High School DxD:Volume 20 Life 2
Life.2 The Truth of the Feast
The next day—. I — Hyoudou Issei, came with Asia to a certain place early in the morning. It was the vast open space underneath Kuoh Town. The hollow dome shaped space was tightly covered by several layers of protective barriers. In the centre was a large round object — a dragon’s egg. This egg of a rare dragon breed was entrusted to us by Tannin-ossan before our battle against the Church warriors — a [Spectre Dragon] egg. A [Spectre Dragon] had moved to the Underworld, but the Underworld’s atmosphere was unsuitable to hatch its egg, so we placed it in this underground space below the town in the human world so that it could hatch. Since then, it was placed under the care of the members of [DxD] who were in Kuoh Town. Today it was my turn, but Asia also came along with me to watch. There was also another visitor here besides us, and upon seeing her, I laughed.
“I didn’t expect that you would take care of this egg.”
I was looking at Ophis who was hugging the egg tightly.
“I, have never raised children. Curious.”
Correct, in addition to us who came here in turn every day, Ophis also came here every day. Because [egg], [hatching], and [dragon] were important keywords, it had greatly piqued her interest. Ophis said that she had never seen a dragon hatching out of an egg despite living so long, so she wanted to take this opportunity to witness it. …Having said that, it felt like she was a parent as she held onto it tightly…. Seeing her adorable actions, I couldn’t help laughing.
I don’t know who or where she learnt it from, but Ophis was currently using a breathing technique for pregnant women…. Moreover, a human breathing technique that’s for pregnant women is useless for an oviparous organism. Rather, they’ll hatch out from eggs on their own! …Ravel and Raiser would be returning in two days from the custody of Ajuka Beelzebub-sama. It was said that they were safe, but due to Beelzebub-sama’s own situation and time, there were a lot of things which needed his attention, which is why that day was chosen. …It might be something to do with politics. After all, why would Ravel and Raiser be involved with it….
In fact, this space actually had another visitor present. Sitting slightly further away, a man wearing a black coat was closely watching Ophis. It was truly unexpected, even the Evil Dragon Crom Cruach was in here! As long as he knew that Ophis was in here, he would rush over and closely observe every minute action that Ophis made. …It couldn’t be said that he was an extremely Evil Dragon…but he was still quite scary. As it was difficult to speak with him much, we didn’t have much to do besides trusting him. Although Tannin-ossan trusted him absolutely, it still wasn’t so simple to get along with him… —While I was thinking about this, Asia walked towards him. She stood in front of Crom Cruach and said
“U-Umm, if you want, please eat this.”
What Asia took out of her handbag was — a bunch of bananas. Ophis also always had bananas as a snack. Not only that, Asia had also talked to the four Evil Dragon brothers and Fafnir. Perhaps, in Asia’s mind she had the enigmatic thought that [Dragon = Banana].
“This is called a banana. It tastes very good, you know?”
Crom Cruach silently received a banana from Asia. I was a little troubled over how to respond to that. After Asia gave him the banana, she bowed, and then came back over. Asia made a small smile as she said
“Sometimes I come here to check on how Ophis is doing.”
The relationship between Asia and Ophis was really good. Asia was able to deal with dragons really well…. Azazel-sensei often says that she has a lot of potential as a dragon tamer. —She said that dragons had something that she couldn’t explain.
“…Asia, what happened to Fafnir afterwards?”
I asked about Fafnir.
During the battle in Heaven, he was injured while he tried to protect Asia. The Dragon King who received extremely fierce attacks in order to protect Asia—. After the battle with Rizevim, Fafnir had been sleeping to recover. Although his wounds were treated by Asia…Asia had a sorrowful expression on her face as she shook her head.
There was still no response, and even if Asia called him, there would still be no response. The severity of the injury exceeded what was originally expected. Asia told everyone that neither Fafnir’s physical strength nor consciousness had returned as there was no response from him…. Ophis suddenly said something.
“You don’t need to worry. —Fafnir is currently fighting.”
As if echoing her, Crom Cruach held the banana as he said with a serious look
“He is a Dragon King. He won’t fall so easily.”
Asia and I looked at each other; we were both somewhat puzzled by the words of these two dragons. At that time, it was almost noon.
“Well, it’s almost lunch time. Ophis, what are you planning to do?”
With a slightly pitiful expression, Ophis put down the egg and came over to where we were.
“I, will not miss a meal.”
Geez, she was unexpectedly greedy, this loli Dragon God-sama…. Well, we planned to head home, but what did that other dragon-sama plan to do?
“What do you plan to—”
Although I said that to him, he was already gone. Since he knew that Ophis was going back together with us, he quickly left…. But I didn’t expect that that guy, Crom Cruach would actually leave with the banana—.
Two days later, it was the weekend—. Today was the day that we would meet Ajuka Beelzebub-sama, the day that Ravel and Raiser would return. We were all ready, and we planned to use the transportation magic circle underneath my house to travel over to Beelzebub-sama’s location. In order to calm myself down, I went upstairs to the first floor to drink some water. While sitting on the sofa of the living room, dad polished his fishing rod as he said to me
“Hey, Ise. I plan to go fishing, why don’t we go together? Mum will come along as well. Call Asia-chan to come together with us too.”
Dad smiled as he invited me. …Fishing, huh. Along with Asia, the four of us going together? …Hm, although it wasn’t bad, it was just too unfortunate. If Asia and I went fishing in this situation, I would feel bad about everyone else. I apologetically rubbed the back of my head as I apologised to dad.
“Sorry, dad. …I’m rather busy right now. It’s because there is something very important to do right now. How about we go together next time?”
Hearing my reply, dad — his expression became slightly lonesome as he gave me a wry smile and said
“…I see. Although I do occasionally want to go fishing with my children, you are also high school students, and you have your own priorities.”
“What are you talking about, it’s alright. We’ll go together next time!”
Although dad replied to me like that…I couldn’t tell him the truth. Although it was rather painful, it was also in order to prevent my parents from danger that I said that. After dad said that, mum came over to my side and whispered.
(For father, he was really happy when he heard that you were going to start up your own company later, so he wanted to go fishing with you by the sea so that he could have an honest talk with you.)
—Well. …So that was it. Dad truly was happy. That was why he invited me to go fishing.
(…Ah — I see, but, it’ll have to be next time.)
After hearing me say that, mum made a bitter smile and pat my back as she said
(Okay, let me accompany father today. You can go and finish what you need to do.)
Mum said that to me as she took the cup from my hand.
(But you know, Ise. Your father, he wants to have a good conversation with you as a father. You can’t forget this, okay?)
…Have a good conversation with dad? I felt a little shy about a solemn conversation between just two people…. I was already a boy of this age, so having a conversation like that with dad seemed a little difficult…
After saying that, I returned downstairs—.
It was time; the members of the Occult Research Club, the Sitris, Griselda-san and Azazel-sensei had gathered in the basement. Dulio was on guard duty in Heaven, and Ikuse Tobio was on a mission elsewhere so both of them couldn’t come here. The Vali team didn’t come either. Although we called Kuroka and Le Fay, it seemed like they were at Vali’s side…
Recalling what my parents just said, I was slightly distracted. I obviously chose to pick Ravel up to return here, but I was rather concerned about what my parents said…
“What is it, Ise?”
Noticing that I seemed a bit strange, Azazel-sensei curiously asked me
“Ah, sorry, it’s just something I’m a bit concerned about.”
Perhaps knowing what it was, Rias said
“Did anything happen with your parents?”
As expected of Rias, she really understood me. Sensei exhaled, and then continued
“I was wondering what it was; so you had an argument with your parents? Letting strange things worry you right now will be troublesome. Say it out and you might be able to relax a bit.”
Perhaps that could work. So I told everyone about what happened before.
“It’s not a big deal. Although they wanted to go fishing, I declined. I declined because there were other things to be done.”
After hearing what I said, sensei held his hand up to his chin, and then eloquently said
“…Fishing, huh. And together with his son.”
Sensei said to me with a serious expression
“Listen carefully, Ise. Although you can’t do it today, you should go fishing together next time.”
“Eh? Well, of course. That’s what I was planning to do…. What’s with you all of a sudden, sensei?”
Sensei rested his hand on top of my shoulder.
“Parents, they won’t stay by your side forever. Someday, they will leave you. So, while they’re still here, you should properly fulfil your responsibility as their child.”
“Ah, yes, I know…”
Rather abruptly, Akeno-san and I looked at each other — she returned a faint smile to me. …My parents won’t always be by my side? That is true; since I have both of my parents, perhaps it could be said that I’m one of the most blessed among everyone else. …I decided that as long as I had time, I would go fishing with dad. Occasionally, I also need to spend some quality time with my family! I once again made up my mind. Sensei looked at everyone as he said
“These words, you need to remember them as well Rias.”
“I understand them very well. But, isn’t it about time?”
In response to Rias who calmly answered, sensei sighed.
“Really, that’s why I say you young people…you should all get ready.”
Azazel-sensei released light from his hands, and the large transportation magic circle below our feet then glowed. The destination was Ajuka Beelzebub-sama’s location — that was the only way that it could vaguely be explained. After a few seconds, we were surrounded by the light which was emitted from the magic circle, and then transported to our destination—.
TN: Where I have dialogue within brackets such as [“WHAT!?”], it is used to indicate the response of several people at once.
When the light disappeared, the place we arrived at was — a sandy beach. That’s right, no matter how one looked at it, it was a beach. The sky above…was very dark. It was night time. The sound of rustling waves echoed over the quiet beach. …In the Underworld, seas didn’t exist. It was difficult to say that it was a huge lake too…. But the sky looked somewhat different from the Underworld. So, it was the human world then…? While I was thinking about that, I saw ‘it’ hanging in the air. —It was something which closely resembled the moon, and there were two of them. In the human world, only one moon was visible in the night sky from Earth. So where was this place…? Everyone noticed that this place was neither the human world nor the Underworld, and began looking around everywhere.
“—This place is known as a field which is part of the reproduction of another dimension, [Another World].”
A voice was suddenly heard. Looking over at the direction where the voice came from — there was a man sitting on a chair on a certain side of the beach. It was a man with a bewitching atmosphere — Maou Ajuka Beelzebub-sama. Placed beside Beelzebub-sama was a bed. On top of it there seemed to be someone sleeping there. …The chair and bed which were sitting on the beach seemed rather out of place. Normally speaking, when coming to a beach, shouldn’t it be accompanied by a parasol and deck chairs? …The mysterious feeling really suited this Maou-sama’s unusual taste. Beelzebub-sama closed the book he was reading and greeted us.
“Long time no see, members of the Gremory household…no, right now, I should say the members of [DxD].”
Azazel-sensei took a step forwards first, and shook hands with Beelzebub-sama who had stood up.
“It’s been a long time since we last saw each other in the Underworld, Ajuka.”
Beelzebub-sama smiled as he shook hands.
“Being able to meet you like this without any other VIPs present is a first, Former Governor Azazel-dono.”
“Rather than me, did you prepare this beforehand as well?”
Sensei said that as he looked around at the beach. Beelzebub-sama smiled wryly and replied
“You could say that our meeting is rather dangerous for our factions, even if there are the members of [DxD] to intervene.”
After the two people of high stature met face to face, Rias brought up a question.
“Ajuka-sama, what about Raiser and Ravel?”
Beelzebub-sama looked towards the bed.
“Raiser Phoenix was just taken away by the Phoenix family who came a little earlier. But they thought that it would be more appropriate to entrust the ojou-san to you. Ravel-san is over there.”
Looking over to the bed — Ravel was sleeping there peacefully. —Uh! I, and everyone else who couldn’t wait ran to her side.
Koneko-chan and I both called Ravel’s name from the bedside. In order to reassure us, Beelzebub-sama said
“She’s just asleep right now.”
In response to our calls, Ravel spoke.
“…Nnn…Ise…sama? And Koneko-san…?”
Having just opened her eyes, Ravel noticed Koneko-chan and me!
Seeing that Ravel was safe, Koneko-chan embraced Ravel as she cried. At this time, I was a little embarrassed to hug her… But I couldn’t stop my tears from welling up, seeing that Ravel was safe and sound! Looking around, everyone was at ease with their hands over their chest. …I see, not only Ravel, Raiser was also safe and returned home with the Phoenix family. Sensei added on a bit of information.
“In fact, my special agents — Slash Dog’s team, went to the Phoenix household as Raiser’s bodyguards. Nothing happened to them.”
So Ikuse-san’s mission was to be Raiser’s bodyguard. …However, to send the Grigori’s top special team as bodyguards, it seems like Raiser’s safety was rather important… It seemed to be related to the place that Ravel slept in. It was certain that the pair became involved in some sort of incident. After we confirmed that the Phoenix siblings were safe, Beelzebub-sama said to us
“Well, the reason for inviting you guys and the Former Governor over isn’t as simple as just telling you that this girl is safe and sound.”
Saying this, Beelzebub-sama took out from his pocket — a chess piece. …Speaking of Beelzebub-sama, I remembered that he was the creator of the [Evil Pieces]. This was something which was already known…but I hadn’t seen the shape of that piece before. It was unlike the [Pawn] or [Knight], and neither was it like the [Bishop], [Rook], or [Queen].
“Is there a connection to this chess piece? It doesn’t feel like just any other Evil Piece.”
That’s right, the aura which emanated from that piece — it was certainly an Evil Piece. The reincarnated Devils and I who were present could feel it. Out from Beelzebub-sama‘s mouth came a shocking truth.
“—This is the [King] piece.”
…How could it be? It was actually that!? Everyone who heard that was left stunned. That was to be expected! It was because what we had learnt until now about the Evil Pieces was that the [King] piece did not exist. From what we were taught, after becoming a high-class Devil, all we had to do was touch the [Monument] inside the Maou’s or various Lords’ castles and we would become a [King]. After that, we would be able to have our own peerage and a set of Evil Pieces. That was why they told us that the [King] piece did not exist… Although I mentioned before that everyone was startled by it, one person was an exception, and the person who remained absolutely calm was — Azazel-sensei.
“…Although I’ve heard of the rumours, this is really my first time seeing it.”
“…You already knew about it, sensei?”
After hearing my question, sensei put his hand on his chin.
“I said they were rumours. Originally, after signing the agreement with the Devils, I continued to search for the truth.”
No, no, I was just too surprised! Even as a high-class Devil and [King], Rias seemed to have a look of incredible disbelief as she looked at the piece which Beelzebub-sama was holding in his hand.
“…[King]…piece? How is it possible? The technology to produce the [King] piece hasn’t been developed right? Isn’t it said that simply completing the registration process to become [King] with the [Monument] is enough? That’s how the system is, right?”
Hearing what Rias said, Beelzebub-sama nodded.
“Well, the [King] piece originally didn’t exist. What you said just now was originally the Evil Pieces system, and the registration process for becoming [King]…no, I can only say that that’s all there is to the registration system. But in order to not let the [King] piece be exposed in the current story which exists, when a servant Devil is promoted, the piece within their body fusing or overlapping with the [King] piece was judged to be a very dangerous thing.”
Beelzebub-sama played with the piece in his hand as he continued
“The characteristic of this piece — is simply power enhancement. But, the strengthening isn’t as weak as just two or three times. As long as one possesses this, it could be ten times, or even a strengthening of over a hundred times is possible. That literally means, power can be enhanced far more than normal. That’s why the [King] piece was prohibited. The fear was that the people who had obtained this sort of power could have malicious intentions towards the government, and could even harm the government. Excessive power will often blind people’s eyes.”
…Pure strengthening. Strengthening of ten or even a hundred-fold was basically the same effect as Ophis’s snakes wasn’t it? Did the Old Maou Faction know about this? …I don’t know, and even if they knew, I wonder if they used it. Why was the [King] piece made by the Maou then—. I don’t think they hated the current Maous just because they used the [King] piece. I still remembered the Old Maou Faction who harboured such strong evil feelings. …Those guys obtained snakes after getting the support of Ophis, and then indulged themselves in power. If they were able to use the [King] piece, many high-class Devils and reincarnated Devils who could easily rise up would appear. …Diadora would definitely have lost himself with the power of the [King] piece if he had one. Prohibiting it was an understandable matter. Beelzebub-sama created a small magic circle next to his hand. After applying a small amount of energy to it, the details of dozens of people appeared on the beach. …I felt like they were all people that I had seen in video recordings and Rating Game magazines. Rias and Sona-zenkaichou also thought that they seemed familiar, and their expressions seemed confused. In this situation, Beelzebub-sama told us an even more shocking truth.
“The people shown here are all top ranked Rating Game contestants. What they have in common is that they’re all from the original 72 Pillars — pure-blooded high-class Devils. Furthermore, they — are all users of the [King] piece. This was the idea of the higher-ups in the Underworld. It hasn’t been publicly stated. As a result, the users of these pieces are known as ultimate-class Devils, and it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that they’re even Maou-class.”
…Everyone was left speechless. They were all too surprised by Beelzebub-sama’s words. After gasping, Sona-zenkaichou asked Beelzebub-sama
“…Well, the true power of those shown here in the top rankings is…?”
“Ah, them, the majority of them are using a power which can’t publicly be stated as ‘their own power’ to continuously climb the ranks. Most of the Game’s management executives are also people who are on their side. By retaining the [King] piece, using bribery to obtain the commercial rights, along with the ideas of the higher-ups, they conspire beforehand to manipulate their games. They’re constantly involved in unfair and dishonest competitions. Even so, there are people who have used their own power to become top ranking players. For example, people like the former Dragon King Tannin, and Rudiger Rosenkreutz. It’s a trend mainly seen with reincarnated Devils.”
…The unbelievable confession caused everyone to listen quietly. It was confirmed that the information which appeared there didn’t have anything to do with Tannin-ossan. Indeed, that ossan’s true power as an ultimate-class Devil was genuine. Beelzebub-sama shrugged.
“Well, it’s the same as competitions in the human world…the Rating Games in the Underworld have a similar flaw. I was just the initiator, and didn’t manage the actual system itself. There may even be other [Cannot be touched], and [Cannot be spoken] things which are being used. As the initiator, no matter what the era, simply taking a step away from producing things will cause things to get out of hand.”
After the Rating Game system was completed, most of the rights were transferred over to the current Game managers. I didn’t expect it; Ajuka Beelzebub-sama obviously created the Game, but when the Rating Game combined the ideas of other people it could actually become so repulsive. I had also heard that for the creators of a work, when they mixed in the ideas of other people, it would feel very annoying.
“That is to say, although the competition is quite fierce, as long as one has true strength, anyone can obtain fame in the Rating Games. To the people in the higher-ups, it’s not a sham…but the players who are able to break through the status quo are only the exceptionally special cases like you guys. For other people, it’s an impossible task.”
A half-baked awareness and ability would make it impossible to overcome the higher-ups who created this.
“The reason why the top ranked contestants don’t have much change in rank is because…?”
Kiba, who often watched Rating Games continued to ask Beelzebub-sama
“—This kind of tug-of-war state is because there are perfect adjustments to balance it. It’s just the old Devils who are secretly controlling things in order to reap the benefits. It’s really just a competition for the old Devils’ top ranked players so that they can generate a lot of money. As long as they’re able to control the competition, the profits that they receive will simply increase. No matter how eye-catching a reincarnated Devil is, as long as they use the [King] piece, the challengers to the top ranked players who are controlled by those old Devils will undoubtedly face an unfair challenge.”
Beelzebub-sama’s words caused Sona-zenkaichou to fall to her knees on the spot.
“…How can this be…!?”
For Sona-zenkaichou, who planned to build a Rating Game school that anyone could attend, this information was like a deadly poison to her… —The [King] piece. The top ranked players were in control of the rankings. It was a cruel fact.
“…All of this is a concealed truth. If the people knew about this, it would dramatically shake the values of the Underworld…”
Saji, who was supporting Sona-zenkaichou revealed an expression of anguish.
“…Sirzechs can’t do much about them either, right?”
Azazel-sensei asked Beelzebub-sama.
“For now, this is how it is. On the surface, it’s just a political front that they’re pretending to actively deal with, but if they act rashly, the balance of the Underworld will collapse. With the issues related to the survival of the race and internal strife on top of that, both the young and old are in a heated situation where everything could collapse in a single instant. Moreover, the opponents are the numerous cunning old Devils; for their own interests and the sake of their aristocratic society, they’ll do anything. To some extent, they’re even more troublesome than the Old Maou faction as they harbour an even deeper darkness than them. Even for Sirzechs and I who are known as Super Devils, we can only appear to push back and forth on the surface politically.”
The Rating Games were tied together with politics and economics…. Behind the scenes, those powerful Devils were manipulating the competition for their own interests. Right now, we found out about an incredible situation…I could no longer seriously look at a professional game! In the battle between the Gremory and Bael Houses, it could also have been considered a contest between the Maou faction and Great King faction behind the scenes, which was why a different type of contest could be displayed. The match itself was truly honest. It must have been due to Sirzechs-sama’s effort in making a deal in secret so that our match wouldn’t be manipulated. With a grim expression, Rias continued to ask Beelzebub-sama
“But, why are you telling us this information? Wasn’t this extremely confidential information something that only the higher-ups — and Maou’s knew about?”
Beelzebub-sama quietly closed his eyes.
“The person who shouldn’t know about this, or perhaps I should say, the person who can’t be allowed to know about this, does know about it. —That person is Emperor Diehauser Belial. He knows the truth about this.”
—What! …The Emperor’s name was actually mentioned here. And it seems he also knew about the truth of the Rating Games.
“Is Diehauser genuine?”
“Well, he is pure in his virtue as he used his own talent and ability to become the Champion of Devils. Without using the [King] piece, he was able to reach the very top. That’s the reason behind the incident which occurred the other day. —Rizevim Livan Lucifer was able to successfully snatch Agreas due to the assistance of the Emperor. It was all in order to pursue the truth of everything.”
…How could it be!? We were surprised once again by this information. That Emperor Belial, he would actually help Rizevim, and Qlippoth!?
The Champion actually took part in the incident where Agreas was stolen…. I seemed to have a faint clue about it. When we went to Auros Academy, the Champion had come over to visit us, and also spoke to the children. Afterwards, it seems he then went over to Agreas for filming…I see, at that time, the Champion had already defected and was together with Rizevim… —All along, we were being led towards that battle in Auros Academy, and it was singlehandedly set up by the Champion. …Damn it, I was more angrier than I was surprised; that series of events simply began to confuse me. Rias was so shocked that even her shoulders began trembling.
“That Champion…actually participated in a terrorist attack…I can’t believe it!”
“He defected precisely because he discovered the truth. You could say that he thought it through, and didn’t just do it impulsively.”
Even Xenovia, who was always impulsive, seemed doubtful about the Champion’s actions. Beelzebub-sama frowned.
“He has his own reasons. …If you search for the root cause, you could say that it’s the fault of the old Devils. …The ways of thinking of those older Devils has gradually been distorting the standards of the Underworld. It finally reached the limit. And the Champion used this opportunity to take action.”
The Champion’s own reasons—. …With the reason that the Underworld, Devils, and every faction was his enemy, he really…. Because I had only met him a handful of times, I didn’t think that he was a bad person. However, since I was just like a child who lacked much experience, perhaps I wasn’t able to see that he was a bad person…. I was a little concerned about something, so I asked Beelzebub-sama
“Why did this happen to Raiser and Ravel…? Could it be that Emperor Belial was using it as a terrorist attack?”
Only now did I notice that the Champion dragged the Phoenix siblings into this. Beelzebub-sama replied to me
“In order to call me out. He only wanted to talk to me, and that’s why he used them. During a match, when misconduct occurs, that’s something I personally manage. In order to fulfil this condition, the misconduct occurred this time because the Champion used his ability against the system. His ability is called [Worthless]; it is the power to completely invalidate a special ability. He invalidated the retiring system of the Rating Game, which caused the emergency program to be initiated. …In order to confirm exactly why the Emperor did such a thing, I transported myself over there.”
…So that was the truth behind the misconduct. The Emperor used his own ability to invalidate the Game’s system, and as a result, Beelzebub-sama personally transported over there after becoming interested in the misconduct.
“Well, what did you talk about?”
In response to Azazel-sensei’s question, Beelzebub-sama nodded.
“Yes, about the [King] piece and it was also made clear that he was cooperating with Rizevim. —But, simply for that, having the Phoenix siblings there was too dangerous.”
“In the end, what happened?”
I asked Beelzebub-sama again, but the person who replied was Azazel-sensei.
“The Rating Game uses cameras for the audience, and cameras with other purposes such as surveillance. The camera used for surveillance is not only used by the management, but in some cases, the higher-ups are also able to view it. The conversation between Ajuka and the Champion was also seen by the higher-ups. The Phoenix siblings who were present at the time could also be suspected of having involvement. The reason for this is because, while Ajuka and the Emperor were talking about the [King] piece, it led to various other confidential matters being spoken about. If things aren’t handled well, the two siblings will be disposed of.”
“Disposed, how will…!”
Simply for being present there, Ravel would be disposed of? That was just far too unreasonable! Beelzebub-sama made a wry smile.
“That’s what they’ll do. In order to maintain their own position, those old guys would definitely do such a thing calmly. In the past, the people who have found out about the truth of the [King] piece have also been mercilessly disposed of by them. Afraid that it would come to that, the Emperor used the Phoenix siblings and then entrusted them to me. Even if it’s those old guys, they wouldn’t dare to act rashly against me.”
…So that was the truth behind the cause for the events which occurred in the match between the Champion Belial and Raiser…. Beelzebub-sama continued
“Both of them were entrusted to me honestly. Before ensuring their safety with absolute certainty, I didn’t release them. For young people like you with a bright future to actually be killed due to the plots of those old guys, that’s something I absolutely cannot agree with.”
Although Raiser and Ravel were dragged into this confidential matter, they were able to remain safe, all because Beelzebub-sama did his best to protect them. …To us, this bewitching man stood at the highest point of the Underworld in a place that we couldn’t even see. But, having saved the Phoenix siblings this time, he was a Maou-sama that was worthy of our trust. Thinking about it, I’m currently strong, and that’s also thanks to him as he helped me adjust my pieces. After recovering herself, Sona-zenkaichou stood up, and narrowed her eyes.
“Ajuka-sama, what are the plans for the Champion now that he’s no longer here?”
She asked a key question. Beelzebub-sama said
“—Everything that we just discussed will be announced to the entire Underworld and the various factions.”
After hearing the Champion’s purpose from Beelzebub-sama, everyone was given quite a shock. …It was the same as what Saji said, if everyone found out about this, the Underworld’s values would be damaged. And there were also the hopes and dreams of middle and low-class Devils for the Rating Games—. …The inside was truly dark; if everyone knew about the manipulation of rankings, the people who worked hard for their dreams and the children who were filled with dreams of the future would have their hopes crushed. Being ranked first, the absolute Champion; the truth which came out of Emperor Belial’s would weigh heavier than anything else. With a bitter expression and teary face, Sona-zenkaichou said
“…Perhaps that will come at the expense of even more victims than the past.”
The battle for Agreas, and the battle after the attack in Heaven had already resulted in many casualties. The Emperor’s purpose looked like it was only going to cause even more casualties this time. That’s because the people who found out about the truth would rally together and riot. Beelzebub-sama sighed.
“…There will be a considerable number of sacrifices. Especially because the incident this time is quite radical. Together with the Agreas battle, the things which have been lost are things which cannot be ignored.”
“So where is the Champion now?”
Rias asked. What needed to be said had been said, what needed to be asked had been asked; so where did the Champion go?
“He forcibly transferred away. He must have used Rizevim’s power, or perhaps he used the power of that Evil Dragon who’s renowned for his magic, Aži Dahāka. He thought that if he stayed too long with me, it would be dangerous.”
Beelzebub-sama replied. However, my doubts still continued.
“…But, why did that only happen with Raiser’s match? Would it not have worked if it was against other opponents…?”
Towards my question, Beelzebub-sama gently laughed.
“You will soon know the answer to that question. He is unexpectedly wise.”
…? I didn’t quite understand. Did he have a reason for using Raiser or not? Azazel-sensei cleared his throat and said
“However, Ajuka. Since the video from the surveillance camera could be seen, then that means those old Devils would have heard your conversation with Emperor Belial. They might come over to question your negligence.”
“To some extent, what happened in that video has been tampered with. Right now, those old guys will be making the wrong move…”
“I see. Even if the Champion did something, then there’ll be a reasonable response. Given that it’s you, you definitely would’ve made preparations.”
“That is the case for now. I am a Maou after all. It’s also something that Sirzechs can’t do, something that only I can do.”
“I see, you’re quite correct. —But even if a lot of things happen, we need to keep the number of casualties to a minimum.”
“Well, of course I understand that. I definitely won’t allow any of the civilians who are innocent to become victims.”
Azazel-sensei and Beelzebub-sama were able to speak to each other congenially. We couldn’t help thinking that these two people were indeed VIPs, and were truly worthy of being the leaders of their race.
“Thank you again for the matter involving Ravel and Raiser, Ajuka.”
“Of course I’d do something of that level, Former Governor-dono. It’s quite rare for young people with such bright futures to appear, so how could I possibly let them die like that? The current Rating Game situation is a result my laissez-faire attitude. If possible, I want to purify the elements of the Game environment that I can. Raiser Phoenix as well as you young Devils could be the ones with the vital talent which is required to change the Rating Games.”
I took a step forward and bowed my head.
“…I don’t understand the complicated issues, but I completely trust Azazel-sensei and the Maou-samas when it comes to the political aspect of things. But, please let me thank you. I am truly grateful that you were able to help Ravel and Raiser!”
It was a candid thought. Originally, the politics of the Rating Games and its darkness were too distant from us. But the person who saved Ravel was this man, so I thanked him for that.
“Ah, thank you!”
Koneko-chan stood beside me and also thanked him as she bowed her head. Gasper also copied us. For the both of them, since their friend was rescued, they expressed their thankfulness to Maou-sama. The members of [DxD] who were present also bowed in gratitude. A smile emerged on Beelzebub-sama’s face.
“Well, you young Devils will face many troubles, but, please overcome them. The circumstances above you have the people above you to deal with them. Afterwards, no matter what happens, you should enthusiastically show your spirit, and protect the things that you should protect!”
Those were concise words! Ah, anyone who strikes out at us will definitely be repaid a hundred-fold. Anything that needs to be protected will be protected with all our strength. That was us. That wasn’t just something that we had been doing, but also that we’ll continue to do in the future. —While I was thinking like that, Azazel-sensei raised his index finger and asked Beelzebub-sama
“Tell me one thing. —How many [King] pieces currently exist?”
“The production was already stopped during the initial development stage. No one even knows the production method, and only I made them, so it’s not possible for new pieces to be made. To sum it up, only the few that I made during initial production exist. I’ve kept track of all of them; aside from the few that I have, there are nine in total. The Emperor gave his one to me. I now currently have four.”
I didn’t realise when, but Beelzebub-sama produced a second [King] piece in his hand. I was afraid that that was the piece which he obtained from the Emperor. After hearing this response, sensei had a grim look.
“…There are five which remain in the hands of higher-up Devils. It’s surprisingly many. If worst come to worst, it’ll be enough for a rebellion.”
…The Devils who used those pieces were able to rival ultimate-class Devils, and even Maou-class Devils. As for the rest of the five Devils, sensei didn’t know what they would bring about.
“I plan to spend a few thousand years reclaiming them. This is the responsibility that I should fulfil as the creator.”
The piece that he obtained from the Emperor could possibly be called reclaiming. If it was someone other than this man who obtained it, it was possible that they would do something unimaginably evil. In fact, it really is good that the Emperor’s piece was not taken by Rizevim…. Or would it have been useless to Rizevim? Perhaps sensing my thoughts, the Maou-sama said
“If the [King] piece is used by someone who is already too strong, or if it is used by someone who has a special ability, an overload may occur. In the worst case, it would endanger their lives. Even if they were saved…it wouldn’t be any better.”
So such a reason existed. It wasn’t something that could be used by the people who already possessed power. Perhaps that’s the reason why the Old Maou faction didn’t use it? If Rizevim used it, it was possible that he could die, so that’s why he didn’t use it…? There were still many questions which were left unanswered. Beelzebub-sama said to Azazel-sensei
“There is also something else, Former Governor Azazel-dono.”
“What is it?”
“It’ll be best if you can realise it. To be honest, if I were the enemy, in order to bring down [DxD], you would be the first person I’d target.”
—Mn. …No one expected such a statement from Beelzebub-sama, and everyone focused their attention towards those two people. Beelzebub-sama continued
“You are far too talented. Not only to this team, even for the various factions, you’re an outstanding consultant. The next time Indra and Hades aim for something, it will be you…I hope you realise that.”
Sensei shrugged as he smiled wryly.
“…That’s the same as what that God of Destruction said. …But, I’ve more or less prepared some self-protection measures.”
…Target sensei huh. Sensei was our benefactor who had guided us. And as a bridge for the various factions, he was involved in VIP talks several times. Looking at the current state of things, the reason why the [DxD] team existed was also thanks to sensei. That was why sensei was a very important existence to both us, and the VIPs of the various factions. …That was why he would become a target for people. Please sensei; don’t let anything happen to you in the future. If you fall, the future will become uncertain…well, sensei isn’t someone who’d die easily though. But Beelzebub-sama’s advice was terrifying enough. Conversely, Azazel-sensei asked Beelzebub-sama
“I heard that you also plunged into some strange things? —You know the whereabouts of [Innovate Clear] and [Telos Karma] right? You did that with your own [Team]…it has something to do with this space, doesn’t it?”
All of a sudden, Azazel-sensei listed the names of two Longinus…. What was it? Although I knew that Beelzebub-sama operated his own [Team] somewhere in Japan…what do two of the Longinus have to do with this space? Beelzebub-sama shook his head.
“I’m very sorry, but this is my field. Even if it’s you who’s familiar with Sacred Gears, you may not be able to understand. If you want to know why, it’s because it exists outside of the world.”
Sensei regretfully sighed as he said ‘I see’. At this time, a small magic circle for communication appeared beside Beelzebub-sama’s ear. Beelzebub-sama listened to the voice.
“…A hotline, huh.”
Beelzebub-sama eloquently narrowed his eyes.
“…Ho, to some extent it’s an unexpected move from them, but it’s also a bad move.”
He turned around and said to us
“You should return immediately.”
Rias asked about the sudden occurrence, and a shocking piece of news came from the Maou-sama’s mouth.
“—Ophis was attacked by an Evil Dragon.”
I and everyone else were speechless— The malice of those guys was in action once again.
Upstairs in the Hyoudou household—. Gathered in Ophis’s room were the members from before, and also Dulio who rushed over afterwards. Having been brought back, Ravel returned to her own room to rest. Koneko-chan also accompanied her. However, Ophis was lying on her bed…with her clothes ripped and tattered. Asia was currently healing her. The external injuries gradually faded until they disappeared. …When we hurriedly returned over from Beelzebub-sama’s side, Ophis had already been brutally injured. Her limbs had all been shattered, and her face was very heavily injured as well. Her entire body was covered with wounds caused by claws, and she had lost consciousness. Even after receiving treatment, she had not regained consciousness. …If she was still infinite, these kinds of injuries wouldn’t matter at all. But, she was currently finite. Even if she was stronger than any one person in this room, she could still be injured. …But, who was it? I couldn’t think of anyone that could defeat Ophis. And where was she attacked? As these doubts filled my mind, Dulio said
“…It looks like she was attacked in that underground space. At the time, I had a sense of anxiety, and quickly rushed over there. At that time, the Evil Dragon had already escaped. The one who arrived there before me was Crom Cruach.”
In the direction that Dulio pointed towards, Crom Cruach stood there as he leaned against the wall. Dulio then said
“Ophis, she…in order to protect the [Spectre Dragon] egg, she was beaten.”
……. …In other words, Ophis was hurt like this so that she could protect the egg… …Ah, those bastards, they must have deliberately been aiming for that egg. Since it was Ophis, she definitely would have sacrificed her life to protect that egg. If the aim of those bastards was to defeat Ophis, then they certainly would have aimed for the egg to attack her. Supposing that Ophis was protecting the egg, even Evil Dragons would be able to defeat her. But she didn’t do anything, or perhaps they used a technique that Ophis was defenceless against…? In any case, they injured Ophis to such an extent while she was defenceless. They really were a group of evil bastards…damn it!
I was so angry that my entire body was pulsating. …She was clearly living a peaceful life. She was living together with us peacefully every day. She was really interested in the [Spectre Dragon] egg, and wanted to guard it. She just wanted to live an ordinary life! An aura of rage seeped out of my body. Beside me, Rias and Asia tried to comfort me.
“Ise, calm down. You’ll just be doing what they want if you don’t maintain your composure. All of us can also understand your anger. I, as well as everyone else am undeniably angry.”
“…I know, everything is because of that guy…it’s all part of that bastard’s plan…damn it!”
—Rizevim, Qlippoth! Indeed, it’s only that guy that I have to…! I restrained the anger in my body, and calmed my mind. At that time, a small communication magic circle appeared beside sensei’s ear.
“What is it, what happened?”
Turning my attention towards sensei, I saw that he was unable to utter a word, and he had a mortified expression.
“—Shit! …How did it come to that? Those bastards, they actually went and did something like that…!”
After thumping his chest a few times, sensei adjusted his breathing and said to me
“Ise, listen to me calmly. Do you understand? You absolutely have to listen to me calmly.”
“What actually happened, sensei? What is it?”
“—Your parents, they were just kidnapped by Qlippoth.”
The instant I heard that, I felt something erupt within me.
Translator's Notes and References
- That is to say, Fafnir is currently fighting the injury both physically and mentally.
- An ojou-san is a high-class lady.
- Agreas is the floating island which was where the Evil Pieces were manufactured. Refer to the events of volume 17 for more information.
- A laissez-faire attitude is one where a leader does not restrict freedom and could be called laid back.
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