Yamata was an Undead that had been created from a top-class specimen as far as nine-headed Hydras went.
As this fact may suggest, her main body was that of a Hydra, while the upper halves of beautiful women’s bodies that were attached to her necks were nothing more than decorations.
Each of those bodies could speak words, had their own senses and possessed individual thinking capabilities. They could even sing and twist their bodies to dance. But the main body that their necks were attached to was a Hydra.
Hydras were those kinds of monsters to begin with. Each of a Hydra’s numerous heads contained brains, but they were merely sub-brains for controlling each head and neck. There was only one main brain at the root of the necks, controlling its thoughts and the movement of the main body.
That fact didn’t change even if a Hydra were to become an Undead.
But because each of Yamata’s heads could perform separate tasks with Parallel Thought Processing, Yamata had been chosen as Vandalieu’s secretary. Since he used Out-of-body Experience and Spirit Form Transformation to multiply and perform more deskwork, this was probably more efficient than to use nine separate secretaries.
However, contrary to the appearances of each of the bodies attached to Yamata’s necks, she wasn’t that intelligent. She was a Hydra, after all.
Hydras were the second-most inferior race of Dragons after Wyverns; even after fully developing, they were not particularly intelligent. They hadn’t been examined in detail, but it was thought that their intelligence was around that of wolves.
But as a result of Vandalieu’s ‘surgery,’ the leveling she had done in her spare time and her daily training (animal training?), she had become able to understand words about as well as a young child.
“Please help the resistance.”
Having been given this order by Vandalieu, Yamata had wondered what the resistance was as she patrolled the area around the camp.
Was it the name of a monster? A flower? A bird? Since she had been told to help it, she didn’t think that it meant a stone or dirt.
Yamata understood that she needed to help the resistance if she found them, but she didn’t understand what the resistance was.
Vandalieu had been careless. Because Yamata had the upper bodies of people, he had assumed that she had the intelligence of a person.
And then Yamata found over a dozen people that she had never seen before. And these people called themselves the resistance. They said, “Help us,” and, “Shelter us.”
And so she brought them back in order to “help” and “shelter” them.
And Rapiéçage had been patrolling near Yamata, found a suspicious person who seemed to be chasing after the resistance and killed him with her Electrocution skill. After that, she brought the people of the resistance back along with Yamata. They let the spirit of the suspicious person deliver this news to Vandalieu.
“I see. I have a good idea of what happened now,” said Bellmond.
Each of Yamata’s upper bodies had brought one or two people, holding their arms behind their backs, while Rapiéçage had returned with the corpse of a mysterious man who had been electrocuted to death. With difficulty, they had given Bellmond an explanation that gave her a rough understanding of the situation.
There were over a dozen members of the ‘resistance’ that Yamata and Rapiéçage had brought… captured and dragged here. Their faces were sticky with tears and mucus, and there were even several with wet stains around their crotches. And it seemed that none of them had been able to contain their fear; they had all had lost consciousness with their eyes rolled back in their heads.
“I’m sure they were all terribly frightened,” Saria said earnestly; she actually felt sympathy for these fake resistance members.
What they had truly been scared of was Yamata and Rapiéçage, but Yamata and Rapiéçage weren’t aware of this.
It was likely that they had interpreted, “Don’t kill me,” and, “I don’t want to die,” as desperately wanting to be helped.
That was likely why they had obeyed Vandalieu’s orders and brought them here to help them.
“Jyuuh, they lost consciousness the moment they arrived here,” said Bone Man, pitying the resistance members. “I suppose their tension reached a limit.”
“Though this is but speculation, I suspect that seeing you was the final nail in the coffin, Bone Man,” said Sam. His words were completely true.
They had been captured by monsters and brought to a mysterious structure. And then they had been welcomed by a Skeleton.
Haj and his companions couldn’t be blamed for losing consciousness.
“We should have been the ones to greet them, saying, ‘Welcome~♪’” said Rita.
“Well, it might have given them a little peace of mind,” said Saria.
At the very least, they might have been able to greet Haj and his companions without causing them to faint, so they could hear what they had to say.
“So, what are we doing with these people?” Rita asked, suddenly completely serious.
Everyone contemplated for a while before answering.
“They do seem to be members of the resistance… let us disarm them, treat their injuries and set aside a few rooms for them to rest in. Once they wake up, we should give them some food and I will listen to what they have to say,” said Bellmond.
Perhaps changing them out of their soiled clothes should come first. This will be a considerable amount of work, Bellmond thought as she swung her tail slightly from side to side.
It was possible that if Haj and his companions had been conscious, their words and actions would have given away the fact that they were fake members of the resistance. But since they had all fainted, despite them being quite suspicious, there was no choice but to assume that they were indeed members of the resistance for now and shelter them.
There wasn’t any such thing as a document certifying one’s status as a member of the resistance, after all.
They seemed to lack courage for people who had supposedly devoted themselves to save their homeland from invaders, but it was likely that fighting against unidentifiable monsters took more mental preparation than fighting against other people.
And conducting guerilla warfare with the enemy army wasn’t the only thing the resistance was for. It was possible that these people were members of the resistance who were specialized in information warfare, which would explain their lack of fighting strength.
They could be discarded at any moment after it became clear that they weren’t a part of the resistance, but if they were already discarded and later it became clear that they were actually resistance members, it would be too late.
And the location of this base had become known.
“Either way, now that we have brought them here, we can’t throw them back out, can we?” said Saria.
“Indeed,” said Sam. “Saria, Rita, please leave the care of the men to me.”
“Alright,” said Rita.
“This kind of reminds me of when I had trouble changing Vandalieu’s diapers,” Darcia remarked.
“Darcia-sama, I do believe that such things are best forgotten,” said Sam.
Knochen groaned. Bones began rattling as the base’s open gate transformed into a solid wall of bone.
And then Eisen and the other Immortal Ents creaked as they moved to place themselves in front of it.
And so, just as Haj and his companions had desired, they were saved and sheltered in an impregnable fortress.
Vandalieu received news of Yamata and Rapiéçage’s capturing of Haj and his companions just as he was drying his soaked clothes with Princess Levia’s flames after having been tackled into the river by Privel.
The marks left by the suckers of Privel’s tentacles stung a little.
Having heard an explanation of the circumstances from Orbia’s spirit, Privel had assumed that Vandalieu had acquired a special Spiritualist Job that allowed him to tame Undead.
Princess Levia had shown herself to Privel and given her the explanation that had caused this misunderstanding.
And while Privel and Orbia were talking, Vandalieu had the spirit of the man electrocuted to death by Rapiéçage give an explanation of things as well.
This scout had been a part of the Amid Empire’s resistance extermination force that was stationed in a fort on the border of Scylla territory. They had deliberately let the resistance (Haj and his companions) escape and then given chase to try and discover the location of their base.
“B-behind me, there should have been one more man with me. B-by now, he would have returned to the fort with the rest of the unit and reported my d-d-d-death. The extermination force is fifty… sixty? Fifty?” The expression and eyes of the scout’s spirit looked as if they were melting, and it seemed that his memories had begun melting away as well.
But since Vandalieu still wanted to ask more questions, he poured Mana into the spirit in order to preserve its spirit form, and the spirit let out a strange-sounding shout of joy.
Maybe the quality of my Mana changed after I acquired the Demon Guider Job? I get the feeling that the reaction is more extreme than before… Well, as long as it hasn’t become less effective, it’s fine.
Stepping back a little from the spirit’s shout, Vandalieu continued his questioning and learned of the extermination’s chain of command, numbers and the size of the garrison at the fort.
As a result, he became certain that this extermination force was incapable of piercing through Knochen’s defenses. In fact, with Bellmond, Rita, Saria and Bone Man there, they would be repelled with ease.
As for the fort that they were stationed at, Vandalieu would likely be able to reduce it to a mountain of rubble in a few minutes with a little barrage with Dead Spirit Magic and his Telekinesis cannon.
“But if we did that and a larger extermination force was dispatched after we returned to Talosheim, it would be really bad for the people of the Resistance and Privel-san’s people, wouldn’t it?” said Princess Levia.
“You’re right,” said Vandalieu.
If it was a pack of wild monsters, exterminating them would be the end of it, but this was not true when facing an entire nation of people.
It was unlikely that a large army would be dispatched right away, but it was almost certain that an investigation team of elite individuals would be sent out. That team might contain A-class adventurers and others just as powerful as them.
By then, Vandalieu and his companions would likely no longer be here, but it would pain him to cause trouble for the resistance that was fighting to free the Sauron Duchy.
It would simply be too irresponsible.
“But it is difficult for us to stay here and continue fighting, too,” said Princess Levia.
“You’re right,” said Vandalieu. “Making a move here might cause trouble for the resistance in its own way.”
Despite how irresponsible it was to leave things as they were, it was also hard to choose to ally themselves with the resistance and continue fighting with them. The fact was, most of Vandalieu’s allies were Undead. Believers of Vida were tolerant towards Undead, but that tolerance was merely dealing with self-conscious Undead by encouraging them to pass on to their next lives rather than exterminating them with no questions asked.
It wasn’t the kind of tolerance that treated Undead as creatures to be befriended unconditionally. In fact, the Undead that appeared in the wild were just as dangerous to people as other monsters.
The resistance would be fighting alongside these dangerous Undead. If the Amid Empire discovered this, wouldn’t they spread an extraordinarily persuasive propaganda that the resistance had sold their souls to an evil god?
And if Vandalieu were to draw too much attention and caused too much noise as the ‘second coming of the Demon King’ or whatever else, it was possible that S-class adventurers such as the Thunderclap Schneider or the Blue-flamed Sword Heinz would join forces, overcoming the boundaries of nations for the sake of saving the world.
If Heinz was on his own, Vandalieu might have a chance for vengeance, but if his party members were included and even another S-class adventurer were to enter the picture, Vandalieu would be in trouble.
… Vandalieu was still unaware that Schneider was actually a believer of Vida and a potential ally.
With that said, there were too many moral problems with throwing out or concealing the existence of the resistance members that Yamata and Rapiéçage had saved. So then, the most realistic option was…
“Once the extermination force comes, we’ll take a few of them alive and use my brainwashing to alter their memories and have them believe that they were attacked by Undead. I’ll use the ones that we kill to create the Undead. If we send a few dozen of Knochen’s skeletons towards the fort after releasing the brainwashed survivors, I suppose the enemy army will think that it was the doing of wild Undead?”
There was also the option of capturing all of them alive and using the Mental Encroachment skill to brainwash them, and Vandalieu needed to go to the Scylla village.
This would be the appropriate method to use if the extermination force were to reach the camp while he was doing that.
“Well, it will be alright, won’t it?” said Princess Levia. “Normally, nobody would try to analyze the actions of Skeletons and Zombies anyway.”
Hearing her reassure him, Vandalieu wrote on a piece of paper that he had received the message, and wrote his own reply on it as well before surreptitiously giving it to an Undead insect to carry.
“Now then, let’s get going,” said Privel, having finished talking to Orbia. Now, she would lead Vandalieu to the Scylla village and have him meet her mother, who was the chief. “Huh? A rhinoceros beetle at this time of year?” She blinked as she saw the Undead insect flying away.
“Haven’t you mistaken it for another kind of insect?” Vandalieu suggested.
It was probably best to not forget the seasons when choosing Undead insects to deliver messages from now on.
The Scylla village was a gathering of huts built at a marsh at the foot of the mountain.
There were sturdy huts built along the marsh’s bank, designed for the Scylla whose lower bodies and tentacles weigh more than one would expect from their appearance, and there were also boathouse-like buildings floating on the marsh where the humans and Beast-people of the village apparently lived.
To the distrustful eye, it might have seemed that the Scylla were keeping the men in captivity, but the truth was that they were protecting the men.
“There aren’t any Devil’s Nests here, so the deep parts of the marshes are safe,” said Privel. “When they want to leave, they can row boats, have us carry them or even swim themselves.”
That was how it was, apparently.
Incidentally, Vandalieu had wondered whether there were any crocodiles and such since it was a swamp, but the reply was, “There are, and they’re delicious.” They were apparently the main prey for Scylla hunters.
The Scylla also fished and used large, capybara-like rodents about the size of calves and ducks as livestock to get by, worshipping their main goddess Vida as well as Merrebeveil, the heroic goddess of the Scylla.
“I want ducks,” said Vandalieu.
“Those big rat-like things look tasty as well, Van,” said Pauvina.
“I’d like a share of those as well.”
“But I’m sure they’d become monsters if we raised them in Talosheim, wouldn’t they?”
“I wonder if the quality of their meat would change.”
While the two of them admired the way the enormous capybaras and ducks were being cultivated, Privel was standing nearby, being scolded by Scylla guards who were equipped with spears and armor made of shells.
“Sneaking out without permission! I understand that you want to practice, but it’s dangerous right now!”
“At least ask us to escort you!”
“I-I’m sorry. But listen, we might be able to find out who killed Orbia-san and the others!” said Privel.
The guard onee-sans had noticed Pauvina and Vandalieu, whom Privel had brought back with her. Princess Levia was keeping herself hidden so as not to cause panic, but they seemed to have thought that the enormous, two-meter-tall girl was an important person.
They gave a hesitant glance towards Pauvina, but Privel corrected them.
“No, the smaller one,” she said.
“The smaller one? Eh, it’s alive?!”
“I was sure that it was a doll…”
How horrible. It’s true that Pauvina is holding me up with both hands, but I’m actually talking, Vandalieu thought.
“Hello, my name is Vandalieu,” he said, introducing himself.
“I’m Pauvina, his little sister!” said Pauvina.
“L-little sister, huh?”
The guards seemed surprised, but fortunately, they didn’t seem to be repulsed.
In Scylla villages, children of all kinds of mixed blood were born. Though there weren’t any in this village right now, in the past, there had apparently been Scylla with the small upper bodies of Dwarves, the large ones of Titans and even some with beast ears on their heads.
The non-Scylla people in the village were those such as half-Elves who had been unable to fit into society as well, so such Scylla were not subject to discrimination.
Also, for some reason, it seemed that Scylla were affected by Vandalieu’s Demon Path Enticement. It was possible that the fact that they used tentacles to crawl placed them under the ‘Insect User’ category… perhaps they could be equipped?
But in any case, Pauvina stood out, so she couldn’t exactly be ignored.
And so Privel introduced Vandalieu as a special Spiritualist who would help resolve the incident with Orbia and took him to the chief.
At first, the chief seemed skeptical of Vandalieu despite her daughter’s introduction, but once Vandalieu showed her Orbia’s spirit with Visualization, that changed completely.
“O-Orbia, you… you… uwa~ah!”
“Uwah! Even you’re doing this, chief?!”
Overcome with emotion, the chief tried to embrace Orbia’s spirit. Having had a good idea that this was going to happen, Vandalieu had escaped immediately.
The chief crashed through the wall of the hut and dived into the swamp.
“M-Mother!” Privel shouted.
“What happened?!” the Scylla guards asked as they rushed over.
“It seems that Scylla people like embracing each other?” said Pauvina.
“It might be that they are easily overcome with emotion,” said Vandalieu.
“Come to think of it, I do like hugs,” said Orbia. “I hug all my family and friends to greet them.”
Immediately after this conversation, the Scylla guards were overcome with emotion at the sight of Orbia and tried to embrace her as well. They passed straight through her and followed after the chief, taking Vandalieu with them.
“Van, you can’t let your guard down,” said Pauvina.
Vandalieu was full of openings against attacks with no killing intent that posed no danger to his life.
For the second time today, he experienced being smothered by beautiful women’s lower bodies (tentacles).
“Ahem. I have embarrassed myself,” said the Scylla chief.
“We’re very sorry,” said the two Scylla guards in apology.
“Oh no, please don’t worry about it,” said Vandalieu, whose forehead and cheeks were covered in sucker marks.
After this apology had taken place, the two Scylla guards went to stand guard and make sure that nobody else entered the chief’s house.
“If you get any more wet, you’ll catch a cold, Van,” said Pauvina.
“There is a limit to me drying him, too,” said Princess Levia.
“And the conversation wouldn’t go anywhere, either,” Pauvina added.
And so, a gag order had been placed on the existence of Orbia’s spirit.
“Still, to think that a Spiritualist would allow us to meet Orbia again. I was still half-in-doubt when Privel told me this,” said Periveil, Privel’s mother.
Periveil was a woman who looked to be in her mid-twenties. If one took Privel and turned her into an adult, expanded her chest threefold, increased the size of her tentacles and made her body’s surface glossier, she might resemble Periveil.
Scylla apparently stopped aging in appearance completely past a certain point, so Periveil and Privel might have appeared to be sisters at first glance, but it seemed that having twelve children had granted Periveil a calm air about her.
Considering her actions just moments earlier, this calm air wasn’t entirely perfect, however.
“When I heard that Privel had brought a half-Beast-person Titan girl and a white child with her, the day after we heard a Hurricane Dragon’s roar, I did suspect something,” said Periveil.
“What do you mean?” Vandalieu asked.
“I kept it quiet from everyone, but I received a Divine Message from Merrebeveil, you see.”
While being this village’s chief, Periveil was also a priestess who had received the divine blessing of Merrebeveil, the heroic goddess of the Scylla.
She had previously received a Divine Message from Merrebeveil: “Welcome the white half-Vampire.”
“So you expected that this was me?” Vandalieu asked.
“That’s right,” said Periveil. “This is my first time seeing a Dhampir, but you’re completely white, aren’t you?”
This was apparently one of the reasons that Periveil had welcomed Vandalieu and Pauvina into the village.
It seemed that she had some idea as to where Vandalieu had come from. Since he had appeared on the day after the Scylla had heard a Hurricane Dragon’s roar, she suspected that he had come from across the mountain range.
After all, the heroic goddess had gone out of her way to deliver a Divine Message about him, so it was unlikely that he was an ordinary person.
“So, Orbia, what were you doing alone in a place like that? You don’t remember anything?” asked Periveil.
“Umm, I can’t tell you why I was there,” Orbia replied. “And I don’t remember anything about how I was killed.”
“You can’t tell me? Ah, a clandestine meeting,” said Periveil, seemingly having guessed Orbia’s circumstances. It was possible that such circumstances were not rare for Scylla. “But you can’t remember, huh? Well, it’s unfortunate that there are no clues, but maybe it’s better that way.”
“… I was killed in quite a horrible way, wasn’t I,” said Orbia. “More importantly, chief, was there anyone who was killed with me? And wasn’t there a ring on my finger?”
“No, there weren’t any others where we found your remains,” said Periveil. “And you weren’t wearing a ring, either.”
It seemed that the corpse of Orbia’s lover hadn’t been discovered, but nothing had been confirmed, so she couldn’t feel relieved. He might have been taken somewhere before being killed.
“Judging from what you’re saying, it seems that your good person isn’t someone who is known in the village, is he? Do you know anything about this, boy?” Periveil asked Vandalieu.
“At the very least, there weren’t any spirits other than Orbia’s at the marsh we found her,” Vandalieu replied.
This much was certain, because if there had been any spirits nearby, they would have been drawn to Vandalieu by his Demon Path Enticement skill.
That was why Vandalieu thought that there was a high chance that Orbia’s lover was alive, but it was also possible that he had already returned to the circle of transmigration, so he couldn’t say anything careless.
“I see, then it seems that he will likely be fine for now. That person was brave enough to have a clandestine meeting with you in a marsh with nobody around; you do have some kind of idea as to how strong he is, don’t you?” said Periveil.
“Of course!” Orbia said indignantly. “That person’s skill with a sword –”
“Orbia-san, are you sure about this?” asked Privel. “If you say too much, we’ll be able to tell who it is.”
“Oops, that was close!”
The sorrow disappeared from Orbia’s expression, as if she were feeling relieved. In a similar way Periveil and Privel’s expressions grew brighter as well. It seemed that they were relieved at the fact that Orbia appeared exactly as she had been when she was alive, despite having been killed in a cruel way.
They were disappointed that there were no new clues about the murders, but it was only natural for people to not want to see their friends’ faces drowning in sorrow or twisting in hatred.
“Could I hear about the murder incidents?” asked Vandalieu.
“Yes, though it’s a bit of a long story,” said Periveil.
According to her story, incidents where Scylla from each of the villages were attacked and killed in places where they were alone had been occurring in this Scylla territory for the past half-year. They would go out to hunt and gather, end up chasing their prey too far, get separated from their companions and then vanish, only to turn up the next day in a completely different state.
All of the corpses had been left in mostly the same state, so all the tribes believed that it was the work of the same criminal.
There had already been five victims, including Orbia. With her death, one member of each tribe had been killed.
“We do have an idea of who it is,” said Periveil. “We are thinking that it’s the work of Alda extremists who can’t accept our peace plan with the Amid Empire.”
“Peace plan?” Vandalieu repeated.
“To be more accurate, it’s something like a non-aggression pact. They told us that they will guarantee our right to govern ourselves in exchange for paying slightly higher taxes than we did when this place was still known as the Sauron Duchy,” Periveil explained. “Of course, our worshipping of Vida-sama and Merrebeveil will stay the same as well.”
Surprisingly, the Amid Empire was apparently not trying to suppress the Scylla with military might and make them suffer under tyrannical rule. According to Periveil, though she hadn’t seen this with her own eyes, the same likely applied for the entirety of what used to be the Sauron Duchy.
The people had been promised that they could keep planting rice for harvestable crops rather than being forced to switch to wheat, their taxes remained the same as what they had been paying to Duke Sauron and some regions with taxes that were too high had even had them lowered.
The people were being encouraged to convert from Vida’s religion, but Periveil hadn’t heard of anything suggesting that people were being held and tortured in refugee camps.
“I was sure that the Empire would declare that they wouldn’t consider those who don’t swear loyalty to them as inhuman and conduct a massacre” said Pauvina.
“I would have imagined that the Churches of Vida would be destroyed along with the believers who tried to protect them and those who resisted would be whipped and forced into labor to erect Churches of Alda,” said Princess Levia.
“… I can see that you people hate the Amid Empire more than we do,” said Periveil.
She and Privel shuddered a little.
Incidentally, Periveil had already been convinced in regards to Princess Levia. “How surprising, a Spiritualist who can tame Undead,” she had said.
The reality was different but with the Divine Message and the fact that there was a special Spiritualist boy right in front of her who had brought an Undead that was capable of such ordinary conversation, she seemed satisfied with this explanation.
And though Demon Path Enticement’s effects were much milder on Scylla compared to Undead, it was still effective. They thought favorably of Vandalieu, so they believed him without question.
“Well, that’s how it is,” said Vandalieu.
He was satisfied with Periveil’s explanation. He had imagined that it was possible that the Empire would conduct a massacre, but he had thought it was more likely that they would maintain their occupation of the land under moderate conditions and then try to turn it into a part of their own territory.
Since the people of the Empire and its vassal nations couldn’t be made to move to the Sauron region in large numbers, there was no choice but to hold it under moderate conditions.
And in this world, where the existence of gods was clearly known, the heavens would restrain them if they did anything too unreasonable. Things might have been different if the inhabitants of the Sauron Duchy were all members of Vida’s races just like Talosheim. But although many of the inhabitants worshipped Vida, there were humans, Dwarves and Elves as well. And though they were few in number, some worshipped Alda as well.
“But I cannot understand why they are treating everyone so reasonably,” said Vandalieu.
“About that, I think there are all kinds of circumstances, but… well, maybe it just wouldn’t be worth it for them to attack us,” said Periveil.
“Our territory has a lot of mountains and not a lot of flat ground. There are a lot of ponds and marshes, too. It would be difficult to attack with people alone, and it would be inconvenient for them to live here,” said Privel.
This Scylla territory, which was adjacent to the Boundary Mountain Range, was mostly made up of mountains and stretches of wetlands.
And Scylla were as proficient as they appeared at fighting in wetlands, in water and on water surfaces. And they moved more comfortably on dry land than their appearances would suggest. In fact, since they had eight legs, they were much more stable on slopes than two-legged people.
And they were generally strong.
They possessed the Superhuman Strength skill from birth, so the long, flailing tentacles of the lower halves of their bodies were more than enough of a threat to ordinary soldiers.
Their bodies were large and it was as if they were constantly riding mounts; five infantrymen would be needed to hold back a Scylla with a spear.
And all Scylla had combat-related skills such as Unarmed Fighting Technique that they regularly used against the crocodiles that they hunted, so there were no non-combatants other than very young children.
To top things off, they had no real weak points. At a glance, one might think that their upper bodies, which were no different from those of people, to be a weakness, but… their thin arms were certainly affected by their Superhuman Strength and Unarmed Fighting Technique skills.
And since they had hands of the same shape as people, they could make masterful use of weapons such as bows, spears and swords.
And the frightening thing was that the tentacles of the lower halves of their bodies were capable of moving on their own to some extent. Thus, it was possible for Scylla to aim at a distant enemy with a bow and arrow using the arms of her upper body while strangling a nearby enemy to death with her tentacles.
“Wow, they wriggle in the same way, but they’re even more amazing than your tongue, Van!” said Pauvina.
“No, I think that’s amazing in its own way,” said Orbia.
Periveil blinked. “Eh, tongue?”
“Leaving that aside, please continue your explanation,” said Vandalieu.
There were a total of five thousand Scylla living in the five villages in this territory. Doing a simple calculation, twenty-five thousand infantrymen would be needed to assault this area.
Even if such large amounts of military funds and men were sacrificed, the land they would obtain would yield little in the way of agriculture as it contained many mountains and marshes, and an unimaginable amount of cultivation would need to be done in order to live in it unless the people would be content to rely on hunting and gathering alone.
There were the Scylla’s terraced rice fields, but these couldn’t be maintained without the appropriate knowledge.
And there weren’t any Devil’s Nests that could be accessed without climbing into the treacherous Boundary Mountain Range other than one in the middle of a wide marshland. There was also a single Dungeon, but the inside was entirely made of wetlands, rivers and large lakes, making it difficult to clear for those other than Scylla. Therefore, it would be difficult to make a living by harvesting the products of monsters and Dungeons.
Thus, the Empire stood to gain little from attacking this territory other than the satisfaction of the people of the Church of Alda, who were taught that it was justice to exterminate the members of Vida’s races that originated from monsters.
That was why they had settled things with negotiations.
And so, Periveil seemed to think that radical believers of Alda, who could not accept this peace plan, were conducting this series of murders in order to provoke the Scylla into rejecting the peace plan of their own accord.
Several people with the skills of D-class adventurers would be enough to dispose of a Scylla who was on her own.
“But won’t they try doing various things in the future, such as demanding that you pay more taxes?” asked Vandalieu.
“Well, they probably will,” said Periveil. “I think they’re planning all kinds of things, like breaking the bonds between the villages. Everyone knows that, but if we oppose them directly, the Empire would end up wiping us out whenever they want to. We’re accepting the peace plan for now to buy time while we look for a new place to live; we’re trying all kinds of things. Maybe the Orbaume Kingdom will take the Sauron Duchy back.”
The Scylla had not cast aside their wariness of the Amid Empire. They acknowledged the difference in power and were searching for a way to survive.
But Vandalieu could feel that they weren’t expecting much from the Orbaume Kingdom that they had once belonged to.
Wasn’t the Orbaume Kingdom the motherland of the Scylla race?
“So, you said that you’ll investigate the incidents if we give you seeds and pairs of ducks and Huge Capybaras in return, but what will you do today?” Periveil asked. “The sun is setting soon, and the places where the remains of the other victims were found are quite far away.”
“Well then, could you please show me Orbia-san’s remains? If they are still around, that is,” said Vandalieu.
“Yes, that’s fine. We bury our dead in the marshes, so they should still be there. Orbia was found five days ago. But…” Periveil hesitated. “Are you going to look at them?” she asked, warning him that Orbia was in a terrible state. This normally wouldn’t be something to show to a child.
“It will be fine. His Maj… Vandalieu-kun is accustomed to these things,” said Princess Levia.
“Ah, come to think of it, he’s a Spiritualist, isn’t he? Then it’s alright… I suppose?” Periveil seemed a little unsure, but she gave instructions to one of the Scylla guards to tell her that they should lead him to the body.
“Well then, I will be going,” said Vandalieu.
“We’ll be back!” said Pauvina.
“… Pauvina, you stay here with Orbia-san and Princess Levia.”
The investigation into the Scylla serial killing incident began with an autopsy.