Chapter 3: A hikikomori at six months old
Struggling to stay conscious, Vandalieu returned to his home in the forest with the Undead while clutching the fragment of his mothers bone that contained her spirit.
He felt as if he would die of hunger, but fortunately, a raccoon had been caught in a trap set by Darcia, so he drank its blood before passing out.
By the time he woke up, the sun had already risen.
『Good morning, Mom, everyone.』
As Vandalieu opened his eyes, he quietly greeted his new companions in the house… Though he only managed to actually let out an unintelligible noise that sounded like「Aueuh.」
『So, have the hunters come after me』
Bone Monkey, who was standing next to the bed, shook his head. It seemed that his good fortune had not yet arrived.
『First, if I gather up all the information I learned yesterday -』
The knights of Baronet Bestero who governs Evbejia, High Priest Gordan and the holy knights under his command, the ones who believe in Alda, the God of Law and Fate, would begin searching the forest today to hunt Vandalieu down.
However, the hunter Orbie had not told them where this house was, so they would take some time before they found this place.
But the hunter Orbie himself, along with his companions, would come here first in order to obtain this rare Dhampir baby for themselves.
『Against them, my combat ability is… enough to take on the three of them, I guess.』
He created several hundred Undead yesterday. However, the majority of them were small animals such as mice and insects; there were only around thirty of them that would be useful in combat, including Bone Monkey, but they were fundamentally weak.
When he was alive, Bone Monkey probably had the strength of an orangutan, enough to be able to easily tear off a humans arm. But that wasnt the case now. In fact, when Vandalieu had tested Bone Monkeys strength, he found that Bone Monkey was even weaker than himself. Though in this case, perhaps the abnormal thing would be Vandalieus own strength, not Bone Monkeys weakness.
Bone Monkey was even less agile than a normal human. As for endurance, he would be resistant to arrows and knives due to being made only of bones and dead flesh, but if he were to be hit a few times with a hoe, he would fall apart.
On top of that, when Vandalieu somehow managed to check Bone Monkeys status screen, he had no passive skills or Undead skills.
The Undead that Vandalieu had at hand right now were all Rank 1. After all, they were all monsters that would be defeated by any untrained villager in Lambda in a one-on-one fight.
However, he had thirty of them. With that being the case, he could make something work out with a little ingenuity.
『For now, the insects will find the enemy. Bone Monkey and four others can guard me inside the house. The others -』
Vandalieu decided to turn the tables on Orbie and the other hunters first. He had wanted to hear about various things from Darcia, including information about his father, but it would be problematic if the hunters arrived while he was doing that. So he would catch them first before listening to what Darcia had to say.
Orbie continued through the forest, leading two of his hunter companions with whom he had been drinking yesterday. No matter how elite the holy knights were, they wouldnt be able to find the hiding place the Dark Elf had built right away.
They would definitely be able to catch the baby first. He was sure of it.
「Oi, Ill just make it clear that -」
「I know. I dont plan on turning into bear or wolf food before we get rich.」
Being professional hunters, they were confident. This forest wasnt some Devils Nest where monsters were prevalent, but it was inhabited by dangerous beasts such as bears and wolves, and even some weak monsters like Goblins also lived here.
Being cautious on the lookout for threats like these, they continued making their way through the forest.
「This is strange. Arent these the footsteps of a big monkey And the ones here are… a bear」
Fortunately, their caution had allowed them to spot the footsteps left by the Undead as they made their way back from Evbejia.
「You think so Arent they a bit shallow for the footsteps of a monkey and a bear」
However, in Orbies eyes, the footsteps looked too shallow. Footsteps left in the earth would be deeper the heavier its owner was, but these footsteps appeared to belong to a very light creature.
「The shape is weird, too. They look a bit small and the bears ones are missing some toes.」
The reason they appeared that way is because the creature who had produced them was an Undead made only of bones; its body weight was less than half that of when it was alive, it was missing the pad of its paw and several of its digits had been broken off.
The adventurers would take precautions if they were facing this strange monster as their main enemy, but -
「Im sure they just look like that because there are multiple beasts footprints overlapping each other.」
Orbie and his companions had only experienced hunting monsters from time to time to earn a little extra money, so they didnt think much of it. The knowledge that this forest didnt have many monsters helped them push the footprints from their minds, thinking it was just their imagination.
「Were almost there. Theres a cave dug out in a small cliff; that was her hiding place.」
「Alright, lets go catch that baby while its still alive.」
And so Orbie and his companions reached Darcias home.
The trees were sparse in front of the house, with small spaces in between them. There were traces of fire that had been used for cooking and other signs that someone had been living here.
「Hmm There are quite a lot of things lying around.」
As the hunters looked around, they saw many tracks that looked as if they had been dug up, as well as ivy and animal bones scattered around.
「Sheet, lets go inside.」
Clicking his tongue, Orbie opened the door to check whether the baby was still here.
At that moment, the earth rose up with a resentful-sounding groan.
「What is this! A golem!」
「Yeah, its an Earth Golem!」
The Earth Golem with a body made of dirt that had been lying in wait was now standing up.
「Hyiih! There are Undead beneath the Golem!」
Underneath its body were the Undead skeletons of a wolf and a bear.
「Where! Were surrounded!」
Orbie and his companions who had approached the door were now surrounded by the Golem and Undead.
The weapons available to them were their short swords and their bows and arrows. Even if the rank of the Golems and Undead were the lowest possible, these were the worst weapons to fight them with.
「A Snake! No, its ivy, the ivy is moving!」
And then the ivy on the ground that should have been dead began moving like a snake and winding itself around the hunters.
「Sh-sheet! Let go, let go of me!」
Even as they drew their short swords to try and cut the ivy, the Golem and Undead pressed onto them and various pots began flying through the air and throwing themselves at the hunters heads.
They couldnt escape. Orbie and his companions were captured alive.
『I guess it went well.』
Seeing the hunters bound by the Undead ivy, unable to speak, Vandalieu gave a sigh of relief.
He had spirits inhabit the ground outside the house to create an Earth Golem and then buried the Undead beneath it. The Undead and the Golem didnt breathe, and they simply smelled of dirt like the rest of the forest, so the hunters couldnt notice them if they were completely still.
The same applied to the ivy and pots. They wouldnt suspect that the discarded items scattered around the ground would turn out to be Undead.
『Well then, I want to hear what these guys have to say -』
Orbie and his companions opened their eyes wide in shock at the sight of Vandalieu riding on Bone Monkeys back, looking down at them. They had never imagined that the baby they had been planning to capture would be commanding Undead at this age.
This was the difference between Vandalieu and the High Priest Gordan, who reprimanded his subordinates.
『But first, I have to establish a way to have a conversation.』
Vandalieu, who was still only able to mumble unintelligible sounds that sounded like「auau~」couldnt converse with the hunters.
And so Vandalieu created a Sand Golem out of the gravel and sand.
The hunters began making fearful noises at the sight of the human-sized golem rising up from the gravel and sand. They were likely assuming that they were about to be killed.
However, the Sand Golem did not raise its heavy fist above their heads; parts of it instead crumbled off in front of them to form words in sand on its body.
【Stop making so much noise, be quiet. Answer my questions.】
『Nice, it worked.』
He had thought that if it was possible to make turn part of Evbejias outer wall into a Golem to change its shape, it would be possible to change the shape of the Sand Golem to form letters. This idea seemed to be a great success.
Well, he had to supply the Golem with a considerable amount of Mana, which took its toll on his mental endurance.
But the problem was whether the hunters would be able to read Japanese characters.
In order to test this, he unbound the hunters mouths, who had now fallen quiet.
「… What do you want to know, you can ask whatever you want. But in exchange, spare our lives…」
「Yeah, well tell you anything we know.」
「Well keep quiet about this place. So please let us go.」
And then they began pleading for their lives. It seemed that in Lambda, the spoken and written language was Japanese.
『Thats convenient, but why is that the case Now that I think about it, according to the knowledge Rodcorte shared with me, he summoned champions from another world to Lambda in the past. Is it because of that』
Well, he would figure that out when he had time later.
Vandalieu decided to question the hunters through writing and gather information from them. While they could read hiragana and katakana, it seemed that they were mostly incapable of reading kanji (their initial pleading for their lives had been done by guessing the situation rather than being able to read Vandalieus writing). Since this meant that Vandalieu would need to write more characters with the Sand Golem, it increased the amount of Mana he needed to spend and took a greater toll on him.
But not all of his questions would have favorable answers.
【What is a Job】
「Huh What, you want us to tell you our Jobs Were hunters, of course.」
【What are Experience Points】
「Eh… Experience Points are Experience Points, right」
【Who is Alda, the God of Law and Fate】
「Ah, thats a god.」
What is a Job and what are Experience Points in Lambda Vandalieu was asking simple questions, but the hunters were not giving helpful answers.
From the hunters point of view, Vandalieus questions were too simple. It was like asking on Earth,「What is air」or「What is water」Even so, if the hunters were educated and had enough vocabulary, they would be able to give useful answers, but Vandalieu understood that he couldnt expect this from these hunters.
『Ill ask Mom about stuff like that later.』
Darcia would answer any of Vandalieus questions with an easy-to-understand explanation. After all, she was a mother raising her child.
【Tell me about Baronet Bestero and his knights.】
Vandalieu decided to change gears and ask information that they would know about the other enemies.
「The feudal lord who took over about ten years ago is a person with a lot of ambition. He doesnt have any other special characteristics; hes your typical nobleman. I havent heard about anything that makes him different from the other nobles.」
「There are five knights; he uses them as soldiers as theyre stronger than the rest of us. Though it seems they undergo training as well.」
「Th-thats why theyre not that strong. In fact, why dont we get rid of them together If we team up with you itll be simple.」
Vandalieu decided to ignore that last part. It seemed that Baronet Bestero did not have many pawns and they were apparently not particularly skilled. This area was likely considered a peaceful region by its population.
At least, its population considered it as such.
【Just answer my questions. Tell me everything you know about High Priest Gordan and his holy knights.】
「The high priest and his holy knights are never in the town. They came to the town about half a month ago with wanted posters featuring a Dhampir and the witch that birthed it… that is to say, you and your honorable mother… Err, hes a clergyman who is famous as a Vampire-slayer, and with the holy knights, theyre like a collection of elite individuals.」
「Yeah, for a clergyman, hes a ridiculously strong freak who used that strength to climb all the way to the position of High Priest. Hes already killed multiple Vampire and their subordinates… Vampire-samas and their dedicated subordinates. He has already dealt with Vampire-samas that had lived for hundreds of years, and rumors have it that hes comparable to a B-class adventurer.」
「But if you team up with us, were familiar with the terrain so outwitting him will be easy. See, so please make us your subordinates!」
『I see. That priest is a capable Vampire-hunter, huh… Next I want to know about the Five-colored Blades, but before that… This is a good time, so lets have a meal first.』
He had the Undead bring one of the three male hunters forward.
「What is this Youre making me your subordinate Well definitely be helpful to you, our skills with a bow are well-known around Evbejia… Hyiih! Well really be helpful, well do anything for you, so please spare me!」
Bone Monkey had grabbed a hold of the mans head so that he cannot move his neck. He was begging for his life in a high-pitched voice, but Vandalieu wasnt listening.
His fangs plunged into the mans neck.
Ignoring the screams of the man called Johann and the other hunters, he greedily devoured the blood, filling his throat with it.
『It feels greasier than rabbits blood, and it tastes a bit saltier as well.』
Of course, he would have preferred to be held by Darcia and drink her milk. But this was his first meal of the day, so he simply continued drinking Johanns blood until his screaming stopped and he fell limp.
『Fu… Ah, Bone Monkey, give my back a little pat. Yeah, right there… *Burp*~』
As Vandalieu burped, he showed the now deathly-pale body of Johann to the other hunters.
And then he directs words of sand at them once more.
【Didnt I tell you to just answer my questions】
Seeing the dead Johann whose blood had been completely consumed and Vandalieus expression that had not changed in the slightest after killing him, Orbie and the other remaining hunter simply nodded their heads.
They were facing a mere baby, but this baby had no childish naivety or pity. They finally realized that Vandalieu would not hesitate to kill them if they showed the slightest sign of disobedience.
【Now then, what do you know about the Five-colored blades and Heinz, the Blue-flame Sword】
From that point, his interrogation of Orbie and the other hunter proceeded smoothly. The example he had made of Johann was incredibly terrifying.
The Five-colored Blades were a group of five adventurers and Heinz was its leader, a highly successful B-class adventurer even though he was still in his teenage years.
The other members were Class, so they were a group of capable individuals.
『As I thought, he and High Priest Gordan are enemies I cant defeat in my current state.』
The next thing he asked them about was the geography of this region - the area surrounding Baronet Besteros territory and the places that High Priest Gordan and his knights would be searching right now.
The answers to these questions were quite helpful. He had asked the animal spirits inhabiting Bone Monkey and the other Undead as well, but he hadnt managed to get a good idea of the situation from them.
The spirits were more talkative than they had been yesterday, but they were originally animals and insects, after all. They didnt have the sense of distance and direction that a human could use as a reference.
There was no problem when they guided him around, but trying to make a map out of their information inevitably resulted in chaos.
『Well then, I should stock up on food and water while I have the chance.』
High Priest Gordan was searching a different place right now, but this forest was not that large. They would be able to search the whole forest within ten days.
With that said, trying to make a hasty escape would be a poor choice.
Due to the mismatched eye colors that Vandalieu possessed as a special Dhampir characteristic, he couldnt conceal his true nature so he couldnt approach any areas inhabited by humans. However, without somewhere safe to hide like the house in the cave, living outdoors would be too dangerous.
The reason for that being -
『Im only six months old, so I need a lot of sleep. In fact, Im quite sleepy right now.』
Despite the fact that one of his parents was a Vampire, no matter how high his attribute point values were, no matter how many skills he had acquired, he was still a baby. Though it was considerably better than when he was only a month old, he was still frequently sleepy and found it difficult to stay up for long periods of time.
He could resist the effects of sleep deprivation with his Status Effect Resistance skill, but that would have negative effects on his development. Darcia wouldnt want that.
Therefore, Vandalieu decided to stay hidden until High Priest Gordan gave up the search. He had never imagined that he would be living a hikikomoris lifestyle at six months of age, but this was necessary to survive.
「Oi, whats wrong Dont you have anything more to ask」
「If thats the case, let us go!」
Orbie and the other hunter began to make some noise, but their role as information sources had already been fulfilled. The ivy covered their mouths once more.
「Wait! Please, let us go! I have a muguuh-」
I have a - what A fiancé A wife A young daughter An aging mother Considering that he sold out a mother with a young son, what was he trying to say
Even if he had something, it made no difference to the roles the hunters were to play.
Vandalieu informed them of this through sand letters.
【You are merely food for me.】
Two muffled screams came from the hunters.
Once upon a time, there were two great gods in this world.
The great black god, Diachmell.
The great white god, Arazan.
The two gods fought each other. Nobody knew which of them was good and which of them was evil. However, nothing existed but the two of them, so they fought each other.
It seemed that the conflict between the two gods would go on forever, but in the end, Diachmell and Arazan defeated each other simultaneously.
The great black and white gods lay on top of each other and new gods were born from their shells.
Vida, the goddess of life and love.
Alda, the god of light and law.
Zantark, the war-god of fire and destruction.
Peria, the goddess of water and knowledge.
Shizarion, the god of wind and art.
Botin, mother of the earth and goddess of craftsmanship.
Ricklent, the genie of time and magic.
Zuruwarn, the god of space and creation.
These eight gods of the elements as well as the dragon-emperor god Marduke, the Colossus god Zerno and the beast-god Ganpaplio were known as the eleven founding gods.
These eleven gods did not use their power to fight each other like the great gods that came before them; they worked together and created the planet Lambda.
The eight gods of the elements created humans, modeled after themselves, and began to teaching and guiding them as their followers.
The dragon-emperor god Marduke created dragons, and the Colossus god Zerno created Colossi as their followers.
To provide food for them, the beast-god Ganpaplio birthed countless birds and wild animals and released fish into the seas.
The war-god Zantark and the goddess Botin gave birth to the Dwarf race, while the goddess Peria and Shizarion gave birth to the Elves. “People*” became a general term that applied to all sentient races, and the creatures that had been known as people up until that point came to be known as humans*.
The world created by these events was peaceful. The people believed in their gods, the dragons and Colossi were wise; there was plenty of wildlife in the mountains for them to eat without fighting over territory and there were bountiful blessings in the sea.
However, the peace was shattered by the appearance of the Demon King Guduranis from the abyss beyond the stars.
After descending upon Lambda, Guduranis began a war to take over the world using the evil gods that were his servants.
The Demon Kings tainted Mana gave birth to monsters such as Orcs and Goblins that had never existed in Lambda before, and the Demon King used them to fight the other gods.
Though the people of Lambda had polished their fighting skills for competition and hunting the wildlife that sustained them, they were thrown into chaos as they had never experienced a fight to the death and the gods were driven into a corner. The war-god Zantark, the dragon-emperor god Marduke, the Colossus god Zerno and the others fought bravely with their followers and the genie Ricklent bestowed magic upon the humans and gave them commands, but they could not turn the tides of the battle. The beast-god Ganpaplio put up a good fight, but was eventually destroyed.
To fight the Demon Kings forces, Zuruwarn, the god of space and creation, summoned seven champions from another world.
The seven champions taught the people techniques for fighting, gave them the knowledge to make great weapons and fought bravely at the frontlines themselves.
And so, through battle after battle, the Demon King was finally destroyed and sealed away; not even a single piece of his body remained. The evil gods that were his subordinates lost their powers; some were destroyed and others were sealed away into a death-like state.
However, the final result was difficult to call a victory.
The war-god Zantark was cursed by the evil gods and fell into darkness; Peria sank into the depths of the oceans and Shizarion returned to the wind. Botia was sealed deep within the earth while Ricklent and Zuruwan entered a deep sleep to regain their power.
Marduke was torn to pieces and Zernos heart was destroyed. Their followers powers weakened; the number of dragons grew fewer and the weaker drakes increased in number*. The Colossi became monsters that worshipped evil gods.
Finally, there were only three champions left and the population of the people had decreased to the point that even if the Elves and the Dwarves joined the remaining humans, who had a considerable population before the conflict, they were barely able to maintain a single city.
The remaining population was not enough to sustain civilization and culture. Even after the Demon King was defeated, the surface of Lambda was overrun by monsters that had been corrupted by his Mana during the conflict with his forces and Devils Nests existed all over the place. The surviving monsters began to breed and multiplying endlessly.
Alda, one of the two gods who still had power left, chose to work with the champions to guide the surviving people. However, the goddess Vida believed that creating new races of people and having them join the other races would be a faster way to restore Lambda.
Vida was the goddess of life and love. Her powers were more suited to creating new races than for battle.
First, she mated with the Sun Giant Talos, who had retained his noble spirit and virtues without becoming a monster. She gave birth to a race of Titans with robust, large bodies that could barely fit in human towns.
Next, she mated with Tiamat, the most powerful of the surviving dragons that had been Mardukes followers, and gave birth to a race of Drakonids, humans with the power and horns of a dragon.
And then, with the kings of the beasts that had followed Ganpaplio, she gave birth to a great variety of beast-people, and with Tristan, the god of the seas who had been Perias right-hand man, she gave birth to the Mer-people.
Following that, she mated with an Elf that had been in her service at that time, giving birth to the Dark Elves, who had the same Mana that Elves did while also possessing outstanding physical prowess.
Alda criticized the goddesss actions, saying that they would only plunge the already-ruined world into further chaos. As the god of law, Alda could not stand idly by as Vida gave birth to new races, one after another.
But Vida believed that her actions were correct, so they could never come to an agreement in their discussions.
Finally, Vida mated with monsters to give birth to Lamia, Scylla, Arachne, Centaurs, Harpies, Majins and other monster races.
And then she infused the power of the life attribute into one of the champions who had fallen in the battle with the Demon King, Zakkart, to turn him into an Undead. She mated with him to give birth to Vampires.
The original Vampires had powers that rivalled that of gods in every aspect. And they were able to share this power with the other races. By giving their blood to others, they could turn them into Vampires.
But Alda was outraged at the fact that Vida had mated with monsters and given birth to Vampires.
With the three remaining champions, he set out to exterminate Vida, who had given birth to a race that would overthrow the balance of the the world, and the race that she had given birth to.
Of course, to protect the new race of her children, Vida and the revived champion Zakkart fought against Alda and his followers. However, by the smallest of differences, she was defeated and was dealt a deep blow, fell from her position as a god and disappeared into the Devils Nests with the champion Zakkart.
Alda was victorious, but he did not have the strength to eliminate the remaining Vampires. In addition, the goddess of the life attribute had now disappeared, and Alda now had to take up her role despite the fact that his own body was now exhausted.
Alda now called himself the god of light, law and life, and his followers praised him as the God of Law and Fate. But even 100,000 years after the battle with Vida, the world was still in a state of chaos.
『This is the legend of the origins of Lambda.』(Darcia)
『Thanks, Mom. That was very helpful.』(Vandalieu)
After Vandalieu finished preparing to hide in the house, he asked Darcia, whose spirit was residing inside the bone fragment, about how the world of Lambda came into existence.
He had continued creating Golems from the earth and rock of the cave, instructing them to stand guard there. In order to prevent the house from caving in, he had the Golems made from the earth and rock from deeper within the cave to move towards the entrance, while digging the cave deeper towards the back. And then he released the spirits from the Golems so that they sealed the entrance.
He could change the Golems shapes as long as he had Mana, so he had thought that he would be able to use them for construction, and he was right.
He had left broken furniture and vases when he sealed the entrance in order to make it appear as if the cave had collapsed. But he was just praying that High Priest Gordan wouldnt give an order like,「Dig out the cave until you find that Dhampirs corpse!」
He had already filled up the cave over fifty meters from the entrance while expanding it deeper, something that would normally be impossible without ordering some large-scale construction or hiring an earth-attribute mage.
He had left a fist-sized hole to allow air to pass through, so there was no problem there. He didnt need any lighting, thanks to his Dark Vision skill.
Vandalieu was prepared for his new underground lifestyle.
And now he was talking to Darcia to pass the time.
『So this is Mirg, a country in the northwest part of the Bahn Gaia continent thats a part of the Amid Empire. The Empire and its countries worship Alda, the God of Law and Fate, as the official religion. No wonder its so dangerous.』
Alda was a god who had fought Vida over the races she had given birth to, saying that they would throw the worlds balance out of order. It was no wonder that a half-Vampire would be subject to persecution… no, extermination.
The Amid Empire and the Adventurers Guilds in its countries, where the Church of Alda had a strong influence, had extermination requests openly on display. Incidentally, the part used as proof of extermination… The proof of extermination that was required was a deep crimson eyeball.
It made sense to hide in the forest in such a situation.
It seemed that Dark Elves like Darcia, as well as beast-people, Drakonids and the other races that Vida had given birth to following the battle with the Demon King were also targets of persecution.
In the Amid Empire and its countries, only humans, Elves and Dwarves were accepted as “people”; Titans, Dark Elves and beast-people were discriminated against as “demi-humans”. The most conspicuous discriminatory behaviour was that “people” were only used as slaves if they were criminals, while there were no restrictions on the buying, selling, ownership and use of “demi-human” slaves.
Including Vampires, the races that Vida had given birth to by mating with monsters were, of course, simply exterminated as monsters. Though the reality was that for every Vampire and Lamia that the adventurers and soldiers of the Amid Empire killed, there was a dead adventurer or soldier killed in retaliation, and even civilians suffered casualties.
The followers of Alda claimed that this was proof that they were evil, that their god was right. Meanwhile, Vidas followers believed that the reason they had become monsters that harmed humans was because they had lost the guidance of the goddess. In other words, it was all Aldas fault. This argument had apparently continued for many tens of thousands of years.
『Next, tell me about my father, Vampires and Dhampirs.』(Vandalieu)
『Alright. But its time for your afternoon nap, so Ill continue when you wake up.』(Darcia)
『You have acquired the Golem Creation skill!』
Race: Dhampir (Dark Elf);
Age: 0.5 years old;
Job: Ordinary person;
Job history: None;
Superhuman Strength: Level 1;
Rapid Healing: Level 2;
Death-Attribute Magic: Level 3;
Status Effect Resistance: Level 2;
Magic Resistance: Level 1;
Mental Corruption: Level 10;
Death-Attribute Charm: Level 1;
Bloodsucking: Level 1;
Surpass Limits: Level 2;
Golem Transmutation: Level 1 (NEW!);
Experience gained in previous life not carried over
Cannot learn existing Jobs
Unable to gain Experience Points independently