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The Death Mage Who Doesn’t Want A Fourth Time - Chapter 126

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Chapter 126

Many life-forms that died and lost their bodies had a dull sense of time.

They didn't have hearts that beat in rhythm, nor did they have lungs that breathed. They didn't have the physical need to eat or sleep. Spirits wandering the outside world could look at the sky to gain a broad sense of the flow of time, but spirits that remained indoors sometimes couldn't even tell if years were passing.

That was why Rodcorte had installed a 'clock' in his own divine Realm, for the reincarnated individuals to use.

The Bravers and Murakami Junpei's group that had left the Bravers, who had died in Origin, had the time limit of a month to decide what they would do after being reincarnated in Origin. The clock was to make sure they kept to the time limit.

Recently, Rodcorte was a little freer from dealing with the problems in the circle of transmigration system that arose from souls being broken.

’’I've regained the instincts I had when the Demon King Guduranis was running rampant in Lambda over a hundred thousand years ago.’’

Now, Rodcorte was only made a little busier than usual in order to deal with the problems caused by a broken soul or two.

He had been forced to devote all of his efforts into this when Raymond Paris, Rick Paris and a dozen other members of the Reborn Sauron Duchy Army who had been involved in the Scylla serial killing incident had their souls broken at once, however.

’’Instead of thinking of using the souls in Vida's circle of transmigration system for my own system, should I start working on a version update to my system so that it can effectively deal with souls being broken?’’ Rodcorte wondered.

But considering that he was planning to solve the problem by erasing Vandalieu, the only one capable of breaking souls, he felt hesitant to begin such a task.

It was unlikely that another being capable of destroying souls like the Demon King Guduranis would begin an invasion from another world, anyway.

And if Vandalieu did something reckless like destroying tens, or even hundreds of thousands of souls within a short period of time, no version update Rodcorte could implement into his system would be able to cope with it. The only thing he would be able to do in such a situation was to detach the part of the system that managed reincarnation in Lambda and several other worlds to prevent the entire system from collapsing.

This was something that even the Demon King Guduranis hadn't done (likely because it was unclear as to what would happen in Lambda after the destruction of Rodcorte's system), but there was no guarantee that Vandalieu wouldn't do it.

’’So then, isn't it better to make it so that you could detach only the Lambda portion of the system?’’ Aran suggested, having listened to Rodcorte's monologue.

’’That would be difficult,’’ Rodcorte replied. ’’My circle of reincarnation system has never been completely divided by world to begin with. Normally, souls are reincarnated within a single world, but the system has been designed so that a world can borrow souls from other worlds in order to deal with unexpected circumstances.’’

It was a setup so that if World A experienced an explosive growth in population and lacked souls, it could borrow souls that were awaiting reincarnation in Worlds B and C.

And due to this setup, worlds A, B and C could not be individually detached from the system.

I see, Aran thought as he gave a sigh. ’’So, in this case, those multiple worlds are Earth, Origin and Lambda?’’

Rodcorte had reincarnated Aran and the others from Earth, which was close to Lambda in the system, into Origin, which was also close to Lambda. Now, he was trying to reincarnate them in Lambda, which was close to Origin.

At the same time, Aran understood that if the situation called for it, Rodcorte would be forced to abandon Lambda, and Earth and Origin along with it.

As the system's manager, Rodcorte probably had the right mindset, but...

’’Precisely. However, it is not that I desire to discard these worlds, including Lambda. That is why I reincarnated you people from Earth, and I want you to understand that this is also why I am requesting that you erase Vandalieu,’’ Rodcorte said.

’’... No, isn't the latter for a different reason? I understand that he's dangerous, but it's not like he needs to break souls in order to survive, so wouldn't he stop doing it if you asked him to?’’ Aran said, his face stiff. He didn't think it was necessary to persistently try to kill Vandalieu.

But it seemed that Rodcorte had a different opinion.

’’If there was a highly-intelligent, dangerous biological weapon with its own free will loose in the world of Origin that could not be controlled by humanity, what do you think humanity's leaders would choose to do?’’ Rodcorte asked.

Knowing the answer to this question without even using Calculation, Aran looked downcast. ’’Rather than believe in the possibility that it won't harm humanity, it would be safer to erase it and reduce the chance of humanity being harmed to zero. Yes, yes, I understand,’’ he said, and then he walked away from Rodcorte.

Rodcorte finally realized that he had a habit of unconsciously talking to himself, as he had spent most of his time alone.

Now that he had created Familiar Spirits, even if they were only temporary, he needed to be more careful from now on.

’’Umm, Kami-sama, can I have a word?’’

The next person to call out to Rodcorte was the 'Marionette' Inui Hajime. He had come alone, without bringing any of his companions - not that it was clear if he had any companions left among the reincarnated individuals.

His face was pale, his eyes were wandering, and his hands and knees were trembling.

I'm surprised he can express his emotions to this extent despite being a mere soul, Rodcorte thought. Even he, who thought little of the human mind, was impressed. It seemed that Hajime's thoughts were in disorder.

Thus, Rodcorte spoke to him with a gentle tone. ’’Have you come to a decision?’’

This didn't seem to be effective, however.

’’That's right! About that decision! Is it possible for me to be reincarnated somewhere as a baby with my memories and personality erased?! If possible, without my fortune and powers!’’ Hajime shouted.

’’... Hmm.’’ Despite being able to read Hajime's thoughts, Rodcorte fell into a surprised silence at this unexpected request.

I thought that humans were creatures that do not even hesitate to kill others in order to protect the power, rights and fortunes that they have gained, but...

For Rodcorte, who had these thoughts regarding humanity, Inui Hajime's request was an unexpected one.

Unlike Earth and Origin, the value of life was small in Lambda. Excluding those born as royals or nobles, the world's inhabitants had their lives and belongings stolen in frequent wars, and this was considered normal.

It couldn't be said that regions where this was true did not exist on Earth or in Origin, but this applied to the entirety of the world of Lambda.

To reincarnate in such a world without a cheat-like ability or the memories and knowledge that he had gained so far, starting over again as a baby, was...

’’Are you aware of the dangers?’’ Rodcorte asked.

’’O-of course! I don't even mind dying right after I'm born!’’

Inui Hajime's mind had been broken to a greater extent than Rodcorte or anyone around him had imagined.

If he was reincarnated as he was now, it was likely that he would be killed by Vandalieu, Murakami's group or Lambda's inhabitants;he had been driven into a corner.

This was what he had made himself believe.

Even if he became an assassin to kill Vandalieu, Vandalieu was certain to have already received information about him from the Eighth Guidance. With that being the case, he would be killed like Kaidou Kanata had been. He couldn't use Marionette to manipulate Golems and Ghosts that didn't have nerves, and if Vandalieu himself used Out-of-body Experience to separate himself from his physical body, he couldn't manipulate him, either. And after he was defeated, even if he begged for his life, he couldn't expect any compassion from Vandalieu.

If he didn't become an assassin, Murakami Junpei's group would kill him to silence him. Even if Vandalieu had information from the Eighth Guidance, it was possible that the Eighth Guidance had reincarnated in an imperfect form. And considering the risk that Hajime might let it slip to Lambda's natives that they were reincarnated individuals, he couldn't be left alive.

He couldn't rely on the other reincarnated individuals to save him. Hajime hadn't killed them directly, but there was no changing the fact that he had betrayed the Bravers.

Even if he was killed by Murakami, they would just consider it to be 'internal discord.'

Of course, being 'killed' wouldn't be in the literal sense of the word. Murakami's group knew that Hajime's soul would simply return to Rodcorte if he was killed.

They were certain to choose a way to half-kill him, such as destroying a non-vital part of his brain, leaving him alive but unable to speak.

Hajime wasn't sure that he would be sane when he died and his soul returned to this place if they did something like that to him.

And if he were to be killed by Vandalieu, he would almost certainly have his soul destroyed thanks to the foolish Kaidou Kanata. Now that Hajime had become a spirit, he could imagine the intense pain, sense of loss and despair that he would feel if that were to happen to him.

’’Th-that's why I think it would be easier if I just disappeared! If I were just a baby with no memories or personality, nobody would think of going out of their way to try to find and kill me, right?!’’ Hajime said.

This was the conclusion that he had arrived at. He would lose his power, have his memories and personality erased and start over. Since this was an ordinary reincarnation, he was aware that this would be the end of the person known as Inui Hajime. However, this was what he wanted.

Having seen the gist of what Inui Hajime was thinking, Rodcorte became aware of a mistake that he had made.

I should have considered the circumstances and stress associated with repeatedly reincarnating individuals in a group with their memories and personalities intact.

Humans were normally born anew, but in the case of these reincarnated individuals, they would regain the memories and personalities from their previous lives once they were around five or six years old.

In other words, their natures would take shape at that moment.

This made it difficult for them even if they decided that they wanted to work hard after being reborn into their new lives. It didn't need to be said that it was difficult to change one's past experiences and human nature that had already been established.

And what would happen if they were reincarnated alongside those who knew them in their previous lives?

Starting over became even more difficult.

And they even retained their memories of their deaths, so those who had been betrayed by those they thought were their allies, like Inui Hajime, would carry their traumas into their next lives.

It seemed that Kaidou Kanata hadn't thought much about it, simply thinking that he would be reincarnated once more if he died again. However, that was because Kanata was an abnormal case;Inui Hajime's reaction was more normal.

The human nature, relationships with the other reincarnated individuals, the fear of death. It was Rodcorte's mistake, having taken all of these too lightly.

I suppose it was a mistake to have them reincarnate in Origin to gain knowledge, skills and experience,Rodcorte thought, but he wasn't capable of reversing time.

Right now, responding to Inui Hajime's request came first. At this rate, he would be both useless as an assassin to kill Vandalieu and useless in bringing the knowledge and skills of his previous worlds to Lambda for its development.

’’Unfortunately, I cannot do that,’’ Rodcorte said.

If he granted Hajime's request, it would waste the effort he had spent in granting him a cheat-like ability and the time that he had spent in Origin. Even if he would be nothing more than a sacrificial pawn, Rodcorte wanted him to play that role up until the end before he disappeared.

’’W-why?!’’ Hajime demanded.

’’Because I cannot do it.’’

Though those were Rodcorte's thoughts, he could not honestly speak them out loud.

If the plan for Lambda's development was proceeding smoothly, then it wouldn't have been a problem for Inui Hajime, a single individual, to give up. But the current situation was one of crisis. Every single usable resource needed to be utilized to its limit.

’’Th-then, what the hell am I supposed to do...?’’ Hajime muttered.

At this rate, it was likely that Hajime would choose to kill himself after being reincarnated, so Rodcorte decided to lend him some strength.

’’I will set up your Marionette ability to activate itself automatically and end your life in the event that you are put into the half-dead, vegetable state that you are fearing, and you do not wish to recover from that state. Will that be enough?’’ Rodcorte asked.

Though such a thing would have been impossible for Rodcorte to carry out on Vandalieu, as he had received no cheat-like ability, it was possible for him to perform adjustments like this on Inui Hajime and the other reincarnated individuals.

’’Th-then... well... kind of...’’ Inui Hajime looked crestfallen at how small Rodcorte's support was. ’’Let me think about it a little more,’’ he said as he walked away.

If he comes back, that is when I shall decide how to use him, or whether I should return him to the circle of transmigration if he will be of no use, Rodcorte thought.

Another reincarnated individual approached. It was the 'Clairvoyance' Tendou Tatsuya.

’’I have a proposal. I want you to let me gather information,’’ he said.

’’What do you mean by 'gather information?'’’ Rodcorte asked.

’’From this divine Realm place, it's possible to see the worlds whose circles of transmigration you control. Isn't that right?’’

’’That is correct, but... I do not think there would be any meaning to gazing at the worlds.’’

It was possible to gaze at the worlds from Rodcorte's divine Realm. However, the precision of the image would be like looking at Earth from outer space at a distance that made it appear to be the size of a clenched fist.

It would be possible to see the shapes and locations of the continents, as well as phenomena that were larger than the continents themselves. However, islands would be difficult to see. Seeing the activity of humans would be impossible.

’’I do not mind if you wish to gain a broad idea of Lambda's geography, but...’’ Rodcorte muttered, displaying an image of Lambda in front of Tendou.

The world of Lambda could be clearly seen in this spherical image that was about the size of a baby's head. It could even be considered a special privilege for a mortal to see the shape of the world that was still unknown to the people living in it.

Incidentally, the reason that Rodcorte could only see the world at this distance was because he was not a god that was acknowledged in Lambda. If he were a god who was worshipped by many people, like Alda, the god of law and fate, he would be able to see the areas where large numbers of his followers were living in with more detail.

But for Rodcorte, whose very existence was not known to anyone in Lambda, this was the limit.

’’Hmm?’’

At least, that was supposed to be the case, but for some reason, there was one part of the world of Lambda that was a little easier to see.

Is it just my imagination? This is the southern area of the Bahn Gaia continent... the nation ruled by Vandalieu! I see;Vandalieu, as a reincarnated individual, is aware of my existence. Is that why? But this is a matter that has nothing to do with Mana;it is a matter of how many people acknowledge me. Can a single person have this much influence?

Though it was 'visible,' it was only a little better than the other regions;it wasn't enough to be useful. Just as Rodcorte decided that it was just his imagination after all, Tendou smiled, gazing intently at the world of Lambda.

’’Alright, this will work!’’ he said. ’’Kami-sama, please make it so that I can use Clairvoyance. With this, I want to see the inside of the Boundary Mountain Range, the nation that Amamiya has built.’’

The Clairvoyance ability that Tendou Tatsuya had received form Rodcorte was a collection of multiple vision-related abilities. Among them was an ability called 'Telescopic Vision.'

However, that ability on its own wasn't a particularly incredible ability. Since a pair of binoculars or a telescope was enough, he hadn't really tried to improve it. He could only magnify his vision by a few times.

Even so, he would likely be able to see Talosheim's geography and its town, as well as the shape of the castle's walls. That alone would be information that Asagi and his other companions could use to make decisions.

Or so Tendou thought.

’’I see,’’ Rodcorte muttered, thinking of a way to use Tendou to gather information. ’’Now that you have become but a soul made of spirit, no physical limitations exist for you. The problem is Mana, but I can simply lend you some and it will be sufficient. Very well, Tendou Tatsuya. Let us try to see the current Vandalieu, using your power.’’

Tendou's Clairvoyance was originally something that Rodcorte had created by processing his own divine power, but the pre-processed divine power could not be used by any other than its owner, Rodcorte himself;it was nothing more than energy. And because there were restrictions associated with being a god, there were many things that were impossible for him to do.

However, by processing his divine power so that a human could use it, humans could use that power to do things without the restrictions of being a god.

I see. Humans are useful after all, Rodcorte thought.

’’Now then, I will make it so that everyone can see what you can see,’’ Rodcorte said.

’’You can do something like that?!’’

’’It is possible. For better or worse, you people are currently in a state where you are free from the limitations of physical bodies.’’

In fact, the reincarnated individuals didn't have limbs, eyes or noses. The sharing of information was simple with Rodcorte's assistance.

And then Rodcorte gathered all of the reincarnated individuals, as well as Aran and Izumi, his Familiar Spirits. And then he explained the principle of using Tendou's Clairvoyance to gather information on Vandalieu.

Nobody objected. No matter which of the options presented by Rodcorte they would choose, no matter what they would do once they were reincarnated in Origin, acquiring information about Vandalieu couldn't cause any harm.

Even from Aran and Izumi's point of view, information about Vandalieu and Talosheim was so limited that they were desperate to know more about them.

And this was a divine Realm. It was a space that was isolated from Lambda.

Even if they used Clairvoyance to look at Vandalieu, Vandalieu himself would never notice. And even in the near-impossible event that he did, he wouldn't be able to do anything about it.

’’Is this really alright? You're the ones who said that there's a lot of things that we don't know about his powers!’’ Inui Hajime shouted, seemingly still uneasy and seeking reassurance.

Indeed, it was impossible for Rodcorte to see Vandalieu's Status, as Vandalieu was not one of his followers. The only information he had regarding Vandalieu was what others had seen and heard of him.

That was why Rodcorte could only guess when it came to things that the people who had seen Vandalieu didn't know or understand.

’’It is fine,’’ Rodcorte said in an attitude that was as if this was the only natural answer.

Izumi and Aran reassured Hajime as well.

’’I understand your doubt, but it's just as this guy says. This place isn't connected to Lambda, so no matter what death-attribute spells he uses, he can't do anything to us,’’ Aran said.

’’Even with a billion Mana, even with the Demon King's fragments, he can't reach us here. And he won't even notice us to begin with,’’ Izumi added.

’’Then I suppose it's fine -’’ Inui Hajime said.

Tendou immediately began activating his Clairvoyance. ’’This is amazing. The sensation of being supplied with an inexhaustible amount of Mana...’’

The image that Tendou saw was shared with all of the reincarnated individuals and the Familiar Spirits through Rodcorte. At first, it was like an image of the planet Earth taken by a satellite, but it quickly zoomed in, allowing them to see the ground surface.

What they saw surprised the reincarnated individuals and even Izumi and Aran, who had already investigated Vandalieu to a certain extent.

’’This is... incredible. There are more walls than the last time we saw it.’’

’’Eh, how many walls does he have to build before he's satisfied? And are those catapults? And there are crossbows in the gaps in the walls... What are these?! They're all Undead!’’

’’Wait, the outside wall isn't just a wall! The whole thing is a Golem! And... the patterns and decorations on the buildings and walls are all Golems as well! Are they for surveillance?!’’

’’No, it's not just Golems! What are those flying things?! Transparent skulls, and are those Pteranodon Zombies below them?!’’

The majestic appearance of Talosheim as viewed from the sky... No, perhaps it was better described as bizarre. Its defense system looked terrifyingly outlandish in the eyes of the reincarnated individuals.

Including the wall-shaped Golem, there were eight, tall, heavy walls. A number of Cursed Crossbows that would be foolish to try to count. A number of catapults. And the surveillance network and anti-air nets spread out across the city.

’’All of this stuff is ridiculous,’’ Murakami muttered. ’’Is this some kind of model created by an amateur in siege and military tactics without thinking about the costs of maintenance?’’

’’But Murakami-sensei, that ridiculous nonsense, none of it is just a model, is it?’’ said Kanako.

’’I've heard about it, but... actually seeing the whole thing... I'm speechless.’’

As Murakami Junpei said, Vandalieu was almost completely ignorant when it came to siege and military tactics. If he had been somewhat more knowledgeable, he might have used Japan's castles as a reference and come up with better shapes for the walls.

But being ignorant, he had simply built the walls to be tall, thick and many. He had increased the number of crossbows, set up rows upon rows of catapults and created Golems, Lemures and pterosaur Zombies for surveillance.

Normally, such an inefficient defense method would be impossible to make a reality.

But as Vandalieu's Mana was in the hundreds of millions, and he possessed the Golem Transmutation and Death-Attribute Magic skills.

He had even mined the stone from Dungeons, made up for the building costs with his own Mana and created a defense system that had almost no maintenance costs other than more Mana.

’’... I'm going to look inside the town,’’ said Tendou, recovering from his surprise as he looked further inside Talosheim.

It seemed that it was the middle of the night, but people were going back and forth in a lively manner.

Seeing this, the reincarnated individuals felt just as much shock as they had when they saw the walls and defense system.

’’Human-shaped monsters, and those are the Black Goblins and Anubises. There are even goats with the lower body halves of fish swimming in the waterways.’’

’’The Undead are having conversations just like people. They aren't specially made humans or anything, are they?’’

In Origin, monsters were creatures that had been transformed by Mana;they were dangerous beasts, and even though they had various uses such as being stuffed after they were killed, they weren't things that could be kept as pets.

And Undead were simply moving corpses, treated as monsters that needed to be disposed of.

Those dangerous beasts were exchanging words, using tools and carrying out cultured lives. It seemed that there was a disparity between the information the reincarnated individuals knew and what they were actually seeing.

’’Once we are reincarnated on that side, we can't exterminate monsters carelessly,’’ Asagi said.

Nobody could blame him for saying that.

However, Aran denied that opinion with a bitter smile on his face. ’’It's not like all monsters are as civilized as this. Talosheim is special. Also, Ghouls and Scylla are people in that world, just like Elves and Dwarves.’’

One would certainly die an early death in Lambda if they made the misunderstanding that all monsters and Undead were like the citizens of Talosheim. And it would also be dangerous to not acknowledge those of Vida's races, such as Ghouls and Scylla, as people.

’’They're people? There's got to be a limit to how exotic you can be;they're pretty much monsters!’’ Doug exclaimed.

’’Well, there are a lot of people who think that way, but... that's the way of thinking of almost all of Vandalieu's enemies. Don't blame me if you end up standing out and gathering attention as being one of Vandalieu's enemies,’’ Izumi said.

Doug clicked his tongue and fell into silence.

The problematic thing about Vandalieu was that even if the reincarnated individuals tried not to get involved with him personally, it was possible that the society that the reincarnated individuals belonged to might be hostile to him.

If their parents in Lambda were devoted Alda extremists or human supremists that began driving out Vida's races from the cities they lived in, or their nation declared that Vida was an evil goddess, conflict with Vandalieu was very likely.

If it were just a matter of personal involvement, there would be no need to be so afraid of him. However, he was the leader of a nation, and even had the mobility to effortlessly step foot outside of Talosheim.

And he possessed the power to slaughter any nation's noblemen and important figures while feeling nothing more than as if he had exterminated some hoodlums that attacked ordinary people in back alleys;he had become insane. At the very least, it appeared that way to Izumi and the others.

In the future, if he were to pass through a nation and found members of Vida's races and Vida believers that he felt pity for, it was possible that he would burn everyone else in the nation in the fires of disaster in order to rescue them. Even if he couldn't save them, there was no guarantee that he would stay uninvolved.

’’That's why I want you to do your best to not be on any side that opposes him, even if you choose to not get involved with him,’’ said Izumi. ’’You don't want to get hurt by getting mixed up in that, do you?’’

’’... I'll keep that in mind,’’ said Tendou.

And then Tendou displayed Talosheim's numerous facilities with his Clairvoyance. The training grounds where Borkus was mumbling words to Mikhail, the Church of Vida where the statues of various gods were enshrined, the Golem factories, the casino, the theater that was in development. He couldn't see past the entrance of the buildings for the public bathhouses, however.

’’Is there no sound? I want to know what they're saying,’’ said Akaki.

’’Akaki, my ability is Clairvoyance,’’ said Tendou. ’’I don't have ears attached to my eyes. They're speaking something close to Japanese, so do your best with lip reading.’’

TLN*: The kanji for the Japanese word for 'clairvoyance' is something like 'long-distance eyes.'

’’... There are a lot of them that have really differently-shaped jaws, though.’’

Though this was obvious, the image was nothing more than 'clairvoyance.' Thus, there was no sound at all.

There were some among the reincarnated individuals who had knowledge on lip-reading, but... none of them could read the words of the lion-headed Ghoul males, the Orcuses, the Anubises or the Skeletons that had no flesh on their faces.

’’Hurry up and display Vandalieu, the main subject at hand. Also, I want to see the Eighth Guidance members and Gazer, who should have been reincarnated here,’’ said Murakami.

’’Murakami, my Clairvoyance isn't an ability that can immediately look at a designated person,’’ said Tendou. ’’If they're not somewhere in the castle, we'll give up for today.’’

Tendou directed his gaze at the last remaining building, the royal castle, and displayed the interior of the castle. Even the inside of this enormous castle had bizarre defenses set up.

Dinosaur Zombies and Dinosaur Skeletons lined up in rows, as well Titans and Ghosts that seemed to be there as security. A room where an enormous girl that had come up in the known information, sleeping in a room with bizarre Zombies.

Legion was inside that room, but... though it wasn't in the known information, even Rodcorte looked over her, simply thinking that she was a new Undead that Vandalieu had created.

’’What is that lump of flesh? And there aren't any babies or pregnant women. Where are Valkyrie and the others?’’ Murakami wondered.

’’Wait, it looks like there are some people in an underground chamber,’’ said Tendou.

The image went one floor lower, displaying Vandalieu's underground workshop.

Vandalieu was in there, but there were also a pair of beautiful female Ghouls, one who appeared to be in her mid-teenage years and the other in her late teenage years;a slender man with a handlebar mustache;and two Undead Titans with him.

The image displayed white hair, bloodless, candle-wax-like skin and the eyes that looked like those of a dead fish, the exact description from the known information.

’’Oi, he's looking at us!’’

’’No, our eyes have met by coincidence. That should be the case.’’

’’Huh? No, this guy, hasn't he seen us?’’

As this situation bewildered the other reincarnated individuals, as well as Aran and Izumi, there was one person with something else on his mind.

Oi, Kami-sama-san. Keep quiet and listen to me.

It was the 'Death Scythe' Konoe Kyuuji.

He had realized that Rodcorte could read his mind, and he had utilized this to call out to Rodcorte without the other reincarnated individuals noticing.

Make it so that I can use my Death Scythe! Also, lend me your Mana, like you did with Tendou! If you do that, I'll be able to attack Vandalieu one-sidedly from here, right?!

Reading these thoughts, Rodcorte considered Kyuuji's idea and gave an immediate response.

Very well.

He allowed Kyuuji to use Death Scythe's power as a spirit and backed him up with Mana as he had done with Tendou.

’’Hah! If I kill him, make sure you give me plenty of rewards!’’

And then, without any hesitation, Kyuuji stopped the movements of Vandalieu's heart and lunges with his Death Scythe.

Unable to breathe and feeling a pain in his heart, Vandalieu instinctively realized that he was being attacked.

And before thinking about anything in detail, he fired Death Bullets towards the hole near the ceiling through which Rodcorte and the reincarnated individuals were visible.

’’Van-sama?!’’

’’Holy Son, what is the matter?!’’

Vandalieu could hear Tarea and Nuaza's surprised voices, but he didn't have the ability to respond. The Death Bullets that he had fired using Chant Revocation as usual passed straight through the image above him, hitting the ceiling and vanishing.

The reincarnated individuals in the image appeared to be surprised, but they seemed to be completely unaffected.

Next, he activated the Demon King's horns and produced a single horn and fired it using Telekinesis.

’’Something is attacking!’’ Zadiris shouted.

At the same time, the Demon King's horn, like the Death Bullets, passed through the image and crashed into the ceiling.

’’Just what kind of attack is it, from where?!’’ shouted Luciliano.

’’Damn you! Cowards, not even revealing yourselves!’’ Nuaza cursed.

Next, Vandalieu placed a Magic Absorption Barrier between himself and the image, and even turned the floor into a Golem to create some cover.

But there was no effect. Among the reincarnated individuals was one who resembled the 'Clairvoyance' Tendou Tatsuya in Legion's description, who was clearly flustered. Him bending backwards and stiffening unnaturally was indeed a change, but it wasn't something that changed the situation for the better.

Vandalieu couldn't breathe, and his heartbeat had stopped. He still remained conscious due to the activation of the Surpass Limits skill, but...

Left with no other choice, Vandalieu used Out-of-body Experience to leave his body.

’’Ah, I couldn't breathe. Well, I still can't,’’ he said.

With this, he wouldn't lose consciousness due to a lack of oxygen in his brain. Since his spirit was now doing his thinking instead of his brain, the oxygen consumption of his brain would decrease as well.

’’Boy, what is happening?!’’ Zadiris cried.

’’An attack from a divine Realm,’’ Vandalieu replied. ’’It is likely Death Scythe's ability, so my heart and lungs have stopped.’’

’’What?! Is it that reincarnation god?!’’ Datara exclaimed, cursing Rodcorte.

’’We can't attack back?!’’ Zadiris was holding her staff, looking frustrated.

Vandalieu now understood that only he could see that image.

Next, he instinctively realized that there wasn't really a hole open in the space above him;he was simply being seen, and there was no physical connection.

It was likely that the Clairvoyance ability had been reflected by the Abyss skill, allowing Vandalieu to gaze back at the reincarnated individuals.

That was why no spells, including the Death Bullets Vandalieu his fired, nor the Demon King's fragments, would reach his foes. Since Clairvoyance could see through objects, creating cover was meaningless as well.

Normally, Vandalieu would be quite hard-pressed by these circumstances. His heartbeat and breathing had been stopped, and he couldn't run away, either.

As for Zadiris and the others, they couldn't even see the enemy. Vandalieu was about to tell them to run, but quickly realized that there was no point.

As long as Clairvoyance was among the enemy, the enemy could find them no matter where they ran.

’’I did try to counterattack, but... it seems that it's not very effective,’’ said Vandalieu.

One of the reincarnated individuals, the 'Death Scythe' Konoe Kyuuji, seemed to be suffering a little, but that was all.

’’I guess reflecting the damage from cardiopulmonary arrest with Abyss doesn't have much effect on someone with no physical body,’’ Vandalieu said.

’’Master! I'm sorry to say this while you seem to have calmed down, but your body looks like it is in bad shape!’’ Luciliano warned him.

’’The color of your lips is a little paler than usual!’’ Tarea exclaimed.

It seemed that it was probably best for Vandalieu to do something about his body.

’’Well then, first of all, I'll activate the Demon King's blood.’’

In Rodcorte's divine Realm, the reincarnated individuals had lost their presence of mind.

’’You bastard! Are you trying to get ahead of us?!’’ Murakami shouted in frustration.

’’Heh! I can use Death Scythe as long as I can see the target's face! It was an easy victory with the god's permission and cooperation!’’ Kyuuji said, his face twisting horribly with an expression of triumph.

’’O-oi, stop! What the hell are you thinking?!’’

Realizing that Kyuuji was trying to kill Vandalieu, Asagi and Akaki tried to grab him and stop him, but they couldn't touch him.

’’Spirits can't touch each other?!’’

’’They can, but only when they have no hostility towards each other. Or at least, that is how it works in my divine Realm,’’ said Rodcorte. ’’I have adjusted things so that you people cannot fight amongst yourselves and become fewer in number.’’

’’Oi, Kami-sama! Make him stop, right now!’’ Asagi shouted, realizing that he couldn't stop Kyuuji himself.

’’... I am the one requesting you to kill Vandalieu;why do you think that I would stop?’’ Rodcorte said, not even looking at Asagi.

This was only natural;Rodcorte wished for Vandalieu's death. He had no intentions of being fussy over the methods used to achieve this.

’’S-shit!’’

’’Aran, Izumi, you guys stop him! Since you guys are Familiar Spirits, you should be able to stop Konoe!’’ Endou said, turning around to look at Aran and Izumi.

But their faces were twisted with unpleasant expressions.

’’I want to stop him, but I can't,’’ Izumi said. ’’Right now, Konoe is using Rodcorte's Mana. In other words, he's Rodcorte's tool right now.’’

’’And although us Familiar Spirits can complain about the actions of our boss, we can't interfere! Damn it, I didn't think there was such a dirty method!’’ Aran cursed.

As the two of them lamented the current situation, the Vandalieu in the image began attacking. Kyuuji gave a tense scream, but Vandalieu's spells and Demon King's horn disappeared, not coming out through the image.

’’D-damn him, threatening us like that!’’ Kyuuji cursed.

’’Hey, isn't he completely aware of us?! W-we're not involved at all, you know~!’’

’’Keh, it doesn't matter! Whether he notices us or not, I'm going to kill him, right now! Oi, Tendou, don't you stop the Clairvoyance! I'll share my rewards with you!’’

’’Tendou, stop, right now!’’ shouted Kouya.

Tendou was receiving completely opposite instructions, but he couldn't respond. Rodcorte was forcibly pouring his Mana into him, making it impossible to close the Clairvoyance.

’’No way, isn't there anything we can do?!’’ Kouya muttered.

’’Oi, oi, calm down,’’ said Murakami, who seemed to have calmed down completely, though he looked a little frustrated. ’’It's not really that bad a thing. We're just killing him without any of us dying. It's not like you guys think of him as a virtuous saint either, right? And Izumi, Aran, you only want us to not attack him because you don't want Asagi and the others to fight him and get killed;it's not like you actually want to save him. So then, isn't it fine to just let Kyuuji kill him now if he can?’’

’’Th-that's...!’’

Murakami's words seemed to have hit the mark. Izumi and Aran felt sympathy for Vandalieu, who had once been Amamiya Hiroto. However, they prioritized their companions, the planet Earth that had been their home, and the world of Origin that had been their second home.

If the sacrifice of Vandalieu, one individual, could remove the danger to all of those, was it something that needed to be stopped?

’’He's more persistent than I thought... Damn it, just hurry up and die! Your heartbeat and breathing have stopped, you have no choice but to die, no matter what you do!’’ shouted Kyuuji.

He was ignoring Asagi and Akaki, who had stopped moving, as well as Izumi and Aran, and using his Death Scythe with all of his might. For some reason, he felt a pain in his chest, but as Vandalieu seemed to be more tenacious than he'd expected, he couldn't let his power falter.

He felt impatient as he watched Vandalieu, who had postponed the death of his physical body by using Out-of-body Experience and was seemingly even taking the time to explain the situation to his companions.

Every time Kyuuji had used Death Scythe previously, it had never taken more than a minute for his target to lose consciousness;since he currently had no other ways of attacking, Kyuuji felt impatient.

To the point that he took no notice of Rodcorte, who was quietly observing him and Vandalieu.

However, at this rate, he would be able to kill Vandalieu. That was supposed to be the case, but suddenly, black blood spurted out from Vandalieu.

’’What's that?!’’

’’Unable to endure the pain, he killed himself... No! He's moving the blood himself to replace the function of his heart?!’’

Having activated the Demon King's blood, Vandalieu returned the blood that had spurted from his body back into his body through a wound that he had opened elsewhere, circulating the blood inside his body.

’’This is a countermeasure that I thought of when I first heard about Death Scythe, but to think that I'd be using it so soon,’’ he said.

Death Scythe simply stopped the movement of his heart and lungs. The organs hadn't been physically crushed, nor had his blood vessels been blocked. Thus, there was no problem in circulating blood if the blood itself moved.

He couldn't control his blood perfectly, so he was causing excess pressure against his blood vessels and causing his capillaries to scream. Blood was flowing from his eyes, ears and mucous membranes, but it was far better than dying... though he felt bad for showing this to Zadiris and the others.

Next was his breathing, but he had a solution for this as well.

There were ingots in the workshop for creating Death Iron;Vandalieu used Golem Transmutation to produce two thin pipes from these.

He used Telekinesis to move the pipes and create two holes of appropriate depth in his own chest.

’’Boy?!’’

’’Van-samaaaa?!’’

’’It's alright;I'm just opening holes in my lungs to create an entrance for air so that I can breathe.’’

There was a dull sound, and blood seeped out of the wounds. Being pierced between the ribs caused a considerable, sharp pain.

Next, Vandalieu created a Golem of the remaining iron and other metals to act as a pump that circulated air inside his lungs. With this, he could maintain life even though Death Scythe had stopped his heart and lungs... Now the problem was, he could maintain life, but he still couldn't think of a way to counterattack.

What now? Since Konoe Kyuuji was using Rodcorte's Mana instead of his own, Vandalieu had the feeling that a war of attrition was meaningless.

As this thought occurred to him, Zadiris suddenly put the iron pipes in her mouth.

’’I just need to send air into you, is that right? Leave it to me,’’ she said, and then she started to carefully breathe air into the pipes.

’’Please wait, I'm going to make a Golem -’’

’’What will you do if you make a mistake with the Golem's strength and your lungs rupture?!’’ Tarea exclaimed.

’’... I can't deny that there is that risk, but I thought it would be better than doing nothing and dying,’’ said Vandalieu, avoiding eye contact.

The truth was that he had never tested making an artificial respiration Golem, so there was indeed a risk that he would make a mistake with the pressure and cause his lungs to rupture.

However, there was a reason that Vandalieu didn't want to ask them to do this.

Inside the image of the divine Realm that Vandalieu could see, the 'Death Scythe' Konoe Kyuuji was shouting about something. His eyes were glaring at Zadiris.

Vandalieu felt a shuddering reaction from Danger Sense: Death.

’’Uguh?!’’

’’Aah!’’

’’Ugh!’’

Zadiris, Tarea and Luciliano staggered, clutching their chests.

’’What is this? Even our lungs have stopped!’’ said Nuaza.

’’This is no good;the enemy is trying to stop all of our lungs so that the Holy Son can't breathe! Us Undead won't die, but Jouchan and the others are in danger!’’ shouted Datara.

It seemed that Konoe Kyuuji had decided to simply kill Vandalieu and had no intention of giving up.

That was why he intended to kill those other than Vandalieu as well.

’’So, you'll use any method available,’’ Vandalieu muttered.

As Zadiris, Tarea and Luciliano suffered, breaking out into a cold sweat, Vandalieu extended his spirit form towards them and fused himself with them.

’’Well then, I'll use any method available as well.’’

Before Vandalieu even finished speaking, the face of Konoe Kyuuji, which was twisted with murderous intent, fell apart. It scattered into very small pieces, disappearing like particles of light.

The other reincarnated individuals stopped moving, and then the image of them disappeared.

’’It seems that by fusing with Zadiris and everyone else, I was able to reflect the damage for everyone with the Abyss skill and overcome the enemy's limit,’’ Vandalieu said.

’’Kahah!’’

’’H-haah, I-I thought I would die,’’ said Tarea.

’’M-Master, is it over for now? I-if it is, then please tell me about the divine Realm, tell me what it looked like...’’ Luciliano gasped.

’’You should rest a little!’’

’’And please wait until the Holy Son has recovered!’’

Luciliano was downed by the rather merciless knuckles of Datara and Nuaza.

Vandalieu watched them with a satisfied nod as he stimulated the recovery of his body, which had two holes in his lungs and blood pouring from the mucous membranes of his face.

With this, he had destroyed one of his enemies.

He had also seen the rest of the reincarnated individuals. They hadn't reincarnated yet, and most of them were enemies.

Vandalieu wasn't sure about the 'Clairvoyance' Tendou Tatsuya. He had appeared as if his free will had been stolen from him;it was dangerous, but Vandalieu reserved judgement for now. The next time something happened, he would be the priority target to kill.

The 'Oracle' Endou Kouya had been saying something, but Vandalieu didn't know what he'd been saying, so Vandalieu reserved judgment.

He had seen Minami Asagi and one more, probably the 'Ifrit' Akaki, trying to stop Death Scythe. But since they stopped partway through, judgment was reserved for them as well.

’’There were some who didn't make a move from the beginning, and some that were shaking their heads the whole time while making X's with their arms, so are they trying to be my allies? Well, in that case, I'll look on them a little favorably as I reserve judgment,’’ Vandalieu decided.

Suddenly, he realized something.

’’Come to think of it...’’ Vandalieu coughed up the remaining blood from his lungs, which didn't taste particularly bitter to him, and both the blood and his newly-realized truth rolled off his tongue. ’’... That was my first time killing a classmate.’’

The 'Death Scythe' Konoe Kyuuji. Unlike the 'Gungnir' Kaidou Kanata, he was a classmate at the same school, whose face Vandalieu knew.

’’Ah, I also had the option of attacking with the Mental Encroachment skill.’’

『The levels of the Abyss, God Slayer, Rapid Healing, Surpass Limits, Soul Break and Grotesque Mind skills have increased!』



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