Since Angelo is on a well-deserved hiatus from the Wiki, here are Hata's impressions of volume XII:
"did a first run through of book 12, 360 pages actually takes a bit longer than I expected, but with enough spoiler and discussions I have a semi understanding of the whole book,
book 12 is a temporary gap stopper for the entire Danmachi series, on the story importance scale I can honest say it ranks last in all 12 books, something the author admits as much, he pretty much invents all those pages after realize he needs something to bridge the next arc, for the sake of “power integrity”, Omori had Bell and his party goes on an adventure to shows that they had GROWN so they can take on tougher enemy, the whole things really can be done in a few sentences but instead the author choose to expand it to a full book.
now simply because the story is not important does not mean the book is not enjoyable, Omori wrote a detail explanation of the adventure process and new floor level with monsters never described before, he even invent a quite memorable new mid boss monster, even if it might be just a throw away character to show off Bell’s power up,
in any case, the real story get back on line next book, Omori originally want directly jump into the Ryu arc, but now with this delay Ryu probably will have her problems taking care of next book so she can finally joins Bell’s party and solve its imbalance problem."
"Ryu's problem is
- her God is not around so she can not level up, - neither had her God return to heaven or around to make the conversion to another familia possible. - on top of she is on the guild’s black list, impossible for her to openly joins another familia. - by the end of book 12 someone saying a murder on the 18th floor was witness committed by Ryu.
now these are all the facts I know, MY GUESS is, someone in disguise committed the murder, hoping it will put the blame on Ryu because it is convenient, (or Ryu was passing by and witness a murder but was framed.) by solving the murder Bell might be able to “kill off” Ryu the character from public, (a convenient scapegoat just presented himself, how nice!) the rest of the problem all can be solved depend on how author wants to go around the problem. - Ryu’s God can go back to heaven, come back, or left a “back door” like Bete’s so a conversion can take place, - and the guild, more important, Ouranos now is on Bell’s side,
the latest book 12 adventure shows the large gap between Bell (a level 4 with level 5 agility) and the rest of his party, without Bell, even with Aisha they were almost annihilated, now as a class “D” familia going on forced mission to the “lower” level (25th and below) the party needs to get stronger in a hurry, but the story’s level up setup makes that impossible, then the only way is for stronger new familia members to join, cues Ryu, the convenient one."
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This confirms that Bell's hidden stats bring his agility to the equivalent of low-level 5, which means that his other basic abilities should be at high-level 4, with the exception of magic, lagging a little behind at mid-level 4.
Also, the general opinion seems to be that Ryuu will be framed by either a remnant of Evilus, or by a random criminal.
With Ryuu working at the Hostess of Fertility, and with her not being willing to leave due to her attachment to Syr and her exaggerated sense of duty, there is the possibility that Freya is the one pulling the strings.
Having witnessed Bell's fight against Asterius, she should know that the gap between him and the rest of his Familia keeps widening, which limits his opportunities for growth.
Knowing of Ryuu's situation through Mia, and possibly Syr as well, Freya has found the perfect pawn that would allow her to keep playing with Bell's development.
All she needs to do is to drag her out into the open, and let Bell clear her name so that she can officially join Hestia Familia, thereby allowing Bell to focus on his own growth rather than on protecting his relatively weaker teammates.
It's a win-win for everybody.