A warm welcome awaited Vandalieu and his party after he was acknowledged as emperor by the Kijin. The only ones who had held doubts about Vandalieu were Oniwaka and the Six Horn Battle-Demons excluding Gankaku; the other Kijin had apparently been friendly towards Vandalieu from the beginning.
The ancestor of the Kijin race, who was born between Vida, the goddess of life and love and Zantark, the war-god of fire and destruction, was the twin of the ancestor of the Majin race.
And so, the ancestor of the Kijin race was the older brother or sister of the ancestors of the Vampires and Ghouls, who were born afterwards. Thus, the Kijin race respected the Majin as older brothers and sisters, while Vampires and Ghouls were like close younger brothers and sisters. That was one of the reasons Godwin had gathered so much respect in the Kijin nation.
Vandalieu, a half-Vampire and king of Ghouls, was like a sibling to the Kijin race.
The first day was simply a welcoming feast. After that, with King Tenma left aside as he had drunken himself unconscious, businesslike discussions took place with his queen Yura and his concubines.
It seemed that in the Kijin nation, where there were many muscle-heads and berserkers, women often served in civil-official-type roles.
“I would really like to have that person and Oniwaka learn a lesson from His Majesty the Emperor. Oniwaka in particular is still called by a childhood name… I wonder when Oniwaka will become an adult,” Yura said, letting out a troubled sigh.
Apparently in the Kijin nation, people were called by childhood names rather than their real names until they became adults. Oniwaka was apparently a childhood name, and his real name was something else.
In order to become acknowledged as an adult, a Kijin needed to exterminate a single monster from one of the B-class Dungeons around the nation on their own.
Even the weakest monsters that appeared on the shallower floors of B-class Dungeons were Rank 6. Kijin had a base Rank of 4, so this was quite a difficult task for them.
“Does this… not mean that there are some Kijin who cannot become adults?” asked Princess Levia.
Even if they were a race that was suited for battle, there would be weaker individuals. It was impossible for every single member of the race to be strong.
“Well, from time to time,” said one of King Tenma’s concubines. “In such cases, they often migrate to other nations. If they stayed in this nation while being weak and a monster rampage were to occur, there would be no guarantee that they would survive.”
“And in other nations… other than in the Noble Orc kingdom, Drakonid nation and Majin nation, they would still be useful as fighters, and they would be welcomed as brothers,” said another concubine.
In the event that something were to happen, those that couldn’t protect themselves would expose others around them to danger. That was why such individuals left the nation.
“That’s quite strict. But I suppose it can’t be helped? The monsters outside the Dungeons around here seem strong, too,” said Orbia, who was floating around to the side, nodding to herself.
“I understand that, but… in other words, even you ladies?” asked Kimberley, staring at Yura and the concubines.
If their words were true, that would mean that even the women possessed the strength to defeat a Rank 6 monster on their own, so this reaction wasn’t unreasonable.
And the Kijin nation’s total population was about ten thousand. There were still non-combatants such as pregnant women and young children, but other than them, all of the Kijin were capable of fighting.
“Wouldn’t the Amid Empire be defeated if it fought a war against this nation…? Well, I get the feeling that the same is true for the Noble Orc kingdom and Majin nation as well, though,” said Kimberley.
“No, that should not be the case. There are several factors that determine the outcome of a war other than pure strength; we learned this in the previous battle against Bugitas’s army,” said Bellmond.
Indeed, even if the Amid Empire were to fight the Kijin nation, it would not be defeated. The Kijin nation had the responsibility of managing the Dungeons around it, so it would not be able to invest all of its fighting forces into the war. And like Bugitas, they were missing much of the knowledge and technology required for wars… such as how to maintain supply trains and deliver information.
If there really were a war… the Kijin nation would dispatch several thousand warriors and trample over the empire’s vassal nations at the start. But without proper supply trains and messenger networks, they would be counterattacked and forced to retreat by the empire’s army, the Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords and A-class adventurers.
But there was no realistic way for the empire to cross the Boundary Mountain Range and counterattack the Kijin nation, so the war would inevitably end there.
It was highly likely that there wouldn’t be a victor or a loser.
… But even the Kijin nation would need to send its warriors across the Boundary Mountain Range, whose mountains pierced the heavens, so this was a fruitless hypothetical situation.
“It is an honor to be compared in such a way against the empire, where Alda is the chief god,” said Yura. “I want Oniwaka to become a fine warrior that can be of use in a battle against the empire, but…”
“No, Oniwaka-san is quite skilled. He stayed conscious after being attacked by Bocchan’s tongue!” said Rita.
“That’s right, Bocchan could defeat a Dragon with his tongue if he wanted to!” said Saria.
“Now, now. Bocchan said that defeating a Dragon like that would be impossible without using the Demon King’s proboscis. You are exaggerating,” said Sam. “Isn’t that right, Bocchan?”
Vandalieu was sleeping soundly… or rather, lying lifelessly, on Tarea’s lap with Bellmond’s tail covering him like a blanket. He twitched slightly from time to time.
“Van-sama is still over there,” said Tarea.
She pointed at a group of semi-transparent Vandalieus, who were busily exchanging documents with the Kijin nation’s chief civil officials.
“Is this expression’s meaning correct?”
“Yes, there are no problems with it. Incidentally, what is the meaning of this expression?”
“Is it alright if we hold the next meeting after our challenge of the Trial of Zakkart has finished?”
“About the Dungeon that you may clear for us, the Ogres’ Nest is suitable for our schedule.”
“What about Tarea’s homestay host?”
Vandalieu was not exchanging opinions in this meeting; he was creating documents with main points written on them and acting as civil officials, focusing on making arrangements with the other nation’s civil officials.
Perhaps it could be said that there was no time to voice opinions.
As for why he was doing this, the way Vandalieu and his companions spoke was a little different from the way that the people of the Kijin nation spoke.
The language of the champions, Japanese, had spread in this world after the Demon King was destroyed. That was true within the Boundary Mountain Range as well, but differences in speech were bound to arise after over a hundred thousand years of isolation.
Even those differences were more like different dialects; there were no problems when it came to everyday conversation. But it would be problematic if there were cases where word A was thought to mean B in Talosheim but meant C in the Kijin nation.
That was why Vandalieu had asked Kurt to come with him multiple times to make sure things were in order.
“Fuh, I’m finished. Thank you for your hard work,” said one of Vandalieu’s spirit clones.
“No, thank you,” said one of the Kijin.
“Excuse me, I feel a little dizzy…” said another.
Vandalieu and the Kijin bowed towards one another. Though they were the chief civil officials, they were Kijin of this nation so they were warriors as well, but their faces were pale.
It wasn’t that they were tired from the extreme meeting that had taken place at the feast; it was probably because they had been continuously looking at the same face that had multiplied like an amoeba. Facing each other with serious expressions was something that needed a little getting used to.
“Now then, the feast seems to be in full swing, so… Huh? Why is my body with Tarea and Bellmond? If I recall, I left it with Borkus,” said one of Vandalieu’s spirit clones, having realized quite late that his physical body was lying in Tarea’s lap with Bellmond’s tail as a blanket.
“That’s because Borkus drank himself unconscious partway through the feast… even though he is an Undead,” Tarea said, pointing at the table by which Borkus was lying face down in a slumber along with Kankaku and Kidoumaru.
“… He’s snoring,” Vandalieu remarked.
“I assume he got drunk on his mood. He just assumed that he would have to be drunk after drinking this much,” said Tarea.
“Ah, someone who gets drunk on air.”
Undead generally didn’t become intoxicated by drinking alcohol, but if they had experienced drinking until they fell unconscious before, they could become drunk on the assumption that they would become drunk.
“Borkus often drank himself unconscious when he was still alive…” Princess Levia murmured softly as she recalled those times.
“Perhaps if we drank when we were still alive, we might have understood what it is like to be drunk,” said Saria.
“Nee-san, even if we can’t get drunk on alcohol, we can get drunk on blood!” said Rita.
“Our people are generally dangerous, but these two seem quite dangerous too,” said one of the Kijin.
“Vandalieu, you mustn’t drink yourself unconscious, even after you become an adult,” said Darcia.
“Yes, Mom,” said Vandalieu’s physical body. “By the way, this is really comfortable, so can I just sleep like this?”
“Danna-sama, if you have returned to your physical body, please get up,” said Bellmond.
『The Levels of the Enhanced Physical Ability (Hair, Claws, Tongue, Fangs), Parallel Thought Processing, Materialization, Coordination and High-speed Thought Processing Skills have increased!』
High in the night sky, there was something looking down at the royal capital city of the Mirg shield-nation, which could be considered one of Lambda’s great cities.
The city was surrounded by plain but sturdy walls with patrol towers, ballistas and defense installations. It would clearly have a strong advantage in defensive battles. It was likely to also be equipped with mechanisms that allowed the drawing of water from underground sources.
The thing floating in the sky was an organism with the form of a sphere made of flesh mannequins entwined around each other – Legion.
“The walls and several of the city’s buildings form a magic circle that produce a barrier in the sky in times of emergency. It seems like it will be difficult to attack it from the front.”
“Really? I think you’re just overestimating it, Enma. If we rammed ourselves into those walls, it would collapse like a sugar sculpture.”
“Sugar sculptures are delicious, aren’t they?”
As they exchanged this dangerous-sounding conversation, they searched for the building that was their objective.
“Baba Yaga, Jack, you two help, too. It’s hard to find the target just by the shape of the roof, you know?”
“What about Enma?”
“From this angle, I can only see the slums. Our target is in the upper-class nobles’ area, isn’t it?”
“We must go lower!”
“Valkyrie, keep your voice down.”
“Hmm, maybe it’s that one? Though we can’t be sure without checking the family crest from up close.”
Why was Legion here alone in the skies above the royal capital of the Mirg shield-nation, an enemy nation? That was because Vandalieu had sent them here on an errand.
As they had once been the Eighth Guidance, a cult that worshipped the Undead that was Vandalieu in Origin, they had no desire to be separated from him. But since he had directly asked this of them, they wouldn’t refuse.
But as a reward for this errand, they had been promised that they would be taken when Vandalieu faced the Trial of Zakkart.
“We can’t be equipped, after all. If we didn’t at least get that as a reward…”
“Even while we’re doing this, Privel, Gizania and the others are gaining more experience.”
“We’re going into the royal capital for that reward. It’s not a time of emergency now, so the barrier won’t be up now.”
“Then we’ll leave the control of our body to you, Ghost.”
Legion used the Size Alteration Skill, reducing their body size to as small as possible. Once they were small enough to be held by an adult, they silently dropped towards the ground.
“Leave it to me,” said Ghost, who was now in charge of controlling their body, as he lowered Legion into a deserted back alleyway and glided towards their destination.
In order to deliver a letter.
Sarua Legston, the first son born to Alsard Legston, the head of the Legston family of earls in the Mirg shield-nation, was an extremely ordinary baby.
He had been born a little prematurely and caused his parents and the other adults around to worry, but he developed normally after that and his first birthday was approaching in this year’s spring.
There had been no halo over his head at birth, nor had a clergyman prophesized that this child would become a great man in the future, nor had he developed particularly quickly, nor was he particularly smart.
But it was possible that in the future, he would possess the fighting strength worthy of a nobleman involved in military affairs, and he might work as a military civil official or as a reliable commander.
Sarua, the child with these possibilities within him, witnessed something one night. Perhaps it was a coincidence that would not happen more than one in ten thousand times, or perhaps it was his fate.
Sarua, who had awoken during the night for no particular reason, saw someone enter his room who was certainly not one of his parents or the wet nurses that he was used to seeing.
The wooden door opened slightly without a sound, and something flesh-colored poured in like a liquid sauce squeezed out of its container.
Sarua heard a few quiet voices.
“Are the lights on?”
“It’s a baby’s room. It’s probably kept dimly lit in case the baby starts crying.”
“Don’t speak. What will you do if it wakes up?”
As the thing that had intruded gathered into a sphere about the same size as Sarua, it left through the door, unaware that Sarua was watching them.
However, even when tomorrow came, nothing notable happened. His parents and grandparents didn’t die mysterious deaths, and the servants moved about just as they had done the previous day.
It seemed that nobody in the house had seen that strange intruder other than Sarua. And even though he cried more than he had done the previous day, as he was still less than a year old, the wet nurses merely measured his temperature and checked to see if anything was wrong with him.
It was that night that Sarua learned of that intruder’s objective and who it was working for.
He woke up from an afternoon nap to see that it was not a wet nurse, but his father Alsard and his grandfather Cecil that were in his room.
“But Oyaji, do you believe that letter?” Alsard asked.
“There is no choice but to believe it. There were several things written in there that only Chezare and Kurt know,” said Cecil.
It seemed that the two of them had come here to hold a private conversation under the guise of wanting to see Sarua’s face. The details of why this was were unclear, but the room of a baby who could not yet speak was probably the most convenient place for Alsard and Cecil to hold this conversation.
They continued talking, not realizing that Sarua had woken up.
“That’s true, but… It’s possible that they were tortured and forced to give up these details,” said Alsard.
“No, that’s impossible,” said Cecil. “The first half of the letter is in Chezare’s handwriting, and the second half is Kurt’s. There’s no doubt about it.”
“I know that. But if that’s the case, then the fact that Earl Palpapek is a terrible traitor is –”
Sarua, whose mind was wandering with drowsiness, ignored the conversation that he could not comprehend and tried to fall back asleep.
No matter how important the topic of conversation was, since he couldn’t understand it, it was no different from a lullaby.
“The Dhampir Vandalieu… so, the fate of the Legston family and this child depends on him,” said Alsard.
The moment Sarua heard his father speak this name, his consciousness and memories awakened.
Vandalieu?! That’s right, I’m… Samejima Yuuri, the ‘Perseus’ Samejima Yuuri!”
Two lives and deaths on Earth and in Origin, and a request from Rodcorte to eliminate Amamiya Hiroto… Vandalieu. These memories and personality returned to him.
The ‘Gungnir’ Kaidou Kanata, who had dirtied his hands with numerous crimes despite being a member of the Bravers, had been killed by the ‘Metamorph’ Shihouin Mari to avenge her mother. Samejima Yuuri was one of the three reincarnated individuals who were killed in the riots caused by Kanata’s death.
That was the identity of Sarua Legston in his previous life.
Up until this moment, Sarua had been nothing more than an ordinary baby, but now, his consciousness and senses were rapidly transforming into the memories and personality from his previous life.
He hadn’t understood the words spoken in conversation by his father and grandfather, but now he could understand most of them.
That conversation and the information given to him by Rodcorte… Combined with his knowledge of the events that had occurred before and after the ‘Gungnir’ Kaidou Kanata was destroyed by Vandalieu, he put together his current situation in his mind.
My third life might be… over…?
As a result of his evaluation of the situation, he realized that his life was in danger.
Samejima Yuuri… Sarua, was one of the three reincarnated individuals who had refused to have anything to do with Vandalieu despite Rodcorte’s offered rewards. Thus, he hadn’t intended to get involved with Vandalieu even when his memories and personality returned.
He was a noble of a nation that considered Dhampirs monsters and the mothers who gave birth to them witches. He was even the first son of the family of the vice-commander of the expedition army that had been dispatched to Talosheim, the nation that was ruled by Vandalieu.
And Sarua’s uncles Chezare and Kurt had sworn loyalty to Vandalieu and become his influential vassals, Chezare having done so after becoming an Undead while Kurt had done so while still alive.
And last night, a letter from those uncles had been delivered. It contained an accusation that Vampires worshipping an evil god had connections to the current marshal, Thomas Palpapek, and an offer to defect to Talosheim.
It had likely been delivered by that strange intruder. It seemed that Vandalieu’s reach had grown beyond what was detailed in the information that Sarua had been given.
He knew that at this point in time, it seemed impossible that he would be able to avoid getting involved with Vandalieu.
If his father and grandfather accepted the offer, he would become a son of one of Talosheim’s benefactors, nephew of Vandalieu’s influential vassals. He would likely meet Vandalieu himself. And eventually, Vandalieu would realize that he was a reincarnated individual.
He would need behave as would naturally be expected of a child of his age, conceal his qualities for magic, not use his cheat-like abilities and seal the lips of the other reincarnated individuals who knew that he was a reincarnated individual…
It’s impossible. Maybe I could do it for a day or two, but spending my entire life as an act that I can’t make a mistake in is impossible. There’s no guarantee that I’d be able to keep the other reincarnated individuals quiet, either. No, my companions from the Bravers have likely changed their names and faces as well, so maybe they won’t notice?
No! If Rodcorte tells everyone, “Sarua Legston is the ‘Perseus’ Samejima Yuuri,” there’s no point in having a different face!
After all, he was the eldest son of an influential noble family of a vassal nation of the Amid Empire. Even in this world, where ways of spreading information hadn’t been developed yet, it was possible that he would be found just by having his full name known.
No, wait. Judging from the conversation of these two, they seem to be leaning towards accepting the offer, but they haven’t decided yet. There might be a chance that they’ll reject it – wait, isn’t that the worst possible scenario?!
Refusing the offer to defect to Talosheim would mean that the family would remain as a noble house of an enemy nation, one deeply involved with its army at that.
Even in such a case, it was unlikely that Sarua would face Vandalieu directly. He would need at least twenty or thirty more years before he could command armies on the battlefield as an adult… It was possible that this nation would be destroyed before that could happen.
It had already dispatched its army once, and even after everything that had happened, it still persecuted Vida’s races, including Dhampirs.
And if Sarua recalled, the Mirg shield-nation’s role was to act as a shield… a defense for the empire. A peaceful reconciliation with the nation of Talosheim ruled by Vandalieu wouldn’t happen.
Well, there are actually numerous secret weapons, and there might be a chance that the empire can win against Talosheim, but… either way, geographically speaking, it’s this nation that will become the battlefield.
If that was the case, there was no telling what would become of the family in this house, regardless of the outcome.
If pathogens were released, it was more than likely that this family would get caught up in it and perish.
Now that things have come to this, I have to escape from this family… there’s no way I can do that. I’m just a baby who’s less than a year old.
Sarua had retained his experiences and cheat-like ability from his previous life, but unlike Vandalieu, who had been born as a Dhampir, his body was that of an ordinary human.
There was a vast difference in physical strength and Mana between him and Vandalieu when he was a baby.
Escaping the Legston family on his own was impossible. If he just wanted to leave the house, he might be able to manage it, but it would likely just end up being a slow method of suicide.
Even if I did leave, I suppose the age needed to be able to survive in society is about fifteen? Things won’t postpone themselves for that time. And then there’s the problem of where to go afterwards…
It would be meaningless for him to leave the house and then stay in the Mirg shield-nation. There would still be the possibility of him getting caught up in things and getting killed immediately.
With that being the case, he would need to flee to another vassal nation of the empire that was far from the Boundary Mountain Range, to the Orbaume Kingdom to the east or outside the continent, but… none of these options were simple for a boy concealing his identity after fleeing from his family.
No, now that I think about it, it’s all useless if Rodcorte tells everyone my true identity anyway, isn’t it?! What should I do… Suicide is… impossible, so is there another option?
After dying in Origin, Sarua had been in a state of despair before he reincarnated in Lambda. Having become tired of living, he thought it bothersome that he would have to live a third life.
But he felt that he couldn’t commit suicide now that he had been reborn and was living once more. It was probably because he had a body now, causing him to feel an instinct to exist that he hadn’t felt in a soul-only form.
In other words, in order for me to survive, my family has to defect to Talosheim and I have to make a peaceful reconciliation with Vandalieu. Personally, I don’t really remember having arguments with that guy, and he should think the same. Come to think of it, I wonder what the other reincarnated individuals are doing?
Where had Skanda and Urðr, who had died at the same time as Sarua, been reborn? Were there any other reincarnated individuals who had died after them?
I’m curious, but now that I think about it, we didn’t make any plans for me to receive any additional information from that god. Will we be reunited naturally, like on Origin? … Ugh, I’m starting to feel overwhelmed…
After thinking this far, Sarua lost consciousness. Before he could check his Status, he developed a teething fever and spent the next few days unconscious, and the next time he woke, his memories from his previous life were gone again.
The body and brain of a baby less than a year old hadn’t been able to fully cope with the sudden awakening of those memories and personality. It wasn’t until several months later that he regained his memories and personality again.
He was different from Vandalieu, whose control over his own body had been taken from him in Origin and unconsciously learned the feeling of thinking with just his soul and spirit after dying and becoming the Undead.
The day after the feast, Vandalieu and his companions decided to clear the Ogres’ Nest, a D-class Dungeon near the Kijin nation.
This was so that Vandalieu could later use the Labyrinth Creation Skill to teleport back to this Dungeon and return to the Kijin nation quickly for the next meeting and visit, and if an emergency were to arise.
It would have been easier to create a small, one-chamber Dungeon with Labyrinth Construction. But it seemed that creating yet another Dungeon in an environment that already had multiple Dungeons nearby was something that the Kijin nation would like to avoid.
“The goddess created the Boundary Mountain Range in order to protect our ancestors. A hundred thousand years ago, the mountains were apparently like solid masses of Mana. Of course, no matter how much Mana there was, it was the Mana of Vida, the goddess of life and love, so it would not turn the land into Devil’s Nests,” said Oniwaka. “But that wasn’t true of the Mana of the gods who served her.”
The evil gods who were the ones who originally create monsters and the monsters like the Noble Orcs who worshipped them gradually polluted the Mana in their surroundings unconsciously, just by existing.
Gufadgarn, the evil god of labyrinths, deliberately gathered that power into a particular area of land and created Dungeons.
Mububujenge, the evil god of degenerate corpulence, and Zozogante, the evil god of the dark forest, were also capable of creating Dungeons. But there were no gods who could create as many or as great a variety of Dungeons as Gufadgarn.
He had likely decided that it was better to create Dungeons in a place where it was easy to manage them rather than have them appear spontaneously all around the area contained within the Boundary Mountain Range.
“And the three most particularly dangerous places… the Dungeons on the eastern side of the mountain range were left to the Drakonid race, the A-class Dungeon in the flat area between the mountains to the Majin race, and us Kijin were entrusted with maintaining this area, the western side of the mountain range. What do you think! Amazing, isn’t it!” said Oniwaka, proudly explaining why his nation was surrounded by Dungeons.
“Yes,” Vandalieu agreed. “Dungeons are treasure troves of products including the items contained within the chests that spawn in them, but obtaining them comes with a considerable amount of danger. Rather than pushing the responsibility of managing them onto designated warriors, the entire country has taken that responsibility for over a hundred thousand years. I think that’s amazing.”
Unlike adventurers that belonged to the Adventurers’ Guild, Kijin did not receive rewards just for defeating monsters. For those like Oniwaka to make a living, they needed to bring back materials stripped from monsters inside the Dungeons.
No matter how strong the Kijin were, things would be tough for them since the materials they brought back would not be enough to live on. Despite that, the Kijin race had continued this harsh lifestyle for a hundred thousand years. They had likely received support from the other nations, but their way of life was something to be admired.
“I wish the people of the Hartner Duchy could learn from your example,” said Vandalieu.
The Hartner family, who had handled the sealed Demon King’s fragment poorly, could learn something from the Kijin.
“Your Majesty, if they had managed things properly, we wouldn’t be here now,” said Princess Levia.
“That’s true,” said Vandalieu. “Then let’s be thankful for their negligence.”
“I heard from Borkus yesterday that things are strange on the outside,” said Oniwaka. “Apparently it’s the humans getting what they deserve, though.”
“As a former human, this talk hurts my ears,” said Kimberley.
“Come to think of it, we were humans living on the outside,” said Sam.
The ones exploring the Ogres’ Nest were Vandalieu, the Ghosts, Sam who was in charge of transport and Oniwaka, who was guiding them and explaining various things. They proceeded through a desert inside the Dungeon as they shared this conversation.
Quinn was riding inside Sam’s carriage as well, but she was busy taking care of the Gehenna Bee eggs that she had laid.
Incidentally, Darcia was continuing the discussions from yesterday with Yura and the others. Borkus, Bellmond and the others were there to watch over her. Tarea was on her own today, exchanging smithing techniques with the arms smiths of the Kijin nation.
“I heard that this would be the case, but it really is only Ogres that come out, isn’t it?” Princess Levia remarked.
As the Dungeon’s name might suggest, the monsters appearing in the Dungeons were demi-human, Ogre-type monsters. Ordinary Ogres were Rank 4, but there were inferior races such as Rank 3 Lesser Ogres, and other varieties of Ogres such as Desert Ogres and Frost Ogres that were adapted to living in deserts and cold climates.
Incidentally, the Dungeon Boss was apparently often an Ogre with a higher Rank, such as an Ogre Soldier or Ogre Grappler.
This was an excellent Dungeon for Ogre Tamers looking to tame Ogres… For those that weren’t Ogre Tamers, it was apparently of questionable value, as the variety of materials that could be obtained were not great considering the Dungeon’s difficulty.
“But it’s easy to clear since there’s only one type of monster that comes out,” said Vandalieu.
“Yeah. The main reason we chose this Dungeon was because there are only ten floors. Unlike me, you could likely clear it very quickly, since you were able to defeat the Six Horn Battle-Demons,” said Oniwaka, exchanging words openly with Vandalieu with a completely different attitude from his attitude towards Vandalieu at the beginning.
As Vandalieu immediately knew the layout of a Dungeon’s floor just by stepping onto it due to the effects of the Labyrinth Creation Skill, he wouldn’t normally need a guide.
But Oniwaka’s mother Yura had whispered to him, “Go with him to deepen your friendship,” so they were going through the Dungeon together.
Though Oniwaka had intended to follow Vandalieu even if he hadn’t been told this, as he respected him as a kindred-spirit.
“By the way, I wanted to ask. When you fought us, you used the no-attribute spell Flight, but you didn’t use Strengthen Physical Ability. Why not? I know you have a lot of Mana, but since you’re good at holding back, you should have been able to increase your strength a reasonable amount and defeat us more quickly,” said Oniwaka, making casual conversation to deepen their friendship.
“Now that you mention it…” several people whispered.
Even Sam, the one who had known Vandalieu the longest among everyone here, had never seen him use Strengthen Physical Ability.
“W-what’s the matter? Is there some kind of reason for it?” asked Oniwaka, flustered upon realizing that the atmosphere had changed.
“No, there’s no particular reason behind it,” said Vandalieu in the same light-hearted tone as before. “The reason I’ve never used Strengthen Physical Ability before is simply because I’d die if I made a mistake when controlling my Mana.”
“You’ll die?!” Oniwaka shouted in surprise.
But he wasn’t the only one. Even those who knew just how immortal Vandalieu was were surprised.
“Eh?! You’ll die?! You didn’t die even when your head was cut off!” Orbia exclaimed.
“Impossible! Bocchan, who did not die even when his heart was stopped?!” shouted Sam.
“Yes, I’ll die,” said Vandalieu. “Even if I used just ten thousand Mana for Strengthen Physical Ability, if I made a mistake in balancing how my muscles and bones were strengthened, my bones will break and my organs would rupture.”
In this world, possessing a Mana pool of ten thousand would be enough to be known as a first-rate mage.
Vandalieu already possessed the No-Attribute Magic Skill at Level 9. If he were to use ten thousand Mana all on the Strengthen Physical Ability spell, just how much would his body be strengthened?
His body would transcend its limits, and one misstep would result in his own destruction. After all, it was equivalent to squeezing all of the Mana out of a first-rate mage and strengthening his body with it.
“I’m not that outstanding other than my Mana,” said Vandalieu. “My Strength, Agility and Stamina were all lower than the Six Horn Battle-Demons, weren’t they? Of course, I think the worst that would happen is my limbs exploding if I tried and failed now, though.”
And with the Demon King’s exoskeleton and blood’s support, he would be able to withstand it better.
But rather than taking this risk and mustering all of his concentration to control his Mana to cast Strengthen Physical Ability, he could fight better without using it.
That was what Vandalieu thought.
“Then couldn’t you use Strengthen Physical Ability with your spirit clones?” Kimberley asked.
“Kimberley, Strengthen Physical Ability is a spell that strengthens the physical body, so I can’t strengthen my clones with it even after using Materialization on them,” said Vandalieu.
“I see… more is not always better. Just like how it becomes more difficult to move if you have too much muscle,” said Oniwaka.
“Yes, Mana is like muscle,” said Vandalieu.
Vandalieu and his companions continued clearing the Ogres’ Nest, exchanging a conversation that mages would fiercely object to if they were to hear it.
Incidentally, the Dungeon boss was an Ogre Gorilla, an ape monster with muscles all over its body and horns growing from its head. That apparently happened from time to time as well.