The large village of Orcs ruled by the Noble Orc Bugogan was peaceful at night.
To be more descriptive, the screams of the captive Ghoul women and female adventurers could be heard, and one of Bugogan’s sons, Bubobio, could be seen executing Goblins who had made small mistakes.
However, these were everyday occurrences and nobody paid them any attention. There were no signs of anything that wasn’t an everyday occurrence... such as an attack by other monsters.
Peaceful days were more common than non-peaceful ones. This was the village ruled by a Noble Orc.
When creating villages in Devil’s Nests, weak monsters such as Goblins and Kobolds tend to do so in places that are difficult to spot from the outside by digging caverns and tunnels. However, groups of monsters that include high-Rank monsters build their villages boldly on the earth’s surface.
That is because they generally have no need to worry about the enemies outside the village.
The monsters created by the Demon King and the evil gods that had appeared from another world have no concept of living in harmony with other monsters. Some races even kill and eat other members of their own race.
However, monsters do not dare to attack monsters that are clearly superior to them. They have no interest in committing suicide. For example, most monsters wouldn’t dare try and mess with a monster like a Noble Orc.
Other monsters would instinctively sense Bugogan’s presence and avoid the village.
There were incidents of inferior monsters incapable of understanding this throwing themselves at the outer wall of the village, however.
Watchtowers had been built along the outer wall and bow-wielding Goblins and Kobolds were stationed on them to prevent that from happening.
However, the guards in the watchtowers were not very diligent with their work. They were confident in the wall’s durability.
Severed logs had been driven into the ground in a row to form a three-meter-tall wall. They were tougher than they appeared and resistant to fire. This was because the logs used to build the wall came from plant-monsters called Ents.
The wall was strong enough to withstand a ramming attack from a five-meter-long Mad Boar, providing a stronger defense than a stone wall would. Rather than defend such a wall, the Goblins were more interested in discussing when the Orcs would next hand them a used woman.
But that was a mistake.
Just a little before the moon was high in the sky, the outer wall that was supposed to be unyielding gave a creak. The startled Goblins readied their bows in panic, but there weren’t any targets for their arrows to be seen. But every single log that made up the outer wall was creaking.
What on earth was this?! Right before the confused Goblins’ eyes, the wall transformed.
They transformed into Wood Golems that let out screams that sounded just like the high-pitched creaking of wood being split and roars that sounded like those of vengeful ghosts.
As the outer wall that was supposed to protect the village from outside enemies turned into outside enemies itself, the watchtowers that the Kobolds had built fell to pieces and the Goblins were thrown into the ground.
The Goblins should have been vigilant. However, it was also true that even if they had been vigilant, there was nothing they could have done.
「The first stage is a success. For some reason, it was hard to have my Mana absorbed by the wood, but I did manage to create Wood Golems.」
Vandalieu nodded as he confirmed that the difficult-to-break outer wall had joined his own forces.
He had done the same thing as when he had turned the outer walls of Evbejia into Rock Golems, but because he had obtained the【Mana Control】skill and his【Golem Transmutation】skill had increased in level, things had gone more efficiently this time.
「Well, they’re still only Wood Golems.」
「However, destroying the wall would have taken time. You have saved us that time while also attacking from every direction; it is not bad at all.」
Zadiris was holding a staff and wearing battle garments decorated with feathers. As she said, the preemptive strike was a great success. If the enemy village had only Goblins and Kobolds, this alone might have been enough to secure victory.
However, the main force of the enemy was comprised of Orcs, who rampaged more like wild boars than pigs when their blood rushed into their heads. Though the bizarre situation of the outer wall turning into attacking Golems would render normal soldiers unable to move from astonishment for a while, the Orcs began fighting back immediately.
Making the decision on their own to charge in with their heavy weapons was a foolhardy action, but it was far more problematic than if they had stood still or started running around aimlessly.
「But those Wood Golems are holding up better than I’d expected.」
「They’re harder than they look, huh. Van, is this the power of death-attribute magic as well?」
The Ghouls were unaware that the outer wall had been built from Ents and were as hard as iron. As they saw the Wood Golems fighting better than they had expected, they assumed this was because of Vandalieu’s magic and got fired up.
「Now then... GAAAARRRRRR!」
Using the howls that Ghouls use to communicate during battle, Zadiris gave orders each group. The contents of these orders were『Each group is to begin the attack! Eliminate the Orcs, capture the target buildings and secure the women!』
The Ghoul warriors bared their fangs and growled to say affirmative, and then began their assault on the now-naked village whose outer wall had been removed.
They were using equipment that D-class adventurers would be envious of. In addition, Vandalieu and Zadiris had applied supportive spells on them.
Ghouls and Orcs were generally about even in strength, but with the equipment and supportive spells, they had the clear advantage.
Among the battle was Vigaro, wielding an enormous battleaxe that one could tell was incredibly sharp with a single glance, closing in on an Orc that had cut down a Wood Golem with its two-handed axe.
The Orc’s armor looked unusually simple, but this individual was likely an Orc General, as its body was bigger than normal Orcs. This Orc General’s axe met Vigaro’s.
The Orc’s protruding nose was slammed so hard by Vigaro’s shield that it caved in, and then its belly was sliced sideways, sending blood and organs scattering everywhere.
The Orc General was Rank 5, same as Vigaro. Normally, the battle wouldn’t be decided so easily. But there was a large difference in their strengths due to the training that Vigaro did every day that wasn’t reflected in his level or Rank, the support spells, the effects of the【Strengthen Followers】skill and most importantly, the battleaxe that was a Magic Item that Vandalieu had given him.
The effects of his everyday training, the【Strengthen Followers】skill and the Magic Item wouldn’t decrease in effectiveness over time, but the effects of the supportive spells would wear off. To prevent that, the caster has to re-cast the spell, but Mana was not unlimited.
「Now then, I’ll replenish your Mana.【Spirit Form Transformation.】」
This was where Vandalieu, who possessed a near-infinite amount of Mana, came in. He used【Spirit Form Transformation】on both of his hands, which branched out like the roots of a plant to connect to the bodies of the male and female mages, including Zadiris.
Small voices rose up here and there... and one large moan, followed by heavy breathing. Putting that last sound out of his mind, Vandalieu released the no-attribute magic that he learned in Zadiris’s village.
The most useless spell among no-attribute nagic spells. Mana Transfer.
It is a spell that transfers colorless Mana that has not been stained with any element’s color to the target, and at first glance, it seems very useful. However, during the transfer process, most of the Mana is wasted.
The efficiency of Mana transfer can be increased based on the caster’s relationship with the target, the caster’s mental state, magical compatibility between the caster and target, the race of the target and so on, but on average, it is about five percent. There have been recorded cases where twins who trusted each other and had good magical compatibility with each other produced more Mana than the originally supplied amount, with a transfer rate of a hundred and twenty percent. But there were many cases where the amount of Mana transferred was less than the starting amount.
And currently, there were no discovered methods to consciously increase the transfer efficiency.
For this reason, it is very often more effective to use one’s own Mana, rather than transferring it to someone else. If a hundred Mana is spent to transfer only five Mana, this is the natural conclusion.
However, Vandalieu possessed over 100,000,000 Mana.
To transfer a hundred Mana, he would spend two thousand. To transfer a thousand Mana, he would spend twenty thousand. To transfer ten thousand Mana, he would spend two hundred thousand. He possessed an amount of Mana so great that he wouldn’t hesitate to do this.
「This is the Mana version of burning money to create light.」
「Boy, I do not think that one can burn gold and silver coins... Well, anyway. Everyone, use the Mana that the boy has given you to your heart’s content!」
「Yes! Here we go, everybody!」
And so the Ghoul mages whose Mana had been replenished and the warriors who were guarding them pressed forward after the group who had charged in first. Vandalieu saw them off before clambering aboard Sam, who had been on standby at his side.
「Now then, we’ll be doing hit-and-run attacks like we planned, so I’m leaving the rest to you. I don’t think you can see them, but I have left Familiars attached to everyone, so please call for me if there’s an emergency.」
「Mhmm, leave it to us.」
The Ghoul King Vandalieu’s role had been to unite the Ghouls with the【Death-Attribute Charm】skill and strengthen them with the【Strengthen Followers】skill. But it had been decided that once the battle started, he would be conducting hit-and-run attacks with Sam.
He didn’t have the ability to lead, and he didn’t have a wide field of vision overlooking the battlefield, either. Instead, he did have the ability to cast the【Magic Absorption Barrier】, a death-attribute spell capable of effectively turning the Orc Mages, among the most problematic of the Orcs, into wooden dummies.
The best way to use this ability was to form a hit-and-run squad that made use of Sam’s mobility around the battlefield.
Though Vandalieu had the feeling that he was doing the most work even though he was the King, his morale was high.
He was part of a hit-and-run squad. In many fictional works, this role is left to the protagonist who then plays a very important part. How could he not get fired up?
「Sam, move out.」
The spirit-body horses neighed as Sam began to move. Rita, Saria and Bone Man were riding in the carriage, while Bone Bear, Bone Bird and the others ran alongside the carriage.
The hit-and-run squad that would be very problematic for the Noble Orcs charged into the village.
For the Orcs and Bugogan who ruled over them, receiving a surprise attack was something completely outside their expectations. It is appropriate to say that they believed that surprise attacks were something that they themselves used, not received.
Bugogan had considered the Ghouls and humans dangerous and moved so that they would not find out about him.
That was why unmotivated Goblins and Kobolds had been stationed as lookouts while the Orcs were either using the captured women as an outlet for their lust or simply being lazy.
Having been awoken by the sound of Wood Golems striding across the village and the screams of Goblins and Kobolds, the Orcs jumped onto their feet in a panic. Rather than waiting for orders from the higher-ranked individuals, they simply began fighting where they stood.
An Orc General who had coincidentally happened to be outside the village tried to gather the Orcs around him, but was butchered by a single blow from Vigaro.
This only increased the Orcs’ panic, and since their Orc masters were panicking, there was no way that the slave Goblins and Kobolds could move in an organized fashion. In fact, many of them were caught up in the wild swings of the Orcs’ clubs and axes.
In the midst of this, the ones who recovered from this chaos were the relatively intelligent Kobolds. They gathered other Kobolds to form a group with Kobold Chiefs and Kobold Mages at their center, slipped through the Wood Golems that they had little chance of defeating in order to try to ambush the Ghouls.
But they were attacked by the Ghoul shock troops. Using their arms that were so long that they touched the ground even when standing upright, they ran on all fours like gorillas to rush in.
The male Ghouls with their lion’s heads looked quite comical at a glance when they were running like this, but with their muscle strength increased by the【Superhuman Strength】skill, their speed was equivalent to a war horse’s charge.
Against this speed, the only thing the Kobolds could do was fire a single arrow each. However, they had almost no effect due to Tarea’s tough, light armor that didn’t hinder movement, and the supportive spells cast on the Ghouls by Zadiris and the other mages.
The Ghouls closed in on the Kobolds and swung their prided claws, mowing these hindrances down. Even the Kobold Chief that had been in charge was unable to resist as it was slaughtered.
With their bodies stained in the blood of their enemies, the Ghouls roared as they attacked even deeper into the village. To humans, they may have appeared to be nothing but bloodthirsty beasts, but those who understood the battle language of the Ghouls would know that this roar meant,「We’ve come to save you」, and these Ghouls were warriors searching for their precious women.
『Bocchan, there is a group of Goblins ahead!』
『Certainly! I shall push through them!』
A three-horse carriage pulled by blue-white horses charged into the Orc village. The carriage was equipped with spikes made from the carved fangs of monsters, effectively turning it into a chariot capable of attack.
That alone was quite impressive. But the most fearsome thing was the coachman, Sam, with his blood-red eyes shining, a white-blue face and a grin that exposed his teeth.
The Goblin Soldiers and Knights readied their spears and shields to try and stop the carriage, but they were unable to stop its momentum at all. They were trampled by hooves, gouged by spikes and caught up in the carriage’s wheels.
Normally, there would have been some damage done to the carriage as well, but numerous Ent parts had been used to rebuild the carriage, so there wasn’t even a scratch.
『Fuhahahaha! This is truly exhilarating, Bocchan!』
『Father, you’re getting carried away, you know?』
『Yay! Go, go!』
『Don’t you get carried away too, Rita!』
Thanks to the group of Ghoul craftsmen under Tarea’s instruction, the carriage that was Sam’s body had been substantially remodeled with the extravagant use of monster materials.
It was similar to performing surgery to turn a human into a cyborg with no anesthesia, but according to Sam, there was no problem changing up to ninety percent of the parts as long as his body remained carriage-like in shape.
Vandalieu had been replacing broken and cracked bones for Bone Monkey and the others, but he hadn’t thought that replacing almost all of the bones wouldn’t cause problems, so he was surprised by this.
Though Sam was still a Rank 3 monster, one could clearly see the effects of the reconstruction on his effectiveness in battle.
『Bocchan! This time, there is a group of Orcs in front!』
There was a group of three Orcs straight ahead, breathing wildly through their noses, armed with a club, an axe and a spear. Like Sam, they were Rank 3, and as their individual body weights easily exceeded a hundred kilograms, they were far heavier than Goblins.
Their heads were those of pigs and they had plenty of fat on their bodies, and beneath that were powerful, thick muscles that protected their bones and organs. Their bones themselves were far more durable than those of humans.
Saria and Rita fired arrows upon which Vandalieu had cast【Bloodshed Enhancement】, but they were unable to penetrate the walls of fat and muscle, instead only making the Orcs angrier. The magic cast on the arrows should have been decreasing their vitality, but it wasn’t having any visible effect.
Vandalieu opened his mouth to suggest going around to avoid them.
『Certainly! Prioritizing safety first, I will run them down!』
How absurd! Before Vandalieu could say this, Sam increased his speed. Planning to kill the three horses and then destroy the carriage, the Orcs readied their weapons.
【Single Flash】,【Bisection】,【Double Thrust】– these were level 1 and 2 martial skills that even novice adventurers could use, but used by the inhumanly strong Orcs, they were incredibly powerful... But in this case, they had picked a bad opponent to use them on.
As the club, axe and spear touched the blue-white horses, the Orcs only felt the sensation of cutting through a thick liquid; their weapons passed straight through them.
The unexpected consistency of the horses’ bodies caused the Orcs to lose their balance from their attacks, and then their lives were ended as they were sent flying like rubber balls by Sam’s【Charge.】
At first glance, the three horses pulling the carriage simply look like blue-white horses. However, they were only a part of Sam’s body manifested by his【Spirit Form】skill; they were Astral-type monsters that were mostly unaffected by physical attacks. No matter how hard a mass of steel was swung at them, it would be meaningless.
The Orcs, not knowing this, lost their balance and had no way of withstanding Sam’s【Charge.】
『Truly! Truly exhilarating! Each time I crush the life out of an enemy, I am filled with power!』
「Ah, you’re gaining Experience Points. You can earn as many Experience Points as you like, but please drive safely.」
Sam had been the spirit of a kindhearted old man, but the joy of gaining Experience Points was steadily causing his pupils... his whole eyes to shine with a piercing light. It was evident that people could easily change, though his daughters didn’t seem to mind as they thought their father was very cool.
But could a single carriage act as both a high-class limousine and as a tank of annihilation? Vandalieu questioned Sam’s future, but hearing a loud cry from Bone Bird, he directed his attention to other things.
The battle was proceeding well behind him; Bone Bear was using his strength to gouge out Orcs’ stomachs and Bone Monkey was delivering final blows to other Orcs weakened by Bone Wolf’s poisonous breath.
Bone Bird was reporting each individual Orcs’ movements from the sky above, moving precisely around the battlefield to attack the Orc Commanders, causing more chaos in the enemy ranks.
「My army is overwhelming, isn’t it?」
Feeling like a true commander, Vandalieu felt relaxed enough to say a line like this. The reason for that was the spirits of the enemies gathering to him after being killed, one after another.
They were not only the enemies killed by Sam, Bone Monkey and the rest of the hit-and-run squad, but also the enemies defeated by Vigaro, Basdia and the other Ghouls.
In other words, half of the enemies had already been defeated. There wasn’t a single spirit from his allies.
The enemy had lost around fifty percent of their numbers, while Vandalieu’s side had sustained no losses. If their enemy was a human army, they could firmly believe that they would be victorious.
「But our enemy is a group of monsters. The Noble Orcs haven’t come out yet, either... I suppose it’s time to make proper use of my『Lemures*.』」
Sam’s carriage ran freely around the village, but at present there seemed to be no allies in the midst of fierce battle. The buildings in which the captive Ghoul women were being held were already fully under their control.
However, the Noble Orc boss had yet to show himself. Wary of this, Vandalieu began to make use of one of the fruits of his lessons with Zadiris, the『Lemure.』
Each attribute of magic has a spell that creates a familiar. Mana dyed with an attribute is made to hold a shape and a spell formula is written to make the familiar obey the caster to create something like a remote-control drone that uses Mana to move.
Their abilities and shapes vary greatly depending on the caster; many of them resemble small animals such as butterflies made of flames and small birds made of wind.
The shape Vandalieu had chosen was a skull that could fly through the sky.
The resulting Lemure was in the shape of a mostly-transparent skull. Other than the basic abilities that all familiars have such as being able to share its five senses with its master, it was hard to spot, and also had one other ability.
An Orc General leading Orc Knights appeared in front with perfect timing, so Vandalieu decided to test it out.
『Muh, Bocchan, shall we avoid them?』
The way they held up their shields was the same as the Goblins had done earlier, but Sam knew that the power of their charge would be vastly different, so he calmly asked Vandalieu this question. However, Vandalieu gave the brief reply of,「Charge.」
Sam used【Charge】for the third time. Seeing this, the Orc General’s pig-like face twisted into an expression of ridicule.
He was able to perform a【Shield Bash】capable of sending even a five-meter-long Mad Boar flying, and he had two Orc Knights supporting him.
This carriage charging directly at him from the front would definitely be broken to pieces.
Confidently believing this, the Orc General and his subordinates quickly moved to perform their【Shield Bash】skills.
But right behind them, they felt a terrifying bloodthirst... the presence of death.
If they didn’t do something about it, they would be killed! The Orc General felt this biologically fundamental fear in the core of its heart. He and his subordinates quickly turned around and raised their shields to face this dreadful enemy.
However, after turning around, they saw nothing there.
That powerful bloodthirst had vanished, leaving the Orc General and his subordinates dumbfounded.
And then Sam ran them down.
No matter how good the Orcs were at charging the enemy down or defending against attacks, they couldn’t withstand being run down from behind with their shields not even raised.
The fact that the Orc General was still alive was perhaps to be expected from a Rank 5 monster. He attempted to get back onto his feet unsteadily, but did not succeed.
「Sam, stop. And then reverse.」
After running the Orc General over, Sam’s wheels began to turn backwards, stopping the carriage. And then the carriage began accelerating in the reverse direction.
With an expression as if he was thinking that it was impossible for a carriage to move in reverse, the Orc General’s life was ended as he was run over a second time.
As the Lemure disappeared, it released a powerful bloodthirst that attacked the target’s survival instincts.
It performed no physical attack, only releasing this bloodthirst. It was perhaps only just enough to cause a heart attack in the weak-hearted elderly. In normal situations, it was probably only an annoyance.
However, there was no greater disturbance than this in the middle of battle. Its effectiveness only increased against more powerful foes that were more sensitive in detecting bloodthirst.
「If only I’d been able to make Lemures in Origin... No, I suppose nothing would have changed.」
Well, it was better to focus on the present than on the past.
And then Vandalieu ran through the wide, tall, Orc-sized passages of the village, choosing intelligent monsters such as Goblin Mages, Kobold Mages and Orc Mages and rendering them useless with the【Magic Absorption Barrier】, one by one.
At the same time, he distributed Lemures around the place to support the Ghouls and prepare for the appearance of the Noble Orcs.
And less than a minute later –
「Noble Orcs are three-meter-tall Orcs with blonde hair, right?」
『That is what I have heard.』
「I’ve found them. Three of them.」
One Noble Orc was in front of Vigaro, blocking his advance.
The second was closing in on the rear guard that Zadiris was leading.
The third was headed towards the group of warriors that Basdia was in.
Each of them was larger than the Orc General that Sam had just run over, with golden hair that gleamed in the moonlight.
They were likely the sons of the Noble Orc that was the leader of the village. According to the Kobold Shaman’s spirit, they were Rank 6 monsters whose abilities were far above that of an Orc General.
They were far stronger than any of the Ghouls, including Vigaro and Zadiris.
「... Bone Monkey, Bone Wolf, Bone Bear and Bone Bird, go and back up Zadiris, I’ll have the Lemures guide you there. Sam, we’re going to head to where Basdia is.」
Luciliano was reluctantly investigating what the Noble Orcs were doing tonight as well, through his Live-Dead.
He had originally wanted to hurry and be on his way to the Orbaume Kingdom, but Viscount Balchesse’s grand chamberlain had discovered that as long as Luciliano’s Live-Dead familiar was still in good health, he was able to borrow its five senses.
And thus Luciliano was in the difficult situation of having to accept the viscount’s direct high-priority request in exchange for a purse packed full of gold coins.
『Th-this is torture... The viscount and Adventurers’ Guild are trying to destroy my healthy heart!』
Luciliano possessed life-attribute magic that was unique and unparalleled in its ability to gather information on the Noble Orcs’ movements at no risk. However, there was a simple reason that he hated it so much.
Upon receiving Viscount Balchesse’s request, Luciliano had turned the fresh corpse of a female into a Live-Dead. For some reason, the Noble Orc Bugogan had taken a great liking to it.
Luciliano, who had learned the language of the Orcs, had involuntarily let out a scream when he heard Bugogan declare,「I will grant this female adventurer the great honor of giving me my fourth son!」
Sharing the five senses of the Live-Dead during that process meant experiencing being raped by a Noble Orc from the woman’s point of view, something that could be called an assault... no, a disaster for his eyes.
In this vast world, there were apparently some with peculiar tastes who would feel aroused at the sight of beautiful women being sexually assaulted by beasts and monsters, but he had never heard of a fetish where one would want their vision to be filled with the sight of a hideous Orc breathing wildly through its nose.
Even though Luciliano possed the Title of【Degenerate】, he had no such tastes, at least.
Fortunately, the Live-Dead’s sense of touch was almost non-existent and its sense of smell was weak, so his task had still been somewhat bearable.
『Still, I managed to hear a variety of bits of information. I suppose even monsters loosen their tongues when they talk to themselves in bed.』
Bugogan had no suspicions regarding the Live-Dead that Luciliano controlled. That was to be expected; for Bugogan, the Live-Dead was an instrument that would give birth to a son that wasn’t rebellious and showed no reaction to anything. Thus, he talked to himself for Luciliano to hear, making his everyday complaints, and even talking about his grudge towards the Noble Orcs of his home who had rejected him.
As Luciliano was relaying all of this information to the viscount and the viscount’s associates, his pockets were considerably full.
Tonight, too, he had convinced himself that this was necessary to get valuable information and was looking up at the straining Bugogan through the Live-Dead’s eyes. Suddenly, in the middle of this sexual encounter, a servant Orc barged in.
It seemed that there was a large-scale attack being conducted on the village.
『I did think it was unusually noisy... So it wasn’t the Orcs getting drunk and rampaging around.』
The attacking enemies were Ghouls, and the battle was not going favorably. Numerous Orc Generals had already been defeated, and the number of Orc Mages had grown smaller as well.
「BUGAAAAH! BUGIGI BUBOBIO!」
Bugogan roared to express his rage at the fact that his army that he had worked so hard to grow was being taken apart. He ordered Bubobio and his other sons to deal with it and stepped back from on top of the Live-Dead. It seemed that he was planning to prepare for battle himself as well.
『This... I need to report to the viscount.』
The Ghouls would probably be defeated in the end, but the Noble Orcs should sustain large losses. In that case, their plans to attack the city between spring and summer would be postponed.
If the Orcs’ forces were weakened, it might be possible that less than a hundred adventurers would be needed; perhaps only one or two B-class adventurer parties would be enough.
『I hope the Ghouls overdo it a little and destroy this Live-Dead in the process.』
If that happened, he would be paid and then dismissed, leaving him free to leave on his journey.
As if answering Luciliano’s request, the sounds of battle coming from outside Bugogan’s house grew even fiercer.