The Goblin collapsed as its skull was caved in with a dull noise.
「Hmph. Are Goblins the only enemies that are going to come out?」
The High Priest of Alda, the God of Law and Fate, hurled abuse at the Goblins as he beat them to death with his favorite mace.
「High Priest Gordan, is it not likely that the Dhampir either escaped with his Vampire father or was buried alive when that cave collapsed?」
So said one of the holy knights under his command, but Gordan was not satisfied.
Bormack Gordan was originally a commoner, but he was now a great man who had climbed to the position of High Priest by his thirties using his faith, physical strength and his magic of the life and light attributes.
Now he had a burning obsession with exterminating Vampires, Lamias, Scylla and the other monsters that Vida had given birth to.
『Alda, the God of Law and Fate is the only one with authority in the world of Lambda and he has determined that the mere existence of these creatures is evil. It is our duty as his followers to destroy them!』
Like the other zealous followers of Alda, Gordan earnestly believed this with no doubts. He felt no shame in having killed the Dark Elf or in his current task of hunting down her Dhampir son; he was proud, believing that his actions were those of justice.
For that reason, he had been conducting a very thorough search of this small forest to find the Dhampir, but the search had run into problems.
Unable to contact the hunters who had sold out the Dark Elf to lead them through the forest, he had hired other hunters and joined forces with the feudal lord’s knights, but they had only encountered wild animals like wolves, bears and boars and the occasional weak monsters like Goblins that came out to attack them.
Five days after they had began their search, they discovered a cave that someone appeared to have been living in that had collapsed, but they hadn't been able to find the Dhampir’s corpse.
Gordan had thought to dig out the whole cave, but had no choice but to give up on that idea because of the risk of it collapsing on top of them. If they had a construction specialist or a Dwarf miner at hand, it would be a different story, but there was no demand for a construction specialist in this area right now, so they were unable to hire such a person.
The reason they continued searching the forest for two more months despite this was that the hunter that had sold out the Dark Elf and two of his friends had simply gone missing after setting out to hunt the Dhampir.
Three hunters who were all familiar with the geography of this area had all gone missing. On top of that, their corpses still hadn’t been found.
Gordan’s intuition told him that this was not the result of some coincidence or unfortunate accident, but something had taken revenge on them.
『The Dhampir in question is apparently still a baby, but it’s not out of the question. There was a reported incident in the past where a three-year-old Dhampir slaughtered a party of D-class adventurers.』
Giving up here would mean allowing evil to take root and grow in the future. He had to hunt the Dhampir down and turn him into ash.
「High Priest Gordan, it is impossible for us to make our search of the forest any more detailed than we have already done.」
「Baronet Bestero has withdrawn his knights already as well.」
However, not everyone shared Gordan’s zeal or saw the impending threat that he did. The feudal lord, Baronet Bestero, had dispatched five knights and half of his soldiers to help with the search, but now he grimly refused to offer any help at all.
He could not allow the soldiers and knights that were needed to uphold public order to spend too long searching the forest.
In fact, he criticized the continuation of the search, asking,「Is there no other work that the High Priest could be doing for the people?」
「... I know that the inhabitants of Evbejia have expressed their discontent.」
This forest was an important source of resources for the people of Evbejia and the High Priest had told them,「You cannot enter the forest while we are searching for the Dhampir, as it is too dangerous.」It was only natural that the people of Evbejia were unhappy about being unable to enter the forest for two whole months.
「No, it is not only the people. The adventurers are not happy either. Well, they are F-class and E-class adventurers of no importance.」
「They are taking their complaints to the Guild, saying that they are having their work taken away from them.」
The monsters such as Goblins that the adventurers received payment to exterminate had heavily decreased in population during Gordan’s search of the forest. Of course, this resulted in a sharp drop in the income of those adventurers.
In addition, Evbejia was a central point of commerce between villages and towns so there were many merchants and wealthy travelers requesting escorts, but as the adventurers accepted those requests, there were less adventurers operating inside Evbejia itself. Naturally, the Adventurers’ Guild was not pleased by this.
Baronet Bestero didn’t approve of the number of adventurers decreasing either. High Priest Gordan and his men were keeping the population of Goblins in check for now, but they were not permanent residents of this town. After they left, he had no way of knowing if enough adventurers would return to control the population of Goblins, who reproduced very quickly.
「What are you saying we should do?! Surely you’re not going to suggest we spare the Goblins that come and attack us!」
「Like I said, perhaps it is time to give up? My words are not those of the feudal lord, but there are plenty of other places that could benefit from our presence.」
In reality, while they were spending their time here, the Vampires were moving in the shadows. Other monsters of Vida were also causing harm to the people.
Was it acceptable to continue spending time searching for this Dhampir with no leads to follow?
「We have no choice. We will leave Evbejia the day after tomorrow.」
The red evening sun shone on Gordan’s bitter face.
He had a strong feeling that the Dhampir would be laughing at them in the nights to come.
That Dhampir, Vandalieu, spent the afternoon that High Priest Gordan left sunbathing to his heart’s content.
「Sunlight... Love you...」
He proclaimed his love for the sunlight. He had recently become able to speak, though it was not completely coherent yet.
Living for that long underground had been harsh on him.
He had thought that it would be for one month at most, but Gordan and his men had persisted for two whole months and Vandalieu had spent all that time living in the dark, surrounded by earth and rocks.
He had used his death-attribute magic to prolong the lives of the two hunters, but they only lasted about half a month. After that, he had Bone Monkey and the other Undead to crush the wheat grains and dried meat that Darcia had left behind and soak it with water to make baby food for him to stave his hunger off with. When he could no longer stand that, he desperately looked for insects in the dirt to eat.
His search led to the discovery of a stream of underground water; he had thought the cave would flood and he would drown, but it ended up being a fortunate event. His water supply had fallen low and the discovery of this underground water had allowed him to clean his diapers.
Up until then, he had made a Golem out of the earth to change shape and dig a hole, drop in used diapers and then bury them. Having run out of the ones that Darcia had made before, he had been forced to use diapers made from the clothes taken from the dead hunters, and even those were running out.
He could use death-attribute magic to sterilize himself, but he couldn’t stand having soiled himself. As a person, that was not acceptable.
He had been living on earthworms and sap from tree roots for the past few days. Thanks to a new skill he had learned,【Danger Sense: Death】, he could find the ones that weren’t fatally poisonous, but as he consumed them, for some reason, his Status Effect Resistance skill’s level increased. There was likely something in the food he ate that was poisonous, though not enough to kill him.
『I don’t ever want to have to live a life where I can consider catching a mole to be a miracle ever again.』
He firmly told himself that.
Vandalieu, being a Dhampir, could see in the dark just as well as he could in the middle of the day. But that didn’t mean he didn’t need sunlight. After all, he was half-Dark Elf.
He had been worried that he was going to die of vitamin deficiency-related diseases.
『High Priest Gordan, adventurers of the Five-colored Blades Party, please be well.』
Vandalieu earnestly prayed for the well-being of High Priest Gordan and his men, who had left Evbejia and Baronet Bestero today, and the『Five-colored Blades』that had left two months ago.
『Please don’t die until I kill you.』
He earnestly prayed for them to not be killed by someone else or die by accident or illness.
『The limit for a human to be in the dark is around ninety hours? If you’re trapped in darkness for that long, apparently it causes some mental problems, but I seem to have endured it surprisingly well.』
His sunbathing had calmed him down. Relieved that his mental condition had not changed over the past two months, he had the Undead set traps to catch rabbits and other small animals.
When he checked his status, a skill with an ominous-sounding name called Mental Corruption had been upgraded all the way up until level 10; was this because he had sworn to take revenge? Well, it also seemed to serve as a mental stability skill, so he didn’t think much of it.
As for his Death-Attribute Charm skill, he thought it was a skill that he had used in Origin. There were several occasions when the elderly researchers in Origin that had treated him as a guinea pig died of strokes, became spirits and then completely changed their personalities and apologized to him in tears.
He hadn’t thought badly of them for it; if it weren’t for his conversations with the spirits in Origin, his mind would have crumbled long before his body died.
However, when Orbie and his companions had approached him as spirits after they died, he had felt only disgust for them.
Vandalieu did not want to let them pass on peacefully, so he had forced them to inhabit a stone pillar that was supporting the cave, and they were still there now.
『For now, I guess I have to stay quiet and hidden until I grow a bit bigger.』
Over the past two months, Vandalieu had grown teeth other than his fangs. He was now also able to walk, though with poor balance due to the relatively large size of his head.
But he still needed to sleep for long hours and wasn’t able to run. He was capable of only an unsteady waddle, so even if he spent a whole day walking he wouldn’t cover much distance.
If he wanted to leave this place, he still needed more time to either grow up or make preparations.
Because of that, he had to postpone his revenge on Baronet Bestero, his knights and the people of Evbejia.
He had already thought of how he was going to do it and had the confidence that he could pull it off, so he was feeling impatient, but it was something that he had to endure.
『It’s already winter, huh. Now that I think about it, I still haven’t asked Mom about this world’s history. But before that... can I catch some prey whose blood I can drink?』
Though he had finally come outside, it seemed that he would die of starvation in the cold of winter. Vandalieu let out a sigh at the harshness of this world.
In Lambda, Vampires were divided into four different categories.
First, there was the Vampire born between Vida and the Undead champion Zakkard, who had long since perished and had his name forgotten, the【True Ancestor.】
The ones who had directly received the blessing from the True Ancestor or those who were his direct descendants were known as【Pure-Breeds.】
Those descended from the Pure-Breeds with Vampire blood that had thinned over the generations were known as the【Noble-born.】
And finally, those given the blood by the Pure-Breeds and Noble-born and taken as servants did not inherit the Vampires’ magical abilities such as their charming gaze; they inherited only their physical abilities such as their superhuman strength and regenerative capabilities. They were known as the【Subordinates.】
Generally, the closer a Vampire was related to the True Ancestor, the stronger their powers were. But Vampires had considerable individual differences, so some Subordinates who were even more powerful than Noble-born Vampires also existed.
The common features among all Vampires were their weakness to sunlight and the anti-Undead life-attribute magic taught among the followers of Alda. The other feature was the need to drink blood to sustain themselves.
Vandalieu’s father was a『Pure-Breed』’s『Subordinate.』He wasn’t even one of the exceptional ones that were stronger than the Noble-born; he was simply a normal human who had been turned into a Subordinate. His name was Valen. He had originally been a thug living in the slums.
The only thing that was not ordinary about Valen was his resistance against the sun. He had been even more resistant to the sun than most humans, so his Pure-Breed master valued him highly. He had ordered Valen to carry out various tasks and gather information among the people.
That was when he met Darcia.
Just like in old love stories, the two of them had fallen in love at first sight.
However, in the modern age, Vampires were also divided into two factions. There were the conservatives who continued to believe in Vida, who had been defeated by Alda, and the extremists who had converted to follow evil gods. The latter overwhelmingly outnumbered the former.
If Valen’s master had belonged to the conservatives, there wouldn’t have been any problems with the love between him and Darcia. But as an extremist, he was strongly opposed to the dilution of the Vampire blood with that of other races, even if that race was another race created by Vida.
Making use of his special trait that allowed him to use his powers even during the day, he eloped with the pregnant Darcia, but in the end, he fought with his pursuers to protect his unborn son.
And so Darcia, who managed to escape to this forest, gave her son half of his father’s name and half of her own name.
『So, that’s why I’m named Vandalieu.』(Vandalieu)
『That’s right. Do you like it?』(Darcia)
『Yes, I like it. It’s a very good name.』(Vandalieu)
Vandalieu, who for the first time in a while was able to eat something other than insects and tree root sap, listened to her story about his father that she had already told him dozens of times.
『That’s good. I’m sure your father would be happy, too. We’d agreed that we’d name you Vandalieu if you were a boy and Varcia if you were a girl. Err, so, where was I? Ah yes, I was telling you about the Vampires.』(Darcia)
With a smile, Darcia began to repeat the story that she had just finished telling. Her memory was prone to quick failure.
After the death of her body, her spirit was deteriorating as it spent time in this world. There were cases where spirits would retain their personalities even after a hundred years if they were tenacious or harbored strong hatred and strength of will, but she felt regrets about the fact that she had been reunited with Vandalieu as she was about to pass on.
Even though she was inhabiting a piece of her own remains, her spirit could not recover.
『... Even so, if I keep supplying her with Mana, she’ll last a hundred years.』
As he listened to Darcia talk, he decided to find a way to make her a new body within that time.
Despite the few problems that she was having with her memory, Darcia could still clearly remember things from when she was alive, so she told Vandalieu everything she knew.
Lambda’s time and calendar were the same as Earth’s, with twenty-four hours in a day, twelve months of 360 days in a year.
The reason Japanese was spoken was because it had spread from the champions who had spoken Japanese in their original birthplaces after they survived the battle with the Demon King. Currently, only common Japanese terms were used and commoners could only read hiragana and katakana. The ability to read kanji was limited to nobles and merchants who had received a higher degree of education.
Experience Points were a quantification of the life experiences that a person had been through. The people of Lambda increased their Experience Points little by little as they lived their lives. Of course, defeating monsters would grant Experience Points. However, the amount of Experience Points gained through certain experiences depended on one’s Job.
Jobs were apparently the『Blessings of the Gods』that existed since before the Demon King appeared. The people were feeble when compared to gods, so they were given Jobs in the hope that one day they would grow to be able to stand alongside the gods.
Jobs determined attribute points and adjusted how new skills were acquired, and if a Job’s level was raised to 100, one could change Jobs.
For example, if someone reached level 100 as an apprentice warrior, he could change Jobs to a warrior.
As well as than warriors and mages, there were farmers, craftsmen and the like. People with Jobs like warrior and mage would gain most experience from defeating monsters and enemies in battle, while farmers would gain most experience by doing everyday farm work or doing agriculture research and craftsmen would do so by crafting things.
『Well, it would be strange for someone with a warrior Job to gain a lot of experience by doing farm work. It would also be strange for a craftsman’s skill at crafting things to increase by defeating monsters.』
In other words, it was a system to encourage warriors to be warriors and farmers to be farmers; everyone should work hard in their specialized fields.
Incidentally, monsters had no Jobs but had levels, and apparently evolved or transformed into a higher-rank monster upon reaching level 100.
Therefore, it had been possible for Vandalieu’s father, Valen, to survive long enough and evolve from a Subordinate to a higher-rank monster. If he had managed to do so, he might have survived.
『Now I know just how bad the curses that Rodcorte gave me are, the ones that prevent me from gaining existing Jobs and gaining Experience Points for myself.』
Cannot learn existing Jobs... In other words, the curse prevented him from attaining a Job whose existence was already known, so it was troublesome. If he didn’t discover some new, unknown Job, he would forever be Jobless.
The curse that prevented him from gaining Experience Points on his own was likely even more serious. While others could steadily increased their levels, no matter how hard Vandalieu worked to train himself or study, he wouldn’t gain even a single point of Experience.
『Eight months have actually passed since I was born. I’ve gone through much harder experiences than the typical infant; I’ve trained myself in magic, used it in practice and finally even captured Orbie and those other hunters, but I haven’t leveled up.』
At this rate, he would reach adulthood and still be level 0. Being a Dhampir, his attribute points were high, but it would still be impossible for him to work as an adventurer and a soldier.
With that said, it would also be difficult for him to work as an industrial worker like farmer or craftsman.
With no Job, he would not have any adjustments for how he would acquire new skills. In other words, he would have to work several times harder than regular craftsmen to compete with them.
In addition, Vandalieu was aware that he had poor communication skills.
He had no talent for communicating with people; he had been born with anxiety problems.
『The more I think about it, the more I get the feeling that I’ve been cornered in this life... I’ll stop thinking about it, then.』
Let’s go to sleep. They say that sleeping children grow up well.
Vandalieu had Bone Monkey put out the fire that he had started by making Wood Golems out of two pieces of firewood and having them rub against each other. Wrapped in furs, he went to sleep, leaving the other Undead to keep watch over him.
He drifted off, thinking that the lullaby that Darcia’s spirit was singing to him sounded nice, but wishing he could feel her warmth.
Incidentally, Darcia didn’t know of any Dhampirs other than Vandalieu and Dhampirs themselves were very rare. Therefore, she didn’t know anything about Dhampirs and he had been unable to ask her about them.