The Death Mage Who Doesn’t Want a Fourth Time

Chapter 281: One statue is canceled, another is built

Chapter 281: One statue is canceled, another is built

Gartland’s Dungeons had originally been low-difficulty E-class and D-class Dungeons.

The God of Entrails Povaz and the other gods who had created the Dungeons had deliberately made them that way. After all, if they created high-difficulty Dungeons and a monster rampage were to somehow occur, the entirety of Gartland could be destroyed.

Gartland was about a third of the size of the Demon King’s Continent. However, half of that was the underground lake. If a monster rampage from a Dungeon were to occur and monsters spilled out into Gartland’s surface, Gartland’s residents would have nowhere to run.

And since Gartland had been built deep beneath the ground, little miasma came in from the outside, so there was no need to gather and disperse miasma in Dungeons.

That was why the gods had created E-class Dungeons to use as training grounds and emergency shelters, and D-class Dungeons where Gartland’s residents could gather various natural resources and food.

They had also created a single C-class Dungeon to train warriors capable of defeating the powerful monsters that sometimes appeared from the ceiling and walls.

These Dungeons should have been sufficient for Gartland’s population, but with the addition of Zozaseiba and his Titans, the demand for natural resources grew, and so the gods had created additional Dungeons.

With Nineroad’s plan to gather all of the world’s miasma on the Demon King’s Continent, the continent became severely contaminated, and the effects of this had reached Gartland as well, causing all of the Dungeons to increase in difficulty by one class.

“According to the records of our ancestors, this caused great chaos at the time,” said a beautiful woman, her hooves clip-clopping against the ground as she walked.

She had the lower body of a horse, dark brown in color, and the tail of a scorpion. Vandalieu was riding on her back.

“I’m sure there was,” said Vandalieu. “They needed to gather natural resources from those Dungeons to sustain their lifestyle, so it must have caused a lot of problems.”

Before the contamination, workplaces had been safe as long as one kept an eye out for the odd monster that was about as strong as a stray dog, but all of a sudden, countless numbers of monsters as strong as bears had begun to appear in those workplaces. It was easy to imagine the chaos that the people had faced back then.

“It is difficult even for the gods to reduce the difficulty of a Dungeon after it has increased,” the woman continued. “However, our ancestors fought bravely and grew accustomed to their new environment. Now, the gods have acknowledged our efforts and our strength, and they encourage us to improve our skills in the ‘Five Gods’ Fortress,’ which has become a B-class Dungeon. That Dungeon is this place.”

“I see. Thank you for your explanation,” said Vandalieu.

Vandalieu and his companions were currently in the process of clearing the ‘Five Gods’ Fortress’ in order to prove that they were capable of exterminating the monsters that would appear during the digging of their tunnel in Gartland.

The beautiful half-horse woman with a scorpion’s tail was Zalzarit, the leader of the Glaistigs, who was accompanying them as a witness to their strength.

Glaistigs normally possessed the lower bodies of goats, but she had undergone atavism which had given her the lower body of a horse, and one of her ancestors had married an Androscorpion, so that was why she had a scorpion’s tail.

Perhaps due to this, the race title displayed in her Status was not ‘Glaistig,’ but ‘Pabilsag.’

“It is an honor to be of use to you,” said Zalzarit, concluding this topic of conversation.

As if they had been waiting for their turn, the other two leaders that were present began to speak.

“Well then, allow me to explain the history of the Snow Ice Titans. It is a history filled with great sadness –”

“No, I should speak of the history of the Androscorpion race. The tragic story of us becoming unable to produce threads from our mouths –”

“What are you talking about! The history books state that the Androscorpions only lamented their inability to produce threads for a handful of years, and they quickly adapted!”

“What are you saying! There is no way that could be true! And as for your people, the history books state that you already lived in snowy lands when you lived on the surface!”

Zorg, the Snow Ice Titan leader, and Feltonia, the Androscorpion leader, began arguing, forgetting that Vandalieu was there.

Zorg looked like a yeti, with his long, white hair, beard, and fur, but if one looked closely, they would see that his face and body were the same as a human’s, other than the fur and the size. He was wearing armor on top of his clothing, so from a distance, he looked like a monster like a Snow Giant.

On the other hand, Feltonia was a beautiful, black-haired woman with glossy, chocolate-like skin, and wore gold ornaments on her body. Her lower body was that of a scorpion, low to the ground, so the height from which she cast her gaze was closer to that of a human than an Arachne.

Androscorpions didn’t have small-type or large-type individuals; it seemed that they were all of around the same size.

“You Androscorpions adapted just fine to Gartland’s deserts, and people even say that you run faster on the sand than Centaurs! And your agriculture has been successful, with the use of water from the oases! By using magic to turn the sand into sandstone, you’ve built a splendid city of gold in the desert! We couldn’t be more jealous!”

“You Snow Ice Titans have adapted to Gartland’s cold regions, and have built a kingdom of frozen earth and ice, have you not! It is true that it is not suited for agriculture, but you live rich lives in your city of ice! You have domesticated Huge Reindeer and Snow Bears, and you take meat and fur from the enormous monsters you defeat! We are so very jealous!”

“What are you saying! You Androscorpions are very powerful, are you not! Many of you are mage-warriors, using the pincers and poison stinger of your lower bodies as weapons, while casting magic with your upper bodies!”

“You Snow Ice Titans have exceptional physical capabilities and many of you are mages who are proficient in the use of water-attribute magic. Your bravery is spoken of even in the deserts!”

“… Is this supposed to be an argument?” said Vandalieu. “Well, I suppose it’s interesting to hear the reputations that each race has.”

Zalzarit gave a wry smile. “What both of them are saying is indeed true,” she assured Vandalieu.

It seemed that Zorg and Feltonia were trying to show off how much hardship their races were enduring in order to persuade Vandalieu to visit their city or their settlements. However, they had begun quarreling on the topic, and this had turned into a strange argument that involved complimenting each other’s race.

Incidentally, the Glaistig race led by Zalzarit, who was not a part of this argument, lived in a settlement along Gartland’s walls. As they possessed the lower bodies of goats, they maneuvered the walls skillfully and mined ores and other resources, and grew crops on terraced fields using the underground water that emerged from the walls.

As warriors, many of them were light-armed fighters or archers, and there were a considerable number of spiritual magic users. They were a powerful race that was not inferior to the Snow Ice Titans or the Androscorpions.

… Even if humans were to invade Gartland, they would likely be defeated unless they invested a considerable military force into the attack.

After all, the battlefields would not be in their favor. The Snow Ice Titans would fight on extremely cold mountains, and the Androscorpions in deserts. As for the Glaistigs, the battlefield would be a series of steep cliffs, where humans would not even be able to walk properly.

Each race would simply need to retreat to their settlements, with the exception of the residents of the town by the salt lake.

It was probably a coincidence, but it seemed that Gartland was in a strategically exceptional position, unless their enemies were extraordinarily powerful like the battle-oriented champions or demigods.

“We will have Vandalieu-dono visit us first!” Zorg and Feltonia exclaimed simultaneously.

“Zalzarit-san, do you know why these two want me to visit their homes so badly?” asked Vandalieu, seeing that the quarrel was showing no signs of ending.

He wanted to put an end to the dispute over having him visit before it escalated.

The reason for that was that it was possible that the two of them would declare that they would build statues of him. It had already been decided that statues of him would be built at the Merfolk settlement and the lakeside town; he couldn’t stand the thought of more being built.

However, it seemed that Zalzarit didn’t have any idea why they were so intent on having Vandalieu visit either. “I am afraid I have no suggestions. I have not heard that they have any residents with incurable illnesses or living in poverty. There aren’t any who are hosts to a fragment of the Demon King like Doraneza, either,” she said.

Doraneza, the leader of the Merfolk, had been forced to remove the seal on the Demon King’s mucus glands and allow it to infest her so that she could help her people and Dediria’s tribe of Majin escape from the Bahn Gaia continent to Gartland. News that Vandalieu had extracted the fragment from her without killing her was already spreading across Gartland.

However, there had been no Demon King fragments in Gartland before Doraneza’s arrival.

Povaz and the other three gods who had been a part of the Demon King’s army had fled and scattered immediately after the defeat of the Demon King Guduranis, the source of the fragments. Bellwood and the other companions had sealed the fragments along with the pieces of Guduranis’s flesh immediately after defeating him; there had been no time for Povaz and the others to acquire any of the fragments.

Povaz and the others had not taken part in the battle between Vida and Alda that came after that, and there had been no opportunity for them to steal any of the fragments that were under the guard of Vida’s faction.

Of course, even if they had acquired any of the fragments, they would likely have thrown them away before they created Gartland.

They had not wished for the resurrection of Guduranis, nor had they wished to amass their own power and become the enemy of every god in this world like the Evil God of Joyful life Hihiryushukaka or the Evil God of Release Ravovifard.

Povaz and the others had chosen to wait until they were welcomed by Vida’s faction, and secretly give shelter and protect members of Vida’s races until then. With that being the case, any fragments they obtained would be nothing more than dangerous objects that would see no use as a weapon.

The same was true for Zozaseiba and the Titans when they joined Gartland.

Thus, there had been no fragments in Gartland other than the Demon King’s mucus glands.

The only other reason for Zorg and Feltonia’s desperation that Zalzarit could think of was the demigods of Alda’s forces on the surface, but the situation wasn’t so desperate that immediate action was needed. It wasn’t as if they had discovered Gartland’s existence and were planning to invade today or tomorrow.

On top of that, there was not much of a point in bringing Vandalieu to their homes.

As Zalzarit pondered the question, thoroughly perplexed, Zorg and Feltonia finally stated the reason they wanted Vandalieu to visit their homes.

“We won’t let you have the next concert!” they declared simultaneously.

It seemed that they wanted Vandalieu to visit their homes not because they wanted him to do something for them, but because they wanted a concert to be held there.

“It seems like Kanako and the others captured the audience’s hearts better than expected,” said Vandalieu.

With that said, it wasn’t that Zorg and Feltonia had become extreme idol fans. They wanted to spread the guidance that came with the concerts to their people as soon as possible.

The guidance improved physical ability, made it easier to raise Levels, and provided bonuses to acquiring Skills. On top of that, Vandalieu’s guidance did not specifically target certain types of people; it was effective even on ordinary people who weren’t warriors or mages.

With improved physical ability and Skills being acquired more easily, non-combatant civilian work would see improved efficiency, and that would lead to wealthier and more comfortable lifestyles. Apprentice craftsmen would improve their craft and become capable workers multiple times faster; the potential economic benefits were immeasurable.

“But shouldn’t you be saying this to Kanako rather than me?” Vandalieu asked.

“Yeah! Why are you acting like I’m not even here?!” Kanako complained. “‘Consecutive Fire!’” she shouted, firing multiple arrows at a horde of Tyrant Mudmen.

Vandalieu and his companions were in the middle of clearing the ‘Five Gods’ Fortress,’ a B-class Dungeon, but the only ones who were actually fighting the monsters were Kanako and the others who weren’t taking part in the conversation.

“In the first place, why aren’t you fighting, Van?!” Kanako asked.

“Come to think of it, Borkus and Jeena aren’t here, either. Well, I’m having fun fighting monsters that I’ve never seen before, so I don’t mind,” said Doug.

“Then can we leave all of the Mudman-type ones to you?” said Melissa.

“Yeah, thanks, Doug,” Privel said in agreement with this idea.

Mudmen were humanoid monsters with mud-like skin and heads that had no features other than a round mouth lined with sharp teeth. Until fifty thousand years ago, Tyrant Mudmen were thought to be the most powerful of them. They were Rank 5 and abnormally weak for monsters in a B-class Dungeon. And since Kanako and the others were already more powerful than B-class adventurers, they weren’t particularly threatening enemies. However, they constantly excreted very sticky body fluids from their skin, and it had a foul, sludge-like smell.

“No, that’s a little… Shit, I guess I’ll get it over with. ‘Hecatoncheir!’” said Doug.

“Van-kun is slimy as well sometimes, but he smells way better,” said Privel. “I’m going to use my Breath!”

“Alright. I’ll keep the blood sprays off us,” said Melissa.

Kanako and the others were fighting mainly at a distance, as they didn’t want to get the Mudmen’s excretions on themselves.

Melissa cast an absolute barrier with ‘Aegis’ to stop the advance of the five-meter-tall Tyrant Mudmen.

Meanwhile, Kanako’s bow, Doug’s telekinesis that was controlling Vandalieu’s arm that he had received previously, and the ice breath of the Dragon heads on the ends of Privel’s tentacles applied the damage needed to steadily clear the enemies.

Tyrant Mudmen possessed plenty of Vitality along with Skills such as ‘Physical Resistance’ and ‘Water/Earth Attribute Resistance,’ but even they couldn’t withstand this fierce attack; they began falling one after another.

“No, we simply thought that talking to you while you’re fighting would be a distraction, Kanako-san, we weren’t ignoring you…” said Zorg.

“Yes, the champions had a saying – to shoot the general, you begin with the horse. We thought it would be best to invite Vandalieu-dono in order to invite you to perform a concert,” said Feltonia.

It seemed that Vandalieu was the horse in this situation.

“Neigh,” said Vandalieu.

“Don’t make a horse noise that sounds nothing like a horse! It makes me want to turn around and stare at you!” said Doug, who was still busy fighting.

“But in the end, I’ve been shot. If Van decides the place for the next concert, then that’s where the next concert will probably be,” said Kanako.

Vandalieu’s decision was needed for holding a concert. Though Gartland’s first concert several days ago hadn’t needed Knochen as a mobile venue, Vandalieu’s cooperation was necessary for Knochen to be used and for the Demon King Familiars that provided the lighting and background music. The transformation equipment that served as the performers’ outfits had been made by him as well.

Of course, Kanako would be able to organize a concert of her own if she had enough time and resources to organize a venue and stage, and prepare performers to provide the music, but… it was questionable as to whether a stage would be available in the cold regions inhabited by the Snow Ice Titans or the deserts inhabited by the Androscorpions.

And Kanako’s time was limited, as she couldn’t stay away from the city of Morksi for too long.

Though Zorg and Feltonia hadn’t taken all of these things into account, they nodded and looked back at Vandalieu, who was still riding Zalzarit’s back.

“So that’s how it is after all,” said Zorg. “Then a grand statue in our homeland –”

“Yes, in the deserts where we Androscorpions live, a large statue –” said Feltonia.

“Umm, that’s not a good way to persuade me to visit,” said Vandalieu, interrupting them.

“We will not build any statues, so please visit us,” Zorg and Feltonia said, immediately and in unison.

“Kanako, do you have any openings in your schedule? If you don’t, then I’ll sing and dance on my own if I have to,” said Vandalieu.

Zorg and Feltonia had heard about Vandalieu’s reaction to learning from Mayor Yurak that a statue of him would be built, so they used the promise of not building a statue as a way to convince him to visit.

“Van-kun has given in right away?! And he’s willing to sing and dance?!” Privel exclaimed in astonishment.

“… I’d actually be interested in watching that performance. But I have a feeling that it’ll sound more like a script recital than singing, and with the stage filled with Demon King Familiars, it’ll be impossible to tell whether it’s a concert or a horror show,” Melissa remarked.

Despite their surprise, they continued defeating the Tyrant Mudmen. Doug finished off the last one using Vandalieu’s arm, which had the Demon King’s claws and was covered in the Demon King’s exoskeleton, bringing an end to the battle.

“So, you still haven’t answered the important question of why we’re the only ones fighting, have you?” Doug said, sounding slightly fed up.

As Vandalieu was beginning to plan out his schedule, Zalzarit answered for him.

“That is because we must check whether you possess the strength necessary to deal with the monsters that will appear during the construction of the tunnel,” she said. “I have been told that construction will continue even when Vandalieu-dono is not here, so we wish to see the strength of those other than him, just in case. Incidentally, we have heard that Borkus-dono and the other Undead are all at least Rank 10, so we did not feel that it was necessary for them to prove their strength.

Monsters that resembled worms, ants, and moles appeared from boulders in Gartland’s walls and ceilings, and unidentifiable monsters similar to Mudmen appeared from wet soil. In addition, the soil and boulders themselves sometimes turned into Golems, and fossils from the very distant past sometimes turned into Undead.

These monsters were of low Rank; the ones that appeared on a daily basis were Rank 1 or 2. The members of Vida’s races who lived here trained themselves regularly, so these were nothing more than small fry that could easily be defeated.

However, on very rare occasions, there were hordes of Rank 5 Tyrant Mudmen or Gluttony Worms – enormous ravenous caterpillars. Once every few centuries or perhaps once a millennium, monsters of Rank 7 and above would appear.

The ‘Five Gods’ Fortress’ was a Dungeon made for fighting the high-Rank monsters that appeared in Gartland. It had increased in difficulty from C-class to B-class, causing it to produce monsters of Rank 7 and above, but even so, it was the perfect rehearsal for fighting the monsters that would appear during the tunnel’s construction.

“I see, so that’s why. So the reason Vandalieu fought up until the fifth floor but then we started fighting after that had nothing to do with the Dungeon posing no challenge because the bugs were getting too fond of him, huh,” said Doug.

The insect-type monsters that appeared in this Dungeon had become tamed by Vandalieu the moment they appeared before him.

As the group climbed a hilly road, enormous woodlice called Gart-balls had knocked Vandalieu over, then ant-like monsters called Gart-ants had given him honey directly from their mouths. Gart-worms had wrapped themselves around them, and Gart-spiders had forcefully taken him to their nest. Incidentally, all of these monsters had only ever been seen in Gartland, and they were one Rank higher than similar monsters on the Bahn Gaia continent.

… There had been no response at all from ‘Danger Sense: Death’ from the moment they appeared, so it was possible that they had become tamed before they showed themselves and had only rushed towards him to greet him like a playful dog.

It was a terrifying thing to think about, but they were currently all inside Vandalieu’s shadow.

“Well, that was one reason for it,” said Vandalieu. “I think you’ve shown off your strength plenty now. Should I take over again?”

“No, we’re kinda in the middle of it now, so we’ll keep going until the next mid-boss,” said Doug, declining Vandalieu’s offer. “My movement has gotten a little duller lately anyway.”

It seemed that Melissa and Privel agreed with his idea.

“It’s more fun than concerts, so I guess that’s fine,” said Melissa.

“I’m not quite satisfied yet,” said Privel. “And Van-kun! Having four legs isn’t bad, but just so you know, I have eight!” she added as a jab at Zalzarit.

Zalzarit, Zorg, and Feltonia looked at Vandalieu with surprised expressions.

They were now under the astounding impression that in the outside world, it was not the shape and length of legs that made them attractive, but their number!

“Yes, yes, I know,” said Vandalieu.

Vandalieu wasn’t denying it! Was Privel telling the truth?! The three leaders from Gartland were all dumbfounded.

“I think there’s definitely been a misunderstanding. Well, it’s more fun that way, so no need to clear things up,” said Kanako as she walked off after Doug and the others.

Doug and the others would come to regret their decision – the Dungeon’s mid-boss that appeared before them later was a Rank 8 Absolute King Mudman, which surpassed the Tyrant Mudmen and was truly the most powerful Mudman variant, and it was covered in a fearsome quantity of mucus.

Having proved their abilities in the ‘Five Gods’ Fortress,’ Vandalieu and his companions began work on the tunnel.

As they would need to fight off the monsters that appeared, the tunnel was made wide and tall enough so that three Titans – Borkus and the others – would be able to fight shoulder-to-shoulder without any problems. The tunnel was easily large enough to fit a two-lane road, but it would be problematic if the tunnel were to collapse due to reckless fighting, so it had been made with plenty of room to work with.

However, Vandalieu couldn’t simply stay here and focus entirely on the tunnel’s construction, so once he made all the necessary preparations, he returned to Alcrem and rejoined Kühl, who had been acting as his body double, as well as Darcia and the others.

He then attended a meeting with Takkard Alcrem to discuss the Temple of Borgadon, which was being built in the former ‘Sacred Wastelands,’ which had recently become nothing more than an ordinary wasteland.

It had already been decided that the temple’s outer appearance would not be changed much from its previous appearance, but its interior design, decorations, and statues would be changed significantly. Naturally, that would include the living quarters that Goldie and the other Mimic Humans had used as their den, but also the normal parts that were used by the ordinary worshipers.

At the previous temple, Borgadon had been worshiped as one of the gods of Alda’s forces. The statues accompanying Borgadon’s had been those of the great god Botin and other earth-attribute gods who belonged to Alda’s forces, and there had also been statues and carvings featuring Alda, the leader of the gods, and the heroic god Bellwood.

That would be completely reversed, and the new temple would be one where Borgadon was worshiped as a god of Vida’s faction.

Botin would also still be worshiped there, but the earth-attribute gods would be replaced by the earth-attribute gods of Vida’s faction. The statue of Alda would be replaced by one of Vida, and statues of Ricklent and Zuruwarn would be added as well.

Finally, a statue of Hillwillow, the champion who had been chosen by Botin, would be built in place of the one of Bellwood.

Up until now, Zakkart – viewed by many as the ‘Fallen Champion’ – had never been worshiped at a temple on a large scale, and neither had any of the other creation-oriented champions. At most, there had been carvings and paintings depicting their mythical history of a hundred thousand years ago, only at the temples of the gods that had chosen them as their champion.

This was presumably because of those who worshiped Alda and the champion Bellwood, who went on to become a heroic god. The influence they wielded had likely caused people to avoid worshiping the creation-oriented champions, who had attempted to introduce knowledge and technology from their own world.

Thus, building a statue of Hillwillow was a bold step from Vida’s faction – something that Alda’s forces would consider an outrageous act that would not be forgotten by history. Mortals living on the world’s surface could only imagine the gods’ reactions to this, but it was easy to predict how other mortals would react.

Many in the Alcrem Duchy would be shocked, and the nobles who opposed the duke would likely be able to use it in their political battles. And even the moderate worshipers of Alda would not be pleased. The duke was no clergyman, and the people were certain to think that he was merely an opportunist who would pander to Vida’s faction now that he was done pandering to Alda’s peaceful faction.

It was a decision that Duke Takkard Alcrem would never personally make. However, his hair had become more abundant and his skin had regained its youthful tone recently; he had immediately agreed to the requests of Vandalieu and his companions.

After all, though this had not been made public, he had the support of Vandalieu – and by extension, the Demon Empire of Vidal – and thus, he could expect future assistance in all kinds of forms.

Also, it was expected that ordinary people who weren’t particularly devout worshipers would quickly adapt, even if they were shocked at first. The temple of Borgadon would change significantly, but there would be no visible changes at other temples, and it wasn’t like anything was being forced on them.

And the clergymen who served Borgadon, those who would normally be the most opposed to such changes, had all been Mimic Humans and were now dead.

Thus, there were two problems being discussed at the meeting. The first was the design of the statue of Hillwillow. Nobody had built a statue of him for at least the past ten thousand years, so there was nothing to use as a reference for how a statue of him should appear like there was for statues of gods and other great historical figures.

Vandalieu had asked Borgadon, Vida and the other gods what Hillwillow had looked like, as they had known him personally, but no matter how close to his actual appearance the statue was, there was no point if people didn’t recognize that it was a statue of Hillwillow.

Thus, it was decided that the statue would depict Hillwillow wearing the mythical-class equipment that had been given to him by Botin, according to the legends in which Bellwood was the most prominent figure.

The second problem at the meeting was… the steaks of gray meat served as lunch during a break in the meeting was the meat of Zerzoregin, the Evil God of Cannibalism.

The duke remarked, “It was very delicious, but I wish you had told me before you served it.”

After that, Vandalieu and his group, with the addition of Arthur and his companions, returned to the city of Morksi after staying in Alcrem for longer than they had planned.

Several minutes after the carriage carrying Vandalieu left the highway and disappeared into a forest, the Boulder Colossus Gorn, looked into the skies from the shore of the Demon King’s Continent with a sour expression.

“… So, they’ve come.”

Cuatro, sailing across the blue sky… and next to it was an enormous sphere made of flesh, with a Majin man riding on it. And there was also… a Vampire that was completely unfazed by the sunlight.

“Gorn! Brateo! Madroza! The assumption that Vandalieu-dono intends to devour Botin’s soul is an extreme misunderstanding! If you stand in our way for such a foolish reason, then I will show you no mercy, even if we were comrades in arms once!” declared the Vampire – Zod, who had already pumped up his muscles.

“Personally, I would be more bothered if you didn’t stand in our way! It’s finally my turn to fight! It won’t be worth coming all the way out here if I don’t get to go wild!” said Godwin, the king of the Majin inside the Boundary Mountain Range.

“Big words from someone who’s standing on people,” Legion muttered.

“Zod… To think that serving Vida after her sanity was not enough for you, and you are now a hound of Vandalieu, who gathers fragments of the Demon King and devours souls, even those of gods! We are the ones who will show no mercy!” shouted Brateo.

“You cannot charge in, Brateo,” one of his allies warned. “More importantly, we must determine whether that ship is the real one or a fake like last time.”

“But we must enter battle to do that,” said Brateo. “Let’s go. Don’t forget to be wary of it possibly exploding until we know that it’s the real one!”

And so began the third battle against the demigods of Alda’s forces.

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