Vida, the goddess of life and love, had been awakening and falling back into slumber repeatedly in an irregular pattern. But she opened her eyes, sensing a presence that was too great to be a person’s.
This Mana, this presence, Zakkart… it’s that child!
The reborn soul that had been her own champion Zakkart, the soul that had been Ark, Solder and Hillwillow, had come to this place.
As Vida gained consciousness, she gathered information regarding Vandalieu from her believers and the races that were her children.
Unlike Rodcorte and Alda, she was able to obtain a vast amount of information about him, and she felt joy and guilt at the same time. It was a vast, deep emotion that the pain from her wounds and the stakes in her body paled in comparison to.
I must bring him here!
With these emotions still fresh in her mind, she summoned Vandalieu to her own Divine Realm. This place, the resting grounds that had been named after her, was a special Dungeon that had mainly been built by Gufadgarn, the evil god of labyrinths. Outside of the mountain range, it was apparently considered to be an S-class Dungeon.
It wasn’t difficult to invite someone who had stepped inside it into her Divine Realm.
Vida’s chest tightened painfully as she saw the grotesque appearance of the soul before her.
It had the shape of a person, but the lengths and sizes of the head and limbs were mixed and matched; its eyes, mouths and ears were completely irregular in number and location. And there were fragments of the Demon King growing from its surface, entwining around it.
Its appearance could be described as a clay doll made by a clumsy child with the finishing touches added by a mad artist.
He had still possessed a human’s form when he first reincarnated in this world. He had been shrouded in strange Mana and severely hurt, but he’d still had a human form.
Rodcorte had put together the soul fragments of the four champions whose souls had been broken by the Demon King into a single soul; this was the origin of Vandalieu’s soul. That was likely why his soul had possessed a dormant form that was different to that of humans.
One part of the reason that this dormant form had surfaced so greatly was Vida herself. She had taken Vandalieu’s soul from Rodcorte’s system and had it reincarnate inside one of her own children. In doing so, she had also bestowed upon him the lingering memories from Zakkart’s remains and her own blood that was still flowing freely… the blood of a goddess.
And so, Vandalieu had been born and lived up until now as a Dhampir. As a result of Vida’s interference, every part of the life that he was supposed to have lived had changed, and his mind had lost its sanity and his soul had taken a grotesque form in the process.
It was unlikely that he could live an ordinary life now.
It was likely the arrogance of a god that had made her ignore his desires and change his life.
But at the same time, Vida was happy.
Despite being in that state, he had listened to her ‘request.’
That was why the first words she spoke were not an apology.
“First, let me express my gratitude. Thank you for listening to my request.”
She extended a hand to express her gratitude.
Vandalieu blinked his numerous eyes, and his head spun around on his neck for a few moments. “… Request?” he repeated.
He seemed to be bewildered by Vida’s words. Despite his appearance being far more like that of an evil god than Mububujenge’s or Zozogante’s, his emotional expression was very easy to read.
As Vida realized this, her smile grew wider. “It’s only natural for you to not remember. When you were reincarnated in this world, I made you a request. I said that I want you to love this world. To love the air, the wind, the earth, the greenery, the animals and the people,” she said. “You did exactly that; you loved the world. I truly thank you.”
Vandalieu’s bewilderment only grew deeper. He did not feel any unpleasant emotions at being thanked, but he didn’t understand why such a naturally-fulfilled request would be made of him.
It was extremely natural to feel affection towards the land and environment of the place where one was born and grew up; it was natural to feel love towards the people around oneself.
At the very least, this was true for Vandalieu.
On Earth and even in Origin, he had never cursed the worlds themselves. He had possessed enough expectations and affection for people to think that he would find happiness on Earth by distancing himself from his uncle’s family and gaining independence, and even in Origin, enough to save the Eighth Guidance who had been treated as experimental animals like him.
The same was true in Lambda. No, it was only natural for him to feel even more at ease in this world, where he could exercise power that he hadn’t been able to gain on Earth and the freedom that he hadn’t been able to gain in Origin.
… He did feel that he had killed too many people to declare without hesitation that he loved people. But since he consistently did his best not to kill people, perhaps he was within reason for Vida to forgive him. That was what Vandalieu thought.
But when I reincarnated in Lambda… right after I was killed by my former ‘companions’ in Origin and cursed by Rodcorte. Given my mental state back then, maybe it’s not unreasonable to assume that I would curse the world, Vandalieu thought, satisfied with this explanation.
But as Vida was a goddess, she knew what he was thinking. “That isn’t it,” she told him. “Vandalieu, in the long-distant past, you were Zakkart, the champion I summoned to this world. At the same time, you were Ark; you were Solder; you were Hillwillow.”
“Their souls were broken by the Demon King Guduranis, but Rodcorte took their fragments and combined them into a single new soul and reincarnated it… in order to ensure that I could not resurrect them.”
“… I see. That makes a lot of sense.”
As Vandalieu learned that he was once four champions, his bewilderment grew even greater, but at the same time, he was able to understand the strange actions that Vida, Ricklent and the other gods had taken ever since he reincarnated into this world.
Vida had sent Divine Messages to Nuaza, who had become an Undead in Talosheim, and, though indirectly, to Queen Donaneris of Zanalpadna.
The Divine Message sent to Nuaza had been approximately a hundred years ago. That was before Vandalieu had been born in Origin or even on Earth as Amamiya Hiroto.
That was a time where it would be completely unthinkable that she could know of Vandalieu’s existence and send a Divine Message.
And then there were Ricklent and Zuruwarn, who had reincarnated the Eighth Guidance members who had died in Origin, including Minuma Hitomi, as Legion and given them their divine protections.
The details of how this had come about were still a mystery, but if Vandalieu was Zakkart and Ark reborn, he could accept these events to some extent.
“But I don’t have memories from when I was the champions, nor do I have their power. Even now, I don’t feel anything that feels like remembering past memories,” Vandalieu said.
He didn’t recall any events from before his life on Earth as Amamiya Hiroto, nor did any flashbacks occur.
He had never awakened a special power or talent before awakening to the death attribute in Origin.
Even now, after being directly told by the goddess herself, he had no sense of any of this. He didn’t feel anything even when looking at the remains enshrined on the throne next to her… the skeleton of who was likely to be Zakkart.
If it hadn’t been told to him by Vida, it wasn’t something that he would be able to believe.
… Also, he found it a little hard to believe that he had once been Hillwillow, the source of the incorrect information regarding bushi and ninjas that had become widespread within the Boundary Mountain Range.
“There’s no helping that. You were created from the fragments of Zakkart and the others over a hundred thousand years ago, and the powers that we gave Zakkart were not those with properties that would influence you after reincarnation,” Vida said. “Umm, Ricklent is better at these kinds of explanations, but…”
“Then I shall answer your desire,” said a new voice without warning.
Three people appeared inside Vida’s Divine Realm. At first, it seemed to be an old man, a young man and a boy, but in the next moment, they would turn into three women – yet they were a single god.
“Ricklent! You’ve recovered from the wounds that you received from the Demon King! I was so worried. It’s been so long… Now that I think about it, you’re the one who told me about that premonition, weren’t you? I’m so glad to see you,” said Vida.
“Vida, my sister, it is us who have been far more worried about you… Alda was cruel to you,” said Ricklent, gazing with pity at the thick stakes impaling Vida’s arms and the numerous swords that still protruded from her body.
“It’s true that I’m the one who is more severely wounded now,” Vida said with a small, bitter smile. “But why are you here? If I recall, there is supposed to be a barrier here, making it impossible to enter from outside the mountain range.”
Vida had fallen into slumber immediately after raising the earth to create the Boundary Mountain Range, so she was poorly-informed on the details of the events that had followed.
But as her sleep grew shallow at irregular intervals, she had become able to grasp the situation to some extent now.
According to what she knew, there was supposed to be a barrier that prevented not only gods from descending from the outside, but also from dispatching familiar spirits or speaking to the people within.
And this place, Vida’s Resting Grounds, was the center of that barrier.
Even if Ricklent was one of the great gods like her, even if he was the one who was the most exceptional in the use of magic, he shouldn’t have been able to enter the barrier.
“This is not my main body. It is something like an image reflected in a mirror. Because I have become worshipped in his nation, it has become possible for me to send my image here.” Ricklent’s image turned to Vandalieu and lowered his head slightly. “Allow me to thank you again for considering our thoughts.”
Vandalieu lowered his limp, misshapen head in response. “Not at all; it seems that it was you who sent Legion to my side.”
“… Their form is due to an unforeseen accident. I want you to apologize to them for me,” said Ricklent.
He and Zuruwarn had come up with the idea of supporting Vandalieu by sending him the members of the Eighth Guidance, who worshipped him in another world.
They were supposed to have been reincarnated as separate individuals, just as they had been in Origin, but they had been born as a single entity as a result of Rodcorte’s interference.
“They don’t really seem to mind it, though,” said Vandalieu.
Pluto and the others didn’t seem deeply bothered by it themselves. It seemed that they had rather positive personalities… though it seemed that they were positive in a way that differed from the ordinary definition of the word. They had taken aberrant actions in Origin, deciding that if only a hellish future awaited them, they would simply do what they wanted to do (take revenge) and then die.
“Even if they themselves do not mind it, it still does not change the fact that it was a regrettable outcome for me,” said Ricklent.
“Sorry, Ricklent has always been the type to worry about those kinds of things,” said Vida.
“Stop this vague explanation of my disposition. More importantly, how about you inspect Vandalieu’s current condition, my sister? It should be possible for you now, while your consciousness is still clear.”
“Yes, yes,” said Vida. “I’m going to touch you a little,” she said to Vandalieu.
A warm hand touched Vandalieu’s soul. It seemed that this action alone was enough for her to examine its condition.
“While she is doing that, I shall answer your questions, former and current champion Vandalieu. It is only natural that you do not possess the power and memories from when you were Zakkart and Ark… the obvious outcome,” said Ricklent.
Gods such as Ricklent could grant divine protections and power to the people, but souls were always repeatedly undergoing reincarnation. Thus, there would be great problems if the blessings bestowed upon those souls were to carry over into their future lives.
There was no guarantee that a virtuous person would be reborn as a virtuous person in their next life. In the same vein, there was no guarantee that an evil person would be reborn as an evil person.
In many cases, the gods looked at people’s personalities and their past deeds, granting their divine protections and other blessings only upon those that they saw fit to receive them.
But once they were reborn, the personalities and past deeds that were the basis of receiving these blessings were reset. This was true for all but the very, very few exceptions like the reincarnated individuals that retained their memories and personalities from their previous lives.
It was possible that a virtuous, wise man might suffer a tragedy early on in his next life that twisted his personality, turning him into a despicable tyrant.
… There was also a significant possibility that they wouldn’t even be reborn as people. A warrior who had received the divine protection of a war-god might be reborn as a cow, which would mean that he would be slaughtered and die again soon after.
And if someone was born with a certain god’s divine protection, it was likely that their paths in life would be restricted.
Thus, when gods granted their divine protection to individuals, they ensured that they were only effective for those individuals’ current lives and would become nullified when they were reborn.
They had granted powers in the same way to Zakkart, Ark, Bellwood and the other champions as well.
“Of course, when the lives of those with divine protections end, they are often summoned by the gods before they are reincarnated and ascend into familiar spirits, heroic spirits or even subordinate gods if they are exceptional individuals. Bellwood, Farmaun and Nineroad all became gods under Alda,” said Ricklent. “In these cases, the powers granted to them remain in effect.”
“But that didn’t happen for Zakkart and the others because their souls were broken, so their powers were nullified, weren’t they?” said Vandalieu.
“Exactly. Their memories were also erased when that happened.”
“Well, I suppose that’s how it is. Memories don’t normally carry over to the next life, do they.”
The state of the reincarnated individuals including Vandalieu who possessed the memories from when they lived on Earth were an exception… an abnormality.
“Your soul was created for different reasons than others, and its form has changed as well. Therefore, there might have been something remaining after a few reincarnations. However, it has already been reincarnated hundreds, thousands of times over the past hundred thousand years. It is unlikely that anything remains now,” said Ricklent.
In Rodcorte’s circle of transmigration system, it was common to be reborn as animals and plants rather than humans. Even if something had been left in the soul, it would have simply lived out its mundane life if it was born as a beast or insect, unable to do anything with it.
Even if it was reincarnated as a person, a hundred thousand years ago was long before civilization flourished.
And with hundreds or thousands of reincarnations over a hundred thousand years, it would only be normal for anything remaining on the soul to have been worn away.
“Do you understand?” Ricklent asked.
“Yes,” said Vandalieu.
Ricklent hadn’t mentioned Rodcorte’s circle of transmigration system, but his explanation was enough for Vandalieu to understand.
“I don’t feel anything special at all, though.”
Vandalieu didn’t possess the champions’ memories or powers, so even if he was told that he was their reincarnation, he couldn’t respond in any way other than, “Oh, is that so.” With no particular emotions surfacing, he gazed at the remains of Zakkart, who had apparently once been him.
He didn’t feel anything that suggested that this was once him, a person who formed about a quarter of his soul.
It wasn’t that Vandalieu felt nothing, however; this was the founder of the Vampire race, the ancestor of his own father, the Subordinate Vampire Valen.
As he thought about this, another question surfaced in Vandalieu’s mind.
“I understand that I don’t have their power or memories… so then, why did you all lend me your strength?” he asked.
Since Vandalieu didn’t possess the memories or strength from when he was a champion, he should have been nothing more than a stranger to Vida, the owner of the hand that was touching him now, and to Ricklent with whom he was having this conversation.
He was a Dhampir now, and as a follower of Vida, he had saved many members of Vida’s races. But Vida and the others had begun helping him since long before he was born on Earth.
Why would the gods help someone from another world who had achieved nothing, who didn’t even believe in them?
Ricklent shook his head in exasperation. “I do not understand what there is to question about us assisting the one who has inherited the soul fragments of our friends who met a tragic fate – our friends whom we once selected ourselves, summoned to this world and entrusted our hopes with,” he said.
“Ricklent said most of what I wanted to say, but that’s how it is,” Vida said with a bitter smile. “Whether you have their memories and powers or not has nothing to do with it.”
Vandalieu’s heart trembled as he realized the depth of the emotions that these two gods felt towards the champions – towards him.
“It is not that we – especially Vida – feel nothing towards Rodcorte and Alda. We cannot deny that this is one of the reasons we helped you,” said Ricklent.
“Ricklent, you didn’t have to mention that. It’s true that Rodcorte only thinks about protecting himself and Alda is really stubborn, though,” Vida muttered.
… Was this the gods’ way of hiding their embarrassment?
“Come to think of it, why is Rodcorte ruling over the circle of transmigration for this world?” Vandalieu asked. “His name isn’t mentioned in any of this world’s myths.”
The fact that Rodcorte ruling over the circle of transmigration for this world meant that he had existed from the moment that life came into existence in it, or even before that. But there was no mention of his name in myths, and there were no records of the details of how he came to manage reincarnation in this world.
On top of that, it seemed that his relationships with the gods of this world were not favorable.
So then, why?
“As regrettable as it is, that was how it was when we gained consciousness,” said Ricklent.
… It seemed that there was no particular reason.
“He really was ruling the circle of transmigration before we gained consciousness,” said Vida. “He existed before us, so… I’m sure he had his eyes on this world ever since the conflict between Diachmell and Arazan.”
The battle between the Black God Diachmell and the White God Arazan, the origin of the world of Lambda and its gods. Rodcorte had likely taken notice of this conflict and kept his eyes on them, foreseeing the birth of a new world.
“… Indeed, if you consider the fact that he rules over the circle of transmigration of Earth, that would mean he has existed since ancient times, far longer ago than several hundred thousand years ago,” said Vandalieu.
He didn’t know that Rodcorte’s circle of transmigration system included animals and plants, but even if it was limited to just humans, Rodcorte would have existed for over a hundred thousand years.
It would depend on whether the definition of humans extended to the Cro-Magnon, the Australopithecus or even the apes before them… but it made no difference to the fact that he had existed since before the world of Lambda was born.
“Before Guduranis appeared, there was nothing inconvenient about it other than him having his say from afar on very rare occasions, but… well, leaving him aside… I’ve finished examining you,” said Vida. “Vandalieu, your soul is very strange, but normal. You’re alright even after having absorbed several fragments of the Demon King!”
“Vida, my sister, I know that he is not in a perfect state, but you must not hold back with your words,” said Ricklent.
“Even if you tell me not to hold back… Hmm, well, the fragments of the Demon King have fused with your soul, but they’ve completely become a part of you,” said Vida, poking at a fragment protruding from Vandalieu’s soul with her finger.
“I wasn’t aware that they had fused with my soul,” said Vandalieu.
“So, even if you were to die in the future, the fragments of the Demon King that have fused with you aren’t the original fragments of the Demon King, so I don’t think they will run out of control,” said Vida, and then continued explaining without taking notice of Vandalieu’s small surprise. “It’s like they’ve transformed from being fragments of the Demon King Guduranis to being fragments of the Demon King Vandalieu.”
Vandalieu’s surprise grew larger at the second part of her explanation.
It seemed that every time Vandalieu absorbed a fragment, he was robbing the sealed Guduranis of a part of his body.
“So, if you absorb all of the fragments of the Demon King, the Demon King Guduranis won’t be resurrected – in fact, he’ll have lost his entire body,” Vida said.
“I see. Then I’ll do my best to gather them,” said Vandalieu.
Gathering the Demon King’s fragments would grant him more strength, provide more materials to create products from and prevent the Demon King’s resurrection. It was killing three birds with one stone.
He was strangely bothered by being called the Demon King even by the goddess, however… was it time to get serious about it?
“Yes, please do,” said Vida.
This would lead to Vandalieu gathering strength, but it would not cause any inconvenience for Vida and the other gods.
In fact, this was a very desirable development.
“We’ll help you, too… though I say that, I don’t think I can do anything in this state. It doesn’t seem that I can remove Rodcorte’s curses, either,” said Vida. “Ricklent, can you do something about it?”
“It is impossible. Even if I were to regain my original strength and status… it is Rodcorte’s authority to place destinies, blessings and curses upon souls between their reincarnations. I do not have the authority to remove them,” said Ricklent. “Vandalieu, it is likely impossible for you yourself as well. Like the fragments of the Demon King, the curses have become one with your soul.”
According to Ricklent’s explanation, Rodcorte’s curses had fused with Vandalieu’s soul as well.
Vandalieu frowned upon hearing this unpleasant piece of information, but if even a god couldn’t remove the curses, then it couldn’t be helped.
“Then couldn’t you help him through the Job and Skill System that you created?” Vida suggested. “By making more undiscovered Jobs or something.”
“That would be very helpful, but… it seems that this is impossible,” said Vandalieu, looking at the frowns on Ricklent’s multiple faces.
“My sister, during the battle against the monsters of the Demon King Guduranis’s army, I gained knowledge from Zuruwarn and created a Job and Skill System to strengthen the people. At the same time, I chose some of my Familiar Spirits and had them ascend to subordinate gods to be in charge of Jobs, Skills and Statuses to help manage the system,” Ricklent explained.
Apparently, he had turned familiar spirits with no personalities that he had created from his own Mana into subordinate gods to manage the system. They were perhaps similar to AI or servers on Earth.
“But this system was taken advantage of by the Demon King. The monsters gained Ranks instead of Jobs, received the blessings of Skills and became able to become greater on their own by increasing their Ranks without the Demon King and his subordinates having to spend their power on them. I decided to isolate the system so that I would not repeat this failure,” said Ricklent.
“What do you mean by isolate?” Vandalieu asked.
“After giving full authority over it to the subordinate gods, I had Zuruwarn cooperate and isolate them in a separate space. At the same time, I ordered them to keep managing and maintaining the system quietly without listening to the wills of anyone, not even me, no matter what happened.”
It seemed that Ricklent had gone to quite extreme lengths.
Vida, who was also hearing this for the first time, opened her eyes wide in surprise. “You didn’t have to go that far…”
“I could not ignore the possibility that I would lose my sanity during the battle against Guduranis. There were already some gods who had joined the Demon King’s army at the time; there was no guarantee that I would not do the same,” said Ricklent. “And if I was defeated by Guduranis like the Colossus god Zeno and the others, and then Guduranis took over the system, all of the people including the champions would have lost the blessings of Jobs and Skills, with only the monsters continuing to receive them. The chance of this happening was not zero.”
It seemed that this was how much of a threat Ricklent perceived the Demon King Guduranis as. Guduranis had likely been not only tremendously powerful, but an extraordinary user of magic as well.
“After that, you and Zuruwarn fell into slumber during the battle against the Demon King, didn’t you? Then is the system still isolated even now?” asked Vandalieu.
“Yes. Zuruwarn and I are awake now, but… I do not know what actions Alda would take if he were to learn that we are not his allies. I knew how my brother was in the past, but now, I question his sanity… it seems that you have made drastic decisions in that regard as well, however,” Ricklent said to Vida.
Vida gave an un-goddess-like giggle to brush off Ricklent’s comment. While Ricklent and Zuruwarn were slumbering, she had separated herself from Alda and the others, created her own circle of transmigration circle and given birth to new races.
Ricklent’s three bodies let out deep sighs. “I suppose some of the responsibility lies with those of us who were defeated due to our lack of strength and ended up leaving the rebuilding of the world to a mere two gods,” he said. “Leaving that aside, I added adjustments to the system to be expansible so that it would not have any problems in continuing its function even in my absence. It is unlikely that there would have been any problems unless something extremely irregular were to happen. And such an extremely irregular thing did happen.”
“Irregular?” Vida repeated.
“The most extreme of them was the birth of new races that could possess both the Jobs of humans and the Ranks of monsters.”
When Vida gave birth to new races, Ricklent had already fallen into slumber. Though it didn’t need to be said, she had not consulted things with Ricklent beforehand.
Vida suddenly looked away.
But it didn’t seem that Ricklent intended to blame her.
“But if that was the only thing, it could have been dealt with. However, that was not the only irregularity,” he said. “During my hundred-thousand-year-long absence, political systems have changed so that it is humans ruling over humans rather than gods. Humans can become slaves, and humans kill each other in tremendous numbers… everything about the world’s situation now was irregular to the me that went into slumber.”
“Well, that’s true,” said Vida. “I was surprised whenever I opened my eyes every several thousand years.”
Before the Demon King invaded from a foreign world, Vida, Ricklent and the other gods had ruled the humans directly. And then they had fallen into slumber during the war against the Demon King and the war between Vida and Alda that had followed.
It wasn’t that they had left the world thinking that the age of humans had come or that it was time for humans to lead other humans.
“And many Jobs and Skills that I did not think of were born. Knights, soldiers, slaves… There are even Jobs and Skills that have almost no differences between them but are displayed by a different name depending on the nation and region. For example, in nations where those with the social status of knights are known as tribunes, one cannot gain the Knight Job, only the Tribune Job,” Ricklent explained. “I can only guess at how the system is currently being managed.”
This was apparently the reason he couldn’t create new undiscovered Jobs or useful Skills for Vandalieu.
Incidentally, the one irregular thing that he didn’t mention was Rodcorte sending reincarnated individuals, including Vandalieu, into this world.
Since Rodcorte was a specialist in dealing with souls, he could utilize Ricklent’s system even if he didn’t fully understand it, granting Skills to the reincarnated individuals and transforming their abilities to use things that didn’t exist like cars, aircraft and firearms into other Skills. This was humiliating for Ricklent.
But Ricklent forced that emotion from his mind and continued. “This was likely the best result. After all, if Alda were to become able to manipulate the system, it is possible that all of my sister’s children could have lost the blessings of Jobs and Skills. At the time, I had been impaled with stakes like her, so I would have had no way to resist.”
“That is a terrifying possibility indeed… By the way, the stakes and swords in Vida’s body, are they Alda’s curses or something rather than a symbol of the damage that has been inflicted upon her?” Vandalieu asked.
Vandalieu had thought that the stakes impaling Vida’s limbs and the swords embedded in her back were visualized images that he was seeing from having entered her Divine Realm, but judging from Ricklent’s words, it seemed that this wasn’t the case.
“These stakes are the Stakes of Law. While Alda is the god of the light attribute, he is also the god of law, and he has the role of carrying out punishment against the gods. This is a divine authority for punishing gods that have made mistakes… though it was involuntary for me,” said Vida. “The swords are Artifacts used by Bellwood to inflict wounds upon gods.”
Vandalieu thought for a moment. “If they’re not fused with you, then it might work,” he said, and then he reached out for one of the stakes impaling Vida. “Excuse me.”
He ignored Vida’s surprise, and his misshapen hand touched the stake.
“Wait, it’s impossible for you to take out these stakes!” Vida cried.
“Yes, it’s just like Nemesis Bell… I’m temporarily calling it the holy attribute, and if it’s that, I can’t erase the effects of the stakes or the Artifacts,” said Vandalieu. “But I should be able to ‘break’ the stakes and the Artifacts. Even if they’re made of Orichalcum, this is a Divine Realm, after all.”
In a Divine Realm, where an object’s material had no meaning, Vandalieu should be able to break the stakes and Artifacts by using Soul Break.
And although Vandalieu used a considerable amount of Mana, the stake that he grasped did indeed break, turning into particles of light.
“No way! He broke it instead of pulling it out?!” Vida exclaimed.
“… I see. The stakes and Artifacts are powers that are specialized for targeting gods. For Vandalieu, who is not a god, it is easy to break them. As expected of the one who was once Ark,” Ricklent murmured.
“No, it isn’t easy. It takes quite a lot of Mana, you know,” said Vandalieu.
“If a mortal can break a divine authority just by using their own Mana, that falls into the category of being easy,” Vida and Ricklent said simultaneously.
Now that I think about it, that might be true, Vandalieu thought as he broke the stakes and Artifacts one by one, turning them into particles of light with cracking noises. He cursed Alda and Bellwood with each one that he broke.
And after he had broken about half of them, Vandalieu suddenly noticed something running this way in the distance. It looked like an enormous, four-legged beast, but its silhouette was strange.
It looked like it had four heads.
“I suppose that’s Zuruwarn,” said Ricklent.
“Eh? That’s not an image, is it?” said Vida. “How was he able to get here across the barrier? This is such a sturdy place that on the outside, it’s known as an S-class Dungeon created by Gufadgarn.”
“He has likely crossed space itself across the barrier.”
Zuruwarn, the god of space and creation, approached at a tremendous speed.
“Take this!” he shouted, and then he threw something from one of his four mouths at Vandalieu, who was continuing to break the stakes and swords at a leisurely pace.
It was something resembling a sparkling jewel, and as it touched Vandalieu, it silently went inside him.
And then Zuruwarn toppled over and stopped moving, the tongues hanging out of all four of his mouths in complete exhaustion. “I’m tired… I’m going to sleep.”
“Zuruwarn! I’m happy to see you after so long, but please don’t sleep! This is my Divine Realm!” said Vida.
“Zuruwarn, what kind of behavior is that for a god?” Ricklent said in disapproval.
“Umm, can I please ask what I was just given?” said Vandalieu.
“Good grief,” Zuruwarn muttered as he got up again, yawning as he straightened up. “Vandalieu, I grant you, the violator of boundaries, the divine blessing of the dark gods of Earth.”
“… Dark?” Vandalieu repeated.
“Yes, dark. The divine protection of the gods related to the afterworld, the demons of hell, Oni, monsters from ghost stories and other such beings. Negotiating for it was really tiring, so just take it and don’t make that face, I’m begging you,” Zuruwarn pleaded, seeing Vandalieu making a face that clearly showed that he didn’t want the divine protection of such ominous beings. “I mean, there were so many divine beings that were firmly opposed to giving you their divine protection… and it seemed like it would take another hundred years if I were to wait for them to make up their minds.”
Why would the gods of Earth, the world in which Vandalieu had died in about thirty years ago, give him their divine protection? He didn’t understand at all. In fact, he was surprised that gods actually existed on Earth at all.
But it seemed that Zuruwarn had no intention of explaining this.
Vandalieu decided not to worry about it, thinking that since it was a divine protection, it probably wouldn’t be a bad thing to accept it.
And then he broke the final sword. At that moment, the blood that continued flowing from Vida stopped.
“Thank you, Vandalieu, my child. I won’t return to normal straight away, but thanks to you, I will be able to begin recovering my power,” said Vida. “But it seems like I must bid farewell to you for today.”
Vandalieu suddenly looked at his own arms to see that they were drooping onto the ground. It seemed that he had used too much Mana in this soul-only state.
His senses were fading away.
But he had already gained plenty. He had met Vida and was now certain that Ricklent and Zuruwarn were his allies. He had heard the gods speak and, for some reason, even been given the divine protection of the dark gods of earth.
But there was one more thing he wanted to ask.
“This is the last thing I’ll ask. In the eyes of you, the gods, aren’t I walking on the wrong path?” Vandalieu asked.
After being reincarnated in Lambda, Vandalieu had killed many people. He did not regret this, nor did he feel any guilt for having done so. He was proud of himself for having conformed to the policies of killing as few people as possible and saving as many people as possible, the policies that he had thought of when he was still a baby.
Under these policies, he had massacred the Mirg shield-nation’s expedition army and caused catastrophic events in the Hartner Duchy and Sauron Duchy. He would eliminate obstacles that would prevent him from ‘saving as many people as possible.’ But he would keep the number he killed small, ‘killing as few people as possible.’
He had never thought of becoming a perfect saint. If it was to protect his own companions and citizens, he didn’t give a damn how many enemy soldiers died. He wouldn’t hesitate to gain peace by standing on top of his enemies’ corpses. It couldn’t be helped that the citizens of enemy nations would come to hate him, so he was prepared for that.
Of course, if things could be settled through discussion, then he would do so, but he had no intention of giving gentle warnings to those who weren’t even remotely interested in discussing things.
If he had hated himself for doing these things, he would have done as Rodcorte asked and ended his own life long ago.
But Vandalieu asked this question because he was aware that this was not a sense of values that could be considered ordinary.
Even if his way of thinking was denied, he couldn’t change it because that would lead to his companions’ ends. But it was possible to make small changes.
The gods smiled, as if to say that it was too late to think about that.
“Our blessings to you, the one who violates the boundaries between the living and the dead, between good and evil. We don’t mind, so just do whatever you want,” said Zuruwarn.
He was the god of creation, but he was also the god of the destruction that came about as a result of that creation. He would welcome the creation that would come after the destruction of the order established by Alda and the circle of transmigration established by Rodcorte.
As he himself was a trickster, a violator of boundaries, his thoughts were beyond the realm of good and evil.
“There is no right and wrong. We were never gods that discuss good and evil. Now is an age where humans, not gods, rule humans, so good and evil is something that should be decided by the people,” said Ricklent.
He was the god of magic and the time attribute. People were creatures that eventually died. Therefore, he had a dry way of thinking regarding people’s lives.
“And the new magic that you use is greatly intriguing. You are even controlling it properly. With that being the case, there would be no problem in creating immortal beings,” he said.
Since Ricklent was the god of magic, he valued the study of new spells, inventions and knowledge. The Undead that Vandalieu created or tamed were under his control, so there was no reason for Ricklent to find fault in him.
“My child Vandalieu… you, who listened to my selfish requests, I have everything to thank you for, but nothing to blame you for. Do as you please. At the very least, the path you walk is not mistaken in my eyes,” said Vida.
Vandalieu was a lovable being to Vida, the goddess of life and love.
She ruled over love. This caused some misunderstandings regarding her among her followers as well, but… she had never preached philanthropy. She had never taught that hating conflict was a bad thing, but she hadn’t taught that causing others harm was a bad thing either. She had once taught that one could not forcibly love their neighbor, however.
Life was a competition; eating other life forms in order to live was a natural thing that occurred every single day.
And fighting to protect loved ones was never evil.
If she preached philanthropy and valued a correct way of life, she would never have left Alda and the others and given birth to new races, nor would she have turned Zakkart’s remains into an Undead to mate with him.
“Last of all, please take this with you. I’m sure it will help in the resurrection of your mother, my child Darcia.” Vida gathered the blood that had flowed from her body into her hands, formed a solid sphere with it and handed it to Vandalieu. “Also, take a good look around these resting grounds. They’re called my resting grounds, but to Gufadgarn, the one who built it, it’s a mausoleum for Zakkart! He loved Zakkart so much that he called himself Zakkart’s first disciple, so I’m sure you’ll find hints for clearing the Trial of Zakkart –”
“Vida, it seems that he has already returned to his body,” said Ricklent.
“I tried to thank him multiple times, but you started talking every time I tried so I couldn’t really find a good timing,” said Zuruwarn.
“Ah! I still had things I wanted to say to him!”