Fated to Be Loved by Villains Chapter 131

Chapter 131 - A Student's Duty

༺ A Student’s Duty ༻

 

    

  “…”

    

  “…”

        

  People who were drowning in their suffering could recognize each other by just looking at each other’s faces.

    

  That was always the thought that came to mind whenever I met Atalante.    

    

  “Let’s make a bet.”    

    

  Atalante, showing the most haggard appearance yet, spoke such a sentence in a subdued voice.  

    

  “A bet?”

    

  “Between the two of us, who brought the worse news.”

    

  “…”

    

  What an apt bet.

    

  Considering I was summoned by this person as soon as I returned to Elfante, it was highly likely that she had brought some seriously bad news too.    

    

  “…A Grand Assassin is currently in Elfante.”    

    

  I was the one to start it off.

    

  Just by seeing her eyes widen in shock, it was clear that the news I brought was anything but good.

    

  “…Won’t you need a nation-level budget to employ that person?”

    

  Well…

    

  There were only two Grand Assassins in the entire continent. Seras, and [Hessed], the head of the ‘Vagabond,’ so her thought went in the right direction in a way.

    

  After all, unlike Seras, who was exclusively under the Pope, Hessed was a freelancer who could be employed or contracted by anyone.     

    

  “Judging from what you’re saying, it seems like they infiltrated the academy because of something related to you. I can take some measures to—”

    

  “…No, just leave her be.”

    

  “Excuse me?”

    

  “It’s more dangerous to carelessly mess around with her.”

    

  It would be a different story if we had not met at all.

    

  But if the Purple Devil’s Fragment began to awaken due to my influence, interacting with her carelessly would be dangerous.

    

  Purple Devil. Or, Devil of ‘Obedience’.

    

  Out of the Rulers of Pandemonium, she was the most… How should I put it…?

    

  Unique… I guess…

        

  “…I’ll handle it somehow.”    

    

  As long as I was well aware of how to handle her, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that she was the least dangerous one among the Devils, but…

    

  Currently, the Devils were fighting over my ‘shares.’ Her inclusion would only further complicate my situation. So, there was no need to interact with her unnecessarily.

    

  The better course of action was to keep her close and moderately manage my interaction with her.

    

  In other words…

    

  The things that I needed to do were…

    

  1. Make Eleanor, Yuria, and Lucia feel better…

    

  1. Awakening Faenol’s emotions…

    

  1. Carry a bomb that was a Grand Assassin on my back at all times.

        

  “…”

        

  Simple and easy, am I right? …Hell no.

    

  Chapter 4 hadn’t even started yet, but I had to do all this?    

    

  “…Haaa…”    

    

  But still, it wasn’t like I could run away from it.

    

  Besides, everything that I had done so far was pretty much something unmanageable.

    

  As I was racking my brain and let out a sigh, Atalante looked at me with a gaze full of pity. 

    

  “You look tired.”

    

  “Do I?”

    

  “Yes. Honestly, I am a bit worried. If you keep pushing yourself like this, I’m afraid something really bad might happen at some point.”

    

  “…”    

    

  Well, who knows?    

    

  “…Even so, I don’t think I can rest for the time being.”    

    

  The Prophet definitely tried to ‘kill’ Eleanor. They threw the Reversed Sea, a bait at the level of a chapter boss, and tried to do so while tying up my hands.

    

  This kind of progression didn’t exist in the original game.

    

  Hell, the Prophet wasn’t even a woman in the game.

    

  He was a mere fanatic who blindly believed in anything related to Devils.

    

  But now, that bastard’s actions almost seemed…   

 

  Not like that of a Devil ‘Worshipper’, but someone who wanted to ‘erase’ all of them.    

    

  “…”    

    

  I could not let that happen.

    

  There was a reason why I switched my race using the Fallen’s Seal. At the very least people around me shouldn’t get hurt because of that bitch.

    

  That was why…

    

  I couldn’t afford to dawdle for a while if I wanted to stop her.    

    

  “…Then for now, let’s hear the interim progress report.”   

    

  While I was thinking that, Atalante threw out such words along with a sigh.    

    

  “How have you been getting along with the Vessels lately?”

    

  “Everything is going smoothly. I am making steady progress.”

    

  […Smoothly?]

    

  “…”

    

  [You literally got split into half a while ago.]    

    

  Caliban sarcastically commented inside Soul Linker, but the fact of the matter was, as long as I was breathing, it meant everything was going on smoothly.

    

  Considering that the ones involved here were Devils, I could say that I was doing pretty well even.

    

  And, more importantly…    

    

  ‘Caliban.’

    

  [Ye?]

    

  ‘You might see even worse things in the future.’

    

  […]

        

  He questioned me, ‘What could be worse than being split in half?’ in silence. Well, I only told him the truth.

    

  I mean, just look at what was written here.

    

System Message

[ Event related to the ‘Second Fragment’ of target ‘Yuria’ will soon be unlocked! ]

    

  “…”    

    

  The Second Fragment of the White Devil…

    

  Let’s just hope that it won’t overlap with the main quest.

    

  Thinking so, I fidgeted with the mask I was always carrying in my pocket.

    

  This was my lifeline. The moment I showed my ‘bare face’ in front of her, it would be the end of me.  

    

  [Which means she’ll see your face soon enough.]

    

  “…”

    

  [What? Am I wrong? So far, all your worries somehow ended up happen—]  

    

  I removed the amulet from my wrist.

    

  No way I’d keep on listening to his ominous predictions.

    

  “…If that’s the case, then that’s good to hear.”

    

  Atalante sighed as she spoke.    

    

  “After all, if your bad news overlapped with mine, it would have been too much for you to handle.”

    

  “…”    

      

  Ah, right.

    

  We were in the middle of a bet.

 

  Apart from the three tasks I mentioned earlier, there was at least another piece of bad news.

    

  “First of all… You made quite a mess in the Forge of Struggle. I never expected your name to be involved in something like the change of the Chieftain.”

    

  “…How disastrous was it?”    

    

  That was what I said for now.

    

  Since Atalante almost entirely handled the aftermath of the messes I created, this time too, she must have acted as a seawall to prevent me from getting entangled in complicated, bothersome political machinations and administrative storms.

    

  Of course, I did all the work, but this time there was the international shield named Kasa, so it shouldn’t have been too difficult to sort out.

    

  “The work itself wasn’t too difficult. You laid out the plan quite cleverly.”    

    

  See, there you have it.    

    

  “But because of this incident, the Imperial Household has started to take a serious interest in you, Dowd.”

    

  “…”

        

  As soon as I heard what came out of Atalante’s mouth, my expression hardened.

    

  The Imperial Household.

    

  Those bastards who held the leash of the Tristan Duchy. Among the three superpowers, they had an exceptionally closed-off nature. If it wasn’t a separate branch route in the scenario, there was hardly any chance to even see their faces.

    

  That was how particularly sinister and sly they were; Some players even thought that they had more power and influence than the Pope.

    

  To be more precise though, the problem was not the entire ‘Imperial Household’, but just one person.    

    

  “…Has the Chancellor taken an interest in me?”

    

  “No.”

    

  “That’s a relief. If it had been that person instead of His Imperial Majesty, I might as well just kill myself right now.”

    

  Atalante looked at me with intrigued eyes.    

    

  “You even know the power structure inside the Imperial Palace?”

    

  At the very least, I knew what kind of human trash the Chancellor was. It was unbelievable that a human could be so vile.

    

  The reason behind Gideon’s death and Eleanor’s Corruption Value maxing out were all because of that bastard.

    

  “…Roughly.”

    

  “Then it’ll be easier to explain.”    

    

  Atalante rubbed her eyes and sighed.    

    

  “You know about the Comprehensive Competency Evaluation coming up soon, right?”   

    

  Ah, that…

    

  It was an indispensable event at the academy. Basically, it was like a periodic exam.

    

  If the midterms were just about being thrown into one place for a battle royale, the Comprehensive Competency Evaluation was like a final exam at the end of the year.

 

  It covered everything from written, practical, real combat.

    

  “This time, Her Majesty the Empress herself is coming.”

    

  “…”

    

  “Given the circumstances, he’ll be coming to contact ‘you’ directly.”    

    

  What?

    

  My expression instantly turned blank at those words.

    

  No, like… Sure, in the Forge of Struggle, the Chieftain, a head of state, visited the academy himself, but… 

    

  The ‘Chieftain’ and the ‘Empress’ had different weights in their position.

    

  One was pretty much a figurehead that could be replaced within a month, while the other was someone who wielded absolute power until their death.

    

  To put it simply…

    

  If the Chieftain were to prepare for a continental conquest, he would be beaten the fuck up and kicked out by the other War Chiefs in an instant.

    

  But if the Empress did the same, the entire Empire would shift into a state of war with just her one word.

    

  That was the extent of their difference.

    

  But now, such a person…

    

  Was coming just to see little old me?    

    

  “…”

        

  I racked my brain silently.

    

  Considering the importance of the Empress, especially within the Imperial Household, this was likely to be highly relevant to the main scenario.

    

  I could not afford to take this lightly.    

    

  “…The problem is…”        

  

  Atalane continued with a sigh.    

    

  “…To gain an audience with Her Majesty, usually, one must demonstrate the ‘qualification’ worthy of meeting her. Failing to meet that qualification itself amounts to a crime of lèse-majesté1offence or defamation against the dignity of a ruling head of state or of the state itself. The English name for this crime is a modernised borrowing from the medieval French, where the phrase meant “a crime against The Crown”..”

    

  “…”

        

  If it was lèse-majesté, especially when it was against the Empress…

    

  I could end up getting jailed.

    

  It was absurd but that was how much the Empire venerated the Empress’s authority. They practically treated her like a living demigod.

    

  Of course, it would have to be interpreted quite maliciously for it to go that far, though.

    

  The problem was…    

    

  “If Her Majesty personally selects you for an audience and you fail to meet the required qualifications, it would give those around you a reason to tear into you and bring you down.”

 

  Atalante continued with a gloomy tone.

 

  “And if such a reason arises, you might end up facing the Chancellor, who is a vehement opponent of the Empress. Such a person might harbor animosity towards you simply because Her Majesty showed interest in you.”

 

  “…”

 

  Yeah, that sounded about right.

 

  That was the problem with someone who was filled with the possibility of maliciously exploiting such clauses of the law.

 

  “At the very least, you’ll need to prove that you’re a person of such caliber without any weaknesses, only then you’d be able to meet Her Majesty.”

    

  “Then do I have anything to worry about?’    

    

  It was a bit weird for me to say this myself, but I was someone who had achieved incredibly unbelievable results so far when I was just at the level of a student.

    

  Submitting just a few of them should suffice in proving my qualifications.

    

  However, Atalante looked at me with a gloomy expression.    

    

  “I’m not worried about that part. However, you should make sure there is no ‘blemish’ that can be picked on, shouldn’t you?”

    

  “…So there’s some other part to worry about?”

    

  “How are your grades?”

    

  “…”

        

  Ah.    

    

  “…I don’t think I even took the subjects needed to complete the required number of classes.”

    

  “…”    

    

  Okay, look… I had no choice in this matter, okay?

 

  I’ve been running around non-stop, barely holding onto my life. Where the fuck would I found the time to study?

    

  “I know you’ve been busy, Dowd. That’s why I’ve been covering for you as much as I can. But with the Empress involved, I can’t just turn a blind eye.”

    

  “…”

    

  “…You… Have to study…”    

    

  Atalante spoke in an earnest voice.    

    

  “At the very least, you need to get a perfect score in all subjects in the upcoming Competency Evaluation to even have a chance of making up for it.”

    

  “…”

        

  Hmm.

    

  A perfect score in all subjects in Elfante’s exam, where prodigies from across the Empire gathered.

    

  And that was what I had to do; me, who had barely attended any classes.    

    

  “…How long until the exam, Headmistress?”

    

  “There is about a week left.”

    

  “…”

        

  Hm.

    

  Hmmmmmmm.    

    

        

  Ultimately, the entire situation pointed to just one thing.

    

  I needed a teacher.

    

  A teacher who could teach me reaaaaaaaally fucking well.

    

  And, being a student of the Theology School, the first person I should immediately convince was the Saintess. After all, shouldn’t I start with the subject that carried the greatest distribution of marks?

    

  I already had business with her due to the Faenol-related event anyway, so she had just soared up my priority list.

    

  As such…

    

  I quickly came here to create a means to ‘appease’ her.    

    

  “So, you’re that guy, huh?”    

    

  Professor Vulkan of the Crafting School was a man whose muscular build made it hard to believe he was of such an age.

    

  Watching him move heartily among the anvil, hammer, and the flames of the forge, it was easy to forget that he was an old man.    

    

  “…Nice to meet you, Professor Vulkan.”

    

  “Forget it. There’s no need for formalities between you and me.”    

    

  And true to his appearance, a hearty voice immediately followed.

    

  Just like how a person who didn’t care much for formalities sho—    

    

  “If you’re too polite, I can’t swear into your face.”

    

  “…”

    

  “Spill it, you piece of shit. What kind of item do you want me to make this time? Isn’t that why you’re here? I’m already curious about how many nights I’ll have to pull an all-nighter.”

    

  “…”    

    

  What an… Intense person. I like him.

    

  Thinking as such, I looked at Professor Vulkan; Although his lips were smiling, his eyes were practically shooting daggers, as if just waiting to kill me.

    

  It was clear his attitude wasn’t cooperative, but I came to him for a reason.

    

  He was the one who made the bomb used by Percy, the Dean of the Magic School, to blow up the Purifier. He was also the one who had modified my Ultima.

    

  Even if he was not as skilled as the all-around manufacturing tool Sephira from the Forge of Struggle, he was still undoubtedly a top-class craftsman.

    

  The only shortcoming in his craftsmanship wasn’t the quality of the items but rather, just the fact that he was a bit slower in speed.

    

  I had heard he had been pulling all-nighters every time I had given him a crafting request, after all.    

    

  “…”

       

  In that respect…

    

  There was no one else but him who could make an item of a quality that didn’t fall short of Sephira’s, especially for the maniacal request I was about to make.    

    

  “…I’ve come with a rather fascinating request.”

    

  “Was it ever not? What is it? Just tell me without any reservations.”    

    

  Professor Vulkan put his hammer aside.

 

  “…”

 

  Well, I don’t know about that.

 

  If I actually spoke without reservations, I was pretty sure he would get mad at me.

 

  But it felt like he would rage even if I spoke with reservations, so I just proceeded.

  

  I laid our various materials.

    

  These were what I obtained while fighting the Reversed Sea in the Forge of Struggle. They were the body components of the Rulers of the Demonic Zones used in reconstructing Kasa’s limbs.

    

  It was basically a comprehensive gift set.

    

  I also pulled out the starsteel used in making Yuria’s circlet.

    

  Indeed, Vulkan’s eyes lit up as he examined the materials.    

    

  “…You have quite the luck. Where did you get all this?”

    

  “…”

    

  I felt like my image had improved a bit in his eyes, but…

    

  Considering what was to come, it was questionable how long that would last.    

    

  “Using these…”    

    

  I firmly resolved myself and handed over a ‘blueprint’ to Vulkan.   

    

  “…I’d like you to make this for me.”    

    

  Vulkan examined the blueprint thoroughly.

    

  Then, he looked at me with a cold gaze.    

    

  “…”    

    

  To be fair, it was an expected reaction.    

    

  “…So, Dowd Campbell.”    

    

  Professor Vulkan spoke in a rigid tone.    

    

  “You said it was a fascinating request, didn’t you?”

    

  “…Yes.”

    

  “What part of asking for a really fucking strong ‘leash’ is fascinating?”

    

  “…I need two of them.”    

 

  “Did anyone ask, you punk? You’re asking the senior professor of the Crafting School to make  pet accessories? With these materials?”

    

  I forced a smile in response to his half-contemptuous gaze.    

    

  “…It’s not for pets.”

    

  “What?”

    

  “It’s for people.”

    

  “…”

    

  “Two people.”

    

  “…”

    

  “Isn’t that fascinating?”    

    

  It really was fascinating.

    

  After all, looking at Vulkan’s gaze… It was the first time I realized that you could verbally abuse someone with a mere gaze…

    

 


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Footnotes:

  • 1
    offence or defamation against the dignity of a ruling head of state or of the state itself. The English name for this crime is a modernised borrowing from the medieval French, where the phrase meant “a crime against The Crown”.
Fated to Be Loved by Villains

Fated to Be Loved by Villains

Score 9.90
Status: Ongoing Released: 2022 Native Language: Korean
I was proposed to by the Final Boss.

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