Vandalieu used the Zombified expedition army as a makeshift disposable army to begin a reverse invasion on the Mirg shield-nation, where he planned for them to suffer an honorable defeat.
He lit several Demon Fires and had the Zombies make noisy footsteps and groan loudly to ensure that the soldiers at the fort that had been built at the tunnel’s entrance would notice them.
He positioned those who had fortunately turned into high-Rank Undead at the front of the army, excluding the expedition army’s important members. The reason he did this was because it would have been problematic if Mauvid, Riley or Gordan were to be somehow broken during the preliminary skirmishes.
And the soldiers in the fort retreated, just as Vandalieu had intended.
“Is it fine that we’re not slaughtering them all, Bocchan?” asked Sam.
“It’s alright,” Vandalieu replied. “They’re not worth killing, and it’s not necessary. With that being the case, I mustn’t kill them.”
The soldiers at the fort were average in strength, and the commander was hardly an important figure in the army. There were only a few hundred of them, anyway. It wasn’t worth taking the effort to kill them all.
And more importantly, it would be more helpful to have them act as messengers.
… Though when they set the fort on fire, Vandalieu did feel some bloodthirst.
He used Heat Leech to extinguish the flames, salvaged the unburnt materials of the fort and continued through the tunnel.
“Wow, it’s so spacious. How many carriages of Father’s size could fit through side-by-side?” Rita wondered.
“Five… six would likely fit through,” Vandalieu replied.
“I wonder how a tunnel like this could be built,” said Saria.
“GUGAH?!” Rapiéçage let out a noise of pain.
“Rappie, if you fly too high, you’ll hit your head on the ceiling,” Vandalieu warned her.
Vandalieu simply proceeded through the dull tunnel, letting the Zombies at the front of the army deal with the fort at the tunnel’s exit, and then used a wide-area Detect Life to dispose of the remaining spies of the Vampires.
And then he headed straight… not for the town, but for the cultivated land that had once been the Devil’s Nest forest.
Sending the army to the town, Vandalieu and around a thousand Zombies remained in the villages in the cultivated land.
The army advanced on Balcheburg, the capital of Viscount Balchesse’s territory, and engaged in a crude, reckless frontal assault.
There were three thousand of them, but since they were between Ranks 2 and 4 and unaffected by Vandalieu’s Strengthen Followers and Strengthen Subordinates, Balcheburg’s defense would likely succeed.
They were moving slowly directly from the front in the middle of the day, the Zombie mages were unable to recite incantations, Gordan and Riley weren’t equipped with their Magic Items and Undead with utility value such as Chezare hadn’t been added to this army. Even in the worst case scenario where the Undead managed to break the city’s wall and get inside, Vandalieu had ordered them not to kill unarmed elderly citizens, women and children.
No matter how useless Balcheburg’s defenses were, its population was around ten thousand. They should have received word in advance and there were Dungeons and Devil’s Nests nearby as well. Adventurers and soldiers would have been desperately gathered here.
If a group of Undead simply showed up there, arrows and offensive spells would rain down on them from the walls and their numbers would be reduced.
Well, the soldiers and adventurers would likely suffer some casualties, but probably not more than a hundred. The adventurers and soldiers of this world were tougher than those in Earth or Origin because of their Jobs and skills.
At worst, the Undead would make a hole in the wall and run rampant inside for a while before being wiped out?
It would be problematic if they killed too many people, so that would be perfect.
“Corpses are only a temporary burden, after all,” Vandalieu murmured to himself. “That town needs to nurture the refugees evacuated from the cultivated land and suffer from now on.”
Refugees posed a difficult problem even on Earth. All of the refugees from the cultivated land would only add up to two or three thousand people, but even so, they would be a great burden.
The refugees from the cultivated lands would have nowhere to return to. As many of them were people who had been unable to make a living in their hometowns, they couldn’t simply be told to do whatever they wanted now that the cultivation had failed. And with the cultivated lands destroyed, jobs for guards and those working in the churches would be gone as well, so the loss would be felt from all sides.
On top of that, there was the disastrous event of six thousand elite soldiers being annihilated, with the majority of them turning into Undead and attacking the town.
With this, the Mirg shield-nation’s dignity would be scarred beyond its economic losses and the loss of its personnel. Its relationship with the Amid Empire that had led the expedition would worsen.
The Empire would likely want to push the responsibility for the failed expedition on the Mirg shield-nation just like it had done two hundred years ago, but General Mauvid was now leading Vandalieu’s Undead army and loudly declaring his own identity.
But the Undead second-in-command, Chezare who was born in the Mirg shield-nation, was absent. It was obvious which of them would leave a lasting impression on the people.
Even Gordan and Riley would be making a show of their rampage, standing out even more than the damage that they were causing.
They would be making a mess of their own honor and reputations as well as those of the Church of Alda.
There was no TV or internet in Lambda, and though there were things similar to newspapers, they were only available to the wealthy, so information didn’t spread quickly and accurately. However, this would be an incredibly devastating event. News of it would spread through the entire western half of the Bahn Gaia continent within the year.
With this, neither the Empire or the Mirg shield-nation would suggest an expedition to the Boundary Mountain Range for the next few decades.
Incidentally, Vandalieu had given up on causing a great scandal by spreading the news that General Mauvid had been connected to Isla and the other Vampires.
As he had slaughtered them all, the Vampires were now Zombies, and even if he added them to the Undead army, the humans wouldn’t notice them. Even if the Mirg shield-nation had doubts, the Empire would simply pass them off as Undead that joined up with the army beyond the Boundary Mountain Range.
In fact, there was the risk that the Vampires would appear to be the remnants of those that worshipped Vida and that they were living in Talosheim, putting a false label on Vandalieu.
If Vandalieu had connections to someone he could trust or a position in society, there might have been a way, but he had no connections or position in human society.
That was why he had abandoned the idea.
Also, Vandalieu had taken into account that the Pure-breed Vampires, Earl Palpapek and the top officials of the Amid Empire would now be aware that he was able to utilize Undead.
He thought that they would be more hesitant to try and do something about Vandalieu if they knew how much of a threat he and his allies were, rather than having everything about him stay a mystery.
The fact that the expedition army hadn’t made it back alive, everyone would know that whatever was in Talosheim was capable of striking back anyway, so letting this much information leak was necessary.
And though they knew that he could control Undead, the Pure-breed Vampires wouldn’t know whether the limitation of only being able to control self-made Undead that applied to them also applied to Vandalieu, or to what extent he could control them.
And he would keep his other weapons such as his Golems and the biological weapon, the disease he had created, a secret.
Even if the Pure-breed Vampires, the Empire and the Mirg shield-nation wanted to try again, they would likely take time to make preparations and even if they did come, they had plenty of weaknesses.
Vandalieu had his companions, who had thought of all of this, plundering the cultivated land.
“Now then, everyone, let’s plunder everything,” said Vandalieu.
Everyone gave a cheer in response.
Having the remaining one thousand Undead on standby, Vandalieu and the others were looting the cultivated land that was now empty after its inhabitants had evacuated.
“Ah, I found a spinning wheel!” Rita announced.
“Jyuuh, it seems there are no livestock left,” said Bone Man.
“Did they take the animals with them when they evacuated?” Vigaro asked.
“I am sure they simply released them, praying that they will be able to recover them later,” Nuaza replied. “Horses and cows are valuable workers in farming villages, after all. And it is common knowledge that they can become meat when the people are hungry.”
“… People in farming villages live harder lives than I imagined,” Vandalieu remarked.
“What are you trying to say? You’re the one who’s destroying these farming villages beyond any hope of recovery,” Borkus pointed out.
“Well, that’s true.”
The objective of the plundering was to first to acquire livestock… Cows, goats, sheep and chickens rather than donkeys, horses and pigs.
Vandalieu had Golems to perform labor, and horses and donkeys needed more than just grass to feed, so taking care of them would be troublesome. And the environment around Talosheim was too harsh to ride horses through. It was filled with natural enemies for the horses, after all.
Pigs were unneeded as monsters provided plenty of meat.
The reason Vandalieu wanted cows and goats was because he wanted dairy products. Even with the Fermentation spell, making cheese and yogurt would be impossible without the base ingredient. He wanted to make butter as well; the number of things he could cook with these would increase greatly. And he definitely wanted to try the fermented butter he had heard about in the research laboratory in Origin.
As for chickens… The demand for eggs couldn’t be met with the Gigas alone, and since each individual egg was the size of an ostrich egg, there were sometimes situations where they were somewhat inconvenient to use.
But it seemed that Vandalieu’s wishes wouldn’t be granted. None of the farming villages had any livestock left in them.
“Feeding livestock costs money, after all. Though goats eat just about anything,” said Kachia.
In this world where Devil’s Nests were scattered throughout the lands and dangerous monsters like Goblins lived outside them, agricultural land was limited.
Though the grain harvested from this limited land was sufficient to feed the people, there wasn’t enough land to breed livestock in large numbers as was done on Earth.
Because of this, livestock were generally expensive. The farmers of this cultivated land would have taken what livestock they could with them when they evacuated, and set the rest free in the hopes that they would reunite with the animals later.
“What a pity,” said Vandalieu. “Well, I did manage to get this, so it’s fine.”
The next thing he had wanted was machine for spinning threads and weaving fabric. The vast majority of clothes in Talosheim was made of furs and leather.
In the two hundred years since Talosheim’s destruction, its fabric-weaving machines had rotted away.
“I could make sewing machines with Golems, but without threads and cloth, it would be…”
“Did the researchers in Origin not know how to spin threads or build weaving machines?” asked Rita.
“They didn’t,” Vandalieu replied.
Though they were failures as human beings, the researchers were at the forefront of their advanced civilization. There had been some researchers who had wanted to use death-attribute magic for fabric, but they hadn’t possessed this knowledge.
“Well, as long as I have a model to work with, I can imitate it with Golems,” said Vandalieu. “If I make improvements from there, I think I can build a spinning mill.”
It seemed that the day where Talosheim would become a modern city of Lambda with all of the necessities of life was close.
“So, what are we going to do with the fields?” Vigaro asked.
“Well take them, of course,” said Vandalieu.
He and his followers weren’t after only the materials left behind by the villagers. He wanted their harvest and crops as well. In fact, this was the main thing they were after.
“This is good wheat. Let’s take it by the roots. Get up.” As Vandalieu gave this order, the wheat field began to rise. Countless legs extended from beneath the earth in which the wheat was growing. After turning the wheat field into a Golem, he intended to take all of its earth and the wheat growing in it with him!
With this, he could make all of the bread, okonomiyaki and takoyaki he wanted, as well as ramen in the near future! He could make more udon and pasta as well. There hadn’t been enough acorn powder for all of this, so this wheat would be very helpful.
He would even be able to make straw and straw paper. Well, this would need trial and error as well.
“Bocchan, what about this millet?” asked Rita. “I think it’s foxtail millet and barnyard millet.”
“Millet can be harvested quickly, so let’s take it with us,” said Vandalieu. “They’re nutritious, too.”
He had the feeling that millet was greatly popular on Earth. Processing it was easier than acorns as well.
“Ah, this field has soba,” said Kachia.
“They turn it into galettes in the Mirg shield-nation, don’t they? Let’s take it with us.”
Soba would be wonderful. It could be added to either cold or hot soups. It even made aromatic teas… apparently.
“What are we doing with the beans?” asked Borkus.
“We’re taking it, of course.”
The beans being cultivated here resembled soya beans or something similar to them. With this, Vandalieu would finally be able to make normal miso. Soy sauce, too. And tofu, soy milk, bean curd, fried tofu… how truly wonderful.
Also, boiling the beans that were still green and adding salt to them to eat them as ‘edamame*’ was apparently enjoyable as well.
“The beans over here appear to be of a different species,” said Sam.
“These are… adzuki beans! Get up, get up, get up.”
With adzuki beans, Vandalieu would be able to make red bean paste. He didn’t have sugar, but perhaps honey could be used as a substitute?
“It appears that there are tomatoes growing in this small field, my lord,” Bone Man reported.
“Ah, to think that such a versatile ingredient would be in a place like this…”
Among the researchers in Origin, there had been those who believed in tomatoes in addition to the mayonnaise believers. After they suffered heart attacks and died suddenly, the tomato believers would talk on and on about the wonders of tomato sauce while whispering complaints about the food of the laboratory’s cafeteria.
Vandalieu liked mayonnaise when he was on Earth, but he was someone who preferred ketchup.
“We haven’t had tomatoes up until now, so I’d given up on it. But with this, finally… Get up, get up, get up.”
Well, it wasn’t as if he didn’t have the other ingredients he needed, so things would probably work out.
Vandalieu also acquired potatoes, carrots, daikon, onions and other vegetables from the farms, taking the whole fields. It would be possible to make potato starch from the potatoes.
Incidentally, Vandalieu was using Golem Transmutation to create piles of dirt to fill the holes created by removing the fields.
“Now then, shall we head back to Talosheim?” he said.
Taking his field-Golems along, Vandalieu and his followers put the Mirg shield-nation behind them. As previously planned, the farmlands had been dealt devastating damage and a thousand Undead were left behind.
He spread deadly poison in all of the irrigation channels and water reservoirs, and also in the fields where nothing but dirt remained.
It wasn’t poison that would dissipate with time, but the kind of contaminant that would leech into the ground and moisture and linger for decades.
With this, the cultivated land would become uninhabitable and unusable for humans.
Leaving Undead in the villages was Vandalieu’s way of showing ‘kindness’.
They served as warnings so that the villagers wouldn’t return and unknowingly try to use the poisoned water to raise more crops.
And another point of ‘kindness’ was that Vandalieu hadn’t touched the wells, knowing that there would be a chance that the contamination would reach all the way towards the town.
“Viscount Balchesse, you stole the Devil’s Nest forest from us, but let’s say we’re even now,” Vandalieu murmured in the direction of Balcheburg, before entering the tunnel through the entrance on the Mirg shield-nation’s side.
“Come to think of it, Bocchan, you can make Wood Golems out of trees, can’t you?” asked Saria.
“Hmm? I can, why?”
“Couldn’t you make thread and paper just by turning the plants themselves into Golems?”
Vandalieu had the feeling that he had done things the long way, but he had acquired meat and soya beans, so his efforts hadn’t been in vain.
At the same time, in the Divine Realm of Alda, the God of Law and Fate, the gods were conducting an emergency meeting.
The reason was that Bormack Gordan, the one who had been considered a candidate to become a heroic spirit and possibly even a god depending on his work, had now wandered astray from Alda’s teachings.
“Curatos, show everyone the Record.”
The God of Records, Curatos, opened the book he was holding at Alda’s command. Countless soap-bubble-like spheres rose from its pages. Their surfaces bore images of what the expedition army had witnessed in Talosheim.
They began bursting and disappearing one after another. In the next instant, the last remaining soap bubble with a close-up image of Gordan’s Undead face disappeared.
“This is the record from a child who was a part of the expedition army,” said Curatos.
“… What of the records after that?” asked Alda.
“Unfortunately… It seems that their spirits were trapped after they were slaughtered, or they turned into Undead as Bormack Gordan did. However, please look here.” Curatos opened another page, showing a scene where the wall of Balcheburg was broken and the Undead expedition army was doing battle with the soldiers.
This was the scene witnessed by Alda’s believers, Recorded by Curatos. Curatos had been able to Record the things seen and heard in the instant the believers made the unconscious prayer of, ‘Oh God,’ and now he was able to share those Records with others.
The things shown in these Records were things that many of the gods present here, including Alda, were aware of. After all, they were the ones who had been prayed to when the soldiers whispered, “Oh God.”
However, there was no small number of gods seeing this for the first time. They were greatly shocked.
“This is… A Dhampir child is capable or something like this…”
“How could this be! This disease has never existed before; are you to say that this Dhampir created it himself?!”
“He is making use of Undead… He is just like Za–”
“Silence!” Niltark, the God of Judgment, interrupted the god to prevent him from saying something careless. “I would like to ask you to refrain from referring to this Dhampir by anything but ‘Dhampir’ or his name, ‘Vandalieu!’”
“My apologies. Thank you, Niltark-sama,” said the other god, realizing his mistake after seeing Niltark’s furious expression.
Comparing Vandalieu to be ‘The second coming of Zakkart’ or ‘A being similar to an evil god’ wasn’t a problem of character for the gods.
They wanted to avoid Vandalieu from acquiring a Title.
Titles appearing on one’s Status are not mere labels or second names, but things that have an actual effect. A Title of Goblin Killer would grant increased damage against monsters known as Goblins, and Titles such as Invulnerable or Immortal would make it more difficult for the bearer of such Titles to die.
The conditions for acquiring a Title is for a large number of individuals, or individuals with great influence, to call someone by that Title.
Though their power and positions varied, everyone gathered here was a god. They were the most influential beings in the world of Lambda.
If the gods were to call Vandalieu ‘The second coming of Zakkart’ here, there was no telling what kinds of powers he would be granted.
“But Alda, why have we been gathered here? This Dhampir has indeed used countless Golems and Undead while being young of age, created a disease, slaughtered an army of six thousand, turned that army into Undead and bared his fangs at the Mirg shield-nation. But looking at it another way, that is all he is capable of, is it not?” The one speaking was Fitun, the God of Thunderclouds. He was a god of a younger generation compared to the other gods here, having only become a god within the past few tens of thousands of years.
Fitun’s words could be interpreted as cruelly disregarding human life, but as he said, the things that Vandalieu had done, seen in the Records, were not something to gather all of the gods and make a big fuss over.
Up until now, over ten thousand lives had been claimed with each war, and there had been countless countries brought to ruin by monsters going on rampages. Compared to such historical losses, the deaths of the expedition army and those in Balcheburg, which totaled to less than ten thousand, were very small.
The fact that only soldiers and adventurers had been killed as a direct result of battle only reinforced that notion.
Of course, the family, lovers and friends of the deceased would be tortured by feelings of grief and loss, but it wasn’t as if powerless civilians had been mass-murdered.
And as gods, they could not support a single nation too much without causing problems.
“But aren’t this Dhampir’s actions simply too cruel?” another god asked.
Fitun felt an urge to laugh at him. “What are you saying? This Dhampir’s actions seem halfhearted to me.”
“Yeah. As proof, the disease that the Dhampir used on the expedition army, he didn’t use it in Balcheburg, did he? That’s why the Undead were repelled.” As Fitun said, Vandalieu hadn’t used that disease when attacking Balcheburg. Despite the fact that the town of ten thousand could have been annihilated by three thousand Undead if the disease had been used.
No, the limitation of the disease that caused it to stop its effects after half a day… If that limitation had been removed and it infected a single person in Balcheburg, that alone would have spelled the end of the town.
Its rate of spread and the speed at which it produced its symptoms was probably too fast for it to spread to other towns and villages, but ten thousand citizens would be reduced to crippled, ill people within hours.
Even if they were lucky enough to recover, the disease would simply mutate and infect them again, so there would be no survivors.
The people of Balcheburg would writhe and suffer plenty before all dying. Only materials to create Undead would be left.
“He didn’t do that, so that’s why his actions are halfhearted… no, naïve,” said Fitun. “He is not someone we should be wary of.”
“… Fitun, it sounds to me that you are underestimating the Dhampir. Am I wrong?” asked Curatos.
“What are you suggesting, Curatos-dono? I am simply saying that the things this Dhampir has done are not problems worthy of us gods gathering and discussing them. If we are to discuss anything, should it not be the evil-god-worshipping Vampires squirming in your territory, Alda?”
Fitun, the God of Thunderclouds, wasn’t a particularly zealous supporter of Alda. He was simply a former hero praised by the people with many great achievements against Vida’s races and the evil gods to his name; he wasn’t a devout follower of Alda like Gordan.
My word, the days have been excruciatingly dull since I became a god. I don’t care if it’s Dhampirs or Undead, I wish there was a worthy foe that would have my blood boiling like it did when I was a human.
Alda opened his mouth. Everyone was expecting him to reprimand the young god for his impertinence. “What Fitun says is reasonable.”
The gods, including Fitun himself, stirred at Alda’s unexpected words.
“However, things are not so simple,” Alda continued. “There is reason to believe that this Dhampir, Vandalieu, has destroyed the Artifact created by Yupeon and broken the ‘divided spirit’ within.”
The gods were now making an uproar.
“Impossible! A divided spirit… He has broken something so similar to a soul?!”
“So that is the reason that Yupeon is not here…”
“Perhaps the fact that he did not spread the disease to the town was not due to naïvety as Fitun suggested, but as a warning to us? To say that he can do such a thing anytime he wishes.”
“But he could not possibly be so audacious as to threaten us… If he is, then the ancient –”
“SILENCE!” It seemed that Alda was trying to use this meeting to share his sense of impending danger with the gods who had become so relaxed recently.
Even though Alda had declared that this was a war against the remnants of the Demon King and Vida, with a hundred thousand years passing without any real progress, even gods would feel weary and soft. This was only spurred on by the lack of organized movements from the remnants that were supposed to be their enemies.
“Then will you send a Divine Message that this Dhampir should be exterminated?” asked Curatos.
“No,” said Alda. “There is a chance that that would have the opposite effect.”
If Alda gave the order to exterminate Vandalieu and gave detailed information regarding him through a Divine Message, the clergyman receiving the Divine Message might not be able to receive it fully and there was a high risk that it would be interpreted in a dangerous way, such as, “Kill the children*.”
And if they sent knights and extermination forces to Talosheim without being scrupulous in preparations and information-gathering, they would simply repeat the failures of the expedition army.
As a result of the discussion, it was decided that Divine Messages would be sent to every church, allowing the clergymen to instill vigilance in the humans and encouraging them to be prepared. The Dhampir had already done such great things. The gods anticipated that he would stay holed up in the Boundary Mountain Range for a while, gathering his strength.
And there was someone other than Vandalieu who was also dangerous… Alda had sent numerous Divine Messages, saying, “That man is dangerous.*” But despite that, the man who had signed a contract with an evil god, the Thunderclap Schneider, was still moving about freely. They had to be wary of him as well.
In the meantime, we should use the clergymen to gather candidates for champions and heroes, raise them and prepare… I suppose. Oh, wise Alda, you are halfhearted as well, thought Fitun. He laughed bitterly to himself.
If it were up to him, if there was even the smallest chance that the Dhampir possessed the same power as the Demon King, he would gladly sacrifice ten thousand or even a hundred thousand lives in order to exterminate him. He would make the gods endure the flesh-gouging pain of creating divided spirits and have them descend upon the world, prepared to risk the annihilation of all of the servants and heroic spirits.
He wouldn’t grant the Dhampir time to gather more power.
However, Fitun did not voice this opinion. Though the others likely wouldn’t listen to him, if by some tiny chance they did adopt his plan, it would only trouble him.
This is the first enemy I can fight to the death that has appeared since I became a god. I have to let him grow more.
A fight to the death is not where the strong kills the weak in a one-sided manner. It is a fight to the death because it is a fight where both have the ability to take his opponent’s life.
Now then, small Dhampir. Grow larger, crueler, more relentless and most importantly, more powerful. I, Fitun, the God of Thunderclouds, will watch over you until I kill you by my own hands!
A Job that one who has broken a soul can acquire.
It grants a bonus to the acquisition of skills such as Soul Break, Spirit Form, Long-distance Control and Parallel Thought-Processing, and though it provides great growth in the Mana and Intelligence Attribute Values, growth in other Attribute Values are low.
The Job’s name may suggest that it is an offensive Job, but because one must possess enough power to break a soul to acquire this Job, it is a Job that simply provides support for Soul Break.
This is a skill that materializes parts of the body that does not originally have physical form. It is mainly acquired by Astral-type monsters, spirits that have been contaminated with Mana, such as Ghosts and Specters.
The materialized spirit form becomes susceptible to physical damage, but it does not have flesh and blood, so the damage taken is still less than damage from silver or Magic Items.
It has a greater effect than the Spirit Form skill, causing one to be in a state closer to having a body of flesh, but as it allows damage from the aforementioned sources and adds limitations of forces such as gravity, it cannot be said to be superior to the Spirit Form skill.
No people other than Vandalieu have been confirmed to possess this skill.