“Long time no see, Amamiya. Well, if we count the time I had only my soul with no body, then I think we’ve seen each other’s faces a year ago,” said the ‘Mage Masher’ Asagi Minami with a bitter smile on his face.
Behind him were the ‘Ifrit’ Shouko Akagi and the ‘Clairvoyance’ Tatsuya Tendou.
Unlike Asagi, these two were clearly being very cautious of Legion.
“… Ugh. Why are you people here? I thought that we came to a previous agreement that you wouldn’t interfere while we made contact with him if we got to him first,” said Kanako.
Indeed, according to the promise that had been made in Rodcorte’s Divine Realm before everyone was reincarnated, Asagi’s group shouldn’t have interfered while Kanako’s group made contact with Vandalieu.
But Asagi seemed unconcerned that Kanako was blaming him for breaking this promise. “That’s not the kind of tone a former idol should have,” he said. “We made that promise with Murakami, so we don’t need to be so considerate towards you now that you’ve left his group… I have no intention of arguing something unreasonable like that. The truth is, if Amamiya didn’t notice us, we would have kept quiet until you guys were finished.”
“Then you should have just left instead of coming out,” said Kanako.
“Don’t ask us the impossible. If we didn’t come out, we would have been mistaken for enemies and attacked,” Asagi pointed out. “Isn’t that right, Amamiya?”
“Of course! We don’t know anything about the rules you have decided between yourselves! Even if we did, we have no reason to play along with them!” said the voice of Legion’s Valkyrie.
Hearing these words, Kanako stopped hounding Asagi. She wanted to complain that he was being unreasonable, but she thought that Vandalieu’s impression of her and her group would become worse if she continued this futile argument in front of him.
“So, why have you people come here?” Legion asked.
“The voice before was Valkyrie, and the one just now was Pluto…” Asagi murmured. “We came because I knew these guys would try to curry favour with Amamiya. And we wanted to make sure that they hadn’t fabricated some convenient-sounding information lies to tell us so that they could use Venus’s power to try and manipulate Amamiya.”
Asagi’s group had learned of Kanako’s movements by using Familiar Spirit Descent to hear from Rodcorte’s familiar spirits, Aran and Izumi. They had headed towards the former Scylla territory and used Tendou’s Clairvoyance to search for them and keep an eye on them.
When Asagi’s group summoned Aran, he had strongly warned them to not fight Vandalieu. Asagi had been unconcerned, as his original objective was to persuade him to change his ways. In fact, he was confused as to why Aran would bother re-emphasizing this to him.
Shouko and Tendou had a bad feeling about Aran’s warning; they were watching Asagi and Vandalieu’s every move, ready to stop Asagi at any costs if anything happened.
“That’s not what we were intending, but… I suppose being doubted like this is just me getting what I deserve,” said Kanako.
She was speaking admirable words, but she felt very bitter on the inside. That was how inconvenient it was for her group that Asagi’s group was here.
Asagi’s group were people that her group had betrayed in Origin, and they possessed all of the information that her group did.
In fact, they were the ones with the information advantage, as they had received information from the familiar spirits even after being reincarnated.
“’Mage Masher,’ did you think that we would come here without having measures in place against the abilities of Kanako and her group?” Legion asked Asagi.
Vandalieu and Legion were unaware that the true power of Kanako’s Venus was the copying and pasting of emotions and memories. However, they had determined that it was an ability that affected the target’s mind. That was why only Vandalieu and Legion, who would be immune to such effects, had come here.
They had also determined that the fragments of the Demon King, which had barrier-nullifying properties, could pierce through Melissa’s Aegis Ability.
The telekinesis granted to Doug by his Hecatoncheir ability wouldn’t be a problem. It would be ineffective against pathogens created with the Disease Demon Job and Dark King Magic that he couldn’t perceive.
And in preparation for the possibility of there being more reincarnated individuals present than the three whose names were written on the letter, Vandalieu had brought fighting forces with him, including the ‘King Slayer’ Sleygar. They were in the surrounding area and inside Vandalieu’s body.
Legion’s tongue grew sharper the more Kanako and her companions flattered Vandalieu, which Kanako and her companions seemed to mistake for hostility.
“I’ll say it to make it clear – We had absolutely no intentions of working with these guys; we didn’t cooperate with them to draw you out with a false letter,” Kanako said hastily.
“It’s true. In the end, we did bring them here as a result, but… we apologize for that,” said Melissa.
But Vandalieu and Legion nodded.
“I know that. There were no signs of you having done such things,” said Vandalieu.
“We knew that those three were hiding there from the very beginning,” Baba Yaga explained.
“That’s why we were observing you for a while as you were talking and came to the conclusion that it doesn’t seem like you’re working together,” said Ereshkigal.
Before Vandalieu and Legion called out to Kanako’s group, they had realized that Asagi’s group had been hiding in order to keep an eye on Kanako’s group.
On top of that, they had come prepared for the unlikely event that it was all a trap.
“I’ll warn you again, but don’t try anything funny,” said Ghost. “There are countless forces surrounding you, including the head-hunting demon. You don’t want your head cut off a second time, do you?”
The facial expressions of Asagi’s group changed clearly as they heard the voices of Baba Yaga, Ereshkigal and Ghost coming from Legion – the voices of their killers. Asagi looked bitter, Shouko looked angry and Tendou turned pale.
“‘Anything funny’ includes fighting each other. Vandalieu has come to hear what you have to say. We’ll eliminate anyone who interferes with that,” said Pluto. “So, we’ve already heard what Kanako’s group wants. Were you intending to do nothing more than observe them, ‘Mage Masher?’”
“Of course that’s not all,” said Asagi, facing Vandalieu. “Amamiya, I’ve come to stop –”
“Wrong,” said Vandalieu, interrupting him.
“What are you saying is wrong, Amamiya? I’ve really come to stop you.”
Up until this point, Vandalieu had remained silent even when Asagi spoke to him, and their eyes hadn’t even met. But he accepted that he had to say this now.
“I am not Amamiya Hiroto. Now, I am Vandalieu Zakkart,” Vandalieu said.
He had hoped that Asagi would realize this without him having to say it.
“What are you saying? You’re our buddy, Amamiya Hiroto. Isn’t that right?” said Asagi, looking at him with a puzzled expression.
Vandalieu’s shoulders fell. “It’s true that I was once ‘Amamiya Hiroto.’ But that was over thirty years ago, and I feel no attachment towards that name. Please call me Vandalieu from now on,” he said. “Also, I am not your ‘buddy.’”
The current Vandalieu felt so little attachment to the name ‘Amamiya Hiroto’ that he could no longer consider it his own.
It wasn’t that he was trying to deny his past or forget it. However, he felt an unavoidable sense of discomfort when he was referred to by that name.
“You… Are you serious? Even if you were reincarnated in another world, the fact that you were Amamiya on Earth doesn’t change –” Asagi began, his voice raised in anger.
Tendou and Shouko stepped in to calm him down.
“Asagi, he is Vandalieu. It’s fine that way, isn’t it?” said Tendou.
“Most of us haven’t changed our names since we were reincarnated, but he’s different. I’m sure there are all kinds of reasons for it,” said Shouko.
Perhaps accepting this for now, Asagi fell silent for a moment and took a deep breath. “Alright. You want me to call you Vandalieu, right? I’m curious as to why your surname is Zakkart, but… I’ll leave that aside for now,” he said. “Vandalieu, we’ve come to stop you. You have to stop using death-attribute magic, right this moment if possible.”
“That’s impossible. Do you have any other business here?” Vandalieu asked.
“… I’m being serious,” said Asagi, his shoulders shaking as if he were trying to hold himself back. “Please give it some more thought.”
“… Please give it some more thought? I want to ask the same of you.”
The other two, standing beside Asagi, were wearing expressions that seemed to say, “As we thought.” Vandalieu looked at them with an expressionless, calm-looking gaze, but he felt irritated and mentally exhausted.
On the inside, he thought that it would be much easier to just fight them here, but if he did that, it would likely become even more troublesome when more reincarnated individuals were reborn in Lambda from Origin.
The situation was still just a discussion, and Asagi and Vandalieu merely held opposing opinions and viewpoints.
If Vandalieu were to eliminate Asagi for that reason alone, he would become the villain.
While Vandalieu was enduring this stressful situation, Asagi seemed to be deep in thought.
“Could it be…?” he whispered to himself, and then he lowered his head towards Vandalieu. “If you resent us because we failed to notice you and couldn’t save you in Origin, then I’m sorry. This will sound like nothing more than an excuse at this point, but… we really didn’t know that you were a reincarnated individual,” he said.
It seemed that he thought that the reason for Vandalieu’s att.i.tude towards him was the events in their previous lives.
Shouko and Tendou, as well as Kanako’s group who had been watching this conversation unfold, seemed to realize this; they followed Asagi’s lead and lowered their heads.
“That’s right, the first thing we should have done was apologize.”
“I’m really sorry. If we had found out earlier, things wouldn’t have turned out like that.”
“I’m sorry. We were so desperate that we forgot to apologize.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry.”
But Vandalieu shook his head. “I don’t care about what happened in our previous lives. It’s troublesome, so please just forget about it.”
Asagi and the others raised their faces and looked at him in surprise.
“You don’t care? You didn’t resent us? I heard that you wanted to kill us,” said Doug.
Vandalieu instinctively looked away. “Please forget the words I shouted in front of Rodcorte after I died in Origin,” he said. “Those were words of hatred spoken when my mind was very strained and I had lost half my sanity.”
Vandalieu had thought things through calmly afterwards and realized that the one at fault was Rodcorte for reincarnating him without granting him anything, and that the other reincarnated individuals were not to blame.
Of course, that didn’t mean that he had no hatred for the other reincarnated individuals at all, but… over ten years had pa.s.sed since then. All kinds of things had happened during that time, and Vandalieu’s place in the world had changed dramatically.
Thus, the fact that the reincarnated individuals failed to save him and ended his life in Origin was not a big deal to Vandalieu. Part of it was that he simply didn’t have the time to actively hunt down the reincarnated individuals and kill them, however.
“I-is that right? Well, that’s definitely a relief to hear,” said Doug, looking surprised and confused at the same time.
Vandalieu had said the same thing to the ‘Gungnir’ Kaidou Kanata, but perhaps the other reincarnated individuals hadn’t heard the message, or perhaps they had interpreted it as a lie to make them lower their guards.
“That’s right. Ah, could it be that the other reincarnated individuals can hear me if I say it to you?” Vandalieu said, using Flight to fly towards Doug and deliver his message to the other reincarnated individuals. “h.e.l.lo, can you hear me? I don’t care about the fact that you killed me or even about your existence. It would be more problematic for me if you actually went out of your way to apologize to me.”
“Uoh?! You’re too close, you’re too close!” Doug shouted, instinctively trying to get away from the dead-fish-like eyes that were now in his face.
“Vandalieu, calm down. His eyes aren’t camera lenses,” said Legion.
This was a comical conversation, but Kanako and Tendou found themselves unable to laugh.
He doesn’t even care about our existence… That means that rather than having forgiven us, he’s just not interested, doesn’t it?! thought Kanako.
They say that the opposite of liking something is being completely indifferent, but it’s really true, thought Tendou.
Vandalieu’s words weren’t spoken out of forgiveness, but out of complete disinterest.
“Asagi, you should give up after all. Let’s get out of here,” Tendou whispered into Asagi’s ear.
But Asagi was not a man who could accept this. “No, I’m different from how I was when I was in Origin. I’m definitely going to stop him with my words this time,” he said, brushing Tendou’s whispered warning aside. And then, with a strong-willed tone, he called out once more to Vandalieu, who seemed to be messing around with Doug. “Vandalieu, listen to me! The situation is worse than you think! There’s going to be huge problems in this world because of you at this rate!”
“… Well, I suppose that’s right,” said Vandalieu, his weariness audible even in his flat-toned voice.
“You’re aware of it?!”
“Just what do you think I’ve done, fought against and defeated up until now?”
The restoration of the fallen nation of Talosheim, the occupation of this former Scylla territory. Most importantly, the release of Vida, the G.o.ddess of life and love, who had been sealed away by Alda’s divine authority. The acquisition of the surname ‘Zakkart’ by clearing the Trial of Zakkart.
The enemies he had defeated included believers of Alda like High Priest Gordan and four members of the Amid Empire’s Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords. On the Orbaume Kingdom’s side, there was a knights’ order of the Hartner Duchy and one of the resistance organizations that had been trying to recapture the Sauron Duchy.
Among the G.o.ds, he had defeated the Pure-breed Vampires Ternecia and Gubamon, as well as Ravovifard, the evil G.o.d of release. He had also apparently consumed a G.o.d whose name he didn’t even know.
If Vandalieu tried to think of the things he had done that would affect the world outside the Boundary Mountain Range as well, there were this many that just came off the top of his head. Even Vandalieu wasn’t so carefree as to think that these actions wouldn’t cause large problems.
Of course, it wasn’t that Asagi and the other reincarnated individuals knew all of this. Vandalieu doubted they had even figured out that he had revived Vida and conquered the Trial of Zakkart.
“If you’re aware, why haven’t you stopped?! I’m not even joking; at this rate, the entire world will become your enemy! The G.o.ds and people of this world will not accept you, someone who creates and manipulates Undead!” Asagi shouted, feeling a sense of danger.
His words were the conclusion he reached after experiencing a little over a year of life in the Orbaume Kingdom, in the human society of this world.
In this world, the existence of Undead was deemed unacceptable by the followers of the Alda religion, which made up the majority of the population. But it wasn’t just them; even a small number of Vida’s followers did not accept Undead. In fact, every single church taught that creating and manipulating the dead out of one’s own selfish desires were evil acts that desecrated life.
No matter how useful Vandalieu’s death-attribute magic was, the people of this world would not accept him as long as he continued to use Undead as his servants.
This conclusion that Asagi had made was surprisingly not far off the mark. Emperor Marshukzarl of the Amid Empire had come to a similar conclusion regarding Vandalieu’s future as well.
They were slightly different, however, as Asagi’s conclusion was based on the people’s emotions towards Undead while Marshukzarl’s conclusion was based on the fact that Vandalieu’s actions up until this point were not compatible with the desires of human nations.
“No matter how extraordinary your Mana is, you won’t be able to defeat the entire world! Even the Demon King whose fragments you’ve absorbed was defeated in the same way!” Asagi continued.
Indeed, the Demon King Guduranis had possessed far more power than Vandalieu, destroyed four of the eleven great G.o.ds, completely polluted an entire continent, destroyed the souls of four champions and pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. And yet, he had been defeated by the remaining three champions.
“Like I said, I’m aware of that. I’m doing my best to not make the entire world my enemy,” said Vandalieu.
The reason he was still continuing this conversation with Asagi and not attacking him was for that reason, too.
If there was a dangerous being wielding some of the greatest power in the world who killed others for no other reason than them having different opinions, values and religions… the people of the world would become desperate to eliminate that dangerous being.
But even if a being wielded great power, as long as he could be reasoned with, then things shouldn’t come to that. There would be some that he would never be able to come to an understanding with, but cases in which that led to actual conflict should remain within small numbers.
That was what Vandalieu thought… though the world’s affairs were now in an odd situation as a result.
“That’s not enough,” said Asagi. “It’s true that the death attribute is convenient, and countless people were saved by it in Origin. But there isn’t anyone who will accept someone toying with the dead –”
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“Asagi, there are more people who accept it than you think,” said Legion, denying his words directly.
As the details of this event were related to the circle of transmigration itself, Rodcorte’s familiar spirits had been unable to share them with Asagi’s group, who had already been reincarnated in Lambda as humans.
But they had done their best to try and convey the message that Rodcorte, who had kept his promises up until this point, was now completely untrustworthy.
Given the warning from the familiar spirits and the information he had just heard from Hitomi, Asagi had lost his will to force his intentions on Vandalieu.
As Tendou said, it’s best to leave at this point. It doesn’t seem like he will respond to me unless I learn more about this world, find a way to seal the death attribute away without relying on Rodcorte’s power and explaining this method to him, Asagi thought.
He still believed that the death attribute was something that should not exist, and his objective of convincing Vandalieu to see that hadn’t changed.
Vandalieu, unable to see these intentions, was puzzled by the fact that Asagi had given up on this so quickly. But he didn’t say anything.
“But let me warn you, Vandalieu. You should probably give up on the idea of accepting these guys as your allies. They betrayed not only the Bravers, but the Eighth Guidance as well. There’s no doubt that they will betray you as well,” said Asagi.
“What?! You want to speak badly of us now?!” Kanako exclaimed.
“You b.a.s.t.a.r.d, you want to interfere with our business just because your business didn’t go so well?!” Doug shouted.
“Don’t try to drag others down, it’s quite pathetic,” said Pluto.
“I think it’s questionable behavior as an adult,” said Hitomi.
Even Vandalieu chimed in. “Yeah, that’s right,” he said.
Not just Asagi, but Kanako’s group as well, froze in surprise; it seemed that they hadn’t expected the support of Legion, the ones who had actually been betrayed.
“Wait a second, why are you guys siding with them? They betrayed Pluto, took advantage of Hitomi and said that they don’t care about Vandalieu, didn’t they?” asked Shouko, speaking in Asagi’s place as he was unable to speak.
Legion’s personalities spoke in turn to reply to this question.
“It’s true that in practice we Eighth Guidance members were betrayed by them… We don’t really resent them for it.”
“We knew that Murakami, Kanako and the others would betray us from the beginning, after all! Things just turned out as we expected!”
“In fact, they were really helpful in luring you guys out so that we could kill you. We even owe them our thanks.”
“I’m not happy that they took the bodies of Pluto and the others away, but it can’t really be called resentment. That only happened after we all died, anyway.”
“Eh? The fact that you don’t resent us is so convenient, but it’s so unexpected that I’m confused,” said Kanako.
That was how much of a lack of resentment there was between Legion and Kanako’s group.
“It’s kind of problematic for you to be confused about it, but… Our final objective in our previous lives was just an elaborate suicide,” explained Baba Yaga’s voice. “In order to make sure we would have no more regrets, we prepared a stage, went wild to our hearts’ content and agreed to meet again in our next lives. Kanako, you and Murakami helped us with that, so we don’t resent you.”
“I see,” Melissa murmured, nodding in understanding.
But then, why are Legion’s words towards us former Bravers so sharp? Tendou wondered.
Hitomi noticed the doubt on his face and began speaking. “Shouko… ‘Ifrit,’ ‘Clairvoyance,’ the Bravers also took advantage of my ‘Gazer’ ability that let me see into the future,” she said. “It was my own weakness that caused me to start using drugs after that, though. Thanks to Kanako and the others getting me out of that hospital room, Pluto was able to treat me and I got to meet Jack.”
“That’s why Murakami and Kanako were like Cupid for Hitomi-chan and Jack!” said Jack. “Well, we won’t forgive you if you try to kill Vandalieu, though!”
It seemed that Legion’s favorable impression of Kanako’s group was related to Hitomi and Jack’s thoughts.
Incidentally, Vandalieu’s att.i.tude was a result of Legion’s influence and the fact that he had simply disliked Asagi ever since his time on Earth.
“To add onto that, the reasons we killed each other were different,” said Baba Yaga, addressing Asagi’s group. “These guys tried to take advantage of us and kill us out of their own desires, but for you guys, it was for justice or something like that, right? Their desires happened to overlap with our desires, but your justice doesn’t have anything in common with ours.”
Asagi sighed, his shoulders dropping. “… If possible, I want to avoid fighting you guys to the death again. Alright, I’m going to leave now without saying anything more,” he said. “See you later, Vandalieu.”
With those words, he turned around and started walking away.
“That time when ‘Death Scythe’ tried to kill you, he was taking advantage of me. I had no intention of complying with him. I don’t know if you’ll believe me, but…” Tendou muttered. “About Asagi, I’ll do my best to try and convince him to not get involved with you guys, so let us go this time.”
Those were Tendou’s parting words, and Shouko followed him in silence.
The mountain road had become quite dark, the three of them didn’t notice Sleygar and Vandalieu’s other allies trailing them.
A short while pa.s.sed, and then Vandalieu spoke again.
“He just said, ‘See you later,’ didn’t he? … I wonder if it would be bad for me to dispose of him now,” he muttered.
“If you do that, won’t it increase the risk of the Bravers who will be reincarnated here later feeling endangered and forming a group to stand against you?” said Enma.
In small numbers, reincarnated individuals with cheat-like abilities were not much of a problem, but it would be extremely problematic if they formed a large, trained fighting force. If Vandalieu eliminated Asagi here, it was possible that the other dozens of reincarnated individuals would overcome their personal differences and unite against him. He wanted to avoid that scenario.
It would be most convenient if they broke up as a result of their conflicts in Origin, and stayed that way.
“You’re right… Now then, let’s return to the topic of immigration,” said Vandalieu, agreeing with Enma and redirecting his gaze to Kanako.
Kanako raised her hand enthusiastically. “About that, there is something that I would like to suggest! Though even I don’t know why I would suggest this!” she said.
“What is it?” Vandalieu asked.
“I think you should turn us into members of Vida’s races, like Vampires or something!”
Vandalieu blinked in surprise at this sudden suggestion.
“We never agreed to this, Kanako!” Melissa exclaimed.
“Oi, what is the meaning of this?!” Doug demanded.
It seemed that they didn’t know anything about this suggestion.
“Because I never mentioned it. But I think it will be easier to trust us if he accepts this proposal. I’ve forgotten the details about it, though,” Kanako said, giving the two of them an explanation that couldn’t even be called an explanation, showing no signs of hesitation.
“That is surprising,” said Vandalieu. “The truth is, I was going to suggest the same thing and make it one of the conditions of your immigration to Talosheim. You don’t have to be a Vampire, though.”
Melissa and Doug were shocked once more by Vandalieu’s words.
“It’s good that the discussions have gone smoothly,” said Legion.
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