The Death Mage Who Doesn’t Want a Fourth Time - Chapter 294
294 – The one who spreads death through muscles
The forces that defended Botin, led by the Boulder Colossus Gorn, had repelled Vandalieu three times, suffering losses in the process. Of course, Vandalieu had carried out the second and third battles as distractions, and he had held back during those battles.
So far, Gorn’s forces had lost three Beast-Kings, an Elder Dragon, and two Colossi.
Their numbers were steadily decreasing; they could not get carried away and congratulate themselves on their consecutive victories.
The Goddess of Water and Knowledge Peria, who was still slumbering, was also being targeted. The forces defending her had recently lost five demigods and six Orichalcum Golems, so it was impossible to ask them for reinforcements.
Vandalieu and his companions anticipated that Gorn and his allies would make some move to do something about this situation. At the very least, they would come up with some plan to replenish their lost forces.
Forcing that plan to be used was the first stage. It would be ideal to crush that trump card in an exchange of blows and then retreat.
If that didn’t work, the tunnel would go to waste, and Vandalieu would destroy Gorn and his allies and then be forced to proceed to Botin and undo her seal while keeping up a defensive posture – before Alda could make a move after learning of the destruction of Gorn and his allies, and before the forces defending Peria could make their way here.
But Gorn and his allies had made a better move than Vandalieu had anticipated.
The monsters of the Demon King’s continent welcomed Vandalieu’s fleet of seven ships with sinister roars.
There were all kinds of Giants, Dragons, fish-type, beast-type and demi-human-type monsters, spirits that had been driven mad by the miasma, Golems, and many other kinds of monsters that even Luciliano couldn’t identify on sight. A horde of tens of thousands of these monsters were flying through the sky and approaching Vandalieu’s fleet.
All of them were among the upper half of the food chain on the Demon King’s continent, and some individual monsters were as powerful as demigods. Though it wasn’t clear whether Gorn and his allies had captured powerful monsters alive and trained them or whether they’d captured relatively weaker ones and increased their Ranks, they’d more than achieved their goal of making up for the forces they had lost.
The horde of monsters were leaping from the Demon King’s continent, a land that could only be described as utter geographical chaos, and they were approaching fast.
“W-wonderful! I have never seen any of these monsters before!” said Luciliano, who had been reluctant to come here at first, now laughing loudly with excitement as he observed them using a Demon King Familiar that acted as a camera.
“Did you mean to say ‘repulsive?!’” said Simon, half-screaming in terror.
But it seemed that Luciliano was not listening.
“Why are there so many monsters coming this way?! You said not a single monster attacked you when you came here before, Master!” Natania shouted, clinging onto Vandalieu’s shoulder.
“Gorn and his allies are likely manipulating them somehow,” said Vandalieu, not panicking at all. “Some of them have already started killing each other, so maybe they aren’t controlling them; they might just be standing behind the horde of monsters that they’ve gathered and driving them forward.”
More than half a year ago now, rampaging Dungeon monsters had attacked the city of Morksi… though it was actually an attack by the God of Thunderclouds Fitun and his heroic spirits, disguised as a monster stampede. The monsters that Vandalieu and his companions were facing now were overwhelmingly more powerful and numerous than back then.
Unlike monsters that came out of Dungeons to stampede on the surface, there were some monsters among the horde approaching from the Demon King’s continent that were killing each other.
The horde was only slightly better than a disorderly rabble of wild monsters.
“To think that gods would gather monsters, creatures that should be culled, to use as fighting forces! They are not commanding them as tamers; they are simply releasing these monsters into the wild! What did they intend to do after the battle with us was over… Even if this is the Demon King’s continent where no people live, this cannot be forgiven!” Arthur of the ‘Heart Warrior Brigade,’ shouted angrily with an expression that could make even a strong-hearted person faint.
“I believe that monsters of high Rank that have the ability to fly would be capable of traveling from this place to other continents and islands. It is rare for monsters to leave Devil’s Nests of their own accord, but after leaving them, some wander about instead of returning,” said Gufadgarn, validating Arthur’s anger and informing Vandalieu of the risks.
“The Flying Krakens that were guarding the waters have lost a lot of their numbers, too,” said Legion.
“In other words, just giving those monsters a decent beating will leave some danger… Why do I, the person whom they call Demon King and fear so much, have to be worrying about the potential damage to other continents and islands?” said Vandalieu, feeling that all of this was very unreasonable.
If that’s all part of his plan as well, then he’s truly a great commander, Vandalieu thought sarcastically.
“Then shall we leave it at a decent beating?” asked Gufadgarn.
“… We will carefully exterminate every last one of them,” said Vandalieu.
Now that the risk of damage to other continents and islands had been pointed out to him, he couldn’t help but be bothered by it – especially when this risk could be eliminated with a little effort.
“All ships, fire at the monster horde. Let’s leave the ones that flee to those with mobility,” said Vandalieu.
The Four Dead Sea Captains shouted these orders to their crew, and Cuatro and the rest of their ships opened their gunports and fired egg projectiles and beams of light at the monster horde. The sound wave cannons weren’t used as the monster horde was still some distance away, but this didn’t seem to be a problem.
The monsters were bewildered by the cannon-fire, a form of attack they had never experienced before, and they screamed and fell into the sea as they were helplessly engulfed in flaming explosions and pierced by beams of light.
“Oh no, precious research subjects are being turned into ash and fish food!” Luciliano lamented.
“Luciliano, I’m recording everything with my Demon King Familiars, so please let this one go,” said Vandalieu.
Dozens of Demon King Familiars, with eyeballs of the Demon King that were large enough for someone to carry in their arms as well as wings that were membranous or insect-like, were flying around Vandalieu’s fleet and filming the battlefield.
Vandalieu had originally sent them out to keep an eye on the surroundings and fire more beams of light if needed, but… they were now acting as filming drones for Luciliano’s sake.
“And we’ve defeated fewer monsters than I thought,” said Vandalieu.
The cannon-fire had shot down only a very small portion of the huge horde of tens of thousands of monsters, with most of them being the ones leading the charge. Most of them were smaller than demigods, and although the attacks weren’t being aimed particularly precisely due to there being so many targets, the monsters produced by the Demon King’s continent were powerful, intelligent, and had exceptionally good intuition. They were avoiding the projectiles and beams of light and the stronger monsters were using the weaker ones as shields.
At this rate, approximately forty percent of the horde would make it to the fleet intact.
“I see,” said Luciliano. “Then there is no other choice. We shall enter battle first, and –”
“That won’t be necessary. Let’s have warship number four, the Blood Death Ship, charge in,” said Vandalieu.
“Wha–?! Master, wait! That is for retreating, is it not?! And we have not made plans for using that against such an enormous horde of monsters!”
“It’s not a problem. We just need to change the order that we’ll use them. And I need to make opportunities for my adorable apprentices to fight against opponents that will make their skills shine.”
“Gah! You’ve seen through me!”
It seemed that Luciliano’s attempt to face monsters that he could easily defeat on his own in order to avoid the battle against the demigods that would take place at the same time had been foiled.
“A-adorable?!” said Natania, with her cheeks turning red.
“Aye-aye, sir!” said one of the Four Dead Sea Captains.
The Demon King Familiars operating warship number four… the fake Cuatro named the ‘Blood Death Ship,’ began speeding it up, making it charge forth towards the horde of monsters.
One of Gorn and his allies’ purposes for preparing this monster horde was to force Vandalieu to detonate fake Cuatros, which he had done frequently in previous battles, causing the monsters to take the brunt of the damage in their place.
That was why they had even gathered monsters that were so weak that they wouldn’t even buy any time against Vandalieu and his companions, emphasizing quantity over quality.
But they had not spent months gathering monsters and training them to obey basic commands just to have them killed by explosions.
Suddenly, a majestic horn sounded, and the monsters’ movements immediately changed. Monsters that were clearly resistant to heat, such as lions with manes of fire, moved to the front, while Dragons and Mage Giants that wielded staffs cast spells.
The monsters had shown no signs of being under anyone’s command thus far, but with this signal from Sirius, the God of War Horns, they had taken a defensive formation against the incoming self-destructive attack.
“Jyuoh?! Their previous behavior was just a ploy!” exclaimed a surprised Bone Man, who was on a different ship from Vandalieu and the others.
But Gorn and his allies had not taught the monsters to put on such an advanced performance.
“Rather than it being a ploy, they just sharpened up after hearing the voice of their masters. Just like dogs,” said the ‘Sword King’ Borkus.
Indeed, the monsters had not been putting on an act; they had obeyed the signal of the horn.
“Well, it doesn’t matter very much,” said Vandalieu.
The Blood Death Ship exploded, producing an explosive noise, a shockwave, and a cloud of crimson smoke.
But despite the loud noise of the explosion, there was no Demon King fragment shrapnel or heat. The monsters let out noises of confusion as they were engulfed by the smoke.
However, the monsters that possessed the ‘Intuition’ Skill at a high Level screamed as they desperately tried to flee. But before they managed to escape the smoke’s radius, the screams of the monsters that had been engulfed by the smoke could be heard.
Enormous demi-human-type monsters and beasts that were dozens of meters tall writhed in agony as they tore at their own bodies, and finally fell towards the sea with their skin completely eaten away, leaving their bones and muscles bare.
“Master, it seems that ‘Bloodlust’ is working as expected. It is truly magnificent,” said Luciliano, observing the scene with a fervent look in his eyes.
“… I’m glad we’re still quite far away. I wouldn’t have been able to eat meat for a while if we were closer,” Natania mumbled, her face turning pale.
“Really? Watching them is making me hungry,” said Juliana, rubbing her belly.
The Blood Death Ship had been filled not with the Demon King’s fat, but with Vandalieu’s blood. With the ‘Bloodlust’ spell, the blood had been turned into carnivorous micro-organisms. The explosion had been to disperse the micro-organisms in a mist-like form.
Although the blood had been turned into micro-organisms through ‘Bloodlust,’ this did not change the fact that it was a part of Vandalieu. Essentially, these micro-organisms were like microscopic Demon King Familiars.
Thus, they possessed Vandalieu’s Skills such as ‘Magic Resistance’ and ‘Status Effect Immunity,’ so they were extremely troublesome micro-organisms that could not be destroyed through flames or electricity produced by spells.
“But is it not impossible for this attack to cover the entire monster horde?” asked Arthur.
“Arthur, that’s true initially, but the micro-organisms are devouring the monsters and multiplying, so I think they’ll cover the entire horde soon enough,” said Vandalieu. “Before that happens, I’d like everyone to deal with the ones that have escaped from the ‘Bloodlust,’ the ones that are protecting themselves from it somehow, and the inorganic monsters like the Golems.”
‘Bloodlust’ was multiplying and devouring the monsters one after another, but that did not change the fact that they were airborne micro-organisms. They could not move on their own, and they could not attack monsters made of inorganic materials such as Golems.
“Is it safe to get close? I heard that you are unable to control them,” said Borzofoy, the lean Dwarf mage.
“That was previously true, but not anymore,” Gufadgarn replied in Vandalieu’s place. “Now that Vandalieu has acquired the power of a horseman spoken of in the mythology of other worlds, one that is the harbinger of the end of the world, his blood only devours fools who get in his way, and does not harm those he has granted his favor.”
“I’ve become able to control it more precisely through the effects of the ‘Pale Rider’ Job… though it might also have something to do with the power of ‘Sylphid,’ whom I devoured before,” said Vandalieu. “In any case, it won’t harm you if you have my divine protection. But since it’ll obscure your vision, we should probably avoid fighting inside it.”
Though Gufadgarn’s explanation was difficult to understand, Vandalieu’s was simple.
“I see. That’s a relief. Everyone here has received Master’s divine protection,” said Simon, who looked keen to fight.
“And we have also received transformation equipment for this occasion. If we let Master continue to do everything for us, then this will be nothing more than a picnic for us,” said Luciliano with a sigh, resigning himself to his fate. “I would have been content with observing the performance of my creations from behind, but… Come, everyone. Transform!”
“Yeah!” everyone else shouted in response.
“Once Luciliano gets in the mood, he suddenly gets really fired up, huh,” said Vandalieu.
Simon and the others activated their transformation equipment in unison and cast ‘Familiar Spirit Descent’ or ‘Familiar Spirit Demonfall.’ This was impressive to behold, but they did slightly look like villains.
Simon and Natania’s artificial-limb-type transformation equipment was black as usual. Arthur and his party’s transformation equipment was colored bright red and white… but the appearance and behavior of the people wearing it was the problem.
It somehow seemed like the monsters were scared of Arthur and the others – though this was probably just Vandalieu’s imagination. But Vandalieu seemed satisfied with the equipment.
“Everyone transforming together is quite nice,” he said.
And as Simon and the others leapt from Cuatro’s deck, equipped with flight-assistant-type Demon King Familiars, Vandalieu flew out as well.
“Now then, Legion, I’m leaving command over Cuatro to you guys,” he said.
“Leave it to us. Do your best, Vandalieu,” said Legion.
Producing membranous wings from his back, Vandalieu overtook Simon and the others, searching for any monsters in the horde that were too strong for them to fight.
And then he spotted a Giant that emerged from within the dense crimson mist of ‘Bloodlust,’ which had thickened after devouring thousands of monsters. At a glance, it looked like a Golem shaped like a Giant, but…
With a roar, it leapt out of the ‘Bloodlust’ and immediately shed the mineral shell that was covering its entire body. It had likely conjured a shell of inorganic matter with a spell in order to protect itself from ‘Bloodlust.’
It was not a demigod Colossus; it was of the Giant race, the inferior monster descendants of the Colossi. But the wisdom to protect itself from ‘Bloodlust’ and its fearsome presence made it clear that it was no weaker than a demigod.
The race name of Giants differed depending on where they lived. So what was the race name of this dozens-of-meters-tall Giant with dull, black skin, curved horns, and four arms that lived on the Demon King’s Continent?
“Let’s temporarily name this a ‘Satan Giant.’ Its Rank is… around 13 or 14, perhaps,” said Vandalieu.
Judging that it was probably stronger than the Colossus of Lightning Radatel, Vandalieu decided to use the Satan Giant as his experimental subject for ‘Muscle Technique.’
First, he used ‘Spirit Form Transformation: Lightning’ to change his spirit form and Mana to take on the properties of electricity. And then he stimulated his muscles while activating the Demon King’s muscles, bones, and nerves.
Power filled Vandalieu’s limbs, and the overflowing Mana turned into crackling sparks.
The Satan Giant grunted as it immediately raised its guard and took a defensive stance.
“‘Muscle Technique’ and ‘Soul Destruction Fighting Technique’ combined… I suppose I’ll call it ‘Monster Flesh,’” said Vandalieu.
Vandalieu activated his ‘High-speed Flight’ Skill to close the distance and struck the Satan Giant with his fist.
His fist was so tiny compared to the Satan Giant’s arm, which was like a bundle of thick logs, but the Satan Giant’s hard skin was pierced with ease. And then… inside the Satan Giant’s arm, Vandalieu’s fist expanded and changed shape, causing the Satan Giant’s arm to explode from within to scatter flesh into its surroundings.
But like the monster that it was, the Satan Giant did not falter after losing one arm. Without waiting for its arm to regenerate, it screamed ferociously as it attempted to counterattack against the arm that was more enormous and twisted than its own and had numerous sharp bones and horns protruding from it.
It used its remaining arms to try and grab onto Vandalieu’s enormous one and use ‘Miasma Breath,’ which would eat away at those hit by it, towards Vandalieu’s much smaller body.
But the Satan Giant let out a surprised noise as its hand grasped nothing but thin air. Vandalieu’s transformed arm had instantaneously shrunk back to its original size.
“Now then, one more attack,” said Vandalieu.
The Satan Giant was off-balance and defenseless, and its mouth was wide open in its attempt to use its Breath attack. Vandalieu approached it rapidly and performed a front kick at its open mouth.
Vandalieu’s leg distorted and expanded to an enormous size, causing the Satan Giant’s head to explode from the inside. It seemed that even a Giant capable of withstanding ‘Bloodlust’ would die after losing its head; the headless Satan Giant groaned as it began falling towards the sea.
“It’s a newly-discovered race and high in Rank, so please recover it,” said Vandalieu.
“As you will,” said Gufadgarn, recovering the corpse.
“How was ‘Muscle Technique’ in real battle?” asked Gufadgarn.
“There were no problems. For now,” said Vandalieu.
The ‘Muscle Technique’ that Vandalieu had learned was entirely different from Zorcodrio’s, which vibrated the muscles to create an electric attack.
That was because the key to ‘Muscle Technique’ was precise control over one’s muscles. Vandalieu could not control his muscles as precisely as Zorcodrio did.
When he realized this, Vandalieu had reversed his entire way of thinking. Instead of creating electrical attacks by vibrating his muscles, couldn’t he give his spirit form and Mana the properties of electricity, then use them to control his muscles and make them vibrate?
This idea had worked out, and Vandalieu had acquired ‘Muscle Technique.’ As a result, Vandalieu could control his body even more precisely than he had been able to before. He was able to strengthen and compress his muscles, then massively expand them in an instant.
The Vandalieu-style ‘Muscle Technique’ was complete.
‘Monster Flesh,’ a martial skill of ‘Muscle Technique,’ was an attack that involved piercing the enemy with his limbs and then releasing his compressed muscles to expand in an instant, destroying large enemies from the inside.
It was completely different from Zorcodrio’s ‘Muscle Technique,’ but Zorcodrio had been delighted to see a new form of ‘Muscle Technique.’
“The next problem to solve is how to apply it when fighting in closed indoor spaces and against human enemies,” Vandalieu said to himself in conclusion. “Anyway, other enemies that look too powerful for Simon and the others –”
As he searched for another experimental subject, a horn sounded across the battlefield once more. The Boulder Colossus Gorn, the Great Ocean Dragon God Madroza, the Colossus of Roaring Thunder Brateo and the other demigods, who had remained hidden thus far, showed themselves.
“It seems that they have noticed that at this rate, they will not even be able to exhaust us of any resources, and they will simply lose the monsters that they gathered to fight on the frontlines,” said Gufadgarn.
“I see. Then let’s start the first stage in earnest,” said Vandalieu.
Hearing Vandalieu’s words relayed through the Demon King Familiars, Borkus and Bone Man leapt from their ship, and three of the fake Cuatros exploded. From within emerged the Zombie Radatel, who had been repaired under Luciliano’s guidance; Knochen, who was taking a break from working as a concert venue; and Zozogante, the Evil God of the Dark Forest, whose part in maintaining the barrier over the Boundary Mountain Range had been taken over by Fidirg.
“The preliminary skirmish ends here! How dare you use the corpse of my son! You’ll regret that!” shouted Brateo.
Seeing Brateo ignore his commander Gorn and charge in, Vandalieu had mixed feelings, as he needed his enemies to actually put up a good fight.
《The Levels of the ‘Monstrous Strength,’ ‘Super Rapid Regeneration,’ ‘Underworld God Magic,’ ‘Blood Rule,’ and ‘Muscle Technique’ Skills have increased!》
《You have acquired the ‘Strengthened All Attribute Values’ and ‘Magic Fighting Technique’ Skills!》
《 ‘Strengthened Agility’ has fused with ‘Strengthened All Attribute Values!’》
《The ‘Strengthened All Attribute Values’ Skill has improved to Large!》
Age: 28 years old
Titles: Flying Sword, Iron Arm
Job: Magic Equipment Swordsman
Job history: Apprentice Warrior, Warrior, Swordsman, Spirit Form User, Transformation Equipment User, Spirit Swordsman, Magic Sword User, Magic Swordsman
Strengthened Muscular Strength: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
Detect Presence: Level 3 (LEVEL UP!)
Starvation, Disease and Poison Resistance: Level 3 (LEVEL UP!)
Mental Resistance: Level 4 (LEVEL UP!)
Strengthened Attack Power when equipped with a sword: Very Large (LEVEL UP!)
Self-Strengthening: Transformation: Level 4 (LEVEL UP!)
Strengthened Attribute Values: Guidance: Level 3 (NEW!)
Swordsmanship: Level 9 (LEVEL UP!)
Armor Technique: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
Surpass Limits: Level 10 (LEVEL UP!)
Coordination: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
Dismantling: Level 3 (LEVEL UP!)
Housework: Level 2 (LEVEL UP!)
Spirit Form: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
Materialization: Level 3 (LEVEL UP!)
Long-distance Control: Level 4 (LEVEL UP!)
Familiar Spirit Demonfall: Level 4 (LEVEL UP!)
Surpass Limits: Magic Sword: Level 3 (NEW!)
Unarmed Fighting Technique: Level 1 (NEW!)
Dancing: Level 1 (NEW!)
Surpass Limits: Equipment: Level 1 (NEW!)
Vandalieu’s Divine Protection
Vida’s Divine Protection (NEW!)
Race: Wildcat-type Beast-kin
Age: 18 years old
Titles: Iron Cat (NEW!)
Job: Magic Equipment Fist Fighter
Job history: Apprentice Warrior, Warrior, Unarmed Fighter, Spirit Form User, Transformation Equipment User, Spirit Fist Fighter, Magical Fighter
Strengthened Agility: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
Detect Presence: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
Disease and Poison Resistance: Level 4 (NEW!)
Strengthened Attribute Values: Guidance: Level 4 (NEW!)
Self-Strengthening: Transformation: Level 5 (NEW!)
Throwing: Level 2 (LEVEL UP!)
Silent Steps: Level 5 (LEVEL UP!)
Unarmed Fighting Technique: Level 9 (LEVEL UP!)
Armor Technique: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
Surpass Limits: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
Dismantling: Level 2 (LEVEL UP!)
Trap: Level 4 (LEVEL UP!)
Spirit Form: Level 5 (NEW!)
Long-distance Control: Level 2 (NEW!)
Surpass Limits: Equipment: Level 1 (NEW!)
Dancing: Level 1 (NEW!)
Vandalieu’s Divine Protection (NEW!)
Vida’s Divine Protection (NEW!)
Job explanation (Written by Luciliano): Magic Equipment Swordsman, Magic Equipment Fist Fighter
Both Jobs are based on using transformation equipment. These Jobs have presumably appeared because Simon and Natania do not use magic, and they use transformation equipment for everything from everyday life to deadly combat.
If one wanted to deliberately make these Jobs appear, they would presumably need to use transformation equipment 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Both of them have acquired the ‘Dancing’ Skill, but this is because Kanako convinced them that dancing can be applied to combat, so I shall record that it has nothing to do with the Jobs.
… Master should have stopped this from happening, but he was apparently receiving dance lessons right behind Kanako at the time, so it seems that they were not completely able to reject this idea.
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