"Demon's are a very diverse species, but are generally divided into five categories; Lesser Demons, Demons, Greater Demons, Demon Lords and True Demon Lords." Emma said while writing on the chalkboard.
"Every sixty six years, our world goes through something known as the Demon Lord Season. During this time, Demon Lords and True Demon Lords who have appeared in the past are reborn into this world and seek to destroy humanity again." Emmy said, picking up where her sister left off.
"According to records there have been 30 Demon Lords in past Demon Lord Season, each with Unique Skills, granted to them by the Demon God." Again, the two switched. It seemed to just be there thing.
Didn't explain why the two decided to change from their priestess outfits into what seemed to be librarian fetish cosplay, complete with wired framed glasses and tiny miniskirts. Supposedly, a summoned hero from the past introduced them as being formal uniforms within the Church of Karion, to be worn whenever doing anything research related.
It seemed like something Rin or Illya might do as a joke, and Shirou was ashamed to admit that it was distracting at times.
"At least one Demon Lord from the past will be revived, most likely at a Labyrinth."
"There could also be newly born Demon Lords. Though the exact nature of how Demon Lords are born is still unknown."
"Their Unique Skills can range from impenetrable defenses and unstoppable attacks, to the ability to read minds or summon armies."
"All Demons can perform magic without the need for incantations and are naturally resistant to all forms of damage, save for the power of a Holy Blade wielded by a [Hero]."
"Because of this, there has never been a recorded case of a Greater Demon or above ever being defeated without a Holy Sword, an Apostle of God, a Dragon, or by someone blessed with a Unique Skill from God… until you, that is."
Shirou pretended not to notice the implied question as the twins looked at him with pleading eyes. It wasn't that there was any harm in telling them, but their pleading looks were adorable. While the Greater Demon did have resistances, it was still a Phantasmal Beasts, and therefore had all the weaknesses of one.
Kanshou and Bakuya were weapons forged from meteorite metal, a natural poison to Phantasmal Beasts and a material that destabilizes the mana around it, providing protection from spells. Even without being 'Holy' they were weapons easily capable of cutting the Greater Demon, even if they couldn't stop its regenerative abilities.
The sisters had been entrusted with Shirou's education, a duty they seemed very happy about. Almost too happy.
"How do countries normally deal with Greater Demons?" Shirou asked.
"They don't." "They don't." The twins answer together.
"Save for the Saga Empire, who possess the means to summon Heroes blessed by the Goddess Parion from another world, any country that is attacked by a Greater Demon is destroyed." Emma said.
"If the entire army united as one, they might have been able to repel the Demon back, but defeating it would be impossible." Emmy added.
"According to the Oracle, the Greater Demon who attacked the capital was going to have burned down half our country before simply leaving with a kidnapped royal."
"This is the first time I have ever heard of an oracle from god not coming to pass."
Well, that explained the girls' reverence of him. He had done the impossible in more than one way.
The lecture continued, with the girls telling Shirou everything they knew about the Demons, including their normal habits, what powers they were said to have, and the locations they could be expected in.
According to them, Demon Lords almost always appeared in things called 'Labyrinths', which sounded like dungeons from a video game. Underground places that exist in a separate space and where monsters simply materialize out of the walls. The Gods never confirmed that the Labyrinths were directly connected to the Demon Lords, but they never denied it either. Demon Lords always just appeared in such places, and until a Demon Lord appeared, all the Demons would normally work to create the conditions necessary for the Demon Lord's revivals.
So then why was there a Greater Demon attacking the Princess?
The girls couldn't answer that question.
Perhaps they saw Yuriko's power as being a possible threat, or maybe they had plans to make use of it.
"So, does the Demon Lord Season come to an end when all the revived Demon Lords are killed or is it a time frame thing?" Shirou asked.
"No one knows." Emma admitted with a shake of the head.
"I see." Shirou mumbled. For a world where Oracles who could directly ask the Gods questions existed, the Gods sure were tight lipped about important information. Almost as if they didn't want to prevent the Demon Lord Seasons. "Well, I suppose it doesn't really matter. I still will have to kill every Demon and Demon Lord who intends to threaten humanity."
"You plan on fighting the Demon Lords!?" Emmy said, eyes wide with awe.
"Of course." Shirou replied.
"Do… do you think you can win?" Emma asked hesitantly. "A Demon Lord is nothing like a Greater Demon. They possess God Fragments from the Demon God, making them like Demigods. In the past 20,000 years, only Dragons and the Heroes summoned by Parion have ever successfully slain a Demon Lord."
"It's not impossible. I've killed a Demigod before." Shirou mumbled, though he bit his lip. He had fought and killed the corrupted Hercules before, but that wasn't a fight he would like to repeat. And Hercules was technically weakened by the Servant Summoning system. How would a fight against a true Demigod go? Would Shirou be strong enough?
Perhaps Shirou needed to try 'leveling up' more.
Apparently, the logic of this world played out like something from a video game, where killing monsters could cause someone to 'level up', strengthening their body and soul and allowing them to gain 'skills' which seemed to be a kind of blessing based on the activities that one took part in while leveling.
Shirou couldn't wrap his head around it, and Emma and Emmy hadn't been able to explain it to his satisfaction, but maybe he just needed some more first hand experience with it.
Even so, Shirou could already feel the benefits of leveling. His base parameters had already seemingly doubled. His body was stronger, more resilient, faster, his magic circuits could carry double the load and could be refilled four times faster.
"Does this land have one of those Labyrinths?" Shirou asked.
"Our country has a Withered Labyrinth located not too far from the capital." Emmy informed him, her and her sister's eyes wide from the 'I've killed a Demigod before' comment.
"So close?" Shirou asked, surprised. Weren't these Labyrinths supposed to be dangerous places that could produce waves of monsters and demons?
"Most Labyrinths have cities near them, either because the miasma produced from the people was used to create the Labyrinth, or because the cities were made in order to make use of the materials that could be gathered from within it."
"Especially for the eastern countries, like ours, whose soil is too poor to grow much crops, we depend on the bodies of the monsters slain by Adventurers within the Labyrinth to survive."
"I see." So, the Labyrinths that were the sources of these Demon Lords were built in miasma hot spots. "Could you get me as many books you have on the Labyrinth as possible?"
"Yes, Hero-sama!" "Yes, Hero-sama" The twins said together, getting a twitch out of Shirou, who wasn't used to being called a Hero.
But as Emma left the room to grab the requested books, someone else was trying to come in. It was the young pink haired princess from before.
"Princess Menea-sama, what are you doing here?" Emmy asked, surprised by the girl's presence.
"I was just coming to give the Hero-sama a gift. An item bag containing clothes that aren't covered in blood." The Princess said, holding up a large bag. "I figured that Hero-sama would like to change out of that prisoner attire, as he is NOT a prisoner." As she said this, she glanced at the pair of guards in the room with a dirty look. They seemed uneasy as she walked up to Shirou and deposited the bag. "Emmy, let us leave the Hero to change real quick. It wouldn't be proper for us to watch… unless he wants us too?"
"It won't be proper." Shirou said, with a small smile, as he opened the bag… one that had its own pocket space. "Thank you for the clothes."
"No problem, now come on, Emmy-chan." Menea said, grabbing onto the priestess's arm and dragging her out. It didn't seem like the guards had any intention of leaving Shirou alone.
Shrugging his shoulders, Shirou pulled the leather clothes out of the bag, inspecting them. They appeared to be made of a type of monster's hide. Not bad material, but nowhere close to his old armor.
Even the Royal Knight's Mithril Armor couldn't hold up against Shirou's body armor from before. While Mithril was a material that was five times stronger than steel and half the weight, the specialized carbon fibers, made through alchemy, used in Shirou's body armor were fifteen times stronger than steel at one fifth the weight. They also provided a flexibility that couldn't be found in the platemail.
Mithril also had a major disadvantage, in that when one reinforced it with magic, it became much heavier. While Mithril seemed like a good material for weapons, it failed to provide when it came to armor.
As Shirou contemplated what he would need to make his old armor set, a note that had been attached to the bottom of the bag caught his attention. A small note written in Japanese.
Thank you for saving my aunt and our country.
You can't trust my Father or the Minister of Foreign Affairs. They will try to control you, like they did the others who were summoned.
I put dried food inside of the bag, enough for five days, a little money, and a few items you can sell.
Hero-sama, if they try anything, run away.
Love, Princess Menea.
Ramus could barely concentrate on his work. He had to fill out the paperwork and get emergency relief going, but he couldn't stop thinking about the man who had been summoned.
By his own confession, Emiya-dono had been a literal one in a million individual. Only one in a hundred thousand people in his world knew about magic's existence, and only one in ten of them focused on combat over research. While the man insisted on his own ineptitude, one didn't live as long as he had as a freelancer if they weren't incredibly skilled compared to their peers.
Emiya was completely different from the summoned heroes of Parion. On top of lacking the blessing of the Goddess, he was older, as the average age of a Summoned Hero was 15. He also appeared as a level 1, rather than a level 50. And yet he still managed to beat a Greater Demon.
According to Yuriko, when he was first summoned, his status showed no skills or titles, but after he grew a level, his status was updated, displaying over a hundred skills and titles. So many that the Yamato Stone copy that they were using couldn't keep track of it all. He appeared to have complete mastery over every type of weaponry in existence, as well as several other skills, such as [Reinforcement], [Analysis], [High Speed Thought], [Magic Perception], [Magic Resistance], [Accuracy], [Sniping], [Clairvoyance], etc.
He was confirmed to have the [Hero] title, but also had many other shocking titles including [Living Weapon], [Enemy of Evil], [Demigod Slayer] and [Hero Slayer].
It made the King wonder what the man would be like if he ever managed to reach the same level as the Royal Knights, or even the Hero Attendants.
They would never be able to summon another one like him, even if they tried. Not that they could. The summoning circle provided by the Weasel Merchant had been damaged beyond repair. They wouldn't be able to use it to control his sister's summoning again.
That said, this was worrying.
Even though Emiya lacked the shock and indignation that the other summoned adult had displayed, they couldn't guarantee his loyalties. The effects of Yuriko's compulsion curse only lasted as long as he was around her, and even then, they didn't seem strong enough to truly affect the man.
Emiya was being cooperative, for now, but what would happen if their beliefs ever conflicted? What would happen when he found out about what happened to the first five people who were summoned? Could they even say he was being cooperative? It was more like he was making use of their resources, rather than truly cooperating. What would he do once he got all the information he wanted? Would he rebel or attempt to run away, like the others?
Perhaps he could be enticed with a marriage.
The prince that Menea had been engaged to had died when the Weasel Empire invaded his homeland. Another reason why his daughter was cross with him about working with the Weasels. But it did leave her hand open. She was a beautiful girl, a princess, and possessed the rare 'summoning' skill talent. Any man in the Kingdom would desire her.
Yuriko had also remained unmarried, despite her ever advancing age and eternal youth. While most men of this world would find her appearance repulsive to the point where even her status as a princess couldn't attract a good man, those from Japan seemed to find her to be beautiful beyond words. Emiya himself seemed to have his eyes drawn to her.
King Ramus would gladly give the man both of them if it would insure his cooperation. He would also bestow any title Emiya asked for.
But so would any other Kingdom in this world.
They couldn't offer him strong allies, as the strongest people they had at their disposal were only level 35. They were too poor of a nation to keep him through money. The damage dealt by the Demon was already close to bankrupting them. They had no Holy Swords either, or anything that could compare.
There was little they could do if he decided to leave, or worse, punish them for the things they had done to his fellow otherworlders.
He had no choice. If he couldn't win Emiya over, he would have to do as the Weaselkin suggested and make use of the 'Dark Sage' and his [Geass] skill to force the man to serve them.
It would take a while to call the Dark Sage. Hopefully, they could keep him occupied until then. Who knows, maybe it wouldn't even be necessary. Maybe his sister or daughter could seduce the man before then. Menea might not do it if ordered, but she was a young girl, who fancied things like heroes, and Ramus could try to persuade Yuriko.
"Your Majesty, permission to enter?" A messenger said at the door.
"Enter." Ramus said, figuring it would be more paperwork.
The man came in and bowed his head. "Your Majesty, the summoned hero is requesting permission to enter Rumooku's Labyrinth."
"...Is that so." Ramus said, scratching his chin. Having Emiya in the Labyrinth to grow levels while they wait wasn't such a bad idea. "Grant him my permission, so long as he takes an escort party with him. ...And one other thing. Tell Princess Menea and Princess Yuriko to go with him as well."
Let's see if the man could be controlled.