A handsome man with a shapely nose fell to his knees with a nervous expression on his face.
Ahead of him was a statue, which had been hastily restored by a craftsman, depicting Vida, the goddess of life and love, as well as the archbishop of the Church of Vida who had been dispatched from the Orbaume Kingdom, who was wearing a gentle smile.
And several nobles and knights were watching them, making sure not to miss this historical moment.
“I, Rudel Sauron, hereby swear to join the twelve rulers and wield my sword for the benefit of the people,” the man said.
The archbishop nodded and took a crown from a nearby priest. “I hereby acknowledge thee as Duke Sauron. May the goddess’s blessings be upon you,” he said in a solemn voice.
And Rudel received the crown… the symbol that could only be worn by one of the twelve dukes with the right to rule. He rose to his feet, and the nobles let out a cheer.
“Long live Duke Rudel Sauron! Long live the Sauron Duchy!”
“Glory to His Excellency, Duke Rudel!”
Some praised Rudel, and others were crying tears of emotion. Many of them were nobles, knights and those serving them; they had fought against the Amid Empire when their invasion came.
They had remained in obscurity and waited for this moment for many years. The coronation ceremony of Rudel, son of the late duke, was a symbol of the return of the prosperity that the duchy had before the invasion, and a great event that marked the end of the war.
“I have caused everyone much suffering, but I thank you for believing in me and following me this far. I hope that you will support me just as you supported my father,” said Rudel, giving a composed nod.
Overcome with emotion again, the nobles cheered even louder. The duke himself had acknowledged their deeds and declared that he anticipated more from them in the future. Their revival and further advancements had been guaranteed.
On the other hand, there were also those who remained calm, watching the ceremony with insincere smiles on their faces.
“Congratulations, Duke Rudel.”
“But what comes next is the crucial point. Because you must rule the lands that have been laid waste to by the empire.”
“Of course, my master has asked me to inform you that he offers his full support.”
“Let us join forces and work towards the kingdom’s prosperity together.”
These were the messengers sent by the dukes and other prominent noblemen from other duchies that supported Rudel.
They were also happy that Rudel, the one they had supported, had won the power struggle and become Duke Sauron without incident. But the important events for them and their masters were yet to come.
Under-the-table payoffs from the project to restore the Sauron Duchy and implementing a new defense policy. Preferential treatment for their later-born children becoming government workers and rights when it came to trade.
They were anticipating all kinds of benefits for themselves.
“Of course,” said Rudel. “I am young and inexperienced, but please tell them to take good care of me from now on.”
He still needed the masters of these messengers to give him their support.
There was no such thing as too much money for the restoration of the region, the new defense policy and the restructuring of the duchy’s army. And although the Amid Empire had withdrawn, there were not enough soldiers to defend the border between the nations.
Rudel could not go on without support.
Compared to those, this was a small problem, but it was likely that he would later feel the effects of having lost almost all the family members he could trust by winning the power struggle.
His father and his older brother, the duke’s first son, had died in the war, and his older sister and younger sister had married into families of other duchies. He had defeated the third and fourth sons in the power struggle, and his relationship with the fifth son, with whom he had fought until the very end, was in a particularly terrible state.
His youngest sister had been defeated as well, but she could be of considerable use. Rudel could marry her into a family of considerable status if she asked him to, but it seemed that she had a strange pride preventing her from doing so. Illegitimate children were problematic after all.
Come to think of it, I had one other illegitimate sibling, but he died as well. Well, more importantly, I need to work hard for a while. To think that I would learn from Chichi-ue’s example like this… Adopted children aren’t very effective, after all.
Rudel had completely forgotten about the now-deceased Raymond Paris, leader of the Reborn Sauron Duchy Army. He felt unpleasant emotions upon realizing that he needed to regrow his family, which had grown smaller due to many of his own generation having been lost.
The fact that he had too many siblings had been the cause of the conflict to succeed the family, but too few and the family’s rule would become unstable. If something were to happen to the current head of the family, the government system that had only just been regained would weaken once more.
In fact, it was possible that the siblings who had lost the power struggle were plotting to assassinate Rudel. As Rudel didn’t have any children now, if something were to happen to him, they would be able to take the position of duke for themselves.
“Now then, Your Excellency, please present yourself to the people,” said the archbishop.
Concealing his feelings of anxiety, Rudel stepped out towards the balcony to wave and show himself to the people who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the new Duke Sauron.
Rudel sunk into the seat of the office that was now his in the retaken castle and exhaled as if letting out every last breath of air in his lungs.
“Maybe because the crown and overcoat are so resplendent, they’re heavier than they look. It’s no wonder my shoulders are stiff,” he grumbled.
There were two other people in the room.
“You only feel that way because your body was stiff with nerves. You will be accustomed to it after half a year,” said one of them, a man with thinning hair and deep laugh-lines on his face who was visibly skilled in offering flattery. If there were a fierce-looking man and a woman wearing an extravagant dress standing next to him, he would have looked like a jester.
His name was Fatherick Dolmad. He was an honorary marquis from the center of the Orbaume Kingdom and the current marshal.
“I am so accustomed to it that I often forget my vestment and the robe that has my family crest on it,” he said.
“I think that’s unpleasant in itself. You were mistaken for a mere civil official by a soldier just a little while ago,” said the other person in the room in a damp tone.
It was an Elf man that was joining in on this conversation between two important noblemen. However, he was far from the stereotypical dainty, elegant Elf.
He had a well-featured face, but it had a gloomy expression on it, and although he was tall, he seemed cat-like as he sat in his chair, making him appear to be of average height. His hair was hanging loosely down to his shoulders and there was a stubble on his jaw. His body was lean but well-trained. He was wearing the kind of leather armor that a new adventurer might wear, and his belt was holding several knives that were the kind that would be sold in bulk at weapon stores.
If it weren’t for his long ears, he would look like nothing more than a worn-out, middle-aged mercenary. At the very least, his appearance made it questionable as to whether he was of a status that would allow him to be in this office.
Despite this, the man continued complaining to Marshal Dolmad, still staring at the guest table in front of him. “Just by walking around in public, you’re mistaken as a worthless civil official despite being a marquis who is an important supporter of the new Duke Sauron. Do you intend to have all of the soldiers and servants of the castle thrown out for disrespecting a nobleman?”
“‘Worthless civil official’ – What a terrible way to put it. And despite saying that, I believe that you have a similar appearance, Randolf ‘the True’-dono,” said Marshal Dolmad.
The Elf man… one of the Orbaume Kingdom’s S-class adventurers, Randolf ‘the True,’ snorted. “You’ve learned to speak your mind, Fatherick-boy.”
Rudel felt as if the temperature of the room had sharply dropped as Randolf spoke these words. This is no ordinary man…
Rudel had been planning to become the general of the Sauron Duchy’s army if his older brother hadn’t been slain by the Amid Empire. Thus, he was more competent in combat than ordinary noblemen, and he had experienced real battlefields, not just messy power struggles.
Despite that, he hadn’t been able to tell how strong Randolf was at all when Marshal Dolmad introduced them to each other.
But no matter how he tried to resist against this man, he would never defeat him. He was absolutely certain of this.
Randolf, who gained the title of S-class over a hundred years ago, praised by everyone as a ‘true adventurer.’ I suppose it means that he’s a cut above the ‘Blue-flamed Sword’ Heinz, even though they’re both S-class adventurers.
Perhaps unaware of Rudel’s fearful inner thoughts, Randolf didn’t look offended at all, just like Dolmad. As if nothing had happened at all, he took a small bottle of alcohol from his pocket and swigged its contents.
“I’ll confirm it before I accept the request. There’s no dress code and the only thing I’m lending is my name. Other than the very unlikely case where something happens, I just need to be here. That’s right, isn’t it?” Randolf asked Dolmad, who was his employer.
The truth was that Randolf had retired as an adventurer long ago. Or to be more precise, he had declared his retirement as an S-class adventurer.
One day, he had told the Guild Master of an Adventurers’ Guild branch that he was close to, “I’m not going to accept any requests anymore; I’m just going to go into Devil’s Nests on my own and hunt enough to not have any problems feeding myself,” and tried to hand in his Guild Card.
If he stopped being an adventurer, he wouldn’t be able to have the Adventurers’ Guild buy materials or other goods from Devil’s Nests or Dungeons, such as the proof of having exterminated the monsters. He would have to sell them to merchants individually or sell them personally.
But Randolf was an S-class adventurer, even though he was technically a former one. Even without his certification as an adventurer and his position in society, he still had the same abilities and experience. As long as he had those, any merchant would want to do business with him.
And Randolf had never had an interest in luxuries. Because he was proficient in the ways of living in forests like many Elves, he could support himself without ever going into a city.
He was a man who would be satisfied hunting suitable prey, making clothes out of fiber taken from plants and beast fur and making alcohol from fruit.
He had acquired the status of honorary nobleman in the kingdom, but he had said, “I don’t need it, and I don’t need a pension, either.”
It was not only the Guild Master, but all of the high-ranking officials of the Orbaume Kingdom at the time that were shaken by these words.
Randolf, an adventurer who represented the nation, would retire despite still possessing power. It would have been a serious affair if the Amid Empire were to recruit him.
The greatest problem of them all was that there was no way of stopping him. That was why they had met Randolf’s requests to the greatest extent possible and pleaded for him to act in a way that made it known that Randolf ‘the True’ was still alive and active, just no longer fighting on the frontlines of battlefields.
Despite all of this, he had just named conditions for his own employment moments earlier.
“I understand,” said Dolmad. “And at present, that ‘very unlikely case’ will not happen. It seems that your name has had an effect.”
The Amid Empire, who had retreated, were now just quietly observing across the Mirg shield-nation’s border. There were no signs of any empire spies within the Sauron region, nor any signs that anything significant would happen.
Marshal Dolmad had an optimistic view, seeing this situation to be a most favorable one.
And like him, Rudel’s wariness was focused on the political wars against the other dukes, as well as the political war against Dolmad who was present here. They were important supporters, but he had no intention of becoming their puppet.
But Randolf apparently had a different opinion.
“Fatherick-boy, are you sure about the resistance guys? And you, young one, what do you intend to do with the former Scylla territory?” he asked, turning to Rudel.
Rudel’s face twitched a little upon being referred to this way.
But Dolmad gave a gentle smile. “There is nothing to worry about. We are more than capable of dealing with it,” he said.
Using the kingdom’s information network, Dolmad and Rudel had sent numerous spies into the Sauron region, and they had been gathering information for a long time.
Among the information was a report that a broken pillar of light and a fierce explosion had been observed on the day that the ‘Light-speed Sword’ Rickert was defeated.
And then there was the chaos in Duke Marme’s army and the information announced by the empire. And the resistance’s movements after that… After analyzing them, Dolmad and Rudel had concluded that at present, the resistance organization known as the Sauron Liberation Front had been almost completely wiped out, and the few survivors were making contact with their families.
No, Dolmad had doubted whether the Sauron Liberation Front existed at all for a long time.
His investigation had concluded that their leader, the Liberating Princess Knight, was likely to be Iris, the only daughter of the Bearheart family of knights. However, from a certain point onwards, the entire resistance, including the Liberating Princess Knight herself, had changed too much.
That change could not be explained by the combination of the remnants of the Reborn Sauron Duchy Army alone.
First, they had been drastically more successful in battle than before. And these were not victories using advanced information warfare and strategy; they were piling up victories using pure fighting strength alone. They had become strong within a short period of time, as if they were different people altogether.
On top of that, the amount of goods they were consuming had clearly decreased. Dolmad had investigated and analyzed those thought to be supporters of the resistance, the damage the occupying army sustained and the goods that had been stolen from them, but things clearly didn’t add up.
The main body of Iris’s resistance were taking almost no medical supplies including potions, arms or food.
There were other strange details as well, such as how more of the resistance members were wearing the holy symbol of Vida and how the Liberating Princess Knight no longer recited the proverbs of Alda as she once did.
Based on these facts, Dolmad had guessed that the core members of the Sauron Liberation Front had been replaced, and that they were in a state where they had no need for external support or the capture of enemy supplies.
In other words, he suspected that the Sauron Liberation Front had been destroyed by the Amid Empire’s occupying army at the same time as the Reborn Sauron Duchy Army, and imposters had taken their place.
They were likely a diversion, created to find and gather all of the rebellious people within the Sauron region in one place, and they were actually receiving supplies from the occupying army, creating no need for their own.
It was likely that the Scylla had been killed by the occupying army as well or forced deep into the Boundary Mountain Range.
They had conducted this large-scale masquerade with the final goal of luring the Orbaume Kingdom’s army into a trap. The dispatch of the Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords was undoubtedly some kind of plot as well.
But they had then met their destruction at the hands of the powerful Undead that had crossed the Boundary Mountain Range with exceptional timing.
“It seems that there is still contact, but those will surely be the last few who were fortunate enough to survive. They are too insignificant to have any influence. We currently have plans to trace them back to their roots and capture them. If we announce them as dead, then take members that know nothing and turn them into celebrities and knights in the villages and towns, that will be the end of it,” said Dolmad.
“That’s quite a convenient… dirty way of thinking,” Randolf snorted. “Do you not think things are exactly as they said?”
“I do not,” Dolmad replied immediately. “I cannot imagine that the resistance escaped unscathed after being caught up in a battle where a powerful Undead defeated the Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords, a group of warriors that are equivalent to A-class adventurers.”
They had learned that there were fearsome explosions and two blinding flashes of light that could be seen even from the bottom of the mountain. The Scylla territory was considerably large, but it was impossible to imagine that the resistance could have avoided getting caught up in it.
“That’s not what I asked. I’m asking what you’ll do if the resistance is innocent,” said Randolf, continuing to press Dolmad.
But Rudel interrupted, a stiff expression on his face. “Randolf-dono, that is the kind of political talk that you dislike. I shall refrain from engaging in it,” he said.
As Eleanora and Miles had suspected, Rudel had already decided that land would be given to the later-born children of his supporters and the vassals that had served him. At the same time, he knew that Iris and her companions were very likely to be an obstacle to his rule in the future.
He would likely gather the support of many if he were to take Iris as his wife, but it was difficult to imagine that she would accept the other members of the resistance being ignored.
With that being the case, it was better to pretend that they were dead heroes that he could make use of.
Rudel hadn’t told Randolf this, but several of the letters sent from the resistance members to their families had been confirmed as authentic via their handwriting. Whether they were truly members of the resistance or traitors that had joined the occupying army didn’t matter.
There was already a plan in place to lure them out, strangle them, make them cough up the information they had and then have them disappear. All that was left was to execute it. An investigation of the Scylla territory was planned to take place after that.
If the supporters and lower-ranking members of the resistance wanted to make noise, they would be dealt with appropriately as well.
But Randolf had likely guessed this.
“I see. Everything is used as the Orbaume Kingdom’s shield and weapon; everything is for the stability of the Sauron Duchy and the kingdom’s prosperity,” he said, taking another swig from his bottle before standing up from his seat.
“Where are you going?” Rudel asked him.
“Somewhere,” said Randolf. “I’ll stay in this city for a while, so don’t worry. I owe at least that much to your great-grandmother.”
“Do you want to go and check it for yourself? The former Scylla territory is currently closed off, but it is a different story if you are the one entering it,” said Rudel, confident that Randolf ‘the True’ would show results even when facing a swarm of hundreds or thousands of Undead that included one powerful enough to defeat members of the Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords.
But Randolf gave a disinterested wave of his hand over his shoulder. “I don’t intend to do any work that gathers attention. I won’t ask what you intend to do, either. Do your best to be careful of that Dhampir.”
And then he left the room.
“… A moody person. And inexperienced beyond expectations,” said Dolmad.
“I heard from my grandfather that he heard my great grandmother mumbling that he tried to quit being an adventurer because he could not get used to things like this,” said Rudel. “Despite that, he has gained so much power that he cannot stay uninvolved with the world of politics. It seems that talent does not always bring its owners happiness.”
Despite his exhausted, resigned attitude, Randolf would interject once in a while. Rudel thought that he was more of a danger than the resistance or the Undead that had appeared from across the Boundary Mountain Range.
“What did he mean when he spoke of a Dhampir?” Rudel asked Dolmad, speaking to conceal his tension. “I did not know of the existence of any Dhampir but the one named Selen that is under the protection of the ‘Blue-flamed Sword’ Heinz.”
Dolmad laughed. “It is false information leaked by the empire. I am sure he meant it as a joke.”
Unlike Rudel, Dolmad knew that a Dhampir had apparently been born between a Subordinate Vampire and a Dark Elf in the Mirg shield-nation. He also knew that the Dhampir had appeared in the city of Niarki in the Hartner Duchy.
He had also heard that the Amid Empire had been trying to ensure that they didn’t miss the Dhampir as he came out of the Boundary Mountain Range.
But Dolmad questioned the background of that Dhampir. Even if it was a Dhampir, how could Dolmad possibly believe that he had led several hundred Ghouls across the Boundary Mountain Range at the age of three, and sent back the expedition army of the Mirg shield-nation as Undead?
The information itself was too unnatural to begin with.
The information that he seemed to be the leader of the Ghouls was based on the eyewitness testimony of just a single adventurer, and the information that he led them across the Boundary Mountain Range was based on the fact that tracks making it seem that he had done so had been found; nobody had actually witnessed it.
The fact that the Mirg shield-nation’s expedition army was repelled was nothing more than conjecture. None had survived; there were no witnesses.
Putting these facts together, Dolmad had concluded that it was true that a Dhampir had been born in the Mirg shield-nation, and that he had appeared in the Hartner Duchy about two years ago. However, he had concluded that there was no such thing as a Dhampir who had led Ghouls across the Boundary Mountain Range.
He thought that this was information that the Amid Empire had fabricated for the purpose of some kind of plot.
A plot to cut away treacherous, corrupt nobles within the nation as well as the military might of a vassal nation that sought independence, and to mislead the Orbaume Kingdom’s intelligence workers.
“I see,” Rudel said after hearing this explanation. “But,” he continued, “would the empire do such an absurd thing? Frankly, I would find it easier to believe if I were told that the sun had risen in the west and set in the east. Even if they were to fabricate false information, would they not fabricate it in a way that is more believable?”
“That is exactly it, Rudel-dono,” said Dolmad. “The empire’s plot is to make it appear that such absurd information is true and make us doubt ourselves. That is what they are after.”
Dolmad was convinced that this was the case.
It had been rumored that Earl Thomas Palpapek of the Mirg shield-nation was not on good terms with the Amid Empire. But it wasn’t rare in the world of politics for such rumored individuals to actually have hidden connections.
With the position and authority of a marshal, it would have been simple to have adventurers and spies provide false testimony.
There was also the information that the current Duke Hartner, Lucas, was wary of a Dhampir as well. But there was no doubt that he had simply used the information from the empire to put the blame on the Dhampir to explain the various errors and incidents that had occurred within the duchy. The whereabouts of the sealed fragment of the Demon King said to be stolen by a thief were questionable as well.
It was even possible that they attempted and failed to create a piece of Demon King equipment on their own, resulting in the castle tipping over, and the thief was just a fabrication to cover it up.
It was more sensible to think that this was the case. No, those who did not believe this could be said to have lost their ability to think rationally.
“Rudel-dono, you too must be careful to not lose your ability to stay composed to think and make decisions,” said Dolmad. “If you do not, you will be made to dance by these absurd stories and regret it later.”
“I-I see. I will bear that in mind,” said Rudel.
Dolmad’s warning was as much to himself as it was to Rudel, a reminder to always stay wary.
“That is what I would expect of the duke of the Sauron region, Rudel-dono,” he said.
Fatherick Dolmad. He was a man with a strong sense of suspicion and rational thinking; he would never believe that the sun could rise in the west and set in the east. This was what made him a capable politician.
Three people sat around a single map, groaning and sighing as they looked at each other.
“This is… He’s withdrawn back into the mountain range.”
“That’s unexpected. I was sure that he would take over the Sauron region with military strength.”
“Well, it probably just means that he has no intention of taking things that far.”
The three people gathered in this inn room… the ‘Clairvoyance’ Tendou Tatsuya, the ‘Ifrit’ Akaki Shouko and the ‘Mage Masher’ Minami Asagi, sat up in their chairs.
Several months had passed since they were reincarnated in this world, and they had been working in a certain city in the Hartner region as adventurers.
They had registered and acquired Jobs at the Adventurers’ Guild branch at an inn town by the highway, then promoted to E-class and changed Jobs again in another city further away. They had made sure they didn’t draw attention as strange newcomers that were being promoted abnormally quickly by changing locations regularly.
Because methods of communication hadn’t been developed in Lambda, they were able to keep up an effective disguise just by moving between considerably distant cities. The Guild didn’t ask every one of the countless new adventurers for the information regarding their past work in other cities.
But once they became C-class adventurers, they would draw attention as the ‘strange people who keep changing locations.’
Leaving that aside, what these three were conducting in this inn room was a strategy meeting to figure out Vandalieu’s movements.
The reincarnated individuals had been given a Target Radar as a Unique Skill. This detected the location of those that possessed death-attribute Mana of a certain quantity or more.
With this, they knew the direction that Vandalieu was in and how far away he was.
They were using that response and a map drawn based on the image of the Bahn Gaia continent that they had seen from Rodcorte’s Divine Realm to estimate Vandalieu’s location.
… The map they were relying on was of questionable accuracy, however. But in this world, maps were not ways to observe the geography of the land from things like artificial satellites; they were treated like military secrets. It was more than good enough for personal use.
If they wanted a map more accurate than this, they would need to steal one from a family of dukes somewhere.
Tendou… now named Tatsuya Tendou after his reincarnation. His Clairvoyance still had limits despite having been reborn.
“Tendou, is it impossible to see him with your transparent vision?” Asagi asked.
“It’s impossible,” Tendou said. “Just like in Origin, my transparent vision doesn’t let me see everything. And if I looked at him directly, there’s a high chance that I’ll be noticed, like the incident with Death Scythe.”
“It’s questionable as to whether we’d be safe if we’re noticed, even if he is really far away. It seems that he’s somehow able to Teleport, too,” said Akaki.
From sensing Vandalieu’s location through their Target Radar, they had seen several instances of Vandalieu instantly changing locations somehow. Tendou and his companions thought that this was probably teleportation.
It currently seemed that he couldn’t teleport freely, but it was possible that he was simply making it seem that he couldn’t.
“But what do you think he intends to do from here on? I can’t imagine that he’ll just fall back and stay quiet,” said Akaki Shouko… Shouko Akaki, looking perplexed.
She didn’t know anything about Vandalieu before he reincarnated in Lambda… just like the rest of the reincarnated individuals.
But she did have information about him after his reincarnation.
According to that information, he would retaliate when something was done to him, no matter who was responsible. Regardless of whether it was a nation or a god.
Despite that, it seemed that he had quietly withdrawn this time. Shouko found this strange. Tendou nodded in agreement as well.
But Asagi… Asagi Minami, seemed to think differently. “No, I’m sure he’s just calmed down because he has more things to protect now. And he’s not an innately bad guy; it’s not strange for him to let the situation resolve in peace as long as the blood doesn’t get to his head, right?” he said, crossing his arms and nodding to himself.
Shouko and Tendou looked at each other with strange, bitter smiles on their faces.
“It’s true that I think he’s not an innately bad guy, but…” said Tendou.
Vandalieu had been an ordinary student on Earth, and he had died after spontaneously deciding to try to save a girl who was his classmate. Even in Origin, after becoming the Undead, he had saved Pluto and the others who had been experimental subjects just like him.
It should be possible to categorize the current Vandalieu as a good person, not a bad guy.
“But if he was ‘not a bad guy,’ he wouldn’t have slaughtered an army of six thousand including the soldiers that tried to surrender, turned them into Undead and set them loose in their homeland, would he?” said Tendou.
“Asagi, there were no lessons teaching us to never take prisoners in the school we went to,” said Shouko.
Asagi frowned as he was reminded of how Vandalieu had treated the Mirg shield-nation’s expedition army, including the ones who had tried to surrender. “That’s… I’m sure that was the best he could do,” he insisted. “Right now, he believes that the whole world, other than his companions, is his enemy. That’s why he surrounds himself with freely-thinking Undead and monsters. But in truth, he believes that this is wrong, which is why he tries to help living people as well. You guys think so too, right?”
“I don’t know,” the other two said in unison.
“His personality and memories from when he was on Earth should have taken over long ago, but most of his actions have been so extreme and bizarre, so I can’t even imagine what kind of mental state he’s in,” said Shouko.
“In fact, depending on the situation, it might be stranger to think that he’ll understand us. But our objective is to first of all tell him that none of us except for Murakami intend to kill him,” said Tendou. “Asagi, save your persuasion attempt for afterwards.”
“You don’t need to nag me so many times. I know,” said Asagi. “For now, let’s just keep working in the duchies along the Boundary Mountain Range and wait for him to come out.”
The three of them didn’t know the exact details of the events that had occurred after their reincarnation, including the fact that the members of the Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords had been defeated by Vandalieu.
But Vandalieu was supporting the Liberating Princess Knight of the Sauron Liberation Front, Iris Bearheart, and as long as that was the case, she would not die. The Orbaume Kingdom had announced that she was dead despite this, so they simply thought that the kingdom had done something that was unfavorable for Vandalieu.
“After that, let’s see… I suppose we’ll find a good timing and try going into Dungeons, too. If we used Familiar Spirit Descent on a floor with no people around… like the Boss chamber, nobody would know,” said Asagi.
They still hadn’t been sent any information from their companions who had become familiar spirits in Rodcorte’s Divine Realm.
The initial plan had been to use the Familiar Spirit Descent Skill to have either them or other familiar spirits with information descend to deliver information.
However, due to the fact that the pillar of light from the sky would draw attention, they hadn’t put this plan into motion yet. The Familiar Spirit Descent Skill was not something a new adventurer would normally be able to use.
“Yeah. We might be able to learn something… The Dungeons around here are low-difficulty D-class Dungeons, so there are always a lot of people. We probably need to find other Dungeons,” said Tendou.
A terribly emaciated farmer was working on the rice fields, taking no notice of the cold water and mud.
No, it wasn’t an emaciated farmer. It was a Skeleton wearing tattered clothes. He was carefully repairing the footpaths between the rice fields.
A group of Wraiths was nearby, planting seeds in the fields.
“Oooh… Plant rice,” one of them groaned.
“Plough the fields…” groaned another.
The men and women that were of middle-to-old age, including Cubas, were being escorted around.
“To think that we would end up teaching Undead how to work the fields… Chief Cubas, are we going to be alright?”
“Don’t complain so much. The Undead are working without complaining; us living should learn from their example!”
“That’s impossible. There seem to be more Goblins and other monsters around recently; isn’t it dangerous?”
“Men shouldn’t complain! You’re even being paid, so shut up and work!”
“Grandma, we wouldn’t be able to teach the Undead if we were to shut up.”
It had been decided that the former Scylla territory would be maintained by the crudely-made Undead that had once been mercenaries and members of Duke Marme’s army, but they were still crudely-made Undead, after all. And there were also Goblins and other monsters that had gotten caught up in the magic circle.
They were pros when it came to working as guards, but amateurs at farming.
And before the Sauron Liberation Front disbanded and migrated to Talosheim, Iris and her companions had insisted that they couldn’t simply abandon Cubas’s village and the other deeply-involved supporters of the resistance.
It was almost certain that it would be difficult for Cubas and the others to continue living in the Sauron region, as they had been forbidden by the knights of the new Duke Sauron from speaking about the resistance.
In the worst-case scenario, Rudel Sauron and his vassals might become suspicious of the fact that the resistance had vanished and capture Cubas and the others, torture them and then slaughter them to ensure their silence, making the incident look like the doing of bandits.
Thus, Vandalieu had gone around the villages with the resistance members and worked on persuading the villagers while performing medical treatment, just as he had done in the cultivation villages of the Hartner Duchy.
The people of Cubas’s village who had supported Iris and her companions had felt distrust towards the new Duke Sauron to begin with, so persuading them had only taken several days.
And so, the villagers had been given the position of guiding the agriculture in the former Scylla territory.
“Grandpa, Grandma, watch your feet,” said one of the several Scylla that had been assigned here.
The Scylla were those who had once lived here. Meanwhile, Undead such as Living armors that were not suited to working in water-filled paddies were working as guards.
And the territory’s perimeter was surrounded by the repaired Golem monoliths and stone circles. There were also about two thousand crudely-made Undead that could be assigned to the rice fields. The Undead Sleygar, formerly one of the Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords, had been positioned there with his subordinates as well.
The automatic Undead-creating magic circle still had Mana left, so it would probably continue working for a while.
Vandalieu was planning to station flying Undead monsters like Wyverns nearby to be ready for aerial battles as well.
“But why are these rice plants growing when it’s the middle of winter?”
“I’m sure it’s because they’re the rice plants that we brought from our new paddies in the Devil’s Nest. But still, there are a lot of other monsters as well, not just Goblins. Don’t get too far away from us and the Undead guards,” one of the Scylla warned the villagers.
And although nobody had noticed, not even Vandalieu, the Scylla territory itself had become a Devil’s Nest.
Devil’s nests were generally monster lairs created when land was invaded by contaminated Mana.
The monoliths and stone circles, the intense battle against the members of the Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords, the large quantity of Undead spawning from the automatic Undead-creating magic circle.
With this much Mana freely flowing around, it was only natural for the former Scylla territory to become a Devil’s Nest.
But at this rate, Goblins and other monsters that were not the Undead who were appearing in greater numbers would be hunted to extinction. No matter how favorable a Devil’s Nest’s conditions were for monsters, it wouldn’t make any difference if they couldn’t survive.
It was inevitable that monsters would leave the Scylla territory in order to survive.
And because of the strange events such as the loss of contact with the resistance and the disappearance of the villagers of Cubas’s village and other villages, Rudel and Dolmad tried to begin their investigation earlier than planned. But when they did, the temporary fort next to the Scylla territory suffered continuous losses from repeated monster attacks.
Thus, Rudel Sauron became unable to rule not only the former Scylla territory, but the land adjacent to it as well.
Compared to the total landmass of the Sauron region, it was a negligible area of land. But as long as the former Scylla territory itself could not be cleared, the monsters would continue to overflow from the Devil’s Nest, increasing the Devil’s Nest’s size.