Guided by Ivy, the group went to a moderately refined restaurant that was a little too formal for the masses, but not so formal as to be reserved for the upper class.
As expected, Loren’s group, who were armed, were stopped by the clerk at the entrance and told to leave their weapons with him, but more problematic was Luxuria’s attire.
“Just put a stop to all that transparency.”
The restaurant was not happy with Luxuria’s outfit of tight-fitting leather shorts and mesh shirt, which did not look like something of a normal person from any angle. Loren told him to comply with the restaurant’s request to do something about it for the sake of other guests, but Luxuria complained while hugging himself with a sultry look on his face.
“But what’s wrong about me?”
“About everything, I think. But first, do something about the transparency and tightness of clothes. Not only for the sake of the restaurant, but also for our own peace of mind.”
No matter how shocking the outfit was, if you kept looking at it, you would get used to it. Loren was beginning to, albeit gradually. But Lapis, who was by his side, was still avoiding Luxuria’s eyes, and whenever she glanced in his direction, the amount of cold sweat on her forehead increased. At this rate, Loren thought that one day they would eventually overcome the near traumatic mental shock, but he felt it was too high a hurdle to demand the same thing from this restaurant’s staff.
“But I only have these clothes.”
“If you’re going to dress this guy, no doubt it’ll have to be custom-made…”
Luxuria’s body was even larger than Loren’s. Loren himself was not in a position to choose much in terms of clothing due to his large size, but when it came to Luxuria’s size, it looked like nothing was made in such a size, be it old or new clothes.
“It can’t be helped then. You stay outside.”
Even if they came to a clothing shop now, there was a high chance that they wouldn’t find anything that fit Luxuria. In that case, he just has to give up entering the restaurant. As Loren told him so, Luxuria stuffed his fist into his mouth, shook his head as if saying ‘no, no’ and croaked out.
“You’re being cruel. I’ve gone to great trouble to help you, and now you’re excluding me after we’ve come this far?”
“I want to cut this guy down…”
“Loren, please restrain yourself. I fully understand how you feel, but there will be a lot of inconvenience if you get into an altercation here.”
Lapis gently held Loren’s hand as he reached for the greatsword he had left with the clerk. Two people were trying hard to carry the sword as one person couldn’t move it, but when they saw Loren reach for it with a grim look on his face. They hurriedly carried the sword away to the room where the restaurant kept its guests’ belongings.
Ivy, who had been smiling with a helpless, troubled expression since the beginning of the meeting, made a suggestion to Loren, who looked at his sword with regret.
“If you can pay for a private room, I think we can go in like this?”
“It can’t be helped. We’ll pay.”
Loren, who was well aware that he did not have the authority to make decisions regarding money, looked at Lapis for her opinion. Lapis did not think it was a good idea to spend any more time at the entrance of the restaurant, so she nodded without any objections and started negotiating with the clerk to have a private room prepared. After some time, the negotiations were settled, and Loren’s group was led to one of the several private rooms in the back of the restaurant. They sat down around a round table in the center of the room, and Lapis ordered a light meal and some drinks.
“I’d like to have some good wine. Something is difficult to talk about when sober.”
“If you get too carried away, we’ll fill up the Adventurers’ Guild with muscle again, you know?”
“Lapis, can you stand it? I could.”
“Can’t you all just die…?”
After sharply clicking her tongue, Lapis changed the drinks order and sat down at her seat.
A short time later, food and drinks were brought in, and Loren was impressed by the fact that the servers did not ostensibly change their expressions or attitudes when they saw Luxuria. As expected from a reasonably priced restaurant, their servers were well-trained.
“So, everyone. Shall we start with a toast?”
“What are we toasting to?”
Ivy was the first to fill her own glass, then stood up from her seat and raised it. Loren glared at her with half-lidded eyes as Lapis poured wine into his glass.
“‘For today’s encounter?”
“Do what you want.”
Not knowing if he could keep up with her, Loren answered in a dismissive manner. Ivy, perhaps taking that as an approval, raised her glass and spoke loudly.
“Then, ladies and gentlemen, to today’s encounter.”
Loren and Lapis responded by raising their glasses, while Gula and Luxuria held their glasses in their hands and stared intently at Ivy’s face. Ivy, without paying attention to their gazes, downed the content of her glass in one go, then exhaled with satisfaction as she sat down and poured herself another glass.
“It’s quite expensive.”
The taste of the drink Loren poured into his mouth was completely different from what he usually drank, and the aroma and sweetness were quite distinct on the tongue. He rolled the wine around in his mouth before swallowing, then spoke to Ivy, who was happily sipping her second glass, while wondering about the reactions of the two Evil Gods on his side.
“Do you mind if I cut to the chase?”
“No. You want to ask me about Envy Bridgegard, don’t you?”
Ivy confirmed once more, and Loren nodded gravely. As this was just a hit-or-miss attempt, Loren had prepared for a lackluster result, but the words that reached his ears were outside his realm of expectations.
“Liar! We all know each other!”
Gula slammed her glass down on the round table and pointed at Ivy. Ivy looked back at Gula, seemingly not unperturbed by her rude behavior.
“Are you trying to confuse us by saying random things? Do you think you can get away with this? If you keep talking nonsense, I’m going to push you down.”
“Please stop. We will be banned.”
Luxuria was quite serious, and Ivy replied with a blank expression. But she probably did feel some kind of fear after being told that she would be pushed down by a giant Luxuria’s size, as Loren did not miss a single bead of sweat running down her cheek.
“The Envy we know has short blond hair and dark purple dead eyes. She didn’t have a shred of a female staff’s aura!”
“That’s a terrible thing to say to my face…”
“That’s how the Envy we know is. She’s nothing like you.”
Ivy herself claimed to be the Evil God of Envy, but the two other Evil Gods denied it together.
Loren, who had only expected Ivy to be related to Envy at most, was surprised that Ivy claimed to be the person herself, and even more surprised that both of the Evil Gods on his side denied that claim. He did not know how to react.
“I certainly used to look the way the two of you described…”
Ivy spoke slowly with a distant look in her eyes, as if recalling old memories.
Whether you suspected or believed her, you couldn’t make a judgment until you’d heard all of her claims. So, Loren told the Evil Gods, who were still trying to make a fuss, to be quiet.
“In the past, as the Evil God of Envy, I was jealous of everything in the world. I hunted barbarians as a subordinate of the Ancient Kingdom, and after I was released from the subordination, I was jealous of all that belonged to the Ancient Kingdom and fought against them.”
According to Ivy’s explanation, the power of the Evil God of Envy was called <<Morbid Jealousy>>, which was a self-boost type of power that enhanced her ability through being jealous of something about someone else. She also explained that Gula’s <<Predator>> and Lust’s <<Lust Dance>> were emanation types, Greed’s <<Greedy Robbery>> was classified as a special type, and that there were different types of evil gods.
“I was fighting like that, but then the Ancient Kingdom fell, and I was persuaded by an adventurer, who didn’t like the idea of our mighty power being used or feared, to enter a sealed sleep.”
“Is that how it happened?”
Loren asked Gula. Gula sipped from her glass and answered as her gaze wandered off as if she was replaying an old memory.
“Yeah. Well, you see, our very existence itself is pretty dangerous, isn’t it? And this was right after the fall of the Ancient Kingdom, so it could happen like that. Some of the Evil Gods probably didn’t like it though.”
“It was so long ago that I don’t remember.”
Luxuria tilted his head as wondering if such a thing had ever happened. But from Loren’s point of view, that story didn’t matter now, so he pretended not to notice and let him wonder all he liked. He urged Ivy to continue the talk instead.
“It’s not a big deal, isn’t it? So recently, the seal was broken due to deterioration over time or something. I woke up and returned to this world, but it seems that the world has changed a lot, and I can’t be an Evil God forever, nor is it the time to say that I am one.”
When Loren wondered if she could quit just because she wanted, Ivy spoke about something that surprised Loren to the point of eye-opening.
“So, I went to the ruin, which I know a little bit about, built this body using my own body as material, transplanted my soul into it, and I got a different appearance from what I had before.”
Ivy said that when she changed her looks, she also changed her name from Envy to Ivy. She really wanted to change the Bridgegard part as well, but Ivy realized at that time that the names of Evil Gods were magically bonded with their powers, and if she changed her name entirely, she would lose control of her power altogether. Still, she went through great trouble to change her name to the one she had now because she could not continue to use her original name. And so Ivy concluded her story.
“Creating a body and transplanting a soul? Is that even possible?”
“Well, yes, it is possible.”
“Hey, Ivy. I don’t care if you are an Evil God or not. Just give me the information about that ruin.”
Loren’s words were very aggressive. His sudden reaction made Ivy, who had initiated the conversation, look at him as if she did not understand what had just happened, while Lapis and others around him watched on while also wondering what the hell he had just said. And Loren continued to stare at Ivy with an extremely serious expression on his face.