The squirming Demon King and his fragments
Dargzobon, the evil god of mad disaster, squirmed in frustration inside his seal.
He had lost his power after being defeated by Ravovifard, and then Zantark had taken that opportunity to seal him away for several thousand years… and now, after more than ten thousand years, the seal suddenly loosened.
Naturally, Dargzobon did not let this chance slip away. He used all of his strength to throw off the seal, achieving his revival. It was fortunate that he had managed to regain about half of his lost power while he was sealed away.
And then, the moment he leapt out from his seal, he was sent flying by a breath attack from Tiamat, the mountain-queen Elder Dragon god.
“It has been a while. Go back to sleep!” Tiamat hissed.
After that, Dargzobon was immobilized by the endless attacks of the Moon Giant Deeana.
“Don’t send him flying away! Did you forget that we agreed to attack him on the spot until he stopped moving?!” Deeana shouted.
The relentless blows of Zantark, the war-god of fire and destruction, and the champion Farmaun Gold, rained down upon Dargzobon next.
Dargzobon hadn’t noticed during the chaos of the eclipse, but now that he recalled, it had seemed like there were other evil gods who had been revived as well.
It was likely that Zantark and his allies had gathered Dargzobon and the other sealed evil gods in one place to manage them. Upon sensing the seals weakening, they had come and leapt into action immediately.
Unable to escape, Dargzobon was sealed away once more. This was the only possible outcome, as he had reappeared in the midst of his enemies with only half of his original power.
Now, he had less than a tenth of his original power. His current state was equivalent to a human being riddled with wounds, on the verge of death. It would be an impossible task to make a full recovery from this state unless he somehow gained an enormous number of followers.
“Curse you… Curse you…” he groaned.
His hatred for Zantark, Farmaun, Tiamat and the others deepened, but hatred alone wouldn’t return his power.
There was no telling when Dargzobon would be able to escape the seal. The only thing that he could do was curse those who had sealed him until the seal somehow loosened once more. Or at least, that was supposed to be the case.
“The seal will… loosen once more… HUH?!”
Suddenly, the seal warped and came undone, without Dargzobon even struggling against it. He had been freed.
It was possible that the gods’ seals had all loosened together due to some event, just like before. Dargzobon decided that he would not let this opportunity slip past this time; he would certainly make his escape.
He leapt forth from the seal, gaining speed to try and take to the skies.
He had to get as far away from this dangerous place as possible and set up his Divine Realm to heal his wounds. Exacting vengeance could come afterwards.
His elated laughter was cut short as he crashed unexpectedly into a ceiling. He was not damaged, as he was currently in an illusion-like spirit form, but this was greatly surprising to him nonetheless.
“WHAT IS THIS PLACE?! A DUNGEON?!”
Indeed, Dargzobon’s second resurrection had taken place inside a Dungeon. The sky was clear and blue, but this was actually an enclosed space, and there was an invisible ceiling that prevented ascension beyond a certain height.
Even though the attacks of his foes several days ago had reduced his power to a tenth of its original amount, he was still an evil god. No ordinary wall or ceiling would contain him. But that didn’t apply for the walls and ceilings of a Dungeon.
If Dargzobon was the master of this Dungeon, then he would be able to do as he pleased, but he had no memory of creating such an unpleasant Dungeon with clear blue skies and green forests.
With that being the case, he would have to exit the Dungeon normally like a human. But he had little strength remaining. Though it pained him to admit it… it was likely that he would be defeated if he were to encounter a Rank 10 monster.
Fearful and wondering whether he would be able to make it, Dargzobon turned towards the surface. In the next moment, his mucus-like body froze as if solidified.
The Demon King was up there.
“GUDURA… NIS…?” Dargzobon murmured, recalling his former master, the dog who had been defeated by the champions. “No, it’s not him!” he realized as he saw Vandalieu, who was floating in the air with a staff in his hand.
Vandalieu’s presence and Mana bore enough similarities to Guduranis’s to be mistaken for a moment. But he was a different being entirely.
“So, you’re Dargzobon, the evil god of mad disaster. The one who is said to have caused numerous disasters during the age of the gods as a member of the Demon King’s army, and laid waste to the Dark Continent as well after the Demon King was defeated,” Vandalieu said, addressing Dargzobon… the evil god with the appearance of a mass of thick mucus with eyes and a nose on its surface. “I am the successor to the champion Zakkart and the ‘Holy Son of Vida,’ Vandalieu Zakkart,” he continued, not waiting for a response. “You can obey me, or be devoured and destroyed. Make your choice.”
Obedience or destruction. Given this choice, Dargzobon found himself unable to move right away. He understood that despite Vandalieu having the appearance of a mere boy, he possessed the power to destroy him, just as he said he would.
The proof of this was that Dargzobon could detect a familiar scent coming from the staff in Vandalieu’s hand, which was longer than the height of his body.
Gyubarzo… So, it is made of that fool’s bones and Magic Stone.
The staff had been created by Tarea, using materials from another former subordinate of the Demon King – Gyubarzo, the evil god of dark seas.
But Dargzobon could not sense Gyubarzo’s actual presence in the staff at all. This meant that Gyubarzo had already been destroyed.
Vandalieu’s presence was similar to the Demon King, and he possessed an overwhelming quantity of Mana that Dargzobon could sense even from this distance. In his hand was a staff made from the remains of an evil god.
Dargzobon knew that even if he were to recover all of his original power, it would be dubious as to whether he would even have a fifty percent chance to be able to defeat Vandalieu.
If he refused to obey, only destruction awaited him. Understanding that, he made his decision.
“ALRIGHT,” he replied, approaching Vandalieu. “I… would rather be destroyed than obey the likes of you!” he shrieked, suddenly accelerating towards Vandalieu in a suicide attack… or at least that was what it appeared to be, but he flew directly past Vandalieu.
Dargzobon chose to gamble on the small possibility of escape.
But at that moment, a countless number of vines extended from the trees below, piercing through Dargzobon. A five-headed, one-eyed Elder Dragon with a single tail leapt from the forest, releasing projectiles of light from three of its heads.
“ZOZOGANTE?! FIDIRG?! CURSE YOU!”
With only a tenth of his original power, Dargzobon could not withstand the attacks of other gods. He began falling helplessly to the ground, and his spirit form began collapsing, exposing his soul.
“Fire,” said Vandalieu, using Telekinesis to fire a Demon King’s horn from a cannon barrel created from the Demon King’s blood, aiming directly at Dargzobon’s exposed soul.
Unable to even give a dying scream, the soul of Dargzobon, the evil god of mad disaster, was consumed and destroyed by Vandalieu.
“Taking physical form for the first time in so long was truly excellent,” said Zozogante.
“Indeed… Taking physical form makes me truly feel like I exist,” said Fidirg’s first head.
The two of them were nodding in agreement with one another, having had their spirit forms converted to physical forms by Vandalieu’s death-attribute spell, Materialization.
“Our surprise attack went well,” said Zozogante.
“The best thing is that we can eat the offerings made to us right away,” said the second of Fidirg’s heads.
“I’ll be undoing the spell now, since I’m running low on Mana,” said Vandalieu.
He couldn’t maintain the spell forever, so he undid the spell and began descending towards the ground. Zozogante and Fidirg immediately lost their physical forms, silently returning to their semi-transparent, ghost-like forms once more.
He could manage Materializing ordinary Ghosts, but doing so with gods, even those who had lost most of their power, was quite the burden on Vandalieu despite his vast Mana pool.
It was unlikely that he would have even considered it if he didn’t have the staff made from Gyubarzo.
“Did you gain the Experience Points?” Zozogante asked Vandalieu.
Vandalieu checked his Status. “Well, I gained more than defeating ordinary Monsters. The flavor wasn’t bad, either,” he said.
Dargzobon, the evil god of mad disaster, had been a moderately powerful figure amongst the Demon King’s army, but considering that, Vandalieu hadn’t received that many Experience Points. But then again, Dargzobon had possessed not even a tenth of his original power… to be more precise, less than a year had passed since Zantark and the other gods had beaten him into a state of complete incapacitation.
In other words, when he came out of his seal, Dargzobon had been severely wounded and on the verge of death… essentially right by death’s door. He had only been able to move in that state because he was an evil god.
It wasn’t surprising that he hadn’t provided many Experience Points.
“Come to think of it, do gods receive Experience points as well?” asked Vandalieu. “I’ve heard that gods don’t have Statuses.”
The Status System was something that Ricklent, the genie of time and magic, had created for humans, and the Demon King Guduranis had manipulated it to apply to monsters as well.
Thus, the gods who had existed since before the Status System and were superior beings to humans in the first place did not have Statuses.
The only exceptions in which they gained Statuses was when they possessed vessels or were reincarnated.
“There is no meaning in Experience Points for us,” said one of Fidirg’s heads.
“But when we’re feeling good and physically eat our enemies, we might gain strength… maybe,” said his second head.
“To be honest, it’s our first time having an overwhelming victory over a god, so I don’t really know,’ said his third head.
It seemed that Experience Points had little significance to Fidirg and the other gods.
As Vandalieu reached the ground, Tarea emerged from inside him, having been equipped with the Group Binding Technique Skill.
“That was splendid, Van-sama!” she exclaimed, scooping Vandalieu into her arms with a well-practiced motion and bringing her face close to his. “So, how did the staff feel to use?”
Vandalieu was the only thing that she could see… because if she didn’t do this, she would accidentally end up seeing Fidirg and Zozogante’s forms.
Even Fidirg, whose appearance was not particularly grotesque among evil gods, would still appear to be a shocking, horrific monster from up close to Tarea.
“… Um, maybe we should keep our distance?” suggested Fidirg’s third head.
“I am actually able to camouflage myself as an ordinary tree. Shall I do it?” asked Zozogante.
“I-it is fine! I am not the kind of woman who would interfere with the friendships of gentlemen!” said Tarea with a stiff voice, inadvertently squeezing Vandalieu harder.
“As you can see, the Gyubarzo staff is fine,” said Vandalieu, holding out the ominous-looking staff made from the bones of an evil god with a dark blue Magic Stone glinting at its tip.
Mages’ staves possessed the function of preventing wasted Mana as it flowed and concentrated during spellcasting, making the Mana easier to control. Considering their convenience, they were considered essential items for most mages.
Even monsters like Goblin Mages would always wield crude handmade staves, though the performance of such staves was truly poor.
However, Vandalieu had never wielded a staff up until now.
“It didn’t explode as I passed the Mana through it, and it doesn’t even have a scratch,” Vandalieu continued.
Any staff wielded by Vandalieu would be immediately destroyed the moment he cast a spell, unable to withstand the sheer volume of his Mana.
But this staff, despite having been wielded by Vandalieu during battle, didn’t have a single scratch on it. Perhaps it was to be expected of a staff created from the corpse of Gyubarzo, an evil god.
“That is a relief… though to be honest, I could not perform much processing on it and merely shaped the bone, so I cannot take much pride in it,” said Tarea.
She had already acquired the ‘Skilled Artisan’ Job that she had only dreamed of in the past, but it seemed that materials taken of a god had been too much for her to handle.
“It cannot be helped that I could not assist with the Alchemy part of the process, but I wanted to create a staff that would be just as functional as Vandalieu-sama’s transformation staves… It seems that I need more discipline,” Tarea said in summary, having finished examining the staff’s condition.
“We got three gods’ worth of materials, so let’s improve them as we go,” said Vandalieu. “But that’s the end of the gods that were in the Demon King’s army that we got from Zantark and the others… I didn’t think that all three of them would try to escape. I thought that at least one… no, that all three would choose to submit to me,” he said, feeling confused as he placed an Orichalcum dagger and sheath… the Artifact that had sealed Dargzobon, into his pocket.
“It was indeed unexpected,” Tarea agreed. “Given two options in a Dungeon with no escape… There is effectively only one option if they wished to survive, so I thought that they would certainly choose to obey.”
Zantark and the other gods had informed Vandalieu what Dargzobon and the other two gods were like.
All three of them had always never stopped being evil since their time as subordinates of the Demon King, and that had not changed even up to the moment they were sealed. Thus, neither Vandalieu or any of his companions had expected that they would be able to persuade these evil gods to change their ways.
However, they had thought that they might submit if forced to. Vandalieu had tried to make them submit, since he would have to remove the seal to devour them anyway.
But not a single one of the three evil gods had submitted, knowing that they would face certain destruction if they were to ever disobey.
Thus, they had seen no option for themselves other than a desperate attempt at an almost impossible escape.
This was a different result from the image of evil gods that Vandalieu and Tarea had in their minds.
“Well, I suppose that is the expected result, though we only knew their names and nothing of their personalities,” said Fidirg’s first head.
“They did rampage as they liked up until now, just like evil gods are expected to do,” his second head added.
“It just means they weren’t ever gonna be able to join us,” said the third.
It seemed that this result wasn’t surprising to Fidirg at all.
Vandalieu was still confused, so Zozogante continued explaining.
“They are simply too different from you and your companions, Vandalieu-dono, even without considering the factions that you belong to,” he said. “To some evil gods, clear skies and green trees feel filthy and unpleasant. It is not simply their colors; the activities of all non-monster creatures, as well as the emotions of love that humans feel, causes them nothing but fear and disgust. There are gods like that, and Dargzobon was likely one of them.”
The evil gods who had appeared in this world under the Demon King’s command had originated in other worlds. Thus, their sense of values, their ways of thinking and the entire structures of their minds were different from beings from this world.
That was why there were certain things that might be normal to the inhabitants of this world but abhorrent to some evil gods.
To Dargzobon and the other two gods that Vandalieu had destroyed, the teachings of Vida and the other gods of this world had merely appeared foolish, perhaps even disgusting and blasphemous – to the point that they would not be able to bear them at all, not even temporarily.
It didn’t need to be said, but submitting and swearing allegiance to Vandalieu, who was the ‘Holy Son of Vida’ and Zakkart’s successor, was equivalent to submitting to Vida’s teachings.
They would not have thought that they could continue living like that. Even if they chose to submit and survive for now, they would be unable to bear obeying Vandalieu, and once they disobeyed… just by committing fiendish acts, which were completely normal to them, they would be destroyed.
That was likely why Dargzobon had pretended to attack and tried to make an escape.
However, there were other evil gods like Zozogante and Fidirg who were present right here next to Vandalieu, serving Vida’s faction and able to converse with Vandalieu normally.
“… There are two evil gods right here who have adjusted to these conditions,” Tarea pointed out.
“There are vast individual differences between us. There were those like Fidirg who were able to adapt, those like myself who never felt any repulsion for Vida’s faction in the first place, and those like Gufadgarn and Mububujenge who were indifferent to any differences between us. These are the gods who accepted Zakkart’s offer and betrayed the Demon King’s army,” Zozogante explained calmly.
“Of course, the ones whom Zakkart spoke to directly were those who were not in important positions in the Demon King’s army,” Fidirg’s first head added.
“So, there might be other gods that we might be able to negotiate with and convince to cooperate with us, but…” said his second head.
“Don’t think those kinds of gods are gonna still be rampaging around as they like a hundred thousand years later,” said the third.
“I see. You’re right,” Vandalieu agreed.
Any gods that were still laying waste to this world a hundred thousand years after the Demon King Guduranis’s defeat would never adapt to the world.
Incidentally, Luvesfol was originally an Elder Dragon of this world who had simply betrayed the other gods of Lambda; his sense of values wasn’t actually much different from the other Elder Dragons.
“Come to think of it, what should we do with Luvesfol? If everyone is unable to forgive him, then we’ll have you seal him away,” said Vandalieu, mentioning the traitor that Pauvina had brought back.
Luvesfol was the one who had sealed Fidirg away and stolen the Lizardmen that were his followers. It was a matter of whether Fidirg could forgive Luvesfol or not.
Fidirg gave Vandalieu a sad-looking expression.
“I think I… have no more hatred for him,” said his first head.
“Before, I wanted to tear him limb from limb if I ever saw him again, but…” muttered his second head.
“Now… I think it’d be more damaging to him to make him live as a pet,” said the third.
Currently, though he had some degree of freedom, Luvesfol was a Dragon rather than an Elder Dragon, and the lowest of Dragons at that – a Rank 5 Wyvern. He was being treated like a pet by Pauvina. It seemed that Fidirg could not hate Luvesfol as he was now.
“I am not particularly concerned,” said Zozogante, disinterested as he’d had almost no contact with Luvesfol before.
“It might be better to ask Shashuja and the others and see what they think,” said Tarea.
“You’re right. Let’s go and see them after I see how Mom is doing,” said Vandalieu.
And so, Vandalieu headed for the great marshlands after spending about an hour talking to Darcia, who continued to sleep inside the capsule.
He met Shashuja who happened to be observing the Armans’ training. The Armans were the crocodile-like people who had mutated from Lizardmen through death-attribute magic and were now larger than Shashuja.
Vandalieu asked Shashuja about Luvesfol, but…
“Shu? Lushusheh?” Shashuja hissed.
It seemed that he didn’t even remember Luvesfol’s existence, let alone hate him.
The Lizardmen’s worship in the past was a simple thing; they had only known that they were worshipping a god and couldn’t even distinguish one god from another. With that and the fact that Luvesfol hadn’t directly oppressed the Lizardman tribes, Shashuja didn’t even remember who Luvesfol was.
And so, Luvesfol’s life as a pet was set to continue without incident.
《Your Vitality has increased by 10,000! Your Strength, Agility, Stamina and Intelligence have increased by 1,000!》
《The Levels of the Rapid Regeneration, Magic Resistance, Venom Secretion (Claws, Fangs, Tongue), Enhanced Agility, Body Extension (Tongue), Artillery Technique, God Devourer and Soul Devourer Skills have increased!》
《The ‘Improved Attack Power while activating a Magic Cannon’ Skill has improved to Medium!》
《Status Effect Resistance has awakened into the Status Effect Immunity Skill!》
Yond, the grain-nation. It was the western vassal nation with vast lands filled with granaries that supplied the Amid empire. It was separated from the ocean by rows of rocky mountains, but it was a nation with moist soil that blessed the people with the gifts of the earth.
Yond was on the opposite side of the Amid Empire from the Mirg shield-nation, so it had never been directly exposed to war. It was always filled with a peaceful air.
But the air in Yond today was far from peaceful.
Farmers were fleeing with desperation in their faces, there was a young soldier following them.
“IT’S A MONSTEEEER! RUN, WE’RE GOING TO BE KILLED!” one of the farmers screamed.
“Help!” cried another. “Help us, aren’t you supposed to be a soldier?!”
“Shut up! If you’ve got the breath to be screaming, use it to run faster!” the soldier shouted back.
In the distance, there was what appeared to be a humanoid creature covered in black fur, chasing after them.
But upon closer inspection, it was clear that this creature was actually a person with its entire body covered in sharp black needles, letting out strange, guttural noises.
Indeed, this was a person. Its features weren’t visible beneath the long needles that were even growing from its eyes and inside its mouth, but it was likely a human or Elf, and likely a man.
If the farmers and soldier had some knowledge about marine animals, they might have described it as a crocodile-man.
But the needles growing from its body were sharper than steel, and the soldiers who thought it was a monster at first and tried to chase it away had been impaled and slaughtered, the needles piercing straight through their armor and shields.
Having seen this, the farmers and lone surviving soldier had started fleeing towards the village.
The monstrosity behind them was also heading towards the village, so even the farmers and soldier didn’t know whether they were going to the village to warn their friends or whether they simply wanted to be saved.
What the hell’s going on?! I’ve never seen a monster like that! We were just supposed to keep watch and stop wild animals from interrupting the harvest, so how did it end up like this?! the soldier thought desperately.
But as the monstrosity let out another guttural noise, the soldier realized that the monster’s path was not towards the village.
Seemingly completely uninterested in chasing the soldier, it continued heading straight south.
Alright! If we keep running this way, we can get away! the soldier thought, hope shining in his eyes with this unexpected, fortunate turn of events.
He didn’t know what the monster was thinking, but once he managed to get to the village, it would be the Knights’ Orders and adventurers’ jobs to deal with the rest.
He was a mere village guard; all he needed to do was keep the village safe and pray for heroes to do their work.
But the hope in his eyes faded in an instant.
There was an old woman in the monster’s path who had tripped over and was now unable to move.
“H-HELP MEEE!” she screamed.
Perhaps she had been on her way to deliver lunch to the farmers or gather some medicinal herbs. There was still some distance between her and the monstrosity, but it was only a matter of time before she was impaled by those sharp needles.
“Damn it! Myne-baasan, get out of the monster’s path, even if you have to crawl!” the guard shouted before he even realized what he was doing, putting himself between the monstrosity and the old woman.
He did this despite the fact that using his own body as a shield would only be able to buy a few seconds of time. Despite the fact that there was no way he had been born into this world only to extend the life of an old woman whose name he barely knew by a few seconds.
“Stone Wall! Stone Form! God damn it! Why isn’t there a hero around when there’s a monster on the loose?!” the guard screamed as he activated the martial skills of Skills that he had only just learned recently, increasing the defensive power of his wooden shield and hide armor.
The monster was more agile than it looked. As if responding to the soldier’s scream, its needles extended towards him –
“There is a hero, right here,” an echoing, reliable-sounding voice said suddenly.
It was not only the monsters’ needles that had responded to the soldier’s scream. Something appeared along with the mysterious voice and sent the monstrosity flying.
“What is this… A spear?” the soldier murmured, looking from the monster that was now writhing on the ground after having been sent flying, and the glowing spear that had appeared in front of him.
The echoing voice spoke inside the soldier’s mind once more.
“Come, Andy,” it said. “Take that spear and seal the fragment of the wicked Demon King.”
“H-how do you know my name?! W-who in the world are…?!”
“I am a spirit clone of Zaress, the god of soldiers. I am the god who guides you.”
“W-why is a god speaking to an insignificant soldier like me?!” Andy exclaimed, bewildered by the majestic-sounding voice that was echoing inside his head.
But as he saw the monstrosity groaning and getting to its feet, his body sprang into action in a natural manner.
“Alright! What am I supposed to do now?!” he asked Zaress’s spirit clone.
“Entrust your body to me for a short while, though this will place a great burden upon your body. It is still impossible for you to do this alone,” Zaress’s spirit clone replied.
The spirit clone descended upon Andy and took over his body. Using precise spear techniques, it cornered the monstrosity… the adventurer who had set off the Demon King’s needles whose seal had come undone.
“MAIN BODYYYYYYYYY!” the Demon King’s needles shrieked as Zaress’s spirit clone successfully sealed them away once more.
His body having reached its limits, Andy lost consciousness and collapsed.
A god descending upon him had allowed him to exhibit physical abilities beyond his limits, but he had been unable to withstand the burden this had placed upon his body.
The next time Andy woke up, he was being praised as the hero who had saved the village, his Status had the Zaress’s Divine Protection and Familiar Spirit Descent Skills, and he was no longer an insignificant soldier.
Meanwhile, people like Andy who suddenly heard the voices of gods and received their divine protections were appearing all over the world.
The people praised the gods for these miracles.
However, the truth was simply that Alda, the god of law and fate, had ordered his subordinates to search for candidates to become heroes and raise them so that they could oppose Vandalieu.
And he was also having them resolve the incidents caused by seals that had weakened due to the solar eclipse, since these were perfect for making use of the hero candidates.
The Demon King’s fragments being released had been outside of Alda’s expectations, and although burdens had been forcibly placed on some of the hero candidates like Andy, the incidents had been dealt with.
Some of the released fragments had been sealed by the Storm of Tyranny and Randolf ‘the True’ rather than the heroes chosen by the gods serving Alda, but there was no real effect on the masses.