I let out a scream of delight at the sheer number of Undead that Master recovered from Gubamon.
“Master, you are the greatest!” I exclaimed.
“You can praise me more, you know,” Master said arrogantly, though with no expression on his face.
There were countless Undead filling the underground workshop beneath the royal castle, so many that even the moment it would take me to look back at Master would have felt like a moment wasted.
All of them were the handmade Undead created by the Pure-breed Vampire Gubamon.
“Kufufufu, I cannot stop drooling! I will become dehydrated at this rate!” I said.
“It somehow seems to me that the Zombies are scared of him, Holy Son,” said Nuaza.
“Luciliano-san is very happy, isn’t he? He’s like a child who has received a new toy,” said Darcia.
“This is bad, kid! Your mother’s eyes are looking crazy!” said Borkus.
Even Nuaza and Borkus’s rude words coming from behind me did not reach my ears.
First of all, there were the recently-made, mass-produced Zombie Giants and Vampire Zombies that make up the majority of the Undead. These were wonderful.
“How effective…” I murmured. “Surgical modifications and processing has been done where needed, but corners have been cut where they should have been!”
“… Jyuuh? Is it not a bad thing to cut corners?” asked Bone Man, who was assisting me with inspecting and modifying the Undead.
“It depends on the situation,” I replied. “This is obvious, but to Gubamon, these were mass-produced products… equivalent to cast-metal weapons, for instance. The only meaning to them is their numbers. Thus, one must not spend more time on them than necessary. However, it would also be meaningless to cut too many corners and have them be of no use. Over here… Observe!”
The Zombie at the core of a Zombie Giant retched as I opened its skull along the stitch-marks on its head, exposing its brain. I then pulled out the metal plate separating the left half of the brain from the right side.
“This metal plate restricts the Undead’s own will, emotions and thoughts! This is a trick to ensure that the only thing it can perceive clearly are the orders of its master, Gubamon,” I explained. “But this is no simple feat. This metal plate that bears Hihiryushukaka’s holy symbol, in order for it to exhibit its effect, it requires precise surgery to insert it into the correct place at the correct depth within the brain!”
The fields of medicine and biochemistry are apparently far behind the worlds that Master lived in previously. I was able to immediately understand how Gubamon’s surgery works because of the knowledge that Master shared with me regarding how the brain functions.
With that said, it seems that even on Earth and in Origin, the brain is not fully understood.
It is likely that Gubamon and the other Pure-breed Vampires either learned the mechanisms behind the brain’s function from the champions who were summoned here from another world, or given this knowledge by Hihiryushukaka.
The Zombies making up the Zombie Giant groaned as I then cut through their joints and the seams joining the corpses together.
“But look here!” I said, pointing at the exposed muscle and bone. “Only the skin and superficial muscles have been sewn together; the deeper muscles remain separate! In this state, the superhuman strength of the Subordinate Vampires used to create this Zombie Giant cannot be fully used, and it would lose balance when it moves. However, effectively joining the muscles and skeletons of multiple corpses so that they maintain good balance is almost an impossible task. It is a great undertaking that would take me numerous days.”
It is likely that Gubamon only needed a single day to complete one of these Zombie Giants. However, he had lowered the quality of each Zombie Giant in order to produce many of them within a short period of time.
And yet, they are wonderful; they still possess the minimum fighting strength that would be expected given their Ranks. In fact, a D-class adventurer party would likely suffer enormous losses while fighting a single one of these Zombie Giants.
This is in great contrast to the Undead created by Ternecia, who is now preserved as a headless Live-Dead.
Perhaps because she saw Undead as works of art, her Undead did not have much practicality (fighting strength). The details such as the fine touches added to their skin and her preservation techniques were spectacular to make up for it, however.
On the other hand, Gubamon was something like a collector who gathered outstanding weapons rather than works of art.
“Huh…” Bone Man muttered.
Unfortunately, it seems that he does not understand how wonderful this is.
“My lord is able to perfect each Undead within ten minutes,” he said.
“Master is an exception,” I said.
Bone Man was looking at the area where Master’s five spirit form clones had formed something of an assembly line, briskly adding finishing touches to the Undead one by one.
Since all of the clones are Master himself, their coordination was immaculate. Not only was he adding finishing touches, but he was also increasing their degree of perfection by using the Demon King’s fragments.
“You must not use the standards set by Master for those other than him,” I said.
Master himself isn’t quite fully aware of this, but he is very much standing on a place where no normal person is able to climb. One’s intuition would become crooked if they were to compare Master to others.
“Hmm… so this means that my lord is great,” said Bone Man.
“It is fine as long as you understand that,” I said.
It is up to those who behold him to decide whether they see Master as a monster or as a genius. Of course, I view him as the latter.
Incidentally, Master’s main body (though I am unsure if it is accurate to call it this) was busy making adjustments to Talosheim’s heroes, Zandia and Jeena.
The two of them were the party members of the Sword King Borkus. Zandia is Princess Levia’s younger sister, while Jeena was once the leader of the Church of Vida, respected by Nuaza. In other words, they are special Zombies that those here have emotional attachment to.
They are one of the reasons that Master took the effort to hide inside Raymond, teleport to the underground church and kill Gubamon.
The two of them let out pitiful groans.
It cannot be said that their current status is favorable, even if they are fine in terms of simple fighting strength.
Unlike Gubamon’s mass-produced products, it seems that he poured all of the techniques that he knew at the time into creating these Undead heroes, doing his utmost to achieve functional beauty in them.
However, those techniques and his creativity ignored and scraped away at everything other than their fighting strength.
… I must have changed considerably to see Undead with things other than their performance and fighting strength harmed and think that they are in “unfavorable states.”
“Just hold out a little longer, Jou-chan, Jeena,” Borkus muttered.
“Your Majesty, my sister, my sister and Jeena-san will get better, won’t they?!” said Princess Levia.
The two of them were watching anxiously as Zandia continued gasping in pain and Jeena groaned, breathing strangely.
“Of course,” Master declared.
When Master has no confidence in himself, he often states it, so it is likely that the Zandia and Jeena will get better. Though the idea of Undead “getting better” is a strange one.
“Mana is squeezed out from the spirit inhabiting Zandia’s body by the tubes, and her staff uses that as the source of its power, allowing her to cast numerous types of magic. A kind of false Zombie mage,” Master said. “Zombies aren’t supposed to have a sense of pain, but the fact that she feels pain is likely due to the fact that the spirit feels pain when Mana is drawn from it.”
“A mechanism to draw Mana from the spirit. This is a technique that does not exist in the underworld; it is likely one of Gubamon’s original techniques,” I said. “I am sure precious materials or drugs have been used to achieve this.”
“As for Jeena, it seems that her lungs have been replaced by a device that expends Mana to produce a special smoke. With this, the upper half can fly in the air after separating from the lower half,” Master continued. “Because of this modification, it seems that she can’t talk. It probably wasn’t really a problem for Gubamon though, since he didn’t intend for her to use magic.”
“An unknown magical device, a precious one at that,” I said. “If they were mass-produced, perhaps creating the ‘blimps’ and ‘airships’ that you spoke of would be more than mere dreams, Master?”
The techniques used by Gubamon are all techniques that would make any ordinary mage wonder why anyone would use such sophisticated techniques on Zombies. Even I feel this way to some extent.
“I understand that they’re precious, but they will probably get better if I take all of these out, remove the metal plates buried in their hindbrains and spinal cords, and replace all of their blood that contains the drugs,” Master said. “So, I’m going to set up a partitioning screen, so please step back, Luciliano.”
“W-why?!” I shouted in response to Master’s attempt to shut me out of the process.
“Because the fair skin, brains and organs of maidens are going to be exposed,” Master replied.
“How can you deny me the chance to witness such a wonderful thing, Master! Surely you understand how valuable it would be to observe the states of the various body parts of those who died two hundred years ago!” I protested, half-screaming, but it seemed that this had the opposite effect to what I intended.
Master had his clones line up some partitioning screens that seemed to be for obstructing vision, for an absolutely outrageous reason.
“I mean, you said before that you have no interest in anything but the Undead,” Master said.
“Wait a minute, Master! That isn’t what I meant – geh!”
“Shut up and get over here!” Borkus growled, grabbing me by the back of the neck.
“Luciliano-san, my sister is still unwed!”
“Have some honor, you shameless person!”
I could do nothing but watch the partitioning screens being set up as I endured Princess Levia and Nuaza’s irrational verbal abuse.
From my perspective, it seems that you Titans of Talosheim always walk around half-naked, so I think you should cover your skin more before saying things like “unwed” and “shameless.”
Incidentally, it seems that Gubamon’s soul was destroyed around the same time that the surgery and adjustments for the Undead heroes was finished.
『The levels of Vandalieu’s Soul Breaker, God Slayer and Surgery skills have increased!』
All living creatures contain souls. There is no doubting this fact.
However, the question of where the soul is contained has been a topic of unending debate between philosophers from time immemorial.
Is it in the chest where the heart is, or the head where the brain is?
If it is in the heart or the head, does that mean that monsters and members of Vida’s races that possess multiple of these organs also possess multiple souls? Or are the souls of monsters and those who share their blood stored elsewhere?
This difficult problem that not even Spiritualists can answer has caused researchers headaches for a long time.
I myself pondered it when I was younger, to the point that I began to develop fevers. And in the end, I never came to a satisfactory answer.
I asked Master, only to have him tell me that even in the worlds that he had previously lived in, an answer had not been found. In fact, on Earth, souls had not even been confirmed to exist.
How unexpected, for the people of Earth to not have confirmed the existence of souls despite having such an advanced civilization.
But the existence of Undead had also been unconfirmed on Earth, and the majority of Spiritualists there were apparently frauds. With that being the case, perhaps it is not so surprising.
… Earth is a world that has many places that are easy to live in, far more than this world, but it seems that it is a world that people like Master and myself would find difficult to live in.
Leaving that aside. What I came to become interested in was composite Undead… Undead that contained parts of numerous corpses, but only contained, without a doubt, a single soul.
“Surprisingly, it seems that in the world of Earth that Master lived in, there is a form of medical treatment where organs from the dead are transplanted into the living. It is a wonderful medical feat that is conducted without fear of any gods, but what interests me is what happens to the patients afterwards,” I said. “It seems that the patients see the memories and dreams of the organs’ former owners, learn their habits and begin feeling a desire to eat the food that they liked while they were alive.”
Even on Earth, this was apparently something considered ‘occult’ at first, a kind of superstition or rumor, but a little before Master died on Earth, it seems that it was considered a theory with some basis to it.
Perhaps because Master had little interest in such topics back then, he only vaguely remembers that there might be places other than the brain where a person’s memories are stored.
Incidentally, the same phenomenon occurred in Origin, with the most strongly-advocated theory being that it was caused by the influence of the donor’s Mana contained within the organs.
“So, I wanted to hear from you composite Undead, and you two, as you are the only two living beings in Lambda who have received transplants,” I said, finishing my long prefacing statement while being held upside-down.
Eleanora and Bellmond looked at me with suspicious expressions.
“The moment I hear you tell stories about Vandalieu-sama, I feel suspicious,” said Eleanora.
“Is it not simply idle gossip?” said Bellmond.
It seems that the two of them have never experienced such a phenomenon.
No proper conversation developed between me and Rapiéçage or Yamata, who had coiled her neck around me. Perhaps I should have asked Pauvina-jou or Master to translate for me.
The investigation of whether this phenomenon of Earth and Origin occurs in this world is a matter of extreme importance.
This world, and the foreign worlds of Earth and Origin. If this phenomenon occurs in all three of the worlds, then perhaps there are other phenomena that the worlds have in common.
… Not that there is something that I would immediately want to test at this point in time even if I were to confirm this fact. Frankly, I am not interested enough in this ‘Earth’ that apparently has no Undead to feel a desire to research it.
Though I do believe that its cuisine is wonderful.
However, I do think that this should be confirmed if possible, as I may think of something to investigate in the future.
In Yamata’s case, it is not a portion of her organs that have been transplanted, but the upper bodies of women, including their brains, transplanted onto each of her necks. Is she not perfect for investigating the theory that memories are recorded in places other than the brain?
In any case, Eleanora and Bellmond became cooperative once I explained the goal behind this investigation. Rapiéçage and Yamata’s attitudes did not change significantly, however.
But Eleanora didn’t seem to have any ideas.
“Sorry, but I don’t really feel anything,” she said. “But maybe the effect on me is small, since only my scarred skin and the organs beneath it have been replaced. I’ve come to enjoy blood more than before, but that might be because I’ve become an Abyssal Vampire.”
I turned my gaze towards Bellmond, who has had a considerably larger portion of her body replaced through transplantation, but she shook her head.
“I do not believe I have acquired any of Ternecia’s memories or preferences, either,” she said. “However, I have had dreams where I am jumping between the branches of trees in a forest, but I cannot tell whether these are memories of the original owner of this tail, or whether they are memories from my own early childhood.”
Bellmond’s transplanted tail is that of a monkey-like monster. As this monster is extremely rare, nobody in Talosheim knew what it was called, but it was apparently an agile monster with a long tail.
But Bellmond was born as a forest-monkey-type Beast-person. Since ten thousand years have passed, she apparently does not remember her childhood very well, but she apparently lived in a forest before she was expelled from the village she was born in.
There is no telling where these dreams originated from.
“I see. I may ask the same question at a later time, so please cooperate with me when that time comes,” I said. “Hmm? Have you remembered something, perhaps?” I asked Rapiéçage and Yamata, who were looking this way.
My hopes had been raised only a little, and this turned out to be appropriate for the answer they gave me.
“Rappie, eat, meat, insects, grass, raw.”
“… I see.”
Rapiéçage seemed to be trying to say that her tastes have changed since she was alive.
Rapiéçage is a combination of the party members of the A-class adventurer, the Divine Spear of Ice Mikhail, who lived a hundred years ago. She has the head of a female warrior, the torso of a female mage and her arms and legs from the elbows and knees down have been replaced by those of an Ogre that the party had tamed. The horns of a Dragon-type monster called a Trihorn have been used for her skeleton, and she possesses the wings of a Pterosaur as well as the tail of a snake with a Cemetery Bee’s stinger at the end.
Thus, she was asking whether the fact that she eats raw meat, insects and grass might be the phenomenon that I have described, but…
“That is because you are an Undead, a Zombie,” I said.
It is thought that Undead, especially Zombies, eat only meat, but surprisingly, they also eat plants when no other food is available. It is just that they are so ferocious that they prioritize attacking any moving object that is in front of them.
“Fish, meat, people… When I eat them…”
“I chew~ and break them~♪”
It seems that Yamata’s consciousness has been taken over by nine beautiful women’s upper bodies that have been attached to her, but her base core is a Hydra. Thus, any non-Hydra-like behaviors that she displays must be the influence of those parts that have been transplanted.
Talking and singing like this is certainly non-Hydra-like behavior, but since they are behaviors that have been taught to her by Ternecia, they must not be taken into account.
“It is true that Hydras swallow things whole when they feed, but… I am not particularly knowledgeable about Hydras, so what should I make of this?” I wondered.
“How about having her let go of you first?” Bellmond suggested.
“The color of your face is pretty amazing right now,” said Eleanora.
I suppose I will not come to a conclusion anytime soon. More inquiry and investigation are required.
Ah, at this rate, my lifespan may not be long enough. I am attracted to the idea of becoming an Undead, but I would like to avoid any damage to my memory and thinking capabilities in doing so. I suppose I shall consider becoming a Vampire.
There is also the option of having Master cast Youth Transformation on me, but… Master will discover my weaknesses and there will be no undoing that, so I wish to avoid this if possible. Apparently there is not a single person who has overcome the pleasant and unpleasant sensations felt during the Youth Transformation process.
A king passed away.
He was a great king, praised by everyone.
During times of war, he had taken up his own sword and defeated more enemies than anyone else, reducing soldier casualties and protecting the people.
During times of peace, he had behaved nobly and properly wherever possible to set an example for the people, and he had never allowed the people or soldiers to starve.
He had never been arrogant when interacting with allied nations that he had formed pacts with, and he had been loved by everyone.
However, even this great king had made a mistake. He had died before fully settling the matter of who would succeed him.
The king had two sons.
His eldest son was a prodigy who had inherited his qualities. It was expected that if he were to succeed the throne, he would lead the empire just as the king had done.
The second son possessed exceptional military prowess, but was a problematic child whose most notable features were his violence and quick temper.
However, when the king passed away, there were some who advocated that the second son should become the next king.
On the day that marked a month since the king’s passing, the two brothers confronted each other with their subordinates at their sides.
Clad in armor, weapons in hand.
Younger brother, do you really wish to become king, even if it would mean dividing the empire and doing battle with your own older brother, your own flesh and blood? The older brother asked.
There are those who would become outcasts if you were to become king, just like me, Ani-ue, the younger brother replied.
The elder brother reprimanded the younger one. Why do you not think of the people before your own fame! Such an individual does not deserve to become king, he said.
The younger brother ridiculed the older brother. The people? Don’t you mean livestock? Becoming food for us will be their happiness.
The older brother suppressed his anger as he continued trying to persuade the younger brother. Do you think that this selfishness will be forgiven? This will not be accepted by our allied nations, or, more importantly, the gods!
The younger brother responded with contempt. This is why Chichi-ue and you are no good, Ani-ue. No matter what you do, it’s always about the people, the allied nations and the gods! Nothing else. I, on the other hand, would be able to turn everyone in the allied nations into our slaves. And we have a new god.
The older brother’s subordinates began murmuring amongst themselves at the younger brother’s mention of a new god, but the older brother held up a hand to silence them. And then he drew his sword from its sheath and made a declaration to the younger brother.
In that case, I no longer consider you my brother!
The younger brother pointed the blade of a scythe at his older brother.
That’s the best news you could have given me! I’ll kill you without holding back!
The Noble Orc brothers prayed to the gods that they worshipped, and Familiar Spirits descended upon their bodies. And then they leapt at each other, aiming for each other’s necks.
And so began the civil war that divided the Noble Orc empire in two.