Kanako, Melissa and Doug had been assigned to Legion as subordinates, but the work that they had been given was no ordinary work.
“First of all, you’re to be constantly under our surveillance,” said Minuma Hitomi, the reincarnated individual who was one of Legion’s personalities.
“… Hitomi, I think you’re being too straightforward,” said the ‘Aegis’ Melissa, her mouth twitching a little.
It seemed that Legion had no intention of concealing the fact that their job was to supervise Kanako and her companions rather than act as their boss.
It seemed that she was still not completely accustomed to the sight of countless, pink, human-shaped objects twisted together to form a sphere… or perhaps it could be described as an enormous ball of flesh with human upper body halves and lower body halves hanging out of it in random places.
“You say that our work is to be under surveillance… Isn’t there anything else? We’re not asking to be in charge of something important right away,” said Doug, looking dissatisfied. “Also, what is that eyeball? You didn’t have that until today, right?” he asked, pointing at an eyeball about the size of his own head that was buried inside Legion.
Legion’s various personalities began explaining.
“This is Vandalieu’s, an eyeball of the Demon King. With the Long-distance Control Skill, he can manipulate it and observe things from afar.”
“Of course, he can’t see anything right now. Vandalieu is outside the range for the Long-distance Control Skill.”
“We’ve borrowed it from Vandalieu for two experiments! One is to see how long we can keep it inside us! We haven’t had it transplanted into us! We’ve just made a dent in our body and put it inside there!”
“I-I see… It’s the kind of stuff that would disgust me if I heard it in Origin, but I’m shocked by the fact that I’m not shocked at all,” Doug muttered.
“So this is the effect of the Guidance Skill, is it?” said Kanako. “It’s inconvenient that it can’t be used consciously, but it’s far superior to my Venus in terms of duration and the breadth of its effects.”
Despite hearing Legion’s explanation, they were only a little surprised rather than shocked. In fact, they even had slight positive emotions towards the enormous eyeball that had a hollow-looking pupil.
As Kanako said, this was the effect of Vandalieu’s guidance. As the Demon King’s eyeballs were a part of Vandalieu, they felt as if the eyeball was Vandalieu himself.
The fact that they had been merely “very surprised” despite looking directly at Legion’s true form and learning that this was the form of the people that they had known from their previous lives was also due to the guidance’s effects. No matter how grotesque other guided members were, they all felt a sense of friendship and unity with each other, which had softened the psychological blow to Kanako and her companions.
“So, is the other experiment something you can’t tell us about?” asked Melissa.
“No, we need your help for the experiment… you were good at using guns, weren’t you?” asked Ghost… the one whose existence hadn’t been known by the reincarnated individuals, including Kanako, right until the very end.
“Well, I suppose so,” said Doug.
The three of them had been brought here into an experimental Dungeon. It was the same floor of the same Dungeon that they had been living in until they were guided by Vandalieu.
In this Dungeon, Melissa took aim at Legion with her ‘gun’ and pulled the trigger. A loud bang echoed out, and the fired projectile buried itself inside Legion’s enormous body.
“… Did you miss?” asked Pluto.
“I hit you, right in the middle!” said Melissa a little angrily.
“Hmm… Ah, it hit. It doesn’t hurt at all, so I thought you missed,” Pluto said as the spherical bullet fell out of Legion’s body.
It seemed that she had assumed the bullet had missed because Legion felt no pain.
“Well then, aim for our eye next. The white of the eye is fine, but hit the pupil if you can,” said Legion, moving on.
“Alright. I’ll shoot your eye… How troublesome,” Melissa murmured.
She refilled her matchlock weapon with gunpowder and a new bullet, took aim at the Demon King’s eyeball and pulled the trigger.
A gunshot rang out once more, and the round bullet collided with the hollow-looking Demon King’s eye… and then fell to the ground.
“Not even a scratch… That pupil is harder than bulletproof glass or fortified plastic,” said Melissa.
“You guys, stop teasing me. Jack is getting upset!” said Hitomi.
TLN: Hitomi’s name is the same word (and kanji) as the Japanese word for “pupil.”
“Sorry, Hitomi, it was kind of funny,” said Pluto. “Still, it’s just as you’d expect of a part of Vandalieu. An ordinary gun can’t pierce it even with a direct hit. Well then, test the biggest one next. If I recall, we should have a big gun that’s over twice the size of an ordinary rifle.”
“I can’t hold that thing. You do it, Doug,” said Melissa.
“Yeah, yeah… Here I go!”
Having to use the Hecatoncheir’s telekinesis ability to support the enormous matchlock rifle, Doug pointed it at the Demon King’s eyeball in Legion. The barrel spewed out flames and a thunderous noise, and the projectile sank into the surface of the eyeball. The recoil left Doug’s arms and shoulders numb.
“… It made a little dent, but didn’t pierce through,” said Legion.
The bullet hadn’t pierced through the Demon King’s eyeball to bury itself in Legion’s flesh; it had stopped against the eyeball’s surface.
“At this rate, we won’t be able to inflict even a scratch unless we replace these lead bullets for bullets made of magical metals,” said Kanako. “We need to increase the amount of gunpowder and make the barrels longer, too.”
Legion, Kanako, Doug and Melissa were testing whether the prototype firearms that had been left in the workshop in the deepest chamber of the Trial of Zakkart would be able to withstand being fired.
All of these firearms were the creations of Zakkart and Hillwillow who had worked with him, so they had enormous historical value. Kanako and her companions had asked if it was really alright for them to handle such precious items.
“It matters not to me,” Gufadgarn had replied. “Zakkart created them to be used as weapons, not as works of art or ornaments. And it is the will of Vandalieu to assign you with work.”
Gufadgarn was aware that all of Zakkart’s relics were precious items, but each relic had different uses, rarities and dangers.
Among the relics, she knew that these firearms were not particularly important.
Thus, Kanako and her companions had brought these firearms into this Dungeon, followed Zakkart’s handwritten explanations to load them with gunpowder and bullets, then test-fired them, using Legion and the Demon King’s eyeball as a target. As Gufadgarn had preserved the firearms, bullets and the gunpowder, they were still usable despite a hundred thousand years having passed.
But why were they using Legion and the Demon King’s eyeball as a target? As the target being fired at, Legion could offer their thoughts on the weapons. As for the Demon King’s eyeball, it was a model for the eyeball of a high-Rank monster.
“But it won’t pierce an eyeball even with a direct hit… Is this real life?” Doug wondered. “Even if Zakkart and Hillwillow built these after coming to this world, their function shouldn’t be that different from matchlock firearms on Earth, right?”
Since Kanako’s group had been doing their best to not draw attention to themselves, the strongest monster that Doug had ever fought was only Rank 7; he was wondering if there was a problem with the firearms themselves. Even if the firearms were old-fashioned and the eyeball was massive, he seemed to find it difficult that the eyeball’s surface could stop bullets.
Gufadgarn thought for a moment, and then he answered Doug’s question. “It is true that Zakkart created these guns after coming to this world, but it is unclear as to whether their performance is equivalent to that of the matchlock firearms of Earth. Unfortunately, I do not know how effective matchlock firearms are in Zakkart’s world or yours.”
Zakkart, the creator of these guns, had been the manager and engineer at his small-town factory, which mostly handled metalworking. But naturally, he had never built guns before. Hillwillow, who had wanted to be an actor, had only ever seen props of guns.
Thus, Zakkart had used his vague knowledge, created gunpowder with Solder’s help through trial and error, and finally built these guns after much hardship.
Thus, these guns were referred to as matchlock firearms and there were many similar parts. But the truth was that they were no more than imitations… parts of the wood had been replaced by Adamantite and Mythril, too.
Thus, even Zakkart had been unable to say for certain whether they were as effective as the originals.
“In fact, you three and Legion should be more knowledgeable regarding guns than Zakkart was,” said Gufadgarn.
Kanako, Doug and Melissa looked at each other, then their faces fell a little.
“I see. But I’ve never fired old-fashioned guns before, either. I’ve only used assault rifles and automatic weapons,” said Doug.
“We haven’t even done that. It’s not that we can’t use them, but we used our abilities and magic more often when it came to battles,” said Melissa.
“Those of us who were good at using guns were ‘Super Sense,’ and ‘Odin.’ Murakami was quite good with guns as well. There were others like the ‘Gungnir’ Kaidou Kanata,’ too,” said Kanako. “What about you, Legion? Ereshkigal always carried a gun with her, so I thought she was quite the gun maniac.”
All of the upper bodies protruding from Legion shook their heads.
“The only ability I had was reflecting attacks I received with Counter, so I had to carry a weapon at all times for my own protection,” said Ereshkigal. “It was like a replacement for a stuffed toy, and an accessory to look cool. I wasn’t a maniac or anything.”
“I have to question carrying a gun around like a stuffed toy, but as you know, we never learned how to handle guns like you guys. Most of us could barely manage to not shoot ourselves in the feet.”
“… Valkyrie and Izanami really did shoot themselves in the feet, and the one time Pluto fired a gun, the recoil knocked her off her feet. She’s never held a gun since.”
“Shade, you were supposed to keep quiet about that, right?”
“How dare you reveal a maiden’s secrets?! You traitor!”
Several female upper bodies began slapping the head that seemed to be made of Shade’s flesh.
Incidentally, as a former Braver, Hitomi had received training. But she was so terrible with guns that her instructor had told her never to use them if possible.
In summary, Kanako and her companions knew how to use guns, but they weren’t truly knowledgeable about them. Despite that, they were conducting performance tests on Zakkart’s guns. It was a very strange situation.
“We can at least suggest points to improve, and with Vandalieu, progress could be made with the manufacturing of parts, but… making guns any more modern than this would be impossible,” said Kanako. “At most, we could try to build revolvers if we could build bullet cartridges and fuses.”
Doug and Melissa were in agreement. They had no confidence, because before they were reincarnated in Lambda, Aran had told them that scientific knowledge from other worlds could not be applied directly in this world.
Each world had different laws of physics, such as the existence of Mana and the relationships between attributes. Thus, any scientific knowledge gained in their original world was of no use here if applied directly.
In fact, there was no telling what would happen if items created in other worlds were to be brought directly into this one.
Modern weapons in particular could explode if shaken slightly, or simply stop functioning altogether. According to Aran, handheld missiles could be fired, but… Kanako had the feeling that Aran hadn’t mentioned what would happen after they were fired.
The matchlock firearms they were testing now were using gunpowder that Zakkart and the other champions had created using materials from Lambda, so there was no need to worry about that happening. However, it was difficult for Kanako and her companions to apply their knowledge directly.
“Vandalieu wishes to know whether guns can be used effectively in Lambda with their current performance,” said Gufadgarn.
“He wants to hear how useful you think they’ll be if their performance is improved. You’re the only ones who came from another world and lived in human society as adventurers,” said Legion.
With the purpose of this experiment explained to them, Kanako and her companions focused on testing the guns for a while.
They tried Adamantite and Orichalcum bullets as well, but with the same amount of gunpowder, the firepower was only slightly better than ordinary bullets and they still didn’t pierce the Demon King’s eyeball.
The conclusion they came to was, “It’s doubtful.”
“They’re not suited to being weapons for adventurers. Carrying them around and handling the gunpowder is difficult. Gunshots might attract other monsters, and the smell of the gunpowder smoke will cling to you,” said Doug. “From what Legion felt during our testing, the impact is probably effective against Rank 3 or 4 monsters, but they’d only inflict scratches on monsters that are Rank 5 or above unless you hit them right in the eyes or the mouth.”
“Past Rank 5, most monsters are quick, and not being able to fire rounds in quick succession is a big downside,” said Melissa. “Also, monsters often have strange special abilities. And once the monsters are Rank 10 or above, I’m not sure whether even hitting them in the eyes will work.”
“If the targets are humans, then I think they are effective against ordinary soldiers and adventurers up to D-class. Considering that they likely won’t know what guns are, they might work on C-class adventurers. If they could be made smaller like pistols, it might be feasible to carry one for defense,” said Kanako. “But I think their biggest advantage is that they’re easy to learn how to use, just like crossbows, other than the fact that you could use the gunshot sounds to intimidate your enemy.”
The three of them were of the opinion that as ordinary weapons, guns were about as useful as crossbows.
Unlike hunters on Earth, adventurers would encounter and fight monsters numerous times, and reloading a matchlock firearm took more time and effort than a crossbow. Thus, they did not make for reliable weapons.
However, if used on humans, they could be useful as most people would not be able to tell that it was a weapon at first glance. But this trick would never work on the same enemy twice.
“Considering the effort it takes to make gunpowder and bullets, and the fact that they’re difficult to use, I think crossbows are better,” said Kanako.
“You’re right… Even if Vandalieu turned these into Cursed Weapons, they probably wouldn’t be able to reload themselves, either,” said Izanami.
“I wanted to try forming a heroic musketeer squad, but it is unfortunate that things turned out like this!” said Valkyrie.
“I see,” Gufadgarn said with a nod, seeming not to care that Zakkart’s relics had turned out to not be useful. “Zakkart also gave up on making these useful in the battle against the Demon King’s army due to a multitude of problems; he created several special guns for himself and the other champions, and then stopped his research on them. It would not be easy to make them overcome those problems.”
“… In other words, the amazing Zakkart couldn’t do it, so there’s no way that we’d be able to do it?” Doug said sarcastically.
But Gufadgarn nodded, seeming to think that Doug was understanding what she was saying. “Indeed. Doug, it seems that you and I may get along.”
Kanako’s group had come under Vandalieu’s service after Gufadgarn, so she was treating them as equals. According to this evil god’s sense of values, the world existed with Zakkart… and Vandalieu, at its center. Thus, she hadn’t been able to understand Doug’s sarcasm.
“I don’t think we would, but… How about we think about making other weapons that use gunpowder that aren’t guns? Bombs, for example,” Doug suggested.
Everyone present thought that Doug’s idea could indeed be useful. In this world, there were spells that released exploding fireballs and enormous rock projectiles, but not everyone could cast them. Guards and conscripted civilians generally couldn’t use magic.
Even the citizens of Talosheim, who had all received advanced training when compared to other nations, generally used spears and bows as well as the average soldier. But those who could cast offensive spells were rare.
“They’d still be difficult to handle as weapons for adventurers, but if we could make flashbangs that just emit light and noise, they could be useful for intimidating or distracting monsters,” said Melissa.
“Even as defensive items, putting metal fragments inside the bombs would increase their lethality and they might be quite effective,” said Kanako.
“In the battle against the Demon King’s army, Zakkart also gave up on firearms and made use of gunpowder as a replacement for smoke signals. It seemed that the monsters that made up the frontlines of the Demon King’s armies were unaffected by bombs unless the metal fragments inside them were Orichalcum,” said Gufadgarn. “However, I remember him saying that he wanted to fire them into a summer night sky when peace returned.”
“Into the sky?” Legion repeated.
“Yes, if I recall… he said these are called ‘fireworks.’”
It seemed that Zakkart had used the combustion reactions of metals to produce signal flares with black gunpowder. And it also seemed that he had thought of using this for fireworks one day.
“Fireworks… Our first achievement should be in this area. Even if we make weapons, there’s no telling when we’ll be able to actually use them, and fireworks can be used in events. Well, we won’t know whether we’ll be able to make real skyrockets until we try, though,” Kanako murmured.
“It is good that you are aiming to achieve something. I am sure that this would please the one who is looking forward to your achievements so that he may acknowledge them,” said Gufadgarn.
“Is Vandalieu really expecting that much of us?!” Kanako asked, happy and surprised at the same time.
But Gufadgarn shook her head. “It is not Vandalieu. It is someone who is very close to Vandalieu. As you are a mage who can sing and dance, she is anticipating that Vandalieu will deem you trustworthy enough to give you a certain item.”
“… I see. I’m glad that someone is supporting me, but why my singing and dancing?”
Kanako was being supported by a certain mysterious person who desired the appearance of another magical girl.
And so, it was decided that the three of them would make fireworks, not explosives.
The distribution of materials needed for black gunpowder and the color of the flames emitted by the combustion reaction of metals was different from that in Earth and Origin, and they were confused by these differences, but the fireworks took form.
Some time after the new year began, it was decided that the fireworks would be tested in the suburbs of Talosheim rather than inside the Dungeon.
“Death Iron makes black flames when it burns, doesn’t it,” said Kanako.
“So, these can’t be used at night… Ah, a solar eclipse?” Melissa said looking up at the sky, noticing that the sun was turning black from one side.
“So, this world has solar eclipses, too. Wait, what’s wrong?!” Doug shouted, looking at Legion, who was silently, but violently, pulsating and writhing.
Recounting the events before the solar eclipse.
A little further into the ocean from the Merfolk nation, Vandalieu was trying to procure a ship for his voyage on a reef known as the ship graveyard, a place where wreckages of ships floated to and gathered.
“Let’s use the parts from these four ships for now…” he murmured. “Get up, fuse.”
With the Golem Creation Skill, he turned the parts of ships into Undead and fused them together.
An ominous groan came from the ship as it became a ghost ship. Its ripped sails fluttered in the wind, and its oars that were covered in algae and barnacles paddled through the water.
Princess Levia, Pauvina and Oniwaka, the princess of the Kijin nation, cheered as they gazed upon the completed Ghost ship from Sam’s carriage.
“What a large ship, Your Majesty!” Princess Levia exclaimed.
“Wow, there are so many creatures with lots of legs. Just like Pete,” said Pauvina.
“Ah, so the ships from the outside world aren’t just big, they have a bunch of oars,” said Oniwaka.
However, Pauvina seemed to be more interested in the countless crabs, prawns and mantis shrimp that were pouring out of the ship than the ship itself.
“Boss has combined a galeas, a sailing ship and a sorcery ship,” said Kimberley, who was once a soldier of the Amid Empire and had some knowledge regarding ships; he had a nervous expression on his face.
Incidentally, sorcery ships were ships that were built not only by shipwrights, but alchemists as well, who turned the ships into Magic Items. Most owners of such ships were royals, nobles or merchants who had amassed vast fortunes, and adventurers often had them to sail into Devil’s Seas.
It was likely that this was the shipwreck of a sorcery ship that had tried to sail into the region inside the Boundary Mountain Range and failed.
“I’ve only ever sailed on rivers; I’ve never gone out into the sea,” said Kimberley. “Still, are you sure that thing will be alright?”
“Well, probably. I’ve turned the ship itself into an Undead, so there shouldn’t be any problems with sailing it. If any irregularities do occur, I’ll just remodel it,” said Vandalieu.
If there was a truly large problem that caused the ship to sink, they could all climb into Sam’s carriage and escape into the sky, so things were likely to be fine.
“By the way, Vandalieu, there are four ship captains that are arguing on the ship. Are those Undead that you made?” Oniwaka asked.
“No, they’re probably the captains of each of the ships that I used who turned into Undead naturally,” said Vandalieu. “I chose the parts of ships that looked like they would have a lot of hatred lingering around them, after all. There are a lot of other fresh Undead, so I suppose we should recruit some sailors, too.”
“We need people to clean the ship up, too,” said Pauvina.
Vandalieu stopped the argument between the captain of the pirate ship, the captain of the warship, the captain of the merchant ship and the adventurer captain of the sorcery ship, all of whom were claiming to be the captain of the new ship. Vandalieu recruited them all.
After that, he recruited the Undead that were wandering around the surroundings as sailors. Vandalieu needed them to look at the simple sea chart that the Storm of Tyranny had given him.
“First, I need to use Preservation, then Deodorization and Sterilization… We shouldn’t let the shellfish and seaweed that are stuck to you go to waste, so let’s eat them later,” said Vandalieu.
The Undead had been in a symbiotic relationship with the marine life, but they would now live new lives with clean, white, hygienic bodies.
“So, shall we head to the Dark Continent? We’ll have to cross several Devil’s Seas on the way, but we’ll probably manage,” said Vandalieu. “We’re relying on you to lead the way, Bone Man, Leo.”
“Leave it to us, my Lord,” said Bone Man, in high spirits. “Come, Leo. The time has finally come for you to be of use!”
Leo… the Zombie of the Great Mud Dragon that had ruled the great marshlands south of Talosheim, was tied to the ghost ship by several ropes, with Bone Man riding on top of him.
A low groan came from Leo’s crocodile-shaped head. His tail and fin-shaped limbs moved, and he began towing the ghost ship forward.
He seemed a little unaccustomed to the waves of the sea that was much deeper than the water of the marshlands, but his movements were powerful. His limbs broke the reefs that it collided with as he moved forward.
“The ghost ship itself is Rank 3, but Leo is Rank 9 right now, and Bone man is riding him. Most monsters should wait for us to pass,” said Vandalieu.
“By the way, Van, what are you going to name the ship?” Pauvina asked.
“Let’s see…” Vandalieu thought for a moment. “Let’s call it ‘Quatro,’” he said, naming the ship after the Spanish word for the number four.
Of course, the reason for this name was because it was a ghost ship made from the parts of four different ships.
It was a slightly unwieldy name, but it would do.
“Quatro… A strange name that was clearly made by Boss,” Kimberley remarked.
“Kimberley-san, how are other boats named?” Princess Levia asked.
“Most of them are women’s names, or the combination of an adjective with a marine animal, like the ‘Brave Whale.’”
Oceans were the domain of Peria, the goddess of water and knowledge, her subordinate gods as well as the fish beast-king and the marine mammal beast-king. Thus, it seemed that boats were often given names that honored the goddess and sea creatures.
“Well, it isn’t like someone is going to smite us for giving our ship an unusual name,” Kimberley added. “It’s better than having a common ship name like Marie or Ellie, isn’t it?”
“I suppose so,” said Vandalieu. “We’re counting on you, Quatro.”
The ghost ship Quatro expressed its delight at having been named by Vandalieu with a creaking groan. This was the birth of the largest ship in the world, if one ignored the fact that it was a ghost ship.
But there was still a mountain of marine life and debris inside the ship. Vandalieu had already cast the Sterilization spell, but mold would soon grow again if the ship was left as is.
“Now then, let’s clean up the sailors and ship. We’ll gather everything that can be eaten and have a barbeque on the deck later,” said Vandalieu. “Let’s make this the most sanitary ghost ship in the world.”
“Indeed, if we don’t make the ship clean, we’ll be stuck for a place to sleep tonight,” said Oniwaka.
“Oniwaka-chan, we’ll be fine since we’re going back to Talosheim tonight. Even if we need to stay here, we have Sam,” said Pauvina.
“Ah, I see.”
As Vandalieu used Out-of-body Experience and created clones of himself to help the sailors clean the ship, Pauvina and Oniwaka got deck brushes out of Sam’s carriage and joined in.
They were on alert, as they were currently sailing through a Devil’s Sea, but Orbia and Kimberley were keeping watch.
And so, the first day of the voyage was an enjoyable one, as everyone enjoyed the horned turbans, oysters offered by the friendly sailors and the fish and crustaceans inside Quatro.
But on the seventh day of their journey, the sky suddenly darkened.
“So, this is the solar eclipse mentioned in the message from the Storm of Tyranny,” said Oniwaka.
“Your Majesty, this is a sinister omen! Something may happen!” said Princess Levia, seeming anxious as she looked up at the darkening sun.
For the Titans, whose father was the Sun Giant Talos, solar eclipses were sinister omens.
“Isn’t that only in the old Talosheim?” said Orbia.
As she said, the people of the new Talosheim weren’t very concerned about eclipses.
“Ah, you’re right. Your Majesty, it’s probably fine,” said Princess Levia.
But Vandalieu was looking not at the sky, but at the ocean.
“Something is… rising from beneath,” he murmured, extending the Demon King’s antennae and activating a Demon King’s eyeball ahead of the ship.
There was an ominous, blue-white glow in the eyeball’s pupil.