“W-who is this guy?! A monster tamed by one of the guys worshipping the gods on Vida’s side?!” the Noble Orc blurted out in agitation.
“Leaving aside who is good or evil, I’ve now figured out who I need to defeat,” said Vandalieu, understanding that the ones he needed to defeat first were indeed this Noble Orc and the Orcs that were his subordinates.
Keeping Princess Levia and the others hidden so as to not reveal his hand, but not wanting to fight on his own because everyone would worry, he had produced the enormous centipede monster Pete, and it seemed that he had successfully disturbed his enemies.
“Gishaah!” Pete hissed.
Incidentally, Vandalieu was not simply attached to Pete’s belly. To be more precise, Pete was protruding from his own back through the Insect Binding Technique skill.
“K-kill him bugih!” the Noble Orc commanded his Orc subordinates with words of the Orc language (?) mixed in his speech, but the Orcs had also been shaken by the sight of Pete. And the Orcs present here were those that had been gathered hastily. Their ability and loyalty were several levels below what could be called elite standards.
They couldn’t be blamed for backing away from the powerful-looking Pete. They were surrounding Pete with a semi-circular formation, but there weren’t any that were willing to attack without any hesitation.
But Pete didn’t hesitate as he charged at them.
Pete’s body, which was covered in a shiny, black carapace, passed between the bow-wielding Orcs and Gizania, who was likely unable to move after having lost four of her legs, and lightning shot from his horns at the Orcs.
Saliva dripped from Pete’s mouth at the delicious smell of burning flesh. However, it seemed that the Orcs’ fighting instincts had been ignited after their allies were attacked.
One by one, they roared and charged at Pete, raising their heavy weapons.
However, the defensive power of Pete’s carapace in its normal state was greater than knights wearing full suits of armor. And he was currently using Stone Form, a martial skill of the Armor Technique skill, so the Orcs’ poor Axe Technique and Club Technique skills couldn’t even scratch him.
In fact, their attacks only caused their own ends due to the electricity flowing from his horns.
“Bugigih!” the Noble Orc cheered as he saw a crimson fluid gushing from Pete.
The crimson fluid flowing from Pete was not blood, but Kühl, who was now a Deep Blood Slime, emerging from Vandalieu.
“Bugurururu!” Kühl said as it attacked the nearby Orcs. It was complaining, as it seemed to have been electrically shocked by Pete.
Watching an Orc be dissolved alive and absorbed by Kühl as he let out a dying scream, the Noble Orc realized that his subordinates could not win against these enemies no matter how much the numbers were in their favor, so he raised his trusty greatsword and joined the battle.
The Noble Orc was indeed of a superior race; his agility far surpassed those of his subordinate Orcs.
He avoided the part of Kühl’s body that had been extended like a tentacle and then released a Swordsmanship martial skill superior to Triple Thrust – Hundred Furious Thrusts.
With the sound of a rock drill digging into a boulder, most of the Noble Orc’s thrusts were deflected after inflicting shallow scratches to Pete’s carapace. However, some of the thrusts slipped through the gaps in Pete’s carapace and successfully dug into his flesh.
Pete let out a roar that was more out of anger than pain. However, the Noble Orc seemed to think that he could win after seeing the damage inflicted; he pulled his sword back and tried to release another martial skill.
However, what appeared to be tree branches entwined themselves around his sword.
Those were the branches of Eisen, which Vandalieu had extended using Plant Binding Technique. They were powerful despite how thin they appeared to be, and they would not release their grip over the Noble Orc’s greatsword.
Not letting this opportunity pass by, Pete twisted his body around and pierced the Noble Orc with his horns.
With the electricity flowing from the horns piercing his body, the Noble Orc let out a dying scream.
I suppose this is how it is, Vandalieu thought as he received a slight electrical shock from being caught up in the attack as well. This Noble Orc is probably about as strong as Bugogan. Appraisal tells me that he’s a Rank 7 Noble Orc Leader like Bugogan was, too.
The Noble Orc’s skill with Swordsmanship might have been inferior to Bugogan’s, but his equipment other than the greatsword seemed to be superior; they were likely on equal grounds.
The Devil’s Nest in the forest in the Mirg shield-nation, homeland of Zadiris and the other Ghouls, a second homeland to Vandalieu. The Noble Orc Bugogan had ruled a pack of three hundred Orcs in the center of that Devil’s Nest.
Vandalieu felt a little surprised upon learning that Pete had been able to defeat a similar enemy while receiving only a light wound in return. When Vandalieu had fought Bugogan, he had tried all of the methods he could think of but they hadn’t worked; he had felt in danger, thinking that his barrier might be broken. Bugogan had been a powerful enemy that Vandalieu had finally managed to defeat after receiving a deep wound, using a plan that involved him risking his life.
A Noble Orc of the same strength as him was now convulsing on the ground, emitting a delicious smell.
Even though Vandalieu himself had done almost nothing at all.
“I suppose it means we’ve become stronger,” he said.
But if he thought about it, this was the natural outcome. Over six years had passed since the battle against Bugogan. During that time, Vandalieu had acquired Jobs, and his Strengthen Followers skill had transformed into the superior skill, Guidance: Demon Path. There was nothing abnormal about having defeated a Noble Orc as powerful as Bugogan with Pete, Kühl and Eisen on his side.
And hadn’t Vandalieu planned to have a yakiniku buffet at the Noble Orc Empire before?
I suppose it’s because he was the first enemy to ever inflict a serious wound on me in battle. He was a powerful being in my mind.
Vandalieu was satisfied with this analysis of his own unrest. Incidentally, while he was doing this, the subordinate Orcs had attempted to run after seeing their Noble Orc commander being killed, but they had been sent flying by Pete sweeping the lower half of his body sideways, had their necks broken after being grabbed by Eisen’s branches or been enveloped by Kühl.
Their skills were lacking and their coordination was lacking as well, so they were nothing but large-sized small fry.
Watching this scene unfold, Gizania let out a sigh of both relief and defeat as she smiled. “With this, all of Princess Kurnelia’s pursuers have been defeated. Princess, please become happy with Prince Budarion… Great Vida, Zanalpadna, evil god of carapaces and compound eyes, please protect everyone,” she prayed briefly with her eyes closed, and then she thrust her greatsword into the ground and let go of the handle.
As all of the Orcs stopped moving and Vandalieu finished his self-analysis, Pete faced Gizania once more.
Vandalieu, who was attached to his belly, made eye contact with her. “You don’t seem to be in good condition. First, your wounds need to be treated –”
“Though this may be a coincidence, I thank you for the reinforcements, Great Centipede-dono. I suppose this, too, was the judgment of my guardian god, Zanalpadna.”
What a polite person, Vandalieu thought as he heard Gizania’s words of gratitude, despite having been interrupted. But even if her wounds aren’t fatal, they’re quite serious, so I want her to hurry up and let me treat them.
“Not at all, I simply did what any person would do –”
“As thanks, I should at least allow you to devour me and gain Experience Points. I do not know if you understand my words, but… Come! End it in one instant!” Gizania squeezed her eyes shut.
“… Eh?” Vandalieu was very bewildered, not understanding why he was being told to kill her. And then he suddenly realized. “Could it be that you think that I’m a part of Pete?” he asked as he separated himself from Pete’s abdomen and stood on the ground.
Gizania opened her eyes and looked at him, dumbfounded. “Eh? Y-you’re not?”
Kühl and Eisen were scolding Pete, whose electricity had electrocuted them during the battle against the Orcs.
Meanwhile, Gizania was receiving treatment from Vandalieu nearby.
“I am terribly sorry. I was certain that you were an organ of a monster like a Manticore that spoke in a voice similar to that of humans to bait them into a trap…” she said.
It seemed that she had mistaken Vandalieu for something like the lure of an anglerfish.
“Not at all; I appeared in a form that could cause that misunderstanding, so please don’t worry about it,” said Vandalieu, focusing on other things, realizing that it couldn’t be helped that Gizania thought that.
He had used Spirit Form Transformation to fuse with Gizania to apply his Rapid Healing skill to her while using Blood Potion to heal her as well.
“I’ve found the third leg. One more!”
“We’ll find it even if we have to split the grassroots apart.”
“I found it, Danna!”
Vandalieu had created clones of himself with Out-of-body Experience to find and collect the severed legs of the right side of Gizania’s body with Kimberley. He used the Surgery skill to reattach them. He extended his tongue to release drugs and disinfect the wounds, and then wrapped the legs at the point of reattachment with bandages made of thread.
“By the way, is the pain bearable?” Vandalieu asked.
“Yes, it seems that there are no problems. Thanks to your magic, it simply feels a little itchy. But to think that my severed legs could be reattached… how long will it take before I can move them?” Gizania asked, looking happily at her right legs that had been reattached by the thread that Vandalieu had produced from his mouth.
“I don’t know for sure,” Vandalieu replied as he continued wrapping her legs in thread. “This is my first time treating an Arachne person… But if it’s just small movements, I suppose it will be several hours to half a day.”
“That’s enough,” Gizania said. “Normally, they wouldn’t regrow to their original length until I went through five yearly moltings.”
It seemed that Arachne molted once a year, and severed legs would regrow gradually as they did.
“It is not only my legs. In the state that I was in, if I were to survive and return to my nation on my own, I would have lost my arm,” Gizania continued.
Her arm that had been broken in a horrible fashion had been completely healed, and she was able to move it normally. The upper body halves of Arachne, which resembled those of human women, didn’t molt, so her two arms would never regrow if severed, unlike her eight legs.
And for Gizania, losing her arm, which was necessary to swing her sword, would be equivalent to death.
Of course, Vandalieu was happy that her arm had healed as well.
“I’m glad to hear that,” he said. “It would be sad to lose an arm as beautiful as yours.”
Gizania’s arms had powerful muscles for wielding her greatsword. All muscles other than those of enemies were beautiful. Losing them would be an unbearable loss.
“Beautiful… is it?” Gizania asked.
“I see… I am not so sure, as nobody has said that other than my mother, but I’m happy.” Gizania didn’t look entirely convinced.
Vandalieu decided that he’d have her make poses for him later.
And he thought that the rest of Gizania was beautiful as well.
It was true that normal people might be afraid of the spider-like lower body that was the size of a two-ton truck with fluffy-looking, furry, tarantula-like legs protruding from it.
Her upper half resembled a human woman’s, but when she stood upright, the top of her head was over three meters above the ground. On top of that, she had a large build, her body clearly being one of a well-trained warrior.
However, for Vandalieu, who was friendly with the giant centipede Pete and Cemetery Bees, she was not someone to feel fear or disgust towards.
In fact, even outside of her muscles, Vandalieu thought about how he wanted to try touching the fluffy fur on her lower body, about how the compound eyes on her forehead were like beautiful gems, about how her white skin was beautiful and about how her front two legs resembled a human’s until halfway down.
Ah, come to think of it, she has eight legs… Will Privel be angry? No, I’m just gathering information and happened to save someone in the process, so it’s fine.
Tentacles and the legs of an arthropod were quite different in appearance, but… their number was the same.
“I will thank you once more. I am Gizania. I am a samurai of the Arachne race. And I wish for you to tell me who you are. I know that this is not how I should behave towards my savior, but…”
Vandalieu was the one who had saved Gizania’s life, and for some reason, she felt some charisma from him (The Demon Path Enticement and Guidance: Demon Path skills, as well as the effects of the Insect User Job), but Vandalieu wasn’t someone she could not feel curious about.
“It’s alright,” Vandalieu said. “Kimberley, while I explain things to her, please bring everyone over from the Knochen fort.”
“Fort? Could it be that you came from that fort of bone?!” Gizania exclaimed.
“I’ll include that in my explanation.”
“Danna, could I take my time to bring them here?” Kimberley asked. “About thirty minutes, or maybe an hour.”
“Don’t worry about that and bring them here quickly,” Vandalieu said.
Vandalieu excluded the information about the reincarnated individuals, but explained to Gizania about the current Talosheim and the reason that he and his companions had crossed the marshlands to come to this place.
Gizania was simply astonished. “The fall and resurrection of the Titan nation, travel to and from the outside of the mountain range being possible, immigrants… I would never have dreamed that things had become like this beyond the marshlands,” she said.
“I feel the same way,” Vandalieu said, having heard from Gizania what was happening south of the marshlands.
Eleanora, Vigaro and the others had regrouped with them around this time, and they were greatly surprised as well.
A hundred thousand years ago, the goddess Vida was defeated as a result of the battle between her and Alda, and the Arachne and Noble Orcs that had fled with her and her gods survived by forming groups encompassing their entire races in the land south of the marshlands.
The goddess Vida fell into slumber, and the surviving Pure-breed Vampires became watchmen to protect the place where she rested, while the gods of every race, including the Arachne, needed to fall into a deep slumber for tens of thousands of years to regain the power they had lost due to their wounds.
And the remaining Arachne and Noble Orcs endured the dawn of a new era by helping each other.
As they had been allies who had fought together under Vida, even though their lifespans and ways of living were different, they helped each other and the first few tens of thousands of years went well.
It seemed that the fact that the two races preferred different environments to inhabit, like the Lizardmen and the Titans, worked to their advantage.
However, several tens of thousands of years passed, the villages of each race grew in population and development, and the gods began to awaken, beginning with those with the shallowest wounds and greatest power, putting an end to the new age.
And with things becoming easier, conflicts of interest began arising between the two races, and arguments began occurring.
These didn’t develop into war, but this was only because the gods, including Zanalpadna, the evil god of carapaces and compound eyes, sent Divine Messages to mediate peace whenever signs of conflict began to occur.
But soon enough, war between the races that served Vida broke out. At that time, a wise emperor appeared in history.
“The one who suppressed the war and brought peace to the southern region of the continent was the Noble Orc Arch-king, Emperor Buugih,” Gizania said.
Emperor Buugih was the most powerful being existing at the time, other than the Pure-breed Vampires who were slumbering with Vida. If he had wanted to, he could have used military might to create an empire with the Noble Orcs standing at the top.
However, Emperor Buugih did not do this; he solved each race’s problems through discussion.
“We are not enemies. Every one of us are brothers and sisters, are we not? Let us value peace together and prepare for the battle against the tyrannical god Alda and his hounds, who will come for us one day.”
These were his words that had been recorded in history.
In other words, he had created unity within by making an enemy of those on the outside. The truth was that the tyrannical god he had mentioned, Alda, the god of law and fate, was indeed an enemy. So, to be more accurate, he had reminded those within that there was an enemy on the outside.
And then Emperor Buugih created a republic with the Noble Orc empire at its center, where each race cooperated and helped each other.
In the end, the Noble Orcs were in the position of leadership, but this was the natural course of events, as the Noble Orcs possessed the greatest fighting strength among every race.
And that republicanism had functioned well until several months ago. That was because even after Emperor Buugih’s death, the successive generations of emperors had been wise and impartial, devoting themselves to maintaining the peace.
However, the second son of the late emperor, Prince Bugitas, had felt discontent with this.
“I do not know what he is thinking,” Gizania said. “But when the late emperor Fugofu-sama passed away, Bugitas acquired the divine protection of a god I had never heard of, a god named Ravovifard, instigated a coup d’état and drove away Prince Budarion, who was supposed to become the next emperor, as well as his loyal retainers.”
Prince Budarion, who had managed to escape despite being defeated, was in hiding now, relying on the Arachne race where his fiancé Princess Kurnelia was.
Having taken over the empire, Bugitas had erased records of his older brother and destroyed the republic created by Emperor Buugih, starting a war to create a dictatorship that worshipped the unknown evil god, Ravovifard.
The Arachne race was fighting against the empire along with the other races that supported Prince Budarion, but the situation was grim.
That was when the Arachne race had received reports that a fort had suddenly appeared without warning on the outskirts of the marshlands. Having remembered the existence of the Lizardmen race (whom they had apparently forgotten about completely due to lack of interaction with them), the Arachne race had dispatched a group of individuals with Princess Kurnelia at its center to form an alliance with the Lizardmen to change the tides of war.
“Wait a minute, why would you place the princess at the center of the mission? She’s an important person, isn’t she?” Eleanora asked, interrupting.
“We had no choice,” Gizania replied. “The princess possesses a unique skill called ‘Thread Telepathy.’ It is a skill that creates mutual understanding with those connected to her by threads that she creates, and the plan was to use that to negotiate with the Lizardmen.”
“… The skill’s name sounds like ‘string phone,’ doesn’t it,” said Vandalieu.
“But during our mission, the group, including myself, was attacked by Bugitas’s subordinates. In order to allow the princess to escape, I applied upon myself the secret medicine passed down among our tribe that forcibly induces arousal in Orcs, drawing them all the way here… and then, when my life was in danger, I was saved by Vandalieu-dono. I will never forget this for the rest of my life. I will definitely repay the favor one day,” Gizania said, lowering her head.
“I said this before, but I just did what I should do as a person, and as the ‘Holy Son of Vida.’ Please don’t worry about it,” Vandalieu said.
Though he said this, he actually expected a lot from her repayment of this favor.
Things look like they’ll turn out bigger than I expected, and if I have her mediate things with the Arachne race, it seems that I’ll be able to talk to Prince Budarion’s side as well. I’m glad I obeyed my instincts, Vandalieu thought.
Now that he thought about it, that uneasiness that he had felt earlier might have been some hidden effect of the ‘Holy Son of Vida’ Title.
“But… Insectoid monsters, Undead, Ghouls and Vampires? And Orcs that I have never seen before. And they all seem to be several steps above me in strength,” said Gizania, having sensed the strength of Eleanora, Vigaro and the Orcuses. “A Dhampir who leads such beings… how tremendous the ‘Shrine Maiden of Vida’ is.”
“Hmm?” Vandalieu felt an uncomfortable feeling.
“Fugoh, King is amazing! By the way, I’m starting to get turned on!”
Before he could figure out what that uncomfortable feeling was, Vandalieu realized that Gorba and the other Orcuses were breathing wildly and looking at Gizania with dangerous eyes, so the feeling went away.
“M-my apologies. It seems that the odor of the secret medicine still lingered on my body,” Gizania said.
It seemed that the secret medicine that forcibly stimulated arousal in Orcs was also effective on Orcuses.
“Bufuh? I’ve calmed down. I’m a wise man now,” said Gorba, turning his calm gaze to a faraway place.
“By the way, why hasn’t your god appeared yet when you’re in such trouble?” asked Orbia from next to Gorba. “He came out to mediate peace several times tens of thousands of years ago, didn’t he?”
This question completely distracted Vandalieu from his uncomfortable feeling.
“I do not know,” said Gizania. “Perhaps there is a reason, or perhaps Ravovifard has done something, or perhaps he has some deep thoughts that I cannot hope to understand.”
“Hmm, that might be right. But still, a wise Noble Orc emperor…” Basdia murmured.
“Is it surprising? For us, it is not surprising at all,” said Gizania.
“Rather than surprising, it is beyond our imagination completely,” said Zadiris.
“That’s surprising as well, but I heard that the Noble Orc was speaking human words. Is that true?” Basdia asked.
“As far as I can remember, Bugogan and his sons didn’t speak a word,” said Vigaro.
“About Bugogan… I remember hearing about a Noble Orc criminal who was exiled over ten years ago. I know why that is,” Gizania said.
It seemed that speaking the human language was a requirement to become the head of a family in the Noble Orc empire. However, with his body physically being unable to pronounce human words, a certain Noble Orc had pretended to speak human language using a Magic Item that he had created in secret in order to become the head of his family.
He had apparently been exiled for the crime of killing a Noble Orc of a rival family who had learned of his secret.
It was likely that this Noble Orc had been Bugogan. It seemed that no other Noble Orcs had been sentenced to exile for some time, too.
“I suppose it can be said that he was defeated in a power struggle,” said Vandalieu.
The story was slightly different from what he had heard from the spirit of Bugogan himself, but it was within an acceptable margin of error.
“By the way, I would like to move to regroup with Princess Kurnelia after you’ve had some rest,” Vandalieu said.
“Yes, but chasing after them will likely be difficult. Around half a day has passed since I became bait and ran all the way here,” said Gizania.
“I’m not sure whether I should praise Arachne for their stamina or be exasperated at the sexual desire of Orcs.”
If Princess Kurnelia had returned straight back to the Arachne village, that difference would be more than a day’s worth. Vandalieu would be able to chase after her if he flew, but he didn’t really want to do this in a Devil’s Nest that he was visiting for the first time.
“I drew all of the Orcs in the nearby area to myself with the secret medicine, so the princess and the others should be safe. That Noble Orc seemed to have gathered those subordinates in a hurry, so there are unlikely to be any more pursuers,” Gizania said.
And so, Vandalieu and his companions decided to pursue Princess Kurnelia and her followers without straining themselves.