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Beta'd by BigCC

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"Let's go!" - Regular Speech

'Oppai!' - Thoughts

[BOOST!] - Sacred Gear/Ddraig Speech

Chapter 22: Psychotic Exorcist of Slaughter, Freed Sellzen

Outside the Abandoned Church

Hyōdō Issei frowned slightly as he looked at the half-ruined church in front of him. The building was definitely a dungeon, but it had had changed quite a bit since he had last been here. Last time, the dungeon had been named [Nest of the Fallen] with a Recommended Level of 35. But now the circumstances had changed and the screens that provided data from the [Gamer's Gear] were suggesting that those changes had also affected the dungeon.

You have re-discovered a dungeon! Due to the imprisonment of the former rulers of this place, the nature and strength of the dungeon has been severely altered, granting it a new name!

[Chapel of the Exiled Brotherhood] (LV25)

Since the dungeon has gone through a major shift, this counts as discovering an entirely new dungeon! You gain 400 EXP!

Do you wish to enter this dungeon?

Warning: Entering this dungeon while three or more levels below the minimum level displayed is dangerous to your life!


'…kind of a fancy title for what's essentially the hideout for a bunch of kicked-out exorcists.' the teenage Sekiryūtei deadpanned as he stared blankly at the screen. The Stray Exorcists that the Fallen had used as canaries for his dungeon had honestly been pretty weak, so the ten level reduction with the loss of the four Fallen 'bosses' made some sense at least. That also meant that this 'Freed Sellzen' character likely wasn't anywhere near as strong as any of Raynare's Flock either.

Once again, he was going to dive right into a dungeon that was at a higher level than he was. Oh well, at least it wasn't as over-levelled as it had been before the Fallen were removed from the picture. He was only at Level 19; a Level 35 dungeon would have really been pushing what he had any hopes of successfully conquering, or even just surviving if he was being pessimistic. He was more than happy to go up against a Level 25 threat, that was something he was comfortably certain he could overcome.

Still, that didn't mean that this was going to be a cakewalk for him either. He was still a solid six levels below the dungeon's level, which meant that anything inside could very easily be a threat to his life. Just because his enemies were now going to only be humans rather, without any Fallen Angels to support/lead them, did not make them any less dangerous or willing to kill him. As he had stated once before, exorcist guns were not like normal guns, they didn't use gunpowder; instead, they fired compressed bolts of Light magic stored within a magical magazine, meaning that he couldn't rely on the same trick to negate them as he'd used in the Purifier's Base. On the plus side, light bullets lacked the physical power of real bullets, relying on pure Light Element energy to deal damage, which was enough of a silver lining for him to grasp onto here.

So, he hit the 'Y' button floating in front of him and marched up the stairs. As he did, he considered just how many enemies would be waiting for him inside. Given the size of the of the place, even if there was a subterranean section beneath the church, there couldn't be more than two dozen or so Stray Exorcists living here, probably a bit less considering that a small squad had already been lost in the thwarted invasion of his base.

Unless all of the Stray Exorcists, or even a significant number of them, were a great deal stronger than the group that had initially sent into his dungeon (something that Issei doubted but wasn't sure of) then it was likely that the Dungeon's current level was likely based solely on Freed's personal strength rather than that of the strength or number of the Stray Exorcists that were currently working under him.

That was both a good thing and a bad thing. A good thing because that meant that the only serious threat in this dungeon would come from a single target. A bad thing because it meant that said single target was the sole reason that the dungeon had only lost ten levels of difficultly after losing all four of the Fallen that were supposed to act as the Dungeon Bosses.

'Most exorcists seem to focus on fighting with either guns or swords, and all of their weapons seem to be attuned to the Light element to be more effective against Devils, which seem to be their preferred targets.' Issei considered, remembering what he'd seen of how the five Stray Exorcists that had faced his dungeon had fought. 'Some even have grenades of compressed Light to use against bigger and more durable targets. Most of them seemed to rely on just using one weapon at a time, but the highest levelled one of that group actually dual-wielded, a gun in one hand and a sword in the other, so this Freed guy can likely do the same. That means I'll need to be wary of him trying to put a bullet into me even as he tries to carve me up.'

Issei wasn't exactly trying to be stealthy as he walked up the steps toward the church, but he also wasn't going out of his way to make noise. That made the slight clanking of his Bloodmetal Armour as it rattled and shook with his every step all the louder to his ears, particularly in the isolated area that the abandoned church was located in. If Issei remembered correctly, it had actually been built away from the main parts of the city on purpose; using the surrounding open space and woodlands to hold weddings, picnics, fêtes and even small community events back when the church had still been open. He'd actually visited a few times with Rin-chan when they were both kids and the place had been quite warm and welcoming even if he didn't share his friend's faith.

Honestly, seeing the place that had been so important to his old friend be desecrated and reduced to such a state honestly made his blood start to boil a bit.

While Issei wasn't really a believer in any form of faith (his family was nominally Buddhist but neither he nor his parents really practised any traditions of that faith); he was a firm believer in people being allowed to follow whatever faith or beliefs they want, provided it didn't inconvenience or hurt others. Rin had loved this building like a second home and now these bastards were all-but pissing on it. Issei decided then and there that he was going to teach these asshole Stray Exorcists a very firm lesson that they wouldn't soon forget.

Unlike at the [Last Redoubt of the Pure], there was absolutely no reason for him to try a stealth approach on this Dungeon. With that being the case, when confronted with the large double doors that barred his entry into the church proper, Issei merely reared back and, with a small whisper of "[Power Strike]!" coating his foot in a bright blue sheen of energy, proceeded to kick the doors hard enough to send both of them flying backwards.

"Special Delivery!" he shouted aloud.

There were three men, dressed almost exactly the same way as the Stray Exorcists that had tried to invade Issei's Dungeon, loitering about the church's entry hall, all of which had been rather badly desecrated and vandalized.

Alessio Verdino LV15

[Stray Exorcist]

Flavio Terrazzo LV 14

[Stray Exorcist]

Pietro De Luca LV 15

[Stray Exorcist]

"Who the hell are you?!"

"Do you have any idea who you're barging in on, you bastard!?"

"What is with that gaudy as hell armour?! Do you think you're the new Red Dragon Emperor or something!?"

Well, they were certainly a mouthy little bunch of bastards. Casually using [Observe] as they shouted threats and profanities at him, Issei could see that none of the three were particularly strong. In terms of raw physical stats, he was well above all three on every level, and even his lowest mental stat was a good ten points above each of their best.

So, they were basically dumb thugs. Cannon fodder was likely the proper term to use here.

'You know, this is as good a chance as any to start levelling up my [Hand-to-Hand Combat Mastery].' Issei decided as he started to walk forward. 'For the exp that you are about to offer up to me, oh dumbass Stray Exorcists, you have my heartfelt gratitude.'

"I am the guy here to serve you morons your eviction notice." Issei responded aloud. "The dogs of the Grigori are no longer welcome in this town. So says me. You may resist as much as you like, but it will be easier on the lot of you if you just grow some common sense and start running away like the good little stray puppies you are. I get paid either way, so your choice, really."

"You filthy son of a bitch!" Flavio growled out, pulling out an Exorcist's Light Sword from one of the inner pockets of his coat and igniting the blade. "Let's just gut this damned fool and be done with it!"

"[Basic Body Magic Reinforcement]. [Nonlethal Takedown Mode]." the Gamer intoned calmly. "[Power Leap]!"

With that final spell, Issei shot forward like a bullet, stopping just a few inches away from the shocked form of the Stray Exorcist. Taken completely off guard by the sudden display of speed, none of the trio had any chance to react before Issei was already on top of them. In a blur of red, his right fist struck out, punching the armed exorcist right in the solar plexus with near-inhuman force, the impact enough to send the man flying back a full meter. The fallen priest coughed and retched as he landed in a heap, barely able to force himself up to his knees as he clutched at his chest in pain. He stayed that way for a few seconds before he finally lost whatever grip he had on his consciousness and collapsed forward into a puddle of his bile.

Before either of the other two could do more than stare wide-eyed at their comrade being sent flying by a single punch, Issei had already dealt with them. A kick slammed into the sternum of the exorcist on his left, Alessio, seconds before an uppercut slammed into the jaw of the one of his right, Pietro. Unlike Flavio, neither of them were able to pull together enough willpower to even try and rise back up after they slammed into opposite sides of the hallway, both simply collapsing into unconsciousness.

"…Eh?…" Issei just blinked as he eyed the three prone exorcists in disbelief. "…did I just one-shot these guys?"

You have defeated Flavio Terrazzo (LV14)! Experience halved due to non-fatal method of defeat! You gain 234 EXP!

You have defeated Alessio Verdino (LV15)! Experience halved due to non-fatal method of defeat! You gain 258 EXP!

You have defeated Pietro de Luca (LV15)! Experience halved due to non-fatal method of defeat! You gain 258 EXP!

[Hand-to-Hand Combat Mastery] has levelled up! LV4-LV5!

[Basic Body Magic Reinforcement] has levelled up! LV4-LV5!

[Power Leap] has levelled up! LV4-LV5!

[Nonlethal Takedown Mode] has levelled up! LV1-LV2!

Evidently, he had! Well…that was kind of a let-down.

"…[Rope Binding Prison]." Issei cast at the closest Stray Exorcist, his disguise magic not even having to work to make his voice a deadpan. He cast it twice more on the other two, privately a bit baffled by just how easily they'd been beaten. Landing a single solid blow on each of them had been enough to take them down without a fight, not even giving them a chance to counterattack.

'Are these guys really supposed to be able to hunt down Devils like Rias or Sona? That's…honestly ridiculous. I'm only four levels higher than these mooks. Yeah, I have them all pretty much outclassed in every stat, and those are supposed to be the real determination of power, but still…' Issei mused in mild bafflement. 'Do these guys even have any kind of protective gear or even some kind of enchantment on those robes they wear?'

A quick check proved that no, no they did not. They all did have some lightweight body armour worn beneath their robes, which basically amounted to bulletproof vests that his [Observe] said had a minor 'blessing' that enhanced their protection against anything fuelled by Darkness magic. Neither of which could do all that much against his Level 19, 150-plus Strength Stat. Honestly, if he hadn't activated [Nonlethal Takedown Mode] when this had started, he'd have likely killed all three of these mooks with a single punch.

"Either these guys were the absolute bottom of the barrel of the Vatican's Exorcist forces before they left, and the higher-ups couldn't be bothered to equip them with any serious protections." he mused aloud as he absently tapped each of the unconscious bodies with a single finger, looting them of their weapons and other gear aside from their clothes. Issei had no interest in seeing naked dudes! "Or these guys were unable to grab whatever real protective gear they were provided when they decided to go rogue and the Grigori either couldn't or just never bothered to outfit this band of mooks with any kind of replacements."

Standing up, he took another look around. This place was an utter wreck, the pews had all been smashed to pieces, the altar had been desecrated in at least a dozen ways, and even the cross hanging from the back wall had been split in half vertically. There was a door leading off to the side of the building, leading to where the priest had, presumably, once lived and prepared for services. That was likely where the rest of the Stray Exorcists were at the moment.

While he was planning on using these mooks to level up his [Hand-to-Hand Combat Mastery] Skill, Issei had no intention of walking further into the belly of the beast without taking at least a few precautions.

"[Iron Body], [Iron Skin], [Force Reduction Field], [Fire Lantern]." he chanted one spell after another. With the first spell, a silver aura covered his body as his muscles were made as hard as iron. With the second, a silver sheen passed over his skin as it became akin to iron armour. With the third, a shifting multicoloured field of light flowed over his body for an instant as an invisible field formed around him that would slow anything that got too close to him. With the last, a small orb of fire burst into existence over his right shoulder.

Issei grimaced slightly as he flexed and moved slightly, feeling unnaturally stiff and awkward in his own skin. 'Gah, I knew I should have spent some time practising with [Iron Body] and [Iron Skin] right after I got them, but things started escalating so fast, I never got the chance.' he grimaced. While [Basic Body Magic Enhancement] did offset the penalties slightly, it certainly didn't counter them. That wasn't much of a surprise though, it was only a Tier 0 spell after-all; there was no way that it would be capable of completely balancing out a pair of untrained Tier 1 spells on its own.

Oh well, if nothing else, this would prove to be good training for both of those skills. The higher their levels got, the less negative side effects using them would cause for him, though he made a mental note to disengage them once he actually found this Freed character and at least replace [Iron Skin] with [Bronze Skin]; which while lower tier was also fully levelled up and offered no penalties on his Dexterity or movement speed. He couldn't afford the kind of speed and reaction penalties he was currently dealing with right now when he was fighting a Boss.

Walking forward with a slightly stiff gait, Issei headed into the side set of rooms (the vestry, he thought that was what its was supposed to be called). Inside, the place looked just as badly damaged as the main hall. Just why were these morons so intent on wrecking this place so badly? Weren't they living here?

Pausing mid-step, Issei actually considered that idea. No one with a working braincell would just tear up the place they were living, especially not to this extent. That meant that the people here were either complete lunatics that enjoyed living like hobos and squatters in a building that was likely to collapse around them, or they actually didn't live in this section of the old church at all, but rather somewhere else…like in a concealed section beneath it for example.

Then that would make the damage they'd done not just habitual desecration, but also a kind of camouflage to make everyone think the building was deserted, vandalized, and ready to fall down around the ears of anyone stupid enough to poke around.

If all that was true then…

Issei was well aware that clichés tended to be clichéd for a reason, so the first two places that he checked were the small bathroom in the vestry and the bottom of the set of stairs that led up into the steeple. Those two were, by far, the most common places one would hide a secret entrance in a work of fiction, but both were strike outs for him. Well, it looked like whoever had repurposed this place into a base had at least been smart enough to avoid basic clichés at least.

After having searched the entire priest's quarters, Issei returned to the main hall, and his eyes almost immediately fell onto the area directly behind the alter, where he now noticed a trap door had been left slightly ajar.

Blushing a bit in embarrassment at having missed the rather obvious clue on his first way through, Issei quickly summoned a rope using [Spell Manipulation] on [Rope Binding Prison] and looped it around the ajar door and pulled it up from behind. No sense risking a booby trap after all.

As a result of using [Spell Manipulation], the Tier 0 Spells [Magic Rope Manipulation] and [Summon Rope Type 2] have been discovered and added to your spellbook!

[Magic Rope Manipulation] (Active) [LV1, 0%]

Tier 0 Spell

Telekinetic spells are among the most common types of spells in existence. General use TK spells can be used to grasp and manipulate pretty much anything, but lack fine control. For finer manipulations, basic spells focus on manipulating a specific substance and even objects that have been created. This particular spell was created to allow initiate spellcasters to finely manipulate and guide any form of rope, twine, string, cord, or lace as well as similarly-shaped objects made from fabric like ties, stoles, and scarves.

- MP Activation Cost: 10 MP.

- MP to Maintain Control and Manipulation: 5 MP/Minute.

- Range: 5 Meters.

- Allows caster to manipulate any kind of rope, twine, string, cord, lace, or similarly shaped object made of some sort of fabric, such as ties, stoles or scarves, within range.

- Control: Average.

[Summon Rope Type 2] (Instant) [LV1, 0%]

Tier 0 Spell

An extremely basic spell that has two forms. The first version allows it to summon a pre-existing rope from the general area surrounding the caster. The second version allows it to summon rope from within a pocket dimension controlled by the caster. This particular spell is the second form. Although it requires the caster to have access to a pocket dimension or inventory to work, and thus making it the far less widely known or practiced version, it is nevertheless a useful spell if one needs to simply call rope out of seemingly nowhere.

- MP Cost: 10 MP.

- Summons a length of rope one meter in length from a pocket dimension or inventory belonging to the caster.

As a result of a singular action, the Skill [Doublecast] has been created!

[Doublecast] (Active) [LV1, 0%]

A skill similar but differing from the [Dual Casting] skill, which allows the caster to cast two spells at the same time so long as they are using the same spell. Doublecast allows a proficient caster to cast two different spells at the same time. While initially highly MP-intensive and requiring the two spells cast to be at least somewhat synergistic in nature; with time, practice, and mastery, a skilled user can learn to cast two completely unrelated spells simultaneously with little to no additional cost.

- Adds +100% to the MP Cost of the spells being cast.

- For a list of spells that synergize, and can thus be used as targets for this skill, please click HERE.

[Rope Binding Prison] has levelled up! LV2-LV3!

"Huh…well that was a bit unexpected." Issei mused aloud before turning his attention to the length of rope that he'd just used. He focused on 'pulling the rope to him' while activating the [Magic Rope Manipulation] spell. The rope glowed slightly before flying into his hand…

As a result of using [Spell Manipulation], the Tier 0 Spell [Summon Rope Type 1] has been discovered and added to your spellbook!

[Summon Rope Type 1] (Instant) [LV1, 0%]

Tier 0 Spell

An extremely basic spell that has two forms. The first version allows it to summon a pre-existing rope from the general area surrounding the caster. The second version allows it to summon rope from within a pocket dimension controlled by the caster. This particular spell is the first form. Although it requires there to be pre-existing rope in the surrounding area, it is still a handy little utility spell when you need some rope, know it's around, and don't have time to search for it.

- MP Cost: 10 MP.

- Range: 5 Meters.

- Targets any length of rope within range to come towards the caster.

[Spell Manipulation] has levelled up! LV1-LV2!

[Magic Rope Manipulation] has levelled up! LV1-LV2!

"Well, now it looks like I have even MORE spells that I need to train up." the Gamer announced with a roll of his eyes before he walking around to stand at the top of the small set of steps leading downwards into the main base. But seriously, were these idiots not taking this seriously or something, leaving a trapdoor half-open like this?

Then he remembered the mental stats of the three morons he'd found in the entry hall and easily came to the likely answer. Shaking his head, the Gamer made his way down the short flight of stairs. While the church might have been built atop a hill, the hill simply wasn't large or thick enough to support much of an underground portion without it becoming obvious, so there were likely only going to be a handful of rooms down here.

Using another quick application of [Power Strike] to kick down the thick wooden door at the bottom of the staircase (and earning another level up for it), Issei was immediately greeted with the sight of six more Stray Exorcists. The entire group looked to have just been milling about the large room that the staircase opened into before they all turned in bewilderment at the door being kicked nearly off its hinges.

Issei did not hesitate to take full advantage of their momentary paralysis.

"[Fireball]!" he cast, using [Fire Lantern]'s special attribute to instantly cast the lower-tier spell for almost no MP cost while it was active. The fireball floating over his shoulder responded instantly, shooting straight toward the group of enemies and slamming into one of them, causing the man to instantly start screaming as he was engulfed in a surge of flames.

The exiled exorcists all briefly turned to their downed comrade before quickly trying to refocus on the now very obvious threat. Unfortunately for them, Issei was already in among them, each stiff swing and strike sending another Stray hurtling to the ground and unconsciousness. The dust settled only a few minutes later, with all the exorcists on the ground and in varying degrees of consciousness. He quickly set about looting and binding the entire group with [Rope Binding Prison], stopping only long enough to administer one of his [Low HP Potion]s to the one he'd hit with the [Fireball]. Enemies or not, the rogue exorcists had not earned enough hatred from him that he'd make one needlessly suffer through multiple second-degree burns.

Burns like those hurt like a bitch, having so many would be utter agony without a lot of painkillers.

He skimmed through the EXP notification, nothing of importance popping out. All of the gathered Stray Exorcists he'd encountered so far had been between Levels 13 and 15 so far, slightly higher than the group that had challenged his dungeon but not by much. The skill notifications were few, but he'd managed to level up [Hand-to-Hand Combat Mastery] again, reaching LV6, both [Iron Body] and [Iron Skin] had reached LV2, and [Fire Lantern] had also levelled up to LV2 as well. That plus the loot and general exp made it quite satisfying for less than five minutes of work, and that was if he was counting the time it took to bind and loot the lot of them.

Testing his body out, Issei found that he could move just a little bit more easily than before. He absently took out another [MP Potion] and crushed it to bolster his beleaguered [Lesser MP Regeneration] Skill as it strove to keep his MP reserves steady while maintaining so many skills at once, with another one added as he recast [Fire Lantern].

[Lesser MP Regeneration] has levelled up! LV2-LV3!

Well that was nice, moving on…

With the current 'threats' taken care of, Issei took a moment to get a better look at the room he now found himself in. It looked to be some form of meeting room; a large square chamber that looked to be designed to hold a large number of people at once. Placed against the far wall opposite of the doorway the led to the stairs was a large black cross with what looked like restraints built directly into it. The thing was giving off a very unpleasant aura that sent shivers down Issei's spine.

"[Observe]!" Issei whispered, eyeing the object warily.

[Sacred Gear Extractor]


An ancient relic that was originally developed by the Grigori organization during some of the earliest parts of the Great War between the Three Factions. It is designed to remove the Sacred Gear of anyone who is unfortunate enough to be strapped into it. It requires the presence, if not the consent or aid, of a Fallen Angel in order to be activated and requires a prolonged ritual in order to gather the necessary spiritual energies that are needed to sever a Sacred Gear from its previous holder's soul. Any human put through this process will die shortly after their Sacred Gear is extracted, with even the return of the stolen Sacred Gear being unable to undo the damage done by the ritual to their soul. The extraction process is also excruciatingly painful. Developed during the darkest days of the Great War as a desperate means for the Grigori to gain some form of edge against the numerically superior forces of Heaven and the Underworld, it has long since fallen out of favour due to the development of better techniques and less cruel and sadistic alternatives.

"…!" Issei just stared in silent, horrified shock at the screen for a moment, before looking up at the monstrosity sitting across the room from him with a dark glower. Dismissing the screen, he raised both hands in front of him. "[Dual Casting]. [Explosive Combustion Sphere]!"

A pair of explosive orbs of compressed flames shot from both of his hands simultaneously, sailing across the room in an instant to slam into either side of the evil device. Both detonated like miniature bombs, the combined explosive force ripping the Extractor to pieces.

"I am going to have words with Raynare about that thing, and if I don't like what I find out, Cadre or no Cadre, there is going to be hell to pay!" he swore under his breath. A dark suspicion about just what these Fallen might have had planned for Asia was already starting to form in his mind, and if he found even a shred of evidence supporting it…

There would be dire consequences.

Title Earned: Relic Smasher! You have destroyed a priceless example of ancient magical history and technology! Shame on you…on the other hand, that thing really needed to be smashed.

Doubletaking at the almost conversational tone that his Sacred Gear was taking with him, Issei managed to regain his calm and put those thoughts to the side for now. He could puzzle out just what the was going on with [Gamer's Gear] at a later date. For now, there were likely still more Stray Exorcists lurking about and waiting for a beating.

There were three doors connecting to this room, which Issei was simply going to mentally dub the Ritual Room. One was the one he just came through that connected to the stairwell leading back up to the church itself, while the other two were built into the left and right walls. As he was debating which one to explore first, a large group of Stray Exorcists bursts out of the right door. As the group piled in, most quickly turning to look between the destroyed remnants of the [Sacred Gear Extractor] and Issei himself, he did a quick count. If he included the five killed at his base, and the nine he'd already beaten, they were only a single member person shy of having an even two dozen Stray Exorcists all gathered here.

'And that Freed guy isn't with them. I'm guessing he sent these guys ahead to either distract me or just get my measure. Well, time to get to work.' the young Sekiryūtei pondered, cracking his gauntlet-clad knuckles.

"[Power Leap]." he whispered as he shot forward into the cluster of Stray Exorcists, even as several drew their pistols and started firing off bursts of pure white light at him in a panic. He honestly wasn't expecting anything all that impressive given what he'd seen of these guys so far; even among this group, the strongest of them was a single Level 17, the rest were mostly 14s with a couple 15s mixed in.

'You know its actually kind of astounding when you stop and think about it. Just a few months ago, just one of these guys would have been able to kill me without breaking a sweat.' Issei silently mused as he sent the Level 17 sprawling with a quick one-two punch combination before reflexively ducking under the swing of another light sword before sweeping its owner's feet to drop them onto their back. A quick stomp to the ribs took the downed attacker out of the fight. 'Seriously, now it feels almost like I'm bullying the lot of them. How insane is that?'

In short order all nine exorcists were lying on the ground and none were still conscious; all save the Level 17 had fallen with a single punch, and that particular rogue exorcist had only required a single follow-up blow after the initial blow had stunned him. Casting [Rope Binding Prison] in rapid succession, he absently watched his skill levels start to rise once more.

[Hand-to-Hand Combat Mastery] has levelled up! LV6-LV7!

[Nonlethal Takedown Mode] has levelled up! LV2-LV3!

[Power Leap] has levelled up! LV5-LV6!

[Basic Body Magic Reinforcement] has levelled up! LV5-LV6!

[Iron Skin] has levelled up! LV2-LV3!

[Iron Body] has levelled up! LV2-LV3!

[Force Absorption Field] has levelled up! LV10-LV11!

[Fire Lantern] has levelled up! LV2-LV3!

[Fireball] has levelled up! LV7-LV8!

[Rope Binding Prison] has levelled up! LV3-LV4!

Well, if nothing else, this dungeon raid was at least providing some fairly useful skill training for a few of his newer and/or lesser-used skills, but now, with only the Boss left, it was time for him to get serious. He quickly deactivated [Iron Body] and [Iron Skin] before casting [Bronze Skin] to replace the latter, as well as conjuring a new [Fire Lantern]. He felt like he was going to need every advantage he could get against such an obviously over-levelled boss like Freed Sellzen. He also deactivated [Nonlethal Takedown Mode], he couldn't risk holding anything back now and the guy he was about to fight was apparently some kind of serial killer.

Asia had mentioned the man once or twice while she had been staying with him in his base, and her tone had always been one of fear. The man was apparently a master swordsman, who was far faster and more dangerous than any regular person could hope to be, with a depraved and battle hungry personality (he had to read between the lines a bit on Asia's words here, but it said a lot when someone as kind as her had nothing good to say about someone). What little he had gotten out from other sources had painted the former exorcist as a generally heartless and insane person that only cared about sating his own bloodlust.

How someone like that had actually managed to become an ordained priest was utterly beyond Issei's comprehension. Were the forces of the Heaven Faction really that hard up for capable foot soldiers that they were willing to accept that kind of guy into their ranks? Whatever the reasons, Freed had evidently gone too far for even the more 'morally compromised' members of the Church to tolerate and had been excommunicated. And unlike Asia, this excommunication was completely and utterly deserved.

Quickly finishing binding and looting the gathered Stray Exorcists of all their valuables (he was now in possession of a lot of Light weapons), Issei started toward the door that the little mob of former priests had charged in through when…

"Gyahahaha! Die, shitty Devil spawn!"

The sound of a deranged voice cackling from behind him instinctively caused Issei to whirl around to find Freed Sellzen already well within sword range; a blade of bright yellow Light slicing towards Issei with lethal intent. Fortunately, [Force Reduction Field] was still in effect and slowed the incoming blade down just enough for the Gamer to dodge back and out of reach of the slash (which would have severed his spine at mid-back had he not turned) and drew back a single clenched fist.

"[Power Strike]!" the red-armoured gamer snarled out as blue power surged around his fist before he drove it toward Freed's stomach with all the force of a cannonball...

…only for the slippery little bastard to back-pedal out of the way just fast enough that his punch was only able to clip him on the hip. Still, the force of the blow was still enough to send him tumbling backwards.

"Owowowowowowow! You shitty little mother humper!"

Issei finally got a good look at the man who was known as Freed Sellzen. He was tall, with white hair and red eyes that honestly, when combined with his pale skin, made the man look like some form of albino. He was dressed in the standard black priest's uniform that Stray Exorcists seemed to favour, though he was wearing white shoes and a white overcoat along with a simple silver cross necklace hanging from his neck. Ignoring the look of outrage that the former priest was shooting him, Issei instead briefly glanced towards the title hanging over his head.

Freed Sellzen LV27

[Sacrilegious Exorcist of Slaughter]

'…wow. That is…some kind of title that he's got there.' Issei silently deadpanned, before mentally shaking himself. This guy was obviously not the kind of enemy he should take lightly.

"So, the infamous Freed Sellzen, I presume?" he asked aloud.

"That's right, you shitty bastard!" the man snickered as he caught himself, snickering slightly and not all that affected by Issei's near-miss. "Now who the fuck are you? You another lackey of those shitty little Devil bitches?"

"You certainly do seem to like the word 'shitty', Stray Exorcist." Issei commented idly. "A lack of vocabulary, creativity, or simply intelligence?"

The casual insult seemed to make the unhinged former priest practically burn in fury.

"Do you know who the fuck I am? I'm the genius, exorcist prodigy Freed Sellzen!" Freed growled, before laughing and sticking his tongue out at Issei. "I've slaughtered dozens of Devils and countless of their shitty little worshippers."

"Am I supposed to be impressed by your body count?" the Sekiryūtei replied bluntly. "I'm simply an independent magic user, and I am here to evict you and your little clubhouse from Kuō Town, effective immediately. You've all vastly overstayed your welcome. [Observe]."

"Haaaaaaaaaaah?!" Freed just sneered at him. "Do you really fucking think that I'm on the same level as this bunch of shitty washouts? You didn't even kill any of them! There's no way you're going to scare me off with kind of shitty show, you shitty little pagan!"

"As if a madman like you even cares whether someone is a pagan or a believer." Issei responded coldly. If anything, what he saw on the Status Page of the 'man' standing in front of him was even more disgusting than he'd previously thought.

Name: Freed Sellzen

Species: Artificial Human

Class: Unholy Exorcist

Level: 27

Title: Sacrilegious Exorcist of Slaughter

HP: 1980

MP: 1715

SP: 2156

STR: 45

STA: 44

DEX: 71

INT: 35 (-20 from [Deranged])

WIS: 49

LUK: 35 (-35 from [Sacrilegious])

CHA: 10 (-50 from [Immoral])

LD: 5 (-40 from [Deranged])

Special Status: [Deranged], [Sacrilegious], [Immoral], [Descendent of Siegfried (Artificial)], [Artificial Holy Swordsman].

Description: Freed Sellzen is an artificially created human, a test tube baby born at the Vatican's Sigurd Institution using genetic patterns from multiple people who bear the blood of Siegfried in their effort to create the 'True Descendent of Siegfried' that could wield the full power of the Strongest Legendary Demon Sword Gram. While a 'failure' by the Institute's standards, Freed showed a remarkable talent for combat and was offered to the Vatican at large to undergo Exorcist Training. By the age of thirteen, he completed the training needed to become an exorcist and showed a nigh-unparalleled level of talent, with many considering him a genius. Freed, however, is utterly immoral, unhinged, and entirely driven by his own desires, particularly his nearly unquenchable desire for death, battle, and murder. He became a wanted criminal after it was discovered that he had murdered several other members of the church while on missions, hiding their deaths by blaming them on his targets, and fled the Vatican to join the Grigori, although if another employer came along promising him even greater opportunities to kill as he pleased, he would gladly take it.

Honestly, the man's Special Statuses were more negative than positive. [Deranged] might have made it far harder for Skills and abilities to predict his actions, but it also gave him a major twenty point debuff on INT and a forty point debuff on his LD. [Sacrilegious] bolstered the damage he dealt to anyone who could technically be categorized as a part of the Christian faction at the cost of halving his LUK. [Immoral] locked his moral system to Neutral, Neutral but also reduced his CHA by a whopping fifty points.

Apparently the 'Moral System' of the [Gaming Gear] was a lot like the Paragon/Renegade system that was used in the Mass Effect games. On others, it would give him an idea of what kind of actions they were likely to take, but Issei was honestly glad that he had not activated that particular system on his Sacred Gear. It might have been a fairly cool morality system in the games, but he had absolutely no desire to have his actions herded that way in real life. It was bad enough that he couldn't stop it from constantly dampening his emotions!

Back to the Freed's Special Statuses, [Artificial Holy Swordsman] was a fairly straightforward one, it let Freed freely use any form of mass-produced Holy Sword as well as wield any of the 'Excalibur Fragments', whatever the hell those were. He'd known that Excalibur was real and apparently some kind of big deal for the Church from Kiba's description, but nothing about these so-called 'Fragments.' Yet another thing he'd need to look into later.

However, the most concerning of the lot, from Issei's perspective at least, was [Descendent of Siegfried (Artificial)] which would start increasing Freed's damage output five minutes after a fight started. The longer the fight went on, the more his damage output would increase until he reached his cap. The 'Artificial' qualifier was actually a relief, since it reduced Freed's maximum threshold, which could reach a rather frightening 500% for a 'true' Descendent of Siegfried, down to a 'mere' 120% bonus.

Yeah, he was going to end this fight quick, fast, and in a hurry; not to mention permanently. This guy was both insanely dangerous and dangerously insane.

"Gyahahahaha! You can bet your shitty little ass!" Freed laughed like the madman he was, his tongue lolling out of his mouth and making him look even more demented. "It's a real shame that those shitty bitches never came back, I was really starting to get the urge to cut them up! I guess I'll just have to make do with you!"

"You mean Raynare, Mittelt, and Kalawarner?" Issei almost laughed as the deranged exorcist suddenly shifted, becoming far more wary. "I'm afraid they're currently occupied as my guests, and Dohnaseek is now communing with God in person."

"What a shitty joke." Freed spat, brandishing his Light Sword at Issei once again. "Like some no name little punk could stand against one of the Fallen, let alone four."

"Dude, they marched into a base I had prepared with traps and defences specifically to target them. I didn't beat them by being stronger than them, I beat them because the four of them acted like cocky idiots." Issei responded with a bland snort. "Their attack is also why I am here kicking you and yours to the curb, in case you hadn't figured that out yet. Well that, and I frankly just think that a mad dog like you needs to be put down hard."

"If you think you can do it, the come and try it, shitty red bastard!" the madman howled out as he charged forward, battle-lust and murder in his eyes. Issei quickly drew on of the many [Exorcist Light Swords] he'd acquired today from his inventory.

[Exorcist Light Sword]

Uncommon Weapon/Exorcist Tool

To aid in their mission to eliminate devils and other forces of supernatural evil, Exorcists of both the Vatican and the Grigori make heavy use of swords fueled by the Light element, which is particularly harmful to Devils and other supernatural beings primarily aligned with Shadow. While not as effective as the Holy Element, Light is a far more plentiful and easily wielded and controlled element, while true Holy energy requires a rare and potent affinity for it.

Durability: 75/75

Spiritual Power Reservoir: 90/100 SP

Focused Light Sword

- Deals S+15 Slashing Damage.

- Deals S+15 Piercing Damage.

-As the SP Reservoir is depleted it must be replenished with an infusion of SP in order to be maintained. Once the SPR reaches 0/100, the blade will be rendered inert until it is recharged. 1 SP is drained per minute of activation. Anyone with an active SP stat and the [Spiritual Energy Channelling] Skill can refill the SPR.

Special Effect: 1) Any creature of Shadow/Darkness that is struck by the blade of this weapon suffers +100% damage as a result.

Issei's own [Bloodmetal Gladius] was still a superior weapon unless he was fighting against a devil or some other creature of Darkness/Shadow, but he didn't want to fully tip his hand against this guy just yet. His own [Intermediate Swordsmanship] would hopefully suffice. Combined with his [Force Reduction Field], [Basic Body Magic Reinforcement], and his own stats, he should be able to handle this bastard even if he had to hold back, which he wasn't planning on doing.

"Let's start by turning up the heat, [Fireball]!" Issei grinned, sending the fireball floating over his shoulder from the [Fire Lantern] spell shooting towards the insane ex-priest, whose eyes widened in surprise.

"Fucking shitty pagan!" the man yelled out, leaping and rolling to the side. Even with [Force Reduction Field] having grown in both area and power as it had levelled up, Freed was still an extremely fast and agile opponent, easily capable of dodging the fireball from just over two meters away. He was a lot more agile than Issei had originally given him credit for based on his DEX stat. He probably had at least a couple skills like [Evade] to bolster his abilities.

"Again, I don't think someone who doesn't even believe in God should be calling someone else a pagan." Issei responded as he ignited his own light sword.

"SHUT YOUR SHITTY HOLE!" Freed howled out as he leapt back into range, and then the fight was truly on.

It became very obvious very quickly that Freed had a massive edge on Issei when it came to raw skill with a sword. Freed was obviously the more skilled swordsman, as well as being far more experienced, familiar, and talented with the blade than Issei was. However, he was also not used to fighting an armoured foe that was not particularly susceptible to his weapon of choice.

By contrast, Issei was actually used to fighting enemies that were stronger and more skilled than him. Also, unlike Freed, whose fighting style seemed to focus on avoiding attacks and then attacking from a new, unexpected angle, he was used to taking hits and ploughing through them in order to deal damage back. Again, because Freed had been trained for and was used to facing enemies that couldn't fight him like that, he was being put on the back-foot. His Light weaponry was pure poison to devils and most of the normal humans he'd 'exterminated' had been civilians or mages that lacked the ability to actually fight against him in close combat.

In other words, Freed was being forced into a relatively fair fight for the first time in his life outside of the training he had went through back at the Sigurd Institute and with the Vatican, and he didn't like it. Something he expressed quite vocally.

"GRRRRAAAAAAAAGHHHH! YOU STUPID SHITTY BASTARD!" Freed shrieked out as Issei managed to score another cut on him, the black uniform and white coat he favoured already stained red with his own blood from several other wounds. "If wasn't for that shitty little spell you're using I'd have already carved you to shitty ribbons by now!"

"Excuses, excuses." Issei snorted out as he drew a second [Exorcist Light Sword] and ignited it. "Let's get this dance started for real, 'shitty' priest."

Leaping forward into the fray once more, Issei began to honestly press Freed. Thanks to the advantage offered by his [Force Reduction Field] he was actually holding up fairly well against the highly skilled, if insane, man; even with the albino's steadily increasing damage output. It turns out that Light Weapons were not particularly good at cutting through armour, especially armour as durable as his Bloodmetal suit, particularly when it was combined with a defensive spell like [Bronze Skin].

Oh, Issei had been losing health in bits and pieces throughout the fight, but [Lesser HP Regeneration] was getting a very thorough workout, and, if he took a particularly nasty hit, he'd simply reach into his Inventory and make use of one of his remaining stock of HP potions.

"Where the fuck do you keeping pulling all this shit out of!?" Freed demanded in frustration. "What kind of shitty Sacred Gear do you have!? [Bag of Holding]?! [Dimension Pocket]?! And what the hell is with those shitty bottles you keep crushing!?"

"Like I'd ever explain something to you in the middle of a fight, dumbass." Issei shot back. "This isn't some cartoon where the protagonist is obliged to explain his powers at a drop of a hat. Moron."

Freed roared in absolute berserk fury at that, swinging at Issei once again; only this time Issei managed to block in time, their light swords clashing in a flare of light and a shower of sparks. Deciding to end this here and now, the Sekiryūtei activated another skill "[Power Strike]!" before slamming his glowing blue foot into Freed's midsection, sending him flying backwards through the doorway that just happened to be behind him and into what Issei was assuming was the quarters that the Stray Exorcists were using.

"Shit…ack!…shit, shit, shit, shiiiiiiiiit!" Freed howled out in agony as he rolled back out of the wreckage of the broken door, clutching at his stomach. Issei was honest rather surprised that Freed was still conscious and functional after taking a direct hit from his [Power Strike] to the abdomen. Did he have some kind of durability enhancing ability or even just a pain mitigating skill? "Oh, now you've really gone and done it you shitty bastard! When my boss comes here, he is going to fuck up your stupid shit good!"

"I honestly doubt Azazel would care all that much for someone like you, madman." Issei responded indifferently as he stalked forward, ready to finish this fight once and for all.

"Haaaah? Azazel? Gyahahahaahahaha-agh!" Freed started cackling again, only to suddenly to stop, clutching his stomach. "Oh, you are so fucking wrong that it's just plain sad, you shitty bastard. But I'm gonna skedaddle for now, but I will find you again, you can be sure of that, and when I do, Imma enjoy chopping you up into little pieces, just see if I don't!"

Before Issei could do more than blink at the sudden declaration, Freed pulled out a talisman and slapped it onto his chest. In a flash of green light, the insane man vanished, leaving Issei to glower at both the insane exorcist's former position and the notifications now floating in front of his face.


You have successfully forced the Boss of [Chapel of the Exiled Brotherhood] to flee for his life!

You receive 4000 EXP for this feat! Had you actually killed him, you would have received 12000 EXP! Oh well, better luck next hunt!

As you cannot loot his body, you can select one reward from the list below, and also receive a guaranteed rare skill book reward at random.

- [Black Sky Exorcist Light Gun 'Kokuten'] [+]

- [Silver Cross Light Sword 'Ginjūji'] [+]

- [Gospel Hard Light Round 'Fukuin'] [+]

All that trouble and he still hadn't levelled up. What a disappointing Dungeon Delve this had turned out to be. Issei took a breath before focusing on the choices he had for possible loot.

[Black Sky Exorcist Light Gun 'Kokuten']

Rare Weapon/Exorcist Tool

Developed by a reclusive researcher in the Vatican's Weapon Development Division, the Black Sky is a solid black version of the usual Exorcist Light Gun. Larger than most conventional pistols, it fires rounds of light at the enemy. The Black Sky differs in that it fires specially augmented rounds of 'black light' energy at enemies rather than normal Light element projectiles. While superior to a normal Exorcist Guns in several ways, particularly when fighting at night when devils and other creatures of darkness are at their strongest, the prototype was eventually disapproved by the Church's higher ups due to the 'disturbing and unholy' appearance of its unique bullets.

Light Gun

Durability: 400/400

Spiritual Power Reservoir: 300/300 SP

- Deals [Piercing] damage of 100 to any location struck.

- As the SP Reservoir is depleted it must be replenished with an infusion of SP in order to be maintained. Once the SPR reaches 0/300, the gun will be rendered inert until it is recharged. 1 SP is drained for every Black Light Bullet shot. Anyone with an active SP stat and the [Spiritual Energy Channelling] Skill can refill the SPR

Special Effects: 1) Deals +100% extra damage to any creature of Shadow or darkness shot by this gun.

2) Increases base damage dealt by gun while used at night by 50%.

3) Any Devil shot by the Black Sky will lose any and all forms of unnatural regeneration, from magic, chi/ki, Tōki, Yōki, or Devil Bloodline power, for one hour.

[Silver Cross Exorcist Light Sword 'Ginjūji']

Rare Weapon/Exorcist Tool

Developed by one of the most highly-admired Vatican Alchemist and weapon smiths, the Silver Cross is a visually beautiful blade, with the hilt and guard being forged to resemble a literal silver cross etched with powerful Enochian Script. Rather than the typical thin, narrow yellow blade of other Light weapons, the blade of this sword is wide and a pale blue in colour. Compared to a regular Light Sword, it is stronger, more durable and is a particular powerful weapon against creatures of darkness. It would indeed be the weapon of choice for all Vatican Exorcists were it not for the fact that it takes five times as long and ten times the cost to forge one of these blades compared to a standard Exorcist Light Sword. This has made these unique blades a weapon reserved for the most devout and worthy of the Vatican's Exorcist and Paladin Forces.

Light Sword

Durability: 200/200

Spiritual Power Reservoir: 200/200 SP

- Deals S+50 Slashing Damage.

- Deals S+15 Piercing Damage.

- As the SP Reservoir is depleted it must be replenished with an infusion of SP in order to be maintained. Once the SPR reaches 0/200, the blade will be rendered inert until it is recharged. 1 SP is drained per minute of activation. Anyone with an active SP stat and the [Spiritual Energy Channelling] Skill can refill the SPR

Special Effect: 1) Any creature of Shadow or Darkness struck by this weapon's blade suffers +200% damage as a result.

2) Due to the purified and blessed nature of the hilt, as well as its shape of the cross, no devil can touch this weapon, even with the blade deactivated, without suffering horrific damage.

[Gospel Hard Light Round 'Fukuin']

Rare Exorcist Tool

While Light Guns are the preferred ranged weapon of the Vatican in modern times, that has not always been the case. Before the Exorcist Light Gun was originally developed by the Vatican's Weapon Development Branch, most Exorcists relied on conventional firearms to try and strike at foes from a distance, along with crossbows with blessed silver heads. This special ammunition was developed during those days and is widely considered the precursor to the modern light gun. These special rounds do not rely on gunpowder to fire, instead using a small burst of magic to launch themselves when triggered, making them immune to the common spells used by many supernatural factions to counter firearms. These rounds are not particularly special, since they were mass produced in bulk by the Vatican before the development of the Exorcist Light Gun, and a stockpile is still kept by the church and their manufacturing process is still in wide circulation and constantly being experimented with and improved on, just in case a new or more effective tool can be created from the old idea.

(Note: You will be awarded a crate of 9mm Gospel rounds if you select this option, filled with twenty cases of ammo, equalling 1000 rounds of Gospels.)

Light Ammunition

- Single Use

- When loaded into a conventional firearm, all damage from that gun is changed to Light Element damage, and thus causes +100% more damage to creatures of Shadow and Darkness.

To be honest, the choice was a pretty obvious one. While the sword was definitely 'nice' and the ammo would be useful if he already had a ranged weapon he was particularly attached to; Issei was in dire need of a ranged option that wouldn't constantly drain his MP like his spells did and something that would be effective if he ever came into conflict with the Devils. He was dead certain that his identity wasn't going to stay secret forever, and, while he was reasonably sure that at least Gremory-sempai and Sitri-kaichou wouldn't be 'too' aggressive in their recruitment attempts, that wasn't something he was willing to bet on with the rest of their race.

[Black Sky Exorcist Light Gun] selected!

Selecting skill book reward…


skill book selected!

You receive [Summon: Metal Golem] Skill Book!

"Huh…that might just be a useful little skill to have." Issei nodded. While he was just fine fighting on his own, the ability to summon up a big metal tank/beat-stick to help out definitely sounded like something that could be useful in the right circumstances…once he managed to train it up a bit, that is.

Lovely, more skills to train. Speaking of which…

[Intermediate Swordsmanship] has levelled up three times! LV1-LV4!

[Ambidextrous] has levelled up twice! LV9-LV11!

[Lesser Draconic Charisma] has levelled up! LV9-LV10!

{Lesser Draconic Charisma] has reached LVMAX! As a result, it has upgraded to [Draconic Charisma]! All values remain the same, Level Counter has been reset to zero.

[Draconic Charisma] (Passive/Active) [LV1, 0%]

As dragons grow in power, so too does their innate charisma and aura of power. Once only able to attract people to you, you can now also add power to social situations, such as seduction, intimidation, and persuasion.

- Automatically grants you 10 Charisma every time you level up. (Passive)

- Adds +20 to all Social interactions that you choose to add it to. (Active)

- As one who bears the [Boosted Gear], you gain a 50% increased EXP boost with this skill, as this is a [Draconic] skill.

[Power Strike] has levelled up! LV5-LV6!

[Basic Body Magic Reinforcement] has levelled up twice! LV5-LV7!

[Body Reinforcement Magic] has levelled up four times! LV1-LV5!

[Defence Magic] has levelled up! LV5-LV6!

[Lesser Fire Magic] has levelled up! LV6-LV7!

As a result of repeated actions, the skill [Light Sword Mastery] has been created!

[Light Sword Mastery] (Passive) [LV1, 0%]

The art of using a sword with a blade formed of Light Element energy is not an easy one to learn. The lack of a true blade's weight and mass can throw off even the most experienced swordsman when they first wield a light sword. A true example of a weapon that is easy to use but hard to master, this skill aids you in wielding these finicky weapons in combat.

- Passively increases [Slash] damage while wielding a Light sword by 1.

- Passively increases [Pierce] damage while wielding a Light Sword by 1.

All in all, solid gains. At least that part of this Dungeon Delve had been a success. He'd make a final call on the loot once he finished robbing this place down to the bedrock.

It didn't take him long to take everything he wanted from the place. Most of what he ended up taking came from the armoury attached to the Exorcist's chambers, which had a couple crates filled with Light Grenades along with plenty of spare Light Swords and Light Guns to boot. There was even a few vials of Holy Water stored safely in a reinforced case. Most of the rest he ended up taking was from Mittelt, Raynare and Kalawarner's rooms, adding their clothes and other unmentionables to his inventory so he could ensure that, once he got them out of Kuō, they wouldn't have an excuse to come back.

Dohnaseek's room was an utter pigsty and Issei had taken one look around the place before noping his way back out of there. If the Grigori wanted any of his stuff back, they could grab it themselves.

He then gathered up all the knocked out Stray Exorcists in the Ritual Room, along with dragging down the three nitwits from upstairs and assembled them into a nice pile before purchasing another teleportation talisman from the [Gamer's Store] and sending them all straight to the Grigori's HQ somewhere in the Underworld.

See, wasn't he nice? Returning their dumb mooks at no cost to them.

Leaving the abandoned church with his Inventory loaded down with loot, Issei couldn't help but smile to himself at a job well done.

Meanwhile, in the Underworld, Governor-General Azazel of the Grigori looked at the bundle of knocked out and tied up exorcists that had just appeared at the doorstep of the Grigori HQ and wondered what the hell was going on this time.


Next Chapter: Inter-Faction Negotiations