There is an expression, “eyeballs will fly out of their sockets*,” that expresses surprise. The surprise that Alda felt was equivalent to this expression.
“There is no mistake with this, Curatos?” he asked.
“There is no mistake,” said Alda’s loyal subordinate god, Curatos, the God of Records.
“The simultaneous activation of multiple fragments of the Demon King… the blood sealed away by Nineroad, the horns that were in the possession of the Pure-breed Vampires and the ink that had gone missing…” Alda murmured.
“He has likely now acquired the carapace that Gubamon was in possession of,” Curatos added. “I could not confirm this through Iris Bearheart’s eyes, but he may already be in possession of other fragments as well.”
The sealing of the Demon King’s fragments had been conducted by Alda, Vida and the three surviving champions, one of whom was Nineroad. The locations of many of the fragments that Vida had been responsible for sealing were now unknown.
Alda and his followers suspected that Merrebeveil, the Evil God of Slime and Tentacles, had sealed some fragments, but they had never acquired any positive proof of this.
But the problem was not the locations of the fragments. It was the fact that there were at least four fragments inside the body of a single person with their seals removed. Under normal circumstances, that person should have lost their sanity and gone on a rampage long ago.
If they were anyone other than the Demon King.
“This ‘Monstrosity’ could potentially be the true second coming of the Demon King,” said Alda.
These words sent a wave of unrest through the gods and Familiar Spirits present here, as if shaking the entire Divine Realm.
“That’s impossible; the Demon King’s soul was divided and its pieces were sealed by powerful gods! My lord, some of them should be with you!” shouted a heroic spirit whose name had echoed through the lands when he was still alive.
His voice almost sounded like a scream of terror. But his reaction was one of the better ones; there was no small number of Familiar Spirits who couldn’t even speak.
That was how much the Demon King Guduranis was feared. Those present here were those without physical bodies who had ascended beyond mortal life, but because of this, it was easy for them to understand what having their souls broken would mean, deepening their fear.
“Precisely. Even now, some of the Demon King Guduranis’s soul fragments are in my possession,” Alda replied reassuringly.
An air of relief spread among those who had gathered in this Divine Realm. However, Alda suspected that the fragments of the Demon King’s souls that he did not possess were, in fact, contained within that Monstrosity.
“So, Curatos, what of that Monstrosity?” Alda asked.
“Unfortunately, my lord, Iris Bearheart has stopped believing completely, so we are currently unable to determine his location,” said Curatos. “As for Mikhail’s soul that had been trapped…”
Iris Bearheart had been a devout believer despite being young, but since she had renounced her faith in Alda, their mental connection had become weak. And just when she had sent Alda a strong prayer, this was how things had ended up.
“Could Heinz and his companions oppose this Monstrosity?” Curatos asked quietly.
“That is still currently impossible,” Alda replied.
Heinz’s party would likely deal Vandalieu a serious wound and even defeat some of the Undead, insects, plants and Vampires that were his subordinates. But defeating him in the end would be difficult. Alda saw things this way.
Heinz had finally acquired the Guider Job, very recently. The uneasiness from the fact that he was not the one who had truly defeated the Pure-breed Vampire Ternecia had obstructed his growth.
But since he possessed the Guider Job, he would develop significantly in the future.
“It will be possible one day,” said Alda.
Just like Bellwood, who had withstood the Demon King army’s onslaught with many sacrifices, but defeated Guduranis in the end.
Shimada Izumi and Machida Aran had been reincarnated in the foreign world of Origin and then killed by Murakami, another person who had been reincarnated in the same world, putting an end to their second lives.
The two of them chose to become Familiar Spirits of Rodcorte, the god of reincarnation, instead of being reincarnated to live their third lives in Lambda. Now, they existed within Rodcorte’s Divine Realm.
They had divine-looking appearances; there were shining, golden rings floating above their heads, and pure-white wings extended from their backs.
“We’re seriously just support staff. Being an angel is lame,” Aran whispered in a serious tone.
He was gazing at a PC monitor with half-closed eyes; he simply looked like a salaryman cosplaying as an angel. No matter how high the quality of that cosplay was.
Izumi, who was wearing a suit, sighed as she spoke to him. “That’s what he told us, isn’t it?”
“That’s true, but I didn’t think it would be this bad,” said Aran. “Don’t you think it’s a bit too much? In various ways.”
“That’s just how life is,” said Izumi, dismissing Aran’s complaints.
She didn’t have an angel’s halo or wings. Her appearance was exactly the same as it had been when she was alive in Origin.
The reason there was such a difference between Izumi and Aran’s appearances was simply because of the difference in the images that they had.
Familiar Spirits were beings that consisted only of a mind; their appearances changed depending on their own wills and the images that others had of them when looking at them.
Aran’s appearance drew strongly from his image of a western-style angel, while Izumi had maintained her own appearance from her life in Origin.
If they were acknowledged by people, their appearances would be further influenced by this; they could become things like komainu* or foxes depending on the religions and legends involving them.
But as Rodcorte wasn’t acknowledged by anyone other than those he had reincarnated and the gods of the various words, Izumi and Aran were unlikely to be influenced by the people.
“By becoming Familiar Spirits, you were released from your physical bodies and ascended to beings of the mind,” said Rodcorte. “The fact that you do not possess a physical body is the same as when you were merely spirits, but your essence is now different. Your current, unstable state will likely continue for some time. Make sure you remain close together until you stabilize.”
Izumi and Aran obeyed the orders of their new master, taking turns to gather information about the worlds through the eyes of the people in Lambda and Origin while supporting the circle of transmigration systems.
However, the tool for performing this task was the PC in front of Aran. Of course, there was no way that there would really be a PC there.
The truth was simply that Izumi and Aran’s powers as Familiar Spirits drew their forms from the images in their minds.
“If you don’t like it, you could just make it a crystal ball or a magic book,” said Izumi.
They were able to change their powers to take any shape. However, there was no guarantee that changing their shapes would allow them to perform the same tasks.
“Shimada-san, you’re only saying that because you know it’s impossible, right?” said Aran.
“I’m saying it because you’ve been making the same complaint over and over,” said Izumi.
The images in their heads were not easy to change. When they tried to think of tools that were easy to use, they always came to PCs, tablets and mobile phones.
If they were only interested in the appearance of their powers, they could change them into crystal balls, stone slabs or even abacuses. But there was no avoiding the fact that they would find their work more difficult trying to use these.
This wasn’t a problem of their dispositions or anything of the sort; this was something that almost always happened when people who had previously lived in technologically-developed civilizations ascended to become Familiar Spirits.
“Though I don’t think there’s a need to devote yourself to being mystical just because you’ve become an angel,” Izumi added.
Unlike Aran, who repeatedly made the same complaints, she didn’t seem dissatisfied at the fact that she wasn’t very angel-like.
“It’s fine to be the same as we have been up until now, isn’t it?” Izumi continued. “In fact, I think it’s easier than being told to use crystal balls to do the same work that we’d be able to do with PCs.”
“That’s true, but you know~…”
For Aran, becoming a Familiar Spirit had been such a small change that he only had these subjective complaints to make.
He hadn’t lost any ability to feel emotions, nor had his memories from when he was a human faded. The only thing that had changed was his perception of time.
Of course, he no longer felt any physical fatigue now that he didn’t have a physical body, but he did feel mental fatigue.
And most surprisingly, he was still able to eat and drink after becoming a Familiar Spirit.
“Well, I suppose I’ll get used to it eventually,” Aran said before taking a sip of his instant coffee.
The coffee was the same brand that he had consumed frequently in Origin.
Of course, the instant coffee from Origin hadn’t been brought into the Divine Realm. Aran had reproduced it from his own memories.
Gods of legends from all times and places often held feasts; this was how the food and drink was served at such feasts.
“Hmm, Shimada-san, could you give me a coffee?” Aran asked. “The drip-brewed one.”
The foods and drinks that gods could produce depended on their nature and divinity. New Familiar Spirits like Aran and Izumi could only produce things that they had been very familiar with when they were humans.
“Later,” said Izumi. “You should have drunk something other than instant and canned coffee.”
“… I have no response to that,” said Aran.
The two of them were having this kind of meaningless conversation, but their hands were working. They were checking whether there were any problems with the circle of transmigration systems and fixing small errors.
In between doing this work, they were also gathering information on Murakami, Tsuchiya and the Eighth Guidance, the ones that they had been unable to find while they were still alive in Origin, as well as information on Vandalieu and his companions in Lambda.
They had thought that they would be monitored by their new master Rodcorte while they did this, but that wasn’t the case. There were certain tasks that needed to be done, but it seemed that Rodcorte had no interest in saying anything about anything else they did as long as they did their work.
Well, it might just be because there would be no point in monitoring us, though, Izumi thought.
There was so little that the two of them could actually do. Even though they had once been reincarnated individuals, they were unable to send messages to the people of Origin and Lambda.
Of course, interfering directly was impossible as well.
They could see and listen to a great amount of information through the eyes and ears of the people belonging to Rodcorte’s circle of transmigration systems, but that was it.
Of course, they couldn’t manipulate the systems and arbitrarily decide where people would be reincarnated, either.
In the current situation, even their cheat-like abilities, Calculation and Inspection, were not of much use.
“What do you think of Murakami and the Eighth Guidance’s movements?” Aran asked.
“It seems that Pluto is planning some kind of large-scale suicide,” said Izumi. “As for Murakami, it seems that he killed us with motives that are even easier to understand than I’d thought.”
“I see~ well, there’s no other choice but to let things happen as they will.”
Izumi and Aran felt anger towards Murakami and the others responsible for killing them, sympathy towards Pluto and her companions, and regret that they hadn’t done what needed to be done when “protecting” Pluto and her companions from the research laboratories in the beginning. But these emotions wouldn’t reach anyone now.
The only thing they could do was gather enough information to persuade them once they arrived in this Divine Realm.
“So, what about Lambda?” Izumi asked.
Aran put both of his hands on his head. “I give up,” he said. “Vandalieu-kun is too good at leading people. They quickly get pulled into Vida’s circle of transmigration system, so the footage just cuts off.”
Like their master Rodcorte, Aran and Izumi could only gain information through the eyes of those belonging to Rodcorte’s circle of transmigration systems. They couldn’t gain information from the Scylla, who were a race created by Vida.
However, Vandalieu had exchanged words with several people in the former Sauron Duchy, including the Scylla’s husbands.
But Vandalieu kept unconsciously guiding them to Vida’s circle of transmigration system, so it was impossible to gather information continuously.
Even so, they had managed to learn of the events of the battle with Gubamon thanks to Iris Bearheart and Rick Paris.
And through the memories of people who were investigating Vandalieu from afar, such as the Amid Empire’s emperor, Marshukzarl and the Mirg shield-nation’s marshal, Thomas Palpapek, they successfully gathered information despite the large time lag.
There wasn’t much news in this, however.
“I think we should stop letting our guards down against him just because he doesn’t have any cheat-like abilities,” said Aran.
“He’s actually more of a cheat than us,” Izumi remarked.
Vandalieu possessed five fragments of the Demon King and over a billion Mana. And though he didn’t possess an aptitude for other attributes of magic, he could use the fire, water and wind (lightning only) attribute spells through the Dead Spirit Magic skill, where he utilized dead spirits, unlike spiritual magic*.
Vandalieu’s abilities were strange. Even in Origin, being able to erase small mountains with ease was impossible except for legendary monsters and heroes.
“He intends to have him clash with Amemiya and the others, isn’t he… our master, I mean,” said Izumi.
“… Depending on how their abilities are used, they have a chance,” said Aran. “The predictions of my Calculation ability are saying that, but…”
In Origin, Aran had been able to believe in the results produced by the calculations of his ability.
In Origin, if the organizational power of the Bravers was used and each nation lent its assistance, there was a chance for victory, even if there was no way to avoid horrific losses that would make one want to cover their eyes.
But those reincarnated in Lambda wouldn’t be able to bring the equipment and weapons that they used in Origin, and they wouldn’t have the social positions or connections needed to gain the assistance of all of the nations.
Izumi and Aran thought that it would be a high-difficulty mission right from the beginning, but Rodcorte seemed to have no intention of giving up.
“Well, the most more problematic thing is the way he acts, or rather, the principles behind his actions,” said Aran. “He treats Undead the same as people… or if you look at it the other way, he only sees living people as equals to Undead. We already knew that, but… that’s why he killed Raymond and Rick of the resistance in that situation.”
Aran viewed the way that Vandalieu had killed Raymond and Rick as problematic.
Even Aran felt anger at what Raymond and his men had done to the Scylla race “for the sake of the people.” He didn’t like it at all, and he was comfortable in declaring that it needed to be stopped.
But he thought that Vandalieu should have made use of the brothers without killing them. Instead of punishing them, he should have negotiated and established a cooperative relationship.
On Earth and in Origin, justice was not always carried out and not all evil was punished. This was especially true in politics. This was common knowledge.
And the Bravers in Origin had operated with this common knowledge in mind. They fought terrorists and captured criminals. But they didn’t do things like cause chaotic civil wars in military dictatorships by killing their leaders, nor did they reveal the dark sides of large nations’ secret services, causing difficulties for those nations to manage themselves.
The world, nations and the many people could not be protected through pretty words and wishful thinking alone. In Origin, this fact had ingrained itself deep into Izumi and Aran’s minds.
But what Vandalieu had done in the former Sauron Duchy, though the scale of his actions was quite different, was the opposite of what the Bravers did.
He had formed a cooperative relationship with Iris Bearheart and the organization she led, but the resistance movement had been set back considerably by Raymond and Rick’s deaths.
“Before, I said that he is rational or at least tries to be rational, but that was wrong. He’s very emotion-driven,” said Aran. “I don’t think that in itself is a bad thing, and it makes me think favourably of him as a person, though.”
“This makes me more and more uncertain as to whether he will be willing to talk things out with the Bravers,” said Izumi. “By the way, where is our master?”
“… He’s busy dealing with the system faults that occurred when the souls of Rick, Raymond and his men were broken,” said Aran. “I don’t think calling out to him will get any responses for a while.”
Rodcorte’s work had become a little easier, but he still needed to devote a lot of time to the system when souls were broken.
“It looks like he hasn’t noticed the letters that arrived from the gods of Origin and Lambda, either,” said Izumi.
The Amid Empire’s S-class adventurer, the Thunderclap Schneider, clicked his tongue as he read the letter that had been delivered by a bird-type monster that had been specially-trained by a tamer. And then he quickly wrote a reply.
“Tch, I took the effort of going out in a boat and they still go and send me these troublesome letters,” he muttered.
His party member Lissana was actually the reincarnated form of Jurizanapipe, the Evil God of Degeneration and Intoxication, who had betrayed the Demon King and joined Vida and the champion Zakkart. A few months ago, she had received a Divine Message from Ricklent, the genie of time and magic.
As a secret believer of Vida, Schneider had set out on a boat towards the Dark Continent, a continent consisting entirely of Devil’s Nests, with his companions several days ago. They were obeying the Divine Message’s instructions to visit the war-god Zantark, who was widely considered a fallen god who had fused with an evil god.
Indeed, it had only been a few days since they set sail. Despite Lissana having received Ricklent’s Divine Message months ago.
But that couldn’t be helped, either. Even if Schneider behaved in unheard-of ways, he was still the only S-class adventurer in the western region of the continent. There were several A-class adventurers that were said to be his equal, but not a single adventurer who surpassed him.
In other words, he was unexpectedly busy.
In particular, Schneider had continued refusing to associate with the Empire using his numerous achievements and military value. Thus, his official social status was no different from an ordinary civilian. This meant that anyone could request things from him as long as they had the money.
Thus, many requests fluttered into Schneider’s inbox.
Even after Lissana had received the Divine Message, he had finished requests that he had already accepted and completed the requests that he was unable to turn down. Finally, a few months later, the year had changed and Schneider had finally been able to set sail.
“What was written in that letter?” asked Dalton, the Dark Elf with a mohawk, who probably wouldn’t have felt uncomfortable to be called one of the sailors of this boat.
Schneider snorted. “It’s a request from some duke somewhere to hunt down the resistance in the Sauron Duchy that they invaded years ago, and investigate the source of some Undead that destroyed a fort,” he said. “I can’t deal with this stuff! Are they trying to work this old man to death!”
“Yeah, it’s true that you can’t deal with that. On top of it being a pain, you’d be resented by the honest lot who support the resistance,” Dalton agreed. “Whether you’re an old man or not is another question, though.”
Schneider was currently scribbling his reply of, “Save your sleep-talking nonsense for when you’re asleep!” His true age was that of an old person in Lambda, or a little past middle-age on Earth.
However, he had maintained the youthful appearance of a man in his twenties. He had platinum-blonde hair that he insisted was white, toned skin and muscles that covered his entire body like a suit of armor.
Lissana, who was sunbathing on the deck while having perfumed oil applied to her by a Dragon about the size of a person, and the Dwarf woman Merdin, the one with the most common sense among the members of this party, were in agreement with Dalton.
“I wouldn’t call anyone who goes for walks on top of the sea ‘for health reasons’ an old man,” said Lissana.
“Yeah, you were running around like an idiot, too. You should have just kept running all the way to the Dark Continent,” said Merdin.
Saying that it was good for his health, Schneider had been taking walks on the ocean every morning. To be more precise, he had been running around on the water’s surface without using magic.
“Seriously, I don’t know why they can do something like that…” the Dragon whispered, remembering how nightmarish it was. The sight of Schneider, Dalton and Zorcodrio, who was actually a Pure-breed Vampire known by his nickname Zod, running around on the ocean’s surface.
If they were using magic, it would be nothing more than a skillful performance. Mages capable of using wind-attribute magic to create masses of air beneath their feet or water-attribute magic to harden the water surface beneath them weren’t uncommon.
But even from the Dragon’s point of view, these three were monsters to be able to do this with pure physical strength alone. He definitely didn’t want to be kicked by those ridiculously powerful legs.
“What, even Merdin and Lissana can do that,” said Schneider.
“We do it with magic and Magic Items!” Merdin exclaimed.
“Don’t think that I’m the same as you. I’m in charge of the brain work,” said Lissana.
“Brain work…?” the Dragon repeated.
Lissana shot him a glare that seemed like it could kill someone. “Do you have something you want to complain about, Luves?” she asked, showing the pink scales and long tongue that were proof that she was an evil god.
“It’s nothing!” shrieked Luves… or rather, Luvesfol, the Raging Evil Dragon God.
Luvesfol, the one who had sealed Fidirg, the Dragon God of Five Sins, in the marshlands south of Talosheim, created a Scaled King as his priest and stolen the faith of the Lizardmen from Fidirg. He was wounded after having his Spirit Clone destroyed by Vandalieu, and he had been making his escape to the Dark Continent, thinking that he would be killed if he stayed where he was.
However, the domains of slumbering gods such as Vida had been in his way, and since he was injured, he had been unable to move as he wanted. It had taken him time to make his escape, and unfortunately for him, the day he had finally managed to leave the Bahn Gaia continent was the day that Schneider and his party set sail.
Normally, there wouldn’t have been any problems. It was almost impossible to do anything to Luvesfol, who existed in a Divine Realm with a mortal body. In fact, it would be impossible to even notice Luvesfol’s existence.
“You shitty, useless Dragon!”
“I’ve found you at last!”
“I don’t really know what’s going on, but you’re in the way!”
Indeed, there wouldn’t have been any problems if there hadn’t been the reincarnated form of an evil god, a Pure-breed Vampire who possessed strength equivalent to a god’s despite merely being a member of one of the world’s intellectual races, and a Dragon-slaying adventurer.
Having lived in the continent’s southern region for about a hundred years, Luvesfol had been slow to notice the presence of these three. His Divine Realm was breached and attacks were laid into him one-sidedly, and after that, Dalton and Merdin joined in to beat him to a pulp.
Lissana had once been an evil god of the Demon King’s army, and Zod had fought the Demon King’s army alongside the champions under Vida’s command. Of course, they knew of Luvesfol, who had betrayed them and joined the Demon King’s army after the Dragon-emperor god Marduke had fallen.
And they knew about everything that he had done afterwards.
Now, Luvesfol had materialized as a small Dragon. Gods could gain a weak physical body in exchange for being unable to use most of their divine powers. This would normally be incredibly risky, but Luvesfol had been forced into this state.
It was a seal, in a way.
“Luves, your hands have stopped,” said Lissana. “Haven’t I taught you that you need to apply the oil evenly?”
“Make sure to massage me properly as well, okay? Ah, and I haven’t forgotten that you used your breath against me in your aim to profit from the battle between Vida and Alda.”
“Ugh, you remember everything?!”
“Please keep in mind that I also remember that your betrayal during the battle against the Demon King’s army caused the frontlines to collapse, forcing us into a hellish battle to try and retreat,” Zod added.
Luvesfol screamed in terror. For Lissana and Zod, he was someone who certainly deserved to be killed. And there was a single reason he hadn’t been killed yet… since he had betrayed the dragon god and joined the Demon King’s army, if he were to die, his soul would return to the Demon King’s circle of transmigration system and he would be reincarnated one day.
As the Demon King’s system currently had nobody managing it in addition to having always been unstable to begin with, there was no guarantee that even gods could be reincarnated with their memories and personalities intact unless they made preparations like Lissana had. There was a high chance that they would be reborn as a Goblin or Giant Frog with brand-new memories and personalities.
However, the chance that they could be reincarnated as something new with their memories, personalities and power miraculously intact was not zero.
So normally, they would have completely destroyed Luvesfol’s body and sealed his soul away, just as Schneider had done to the Elder Dragons that he had exterminated in the past, but… they hadn’t been able to prepare the soul-sealing ritual on their boat voyage, so Luvesfol was in this state as a small Dragon now.
“It’s not like I don’t feel sorry for you, but every time I do, I keep remembering another evil thing that you did, so I can’t sympathize,” said Lissana.
“You’re right,” said Dalton. “Should I give him a punch then?”
“Dalton, he’s weaker than a Wyvern right now, so he’d die if you punched him,” said Merdin.
Luvesfol was being tormented by Lissana and Zod, but Merdin and Dalton didn’t feel any sympathy for him, either.
They were treating him like a criminal slave.
But it seemed that Luvesfol had some knowledge regarding the Dark Continent and Zantark’s whereabouts, so he was still being treated better than normal criminal slaves.
The clues he could give were on the level of, “He might be somewhere over there,” but it was far better than nothing.
And thanks to him, they had managed to gain some information regarding Vandalieu.
“The Demon King’s fragments, huh? Will he be alright, using things like that?” Schneider wondered.
“Hmm, the truth is that Zod and I don’t know any details about them,” said Lissana. “And I don’t have any memories of a hundred thousand years ago; I can only remember events that happened after I was reincarnated in this Elf body –”
“I was also sealed a hundred thousand years ago, and was slumbering until recently,” Zod added.
Nobody would have suggested trying to use the Demon King’s fragments in the period immediately following the Demon King’s defeat. Thus, Zod and Lissana didn’t know much about them. They only knew as much about them as Schneider and the other two.
“We’ve fought monsters whose fragments of the Demon King were on a rampage, and Elder Dragons who kept them to use as trump cards, but they were surprisingly manageable,” said Schneider. “They become unable to use elemental magic, and their movements become sloppy… normally, at least.”
This had been the case for the enemies in possession of the Demon King’s fragments that Schneider and his companions had faced. The fragments themselves had posed no problems either; Schneider and his companions simply needed to place strict seals on them after defeating their owners.
“Th-that Dhampir used the Demon King’s blood to make gun barrels and fired projectiles made of the Demon King’s horns using the Telekinesis spell. It’s true!” said Luvesfol.
Vandalieu had calmly used magic, even if it was no-attribute magic, with two of the Demon King’s fragments active at once.
It was probably dangerous for Schneider and his party to work under their previous assumptions.
“Well, there’s no use in worrying about it. If things get really bad, I’m sure Ricklent will say something else to Lissana. More importantly, we need to find Zantark,” said Schneider, turning his thoughts towards the still-unseen Dark Continent that was somewhere across the ocean. “According to the legends, the Dark Continent has a fountain of youth.”
“Not that you need that fountain,” said Merdin.