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The 'Super Sense' Gotouta Kaoru leaving a note behind and vanishing was a shock to the 'Sylphid' Misa Anderson and 'Odin' Akira Hazamada.
But although it was a painful truth to face for the 'Chronos' Junpei Murakami, it wasn't a surprise.
"After all, it actually seems possible for us to live decent lives in this backwards world," he muttered.
Through steady training while holding back the magic they had learned in their previous lives and doing their best not to use their cheat-like abilities, Murakami and his companions had all successfully become C-cla.s.s adventurers.
As their reincarnated bodies were in their mid-teenage years, they did draw some attention for being such young C-cla.s.s adventurers, but not to the point of suspicion. However, because they had kept changing locations from town to town, they had not drawn too much attention to themselves… though this was also because they had been specifically careful to not draw attention to themselves by showing off their real abilities.
Even in this city, the only ones who knew that they were C-cla.s.s adventurers were Guild employees and a few of the adventurers.
Though they had to be careful, they had become C-cla.s.s adventurers because even if it became known that they were skilled with magic or possessed Unique Skills (cheat-like abilities), n.o.body would be suspicious if they were C-cla.s.s.
C-cla.s.s adventurers were those who had taken a step towards being B-cla.s.s adventurers, who were like superhumans from the perspective of adventurers that were D-cla.s.s and below. Thus, people who became aware of Murakami and his companions' skills would a.s.sume that this was how they had become C-cla.s.s adventurers at such a young age.
Also, as C-cla.s.s adventurers, they had access to higher-quality information than those of D-cla.s.s and below. Making connections at information brokers in cities would be easier.
And most importantly, they would earn enough to buy the equipment that they wanted.
The staves in this world were inferior in technology to those in Origin. It was unrealistic to expect functional and lightweight magical media like the military staves of Origin, which were built into gloves or wrist.w.a.tches.
But in this world, there were monster materials and magical metals that did not exist in Origin. Thus, there was equipment and Magic Items that were impressive even in the eyes of Murakami and his companions.
However, purchasing these would require enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle in this world.
"I'm sure she felt content with continuing life like this, thinking that it isn't worth it to cross a dangerous bridge to try to be reincarnated back on Earth," said Murakami.
With a C-cla.s.s adventurer's income, they could live lives that were plenty comfortable even from their point of view. Murakami knew that Kaoru had chosen living a decent life in this world over Rodcorte's reward.
And unlike when they had infiltrated the Eighth Guidance, Murakami and his companions were nothing more than average adventurers in terms of societal position. Their location was geographically open, so the fact that she could easily escape if she wanted to was likely one of the reasons she had done so.
Akira clicked his tongue in frustration. "Does she intend to spend her whole life in this world risking her life fighting monsters while quivering in fear of us and Vandalieu? Is she stupid?"
"Maybe she let her emotions get the better of her. Maybe she found a man. Not that it changes the fact that she betrayed us," said Misa.
"Murakami-san, are you sure we shouldn't chase after her? It'd be bad if she got captured and then blabbed about us to Vandalieu to try and convince him to spare her," said Akira.
But Murakami had no intention of chasing Kaoru.
"There's no point in chasing her. Kaoru made preparations in advance and chose this timing to make her escape. With that being the case, she's probably not in this city anymore, so it would take time to catch up to her," he said. "And what would we do after capturing her?"
"What would we do, well… We wouldn't be able to kill her so easily," Akira muttered.
"Of course not," said Murakami. "From an outsider's perspective, Kaoru simply left her adventurer party. It's not something to be praised, but if we killed her over it, we'd become the fugitives… Even if we wanted to kill her without it being noticed, it would be a pain to make all the preparations and then actually fight her."
On top of that, Kaoru's cheat-like ability was Super Sense. It could be simply described as sharpened senses, but her senses were sharpened to the point that it was as if she had extrsensory perception. It would be impossible to approach her without being detected by her ears and nose… Ghost of the Eighth Guidance had done so with his unique invisibility, but Murakami and his companions didn't have that.
Even if they chased her and found her with the intention of silencing her, it was highly likely that they would be detected first. A very meticulous plan would be needed.
"And think about it. She should be trying to escape from Vandalieu as well. He won't find her that easily," Murakami added.
"Now that you mention it… I'm sure Rodcorte would warn us if she was intending to change sides like Kanako and the others, so maybe we don't need to worry about her," said Misa.
Murakami felt a twinge of irritation at hearing Misa mention Rodcorte's name. After all, Rodcorte should have known that Kaoru intended to escape from his group.
Despite that, no warning had come, which meant that he had either not paid enough attention to Kaoru and let her intentions slip past him, or a.s.sumed that her absence would not have any negative consequences on what Murakami's group was trying to achieve.
Maybe he thought that warning us wouldn't change anything. Once she decided to escape there'd be no convincing her, so maybe he thought it would be better for her to disappear without a fuss before any trouble occurred, Murakami thought.
Murakami didn't have the power to alter people's memories and bend their wills. The chance of persuading Kaoru through words alone was slim, so perhaps Rodcorte had thought that this was better than creating conflict that could result in bloodshed and deaths, which would need them to start over.
It's times like these when I wish I had Kanako's ability, but… there's no point in wishing for things I don't have, Murakami thought, turning his thoughts away from pointless ifs and back to reality.
"It's unfortunate that Kaoru's not here anymore, but our plan to kill Vandalieu hasn't changed," he declared to his two remaining companions. "We'll have to think about how to fill the gap that she's left, but things will work out as long as you guys stay. I'll be counting on you."
"Yeah, leave it to us. I'll prove to you that I'm different from how I was in my previous life," said Akira.
"We'll make up for our mistakes on Origin in this life," said Misa.
Murakami nodded, knowing that he would have big problems if any more of his allies left. "We'll kill that b.a.s.t.a.r.d Vandalieu, cut ties with this screwed-up world and redo our lives in another one. We'll be the ones laughing at Kaoru and the others."
Though Rodcorte had not said anything yet, Murakami had a feeling that the world of Lambda was becoming more and more dangerous.
The recent rumors he had heard at the Adventurers' Guild… The Demon King's fragments rampaging out of control, the appearance of high-Rank monsters that had never existed before. At the same time, adventurers and knights had been chosen by G.o.ds, receiving divine protections and Artifacts that had been safeguarded by churches.
Among the rumors were cases where adventurers and soldiers had directly been descended upon by the spirit clones of G.o.ds and granted divine protections and Artifacts during the middle of Demon King fragment or monster rampages.
No matter how one thought of it, this couldn't be normal. Unlike most of the people in this world, Murakami didn't trust the G.o.ds much and had a twisted mind. He could only imagine that the G.o.ds had caused these incidents themselves and had them resolved by individuals they had selected beforehand to raise them as heroes.
As for why the G.o.ds would do such a thing… it was probably because they needed heroes in large numbers.
And if they need to go so far to prepare heroes, then that means that this world is in danger.
There was no world more dangerous than one where heroes were needed.
One of the factors causing the world to become more dangerous was undoubtedly Vandalieu, but… Murakami couldn't imagine that everything would be resolved just by killing Vandalieu.
It would be best to leave this troublesome, difficult-to-live-in world as soon as possible.
Under a night sky lit by a bright moon and stars, Schneider and his companions had reached the meeting point with the hopeful Talosheim immigrants, after having led them through the nation of Marmuke.
"We've got more people with us than the last time we made contact. Do you think it'll be alright?" Schneider murmured.
"… Who knows," Dalton muttered back. "Apparently he told the messenger, 'Please bring however many you have, whether it's a thousand or two thousand.'"
"How can you just accept a thousand people all at once…?" the Dwarf woman Merdin whispered from behind them.
In this world, a thousand people would be the population of a small city; it would not be simple to accept such a number of people.
Of course, Schneider and his companions had intended to limit the number of hopeful immigrants to a hundred or so. And more than half of those one hundred immigrants were supposed to simply observe Talosheim and report its conditions back to their hidden villages.
But as Schneider and his companions went around the hidden villages, there were many that were in more desperate situations than they had first thought. Many of the inhabitants insisted that they would be content with living in deserts or wastelands as long as adventurers would not disturb them.
There were even Ghouls that learned for the first time from Schneider and his companions that they were members of a race created by Vida.
Having transported all of these people by using Teleportation, the numbers had grown to this point.
"Well, it can't be helped. The other hidden villages didn't have that much spare food or s.p.a.ce either, so we couldn't have them take the rest in," said Lissana.
"And each of the races created by Vida have different biological functions. Even if it were temporary, forcing them to live in the same community as other races that they are not accustomed to would certainly cause trouble," added Zod. "If there is not enough food in Talosheim, then there is the option of offering food from Item Boxes. Of course, since we are having my lady and child protected, we would not want to burden Talosheim any more than we already are, but… it cannot be helped."
"Come to think of it, are Rachel and Sieg inside the carriage?" asked Schneider.
"Yes, we are letting them rest, of course. They are very important, after all," said Zod.
Rachel was the woman at the center of Emperor Marshukzarl's secret plan; he had impregnated her, had her memories altered and then sent to the Storm of Tyranny. Sieg was the baby who had been born as a result, bearing Marshukzarl's blood.
As for why Zod referred to them as his 'lady and child'… they really were. Those who knew that he was a Pure-breed Vampire were surprised by this, however. The Dark Elf elder and the elders of the other races created by Vida had opened their eyes wide in shock, having thought that Vampires typically did not feel a desire to create families.
Zod was said to have been surprised in turn, saying, "Is that how Vampires are?"
He had been sealed away during the battle between Vida and Alda a hundred thousand years ago, and had only been unsealed by Schneider and his companions a few years ago. Thus, to him, it felt like it had only been a little over a hundred years since he was transformed from a human to a Vampire. As Vampires were immortal, this was not a particularly long period of time. Thus, it seemed that Zod was not aware of the detailed changes to his biology such as a decrease in s.e.xual desire.
On top of that, after the world was laid to waste by the Demon King Guduranis a hundred thousand years ago, he had been busy with restoring the world and creating nations for the new races. Now, after joining the Storm of Tyranny, he had been focused on how much the times had changed since he was last conscious. Thus, he'd had no time to think about such things.
There was no particularly special reason that Zod had become married to Rachel. He had simply happened to have many opportunities to talk to Rachel, and their personalities had been compatible. They had become married as a result of that mutual attraction. Once married, it was only natural for the wife to desire her husband, and it was only reasonable that the husband responded to those desires.
Through these events, Zod had become Sieg's stepfather and given Rachel a second child who was now growing in her womb.
Considering all these events, one could suspect this was all a part of the emperor's conspiracy - perhaps, after Rachel's memories were erased by Marshukzarl's subordinates, she had been brainwashed with a command to get close to the members of the Storm of Tyranny.
But Zod was not bothered by this idea. If thinking that way was overthinking, then there was no point in thinking it. And even if it were true, it would be foolish to deny his feelings of love over the conspiracy of an emperor who would lose his throne in less than ten years.
"I will repeat this once more - my wife is very important. We must still keep that incident a secret," said Zod.
The truth was still being concealed from Rachel and the young Sieg.
"I know. I can imagine that any child of yours could probably survive a Dragon stepping on it, but that doesn't apply for Rachel. But I've already told Vandalieu everything," said Schneider.
Indeed, the truth about Rachel and Sieg could not be kept from Vandalieu, the ruler of the nation that they were about to immigrate to.
If they did, it could spark a war in the future. If it was a royal or n.o.ble figure in an ordinary nation, then Schneider wouldn't feel the need to reveal everything, but Vandalieu was the Holy Son of Vida, the G.o.ddess that he worshipped… someone who had interacted with the G.o.ddess directly.
Schneider had decided that it was best to reveal everything honestly and gain Vandalieu's trust rather than keep things a secret.
"Of course, I am prepared… though I think that there will not be any problems. He is the Holy Son of our G.o.ddess, after all," said Zod.
"Yeah. I don't know if he's broad-minded or just indifferent, but I don't think he'll care about Sieg's bloodline," said Dalton rea.s.suringly, being the only one who had actually met Vandalieu in person.
But that wasn't just his own impression; there was a reason behind his words. Although Vandalieu had taken revenge on Thomas Palpapek, the marshal of the Mirg shield-nation, he had not laid a hand on his wives, children, subordinates or servants. In fact, Vandalieu had not even killed the knights who had been protecting Thomas; he had simply forced them to lose consciousness and erased their memories.
It did appear to be open-mindedness that stemmed from indifference rather than kindness, but a glimpse of his tolerant mindset could be seen.
Of course, there was a large difference in the position and value of the wives and children of an earl of a va.s.sal nation and the emperor's son. But even taking that into account, Dalton was optimistic.
"And if that's no good, then it can be resolved by Zod's enticement," Dalton added.
He knew that Vandalieu had a strong obsession with muscles. Zod was an incarnation of muscle itself; if he were to make requests while pumping his muscles up, Vandalieu would likely be happy to let some things slide.
… The truth was that Vandalieu worshipped Zod and referred to him as 'Zorcodrio-sama,' but Dalton and his companions didn't know that yet.
"To think that the time would come when these muscles can be used in negotiations but not by intimidation… Dalton-dono, Schneider-dono, I shall be counting on your support if I need it," said Zod.
"Yeah, leave it to us!" said Dalton.
"… It kind of makes me lose confidence, even though we're not trying to seduce him or anything," Lissana muttered, narrowing her eyes.
"I don't know how I feel about it, either," said Merdin.
Lissana and Merdin were of two different types, but both were beautiful women with more than enough charm to beguile men. However, they could not be described as the appropriate type to seduce Vandalieu.
"I'll pa.s.s. Thanks to my age, I've become as thin as I was in my twenties and thirties, and n.o.body wants to see the muscles of a weakened man in his fifties anyway," said Schneider.
It wasn't that he was being unnecessarily considerate towards Lissana and Merdin; this was what he truly thought.
"Wait, it's not like that," he added hastily, seeing his companions giving him exasperated looks. "I'm telling you, I started wearing smaller clothes in my forties!"
"That's because you tightened your muscles, not because they deteriorated!" Lissana retorted immediately. "You just got rid of the excess muscle ma.s.s to get a more functional body! It's fine to be interested in your body's health, but stop pretending that you're old! Come on, everyone, give me some support here!"
"Indeed. But Lissandono, it seems that the other party has arrived," said Zod, pointing at a spot where a black, disc-shaped object appeared.
"Eh? This is…"
Lissana and her companions immediately recognized this as a hole that had been opened in s.p.a.ce.
Someone was about to cross s.p.a.ce and appear there.
"… It is my first time meeting you, 'Thunderclap' Schneider, and peerless spiritual mage Dalton. And it is an honor to meet you again after a hundred thousand years, Pure-breed Vampire Zorcodrio-sama," said a pleasant-sounding but flat-toned voice.
In the next moment, an Elf girl emerged from the hole.
Her flat figure was the complete opposite of Lissana's sensual figure. She had blonde hair, white skin and appeared frail; she resembled a helpless doll.
Schneider and his companions sensed that this girl was no ordinary being.
"You're an evil G.o.d?" said Schneider. "The fact that you've met Zod before means that you're one of the ones who converted to Vida's side, like Lissana."
"No, wait a moment, Schneider-dono," said Zod. "Though it may be an evil G.o.d who joined Vida's forces, there were none who used the -sama honorific with my name. Who are you?"
"Forgive me for not introducing myself. I am Gufadgarn, the evil G.o.d of labyrinths. I have been instructed by my lord Vandalieu to meet with you on this occasion," said the Elf girl.
Zod and Lissana froze for a moment.
"What?! You are Gufadgarn, the one who stood behind Zakkart-dono?!" Zod exclaimed in shock. "It is difficult to believe, but this Mana is unmistakably…!"
"EEEEEEEH?! Why have you taken that form, and why are you using -sama with Zod's name?! You almost never spoke with anyone but Zakkart!" said Lissana.
Their words revealed how Gufadgarn was thought of a hundred thousand years ago. Neither of them had been particularly close to Gufadgarn back then, but… even so, they vividly remembered her devotion to Zakkart, which had been to the point of peculiarity.
"Because I must show respect for the one who is revered by the great Vandalieu Zakkart," said Gufadgarn. "So, this one's - I mean, you must be Jurizanapipe. Sorry for not realizing it right away."
Gufadgarn had never actually talked to Zod and Lissana before, so she only remembered their names and faces. Thus, she didn't actually feel much emotion at meeting them again.
"Revered, you say… He really loves muscles that much? Wait, you said 'Zakkart.' Has he truly become the successor?" asked Lissana.
"Hmm… I am starting to feel a little pressure," said Zod. "But what is the reason that you have taken that form?"
If there was time, Gufadgarn would have liked to answer their questions and gloat in explaining that this vessel satisfied Zakkart's desires, but it seemed that she had decided against keeping the thousand hopeful immigrants waiting any longer in the middle of the night.
"Explanations can wait until after we send the immigrants off. Now then, if you could please line up and enter this Teleportation Gate to Talosheim in turn," she said.
What awaited them beyond the black hole in s.p.a.ce, the Teleportation Gate, was the plaza of the new urban area that Vandalieu had hurriedly built for the hopeful immigrants.
Overall, it was still incomplete, but over half of the buildings were already livable, with the minimum amount of required furniture installed.
"Hopeful immigrants, we will now give an explanation! Those with less than perfect health, please come forward!" said a serious-looking Succubus in a loud voice - it was Iris.
"There are more Ghouls than I thought. Everyone, I know that you are curious about the city, but you must wait in this plaza for now!" said a young-looking Ghoul woman with a strange staff and a third eye on her forehead - Zadiris.
There were several other members of Vida's races giving directions as well.
"I see… This is amazing. It seems that he wasn't joking when he told us to bring a thousand or two thousand," said Schneider, just as surprised and impressed by the city's buildings as the hopeful immigrants.
Every building was well-built; they were the kinds of buildings that real estate agents would trade at high prices in human society. They weren't like mansions that n.o.bles would live in, but they appeared to be of a good quality and size that the average middle-cla.s.s human would live in.
"We can't see the whole city from here, but it looks like there wouldn't be any problems in bringing ten thousand people here, never mind one thousand," said Schneider.
These buildings had been constructed after Schneider had sent a messenger with word that there were hopeful immigrants; the speed at which they had been constructed was truly impressive. Many of the houses looked similar to each other so there was not much individuality, but that was because a single person had been directing the construction.
"… By the way, Gufadgarn, why are you not saying anything? What about our explanation?" said Lissana.
Indeed, Gufadgarn had stood like a silent decoration after the Teleportation Gate had closed.
"I was listening to your words of praise for my lord and enjoying a sense of satisfaction, Jurizanapipe," she replied in a matter-of-fact tone.
"I-I see. You have changed in a lot of ways… or have you? Or were you always this kind of person?" Lissana wondered.
"The explanation will be given by my lord. I recommend that you listen respectfully," said Gufadgarn, her expressionless eyes ignited by an enraptured light.
Vandalieu was there, in the direction that she was looking, floating into a chair with what seemed to be Telekinesis.
"Now then, His Majesty Vandalieu Zakkart, Emperor of Talosheim, will begin an information session!" said Iris, introducing him.
Vandalieu sat limply in his chair. He was a white-haired boy with wax-like skin, about ten years of age. His crimson and bluish-purple eyes were completely lifeless, like those of dead fish.
Ordinarily, such a boy would not have any majestic presence or charisma.
But the members of Vida's races who hoped to immigrate to Talosheim saw something else in him.
"So, this is the Holy Son of Vida… the Eclipse Emperor!"
They felt a powerful presence coming from him, as if some powerful being had descended upon the world right in front of them. But they were not being overwhelmed; it was as if they were being gently enveloped… like a sense of security from being submersed in pleasantly warm water.
It seemed that the extent to which this effect was felt differed from individual to individual - the Beast-people, Dark Elves and Drakonids seemed to merely experience an uplifted feeling, but the races originating from monsters, like the Kijin and Lamia, were gazing at him pa.s.sionately with flushed cheeks.
The Ghouls' reactions were particularly noticeable.
"I heard stories, but… this is the Ghoul Emperor!"
They were on their knees, howling with emotional tears flowing from their eyes and clutching their pounding chests.
And even Zod, who became an Abyssal Pure-breed Vampire after drinking Blood Potion, had a similar reaction.
"Wh-what in the world is this…!" he exclaimed.
His muscles pumped up unconsciously in excitement, and he turned to gaze at Vandalieu with a mixture of bewilderment and affection.
"Oi, Zod, what's the matter?!" Dalton asked in surprise at his normally composed companion appearing to be in a combat-ready state.
But it seemed that his voice didn't reach Zod at all.
"I have had three parents up until now. My parents that gave birth to me as a human, and the True-Ancestor-sama who allowed me to become a Pure-breed Vampire," said Zod. "However, I feel the same connection with that person… I feel his blood flowing through me. I knew that there would be some effect because I have heard of his t.i.tles, but to think that it would be to this extent…"
Zod had been sealed away for a hundred thousand years, but he had still spent over a hundred years living in freedom. More importantly, although he was not a pure G.o.d as he possessed a physical body, he was a demi-G.o.d comparable to Elder Dragons and true Colossi.
There was no way that he could have predicted that he would be seeing a boy who had been born only a decade ago as his parent.
"Is it really to that extent? I just kind of get a bit of a feeling that he's pretty amazing," said Merdin, the least-affected out of the Storm of Tyranny members.
Zod was too overcome with emotion to answer, so Lissana answered instead.
"Yes, he's quite the figure. It's not just the effects of his t.i.tles and his Guidance; it's his Mana… and his soul. Honestly, I'm mesmerized," she said.
Lissana was a reincarnated evil G.o.d; she could sense Vandalieu's Mana and the shape of his soul.
The bottomless black Mana, and a soul that looked grotesque even to her. And yet, Vandalieu was very calm.
Lissana had heard that Vandalieu had absorbed several fragments of the Demon King, but the impression she got from him was far different from the Demon King Guduranis. She would bow her head to Guduranis out of a fear of his power, but Vandalieu… had a comforting air about him.
"If I never met Schna, I would have become his, I think," Lissana concluded.
"Really?!" Merdin exclaimed in surprise.
"Indeed. This is a part of Vandalieu's greatness," said Gufadgarn, who was also mesmerized and listening to Vandalieu's explanation.
"I can't see the shape of his soul, but this is all a part of the 'Guidance,' I guess. Guiders are pretty amazing," said Schneider, having been impressed even before Lissana's explanation.
Schneider was an S-cla.s.s adventurer whose name was known not only in the lands ruled by the Amid Empire, but the entirety of the Bahn Gaia continent; he possessed the t.i.tles of 'Thunderclap' and 'Person Launcher.' And yet, he had not gained a single Guider-type Job.
It wasn't that he had deliberately avoided gaining a Guider Job. They had never appeared on his list of available Jobs, so he had been unable to become a Guider.
He had achieved great things, both as the S-cla.s.s adventurer he showed himself to be to the public and as the Vida believer he was in secret. He had slain an uncountable number of monsters and saved a countless number of people.
Even so, he had been unable to become a Guider.
In his spare time, he had investigated Guider-type Jobs.
He already possessed an overwhelming amount of power, so it wasn't that he had aimed to become a Guider, but he had become slightly interested in this Job type that he had been unable to acquire. Fortunately, it had been simple to acquire clues regarding these Jobs, as Lissana and Zod had been acquainted with Zakkart and the other champions.
The answer that Schneider had come to as a result was that Guiders were, quite literally, those who guided others.
It was a Job that could be acquired by those who stood at the forefront with an objective, preached their ideas and managed those who followed them.
Based on this, he could understand why all seven of the champions had been Guiders. As champions who had come from another world, they had stood at the forefront with the objective of restoring peace, and their ideas were very novel to the people of this world. And the champions who had survived the war against the Demon King - Bellwood, Nineroad and Farmaun - had established their own nations and organizations afterwards.
The other Guiders whose tales were told in legends were much the same. They were different from Schneider.
He had fought on the frontlines with the objective of protecting Vida's races, but his public image was a false one, and he had never preached anything. He had never managed others, either.
It was in his nature to be an adventure-loving person who worked both on the surface and behind the scenes.
"If I had led Vida's believers and the members of her races in a revolutionary war against the empire, then maybe I could have become a Guider," said Schneider.
"Wow, that doesn't suit you," Lissana muttered immediately. "Did you really intend to do something like that?"
Schneider gave a bitter smile. "Well, if I never met you and Zod, and if Vandalieu couldn't do that himself, then that would have been my final goal. There's a limit to how much I can protect Vida's races behind the scenes, and who knows what'd happen after I grow old and die. With that being the case, I'd have to do as much work as I can before leaving this world as an old soldier."
A giant rebellion against the Amid Empire sounded interesting, but it was something that Schneider would have liked to avoid if possible. No matter how things unfolded, it would cause far too much bloodshed.
Before he was cornered and forced to make that decision, Schneider had met the immortal evil G.o.d Lissana and Vampire Zod, and it was fortunate that Vandalieu had appeared, someone who could build a nation for Vida's races far better than he could.
"… No, you're unaging as well, aren't you? It's in your Status as a Unique Skill, right?" said Lissana.
"No, that 'Unaging' probably just means that I look young. I mean, I've got white hair and all, you know," said Schneider.
"Lissana, just give it up. I'm sure this is just a part of who Schneider is," said Merdin.
"No, Merdin! If we give up, it's over!"
I'm blessed with good women in my life, Schneider thought as he waited for Vandalieu's information session to finish.
"I'll be in your care like an old person too, young one," he murmured.
I'll never forget this debt, and I won't spare any effort to help. I'll risk my life to fight the Amid Empire and the Church of Alda… even Alda himself. But I'm not suited to politics. I feel bad for leaving the troublesome parts to you, but my back's been hurting lately so I'll count on you, he thought.
《The Levels of the Superhuman Strength, Dark Demon Creator Path Enticement, Guidance: Dark Demon Creator Path, Strengthen Subordinates, Enhanced Body Part (Hair, Claws, Tongue, Fangs), Bloodwork, Golem Creation, Materialization and Group Manipulation Skills have increased!》
The information session proceeded smoothly.
Gufadgarn possessed the ability to cast Teleportation Gate, which opened a gate in s.p.a.ce that remained open continuously, allowing the transportation of large numbers of people. On top of that, she was already acquainted with Lissana and Zod. Thus, Vandalieu had asked her to go and welcome the hopeful immigrants.
Legion's Teleportation required pa.s.sengers to be in contact with them, and while Dalton had already met Legion before, Vandalieu had imagined that this would be too much of a shock to the hopeful immigrants.
And once they arrived, he had Iris, Zadiris, Basdia and other members of Vida's races there to provide comfort to the hopeful immigrants, and then he conducted the information session himself. They were probably still not accustomed to the presence of monsters and Undead, so Vandalieu had them working in other places where they wouldn't be seen.
With this plan, the first information session finished without any major problems. After that, housing was allocated, immigrants' names were taken to be placed on the family register tomorrow, food and other necessities were distributed, and guidance sessions were held to have the new immigrants become accustomed to the monsters and Undead, as well as the humans… those who had come from the Amid Empire and Mirg shield-nation.
This had already been done many times, so things would probably be fine this time round as well.
But the simple act of sitting was very tiring for Vandalieu, so he would have liked to have someone else lead the information session… but he had not taken into account that he was the only person suitable to do it.
General Chezare and Lieutenant-general Kurt are former n.o.bles of the Mirg shield-nation, and the majority of the other civil officials are Undead or former n.o.bles of the Amid Empire like Cuoco… my nation has an imbalance in the people running it, Vandalieu thought.
It was unknown as to whether the members of Vida's races immigrating to Talosheim would know the faces of Chezare and Kurt, and Cuoco and the rest had certainly not oppressed Vida's races like the other n.o.bles of the Amid Empire. However, it was certainly possible that they would be hated by the members of Vida's races who had lived in hiding in lands ruled by the empire, so meeting them face-to-face right away was out of the question.
That was true even if Dalton and the others had explained to them beforehand that Talosheim had accepted humans who had lived in the Amid Empire and the Mirg shield-nation.
And finally, after certain things were taken care of such as the Storm of Tyranny introducing themselves, apologizing for failing to help Vandalieu because they misinterpreted Vida's Divine Message, giving him the sealed Demon King fragment that they had captured alive… the explanation of why Gufadgarn was in his current form… Vandalieu finally met Sieg, Zod's stepson.
"So, is this Sieg?" he asked.
"Yeah. His ears aren't really pointed, so I never noticed," said Schneider.
Zod, who had taken the sleeping Sieg from Rachel, quietly lowered his head with a fatherly expression on his face. "I ask of you a merciful decision," he said.
"I don't mind," said Vandalieu. "He is Sieg, your son, Zorcodrio-sama. Nothing more, nothing less."
He'd heard the details beforehand, so he wasn't surprised now. He accepted the quietly-sleeping infant.
It was just as Schneider and Dalton had expected. Though Vandalieu would not spare any mercy for Marshukzarl himself, he did not feel any hatred towards Marshukzarl's blood relatives… not for the woman whose memories had been altered, nor for the baby that had been born as a result of the conspiracy.
In fact, he felt sympathy for them, knowing that they would face hardships going forward.
"If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know. If it's within my power to do so, I'll do my best," said Vandalieu. "So… another two of those, please."
"Of course. If you are happy with this, then I shall give you another hundred or a thousand," said Zod.
Vandalieu's kindness was certainly not because Zorcodrio, a user of Muscle Technique, had promised to give him his handprints.
At that moment, Sieg made a small noise and opened his eyelids. It seemed that he had been woken up. His vacant gaze wandered, and Vandalieu and the others came into his view.
"Mmm… Va -?!"
The moment he saw Vandalieu and his spirit clones, his eyes opened as widely as they could, and he pulled his head backwards. It was as if he were trying to reflexively get away from Vandalieu.
"Oh, it seems that we have woken him up. There, there, there is nothing to be afraid of," said Zod, hastily scooping Sieg up in his arms to comfort him.
"That's strange. This little guy is usually pretty brave and isn't scared of anything," said Merdin. "Well, I suppose it's pretty surprising to wake up and see a bunch of faces that all look the same and you don't recognize."
Vandalieu's harsh growing pains were still ongoing, so his body was being supported by several of his spirit clones.
"Am I really that scary…?" Vandalieu mumbled in shock.
"Well, I don't know about scary, but… it's pretty surprising. Your faces are all the same, after all. I'm sure he'll get used to you soon enough," said Schneider, choosing his words carefully.
After all, Sieg was the stepson of Zod… an Abyssal Pure-breed Vampire. He would soon become an older brother to a Dhampir. There would be plenty of occasions where he would see Vandalieu in the future, and not just because Vandalieu was Zod's fan.
"… You're right. Well, for now, let's go and test whether I can absorb a rampaging fragment of the Demon King without killing its host, since you went to the trouble of capturing it alive," said Vandalieu.
"Yeah! I'm glad you're actually putting it to use," said Schneider.Name: Schneider Age: 58 years old t.i.tle: Thunderclap, n.o.ble Slayer, King of Tyranny, Dragon Slayer, Lady Killer, Person Launcher, Seed-Provider, Savior, Son-in-law of the G.o.ddess, One who is loved by Alda, Evil G.o.d Slayer, Self-proclaimed Old Man, False Saint, Dark Continent Survivor Level: 58 Job: Fist G.o.d Job history: Apprentice Warrior, Warrior, Unarmed Fighter, Mage, Magic Fighter, Martial Artist, Light-Attribute Mage, Berserker, Dragon Fist Warrior, Fist Saint, Kicking Spearman, Adventurer, Super Warrior, Super Magic Fighter Attributes: Vitality: 175,470 Mana: 119,163 Strength: 27,525 Agility: 35,344 Stamina: 30,092 Intelligence: 6,871 Pa.s.sive skills: Status Effect Resistance: Level 10 All Attributes Resistance: Level 10 Augmented Vitality: Very Large Increased Attack Power while Unarmed: Very Large Detect Presence: Level 8 Extreme Endless s.e.xual Stamina: Level 1 Physical Resistance: Level 3 Augmented Attribute Values: Adventuring: Level 10 Self-Enhancement: Adventuring: Level 10 Rapid Healing: Level 10 Increased Mana Recovery Rate: Level 4 Active skills: G.o.d Fist Technique: Level 7 Dagger Technique: Level 10 Throwing: Level 3 Surpa.s.s Limits: Level 10 Dismantling: Level 5 Armor Technique: Level 10 Silent Steps: Level 7 No-Attribute Magic: Level 1 Mana Control: Level 8 Life-Attribute Magic: Level 10 Light-Attribute Magic: Level 10 Wind-Attribute Magic: Level 3 Coordination: Level 10 Magic Fighter Technique: Level 5 Cooking: Level 2 No-Sword Technique: Level 3 No-Spear Technique: Level 3 No-Axe Technique: Level 1 No-Club Technique: Level 1 No-Halberd Technique: Level 1 High-Speed Thought Processing: Level 2 Chant Revocation: Level 1 Familiar Spirit Descent: Level 2 Unique skills: Accelerated Growth: Attribute Values True Warrior Unaging Vida's Divine Protection Zantark's Divine Protection Farmaun's Divine Protection Tiamat's Divine Protection ヴ■■■■■'s Divine Protection [Va]
The 'Thunderclap' Schneider, an S-cla.s.s adventurer of the Amid Empire and secretly a believer of Vida. He is a human. After becoming an adventurer, he has worked on both fronts for over forty years.
The variety of t.i.tles he possesses reflects his complicated background. He was already an cla.s.s adventurer when he acquired the t.i.tle of 'Thunderclap,' and his activity became more radical since then.
There was a n.o.bleman who killed slave children in public, and Schneider killed that n.o.bleman in public as well, gaining the 'n.o.ble Slayer' t.i.tle. He then continuously overwhelmed the soldiers, knights and adventurers who tried to arrest him bare-handed, avoiding arrest while making no attempt to escape, and this earned him the 'King of Tyranny' t.i.tle. Emperor Marshukzarl ordered him to slay an Elder Dragon to atone for his crime, and by accomplishing this, he earned the 'Dragon Slayer' t.i.tle.
Schneider also possesses the 'One who is loved by Alda' t.i.tle, but that is because he disguises himself as a believer of Alda on the surface, and because the Pope of the Great Church of Alda received a Divine Message warning of imminent danger threatening Schneider… But the truth behind this is that Schneider was being marked as a dangerous individual, and the Pope had misinterpreted the Divine Message of "He is dangerous" as meaning, "He is in danger."
Schneider finds the t.i.tle convenient for hiding who he truly is, but he is extremely reluctant to have it.
The 'Son-in-law of the G.o.ddess' t.i.tle represents his faith in Vida and his value as a seed-provider.
TLN: The t.i.tle is kind of difficult to translate. It refers to the fact that he has had children with members of Vida's races.
The 'False Saint' t.i.tle is something that spread among Vida's races as they noticed the irony that he was pretending to be a believer of Alda.
Schneider prevents this t.i.tle from being detected by wearing a t.i.tle-concealing Magic Item when he is working in the Amid Empire.
When he first became an adventurer, he was living in poverty, and after he purchased armor, he found himself out of funds to purchase weapons. Thus, he decided to learn Unarmed Fighting Technique. As a result, he noticed that he had a talent for it and acquired many Jobs related to unarmed combat. He frequently uses light-attribute magic to make his public image of being a believer of Alda more convincing.
He has acquired many superior Skills such as G.o.d Fist Technique, a superior version of the Unarmed Fighting Technique Skill. He also possesses the No-Sword Technique, which is a superior version of the Swordsmanship Skill that represents the fact that he wields no weapon. He also possesses other similar superior Skills such as No-Spear Technique.
Though he is a human, he possesses the Rapid Healing, Physical Resistance and Unaging Skills as a result of having bathed repeatedly in the blood of a dying Elder Dragon.
The reason his Attribute Values are higher than Heinz's even though they are both S-cla.s.s adventurers is because of the Unique Skill called 'Accelerated Growth: Attribute Values' and because he has spent long years fighting on the frontlines of battlefields.
However, the truth is that he had been stuck behind a thick developmental barrier until recently. This is because he had not gained a single divine protection, and because he already possessed extraordinary, superhuman power. There is also the fact that in human society, there are few places where adventurers of cla.s.s and above can earn enough experience to progress… Any place that frequently sp.a.w.ned monsters that cla.s.s adventurers would struggle to defeat would not be a suitable place to live for anyone who is not an cla.s.s adventurer.
Up until now, Schneider has pushed past his limits through feats such as defeating fallen Elder Dragons, but evil Elder Dragons do not appear very frequently, so he has always thought that his 'getting old' was one of the reasons for his developmental barrier.
Furthermore, Jurizanapipe, the evil G.o.d of degeneration and intoxication, was reincarnated as the Elf Lissana, transforming from a true G.o.d to a demi-G.o.d in the process. Thus, she was unable to give Schneider her divine protection.
But now, after Vandalieu freed Vida from her seal and Schneider met Zantark, Farmaun and Tiamat in person on the Dark Continent, he has gained several divine protections all at once. He even acquired another mysterious divine protection immediately after meeting Vandalieu.
With this, he has overcome his developmental barrier.