Death Mage 239 – The Demon King’s dining table
“W-what is this?!” Hajime Fitun gasped in pain.
Vandalieu’s blood that had scattered across the field, the severed pieces of his flesh and the stains all over Hajime Fitun’s body turned into a crimson mist. As it did, a violent pain ran through Hajime Fitun’s entire body.
Hajime Fitun screamed in agony. He sensed intuitively that this was different to the pain from the ‘Curse of Consequence of Action.’ It was the same pain as that inflicted by the attacks that he had received from Vandalieu up to this point, which possessed the effects of the ‘Divine Enemy,’ ‘God Devourer’ and ‘Soul Devour.’
Up to this point, Hajime Fitun had ignored the damage taken from Vandalieu’s attacks, thinking that victory would be his as long as he could kill Vandalieu one second before his own death. Even though his flesh was gouged out, his bones were cracked and his organs were crushed, he was still able to continue fighting, so he had not cared about his injuries.
This was because Fitun had granted Hajime Fitun’s body his divine protection, trained it and activated ‘God Transformation.’ Its potential and the potential of his own soul was very great, and he possessed extreme fortitude.
But this is bad! At this rate… I’m going to be killed!
Feeling the damage being inflicted upon him by ‘Bloodlust,’ he was absolutely certain of this.
“The ‘Bloodlust’ that we were told about! I thought he wouldn’t use it because of the direction of the wind, but this is how it ends up playing out! Misa, you can block it, right?!” Murakami ordered Melissa in a rough-sounding voice as he leapt away from Hajime Fitun.
He and his companions already knew about ‘Bloodlust.’ That was exactly why they had thought Vandalieu wouldn’t use it in an open outside space, especially with the wind blowing towards Kanako and the others.
They hadn’t expected Vandalieu to turn that open outside space into a closed one using ‘Dead Spirit Magic’ with space-attribute Ghosts that they had no knowledge of.
“I think I can, but can’t I just put up a magical barrier?” said Misa, who had already turned her entire body into vapor, as she kept the crimson mist away from Murakami and Akira.
Even avaricious, carnivorous micro-organisms could not consume air. Thus, Misa was immune to ‘Bloodlust’ in her current state.
But using her vapor-transformed body to protect Murakami and Akira from ‘Bloodlust’ was equivalent to doing high-intensity full-body exercise, so she was being rapidly fatigued. That was why she suggested using a spell to protect them instead.
But Akira shook his head, his face completely pale. “It’s no use. Vandalieu will negate it right away with his ‘Magic Absorption Barrier.’”
His ‘Odin,’ which allowed him to accurately predict the future several seconds ahead, was an ability that allowed him to see what he would see in several seconds’ time. Thus, he was unable to predict things that were invisible, but as long as he kept his target within his view, he could almost perfectly predict what that target would do and what would happen.
“B-‘Bloodlust,’ you… say?” Hajime Fitun muttered.
Unlike Murakami and his companions, he had separated himself from Alda’s forces in order to have this battle to the death against Vandalieu. Thus, he did not know anything about the ‘Bloodlust’ that Vandalieu had used in Alda’s ‘Dungeon of Trials.’
However, he was aware that it was an extremely dangerous attack.
Before using this ‘Bloodlust’ thing, he made preparations to ensure that the guys downwind wouldn’t get caught up in it. That means it’s not something on the level of a disease or poison that can be dealt with by the ‘Status Effect Resistance’ Skills or Potions! he thought. I don’t have time to have everything explained to me! First, I need to somehow cut through that space wall…
“It’s no use! What you’re planning won’t work!” Akira shouted immediately in warning, having seen several seconds into the future. “You too, Murakami! That wall of space won’t be broken by something like that!”
He had seen Hajime Fitun and Murakami both try to break through the wall of space and fail.
Fitun didn’t know how accurate the future-predicting ability of ‘Odin’ was, but Hajime and Murakami, who were both reincarnated individuals, did know. Both stopped their attempts to attack the space-attribute Ghosts and the semi-transparent wall of space with their weapons and spells.
“Then what are we supposed to do?!” Murakami demanded.
“I’d really like to know that myself!” Akira said in panic.
‘Odin’ allowed him to see several seconds ahead into the future but didn’t do anything more than that; it did not give him the correct answers to his problems. Even though he had seen the future where Murakami and Hajime Fitun’s attempts to break through the wall failed, he had to think on his own to think of a way to succeed.
“Those are carnivorous microbes; they’ll devour you if you touch them!” Akira warned.
“Microbes? … Ah, Hajime has knowledge of them. Then this should work!” said Hajime Fitun.
With his entire body still being consumed, he recited an incantation with incredible concentration to cast a spell.
“‘Great Lighting Explosion Sphere!’”
Hajime Fitun slammed an electrical, exploding sphere towards his own feet. Naturally, lightning immediately began flying in all directions. Murakami, having been given a hand signal by Akira, defended himself immediately. But the ‘Bloodlust’ was defenseless as it was scorched by the lightning.
Microbes were weak to electricity. Having learned this from Hajime’s knowledge, Fitun had thought to neutralize ‘Bloodlust’ with this attack.
Indeed, after the violent lightning stopped, the crimson mist faded, and Vandalieu was visible once more. With Hajime Fitun’s own body having been exposed to the lightning as well, he felt his pain fading.
“Hmph,” he smirked triumphantly… but in the next second, he screamed as once again he felt the excruciating pain of his entire body being attacked by ‘Bloodlust,’ and pieces of his soul being scraped away and devoured. “I-it’s didn’t disappear?!”
The crimson mist rose from the ground, re-blocking the path between Hajime Fitun and Vandalieu.
“That’s why I told you, it’s no use!” Akira muttered.
“Y-you stupid god!” said Misa.
“… This ‘Bloodlust’ is an attack that transforms a part of me into carnivorous microbes. But just because they’ve transformed doesn’t mean they’ve stopped being a part of me,” said Vandalieu. “I possess the ‘Magic Resistance’ Skill. Did you really think that all of these pieces of me would be wiped out by a magical attack of that level?”
Indeed, even though the carnivorous microbes were now out of Vandalieu’s control, ‘Bloodlust’ was like a swarm of microscopic Demon King familiars. Thus, the ‘Magic Resistance’ Skill he possessed applied to them as well.
The small number of surviving ‘Bloodlust’ microbes then divided and multiplied… using the nutrients they had gained from consuming Vandalieu’s blood that had spilled everywhere in large quantities, the pieces of his flesh, and Hajime Fitun.
It hadn’t even been worth using ‘Magic Absorption Barrier’ to prevent Hajime Fitun’s futile struggle.
“‘Spring Breeze of Regeneration!’” Hajime Fitun shouted, casting a healing spell on himself. “You bastards, do something! If you don’t, I’ll use my power to purge this entire place along with you traitorous sons of bitches!” he screamed, directing his bloodthirst at Murakami and his companions.
He still had sufficient ability for reasoning that he was warning them rather than destroying them on the spot, but his bloodshot eyes clearly showed that he was at his wit’s end.
“Damn it, what’s the use in threatening us!” Murakami cursed, but still trying to look for a way out of the situation at the same time.
The reality was that at this rate, if he and his companions didn’t do anything, they would end up being devoured and killed by ‘Bloodlust,’ even if their deaths would be slightly after Hajime Fitun’s.
Should I just give up and kill myself? If I only need to worry about myself, I’ll be able to do something with those guys’ powers… No, should I try this? Murakami thought as a plan suddenly came to him.
He glanced at Akira to confirm whether this plan would succeed. Seeing Akira nod, he hardened his resolve and broke into a run.
“‘Super Rapid Reaction,’ ‘Surpass Limits’… Vandalieu! I challenge you to a battle!” Murakami shouted towards Vandalieu, drawing Vandalieu’s attention towards himself.
And then he leapt into the crimson mist of ‘Bloodlust’ that was directly in front of him.
Vandalieu thought that Murakami had given up in despair, but quickly began moving once he felt the presence of death increase sharply and realized that ‘Bloodthirst’ was not devouring Murakami.
“‘Whip Tongue,’ ‘Screw Projectile,’ ‘Death Bullet,’” he murmured.
He extended his tongue like a whip, threw knife-shaped horns of the Demon King and cast ‘Death Bullet.’
But his tongue and the horns of the Demon King’s, which he was certain would hit Murakami as he charged through the crimson mist, passed straight through his body.
“Magic!” Murakami muttered.
The ‘Death Bullet’ projectiles silently slipped through Murakami’s body in the same way.
Seeing this, Vandalieu thought of one thing. “‘Gungnir!’” he murmured.
‘Gungnir,’ the ability possessed by Kaidou Kanata, which had allowed him to pass straight through target objects of his choice. Murakami had pretended to shout Vandalieu’s name out of sheer anger, but he had actually selected ‘Vandalieu’ and ‘magic’ as targets for ‘Gungnir.’
“You’re going to get hit!” Akira shouted at Murakami in warning.
Why was Murakami able to use ‘Gungnir?’
“‘Consecutive fire,’” Vandalieu murmured, deciding that he didn’t have the time to think about that right now.
He threw more horns of the Demon King… and an iron throwing knife, created from thin air by ‘Golem Creation.’
Akira’s warning had come a moment before Vandalieu’s attacks, but Murakami was unable to make use of that warning.
As the Demon King, the Demon King’s fragments were a part of Vandalieu himself. Thus, by designating Vandalieu as the target for Gungnir, Murakami could pass straight through the fragments, just like Vandalieu’s tongue.
But that did not apply for the iron throwing knives mixed in with the Demon King’s horns. It did not miss its mark, and Murakami groaned as it buried itself in his stomach… but perhaps because it was hastily made and not sharp enough, or perhaps because it had not reached Murakami’s internal organs, Murakami continued charging forward.
This is difficult to deal with, Vandalieu thought to himself.
Unlike Kanata, who had tried to keep his distance as they fought, Murakami was challenging Vandalieu in close-quarters combat. Since he had designated Vandalieu and magic as the targets of ‘Gungnir,’ Vandalieu could not repel him with the magic, ‘Unarmed Combat Technique’ and fragments of the Demon King that were his main weapons.
In his current state, Murakami was also unable to damage Vandalieu, so he would likely undo ‘Gungnir’ when the time was right.
He is hoping that undoing the ability while his spells or weapon are passing through me will destroy my body from the inside… and the great damage caused by that will undo either ‘Bloodlust’ or the spatial isolation, Vandalieu thought with the ‘High-speed Thought Processing’ Skill.
He took the Gyubarzo staff that was on his back and swung it in a wide arc towards Murakami as the distance between them was closed.
It was a fast movement, and the strength behind the swing was equivalent to the attack of a Colossus.
“Stop!” Murakami shouted.
The attack with the Gyubarzo staff, the movement of Vandalieu’s arm, was stopped by the ‘Death Scythe’ ability of Konoe Miyaji – another reincarnated individual whose soul Vandalieu had destroyed in the past.
Vandalieu was caught by surprise.
Considering that Murakami possessed ‘Gungnir,’ the possibility that he possessed ‘Death Scythe’ had occurred to Vandalieu. However, it was the movement of Vandalieu’s heart and lungs that had been stopped by ‘Death Scythe’ in the past. He had not realized that ‘Death Scythe’ was a deceptive name for the ability, which was a broadly-applicable ability that stopped the movement of any object.
Kanako, Melissa and Doug were aware, but Vandalieu had not thought to ask detailed questions about the ability of a reincarnated individual whose soul he had already destroyed, and Kanako and the others hadn’t thought to explain it to him, either.
The shocked Vandalieu stood there with his staff still raised, unable to swing it down.
Murakami smirked, and nobody could blame him. “You fell for it –” he began, but in the next moment, he groaned and suddenly collapsed to his knees.
“You are the one who has fallen for it,” said Vandalieu.
“P-poison? Why, how…?!” Murakami said hoarsely.
He tried to get up, but all the strength had left his body and would not return.
“I secreted a deadly venom from my tongue and released it in my breath,” said Vandalieu.
It was an extremely deadly venom that Vandalieu had secreted naturally with the ‘Deadly Venom Secretion’ Skill; the ‘Poison Resistance’ Skill at any ordinary Level would have no effect against it. Like sweat or tears, it was something that Vandalieu had secreted, and not a part of Vandalieu himself.
And standing next to Vandalieu was a beautiful girl made of dark-colored water with a very unusual lower body.
“That’s how it is!” said the water-attribute Ghost that had appeared, Orbia.
She swept the now-immobilized Murakami away with the tentacles of the lower half of her body. She was physically striking him using ‘Materialization’ on herself rather than using ‘Dead Spirit Magic.’ Thus, this attack was not a magical attack that Gungnir would currently target.
Naturally, ‘Chronos’ could not delay this attack, either.
Orbia was likely visible from the watchtowers, but… Vandalieu decided that he would just come up with some suitable lie to play it off.
“I couldn’t see it. Damn it, he’s already seen through my ability, so he’s using attacks that are difficult to see with the naked eye!” Akira shouted in surprise.
“That’s a water-attribute… You were holding back!” Hajime Fitun murmured in shock.
From that reaction, Vandalieu figured that Akira had only been able to see ahead to the point where Murakami smirked, and based on that, he had a rough idea of how far ahead ‘Odin’ allowed him to see.
Murakami, who had been sent flying by Orbia, fell like a ragdoll within the range of ‘Bloodlust.’ Perhaps because he had lost consciousness or run out of Mana, or perhaps there was a time limit on his abilities, both ‘Gungnir’ and ‘Death Scythe’ came undone.
At this rate, Murakami would be devoured and killed by ‘Bloodlust,’ unable to move because of the venom. He might be able to escape that fate if he used ‘Gungnir,’ but… that was impossible.
Fully aware of this, Misa clicked her tongue.
“We have no choice! Akira, manage on your own for a while!” she said.
She created a wind with her vapor body, sweeping up the ‘Bloodlust’ closing in on Murakami and gathering it in one place.
Rodcorte, the god of reincarnation, had recovered the ‘Gungnir’ and ‘Death Scythe’ abilities that he had given to Kanata and Konoe Miyaji after their souls were destroyed. However, as the abilities had been granted in a form that imbued the souls of their owners, they had also been broken by Vandalieu.
Rodcorte had joined the broken fragments of the abilities back together in a form that made them usable again, and granted them as a new divine protection to Murakami, the reincarnated individual who seemed most useful for the task of killing Vandalieu.
Thanks to this, Murakami had become a reincarnated individual with three cheat-like abilities – ‘Chronos,’ ‘Gungnir’ and ‘Death Scythe.’
But in the end, they were abilities made by repairing broken fragments. They would not function as they originally had. Both abilities now had a new weakness that they had not originally possessed – after the abilities were undone, they would be unable to target the same target again for a while.
“‘Sylphid’… The stench from that time was you,” Vandalieu murmured, realizing that the unpleasant odor that he had once smelled in the past was Misa using ‘Sylphid’ after all.
He began using his own blood to increase the volume of ‘Bloodlust.’
“‘Stench?’ I definitely erased my scent with magic…” said Misa.
“No, you were odorless. But ‘odorless’ air is actually unnatural in the city or out in the open,” said Vandalieu.
There were all kinds of smells in the air in the city and out in the open. The fact that these smells were completely absent had actually made the incident memorable. That was the reason Vandalieu had noticed Misa’s presence.
“I see… I’ll take note of that. But there’s no use in increasing this ‘Bloodlust.’ It doesn’t affect me,” said Misa. “Akira, now’s your chance –”
“Misa, kill yourself!” Akira shouted.
“Wha –?!” Misa uttered in shock.
In order to prevent them from being killed by Vandalieu and having their souls devoured, Rodcorte had granted the three of them the ability to end their own lives just by thinking it, so that they could kill themselves if they ever needed to.
Misa knew that Akira was referring to this, and hastily attempted to activate it… but both Rodcorte and Misa had failed to realize that as living organisms, humans could not make the decision to die in an instant. She was unable to conquer her instinctive hesitation to die.
That was why Vandalieu’s spell was cast before she could kill herself.
“‘Flaming Prison Death,’” Vandalieu murmured.
Misa began to scream, but it was immediately drowned out by a flaming explosion, fueled by the ‘Bloodlust’ generated from the organic matter that was the fragments of Vandalieu’s own flesh.
… Perhaps because he had been scorched by the explosion, or perhaps because the ‘Bloodlust’ attached to his own body had exploded as well, Hajime Fitun screamed… but the reason for this was the fact that Misa had died in flames, in the same way that he himself had died in his previous life.
“Damn it, Misa’s been devoured! Sensei, the venom should have worn off already! Hurry and get up,” Akira’s voice said from the other side of the smoke produced by the ‘Flaming Prison Death.’
It seemed that Murakami would return to the battlefield.
“Part of my goal with ‘Bloodlust’ was to pinpoint where exactly ‘Sylphid’ was, you see,” said Vandalieu. “Now then… using ‘Bloodlust’ one more time… would be a bad idea, I suppose.”
It seemed that Hajime Fitun had a way to deal with it.
Murakami and Akira getting caught up in that and killed would be… troublesome as they would likely be reincarnated again, but Vandalieu didn’t mind giving up on killing them here in the worst-case scenario.
The dangerous thing was the possibility that Fitun’s way of dealing with ‘Bloodlust’ was an indiscriminate attack wielding his power as a god, not caring for his surroundings. It was possible that the walls of space would be broken and Kanako, Melissa, Doug, Miles in the forest, and even the city of Morksi would become involved.
Now that Vandalieu had devoured ‘Sylphid,’ he was hesitant to take that risk.
However, considering Hajime Fitun’s personality, he would likely create some kind of mess before he expired if Vandalieu tried to simply wait until he was out of time. Vandalieu need to do something, but –
Wait. Even though I just devoured ‘Sylphid,’ the presence and number of souls hasn’t changed, Vandalieu realized suddenly. There is one delicious-smelling soul, and three that aren’t. And there is the faint presence of two others… Assuming that two faint ones are the familiar spirits that have descended upon Murakami and ‘Odin’…
A possibility occurred to Vandalieu. If he was right, he would be able to defeat Hajime Fitun.
Vandalieu remembered Hajime Fitun attempting to suppress the pain from his trauma upon seeing Isis and Kanako. His hunch being right didn’t seem too unlikely.
But in order to execute his plan, he would need another way to chip away at Hajime Fitun’s mental fortitude.
As Vandalieu searched for a method to do so, a delivery arrived.
“Bocchan, before you do that, I have a delivery for you,” said a voice.
“Thank you. Now then, I’ll split in two in order to buy time for that. I’ll be back,” Vandalieu said.
Vandalieu split in two. One stayed behind to accept the delivery and the other dashed towards Hajime Fitun and the others on the other side of the smoke.