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The Death Mage that doesn't want a fourth time Appendix 7

by Densuke


Yoshi (Translator), Sebas Tian, Dakarans, Kingcooly and Tahaku (editors)

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Luciliano’s report 2 – Kasim’s spring


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In Talosheim’s royal castle, a strange conversation was taking place.

“Can nothing be done about it, Master?” asked Luciliano. He had been persistently pestering Vandalieu over a certain strange difficulty.

“Zandia, can nothing be done about this apprentice?” asked Vandalieu, consulting Zandia as she passed by.

Zandia… the Titan Zombie girl who was Talosheim’s second princess and had been praised as the ‘Tiny Genius’ when she was alive.

“Eh? Am I supposed to carry him away with an iron-claw grip like Jeena-nee?” asked Zandia.

She had become a Zombie at a young age, but as a Titan, she was two meters tall.

“But Master, I really am at a loss here,” Luciliano insisted, despite Zandia picking him up by the head and lifting him into the air.

“What is this guy having so much trouble with?” Zandia asked, directing this question to Vandalieu rather than the still-lively Luciliano.

She had once experienced Luciliano peeping on her during surgery out of academic interest.

“He said he wants to hear from wild Undead… Undead that aren’t under my influence, from Zombies in particular. He won’t listen to what I’m saying,” Vandalieu said.

“I’d think that might be impossible,” said Zandia.

“You’re right,” said Vandalieu.

Zandia couldn’t be blamed for immediately thinking that Luciliano’s request was impossible.

“I do understand how he feels, since Undead change completely under your influence, Your Majesty. The research I do is different, but I am a mage,” Zandia said.

Undead would undergo rapid changes from the moment they were charmed by Vandalieu and placed under his guidance.

This was particularly apparent in inferior, low-Rank Undead. Rank 1 Living Bones and Living Dead were Undead that simply moved around meaninglessly and didn’t even possess much of an instinct, let alone wills. But even they would clearly recognize Vandalieu and obey his commands to the best of their abilities.

Rank 2 Zombies had heads filled with nothing but hatred for the living and a desire to devour their flesh, but ninety percent of that would be erased and replaced with feelings of affection, loyalty and fear for Vandalieu. This was even true for Cursed Weapons and Living Armors, which were considered to have nothing but a desire to kill.

And many Undead partially regained their memories and personalities from while they were alive as their Ranks increased under Vandalieu’s influence, becoming able to speak words.

Undead in their natural state were completely different creatures.

Zandia assumed that as an Undead researcher, Luciliano would want to study not only the Undead that had undergone such changes, but Undead in their natural state as well.

Having finally been understood, Luciliano nodded… or rather, since he couldn’t, he expressed his agreement by clasping his hands together and shaking them up and down. “Indeed, that’s right,” he said.

“But you know that there’s no way you could hear what an Undead in its natural state has to say, right?” Zandia said.

“Indeed, that’s right,” Luciliano said again.

Undead in their natural state, especially low-Rank Undead, never communicated with the living.

Conversation was possible with Ghosts who possessed their memories and personalities from while they were alive in addition to their hatred and regrets. There had also apparently been very rare cases where Zombies and such would stop attacking those they had been close to while alive and express desires such as asking them to “run away” or “kill me”… assuming that these were not the delusions of the witnesses.

But even with these exceptions, the kind of academic investigation that Luciliano wished to carry out would be impossible.

“In other words, you want to conduct a detailed investigation on an Undead that isn’t under His Majesty’s influence, but in order to do that, His Majesty needs to ‘guide’ the Undead? That’s impossible. There’s a contradiction there,” said Zandia.

“That’s right. Ah, by the way, please let go of Luciliano, now,” said Vandalieu.

Luciliano was released from the grip of Zandia’s hand, which was relatively small compared to the rest of her body. He swayed on his feet, but he didn’t collapse.

“So nothing can be done about it after all?” he said.

“I don’t know any Undead in their natural state to begin with,” said Vandalieu.

Most Undead were charmed by Vandalieu just by being near him. There was no way that he could be acquainted with any Undead in their natural state.

“And anyway, you can create Undead as well, can’t you, Luciliano? Couldn’t you just create one and ask it yourself?” Vandalieu asked.

“Yeah, you can make Live-Dead and stuff, after all. Isn’t that a good idea?” Zandia agreed.

“You know that the Undead created by ordinary mages including myself are nothing more than puppets made of corpses with life forcibly embedded inside them,” said Luciliano. “I am not sure what you are expecting me to investigate with such puppets.”

As he said, the Live-Dead and other Undead he created were nothing more than puppets with no instincts or anything. Such puppets were unsuitable for pursuing his current interest.

“So please, do something!” Luciliano begged, not knowing when to give up.

“Muh…” Vandalieu seemed troubled as he shook his head.

Indeed, he really was troubled. As he didn’t normally show any facial expression, he often deliberately made obvious movements to express his emotions to others.

“What is it about Undead that you want to research, anyway? Depending on what it is, His Majesty or I might be able to help you. Ah, but I’m not going to show you my body, okay?” said Zandia.

“… I was only interested in the remodeling that Gubamon had carried out in your bodies,” said Luciliano, scowling at the fact that he was still being treated like a peeping tom.

“Leaving that aside, what is it that you’re interested in now?” Vandalieu asked.

Luciliano’s expression straightened up. “Something that is so fundamental that nobody thinks to question it. The heads of inferior Undead are filled with either nothing or a simple hatred for the living and a desire to kill, so they are completely unsociable. So then, why do they –”

 

 

 

Meanwhile, there were loud noises of battle echoing repeatedly across the training grounds that were a little distance away from Talosheim’s town area.

This in itself was not unusual. The training grounds’ dummies… or rather, Undead acting as dummies, were the heroes from nations that worshipped Alda and heroes that worshipped Alda personally among the hero Zombies recovered from Gubamon.

As Undead, they were weaker than they had been while alive and they were equipped with Obsidian equipment that conserved stamina, but their fighting abilities were undoubtedly first-rate.

And what was happening here was training through real combat. Of course, the Undead hero dummies attacked the trainees.

The walls of the training grounds had almost been broken several times before, so there were now restrictions on what martial skills and spells could be used. But even so, the fierce, echoing sounds of battle always made it clear just what kind of high-level training was taking place.

But today, the sounds echoing across the training grounds were not the sharp noises of swords clashing, but heavy, repeated crashes that sounded like a gong being struck.

“Shield Bash! Shield Bash!”

A female Elf Zombie, who was unusually lightly-equipped compared to the other dummies that had Obsidian equipment, used her round shield to unleash two Shield Bashes in quick succession.

“UOOOOOH!” roared the young man… Kasim, who was equipped with armor and a large shield made of Dark Copper, as he managed to use his shield to stop the Shield Bashes.

And as the Elf Zombie lost her balance, Kasim used the mace in his right hand to try and turn the tables on her.

But the Elf Zombie pulled her arm back quickly and unleashed a third Shield Bash. “Not good enough! Shield Bash!”

“GUAH?!”

A third thunderous, gong-like crash echoed out as Kasim’s shield was finally repelled, exposing his entire body. But surely the Elf Zombie wouldn’t strike with a fourth Shield Bash. Or at least, that’s what Kasim thought.

But although the Elf had lost her blood from becoming a Zombie, her toned leg turned with the same skill that it had done while she was alive.

“Thrusting Kick!”

Her shoe, which was made of Obsidian and designed for unarmed combat, crashed into the stomach of Kasim’s metal armor. Off-balance, he was unable to hold his ground and was sent flying backwards like a football.

“I-I’ve lost,” Kasim gasped as he lay on his back, barely managing to voice his surrender.

Hearing these words, the Elf Zombie relaxed her stance and offered out a hand, going into coaching-mode. “Kasim-kun, you have to use your shield more proactively. Also, it’s fine to take a defensive stance, but you can’t shut yourself away. The enemy isn’t a storm; rather than waiting for an opportunity, you have to go and create one.”

Kasim gave a bitter smile as he took the Elf Zombie’s hand to stand up. “I know that, but it’s impossible for me to become able to fight like you right away, Gerda-san,” he said. “As expected of someone who was called the ‘Dual-shield Princess.’ The way you handle your shields is amazing, and your footwork is like that of a master’s as well, isn’t it? You’re really incredible.”

Kasim was looking at the Elf Zombie, the hero Zombie Gerda who had once been known as the ‘Dual-shield Princess,’ with shining eyes.

“That’s a Title. I’m just an Undead now,” Gerda said.

She was an Elf hero who had lived in an era even before the foundation of the Amid Empire. She wielded two small Adamantite shields, one in each hand, using them for both offense and defense and finishing her enemies off with her kicks. Her unique fighting style had been well known in her time.

She was recognized as a shield-bearer by those around her, but she was actually more like a martial artist that used her round shields as weapons. However, because of her high proficiency with the Shield Technique Skill, her defensive abilities were beyond those of most shield-bearers.

“And in terms of just my physical strength, I’m stronger than I was when I was alive, you know?” Gerda said. “My Enhanced Muscular Strength Skill turned into the Superhuman Strength Skill when I became a Zombie. My movements have become slower as a result, though.”

“But you’re still amazing, Gerda-san,” said Kasim, unable to conceal the way his eyes were sparkling.

Gerda, who had been staring at Kasim with dead, lifeless eyes, suddenly averted her gaze. Her eyes narrowed, as if she had looked at an object that was too bright for her. And she immediately let go of Kasim’s hand. “You don’t have to imitate what I do. You only have one shield, and your Unarmed Fighting Technique Skill is low Level, isn’t it, Kasim-kun? With your shield, I think it’s best to thrust the edge into your opponent’s arms or legs to stop their movement. Try it against a demi-human-type monster,” said Gerda.

Kasim’s eyes followed the hand that had just let go of him with a disappointed gaze. As if avoiding him, Gerda turned around to return to her original position.

She was a training dummy; once she was finished giving advice, she would return to her original position and stand there like a statue, unmoving. She would wait there until it was time to change places or the next training candidate came.

“Can I practice against you again next time instead of a monster?!” Kasim shouted in her direction.

But there was only silence in response from Gerda.

 

 

 

Having washed away his sweat at the public bathhouse after training, Kasim met up with his friends Fester and Zeno in the plaza connected to the main road, where they engaged in a deep conversation.

In this plaza, where there were statues of Vandalieu of various ages lined up in a row, there were benches as well as tables and chairs for enjoying Reversi and shogi. It was a place for the citizens of Talosheim to relax.

Thus, there were a lot of people here, but the background noise naturally drowned out spoken words, so it was the perfect place to have a non-sinister confidential conversation.

“The truth is, I… like Gerda-san,” said Kasim, confiding in his two friends.

“We know,” Fester and Zeno replied quietly.

“Eh?! How, I haven’t told anyone yet!” Kasim exclaimed, sounding surprised.

Zeno sighed. “Kasim… You go to the training grounds every day that we’re not in a Dungeon or a Devil’s Nest, and you only ever train with that Gerda-san.”

“And you always boast to us about how great Gerda-san is,” Fester said with a grin. “How she’s so pretty, how her legs are beautiful and how her ears are so long… Even I’d notice after all of that.”

“Was I that easy to understand?” said Kasim, his face falling as he realized that his two friends had already known about his feelings.

It seemed that Kasim had unconsciously spoken about Gerda very fondly. Meanwhile, Zeno and Fester looked refreshed.

“So, what are you going to do? It’s not going to just end at telling us about it, right?” said Zeno.

“Wait, are you really alright with this? Gerda-san is a Zombie, right?” said Fester.

In ordinary human societies, this would be a big problem. It wasn’t just a matter of love that transcended race. Someone in Kasim’s position would be lucky to merely be chased out of their village or town. Depending on the nation, they might be interrogated and burned at the stake.

But this was Talosheim. The ruler of the nation himself was a user of strange Undead, the one serving as general and prime minister was an Undead, and the captains of several Knights’ Orders were Undead as well. It was a nation where in this very plaza where Kasim and his friends were sitting, numerous Zombies and Skeletons could enjoy pleasant conversations under the watch of the statues of Vandalieu.

Vandalieu had completely stopped the Undead of this nation from decomposing and even erased the rotten smell of their bodies with Deodorization. It wasn’t rare to see Zombies that couldn’t be told apart from the living without being close enough to be breathed on.

And these Undead were the natives of Talosheim that had been living here since even before immigrants from the cultivation villages like Kasim and his friends came here.

And because Vandalieu had implemented plans to have the citizens interact peacefully… Things like seminars, board game tournaments and festivals, even the immigrants who had been emotionally distant from the Undead at first were now friends with them.

With that being the case, though this was just a natural course of events, there were some who developed romantic relationships with Undead. But this wasn’t without its problems.

The largest problem was that Undead couldn’t have children. The deed itself was possible, but as their reproductive organs had stopped functioning like the rest of their internal organs, this was the obvious result.

The desire to have children was not limited to royalty and nobles; even farmers and townspeople would naturally want to have children, raise them and have their grown-up children take over their farms and businesses. This societal notion was firmly-rooted in the world of Lambda.

There were problems such as when families had too many children and struggled to get by, or quarrels over who would succeed family businesses and farms, but this was necessary in Lambda, whose civilization still required people to perform large roles in every industry.

And even for couples who couldn’t have children despite their best efforts, they could adopt the children of relatives or have their apprentices take over their businesses.

But when the inability to have children was made clear from the very start, there was a tough hurdle to get over, unless the couples sought out children to adopt or people to take over their businesses beforehand.

But there was also an occupation that was completely unrelated to such societal notions. That occupation was the occupation of being an adventurer.

“If you’re talking about the issue with children, none of that has mattered ever since we became adventurers, right? I mean we’re registered with the Explorers’ Guild rather than the Adventurers’ Guild now, but it’s all the same in the end, isn’t it?” said Kasim.

Being an adventurer was a hazardous occupation with a high mortality rate. And many who took up this occupation were those who had already been defeated in the struggles to succeed their families or never had families to succeed to begin with.

Neither of these applied to Kasim and his friends, but they had already talked to their families and discussed the possibility of being unable to succeed their businesses when they became adventurers in the Hartner Duchy.

Kasim assured Fester that this wasn’t a problem, but it seemed that this wasn’t all that Fester was worried about.

“No, there’s more. I’ve heard that they don’t sleep at night so they have a different sense of time, that there are problems with their eating habits and that because poison and disease don’t affect them, they either don’t worry at all or worry too much if you get sick,” Fester said, fluently listing the various problems that those having relationships with Undead faced. “You need to be prepared if you want to seriously date someone of another race.”

Kasim and Zeno stared at Fester in disbelief.

“Fester, using his brain?! You sound like a proper, decent married person!” Kasim blurted out.

“To think that Fester has straightened up so much… Kuh,” Zeno muttered.

“Kasim, I am a proper, decent married person! And Zeno, why do you have tears in your eyes! I’m just telling you what I happened to overhear at the Explorers’ Guild!” said Fester.

While Kasim trained at the training grounds, Fester had been going to the Explorers’ Guild to take simple requests that he could complete on his own, and also to visit Lina while she was working.

During the victory feast in the Noble Orc kingdom, a marriage interview had been suggested to him, and for some reason, as a result of discussing this with Lina, it had been decided that both of them would have a marriage interview with the girl that was looking to marry him. The girl, who was a good person even if one didn’t take her circumstances into account, had got along well with Lina, so talks were proceeding in the direction of accepting the marriage.

But Fester still lacked the means to provide for both. He was working hard for the sake of his two brides and for the children that would come in the future.

Incidentally, Zeno was accepting requests, going to Dungeons and having practice battles with the Empusa Berserker Gaol, who had migrated to Talosheim. He was still unaware that Gaol considered these to be dates.

It seemed that Zeno was the most ignorant of the three when it came to love.

After calming down Fester, who was in a bad mood, Kasim began to think deeply about the problems one by one.

“Like Fester says, there are all kinds of problems,” he said.

But all this did was reaffirm to him that the feelings for Gerda within him would not stop.

“But still, I don’t think anything will start until I confess to Gerda-san,” said Kasim.

“You’re right,” said Zeno.

“So, I think I’ll confess to Gerda-san tomorrow!” Kasim declared.

“What a rapid development,” said another voice.

“I see… Alright, I’m cheering for you!” said Fester.

“Yeah, do your best, Kasim,” said Zeno. “But isn’t it best to talk to Vandalieu about it first? Gerda-san is a training dummy at the moment, right?”

There was a partial slavery system in Talosheim. One of those forms of slavery was the role of the training dummies filled by Gerda and other Undead. The first training dummy, the ‘Divine Spear of Ice’ Mikhail, had become a criminal slave. Ever since then, the other Zombies who became training dummies had also been treated as criminal slaves.

It seemed that the strict surveillance system that Vandalieu had set up for Mikhail back then was really troublesome work.

Now, though they were still strictly monitored, these Undead were treated as people.

But as she had the social position of a criminal slave, Gerda was property of the state. Zeno’s suggestion of consulting Vandalieu was a reasonable one.

“That’s true, but I’m kind of shy…” said Kasim.

“Now, now, there’s no need to be so reserved. I understand the situation, so do your best,” said the fourth voice again.

“Uwah, this isn’t a statue! It’s the real one!” shouted Zeno.

The statue of Vandalieu standing closest to Kasim and his friends was actually Vandalieu himself, camouflaged as a statue!

“Disguised as a stone statue, its real identity is –”

TLN: Vandalieu is probably making some kind of reference here, but I don’t know what it is.

 

“Vandalieu, isn’t it? You haven’t disguised yourself as a stone statue with the Demon King’s ink recently, so why today?” Fester asked.

His bold declaration having been interrupted, Vandalieu’s face fell as he climbed down from the pedestal. “I was hiding from Luciliano for a little while… Leaving that aside, I’ve been listening to the story. I’m sorry for eavesdropping. Though it’s not really to make up for it, I’m cheering for you, so do your best with your confession tomorrow. I’ll make it so that Gerda can converse with you normally, Kasim.”

“Y-yeah, thanks,” said Kasim.

And then the preparations for his confession to Gerda were made.

Vandalieu reserved the training grounds for that time and gave him a handwritten document. It was a form of written permission for Gerda to speak to Kasim freely during his confession.

And Vandalieu himself waited outside with Zeno and Fester. This was because if Vandalieu was personally present, Gerda might feel a non-existent pressure.

Incidentally, depending on the result, Gerda’s status as a criminal slave could be lifted, but this was apparently more convenient for Vandalieu.

Mikhail was responsible for the destruction of the former Talosheim. But although the other hero Zombies that had become training dummies had just been followers of Alda or gained military fame by persecuting members of Vida’s races, they hadn’t been directly involved with Talosheim.

In Gerda’s case, she had lived in an era when the letter ‘A’ of the Amid Empire didn’t even exist.

With that said, it was unclear if she could simply be acquitted, and more importantly, the Undead were acting as training dummies because they had wanted a way to atone.

It wasn’t like Vandalieu felt a strong desire to punish them, and there wasn’t even a legal basis for making them criminal slaves, so if they agreed to stop, it was something to be congratulated.

Gerda took the written document, smelled it and tasted it. “This smell and taste; these letters have definitely been written in Vandalieu-sama’s blood. I see… But Kasim-kun, I can’t reciprocate your feelings,” she said, shaking her head.

“N-no way. Why does even Gerda-san know?!” shouted Kasim.

He was surprised that Gerda used the smell and taste rather than the handwriting or the seal to confirm the authenticity of the document, but that surprise vanished before the shocking realization that his sweetheart had already known of his feelings before he could confess.

“I died unmarried, but I did live for over a hundred years, you know. For some reason, I can’t remember very well, but I have dated someone before,” Gerda said, seeming to struggle with her words a little. “And… When you collapse during training, you wait for me to reach my hand out to you instead of standing up yourself, and your face looks really happy when our hands touch.”

“Ugh, so you knew…!” Kasim staggered as he realized that his ulterior motive had been seen through. But he didn’t back down. “So, why? I won’t do any of that in the training grounds anymore! And if there’s anything else bad about me, I’ll fix it!”

“No, it’s not like I dislike it or that you’re bad,” said Gerda. “I’m very happy about your feelings towards me.”

“Then –”

“It’s impossible for me. I’m a Zombie; I’m dead! I might look like I’m alive because my body’s decomposition has been stopped, but my cold hands could never offer you any warmth!” Gerda said.

A young man who came to her for training every day, far less experienced than herself. Gerda had feelings for that man.

But every time she saw her own pallid face reflected in his shining eyes, every time his warm hands touched her cold ones, she was painfully reminded that they were different beings… they were not an Elf and a human, but a dead person and a living one.

She was too different from him. She shouldn’t get any closer to him than she already was. For his sake as well. That was why Gerda rejected Kasim.

But Kasim didn’t give up.

“Then I’ll offer you my warmth, Gerda-san!” he declared as he extended his hand to Gerda, his voice loud enough to be heard outside the training grounds.

Gerda instinctively tried to step back, but this was too slow compared to her usual movements.

“So please go out with me!” Kasim grasped both of Gerda’s hands and pulled her close to him.

Gerda saw her own lightless, dead eyes reflected in Kasim’s that were burning with passion.

“… You’ll regret it one day. Whether that’s in a year, ten years or fifty, you’ll definitely regret it. Are you alright with that?” Gerda asked.

“Maybe I might, but I won’t make you regret it, Gerda-san,” said Kasim.

These were inexperienced words with no foundation to them, trying to convince an Elf Zombie who had lived for over a hundred years before dying. But despite that, they sounded attractive to Gerda.

As if Kasim’s passion had infected her.

“Alright… I’ll give you fifty of my years, a hundred, or even an eternity,” Gerza said.

“R-really?!”

“But can I make one request?”

“Yeah, anything! If it’s something I can do, I’ll do anything!” Kasim declared.

There were no lies in his words. If Gerda asked him to become stronger than her, then he would challenge himself for years without giving up.

“Then… if you can, get one, no, two more other than me. Both Undead,” said Gerda.

“Alright! Whether it’s two people or three… eh?”

This was an unexpected request for Kasim.

 

 

 

Luciliano was writing notes, outside for once, in the plaza crowded with people at that.

“Why do Undead form groups? If I think about it, this is actually quite the mystery. There are Undead that happen to become Undead in the same place or close to each other, or Undead that happen to group together by chance, and then there are Undead like Living Armors that often coordinate with others like them. But why do other Undead form groups?” Luciliano wondered.

“Is that right?” Vandalieu asked.

“Apparently,” said Jeena. “Though I’ve never seen them personally.”

“At adventurers’ school, we learned that if we see one Undead*, we should assume there are more,” said Fester.

“Come to think of it, we’re counted as animals rather than people in the outside world,” said Zandia.

TLN*: Fester uses the counter for animals here rather than for people here.

 

Incidentally, Zeno was looking at Kasim with a pitiful gaze.

Perhaps not caring about the response of his company, Luciliano continued talking. “Living Dead and Bones do not possess many of their memories, senses of self, knowledge or even their instincts. Their heads are empty other than the desire to attack and devour the living. So why do these Rank 1 or 2 Undead form groups? There is a strategic benefit. But I didn’t think that such inferior Undead understood such strategy.”

“You’re right; Undead don’t coordinate with the other Undead around them, and they don’t cooperate with each other to find prey,” said Zandia.

“Weak Bone Rabbits form groups, but I’ve heard that it’s to increase their chances of surviving if they’re attacked,” said Jeena. “But Living Dead and Zombies have no self-preservation instinct. Even we feel pain differently from how we did when we were alive.”

“I see, that’s very informative,” said Vandalieu.

“… Vandalieu, you seem like you’d be the most knowledgeable, so why are you the least knowledgeable?” asked Kasim.

“Because Master has apparently never seen Undead in their natural state,” said Luciliano. “Leaving that aside, your passion has unraveled one part of the mystery. Kasim-kun, I offer you my heartfelt respect.”

According to Gerda, the reason Undead formed groups was because Undead “felt kind of lonely,” rather than for strategic reasons. It was such a simple reason that nobody had thought of it.

Luciliano, Vandalieu and Legion, who wasn’t here, concluded that this was likely because spirits naturally desired the company of those similar to themselves.

Because the instincts of Undead were faint, their minds were like small islands floating on a sea of nothingness. Were they not trying to fill that void by surrounding themselves with others like them?

Weren’t they stabilizing their hollow selves by acknowledging others that were in the same state as them?

At the very least, there was no doubting that they felt some kind of unconscious sense of fellowship with those around them.

Zombies, who thought of nothing other than devouring the flesh of the living, didn’t distinguish between their prey and their companions. But they didn’t think to destroy the bodies of other Zombies that got in their way in order to defeat them.

But when they had feelings of strong resentment and regret, this was just a weak behavior that could be ignored.

“That’s how it is, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Well, more verification is needed, so it would be helpful if I could hear from you frequently,” said Luciliano.

“You’re saying it like it’s someone else’s business,” Zeno pointed out. “Well, it really is someone else’s business, though.”

“Hmph,” Luciliano said quietly, looking up from his notes. “Master, what if we simply choose a few partners for him? It would solve the problem immediately,” he said, making a suggestion that was quite considerate towards Kasim.

But Kasim, who had simply been hanging his head up until now, rejected it right away.  “Stop! It’s true that it would solve the problem immediately, but what about my feelings?!” he shouted.

“Hmm, should we set up some marriage interviews? If you tell me what types and personalities you like, I can even choose from the corpses and spirits I have in stock to create Undead for you,” said Vandalieu.

“… I appreciate the thought,” said Kasim. “Ugh, Gerda-san. What am I supposed to do…”

Kasim had confessed his earnest feelings and received approval. But the condition of finding multiple other partners had been named.

“It’s a complicated problem. When I gave Vandalieu a high-five outside the training grounds, I didn’t think things would turn out like this,” said Fester.

This was a problem that he hadn’t expected despite being the one to point out all kinds of problems that would come from having a relationship with an Undead.

A frivolous man might come to a clear decision with ease, quickly calling out to other Undead and collecting partners. But Fester knew that Kasim didn’t have such a shrewd personality.

Wasn’t he feeling conflict over having to date other Undead girls while he still had feelings for Gerda?

“Is there any way? Other than Vandalieu’s extreme method,” Fester said, looking towards Zandia and Jeena.

But there was no favorable answer.

“Even if you ask if there’s a way… there isn’t anyone I can introduce to him,” said Zandia.

“Neither do I,” said Jeena. “Of course, I can’t marry him. His-Majesty-kun is cuter, easier to carry around and he carries me around as well,” she added, picking Vandalieu up like a kitten.

“That’s true for me as well, but he’s not asking for that, Jeena-nee,” said Zandia, taking Vandalieu back from her.

“I feel like I’ve started to understand why Vandalieu is so popular with the Undead, other than his charm and guidance,” Zeno muttered.

Though he and his friends couldn’t see them, there were countless spirits floating around in Vandalieu’s surroundings. There was nobody better than Vandalieu for Undead wanting the company of others like themselves.

And so, a page recording the young Kasim’s struggle with love was added to Luciliano’s research report.

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