There were two figures standing in a wasteland some distance away from the Majin nation, a dangerous region where Rank 5 monsters roamed, a place the average adventurer wouldn’t survive a single hour.
The ‘Sword King’ Borkus raised his black greatsword into the air. Vigaro, the four-armed Ghoul, let out the roar of a lion as he swung his axe sideways.
The air vibrated as the two weapons collided, the shockwave shaking the boulders nearby as if they were flimsy toys. Even monsters that were normally ferocious had fled like mice in fear of these two.
“You’ve grown stronger, haven’t you, Vigaro! Not as strong as me, though!” Borkus shouted, a provocation mixed in with his words of praise.
Neither of them showed any killing intent. But Borkus had accepted Vigaro’s request of a match with the same spirit and equipment as a real battle.
Vigaro frowned and let out a low growl. “It does seem that my skill isn’t as great as yours yet.”
His combat ability had clearly increased. When Vigaro and Borkus first met, Vigaro was far below Borkus, completely unable to defeat him unless Borkus was taken completely by surprise. Even with only a single arm and a sword with only the handle remaining, Borkus would certainly have defeated Vigaro in a battle.
But in Talosheim, he had acquired a Job and gained strength rapidly.
I have the superior Attribute Values, but the difference isn’t great enough for the match to be decided by that alone. Jeez, these members of Vida’s races that have Ranks get stronger twice as fast as everyone else, Borkus thought.
When members of Vida’s races like Ghouls and Vampires that possessed Ranks gained Jobs, their Job Levels and their Monster Levels increased at the same time, so they developed more quickly than humans or monsters. Borkus learned of this from watching the development of Vigaro and the other Ghouls.
… They didn’t stand out much compared to the Dhampir who was developing at a steep diagonal angle away from common sense, however.
“But I received guidance! I received advice from a strangely tall, skinny Vandalieu that appeared in my dreams!” Vigaro exclaimed.
“… I’ve said this a few times, but are you sure that wasn’t just a dream?” said Borkus.
“Honestly, I sometimes think that might be the case. But thanks to that dream, I’ve mastered it!”
The tension in the air had loosened for a moment, but now, it returned again in an instant.
“So, you did awaken your superior Skill! Alright, I’ll put it to the test!” Borkus declared.
“Yeah, I’ll show you my power now that I’ve gained what I was lacking!” Vigaro roared.
He normally wielded three battleaxes and a shield, but now, he threw his shield into the air over his head.
For a moment, Borkus thought that Vigaro was just making a show of throwing away his defense to devote himself entirely to attacking, but he raised his greatsword nonetheless, not letting his guard down.
And then he saw a fifth arm silently extend from Vigaro’s back and snatch the shield out of the air.
“Here I come!” Vigaro roared.
“Wha –?! Wait, what the hell is that you just grew from your back?!” Borkus shouted, his discomposure clear.
But the now five-armed Vigaro closed in quickly.
Three of his arms, which were longer and more flexible than those of a human, were wielding battle axes, while the remaining arm grasped the ground to support his body.
Despite his discomposure, Borkus defended against the three axes, which were all aiming at different parts of the body with different attack timings, with his greatsword and defensive movements. And then he swung his weapon back in retaliation.
But the shield held by the arm growing from Vigaro’s back deflected Borkus’s blade. Taking advantage of this opening, Vigaro swung his three axes and unleashed a fourth attack from his free elbow aimed at Borkus’s legs. He positioned himself low against the ground, attacking from a position that would be difficult for Borkus, a Titan Zombie, to deal with.
“Leaving the reason that you’ve grown an extra arm aside, it seems that you’re using your fifth arm to maintain your defense with your shield while using your free arm to adapt to the situation,” Borkus observed. “But it’s not good enough!”
Borkus’s powerful front kick deflected one of Vigaro’s arms. And then he ignored two of the axes and moved straight forward, closing the gap between him and his opponent, and swung his sword down.
Vigaro immediately tried to stop the attack with his shield, but he was smashed into the ground by this attack from above, his fifth arm unable to withstand the power of Borkus’s sword.
“Guh… I still can’t use them properly. Spirit Form and Materialization,” groaned the defeated Vigaro.
The fifth arm growing from his back was not a part of his body, but his spirit form that was extending from it.
“Now that you mention it, I had a feeling it looked a bit transparent. But I’m surprised you managed to learn those Skills when you’re not even Undead. What a weird guidance,” Borkus muttered.
“The tall, skinny Vandalieu tore off a part of himself and then told me to eat it. I did, and then it grew from my back. When I woke up, I was a Rank 10 Ghoul Astral Tyrant and I’d acquired those Skills,” said Vigaro.
“… That dream’s a nightmare. Never mind that, what’s the name of your superior Skill? An old buddy of mine had Axe King Technique, but yours is different, right?” asked Borkus, pulling out the one axe that had buried itself in his leg.
The names of superior Skills were different for each person. The most popular ones were ‘X King Technique,’ but there were many cases where the Skill names were different due to the Skill owners’ fighting styles and mental factors.
“It’s Death Lion Axe Technique,” said Vigaro. “At the moment, I can’t maintain my fifth arm for long because of my inexperience and lack of Mana, but I’ll catch up to you soon.”
“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it,” said Borkus.
Meanwhile, Basdia was watching the fired-up conversation between the two men.
“They asked me to come to make sure that nearby monsters wouldn’t interfere, but… I wasn’t needed, was I? Well, I got to see something unexpectedly valuable, considering that I was just killing time while Jadal comforted Mother.”
As a warrior, she didn’t dislike heavy scenes like this, and she was satisfied at having been able to witness a battle between two exceptional fighters.
And then she grouped up with them to treat Borkus’s leg, which had been almost severed due to the reckless way that he’d fought.
Incidentally, she had become a Rank 9 Ghoul Amazoness Chief before seeing Vandalieu in her dreams, but she was still waiting for her advancement to Rank 10.
While Borkus and Vigaro engaged in their fired-up conversation, Vandalieu was inside a certain Dungeon.
The Palace of Hell.
This was the ninety-nine-floor, high-difficulty Dungeon in the Majin nation. As a palace, its interior structure was like the inside of some kind of building, but the environmental hazards were top-class, such as the pools of magma in the courtyards and entire buildings that were made of ice.
Other than the monsters that were simply animals with Demon-like features, like Devil Octopuses and Demon Apes, the monsters of the Dungeon were all actual Demon-type monsters, which were moving, condensed masses of contaminated Mana.
Monsters like Lesser Demons could be defeated with a little caution for their great physical ability and moderate ability in magic. But the weakest Demon-type monsters that appeared in this Dungeon were Rank 7 Greater Demons, Lava Demons and Frost Demons.
They were sly and highly capable in combat and the use of magic, and their most prominent feature was that they possessed numerous special abilities. These came in great varieties, such as spells that were cast with Chant Revocation, special venom, roars that damaged the minds of those who heard them, great regenerative abilities and the ability to temporarily become invisible.
And as Vandalieu and his companions travelled deeper into the Dungeon, there were even more powerful enemies, like groups of Rank 9 Demon Generals and Rank 10 Archdemons led by a Rank 11 Demon Lord.
And although the materials that could be taken from the monsters were valuable and had high monetary value, almost none of them were suitable for consumption. Thus, those who came to clear this Dungeon had to bring their own food.
Because of this Dungeon’s nature, even most of the Majin, who were highly capable in combat and could acquire Jobs that allowed them to tame Demon-type monsters, couldn’t manage more than reducing monster numbers in the shallow and middle floors.
That was supposed to have been the case, but… Vandalieu casually walked down a corridor whose floor and walls were made of polished stone.
“Hmm… we’ve only had a handful of fights so far,” he said, looking at the Demons lined up on both sides of the corridors like palace guards.
They weren’t monsters tamed by the tamers of the Majin nation; they were ordinary monsters that inhabited this Dungeon.
Despite that, they showed no signs of intending to attack Vandalieu or those following behind him.
“Perhaps they have been charmed by you, just like the Undead we encountered in our first Dungeon, Bocchan?” suggested Sam, who was carrying the luggage in his carriage, remembering the Dungeon that he and Vandalieu went into during their hidden journey out of the Mirg shield-nation.
“It seems that it’s different from my charm and guidance,” said Vandalieu, looking at the Demons.
He extended a hand, and the Demons standing in front of him trembled slightly. There was fear in their reptile-like eyes.
“It seems that I’m scary to them,” Vandalieu said.
The Demons feared Vandalieu so much that they had abandoned their instincts as Dungeon monsters to attack and impede the advancement of intruders.
“Monsters of Dungeons are scared, huh. This would be unthinkable in any ordinary Dungeon…” muttered Godwin, the Majin king.
The minds of monsters spawned inside Dungeons were influenced by the Dungeons to eliminate intruders and cooperate with other monsters to some extent to achieve this task.
But unlike monsters spawned by Vandalieu’s Dungeons, monsters spawned by ordinary Dungeons had souls. Thus, Dungeons did not control their monsters’ minds completely.
There were cases where monsters would run and hide from overwhelmingly powerful enemies or become tamed by those with very good compatibility with the monsters.
But there were almost no such cases for Demons.
They were beings created when corrupted Mana gathered to form bodies and souls inhabited them. No matter how strange most monsters were, they had desires and instincts as living organisms, but Demons did not.
They had no limited lifespans; they were able to continue living forever without sleeping, eating or reproducing. It wasn’t that they couldn’t do these, but they were nothing more than leisure activities for them.
Thus, it wasn’t rare for Demons to simply throw their lives away for fun. The more powerful Demons were, the stronger this tendency was. They didn’t value their lives, surrender or try to flee from battle.
The reason they couldn’t be tamed by those who were not Majin, who possessed special characteristics as a race, was because of these un-organism-like values.
“Hmm, I wonder why? I haven’t really even fought any Demon-type monsters before,” said Vandalieu.
“Though this is but a guess, perhaps it is because you possess the Demon King Title and the fragments of the Demon King?” Sam suggested.
“That’s probably it,” Godwin said, hitting the palm of his hand with the fist of his other. “It’s said that Demon-type monsters began forming after the Demon King created them to be his own servants. They’re probably trembling in fear of the increased presence of the Demon King inside you, kid. But since there are a lot of things different from the presence of the Demon King Guduranis, they won’t obey you. That might be the state that they’re in.”
“I see. That might be how it is,” said Vandalieu. The Demons didn’t confirm or deny Godwin’s theory, but he was convinced.
“I am still unable to tame even a single Lesser Demon… and yet, Archdemons are as meek as cats before His Majesty. Perhaps I should say that it is to be expected, but…” The ‘Liberating Princess Knight’ Iris Bearheart, former leader of the resistance who had survived after receiving fatal wounds by transforming into an Obscene-Majin Succubus, let out a sigh.
She had transformed from a human to a Majin through the ‘Blood Cocoon’ ritual carried out by Godwin, but less than a year had passed since then, so she couldn’t handle Demons well like natural-born Majin yet.
“Iris… that is something that even normal Majin take ten years to learn. It is nothing to be disappointed about,” said the spirit of Iris’s father George, who resided in the dark magic sword, the Orichalcum holy sword Nemesis Bell that had been remade by Vandalieu into Nemesis George.
Iris had acquired the Cursed Spirit Swordsman Job, which was a Tamer-type Job, but the only monster following her was the spirit of her own father George. Even then, she had been reunited with her father because Vandalieu had given him to her, so she wasn’t aware that she had tamed a monster, nor did she have the experience associated with doing so.
And the monsters she was trying to tame were Demons, which were more intelligent than beasts and yet had completely different mental structures from humans. It was only natural that she would struggle to tame them.
“Hmm, do you want to try a Demon Centaur next time?” suggested Godwin, who had become a second ‘father’ to Iris after conducting the ritual to transform her into a Majin. “You’re used to handling horses, right?”
But his daughter did not give a favorable response.
“Judging from its name, that Demon isn’t a horse, is it?” said Vandalieu.
“That’s right, Your Majesty. They are Demons that have the lower bodies of horses like Centaurs. They might look similar, but they are monsters that are different from horses and Centaurs, so… I don’t know if knowing the Mount Skill would be of any use,” said Iris.
Demon Centaurs were low-Rank Demons like Lesser Demons, with great mobility on the ground making up for their inability to fly.
Of course, they were completely different from military horses and horses that were used as mounts.
“Godwin, could you not at least use Demon Horses?” said George.
“Those are just Demon-like horse monsters,” said Godwin. “Even if Iris tamed one, it wouldn’t count as proof of Iris’s adulthood, George.”
“But even if you make her do something that she is inexperienced in –”
“George, that’s being just a bit over-protective. Your way of raising children doesn’t match mine at all!”
It seemed that George and Godwin often disagreed on how to raise their ‘daughter’ Iris.
As Vandalieu looked up at Iris, she averted her gaze in embarrassment.
“As a Majin, I am still a minor, so… I am treated as such by those around me, and it seems that my fathers are influenced by that as well,” she said.
In the Majin nation, Majin that had not been deemed worthy of being adults were treated as minors, regardless of their appearance or real age. Iris was no exception.
Even the renowned Liberating Princess Knight of the Sauron region was nothing but a newborn chick.
“I see, fathers worry about their daughters’ upbringing, too. Now that I think about it, I also did… no, even now, I do still worry about them,” said Sam, feeling sympathy for George and Godwin as he remembered his own daughters.
Though if Saria and Rita were to hear this, they would respond with, “No, Father is just strange.”
“I have been complaining that I want to become an adult as quickly as possible, so the two of them have been giving me as much knowledge as they possibly can,” Iris explained.
“I don’t think you need to be in such a rush, Iris. I think it would be good for you to think of this as a time to learn and take your time in expanding your strengths,” said Vandalieu.
“What you say is reasonable, Your Majesty, but I am referred to as ‘Ohime-chan’ by the people of the Majin nation… the thought of this continuing for years is unbearable.”
“Ah, that might cause you some stress.”
Iris was being treated as a child by the people of the Majin nation and even the human, Dwarf and Elf citizens. That was how the nation’s system was, so it was only natural for them all to treat Iris that way.
But Iris likely felt pathetic, as she had been an adult in human society until last year.
“Now that I think about it, Kachia and the others said that they weren’t treated that warmly by the Ghouls right after their transformations,” said Vandalieu, remembering Kachia and the other former female adventurers who had lost hope in living and transformed into Ghouls to live new lives as his followers.
In other words, just like Kachia and the others back then, Iris still hadn’t adapted to her new, vastly different environment and social position.
Vandalieu touched her hand that wasn’t holding George to cheer her up, thinking that as someone more experienced, he should give her some advice.
“Iris, you might not be able to believe this, but you’ll get used to it one day. I was completely bewildered when I was reborn, too,” he said.
He had felt very uncomfortable being raised as an infant after his second reincarnation, this time as Darcia’s son.
But his moments of bewilderment and confusion had gradually become less frequent. At the same time, the personality of Amamiya Hiroto of Earth and the Undead of Origin changed, becoming Vandalieu of Lambda.
He still possessed the memories from his previous lives, but he could no longer remember how he had endured so many irrational circumstances and continued living on in Japanese society.
“I see… I thought that you would have adapted straight away, Your Majesty,” said Iris.
Sam and even George and Godwin, who had been arguing until moments ago, found interest in this conversation and joined in.
“Is that true? I believe that when I first met you, many aspects of your speech and behavior were not very child-like,” said Sam.
“Even recently, I feel that rather than being a child… you often behave in strange ways,” said George.
“Yeah, I think ordinary children would be scared if they were carried around in iron-claw grips,” Godwin agreed.
As they said, Vandalieu had many visible un-childlike aspects. He was expressionless and his voice was flat-toned, and he appeared calmer than was appropriate for his age. Vandalieu could understand this.
“Well, even if I get used to this world, it’s not like I forget my memories and experiences from my previous lives. I was reborn as a baby with my previous memories and personality, but various things might be different for Iris,” he said. “The Vampires like Eleanora and Bellmond might be more similar to her.”
The Vampires outside the Boundary Mountain Range considered themselves ‘born’ from the moment they transformed from their previous race.
Whether they had been twenty years old or six years old at that moment, they were treated as immature individuals in Vampire society. Their positions in those societies progressed as they improved the Skills they gained by becoming Vampires and became accustomed to their superior physical abilities to use them better.
Eleanora and Bellmond had been Vampires of a faction worshipping an evil god, so unlike Iris, they had not been raised with love.
“Hmm, even if we wanted to ask the Pure-breed Vampires in Vida’s Resting Grounds to use as a reference, they only wake up perhaps once in a thousand years,” said Godwin.
“Couldn’t you ask other Majin who were transformed from other races?” said George.
“One of my grandma’s older brother’s girlfriends was apparently an Elf who transformed into a Majin, but that happened tens of thousands of years ago. She turned into stone at Vida’s Resting Grounds ages ago. Unlike the Pure-breed Vampires, almost none of us Majin wake up after becoming stone.”
“No, I am aware that the two of you are always thinking out of consideration for me. I am simply not accustomed to it yet, please don’t concern yourselves about it,” said Iris, stopping this discussion between her two fathers regarding their daughter.
The relationship between the two fathers and their daughter would be considered peculiar in human societies, but it seemed to be a good relationship.
“Really? Well, we shouldn’t have this family council in a corridor with Demons standing petrified on either side. But still… I’ve defeated this Dungeon’s boss multiple times, and even I’ve never been feared this much by the Dungeon’s Demons,” said Godwin. “How about you take the position of Majin king as well, kid? I’m sure you’d be able to serve as the Majin King in your spare time.”
The greatest duty of the Majin nation’s king was to periodically clear the Palace of Hell.
The Palace of Hell, which was created by Gufadgarn, the evil god of labyrinths, had the role of preventing the haphazard generation of Dungeons and Demons all over the inside of the Boundary Mountain Range by gathering the polluted Mana and generating Demons inside it.
But superior monsters, even Demon-type ones, possessed too much intelligence and could break free from the Dungeon’s influence on their minds about a hundred years after they were spawned. In such cases, they would display troublesome behaviors such as going outside or lurking on shallow floors to ambush intruders.
It was necessary to cull the superior Demons periodically in order to prevent this.
Godwin had performed this task twelve times. But it seemed to him that Vandalieu would be able to do this even more easily.
Indeed, the moment he suggested this, unrest spread among the Demons lined up on both sides of the corridor. Their eyes, which were normally filled with joy even in their dying moments, were now open wide as if to scream, “PLEASE DON’T!”
“I’ll decline,” said Vandalieu.
It wasn’t that he was being considerate towards the Demons, but of course, he had to decline.
“As I thought. But why? I know it’s weird for me to say this, but it’s quite easy being the king of this nation as long as you’re strong. You’d even be able to make more heads and arms to do deskwork, kid,” said Godwin.
“Father, perhaps it is because he knows that you are only saying this because you dislike the deskwork?” said Iris.
“Godwin, your term is over in a few more decades, so you should persevere,” said George.
“No, I was just thinking that I should quit being king and devote myself to raising my child,” said Godwin.
“I am not enough of a child to warrant that!” Iris said in a strong tone with a swing of her tail, seeming to dislike being used as an excuse.
“Muh, if you have a proper reason like that, then… but depending on how I resurrect Mom, she might return to being a baby, so I can’t just take on more work like that…” said Vandalieu, thinking seriously about the matter.
“Don’t fall for his words, Your Majesty!” Iris said, reprimanding him.
The four of them showed no signs of tension as they proceeded down the corridor and went through the door at its end, entering the chamber in which the Dungeon boss awaited them.
The Dungeon boss, the Archdemon Lord, attacked without showing any fear for Vandalieu. But even that only ended up being a single battle against a Rank 12 monster; it was questionable as to whether this could be counted as going through a Dungeon more difficult than B-class Dungeons in order to prepare for the Trial of Zakkart.
Unlike the contests of strength in the Kijin nation, Vandalieu made use of his Demon King fragments and buried the Archdemon Lord without difficulty.
“Come to think of it, there’s going to be a bodybuilding tournament where contestants compete in physical beauty. Why don’t you enter to take a break from training?” Vandalieu suggested to Iris and the others.
“Oh, that sounds good. It’s an invitation from the emperor, so the civil officials won’t complain, either. We can build our relationship, too~♪ We might as well enter, right, Iris?” said Godwin.
“Godwin, how can you suggest that your unmarried daughter enter a competition of physical beauty? Iris, you mustn’t enter,” said George.
“Chichi-ue, please stop talking as if I wish to enter. Those costumes… It is very much impossible for me. Standing on a stage with a single boomerang-shaped piece of underwear is unthinkable,” said Iris.
“No, it’s only the male contestants that wear boomerang underwear,” said Vandalieu. “The clothes for the female contestants are similar to the latest fashion trends of the Majin nation.”
“I see, then… no, I shall decline,” said Iris.
She had almost nodded for a moment, but upon remembering what the latest fashion trends in the Majin nation were like, she realized that she would not be able to endure such embarrassment.
『The Level of the Labyrinth Construction Skill has increased!』
One day in May, when half of spring had passed and the beginning of summer was approaching, Kurt Legston was sitting in the audience seats of the theater, watching the faces of his acquaintances as they competed in physical beauty on a stage with oil on their bodies.
“… I can’t understand His Majesty’s interests at all,” he muttered.
‘The First Vida’s Revival Celebratory Bodybuilding Contest’ was unfolding in this theater.
Kurt had been born as the third son of the Legston family of earls, which took turns in assuming the position of marshal in the Mirg shield-nation, and he had continued his life as a military man after being recruited by Vandalieu. He had no hatred for muscles.
In fact, he admired those with well-trained bodies. But that admiration was for physical abilities that manifested from minds that could endure steady training and the muscles that formed as a result.
In contrast to this, the main purpose of this bodybuilding event was to compete only in the appearance of those well-trained bodies.
The contestants struck poses, the men wearing boomerang underwear while the women wore bikini-type clothing.
Even now, Vigaro was showing the biceps of each of his four arms, while Borkus twisted his body to show off his femoral muscles and the muscles on his arms.
Kurt did know that the average knight’s neck would be broken if they received a punch from one of those arms, but he saw no combat-related meaning in the poses themselves.
“Haven’t you entered, Kurt? Participation alone awards pomegranate juice and V-oil,” said his older brother Chezare Legston, who had entered the theater partway through the contest, taking a seat next to Kurt.
He had become Talosheim’s general after becoming an Undead, and he was effectively the prime minister now.
“… Ani-ue, please stop with the jokes. Do you want to see me strike poses with a smile, wearing only a single pair of underwear? I have no intention to embarrass myself and enter a competition I have no hope of winning in exchange for pomegranate juice and oil… though I do know that the oil is a valuable commodity,” Kurt said with a dejected expression.
As he had once been a knight of a knights’ order himself, he had quite the well-trained body even now. But he was aware that he had no hope of winning against the favorites of each category like Vigaro, Borkus, Godwin and Miles.
Thus, despite giving Kasim and Haj gazes of pity as they participated in the contest on the stage, he had no intention of joining them.
But V-oil… the special oil that Vandalieu had created by extracting oil from the Demon King’s blubber and adding various other ingredients to it, was perhaps valuable enough to embarrass himself for. It was effective in treating a variety of conditions, such as dry skin, burns and hair loss. It was apparently also good as a beauty product.
Incidentally, it was the oil that all of the contestants had put on their bodies.
But Kurt’s hairline hadn’t retreated from the front line of defense, so he could likely do without it.
“It’s not that you have no chance of winning. The event is divided by gender into four weight categories, for a total of eight categories. Maybe you can’t take first place, but you should have hope for achieving top five,” said Chezare.
“Then you should have entered, Ani-ue. Undead that aren’t Skeletons can enter, can’t they?” said Kurt.
“I’m sure you know that even when I was alive, I was more suited for managing military affairs than showing my valor as a knight or commander. My body reflects that,” said Chezare.
He had far less talent for being a warrior than Kurt; he didn’t have much confidence in his physical beauty or physical abilities.
“If His Majesty didn’t take me in, I would never have even become a general,” he said.
“… Though you say ‘taken in,’ you were killed and turned into an Undead, and what you’re doing now is mostly the work of a prime minister,” Kurt pointed out.
“Leaving that aside, Kurt, a vassal shouldn’t ever say that they ‘can’t understand’ their master’s interests.”
Just as there were subordinates on Earth who took part in the hobbies of their superiors, it wasn’t rare in the human societies of Lambda for vassals to join their masters in their hobbies. Fishing, hunting, poetry, gourmet food, musical performances, board games and such.
In the human societies of Lambda, relationships between vassals and their masters continued for longer than modern-day Japan, especially for nobles and knights. Thus, these activities were even more important.
Vassals could have the masters they would serve for their entire lives decided from birth, one day marry the daughter of their superior or the relationship could even fail completely, resulting in the vassals being imprisoned for treason by suspicious masters… though this last possibility didn’t occur very frequently in reality.
In any case, it was normal for vassals to have some interest in their masters’ hobbies.
“… Knowing His Majesty, I can only imagine him saying, ‘Everyone is different,’ Ani-ue,” said Kurt.
“Chichi-ue and Alsard-aniue are going to take their families and flee their nation,” said Chezare. “His Majesty is taking them in, so how can we not devote ourselves to him?”
“Well, that’s true.”
With multiple uses of Legion’s ability to teleport to hold secret meetings, it had been all but confirmed that Chezare and Kurt’s family, the Legston family of earls, would defect to Talosheim.
This was the result of Chezare and Kurt, as well as Vandalieu himself, persuading them.
… Chezare and Kurt’s father, Cecil Legston, seemed to have complicated emotions upon learning that one of his sons had become an Undead and the other had betrayed his motherland, but he hadn’t expressed them before Vandalieu.
He had learned that the son that had become an Undead was much livelier than he had been while alive, and that both sons had become more successful than in the Mirg shield-nation. In addition to that, Isla, who had been on the expedition of four years ago, had explained the truth behind it.
With her Unique Skill, Transformation, she had transformed herself into the mercenary leader that she had joined the expedition army as, greatly helping to persuade the two.
“Even if he himself doesn’t mind, that doesn’t mean we can simply keep relying on his kindness. I know that,” said Kurt. “I know that, but… no, I suppose I do understand the event that’s taking place now.”
Chezare looked in the direction Kurt’s gaze was directed as he changed his mind. The men’s division had ended and the women’s division had started.
Basdia, Jeena, Borkus’s daughter Gopher and Gizania struck their poses in turn.
“Kurt… well, you’re not the only one,” Chezare muttered as he heard the men’s cheers and whistles.
They were equivalent to the high-pitched cheers of the women when the men’s division had been going on.
“They stand on a stage in light clothes to compete in physical beauty; even the contestants knew that this would happen. That’s why His Majesty created security Golems to ensure that the audience wouldn’t get onto the stage,” said Kurt.
But he didn’t notice the large sigh of relief coming from Iris, who hadn’t known this and was now very glad that she wasn’t participating.
“Some of them are wearing clothes that cover more than their usual clothes, aren’t they?” Kurt added.
“That’s true, but… By the way, I wonder if Chichi-ue is going to bring everyone like we suggested,” said Chezare.
During the discussions with the Legston family, there had been several moments when Vandalieu had said, “There are probably things that are difficult to say with me here” and sat outside to keep watch with Legion.
At those times, Chezare and Kurt had included several suggestions on what they should do if they decided to desert the Mirg shield-nation along with their words of persuasion.
“Alsard-aniue said that he doesn’t have any concubines yet… we investigated carefully, but it doesn’t seem that he has any illicit lovers that he’s keeping hidden,” said Kurt.
“Then I suppose it will be his long-serving servants, those with nowhere else to go, his loyal knights and their families,” said Chezare. “Perhaps it is a good thing that the family lost power due to the incident involving me. It makes managing the numbers much easier.”
Normally, there would be no problem in leaving behind any hidden lovers and all the servants but a few. But Vandalieu taking care of all of these would certainly have an effect on the Legston family’s impression of him.
They wouldn’t force Vandalieu to try and bring everyone, and they would likely take their own family’s situation into account, but the image of Vandalieu inside Cecil and Alsard worsening would be unavoidable.
“Since His Majesty said that, he’s the kind that looks out for those in weak positions,” said Chezare. “As that’s how this nation was built, I don’t think there are any problems. In fact, I was one of those in a weak position when I died.”
Their master Vandalieu had always been on the side of the weak on Earth and even in Origin. There was a difference in how weak he had been in each world, but he had always been in a weak position, on the side that was thrown aside and discarded.
Thus, he had been sympathetic and ignored his own gains and losses to extend his hand to the spirits of a nobleman’s former servant and his daughters who had been killed by bandits, a girl who had been attacked by adventurers, the dead people of the Titan nation that had been destroyed by the Mirg shield-nation, the cultivation village built by refugees chased from their homelands and the Scylla race that had been forced into their own secluded territory.
It wasn’t that he thought the strong were bad, hated royals and nobles or detested the wealthy.
But he didn’t think that the weak were always right, nor did he think that justice lay with either side.
However, he always directed his gaze towards the weak first.
It wasn’t logical; that was just his nature.
“I don’t have any complaints, either. I was taken in along with all of my subordinates, too. But I think it’s a way of thinking that isn’t compatible with the royals and nobles of human societies. And this doesn’t need to be said to you, Ani-ue, but until just recently, our family was an ancient and honorable, upper-class family of earls in the Mirg shield-nation,” said Kurt. “For the sake of our nephew’s future, please, don’t do anything strange, Oyaji-dono.”
“It’s not that I don’t trust Chichi-ue and Alsard-aniue, but…” Chezare muttered.
Even if Cecil and Alsard wanted to discard everyone other than their own families, Vandalieu wouldn’t reject them. He had made a promise to Kurt, and he would take the situation into account.
But this would inevitably lead to a difference in the way they were treated after they came to Talosheim. To Vandalieu, Cecil and Alsard would be nothing more than ‘Chezare and Kurt’s father and older brother,’ nor would he ever need to rely on them.
They were unlikely to be neglected, but they wouldn’t be put in important positions, nor would they be trusted.
Chezare and Kurt wanted to avoid that as a family, so they prayed that Cecil and Alsard would listen to their advice, for the sake of their newly-born nephew as well.
… They wanted to believe in them, as they were family, but at the same time, their unease didn’t disappear, knowing that they were in shaky positions because they were nobles.
The spectators of the contest, who didn’t know anything about Chezare and Kurt’s situation, looked at them curiously as they put their hands together, facing the stage.
“I wonder why those two are praying?”
“… Maybe they really loved the female contestants’ poses?”
【Ghoul Astral Tyrant】
A monster race title achieved by Vigaro when his Rank increased after he received Vandalieu’s guidance. It is thought that this race title can be achieved by a Ghoul Arch-tyrant that acquires the Spirit Form and Materialization Skills.
As Spirit Form and Materialization are Skills that are almost impossible to acquire for anyone but Astral-type monsters and Undead, it is thought that Vigaro is the first Ghoul Astral Tyrant in Lambda.
His strength in combat has increased remarkably after the awakening of his superior Skill, but he is still unaccustomed to using it, so he is unable to use it to its true potential.