A week after Vandalieu was acknowledged as the king of Talosheim, a grand coronation ceremony was held.
“Isn’t it fine for me to just declare that I’ll become the king?” asked Vandalieu. “I’ll even prepare a proper party afterwards.”
“Holy Son, though this kind of ceremony may seem meaningless at first glance, you must change your way of thinking and realize that there is meaning in consciously acknowledging the fact that you are the king,” said Nuaza.
With that, it was decided that a proper ceremony would be held and various preparations were made.
First was the crown and throne, which Vandalieu made hastily out of Orichalcum, saying, “Let’s make do these for now.” They were the color of black metal fragments of the Dragon Golem that were used as materials for them, but apparently this amount of Orichalcum would be worth enough to buy a castle or two.
Tarea had desperately wanted to build them, but Vandalieu had her prioritize the manufacturing of arms. These royal Orichalcum products would probably be used as materials for shields and armor soon anyway, so he had decided that he would have her build more after the war.
After that, the day of the coronation ceremony was announced to everyone and preparations for a feast were made. Vandalieu had the feeling that this took up most of the week.
“For the king himself to be cooking… should I call myself the Cooking*?” Vandalieu wondered.
“Bocchan, what would you do if that actually appeared on your Status?” Saria asked him.
Vandalieu’s pun was not well-received.
After that, everyone dressed up (albeit in clothes made of clean furs, making them look like a tribe of savages) and stood in rows in the assembly hall built in front of the royal castle.
“Hey, hey! Why do I have to be a military officer standing at the front?!” Borkus complained. “I’m a free adventurer!”
“B-boy, I am still training myself, so I do not think I am fit to take the position of the royal court mage…” Zadiris mumbled.
“Bocchan! I am but a coachman and caretaker of horses! Being appointed to a civil official position is too much for the likes of me!” Sam exclaimed.
“… I’ve hardened my resolve, so why has nobody else hardened theirs?” asked Vandalieu. “You all don’t know when to give up. Especially you, Sam. Why do you think I made an assembly hall that a carriage can pass through?”
There was apparently a meaning to the ceremony, so Vandalieu had mercilessly filled the vacant positions of military officer, civil official and royal court mage. Well, they were more like the noble’s seats in the plaza, however.
“Now then, the coronation ceremony will now begin,” Nuaza announced.
He was the one conducting the ceremony. It was customary for the leader of the Church of Vida to conduct it, but as the only current member of the Church was him, a former warrior-priest, it was necessary for him to act as a substitute for the Church’s leader.
Nuaza had also shown considerable disapproval at acting as the Church’s leader, but when Vandalieu had asked him to nominate another suitable candidate, he had accepted his fate once he realized that there was nobody else to nominate.
“For being able to see this day, we offer our gratitude to the goddess Vida and our ancestor Talos,” he said, beginning the ceremony. “I am certain that his majesty the late king, her majesty the First Princess Levia and her majesty the Second Princess Zandia would also be overjoyed.”
And then Nuaza would give a small recount of Talosheim’s history. Vandalieu would make a promise to continue that history and bring further prosperity to Talosheim, receive the crown and be bestowed the Title of Sun King. And then the coronation ceremony would be over.
The festivities would follow that, but –
“However, from today, we are stepping into a new page of history,” Nuaza continued. “Holy Son, please accept the Title of the first Eclipse King and make an oath to bear and uphold Talosheim’s royal authority.”
The Title bestowed upon Vandalieu was not that of Sun King. Considering Talosheim’s current state, this Title would not be suitable.
Talosheim was currently livelier at night than during the day. Its inhabitants were the Ghouls who could see things sufficiently with moonlight alone as well as the Undead and new monster races that could see in the dark just as well as on a sunny afternoon.
The only exceptions were the Cemetery Bees and Immortal Ents.
That was why Vandalieu’s Title was Eclipse King. The reason it wasn’t ‘King of the Dark Night’ was because it was bad for his image and because he wanted to have the Titans who had evacuated Talosheim in the past and their descendants to return one day. Once Vandalieu had become an honorary nobleman and secured his position in society, he wanted to conduct various things like commercial trading.
That was why he had decided on Eclipse King, associated with a solar eclipse, something that was neither light nor darkness.
“I am one with Talosheim,” Vandalieu declared.
Well, in reality, I’ll be leaving it and coming back, he thought as he spoke the line that had been announced beforehand and received the Orichalcum crown.
“Vandalieu, the Eclipse King, has been enthroned on this day,” said Nuaza. The moment he finished speaking, a deafening cheer echoed from people.
“KING! KING! KING!”
Fists and weapons were thrust into the air above the plaza as the Undead and Ghouls shouted in joy and praise for Vandalieu.
Bone Chimeras, Pteranodon Zombies and Cemetery Bees flew through the air in place of the doves that might be seen in ceremonies on Earth.
Everyone had already been told that this coronation ceremony was being conducted for the purpose of defeating the Mirg shield-nation’s expedition army. The army of the Mirg shield-nation, which had destroyed Talosheim once already, was coming back. Knowing that, their desire for battle was seething within them.
Even after becoming Undead, the Titans held the view that the sins of the father should not be passed onto the son.
But, of course, this did not mean that they would accept the harm that the current generation was trying to inflict on them. If this generation insisted on destroying Talosheim as well, they would be crushed without mercy.
Darcia was in tears. “To think that my Vandalieu, who used to be so little… He’s still so little, but he’s become so great.”
Vandalieu was glad that she was happy enough to cry tears of joy, but he did think that her comment that he was still small to be unnecessary.
“This is where Van-sama’s legend as the high king begins, isn’t it?” said Tarea.
Tarea, that kind of legend isn’t going to begin.
Now then, today will end with the feast and celebrating with everyone. As for the explanation of the defense policies against the expedition army and what we’ll be doing until they arrive, that can come tomorrow.
It might appear that Vandalieu was taking it easy, but it was currently the end of summer. The enemy would be coming in spring at earliest.
In addition, there were surveillance Undead and Golems placed in set intervals in the areas that the expedition army would pass through once they came out of the tunnel.
Once the army approached, Vandalieu would know right away. Even if a small number of spies were sent separately from the army, he would know about it. The city’s walls also essentially acted as surveillance Golems, and even if they made it past the walls, the city was filled with Golems.
Cemetery Bees were flying about in the air, making Vandalieu’s surveillance network even greater.
Mhmm, everything’s perfect.
『You have acquired the Title of ‘Eclipse King’!』
… I suppose I had no choice but to gain this Title.
Vandalieu had thought it might be possible that he wouldn’t receive an additional Title, as ‘Prophesized Holy Son’ had never become a Title, but it seemed that this wasn’t the case.
Well, I already have ‘Ghoul King’ as a Title. I’ve just received two king-like Titles, so I guess it’s fine.
As he thought this and looked at everyone, something suddenly occurred to him.
Ah, there is a thing, or maybe it should be called a component, that we all have in common. I don’t know if I can make use of it, but it’s worth testing.
But this wasn’t the time or place to test it, so Vandalieu spent the day with everyone, enjoying the feast of foods such as boat-wrapped sashimi*, Needle Wolf miso hotpots, dinosaur steaks, and fruit agar made with Kobol fruits and honey.
Bormack Gordan was wearing his priest’s garb without his armor, listening to the opinions of the priest-warriors that he led. His appearance was that of a good-natured old man. Not only Vandalieu, but anyone who had seen him fighting, would doubt their eyes at seeing him like this.
“So, you all think that we should not participate in the Mirg shield-nation’s expedition, is that right?” Gordan asked his subordinates.
“Yes, High Priest-sama. No matter how many times I think about it, I believe we should use our power for other things,” said a young boy, barely old enough to be a priest warrior. He seemed nervous, but he voiced his views clearly.
“We priest-warriors are not soldiers or adventurers. We should not be commanded by the nation’s circumstances.”
“We do not hesitate to fight against monsters. But is there any meaning in serving on the expedition?”
Priest-warriors had originated as priests of Churches in remote areas, armed for the purpose of hunting dangerous wild beasts, long before the Demon King created monsters in this world.
In the present era, they were clergymen who wielded military power to protect the Church and its believers, and to spread their teachings to people living in distant regions.
For such priest-warriors, the expedition into the Boundary Mountain Range that was to occur in next year’s spring was not something that excited them.
They were learned men. It was clear to them that there were political motives behind the expedition, just as there had been for the expedition to Talosheim two hundred years ago.
And there were no people that needed protecting beyond the Boundary Mountain Range.
These two facts made them refuse to participate in the expedition.
“We believers of Alda, the god of law and fate, are taught to fight against monsters,” said another priest-warrior. “For priest-warriors in particular, it is our duty to do so. We understand that there is meaning in fighting alongside the expedition army in the Boundary Mountain Range, where monsters are rampant and the remnants of Vida’s races hide. But should we not prioritize the protection of the people who are directly exposed to the threat of monsters?”
The priest-warriors held the opinion that defending remote villages that were threatened by monsters and hunting down Vampires hiding in society, as well as those who had fallen to their temptations and were working with them, should take priority over fighting in dangerous, unexplored lands with the army.
It could also be considered a conservative opinion to want to choose their sense of duty and strictly adhering to their doctrine.
“Indeed, what you are saying is reasonable,” said Gordan.
However, Gordan was also an individual who would choose conservative ideals over fame among the common people and financial gains. If he wasn’t, he would not have refused the recommendations that he become the cardinal, nor would he continue fighting on the frontlines of battle as a warrior-priest even at this age.
“It is not that we are objecting to exterminating that Dhampir as you wished, High-Priest –”
“No, it matters not. That matter is nothing more than my own personal interest. There is no need to take that into consideration.”
In the long life that he had lived up until now, Gordan had never let a target escape him. No matter how cunningly Vampires and Lamias had hidden from him, he had found them and exterminated them. He had returned numerous Dhampirs as well as their parents to the dust. With only one exception.
That exception was a Dhampir. His name was Vandalieu, and though his witch mother had been turned into ash and purified, he had survived as a six-month-old child and then gained the Spiritualist Job and become the leader of hundreds of Ghouls at less than three years old. A truly exceptional case among exceptional cases.
Vandalieu had used some unknown method to lead his Ghouls across the Boundary Mountain Range and escape. Gordan regretted that he had been unable to prevent that.
The fact that he used some unknown method to cross the mountain range means that it is possible that he will use that method to cross the mountain range again to attack us.
The southern regions of the Bahn Gaia continent, on the other side of the Boundary Mountain Range. That place was haunted by the races created by Vida, and the surviving Pure-breed Vampires who possessed immense power were said to dwell there as well.
Several hundred Ghouls might pose a threat to a single town, but if that Dhampir was left alone, a whole nation… No, the entire continent’s existence could hang in the balance. That was how Gordan felt.
If that Dhampir gains even more subordinates, he could organize a monster army that can freely cross the Boundary Mountain Range that we cannot traverse, and the regions both east and west of the mountain range may be destroyed.
That was why when Gordan had been asked whether he would participate in an expedition into the Boundary Mountain Range now that the tunnel had been discovered, his heart had pounded with excitement in a way quite unfitting for his age. He had no doubt that this was an opportunity granted to him by Alda himself.
However, the expedition’s objectives were to recover the national treasure that was lost in the expedition of two hundred years ago, and to purify Talosheim.
It was only natural; it was only Gordan who personally regarded Vandalieu as dangerous. Detailed information wouldn’t have been passed on to the upper echelons of the Mirg shield-nation and Amid Empire with the exception of Palpapek, who was the marshal back then.
When Gordan thought about it calmly, even if the Boundary Mountain Range was traversed, the southern regions of the continent were vast. There was little hope of finding Vandalieu in such a place. The only way he would be found was if he was already ready and waiting for the expedition army.
That Dhampir is cunning and wary. He will run without hesitation if he believes he cannot win. Conversely, if we do encounter him, it will be only when he believes he will win.
As far as Gordan could imagine, Vandalieu would not appear even if Gordan were to join the expedition army.
Only two years had passed since then. It was impossible for Vandalieu to have gathered enough fighting strength to emerge victorious against thousands of elite soldiers. If he were to barricade himself in a fortified city… in Talosheim, there might be a chance, but large holes had been made in that city’s walls in the war of two hundred years ago. They had likely collapsed by now.
That was why it was pointless to participate in the expedition.
“Alright, I understand how you feel very well. I will go and reject the proposal of joining the expedition,” Gordan decided.
But that night, as he offered his prayers to Alda before he slept, he received a Divine Message like the ones he had received on several previous occasions.
【The Demon King’s shadow stirs once more. It must be found and destroyed.】
“This is… Oh, my lord Alda! You are telling me to cross the Boundary Mountain Range and slay that Dhampir, aren’t you!”
Gordan interpreted that it was Alda’s plan rather than coincidence that he had received a Divine Message on the night he had decided to decline participating in the expedition.
And in his mind, he linked the Demon King’s shadow to Vandalieu.
This deduction was hastily made with a gaping hole in its logic in the fact that not even the first letter of Vandalieu’s name was mentioned in the Divine Message. But nobody, not even Alda who was the one who had sent the Divine Message, would have imagined that this deduction was correct.
Vandalieu succeeded in creating a virus to use in the war!
“It’s transmissible through air, across mucous membranes and through blood, and it takes effect within five seconds. Its symptoms are only violent nausea, headaches, dizziness, fevers, stomach pain and joint pain, so it takes several days to kill the target, and it will kill less than ten percent of those it infects. But I suppose this will do,” Vandalieu concluded.
Vandalieu nodded, looking at the Double-headed Tyrannosaurus that was lying on the ground with its tongue hanging out, creating a stain made of saliva, gastric juice and nasal mucus.
“… Bocchan, I think that’s plenty for an incurable disease,” said Rita.
“If this disease spread to the Mirg shield-nation and the Amid Empire, the nations would stop functioning,” said Saria.
“You’re right,” Vandalieu agreed. “But they have life-attribute mages and great priests of Alda, so it should be fine.”
“Treating diseases with magic is considerably difficult, and different spells are needed to cure different illnesses, so I believe it may not go so well,” said Sam.
“There are people who have the Disease Resistance skill and the Disease and Poison Resistance skill that offers resistance against both diseases and poison, but they’re quite rare,” Kachia added.
According to Sam and Kachia, neither the Amid Empire nor the Mirg shield-nation’s plans to deal with an epidemic were very sophisticated.
They knew of soaking affected parts in alcohol or hot water, but there were no antibiotics in this world. Potions, healing spells and resistance skills existed in their place, but as dealing with diseases went, they were imperfect.
Though there were Potions to treat diseases, they were expensive and didn’t work against all kinds of diseases. It was more commonplace to drink antidote Potions to neutralize toxins that had accumulated in the body to lessen the symptoms.
The development of healing spells was slow and they were not very advanced. Even if a cold was cured by increasing Vitality, using the same spell on a cancer patient would cause cancer cells to metastasize all over the body and cause the patient to die almost immediately.
Treating diseases with spells would be impossible without advancements in anatomy and physiology, knowledge of how the body works and how pathogens affect their hosts, and technological innovations.
As for resistance skills, few adventurers and knights possessed skills that granted resistance to disease. Most monsters possessed resistance to poison rather than disease, and assassins and mercenaries used poison rather than disease anyway. That was why Poison Resistance was fairly common, but Disease Resistance was rare.
Those with such weak constitutions that caused them to fall ill frequently enough to acquire resistance skills wouldn’t think to become adventurers.
“Have I created something unexpectedly dangerous?” Vandalieu wondered. “But I made it so that its effects will stop after half a day, so I guess it will be fine.”
Even if the disease did spread, there wouldn’t be any casualties since it stopped working in half a day, and with the population density in this world, it wouldn’t spread beyond a single village or town. If something unexpected did occur, Vandalieu would simply have to use brute force with his Mana, casting a wide-area Sterilization.
It was as Vandalieu was justifying the creation of the disease to himself with these excuses that Rita and Saria had come to have a look.
“So, Bocchan, shouldn’t we finish it off now?” asked Rita.
Saria nodded. “Or are we going to wait for half a day?”
“No, we should finish it now. Please go ahead,” said Vandalieu.
“Okay,” said the sisters in unison.
Their white buttocks shook side to side as they approached the Double-headed Tyrannosaurus, and the glaive and halberd each swung down into one of its two necks.
White buttocks indeed. It seemed that Rita and Saria’s Spirit Form skill had increased, allowing them to eat to their hearts’ content and finally gaining appearances that were no different to those of living people.
Like Vandalieu, their skin was as white as if they had smeared thick candle wax over it, making it difficult to call healthy-looking, but it was not really a problem.
Saria, the older one, had a reserved appearance with hair flowing down her back to her waist, while Rita’s appearance was that of an energetic, beautiful girl with her hair gathered to either side in twin tails.
And both of them had figures matching their suits of armor.
Their spirit form bodies had previously resembled stick figures or people wearing whole-body tights, making it impossible to distinguish whether they were male or female, but now the chest-pieces of their armor were bulging without leaving any spare space, their waists were narrow and their buttocks were round and ripe-looking. Because one’s armor was high-leg and the other’s was low-rise, about half of their surface area was exposed, too.
What a great temptation they are, thought Vandalieu. His body was still that of a child so he only had a mental sense of these kinds of things, but… He was at an age where it wouldn’t be strange for him to fall in love for the first time in a few years if he were an ordinary child. He decided that he would make the two of them start wearing capes before then.
Incidentally, when those two had first gained these appearances, they were clamoring about it in high spirits.
“Please look, Bocchan!” Rita had exclaimed. “There isn’t any spare space, not even a millimeter! They’re filled to the point that there isn’t any extra room at all! And my waist is so narrow! I’m really glad that I repeatedly told everyone I’m beautiful and sexy every day!”
“Uwah! This is really delicious, Bocchan!” Saria had cried. “Mayonnaise, miso and everything else! The Orc shougayaki*, dinosaur fritters, Flying Shark in miso, and I cannot get enough of eating sashimi with fish sauce and wasabi!”
Rita had been proud of her (spirit form) body, while Saria had been engrossed in eating all of the different kinds of food she had been unable to eat so far, one after another.
I’ve made them endure a lot and asked a lot of them; next time I make a Living Armor, I should make them learn the Spirit Form skill right away, Vandalieu had thought as the two of them manipulated him that day… Not verbally, but physically.
Spirit Form is a skill that grants Undead and other creatures not only an appearance, but allows them to physically manifest body parts in place of muscles and bones. As a result, Saria and Rita’s strength increased rapidly.
Incidentally, as to be expected with high-leg leotard armor and bikini armor, there was no end to the people asking them whether they were sufficiently protected considering that their suits of armor left them so exposed.
No matter how much they resembled humans, spirit form was no more than that, spirit form. Even if their heads were crushed, their chests and stomachs pierced or their exposed thighs were slashed, they didn’t have flesh with circulating blood or bones, let alone internal organs. They would feel some pain, but their spirit form bodies were simply extra parts manifested from their main bodies.
If it was dangerous, they could simply stop manifesting it and return to being hollow suits of armor.
“Bocchan, please laugh at my foolishness,” Sam said suddenly, looking rather unhappy. “Now I understand why you asked me back then if it was really alright to put my daughters in these suits of armor.”
Before Sam’s eyes were his two daughters, whose bodies were only slightly more covered than if they were wearing nothing but underwear because their armors had wrist-guards and leg-guards. Their appearances were enough to captivate the eyes of any man.
Incidentally, for some reason, there had apparently been no attempts to flirt with them by Ghoul males. It was probably because they were Vandalieu’s personal guards.
“Well, I didn’t think it would be this bad, either,” said Vandalieu. “And there are a lot of ways to solve the problem, like making them wear capes or wrapping them in cloths.
But changing the suits of armor would be impossible. They were the main bodies of those two, after all.
“Hey, would it be better if I dressed like that as well?” asked Kachia.
“Kachia, please stay dressed as you are.” Vandalieu had been asked the same question by Eleanora the other day, so he gave Kachia the same answer. If those two dressed like the Living Armor sisters, their bodies would lack protection. Kachia in particular, as she didn’t have regenerative abilities like Eleanora.
… Before that, if he made all of the women dress in revealing clothing, it was possible that he would acquire Titles like Erotic King or Lust King in addition to his Titles of Ghoul King and Eclipse King. These would be Titles that caused his social demise if they appeared on his Status with no beneficial effects in return.
“For now, let’s move on. I want to level up before spring comes, too,” said Vandalieu.
“Okay,” said Rita.
“Bocchan, I wish to increase my level a little as well,” said Sam.
“Ah, I leveled up!” Kachia exclaimed. “I’m finally a level 100 Warrior! I can change Jobs~!”
『Vandalieu’s【Unarmed Fighting Technique】and【Bloodsucking】skills have leveled up!』
『You have acquired the【Coordination】skill!』
The condition for acquiring this Title is to become the King of Talosheim while becoming known as the Eclipse King rather than as the Sun King, and being acknowledged as such by over ninety percent of its inhabitants.
Its main effect is that the Strengthen Followers skill will affect all citizens ruled by the Eclipse King (Even if they are humans, Elves or Dwarves).
In addition, it makes it possible for races without the Night Vision skill can gain the Night Vision skill, and those without the Dark Vision skill to gain the Dark Vision skill.
Finally, it makes it possible for those with a weakness to sunlight or moonlight to gain skills with resistance against them.