“The armor-like muscle on the surface with the body fat percentage reduced as low as possible, and the muscle that lives beneath the fat, are both muscle,” said Vandalieu.
“… My apologies. It seems that what you are saying is too difficult for me to understand,” Prince Budarion said, not hiding his bewilderment.
He had received the surgery to transplant the arm and eye of the Noble Orc General of the frontline position.
His pain had been erased with death-attribute magic. The surgery team consisted of Vandalieu’s Out-of-body Experience clones and Legion who had come to make regular contact as usual. It seemed their surgery had been effective; Prince Budarion was already regaining vision in his eye and sensation in his arm.
The Life Gold used during the stitching and the Blood Potion consumed after the surgery had been effective; his strength had returned as well.
One might question whether it was alright to simply stitch on someone else’s arm, but the flesh structure of monsters such as Noble Orcs was simple, in a good way in this case.
Even after transplant surgery of parts from a member of the same race or a race that was similar enough, the patient could become accustomed to the new body parts without any transplant rejection reactions.
Of course, Vandalieu and Legion were probably the only ones who could make use of this special characteristic of monsters. The concept of advanced surgical procedures didn’t exist in the world of Lambda.
Normally, humans and monsters would think of trying to regenerate the lost parts using valuable Potions and advanced spells.
That was why Budarion had been surprised by the idea of transplanting a body part of someone else, even if it was a member of the same race.
“But what is even more surprising is the fact that you dispelled the curse afflicting my body so easily,” said Prince Budarion. “I have known Bakota-dono for a long time, but I have not seen him express that much surprise very often.”
“Well, I can remove most curses… except for those cast by gods,” said Vandalieu.
In the end, whether it was Prince Bugitas’s unique skill, an effect of the Death Scythe that was his weapon or Ravovifard’s power was still unknown, but the curse that had been hindering the healing of Prince Budarion’s wounds had been easily removed.
However, Prince Budarion felt fear upon learning that Vandalieu had been afflicted with curses, despite having so easily removed a curse that even the chief mage Bakota had been unable to remove.
How powerful was the god who had cast this curse on Vandalieu?
But Prince Budarion didn’t express this fear, and instead gestured towards their surroundings as he spoke. “No, you really are great. Thanks to you and your companions, my vassals are saved as well.”
The loyal vassals who had fought alongside Budarion and fled from the empire with him after their defeat were now resting their bodies in what was known as the Shelter, an underground space beneath a tower in Zanalpadna.
There were none other than Prince Budarion who had fought Bugitas directly and been cursed, but many of those Noble Orcs were suffering from untreatable wounds. There were many who had recovered from their injuries due to the treatment they had received from the mages led by the chief mage Bakota, but there was no small number of individuals left with missing eyes, limbs and other impairments. Bakota and the other mages hadn’t had the time to completely treat all of them.
“UOOOOH! My arm, my arm is moving! BUHIIIH! I give you my thanks, flesh-wife of the shrine maiden!”
“I understand that you’re happy, but calm down! Isis’s hands are going to slip!” shouted Baba Yaga.
“M-my nose is back BUHIIIH! Praise the flesh-wife-sama! Praise the flesh-wife-sama!”
“I said calm down! And what do you mean, flesh-wife?!”
Valkyrie gave a loud laugh. “It’s fine, isn’t it, Baba Yaga? It does not feel unpleasant to be praised by veteran heroes! … But are we being praised?!”
The Noble Orcs who had made full recoveries due to Legion’s treatments were surrounding Legion, while Baba Yaga and Valkyrie’s personalities were dealing with them.
“Indeed, Enma and Ereshkigal don’t seem to think that we’re being praised,” said the personality of Isis on the other side, who was still motionlessly conducting surgery on another Noble Orc’s arm.
She had little experience in performing surgery on living patients in her previous life, but it seemed that these monsters who possessed plenty of Vitality made good practice subjects.
“Flesh-wives are apparently monsters that Mububujenge, the evil god of degenerate corpulence, created from his own flesh and sent to the Orcs and Noble Orcs,” explained Eleanora, who had heard about flesh-wives from the Noble Orcs while she was helping Vandalieu and the others with their surgeries.
Orcs had strength as a racial characteristic, and some of them had such powerful urges to breed that it could cause them to ignore their other two basic needs (food and sleep) and their survival instincts.
The breeding instincts of the Orcs in the Noble Orc empire had grown weaker than those of other Orcs over the hundred thousand thousand years that had passed. However, even so, they were too much for human women to handle.
There were many gentle Orcs, but they were not gentle enough to stay controlled under the excitement of love affairs.
That was why Mububujenge had provided the Orcs with flesh-wives a hundred thousand years ago.
“Apparently, they’re given to the Orcs to take as their wives and lovers,” said Eleanora. “They’re Rank 1 or 2 at most, but they’re solid and tough enough to withstand being the Orcs’ partners. And their abilities increase naturally along with those of the Orcs that are their husbands, so the Orc workers’ flesh-wives can even have children.”
And the flesh-wives of Orcs that were Rank 5 or greater were apparently capable of doing housework as well as good human wives. Of course, thanks to Mububujenge’s blessings, the abilities of the flesh-wives increased with successes other than an increase in Rank.
And so, the Orcs’ lust was reduced by their flesh-wives, while their ambitions were stimulated. And accepting the flesh-wives also had the effect of controlling sex crimes against the citizen women.
With a hundred thousand years having passed this way, it seemed that no small number of Orcs had come to feel no lust for any other than the flesh-wives. The Orc Workers at the frontline fort who had returned to Prince Budarion’s side were among those.
“They’re apparently being isolated at the Church of Mububujenge now, though,” Eleanora said. “Their appearance is… apparently similar to you when you’re separated from the main body.”
“I-I’m not happy about that…!” Baba Yaga muttered.
“But being called Vandalieu’s flesh-wife isn’t an unpleasant thing, is it?” said Isis.
“It’s a great honor for us, but an honorary title that we are not worthy of,” said Pluto.
“No wonder nobody is afraid of us… from their perspective, we look like a combination of flesh-wives. But Pluto, is it really an honorary title?” asked Valkyrie.
When Legion appeared, the Arachne and Empusa had been surprised as well as the Noble Orcs, but they hadn’t been afraid. Since they had interacted with the Noble Orc empire before, Legion apparently just appeared to be a group of flesh-wives with their limbs entwined around each other.
Though they were surprised by Legion’s three-meter diameter and how bizarre it was for them to be entwined around each other like that, they apparently weren’t something to be scared of.
“To add to Eleanora-dono’s explanation, us Noble Orcs are also given flesh-wives. However, they are thought of as symbols of pity given to the ones who are weak even among those who are unable to succeed one of the three hundred Noble Orc houses. Because the children born to flesh-wives are almost all Orcs,” one of the Noble orcs explained. “If all of us Noble Orcs take citizen wives, the citizens will not be able to have children of their own, and we cannot request for wives to be sent from the other nations in large numbers, so it is something that cannot be helped.”
Though the Noble Orc empire was indeed an ‘empire,’ it didn’t use the same royalty and nobility system as human nations. This was only natural, as they had been separated from humans since a hundred thousand years ago, before the humans had an aristocratic system.
There was a moderately-sized group of the families that were known as the three hundred ‘houses,’ and the heads of those families were allocated positions known as ‘seats’ based on their abilities.
And the family heads who had gained these ‘seats’ would command those of their ‘houses’ to carry out their duties.
To take the Noble Orcs of the frontline fort as an example, Buburin and the Noble Orc General’s two houses had been given the seat responsible for building frontline bases.
Those seats were apparently temporary, however.
“And that means the family heads who have gained seats and the few high-ranking members of each family who support the family heads are able to take real people for wives,” said Vandalieu. “By the way, how is your arm? Do you think you can swing a sword like you did before?” he asked Prince Budarion.
“Let’s see… there won’t be any problems for everyday use. But I don’t think I can swing a sword as well as before,” Prince Budarion replied as he rubbed the arm that had once been the Noble Orc General’s, testing its sense of touch.
It wasn’t that his own arm had been regenerated through magic; someone else’s arm had been transplanted onto him. The size was almost the same, but the amount of muscle was different, so he wasn’t confident that he could reproduce his own sword techniques in the same way as before with someone else’s arm.
“I see. Well then, there is no choice but to regain that ability through the upcoming battles,” said Vandalieu. “Prince Budarion, if possible, I would like to have you defeat Bugitas with your own hands. We will support you with everything we have, but you need to regain the strength you possessed before at the very least.”
“With my own hands?” Prince Budarion repeated, seeming to think that Vandalieu’s request was strange. “Would you not be able to defeat Bugitas without my strength, Shrine-Maiden-dono? For instance, Borkus is certainly stronger than I am. I can tell that Eleanora-dono, Vigaro-dono, Basdia-dono and Bone-Man-dono all possess respectable strength as well, and Zadiris-dono’s skill with magic is substantial as well. Legion-dono also has something mysterious about them. They should be able to fight Bugitas on even grounds. And you, Shrine-Maiden-dono… honestly speaking, I am horrified by the fact that you can manipulate the fragments of the Demon King as if they were your own limbs, but it should not be difficult for you to defeat Bugitas if you were to use those.”
Indeed, Vandalieu and his companions were far more than enough to kill Bugitas at this point in time.
Of course, there were many Noble Orcs and Orcs who had joined Bugitas’s side and started worshipping Ravovifard. In addition, in the worst-case scenario, it was possible that something had to be done about Ravovifard himself as well. Considering that, no amount of fighting strength would be enough, however.
But with Zanalpadna’s forces, Budarion’s loyal vassals whose wounds had been healed, and the soldiers that would soon be gathered from the other nations, the numerical advantage would be turned around.
With that being the case, there was no need to be fixated on having Prince Budarion, who wasn’t in his original state, to defeat Bugitas himself. That was what the prince thought.
“If you are taking my emotions into consideration, then I am grateful for that. However, my emotions are not what should be prioritized. What should be prioritized is restoring peace to all of the nations as soon as possible. Do not pay attention to someone like me, who caused war in this land for the first time due to my lack of strength; I want you to simply achieve success without holding back,” Prince Budarion said, lowering his head as he suppressed his desire for vengeance.
But Vandalieu did not nod his head. “No, you defeating Bugitas is necessary for that peace,” he said.
“My word. Why in the world is that?” asked Prince Budarion.
“It’s because while the Noble Orc empire is virtuous, it will only recognize the strong as its emperor. If one of us were to defeat Bugitas, we would end up ruling the empire or at least become involved in its management, wouldn’t we?” said Vandalieu.
“I think that is entirely true, but…”
After all, Vandalieu would become the hero who defeated the usurper. The Noble Orcs would naturally desire and welcome heroes to stand at the top.
“But I’m not confident that I or any of my companions can rule the empire,” Vandalieu said. “Even if things work by having people interpret the Orc language, I can’t imagine that we could treat the empire’s unique political system, culture and sense of values properly.”
In the news and newspapers that Vandalieu had seen on Earth, there had been numerous incidents where developed nations had defeated dictators and become involved in the management of the developing nations by supporting them. But he hadn’t gotten the impression that this had been particularly successful.
It wasn’t enough to be called a failure, but it was far from the success that the developed nations had first imagined. That was what Vandalieu thought.
There was the possibility that they had succeeded after Vandalieu died on Earth, but even so, that would mean that it would take years, maybe even over a decade, for that success. Vandalieu couldn’t imagine that this success was proportional to the long years of determination that it would take.
Vandalieu didn’t think that the case of the Noble Orc empire was the same as the events on Earth, but he didn’t intend to take a gamble on whether he could properly manage a nation of people when he didn’t know whether Demon Path Enticement and Guidance: Demon Path would work on them.
It was possible that he could cause Noble Orc fetuses to mutate with death-attribute Mana in the same way that he had changed Orc fetuses into Orcuses, but he had no intention of waiting for the generation of this new race to replace all of the Noble Orcs.
Incidentally, there were still no signs of Demon Path Enticement or Guidance: Demon Path having any effects on Prince Budarion or the Noble Orcs and Orcs that were his subordinates. The ‘Holy Son of Vida’ Title did seem to be having an effect, however.
“… Then how about leaving trustworthy Noble Orcs as your representatives?” Prince Budarion said, voicing a reasonable suggestion.
“The Noble Orc I trust the most is you, Prince Budarion,” Vandalieu replied immediately.
Prince Budarion swallowed. “That is… I am happy that you feel that way, but… I have already been defeated by Bugitas once. There would be many who would not accept me ruling the empire once more.”
“That is why I want to have you win this time,” said Vandalieu.
The conversation had come back to where it had begun.
“Hmm, you ask a difficult thing of me, Shrine-Maiden-dono.”
Realizing that Vandalieu had no intention of changing his mind, Prince Budarion felt pressure, but at the same time, exhilaration at the fact that he would get an opportunity to erase the disgrace of his defeat.
And he began to feel an indescribable trust in Vandalieu, who was less than half of his own height.
“For now, let’s go to the lower level for rehabilitation by fighting weak monsters once the treatment is finished. As for your weapon, I have a spare magic sword that I’d intended to give to Borkus, so I’ll give it to you to celebrate your recovery,” said Vandalieu.
“Thank you for everything, Shrine-Maiden-dono. I am accruing so many favors that I do not know how I am supposed to repay them,” Prince Budarion said. “Talosheim is fortunate to be ruled by a wonderful queen like you.”
“… I’m male, so I’m not a queen,” Vandalieu said, finally realizing that his gender had been mistaken up until now.
“B-BUHIH?!” Prince Budarion shouted in the Orc language at this shocking revelation.
The two of them looked at each other on the grassy plain as a gentle breeze blew past.
『The levels of the Surgery, Demon Path Enticement, Guidance: Demon Path and Materialization skills have increased!』
The commonly-known ‘Shelter’ that existed beneath Zanalpadna had an official title: The Shell-less Open Field.
It was a Dungeon.
It was an E-class Dungeon, but even so, one might question the sanity of those thinking to use it as a shelter in times of emergency. However, if one thought about it, there was a rational reason for this.
It was simply because the inside of this low-difficulty Dungeon was safer than the area outside the city.
Monsters of Rank 4 and above were rampant outside the city. It was possible to encounter Rank 5 monsters which would normally need a group of C-class or D-class adventurers to take down, and there were even rare occasions where a Rank 7 or 8 monster would appear.
In comparison, Dungeons generally produced monsters suitable for their class unless a monster rampage was about to occur. The shallow floors of an E-class Dungeon… these would be filled with nothing but Rank 1 monsters that could be driven away by ordinary people who didn’t even possess combat-related skills.
The Dungeon bosses would generally be Rank 3, but they wouldn’t move from what was known as the boss chamber in the deepest part of the Dungeon.
In addition to this, the chances of monsters entering the Dungeon from outside was low. Monsters born outside Dungeons wouldn’t seek to enter a Dungeon of their own accord unless they happened to be chasing prey that had escaped into the Dungeon.
It seemed that monsters that had left a Dungeon would instinctively avoid entering it again. Though this didn’t apply to demi-human monsters, and tamed monsters would enter Dungeons on command.
And an E-class Dungeon would have almost none of the traps that Dungeons normally had.
In times of emergency… when the walls that protected the nation stopped functioning due to a natural disaster or an assault by a powerful monster, the inside of a low-class Dungeon was safer than the city.
This didn’t only apply to Zanalpadna; the other city-states also used low-class Dungeons as shelters, farming land and sources of water.
The Noble Orcs who had survived with Prince Budarion, as well as those who had fled from the High Goblin and High Kobold nations, had been brought to the Shell-less Open Field because there was plenty of space for them here.
“Holy-Son-dono and the others are currently busy with the treatment of the prince and the others. In the meantime, we must make a decision,” said Donaneris, who was sitting on her throne in the queen’s chamber with a complicated expression on her face. “The two of you know this as well, don’t you?”
The shoulders and carapace-covered joints of her youngest daughter Gizania and Gizania’s friend Myuze trembled.
They knew they had done something outrageous; their faces were pale and covered in cold sweat.
“Gizania, Myuze, I will ask you to be sure. You have both given Holy-Son-dono a necklace of deep affection. And he did not ask for this; you offered them to him yourself. Is that correct?” Donaneris asked them.
“Y-yes, Mother,” Gizania replied.
“Th-the same is true of me as well,” said Myuze.
“Gizania, you gave yours as a sign of true friendship, and Myuze, yours as proof of your promise. Is that correct?” Donaneris continued.
“Yes,” Gizania and Myuze replied simultaneously.
Their faces were growing paler each time Donaneris confirmed this information. However, Queen Donaneris was becoming gloomier, and Bakota, who was standing at her side, could feel his headache growing worse.
“In other words, Holy-Son-dono is wearing those necklaces around his neck, unaware that for Arachne and Empusa, they are symbols that he has accepted your courting. This situation is worse than I thought,” Queen Donaneris said.
The necklaces made by polishing the cast-off skin that came off when Arachne and Empusa molted. When given to those of the same gender, they were proof of close friendship.
However, the meaning of the necklaces changed when given to those of the opposite gender. Giving the necklace of deep affection to someone of the opposite gender was the same as proposing, and accepting the necklace was accepting the proposal. And wearing the necklace around one’s neck had the same meaning as wearing a wedding ring.
“I was surprised to see your necklaces of deep affection at Holy-Son-dono’s neck, but at the same time, I was also happy,” said Queen Donaneris.
From her perspective, Gizania and Myuze’s proposals to Vandalieu and his acceptance of them were happy events, not something to be troubled about.
In human nations, it would be a great problem for a queen’s daughter, even one who was not called a princess, to decide her marriage partner on her own. However, in Zanalpadna, one’s bloodline was not the only thing that decided succession to the throne. In fact, it was an Empusa who had served as queen before Queen Donaneris.
And so, with regards to Gizania, her adult daughter deciding her marriage partner on her own posed no problems other than that as a parent, Donaneris would have wanted her to introduce her partner at least once beforehand.
As for Myuze, there normally wouldn’t be any problems at all.
And the fact that their chosen partner was Vandalieu was truly a happy, convenient thing for Queen Donaneris.
The prophesized Holy Son had appeared, and this would strengthen Zanalpadna’s bonds with him. Gizania was Donaneris’s own daughter, and Myuze was actually a niece of the previous queen. This could even be called destiny.
However, it was a great problem that these two had handed their necklaces of deep affection to Vandalieu without explaining their true meaning.
It was equivalent to submitting a false marriage registration form to the government office on Earth.
“How can I put this… did you not realize that he was a boy, not a girl?” Queen Donaneris asked.
“My apologies, Mother. I was completely oblivious,” said Gizania.
“I have no honor left,” said Myuze.
Vandalieu would likely be shocked to hear this, but Gizania and Myuze had completely failed to notice his true gender.
He was still only nine years old and his voice hadn’t changed yet; it was difficult to determine his gender when he was clothed. And other than the plentiful manes possessed by all Ghoul men, long hair and simple clothes didn’t give any indication as to the gender of those wearing them.
And Vandalieu had a well-featured appearance with skin as white as candle wax. He was expressionless and his eyes were empty, so he looked like a doll, but considering that, he was well-featured.
He used “ore” as a pronoun for himself, but from the perspective of Gizania and the others, he was a foreigner from an unknown nation. They had assumed that this might be normal where he came from and not paid much attention to it.
And Gizania used sessha, while Myuze used bou. They could hardly comment on the pronoun use of others.
Still, Gizania had spent several days with him from when she was saved until their return to Zanalpadna, and she had heard Borkus calling him “kid” and Zadiris referring to him as “boy” numerous times, but…
This could only be described as careless; it seemed that she had assumed things too heavily.
As for Myuze, she had made the misunderstanding due to Vandalieu’s appearance and because Gizania had already given him her necklace of deep affection. If Vandalieu was a boy, Gizania would have mentioned it and behaved appropriately. She hadn’t, so Myuze hadn’t thought twice about it and assumed that Vandalieu was a female friend like Basdia.
“Well, we didn’t think that Van was a boy, either,” said Basdia.
“I did not think that you had misunderstood and were calling him ‘shrine maiden’ instead of ‘holy son.’ I apologize,” said Zadiris.
Gizania’s friend and her mother were present here as representatives of those who knew Vandalieu well.
To be consulted.
“Umm, is it impossible to just pretend that it never happened? Wouldn’t he understand if Gizania-chan and Myuze apologized to him together?” suggested Princess Kurnelia.
“It would be difficult,” said Bakota, shaking his head. “We made him walk through the city with the necklaces of deep affection hanging from his neck. Though it seems that everyone has still mistaken Holy-Son-dono’s gender.”
Arachne and Empusa could tell who had given a necklace of deep affection if they were close to the person who had given it. That was why it was called the necklace of deep affection and used as proof of friendship and marriage.
Gizania wasn’t called a princess, but there was no denying that she was the queen’s daughter. Due to this, she had many Arachne and Empusa friends. Myuze was also well-known due to her occupation.
And Vandalieu and his companions were already famous in the city. The identities of those who had given him the necklaces had probably already spread throughout the city.
“… If the boy found out, he might do something eccentric from the shock. Like starting to wear a cape with ‘male’ written on it visibly. But you do not need to worry so seriously. I do not think the boy will be that upset,” Zadiris said with confidence.
She couldn’t imagine that Vandalieu would become angry at these two for embarrassing him… he would likely become depressed at having his gender mistaken, but everyone would just need to console him afterwards.
“He has experienced misunderstandings due to differences in racial culture in the past, so it’ll probably be alright. Though I can’t speak in detail about that,” said Basdia, remembering that Vandalieu had accidentally accepted the Scylla Privel’s proposal about a year ago in the Scylla territory of the Sauron Duchy.
She wouldn’t go into the details, however.
“I see. I am truly thankful to you for saying that,” said Queen Donaneris with a sigh, and then she started to ask Zadiris and Basdia to help Gizania and Myuze apologize.
It was disappointing that with this, talks of her youngest daughter’s marriage would be cancelled, but the problem would be solved. She would wait for other opportunities and try to introduce her other daughters to Holy-Son-dono.
But Gizania objected. “Mother, wait. I still want to follow Holy-Son-dono,” she said.
【Magic Combat Technique】
A skill that invokes magic in the user’s weapon or body, directly increasing Attribute Values using Mana. It is different from enchantment spells that increase attack power by enveloping one’s weapon in flames or lightning and the no-attribute spell, Strengthen Physical Ability. It provides more versatile effects.
But if used on a weapon, the effects dissipate rapidly unless the weapon is a Magic Item, and the skill sometimes cannot be used depending on the material the weapon is made of and the magic that is used. For instance, it does not have much effect on weapons made of Adamantite, which has low compatibility with magic, while it is effective with Mythril weapons. When the magic is invoked inside the body to directly increase Attribute Values, a heavy burden is placed on the body if countermeasures are not taken. This burden is greater than the Surpass Limits skill, and if this skill is used without the appropriate countermeasures, the user will suffer burns if using fire-attribute magic, frostbite if using water-attribute magic, and so on.
Because of these limitations, it is not a popular skill among adventurers who do not have large incomes.
According to the legends, when the Demon King was still alive, the Goblins multiplied rapidly and increased their Ranks to diversify in various ways. However, the evil gods were having trouble with them, as many Goblins were foolish, cowardly and, most importantly, weak.
Even cowardly Goblins became brave soldiers when a Goblin King was born, but most of them would die before becoming Kings.
That was why the evil gods had strengthened Goblins to create a superior race, High Goblins, for the purpose of commanding the Goblins.
They possess the same characteristics as Goblins – pointed ears and noses with dark green skin – but while many Goblins are ordinarily about the height of an adult’s chest, High Goblins have the physiques of average-height adults even without increasing their Ranks.
Also, their appearances are slightly similar to humans if one ignores the color of their skin.
Their base Rank is 4, and as their slender appearances may suggest, they excel in speed and dexterity rather than strength. However, their most fearsome characteristic is their intellect.
Even Mages of the lower-race Goblins have intelligence that does not go beyond a child several years before adulthood, but High Goblins are as clever and cunning as humans.
And like their inferior counterparts, they are able to increase their Rank to diversify in various ways.
The only thing that is good about them is that as a superior race, they have lower ability to reproduce; their numbers are drastically fewer than ordinary Goblins. They have lifespans of approximately fifty years. They only give birth to one or two children at a time. It seems that children become adults approximately three years after they are born.
They can crossbreed with Goblins, but when this happens, the children are almost always born as Goblins.
If they breed with humans or members of Vida’s races, the children are born as High Goblins or Goblins in approximately equal ratios.
Their reproductive ability is inferior to Goblins, who produce between three and five offspring at once and mature within just a few months, but… Goblins submit unconditionally to their superior race, the High Goblins, so care must be taken. High Goblins are acknowledged to be a disaster-class race of monsters.
However, there is never a shortage of adventurers and knights who mistake High Goblins for Goblins and end up being killed.
Incidentally, their meat has a strong smell and is inedible, just like Goblin meat.