Sparks scattered in the air. Two blades clashed both chipping away at each other.
“You’re not half bad!”
“Thank you so much!”
The battle between Fagall and Namsaar, which started before Luxuria and Avaritia’s, was continuing, in favor of Namsaar – as controlled by Avaritia’s copy.
The room’s interior was almost unrecognizable because of the fighting.
“Why don’t you use your full power? Are you still playing around?”
Either he decided to only use a certain extent of power or something was limiting him. Fagall couldn’t tell by Namsaar’s slight changes in expression, but fully focused on it.
“Defeat me and I’ll tell you.”
The thrust longsword was redirected by Fagall’s twin swords. Namsaar was superior to Fagall in terms of muscular power, so clashing against him head on was not a smart strategy.
Fagall considered his options. He wanted to stop Avaritia and Luxuria from fighting, but he couldn’t leave Namsaar unchecked. It was especially dangerous if his aim was the king.
There were also other workers and soldiers in the palace. Even if he was at a disadvantage, he couldn’t simply ditch them and run.
“It really doesn’t feel like someone else is controlling you.”
The swordplay was just like Namsaar’s. Fagall had asked why his opponent didn’t come at him with his full power, but if he had from the start, Fagall’s situation would be in a much worse now.
The longsword, deflected by Fagall’s twin blades, stopped and abruptly changed direction to a horizontal slash.
Fagall jumped in the direction of the slash and put some distance between himself and his opponent.
“That’s a nasty weapon you got there.”
“We knew that a devil was coming. We had to be prepared this much.”
A kind of black smoke rose from Namsaar’s longsword, from the part that had clashed against Fagall’s twin swords.
The blades Fagall was equipped with were the twin swords 『Regulus』. They had anti-devil attributes, of course.
He had received them from Schnee when she had come to the palace to train the soldiers. Without them, the situation would surely be much worse.
“You and that woman too, you’re a pain in the ass with your weapons…”
Namsaar, controlled by Avaritia, was superior in terms of fighting prowess, but Fagall had better weapons.
Fagall thanked Shin mentally and went on the offensive.
The right 『Regulus』 was imbued with lightning, the left 『Regulus』 with flames.
Fagall used a different skill for each sword. It was the first and foremost advantage in using a two-sword fighting style.
Fagall swung the thunder-clad 『Regulus』 first.
Namsaar would recover quickly thanks to the devil’s power, but his movements would at least slow down.
He would either deflect the attack with his longsword or dodge it. So Fagall predicted, but things went differently this time. Namsaar, against all expectations, grabbed 『Regulus』 with his left hand.
“Wow, this sure packs a punch!”
The thunder attack ran across Namsaar’s whole body and slowed down his movements.
The gauntlet covered hand that caught 『Regulus』 emitted a sizzling sound, like water poured over melting iron. The grasp on the blade was still firm, though.
“It’s too early to stop, man.”
Fagall’s hesitation was punished by Namsaar’s longsword. The former managed to intercept the slash with his other sword, so he avoided being cut in half.
He couldn’t fully block the longsword with just one of his swords, however: the left 『Regulus』 was blown away and Fagall was shoved against a wall, moaning in pain.
“Looks like it’s time for the coup de grace. You’ve delayed me long enough.”
“I got to say…I’m honored to be considered so important…”
Fagall wondered why he received such “special treatment”, then thought: at least Sherlene was free to act.
Namsaar’s words, however, made him realize that he was wrong.
“I’ve already dealt with her. You people would be ready to sacrifice few to save many…I can’t stop you like I did with the other guy. Besides, you’re still worth using.”
Namsaar readied his longsword.
“….I see, that’s why you’re not concerned with Lady Sherlene then…”
Fagall let out a very faint whisper. The tone of his voice had changed.
In the blink of an eye -a speed that could not be described any other way- Fagall moved.
His twin swords drew two arcs in the air. One deflected Namsaar’s longsword, the other aimed for his neck.
“Sheesh, that was close!”
Namsaar touched the fresh wound. 『Regulus』 had undoubtedly reached his neck.
However, Namsaar didn’t just let himself be attacked. He had twisted his body in order to limit damage to the smallest possible area.
His neck had been sliced up to the carotid, but his magic power quickly stopped the blood loss.
“Never seen such a technique. You didn’t even tell your comrades? You lonely bastard.”
Fagall’s speed was much higher than before: it was obvious for Namsaar to be wary.
Fagall didn’t answer. He used Namsaar’s wariness to draw a deep breath.
The knight then moved again. A lightning quick technique, lasting a fraction of a second.
If Avaritia wasn’t in control of his body, Namsaar’s head would be rolling on the ground.
“Tch, you’re pretty damn fast now.”
Namsaar’s defense couldn’t keep up with Fagall’s speed. However, he wasn’t defeated since he avoided lethal wounds and recovered at insane speeds.
Fagall couldn’t inflict lethal wounds, while Namsaar couldn’t keep up with his speed. Their bout continued, with neither able to break the stalemate.
However, the first to reach his limits, was Fagall.
Gradually, the wounds he inflicted on Namsaar were shallower and shallower, fewer and fewer. In the end he stopped, breathing heavily.
“I see, you’ve been using your own lifeforce, reckless fool.”
Namsaar understood thanks to his own draining abilities. Fagall was attacking one-sidedly, but losing strength in the process.
Fagall had used the support skill 【Overboost】. It was a skill born from one Shin had used in the past, which provided better boosts than normal support skills, at the cost of one’s HP.
Naturally, if used for a long time it would corner the user before the opponent.
“Too bad you had to fight me. I guess you would have defeated anyone else with that.”
Fagall didn’t answer. He was severely fatigued and had no way to recover.
Namsaar continued talking before his weakened opponent, taunting him to try to do anything.
“Why work so hard? Your hero buddy isn’t coming to save you. You should have turned tail a long ass time ago!”
“Too…bad…I can’t…do that…”
Fagall felt like that was a possibility too, but he bit his lips to seal his weakness inside.
He remembered what his subordinates said when they saw the royal soldiers, under the influence of mental skills.
“If lady Sherlene cannot fight, then I must stand…”
“You? You’re weaker than her. What can you do?”
In terms of stats, Sherlene was superior to Fagall.
Fagall himself was aware that, even if they were lauded as the two heroes, there was a gap in strength between them.
“That’s easy…I…swore an oath.”
What was that worth, though? If one was weak, they should let the strong handle everything.
That wasn’t the point, though. That was wrong, thought Fagall.
“I have taken upon the sword to protect this country. Even if I am weaker, I am still its hero. I shall stand in the way of those who threaten my country, till I draw my last breath!”
Before finishing the sentence, Fagall activated a skill and attacked.
His HP was already in the red. If he didn’t change strategy, his HP would reach zero in a matter of minutes.
He would either stop right before dying or just die. Fagall never tried before, so he didn’t know if it would work. In any case, he wouldn’t stop. He was ready to bring down his enemy with him.
He could only pray that Shin and the others somehow stopped Avaritia’s main body. That was his only regret.
Fagall’s roar shook the very air in the room. His slash was even faster, even sharper, s it attacked Namsaar.
“Guess I’ve got to get serious too.”
Seconds before the slash hit, Avaritia released his power. He had held back in order to keep using Namsaar, but if his enemy was going to self-destruct, he didn’t need to anymore.
Namsaar’s body, with stats already equal to a hero, was further boosted by the devil’s power. Its movements even Fagall, who was consuming his own lifeforce to power himself up.
Fagall’s slashes were all blocked by Namsaar’s longsword, now fully clad in black mist. Not only that, the devil-controlled captain of the guards even aimed to strike a counter.
Fagall wouldn’t have been able to dodge or even defend himself against Namsaar’s new speed if he hadn’t reinforced himself.
“Just give up, you’ll feel much better.”
As he spoke, Fagall instinctively felt that the next attack would be his last, and focused every last ounce of his strength into it.
“That’s a damn shame.”
His right blade cut into Namsaar’s left side, while the left one slashed him from the shoulder towards the chest.
He failed to cut him completely, however, because of Namsaar’s resilience and the protection provided by his armor.
The sizzling sound of burning flesh rose from the wounds: 『Regulus』 managed to damage Namsaar’s body, but it was far from being lethal. The body was Namsaar’s, but the recovery speed was Avaritia’s. The wounds would be completely healed soon after the swords were removed.
Fagall’s hands released his swords. He was not dead, but he did not have the strength to even stand anymore.
Namsaar extended a hand towards the falling Fagall. The latter’s life was almost spent: with the devil’s powers, it would be simple to turn him into a puppet.
Just before he could touch Fagall, Namsaar readied his sword again. The next instant, a spear emitting blinding light flew in from outside the room.
Namsaar knocked away the spear, but the impact pushed his back to the window.
“Looks like I barely made it.”
Sherlene caught the deflected spear and prepared to defend Fagall from Namsaar.
“What the, how the hell did you regain your senses?…Ahh, no need to answer, I got it.”
Looking at Sherlene’s spear was enough to know the answer. The sacred aura emitted by the holy spear 『Guildern』 was clearly felt by those in the room.
Just like Fagall’s 『Regulus』, it wasn’t just a powerful weapon.
“Well, let’s see how long you can last, with that weight on your shoulders and all!”
Sherlene parried Namsaar’s longsword with the hilt of her spear. He was still at full power, so a single blow was enough to force Sherlene to her knees. Fagall’s twin 『Regulus』 swords were still lodged in Namsaar’s shoulder and stomach, but there was no blood.
“You had to dodge that, so the weight would be gone too. Or do you want to finish him off yourself? I can wait that long, go ahead.”
“You’re a pretty chatty fellow.”
Sherlene’s expression clearly showed how dire the situation was. She had used a recovery potion on Fagall without being noticed, but maybe because he had pushed his body to the limits with the power-up skill, his limbs couldn’t move yet.
“I didn’t want to kill you off, but I guess I have no choice.”
Namsaar’s longsword pushed against 『Guildern』. Even if the spear was a superior weapon, Namsaar’s own stats were higher. The jet black sword was closer and closer to Sherlene’s face.
“In the end you just bought some time. Why did you even attack at that timing?”
“Just say, whatever.”
The blade and hilt grinded against each other. It was just a matter of time—anyone would say so, but the next moment, they all felt something burst out: it struck Fagall, Sherlene and Namsaar too.
There was no sound, but all of them felt “something” propagated throughout Erkunt.
“What the…? Gah…GHAAAAAHHHH!!!”
When this “something” passed through Fagall and Sherlene and reached Namsaar, the situation completely changed. Namsaar, who was pressuring Sherlene, started screaming in pain.
Fagall, who barely managed to stand back up, saw black mist rising from the wounds his 『Regulus』 had inflicted on Namsaar’s body, leaking at a very high speed.
Soon enough, the black mist formed a sort of black puddle next to Namsaar’s body.
“What in the world..?”
“I don’t know. But whatever just passed through our bodies seems to be on our side.”
Fagall walked next to Sherlene. He was feeling much better all of a sudden. Looking at the progressively disappearing mist, he felt that the devil’s power was fading away.
Namsaar’s armor and longsword were gradually returning to normal too. Soon after, the mist completely disappeared from Namsaar’s body. The 『Regulus』 blades fell on their own, leaving no wounds behind. Namsaar’s body collapsed to the floor, unscathed but powerless.
The mass of black mist forced out of Namsaar’s body spoke. The two heroes did not know what it was, but readied their weapons nonetheless.
They did not reply. Without a word, Sherlene thrust 『Guildern』and Fagall swung 『Regulus』.
The shapeless mist reduced in mass after every blow, as if blown away by the wind. The area struck by the weapons disappeared along its surroundings, so it did not take much time until the mist completely vanished.
“Possibly. Sir Namsaar’s body seems to be healed too. This time we’re always getting rescued, aren’t we…”
Sherlene replied to a sigh to Fagall, their nerves finally relaxed.
The threat wasn’t completely gone, but they were confident that the end was near.
The people under the devil’s influence were all freed. Shin received this message just as Luxuria had been swallowed by the 【Lifedrain Sludge】.
The moment he understood Hilamee’s message, Shin kicked the ground with all his might.
The cocoon had already formed. Though he didn’t know how devils absorbed each other, he had no intention of giving up.
Shin passed by Avaritia with one step and leapt towards Luxuria with the second.
“I hope it’s not too late…haaaAAAAh!!”
『The Ark』 sliced through the cocoon, which put up little to no resistance.
Shin’s momentum made him land behind Luxuria. The following instant, an explosion of light burst behind him.
Shin got back on his feet, turned around and saw light seeping out of the cocoon. He also saw Avaritia, his arms crossed to protect his body, being pushed back. The light from the cocoon was burning his whole body.
“The cocoon is breaking down?”
Cracks extended all over the cocoon from the gash cut open by Shin.
Dozens of seconds later, the cocoon crumbled. Luxuria’s silhouette, as it was before the fight, was nowhere to be seen.
Luxuria was there, but in human form. However, she was much different than what Shin remembered.
Luxuria, floating inside white light, was wrapped in white bandages, shining as strongly as the light. A bright halo was even shining behind her.
The shining halo was projecting a kind of pattern, as tall as Luxuria was. There were 4 of such patterns on her right and 4 on her left, looking just like wings.
“Is that really…Luxuria?”
The moment she appeared, a wave-like “something” expanded in the surroundings. It passed through Shin’s body, but he didn’t feel anything.
The only one affected seemed to be Avaritia.
Avaritia’s whole body distorted and contorted. He had to be in indescribable pain.
“Who knew something like this could happen…”
Pale blue and white light shone from Luxuria’s hands, the same color as her wings. She shot repeatedly spears of light, which stabbed Avaritia’s body, still in the throes of pain, opening large holes in it.
“Do you even need to ask? Any devil could tell. I was really surprised too, though.”
“A deVIl…tuRnIng inTo an AngEl…? GivE…me..a…fUc…”
Avaritia’s body then vanished into smoke. What remained was just the 『Drop of Avaritia』, proof of his defeat.
Shin was confused by the sudden development, and Luxuria looked at him, chuckling.
“Oh my, did I scare you?”
Luxuria descended next to Shin and asked him a question, cocking her head to the side.
“I’ve just never seen or heard anything like this. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.”
Before disappearing, Avaritia mentioned the word “angel”. Seeing that she had defeated a devil, it was fair to think that she would be an ally.
However, Shin -despite his vast knowledge of THE NEW GATE’s bestiary- had never seen an angel. The game’s producers had hinted at their existence, but no player ever reported encountering one.
Angels were often depicted as the counterparts of devils. Just like devils, however, they were categorized as monsters. As long as they were monsters, there was the chance that they would antagonize humanity.
“I understand where you’re coming from, but I have no idea why this happened. But I do understand that I’ve turned into an angel, and still have my memories as a devil. I remember you all too, of course.”
“So angels really existed…”
“I suppose they were a transformation of Deadly Sin devils. I kind of felt it after transforming, but it looks like I’m the protector of “Love” now.”
“The virtue opposite to the deadly sin, I guess? I heard that they aren’t officially established as opposites though…anyway, there’s no need to probe deeper into that right now, I suppose.”
Shin tried recalling what he had read when researching about the deadly sin devils, but did not remember much in detail.
“Whoa, I almost forgot. Now that Avaritia’s defeated, I have to go into town. The summoned monsters are going wild.”
“No need to worry, that’s already taken care of.”
Shin was about to leave to go help Schnee, but Luxuria stopped him. According to her, the first wave of energy thing she released – 【Saint Wave】 – erased both the magic circles influenced by devil power and the monsters they summoned.
Shin checked the map and confirmed that the presences of monsters across town were indeed nowhere to be seen.
“Amazing…and I thought that we had still a lot to do.”
“It only work against devils and their influence. Though, I could only do this thanks to you. If you didn’t cut open the cocoon, I think I would have been assimilated by Avaritia.”
“If you have to thank someone, thank Hilamee. They freed all the hostages, that’s why I could act.”
Shin was forced to do nothing while Luxuria was suffering Avaritia’s attacks, so he felt guilty instead.
“Don’t say that. I could do my best because you were there.”
Before transforming in devil form, Luxuria had sent a message to Shin, telling him to not do anything until the hostages were freed, even if she were to lose.
She had asked Avaritia if he would withdraw after absorbing her for the same reason. She had fought while considering her assimilation a viable option.
“Even if I lost, Avaritia would be defeated by you. Thanks to this experience, it would be possible to prepare countermeasures against hostages in the future. That’s why my sacrifice wouldn’t have been in vain…after I realized that, I felt a weight off my chest.”
Shin was about to say that she shouldn’t even think about things like that, but Luxuria smiled and put a finger on his lips.
“I’m free to choose who to be grateful to, so you don’t need to concern yourself with anything. Isn’t there anything you’d like me to do, instead? I’m not a devil anymore, so you can entrust your whole self to me, you know? Incidentally, I’m not wearing anything at the moment, up here or down there…so I’m a bit chilly, I would love to be warmed up, honestly.”
“Hey! Tell the truth, you’re still half a devil, aren’t you? Or maybe you’re an angel, but the angel of lust…”
Luxuria’s words quickly took a turn for the “romantic” after she mentioned Shin entrusting himself to her, causing Shin to sigh in disbelief.
Stopping Luxuria from removing her belt, he was relieved that at least one major threat was over.