“According to Isla, Chipiras and the ‘Mad Dog’ Berkert~ climb the mountain~ fly through the sky~ go into the lake~”
Vandalieu was singing the route he had planned using information he had gained from the Vampires while doing warm-up exercises by the lake.
Although it was spring, it was still only March. It was too early in the year to go swimming. And Vandalieu wasn’t particularly good at swimming.
“I only barely managed to swim fifty meters with the school group… I can hold my breath for over thirty minutes now, though.”
How long could seals, sea lions and sea otters swim underwater? Would Vandalieu be able to overtake them soon?
It doesn’t matter, I suppose, Vandalieu thought as he flew into the lake.
Pete stretched himself out from Vandalieu’s head towards the shore and pulled Vandalieu back. Vandalieu let out a strange noise of surprise that sounded like, “Hogeh!” as he landed on his back.
“Your Majesty, are you alright?!” asked Princess Levia. “The noise you made was very strange!”
“P-probably?” said Vandalieu. “Pete, as long as you stay inside me, it’s just like when I take a bath, so it’s fine. Ah, wait, stop, don’t take root in the shore.”
A considerable amount of time passed as Vandalieu calmed down Pete and the plant-type monsters, who seemed opposed to going underwater. Symbiosis was quite a troublesome thing.
Vandalieu was walking smoothly inside the cold lake water.
He skillfully manipulated the Immortal Ent branches extending from his hands and used the earth and rocks at the bottom of the lake as footholds.
“They would probably have disliked it if it was sea water, though,” Vandalieu whispered through his spirit-form mouth as he continued along the bottom of the lake. “Maybe I should take this opportunity to think of a way around that?”
It was dark, but even here, there was no problem with visibility thanks to the Dark Vision skill.
But if the water was cloudy with dirt and microscopic organisms, he wouldn’t have been able to see even with Dark Vision, so it was fortunate that the water was clear.
Several dozen silhouettes holding spears appeared in front of him. But looking closely, although they were human in shape, their whole bodies were covered in scales, and their faces were like a mixture between those of people and those of fish.
These were aquatic demi-human-type monsters, Gillmen.
Sahuagin, who were also aquatic demi-human-type monsters that were like fish with human limbs, known as the Goblins of the sea, also existed in Lambda. But Gillmen were far more powerful monsters than Sahuagin.
Since their mental structure was different from that of people, communicating with them was difficult, but they were highly intelligent, creating equipment from the shells and carapaces of other creatures, and they formed groups of as many as several hundred individuals.
People were not very familiar with Gillmen as they didn’t share the same environment as them, but in fishing villages, Gillmen were feared more than Ogres. And perhaps because there was some connection between them and Tristan, the God of the Sea who had created them, they rampaged like berserkers whenever they laid eyes on Merfolk, leading to Gillmen becoming known as the ‘Merfolk's enemy.’
The Gillmen surrounded Vandalieu at a distance with visible bewilderment in their fish-like eyes.
They were probably saying things like, “What is that?” and, “There are branches coming out of its hands and feet,” weren’t they?
How troublesome; the monsters in this world don’t understand Japanese. If there was a Gillman spirit nearby, I’d use Visualization and have it translate, but I don’t see any.
Vandalieu was in a troublesome situation, but it seemed that the Gillmen had decided, “We don’t know what it is, but let’s dispose of it for now.” With an intent to kill directed towards Vandalieu that he could detect with Danger Sense: Death, they drew closer with their spears raised.
Since that was the stance they were taking, Vandalieu didn’t need to think hard about what to do, either.
“I don’t really feel like fighting underwater, though. I can’t have Princess Levia and the others help me, either,” Vandalieu said as he threw his Cursed Weapon kunai and scattered poison in the water. “But, well, it is fortunate that I’ve found these things so that they can guide the way.”
Incidentally, Gillmen were Rank 3. But as they were often fought in water and on ships, the Adventurers’ Guild recommended that they be considered one Rank higher when fighting them.
Making the Zombie Gillmen lead the way, Vandalieu found an underwater cavern hidden at the bottom of the lake, spent an hour traveling through it before finally raising his face above the water’s surface.
“Ah, I thought I was going to die.”
If he hadn’t bitten into the Gillmen’s throats and sucked the air from their lungs every time he was close to running out of breath, things could have been dangerous for Vandalieu.
Gillmen had gills on the sides of their bodies, but they also had lungs to move about above water.
Incidentally, the only reason Vandalieu hadn’t done mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration was because he didn’t want to. Even if he were to ignore the fact that they were Zombies, he didn’t want his first kiss to be with a fish-faced monster.
The Zombie Gillmen’s faces silently emerged from the water’s surface as Vandalieu made them help him get onto the shore. Vandalieu looked around to see that he had emerged from an underground lake and there was a nearby mansion that looked elegant at first glance… but also sinister upon closer inspection.
“Oh my. It would have been better if you had actually died, dear guest that I have no memory of inviting.” A person who gave the impression of a capable steward came out to greet Vandalieu. He was a handsome, middle-aged man with a medium build. The monocle he was wearing, an expensive item in Lambda, suited him very well.
“Hello,” said Vandalieu. “I apologize for coming here without notice. My name is Vandalieu.”
“Oh my. You really are the rumored Dhampir. For a long time after the rumors began, I have truly desired to meet you. Excuse my late introduction. I am the steward of this mansion, the ‘Foolish Dog’ Bellmond,” said the man, introducing himself with a courteous bow. “What business did you have here today?”
“I was thinking of forcefully taking over this place that you are in charge of,” Vandalieu replied. “I’m going to begin doing that now; is that alright with you? Well, even if you say no, I have no intention of returning on another day.”
“I see. That is just perfect. I was also just thinking of killing… you!” Bellmond shouted as he moved his fingers, his gentle smile turning into a mad one with his fangs bared.
In the next moment, the Gillmen protecting Vandalieu’s sides fell into pieces.
The five Gillmen were sliced silently into over ten parts each, revealing their vividly-colored cross-sections, and fell into the underground lake close to the shore.
As the Gillmen fragments fell into the water with a splash, Bellmond felt disappointed that Vandalieu didn’t make even the slightest move.
“Fufu, you don’t know what just happened, do you?” said Bellmond. “Despite my appearance, I have lived for tens of thousands of years, and this is the result. If I could get you to enjoy it as well –”
“You’re using magic and your fingertips to manipulate super-fine metal threads. The magic is… wind-attribute, I suppose. Electricity falls under the wind attribute, doesn’t it?” said Vandalieu.
Bellmond was in dismay; he hadn’t expected his secret technique to have been seen through in an instant. But in the next moment, each of his fingers began bending in strange ways, as if they were individual creatures.
“Fuh. It was unexpected that I was seen through so easily, but what difference does it make? You are already a prisoner of my threads!” Bellmond declared. “There is no gap for you to escape through.”
Having surrounded Vandalieu with his threads, Bellmond became certain of his victory and regained his composure.
With such a complete surrounding, Bellmond could dispose of Vandalieu before he could even recite an incantation. The remaining Zombie Gillmen were trying to circle around, but Bellmond would easily be able to deal with such small fry when they drew closer.
“Now then, please depart to where your parents are!” he shouted.
He bent his finger slightly. With that small movement, Vandalieu’s head would fall off. That was what was supposed to happen, but… he felt a dull resistance.
The threads weren’t moving the way he wanted them to!
“What?! This is… I see, you are a Thread User like me!”
Bellmond’s threads had been tangled in the string-like objects extending from Vandalieu’s own fingers.
“No, I do not have that Job,” said Vandalieu. “But I can manipulate thread-shaped objects.”
Every single one of Bellmond’s super-fine metal threads had been entangled in Vandalieu’s extended hairs and the sticky threads he had produced from his tongue and claws.
Vandalieu’s Thread-reeling Technique was far lower in level than Bellmond’s, but he simply needed to extend his threads around himself, so tangling them with Bellmond’s was simple.
“… Are Dhampirs a race capable of such things?” asked Bellmond.
“I don’t know any other Dhampirs,” Vandalieu replied.
To be more accurate, Vandalieu had seen the Dhampir girl who was being protected by Heinz, though he didn’t know her name, but he had only seen her once. He didn’t know whether she could spit threads from her mouth. He thought it likely that she couldn’t, however.
Bellmond gave a defiant smile upon seeing that Vandalieu could manipulate threads like him, even if it was through different methods.
“I see; this is no longer a battle between a Vampire and a Dhampir, but between a thread-user and a thread-user… the thought that I would be blessed with the opportunity to fight another enemy who uses threads did not even cross my mind,” he said. “I must thank Hihiryushukaka-sama from the bottom of my heart.”
It seemed that a strange switch had been flipped inside Bellmond. There was an innocent light shining in his eyes, as if he were talking to his closest friend.
“Now then, let us both make our utmost effort to seize the glory of victory!” he declared, his eyes looking at Vandalieu as if looking at a worthy foe. The moment he finished speaking, his shoes were torn apart loudly from the inside. “Now then, dear guest! Can you hold out against the threads from my twenty digits?!”
Each of Bellmond’s toes grew longer, like those of a monkey.
He wriggled them skillfully to manipulate his threads. There was no trace of the dejection he had displayed earlier; there was only the fast pounding of his heart.
Perhaps it was the appearance of a worthy enemy, or perhaps it was because he had a premonition about this battle. Either way, he had no doubt that the being before his eyes would grant him something.
The threads released by Bellmond were entangled with Vandalieu’s, one after another. However, Bellmond’s threads passed through, cutting their way through and closing in on their target.
“What is wrong? You cannot win with defense alone!” shouted Bellmond.
“You’re right,” said Vandalieu.
“Now then, I suppose I should begin a counterattack,” said another voice from some distance away. Astonished, Bellmond turned to look in that direction.
To his left, some distance away, the Zombie Gillmen had gathered in one spot. Wondering whether it was these Gillmen Zombies who had talked, Vandalieus popped out from their scaly bodies, one after another.
“Eh? What? D-dear guest, are these your brothers?” Bellmond asked the Vandalieu whom he had engaged in battle, bewildered at the other Vandalieus that were smoothly appearing from inside the Gillman Zombies.
“No, all of them are a part of me,” Vandalieu replied. “The one fighting you is my physical body, which is moving the others through the Long-distance Control skill.”
“These ones,” said another Vandalieu, “are my spirit-form clones made after using Out-of-body experience, which had been fused with the Zombie Gillmen.”
“Now then, I’m going to begin my counterattack,” said yet another spirit-form Vandalieu.
The spirit-form Vandalieus pointed a long, pipe-shaped object that the Gillmen had been carrying on their backs towards Bellmond.
“A physical body and spirit form bodies?! N-no, no, please wait, dear guest, that is strange,” Bellmond stammered. “Do you mean to say that you used your physical body… your main body, as a bait to fool me?!”
“Well, you say it’s my main body, but is it?” said Vandalieu.
“Did you not think that you would be unable to entangle all of my threads, and that you would be torn apart? In fact, in one more minute, I can separate your entire body into pieces,” said Bellmond.
“Even if my body is separated into pieces, it will take me less than three minutes to put the pieces all back together, so I won’t die,” Vandalieu told him.
“… But even Noble-born Vampires would die from that.”
“Also, I have this method.”
A Worm’s head sprouted from the back of Vandalieu’s neck. Its mouth, the only feature on its head, opened and a thick fluid overflowed from it.
That fluid… the Dark Copper, became an armor that surrounded Vandalieu’s body. Datara had tempered this Dark Copper Golem into a suit of armor.
And then he even put his Magic Absorption Barrier and his Impact-Negating Barrier up, engulfing both his and Bellmond’s threads.
Bellmond was dumbfounded at the way Vandalieu was creating defenses one after another with such ease. And now that Bellmond’s threads were in the barriers, they were almost completely immobilized.
Every time he moved his fingers to try and manipulate his threads, his threads instead ate into his fingers and blood sprayed from them.
“I am aware that I am being impolite, but… Dear guest, are you some kind of aberration or monstrosity?” Bellmond asked. Now that things had come to this, he had no choice but to cut off all of his limbs and run away, but he asked this question instead of reciting the incantation to do so.
His heartbeat grew violent as he realized that defeat was unavoidable; his cheeks became flushed and his eyes trembled, blurring his vision.
“I consider myself to be a person, so it is very regrettable that you said this to me,” Vandalieu replied as the spirit-form Vandalieus loaded a silver projectile into the pipe… or at least began to, before changing to a different projectile.
An iron bullet was loaded into the pipe… the gun that had spiral-shaped grooves built into the barrel to make its projectiles rotate. Vandalieu made small adjustments to his aim and then used Telekinesis to send the bullet forth.
In contrast to the flat-toned voice, the bullet was fired with a thunderous noise.
“Kuh… fushaaah!” Bellmond extended his forked tongue to manipulate a thread to try to avoid Lambda’s first bullet that had been fired by Vandalieu.
But the iron bullet flicked the thread aside and struck Bellmond’s torso.
『You have acquired the Artillery Technique skill!』
It seemed that in Lambda, the skill for using guns was not Gun Technique, but Artillery Technique.
The iron bullet crashed into the far wall opposite the underground lake, causing part of the wall to crumble. It did make sense that it was being treated as a cannon rather than a gun.
Also, the barrel of Vandalieu’s telekinesis rifle that he had built for accuracy and power was literally nothing more than a barrel; there was no trigger or magazine, so it was probably difficult to call a gun.
But even as Vandalieu acknowledged the power of his Telekinesis gun and its barrel, he decided never to use it underground unless absolutely necessary.
“By the way, can you talk? I used an iron bullet instead of an Orichalcum or silver one, and I also altered my aim a little, so you shouldn’t die,” said Vandalieu, looking down at Bellmond, who was rolling around on the ground in a pitiful state, but maintaining his polite tone of speech.
“Kah… Hyuh… I humbly apologize… for showing you such disgrace…”
A hole had been gouged out from Bellmond’s right flank through his chest; fragments of entrails, bones and blood had scattered about. Also, because he had been sent flying after being shot and rolled across the ground multiple times, his body had been wounded by the sharp threads that he had been manipulating.
No digits were left on his hands or feet, and his tongue was in shreds.
However, the “disgrace” that Bellmond mentioned was not referring to that. He was referring to his own true appearance, which was now visible because his monocle, a Magic Item of disguise, had broken.
Terrible burn-marks and stretched scars were visible through his torn clothes. Half of his handsome face was covered in burns, and one of his pupils was cloudy.
And the shape of his ears had changed.
“It’s surprising that you were a woman,” Vandalieu remarked. “And it seems that you were originally a Beast-person. Can members of Vida’s races also become Vampires?”
“I am from a race known as the Forest Monkey Beast-people,” said Bellmond. “With that said, I am not a Beast-person; there is Lamia blood mixed in my ancestry. This tongue and, though it is difficult to tell now, my blind eye, are in the shape of those of a Lamia’s. It is not impossible for members of Vida’s races to become Vampires. However, there is a ninety percent chance of failure and the possibility of death as a side-effect of the transformation. But how did you know I was a woman? As you can see, all of my womanly parts have either been burned or cut off.”
“I can see your internal organs through your wounds,” said Vandalieu.
“I see… That slipped my mind.” Bellmond, who turned out to be a woman, gave a bitter laugh. “So, will you finish me off?” she asked. “I am not as powerful as you, but I am a Noble-born Vampire with the status of count. I will be able to recover from wounds such as these. I do not know if I will be able to move in the same way that I could before, but after half a day, I will be able to manage walking. Also, even while we are enjoying this conversation, it is not impossible for me to recite an incantation if I tried.”
“But you’re not trying to recite any, are you?” said Vandalieu. “In fact, you have no intention of making a counterattack. Also, the Death-Attribute Charm skill is having an effect, isn’t it?” He could no longer feel any reaction from Danger Sense: Death.
Bellmond gave a surprised look before exhaling, as if coming to an understanding. “I see. So, it is a charm-type skill. However, rather than me having been charmed by you, dear guest, my heart is being stirred because I was wondering what would change if I killed you, and by the fact that even if I cannot kill you, you will do me the favor of killing me.”
“Ah, so it was having that kind of effect.”
Even though it was a charm, it didn’t mean that it would cause everyone under its effects to become friendly towards Vandalieu. Those who were ill or mad like Bellmond would show reactions like this.
In other words, a yandere.
Now that Vandalieu thought about it, Sercrent and Isla, whom he had defeated previously, were Vampires, but unlike Eleanora, they hadn’t become friendly towards him. It was possible that they hadn’t simply resisted the Death-Attribute Charm, but that it had simply exhibited its effects in a distorted way.
He had already broken Sercrent’s soul, so he would have to ask Isla once he returned to Talosheim.
Vandalieu made a note of being more careful from now on.
“So, surely you are not telling me to change sides, are you?” asked Bellmond.
“Change sides,” said Vandalieu.
“… So, you are.”
“I am,” said Vandalieu. “All you did was try to kill me; I don’t have any particular grudge against you, and I want you to teach me about using threads,” Vandalieu continued as Bellmond gave him an exasperated look. “Also, I’m currently recruiting a steward.”
“… Even though I am a very evil person?” asked Bellmond.
“Hmm, but there is nothing haunting you. Could it be that you have spent long years watching this place and not gone outside?” Vandalieu asked.
“… That is correct, dear guest,” Bellmond replied.
She had told Vandalieu that she had lived for tens of thousands of years, but in truth, she had only lived for around ten thousand years after becoming a Vampire.
Ten thousand years ago, the clan that she had been born to exiled her due to her ancestor’s blood manifesting as strange physical features. After wandering aimlessly, she finally reached a place where people lived, only to be treated as a monster and raped.
On the verge of death, she was picked up by the Vampires who worshipped Hihiryushukaka.
“My master just happened to be looking for an obedient subordinate to guard this mansion,” said Bellmond. “Despite its appearance, this is a place that serves as both a shelter for dire situations and as a vault for items; it would never have been left in the hands of someone who would betray her. And my master found half-dead individuals such as myself, saved them and raised them as Vampires.”
“Considering that, you don’t seem to have much loyalty,” Vandalieu commented.
Bellmond gave a small laugh. “All kinds of things can happen if you live for ten thousand years. Especially with a body like this. The scars I gained before I became a Vampire cannot be healed, you see.”
For the first few years, she had worked frantically to repay the favor that her master did for her. She studied hard and improved herself among companions with similar circumstances.
Her ability was acknowledged and she became a Vampire. While she shed tears for her companions who steadily grew fewer in numbers over the next few decades, she continued to frantically polish her skills so that she could return their favors to her master as well.
She was left in charge of this mansion and several centuries passed. She gradually began wondering if she was simply being made use of.
On her thousandth year after becoming a Vampire, her master forced the Magic Item monocle on her, along with the words, “Don’t expose your horrid appearance at this mansion.”
On the ten-thousandth year. Everything began to feel like it was in vain. There were almost no opportunities for Bellmond to amuse herself by using the techniques that she had learned, and even when there were, they ended quickly. Even when she thought it might be better to make an escape, when she asked herself what she would want to do after escaping, she couldn’t come up with an answer.
She thought perhaps it would be better to simply die, but she couldn’t bring herself to do that, either.
Before she knew it, several more years had passed. After spending so long in a worn-down state of mind, Vandalieu had appeared.
“Then isn’t it fine to change sides and join me?” Vandalieu asked, satisfied that Bellmond hadn’t been involved in Talosheim’s fate.
Of course, he didn’t simply think that she was another victim. She had killed several people in the past ten thousand years, and had likely committed many crimes.
But these were things that Vandalieu didn’t care about in the slightest.
“Honestly, I don’t really care that it’s very questionable whether you’re good or evil,” Vandalieu continued. “The perception of that changes easily between nations, cultures and ages. And I’m apparently considered an evil person to a great number of people, too. I don’t know about the ideas of good and evil in a society that I have no relation to.”
Vandalieu couldn’t imagine that absolutely good beings could exist. Good existed because the concept of evil also existed. Since this was his way of thinking, the idea of good and evil was in itself an ambiguous concept.
In fact, both on Earth and in Origin, good had failed to save him.
Of course, he knew that it would be narrow-minded to come to conclusions based on only his own experiences, but things were going well in Lambda with this way of thinking, so he thought that this was fine.
“… What about the fact that I tried to kill you, dear guest?” asked Bellmond.
“I won, so it doesn’t count,” said Vandalieu.
He simply thought that in fights to the death, the victor held the rights to the life of the defeated.
With monsters, he stripped them of their materials and Magic Stones, and with bandits, he killed them and drank their blood.
Even in war, killing enemy soldiers was an achievement, and capturing them alive earned extra money.
With that being the case, Vandalieu had defeated Bellmond, so he was free to invite her to join him.
“Speaking in extreme terms, it’s just a matter of changing sides while you’re still alive, or changing sides after you die,” Vandalieu told her. “But when you die, your memories and personality might crumble or undergo significant changes, so it would be most helpful if you changed sides while still alive.”
There were some, like Chezare, who shone brighter after becoming Undead, but those were rare cases.
“So, what will you do?” Vandalieu asked.
Since Vandalieu hadn’t needed to use Dead Spirit Magic, Princess Levia and the other Flame Ghosts were free, so they appeared before Bellmond.
“It is better for you to join His Majesty,” said Princess Levia.
“We haunt His Majesty like this, and even though we are Ghosts, we are able to eat delicious things. Isn’t that right, Levia-sama?” said another Flame Ghost.
“Yes. It would be reassuring to have you lend your strength to His Majesty,” Princess Levia told Bellmond. “Can I make this request of you?”
Realizing that there was no escaping this particular guest, Bellmond gave in. “Very well, dear guest,” she said. “However, I have two conditions. The first is that you defeat my master… Ternecia-sama. The other is that you return my body to its original form.”
If Vandalieu were to be killed by Ternecia, there would be no meaning in changing to his side, and in her current state, Bellmond wouldn’t be able to teach him about using threads or act as his steward.
“I understand,” said Vandalieu, giving a nod to these conditions that even an S-class adventurer would hesitate before accepting. “I’ll start by gathering and reconnecting your organs and bones together. Princess Levia, everyone, please keep your flames down. Bellmond’s offal is almost burning.”
“Ah, I’m sorry! I will keep my distance now,” said Princess Levia.
“Dear guest… I have to question calling someone’s organs ‘offal,’” said Bellmond.
Perhaps she had been too hasty in her decision. But even so, Bellmond couldn’t help but hold great expectations of Vandalieu.
“GUAAAAAAH! L-LONG LIVE TERNECIA-SAMAAAAAA!” Daroak, a Noble-born Vampire with the status of marquis, fell as his heart was pierced through by the fist of a female warrior, letting out a dying scream that sounded as if he would end in an explosion if he was in a special effects film on Earth.
He was the one praised to have the greatest fighting ability after Ternecia herself, a man known as the ‘Fighting Dog’ in the underground world, someone who had lived for tens of thousands of years.
“Hmph. No matter how much you turn your body into mist, you are powerless before my Shining Fist Technique.”
Jennifer, who had defeated Daroak with her Magic Item bracers that were shining white, joined her companions and glared at the final remaining boss.
The Pure-breed Vampire Ternecia, who had her usual prostitute-like appearance, clicked her tongue at the death of her trusted aide as she glared back at Jennifer.
“Oh my, you really went and did it,” said Ternecia. “Even my Five Dogs have all been wiped out except for one… To think that you disposed of three of them, even if Isla wasn’t among them. I underestimated you people a little.”
All around, there were ruins of buildings and trees lying on the ground. This had been one of Ternecia’s bases, a considerably stylish mansion, but… because of the destructive waves of battle, it and the forest around it had been turned almost into a wasteland.
“Still, you are quite flashy,” Ternecia continued, looking around at what was left of her base now that there was no longer a ceiling obscuring her view of the moon and stars. “The legendary champion Bellwood felt pain in his heart every time he even stepped on a flower. Are you people different from him?”
“To hesitate to destroy you in order to protect a remote forest with nothing but monsters living in it would be a sin,” Heinz replied. “I did think about it, however, as this forest is the source of a river.”
Bellwood had avoided using knowledge from other worlds, but he had proactively spread knowledge regarding the natural environment, which still remained today. The fact that water was stored in forests was one of the pieces of knowledge he had left behind.
“Tch, words befitting of ‘the one who tears through the darkness,’” said Ternecia. “But I am tired of hearing your voices! I’ll let you continue singing as my Undead!”
Ternecia released a killing intent powerful enough to produce physical pressure, but on the inside, she was irritated and a little discomposed.
What are Birkyne and Gubamon doing?! Why are they not hurrying here; at this rate, I will be forced to use that trump card!
As if seeing the disturbance in Ternecia’s mind, Diana, the priestess of the Goddess of Slumber Mill, made an attempt to cast an enchantment spell.
“I won’t let you! Kah!” Ternecia gave a strange cry as she tried to use the Petrifying Demon Eye that she had replaced her right eye with.
“That’s my line!” said Delizah. “Great Provocation!”
Ternecia’s hostility was forcibly redirected to Delizah by her Shield Technique martial skill.
Delizah’s fingers and toes began turning into stone with an unpleasant sound, but Ternecia’s gaze was quickly turned away from her.
Ternecia let out another noise of frustration.
Edgar had creeped up to her and attacked from her blind spot. His Mythril short sword, enchanted with light-attribute magic, was pointed at Ternecia’s vitals.
She blocked it with her claws and tried to tear through Edgar with the same motion, but in the next moment, his body vanished like mist.
“I’m surprised you could tell. Most would confuse it for magic.” Edgar waved his short sword as he created more clones of himself using Afterimage, an advanced Armor Technique martial skill. Even if most of them were just illusions, considering that any of their attacks could be real, they couldn’t be ignored.
“All together!” shouted Heinz. “Radiant Sword Flash!”
“Radiant Fist Barrage!”
Heinz’s magic sword and Jennifer’s magic fists assaulted Ternecia. Even she couldn’t handle all of this; her body suffered numerous wounds.
Considering the amount of Vitality that she had, all of them were little more than scratches. However, the attacks of Heinz’s party were all specialized against Vampires. Even these scratches inflicted her great pain, greatly reduced her extraordinary regeneration ability and, most importantly, caused her concentration to come apart.
“… Don’t swarm me, you brats! Chaotic Wind Blade Dance!”
Unable to contain her irritation, Ternecia released countless blades of wind into her surroundings. This should have forced Heinz and his companions back temporarily, giving her an opening to regain her composure.
However, Diana recited an incantation. “Mana, be guided by the goddess and become peaceful. Magic Slumber Wave.”
Her spell drastically reduced the power of Ternecia’s own spell, enough for Ternecia’s spell to be deflected by the anti-magic defense of the party’s defensive equipment, which was made of plenty of Dragon and magical metals.
Now that Heinz and his parties were the ones with an opening, the force of their attacks increased.
These people… They are accustomed to fighting enemies who are stronger than them!
The Shield-bearer Delizah would draw the enemy’s hostility, Edgar would follow up, Jennifer would attack with many small attacks while Heinz would close in with a single powerful one, and Diana would support all of them.
Their coordination of execution was very advanced, and Ternecia was unable to exhibit her powers against them. On her own, she couldn’t deal with the coordination of Heinz’s party. No matter what she tried, she couldn’t make any successful significant move.
The monotonous attacks she released in her irritation and frustration were blocked or had their power dampened by Delizah and Diana.
“How can I, Ternecia-sama who has survived the war against the champions, lose to such inexperienced brats!”
Ternecia was enraged. It was true that she was strong. She was a creature at the top of the food chain; she was so powerful that she could crush the average Dragon as if it were a winged insect.
However, that was precisely why she was weaker than she had been a hundred thousand years ago.
She had robbed countless of their lives over the past one hundred thousand years. However, most of these lives had been taken in one-sided slaughters, while the enemies she had faced who were capable of fighting her evenly were within countable numbers. And for the past few tens of thousands of years, she had simply existed as a tyrant ruling over countless subordinates.
Ternecia’s instincts had been dulled by the days she had spent without ever experiencing her life being at risk; her mental strength and techniques that had once been sharp were now worn-down and loosened.
In such a state, Ternecia had no way of defeating the coordination of Heinz’s party on her own. The three Pure-breed Vampires had been ruling in a parliamentary system precisely for situations such as these, but –
Kuh, do Birkyne and Gubamon intend to abandon me here?!
Her last ray of hope, her reinforcements, did not appear.
Ternecia gave a hoarse scream as she received yet another shallow wound. Although Heinz and his companions were now certain that they could defeat her, they were continuing their attacks without letting their guards down.
And then Ternecia bared her fangs and gave them a maddened laugh. “Die as you regret having cornered me! Activate, Demon King’s Horns!”
In the next moment, Heinz and his party were torn apart by the horns sprouting from all over Ternecia’s body.
The weakest among Ternecia’s close aides, her ‘Five Dogs,’ who has been given what is, in a way, the most important role. She was often sneered at by the other members of the Five Dogs for being a “watchdog.”
Other than the occasional times that Ternecia visited her, Bellmond has spent over ninety percent of her ten-thousand-year-long life guarding a mansion with nothing but weeping, gasping, screeching Undead. Thus, her mental state is one step away from being like that of a disabled person, and she is possessed by a desire for her own destruction.
However, because of this, she has distanced herself from other Vampires, and in that regard, she is normal.
She was originally a female of a race of forest-monkey-type Beast-people, but part of the Lamia blood in her ancestry manifests itself in her physical features.
But due to the violent rape that she suffered before becoming a Vampire, her body is covered in scars and burn-marks. One of her eyes lost its vision on one occasion of her being assaulted, and the long tail that she should have has been cut off.
Thanks to her blindness in one eye and the irresponsible way that Ternecia has raised her, not caring as long as she didn’t grow defiant, she is actually the weakest among the Five Dogs. She was not equipped with any Magic Items other than her Magic Item monocle.
Also, Vampires do not gain any bonuses to their talent for magic, so because she was born as a Beast-person, she remained unskillful with magic even after becoming a Noble-born Vampire. This is why she does not use any magic other than the spells needed to assist her in manipulating her threads.
She is at her strongest when she uses Short Sword Technique to fight, but… she is a hobbyist who prioritizes her hobby.
She is a master when it comes to ordinary housework; particularly when it comes to cleaning, she works flawlessly despite being in a mental state where entire blocks of several years can go missing from her memory at once.