Gufadgarn, the evil god of labyrinths
Having cleared the illusion of fear trial on the 95th floor by destroying an entire floor with Hollow Cannon, a Hollow King Magic spell that possessed enough destructive force to distort space itself, Vandalieu and his companions proceeded forwards and continued smoothly clearing the Dungeon.
Things went so smoothly because the monsters on the 96th floor and below were terrified of Vandalieu and fled for their lives as he approached them.
“I wonder what happened to the Dungeon’s mind-controlling effect?” said Eleanora.
“Perhaps it was loosened when the power of Bocchan’s Hollow Cannon created a hole in the Dungeon,” said Saria.
“That’s just a guess, though, since we don’t know how Dungeons control monsters’ minds,” said Rita.
The party watched the Demons from behind as they scampered away as fast as they could, letting out screams that sounded like cloth being torn.
… All of them were a minimum of Rank 10; a single one of them could almost destroy the entirety of a small nation. Even a large nation would lose several towns and villages in the time it would take an A-class adventurer to arrive on the scene. These were monsters that were thought of as natural disasters rather than living creatures, but…
“They’re even more scared of you than the ones in the Palace of Hell in the Majin nation, aren’t they, Your Majesty?” said the Liberating Princess Knight Iris, who was now a Succubus.
“Yes… Maybe I’m just imagining it, but the fleeing Demons look like they have tears in their eyes,” said Vandalieu.
“I would never have even imagined that tears could appear in Demons’ eyes,” said the Ghost Scylla Orbia.
With Iris and Orbia on either side of him, Vandalieu seemed strangely depressed; he looked at the Demons with a somewhat sad gaze.
You don’t have to be that scared of me, he thought.
He hadn’t minded the Demons lining up in rows in the Palace of Hell, but it seemed that he didn’t feel any positive feelings from seeing Demons desperately fleeing from him as fast as they could.
“If they are causing you to become upset, we can go and hunt them,” suggested Bellmond.
“Bellmond-jouchan, don’t let your guard down. Once they’re far enough from the kid, they’ll return to normal and turn to fight you,” Borkus warned her.
“That’s what Demons normally do, after all,” said Vandalieu.
Demons were supposed to be fearless even when facing clearly superior foes, laughing as if enjoying themselves until the moment they turned into dust and disappeared.
Even with the Dungeon’s mind-controlling effect on them disrupted, they would normally never flee from anything in fear.
“Hmm, is it possible that they are merely pretending to be afraid, and they are actually making fun of the boy?” said Zadiris.
“Mother, as a humble warrior, I’ll tell you, that’s not possible. Look, that Demon over there that’s failed to start running away in time is showing its belly to us in surrender,” said Basdia, pointing at a Rank 10 Ark Sword Demon that was lying face-up on the ground.
This monster, which possessed blades instead of hands protruding from both wrists, knife-like claws on its feet and a tail that looked like many small blades linked together, was immodestly exposing itself to the party.
Indeed, this did resemble a wild animal attempting to surrender.
“Basdia, it looks to me more like it’s playing dead,” said Orbia.
Indeed, with fluids dripping from every orifice in its face as it lay on its side, the Demon’s behavior looked more like a small animal feigning death.
“It’s not moving an inch; maybe it’s actually just lost consciousness…” Basdia murmured.
“Bocchan, should I turn it into Experience Points?” Rita suggested.
“… Maybe not,” said Vandalieu, shaking his head. “Though I wouldn’t hesitate if we were outside rather than in a Dungeon.”
If they were to encounter an Ark Sword Demon outside a Dungeon, Vandalieu wouldn’t hesitate to finish it off. If they didn’t kill it, it would clearly endanger many lives.
But inside a Dungeon, no matter how many Demons he exterminated, the Dungeon would continue to replenish them. Their numbers needed to be kept down so that they didn’t overflow out of the Dungeon, but Vandalieu and his companions had done more than enough of that in the floors leading up to this one.
On top of that, they were not delicious monsters to eat. Thus, Vandalieu didn’t quite feel like fighting them.
“Well then, perhaps we should talk about the divine protection,” said Zadiris. “Boy, do you really not know what it is?”
“As far as the timing goes, I think it’s related to when you collapsed previously,” said Rita.
The two of them had acquired a new divine protection immediately after Vandalieu lost consciousness in the illusion of fear trial. But they had heard strange announcements in their head and realized something when they checked their Statuses.
And the strangest thing was that the name of the being who had given them this divine protection could not be read. Only a single letter was visible, and the rest were hidden.
“That should normally never happen,” said Jeena, the Saint of Healing. “Divine protections are things that gods bestow upon their followers, so there’s no point in concealing their names.”
“But according to legends and tales, it is not without precedent,” said Iris.
There was a famous tale of a man who went through a period of unhappiness, lost his faith and begun living a wild lifestyle as a mercenary. With a great deal of luck, he survived multiple battles. His heart was touched by the brave actions of a young boy whose sister had been kidnapped by a Vampire, and he took up his sword in the young boy’s place. It was only then that he realized that he had acquired Alda’s divine protection, and that Alda had been watching over him the entire time.
“… Well, there’s no proof that it’s a true story,” said Iris, who had once been a fervent believer in Alda.
Even she knew that it was more than likely that the story was a hoax created for religious propaganda.
“But there’s no proof that it’s completely made up. On Earth, true stories were exaggerated quite often. Not that it was limited to just religion, though,” said Vandalieu. “But even though we don’t know the being’s name, isn’t it fine since it doesn’t seem to have any problematic effects?”
“No, Vandalieu-sama. We have a very good idea of whose name it is,” said Eleanora.
“That’s right; we can only read one character at a time, but all of the characters are different,” said Basdia.
“Yeah, there are some of us that have overlapping letters, but if you put all of the readable letters together, it reads, ‘Vandalieu’s Divine Protection.’ What do you think about that?” said Borkus.
“Gishaaah,” Pete hissed.
“Eh, Pete, you can read letters?” Vandalieu asked.
Pete, the centipede monster with lightning-spouting horns, had apparently learned how to read at some point. His ladder-like nervous system seemed to have evolved.
“That’s amazing. Let’s celebrate when we get home,” said Vandalieu.
“Wait, kid, the more important thing is the divine protection –” Borkus began.
“I… do have some idea in regards to that,” said Vandalieu.
After he lost consciousness in the illusion of fear trial, he had seen pieces of himself that had broken off and scattered onto the ground in a dream. He remembered going around and handing them out, not wanting to waste them.
He had done this before, too. He had gone around giving his companions the horns and scales of Garess, the god of warriors, and Lioen, the crystal-horned dragon god, and he had also torn off pieces of himself to give to Vigaro and Pauvina.
“As I thought,” said Vigaro. “So, this divine protection is Vandalieu’s after all?”
“But there’s no proof of that, is there? Maybe there are gods with names like Vandarion or Fantalieu that we don’t know about, and they gave their divine protections to everyone separately and concealed their names,” said Vandalieu.
“Muh, I suppose we cannot rule out that possibility,” said Zadiris.
“No, there’s no chance of that. What are you talking about, Zadiris?” said Eleanora, looking at her through half-closed eyes.
“But still…” Zadiris murmured vaguely. “I acknowledge that the boy’s theory is implausible and full of holes. But considering that the boy is not a god, I cannot decide whether him granting us his divine protection is more likely or not.”
Bestowing divine protections upon others. That was an authority of gods, like Skills such as Familiar Spirit Descent.
Divine protections generally shared the same base effect; they lowered the difficulty of overcoming walls that impeded progress in Attribute Values and Levels. In addition, they made it easier to acquire Jobs related to things ruled over by the gods, as well as making it easier to acquire and increase the Level of related Skills.
It was normal for divine protections to have different effects depending on the god who granted it and the individual to whom it was granted.
And the effectiveness of the divine protection depended on the power of the god who granted it.
“It is true that Danna-sama is a god-slayer, but since he is not a god himself, it would be common sense to think that he would be unable to grant divine protections as Unique Skills to others,” said Bellmond.
“With that in mind, my far-fetched theory is more likely… No, I think that’s impossible, so please forget that theory,” said Vandalieu, rejecting his own theory as he perhaps realized that it was simply too unlikely.
“Furthermore, Danna-sama is a being who generally exceeds what most consider to be common sense… or rather, wanders the realm beyond it,” said Bellmond, knowing that common sense did not apply to Vandalieu.
Seemingly aware of this, Vandalieu didn’t object to that statement. “It’s like I’m a creature from another dimension,” he muttered.
“Well, as long as we know that it is Vandalieu who has given us his divine protection, then that is enough for now. It is more comforting than thinking that a divine protection has been forced onto us by an unknown god,” said Zadiris.
“That’s right. It’s just like a continuation of the dream I had when he gave me the Spirit Form and Materialization Skills,” said Vigaro.
It seemed that Zadiris and the others had wanted to confirm who had given them this divine protection. Perhaps they were overthinking things, but there was a chance that an evil god that was a remnant of the Demon King’s army had placed it on them to hinder them.
But they could feel at ease if the one who had given it to them was Vandalieu.
Though they were surprised, they thought favorably of it, as Vandalieu was almost guaranteed to become a being even superior to a heroic spirit in the future and there were already some, like some of Legion’s members, that worshipped him.
“Well then, I’ll go around handing things out again the next time I’m dreaming,” said Vandalieu.
“Next time, you have to appear as human as possible so that you don’t surprise everyone,” said Darcia. “Don’t appear in a strangely flat shape or as a liquid, okay?”
After that, Vandalieu and his companions continued clearing the Dungeon smoothly from the 97th floor. The Demons that were supposed to get in their way fled and scattered, and the only monsters left behind were mindless magical creatures like Golems. For some reason, the floors went on and on with no real trial in them.
It was as if they were traversing a deserted plain, or rather, an uninhabited labyrinth.
“It is a little unsatisfying in terms of Experience Points, but it’s best if we proceed quickly,” said Vandalieu. “I’m used to the Demons running from us now, but why are there no trials?”
“I think it’s perfect that there are no Demons, you know!” said Privel as the dragon-head ends of her tentacles released a cold breath that froze the limbs of a Rank 10 Mythril Statue, a statue of a knight made of Mythril. “Ice Beast Flood! … Damn, it’s not working!”
She released a water-attribute Spiritual Magic spell, unleashing a swarm of icy beasts, but only the surface of the Mythril Statue was damaged; it was not defeated.
“That is to be expected. Cutting Rain!” said Myuze, unleashing an Empusa-specialized Unarmed Combat Technique martial skill that turned the Mythril Statue into a pile of metal. “Mythril may be exceptionally solid, but it is known as a metal with an even more exceptional ability to repel magic. No matter how skilled you are with magic, it would have been impossible for you to defeat this foe with magic alone, Privel.”
“Muh, says the one who just used her own sickles to turn that exceptionally hard metal into pieces,” Privel said, sounding dissatisfied.
“That is because I performed a surprise attack from hiding, gaining the bonus of Assassin Technique… It is thanks to Vandalieu-dono and Lioen after all,” said Myuze, raising her prided sickle-arms.
She had become a Crystal Empusa due to her divine protections. There wasn’t a single nick in her transparent sickles despite having sliced straight through Mythril.
“Well, I was only able to perform my attack because the enemy was unable to move,” Myuze added. “This is the power of working together. That is right, is it not, Vandalieu-dono?”
“Statue-type Golems are less robust because they are human-shaped, but their movements are faster for it. I think you’re exactly right,” said Vandalieu.
“I see! If there are any more Mythril Golems, I’ll focus on stopping their movements, so I’ll be counting on you to finish them off~♪” Privel said happily, her mood improving.
Her dragon-head-shaped tentacle ends lifted Vandalieu in their jaws with joy as well.
With the original intended difficulty of this floor, having Privel and Myuze on the frontlines wouldn’t have been enough. But the Demons who would normally be an obstacle to challengers with their special abilities and magic had fled, leaving only Golems with no special characteristics other than the metals that they were made of, so the party had started leveling again like they had on the middle floors.
It was unlikely that they would be able to defeat Orichalcum Golems, but only Mythril and Adamantite Golems had appeared so far.
“Come to think of it, about the trials… maybe there are some trials that Gufadgarn decided not to put there for us?” Privel suggested. “It’s strange that there’s just floor after floor that only test our strength.”
This would normally be unthinkable, but Vandalieu and Myuze quickly accepted this theory.
“I see… That’s possible,” said Vandalieu. “I suppose I went a bit too far.”
After all, he had pierced the ceiling of a Dungeon, which was normally supposed to be indestructible. In return, Vandalieu had lost consciousness for about an hour due to having exhausted all of his Mana, but one could say that it was quite a low risk to take to destroy a Dungeon floor. It meant that he would be able to make more than twenty holes in the Dungeon every day.
Gufadgarn wouldn’t be able to withstand such an event happening repeatedly.
“… Though it would be problematic for us as well if the Dungeon were to collapse, so I don’t intend to repeat it,” said Vandalieu.
“But from Gufadgarn’s point of view, it would not do to simply believe in your self-control and try to take advantage of it,” said Myuze. “Considering that, it is possible that the event that happened when we first entered this Dungeon was the removal of a trial.”
“Ah, that thing where we felt a bit strange for a moment?” said Privel.
The moment the party entered this floor, the 100th floor, they had experienced some kind of dizziness for a moment. But that had stopped as quickly as it had begun, and there was no trace of it now.
It was too unnatural for everyone to experience it at once for it to just be a trick of the imagination or some ordinary dizziness, so while they had been wary for a while afterwards, nothing had happened.
“You might be right,” Vandalieu nodded vaguely, but Myuze’s guess was indeed correct.
This trial was forcibly teleporting only the challengers’ minds to a special space where they would have nothing but their mental fortitudes to defeat Mind Demons, a special kind of monster that nested in human minds.
But immediately after the trial started and the Mind Demons saw Vandalieu’s mind, they had lost their will to fight and immediately ended the trial.
It seemed that the fear felt by the Mind Demons, who only existed within minds, was far greater than that of the ordinary Demons that were fleeing for their lives now.
“By the way, Bocchan, is not about time you changed Jobs?” said Sam, just as the staircase to the next floor came into view.
Vandalieu had in fact already reached Level 100, but would the Demons not turn and begin fighting the moment he disappeared into the Job-changing room that he had installed in Sam’s carriage? Being wary of this, he had decided to stay outside and observe the Demons.
But now that they had come this far, it didn’t seem like there was anything to worry about.
“Yes, you’re right. Well then, I’ll go and change Jobs,” said Vandalieu, climbing into Sam’s carriage as if he were very accustomed to doing so and entering the Job-changing room. “I think there will be a new Job like Hollow King Mage or something, but…” he murmured as he touched the crystal ball.
《Jobs that can be selected:【Disease Demon】,【Spirit Warrior】,【Whip Tongue Calamity】,【Vengeful Berserker】,【Dead Spirit Mage】,【Dark Healer】,【Magic Cannoneer】,【Dark King Mage】,【Divine Enemy】,【Creation Guider】,【Fallen Warrior】,【Insect Nin】,【Destruction Guider】,【Enchanter】,【Dungeon Master】,【Demon King】,【Chaos Guider】,【Hollow King Mage】,【Eclipse Cursecaster】【String User】》
Vandalieu saw the Hollow King Mage Job displayed in his head as he had expected, as well as new Jobs that he had not expected.
“I suppose they are read ‘shokujuji’ and ‘genjutsushi?’ Well, the one I’m going to choose this time around is Dark Healer, though,” he murmured to himself. “I select Dark Healer.”
Darcia would be resurrected soon. Vandalieu wanted a medical-related Job and Skills to ensure that nothing unforeseen would happen during her resurrection. He could train the Hollow King Magic and Dark King Magic Skills even without acquiring their related Jobs, anyway.
《The Levels of the Rapid Regeneration, Venom Secretion (Claws, Fangs, Tongue), Thread Refining, Increased Mana Recovery Rate, Transcend Limits, Alchemy, Surgery, Parallel Thought Processing and High-speed Thought Processing Skills have increased!》
- Name: Vandalieu
- Race: Dhampir (Dark Elf)
- Age: 10 years old
- Title:【Ghoul Emperor】,【Eclipse Emperor】,【Guardian of the Cultivation Villages】,【Holy Son of Vida】,【Scaled Emperor】,【Tentacle Emperor】,【Champion】,【Demon King】,【Oni Emperor】
- Job: Dark Healer
- Level: 0
- Job history: Death-Attribute Mage, Golem Transmuter, Undead Tamer, Soul Breaker, Venom Fist User, Insect User, Tree Caster, Demon Guider, Archenemy, Zombie Maker, Golem Creator, Corpse Demon Commander, Demon King User, Dark Guider, Labyrinth Creator, Creation Guider
- Vitality: 10799
- Mana: 3,517,672,074 (+1,758,836,037)
- Strength: 2107
- Agility: 1687
- Stamina: 2292
- Intelligence: 4337
- Passive skills:
- Superhuman Strength: Level 8
- Rapid Regeneration: Level 4 (LEVEL UP!)
- Dark King Magic: Level 3
- Status Effect Resistance: Level 10
- Magic Resistance: Level 7
- Dark Vision
- Dark Demon Creation Path Enticement: Level 5 (LEVEL UP!)
- Chant Revocation: Level 6
- Guidance: Dark Demon Creation Path: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
- Automatic Mana Recovery: Level 10
- Strengthen Subordinates: Level 8
- Venom Secretion (Claws, Fangs, Tongue): Level 9 (LEVEL UP!)
- Enhanced Agility: Level 5
- Body Expansion (Tongue): Level 7
- Strengthened Attack Power while Unarmed: Large
- Enhanced Physical Ability (Hair, Claws, Tongue, Fangs): Level 8
- Thread Refining: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
- Mana Enlargement: Level 5
- Increased Mana Recovery Rate: Level 4 (LEVEL UP!)
- Active skills:
- Bloodwork: Level 4
- Transcend Limits: Level 3 (LEVEL UP!)
- Golem Creation: Level 4
- Hollow King Magic: Level 1 (Awakened from No-Attribute Magic!)
- Mana Control: Level 8
- Spirit Form: Level 10
- Cooking: Level 7
- Alchemy: Level 10 (LEVEL UP!)
- Unarmed Fighting Technique: Level 9
- Multi-Cast: Level 8
- Long-distance Control: Level 10 (LEVEL UP!)
- Surgery: Level 8 (LEVEL UP!)
- Parallel Thought Processing: Level 10 (LEVEL UP!)
- Materialization: Level 8 (LEVEL UP!)
- Coordination: Level 8
- High-speed Thought Processing: Level 10 (LEVEL UP!)
- Commanding: Level 8
- Thread-reeling: Level 6
- Throwing: Level 6
- Scream: Level 5 (LEVEL UP!)
- Dead Spirit Magic: Level 7
- Artillery Technique: Level 8
- Shield Technique: Level 4
- Armor Technique: Level 4
- Group Binding Technique: Level 3
- Surpass Limits: Fragments: Level 3
- Unique skills:
- God Devourer: Level 3
- Deformed Soul: Level 1 (Awakened from Grotesque Mind!)
- Mental Encroachment: Level 8 (LEVEL UP!)
- Labyrinth Creation: Level 1
- Demon King Fusion: Level 9
- Abyss: Level 5
- Divine Enemy
- Soul Devour: Level 3
- Vida’s Divine Protection
- Earth’s Dark Gods’ Divine Protection
- Demon King fragments:
- Ink Sacs
- Scent glands
- Luminescent organs
- Jointed legs
- Experience gained in previous life not carried over
- Cannot learn existing jobs
- Unable to gain experience independently
Vandalieu gave a satisfied nod, seeing that the Surgery Skill’s Level had increased as he had expected it to. “I suppose the Levels of Skills like Alchemy and Venom Secretion (Claws, Fangs, Tongue) increased because they’re related to medicines.”
The Levels of Skills like Transcend Limits and High-speed Thought Processing had also increased, but that was probably because they had been on the verge of Leveling up anyway. Perhaps one could interpret this as a sign that those who practiced medicine needed to transcend their limits.
Still murmuring to himself, Vandalieu got out of Sam’s carriage and headed for the next floor.
What he saw there was… an enormous horde of Demons, waving a flag.
The 108th floor of the Trial of Zakkart. What awaited the party on this floor was not a diabolical trial, a deep and complicated labyrinth or a diverse swarm of monsters.
What awaited them on this wasteland that didn’t have a single blade of grass or a single tree was a giant that resembled a mountain that had been made by fusing rock and metal. But it was no mere huge Golem.
“I am an embodiment of the power of Gufadgarn, the evil god of labyrinths. Challengers, prove that you are worthy of succeeding Zakkart,” it said.
It seemed to be the materialization of Gufadgarn’s own power, made possible inside the Dungeon of his own creation. Its presence was far more immense than that of Ravovifard, the evil god of release, when he had descended upon the world and possessed Bugitas’s body.
Unlike a god himself descending upon the world, it was merely a copy of some percentage of Gufadgarn’s abilities, equivalent to a wooden dummy with limited decision-making and thought-processing abilities. But its ability in combat was undoubtedly exceptional.
“If it had a Rank, I wonder what it would be?” Vandalieu wondered.
“Gods themselves have no Rank, after all,” murmured Zadiris. “But if it is an incarnation or an embodiment of a god’s power… since it is so powerful, I only know that it is greater than Ravovifard.”
The party was observing the embodiment of Gufadgarn from the floor’s entrance.
They were enclosed by a barrier, and while Gufadgarn’s embodiment could not attack them while they were inside it, they could not engage in combat with it themselves.
The only ones who could pass through this barrier were those with no Jobs… only monsters.
This floor’s trial was based on Zakkart’s most famous achievement… his persuasion of many of the evil gods in the Demon King’s army to change sides.
It meant that if one wanted to become a successor to Zakkart, it was only natural that they would have monsters, creatures that were ordinarily enemies, as their allies.
It was likely that Gufadgarn personally thought that the world’s greatest Tamer was not Shizarion’s champion Hillwillow, but Zakkart.
Incidentally, if challengers did not have Tamed monsters to begin with or did not Tame monsters before reaching this floor, they would not be able to face this trial.
But, of course, this was a simple trial for Vandalieu and his companions.
“UOOOOOOH! DRAGON SLAYER!” roared the Rank 12 Zombie Folklore Hero, the ‘Sword King’ Borkus, as his magic sword inflicted a deep wound in Gufadgarn’s embodiment. “HAHA! To think there’s an enemy even more powerful than an Orichalcum Golem! This Trial of Zakkart place is not bad!”
Despite facing the embodiment of a god’s power, there was nothing but pure bloodlust on Borkus’s face.
“Join in, you lot!” he shouted at the ones behind him, who were completely filled with fear.
The howl-like incantations of Arch-caster Demons filled the air and Arch-sword Demons let out scream-like battle-cries as they followed Borkus into battle.
In addition to these, there was an army of several hundred other Demons, attacking Gufadgarn’s embodiment in waves. All of them had been created by the Trial of Zakkart, so their actions were equivalent to rebelling against their own creator.
Most importantly, none other than Majin would normally be able to Tame Demons.
But the Dungeon’s effects on these Demons’ minds had been loosened by Vandalieu’s destruction of a part of the Dungeon; they were now ruled by an emotion that they were never supposed to feel.
That emotion was the most primitive of fears.
As Demons had no need to eat, sleep or reproduce, these activities, which were essential to all other living creatures, were nothing but things to amuse themselves with. Thus, they lacked the instincts that other living creatures had.
A Demon that had increased its Rank numerous times would feel bothered by the thought of having to do it all over again and value its life a little, but that was about it.
They did not know what it meant to truly fear anything, with the exception of the Demon King Guduranis, who was capable of breaking their souls and truly destroying them.
But Vandalieu was a being who could break souls and possessed numerous fragments of the Demon King. He had been recognized by Alda, the god of law and fate, as the Demon King of this era.
It was only natural that the Demons trembled at the core of their crooked souls, regardless of their Ranks. This fear had previously been forcibly suppressed by the Dungeon’s mind control, but… now that the Dungeon’s power was lost, they had only one thing on their minds.
They were willing to meet any kind of death, as long as they were not completely destroyed.
That was why they had waved a white flag of surrender.
“… They don’t have to be that scared of me,” Vandalieu muttered.
Unaware of the circle of transmigration and so forth, he was still dissatisfied with how terrified the Demons were of him.
“UOOOOOOH… Whirling tides, wash them away! Magma, swallow them! Miasma, eat away at them!” groaned Gufadgarn’s embodiment.
Space was distorted as multiple gates connected to other floors of the Trial of Zakkart were summoned, bringing with them the whirling tides, magma and poisonous miasma beyond them.
This was how Gufadgarn, a space-attribute evil god, fought.
“Transform!” shouted the ‘Tiny Genius’ Zandia, transforming with her prototype transformation staff. “Time Reversal!”
Her time-attribute spell reversed time around the gate that whirling tides were trying to pour out from; the gate closed as time was rewound back to before it had opened.
“Everyone, we’re going to freeze it!” said the Dark Broad Ghost Orbia as she and the Wendigos with her released projectiles, water-attribute spells and cold Breaths to freeze the magma.
“Transform… well, I can’t do that! Great Purification!” said the ‘Saint of Healing’ Jeena, purifying the poisonous miasma with a Life King Magic spell.
She was unable to transform, as there were not enough prototype transformation staves.
With all of its attacks nullified, the movements of Gufadgarn’s embodiment became visibly slower. It was likely that the current situation went beyond what the limited decision-making ability that it had been given could handle and it could not think of the next course of action to take.
A countless number of buzzing wings closed in on the embodiment, accompanied by the clicking of jaws.
At a glance, the being before it appeared to be a female soldier covered in armor decorated with bee motifs. But what appeared to be armor was actually an exoskeleton, and there were compound eyes where her eye sockets should have been.
“Go, daughters. Aim for the joints,” she said.
The Gehenna Bees, who had emerged from their pupae and become adult insects after the party had entered the Trial of Zakkart, obeyed their queen Quinn and thrust their spears and venomous stingers into the embodiment’s joints.
The embodiment appeared to be made of an inorganic material; one would not expect the venom to have any effect. But the Gehenna Bees’ attacks were more powerful than rock drills.
“GISHAAAAH!” Pete hissed as his lightning-covered horns dug away at the embodiment’s toes.
The Slime Kühl climbed up the surface of its leg, gradually dissolving it.
“I’ll absorb everythiiiing,” groaned Eisen as she thrust not the branches growing from her back, but her roots, into the cracks in the embodiment’s body and slowly applying damage with Spirit Siphon.
But these were not serious blows to the embodiment; they were no more than scratches. Perhaps the damage had even restarted its decision-making that had halted; it let out a roar and raised its arms.
“UOOOOOH!” it bellowed as it moved to swing its arms with nothing other than sheer force, attempting to mow down the enemies that were swarming it.
Anything below Rank 10 would have been wiped out by such an attack if it hit them.
But there were some objects being repeatedly launched into its head at enormous speeds.
“UOOOOOH?!” it screamed, stopping its attack and raising its arms over its head to protect it.
Thunderous noises could be heard as black horns and pieces of carapace crashed into its arms.
“Hmm, as expected of a god’s embodiment,” said Vandalieu, who was supporting his allies from inside the barrier with Artillery Technique. “It looks really tough; it really seems that it won’t die with one attack.”
… Normally, the barrier would be preventing him from participating in the battle. However, the Demon King’s fragments that were a part of him could pierce any kind of barrier.
Thus, he had opened a hole in the barrier with a cannon barrel made of the Demon King’s blood and unleashed attacks that were a little too powerful to be called covering fire.
“Van, why didn’t you do that from the start?” Pauvina asked.
“I thought I could shake the enemy more by catching him by surprise,” said Vandalieu. “It actually lost morale when I started attacking, too.”
Gufadgarn would never have thought that the barrier could be broken. Thus, the idea of attacking Vandalieu and the others inside the barrier wasn’t part of his embodiment’s programming.
A somewhat dumbfounded look could be seen on Gufadgarn’s embodiment’s face through the gap between its arms.
“Its torso is open!” shouted Isla, using her magic sword to cut away at the embodiment’s abdomen.
Without a moment’s delay, Princess Levia, Orbia and Kimberley focused their fire, ice and lightning attacks into the embodiment as well.
“Focus fire!” said Orbia.
“I wonder if my attacks are working?” said Kimberley.
The embodiment began moving to try and defend itself, but Vandalieu’s next attack pierced through its body.
As this process repeated itself, the embodiment was unable to make any effective counterattacks and its astoundingly resilient body was chipped away gradually, leaving only a pile of countless broken fragments in the end.
After defeating Gufadgarn’s embodiment, Vandalieu equipped all of his companions that he could before heading through the gate behind the embodiment and down the stairs, leaving the companions that he couldn’t equip on the staircase as he headed down on his own.
He had sensed a different presence to what he had felt so far… the manifestation of an evil god’s true form.
There was no reaction from Danger Sense: Death, but unlike a god’s embodiment or incarnation, looking upon a god’s true form carried the risk of mental damage.
That was why Vandalieu was heading forward on his own.
And as he had expected, Gufadgarn was waiting for him.
“Welcome, final challenger. This floor, the 109th, is the deepest floor of the Trial of Zakkart… the place where the final trial would normally be held,” said Gufadgarn.
His appearance was almost identical to his embodiment, other than the fact that he had been reduced to the size of a large adult man. But his presence was more powerful than that of the embodiment.
“Final? And what do you mean, normally?” Vandalieu asked, mentally preparing himself.
“Yes. The final trial is conducted in the event that the challenger is a believer of Alda and is unaware of the truth behind Zakkart. I would speak to them, and the trial would see if their heart changed,” Gufadgarn replied. “Therefore, this is an unnecessary trial for you, Zakkart of this era. And this Dungeon does not need another challenger.” He kneeled where he stood and bowed his head to Vandalieu. “Please forgive me for my numerous acts of insolence, Zakkart of this era. I will accept any punishment you decide on.”
“No, no, no, raise your head, there’s not going to be any punishment,” said Vandalieu. “In fact, I thought that you would be the one getting angry at us for our acts of insolence.”
“No, even if their purpose was to test you, there were many trials that I cannot be forgiven for imposing upon you. I cannot raise my head.”
“No, no, we knew what kind of a Dungeon this was when we entered it, so it would be absurd to complain about it. And I accidentally went and destroyed part of the Dungeon.”
Vandalieu had lost his composure when he saw the illusion, but several days had passed since then. And due to his destruction of part of the Dungeon, the Dungeon’s control over the minds of the monsters had weakened and there had been almost no trials after that.
Thus, his anger had subsided considerably. He wasn’t happy about it, but he was willing to forget about it after being apologized to.
But before he could do that, Gufadgarn had apologized and bowed deeply in a way unthinkable for a god, causing Vandalieu to become flustered.
“That is my blunder for creating a Dungeon that can be broken,” said Gufadgarn, apologizing sincerely to Vandalieu, the one who had conquered his trials with all kinds of backhanded methods and unintended solutions.
Gufadgarn was delighted that Vandalieu had gone above and beyond what he had expected from his trials. Even if that hadn’t been the case, he considered it only natural that if challengers were faced with a trial in the form of a labyrinth, they would try to find holes in the trial.
Furthermore, it would be unreasonable to expect the challengers to do anything other than their utmost when the trials were putting their lives on the line. Gufadgarn believed that even if that utmost caused the destruction of part of the Dungeon, that was a fault of his own, not theirs.
“Muh… I accept your apology, so please raise your head,” said Vandalieu.
“Very well, my new master, conqueror of the Trial of Zakkart,” said Gufadgarn, raising his head.
《You have acquired the ‘Trial Conqueror’ Title!》
《Your name has changed from Vandalieu to Vandalieu Zakkart!》
At that moment, an announcer’s voice echoed inside Vandalieu’s head.
“… Now then, please explain Zakkart’s relics to me,” Vandalieu said. “If there’s anything that is related to resurrecting the dead, start with that.”
The fact that his name had changed and the fact that it would now be difficult for Vandalieu to live outside the Boundary Mountain Range would have to be set aside; Vandalieu desired the relic that would make the resurrection of his mother Darcia possible.
“The resurrection of the dead… Very well. This way,” said Gufadgarn, not asking for any explanation of the situation as he beckoned Vandalieu and his companions to the treasure chamber that contained the relics of Zakkart that he had guarded for over a hundred thousand years.
Provides bonuses to the growth of Attribute Values such as Mana, Vitality, Strength and Stamina.
It is a Job that provides bonuses to everything related to ‘creation,’ as well as providing the ability to guide those related to the objects and technologies that the Job holder has created himself.
Ordinarily, it was thought that this Job would allow the guidance of those that make use of the arms, clothing, ornaments, food or daily necessities created by the Job holder, as well as the undoubtedly many apprentices who would learn the Job holder’s skills.
However, the Job’s meaning has changed significantly with Vandalieu’s acquisition of it.
It affects everything from the arms and products created from the Demon King’s fragments, the Golems created through Golem Creation as well as the Undead and other monsters created by his death-attribute Mana.
As a result, Vandalieu’s Creation Path is one that no ordinary person can be led by, much like the Demon Path and Dark Path.