The Death Mage Who Doesn’t Want a Fourth Time - Chapter 288.1
‘Perseus’ and ‘Skanda’ officially became companions of Vandalieu.
As they had already been guided by Vandalieu before that, Rodcorte did not witness the moment this happened; he did not even take notice of it. But even if he had, he would likely have dismissed it as being an unimportant development.
He had expected that Sarua and Sieg would be guided by Vandalieu from the very fact that they had moved to the Demon Empire of Vidal before their memories, personalities, and abilities from their previous lives returned. He had already stopped considering them to be potential fighters on his side.
It was Kanako Tsuchiya who was troubling Rodcorte, rather than Sarua and Sieg.
“Impossible… Why has she, of all people, awakened to become a Guider?! She did not show even a glimpse of that kind of potential in Origin!”
Rodcorte had seen that Kanako had acquired a Guider-type Job through the eyes of the people who met her. Reports from Hirshem, the God of Strings, and Alda, the God of Law and Fate, had supported his observation.
“Being a Guider is one of the conditions of being a champion in Lambda… Those who acquire such Jobs are said to leave their mark on the world and their names are recorded in history, without exception,” Rodcorte muttered in anguish, clutching his head in his hands. “So why has someone as lowly as her become a Guider?!”
“Don’t you think you’re being too harsh on her? I mean, I’m just as surprised as you are, but still,” said Aran, one of Rodcorte’s familiar spirits, though Rodcorte didn’t seem to be listening to him. “Kanako, huh. They say looks can be deceiving, but I didn’t think they could deceive like this,” he remarked calmly.
Aran had not been particularly close to Kanako, not in his previous life or on Earth. In his previous life, he had been killed by Murakami, one of her partners, so perhaps it could be said that they were something close to being enemies.
However, even if Aran removed such personal feelings from the equation, he hadn’t believed that Kanako had shown any qualities hinting that she might acquire a Guider Job, nor had she possessed the kind of unifying will that one might associate with a hero.
Even after she and her companions betrayed the Bravers, they had been led by Murakami; she had never taken leadership back then.
“You’re right about that. To think that she would become a Guider through her idol activities. Does that mean that anyone can become a Guider as long as they’re introducing and spreading ideas that don’t exist in this world?” asked Izumi, a reincarnated individual who, like Aran, had become a familiar spirit.
It was not Aran who answered her, but the ‘Oracle’ Endou Kouya, who had become a familiar spirit after the other two.
“I think so. But I don’t think just anybody can introduce and spread ideas and cultures. I mean, Asagi and Mao haven’t become Guiders,” Kouya said.
“Well, I don’t think those guys can become idols,” said Aran.
“That’s not what I’m trying to say,” said Kouya. “What I mean is, we have the ideas and culture from Earth and Origin that don’t exist in this world, but whether we’re able to spread them is a different matter.”
Naturally those who were reincarnated from other worlds possessed the knowledge and sense of values from those worlds. However, it was another matter entirely as to whether they were able to spread these to the new world they were reincarnated in.
First of all, they would need a certain amount of knowledge regarding the technology, ideas, or values. Spreading these things was not a simple matter of shouting, “These ideas exist!” and forcing them into people’s ears.
One could only be said to have successfully spread the ideas and culture if they were able to make people understand and support them.
Next, in order to spread these things to people, they would need a past filled with notable achievements and deeds, renown, fame, and charisma. The teachings and opinions of a nameless nobody of dubious origin would never be supported.
Even Kanako had only become a Guider after conducting concerts in the Demon Empire of Vidal, on the Demon Continent, and in the city of Morksi.
“In other words, what you’re saying is that about half of the credit for her becoming a Guider goes to Vandalieu,” said Izumi.
Indeed, Kanako had become a Guider because of Vandalieu’s support.
In the Demon Empire of Vidal, he had provided Knochen as a concert venue, Demon King Familiars that were split entities of himself as lighting equipment, and various other things as well as the transformation equipment that served as costumes.
And it was Vandalieu and Darcia’s influence that had allowed Kanako to hold large concerts from the beginning, not her own ability.
If Vandalieu hadn’t helped her, Kanako’s idol activities would have probably stayed limited to a small scale.
“Yes, it’s probably because Vandalieu helped her that she was able to become a Guider in such a short period of time. But I think she would have become a Guider eventually even without his help,” said Kouya. “She is an impressively driven person.”
Aran and Izumi nodded in agreement.
“She is indeed a driven person. No matter how much help she had from Vandalieu, none of this would have come about if Kanako herself hadn’t made things happen,” said Aran.
“Vandalieu alone wouldn’t have thought to touch on idol activities… artist activities, after all,” said Izumi.
Kanako had knowledge of idols and the entertainment world as she had been an idol on Origin, and it was because she had taken the initiative that idol culture was now spreading in Lambda, causing her to become a Guider.
As Kouya said, Kanako was an exceptionally driven person. After being reincarnated in Lambda, she had betrayed Murakami whom she had previously been allied with and convinced Doug and Melissa to join her in leaving Murakami’s group. And then they had joined Vandalieu’s side.
She possessed a drive that no ordinary person had, and more importantly, she had courage and a lot of nerve.
Kouya, Aran, and Izumi were wearing bitter smiles, as they had been enemies in their previous lives, but… these merits of Kanako’s were likely the kind that could only shine when she was free to act on her own.
There had been few opportunities for these merits to shine when she was with the Bravers.
“But Kanako’s guidance doesn’t have the power to move souls to other circle of transmigration systems, right? So why is Rodcorte so upset about it?” asked Aran.
“Aran, ordinary guidances don’t have the power to change the circle of transmigration system that a soul belongs to. It’s not that Kanako’s guidance doesn’t have that power; it’s just that Vandalieu’s is abnormal,” said Izumi.
Kanako’s Artistic Path did not have the power to guide people to Vida’s circle of transmigration system. However, as Izumi said, that was normal for a Guider.
Thus, Kanako did not cause large numbers of people to move from Rodcorte’s circle of transmigration system to Vida’s and cause error alert sounds to ring endlessly in Rodcorte’s Divine Realm every time she stood on a stage.
However, there were several error alert sounds currently ringing.
“It seems that the people guided by Kanako become more susceptible to being guided by Vandalieu. All Vandalieu did was stand on stage and talk a little, and this happened,” said Kouya.
“I see. If there were CDs, TV, or the internet in Lambda, all of humanity would probably have been guided right away,” said Aran.
It was easy for a culture to become shared among humanity in Lambda, unlike Origin and Earth. That was because there was only one language.
There were dialects that differed depending on the region, but they were minor differences. If Kanako went on a tour around the entire world, there would be no language barrier to get in the way like there would be in Origin and on Earth; her music would be heard across the world.
And although it was partially because Kanako’s music was considered to be hymns to Vida, the people who were guided by Kanako were more easily guided by Vandalieu.
“That’s probably part of it, but it seems that it was a big loss for three important people… no, two, to be guided by Vandalieu,” said Izumi.
But this was not quite accurate.
Ediria, the future hero chosen by the God of Strings Hirshem, and Carlos, the future hero chosen by the God of Heat Hazes. These two had been guided by Vandalieu – despite both of them having received Rodcorte’s divine protection…
“It seems that simply giving them his divine protection and making them pray to him wasn’t much of a deterrence,” said Aran.
Ediria and Carlos possessed Rodcorte’s divine protection, but they were not true worshippers of Rodcorte. They had not been given any doctrine or teachings to follow; to them, Rodcorte was nothing more than some unknown entity.
That was why both of them had been guided by Kanako and Vandalieu without putting up any psychological resistance.
Incidentally, Rodcorte had already removed his divine protection from them.
“I agree that Rodcorte’s divine protection has absolutely no effect that prevents someone from being guided by Vandalieu. But more importantly, I think the fact that Randolf ‘the True’ has been partially guided will be a bigger blow to Alda’s forces,” said Kouya. “It doesn’t seem like they thought of him as an ally to begin with, but I don’t think they expected that he could become an enemy.”
Indeed, the God of Law and Fate Alda had never thought of Randolf as an ally to begin with. But he had never considered him to be an enemy, either.
In the Dungeon of trials prepared for Heinz’s party, the ‘Five-colored Blades,’ Alda had planned to create copies of Randolf for them to fight, just as he had made copies of Schneider’s party, the ‘Storm of Tyranny.’ However, that didn’t mean that Alda had ever seriously expected Randolf to become an enemy.
He had just intended to create a copy of Randolf for the purpose of training Heinz and his companions, to provide a wall for them to overcome.
However, Randolf had been guided, even if only partially. That was a great problem.
Randolf’s name was still very well known in the Orbaume Kingdom, and although Randolf himself thought of his connections with nobles as troublesome, they were robust. If he were to become an ally of Vandalieu, Heinz would be even more outmatched in fame and politics than in combat strength.
“It’s only partial for now, but who knows what will happen from here on,” Kouya said in conclusion.
“Vandalieu and his allies might surpass Randolf in fame before he’s completely guided,” said Izumi.
“Yeah, that sounds possible,” said Aran with a nod.
The forces defending Botin and Peria wasn’t a topic of conversation for them. The reason for that was that there were no humans in the regions being guarded, so they had no information on that front.
Of course, considering that Vandalieu was playing musical instruments on a stage, it was clear that the defensive forces were the ones in a grim situation… Vandalieu wouldn’t be doing such things if he was facing difficulties, after all.
《The Levels of the ‘Musical Instrument Performance,’ ‘Strengthened Attribute Values: Worshiped,’ and ‘Strengthened Attribute Values: Demon Empire of Vidal’ Skills have increased!》
The performance with Vandalieu among the instrumental performers was a great success.
Perhaps it was because the concert was a little different from usual, with Vandalieu being a part of the regular performance, using the talking time between songs to tell stories that were told about Vida in the Boundary Mountain Range and the Demon Continent with a few adjustments, and Rudolf transforming using Vandalieu’s general purpose transformation equipment.
At the very least, it was nothing like the concerts that Vandalieu had held in the Snow Ice Titan and Androscorpion nations in Gartland with just himself and his Demon King Familiars due to Kanako being busy.
In those concerts, in order to make up for his poor musical skills, he had used a larger number of Demon King Familiars to crawl… or rather, dance, on a variety of strange stages, and performed something that couldn’t exactly be called singing.
He had recited lyrics about love and peace, on and on at an unchanging pitch, similar to a Buddhist chanting performance. The audience had listened to this performance and stood out of their seats to cheer and praise Vandalieu.
The performance seemed to have caused the audience to lose their minds; the Snow Ice Titans had carved an enormous mural of Vandalieu on the walls and the Androscorpions had etched a huge image of him on the ground.
As the chiefs of these races had promised, they had indeed not built any statues… When he first saw them, Vandalieu was at a loss for words.
In order to prevent similar things from occurring in Morksi, Vandalieu had chosen not to take part in the performance there.
It was a successful concert of normal scope, but Rudolf departed on the same day as he had planned. But he was a bard, and if he performed in other cities with the methods and songs that Kanako had taught him, her original goal of spreading her music would be achieved.
… In the end, Randolf’s true identity was never discovered.
It was decided among Alda’s forces that Hirshem, the God of Strings, would be quarantined.
This measure had been taken because he had continued to provide his divine protection to Ediria, unlike the God of Heat Hazes Rubicante who had removed his divine protection from Carlos, but this was not a punishment.
Hirshem had argued that Ediria herself had done nothing wrong as a believer, and there was no reason to remove the divine protection that had been granted to her. Alda had acknowledged Hirshem’s wishes on this matter, but Hirshem had still been quarantined, as it would be unacceptable for information regarding the other gods to reach Ediria in the form of Divine Messages.
However, if Ediria ended up becoming an ally of Vandalieu to fight against the worshippers of the gods of Alda’s forces or the gods and their subordinates themselves, Hirshem would likely be pressed to remove the divine protection once more.
A reply letter from Vandalieu arrived.
Upon hearing this news, Selen’s heart was filled with hope, and she opened the envelope to begin reading, but… she was quickly confused. The contents of the letter were very difficult.
“… There are a lot of kanji that I can’t read, so I can’t tell what’s written,” she said.
“Let me have a look,” said High Priest Pietro Farzon, taking the letter from her. “This is rather difficult, isn’t it? Even a letter written by an adult wouldn’t be this difficult,” he said with a bitter smile.
As he was the nephew of Duke Farzon, he had received education of a high standard, and he currently served as High Priest at the Church of Vida. And yet, the letter’s contents were so difficult to understand that even he could not immediately understand it.
There were several expressions that were no longer used in modern language; it was like reading a historical script.
But fortunately, the contents were not so difficult that he would have to open a dictionary in order to decipher them. After reading the letter carefully, Pietro gave an exasperated sigh.
“What does it say?” Selen asked.
“You see, Selen… It seems that Vandalieu-kun is busy, so he can’t meet you,” Pietro told her.
As Selen’s face fell with disappointment, Pietro patted her head.
“Now then, it’s about time for your studies,” he said, gesturing towards the door.
Once she had left, Pietro sighed as he looked down at the letter in his hands once more.
He had told Selen that Vandalieu couldn’t meet her because he was busy, but the truth was that the letter was more in-depth than that.
“‘I am a Vida fundamentalist… It is an uncommon doctrine these days, but it is one that does not accept Alda’s peaceful faction, so we cannot meet. Please tell that to the adults around you as well.’ Hmph. Did he deliberately write this using language that Selen cannot read, so that we would be the ones to read it? Or did he simply not want Selen to read it? … If it is the latter, it is rather immature of him,” Pietro murmured to himself.
Regardless of Vandalieu’s intentions, his position was something that Pietro could not happily accept, as the leader of the sect of the Church of Vida that maintained friendly relations with Alda’s peaceful faction.
On top of that, spies had brought him news that in the Alcrem Duchy, where Vandalieu and his allies currently resided, there were great reforms being made regarding the treatment of Vida’s races.
“Heinz, if you do not return soon, the Farzon house will be forced to make a move soon,” he whispered to the empty room.
They trained and faced combat repeatedly. Not much time had passed since they became adventurers, so this experience nourished them, and their skills had markedly improved.
They were supposed to face a new trial today.
By coincidence… and through luck that didn’t match their skill, they had managed to be promoted to D-class, so their skill would be truly tested during their next promotion exam. And even that exam was nothing but a checkpoint for them to pass through on their way to their true goals.
What their friends needed was incredible strength that not even B-class adventurers possessed. The gods they worshiped had expectations that they would gain such strength.
That was why they needed to pass the B-class promotion exam no matter what.
They had gathered information regarding the contents of the promotion exams. Would they be asked to exterminate a group of bandits to prove that they had the strength of resolve to kill other people? Would they need to slay a certain number of high-Rank monsters in a Dungeon? Or would they be assigned as guards for nobles in order to prove that they were capable of smooth communication with the upper class, with whom they would certainly interact with more frequently in the future?
They had thought of and prepared for every possibility.
But in reality, they were given a trial that they had not expected.
“Umm, the B-class promotion exam that was scheduled for you, the ‘Heart Warrior Brigade,’ has been canceled,” said Berard, the head of the Guild branch.
The adventurer party was the ‘Heart Warrior Brigade,’ and every single piece of their equipment had a heart-shaped mark engraved on it.
One of its members… Arthur stared at Berard in astonishment. But he recovered from his shock quickly.
“What in the world? Just why… why has it been canceled, Branch Head Berard?” he asked as he took a step forward, strongly determined to know the reason.
However, he was careful to speak with a quiet, calm voice so that his actions would not be interpreted as a threat.
“We have made preparations for this day. Telling us that it is canceled all of a sudden is not something that we can accept with no explanation. If there is a reason, we must hear it,” said the Dwarf Borzofoy, who was the party’s mage and a childhood friend of the other members, with a friendly smile on his face.
“Nii-san, Borzofoy, it doesn’t matter if the exam’s been canceled, does it? Let’s leave it be. There are plenty of other things we can do, right?” said Arthur’s younger sister Kalinia, trying to calm the other two down.
Arthur and Borzofoy suddenly noticed that Berard was remaining silent and was slowly backing away from them.
It seemed that they had unintentionally overwhelmed Berard, but apologizing would be awkward as well – or so they thought.
“… Indeed, it’s just as you say,” said Arthur, withdrawing his foot back to its original position.
Borzofoy gave a cheerful laugh to play the situation off. “You’re completely right!”
Berard looked not at these three, but at the leader of the ‘Heart Warrior Brigade,’ Miriam. “… So, could you please translate for me?”
“Yes! Arthur-san and the others are not suspicious that there is some hidden meaning behind the exam’s cancellation; they are simply surprised by the suddenness of the cancellation! And there is no hidden intent in Kalinia-san’s words either; I believe that she was simply trying to stop Arthur-san and Borzofoy-san from troubling you, Branch Head!” said Miriam, who was a bow-wielding thief, in a lively tone.
Hearing this translation of the others’ actions, Berard let out a sigh of relief… he had been worried that Arthur and Borzofoy had interpreted the exam’s cancellation to have some hidden meaning behind it, and that Kalinia was suggesting doing something about it through some illegal method.
Berard was not a soft man; he would not normally feel such pressure from a group of youngsters who had been adventurers for less than a year.
But that was not true when the youngsters in question were Arthur, whose fierce-looking face was a trait he had been born with, Kalinia, who was beautiful but had an unpleasant look in her eyes, and Borzofoy, a gaunt and suspicious-looking man with thinning hair.
Berard had sensed that they possessed strength that did not match their adventurer class from the moment they came to the city of Morksi. But within a short period of time, they had improved their skills even further, acquired the ability to observe things, and their presence carried more weight now.
Arthur and his party’s presence was not merely enough to silence a crying child; it would even silence the guards who came running after hearing the crying child.
If Miriam wasn’t their leader, Berard might have been experiencing a stomachache from the stress of dealing with them.
“I see. Very well. But rest assured, the exam’s cancellation is due to the nobles who are supposed to act as judges for the exam. I searched for one who was available until the very last minute, but it seems that all of them are busy,” said Berard. “There are no ulterior motives as far as the Adventurers’ Guild is concerned.”
The promotion exam for D-class was a test of whether the participants were able to kill people, but the main ability tested for promotion to B-class was the ability to maintain friendly relations with nobles, with whom one would interact frequently as a high-class adventurer. The exam would also test whether participants were capable of making correct decisions as members of the Guild.
During assignments that involved guarding nobles, adventurers would be in contact with the nobles they guarded for days at a time, and it would be problematic if relations became tense to the point that the assignment could not be completed. It would also be problematic if the adventurers were to turn a blind eye to any illegal acts committed by the nobles.
Thus, it was common practice for the Adventurers’ Guild to make requests to nobles and their children to act as judges, and nobles that wished to have connections with promising adventurers would take part in these exams.
“Because they’re busy? Even though it’s only summer?” asked Miriam.
Of course, there were periods when nobles were busy and periods when they had more free time. However, unless there were events like wedding ceremonies or a state of emergency such as war, the period from spring to summer was usually a period where land-governing nobles were relatively free. They became busier in the social season beginning in autumn, when the harvesting season for farms ended.
Miriam knew this, which was why she was surprised.
Arthur had an idea as to why the nobles were busier than usual. “Is it because of the incident that occurred in Alcrem?”
The resurrection of an evil god that had occurred in Alcrem… The truth was that it was not the resurrection of the evil god Forzajibal, but Zerzoregin. But due to the information suppression that had taken place, the world believed it to have been Forzajibal.
Arthur suspected that the nobles were busy dealing with the aftermath of that incident.
“That may be part of it, but it isn’t the entire reason,” said Berard. “Well, the nobles say they are busy, so we have no choice but to accept that they probably are.”
Berard believed that there was more than meets the eye to the nobles’ actions.
There were also many nobles like Earl Morksi who were busy with the reform of the treatment of Vida’s races that Duke Alcrem was pushing. However, as some of them had strong relations with the Church of Alda, it was certain that many would be unwilling to cooperate with Morksi, the city where Darcia, the one who was praised as Holy Mother, and her Dhampir son Vandalieu, resided.
But as the head of the Adventurers’ Guild branch, he couldn’t carelessly talk about his speculations on what the nobles were doing with Arthur and his party.
“Well, please wait a little more for your exam. If it seems like it will take a while before we can find a noble to help, let’s ask the earl to introduce us to one. We want you to reach B-class as soon as possible, after all,” Berard said.
With that, Miriam and her party left Berard’s office.
“But to think that someone like me would be taking the promotion exam for B-class… I still can’t believe it,” Miriam said as they descended the stairs towards the first floor.
When she first met Arthur and the others, she had been just an ordinary E-class adventurer, the kind of rookie adventurer that could be found anywhere. And yet, less than a year later, she was a C-class adventurer who was eligible to take the promotion exam for B-class.
As an adventurer, she was considerably successful.
“Miriam-san, please have more faith in yourself. Your progress has been the greatest out of all of us in the ‘Heart Warrior Brigade,’ hasn’t it?” said Arthur.
“That is right. Miriam, it is because of you that I am as capable as I am now,” Borzofoy agreed.
“Yes. You’re our leader, after all,” said Kalinia.
The thing that Miriam found the most unbelievable was that she was the leader of her party. She was sure that if she were to go back in time and tell her past self that things would turn out this way, she wouldn’t believe it.
“I mean, after receiving so many divine protections, it would be strange if I didn’t make any progress…” said Miriam.
Miriam had received a divine protection from each of the gods who had granted their divine protections to Arthur, Borzofoy and Kalinia – the Goddess of Rain Clouds Bashas, the Goddess of Dark Nights Zelzeria, the God of Shadows Hamul – as well as the divine protection of Vandalieu.
There was nobody that Miriam knew who had received the divine protections of so many gods. She had believed that if she didn’t make any progress even after that, there was no hope for her.
“And we still have to become even stronger,” Miriam said.
The incredible thing about the nation ruled by Vandalieu, the emperor who had granted her his divine protection, was that one needed the strength of a C-class adventurer to be considered average. Ordinarily, C-class was only attainable by adventurers with a certain amount of talent or adventurers capable of working hard enough to overcome a lack of talent.
That was something that Miriam and her party had learned from going to that nation – the Demon Empire of Vidal – numerous times for training. Indeed, people with the strength of a C-class adventurer were not rare in that nation.
I was shocked to hear that the main occupation of the ramen store owner, Braga-san, is being the Face-tearing Demon, though. But even if you exclude him, even C-class adventurers are just treated as ordinary people over there.
That was why Miriam wanted to become stronger – both because she was the leader of the other three who adored her, and to live up to the expectations the gods held for her.
“Indeed… In order for Vandalieu-kun to consider us to be of use in battle, we likely need to reach the skill of an A-class adventurer at the least. It is a magnificently high goal. I told you to have more faith in yourself, but I should say the same thing to myself,” said Arthur.
It seemed that he and the others had slightly misinterpreted Miriam’s intent – they had interpreted her desire to become strong enough to be respected in the Demon Empire of Vidal as wanting to become powerful enough to be considered useful in battle to Vandalieu.
It was a misunderstanding that Arthur had made because he considered himself to have not been of much use during the battle against Zerzoregin, the Evil God of Cannibalism and Pillaging.
“Huh? Arthur-san, what are you saying?” asked Miriam.
The misunderstanding was growing at an accelerating pace.
“To think that you are not satisfied with merely being respected… So, you are aiming to become strong enough to do battle on the battlefields of the gods. As expected of our leader,” said Borzofoy.
He seemed to be under the impression that Miriam’s goal was to participate on the battlefields that Vandalieu had found himself on recently – like Bone Man, Borkus, Zod, and Godwin.
“To think that you want the power to fight against the Gods… Miri, I’m truly glad that I can call myself your close friend. We’ll all do our best so that you don’t overtake us,” said Kalinia.
“No, what?! You’re definitely misunderstanding, aren’t you?! The ones who can fight against gods are S-class, aren’t they?!” exclaimed Miriam.
“Yes, let’s surpass S-class adventurers!” said Kalinia.
Miriam screamed in frustration. “You are misunderstanding!”
The racket Miriam and her party were making on the stairs could be heard by the adventurers on the first floor, but… nobody went to stop them.
“The ‘Heart Warrior Brigade’ are making a fuss again.”
“Those guys are serious, but they have that kind of side to them as well, huh.”
One of the adventurers clicked his tongue. “Just like Simon and Natania, a lot of the people who join that Vandalieu kid are weirdos.”
“Hey, stop that… They’re right there, you know.”
The adventurer who had clicked his tongue turned around to see a man drinking at the bar inside the Guild, accompanied by his companions, as well as the back of Vandalieu’s head.
“… So, he’s joined the weirdos too, huh,” the man said as he returned his gaze to the noticeboard where the job commissions were posted.