This chapter is just all kinds of confusing to translate. We got history, myths, explanation, and many things.
ED: xtostos and eristol
The Lunatic King, or Priest King Cain Grendel.
The last King of Casketia.
A mysterious character whose origins are unknown.
The name of Cain appeared for the first time in the history of Casketia a hundred years after its foundation.
It is said that Cain settled a completely new dominance system which overturned the ruling system of the national unit until then.
After the destruction of the Romulus Empire, several ethnic groups based in North-east Karkinos signed an alliance.
With this national alliance, four of the former imperial provinces were unified and Casketia was established.
The one who was first enthroned was the Chief of the Wesir tribe who administered all religious services.
(Hereinafter is referred to as Wesir Dynasty)
In the Wesir tribe, the word ‘Aaru’ means King.
It originates from the ancient word in the north-eastern part of Karkinos which means ‘reeds thrive in Hell’.
About fifty years after the foundation, a rebellion led by the Setekh tribe who had gained control of the military affairs occurred.
The ritual based system of the Wesir tribe collapsed and a policy change to a new religion was made, one to revere the highest existence.
(Hereinafter is referred to as Setekh Dynasty)
The Setekh tribe, who held control, massacred the Wesir tribe.
Everyone who had the blood of the Wesir Dynasty were caught and enslaved as zombies.
(A probable list of their names was found on bookshelf: 5963.
Since only the number is recorded, do we need documentation for comparison in the follow-up investigation?)
Around 100 years after the foundation, 50 years after the establishment of the Setekh Dynasty.
At that time, the Setekh tribe elected Cain Grendel and handed over the kingship to him.
There was no material on Cain before this.
Why was an unknown person suddenly elected to be the King?
In the documents reflecting the situation of the late Setekh Dynasty, uneasiness regarding the highest existence was stated.
[※ There are ten-some transcripts of documents appended concerning the natural disasters that occurred at that time in the areas controlled by Casketia]
Could Cain not have been a survivor of the Wesir Dynasty?
『Precisely speaking, not a survivor, but a revived undead of the Wesir tribe.』
[※ Scribbles with different handwriting here only]
The crest of the Priest King Cain was the cross, as is well-known.
This cross can be thought of as having had the part corresponding to ‘neck’ cut out from the emblem of the Wesir Dynasty, ankh1, which represented life.
It is similar to shaving a character off from emet engraved on a golem and turning it into met.
It is also based on the fact that all the altars of the highest existence were destroyed since Cain’s enthronement.
Since the appearance of Cain, Casketia’s undead technology made revolutionary progress.
The existence made by this technique was called a ghoul and [corresponding portion blackened]
(And possibly, a model of the technique that made vampires?)
Cain carried out the ghoulification treatment on the ruling classes of the Setekh Dynasty.
To tame the ghouls who needed huge amount of flesh and blood, he domesticated the ruling classes who were not getting the treatment.
It is said that Casketia became tyrannical towards its vassal nations in order to maintain the group of ghouls.
When thinking that Cain Grendel was from the Wesir tribe, many inconsistent things match.
For example, his paradoxical aggression towards the Setekh tribe, if the poor treatment of the Wesir tribe is taken into consideration—
Midwinter, Magic Academy City Lindis.
First Prince of Ignitia, Auguste was lying on a chaise lounge set in a dormitory’s room.
Around the chaise lounge there were several books to read.
“Nn……it’s this time already, huh.”
Before he knew it the sun had already set and the inside of the room was wrapped in darkness.
Auguste lit the fire of the candle stub which was still inserted in a candle-holder.
It got a little brighter, but he still couldn’t rely on it to read.
“There should be a lamp, but I wonder where it is.”
Auguste illuminated around the corner of the room with the candle.
The room was equipped with bookshelves and document shelves on almost every wall except for the windows and doors.
The bookshelves were filled with books carefully and dubious items were categorized and classified on the document shelves in a scrupulous manner.
A number of boxes were stacked on the floor and among them were packed books that didn’t fit in the bookshelf.
It was a collection of books that could be said as much as a small library.
The owner of this room was a person in the school dormitory who is rumored to be a strange person with heretic ideology.
The moment Auguste saw the inside of the room at first sight, he thought that such rumors had some basis.
In the bookshelves, the most advanced magic books and primitive sorcery monographs were arranged in a casual manner.
The books written about heresy / paganism were countless.
In the back of the room were a heavy construction desk and a rotating chair with an armrest and a large backrest.
On the desk were the ritual equipment for a divine ceremony which the Federal Kingdom did not believe in.
A silver handbell and a golden candle-holder separated into seven branches.
An old fashioned codex with a lot of bookmarks pinched between the pages.
When he turned over to the page where the bookmark was sandwiched, he could see unsettling descriptions such as ‘offer the hearts of twelve people’.
A big living creature fluttered from outside the window and Auguste turned around.
A black dragon with a familiar silhouette was standing on the window side against the moonlight.
“Have you satisfied your curiosity, Auguste?”
“Unfortunately the next curiosity comes whenever one is satisfied.
It looks like I will be borrowing this room for a little bit longer, Professor.”
The black dragon instructed him to put the candlestick down with a gesture.
Auguste followed his instruction and placed the candlestick on the desk.
The black dragon gently stared at the mountain of books piled up around the chaise lounge.
“Forbidden magic, and vampire materials……they are all about heretics.
You are likely to be rumored as heretical, are you not afraid of the rumors anymore?”
“I don’t want to be told that by someone who gathered these heretical materials.”
Auguste had something he wanted to know.
His cousin Louis, about whom rumors that he was charmed by a vampire and went mad and such things were spreading.
The ancient curse set on the Chalice of his own dragons.
Both were the problems that had frustrated him for a long time.
He couldn’t pretend these things hadn’t happened, just because they had already been settled.
So, he wanted to know even a little bit.
Since he was in charge of the investigation of the curse put on the Chalice, as might be obvious, Professor was profoundly knowledgeable about these kind of techniques.
In his library, there were also an abundance of materials on Karkinos’ sorcery which was difficult to obtain in Ichthyes.
In addition to taking private lessons in Theurge, he decided to read materials related to sorcery and vampires when he had time.
“Of all things, you read the Aaru hypothesis, huh? This is troubling.
Even though that material was prohibited because of heresy.”
“If you don’t want me to read such things, don’t put them where I can reach.”
“The box containing Aaru hypothesis should have been locked.”
“Aah, you mean this key?
You should hide it in a more difficult-to-find place next time, Professor.”
Auguste threw the small key taken out of his pocket to the black dragon.
The black dragon gazed at the key he received and furrowed his brows.
“Indeed. The forbidden books you read so far are certainly fascinating.”
“Aah. They are very interesting materials. But, there are a couple of things I don’t understand.”
“The second draft of Aaru hypothesis is a draft of a paper written by an immature student.
There are also many leaps in logic, unexplained things, since there is also a lack of information on the primary source of quotation.
I will give you additional information as much as I can. What didn’t you understand?”
“Let’s see……first off, I want you to tell me more about zombies.”
Auguste sat down again on the chaise lounge and flipped through the pages of the Aaru hypothesis and the gathered materials.
The black dragon laid down at the foot of the rotating chair and took a relaxed posture.
“Did you know that zombification is a southern-oriented sorcery which enslaved a corpse?”
“Aa, I wonder if that was the origin of the former Island of Messenger’s name, Island of the Dead.”
“That is correct. The Island of Messenger was a place flourishing as a relay point for the zombie trade.”
Romulus Empire who created the foundation of enslavement sorcery.
Casketia who consumed lots of slaves due to the undead.
Gigantia who drives in enchanted metals to manufacture slaves.
The southern continent has long been dominated by a culture that prefers slaves.
“What became the foundation was a type of apparent mortuary treatment which has been performed since ancient times in North-eastern Karkinos.
It creates slaves through internal cranial manipulation by surgical techniques, anesthesia by drug administration and hypnosis.
It was later combined with Romulus’ sorcery and it became a spell that could overcome the boundary between human life and death.”
“It’s a technique to make an undead that can be used as a magical slave, huh?”
“That is correct. It is said that the origin of the man-made undeads is Casketia’s zombies.
The spell allows the dead body which has been subjected to preservation treatment to serve as a vessel with some degree of autonomous behavior by incorporating a bound soul into it.”
“Even death is not a salvation for the soul, huh……what a terrible story.”
In Ignitia’s teaching, they preach that the soul is eternal.
Under God, sin is forgiven, shackles are broken, glory and rest are given.
It is different from zombies who had been constrained with immortality and have to continue the blasphemy for eternity.
In Aurelia, the soul is thought to drift.
Self as a person is washed away and is reborn into a new life.
It is different from zombies who were deprived of their free will and resuscitated as a corrupted existence.
In Hafan and Lucanrant too, even though the forms are different, death is a salvation.
“For the zombie’s master, it doesn’t matter whether the soul of the slave was saved or not.
Just as we do not mind whether livestock’s soul has salvation or not.
It is a convenient rationality that favors those who use slaves.
A zombie which doesn’t get old, doesn’t fall ill, doesn’t complain and doesn’t go against them can be said to be an ideal slave.”
“What a bad taste, Professor.”
Professor talked about the inhumane conduct of slavery in a pleasant way.
As if he himself was thinking so.
Auguste showed disgust towards Professor’s attitude, but he squashed the feeling in a single stroke.
However, just by the atmosphere, Professor seemed to be enjoying his reaction itself.
“Then, what are ghouls? Is it a different thing from zombie?”
“Ghoul is an immortal slave for combat with active thinking abilities.
If zombie is a faithful servant, ghoul is a faithful warrior.
However, unlike a zombie whose purpose is as a long-time slave, a ghoul is premised on being disposable.”
“They are for battle but disposable?”
“It is hard as they have to give high analytical thinking abilities to the corpses.
High intelligence that enables battle and the command of the zombies group exhausts the bound soul and causes it to strain.
The only way to maintain the wear and tear of ghouls is to prey on others’ lives.
Human flesh and blood in particular is the most effective……rather it should be said that other foods have almost no value.”
Eventually they returned to the topic of bad taste, Auguste was disgusted.
However, he thought that it was not necessary to bother entertaining Professor and on the surface he kept up an indifferent reaction.
“That is……well, I guess they have become quite close to vampires, huh.”
“No. In the case of ghouls, they merely imitate the predatory mechanism possessed by the souls of magical beasts and the like.
Predatory ability of a vampire has higher order characteristics. No, it’s already a completely different thing.
—Vampires are their own kind of Hell.”
Hearing the word ‘Hell’, Auguste recalled the material he had read a while ago.
“Don’t speak in a roundabout way.
It was also written in the document, but Hell……about the Aaru part, ultimately, just what exactly do you want to say?”
“If one can do without talking about it, one ought not talk about it.
The act of spreading that information recklessly would bring chaos to the nation.
However, as it does exist in this world, there are a limited number of people who have to know about it.”
Cutting off his words for a moment, the black dragon closed his eyes and strained his ears.
Auguste also spread his mental interference skills to their surroundings and confirmed that no human beings were lurking around.
“The vampires can retain the blood and soul of the people they preyed on inside themselves.
By regenerating these flesh, blood and soul, a vampire can wear the figure and personality of another person.
Also, those who have achieved even higher power can regenerate those people as self-sufficient underlings.”
Professor lowered his voice until it was only a whisper.
Auguste was able to interpret the meaning with his own head.
Vampires can turn into human beings.
For what purpose?
It doesn’t need to be said. To hide, and to deceive.
“I see. Human beings around us may actually be vampires.
If so, skepticism, anxiety and fear would spread among the people.”
“Professor. Then, if we spread the right way of identifying the vampires at the same time……”
Auguste spoke and then cut off his words.
That kind of thing should be obvious.
If one doesn’t do what is obvious, there are only limited reasons for that.
“No way, we cannot distinguish between human beings and vampires or their underlings?”
Professor showed his fangs and laughed.
“Auguste, you are truly an excellent student, I would like the other students to be more like you.
It is as you said. We have not established a method to reliably identify latent vampires yet.”
“Not even magic or demonic eye or the mental touch using the power of a Theurge?”
“It is impossible in any of the ways you mentioned or in ways not mentioned by you.
By any means, latent vampires are recognized as humans.
Even the person being worn is not aware that he is already dead.
Until the moment when that person tears a pitiful victim apart and tries to eat them that is.”
Auguste felt chills running down his spine as he committed the information to his memory.
Indeed, if this is publicly known, there would be panic across the continent.
“The number of humans that the Lunatic King Cain took as his body is said to be several thousand and hundreds of millions.
Don’t you think he’s like a Hell personified, roaming the world?”
“Hell, huh……it’s like a sad one-man play to me.”
“A sad one-man play, huh. What an interesting view.”
Kuku, laughing sounds came from his throat as if Professor found it amusing.
“An acquaintance of mine with a bad taste said similar things.
‘I guess the man named Cain was very lonely,’ he said.”
“If he was lonely, why was he trying to become a Hell?”
“He resembles a child who collects dolls, apparently.
It is theorized that he wasn’t able to endure loneliness, so he clung onto even corpses.
Well, I think that is extremely far-fetched and sentimental.”
Auguste thought about the lonely Lunatic King who reigned on this continent.
Did he really feel lonely since he collected corpse like dolls?
Perhaps, that was the beginning of the real loneliness instead.
Auguste thought that he wouldn’t have been able to bear such loneliness if he was in the same position as the Lunatic King.
On the day of the Advent Festival, he had peeped at the other side of the boundary for a moment.
He felt glad that he could come back from there.
The girl who found him inside the coffin suddenly came to Auguste’s mind.
“Well, Auguste. Is the explanation sufficient?”
“Aah, for the time being, I understand why this Aaru hypothesis is prohibited.
This might be the source of rumors that vampires may still exist.”
“That is correct. If you understand, it will be nice if you return it to its place properly.”
“Oops, I wonder, what should I do……?”
Auguste said so in a joking tone of voice, then pondered about it for a moment.
Touching heretical things has a pleasant allure to it.
If one touch it too much, one is likely to step into a world where one can’t go back from.
In the gap between logic and curiosity, Auguste wavered.
Auguste traced the signature on the cover of the draft with a finger and a smile formed on his lips.
“Professor, how about with exchange condition. I want to talk to the person who made this material.”
“The older brother of Bort of the Evil Eye, Oswald Bort. You want to see him?”
“Aah. Is it useless?”
“That’s an unreasonable request. Unfortunately, he died a long time ago.”
When he heard the answer, Auguste was a little disappointed.
But at the same time, he felt like it was natural.
The subject he chose for his research was beyond reckless.
“I see. Well, there is no choice. A different condition……”
“I can predict what you want.
Is it another paper written by Oswald Bort, or his death certificate?
Both have been taken out to be submitted as a report.”
The voice which sounded from the back of the room cut off Auguste’s words.
Unexpectedly, the candle placed on the desk burned out and disappeared.
There, a Theurge was sitting while sinking into his chair in a relaxed manner.
The black dragon who was released from control closed his eyes and fell asleep on the carpet.
In exchange, the Theurge slowly opened his eyes as if waking up from a light sleep.
In the darkness, reddish purple eyes looked at Auguste.
“Oh, welcome home, Professor. Where are you going this time?”
“There is no need for you to know. So, what about the transaction?”
Professor took out several envelopes from his desk drawers.
His expression was wrapped in darkness and it couldn’t be seen from Auguste’s position.
“I want to know and Professor wants to teach.
And if someone has to know, I have the qualification and duty for it.
Then, the answer is obvious, right?”
Auguste stood up from his chair and stepped into the dark.
Professor’s reddish purple eyes which were sparkling in the moonlight, narrowed in satisfaction.
The history on the first part of this chapter is derived from Egyptian mythology, about Osiris and Set. Osiris’ other name was Wesir, while Set’s other name was Setekh. In the myth, Osiris was killed by Set who wanted the throne. His body then found by Isis (his sister & wife) and she hid it in the reeds. But then it was found by Set again and dismembered by him. Isis joined the dismembered pieces of Osiris, briefly brought him back to life and impregnated by him before he again died. Then Isis gave birth to Horus. (Osiris, Set)
Aaru is an Egyptian word. It means reeds. The Field of Aaru or the Field of Reeds is the heavenly paradise where souls will exist in pleasure for all eternity. (source) But the word for ‘afterlife/hell/heaven/underworld’ is the same which is ‘冥府‘. So that it makes sense, I use ‘Hell’ as the translation.
1 Ankh: an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that represents the word for ‘life’. The sign has a cross shape but with an oval loop in place of an upper bar. (source)
And yes, there are two types of undead slaves of Casketia:
屍鬼 – Ghouls, and the technique of making this type will be called ghoulification.
屍者 – Zombies, and the technique of making this type will be called zombification.
Even though they used the same kanji whether they were referring to the slave or the technique -,-