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Magical Trickster DxD (HS DxD Magician!OC-I with some X-overing)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by JBukharin, Sep 20, 2019.

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  1. Simonbob

    Simonbob Really? You don't say.

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    Sorry.

    This, the power, the plot? It's not to my taste.

    It's come to the point that I don't like most of the chariters, and the general tone, well....

    Anyway. I enjoyed a lot of the early stuff. Then, you went too far.

    Thanks for what I liked.
     
    JBukharin likes this.
  2. Threadmarks: De Exodo Dimensioni
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 59: De Exodo Dimensioni

    I had been partly aware of what has been happening in the Underworld while on the run.

    Mostly because I was morbidly intrigued by what reaction the entirety of Hell would assume about what had happened back in Kuoh, a minority was about knowing what kind of dangers I would have ended up facing if I didn’t move quickly enough out of Japan.

    There were brutal words directed at me, the full story barred from people’s knowledge as only the crimes were mentioned.

    There was no interest in giving out a ‘humane’ perspective over my actions, possibly because the Satans were aware of the dangerous threat I was and that the required help would have needed the whole Underworld united against me.

    A mobilization ensued, some of the greater Lords calling their banners by drafting new blood to their ranks and making sure to swear loyalty to the Four- now Three- Satans.

    And while the majority of the Hellish denizens craved for a quick attack against me, as a mean to properly end this ‘terrible monster’, a full month had passed without any attempt to bring the troops outside of the Underworld.

    Confusion stirred, anger still bubbling as, without the proper target nearby, was slowly redirected to the leaders that got them all ready for a war and… the reason behind such a passive and hesitant demeanor was fairly simple as foolish.

    If even a single soldier of Hell marched outside of the marked lands, Heaven would have declared war against the ‘invading force’. To think that the messy diplomacy that still lived after so many centuries of peace would actually ease up my escape and render impossible any chance for an alliance between the two opposing factions…

    Michael was never the best person to rule, his mind too centered around the precepts of a flawed God with a sprinkle of an Inferiority Complex.

    A fool, there was no denial after the display or… lack of proper response to my attack.

    Heaven was by no means unbeatable and the only thing that a smart guy would have done in his situation would have been… delay.

    Delay and evacuate.

    People died, people that had to get directly attacked and removed from my path to reach the end of this twisted and psychotic nightmare.

    Grigori actively hunted me down during my month-long escape, but the lack of powerful fighters to spare all around the organization ended up causing just a few of those to come close to where I was hiding temporarily during my run.

    Then when they got really close in New York, capturing me and all, the skyscraper became a grand grave for those that tried to kill me in that occasion.

    The situation also brought attention to the surreal presence of strange DNA in the remaining husk of the building, the news blasting with theories, people ‘coming forward’ about some details of the supernatural world and the Church was trying and failing to keep up with the downfall of its own foundation.

    Normal humans were finally noticing that something odd was going on around them, causing further issues with all those factions, from Christianity and other Pantheons, about the fall of the ‘tricky’ curtain between the Deities and the mortals blissfully unaware of what was going on in the backstage of the world.

    And while both Grigori and Heaven suffered from the recent attempts to take my life, Hell was collapsing upon itself.

    A month was more than enough to make people cautious and paranoid about their closest kin. Hesitation, doubts, and panic all played horrible cards to the leaders of Hell as a full-fledged Civil War exploded two weeks in during my ‘pilgrimage’.

    Initially, it was just some conflicts between a family or two. Then the small fire started to burn brighter than expected as society fragmented in numerous groups, cliques formed by Lords and Ladies tired of the current leadership Hell was ‘enduring’ after years of stagnating peace.

    War erupted, but the participants were all within the Underworld itself.

    The entire territory was split in zones of influence, with constant raids between a zone and another.

    People were dying, innocents were dying as the world- no, the entire reality registered its first contraction.

    I felt it the moment I blasted through the massive walls that led within the initial section of Hell. I paused just a moment, my whole body tensing up in dread at the effects and the… magnitude of this phenomenon.

    It’s happening far earlier than planned!

    I needed to move quickly, even if I had to redo the same atrocities perpetrated within the pearly kingdom.

    Just as I returned to look at the hole created, I was greeted by a full platoon of red-armored knights sporting some flags with a familiar purple flower.

    I blinked. “The Bael Clan?” I mused vocally, the knights bending the knee and causing me to blink in surprise.

    That’s correct, milord.” Zekram Bael descended from the sky moments later, behind him his son, Lord Bael, and his grandchild, Sairaorg.

    Both father and son bowed, leaving just the young man standing up and staring fiercely at me.

    There was shock and embarrassment in Zerkam’s face, the founder of the Clan and Lucifer’s trusted loyalist seeming ready to murder his grandson the moment he ignored the respectful gesture.

    The old man was prim and proper, like the memories of Lucifer reminded me.

    Zeks, you look old.” I mirthfully commented, causing the elder to glance back at me with wide-eyes.

    He started to vibrate a little, excited by the fact he was finally greeting his Creator.

    M-Milord! Y-You are back!”

    Partly and… things are escalating to an ugly situation for everyone.” I replied with a serious but kind tone, the same one Heliel would use to talk with his ‘children’. “The dimension is destabilizing the more time passes…”

    T-That- What is happening, milord?” Zekram finally asked, a panicked expression in his face.

    I could remember giving him some explanation about a pseudo-loop, nothing too revealing but it was also something that got him even more loyal to the King of the Underworld.

    The reset is not working anymore.” I commented with cold tone. “The cycle has to be broken.”

    He blinked once, then twice, and then the man bowed again. “If this is your command, milords-”

    Hoitsu Sakakibara.” Sairaorg spoke loudly, his booming voice being… interesting to hear this closely. “I demand you explain what happened in Kuoh Town.”

    I sighed, noticing the burning scowl now hanging by the elder’s face and decided to intervene before causing further distractions. “And I shall explain. I think everyone in the Clan and those that wishes to follow me has the right for a proper explanation.”

    I looked up in the sky and I nodded to myself. “But we need to get going. The timer is ticking and I’ve to reach Trihexa’s containment chambers.” I muttered, dragonic wings sprouting from my back as I took the lead in the flight.

    Some tensed up at the mere mentioning of the Dragon of the Apocalypse, but they all followed my example and, after unfolding their wings, started to follow me towards the deeper parts of Hell.

    T-The Beast of the End?” Zekram’s son asked bluntly, surprise painting his tone. “M-Milord, I k-know that the situation is terrible but-”

    Trihexa is part of the ‘old’ Lucifer.” I replied with a tired tone. “It’s essential to recover it, something I shall do alone and personally as the situation is that terrible.”

    Then I turned to Sairaorg. “And I think it’s time to also address your concerns. Concerns I’m sure others are feeling right now for the cause they are following.”

    The Heir of the Bael Clan merely nodded and I started to explain things… from the very beginning.

    There wasn’t any time to waste in subtlety, the world was dying and if this was the only help I had to divert the obstacles away, then I will make sure to not have any world-shattering revelation spoilered during a fight.

    From the original idea behind the loops to the fall of the First Lucifer. From the end of the First Trihexa to the beginning of this damaged route.

    The knights were horrified by the tale, while the three ‘heads’ of the Bael Clan looked merely shocked by the intense narration, the emotions that dripped from every word leaving my lips.

    There were hardly any questions during the flight as the story itself took much of their attention.

    Still, I detected something strange. While part of Hell was still fighting with the brutality reported by the spies in there, the area we were slowly making ourselves way into was… growing ever so silent the more we flied towards it.

    This silence was… familiar. It reminded me of… death.

    I blinked as I suddenly felt the terrifying pulse of energy standing right between us and the containment chambers.

    My sight locked onto a silent figure, several pieces of clothing lying wasted around her.

    I felt nervous, I felt danger coming right at u-

    There were hardly any questions during the flight- Wait, did I just reset!?

    I blinked and suddenly I remembered what happened.

    Everyone dive down!” The unexpected order caused surprise at the group following my lead, but they all followed me down as…

    I saw it, the normal-looking girl with dark-haired combed in a pony-tail. She blitzed right where we once where, halting a moment as her black eyes widened in surprise at the lack of people around her.

    Lilith, or whatever that thing was, turned her attention slowly right at me.

    The girl blinked, her energy pattern far greater than Ophis or… anyone in this reality.

    It was close to mine, the sudden death that I suffered being caused by the immensely powerful strike she used.

    Her surprise was divided between the fact we dodged that attack and because she was possibly feeling the strain of that burst of energy.

    She rushed down, I moved away and… forgot completely about the group behind me.

    The following energy strike was weaker compared to the first one, but it was strong enough to fully vaporize the leaders of the Bael Clan.

    My eyes widened in shock, she blinked again and glanced back at me… this time smiling giddily.

    Tag!” The word that was meant to refer to the children’s game brought cold dread to my poor soul as I had to dive once more down to avoid the playful blur of utter doom.

    Once I was in a ‘safe’ distance, I decided to throw a powerful blast of raw energy at her and… she deflected it easily. My jaws dropped, the giggling enemy showing more of her dangerous abilities.

    I- I have to hit harder then!

    I decided to avoid using energy-based attacks, getting closer to the smiling girl, I promptly punched her straight in her face and- “Owie! That was mean!”

    If only she could understand that this wasn’t JUST A FUCKING GAME!

    I roared and decked her in the neck, a surprised look born by the brief pain was soon replaced by a mirthful grin as she reacted by kicking me in the stomach. “Let’s fight, Niichan!”

    My consciousness faded just a moment at the nickname, my eyes flashing red as I started to realize that this situation was worse than expected.

    Everything clicked now about why Lilith of all people was capable of matching up against me.

    There were clothes that were once worn by people. People that were alive just moments before I arrived.

    There were armors, maid clothes, civilian robes… and I saw a Magical Girl-like dress too.

    This was supposedly the part where the Satans were keen to hole up in case of crisis and… Rizevim knew about his plans.

    Without Azrael to stop him and without the loop happening as it should regularly happen, the man was surely aware about my necessity to reach Trihexa and…

    This Lilith had Ophis, Rizevim, Euclid, Issei, Sirzechs, Falbium, Serafall, Grayfia… and many others within herself.

    I can see how the leader of Qlippoth tried to use Lilith as a replacement for me, trying to recreate a proto-Trihexa capable of absorbing the one currently contained… but ended up messing things to a terrible degree.

    The first contraction of this dimension had to have sparked Lilith’s self-preservation mechanism, the inner dragon-like instincts flaring at the massive danger and urged her to… get stronger.

    I was shocked at the speed exercised in the absorption of so many beings but… here she was.

    *Lilith wants to play!

    ...What?!

    She giggled again, her first punch easily dodged and forcing her to attack even faster than before. Of course she was weaker than me but the distance was… minimal compared to others.

    In this scenario, I felt close to really lose against someone.

    It was in the following exchange of blows that something even scarier happened.

    My fist slammed into hers and… something cracked.

    It wasn’t my hand, nor hers. It wasn’t Hell and not even Earth.

    Reality cracked once more!

    Nononononono!

    I felt panic surging as my attacks intensified, same for Lilith as her eagerness pushed her further.

    This… this has to end now!

    If the girl had this much energy… then it was more than right to use it against her.

    I slammed a fist on her chest, getting two punches in my face in the process, then I landed another punch, this one in her left-side ribs. Finally, I drove my closed palm in her stomach, causing her to retaliate with a powerful kick.

    I was sent flying away, denying myself any recovery as I exploited the distance created by the attack to set my plan in motion without drawing any suspicions.

    Lilith giggled again, prepping herself to rush once more towards me but-

    G-Gah!?” Her hands shoot protectively at her chest. Agonizing pain visible in her face as she started to sob uncontrollably, her entire body trembling.

    I blinked, my mind now emptied by any chance of redemption as I knew this was going to be my last kill.

    I lifted my open palm up. “The fun is over Lilith.” I stated with a blank tone and then… I snapped my fingers.

    She didn’t have any possibility of reply to my words, her entire body turning a bright white and then… a soundless explosion ripped me away from the ‘vicinity’.

    I blinked, recoiling at the blast as I slammed just in time against… Trihexa’s seals.

    The painful pushback of the powerful centuries-old runes was enough to make me land on the ground with a painful and crunchy thud and… make me doubt about being able to do much after… this.

    I crawled for a while towards the runes before actually attempting to wobble myself towards the large chambers. I paused just a meter or so away from the seals and sighed.

    In the beginning, there was darkness. God wanted Light… but Darkness brought balance. In the end… Darkness brings Light and the world shall be made ablaze.

    The seals glowed a dark-red, burning themselves as the containment spells were lifted off from the grounds and… a familiar roar echoed vengefully from the large pit.

    I sighed and stared down in the abyss.

    The abyss stared back, a toothed grin sported by Trihexa sending chills down my spine.

    And this is how things… will end.” I blinked and slowly fell in that seemingly endless pit.

    The Dragon roared again, flapping his thousands of wings at once as if craving hungrily for its first taste of freedom after so many years of being contained.

    But it was all for nothing as… confusion riddled Trihexa the moment it stared at… itself.

    The ‘copy’ looked shocked too and the simple mortal, the human that was now between the two Beasts, started to swiftly chant several incantations.

    And while the two identical creatures were mesmerized by their own appearances, their own energy pools and their hunger…

    I smiled with a guilty smile concluding the incantation and… I started to draw both Trihexas’ energies.

    The powerful sources were already collapsing. It was well-known that two beings of identical and equal presence within the same universe were bent to collapse reality without hesitation.

    But with their mindless consciousness being the first thing to fade, the energy was easy to manipulate, to use for the last Reset ability in Lucifer’s repertoire.

    Something the bastard himself wouldn’t even dare to make use of because… it was too dangerous and required too much energy.

    Energy that I had with the two Trihexas dying just near enough to me to make this possible.

    Last Encore: Final Reset.

    Four words. Four simple words and the entire dimension… collapsed.

    I felt pushed in a small space, air forcefully ejected from my lungs as I started to be slammed left and right in an endless darkness where only I was visible.

    I didn’t have air to scream, nor to properly think and move as I was pulled away from the dying mess that was reality and… sent careening in the next one.

    I blinked, my vision fading between unconsciousness and… being alive while I was flung to the next… step of my final adventure.

    If only I had knew that Dimension-hopping was this much… painful…

    An eternity later and with a tired mind and body, I greeted the approaching cemented floor with the same familiarity one has for… a friend.

    I crash-landed in some alley, my face painfully burning as I saw blood spurting out of my new… wounds?

    Oh… I don’t have Trihexa anymore and I should be worried by… this.

    I felt footsteps approaching, but my eyes were too tired to be able to discern the approaching shadows.

    The only thing that I know is… that whoever found me was a… woman?

    ----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d--------

    AN

    And with this the first section of Broken Trickster DxD is… completed!

    But I can say right now that… the show is far from over. Since yesterday I forgot to update, either today or tomorrow I will have an extra chapter!

    But for now, since I’m feeling rather… inspired by Oneshots, I think I will write a…

    --------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d--------------
    Omake 5: Sleeping is… difficult.
    --------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d--------------


    When Kunou began sleeping in my bed, I was elated to have someone adorable snoring nearby and… keeping things warm with her fluffy tails.

    It was the cutest experience ever, even the best way to avoid getting nightmares.

    Yet this happiness vanished the moment things escalated.

    Kunou was soon joined by Koneko, the silver-haired Nekoshou having a more passive positioning, preferring to sleep with her head resting on my free arm rather than on my chest. It would happen once or twice in a while to have her share my torso with the Kitsune but… those were rare moments.

    Then… it was Ophis’ turn.

    The girl was quite… cautious with her positioning, preferring to sleep in a hug rather than being merely covered by sheets. This caused several issues regarding the summer’s torrid heat and me waking up in a pool of sweat. She was alright by the morning while I would then be forced to take a long shower to clean up from that… situation.

    Sleeping with three chibis seemed to be my limit, I planned to put a stop to eventual other girls but…

    Then was the turn of… Maria.

    A flat ‘no’ was given to the half-succubus when she asked to join in, trying to appear innocent and… failing because of the fawning that preceded the request.

    A totally justified refusal as the girl was quite versed in being… terribly attracted to me. Not only she had some powerful charm spell but she was terribly taken by my deeds and how ‘good-looking’ I am.

    She would end up try to sneak into my room and… be promptly stopped by Kuroka.

    I don’t know why Kuroka took the initiative of making sure the girl wouldn’t invade my bed for… explicit reasons, but I was sure that there had to be a good and genuine reason behind this good behavior from the young woman.

    And hopefully I will not wake up one day to deal with some unpleasant regrets and some sirens ringing by my house’s entrance.

    With Maria’s situation dealt with, the ball landed right into Lilith.

    She was similar to Ophis at first, requesting hugs during sleep but… then decided to adopt a more Kunou-esque approach and merely sleep with her head atop my chest.

    Nothing horrible happened with her… or at least nothing worth any worry from me but… I still think that four girls sleeping in the same bed can be… quite uncomfortable, no matter the arrangements taken.

    ...So I came to you to ask if you knew how to deal with this-”

    I think you are slightly overreacting, Hoitsu-san. I think you should enjoy the fact that you have a strong following of little sisters loving you that much. Some would envy the wholesome and endearing trust those girls have for you.”

    I blinked, eyes widening at the sudden reply and… that actually make some little sense.

    But the problem is-”

    Being in a relationship, may it be a platonic or a romantic one, has people gaining and giving. You can’t expect yourself entitled to only receiving, aren’t you, Hoitsu-san?”

    I stopped with my lips parted to speak, I frowned and then I closed my mouth. The words now meant something.

    I’ve to admit that I’ve… never seen this perspective before. I guess that… work is starting to really affect my perception of things and… I forgot that I’ve to understand their flaws like they understand mines-” I paused, eyes widening. “I- what if I had problematic sleep? What if I- I was being this idiotic when they are suffering too and-”

    Calm yourself, you lucky lad!” The doctor replied with a bright smile, caressing his curious goatee. There was just something… that made him familiar. “You are just a youth seeking answers about a completely complex situation and I do respect the fact you’ve come to seek help.”

    T-Thanks, Shinhachi-san. I didn’t expect to have some… clarity about the matter without causing… issues with the situation itself.” I stood up from my chair and shook the smiling man’s hand, surprised by the incredibly strong hold and… cool sensation.

    Trust me kid, I faced much much worse than what you are dealing with.” The doctor nodded while leading me to the door. “The only thing I’ve to ask is… if you somehow end up meeting with a cutie, a little girl with warm red-eyes and brown-hair that’s called ‘Mayu’, I need you to avoid trying to pull her in the whole ‘Big Brother’ situation.”

    … “Can I ask w-”

    She is my daughter and I will break you legs if she is somehow decides to pick up your habit and have all her friend dog-pile the bed where my wife and I sleep… CAPISCHE!?

    I ‘eeped’ a little at the unexpected demonic voice and powerful glow coming from the man’s eyes. “I- I understand, s-sir!”

    He smiled again. “Good. Then you may go...”

    I never left a place faster than in that occasion… but seriously.

    Who was this John Shinhachi and why he sounded ‘familiar’?!

    ------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-------

    AN

    The Living Bot strikes twice! This time meddling in the omake. Goddammit, go back to your place-

    You can’t tell us what to do, you foo-

    ...And he’s completely gone now. Good.

    Anyway, long day and I’m starting to get annoyed by the fact the sky is darkening faster than in summer. I know there is a scientific basis behind the phenomenon, but the fact I get sleepy when in a dark room or with the sound of rain behind me… yep, I’m completely taken out by this stuff…

    Future milestone 1: 900 Followers and Favorites.
     
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  3. JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    No chapters today. The electrical grid is recovering from a big blackout and PC isn't working yet bc there is not enough electricity. It's esteemed to return in two-three hours from now. Massive apologies for the unexpected inconvenience.
     
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  4. Threadmarks: Eternal Bond
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 60: Eternal Bond

    It’s been three days since the sudden diplomatic meeting between the Omega Initiative, Qlippoth and Grigori.

    While I had eagerly expected some early action, I was only granted with some minor assurance of something interesting happening… in a few weeks from now.

    It was odd, not unexpected, but still unnerving as I found myself dealing with the implications of having shattered the Khaos Brigade… again.

    Differently from the first time, where Ophis’ decision to resign from the formal leadership and the destruction of the Old Satan Faction did cut in half the entire group, the Hero Faction didn’t need Qlippoth to survive.

    Actually, it made them even more appealing to the Gods of the various pantheons that wanted a big war as without a connection with the very reason why the Christian Pantheon truly hunted them down, Cao Cao had the chances of getting people endeared to his charismatic speeches without putting those interested in his words at odds with Heaven and the Underworld.

    Things were still as complicated as before because, even with both Julius and Alucard recruited to strike Hades and rescue the original Lilith, if this attack was broadcasted in any possible form of media, the devastating impact it would have to the relationships between the other pantheons, even the more peaceful ones, and the Christian one.

    People were mostly unaware that the dangerous threats of the Khaos Brigade had yet to be defeated, the fact that the official ‘defeat’ was set to have happened during the attack on Tokyo, there was still a lingering sense of patriotism in all factions.

    A small incident, even the most insignificant of those, could bring some heavy predicaments that… none of the leaders of the Three Factions wanted to have anything to do about.

    Of course, knowing that there were Gods that would still give it a try to have a War happening via indirect intervention, those were heavily monitored. Loki was the most worrisome, his displeasure regarding an opening between the Norse and the Christian Pantheons being a major reason to destabilize the latter group.

    I was lying on my couch, yawning as Kunou was sprawled on my chest, the girl enjoying some minor rest after making sure that Lilith was asleep and also having Ophis promising to keep company to her ‘copy’. Surprisingly enough, the scene I found moments later to check on them was… two chibis sleeping near each other. I can only assume the ‘older sibling’ wanted to see if sleeping cuddled with her ‘younger sister’ would actually work as it does with me.

    If so, the results were perfectly clear.

    It was a working day, people that would be usually at home were either at school or doing some private projects.

    I was aware that Kuroka and Koneko were going to be experimenting some improving step for their current Senjutsu forms while sharpening what they currently had.

    Xenovia had decided to spend some of her free time trying to get Mathias and Valerie accustomed to their new flat with the active support of Gasper. The little Vladi had all good reasons to be going for this activity, citing how it was only respectful to help his first friend and Xenovia in doing this much.

    He did reveal to the blue-haired girl about… being ‘skeptical’ about Mathias, something I was quick to label childish jealousy created by the fact this very individual, this stranger, managed to get this close to Valerie.

    So… the house was pretty much empty right now and I found myself in… some strange silence.

    Is it wrong that I found the quiet walls of my house… oppressive?

    You have spent some time now dealing with a never-ending series of events that got you dragged in quite the dangerous situations. I think you are...
    Suffering from the lack of action.


    ...Say what?

    As much as you are really interested in living a peaceful life, the need of battling is deeply ingrained in your body now. A physical reaction to so many fights happening this closely.

    B-But I’ve been enjoying quite well the previous break-

    Because you had other maddening predicaments to face. You might be capable of living with this crave, but you will have to endure through the need of… beating someone.

    This is… rather worrisome.

    And you think that is the worst bit. Do you even realize that yesterday you skipped your usual self-study session?

    I think I had- yes, I was help with Sapphire-san. She needed some help moving some boxes to where Mio and Maria were staying in Kuoh.

    But you still plenty of time to recover from that tardiness.

    You mean that-

    Your mind is slowly accepting the fact that fighting and practice are better than intellect and theoretical study.

    A completely unacceptable outcome that we WILL make sure it doesn’t come to pass.

    So… do I spend the day studying and skipping the practice section?

    You could spend some time with Kunou. It’s been a while since you have enjoyed some time alone and… I think she will not have any issue in going around for a walk around Kuoh.

    I blinked at that notion, my sight still fixed at the ceiling.

    It could be a good idea… but what about the two girls sleeping in Kunou’s room?

    I could get out and… babysit them?

    ...You just wanted to spend some time with Lilith, don’t you?

    Guilty as charged, chief. I just want to see how much similar to Ophis she is and… I dunno.

    I sighed softly, stroking Kunou’s hair a little more and gaining a purr-like reply from the sleeping girl.

    I know you will be responsible but… make sure Lilith doesn’t go berserk when she doesn’t found me there when she wakes up.

    I will do that, boss!

    I nodded to myself and cautiously shook the blonde a little, getting her to stir and… open a tired golden eye. “Mhhh~?”

    Ne, Ku-chan, do you want to go for a walk-”

    Nyo.” She replied flatly, snuggling onto my chest. “I… I want to sleep.”

    Oh. That was… new.

    She is usually very keen to those proposition… why she seemed that much tired?

    Did you two seriously forget how much training the girl has done very recently?

    Oh- Oh right and-

    I should have remembered.

    I patted her head softly, eyes glimmering as realization about the girl’s tiredness revealed. She did look weary, and she was seriously enjoying the moment of relief by sleeping… with me.

    It’s not your fa-

    I’m her brother. As much as I try to ignore it, I still have to be mindful of Kunou’s willingness to go far with her training. She can still get tired and I should be careful to not have her this… over-extended.

    N-Niichan?”

    I blinked, my attention returned to the girl, her lone eye once more glancing at me.

    Yes sweetie?” I asked softly, trying to mind the fact she was still sleepy.

    Do you think… we could visit Mama?” She muttered quietly.

    I… was taken by surprise by that question. It’s been a while since I’ve heard her ask about Yasaka and… while I know she had been calling her on a daily basis, I can see that after a month she could get nostalgic.

    I smiled, trying to hide the inner embarrassment of having completely forgotten about… that.

    I will see if we can plan two days for Kyoto.” I promised, ready to maintain at least this. “I think we will go there for a week or more once we got this Lucifer situation dealt with.”

    A tiny smile appeared on her face and she nodded. “Thank you… Niichan.”

    I nodded back and, expecting her to fall asleep once more, closed my eyes, trying to enjoy the silence that was expected to come back.

    By the way… Niichan.” She mused softly, causing me to look once more at her.

    Thank you for… everything.” The blonde said happily, my wide eyes barely deterring the girl from continuing. “A-As much I didn’t like the fact I wasn’t with you when… T-Tokyo’s happened, I think I should thank you for-”

    Sweetie-”

    N-No.” She interjected my interruption, her full attention now on me as both her eyes were completely glancing back at mine. “I-I have to say this.”

    I… I don’t want to be disrespectful but… I want to be the one to protect you, Niichan.” The blonde admitted with a sad hint in her voice. “I… I want to be the one that keep you safe and away from harm’s way.”

    There was a few moments of silence. Silence that I used to reflect upon her words and properly formulate some reply.

    Do you have… a reason why you need to be the ‘one’ that protects me, Ku-chan?” My question was clear, but Kunou willingly took some time to answer to it.

    M-Mama told me that… I will...” She paused, her face pressed on my chest. “I-I will live longer than you.”

    Oh.

    Oh shit.

    I-I thought Mama was l-lying at first but- but Kitsunes do live longer than humans and… and with that special technique I’ve managed to accomplish, I will live e-even longer than expected.” She continued to explain. “I-I don’t want to- I don’t want to give you up like this and- and-”

    I hugged her, I was starting to feel… sad myself about this situation. It was just that-

    I know that Kunou cares for me. A lot. Hearing about this care in a daily predicament proves it the best but-

    But with this little opening I was being bestowed with? I was concerned about her and how she felt about life itself. I could… remember having some negative thoughts about death.

    It was nothing about suicide, nor anything remotely close to it. It was a slight fear that… life moves too quickly. It is the cruel exaggeration of ‘time passes fast when you are having fun.’

    The ‘Fun’ in life is the happy moments and… time is the years, the decades. It was a humongous but terrible thought that happens to everyone at least once in a lifetime and… Kunou was dealing with it.

    As much as she was accustomed to pain and death, having to come to terms about the fact that her precious people had a limit that reached way before hers? I could imagine the worry, I could imagine the fear.

    But in that moment of gloom, there was a small thought that I know would give her some hope.

    Ku-chan… you know that you are wrong about something?” I softly questioned, causing the girl to tense up and frown at my words.

    Do you think that I am truly human… anymore?” I continued to ask. “Did you forget how many ‘inhuman’ feats I pulled until very recently?”

    She lifted her head, puffy red eyes stared back and I smiled a tiny smile. “Did you forget that I, as your Niichan, will be there to the very end? To help you when you need-”

    D-Don’t lie-”

    There is no lie, Ku-chan.” I continued, determination flaring and stirring within my core. “There is only the simplest of truths.”

    My hands slowly cupped her cheeks and I smiled a little more.

    Your Niichan is certainly not going to accept death if this means leaving you alone. I will refute it in all instances, in all questions and all inane demands. I will always there when my Imouto needs help.”

    I pressed on, the girl crying again and nuzzling my chest aggressively as she sought some reprieve from that strong promise.

    I’ve… come to the conclusion that I’m not… common. I’m not a human being… to the fullest at least.” I admitted with a sigh. “I’ve gone through great lengths and that ended up… making me into something… better than human.”

    She sniffled and blinked. “T-That means-”

    I’m close to a divine state. Like… many others that we know about are at this point.” I continued to explain about… my current predicament. “I’m not a Yokai, nor I’m a Devil… or an Angel or a Fallen one to boot. I’m just… beyond human.”

    T-That means-!” She straddled on my chest, eyes going wide open as she looked hopeful and needy of that answer.

    I… I will live for an extremely long time. Maybe even catch up with your limit if these situations continue to happen, if my power grows at this pace.” I brought her head down and planted a kiss on her forehead. “So yes, that means I will be around for as long as you need me, sweetie.”

    She hugged me intensely, the dams breaking as she cried and sobbed, a mix of sad and happy wetting my shirt as she thoroughly let out all the frustration, all of that fear and that worry that had been an unhealthy part of her drive.

    Protect people is alright, but to do it because you are always afraid they would die if you aren’t ready? That kind of paranoia was the worst thing ever to deal with, especially if it’s someone Kunou’s age to face it like this.

    I felt ashamed that I didn’t catch up the signs early on, this situation just being a lucky predicament that, if it hadn’t happened, would have had a major impact over everything.

    You shouldn’t-

    It’s my fault-

    You don’t know that-

    I FEEL THAT IT IS! I DON’T NEED TO KNOW IF IT ISN’T OR NOT, I FEEL THAT I DID SOMETHING TERRIBLE BY MISSING ANY CLUES OF THIS BEHAVIOR.

    ...Sorry.

    N-No, I… I’m just-

    N-Niichan- y-you are crying too?” Her shorter arms wrapped around my neck and I felt her head press on my chin. “D-Don’t cry?”

    Yet she was crying too and… I felt even more driven to cry.

    Goddammit, I- I blame the fucking dust for this-

    We cleaned yesterday-

    W-Well, some has to have remained for me to-

    Niichan!” A battle cry preceded quick footsteps as I soon realized that Lilith was awake.

    Oh God.

    Kunou managed to turn her head in time as a dark blur slammed against the two of us. The younger girl decided to put herself between me and the blonde, hugging both as she enjoyed the sudden wave of warmth.

    Ophis took a slower approach, staring at the scene with a curious glint in her blank eyes. “Why are you two crying?” She took as step closer. “You need… more cuddles.” The Infinity Dragon stated with utter certainty.

    ...What?

    I think she read something about… hugs making people happy so… yeah, she is going to do that.

    What is tha-Ah!

    Without warning, Ophis jumped in the fray and proceeded to turn what was once a cuddle-box in a pure dog-pile situation. There were giggles, someone started to tickle around and… everyone started to move all over my chest much to my initial discomfort.

    Said discomfort started to disappear the moment I felt the tickles starting to reach out for me and… I commenced to laugh.

    Gone were the ill thoughts and gone was the guilt as a new clarity washed over me.

    I might have failed to see this situation with Kunou, but maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t be beating myself too much over it. The case was… solved, or at least lessened as things were hardly going to get easier from now on.

    People were still going to come and harm us, cause us to doubt ourselves over our preparations and then we will deal with our own fears.

    In the end, I was still managing through this endless dread while keeping everyone alive and safe. This was something that wasn’t never going to change as it was my final and life-bound promise to everyone I cared for.

    And thus, another small step was made… but in which direction exactly?

    ------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d---------------

    I was bound to a bed and my eyes were deprived by sight because of a soft cloth pressed on them.

    I wanted to groan in pain as the leather belts holding me to the surgical bed were pressing painfully onto the bandages covering my entire body. I was sore, I felt my nerves burning as my magical core felt… abstract.

    I blinked slowly, fending off the pain from the minuscule action as I tried to understand… where was I.

    I didn’t need any moment to properly recollect my thoughts and my memories, my mind surprisingly granting me a full array of clarity over my stillness.

    While the energy that I received from both Trihexas was enough to achieve the final step of my plan, I had failed to recognize the energy’s toxicity and the effect it would have to my body.

    Being that I was still… somehow a human when I completed the spell, the energy poisoned my body and possibly burned most of my skin. I should be in agony right now, wriggling like a dying worm trying to flee from the incoming death.

    My effort to come to this new dimension were close to be rendered in vain by the idiocy of having not planned the ‘aftermath’ of the spell.

    Yet it wasn’t the right time to chide myself as I was in unknown territory right now.

    I could feel some seals applied to the bandages. Some were beneficial ones, trying to preserve and stabilize my conditions, while others were actually slowing down my… regeneration?

    I could recognize a minority actually de-powering my Core but… why?

    I still felt human and… some bits of my skin felt for some reason cold.

    Could it be- No. If that was the case, if the energy did end up corrupting my core-

    Things were not going to be easy for anyone if I turned in a half-dragon.

    The Soul, somehow a corruption could have happened during the spell. The radiation has to have permanently seeped in my skin, in my coils, in my core.

    Only my breathing showed that something had changed from the previous calm I had over my unknown situation and… soon I was given more clues.

    I felt someone shifting nearby. A guard?

    I felt a soft hand press on part of the seals, magic carefully flowing inside and outside of the detection runes as barely-heard whispers sent me finding the identity of the very individual I was dealing with.

    Relief washed over me, my mind realizing quickly from Azrael’s insane memory over everyone’s identity that I was dealing with a particular woman.

    Suzaku Himejima sighed tiredly and took rest on the chair she had used until now. My perception of the small room was enough to broaden my capacity to deduce where I was.

    The room was small, but the floor… it was warm too. We were in floor above ground and, from the lack of windows and the non-existing sensation of the outdoors nearby, I knew that we weren’t in any of the corners of the building, nowhere near the extremities of it.

    I tried to find anything more, something that could further reduce the possible guesses to throw about my whereabouts and then… I felt silence.

    It’s strange. Silence shouldn’t be ‘felt’ and yet… I did. It was a chilling spot that suddenly sniffed around the room.

    Suzaku tensed momentarily, before relaxing just a bit, not enough to return fully calm as she was… staring at the ‘spot’.

    It wasn’t human, I was sure of that and… then I felt something wet pressing onto my chest. I would have blinked as confusion was now directing my full attention to the strange ‘spot’. I waited for a moment and then… the revealing clue arrived.

    A pair of paws pressed on my chest and in that moment I knew the identity of the creature AND where I was.

    Jin, Tobio Ikuse’s familiar, had obviously perceived my little sensor ability in action, the animal having heightened senses compared to simple humans. And while the small shadow familiar studied ‘what happened in the room’, I found myself contemplating what I should do now that…

    I was somehow recovered by the SLASH DOG group and I was in the Black Dog BAR.

    Once I was healed and questions were going to be given… hopefully, I will be given the chance of telling my tale. Maybe an abridged one to avoid… any dangerous and unwanted attention on me.

    It wasn’t the right time to repay for my sins as the world needed a ‘true Anomaly’ to finally end the madness caused by Lucifer.

    ---------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d---------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-------------

    AN

    Wholesome chapter with a hint over what happened to BT!Hoitsu. He will not appear until much later. He will have his special sidestory and… more details about it next chapter.

    Yesterday, there was a massive storm that screwed up the local electrical grid and… I spent more than ten hours without electricity whatsoever. The first four-five hours I was left alone, the heat system shutting down because of lack of energy and I was forced to stay in bed until stuff turned up to normal.

    Everything is fine now and… the updates will continue as usual from now on.

    Future milestone 1: 900 Followers and Favorites.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
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  5. Akuma-Heika

    Akuma-Heika The Devil Exists Within

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    FTFY
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Winner Winner Phenex Lunch!
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 61: Winner Winner Phenex Lunch!

    Kunou huffed irked as I finished fixing her dress, my eyes sporting a tired and annoyed tone as I wasn’t certainly planning to visit this place of the Underworld.

    The Phenex Villa was slightly smaller compared to the Gremory mansion, but the whole structure made up with its overall modernity compared to the more antiquate house. Its outer appearance was less refined and less gothic, something that was replaced with an Art Nouveau floral pattern with just a few adjustments that reminded much of modern constructs.

    A butler and a maid were there to accompany us and I dreaded the fact I had to accept the invitation for lunch.

    It had been unexpected and unplanned, something that I was glad to protest to Azazel but… I had to partake now that stronger attempts for an alliance were being made.

    It was a bullshit excuse, one I was more than happy to add to my protestation but the Governor-General hardly cared. It was just ‘petty’ behavior without much of a proof about it… even though it was Raiser Phenex that was accessory to Diodora for a certain point onward.

    It were just two things that got me actually interested in at least putting a formal and well-composed facade as I ventured inside the building. The first being that Baraqiel was going to be there to serve as a helpful companion during the lunch, the second was that the invitation was actually signed ‘Ruval Phenex’.

    It was kind of odd for the Heir of one of the 72 Pillars to be the one doing the invitations, but I guess an explanation was going to be given by the time we reached the dining room.

    The hallways were another proof that the entire building was a far cry from the classic aristocratic style as instead of portraits, there were pictures of family moments. Normal family moments.

    There was a photo with the three brothers, much younger than now, holding some fishing equipment as their smiling father held what looked to be a ‘massive’ carp.

    Another one framed both Ruval and the middle son of Lord Phenex smiling eagerly while holding a large trophy with some words engraved into it.

    Hell Siblings Competition, 2001’

    This seems to be quite the… common family.

    It seems so.

    Right now we are seeing achievements and… is that baby Ravel?

    I almost D’aww’d at that particularly cute picture, almost failing to notice the soft but also adorable snort leaving Kunou’s lips.

    Someone’s jelly~.

    Aww…

    I patted her shoulder, causing her annoyed golden eyes to turn at me.

    You know, maybe I should ask your mother to see some of your pictures-” I tried to salvage the situation… only to see her snap to look around, a hint of some embarrassment visible from my perspective.

    T-That will not be necessary.” The girl replied curtly, trying to avoid getting pulled in that kind of discussion.

    I bet you are ‘super-cute’ in those~- uh?” Just as I tried to press on, her hand shot to grasp mine to give it a squeeze, causing me to stop.

    Not… now.” She ended the discussion, forgetting to get a promise about… not getting me to see them.

    We are SO going to ask for even just a glimpse of those.

    Super-chibi Ku-chan!

    We finally arrived in front of two closed doors and both servants moved to carefully open them, revealing the dining room to the two of us.

    I blinked once, then twice and… thrice.

    I could see the entire Phenex family already sitting by the particularly long table, Baraqiel was here too, I could also see Sairaorg sitting beside Ruval, staring at me with interest, and I think there was also the ‘unnamed Phenex’ with his… Fallen Angel wife?

    It’s kind of surprising but… I guess it has to do with the fact there is a ‘Grigori diplomat’ and they didn’t need to fully expose some family issue like this.

    But as I finished to properly take notice of everyone present in the room, I ended up also seeing how… everyone’s clothes was hardly formal. Hell, Lord Phenex was wearing a half-sleeved shirt and jeans while his wife was wearing a blouse and trousers.

    Even Baraqiel was wearing informal stuff and… the only one wearing aristocratic-like clothes was Ruval.

    My eyes returned briefly to Baraqiel as I finally noted the strange smug smile in his face and-

    He didn’t-

    He has to. HE was the one that told you to wear formal because it was proper thing.

    Revenge will be swift and delivered by Akeno, that’s for sure.

    And even though I managed to find relief in the fact I was going to get some vindication via indirect means, I started to notice while we were approaching the table, Kunou was dropping deadly glares to the Fallen Angel, causing the man to look away because of the glares’ intensity.

    The kitsune did realize that the reason why she had to wear the dress she had been vocally detested until now was because of… Akeno’s affection for her Niichan.

    Baraqiel’s penance has just tripled in mere moments.

    I bid you a good day, Hoitsu-san and Kunou-san.” The head of the Phenex Clan greeted in a semi-formal manner, smiling and appearing fairly relaxed. “I hope the ‘walk’ to arrive to this humble abode was uneventful and at least normal.”

    I nodded, giving a polite smile back. “It was peaceful. I wish to extend to Lord Phenex and Lady Phenex a formal thank you for the kind invitation-”

    Even though it was my son that wrote the papers?” The man jokingly asked before sighing. “I admit that after what happened last month, I’ve relegated a little more work to Ruval. I certainly don’t need another… fiasco.”

    Raiser was staring at the table, he was pale and… flinching at the mere mentioning of what he was implicated into just a few weeks ago. Ravel stared at him for a moment, before fixing her blue eyes back on… Kunou?

    The fellow blonde chibi stared back, her irritation was painted in her face and I wonder how much of that the youngest Phenex could understand was directed to the very dress the kitsune was wearing-

    Slam

    I blinked as the aforementioned girl stood up from her chair and slammed her palm on the table, giving a serious look while glancing at her parents. “Mother, father. I wish to lend some of my clothes to Kunou-san.”

    ...What?

    The two adults looked surprised too but the woman recovered quickly, giving a warm smile. “Sure thing, little Rae.”

    I turned to see if the confusion was shared by Kunou but… the girl was smiling happily and nodding at the fellow chibi, slowly taking her leave with Ravel via the hallway we just came from. I stared silently as the two retreated, trying and failing to understand if there was a connection between this… with what happened with Koneko and… Ophis.

    There is some strange pattern-

    But nothing truly conclusive. Seriously, why this happens with the chibis?!

    I suppose you are trying to understand my little sister’s sudden interest in Lady Kunou’s dress, Sir Hoitsu.” Ruval finally spoke up, drawing my attention to him. “Ravel is rather… perceptive of thoughts presented by young girls her age.”

    So this wasn’t a thing that happened only with Kunou.

    Oh no, I know about this since… Ku-chan is rather keen to do something similar, Ruval-san.” I replied, slowly taking a seat as I gauged the surprise in the Phenex heir’s face.

    Truly? Then I suppose you have a strong bond with Lady Kunou. By the way you address her so informally, I can only assume that you are both close to each other.” The young man mused loudly and I nodded.

    Ku-chan and I are siblings in all but blood.” I answered truthfully, feeling the refreshing sensation of speaking with someone so soft-spoken as him. “We’ve been living together for a while now and we are that close.”

    He nodded with a smile, pleased with my reply. “I see.” He muttered happily. “Then I can only be glad that you both found each other as I think there is a genuine connection between the two of you. I hope only the best for you both.” He concluded with another nod.

    It is quite good to have a strong connection with those you care about.” Sairaorg butted in with a small smile. “To cultivate the bonds, to see the bountiful results in the happiness and the joy of those around you.”

    And I knowing how much the Bael cared for the friends and family around him, I knew his words mattered much more than they sounded. “Thank you for your kind words, Ruval-san and Sairaorg-san-”

    Nothing of that, Hoitsu.” The hot-blooded brawler interrupted with a bigger smile. “Call me Sairaorg just as I dropped the formalities with you.”

    A complete difference from Ruval’s noble-like attitude.

    He is more of a kind giant, very amicable but quite headstrong on tiny pleasantries.

    I understand, Sairaorg.” I replied back, getting this time a grin for him.

    Good and… I wanted to ask about that special technique of yours.” He blurted with a curious glint from his eyes. “The one with the red aura.”

    I blinked, realizing what he was alluding to, and nodding in understanding. “You are referring to the ‘Kaioken’.” I replied calmly. “It’s… quite similar to Touki.”

    I glanced around, noticing that everyone at the table was glancing with interest at this particular topic but, since Baraqiel was giving no hints of keeping quiet, I decided to go ahead with the explanation that was going to happen very soon now.

    I have thought so but… I think there is still a major difference. Can you… explain what is it?” The Bael pressed on.

    Well,” I commenced with a calm tone. “The Kaioken is based about boosting the production of energy via the muscles, increasing the input but-”

    Causing major strain upon the body.” The young man interjected with an intrigued tone. “The stronger is this technique applied, the bigger the strain will be to guarantee a further major boost of energy.” He blinked by the end of his final words and then nodded. “That is quite a taxing technique compared to Touki-”

    But also a very good one if used with moderation.” I added quietly, appreciating Sairaorg’s capacity to understand the fine details of the Kaioken. “Since I’ve been having some slight issues in achieving a proper Senjutsu form, Touki has been quite the impossible technique to even try to attain right now.”

    And so you preferred the Kaioken.” The brawler added once more, his smile still here. “A good way to overcome the obstacle.”

    That is coming from someone that had trouble with his family because of ‘having a large obstacle’ that almost got him disowned. I should really be minding how to word some of the topics before I get him angry.

    If I may interrupt,” Ruval joined in, looking rather annoyed at the direction the discussion was going. “I’ve heard about what happened in Tokyo, how you were there to stop the invasion by taking the leader out first.” The Phenex mentioned, making me sigh for a moment.

    It was more like Rizevim wanted to fight me.” I admitted calmly, drawing the interest of everyone once more. “The man rushed for a battle and I obliged.”

    Still, it had to have been quite quite difficult as you were fighting someone stronger than you at the time and… the city was being attacked all at once.” The blond pressed on, making me feel a little uneasy.

    It’s been a while since I’ve thought about what happened back then and even thinking about the pure pressure I was dealing at the time, the major risk I took…

    I still remember being a little afraid of losing everything at that point.

    It was tough.” I replied curtly. “But I pulled through and survived.”

    He nodded and seemed ready to give another question about it much to my chagrin but…

    We are back!” Ravel announced and soon the entire room’s attention was on the two young girls.

    Kunou was wearing her… usual kimono?

    Where did she get that?

    Maybe Ravel has… a kimono like that too?

    ...I mean, the Phenex are rich but-

    Quiet, I want to understand what ‘sorcery’ is this.

    They both walked back to the table, looking fairly happy and… mischievous. I frowned, trying to understand what was going on. I wasn’t alone as Ruval and Raiser looked confused too, glancing at the eye-closed Ravel.

    The kitsune had her eyes closed too and I felt an odd suspicion that this was a prank of sort. Why would Kunou return to wear her usual clothes when…

    Why wasn’t the girl showing her fox ears? She would at least show those because it was difficult to keep up with the- Oh.

    I looked back at the Phenex heir and the middle brother, only to see the realization flashing on their faces too. I nodded at the oldest and he nodded back, silently planning some ‘resolution’ about this plan in the making.

    Oh my~!

    So, Ku-chan, do you think that Lith-chan should stop headpatting you? I think she shouldn’t do this just to tease you.” I lied, getting a confused posture from ‘Kunou’ and a tense one from ‘Ravel’.

    The oldest Phenex sibling smiled a little at the idea I had for getting both to give up the little trick.

    By the way, little Rae, do you think that you should be less mean to your younger brother? He is just a year younger than you.” Ruval lied back, the phenomenon happening in an opposite pattern.

    At this point, Lord Phenex, his wife and Raiser seemed to have realized what was going on, while Sairaorg and Baraqiel quietly enjoyed the chaotic scene unfolding before them.

    L-Lith-chan could be less mean, yes!” ‘Kunou’ jumped the gun much to her accomplice’s dismay and-

    I-I could be a little kinder to him!” ‘Ravel’ replied confidently, unaware of the shock present in ‘Kunou’s face.

    There were a few moments of silence and then… I decided to burst their faulty plan before things escalated even more.

    As much as I wanted to get more fun out of this, I didn’t need to over-tease these two cute dummies.

    You two should return to your rightful seat.” I stated calmly but loud enough to get both girls’ attention. “Still, a really clever plan if it wasn’t for some minor flaws.”

    There was more silence, then Ravel broke from the ‘act’. ‘Kunou’ opened her eyes, blue orbs giving an annoyed glint back at her brother, while ‘Ravel’s face sported a small pout directed at me.

    H-How did you realize?” The youngest Phenex asked. “I-I thought closing our eyes would have been enough-”

    For just a while.” I interrupted mirthfully. “But there are some tell-tale signs that you have completely forgotten about.”

    The girl frowned. “Such as?”

    Well,” I started with a hum. “I think the more important is… that one is a Devil while the other is a Yokai.”

    Your energies are different from each other, Little Rae.” Ruval added happily. “So it was fairly easy to understand what kind of play was happening by the table.”

    There was also the small-planned capacity to keep the act going after a while.” Lady Phenex finished with a lovely smirk. “I don’t think you would have managed to keep your eyes closed without getting these three to suspect something was off about you two.”

    Her husband nodded in agreement. “Indeed. I think your big brothers would have noticed their real sisters."

    Mou, then you got out the tricky questions.” Kunou whined softly. “Seriously, Lith is too short and she is the one wanting headpats from me.”

    A-And I’m the youngest.” Ravel continued with a nod. “Y-You could have at least given us a little time to have some fun.”

    Sorry, Ravel.”

    I ask for you forgiveness, Lady Kunou.”

    It was at that point that the female Fallen Angel let out a soft giggle. “If I didn’t know the relationships those two had with the cuties, I would say they were whipped.”

    Both Ruval and I looked embarrassed for a moment and the soft giggle was followed by the ones coming from the girls’ lips.

    You kind of are whipped to your Imoutos-

    Ophis-

    Touché!

    Moments later, the two girls returned to the proper seats while keeping their current outfit and…

    It’s quite weird to see Kunou cosplay as Ravel and… Ravel cosplay as Kunou.

    I wonder if Kunou even knows what a cosplayer is-

    Considering that we were in Tokyo for a while, I can only assume she heard about it from someone around.

    I hummed quietly as moments later the room was stormed by servants that dropped various plates of food on the table. There was… a lot, but it was all food Kunou and I knew about and thus I had little problem about it.

    With this discussion settled for the time being, I focused on the food provided for me to eat and decided to let myself at ease for a while.

    The lunch began and someone fidgeted nervously, hoping that what he had planned to do today would actually come in fruition without any issue.

    ----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-------

    I managed to recover, the pain had slowly subsided after a full day and my body had finally got hold over the over-production of Dragonic Energy.

    My senses were far stronger than those were mere hours ago and my capacity to ‘feel’ around my general whereabouts was finally caught by Tobio himself.

    I was brought in a different room, I could feel numerous seals all connected to the bandages, reinforcing what was already there and further limiting my chances of properly fight if a clash occurred.

    While I was certain that SLASH DOG wasn’t going to turn all at once against me, I was fairly convinced that punching my way out of this problem wasn’t the best solution for this curious situation.

    There was silence for a long, the only noises being the surgical table and the breathing of Jin as I was led to this special room.

    A few minutes of quiet ensued, I was left deprived also of my capacity to feel the things around me. It was frustrating at first, but after the brutality I had endured until yesterday when I woke up?

    Things were far too kind here than back then and thus I let them have all the precautions they wanted before entering in contact with me.

    I felt a magical hand forming just above my mouth and I felt it moving the bandages near my lips away. I could now breath freer than before and I continued to wait for more steps.

    What is your name?” A feminine voice demanded.

    Lavinia Reni, the Demise Girl and the current owner of the Absolute Demise. The Longinus is considered a perfect counter to Incinerate Anthem for its intense Ice-type magic.

    If she wanted, the woman could easily freeze me up and kill me if I showed any malicious intent.

    Thus I merely complied.

    H-Hoitsu- Hoitsu Sakaki-bara.” My throat was still recovering from resting so much and I chided myself for not expecting some dryness.

    More silence, I blinked through the bandages and then… a sigh.

    You are not him.” Lavinia pointed out calmly. “I can give you another chance-”

    I’m Hoitsu Sakakibara, codename Hekishoku and member of Grigori.” I interrupted with a polite and blank tone.

    It was a dangerous step that could easily backfire as in many occasions my counterpart would reveal his identity quite early-

    And why are you so convinced of being ‘Hoitsu Sakakibara’?” Tobio spoke out, causing me to express minor surprise through my lower facial features.

    Because I know that there is another one in this dimension. The original one.” I added cautiously, hoping to not get sealed back just for suggesting this.

    Your energy is similar to his.” Suzaku commented with some interest. “But you have something… a little more similar to Dragons.”

    I pressed my lips in a thin line, thinking about a proper response and… decided to drop off the formalities.

    That’s because I am not from this dimension, Himejima-sama.”

    Once more silence, fear rising in my chest as my breathing picked up the pace as I waited for a… verdict.

    Explain, ‘Sakakibara’-san.” Tobio pressed, his tone holding back some anger. An emotion I had predicted, but that also made moving around quite… difficult.

    I used the souls of two dying Dragon Gods to bring myself out of my dimension and in this one.” I began to explain. “The energy that remained seeped in my body and altered its biology-”

    Dimensions?” Lavinia mused out-loud. “You mean that you jumped from yours to this one? Why?”

    Choices, choices. If I blurted everything, not even the highest deity would save me from a quick death right now.

    My… former dimension was dying. I tried to break a loop imposed by-”

    Lucifer.” Tobio interrupted, causing me to tense up at the fact he knew about the loops.

    H-How-” I tried to ask but was beaten by someone else.

    Azazel released some confidential information about it after the recent encounter between our Hoitsu and Rizevim.” Suzaku replied calmly, yet I could feel some relief in her voice. “So that means that-”

    How did you gain two dying souls powerful enough to get the dimension-hopping spell to work.” Lavinia demanded strongly. “I know for sure that not even Dragon Gods can provide that much energy-”

    Trihexa.”

    The word was a taboo and I was granted some more time to think about the matter.

    This dimension’s Hoitsu and Rizevim were allied? It was a curious development but… a welcomed one. Maybe this Rizevim wasn’t going to mess shit up like in the last one.

    You said two-” Lavinia wanted to push for more, but Suzaku jumped in with a gasp.

    T-Then that foul presence back then… the one that Hoitsu needed help to vanquish-”

    ...What?

    Did she just- no, it couldn’t be.

    What are you talking about, Suzaku-chan?” Tobio asked confused and the woman spoke once more.

    When we first met Hoitsu-kun, he was suffering from some foul manipulation. It was incredibly difficult at first as the presence was much stronger than any of the seals I had prepared and… he beat it back within his mindscape.”

    He- This was a boon!

    Lucifer theorized that Trihexa was made by a growing consciousness within his own, something that eluded early analysis and that formed through the presence of negativity within the soul-

    But then that meant that this dimension’s Hoitsu didn’t have a Trihexa within himself, rendering Lucifer’s plan half-useless already.

    It was now the proper moment to just… take him down when he returned. Trying to avoid its resurrection wouldn’t be convenient. Lucifer has to die!

    We’ve pretty much confirmed that you are a ‘Hoitsu’, but I wish to ask you something, Hoitsu-san.” The leader of the group stated much to my initial confusion and soon… I felt dread.

    How many people did you have to kill to gain these two souls?

    *You feel your sins crawling on your back.

    I sighed heavily, feeling all those lives weighting my entire soul down and… I let out a genuine answer about it.

    Too many. Far too many.”



    You know that I can’t let you out of sight after you just admitted this.” The bartender said with an odd tone.

    I tried to nod but… I forgot how tight the bandages were. So I sighed. “Yes.”

    But I know that imprisoning you would make their sacrifice worth.” He continued to say. “Thus I think we can come up with a compromise.”

    The magical hand returned, pulling away the bandages covering my eyes and giving me back some more perception over the situation. The first thing I noticed was the mask being hovered above my face.

    It was just like the one I had back when I was Hekishoku… except it was a dark-shade of red rather than the bright emerald.

    What do you think of this...” Tobio asked softly. “Tasatsu-san?”

    ----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d

    AN

    More about our nutty Hoitsu in SLASH/DOG: Tasatsu no Gaiden!

    Tasatsu (他殺): Murder, homicide, killing, assassination, annihilation.

    Alas about the upper bits of the chapter: The Lunch is far from over and yes, there will be more fluff about it!

    Future milestone 1: 950 Followers and Favorites.
     
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  7. Threadmarks: Plans were Made
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 62: Plans were Made

    Kuroka stared quietly as Shirone tried to complete the experimental technique.

    It has been… some interesting days the one that followed the diplomatic meeting as some the pace once more returned stale as it was just hours prior to the event. There wasn’t much to do other than poke her head around, looking for anything intriguing or even remotely amusing.

    Things were just… that dull.

    Training was nice for a while, but then the lack of her usual sparring partner did leave a strange sense of annoyance in Kuroka. The kind of annoyance one would have when dealing with the lack of fun stuff to do.

    With Hoitsu gone for the first half of that day, the young woman found herself lacking anything to do for the time being.

    Quite an irritating situation to deal without her romantic interest as he was the only one able to give her something to do for the rest of the day.

    Something that could keep her busy and interested at the same time, something that could help her in the long-term plan she decided to implement after the developments that have been unfolding until very recently.

    It’s been a long time now that they hadn’t gone for a date, two weeks actually. A detail that further soured the dark-haired Nekoshou’s mood as she needed to get some progress made.

    There was a proper agreement with the two other girls that had stated they were romantically invested with the young man, something that mostly erased any chance of rivalry that could one way or another screw with her attempts.

    Kuroka was ready, confident and determined to score something out from the next step of her plan. Things were set, she had rehearsed this crucial move with the help of Akeno and Akua, partly intrigued by the possibility of integrating the vampire in what was going to happen very soon.

    Hoitsu was distracted, completely unaware that what would seemingly pass like a simple sparring session would end up in a… more interesting session.

    Nothing sexual for now, but a predicament that would allow the trio to extort some specific promises out from the ever-elusive Sakakibara.

    Nothing too forceful, but also something that would push him to accept their demands without hesitation. It was a matter of tact and persuasion, something the woman was proudly a master of both.

    The only flaw being the hesitation the youngest and the broodier of the bunch would have regarding some ‘big plans’ like the one Kuroka wanted to accomplish.

    Amateurs of the more intimate details of love, with only the Himejima having some partial experience with the anatomy of both men and women… from indirect sources.

    The Shuzen was forgiven just a bit, having mentioned how this was the first time she felt attracted to someone. Tall words, but considering the young woman’s past, the Nekoshou wasn’t as skeptical as she would be if the case had been a normal one.

    The case is never normal, the dark-haired woman wished to remind to her ever-working brain.

    Yet said instrument within her body was clashing, two necessities starting to get annoyingly conflicting as she found her whole attention divided between those thoughts and… her sister’s training.

    After what happened in the diplomatic meeting- After seeing how Kunou had gotten far with her training, Shirone decided that it was high time to pace up her usual training regime, hiring Kuroka’s help in getting her new schedule well-planned and ready to yield some good results.

    The woman was certain that the silver-haired girl would have easily out-powered the blonde in a regular fight. It would be a close match, but her Shiro-chan was just getting that stronger.

    The partial transformation Hoitsu’s loyal step-sibling had sported just a few days ago was something that Kuroka had already tried to attain back when she was younger, but after what happened with her… former peerage, she ended up forgetting about this and focused on issues that pressed on her at the time.

    Now that she had some… safety and some time to spare, achieving this boost proved to be far more easier than planned.

    It was… amazing.

    The raw power and the overall improvement of strength, speed and perception was an optimal result, something that definitively helped with the incoming threats along the way…

    But there were two major issues about it.

    Differently from normal Senjutsu, which draws from natural energy scattered all around the planet, the Wild Frenzy was a form that strained to a dangerous degree the entire body of the user, increasing the chances of muscles’ painful swelling and over-production of energy within the core.

    The second and possibly the most infamous flaw that user could easily lose their mind during this state. It was a situation that could happen just in two occasion, the first being if the user lacks proper control over their mind, the latter one could be caused by a situation of intense duress.

    Quite the problematic cons to this impressive ability, but Kuroka was more than determined to get this crucial technique down and within her repertoire. It was important for… what was going to happen later that day.

    Shirone took a little more time to get the basis done, yet the pacing was still acceptable and promising. The younger Nekoshou was cautious in her eagerness, something that persisted even after opening up… so much.

    It was odd to say but, Kuroka was glad that her little considered found another sibling in Hoitsu.

    Not only it eased her attempts to get his affection, but the silver-haired kitty found once more the balance she was deprived when… the woman decided to go rogue after killing her opportunistic Master.

    She sighed tiredly, pushing back the memories of that dreadful day away by having her whole attention shifted at Shirone.

    The girl was sweating, her breathing was slightly irregular but the young warrior wasn’t showing any sign of backing away from the challenge.

    It was a matter of pride for the girl. It was to show that she was still a senpai and… stronger than her kohai. Kunou was unaware of the stirring emotions, Koneko’s need to prove her worth to her younger friend, and thus actions had to speak instead of mere words.

    Kuroka blinked as her golden slits spotted the clock and… it was starting to get a little tardier than planned. The woman stood up from the floor and silently walked towards the small rune carved on the wall nearby where her sister was training. Removing the energy, the system quickly deactivated, disabling the attacks and leaving a confused Shirone to frown at her.

    It’s… that late?”

    We are an hour late for lunch.” The dark-haired girl replied. “I think Hoitsu left some food in the fridge, it will take a few minutes to get it warm and ready.”

    The younger sibling nodded and the two walked out of the training arena, slowly making their way to the living room and…

    The table was mostly devoid of people.

    Akeno was there, Lith and Ophis silently helping her in picking up the plates to take those to the kitchen’s sinks. The Himejima paused to nod and greet the two, receiving two more nods in return.

    I’ve prepared the food for you, but I think the dishes are cooler than a few minutes ago-” The girl tried to explain.

    We will survive.” Kuroka mirthfully interjected. “Still, thank you for the kindness. We will personally bring the plates to the kitchen once we are done.” She concluded, getting the fellow girl to retreat away from the room and… leaving just the two of them by the table.

    Curious.” Shirone commented softly, picking her usual seat and glancing at the still-steaming steak, her lips watering and her belly growling a little at the rediscovered hunger.

    A tiny but teasing smile appeared on the older sibling’s face, the woman taken mostly distracted from acting upon the opportunity as she did feel too the need of eating something.

    What is curious, Shiro-chan?” The dark-haired Nekoshou asked quietly, drawing a quick glance from her sister.

    Just finding the… fact we are alone, interesting.” The girl admitted, taking the first bite out of her steak before continuing. “It brings back some… memories.”

    Kuroka had to put some effort to not flinch at that specific reference. “You mean when we used to live together, just the two of us?” Part of her wanted to deflect the topic, feeling rather nervous of discussing about that early period of her life.

    The silver-haired teen nodded. “I remember how you were always fretting all over the kitchen to get something done to leave me for lunch and dinner.” She mused calmly, slowing down her eating process. “You were always… moving fast.”

    It was when the frequency of contracts assigned to her turned to an unbearable level. It was a miracle of sort that she didn’t collapse by how many things she had to face on a daily occurrence.

    It was difficult, yes.” The woman admitted with some hesitation pending over her tongue. “But the money was good enough to keep us living in a comfortable fashion.”

    Shirone smiled, her cat ears twitching happily at that. “I don’t think I ever thanked you for-”

    Nonsense, Shiro-tan~!” The older Nekoshou jumped in with a smirk. “It was my job as your Oneesan to have my imouto to live a good life.”

    The silver-haired girl nodded. “But still… I wish to ask something from you. Something about… Hoitsu-nii.” Her voice started to get… softer, frailer.

    The young woman frowned. “Something I should be concerned of?”

    Nothing… dangerous.” The young sister promised. “It’s… about what you wish to do when he comes back from the important lunch.”

    Kuroka tensed up a little, her smirk falter just a mere instant but… it was enough to reveal her surprise. The plan was supposed to be known only by the three girls interested in Hoitsu, how did Shiro-chan got hold of this sensitive info.

    I don’t know what you-”

    Neesan, I remind you that I have these.” She pointed at the cat ears that she was nowadays showing more than a month ago. “And you aren’t particularly good at keeping things ‘whispered’ between the others.”

    The woman pouted, arms crossing beneath her generous bosom. “I can be quiet when I want and… what do you wish to tell me about it?” She ended in an interested tone.

    Hoitsu-nii… I hope you now know that he isn’t someone keen in any unwarranted… perverted act.” The girl spoke, drawing her sister’s confusion.

    I know that. That’s why I will be careful with the plan-”

    It’s not that.” Shirone nervously interrupted. “It’s… about something I wish to gift to you, Neesan.”

    Golden slits narrowed on the hesitant mess known as Shirone Toujou.

    Shiro-tan~! What are you hiding from me?” Kuroka pressed on, trying to get any hints about what was going on with her sister.

    Then, the girl replied with a clear answer. “Kunou and I decided to host a sleepover by her room for tonight, that means that Hoitsu will be alone...” There was a brief pause. “I want you to try and-”

    I could ask that to him, but I think it’s up to him first and… can I ask why are you interested about my progress so suddenly?” The teasing tone had little effect as the teen merely nodded.

    I… I want him to become my real Oniisan.” Koneko admitted with a small blush on her cheeks. “I- I want to make it official and-”

    Ara Ara, is someone trying to use her kind Oneesan to get her surrogate Oniisan for herself?” The dark-haired Nekoshou chuckled teasingly, while the sibling panicked.

    I-It’s not like that!” She exclaimed, mouth open and ready to continue, Shirone paused and frowned at the half-devoured steak. “I… I just want to spend some more time with him.”

    Aw… I think someone is suffering from some ‘neglect’, even though he was there all over helping you yesterday.”

    The girl’s blush flared back once more at that reminder as Hoitsu did spend some hours trying to help the silver-haired Nekoshou to properly channel her energy for the Wild Frenzy.

    It’s just that… I don’t want it to be training.” The teen admitted. “I want to… to...”

    “’To be spoiled as my Kohai is!’, I can see that being a good reason since you have to be frustrated by this much training and… I will see what I can do.” The woman promised, getting a shaky smile from the chibi in front of her.

    T-Thank you, Neesan-”

    Oh, there is no need to thank me.” She smiled smugly. “After all, you just gave me the chance to get some real progress done and… I can also promise you that at least two nieces will come out because of your ‘lovely’ support-”

    N-NEESAN!”

    Giggles filled the living room, while plates went flying and Koneko gave chase to a laughing Kuroka all over the house.

    -----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d-

    Somehow, I survived the astonishing menu deployed in what was supposed to be a normal dinner for the Phenex Clan.

    The Devils looked all fine, the only exceptions, excluding me, being a very cautious Baraqiel that left more than half of the share of food given to him and Kunou looking rather tired by eating so much and using Fox Fire to consume faster the delicious treats.

    Revel Phenex’s wife seemed to be doing fine, even asking if there was a little more to… help with her cravings. The comment was enough to draw attention to her stomach and… how big it was.

    Maybe that’s why they were actually invited. It isn’t unusual for a family to reconnect if there is a child soon to be born.

    It was difficult to discern how many months before the babe would be born by the partly-exposed belly but… I could only assume she was five or more months pregnant.

    With the food finished, the discussions resumed with less-important topics, switching to a family-related situation rather than the stiffy situation I had to deal prior of the food being delivered.

    My information regarding the warmth shared within the family members of the clan was expanded with some funny and embarrassing tales being dispensed by Lady Phenex, much to the four Phenex siblings as they were all subjected to the horror of having their ‘childhood secret’ exposed by their mother.

    The woman was relentless, always wearing that happy and carefree smile while describing each of her children’s naughty moments without hesitation, nor doubt.

    Just like… mom used to do.

    Nononono! We aren’t having any nostalgic remembrance right now, we aren’t in a proper spot to recollect those thoughts.

    I know but… it’s not my fault that-

    We miss home. We will always miss it as it is… well, it is still home to us.

    Ravel and Revel were the one suffering the worst, the former being the youngest and the latter having his own wife tell her own embarrassing tales about her lover.

    It was overall a very amusing spectacle of scenes between the various members of the warm family that I found extremely amusing and interesting, an emotion that was shared by the other guests.

    The Lady paused a moment, giving a serious look at Sairaorg before sighing calmly. “By the way, little Sai, is Misla’s condition improving or-” She tried to ask tactfully.

    She is responding a little better with the latest solution. The doctors say that she has now higher chances of waking up.” The Bael interrupted, his tone missing just a few notes of boisterousness the man had been boasting until now.

    It was that very interaction that brought me some… important info I had forgotten about.

    Misla Bael, née Vapula, was the first wife of Lord Bael and… Sairaorg’s mother.

    The only individual that cared for him from the very beginning, driving him to become stronger for the sake of good rather than revenge. A kind soul that was sadly confined in a comatose state even now.

    It’s not truly specified what kind of coma she ended up into and how it truly works, the only knowledge about it being that it was something that happened to Devil… rather commonly. Like a disease that generally ended with… the patient’s death.

    We should try and see if we can cure her.

    If we get some medical books from the Underworld, that is a possibility… but I don’t think we should lift his hopes right now. The chances of finding a cure are… slim at best.

    I… I see.

    It wasn’t because I could cash in some secret favor with the Bael Heir, but I felt like someone like Sairaorg deserved that kind of happiness. He was the pure example of a character that perfectly represented the classic Anime hero, with proper backstory and reasoning.

    Just like it… happened to Baki. The Hanma did start as a rude brat, but after losing his mother because of Yujiro, the youth started to train until he was able to beat the man once and for all. Yet during that journey, that vengeful mentality softened to a calmer and powerful behavior.

    It wasn’t revenge any longer, it was a matter of common justice.

    Thus, feeling rather unwilling to give up on the topic, I decided to join in before the discussion resumed properly. “Sairaorg, can I ask you something personal?”

    Violet eyes narrowed on me, his face sporting a confident smile. He was surely aware that the mere mentioning of his mother was going to bring some interest on him, a sore button that just waited to be pressed before apocalypse truly began.

    If it’s not overly-rude, go ahead.” He answered quietly, a contrast compared to mere moments ago.

    I nodded. “The reason you fight, you train, you go forward so confidently...” I muttered with utter clarity and determination. “It’s your mother, isn’t it?”

    There was a sudden tension coming from the bulky youth, silence preceding the heavy answer… and then-

    It is.” Sairaorg replied curtly. “Why?” He added with a hint of annoyance.

    It’s an admirable reason.” I replied without hesitation, smiling at his confusion. “Fighting for those you care for. For those that cares back and...” I blinked, my smile widening. “It makes me eager to ask for a spar with you, Sairaorg.”

    His eyes widened, shock plastered all over his face as he tried to make sense of my words and…

    Then he smiled brightly and nodded. “We could organize something in the near future. Do you wish for it to be a single fight or do you wish to bring your friends too-”

    For good reasons, I think it’s best for it to be a single fight.” I grimaced a little. “The group I’m leading isn’t like a peerage and they are… not based connected to the rating system.”

    The young man nodded. “Fair enough. I guess the fun will be only between us, then.” He muttered with a small smirk.

    After that, with this good development set to properly unfold on a latter date, I expected the event to conclude uneventfully, most of the interesting topics having already been explored earlier that day.

    But just like it happened to me on a normal basis, an unexpected situation crashed before I could see it arriving.

    Until that specific point, Raiser had been quite keen to keep away from the spotlight, fidgeting here and there during the whole lunch. As the chat with Sairaorg concluded, the young man sighed and nodded to herself.

    S-Sakakibara-san?” He asked with a shaky tone, my attention directed at him as I glanced his way.

    He flinched momentarily at the sudden look, but seemed to recover pretty quickly as he continued to speak. “I-I wish to ask you if- If it’s possible for me to request… something from you.”

    I frowned, feeling some anger growing even though I couldn’t exactly pinpoint any arrogance from him. The ‘question’ was formulated wrong, possibly because of how nervous he looked right now.

    I decided to bite the bait. “You may ask.”

    He nodded, his eyes avoiding maintaining direct contact with me. “I know that I-I’ve been part, an accessory of what happened a-at the Gremory Mansion, of that I am deeply mortified and guilty of, but I wanted to ask if… I could seek some apprenticeship from you.”

    What?

    What the actual fuck!?

    I-I understand if the request might sound extremely foolish, b-but the reason I’m asking you is...” He sighed, glancing at his plate and then… he went to glance right at me. “I wish to become a… better person. What happened, how things devolved in that… terrible ordeal. I know I can’t fix it with simple words, with fake apologies and smiles. I wish… to truly have a chance to improve upon my being and… become a better living being.”

    There was silence at the table at that lengthy, stutters-free explanation and… I found myself shocked by the genuine tone assumed by Raiser.

    I knew that after a few volumes, the man would turn out to be a good guy… but the way he was proving this much so early on was completely unexpected. I felt legitimately weirded out for a moment but… soon I decided to look more into it.

    You wish to ‘improve’ yourself?” I parroted quietly. “Is there any other reasons other than the one you mentioned?”

    His mouth opened, but no words came. His cheeks reddened and he closed his trap down, contemplating the following words carefully.

    I… I know that…” He stopped again, breathing as he tried to normalize his heartbeat. “When… when things ‘settled down’, I realized how much of an issue I created with my poor understanding of the situation, how much danger I put on my family and my peerage. I wish… to become better in understanding if there is some… hesitation from people I know about, to act properly about it.”

    ...Shit, I think someone in his peerage spoke up about the matter. That would explain why-

    He look like he just received the worst news possible. I bet there is some distrust about them now that the escalation was properly identified and told.

    It was an odd request… but not an unbelievable one.

    Still, I couldn’t certainly have him join in without any guarantee and-

    H-Hoitsu-san, I know that my… my son caused this much trouble,” Lord Phenex stood up, looking serious. “But I beg you to consider the situation as my child’s intentions are genuine. The Phenex Clan will be in debt with you.”

    There was silence and… I was put on a very difficult decision.

    This… this is going to be a long day.

    I can already feel a headache coming your way from here…

    Thank the Gods that I’ve nothing else to do once this lunch is done. Bed, here I come~!

    ------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-----------d-dd-d---------d-d-d-d-

    AN

    Koneko feeling neglected! THIS IS A TRAGEDY WITHOUT PRECEDENTS!

    Unleash the Chibi-Kraken! (Kingprotea comes out of a bush and roar an adorable ‘Gao!’)

    Future milestone 1: 950 Followers and Favorites.
     
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  8. Threadmarks: Out-tricked
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 63: Out-tricked

    Akua was feeling rather conflicted about the plan.

    This inner knot was born right by the time her ears finished listening to the steps that made up the idea proposed by the dark-haired Nekoshou.

    It was shaky at best, the most important requirement being the surprise element that would be provided by the seemingly normal spar. Even after trained harder than usual, the vampire held some uncertainty over the realization of the over-ambitious plot but…

    The rewards were intriguing and the Black Deva couldn’t certainly deny how much slow her progress was with Hoitsu Sakakibara. Affection towards someone outside from her family felt… odd, yet somehow familiar.

    The connection had the same intensity as the love Akua directed to her beloved Moka, the only major difference being that the young man obtained her interest through his actions rather than mere existence.

    Something curious, something that warmed her when she thought too much about it and… her red eyes fluttered at the ceiling as she tried to act innocently while sitting on the floor of the training area.

    Hoitsu had just returned from the visit to the Phenex Clan, tired but not exhausted enough to refuse Kuroka’s simple request.

    The wording was the key behind the acceptance, the young woman beginning by addressing how both had grown a lot by sparring intensively with each other and that ‘they’ wanted to try out the results gained on a proper fight… with him.

    There was minor surprise, the emotion driven by the request itself, but he was quick to accept with a genuine smile.

    There was relief in knowing the two girls had indeed ended up becoming good friends, something that still confused the vampire herself to this very day, and interest in seeing himself the result yielded by the close interactions.

    For a moment, Akua was glad that Kahlua had decided to stay by their new house so she could tend some more to little ‘Pepper’. The pet’s name took the tanned vampire a while to truly find from various other options, but the girl was now happy to have formally named the cat with an adorable name.

    The kitty was odd, knowing that approaching the eldest Shuzen sister required caution and quiet, happily rewarded with getting its head stroked by her pale hand.

    Very wise for a tiny animal, but the former assassin connected this behavior to refined instincts as those generally kept wild creatures away from possible harm.

    Returning to the current situation unfolding, Akua quietly stared at Hoitsu, the young man having taken his usual stance while Kuroka let out a brief giggle. “By the way, Hoitsu-kun, can we make a little bet between the three of us? Something non-sexual, mind you.”

    He blinked, his position relaxing a moment to accommodate the instance of confusion born from that sudden question.

    If it’s not something sexual… sure, why not.” He shrugged, returning to a more serious outlook. “Still, I would have to think what you two should do when you lose.”

    Not arrogance, over-confidence. The Black Deva had seen this level of bravado before and she knew that these words weren’t totally unfounded, just influenced by the lack of major defeats for the young man.

    Something that hopefully was going to change today.

    The dark-haired Nekoshou huffed at his reply, her energy spiking just a little more and ‘showing off’ some genuine interest in winning that ‘important’ fight.

    Both girls were ready when… the signal was given and the battle began.

    Hoitsu was slightly faster than her now in his Senjutsu form, yet he was rather cautious in showing off the form without a major reason and… that is where the trick lied. By keeping her pace slower than normal, Akua knew that the young man wasn’t going to ‘escalate’ the situation without a motivation to do so.

    That single trick was coupled with Kuroka’s own ideas regarding the spar. Being a proficient spell-caster, the woman knew what kind of spell could be used to quietly weaken Hoitsu and… those proved to be mostly effective.

    Being already tired, the young man was hardly noticing any semi-transparent attack directed at him, especially with the vampire giving him something else to focus on by relentlessly attacking him.

    Her styles intermixing as she tried to seriously get her opponent from noticing what spells were being cast on him.

    Soon, his actions started to get sloppier and his entire martial form lost some of its original discipline.

    The chance to land some more attacks on his weakened state was brief, but enough to allow Akua to properly land some noticeable hits.

    S-So… that’s what you are planning to do, isn’t it?!” His voice brought noise to the quiet reprieve, calling out the trickery happening in that mere spar.

    It was when the girl noticed the infamous strings of magic, The Silver Lining Hoitsu’s was ‘known’ for, starting to wrap around her arms- or at least trying to do so and failing once she enabled her Jigen-Tou, the strings cut without issue.

    Yet his plan wasn’t to merely delay, but to have the vampire busied as he focused on the real ‘danger’ for him.

    Kuroka was quick to realize this too, backing away from direct confrontation and promptly setting short-term traps to stop his assaults… only to scoff as the young man flared his Senjutsu mode… and Akua noticed that he was still weaker than her.

    Could it be that the spells had done more than planned?

    She didn’t question it, nor she paused from going to intercept their opponent, ready to help her ally in her time of need.

    Her quick feet granted her an immediate re-engagement, forcing Hoitsu to once more focus on her rather than getting himself freed from the current spells limiting his power. He was frowning, a silent scowl plastered on his face, but the former assassin wasn’t certainly going to reply to that silent demand, preferring to refuse her now-annoyed leader.

    Another fist landed on his cheek, making him take a few step backs. He looked terribly angry, but seemed to be doing well in keeping his irritation on check as the two girls continued with the simple but incredibly effective pattern.

    A kick drove into his belly and… he exploded in red.

    Red eyes blinked over the barely-visible aura surrounding the young man’s body, yet her mind was quick to assess how dangerous this technique was. A strong boost that gave to the user an impressive amount of energy.

    The tide turned as her attacks were met with doubled effort from her opposition, soon getting the girl to back away in a defensive stance. The difference between their overall strength was now bigger than before and… a strong punch slammed on her chest.

    Coughing, Akua deflected the following strikes, her arms still strained by the action but managing well against the faster hits she was dealing with.

    The Kaioken was something she had long tried to think a counter of for this specific occasion, bringing up this matter to people that could help her to develop a possible deterrent and… many were clueless about it.

    Hoitsu was keen to keep quiet over the details that made most of the technique, only limiting its description to a mere ‘self-boosting technique’.

    The vampire gritted her teeth in mild-annoyance and pain, her guard matching in a futile fashion with another powerful punch. Soon, her hand slithered by his extended arm, trying to land another hit and-

    She blinked as she realized some more info… from touching his muscles. Those were twitching, swelling in unexpected tension while the opponent continued to send attack after attack.

    It was… strange and… soon she connected the dots.

    While Akua had hardly studied anatomy on a scientific basis, she knew enough to know that the condition currently happening within his muscles was… abnormal for him.

    And that meant only that… the Kaioken worked with the muscles. Maybe it increased the energy input with-

    It could be possible. An interesting way to temporary improve the user’s capacity to fight… but she knew what kind of weakness was easily exposed to her, her mind picking quickly the perfect style to properly disable Hoitsu.

    Three precise chops in specific bits of both arms’ muscles did the trick, closing down the magical coils available on the limbs and…

    Thud

    The young man groaned, his body having tensed up and stilled at the sudden rupture of the Kaioken, the stress forcing him to fall on the floor.

    Akua blinked, minor relief washing as Kuroka reached for them and the two girls picked the defeated opponent off the floor.

    T-That was really amazing- but seriously, next time we should set up some good limits before… I end up like this.” He huffed calmly, looking ready to fall asleep any moment now.

    And spoil our fun?” The Nekoshou pointed out. “I admit we were going quite strong, but I did appreciate some good action after so much inactivity and… now it’s time to cash that little bet-”

    Nothing sexual-” He interrupted curtly, getting a nod from both girls.

    Of course,” The cat-eared woman agreed. “But I wish you understand that, since there are two victors, there are going to be two favors that will be stated.”

    He blinked. “Hold up-”

    Tomorrow morning, after breakfast, you will take me, Akua and Akeno to a proper date, one that will go just a little more time after lunch.” The girl continued without hesitation, shifting her golden gaze to the vampire. “While Akua-chan~-”

    It wasn’t difficult to understand that Kuroka wanted her to speak about that ‘important’ demand. Something that had been born from recent developments and all thanks to Kunou’s and Koneko’s kindness.

    But… it was… embarrassing.

    Seriously, she had been expecting to lose rather than face this situation and yet… she had to.

    Not only for herself and her interest regarding Hoitsu, but also for Kuroka and Akeno. The Himejima was a new addition to her repertoire of ‘friends’, an individual that was much easier to talk to compared to the Nekoshou. Immensely so.

    Her face flushed a soft pink, a restrained blush as she nodded slowly and prepared to deal with the predicament.

    K-Kuroka and I will share the bed in your room… with you there too.” Her ears twitched the moment she finished, trying to grasp for any vocal reaction from the sole man in that room.

    Hoitsu blinked once, then twice and… he sighed. “Cuddles-only?”

    A smug grin appeared on the cat-girl’s face. “Cuddles-only~.”

    And even though the reply was a positive one and Akua was promised a soon-to-happen session of… cuddles, her stomach felt knotting once more.

    This time the reason of her nervousness attached to the fact… she was going to share a be, an intimate act that Akasha had described as a proof of love between two or more individuals, with the three individuals she had grown close to in the last few weeks.

    The vampire could easily remember the bleak thoughts that had plagued her mind after what had happened with Fairy Tale and Alucard, her chances of redeeming herself and properly close that dark chapter of her life looking rather nonexistent.

    But now that things had changed so much, her mind was keen to give her some… interesting thoughts.

    Her cheeks finally reddened and her hold lessened in response at the lack of focus on keeping the young man up, something that Kuroka felt immediately as she perceived the sudden shift of weight to her.

    A-Akua-chan! He is falling!” The girl screeched, causing her sparring partner to ‘wake’ up and notice that Hoitsu was slowly descending back to the floor. Red eyes widened as the vampire panicked but managed to pick him up in time.

    S-Sorry. I was-”

    Thinking about tonight~?” The Nekoshou cheekily pointed out, drawing another full blush from the usually stoic girl. “Worry not, Akua-chan! I, Kuroka-sama, shall show you how to cuddle by… using this willing Hoitsu here.”

    There was some noise coming from the barely-awake young man, his voice muffled by the fact it was being pressed carefully onto the cat-girl’s bosom.

    Now, let’s go to the living room and have him lying on some of the couches. From there I will show you how to- and how to-”

    The woman continued to speak even after they left the training area, her words turning into fuel for her longest blush yet.

    Still, she would end up cherishing those lessons as… Hoitsu did felt warm in that odd but lovely position and… sleepy form.

    -------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d-----d-d-d-d-

    If someone asked Sapphire, daughter of Lucifer and one of the fiercest generals in the Underworld, about why she had decided to spend the few days after the meeting by training and relaxing with her nieces, the only thing they would get was a snort and a glare.

    Mind your own business!

    Mio and Maria, both girls had potential that was starting to show now more than ever, were showing incredible progress in learning how to control their respective magical attributes.

    Special attention was given to the eldest, the young redhead having obtained from her dying father the power to manipulate gravity itself.

    Something that was unique, praised by Lucifer himself when he was alive and watching over his own family.

    Every member of the original Morningstar Clan family had a very rare and powerful ability.

    Rizevim can deny the usage of a Sacred Gear and Wilbert could manipulate gravity itself;

    Sapphire was also special as her trait was the closest to her father, the ability of Reset having diluted but persisted in the form of Space-Time manipulation to a large-scale degree.

    There was a reason why the troops assigned to her during the Great War were one of the few successful ones, her capacity to rule over the battlefield with her immense power was recognized as a rightful treat from both Grigori and Heaven.

    ...And that is how she ended meeting her.

    That night- she could still remember how painful the first attack was.

    The blast obliterated a good portion of her first line, sending her flying for several meters and… she actually felt surprise and giddiness at the newest obstacle to her path.

    Earthquakes washed over the land around her as the beautiful creature with pristine white wings landed before her. A single kneeling that ended with her rushing coldly towards her.

    Lance met battle-axe, the ground melting because of the heat and pressure of the clash.

    Green orbs mixed with reds, duty matched with fury as the two women rushed to the fight, earnestly craving for the death of the other.

    It was intense, a morbid dance that endured for several days. Her armor cracked under the pressure, her enemy’s suffering a similar fate.

    The War grew quiet just for them, everything going silent and blank as they continued with their seemingly-endless duel of emotions.

    Gone were the initial purposes, gone was the long-term interest of this fighting.

    A battle that lived out of battle itself, something that intrigued, that tempted Sapphire to continue to the very end. Her core burned brightly, just like her enemy’s.

    It was… an epiphany that vibrated through her entire body, gnawing at her to perpetrate within eternity itself.

    The end of that battle, she could never forget about it, her eyes would widen up as the Angel broke through her defense, sporting a different demeanor than until moments before.

    A smile, a candid thing that rendered her face difficult to stare as… it was like light itself. She got even closer and then… she kissed her.

    Thunderous drums rumbled within her chest- no, it was her heartbeat picking up an unnatural pacing, trying to overcome the senseless action the General of Hell… actually found likable.

    You are doing this for love, aren’t you?” The gorgeous Angel mused softly, her smile widening by the time the kiss was over. “It’s all written all over your face, Shining Sapphire.”

    Her wings flapped, the being disappearing in a white blur but now before whispering the chance of meeting once more.

    Returning to… base turned out to be a slow walk. So many thoughts, so many confusing and conflicting theories about what happened, about who dared to steal such a precious treasure from hers and…

    Lucifer was the most infuriating individual for that period.

    Her father was loving to his family, rather stern but still cared enough to make sure everyone was alright in that tumultuous time. Yet, this kindness was matched by his manner of teasing people around him, especially his children.

    Sapphire wasn’t spared some heavy laughs regarding her confusion, the man going as far as ‘planning to end the war just to match-make her with this curious Angel’.

    Irking, but also lacking any serious reprimand for ‘interacting intimately with the enemy’, the leader of the Underworld reminding her that she wasn’t responsible of this act and thus was quickly forgiven without any issue.

    From this very discussion, the name of this strange being was provided.

    To think that God would really go as far to deploy Proto-Angels.” The white-haired man thought out-loud. “Creatures born from Angel’s biology mixed with human’s, an attempt to integrate adapting capacities to the superior body and mind of an Angel… beings worth some study and interest.”

    Proto-Angels, beings deemed by their leaders as inferior soldiers, yet the fight, that emotion…

    Raphaeline. A memorable word that burned in her brain, that persisted to the very present. A word that painted her happy when she spotted the woman on the following skirmish.

    She didn’t bother with the pleasantries, jumping moments after sighting the flying warrior and… smirking right in front of her face.

    The holy creature smiled back, both females greeting each other silently before the Devil pressed forward and… landed a peck on the angelic lips.

    A quick kiss, confirming a bond of rivals that would outlast even the War itself.

    Their connection grew, their fighting soon replaced by words, questions and answers. Nothing sensitive, all personal and… Sapphire started to love her company even more.

    A kindred soul that wandered through the War, scorned by both sides and yet smiling at the adversities.

    A breath-taking determination that only emboldened Lucifer’s only daughter to pursue more the intriguing individual. Kisses turned in warm hugs and… then their rivalry turned in a whole new relationship.

    Gone were the barrier, their sworn secrecy loyally kept as they enjoyed the peace between battles.

    For someone that was at the time hot-headed and driven by the lust for a proper fight, Sapphire discovered the calm of silence, the joy of speaking with someone that shared so much in common.

    Yet… the War ended and so did the visits from Raphaeline.

    Her mother answered to her confusion-driven queries. Widowed and tired, Lilith was still capable of keeping stability in Hell for some time while also dispensing answers to her child.

    Proto-Angels… are not meant to live with the peace just signed, my lovely gem.” The kind woman replied softly. “Michael wouldn’t certainly push for it, but a majority of Angels openly dislike the ‘inferior beings’ lingering there. Your rival is surely… long gone now.”

    When her father was confirmed dead, Sapphire cried for two whole days… when the news of Raphaeline’s death was given to her by her remaining parent, Sapphire mourned for months, never leaving for a moment from her room.

    Hell’s government fell on itself, a revolt sparking from those tired of the aggressive lines of the leaders and promptly ousting them after a civil war.

    Wilbert had left earlier than the conflict erupted, the tired female General following behind and joining him in forming an independent group within the Underworld.

    Time passed and… Rizevim ‘betrayed’ them.

    Seeing one of her siblings dying by the hands of the eldest child of Lucifer was enough to drive Sapphire back to a war-like mentality, leading the Clique formerly ruled by Wilbert against Qlippoth.

    The war was a gruesome stalemate that lasted for months…

    Until Rizevim wanted to genuinely negotiate and put an end to the fight.

    She was skeptical of the invitation, only accepting by realizing the oddly scared tone the usually-cocky bastard used to request to talk and… her surprise increased when they finally met.

    There was no smile pending on his lips, there wasn’t any snarky remark… only truth offered by Wilbert’s special journal.

    Dangerous pages in the hands of evil-doers, but apt for her to read and have.

    It revealed so much, it gave so much insight over their father’s origins and reasons to go to war against God.

    Yet, the sole page that got her utterly shaken was… about her previously-thought lost lover.

    While the entire cadre of Proto-Angels were disbanded permanently because of strong demands from Heaven’s people, Michael was unwilling to let go of the stronger ones.

    Having matched her in multiple fights, Raphaeline was deemed… suitable to be keep alive, sealed away until the world required her presence in a battlefield once more.

    Hope, surprise and… a breath of life, washed over Sapphire, bringing her to realize that…

    She could return to her!-

    You know, if you don’t want to train them and spend this time day-dreaming, you could at least tell them.” Nanika, Mio’s inner darkness, spoke from the spot of the couch she had taken.

    The woman blinked, red eyes fixing on equally red orbs. “Sorry, Nanika-chan, didn’t mean to sound neglectful.” She apologized quietly, getting a sight from the girl.

    It’s still annoying!” The young redhead huffed loudly. “I mean, you are really cool and all, Auntie, but you didn’t even give me anything to do with my sisters.” She ended with an annoyed tone.

    That’s because I want to talk a little with you.”

    Nanika facepalmed. “I swear, if this is something like ‘you don’t need to be a bad girl, you could be a good guy too’ kind of talk I will-”

    No. I’m actually fine if you continue along this path.” Sapphire admitted calmly. “I just wish to spend some time with… you in particular.”

    She raised a curious eyebrow. “Any reason why?”

    Just that I find it interesting how you look like Mio’s twin rather than her ‘own darkness’.” The woman continued to talk, getting a shrug back from the girl.

    I look like my host, what a shocker-”

    I mean by how you actually behave ‘similarly’ to her.” The woman interrupted and… got a frown back.

    Beg your pardon? Are you smocking something or did you just chug an entire super-vodka bottle?”

    You both seem to care about Maria and you’re quite interested in me as your auntie.” The adult pressed on, getting a groan from the fellow redhead.

    Maria is adorable and prone to cause funny messes to watch from afar, while the reason I find you ‘interesting’, Auntie, is more of a… physical attraction~.” Nanika quipped flippantly, smiling lecherously at the woman.

    As if I couldn’t recognize when someone looks at me like that from someone with other reasons behind this sad staring.”

    Sad staring? Is that even a real thing? My eyes are directed at your bo-”

    Enough of this, Nanika. I wish to entertain a serious discussion rather than some… sassy remarks from you.” The woman narrowed her eyes, surprised to see the girl merely shrug once more.

    Sassy remarks are me, Auntie, so it’s kind of difficult if you ask me to stop being me.”

    No.” Sapphire rebuked. “You think you can fool me with this faux mask of yours, but I recognize the stress, the annoyance, the distress of being alone-”

    Spare me the kid shows’ moral, Auntie, I’m not in the mood for- uh?”

    Nanika didn’t expect to be pulled in a hug. She also didn’t expect her Auntie’s cushions to be that soft~!

    I understand that you are unwilling to share your inner thoughts to someone. I understand that you would see it as weakness and...” She sighed. “I wish to not have to give you this talk. You… I think you are burdened with quite the difficult job of taking in all the negative thoughts, the stress that is within Mio.”

    That’s the truth. Yes.” The girl shot back softly, snuggling in that soft and comfortable situation she just found herself to be thrown into.

    This is why… I wish to tell you that I consider you as a niece. Just like Maria and Mio.” Sapphire added, drawing a sigh from Nanika.

    What a foolish lie, one that would hurt us both if I accepted it as truth.”

    Truths and lies… what does these matter when it’s all about family.” The woman hummed ruffling the younger redhead’s hair. “My father… he would have given his best to-”

    Hoitsu.” Nanika corrected quietly. “Hoitsu Sakakibara, Shiranai and Lucifer. These three would be so hellbent to have me… I don’t know, convinced that there is brightness in the gloomy days? That I can find happiness with friends? I just… want to be left alone right now.” The girl admitted.

    Alone? Even though I wish to keep you here in my embrace?” Sapphire mused softly, drawing another sigh from the redhead in her hold.

    You are fine.” The darkness replied quietly. “You… don’t annoy me too much, Auntie.” Her eyes closed, letting herself be lulled by the pleasant softness the natural pillows were giving her right now.

    The woman sighed, returning her stare at Mio and Maria, still training but also starting to get tired from the ever-repeating exercise.

    The future offered so much between good and bad.

    Hopefully, the best outcome would come out of these tense days...

    ---------d-d-d-d-------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d----

    AN

    Quick Warning: There is no political agenda, nor I care about ‘filling a quota’ about people in my stories. The reason why Sapphire is attracted to Raphaeline is actually Canon to the series ‘Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha’, only that in the series there was also Jin Toujou to add in. Since he isn’t here, their relationship is… like that.

    Why Raphaeline didn’t Fall even though falling in love with Sapphire? It’s something about Proto-Angels that renders them immune from Falling.

    Future milestone 1: 950 Followers and Favorites.
     
  9. Threadmarks: Doubts and Assedio
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 64: Doubts and Assedio

    This is the first time I felt this much cramped inside my bed.

    I guess the issue has to be given to the three young women currently slumbering close to me, their collective warmth causing me an eternal wave of heat. Heat that was currently keeping me awake because of how uncomfortable it felt all around me.

    It was surprising how none of the girls seemed to be minding the annoying situation, the smiles painted on their faces putting me in an even more complicated situation than expected.

    I knew that problems were going to rise in a single bed, the trio having already show in their initial test how they would end up cuddling as close as possible near me, using my arms and my chest as natural pillows. I held back a sigh, my sight permanently fixed on the ceiling because of the cat-eared head pressing from below my chin.

    Kuroka was the one that claimed my chest, Akua and Akeno accepting the spaces of pillows nearby my face, snuggling as close as possible as to not lose a ‘competition’ with the Nekoshou.

    The result of such behavior was manifested by the feverish thoughts lingering in my mind, quietly keeping me distracted from the fact it was still summertime and I had to deal with this unplanned cuddle-pile.

    At least they kept some decency.

    Shiranai’s words too my sight to briefly remind myself about the oddly conservative night-wear. While Akeno had picked a simple plum-colored Pajama, Kuroka chose a comfy Kimono with underwear underneath and Akua was wearing a half-sleeved shirt and knee-long pants.

    It still doesn’t absolve them from the terrible night I’m supposed to spend like this.

    Not as terrible as it was back in our past life. Do you remember the cold?

    ...I don’t need this-

    Yes, you do! If you wanted to tell them to be a little less affectionate, explaining how the current summer’s heat would make things unbearable as this, you could have told them that ‘before’ they went to sleep.

    I wasn’t thinking-

    You don’t. That’s the problem.

    ...What?

    It’s been a while now but I think it’s time someone point this out to you. It’s something that I thought was just a momentary attitude but… you are getting lazy.

    I’ve been training-

    Your mindset. You are taking things far too calmly while getting bored of even doing some simple exercises.

    I can’t do stuff that doesn’t improve me-

    BUT YOU CAN STILL TRAIN BEFORE SHIT HITS THE FAN!



    Do you think that when Lucifer will come out, because after dealing with so much I completely expect him to face us in the near future, he will care if we have a large family? If we have all happy and smiling?

    Shiranai-

    Don’t ‘Shiranai’ me, Hoitsu Sakakibara. We both know that it has crossed in your mind more than once how the bastard didn’t care for his family. We committed to a worthless cause because of some twisted order of things We decided to be prime part of.



    Imagine yourself going so happily to reset the dimension. In Lucifer’s mind, this should be undeniable… but why would we commit that? Why would we go so far to Reset everything in an endless loop?!

    You mean that… something happened for him to go this far? And also become this… uncaring?

    Since we are inherently morons with a propensity to be good-guys, I can only guess that… someone died. Someone important.



    We should make sure they are ALL safe when the endgame begins.

    I will have all of them protected. Even if this means keeping them all in the safest place in the world.

    ...But what if this isn’t enough?

    What?

    Don’t you think this thought has to have crossed his mind before ‘falling’? Don’t you think that he would have known that something wrong would have happened to his precious people with that encounter?

    You think that… somehow he would still be able to hit them? But- how?!

    I don’t know. The figure of Lucifer, or at least this version of him is wrapped in mystery. The only thing we know about him is that he somehow got the loyalty of Azrael, getting him to switch allegiances from Heaven to only himself.

    And that his wife is still alive- Actually, do you think that-

    She will surely know about the Reset. From what little we have, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that Lucifer DID love Lilith to a high degree. She will have more answers to our questions.

    I nodded to myself and… finally sighed.

    I… I will step up my training then. I think it’s time to bring stronger sparring partners to the count.

    Oh? We could ask Issei and Vali. Both would surely accept, especially Vali. Actually, maybe inviting Vali isn’t a good idea-

    He is much stronger than in Canon.

    But he is still obsessed with power, and we don’t know if Rizevim somehow ended up finding him now that he is in Kuoh, wandering, and told him about our ‘identity’.

    That would end up in a very interesting way- but I think the issue by then would be… why didn’t Lucifer tell anyone about our real… situation. The reason why ‘we’ all exist.

    Possibly because that would be… considered way too much of a BS to be taken seriously. I don’t know about Zekram, Azrael and other close loyalists, but I think… Lilith could know about this.

    You think-

    He has to have told her. As much as we can keep this a secret from friends, I think it would be the best for us to come clean once we got with someone like… a wife, a lover.

    They will think of us as insane-

    Not if we bring some realistic proof to it. We can do that. But I think the issue would then move to another dangerous situation.

    And that… is?

    What happens after that? If we go beyond Lucifer, if we end the Loop, what would happen next?

    I blinked, my breathing softening as I felt Kuroka nuzzling lovingly on my chest, her face turning just enough to show her happy look once more.

    We continue to live, I guess. We will deal with consequences, with growth and… with love.

    And also hate, assassins and other bastards going after us. But… I can see the appeal to that. Also-

    Hm?

    I want you to know that, the reason why I want you to put your best effort out for the preparations is… I love what I am seeing.

    ...Uh?

    We have met, befriended and even brought in our strange family people that we only saw a mask of. People that we knew little of but now are an essential part of our lives. We have Kunou, we have Koneko, we have the girls here, Mio, Maria and… those that put their trust on us to never back down from the danger that is meant to strike very soon.

    ...I- But why? I thought you wouldn’t-

    I can mind my own business until a certain point, but I think you will understand if I found infuriating as worrying the little chance of seeing all of this vanish, erased by some twisted version of ours. I care for them too, I’m part of this too and… don’t let them vanish. I beg you.

    There was quiet, there was silence and then… I looked down only to find two quiet orbs of golden staring back at me.

    Hey.” Kuroka whispered, adjusting herself in a comfortable position while also making sure that the two other girls were still asleep. “Is everything alright?”

    I blinked, giving a surprised look and then… I sighed. “Just… thinking.” I whispered back, catching a curious frown from her.

    Oh?” She mused softly, blinking slowly as she continued to stare at my face. “It has to be important if it kept you awake until...” She glanced at the bedside, a small digital clock there with a red ‘3:54’ written on it. “This early in the morning.” The Nekoshou yawned, but she hardly seemed ready to return back to sleep. “What was it about?

    It was a difficult question, one that had me in silence for some time before the girl huffed back.

    That much important?” She glanced with minor annoyance. “I thought we would have had less secrets about us.” She commented with a worried tone. “After all, I did pour my own mind for you to help me with Shirone.” The dark-haired woman finished.

    … “It’s… complicated.” I replied curtly. “It’s not that I don’t trust you but… It’s just some silly worry of mine that is that. Silly-

    Yet it kept you awake.” Kuroka pressed on. “So, are you going to spill the beans now?

    I sighed, the decision weighting a lot as… I should be bothering them with my paranoia. It would be wrong to a degree and… I sighed again.

    I was thinking about Lucifer and- Uh?” I found one of her fingers pressing on my cheek, poking at it in a very annoying manner. Yet the smug grin was what got me partly irritated. “What?” I asked with a dull tone, her grin widening.

    Silly thinking indeed.” She mirthfully replied, ignoring my annoyance and continuing to poke at my face. “I bet it has to do with you connecting Lucifer with yourself… but I bet you are also ignoring something important about him.”

    I frowned. “And that is?” I questioned, drawing a soft sigh from her.

    That your name is Hoitsu Sakakibara.” The Nekoshou shot back. “That while Lucifer could be a version of you, he is a completely different person compared to what you are, to who you are.” She emphasized her last words by pressing my cheek even more.

    I can only guess, but I can see you having worries about… becoming like him. Ending up alone and… tired.” The young woman sighed again and finally retracted her finger. “But I can say without hesitation that your concerns are incredibly stupid. It’s not going to happen.”

    … “W-What?! But Lucifer-

    Isn’t the Hoitsu Sakakibara I know about.” She interjected with a huff. “You are mine, he isn’t it. You are Akeno’s, you are Akua’s, you are Kunou’s, Shirone’s, Lith’s, Ophis’ and… everyone else that know you and know who you are really.” Her smile was incredibly bright in that dark moment.

    She leaned in, her lips lingering onto mine for more than just a few seconds. It was chaste but… it was also meaningful. It wasn’t as embarrassing as I would have expected it to be and… I kissed back.

    Her smile twitched in amusement as she softly backed away, sporting a goofy look on her face. “And that was but just the beginning of what tomorrow is going to be.” She proclaimed in such a whispered way. “Akua will have precedence after both Akeno and I claimed our first spoils.

    I sighed, the girl nuzzling back onto my chest and… soon I felt cooler than before.

    I noticed that you were sweating.” She commented tiredly, not bothering to glance my way as she was already returning to her sleep. “Why didn’t you apply the cool-breeze spell?

    Wait, there is something like that-

    Are you seriously questioning the existence of a practical magical spell like that one?

    I… I will look up to it before the date.

    Moments passed and soon… I was granted some sleep, the Nekoshou joining mere instances later.

    Yet, even in my slumber, the words she told me remained, seeping deep in my mind as…

    As I felt like she was right about it.

    I’m Hoitsu Sakakibara and I’m certainly not going to become Lucifer!

    -----------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----

    If there was something that the woman had learned to love after so many years of exile, it was the beautiful garden she had built from scratch.

    The previously empty, but humongous room was now the sole aspect of life that persisted in the Realm of the Dead. Flowers of various kind, all tended by her motherly touch, an attempt to keep her mind distracted from the dreadful effects her loneliness brought after so many years have been spent away from the spotlight, away from family. Her family.

    She sighed, softly passing the watering can she had finished to use on the rare glowing green rose in front of her to one of the Grim Reapers assigned to her as her entourage. This particular specimen had required an incredible effort to be born and properly taken care of.

    A stubborn thing that reminded her awfully how the difficulty of dealing with her eldest. Rizevim was a cheeky pest, from his childhood to his early adulthood, a son that managed to awe and annoy her even with the simplest of situations.

    Yet he was loving, caring, always there to present himself as his father’s counterbalance for sometime. Her dearest husband, once the sweetest being in the world, had turned ever so slowly into a tired and weary man, still kind and loving, but very annoyed by the slightest of distractions to his word.

    The War was stressful, especially with the bickering commenced by the young Lords of the Underworld, teens at the time that would only cease with their blabbering when their surrogate father was around.

    The formality was what kept the proper familiar terms to be used, Zekram being devoted to the leader of the new faction more as a minion than a child of his, something that her lover found as amusing as annoying at times.

    The prideful youth was also one of the few ones in the group made by the original 72 lords that believed in absolute victory rather than a negotiated truce. Something that would end up becoming a torn for her when she would lead the Underworld’s delegation in hope of gaining a proper white peace with Heaven and Grigori.

    Lilith, former Queen of Hell, was quite happy that the turbulent years that followed the Civil War were now behind her as she pleasantly enjoyed her secret self-proclaimed exile.

    Hades… was crass in the worst case, but the God of the Dead would never go far out of respect of her late husband. When Lucifer was struck down from Heaven, Hades was one of the first Gods to try and seek an alliance with him.

    It was a declining period for the Hellenic Pantheon and the ‘King on Earth’ was more than pleased to accept this offer and bring the deity in his ranks. There was mutual respect for their individual titles, a silent case of coordination between their respective forces. Hence the closeness there was between the Morningstar family and Hades, something that made things easy for Lilith when she sought refuge in the Realm of Dead.

    The place was unique as those who ‘lived’ in here where undetectable and ‘invisible’ to the rest of the Pantheons. The ideal escape that was continuing to work even now that centuries had passed.

    The redhead hummed quietly as she carefully trimmed another plant nearby. Hard-work that was repaid in precious fruits. Beautiful results that made the whole experience of gardening even more pleasant… compared to when she had to headbutt with the various Lords of Hell trying to make some stand against her way of reform.

    Her husband had been clear about reforming society after the Great War, leaving numerous lines to follow. Instructions that would have actually worked and improved the Underworld’s overall life expectancy.

    Yet the ‘nobility’ reared its ugly head and made things impossible, causing the administration to collapse once a rebellion emerged. She resigned instantly, crippling the leadership of the ‘Loyalist’ camp and getting away from the dumpster fire before burning because of it.

    People died, some were jailed for treason and war crimes. But Lilith?

    Lilith stopped to care about governing, even when Sirzechs Gremory came to ask to head the new society. A young fool that reminded her of the brief moments of naivety her former lover was known for back in Heaven.

    To expect that Zekram would just allow four youths to rule the faction was stupid, something she was particularly sure they all learned after so much time had passed.

    And while she wasn’t allowed to leave the Realm ruled by Hades, the God was keen to bring her interesting news happening all over the world.

    This month had been… fairly significant.

    The picture showing Hoitsu Sakakibara that the Hellenic deity of Death obtained mere weeks ago answered one of the major questions the woman had over her ever-so mysterious husband. Lucifer looked quite… cute as a young man.

    He looked so innocent, inexperienced about the world around him and… she couldn’t help but giggle at how ‘cute’ he was. It was like another child of hers, younger than Sapphire, that had a striking resemblance with Lucifer.

    Yet he was Lucifer… while also not being him.

    Oddly confusing but also endearing as she knew everything about the two dummies.

    She could see him already squirming if she somehow ended up meeting with little Hoitsu, the secrets her lover had told her about himself. A true Outsider, one that bypassed history and become someone else…

    It just was so ‘cool’, like her flamboyant hubby would say.

    A pity that she couldn’t just waltz out of the Realm without being nagged by the Four Pests about wisdom and whatnot. Lilith wanted peace, something that the brats would deprive her of if she was to ever step outside of her ‘jail’.

    Just as she started to tend to the umpteenth flower, her ears caught the distinct sound of familiar footsteps approaching. Red eyes glanced back and a small smile appeared while she turned to greet Hades.

    The tall ‘pile of bones’ nodded back at her, huffing and looking particularly annoyed. Nothing from her, of that Lilith was sure of.

    Something bothering you, Lord Hades?” The woman asked out-of-curiosity, getting a surprising sigh from him.

    I think the brat has noticed the ‘trick’. He sent three individuals to try and rescue you.” The God bluntly stated in such an informal manner. Still, her eyes widened in shock at the news and she stopped thinking about her garden.

    Three individuals?” Part of her was interested about their identities but- “And you are sure it’s little Hoitsu-”

    The youngest bear the allegiance to the group he leads, the other two have been shown amicable to Azazel.” The grand skeleton stated dryly. “The big issue is that I know two of those and… the third one is just related to one of them.”

    Sounds like you don’t want to fight them.” Lilith narrowed her eyes to the God, Hades blinking back.

    I had worse people to face, especially that smiling bastard and his foolish puns. But the Belmont and Alucard are not people I wish to deal with… this soon.” The Hellenic deity admitted with some minor annoyance.

    This soon? You wanted to-”

    Little plan that will happen in 24 years from now. Something about bringing Vlad back from the death once more.” He shrugged. “No biggie.”

    You know, I think I heard him saying he just wanted to rest after being resurrected ten times right as a Belmont manages to find him and ‘whip him up’.” The woman crossed her arms under he bosom. “I think you have something against him.”

    Other than the fact he sent me to die against Richter?” The Deity shot back. “I admit that it was impossible to foresee the potential of that man, but I came close to genuinely perish against him. Like, what would have happened if I died-”

    Probably come back here and… continue to exist?” Lilith guessed, drawing a murderous glare from Hades as he humphed and turned around, already walking away. “Are you at least going to put some resistance against them?”

    He shrugged. “Just some cannon fodders. I will not lose any of my good guards just for some family’s issues and… I think it’s time you stop leeching from me, woman.”

    She tensed, a furious expression plastered on her face. “Excuse you!?

    You have been taking money from my personal treasury to buy yourself this garden… which I don’t need!” He stopped, turning around and ranting about it. “Do you seriously expect me, a walking skeleton, or my other servants, also walking skeletons, to need nourishment in the form of fruits or maybe some ‘pretty’ flowers to stare at during our non-existing free time?!”

    There was some silence, Hades nodded happily as he returned to walk out of her hobby room. “You are officially evicted, Lilith Morningstar. So you better be packing when they arrive to pick you up.”

    The door closed behind him, leaving an incredibly irate redhead alone with her now-former assistants.

    T-To think that she would be kicked out in such a crass manner! She huffed, pacing a little around as she thought what to do and… then her shoulders sagged.

    Maybe it was time to face the music and… deal with whoever decided to have her taken out of the Realm of Dead. And with this difficult decision made, the woman ventured out of the room and back to her living quarters, ready to spend a few hours to… get everything packed.

    In her rage, a bright theory roused within her mind, gaining evidence the more she evaluated it.

    There was just only an individual that would do this to her, to bring little Hoitsu’s attention on her and… her eldest son was surely going to pay for the gloomy mood she was right now.

    Oh! Of that she was completely sure of!

    ------------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-

    AN

    Little fluff and the prelude for next chapter. What? Hades should be less sassier? Who said that?!

    Lilith is now introduced in the present time and… she will be a fun character to further increase the number of romantic shenanigans among everyone. Beware as the Hellish Matchmaker is coming for you~!

    Also lastly, I wish to address something I think everyone (in the forums) should know about: I officially open the chance to write Omakes of the story. Whoever wishes to add a snippet or anything about it, I will be more than happy to add it to the story (that is if said stories are respectful of the rules and not-overly violent.).

    Future milestone 1: 950 Followers and Favorites.
     
  10. Threadmarks: Of Dead and Sisters
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 65: Of Dead and Sisters

    The attack plan was fairly simple.

    They needed to enter inside the isolated section of the Underworld where Death ruled, the very place where the souls of dead people went when they perished and… ‘kidnap’ an important woman held within the protective magical walls protecting the large territory.

    The Gates of the Realm of the Dead were forcefully slammed open by Alucard, his vampiric strength was aided by dark magic and the first obstacle was torn apart in mere moments.

    The instant the loud thud signaled the fall of the broken doors, several skeleton-like monsters rushed towards the three invaders, ready to make a lasting resistance.

    The vampire rushed forward, slamming on the main force with his sword already cutting through many opponents at once while his shield pushed away those trying to attack him by the side.

    Julius’ Vampire Killer, struck fiercely and swiftly, proving once more the prowess of the current holder of the bane of Dracula himself. A first swipe from the powerful whip was more than enough as the first wave opposing him was decimated in a few seconds.

    Mathias was holding well at the sight of the army going after them, his hands tightening the hold over the Holy Whip, a weapon of unknown origins that was bestowed to Trevor Belmont himself.

    It wasn’t as strong as the Morningstar, but the lack of explosive effects made it a flexible tool and helped him in properly make use of the basis of the Art of the Whip.

    Quick hits, multiple ones were required to engage the stronger threats, but until he remained as a support for the two main-hitters, things weren’t going to turn any bad. His eyes caught sight of flying skele-knights trying to attack from above and, retracting the Holy-type weapon, the young man proceeded to deploy the first of the many Holy Crosses his uncle had given to him.

    The blessed long-range weapons pierced without hesitation into the ribs of the demon-like creatures, their pained roars deafened by the constant assault still ongoing.

    Minutes of intense fighting passed, numerous waves proving that the entrance was well-defended and… also suggesting that the current owner of this Realm was hardly going to make their life any easier from now on.

    Phoenix’s Tears were plenty in Julius’ and Mathias’ bags, while Alucard was more than capable to heal himself through magic. This was but the first step with the plan and… the youngest human was having some little nervousness about it.

    The lounge was a chilling sight void of any living being, a stark contrast compared to the unforgettable welcoming party they had just dealt with.

    There was some smoke coming from the upper floor, the entire room looking quite antiquate with the presence of old portraits with various individuals, mostly humans, sporting either scowls or sad and defeated expressions.

    There was something about the very pictures as… the eyes seemed to be looking right at them as they continued through their path straight to the stairs. This wasn’t like what had happened back in the Tepes Castle, Mathias thought with a perplexed glance all around, the impressive presence of high-level monsters just moments ago surpassing the fiends he had to face in that dreadful night.

    But the teen was rightfully aware that this was just the tip of the iceberg as they had just entered the compound that would end with Death himself and- his thoughts manifested in the form of ten Archdemons flying towards them while brandishing several sharp weapons.

    The Vampire Killer snapped once more, decapitating the first monster and wounding the one close to the leading creature. A loud shriek from the injured beast sent shivers down the young Belmont’s spine, but his adrenaline didn’t let him miss the first attack, the Holy Whip slamming onto the chest of the closest Archdemon and ending its life as the Holy energy purged the impure being in mere instants, leaving only dust on its place.

    Alucard’s form was coated in darkness as he blitzed through the remaining monsters while bathing his sword through their flesh. The affair was quickly solved as nobody else came to join up the initial force of supernatural beings.

    It just… felt strange. While Archdemons were fiends to not scoff at, the small number of those was… quite mind-boggling. Why wouldn’t Death send more troops to intercept them? Why did this felt… like a trap?

    Mathias tensed up at this last theory, glancing around as he continued to follow the two adults through the desolate halls of the mansion. The youth blinked in surprise as soon the halls were filled with… cloaked figures.

    The pacing of the group slowed down a little, Alucard’s hand poised to extract his sword out of the hilt while Julius’ pressed tightly on the whip in the side-holster. Mathias looked unsure at what the servants of Death were doing here, seemingly cleaning the walls and some of the vases there.

    None of the creatures, possibly skeletons themselves, turned to ‘greet’ the attackers’ presence and the trio continued to walk on guard for four more minutes of hallways. None of the monsters was attacking anymore, now a handful of those glancing their way momentarily.

    No attacks, no aggressiveness. It was starting to get… incredibly frustrating for his mind.

    Their confusion finally culminated once the doors leading to the throne room opened. The room was obviously bigger than the lounge, the are being illuminated by brighter and normal candles rather than dark-blue flames hovering from special sections of the walls.

    More skeleton-servants were silently cleaning around, others merely standing by the side of the direct path that led to the massive chair occupied by a large skeleton bickering with a red-haired woman. It was donning ceremonial robes with white and gold details… which was quite off from how he had imagined Death to look like.

    Julius’ stories about the Demon Castle War portrayed the Undead Servant of Dracula as a terrifying figure hiding its feature with a dark-blue cloak, barely showing any of its skeleton-like appearance.

    Yet the being which was being addressed as Hades wasn’t only looking different, but was behaving rather… weirdly too. The annoyed glance alternated with a hopeful glint directed at them, trying to get the lady to look at them.

    The woman was wearing a long dark-red dress with some armored pieces attached to it, making her look like a… warrior noble, minus any visible weapons.

    -The fact that after so many years you would just ditch me with so little!” She harrumphed, her rage hindering her perception of things and people as she focused everything at Death. “You had me thinking that you actually cared when you brought a tenth of your force to hold the entrance, but then you spared just ten of your Arch-demons. You have tons of those-”

    “’Those’ are living beings and loyal men to the Realm of the Dead, Lilith.” Hades interrupted with a sigh. “Plus, I already told you that I would have spared just the minimum to hold them off. I remember saying this to you… more than a hundred times-”

    Ninety-six, Lazy-bones!” She huffed, crossing her arms close to her chest. “Seriously, I thought you were really my friend-”

    Whatever chance there was of ‘befriending’ me was crushed, burned and terribly maimed when you decided to live the life of a leecher. The only reason why I don’t call for a full payment for your outstanding debt is because I am still loyal to your husband’s cause.” He interrupted again, gaining a long sigh from the redhead.

    The woman blinked and glanced towards them, blinking again before commenting about their presence.

    So… they have been for how long?” She turned back to Hades, eyes narrowing on him. “So?!”

    He sighed. “They have been for not even a minute. But worry not, they have to have heard you screech like the mad-woman you are-”

    I will have you know that insanity is a condition of working myself to the bone for the bastards now whining for my return-” She stopped, glancing once more to the trio. “Actually, can I know who sent you there? I don’t wish to scold the wrong bunch.”

    Alucard blinked in surprise, the only expression of shock worthy of his usual composure. “We were sent on behalf of one Hoitsu Sakakibara-”

    Yes!” She celebrated momentarily, freezing up again and bowing a little towards them. “Sorry, kind of happy that it wasn’t any of the Satans and…” She hummed quietly and sighed. “Can’t you just… leave me there?”

    This time it was Julius that butted in. “I’m sorry, Lady, but your presence is important because of some mess your husband caused.”

    She blinked. “Part of me want to be hopeful and guess that it’s Rizevim, but I fear that there is more than… that.” Lilith sighed, this time sporting a serious expression. “But I think I know why you are here and… drat.”

    The big skeleton tilted its head, relaxing a little in his throne. “Nothing that would end the world, I hope.” He mused loud enough to make the woman twitch in silent fury.

    A-As if you would care.” She huffed again, pouting at him. “You frigging jerk.” Her words got an intrigued glance from Hades, but the deity didn’t press on.

    Lilith then turned to look at the group one last time. “Still, I wish to understand why didn’t little Hoitsu come himself to pick me up from this stupid and small place.” She took a step towards them, her red eyes glinting a mirthful light. “Do you know who is responsible for this?”

    There was a brief pause and then… Alucard sighed. “From what I can recall, it was your son’s idea to have us get you from this Realm-”

    I knew it.” She closed her eyes, double-facepalming softly. “I fucking knew it!” She groaned in her hands.

    She returned back to her previous posture and nodded. “I think there isn’t anything else to do here to try and delay the unavoidable reunion.” The woman turned and gestured the two incredibly big baggage cases lying behind her. “Could the two oldest pick up the slack already? I think I will entertain myself with some classic info-raid.” She giggled while saying this much to the three males’ confusion.

    Mathias had merely the time to blink that he found himself glomped in an unexpected embrace from the lady. Another bout of giggles and, staring up he found himself staring at a pair of familiar red orbs. “Would you look at how young you are? I bet you are just out of childhood with how cute you look here.” She mirthfully commented.

    Her smile, her pillows, her amused glance, her pillows. Seriously, what was wrong with this woman.

    And that curious whip? It does look rather… familiar.” The woman commented, cautiously handling the chained bit of the Morningstar. “Very curious.”

    W-What?” His brain was rebooting while the red-head started to headpat him.

    Nothing, cutie. Just keep me company and answer some of my question while we go back to the Human world.” She ordered, lifting the shocked youth up with her arms as if he weighed nothing and started to walk the opposite way they came from.

    Julius continued to stare at the comic scene with a curious frown while Alucard looked at Death with a silent but incredibly loud expression, demanding an explanation about the being they were supposed to escort out from the ‘hostile and dangerous’ place.

    She has been hiding in here for centuries now. I understand if the ‘reasons’ behind her presence here could have given the wrong impression, but yes, I don’t want her here.” Hades replied dully, glancing by the side and away from the son of Dracula. “By the way, can I ask you a favor, Adrian?”

    The vampire’s eyes widened but just a fraction at the fact the deity used his real name, but he nodded slowly. “If it isn’t anything nefarious-”

    It’s actually a benign advise.” The skeleton interrupted. “In a decade or two… have the boy prepared for a big threat.”

    … “What?”

    While I’ve plans around that date, those plans might get delayed if not ruined from one of the rogue cults that worship your father. I don’t know much about them, but I can tell they are going to be a pain to deal with once they are ready to strike.” He properly explained, before sighing. “While I know the current holder of the Vampire Killer is strong, I don’t know how much will be lost with the old age.”

    Julius glanced back and shrugged. “I will be ready anyway. But I guess this little warning isn’t truly unreasonable as we Belmonts need to be ready when Dracula will come back.” The man concluded with a nod.

    Hades fidgeted for a moment in his throne but nodded back slowly. “That’s true...” He admitted, knowing perfectly how ‘ready’ the family was when the Count was close to be reborn. Always.

    The two adults finally decided to comply with Lilith’s demands and went to pick her cases, starting to walk with a quick pace to catch up with the giggly woman and the blushing youth in her hold.

    Death, or Hades, facepalmed as his headache increased even more at the slowly-retreating noises of the annoying woman. It was already difficult to prepare for the whole ‘Godly War’ that seemed about to happen in mere months from now, but dealing with that infuriating female was enough to make him want to enjoy neutrality and peace as much as he could.

    He should have understood when Lucifer had presented her to him. There was no way someone as insane as he was would have tied with anyone even remotely stable.

    But now, hopefully, he would be able to enjoy a decade-long nap. Just enough to get him ready for the big return of Dracula to the real world. And hopefully no one will end up messing with his plans… hopefully.

    --------d-d-dd------------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d--------

    Kunou couldn’t believe that this was happening.

    She dodged another punch, trying to land a kick as a reply from the quick attack, only to find air instead of the planned target. Jumping away, the blonde’s eyes were locking onto the silver-haired blur keeping up with her pace.

    It had all come from a simple suggestion from Lith, about when was the last time she had sparred with Ko-senpai. Of course the answer was… a long time ago. Her mind lacked a detailed response over the matter as most of her spars had been either with her Niichan or alone while trying to silently adapt new techniques.

    There was an instance where she did come close to spar with the Nekoshou while trying to properly integrate her Wild Frenzy with her fighting style and… failing incredibly as she tried to use it in the important spar against her Niichan.

    With their respective focus being directed in different paths, it wasn’t that difficult to understand why they had hardly interacted on the training situation and why now their spar felt so… aggressive.

    It was no secret that they cared for each other like close sisters would, but with that loving relationship there was also the issue of facing some minor issues along the way.

    In this peculiar occasion, the problem was actually very simple and easy to understand.

    It was the first time they could enjoy sparring with each other after some time, it was the first time they could see how much they had improved and perfected their fighting prowess and…

    It was their own special way to rough-house.

    Part of the kitsune wanted to compare their fight with how Kuroka and Akua did back when they first battled and… she knew the differences were stark clear.

    There was a fond connections shared by the two girls in this case, thus while they were hitting each other with powerful hits, none was going over-board with their strength nor giving too much in the battle-lust.

    This last bit was also afforded thanks to the presence of Baraqiel keeping track of their fight, the man spending time here in the house while recovering from a happy accident he received by his daughter, something about giving false info. Something that the blonde ruled without hesitation as a happy accident herself, considering the fact she knew what ‘false info’ the man was accused for.

    Her Niichan had gone out for that date with Akua, Akeno and Kuroka and were expected to return a little later than Lunch. Something that annoyed her a little… but she was fine if it was because of that.

    Her Niichan deserved love after what he had done for them and… she was glad that he found more happiness.

    Together with the Fallen Angel were a smiling Lith and a happy-looking Ophis as both Dragons watched the fight with mild interest.

    The clash intensified just a little more before the stalemate turned into something manageable from both sides. Their respective patterns were carefully studied and countered, each step turning essentially planned as a slight mistake would have spelled the end of the two girls’ chances of winning the brawl.

    Magic would have tipped the balance, something that Ko-senpai was aware of and that decided to counter by… continuing to seek the close encounters. Their different experiences started to play on a slow-building defeat for the kitsune, being that the silver-haired girl was more experienced in fighting closely and personally.

    Kunou huffed tiredly, her body feeling the strain caused by the Wild Frenzy, but unwilling to switch from it as, much to her surprise, even Ko-senpai knew how to use it. Her form was more raw than hers, but the power was still the same, the determination even matching hers right now.

    The ache was forgettable, especially with the ever-present funny emotion keeping her going for the attack. An emotion that would have her giggling, smiling and hugging people.

    An emotion that was fueled by the loud incitement from Lith, her words filling her with ambition, with strong intentions to win through this difficult case.
    Her hard-work against Ko-senpai’s hard-work.


    This emotion- the blonde was sure that even her opponent could feel it and…

    They were both smiling as they continued to fight each other.

    Siblings seeking people that cared for them, finding them, loving them and growing a sense of protection over those that were their dearests.

    It was so exciting and inspiring, so bubbly but also so calm and collected. She was flying but also relaxing on a comfy pillow.

    The joy of finding each other after so much time had passed.

    But the tingle wasn’t just joy at finding once again someone that shared her burden, soon the tingle turning into warmth and… then into energy.

    She blinked just once and then Koneko’s form changed before her. Her already silver hair were now pure white with red tips, her eyes going from a golden to calm red as new energy flooded out of her.

    And… her fluffy blonde tails were now sporting the same theme as her opponent’s hair.

    They both stopped, mesmerized by their similar transformation and incredible increase in power. It was beyond what they were accustomed to, this energy- their bodies shouldn’t have been ready to contain it and yet… and yet she was so strong.

    Stronger than her Niichan!

    It was an absurd statement, and yet her energy and body felt exploding with new strength. A feat that was unreachable until now and… yet here she was, seeing the soft white aura covering her as her entire core exuded raw magical energy from… every bit of her body!

    But what truly got her endeared was how it was a transformation that… they both shared. Their appearance was almost identical, part of her giddily pointing out how they now looked like they were really related by blood, their matching hair and eyes… and they both looked so cool!

    Yet, as they continued to enjoy the ‘amazing’ transformation, they also noticed a little too late the sudden searing pain emerging from their bodies. It was like fire, harmful and consuming that quickly brought them out of their wonderful daydreaming.

    The transformations dropped almost-instantly, their core almost close to dry up while they both started to fall on the floor. Kunou’s body was hurting all over, as if she had been stomped by a massive boulder.

    The blonde’s eyelids started to slowly close, Ophis being the one that rushed to pick her before she could properly fall and bringing a familiar tiny bottle close to her lips.

    Drink it.” She ordered blankly, yet after so much time spent with her, the kitsune could pick up any emotion from that seemingly emotionless voice.

    There was legitimate worry and her hold was a little cautious and mindful as the first drops of the Phoenix’s tears entered her mouth and the liquid revitalized her.

    Baraqiel had rushed to pick up Koneko to do the same and… the girl got up with a tired expression. The silver-haired girl blinked, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Her mind felt strained too, yet she was capable of standing on her own and… notice that Kunou was resting on the mat, eyes glancing tiredly around as her senpai rushed to check on her.

    Ku-chan?” A mix of worry and sleepiness influencing her voice, the girl turning to slowly glance at her with a small smile.

    It… it was a draw.” She stated with a smug voice, getting a sigh in return from the Nekoshou. The stress of the mind possibly putting her against getting up and… the blonde wanted to rest on the floor.

    Koneko hummed as she slowly went to lie beside her surrogate little sister. “How are you holding?”

    A soft giggle. “I’m… fine.” The kitsune yawned a little. “Just tired.” She answered.

    Do you… want to be taken to bed?” The Nekoshou suggested with a quiet voice, getting a sigh in return.

    I like… there.” Kunou whispered softly, silently turning on her side and… placing her head on the older girl’s chest. “Mhhh...”

    The silver-haired teen contemplated if she should have picked the girl up and put her in her bed but… then again the floor was warm thanks to magical seals and the blonde was already snoring by the time she was thinking this.

    She sighed. It would seem like she was going to be stuck here for a while.

    Baraqiel retreated away from the training area, mentioning how he ‘shouldn’t be disturbing the girls’ and the situation escalated just a little when both Lith and Ophis picked to lie by her side, further ‘capturing’ her in that curious dog-pile.

    How… annoying~.

    Yet her eyelids slowly closed as tiredness finally took over.

    Koneko fell asleep with a happy smile… and the partial knowledge that her Neesama was going to get some picture out of this situation if… she failed to get up early… on.

    Her mind shut down as her main drive turned to sleep and recover from what had just happened.

    And as the Nekoshou rested, Lith smiled happily as she could now proudly say that she helped her Neesans by giving them some more power. Now things were going to be funnier than before, she was certain of that!

    ---------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d----------

    AN

    Lilith has the Mama version of Hoitsu’s Oniichan attitude. She sees young man/woman (a child in her eyes) and she will go there to smoother him. Give her too much paperwork or work in general and she will start to bite (This isn’t fake, she will bite yah!).

    So, Kunou and Koneko have… their new SSJ form- no, I’m not copying from Dragon Ball this time around. Lasses and Gents, we got the Fox Dragon Form and the Cat Dragon Form! The former is actually canon while the latter is an inspiration from the canon form and… yeah, it’s that strong. The Fox Dragon Form is on par with a Beast God’s power… thus Kunou just got something to beat Hoitsu… if she ever learn how to properly use it. Differently from previous techniques/transformation, the taxing effects of this ability are way higher and non-negligible. Mere training will not help her get hang over it and… I can say that it will become Immensely important in the plot.

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  11. Threadmarks: A Step Forward in a Weird Direction
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 66: A Step Forward in a Weird Direction

    Kunou was resting quietly in her bed as I continued to hold her hand, my soul repeating over and over that… ‘she was alright, she was safe and she was fine’ to my worry-fueled paranoia.

    Seriously, how could I’ve expected Lith to go as far as to grant both girls part of her power? I had long expected Ophis to act upon this situation, having seen her thinking about it with Shiranai, but the discussion either diverged elsewhere or she would just accept the fact they were going to become stronger anyway with training.

    Such an immediate power-boost could have seriously destabilized Kunou’s core if she hadn’t been lucky enough to be in the Wild Frenzy form. With the powerful flux of energy coming from the Yokai-restricted transformation, the sudden foreign magic was fought and burned by the expensive drain of the form they were on.

    Koneko held mightily with the aftereffect of this magical response, while Kunou found it way more difficult to deal, ending up with a tired mind.

    Baraqiel’s intervention was enough to make sure the sudden intense pain was treated with Phoenix’s tears, but the Core was a mix of Soul and Body, thus her consciousness was depleted by the situation.

    The man had been quick to call me to inform of what happened and, as I finished to pay the check of the restaurant I had taken the three girls to for the planned date, I was quick to explain how we all needed to return back home and… they were all receptive and accepting of this predicament.

    Once we were back to my house, the girls proved to be quick to… not just stand there and actually do something to help around much to my gratefulness.

    Akua went to administer some massages along the sore Magical coils along Kunou’s and Koneko’s limbs, carefully and soothingly having them relaxed and healed. A long process that took almost an hour to be done with, but that truly helped up for a quick recovery from both girls.

    The silver-haired Nekoshou was being aided by her sister, Kuroka making sure that the drained teen was given anything that she needed, may it be a glass of water, some tissue or a shoulder to lean on while she stared at her still-sleeping friend.

    Akeno was carefully preparing some wet towels as Kunou had been having a slight fewer ever since she fell asleep, something that needed to be monitored from time to time as the sickness would hardly retreat without proper care.

    It took them a few hours, but Asia and Issei arrived just as the vampire concluded her treatment, the blonde swiftly applying her Twilight Healing over the two young girls’ cores as the area being sore too but quite impossible to fix via natural means.

    The brunet started to ask a few answers about what happened and Baraqiel replied to every single one of them. Mostly it was about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ this happened and, staring from the doorstep of the kitsune’s room, Ophis whispered quietly to Lith.

    The ‘younger’ Dragon seemed partly confused, mostly because she was completely unaware of the dangerous action she just did with that stunt. But Ophis knew perfectly that and she was subtly explaining this to her… younger sister.

    She didn’t mean it-

    But she will still be rightfully punished for that. I can’t just let her go… with the chaotic mess happening here.

    And that’s fine, but I hope that-

    Do you think I will go overboard with her?! I’m not certainly planning to-

    You are shaking right now. As much as I know you are impartial ‘in a normal circumstance’, I know that Kunou and Koneko were close-

    Don’t say it. Just… I will not do anything wrong, trust me on this.

    ...I will believe you, for now.

    But what Shiranai was pointing out wasn’t completely wrong. I was terribly concerned, my skin having paled a shade or two by the time I learned of what had happened and even now I felt cold inside.

    That had been incredibly close, terribly so. Something that will possibly give me a nightmare or two just because of the scare I got from the ‘possible end’. I sighed, my eyes fixed on Kunou’s face, the small reddening on her cheeks caused by the fever and, glancing to the side to find Akeno with a pair of towels and a bowl filled with water, I was quick to cautiously apply the first one on her forehead.

    Her breathing was soft, normal and my heartbeat was going to a pace a little higher than usual. Not too much to dignify my inner worry, but enough to understand that the worst was over… right now.

    I took me a few moments to address the fact that both Infinity Dragons had slowly approached the bed, Lith trailing silently behind her older sibling with her head staring in simple shame at the floor.

    She wants to help.” Ophis said with her usual tone, black eyes looking right at my face. “She is remorseful and… she didn’t mean it.”

    I blinked, glancing momentarily at the two girls, first at the Goth girl’s usual blank expression, somehow glinting some responsibility over the action of the child behind her, and then I noticed that Lith was twitching, looking close to cry.

    I closed my eyes, sighing quietly as I opened them up with a determined look. “Lith.” I called out softly, making her tense up just for a moment as she slowly brought her sight over my face. There were some tears building up in her eyes.

    I was currently sitting on one of the available chairs in the room and I smiled a little. “Come here a moment, sweetie.”

    She tensed again, the affectionate nickname being good enough to have her slowly take steps towards me and… then her onyx orbs widened as I lifted her off the floor and settled her on my lap. “It’s alright, sweetie, I’m not mad.” I whispered as I started to caress her head comfortably.

    Her tension melted almost instantly, but she didn’t cry. Rather she started to nuzzle on my chest, her cheek pressing on it as her eyes were locked onto Kunou’s sleeping form, sadness visible from those. “I… I wanted to help them.” She explained quietly, straddling on my shirt. “They looked so happy and… then they looked cool!” Her smile was brief, but it was also infectious as I cracked a tiny one.

    I know that you didn’t want to hurt them, but it still happened and...” I blinked, glancing at the sleeping blonde with a calm look. “I think I know what you can do to redeem yourself about it.” She looked up the moments my words finished leaving my lips.

    A-And that is?” She asked with hopeful expression.

    Warning, cuteness overload detected and- Oh Gods, she is just so… cute~!

    And you were trying to appear serious a few moments ago…

    Do you see the wet towel that I just put on Ku-chan’s forehead?” I questioned, gaining a quick nod from the girl as I smiled a little more. “If you go by the closest bathroom on the left side of the hallway, the one where there is Akeno, she is currently preparing some more. Your duty is… to get those ready and place these with the others.”

    She nodded again, her face sporting a determined look as she slowly climbed down my legs and almost run off… if I didn’t catch before she could rush away. “Also, no running while holding the towels or you are going to slip and hurt yourself, sweetie.”

    Lith smiled brightly and nodded, her pace significantly reduced as she went ahead with her new task. I waited a little while, staring as the little girl left my sight before I turned my attention to Ophis, the Dragon looking a little… confused.

    I thought that you would have… spanked her.” She tilted her head, eyes blinking while she said that.

    I frowned in my own confusion at such… guess. “You mean make use of corporal punishment?”

    At her nod, I sighed. “While that would work on a normal situation… Lith’s mess doesn’t require any of that, I suppose.” I replied, not-so-surprisingly her confusion still persisting.

    But… why?” The girl pressed on.

    Parents or older sibling make use of that against young children to instill a ‘bad aftermath’, which could be spanking or something along the lines, to the naughty things they have committed.” I explained with a quiet tone. “Lith doesn’t need any of that as her own guilt will be the real punishment.”

    Ophis frowned. “Her guilt? Why would that work as a… punishment?” The dragon asked.

    She cares a lot for Kunou and Koneko, so even thinking that she had come close to hurt them, her older sisters, even more than how it ended will be a reminder that she will bear for a long time, at least until she will get a grip over morality and maturity.” I concluded with a calm sigh. “This is why spanking her would mean going overboard.”

    She nodded slowly, her eyes picturing the silent understanding of the explanation.

    Just as the goth girl looked ready to continue, we both paused as a sudden familiar energy appeared in the living room. I tensed up, my face hardening as I stood up from my seat and glanced one last time at Ophis. “Can you keep watch over Ku-chan? I… I have to deal with him.”

    The Dragon nodded and I started to walk towards the staircase… ending up in the living room with a scowl directed at the eye-to-eye smile plastered on the face of the shit-lord himself, Rizevim.

    The Lucifer looked giddy, yet I could see some sweat rolling from his forehead. He was nervous… but why?

    He was sprawled on the couch, staring at me as he knew I would be the one coming to intercept him and…

    Look who’s there!” He clapped his hands together once, looking positively elated… much to my enormous chagrin. “Hoitsu, my bro!”

    Please Gods, stop him-

    Brorowski! Browstalin! Brofacius! Bro-bro!-” He started to list loudly various nicknames starting with the word ‘bro’, something that coming from him was… incredibly infuriating.

    Okay, what is wrong?” I asked with a deadpan. “Did Euclid finally snap at your shenanigans?”

    He hummed and shook his head. “Nah, but I admit I should be keeping an eye out for something like that. I might end up getting him that much deranged- but this isn’t about Euclid, which I had sacrificed as a meat-shield to escape the greatest threat to ever walk on Earth.”

    … “What?”

    You see, while I know that we have lots of differences… that I’ve tried to kill you on several occasions and… that I am a certified jerk, but I really, really need a place to crash right now.” He replied with a serious tone. “Like, at least until I’m free from the bane of my existence.”

    There were so many strange details coming from that cryptic tone but… I just asked the more pressing matter. “How long?” I asked, even though I didn’t plan to accept that plea.

    Seriously, why should I really accept the bastard in my household?!

    It depends, it might be until she loses interest on me or if she somehow dies and-” Just as he was replying to that, an unfamiliar magical circle furiously formed right on the area between him and me.

    A red-haired woman materialized from it, her sight directed my way and… from the small scowl in her face a bright smile formed. I barely had time to see a blur as I found myself still staring at that beautiful face much closer than a few moments ago.

    I blinked in surprise, a little blush spreading at the sudden closeness, something that made the woman giggle in amusement. She looked much like… Mio and Sapphire, but slightly older and more carefree.

    So this is Hoitsu Sakakibara? Mhhh...” She glanced all over my face and then nodded. “I can see… how you look so much like him and- Oh right, punishment first and ogling later.” The woman leaned back and turned to look at Rizevim, the man having vaulted over the couch as he tried to hide behind it.

    Sweetie, you know that the more you elude your rightful punishment, the more I will feel entitled to add more strength at each hit of the spanking.” The redhead was coated in a dark-purplish aura, a sinister energy enveloping her as she kept her simple smile while approaching the trembling silver-haired moron.

    M-Mom, I- I wasn’t trying to run- you know that I would never do that to you- I just wanted to show you-”

    Your little assistant told me that you were preparing to escape in multiple remote places on Earth.” Lilith interrupted with a sickly-sweet tone, some shivers going down my spine even though the words were directed at the hopeless fool. “My little Ri-Ri, how about I tell you how things are going to unfold right now.”

    She took a simple step forward. “I will bend you over-”

    Another step. “I will put you on my lap-”

    Her smile turned demonic. “And then I will potentially leave some scarring when I’m done with your due punishment.”

    Rizevim whimpered, falling on his butt as he tried to back away from his quick-paced parent.

    M-Mom, please- I swear that I’ve been doing fine and- Slander! Yes, slanderous words against me!” He tried to climb away from the approaching danger, his mind knowing that he was already doomed but… his body refusing to surrender to the hideous fate.

    Oh? So then you didn’t destroy most of the capital of this nation? You didn’t kill the parents of that cute Belmont and then try to hurt that lovely and adorable vampire he lives with?”

    There was a pregnant pause, tension reaching a higher level as the Lucifer didn’t answer to the spot-on accusations and then… he showed a blank face. “I will not apologize.”

    Her smile widened even more.

    Good! Then that means I will have no reason to hold back my unholy fury upon your buttocks.” She exclaimed happily her steps growing faster much to the man’s fear.

    M-Mom please- we can talk and- You look lovely?”

    Lilith stopped a moment in her righteous anger, her aura vanishing instantly as she tilted her head with a happy grin. “Oh really? Thank you, Ri-Ri.”

    Minor relief could be seen on his face, the hope that he had managed to avoid dealing with the worst case scenario he had foreseen back in the meeting relaxing his terrified posture…

    That empty peace was broken when the woman’s aura rekindled thrice its previous intensity, the redhead rushing towards him.

    M-Mom, stop!”

    Bring thy ass!!

    My eyes were wide open as I was the sole witness of the horrifying punishment Rizevim had to go through. The mother was swift, her hand slamming with insane strength and vigor, the scream of pains echoed all over the room as I stood and watched the incredible torture unfold without a simple break or reprieve for the memester.

    Twenty minutes passed and soon the disposition of the entire room changed.

    I found myself sitting in one of the smaller couches, the woman picking the one standing on the opposite of mine, smiling happily as she relaxed on the comfy seat.

    Rizevim was safely left on a far-off long couch, splayed on it as he looked barely alive and in need of some medications. Seriously, this was just from a ‘mere spanking’, I was afraid of what this woman could do if she ever got angrier than that.

    It’s been a while since I tried the softness of a couch. Hades doesn’t spare any money on furniture… and then he calls me the leech.” She huffed, her voice barely showing any of the dreadful sureness that had driven her to go after Rizevim. “But this is now about… you, Mr. Sakakibara.” She said, her red eyes staring intensively at me. “You… are just like my husband. I bet people have already told you that.”

    I replied with a nod and she sighed. “Then I hope you understand that there is a reason why you look like him-”

    It’s a loop.” I interrupted quickly. “I know about that and-”

    You wish to stop it.” The woman ended my sentence, sighing tiredly. “Your objective is justified and it is something that I wish to end too, but I think you already know everything I can tell you.” She admitted with a sad smile.

    I blinked in surprise as… that couldn’t just be it. There has to be info that only she knew about and…

    It couldn’t be otherwise. Lilith was the closest to Lucifer, she HAS to know something more than what we already know.

    Nothing? Not even something about Azrael or anyone that could be trying to resurrect him-”

    Azrael?” She interrupted with a surprised tone, eyes narrowing on me. “What do you know about that lovely sweetheart?”

    ...What?

    He is the Angel of Death, he seems to have a fixation on Lucifer and he murdered everyone to show his Reset powers-”

    That couldn’t be.” Her eyes widened at what I was saying. “He- He couldn’t- Even during the Great War, even when tempted to help my lover, he would always stay neutral. Why would… Unless!

    Lilith stood up from her seat and quickly reached for my face, her eyes glinting a serious light as she started to look over my head.

    W-What?” I tried to ask, but the woman was too much taken by her ministrations to either listen or answer. Finally she stopped and… pressed two of her fingers onto my throat.

    Here it… is...” I felt a strange warmth, unpleasant even, forming as magic wrapped around part of my skin and… started to pull. I blinked in surprise, feeling like something was… off.

    I blinked away when I was given the chance to see what Lilith had removed from my body and… I paled as I recognized the monstrosity now wriggling in her hold.

    Its cover was dark-pink, twitching so fearfully as it now was deprived of the chance of attach itself to a living being. It… it was a flesh bud. Like the ones Dio Brando used in Starddust Crusaders to control unwilling recruits like Kakyoin and Polnareff.

    It was at that point that… everything clicked.

    The reason why none of the previous Hoitsu ever tried to fight back the plan was… because they were controlled! The flesh bud squirmed one last time before the woman crushed it without mercy.

    She sighed and gave me a sorrowful look. “So… this is what he was trying to use it for.” Her voice was frail for a moment. “To think that… he would actually end up use it, even though he promised me to never do that.” Her eyes closed, a pained expression briefly painting her face and… she opened her eyes with a sad look.

    I’m sorry that you were going to… deal with him in that state. He could control it-”

    And make the host do whatever he wishes them to do.” I finished for her, my sight burning on the floor. “I-I know what that was.”

    That fucking bastard! So that’s how he managed to accomplish this all without any issue- how he managed to avoid that his younger selves could truly put a stand against him.

    The worst thing is… he could have- No, I- He couldn’t have forced us to do that but-

    Actually, it can be. For as much as we know, the man knows that if ‘they’ lived, his control over us wouldn’t have been absolute and-

    We can’t allow that!

    My body was coated in darkness as I unconsciously entered in my Senjutsu mode, ripples echoing through the walls of the building as my anger stirred mercilessly within my chest.

    Just as I was moments from exploding in a furious fit, I felt a pair of arms wrapping around my neck and… a soft chest pressing on my face.

    Lilith hummed a quiet lullaby as she started to carefully head-pat me, caress my hair while keeping some attention over her strength, my eyes blinking as I felt energy leaving my body, the form dropping moments later as I abandoned myself in that hug.

    Always trying to make everyone happy, but barely understanding that you are a limited being yourself. Someone that needs rest, that needs to eat, that needs to think and… someone that should let others take care of him.” Her motherly tone was… alluring. I felt small, I felt… like a child as she continued with the embrace.

    My husband… he was a man of many regrets.” The redhead said quietly, minding the moment she had created with her affectionate ministrations. “Regrets that came from himself rather than things he did in his life. He was afraid, never sporting much of a sign about it but… he wouldn’t mind crying when he was left alone with himself. It was… heart-breaking, my lover trying and failing to find happiness in even the simplest thing… that’s why I tried my best to bring him out of his self-imposed path.”

    There was some silence, I enjoyed the embrace the best way possible, by staying silent and relaxed as the experienced parent continued to comfort me a little. I was crying a little, it’s been just… so much since I had this kind of intimacy with… someone motherly.

    Mom was always there, standing her ground as she made sure that her only child would grow up in an upstanding member of society.

    I wonder if she would hate me if she knew how low we steeped as Lucifer, how many deeds of terrible magnitude we committed… all for keeping the same order, the same loop.

    There is no need to deny yourself some peace, Hoitsu. I know that you crave some peace, a happy family to love and be loved by.” She giggled and then… parted away from me.

    My eyes were wide open, tears still flowing as I dumbly tried to understand why she would pull away so suddenly and then… I heard someone sniffling. Attention snapping at the doorstep, I noticed… Lith peeking from there with… tears flowing from her very eyes.

    N-Niichan, w-why are you crying?” The girl asked with a trembling tone, slowly approaching me and then… stopping in front of me. She stared up and then… spread her arms. “H-Hug?”

    I blinked once, then twice and… picked her up in a big embrace. She snuggled close and… started to pat my back. “T-That’s alright, Niichan. I’m here and… and Ku-chan woke up.”

    My eyes widened once again at her words and I sighed… in relief. “Lith.” The girl tensed a little at her name, waiting for whatever I was going to say next. “T-Thank you.”

    She nodded, snuggling with even more affection and… I closed my eyes, enjoying the hug a little more before-

    Lith? That’s her name?” The redhead asked out of curiosity. “Is that her name or-”

    But I smiled and interrupted her by addressing the child. “Lith, this kind lady would like to know your name. Why don’t you introduce yourself to her?”

    The girl shifted nervously at the request, finally deigning the woman with a glance before… speaking up. “My name is Lilith Sakakibara, nice to meet you!”



    Gah! She is so adorable!” The original Lilith squeaked happily, a big smile plastered on her face as the child giggled at such an amusing reaction.

    At least there was still something that would never change in that… mess of events.

    --------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d------------

    AN

    Lith will have her own story, a special chapter that will see justice, evildoing and… cuddles!

    P.S. It’s chapter 66, three chapters for a funny number and… yes, there will be a lemon (where I can publish it without being sniped on sight), this one longer than the previous one and… not a dream. Who will be the lucky girl?

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  12. Threadmarks: Pacing things up
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 67: Pacing things up

    Two days passed lethargically for Kunou and Koneko ever since Lith had given them part of her power during their last spar, both girls having been forbidden from training for a full week as their Magical Cores were far from stable enough to sustain any sudden alteration of medium- and high-caliber.

    Of course, there was a collective annoyance from both at having to endure a full seven days away from something they have been doing for a long time now and… they had some trouble in trying to find something to fill the temporary void of time in their daily lives.

    Reading, studying even more, playing with tabletop games and… even trying to apply some physical-based training to their schedules. Everything failed at first, especially the last one as, without magic to keep their bodies revitalized while doing mere jogging, push-ups and sit-ups, they couldn’t keep up with the pace and the rhythm of the basic training.

    Koneko was the first of the two girls to find her temporary hobby, deciding to learn from her sister about Fuinjutsu.

    The Japanese Sealing Art isn’t certainly something as powerful and flexible as the one shown in Naruto, nor was it as known as in that Anime, but it was still a powerful skill to add to her repertoire, especially since it offered her the chance to integrate some novelty to her fighting style.

    Currently learning the simplest part of the Art, the storage seals, what she could currently do well were the principal scrolls, capable of containing about 2Kgs of objects, the highest-quality scroll being capable to actually seal only 50Kgs at best.

    Something that would allow her to bring Phoenix’s tears and other ‘surprises’ without the risk of being utterly hindered by the weight or have to be careful about the integrity of some of the objects.

    Kuroka knew enough to be considered a decent Sealing Specialist, but not enough to bring some incredibly powerful seal to the counter. Most of those being actually family secrets of the few Devils and magicians that specialized in the mostly-obscure arts, their composition unknown to everyone except those.

    Kunou took a little longer to pick something to do to spend her newly-created free time and… I had to admit that the result had been quite a shocker when I first noticed it.

    It all started earlier on the second day while I was preparing some lunch alone in the kitchen. Akeno had called a little while before I could start to prepare to say that she was going to turn up late because of some unexpected situation back in Kuoh Academy that required her assistance. Nothing terribly worrying, she had reassured, but the scope of the even would have required a large group led by Sona.

    Something that still concerned me for a while but soon ended up shrugging this silly fear away as I knew that there was hardly anything truly worrying that could have happened at the school. Plus, it was just a day before I would have returned to school with Kunou and Koneko, thus if the situation had any lasting problem, I would have dealt with it closely.

    Returning back to the kitchen and my increased burden, just as I finished put on my usual apron, I was greeted by the kitsune, the girl asking a very specific request.

    Can I help?”

    At that time, this unexpected question would have easily put a halt to my pace but… I was pressured by the little time I had to prepare everything for lunch. So, knowing that some help would have given me the chance of properly get things done quickly, I accepted her support with a smile.

    Kunou was inexperienced in working in a kitchen, having been given food prepared by servants back in Kyoto and by me ever since she came to live in Kuoh Town. I was expecting her to have some difficulty early on, having never tried this before, and so I decided to give her the simplest tasks for the various dishes.

    Mistakes were made here and there, but with some attention and precision, the quality of the resulting plates was very similar to the normal standards.

    The best part of that day? When a giddy and happy-looking Kunou took bites of her partly-burned omelette, showing a bright pride in the fruits of her hard-work. It was cute and it became even cuter when she started to flaunt that some of the plates were made by her.

    Akeno smiled widely and nodded proudly at the younger girl, praising that her first attempt was incredibly good. The others by the table shared this very thought and the blonde looked ready to explode in multiple adorable squeaks at the positive attentions she was receiving.

    The span of time between lunch and dinner saw my training plans interrupted on a few occasions as both the Himejima and Kunou decided to spend some time trying out making cakes and other sweet treats.

    Koneko was more than happy to ‘sacrifice herself for the greater good’, becoming the unofficial taster of the resulting food coming from incredibly-active oven. Yet that amusing sight became a little awkward when Lith and Ophis came to the ‘rescue’ and devoured everything that was presented to them, making things rather ethic in the kitchen for some time.

    Dinner came and this time the kitsune was once more relegated to secondary tasks, a little more than her first try and… the nervousness and hesitation had mostly vanished by then. I was impressed by how receptive she was of the instructions and how she was smart enough to go beyond some of the tasks’ descriptions to add her little input.

    Some of those were legitimately interesting, while others were rebuffed because of… unique flavor-clashing.

    Dinner was forwarded to the living room and once more Kunou basked in praises from the table, a glowing smile plastered on her face for the entire duration of the meal.

    With both Kunou and Koneko put out of commission training-wise, I decided to see how Xenovia and Gasper were faring ever since the first lesson.

    The dhampir was… incredibly happier than before. Most of his shyness had gone away, only some aspects of his introversion persisting right now.

    It wasn’t difficult to pinpoint the notable growth in the young boy’s personality to the presence of Valerie and the interactions the young blond would have with the Belmont on a daily basis. While his appearance still held some feminine charm, his clothing choice was slowly changing as he came to visit that very day with a pair of jeans instead of a skirt.

    Progress was being made and I think it had to do with the presence of Mathias.

    Why was I sure it was the heir to the Belmont family responsible for Gasper’s change of clothes? The fact the dhampir was eager to praise the young man whenever he wanted.

    I was quick to think it was a childish hero crush… of the platonic degree, nothing romantic on that front.

    Xenovia did seem a little more at ease in her posture and mannerism, her wording having somewhat ‘matured’ from her stiff formality into a kind of attitude that best fitted with someone her age and… time.

    The blue-haired girl was close to Gasper and the two picked a seat on one of the larger couches, keeping close to each other and showing familiarity to each other.

    I see that you both have… improved since last time we talked together.” I said with a happy smile, something that both replied with a quick nod.

    It’s been tough but… I think I understand how much I was doing wrong now.” The human girl admitted with a sheepish look.

    And I think… I understand that sometimes even pants can be… comfy.” The dhampir continued on the same line while staring briefly at his jeans.

    Mathias said that skirts would leave me defenseless from… perverts.” He gave a squeamish look just for a moment at the idea of being subjected to that kind of attention. “This is why I… will put an effort from now on to… put some more boy-related clothes.” The boy concluded with an exhausted sigh.

    The human female smiled and patted his back. “I think that you look good, Gasper.” She praised while smiling brightly.

    Something that… made the blond blush a storm and stutter in return. “I- Uh, t-thank you, Xenovia-chan.” He bowed his head multiple time, much to my surprise and… intrigue.

    Could it be that someone-

    Is crushing on his newest but also densest friend?!!

    Now that was a… curious development. I knew that Gasper had latched onto Xenovia but… to this extent? It was odd and… worth of further research!

    But not now, I reminded myself as this wasn’t the proper time to address this juicy subject.

    So, I think you both are curious to know why I called you here and… it has to do with your second lesson.” I clapped my hands together once. “This time, I think I’ve planned some important objective to gain and… it will not be as easy as it was with the first task.” I mentioned, causing the two teens to appear confused and… slightly unnerved.

    A-And that is?” Gasper asked quietly, his eyes wide open as he braced with whatever I had in store for them.

    I smiled. “First thing first, I will tell you the new arrangements.” I turned my eyes to stare at Xenovia. “You are going to Kuoh Academy.”

    She frowned at that simple statement. “I thought you said that I shouldn’t be trying to-”

    Be a student, that is still going to be a limitation.” I interjected with a sigh. “But I managed to get a job for you to stay within the school’s borders and interact with the other students there.”

    I paused a moment, picking up a few papers I had prepared for the occasion. “This is your… new job application, courtesy of the school’s principal and the student council.”

    I handed these to the girl as she started to read them, her eyes widening moments later as she snapped her attention back to me with a questioning look.

    You… want me to be a teacher’s assistant?” She asked with a surprised tone.

    Not just ‘a teacher’, it will be Mayumi-sensei. It’s the woman that was ‘harmed’ by Irina a week or so ago and… she would require assistance to do her normal workload.” I sighed and nodded. “That is why I decided to forward you the opportunity to make experience with… your first job.”

    There was some silence and then… she nodded. “I understand but-”

    Why?” Gasper interrupted with a confused and blunt question. “I-I mean, it will be good to have Xenovia-chan around more but…”

    The reason is actually part of your newest test, something that frequency in school will help you to achieve.” I blinked, my smile widening as the two grew impatient with my mysterious tone and… I dropped the bomb. “From now on, you both will have to make… five friends within the Kuoh Academy.”

    There was more silence, this time the Dhampir and the human girl keeping themselves from intervening with some of the questions fluttering in their minds. And I wasn’t done yet.

    The task itself isn’t something to do in a mandatory fashion alone and without advice. There isn’t even a time limit and you are free to ask for any issue about the test-”

    C-Can it be someone that we already know?” The blond tried to spot a saving grace… but it was all for naught.

    Nope, new friends. There are numerous student at school and I think it will be easy to find someone that could join your friends’ circle.” I replied with a calm and understanding tone, while also sparing a stern glance towards Gasper’s direction much to his chagrin. “And after this lesson, there will be only a few more that I will have to give before ‘passing’ you from this ‘class’.”

    The swordswoman frowned. “I thought it would have been longer-”

    It depends all on your growth.” I interjected without hesitation. “Your progress is being noted and the plans are going to be flexible by the way you both adapt to the circumstances given.”

    So… w-we just have to make… five friends?” The boy was paler than before I told them about the test. “Isn’t that… a little excessive?” He asked with a nervous tone.

    Nope.” I replied flatly. “I know that you are still recoiling from your social inabilities, but teens your ages should be capable of making friends with a group in their school.” I explained quickly, then I turned once more to glance at the girl. “By the way, how are you doing with Durandal, Xenovia?”

    She tensed at the sudden question but… she managed a nod before properly answering. “I’ve been having an easier time using it and… it feels less frustrating.” Her comments were restrained but I could see the relief at the fact that she was finding her own success with her training.

    That’s good to know. I advise you to keep training as… it will be important.” I replied with a cryptic tone much to the young woman’s curiosity.

    The girl didn’t ask more but that very intrigued frown would persist even after lunch and dinner.

    The visit then returned to simpler topics, swinging between Xenovia’s discoveries allowed by the snickering dhampir while Gasper mentioned that Valerie was making a slow recovery and that her speech was regaining some more integrity as time passed with the therapies.

    My own training had been stepped up during this time, my plans focusing on improving my grasp over the Kaioken and the Twilight Joker, to extend my endurance and my capacity to produce energy without straining my muscles too much.

    The schedule hardly allowing me any minor pause mid-regiment and I found myself questioning my sanity more than once. There were times that… I felt nostalgia about the past, when I was being trained by Azazel and Baraqiel.

    It was tough but… surprisingly rewarding as the results promised were… unquestionable.

    If I continued down this path, I will incredibly develop steps further than Rizevim and other Super-Devils!

    But while Hoitsu found resolution and confidence in his stable life, someone else in town was trying to find the balance of his whole being.

    ------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d-----d-d-d-d-------d-d-d-d-----

    Vali was in an incredibly foul mood.

    The scowl in his face deepened by what had happened mere hours earlier as he discovered the true annoyance of having an old relative that didn’t want to murder or torture him.

    Lilith was a powerful woman. Period.

    There wasn’t anything that the young host of the Vanishing Dragon could say about the raw power and experience his great-grandmother would display in… a rather absurd manner.

    When he had first met her as she dragged the incredibly-maimed body of the annoying bastard himself, she decided to spare him some time and engage in some chirpy conversation with him.

    It was an odd situation, something that the Lucifer would have hardly expected to happen with a member of his family, except his cousins and his aunt.

    They talked about… everything, from the time his father decided to attack him for his potential to the way he ended up siding with Grigori and form a rivalry with Hoitsu Sakakibara, and the silver-haired young man found himself questioning the sanity of the woman that was Lilith Morningstar.

    The woman was… understanding. Incredibly wise and attentive with her attitude towards him but also playful and giddy to meet one of the youngest members of her family. It was odd to have someone to smoother him with such effort and intensity… while also being mindful of his annoyance and disinterest in engaging in anything remotely intimate.

    That wasn’t the problem.

    The real issue was presented by the terribly foolish idea of his of… sparring with the redhead.

    The motherly figure was more than happy to accept the challenge and she seemed to be quite relaxed and accommodating of his attacks… until she stepped up ‘just a notch or two’.

    The resulting beat-down was partly-expected and wasn’t exactly what left him a sore loser from that engagement. It was what the woman then said, trying to explain to him why he had lost that ‘simple fight’.

    You seek power for the sake of power.” She had mentioned with a dull tone. “It’s a faulty reason, one that doesn’t bring the worst out of you when the necessity rises. You need someone to care and trust about.” Her lips closed, displaying a tiny smile as he snarled at her voice as he left his flat.

    In his mind, a storm of emotions and doubts besieged his attention. While Lilith knew more than enough to make her words worthy of more than a few considerations, Vali couldn’t find within himself the willingness to endear the opportunity of… befriending someone.

    There were allies, surrogate (and distant) family and… Hoitsu.

    No matter how much Albion wanted to have his host fixed on Ddraig’s current holder, the Lucifer’s attention was locked onto the unique human.

    His growth was unmatched, something that the silver-haired Devil had started to get close to ever since the fight with that deranged angel. Utter training, a devotion to learn, improve and fix flaws within his own fighting style and attitude in battles.

    Zealous over his reasons, a milestone that flexibly expanded the more he came close to it. It enticed him to go for more, to strive for more and… then what?

    The woman’s words repeated in his head, causing him to close his eyes in annoyance as he turned the corner of the mostly desolate road. He expected to enjoy a simple day outdoors without having to deal with the usual cast of fools now living in Kuoh but…

    Thud

    His eyes snapped open as he found a brunette falling to the ground. The girl was wearing spectacles, her hair tied in braids on each side and she was wearing… the Kuoh Academy uniform.

    He sighed as he noticed the panicking expression painted on her face and… he proceeded to stop her fall by grabbing both of her hands with his own. He pulled her up, her golden eyes widening in surprise as she was put back on a normal posture while… Vali walked away without muttering anything.

    Why waste air around someone that meant nothing to him-

    H-Hey wait!”

    Much to his minor surprise and immense dismay, the girl had indeed recovered way quicker than he had hoped for and she rushed towards him. The brunette walked fast and reached him in mere moments and-

    T-That was a cool save!” She complimented with a big smile. “And to think someone this hot was walking around town- what’s your name, oh friendly hunk?” She asked with a strange expression on her face.

    He blinked, his eyes lazily locking onto hers before pulling away and ignoring her. She blinked, a small pout appearing on her face as she continued to walk beside him.

    Hey, while you are a hot stud, I remind you that good manners are still a thing, you know?” The girl huffed, arms crossing near her chest. “It would also be courtesy if you introduces yourself first.”

    I’m not interested in dealing with-”

    And why is that?” She interrupted with some anger dripping from her lips. “I don’t think I said anything completely inappropriate since I’ve interacted with you and what I’m asking is just some speck of respect!”

    He blinked and glanced her way, his stare silently bore onto her and made her shiver just for an instant… before she blushed and smiled giddily. “Oh my, is that what you are interested in~? Silently ogling the innocent bod of a lovely school girl-”

    You are incredibly annoying.” He commented with an irritated voice. “I’m not interested in sparing some words with a complete stranger that is incredibly crass and infuriating.”

    She froze for a moment before nodding slowly. “L-Look, there is no need to be that rude. I just wanted to- Eep?!”

    It happened suddenly, the filthy fiend appearing from the nearby alley and wrapping an arm around the girl’s neck, in his other hand a small knife that was poised over her throat. “Y-You better g-give me your money!” He tightened his hold over the scared brunette. “Or your friend is going to-”

    Crunch.

    The punch was thunderous, the attacker’s nose cracking at the ‘meek’ intensity and bringing the man away from that constricting hold. The girl fell on her butt as the man tripped backwards, hand dropping the blade as it went to press on the bleeding spot on his face.

    His eyes were wide open, his face pale as he stared at Vali with a terrified look and… then he started to run away on the opposite direction the fastest possible.

    The Lucifer spared some thoughts about giving chase and kill the bastard before he could poise any other hindrance during any future walks of his but… his stare lowered to the still grounded girl.

    She had a pained expression on her face, her hands pressing onto a… cut now present on her leg. Glasses from some bottles, she fell onto some and… the cut looked rather interesting. It wasn’t as shallow as he would have expected at first sight and… she should really need someone to look at the injury.

    He blinked, mind conflicting about whatever or not should he interfere and lend her a hand but…

    The girl was annoying, why would he decide to help her after she had given him so much trouble? It was also her fault that the homeless man decided to cause a scene and…

    The brunette sniffled, her eyes sporting some tears that slowly rolled off her cheeks. Yet her stare wasn’t even gracing him once, her attention directed at the wound as she hopelessly tried to stop the bleeding by applying her hands onto it.

    It was… an interesting situation, one where the girl should have asked him to help her, maybe nag him more but… then again-

    I’m not interested in sparing some words with a complete stranger that is incredibly crass and infuriating.”

    He did mention that he didn’t care for her to that simple extent, she surely knew that he wouldn’t help even if it would have still been common sense to ask about. She was… stubbornly clinging by her ground, giving her best to ignore the smartest choice and…

    She was a moron that dejectedly resisted at the simplicity of reality and stood her ground against him. An utter moron that let out a quick sob, biting down any other noises caused by the pain she was suffering.

    ...Goddammit.

    A fool that was carefully picked in a bridal-carry as he rushed towards the closest hospital in town. Her arms latched over his neck as she helped him in the rather annoying position, keeping quiet as he rushed away from the area and right where she could get some proper help.

    He blamed the way his rival had unknowingly rubbed off on him with his altruistic personality, with his hero-like need to save those close to him and… those that were weaker than him.

    What an incredibly irking situation he was supposed to deal with!

    But while Vali was interested in the objective at hand, the brunette continued to smile eye-to-eye, her mind’s gears spinning furiously as she felt like she scored big time.

    It would seem like Aika Kiryuu found a ‘proper man’ that knew how to press her buttons. One could wonder what will happen when… she will have to reward him for his kindness~.

    -------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d-------dd-d-d------d-d-d-d-----d-d-d-d-d-------

    AN

    Ladies and gents, here is the female pervert in person. Aika Kiryuu is there to… seduce VALI!?

    Who wrote this?! I swear to God that this wasn’t.

    Feminine giggles echo through the house.

    Ambar? Goddammit, stay in your story and… Oh no! I need to check if she- no- if she did touch these too it… it’s all lost!

    NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

    (Yes, this is a shameless plug for Golden Month [It’s NSFW and it isn’t for kiddies so… not in the usual forums]. I’m bored and I don’t known what to put in here and… Ciao!

    P.S. Almost forgot. Happy Thanksgiving Day for those that live in the old US and A!(Just like good Borat would say). Remember to stuff yourself with food, regret it in the following few hours and then sleep full and easy to heat up.

    Future milestone 1: 950 Followers and Favorites.
     
    Mikers99 likes this.
  13. Threadmarks: The Comfort and the Hurt
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 68: The Comfort and the Hurt

    It was a sunny morning the one that welcomed Kunou and me to the little trip I had promised her.

    The girl was exuding giddiness as she playfully looked around the train that was leading us to Kyoto, her mother having been more than happy, if not eager, to invite us to her palace. It was kind of nostalgic, the sight of the girl looking at everything and everyone with a curious but positive gaze.

    She looked like a little child, something that had partly vanished quite recently as she had been fighting and building up her own maturity over life.

    It’s been now five days since she had that unique spar with Koneko and things had slowly taken a turn back to ‘normalcy’ for everyone. The day before had been incredibly curious as it was our return to Kuoh Academy.

    Koneko had thought about going back too but… she ultimately decided against it. There wasn’t much to do there and she preferred to spend her time with her sister while training and developing even more. A choice I was more than happy to accept at the price of getting a promise out of her about doing the usual homework load without whining, nor complaining.

    Surprise was an underwhelming word to describe the overall reception from both students and teachers, as there had been a continuous stream of individuals greeting us and ‘welcoming’ us for our ‘first’ day at school.

    Issei and Asia had been happy, the two attaching themselves to the small group as we went for a normal day at the Academy. The teachers were glad to have a ‘model-student’ as I was back at school, something that motivated me to appear a little more polite than usual.

    The usual school day went by without any issue and then I tackled another situation about it as… I went back to the Student Council classroom. Tsubaki had greeted me with a quick friendly hug, her face sporting a happy smile as she welcomed me inside the room.

    Sona had been fairly grateful that I did accept to return to the Student Council in my old seat as now she could get some rest from my ‘absurd torture’ of a paperwork, a decision that was ‘religiously’ praised by the two girls that had been assigned to my newly-regained post.

    Reya and Ruruko literally crying tears of joy of having their ‘insanely-burdened senpai’ back. I chuckled in response to that and gave a brief hug to both girls while thanking them for their hard-work during my absence.

    Saji gave the most normal of greeting, merely stating a ‘Welcome back, Senpai’ before being yanked away by the president herself for some manual labor. It seemed like some things never changed since I had left...

    After-school was incredibly easier than I remembered, the new uniforms and other cuts to the other senseless papers within the School’s budget having been either reduced or utterly removed from the official listing.

    What would have usually taken more than three hours to conclude was done in a single hour and… the return home was instantly devoted to the small meal Akeno had prepared for both the Kitsune and me back at home.

    Homework followed, my mind stirring quickly as I went through the Math exercises and the Japanese literature texts to read and paraphrase were easy because of the various exercises we both did ever since leaving the Academy.

    Then… it was Saturday and, early in the morning, the blonde was already looking radiant and ready to tell her parent how things have been ever since she had left her family’s home. She was ‘glowing’ at the idea and I merely smiled at the adorable display of impatience she would show once or twice during the voyage.

    I yawned, enjoying the pleasant natural view of the various stops between Kuoh Town and the former Japanese capital. Two hours of quiet waiting passed and then… we were there.

    Kyoto was as beautiful as I remembered it, the place having hardly felt the effects of the changes around Japan, and it was nice to see that something had gone unchanged after so much time. A month might sound a very limited amount of time for something as big as the city was to really change, but with what had happened in Tokyo, it wasn’t that wrong to expect some… differences.

    Kunou’s golden eyes glanced around, the human-looking kitsune enjoying walking once more back in her hometown, her smile never faltering as we went for a long walk to reach the palace. The Yokai district was as vibrant as it was the first time I came to visit, the place that accepted the ‘monster’ population was well-guarded by several patrols checking all the corners, something that was indeed different from what I remembered.

    Some of the guards stopped mid-walk, to either greet us with a bow or merely give a military salute before resuming with their task. Kind of an odd behavior from the knight-like men and women, I’ve to admit, but I guess that Yasaka did explain that her daughter was under my careful and caring watch.

    The guarded front door was slowly opened as we presented proper documents at the garrison stationed there and we quickly entered inside the entrance room of the building. Maids, butlers and several other servants of different races rushed all over, some stopping to greet us after taking notice of our presence.

    In the end, one of them, an elder cyclops decided to guide us to the throne room, his pace slow but quick enough to not appear like a delay of sort. He stopped right at the familiar doors that led to the very place where Kunou’s mother would spend numerous days going through paperwork, complains and other issues about her Yokai faction.

    The doors were pushed open and… the room was surprisingly void of any paper and people there and only Yasaka was there, waiting with a smile as her eyes were fixed on her daughter, barely glancing my way to greet me.

    The girl’s smile exploded as she went to rush towards her parent, her foxy features sprouting to life as she quickly went for a tackle-hug. The woman’s arms were ready and prepared for the impact as she swiftly scooped her daughter from mid-air to hold her dearly close.

    My little Ku-tan is back~.” The elder Kitsune whispered to the girl, making the teen go stiff for a moment before melting in the embrace. Yet her bright golden orbs were directed at her parent’s face as she spoke back.

    M-Mama, I’m back.” The girl replied with a happy stutter, nuzzling close to her… revealing chest. I had to look away more than once, out of respect and… dignity. “I-I missed you.” Kunou admitted while burying herself in her mother’s chest.

    And I missed you too, sweetie.” The woman replied with an amused tone, squeezing the younger blonde closer.

    Moments passed before Yasaka noticed my presence, her eyes briefly going wide as she saw me. I admit I could have easily caught her attention by waving and… all of that, but I decided to leave them the chance of properly reconnecting.

    O-Oh, I almost forgot about you-” Her face sported some little mortification before switching back to a genuine friendly smile. “Hekisho-kun.”

    I frowned, showing some confusion and embarrassment at the nickname. It’s been a while since… I was called like that.

    Hoitsu will do fine, Yasaka-san-” I tried to answer back, but I was interrupted by a huff from her.

    Then please, if you wish to be called as such, then you may call me with the same tone.” She demanded with a calm tone, her smirk hiding something odd but I went along with it. I didn’t see anything that could have hinted at what was going to happen and thus… I spoke up.

    Understood, Yasaka-”

    Mama.” She interrupted, with a bigger smile, her lips twitching upward at my shell-shocked expression. Confusion, embarrassment and… even more confusion stirred in my chest and the woman giggled at the look I had plastered all over my face, Kunou soon following her example.

    Ku-tan told me in her letters that you both consider each other siblings in all but blood, something that you were keen to mention even in yours.” The woman explained with a smile. “This is why I wouldn’t mind to consider you a child of mine too, especially since you are quite interesting to have in my family.”

    I blinked. “I-Isn’t that hasty-”

    Considering that time is a feeble thing?” Yasaka asked with a calm but tired tone. I wonder if this was referring to what had happened recently or… about something deeper in her past. “I can assume it’s quite sudden, but I wish to explore this possibility, Hoi-bou.” A giggle left her lips as I frowned with some annoyance at the childish honorific used to address me.

    I mean, I can see her using the masculine term that resembled the -tan after the affectionate manner displayed with Kunou, but I was slightly irritated by that nonetheless as I wasn’t… that young.

    I huffed, nodding at her. “Understood, Yasa-haha.”

    I called her ‘mom’. Even though Lilith did show some propensity to consider me her surrogate son and that I did have a mother that didn’t show that affection before being hypnotized, I think Yasaka was the closest being that got to get to be called as such by me.

    Not mother, not the overly-sweet ‘Mama’, but ‘mom’.

    There was a pleased look on her face, surprise manifesting for a while before mixing with the happiness in her regal expression.

    Another melodious giggle ensued. “T-That was an interesting approach, Hoi-bou.” She admitted with a mirthful note. “I suppose that now it would be proper to learn more about each other.”

    And in that moment, I felt some odd dread forming within my chest. She stood up from her chair and started to walk towards me, Kunou’s smile twitching giddily as soon I was… tackled down by both Kitsunes.

    With a groan and enduring a round or two of tickling, I was sure that this day was going to be a fun one for sure.

    --------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d------d-d-d-d------d-d-d-d----d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d-

    Azazel was fairly sure that his luck had just taken a sudden turn to the shittiest situation possible.

    When his lovely secretary peeked in from his office’s doorstep, the Fallen Angel had a fatigued smile on his face as he had been close to end the paperwork of the day. Seriously, it was impressive how many issues were caused by older members of Grigori rather than rookies, some even going as far as citing brawls because of mere indecision about who was going to get the last pudding in the cafeteria.

    He turned his attention to her, surprised to see her actually by the door rather than just buzz from the intercom installed in her cubicle. The girl was just too shy to consider the option of walking to him to give him news and… it was also a matter of efficiency, he could say without any problem.

    If there is something that made life easy for everyone, why not apply it to his faction.

    That was a thought that even that moron of Ajuka was keen to show with his toys sold at the various families in Hell. Azazel couldn’t still forget of the time when the green-haired nerd would go as far as to test if by selling simple Iphone, people would have noticed the scam and got him in trouble.

    The thirst of the danger, he defined it, something that the Fallen Angel considered more of an ‘idiocy of the dumb nerd’. The resulting effect? People were trying to build temples in the former Astaroth’s name just for bringing that useful and delightful device at everyone’s reaching.

    Ah, good old times-

    A-Azazel-sama, there is-” She paused, gulping nervously. The young woman looked incredibly frightened in that moment and the Governor-General felt that something was definitively off about this. “There is a… someone wishes to join Grigori.” She finally said, waiting silently for a reaction to that.

    Shouldn’t that be Shemhazai’s work? I swear, if he’s lazying around with Ajuka again, I will-”

    I-It’s her request to speak with you, sir.” She interrupted quickly, her face getting paler and paler the more time passed.

    At this point, Azazel felt that whoever was standing a few meters away from his sight… was someone that knew about him and wanted him, of all people, to vet her for the group.

    It was a strange predicament where his logic was quick to tell him to refuse to meet with this person, yet his sanity wasn’t allowing him to properly understand this and...

    What a curious yet terrifying situation.

    It just felt like he had to check about whoever was waiting on the other side, the very curiosity that brutally murdered the cat. But what if the cat was actually the Schrodinger’s kitty and his brain was derailing to the worst trail of thoughts possible?

    Feeling that after several hours of mind-breaking paper-signing his mind was ready to crack down, the man nodded at the secretary.

    Please, invite her in.”

    The young woman nodded quickly, disappearing even faster to bring to him… her.

    His eyes went full-wide when the smiling redhead walked in holding what seemed to be a… recruitment leaflet. “Hello, Azzie.” The woman greeted mirthfully, bowing just for a moment before approaching his desk and taking one of the seats in front of his. “I suppose I have to properly introduce myself as per regular job interview-”

    Why.” He interrupted her with a flat tone. “Why are you here, Lilith-”

    I think you are forgetting something to add at my name, Azzie. You were after all a little trouble-maker that had a partner-in-crime in me back in Heaven.” She pointed out with a smirk.

    Was that before or after you literally sent me flying into a volcano during the Great War?” He sarcastically asked. “But sure, Auntie Lilith, why are you here annoying me?” The man finally demanded and the lady sighed.

    Do you remember what I was keen to nag about even during the peace talks?” She returned with another question much to the Fallen Angel’s groan.

    Rizevim?” He guessed, getting a half-hearted negative from the woman. “Either that or the ‘pompous bastards that keeps whining at our doorstep’. You were very active in drilling this in Michael’s and my heads, seriously I can understand paperwork can be unfair but-”

    They are still trying to get me back on the throne.” She replied dryly, getting a frown from Azazel.

    You mean Zekram-”

    It’s all Sirzechs… and Serafall. Ajuka is stuck in his lab doing… stuff, while Falbium is still the same sweetheart that could decently keep up with some hard-work.” Lilith corrected with a nod. “But I think it’s mostly Serafall. The girl was always a soft-core worker even back in her teenage years… now she is all stuck between papers and nagging people, I bet she has been regretting for some time saying that my job was easier than a mere soldier… that prissy little moron of a giggly girl.

    You mean that-”

    She tried to ‘capture me’ in broad daylight while I was going to buy some groceries,” The woman admitted. “But sadly enough, either nerves or lack of a proper crying shoulder for dealing with some idiots with roles within the Foreign Affairs led her to adopt the mantle of… a magical girl while trying to kidnap me.”

    The leader of Grigori nodded. “She has been at it for decades now, saying that Magical Girls are cool and that kind of stuff.”

    Always the weird one in the bunch… but I thought she would have liked more Kamen Rider and Super Sentai because of the flamboyant attacks and action rather than frilly-dressed Magical Girls.” There was some confusion and surprise, something that the Governor-General understood to the fullest.

    He could still remember when the already-giddy girl would start walking around as Magical Girl Milky Spiral Seven, her bright dress making her stand out even more than usual… while blinding people that were unfortunately too close to here.

    It had taken the very culprit of the ‘change’, that idiot of Ajuka with his Anime-related hobbies, to convince her that having her clothes bathed in intensely-reflective clothes wasn’t a good idea for the sake of people’s eyes.

    In the end, even Azazel had to admit that the reasoning behind the girl’s style was legitimized by… Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Things had never been the same for him ever since the day where he went to check that ‘children’ cartoon.

    She had slowly gotten less chance of showing pride in her ‘uniform’ as her younger sister did found the whole concept aberrant as everyone was. Subdued as it was, her hobby was still quite insane to try to understand even for a nutty guy as Azazel.

    So you decided that the solution to this problem was joining Grigori.” The man returned back to the main issue of this very moment. “Lilith, you know that-”

    I don’t want any leading position.” She interjected quickly. “Even working as the chef for any of the garrisons would be fine by me, just… don’t let them take me back to the nagging, I beg you, Azzie!

    I can’t risk war-”

    B-But then I will have to tell my son that you were a jerk and didn’t help me.” She rebuked with a faux sob, Azazel frowning at that statement and he sighed.

    Look, while Rizevim could prove to be a problem, I don’t think I will even consider accepting if-”

    I wasn’t referring to him.” Lilith smiled giddily. “I was referring to Hoitsu.”



    Beg your pardon, did you just call the boy ‘your son’?” He asked blankly, his eyes widening once more at her eager nod. “Excuse me, but how the fuck did you get this idea through?

    He is like a mini-Heliel, why would I refuse to adopt someone that adorable?” She shot back with a calm tone.

    He frowned. “Wouldn’t Rizevim-”

    Oh, I thought too that he was going to get angry at it but… he was actually happy about it.” Her voice sported some surprise. “He was glad that now he wouldn’t have to fit the whole ‘model heir kind of shenanigans’.”

    He sighed, keeping the silence for some time and… then he nodded. “So you want to join Grigori, this means there will be no ‘your highness’ there.” The Fallen Angel reminded, unsurprisingly the woman smiling at that.

    More than happy to not have that of all things I’m trying to avoid.” She replied happily.

    You will be assigned to Kuoh Town for the time being.” He added, drawing a brighter smile from her.

    That is perfect!”

    And you will be keeping watch over Rizevim-”

    Oh c’mon-!”

    No complaining. If I have to be your new boss, I want a guarantee that you will follow even the ‘scariest’ of orders.” The man pressed on much to the redhead’s annoyance. “By the way, can you tell me where the boy is right now? I know from Baraqiel that he isn’t in Kuoh Town right now.”

    A two-days long holiday in Kyoto. He said something about spending some family time with Kunou and her mother.” The woman commented distractedly. “I’m quite glad that these two are as close as true siblings, kind of makes me sad since it reminds me of… how Rizevim never thought well of Wilbert and Sapphire.”

    With the brat out of Kuoh Town and relaxing with some trustworthy people, Azazel felt relief washing over him. It has been nagging to him for a while now that Hoitsu wasn’t getting any proper rest away from the workload.

    Sure, the boy was capable of dealing with the infuriating amount of paper but- to think that he would get this far from that little time? It was intriguing and concerning. The boy, albeit stronger than when he started in Grigori, was still a mortal and capable of dying by over-work.

    Some rest was more than needed and happily-given considering the recent circumstances.

    The Governor-General shifted the discussion back to Rizevim, unwilling to spare too much attention to the recovering youth.

    There is always a rotten egg in the family-”

    To the point of killing their own brothers?” Lilith shot back with a harsh tone. “I am his mother, Azazel. While Rizevim could be a fucking moron when he wants to be, I can’t condone the fact he killed his brother, my child.” She sighed, eyes closed in contemplation. “I thought hard and long about it and I came to realize that, while he is my son… he will have to pay for several crimes.”

    Azazel nodded. “There are just too many horrible deeds he committed and-”

    I wish to be the one that will execute him.”

    … “W-What?”

    She sighed gravely. “When Lucifer was still alive and… not yet fighting with the entire world, he would always tell me to keep an eye for Rizevim’s unique behavior, saying that he needed a close attention to grow properly.” The woman hummed quietly. “Maybe I was… still grasping the concept of being a mother or… or I just missed the moment he just stopped to care about trying to make people care for him.”

    Rizevim could have asked help to his father-”

    But he was afraid of latching too much onto him, that he needed to… become his own man rather than be his father’s shadow.” The woman’s red eyes were fixed on the desk as she slouched on the chair. “I… I am at fault for his behavior-”

    You are not.” Azazel interjected with a stern voice. “You were there for him, Lucifer was always there for his family and… it was Rizevim’s fault that he didn’t need any help.”



    Thank you, Azzie.” Lilith nodded, a small smile appearing on her face. “It’s nice to know that… you are still somewhat wise about this topics.” She praised him, her words warming him as he remembered back when they would spare some discussions about mundane stuff.

    There wasn’t a general topic, it was always so random and… he really missed those times.

    The self-whine coming from that level of hard-work, he presumed and soon… he nodded.

    Since you haven’t technically caused Grigori any major issue, I think you fit with the requirements of recruitment.” He stretched his hand towards her. “It’s good to have you- oh?”

    Why his hand felt this warm now? And why it was… so comfy.

    The woman’s hair covered her expression while Azazel slowly realized that his distracted mind had unwittingly sent his lone palm upon the midst of two hills.

    Mistakes were made, would have been his words if Lilith hadn’t moved quicker than him.

    The slap was painful, it was strong enough to send him crashing onto the library behind his back and… onto the concrete wall behind said library. He groaned, his eyes catching the sight of the woman leaving with a huff, but still waving calmly at him as she left.

    He sighed, feeling like he had aged a thousand of years with that little hit and… Gods, he had missed having to deal with that intriguing and crazy woman.

    She, Heliel… they were what made Heaven a tad bit easier to live in before he questioned God’s rule himself.

    Good times, the Fallen Angel thought before falling asleep, a slowly-approaching Shemhazai stopping just a few meters away from him and… started to poke his nose with a wooden stick.

    That utter bastard!

    ------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d------d-d-d-d-----d-d-d-d------d-d-d-d-----d-d-d-d----

    AN

    Shooting lazers, hitting the beat, preparing a lemon and… tomorrow is December 1 (LeGasp!) and that means I will also upload the first chapter of the sidestory starring Junichi and Raynare.

    Want to see something fun? Try God-tier comedy.

    Also… yes, I think I will nap right now. It’s quite late and -ZZZZZ!

    ...Psst! This is Lady Ambar and I silently hijacked his planning schedule to add a Golden Month’s update. Let’s hope he doesn’t miss it… and I think he is planning to do a censored version of it for other forums- (Connection Lost!)

    Future milestone 1: 950 Followers and Favorites.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
  14. Extras: Amnesiac Danger DXD 1: A Sunny day in Tokyo
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 1: A sunny day in Tokyo

    A bright new day began in the large metropolis sprawling in the former lands of Edo.

    People of various ages, sizes and appearances were flocking on the sidewalks of the numerous streets of the Japanese capital, either going for their workplace, school’s buildings or they were merely enjoying the interesting and cathartic sensation that only a simple walk around the Wards would give to those who would afford it with their lifestyle.

    2011 turned out to be an already-turbulent year for Tokyo, the ‘natural disaster’ that had almost decimated the earthquake-ready skyscrapers watching over the city. It had been a rocky period, but in the end the entire population recovered with strength and determination.

    To see the people resuming their lives without doubt nor hesitation was enough to bring a somewhat calming emotion to the soul. She blinked at the poetic moment that her mind decided to spare to her in that simple moment of her strange life, her eyes slowly directed at the still-smiling young man accompanying her around.

    No beard, his face was pristine shaved, giving him a child-like visage. Short blue hairs that culminated in an ever-so twitching ahoge, a telling sign that showed to the world around him the genuine but naive curiosity of all that was around him. His eyes were just a shade lighter, but it was enough to confuse the youth for someone quite normal, yet incredibly silly with his expressions.

    If there was something that Raynare hated the most while going at work, it was dealing with morning people this early in the day. They were always chirping around, showing little to no concern for those that actually needed a cup or two of coffee to rise from the grasp of partial-soreness that would come from waking up from a delightful sleep from the day before.

    The Fallen Angel, formerly assigned to Kuoh Town, was just now starting to enjoy her ‘new home’ as the work was actually easier than his ‘guarding’ one. Then there was also the fact that she didn’t have any limitations while dealing with those that remained from the attack on the city.

    It’s been mere weeks since the attack from the Khaos Brigade on Tokyo and… things had yet to completely settle. The assault might have crippled the organization to a shy 1/3 of its original size, but the monsters that were hired for the invasion?

    Some ran, some died and… then there were the roaches hiding in the small alleys and the complicated sewers system developing underneath the city. This is why Raynare had to be the good exterminator for the pests still lurking around.

    Her rewards for a good job? A decent apartment in a calm and safe ward, some ‘pocket money’ to get some meals prepared and a flat ‘good job’ by the one responsible for the missions’ grants.

    Nothing to be grateful about… unless one would consider how she had come close to die on two separate instances prior to the invasion itself.

    The first one being actually the very reason she had been stripped of her wings and her rank, that last ditch effort from him being more than enough to put her out-of-commission and at odds with Azazel.

    The man had been unhappy of her ‘unprofessional’ attitude directed at the Boosting Gear Moron, something he was rather kind to stress to her by adding the indefinite sealing of her recovering wings. The sheer brutality of being attacked by a simple human, that he would prove to be the very individual that could keep up with her.

    A sharp attack at her pride and… at her job’s integrity. The hierarchy was quite relentless about respecting orders and rules, thus the young woman was sure that she did avoid a proper punishment by being demoted and ‘crippled’.

    Wings were hardly something that would help her in a normal day in her life, but those were a sign of her strength and now she was unable to fly during a violent encounter, rendering her current life difficult to manage through.

    She bit down a yawn as she led her newest responsibility inside the establishment that became a good place to hang out during her free time. Anteiku was a curious cafe that had been around for a long time now and… it was also known to her that it did have contacts with her faction.

    The manager and the staff… none of them were humans.

    Ghouls, a modern problem in the worst place ever. Shove man-eating monsters inside a particularly large city as Tokyo and numerous murders were quick to happen in a normal week.

    This particular bunch was… harmless. Or at least docile compared to the other Ghouls.

    There was a system set by this medium-sized group that allowed them to recover already-deceased humans and have their food always present in their plates.

    Of course, this was still morally despicable to many people… but Raynare wasn’t certainly ‘many people’, having committed murders herself during her first rise. It was just part of her job, an undeniable feature and need that had to be satisfied once or twice in a while.

    She wasn’t a psychopath, just terribly bored by the lack of action in the last few days.

    Taking a seat by her usual spot, the young man followed her example by picking the chair in front of hers and… someone else joined in. The familiar bespectacled girl took swift hold of the chair beside hers and sported a blinding smile.

    Green hair combed in a horrible fashion (courtesy of the young woman’s laziness), the daughter of the Manager giggled at seeing the Fallen Angel groan.

    Good morning, Ray-chan!” Her voice was incredibly cheerful, the first sign of someone Raynare should have gotten out from the place. It was a daily routine, yet she seriously wanted to be left alone in those breaks from work.

    Yoshimura, I hope your father is allowing you to skip your job-” The brunette was stopped by a finger pressing on her lips.

    Pops is fine if I don’t linger around too much and… why wouldn’t he want me to hang out with my best friend?!” The uniform-wearing leech replied giddily.

    Maybe because we are not ‘best friends’, the young woman would have shot back but she knew that misbehaving wasn’t something she could afford, especially with the kind-looking old man standing by the counter being one of her minders.

    Yep, now she truly missed her bed now.

    Maybe because I’ve other priorities and… I don’t want to hug.” She demanded with a stern note, stopping the fellow girl in her attempt to attach herself to the Fallen Angel.

    It didn’t help that the current scene the giddy waitress was causing was enough to get everyone’s attention, something that the dark-haired young woman would have preferred to not deal with. Especially this early in the morning!

    Oh c’mon, Ray-chan! Friends are meant to hug every chance they can!” Yoshimura exclaimed before fully getting the annoyed brunette in a proper embrace.

    Plus… think of how many secrets we can whisper to each other.” She leaned in, her smile twitching a little. “Did you know that Touka-chan is crushing on Kaneki-kun?

    Not much of a secret, the ‘one-eyed’ waiter was the only one that had failed to see how much the young girl wanted him. It was partly-subtle from her part, Raynare had to admit, but for a usual client like her, this stuff was as blatant as the sun is in the sky.

    It’s kind of pointless if you don’t have any secrets to give, isn’t it?” The Fallen Angel shot back, causing the green-haired girl to back away, arms crossing near her chest as she gave the fiercest pout ever.

    It’s not my fault I’m someone that doesn’t qualm in silly secrets.” Her green eyes darted away from her friend and… at him. “By the way, who are you, cutie?” Her sudden question brought dread to Raynare’s chest as she realized that… she did forget to introduce him before he could.

    His smile widened just a fraction before he replied. “I’m Junichi.” He said with a mirthful tone. “Nice to meet you.”

    The proper introduction was… actually a good surprise. She had expected him to mess up, having seen how much of a social inept he was back when he had first met him.

    The waitress blinked, her eyes widening a little as she started to hum, eyes studying Junichi with a somewhat serious glint. “You are polite, good-looking and deliciously cute.” Her eyes turned back to Raynare. “Ray-chan, is this your boyfriend?”



    No.” She flatly denied, masking her frustration at that guess. It was generally any negative feeling about such annoying topics that seemed to get people to think otherwise so it wasn’t difficult to ignore giving her ‘detractors’ something that would work against her.

    Eto huffed, eyes returning to the young man. “What about you, Jun-kun?” She asked with a curious tone. “What do you think of Ray-chan?”

    There was some silence, the blue-haired boy thinking about it while his ahoge twitched around.

    I guess that… she is my first friend.” He admitted without any restraint. “She said she saved me from a not-so-nice person, she gave me something to eat and… she gave me a place where so rest.” He ended that summarized tale of their encounter with a determined nod. “Yes, she is my first and best friend.”

    Eto blinked once, then twice and…

    Raynare saw her sprung in action, quickly rushing out of her seat and right by the chair beside Junichi as she started to hug him closely. “That was the cutest display of friendship ever!” The waitress squeaked driving her cheek onto his chest, her eyes closing momentarily before opening and giving a flat stare back at the Fallen Angel.

    Actually, didn’t he just say that you took him back at your home?” Eto questioned with an intrigued voice. “Is Ray-chan being pervy because of how cute Jun-kun looks?”

    The accusations were emphasized by the way the green-haired moron started to squeeze close the still-smiling but confused young man.

    Seriously, why couldn’t she get some time away from those dramatic predicaments targeting her?!

    The Fallen Angel sighed, feeling like this wasn’t going to end well for her. “He is homeless, I took him in because he doesn’t have a home of his own.” She replied flatly, an annoyed look plastered all over her face. “And I would like to remind you that you are the one having a particularly big stash in your ‘work’ PC-”

    No comment!” Eto interrupted quickly, her face reddening a little before sighing in defeat. “I guess I shouldn’t be poking too hard with you, Ray-chan and… that still means that Jun-kun is living with you, right?”

    The dark-haired girl frowned but still nodded at the sudden question. “Yes, why is that?” She asked, only to face a smug smirk in the green-haired waitress’ face.

    Then that means I can come and visit! After all there are two best friends hanging around in the same place.”

    ...What kind of twisted logic is that? Like hell she was going to allow this moron to come around and put her hands over the stuff she was keeping away from everyone. But as Raynare moved to deny this situation, the Ghoulette moved her head to look up at Junichi.

    Jun-kun, would you mind if I come to visit you once in a while?” She asked with a playful tone, the real owner of the flat understanding where this logical pattern was trying to get.

    The boy blinked, minor surprise at the sudden request from this new acquaintance and… he nodded happily. “Why would I say no to a new friend?” He said before pulling her in a quick hug. Eto tensed, not expecting the contact but she didn’t back away from it. Quite the opposite, as she went to enjoy the embrace for some time before letting go.

    Her smile was… brighter, but didn’t seem as teasing as before. Just grateful.

    Thanks for the offer, Jun-kun.” The green-haired young woman said. “And did anyone tell you that you are a good hugger?” She asked out of the blue, making the young man nod.

    I think Raynare said something about it when I went to hug her while she was having a nightmare.”

    There was silence, the Fallen Angel paled a little in shock as the dummy revealed something that wasn’t meant to be told to anyone. A secret spilled so casually and… Eto giggled.

    That’s adorable! You mean you two cuddled and-”

    I-It’s none of your business, Yoshimura.” The woman finally snapped with a loud tone, drawing the attention of the clients around. “So please, don’t go further that road.”



    Eto shrugged. “I guess I went overboard with that and, Jun-kun, you know that you shouldn’t tell this kind of private stuff around.” She chided quietly at the confused Junichi. “You put Ray-chan in a bad mood and… you have to apologize?”

    He frowned, his confusion rising a little more, still unaware of the implications behind his actions. “But why? There is nothing wrong by being friends and-”

    Look at her and tell me if she looks happy.” The waitress pointed her thumb right at the Fallen Angel and...

    Raynare was hardly masking the scowl now featuring on her face and the boy looked surprised and embarrassed about the ill-reaction visible from Raynare’s appearance.

    I didn’t mean to-” He bowed his head suddently. “I’m sorry if I went too far, Raynare.”

    She could have easily refused such a ridiculous apology, her mind unwilling to give up the small ounce of dignity she had just because a naive, cute and terribly unknown young man decided it was fine to be this genuine with her feelings.

    It was just unfair and… she sighed as finally another waitress, Kaya, arrived with her coffee. Without hesitation, Raynare downed the content of the mug, ignoring the stinging sensation of the burning liquid rushing down her throat, actually eager to get her poor brain to wake up from that much crap going on.

    She sighed as the emotion seeped in, her mind now clearer than before and…

    I will forgive you only this once.” The young woman replied quietly. “But next time you try something like this I will throw you out of my house, sorry or not.”

    The warning was caught with a frown by Eto, while Junichi merely nodded with a confident look, unaware of the unfairness of that ultimatum.

    But Raynare wasn’t truly going to go ahead with it if it happened once more, unwilling to part with someone as incredibly powerful as the innocent young man and… so she nodded to herself that maybe, just maybe, she should give him some advice over his blunt personality.

    And while the Fallen Angel plotted her chance to survive in this harsh world, someone else thrived in the squalor left by the tragedies.

    --------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d-------d-d-d-d-----

    Shachi fell on his knees, his entire body brutally broken by the onslaught he was subjected to just moments ago. Cuts littered all over his chest and face, gashes that allowed his blood to freely escape his dying self.

    He could remember going for patrol around his turf, trying to find out who was responsible for killing a good part of his minions around the ward and… he ended up finding the culprit.

    The young man looked nothing even remotely dangerous, his smell oddly familiar and… the battle began without words being spent, only noises of fighting and… giggles from the deranged bastard he was facing.

    Incredible endurance, absurd speed and… a terrible Kagune that overwhelmed his own. A power struggle that revealed to be actually a one-sided massacre against him. A plot to take him out and… he knew that he was done for by the time his Kagune lost half of its RC cells.

    Weakness, Shachi never felt this much frail ever before. Even back when he was a mere grunt, things never ended up in such a brutal display of incapacity. He felt like a fool for having ignored the power hidden within the cloaked monster, but then again it wasn’t like he could smell the danger properly because of her scent on him.

    He coughed, his sight getting blurred as he noticed his opponent, that infuriating brat, walking towards him with his filthy Kagune out. A desecration, an abomination that disgracefully ruined the memory of the person that it originally belonged to.

    Sorry, sorry~.” The man chuckled, calmly walking towards the downed fighter with an amused smile. “I still forget how to properly moderate my strength after I’ve achieved my newest form.”

    The laughter ended with a long sigh. “To think that the mighty Orca has fallen to a youngster with too much power! Experience failing against raw power- the tragedy, the horror~!”

    Y-You are disgusting.” Matasaka replied coldly, spatting some blood in the process. “Using her Kagune to make a crusade. She would have derided you for that foolish dream- guh!”

    The dark-red tendril pierced through his chest, bringing him one step closer to Death’s doorstep. Gawking in blood, he could barely notice the chiding tone taken by his executioner.

    Silly, silly Shachi. Of course she would have laughed, but it would have been the melodious and genuine wind of beauty gracing me with praise and love.” The cloaked fool sighed dreamily. “Something you wouldn’t know about, having been her captor for years.”

    She was safe by the Washuu scum.” The brawler fought back the draining pain afflicting his body. “She was safe from your kind.”

    The boy hissed. “Man, that was uncalled for.” And then… he chuckled happily. “But I respect you for that. I know you cared for her… behind that tough mercenary act of yours. Kind of sad she died without knowing how you cared-but-also-not about her.”

    The long-haired Ghoul… smirked. Then he started to laugh hardly and painfully, causing his opponent to pause in confusion. Maybe he was thinking that the former leader of the Taitou Ward had finally snapped and was enjoying his last moments in sudden madness but…

    How wrong he was.

    You think that- that she really cared about you?” He smiled with his teeth bloodied and ruined by the beating. “You- You are pathetic. Now I see… why she didn’t want you to be rescued too- you are deranged, delusional- a sad attempt of being human-

    Those were his last words. He was defiant, even in his final moments and… his enemy was no less keen to butcher him up with his Kagune.

    Don’t!

    Squelch

    Squiz

    Crack

    Speak!

    Bang

    Squelch

    For!

    Creak

    Bang

    CRASH

    HER!

    The boy stopped, his eyes widening in surprise at the new paint job going for his warehouse. Red was trending… last year.

    Shachi – or what was left of him in the form of the lower section of his body – fell on the floor without hesitation, a simple thud preceding his final moments in the madman life.

    A pity that now his fancy cloak was stained in utter filth, the degenerate sure had bright blood to make things… unbearable. At least his good clothes were still… in good shape.

    The dismayed youth pulled away the cloak and revealed his true identity to… nobody. He was alone after all~

    Except his beloved girl, his little sunshine.

    How much he missed her, he wondered when she would be back to him.

    Her smile, her delightful scent and her pretty hair. Her cutting personality, her sadistic mindset and her endearing manners over food. What a slothful lady she was~!

    He sighed, he pouted. He remembered how his sunshine was stolen by him because of the greed and ambitions from fossils trying to be ‘hip’ with the world as their playground, and for that he replied in kind by doing what they weren’t expecting him to do.

    A massive force that could keep up with CCG and V, Aogiri Tree was planned to be used as a siege battery for the last push, to break away the last chains that held him from seeing his beloved one… but then things derailed so badly.

    Maybe it was his fault, maybe he shouldn’t have trusted the funny silver-haired man that brought him to this idea. Maybe he should have become a gardener and converted to Buddhism-

    Okay, derailing once more. Uncool, crazy brain.

    The young man chuckled long and painfully, his chest hurting after so much from the joyous proof of his good mood. Why shouldn’t he be happy? His new plan was proceeding smoothly now that Jiji and the other old fools believed that he had died in that big party organized by monsters and Devils.

    Such a party, never in his life he would have thought that parties could go for that long and so hard.

    Like really, if you don’t break something, it’s usually a dull event rather than anything remotely fun.

    Fun, fun and more fun.

    The Ghoul paused, a tired sigh leaving his lips. “Maybe I should really consider taking some medications...”





    Or maybe not!

    With a last chuckle, he left his hideout, ready to make that night a memorable night… just as he would do on a daily basis.

    Darkness looms over Tokyo, new players are set and a fable of comedy facing tragedy follows…

    ------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d-----d-d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d----------

    AN

    For new readers: This is a sidestory that begins by chapter 53 of the Magical Trickster DxD story of mine. I tried to put in this first chapter as much as I could to bring new readers up to the current plot of this sidestory and… it will last more or less twenty-five chapters.

    A short number? It’s a sidestory and I have others prepared after this one.

    Pairings? I think it’s blatantly clear by this chapter?

    Updating schedule? I will update this frequently and I expect to end before the first days of January so… time for a rush!

    Lastly… WRYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!
     
  15. Threadmarks: Rekindling the Happiness
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 69: Rekindling the Happiness

    Today was truly turning to be the best day ever for Kunou.

    Not only she was finally back home, to her room and with her Mama, but her Niichan was there too!

    Kyoto just felt a different breath of air from Kuoh and, while she enjoyed her time in her newest home, she just wanted so badly to sprawl upon her super-comfy bed once more. A pity that her Niichan had declined the offer of having a nap, saying that it was still too early for something like that.

    Her logic agreed to his, but the kitsune was just so giddy and… then Mama decided to ask about her current progress. Her studies, her improvements in theoretical and practical fighting, her friends and if she was alright.

    It was the usual worries her Mama would have during trips outside of Kyoto, thus the girl merely shrugged off without hesitation the questions with quick answers, knowing well enough that words would easily… create misunderstanding with normal circumstances.

    Careful phrasing and a rightful touch of emotion was enough to deter Yasaka from probing too much from her daughter. Instead the older blonde was eager to ask from a ‘more reliable source’, which was her Niichan.

    Hoitsu was quick with his replies too, but he would pause here and there to give some well-described situations from the recent past. Nothing overly-dramatic, yet Kunou’s keen eyes spotted a sudden tension rising within her mother’s body when what happened in Tokyo was brought up by the young man.

    The story was incredibly summarized, major details omitted for the sake of not prolonging the visible concern in Yasaka’s face and… then the discussion shifted to a more direct topic as the woman turned her attention once more at Niichan.

    By the way, Hoi-bou, I wish to see how strong you are.” The older kitsune said with an intrigued tone. “It’s been… a month? I would like to see how far have you gone after the nervous little Hekishou that I met back a long time ago.” Kunou shared a giggle with her Mama at Hoitsu’s groan, but the girl’s mind found itself in a conundrum as she didn’t know what to think about a fight between her Mama and her Niichan.

    Who was the strongest? Was she supposed to cheer for one of them or was she allowed to cheer them both?

    She masked her inner conflict and soon the three of them were walking inside the family’s dojo. Incredibly different from the training area back in Kuoh Town, this very dojo was something provided as a gift to Yasaka by Amaterasu herself.

    Powerful magic rendered this room sound-proof and its integrity was god-like by several Court Mahous that had been tasked of studying and understand its complex nature to the fullest.

    Something that made things quite awkward as Kunou knew particularly well that both ‘sparring partners’ weren’t going to hold back too much. Hoitsu looked a little doubtful, something that disappeared in the smiling poker face present on the older Kitsune’s face.

    I suppose I should prepare myself since… I heard that you have fought against interesting monsters.” The woman’s smile widened. “I hope you don’t mind getting burned once or twice in this friendly spar.” The indirect jab was intercepted quickly by a frown on the young man’s face.

    Then I will try to not get burned, Yasa-haha.” He replied with an amused tone. “But I hope that you are fine if I starts to throw a punch or two through your defense.” He shot back in a light-hearted tone, gaining a snort from the blonde and… the fight began.

    Kunou had taken seat on the warmed floor just outside the protective barrier that kept the attacks from the fight from leaving the mini-arena. Her golden eyes were wide-open as she managed to attentively notice the actions and the movements of the intense clash that ensued.

    Hoitsu’s raw style had been molded by experience and self-training, something that held well against the more precise, delicate style her Mama was known for. Swift, powerful open-palm attacks that guaranteed to the user a dangerous edge against their opponent.

    The young man noticed quickly, his posture switching to a more flexible one as he noticed the stiffness of such stance. And while the first few attacks failed to even come close to his body, just as her Niichan turned to rush a kick to her Mama’s face-

    Twack!

    The shinai, a bamboo-made sword, slapped him right on his left cheek. The ‘blade’ was being held by a smiling Yasaka, her eyes glinting predatorially as she prepared another hit.

    Maybe it was greed, maybe it was hope to get some damage done early on.

    It didn’t matter, the boy rushing out of the shinai’s range, one of his hands massaging the bruised cheek. “T-That did sting.” He stated with a huff.

    The blonde tilted her head and smiled. “You are sparring against a Kitsune, Hoi-bou. Do you perhaps want me to give you a break or-” She didn’t have time to finish the taunting that her guard was once more up, the young man rushing to the close action. “What a rude son!” She exclaimed with a smirk as she prepared to whack him once more.

    Kunou blinked. It was odd how her mother would… end up whacking her various sparring partner without mercy during training. It was one of her strangest behaviors during fights.

    Right as her shinai swung around to strike the unprotected face of her opponent, Yasaka’s eyes went wide in surprise as her blade was yanked away from her soft hold by a silver string.

    The punch brought an end to the simple shock, the pain enough to remind her of the fight and… that her opponent wasn’t nothing to scoff at in terms of cunning skills.

    The woman jumped back, her hand massaging her hurting… left cheek. She blinked up to his smug smirk and… giggled. “That did sting~.” The kitsune hummed happily.

    You are sparring against a trickster, Yasa-haha. Do you perhaps want me to-

    She zeroed the distance before he could finish, a twitching smile pressing on her face as she felt too amused to actually muster up a serious and stronger stance. They clashed momentarily, her palm stopped by his elbow and… then they exchanged hits that were subsequently deflected, dodged or blocked.

    A carefully choreographed with tense but precise improvisation. What a playful display of actions and reactions that were unfolding all at once and…

    He backed away from the close encounter, energy building up in his hands as a sudden yellow beam shot from his palms.

    Masenko!”

    The attack was actually weaker than it looked like. A flashy technique but… why would he use it so suddenly? And why shout out its name as he-

    The kick driving on her stomach made her realize a detail that was seriously going to hinder her capacity to think well of her surrogate son. He was a brutal prankster.

    A distraction, a very stupid one. Yet something that did get her attention away from her target long enough for him to rush at her position and start to capitalize on her gawking.

    It’s been too long since she had to be on her tip-toes while fighting someone.

    A little trick, one that will not happen ever again. Hopefully.

    Soon Yasaka was able to push away the attacking youth, using her fox fire to create a protective circle of flames around her general proximity and prompting him to retreat away from her.

    Without skipping a beat, the woman unleashed a massive barrage of low-intensity fireballs from her fox fire and went to try and catch Hoitsu off-guard.

    There was panic on his eyes when he saw the multiple fireballs rushing quickly towards him, but he properly reacted by erecting a barrier of Thunder-based magic. The electric curtain absorbed the flames and dispersed them without issues.

    A pout presented itself on her face as her mind realized that he was very well above that kind of niceties. It was time to step up her game.

    Her core increased its energy input, her body was soon enveloped with a blurry-like aura as her animal-like features started to turn more refined. Golden eyes shone brightly as the woman rushed with renewed strength and doubled speed against her opponent, her Wild Sense managing to get a surprised jaw-drop from the youth before he was decked painfully in his face.

    The hit was powerful enough to send him flying against the barrier, the semi-transparent wall glowing a little more as he impacted onto it and… tensed at the sudden pain just for a moment, the next one being already returning the courtesy as his eyes burned red and his body was coated with dark smoke.

    Curious, she remembered having heard of this form and… yet it reminded her of someone that was well-beyond this kind of gifts.

    Surprisingly enough, they clashed with equal strength, vibrations echoing through the floor and the walls around them and… they smiled as they resumed their previous exchange of attacks.

    It was now all blurred, their steps, their hits, their blocks, their faces and… yet it was all but a delightful spar that was growing more intense by the second. She wanted to burst in giggles, the chuckle being withhold by the boy enough of a reason to be immensely amused by the fact her daughter had someone this extraordinary around.

    Now she could see why she was all latched to him, despite the clear differences.

    Personality-wise, both were lonely children trying to understand the world and, since they both shared this interest in common, they bonded over wonder, mystery and trust.

    A bond that had grown to an intriguing degree, something that had come very close to… how she had felt with her former lover.

    Enma had been a particularly strong Yokai with even stronger principles, a beacon of dreams and joy in the making. The only thing that truly differentiated him from the boy before her was… the way Hoitsu looked at Kunou.

    Her long-gone husband reciprocated her romantic love early on and it was clear that it was that kind of love from the very beginning.

    Yet Kunou and her ‘Niichan’ were destined to be siblings. It might sound like a hopeless and dreamy outlook of their development as brother and sister, but it was like that.

    From the very first sight, her daughter knew that Hoitsu would turn out to be someone very important in her life. Her curiosity sparked from that simple, yet meaningful encounter… was enough to prepare a catalyst.

    The ‘ultimate spell’ was when in a moment of pressure, of nervousness and panic, their truest emotion manifested and… they latched at each other, keeping themselves away from the threat facing them.

    The human being incredibly protective of the girl and her child being more than keen to listen up to her older brother from the very moment that danger tried to hurt them both.

    Her little kit was currently cheering for both her Mama and her Niichan, a little family that… she was glad to have still around. There were moments where Yasaka could have easily conceded to the tiring and draining effects of her duty and… yet she kept herself from falling at the idea of losing that precious smile plastered on her beautiful daughter’s face.

    And now, in the span of a little eternity, the woman was granted a new family member. It just… fit so well in her mind. He was so lonely, she could see it, smell it from his scent and…





    Hoitsu looked quite in pain when Yasaka returned from her silent musings, the young man groaning while lying on the floor. There was no blood, only some bumps appearing on his arms and face.

    Did she just went in a minor frenzy while daydreaming?

    What an embarrassing development! She thought with a sigh while also chiding herself for her lack of control. It’s been far too long since she had to go that far, just a handful of men and women capable of withstanding her might to that degree.

    She crouched down, the barrier deactivating as Kunou was immediately over the case, helping her Niichan to lie more comfortably. His eyes were closed as the girl brought his head on her lap, yet his charcoal-like eyes slowly opened and… narrowed at her.

    I’m sorry, Hoi-bou, I didn’t mean to-”

    Are you really apologizing?” He interrupted with a deep frown. “It was a spar.”

    But-”

    No butts!” He replied sleepily, causing Kunou to giggle a little. “It was a spar and… you are forgiven, Yasa-haha?”

    Was she seriously having trouble talking to someone this much light-headed right now? It sure did feel like she was talking with a complicated and mysterious individual and… his bluntness was refreshing.

    There was stll some restraining but… she still appreciated it. Her smile returned, a genuine undertone employed as she bowed her head slightly. “Thank you and… I’m still sorry.”



    H-Hello ‘Still Sorry’. I… I’m not dad. I’m Hoitsu~!” He giggled a little before resting a little more quietly.

    The woman blinked, realizing that she might have put him in a bad state for him to resort to… dad joke all so suddenly. She sighed. “Ku-tan, could you please take your silly brother to his temporary room?” Her voice was tense for a moment, she surprised herself about it and… her daughter nodded with a small smile.

    Moments passed, just enough to be left alone in that room so that she could-

    Yasaka snorted, stifling a chuckle by bringing a hand to close her lips.

    Turning to the side, her face twitched in minor mirthfulness at that sudden dad joke. It was just… the way he delivered it. He looked so sure and… very serious.

    She snorted, a short-termed laugh beginning before turning in a full-blown one.

    It’s been just… so much since she had this much fun while at home and the blonde was glad to have taken two free days from her usual work. Gintoki had been kind enough to take on the duty for the time being, just for the sake of reducing his close-to-infinite amount of favors he still owed to her.

    Truly an interesting individual that Gin-san.

    -----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d--------

    Thank the Gods, my room has a bed!

    I let out a suppressed groan as I basked in the pleasant coziness of the mattress and pillows keeping me in a heavenly cage of pure bliss.

    You sure are enjoying some sleep.

    Shut up- my head hurts…

    Who would have thought that Yasaka knows about the Seven-Page beating.

    Uhhhh….

    I mean, to think that she knows how to perfectly strike in the right angles and-

    Noooooo~!

    And let us forget about the spanking we just avoided-

    Please-

    She had you turned around and ready to get properly punished-

    I don’t need this!

    I hissed softly, trying to silence the terribly-chatty Shiranai. My brain was just that hurt, unable to properly understand what was going on around me and… I yawned.

    The pillow was whispering sweet things to me in my delusional state, my mind just too much detached from reality right now to actually care if I was coherent or not with the law of physics.

    Another yawn, I snuggled onto the pure-white pillow and tried to think deeply about life itself.

    Oh no, please-

    It’s kind of hilarious-

    Don’t enable him! He is already.

    What if the one behind the whole ‘chicken and egg’ dilemma… was also the only one to know the truth about it.

    And here we go…

    I mean, what if there was another bit of the context that had gone lost? Like, what if there was a human and… he just crossed the road- no wait, what was I talking about?

    He is ascending to a more idiotic self.

    I giggled. Yeah, I’m a little moron. A moron that likes to cuddle and snuggle and…

    Mhm, this bed is just yummy. I was a little hungry, but then as I tried to take a bite out of my poor pillow. I swear it started to cry and yell ‘murder’ at my little stunt.

    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it~!

    A true descent in madness…

    I tried to caress it fine, but the pillow cried even more.

    Then I blinked and… giggled.

    How silly of me, of course the pillow is inanimate but… I still hurt him. I hugged it close, whispering ‘sorry’ multiple time and… then I felt someone approaching from the dark corner of the room… just nearby the now open window.

    Did Kunou open that up or… uh, I dunno.

    Soon a figure loomed over me and I blinked, my eyes failing to give me a clear sight over them. I frowned, the figure tensed and… her upper ears twitched.
    Oh?


    Ohohohohohoh?

    Without saying a word, I turned slowly to look at my scared pillow. I placed my head over it and whispered to it.

    Pillow-san, I think there is a thief in my room.” I asserted the situation like a sneaky dude. “Like really, I think there is someone trying to bring harm to you.”


    I mean, they could try to hurt me but I’m kind of sturdy and… you are too soft.



    Oh, thank you and-

    Before I could continue with my smart thinking, I found myself glomped up by someone and a brief struggle. So brief that the assailant didn’t even bother to actually knock me out and merely went for Pillow-san.

    No, pillow-san!

    ...Seriously, can you take it a little less childishly?

    S-Shush, I’m trying to protect Pillow-san.

    My eyes squinted as the light finally revealed the attacker and… I stopped shaking in anger at… the adorable kitty sitting on my arm.

    Golden eyes, pure-dark fur. What a familiar combination.

    She started to pur and… I went for what was more than proper on those occasions by affectionately caress the feline. Her eyes started to sport a pleased glint and I intensified my efforts, getting a strange noise out of her.

    It wasn’t purring, it was… deeper and not cat-like. It was… feminine, a groan?

    I paused, my eyes blinking several times before I got another sight. Instead of the little kitty-cat, I was bestowed with quite the scene.

    The girl did have cat-ears, now twitching excitedly at the previous ministrations. Her face was fully-red, eyes wide open as her breathing was slightly erratic and… endeared.

    Her kimono was still holding and…



    Kuroka?”

    She didn’t reply, her trembling hands hinting at the familiar vial in her hold and… I slowly brought it to my face and sipped at it. Phoenix Tears.

    I nodded, the fog over my aching brain starting to dissipate as clarity was granted to me once more. Only for my face to explode in red at what had just happened.

    Quite embarrassing what I did to that pillow, quite unforgivable what I did to the Nekoshou.

    K-Kuroka- I didn’t mean to-”

    Shh~.” The girl pressed two fingers on my lips, shutting them up. “Not a single word and… you could have been more mindful of my ears.”

    ...Wait, I didn’t-

    Nah, you just went for some aggressive head-patting. Seriously, is this like a power of yours?

    I mean, I’m good at it and- N-not the correct time for this!

    The girl’s head slumped on my chest, her purring intensifying for a moment as she snuggled closer. “This is… the last time I will get you the Tears. Next time you-”

    -Will bring them myself, I know. Sorry that-”

    Not a word.” She repeated tiredly, a small smile spreading on her face as she sighed, enjoying my warmth. “Chest-pillow is enough.”

    At the mention of ‘pillow’, I felt the need of flinching.

    Seriously, why did I thought it was a real being?

    I think you were recovering from several hits in your head. Yasaka truly know how to bash someone’s head.

    Don’t remind me…

    I blinked, eyes up at the dark ceiling. “So… were you doing anything important when-”

    Just taking a bath. Relaxing and… thinking about life.” She replied curtly. “But… I think I have to ask you for a favor.” Her tone felt odd so suddenly, making me frown in worry.

    S-Sure, do you need something-”

    Your wallet.” She stated flatly. “And no, it’s not the money I need.”

    Oh. Okay, what the heck?

    I dunno. We need to check this but… I’ve a bad feeling about this.

    It was kind of difficult to bring my free arm to reach for my trousers’ pocket but I was relieved when the task didn’t leave me any sore stiffness on my limb.

    Kuroka didn’t say anything, browsing for just a moment over the content of my wallet before stopping to a specific section of it. Her fingers slipped the object out of the section and she brought it up to my attention, making me pale in realization of what she was holding in her hand.

    Hoi-kun~.” She smiled widely, her face burning red. “I think… I’m going for an early heat.”

    Oh.



    W-Well, we could have Yasa-haha prepare something to destroy and- Mmph”

    I couldn’t finish my sentence as the young woman descended with incredible determination and might, her lips crashing onto mines as she directed one of her fingers to point at the door, a spell htting it and… closing it.

    Her pleased look, coupled with her ensuing giggles, were enough to make it clear that a no was out of question…

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    AN

    Like last time, this is the lemonless (or censored) version of the chapter so… yeah.

    (I’m tired, don’t bother me- Rawr!)

    Future milestone 1: 950 Followers and Favorites.
     
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  16. Threadmarks: Cut thy Strings, Godless Death
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 70: Cut thy Strings, Godless Death

    Eons ago, Terra…

    At first there was a lack of… everything.

    Azrael’s purpose in life, the one God gave to him, was simple, yet very complicated for his primitive mind. It was incredibly confusing, yet clear, so odd, but also very easy to understand.

    Kill and escort away from the mortal plane of existence those that were ready to go to the afterlife.

    Logically, that was a straining mission to have for eternity but Azrael knew better than contest the wisdom of his creator and thus he went through with his important task without protesting, without sporting any of the silly emotions that had been there since its creation but had gone silent when he took the first life.

    He could still remember the pain, it had been at first quite unbearable. So much that he had to grit his teeth to not let out an unplanned shriek of sorrow.

    Tears had swelled, but he hadn’t cry. He couldn’t afford to show mercy upon his responsibilities as the souls had to interact only the least with their guide, something that God had been keen to drill within his childish brain.

    The job was troublesome at first, the pain being rather difficult to get a grip of, but soon things started to swing to a somewhat mild platform. His whole being started to slowly grow capable of suppressing the sharp and searing emotion by merely locking up those within his first soul.

    A burden that was doubled, a sacrifice that nobody would have known about and for that the Angel was glad of. Nobody was ready to face him, a creature born for the sake of guaranteeing a safe passage to the afterlife for those that died. The Angel of Death.

    Azrael had been certain that this would have been his fate for the rest of its existence, until life persisted in this dimension. Kill, escort, and redo.

    A process that turned an incredibly easy work, something that somehow eased the stress growing within Azrael, but also deprived him of the chance of… feeling.

    Time passed, uncertainty stirred and he found him.

    Heliel wasn’t a normal Angel, not someone born out from God’s unique energy. Heliel was a superior being, with an array of emotions that went long and beyond the mere fatherly touches that the ruler of Heaven was keen to show around his children.

    The silver-haired angel was… a mystery. Not even his clairvoyance failed to grasp the full extent of the powerful being’s limits, nor it could truly get a reading over his mind and thoughts.

    A pretty light that floated in the clouds, bringing novelty to the world within his mere presence. A precious light that brought intrigue and happiness to those that sought him.

    A majestic spectacle that ended up finding him. Azrael had been surprise, the proper term being… ‘shocked?’, when Heliel arrived to his ‘home’. The prison was meant to keep him from lashing out at the struggle within, the anguish of the souls cracking within his inner being, a place to protect the others from his own burden.

    Yet the unknown being reached for him willingly and… he could still remember his expression.

    There was kindness, there was curiosity and… there was sadness. About finding him? About knowing of his despicable task?

    No. Azrael’s eyes went wide the moment the angel rushed at him, no ill intents present in his body’s language and… he blinked as he was pulled in a loving embrace. There was tension enveloping his humane shell, the suddenness of the action more than enough to get him… trembling at the wave of pleasant warmth reaching from the fellow Angel’s core.

    Hello, my sad brother.” His ears caught the words, yet his mind failed to understand what was going on.

    It was so unexpected and yet… so welcomed! His arms trembled, lifting off from the previous position as they returned the hug by wrapping slowly around his brother’s torso. He blinked again, he felt his eyes growing wet as red slowly trailed off his cheeks.

    B-Brother?” He repeated unsure, the embrace lessening just a little as his unsure eyes found Heliel’s red orbs.

    Yes. Brother.” The determined tone cemented their connection, formally declaring a bond between the two. It was a frail one at first, one born from need and desire of company while escaping the loneliness of his prison.

    Azrael enjoyed what happened in the following years, the events that would fully blossom his genuine interest in Heliel as a good sibling. Family, someone that truly wanted to be close to him even though it was known that he wasn’t trustworthy.

    Someone that lived by death itself wasn’t someone to be near to… and yet Heliel still sought him. Always bringing news, always bringing him gifts that the lonely Angel would hide in his special corner, a spot away from his minders’ sight.

    Toys, pictures and… that pretty flower crown.

    Heaven’s flowers were prettier than Earth’s, but the way the frail crown had been offered, the love and the appreciation represented in such a gift… Azrael blinked in brief sadness.

    He could remember when Heliel brought Lilith for the first time. The red-haired lady had been scared, his mere presence being more than enough to cause disgust on those that were in his proximity.

    Yet it was Heliel himself that gave her the strength to truly greet him. The young woman was peculiar with the bravery she ended up developing from that first encounter. A curious soul, one that he knew about from the copy within his body… but also not.

    Something was different, in a positive way. It was intriguing, maybe a little less than with his brother’s, but his sister was still endearing to have around.

    Their friendship, that was how the silver-haired angel had called it, grew quickly and to a delightful degree. Bantering about random topics, even exchanging simple questions and answers with them brought to him a sense of being part of something meaningful.

    His job continued as usual, yet something had changed. His purpose was finally explained to him by Heliel during one of those times spent together. Lilith had been there too, but she didn’t join in that discussion, deciding to merely listen to it than ruining his moment of learning.

    Why do people hate me, but God is loved?” Azrael had asked quietly, the relaxed presence suddenly tensing up at this heavy query delivered in such a soft tone.

    The redhead’s eyes had gone wide open at it, her sight darting from Heliel to the other Angel.

    But his brother… merely smiled. His smile lacked any happiness and contained only pity directed at him.

    Because God is a pretty lie, one of eternal love and understanding. You, my dear sibling, are the harsh but just truth for everyone. You are the true end of what is good… but also of what is bad.”

    So simple, yet so complicated.

    But Azrael understood it all as… he would find it easier to go through his task without the pangs of pain reaching out from his chest. He wasn’t responsible for something terrible, nor he was bringing joy to the world.

    He was a neutral change, a change that was a must for everyone that was mortal. A limit to those that lived a normal life.

    But in that logical understanding, something more was born. Something that was fueled by love and affection for his good brother.

    Heliel was eternal. He was beyond Lilith, beyond God and… beyond Azrael.

    A deity beyond deities. He could still remember confirming this idea by his mind and heart, a powerful mantra that lasted for eons.

    Then God kicked Heliel and Lilith from Heaven.

    No explanation was given, only that they had ‘sinned beyond reparation’, something the creator had said for the humans too. There was no chance of return for the two beloved beings, something that had saddened him to a moment of depression.

    A moment that spanned until the beginning of the Great War.

    It was a sign, he reckoned back then, that his brother was still alive and… considered God’s actions quite unfair, just like Azrael had. He had smiled, giddily ready to see his brother return but… things became complicated once more.

    When the King of Heaven had called upon his Angels, he had refused for the sake of neutrality.

    Death was beyond petty conflicts, no matter how his father had been demanding of his very presence in the battlefield. Ridiculous and unquestionable, he was neutrality itself and he wouldn’t accept neither of the sides.

    His heart had ached at the idea he couldn’t be with his siblings but… he had a duty to keep up to.

    His job increased, grew harder and harder the more the war escalated and… centuries passed.

    A slaughter far worse than anything Azrael had ever seen and… it did hurt when he learned of his expanding family.

    Children, he knew of the spawns of Lucifer and Lilith, but he also couldn’t truly understand some of them.

    So difficult and yet… so intriguing. He had prayed for a quick peace between factions, something brokered for the sake of not having the world destroyed and…

    Then it happened.

    He had felt something wrong, something foul being forced out to the world before being sealed away. He could recognize God’s signature energy and… then Heliel’s light started to slowly turning weaker and weaker.

    Panic had surged and he stopped mid-work to rush to the site of the battle. The land had been ravaged, lava bathing the nearby areas as volcanoes born from the shortly-ended fight shattered the planet’s skin.

    God was there, his energy very dim and close to fail, but not ready to pass on just yet.

    But it wasn’t his creator’s state that worried Azrael and… he found him.

    Lucifer’s eyes were open, staring at the dark-clouded sky as he lied motionless on the darkened ground. He was bloodied, his body broken and sporting cracks all over his exposed skin. He was smiling… but that smiling was dead.

    He knew it. He knew it.

    HE KNEW IT!

    Something snapped within Azrael, something far worse than his first time taking a life. This time, the life being taken wasn’t from him, but from God himself.

    The smiling husk was once his brother, his sunshine.

    And father decided to take it away from him!

    The Angel of Death had been cheated, betrayed by his Maker and- He snarled as he roared in pain.

    God tensed up quickly, shocked by the outburst but unwilling to truly react to it as the crying angel fell on his knees and drove his head on the Lucifer’s still chest. There was sobbing, his tears staining of blood the corpse even more before a sickening realization struck the angel.

    It was God himself that spoke. “H-He is dead.” He tried to keep calm, but after the beating he had received, the deity could hardly think straight. “H-He will hurt us no more-”

    Azrael’s mind was too fragmented, too lost in his agony, to properly react. Anger took over, his fury driving his hands to lift the blissfully ignorant creator off the ground in a choke-hold.

    G-Gah- W-Wha-” The hold tightened, his hands pressing strongly as these compressed his throat.

    He gawked, eyes going wide open as air was painfully denied to his lungs, his body growing even weaker. The deity closed his palm and tried to attack his traitorous ‘child’ but…

    CRACK

    It was too late. Too late for hatred, too late for love, too late for… dreams.

    God was dead… and Azrael felt his entire being cracking even more. His mind splintered painfully, his consciousness divided between emotions and logic, between hopes and truths.

    He gawked and… fell into oblivion as he returned to his jail. Distraught, aimless and… horrified by a single realization.

    Heliel’s prophecy. He had almost forgot about it.

    A plan, something about his unique ability and… Azrael gasped, feeling his lucidity slipping away. He had to remember, he couldn’t never forget!

    And as he spiraled down in insanity, his balance forcibly stolen and his hopes tainted, the shadow of Azrael survived the agony-filled ‘transformation’, a new mantra fiercely instilled within his core.

    A plan proposed by his sibling, a plan that would save them all.

    Because Azrael’s God had gone just for some time and… he will make sure that he would return back to him.

    Like he had promised him!

    ---------d-d-d-d-------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-

    Leaving Heaven was… not something that Raphaeline had expected to experience after centuries of inactivity.

    It had all happened so suddenly, so unexpectedly but… not so unpleasantly.

    She woke up in the darkness of the containment room where only a handful of her ‘sisters’ had been ‘deactivated’ as per Michael’s order. Her eyes flickering as these tried to adapt to the lack of lights and… soon she found the reason of her unplanned awakening.

    The Proto-Angel tensed a little at the sight of the still face that was Azrael’s. The Angel of Death tilted its head and… smiled widely.

    Good morning~.” His cheerful whisper was quick to send some chills down her spine, her confusion growing as her cheeks were cupped by his cold hands. “I need your help, Raphie.”

    She blinked at the nickname, but before the young woman could have asked what was going on, a sharp pain entered her brain. Her entire body went still, eyes going wide in agony as something… changed.

    The process was brief, but it did feel eternal to her soul from the outstanding pain she had to endure. From the sharp burn to… pleasant silence, Raphaeline knew that something had incredibly changed because of that sudden interference.

    Her green orbs losing part of their divinity and… acquiring more life. Freedom, she almost breathed loudly, she was… free?

    She blinked as her mind felt less endeared by her Heavenly duties and more… centered. Another blink, she stared up at Azrael and frowned. “W-What?”

    I need you, Raphie. It’s about Heliel’s dream.” He mused quickly. “It’s about peace, it’s about true peace!” He pressed on, his voice turning quite… forceful.

    I-I don’t-”

    Sapphire’s father!” The Angel interrupted tiredly. “Her dad, do you wish to help your lover’s father?”

    ...Sapphire?

    Memories shifted quickly within her soul, a brave red-haired woman, someone that had connected to with back in that seemingly endless War between Heaven, Hell and Grigori.

    Her smile.

    The freed woman felt her lips twitch in a happy curve as Azrael nodded. “That’s right, do you want to help her and her father?” He continued with the same tone. “We don’t have much time, choose!”

    S-So much pressure, her mind contemplated quickly about the sudden request- no, demand from the least-known inhabitant of Heaven… and yet she had to do it. It was for her.

    The Proto-Angel nodded and before she could say anything else to confirm her decision, Azrael’s hand grasped at her shoulder and… they teleported away from the dark room.

    Raphaeline’s eyes squinted at the sudden light brightly encompassing them and… then she realized that they were falling. A gasp drowned by her collected mind at the unexpected warp, her attention shifting at the ground swiftly approaching.

    This place… it wasn’t Europe. The ‘Prime’ Continent could be seen from that height, but it was far from where they were supposedly going to land. Instead the area was… far on the right.

    It was Asia, her knowledge finally resurfacing as she still was recovering from the tiring effect of her slumber. Azrael cackled as his wings started to flap madly, his hand still holding strongly at her shoulder.

    The young woman yelped as she was yanked by the sudden pull, her eyes widening once more as she saw the speed of the fall had doubled- no, tripled with a mere action of his wings.

    The Angel’s crazed laughter endured through the entire flight, her lips trembling as she was having trouble herself to keep from screaming at the terrifying situation and… then they stopped.

    His bare feet touched the ground, breaking without any damage the speed and… leaving both to walk towards the large assemble of people forming right in front of them.

    Young men and women talking to each other, some deities from other Pantheons walking nearby but just a few actually daring to mingle with the mortals waiting in that large patch of green land.

    They were now staring at them, having seen their arrival moments before they touched the ground. Eyes wide open, surprise, shock and… intrigue playing in their features as they approached.

    She blinked as they finally reached up to them and… she could understand that those weren’t mere humans. Sacred Gears, numerous of those within the grand number of people making this huge crowd and… then one of the Gods walked up to them.

    Indra, she remembered quickly, frowned in annoyance at Azrael. “I thought I told you to not do anything this outlandish to reach this meeting of ours.” He chided the Angel, the being merely smiling sheepishly.

    My bad~!”

    The Indian Deity scowled but nodded. “At least you are both here in time...” He muttered under his breath.

    Time passed and nobody daring to approach their little group, afraid of the deadly energy exuding from the Angel.

    Finally, one of the youths decided to spoke and… her eyes shifted at the weapon in his hands.

    The True Longinus?!

    The lance was ‘comfortable’ with its current user but… to think that someone could have grouped up so many Sacred Gears users and the holder of the strongest one.

    It was absurd but… maybe this was truly a crusade for a good cause.

    Fellow heroes of modern time!” He called upon the other humans, their focus suddenly on him. Raphaeline stared in awe at the fact those were indeed ‘heroes’, so this has to be a good thing.

    Today we are here united to face the greatest threat turned against mankind and against all Pantheons.” He bellowed strongly, his voice attracting everyone to this charismatic man. “A threat formed by those that seek to impose their decadent rule upon us! People that wish to enslave the free folks and turn them in their servants.”

    The crowd started to chatter with one another, not loud enough to stop the lancer from continuing.

    A threat caused by what was once part of the group we were part of, a traitor that managed to trick the leaders of the Christian factions and more powerful individuals to band up and go with his twisted and sickening plan of domination!” The chattering increased and a small smile appeared on the youth’s face. “Rizevim Lucifer, the chief in command for the former Qlippoth faction, has hypnotized Michael, the Four Satans, Azazel and… our long-beloved heroic brother, Hoitsu Sakakibara!”

    An uproar exploded at the mentioning of the last name, her mind failing to grasp anyone she knew by the two words. Why would someone relatively new be able to have a better following in the group rather than the more familiar beings and-

    Hypnotized? She could see Rizevim, the deviated son of whom was once known as Heliel, trying to accomplish something this massive but… it sounded just too far-fetched to believe it. That large-scaled hypnosis, coupled with the fact the individuals listed were incredibly powerful- some even more than Rizevim himself – it was clear that something was… off.

    But maybe it was just her, the Proto-Angel mused quietly. Maybe Rizevim did manage to attain something that could get him to truly control the major leaders of the Christian Pantheon.

    Indeed! Hoitsu Sakakibara, the Hero without Sacred Gears, the defender of Tokyo and the Protector of Innocents, has succumbed to the tricks of the dangerous fiend, further increasing the power of Evil and bringing a noticeable danger to the world as a whole!” The uproar intensified, many screaming angrily at the outrageous news.

    But there is hope!” The Longinus-wielder stated determinedly. “For I, Cao Cao, will never allow the freedom of the world to be consumed by the ambitions of a terrible tyrant. I will never allow your hopes and dreams to be shattered by the rampaging greed and ambitions of the spawn of Lucifer.” He lifted his hands up. “But I request your help for this long journey. A journey for justice, for truth and for equality!” He yelled powerfully, the collective roar that ensued agreeing to this emotion.

    Then please, unite and fight with us. Join this United Front to crush the threat growing worryingly in Japan!”

    Another roar, this time Cao Cao didn’t continue to exalt the crowd, but rather decided that it was ‘mature’ enough to continue his speech on his own. A tactic used by major leaders when the people listening were enough convinced of the task proposed, of the idea passed upon their soul.

    A fire that was growing in an inferno, a splash becoming an earth-cracking wave.

    Raphaeline blinked at the growing animosity, uncertain about the emotions sparking from the speech as she could hardly keep up with what was going on. An attempt to subjugate humanity as a whole? To what end?

    Sapphire. She could remember the red-haired woman saying that her brother wasn’t… that much devious.

    Evil, that was a strong point of his.

    But plotting of taking over mankind? That was… kind of sketchy.

    Plus there was something about this Hoitsu Sakakibara, the name unfamiliar… but also not. It was kind of annoying, her mind failing to truly grasp the full identity of this individual.

    A hero? That was what she learned from the speech. But what else she knew about him? Nothing.

    Still, he was important and… now one of the enemies she would have to face in a less-than-friendly way, it seemed.

    Her mind slowly returned to Sapphire and… to the fact that her lover could have been enslaved too. Her eyes hardened at the thought, such an unacceptable situation that she will gladly make sure to deal with.

    For their love’s sake!

    Just as the crowd and the Proto-Angel thought about the situation, Azrael’s smile widened at the good sound of the trumpets.

    War was going to return in what he could call… romantic. A war killed God and… he would be brought back thanks to another conflict.

    How symbolic, what a symposium of death and murder close to happen for the sake of the truest deity, the truest justice to be restored!

    He will be resurrected, his face, his voice, his smile and his passionate desire of bringing an end to the injustice that had ruined the world as a whole!

    Yes! He cackled. His dream will be restored and brought forth to completion!

    And then true heavens shall descend upon the poor, unknowing sinners, as the new era will be glorious and divine! For Heliel!

    ---------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-------d-d-d-d-------d-d-d-d------d-d-d-d--------

    AN

    I frigging hate having to go and get my annual shot. It’s something that leaves me incredibly frail, with my mind close to a zombie’s (minus the brain’s need issue) and with a strong writer’s block.

    I’m back from the super-ded and I bring you news!

    The first chapter of Amnesiac Danger DXD is already out! Check out the DxD/Tokyo Ghoul xover as… the world isn’t prepared for what is going to happen in that story. Protagonists? Junichi, Raynare and… someone else that we saw in this story too. Antagonists? Aogiri Tree’s former leader and… someone that has been seen here too… just not in Tokyo.

    Lastly, this is the official 70th chapter of Magical Trickster DXD! If things proceeds as smoothly as they are, then I think we will breach my current record of 84 chapters made in FPO’s original draft. And we also reached 950 Followers! (OMG! This is EPIC!)

    Can we reach-

    Future milestone 1: 1000 Followers and Favorite?!
     
  17. Threadmarks: AN- Big Announcement (All Positive Things!... I think)
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Author Note: Big Announcement (All positive things!… I think.)

    Hello folks! And no, this ain’t a joke AN, but more of a good AN. A positive one, even.

    After a full month of pondering and studying the case presented by some concerned readers, I decided to compile my next plans for Magical Trickster DXD after the first story of a Trilogy (Yep, we going for two sequels now) in a little space… without bloating the next chapter’s AN.

    Since we are nearing to the last twenty or so chapters for this story, I’ve decided to give it a little rework once I’ve completed this fanfic.

    Not a massive overhaul as presented in the case of Fate Player Online Redux (which was possible after a full year of thinking of changes and modifying some of the original draft), but rather a ‘polishing’ affair to get some of the grammar errors, the plot issues and some messes I’ve embarrassingly left along the way.

    I understand that this massive news is worrying on itself, but I’m listening to those that actually care to the story. I know many readers are disgruntled on the fact I derailed a little on some of the chapters, that maybe I pressed too much on some meek scenes, but I will (hopefully) make amend with what I’ve planned to do for the rewrite.

    The changes on the plot itself are minimal, the rewrite will add more chapters on some of the arcs, expand upon some details that have been left untouched for long and possibly give a lesser headache regarding the X-Overs.

    Yep, I plan to remove those X-overs that actually don’t create a huge impact in the story and actually alienate the readers rather than compel them to the very end of the story I’m narrating.

    The decision isn’t out of nowhere, nor I’ve been pressed on to do this. What pushed me to do this is more of guilt regarding the readers as I think I’ve gone a little too harshly over some of the mistakes I made.

    I wish to apologize, to say that I’m genuinely sorry where the cases have me wrong, but I think actions speak louder than words and thus I will have what follows MT DXD be my apology.

    This story, of course, is going to proceed to the very end and I hope that I will find redemption and forgiveness in those that have doubts in going along with what I’m writing.

    I tend to get influenced by external factors while writing and sometime I mess up big time.

    Once more, I’m sorry for having made the reading aspect annoying to a certain degree.
     
  18. Threadmarks: Worthy Reason
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 71: Worthy Reason

    Things were going rather well in Kuoh Town.

    It’s been but just a day since Hoitsu had gone with Kunou to Kyoto and life was going easy and calm as usual.

    ...Or at least as much as Xenovia could bear with it.

    Training was still a part of her life, her control over Durandal getting better and better as she had finally found some means to release the stress accumulated by her previous lack of progress. With Gasper being her first and best friend, and with some others joining the count, the girl was feeling quite happy with the life she had made in just the little time she had been in Japan.

    Trustworthy people that brought out some interesting contexts to subjects she had long thought of having mastered, a genuine feminine touch given by her two new friends from the Kendo Club, Murayama and Katase.

    They would spend some time together during the breaks when the kind Mayumi-sensei would give her a pause from assisting her. It was surprising to know that the woman that Irina had attacked was actually a sweet old lady.

    Shocking but also confusing, something that her former partner would deflect with other topics much to her chagrin, but still she decided to ignore what had happened back then and focus on helping the lovely woman around when she required support.

    The teacher was quite careful to not over-burden her, even though Xenovia was capable of taking multiple responsibilities at once, while also giving her some little homework despite the fact the blue-haired human wasn’t a student at the Academy.

    Nothing too difficult, but enough to leave her busy for some time in the afternoon before going for some sword-related training.

    Her routine was definitively better than the one back in Italy, where missions would be a constant element to be aware of, especially as those weren’t easy most of the time.

    Mere months ago, Xenovia would have gone for all the requests, went to the place indicated by the Church’s orders and accomplish the demands without hesitation.

    But now that she was living the life of a ‘normal girl’, the blue-haired girl had found a new balance of things.

    Something nice, something that kept her afloat after a moment in her life where doubt besieged her over her capacity to protect, exterminate and do her duty as a proper member of the Holy See.

    It was a simple Sunday morning, one that Xenovia had wished to spend in a session of prayers to the newly-rebuild Church in the city, a humble habit the girl had picked after a few days spent praying at her ‘mentor’s house. She ended up noticing the distress she was causing to the Devils lingering around and thus settled with the decision of going to a proper place of prayers.

    The girl was wearing a half-sleeved light-blue shirt, a pair of knee-long shorts and some sport shoes as she had planned to go for a some jogging after the praying session, maybe a little longer than usual to prepare for an even longer session of training.

    She was half-way to reach the church when she found herself stopped by a living obstacle.

    Yuuto Kiba, former Knight of the Gremory Peerage, was standing in her way, a blank expression that left no hints about his unexpected presence here, nor any emotions that could have granted her the chance of seeing if he was meaning well… or not.

    “Xenovia Quarta.” The blond stated with an empty tone, his blue eyes coldly fixed at her face. “You are the wielder of Durandal and member of the Church.” He pointed out, a long sigh leaving his lips at the end of his strange words.



    “Yes?” She replied with an uneasy but calm tone, still unsure about what was this supposed to mean. The boy blinked, confusion flashing just a moment before two wooden shinai appeared in his hold and… he threw one at her.

    The girl caught it effortlessly with her right hand and glanced at it with curiosity. “So… you wish to fight or are you showing me you are good at making swo-!!”

    She lifted up the ‘blade’ just in time to clash with Kiba’s, the young man having zeroed their distance in silent rage and the impact was enough to generate pressure everywhere.

    The road was unoccupied, mostly because it was far too early and a very quiet day of the weak to truly see someone wandering around. Brown eyes narrowed in annoyance as the blue-haired woman felt irked by the brash attitude of the fellow sword-wielder.

    “I didn’t accept your challenge, Yuuto.” Her tone was steely, her heart was even harsher as her pulse prepared for a quick-paced battle, one that she would have preferred to avoid that morning.

    But the Knight didn’t seem to care from the snarl now present where once his ‘pretty’ looks were.

    Xenovia’s knowledge of Knight-types was limited to her Mother’s teachings and Hoitsu’s own snippets about the Rating Games. One thing jumping several times in the explanations, the fact being… the pure speed those had.

    She barely blinked as she saw the boy turn in a blur, the practice sword preparing to hit her on the side and missing only because the girl managed to spin quickly enough to avoid it. The human was terribly disadvantaged, her strength being… strength and her weakness being the lack of proper mobility with her power.

    Their blades collided once more, the blue-haired Exorcist going for a ‘jab’ by his left armpit. Disabling him, even bringing his speed just a minuscule step down was her priority at the moment and… she failed.

    A yelp was drowned quickly as pain flared from her leg. Her knee tanked the counter well enough, yet the stinging sensation was enough to bring up once more the terrible issue she was having in fending off the silent attacker.

    Yuuto seemed distracted, but also focused on her as his hits were precise but gaining damage from the speed behind the swings’ pace.

    She jumped away, trying to dismiss the Knight’s pattern and… Xenovia’s eyes widened as he gave chase swiftly. She barely ducked away, missing an attack directed at her neck.

    Finally her Shinai, her hand gripping tightly at its hilt, slammed with vigor on the boy’s exposed chest. His eyes went momentarily wide in pain, before narrowing once more at her, the fury behind his strikes increasing even more.

    A groan left her lips as they clashed once more as their feet touched ground again, the pressure starting to get quite troublesome to face this frequently. Her body was limited, humanly so, while Kiba’s enchanted abilities were giving him the edge in that ‘spar’…

    That was a spar, right?

    She would have asked, but her attention was completely taken by the swings coming for the openings now present in her stance. She was losing her footing and Xenovia was quite certain that another hit was going to dignify a painful defeat for her.

    Unacceptable, her prideful self called out in anger, she was a proud warrior of the Church.

    Her resolve returned compact once again and her eyes sparkled in determination as her pace increased with the blond’s. The boy’s eyes widened just a fraction at the sudden improvement from his opponent and… he saw something familiar in her.

    That posture, that strength and… that face.

    It’s been a while now that her appearance had started to leave him with troubled thoughts. Nothing that attracted him to her, but there was something oddly nostalgic in her face, in her mannerism and… her bravery.

    He blocked another attack, she was roaring in anger as her emotion dripped from the edges of her Shinai. The Practice Swords had been reinforced with magic, making them capable of sustaining the duress they were both putting them against.

    Bash, roll, strike and retreat. Xenovia was in clear disadvantage against his swift stance and yet she wasn’t budging an inch from her strong resistance, the blue-haired human actually giving me some reason to truly focus on the battle rather than ‘ridicule her’.

    There was nothing humiliating as her form was flawless and her balance was as graceful one could ever hope to get. She was strong, but still a human being and thus easy to overpower with accurate attacks.

    Her breathing was starting to show the signs of fatigue, her swings losing momentum and almost giving him an easy victory. He paused, trying to understand if he should concede to the fact he couldn’t exactly get any ‘revenge’ from someone this virtuous or not.

    Yuuto had thought that this woman was a zealot of the Church’s ways, a fervent believer of the horrible means to reach the divine and… she was actually sporting a genuine and somewhat fun demeanor in the fight.

    Crack

    That pause costed him a little more than a mere weakening hit, Xenovia roaring again in renewed vigor as her practice sword crashed with utter might onto the side of his head. His eyes went wide and…

    He blinked in pain, his feet getting him away from the mad swinging that the little girl was throwing at him.

    Don’t stop, Isaiah!” Her face was hidden by shadows, his mind failing to grasp her identity. He ducked away from another attack, rolling away as he felt tears starting to swell.

    They were in a small room, two doors at the two extreme sides and several small beds all around.


    N-No, stop please!” He tried to calm the aggressive child down. He was small too, tinier even, but the girl barely seemed to care about it.

    I’m know it hurts, Isaiah,” She mentioned strongly. “But you need this to defend yourself by the bullies.”

    But what if he didn’t want to fight the bullies? What if he wanted to go and draw butterflies? What if he wanted to look at flowers- His little faux sword was pushed back on his trembling chest as the girl claimed victory by rushing against him.

    He yelped in fear as he fell backward… only to be caught by his opponent’s hands, pulling him in a sudden embrace. His eyes widened and he felt immersed in a somewhat familiar and ‘trustworthy’ wave of warmth melted him away from his worry.

    His eyelids slowly turned heavier and he abandoned himself at the softness of the hug.


    I’m sorry.” The girl’s voice had turned cautious, quite apologetic. “I-I know it hurts but… but they will never stop if you don’t start defending yourself, Isaiah.”

    He blinked back to reality, only to duck at a furious attack following the one that had put him in that… little flashback. Yuuto blinked in confusion, What did just happen?!

    His earliest memory was part of the painful set related to the Holy Sword Project. He had partly thought about finding out about before that particular part of his childhood, but his mind had always been fixed over his present.

    And now that he was recovering this much from… a completely unrelated fight!

    He felt anger rising once more, this time his thoughts scrambling because of the concussion he just received keeping him from properly thinking about everything that was happening around him.

    The odds were now even, he realized with minor surprise as his reaction-time had been messed up by that freebie he allowed to pass. A scowl and chiding himself wouldn’t be enough to keep up with the mad assault of the young woman.

    It was so odd how she could easily fight with a sword.

    He blinked, W-What?

    That moment of distraction once more provided the girl a golden opportunity. His shinai flew out of his hold at the umpteenth clash, this one his hands giving too little strength in keeping the practice sword still and Xenovia capitalized on it.

    With a last yell, the girl pressed a kick on his stomach, spit and some blood thrown out of his lips as he fell on the ground.

    She held the edge of her shinai near his throat, pressing menacingly to his frail state. “It’s over, Yuuto. No more games.” Her voice was terribly serious and leaving no space for interjections.

    He gulped nervously, having underestimated the proficient sword-wielder way too much than planned. He sighed as the girl threw the sword away and started to walk away in the direction she had tried to go through, the church being her objective.

    She was going away, completely unaware of the silent plight surging within the young man’s chest. He felt a strange pain, a specific question rising as…



    Mayumi-sensei said that she was an orphan too.

    ...

    “W-Wait!” He groaned in pain, turning to stare at her and… the blue-haired human actually stopped.

    “What do you want, Yuuto?” He flinched at the annoyed tone but still… he had to know.

    “Y-You are an orphan.” He blurted without thinking, panic rising at the insinuations he just caused as the girl fully turned around and looked incredibly enraged by that. “A-And you-”

    “I will not play these games, Yuuto.” She interrupted coldly. “First you attack me, then you try to talk about my past. End this at once, I don’t have time for this stupid trick-”

    “Isaiah.”

    Cold entered his veins as her eyes widened in shock and… realization.

    “My name is-”

    “Isaiah?” She interjected, taking a step towards him. She blinked. “Y-You- You look like- No, he died and- but-”

    Another step.

    “Y-You- how do I know that- that you are him!” Xenovia suddenly lashed out. “I-I know that he was killed by some bad organization-”

    “There was a time when you… you used to tell me tales before going to sleep.” He said with some embarrassment. That was certainly not a good way to prove things but… yes, he could remember those moments now.

    Always the same story actually, he would ask only one from his big sister.

    “Pinocchio.” He concluded with a sigh. “I would always ask for it-”

    “Because you thought that the reason you weren’t getting a family… was that they thought you were a pretty doll rather than a real boy.” Her eyes lowered to the ground. “You… you were rather feminine back then… Isaiah.”

    He frowned. “I-I wasn’t- Uh?!”

    Yuuto didn’t have the time to react as the tackle train struck true against him, making him fall on the floor once more. “X-Xenov-”

    “You were always worried that people would pick on you.” She whispered as she hugged him closer. “You were always asking to be taken around because you trusted only me.” She added with a melancholic note.

    There was silence… the good kind of silence. He blinked, he felt tired and… he sighed.

    “So… you are a Devil?” She asked curiously. “Can you-”

    “I will tell you, I promise and...” He smiled a little. “I think I took too much from your time for your early morning’s praying-”

    “Nonsense.” The girl interrupted once again. “Why shouldn’t I be… happy of having-” She stopped, her eyes dropping once more. “I should have tried to do something against them. They did seem odd back then, those that took you away-”

    “You were a child.” He pointed out. “We were children.” He then reiterated. “And you should be going now. I think we need time to… think.”

    She nodded, helping him up standing. “I agree and...” Without hesitation, she slapped him on his face.

    The blond’s eyes went wide and… he frowned at the sudden attack, but the girl giggled and turned back on her steps. “That’s for attacking me without reason, piccolo Isaiah!” Another giggle and… she ran away, leaving a confused and somewhat annoyed Knight alone in that desolate street.

    He sighed. He did get something out from that ‘spar’ but now it was going to be even more difficult trying to get it fixed too…

    -----------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d------d-d-d-d------

    Breakfast was an awkward affair for some good reasons.

    Yasaka was staring silently at Kuroka, the young woman trying her best to appear… calm and collected while in the presence of the leader of the Yokai faction of Kyoto.

    While someone like the Nekoshou wouldn’t normally be impressed by the formality behind these titles, the black-haired beauty knew very well that the fact that she had been part of a kidnap attempt towards the blonde’s daughter not too long ago.

    Times had passed and allegiances switched, but forgiveness for that act was hardly going to be dealt with a simple talk. It didn’t help that the woman discovered her presence while checking on me the day before, half an hour after lunch.

    Her intentions were good but her discovery couldn’t be considered that much from her side. Peeking her head from the doorstep, her golden eyes widened at seeing Kuroka and I sharing the same bed… with our clothes thrown all over the room.

    The fact that the sheets were barely covering our bodies, coupled with the ‘scent’ she caught with a mere sniff in our general direction, was enough to get the woman in a diplomatic silence for an entire day.

    Kunou was also surprised to see Kuroka still here, greeting her amicably while also pointing out the pungent smell coming from the two of us and… the bite-mark that she spotted during dinner.

    Suspicions, curiosity and a newfound reason to pester around proved to be quite a difficult obstacle for the rest of the day but...

    No proper answer was provided, something that both the two women and me agreed to not give to the ‘impressionable blonde’.

    Which is silly, considering that she did receive Sex Ed back in Kuoh, she knows about the ‘Talk’-

    But we are not going to give her any strange ideas! What if she decided it is ‘fun’ and-


    Are we talking about the same Kitsune? The girl will not do that. Cease with your senseless nagging.

    Yet it was in that morning that something curious happened as Kunou, still curious and intrigued by the situation, decided to go for an unexpected attempt.

    “By the way, Niichan,” She started with a normal tone, almost getting me unaware for the silent plan she had developed that morning. “Can I sleep with you and Kuroka today?”

    Suddenly, the temperature of the entire dropped to a glacial cold, Yasaka looking rather fine and smiling, but I could recognize the aura of someone ‘promising murder at any wrongs done’.

    Something that, even as her surrogate soon, was susceptible for and the woman knew that as she directed it all against me.

    I gulped nervously. “K-Ku-chan, Kuroka-chan doesn’t have a sleepwear. I don’t want you to… get embarrassed. Do you understand why I have to refuse?”

    The girl instantly deflated, as fast as her mother’s simmering anger did, but then as she pouted in annoyance at the response… her eyes widened and she stared first at me and then at the Nekoshou.

    She smiled giddily. “So that means that you both did ‘that’?” Kunou asked cheekily much to my immense chagrin.

    If before that the temperature had hit a glacial level, now we were close to actually burn at the blunt comment from the young blonde and… Yasaka stood up from her seat, my eyes widening in panic at the action.

    “Ku-tan, did you send me a letter about you being given the ‘Talk’?” She asked calmly, way too soothingly for my tastes, but the girl nodded and… the woman sighed tiredly. “I thought so.” She admitted before returning to her previous seat.

    ...What?

    I think that she just pranked you.


    WHAT?

    “Yasa-haha, not that I wish to sound disrespectful, but… did you just mess with us until now?” My tone was soft, but my own anger was rising.

    The woman hummed as she took some more rice with her chopsticks. “About Ku-tan’s knowledge of the adult anatomy? A little.” She paused as to finish the food in her mouth, gulping it carefully as to not choke. “About what you did in your room with Kuroka-tan?” Her smile grew sickly-sweet once more. “Maybe not.”

    I blinked and, while I wanted to press for more, my common sense reminded me that a wrong word could get be in that situation once again. And I didn’t need to get my ass handed by the woman.

    I mean, I could easily beat her with Twilight Joker but… then I would have to explain to Azazel, Sirzechs and others why I’m using it so easily and without a proper training area.

    As much as the one provided by Amaterasu could hold up with Yokai magic, I doubted it could have handled well Draconic- and Demonic-energies as it did with the previous case.

    “Still, isn’t this a good thing, Mama?” Kunou chirpily commented about. “With Kuroka having gone with the big step, now it’s Akeno’s and Aqua’s turns!” She added and… the room fell quiet once more, Yasaka’s face darkening even more than before.

    This time I was seriously feeling the dread about this situation.

    “Ku-tan, did you perhaps forget to tell Mama about Hoi-bou’s suitors?” Her left eye was twitching, the girl frowning and thinking about it and… she sported a sheepish smile.

    “I did.” I think at this point a collective Anime’s face-faulting would have made things the best but… I decided to use this situation to actually defend… the four of us.

    “Yasa-haha, the girls and I aren’t rushing anything and we have spent much time together-”

    “A polyamorous relationship isn’t some joke, young man.” The woman chided back, stopping me before I could truly explain. “I know you are smart and very caring, but that is something not many are capable of keeping up to. Mostly because of the immense emotional burden it could force upon the members.”

    I frowned my eyes directed at the table and… goddammit, I was behaving like a naughty kid being lectured now. Just as I was about to resume the defense, Kuroka decided to jump in.

    “Yasaka-sama, I wish to have the chance to actually explain why us girls decided to go forward with this.” The dark-haired Nekoshou bowed her head respectfully and waited to obtain permission before returning to her normal position.

    The older blonde blinked, staring quietly at my ‘mate’ and then she sighed tiredly. “You may explain.”

    A nod preceded her words. “Thank you, Yasaka-sama.” The young woman sighed. “This agreement wasn’t formed out of lack of thinking, nor without bringing some truthful and serious responsibility over the matter. The girls and I were at first hesitant of even thinking of sharing him but… we both found things in common.” She paused a moment, her eyes growing absent as she was possibly thinking about the moment they were talking about it.

    I was quite unknowing of the true story that led to that deal, only that it did happen and now… we were here.

    “We all came from situations were we faced the lost of someone, one way or another and… we all want to have a proper chance at having a good life after the hardships we had to endure.” Kuroka’s voice cracked a little, making me frown at the sudden emotional moment as it was quite uncharacteristic and unique of hers… especially for the occasion. “Hoitsu is the one that brought us out from that decadence, that gave us hope, love and understanding. He helped up to stand up and… I know it might sounds offensive but...”

    Her eyes narrowed on the Yokai leader. “I love him, we love him. And we will fight for our love with our dearest lives if it did came to that.”



    If Yasaka and Kunou looked shocked at the determined declaration, I…



    I was floored. Stomped, utterly deafened by the unexpected passion held in her tone with the words that she relayed with such conviction.

    “An impressive display… Kuroka-tan.” The blonde mused quietly, still recovering from that proclamation. “But I find myself asking… what would you do if said threat was forwarded towards your love.” Her tone grew serious. “How would you fare against someone hell-bent in making sure you are separated from him-”

    I slammed my fist on the table, cracking it a little and making everyone look my general direction. Even the uneasy guards staring at the scene with a nervous look.

    “Yasa-haha,” My voice was slow-paced and incredibly calm, but there was strength lingering and hiding behind my composure much to the woman’s surprise. “While I understand that you are concerned with what could happen if we mess things up, I can assure you that we are giving our greatest effort to make this eternal.” I replied with utter determination.

    Then I turned to look at Kuroka, her eyes nervously directed at the table and I cupped her cheeks with my hands. She tensed, looking quite surprised by the action as I turned her too look at me.

    She was blushing, the situation being indeed a little embarrassing, but I was past the little nervousness and already basking in the passion she instilled with her words.

    “Kuroka-chan,” I tilted my head closer to hers and smiled even more. “Thank you for giving me this much trust and strength. You and the girls are… my world. I love you all and… thank you.” I pressed forward and captured her lips.

    Her tension burned out as she went to hug me deeply, her hands pressing me onto hers as she wanted to feel my caring warm. I could feel tears falling and… yep, she was crying.

    So are you.

    Oh, shut up!


    The kiss lasted for four strong minutes and we slowly pulled out from each other, almost unwilling to part ways and-

    “That’s so cool!” Our attention snapped at Kunou, the girl sporting a massive smile on her face. “That means that Ko-senpai… will now truly be Ko-Neesan!” She cheered happily, causing her mother to frown in confusion.

    “Ko-senpai? You mean the little Nekoshou that you wished for me to know?” The woman questioned, getting a quick nod from the younger blonde. “Then I can only guess she is Kuro-tan’s little sister… I guess that makes her another surrogate daughter.”

    ...Wait, what?

    “You mean that-”

    “I would never obstacle a bond as strong as you both are showing. If this is only a fraction of your true connection, then I will be more than happy to support it.” Yasaka admitted with a giggle, then her golden eyes turned to Kuroka.

    “I found your little speech not only familiar, but also heart-warming. While I still… have some minor grudge about what you did back then when you were part of the kidnapping force,” The dark-haired woman looked away for a moment, causing the blonde to giggle once more. “I think you mean well, not only with your words, but also with your genuine behavior. I suppose that means that you are going to be my daughter-in-law, little Kuro-tan.”

    I blinked and I noticed that the Nekoshou was now blushing madly at the kind words and the kiss she was still trying to ‘understand’, but then the discussion shifted to another point.

    “It also means that… I will have to spend a night with you and Kunou to see how you act like in a normal situation. Nothing formal, just some cuddles and some talking before going to sleep.” The woman proposed much to my immense surprise.

    We are going to sleep alone with that!

    Maybe it was painted in my face, or maybe the woman was expecting me to think weird of it as, turning back at me with a little mirthful smile, Yasaka asked. “By the way Hoitsu, do you wish to join us too?”

    To cuddle or to not cuddle, tis’ is the dilemma!

    If I go, I will be ‘labeled’ a pervert, if I don’t go, I will be spending the night alone… in that cold bed.

    I think you are starting to get dependent at having someone to cuddle with before going to sleep. It will make the Couch’s punishment quite powerful in a few years from now.


    “Why not, Niichan? It will be nice and- we can talk about names!” Kunou pointed up with the giddiest display ever. Seriously, did someone put too much sugar in her food or what?

    Then I realized the last bit and frowned. “Names, Ku-chan?”

    She nodded. “Names about nephews and nieces!”

    With the crap I had to endure until now, with how things had escalated and… everything else…

    Thud

    Sleep, here I come!

    ----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----

    AN

    I’m incredibly tired! Today was a super-duper-big day, from the fact I updated the ‘Blues of the White Sun’ (Pre-WW2 Self-Insert), had to help my sister with some homework about Hamlet and Shakespeare and I managed a ‘thicc’ chapter today compared to usual.

    About the first section: Yuuto did live in an orphanage in Italy, same for Xenovia. It isn’t stated in the Canon if there could have been a connection but I decided to exploit that. Yes, Xenovia is now the Hoitsu to Yuuto’s Kunou (Sounds odd, I’m working the kinks even now).

    About the second section: we finished the family fluff, next chapter will be a little more serious. Hoitsu and Vali will share a talk (super-secret stuff I can’t talk about) and someone will finally shine once more! (But who are they?!)


    Future milestone 1: 1000 Followers and Favorite.
     
  19. JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    No update today. Decided to try something interesting with the story. Expect some major changes in the more problematic chapters as I will go through errors and expand what is lacking. Expect Fluff, more character-building and some extra snippet-chapters very soon.

    Time to get up from the floor and fix the mistakes already.

    I will add the edited/Polished/Improved chapters here:
    Chapter 26 - Expanded and Polished.
    Chapter 27 - Expanded and Polished.
    Chapter 28 - Expanded, Polished and Improved.
    Chapter 29 - Expanded, Polished and Improved.
    Chapter 30 - Expanded, Polished and Improved.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  20. JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Today I will stop at this chapters. I will try to do more tomorrow, maybe five-six more chapters. I think I can do something about character development and add more scenes to it.
    Suggestions are welcomed and I will be more than happy to consider any chance to improve the story!
     
  21. Threadmarks: Common Interest
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 72: Common Interest

    After spending the last night in Kyoto in quite the embarrassing way, our trip back to Kuoh Town proved to be fairly uneventful and lifting my hopes of having a full day to recover from the little period of rest I had in Yasaka’s mansion.

    Kunou was leaning by Kuroka’s side as the Nekoshou softly petted her head, the younger girl’s eyes were closed and she seemed ready for a quick nap. The woman hardly seemed winded by the trip and I was feeling just a little tired and bored by how slow things had been until now.

    So, when I opened the front door of my house and I found myself being greeted by Issei, I felt a certain degree of… confusion. Sure, it was still early in the morning but he should have been going for school right now.

    “Senpai.” The brunet voiced happily, to which I nodded with a small smile.

    “Ise, it’s good to see you,” I replied, while Kuroka smiled and nodded once to him while the kitsune yawned and seemingly ignored the Red Dragon Emperor.. “But can I ask why you aren’t making your way to the Academy, right now?” I asked with some curiosity, making him look a little nervous.

    The brunet opened his mouth but before he could explain why he was there, someone else appeared from the living room and interrupted him.

    “It has to do with what happened with the recent attack,” The new individual answered with a neutral tone and then he stopped to stare right at me. “Hoitsu.”

    I lifted a surprised eyebrow as I found myself looking at Vali, the silver-haired Devil Hybrid appearing just a little stronger than the last time we had spared some words and… cooperated against a particularly-strong enemy.

    “I see that you didn’t stop training, Vali.” I pointed out with a small smile, the young man snorting but nodding at my compliment. “And ‘recent attack’?” I inquired quietly, getting a sigh from him as he gestured us to get to the living room, Issei following him behind with an irked frown.

    Just as I stepped inside, I realized that the situation had to be one of the most serious ones, with Akeno, Azazel, Baraqiel, and… the entire Slash Dog Team.

    I paused in surprise, slightly overwhelmed by the unexpected presence of the squad led by Tobio. The bartender smiled and nodded my way, Suzaku actually waved me with a pleased smile while the rest followed the example set by their chief… all except one of them.

    My eyes narrowed a little over the seemingly-new addition to the group, the individual wearing a cloak with its hood up and a… red-colored familiar mask. It was similar to the one I used to have as Hekishoku, but it… seemed to give a completely different emotion with its blood-like shade compared to the dark-green one I still had on me.

    A possible fan?

    He would be trying to speak to me right now.

    A shy one?

    Still… there is something wrong about him.

    I was pretty sure that it was a man, his physical frame hardly matching a feminine one and there was something odd about his energy pattern. It was low, incredibly so, but I could still perceive glimpses that were being held back by… something.

    Did he have his power sealed?

    My smile was close to falter at looking at this strangely curious individual, but then I noticed Azazel’s smirk and teasing look as he stared both me and Kuroka down.

    “So… the ‘deed’ was truly done?”

    Cue the sudden blush for the two of us while I felt the beginning of that little need of mine to punish a perverted idiot like him.

    Akeno’s smile widened with an elated accentuation as she let out a collective but quiet ‘Ara, Ara’ with her cousin. From this mere interaction and the lack of surprise at this combined reaction, I could only guess that they did have enough time to bond already.

    Tobio was shaking his head while trying to pass at me some sympathetic glances as the rest of his team mirthfully accepted this little embarrassing development.

    Issei looked at me in awe, possibly because he now had an undeniable proof that ‘following my teachings’ had been the best thing to do, yet his reaction was somewhat reduced by the presence of Asia, the girl giggling a little as she gave him a quick kiss on his cheek, silencing the boy from rupturing the moment.

    Kunou was… sleeping. The kitsune had long gone for some rest on Kuroka’s lap as the situation unfolded, unable to keep up with the tiring effects of the trip.

    Baraqiel sighed and nodded. “Congratulations, Hoitsu and Kuroka,” He praised much to our discomfort, but then he seemed to adopt a more serious tone. “Still, we aren’t here for a visit of courtesy, rather this is an important meeting about what has happened by the doors of Takamahagara mere hours ago.” He explained with a grim look and I frowned darkly at this gloomy predicament.

    “Vali mentioned an attack.” I said while glancing momentarily at the young man. “But I didn’t hear anything about it from Kyoto-”

    “Because this isn’t something known to the entire world.” Azazel finally spoke, his smile deflating. “Not only is recent, but we are trying to avoid causing some uproar with the other Pantheons.”

    And I nodded at him without hesitation. Why shouldn’t I, considering that the situation was indeed bad?

    Takamahagara, or Takama no Hara, were the dwelling grounds for the Shinto deities, the place where the Gods of the Japanese Pantheon were known to be spending most of their times in and… why would they even try to go after someplace like that? The Heavenly Plains held little of importance to actually attack-

    “The forced opening of the doors would have created a magical instability through Japan.” Baraqiel continued to explain. “Natural phenomenons that would normally happen in the Home Islands would increase to a dangerous level, forcing us to deploy an impressive amount of effort to balance out the karmic effects.”

    “And that wouldn’t be even the worst thing.” Azazel interjected, sighing. “By mobilizing this much manpower, we would have had little to spare to stop an eventual full-frontal offensive from them.”

    I blinked in surprise as I didn’t expect the opening of the Heavenly Gates to be this catastrophic.

    “Still, I… I don’t understand why this is of importance to me.” I pointed out bluntly, quickly dignifying this curt reply. “While the situation is indeed dire, I don’t see why I’m somehow important to the matter-”

    “That’s actually very simple, brat.” The Governor-General interrupted once again, this time his stare moving right onto… the mysterious new member of Slash Dog.

    The caped man didn’t deign the glance at first but then he turned his head to look back at the Fallen Angel.

    “By my order, as a superior to Ikuse-kun, you are to reveal your real identity at once, Tarasu.”

    I blinked in shock at the sudden wave of seriousness dripping from the voice of the leader of Grigori, but my attention was soon taken by the curious name.

    Murder?

    Assassination, kill, dead- you know, this truly fits the Emo-ish attitude the dude is sporting right now and-

    The man stood up from his seat in the couch, slowly and carefully as several eyes were on him, some staring at him with curiosity while others were wary of him.

    I tensed up a little as his hands went to his mask and… he pulled it away from his face, the hood falling and revealing his hair-

    My mind blanked out as I found myself staring at-

    What am I looking a-at?



    Interesting.

    Bandages were covering part of his face and hiding his left eye, his brown hair were stained with red locks and what should have been dark-brown eye… were now a vibrant red with golden slits.

    “I’m Hoitsu Sakakibara.” He stated calmly and with a surprisingly neutral tone. “And I’m the only one remaining from the erasure of my original dimension.” His lone eye fixed on me and… he blinked. “And I don’t wish to cause anyone harm-”

    “Except Azrael and Lucifer.” Azazel interrupted mirthfully. “That you looked rather eager to go for when the crazy angel tried to help the Hero Faction.” He chuckled as he concluded that one bit of information.

    But my brain had yet to recover to what I was looking at. At what happened to me.

    This- No, it couldn’t be- but- Okay, what the fuck is going on here?! Is this some prank or-

    “But I forfeited this name when I wake up here,” He continued with his dull tone. “For my purpose is just one.” His voice steeled a little and… I nodded.

    “You seek vengeance.” I guessed quietly. “Only vengeance. You don’t have a reason to exist after this situation is done for good.” I blinked at his nod and then I sighed. “What about-”

    “NIICHAN~!”

    Before I could ask for more serious answers about his current situation, I was interrupted by the ‘battlecry’ of a certain young girl.

    Lith blitzed from the entrance of the room to the couches, jumping towards… Tarasu. He blinked in shock at the sudden appearance of the pony-tailed girl, his body tensing up and preparing to move away but…

    The girl giggled as she proved to be faster than him, tackling him up and pushing him down. His eyes widened in terror, as if he was afraid of the smiling girl sitting on his chest as she drove right by his chin and… nuzzled him.

    Moments of quiet passed as Tarasu continued to appear incredibly tense, but doing anything else rather than staring in visible surprise at the dragonic chibi.

    “Who is that?” A soft feminine tone called out from… behind me?

    I turned around and felt relief at seeing Ophis staring at the scene herself, confusion surprisingly painted on her face.

    “Another version of… me.” I replied bluntly, my sight returning on the bandaged man. “From another dimension.”

    The goth chibi hummed and nodded at the answer, but still she didn’t approach him, preferring to stare at the scene from afar.

    She could be have been weirded out by the situation. It is quite the unnatural sight for sure.

    Maybe, but what about-

    I felt someone yanking at my shoulder and I stared at… Vali? The young man looked annoyed, his stare alternating between me and the now distracted Tarasu.

    “We need to talk.” The silver-haired boy stated calmly, getting a frown but also a slow nod from me.

    I slowly stood out from my seat and followed him to the kitchen. Everyone was taken by the scene and thus I avoided being caught moving away from the room and I was quite curious to understand what The Lucifer wanted to talk about now of all times.

    It’s been a while since we shared a serious discussion and I was partly intrigued by what the young man would want to talk about with me.

    He stopped and turn, his eyes closed as he looked… angry. “Do you believe him?” He asked with some irritation plastered on his face. “I don’t think that this faker should be-”

    “Lith and Ophis think he is genuine,” I replied calmly, interrupting him as I now was somehow aware why he was angry. “And I can support their perception by saying that his energy is similar to mine.”

    Barely. There is just so much wrong in his magic that we should really understand what happened to him.

    Do you think he has something inside him that could hurt us all?

    Maybe, probably. But I will refrain from making quick decisions without proper evidence and with the seals on him, I don’t think it will happen anytime soon.

    “He could have been created by Azrael.” The young man pushed back with a frown. “If he has everyone’s souls, then it shouldn’t be difficult to-”

    “He wouldn’t do it.” I interjected without hesitation, drawing a confused stare from the Lucifer. “He thinks that I’m Lucifer and if I know something about fanatics is that they would never think of ‘cloning’ their inspiration.” Humming, I took a seat by one of the stools by the table. “There is something unholy about the concept that make it abhorred by them.”

    He huffed, following my example and taking a seat. “I guess I can accept it and...” His features softened and sported now a tired glint. “I also need your help.” He said determinedly.

    I blinked once, then twice.

    What?

    What?

    “What?” I finally asked and Vali merely nodded, his stare fixed at the table.

    “There is this… nuisance that has started to stalk me around.” He started to explain with a dull tone. “It all started from having her removed from the holds of a drunk hobo that wanted to steal her money and...” He stopped and I sighed tiredly.

    “Vali, do you have a female stalker? An admirer?” I almost yawned, feeling little from that seemingly harmless tone. “I don’t think that should be difficult to deal with-”

    “She learned where I live, what path I usually walk by and she has a penchant of trying to guess the color of my underwear.”

    Now that sounds like someone very devoted to the Stalk God, Yuno is possibly feeling glad of having a servant-

    It’s not a Yandere we are talking about.

    Are you serious? And why you said that with so much certainty?

    Because you missed the last bit of her descriptions. The underwear bit.

    What about it- Oh. Oh no… but also Oh yes~!

    Without wasting more time thinking about it, I felt a teasing smile creeping on my face.

    “I think I know the person you are depicting here and…” I put a hand on his shoulder and patted it. “I will certainly not endanger myself with her of all people.”

    He blinked and then he frowned. “What are you talking about?”

    “It’s Aika Kiryuu, spectacle-wearing girl with light-brown hair and-” He nodded and I stopped listing her known details. “Well, she is known as the ‘Ultimate Perverted Girl’ at Kuoh Academy. For good reasons too… and I’ve always avoided to personally deal with her because of that.”

    “You mean that you can’t help me with her?” He seemed incredibly annoyed by this but not that much angry at my refusal.

    “It’s more like I can’t help you directly,” I admitted calmly. “But I think you can try to endure the ‘wave’ and hope for her to shift her attention elsewhere.”

    … “Like a cat or something like that?” He asked with a frown.

    “A perverted kind of cat, one that could perfectly give you the measurements about your- nevermind.” I shook my head and-

    Bleach. I need bottles of bleach to deal with the horrifying sight that just flashed from the girl’s perverted statements I’ve heard her say while facing the combined front formed by Sona and Tsubaki.

    Moments of silence passed and I let the young man take in the fact that his situation was truly a hopeless one… at best.

    Then, I remembered something I had to say to Vali but I had never had the chance to truly confirm.

    “By the way, his your team still in Kuoh Town?” I asked quietly, the silver-haired boy nodding at the statement, his mind slowly leaving the ‘horrifying’ prospects of having to live with the whole ‘stalker issue’ for a longer time than planned.

    “Arthur and Le Fey are mostly staying indoors at the ‘headquarters’,” He finally described. “Bikou spends most of his time by the park, either meditating, training or pranking bystanders around.”

    ...Could it be that Bikou is the ‘Monkey-boy’ that has been terrorizing the park for weeks now?

    Probably yes.

    “So there is a chance to do a… group session of training?” I proposed quietly, causing him to frown back at me.

    “What?”

    I sighed. “We are working on a very tight schedule, with the Hero Faction and Azrael cooperating… we need to step up our game even more.” I said with a confident tone. “That is why I think we should start to… train together.”



    “Would that mean that-”

    “We would spar frequently, yes.” I interrupted him quickly. “And I wish to explore the possibility of making use of a technique that requires two people to truly work.”

    He blinked. “How powerful is it?”

    “My power plus yours, all multiplied by ten.”

    Vali’s eyes widened at the small but impressive formula as the result would be… something beyond mere training.

    “I… I think something can be planned.” He admitted calmly.

    “Then I guess we will speak tomorrow about it.” I pressed him much to his chagrin. “C’mon, it will be… like old times?”

    “When I got mauled by Tobio and you jumped in?” He asked cautiously, groaning only after seeing me nod. “You might be a good person, Hoitsu, someone that is interesting to have around, but I would be lying in saying that I don’t hate you.”

    I merely smiled, standing up and leading him back to the living room as things had calmed down and… plans were being made.

    Things sure were going to turn fun very soon…

    ----------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d-------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-------d-d-dd--

    Sirzechs wasn’t having fun.

    Groaning and having some minor trouble standing after sustaining this much damage so quickly, he would have expected that his lovely wife would have at least called off the spar.

    The maid was standing just outside the large area where the battle was happening, her red eyes staring at both him and… his opponent.

    Smiling giddily as her body was coated in her own magic, Rias Gremory looked like she was having a blast in completely obliterating her big brother. Her tracksuit was partly ruined with small cuts and lacerations all over the fabric, her cheek sporting just a tiny cut despite the intense training session they had gone through.

    It had all began from the day Hoitsu had come to visit and ‘pep-talk’ his sister to finally do something else rather than merely play with her PC for most of the daylight. The girl had come out from her ‘cave’ a few hours after the young man had left, her interest being… going for a run around the mansion.

    A surprising decision, but one that the man praised happily as he regarded it as the first sign that she could have recovered from that period of isolation. If only he had thought more about the odd request…

    The first day out was spent running. Only running.

    She made around a hundred of laps around the building, her Devilish physique helping her to complete the normally-absurd exercise without any major strain to her body.

    The second and third day was spent training her magic alone, something that was a little worrying to hear about but Rias still managed to go through the hours-long session without any major issues. He had thought of his concerns as mere brotherly worry, but soon things stepped up to a… strange level.

    The laps around the mansion doubled, tripled and then quadrupled, her Core increasing and improving under the careful duress it was put onto and then… she developed an odd quirk.

    It was a bizarre day when Sirzechs was called by his own mother to see what her daughter was doing in that very moment. There was no worry nor concern in Venelana’s tone, thus he had been fairly unaware of the scary activity his sister was soon going to call a ‘hobby’ of hers.

    He had appeared by the courtyard, his parents standing several meters away from the circle that took him there, and they were all staring at… a giggly Rias carefully climbing the eaves above the main front doors.

    There was proper equipment, there was also a tutor specialized in urban climbing and parkour slowly giving her some advice on how to proceed with the activity and… the unofficial leader of the Four Satans was forced to take a seat and reflect about what was going on with his sister.

    This training… had at first sounded so senseless and quite childish, knowing very well that the girl was strong enough for someone her age and then the spar was offered.

    A simple query given with a honeyed tone that only spurned him to accept as a good brother… only for his smiling face to be matched by a quick jab at his chin.

    Differently from the last time he had ‘played’ around with Rias, the younger redhead had started to use a more direct approach than merely throw a barrage of condensed magical power.

    This change wasn’t for nothing, as Sirzechs realized something that he should have noticed before this humiliating session could have even began. While his magical prowess was still unmatched, his close-quarters was rusty and terribly out-classed by the hard-working sibling, her speed and physical strength being shockingly higher than his own.

    He had tried to keep her away from him by backing quickly out from the confrontations but any attempt about that was easily dealt with a rush of numerous low-powered explosive spells thrown at him. Distracting too much proved to be a mistake as she would then capitalize to resume the close encounters and… deal some considerable damage on his unfocused guard.

    Her hits were stinging and soon he was forced to bring out some more of his untapped energy. A wave of Destruction energy coaxed around his sore self.

    “I-I think it’s time to surrender, Rias-tan.” Sirzechs was grinning while saying this, confident that his sister wouldn’t have gone against him with some of his truer strength out. “You can’t handle the-”

    He stopped as he saw Rias grinning eye to eye, almost expecting him… to go that far.

    She wouldn’t have dared to, and yet-

    The girl took a deep breath and then she muttered familiar words. Words that she wasn’t supposed to know about and yet… she was going to use it.

    Kaioken!

    Her power doubled, outshining his own boost in mere moments as she made use of her stronger state to rush for a quick taste of its unique potential. All punches went through his defense, much to his chagrin and pain, and the final kick sent him flying back to the ground.

    He groaned, feeling quite irritated of being beaten so easily by his younger sibling (His cute Rias!).

    That was unacceptable and he will now show her his true power-

    “Rias wins.” Grayfia’s voice echoed in the damaged battlefield, causing the two redheads to stop in shock at that proclamation. “Sirzechs is out-of-bounds.” She explained curtly, pointing out that he was indeed sitting several meters away from the arena’s special floor.

    His head sagged for a moment in crushing defeat, his sister throwing her hands up in the sky as she let go of the technique. “Yatta!”

    ...Part of him would have wanted to contest the judgment of his lovely wife, but even then the mere moment of celebration from his cute little sister was more than enough to get him out from the post-spar gloomy mood. In fact, he cracked a small twitchy smile at her as he walked towards the two women.

    “T-That was impressive, Rias-tan-”

    “’It is time to surrender’?” The girl interjected with a mocking tone. “’I cannot handle the pressure’?” She ended with a minor snort, shaking her head. “Forgive me, Niisan, but it seems like you handed yourself this defeat.”

    He facepalmed and groaned, it didn’t help that his wife was actually smiling at that caricature of him. “I-I was trying to-” He sighed, knowing that it wouldn’t matter at the clearly excited girl. Still, he decided to ask about a concern of his. “By the way, Rias-tan, how did you develop the ‘Kaioken’?” His inquiry was met with a blink, then two.

    “It was actually from cousin Sairaorg.” The girl said with a confused tone. “Don’t you remember? He was the one mentioning it when he returned from the Phenex invitation to lunch.” She let out some anger at the mentioning of that family, her irritation directed at Raiser still there.

    In that moment, Sirzechs did remember that the young man had been quite lengthy about his explanation of the technique, a clear sign that he had been intrigued by it and that he was possibly going to integrate it in his own arsenal… like usual.

    But despite receiving minor attention from Zeoticus and Sirzechs, Venelana and Rias did listen to his narration and, while his mother did this for family’s sake, the younger redhead did that to… acquire such a terribly powerful boost.

    “I-If I remember correctly, wouldn’t that need some major training other than-”

    “Meditation was easy to do in my room.” Rias interjected with an annoyed look. “Also, I had to build some muscles.” She rolled up one of her sleeves and… yes, her arm was a little more toned that he had last seen it. She was also a little taller and her bust-

    “Niisan, stop staring at my chest.” She huffed angrily, her reaction followed by the more subtle, but promising ‘a terrible night of tortures, coming from his wife. The maid looked irritated, but she had herself noticed that the former heiress had grown a little more than before.

    It was in the Devil’s biology, the capacity to adapt their growth to their convenience until there was a proper dedication of the Devil itself to absorb nutrients and steadily train.

    Rias had done so and she had improved a lot from that.

    It was shocking but, the maid would be compelled to say that the girl was almost as strong as she was… without the Kaioken.

    But just as they were about to leave the training room within the mansion, they all stopped and turned at the sound of someone clapping at them.

    Smiling happily and slowly advancing towards them, Zekram Bael seemed to be in a good mood from the way his entire stance was… so relaxed.

    “A perfect display of ruthlessness and power, grandniece.” The man praised the girl, his clapping stopping as he was finally close enough to speak. “But I can only guess that this little spar hardly got you to use your full power, correct?”

    The young Gremory blinked but… nodded at him, knowing that she could hardly refuse his questions.

    His smile widened at the information.

    “That’s good to hear.” He admitted with genuine interest. “Almost makes me wish to put you against your cousin but…” He paused with a sigh, noticing the brief spark of fear at facing the stronger opponent. “I think it would be a waste to have something so barbaric, among family.”

    He blinked, his smile assuming an endeared tone. “But what if it wasn’t family? What if it was… a chance for redemption-”

    “Her punishment can’t be swayed, Elder Bael.” Sirzechs jumped at this, his face steeling in a serious look. “The judgment can’t be overruled-”

    “But that isn’t my plan, Lord Lucifer.” The old man replied with a cold tone. “In fact, I was thinking about testing her resolve in facing someone that can offer her a full pardon if he thinks she is ready.”

    “W-What?” The girl blurted in shock.

    What was he talking about? No one could-

    “If the major offended side feels that the culprit has paid more than enough with their penance, then they can fully pardon the culprit.” Zekram explained curtly, getting a snort from the leader of the Satans.

    “That is a rule that is applied if there is a case of war-”

    “And forgive me then, Sirzechs.” The Bael interrupted with a scowl. “Do you think that with a group of silly ‘heroes’ and war-craving deities trying proclaiming war against us, this is still peace for Hell?” He shook his head. “And to think I was the one that vouched for you to be the ‘Lucifer’ of the council-”

    “Enough, Elder Bael.” The man finally snapped with cold fury. “Your presence is no longer accepted and it’s preferred that you avoid being around me and my family.”

    “But isn’t young Rias my own family too?” The elder stated blankly as he turned around and started to walk away. “Such a pity...”

    And while the former Lord of the Bael clan retreated out of the room, Rias’s mind started to face a terrible series of conflicts.

    Many regarding the situation of her punishment, her improvement and… what if she could truly be pardoned?

    It wasn’t like she would return to her usual routine now that she found interesting training in her free time… but she would be lying if she said that she didn’t miss Kuoh Academy and her peerage.

    She sighed and remembered that Hoitsu was going to have to fight with Sairaorg, the date imminent by now and… then maybe, when the event would happen, her mind would be prepared to have something to say and do for the occasion.

    Whatever it is asking for true forgiveness… or maybe seeking praise about her humble growth.

    -------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d-------

    AN

    It’s been… a while?

    I mean, I’ve been doing stuff for the story, but I don’t think many have noticed ‘the changes’ I’ve been bringing to the plot.

    If you go to chapter 26 to 30, you will see that some mistakes have been removed, some sections have been expanded and I plan to change some bits of the plot when my holiday break from updating begins.

    Yes, I will not be updating anything of the regular schedule from December 23 to 30, and I will focus on the newer projects, fixing some of the mistakes left in the last… 40 chapters or so and I will add some Oneshots to this fanfic. What about?

    I can already say the first one will be a pilot that will Xover with… another pilot. Not many pilots nowadays so… I leave you to guess which one I’m talking about.

    Also, I would love to hear some more feedback from ya’ll because if I want to change things, may it be grammar or ‘things that have to go’, I would like to hear ‘proper’ criticism. What is that? Well, it’s when you don’t go moderated (or not too cynical, but also not too kind about the review).

    And lastly, I’ve a Cofi (but with the K) account. I’ve seen that many have some trouble with the monthly donation thingie, thus I decided that this new one (which is single donations) could be a little easy to… go around.

    Future milestone 1: 1000 Followers and Favorite.
     
  22. Threadmarks: Vertical Asymmetry
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 73: Vertical Asymmetry

    Cao Cao was unsure of what to think about the sight he was given when he went to search for Azrael.

    Not something that he had gone to do out of courtesy, the Angel was an abomination before his eyes and he would certainly be the happiest to eliminate such a dangerous monster from Earth.

    The major issue was presented by what had happened back when their forces clashed against the divine guards by the Ama-no-uki-hashi. The heavenly bridge that connected the mortal world to Takamagahara had been fairly easy to reach and mostly cross, the major problems rising when a grand force had met up with the faction before it could have concluded the crossing.

    The guards were easy to fend off, but their high number proved to be a reason to worry and be focused during the whole brawl. There had been no peace, no rest, only an intense and over-arching thought that spanned through the rest of the conflict.

    With the presence of some of the more war-fueled deities helping them and with Azrael offering his support with his unpleasant power, there had been no doubt in the mind of the wielder of the true Longinus that nothing could have stopped them from truly crossing the single defensive line presented before Shinto Heaven.

    Things were sure… until a true agent of chaos had emerged from the direction they had come from. An entire group formed by high-tier members of Grigori, Slash Dog was a dangerous but manageable team that rushed quickly to lessen the burden the Heroes were throwing at the garrison, forcing a two-front fight to happen and…

    Then Gods started to die.

    Beings that were supposed to represent the highest peak of their respective Pantheons, were easily butchered with by someone moving within the group led by Tobio Ikuse. Someone that Cao Cao had little knowledge of, his appearance giving little to him about this unknown stranger.

    Yet it was his style, so brutal and ruthless, efficiently tearing through the brave men and women he had brought to this important event, that offered some sight within the intentions and the means behind this new piece in the board.

    A disturbance to his peaceful and logical plans that had made even his heart of steel tremble for just a moment. It was so much… unbelievable, even the sole staring at the calculative manners of such darkness at work was enough to send some chills down his spine. There was something unnerving about the masked fellow, the power displayed by the man dealing non-negligible damage upon his opponents.

    Something was indeed wrong with this individual, terribly so.

    He would have rushed to the fight too, his battle-sense craving for some serious brawling and nothing of the previous pest-extermination he had been gone for. Who could even dare to refuse this grand deed in the making? To put down a beast of a man?

    But just as Cao Cao had been prepared to rush to the battle with this fearsome being, an unholy shriek had him frozen stuck on his position. Eyes going wide open, he had turned to see whom was responsible for such a scary reaction.

    Continuous and defiant, the noise originated from Azrael himself as the Angel flung himself at the masked individual. His usually giddy self was now gone, forsaken for a hideous scowl that glowed in utter hatred and displeasure towards… the very man that had caught his attention.

    The stranger seemed to barely care for the approaching monster, his posture hardly tensing as the shrieking fiend prepared to lunge at him. His whole body was coated in dark-red energy and through the eye-holes in his mask the human could see… power.

    Raw power, emotionless power, aimless power. So much could be said by just a stare of those terrifying eyes, eyes that seemed to tell a silent but tall story of everything and... Azrael looked uncaring of this visible change as he went to engage in some close-quarters fighting with their newest enemies.

    They were blurs, a red one against a dark-blue one giving chase to each other, their clashes frequently creating immense amounts of pressure all through the holy grounds and… everyone, both guards and invaders, paused as the shock-waves of the first attack reached their proximity.

    The bridge creaked in discomfort at the insane amount of energy involved in that exchange of hits, causing more surprise to rise from those defending the gates, while none of the two fighters seemed to care for the attentive spectators of that soundless and senseless brawl they were part of.

    The hero’s hold over Longinus had tightened as he felt… small. Minuscule.

    Until now, Cao Cao had thought that Godhood was the limit that the world would offer to those worthy of it, yet this… this wasn’t a battle of Gods.

    A massacre, a blood bath promised to those that even thought of joining in that ‘simple’ one against another. His breathing was almost non-existing and… then the most horrifying noise he had ever heard rouse once again, this time the pitch sporting shock and pain as the Angel was sent careening away from the tiny encounter.

    The masked individual roaring in utter fury, clothes torn and revealing part of his part of his chest and his left arm. Scales, dark-red ones lapping over the pink skin of a human being.

    An abomination both within and outside.

    Just as he readied his Longinus to jump the melee and halt the advance of the fool, he saw it.

    His eyes were now devoid of any emotion, only power and with a powerful outburst, his truest self manifested but briefly.

    The end, the finish line for the lives of those that lived for justice but also for infamy. It was the impartial judge of everything, the one that revealed a similarity to the damaged Azrael.

    Raphaeline, the aide of the Being of Death, had stared from a safe distance as her ‘chief’ seemed to be unwilling to get up, groaning in pain as he snarled.

    FILTHY L-LIAR!” He had suddenly roared back, only to pass out and with him the deadly aura that had surrounded him only now.

    The masked figure had been utterly enraged as he had slowly started to take more steps towards them.

    It turned out that there was only a singular choice to make, quite straightforward as the leader of the Hero Faction turned to his comrades and proclaimed the bitterest word to ever order as a leader.

    “Retreat!” He croaked in panic, almost flinching at the voice remaining in his throat.

    There was no hesitation as everyone had then proceeded to jump off the bridge, ready to dispatch their teleportation seals and return back to their headquarters. Even the panicking female Angel managed to rush to take the wounded Azrael and pull him away from the bridge, activating the seal provided by Indra.

    Landing on the safe haven that was the Hindu Deity’s garden never gave him that much relief and… dread. The God had been there to wait for their glorious return, other representatives that he had invited for the occasion being there to witness the event and… things had taken a sour turn when the truth had been delivered to the group of divine beings, their reaction giving off much of their inner fury regarding the outcome of this raid.

    A defeat that wasn’t supposed to happen, Cao Cao did felt the shame and the embarrassment of having been unprepared for the counter-attack presented by that Crimson Demon. Yet he was glad of the fact that Azrael had been injured by this unfortunate turn of events, providing a more than legitimate proof to the angry deities that the difficulty had been far beyond the capacity of the group.

    What was supposed to end in a complete and utter breakup of their alliance because of their failure proved to be something that brought more worries and a need to form an active coalition.

    The news that Grigori harbored a God-Slayer, someone that was capable of killing deities with ease, was enough to lift some concerns from everyone but also bring some opportunity to demonize the situation.

    It should have been difficult, but twisting the tale to fit the rhetoric of their side proved to be easier to corroborate than planned and more Pantheons had started to lean towards their direction.

    A good achievement, but far from granting the immense advantage a successful raid would have provided to them. A distraction to give a decisive blow to the Three Factions would have been essential to win the war that was to come. Yet his hopes hadn’t realized, a miser reward forwarded by the always-cruel fate around them.

    With his musings ceasing so did his wandering to seek out Azrael, the Angel having missed some of the important gatherings organized for the occasion. Wary and cautious, Cao Cao ventured in the lair of the monster with keen eyes and sharp hold over Longinus.

    He walked inside the large room that was supposed to hold the Angel inside and… he found him.

    His coat was now lying on the floor, tears and burns visible from the distance as the tall abomination was staring… at himself?

    Raphaeline was a few meters away from him, not daring to stare at the terrifying glimpse upon the insanity of the beast. She glanced at the human, her eyes revealing quite the nighmareish experience behind the last few hours before resuming her silent stare away from the monster.

    Littered with scars, the body of the Angel sported cracks of energy, never-ending whispers of dreadful last wishes from the souls accommodated within his flesh were leaving from those as Azrael silently glared at his chest.

    At first, Cao Cao had thought that the Angel had yet to notice his presence and he was certain that it was far too distracted by his wounds to mind the weaker being but-

    “To think that there could be a heretic in my own garden.” Azrael muttered absently, his eyes lingering back to Cao Cao before snapping back on his own torso. “To think that… a monstrous thought like that would be born from nothingness.”

    The human blinked at the depiction and frowned.

    “Are you referring to the masked fiend?” His tone was the same as usual, elevated but heroic, yet it somehow lacked the normal confidence it had. For good reasons, he admitted.

    The Angel spun around a furious expression snapping on his face as he scowled. “The greatest of sinners, the one that defied his wish, for the sake of some silly hopeless soul!” He ranted angrily. “He isn’t supposed to fall so deep in the worst, yet he did. He dared to-” A pause, then a blink as his tense posture eased and in that moment Cao Cao realized that he was shaking a little.

    The blood-lust echoing from the Angel of Death was almost unbearable, only pure willpower was having him stand composed and not on the ground and unconscious as the younger Angel was. Raphaeline had fainted, the powerful outburst being too much for her and… the human blinked as his eyes landed on Longinus and he froze in shock.

    The weapon was groaning, as if it had just survived an attempt of being bent by something and…

    It had been the peer pressure!

    It was an impossible connection, yet that would explain why it did felt… way stronger than anything he had ever felt. His mind remembered the thoughts he had back during that brief engagement between Azrael and the masked being, only for his realization to hit a cold point.

    This Angel… he was beyond God?

    The creation of a Deity was never meant to surpass its maker, an absolute law that had been imposed to all deities from an unknown time. The collective agreement had lasted until now among all Patheons… yet here it was.

    Azrael was the proof of the fool play of the Christian God, the conception of a being that not only nodded to his own rules but also defied the standards by ascending beyond the divinity and into the idealistic.

    He wasn’t staring at the Angel of Death.

    No, this was Death itself, the concept given thoughts and emotions. A desire for something.

    His eyes widened as he saw the being now smiling and tilting towards him.

    “You realized, didn’t you?” He tilted back to a normal position, face-palming a broken snort. “Of course, the hints and the fight. But mostly the defiance.” He sighed and nodded. “Truly amazing but also… amusing!

    “Y-You-” The human’s voice was failing at the depraved magnitude before him, the final abomination. “You are-”

    “Azrael.” The Angel finished for him, his index suddenly pressing the hero’s lips close. “And you will say no-thing~ about it or next time you will not be around to see… anything, I guess.”

    The threat wasn’t lost to Cao Cao, no response about it, neither an act to boldly defy such an ultimatum, nor an acceptance to the subjugation. There wasn’t a need to do that as he could now see his soul screaming from the glowing cracks on the monster’s skin.

    “Good boy!” The fiend replied with an appreciative tone. “Now, go to Indra and tell him that I was just thinking how I could graciously help you all with the next task. We need to be quick after all.”

    W-What?

    His smile widened. “His arrival.” He explained with a crazed look. “He is nigh! My God is almost here~!” A dark chuckle echoed through the humongous room as Cao Cao turned around and rushed away from that horrible place of madness.

    This… this wasn’t what he wanted!

    --------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d-------d-d-d-d-----

    It was a quiet day in Kuoh Town.

    The time spent at school was quick and uneventful, providing me just a little reprieve from what was planned to happen later that day.

    Once more, my duties as the Treasurer of the Student Council proved to be lessened by the sharp and precise cuts applied by Sona and the new and well-managed budget showed already some pleasant results as trips out of the ‘normal’ town were now planned to happen more frequently than in the last few years.

    A small boon to the students now that they weren’t drained by the lack of proper funds because of silly clothes and other ineffective expenditures for the school itself. Clubs received an improved monthly income that increased the overall quality, something that was mostly noticed by the sport-related teams as new equipment to replace the obsolete one was now affordable for them all.

    Kunou had decided to linger behind this very day to see what kind of issues I had to go through with my role in the Student Council, a mere visitor that was granted just a glimpse in the maddening thing known as paperwork.

    Which possibly scarred the girl about ever dealing with any tall towers made by papers and ink.

    It’s amusing how rulers back in ancient times would be annoyed by the regular sessions of court and I’m almost intrigued to see their face before such a ‘terrible threat’ as paperwork.

    One of these days I will find a way to get you out and face it for a full day.

    Challenge accepted.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him.

    Leaving the school grounds with the kitsune on tow, our walk back home was quite peaceful and lacking of anything worth of mention.

    It was by the time that we had finally gotten back to the front door that I felt that… there was someone waiting by the other side of the entrance.

    Akeno? Kuroka? Maybe Issei and Asia?

    No. I noted grimly as I opened the door and… was greeted by a small group of familiar people led by a clearly-annoyed silver-haired young man. Vali looked particularly annoyed by the possibly (surely) long waiting he had to go through.

    Poor lad. I really want to pat his head right now…



    What? No reaction to that?

    I think that was pretty… cringy?

    Ok boomer!

    Get over here, nineteen-years old!

    I despise both of you…

    “Vali-”

    “Training.”

    I stopped mid-greeting, my eyes blinking back at his irritated frown with some perplexity.

    “Much childish?”

    Arthur shook his head at my words while Le Fey had a small smile on her face, her hand shooting by her mouth as a muffled giggle could be heard much to their leader’s further annoyance.

    “Hello there, buddy.” Bikou was smiling eye-to-eye and seemingly showing a ‘tame’ approach compared to anything I had heard so far. “Vali here is just dealing with the fact he wasn’t given his daily prescription of sparring with someone strong. Kind of a kink if you ask me-”

    “Aren’t you the one terrorizing kids at the park?” I interjected with a confused frown. The comment had his eyes go wide, his jaws dropping for just a moment before he looked away with a frown and a small pout.

    “That’s-a low blow here, pal.” He huffed before turning his attention towards Kunou. “Hello there, little lady.”

    The blonde frowned. “Are you a pervert?” She asked with faux-innocence.

    The oldest of the two Pendragon siblings snorting at the suddenness of the comment, the maid by his side frowning at him but cracking a smile at the joke too. The magician… went in for a laugh much to the monkey’s chagrin and Vali smirked at the comeback.

    The lancer turned around and waved his hands in defeat. “Welp, nevermind then.” He muttered before distancing himself from the utter sass.

    Gah, Kunou can be so savage… and it’s our fault.

    Yep and I proudly accept the blame for this.

    I patted the girl’s head, getting a small smile from her before finally addressing the Lucifer.

    “I guess we can start soon, the others have yet to arrive and...” I stopped to blink as a scowl was now present in Vali’s face.

    “Seriously? You don’t want to wait-”

    “Give me a spar.” The young man finally admitted. “I’ve been having a hard time dealing with my stalker, Lilith denied me the chance of having some training session before coming here and-”

    I snorted. “You are aching for a spar. It’s been a while since we have sparred together.” I pointed out with some genuine surprise about the last bit.

    He nodded. “Since the Samael Incident.” The Devil-Human hybrid corrected with a sigh. “So a spar-”

    “Not yet.” I said with a stern tone. “But I think we can do something to pass some time before the full training day begins.” I mentioned and he blinked at my mysterious allusion.

    Then his eyes widened a fraction. “You mean that technique?” He asked quickly to which I nodded.

    “Yep, but I think we should move to the training grounds before I tell you anything about it.” I muttered, getting a nod from him as we all moved to the upper floor. I saw Akeno by the living room as she was finishing her homework and I waved at her, the Fallen Angel blinking and then smiling before waving back with a lovely expression.

    She is truly… a different person from how we met her.

    She is quite graceful, even more than just appearing like that.

    My thoughts were kept brief as we reached for the area in less than a minute and, as the team and Kunou sat outside of the arena, I finally addressed with Vali about the Fusion Dance.

    “The Metamoran Dance, better known as the Fusion Dance, is a technique that allows two beings to ‘fuse in a single entity’.” I started to explain with a calm tone. “There are requirements and limits to such a powerful concept, the first being the biological similarities and differences of the two beings.”

    I pointed at Vali. “I’m a human and since you aren’t a full Devil, we are compatible for such ability.” I said with a small smile, to which he replied with a little frown.

    “So two beings… like a pure-blooded human and a pure-blooded Yokai can’t commit to this?” He asked out of curiosity and I nodded.

    “The technique is rather strict,” I answered. “Even with this little obstacle dealt with, the other bits are fairly limiting themselves.”

    I lifted my index finger. “The two users need to have the same energy level during the action, thus it requires attention diverted to make sure to be synchronized regarding that.” Then I lifted a second finger. “The dance itself can be… considered funny to a certain degree. It is quite simple, but fairly amusing to stare at much to the users’ annoyance.” He frowned at this point, Bikou perking at the mentioning of anything amusing coming soon, but then I lifted a third and final finger. “If done properly, the fusion will last a full thirty minutes… without any major boost applied to the form.”

    “So if we used the Balance Breaker in that form-”

    “The length of the fusion would slightly lower. Nothing major as the fusion itself is a very stable form compared to anything similar to it.” I assured him and Vali seemed to accept with some irritation this limit to the form.

    We started by having our energy synchronize to the same degree, a process that took around ten minutes to complete as we weren’t the… most coordinated with our comments.

    I wonder what would happen if you played a coop match in Portal 2.

    Probably we would fail at everything, swear at each other and then fail some more.

    Sounds about right.

    After spending fatigue and brain cells over the incredibly simple task, our next step was… the dance itself. I went to do it solo, to show that the positions had to be mirrored by the second user… only for Bikou to throw some amused comments back at me.

    The dance was funny, there was no point in denying it, but the fact it came from this individual, someone that thrives in utter chaos and giggles, I found it difficult to keep myself from going to him and bash his skull inward.

    I was graced at a certain point from Le Fey. The young Magician pointing out that some of the more complex and more powerful spell could be deemed funny and dumb to look at, but the sheer potential and capacity wasn’t something to scoff at.

    The white-haired hybrid was silent as he watched and learned the various steps of the dance, then nodding and confirming the fact he was ready for the first test.

    Part of me was slightly worried for two separate reasons, the first being that the technique might as well fail as of now, since I was unsure over the full integration of such power within the actual logical side of magic, the latter issue being if we ended up messing up the dance, creating a weaker and deterring entity for Vali.

    My worries… proved to be unfounded.

    The Lucifer went perfectly with the execution of his part and so did I, the moment our fingertips touched… a blast of heat and energy went to coax us, light blinding us as I felt my mind go blank and…



    This is interesting.

    We blinked at the resulting being, noticing instantly the classic clothes of the Metamorean race and… our power was absurdly high. Even in our basic form, the energy we were currently holding was far greater than Hoitsu had expected.

    The formula could have been slightly off, but the results were indeed as positive as Vali wanted them to be. We started to stretch a little and we ended up noticing that the clothes were also fairly conservative compared to Gogeta and Gotenks.

    There was a dark-blue shirt covering our chest, gloves covering our hands instead of the common armlets and we felt some pauldrons on ourselves too.

    “This is so-” Kunou jumped inside the arena and rushed to ogle at the form with starry-eyes. “Cool!” She exclaimed giddily much to our… confusion?

    I think your reactions are overlapping and mixing up into confusion.

    Oh? There is someone else in the mindscape?

    It would seem like we all joined together in this entity. I’m Apophis and I can only guess you are Albion.

    That would be correct, yes.

    And I’m Shiranai, kind of the Dark side of Hoitsu.

    Dark side? Like a completely different being or-

    It’s a symbiotic relationship. I can’t live without him but he could technically live without me, but without the cool powers I could give him.

    Interesting. So… this Fusion, what should we… call him?

    A curious question, one that I have an answer too.

    What?

    Our hand reached for the kitsune’s unsuspecting head and we started to pat her much to her surprise. “We think you are getting over-excited, Kunou-chan.” We said with a calm tone. “But if you want, we can grant you a little spar. Nothing too dangerous.”

    And your name is?

    In due time, Albion. No need to ruin the surprise.

    The blonde blinked at the offer, but softly nodded and took a fighting position. We merely crossed our arms close to our chest and waited for her to begin attacking. There was silence, there was calm and… she slowly rushed towards us.

    The girl’s speed was still as high, if not higher than in the last spar she had with Hoitsu, the boost offered by Lith having still influence her natural self as her attacks would have been nothing to scoff at… if we weren’t fused.

    The rapid rush was rendered void, helpless and devoid of any contact as we easily moved through her punches and kicks. It was so simple and yet… so normal for our whole new self as we felt like it was a common habit.

    Muscle memory is combined too?

    That would seem the case.

    What an interesting development.

    A boring one at best.

    The kitsune ceased her assault and backed away. Her breathing was labored, but she looked merely winded by her lengthy attempt. “Y-You dodged everything, Niicha- I mean-”

    “You may call us that, Kunou-chan.” We interrupted politely while smiling kindly at her. There was no reason to behave badly towards the helpful blonde.

    And there isn’t any sign of arrogance.

    Truly?

    Yes. Many fusions have… quite the cocky attitude to themselves. But this one is incredibly self-aware and focused.

    Maybe the full display of his nature will appear in a real fight.

    “Now, Kunou-chan.” We said with a calm tone. “We will go for a very brief offensive. We will hold back to a bare minimum and hit the same spot with only our legs. We can withhold ourselves from going that far but-”

    “I-It’s fine.” She assured quickly. “I know you aren’t going to hurt… much. It’s training after all.”

    Indeed. She knows us very well.

    Hoitsu. She knows Hoitsu very well.

    ...Indeed.

    Kunou assumed a defensive position and we moved for a quick flurry of kicks, our legs moving at the same speed, if not lower, than the one the girl had used for her attacks. Her capacity to defend herself shone true in that situation as she managed to either deflect the incoming attacks or dodging them with precise accuracy.

    We stopped moments later, gauging the full capacity by thinking from that little encounter.

    We were going at 10% of our true potential and matching up with Kunou. The girl is just a little off, maybe at 80% of Hoitsu’s full power in his base form, thus that means that-

    Your base form is strong a little less than 10 times the full power of Hoitsu. And I can assume about a close 9 times as strong as Vali is in his base stance.

    Absurd but… totally amazing.

    It would be good to have further experiments about this situation but… I don’t think we can with how strong it is. Without someone as strong if not stronger than him right now, it wouldn’t work at all.

    That’s right. But I think I will stop for now.

    I eased my composure and so did the kitsune, allowing another quick session of headpatting. “Thank you, Kunou-chan.” We praised, to which the girl mustered a pretty big smile.

    Adorable.

    “Still, we think we should be saying what’s our name.” We smiled brightly and then we spoke. “Our name is Votsu, but we can settle for Vox too.” We finally said with a strong voice and-

    “Pfft- laaame.” Bikou said with a dull tone. “Seriously, is that the best you go-” He couldn’t finish that sentence as we appeared in a blur in front of him. He jumped and let out a manly yelp as he fell on his butt at our sudden teleportation.

    “Hmph- Lame.” We replied curtly much to his growing scowl and just as we was about to turn back to look at Kunou, we heard footsteps approaching from the hallway and we glanced to find…

    A wide-eyed Akeno, her jaws dropping and her eyes staring right at… the abs that were visible through the dark shirt. She was holding a small tray filled with snacks and… yep, she was ogling at us.

    We blinked and we knew that now we would have to explain this to her without getting in any uncomfortable situation. Because while Hoitsu was in love with this lovely lady, Vali was more than happy to stay away from those honeyed scenes.

    Seriously, what a troublesome life did Hoitsu have.

    ----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d---------

    AN

    Fu-sion-AH!

    The power of the two morons is a Squared Moron.

    And Yes, I did intentionally leave something about a flashback story about Vali and Hoitsu in the earlier bits of the second segment and also yes, I did brainstorm in trying to get a proper name with meaningful significance with the fusion of the two names… but it was too big of an effort and I went with this one.

    Some memes, some preparation and… I think some Omake coming soon. It will be amazing!

    Future milestone 1: 1000 Followers and Favorite.
     
  23. Threadmarks: What's behind the Man who Cackles
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 74: What’s behind the Man who Cackles

    Akua was quite confused about what was going on with Akeno.

    The vampire had just arrived with her sister to Hoitsu’s home, nodding quietly at the young human blonde that was Asia Argento, the girl alternating her work from the kitchen to the living room, and proceeding to seek out the training ground of the house.

    The others were there too, even the deplorable Yujiro Hanma was giddily walking around the room and challenging people around. Nobody was in clear chance of dying with the Ogre, the man still far too weak to keep up with most of the members of the Omega Initiative, yet Baki was always lurking around to make sure his father wouldn’t have caused any major issues.

    Issa had refused to come by, citing the fact he had some paperwork that required his utmost attention. Papers regarding their estate and the politics of the Vampires society, things that hardly caught Akua’s interest and most of the time were delegated to other people serving the Shuzen family.

    Yet what had truly caught the Black Deva’s attention was the mortified state she had found the Himejima girl. Akeno had accepted a lap pillow by a sheepish-looking Kuroka, her hands pressing on her face as she tried to hide the full blush displayed on her features.

    Something had gotten her embarrassed, that was something the ravenette could see perfectly by herself, but the reason behind this reaction was… more difficult to grasp upon. The individual was sporting refined abs and, even though it wasn’t Hoitsu, it wouldn’t be wrong to deem them as if chiseled from stone itself.

    Yet it was the Nekoshou’s following comment at her blunt assertion of this that got some blush out of the vampire herself.

    “The abs can be of both, but I reckon that the butt is Hoitsu’s.” The Yokai admitted shamelessly and loud enough for the strangely-dressed being to appear flustered for just a moment during his sparring.

    Admittedly, the former assassin had been surprised herself when she learned about the Fusion technique, an ability capable of uniting two beings in a single one, multiplying their full powers to an astonishing degree.

    Votsu, or Vox, felt weird through her Magical detection ability, her eyes widening for a whole when she felt both Hoitsu and Vali mixed as one with a major source of raw energy within them. The final result was also intriguing from the way he behaved and acted around the people.

    He was very conscious of his sudden extremely high power, but he seemed to keep a curious politeness about himself. Only his interactions with Ophis, Lith, Kuroka and Kunou seemed to show a higher degree of warmth and informality, yet it was still lesser than how Hoitsu usually behaved around the four girls. His energy flux was absurdly stable, something incredibly impossible for someone with so much dense mana inside of them.

    Yet Vox existed to prove this legitimate rule wrong and he seemed more than happy to let people stare at him as he took as many challengers as possible. Many asked eagerly, the Hanmas being a prime case, but it was the Red Dragon Emperor that was allowed to fight him first.

    Issei had tried himself, the brunet actually bringing out some particularly interesting potential to the table as his Boost was harmonized with his high magical-spending in powerful attacks and self-improvements.

    It was a decent display from the human, his flexibility with his Sacred Gear quite noteworthy in her opinion, yet she was quick to find his fighting style to be crass and insufficiently explored as he tended to repeat the same ‘combos’.

    A classic mistake from many early trainees as they tried to integrate some flimsy videogame move in their style. Very disappointing in a normal situation, but in this case she had to admit the presence of recurring attacks wasn’t as frequent as she had initially expected.

    Soon after Issei, the boy being brought to exhaustion after an intense ten minutes of fighting, it was the combined efforts of both Arthur Pendragon, Bikou and Xenovia.

    While the first two had been teammates for some time, the presence of the blue-haired girl actually brought them some synergy as they coordinated precise attacks with their melee weapons.

    The blond was an excellent swordsman, keeping up with precise pacing with both Caliburn and Ruler. Both Holy Swords showing quite their immense power with their quick but strong strikes, something that Vox dealt it by merely dodging through the attacks and unbalance the young man.

    The tactic was mostly rendered useless when Xenovia decided to intervene and create some distractions for their common enemy. Her swings were wilder, bolder, as the Fusion was forced to give some focus onto the girl, just enough for her teammate to recover.

    Bikou’s golden staff was a good instrument of distancing, forcing their opponent to get pushed away if things turned far too spicy and it was proven by how he helped the former exorcist in dodging one of Vox’s attacks.

    “You are being rude with your sword,” Arthur pointed out to the girl. “It feels like you aren’t sure of what you are holding.”

    Akua had blinked at that blunt comment, having heard of sword-wielders getting irritated by this kind of statements as it undermined their ‘progress’. Yet Xenovia merely smiled and nodded.

    “Durandal and I… we aren’t meant to be,” She admitted without hesitation, sighing as she resumed her attacks with the blond. “But I think I’m close to understand what truly it is. I want to befriend it.” Her proclamation caused the Pendragon to smile.

    “Truly a worthy reason to train, Sir Xenovia,” The young man admired with a tiny smirk. “And I hope you reach clarity the soonest possible.” He praised with some minor interest.

    They both rushed to the assault once again, the Fusion blinking in surprise as something seemed to be causing him some confusion. It wasn’t something from the fight, but rather something happening from… within?

    There was just a brief moment and then… a blinding light erupted from him.

    To the eyes of many, it would have looked as a sudden power-up. Yet Akua could feel what was going on by his magic.

    It simmered to a lower level, the source splitting in two familiar ones as both Vali and Hoitsu reappeared instead of Vox.

    Both young men appeared fairly winded, but far from truly be tired.

    The human smiled widely and nodded at the silver-haired hybrid. “Seems like the time limit got us in a pickle,” He remarked as he gestured at the approaching opponents.

    The Lucifer snorted as he rushed to the offensive, eyes fixed on a partially-surprised Bikou.

    “Wha-” The Monkey had little time to ask as the Balance-Breaker form of Vali pushed him away with a minor roar.

    This is for the annoyance you caused me half an hour ago, Bikou,” The Host of the Vanishing Dragon stated calmly. “I think it’s time to remind you who is your leader, jester.

    With the two engaging in a 1v1, Hoitsu was left to deal with both Arthur and Xenovia. Instead of going with his usual fighting style which would have easily guaranteed his victory against the sword-wielding duo… he decided to do something completely unexpected.

    Caliburn and Durandal were deflected away for a brief moment as a white-colored magic-saber appeared in the young man’s hold. The boy was smirking as he engaged in some intensely-paced engagement of blurred strikes and guards, the trio causing sparks with the blades encountering and clashing one against the others.

    Arthur was initially the one dominating with his dual-wielding, yet the lack of space he had while fighting with the fusion was enough of a concern to have him switch to only using Caliburn.

    Xenovia’s determination and vigor kept her from backing away from the challenge, yet the surprising capacity to keep up with the inhuman speed of both teammate and opponent was enough to have Akua to study the blue-haired girl.

    She was breathing tiredly, the stress piling up on her body as the pressure wasn’t decreasing at all, quite the opposite. But the girl wasn’t done yet, far from it.

    Roaring determinedly, the former exorcist went for another swing and-

    Clink!

    The light-saber went flying deflected by the correct swinging, Xenovia preparing for one last attack to achieve… victory?

    Hoitsu wasn’t sporting any wounds, while both Arthur and his teammate were sporting some small bruises. The strength exercised by their common enemy more than enough to leave some signs on their skin.

    Yet, while a fight would generally require someone to be brought to a state of defeat, their brawl had taken a more chivalrous connotation and thus this indeed felt like the last moment of their spar.

    The duo were ready to conclude this in their victory… but Hoitsu wasn’t looking prepared to accept the loss. Quite the contrary.

    From his hands another flash of light condensed in… something invisible.

    Durandal clashed in the strange weapon and it was pushed away with ease.

    Arthur rushed with both his swords out and tried to out-power with a clash the new blade, but soon even his assault was repelled by this strange instrument.

    There was incredibly-dense magic hiding its true form, so it was difficult to discern even without the detection ability what kind of weapon it was.

    “Interesting, isn’t it?” Hoitsu commented while staring at the invisible blade. “This one is actually your final test to see how much you have grown, Xenovia.” He stated while looking at the aforementioned girl.

    The human looked shocked by this news and her interest over this unexpected development increased visibly from her expression directed at the unknown object.

    “Sir Hoitsu, what is that?” Arthur asked politely but still surprised by the situation. “I feel it’s familiar, but I can’t… think of why.”

    The Japanese boy grinned. “That’s because your bloodline is partly tied to it, Pendragon-san,” Hoitsu admitted quietly. “But the connection isn’t with this dimension’s Pendragons, rather from a completely different universe.”

    There was a pause and… Xenovia voiced the confusion of everyone in a single question. “What?”

    He sighed. “This blade is labeled a Divine Phantasm, a unique title bestowed for the immense role it had behind its creation,” The young man explained calmly. “Born by the powers of multiple Gods, this blade was the only mean to counter an attack beyond Earth itself.”

    “Aliens?” Issei commented by the stands. “Senpai, are you sure that you didn’t get tricked by-”

    “This is the real deal, Ise.” He stated back with a frown, causing the brunet to go quiet. “And yes, it was an alien that could have easily destroyed the entire planet… if not for this particular sword.”

    A sword? Akua blinked as she tried to see through the mist created by the magic and… she could see some lines forming that kind of blade. It looked elegant, it looked powerful.

    “It’s better known by another title,” Hoitsu continued, his smile widening. “The Sword of Promised Victory.”

    Arthur’s eyes widened and… he looked perplexed. “If I understand what you are talking about, this isn’t… the one that is-”

    “No,” The brunet answered quickly and without hesitation. “Differently from this dimension’s sword, this one is way more complicated and… somewhat more of a meritocratic blade rather than a dynastic one.”

    The Pendragon nodded slowly and Hoitsu gestured Xenovia to approach.

    The girl was still tense, her guard still up but indeed complied with the request and she stood in front of the young man.

    “Do you remember how I told you that there was a reason behind the social lesson?” He said with a cautious tone. “Do you think you can tell me which one it is?”

    The question came out quite suddenly and, truth be told, Akua was mostly unaware of what he was referring to. She knew that the blue-haired human had been assigned to improve her capacity to speak with people and… be a normal human.

    Quite understandable as the vampire knew very well of the strict life some exorcists were put even at an early age.

    Xenovia blinked surprised, feeling a little floored by the unexpected query, yet she didn’t back away from the request and searched down deep herself. The last few weeks had been… amazing.

    She would have given a lesser adjective, yet the girl never felt this much important to someone that wasn’t part of the church. Friends, trustworthy people and Gasper. It was surprising to say but… why it felt like she couldn’t ever part away with them.

    So essential to her, like water and air. So precious like the purest gold and diamond.

    Her smile was a confident one.

    “Back some time before coming to Japan, my life has been devoted to the Greater Good, the duty of the Lord that He had imposed to me to respect and go through with rightful mind and soul,” The girl said determinedly. “There was something… empty about it. I still love the Lord and I pray for him even though He is no longer alive. The love He can bestow can appear weak because given to His children without favoritism.”

    She sighed heavily and continued. “But I think that… humans can be selfish for love,” Her tone started quiet, her smile fading a little. “We need love, we want love and we can’t let go of it. When we hold it, we can’t just give it up without a fight.”

    Xenovia grinned happily and nodded. “Yes, I want to fight for the love I gained and for those that are truly worth fighting for.” She declared unabashed and Hoitsu nodded back at her.

    “And how far would you go for it,” He said with a little sad tone. “Would you turn in a selfish woman for her selflessness?”

    There was a pause, some hesitation now playing in the girl’s feature as she thought about it and… Hoitsu went to put his free hand on the top of her head. Xenovia blinked in surprise but she stopped by his kind smile.

    “You are a good person, Xenovia,” He said with a content tone. “You are growing to be someone that I will be baffled to stare at, someone that will make the world a better place than now.”

    Then his smile dropped once again, an uneasy one appearing on its stead. “Yet this isn’t a gift.”

    She blinked in surprise at the correction, but she kept quiet.

    “This is a responsibility above and beyond Gods. This is a duty that you will have for humanity as a whole rather than a faction to another. You will represent the weak and the frail, you will represent the needy and the truest.”

    The girl’s hand was now on the pommel atop the hilt, eyes widening at being handed the sword itself.

    Yet Hoitsu wasn’t done yet.

    Another light happened, this time from his chest as a well-decorated scabbard appeared on his hold. Xenovia prepared to get the sheath too but… the young man hesitated.

    “Once you pick this up, once you take in Avalon, you will stop to be a human being,” He stated solemnly, causing many to look shocked at the statement. “You will ascend to something akin to an Angel, but you will not act upon a deity. You will act upon truth and justice.”

    The following pause was even longer than the previous one, for good reasons too. Abandoning mortality wasn’t an easy decision and the responsibility forwarded with the change could easily turn to be in a punishment rather than an honor to be proud to wear.

    Yet the girl didn’t seem to show too much doubt about her decision and she nodded.

    “I accept the burden,” Xenovia promised. “For the sake of those I care for, for the sake of the people that needs help.”

    Hoitsu sighed and smiled. “Good.”

    The scabbard was pressed on her chest and soon it entered in her magical core. Her eyes widened as her entire system was broadened, expanded and rendered stronger, more efficient to manage.

    It was a painless process, yet the invasive tones of the process did certainly leave some uneasy expression on the blue-haired girl’s face.

    She blinked as she took a proper hold of the sword and… it disappeared much to everyone’s surprise. “So that’s what it’s name.” The girl mused with a surprised expression before turning once more to Hoitsu. “Then that means that, the reason why Durandal worked partly is-”

    “Because it wasn’t the complete set,” He finished for her with a nod. “Congratulations, Xenovia.”

    --------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d---------d-d-dd------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d----

    Lilith was perplexed by the scene she was currently looking at.

    Lying on a pool of his own blood, Rizevim managed to let out a broken cackle from his bloodied grinning face. The cause of this attack being the enraged redhead standing atop of him, ready to deliver another punch on the downed silver-haired man.

    Sapphire looked quite angry, possibly the angriest the mother had ever seen her daughter turn out to be. There was so much hate, so much of her raw energy mustered for the sake of maiming her brother, the oldest of Lucifer’s children looking far too elated by the prospect of being hurt this much. To this degree.

    There had been brawls between the two in the past, but there had been always either Wilbert or Lucifer himself to step up to rein the situation down. It was an unpleasant recurring event that would leave the two tired and moody for several days.

    Yet this time the usual mediators weren’t there to make sure that things reached… this level of violence. With Rizevim being the verbal abuser and Sapphire getting enraged at the crass words leaving his mouth.

    It wasn’t something new how it started, but it was incredibly painful to see how it had degenerated to this gruesome situation.

    Enough.” The woman ordered with a cold tone at the berserk Sapphire. Her own magic flared and soon the pressure in the room increased even more than before.

    The young woman tensed and stopped mid-action, her eyes shooting up to give a wide-eyed stare at her mother. “M-Mom-”

    “Sapphire, you are going too far,” The widow of Lucifer said sternly, eyes narrowed at her child. “Let him go.”

    Rizevim chuckled at that, but he didn’t deign to grace them with some wrongly-timed response to the situation. A minor win.

    “He said that Azrael got Raphaeline- but that isn’t possible! She is in Heaven and-” The younger redhead froze as her mother’s stare softened in a sad one.

    “No.” She shook her head. “It can’t be true. Mom, tell me that Michael-”

    It was always the cruel duty of a parent, the one of having to tell the worst of truths to their own children. To reveal the harshness of the world and the deplorable state of things.

    Even after so many centuries spent trying to get the ropes of the job, having reached a comfortable mastery over the subject was hardly putting her in a good situation for what she had to say to her hopeful daughter.

    “When Azrael escaped Heaven, he broke into the special containment chambers with the Proto-Angels.” The older woman admitted with a sigh. “Only one survived the destruction happening in that room and she was spotted aiding him during the fight for the conquest of the Takamagahara.”

    “S-She has to have been hypnotized-”

    Rizevim wheezed in amusement, blood trailing even now from his lips.

    “You are kidding, sis?” He asked with a simple sigh. “And I thought that dad had been fairly clear in saying that angels can’t be mind-controlled. It’s like the number one rule of the Great War-”

    “Quiet, you insufferable ba-”

    “Enough, Sapphire,” Lilith butted in with a sigh. “He is baiting you… and he is correct, Raphaeline still has Angelic blood in her veins, she can’t be controlled by Magic if not by Michael himself-”

    “But she could have been manipulated.” The bleeding man interrupted giddily. “Think of it, sis. Azrael wasn’t certainly well-known for his traitorous ways, only as an outcast.”

    Sapphire bore her glare onto the smiling silver-haired shitlord and… sighed at the lack of any faux tones in his body. “You think-”

    “No, sister,” He shook his head quickly. “I don’t think, I know. There is a difference and that is that I know how dad is going to fail his attempt.”



    “What?” Lilith asked in minor surprise, lifting a little her son from the ground.

    “Dad might have appeared flawless in his long life, but he did have his moments of doubt,” Rizevim explained with a sigh. “He could have been a big bad deity-level jerk, but he knew that his ways could have been wrong all along. That he could have messed up.”

    He huffed. “That is why he would always set up some emergency systems to stop himself from doing some shit of the world-end kind.”

    “You mean some measures to stop himself in case he went mad?” Lilith found herself genuinely interested in her child’s knowledge.

    A journal had been mentioned, something that the woman had known only the existence of and had never been able to find after her husband’s passing. It had been an infuriating thought back then as she felt that some secret to truly defeat the paperwork was hidden in there and…

    That moron of her lover had just decided to let her lovely and gorgeous wife to suffer through paper and ink.

    What a shameful thought!

    “He was mad,” Rizevim pointed out with a sure tone. “We both were. That is why we both countered each other so well.”

    The man blinked, his smile fading a little because of the following words. “There was never a problem that could be solved without Lucifer,” He pointed out. “Every mistake, any issue, it was all solved when Lucifer was there. If he wasn’t around? People would end up either suffering or surviving more.”

    “What about Wilbert-”

    “He had the journal, my dear sister,” Rizevim interjected without hesitation, his tone turning. “He knew what was going on. He knew of the resets and about the fate that the universe was going to suffer without someone truly intervening.”

    This… this couldn’t be the truth. Wilbert had always been a sweetheart and, while he did chase his father’s polite manners and impeccable reputation, he wouldn’t have never tried to go that far the secret plot developed by her husband.

    And yet, why would her eldest son lie about it? He could have easily and blatantly said that he had murdered him for the sake of murdering but…

    He went for that reasoning and… it was hurting her.

    “Wilbert was the one to give you the journal-”

    “Only after he went through some grieving and guilt-tripping,” Rizevim snorted tiredly. “He would have taken these secret to his grave and beyond, just for the sake of getting praised by daddy dearest.”

    “You are lying!” Sapphire screamed at the recovering Super-Devil. “Wilbert would have never followed through with this-”

    “And yet he did,” Her brother said so decisively. “He had the journal for about 127594 of the unfolding timelines and he didn’t do nothing… other than now.”

    There was silence, Lilith needed the quiet to think about this very possibility. Her sweet boy, a puppet to her husband’s whims? Why didn’t it sound wrong now that she connected the various times Lucifer would have Wilbert around for some secret projects they were developing?

    And why her son would deny such thing after his father had been killed?

    So much doubt and hesitation, yet Rizevim looked the calmest of the three.

    “By the way, mom,” The aforementioned devil mused out-loud. “When you kill me, can you please keep Euclid around?”

    The woman tensed up at the seemingly harmless request… pointing out how she had been indeed planning to kill her son. Was it also reported in the journal?

    “He is a good pe-minion,” The man continued, ignoring the tense looks from his mother and the confused ones from his siter. “He might be a whiner because of his deep ‘love’ for her Maid-sister, so please mind his fetishes and kinks, but he is a clean chap. A smart one too.”

    “Rizevim-”

    “Don’t say anything, mom.” The man butted in quickly. “I know that it would be the right thing to do and… why not?” He asked quirkily. “I mean, I can go and find where pops is hiding and haunt the fuck out of him. I would be a spookier bastard than Seannaners is in Hidden.”

    ...What?

    He cackled again. “Ah! The fun fellow, if only he could post some more, I need the material from his Hidden videos.”

    In that very moment, Lilith realized that the serious topic had indeed fallen to something more confusing, lighter and terribly difficult to grasp.

    She sighed and proceeded to help the chatty man back to the couch, ready to administer some medicines without anesthesia. Some pain would surely fix him back up and…

    Yet her mind couldn’t stop but think that maybe, just maybe, there was something that had pushed her husband to abide to this horrible plan of his.

    ----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d--------d-d-dd-

    AN

    Xenovia-Artoria is here, Rizevim has plans and yes, I did publish a new story about RWBY. This one is actually yanking the gloomy plot away and putting on a comedy… about a MC and a clingy and unlucky kitten (no, it ain’t a pairing).

    And that’s it. I’m sleepyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy~

    Omake’s tomorrow.

    Future milestone 1: 1000 Followers and Favorite.
     
  24. theaceoffire

    theaceoffire Know what you're doing yet?

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    Welp, I am clearly having issues understanding part of the plot now.

    Can someone smarter than me please give a high level summary of wtf is going on at this point in a spoiler or something? Cause I think there is at least two universes in play, possibly two separate infinite time loops, and... yeah, help would be appreciated.
     
    JBukharin likes this.
  25. JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    There are actually four timelines happening in this series:

    -The Original (Canon) Timeline of DxD, where the original Hoitsu originates and caused a new dimension to be born. The reasons behind this development are yet to be given and there are plans for that to be properly passed with a proper story;

    -The 'Current' Timeline (the one with main DxD, some other X-overs and two Hoitsu -the MC and Lucifer-), where in a normal circumstance, the MC would have lost to Lucifer and be sent to become the new Lucifer in a rebooted universe;

    -The Story Timeline (Same as above, but still developing in the fanfic for a different ending), where there have been major changes compared to the timeline planned by Lucifer and the MC has a chance to end the reboot cycle;

    -The Broken Timeline (This one follows the worst escalation of the Current/Story timeline), the MC (known in the story now as Tarasu) is the direct witness of the sudden worst turn of things in his timeline and elaborate a plan to jump from his dying dimension and into the Story Timeline to stop the dangerous loop from continuing. Tarasu will play a major role in the endgame, but his survival is uncertain after that.

    I think I can only guess what could have caused this confusion and, hopefully, you see where I'm going for this:
    1) I had to rush a lot with the plot, I've been pressed to jump some character development and proper expansion of the lore for the sake of 'flashy action scenes'. I'm at fault at this and I plan to fix this by the time my break starts;
    2) Differently from many authors, I don't linger too much on negligible details and a large majority of the words, sentences and paragraphs here are essential and provide a true explanation of things. I think people have developed a habit of skimming through a story, sometime ending up lacking some of the details left behind. I'm not saying that this is your case (in fact, this is a silly and baseless assumption of mine), but I have heard of some of my readers doing so from their own words.

    I hope that at least the story was... goodish? I'm planning to go through some minor rewrite soon and I will add some extra details to everything while also removing some characters I feel I can't develop in the arc of the chapters available.

    May you have a good day~!
     
  26. Threadmarks: Non-Canon 1: Oddly Uneven
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Non-Canon Chapter 1: Oddly Uneven
    Series: Hazbin Hotel


    Lilith stared quietly at the heated exchange she was watching unfolding before her.

    A quiet huff, her eyes blinking dully at the fight both her husband and daughter were having over the girl’s intriguing idea about a less painful way to ‘clean-up’ the limited realm of Hell itself from some of its inhabitants.

    A hotel to redeem the sinners? She could remember when that curious poet, that polite man that was Dante Alighieri, had commented about something similar. He had been cautious, yet very eager to mention the existence of a third kingdom, a middle ground between Hell and Heaven, to properly offer redemption to the few sinners that had done the least dangerous of crimes.

    An idea that had stuck to her for a long time and that she had unwittingly mentioned to her lovely daughter. Charlo-no, Charlie was a curious and innocent girl, strong and fiery too, but she was ultimately terribly naive and easy to influence by the fleeting ideas of bringing reformation to a reign of suffering and penance.

    She had grown a sheltered childhood thanks to the combined efforts of both Lucifer and Lilith, yet the princess had been aware of what was going on outside the safe walls of their castle because of the paperwork her father was keen to whine about. When Charlie finally reached her adulthood, she was finally granted a first-hand experience of the cruel and unfair life of those that lived outside the former Angel’s court and that had ended up fueling a stirring idealism within the girl.

    A chance to deter the determined child pushed by Lilith’s lover only ended up getting the girl in a fit, showing rebelliousness and denial at the fact that the task was… quite difficult, if not impossible, for her to reach out for.

    Yet Lilith had to admit that when she had arrived to the Hotel with her husband, she had expected the girl to be in shambles. It wouldn’t have been totally unexpected for the failure to appear even before their visit, and yet her baby girl had done well until now.

    There was a delightful cast of people, the one she was mostly aware of were the current girlfriend of her daughter, Vaggie having already introduced herself during one of the past feasts by Lucifer’s humongous home, yet the presence of both Angel Dust and Alastor, the so-called Radio Demon, was enough to make her stand surprised at what she had found out from this surprise visit.

    It would have been a visit of courtesy too… but her lovely husband had to go out of his way to criticize the threatening aspect of having a deal-maker as Alastor in her hotel to… ‘help her’.

    It wasn’t difficult to perceive the true reasons behind the deer-like demon as he didn’t even bother sporting a lying facade or even deny the fact he wasn’t here to truly help. But what truly got her floored just for a moment… was the fact that Charlie had indeed not formed a deal with him.

    Surprising, quite relieving and a reason to be proud of her baby girl.

    The younger blonde was more than happy to take the appreciative compliments from her mother, but her attention was mostly taken by the negative sentences coming from her dad.

    Lucifer wasn’t usually this brutally honest, especially around Charlie, and it had been an unpleasant development when he came hard with his task of closing the establishment without second thoughts, even forcefully if the situation required it.

    Their daughter was, of course, unwilling to accept the stubborn decision and what followed next was…

    Quite explosive.

    Most of the inhabitants of the Hotel, even the ‘ever-so powerful’ Radio Demon, had decided to leave the premises of the room that had been turned in a battlefield. Both father and daughter were exchanging yells and physical attacks, neither of the two willing to show weakness to the other.

    It had been amusing at first, Lilith was guiltily aware of it, but after a full two hours of intense brawling, even her blood-lust had simmered down. In fact, she had even gone to get herself some tea as she continued to watch over the seemingly-endless battle.

    The Queen remembered of the times when Charlie would ‘play rough’ with her dad, but in those occasions it had been a simple hit or two, never an escalation of this magnitude.

    The woman sighed as she took another sip from her cup, the relaxing beverage failing to get her nerves to cease in their annoyance over the matter, the vibrations echoing through the walls of the damaged room now resembling an earth-quake.

    Should she have stopped them by now? That was a question Lilith was unable to properly respond as she felt uneasy at the fact she had to pick one of the two. If it had been a normal dispute of words, Lilith would have been more than happier to side by Charlie’s points, the girl always bringing up some thoughtful explanations that did have some solid bases on them.

    Yet now that the situation had grown to this kind of violence, it was non-negligible the fact that she couldn’t truly join either of the two opposite sides without enraging and hurting the other.

    It was so difficult to see both precious members of her family going for this painful predicament and… her mind couldn’t help but wander at the curious event that had happened just a few years after being sent to Hell with her lover.

    So much time had passed since that specific situation, yet she could remember vividly when Lucifer had tried to create some portals to leave the empty wastelands that once were the founding grounds for his kingdom.

    Tentative experiments proved to either create explosions or bring inside the Pentagram some bizarre creatures. Nothing that could prove a danger to her husband, but still enough to push him to pursue more and more the opportunity to have them both leave the exile God had enforced on them.

    It had been during one of these experiments that the unexpected happened and… some hope was granted to them in the form of another Lucifer, another Lilith… and children. The alternative couple’s.

    It had been surprising, yet her mind had exploded in giddiness at seeing that there was a good chance to produce an offspring despite her and her spouse’s partially-different biology.

    And she could remember holding that quirky troublemaker that was ickle Rizevim. The silver-haired boy had squeaked in adorable surprise at being coddled by the ‘pretty lady’ and she had giggled in amusement when her other self had kindly enough pointed out where the child’s ticklish spot were.

    Beautiful times, an experience that happened numerous times before Charlie was born and… then God discovered their play. His power denied them the chance of opening the portals after several visits and thus the means to spend their boredom away was deprived without mercy.

    Yet, just as the other Lucifer had said, Hell would have become grand and their own prosperous fief. It took them some centuries but… a true Kingdom of Hell was born from their hard-work.

    Sinners were given some minor reprieve in the towns resembling much of their past homes and soon a dysfunctional community of prostitutes, murderers and other dangerous fiends was born. A lovely family indeed.

    And when Charlie was born, a cute little baby that had lifted their spirits even more, they were given a proper confirmation to their hopes and of their close familial group with much needed joy and childish wonder.

    Then her childhood made way to her teenagehood and finally to adulthood.

    The noise of a plate that had miraculously survived the onslaught crashing in the wall near the couch she was using was enough to bring Lilith out of memory lane and back to the real world.

    She blinked, annoyance finally catching up to her tiring mind and she decided to try something quite… risky.

    It was a known fact that God wasn’t good in keeping up with the enforcement of rules he had dictated centuries early, especially now that his influence was half of what he once used to represent.

    The ‘ban’ had to have been lifted to keep up with the draining costs of keeping Heaven safe and thus… Lilith decided to call in someone that could have truly helped with this situation.

    The other Lucifer had shown to be a savvy family-man, managing to deal with the worst habits of little Rizevim while keeping a peaceful but genuinely happy appearance.

    Surely he would know how to deal with this family debacle.

    A small seal was formed and she pushed almost a quarter of her magical reserves on the irritating thing before someone did answer to her call.

    The portal opened and her glee turned in confusion, her eyes widening as, instead of the white-haired human-looking Lucifer, someone much younger and… human passed through.

    The young man tripped on the portal and landed face-first on the mugged floor with a soft but loud-enough thud.

    -----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-

    I admit I should have expected that something weird today would have happened.

    I could still remember waking up to a strange sense of… forewarning. I felt somewhat worried, concerned about something that was going to happen very soon and that had left me with a guarded and cautious stance for the whole school day.

    Kunou had been concerned herself, but the cause of it was my very strange attitude. The others had noticed too and voiced their own confusion and interest over my paranoia and why it was feeling this strong that very day.

    I was clueless and I was incredibly pissed by the fact that nothing warranting this situation wasn’t happening. No immediate danger, no sudden attack against me, nor anything that could have had me panic at the presence of someone.

    Everything was going fine for me during the lessons, during the breaks and even after I started to walk out of the premises of the school. Nothing worthy of this much uneasiness from my brain.

    I was irritated by the lack of explanation behind this strange need to brace myself for something horrible, my mind trying to find ‘reasons’ where there was none. I took a few slow-paced breaths as I turned the corner of one of the empty streets I had taken, my heightened senses catching nothing that could have been considered harmful against me and… then I slipped through an open portal.

    It had been unexpected and the window of action had been terribly conditioned by the distracted mind I had in that exact moment. My face protested quietly as it slammed merrily on some carpet, a groan muffled by the rug left my lips before I started to slowly get up from the floor as my ears caught the distinct sounds of fighting happening nearby.

    I blinked as I saw two blurry figures exchanging some mad beating against each other and yelling at each other. They were speaking in… English? Really?

    I feel like this place looks familiar.

    Today isn’t just my day.

    What a curious development.

    And while I continued to fail to understand what was going on where I had just landed, I heard someone coughing by… a couch? The woman had long blond hair, a dark-crown atop her head as… two large and curved red horns developed.

    She was wearing a long, sleeveless dark-purple dress and… she wasn’t human. Her energy was akin to a Devil’s but… it was also denser, purer and quite powerful.

    As my mind ended with this analysis, I noticed that the lady was gesturing me to approach her, seemingly unfazed by the ongoing battle breaking through the whole room. I frowned at the silent request but… it wasn’t like I couldn’t just defend myself in case of a trap.

    I slowly walked towards her and… she patted the seat beside hers in the furniture and I obliged by taking refuge there. She blinked and she finally started to speak. “I suppose that this isn’t certainly something that can be explained easily but… there is a context to what is going on.”

    I mean, we did suffer through crazier stuff, I think we can allow some proper contextualization before trying to get out of here.

    I blinked again, slowly nodding and letting her continue with the explanation.

    “But first, I’ve to ask you something,” She admitted with an elegant but polite tone. “The spell I used was meant to bring ‘Lucifer’ to this realm. And you-”

    “The portal worked… partly,” I interjected with a small flinch at the mentioning of the long-deceased figure. “I can be considered ‘Lucifer’.”

    She lifted a curious eyebrow at that and slightly tilted her head by the side. “Truly? I knew Lucifer and-”

    “There is also a context,” I interrupted one last time. “Just like there is a reason as to why they are killing each other over there.” I pointed at the similar-looking duo, one was a male and the other female, both with blond hair and with a skin paler than a normal vampire.

    The woman nodded in agreement. “I suppose it is something a little ‘bigger’ than what is happening right now,” She mused quietly. “But still, since you are here, maybe you can offer me some… assistance with those two.”

    “Assistance?” I parroted in confusion. “You mean like getting them to stop to fight or-”

    “That,” The blonde jumped in with a sly smile. “And possibly offering a fresh perspective over the dilemma that caused all of this.”

    There was a slight pause at that and I found myself staring at the two angry individuals and…

    Why they seem this close to murder each other out?

    Could they be related? This does seem like a… family spat more than else.

    Siblings? Cousins? Maybe even father and daughter?

    I sighed and nodded at the lady, standing up from my seat and tensing my body up.

    I breathed in and… then out.

    The sudden eruption of energy caused by my Senjutsu mode was enough to make the room shake with renewed trembling, the pressure far greater than the one caused by the two fighting and… both individuals stopped.

    The girl blinked in shock, her demonic features receding back to a more humane-looking appearance. She looked like a… mime?

    Meanwhile the man looked irritated at best, his eyes narrowed at me and staring with some curiosity. I blinked back at him as I felt surprise rising from my chest at the fact that… his energy was similar to mine.

    Before I could even do something about this development, I found myself almost tackled down by the very girl that had been fighting with the familiar figure. The sudden action took me out of my Senjutsu mode and I had my entire attention redirected back to the new ‘issue’.

    The young blonde squealed, her face adopting one of the cutest expressions of giddiness I had ever seen someone muster up. It was some serious competition for Kunou if I have to be honest.

    She does look quite adorable.

    “Oh my Gosh!” She finally exclaimed, hands straddling at my Kuoh Academy’s uniform as she jumped quickly up-and-down. “A new client!” She said with rising… hope?

    What?

    “Actually-” I tried to reply back to that mistake but the woman that I had just finished to talk with decided to be the one to break the news to the amusing girl.

    “Charlie dear, he isn’t a client,” The older blonde commented smoothly. “He is here to help us reach a peaceful agreement without any further fights,” She said kindly before turning her attention to the approaching still-smiling man. “And that extends to you too, love.”

    The blond snorted at the order but complied to it as he came closer and… gave me an intense stare.

    “Ya know,” He said with an interested look. “I can feel you are a human… but you have also demonic energy in you?”

    The gi- Charlie’s eyes widened at the comment and she stared at me in utter shock. “You are a human? Like a… real one?” She asked quietly, taking an extra step forward to look right in my eyes.

    Seriously, who gave her two gallons of pure sugar?

    I frowned and then nodded at her queston “I am. Kinda.” I admitted before facing back the woman. “And I think we have something to… debate about?”

    “That’s correct,” The lady admitted and, before she could continue, the blonde stopped and gave a… slightly-embarrassed look. “I think I forgot my manners… I’m Lilith, and those two are my daughter, Charlotte, and my stubborn husband, Lucifer.”

    My smile froze and died at hearing the last name, a wide-eyed look snapping right at the smiling pale man. “W-What?” I blurted in shock and in response Lucifer frowned.

    WAIT WHAT?!

    “What? Are you perhaps afraid, boy?” The Ruler of Hell replied with an amused tone. “Worry not. I ain’t biting until I see some ‘delicious’ steak in front of me.” He clicked his sharp teeth and I felt panic rising even more from before.

    “Dear, can you not disturb our guest and-” She stopped to stare at me with a confused look. “And I thought you were also Lu-”

    “I said there is some ‘context’ but-”

    Charlie butted in with a single cough. “Okay, what is going on here?”

    I sighed as I found their collective stare on me and… peer pressure did quite the trick.

    We were sitting by the couches, another had been created in front of the already-existing one and I began explaining about the… loops and the Duality behind my identity and Lucifer’s. I had partly expected one of them to ask for further details, but they decided to merely listen in silence as I went through with my summarized response.

    I ended with a sigh, my stare directed at the floor and… Lilith patted my back in an attempt to bring some comfort. “That sounded like you had the most difficult of burden, young man,” The woman admitted, gaining a nod from her husband and… Charlie blinked in awe at the tale.

    “You mean to tell me that… you are kind of dad but also not?”

    I stared up at her question with a frown before having both my cheeks cupped by her hands. She was humming as she looked closely at my blushing face, her own sporting some red at the sudden closeness.

    Then the girl let go and smiled. “That means you can tell me if my idea can work or not.”

    Without hesitation, I was given some paper with words and drawing on it, describing Charlie’s plan of… creating some ‘Happy Hotel’ with the function of Purgatory. I mean, with the depiction of some evil ‘Angelic’ monsters ripping apart souls on a yearly basis, I could see it as something noteworthy but…

    Why there were drawings with crayons?

    ...Is this the real issue behind the fight?

    Probably.

    This is… insane.

    I think we are beyond that degree of madness, but yes.

    Lucifer snorted at the words coming from his daughter’s mouth. “Surely, you have to concur it would be foolish to try something this silly and-”

    “It can actually work,” I interjected with some hesitation, flinching a little at her confused scowl. “I mean, I know that Heaven was trying something like that to get… more followers to the Church. I know that sinners can be redeemed under the word of God or Michael.”

    Charlie’s eyes glowed in sudden hope. “That means you believe it?”

    I blinked. “Mostly,” I said quietly, causing her expression to freeze in surprise at the mild-response. “While the outline is good, I don’t think there has been some proper thinking about the ‘means’ to reach the redemption.”

    She frowned, ready to reply back to it and… she stopped, a little pout on her face. “I mean, how much can it be difficult?

    Impossibly so, darling.” A new voice called out by the door.

    We all turned to see… a smiling deer-man?

    He was wearing a dark red pinstriped coat along with burgundy dress pants. His skin was gray and his eyes were entirely red (both irises and scleras) with the only exception being the black pupils.

    He started to slowly walk towards us and my attention diverted for a moment as I saw some other heads peeking from the now open door.

    The first one I saw was a single yellow-black eye and a pink x where the girl’s left eye was supposed to be, her narrowed look showing some irritation at my presence, yet there wasn’t much anger about it. The next one looked to be some… cat-like furry man? He had long red eyebrows, dark scleras and orange eyes, a black top hat sitting between his cat ears. Then was the turn of the smiling fellow that was giving me… a flirty air-kiss- Nope.

    I quickly turned to the last one and I was greeted by a cheerful-looking eye of a short female cyclops. She had some well-styled red-hair and seemed to be quite intrigued by what was going on in the room.

    “A-Alastor?” Charlie asked out-loud, then realizing of the rest of the group silently peeking at the room. “And the others too?”

    We were quite worried that our beloved heroine had died against her angsty-filled father.” The red-themed being replied with its… radio-like tone. “And yet we see her talking with an interestingly-confusing young man that seem to be undressing everyone with his stare. How shameful!

    Wait what?

    “V-Vaggie- there is a reason- he isn’t a suit-” The blonde tried to explain but… soon the lone-eyes girl that I had spotted the first among the bunch of odd people waiting by the door stomped inside with a somewhat angry scowl plastered on her face.

    I could see her in the fullest, her long pale hair ending just below her knees, she was wearing quite the simple white casual dress with gray details. She was pissed and… she was aiming her fury at me.

    I gulped nervously as she approached the couches and…

    “Nyah~? Attacking my darling, weren’t nyah?” I felt a familiar set of arms wrap behind me and… I could feel her chest too as it pressed on the back of my head.

    Kuroka smiled threateningly at Vaggie, a quick stand-off emerging from the sudden appearance of the cat-girl and-

    Then someone clapped once, drawing the attention back to her.

    The red-haired Lilith was smiling brightly as from behind her a large portal had emerged. “To think that we would have found each other again, darling.” The widow of our Lucifer said with a giggle, causing the same-named woman to giggle in response.

    “To think it would have been after so long,” The Queen of Hell smiled at the group appearing from the other side of the portal. “And I see you are not alone.”

    Soon, Akeno and Akua joined Kuroka in the embrace and… the Chibi Army arrived in full-strength.

    Kunou led the charge with Lith, Koneko, Ophis and Maria following closely. The three young women made way as I was forcefully tackled in the couch by the battalion of cute and… I had to muster quite the effort to hug them all while also keeping the half-Succubus from touching anything ‘that did not need any touching’.

    “Niichan!” The kitsune said with some tears coming from her eyes. “I-I thought you have been kidnapped a-and-”

    I didn’t let her finish as I quickly tightened the hug and snuggled over their heads. “What a bunch of cute worrywarts~.” I commented amusingly, causing a collective giggle to be lifted up for everyone to hear.

    “So you are not a… suitor?” Vaggie finally asked through the noise and I blinked at her.

    “Technically, Charlie and I are… related.” I replied flatly, making her a little embarrassed at the assumption.

    “O-Oh, I see and I’m so-uh?” The girl had barely enough time to speak that she was pulled in an embrace by her girlfriend, the princess of Hell snuggling her face on the back of her head.

    “And you are my cute worrywart.” The blonde copied my comment, yet it was effective enough to get a blush and a twitchy smile out of her.

    Then the rest of the Hotel’s crew joined in and some chatting was spared in what looked to be a particularly pleasant day to spend… with ‘family’.

    Kind of cheesy, but I guess that would do for now.

    ---------d-d-d-d----------d-d-dd------------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d----------

    AN

    So… I’ve tons of stuff to say here.

    Why Hazbin Hotel? I adore it, I need it and… did I say that I NEED IT~?!

    But seriously, the reason why I wanted this is… I just felt it works as a non-canonical x-over. Just a hunch and…

    Also why I will not make any Fanfic out of the single Pilot. I know that the Second Episode will released soon (the trailer even sooner by what the recent upload from VivziePop’s channel said) but I can’t build a story out of little lore. There is ‘some’ stuff in the Wikia, but it was also said that most of the lore ‘could end up being different than initially planned’ and thus I don’t want to… mess things up.

    And yes, I might think of doing something with Helluva Boss, Brandon Rogers being one of my fave fun youtubers and… the rest of the cast is utterly amazing. Everyone (except the sassy brat) are wonderful to listen to and I want to see… EVERYTHING!

    Lastly, even though I know it will never be seen by any of the group making the two series… Guys, you are all amazing! From arts to dubs, from music to sound, I love y’all and I hope this project will proceed to its planned end. Thank you for your efforts and I pray you all succeed!

    Future milestone 1: 1000 Followers and Favorite.
     
  27. Threadmarks: Their Legacy
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 75: Their Legacy

    The vast territory where the Kingdom of Hell existed was incredibly extended and still contained some areas that were still forbidden or even unknown to the knowledge of the most recent maps about the place.

    It was the ‘dark’ equivalent of how stretched the lands on Earth were, thus it was easy to understand how the limited population available in the underworld, most of which were usually living on Earth proper rather than in Hell, would be far too little to properly ‘domesticate’ the lands that were rightfully theirs.

    That and… the aggressive and genuinely powerful wildlife lingering there and giving problems to those few explorers that actually dared the unknown for the sake of wealth and knowledge. The monsters weren’t merciful, only pieces of clothes survived the massacres learned by the patrols sent to find the wandering people.

    An issue that had been there for centuries now and… that was now being used by Lilith to create the perfect training regiment for both me and Vali. The lands were unforgiving, but the woman was far worse to deal with as she had been fairly serious with her demands.

    We had to train for a full week, to improve and to gain experience from fighting with the natural fiends living in the span of several acres of ice and fire. It was a mixed biome that contained the worst kind of mythological animals to ever exist, some even known only by older religions than Christianity itself.

    It had been incredibly sudden, the redhead just presenting herself the day after I had fused with Vali. Sporting a wide grin that gave off only giddiness, amusement and an outstanding amount of determination, Lilith was quick to set us ‘flying’ right where we were supposed to train for seven difficult days.

    I protested and so did her ‘grandson’, but the woman wouldn’t care nor listen as she merely went to set up a terribly-powerful barrier all over the region where we had to train for the time given. Of course, our first interest was trying to destroy the barrier and end this stupid and senseless attempt as we had already made sure to create a training schedule for our team, but just as we prepared to blast out of that ridiculous attempt… other people decided to join her up in the formation of the energy-sphere.

    Azazel, Baraqiel, and the Four Maous were soon giving out their energy to further increase the power of the barrier, giving me a terrible and panicked sense of understanding about what was happening right now. While the barrier itself, on a visible perspective, was giving me nothing to work with and seemed fairly unique and new, the presence of those individuals, coupled with the raw power imbued in that ‘cage’ around Vali and I, were enough to remind me of something similar that had been used in the Canonverse of DxD.

    It was the barrier that the Maous and Azazel used to contain and seal themselves away with Trihexa, the same powerful spell that had saved the world at that time, when the Brigade had freed the Beast of Apocalypse.

    And while I was unwilling to spend unneeded energy on something I knew that I couldn’t pierce, Vali decided to test out the barrier’s integrity, grimacing as his powerful punch that had been enchanted with his Sacred Gears’ inner strength and his demonic energy had all but failed to even chip at the spell.

    We were thus stuck to fend off against the unrelenting wildlife for seven long days, the first two spent together as we tried to keep up a basic truce of not fighting each other until we were out, while the rest were spent without the white-haired douche as the Lucifer had gone up and left during the night of the second day.

    I was annoyed at the unexplained disappearance at first, knowing that Vali was maybe trying to get develop beyond my current level as he was aware of the difficulty of doing so with me being around. Understandable, but I had set my plans to first beat the crap out of him and then prank hard those that had all taken part about this situation.

    Irritation was enough of a deterrent to pursue the moron early on, my mind settling on actually looking around for any structural weakness over the barrier. Something this big had to have some flawed sections that were more susceptible to strong hits, enough to break a small opening that would have him leaving and go home.

    I was determined, I was starting to feel hungry and… I discovered that grand salamanders tasted like fish with a chicken-like flavor. It’s odd to explain, but I can say for sure that it was edible and quite refreshing compared to the infuriatingly-strong animals.

    I don’t know if the WWF extended its reach over supernatural beings, but I sure wasn’t minding the morality behind eating non-sentient monsters that were out to eat me up. I merely returned the favor and… it was good food to try and enjoy in the harsh predicament I had been thrown into.

    It was annoying, but also to a fair degree rather nostalgic. It’s been a month or two ever since I had to seriously put forward the full-extent of my mind to move through the fiend-dense forests and tundras. I wandered deep and long through the massive region, going from a wet tropical biome to a cold and unforgiving mountain.

    I ended up ‘meeting’ with some interesting creatures that I had heard in the past, but never thought of encountering anytime soon. Many, from Ice Demons to Chenoos, were incredibly wary of my presence and never dared too close to where I was, either out of fear or because they were conscious of their lacking numbers and strength.

    Yet Wendigos proved to be the more active of the bunch, their intense and raw interest over my ‘succulent’ body being more than enough to drive them far and long to try and catch me off-guard.

    When I first noticed the growling monster, the first to try and approach me, I had been partially-surprised and shocked of what I was looking at. This specific monster was given different aspects in various supernatural-related series, each giving them a unique detail to make them ‘new’ and ‘scary’.

    The one I had been looking at had the most known of the appearances given to Wendigos. It stood on its hinder legs, bones slightly bend and creaking, reaching an imposing height of four to five meters. Muscled arms with easy-to-see black veins on its dark-blue fur and then… a threatening snarl from its boney face, similar to the skull of a deer because of its antlers and pronounced muzzle.

    I didn’t engage the fight, my quick-thinking rewarding me with the fact I ended up dodging the sudden appearance of two more of the creatures trying to lie an ambush on me. Something that failed and gave me the opportunity to make a quick run out of that specific section of the tundra, only ending up getting chased thorough the place, the hunters giving no relief to the ‘human’ they were hunting.

    These interesting bastards proved to be far more complicated to understand, their nature being mre complex than anything I had fought back in that tundra and urging me to give even more attention to face properly. Blasting my way through was something I couldn’t do, my core recharging far slower than how much energy I required to steam-roll them, and I wished to avoid getting encircled and tired out too easily.

    The deer-like fiends have a primal need for human flesh and my prominent scent among other beings that had lived there was easy to find with their strong noses and it had then running for me recklessly and mercilessly, never stopping a moment to investigate properly what the explosive light balls I had left for them to run into were supposed to do.

    Having them to either explode, get vaporized or outright burned ended up giving me a renewed amount of food for day four and five, something that managed to keep me well-fed until I concluded my trip through the mountain and… I ended up in the worst place possible.

    The heat was now unbearable, the ground was dark as coal as several cracks along the floor sported light-orange/red flames coming from those. It was magma trying to reach out from its original place, the gases containing in the dangerously-hot muddy substance being enough to propel some outside, but not enough to turn it into lava.

    From the freezing temperatures to the ones that would easily see me melting given enough proximity to the hot liquid flooding underneath the ground I was walking, I was now sure that I had to truly find a way out or death would become a possible option for little old me.

    I had to put away some of my clothes on one of the bags I had with me, leaving only my half-sleeved shirt and my pants rolled up to give relief to my tired legs and feet. After six days of relentless fighting to survive against the endless horde of monsters of various kind, I was indeed starting to get a little exhausted from the continued fighting.

    I had no Phoenix Tears with me, Lilith having made sure that we had our reserves stolen or destroyed before leaving us here. Trying to have a battle and avoid getting even a lucky hit on me passing proved to be quite the strenuous labor to endure.

    In the end, I merely tried to find a safe place where to rest and recover for the last day. I had improved… but I was unsure about how much I had. With my mind focusing on the ever-existing threats planning against me, I was left unsure over the full-extent of my improvement and…

    Then I found a cave away from the horrid heat of the volcanic section of the region. It was much cooler and it was a desolate place where darkness and shadows offered some refuge from the monsters patrolling around for any easy preys.

    I sighed calmly as I managed to get a sit by one of the further corner of the hiding spot, my eyelids trying their best to close as the sudden lack of light was enough to get me needy of some quick rest before resuming my walk.

    Yet, even though my eyes closed and my body relaxed, I couldn’t find any sleep from that sturdy floor and wall I was trying to use as ‘bed’. I was relaxing, stuck in what looked to be a state of stillness but also full-awareness.

    My heartbeat was eased, lulled by my heightened senses bringing up the complex nature of the magical leylines within the region. So much magic was fluctuating, so much natural energy and… I felt my mind wandering away even further, logic fading as I let my body succumb to the need of some rest.

    Shiranai and Apophis were screaming at me to stay awake, to not fall asleep in that moment of weakness. I was still in danger and I couldn’t afford to sleep in a moment where my limited reserves were starting to run low and required some attention.

    But I was just… too tired. And went to sleep.

    What followed was… probably the strangest dream I had ever experienced until now.

    It wasn’t anything about the world I was in… but rather about…

    The past.

    -----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d-------d-d-dd--

    It was morning and I wasn’t feeling any of the terrible heat I had endured until that point, my body was tensing up a little, distancing itself from the sleepy tone that had once coated it to rest. I was mere moments from waking up, my brain slowly picking up the fact that I was lying on some soft bed, the pillow on the side giving me some strange confusion over what had happened.

    Just as my eyes were finally opening, I heard a familiar whistle and something like a mug being settled by the bedside. My eyes snapped open at the noise, but the post-sleep blurred sight proved to be an issue for little old me.

    A yawn was suppressed the moment I heard the door of my room closing, a feminine figure going out of it after leaving the steamy cup of coffee near my bed. I blinked numerous times and… then I felt relaxing.

    The yawn finally reached out from my lips as I didn’t have any reason, I decided to slowly get up from my bed. A sense of familiarity and safety, my brain reverted out from the need of training and to protect people as I was once again back to where everything had ‘started’.

    The vivid dream, the one that had seen me being a ‘hero’ was now over and I took a sip from my bitter coffee to validate this concept. It was hot, a little too much from my tastes as I felt my tongue almost melting at it.

    Bad move, I chided myself as I proceeded to silently wander out of my room, my eyes scanning all around me. My guard was relaxed, non-existent even as I ended up walking through the cramped hallway that led right to the living room.

    The room was a mix of kitchen and normal living room, something born out of convenience rather from willingness to have it displayed in that manner. The house was small compared to many of the villas present on the street where it was sited, but still big enough to keep me, mom and dad.

    I blinked, a small smile forming on my face as I went to greet the two individuals in question.

    “Good morning~.” I half-yawned, my stare alternating at my parents as both seemed to be busying themselves with different activities. Dad was reading some newspaper, seemingly groaning at some bad news about the current situation about the economy.

    He was wearing a normal set of formal clothes for work, his black hair kept short and starting to graying after years of enduring some difficult tasks at the workplace.

    Mom was happily humming as she was finishing cleaning up the dishes, she was wearing a flower-themed dress with an apron to cover it from the splashes of water coming from the sink, her blonde hair were tied down and short to avoid getting those stuck somewhere annoying.

    Both turned with their respective smiles at me, seemingly glad to receive my greeting and replying with their own.

    “Good morning, Tommy.”

    “’Morning, champ.”

    I nodded at them and slowly made my way right by the table as I settled down to read the last alerts from my phone. Hundreds messages from social groups, some little news about work and some spam reaching my email.

    “Anything new, dear?” The lovely woman asked as she took off her apron and approached to see what I was doing. “Something about possible promotions or-”

    “Mom,” I groaned with a tiny smile. “I remember telling you that they wouldn’t promote someone as young as me. I’m… I’m just too inexperienced.”

    “And you aren’t recommended by any rich fellow,” The older man admitted with a bitter huff as he folded his newspaper. “Work is just a harsh environment where to develop, just a few of people your age manage to get a stable one.”

    “Always the cheerful one...” I mused, getting a sigh from him.

    “Son, I still believe in you. I know that you are good- no, better than any of your colleagues at this stage of your life,” Dad replied quickly, appearing rather panicked at the glare mom was giving him. “But I wish to also remind you that life isn’t… as hope-driven as we all want it to be. I know you will go far but-”

    “It will not happen anytime soon, I know that.” I sighed, giving a sad smile back at the man. “I know you care, dad.”

    He smiled back and nodded, while mom started to pull me in a hug from behind.

    “My little Tommy is a big man with his new job!” The woman squealed in glee at the recent news. I remember getting that job by the local administration just a few days ago, this being my first day and- “I wonder when you will finally end up having your own house and… your lovely wife.”

    I blushed a little at the sudden interjection, the teasing tone the lady took more than enough to have me flustered as she started to pinch my cheeks. “And I want some grandchildren too, you dummy.”

    I chuckled and she giggled, dad just deigning a head-shake and a snort at the mirthful scene.

    “Remember to also take care of your family, boy. You can’t certainly forget about them.” He warned, getting a smile from me.

    “Of course!” I exclaimed with determination and mom sighed.

    “That means taking care of your parents,” She hummed happily, her throat hiding a giggle around the corner. “But also of Kunou, Koneko, Ophis and Lith.”



    “W-What?”

    Mom sighed and smiled as she interrupted the embrace and walked by dad, the man having completely ditched the newspaper as both parents were now staring at me. I was shocked by what I had just heard, my soul storming in with the memories of that curious vivid dream- which was actually the truth, my eyes glowing in realization that…

    Everything here was- it has to be fake!

    “Son.”

    The curt reply from dad was enough to take my attention back as the man sighed. “This isn’t… truly a dream.” He failed to explain.

    “It’s true to the fact that the house and… the food is fake,” Mo- The woman looking like ‘Mom’ said. “But the explanation about our presence, our real selves, is a little more complicated and… even difficult for us to understand.”

    “You mean for me, darling,” The man scoffed with another head-shake. “I never believed to anything about deities and all of that shoddy stuff, but then he came to help us.”

    Mom huffed and bashed dad on the head. That very motion was just… so unique and who was ‘he’?

    “When you first disappeared after the first day at work… I thought that you had been kidnapped.” She said with a now-sad tone. “I had gone to the police with your dad, explained the situation and tried to have them finding you but… you went missing for five months. No sign or clues were found my the detectives and… we thought you-”

    “Nonsense, dear,” Dad jumped in, standing up as he pulled his wife close to him to try and give her some comfort. “L-Let us talk about what ‘he’ said.”

    There was a pause, I was getting more confused and more aware that things were far off from what I had them initially thought. This was the dream, there shouldn’t be any explanation behind the apparitions before me.

    I had passed out because of soreness and heat, nothing about something a little more complex-

    “I-It was a blessing!” Mom finally spoke, her tone lifting up and showing some awe at what had happened back then. “I-I’ve always believed in His existence and… and He granted us a new hope. He told us about what happened to you, that you were alive and-”

    “Who is He?” I interrupted with a stern tone. “Tell me who is ‘He’?!” I added with a stronger voice, making the woman jump a little while dad’s glance hardened at the tone I had gotten.

    “She is speaking about God,” He revealed. “The Big G himself, the one that-” Mom elbowed him before the old atheist could have gone too far with his words.

    “God?” I parroted with a confused look. What were they talking about? There was no magic back to the world were they were from and-

    “He exist!” The woman replied back with a big smile. “He was so kind and mindful, he told us so much about you and your adventures. About the people you befriended and fought, about those you saved or defeated,” She giggled. “About the lovely ladies that are now closing up to get you in a true relationship and… about the cute little ones you are family to.”

    She ended with a squeal. “To think that someone as adorable as those cuties exists!”

    “D-Dear, you are digressing-” Dad tried to restore some sanity to the discussion much to mom’s pout.

    “Y-You are right, hun,” The woman huffed and then smiled once more as she stared right at me. “He told us everything, he showed us all the things you have to brave so determinedly and strongly.” Her smile softened. “You were meant to do something so grand and good but...” She sniffed, her eyes sporting some tears. “You went beyond that and you proved me to be better than what I hoped for you to be.”

    “M-Mom-” I barely saw her rushing for another hug, her head digging on my shoulder as the tears started to fall.

    “I… I would like to really have you back,” The woman sobbed. “My b-baby boy, so brave and strong.” I put my arms around her neck and smiled sadly.

    “B-But now… now you have a responsibility to them.” Her tone cracked a little but she seemed serious with her words. “Y-You have people that have put their faith in your, their hopes and dreams.”

    “You have also people that loves you so intensely, kid,” Dad intervened with a cheeky smile. “Lovely women that are truly into you and would end up crying if you mess things up because you forget your mission.”

    “And we don’t let girls cry...” I pointed out softly getting a snort from my old man.

    “Damn right, son!” The man said with a big grin. “We are going to keep watching, to make sure that you will succeed with what you are trying to do, that you will end up winning against the monsters trying to ruin the beautiful world around you.”

    I opened my mouth, ready to renew the promise when… I felt a pair of hands descend on my cheeks, bringing my face up as I stared at the teary-eyed face of mom.

    “But this isn’t an oath or a promise to forget ever again,” She said with a strong voice. “I want you to make this your life mission, to finally accept the fact that, you will never mess up ever again until you truly believe in yourself and those around you.” The woman’s smile was twitching in sadness. “So… don’t forget who you truly are, my child.”

    I felt my brain burn at the words, I felt tears running and as I was about to reply everything collapsed and…

    ~I woke up back in the cave.~

    I blinked in shock as I felt the soreness and the unpleasant touch of the heat upon my exposed skin, my mind recovering from what I had just assisted and… I sighed.

    Good morning, you idiot. You almost died and-

    Soon, my brain focused on the issue at hand, the barrier still existing outside and… I had to break it. But how and-

    Are you even listening to what I’m saying?

    The encouraging words from mom burning brightly in my soul and I felt the solution at hand. It had always been there, that little problem about the Senjutsu Mode that had always hindered its true potential. That very limitation that I never dared to approach for fear of losing myself.

    Hello-

    “Of course,” I mused quietly as I stood up and started to make my way back to the entrance of the cave, eyes preparing for the light coming from the outside after spending so much time in the shadow. It was blinding at first, my eyes wasting some time to adjust to the illumination and… then I stared up at the barrier.

    I had it as my main priority, my main target and… now I had to have it to blow up to smithereens. I breathed in and out, then addressing the ignored Shiranai.

    We need to use the Senjutsu.

    You can already access that without asking and why weren’t you answering-

    And this time don’t filter the negative energy.

    Wait what-

    Trust me-

    NO! You better tell me what is it or-

    I… I saw them.

    ...What?

    I saw them, mom and dad.

    Apparitions-

    They were real. They know what I’m doing and… they want me to-

    Continue to do your best?

    You-

    It’s not difficult to remember what they wanted from us but… I thought you were already putting your best efforts out but… are you sure about it? Your body couldn’t-

    I think it will work, but I need your help.

    As always. Let us do this, my lord!

    I felt the familiar pressure starting to coax my entire body, I could feel the sudden burst of energy filling my reserves but I could also feel the sudden presence of malicious corruption reaching out for my core, trying to take it and cause it to rot.

    But… then said corruption halted its advance, quickly pulled away from the path it was taking and right onto my reserves. There it was then rendered mine to control and use and… I felt stronger than before.

    A silver-like aura forming around me replaced the former dark mist and I felt ready to proceed with the barrier-busting. I crouched a little and brought my hands close to my side, chanting the beam I was mostly familiar with.

    Kame...” I felt normal magical energy, light one and… dark one mixing.

    Wait, that means-

    I know what I’m doing.

    Hame...” I could feel the two opposing energies clashing with each other within the growing sphere of magic. Further magic was involved to stabilize the process, the attempt being fairly difficult to maintain for long. I had to be quick.

    HA!” The blast shot right it would usually do, but instead of the bright blue color, the beam was actually a light-gray with white and black lightnings crackling all around it. It took it some time to reach the barrier and then… I felt it resisting.

    The powerful spell was holding well against the blast, but it was creaking and having some problem to tank it when directed at one specific spot. I continued with the beam even thought I could feel my entire reserves being drained by the brief skirmish of magical offense and defense, the containment effort starting to wavering the more it continued and… then it happened.

    My face lightened up as I saw cracks starting to spread all over the barrier and then it finally broke, large magical shards disappeared before impacting on the ground, giving me further proof that… it was over.

    I grinned as I fell on my knees, my breathing turning labored as my core had strained a lot with what I just did. Uniting Light-Magic with Dark-Magic had been something I’ve been thinking about for a long time now and… I’ve never considering taking the Final Flash as the basis of what I just did.

    The Final Flash was the combination of two ‘rejecting’ energies that once combined would unleash a powerful blast, the only issue being that it requires the user to be capable of keeping the spheres stable until the explosion happen and then manipulate the explosion to create a beam of light.

    I closed my eyes as I felt rain pouring down on me. Now that the barrier was down, the water could finally descend even in that hellish area of… hell.

    And while I rested a while in that moment of satisfaction, I was completely unaware of Lilith’s confused stare at my current appearance. Instead of the dark mist dignifying the fact I was still in my Senju form, it was my hair that showed that I was still not back to normal.

    Instead of my jet black-hair in that form, I had silver-hair and red eyes. Just like Lucifer.

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    AN

    The Hermit Week is over, I enjoyed Christmas and the New Year with my family and… we are back on track. I hope you all enjoyed the festivities with your families and those you hold dear as the story is now back!
     
  28. Threadmarks: Operation Thinkable
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 76: Operation Thinkable

    The return back home was… quite overwhelming.

    Kunou spearheaded the small group that went in to tackle me down to the floor and give a long-paced session of cuddling, with the young girls ‘demanding’ that I stopped going for unexpected trips without reason.

    Something which, to a fair degree, wasn’t completely true. After all it had been Lilith’s idea to send me and Vali to that week of literal Hell and I wasn’t sure that the elated red-haired woman would stop being so much… unpredictable.

    The strange thing that still I couldn’t make sense of was the way the former Queen of Hell had decided to drag me and Vali around as we left that unexplored region of the Underworld, incredibly giddy and amused by our reactions but also by… something else.

    It had been the silver-haired teen that had noticed the strange happiness coming off from his grandmother, pointing out how she seemed far more ‘annoying’ than usual with this ‘loving hold’ of hers.

    Yet the little adorable episode I had with Kunou, Koneko, Lith, and Ophis proved to be just the prelude of the welcome party I had to deal with.

    As I had reached the living room of the house, I had been greeted by Kuroka, Akeno, Akua and… Mio.

    The eldest of the Naruse siblings looked a little nervous as I went to notice that her clothes were… a little revealing. Nothing much different from her usual school-girl uniform-like dress, but I quickly saw that her sleeves had been rolled up and she was donning two finger-less gloves and a longer skirt. Then I also noticed that her upper shirt was eased upon her cleavage, giving a perfect glimpse of her-

    Yep, now I could see why she would be embarrassed with that outfit. From the previous details, I could only think that Sapphire had helped her niece to get a proper outfit that could help during battles.

    Her short skirt made it easy for an enemy to merely cause some distraction by pulling it up, causing the redhead to panic and mess up her guard in the process. The gloves were emitting some magic and I could recognize the runes displayed in a soft violet light as… ‘Gravity’?

    I guess those helped her to fully manifest the potential of Gravity and make use of it easier during fights. But looking back at that little revealing feature of her new outfit, I could only guess that it had been advised from someone else.

    “You know, I think you should stop ogling Mio-tan, Hoi-kun, or else she might pass out from the attention~.” The mirthful comment from Kuroka was more than enough to get me to realize that I had been indeed staring at the full-blushing girl and quickly looked away while I tried to make some appeasing hand-gestures to avoid giving the wrong impression.

    And I soon remembered that the people I was trying to appear ‘good’ to were those that were already aware of it and the only reason why the Nekoshou had gone with that teasing line was to get me to give them some opening for something a little more serious.

    I felt a pair of pale arms wrap up around my neck and then I felt a warm breath tingling at my exposed skin. My eyes widened as I turned around a little too late to see a pair of short canines sink onto my shoulder and start drawing some blood.

    Chu~

    Flinching at the action and the familiar noise, I expected some pain to be coupling with the uneasy situation and… moments of silence passes as I ended up realizing that I wasn’t suffering at all from that bite.

    Rather, I was feeling unhappy for that sudden sneak attack from the black-haired vampire. More time passed and I realized that the bite was prolonging beyond the usual time and I started to worry about it going to last for too long until the girl slowly moved away from my neck with a satisfied grin.

    “It seems that it did work,” Akua commented with a normal smile, the way the happiness was portrayed on her face looking more natural than before. Actually, I could see a relative easing of her former stance.

    “Why didn’t it hurt?” I asked quietly, getting a giggle from Akeno and I turned to the Himejima.

    “Akua-chan decided to ask her sister, Moka-san, if there were other ways to drink blood from a human that wouldn’t cause any major discomfort to the partner and… she told her about the longer but eased process.”

    The vampire nodded. “By limiting the strength and the length of the teeth, I can prolong the process for the sake of rendering it painless and less invasive for you,” The vampire finished the explanation for the Fallen Angel hybrid, her red eyes fixed on my face. “So, how was it?”

    I blinked at the query, still failing to understand how things could have changed so much with just a week of absence. I had been gone for a week and it seemed that it’s been years since I saw them all the last time.

    Still, I slowly nodded while flashing an twitching smile. “I suppose it was… nice of you to make it painless?”

    She nodded at the reply. “I suppose you are still recovering from the return and the surprise, still you’re welcome.”

    I blinked again, this time taking some time to notice that… Lilith, Vali and the others hadn’t entered the living room. Actually, they weren’t even in the same floor anymore.

    I turned back to Kuroka. “Is there something else- something important that you wish to tell me?”

    They all tensed up at my question, giving each other a glance or two before Akeno sighed and nodded.

    “We hoped to share some words about our current situation,” The young woman mentioned with a small smile. “Privately and without distractions.”

    I nodded, sporting a curious look as we all went to pick a seat by the couches with… Mio picking one my right side, Kuroka my left, while Akua and Akeno picked the couch opposite to ours.

    It was the Nekoshou to speak this time.

    “While we have already told you about our interest in keeping this open relationship, there has been a development with...” The cat-eared woman glanced to the side, where the red-haired Naruse was glancing at her hands, unwilling to deign anyone else a glance because of nervousness. “Mio-tan.”

    I looked at Kuroka. “What kind of development?”

    “I-I asked if-” Mio gulped nervously and nodded before continuing. “If it would be possible to… join them in case I truly fell in love with you.” Her hands shot up to cover her renewed blush, surprisingly enough her quick-paced reply managing to clearly reach my brain and…

    Oh.

    Oh cripes, you better handle that carefully.

    Why would Hoitsu need to be careful? If the girl wants to be one of his mates, I don’t see problems with that-

    The issue is more about… the age. She might look like an adult but… she is just a year older than her sister and Maria is Fifteen.

    ...That means that Mio is-

    Sixteen, maybe a few months older than Koneko at best.

    “Isn’t that a little… quick?” I inquired calmly. “I don’t mean to sound rude or anything, but Mio-”

    “She is still too young,” Akeno interjected, getting a flinch from the redhead at the blunt reply. “We are aware of that… and that is why we told her that we wouldn’t want her to join us now.”

    “As much as it would be fun to see her amusing reactions while trying to catch your attention,” Kuroka mused quietly, eyes closing in thought. “I think it would be wrong for her to join up this serious relationship… without some years of experience and understanding first. I reckon that her age is a little off, but I think the biggest issue is that she isn’t sure of what she is feeling around you.”

    I glanced at Akua, the vampire shrugging. “I think she should wait a little more. To see and understand what she wants out from you. Either platonic or romantic love.”

    Sighing at the shared negative about that proposal, I turned my attention at Mio and… I frowned as I noticed her shivering a little at the comments she just heard.

    I wasn’t completely sure how much time it has been since she had asked about that, maybe yesterday or the day before that, but I could see that the response were something that the girl hadn’t truly expected to be this… blunt and incredibly well-detailed in their expositions.

    I had my arm wrapped around her, the girl tensing at first at the sudden contact but then she started to relax as I started to caress her own arm to comfort her. “Now, now, why are you sad, Mio-chan?”

    There was silence from her at first. Then she glanced up with a quick sniff and she let her head tilt onto my shoulder. “I… I don’t want to- I didn’t mean to sound like I-”

    “Ohi, there is no need to be this much tense. I’m not going to hurt you, nor I think what you asked was truly wrong.”

    I felt the other three girls’ stare on me, but I focused at the now-surprised Naruse. “W-What?”

    “I mean, the girls are correct with their statements that you shouldn’t be giving too much weight over this decision, to impose yourself to give an answer to it so soon it’s… too hasty.” I explained calmly and soothingly, trying to calm the girl down. “I can’t say that I understand the struggle that you are going to, but I can see that it somehow puts you to the silly fact that I would get mad at hearing that you are partially thinking of being romantically-interested on me.”

    “And… isn’t that the… case?” She inquired slowly, her red eyes once more staring up at mine. I smiled a little and sighed.

    “Of course not, sweetie,” I replied with an easy tone. “I can’t be mad at you because of something you can’t control yourself with. You aren’t angry because I’m telling you ‘no’, aren’t you?”

    She blinked. “I’m just… a little annoyed. But I’m not angry or- or anything like that,” Mio explained with less tension in her tone. “I understand that loving someone like that is a big step and… I just don’t know what to do about it.”

    “Did you tell this to your Aunt?” I would have asked if she had sought advice from her sister too, but considering the perverted nature behind the half-succubus’ attraction directed at me, I sure was aware that the redhead hadn’t gone for that route… yet.

    “I tried to,” She mentioned with a minor flinch. “She doesn’t know it’s you and… she said that I should just take you and...

    I blinked. “And?”

    Her blush intensified and then… the girl concluded. “I should have ‘taken you and kissed you without hesitation’- from there, if I liked it or not, I would know if I loved you as a friend or as a… lover.”

    There was more awkward silence and the redhead tried to hide away from the giggles and amused snorts coming from the other girls.

    Meanwhile, my brain was slowly coming to realize that while Sapphire was seemingly good with life-experience advice and fighting preps, she was dumb as rock regarding love-related situations.

    Having had just a relationship with a promiscuous Proto-Angel, I couldn’t help but see why her sense of romantic feelings would be this much messed up.

    And I thought that she was the sanest of the Morningstar family.

    I sighed and nodded. “I guess I can see the issue with that and… I will give you a single advice about love.”

    Mio perked up away from her ‘defensive posture’. “A-And that is?”

    “Love can be instantaneous but it can be slow-paced,” I said with a tired tone as I had yet to catch some rest since yesterday’s lone nap. “It’s not something you can study and understand without truly feeling it and, when you will find it, you will know it immediately if it is love or not.”

    The girl blinked at the explanation I gave her and… she nodded. “I see… so I should wait and… see if this is love or not?” She suggested, getting a nod out of me.

    “That is the general plan, yes,” I smiled as I caressed her head and hair a little.

    “This is your life, Mio, you may find some difficult choices in front of you, some about yourself or those around you, but that is the beauty of life, the sense of completion at finding yourself with your own strength and desire,” I paused for a moment and nodded. “You can also ask for support and help from time to time, but the choices that can change your life are generally up to you and it’s best for you and only you to see which one is… better for yourself.”

    She smiled and melted a little more in the half-hug. “I… I will think about it.” The girl resolved. “I guess that I will make sure that I will be careful in deciding about this and… I hope you will be waiting for me if-”

    “I don’t plan to go anywhere, Mio-chan,” I snuggled my cheek on her hair. “And I will wait for your response whatever amount of time you need to decide.”

    She giggled and sighed. “Thank you… for being there.”

    I nodded. “No, thank you and-” I turned to glance at the other women, all looking at the scene with positive expressions. “Thank you three for bringing this up to attention.”

    They collectively nodded and I sighed as I continued to hug the smiling girl for a little while.

    What a wholesome day indeed.

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    Grayfia POV – A few moments later...

    This was the worst nightmare possible.

    Or at least that was what Grayfia could say about the annoying bastard trying to irritate her with his tirades of the past glory of their family and his foul choice of marrying Sirzechs.

    Euclid turned out to be as abrasive as she had remembered him from during the Rebellion against the previous Maous, the pompous prick of a sibling behaving as arrogant as she had last seen him be during their last skirmish in the Underworld

    The maid to the Gremory clan was unsure if Lady Lilith had been aware of their frictions and had ignored the issue or if the woman had been unaware of it all and was discovering of this now.

    The only thing that the Lucifuge was sure of was that Rizevim was enjoying the spectacle with an eye-to-eye grin that threatened to split his face in half between chuckles.

    Hopefully, said split would be as gruesome as possible with enough blood being displayed for the sake of giving her satisfaction over the infuriating scene unfolding with the upstart of a brother.

    A few more minutes of quiet chatting passed, her husband engaging in discussions with Azazel and Michael.

    The room had been turned in a large meeting ground for the representatives of the Three Factions of the Christian Pantheon and everyone was just waiting for their last guest.

    A soft knock interrupted the chatting as the final member of this reunion arrived.

    Hoitsu peeked his head before truly entering inside the room, nodding and greeting politely all over the place while also gracing smiles to those he was close to, something that Grayfia received herself and returned with a polite smirk, before being assaulted by a certain naive Angel.

    “G-Gabi-”

    “Big brother, it’s been so long!” The blonde squealed happily, interrupting the young man as she glomped him mercilessly and without a sign of letting go of the poor boy.

    Lilith giggled at the sight, while Michael tried in vain to get his sister to back away from the second observer of this meeting, the first one being the quiet Vali as the boy looked at the scene with a subdued but mirthful glance.

    Just like it had been back at the mansion, Grayfia reckoned as she was happily rewarded with a silent Euclid.

    Her young sibling was glancing with mixed emotions at Hoitsu, having already revealed how miffed he was about having a ‘rival’ to his sister’s affections.

    Of course there wasn’t any rivalry of sort, especially since the maid preferred the young man to her biological brother. Easier to manage, to care for and didn’t seem to latch at her like a perverted parasite.

    After some more attempts to get the Angel to stand away from the poor human, Hoitsu proceeded to get onto the remaining seat as the proper meeting finally began.

    Azazel took the lead by revealing the latest development regarding the block of Gods trying to form a coalition against the Christian Pantheon and their allies, giving out info about the current number of men deployed by their enemies.

    The number itself was worrying, but not enough to compare with Hell’s legions and the dormant armies of the Shinto, Hindu and Taoism.

    While the Hindu faction was fractured between the various belligerent deities, the God of Destruction Shiva had been the first of numerous divine beings deciding to not join with the aggressive block, preferring the status quo rather than a world-ending war.

    A thought that was shared by the Gods like the Celtic Lugh and the Mongol Tengri himself, which turned in a powerful statement since the latter has a stern look over his worshipers and mankind as a whole.

    Many were still in the process of joining for the ‘Peace-driven’ alliance, but the rallying was starting to cause some friction over the reasoning behind the existence of the group.

    It was meant to be a peace-keeping force, but with the concentration of so many deities, it was clear that war was just brewing with the intensification of skirmishes all over the world.

    Until now those battles had been brief encounters that left no sign of ever happening, only the leaders knowing what was going on, and yet it was a matter of time for things to escalate unless something was done to avoid it all.

    After Azazel had concluded his speech, it was Sirzech’s turn.

    Her husband started by detailing the current investigations happening in Hell’s society as some individuals have been discovered to hold some unpleasant allegiances outside the current government.

    A large majority had pledged support for Qlippoth, something that had irked the Satans as it meant that there was still a noticeable group of denizens that supported the old leadership and… that meant that Rizevim could have easily sparked a rebellion.

    Something that was subtly mentioned by the leader of the Maous and then was revealed bluntly by a comment coming from Lucifer’s son in a giddy tone, enough to cause some nervousness across the room until his mother came and bashed his skull once.

    Just enough to keep him quiet for a while.

    The intervention then moved to the current security system over Trihexa, numerous details left untold during the presentation as with the presence of Qlippoth’s leaders it was best to keep the current state of things about the Beast a secret.

    Papers were passed with Heaven, Lilith and Grigori learning more about it.

    Then it was Michael’s turn to talk and the Archangel decided to be honest with the current situation in Heaven.

    Their own investigation, both in the Kingdom and within the Church, had turned up numerous security problems about the overall integrity of their territories.

    Heaven had some sections that could be used to invade, something that only a handful of traitorous Angels had been aware of and had been able to maintain their purity only thanks to an exception within the rules of the ‘Falling’ which had formed after God’s death.

    These entrance points had been properly sealed and guarded by numerous Angelic Guards while their focus turned on Earth and… things turned blurry.

    From corruption to high treason, the Holy See’s hierarchy had been filled with criminals and traitors, all of them partaking in surviving thanks to the cracks present in the over-stretched eyes from Heaven.

    Some cardinals had to be sacked at once the moment their sins were revealed and a proper reshuffle was applied upon the current administration for the sake of having a completely-strong front to display to the other members of the group.

    The depiction was helpful as it did show that even Heaven had suffered some major blows after the Great War, excluding God’s death, but it also highlighted the fact that corruption was everywhere and people were flexible to sell sensible secrets out for money.

    The two cases proving to be enough of a strong point for Azazel to point out the little purge he had been forced to commit for the sake of limiting the damage caused by Kokabiel.

    While none of the rebellious Fallen Angels had pledged their allegiance or a connection to the man in particular, many had started the revolt during the time the war-hawk had attacked Kuoh Town.

    Something that was good to know about and that confirmed that the Pantheon’s internal stability has been fully reached just a few days ago.

    It was clear that caution was still more than needed in these trying times and that it was something to extend to the other alliance’s leaders for the sake of avoiding any sneak attacks from Indra and his clique of Gods.

    Michael’s turn was then diverted to describe some issues regarding the diaspora of Exorcists towards Grigori, asking for Azazel to at least turn over the worst criminals out for the sake of integrity and inner safety.

    A request that had initially not sit well with the Governor General, but then the man had agreed to make some proper screening and send out any ‘crazy maniacs’ that had gotten inside the organization, reminiscing about a curious case happening in Kuoh a month or two earlier, glancing at a silent Hoitsu as he described generally what had happened in the situation.

    Grayfia was smart enough to pick up that the ‘little intruder’ that had ‘shown Azazel the extent of the crime committed by the garrison’ was the one and only human in the room.

    Could it have been his first unofficial mission? Of that the maid wasn’t completely sure of, but she merely accepted the development as it was granted.

    Finally, the Archangel went on to discuss about the danger presented by Azrael and the full extension of his power. Something powerful and incredibly harmful even to normal Deities, but easy to counter with proper seals and mighty magical spells to subdue him.

    The Angel of Death was indeed nigh-impossible to kill, the role bestowed by God and the souls contained in that abomination being more than enough to be the greatest of threats for everyone in that room to face.

    The Maous and Grigori’s representatives started to plan out anything that could have worked to face the immensely-difficult task of capturing the rebellious entity.

    Something that took a while to find a determined response, but then someone else decided to butt in. Lady Lilith looked fairly certain of how Azazel was supposed to be handled, even mentioning that given enough consideration it could actually be killed by someone within this room.

    The revelation had struck shock from the majority of the room and soon the red-haired woman decided to explain how she was so sure of this certainty.

    The lady was clever in pointing out that Azrael had been weakened at the battle of Ama-no-uki-hashi, the wounds inflicted having put him to a point where his body would be far too unstable to further engage in any fight against someone strong enough to break his hold over the souls.

    While Michael and Gabriel were sure that Azrael was invincible and immortal, Lady Lilith proved them wrong by divulging something that Lucifer had told her after the first encounter with the ‘sad one’.

    Even though there was a degree of immensity upon the role bestowed by God to the Angel of Death, the Angel itself required a material manifestation to continue to exist. The very limit that was imposed to Azrael was the one created by his sturdy construction within the material world, his artificial soul being unable to last beyond the expiration date of his body.

    An important development because it gave them the clear flaw within the figure, while also offering them a chance of properly end him up.

    Yet there was also something that Lilith mentioned but didn’t expand upon. Azrael’s body was meant to last some Earth-shattering damage before showing some cracks and the only ones that could have really made a difference against him were those that either had enough magical prowess to vaporize him or… those with the ‘Power of Destruction’.

    Only her husband could have managed to get close enough to keep up with the monster while also destroying it. A process that would require immense concentration and power, something that would have been possible only if a strong group like the other Mahous and others joined up the fight.

    Right as this assumption was given to be thought of, Hoitsu decided to stand up with a determined expression.

    “I would like to volunteer myself and…” He glanced at his long-lasting partner in Grigori. “Vali for the task.”

    There was some silence at first, with many frowning at the sudden declaration and Grayfia starting to think that something had made her surrogate otouto a little insane for saying such a ludicrous thing.

    Yet Lilith seemed to evaluate the offer before shaking her head. “You two aren’t strong enough.”

    “We can use the-”

    “You can’t.” The former Queen interjected with a calm sigh. “I understand where you are trying to go with that statement, sonny, but you are failing to see how the ‘timing and effort’ required for that wouldn’t be conceded by someone as brutally fast as Azrael is. Your proposal is denied.”

    He fell on his chair with a shocked expression, eyes going wide at that sudden dismissal but he didn’t comment further after that. But the red-haired woman decided to assure him with something that was going to happen very soon, an even planned by Sairaorg.

    “But you can display that when the Bael Tournament will happen,” The Lady replied happily. “The one which you promised little Sai to fight against him.”

    The young man blinked at that statement, part of the maid hoping that he had been informed beforehand rather than receiving this news now of all times. It had been advertised for a while in Hell and, while the publicity hadn’t reached out to the real world within the proper channels, the Lucifuge had been sure that the human had been at least conscious that something big would happen in two days from now.

    “A… tournament?” He asked with a frown. “I thought it was going to be a spar.”

    Lilith giggled but nodded. “It was meant to be like that but… that prude Zekram decided to make it a tournament,” She explained quietly. “I think it’s because he hope to get you to show a little more than just what one would get from a spar.”

    A thud was heard across the room as the youth dropped his head onto the table. “Why can’t I get some peace?

    Another giggle, the former Queen of Hell smiled widely. “That is because you are an unlucky fellow with rather the unique display of powers and attitude.”

    Surprisingly, the response fit well with the overall endearing factors that made Hoitsu quite the interesting character to meet and know about.

    The young man was a gold-mine of strange adventures and his generally-cheerful outlook of things, his strive to do bring righteousness to the world was incredibly refreshing after the last few centuries of normal activities on Earth.

    Still, while the discussion proceeded to enter towards the final bits of its existence and the meeting was close to wrap up, Grayfia stopped to think about the tournament itself.

    Rias had been nervous to learn that participating would put her fragile reputation at stake as she would have to prove herself before Hell’s people as a whole. Something that was as nerve-wracking as dangerous for someone in her situation.

    Her sister-in-law was aware of it all, she was panicking about it every day until it happens and… she still wanted to take part of it for the sake of recovering some of the honor she had lost a while ago.

    A difficult predicament that had put Sirzechs on the edge, especially at the prospect that his sister sought to find forgiveness from Hoitsu, an effort that even Grayfia felt the need to insist to have the girl to deter from.

    It was a risky attempt that could seriously backfire on the hopeful redhead, something that she truly didn’t need to experience, the couple unsure if the heiress would have been able to endure another defeat on that department.

    The maid sighed as she was brought back by the nagging from Euclid, the moron of a sibling once again trying to get her to snap and strangle him up for being such an infuriating fool. Maybe she should have seriously thrown him in the oubliette when she had the chance to do that.

    What a regretful pity.

    ------------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------

    AN

    Mio’s situation is brought to attention and things are being planned.

    Next time? Surely a lemon. But who should be the one to go for Hoitsu?

    Can I pick? Can I pick?

    ...Really?

    Yes!

    Sigh, the choice is either Akua or Akeno-

    Yes!

    I didn’t finish-

    YES~!

    ...Really?

    Yep.

    Dammit.

    Future milestone 1: 1024 Followers and Favorite.
     
  29. JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Next Update is delayed to Sunday. Today I had a little emergency and I just don't have the willpower to write anything right now. The situation isn't grave nor worrisome, it's just that I'm drained. Or tomorrow if I can do it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
  30. Threadmarks: True Recognition
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 77: True Recognition

    Kunou looked giddy as she lead me right to the training ground, where a certain silver-haired Nekoshou was waiting patiently and as excitedly as was the kitsune.

    With the blonde’s eyes glowing brightly in amusement at whatever she had planned for the spar she and Koneko had challenged me to, curiosity had lifted off and was slowly conquering over the little suspicions of what those two wanted to show me with a spar.

    It has been long enough for their bodies to recover from Lith’s energy donation, their Cores now running smoothly and within their usual pacing, so it wasn’t that much difficult to foresee what they were trying to do with the fight.

    There were two prospects of what I was going to deal with, the first being full-powered forms of their Senjutsu and Wild Frenzy as both boosts had been close to be fully mastered by the two girls, the latter and more improbable predicament being that… they somehow tapped in the dragon-type energy and they could now make no little issues in an eventual brawl.

    I seriously hoped that it was the former than the latter, having dealt with some draining situations already and I wasn’t keen to endure some boring and long rests away from further progress.

    The new ‘Senjutsu’ form, the one I decided to nickname the ‘Morningstar Mode’, was still work-in-progress in terms of keeping up with the price of energy while also keeping the form stable enough to allow some fighting.

    And that is ignoring the uncertainty about the Twilight Joker. Now that the Morningstar Mode exists, I doubt that stabilizing the triple energy-input would be viable at the moment.

    A correct statement which Shiranai and I agreed to without hesitation, Apophis pointing out truthfully that I had been thinking of trying to tap in my stronger ability and… I had been wary of trying to do so.

    With the form already infamous for draining a lot from my Core while also releasing a non-negligible amount of energy that was easy to perceive even by the beings with a grade slightly inferior from Ultimate-Class Devils.

    If the situation truly ended up forcing me to turn in my stronger form… then I wasn’t sure that I would be able to sustain the outstanding costs and to guarantee the safety of the girls.

    Which wasn’t something acceptable, urging myself from even considering tapping in the Twilight Joker until I was able to withstand and control the full potential of the Morningstar Mode without causing any major issues to any allies or friends.

    We stepped inside the battling grounds, with Kunou rushing to Koneko as the two Yokai smiled and prepared their stances for the fight.

    I glanced to the sides of the mini-arena, my attention catching Kuroka staring at the scene as she sat outside of the limits, a little smile on her face as she nodded my way as to dignify my silent question.

    She was going to be the judge for this spar and I soon realized that I couldn’t sense nobody else within the vicinity of the house.

    Maybe it was because it was still quite early in the morning, but I would have expected Akeno to pass by to say hi before going to her grocery trip since it was Saturday and school wasn’t in session for the day.

    Shrugging the curious development to study for another time, I prepared myself for the battle and, before the engagement began, I took some air in and released it out from my lungs.

    I blinked as I felt my body warming up in anticipation because of the eagerly-primed circuits spread all over me at the approaching brawl, my eyes hardening as both girls bolted swiftly and silently away from their initial position after the black-haired woman gave the initial signal for the spar to begin.

    My body tensed up its guard at the partly-expected action and I prepared for the incoming assault as the two Yokai started to get closer.

    Suddenly, the young teens split away from their initial blitz, both rushing from two different sides around me as to try and create some little distraction for me because of the double front now appearing in front of me.

    I admit I was a little surprised at that smooth approach, feeling elated by the fact they had something planned for the occasion and… I smiled as the two drew closer.

    I cracked a giddy smile, allowing my feet to take a step or two backward as the two finally went for the quick strike by darting away from their distant approaching and indulging for close-up fighting.

    Kunou entered my proximity with her leg already priming to swipe up to my upped body urging my arm to be lift up as I braced for impact, while Koneko crouched a little with her fist cocked and ready to slam on my side and thus forcing me to prepare something to counter that little move of hers.

    I was pushed a little bit back by the kick, failing to grasp her leg as the blonde jumped away before I could have the chance to and I blocked the Nekoshou’s punch by raising my left up and let it slam there.

    I did felt some pain, my face sporting a brief flinch much to the silver-haired girl’s smug smirk and then she retreated before I could even drop a kick on her.

    I huffed as soon a brief exchange of blows ensued, some of the attacks managing to reach out for me and causing me some minor damages.

    Nothing strong enough to worry me, but the little pain was growing exponentially the more I let them have this much leverage on the few openings my guard was infamously still riddled with.

    A hum left my mouth as I decided to test their overall perception of a difficult and unexpected situation by not going for a full power-up.

    I went for a Kaioh-ken Times 2, just enough to let the energy course in my body and heightening my senses. It was sufficient enough for me to be able to deal some little tricks I had up in my sleeve.

    Koneko was the one to first notice that I had something in mind or rather, she was the first victim of the few-steps plan to victory as her legs were caught up by numerous strings wrapping around and causing her to trip as she continued to pursue my retreating form.

    Kunou paused a moment, distracting herself with a wide-eyed stare snapping at her downed ally but, before she could have gone and help the fellow Yokai up, her attention was suddenly taken by the glowing white sphere forming right on the side opposite to where she was looking at.

    Blue flames burst out around her body, her fox-fire sprung up to life as it coated her protectively by the time the intensifying glow concluded with a powerful explosion. The brunt of the damage was dealt mostly by the fiery barrier, but the knockback was strong enough to make the blonde lose her footing and send her flying away from her previous position.

    It was more than enough of a chance for me to rush to action and capitalize on the current weakness displayed as I rushed towards the girl and proceeded to exploit the multiple openings offered by her unfortunate flight.

    She eeped in surprise when her guard started to fail to match up with the speed my blows had and soon the girl was sent flying again, this time my opportunity to further prey on her flawed defense was denied when I was slammed away by a certain silver-haired blur.

    Koneko had a big scowl on her face that fully showed the inner annoyance she was feeling at the deceitful act I just pulled her into.

    The cat-eared girl was oozing with more energy and I noticed a little too late that she was taller and ‘older’ compared to usual.

    I recognized Touki and I recognized natural energy mixing to create the ‘Shirone Mode’, her entire potential tripled if not quadrupled than her usual self and I was quick to pick up the advantage by the way her speed and strength became quite the issue to fend off against and I knew my odds were slim to success without boosting up once again.

    I went for a Times 8, the red aura growing intense and a little burning on the skin as I started to fully experience the brunt of the technique once again.

    It’s been a while since I had last used it in a fight and now I was sure of why it was best to regain some control over the essential move.

    Koneko yelled as she continued with her attempts of piercing through my renewed guard, her attacks deflected or countered with powerful punches that slammed on her arms.

    We were evenly-matched in terms of power, but my endurance was far higher than hers much to my silent surprise. I would have expected her to be able to withstand more hits since she still had her Rook piece.

    An odd circumstance that persisted for some time, until our knuckles slammed against each other and some small cracks appeared on the magical barrier that existed around the battle grounds.

    It was another sign that something was off about our current pace, that the girl was going a little bit beyond as this didn’t… sound anymore like a spar.

    There was anger, but it was directed at the owner of the emotion, Koneko roaring as she tried to push me away in the little clash but hardly getting me to back away as I wasn’t certainly going to let her have this little win.

    “W-Why-” She tried to speak, her teeth gnawing and depriving her of a clear tone. “Why are- you not using- why are you holding back?!

    ...What?

    I think she is talking about the ‘Senjutsu form’. I reckon you never told her about… our little development.

    Oh- Wait, does that mean that-

    She thinks you are purposely holding back on her.

    Oh no. But I’m not-

    Now I could see why she was so much angry and why her Core was pushing more energy out.

    Her ‘Shirone mode’ was dropped the moment she interrupted the close encounter and retreated back to a safer position but before I could tell her anything, her energy skyrocketed once again and this time I noticed a curiously familiar magic forming a white aura around her.

    Her hair paled to a pristine white and her eyes turned to a crimson red, Koneko roared at the power she was displaying in that exact moment and I couldn’t help but gaze at the scene in utter awe.

    So she did manage to unlock her own version of the Fox-Dragon Mode, her energy surprisingly stable enough to keep up for more than a dozen of minutes before-

    Stop staring and DODGE!

    I tilted my head, eyes widening in shock as I was hit by the strong gust of air created by the powerful punch almost centering me on my face.

    I could see her eyes boring at me, I could see some annoyance and some irritation at the fact I was still buying ‘time to not get strong’. The Nekoshou was furious, I could see that without any external help, but I couldn’t certainly do-

    Mere moments of surprising quiet were ended when I felt her knee slamming onto my stomach, air forcefully spilled out of my lungs as I was pushed back several feet away, the girl showing no mercy as she rushed to assault me with everything she got.

    The Kaioh-ken hardly seemed to hinder the strength behind her hits and soon I started to seriously doubt this was even a spar to begin with, she didn’t seem to be holding nothing with her punches and-

    We need to step up the-

    No.

    She is going to put us in crutches if we don’t-

    Absolutely-

    We can do it! Stop trying to make it seem like it wouldn’t help right now.

    FINE!

    It was an instant before her fists reached my face again, a brief moment in time where my hair turned white and my eye turned a bright red as I glanced at her with a serious look.

    Koneko looked surprised at this development, no- shell-shocked to see this sudden change and she stopped herself, eyes widening up in awe as I stared at her.

    “W-What?” Her lips let out softly, her brain having to reboot at the sight and-

    My hands were quickly upon her face, her cheeks suddenly pinched as her eyes now revealed panic and fear the moment I started to squeeze painfully.

    “Attacking me like that, as if trying to coax me to show something that I don’t have anymore,” I pinched a little harder as to emphasize my point, getting a little yelp from her. “Were you?!”

    The cat-girl yelped again, her cheeks turning red at the attention before she gulped nervously and slowly nodded at my query

    S-Swowwy?” She tried to apologize, letting out a cute meowling from her lips during her reply causing me to pull at her cheeks a little more before letting her go and starting to pat her head.

    Panic slowly turned in tension at the still-present contact, her body stiffening at the hand going through her hair before finally accepting quietly the little ministrations, melting at his touch.

    “You are truly a silly, silly girl,” I stated with a sigh, my seriousness evaporating this mere instant of calm peace. “Really, why did you go that far?”

    She was silent at first, her stare dropping away from mine as she seemed to be hesitant over telling me about this and I contemplated myself whatever got her to be this much… angry all at once.

    The girl just wasn’t the kind of person that would get this much emotional over a fight and, for some reason, I felt like the reason was well-worth to be understood in that moment.

    It was a hunch, a strong gut feeling that told me that-

    “I...” Koneko finally spoke, her red eyes lifting back up to mine. “Am I strong?”

    I paused a moment, blinking once at her question before giving her a confused frown.

    “Strong? You are one of the strongest girls I know.” I replied without hesitation, making her smile for a brief moment before huffing again in little discomfort.

    “B-But I could be stronger,” The Nekoshou pointed out with a doubtful tone. “I- I could be more useful and- U-Uh?”

    She couldn’t finish up her sentence as I slowly took her up in a hug, my arms wrapping on her legs and pulling her up close so that I could look at her better.

    The girl ‘eeped’ a little as her hands settled on my shoulders and her wide eyes noticed the mirthful smirk on my face.

    “I think you are strong, pretty and incredibly smart, Shiro-chan,” I replied resolutely, drawing even more surprise out of her. “Actually, I’m sure of it. I know that and much more about you, so much and… I think I failed to tell you something else that you need to hear.”

    She blinked, red eyes waiting patiently for what I wanted to say. “A-And that is?”

    My smile widened. “My little Shiro-chan, you are my little sister. Just like Ku-chan, Lith-chan and Ophis-chan, you are my family,” I explained with a serious tone. “I don’t seek useful people, I don’t seek ‘pawns’ or other pieces of Chess. I wish for you to be happy and to know that we are all here for you as you are part of our big family, Shiro-chan.”

    I smiled brightly as I saw her expression twitch, her eyes trembling as a few teardrops formed around and- She dived her head on my shoulder.

    Koneko sobbed loudly, bawling childishly as her hold over my shoulders shifted to have her arms wrapped around my head while she let out the little frustration assailing her for a long time now.

    I had one of my arms move up to wrap over her shoulder, patting her back as the Yokai continued to cry for some time while the two other girls approached the two of us.

    Kunou smiled kindly as she moved to look at her surrogate big sister while Kuroka went to softly join my hand in patting the fellow Nekoshou’s back as to comfort her.

    The little moment lasted a few more minutes, concluding when the girl conceded to some rest as she fell asleep on her hug, making me chuckle softly at her little smile as she was safely handed to Kuroka.

    I turned to look at the kitsune, the blonde sporting a tired look herself and I was about to ask if she wanted to go in the living room to rest by the couch when I felt a sharp pain emerge from within my Magic Core.

    Tensing up, my hands shot by my lower abdomen as the Morningstar Mode dropped instantly, my legs gave away as I felt myself falling on the floor as my consciousness wavered and started to quickly be overcome by a sudden wave of tiredness and soreness, both internal and external.

    Kunou was upon me, her golden eyes going wide open as she tried to pass a vial of Phoenix’s Tears to me but…

    I was already passing out, my mind shutting down without explanation and soon I was unconscious on the ground.

    ------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d--------d-d-d-d----

    I woke up several hours later, a head-splitting migraine greeting me first as I found myself within the safety of my bed much to my surprise and confusion.

    The curtains of the room had been lowered down to the point where light barely allowed any means to look at what was in the place and there was darkness hindering my sight in seeing if there was someone else in there.

    I was suspecting that I wasn’t alone, the major hints being the curious weights pressing on both sides and seemingly breathing warmly near my shoulders.

    I blinked once before I finally decided to look at my right side, my eyes instantly widening as I was rewarded with quite the curious scene and… blush.

    Akeno was currently sleeping, her face very close to mine as she softly snored on my shoulder while… her clothes and underwear were finely-folded right by one of the chairs nearby the bed.

    Just as I finished noticing this detail, my eyes wandered to the other chair and I ended up realizing that another pair of clothes had been folded there, this ones being a little darker and… familiar too.

    I slowly turned away from the Himejima, my mind slowly giving out the final hints of whoever was sleeping on the other side of the bed.

    My eyes concluded the turning by glancing right… on a pair of slitted red ones, Akua blinking back happily and partially embarrassed about the current state of things.

    I gulped nervously, then I decided to make the first move as to greet the clearly-awake vampire.

    “Hi-” “Hello-”

    We both stopped, our eyes widening and our respective blushes spreading out a little more as silence lasted a little longer before I was allowed to try once again.

    “I don’t want to sound disappointed but-”

    “Healing,” Akua preceded me by blurting out the reasoning behind their presence here in the bed. “Akeno-chan said that it was an efficient way to… heal the damaged Core, that Magic would pass through better… this way.”

    Her explanation, coupled with her brief pauses, left me particularly speechless as I recognized what she was talking about as it was the very thing Rias had done to Issei to allow him to recover quicker from the brief grazes with death the brunet had to deal with during his first few days as a Reincarnated Devil.

    I was confused as to why it would be necessary for this kind of ‘healing spell’ when we had plenty of Phoenix’s Tears around to-

    Your Core almost collapsed. I miscalculated the timing you had to keep up the Morningstar Mode and you almost died because of it.

    I could feel the remorse dripping from Shiranai’s tone and I sighed inwardly.

    It’s not your fault-

    IT IS! I- I mean… I should have been more mindful because the boost is still unstable and… you were right. We need to train much more before we get a full grasp about it. It’s… different than I remember it to be.

    You will not do this mistake again-

    Your life is entrusted to me when I help you with this transformation. I have to keep an eye on weird things and warn you to ‘get out’ before things get too unstable.



    It was surprising to notice how mortified he was about the situation but-

    It was a grave mistake for sure but there is little you can do about it… unless you truly give your best in avoiding this to happen once again.

    I-I will! I can’t allow you to die, not when our hopes are at stake, not when THEIR hopes are at stake.

    It all sounded somewhat ominous coming from him, the way he sounded so much attached to everyone to a strange degree and… I noticed that I was wasting too much in thinking about the matter and ignoring Akua.

    Just as I began saying something to the vampire about the situation, to calm her visible suspicions on her face, I felt Akeno stirring on her sleep and… soon a hand reached out for my shoulder, softly squeezing as the girl hummed.

    “Oh, you are… awake?” She asked with a yawn, her violet eyes staring quietly right at mine as I turned around to greet her.

    “I am and… I see that you decided to go for something this much extreme-”

    “Because you almost died?” The Himejima replied dryly, her smile surprisingly unfazed by the tone owned by its owner. “I guess I should have just gone for something a little more painful, just for the sake of passing the simple point of moderating yourself.”

    I frowned at that. “Isn’t that what-”

    “I took in my life because someone insisted that balance was essential?” She interrupted, her sarcasm was truly evident from her interjections.

    “I admit it was my fault-” Which isn’t true- “But I didn’t expect for things-”

    “To get this bad?” This time it was Akua that interrupted. “I guess you didn’t use this new transformation enough to have a good control over it.”

    I nodded at her but Akeno’s hold over my back tightened and I felt her nails digging on my flesh.

    It was in that exact moment that I now realized that I had been deprived of my own clothes as my upper and lower bodies were unprotected by the quiet and ‘smiling’ fury behind me.

    “U-Uh, Ake-”

    “Be quiet,” She ordered with a strong voice, eyes steeling as she leaned a little closer. “Your selfish privileges have been revoked until… we find you clean of your crimes.”

    ...What?

    I was confused at first by her words, then I felt her chest press on my back. “And I think it’s about time we consider a proper recognition of our relationship, don’t you think Akua-chan?”

    I glanced at the vampire, feeling a little nervous at what the girl was mentioning and I blinked in surprise as the Shuzen nodded back at the fellow young woman.

    I gulped loudly as the hybrid giggled. “Well, I guess I can now put to good use this little box.”

    She lifted a small cardboard box with a familiar name written on it, I saw part of the content sticking out and… I blushed even more.

    “So… you want to-”

    “Yep~!”

    … “Oh-”

    The peace of the quiet bedroom was interrupted in quite the unexpected manner as-

    -------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d--------d-d-dd--

    AN

    Ya know, I always thought that grand challenged were to get above 7k+ words chapters out, but then I realized that it was more difficult to write two lemons back-to-back in the span of two days. And no, I’m not referring to the ‘curious predicament’ of the lemon, but rather the fact I wrote two chapters with lemons inside.

    And now I’m quite drained and-

    *Whistling*

    Oh God! N-Not again. P-Please, we can talk this out-

    Ready or not here I come~!

    AAAAAHHHHHH-AH~?

    [The Author was once again found in a state of shock, his body tense and covered by numerous sheets as he tried to understand what had just happened. Yet, differently from last time, there was a little grin twitching once or twice in a while on his face. What could have happened to him?]

    Before the R Q&A, I’ve to explain why last time I could (Which was on Tuesday), I wasn’t able to get the update out: I woke up early in the morning with my dad bleeding with a small gash just a little bit above his forehead. I woke up with mom yelling and asking for either mine or my sister’s help, me being the one to wake up quickly and help her pick the ice bag and the help her around with dad. Dad wasn’t truly hurt, rather he is old and very easy to scare when he gets hurt and see some of his blood coming out, thus putting him at risk for a heart-attack. The entire family spent close up to 14 hours by the hospital, the only way I was able to send the message at the forums being that my sister had her laptop with her (because my phone didn’t have connection and hospital doesn’t have wifi because… sanity here is just a sore spot for everyone.). Still, my dad is fine for whoever he is asking, the only issue is that he is supposed to have a silly patch over his head that make him look like a clown. He is fine and joking around it so… yeah, that’s it.

    Future milestone 1: 1080 Followers and Favorite.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
    theaceoffire likes this.
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