「Now then, I want to set up Talosheim’s defenses.」(Vandalieu)
Using the contents of the discussion that had taken place on the day Eleanora had been accepted among his companions, Vandalieu and the others set to work.
From Eleanora they had learned that the Vampires worshipping the evil god had subordinates in positions of power within the Mirg shield-nation including the (currently ex-)Marshal, and they even had subordinates in the Orbaume Kingdom.
It was uncertain how much strength the Pure-breed Vampires would invest into the task of killing Vandalieu, but in the worst-case scenario, the Vampires among the Mirg shield-nation’s army could send troops to Talosheim.
The only thing sturdy about Talosheim right now was its appearance; it wouldn’t hold out against an army of thousands, and with the Vampires among the army making hidden movements, escape might be impossible as well.
If Vandalieu was on his own, he would have the option of escaping while he could, but if the enemy’s reach extended even as far as the Orbaume Kingdom, there was no place that he was completely safe on this continent.
Of course, because Vandalieu needed to ensure the safety of the Undead Titans and Ghouls who lived in Talosheim, the option of separating himself from them was nonexistent.
『There aren’t any cowards here who would drive you out for their own safety!』(Borkus)
「That is correct, Holy Son. We will continue fighting, even if we quite literally have our flesh and entrails severed and our bones broken!」(Nuaza)
「I’m a bit late in having a say in this, but I agree. Vandalieu, we’d be in trouble without you.」(Vigaro)
「Indeed; if the Magic Items we are using now were to break, we would once again face problems with fertility. Even if we leave that matter aside, what is the use in driving out our own King in order to achieve temporary safety?」(Zadiris)
Borkus, Nuaza, Vigaro and Zadiris made it clear that this was not an option.
It wasn’t as if Vandalieu didn’t want to protect Talosheim, the place where he belonged. He planned to go to the Orbaume Kingdom eventually, but he planned to at least return for a visit once a year or once every few years.
Even if he moved away to chase his dreams, he wanted there to be a home for him to return to. That was how he felt.
「Thank you. Well then, we will set up a system that will hold just fine even if we’re attacked by an army of ten thousand, including Vampires. We’ll achieve this by spring or early summer, or mid-summer at latest.」(Vandalieu)
「『「「Are you insane?!」」』」(Everyone)
「No, I’m desperate and out of my mind.」(Vandalieu)
Birkyne and the other Vampires who had sent Eleanora’s party here would be suspicious at the sudden lack of contact, realize that they had failed and take the next step.
Well, it was unlikely that they would suddenly manipulate the Mirg shield-nation into sending its troops here because of that, but they would at least try to gather more detailed information about Talosheim.
And once they learned about Talosheim’s situation, it was highly likely that they would realize that dispatching a few Vampires would be ineffective and begin to make a greater effort to crush the city.
「Thith… This【Golem Transmutation】, nobody can use it except for Vandalieu-sama. Leaving aside the Mana problems, it’s impossible for alchemists to create them in an instant and have them change their shape freely. The same goes for taming the Undead.」(Eleanora)
This was what Eleanora had said.
If the Pure-breed Vampires discovered that Vandalieu possessed these abilities, they would try to kill him at all costs.
「That’s a bit of an overreaction. The three Pure-breed Vampires can tame Undead as well, can’t they?」(Vandalieu)
As Vandalieu asked this question, Eleanora, who was having trouble pronouncing words because of the new piercing in her tongue, shook her head.
「Birkyne’s group can’t tame them. Ternecia and Gubamon are the ones who mainly use Undead, and they can turn corpses into Undead and control them, but they can’t control creatures who have already turned Undead.」(Eleanora)
It seemed that the Undead controlled by the Pure-breed Vampires were those created themselves; they would not be able to tame even a Rank 1 Living Dead if it had already become an Undead without their intervention.
「So if they discovered that Vandalieu-sama can tame Undead, they would be outraged. Especially Gubamon.」(Eleanora)
The【Sword King】Borkus was one of the heroes that Gubamon had wanted, but now he was already an Undead. Vandalieu had even gathered the scattered bone fragments of his right arm and used【Corpse Healing】to restore it, so claiming even a single bone fragment of Borkus would be impossible.
Vandalieu didn’t know what kind of personality Gubamon had, but it did seem likely that he would be outraged to learn that a mere Dhampir had stolen one of the heroes that he had wanted in his collection.
Vandalieu found it satisfying to know this, but felt that it would be unreasonable for Gubamon to get so serious over it.
He wanted to go on the offensive so that he wouldn’t lose to such an unreasonable person, but that was difficult. Like the Vampires, Vandalieu and his companions would find it difficult to cross the Boundary Mountain Range now. In addition, the Vampires who worshipped the evil god possessed numerous bases and Eleanora didn’t know the locations of all of them.
After coming to the conclusion that going on the offensive wasn’t a realistic plan, Vandalieu set out about addressing the problem of not having enough numbers.
Talosheim had originally been a fortress city-nation of five thousand Titans. Of course, this meant that the city was plenty large enough for a population of five thousand to live inside the city’s walls.
However, there were only a thousand Undead Titans. Even including the Ghouls and monsters of the new races Vandalieu had created, there were less than two thousand of them.
Creating a flawless defense with these numbers would be impossible. As Undead didn’t feel fatigue or need to sleep, it was possible to have them keep permanently keep watch, but Vandalieu didn’t want to ask them to do this. The Undead needed riches and pleasure in their day to day lives as well.
So the first thing he did was increase the number of Golems he had at his disposal.
「Get up, go.」(Vandalieu)
He went to Garan’s Valley and mined the stone. The method he used was to directly turn the stone walls into Golems and have them walk themselves back to Talosheim. Other than requiring a lot of Mana, this method was very easy.
「Amazing, Holy Son.」(Titan)
『Doesn’t that mean we’re losing our jobs?』(Titan)
「Because there’s no time. In any case, I’m going to be mining here today until this place becomes known as Garan’s Pit instead of Garan’s Valley.」(Vandalieu)
「… We’re actually going to lose our jobs.」(Titan)
「No, we’re actually going to have more work.」(Titan)
As the Undead Titan stonemason said, their workload had sharply increased.
Because they would be turning these new Golems into ornaments.
「I’m going to attach these Golems to the outer walls and the walls of the stone buildings. I want you to work on them so that they look like decorations at a glance.」(Vandalieu)
『That’s quite fancy. We don’t mind, but is there a reason you’re doing that? Will it make the Golems stronger or something?』(Titan)
「No, it won’t. They’ll just look like decorations.」(Vandalieu)
The stonemasons looked puzzled, but once the decorated Golems were actually set in place, the effect would be clear.
Simply stationing Golems near the walls and buildings would be sufficient as a defense against intruders. But Golems decorating the walls and buildings would look like simple ornaments, and Golems embedded into the walls which had also been thickened would look like mere sculptures.
If an enemy army tried to close in on the defenseless walls, they could be taken by surprise by the enemies springing forth from the walls.
「And I can do things like have the sculptures keep up their act, wait for the enemy to set up ladders to climb the walls and then make them destroy the ladders.」(Vandalieu)
「Holy Son, will the fortress and buildings not become more fragile once the Golems start moving?」(Titan)
「I’ll add more stone to the walls to compensate when setting up the Golems, so it will be fine. Also, the Golems on the houses and buildings will be just for scouting, so they’ll be things like faces and eyes.」(Vandalieu)
「With that, it will be unlikely that the enemy will destroy them.」(Titan)
Vandalieu had thought of the idea from security setups used on Earth where security guards and cameras would be positioned in inconspicuous places.
And I don’t have to pay any attention to the Golems acting as security guards and cameras, so it’s not mentally taxing on me.
It would improve Talosheim’s scenery as well, so there were only benefits to this method.
Furthermore, Vandalieu discovered that taking too much of the stone cliffs in Garan’s Valley would cause them to become unable to mine any more stone for a while. It was as if there was a transparent barrier that created a dead end, preventing him from going any further. It looked like he could continue forward, but the background scenery might as well have been painted on a solid wall.
But the Dungeon would return to normal in a few days’ time, so there was no need to worry about the stone running out.
The others weren’t taking it easy while Vandalieu and the stonemasons worked busily.
「I’m going to request something a little dangerous. I want everyone to place the Golems and Undead that I made to keep watch in the places that I tell you.」(Vandalieu)
They were strengthening their defenses, but the fact that they didn’t know when enemies would come would be a source of insecurity and inconvenience. That was why Vandalieu requested that Golems be stationed to keep watch.
There were three possible routes that enemies could take.
「Leave it to me, Vandalieu-sama.」(Eleanora)
The first was the route that Eleanora had used to cross the mountain range. This route was relatively safe, but many of Sercrent’s Subordinate Vampires had been defeated along the way.
Only Noble-born Vampires and beings stronger than them would be able to use this route safely. Eleanora declared that this route would be absolutely impossible for normal humans to use.
Considering that, Eleanora realized just how abnormal Vandalieu was to have crossed the mountain range with six hundred Ghouls and not sustained a single casualty.
『Is there a need to watch this area as well?』(Zran)
「Zran, there are Vampires worshipping the evil god in the Orbaume Kingdom as well.」(Vandalieu)
The second was the tunnel that led to the Hartner duchy in the Orbaume Kingdom. It was collapsed for now, but it could be reconstructed from Hartner duchy and Vampire underlings might be sent through it.
If the First Princess was still alive on the other side, there was no guarantee that the Vampires wouldn’t utilize her feelings for her home country.
And the third route was the most difficult.
『So you want us to look for a tunnel that connects to the Mirg shield-nation. Does such a thing even exist?」(Zran)
「I can’t rule out that possibility.」(Vandalieu)
There were no legends that said there were tunnels in the mountain range leading to the Mirg shield-nation. But since there was one that led to the Orbaume Kingdom, there was a high chance that there was one that had not yet been discovered.
It would be a tunnel over a hundred thousand years old, after all. Back then, the Amid Empire and Orbaume Kingdom hadn’t existed, and it might have been constructed even before the goddess Vida created the Vampires.
If that were the case, it made sense to think that tunnels would have been built to the west as well as the east. Who could have built such tunnels was still a mystery, however.
They would have to traverse lands full of Devil’s Nests with uncontrolled monster populations to search for ruins that could be anywhere. Borkus would lead Vigaro and Zadiris in performing this task, and even Bone Wolf and the other Undead would be dispatched so that they would be fully prepared.
『I don’t mind, but make sure you have miso, fish sauce and especially katsuobushi waiting for me. If you’re going to make adventurers work, you have to reward them.』(Borkus)
「Do you like katsuobushi?」(Vandalieu)
『Yeah, it makes the soup taste nice if you boil it, and it makes a good ingredient. Don’t need to put any effort in.』(Borkus)
The katsuobushi was an unfinished product that was simply dried without being smoked, but as Borkus said, it made a good addition to soups.
「I want to perfect katsuobushi by the end of the year, too.」(Vandalieu)
『It’s imperfect?! I’m looking forward to the finished product.』(Borkus)
「Leaving that aside, I’ll be having you place Goblin Skeleton skulls, Rock Golems disguised as rocks and Wood Golems disguised as dead branches.」(Vandalieu)
All of them were objects that could be held in one hand. They were also things that would not be strange to find lying around anywhere.
If the【Appraisal】spell was cast they would be discovered, but surely nobody would go around casting this spell on every rock, branch and Goblin skull lying on the ground.
The mountain range was a place where monsters struggled violently to survive. Nobody would have the time to do that.
Well, there was a chance that a Golem or Undead would be unfortunate enough to be destroyed by a stray monster, but that was why they would be placed in sets of three. If one of them were to break, they simply needed to be replaced.
Incidentally, Vandalieu had decided to abandon the route used by the Mirg shield-nation’s army two hundred years ago. According to Eleanora, a pair of Hurricane Dragons inhabited the area surrounding that route.
In order to simultaneously battle against two Dragons above Rank 10 and win in an environment where the only footholds were precipitous, fragile cliffs, a party of S-class adventurers would need to be formed. This would be difficult for the current Amid Empire, even if they expended all of their resources to do so.
It would be difficult for the Vampires as well. Eleanora had said that it would be possible for a Pure-breed Vampire like Birkyne to defeat them, but the signs of such a battle would likely be visible from Talosheim. Bright flashes of light, explosions and the sound of parts of the mountain range crumbling would be very noticeable.
It was also possible for enemies to make a detour into the southern regions of the Bahn Gaia continent and then pass through the Boundary Mountain Range from there, but apparently it would be suicidal for even a Pure-breed Vampire to journey into those regions.
「Those regions contain Dragons and Giants of even higher Ranks than those found in the mountain range, and there is even apparently a Palace of Demons.」(Eleanora)
There were also countless unexplored Devil’s Nests and large organizations of monsters such as Noble Orc Empires.
They weren’t exactly Vandalieu’s allies, but they served as a very effective protective wall.
Well, because of them, it was impossible for Vandalieu to go and look for the Vampires who worshipped Vida.
「Well then, please get to work.」(Vandalieu)
It took less than a month for all of these tasks to be completed other than the discovery of a tunnel leading to the Mirg shield-nation. Vandalieu would have Eleanora and Zran’s party join up with Borkus’s and continue searching for this one-hundred-thousand-year-old tunnel.
「While they’re doing that, we’re going to build a second and third outer wall. Also, we will be developing weapons.」(Vandalieu)
『Bocchan, are you planning to work yourself to death?』(Saria)
「It’s alright, I’ll rest properly on my days off.」(Vandalieu)
The only ones who had visited Talosheim in the last two hundred years were Vandalieu and the Ghouls, and the Vampires led by Eleanora. And apart from Eleanora, all of the Vampires were now dead.
It wouldn’t be easy to immediately tell that the number of Talosheim’s walls had increased from the city’s slightly different appearance.
The second wall would be built sturdy like the first, Golems would be set up on it and slots through which arrows could be fired would be included.
The third wall would be tall enough to conceal the first and second walls, but constructed in a way that would make it look fragile and easily collapsible.
「I was thinking that if I put mud all over them and have Undead vines crawl over their surface, it would have the appearance I want.」(Vandalieu)
If the Mirg shield-nation came, they wouldn’t see the holes in the wall that should be there according to their records of past events, but they might let their guard down because the wall looked so fragile.
Of course, Vandalieu would build the whole wall out of Golems so that the wall would maintain itself without actually crumbling.
『So the wall itself will turn into soldiers when the time comes.』(Sam)
『But Vampires that are Noble-born or greater can fly through the sky, can’t they? Like Eleanora-san.』(Saria)
「That’s why I’ll be making anti-air weapons. Creating Undead that can fly would take time, after all.」(Vandalieu)
It would be a different story if he only needed a few, but to make dozens, hundreds of Undead like Bone Bird from bone remains and raise them until they were able to fly, he would need a lot of time. There was the option of turning fresh corpses of monsters such as Wyverns into flying Undead, but getting those numbers would still take time and if they were completely destroyed, it would take time to replace them.
He did consider making hundreds of Undead from small creatures like small birds and insects, but… In this world, becoming an Undead didn’t necessarily make the creature stronger. Even if he turned winged insects and beetles into Undead, there was a high chance that they wouldn’t even be able to bite through the enemy’s skin.
And since Noble-born Vampires were proficient with magic, they could easily be wiped out in an instant by a single wide-area attack.
And turning that many insects and small birds into Undead would actually be likely to cause Vandalieu to work himself to death.
「I could probably use the corpses of insect-type monsters, but… Well, I suppose once I’ve set everything else up, I can take my time gathering them.」(Vandalieu)
「More importantly, Van-sama, what about the new weapons that we will be assisting you with?」(Tarea)
『If it’s working with metal, leave it to this old man.』(Datara)
「I’m planning to have you build some crossbows.」(Vandalieu)
Tarea and the Undead Titan blacksmith Datara gave Vandalieu odd looks.
「Crossbows? … Ah, you mean those.」(Tarea)
『What are you going to do with something like that?』(Datara)
Crossbows already existed in the world of Lambda. However, they weren’t very popular or in demand.
Crossbows are accurate weapons with a slow rate of fire, but with their strings wound back, even frail women and the elderly can use them.
However, skills and martial abilities exist in this world.
A high level in the【Archery】skill increases accuracy and power with a bow, and with increased Attribute Values from gaining levels, even a woman with slender arms can draw the bowstring of a large bow.
And with martial skills, it is possible to achieve superhuman feats such as rapid consecutive fire and firing with enough precision to thread a needle.
Crossbows receive a bonus to accuracy from the【Archery】skill, but【martial skills】cannot be used due to their structure. One does not physically use one’s hands pull the string back, so increased Attribute Values make no difference to their power.
Because of this, even soldiers do not use them, let alone adventurers.
As they are easy to use, ordinary people sometimes purchase them to have just in case, but even then, it is more common to buy regular bows and arrows as this is the cheaper option.
Thus, crossbows are known as weapons only used by the eccentric in the world of Lambda, and apparently it is common for weapon stores in even larger cities to not have them in stock.
『It would be better to hand out good bows and arrows rather than crossbows.』(Datara)
「No, no, I’m not going to hand out the crossbows to everyone. I’m going to turn the crossbows themselves into Undead.」(Vandalieu)
Vandalieu would make spirits haunt the completed crossbows, creating Cursed Weapons. Cursed Weapons are weak, Rank 2 monsters consisting of weapons possessed by spirits that move on their own. Normally, they would be unreliable even against normal soldiers, let alone Vampires.
However, crossbows fire projectiles capable of piercing through plate armor with the pull of a trigger. They are also highly accurate. Because Cursed Weapons don’t use martial skills to begin with, there are no drawbacks.
The problem would be making sure they were loaded, but if Vandalieu installed each of them with a Golem arm responsible for reloading and placed them on the walls, the city’s rooftops and the royal castle, that problem would be solved.
Once this was complete, he would have tireless archers that would shoot enemies to death until running out of projectiles to fire, undetectable through【Detect Presence】and capable of seeing in the dark.
Vandalieu planned to have projectiles with silver-plated tips for the anti-Vampire crossbows installed on the upper walls and rooftops.
Normally, technology would be required for this plating process, but Vandalieu could perform it easily by manipulating the shape of the silver with【Golem Transmutation.】
「Let’s make ballistae and catapults as well.」(Vandalieu)
「… You really are planning to fight a war. I cannot wait to get to work!」(Tarea)
『I can make ballistae, but I can’t make things like catapults.』(Datara)
「Yes, I’ll be in charge of making the catapults.」(Vandalieu)
Of course, Vandalieu had no prior experience in catapult-building either. However, he had once seen a documentary on Earth that described how catapults were built.
If he recalled, it had been a documentary in which weaponry of ancient civilizations were recreated through modern technology and then inspected in detail.
It was the kind of program that would have caused Uncle to have a fit from his luxury allergy, so I remember it well.
That program hadn’t described every part of the building process of a catapult in detail, but it had showed the overall shape and structure of a catapult. All Vandalieu needed to do was recreate it with【Golem Transmutation.】
And on his days off, he played with Pauvina and the other children, checked Basdia’s condition and busied himself with the aging reversal of Tarea, which he had been procrastinating doing.
Before he knew it, it was summer already.
【The levels of the Rapid Healing, Status Effect Resistance, Death-Attribute Magic, Chant Revocation, Automatic Mana Recovery, Surpass Limits, Golem Transmutation, No-Attribute Magic, Mana Control, Carpentry, Engineering and Alchemy Skills have increased!】
【You have acquired the Multi-Cast skill!】
【The Ranks of Zadiris, Nuaza, Bone Man, Bone Wolf, Bone Monkey, Bone Bear, Bone Bird, Braga, Zendo, Memediga, Rita and Saria have increased!】
This is the race born between the goddess Vida and the Undead champion Zakkart. While not technically monsters, many nations and societies treat them as monsters, and thus they are explained as monsters here.
There are currently three kinds of Vampires,【Pure-breed】,【Noble-born】and【Subordinate.】Their communities are built and managed as strict vertically-structured societies.
The majority of Vampires encountered and reported to the Adventurers’ Guild are Subordinate Vampires; encounters with Noble-born Vampires are very rarely reported.
Although Vampires are monsters, they are capable of possessing Jobs as they are also blood-related to the goddess. Due to this, the skills they possess vary significantly compared to other monsters. Subordinate Vampires alone are powerful adversaries, and Noble-born Vampires are a threat equivalent to or even greater than Dragons.
Because of this, the Adventurers’ Guild recommends that adventurers report any sightings of Vampires to the Guild rather than try to defeat them on their own.
There are large differences between individual Vampires, but according to the Adventurers’ Guild, Subordinate Vampires are a minimum of Rank 3. Noble-born Vampires are defined as Vampires of Rank 7 and above.
Subordinate Vampires only possess physical Vampiric powers, but when their Rank increases, they gain skills such as【Beast Transformation】and【Clone】, making them extremely dangerous beings.
It has been confirmed that they have race titles such as Vampire Slaves, Vampire Lycans and Vampire Rebels after their Rank increases.
Noble-born Vampires possess magical powers, and depending on the individual, may even possess some kind of Demon Eyes. They tend to place importance on studying magic diligently, but that does not make them physically inferior to Subordinate Vampires. Because of this, superior individuals master both magic and martial skills and possess high base Attribute Values, making them nightmarish creatures.
Incidentally, there is a misconception that all Noble-born Vampires have Demon Eyes of Charming, Paralysis or Mind-reading, but Demon Eyes are in fact a unique skill that only a handful of individuals possess.
This misconception is likely caused by those witnessing Noble-born Vampires casting spells that have similar effects to such Demon Eyes.
Most Noble-born Vampire race titles follow the aristocratic system used in human societies.
Inexperienced Rank 6 Vampires are just Vampires, but they are Vampire Leaders at Rank 7, Vampire Barons at Rank 8, and so on.
All of these Vampires have a common weakness to sunlight, silver and attacks of light-attribute magic, which is governed by the God of Law and Fate, Alda. Depending on their family and the evil god they worship, they may possess additional weaknesses such as not being able to enter buildings they are not invited into and weaknesses to garlic and running water.
There is almost no information available about Pure-breed Vampires. The only thing that is known is that even the highest-Rank Noble-born Vampire with the race title of Vampire Emperor would bow and swear loyalty to a Pure-breed.
Furthermore, Sercrent was a Rank 7 Vampire Leader. His talent was clearly inferior to that of Eleanora, who became a Rank 8 Vampire Baroness in the space of a few years.