As far as Shin could tell with 【Magic Sonar】, the dungeon only had 7 floors: it was a shallow yet wide type. It could be an instant dungeon which appeared all of a sudden and Avaritia happened to choose as base. Instant dungeons, which appeared randomly in all areas, could be conquered by a single party.
“I cannot feel many monster presences…what about you, sir Shin?”
“It’s the same for me. I searched throughout the dungeon and found very few monster presences.”
The monsters roaming through the dungeon were 10-20 per floor. Based on Shin’s experiences, they were far too few.
Shin and Sherlene proceeded through the dungeon, without any obstacles barring their way. Their objective was to defeat the devil, so they planned to avoid fighting as much as possible, but as they couldn’t even find traps on the way, it felt like they were lured in.
“Yes, I can see that.”
Sherlene agreed with Shin’s suspicions. It seemed like they would reach the boss chamber without a single battle.
“For added safety, please take this with you.”
Shin took a card out of a pocket -from the item box- and gave it to Sherlene.
“What is this?”
“A crystal imbued with teleportation magic. In case the enemy causes this whole dungeon to collapse to bury us alive, use it to escape. You just need to materialize it and focus on it, thinking to “use” it. I set it to teleport the user to the woods near the entrance.”
Shin gave a quick explanation, but it looked like Sherlene only picked one word from it.
“Wait, this is strange. I think I heard you say…teleportation…?”
“Yes, teleportation. It’s a rare item, so I would prefer if we did not have to use it though.”
“Is this, real?”
Sherlene’s face was, again, very tense. Much more than when she received Shin’s weapons however. She looked at the crystal as if she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Yes, I’ve used the same item in the past.”
“….is that so.”
Sherlene said no more: she carefully, very carefully placed the card in her pocket.
She then looked at Shin, held her temples as if she was suffering from a headache, seemed as if she was going to say something, but didn’t say anything.
Whether she decided that it wasn’t the time or place to question him, or simply she stopped thinking, Shin couldn’t tell.
“I will use it, in case of necessity.”
Sherlene’s tone had lost much of its usual confidence.
“Are you okay?”
“Whose fault do you think this….no, that is the safest option. It would be ridiculous to complain. Apologies, I was slightly shaken.”
“Teleportation is quite the shock, I imagine?”
“To receive a piece of lost technology so casually…is a bit too much for my heart.”
Sherlene gave a small sigh, then her expression turned sharp again.
“It’s just for emergencies.”
“It is a very valuable insurance. In case of necessity, I will not hesitate to use it. Though, I would prefer not to.”
Crystals disappeared upon use. Sherlene understood that items were meant to be used, but she would have much preferred to keep it for research. If she didn’t use it, however, Shin would take it back, so in any case it would not become an object of research.
“If we stay out of the monsters’ roaming routes we won’t have to fight, but there are still traps. Please be careful.”
“Yes, I cannot afford to space out any longer.”
Sherlene refocused herself.
Shin and Sherlene descended from floor to floor, checking for storage rooms like the ones they found in the cave on the way. All the items they found were collected by Shin.
“We’ve had an easy enough time getting here, but things will be different from now on.”
“Of course, I am ready.”
A large, imposing door stood before them. It was the boss chamber, without a doubt.
Shin instructed the concealed Schnee via Mind Chat to strike if she had the chance, then touched the gate. The doors moved immediately and revealed the inside of the room.
The instant the doors opened, the stench wafting from inside made Sherlene twist her face.
Even Shin, relatively protected from the stench by 『Holy Armor – Vanquisher of Evil』, could smell a nasty odor. Its source was all too clear: it was the stench of rotting and death.
A massive amount of monster corpses were piled in the boss chamber.
“What in the world…”
“The cause is, without a doubt, that.”
Shin pointed beyond the carpet of corpses.
Its back was visible. Because of the corpses, only the upper body was visible, but even that was more than 3 mel tall.
It was a human-like silhouette, a body with visible back bones, clad in armor. Only the body below the neck could be described as human-like however.
Its head was a lion’s face, forcefully grafted onto a human thorax. From the lion’s jaws, another neck extended outwards.
Shin and his group could only see black hair covering the neck and goat-like twisted horns.
“Nnghaah? More for meeh?”
A very coarse sounding male voice. The source then turned around.
What they saw then was a goat’s face. A face of goat bones. Nevertheless, from the goat’s mouth a man’s voice came out.
“Humaahns? That’s noht the plaahn—”
——Deadly Sin Devil – Avaritia – Level 750
While the devil talked, 【Analyze】 revealed its identity.
The name and appearance were just as Shin remembered.
“—-who, are, you?”
Avaritia’s eyes grew narrowers, its tone heavier. It was looking at Shin only.
“Let’s start. I’m going to charge in straight from the front, you find any openings and strike Sherlene. The attack patterns are as I told you before. It could use unexpected attacks, so always be on your toes.”
“I am well aware. I will give it my all.”
Shin ran forward, ignoring Avaritia’s question. He crossed the loads of corpses with a speed of nimbleness unthinkable of a man wearing armor, getting closer to the devil very quickly.
Avaritia swung its fist at the approaching Shin, without hesitation, twisting its back to throw it.
The devil’s giant fist easily reached over 1 mel: for Shin, it was like a wall of flesh was approaching him. Shin, however, did not dodge the punch thundering through the air.
His feet firmly planted in the ground, Shin blew out some air and swung 『The Ark』. At the same time, the sword’s blade was enveloped in white light.
Sherlene’s yell rang out at about the same time as 『The Ark』 swung down. Tracing a white arc in the air, it clashed against Avaritia’s arm.
“That, can’t be only the weapon’s strength…”
Avaritia’s fist and Shin crossed, but Shin did not budge. Avaritia was the one to suffer damage in the clash.
Shin’s 『The Ark』 had not severed Avaritia’s arm, but vaporized it instead.
The range only extended to Shin’s immediate surroundings, but the power exerted came not from skills, but only from the weapon: it was simply destructive.
“You know them well, don’t you?”
Before Avaritia could pull back its arm, Shin attacked. He had already started moving when he talked: he had no intention of wasting time.
『The Ark』 was once again swung at Avaritia, a platinum light extending like a blade, carving the devil’s body. It was an effect which activated only against devils, something extremely dangerous to Avaritia.
Avaritia screamed. At the same time, the visible half of its body grew dramatically larger. Avaritia’s upper body was human-like, but its lower body did not exist. It was like its upper body emerged from a hole in the ground.
It wasn’t something so ridiculous however. The “nonexisting” lower body was a slime-like shapeless mass.
When the devil shouted a black, pulsating, liquid mass covered the ground, with Avaritia at its center. Seeing the corpses melt as they came in contact with it clearly showed how dangerous it was.
It was one of Avaritia’s skills, 【Lifedraining Sludge】.
“Sherlene! The blue one!”
Before Shin called out to her, Sherlene had thrust the blue 『Guildern』 in the ground.
The ground then started glowing, with 『Guildern』 as its center, in a 5 mel radius. Only that patch of ground was freed from the black sludge cover, as if it had been cut away.
“I’m not just going to watch!”
Sherlene thus found a place to stand and readied a red 『Guildern』. The number was limited, but Avaritia’s gigantic body was an easy enough target: there was no risk of targeting Shin by mistake.
Avaritia’s head was targeted by 『Guildern』, shrouded in a deep red glow.
Sherlene had activated the Spear/Flame combination skill 【Mitear】.
It was a spear skill suited for throwing: its offensive area covered a 1 mel radius around the point of impact, so it was useful when fighting against large monsters.
Avaritia had perceived 『Guildern』’s presence during the fighting and blocked it with its regenerated left arm.
When the flames subsided, Avaritia’s left arm looked as if a wild beast had bit through it. Shin did not waste time and attacked it, slashing off half of the monster’s left arm.
“How the heell are you so stronng!?”
Probably aware of how rapidly its HP was falling, Avaritia voiced its frustration.
“It’s made just for you devils! You can thank me later!”
“Screew you!! Shiiht! Errkunt’s players were supposed to be small frrry!!!”
The devil was apparently aware of the players’ presence. As far as Shin knew, the only former players in Erkunt were Hilamee and Masakado. It would probably be impossible for them to stop Avaritia.
Facing Avaritia, however, were Shin and Schnee.
Even during their conversation, Shin swung 『The Ark』 and continued carving through Avaritia’s armor and body, as Sherlene too increased the devil’s wounds.
The lower body covering the ground was also used to attack, but Shin blocked its assaults with his armor, Sherlene with the thrust spear’s barrier.
Avaritia was supposed to be a fearful enemy, with powerful drain abilities and ranged attacks that could directly hit at a rear guard and other such nasty skills, but its strongest advantages were thus nullified.
“You called for comradess too… who the heell arre you? Are you rreally human!? Damn monssterr!!”
“You take a good look at yourself now!!”
Avaritia screamed at Shin, who was freely moving with no concern for 【Lifedraining Sludge】 and blew away parts of its body with every attack.
Shin was moving as if 【Lifedraining Sludge】 wasn’t even there to begin with: the drain field meant to excruciatingly torment players was blocked by the protective field of Shin’s armor, so it couldn’t inflict any damage or status ailments.
Shin’s weapon, 『The Ark』, was also lethal upon contact for devils.
The 『Guildern』 spears thrown by Sherlene inflicted enough damage that they could not be ignored.
If Avaritia was a player, he would likely be complaining about how unfair the battle was.
Shin and the others however, found him to be a nasty foe as well.
“Drain affects the corpses too, huh. I guess it planned ahead.”
Drain barely affected Shin and Sherlene, but its targets included the monster corpses. Even if they were dead, HP could be absorbed from them.
The room was riddled with monster corpses, so even if Shin shaved away Avaritia’s HP, it also recovered at an impressive speed. The monster corpses on the black sludge covering the room acted as potions for Avaritia.
Because of its high recovery abilities, Avaritia had one of the lowest HP gauges among the Deadly Sin devils, but it was still much more than humans.
Shin’s attacks caused more damage but, because of the devil’s recovery ratio, the damage caused was still about 20%.
“…Let’s burn them.”
Shin distanced himself from Avaritia and held 『The Ark』 over his shoulder.
Sword/Light combination skill 『White Inferno』
The light permeating Shin’s blade grew stronger, forming a giant blade thrice the original size.
Avaritia didn’t miss the opening. It absorbed the sludge covering the room, forming multiple spikes to attack Shin. It was an attack possible thanks to the shapeshifting properties of the sludge.
“That’s my line.”
Following Avaritia’s lamentation, however, the spikes dissolved before reaching Shin.
Exploiting the opening created by Avaritia’s focus on Shin and Sherlene, Schnee had landed a blow on the devil.
Schnee’s slash entered diagonally from Avaritia’s right shoulder, reaching the spot where a human’s heart would be located. Devils did not have hearts, but its body was nevertheless slashed in half.
Schnee’s attack created an opening.
Shin used it to charge his attack, then swung 『The Ark』. The blade struck the ground and simply damaged it.
The light extending from 『The Ark』, however, formed a gigantic blade with a flash, slicing through the shapeless lower body of the devil as it advanced forward.
Avaritia’s upper body had limited movement capabilities. Because of this, it could only block Shin’s attack by crossing its arms. However, when the blade of light struck, a white explosion burst forth with Avaritia at its center, briefly erasing the devil from sight.
The attack wasn’t powerful enough to completely defeat Avaritia, but what Shin needed the most now was time. He raised 『The Ark』 again and ran towards Sherlene.
Shin lifted the confused Sherlene as a red and orange light enveloped 『The Ark』.
“Burn to cinders!!”
『The Ark』 ,now lit ablaze, was thrown just in front of Avaritia’s location. Like a streak of light through the air, 『The Ark』 flew on and thrust itself into the ground. The very moment of impact, the energy concentrated in the blade was released.
Sword/Flame combination skill 【Flare Crisis】.
A sea of flames covered the whole room, raging indiscriminately through friend and foe.
The skill itself did not cause much damage to Avaritia, but it was perfect for Shin’s objective. The floor covered in black slime gradually returned to its original color. The corpses were burned to the point that not even ashes remained.
Without any more recovery sources, Avaritia let out a grunt of irritation.
Because of Shin’s light slashes, the devil was now missing both its arms. Its main body was also scorched in places by 【Flare Crisis】. It also did not seem to be recovering HP anymore.
“Please keep assisting me by throwing the spears”.
Shin let Sherlene down, then again rushed towards Avaritia.
In that small time frame, the devil had regenerated half of its arms. It was one of Avaritia’s abilities, so its HP was unchanged.
Shin met the devil’s fist with his.
Shin’s fist was much smaller than Avaritia’s, but the devil’s punch was the one to be blown back.
Shin’s gauntlets were also part of 『Holy Armor – Vanquisher of Evil 』. Naturally, they inflicted bonus damage to devils.
Thanks to Shin’s muscular power and the gauntlet’s abilities, the difference in mass between the two fists was inconsequential. Because of the impact, Avaritia lost its balance.
Schnee also cast 【Arc Bind】 on the arm that was still missing its fist, slowing the devil’s reaction.
Shin did not waste the opening Schnee created: He picked up 『The Ark』 with both hands and activated a skill while swinging it.
“Time to disappear!!”
An eruption of light followed the arc drawn by the blade in the air.
Sword/Divine combination skill 【Stellar Geyser】
Blowing away everything in its path, the silver light streaked from the floor to the ceiling.
The pillar of light even erased Avaritia’s scream, growing even more powerful to turn the devil’s body to light.
The skill’s duration time was five seconds. As the light gradually dissipated, Avaritia’s body appeared: its arms were gone, several parts of its body missing as if carved away. Half of its head was missing.
Even after suffering all that damage, Avaritia was still alive.
“What…what the hell…arre…you…”
The remaining half of the devil’s face. The eye deep inside the monster’s skull was incredulous.
“You have no need to know.”
Shin stood in front of Avaritia and raised 『The Ark』 over his head.
The blade now glowed in a golden, cross-shaped light, different from 【Stellar Geyser】’s pillar of light, which had carved even the ceiling.
“This is the end.”
The golden light, despite its brightness which didn’t burned the eyes, struck down upon the unmoving Avaritia.
Divine skill 【Cross Judgement】.
The golden light did not crush Avaritia, but enveloped its body. The devil’s silhouette then started vanishing, as if melting away into the atmosphere.
When the light disappeared, Avaritia’s body had completely vanished too. The only thing left was the proof of Avaritia’s defeat, the 『Drop of Avarice』.
“Is it, over?”
Shin whispered as he turned the 『Drop of Avarice』 into a card.
“I wonder. According to Luxuria, Avaritia shouldn’t have been so close yet…”
Schnee said that if Avaritia was so close, it would be weird for Luxuria not to report it. Shin agreed too.
“What’s going to happen, I wonder.”
Shin then looked at the card. There was something that concerned him. It wasn’t over yet, probably.
He stopped thinking for the moment, however: the fact that one devil was gone was the truth. There wasn’t much he could do, except continue defeating devils.
“This is the first priority for now.”
Shin started thinking of all possible ways to keep the 『Drop of Avarice』 for himself.
He remembered, far too late, that he had committed the silly mistake of not talking about how drop items would be split.