After the battle and victory over the evil deity Adetropos, Shin and Schnee were transported to the Erkunt institute of magic.
There they met former player Hilamee, now the institute’s headmistress, who plead for them to help protect the students from the Deadly Sin devil who took residence in the institute.
While they managed to reach a peaceful agreement with the source of such trouble, the devil of lust Luxuria, they learned that the aggressive devil of greed is baring his fangs at the institute.
In such a situation, the three students that Shin met in the training dungeon near the institute – Miu, Gian, and Lecus – fell under someone’s control. Shin and Schnee rescued them and defeated the puppetmaster.
The dropped crystal, however, did not show greed’s name, as it was a 『Drop of Pigritis』…
Shin and Schnee visit the institute, in order to discuss the matter of the students falling under manipulation. In the room they were shown to they find not only Hilamee, but also Luxuria.
“Have you heard already?”
After a short greeting, Shin touched upon the main topic.
“Yes, it is probably as you guessed: Sloth tried rebelling against Greed. Like me, Sloth wasn’t keen on Greed’s attitude either. He was waiting for a chance to rebel, I think.”
Luxuria had already heard about the incident from Hilamee and gave her own conclusion, in a concerned tone. Something was probably weighing on her mind.
“How are those three? Did they feel sick afterwards?”
“They drank the elixir you gave us, as far as we know they’re completely fine. They say the same themselves. Luxuria also said that they aren’t affected by the devil anymore.”
“Yes, I’m pretty sure of that.”
Hearing Hilamee and Luxuria’s replies, Shin felt relieved.
All he could do to heal was use skills or items. He had asked Schnee to look at them too, but now that a devil like Luxuria confirmed it too, he felt his remaining concerns disappear.
“Let’s discuss the matter again, then. This time there are people involved too, so making countermeasures will be difficult, I think.”
If someone cooperated with devils out of their own free will, Shin’s items would register them as normal people: it wouldn’t be possible to repel them individually.
“In regards to that, I would like you to tell us any effective strategies against devils that you know. We couldn’t help Myu and the others in time, but we might be able to do something to avoid similar accidents.”
“You don’t know any counter-strategies, Hilamee?”
“Unfortunately not. During the game events I always depended on others, so I don’t know much about items or attacks effective against devils. I asked other players and learned a bit, but…actually putting it into practice is a whole other matter.”
There were anti-devil weapons and armor, which caused extra damage to devils and their cohorts, and defended against attacks causing status ailments. Concerning status ailments, there were items that neutralized them entirely. If you could gather enough, there was no risk of being utterly destroyed, even with a wide level gap.
The problem was gathering enough items. Devils did not spawn here and there, like normal monsters or bosses, so there were few chances of using them. Moreover, materials were much more expensive and harder to come by now than in the game era. Even if you had the right recipe, it was difficult to find a blacksmith that could forge the gear in question. In conclusion, fighting with numbers would be difficult if not impossible.
“Countermeasures outside of weapons and armor, huh. The quickest one would be using skills, but we can’t just teach them to the whole army…”
The regular way of learning them would take too much time; even if they used 『Secret Book』 items, they didn’t have nearly enough of them. One option would be to teach skills only to executives or officers, but this had probably been done already.
“Isn’t there anything we could gather in large numbers? Especially if it’s cheap to make and requires few materials.”
“Yeah, it would be way too easy if something like that existed…”
Items with low cost and low effectiveness existed, but distributing them to a whole army meant preparing a massive quantity.
Item creation required several skills too, so spreading them to a large number of people would be unfeasible.
“Gathering a small group of strong warriors and giving them the right equipment and items is the best way after all, isn’t it?”
“Normal soldiers would just get slaughtered before using the items, or fall to the enemies’ pressure and not even use them. I agree that it’s better to give them to warriors with reliable skills, like Chosen Ones. I can lend them weapons too.”
The enemy was a Deadly Sin devil, it wasn’t time to hold anything back.
Considering the penalties for insufficient stats, the gear Shin could lend would be Legend or Mythology grade. He was becoming famous already, so there wasn’t much of a point in trying to hide anymore.
“It’s a shame, but I suppose that’s the only way. I’ll make a list of the weapons favored by the best warriors we have. I am a bit concerned about what will happen later, after it becomes known that we have so many weapons at our disposal…I’m sorry, I don’t know how much I’ll be able to help.”
“Well…let’s see. Let’s say that I am the last remaining descendant of a clan of devil killers. I couldn’t just run away leaving all the trouble to you and Masakado.”
“—if needed, simply say that you’re connected to me. I won’t let anyone cause you trouble.”
Schnee, who had been listening quietly, finally spoke. If they said to be connected to Schnee Raizar, people would think twice before interfering.
“Is that really alright? That’s troublesome in itself, isn’t it?”
“Not at all. I had decided to accept requests only until Shin came back after all.”
Schnee left Shin’s side only to deal with the consequences of jobs she had accepted in the past.
“…it might be effective to announce that Shin is my husband too.”
Schnee mentioned it quite casually, but Hilamee agreed wholeheartedly.
“It definitely would draw attention away from the anti-devil gear or your fighting prowess, but you’d attract attention nonetheless.”
The fact that Schnee had found a companion would make a lot more noise than the news of someone capable of defeating devils.
Hilamee added that the village of High Elves would definitely move to confirm if it was true.
“I do not care one bit about the Elf village. Many High Elves have excessive amounts of pride, so I do not even want to get close to them.”
“The village’s High Elves would cry if they heard this…well, they brought it upon themselves, though.”
“It matters little to me, honestly.”
Unusually for Schnee, she reacted to Hilamee’s words in a rather curt manner. Being part of the Elf race caused her trouble in the past, apparently.
“You’re both pretty free-spirited, aren’t you?”
“That’s not exactly it…”
Shin was patting Schnee’s head to relieve her sour mood, when Luxuria shrugged her shoulders at them.
“Anyway, wouldn’t it be faster to ask Luxuria about anti-devil strategies? Being a devil, she surely knows best.”
“I don’t know about a devil that would tell others their weakness…but it’s pretty much as you said. In terms of information quality, I might even lose to you.”
“What do you mean?”
Luxuria was not just a monster now. She had the same intellect as a human, or maybe even more.
“People don’t know perfectly what magic or medicine is effective on them, or what the actual effects are, do they? It’s the same for us. I can tell by instinct if something would be fatal, but about the rest, well…who knows.”
“If you put it like that, I don’t have anything to say.”
Shin realized that he couldn’t give a satisfying answer if he was asked about what weapons or items were most effective on him. He could say to use Ancient grade weapons, or gear specialized against humans, but that was it.
“If you used the items Shin mentioned on me, you’d see how effective they are, no?”
“…is it okay to say that so casually? It’s like human experimentation, I don’t really like the idea.”
“It’s not like I’m going to die instantly, so it’s okay. Go ahead and try, if it works on me, it’ll work on Avaritia too.”
“…you’d go so far…?”
“Of course. I don’t have the slightest intention of becoming one with that thing.”
Luxuria crossed her arms over her chest and shook her head left and right. Maybe because of something that happened in the past, she loathed the idea so much she even felt fear.
“Well, regardless of testing the items on Luxuria or not, it’d be better to go somewhere we won’t risk being seen, don’t you think?”
At the very least, it wasn’t something to do in the headmistress’ office. Shin wasn’t keen on the idea at all, but they decided to meet another day.
“Is there anything else to discuss?”
“Yes, one more thing. This is more important, in a way.”
“Doesn’t seem like it’ll be something pleasant…”
Hilamee’s expression made it clear that it wouldn’t be.
“We received a message from the royal palace…they want Luxuria to appear before their inquiry commission.”
“An inquiry commission? Wait, how do inquiries work here?”
Shin had a general idea of what inquiry commissions did in the real world. In this world, however, the laws and structure of society were different. It might be something with the same name, but completely different contents.
“This commission examines individuals who caused problems within organizations tied with the kingdom of Erkunt, giving punishment when necessary. Luxuria is part of the Erkunt institute of magic’s teaching body”, after all. Different from our former world, it’s not really a fair organization, though…not that there was much fairness in the former world either…”
“What’s wrong?? You look tired of everything all of a sudden!?”
“Haha…no matter the world, there are always idiots that are only good at holding you back…someone leaked that Luxuria is one of the Deadly Sins devils…”
The likely culprit had already been identified. With the approaching risk of a Deadly Sins devil, Avaritia, it was nothing short of a disaster that the institute was found to be harboring another devil.
Even if she had no hostile intentions, many would definitely express extreme reactions to her strength and abilities.
“I had introduced her as someone I personally picked, which became a problem too.”
“Well yeah, with a high level devil in the school, I can see that…”
The reason why the kingdom had not simply sent someone to exterminate the ‘threat’ was to avoid instigating Luxuria, for fear that she went on a rampage in the kingdom, and that Hilamee said that Luxuria was working seriously in the institute and offered to collaborate against the Greed devil, so they could make use of it.
“Will she really cooperate? Is she really not hostile?…they also want to confirm other things. Luxuria being a devil, however, is a huge minus: more than half of the commission members are in favor of her being disposed of. The member with most authority is the very person who caused this problem too…I’m afraid there won’t be much of an ‘investigation’.”
The final verdict didn’t depend on one vote per member, apparently: votes depended on the member’s rank and title. This time, the commission members with most voting rights were in the “exterminate Luxuria” faction. Hilamee added that if things continued like this, the result would definitely be negative.
“One person has multiple votes and the quantity is different per member? Seriously?”
“It’s a relic of the age when the upper class had more privileges…from the reign of the former king, many rules have been revolutionized, and the situation has been improving under the current king though.”
The nobles still held onto the concept of being ‘chosen’, which blocked certain rules from being changed and created the current snag.
“The king is a prudent person, so he would never approve of sending an extermination party right away. Luxuria never caused any problems until now after all. She has been working with the technology development department too, which has helped create products appreciated by the people.”
“Well yeah, I suppose we should be glad that they didn’t go “monsters shall perish!!” right away…but if the commission judges her to be evil, then it’s the same, right? Is there any way we can unequivocally prove that Luxuria is an ally?”
“I tried thinking about it, but…”
Hilamee’s sour expression showed that she hadn’t come up with any useful proposals.
“Do commission members ever change?”
“They all have membership terms, but usually they never change. Unless they cause a scandal, at least. Which we don’t have any evidence of…”
Apparently they had already tried to get commission members disqualified.
“Another possibility I thought of was a direct order from the king…but that brings its share of problems too.”
“If the king ordered a collaboration with a devil, there would be a massive backlash. The current stance is to use Luxuria for defense, if possible, so it’s still okay, but…”
When Luxuria was exposed as a devil, Hilamee related all she knew about Avaritia too.
Luxuria is a level 700 devil. The fact that an even stronger devil was coming to attack kept those who wanted Luxuria exterminated in check, since she could be an effective countermeasure.
From the training dungeon events, it was clear that Avaritia used monsters to do his bidding.
There are plenty of monsters stronger than people. Once the enemy side was ready in terms of both quality and quantity, Erkunt would definitely fall. The kingdom was probably thinking that the best outcome was for the devils to take each other down.
“Unfortunately, nothing I could say would have any effect…”
“They know you have skills that affect mental states after all.”
Mental skills are very dangerous, so it was widely known which monsters could use them. Devils were some of the most infamous examples.
Luxuria was capable of charming others, regardless of gender, so people could fall under her control without realizing anything. If she even just spoke, some would suspect that she was trying to charm them, so just making conversation was difficult.
“If Luxuria is deemed dangerous, Hilamee’s position is at risk too, I suppose.”
“If they accuse me of concealing a devil, well, there’s nothing I can say in return. Devils are enemies of the people, normally. I think Luxuria poses no problems though. After talking with her, I can say this with confidence.”
“Oh my. You might have been charmed without your knowledge, you know?”
Luxuria poked fun at Hilamee’s assertion, but the latter did not change expression and continued.
“We have been taking care of the students together for 3 years after all. Thinking about her level and stats, I was scared before, but since I knew how the devils used to be, that couldn’t be helped. If I faced her honestly earlier, I might have understood that she was no threat earlier too.”
I don’t know if I could have managed that though…concluded Hilamee with a chuckle.
If there was only her life at stake, Hilamee would have done it, or so Shin thought. In the former world too, she had sacrificed her life for others after all.
“Oh dear, I surrender. What devil has ever seen such a smile?”
Luxuria looked away, to escape Hilamee’s gaze. Her side profile, after the childish gesture, showed some blushing. Yes, apparently even devils can blush.
“If the Avaritia business hadn’t happened, everything would have gone smoothly…”
Luxuria was a bit different than the usual, but she did not seem to be acting. Schnee agreed with Shin’s opinion and nodded, smiling.
“Hey! Why are you looking at me like you’re watching an emotional scene?? Don’t forget that I’m a devil!!”
“You acted like the cool beauty type, while you’re in fact more of a cute type? As expected of lust, truly.”
“What are you even talking about!?!”
It was rare to see Luxuria flustered. It took a few more minutes before Hilamee’s enthusiasm calmed down.
“So, how should we prove that Luxuria isn’t dangerous…”
“Ah, you don’t stop her from making fun of me, and force your way back to the main topic, I see.”
“…about that, I thought…”
“Hey, don’t ignore me!! You could have done something, you know!! Listen to me or I’ll attack you! Sexually!”
Luxuria continued her protest, with a flustered voice that didn’t fit her former image at all. She wasn’t used to be made fun of, so she was apparently quite stressed.
“You’re going to see each other often from now on too, don’t get all huffed over something like this, come on.”
“But things like that give me goosebumps…”
Luxuria knit her brows, still blushing a little, and held her body tight. Her well-developed breasts were pushed up as a result, pushing visibly against the sweater.
“Kh, look at her, so sexy even when she’s embarrassed…I guess I just don’t have enough volume…”
“It’s impressive how you can think of things like that at a time like this…”
Hilamee spoke while looking at her own chest, and Luxuria sighed in response.
“When you’re in a pinch mentally, it’s hard to come up with good ideas. We don’t really have much leeway anymore.”
Hilamee said that she made fun of Luxuria and stared at her chest like that just to relieve her spirits a bit. Though, it could have had the opposite effect and push her back against the wall even more.
“So, can I go back to the topic?”
“Like I said before, about the way to prove that Luxuria isn’t a threat…I mentioned that we could say that I’m from a clan of devil hunters, right? What if we used that?”
Shin then explained his proposal. Hilamee concluded that it was better than her plan, pointed out some points to improve it, and then they agreed to use it.