The Scylla guards, who could see in the dark, guided Vandalieu to the marsh that they used as a graveyard, where he dug up Orbia’s corpse.
“O wandering spirits,” Vandalieu said, reciting a fake incantation.
But it was actually Mud Golems created from the mud of the marsh with his Golem Transmutation skill that was digging up the corpse.
“It’s as if the mud of the marsh is alive!”
“So, Spiritualists can do these kinds of things as well.”
The Scylla guards held their breaths as the mud crawled and a mud-stained corpse surfaced. When they had been asked, they had explained that Spiritualists were rare here as well; there had been a few in the past, but there hadn’t been a Scylla Spiritualist in the last thousand years or so. That was why they never pointed out that this wasn’t the work of a Spiritualist. And fortunately, this allowed Vandalieu to use unknown skills while fooling them.
Vandalieu began the autopsy on Orbia’s corpse. But several days had passed since the Scylla funeral of burying her in the marsh had been conducted; the lingering memories had faded and Vandalieu wasn’t able to learn much… even if DNA and fingerprints were present, the technology to detect and compare them wasn’t there, so he hadn’t been expecting evidence like this to begin with.
However, Orbia’s corpse itself was in good condition. Decomposition had been suppressed; the state that it had been in when it was buried seemed to have been preserved. Vandalieu had the feeling that there had been cases on Earth where corpses buried in mud were discovered as mummies; it was possible that a similar thing was happening here.
But as Vandalieu removed the cloth wrapped around the corpse, he saw that it was in a state that could only be described as dreadful.
“This is quite terrible,” he said.
There were deep cuts all over the body, and the damage to the chest and lower body was particularly severe. Both breasts were in pieces, bearing no semblance to their original shape, and all of the tentacles of the lower half of the body had been severed.
And the holy symbol of Alda had been branded onto the body.
“Apparently, she was found tied to the trunk of a tree growing near the marsh and put on display in this state,” said one of the guards. “Most of the parts that were cut off were likely taken away by beasts; we couldn’t find them. Fortunately, other than that, they seemed to have only nibbled at her a little, but…”
Apparently, the breasts were a symbol of life for women who believed in Vida, and the tentacles on the lower half of the body were a symbol of Merrebeveil, the Scylla who became a goddess in the age of the gods.
In other words, the criminals were deliberately destroying the bodies of the Scylla in a way that would strip them of their dignity.
The symbol of Alda that had been branded into the body and the arrows that were still protruding from the corpse were apparently those used by the Amid Empire’s extermination forces.
If I was a detective on Earth, I would think it suspicious because there’s too much evidence gathered here, but…
This was clearly a murder that had been carried out to set an example and to provoke the Scylla. If the criminals had no intention of concealing their identities, there was no need to worry about there being too much evidence.
“So, do you think you can figure something out?” one of the guards asked.
“Well, I’ll try,” said Vandalieu.
He touched the corpse and extended his spirit form to scan the inside of the body.
No fatal wounds on the skull. The arrows didn’t hit the important organs… is it one of the cuts that caused her death?
To Vandalieu’s surprise, he found that the cause of death wasn’t clear. If there had been any vital reactions… if only he could figure out whether the wounds had been inflicted before death or afterwards.
“Have you managed to figure something out?”
“When you let us see Orbia again, honestly, we were quite relieved to see her looking like that. We’d thought that she might have gone through this horrible treatment while she was still alive. But it was good to see Orbia looking as lively as she was when she was alive…”
Vandalieu remained silent as the Scylla guards talked to him. They were distracting him a little, but thanks to them, he suddenly realized something.
“Now that you mention it, Orbia doesn’t remember anything about the moment she died…”
At first, Vandalieu had simply thought that Orbia’s memories had faded from the shock, but she remembered too little for this to be the case. Even when spirits lost their memories from psychological shock, their spirit forms would be distorted or they would display unnatural behaviors, such as being afraid of something. But Orbia hadn’t shown anything like this.
Vandalieu only had a few years’ worth of experience of observing living humans, but including the time from his second life, he had around thirty years of experience of observing the dead. There was no doubt about it.
So then, this meant that Orbia hadn’t forgotten due to psychological shock, but really did not remember anything about the moment of her death.
With that being the case, the first scenario that came to mind was that she had received a blow to her head that had knocked her unconscious instantly, but Vandalieu already knew that there were no deep wounds to the skull or brain.
Her head, undamaged. Cervical vertebrae, undamaged. The other organs are quite wounded, but they’re organs that wouldn’t cause instantaneous death. The lower half of the body contains nerves and muscles, but there aren’t any organs other than what appears to be sub-brains at the roots of the tentacles. Hmm, it is possible that I can’t find it because I don’t know much about Scylla biology?
“Excuse me,” Vandalieu said to the Scylla guards. “Please touch my head and stay still for a while.”
The two Scylla guards seemed confused, but they placed their hands on Vandalieu’s head as they were told.
“Your head? Like this?”
“We just need to stay still in this position?”
“Yes, just like that,” said Vandalieu. “This might feel unpleasant, but please bear with me.”
“Eh? Hah, guuuh?”
“S-something’s coming inside?!”
Vandalieu had his spirit form invade the Scylla guards’ bodies from the place they were touching him.
Since Scylla biology was even more different from the humans of Earth or Origin than Ghouls and Beast-people, he was having these two cooperate in helping him understand it.
Their upper bodies are fundamentally similar to Homo sapiens, just as I thought, along with their organ function… I suppose everything is the same other than the composition of their lungs? Umm, the stomach of the onee-san on the right is in rough shape. I’ll fix that.
Vandalieu gained a rough understanding of Scylla biology while performing a little service for the suffering Scylla guards in return, but he still hadn’t discovered any clues on the cause of Orbia’s death.
He investigated Orbia’s corpse one more time and found that there was one unnatural wound.
There was a small wound on Orbia’s left ring finger, as if it had been pricked by a needle.
It was a small, shallow wound, but… before Orbia’s death, she had received a ring from her secret lover.
“Just in case…”
Vandalieu read the memories that lingered on the corpse. Orbia must have been incredibly happy; her body hadn’t been preserved by cursed ice or magic, but a vivid image had still remained.
It was the vivid image of Orbia’s own left hand with a ring on her ring finger.
The secret lover was blurred and Vandalieu couldn’t see him properly, but he did manage to see the characteristic bangs.
“I can’t say for sure without seeing the ring as evidence, but… I have a feeling that a sickening truth is waiting for us,” said Vandalieu.
The lover who had given Orbia the ring was suspicious. It was highly possible that he had placed poison in the ring and poisoned Orbia.
However, perhaps because too much time had passed, Vandalieu couldn’t find the poison in Orbia’s corpse. Vandalieu couldn’t tell if the ring in question did indeed contain such a trick from the image of the lingering memory alone.
It was possible that Orbia’s lover was innocent and the wound on her finger was there by coincidence from a thorn pricking her or something that day. It was also entirely possible that the murderers, who had concealed Orbia’s cause of death, had simply fired arrows coated in extremely fast-acting poison.
Vandalieu didn’t know whether he should tell Orbia about this at this point in time. “What should I do?” he sighed.
“Ugh, what did… you do? I have a warm feeling in my stomach…”
“A-are you finished already? You’re finished… right?”
Vandalieu finally took notice of the two Scylla guards, who had lost their balance and collapsed onto the ground because of him.
Kurt Legston, a man from the Mirg shield-nation who was the commandant of this fort at the boundary of the Scylla territory, had been listening to Captain Mardock Zet’s report for a while with a gloomy look on his face. He was the third son of Earl Legston (though Earl Legston’s eldest son was the current head of the family, so as his younger brother, he was serving as a member of the branch family).
“So, you are currently continuing the plan of deliberately allowing the resistance to escape and then finding their base?” he asked.
“That is correct.” Mardock’s words were courteous, but he was looking at Kurt with a disagreeable expression.
He was a shrewd man. In fact, it was likely that he would complete his work flawlessly.
“The resistance members that we are targeting are unskilled; once we locate their base, we will likely exterminate them within a few days,” Mardock continued.
He was the commanding officer of the anti-resistance extermination squad, appointed by the headquarters of the army occupying the region. He was staying in this fort in order to exterminate the resistance organizations of the Sauron region that the army couldn’t handle.
The social position of Kurt’s family and his military rank were higher, but Mardock looked down on him for a certain reason. And though Kurt found this unpleasant, he had accepted it, knowing that it couldn’t be helped.
Mardock was someone whom the upper brass of the army expected results from; he was the captain of an exceptional unit that had already exterminated a number of resistance organizations.
On the other hand, though Kurt was the third son of the Legston family that once served as marshal of the Mirg shield-nation, he was a commander who had been demoted.
The expedition into the Boundary Mountain Range had ended in complete failure. The fact that his older brother Chezare had died was – considering that over half of the expedition army had returned as Undead – was the only happy thing about it, but Kurt himself hadn’t been involved in the expedition.
So officially, he had received no punishment. But for the reasons of having him take joint responsibility and tightening the discipline of the other men, Kurt had been sent away from his homeland and stationed at this unimportant fort.
This fort was one that had been constructed before the founding of the Orbaume Kingdom, when this region was known as the Sauron Kingdom. The statesmen at the time had acknowledged that the Scylla had the right to govern themselves, but they had decided to build a barrier and this fort just in case.
But as long as the Scylla race didn’t decide to start some reckless rebellion, the military value of this fort was essentially nil.
The Amid Empire’s noblemen that were in charge of foreign affairs were conducting negotiations, so such a rebellion was unlikely to happen.
In other words, Kurt was essentially a commanding officer for guards who had only been stationed here just in case.
He had received a letter from Marshal Palpapek back at home that read, “I want you to think of this as a vacation and endure this until things blow over.” So he believed that he would one day return to his original position and continued serving day after day without feeling dispirited, but…
Marshal-dono, I do not need any vacation that I must spend in the company of such an unpleasant man.
Kurt wanted a change of occupations right this instant, even if it meant being a low-ranking soldier on the frontlines, but he couldn’t let this show in his behavior so he endured it firmly. However, he finally let some unnecessary words slip from his mouth.
“But no matter how many of such people you capture, is it not rather meaningless if you do not capture those of the Reborn Sauron army and the Sauron Liberation Front?” he said.
But Mardock’s disagreeable smile grew deeper rather than stiffening.
“Indeed, the leader of the Reborn Sauron Army, Duke Sauron’s illegitimate son, Paris. His younger brother who is the vice-captain, Rick. The ‘Princess Knight’ of the Sauron Liberation Front. Capturing these people would be a most spectacular victory,” he said. “However, the important thing is for us to make our achievements of capturing members of the resistance known to the people of the Sauron region.”
This would cause the people’s hopes in the resistance to fade and decrease their desire to start rebellions.
The people needed to be taught that a remaining quiet and submissive was more beneficial to them than taking part in short-lived rebellions.
“And there has been information that resistance organizations have been gathering in this area,” Mardock continued. “It is likely that they do not want the Scylla to accept the terms we offered in negotiations. It is only a matter of time before my unit captures the duke’s illegitimate child and the Princess Knight and is given the honor of executing them,” he declared, the narcissism audible in his tone.
Kurt thought about how much he wanted Mardock to be beaten into silence as he spoke again. “That is quite fine. But this is an important time period, where our negotiations will either be accepted or refused. Even if it is to exterminate the resistance, I request that you be very mindful of the Scylla territory.”
Naturally, as a nobleman of the Mirg shield-nation, which was a vassal nation of the Amid Empire, Kurt was a believer of Alda. However, he was a military man before he was an Alda worshipper. The orders of his superiors were absolute.
Since those superiors had decided that the Scylla would be negotiated with rather than battled, he had no objections to obeying those orders. Interfering with them was out of the question.
That was why he feared that Mardock’s unit might make conspicuous moves too close to the Scylla territory and this would be interpreted by the Scylla as a threat, causing disagreements during the negotiations.
Of course, Mardock was a military man himself, belonging to the same army. There was no way that he was unaware of the negotiations with the Scylla, but Kurt was reminding him just in case.
“Oh? Could it be that the powerful military man of the Mirg shield-nation is timid when dealing with these octopus-women?” This was Mardock’s response. ‘Octopus-women’ was extremely insulting to the Scylla race.
These were not words that a military man should be speaking during these times of negotiation, much less on duty.
“Mardock-dono, I request that you show some earnest caution,” said Kurt.
He didn’t know what kind of personal values Mardock held or what he thought of the Scylla, but if he were to do something, it would be Kurt who would receive punishment for his subordinate’s actions. He tried to ask Mardock one more time, but the, “There is no need to worry,” he got in response completely failed to reassure him.
After Mardock left the room, Kurt, who was supposed to be younger than Mardock, had a bitter expression on his face and suddenly looked very old.
“If negotiations break down and the Scylla leave their territory to attack us, our army would win. But what are you planning to do if you anger them carelessly and they confine us in this fort? Can the higher-ups in the army not put a leash on these mad dogs that think of nothing but raising their own achievements?” he cursed.
The Scylla race had been living in the marshes in these mountains long before the foundation of the Sauron Kingdom that preceded the Sauron Duchy. They had turned the inconvenient, steep slopes into terraced rice fields and made their living through farming and gathering. They had made no attempts to expand their territory into the pleasant, flat land on the outside.
That was because this was the strategy that the Scylla had adopted in order to survive.
Nations had started holy wars led by the Church of Alda, invaded because they wanted more land and even started wars to try and capture the beautiful Scylla women as slaves.
Each time, the Scylla had fought in the marshes where human armies were at a disadvantage, and when they could not hold out even by fighting like this, the families had separated and fled into the mountains.
And then they would wait years or decades, and as the enemy failed to make use of the Scylla’s land, they would attack and take them back.
The first King Sauron had acknowledged the right for Scylla to rule themselves for the first time, welcomed the Scylla chief’s daughter at the time as his concubine and sent them his youngest son for marriage.
“The great-grandchild of the king’s youngest son is –”
“No. My newest husband, and Orbia over there.”
While Vandalieu was conducting the autopsy on Orbia’s corpse, Pauvina and the others were listening to the story of the Scylla race’s history, told by Periveil, the village’s chief.
“In other words, I’m the great-great-grandchild of the princess, and Orbia-san is my aunt,” said Privel.
“Wait a minute, your father isn’t my brother! We’re cousins! I’m not your aunt!” said Orbia.
Scylla were a race with long lifespans of four hundred years, so stories from a few hundred years ago were stories of their ancestors of a not-so-distant past for them.
And since they were a unisexual race of women, they married men of other races, but apparently half of their children were born as members of the father’s race. Girls were born as Scylla while boys were born as members of the father’s race; it was easy to understand. There were exceptions, but these were miraculously rare, occurring only once every few thousand years.
“Then Orbia-san and Privel-san, if these were normal times, you might be princesses,” said Princess Levia.
Periveil gave a cynical smile. “Well, if this land had continued being ruled by people like the first king,” she said.
The Scylla had been guaranteed their right to govern themselves and become blood relatives of royalty, but a few years after his death, the Scylla chief’s daughter who had been his concubine and the daughters she had given birth to were sent back to the Scylla territory by the new king’s order. Of course, they were forced to abandon their right to succeed the throne.
The Scylla race was still allowed to govern themselves after that, even after the Sauron Kingdom became the Sauron Duchy, but they were also forbidden from coming out of their territory.
Their existence was acknowledged, but nothing else was. That was the position the nation had taken.
“Thanks to that, the only people who come into our territory from the outside are merchant caravans with permits, adventurers who have received requests and civil officials who come to perform inspections,” said Periveil. “Some of them choose to stay, but this ends up quite inconvenient for them.”
“That can’t be!” Princess Levia exclaimed, looking shocked. “Wasn’t Vida’s religion flourishing in the Sauron Duchy?!”
“Were the important people influenced by Alda’s religion again?” asked Pauvina, who seemed puzzled.
“Well, even for Vida’s religion, there are a lot of things to it,” Periveil replied. “Though they’re not as bad as Alda, some sects discriminate against races such as Scylla and Lamias because we possess monster blood. Well, I get the feeling that the one who was chief when I was a child told me that it was for political reasons that they suddenly changed their attitude, not religious ones.”
During the rule of the second king, his influential supporters had hated the fact that the previous king’s Scylla princesses, who had long lifespans, would remain influential in the royal palace for a long time. Periveil vaguely recalled being told something like that.
The second king had insisted that it was not his intention to treat his sisters who had been born to different mothers and their entire race with callousness, and as proof, he had provided all kinds of assistance with the Scylla territory, but the third king and the kings after that had simply kept their distance from the Scylla.
There might have been movements that would have seen the Scylla who possessed royal blood restored to the throne, or assassinated instead out of fear, if a coup d’état or revolution had occurred. But the Sauron Kingdom’s rule had remained stable. An enormous enemy nation, the Amid Empire, had been founded, and the Sauron Kingdom became a duchy of the Orbaume Kingdom, but the changing of statesmen itself had been carried out smoothly.
The nation was occupied by the enemy now, but nobody saw the value in the king’s bloodline from hundreds of years ago, so the treatment of the Scylla hadn’t changed.
“And other than having to find husbands, this isn’t bad treatment for us,” said Privel.
“You’re trapped in here, but it’s not bad treatment?” Pauvina asked.
Privel nodded. “Yeah, there are some inconveniences from being trapped inside, but it’s been peaceful for hundreds of years.”
Members of the Scylla race were strictly forbidden from leaving their territory, but in exchange, they were not conscripted into the army. Even while the Sauron army had been fighting against the Amid Empire’s invading force, the Scylla had been living carefree lives here, cultivating rice and hunting crocodiles and fish.
The taxes became a little higher during times of war, but looking at it another way, that was the only burden the Scylla faced. Their workers were not being taken away from them, so all they needed to do was hunt and fish a little more than usual.
From the Scylla race’s point of view, this was perfect as they wouldn’t have to become involved in the restless society of humans, and as long as they paid their taxes, they could avoid being invaded as they had been in the past.
“Umm, do you not ever think that you would like to go out into the society outside?” Princess Levia asked.
“No, not really,” said Privel. “I’ve heard stories, but wouldn’t human-sized cities be inconvenient?”
“I am interested, but not enough to make the effort to actually go out there, I suppose,” said Periveil.
“That person said that he wanted to spend the rest of his life here, too… wait, that was supposed to be a secret!” said Orbia.
The Scylla didn’t have much interest in the outside world. They seemed to be a race that enjoyed the slow life.
The Sauron Duchy and the Scylla race’s territory had maintained a dry relation, like one between a landlord and a tenant, so even when the Amid Empire had occupied the duchy, they hadn’t felt any desire to fight for their neighbors.
Their attitude of treating it as someone else’s business, the attitude that Vandalieu had questioned, was the reason behind this. The Scylla didn’t care who ruled the Sauron region as long as no trouble was caused for them.
Incidentally, Kasim and the others who used to live in the cultivation villages had been completely oblivious to the above circumstances despite having been born in the Sauron Duchy. They had been people living in small villages and although they knew that there was a Scylla territory within the duchy, they didn’t know the details of the history between the Sauron Duchy and the Scylla race.
Things might have been different if they had done research on history books that could be found in the libraries of cities, but the only time that Kasim and his companions had visited a city was temporary, after they had already become refugees and fled to the Hartner Duchy.
“Recently, people of the resistance have been coming here often, though,” said Periveil. “They ask us to fight with them and give them food and other goods.”
But the Scylla apparently still had discussions with the resistance as well, because they would prefer the statesmen of the Sauron family who had acknowledged their right to rule themselves for a long time over those of the Amid Empire.
“It’s fine for us to secretly give them food and goods, let them move about in our territory and let them build hideouts here, but the other chiefs and I do not want to participate in the war,” said Periveil. “It isn’t as if we have no obligation at all, and these are the requests of fellow worshippers of Vida, but there seems little for us to gain even if we did risk the members of our tribes and win. Well, there are some chiefs who are saying that they can’t trust the Empire because of the incident that Vandalieu-kun is investigating for us right now, so I’m at a loss as to what to do as well.”
“Umm, Mother? Is it alright to say so much?” Privel asked. “This is the first I’ve heard of this –”
“Pauvina-chan and I are present as well; is this not information that you should not be revealing to outsiders?” Princess Levia agreed.
The two of them had been listening with keen interest, but now that she was revealing so much important information, they couldn’t help but point this out.
But then, with a completely cool expression, Periveil said something outrageous. “Isn’t it alright? Vandalieu-kun is going to become Privel’s husband, so we’ll all be family once that happens.”
“W-why are things coming to that?!” Privel demanded.
“His Majesty is Privel-san’s husband?!” Princess Levia exclaimed in shock.
“I mean, you did the courting ritual, didn’t you?” said Periveil.
“That’s true, but he’s still a child!” said Privel.
“Have you forgotten the shrine maiden’s vow? You swore to Merrebeveil that the courting ritual would be fulfilled, didn’t you?”
“Ah, that’s right!”
It seemed that for religious reasons, Privel had to take the partner chosen by the courting ritual as her husband.
“Van won’t live here,” said Pauvina. “He can visit from time to time, though. Also, there are a lot of people who love Van, you know?”
“There won’t be any problems if he can visit from time to time,” said Periveil. “Unlike humans and Beast-people, marriage between us Scylla stop about ten years after children are born. Also, we don’t have limits on the number of wives and husbands one can have, so there are no problems there, either.”
Scylla were a race made up entirely of women, so their husbands were always members of different races. This meant that their lifespans differed as well. Thus, the Scylla race cut off their marriages once their children were born and they grew up to a certain extent.
And it wasn’t as if the number of husband candidates was always equal to the Scylla population, so there were no limits to the number of wives and husbands one could have. That was left for individuals to decide.
But generally, the husbands never outnumbered the wives, so it was essentially a system where a single husband could have many wives.
And though they did cut their marriages short, couples did have feelings for each other, so as a result, many couples remained married until one of them died. There had also been cases where a traveler would wander into the territory, have relations with a Scylla for a few days and then leave again.
Periveil finished explaining the Scylla race’s view on marriage. “That’s how it is, so can’t we make something work?”
Pauvina and Levia both had their hands together in a prayer-like pose as they responded.
“That’s fine,” said Pauvina.
“There is no problem with that,” said Princess Levia.
The two of them agreed to it easily, and now Periveil was the one who was surprised. “Eh? Is that alright? Seriously?”
“You know, it’s not like I have to take that boy as my husband no matter what,” said Privel. “If it won’t work out, I can just pray to Merrebeveil for a few days… probably over a month, and have her forgive me…”
“Is it really alright to agree so easily?” asked Orbia. “That child seems like he would be as popular as my important person. He seems like has a strange aura about him.”
Pauvina and Princess Levia once again assured the three of them that there were no problems.
At this point in time, Vandalieu essentially already had multiple wives, and not much would change from Privel being added to the list. Like the Ghouls, the Scylla had quite loose views on marriage, so it was unlikely that there would be any disagreements.
It was possible that Eleanora and Bellmond would have their own opinions on this, but they would probably not put up any real objections. The Undead Rita and Saria were unlikely to object as well. They were always able to see the countless spirits that were constantly nestling close to Vandalieu, anyway.
And Periveil-san, the chief of the village, will become a blood relative, which should be a positive thing for his Majesty!
Princess Levia had made this self-interested calculation as well. Though she was ignorant when it came to politics, she did think of things like this from time to time.
“Then there aren’t any problems, are there!” said Periveil.
“EEEH?! F-first of all, we should confirm things with the person in question!” said Privel.
“What’s the matter? Are you not satisfied with that boy, Privel?” Orbia asked. “I’m sure that he’ll become just as good a man as that person in the future.”
“Orbia-san, that’s not reassuring at all unless you tell me more about ‘that person,’” Privel pointed out. “Well, in a few more years…”
Privel and the other living Scylla were under the effect of Demon Path Enticement, though not as much as Orbia who was a spirit. Thus, Privel wasn’t as dissatisfied as she seemed. She had been planning to take someone as a husband either way.
“But His Majesty is a Dhampir. Is that alright?” Princess Levia asked. “You are in the middle of negotiating with the Amid Empire, aren’t you? And it is possible that he will still appear younger than Privel-san even a few years from now.”
In the Empire, whose army the Scylla was currently negotiating with, Dhampirs were treated as a type of Undead, beings that needed to be exterminated.
“A Dhampir, huh. If it was found out, the Amid Empire would probably make some noise about it, but… it will be fine as long as they don’t find out, so I suppose we just need to keep it a secret,” said Periveil. “And this will be several years from now, not right now.”
Apparently, the Scylla didn’t really mind.
“And as for his lifespan, it’s actually better that he lives several times longer than a human,” Periveil added. “Us Scylla live for four hundred years, after all.”
“Oh no, His Majesty is half-Dark Elf,” said Princess Levia.
“Ah, no problem, no problem, a Dark Elf… Dark Elf?!”
Periveil and the others were startled by this revelation.
“One of Van-kun’s parents is a Dark Elf?!” Privel exclaimed. “I thought that he was a Dhampir with a parent who was a human with some Beast-person or Titan blood, since his body is so small and he has no beast ears or tail.”
“I didn’t think that one of his parents was a Dark Elf,” said Orbia. “It’s my first time seeing a Dhampir like that.”
It seemed that none of them had expected that Vandalieu was a Dhampir born to a Dark Elf.
Considering that his skin was white to the point that he looked ill, it would have been unreasonable to expect them to have realized this, however.
Dhampirs born to a human parent had lifespans between three hundred and five hundred years, similar to Scylla. However, Dhampirs born to Dark Elves, who had lifespans of a thousand years, lived between three thousand to five thousand years. The difference was overwhelming.
“A Dark Elf, huh~. Well, that’s fine, isn’t it?” said Privel.
“You’re right,” said Periveil.
In the end, it seemed that nobody cared too much.
“He’s a boy who agreed to find Orbia’s killer in exchange for some seeds, ducks and Huge Capybaras. If we hated a boy like that for such small reasons, Vida and Merrebeveil would punish us,” said Periveil. “Please take care of Privel and Orbia.”
“Yeah, leave it to us!” said Pauvina.
“W-wait a moment!” said Orbia. “Chief, Pauvina-chan, I’m going back to the circle of reincarnation once I make sure that person is safe!”
“Orbia-san, haven’t you been tamed by that boy, just like Levia-san? So let’s stay together,” said Privel.
“Normally, I would recommend returning to the circle of transmigration as well, but I’m sure it’s fine if you become an Undead like Levia-san,” said Pauvina. “Stay, stay!”
“Don’t say it like it’s such a small deal~ I’m telling you, I have a person I’ve chosen in my heart!” said Orbia.
“Umm, Orbia-san, it isn’t as if those who are tamed by His Majesty must become his lovers,” Princess Levia pointed out.
As this girls’ talk began to get more exciting, a voice came from outside.
“Chief, can I have a word?”
“I have guests, so say what you need to say from there,” said Periveil, who had returned to her chief-like demeanor in an instant.
The person outside hesitated for a few moments before speaking again. “Apparently, there will be a guest coming tomorrow.”
“A visitor?” Pauvina repeated. “If it is someone from the Empire’s army, we can leave –”
“No, when they just say, ‘guests,’ they’re talking about the resistance,” said Periveil.
Vandalieu returned soon after this, carrying the two collapsed Scylla guards with Telekinesis.
A race of beautiful women with the lower halves of octopuses, born between Vida, the goddess of life and love, and a monster (the details of this monster have been lost from the records).
The other distinct outer characteristic that they have is that many Scylla possess green hair and eyes.
As their appearances suggest, they are a race of people suited to living in water, and they like living at watersides, ponds, lakes, marshes and riversides, though not as much as Mer-people. But this is merely a preference; they are more resistant to dry conditions than they appear.
Due to the way they live, they fight Lizardmen for territory more often than they fight humans.
Their base Rank is 3, and groups that live together in villages almost always have a chief who is Rank 5 or above.
Their main weapons are the tentacles of the lower halves of their bodies, and many have acquired the Unarmed Fighting Technique and Whip Technique skills. Also, they possess the Superhuman Strength skill from birth, so the thin arms of their upper bodies have much more physical strength than their appearance would suggest.
The tips of their tentacles and the fingertips of their upper bodies are capable of releasing ink like octopuses, allowing them to blind their enemies.
Also, perhaps due to their origins, many of them learn to use life, water and earth-attribute magic.
When fighting Scylla, the battlefield is often close to water, so they are often formidable enemies that are stronger than their Ranks suggest.
In the ancient past, they were feared as monsters who would pretend to be drowning and then attacked men who would dive into the water to save them, but it is now known among researchers that this is the Scylla courting ritual and they are simply singing and dancing to attract men who would become their husbands.
Their main habitat is their territory on the southern tip of the Sauron Duchy (that is currently under occupation by the Amid Empire) in the Bahn Gaia continent, but there are some scattered small villages around the land.
Incidentally, according to written copies of the records from the age of the gods the founder of the Scylla and her daughters had the heads of wolves, dragons, serpents and other creatures on the ends of their tentacles. But the great majority of researchers now agree that this depiction was falsely created by the Church of Alda to create an evil image of Scylla, who are a race created by Vida.
The distinctly-shaped tailbones of Scylla are used as proof of having exterminated them. Their livers and the bones of their upper bodies can be used in Alchemy, while the tentacles of their lower bodies can be used as food. Also, the ink in their ink sacs can be used to create inks and dyes.
However, the fact that the majority of Scylla are cheerful and possess the ability to reason and interact with people is already well-known, so requests to exterminate them are not sent out except in places like the Amid Empire, where the factions of the Church of Alda other than the peaceful faction are greatly influential.