High School DxD:Volume 20 Life 3
Life.3 Hyoudou Issei
The strategy plan for the Agreas battle operation was left to strategists like Azazel-sensei and Sona-zenkaichou to formulate. I — Hyoudou Issei returned to my own room, and began making preparations for the battle. Just then, a photo on the desk caught my attention. It was a photo of me, my parents, and Asia. It was taken last year in front of our house when Asia moved in with us. I — leaned my head against the wall, and then slowly sank down. …If I had gone fishing together with them, that wouldn’t have happened, right? No, that would’ve resulted in a situation in which I wouldn’t have been able to meet Ravel…but, at the least I needed to say something to my parents! Yes, why didn’t I consider such a situation? Precisely because the enemy is that kind of a dangerous bastard, it’s no surprise that my parents would be targeted! Somewhere in my mind, I kept on imagining that my parents were very ordinary people of this world who were not related to the supernatural. I believed that even if I reincarnated as a Devil, they would still be able to live an ordinary life in the human world. —The goal of that group of bastards was that, completely trampling over everything I thought of. …While I had no words to say, in my heart, I thought…I hope that dad and mum are safe. My anger towards those bastards was endless, I wouldn’t forgive them. —I will definitely bring those two back. While I made such a resolve, someone knocked on the door. The person who walked in was — Ravel.
Having walked into the room, Ravel looked at me with a worried expression.
“What is it, Ravel? Don’t you need to rest?”
I smiled as I looked at her, but her face was still clouded with unhappiness.
“Well, it’s already fine. Compared to that…I really made you worry. And I wasn’t by your side when you had your career consultation…I was useless in all the crucial moments, as your manager I’m too ashamed…”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s enough that Ravel is safe.”
“B-But…I couldn’t do anything at all during all the critical moments…! During the [Devil Uprising], the unrest in Romania, that time with Auros, and even this time…! I’m supposed to be your manager, yet I can’t stay by Ise-sama’s side…. If that hadn’t happened to me, Ise-sama’s parents wouldn’t have…”
Ravel poignantly cried. Although she covered her face with her hands, streams of tears still flowed down her face through her hands. …So she was actually concerned about such a thing. She had clearly been helping me all along, but Ravel kept on thinking that she couldn’t accompany me in those crucial situations. I — quietly approached her, and then hugged her tightly.
“You’re wrong about that, Ravel. Precisely because I had Ravel waiting for me, I was able to face the enemy and fight with confidence, you know? So, don’t cry.”
“……I will always, always accompany Ise-sama by his side. Regardless of whether it’s a hundred years, a thousand years, or even the more distant future—”
“Thank you. Since you’ve said that, Ravel, I’m not going to die.”
I hugged my cute manager even more tightly, and I vowed
“—Definitely, we’ll come back to live with everyone.”
I felt that being able to hold Ravel, who was safe in my arms, was really nice. Yeah, I definitely can’t die. Nor will I let anyone else die. —Dad, mum, I’ll definitely come to save you!
The battle strategy meeting had concluded, and it had been only been about half a day since Kuroka had passed that information on to us. The members of [DxD] were all gathered in the room underneath the Hyoudou household where a gigantic transportation magic circle had been drawn. The members included the Gremorys, Sitris, Irina, Griselda-san, and Dulio of the [Brave Saints], Slash Dog’s Ikuse-san, Kuroka and Le Fay. This time’s battle would be — a surprise. At this stage, the enemy still believed that we were looking for the location of Agreas and had yet to ascertain it. If we didn’t make any miscalculations, it would result in an unexpected attack for Qlippoth that would be outside their expectations. For us, this was the pre-emptive strike. It was Vali’s tenacity which finally led to the discovery of the wherabouts of Agreas. Otherwise, the floating city which had been transported there and could move wouldn’t have been so easy to find. …Thinking about it, that guy wouldn’t be together with us; he was probably going in alone to find out where Rizevim was hiding. Sairaorg-san and Seekvaira-san who weren’t present here were on standby in the Underworld in case anything happened. However, if it was a suitable time, they would also join up with us to fight. This time, right after we would be transported through the magic circle, we would immediately begin the battle in the city of Agreas. Azazel-sensei looked at us as he said
“Kuroka told me the approximate coordinates of where Agreas has stopped. —Ajuka will also help in transporting us over there. But his transportation magic can be considered as a special type, so the number of people that he can transfer at a time is limited. But, without his magic, it won’t be possible to break through the barrier to transport us to Agreas.”
I also noticed that the magic circle on the ground looked different to the ones in the past. So it was Beelzebub-sama using his magic to control it. Although he wasn’t here in person, he was able to control the magic circle from a distance. He was even using an especially powerful type of transportation magic…but, without doing at least this, it wouldn’t be possible to attack Qlippoth’s base. Sensei continued
“The first team — is a diversionary unit.”
Sona-zenkaichou and the Sitri peerage took a step forward.
“That will be done by us Sitris. We’ll definitely get the enemy’s attention and then create an opening.”
“I will also go.”
First it would be the Sitri household, Dulio, and Sister Griselda (+ several [Brave Saints] members) who would enter the city and cause confusion. That would be in order to draw the enemy’s attention—. Sensei turned towards Rias.
“The second team will be the main force. Rias, Ise, and the members of the Occult Research Club.”
That’s right, we would be the main force. After we transported over to Agreas, I would rescue my parents, and we would also weaken Qlippoth’s forces as much as we could. Rias nodded.
“Yes, I understand. After all, I am going to be taking care of ogifu-sama and ogibo-sama. The people who are their own family members should go to save them.”
Everyone in the Occult Research Club nodded in agreement.
“And then Tobio, you’ll go together with Rias’ group. As soon as you arrive, immediately begin supporting them from the shadows on your own. —As for me, I’ll be going over after you guys. I’ll head into the power generation rooms inside Agreas. If I’m able to stop it, then I’ll stop it.”
Azazel-sensei also planned to charge into that place. Yes, if he could stop Agreas, it would be best to do so. We couldn’t allow that sacred Rating Game location to continue to be exploited. That was the place where Sairaorg-san and I had once fought each other—. Sensei turned around to ask Le Fay
“Le Fay, what about that guy Vali?”
“He and the other members are on standby near Agreas. If you don’t move carefully, Agreas and Vali-sama’s grandfather may escape.”
Vali and Bikou were currently keeping an eye on it. Kuroka began to giggle.
“Since you’re going to attack, you plan to get rid of them in a single assault rather quickly right? For Vali, it wasn’t easy for him to finally catch the enemy’s tail, so he definitely won’t let them get away again nya~”
So he had prepared his determination to such a degree huh. However, we also had the element of surprise, so it would be a good opportunity. I as well, since I was going there, I could settle things with those bastards. But sensei seemed to have a slightly doubtful look, as he held his chin with one hand.
“Thanks to Vali’s persistence, we found their hideout…saying that isn’t wrong. However, Rizevim’s actions have been too conspicuous this time. While the act of targeting Ophis and kidnapping Ise’s parents isn’t a bad move, it seems too impatient for a conspirator like that bastard. It feels like he’s very anxious. Or did he want us to think this way and make such calculations…?”
I didn’t quite understand what sensei was thinking about… Since sensei noticed that everyone’s attention was focused on him, he refreshed himself and warned us
“Anyway, you all have to be careful. That bastard isn’t just any ordinary guy. We don’t know what sort of things he’ll pull. You need to pay attention to every step. Even in the worst scenario, we need to rescue Ise’s parents out of there!”
We earnestly replied in unison. Sensei then made a bold smile and said to us
“But, remember this point well. —Those bastards have entered the sanctuary that they shouldn’t have entered. They’re a group of bastards who deserve to die. We absolutely cannot forgive them. If you’re able to defeat them, then turn them into dust. I’ll allow it.”
That was obvious! Since they’ve attacked us, we’ll retaliate just as hard! —Vali, if you were going to come, couldn’t you have come earlier? I could drop everything just to destroy those bastards! While I was becoming more and more determined, the first team consisting of the Sitri household and the others began their preparations to be transported—. The surprise battle on Agreas had begun!
When we arrived, the sound of explosions could be heard everywhere. Accompanied by the loud sounds of explosions, the ground was also shaking violently.
The location that we arrived at was the west side of the city’s central plaza. Nearby there was a vast park, with many trees planted there. Looking up, several clouds of smoke could be seen in the distance. It seems like the Sitri household, Dulio, and the others who arrived just before us were going wild. Arriving together with us was Slash Dog’s Ikuse-san. He and the black dog — Jin moved forward together.
“Sorry, but I need to do my own job. —I wish the rest of you good luck. Hyoudou Issei-kun, you absolutely must rescue your parents.”
Having confirmed my answer, Ikuse-san and Jin swiftly left the scene without even the slightest noise. After all, he had received instructions from Azazel-sensei to do support work in secret.
Under the command of Rias, we advanced towards the Government Office in the floating city of Agreas that Rizevim was on. It was at the northwest corner after exiting the park. Familiar with the location, Rias lead on, and we followed after her. We didn’t fly in the air since we wanted to avoid being seen. Looking up at the sky, we could see countless number of mass-produced Evil Dragons flying towards the diversionary unit. …This was indeed the base of Qlippoth; there were an unimaginable number of them. Moving through the park, we stayed under the shadow of buildings to advance without drawing any attention to ourselves. After several minutes—. We arrived in front of the high-rise building. It was a building with a very unique design. It was Agreas’ Government Office. We stayed under the shadow of a building that was a short distance away from the Government Office and observed the surroundings. There were numerous Evil Dragons surrounding the Government Office on standby. In the sky above, just as many Evil Dragons were circling about.
“…Well, what are we going to do next?”
Rias had considered bursting directly into the Government Office. The Evil Dragons which were in front of the Government Office were within our expectations. Regardless of whether we launched a frontal assault or a surprise attack, it was inevitable that the enemy would guard their own strongholds. While we were thinking of what our next step would be, Koneko-chan pinched her nose and said
“…It stinks. It looks like we’ve been discovered.”
Koneko-chan pointed to a certain place. In the middle of a myriad of Evil Dragons, a long and slender snake-like creature appeared, it was a dragon with black scales. It’s dense and powerful aura was on a level that couldn’t be compared to the mass-produced Evil Dragons. —It was Níðhöggr. The instant I saw that figure, my anger immediately resurged. …It did that to Ophis…it did that to dad and mum…. In order to stop me from getting carried away due to my anger, Kiba placed his hand on my shoulder, and Asia held onto my hand. …I know, it’s supposed to help me calm down right? Ah, I’m fine. —Thank you. I thanked Kiba and Asia in my mind. After I took a deep breath, I allowed myself to calm down. But, that bastard didn’t care at all and called out towards us, though we didn’t want to expose ourselves.
<< Guha, guhehehehe. COME OUT ALREADY! YOU GUYS ARE OVER THERE! >>
…They already knew. We all looked at each other, and then nodded. We readied our respective weapons, and I also speedily wore my armour. After finishing our preparations for a fight which could start at any time, we quickly moved to the front of the Government Office. Upon seeing Níðhöggr’s ugly face, we couldn’t help understanding the reason why Koneko-chan previously said that ‘It stinks’. …A nasty smell wafted out of Níðhöggr. Everyone put on an expression of disgust. Ddraig said in a voice that everyone could hear
After hearing Ddraig’s voice, the Evil Dragon deepened the smile on its ugly face, which caused everyone to become even more disgusted.
<< You there, you’re Ddraig? Guhehe. Long time no see, you’ve actually become rather small. >>
I took a step forward, and asked Níðhöggr
“…So you’re the bastard that caused Ophis to end up like that?”
After hearing my question, the Evil Dragon laughed nastily.
<< Guhe, guhehehe. That’s right, Lucifer’s son told me that there was an extremely tasty dragon egg, then sent me in there. After that, I found that Ophis who had become small was in there. I told her to give the egg to me, but in the end I got rejected. But that egg is truly a very delicious egg, so I wanted to snatch it. Yes yes, your father and mother, Lucifer’s son gave them to me. As soon as I showed them to Ophis, she actually quietened down. It was really amazing. Don’t you think so? >>
…I see, it was exactly the same as what was recorded in the video…. That bastard’s shrill voice continued.
<< And then, I beat Ophis really hard without holding back! And then, Ophis looked like she was going to let me do as I pleased, and she didn’t fight back at all. So I took advantage of that and beat Ophis even harder! >>
… Níðhöggr spoke of its atrocities against Ophis with a smile on its face. I…was furious; I couldn’t bear it any longer. I quietly began the chant for the true crimson armour. Níðhöggr didn’t take any notice of me at all; it still had a gleeful look on its face, and its fetid saliva continued to drool out of its mouth as it continued speaking.
<< Because that Ouroboros Dragon didn’t show any resistance at all, I happily beat her up over and over again, I kicked her over and over again, and I stomped and bit her; I was sooo haapppy >>
I was so mad that my fists were trembling as I clenched them… —…Ah, ah, that bastard…I’ll destroy it so hard that not even a scrap will remain! Rias and Kiba both…both didn’t stop me anymore. One step, one more step and I would be right in front of that Evil Dragon. I held onto the firm resolve that I had already established. Níðhöggr still spoke with pleasure as it disregarded the people who were around it.
<< Guhehehehe. That was really too cool. It was simply far too cool! But, I didn’t get to eat the egg so I’m feeling very hungry. Since this is a rare opportunity, why don’t you let me eat you? Eating the meat of a little Ddraig wouldn’t be too bad right? Oh, yes. I should also eat your father and mother while I’m at it! >>
……. …………. …Ah, good, this bastard — it’s an absolutely heartless evil being which is rotten to the bone. I clenched my jaw, squeezed out a few words.
“…I see, it’s enough for me to know that.”
For the crimson armour, I quietly finished chanting the last part.
“—And I will lead you to the Path of Heaven, glowing in deep crimson light”
[Cardinal Crimson Full Drive!!!!]
With my entire body encased in crimson armour, I concentrated an enormous amount of aura into my fist.
“Since you want to eat, I’ll let you eat your fill.”
[Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost!!]
The sound of my power doubling echoed out, and the dragon’s aura which had been multiplied was focused all onto my right fist!
[Solid Impact Booster!!!!]
“—Have a good taste of my fist!”
I thrust my right arm which had swelled up in size due to the Solid Impact upwards! Níðhöggr created a defensive magic circle in front of it—. My fist was full of momentum and rage; it easily shattered that bastard’s defensive magic circle, and then smashed directly into its face in an instant. The sound of the attack impact was extremely powerful. My single punch sent the massive Níðhöggr flying. That bastard was blown right through the entrance of the first floor, but the momentum didn’t stop there, and it continued all the way to the back of the building. Using that opportunity, my nakama began to fight against the mass-produced Evil Dragons. At the entrance to the Government Office, the melee began.
“Holy Lightning Dragon!”
<< Burraahh! >>
Akeno-san summoned multiple Holy Lightning Dragons as she flew in mid-air, and almost instantly burnt a great number of the mass-produced Evil Dragons. Gasper directly turned into a beast, and summoned numerous monsters in the surrounding area.
“I’ll destroy you.”
“That’s right, this is a crucial moment!”
Koneko-chan’s Kasha attacks and Rossweisse-san’s magic attacks overlapped with each other and exterminated many of the mass-produced Evil Dragons. Facing such a vast number of Evil Dragons, my nakama were fiercely facing off against them; they really were a reliable bunch of nakama! After only a brief period of time, Níðhöggr flew out from the rubble, and cried out at the same time.
<< OOOWWWWWWWWW! IT HUUUUURRTTSSS! >>
That bastard’s face had become distorted after just a single punch of mine, and it was obviously that bones were broken. Níðhöggr came out from the Government Office, and looked at me with a furious expression.
<< W-What the hell! Y-You damned little Devil! I’ll kill you! I’ll definitely swallow you up! >>
…Ah, that’s if you can do it.
“Then let me see you do it!”
I rapidly flew forwards, and attacked at a speed that Níðhöggr couldn’t even register! Facing its abdomen, I threw a punch! After it stumbled back, I landed a kick on its hind legs. And then, I kept on kicking its back! After that, I gave it several more fierce blows to its face.
<< Guha! Guh! >>
That bastard didn’t have the strength to fight back against my high-speed movement and attacks. It gracelessly spat fresh blood out of its mouth. …It dared to hurt my important friend — it did something like that to Ophis. Do you think it’s settled with just that…? You also used my parents as hostages, and threatened Ophis…. I definitely won’t let you go with just this! I seized Níðhöggr’s throat with my arm which had thickened due to Solid Impact.
“Beating over and over again, kicking over and over again…that’s what you said.”
Níðhöggr shook its large body and freed itself from my grip. It flew back slightly, and then used its momentum to charge towards me while it readied its front paws as it targeted me.
<< I’ll flatten you! >>
It planned to stomp on me huh…would I be crushed by you so easily!? I flashed past its front paws, and launched another Solid Impact at its face.
“Don’t bully my family’s Dragon God-sama, you bastard!”
GOOON! It was the sound of another strong hit. With another one of my powerful blows, I sent that bastard flying into the Government Office again! At that time, Rias unexpectedly stepped forward. Standing beside me, she said
“—Ise, that’s good. We’ll use that technique to end it. If I don’t do something like this to that Evil Dragon, I won’t be satisfied.”
“…That huh. I understand!”
In response to Rias, I allowed the wyverns to emerge from each of the gems of my armour. The wyverns which flew out responded to my thoughts, and released a brilliant red light as they began to circle around Rias! Rias and I started to synchronise our aura and breathing. …It was the combination technique that Rias and I practiced a countless number of times in the swimming pool below the Hyoudou household and at Rating Game venues—. When Rias’ red aura and my red aura became one, the wyverns invoked a miracle! One of the wyverns attached itself onto Rias’ right hand! —At the same time, the wyverns began to decompose into different shapes! That was — a gauntlet! The wyverns connected themselves end to end successively, now attaching onto Rias’ body, and gradually formed a layer of armour! After all of the wyverns had latched on, what appeared there was — the [Crimson-haired Ruin Princess] dressed in crimson armour. That’s right, this was my combination technique with Rias! By attaching the wyverns onto Rias’ body, a female version was created — Rias’ personal Boosted Gear Scale Mail. With Rias and I clad in armour, we readied our stance together, and cried out
““—[Crimson Extinct Dragonar]!””
That was the name of our combination technique!
“Rias! Let’s go!”
“Yes! Let’s go!”
We made cues to each other, and then flew forwards at high speed. Like two streaks of crimson light, we flew towards the Government Office that Níðhöggr just flew out of. Rias and I engaged in a union of melee attacks and destructive magic, which forced Níðhöggr to continue suffering an innumerable number of blows. Rias, who was currently wearing armour had her magic power enhanced by the power of the Sekiryuutei, and was even more powerful than usual. Like this, if we continued to attack in combination with each other, even a legendary Evil Dragon would be a cinch.
<< …Gah! Guaaahhh! OOOWWWW! >>
Níðhöggr was thrown into the sky by my full-powered uppercut as it moaned in pain as a result of our endless assault. It looked like our combination technique was really effective in its first real combat use! This combination technique, although it had several limitations, Rias was able to use the Sekiryuutei’s Boost, Transfer and Penetrate abilities. That is to say, Rias and I were able to use the Sekiryuutei’s power to fight separate enemies, and each of us could use different abilities. Although, as long as we used this, I wouldn’t be able to use the wyverns, and there was also a time limit for Rias… Having received my uppercut, Níðhöggr heavily slammed into the ground when it fell; its entire body then began to become shrouded in a faint light. After that, as if nothing had happened to it, it stood up again!
<< Guhehehehehehe! I’ve revived! >>
The Evil Dragon’s disgusting smile emerged on its face again! The wounds that it had suffered until now were all gone! …That pale light, and the changes in that Evil Dragon…it was familiar!
That’s right, they were Phoenix Tears! That bastard triumphantly showed several small vials to us in its hand — Phoenix Tears.
<< It really is a convenient item. The injuries that I had just now have all been healed! I won’t let you have your way again, I definitely won’t forgive you guys! >>
In its anger, a black miasma burst out of Níðhöggr’s entire body. …I see, they were secretly producing Phoenix Tears. That’s why they could use it. Rias and I readied ourselves again as we confronted Níðhöggr.
“—That miasma, it’ll cause damage as soon as it touches your body.”
“Since it’s come to this, we’ll just have to beat it until it runs out of Phoenix Tears! I’ll fight to the very end!”
That’s right, it would be fine as long as Rias and I could beat it until it had no more Phoenix Tears left! Right now, that was definitely possible! Just as we were charging ahead—. A man inserted himself between Níðhöggr and us.
“—Those words are truly like those of a dragon. Hearing it makes even me delighted.”
A man wearing a black coat — it was Crom Cruach! That guy, why would he be here? Although I was doubtful, he didn’t mind me as he said to Níðhöggr
“Níðhöggr…you really are too naïve.”
Watching Níðhöggr who continuously released miasma from its body, Crom Cruach sighed.
“…Crom Cruach, why are you here?”
He ignored Rias’ question. Níðhöggr then looked towards Crom Cruach.
<< Guhehehe! If it isn’t Master Crom! Although I was a little scared during our last encounter, together with me, you and I, let’s swallow these guys up— >>
DOON! It was the sound of a clean and crisp hit. Looking towards the source, Crom Cruach’s right arm had actually transformed into a massive dragon’s claw, and struck Níðhöggr directly in the face while it had its guard down.
<< OWWW, IT HURTS! IT HURTS SO MUCH! W-Why would you hit me!? >>
Fresh blood splattered out of its mouth as it cried out in pain. Crom Cruach twisted his neck, and the sound of his flexing muscles could be heard.
“…You, you guys are too fond of playing little tricks.”
Even after being bathed in Níðhöggr’s miasma, Crom Cruach still courageously said those words.
“I originally intended to learn what a dragon was by observing Ophis. But you would hinder me — well, I can destroy you until not a single speck is left can’t I?”
Crom Cruach looked up towards the sky — no, he was looking at the top floor of the Government Office, as he shouted these words to that bastard.
“Rizevim Livan Lucifer, did you see that? Even if you want to control many Evil Dragons, you are mistaken.”
With his coat fluttering, Crom Cruach bluntly asserted that after his confrontation with Níðhöggr.
“A true dragon will not be constrained from its birth till its death; it will live only according to its own will. That is what is known as a dragon!”
All of a sudden, Crom Cruach turned his eyes towards me and then pointed to the top floor of the Government Office as he said
—Huh. I was surprised by Crom Cruach’s actions. Does that mean, this guy…wants to deal with Níðhöggr by himself?
“…Is that okay?”
I asked in confirmation.
As usual, it was his silent reply.
“…I’m really sorry about before.”
Seeing me bow my head to apologise, he shook his head.
“—There’s no need. Since you’re a Heavenly Dragon, there’s no need for you to lower your head to an Evil Dragon like me.”
I couldn’t say anything in return. Rias nodded as she faced me — and Asia as she said
“Ise, Asia! Leave this place to us, you two guys go first! Please go and save ogifu-sama and ogibo-sama as their ‘son’ and ‘daughter’!”
—Yes! Rias…! She told Asia and I to go save my parents. …Yes, that’s right. That role — was only for me and Asia. I looked towards Asia.
“Although it’s dangerous, do you want to come?”
Asia’s eyes were filled with strong determination as she nodded.
…Alright, that was simple then. I expanded my dragon wings, and lifted Asia into my arms as I prepared to fly off. I need to get to the top floor quickly! But the sky was completely black in colour as a massive number of mass-produced Evil Dragons were circling about. In order to reach the top floor, it looked like I’d have no choice but to break through the middle of them. Perhaps having just been on the top floor watching Crom Cruach, that cold dark aura — Rizevim’s aura came over to us from the rooftop. Having experienced that bastard’s aura, it was a chilling and evil aura which was impossible to forget. When I had held Asia with a princess carry and was about to fly out, the mass-produced Evil Dragons grouped together and rushed towards us. But they didn’t reach us. —They were slashed through by a holy-demonic sword with a dense and calm aura. In a single instant, three slashes were made—. With such godly speed, it seemed as though a single sword had split into three and attacked in different directions. — Sandanzuki, it was a technique that Kiba had released. It was a technique of the former Shinsengumi captain Okita Sōji. Although he had forbidden himself from copying his mentor’s sword techniques, after his feelings about it changed, he was able to use it perfectly. Kiba’s favourite techniques were originally his high-speed combat skills. Sandanzuki was one of the most skillful techniques of them all. Right in front of us, a horde of Evil Dragons had been sliced apart by three powerful strikes. Kiba held up his holy-demonic sword as he said to me
“Ise-kun, hurry up and go! Xenovia, Irina, I want you to come and accompany them!”
In response to Kiba’s call, Xenovia and Irina ran over after they struck down the Evil Dragons they were dealing with using their holy swords.
“Leave it to us! We’ll guard Asia well!”
“We’re known as the Church Trio! Xenovia and I will escort you up there, Asia!”
Xenovia and Irina pat grabbed onto my shoulder. Just as I was about to start flying, Níðhöggr aimed a magic circle at me as it prepared to attack!
<< NO, I WON’T LET YOU GO! >>
Did it plan to fire a magic attack at me!? —Just as it did, it’s attack was dispersed by a the powerful aura that Crom Cruach released.
“Your opponent is me. —It’s been a long time since I’ve let people see it, but I’ll let you experience it today.”
Crom Cruach released an unprecedented aura that was far greater than it did before. Everything in the vicinity began to shake violently. The members of the Occult Research Club and the mass-produced Evil Dragons who were fighting against each other all stopped and turned their attention towards Crom Cruach. Surrounded by everyone’s gaze, Crom Cruach’s body began to change. His arms, legs, back, and then his head; they all changed into the appearance that a dragon would originally have. His whole body radiated a black and gold aura. His two wings spread rapidly; there stood an enormous, grand and majestic dragon—. The Evil Dragon of Evil Dragons had liberated his original form. His breathing was accompanied by light flames.
[—Known as the strongest Evil Dragon, this is the strength that I possess!]
With both his wings wide open, it was an awe-inspiring look that people wouldn’t be able to help but feel fascinated by. When Níðhöggr saw Crom Cruach’s true form, its body began shivering, and its mouth also couldn’t help shivering.
<< Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhh! >>
Níðhöggr let out a scream. The black aura which enveloped Crom Cruach’s entire body was the real deal. I…I also felt scared for a moment. If I had to fight against him — no, I now deeply understood that he wasn’t an opponent that I could fight against right now… Crom Cruach pointed to something in Níðhöggr’s trembling hands; they were the Phoenix Tears that Níðhöggr was holding. Crom Cruach imposingly said something which suited a dignified dragon’s style.
[How many of those so-called Phoenix Tears are there? Ten? Twenty? In front of me, Crom Cruach, enjoy using them. —But, I’ll definitely kill you over a hundred times! I’ll chase you down relentlessly until your consciousness perishes!]
Níðhöggr could do nothing but tremble all over. I couldn’t blame it for being afraid of death. Although it could revive after being killed several times due to its greed, the Evil Dragon before our eyes wasn’t an ordinary opponent at all; the difference was too far apart. It didn’t stand a chance at all.
<< Guuwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh! >>
Níðhöggr had tears streaming down its face while it continued to drool as it awkwardly tried to attack Crom Cruach. — However, the dragon which was known as the strongest Evil Dragon threw a straight punch directly at Níðhöggr as it moved forwards. Níðhöggr’s massive body was sent flying. Whilst being propelled away, Níðhöggr knocked several buildings down with its body on the way. …So that’s what his punch was like. It was like Sairaorg-san’s, no, it was in a class even greater than that! I pulled myself together again, and turned my attention back towards flying. Although it would be nice to watch Níðhöggr and Crom Cruach’s fight, the most important thing right now was to rescue my parents! I unfolded my wings, and flew up. In my arms, Asia — bowed and thanked Crom Cruach.
“U-Um, thank you so much!”
The enormous Evil Dragon then replied
Crom Cruach then lifted the edge of his large mouth; it looked like he was smiling.
[Bananas really are nice things.]
Being extremely surprised by this, Asia’s eyes began to moisten.
As I flew in the air — I was almost stopped by Crom Cruach’s sudden move. No, I was certainly distracted in that moment. …Like this, it was the third time since Tannin-ossan and Fafnir’s Outrage. ……Damn it, damn it! I wholeheartedly regretted trying to pursue Crom Cruach at home. Although my parents and Ophis had been exposed to danger, I…I really was too stupid!
[That guy is a dragon that has been watching the human world for a long time.]
As I was reflecting, Ddraig said that to me.
[—Partner, you definitely can’t forget Crom Cruach’s appearance just now. That is the ultimate form of an Evil Dragon who has single-mindedly pursued power. —Well, what is borrowed will be returned.]
…Yes. Exactly! There are a lot of dragons who are worth learning from —. That’s why I definitely have to become the strongest and greatest dragon — to become the Sekiryuutei! At that time, I’ll definitely surpass Crom Cruach —.
Waiting in the air as we flew were a countless number of mass-produced Evil Dragons.
While holding onto my body, Xenovia and Irina released holy waves at the Evil Dragons which flew past. Although they were struck down one after the other—.
“This really is endless!”
“What’s going on? Just how many of them are there!?”
Faced with the endless onslaught of Evil Dragons, Xenovia and Irina were dumbfounded. Another group of Evil Dragons was now flying towards us! After we had flown about halfway towards the Government Office, Xenovia and Irina respectively opened their Devil and Angel wings and moved away from me. They began an aerial fight. The two of them cut down the Evil Dragons as they shouted
“There are a lot more Evil Dragons up here.”
“Leave this place to us, you guys charge into the interior from that bottom window there and then run up, that may be faster!”
After saying that, Irina released a holy wave with Hauteclere, and destroyed a section of the glass wall. So that’s where you want me to go in. After saying ‘I’ll leave the rest to you’ to the two of them, I hurriedly flew ahead with Asia in my arms. It was true that there were much fewer Evil Dragons here. At most, there were a few small Evil Dragons wandering through the corridors. While still in a position where I was holding Asia, I continued to run ahead. Even if there were Evil Dragons here, I ignored them, and focused only on running towards the top floor. At that time, a voice was projected out of a loudspeaker within the building.
[Good day, members of the Underworld. I am Diehauser Belial. My whereabouts were previously unknown, but as you can all see, I am currently safe.]
—What! I was surprised by the owner of the voice! It was actually the Champion’s voice! He’s upstairs? Just as I felt surprised, I suddenly halted in front of a particular room. I carefully looked at that room. Placed inside it were several monitors. Displayed on all of the screens was the image of Emperor Belial. …That, was it a live broadcast? Also, he addressed that just now to the members of the Underworld. …Did they hack into the TV stations to broadcast this out to the Underworld…? On the screen, the Emperor continued speaking with a serious expression
“Next, I have something which I must tell everyone. That is — the darkness of the Rating Games.”
—What! …Sure enough, that was what the Champion wanted to convey. The conspiracy behind the Rating Games. I didn’t stay to watch it any longer, and instead continued to move up to the top floor. While I was running, the Champion’s voice continued to reverberate throughout the building.
[In my generation, like fast-growing mushrooms, talented young Devils have appeared one after another, struggling at the forefront of the Rating Games. Ranked second, Roygun Belphegor and ranked third, Bedeze Abaddon have learnt from each other that the content of the Games are praised by people.]
Upon seeing the stairs, I dashed up as fast as I could.
[But, I have heard of some disturbing news. Regardless of whether it’s Roygun, Bedeze, or other contestants, they weren’t very outstanding Devils when they were young—. When I first heard about it, I laughed it off; I thought that they were just rumours which had spread as a result of jealousy towards those who had gained results with their talent.]
The Champion then lowered the tone of his voice.
[…But, on a certain day, my cousin Cleria told me that she had obtained some interesting information related to the Rating Games.]
—Do you know about the [King] piece, she asked. That’s what Cleria Belial said. Cleria was Rias’ predecessor who used to be in charge of her territory. During the era when the Three Factions were hostile to each other, she was the woman who had fallen in love with a human man, and in the end, she was tragically killed by the higher ups of the Underworld—.
[I simply replied ‘Ah, that’s nothing more than an urban legend’. But she continued. ‘In the region of Japan that I’ve been appointed to, Maou Ajuka Beelzebub’s hideout is nearby.’ — she said. It was quite popular amongst some people that Ajuka-sama had been [making the Game] somewhere in Japan due to his interest.]
The Champion admonished Cleria.
[Don’t bother the Maou. No matter what, don’t carelessly approach that place, alright?]
But, having heard stories about contestants and the higher-ups from the Champion since she was young, she was highly interested in it, and began to collect information about it alone. But more investigation into this information was cut off halfway; Cleria believed that there was definitely something big behind all of it. The Champion’s voice was filled with sorrow.
[…She, just because of some little story of mine, was killed. Because I always stayed in the position of Champion, more than anything, I was displeased about the ridiculous reports that the reporters made. She knew everything about me, and knew that my strength was genuine. …To me, she was a family member more important than anything else…I always regarded her as my own imouto.]
Following that, the Champion calmly said
[Speaking of the conclusion, it’s clear that Cleria was erased. — She was eliminated by the government of the Underworld. This wasn’t the decision of the current four great Maous, but the decision of the Old Devils. Because these facts were covered up, I didn’t know about the truth. I was only told that my cousin Cleria had died. …In order to resolve my suspicions, I relied on a certain pipeline, and finally learned the truth.]
…Wasn’t she eliminated because she had fallen in love with a human man…? In other words, wasn’t that the reason why the Champion Diehauser Belial joined Qlippoth…? A certain pipeline, by that he meant Rizevim and Qlippoth. He obtained information from them. Emperor Belial continued
[The conclusion is that — the [King] piece exists. And in the photos and information that I am now showing everyone, they have only obtained the strength that they have today as a result of using the [King] piece.]
I was afraid that the video being shown to the people of the Underworld right now was the video which we were shown at Ajuka Beelzebub-sama’s place. The information that the Champion obtained by cooperating with Rizevim was the truth behind Cleria’s death and the darkness of the Rating Games. …That information had now been released! The Underworld must be in a state of chaos…! The Champion then told the residents of the Underworld about the darkness of the Rating Games that they didn’t know about—. The Champion also stated the exact things that we heard about from Beelzebub-sama. I quietly continued to advance towards the top floor. This is — his revenge against the Old Devils as the Champion for killing Cleria…! When I had finally reached the observation room of the top floor, the Champion’s broadcast had just ended. The image on the large monitor in front of me became a mosaic of static noise. It was a very spacious looking room. It might even have enough space to serve as the venue for a fight…. When I stepped into the room, Emperor Belial turned around and questioned me. It seems like he noticed my presence a while ago.
“…So, Sekiryuutei-kun. What do you plan to do with me? By giving this truthful information to the masses, it’ll be enough to condemn those guys. Moreover, there are also the matters regarding Agreas, and the match with Raiser Phoenix-san…”
I put Asia down, and then stepped forward. I slowly moved closer to the Emperor. …With what was happening in the Underworld, I could only place my trust in the Maou-sama. Beelzebub-sama had also told me that before, so that I could do the things that I had to. In that case, my current mission was—. Rescue my parents safely.
“—Anything’s fine in this situation.”
A very familiar voice which would make people feel uneasy came into my ears. Looking over to where it came from, a silver-haired Devil emerged from the shadow of the display equipment.
“I have — no, as the son of Lucifer, haven’t I already allowed this, Belial?”
Rizevim patted the Champion’s shoulder, and then turned his gaze towards me.
“It seems we meet again after our previous meeting in Heaven, Sekiryuutei. Also — Gigantis Dragon Princess.”
I suppressed my anger as I said to him
“…Yo, son of Lucifer. I really wanted to see you. Well, hurry up and return them, my parents! …And, why would you go after Ophis?”
Upon hearing my question, Rizevim shrugged.
“I just wanted Ophis’ assistance all of a sudden, that’s all. Ophis — perhaps it’s more suitable to say Lilith; I wanted to increase her power…. Níðhöggr relied on Aži Dahāka’s magic to enter the underground space of the town that you all live in; at this time, your parents were originally used as hostages, and since it was a friend’s parents who were being used as hostages, even if it’s that Dragon God, she would still reveal openings. But, because there was external interference, that didn’t happen.”
That really was the worst way of thinking, this bastard…! I could feel my anger rising continuously! Rizevim revealed a fearless smile. …But looking closely, he seemed to have dark rings under his eyes, or was it just my imagination?
“It’s really nice of you to make it. —There’s also someone else, a highly important guest who has arrived.”
—Ah! I immediately understood what Rizevim was saying. From the other side of the glass wall outside the observation room, a very powerful aura could be felt. With a flash of light, it sped over in the air from quite a distance away! The person who forcefully smashed through the glass wall was Vali, with his entire body clad in pure white armour! As soon as Vali arrived, he faced Rizevim and said
“…You’ve been cornered, Rizevim.”
The corners of Rizevim’s mouth rose as he made a smile.
“The last to show up is my lovely grandson. It looks like every one of tonight’s main members have stepped onto the stage.”
…That bastard Rizevim, he was really pretentious! No matter how gorgeous your words are, you can’t hide your malice! I saw through you a long time ago! I stepped closer to Vali, and asked him
“What about the others?”
“They’re with the people on your side outside, going on a rampage.”
So that’s how it was, they had congregated below. Vali’s aim was Rizevim. But there was also a reason for me.
“I suppose you aren’t going to let anyone else interfere. But, let me do this with you. …In a way, I’m also someone involved.”
“…Fine. You’re also considered someone who has suffered similar misfortune. We’ll fight together, but don’t get in my way!”
After exchanging my opinion with Vali, we confirmed each other’s intentions. The two Heavenly Dragons readied their posture in front of Rizevim. Rizevim showed a sarcastic smile, and said to us
“Well then, please allow me to introduce the audience for this show.”
Rizevim clicked his fingers, and a transportation magic circle appeared in a corner of the observation room. After the light of the transfer faded, the ones who appeared there were — my dad and mum.
“—It’s the Hyoudou fusai.”
The two people who were introduced by Rizevim were completely unaware of the situation, and appeared extremely confused. I released the helmet of my armour, and called out to them
After noticing my voice, my parents looked over at me.
“…I-Ise…? Why are you wearing such a strange thing on your body? And why is Asia also here?”
“…From the beginning, this silver-haired man has been saying some strange things. Your mum and I are both confused. Just what is happening…?”
……. …Based on mum’s words, I knew what kind of understanding that the two of them had about the current situation. In other words, the fact that I am a Devil was already—. With vigour, I asked Rizevim
“…Rizevim, you bastard, what the hell did you say?”
That bastard had a carefree expression, and smiled with pleasure.
“Nothing much, just some trivial things. Next up is the main topic. As long as you do a real performance, your parents won’t understand the truth about you.”
……That asshole! …He was forcing my parents to watch our battle with their own eyes…fuck him! My heart was violently pounding nonstop, and I couldn’t stop my arms or legs from shaking. —I definitely couldn’t let my parents see me fight with supernatural abilities! But, if I don’t fight, if I don’t win, I won’t be able to save my parents! I had no choice to refuse, I could only fight! …How could this be? Fine, I haven’t had any good excuses up until now! My heart continued to pound wildly against my chest, and at that time, Vali said to me
“I’ll deal with Rizevim. You deal with the Champion.”
After taking a deep breath, I replied
“…I didn’t expect that I’d have to fight against the opponent that I planned to fight against in the future right here…. I really didn’t expect it.”
“…Anyway, both of them are monsters. Even if we switch opponents, it’ll be a tough fight. Since you want to save your parents, show them your unyielding determination to survive.”
“…I already died twice before. If that really happens, I’ll have died three times.”
I reluctantly mocked myself. …But, if the third time that I die is for my parents, then that would be fine. But I didn’t have any intention of dying! After I exchanged a glance with Vali, we each readied ourselves against our respective opponents. I would fight the Champion, and Vali was up against Rizevim. The two people opposite us responded, and lined up. Four people now faced each other. After a brief moment of silence—. Without any further words, the battle began. The first to charge ahead was Vali. He advanced directly towards Rizevim who stood in front of him while clenching a fist enveloped in a massive amount of aura. Although he landed a direct hit, Rizevim easily dissolved Vali’s aura which had been strengthened by his Sacred Gear! Vali staggered.
“…Argh, as long as it’s associated with a Sacred Gear, direct attacks won’t work.”
After muttering that, he continued to rush forwards to fight! It was a combination of high speed kicks and punches! But what was surprising was that Rizevim was quickly dodging all of them. Taking advantage of an opening, he counterattacked against Vali! From Rizevim’s back, the wings of Lucifer expanded, and he punched Vali directly in the abdomen with a fist imbued with demonic energy! The instant that Vali was hit by that punch, his armour was shattered as a result of the Sacred Gear Canceller’s effect, and he suffered a direct hit to the abdomen.
Taking a solid punch, Vali cried out. Blood oozed out from a corner of his mouth, but he readied his posture, and equipped his armour again. It was the same as the time when I fought against Rizevim in Heaven; as long as I took a direct attack, or even just a scratch, he would touch my armour, and I would receive a painful attack! If I used my Penetrate ability, perhaps I would be able to defeat that guy…. But since Vali said that he would defeat him himself, I should focus on defeating the Champion in front of me! The fight on my side began; I reduced our distance, and then began an unrestrained close-combat fight. There were no openings at all. I couldn’t find any at all. Within a brief exchange of blows, every single one of my attacks were effortlessly evaded by him. The gap between our strength was far too wide! I asked the Champion
“…It doesn’t seem like your peerage is here.”
Indeed, the Champion was here by himself. On the way up here, I didn’t encounter any of his peerage members; presumably, this was because he gave the order for his peerage not to follow him here. As I had guessed, the Champion said
“That’s right, I told them to stay outside as they have no need to follow me to this place.”
…So he decided to shoulder the responsibility for all of this himself. That was his so-called duty. He really did possess the qualities of a Champion.
[Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost Boost!!]
I used the power of Boost to multiply the power of my fist, and thrust it upwards in at once! But, the fist which I had amplified the power of so much was easily evaded. It simply hit the air. I straightened my posture, and attempted to charge forwards again. The Champion touched my fist frontally! Suddenly, the amplified aura which had enveloped my fist instantly vanished! —What! …My power disappeared!? It was invalidated!? No, it was slightly different from Rizevim’s ability! If I was touched by that bastard, even my armour would disappear! Just then, it only felt as if the power of Boost on my fist had disappeared! Seeing this, the Champion said
“—[Worthless]. That is my, the Belials’ ability. I do believe that you’ve heard of it…”
…I see, so that was [Worthless]. The power which could invalidate special abilities—. That’s how he was able to invalidate my Boost ability. Even so, I didn’t stop attacking! I then ramped up the intensity of my attacks. I madly attacked with punches and kicks in combination with each other, and unleashed potent shots of demonic energy, yet all of my attacks were still invalidated by the Champion with a small gesture. Even when I fired shots of demonic energy, they simply burst into nothingness in the palm of his hands. I enhanced by attacks with [Boost] and [Penetrate] as I continued to attack. But the attacks which had been strengthened with [Boost] were still invalidated by him. Even when I used the ability of [Penetrate], I was unable to hit him; despite counterattacking with [Penetrate] in a blind spot, I was unable to do anything effective. …If I was able to land a direct hit on him with [Penetrate], the damage would be transmitted to him directly! —But, I couldn’t land a hit on him! Every single one of my attacks had been evaded! The Champion’s evasive movements were akin to an elegant dance. Conversely, I was the only one who was sweating profusely in my armour. —The difference between us was simply too big. The opponent wasn’t using his full power at all! This was someone who was Maou-class! The absolute Champion! The top ranker in the Rating Games! If I could use Crimson Blaster or Longinus Smasher then it might be possible. But, I couldn’t even put a dent in the Champion’s confidence! Nevertheless, I didn’t stop attacking, and continued to face Emperor Belial. While avoiding my attacks as if they were a novice’s, he calmly said
“Your attacks are good; they’re straight and direct without a trace of hesitation. I really would like to have a contest against you in a Game.”
“It’s too late for that now! Haven’t you already done what you’ve wanted to do!? As a result of that, the entire Underworld has been plunged into chaos! Your…the Champion’s confession carried such a heavy weight!”
That’s right, after listening to everything that the Champion said, there would definitely be disputes everywhere in the Underworld. Would they think that it was a lie? No, he was the Champion who had absolute support in the Underworld, and that confession was both heavy and realistic. Even if the Champion was associated with acts of terrorism, no, precisely because he was willing to associate with terrorists, it must have been the truth. The people would probably believe that.
“Ah, I understand. I completely understand.”
“You didn’t completely understand it!? —Your attacks carry a sense of hesitation with them!”
That’s right, the Champion, he — hadn’t directly attacked me at all! At most, he fought against me by using his ability to invalidate mine. If he really had the intention, the instant that my power was invalidated, he could have given me a fatal injury! The Champion, he — was hesitating in this battle!
Just when the Champion and I were speaking to each other, Vali had been knocked to the floor. He got back up again, equipped his armour again, and confronted Rizevim…if things continued like this, he would eventually be defeated due to exhaustion! If he was able to use Juggernaut Drive, then it would be another story, but simply using that would consume an incredible amount of stamina and demonic energy. Since the opponent had the power of the Sacred Gear Canceller, all that stamina and demonic energy would go to waste if it the transformation was carelessly invalidated. For Vali, fighting like this right now would be his best choice.
“Hoho, what is it? Vali. Using attacks like this against your grandfather are useless yo.”
Rizevim said that with a pleased expression…on the other hand, Vali had an extremely dissatisfied expression. Vali extended his right hand out after releasing its armour, and generated several magic circles from his right hand which he then used to fire bursts of magic towards Rizevim. Then Rizevim — didn’t use his cancellation ability, and instead dodged them! Those attacks were purely magic! They didn’t have anything to do with a Sacred Gear, they were pure magic attacks! That guy Vali, he had an outstanding talent for magic! So that’s how it was, he relied on his Balance Breaker armour to reduce the gap in their physical abilities, and then used magic or demonic energy to attack Rizevim. As Vali attacked with magic, he said with a displeased tone.
“……This really is an eyesore. As the son of Lucifer, you behave like a Lilin, yet you intend to display some kind of dignified attitude…”
Vali pointed at Rizevim as he spoke.
“Your original aura which you’ve tried to hide within yourself, but can’t contain from leaking out is equally sinister and ruthless. Rizevim, you’re evil and malicious to begin with.”
With this pointed out by his grandson, Rizevim stared blankly for a moment, and then laughed ‘hehe’ in a rather evil manner.
“If so, how about you, stupid grandson-kun? Could it be that you can’t even win a single battle of revenge against this old and feeble grandfather as a trashy dragon?”
He was even sticking his tongue out; he was still playing around with his usual clownish attitude. Ah, that’s what I also thought. No matter how dignified he made his words and deeds sound, this foolish attitude right now was Rizevim’s true nature. Even if he acted with a Maou’s demeanor, it was nothing more than an act—. As his grandson, Vali had already seen through his grandfather’s true nature. —At that time, Rizevim turned his eyes towards me, and then called out
“Champion-kun! Hurry up and use that!”
He suddenly issued an instruction. I watched as the Champion took out a small vial of red liquid from his chest pocket. The Champion, without a single noise, instantaneously disappeared on the spot—.
He was actually grabbing my face…! The distance between us was closed in an instant! The Champion used a finger to open the lid, and with his other hand he forced my mouth open and planned to pour it in. In order to resist, I pushed the Champion away with both hands, but a small portion of the liquid in the vial still entered my mouth! My counterattack missed as the Champion darted all the way to the back of the room! …My mouth was filled with an awful taste, the taste and smell of blood lingered on my tongue, and it felt very viscous. But it also seemed like a familiar taste. My mouth would often be filled with it during battles. Yes, that red liquid was — blood! …I didn’t know what kind of blood it was at all; why did they make me drink it—. Dokun dokun! Then, my heart rapidly began to throb! At the same time, I couldn’t stop my body from trembling all over. Following that, my body began to slowly heat up from the inside, and the heat spread to my entire body! The heat which was generated within my body surprised even me! I couldn’t stand it, and I released the armour on my right arm. Clearly, I had no intention of letting my right arm turn into a dragon’s arm, but it turned into a dragon’s arm by itself. …I knew that I didn’t enhance my dragon’s power. My arms and legs…they turned into those of a dragon! I immediately understood. Yes, that blood was — dragon’s blood! My dragon’s blood was used in order to enhance Gasper’s ability. Similar to that, the Champion forced me to drink the blood of a dragon. Hence, the dragon’s power within me had increased; my body became hot, and I couldn’t stop my body from changing. My arms had already dragonified, and an abnormal heat was now reaching my head! My helmet then released on its own—
I heard mum’s scream. I looked over at mum, and she looked back at me with an expression as if she was looking at a monster. …What’s going on? While I was thinking about that, I used my hand to touch my own face. …The sensation of touching the human skin that I normally had couldn’t be felt, but what I felt instead was the texture of very rigid skin. Rizevim sent a small magic circle flying towards me. A mirror emerged from that magic circle. I looked in the mirror — my skin had become hard, my eyes had been enlarged, and my teeth had grown out of my mouth; it was a completely alien appearance. …I, even my face started to become dragonified…. In this situation, Rizevim lightly laughed as he gleefully said to my parents
“Please look at this carefully, Hyoudou fusai. This is what that son-shaped thing in front of you looks like — a monster.”
—! …Bastard, he would actually say that right now!? From the very beginning, he planned to have me dragonify, and let my parents see it!? He actually prepared this as some kind of a show!? …This was his payback to me for beating him up in Heaven. That bastard was actually so obsessed about that…fuck! —Seriously, even dog shit would be better than this bastard…! Rizevim continued
“In the spring of last year, your precious son died. This dragon then usurped your son’s position. He lived a false life with you. During the break, didn’t he say to you that he needed to travel away? That was because he needed to go to the world of the Devils. At the end of the year, wasn’t he always busy, and unable to spend time together with you? That’s because he was doing certain activities, as an alien, and as a monster!”
That bastard, he was really enjoying this, he was saying such things with a joyful expression! My parents’ faces were dyed with fear as they looked at Rizevim and me. …I didn’t want to look at the expression on my parents’ faces.
“…Please don’t look at me, dad, mum.”
…I tried to say such words. If there was a hole in here, I would want to hide in there! With such an appearance, I definitely didn’t want to be seen like this by my parents! Stop it! Please stop! I hope this is all just a dream! Like this…with this…uhh! My…mind collapsed. I could do nothing but cry—. Meanwhile, Rizevim continued to speak with a playful expression
“Dad? Mum? Oh ho, did you fusai hear that? That monster still plans to use lies to deceive the two of you, right?”
At this time, standing in front of me, someone shielded me. —It was Asia! Asia had tears streaming down her face as she desperately told dad and mum about the situation
Father, mother! This person is Ise-san! Please, the both of you have to believe this! Indeed, he was reincarnated into a Devil, and he also has the power of a dragon in his body. Even so, it isn’t wrong that he is Hyoudou Issei! Please believe in him! You must…I’m begging you!”
Looking at Asia as she cried, Rizevim smiled as he said
“Hyoudou fusai, this blonde-haired girl is also a Devil. Please don’t be deceived. Things like Devils were originally monsters who used sweet temptation to pull humans into the abyss; presently, you both have been lured in by the Devil’s whisper, so it would be better to take note of that.”
……Asia was a good child. …The only reason that Asia died is because of me…. …Dad, mum, its fine if you don’t trust me. But, only Asia — you only need to trust Asia…! …I…couldn’t say a thing; bearing such verbal assaults, I could only blindly apologise.
“……Sorry. ……Mum, dad……I’m sorry……”
…I’m guilty of deceiving you until now. This was my silent punishment. Perhaps this was the moment of my retribution. Because I never told you about being a Devil. No, even if I said so, would my parents believe it? Also, if I did tell them, there was the possibility that I would drag them into the supernatural world. Supposing that was the case…I couldn’t. …However, as a result, my parents were still endangered. That’s right, all of it was my fault! If I never got involved with Raynare, things wouldn’t have become like this. If I was smarter, perhaps I would’ve found a way to live as a human. …But, you know dad, mum. I don’t regret becoming a Devil in the slightest. I met many people, and I learnt a lot of things. As a human, those were things which were absolutely impossible to experience. Only this, I’ll definitely never regret. The only thing that I regret is — I never told my parents about my true identity. So, I need to apologise to them.
“—I’m truly very sorry, dad, mum.”
So, I apologised. That was all I could do. Even if I’m rejected by those two, even if they cut off our parent-child relationship, that’s also fine. Afterwards, it’ll be fine as long as I can rescue them. Yeah, I definitely need to rescue them. I swear! After I rescue them — I’ll leave. I can’t allow them to be endangered again, I will — obediently disappear. From my parent’s side, I’ll obediently disappear. So, I’m really sorry, dad, mum. I burst into tears. I — repented. After I had prepared myself to be rejected by them, a voice was directed towards me.
“…You are Ise? Is that right?”
—It was dad’s voice. Dad walked a little closer to me. Rizevim was shocked for a moment, and then he said with dismay
“Hold on, Hyoudou-shi. You mustn’t be fooled. Telling such stories while showing such emotional tears, it’s something that Devils can calmly do.”
But, dad shook his head, and still approached me.
“You’re wrong, he is Ise. …That bad habit of apologising is exactly the same.”
Mum then followed behind him as she nodded and said
“Yes, I also know. Even if the appearance of his face has changed, I understand his response. Ise. That child is Ise!”
The two of them — they arrived in front of me and Asia. Having dragonified, I couldn’t properly look at them…but dad stood in front of me, and protected me. Standing in front of Rizevim and the Champion, his legs were trembling but he still shouted
“From now on, I won’t let you do anything to my child! If you want to lay a hand on Ise, then you’ll have to send me flying first!”
—Mn! …I was shocked by dad’s words.
“…For me, when I was born, it was very ordinary, nothing special ever happened. I never thought about doing anything special. I just wanted a plain and ordinary job; I just wanted a normal family; I just wanted to live an ordinary life with that family. Even now, that’s what I want.”
Dad clearly asserted.
“Whether he’s some Devil or not, or whether he’s some Maou, I don’t know anything about it at all to be honest. Even in this current situation, I’m confused to the point that I don’t understand any of it. …But, I know one thing; this child is my son! This is obvious, because he’s my Ise.”
Rizevim shook his head, and said to dad
“Hey hey hey. father. You need to take a good look. Does that red creature look like a human to you? Does it look like your son? You, listen carefully. That is a Devil, and that is also a dragon. In other words, it’s a monster.”
“No, he is my child. My Ise. You won’t understand. But, I can understand. That’s because, I’m his parent. These past seventeen years, I’ve been raising this child.”
In response to dad’s words, Rizevim sighed.
“What have you understood in these mere seventeen years, human-kun? Do you even understand the truth and reality of this world, human? The way to read signs; what can you who cannot even see the nature of one’s aura possibly understand?”
In order to protect me, mum tightly embraced me.
“You’re Ise? Ah, I can understand after holding on to you. This child is Ise. That’s because I’ve hugged you many times before, so I understand.”
Dad opened his arms, and then made a protective pose as he said—.
“—These seventeen years are everything about our family. They’re not trivial things which can simply be explained!”
Mum hugged me as she also appealed
“Yes. This child — is my lovely son.”
“That’s right, even if he looks like this! Even so…even so!”
Dad looked at my face, and then heartily said
“—Even if he has reincarnated and his appearance has changed, he’s still my child, isn’t that right?”
—Mn. …………. ……. Tears streamed down my face. They were unstoppable as they trickled down my cheeks. ……I had already made up my mind and resolve that I would be rejected by my parents so I kept on apologising. —But, regardless of whether it was dad or mum who looked at me, they still said that I was their child. Even if there really existed something that only a parent could understand, I—. Dad hugged me, as well as mum and Asia; we hugged each other together as I cried.
“In that case, I’ve got something that’ll be even less pleasing than this. As parents, you’re not very fortunate!”
Mum hugged me and Asia as she called out
“Yes! Even if he’s become like this and he’ll recognise me as his mother…that’s enough!”
Asia — she simply continued to shed tears, and sobbed. Dad faced Rizevim, the son of the Maou and bellowed!
“This child is our child! We won’t allow you to lay a single finger on him!”
In that moment, my body radiated a warm aura, and it cloaked the four of us together—.
Before I had realised — I was floating through a place which seemed like the Dimensional Gap. This is…reality? No, it didn’t feel real. If I had to say what it was like, it was the same as when I saw the world in Akeno-san’s heart during the fight with Loki—. A screen appeared before me all of a sudden. Displayed on the screen was the consultation room of an unfamiliar hospital. Inside were a doctor and…a very familiar male and female couple. Looking carefully, they appeared to be dad and mum when they were young!? It felt as though I was looking at the younger version of my parents that I had only seen in photos. What was going on? This space is…dad’s and mum’s memories? Could everything in their memories be seen through this display? Was I actually subconsciously using pailingual with mum…? While my mind began to be filled with such questions, the doctor and my parents on the screen showed a sombre expression. The doctor told my parents
[—I’m very sorry, please give up on the child in your belly.]
Hearing this, mum — burst into tears on the spot. Dad woefully supported mum’s shoulder. …Was this a scene from the obstetrics and gynecology department? It was a scene that I had never heard about before…. Just as I was lost in this confusion, mum’s voice reverberated within the space.
[When I discovered that my body would make it very difficult to give birth to children, it was a few years after I had married my husband. It was always difficult to conceive a child, and it was very difficult to finally become pregnant after all those years. But, because of my body…]
The scenery changed, and it became a familiar living room. It was my old house. Sitting on the sofa, mum was still in tears.
[I’m sorry, my dear…]
As mum continued to grieve and cry, dad comforted her.
[About that — you don’t need to worry about it! Although the unborn child in your belly is very unfortunate, you can’t give up! You can definitely give birth to our baby!]
…The child in her belly, their baby…. This, don’t tell me…. Are these the events which occurred before I was born? But, was I not successfully born…? I was confused by this situation that I had not heard of at all. At this time, I heard mum’s voice again.
[Two years after that, there was another opportunity.]
The scenery changed again. On the screen, mum was gently stroking her own belly with a joyful expression.
[This is great! We finally did it! It’s okay! Everything’s okay now!]
Dad was gleefully hopping up and down around the room. Amidst the vision of these memories, I saw my parents visit a bookstore where they bought many books about birth, and also childcare related books. They had purchased an excessive number of books, and were then immersed in reading them. In order to ensure their child’s successful birth, they went to the obstetrics and gynecology department — the memories of their recurring consultations unfolded in front of me one by one.
[In order to ensure the birth of our child, my husband and I paid careful attention this time. We always attached great importance to the child in my belly—]
Once again, the display returned to the scene inside the consultation room of the obstetrics and gynecology department. The doctor solemnly explained to my parents as they had a look of despair on their faces
[Hyoudou-san, although it’s painful for you, it’s definitely not because of the things between the two of you, there are many other factors—]
On the way home in the snow, dad stopped in the middle of the road, and faced mum as he spoke to her.
[…I give up]
Dad who had been so excited — burst out crying.
[If anything happens to your body again like last time, I…really won’t be able to bear i-it…!]
Mum hugged dad tightly, as the two people wept in sorrow.
[We almost gave up on having children, and instead planned on changing our attitude to adapt to a different lifestyle.]
What unfolded before my eyes was just the modest and harmonious life of my parents. The two of them travelled together, they went shopping together,and they went fishing together; they were always together—. My figure was not there. …The figure of my parents’ two children was not there.
[But, in the eighth year that I was together with my husband—]
When dad came back from work, he was really given a shock by mum’s report in the kitchen
[A b-baby!? R-Really!?]
After dad heard this news — with a determined expression, he placed his hands on mum’s shoulders and said
[…I understand now! This time for sure! This time we definitely have to give everything we’ve got to give birth to this child!]
Mum happily began to shed tears while she made a smile. After that, the sight of those two working hard for the birth of their baby emerged again. More than ever before, dad read all kinds of books, and mum was even more mindful of her diet. When mum was trying to lift things, dad desperately rushed forward to stop her. In order to protect their unborn child, the two of them visited specialised agencies. On a snowy night, dad was barefoot in a certain shrine, and had already completed Hyakudomairi.
[Please! Please make sure! Please make sure that my unborn child will be delivered safely!]
On a freezing, cold and snowy night, dad had already bowed his head and prayed over and over while facing the main hall of the shrine.
[I don’t care how much of my life you take! It’s fine even if my remaining lifespan is halved! So please, I definitely need it! Protect the child in the womb! Please! I beg of you!]
Even if his feet were so cold that they became numb, dad still continued to bow and offer his prayer to the god. Dad, who prayed to the god…only wished that the child in the womb would be safe. On the screen, the seasons changed, and it had become a warm spring. Mum was lying on a bed in a hospital room, and beside her — the baby that she had successfully delivered was lying there.
[It’s a baby boy.]
The nurse told dad who was still in disbelief. After a brief moment, dad finally regained his senses and said
[……Ah, I see…. ……It’s really my child…]
[Yes, it’s the baby of you and me…. It took eight years.]
Mum emotionally said as she lied in bed. The nurse then urged dad to hold the baby. Seeing the baby in his arms, dad smiled widely and tried to hold back his tears as he said
[…………It’s nice to meet you, I, I am your father.]
The baby’s eyes finally met dad’s eyes. In that instant, dad could no longer hold back his tears. Tears streamed down his face as he continued to smile at the baby in his arms.
[……Thank you. That you were born…really…thank you…]
Mum and dad cried tears of joy together, and she then asked dad
[…Have we decided on the name?]
[…Ah, it’s [Issei]. That embodies the hope that’ll he’ll be able to live an honest life. ]
After hearing this name, mum made a weak laugh.
[…Ah, that isn’t very creative.]
[T-This is all I could think of even after trying so hard!]
[Ufufu. …But, that name has a good sound. Issei. Ise. My child.]
The baby…I was surrounded by the warmth of those two people.
[Ah, our child. —Yes, Issei.]
What was displayed on the screen afterwards was consistent with my memories. At night, dad read picture books to me when I couldn’t fall asleep. When the animals were sad, and when he read a sad story to me, I wouldn’t stop crying. On a certain night, dad was away on a business trip. Mum had called dad to tell him that I was in the hospital emergency room because I was suffering from a high fever. In the end, dad ended his trip early, and then took a flight to hurry back as soon as he could. In primary school, I ran together with dad in the parent and child three-legged race, dad and I worked hard to aim for first place. In the end, we could only take third place. Afterwards, on one side of the playground, the three people in our family ate fried chicken and tamagoyaki together; the taste from that time was something which I had never forgotten. In middle school, the first time that I put on my uniform, it made my parents really excited. We took quite a few photos in front of the school gate that day. Although I felt a little bit embarrassed about it, my parents seemed happier than ever. …On Father’s Day, I bought dad a rather cheap tie, and on Mother’s day, I gave her a floral apron from home education class. But the two of them still treasured those things. Finally, the last scene which appeared was — me on the verge of tears in the corner of a department store when I was young. …I remembered that. Our family of three went to the department store of a nearby prefecture that we rarely visited. I was attracted by a strange item, and got separated from my parents. The people who came and went were unfamiliar faces; with a guilty conscience I decided on one thing, that I would not cry. If I didn’t see dad or mum, it would be fine if I just found a place with a large clock and waited for them there—. In order to follow through with this decision, I stood in a square with a clock tower nearby, and waited for the appearance of my parents who would desperately come looking for me.
When I saw them, I was unable to stand it any longer, and I called out as I ran towards them; our family of three, without minding anyone else tightly embraced each other.
[Hey, Ise! You worried me to death!]
[Really, didn’t we say that you shouldn’t leave our side!?]
[I’m soorrry! I’m sooorrrry!]
I was crying as I apologised…. After that, the three of us didn’t separate again as we returned home, hand in hand—. —At that time, the warmth in my hands, I never forgot it. ……Dad……mum…uh. …I was prayed for, and I was the child who was born from your hopes. Although your lineage wasn’t special, nor were you wealthy people, I was the child which you two endured and struggled to finally have. These memories were surely things that could be seen everywhere. These memories were definitely not experiences which could be called uncommon. Even so…even so, it was my, and my family’s journey over seventeen years. Not a single person was missing; for us three, those were irreplaceable times. Ah, dad, mum, I — am the child of you two. I am Issei. The Issei that belongs to the two of you! —I am Hyoudou Issei! …The display of those memories still continued. In the time that the three of us spent together — a blonde haired girl also joined. —It was Asia. Mum’s voice traversed over to me
[We’ve both lived for so long now, yet we were actually able to have such a beautiful daughter.]
It was a scene where Asia smiled happily as she spoke to dad and mum—.
[Supposing that we had a daughter back then, if we were really able to give birth to a daughter, it might be like how we’re living together with Asia right now. I often think that.]
Asia said to my parents
Upon hearing Asia’s words, both dad and mum appeared to be deeply moved.
[—We’re truly happy. You’re able to be my — our daughter. Although I don’t know what happened to this child in the past, this kind child is able to call me her mother. Yes, even so, she really is my daughter.]
Thus, we became a family of four, and then we increased by one more person, and another person — before we knew it, there were many people who sat around the dinner table with us. Dad and mum looked at this lively house, and smiled as they exchanged a glance with each other.
[Hey, my dear.]
[What is it?]
[It’s no longer just the two of us.]
[Indeed, that’s right. We not only have a son. —We also have many more daughters.]
[To be able to live such a vibrant life…I’m truly happy.]
[The twenty five years that I spent with you—. Although it’s been very long, perhaps it was all for this.]
[…I want to watch for a little longer.]
[Yes, if I could make a wish, I’d want to be able to continue to watch over this family—]
Seeing the figure of my two parents, I covered my face with my hands, and tears silently began streaming down. In that instant, the space broadened, and I was flown out—.
……. …When I awoke, I was aware of the true feelings of my parents. I knew the love which my parents possessed. —I was born and raised from the love of my parents. Even now, they were still watching over me. …My tears would not stop; they couldn’t be stopped at all. I tightly held onto dad and mum as I said
“…Hey, dad, mum. —I, can I really be your child?”
With radiant smiles filled with happiness, the two of them nodded.
“Ise is our child.”
…Ah…ah. I, I already—. —Yes, I no longer had anything to fear. I knew that my parents still fully accepted me. There was no doubt; they believed that I was their child. …Where else would I be able to find such happiness…? Such a beautiful thing, where else would I find it—. I stood up, and then faced the Champion and Rizevim as I declared
“…Rizevim, and also Diehauser-san, thank you. Thanks to you, today I — no longer have any fears.”
That’s right, I had nothing to fear. I had no need to be afraid!
“—The current me is invincible!”
The light which was emitted from the gems of my armour was brighter and more powerful than ever before. The entire observation room was bathed in a red glow, and the shining light became even stronger! I put on my crimson armour once again, and rigorously charged towards Rizevim!
The noise came from the bottom of my chest, and an immensely bright light was released from my gems!
Just as I was about to hit Rizevim, the Champion stood in front of him, and invalidated my attack! Then, Rizevim followed up with an attack, causing my armour to release!
Rizevim kicked me in the abdomen! I was sent flying backwards, and rolled over several times on the floor. …Blood was spurting out from my mouth. …It was insanely painful. It was so painful that I felt as if I would die. —But, the brilliant light from my gems didn’t diminish. A Sacred Gear would respond to the strength of one’s thoughts and desires; if my thoughts became stronger, then my Sacred Gear would also become stronger…! I will fight on for my dad, my mum, and Asia! With assistance from Asia’s healing Sacred Gear, my injuries disappeared. Dad, mum and Asia were encouraging me
…Look, isn’t this powerful? Currently, I was being watched by three members of my family. The radiance from my gems once again burst out with a dazzling light.
Without a single drop of fear, I rushed towards Rizevim! The Champion invalidated my attack, and Rizevim used his Sacred Gear Canceller to remove my armour. He then gave me another blow, and it was the same as last time. I was sent flying onto the floor again. Then — the members of my family took action. With the support of dad, I stood up from the floor while mum supported my back. And then, the illumination of Asia’s healing light enveloped me.
“Come on, stand up, Ise!”
“Stand up Ise!”
“Ise-san! I’ll heal you!”
Dad faced me as he said
“No matter how many times, I’ll help you back up! Because I am — your father!”
Mother pat my back as she said
“Give it your best!”
Asia also encouraged me
Ah, I can see it now. This is it. It’s enough if I have them. —As long as I have them, I’ll be able to get back up no matter how many times it is…ah! I had already re-equipped my crimson armour several times, and charged towards the Champion and Rizevim without turning back!
Even if the result was the same each and every time, the light which was exuded from my gems still continued to grow more powerful. Even though my stamina was continually drained, and even though my demonic energy was continually exhausted—.
“…Just a bit more, Ise! You can do it! If you’re going to keep going, then I’ll go together with you!”
“Then, I’ll do this together with you mum! We’ll beat these bastards together!”
“I also need to go! Because I am also — a member of the Hyoudou family!”
I was being watched by my family. I was well supported by my family. —So, regardless of how many times I needed to get back up, I had to face them no matter what! Let me look cool for once, after all, I am in front of my important family.
“…I’m fine. Dad, mum, Asia. As long as I have you supporting me, no matter how many times, I will—”
That’s right, no matter how many times, I’ll get up and face them! Rizevim looked at me as I stood back up over and over no matter how many times I was knocked down, and his face was painted with astonishment.
“…Why can that guy still stand up?”
Even if I was knocked down by the attacks of that bastard and the Champion, I didn’t give up on standing back up each time. Even if blood spewed out of my mouth, the bones in my legs were fractured, or my arms were crushed, I didn’t take a single step back; I only continued to advance forward!
With a twisted expression, Rizevim asked me
“Hey, why can you still get up? Why do you oppose me? …You already exhausted your energy long ago, right? So why do you still stand up?”
While asking me these questions, Rizevim released my armour again, and sent me flying with a kick again. …Even if I was kicked and sent flying, as long as I had my family supporting me, I could continue to get back up…! Seeing this unfold before him, that bastard had an extremely unpleasant look on his face.
“—Damn. ……Why? Why can you still get up!? Why are you able to resist me!?”
Rizevim snarled. Regardless of whether my demonic energy or stamina had been depleted, I still hobbled straight towards him. Even if my entire body was covered with wounds, the light from my Sacred Gear still did not attenuate. Rather, it continued to release a brilliant light. Seeing me in this state, the Champion — relaxed his stance.
“……Rizevim-sama, I can no longer…”
The Champion had a bitter expression on his face. Rizevim became even more agitated.
“Why did you put down your stance!? Get yourself into position! Why would you drop your stance upon seeing someone like that!?”
“……Do you not understand?”
As the Champion lowered his head, it created a stark contrast to Rizevim’s furious expression.
“How is it possible to understand!? It’s the way of thinking of those mere humans!”
Rizevim — turned his attention towards my parents, and then realised all of a sudden.
“I see! Your parents are the driving force behind your power! So that’s how you’re able to fight like that, right!? Well!”
Rizevim’s hand began to glow with a mysterious light.
“Then allow me to kill them!”
It was an extremely powerful wave of demonic energy, and he began to direct it towards my parents! Bad! This is extremely bad! I wanted to run over to protect my parents, but I had already reached the limits of my stamina; my knees buckled, and the wave flew past my body towards them! My parents were going to be hit directly by a wave of demonic energy—!
“Dad, muuummm! Asssiiaaaaa!”
My most important family members disappeared into the luminosity of that wave of demonic energy—. …They didn’t. Rizevim’s demonic energy had been completely scattered. At the same time, a dazzling golden light was emitted from where my parents were! Looking carefully, a shining golden aura was exuded from there, with Asia at the centre. The aura gradually took on the appearance of a dragon. It looked as if a massive dragon was protecting those three people.
Rizevim swore as he continued to fire numerous bullets of demonic energy! —But, the demonic energy that was released by the son of the Maou was eliminated the instant that it touched the golden aura! The aura was being emitted with Asia in its centre. Asia clasped her hands together in prayer and her eyes were glowing with a golden light as her entire body was shrouded in a golden aura. That aura also seemed like a type of armour. Asia let out tears of awareness, and with a firm expression in her eyes, she said
“Father and mother have me to protect them! I’ll definitely protect them for you to see!”
Behind her — was a golden dragon; even if it had taken the form of an aura, it still fiercely glared at Rizevim. Beholding this sight, Rizevim abruptly shuddered. He hatefully spat these words out
“…Is that actually a Balance Breaker!? Also, that aura is…The Golden Dragon King…! Even if you’ve become like that…you still oppose me…!”
That’s right, as Rizevim said, that aura was Fafnir! …That guy, even if he’s become an aura, he still needs to protect Asia? Asia’s Sacred Gear had also responded to indicate that she had attained her Balance Breaker! That is, the Balance Breaker which was born from the union of Asia and Fafnir. Even if it was an attack from the son of the Maou, that absolute defence was able to obliterate them—. Precisely because it was the gentle Asia; perhaps that was the reason why she awakened such an ability.
“……What is that thing? What exactly is it, that thing…!”
Looking at me and Asia, Rizevim could no longer hide his irritation, and was indignantly clutching his hair. With a sorrowful expression, the Champion said
“…Rizevim-sama, they possess something that we do not and are showing it to us.”
Rizevim grabbed the Champion’s chest and bellowed
“That’s why I said, what is that thing!? Love? Is that the thing called love!? Are you stupid!? It’s simply stupidity to the extremes! Those kinds of things are illusions! It’s a stupid lie!”
…You’re wrong, it certainly isn’t any kind of illusion. And it certainly isn’t a lie. The force which is currently driving us is derived from our familial love! Asia is also the same. Yes, she obtained that Balance Breaker by relying on love. Asia and I merely wanted to protect our own family. Seeing the flustered Rizevim, Vali, who had been quietly observing displayed a complicated expression. …That guy Vali was watching us almost silently. …Seeing us as a family, perhaps he also thought of something. However, my energy had already been depleted. …I was already beginning to stagger. If I continued to fight like this, I would eventually fall. Before that, I had to at least have my parents safely return, after all, that was my responsibility. …No, there was another one. Ravel and I had made a promise. I needed to return back with everyone safely. Well, it wouldn’t work out if I died. I made up my mind again. At that time, someone spoke within my mind.
It was a voice which sounded familiar.
—Ise, I was finally able to reach you here.
It was Ophis’ voice. Ophis should currently be sleeping at home, and she should still be unconscious…. Ophis spoke to me.
—Since you can hear my voice, then that must mean you’re finally satisfied.
…Satisfied? What did she mean? While I was still surprised by it, Ddraig seemed to have understood part of what that meant, and laughed. Then, in a voice that everyone could hear, he said
[Son of Lucifer. Grandfather of the Hakuryuukou Vali Lucifer. You will be the first guest.]
Rizevim tilted his head in surprise at Ddraig’s words. Ophis continued to speak to me.
—Ise, sing it along with me.
Ddraig continued to talk to Rizevim
[That’s why you should rejoice. Such a chant is not one which you can casually listen to, you definitely need to clean out your ears, and listen with your heart. If you need to ask why, it’s because this is a unique chant that a Dragon God has created.]
—My very first friend. The significance of this, teach everyone about it.
Ah, Ophis. I understand. —Let’s sing it together. I believed in Ophis, and entrusted my mind and body to her.
“Ophis’ voice is inside me. —Let’s sing together. —Together, we’ll advance.”
—In my mind, the chant appeared. I — quietly began to chant
“—The Crimson Red Dragon dwelling within me, awaken from your dominance”
A Crimson glow was emitted from the gem on my right gauntlet.
[—The Crimson Heavenly Dragon I possess within me, rise up to become a King and roar]
Ophis then chanted the next line. At the same time, the gem on my left gauntlet unleashed a jet-black aura.
“—The jet-black God of Infinity”
A crimson aura enveloped my entire body.
[—The glorious Red God of Dreams]
A jet-black aura was encased over it—.
“[Watch over the forbidden existence we shall become that transcends the boundaries]”
My crimson armour was melded with a jet-black colour, and further changes then occurred. My gauntlets, greaves, breastplate, wings had the colour of crimson and black fused together, and their shape also changed. Then, Ophis and I sang the final verse at the same time.
“[—Thou shalt dance like radiance within our inferno!]”
“<<[ 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 D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D !!!!!!!! ] >>”
All of the gems resounded with a voice which permeated through to the soul. A ∞ symbol emerged on all of the gems!
“[ <<Dragon ∞ Drive !!!!!!>> ]”
Ddraig’s and Ophis’ voices amalgamated with each other as they echoed out from the gems. The chant with Ophis and me ended. ……. …Currently, standing in front of Rizevim was something which felt more organic than the crimson armour; it was a full-body, crimson and black plate armour. There were now four wings, and equipped within them were cannons. Rizevim was astounded by this sight, and he kept shaking his head as he shouted
“Juggernaut Drive!? No, that’s completely wrong! Although it has the same organic change as the Juggernaut Drive, that ominous aura can’t be felt at all. Rather, the aura which rises out of its skin is…!”
Indeed, this wasn’t the Juggernaut Drive. But it did have the organic characteristic of Juggernaut Drive. Rizevim’s whole face was distorted.
“…What kind of a joke is this, this kind of thing? You’ve already reached this stage, yet you were still able to evolve…!”
Ddraig declared to Rizevim
[—Dragon Deification. This is the absolute power that only Ophis can bestow.]
“—So the reason is because you’ve obtained the power of Ophis!”
What he said was correct. Currently — I had been saved by Ophis’ power. Presently, my body was re-constructed from the flesh of Great Red and Ophis’ power. Right now, Ophis’ power had been temporarily released. Precisely because the foundation of my body was Great Red’s flesh, I was able to withstand Ophis’ power. Only because I was constituted by two dragons could I obtain this forbidden power—. Ophis spoke within me
—Ise, this state can only be maintained for a very short amount of time.
I see, I only had a very brief amount of time. That could be a few seconds, tens of seconds, or even a few minutes. Regardless of that, it wasn’t long. —That’s because my body was already screaming out. There was a strange power circulating around inside my body. It felt as though my body would be torn apart if I moved even just a little bit. Well, I should hurry up and do something. Right now, I — could definitely do it. I readied my stance as I faced Rizevim. After preparing my stance, I only took a slight step forward. All of a sudden, I had shortened our distance, and was standing directly in front of Rizevim. That bastard didn’t even react. My movements just now were completely beyond his comprehension. I clenched my right fist, and punched him straight in the face. At this time, a voice rang out.
“ <<[ D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D !!!!!!!!]>> ”
Rizevim intended to use his left hand to grab my fist! The wings of Lucifer on his back all expanded, and increased his strength. In order to block my fist, Rizevim used his Canceller…. I didn’t use [Penetrate], but the momentum of my fist didn’t weaken, and the aura enveloping it wasn’t eliminated; Rizevim cried out in surprise ‘what is this!?’
“First is a punch!”
Using my fist’s momentum, I drove a direct punch towards Rizevim! Struck by that single blow, that bastard was flung onto the ground. Despite that, Rizevim immediately stood back up, and felt the part of his face that had been hit. From the looks of it, that blow just now was pretty good; his nasal bridge had been knocked crooked, and he had an incessant nosebleed. After Rizevim forcefully pushed his nose back into place and stopped the bleeding, he glared at me.
“……What the fuck was that just then? Why wasn’t it invalidated!? Did my ability not work!? How is that possible!?”
In response to Rizevim who was in pure disbelief, Ddraig began to speak
[No, son of Lucifer. Your ability did work.]
“Well, why wasn’t it cancelled then!? Even if that power has a share of Ophis’ power, as long as it’s the power of a Sacred Gear, my Sacred Gear Canceller should still be able to disable it, right!?”
[It’s extremely simple. Your ability to cancel is limited. Over here, the power of the Sekiryuutei’s ability is infinite. Since it’s a power which can’t entirely be cancelled — that would make things different, wouldn’t it?]
Ddraig’s remark left Rizevim stunned
“…To actually say that the power which was released is one which can’t be completely eliminated by my Canceller…!”
[That is Ophis — the so-called infinite.]
After hearing Ddraig’s reply, Rizevim regretfully laughed.
“…That’s basically cheating…!”
That’s right, this was basically cheating. I wouldn’t want to use this power in a fair fight. Also, to borrow such a power from Ophis who only wants to live a peaceful life…I would be reluctant.
“It’s really simple isn’t it? It uses power to eliminate everything. It’s very much like what I’d do. As you said, this is the cheat which you’ve obtained by borrowing Ophis’ power. But, do you think you can protect everyone just by defeating me?”
I only needed to hit this bastard, so borrowing it a bit was fine! Facing such an outcome, Rizevim retreated a step, and revealed a nasty smile.
“However, from the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like you can maintain that for long. Since that’s the case—”
Seeing through my situation, that bastard shifted his hand into a chest pocket.
“I’ll just drag this battle out. I’ve got many Tears.”
What he took out was a small vial which had Phoenix Tears inside them. Rizevim opened up the bottle.
“Now then, I’ll use the first bottle.”
He then continued to drink it. —Damn it! He planned on healing his injuries! It doesn’t matter. Even if I can’t maintain this state for long, I’ll fight with everything I have before the time limit is up! Once again, I mentally prepared myself and made up my mind…but nothing happened even after Rizevim swallowed the Phoenix Tears.
He didn’t start to recover, and Rizevim frowned.
“…What’s going on? Why haven’t any of my injuries healed?”
The Champion quietly muttered. —A small magic circle was created in his hands.
“…Indeed, this is reality. But, it’s already reached this point.”
Rizevim, who immediately grasped the meaning of these words, stared at the Champion.
“…You’re the bastard who invalidated them…? You completely invalidated the effects of the Phoenix Tears?”
“…Originally, the Belials’ ability [Worthless] could only be used against an opponent’s ability. —But, ‘objects’ are not an exception. …As long as I know about its form and substance, it can become [Worthless]. All of the Tears that you hold have already been made [Worthless].”
So that could also work huh…. As long as he knew how it worked, his ability could be used. In this situation, because he knew about the composition of the Phoenix Tears, he was able to invalidate the healing effect. Understanding all of this, Rizevim clutched all of the bottles of Tears in his hand.
“…Since the battle against the House of Phoenix; you were already expecting this from the very beginning!”
I see, so that’s how it was! This is what Beelzebub-sama was talking about! The Champion knew that Qlippoth were secretly producing Phoenix Tears from the beginning. In order to invalidate them, he planned to analyse them during the match with Raiser. In other words, he was able to analyse Ravel and Raiser’s demonic energy, and learned about the composition of the Tears. He was then able to invalidate all of the Tears that Qlippoth had.
“You even meddled in Qlippoth’s affairs, you boy…!”
Rizevim vented his dissatisfaction and anger. His face had become distorted in anger. All of this was beyond his expectations. Seeing him like that, I laughed.
“When you confronted Michael-san in Heaven, I thought that you were indeed the son of the Maou Lucifer, and I was somewhat fearful.”
I expected him to become imposing; when he opened his wings of Lucifer in Heaven, I feared him. But — I was wrong. It was the same as what Vali just said; this is what that bastard’s true nature was like. He was just a clownish ossan.
“—You’re not being very brave by imitating your father are you, ossan? Your current demeanour is your original attitude, isn’t it?”
I didn’t fear him in the slightest, and said that to him face to face.
“—I’m not a pretentious and hypocritical seventeen year old kid, you know? If I’m an ossan, then what are you?”
“…I’m known as the Sekiryuutei!”
Because of a single thing that I had said, he could no longer hide the anxiety in his heart. He emitted light from his hand as he released demonic energy, and all of the wings of Lucifer on his back opened up! I borrowed Ophis’ power, and prepared a full powered attack against Rizevim. I would determine the winner of this battle here! Since I had the addition of Ophis’ power, it was possible! I would get rid of this bastard right here! In the observation room, Rizevim and I began to fight, and as we fought, we flew out of the glass wall that Vali had smashed through! Whilst in mid-air, I opened my wings and began charging demonic energy for a cannon attack! I narrowed our distance, and then began fighting in close-combat again! My punches and his kicks each hit each other’s body! The aftermath of these clashes generated shockwaves which caused the surrounding buildings to crumble, and even the mass-produced Evil Dragons which were flying about in the air dropped out of the sky rapidly. I once again realised that this bastard’s strength was extraordinary!
All of Rizevim’s wings had been rolled up, and they were then swung down towards me! The sharp end of the wings was thrust towards me, but I evaded them at high speed. However, the impact of his wings caused all of the building and roads below to be destroyed.
This time, he released several extremely large shots of demonic energy! Both the intensity and aggression of his demonic energy were incredible; I would have been fatally injured even if I was wearing my crimson armour. But — right now, I had the extra protection of Ophis’ power!
The massive bullets of highly dense demonic energy which came towards me were all deflected by my punches and kicks! Of the bullets of demonic energy that I deflected, some went down to the streets or buildings of Agreas, and some were sent even further away. The moment that they landed, enormous explosions occurred in various places. The resulting gusts of wind swept away everything in the surrounding area. At the impacted place that was nearest to where I was, several buildings had been reduced to dust or nothingness, and a massive crater had formed. Although it was incredibly destructive, this was the Maou’s son after all. —That was what I thought. …He was on the level of a Super Devil? Of course it was impossible. The silent pressure and absolute aura that could be felt from Sirzechs-sama and Ajuka-sama; this bastard couldn’t be compared to those two Maou-sama at all. I thought that among these three Super Devils, wasn’t this bastard a few levels below those other guys? I couldn’t help thinking that…but, he would be the same brutal enemy regardless. The wings on Rizevim’s back were all swung at once, and a powerful aura burst out of his body. With that, he flew above me, and shouted!
“Eh! Well! Let me give you something massive as a return gift! Your nakama are below, right? If you evade this, then they’ll die won’t they!? Even if you’re able to destroy this, your family members in the Government Office will all be killed by the aftershock!”
After Rizevim shouted like that, he gathered an unimaginably overwhelming aura in both of his hands! An incredible amount of demonic energy emerged from his hands. Appearing above his head — was an incredible ball of demonic energy more than ten metres in width. There were also six of them! If these things were to hit the surface of Agreas — not to mention my nakama, the whole city would be destroyed! The six balls of demonic energy gradually circled around.
Rizevim bellowed out as he unleashed his attack! An immense pressure and a massive amount of demonic energy descended from the sky! I — prepared myself, and then said to Ddraig
“—Accompany me to the end, Ddraig!”
[Of course, this was already decided on!]
I aimed the cannons embedded in my four wings in front of me! There were two above my shoulders, and two under my armpits; the barrel of the cannons widened! The infinite power of Ophis was concentrated into the cannons.
“[<<D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D D∞D !!!!!!!!>>]”
A [∞] symbol emerged on every one of my gems, and they alternated with flashes of red and black light. DOOOO…the cannons were charging up. Ophis — The Dragon God of Infinity’s power was being focused.
“<<[∞ Blaster !!!!!!]>>”
Along with my voice, the thick and intense cannon attack which was a combination of crimson and jet-black aura was fired from the muzzle of the four cannons at once! The blast from the four cannons and Rizevim’s six demonic energy spheres collided with each other. Then—. A massive explosion engulfed the sky above the floating city of Agreas. Booming, explosive sounds, strong winds, and all kinds of other phenomenon occurred. My cannon blast and Rizevim’s demonic energy were eliminating each other in the sky! All of the windows in Agreas were completely shattered by the shockwaves which were produced—. —The sky turned into a field of red and black interwoven together. Those two extremely large and powerful attacks clashed with each other, and then annihilated each other. Amidst the smoke which was generated by the explosion, the figure of a person could be seen. —It was Rizevim. But, because he just withstood the impact of that explosion, more than half of his wings were damaged, and blood was dripping out of every part of his body. Blood was seeping out of his ears, nose and mouth. Flying also seemed very strenuous for him. In contrast to him, I was completely unharmed. Seeing that I hadn’t suffered any damage, Rizevim’s expression was intertwined with anger and unease.
“…Could it be that I’ll end up like how Shalba and Cao Cao did, being defeated by you like this…!?”
Hearing this, Ddraig was also slightly surprised, and he then said
[—Shouldn’t you have known when you got involved? My partner — Hyoudou Issei has always been in pursuit of peace and quiet. But, whether it’s that descendent of the old Beelzebub, the leader of the Hero Faction, or even you, the son of Lucifer, you’ve all trampled over that which should not without a shred of hesitation.]
Ddraig then asserted
[Well, there is no choice but destruction, right? —This is the Sekiryuutei of the Two Heavenly Dragons. …No, this is something a bit different. This is something slightly different from the Two Heavenly Dragons, it should be known as the Cardinal Crimson Promotion — [ Diabolos Dragon]. ]
Being known as the reincarnated Devil the Crimson Sekiryuutei — [Diabolos Dragon], It was actually somewhat embarrassing. Hearing what Ddraig said, Rizevim laughed.
“…Kukuku, so you’ve become the new Super Devil [Satan]. …In that case, I wonder if my grandson will become a Super Devil before long.”
After saying that, behind that bastard — a transportation magic circle was created!
“…But, I will not die here…I will take my leave!”
Bastard! He planned to escape! After Rizevim glanced at me, he immediately faded into the light of transportation! Damn it! He’s faster at running away than anyone else! But, it was still too early to give up!
“I won’t let you get away, Rizevim!”
Vali flew out from the Government Office. —Then, he glanced back at me and said
“—Impressive. Hyoudou Issei. You, fighting for your family…I was captivated by it.”
After saying that, Vali chased after Rizevim who had disappeared in the sky of Agreas. …Vali, there seemed to be a slightly lonely expression on his face.
After Rizevim escaped, I returned to the observation room to confirm the safety of my parents and Asia. I released Ophis’ armour, and returned to my normal appearance. Well, although I had already returned to the observation room…. I walked over to the Champion who was hanging his head in the middle of the room. It seemed like he no longer had any intention of resisting. I faced him as I said
“…Champion, what you’ve done is unforgiveable.”
After I said that, the Champion opened his arms and closed his eyes.
“Dispose of me as you like. You have the right to do so.”
……Kill me, that’s what he meant. Something like that…how could I possibly do that? —But, mum quickly ran over. She slapped the Champion’s face.
“…To let my family’s children, to allow my family’s children to suffer such things, this is considered a small price to pay.”
Mum was very dignified—. It caused dad to say ‘waaah’ on the side in surprise. I also had to give the Champion a punch at the very least. But since mum took that away…well so be it. The Champion sincerely apologised to mum ‘I’m very sorry’. …I shook my head and said
“…No matter how many years, or even thousands of years you spend, please atone for your sins. …The girl that I love has said that she wants to compete with you. …Having a Game against you as their dream, surely it wouldn’t just be Rias. There are a lot of contestants who also have this dream.”
That’s right, it wasn’t just Rias. Sairaorg-san and Sona-zenkaichou also dreamed of competing against this man in the future. Also—.
“…Even me, I’ll have my own peerage one day, and I want to have a good match with you. So…regardless of how many years it is, I’ll wait, so please atone for your sins.”
“……Even so, you said that I actually can’t die. …You’re truly crueller than anyone else.”
With a frown on his face, the Champion continued to ask me
“…There is one thing, please tell me. I’ve heard rumours. …You met Yaegaki-san and Cleria’s soul in Heaven. …Cleria, she…what was her expression like?”
I recalled the ghost which appeared to be Cleria-san when I was in Heaven. Cleria-san was tightly embracing Yaegaki.
“…She had a very gentle expression.”
After hearing my words, the Champion let out a stream of tears.
“……I see……I’ve lost.”
Seeing the dispirited Champion sit down, I couldn’t help looking at the sky. …This was a battle which couldn’t have been predicted. It wasn’t that I couldn’t understand the Champion’s reasoning. But, it was a fact that he overstepped the boundaries that he shouldn’t have—. But, to me, my gains were large. I — looked back at my family. My dad, my mum, and Asia. They were all my important family members. Everyone now smiled together. There was no longer a need to hide anything. But, it was possible that it would place my parents in danger. —In that case, together with Asia, together with my nakama, it’ll be fine if we protect them. It’ll be fine if we do our best to protect them. I reaffirmed my determination to fight in order to protect the people important to me—. —Suddenly, I was attacked by a bout of nausea. I immediately covered my mouth. Deep in my throat — something was coming up from my abdomen that I couldn’t even hold back with my hand. …When I noticed, I was already coughing up large amounts of blood from my mouth. There was also something warm running out of my nose. I understood that it was a nosebleed. I suddenly felt weak and sensed that I had lost all of my energy—. My body collapsed, and I fell onto the floor.
I could only look at the floor…I didn’t even have the strength to lift a finger, I couldn’t move at all. I could only look at the floor which was dyed red by the blood which had spurted out of my mouth.
The cries of Asia, dad, and mum made its way into my ears…but the noise gradually became more distant from me….
[…Partner. —This is the price of power. Ophis’ power…is really too…]
Although I could hear Ddraig’s concerned voice…everything in front of my eyes slowly turned to white, and then became dark…. After that, my consciousness receded—. Indeed, the price really is too—.
Translator's Notes and References
- ogifu-sama and ogibo-sama are respectful ways of calling/addressing father-in-law and mother-in-law.
- Kana was Ouroboros Dragon, kanji was Infinite Dragon God.
- Sandanzuki (三段突き) roughly translates to: three piece/stage thrust. It was a one of Okita Sōji’s signature techniques.
- Okita Sōji was the captain of the first unit of the Shinsengumi, a special police force formed to protect the Shogunate representatives during the final years of the Edo period (1864-1869) when the Tokugawa Shogunate ended.
- Kana was Gigantis Dragon Princess, the kanji was Princess of the Golden Dragon-kun.
- fusai means and can be used to refer to a married couple.
- Lilin: Known in mythology as night spirits which attack men. Sometimes referred to as the daughter of Lilith – first wife of Adam, and later Lucifer.
- –shi: A formal honorific used to refer to someone who is unfamiliar or not well known by the speaker.
- Hyakudomairi: Japanese Shintoism. It is said that after walking back and forth between two fixed points in a shrine and praying 100 times, a wish will come true.
- The name Issei has the meaning of sincere/honest.
- It would be pronounced: Dee Dee.
- Except for when ∞ is used in D∞D, it can be replaced with Infinity e.g. Dragon Infinity Drive.
- Kanji was Crimson Sekiryuutei, kana was Cardinal Crimson Promotion.
- Kanji was D x D, kana was Diabolos Dragon.
- Kanji was Dragon Maou, katakana was Satan.
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