Tarkus, a mage of Duke Marme’s army, was surveying the ground from the skies above through the eyes of a bird-shaped familiar created through magic.
This breeze is pleasant… even the heat of summer doesn’t bother me like this.
He was proficient in magic that allowed him to share the five senses of his familiars, and he enjoyed it.
In Lambda, where nature often came with danger in equal portions and transport methods and ways to record images were limited, there were few who could enjoy picturesque scenery like on Earth or Origin.
Exceptional mages could fly freely through the sky, but for many mages, flying through the sky like a bird was difficult. They could perhaps only manage to float about helplessly.
Tarkus himself was a mage among the many. However, by using magic that allowed him to share the five senses of his familiars, he could cut through the wind and fly like a bird, looking down upon the earth.
The green of the trees, the water surface of the marshlands that reflected the glistening sunlight, all of it was beautiful.
It is hard to believe that this scenery was originally the territory of those repulsive Scylla.
The land looked too good to be wasted on monsters that had the upper body halves of women and lower body halves of octopuses, but the truth was that it was land that was difficult to make use of for those other than the Scylla, so that was how it was.
No, this is work. Concentrate.
Tarkus, as a mage of Duke Marme’s army, had begun this mission a few days ago, the mission to scout the former Scylla territory from the sky, as the resistance was apparently hiding in this area.
He had disguised his familiar with the shape and color of a bird that was commonly seen in this area, and he was searching from above for the resistance, and, if possible, traces of the Scylla that had vanished into thin air.
I don’t know the details, but I have been told to be cautious. Though it is a mystery as to what I’m supposed to be cautious of.
This wasn’t an unusual scouting mission in itself. Searching from the skies was effective for determining the presence of bandits or monster settlements.
However, his colleagues that had undertaken missions into the Scylla territory recently had gone missing. Tarkus had only been told that they were on leave, but the face of the superior who told him this had been as white as paper.
And just before Tarkus began the mission today, he had been warned to be cautious. To cancel the mission immediately if he sensed anything out of the ordinary. Even if it meant discarding his familiar.
Tarkus couldn’t clearly picture any kind of danger that would warrant such warnings and orders, however.
Mages conducting reconnaissance through familiars were normally safe from danger. They shared the familiars’ senses, but not the damage that the familiars took. They would feel pain, but once the mage’s concentration was broken to a certain extent, the sharing of the familiar’s senses would cease, and the mage might lose consciousness at worst.
Their physical bodies would be defenseless while they were concentrating, but Tarkus and the other mages were manipulating their familiars inside the Amid Empire’s army’s towers; they were essentially being protected by countless soldiers.
If my familiar is destroyed in a gruesome way, then I might inevitably need a few days’ rest, but…
Feeling like he had heard a sound resembling a voice, Tarkus turned his familiar around. What the familiar saw was a rectangular boulder that could be seen among the trees growing on the slope of a mountain. It was clearly not a natural construct.
Thinking that it might be a clue to the resistance’s whereabouts, Tarkus made his familiar approach the boulder.
As he did, he noticed what was strange about the boulder.
What is this? A monolith?
A flat, rectangular, black monolith built among the trees. At its center was a motif shaped like an enormous eye, and there were small symbols carved closely around it.
This isn’t… a code of the resistance. Is it an inscription left behind by the Scylla? Even if they possess the upper bodies of human women, they are a corrupt race born from monsters, after all. It would not be strange for them to leave behind such a curious object. Wait, it hasn’t been long since this has been built. It’s still new!
There wasn’t much dust gathered on the monolith, and there were signs of the earth around where it had been built having been dug up.
In other words, this monolith had been built after the Scylla had vanished. With that being the case, was this an object created by the resistance’s hands?
… e… ere.
Deciding to search for them, Tarkus made his familiar approach even closer. But then he noticed something even stranger.
Ever since he had approached the monolith, the mountain had become too quiet. There wasn’t a single noise made by birds or small animals. Even the sound of the trees swaying in the wind sounded distant.
Is it just my imagination? No, something is wrong! Could this be…?!
Startled, Tarkus beat the wings of his familiar and tried to make it gain some distance from the monolith.
At that moment, he realized that he could hear a strange voice.
What is this?! What kind of sound… what voice is that?!
Surprised, Tarkus made his familiar look around, but there wasn’t even a single Goblin to be seen, let alone a person.
But the voice was growing steadily closer. It was as if it were whispering in his ear.
Thinking that this was impossible, Tarkus looked back at the monolith, and his eyes met the eye-shaped motif. He was being looked at by the monolith!
Come here… now!
The horribly repulsive voice that sounded as if it were piercing Tarkus’s brain resounded directly inside his mind.
His concentration broken, Tarkus’s consciousness returned to his physical body.
“N-NOOOO!” he screamed.
“What’s wrong?! Oi, Tarkus, calm down!”
One of the soldiers of Duke Marme’s army who were nearby rushed over to Tarkus.
But the monolith’s voice still echoed in Tarkus’s ears.
“I won’t go! I WON’T GO!” Tarkus shouted with his eyes wide open, his entire body drenched in cold sweat.
The soldiers looked at him with expressions that were twisted in sorrow.
“Shit, Tarkus as well! Someone go and get the priest!”
“L-let me go! STOOP! I WON’T GOOO! I DON’T WANT TO GOOOOO!”
“Make him bite into a cloth! He’s going to bite his tongue!”
The soldiers restrained Tarkus with movements that seemed to be well-practiced, and then took him to the room where the others like him were taking their ‘leave.’
“With this man called Tarkus, that’s the fifth… merciless as usual,” said Machida Aran.
“They’ll probably recover after a few months, but that’s a terrifying countermeasure,” said Shimada Izumi.
With pale faces, the two familiar spirits were looking through the records from Tarkus and the other mages who had tried to find clues as to the whereabouts of the Sauron Liberation Front.
The two of them were trying to find out what Vandalieu was doing by looking through the eyes of Lambda’s humans, but they had ended up seeing the process of the records’ owners going insane.
“… That monolith and stone circle is a countermeasure to Clairvoyance, isn’t it?” said Izumi.
“It can’t be anything else. It’s been built so that you can’t see the whole thing unless you’re looking from above,” said Aran.
A while ago, the reincarnated individuals had tried to use the power of one of the members of the Bravers who had recently died in Origin, the ‘Clairvoyance’ Tendou, to gather information on Talosheim and Vandalieu.
But although they had intended only to gather information, the ‘Death Scythe’ Konoe Miyaji had conspired with Rodcorte and tried to use his cheat-like ability through the image produced by Clairvoyance to kill Vandalieu.
That had failed, and Konoe Miyaji had perished, his soul broken. But because Tendou was safe, it should have been possible to try and gather information with Clairvoyance once more.
But Vandalieu had taken a terrifying countermeasure.
“Objects that cause madness only when viewed from above. If we hadn’t become familiar spirits, it would have been bad news for us as well,” said Aran.
To be more precise, what Vandalieu had created were objects and paintings that enticed people to the Demon Path just by being looked at, but Aran and Izumi didn’t know that, so this is what they thought.
Because rather than be guided to the Demon Path, Tarkus and the other mages who had found these objects had gone mad. The reason for that was because they were members of Marme’s Army, many of whom belonged to Alda’s extremist faction.
Of course, Tarkus and the other mages were also members of Alda’s extremist faction, and had very radical, discriminatory views on Vida’s races.
That was why they had shown fierce reactions of rejection to the effects of the Mental Encroachment skill that had been placed in the objects and paint, their rejection of the guidance to the Demon Path causing disorders in their minds.
They had mentally carried out the thought of, “I’d rather die than become [blank].” Of course, this wasn’t the effect that Vandalieu had originally intended, so they would recover after a few months’ rest, even if they would have some trauma left.
“It would be bad if Tendou or Asagi were to see that. Even though they have cheat-like abilities, they don’t have mental fortitude,” said Izumi.
“You’re right,” Aran agreed. “Well, Tendou is refusing to use Clairvoyance after seeing the way Rodcorte does things, so that probably won’t happen, though.”
Rodcorte could forcibly control the reincarnated individuals to some extent as long as they existed within his Divine Realm, but he couldn’t force them to activate their cheat-like abilities.
That was a relief, but… Vandalieu was even warier of the reincarnated individuals now. How could a relationship be mediated between him and their Braver companions to prevent a bloodbath?
“And here I thought that we could have Tendou look at Vandalieu again and communicate through written messages.” Aran said wistfully.
“Rodcorte would definitely interfere the moment we tried. And it’s completely impossible with that countermeasure in place,” said Izumi.
“You’re right… I suppose we should consult everyone first. We still have time before the one-month limit.”
Vandalieu was troubled over his relationships with members of the opposite gender.
Ever since he lived on Earth, he had always yearned to build a warm family environment. He’d also had an obsession with luxuries since back then, but he’d thought that a family environment where his heart felt at ease with those he loved would be a luxury that money couldn’t buy.
That hadn’t changed now, even after his death on Earth, his death in Origin and his rebirth in Lambda.
But what if the number of those people is easily over ten? Is it a problem?
Basdia, who wanted Vandalieu to be the father of her second child, as well as Bilde who said that she wouldn’t mind being next and Tarea, who refused to say it. The maids Saria and Rita, Princess Levia, Princess Zandia, Jeena, Orbia and Privel. These ten had already been confirmed.
Eleanora and Bellmond said they were fine with being a servant and steward but likely had feelings of that sort, and Zadiris and Kachia likely had such feelings as well, though they wouldn’t say it clearly. Isla seemed fully intent on competing with Eleanora.
Legion was a friend, but Vandalieu had the feeling that they were following a similar pattern to Eleanora and Bellmond.
Pauvina, Jadal and the others were still children, so their opinions might change in the future as well.
Eisen, Rapiéçage and Yamata were attached to Vandalieu, but he had the feeling that their affection was still not of that kind.
And Gizania and Myuze had been added to those. Accepting a necklace of deep affection from a member of the opposite gender and wearing it around one’s neck was apparently equivalent to accepting a proposal.
The fact that Vandalieu had been mistaken as a ‘shrine maiden’ rather than the ‘Holy Son’ by these two… or rather, all of Zanalpadna’s people, had been a shock to him. But after the incident with Privel, this was the second time that he had become engaged due to a misunderstanding.
Being waited upon by this many members of the opposite gender would be a great problem in the current-age Earth. Vandalieu wasn’t the daimyo of Edo, so he would naturally be criticized.
The same applied in Origin.
In Lambda, it would depend on the society and what kind of position of that society he was in. Societies of people… Humans, Dwarves and Elves, were generally monogamous. However, it wasn’t unusual for wealthy merchants and successful adventurers to have numerous mistresses and concubines.
For members of royalty and nobility, this was essentially a duty. Wedding multiple wives was a display of economic strength and the family’s stability.
“The Mirg shield-nation is quite obstinate regarding this, but Ani-ue… the oldest, Alsard-aniue, had three wives,” Kurt explained. “It would normally have been suitable for him to have four like our father or even five, but the financial situation of the Legston family of earls is quite bad now, so… no, perhaps he will forcibly take more?”
It seemed that it was appropriate for the head of the Legston family of earls from the Mirg shield-nation to have four or five wives.
“Why would there be a need to push himself to take more wives?” Vandalieu asked.
Kurt gave a bitter smile as he answered. “Because Chezare-aniue and I, who were supposed to support Alsard-aniue’s children as branch families, have ‘died.’”
The fact that Chezare had been killed and Kurt’s death had been feigned were both events that had been caused by Vandalieu.
Alsard, the current Earl Legston, had lost both of his unmarried younger brothers within a short period of time, so Kurt predicted that he would be driven by a need to produce more children.
“… I have done something bad, haven’t I. When I execute the plan to have him change sides as well, should I give him a virility drug as a present?” Vandalieu suggested.
“The effects of any virility drug created by you would likely be terrifying, so don’t do that. Alsard-aniue is no sexual prodigy, but his first-born son who will succeed him has already been born, and it would be problematic if he were to have too many children,” said Kurt with a pale face. “And as for you, Your Majesty… isn’t it fine to have over ten partners?” He shrugged, thinking that it wasn’t anything to be troubled over. “Though it depends on the size of the nation, it isn’t strange for the king of the nation to have that many. I’ve heard that the previous emperor of the Amid Empire had several dozen in his harem. Though I think that the current Emperor Marshukzarl has less than ten. And the now-deceased Duke Sauron likely laid his hands on over a dozen if you include his maids. Thanks to that, he had many orphans and caused a lot of trouble for them back then…”
Apparently, Duke Sauron, the father of Raymond Paris, had been quite the sexual prodigy.
“I think our nation is different to the empire and the Sauron region, though,” said Vandalieu.
The populations of the Amid Empire and Sauron Duchy were vastly greater. As for economic strength, wouldn’t the referee’s hand be raised on the Amid Empire’s side as well? That was what Vandalieu thought, but it seemed that Kurt thought otherwise.
“It is indeed different, but… it cannot be compared using the empire or the kingdom’s standards, because it is too different. Wouldn’t it go unnoticed by anyone if you even multiplied your candidates several times?” said Kurt, shaking his cold-sweat-covered face from side to side.
From his point of view, Talosheim was a rising nation that had been restored, and aristocratically speaking, Vandalieu was its first king and was in a position where he needed to leave behind many descendants. Small efforts like political marriages with branch families and other influential people would be far from enough to solidify the nation.
But Vandalieu’s lifespan exceeded at least three thousand years, so he wouldn’t need to worry about a successor within Kurt’s lifetime as long as he wasn’t killed.
To begin with, almost nobody in Talosheim had an ordinary sense of values regarding aristocracy.
To add to that, the citizens were believers of Vida and understood polygamy… or rather, some of them didn’t think about these things that deeply and others didn’t possess the concept of marriage at all.
And the nation’s economy was good. Nobody knew how it would be in several thousand years from now, but… Kurt thought that there wouldn’t be any economic slumps in the next few hundred years at the very least.
He even said that we should learn by example from Zanalpadna and this Ghoul nation, and that he will create low-class Dungeons to use as emergency shelters, farms and fisheries… Normally, a nation would need to cultivate uncultivated land or invade other nations to acquire land, but this king can simply increase the nation’s land within a matter of hours.
Vandalieu, who could create new Dungeons with the Labyrinth Creation skill, would adopt the way that Dungeons were utilized on the inside of the Boundary Mountain Range. That would mean that Dungeons would be the same as extra land.
And Vandalieu could even roughly control the monsters produced inside the Dungeons that he created. He didn’t normally do this because he wanted to increase the levels of his skills, but for Dungeons being used as shelters and production, he would likely leave them constantly standing still.
Resources were certainly necessary to wed multiple wives, but Vandalieu could gain any resources he needed at any time, so Kurt couldn’t be blamed for giving such a vague response.
“Is that right?” said Vandalieu in confusion, blinking several times.
It seemed that he was unaware that he could create land from thin air.
“Hey, oi,” said Borkus, poking Kurt’s shoulder.
Not feeling like explaining these things endlessly, Kurt decided to ignore this. “The important thing is what His Majesty wants to do, isn’t it? In other words, his own feelings. What are those like?” he asked.
“Well, I think that’s right as well, but…” Borkus muttered.
“My feelings… I’m very happy to be liked by everyone,” Vandalieu said.
If he were to express his emotions, they couldn’t be described as anything other than happy.
There was no way that he wouldn’t feel happy about multiple members of the opposite gender liking him. And unlike on Earth, he was now in a position where it wouldn’t be a problem for him to date multiple people.
So then, what would be inconvenient about accepting that?
Vandalieu, whose goal was the pursuit of his own happiness, was a very worldly-minded person.
“Then there won’t be any problems,” said Kurt.
“Hey kid, Kurt doesn’t seem to want to turn this way, what’s wrong?” Borkus asked, seeming bewildered.
“I think it’s because Zozogante is over there,” Vandalieu said in the direction of Borkus and Zozogante.
He had been consulting Kurt partially for the purpose of diverting his attention away from Zozogante, while using the Mental Encroachment skill to treat him.
This was the deepest part of Zozogante’s Great Forest. The treasure chamber, which could only be reached by those who defeated the Dungeon boss.
Borkus, by clearing Zozogante’s Great Forest on his own to kill time, had cut down all of the monsters in his way and reached this place. And then Zozogante, the evil god of the dark forest, guardian of the Ghouls who lived in the southern region of the continent within the Boundary Mountain Range, had descended before him.
And then Zozogante had said to Borkus, “I’m sorry, but could you please ask your boss to come here?”
Having been requested this, Borkus had brought Vandalieu and Kurt, who was Vandalieu’s lieutenant general.
At first glance, Zozogante appeared to be a large, twisted tree, but if one looked closely, the fruit hanging from its drooping branches were all eyeballs, and he had numerous mouths that looked like rips in the tree’s trunk. This appearance had caused a huge shock to Kurt’s mind.
That was what Vandalieu had been treating.
When Fidirg, the Dragon God of Five sins, had descended in the deepest part of the Scaled King’s Nest, Vandalieu himself had been a little shaken but still fine, just like Basdia and everyone else except for Darcia, who was a powerless spirit. Thus, his perception of danger when meeting a god had become fainter, but it seemed that a chance encounter with a god had large effects on human minds.
Apparently, even the chief of Zozogante’s Great Forest kept his head down and never looked up when meeting Zozogante.
“He didn’t have to risk himself to try and prove that he was normal,” Borkus muttered.
“Were you alright, Borkus?” Vandalieu asked.
“Well, I was a little scared, but that’s all.”
As for Borkus, he wasn’t affected too much because he was already an Undead, possessed the Mental Corruption skill and because as a Rank 11 monster, he himself had already stepped into the realm of beings of legend and myth.
“Excuse me… may I begin now?” asked Zozogante, whose voice sounded like the creaking of a tree, in a reserved tone of speech.
“Ah, yes. Kurt, you mustn’t turn around,” said Vandalieu.
“Oi, oi, Your Majesty, don’t treat me like a child… if I just squeeze my eyes shut, cover my ears and hunch over, I’ll be fine,” said Kurt.
“Is that really fine?” Vandalieu asked, but there was no reply from Kurt, as he was sitting on his knees, eyes shut and ears covered.
Thinking that it was best to have Kurt sleep for now, Vandalieu secreted a volatile sleeping drug and put Kurt to sleep.
Once Kurt’s sleeping breaths could be heard, Zozogante began speaking.
“Ah, first of all, I offer you my gratitude for saving these Ghouls. They are not only my important believers, but they are like my own children, so I wished to avoid having them trampled down by Ravovifard’s servants,” he said.
“Not at all. I am the Ghoul King, after all, so please don’t worry about it,” said Vandalieu. “But if you can make various accommodations for us in the future, it would be very helpful.”
“Ah, yes. Well then, you may take several of my daughters as your attendants –”
“I don’t want those accommodations.”
“Does it not make you happy to be liked by multiple members of the opposite gender?”
“Their feelings are the problem here.”
With the reason for those feelings being because the god they believed in told them, Vandalieu wouldn’t be particularly happy.
“I’ll leave the blood-relationship-deepening exchanges to Vigaro,” he said.
“I see… Well then, perhaps in a few hundred years when you feel up for it,” said Zozogante, seeming disappointed at having been refused, but it seemed that he intended to patiently wait out the centuries. “Well then, how about accommodations in the form of my divine protection? I do not possess any sealed fragments of the Demon King, and I cannot think of anything else I can do in gratitude. I can bestow it upon your Ghoul companions and that plant-type monster.”
“Are you talking about Eisen? Yes, please,” said Vandalieu.
The divine protections of gods could increase Attribute Values, provide bonuses to the effects and acquisition of skills and even raise the limits of an individual’s growth. They were equivalent to talent being given after birth.
Thus, it was best to accept divine protections unless they were from a god with extremely incompatible qualities.
Zozogante was apparently on equal standing with Fidirg… in other words, in a low position among gods, but one would expect the divine protection to have an effect.
“I am grateful for your divine protection, but if you wanted to protect the Ghouls so badly, why did you do nothing until now?” Vandalieu asked. “I don’t intend to blame you, but this is a Dungeon that you created. Could you not have done something more?”
“That’s right. If you’d sent the Dungeon boss or the mid-boss at Budirud, even if they didn’t win the battle, couldn’t they have reduced the losses that the Ghouls suffered?” Borkus added.
Zozogante hadn’t been sealed away like Fidirg. Perhaps he might not have been able to descend onto the world and take part in the fight himself, wouldn’t he at least have been able to send the monsters produced by the Dungeon as reinforcements for the Ghouls?
“I wanted to do that, but… My hands were occupied with maintaining the barrier,” Zozogante said.
The gods in the southern region of the continent who were on Vida’s side had a painful circumstance to deal with.
It was the maintenance of a barrier that prevented the intervention of Alda, the god of law and fate, the one who had wounded Vida and the gods on her side including Zozogante in the war a hundred thousand years ago, as well as the intervention of Rodcorte, the god of reincarnation, who wanted to deny the existence of Vida’s races.
Immediately after the wounded Vida had raised the land of the continent with the last of her power to create the Boundary Mountain Range, she ordered Zozogante and the other gods who were still capable of action to surround the inside of the Boundary Mountain Range with a barrier.
Because of this barrier’s presence, Alda could not dispatch his familiar spirits directly into the area enclosed by the Boundary Mountain Range, nor could he ‘call out’ to entice people to become his followers. In order to have any influence here, he needed to have his believers physically enter the Boundary Mountain Range from the outside.
This effect of the barrier applied to the entire area enclosed by the Boundary Mountain Range, including Talosheim.
Rodcorte could not look at the records of the people living in Zanalpadna or the other cities that were protected by the gods on Vida’s side. He couldn’t directly interfere with the world, but it was possible that he would cooperate with Alda by sharing the information that he gained, so the barrier prevented this.
But this effect of the barrier did not apply to Talosheim, which was supposed to be protected by the Sun Giant Talos, nor to the marshlands, which were supposed to be protected by Fidirg, the Dragon God of Five Sins, as both had become incapable of action.
This hadn’t proved to be a problem, however, as there were only Titans and Lizardmen living in Talosheim and the marshlands respectively, and Vandalieu’s Guidance: Demon Path skill was there now.
This barrier that even interfered with Rodcorte was powerful, but it was special and required a vast amount of power to maintain. That was why Zozogante and the other weaker gods were spending most of their power on it.
And the gods more powerful than Zozogante had been entrusted with the sealing of the Demon King’s fragments instead.
On top of that, there were still many gods whose wounds from the war of a hundred thousand years ago hadn’t healed.
“That is why I am capable of little other than bestowing my divine protection and projecting a false image of myself like this to limited places in order to converse,” said Zozogante. “The Pure-breed Vampires are all also fully devoted to the maintenance of the barrier, or to the protection of Vida and the healing of her wounds. Zanalpadna and Mububujenge were freer, but with Ravovifard… who knows where he got that much power. He was originally a god with about as much power as myself.”
Zanalpadna, the evil god of carapaces and compound eyes, hadn’t appeared before Vandalieu, and this was apparently because she was busy interfering with Ravovifard.
And Ravovifard had apparently been a god of equal rank to Zozogante and Fidirg, but he had somehow gained enough strength to suppress Mububujenge and Zanalpadna, who were supposed to have possessed more power than him.
“I see. That means I have to not only defeat Bugitas and have Prince Budarion take the throne, but also do something about Ravovifard… I wonder if I can? He is apparently quite strong, even for a god,” said Vandalieu.
“I believe that you can manage it,” said Zozogante.
“I’m sure you’ll be fine, kid. And you’re close to your next Job-change, right?” said Borkus.
“No, I don’t think it will be that simple,” Vandalieu said back to them.
Zozogante and Borkus didn’t change their opinions, however.
『The levels of the Mental Encroachment, Labyrinth Creation and Golem Creation skills have increased!』
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