As the Scaled King’s Nest was an unconquered Dungeon, monster encounters in it were more frequent than in Barigen’s Fall Life-Mountain, which was being cleared every month.
The powerful monsters that appeared one after another were not simply strong; many of them had special abilities such as scattering poisonous spores and firing lasers from their bloodshot eyes or used dangerous spells such as firing projectiles of fire or ice and creating illusions to make their enemies let their guards down.
The traps that had been set in the Dungeon were all highly lethal and the floors' environments were harsh as well. The upper floors were simply large caverns and valleys, but from the middle floors onwards, there were scorching-hot deserts, forests of giant mushrooms that scattered poisonous spores, rocky areas with lava erupting in various places followed by intensely-cold ice fields and there was even a floor that was a swamp of deadly poison.
This Dungeon could only be cleared by someone with more Vitality than a Dragon or –
“That’s the thirty-eighth floor clear.”
A party with a death-attribute mage who possessed a Mana pool that transcended common knowledge.
The poison and disease among the monsters’ special abilities were neutralized beforehand, their offensive spells were rendered useless by the Magic Absorption Barrier and the Grotesque Mind skill prevented illusions from even being seen in the first place. The Labyrinth Construction skill revealed the locations of the larger traps the moment the floors were set foot into, and even the smaller ones were detected by Danger Sense: Death before they were triggered.
The forests of enormous mushrooms were neutralized by Disinfect and Detoxification. The sunlight of the scorching-hot deserts had been blocked by Sand Golems while a cool temperature was maintained by the Demon Fire spell that absorbed heat from its surroundings as it burned. The lava-filled areas were nothing more than slightly hot rocky areas once Demon Fires were used unsparingly to absorb most of the heat.
In the intensely-cold ice fields, Princess Levia and the other Ghosts did their best to burn in order to maintain warm temperatures as they proceeded.
The marshlands that produced endless amounts of deadly poison couldn’t be detoxified, but they weren’t a problem when Immortal Ents were summoned with the Plant Binding Technique to go over them.
The monsters that were simply powerful and monsters that released heat rays or breaths were dealt with by Vigaro, Rita and the others, however.
“It’s unexpectedly easy,” Vandalieu remarked.
“We regularly fight enemies of this level in Barigen’s Fall Life-Mountain,” said Vigaro. “The fights aren’t easy, but they’re not tough enough for us to need to ask you for help, Vandalieu.”
“Well, having everything other than the battles themselves taken care of for us makes it hard to be boastful,” said Zadiris.
“Well, we’re all in the same party, aren’t we?” said Rita.
“Eisen-san agrees, so I don’t think you should worry about it,” said Rita, interpreting the words (creaking?) of Eisen… The Immortal Ent that produced iron-hard, apple-like fruits, to her liking.
Incidentally they had discovered during the exploration of this Dungeon that the iron-apple fruits became softer when boiled. Now even Princess Levia, who had lost her Augmented Muscular Strength skill upon becoming a Ghost, could eat them.
“Anyway, I wonder how many floors are left,” said Vigaro. “Since it’s a B-class Dungeon, it should be less than forty.”
“The next time we see a monster that’s stronger than the others, it might be the Dungeon boss,” said Vandalieu.
When they descended to the thirty-ninth floor, they found the boss of the Scaled King’s Nest, a Rank 10 Genocide Rock Dragon that was considerably larger than a normal Rock Dragon, with countless drill-like spikes protruding from its carapace.
The enormous Dragon gave a deafening roar that would cause most ordinary people to lose consciousness.
“Even though this is the Scaled King’s nest, the Dungeon boss doesn’t have scales,” Vandalieu murmured.
The body surface of the Genocide Rock Dragon was covered in a thick, boulder-like carapace.
Leaving that aside, even this boss didn’t give them a fight that could have been called difficult.
After all, even though the Genocide Rock Dragon was a Rank 10 monster, it was just a Dungeon boss. It wasn’t like Leo, who had received a divine protection from a certain god.
They were even able to weaken it without killing it to turn it into a target dummy and then have everyone deal the final blow together.
As the Potions were gulped down, they healed the wounds of those who drank them.
“Kah, there’s nothing like a drink right after work.”
“It’s surprising that these special Potions that Bocchan made even work on us Undead."
The crimson Potions in porcelain containers… the limited-volume Potions were highly effective, had a sweet, fruity taste and even worked on Undead; they were the perfect Potions.
“Fifty percent of the raw materials are taken from me,” said Vandalieu.
The raw material for this special Potion was Vandalieu’s blood that had been collected with the Demon King’s blood active, all sorts of medicinal herbs and fruit juice, as well as powdered Demon King’s horns. It had been named ‘Blood Potion.’ It was not half-made of kindness, but of Vandalieu*.
Its effects weren’t limited to injuries; it was a cure-all item that was effective against fatigue, lack of Mana and even poisons and diseases as long as they weren’t special varieties.
And as he had discovered from giving these Potions to Zadiris and the others, there were no side effects of products using the Demon King’s fragments. Vandalieu had experimented for around a month using the soulless monsters from the Eclipse King’s Orchard, Goblins captured alive near Talosheim and bandits captured from outside, but no negative effects on the body or mind had appeared.
Just like the products created from the Demon King’s horns, it seemed that the Demon King’s fragments that were separated from Vandalieu did not gain their own individual wills.
It was likely that the parts that Vandalieu produced were nothing more than derivatives; it was likely that the core-like parts didn’t leave Vandalieu’s body.
If that wasn’t the case, the large number of Demon King’s horns that Vandalieu had produced up until now would have infested a lot of living creatures by now.
Basdia licked her lips once she was sure that not another drop would come out of her bottle. “It’s no wonder Eleanora and Bellmond are obsessed with Vandalieu’s blood,” she said. “After using these Potions once, you can’t go back to using ordinary Potions.”
“Indeed,” Zadiris agreed. “It heals wounds about as well as a third… no, second-grade Potion, but it even restores Mana. And most importantly, it tastes very pleasant.”
Normal blue-colored Potions tasted worse the more effective they were. Even fifth-grade Potions would cause an “uegh” of disgust upon touching the lips, while third-grade Potions would numb the sense of taste for a while. The taste of second-grade Potions often caused trauma more than the emotions of fear felt upon sustaining the serious wounds that required their use.
In that regard, Blood Potions were far easier to drink, so it was likely that they would be highly sought-after. Even if they were diluted and only as effective as fourth-grade Potions in order to be able to produce more of it, there would still be plenty of people wanting to buy them.
“Not that I have plans to sell it to the outside world,” said Vandalieu. “This is a Talosheim-only product.”
If he sold the Blood Potions carelessly, there would be a flood of alchemists wanting Vandalieu’s blood. It would be far too ironic for a half-Vampire to have his blood taken from him.
They would likely be less popular if it became known that the Demon King’s fragments were used as raw materials for it, however. No, perhaps that would cause it to become even more popular in the underworld.
Though Darcia hadn’t thought that far, it seemed that she was in agreement with making it a limited product. “It’s true that you can’t sell these Potions irresponsibly.”
She was looking at the quivering Kühl, who was now so large that it looked as if it could swallow a bear whole. Its body had been purple when they entered the Scaled King’s Nest, but now it was the dark-red color of venous blood.
It seemed that Kühl had become a Rank 5 Blood Slime after licking the few drops of Blood Potion that had been left in a bottle.
Blood Slimes were fearsome Slimes that particularly enjoyed blood, being more sensitive to the smell of blood than sharks and squeezing blood from their prey more avariciously than Vampires.
But it seemed that what Kühl desired avariciously was not blood, but Blood Potion. It extended a tentacle to hold out an empty bottle towards Vandalieu. It was like a drunkard hiccupping as he asked for another drink.
“That’s all for today,” said Vandalieu. “Please make do with the Dragon blood for now.”
As if giving up, Kühl went off to slurp up the puddle of the Genocide Rock Dragon’s blood that was on the ground.
“Does the Potion that I made from my blood taste better than the blood of a Rank 10 Dragon?” Vandalieu wondered.
“I’m sure it has a sweet tooth,” said Princess Levia. “Maybe it’s a girl.”
Pete hissed in agreement.
Both of them had increased in Rank as well.
Princess Levia was a Rank 6 Blood Flame Ghost. Like Kühl, her Rank had increased immediately after drinking the Potion.
Pete was a Rank 6 Great Black Lightning Centipede. His appearance was becoming more and more fiendish.
“Potions that cause an increase in Rank when they’re consumed are too dangerous to sell,” said Darcia.
“But they did not cause an increase in Rank when tested on Goblins and such,” said Zadiris.
Perhaps some kind of affinity was involved, or perhaps it was the effect of Guidance: Demon Path.
Even if it was the latter, it wasn’t a skill that Vandalieu could consciously choose the targets for, so it would probably be best not to sell the Potions.
Everyone else’s Ranks had increased as well.
Vigaro had become a Rank 8 Ghoul Great Tyrant and Zadiris had become a Rank 8 Ghoul Wizard. Neither of them had changed much in appearance, but their Attribute Values had increased significantly.
Both of them had hit a wall with their levels as monsters despite their Job levels increasing, so they were happy that their Ranks had finally increased.
Basdia had become a Rank 7 Ghoul Amazoness Leader. Her appearance hadn’t changed other than the patterns on her skin becoming darker in color, but her Mana and Intelligence seemed to have increased drastically. There was a dignified air about her now, fitting of someone with ‘leader’ in their race title.
“Leader, huh… I would have liked a race title like ‘Amazoness Queen’ or something,” said Basdia. “I’m right next to the Ghoul King Van, after all.”
Her dignified presence quickly faded away when she laughed as she lifted Vandalieu into the air, however.
“By the way, Van, Jadal has been wanting a younger brother or sister,” she said.
“Then when we get back, I’ll ask her to wait another eight… no, around ten more years,” said Vandalieu.
“Muh, how cold of you, Van.”
“How can I not be?”
It’s still impossible for my body, so I wish you wouldn’t demand such careless things, Vandalieu thought.
“If there is a queen next to the king –”
“There must be maids to serve them, right, Bocchan?”
Saria and Rita had become Rank 7 Living Maid Armors. Vandalieu had made decorations, laces and frills out of Dark Copper and the threads that he produced from his mouth, and Saria and Rita had gained this race title after fighting with these attached to their armors.
“My Housework skill has increased as well! Now nobody will call me a fake maid!” Rita exclaimed.
“Fake maid… but I get the feeling that you’ve been more often called a murderous maid?” said Saria.
The additional lace and frill-shaped pieces of armor had fused with their bodies, and at a glance, less of their bodies were exposed and they looked more adorable.
But this was simply an illusion; their abundant cleavages and the shapes of their hips were still clearly visible.
They might even appear as if they were wearing a remodeled maid uniform created by a nobleman with peculiar tastes.
“Hmm, then it is best for a knowledgeable mage to be by their side as well,” said Zadiris, casually drawing closer to Vandalieu.
“Ah, umm, where am I supposed to be?” wondered a flustered Princess Levia as she shifted around in confusion. “Since I am the princess, that would make me their daughter.”
There’s no path for me other than becoming a lustful king in the future, Vandalieu thought as he looked into the distance, remembering that Eleanora, Tarea, Kachia and Bilde would join in once he returned to Talosheim. Incidentally, Bellmond would likely be watching from behind a pillar without saying anything or approaching.
“Well, this has started to make me a little happy recently,” said Vandalieu.
He was eight years old, an age where it wouldn’t be strange for him to experience his first love. It wasn’t as if he was completely uninterested in these things.
“Everyone, we are still inside a Dungeon, so please leave it at that,” said Darcia. “Vigaro-san, don’t just stand there watching while eating Eisen-san’s fruit. And Vandalieu, keep it up.”
Kasim and his friends would have asked her, “Eh, aren’t you going to stop him?” but Darcia was a passionate person who had an illicit love affair with the Subordinate Vampire Valen.
She wouldn’t say anything that would make things difficult as long as both parties felt the same way. And everyone was saying that they would wait until Vandalieu became an adult, so there was nothing to stop.
The insectoid monsters like Pete and Pain, as well as the plant-type monsters, had increased in Rank as well. The Cemetery Bees were now all Cemetery Bee Soldiers, but it seemed that they didn’t intend to return to the nest in Talosheim.
They would follow Vandalieu, who kept the egg that the queen bee had been reborn in inside his body, and help care for the larva once it hatched.
“Now then, let’s finish dismantling the corpse and take a rest before looking at the treasure chamber and heading back,” said Vandalieu.
『The levels of the Rapid Healing, Death-Attribute Magic, Magic Resistance, Chant Revocation, Venom Secretion (Claws, Fangs, Tongue), Enhanced Agility, Body Extension (Tongue), Enhanced Physical Ability (Hair, Claws, Fangs, Tongue), Thread Refining, Surpass Limits, Golem Transmutation, Alchemy, Unarmed Fighting Technique, High-speed Thought Processing, Plant Binding Technique, Thread-reeling, Throwing, Scream, Dead Spirit Magic, Insect Binding Technique, Artillery Technique, Labyrinth Creation and Mana Enlargement skills have increased!』
The treasure chamber that Vandalieu and his party went to was full of treasures and Magic Items worthy of the Dungeon’s first clearance.
But perhaps because the main race that had inhabited the surrounding areas had been Lizardmen for a long time, there were quite a lot of things that were suited for the Lizardmen’s physiques and tastes.
Defensive equipment that was supposed to be attached on flexible, sturdy tails were of no use to humans or even Beast-people.
“Rapiéçage and Yamata will be happy, won’t they?” said Vandalieu.
He did have people to give these to. Tarea and Datara would likely find it difficult to make armor specialized to be worn on tails, so it was fortunate that he had found it.
There were no gold or silver coins, but there were plenty of gold and silver nuggets lying around instead, as well many gemstones so large that if they were attached to a ring, they would tire the finger wearing it.
These non-Magic Item treasures alone were valuable enough to buy a court rank on their own.
In fact, clearing a B-class Dungeon that had never been cleared before was a great enough achievement to become an honorary nobleman. If the achievement was recognized, that is.
Fortunately, Vandalieu didn’t realize this.
“That large crystal, no, is it an orb? What are you going to do with it?” asked Vigaro, drawing Vandalieu’s attention to a large orb by pointing at it.
“For now, we’ll carry it out… no, stop. That’s a dangerous item,” said Vandalieu.
There was a reaction from Danger Sense: Death. In other words, this orb was a dangerous item that could cause death for Vandalieu and his allies.
Cracks began to loudly appear on the orb.
“Get away from it, Vigaro!”
“Everyone, get near Bocchan!”
Everyone gathered near Vandalieu and braced themselves as he put up a barrier.
And then the orb crumbled to pieces.
With a deafening roar, an enormous, grotesque-looking Dragon appeared from the orb.
It looked as if it were a giant person’s hand that was covered in enormous scales, its fingers replaced by the heads of one-eyed snakes. As it roared, Vigaro, Zadiris and the others, whose Ranks had increased, felt their minds tremble as their bodies froze despite being inside Vandalieu’s barrier.
Their eyes widened as they looked upon the Dragon’s grotesque form.
Darcia, who was a weak spirit, quivered feebly.
Vandalieu decided to kill it.
“GAAAOOH – Wait wait wait wait waaaait!”
“If we just talk, you’ll understand if we talk!”
“I didn’t mean any harm! It’s true, please believe me!”
Seeing Vandalieu produce numerous gun barrels made of coagulated Demon King’s blood from both arms, the grotesque Dragon stopped roaring and began pleading for its life.
Fidirg, the Dragon God of Five Sins, like Luvesfol, the Raging Evil Dragon God, had changed which side he was on. The difference between them was that they had been on different sides to begin with.
Luvesfol, the Raging Evil Dragon God, had originally been a subordinate of Marduke, the Dragon Emperor God, one of the original eleven gods. But when Marduke was destroyed by the Demon King Guduranis, Luvesfol had sworn loyalty to the Demon King out of a desire to live.
Fidirg, the Dragon God of Five Sins, had originally been one of the evil gods serving the Demon King. But he hadn’t sworn loyalty to anyone. He had simply been serving the Demon King because there had been no other way for him to survive.
And so, for the purpose of surviving, he had obeyed the Demon King’s command and invaded the world of Lambda, to make it a place that would replace his own world that had been destroyed.
But the champion Zakkart had offered them a new choice.
“Gods from foreign worlds, if you will separate yourselves from the Demon King and become our allies, we will welcome you into this world as new gods.”
This proposal that contained no signs of lies was astonishing and made Fidirg’s heart dance with joy.
The Demon King was a tyrant who had no mercy for those who defied him or failed to meet his expectations. He had broken the souls of useless subordinates to make an example of them on numerous occasions. The only reason there hadn’t been any rebellions despite this was the Demon King’s overwhelming strength.
But it was a different story if the gods of this world were willing to accept them.
This offer was not a joke made by a mere human. These were the words of a champion who could fight against gods on even terms. There were none that thought lightly of this fact.
And so, Fidirg accepted this offer.
But although victory was achieved against the Demon King afterwards, Zakkart and three other champions had their souls broken by the Demon King. Now that his benefactor had perished, it was only natural for Fidirg to cooperate with Vida.
However, in the following battle against Alda, four of Fidirg’s five heads were crushed and he lost a substantial amount of his power.
He barely managed to escape being sealed away and fled for his life to the Bahn Gaia continent with Vida. He was then forced to slumber for tens of thousands of years.
When he finally recovered enough to make a move, he squeezed as much Mana out of himself as he could to create the Dungeon that had given birth to the Lizardmen, the Lizardmen’s Nest. He needed a large number of followers in order to make a full recovery; he had decided that he would use Lizardmen for that purpose rather than people.
Fortunately, there were no followers of Vida or the other gods nearby. Though the Lizardmen grew in number, they would be able to avoid killing each other by mistake.
Things went as Fidirg had expected and two of his crushed heads recovered. It was still uncertain as to whether he would be able to descend upon the world again, but it was possible that he would be able to fully recover in another ten thousand years.
However, that was when Luvesfol, the Raging Evil Dragon God, appeared. Luvesfol created this B-class Dungeon called the Scaled King’s Nest, sealed Fidirg inside an orb, selected a Dragon to grant it his divine protection so that it could act as his priest and stole the Lizardman believers from Fidirg.
And then over a hundred years passed –
“You got fired up by the feeling of release from the seal being removed and roared in happiness?”
“I meant no harm. It is just that my tension had reached a maximum.”
“Please forgive me, I really meant no harm.”
The three recovered heads among Fidirg’s five were all rubbing against the ground as he knelt down before Vandalieu.
He was the one known as the Dragon God of Five Sins, but he still hadn’t recovered enough to possess a physical form other than in certain places, such as the inside of this Dungeon. Even so, he normally wouldn’t have gone so far to keep himself hidden from ordinary people or monsters.
The one Fidirg was facing was the one who had released him, and though it hadn’t been intentional, it was certainly true that he had caused this person and his companions harm. But Fidirg was a god. No matter how apologetic he felt from the depths of his heart, he would not bow down.
But the one before his eyes was not a person.
If I don’t behave properly, I-I’ll be killed!
That was the kind of being that was in front of him.
Vandalieu gazed at Fidirg with empty eyes, as if thinking about something, or perhaps thinking about nothing.
The Demon King’s blood gun barrels near both of his arms, loaded with bullets made of the Demon King’s horns, were still pointed at Fidirg, ready to fire at a moment’s notice.
Looking into their muzzles, Fidirg realized that these might be the ‘guns’ that Zakkart had once tried to create.
During the war, Zakkart had actually completed several prototype products, but in the end, they proved too weak to be used against powerful monsters, and production had never increased to the point that they could be distributed to his allied soldiers to be used against weaker monsters.
Although they had been effective against weaker monsters, they had no effect against the monsters of Rank 13 and above that the champions had faced back then, despite the bullets being made of Mythril, Adamantite or even Orichalcum.
The cause of this was likely the gunpowder. Although the bullets had been specially made, the gunpowder used to fire them had lacked explosive power.
If the guns that Vandalieu possessed were the same as Zakkart’s, there was nothing for Fidirg to fear. However, as a former subordinate of the Demon King, Fidirg knew that they were made from the Demon King’s fragments.
These were the fragments of the fallen Demon King who had destroyed many gods, including Marduke and Shizarion. As simple materials, they wouldn’t be as incredible as Orichalcum, but they would have similar abilities.
And, of course, they would be enough to take Fidirg’s life.
But what he feared was not just Vandalieu’s fragments. It was the enormous amount of Mana that Vandalieu possessed.
It is more than double the Mana I have in my complete form; is this guy really a person?!
Fidirg doubted his own senses as he estimated the total amount of Mana that Vandalieu was exuding in his anger.
But no matter how many times he redid the calculations with all three of his heads, the total amount he came to was more than what he himself possessed as a god.
What would happen if Vandalieu were to use that tremendous amount of Mana and the Demon King’s fragments that he was somehow able to manipulate like his own limbs? There was no need to calculate the answer to this.
“Please, please have mercy!” begged all three of Fidirg’s heads, left with no choice but to discard the last of his pride as a god and plead for his life.
“How about calming yourself for now, boy?” said Zadiris.
“Don’t be so angry, Van,” said Basdia. “Your horns are getting bigger.”
“That’s right,” Darcia agreed. “I was a little surprised, but look, I’m feeling just fine now.”
Fortunately for Fidirg, the damage that Darcia had suffered had been light, and she had recovered quickly after Vandalieu supplied her some Mana.
And it seemed that she and the others felt sympathy for Fidirg; they were trying to calm Vandalieu down. The fact that he was the original god worshipped by the Lizardmen that were now their allies likely had something to do with this, too.
“Your Majesty, he was an ally of the goddess, so please settle down,” said Princess Levia.
“… You’re right,” Vandalieu said finally, and the gun barrels made of the Demon King’s blood silently crumbled and collapsed.
“I’m saved,” Fidirg gasped as he collapsed onto the ground, exhausted.
“Now that I think back, I remember making a similar mistake,” said Vandalieu, remembering the great rampage that he had gone on after becoming an Undead in Origin.
Now that he looked back on it, that had been a mistake. There had been something wrong with him back then.
He had become high and intoxicated on the sensation that ran through his entire body, as if he were an all-powerful god, after acquiring freedom for the first time in his second life. He had then worked hard to gain his revenge, but… as a result, the reincarnated individuals who were supposed to be his companions had ended up disposing of him.
Now that Vandalieu thought back to it, he realized that he couldn’t blame them, as he would have appeared to be a monster without the ability to reason.
If only he had maintained his composure after becoming an Undead, if only he hadn’t killed any of the researchers that he hated or the guards that had been in his way, if only he had simply escaped the facility while causing as little damage to it as possible and then concealed himself. He should have gathered information about the outside world and then made contact with the other reincarnated individuals himself. It would have been best to show that he possessed the ability to reason and a sense of self that would have allowed him to perform relief work for humanity, such as rescuing other victims who had been in the same circumstances as him.
… This was only something that could occur to him now, and this was not even taking into account whether all of this would have been possible or not. And he could calmly reflect upon this himself, but if he were to point this out to others… especially the other reincarnated individuals, they would only have a desire to kill him.
But in any case, Vandalieu was able to accept Fidirg, who was lying before his eyes.
“I’m forgiving you because of my mother’s words, but don’t do that again,” said Vandalieu. “And though this is a separate matter, can I expect some thanks for sparing you?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Since I have not fully recovered yet, I can only maintain my physical form in this Dungeon, but…”
“For now, I’ll give you my divine protection and a Title. Let’s see, first of all, I’ll give you the Title of being the next Scaled King.”
“… I don’t have any scales. Is it really alright?” Vandalieu asked.
『You have acquired the ‘Scaled King’ Title!』
A Title bestowed by a god to the leader of the Lizardmen who rule over the great marshlands in the southern reaches of the Bahn Gaia continent that is separated from the rest of the continent by the Boundary Mountain Range.
As the Title suggests, it represents a king who possess scales, granting a charisma that is effective against Lizardmen and other scaled monsters such as reptilian monsters and Dragons. (This does not include fish-type monsters.)
It also normally has the effect of making the scales of the Title’s possessor more beautiful, but this effect is adapted when the Title is possessed by someone without scales.
【Great Black Lightning Centipede】
Enormous centipede monsters that are large enough to wrap themselves around an average-sized house. Their black exoskeletons are impervious to superficial attacks, while their charging attacks using their horns as weapons are so powerful that even shield-bearers must be careful.
Also, even if they are fought from a distance, it is capable of releasing long-ranged lightning attacks, so caution must be taken when exterminating these monsters.
They are far more intelligent than their appearance would suggest, and while they cannot speak human language or cast spells, they are capable of using skills such as Armor Technique.
For some reason, Pete has even acquired a unique skill, granting him increased attack power and defensive power against Dragons and allowing him to increase his own Attribute Values by devouring them.