Privel, who had made camp on a floor about ten floors above where she had fought the Cyclopes, woke up from the strange dream.
Being given a crystal and fangs by an enormous Van-kun, I can’t say much about Isla.
Normally, wouldn’t it be an adult Van-kun appearing in her dreams? A mountain-sized, child-form Van-kun had suddenly come to play. That was the kind of dream it had been.
Well, it’s not that weird to have one strange dream, right? she thought, and then she got up. She stretched and opened her eyes.
“Maybe it’s that strange dream’s fault… My head is spin – m-monsters?!”
Privel was startled to see that there were small Dragons lying on the ground around her.
The Dragons, whose eyelids had been closed, woke up and began crying in surprise.
At that moment, Privel’s vision distorted and she went into a panic.
“I-I’m surrounded?! Where is everyone?! I-I have to get away!”
Privel had begun training in not only magic but combat abilities as well, but she wasn’t capable enough to be able to deal with being surrounded by enemies in all directions.
She began reciting an incantation and tried to gain some distance from the Dragons.
At that moment, Isla appeared from behind Privel and gave her a chop on the head.
“Calm down,” she said.
Isla had only held back slightly; Privel staggered upon receiving the blow. And then Pauvina, who had apparently been hiding somewhere, ran to her and pinned her arms behind her back.
“W-what are you doing?!” Privel demanded, thrashing about to try and escape Pauvina’s arms. “Th-there are Dragons right there!”
“That’s what we’re trying to tell you, look closely. Look where the Dragons are coming from,” Pauvina said.
For the first time, Privel noticed that something was strange.
The Dragons were crying, but they weren’t trying to attack her or Pauvina, who was holding onto her.
“Look closely,” said Isla. “Here.”
She took hold of the head of one of the Dragons and held it up for the bewildered Privel to look at closely.
“Where they’re coming from, you say…” Privel murmured.
The Dragons were smaller than Wyverns, small enough for her to hold in her arms. The head, which had sharp teeth and horns, continued on into a neck. And when Privel looked past that, she saw that it was connected not to a scaled body, but a tentacle that she was very familiar with.
“D-Dragons are growing from me?!”
“No, the tips of your tentacles have become Dragon heads,” said Pauvina.
The tips of the tentacles of Privel’s lower body had transformed into the heads of Dragons.
“Y-you’re right… wow, it feels weird,” said Privel, patting the Dragon head on the end of the tentacle that Isla was holding.
It wasn’t just that the tentacle tip resembled a Dragon head. Its surface was covered in scales that were both hard and smooth, and the horns and teeth were clearly bone, not masses of flesh.
Privel saw her own stiff smile in the vision of the Dragon’s eyes, telling her that they were real as well.
The reason her vision had been distorted ever since she woke up was because she suddenly had sixteen extra eyes.
“It seems that you’ve calmed down. Have you checked your Status?” Isla asked.
“Ah, I’ll check it now,” Privel said. “Status… My Rank has increased and I’ve become an Origin Scylla High Druid?!”
Legends told of some Scylla individuals of the distant past having tentacle tips with the form of Dragon or wolf heads.
But none had ever seen such Scylla in reality; even in the Mages’ Guild, it was nothing more than a legend recorded in an ancient manuscript.
“T-to think that I’d transform into a legendary Scylla… I thought it was just a dream!” Privel exclaimed.
“Ah, so you were dreaming after all,” said Isla.
“Yeah, this morning’s dream was… wait, why are you so calm?! I’m really shocked, you know?!”
“While I was keeping watch, your bodies began transforming, so I thought that was the case. Gizania and Myuze were saying the same, too,” Isla explained.
“I see… wait, Gizania and Myuze grew something as well?! Where are they?” Privel asked.
“Isla said it was dangerous, so we carried them far away while you were sleeping,” said Pauvina. “Your tentacles would drag on the ground, so we left you alone, though.”
“If you three all went into a panic at the same time, it would have been troublesome to get you to all calm down, so we woke you up one at a time,” said Isla.
“Ah… You’re right, that might have been dangerous,” Privel agreed.
Privel and Gizania were powerful due to their large bodies, and Myuze had sickle arms with sharp blades. It would have been a catastrophe if all three of them panicked and thrashed about.
Mostly, it would be a catastrophe for themselves. Isla was far stronger than any of them in hand-to-hand combat, and Pauvina would be unharmed if she held her Orichalcum shield and kept her distance.
“It’s okay to come out!” Pauvina called out.
Gizania and Myuze, who had been keeping themselves hidden at a distance, showed themselves.
“Oh, it seems that Privel’s transformation was the greatest,” Myuze remarked. “What has happened to your tentacles?”
Myuze was sparkling. Her sickle-arms and green exoskeleton had transformed into an emerald-like material.
“I think that you have changed considerably yourself, Myuze-dono… I have merely grown some horns,” said Gizania.
Her transformation was not as profound as Privel’s or Myuze’s. But horns like those of a bull were growing from her temples.
And the part of Gizania’s body that Privel felt a sense of threat from seemed to have grown even larger. The chest area.
Startled, Privel looked down at her own chest, but the objects there were the same as they had been yesterday. She looked up and her eyes met with Myuze’s, who had been checking her own chest in the same way.
“… For now, I think we should complain about this incident to Van-kun,” Privel said.
“I agree,” said Myuze.
They were already certain that their sudden, strange Rank increase was due to the guidance of the Vandalieu that had appeared in their dreams.
“Despite receiving an undeserved blessing in the form of Vandalieu-sama’s guidance in your dreams, you wish to complain… Ah, I should have slept as well! No, Pauvina didn’t meet him in her dreams, so there was no guarantee to receive his guidance by sleeping. Yes, calm down, calm down,” Isla said, calming herself down.
“I did see Van,” Pauvina confessed. “I received something pointy from him.”
Pauvina’s shocking words pierced Isla’s ears.
Pauvina didn’t possess a monster Rank, so she couldn’t undergo an increase in Rank that changed her appearance, but it seemed that she had indeed received Vandalieu’s guidance.
Isla froze for a moment, then her lips turned upwards in a crescent shape and she broke out into laughter. “Kukukukuh… It’s fine, loyalty is not something that is sworn out of desire for a reward. Kufuh… Kihihihih!”
Privel and the others trembled, sensing danger in Isla and taking a step backwards.
“You lot, once you’re ready, I’ll have you show the results of your Rank increase in real battles,” said Isla. “In real battles.”
“Eh?! I’m still feeling sick because I’m not used to my vision yet!” Privel protested.
“My head just feels a little heavier… no, my clothes are tight as well?” said Gizania.
“Just like yesterday I’ll help you if it becomes too dangerous, and we have Blood Potions as well, so it’s perfect. Now then, let us go!” Isla declared.
Privel and the others worked hard at leveling up today as well under the influence of Isla, who seemed to be venting her anger on them.
Incidentally, Myuze had changed race to Crystal Empusa, while Gizania had become an Ushioni.
Meanwhile, Vigaro’s cheerful roar and Zadiris’s dissatisfied shout echoed out in a deeper area of the same Dungeon.
The S-class adventurer, the ‘Thunderclap’ Schneider, leader of the Storm of Tyranny, was busy in the days following his meeting with Farmaun Gold and the delivery of Ricklent’s message.
He was making his reports to the Adventurers’ Guild and Mages’ Guild in his hometown and dealing with the merchants and nobles that approached him.
Officially known to be followers of Alda in the Amid Empire, he and his party were national heroes. The Dark Continent’s location was roughly known, but a safe route to and from it hadn’t been established. Despite that, Schneider and his party had returned safely.
Contact was often lost with those who ventured there, and those that did return safely were those who observed the Dark Continent from a nearby island or those who only explored the outer edges for a short period of time. The Dark Continent was still a place that was shrouded in mystery.
Tremendous success had been expected of them, as if it were only natural for them to succeed. Plants with unknown uses, undiscovered minerals, information and materials of monsters that didn’t exist on the Bahn Gaia continent. And most importantly, thrilling tales of adventure.
It was only natural that people would flock to Schneider and his companions in desire of these things.
Schneider’s party hadn’t headed towards the Dark Continent due to a request, nor had they received monetary offers from sponsors. Thus, they had no obligation to disclose any information to the people gathered around them. But Schneider, who had exercised his numerous special privileges as an S-class adventurer to protect Vida’s races, needed to maintain his outwards reputation.
Schneider would grab those he didn’t like with an iron-claw grip and throw them into the sky, even if they were important noblemen or merchants, but he couldn’t cast away everyone who approached him. He was capable of small amounts of social interaction.
Of course, he couldn’t speak of the events that had occurred on the Dark Continent. Farmaun Gold was an old comrade-in-arms of Bellwood, and in the empire, he was worshipped as the god who ruled over the fire attribute in Zantark’s place. If Schneider were to tell people that Farmaun had left Alda and was working with Zantark… he would certainly be labeled a heretic.
That was why the whole party had thought of a story to tell the people before returning home.
They told the people that they had disembarked on the Dark Continent, but they ended up in a battle against a true Colossus leading a pack of never-before-seen monsters, forcing them to escape in their ship.
It was a slightly pathetic story, but it would be problematic if they stimulated the people by telling them stories of success, causing a Dark Continent exploration boom, so it couldn’t be helped.
Schneider and his companions had in fact brought back remains of monsters that had never been seen before, so this story was persuasive enough. At the very least, none would doubt the story except for Emperor Marshukzarl and his close vassals, who already suspected that Schneider and his companions served Vida.
They would tell this false tale, boast that they would conquer the Dark Continent next time and set sail once more. They would receive the help of the Merfolk that they had once protected, secretly returning to the Bahn Gaia continent, crossing the Boundary Mountain Range and meeting Vandalieu.
That was the plan of Schneider and his companions.
“… That was incredible,” Schneider muttered.
“… Yes, I thought for a moment that the Demon King had been resurrected,” said Lissana, the incarnation of Jurizanapipe, the evil god of degeneration and intoxication.
The two of them, who had just awoken in the same bed, were both drenched with cold sweat. They breathed heavily, still lying on the bed.
“You two, what kind of dream did you have?” asked the Dwarf Merdin, who had been sleeping in the same bed. She stared at them as if she were looking at something unusual.
Schneider and Lissana had dreamt that they were simply staring at a distant, enormous, grotesque figure that was crawling along the ground.
But they knew that this was no mere nightmare. They had seen each other during the dream.
“A prophetic dream? … It was strange that there were no signs of evil. What do you think?” Schneider asked after describing the dream briefly.
“The strangest thing about that dream was that there were no signs of evil,” said Lissana.
Merdin’s eyes narrowed, and then she gave a sigh. “You saw Lissana as well, so doesn’t that mean that it was an evil god of Vida’s faction? It sounds like its appearance was quite different from the one you knew, though,” she said with a serious expression.
There were tales of gods fusing with evil gods during the battle against the Demon King’s army, and Schneider’s party had heard them from Lissana herself. It was possible that the gods exhausted of their power during the battle against Alda a hundred thousand years ago had done the same thing.
That was what Merdin thought, but Lissana shook her head.
“That wasn’t a fusion. And there was the presence of the Demon King… but for some reason, it didn’t feel unpleasant,” said Lissana. “Even though we’re covered in cold sweat now.”
“Yeah, if it were a god, we’d know for sure… but with that said, it wasn’t the shape of a human soul… what was that? … For now, it doesn’t seem like a threat to us, though,” said Schneider.
For years, he had fought against threats that the average adventurer would never face. And yet, this was what his instincts told him.
“Let’s just get over the Boundary Mountain Range as soon as possible. I just realized that we saw that thing in the direction of the Boundary Mountain Range from this bed,” Schneider said.
“I wonder if we can go this year. The Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords are irritating,” said Merdin.
“If we take our diversion strategies into account, it might be next year,” said Lissana.
The next morning, Vandalieu and his party departed the Merfolk nation and headed for the last nation to be visited, the Dark Elf nation.
Legion teleported to them to report that they had successfully delivered Chezare and Kurt’s letter to the Legston family of earls.
“Jack and the rest of us delivered the letter properly,” said Jack.
“We’ve placed surveillance Golems and Undead to use as Teleportation points inside and outside the city,” said Pluto.
“Thank you for your hard work,” said Vandalieu. “Chezare, Kurt and I will be coming with you to receive their response.”
How the Legston family acted after receiving the letter would determine their future.
Though Vandalieu had already promised Kurt that he would persuade them, so it was just a matter of what method of persuasion was used… whether it be through words alone or other means as well.
“I hope we can hear a good response, though. I wouldn’t want to have to do anything violent to a couple who have just had a baby,” Vandalieu added.
While Kurt was serving in the fort in the Sauron region, he had received news from his older brother Alsard, who was the current Earl Legston, that his wife had become pregnant.
He’d received no further information since he had left to live in Talosheim and it had been made to look like he had died, but assuming that nothing had happened, the baby should have been born healthy.
Medical care was still undeveloped in this world, but a family with the court rank as high as that of earl would be able to receive support from mages during childbirth, even if the family was on the decline. The baby was likely fine.
At the very least, there was confirmation from Legion’s Enma, who possessed the power to learn the names of the dead, that there had been no deaths of anyone related to the Legston family in recent times.
“Come to think of it, the baby should have been born already. Did you see it?” Vandalieu asked.
But it seemed that Legion hadn’t been interested in the baby at all.
“… I’m sorry, I forgot about it.”
“We thought it wouldn’t really matter if it was dead.”
“Come to think of it, there might have been a room that looked like a child’s room when we snuck into the mansion. Maybe the baby was in there.”
Their task had been to just deliver the letter; they hadn’t felt any need to check up on Kurt’s nephew or niece.
“More importantly, are you sure it wouldn’t have been better to take that marshal’s head while we were there to deliver the letter?” asked Ghost. “I think we would have been able to do it… if we could find him.”
What Legion had been interested in was Earl Thomas Palpapek, the current marshal of the Mirg shield-nation.
He’d possessed connections with the Vampires serving the now-deceased Pure-breed Vampire Gubamon, and he was the man pulling the strings behind the dull conspiracy to kill Vandalieu and Darcia.
After that, he’d had a hand in sending an extermination force into the Devil’s Nest forest that Zadiris’s settlement of Ghouls had been living in.
He was an enemy of Vandalieu, albeit an indirect one, and he was an important figure involved in the military affairs of a nation that was an enemy to Talosheim.
“It’s not a good time now,” said Kimberley, answering in Vandalieu’s place. “If we dispose of him, suspicion will fall onto Master Kurt’s family. And his excellency the marshal is already in a hopeless situation, so there’s no real reason to rush things by killing him.”
As a former soldier of the Amid Empire’s army, Kimberley knew of some details regarding the Mirg shield-nation’s situation. Based on those details, Palpapek was already no longer a threat to Vandalieu and his companions.
“Even if he wanted to dispatch an army, Boss already sealed the tunnel that would let them cross the Boundary Mountain Range safely, and he doesn’t even have an army to dispatch to begin with,” Kimberley said.
In another few months, it would be four years ago that the Mirg shield-nation’s expedition to Talosheim failed. It seemed that the hole left behind by the annihilation of the elite soldiers of the expedition army, including the Black Bull Knights’ Order, had not yet been completely filled.
After Earl Palpapek regained the position of marshal, he had worked to bring old soldiers out of retirement to train new ones and gather talented individuals from every region, and an army of a thousand or so was taking shape. But it was little more than for show. That was the kind of state it was in.
The expedition army hadn’t been serving to protect the nation during times of peace to begin with. There were enough soldiers left behind to defend the nation in the event of unforeseen events such as monster rampages, the appearances of disaster-designated monster species or attacks from the Orbaume Kingdom.
Thus, it was possible for Earl Palpapek to dispatch this thousand-strong army, provided that he didn’t send out any other soldiers with them. But it was unlikely that the Mirg shield-nation’s king or the earl himself would allow this.
Considering the overwhelming defeat that they had suffered before, there was no way that results could be expected from an army even smaller than the previous one that would have to cross the mountain range via a far more dangerous route.
“But public opinion might support them. Wanting revenge for what happened four years ago,” said Princess Levia.
“I don’t think that’s the case, Levia. The Sauron region’s been taken back by the kingdom, so the kingdom’s territory is adjacent to the Mirg shield-nation’s border again. Wouldn’t they want the army to be well-prepared there rather than going on an expedition?” Kimberley said.
“And we left the Mirg shield-nation long ago, so we’re not scared of his influence as a noble, and he can’t touch us now that we’re on the other side of the Mountain Range… the poor marshal-san. I almost feel sorry for him,” said Darcia.
“I wonder what kind of face the earl-san would make if he knew that Darcia-sama, the one killed by his conspiracy, was feeling sympathy for him?” said Saria with a bitter smile.
“We don’t even know what his face looks like, Nee-san,” Rita pointed out.
“But now that I think about it, he had connections to the Vampires serving Gubamon, didn’t he? Bocchan disposed of Gubamon, but how are things between him and the Vampires now?” asked Saria.
“I wonder. Do you know anything about this, Bellmond-dono?” Sam asked.
Bellmond thought for a moment. “The status of earl is the highest rank of nobility in the Mirg shield-nation. This is only a presumption, but it is unlikely that Birkyne, the last remaining Pure-breed Vampire who worships the evil god of joyful life, could ignore him. The earl should have connections to Birkyne’s subordinates by now,” she said.
Earl Palpapek was being treated as a target of sympathy, but there was no changing the fact that he was a prominent nobleman in the Mirg shield-nation.
Birkyne was also likely struggling with the restructuring of his organization after Gubamon’s death, so there was a high chance that his unimportant supporters would be abandoned. But he would have at least prioritized people as influential as Earl Palpapek and sent another Vampire to make contact with him.
That was what Bellmond suspected.
“Of course, even if that is the case, it is difficult to believe that he poses a threat to Danna-sama,” she said. “He does not possess any relevant information to pass to Birkyne.”
At this point in time, Vandalieu and his companions hadn’t entered the Mirg shield-nation except for Legion, who had delivered the letter to the Legston family of earls. That was why Earl Palpapek didn’t have any information to leak.
“But it would be an unpleasant sight to see the Mirg shield-nation rebuild its army because we left him alone, and it would be easy to find out where he is while he is busy rebuilding the army, so I believe it best that we dispose of him when Danna-sama finds it convenient,” Bellmond concluded.
This was how insignificant Thomas Palpapek was to Vandalieu and his companions, who had already made an informal declaration of war against the Amid Empire that the Mirg shield-nation served and defeated two Pure-breed Vampires.
“Then I suppose we’ll go to dispose of him once the Legston family of earls has been persuaded,” said Vandalieu. “But there is the chance that they’ll have a trap set up in anticipation of us going to dispose of Earl Palpapek, so we can’t let our guards down. And according to Eleanora, Birkyne is the type to do that kind of thing.”
“I see, so there is a chance that we’ll be ambushed… Alright. We won’t go near him,” said Ghost.
It was uncertain if Thomas Palpapek himself was aware of it, but his life was in a precarious state.
With that discussion over, Legion Teleported back to Talosheim and Vandalieu’s party arrived in the Dark Elf nation.
The Dark Elf nation was in the center of the region enclosed by the Boundary Mountain Range, north of Vida’s Resting Grounds. It was a nation known as the grave-keeping nation, built around a Dungeon called the Labyrinth Graveyard.
The people that were likely the prominent figures of the Dark Elf nation gathered and gave their blessings to Vandalieu.
“Welcome, Holy Son.”
“We Dark Elves give you our heartfelt blessings as you take your place as emperor.”
This nation’s Dark Elves are even more different from Mom than I expected, Vandalieu thought.
When she was alive, Darcia’s personality had been relaxed and she wore highly revealing clothes, though not as revealing as the Ghouls. But many of the Dark Elves of this nation wore robes, with hoods drawn low over their eyes. One could not see their faces without peering beneath the hoods, and even their bodies’ outlines couldn’t be seen, so it was impossible to tell their gender just by looking at them.
The Dark Elves had even been wearing these clothes at the victory feast in the Noble Orc kingdom, but… Vandalieu hadn’t thought that the entire nation’s inhabitants would be wearing hooded black robes.
“Umm… Everyone, is that the native way of dressing in this nation?” Darcia asked, unable to endure this strange atmosphere.
“This is the uniform of our nation. The entire nation is on duty to welcome our guests, after all,” one of the Dark Elves replied.
“Our ancestors are the clan that volunteered to maintain Vida’s Resting Grounds. There are records that say we began wearing these clothes on duty as a way of mourning as well,” said another.
It seemed that the suspicious-looking black robes were just uniforms.
“We also often wear this uniform after battle. We feel that the unrest in our hearts that comes after battle subsides when we wear them. Was there no such custom in your homeland, Darcia-dono?” asked a young Dark Elf man.
“Not in the forest that was my homeland,” said Darcia. “There was no uniform at all… By the way, is it alright if I ask what kind of clothes you’re wearing beneath those robes?”
“There is no problem in answering this question. Everyone is wearing the clothes that they like.”
The Dark Elves took off their robes. They revealed their chocolate-colored skin, long, pointed ears and well-shaped facial features.
Many of the clothes worn beneath the robes were lightweight. Some of the Dark Elves were wearing metal or leather armor, but the majority of them were wearing clothes about as revealing as Darcia’s.
“Now then, we’ll guide you to the resting grounds of the goddess and her champions! Ah, and I’m the current chief of this nation, Gizan,” said the young man that Darcia had been talking to, his previously businesslike attitude changing completely as he beckoned the party onwards with a hand.
The Dark Elves all waved goodbye as well.
“They are like completely different people,” Bellmond remarked.
“It seems that they become more private the moment they take off those uniforms,” said Sam.
Bellmond and Sam seem perplexed by the way the Dark Elves’ had changed, but Vandalieu liked the current Gizan and the other Dark Elves more than how they were behaving before.
“Bocchan looks happy,” said Rita.
“Is it because you can see their muscles?” asked Saria.
“No, it’s because they are more like the same race as Mom now,” said Vandalieu.
He thought of the Dark Elf forest that he and Darcia were supposed to have gone to if Darcia hadn’t been captured by Heinz’s party and killed by High Priest Gordan.
“This nation was originally inside the Labyrinth Graveyard. It is said that Gufadgarn put his greatest efforts into the Labyrinth Graveyard among the Dungeons he created before the Trial of Zakkart. It’s here that our ancestors gained strength and built this nation outside the Dungeon as it is today,” Gizan explained over his shoulder to Vandalieu behind him like a tour guide. “And the Labyrinth Graveyard is also the only way to safely enter Vida’s Resting Grounds, which lies south of this nation.”
After her defeat in the battle against Alda a hundred thousand years ago, Vida had fallen into slumber immediately after creating the Boundary Mountain Range to the east and west. It was the gods including Gufadgarn and the surviving Pure-breed Vampires who had built the resting place like a ritual ground for the barrier that protected Vida and Zakkart’s remains and safeguarded the inside of the Boundary Mountain Range from Alda and Rodcorte.
Vida’s Resting Grounds had been created as the most important facility in the region enclosed by the Boundary Mountain Range; it was a sturdy, dangerous fortress that did not allow anyone to trespass inside.
The entrance that allowed passage into the resting grounds was a gate that connected two separate spaces, built in the deepest part of the Labyrinth Graveyard.
“The records say that the resting ground was built too sturdy, making it impossible for anyone but Gufadgarn to enter and exit. Thus, he was left with no choice but to create a new entrance,” said Gizan.
And the Dark Elves had apparently been made to live here to perform rituals and clean the inside of the resting grounds.
After that, Gufadgarn had created Dungeons in the Kijin nation and Drakonid nation as he desired, and once that task was finished, he became motionless like a stone and fell into slumber. This slumber had lasted until approximately a hundred years ago, when he created the Trial of Zakkart and began wandering the world with it.
“There’s a strange courtyard in front of the Labyrinth Graveyard, isn’t there? That’s where Gufadgarn slumbered. Everyone was surprised when he suddenly started moving a hundred years ago,” Gizan said.
“Then who is the guardian deity for this nation?” Darcia asked.
“There is no problem there. Gufadgarn told other gods to become the guardian deity of this nation before he fell into slumber. Gufadgarn was never the guardian deity… But although he spoke those words, he apparently fell into slumber before waiting for an answer. It is written on stone tablets that there were disagreements over who would become our guardian deity,” said Gizan.
It seemed that Gufadgarn had a very laid-back personality.
“By the way, what is the difficulty of the Dungeon?” Vandalieu asked.
“The monsters appearing inside it are mostly Rank 3 or 4; I believe it is what everyone would call a D-class Dungeon. There are twenty floors, their layouts being bright forests or mountains with only the first floor having a lake. Also, there is a stone monument to Zakkart on every floor,” said Gizan.
“… That’s not very graveyard-like,” said Vandalieu.
“Yes; Undead do not appear inside the Dungeon, either. It seems that Gufadgarn intended for us to gather flowers and fruits to offer to Zakkart inside this Dungeon. Now then, we have arrived at the entrance. I don’t believe anyone present will have any trouble, but I will guide you anyway.”
With Gizan leading the way, the Labyrinth Graveyard was cleared in less than a few hours. They took the shortest route with the fewest monster battles, ignoring the treasure chests along the way.
Gizan placed a medal with Vida’s holy symbol engraved on it onto the altar they had arrived at in the deepest part of the Dungeon, and a gate between two separate spaces appeared.
“Ahead of us is Vida’s Resting Grounds…” Vandalieu murmured.
His sense of himself actually worshipping Vida was weak; he merely continued the custom of pressing his hands together before meals that he had learned on Earth. But now that he was about to step into the place where the goddess rested, he felt nervous.
He was casual about going to meet Fidirg, the dragon god of five sins, but this time, he would be meeting one of the great gods who created the world, the mother of all of Vida’s races. It wasn’t even close to being the same thing.
“Is there any kind of etiquette I need to keep in mind?” Vandalieu asked, not wanting to be rude in any way.
“Nothing in particular outside what would be considered common sense,” Gizan replied. “Pranks such as graffiti are forbidden, and you must not litter inside. There isn’t much more than that. For us, it is mandatory that we wear our uniform during our cleaning duties.”
“Lenient as usual… Well, that’s a relief.” Vandalieu breathed a sigh of relief and stepped into the gate.
The scenery and his senses changed completely.
Plants of all sizes, blooming flowers and fruit were growing as far as the eye could see. There was a fountain at which various birds and beasts were resting, and warm sunlight shone from the sky.
“Thank you for coming,” said a voice.
There were two thrones right ahead of Vandalieu. A skeleton wearing rotten armor was resting against the back of one, while a young woman sat in the other.
She seemed to be like an innocent girl, an adult woman and a mature woman, all at the same time. But what was certain was that she had a gentle beauty to her.
However, at the same time, she appeared pitiful.
Several thick stakes had been driven through her limbs that had once undoubtedly been beautiful, and there were wounds that looked like they had been made with a sword all over her body. There was still blood flowing from them; the flowers, beast fur and bird feathers of her dress were stained so darkly that it was impossible to tell what color they had originally been.
But she extended a hand towards Vandalieu and spoke to him, as if she felt no pain from these wounds at all.
“First, let me express my gratitude. Thank you for listening to my request,” she said.
Vandalieu didn’t know why he was being thanked. But he was sure of one thing.
This was Vida, the goddess of life and love.
Privel’s Rank increased and she became an Origin Scylla after receiving the divine protection and guidance of Jugarion, the eight waters dragon god, one of the Elder Dragon guardians of the Drakonid nation.
The tips of her tentacles have transformed into Dragon heads. Judging from this fact, the legendary Scylla whose tentacles are said to have been Dragon or wolf heads were likely those with the divine protection of not just Merrebeveil, but an Elder Dragon or beast-king as well.
The reason that Privel was able to receive Jugarion’s divine protection despite not being one of his followers was because Vandalieu gave her Jugarion’s scales and fangs directly in a dream.
Her hard training has mostly been focused on magic, but with this Rank increase, it can be expected that she will improve in direct combat as well. But at this point in time, she is not used to the new organs that she has gained so it is unwise for her to engage in unarmed combat.