High School DxD:Volume 23 The Return of the King
The Return of the King
Diehauser Belial awoke quietly in a room made for one person. The place where he was currently staying was a prison of the Underworld that detained political prisoners. After he awoke in the single room, he sighed deeply. —He had a dream in which he recalled memories from his childhood. The Belial House could be considered to be among the poor aristocracy. He grew up in a house that was located in depths of a small mountain. Although his father was a high-class Devil with average ability, his ancestors from the previous few generations were unknown people, and in the previous War of the Three Factions as well as the Civil War of the old government, they had constantly made various errors, so the strength of the Belial House continued to decline, and the family’s authority also fell significantly. During the two generations spanning his grandfather’s and his father’s time, when Diehauser was young, the Belial family faced financial difficulties, but they managed to just scrape by. Under circumstances where it wouldn’t have been surprising for his entire family to break apart, the two heads of the Belial House still continued to maintain their ideals.
“Take good care of your family and the citizens. As long as you strengthen the bonds between your relatives and protect the citizens’ lives, the House of Belial and the Belial territory will continue to exist.”
That was the ideal that his grandfather and father had always practiced. Hence, the family did not scatter from their small territory, they gathered together to prosper in a small community. Although their lives were more difficult than other aristocrats, if their entire family was gathered together, they were able to protect their territory and their citizens. Regardless of whether it was his grandfather, father or uncle, his relatives swore together that they would protect the Belial family and territory. Because of all that, the territory was not particularly prosperous, but there were almost no citizens who had difficult lives, and the tax system of the Belial territory was also praised. The amount of tax received from the citizens meant that their rank was considerably lower than that of other nobles, and that was also why the House of Belial was made fun of by some of the elite…. Although their own standards of living declined, the citizens were able to lead good lives—.
Diehauser — was proud of his grandfather and father who acted in this manner. As Devils, his grandfather and father didn’t have particularly high levels of demonic energy, and weren’t particularly good in battle, but even so, they were deeply appreciated by their own people, and they cherished their own people. Diehauser loved the Belial family and the Belial territory. Ever since Diehauser was young, he often saw his cousin and his family treated him and Cleria as true brothers and sisters in their upbringing. The other Seventy Two Pillars of the same generation — the extravagant lives of the children of other high-class Devils were no match for Diehauser, but Diehauser didn’t seem to mind. It was during this time that Diehauser realised the extraordinary power within his body, and everyone else also recognised his incredible power. —Diehauser was a rare once-in-a-millennium talent and a Maou-class Devil. Afterwards, Diehauser participated in the Rating Games and obtained good results, and that instantly solved the Belial family’s financial problems. Diehauser also began to spread self-promotions of his own, so that the specialties of his territory could be sold throughout the Underworld. Thanks to the outstanding achievements of Diehauser, his cousin Cleria was also able to become independent from the family as she obtained her own peerage and set out into the human realm to develop herself. Diehauser was incredibly proud of his own success which allowed his family to have a future, and he became their pillar of support. He truly valued his family. This was something that was always rooted deep within Diehauser’s heart. The fact that Cleria was able to go to the human realm was something that made him just as happy as his own circumstances. But a turning point came not long afterwards. News of Cleria’s death arrived—.
Diehauser investigated the cause to find out who to direct his hatred at and to determine who to target; since someone had robbed the life of his most important family member, that was the person he would eliminate. It was because Diehauser was convinced that it was impossible for Cleria to have made any blunders. And then, his obsession eventually led him to find an answer. Cleria was eliminated because she found out about the existence of the [King] piece—. …But at the same time, he also understood. —The opportunity for Cleria to investigate the [King] piece was always something that had raised his doubts. …He had always used his innate ability to help his family. It was in order to prevent them from being ridiculed by other nobles, and to allow his family to lead happier lives. …His actions were all for the sake of the Belial family, but as a result, this led to her death, and Diehauser constantly blamed himself for that—. During the battle in Agreas, he heard from the Sekiryuutei — Hyoudou Issei, of the final expression that was left behind by Cleria’s soul, and he felt as though some part of him was saved. But the crime that he had committed could not be erased. …He originally wanted to use his power to make his most valued family member happy. He once believed that this power was something that fate had gifted unto him. —But in the end, he brought trouble to his family and to other factions, and sacrifices were even made. …Diehauser intended to spend the rest of his life here quietly, and to slowly repent for his own sins. He would definitely cause trouble for someone if he went out again. If someone with immense strength misused their power, then that would only cause an unfortunate chain reaction. The news was being played in a corner of the single room. …The guard took good care of him and would tell him about news from the outside world. …The Rating Game World Tournament was being held in the world outside. Diehauser suddenly recalled something that the detective had said when he was interrogated.
[My son is going to turn nine this year. He’s a big fan of yours. …Most children are looking forward to the Sekiryuutei who is the Oppai Dragon, or Prince Sairaorg who is known as the Lion King. But my son isn’t interested in the Oppai Dragon or Lion King at all, he’s only fascinated by you.]
The detective wore a complex expression on his face as he continued to speak proudly on the topic of his own son.
[Although what I’m saying may sound a little exaggerated, my son is very clever. He also has good grades at school, and he never forgets to study at home. The teachers at school also praise that ‘he’s a model student’. …My son always watches your recordings whenever he has free time. He watches each match over and over several times and when I ask him ‘don’t you get tired of it?’, he tells me ‘I won’t get tired of it because the Champion is so cool’. His room is also filled with posters of you.]
The detective looked straight at Diehauser as he said
[As a detective, my son says things to me like ‘Please forgive the Champion’, and ‘The Champion wouldn’t do bad things like that’. …I’m someone who stands in a public position. I have to prosecute you for breaking the law and committing a crime. But from the perspective of that child, I’m a completely bad person.]
Diehauser then said
[…Please pass this on to your child. There are many other heroes out there who are better than I am. Most importantly, your father is one of them.]
The detective quietly shook his head.
[…Champion, those words are completely useless to that child. —To a boy, there are many heroes that they have, but their number one will never change. …This is something that my friend who is a former human reincarnated Devil told me.]
[It’s true to say that much. …I’m actually one of your fans as well. So though I’m quite disappointed, there’s nothing that can be done. I want to see more of your heroic figure in the upcoming World Tournament. I would like to see the most powerful player in the Underworld in an exciting game.]
—The World Tournament. If he hadn’t committed a crime, then he would be able to participate as a normal player—. When that idea surfaced in Diehauser’s mind, he shook his head.
…I can’t think about such things. As someone who has committed a crime, I can’t have any fantasies about such things. …I can no longer return to the Rating Games. After I’ve committed such crimes, how could anyone possibly look forward to my return….
In the single room, he was submersed in all kinds of thoughts. The Champion covered his own face. At that time, the guard appeared.
“Diehauser-dono, someone wishes to see you.”
As he stepped into the visiting room, the person waiting there for him was — a man who was roughly fifty years old. He was a man who appeared to resemble himself. …The current head of the House of Belial — his father. After seeing the father whom he had not seen in such a long time — he seemed to have become somewhat slimmer. Through the glass in the visiting room, his father delivered a hearty smile.
“Diehauser, I’m sorry for being so late in coming to visit you.”
His father casually began the conversation.
“Have you been watching the Games?”
“…I haven’t been watching television…but I’ve still heard the news.”
“…The professional Devil players have been continuously defeated. Even the much-anticipated newcomer, the Sekiryuutei was defeated by the Angel team a few days ago. As the makers of the Rating Games, we Devils have been defeated by various factions one after the other.”
“…After all, there are players who are god-class beings, and there are also highly ranked players who have gone to assist other factions, so I don’t consider Devils to be on the weaker side. …But…”
In response to his father’s question, Diehauser shook his head.
“…Nothing, it’s nothing.”
Diehauser swallowed the phrase ‘if it was me’. These were words that he was not allowed to speak. As someone who had committed a crime, he didn’t have the right to speak such words—. He still longed for it, and this was something that he realised. Diehauser also realised that his father had also come to understand his yearning in just that brief exchange of words.
“…Is mother well?”
The current head of the House of Belial nodded in response to Diehauser’s question.
“Yeah, she’s doing just fine. I originally wanted to bring your mother along today…but only one person is allowed to visit. So I let her stay at home.”
“…To mother, I must be an unfilial son. Even at first she opposed my participation in the Rating Games.”
Diehauser’s mother didn’t feel pleased about his participation in the Rating Games. No matter what he did, his mother still refused to come watch his games. But that didn’t mean that his mother hated him. The current head said
“…I’ve already said this many times, you don’t have to mind about the Rating Games. Your mother simply does not wish to see you fighting. Your mother is afraid of her only son being in a fight. Even though it’s practically impossible for you to lose…. But even so, your mother doesn’t want to see you get hurt. But I watch your mother’s share as well, so it’s okay.”
Deihauser apologised to his father
“…You’ve obviously put in such effort, but I…can no longer compete in a game again. Father, you’ve done so much for me to allow me to participate in the games…”
For his sake, his father did as much as possible to allow him to receive a high standard of education. His father allowed him to receive education that was equivalent to those of the same generation from Houses that had produces Maous. At the same time, finances were difficult, and to the poor aristocrats of the Belial House, this was not an ordinary expenditure, but his father did his best to support him without causing trouble for the family. Diehauser had always known this. In order to continue paying his tuition fees, his father reduced the number of social outfits he kept, and mother also sold her valuable jewellery. This was an immense amount for nobility, and even the young Diehauser understood that. And so, when he won his first Rating Game, he gifted the finest noble clothing to his parents. He never once thought that that would have been enough to repay all of the expectations that his parents had. Just the fact that his father was able to wear the finest noble clothing made Diehauser happy. Noticing this, the current head pulled on his sleeves and said
“Hahaha, these clothes…it’s a brand that even the Maou-samas often wear. Diehauser, the Belial House’s subjects, as well as all of the citizens are all thankful to you for allowing them to be seen by the outside world. There is no one in the Belial territory who would blame you.”
The current head of the House of Belial moved onto the main topic.
“I think you should get out of here.”
Diehauser was speechless. His father continued
“Thanks to your fame and established relationships, through various channels, I want you to return to the Rating Games anew. I have also pleaded to the Maou Ajuka Beelzebub. This is something that I can do.”
As the current head spoke with an overbearing tone, he suddenly seemed to have remembered something as he said
“Ah, I can’t use the connection to the Great King side anymore.”
A puzzled expression emerged on Diehauser’s face. His father had joined the Great King faction in the past, and his own status in the Underworld had continued to climb, and that gave his father a similarly high position.
Father said it can’t be used anymore…?
The current head answered his doubts.
“No, it’s nothing. I just went to the First Generation Bael-sama to ask a few things about you and Cleria. Hahaha, well, what should I say. In the end, I couldn’t hold back and I ended up hitting that First Generation old man. So that’s why I can’t use my connection to the Great King faction. I’m sorry, your father is still immature.”
His father laughed boldly. …In a sense, the First Generation Bael could be considered to be an authoritative figure even higher than the Maou's in the entire Underworld and for all Devils, a secret dictator. His father actually hit him…. Diehauser understood. His father truly cherished his family, and after learning the truth behind his and Cleria’s circumstances, he must have attacked the First Generation Bael. His father’s actions evoked a certain emotion in Diehauser’s heart.
“That’s what happened, so I’m now in the care of Beelzebub-sama’s faction.”
“H-How could I possibly allow father to deal with this alone…!”
He could no longer allow his father and his people to be troubled by his own problems. However, his father looked up at the ceiling and said
“Calfa…as of late, your mother has constantly been watching video recordings of your matches. It’s a bit ironic. You’ve already been locked up here, and she’s been watching as if she’s looking back on the path that her son has walked.”
…His mother was watching…his matches. His mother had always avoided it, but she was now watching his games. The current head continued
“Seeing your mother like that, I also made up my mind. No matter what happens, and regardless of what I need to do, I want to send you onto the Tournament’s stage. Don’t worry, as long as you and the family are fine, I’ll even start over back at that house deep in the mountains. Hahaha, after all, I’ve long been accustomed to the lifestyle of being a poor noble. Ah, if I say that, I’ll be scolded by my ancestors.”
In that instant, Diehauser’s heartfelt feelings poured out as he could no longer restrain them. His tears flowed down without stopping. His father showed a gentle smile.
“I want to see you fighting in the World Tournament. …Your fans are also looking forward to it. Their voices have been reaching me every day. If Diehauser was there, it definitely wouldn’t be the same. As long as the Champion is there, the Devils will fight better. As long as it’s the Emperor Belial, he’ll be able to defeat them no matter which team it is. Everyone has been shouting out loudly or begging for this. In any case, they all wish for you to get out of here. There are so many people looking forward to you.”
His father thumped his own chest as he faced Diehauser, and said to his son
“I have neither talent nor merit, but I am your father. —So, I want to protect my son’s honour.”
With his face covered in tears, the Champion could only cry. He expressed his gratefulness to his mother and father, to his citizens and his fans.
The Champion loved the Rating Games.
“The Sekiryuutei’s mother who once slapped you…must be a far better parent than I am. I…couldn’t get angry at you.”
—The Champion loved the Rating Games more than anyone else as it had acknowledged his existence.
“Diehauser, let’s repay your crime together. The House of Belial will not abandon you. So, I also hope that you won’t cast aside your own possibilities, as well as the hopes of the fans that are waiting for you—”
Diehauser suddenly recalled that at some point, his cousin Cleria had said to him
[Diehauser-niisama, I really admire the way you look when you’re competing, it’s really cool. You’re the pride of me and the Belial family.]
…Cleria, will you also watch over my battles from afar? Can I fight as the Champion that you, father, mother and my fans admire?
—The Champion will return.
“—The Champion of the Rating Games, Emperor Belial, will you allow us, your admirers to see your heroic figure once again?”
—The Champion will return!
In Diehauser’s eyes, in the eyes of Emperor Belial, a fire was ignited again.
—The strongest Champion will return!
This news immediately spread like a wildfire in the Underworld.
—Emperor Belial’s shocking participation in the Rating Game World Tournament!
Diehauser had been released on a temporary basis under the conditions of strict limitations on movement and surveillance.
Rias Gremory and Vali Lucifer would clash in the preliminaries, while Hyoudou Issei would also encounter a god-class opponent for the first time in the Rating Game World Tournament. The difference in combat strength — was far too obvious. Even if it was the Sekiryuutei, if faced with the team of the legendary monster Typhon, and the second generation chief gods of Olympus and Asgard, it was probably impossible for him to win. But through this game, the entire world would attain a new understanding of the [Welsh Dragon]—. And with this, the preliminaries finally came to an end, while a fierce battle in the final tournament began.
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