On this day, tears of blood fell from every statue of Yupeon, the god of ice serving Peria, the goddess of water and knowledge, in the Bahn Gaia continent and throughout the rest of the world. Those who had received Yupeon’s divine protection heard the ‘scream of a god’ and lost consciousness.
The cause of that was Vandalieu breaking and destroying the soul of Ice Age, the magic spear of ice. But as the Ice Age’s consciousness never returned to Yupeon’s main body, even Yupeon who had lost a clone of himself did not know this.
The people feared this omen, worrying that it signaled the return of the Demon King or the second resurrection of the fallen champion Zakkart, and the clergymen of every region became very busy.
A heavy atmosphere had fallen upon the audience chamber that was well-organized despite its cleaning being incomplete.
Most of those who had challenged the Dragon Golem excluding the Stone Golems still remained here.
Bone Wolf, Bone Bird and the other Undead animals had turned into a Bone Chimera that let out a strange cry of multiple beasts at once.
The only ones who weren’t here were Vandalieu, the one who had repaired this audience chamber, and Bone Man whose spine and hips had been crushed and was still unable to move on his own.
They were still beneath the royal castle.
In order to find out whether the destroyed resurrection device could be repaired or not.
After Vandalieu destroyed Ice Age’s soul, everyone received an incredible quantity of Experience Points that even Borkus had never earned in a single battle before. The Dragon Golem made of Orichalcum by a goddess that had been challenged by the S-class-destined Divine Spear of Ice Mikhail and his companions. It had remained standing even after claiming the lives of all of Mikhail’s companions and inflicting a fatal wound on Mikhail himself.
Because they had dealt the final blow to such a foe, everyone gained an enormous amount of Experience Points.
As a result, Vigaro had become a Rank 7 Ghoul Tyrant, the highest, most powerful type of Ghoul that had been historically witnessed. His enormous body was now over two and a half meters tall, matching the height of the Titans, and he had grown two additional arms. He was a powerful, four-armed warrior.
Rita and Saria’s armor looked the same as before, but they had become Rank 6 High-Magic Armors and their Spirit Form skills had improved. They looked far more human than their previous log-like, vaguely-human-shaped bodies.
… Though Vandalieu would consider them to be like a full-body, white version of the silhouettes depicting the criminal in a way that their age and gender couldn’t be determined in mystery manga.
In fact, their Spirit Forms were bulging in various places; it was like some form of joke.
And the levels of the other members had increased as well. Bone Man, who wasn’t present here, had probably increased his Rank and Vandalieu’s Job level had likely increased significantly as well.
However, the atmosphere in here wasn’t a happy celebration of these facts.
“They sure are taking their time…”
Several hours had already passed, but there was no sign of Vandalieu returning. He hadn’t suffered any injuries other than giving Eleanora a little of his own blood, but he had expended a large amount of his Mana and his Surpass Limits skill had been active. There was no way that he wasn’t feeling fatigued.
However, nobody could suggest that they go to see what was happening.
Everyone could remember Vandalieu’s shock upon learning that the resurrection device had been destroyed.
Among everyone gathered in this place, Eleanora had known Vandalieu for the least amount of time, and as she had been sold by her parents when she was young, she had no fond memories of her family.
But she knew how much Vandalieu wished for the resurrection of his mother.
His mother had been killed while he was young. That alone isn’t unusual; it is an unhappy story one could hear anywhere. Even as the surviving child bears the large emotional wound, the sorrow must be put in the past in order to move on. Just as Eleanora had put the fact that she had been sold by her parents in the past in order to continue living.
Even she, who possessed an affinity for the time attribute, could not erase the past.
But Vandalieu-sama possesses power. So much power that he might be able to achieve the perfect resurrection of the dead that was impossible even for the goddess.
It might be possible. If he reached a hand out, it might reach it; if he tried his best, he might make it happen. That was why Vandalieu was not trying to put his mother’s death in the past.
In fact, he had almost reached it. Darcia’s resurrection.
But his efforts had been hindered and trampled underfoot for reasons that there was no way he could understand. It was terrifying to simply imagine his rage, shock and frustration.
Vandalieu-sama is someone who hates those that try to take happiness away from him. He feels anger towards them, he hates them, he curses them, he fears them. He feels true happiness at their ruin and takes comfort in their destruction.
Eleanora had felt this more powerfully than anything else when Vandalieu had destroyed the souls of Sercrent and the Subordinate Vampires who had tried to kill Tarea. That was why he had also destroyed the soul of Ice Age today.
But unlike when he had destroyed Sercrent, Vandalieu was likely unsatisfied with the destruction of Ice Age’s soul.
If I could comfort him, I would want to do so, but… I’m not scared, so why am I thinking these things?
Eleanora let out a sigh and placed a hand on her chest. This was the spot where Ice Age’s ice had pierced her, and the wound had healed without a trace due to Vandalieu’s magic and blood.
Before, she would have been scared if her life had been saved and she had not been of any use. She would have been terrified that she would be discarded for being useless and unnecessary.
But the emotion in her chest now was clearly something other than fear. A nausea-like discomfort and pain, as if her chest was being squeezed.
Do I want to comfort him because of these mysterious emotions? I have not felt the need to gain Vandalieu-sama’s favor through straightforward methods until now.
Even if Eleanora didn’t do such things, Vandalieu still treated her well. So just why?
“Is the Holy Son still underground?” asked Nuaza, who had entered the audience chamber while Eleanora was deeply reflecting on her inner feelings.
“Yes,” replied Zadiris. “He still has not come out.”
“I see… There was something that I wanted to apologize to him for,” said Nuaza.
“Are you talking about when you, me and the kid went underground two years ago?” Borkus, who had been silently frowning with the remaining part of his face, interrupted. “If so, I’m the one who needs to apologize, not you. I’m the one who asked him to find Zandia-jouchan and Jeena. If he had told me about the resurrection device beforehand and I'd thought about the possibility of Mikhail’s spear being an Artifact with its own mind… If I’d never lost to that bastard Mikhail two hundred years ago in the first place, if I’d broken that spear, things wouldn’t have turned out this way.”
When they met, Borkus had resisted Vandalieu’s Death-Attribute Charm. He could probably resist it even now if he tried.
But he had stopped resisting it of his own will. He had realized that doing so was meaningless.
A brat whose expressionless face made it impossible to tell what he was thinking or where he was looking.
That brat had brought the happiness of energetic, everyday life back to the previously-empty Talosheim.
While being given nothing in return.
Vandalieu could have received plenty of compensation if he had asked for it; for Borkus and the other Undead Titans, such compensation would have been a necessary price to pay.
The safe life they had in the city was because Vandalieu had repaired the walls; they were able to enjoy delicious food because he made flavorings using his magic; he had even repaired the enormous rooms in the royal castle.
The goodwill and respect he had received was only natural considering his actions, and though the title of ‘Holy Son’ was originally something that Nuaza had started using, it was now a fitting title for Vandalieu to have.
He still hadn’t recovered the corpses of Zandia and Jeena, but he had said that he would do so in the next few decades. His enemies would be the Pure-breed Vampires who would likely be impossible to defeat even with all the heroes of Talosheim gathered, so facing them within the next few decades could even be considered too early.
And now that Borkus had been on the verge of repay the debt that he owed to Vandalieu, it had become so distant again. How pathetic. How could he call himself an A-class adventurer when he couldn’t even complete the one job he needed to do after receiving all the rewards in advance?
“No, that is not it.”
However, it seemed that the thing Nuaza wanted to apologize to Vandalieu for was something else.
“Huh? Then what is it?” asked Borkus.
“I have willingly destroyed a part of the Church that the Holy Son was gracious enough to take the time and effort to restore. I have already apologized to Vida and Peria, so…”
“Destroyed?” Eleanora repeated. “Do you mean…?”
“The statue of Yupeon, the god of ice,” said Nuaza. “It had merged with the pedestal, so I carefully detached it and buried it in the ground.”
In many Churches, statues of gods other than the main god of the Church are enshrined. Not all gods have statues gathered in every Church, but even if Yupeon was a subordinate god, he had existed since one hundred thousand years ago.
Unlike Alda and his subordinates who were clearly the enemy, it wouldn’t have been strange for Yupeon’s statue to be in Talosheim’s Church of Vida.
Nuaza had buried that statue.
“I-is it alright for you to do something like that?” Though Saria didn’t breathe, she gasped and held her breath.
Though Zadiris and the other Ghouls wouldn’t have immediately understood as they had never built Churches themselves, statues of gods have a special meaning in this world.
This is a world where the existence of gods is known to be true, so an action such as Nuaza’s would be a literal display of a lack of fear towards the gods. The armies of the Amid Empire and its nations that worship Alda as its official religion often destroy statues of Vida, but that is because their god instructs them to.
However, there was no sign of hesitation in Nuaza’s mummified face.
“Of course. Yupeon has clearly declared through his follower in Ice Age that we are his enemies. However, we have not done anything to be ashamed of, nor have we been punished. So just as we are divine enemies to that god, it is only natural that we treat him as our enemy.”
That god regarded everyone here as enemies, including Vida who Nuaza and the others worshipped. So even if he was a subordinate god of Peria like Tristan, who had sired the Mer-people with Vida, there was no reason to hold back.
“However, it is a fact that I have buried and disposed of a statue that the Holy Son restored,” said Nuaza. “Incidentally, the sun has set and a considerable amount of time has passed. Should we not go and see what is happening?”
“Huh?” Borkus looked surprised. “Has it been that long?”
“Well, we can’t see the sun or the stars from this room,” Rita pointed out.
“I suppose Undead have a duller sense of time. But too much time has certainly passed,” Zadiris said in agreement.
“Alright, let’s go and see what’s happening,” said Vigaro.
Though they had been doubting how wise it would be to all go down together, now that there was an opportunity and because everyone was curious about how Vandalieu was doing, they all descended underground once more.
“Jyuuh? What is the matter, everyone?”
And then they encountered Bone Man before they reached the chamber.
“What about you, Bone Man-san?” asked Saria. “Did you have your bones repaired?”
“Yes. And I have a message from my lord.”
“A message?” Eleanora repeated. “What did Vandalieu-sama say?”
“He said, ‘I will be here for a while longer to investigate the device a little more. Also, I am hungry so please bring me some food. Thank you.’”
“… I’d thought that he wouldn’t eat or drink because of the shock, but it seems that he’s more composed than we thought,” said Vigaro.
“Alright, we’ll all be making a special dish for Bocchan!” Rita announced. “Everyone except me, that is!” she added.
“Rita, you are a maid, so you should at least learn to make simple dishes,” said Saria, scolding her.
“No, now that I think about it, the boy is the only one among us who knows how to cook properly,” Zadiris pointed out.
“I could manage if it’s just roasting meat,” said Eleanora.
“Even I could do that,” said Borkus.
Bone Chimera let out a cry.
If these women were on Earth, they would have been criticized for their lack of feminine skills.
Vandalieu slept properly at night, ate breakfast, lunch and dinner without skipping a meal and, of course, took baths.
After investigating the resurrection device for a month in this way, Vandalieu came to the conclusion that repairing it was possible, but impossible for now.
The resurrection device was truly something that had been made by the goddess Vida; even though Vandalieu had acquired the Alchemy skill, his skills were still average and he couldn’t make any sense of it at all. It was like a caveman who had just invented stone tools trying to hand-build a supercomputer out of semiconductors.
However, Vandalieu had the Golem Transmutation skill. With this skill that was capable of turning inanimate objects into Golems to change their shape freely, restoring the broken device to its original form was possible.
Ice Age’s ice had torn holes in the resurrection device and severed parts of it. But fortunately, the components hadn’t exploded or warped into a different shape, nor had any important parts been blown away completely. It was possible to return it to its original form.
However, the essential Golem Transmutation skill was not working on the components of the resurrection device.
Even with the use of Appraisal, Vandalieu couldn’t learn anything about the resurrection device’s components other than things like, ‘A mysterious alloy,’ and, ‘A mysterious gemstone.’ They repelled his Mana even more strongly than Orichalcum and refused to become Golems.
It was likely that either Orichalcum had been included as materials or they were made of some unknown god-made metal. This was a fantasy world of swords and magic, after all. Since Orichalcum existed, it wouldn’t be strange for Hihiirokane or other legendary divine metals to exist as well.
However, Vandalieu’s Golem Transmutation had leveled up after the battle with the Dragon Golem, and he had become able to make Orichalcum stay in a fixed shape after manipulating it. If Golem Transmutation increased in level even further, it might be possible to return this device to its original state one day
… It might be impossible even after the skill’s level reached its maximum, or the device might not function normally even after the shape of its components had been restored, however.
That was why Vandalieu wanted to find other ways of repairing the resurrection device other than leveling up his Golem Transformation skill or discover another way to resurrect Darcia.
Using Eleanora’s time-attribute magic to return the device to before it was destroyed… would be difficult, apparently.
“I was taken in by Birkyne because I have an affinity for the time attribute; if you look at it positively, this attribute is one that becomes great over time. If you look at it negatively, it is an attribute that fails to live up to its name and cannot accomplish anything great except when wielded by the absolute best of the best,” Eleanora explained.
The time attribute is the attribute ruled by Ricklent, the genie of time and magic, an attribute that does not exist in Origin. However, like the space attribute, there are few people or monsters with an affinity for it, and it does not have easily-understood effects like the other attributes.
Of course, once the skill reaches level 10, it would be possible to stop time, rewind it, look into the past and future and reach the limits of human knowledge.
However, a mage of Eleanora’s level could only accelerate time around herself to speed up her movements, or spend multiple hours to look several days into the past or a few seconds into the future.
“Even if I received Mana from you, Vandalieu-sama, it would be questionable as to whether I would be able to rewind time by even one second…”
Reassuring Eleanora that her apologies were unnecessary, Vandalieu tried to think of other methods.
If possible, a method that would definitely work would be to ask the goddess Vida who had made this device and her subordinates to repair it. She was the one who had built it, so it should be possible for her to repair it. And since she had been conducting research on how to resurrect the dead, it was possible that there were other similar devices outside of Talosheim.
The problem was that Vandalieu didn’t know where those would be.
It was said that Vida was lying dormant in the southern region of the Bahn Gaia continent after her defeat at the hands of Alda. But not only would it take time to search the region that made up a third of the continent’s land mass that was filled with Devil’s Nests inhabited by unknown, powerful monsters, it would also be too dangerous.
As for methods other than using the resurrection device, Vandalieu couldn’t think of any methods other than reading through the documents in the Mages’ Guilds and the kingdom’s archives in human societies and learning about the ancient past from Liches and the spirits of mages.
“In other words, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have no choice but to work hard and gather information at the same time,” Vandalieu told Darcia. “I’m sorry.”
The fifth summer of Vandalieu’s third lifetime had passed, and he was now five years old.
“Don’t worry about it; it isn’t your fault,” Darcia reassured him. “And if you wanted, I could even become an Undead…”
“No. And there is no vessel for you anyway, is there?”
If Darcia’s dead body was available, Vandalieu might have considered it. However, High Priest Gordan had made a display of burning her alive, so there was nothing remaining of it other than the small bone fragment that Darcia’s spirit currently resided in.
Recreating her entire body from just this bone fragment would be impossible even for Vandalieu.
“Hmm, then how about using a suit of armor and making me a Living Armor like Saria-chan and Rita-chan?” Darcia suggested.
“There are no suits of armor shaped like the ones that Saria and Rita are inhabiting readily available,” Vandalieu told her.
“N-no, I didn’t mean that I wanted armor shaped like theirs. I would like a nice-looking suit of armor, but those ones are a little…”
Vandalieu also felt little desire to recommend that Darcia inhabit a bikini armor or high-leg leotard armor, so he was happy to hear that she wasn’t enthusiastic about them.
… Though now that Vandalieu calmly looked back on it, when Darcia was alive, she had exposed more of her body than would normally be expected.