeds.
They then reorganized the Lizardmen groups that had become smaller as a part of the battle and made maps. It was possible that small groups of less than twenty Lizardmen wouldn’t even be able to live stable lives, let alone manage territories, and it would be extremely inconvenient for Vandalieu to not know how large each village of Lizardmen were.
The organization of the Lizardmen groups went very smoothly because of their fear of Vandalieu. If they had been humans, various problems could have occurred, but it seemed that the Lizardmen had no attachment for their territory.
As for the map, Sam had postponed his flying training and taken Chezare and the others around the marshlands to quickly create a map that gave a rough idea of the area’s layout.
As a result of this work that took multiple days, Vandalieu gained an idea of how vast the marshlands were.
“This place is larger than the Hartner Duchy, isn’t it?” said Vandalieu.
There wasn’t any technology for precise measurements, but the map could be used to estimate how long it would take someone to walk somewhere.
When Vandalieu had been getting the small and medium-sized groups to join him, he had gained a rough idea of the size of the area ruled by the Scaled King. From there, they had determined the size of the marshlands, but… it turned out that the marshlands were even larger than that.
However, it seemed that there weren’t any influential monsters other than the Lizardmen. The Noble Orc Empire was apparently further south of the marshlands, but the marshlands were not attractive lands for the heavy Orcs, so they hadn’t come to the marshlands before.
Vandalieu wondered how the Noble Orc Bugogan had managed to cross the marshlands, but… the truth was that he never did.
Bugogan had not gone north from the empire he was exiled from; he immediately challenged the mountain range to the west. After struggling and finding a path that even he could cross, he had ended up coming out near the Devil’s Nest near Balcheburg.
Everyone was currently busy organizing everything in the marshlands, so Vandalieu decided to leave the Orc meat buffet in the Noble Orc empire for later. The empire wouldn’t escape anywhere.
Leaving that aside.
“That means that His Majesty is already a being that surpasses the dukes of the Orbaume Kingdom,” said Chezare.
“No, Chezare-dono, I believe that is going a little too far. Our population is too small. Even if we take the Lizardmen into account, there is too much land,” said Sam.
The population of even a remote city of the Hartner Duchy like Niarki had a population of around ten thousand. Even if the Lizardmen were included, Talosheim’s population was only six thousand.
Vandalieu agreed with Sam; it couldn’t be said that he had surpassed the dukes.
But the marshlands were a treasury of resources. Plants that looked exactly like lotus roots grew natively and the marshes had fishes resembling catfish, loaches and eels living in them.
Also, the Lizardmen had told Vandalieu about a place where hot mud came out of the ground. It was possible that this would be Vandalieu’s first encounter with a hot spring in Lambda.
And there were two Dungeons, so it was possible that he could acquire new materials and food ingredients.
“Lizardmen apparently take five years to reach adulthood, so let’s take it slow to make the marshlands thrive,” said Vandalieu. “For now, I suppose we should go back to Talosheim.”
Doing all of the tasks ahead would have to wait until after a Job-change.
Ten days had passed since the Scaled King’s defeat. Vandalieu had been worried that Luvesfol, the Raging Evil Dragon God, would make a move after his servant who had received his divine protection had been defeated and his Familiar Spirit wounded, but there were no signs of that happening, so there would probably be no problem with leaving the marshlands.
Coming to this decision, Vandalieu climbed aboard Sam’s carriage and returned to Talosheim for now, having completed the preliminary preparations for the farm and the creation of a map.
Incidentally, Luvesfol, the Raging Evil Dragon God that Vandalieu was wary of in case he was plotting revenge, was writhing in agony as he desperately fled the southern region of the continent.
“I can’t stay and gather servants in a place where a monster like that exists! I’m going back to the Dark Continent!”
The Lizardmen who had been his subordinates hadn’t known this, but the Scaled King who had the divine protection of the Raging Evil Dragon God had actually acquired a superior version of Familiar Spirit Descent, the Spirit Clone Descent skill, allowing him to temporarily have a Spirit Clone of the god he worshipped descend upon him.
Familiar Spirit Descent couldn’t even compare to Spirit Clone Descent’s effects, but… during the descent, the Spirit Clone had been shot and killed by an absurd attack, inflicting quite a deep wound in Luvesfol.
It wasn’t fatal, but enough to make Luvesfol feel a great fear rather than a desire for revenge. He fled to his original base that was the Dark Continent, where all of the land and surrounding seas had become Devil’s Nests, feeling no regret for the loss of several thousand of his believers.
Vandalieu, who had returned to Talosheim, was in the Job-changing room on the second floor of the trading post where explorers gathered to exchange goods.
With this, he would join the ranks of the champions… but he didn’t know how to feel about this. Even so, he touched the crystal ball with excitement.
『Jobs that can be selected:【Archenemy】【Zombie Maker】【Corpse Demon Commander】 【Disease Demon】【Spirit Warrior】【Whip Tongue Calamity】【Vengeful Berserker】【Dead Spirit Mage】【Dark Healer】【Labyrinth Creator】【Demon King User】【Demon Guider】【Magic Cannoneer】【Golem Creator】』
“Oh, there are two new ones.”
There was a new Job that seemed specialized for using cannons and another that was probably a superior version of the Golem Transmuter Job. There were no Jobs specialized for using Thread-reeling, but those were probably already existing Jobs like the Thread User Job that Bellmond had.
He was interested in the Golem Creator Job, which would likely improve the Golem Transmutation skill that had brought Talosheim so much prosperity, but the Job he should choose was probably still Demon Guider.
With that, he should be able to acquire skills that would improve his appearance to society. Skills with shiny-sounding names and powerful effects, even if he didn’t know what they were.
“Select Demon Guider.”
Vandalieu made his choice with his heart full of anticipation.
『You have changed Jobs to Demon Guider!』
『You have acquired the Mana Enlargement skill!』
『The levels of the Death-Attribute Charm, Death-Attribute Magic and Chant Revocation skills have increased!』
『The Death-Attribute Charm skill has transformed into the Demon Path Enticement skill and the Strengthen Followers skill has been transformed into the Guidance: Demon Path skill!』
『You have acquired the unique skill, Abyss!』
“… I’m sorry?” Vandalieu asked the voice in his head that was announcing these skill names that were far from shiny-sounding or good for society, but there was no reply.
“… So I didn’t mishear it.” Vandalieu looked at his status multiple times before putting his hand on his forehead.
Vandalieu didn’t really care about Mana Enlargement. As its name suggested, it was probably a skill that simply increased Mana. The problem was with the other skills.
Demon Path Enticement, Guidance: Demon Path and Abyss. All of these names sounded bad from society’s point of view. Rather than being shiny-sounding, they were skills that were wrapped in darkness deeper than the darkness of night.
“But I have an idea of what the effects of the first two are. Demon Path Enticement is probably an upgrade to the original Death-Attribute Charm skill and Guidance: Demon Path is probably an upgrade to the Strengthen Followers skill.”
From Vandalieu’s experience, the effects of skills didn’t change significantly when they transformed into others. It sounded dangerous and suspicious to say that he would entice or guide people on a demon path, but there wouldn’t be any changes on the scale of the sun turning into a lump of ice.
But Vandalieu had no idea about the Abyss skill.
“… Abyss, activate,” Vandalieu said to try and test it, but nothing remarkable happened.
It seemed that it wasn’t the kind of active skill that could be used as if flipping a switch, but a passive skill that was always exhibiting its effect, but…
“What did Abyss mean again?” Vandalieu pondered for a bit, having a vague recollection that the word wasn’t used in any particularly positive way, but he couldn’t remember the exact meaning.
He thought that he would investigate it later, but because it was a unique skill, he wasn’t sure if there would be any information on it. There was no ruling out the possibility that Vandalieu was the first in history to acquire this skill, just like his Jobs.
“There’s no use in worrying about this and that. I can’t undo the fact that I’ve acquired it, and if it seems harmless, I should just see how it progresses.”
Vandalieu had acquired a Job that was a requirement of being a champion, so things would be alright. He left the room after telling himself this.
“Holy Son, congratulations on this auspicious event!” said Nuaza.
“Getting a Job of the same type as a champion is amazing!” said Darcia. “You’re still small, but you were even smaller before, now you’ve become so fantastic… I’m really happy.”
“We should celebrate today!” said Basdia. “So, no making clones of yourself and working today, Van.”
“That’s right, Van-sama,” Tarea agreed. “You are the center of attention today.”
Vandalieu had been caught by everyone who had been waiting outside and taken to the meeting hall where a party had been secretly prepared.
After Bellwood’s death, there had been few who had acquired a Guider Job even among a hundred thousand years of history, and Bellmond had told Vandalieu that all of them had left their names in history, so this was apparently something to be celebrated.
In fact, in other nations, massive events were held if it became known that there was someone with a Guider Job. Not only would such people become heroes, but they were likely to even join the lower ranks of the gods, so the appearance of these people was to be celebrated.
If that person was the nation’s leader, everyone would be wildly excited.
The people of Talosheim celebrated Vandalieu’s Job-change to Demon Guider in a much more modest way.
The person being celebrated didn’t notice that, however.
“Alright, now for the sweets –” Vandalieu began.
“They would be delicious, but you don’t have to make them, Your Majesty.”
“Well then, soup –”
“We told you, King, you’re not allowed to multiply!”
“Well then, just a quick, simple dish – obuh.”
Rapiéçage groaned as she grabbed Vandalieu’s spirit form that had escaped with Out-of-body Experience and forced it back into his physical body.
“You’re not allowed to move,” said Pauvina as she pinned him down.
Vandalieu completely gave up on resisting.
The dreamers’ senses and limbs were in a hazy state, but they were aware that there was clearly something near them.
That thing was like a person, like a beast, enormous yet small, unsightly yet beautiful. The dreamers didn’t know what that thing was.
However, they could never reach that thing on their own. When they tried, it walked away at a pace that seemed as if it could be caught, but they could not.
They could stay there and watch it go, or distance themselves from it. But before they knew it, that thing had come close to them again.
People having this dream began appearing among Talosheim’s people.
One let that ‘thing’ ride them and flew through the night sky.
One became a wall to protect that ‘thing.’
One wished for a form that could be of aid to that ‘thing.’
Some wished for that ‘thing’ to give them something that it could grant them, and were delighted with the change that occurred.
Some simply felt at ease by being next to the ‘thing.’ And when they woke, they shed tears with the unfilled emptiness and despair that they felt.
But Vandalieu never had this dream.
In his Divine Realm, Rodcorte was monitoring Vandalieu by looking at the records from the humans and Dwarves that had migrated to Talosheim, but – with signs of something being cut, the images stopped.
This didn’t stop at only one person; he became unable to see the records from more and more people.
“What does this mean? Were they turned into Undead? No… could this be?!”
An unpleasant thought ran through Rodcorte’s mind. As if to inform him that this thought was correct, an alarm sounded from his circle of transmigration system.
“The ones living in Talosheim who belong to my system are leaving it and moving to another, most likely Vida’s system!”
The next day, Vandalieu needed to procure Undead to examine his Demon Path Enticement and Guidance: Demon Path, so he was thinking of finding some in the wild or making his own. Suddenly, he heard a familiar laugh and the turning of wheels, so he stuck his head outside the window.
“BOCCHAAAAAAAN! PLEASE OBSEEEERVE!”
Sam’s carriage was running through the air.
His pitch-black horses were running and his wheels were turning, as if there was an invisible floor beneath him.
“I, Sam, have succeeded in running through the sky at last! This is the gift of your power, Bocchan!” Sam exclaimed.
“Congratulations, Sam,” said Vandalieu. “You finally did it. But is it really a result of my power?”
Vandalieu knew that Sam had put in a lot of effort into achieving a goal that could even be called reckless. He was happy and proud that this effort had paid off. There wasn’t any problem with the fact that he was ‘running’ instead of ‘flying.’
But wasn’t that Sam’s own ability?
“What are you saying, Bocchan! My Rank increased after you acquired the Guider Job; this is most certainly a result of that!”
Indeed, given the timing, this could be the case.
“And there are others who have gained power as well!” said Sam.
“Eh? Who?” Vandalieu asked.
“I will explain, so please get in,” said Sam.
Vandalieu used Flight and flew into Sam’s carriage. His spirit-form horse that had become even more sinister, with a pitch-black mane and eyes as crimson as pools of blood, took Vandalieu outside Talosheim.
However, Vandalieu noticed something unusual before they arrived at their destination.
“… There’s a new fort outside,” he said.
At first, he thought that it was probably Knochen. Knochen, who had absorbed and fused with multiple bones, was now as big as a large fort.
However, as they drew closer, Vandalieu realized that there were numerous Skeletons that he had never seen before striding around it.
It would have been strange if he could recognize Skeletons that were made of only bones, but Vandalieu would have definitely remembered creating large Skeletons with the features of Dragons, dinosaurs and Manticores.
And then all of the Skeletons roared in unison as Vandalieu and Sam approached.
Vandalieu nodded, recognizing this voice. “Yes, it’s Knochen, isn’t it?”
It seemed that fort made of bones and the Skeletons were all part of Knochen.
“Yes,” said Sam. “It seems that Skeletons emerged separate from Knochen’s own body after its Rank increased, and it is able to control them. It is happy that it has the same ability as you, Bocchan.”
As if agreeing to Sam’s words, the fort of bones itself roared this time. It seemed that the fort was Knochen’s main body while the Skeletons were extra parts of it.
It did indeed resemble the way that Vandalieu could use Out-of-body Experience to make spirit-form clones of himself.
“Both of you have had a Rank-up at the same time, so it seems that it isn’t a coincidence,” Vandalieu noted.
One case might have been a coincidence, but two was a pattern. Thinking this, Vandalieu concluded that while Sam and Knochen’s qualities, determination and hard work were the largest factors, Guidance: Demon Path had given them the extra push.
It was the same as how companions of champions acquired hidden techniques or awakened to new special abilities.
This was an effect that would be better described as a transformation or evolution rather than development, but that was only because Vandalieu’s companions were not only people, but Undead as well.
It was unlikely that the Guider Job’s effects were limited to people, after all.
Vandalieu was satisfied with this explanation.
“So what kind of races have you become?” Vandalieu asked.
“I appear to be a Rank 6 Nightmare Carriage,” said Sam. “Knochen is apparently a Rank 9 Bone Fort.”
It seemed that they had become a carriage of nightmares and a fort of bones. Sam was a rare type of Undead to begin with, so it couldn’t be said whether there would be any details recorded of his race, but it was possible that there would be something written about Knochen. It had already been a monster that would be labeled as a calamity when it was still a Union of Bones, after all.
Vandalieu decided to investigate this later.
“We have to celebrate, don’t we?”
Celebrations came first.
But as Vandalieu joined in the circle of Knochen’s Skeletons in a bonodori dance, Cemetery Bees flew in and took him away.
A monster whose appearances in history can be counted on one’s fingers, a race that is designated to be a calamity.
Its enormous, fort-sized body is completely made of the bones that it has absorbed, and those bones can form Skeletons that can act independently.
The Skeletons are not particularly powerful; they are slightly stronger than Rank 2 Skeletons. However, their numbers are a threat.
According to records, there has been a Bone Fort that manipulated ten thousand Skeletons simultaneously.
The fearsome thing about this monster is that the fort, its main body, can move.
It is a moving fortress with countless soldiers that need no food or rest. It is truly a nightmarish being for humanity.
Knochen is even more terrifying than normal Bone Forts.
As it possesses the High-speed Flight skill, it can fly faster than a bird. Of course, its Skeletons can also fly through the air, and each of them have poisonous breaths. In addition, they are all under the effects of Guidance: Demon Path and Strengthen Subordinates.
Those who think that these are mere Skeletons will likely be overwhelmed by the Skeletons’ poisonous breaths, and once they are immobilized, they will meet the cruel fates of having the bones torn from their bodies while they are still alive.
A monster that Sam of Talosheim has become, the first in Lambda.
He runs freely through the air and his entire body emanates an aura that strikes fear into all nearby living creatures.
A skill that increases the total Mana pool by 10% for each level in the skill. It is a simple skill, yet its effect is enormous.
Many desire the skill, but it is said that the only ones who can acquire it are the companions of champions and the champions themselves.