It was a clear February morning, with the smell of blood on the cool morning breeze.
A deep war cry echoed out.
As Ghouls who were busy removing the organs from Orc, Goblin and Kobold corpses and preparing them for breakfast glanced at the source of the war cry in surprise, Vigaro looked up at the morning sun.
「O-oi, hasn’t Vigaro grown bigger?」
「It can’t be, he Ranked up?!」
Vigaro’s body that was already over two meters tall to begin with had grown a size bigger. His lion’s head was more masculine, his fangs were thicker and stronger, and the muscles of his limbs had grown larger while maintaining their flexibility.
His appearance was that associated with individuals that were legendary to the Ghouls, individuals who hadn’t existed in this Devil’s Nest for several hundred years.
「Berserker... A Ghoul Berserker!」
Vigaro had been a Ghoul Barbarian with long years of experience as a warrior. In last night’s battle, he had defeated multiple Orc Generals that were of the same Rank as him as well as the Noble Orc that was a Rank higher, earning him a large quantity of Experience Points. At the same time, the level of his skills had improved as well, so it seemed that he had met the requirements for his Rank to increase.
Though it wasn’t as great as the legendary Ghoul Tyrants, the Ghouls cheered and shouted Vigaro’s name as they witnessed the birth of a Ghoul Berserker, who were said to be able to slaughter a hundred human soldiers alone.
Five minutes later, Vandalieu was receiving remonstrations first thing in the morning from three beautiful women.
Some might be jealous of him, but if one were to voice that to him, he would likely reply,「In my profession at least, this isn’t a reward.」
「Listen, boy. You are indeed our leader, but that does not mean that you must take on the role of finishing the enemy’s leader.」
「It’s true that I would have only been a hindrance in a fight against that Noble Orc, but you didn’t have to suddenly fly out to face him on your own. If you had brought your allies and received their support from the beginning of the fight, then maybe you wouldn’t have had to rely on such a dangerous plan, right?」
『That’s right, I thought I was going to faint when Sam told me what happened! Vandalieu, you’re still a child who’s not even three years old; that was going too far!』
Only Vandalieu could see and hear Darcia, who was scolding him the most, so Zadiris and Basdia were under the impression that only the two of them were remonstrating him, however.
「Yes, I’m sorry.」
Making no excuses, Vandalieu sincerely apologized. Looking back on it, it was indeed reckless for him to charge at Bugogan on his own; there had to have been other ways. He had made Zadiris, Basdia and, most of all, Darcia worry about him.
As Basdia said, if they had attacked Bugogan with everyone together from the beginning and used arrows, throwing weapons and magic attacks from a distance while Vandalieu slowed him down, it might have been possible to render Bugogan helpless, though it would have taken some time to finish him off.
This method would have worked even better if Vandalieu had applied【Deadly Poison】to the Ghouls’ arrows and throwing weapons, too.
And though it would have been difficult to prevent Bugogan from killing anyone, the risk of someone dying was probably not all that different from the risk of Vandalieu dying when he allowed Bugogan to cut through his ribs, sternum and lungs.
After having a night to calmly think about it, Vandalieu had come to realize that other methods had been available to him.
And though Vandalieu hadn’t been aware of it at the time, he knew that he had lost his presence of mind back then.
Well, that was only natural; it was his first real battle in a long time, and it was a large-scale battle, too. Vandalieu comforted himself by telling himself this as he prepared himself for long remonstrations.
『But this just shows how much you care about all of the Ghouls, Vandalieu, so I will overlook it just this once. But don’t do that again, okay?』
「But it’s also true that we weren’t strong enough for you to have confidence in us. I actually fired arrows at that Noble Orc, but they were all cleared away by his magic sword. That can’t even be called support; I couldn’t create any openings. I’m sorry, Van. I made you do such a reckless thing because I’m still inexperienced.」
「Indeed. And thanks to you, boy, we did not suffer even a single casualty. Because you distributed your Magic Items, strengthened us with your skills, transferred your Mana to us and rendered the enemy mages helpless. If you consider these things, we had been demanding the unreasonable of you from the very beginning. I apologize, boy.」
However, though Vandalieu had expected them to be angrier at him, Darcia quickly forgave him while Basdia and Zadiris even apologized in return.
Vandalieu was shocked, but none of them took back their words.
「Err, is that all?」
As Vandalieu asked this question, the three of them blinked in surprise.
「Yes... You do not wish to be scolded any further either, do you, boy?」
Zadiris and the other two seemed surprised as to why he would ask this question, and Vandalieu replied without thinking.
「I don’t, but the reprimanding I’ve faced up until now have been harsher and longer.」
In Vandalieu’s past lives on Earth and in Lambda, he had never been blessed with old age.
The uncle who had raised him on Earth always delivered his reprimanding with a set combo of violence and angry shouting. And since he was concerned about maintaining outward appearances, he had always waited until they came back home to do so. On top of that, he had never listened to Vandalieu’s side of the story or tried to understand why things had happened as they did. He had never pointed out how Vandalieu should improve himself other than saying,「Don’t ever do that again」, and even after reprimanding Vandalieu, he had never thought about how he should prevent Vandalieu from repeating his behavior.
And the reason for his reprimanding was,「You parentless piece of shit, you’re being a burden to me by trying to have the same luxuries as a normal person, you have to be fucking kidding me!」so Vandalieu only felt anger and fear towards him.
When his aunt had reprimanded him, it was just long. She would complain endlessly in a dark tone, not making any sense as she rambled on and on. She wouldn’t stop until she was satisfied or needed to do something else. The worst was when she had said,「You’ve made me waste so much time on scolding you」, and then spent the next few hours scolding him.
The teachers of his school had scolded him without putting much thought or effort into it whenever some kind of trouble occurred. Rather than trying to think about who or what had caused the trouble, it was easier for them to blame it on the boy who was always acting suspiciously and dressed in old, black clothes. In fact, that was how his elementary school class had been kept in order, and Vandalieu had just assumed that this was just the correct way for the school to handle things.
With those lessons in his mind, he succeeded in living a peaceful middle school and high school life, being as inconspicuous as air.
And then in Origin,「being scolded」had changed meaning to become「being punished.」
In Origin, Vandalieu had been a mere laboratory animal, and for the researchers who raised him, he was something that needed to be trained, not educated.
Fists were replaced with electrical shocks and remonstrations were replaced with words that were like knives that gouged out his lungs. Of course, they had no reason to listen to Vandalieu’s complaints and the researchers always prioritized their own convenience first.
Even though he obeyed all of their commands, there were times where he was punished for absurd reasons like experiments where electricity was passed through his body, leaving him convulsing on the floor, to test whether his Mana’s properties would change if he was subjected to extreme pain.
As a result of these traumatic experiences, Vandalieu had become extremely afraid of people becoming angry at him.
If it was someone he didn’t mind killing, someone he wanted to kill, someone he was able to kill, then that would be fine. He wasn’t scared of fighting and killing. But he was scared of those he couldn’t kill becoming angry at him and reprimanding him.
Of course, he hadn’t thought for a moment that Darcia, Zadiris or Basdia would act like his uncle or those researchers. But even so, he had been terrified.
『Vandalieu... I’m sorry, I’m really sorry for scaring you.』
Darcia had a rough idea about Vandalieu’s past and what he had been through. She didn’t have a physical body, but she wrapped her cold, spirit-arms around him gently.
『No, it’s nothing you need to apologize for, Mom.』
It was a trauma that he had from his previous lives; it would have been unfair to expect Darcia to make an effort to be cautious about it. She was the first mother in this world to raise a child with memories of his previous lives, so there were no examples for her to follow.
However, as the other two were unaware that Vandalieu possessed memories from his previous lives, they could only make the incorrect assumption.
「Boy, I have never heard details regarding your mother...」
「What kind of person was she? I mean, normally, what was she like, and how did she act when she was angry at you, Van?」
Their eyes were sympathetic and their words were inarticulate. Seeing this, Vandalieu realized that they were thinking that his mother had abused him.
「No, that’s not it, it wasn’t my mother. This is the perfect opportunity so I’ll tell you about my circumstances. Could I call Vigaro here?」
『Vandalieu, you don’t need to worry about me. They can’t see me, after all.』
「I do worry about it. You being misunderstood makes me sad as well, Mom.」
Vandalieu didn’t want Zadiris or anyone else having the wrong impression of Darcia, and he had been planning to tell them about his circumstances anyway, so he decided to take this opportunity to tell them everything.
「I see, so that’s what...」
The fact that Vandalieu possessed memories from his previous life and the one before that, and the fact that he had lived those lives in other worlds. The fact that a hundred people with abilities that surpassed common sense, abilities that Vandalieu didn’t have, would be reincarnating in this world in the future. When Vandalieu told these facts to Zadiris and the others, they were surprised and, for some reason, they seemed to understand.
It was better than them not believing him, but Vandalieu was bewildered that they believed him so easily, so they explained why.
「You are a child who possesses 100,000,000 Mana and uses death-attribute magic, something that has never existed before in this world. Even considering the fact that you are a Dhampir, having such an unbelievable past actually makes this more believable.」
「And you know too many things considering that you’re not even three years old, Van. That would be the case even if Sam and the others were to teach you things. It makes sense if all of that knowledge is from your previous lives.」
「Yeah, it’s just like those two said. I have nothing more to say to that.」
「... Ah, now that you mention it, that makes sense to me, too.」
「Well, it is still a surprise that there will be a hundred more people like you, boy.」
「A hundred people with over 100,000,000 Mana, huh...」
Zadiris and Basdia looked deep in thought with grave expressions on their faces as they imagined young men and women with 100,000,000 Mana becoming adventurers or knights and mages under the employment of human nations, but Vandalieu shook his head.
「No, I think they will have much less Mana than me.」
「What? Is that so?」
「Yes. The reason I have this much Mana is because I don’t have anything else.」
Other than Vandalieu, Rodcorte had granted the one hundred reincarnated people cheat-like abilities and affinities for different attributes of magic. Vandalieu’s abnormal amount of Mana was compensation for his lack of those things. Rodcorte had explained that Vandalieu’s『empty frame』would store large quantities of Mana, but looking at it another way, this meant that the others didn’t possess this『empty frame.』
Their frames had been filled with cheat-like abilities and different attributes of magic; there was no way that they could have an『empty frame.』
Most of them would probably have slightly more than the ten thousand Mana that first-rate mages of Lambda would have. As Vandalieu said this, Zadiris and Basdia let out a sigh of relief.
「I see, that is reassuring to hear.」
「But still, they have cheat-like abilities, you know.」
「I do not know what exactly these『cheat-like abilities』might be, but the fact that you have 100,000,000 Mana is already beyond the bounds of common sense, boy.」
As Zadiris said, the mages of this world that could be called first-rate would have maybe slightly over ten thousand Mana. Even enormous monsters who could defeat A-class or S-class adventurers that were known as superhumans might possess only a hundred thousand Mana.
100,000,000 Mana was something that could be compared to the gods and the Demon King that had existed in the age of the gods.
「... Is that so? Well, if I could use magic of the normal attributes, then that might be the case.」
But the owner of that Mana, Vandalieu, still only had a weak sense of how vast it really was. He was unable to use fire-attribute or earth-attribute magic that was easy to make use of in battle, and since his skill with Mana Control was insufficient, he spent at least several thousands of Mana to cast one spell. He didn’t feel like he could say that his own power was very cheat-like.
『You know, I think that it would be alright for you to have a little more confidence in yourself, Vandalieu.』
「Hmm, I’ll do my best. Leaving that aside, I think that I might cause trouble for everyone if I stay as the Ghoul King. The guys who are going to be reincarnated here have only lived in worlds where humans are the only intelligent creatures, so I don’t know how they’ll act.」
The Status Screen and Skills of this world were systems similar to those used by games on Earth and in Origin. They might decide to slaughter all monsters in sight, like one might do in a game.
No, it would be fine if they slaughtered monsters. The problem was if they decided to do the same for the races created by Vida, which were designated as monsters by the Amid Empire. That went without saying for the Ghouls who weren’t even considered one of the races created by Vida.
And if they were Vandalieu’s friends, then there was a real chance that they would enthusiastically start trampling over the Ghouls indiscriminately, even the women and children.
Thinking about it rationally, Vandalieu and the other hundred reincarnated people weren’t on hostile terms. Rodcorte’s mistake and misfortune had aligned, resulting in Vandalieu’s reincarnation in Origin to be unknown to the rest of them, and they had simply dealt him the finishing blow as he was in an Undead state.
However, after he had been finished off in Origin, Vandalieu had declared that he would slaughter them all, so he didn’t know what would happen. Even if they were originally reincarnated together, if one were to be asked to be friends with someone who had shouted that he would kill them, even Vandalieu would shake his head.
If Rodcorte was watching Vandalieu now and knew that his desire for revenge on them had disappeared, then it would be fine, but... that hope was slim.
『It didn’t seem like that god was even keeping a proper eye on the world of Origin that we were reincarnated into.』
If Rodcorte had been watching, he could have at least sent a message to Amemiya Hiroto and the others to save Vandalieu. Because he hadn’t even done that, Vandalieu expected nothing from him.
And so Vandalieu thought that he should give up his Title now that he had destroyed the Noble Orc’s large village, but Zadiris and the others thought otherwise.
「Hmm... That might indeed be the case, but those one hundred people should be reincarnated here in the order in which they die in that world called Origin, not all at once, is that not right? In that case, then we are talking about something that will not happen for a long while, and each time they appear, they should not appear in large numbers. Am I wrong?」
When Vandalieu had been killed in Origin, they had looked to be in their early twenties. But they had been dispatched to exterminate an Undead that had appeared in the military nation’s secret laboratory; they seemed to have been doing dangerous work.
So there was a chance that there were some who had made a mistake in their work and died half a year or a year after Vandalieu had.
However, they had the protection of their affinity for different attributes of magic, good fortunes and destinies as well as their cheat-like abilities; all of the things that Vandalieu hadn’t received. They wouldn’t die so easily. And because of the magic that hadn’t existed on Earth, science in Origin seemed to have been more advanced than on Earth.
So unless they were killed or afflicted by serious illnesses such as cancer, they would live in Origin up until they were in their eighties or possibly even until they were over a hundred years old.
It was indeed still some time away.
And it was difficult to imagine that there would be multiple people dying simultaneously.
「And there is nothing to suggest that all of those one hundred people will be reborn in the Amid Empire and its nations. It could be that they are reborn in the country that you are intending to go to, beyond the mountain range, or even on another continent. There is no guarantee that they will be born to human parents. They could be born from the wombs of us Ghouls or one of the other races created by Vida.」
「Well, that might be the case, but...」
What Zadiris was saying was reasonable, so Vandalieu had no response. And then Basdia dealt the final blow.
「And there are plenty of enemies that are threats to us other than those one hundred people. If the humans were to dispatch B-class and A-class adventurers into this Devil’s Nest, we could be destroyed. A high-Rank monster from another Devil’s Nest might come here and build its power, just like that Noble Orc. Those one hundred people being reincarnated here doesn’t give us a reason to be separated from you, Vandalieu.」
It was as Basdia said. The Ghouls were the most powerful in this Devil’s Nest. But if the Mirg nation seriously dispatched high-class adventurers, they wouldn’t even be able to put up a fight.
「And if you weren’t here, I don’t know if we would have been able to win the battle against the Orcs. Even if we did, we would still be unable to have babies and we wouldn’t be able to maintain the village. It doesn’t make sense to run away because you’re scared of something that’s going to happen decades from now.」
「W-well, that might the be case too, but...」
This was reasonable too, so Vandalieu couldn’t strongly deny it or make any points against it. For the Ghouls, things that threatened their existence naturally existed, so it was the obvious choice to fight to survive the threats rather than try to avoid them; prepare for them rather than live in fear of them.
「And if you left us and then those one hundred people starting hunting down monsters anyway, I think it would end up the same regardless. Considering that, it would be more reassuring to have you around, Van.」
「?! I hadn’t thought of that...!」
Vandalieu was rendered speechless in surprise. The truth was that there was a high possibility of the reincarnated people hunting monsters on a large scale even if Vandalieu wasn’t involved with them.
After all, they were strong people, and in the world of Lambda, monsters were evil. They would very likely hunt monsters to satisfy their sense of justice or simply to quickly gain money and fame.
Vandalieu was in shock, but surprisingly it was Vigaro whose decisive opinion changed Vandalieu’s mind.
「I’m sure those guys are not even that strong to begin with, Vandalieu.」
Vigaro’s words left Vandalieu dumbfounded. They would surely be strong. They would have power beyond all reason; they would be so strong that one would think it unfair. Those one hundred people, not even that strong?
「Of course they’re going to be strong. Definitely far stronger than me.」
「But they can die, right? Then you will be able to kill them.」
Vigaro said this as if it was obvious, and Vandalieu reflexively began to object.
「There’s no way that – ah!」
And then he suddenly realized. That’s right, they could definitely die.
Rodcorte had granted those one hundred people cheat-like abilities, with the exception of Vandalieu.
He protected them with good fortune.
He guided them with a destiny.
However, Rodcorte’s goal was to use these people who had died on Earth to develop the world of Lambda. The only reason he had reincarnated them in Origin first was to have them gain experience.
Things had been set up so that they would be reincarnated in Lambda as they died in Origin.
It would be a problem if they couldn’t die. If they didn’t die in Origin, they would never be sent to Lambda.
Therefore, among the cheat-like abilities granted to them by Rodcorte, there would be none that absolutely prevented them from dying or being killed.
They might possess cheat-like abilities that granted them tremendous offensive abilities, but if their defensive abilities were normal, they could be killed.
They might be able to move at ultra-high speeds, but they would die if made ill by the【Incurable Disease】spell.
They might have rapid regeneration abilities that would let them regrow severed limbs, but if their brains and hearts were destroyed simultaneously, then they would die.
They might have the ultimate defensive abilities, but if afflicted with【Aging】, they would die of old age.
None of these methods would be simple. It would be difficult; lives would have to be put on the line in these battles.
But Vandalieu was a death-attribute mage. He was someone who could freely use magic to bring about death, or keep it at a distance. As long as his enemies were living beings that would eventually die one day, there would definitely be a way for Vandalieu to kill them, and he should have a means to accomplish that.
「I wonder why I hadn’t realized such a basic thing until now...」(Vandalieu)
「It is only natural to fear those who have what you do not have.」(Zadiris)
「And they killed you once, didn’t they? I can’t blame you for thinking that you can’t win against them.」(Vigaro)
Vandalieu fell to his knees as Zadiris and Vigaro correctly guessed the reasons he had feared those one hundred people so much.
「I’ve been thinking about it since I was born, for almost three years, but I never thought of that. Because you pointed it out, I have more hope for the future. Thank you.」(Vandalieu)
「It helps us to be allies with you. Don’t worry about it.」(Vigaro)
Vigaro bared his fangs that were larger than they had been yesterday in a smile, looking as if he’d be satisfied as long as Vandalieu didn’t bring up the idea of giving up the Title of King again.
「Well, we might be a hindrance for you when you’re trying to become an adventurer and nobleman.」(Vigaro)
「When that time comes, I’ll tell people that I have tamed you. If that doesn’t work, I’ll pile up so many achievements that they can’t ignore me.」(Vandalieu)
「Oh, you’ve broken free, Van.」(Basdia)
Even he could kill those with the cheat-like abilities. As Vandalieu made this realization, his worries in life had been cut in half and his head felt clearer.
He still aimed to kill enemies like High Priest Gordan and Heinz, and he was confident that if he became stronger, he would be able to do it. Leaving Earth and Origin aside, he had skills in this world and even possessed 100,000,000 Mana. If he could master using this Mana, his revenge and killing the cheaters would be possible.
There were steep mountains and valleys ahead of him in life, but he felt as if they had become a little less steep.
Feeling refreshed, Vandalieu remembered something that he had meant to say once the sun rose but hadn’t said yet.
「Ah, I just remembered. The humans had been making preparations to exterminate the Orc village, and now they’ve found out that we’ve already done it. What should we do?」
「Boy... That is the more pressing concern.」
It seemed that the meeting would continue for some time.
Luciliano was pale and feeling strained in the morning.
「That is the end of my report.」
He was on his knees, delivering a report to his employer, the mustached nobleman Berno Balchesse, and a row of knights.
And there was a middle-aged man with a medium build in the prime years of his life sitting at the head of the table. Though Luciliano wasn’t specialized in combat, he was an adventurer who had completed numerous requests from noblemen over the years. This man wasn’t the kind of person whose presence should cause an adventurer like Luciliano to be feeling nervous.
However, every time Luciliano stood before him, he felt his spine grow cold and experienced an unpleasant feeling of tension.
「That report is the truth, I presume?」
「Yes, Marshal Palpapek.」
The man’s name was Marshal Thomas Palpapek. He held the court rank of earl, but that was the rank that he was given because this country of Mirg was a nation of the Amid Empire. In the Empire, the title of marquess was only held by royal family members of the Empire’s nations.
He was a capable marshal whose abilities and achievements were so great that if Mirg were an independent nation instead of being a part of the Empire, it would not have been surprising for him to hold the rank of marquess... or even duke.
Since he had risen to this position, the Mirg nation had withstood attacks from the Orbaume Kingdom, public order had been improved and worked with adventurers to be involved in dealing with multiple large incidents in which monsters began overflowing from Devil’s Nests.
「I see. The Noble Orcs have been annihilated and their subordinates have been scattered...」
「That is extraordinarily delightful news, is it not, Marshal-dono?」
Viscount Balchesse looked truly happy as he smiled at Marshal Palpapek. It somehow seemed that even his prided handlebar mustache had become shinier.
He was feeling relieved as there no longer seemed to be a need to spend large amounts of taxes to hire adventurers and dispatch soldiers and knights as an extermination force, causing casualties in the process.
There was a strong stereotype of noblemen treating those serving them as being disposable, but the ones who did that without hesitation were fools. Those with some ability as noblemen avoided casualties where possible.
Soldiers were needed to maintain the peace of a region, and if some of them died, they could not always be replaced immediately. It was different from temporarily-hired soldiers and guards, who only needed to be provided with equipment. One should desire a certain level of skill and loyalty from regular soldiers.
This was especially true for knights whose families had served noblemen for generations. If noblemen put the lives of knights to waste, they would be disgraced and lose favor from the knight families who would choose other masters.
Losses should be kept low, even for soldiers recruited from the lower-class populace. If the young people that were the able workers of society were to die in large numbers, the productivity of the region would fall and severe economic problems would develop. And there was nothing good about causing dissatisfaction amongst the people.
Adventurers were a special case, as they worked in their occupation at their own risk. Even if ten or twenty of them were lost, a town as large as Viscount Balchesse’s wouldn’t be negatively affected at all. Hundreds of adventurers died every year in the nation of Mirg alone. Nobody would claim that this was the responsibility of the rulers.
But this only applied on a national level; if a large number of adventurers in one region were to suddenly decrease in number by too much, there monster numbers in Devil’s Nests would be less regulated and the materials that adventurers obtained from monsters would become scarcer. There would be consequences for anti-monster measures as well as economic consequences.
And since adventurers were essentially wanderers, if there were rumors that a nobleman was forcing adventurers to accept unreasonable requests, they could simply turn away from that nobleman. That would cause long-term difficulties for the region.
Therefore, it was best to eliminate or at least reduce casualties. Of course, there were some things that needed to be done even if casualties were certain to occur. Exterminating a Noble Orc’s group of five hundred monsters that was planning to attack the town, for instance.
The group of monsters was gone, eliminating the need to form an extermination force. This could only be a good thing for Viscount Balchesse. He wasn’t interested in things like having the honor of exterminating powerful monsters.
However, it seemed that Marshal Palpapek thought differently.
「That cannot be said, Viscount Balchesse. Perhaps we should increase the size of the extermination force... No, more importantly, perhaps I should ask High Priest Gordan for his assistance in killing this Vampire.」
「Wha –?! How can that be, Marshal?! The Noble Orcs have already been killed; the danger has passed!」
「The danger has not passed. It has simply changed, from Orcs to Ghouls. A group of Ghouls that won a battle against a group of five hundred monsters led by a Noble Orc. Though Luciliano has not confirmed this, there are likely Ghoul Mages... There is even a chance that there are higher-class ones, like High Mages or Berserkers. Or would you suggest that such a group of monsters is not a threat?」
Marshal Palpapek was right. For humans, Orcs and Ghouls were both monsters. The only differences were that Ghouls had females so they didn’t need to abduct human women so frequently, and they didn’t often come out of the Devil’s Nests.
But these differences were enough for Viscount Balchesse’s knights to disagree.
「But Marshal, there have never been any confirmed cases of Ghouls acting outside Devil’s Nests, let alone in a group. Is it not safe to assume that the Ghouls will not come out of the Devil’s Nest?」
「In particular, the Ghouls of that Devil’s Nest do not even fight adventurers; they are relatively docile. And as the adventurer there reported, the monsters led by the Noble Orc were using the female Ghouls as mothers, were they not? Is this incident not simply the Ghouls taking revenge on the Orcs?」
The Ghouls that had the power to defeat the Noble Orcs and their subordinates were indeed threatening. However, it wasn’t anything more than a struggle for existence that had occurred within the Devil’s Nest; the conflict wouldn’t spread outside.
Why was there any need to take the effort to enter that conflict in a place that couldn’t even be seen from here?
Even Marshal Palpapek nodded, knowing that there was some truth to this argument.
「Indeed, if it is the Ghouls that have been there for a long time, that would be the case. However, has there ever been a group of Ghouls with a Dhampir child among them?」
However, in response to this question, Viscount Balchesse and his knights could only say that they had never heard of such a thing.
「And considering the situation, it is highly likely that this Dhampir is the Ghoul King... isn’t that right?」
「Yes. Considering the situation, I cannot deny the possibility of the Dhampir being the Ghoul King Vandalieu.」
Luciliano, who had remained silent until now, offered his thoughts with a tone that implied that he wouldn’t take responsibility if he was incorrect.
The Ghouls had said that Vandalieu was coming, and then the Dhampir child had appeared. If one considered this, it could be reasonably deduced that that child was the one called Vandalieu. And the other Ghouls had said that Vandalieu was the Ghoul King.
In that case, then the Ghoul King was a Dhampir child by the name of Vandalieu.
Even though he was a Dhampir, it was difficult to believe an infant that could not even be called a boy yet was the King that led a pack of Ghouls. But there was no basis for anyone to deny this possibility.
And on top of that, Marshal Palpapek shared a piece of shocking information.
「Actually, I have a good idea of just who this Dhampir named Vandalieu is.」
「Is this true, Marshal?!」
It seemed that even the knights serving Marshal Palpapek were hearing this for the first time; they were murmuring along with Viscount Balchesse and his knights. Even Luciliano raised his face in surprise.
「About three years ago. I am sure even Viscount Balchesse remembers the wanted posters of a Dark Elf who had succumbed to a Vampire’s temptation circulating around our country. That Dark Elf’s name was Darcia. And I had my own subordinates investigate the matter just in case, and in the process, I learned that the name of the Vampire who seduced her is Valen. It is not unusual for parents to use parts of own names to name their child.」
The son of Valen and Darcia, Vandalieu. Many commoners named their children in this way.
「But wasn’t that Dhampir returned to the dirt?!」
「No, I believe the only one that was certainly executed was his Dark Elf mother. I heard that the corpse of the Dhampir child who was of breast-feeding age was never found in the end...」
「How irresponsible! Do those of the Church demand such extravagant donations for such crude work?!」
「However, even being half-Vampire, there was no way for an infant of breast-feeding age to survive without its mother. Could the name not be a mere coincidence?」
「But even the age matches. Is it not too much to be called a coincidence?」
The knights offered their own confused guesses. And then they were silenced by Marshal Palpapek’s powerful voice.
「What we should fear is if the Dhampir Vandalieu, who is the Ghoul King, is not content with merely surviving and is sharpening his fangs for revenge. What will happen then? It does not even need to be said.」
The knights’ expressions all hardened as they closed their mouths. Viscount Balchesse’s face had turned particularly pale.
A powerful Ghoul army led by a Dhampir who harbored resentment towards the humans. No matter how one looked at it, this was a larger threat than the Noble Orcs’ group of monsters.
Orcs were unintelligent and even if they were led by a higher race, their coordination was sloppy and there would be many openings to take advantage of.
However, Ghouls were far more intelligent than Orcs and they were a race that was even more proficient at fighting in coordination with each other than Kobolds. And unlike Orcs, among whom only superior individuals could use magic, most female Ghouls were capable of casting spells.
Their reproductive capabilities were far inferior to those of Orcs, but for the noblemen and knights gathered here, that was irrelevant information.
Since the Ghouls had defeated a group of over five hundred Orcs, the noblemen had deduced that their numbers would be around the same or at least four hundred.
... Though in reality, the number of effective combatants was only around two hundred, including Vandalieu himself and the Undead that obeyed his command.
When that large army came attacking, its fangs would first be bared at this town that was close by to the Devil’s Nest. Nobody could blame the ruler of that town, Viscount Balchesse, for looking as if he could faint at any moment.
「M-Marshal! Please grant me your assistance!」
「Of course, Viscount Balchesse. Let us immediately organize a larger extermination force and eradicate those Ghouls and that Dhampir from that Devil’s Nest.」
Marshal Palpapek had managed to secure the organization of a larger extermination force while still having it done under the request of the local ruler. If this operation succeeded and he managed to exterminate the Dhampir that had escaped High Priest Gordan, who was renowned as a Vampire hunter, his fame would increase even further.
(Rather than try to keep guessing at the politics beneath the surface, I must get out of here!)
Luciliano didn’t want to see that Dhampir’s face again. Thinking about that, he continued to wait for his employer to grant him permission to leave.