Vandalieu avoided a Goblin Soldier’s sword and gouged out the flesh of the side of its body with his claws. While the additional Goblin behind it was panicking, he dashed up its body, grabbed a hold of its head and twisted it, breaking the bones of its neck.
And then he continued to attack the Goblin Archers that were further behind. An arrow grazed his cheek lightly, but he wouldn’t die from this. He ignored it as he charged in.
The Goblin Archers panicked and drew their short swords to replace their bows, but Vandalieu hit them with the unarmed martial skill,【Fist Strike.】He felt the pleasant sensation of breaking their ribs and crushing their lungs through the furs they were wearing in place of armor.
Another Goblin Archer fired an arrow at him from his blind spot. Feeling it with his【Danger Sense: Death】, he used【Kicking Strike】against the ground to leap out of the way.
And then he used【Kicking Strike】once again, charging towards the Goblin before it could ready a second arrow. It struggled humorously to draw its short sword, but Vandalieu broke the Goblin’s leg with a kick and then crushed its neck with his foot as it collapsed.
Making sure his enemy was properly finished and checking whether there were any more enemies around, Vandalieu exhaled.
And as he regained his breath, he really appreciated one fact.
「Skills are amazing things.」(Vandalieu)
He didn’t feel it so much with magic-related skills, but every time he gained a new skill like【Unarmed Fighting】,【Carpentry】and【Cooking】, he realized just how amazing skills were.
Vandalieu had never received combat-related training in either of his two previous lives on Earth and in Origin. The closest thing would perhaps be the judo that he did in his physical education classes. Even in real battles, he had never fought without the assistance of magic.
But this was the result of three months of training.
His enemies were Goblin Soldiers and Goblin Archers. Both were Rank 2; they were not particularly strong enemies.
But though they didn’t possess skills, they were stronger than the average human and capable of using weapons.
Vandalieu had managed to slaughter them all, sustaining only a scratch on his cheek. Yesterday, he had barely managed to kill a single Goblin, using his own arm as a shield in the process.
This was the effect that skills had.
Obtaining the skill didn’t mean that he suddenly gained some mysterious power. The same applied for his【Carpentry】and【Cooking】skills. He wasn’t unconsciously, half-heartedly creating things and having them turn out well-made.
Take the【Unarmed Fighting】skill as an example. When he threw a punch, he understood how to make his fist strike hard and fast and moved his body according to that understanding.
When he threw out a kick, he understood how to break the enemy’s leg and moved his body according to that understanding.
How to avoid the enemy’s attacks, how to evade, how he should posture himself for a counterattack.
He understood them all, and this allowed him to move his body accordingly.
In the case of【Carpentry】, he understood what he needed to do to make a good building, where he should put pillars to bear loads and how many he needed. As for【Cooking】, he instinctively, intuitively knew what he needed to do to make a more delicious meal.
As to be expected of a system created by gods. Gods who did their work properly were truly wonderful.
What was especially wonderful about it was that abilities could be quantified in numeric values. On Earth and in Origin, one would have to look at a person’s past achievements and whatnot to determine how useful the person would be, but in Lambda, it could be done with one look at a person’s Status… or at least the relevant skills for the field in question.
… Well, there was also the risk that the value of people would be determined solely based on the current skills they possessed.
『Good work, Bocchan.』(Saria)
『Splendidly done, my lord.』(Bone Man)
Saria and Bone Man brought Vandalieu some water.
「I give you eighty points, Van.」(Basdia)
And Basdia gave him a merciless grading.
「Umm, what are the reasons I lost points for?」(Vandalieu)
「The scratch on your cheek is ten points, and relying on your martial skills too often is another ten points. You wouldn’t need to worry about running out of Mana, Van, but if you use martial skills too many times consecutively, your brain will become unable to keep up. It’s the same as when you use magic too many times in quick succession.」(Basdia)
He had experienced multiple sudden fevers. It was easy to imagine that he would be easily killed without being able to put up any resistance if they occurred during battle.
It wasn’t a matter of mental strength; it was something that couldn’t be avoided because people were creatures that required their brains to think.
Vandalieu’s Mana exceeded 100,000,000, but his Intelligence was just over a hundred. Even with the【Surpass Limits】skill, overusing martial skills might be a bad idea.
「Now then, from now on I’ll learn how to fight while combining these skills with my magic.」(Vandalieu)
The reason Vandalieu had chosen【Unarmed Fighting】out of the numerous available combat-related skills was because it suited him and he could make convenient use of his claws.
His body was small and his limbs were short. No matter how much strength he had, it would not change this fact.
Most of the weapons he had pillaged up until now were too large for him. The only weapons he could realistically use were a short sword, a short bow, a short spear and his own claws.
A short sword would be exceptionally easy to carry and would work well as a hidden weapon, and in emergency situations, could even be thrown as a projectile. But it would have poor attacking power and one would need more speed than strength to wield it. Vandalieu’s lowest Attribute Value was Agility.
Using a short bow would clearly be a bad idea. With a short bow’s projectile range and killing power, it could simply be replaced by the use of【Mana Bullets.】
A short spear was more appealing than the other two. Though it was short, the【Spear Technique】skill would govern its use and if Vandalieu learned the skill now, he could replace it with a longer weapon once his body grew larger.
It wasn’t a weapon that could be concealed, but Vandalieu wasn’t really planning on becoming an assassin or anything, so he couldn’t reject the idea based on that reason alone.
But in the end, Vandalieu chose to use his claws.
The claws were his own personal weapons that grew on all four of his limbs, and he could withdraw and extend them freely like a cat. They had short reach and they couldn’t be thrown as projectile weapons, but he would always have access to them as long as his limbs weren’t severed.
The other reason was because it was possible that he had inherited a talent for claw-based unarmed combat from his father.
Darcia was happy about it and the decision was well-received by Basdia and the other Ghouls.
『Bocchan is becoming more and more like a Ghoul, isn’t he?』(Saria)
『He might come to be known as the【White Ghoul】before long.』(Rita)
『Jyujyujyuh, if he were to apply【Deadly Poison】to his claws, he would become even more Ghoul-like.』(Bone Man)
Vandalieu had a feeling that this might become a new Title. No, this might actually become a Title placed on him by the Adventurers’ Guild labeling him as a monster to be exterminated.
It would be problematic to be put on the wanted list of the Mirg shield-nation’s Guilds.
「Leaving that aside, the basic training is over. Now let’s raise our levels while we clear the Dungeon. It seems that we’ve hunted down almost all of the monsters on this floor, anyway.」(Basdia)
And so they continued on for a little while, passed through some stairs leading further underground and descended to the second floor.
Vandalieu was in the middle of the formation, with Bone man and Basdia in front. Bone Wolf, Bone Bear and Bone Monkey were positioned at the sides. Saria and Rita were positioned at the back, having switched from their long melee weapons to bows. Bone Bird was keeping a lookout from above.
Garan’s Valley was a Dungeon that mimicked the structure of a natural valley, from the first floor all the way to the bottom floor.
Because of this, there were passages that were split into multiple paths by boulders and things, but even so, it was no exaggeration to say that the Dungeon’s layout was simple and linear, and there were almost no traps. This was one of the reasons this place was suitable for the inexperienced to learn.
「Oh, it’s the King!」(Black Goblin)
「Yo, King!」(Black Goblin)
Because it was suitable for the inexperienced, the Black Goblin children were undergoing training in real battles here with the Undead Titans acting as their teachers.
「How are you feeling, King?」(Braga)
Half a year had passed since Braga had been born, and he was now a fully-grown adult. Vandalieu looked up at him as he replied.
「I learned the skill and Basdia gave me eighty points.」(Vandalieu)
As Vandalieu said this proudly, the corners of Braga’s mouth rose in a smile as he answered.
「That’s amazing considering you’re still so small! You’re doing well, King!」(Braga)
Vandalieu’s head was patted roughly… He was being praised, but for some reason, he found it hard to believe that this was praise.
「I suppose this is the feeling of watching your childhood friends become adults while you’re the only one to stay as a child. What an empty, painful, uneasy feeling.」(Vandalieu)
「Don’t talk nonsense, King. I’m a Goblin and you’re a Dhampir.」(Braga)
Vandalieu was startled as he suddenly became aware of his unusual emotional state. But it was as Braga said; there was a difference in how children of different races developed.
And though Braga was taller than Vandalieu, as a Black Goblin, his height only reached up to an adult human’s chest. One day in the future, Vandalieu would be able to look down at Braga once more… right?
「Oh yeah, how is your training, Braga?」(Vandalieu)
「I learned tons of skills. Short Swordsmanship, Short Spear Technique, Silent Steps, Detect Presence… I’m already over level 80!」(Braga)
「Uwah, amazing. I’ll be overtaken in no time.」(Vandalieu)
As Braga held his chest out in pride, Vandalieu used【Flight】to pat his head back.
「You’re a Black Goblin after all, Braga. Like normal Goblins and Kobolds, you mature quickly. It’s like your growth period is condensed together, so now is your time to grow.」(Vandalieu)
For monsters like Black Goblins that reached adulthood in less than a year after birth, their growth occurred during a short, condensed time period. So they seemed to grow stronger the more they trained during that period.
「You have to do your best and increase your Rank. If you don’t, it’ll be difficult to earn your keep by hunting the monsters around here in the future.」(Vandalieu)
The Black Goblins were Rank 2. The majority of the monsters that appeared around Talosheim were Rank 3 or above. Though they would have friends and weapons to help them, hunting monsters in a stable manner with their current strength would be difficult.
「S-so strict. But it’s true, so I’ll do my best.」(Braga)
Braga was training hard because he understood this. As they were now, they might be able to scrape by, living as assistants for the Undead Titans or Ghouls. Or perhaps they could try their hand at agriculture, though they might find it difficult. But they were monsters; they felt an instinctual desire to grow stronger.
「See you, King. Once we clear this place, we’ll go on an adventure!」(Braga)
「Yeah, an adventure.」(Vandalieu)
Exchanging a firm handshake with Vandalieu, Braga returned to his training.
Incidentally, it seemed that Braga and the other Black Goblins didn’t hesitate at all to kill the Goblins appearing in the Dungeon.
「Those are enemies.」
That one sentence summarized it all.
Since the second and third floors of the Dungeon were being used by the Black Goblins for their combat training, Vandalieu’s party didn’t encounter many enemies here. They didn’t mind, however, as only Rank 2 monsters appeared in the earlier floors of the Dungeon, making them unsuitable to gain many Experience Points.
And on the fourth floor, it was not the Black Goblins but the Anubises receiving combat training here.
A young Anubis wielding a spear was facing off against a baboon-like Rank 3 monster.
They bared their fangs at each other menacingly. As if deciding that a fight was inevitable, the baboon used all four limbs to climb a nearby cliff, trying to take the high ground.
The young Anubis somehow dashed up the cliff after it with just his legs, using the spear in his hand to attack the baboon.
With a high-pitched scream, the baboon fell onto the ground on his back. The Anubis leapt down after it, crushing its neck with his foot.
It was a magnificent victory.
「Uohn! What did you think of my hunt, King?」(Anubis)
「You’ve become strong, haven’t you? You’d probably be able to hunt any Rank 3 monster now, Zemedo*.」(Vandalieu)
The young Anubis was Zemedo, born around the same time as Braga. His appearance was now considerably different from how it had been during his childhood.
His head resembled the impressive, tough-looking head of a German shepherd, and from the neck down, his body was that of a lean-muscled man with attractive, dark-colored skin. He was tall as well; nobody would look at him and think that he was younger than Vandalieu.
「No, I’ve still got a long way to go. And being Rank 3 in this place means that I’m still weak. Even if I’m going to be working with others to hunt, I want to become stronger.」(Zemedo)
Multiple weak individuals could combine their strength to hunt strong prey.
However, it was only natural to think that it would be better if strong individuals combined their strength to hunt even stronger prey. It seemed that Zemedo had set his sights on the higher objective.
「More importantly, I have something I want to ask you about. It’s about Memediga.」(Zemedo)
「Did something happen to her?」(Vandalieu)
It seemed that there was something about Zemedo’s twin sister Memediga, who had grown to adulthood just like him and Braga, that was troubling him. It seemed that she had been behaving strangely lately.
「She wears a necklace made of a monster’s bone or fang that someone gave her, and whenever I go to talk to her during our breaks, she disappears somewhere… Recently, she’s been spending all of her time with that Berg guy.」(Zemedo)
「… Isn’t she just getting to that age?」(Vandalieu)
It seemed that Memediga had started accompanying another Anubis by the name of Berg-kun. Quite impressive for a younger guy, though he was only a month younger than her.
It seemed true that girls were more mature than boys. Vandalieu wanted to congratulate her.
「What?! Is Memediga intending to have Berg’s child?!」(Zemedo)
It seemed like quite a leap of logic to go from accompaniment to baby-making… No, perhaps not. They were monsters living in the world of Lambda, after all.
「It’s still too early! We’re still young!」(Zemedo)
As someone who had grown up as a Japanese person on Earth, he agreed with Zemedo, but –
『That isn’t true. It isn’t uncommon in human society for people to get married as soon as they come of age.』(Saria)
『And even if you say that it is too early, she isn’t a child anymore. If you keep saying things like that, she will miss her chance to get married.』(Rita)
So said the Living Armor sisters.
The view on marriage in this world was that people should get married and have children while they were young. Though this world’s underdeveloped medical knowledge was compensated for by the existence of magic, only noblemen, wealthy merchants and high-ranking adventurers could afford to pay fees for the mages’ services.
The same had been true in the past in Japan and other countries as well; this was fairly normal.
「That’s right. The important question for a woman is whose child she wants to bear. If Memediga wants to have Berg’s child, you should be supporting her.」(Basdia)
Basdia showed how the Ghouls thought of the relationships between men and women. Women gave birth to children and raised them in the village. Was this a heavy or light responsibility, considering the standards of modern Japan?
Though the men had no responsibilities as fathers, as long as they were members of the village, they had to hunt enough food for more than themselves. In Ghoul societies, it wasn’t acceptable for men to become reliant on the women.
… Life might be harsh for men who couldn’t fight.
As if unconcerned with this, Bone Man and the others were keeping an eye on their surroundings. Well, even if they were consulted, they would likely give answers based on their knowledge as animals, so this was likely for the best.
「I-is that so…」(Zeme)
「Well, perhaps the best thing to do would be to tell them to wait until Berg becomes able to hunt prey?」(Vandalieu)
Things might be difficult for sis-cons in this world as well.
And so the journey through the fourth floor continued peacefully. Incidentally, the baboon’s liver and kidneys could be used as Potion ingredients… Unfortunately, there was nobody running an apothecary, so they couldn’t be used, however.
And on the fifth floor, a joint-training between the other Anubises and the Ghouls who were still Rank 3 was taking place.
Words in the Ghouls’ battle language were shouted and in the blink of an eye, a Rock Python that resembled numerous boulders linked together began to take damage.
The giant snake that possessed a rock-like defense was still just prey when faced with the coordinated efforts between the Anubises and the Ghouls. Viscous mud created with magic was used to trap it and then spears, swords and claws were twisted into the gaps in its skin until it stopped moving.
And despite its rocky exterior, the flesh underneath was tender when cooked and tasted similar to chicken tenderloins.
「King! How do you like my earth-attribute magic!」(Memediga)
Memediga, the female Anubis with a German shepherd’s head approached Vandalieu, waving her staff back and forth. The viscous mud that had stopped the Rock Python’s movements had been created by her magic.
「Mhmm, it was very good.」(Vandalieu)
It was a simple but reliable and useful spell in battle. Many spells of the earth-attribute were like this. Only a very small portion of mages could do things like causing volcanic eruptions, manipulating lava like their own limbs or creating fissures in the ground to swallow up their enemies; most earth-attribute mages were proficient at spells that did things like digging pitfalls and causing hard spikes to grow out of the ground.
So considering the special characteristics of earth-attribute magic, Memediga was using it well. Most living creatures couldn’t separate themselves from the ground, so her magic was very effective.
But Vandalieu was thinking about something different as he looked up at her.
Her shining eyes, long ears, moist nose, white fangs, magnificent fur, skin that was just as beautiful as her fur, her generously-sized chest, tight hips and the tail that was wagging happily back and forth.
Memediga had been cute as a small child, but now she had become a beautiful woman. Vandalieu had heard that one feels a little proud when their childhood friend becomes a beautiful woman, so he realized that this was the emotion that he was feeling as he looked at her.
It was easy to understand that she would have a boyfriend.
「What’s wrong, King?」(Memediga)
「No, it’s nothing. Come to think of it, I saw Zemedo on the fourth floor; are you not getting along with him these days?」(Vandalieu)
「That’s right. Listen, Nii-san is just annoying, complaining about every little thing.」(Memediga)
After that, Vandalieu heard enough of her complaints to think,「Ah, this is a common thing that happens during puberty.」
「But I do understand that Nii-san is just worried about me. Still, I think it’d be fine if he would trust me more.」(Memediga)
「Ah… Yeah… I wonder if things would be fine if you two just talked to each other sometime. Things might become too intense with just the two of you, so maybe include someone else in the conversation as well.」(Vandalieu)
「You’re right, well then, I’ll ask Berg –」(Memediga)
「Someone other than Berg.」(Vandalieu)
Bringing Berg would only cause a scene of carnage.
Normal Goblins and Kobolds didn’t understand human language, but the reason Memediga, Braga and the other children could speak so fluently was because they had learned the language from Vandalieu and the Ghouls.
This was not a particularly special case; monsters of a certain intelligence tamed by Tamers could learn human language. Only a very small number of non-humanoid monsters were capable of having conversations, however.
After dealing with Memediga’s problems, Vandalieu’s party descended the stairs after not running into many battles on the fifth floor.
And on the sixth floor was where Garan’s Valley really began… industrially.
The Undead Titans were cutting square blocks of bright white rock out of the stone cliffs. They were the stonemasons of Talosheim.
White rock could be mined from the rock walls on the sixth floor of Garan’s Valley. It was similar to Earth’s marble, but perhaps because it originated from a Dungeon, it was a higher-quality stone that contained Mana.
Apparently through some secret processing technique, it could be turned into products that were harder than marble and more resistant to wear.
When Talosheim had first started trading with the Hartner duchy in the Orbaume Kingdom, the Titans were apparently surprised by the high price that they could sell the stone for.
But that trading had long since come to an end, and Vandalieu had already restored the royal castle, the town and the walls back to normal. So there shouldn’t have been much demand for more stone, however.
「Look who it is! Have you come to the Dungeon for training, o Holy Son?」(Nuaza)
Standing there was Nuaza, wearing metal armor and holding a shield and a mace that looked as if could crush someone’s skull like an egg. His appearance was rather un-Lich-like.
「Yes. What are you and the others doing here, Nuaza?」(Vandalieu)
「We have come to be in need of some stone.」(Nuaza)
Vandalieu’s【Golem Transmutation】could be used to combine broken fragments of stone to reuse it. However, he couldn’t make new stone out of nothing.
But why would new stone be needed?
「Could it be because I made too many Reversi sets?」(Vandalieu)
Had he gone overboard by making a hundred Reversi sets because everyone had liked it?
「No, that is not the case, o Holy Son. But I would like to request that you make one hundred more sets when it is convenient for you to do so.」(Nuaza)
The Reversi sets, Jenga sets and Frisbees that Vandalieu had created were currently very popular in Talosheim. The fact that everyone was so deprived of entertainment that they themselves hadn’t realized it was one reason, but the fact that all of them had simple rules that could be learned quickly made them very well-received.
Thus, owning a Reversi or Jenga set had become something of a status symbol. Vandalieu was getting worried that their popularity had gone overboard.
It wasn’t as if Vandalieu was being paid to make the sets, nor did it take much effort to make them. Giving it some more thought, he decided it wasn’t a problem.
「And if possible, I would also like to request more Jenga sets and Frisbees.」(Nuaza)
「… I don’t think you need to ask me to make them?」(Vandalieu)
Anyone should be able to make these.
「No, there is some meaning behind them being created by your hands, Holy Son.」(Nuaza)
It seemed that receiving Vandalieu’s handmade toys were like receiving an award for the Undead. Even though they weren’t such amazing creations.
Had he created a brand name without realizing?
But if they were so happy about it, he would make plenty for them. Now that he thought about it, he wasn’t paying the Undead Titans or Ghouls salaries or anything, so it was fine to do at least this much for them.
「So what is this stone going to be used for?」(Vandalieu)
「The plaza in front of the royal castle is empty, is it not? We thought that we would erect a stone statue there.」(Nuaza)
「A stone statue. That would be nice.」(Vandalieu)
The arts make the mind rich. The minds of Undead in particular were often more important than their bodies, so it was important for them to have stable minds.
「Yes, we have planned for the stone statue of the Holy Son to be completed by next spring.」(Nuaza)
「… Are you serious?」(Vandalieu)
「I am serious. You are the Holy Son of two prophecies, after all. For those of us who desire the restoration of the goddess Vida, you are someone to be worshipped, Holy Son.」(Nuaza)
「… I suddenly don’t really want to go outside anymore.」(Vandalieu)
Of course, Vandalieu didn’t feel negative feelings about being treated favorably, but would it be alright for him to go so far beyond that and become a religious symbol?
Well, it wasn’t as if his face had the words「I am the Holy Son」written on it, so it would be fine as long as he kept his mouth shut about it when he went to the Orbaume Kingdom.
『Bocchan, it’s something to look forward to, isn’t it?』(Rita)
『Noblemen should keep at least one self-portrait or stone statue of themselves, so you shouldn’t feel so opposed to it.』(Saria)
「Are there any noblemen who would have a stone statue of themselves erected in the plaza in front of the royal castle?」(Vandalieu)
Upon being asked this, Rita and Saria averted their gazes, so Vandalieu had a rough idea of how it was. The sisters showed plenty of expressions, even though they didn’t have heads.
『Ooh, which means that there are none? In other words, you are the only one, my lord! Jyuuuh, my congratulations to you!』(Bone Man)
Bone Man congratulated Vandalieu sincerely.
Well, it was fine. It wasn’t like anyone would be coming to Talosheim. The only ones who would see it would be the Undead Titans, Ghouls and those of the new races that Vandalieu had created.
「Well then, we shall be carrying this stone out, so excuse us.」(Nuaza)
With those words, Nuaza and the other Undead Titans set about carrying the stone out of the Dungeon. They would be protecting the stone that weighed tons and preventing it from being destroyed by attacking monsters on the way to the surface.
The monsters wouldn’t deliberately aim to attack the stone, but if an attack happened to hit it, the stone would be cracked.
「We’ll protect the materials for King’s stone statue.」(Orcus)
「So more Reversi sets for us, too.」(Orcus)
Gorba and the other Orcuses were in charge of guarding the stone. Unlike the Anubises and Black Goblins, they had not yet reached adulthood, but they already possessed enough skills and physical strength to somehow deal with Rank 3 monsters. In other words, this was perfect training for them.
「I’ll make them after I’m done here. Come to think of it, won’t it be hard to carry the stone up the stairs?」(Vandalieu)
『Don’t you worry about it! We have something called know-how!』(Titan)
It seemed that there were various things they could use, including a Magic Item that turned stairs into a slope. And between the Undead Titans who didn’t feel fatigue and the Orcuses, though they were still children, there was plenty of physical strength to be used. Worrying about them would be pointless.
Parting with Nuaza and the others, Vandalieu’s party continued on, but perhaps the monsters had been cleared pre-emptively so that the stone-mining wouldn’t be interrupted. There were almost no monsters appearing on the sixth floor.
「Why did we pass through here again? To observe everyone?」(Vandalieu)
「I know how you feel, but I’m sure there are still plenty of monsters beneath here. Let’s keep going, Van.」(Basdia)