「Well then, first of all, can you tell me about the magic you use and the skills you know, boy? Of course, if you do not wish to tell me, I will not press you any further.」
「No, I trust you... There’ll be a hundred or so guys who know about it in the future anyway.」
In order to learn the basics of magic, telling Zadiris about his magic and skills was necessary for Vandalieu. He would be able to receive guidance and advice based on her knowledge and experience.
However, that meant giving Zadiris information regarding his death-attribute magic. Even normal adventurers and monsters would be hesitant about freely giving away information regarding their skills. This was because doing so revealed all of one’s weaknesses.
However, sharing that information with people that one trusted was not uncommon. For adventurers, keeping one’s skills a secret from party members would impede teamwork. But for monsters, this may be another story.
And though it was still some decades away, there would be a hundred people coming from Origin and reincarnating here, and all of them would know about Vandalieu’s death-attribute magic.
Even if by some miracle Rodcorte didn’t tell them about Vandalieu’s death-attribute magic, there would likely be data left at the laboratory that he had been imprisoned in, and Magic Items created using his death-attribute magic were already widely circulating in Origin. At that time, those items were advertised as having been created not through death-attribute magic, but independently-developed life-attribute magic, but surely their true nature would have been discovered by now.
Therefore, it could be assumed that Amemiya Hiroto and the others found out about Vandalieu’s death-attribute magic after he died in Origin. It was extremely unlikely that they wouldn’t know about it.
That was why Vandalieu couldn’t see a reason to keep it a secret from someone like Zadiris, whom he trusted.
「A hundred people? Well, in any case, about your magic, boy –」
Right now, Zadiris was under the impression that Vandalieu’s magic was a special kind of life-attribute magic. At first, one would think that the Undead were completely unrelated to life-attribute magic, but in Lambda, the only ones who could control the Undead were life-attribute mages.
They forcefully poured life force into corpses, creating creatures with fake life that moved artificially. Since such Undead were forced into this unnatural state, they were fundamentally weaker than Undead that appeared in Devil’s Nests and Dungeons.
Zadiris had thought that Vandalieu was using a special spell that overcame these limitations, so she was rendered speechless when Vandalieu told her about his death-attribute magic.
「D... Death attribute? A new... A ninth attribute? Such a thing really exists... No, I suppose it is true. You actually control the Undead and cast spells that I have no knowledge about.」
In Origin, the death attribute was the eighth attribute, but unlike Origin, the time attribute existed in Lambda, so that made the death attribute the ninth attribute.
「So you’re surprised after all?」
「That goes without saying! Any monster that knows the potential value of a new attribute’s magic would show interest!」
For monsters, magic was a power that allowed them to survive, as well as rise up in a society where the strong stood on top.
Nobody would know how to fight against a user of unknown spells. Since the entirety of the death attribute was unknown, there would be any number of ways to kill an enemy on sight with no reaction.
Like Origin, in Lambda, one cannot learn magic for an attribute unless he or she possesses an affinity for that attribute. That applied for monsters as well, so not all monsters would be capable of this, but there was a very real concern that monsters with “mage” in their race title could somehow steal the techniques.
「I see. The reason that adventurer mage couldn’t cast spells was because of this death-attribute magic.」
Zadiris shuddered as she recalled how the mage among the adventurers who had attacked her had died. As a Ghoul Mage herself, it was easy for her to imagine the horror of having one’s magic taken away as a mage. It would be equivalent to taking away a swordsman’s arms and telling him to kick his enemies to death.
Thinking this, she felt a little sympathy for the adventurers, though it was far too late for that now.
「In that case, since I only have affinities for light and wind-attribute magic, I cannot directly teach you death-attribute magic, but I can help you make use of the magic that you do know. Magic is such an art that I can do this.」
At first, one would assume that the fire attribute and the water attribute are opposites. However, the essence of the fire attribute is heat, while the water attribute’s is in liquid and cold.
Therefore, a master mage of the fire attribute would be able to freely increase the heat to burn something, or lower it and freeze it. A master of the water attribute would be able to manipulate molten lava like his own arms and legs, since it is a liquid.
A user of the earth element would be able to manipulate mercury and lava, while a user of the wind element would be able to use the flammable components of air to create a large explosion.
「Things regarding this were written in a book that the chief showed me when I was a child.」
Zadiris had gained that knowledge from books looted from adventurers. For monsters, books could only be obtained by stealing them from humans or other monsters, so they were hard to come by.
「In other words, the important thing is not the number of attributes that you have an affinity for, but how much you increase your skills. Of course, it is convenient to be able to use multiple attributes. However, there are cases where adventurers skilful enough to cast spells of multiple attributes, but only have superficial knowledge of those attributes, are defeated by Goblin Mages that can only use the fire attribute.」
「Now that you put it that way, I’m starting to feel motivated.」
For Vandalieu, to whom the researchers of Origin had said「you should focus only on death-attribute magic and your Mana pool」, Zadiris’s teachings were refreshing and a source of happiness for him. He even began to feel passionate about it.
Though there was no change to his outward appearance as he was expressionless as always.
「And what is necessary for that skill is Mana. The amount of Mana you possess is directly related to the length of time you are able to cast your spells. How much Mana do you have, boy? I will have to adjust the length of our lessons based on that.」
「Ah, yes, it’s around a hundred million.」
「I see, a hundred million... What?!」
As Zadiris was astonished once more, she wore a facial expression suitable for her young appearance that Vandalieu thought was adorable.
「A-a hundred million... Is that true? I do not even possess ten thousand, but you, boy... No, considering that you are using unknown magic as well, it is... not that unusual, I suppose?」
Zadiris was bewildered by the unbelievable number given in Vandalieu’s self-report of his Mana pool. Normally, one would laugh this off as a poorly-told lie, but the child in front of her eyes had a persuasiveness that prevented her from doing so.
At the very least, that was how Zadiris felt.
And in any case, Vandalieu would not benefit from telling such a poor lie. Exaggerating his Mana pool a little to impress her would be one thing, but a hundred million was a number that was beyond exaggeration. And since he was about to undergo lessons to learn the basics of magic, such a lie would be quickly exposed.
「... Well, it is fine. I will understand your Mana pool soon enough, boy.」
Zadiris managed to swallow her surprise, with difficulty. Meanwhile, Vandalieu realized from her reaction that having a Mana pool of a hundred million was abnormal after all. He decided not to mention it too much if he ever found himself in human society... though it would be exposed if he registered himself at a Guild.
「Well then, what magic-related skills do you possess?」
「To start off, I have the【Chant Revocation】skill. And the【Golem Transmutation】skill, does that count as a magic-related skill?」
「... Boy, just how much do you plan to shorten my remaining lifespan? In fact, I should ask you to teach me the basics I need to learn the【Chant Revocation】skill. And I have never even heard of this【Golem Transmutation.】」
Vandalieu had heard about how rare the Chant Revocation skill was from Darcia, but seeing as even Zadiris was surprised, despite having lived for nearly three hundred years, it seemed to be rarer than he had thought.
However, since Zadiris seems to have the【Alchemy】skill, he had thought that she would know about his【Golem Transmutation】skill. He had assumed that Golems were created using Alchemy, based on the fiction that he had read on Earth.
「Even if you want me to teach you the basics for【Chant Revocation】, all you have to do is use magic in a situation where you can’t chant to cast spells, you know?」
「The only one who can do that is you, boy, thanks to that Mana pool of yours.」
In order to cast a spell without its chant while maintaining the same effect, dozens or even hundreds of times the Mana would be required. Therefore, even skilled mages would be able to perform such a feat only once a day, if at all. Vandalieu was only capable of repeating this to the point of obtaining the skill because of his abnormally vast Mana pool.
The only others who would be capable of obtaining the【Chant Revocation】skill normally were incredibly talented mages who had mastered multiple magic-related Jobs and legendary monsters.
「At this rate, it seems that I will not need to teach you the basics after all. I am sure that your ability with no-attribute magic and the【Mana Control】skill is perfect, is it not?」
As Zadiris spoke in a tone that sounded as if she had lost her confidence, this time it was Vandalieu’s turn to be surprised.
「What is no-attribute magic?」
「How is it that you do not know what it is? It is the most fundamental, basic magic!」
Zadiris was surprised again as well.
As its name suggests, no-attribute magic is magic that uses Mana before it has changed into any attribute. Since no attributes are involved, anyone can use this magic as long as they have Mana, so it was common for mages to first learn no-attribute magic to learn the fundamentals of controlling one’s Mana.
No-attribute magic is weaker than magic with an attribute, and only consists of simple spells, but since it is simple, it is also easy to learn and use.
「Even we who live in the Devil’s Nest know it.」
「I don’t know it because I’m self-taught.」
And the biggest reason that Vandalieu didn’t know about it was because No-attribute magic hadn’t existed in Origin, the world in which he had lived his previous life.
Did it really not exist, or did the researchers at the laboratory deliberately not tell him about it... The chances of it being the latter were eighty or ninety percent, but he had no way to confirm that now. Vandalieu decided to ask Hiroto and the others when they reincarnated here, if he got the chance.
At the very least, the researchers had never mentioned No-attribute magic to Vandalieu. Their spirits likely knew, but other than answering Vandalieu’s questions, they had only talked nonsense.
If Vandalieu had supplied them with Mana like he was doing for Darcia now, then perhaps they could have been preserved without having their personalities collapsing, but at the time, he had been unable to use his own Mana freely.
Of course, Darcia knew about No-attribute magic. When Vandalieu asked her about it later, she told him that she had simply assumed that Vandalieu had known about it and not bothered teaching him.
『You were able to use magic without anyone teaching you, Vandalieu, so I was sure that you knew about it...』
Something like that.
「Well then, we shall start with No-attribute magic, I suppose. It took me three years to obtain the skill; I am sure it will not even take you a year, boy. With your Mana pool, you will not have any problems practicing all day, after all.」
Vigaro, leader of the Ghoul warriors, suddenly spotted a weed growing near his foot and knew that spring was coming soon.
For Ghouls, who didn’t use calendars or civilized agricultural techniques, seasons were nothing more than things that they could feel around them. Humid air and pouring rain meant a rainy season; hot weather was summer; when it became a little cooler and more fruit was available than normal, it was autumn; when the air became dry and cold, it was winter.
And when it became warm again and these weeds whose names they didn’t know began to grow, it was spring.
「It’s already been half a year since he came, huh.」
Considering the number of years and months that Vigaro had lived, half a year wasn’t a significant amount of time. However, in that short period of time, life had changed in the village that Vigaro had lived in for over a hundred years.
As thanks for taking care of him, Vandalieu had used death-attribute magic to preserve the Ghouls’ food. With a spell called【Preservation】, raw meat that even the Ghouls with their strong stomachs couldn’t eat after several days lasted for several months.
Up until now, the only preserved food the Ghouls had used were Gobu-gobu and meat dried on sunny days, so this was a source of great convenience. The Ghouls no longer had to go out to hunt every day, which meant they had more time to train themselves, and there were fewer cases of injuries as well.
Well, Ghouls were a race that were sloth-like in nature, so this caused some individuals to slack off as well. That was kept in check by Zadiris who had been teaching the importance of studying and putting one’s effort into things, and Vigaro who knew the importance of those intuitively.
「And the meat that he prepares for us is incredibly delicious.」
Vandalieu applied the【Maturation】spell on the raw meat that the Ghouls ate, just before it was served. To produce the same effect on earth, one would have to cure the meat for days or weeks in a room with carefully regulated temperature and humidity, but with this spell, it was possible to produce such meat in this village that had nothing but pit dwellings and a warehouse.
This was nothing short of a blessing for the Ghouls.
Perhaps thanks to this delicious meat, their bodies felt healthier and they somehow felt even stronger than before.
It seemed that Vandalieu planned to leave once it was spring, but there were many, including Vigaro, who wanted him to stay in the village.
If he were an adult, they would offer him several women for his personal use, but such an offer was rather difficult to make to a child less than two years old.
However, it seemed that the lessons for his skills with Zadiris would take some more time, so he might end up staying until summer.
Vandalieu was a good person, so Vigaro wanted his studying to go well, but at the same time, Vigaro wanted him to stay as long as possible. What a complicated mix of feelings.
While Vigaro was dealing with these difficult emotions, his apprentices were hunting a powerful enemy.
「Kill the ones with the bows – no, the one with the staff first!」
Vigaro’s apprentices and their prey were engaged in a group battle.
But their prey were not adventurers. Vigaro and his warriors attacked adventurers less frequently than Vandalieu had imagined, and adventurers didn’t come to the Devil’s Nest very often in the first place.
When the current chief Zadiris was younger, there had been an incident in which two thirds of the village’s population were hunted down by a group of adventurers, so not attacking adventurers unless necessary was a law in the village. If adventurers were discovered, the Ghouls hid and waited until they passed by, and only fought if the adventurers attacked them.
Ghouls knew the delicious taste of adventurers’ flesh and how valuable their equipment was, but they knew even better than that just how terrifying adventurers could be.
But it was unknown how adventurers were dealt with by other Ghoul villages.
And though Vigaro and the others were unaware of this, the reason that few adventurers came to this Devil’s Nest was because of its location.
The size of this Devil’s Nest and the monsters that appeared in it was perfectly suited for D or C-class adventurers to venture into. However, the nearest human town was three days’ travel away.
And there was another similarly-sized Devil’s Nest only a few hours away from that nearby human town that even had multiple Dungeons.
Therefore, it was natural for the adventurers to focus on the Devil’s Nest that was closer to the town, since it even had Dungeons as well. Of course, leaving this Devil’s Nest alone and allowing the monsters to multiply and overflow out of it would be a big problem, but the Adventurers’ Guild had decided that the risk of that happening was low.
The reason for that was that the Devil’s Nest that Vigaro and the other Ghouls lived in had many demi-human-type monsters. It was filled with villages of Goblins, Kobolds, Orcs as well as Ghouls, and they often fought each other, so even if adventurers didn’t come to thin out the monster numbers, the monsters regulated their own population.
That was why the humans had decided that it wasn’t necessary to come all the way out to this Devil’s Nest. It was a problem to leave it alone completely, so the Adventurers’ Guild regularly sent out requests to survey the area. So the only adventurers that came here were ones who accepted the request thinking that they could gain great profits here, since there were no competitors – such as the adventurers who had attacked Zadiris.
For these reasons, the village Ghouls fought against adventurers less than once a year. If one were to ask what Vigaro’s apprentices were fighting, the answer would be Kobolds.
Kobolds were like dogs standing on two legs, a little smaller than humans. They were about as strong as humans, or perhaps slightly weaker. However, they were very agile, more intelligent than Goblins and adept in group battles.
They were Rank 2 on average, and the higher-rank ones had race titles like Kobold Chief, Kobold Geronimo, Kobold Mage and Kobold King.
The apprentices were fighting thirty normal Kobolds armed with daggers and bows, four* Rank 3 Kobold Chiefs who were a little larger and armed with swords and spears, as well as a single Rank 4 Kobold Mage wielding a staff.
Thirteen of Vigaro’s apprentices, as well as three animals and a bird opposed the Kobolds. They were at an overwhelming disadvantage in terms of numbers, but Ghouls are Rank 3 monsters. They were winning the battle through quality over quantity.
Despite that, it was a tough battle – were they not performing well?
As Ghouls had a low birth rate, they couldn’t afford to carelessly lose members and decrease their own numbers. Vigaro was prepared to step in himself if needed, but believed that they could win in the end.
His apprentices had several strengths to play to.
『Halberd Technique, Single Flash!』
The blade of a halberd swung with incredible force cleanly decapitated a Kobold directly in front, as well as the one next to it.
『Onee-chan, leave the right side to me! Naginata technique, Double Thrust!』
The blade of a glaive pierced through the throat and stomach of a Kobold coming from the right, protruding from the Kobold’s back.
『There are a lot of them, and they’re fast. Everyone, keep attacking and stay calm!』
『Leave their front lines to us, and be careful not to get surrounded!』
This was the work of the Living High-Leg Armor Saria and the Living Bikini Armor Rita. They had spent half a year learning how to fight from Vigaro and the others. As a result, they had gained fighting skills, though they were still level 1, and they were able to use their weapons.
They had learned to cover their weapons in Mana and then release it upon attack, making their attacks more powerful.
A master would be able to use techniques to perform dozens of stabs in an instant and cut a piece of metal to shreds using just an iron sword, but for beginners with level 1 skills, the『Single Flash』that was more powerful than a regular sweeping attack and the『Double Thrust』that performed two stabbing attacks was the limit.
However, it was clear from the results that even beginner-level techniques were effective enough in battle.
They had also become able to speak as a result of increasing their level. This was a cause of great happiness for not only Sam and Vandalieu, but for Vigaro and the other Ghouls as well. They had been bewildered as to how to communicate with these strange, faceless suits of armor.
And Bone Monkey, Bone Wolf and Bone Bear had advanced from being Rank 3 Bone Beasts to Rank 4 Rotten Beasts.
The three of them were now so strong that ordinary Kobolds couldn’t be considered worthy enemies for them, but they were serving as a rear guard for the apprentices that were training.
From time to time, they released a poisonous breath to keep the Kobolds in check and howled to intimidate them.
『To think that I would be able to see my children’s growth even after our deaths. I am a lucky fellow.』
Bone Bird and Sam were with Vigaro, watching the battle. Bone Bird served as a scout, while Sam’s service would be needed after the battle.
Realizing that its allies were in a disadvantageous situation, the Kobold Mage began reciting a chant in its own language. A spear of fire appeared in front of it. As a Mage, it was intelligent enough to know that a wide-area attack would hit its own allies, so it had chosen a spell that was powerful, even though it would only hit a single target.
Burning the very air around it, the fiery spear was released. Its target was one of the strange Living Armors that were wielding long weapons.
The flaming spear flew through the air, weaving in between the other Kobolds, and closed in on the Living Armor.
Rita performed a downwards slash of her Glaive at the spear of fire.
The fiery spear disintegrated and the flames scattered about like broken fragments.
Normally, a weapon of steel wouldn’t destroy a spell, no matter how heavy the weapon was. However, the Glaive that Rita wielded was a Magic Item, obtained in the treasure store of an unexplored Dungeon. It had the ability to cut through a spell on the level of a flaming spear.
Of course, it was better than taking a direct hit, but Rita couldn’t avoid the flames that had scattered about. However, the suit of armor that Rita possessed had a resistance to fire. And since the suit of armor made up her entire body, she suffered no burns as long as the armor resisted the fire.
The final result was one exactly opposite to what the Kobold Mage had intended – the only ones caught up in the scattered flames were Rita and the several Kobolds that she had been engaged in combat with.
And then Rita gave a great swing of her glaive, scattering the Kobolds who had flinched from the burns they had received and stepping into the opening in the enemy lines.
As if to prevent her from doing as she pleased, two of the Kobold Chiefs stepped in front of her. They were equipped with armor and shields made from the carapaces of bug-type monsters.
Rita swung her glaive downwards at one of them.
The Kobold Chief raised its shield immediately, stopping the glaive with a loud clang. And then its dog-like face twisted in a smile. It had successfully defended her attack, and the other Kobold Chief would use the opportunity to attack Rita.
However, Saria, who had been standing behind Rita, separated the Kobold Chief’s body’s top half from the bottom half with a sideways slash of her halberd, straight through Rita.
If Rita was a normal, living creature, then she would have certainly been harmed. However, she was a Living Armor. In the space that normally contained the internal organs, there was only empty air.
Seeing its companion collapse with its blood and organs scattering about onto the ground, the other Kobold Chief froze.
And then Rita and Saria attacked with their glaive and halberd. As if proving that it deserved its title of Kobold Chief, their opponent blocked the glaive with its shield and avoided the thrust of the halberd.
However, it had no way to deal with the subsequent attacks of the Ghouls’ talons, and ended up joining its companion in death.
There had originally been four Kobold Chiefs; now their numbers were halved and their front line had collapsed. Knowing that defeat was inevitable, the Kobold Mage gave the order to retreat, but it was too late.
「The meat is getting away!」
Deciding that the apprentices had got enough training, Vigaro stepped in. With this as a signal, Bone Bird who had been watching the battle up until now attacked the Goblin Mage from the sky, and with the three Rotten Beasts leaping into combat as well, it didn’t take much time for all of the Kobolds to be defeated.
And then some of the Ghouls watched the surroundings while the others took the Kobolds apart. The first thing they did was strip them of their weapons and armor. Kobolds mainly used things like daggers as their weapons, which were unsuitable for the physically strong Ghouls, but it was possible to attach them to the ends of sticks to create spears. It was also possible to take their armor apart and reshape them for Ghoul use.
The Kobold Chiefs had normal swords and axes, and their armor was more than just fur clothing; it was made of lightweight carapace which made it very useful. The staff used by the Kobold Mage would be considered a treasure for a Ghoul capable of using magic.
Though the Kobold’s furs couldn’t be used for trading in the way they would be in human society, they made for good carpets in this Devil’s Nest where commodities were limited, and they could even be used to make clothes for the next winter. The Kobold Chiefs’ fangs could be used for knife blades and spear tips, and the Kobold Mage’s Mana-infused eyeballs and internal organs could be used in medicines.
And of course, their meat could be harvested.
Incidentally, the right ear that is used by adventurers as proof of extermination were completely ignored. That was to be expected.
「We’ll take the Kobol fruits and leaves before we go, too.」
Kobol fruits were the special fruit of the Kobol trees that only grew in the areas of the Devil’s Nest that the Kobolds lived in.
Their external appearance was that of a blue, round fruit the size of a baby. They were valuable in human society because of their pleasant, crunchy texture and sweet-sour taste.
The Ghouls ate them raw or squeezed them to extract the juice, but as they had other important uses, they made sure to collect them whenever they hunted Kobolds.
Of course, transporting thirty-five Kobolds and their Kobol fruits was a great task, but this is where Sam provided his service.
『We’re counting on you, Father.』
『Yes, leave it to me. But have you drained their blood properly?』
『Of course. And Onee-chan and I will wash you properly afterwards, so don’t worry about it.』
Thanks to Sam the Ghost Carriage, the Ghouls’ transport capacity was greatly increased. Unlike normal carriages and carts, Sam dealt with rough roads well and moved on his own without any external help, so he was perfect for transporting goods across the Devil’s Nest.
He even contributed some strength in battle, being able to easily run over and kill one or two normal Kobolds. Adventurers conducting large-scale hunts in Devil’s Nests would surely be jealous of Sam’s abilities.
But the adventurers of the Amid Empire would avoid him, as he was an Undead.
「Today is baked Kobold. It’s delicious, you know. I hope your master likes it, too.」
Vigaro hoped that Vandalieu liked the meat enough to stay in the village. Vigaro’s true feelings were obvious, and Saria and Rita thought the same.
『Bocchan’s training has not yet finished, so we are planning to stay awhile longer. We will be in your care for some more time.』
『Learning magic is apparently hard, huh.』
「It hasn’t even been a year since he began, right? That’s about normal.」
Vigaro himself didn’t possess the qualities of a mage – strictly speaking, he did; he was the individual that would become the next village chief, after all. However, he would need ten years of intense, everyday training to become able to use magic. He was aware of the troubles the women of the village put themselves through in order to learn magic. If he remembered correctly, there hadn’t been a single Ghoul woman who had become a fully qualified mage with less than five years of training.
With that in mind, Vandalieu would surely stay in the village awhile longer. Feeling more satisfied with this realization than the harvest that they had gathered today, Vigaro led Sam and the others back to the village.
Kobold meat tasted unpleasant.
It wasn’t as bad as Goblin meat, but possessed a smell worse than the meat of domesticated animals that didn’t disappear even with liberal use of herbs and spices. Even if the smell wasn’t there, it was very tough and sinewy; it was difficult to call it edible.
Therefore, nobody in human society thought of eating Kobold meat unless they were desperately starving. However, for the Ghouls who lived in villages in a Devil’s Nest and gathered their food through hunting, it was different. They had discovered a way to process Goblin meat to make it edible, and in the same way, they had devised a way to cook Kobold meat.
They cut the Kobold meat into pieces of appropriate size and placed thin slices of Kobol fruit on top. Then they wrapped the whole thing in Kobol leaves and baked it.
This made the Kobold meat surprisingly tender, removed the smell cleanly and though the resulting taste was peculiar, some individuals enjoyed it.
It wasn’t amazingly delicious, but it was pleasant enough for even humans to eat normally. If a professional chef were to prepare the dish, it would surely be even tastier.
If this recipe were to be discovered by human society, it could cause a great sensation – or perhaps not. Kobol fruits sold for ten Amid each, or if converted, about a thousand yen.
But considering that Kobol leaves didn’t even have a market price, and yet removed the smell and toughness of the meat considerably, the poor people who find it hard to afford food from day to day would perhaps be glad to eat this.
「Well, it wouldn’t make a good business, but a good social welfare measure.」
Vandalieu didn’t even know if such poor people existed in Lambda, but this thought occurred to him as he ate the Kobold meat.
Adding walnut sauce to the final product made it taste even better, and when he recommended the sauce to Zadiris and Vigaro, they were overjoyed. Surprisingly, despite the Ghouls’ dedication to advancements in cuisine, it seemed that they hadn’t managed to invent sauces. This was perhaps due to a difference in the Ghouls’ culinary culture from that of humans.
Thus, Vandalieu’s primary task at the village was to make more of this walnut sauce. Fortunately, walnuts could be harvested all year long in this Devil’s Nest, so the ingredients for the sauce were available at all times. Several Ghoul women helped him with its creation, so there wasn’t too much work. In fact, he found it enjoyable.
The problem was that his salt store was running low. Vandalieu decided he should find some bandits to attack again. He might even be able to make walnut miso*, as long as he had salt.
Vandalieu thought that he should try making cookies with the acorns that fell all year round like the walnuts. There was a small river conveniently located close to the village, so he could use that to remove the harsh taste of the acorns. He was beginning to want carbohydrates as well instead of just protein, so he thought that he should make an attempt at this.
「I wonder if I’d consider this as contributing to society, or becoming a member of society. I feel that each day is so fulfilling.」
「You are again speaking words that make me forget that you are not even two years old. But you are being of great help to us.」
Zadiris gave a bitter smile, but she couldn’t deny the size of Vandalieu’s contribution to the Ghoul village. Even outside of making the walnut sauce, the assistance in battle that Saria, Rita and Sam offered to Vigaro and the other warriors was significant, even after taking into account that they were receiving training in return.
Saria and Rita were merely spirits of maids, but since they inhabited suits of armor that were Magic Items, their strength in battle was already greater than that of the Ghouls that were made of flesh and blood.
And since they were originally humans, they were more diligent than Ghouls, so they had a positive influence on the young men.
Zadiris and the other Ghouls were aware that since they were under Vandalieu’s control, their contributions were Vandalieu’s contributions.
Zadiris had taken a liking to Vandalieu, which was one of her personal reasons for wanting him to stay in the village, and even if he couldn’t stay forever, she wanted him to stay for as long as possible. But that didn’t mean that she held back on their training.
「But your training with no-attribute magic still needs more work. Well, your progress is not particularly slow, either.」
「Materializing and using Mana before it’s been affected by any attribute is harder than I had imagined.」
Because Vandalieu was already able to use death-attribute magic, he should be able to learn the far more basic no-attribute magic very easily. It would be a lie to say that Vandalieu hadn’t made this assumption, but it had turned out to be a very inaccurate one.
The task of maintaining Mana in its original form, shaping it and then casting a spell was more difficult than Vandalieu had thought. When he used death-attribute magic, he applied the attribute to his Mana unconsciously, so it was difficult not to do that automatically.
In the first place, the only thing that Vandalieu had going for him was his vast Mana pool, as well as the imagination and way of thinking that had been produced by reading various fictional works on Earth. His talent for magic itself was mediocre.
He had trained his death-attribute magic during his short time in Origin, but those were in do-or-die conditions that were enough to twist his personality, with the coercion of the researchers that reached the upper limits of inhumanity. Without those, Vandalieu was but an ordinary person.
But he had the advantage of being able to practice magic for longer than the average person, thanks to his vast Mana pool.
「Well, it took me three years to obtain the【No-Attribute Magic】skill myself. You do not need to rush yourself. Here, you can have my portion of meat.」
Zadiris smiled as she offered Vandalieu the remaining meat on the leaves. She likely thought of their relationship as that between a grandparent and grandchild, but in reality, they simply looked like siblings born some years apart.
「Is it really alright?」
Vandalieu eyed the meat that Zadiris offered him. It seemed that she had barely touched the meat at all.
「Yes. I do not have much of an appetite. The elderly do not move around much, so we do not need to eat a lot.」
Though Zadiris didn’t have a single wrinkle on her face, when she wasn’t training Vandalieu or the young girls of the village, it was common for her to say,「I am tired」and rest.
She looked like a thirteen or fourteen-year-old girl, but Zadiris was over two hundred and ninety years old. It was understandable for her to behave as such at that age, but...
『I can see the shadow of death.』
Vandalieu could see the shadow of death on Zadiris’s face, alongside her gentle smile.
It wasn’t enough that she would die at any moment, but she might only last a few more days. The shadow of death was thick enough that even if things progressed slower, Vandalieu knew that she wouldn’t live long enough to see his second birthday.
Though Ghouls had a lifespan of three hundred years, it wasn’t strange to think that an individual’s lifespan could be a little shorter than that. In fact, it was impressive that she had survived this long in a Devil’s Nest, where every creature had to fight for its own survival. It would be a peaceful death for this individual, who had no blood-related grandchildren of her own.
Pretending like nothing was wrong and seeing her off like this was probably the correct, natural thing to do.
「Zadiris-san, can we be alone for a moment?」
However, that might not be the natural thing to do. Defying the laws of life and death was something that Vandalieu would have preferred to attempt after increasing the levels of his skills a little more, but he decided to give it a try.
Even if it was for a reason like taking responsibility for shortening her lifespan by surprising her so much not long ago.
These are Rank 4 monsters. They contain miasma in their bones as a result of the malice of the spirits that inhabit the bones of the Bone Beasts, as well as the malice of the creatures killed by them. Some of the bones that make up their bodies are blackened and are as strong as steel. Regardless of what animal’s bones they are made of, they are able to release a poisonous breath.
For D-class adventurers, they have little to fear fighting against a single Rotten Beast as long as they have a way to deal with the poison breath, but depending on the original animal the Rotten Beasts are made of, they may retain their instincts to move in groups. Therefore, the Adventurers’ Guild recommends that adventurers form parties to exterminate them.
When owners of this skill cooperate, their efficiency and effectiveness is greater. When building something, they make fewer mistakes and their pace of work is faster, and in battle, their offensive and defensive abilities are increased.
The effectiveness of the skill depends on the levels of the skill and the number of individuals that possess the skill.
It is less common for adventurers that operate in small groups to obtain this skill, and more common for soldiers and construction workers that work together in larger numbers.
In the case of monsters, they cannot gain this skill even if they work in large numbers unless they possess a sense of companionship and unity with each other, so Goblins and Orcs cannot gain this skill. Monsters such as Kobolds, Ghouls and wolf-type monsters often possess this skill.
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