༺ Butterfly Effect ༻
After concluding all my business, I walked out of the dome, only to see the Saintess clutching her head with a heavily twisted expression.
There was a lit cigarette in her hand.
“…Is it okay for the Saintess to smoke?”
“When I’m stressed, yes, it’s okay. If I don’t do this, I probably would’ve just died ages ago.”
Why was she suddenly making such an ominous remark?
“I’m having a hard time right now as well. Because of you.”
“Did you know? When one contains divine power beyond a normal amount, there are times when they can communicate with beings from the Astral Realm.”
“There’s an angel in that building who is very angry with you. They kept screaming about how trashy you are. Their voice is ringing in my head.”
“…Is that so…?”
Well, I didn’t actually need her to tell me that.
Seeing this was enough to tell me all I needed to know.
[ Target ‘Virtue A1101’ recognizes you as irredeemable trash! ]
[ Marked with Negative Tendency! ]
[ Rewards Available! ]
[ Skill: Evil Ruler has been activated! Obtained 1 command right over the target! ]
These days, it felt like my reputation was plummeting to the ground quite frequently. Well, shit, it wasn’t like there was anything that I could do.
Actually, fuck it. There was something more important than that.
I brought out several metal ingots the size of Lucia’s forearm in front of her.
As soon as she saw them, Lucia’s expression quickly turned serious.
No matter how much she shit on me, she was still the Saintess. She seemed to have recognized what it was right away.
I mean, it was a bit hard not to know, since the ‘Heart of the Star’ inside that dome was made out of this exact material.
Type: Material – Weapons and Armor
Description: It has high conductivity for all types of powers, but is especially compatible with divine power. It can only be damaged by Starsteel or Pandemonium Metal.
▶ Strong resistance to all curses when crafting equipment.
▶ When combined with specific materials, it has special effects.
That’s fucking dope.
As expected of the core material for the protagonist’s signature weapon, it was practically smothered in all kinds of utilities.
“Where on earth did you get this much starsteel? This is a metal that only appears in myths—!”
“Well, if you want to nitpick, isn’t the being inside, the one who is cursing me, also someone who only appears in myths?”
Lucia closed her mouth as if to say, ‘Wait, he got a point.’
“I’m planning to give Yuria a present by using one of these.”
When I continued talking while scratching my cheek, Lucia’s eyes briefly lost her focus.
Then, she blinked her eyes a few times in succession.
It seemed like she was slowly digesting the significance of what she had just heard.
Suddenly, she jumped up from her seat. With a look of astonishment, she alternated her gaze between the starsteel ingot and me.
“W-Wait, just a moment. This is starsteel we are talking about! In some cases, wars would have broken out to obtain just half the amount you just gave me!”
Yep, that was true. This thing definitely wasn’t your average everyday commodity.
But the curse on your younger sister wasn’t some ordinary curse either, you know?
“Well, I’m not even giving you all of it anyway. I’ve set aside the amount I’m going to use, so just take it.”
I wasn’t lying.
This was barely half of what I had ripped off from that Virtue.
After all, I intended to save the rest for other purposes.
“That’s not the issue he—!”
“I’ve told you before, there will be problems if I don’t give you two at least this much.”
With a determined tone, I said those words.
When I said that the Curse of Severance was one of the most vicious things in existence, I wasn’t spewing some exaggerated bullshit.
The amount that I got from blackmailing that Virtue was almost enough to make a holy relic, but it would still be impossible to remove the curse in its entirety with only that much.
“…That is…indeed true.”
Lucia responded with a gloomy expression, her head drooped as she fell silent.
“However, only receiving one-sided favor like this—”
I interrupted with a serious tone.
“Both of you are that important to me. I can afford to give you some of these, so just take it.”
To be more precise, to effectively utilize Yuria in the upcoming Chapter 2 Boss Battle, they had to receive this starsteel.
Considering the roles that these two sisters would play in the Boy King Boss Battle, I could not emphasize enough how important this matter was. It wasn’t only for their sake, but it was for mine as well.
“In the first place, this is just the beginning. I intend to stay with you for a long time. Just consider it a token of my sincerity.”
This girl was one of the key figures of the late-game main story line, the ‘Pope Subjugation’. Giving away mere chunk of starsteel wasn’t even that big of a de–
[ The target is aware of your history with women and therefore has doubts. Resists seduction! ]
[ However, she eventually fails to resist! ]
[ The favorability of the target ‘Lucia’ has slightly increased! ]
[ The favorability level has been upgraded from ‘Interest Level 1’ to ‘Interest Level 1.5’! ]
‘What the fuck is this shit?’
‘What seduction did I do? What the fuck did resisting it even mean?’
“…Please don’t do this to me. Please.”
Lucia, with a deeply blushing face, opened her mouth with a stammer.
“I only had suspicions before, but now I’m certain. Just how many girls have you seduced like this?”
“When you’re saying words that would cause misunderstandings, there’s a line that you should never cross… If I didn’t know Yuria was in this state, I might have been fooled by you too…”
“…What does that even mea—?”
“I don’t know! Don’t make me explain my own words, you shameless person!”
Dowd Campbell, recipient of a second lifetime achievement.
Someone the Saintess labeled a shameless person.
How far have I fallen?
The Saintess, still with a red face, continued speaking after clearing her throat a few times.
“The last time you helped, you said nothing in this world is free. So, what do you want from us this time?”
She was definitely quick on the uptake.
As expected, it seemed like the fuckery she had gone through while roleplaying as the benevolent Saintess was not a waste at all.
“Yes, well. Um. It’s not that big of a deal but…”
I tried to choose my words carefully.
Like, really, REALLY, carefully.
As I mentioned time and time again, these two sisters were the key figures of the Boy King Subjugation.
Because of this, their roles were also quite…spectacular. Yes. Totally.
However, I found that when I usually explain these kinds of things, I’d get misunderstood way too often.
That was why, I had to explain the plan in a more stable and careful mann—
“You know, I can tell that your request is fucking deranged just by looking at your expression, so just cut to the chase and say it. What do you want?”
Why was she so mean to me…?
Honestly, I was already prepared for the fact that everything wouldn’t follow what was ‘predetermined’.
However, I guess I should’ve paid more attention…
As always, the butterfly effect was more of a motherfucking pain in the ass than I anticipated.
〖 Chapter 2: Boy King 〗
[ ‘Academy Assault’ Incident: D-1 ]
I read the window in front of me.
‘Only one day left now, huh?’
Various things happened, but I had prepared everything I could for now.
On one hand, the scale of the boss battle would be far greater than the Purifier, but on the other, the chances for success were far higher as well.
After all, compared to back then, not only did I have a multitude of back-up plans at my disposal, but I also had grown considerably.
I had strengthened Divine’s Ultima using the main quest reward, ‘Echo of Sanctification’, and had commissioned starsteel equipment that could contain Yuria’s curse. Additionally, I relayed instructions to the Greyhounder Sisters on what to do with such equipment.
Suddenly, I recalled Eleanor’s words.
“Professor Vulcan from the Crafting School wants to see you some time.”
“Really? I guess he must be grateful for receiving such a special commission that utilizes rare materials, right?”
“No. He wants to kill you for requesting him to complete such a deranged commision in just one day.”
“He wants to at least buy you a last supper before your funeral.”
How incredibly kind of him.
Even so, he was still a professor at Elfante’s Crafting School; his skill was beyond doubt and I was sure that the completed equipment had already been delivered to Yuria by now.
Just like how this had just been delivered to me.
Item Grade: C+ → B+
[ Applied 1 Echo of Sanctification! ]
[ Changes in Built-In Skills! ]
Skill: Penance → Proof of Faith
Skill Grade: C → B
For a short time, converts all stat bonuses into ‘Endurance’ and ‘Divine Power’.
Consumes a small amount of mana.
※ Evolvable Skill: Upon evolution, the skill will change to [Martyr]!
Skill: Guardian Shield → Stigmata
Skill Grade: C → B
Creates a continuously regenerating shield for a certain period of time.
Consumes a small amount of mana.
The strength of the shield is affected by the ‘Endurance’ stat.
The regeneration speed of the shield is affected by the ‘Divine Power’ stat.
※ Evolvable Skill: Upon evolution, the skill will change to [Shallow Tomb]!
‘That’s what I’m talking about.’
This was the majesty of evolving a skill in one shot with an item, instead of grinding for a year, as I was originally supposed to.
Whether it was ‘Proof of Faith’ or ‘Stigmata,’ their enhanced capabilities from their previous counterparts were impressive.
Proof of Faith was particularly valuable because even though it was a temporary, the buff to the ‘Divine Power’ was enormous.
While Desperation increased General stats, it didn’t boost the Special ones. When considering the stat bonuses that come with higher grades of the skill, the impact of these bonuses being entirely applied to ‘Divine Power’ would be tremendous to see.
Additionally, the advantage of having a ‘regenerating’ shield was also noteworthy.
You see,this meant as long as my enemies didn’t fuck me over in one blow, the shield would remain.
Even at a glance, you could tell that its defensive capabilities were several times greater than Guardian Shield.
‘This will definitely save my ass in the future.’
With that thought, I stretched my back, groaning like an ancient sage.
All that was left was to give Atalante a basic outline of countermeasures for tomorrow’s assault.
“…Also, it’s pretty late outside now.”
I muttered to myself while walking through the academy’s corridors.
Dusk had set, casting a reddish glow on the nearby surroundings.
During this time of the day, the academy was always bustling as students finished their classes and scattered away.
And if I said that I never envied those students, I would be lying.
Oftenly, I couldn’t help but wonder what it felt like to live a ‘dedicated’ school life. You know, since I’ve never actually attended school properly.
It held true, whether it was in the past or the present. I didn’t experience school even ‘outside’ this game.
I transmigrated inside a school-themed game and even possessed a student. However, it felt like I spent more time wandering around to solve incidents and clean up other people’s shit than actually attend proper classes.
“What are you staring at?”
While I dwelled in my musings, I suddenly heard a voice.
When I turned around, there was a woman wearing a mask.
Her demeanor was unassuming, but there was an indescribable presence about her that made it hard to look away.
I couldn’t sense any danger from her. Which was weird since her odd mask and distorted voice made her incredibly suspicious.
Instead, she emitted a rather comforting atmosphere, making me feel all warm inside..
I examined her from top to bottom.
Usually, when someone approached me like this, I would start getting suspicious in various ways before thinking about anything else, but, with this person…Well…
Simply put, because they seemed so weak, I did not feel the need to be wary. I didn’t even need to use Scan to know it. After all, I had developed an instinct for such things after being around strong individuals.
Seeing as Desperation had not triggered, it meant she was only at a level slightly better than me. To be more precise, perhaps just slightly below the average individual.
I tilted my head and responded.
“Do you know me?”
“Oh, no. Not at all. This is our first time meeting. It’s just that I noticed you looking at other people with eyes drenched in such melancholy.”
“…Was it really that bad?”
“It was really that bad.”
The woman giggled as she bounced towards me. When I began to walk towards the headmistress’ office, she followed me so naturally that I was almost fooled to believe we were meant to go together in the first place.
“Was there perhaps a girl you like in that crowd? If there was, your girlfriend would be quite mad, you know?”
“…I don’t have a girlfriend.”
Not only did I not have one right now, but I had also never had one in my previous life.
“Oh, really? You don’t have a girlfriend or anything else? With your face, I don’t think you’d be unpopular among the ladies..”
I couldn’t help but let out a bitter laugh.
It was the first time I had heard such a compliment in my entire life…
“…You’re not wrong.”
If we were going to dwell on the technicalities, then yeah, I was pretty popular.
To people that I shouldn’t fuck around with, that is.
“Mmmmm? I feel like that laugh seemed to hold some backstory behind it, no?”
“I don’t know what you’re on about. Backstory? There’s none.”
Backstory? The story of my life was to struggle for my continued puny existence as I inadvertently got involved in the absolute fuckfest that came with attracting an amalgamation of people.
Just like the Butterfly Effect.
‘…I don’t have backstories, but I do have responsibilities.’
No matter how dense I was or how misconstrued my intentions were or all that dogshit that somehow came naturally to me, their favorability levels were always right in front of my eyes. It was unreasonable to claim that I was completely unaware of their feelings.
So, whatever backstory there was, if it led to them clinging onto me because of their affection and love…
Even if it wasn’t right at this moment, some day, for sure…
I would take responsibility. I had to settle it some way or another.
No matter how much of a piece of shit I was, I surely had at least that much awareness.
“Huh. Hey, your expression is getting gloomy again.”
“…Rather than gloomy, ‘afraid’ is more fitting.”
Yep, sure. Taking responsibility was good and all, but…
All Devils had this coded personality that made them inherently possessive and obsessive.
To put it bluntly, if such Devils started to fight amongst themselves for someone’s love and affection, it wouldn’t be some simple argument in a romcom.
It would likely turn into a terrifying and apocalyptic scene of utter destruction. Huh, I wonder what would happen to me? I mean, y’know, I was literally in the center of it…
Perhaps, most humans with a soul constitution like mine had already died because of that, yeah?
As Atalante had mentioned previously, I agreed that my only path to survival was to rizz up every single one of the Devil’s Vessels. At the same time, however, I would also be the one who had to bear all the risks that came with it.
‘…You can do it, future me!’
In the end, my top priority was leveling up for dear life.
This wasn’t some joke, okay? Just drowning in women who liked me was more than enough to pose a pretty high possibility of death…
Before I could accept their feelings or whatever freaky kinks they wanted from me, I needed to have the strength to handle the risks that come with it…!
As I fell into such deep contemplation, the masked woman, who had been quietly observing me, bursted into laughter.
“You’re quite a fun and interesting person to watch, you know? Even if you are doing your own thing, it isn’t boring at all to spectate.”
“…Is that so?”
“Yes. It’s much more entertaining than I thought.”
I tilted my head in confusion.
“…More than you thought, you said?”
She knew something about me.
Honestly, it was more likely that it wasn’t anything important.
Rumors about me had spread to the point where anyone could easily know who I was. It wasn’t difficult to assume that she had probably heard some random tidbits.
The masked woman nodded while briefly humming.
“Do you happen to know what the ‘butterfly effect’ is?”
I stopped in my tracks as I heard some eerily familiar words.
“Originally, I had no interest in you. I didn’t even plan to come here today. However, little by little, you caught my attention, and now, you’re the only one I can see.”
A strange feeling crept in.
A shiver ran down my spine.
“All your actions led to this result; me being here today. It’s a textbook definition of the butterfly effect, isn’t it?”
“Honestly, since you always prepared ahead of time, I thought you’d be more meticulous and have that calculative mastermind vibe…”
The masked woman leaned forward with her hands behind her back.
“But that’s not the case at all. You’re much more peculiar than I thought. You’re so ordinary that it made you somewhat special. It’s quite strange that someone like you still holds the upper hand, even when entangling with Devils.”
The strange feeling intensified, becoming more and more concrete.
Throughout the entire continent, only a few humans knew about my involvement with ‘Devils’.
And even among the leaders of superpowers, only a certain few had such information.
As she started throwing such information casually, I stopped considering her as a normal human.
“This is why I like you. I like you so much more now that I went out my way to see you directly, instead of just hearing stories about you.”
Even with such words, the masked woman’s demeanor remained utterly unchanged.
Calm, quiet, and did not seem harmful at all.
“…Who are you?”
“Just know that I am Mr. Dowd’s Number 1 Fan. I might value you much more than those devil-affiliated girls who are desperately chasing after you, okay?”
“What I’m trying to say is that it’s unpleasant to have those cursed bitches anywhere near you.”
And right when those words flowed out in her composed voice…
“I want to kill them all whenever I see them hanging around you, acting as if they amount to something. How dare they do such a thing when they know nothing about you? Seriously, they need to know their places.”
At this point, it was inevitable that I would break out in a flood of cold sweat.
I couldn’t understand what she was saying at all. The demeanor she gave off remained the same. It was as harmless and ordinary as ever.
No matter how I looked at it, there was no threatening atmosphere.
However, even though this was the conclusion I came with rationally…
Instinctively, I felt that this person was ‘dangerous’.
I felt it more strongly than ever before.
The feeling was so overwhelming that my head started to spin.
There was no physical pressure whatsoever, but I found myself involuntarily stepping back before I even realized, due to the ‘twisted sensation’ emanating from her.
“Only I can understand you. Only I can see through your ‘true self’.”
The masked woman giggled. For every step I retreated, she matched with her own step, as she advanced.
“In this world, I am the only one. Only me. Only I can face you as an equal. The only ‘villain’ capable of that is me. Even the Devils can’t do it.”
“The others are just puppets that dance to your tune. They’re just pieces on a chessboard. No matter how you look at them, they lack the brilliance that you have.”
She continued in a voice mixed with laughter.
In her usual calm tone, she poured out sentences dripping with such venom that it made me dizzy.
“So boring. So annoying. I want to kill them all. I want to kill them all and leave only you and me in this world. Life would be a bit more enjoyable that way.”
“Who are you?”
It felt like my stomach was turning inside out.
I was barely able to squeeze out my voice
The masked woman took a step back, smiling slightly.
“You can just remember me as someone who came to scout you, okay?”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“You still haven’t finished preparing for Valkasus’s assault, have you?”
A chill ran down my spine.
“It seems that you have several ‘measures’ prepared to counteract him…But the important ‘deployments’ aren’t finalized yet. There should probably be at least four near the Clock Tower. Even if only that part is set up properly, you could easily subdue Valkasus.”
I froze. I couldn’t breathe.
“The plan is perfect. Also, the measures are appropriate. I would’ve done the same. However…”
“If the timing of the incident was moved up by just ‘one day’, most of your plan would be neutralized, right?”
She was repeating the exact same actions that I had been doing to my ‘enemies’ until now.
Anticipating everything they would do and then unleashing a counter-punch one step ahead.
“I want to expect something more from you.”
The woman gazed towards the Clock Tower and continued.
“About the disturbance that I will cause starting from now… I don’t think I could handle it if I was in your position. However, if it’s you…”
“If it’s you, you can do something about it, right?”
The sentences continued to pour out.
“You can make me fall for you even more, right?”
With that, she pulled out something from inside her clothes.
Although it looked similar to a tiny awl…
I knew what it really was.
“Oh? As expected, you know it?”
How could I not?
This item marked the beginning of Chapter 2.
It completely disabled the surrounding barrier, allowing Valkasus’s Forbidden Jutsu to permeate throughout the entirety of the academy grounds.
A truly powerful and rare artifact.
Only the Leader of the Devil Worshippers would even know of its existence, let alone possess one.
I clenched my fists tightly.
If that was the case, this proved…
Who the woman before me really was.
“Come to think of it, I haven’t introduced myself yet.”
The masked woman swept back her hair before speaking.
Leader of the Devil Worshippers.
“But, you see, by any chance…”
She left me one last line.
And soon after…
A huge light burst out from the Sky Splitter. As the light hit the dome-shaped barrier in the sky, web-like cracks started to spread.
As I watched this scene that all but signified the start of the Chapter 2 Boss Battle…
[ A change in the scenario has occurred! ]
[ An Emergency Event has occurred! ]
[ The remaining time for the Main Quest has drastically decreased! ]
I had only one thought on my mind.
Do I know the butterfly effect?
Yeah. I know.
I knew it better than anyone. It was my true mentor that taught me this one fact; In this world, absolutely nothing would go my way.
〖 Chapter 2: Boy King 〗
[ ‘Academy Assault’ Incident has begun! ]
[ Protect the Academy! ]
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