Despite having no scales, Vandalieu had acquired the Title of Scaled King.
The Scaled King Title was normally something that Fidirg, the Dragon God of Five Sins, bestowed upon the those who had solo-cleared the D-class Dungeon known as the Lizardmen’s Nest as proof that they were the new ruler of the marshlands, so apparently having scales or not made no difference.
Next, though it was unclear how effective this would be, Vandalieu tried to acquire Fidirg’s divine protection (or rather, make him grant his divine protection), but Fidirg had replied that it was impossible and hung his head.
“Huh… What do you mean?” asked Vandalieu.
“That is, my current state is insufficient…”
“Divine protections are normally things that a superior being bestows upon an inferior being, so…”
“For example, it’d be effective for a fox to borrow a tiger’s power. But there wouldn’t be any point in a tiger borrowing a fox’s power. It’s kind of like that…”
It was an easy-to-understand explanation of divine protections that would likely cause people to lose their faith in gods.
And it seemed that Fidirg, the Dragon God of Five Sins, was the fox and Vandalieu was the tiger.
“I see,” said Vandalieu. “So, you’re saying that it’s impossible because you haven’t fully recovered yet?”
The truth was that Vandalieu, who was capable of manipulating the Demon King’s fragments perfectly and possessed a greater total Mana pool than Fidirg, would not be so different in status from Fidirg even if Fidirg had fully recovered. In fact, it would not be strange to think of Vandalieu as the superior being, as he had more freedom with a physical body and possessed weapons that were capable of slaying gods.
But this was how Vandalieu had interpreted things.
Although the being before Vandalieu was prostrating himself and begging for his life, no matter how little dignity he had, he was still a god. Gods were beings that were capable of creation, incredible miracles and cursing people with terrible wrath.
Vandalieu simply assumed without thinking that this god would be far greater than him once the god fully recovered.
“N-no, even if I were to make a full recovery, I am not such a great being,” Fidirg replied honestly.
He’s making himself seem small for now. He’s not someone I can underestimate, Vandalieu thought, thinking more highly of him now.
Fidirg could only see the gaze of dead eyes looking at him, so he was completely oblivious to this misunderstanding as well, however.
“Still, when I tried to grant you my divine protection, I touched your soul, and, how do I put it? Its shape is…”
“Perhaps I could describe it as beyond unworldly…”
“Could it be that you’ve eaten one of us evil gods or one of our followers?”
Fidirg did not have the state of mind to see the misunderstanding. He was too busy with having learned that Vandalieu’s soul was not that of a person.
The shape and color of a soul was unique like a fingerprint; there were no two that were alike. But the shape of Vandalieu’s soul was simply too strange. Even if the Demon King’s fragments were taken into account.
“No, not that I remember,” said Vandalieu.
“Has there ever been an incident where you touched a cursed item or something similar, and your Attribute Values and skills changed right afterwards?” Fidirg asked.
“I did read a cursed book once,” said Vandalieu. “My Mana increased by fifty million, and I became able to extend my tongue.”
“THAT’S IT!” all of Fidirg’s heads shouted together.
The forbidden tome that Vandalieu had read after trespassing into the Mages’ Guild of the city of Niarki in the Hartner Duchy. Fidirg suspected that this tome had contained an evil god or a follower of similar status, and Vandalieu had absorbed him.
“Boy, spit it out, you must quickly spit it out!” shouted Zadiris.
“Bocchan, you mustn’t eat strange things!” exclaimed Rita. “You’ll get a stomachache!”
“No, I think it’d be amazing if all he got was a stomachache… and it’s not like he ate it, right?” said Vigaro.
“And that was over a year ago; is it not too late to spit it out now?” said Princess Levia.
Ah, I’m getting déjà vu, Vandalieu thought in a carefree manner as Zadiris and Rita held him upside-down and shook him up and down.
“Was he your friend? If so, then I’m sorry,” said Darcia, apologizing. “I’m sure Vandalieu didn’t mean any harm.”
“No, I do not believe that there were any who turned away from the Demon King who would hide in a book.”
“And judging from what we have heard about that book, it seems that there was a trap that takes over the minds of any people that read it.”
“Quite frankly, he got what deserved, being absorbed like that.”
Fidirg seemed satisfied now that he had solved the mystery.
The truth was that Buburdura, the evil god of the magic tome, had been an evil god who was part of the remnants of the Demon King’s army, so he was not a companion or friend of Fidirg; he was an enemy. And, of course, Fidirg felt no sense of racial unity with the other evil gods, so even if an evil god from the same foreign world as him were to be annihilated, as long as they weren’t allies, he would simply feel happy that he had one less enemy.
“However, I believe that this is one of the reasons I cannot grant you my divine protection,” he said.
In fact, Fidirg was grateful that there was now a proper reason that proved that he wasn’t simply refusing to grant a divine protection because he didn’t want to regret it later.
“I-I see. Well, it’s impossible, so it can’t be helped,” said Vigaro.
“Th-that’s right, it can’t be helped,” said Rita.
“Indeed. How about you raise your heads now?” Zadiris suggested.
Everyone other than Vandalieu was a little intimidated by Fidirg. They couldn’t tell the difference between the two by the size of their Mana pools, so they feared Fidirg, who was the Dragon God of Five Sins, more.
One might wonder why they feared someone who was prostrating themselves, but considering that this pitiful being was a monster that was larger than a castle, it was understandable.
No matter how pitiful and miserable it looked, for Vigaro and the others, a god was still a god.
“Then please grant your divine protections to the Lizardmen and suitable individuals from Talosheim instead,” said Vandalieu. “In exchange, I’ll place a statue of you in the Church.”
The statues of Alda and his gods had all been removed, so there was plenty of space in the Church of Vida.
“This is something that I could not have even wished for!” Fidirg’s three heads exclaimed.
An increase in the number of people praying to him would mean that the recovery of his power would accelerate. It made no difference to him that he would not be the only god worshipped by those people.
“Also, I have a few questions, so please answer them,” said Vandalieu.
And so, Vandalieu and his companions came to know the truths of what had happened a hundred thousand years ago that almost no people of the current age were aware of.
They had acquired a certain amount of information about the past from Ternecia, whose soul Vandalieu had already broken, but she hadn’t been in a particularly prominent position during the battle between Vida and Alda. In contrast, while Fidirg had not been particularly influential, he had been the commander of a battalion.
Most importantly, Ternecia had lost more than half of her sanity, so the fragmentation and distortion of the memories of the distant past was severe. But the memories of Fidirg, whose mental structure was different from those of mortals, were almost completely accurate.
Vandalieu and his companions learned of the achievements of Zakkart and the other creation-minded champions, and the circumstances surrounding their destruction at the hands of the Demon King. They learned of the state that Zakkart had been in when he became a parent of the True Ancestor of the Vampires.
And they learned that Zantark and the other subordinate gods had fought on Vida’s side, and now they were scattered all over the world.
Vandalieu had thought that Vida and her allies had been more alone while fighting against Bellwood and the other champions, so he was happy to learn the truth that she had many allies on her side. And the fact that some of her allies were those who were considered to be evil gods was a greatly beneficial piece of information.
The fact that they could be negotiated with was valuable as well, even if they weren’t Vandalieu’s allies now.
“Well, I won’t be negotiating with Hihiryushukaka, though,” said Vandalieu.
This was only natural, as Hihiryushukaka was responsible for his father’s death. According to Ternecia, he had sent a Divine Message with an order to kill Vandalieu, and it didn’t seem that he would be interested in talking things out, either.
Incidentally, as one would expect, Fidirg was unaware that Vandalieu’s soul was a combination of Zakkart, Ark and the other creation-minded champions.
Despite being a god, he did not possess the eyes to know the hundred-thousand-year-old history of a soul by simply looking at it.
“So that is what happened,” said Zadiris. “They never did anything good, did they, those people of Alda’s.”
“Wouldn’t this cause chaos among Alda’s believers if it was known to the people on the outside? What do you think, Van?” asked Basdia.
“… It’s probably impossible for us to convince anyone of anything,” said Vandalieu.
“That’s true,” said Darcia. “Vandalieu is a Dhampir, Basdia-san and the others are Ghouls, I am a spirit and Levia-san and the others are Undead. And the one who told us this information is an evil god.”
Everyone here was someone who would be persecuted at best, slaughtered at worst, by the believers of Alda. The peaceful faction would likely listen to Vandalieu’s words, but it was difficult to imagine that they would believe a truth that was inconvenient to the gods and heroes they worshipped, a truth that was different to the truth that they had believed as soon as they had become conscious.
And the source of this information was a grotesque evil god; there wasn’t a single piece of hard, immovable evidence.
Even if he were to wear a Magic Item that made it impossible to lie, which Vandalieu wasn’t sure existed, people would simply think, “The poor thing, being fooled by an evil god and being made to believe such lies.”
“Now then, I’ll ask another question for a change of mood,” said Vandalieu. “You seem to be on Vida’s side now, but why is it that you didn’t have the Lizardmen worship Vida?”
Fidirg’s own revival was important, but Vida’s revival should have been much more important to him. Despite that, there were no signs of the Lizardmen having worshipped Vida. Their generations passed more quickly than those of humans, but there still should have been remains of shrines.
Tens of thousands of years have passed since Fidirg created a Dungeon to produce Lizardmen to be his followers. If he’d made even a tenth of them believe in Vida as well during that time, wouldn’t Vida’s revival have progressed more as well? Vandalieu thought.
But Fidirg had a unique, proper reason for this.
“That is true, but that would have been harsh on me.”
“Vida did indeed seem to have had her divinity taken from her by Alda, but even so, she was one of the most well-known goddesses in this world. Even now, there is a steady number of worshippers who pray to her.”
“But I’m a nameless evil god. If I don’t make my own believers, nobody would pray to me.”
In other words, it seemed to be a problem of how well the gods were known. Even now, there was a steady number of believers in Vida who were not members of the races that she had created. Despite the beliefs regarding the races originating from Alda’s followers, Vida was still considered a goddess of equal rank to Alda and significantly respected.
But Fidirg’s name was nowhere to be seen in historical records. Because he was a nameless evil god, there was absolutely zero chance of people coming to believe in him through normal methods. In fact, when he had awakened, he had found that he had no followers at all.
That was why he had made the Lizardmen worship only him. Having believers of other gods praying to him would have provided him with some power, but he would gain more power if those believers worshipped only him.
And even if Fidirg had made the Lizardmen pray to Vida, it would have made a great deal of difference to him, but for Vida, it would only have been a drop in the bucket.
To give an extreme example, it would have been like pouring half of the water in a cup into a lake.
“I see, I understand now,” said Vandalieu. “Now then, about the other fragments of the Demon King…”
Vandalieu and his companions asked question after question about the Demon King’s Fragments, the other evil gods that had joined Vida, the gods such as the Sun Giant Talos, the current status of Vida’s new races, the situation of the continent’s southern region and Vida’s current state, but what Fidirg knew was limited to what had happened up to the point that he escaped the battle with Vida a hundred thousand years ago.
“In any case, I slumbered for tens of thousands of years after that, so I do not have the slightest idea as to what the others are doing.”
“I did search the area that I can see, but… that’s limited to half of these marshlands. Just a hundred years ago, I did get the feeling that I heard something. But by then, I’d already been sealed by Luvesfol, the Raging Evil Dragon God, so it might have just been my imagination.”
“However, I do believe that Mububujenge, the Evil God of Degenerate Corpulence, is within the Noble Orc Empire.”
“The evil god of octopuses*?”
“No, degenerate corpulence. It means, to become degenerate and fat.”
For a moment, Vandalieu had thought that this was a god of fishermen and marine products, but it seemed that he was actually a god who ruled over corpulence.
The boar beast-king had betrayed the beast-god Ganpaplio and used the power given to him by the Demon King Guduranis to give birth to the Orcs and Noble Orcs. The Orcs had apparently been created first, and then the Noble Orcs created after them in order to act as the Orcs’ commanders.
But the boar beast-king had been defeated and sealed away by the champion Farmaun. After that, the Demon King had failed to find a successor to the boar beast-king and apparently assigned numerous subordinates, including Mububujenge, the Evil God of Degenerate Corpulence, to command the Orcs and grow their numbers.
And so when Mububujenge had accepted Zakkart’s invitation, the Noble Orcs and Orcs that had been serving him then had changed sides as well.
“… Eh, are they allies?” asked Vandalieu.
“Muh, then they could have executed him instead of exiling him,” Zadiris grumbled.
The Ghouls, who had suffered greatly at the hands of Bugogan, and the Ghoul King Vandalieu, were not pleased by this.
They likely didn’t have any ill thoughts against the Noble Orc Empire, where Bugogan had been defeated in a power struggle and essentially exiled, but they didn’t know to react if the Noble Orcs were to suddenly tell them, “We’re actually your allies, buhibuhi!”
“And we were going to have a Noble Orc buffet once things settled down in the marshlands,” said Vandalieu.
“Everyone was looking forward to it, too,” said Vigaro.
“…” Fidirg shuddered.
Noble Orcs were Rank 6 at minimum, and a hundred thousand years ago, there had been no small number of Noble Orc individuals who had surpassed Rank 10. Even now, their empire likely possessed more military might than medium sized human nations. But Fidirg could clearly imagine Vandalieu and his companions turning that empire into a pork buffet.
“Err, well, they were allies in the past, but it is uncertain as to whether they are allies to us now…”
“After that battle, there might be some who went off to do as they pleased, though I cannot say for certain…”
“But I think it’d be best to check.”
This was quite a strange viewpoint, but Fidirg couldn’t provide any guarantees on Mububujenge’s personality, either. The relationships between evil gods who had formerly been in the Demon King’s army was such that they would steal each other’s achievements and betray each other when given the opportunity, so there were no bonds of trust between them. They had communicated with each other to some extent after accepting Zakkart’s offer and changing sides, but apparently, they had simply been “acquaintances from the same place.”
There had been some exceptions where evil gods had good relationships with each other, but most of those relationships were described as “abnormal.”
It seemed that because they were evil gods, even if they were all gods, their mental structures were all different.
And although Fidirg didn’t know this, there were those like the Pure-breed Vampires who obeyed evil gods, such as Ternecia and her two former partners. They changed sides once, but now that Zakkart and the other creation-minded champions had been destroyed and Vida had become unable to act, there was no being certain that they would be allies.
“Well, I understand,” said Vandalieu. “Let’s try making contact when the time comes.”
“Hmm? Not right after you return?” Fidirg asked.
“There’s a place that I personally want to visit before that. I don’t think it will take that long, though.”
“More importantly, this is the last question. Would your power be useful for creating a Homunculus?”
Vandalieu’s question contained an enormous amount of silent pressure, as if to say, “If it would, then hand it over, right now.”
Fidirg cowered instinctively as he answered.
“H-Homunculus? I am not well-versed in Alchemy, so…”
“Even when I created monsters, I could only create Lizardmen… After that, I left it to the Dungeon.”
“I-I think I could manage making one with scales.”
“… Scales,” Vandalieu repeated.
“I didn’t have any scales, did I?” said Darcia.
The two of them could only shake their heads in response to this very disappointing answer.
Vandalieu returned from the Scaled King’s Nest, having acquired resplendent treasures and the ‘Scaled King’ Title. The Lizardmen swore absolute loyalty and obedience to him.
Perhaps due to the effect of the ‘Scaled King’ Title, some of the Lizardmen had started to become affected by Demon Path Enticement. At this rate, the Lizardmen would be able to remain loyal citizens of Talosheim for a thousand or two thousand years, as long as Vandalieu still lived.
And now that his leveling had finished, he set about with Eleanora and Bellmond’s surgeries.
There was a noise resembling the sound of a ripe fruit being smashed, and blood, flesh and bone fragments scattered across the ground.
“HYIIIH! Gubamon-sama, Gubamon-sama has gone mad!”
“Please calm yourself, Gubamon-sama!”
The one that the blood, flesh and bone fragments had belonged to was a Vampire, as were the others who were watching, completely petrified. They were all Noble-born Vampires, who had all lived for at least several hundred years.
These were Vampires worthy of being the villains in epic heroic songs and the tales of saints that the protagonists would fight difficult battles against and only barely manage to defeat. They were the powerful noblemen who haunted the darkness of the utmost depths of the underworld.
But right now, they were pitiful creatures that were screaming and trying to escape a single old man.
“What is this… do you have complaints about my actions… You bastards, you are traitors, aren’t you!” Gubamon glared at the Vampires with bloodshot eyes.
A beautiful, lady-like Vampire woman gave a bloodcurdling scream. In the next moment, her entire body twisted limply and fell apart, as if it had been ruptured.
“Run! We’re going to be killed!”
“NOOOOO, HELP MEEEEEE!”
Letting out tears, nasal mucus and screams that would normally be let out by their victims, the Noble-born Vampires fled.
Gubamon showed no signs of giving chase.
“Every single one of you, you traitors! Even though I, Gubamon, have given you eternal life through my blood! Birkyne’s dogs!” he spat, his shoulders heaving up and down.
He was cursing these Vampires as if he intended to put a hex on them, but there was no proof that any of them were traitors.
In fact, Gubamon was an ally of the Pure-breed Vampire Birkyne. There was no evidence or information that suggested that Birkyne had any intention of harming him.
But Gubamon had convinced himself that Birkyne was trying to turn him into a puppet, just as he had tried to do to Ternecia, and that some of his subordinates had betrayed him and joined Birkyne’s side.
These were nothing more than delusions created by Gubamon’s paranoia, but none could make him open his clouded eyes.
The bonds of trust between the Pure-breed Vampires that worshipped Hihiryushukaka, the Evil God of Joyful Life, had barely held together up until now, but now they had collapsed entirely. For Gubamon, even the Vampires that he had given his own blood to could not be trusted.
Gubamon had spent a large amount of time indulging in his own hobbies. Unlike Ternecia, who had exceptional, highly loyal retainers known as the Five Dogs, he had no subordinates that he could trust.
In fact, he had become unable to even remember the names and faces of the Vampires that he had killed just moments earlier.
“At this rate, that Birkyne will… What… what am I to do? Oh, that’s it! There is no need for me to surround myself with those that I cannot trust! So then, I simply need to turn all of my subordinates into Undead, do I not!”
Gubamon’s warped, twisted mind gave birth to the most terrible of ideas.
But he himself had no doubts whatsoever that it was a good idea, and he quickly began gathering the pieces of flesh before him with space-attribute magic.
“These would not be fit to add to my collection of Undead heroes, but no matter. I am magnanimous, after all, hihihi. My subordinates can now become a part of my beloved collection; I am sure that they would happily offer me their lives. After all, I am the one who granted them eternal life!”
A race title that can only be achieved by Ghouls who have exceptional skill in multiple attributes of magic and have performed much diligent study. Almost none have appeared since the Ghoul race was born, and there are almost no documents recording their existence, even in the archives of the Mages’ Guild.
However, their existence was recorded in the notes of an ancient philosopher, and according to his description, they are wielders of fearsome magic while also being wise leaders.
However, many researchers believe that he confused these Ghoul Wizards with Ghoul Elder Mages, and are skeptical of their existence.