EP - 041 - Time Bomb

“…Is that true?”

Elnore asked with a bewildered voice. Meanwhile, the person who elicited such a reaction nodded nonchalantly.

“Yes. The agreement between the Holy Land and Elfante has already been made.”

Elnore scanned through the documents handed to her with a puzzled expression.

But Atlante's signature is clearly written at the bottom.

‘The President is not one to agree with this madness.’

As she was in deep ponder, she heard the other party's voice again. 

“Is there any problem?”

Klein Garrison, the battle priest of the Holy Land, wearing such a nameplate, brightly smiled and asked.

A battle priest wearing purple epaulettes is someone of authority and power comparable to that of a platoon leader among regular knights of the Empire.

To think that such a high-ranking individual would be sent as a mere representative of a delegation. 

This made the topic he presented even more shocking.

“Are you saying that the Saintess would do such a thing? This is too-”


It's hard to believe that this was proposed by a religious group.

“Student Council President.”

His tone sounded polite.

But underlying this facade is a hidden wicked.

“The Saintess ‘voluntered’ herself. Is something wrong with it?”


Who in the world would volunteer for such a thing?

Rather than that, it would be much more fitting to say that ‘she's forced to volunteer’.

Suddenly, what Dowd said the other day passed through her mind.

‘The Holy Land will probably make ridiculous demands. I don't know the details, but it's a place filled with crazy people, starting with the Pope.’

When she first heard it, she couldn't believe such sacrilegious words. 

Treating the continent's largest religious group as villains?

However, now that she was faced with it directly, she couldn't help but have doubts. 

Only madmen would make such demands. 


“Student Council President? This matter has already been decided, so please-”


Being urged, Elnore, who had her eyes closed in contemplation of Dowd’s words, finally gave her stamp and returned the documents. 

The other party, who had been preparing to threaten her if their demands were not met, was taken aback when Elnore complied just like that.

“Is there anymore? I've already dealt with it as you wished.”

“…Thank you.”

The battle priest, with a dubious expression, scanned Elnore from top to bottom before finally nodding and leaving the Student Council Office. 

Though they had made the request themselves, it seemed like they were surprised at how easily she accepted it. Elnore smiled and stood up from her seat.

The exam was approaching, and as the Student Council President, she's also a proctor. She needed to quickly make her way to the exam venue.


Thoughts were floating around her head.

It was an undeniably strange proposal. Her usual self would never have accepted it.


‘Let it pass, no matter what they ask for.’

Even if someone didn't say it, it probably would have ended the same.

‘Is it so I can act without guilt?’

With that thought in mind, Elnore let out another smirk and gripped her sword.

That man is clearly up to something again.

Already seeing through that the Holy Land is planning to do something in Elfante.


All she needs to do... 

   -Because he's your family.


Elnore suddenly paused, remembering those words.

“…If I hear words like that, I can't help but follow.”

Anyway, he's a cunning man.

Family, family... 

That, should be.

It must be that.


While not entirely certain, nothing else came to mind. 

‘…I might start making preparations.’

As Elnore entertained such thoughts, she met eyes with Beatrix, who was entering the office.

“What's up? Going to prepare for the exam?”


Just as they passed each other, Elnore suddenly turned back to Beatrix as if something had crossed her mind.

“Oh, right. Beatrix.”

“Yeah? What is it?”

“Where should I go get fitted with a ring?”

“Ring? What ring?”

“…The thing that a man and woman give each other as a token of promise.”

Beatrix, who was in the middle of moving documents, fell on her place.

Yesterday for Yuria Greyhounder was nothing short of hell. 

‘Why didn’t he come today?’

As soon as she woke up in the morning and realized there was no one beside her, that was the first thought that crossed her mind.

It was strange. That person would always come in the morning and spar with her without fail.

‘…He's probably busy.’

Regardless of anything, that's the most reasonable conclusion. He doesn't live in isolation like herself, naturally he has a life of his own. 

After all, he's someone whom even President Atallante personally cared for and managed. 


She knew that thinking that way was the rational thing to do, more so than anyone else.

However, if the human mind was so easily controlled, then everyone in the world would be living without any worries or anxieties.

‘…But what if he's not busy?’

Sinister thoughts always have a way of creeping their way in, and firmly taking root.

‘What if he’s just tired of me?’

The hand that was washing clothes in the nearby stream stopped abruptly.

Her face was reflected in the cold summer water.

But what she saw was a scruffy woman.

A shabby person far removed from the dazzling and glittering students of the prestigious academy that she could only view from the window.


The corners of her eyes drooped, as a gloomy expression spread across her face.

Once the negative thoughts started rolling, there was no stopping it.

‘…I’m sure he’s fed up.’

After all, who would want to be close to someone who'd start slicing you down as soon as you approach them. What reason would you have to get close to a mute living a primitive life day after day, hardly better than a savage?

Right, that's probably it. 


However, even before falling asleep, she couldn't completely let go of the hope that maybe, just maybe, he would come tomorrow morning.



Even when the next day came, the man was still nowhere to be seen.

‘…As expected.’

He's tired of her. 

There was no reason for him to bother himself with an insignificant person like Yuria Greyhounder.


Even though she never expected to become friends from the beginning.

Yeah, that's right, it was supposed to be like this from the beginning. She's just a fool for being excited at nothing. 

She will be alone until her death.

And as soon as she realized that.


Beads of tears started flowing down her cheeks.

“Uu, uueu, heueuk…”

The Curse of Severance prevented her from forming coherent sentences.

However, she couldn't suppress the sobbing sound that flowed from her tightly closed lips.

It hurt.

Strangely, her heart felt hurt.

She longed to have even a trivial conversation with someone, to break free from her prolonged isolation.

If it hurts this much, you shouldn't have come. 

What is the point of giving and then taking it away?

If only she had known.

Just like a blink of an eye.

To suddenly come into her life, take a place in her heart, and then suddenly disappear.

‘…I’ll do better.’

Such an oath, that she didn’t even know who it's for, escaped from her lips. 

‘I won’t bother you, I promise. I’ll do anything you ask.’

She didn’t even know what she's saying right now. 

Amidst her endless sobbing, only such sentences filled her mind. 

‘Just one more time, please show up.’

This time, for sure.

I won’t miss it. 


Anyone, help me.


It was then that a giggling voice echoed in her head.

   -You called me first, didn't you?

It was an ominous voice that sent chills down her spine. 

At this, Yuria momentarily halted her tears and hesitated.

‘…Just now, what was that?’

Clearly, something had changed within her. She felt that way.

However, she didn't quite understand what it was.

While she was lost in thought...

“…What are you doing?”

This sudden question made Yuria twist in surprise, as she turned to the side.

“Why are you crying? Did anything happen while I was gone?”

And there he was.

A masked man casually asking her. 


But Yuria cried even louder. 

Though it held a slightly different meaning than before. 

In fact, taking Yuria to the midterm exam carries a lot of risk.

First of all, no one is allowed within a three-foot radius of her, and considering her status as a 'thief' who stole the Holy Land's national treasure, it's almost certain that there will be friction if she appears in the midterm exam and gets seen by the Saintess or someone from the Holy Land.

That is why, I mentioned nothing about this with Atallante. She's definitely going to oppose of the idea. It's just dangerous.


However, there is a reason why I must take this guy with us.

First of all, clearing Chapter 2 heavily depends on curing the Curse of Severance.

It’s no exaggeration to say that how fast you accomplish this determines whether you clear the chapter or not.

The time limit is at most 5 days from today.


If only I can somehow make contact with the Saintess before Chapter 2 begins in earnest... 

The difficulty level can be drastically lowered.

‘The Greyhounder Sisters.’

Apotropaic sisters who were artificially created by the Pope, forcibly manipulated to amplify divine power while suppressing all other abilities. 

The Holy Land's national treasure that this guy possesses should have originally belonged to the Saintess. 

The reason why she stole and escaped with it is also related to that.

‘…Anyway, the Saintess and Yuria must meet each other at least once.’

And the timing for that is just about the midterm exam.

Befitting her reputation, the Saintess is always surrounded by the Holy Land's people. And for one reason and another, this is the only time when the net becomes lax.

If my memory serves me right, this should be it.

As long as the worst possible variable I have in mind don't come into play.


Albeit a low probability.

But if that variable pops out, the difficulty of Chapter 2 will skyrocket to unimaginable levels.

The way you treat Yuria will be completely different.

But other than that, it’s a pretty solid plan.

   <System Message>

   [ ‘Skill: Fatal Charm’ has been activated! ]

   [ The favorability of the target ‘Yuria Greyhounder’ has increased significantly! ]

   [ Favorability level has been upgraded from ‘Interest Level 1’ to ‘Interest Level 2’! ]

   [ Rewards Available! ]     


Somehow, as soon as I saw this gal, it feels like my predictions went off track.

As I scan the notification in front of me, I can't help but break into a cold sweat.

No, this isn't like what happened with Elnore where I know I did something wrong. Unlike her, I really have no idea how things are unfolding for Yuria. I don't understand why this message is popping up at all.

“…Uh. Here. Blow your nose. Hmm.”

I hung a piece of cloth on a wooden stick and slowly extended it to her side. If I go there myself, I'll get my ass stabbed instantly. 

“So, you weren't in trouble or anything. You cried because you were happy to see me?”


Yuria just nodded without saying a word.

The movement was so violent that it makes a buzzing sound.

“…I couldn’t come yesterday because I was busy with other things. It's not because of any specific reason.”


She started sniffling again, as she wiped away her tears with a piece of cloth.

The look in her eyes seemed to ask, "Really?"



Only then did Yuria stop sobbing. She blew her nose with the cloth I handed over and took a deep breath to compose herself. 

How could things have escalated to this point just because I didn't visit for a day?

She's been living alone for a long time, and loneliness can drive anyone crazy.


I felt sorry asking this to a kid like this, but.

Time is running out.

The exam starts tomorrow.

“…Hey, I have a favor to ask-“

   [I’ll do it!]

Seeing the glowing characters made of divine power appear before my eyes, I was speechless. 

She's almost shouting it out. 

   [I’ll do anything, anything at all! Just leave it to me!]

I was taken aback by her almost-desperate insistence.


Is this what her character was like all along?

She was always a bit timid, cautious of others, and afraid of losing connections.

But now, should I say... 

It's like she's desperately trying not to be abandoned by me.

“…It involves going outside. Are you okay with that?”

   [I'm okay!]

Even though it pertains to going "outside", that normally evoke her fear, she just accepted it without any hesitation.

Clearly, something is off.

I tried to continue speaking to calm her down a bit.

“Well, there's no need to push yourself too hard. If you're uncomfortable, I can ask someone else-” 

But as soon as I said that, a chill ran down my spine.

Even before my sentence had finished, the light in Yuria's eyes disappeared.

   […You, do you hate me now?]

Right now, I’m keeping a safe distance from her, more than four steps away.

   [Is there any reason? I, really, well, I'll do anything, so please tell me-]

And yet. 

   [ A moment of danger has been detected. ]

   [ Determined the situation as life-threatening. ]

   [ Skill: Desperation raised to EX Grade. ]

Something like this popping out of nowhere made me think of only one possibility.

And the ‘white’ aura emanating from her ‘sword’ got me all the more certain.

In general, the color associated with all curse-related items is 'black.'

The same goes for her sword attributed with the Curse of Severance. It would emit a black aura whenever she fully wields it. 

But the fact that it's producing a white aura meant only one thing.


As I mentioned before, where and how the devil fragments permeate is purely random.

It can attach itself to people or objects alike.

And even a ‘devil fragment’ attaching itself to the Holy Land's national treasure. 

The White Devil Fragment.

Known for having the strongest ‘obsession’ among all devils.

And due to some unknown damn 'conditions' triggering, there's a situation where Yuria awakens as a 'vessel.'

‘…I'm fcked.’

If this happens, the clear method becomes extremely narrow.

When the game route gets all tangled up like this, some people would just suggest to do a complete reset on the run.


‘They who awaken as vessels begins to be influenced by the devil.’

As you can tell by looking at Elnore, those who have awakened, even once, as a vessel are going to be influenced.

Initially, the effect might only manifest in enhanced physical abilities, but soon various other influences will follow.

The problem is that the 'influence' of the White Devil spreads rapidly and forcefully to the vessel.

   [Why aren't you answering?]

   <System Message>

   [ The favorability of the target ‘Yuria Greyhounder’ has increased! ]

   [ Favorability level has been upgraded from ‘Interest Level 2’ to ‘Interest Level 3’! ]

   [ Rewards Available! ]     

"Fatal Charm" didn't activate. Hell, I didn't even do anything to her.

Yet, her favorability suddenly skyrocketed for some reason.

The Curse of Obsession laid by the "White Devil" is of this nature. It compels the target to surrender everything they have endlessly.

Emotions, rationality, everything.

Until they possess the other completely.

Even by ‘twisted means’, as long as it becomes true.

I looked at Yuria approaching me with shaky eyes.

Normally, she would avoid getting close to others at all costs, knowing her curse could harm them.

But, right now.

Her eyes were hazy. She's obviously not in the right state of mind. 

If I hadn’t backed away, I would have entered her three-step range.

Even now, the Curse of Severance is still in effect. If I get closer than three steps, she'll swing her sword at me.

In other words.

   […Why are you trying to leave me?]

   <System Message>

   [ The favorability of the target ‘Yuria Greyhounder’ has changed! ]

   [ Favorability level has been upgraded from ‘Interest Level 3’ to ‘Interest Level 4’! ]

   [ Rewards Available! ]

From now on, she'll do whatever it takes to get closer to me, whether it's psychologically or physically.


As I mentioned before, it's not an exaggeration to say that the key to clearing Chapter 2 lies in breaking the curse that binds Yuria. 

In other words, within the next five days...

I must break this ticking time bomb of a curse.


‘…This is insane.’

It truly is. 

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