The morning after Shin and Schnee became one. Shin woke up feeling something touching his lips. He opened his eyes to see an unfamiliar ceiling and Schnee quickly distancing herself from him. She was still close enough for their foreheads to touch, so there wasn’t really any distance between them.
Remembering the sensation that woke him up, Shin realized what she had done.
Schnee reciprocated the greeting, the blanket covering her naked body. The sunlight pouring in through the windows made her silver hair glow.
Though still drowsy, Shin thought she was really beautiful.
“I’m not awake yet…I need another one.”
“So you noticed.”
“Just a coincidence.”
“It can’t be helped, can it?”
Schnee came closer and gave Shin a very soft kiss, her lips barely touching his. However, it was more than enough for Shin’s chest to be filled with happiness.
“Okay, time to get up. In the worst case scenario we might end up having to fight against the Deadly Sin, so we cannot afford to be found unprepared.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Carelessness is the worst enemy.”
Shin focused on their next mission. He wouldn’t let anyone or anything destroy that happiness.
If the devil went on a rampage and caused damage to the institute, Shin and Schnee would be concerned too. They finally had time to spend alone, so they did not want it to go to waste.
After ordering breakfast to be brought to their room, they discussed what to do in case a fight broke out.
“Well, it’s only me and you, so the strategy we can take has to be necessarily simple.”
“That’s the only way.”
Shin said so while sipping on tea after the meal. Schnee nodded in agreement.
It was just the two of them, so Shin would face the devil while Schnee helped Hilamee and the others escape, then join him in the fight. For a strategy, it was far too simple.
“To take down a devil one-on-one isn’t something normally possible though.”
“I’ll give it my all, so leave that to me.”
While Shin could somehow manage, for Schnee it would only be possible with the help of specialized equipment. Taking down a devil through sheer physical ability, like Shin could, was simply impossible for the average Chosen One.
“Oh, are they here?”
Shin detected someone arriving on their floor. There weren’t any other guests staying on that floor at the moment, so there was only one possibility. As expected, the hotel clerk knocked on their room’s door.
A guest had come for them, said the hotel clerk. The guest apparently knew Shin and Schnee’s name, so they followed the clerk down to the lobby, where they found the vice headmistress Licia.
“Good morning. We will be counting on your help today. Er, where is lady Sch…Yuki?”
Shin replied to Licia’s polite greeting and boarded the horse carriage stationed outside. They didn’t know how high the devil’s perception capabilities were, so Schnee had decided to conceal her presence since she was in the city.
He told Licia about this after they boarded the horse carriage.
“Are the preparations complete in the institute?”
“Yes. All students have been made to leave, with the pretense of maintenance of the institute’s facilities.”
The only people present in the institute were Hilamee, the devil health officer, a few instructors to communicate with the outside in case anything happened, and the dungeon security guards.
After a few minutes of being rocked by the carriage, Shin once again entered the Erkunt Institute of Magic. He tried expanding his detection field and confirmed that there really were only a few responses.
“This way, please.”
Shin followed Licia through the institute. Its grounds were fairly wide, so it took about 15 minutes to reach the building where the health officer in question was supposed to be. The conversation would be held in the infirmary. When Shin and Licia arrived, they found Hilamee waiting in front of the door.
“I’ll be counting on you today.”
“Leave it to me. By the way, the infirmary is basically a health officer’s home, right? Is this really okay?”
“We have already confirmed that there aren’t any traps or such.”
Hilamee asked if he was ready and Shin nodded. She nodded in response, then opened the door to the infirmary.
“My? I see we have unexpected guests today.”
In the infirmary, a woman in a white lab coat was sitting on a chair, a book open before her.
When she raised her head, her waist-length wavy black hair fluttered lightly. The woman in charge of the infirmary, the Devil of Lust Luxuria smiled, the crimson eyes behind her glasses gazing at Hilamee and Shin.
“There is something important we need to discuss with you today, Doctor Luxuria.”
“The atmosphere seems a bit too tense for a simple discussion though.”
Crossing her arms under her chest, Luxuria calmly looked back at Hilamee. Pushed up by her arms, her voluminous chest stood out even more through the sweater.
Luxuria wore a thin pink sweater under her white lab coat and a tight skirt.
Even if she didn’t cross her arms, it was clear that she had a voluptuous body line many men would lust after. Her skirt was pretty short too, so if she moved one leg over the other, guests would be treated to quite a risque view.
Her voice was on the deep side: Shin felt like she was whispering next to his ears. The mole under her eye was the icing on the cake, a cake probably a bit too stimulating for a boy going through puberty.
Shin thought that some students might get injured on purpose just to visit.
Despite the intense sexy allure she emanated, there were no Mental skills in play.
The erotic charm surrounding Luxuria all came from her clothing, gestures, and atmosphere. At the very least, there was no ill will to be detected.
“Is the scary man behind you involved too?”
“He might be, yes.”
“My my, that’s a tense discussion all right.”
Luxuria closed the book she was reading, placed it on the table, and faced towards Hilamee with her whole body. She seemed to have understood what Shin’s equipment meant.
She just laughed wryly while dropping her shoulders, though, with no sign of nervousness.
“Since you didn’t attack yet, I suppose there is some room for talking?”
“Personally, I would be glad if we could just do that.”
“Really? If so, I will surrender, so could you let me keep working here?”
Luxuria raised both hands, to show her willingness to surrender, and asked Hilamee.
Her seemingly carefree attitude confused Shin a little, though he did not show it.
“…if you wanted to, you could stay here even without my permission, couldn’t you? Honestly speaking, I cannot understand why you would go all the way as to pass the employment exam.”
“Hmm, well, I actually don’t like forceful ways like that…even if I antagonized you, there would be nothing in it for me. That’s why I took the exam. I know it’s weird for me to say it, but I make a pretty excellent health officer, don’t I?”
“I admit that, but…”
Luxuria chuckled, proudly sticking her chest out, while Hilamee was even more lost.
Despite being a devil, Luxuria did not seem to be trying to deceive or trap them.
“Young man, if you have that gear on you, it means you know who I really am, right?”
Luxuria left the confused Hilamee alone and talked to Shin. It would be pointless to lie, so Shin chose to reply succinctly.
“I have no intention to do battle, but will fight back if I’m attacked. I think the Institute will be damaged if it comes to that, but do you want to fight all the same?”
“That depends on you. We just want to know why one of the Deadly Sins would want to work in a school as a health officer. If your reason involves causing harm to someone, I would have to fight you.”
Shin answered Luxuria’s question after making eye contact with Hilamee.
“I see…well, from a normal person’s perspective, I’m a monster after all. Okay, I’ll talk then.”
Hilamee couldn’t believe the ease with which Luxuria was ready to talk. It was hard to think that the woman before them really was one of the Deadly Sins.
【Analyze】, however, clearly showed her name as 『Deadly Sins Devil – Lust』. Her level was 700, with stats that no normal person could ever hope to match.
“My deadly sin is lust. I draw energy from the emotions born from people’s sexual activities. So it is better for me to live alongside people, not be against them. The fewer the people, the lesser the amount of energy I receive.”
“In the past, however, you collaborated with the other Deadly Sins to destroy humanity, didn’t you?”
If what Luxuria said was true, she had no reason to fight against humanity. In the game, however, things were different.
“Aah, the deadly sins from a few generations back? I suppose it would be 4, 500 years ago for you. Until then, doing that felt like the right thing…it was like a sense of purpose? An urge, maybe? Anyway, there was something like that. After a certain event, however, it completely ceased and everyone started living freely. That was also when us Deadly Sins gained personalities.”
“Yes. We all have different ways to draw energy, depending on the deadly sin we house in our bodies. The only thing in common is that it all comes from people’s emotions or mental state. For me, it’s as I said before; Sloth and Gluttony are similar too. The more people there are, the better it is for us.”
The two other types mentioned by Luxuria could gain energy regularly even without making contact with people. She also added that she happened to meet Sloth once, finding it a relaxed, slow-paced fellow.
“The ones who actively come in contact with humans are Greed, Envy, Pride, and Wrath. I haven’t met the current ones, but thinking back, they’re all types I dislike.”
“So even among your deadly sin peers, there are likes and dislikes?”
“Monsters are much more free than what you think. Some fight against people, some fight and live alongside them. Some just stay on their own. I finally gained my freedom too, so I want to enjoy my life.”
The more they talked with her, the harder it was to think that she really was a devil. Thinking about it, Yuzuha was a type of monster that collaborated with players, but Tzaobath attacked them indiscriminately. Hinomoto’s Kagutsuchi, Munechika, and the others are types that originally could never cooperate with people.
Shin realized that, thinking back about the monsters he met until now, he had no grounds to object to Luxuria’s explanation.
“In that case, if this institute is ever targeted by other countries or organizations, will you assist the people here in defending it?”
Hilamee reacted to Shin’s question faster than Luxuria could.
“That’s unexpected. You don’t doubt my words, and even ask for me to be an ally?”
“I have met my fair share of monsters, you see. Other than demons, they are all living freely, like you said. I even flew on Tzaobath’s back recently.”
“Eh…? By Tzaobath, you mean…that Tzaobath!?”
“To ride on the Silver Moon Death God’s back…isn’t a funny joke at all.”
Shin’s offhand remark caused Hilamee to be even more surprised and Luxuria’s expression to become clouded. Tzaobath and his strength were still very well known.
“Hilamee, I told you that the dungeon crumbled before I was teleported, but actually that was Tzaobath’s doing, he wiped it off the map. I learned about it by communicating with him through message cards. Sorry for hiding it until now.”
“No, that’s…all right, but…is it really true?”
“Yes, well, I have no physical proof, but if I ask him I think he’ll come here?”
Shin thought that since they cooperated to defeat the evil deity, Tzaobath would grant him such a favor once. Then, a perplexed Luxuria interjected.
“Ms. headmistress? If what this man says is true, isn’t he much more dangerous than me?”
“W-well…it’s Mr. Shin, so…unlike a monster, he would never be hostile…right?”
“Hey, do you really need to ask that?”
“Well, I know how you were at that time, so…I got a little worried. Honestly speaking, I think that you’re more dangerous than any Deadly Sin…”
“I can’t dispute that, but you could be a bit more diplomatic.”
Hilamee knew of Shin’s “Death God” phase, so she probably became anxious. Shin wanted to clearly say that he didn’t kill people indiscriminately, but it wasn’t something to talk about in front of Luxuria, so he decided to leave it for later.
“Sigh…I felt a terribly powerful presence, so I got tense, but I see it was all for nothing. Headmistress, I promise to take care of my duties seriously, so could you allow me to continue working here?”
After hearing Shin’s conversation with Hilamee, Luxuria fully raised her white flag. She was a level 700 devil, after all: she had grasped how powerful Shin was as soon as they met.
“So even devils get tense…understood. It would be painful for us too to continue in this situation, so let’s get along, please.”
“Yes, I’ll be in your care too.”
After a chuckle, Hilamee and Luxuria shook hands. Things developed quite differently than he had expected, but they reached an amicable agreement and Shin thought it was good enough.
“Oh, by the way, er, Mr. Shin? Your companion isn’t with you today? There’s something I had to ask her.”
“…I never said that my companion was a woman.”
Luxuria said “her” as if she knew about the gender of Shin’s companion from the start. Before replying to Shin’s question, Luxuria’s mouth formed an arc.
It was a charming smile, with a slight devilish quality to it.
“I can tell. You made love to each other last night, didn’t you.”
Luxuria’s comment froze Shin completely.
“I’m a devil, but the energy I feed on isn’t evil itself. I can take both energy coming from actions based on mutual affection and actions born from one-sided feelings that ignore the partner’s will.”
Luxuria explained that she did not differentiate if the act itself was good or bad.
“I don’t know why exactly, but I can tell where the energy I feed on comes from. I’m the devil of lust, right? If I feel such powerful emotions, I get curious about how you sought each other. To make even me feel like that, you must really love each other, don’t you.”
Shin didn’t know if she was serious or joking: Luxuria’s questions could be interpreted either way.
“Besides, if she can keep up with you, your companion must be very strong too, right? I don’t think I can match her, so I would like to just talk to her a bit.”
“How can you tell she’s strong?”
“It’s a kind of bonus when absorbing emotions. Your energy…in monster terms, you’d be level 1000? Your emotional energy is like boiling magma. Normal people are a warm soup at most, so I can’t be wrong. With emotional energy as strong as yours, a normal woman’s would get swallowed up and disappear. But yesterday was different, I could clearly tell the existence of another energy besides yours.”
“It might not have been as strong, but it wouldn’t appear alongside yours without sufficient strength. That’s how I could tell that your companion is strong too.”
Luxuria explained with confidence, but Shin had no idea what emotional energy could be. He had no idea he emanated something like that either.
“You can talk in her place, it’s fine by me. It must have been a night of deep, intense passion, right?”
Luxuria, holding her face with her hands, had a dreamy expression.
Shin asked why she was so interested, and Luxuria replied that, regardless of quantity, the energy born from acts of people who loved each other was more “delicious”. It was just the difference of being delicious or not, but as Luxuria fervently explained, Shin and Schnee’s was apparently “a real delicacy”.
Her insistence in having them confess was still very far from the oppressing image one usually had of the Deadly Sin devils.
“To even make a devil fall for you like this…Mr. Shin, whatever did you do last night?”
“You too, Hilamee!?”
Hilamee had been listening in silence, but couldn’t keep herself from asking anymore.
Shin was thus pressed by two beautiful women, but now that he had become one with Schnee, he wasn’t flustered in the slightest.
“I’m not going to talk about such private matters. Give me a break.”
Shin quickly distanced himself from them and flatly refused to speak.
“Aww, don’t be embarrassed.”
“You’re already getting along well, huh?”
Where did the tense mood from before disappear to? Asked Shin, just to receive incomprehensible replies such as “Well, you know?” “Right, that’s right!”. They looked like very good friends to him.
“I guess I can just go now.”
“Hehe, you can come on your own next time. I’ll gladly be your partner.”
“That isn’t funny, just stop.”
Shin stopped Luxuria’s sultry advance with a sour expression. Behind him stood Schnee, concealed. He didn’t want her to misunderstand.
“Ok, job over?”
“Yes, thank you very much. One less thing to worry about for now. I still have doubts, but it looks like things will go well.”
After leaving the infirmary, Hilamee voiced her conclusions, making sure no one was around to hear. She had joined Luxuria in her jokes, but it wasn’t like all her suspicions were suddenly cleared. Like Shin, however, she didn’t think Luxuria was lying.
Hilamee stayed in the institute, saying that she still had work to do. They chatted as they headed towards the gate, where Shin spotted some familiar faces.
“Oh, here they are! Mr. Shin!”
“Stupid! Not so loud!”
The three kids Shin and Schnee had rescued in the dungeon were standing before the gate.
Differently from when they first met, they were now wearing military uniform-like white clothing with blue and red patterns. Gian and Lecus wore the same, so it was probably the institute’s official uniform.
Myu was waving at Shin, smiling. The tail poking out of her skirt was cheerfully swinging left and right.
Gian scolded her for being too loud: the attention of the people near the gates all went to her. Naturally, Shin and Hilamee’s did too.
“They’re our students. Oh, you rescued some in the dungeon, right. Could it be?”
“Yes, it’s those three. They weren’t supposed to know that I would come here today though.”
The last time Shin had seen them was after leaving the dungeon, and he hadn’t contacted them since. He couldn’t tell Hilamee why they were at the gates at the moment.
“We were suddenly told to go out of the institute, so we thought that it might be related to you being teleported here!!”
Myu cheerfully answered Shin’s question about why they were there. Gian and Lecus nodded in agreement.
The other students also seemed to have suspicions about the announcement.
“So? Did you wait here to confirm your theory?”
“No! I waited here because I have a request for you, Mr. Shin!”
“A request? What about the other two?”
They didn’t seem to be interested about Shin being teleported there. Shin asked the other two kids, who also nodded: Gian unwillingly, and Lecus apologetically.
“Well actually, if possible, we would like to ask you to impart us your teachings!”
They remembered that Shin introduced himself as an adventurer, so Lecus, in Myu’s place, asked if they could make a request of him to undertake this “quest”. They had been overwhelmed watching Shin and Schnee’s strength in the dungeon apparently.
“I see, that’s a great idea.”
“Why are you so eager?”
“We’re in the middle of a long vacation, during which students usually practice by themselves. They normally have seniors teach them or go into the training dungeon. But the dungeon is temporarily closed for inspection and these three are more skilled than average, so there is no one that can spar with them.”
Their stats were still low, but Hilamee said that all three of them were Chosen Ones. While they were still far from Shin’s level, they could deal with an average person easily.
A well-trained normal person could match them as they were now, so they were usually coached by a veteran instructor. Shin wondered why they couldn’t be taught by this instructor now too, but Lecus replied that they had gone back to their family during the vacation.
“Hmm, I see, it wouldn’t be nice to interrupt that.”
Instructors had private lives and families: that was why the group had tried exploring the dungeon the day before, and almost risked a very bad outcome.
“I heard of some fool who just blindly charged in, just because they knew they wouldn’t die.”
“Oh, come on!! I apologized already!!”
Glared at by Gian, Myu’s expression turned sour. From their exchange Shin knew that the mechanism to prevent fatal wounds was still intact.
“Anyway, is it okay to hire people from outside?”
“During vacation periods, some students even work as adventurers, so that their abilities don’t suffer. There is no problem at all. If you pass our check, you can use the training dungeon too.”
“Is that really okay? You know, with foreign people and all.”
“We give our permission to people with proven experience and references. Not that we’d need to check on you, Mr. Shin.”
Shin wondered if that was really okay. You could never tell if a person you met after a long time was the same as before.
“I can tell that you haven’t changed by seeing how you look at Ms. Yuki. Right? Ms. Yuki.”
“Is it so easy to tell? You too Yuki, don’t just laugh and speak up!”
Shin asked Schnee -who had undone her concealment after they left the infirmary- for help. Her answer, however was far from what he expected.
“Hehe, I can vouch that Shin’s eyes don’t lie.”
“That’s not what I meant…”
Shin didn’t know what to say to Schnee, who was laughing with Hilamee.
“I didn’t know it would be so easy to get permission. So, Mr. Shin, what will you say?”
Lecus and Myu asked again, after hearing the conversation between the three adults. Gian had no objections either, and bowed his head in silence.
(Even if you say that, I have no idea how to train Chosen Ones, you know?)
(These kids find it hard to even fight at full power. So I think that even if you just let them do that, it will be good enough experience. They’re still very young and sometimes overconfident in their powers. I want you to show them that there is always someone stronger out there.)
Shin whispered his question to Hilamee and received this reply.
In this world, the stat gap between normal people and Chosen Ones could often be overcome through skill.
Because of that, many did not have a clear idea of exactly how strong they were. Others, instead, gained a too high opinion of their prowess. That was one of the reasons why Myu and the others had fallen into a bad situation in the dungeon.
“I see…okay, I can help them train until my comrades arrive or the vacation period ends. It’s important to know exactly how strong you are after all. What do you say, Yuki?”
After thinking for a while, Shin asked for Schnee’s opinion.
Even if Filma and the others had left time for them to be alone, it would be a waste to just lay about. He might as well raise his quest completion ratio a bit. Shin thought that because of the vacation, there would be few students about and less risk to stand out. Of course, if Schnee disapproved that was the end of it.
“Then, how about this? Battle training in the morning, review your weaknesses and train individually in the afternoon.”
“That works. How about training three days and resting one, to let the body recover?”
Shin made this proposal, thinking that everyone had to have other plans too; as there were no objections, it was approved as final. As an extra item, it was agreed that if there were other applicants, they too would be trained, as much as possible.
Making it a request from the institute -instead of from Lecus’ group- meant that the reward would be paid by the institute. Hilamee probably thought that it would be a waste to let just Lecus and the other two make use of this opportunity.
“Is that okay?”
“You might have to use the training dungeon, so it would be great if you could also check it out for any anomalies.”
“You’re a shrewd one, aren’t you…”
The institute staff would check it themselves: the security soldiers were currently taking turns inspecting the dungeon.
Hilamee knew that the evil deity teleported to random locations, so it was just a precaution, as she whispered to Shin.
“Okay, we’ll start tomorrow.”
“Thank you very much!”
Shin and Schnee left the institute with Myu’s cheerful greeting echoing behind them.
“I’m sorry for accepting that so easily.”
“No, that’s fine. You were worried about them, right?”
“You read my mind.”
Shin apologized for reducing the time they could spend together, but Schnee smiled.
She had noticed that since they were too used to the training dungeon, Myu and the other two kids did not have a sufficient sense of danger.
Not dying even if HP reaches 0. That was like re-spawning in the game era. In this world equipment would be damaged, but it was still nothing compared to losing one’s life.
There was no risk of dying, but the risk of losing one’s sense of danger was very present. It would be fatal in a battle to the death.
“I find it weird to worry about them, since I barely know them, but I saw them in danger the other day, so…”
Myu and the others could also have experience of actual fighting. Gian’s mention of “some fool who just blindly charged in, just because they knew they wouldn’t die” was a source of concern for Shin, especially because the “fool” was Myu.
“You had plans to do something anyway, so I’m not going to complain about the quest. In exchange, I’m going to have you spoil me a bit during our days off. Make sure you’re ready.”
Schnee then locked arms with Shin, almost hugging him, her soft body pressed against his, giving birth to a sensation of happiness.
“I couldn’t ask for more.”
Shin wanted to know more and more sides of Schnee that he didn’t know. That moment, he started looking forward to what expression she made when she wanted him to spoil her.