High School DxD:Volume 24 Life 2
Life.2 The God of Death and the Dog of the Blade
The evening of the day that we had been attacked by the Grim Reapers—.
In the VIP room that was situated on the top floor of the Hyoudou residence, all of the members who could make it here had gathered. This was mainly centred on the Gremory peerage, and those who lived at the Hyoudou residence. However, Kuroka wasn’t here because she had gone off to join Vali and the others, and it was also difficult to get in touch with them. We had told Rias that Koneko-chan was targeted by the Grim Reapers, and everyone was quite surprised. It was also a serious matter since they had invaded despite the presence of a barrier, and in response to this attack, Rias said
“…The sudden attack of the Grim Reapers may be related to the case that Sairaorg and the others are dealing with right now.”
The case that Sairaorg-san is dealing with…? It was the first time that I had heard of this. Ravel asked Rias
“Is that story true?”
“Yes, Sairaorg also contacted me to tell me to be careful.”
I asked again, and this time, Ravel answered my question
“—It is said that there are some unidentified Devils who are rioting in various territories.”
…A group of unidentified Devils are going on a rampage!? W-What’s going on!? Could it be possible that remnants of the Old Maou Faction are rebelling again? No, there were rumours that [Khaos Brigade] and the Old Maou Faction had already ceased their activities due to the dissolution of Qlippoth….
“In some territories…and Devils with unknown identities. But, are they really Devils?”
Rias made a difficult expression upon hearing my words.
“Their origin seems to be completely unknown. In the Underworld, unlike long ago, even ordinary members of the public will have ID cards issued to them. But these completely unknown Devils have appeared in various territories such as the Bael territory.”
Devils with unknown identities huh. No matter how deep the foundations of a class society are, it’s still possible for Devils of unknown origin to appear out of nowhere…. After all, the Devils’ society is still a bit undeveloped in some aspects, and there are still many ancient Devils hiding around in the far corners of the Underworld.
“Could it be possible that…there are descendants of some clans who have refused to register their identity, and now they’re unleashing their dissatisfaction at the current government?”
Rias’ expression turned complicated upon hearing my words.
“…If that really is the case, then things would be easier to resolve…”
If they really were descendants of older Devils who refused to register their identities, then that would actually be easy to deal with huh…. Irina said with a puzzled look
“Reincarnated Angels have also received orders to crack down on suspicious individuals. Could it be related to this incident as well?”
“Have there been any movements in Heaven?”
Irina nodded in response to Xenovia’s question.
“Within our religious jurisdiction, there have been several incidents caused by suspicious people. All of the reincarnated Angels led by Joker have gone to deal with it. Though they said it was fine even if I didn’t go out…”
So there were also various incidents in the areas governed by Heaven and the Church! Everything seemed to be getting more and more suspicious. Combined with the fact that the attack of the Grim Reapers could be related, it was possible that this was exactly as Rias had suspected.
Koneko-chan’s face was filled with unease. After all, she had been targeted all of a sudden and she didn’t even understand the reason why she was being targeted either. Anyone would definitely feel uneasy if they were targeted without knowing the reason for it. —Just as a wave of anxiousness began to surface upon all of our faces, Akeno-san received a message via a magic circle. Akeno-san sighed after comprehending the information.
“There’s news that has arrived that may be relevant to the topic that we’re discussing.”
After saying that, she picked up a pen and began to scribble it down on a piece of paper before passing it along to Rias. Akeno-san said
“—[Slash Dog], Tobio-niisa…Ikuse-san has sent through a message. He says that he’ll tell us about it at the designated place. …Does anyone know that address?”
A report from Ikuse-san? By the way, Akeno-san is Ikuse-san’s relative, so that’s why she calls him ‘Tobio-niisama’. The [Slash Dog] team was the Grigori’s special forces squad, and they also acted as logistical support within [DxD]. They lurked around in various places and shared various intelligence reports with us. …So they’ve already obtained information on the situation that we’re concerned about huh. Rias stared at the address of ‘the designated place’ and said
“I don’t really know.”
I also looked at it…although it wasn’t very far from Kuoh Town, I’d never been there before either. Where exactly is it? After Rossweisse-san saw it, she exclaimed ‘Ah’ as she raised her hand
“…This bar, I seem to recall that I’ve been there whilst accompanying Odin-sama before. Azazel-sensei has also taken me there…so I think I know how to get there.”
Surprisingly, it looks like there is someone among us who knows the location.
The evening of the next day—.
Our party of four which included me, Rias, my manager Ravel, and our guide Rossweisse-san made our way towards the place that had been specified by Ikuse-san. Rias had delegated the task of ascertaining the reason why Koneko-chan was being targeted to Akeno-san and the others. Rossweisse-san drove us to the designated place in her car. The bar was situated along a bustling downtown street which was two stops away from Kuoh Town by train. Because we had come to visit a place like this at night, we didn’t wear our school uniforms. We came here in our personal clothes instead. After all, there were still a few problems in us coming here since we were still minors. It would be quite troublesome if we got caught by the police. The signboard on the outside had the two words ‘Black Dog’. Rossweisse-san spoke as if she had fully remembered
“That’s right, it’s on the second floor here.”
At the shop where the signboard was displayed, we went up the stairs to the second floor. The first floor appeared to be an ordinary restaurant. After opening the rather stylish and modern door—.
We were instantly captivated by the wonderful and magnificent singing voice that filled the shop. Looking closely, there was a small stage in the depths of the shop, and a blonde beauty in a white dress was singing with her splendid voice upon the stage. All of the guests also paused their conversations to listen to the song. …Judging by the lyrics, it sounded like a foreign ballad that I had never heard of before. But, I was very familiar with the beautiful woman who was on the stage! During the Evil Dragon War, I had seen her once before going off the stop Trihexa! She was the only woman whom Vali couldn’t oppose, Lavinia Reni! No, but…. Before I even became aware of it, I had become fascinated by her, and I thought that she was truly such a beautiful woman. Beside me, Rias cleared her throat lightly and then pulled on my ear.
Owowow! Rias, are you angry? I saw Lavinia-san and felt fascinated by her and made you angry! I’m really sorry! I still don’t have much of a resistance to beautiful women! Rias sent her gaze towards the bar. A young bartender stood there. —It was Ikuse-san! After we saw him, the four of us sat down side-by-side at the bar counter. Ikuse-san poured glasses of water for us while he asked
“She has a nice voice, doesn’t she? She’s our poster girl.”
Poster girl Lavinia-san! Ah, this place is truly an exquisite bar, so please allow me to keep coming here! I couldn’t help but ask Ikuse-san a few of my questions.
“—Ikuse-san, your outfit…”
“Yeah, I’m a bartender here. And she — Lavinia is the exclusive singer here.”
So Ikuse-san is a bartender! I had heard that this was one of the Grigori’s establishments, and since Ikuse-san was already an adult, that was why he worked here. Speaking of which, he’s a pretty cool bartender! This handsome dude looks pretty cool when he’s making cocktails behind the bar counter.
“Welcome, all members of the Hyoudou family. — This is the [Black Dog] Bar. I can’t serve you alcohol, though I can give you some juice. Do you have any requests?”
After he asked us, I replied with
Rias and the others then followed on with
“I’ll have some apple juice please.”
It seemed as though all of the girls had chosen apple juice. Ikuse-san quickly prepared the juice and then placed it on top of the bar counter.
After we received it, Ikuse-san said
“Rossweisse-san, I hear that you’ve been here before.”
“Yes, I was with Odin-sama at the time. But you and Lavinia Reni didn’t seem to be here at that time.”
“That would be because I had something else to take care of back then.”
It didn’t seem like he worked here every day. I guess that was only natural.
“Do you work here?”
After listening to my question, Ikuse-san raised the glass of vegetable juice that he had prepared for himself as he replied
“Only in the evening. I’m a university student during the day. I may look like this, but I’m still only twenty-two years old.”
He’s still a student! B-But, it would be correct for him to be a university student if he’s twenty-two. Well, I guess working here is his part-time job. It seems pretty nice to work as a bartender.
“Are you also responsible for management?”
Rias asked. Ikuse-san took a sip of the vegetable juice and then answered
“No, the manager is Azazel-san. He isn’t here now, so he’s represented by the cadres of the organisation instead.”
So this shop belongs to Azazel-sensei huh. That person, or the Grigori to be more precise, has given us that school and so many other things…. The supernatural races may actually possess a lot of establishments in places that we don’t even know about. We then heard a round of applause echo about, and as we turned back around, we noticed that Lavinia-san’s song had ended. Ikuse-san said
“Vali has also been here only once before, though he obviously made sure to come at a time when Lavinia wasn’t here.”
Heh, so that guy’s also been here. He also chose to come at a time when Lavinia-san wasn’t here, so I guess that guy isn’t very good at dealing with women…. Because he kept on ignoring Kuroka’s advances, she eventually turned her eyes towards me. B-But, I have benefited a lot regarding erotic occasions, so I should thank him for that. But if he’s always refusing such a beauty like that as well, then he’ll—. Just as I was thinking that, a voice suddenly came from behind us.
“Exactly. Va-kun is so cold.”
“Wah! When did she…”
As I turned to look back — Lavinia-san was right behind me. Lavinia-san gave a curtsy and then greeted us.
“Please allow me to introduce myself again. I’m Lavinia Reni, a witch belonging to [Grau Zauberer].”
She was a powerful witch who was also the wielder of the Longinus [Absolute Demise]. In a slightly shy manner, I returned my greeting.
“Likewise, it’s nice to meet you. Speaking of which, we did meet each other once during the Evil Dragon War, before the battle with Trihexa.”
Lavinia-san smiled lightly as she said
The atmosphere of this warm and sweet onee-san made me feel completely relaxed! Moreover, the cleavage revealed by her dress really emphasised her magnificent peaks! Vaaaliiii! Are you really a member of the butt faction!? Even if that’s true, did you still decide to choose that after seeing Lavinia-san’s chest!? I-I should go and ask him if he’s really a member of the butt faction….
The way that I was dreamily staring at Lavinia-san caused all of the girls — Rias, Rossweisse-san and Ravel to look at me with particularly frightening glares! Lavinia-san sat down beside me and created a small magic circle upon the bar counter from which she took something out.
“—I want you to see this.”
The object that Lavinia-san had taken out — was a small notebook. Lavinia-san spread the pages of the notebook open and urged me to read it. …Is this what Ikuse-san wanted to tell us about?
I picked the notebook up and looked at the cover. The words [Vali Lucifer] were written there in English. The name of the owner of this notebook…in other words, this is Vali’s!? What’s Vali’s notebook doing here!? I looked up at Lavinia-san’s face, but she simply returned a sweet smile at me. It seemed as though I had no choice but to read it, so I flipped through and then I came across this passage.
- [I feel regret that I was born into this era. A world without God. I would have wanted to defeat God.]
- [I would rather die than to live in a world without any strong opponents. I have no interest in a dull world like this.]
- [I am the one who has inherited the blood of the first-generation Maou Lucifer. But, I am a child of mixed-blood born from a father who was the grandchild of the old Maou and a human mother. —I obtained the [White Dragon] Sacred Gear because of my half-human blood. I have been born as a true kin of Lucifer, and also as the [White Dragon].]
- [If one had to describe fate or a miracle, perhaps that would be me.]
…There were some lines within that sounded familiar. Say, aren’t these the same words that he said to me the very first time that we fought against each other…?
“…W-What exactly is this?”
I asked Lavinia-san, and Lavinia-san then proudly said
“—This is the profile material collection that Va-kun wrote four years ago. It’s so well written that I just thought that I had to show it to the lifelong rival who would one day appear before Va-kun. After he wrote such cool lines four years ago, Va-kun’s been constantly training through night and day.”
—Vali’s profile material collection. ……All of these are entries that that guy wrote four years ago!? He had so many chuunibyou outbursts one after the other!? Moreover, he still seems to be using them!? I seemed to recall having heard most of the phrases! In front of us, Ikuse-san covered his face with his hands as he tried to hold himself back from laughing out loud.
“…The notebook that Vali’s been looking for all this time…Lavinia, so it’s been in your hands. And you decided to take it out at a time like this…”
“It can only be at a time like this.”
So Vali’s been looking for this notebook. After all, with so many embarrassing notes, this whole thing is like dark history! But it is pretty ironic that the woman he never wants to meet has been holding onto it the whole time. It truly is quite a dilemma. I really wanted to find out what kind of expression Vali would have if he found out about this.
“…Somehow, I just feel as though all of the lines written in here sound familiar.”
I managed to squeeze out a smile, and Lavinia-san exposed a gratifying smile that seemed to indicate that she felt satisfied by the fact that her little brother had been praised.
“That’s good to hear. Va-kun said that he definitely had to say those words coolly in front of his rival, and that’s why he prepared these. He must be rather satisfied now.”
Lavinia-san gleefully jumped up, and the two peaks of her chest also bounced as well! Kuh! Her oppai are massive! Please allow me to have a good look…! Just as my eyes became fixated on the marvellous sight, a voice suddenly reverberated across from the entrance.
“The Ice Princess is Ikuse Tobio and Vali’s princess-sama. So don’t get too carried away, Sekiryuutei.”
As I turned to look — it was actually Cao Cao!
“Cao Cao!? Why are you here?”
I couldn’t help but stand up after seeing his unexpected appearance here! Cao Cao casually sat down at an empty seat at the counter. Ikuse-san didn’t seem too surprised by the fact that Cao Cao was here. Ikuse-san prepared a glass for him as he said
“He comes here occasionally to exchange some information with me. Both of us are agents of the organisation.”
“That’s right. —Hot milk.”
Cao Cao gave his order rather naturally. …Hot milk huh. Surprisingly, he ordered a rather cute drink. I said to Cao Cao
“I saw that match of yours earlier. It was a good game.”
“I’m honoured. I’d really like to fight against both you and Ikuse-san next time.”
Just as Cao Cao said, Ikuse-san had also decided to participate in the Tournament as part of the [Slash Dog] team. Lavinia-san was also a member of that team. Of course, they had also been winning all of their matches quite smoothly. Just like us, they had yet to encounter a team of god-class beings, and even though they had faced teams consisting of ultimate-class Devils, they had easily come out on top. Their most outstanding aspect was that their team’s overall coordination was very well rehearsed, so both Ravel and Sona-senpai praised their teamwork. Perhaps it was because they were often called into combat where they dived into the dark side of various factions, so their precision was very high. After Ikuse-san gave Cao Cao a glass of hot milk, we finally began to discuss the real topic at hand.
“To be honest, Hyoudou Issei-kun, there is actually a faction acting behind the scenes of this Tournament. —The Grim Reapers of the Netherworld.”
—What! Grim Reapers! After hearing about this information, we all looked at each other. This was exactly what we were after. Ikuse-san continued
“You guys might already know this, but there have been frequent riots in the territories of various factions. They have all occurred at a similar time across the Underworld, areas under Heaven’s jurisdiction, Asgard, Olympus and elsewhere as well.”
Rias and Irina had also mentioned this yesterday. And then Cao Cao continued further
“After capturing the perpetrators, we found that all of them were Devils. However, their affiliations and identity were unclear. After comparing them to all of the Devils registered in the Underworld, we couldn’t find any clues at all. It might even have been better if they were just concealed by the higher-ups of the Underworld, but these Devils are pure-blooded Devils without any trace of mixed blood, they’re just pure and genuine Devils.”
…Pure-blooded Devils whose affiliations and identity are unknown? The entire incident seemed like it was growing more suspicious by the second. Ikuse-san said to us
“The Devils’ side has also come up emptyhanded, so the Grigori is currently performing investigations, and according to those investigations, we now know just two things about these mysterious Devils. Firstly, the report on the composition of their bodies and demonic energy indicates that they resemble certain Devils — ancient Devils, the Devils that other high-class Devils refer to as being the ‘first-generation’. Simply put, they have been able to detect from their bodies and demonic energy that they bear similarities to those such as the first-generation Gremory and first-generation Bael. Secondly, they’ve been able to detect traces of Grim Reapers in the vicinity of where these Devils have caused incidents.”
……T-This is way too shocking. These mysterious Devils who have caused riots everywhere are actually Devils who have bodies similar to that of the first-generation Bael…. And Grim Reapers have also appeared close to where these incidents occurred…? If all of these first-generation Devils have been hiding themselves the entire time, and they’ve only decided to come out to cause riots now…it would be nice if it was as simple as that. Rias and the others as were also confused. Rias placed her hand underneath her chin as she said
“…Grim Reapers have appeared close to where the incidents have occurred, so one could say that these Devils are somehow related to Hades. Is that a reasonable assumption?”
Ikuse-san nodded in agreement to Rias’ theory.
“Yeah, I think most Grim Reapers act in accordance to Hades’ will. However, there are still some parts that cannot be explained. Yesterday, Grim Reapers showed up to attack you guys, and they also boldly left behind traces of their attack.”
The majority of Grim Reapers follow Hades’ instructions…and the Grim Reapers don’t seem to care that they’ve left behind traces of their attack…? In other words—.
“The Grim Reapers that attacked Koneko-chan yesterday and those that have appeared near the mysterious Devils so far are not the same?”
Ikuse-san nodded in agreement to my query.
“Aside from the Devils, it’s the first time that the Grim Reapers have acted on their own. And no matter how much we thought about it, we couldn’t come up with a reason as to why Toujou Koneko-san was targeted. But either way, both the Devils who have caused these incidents and the Grim Reapers that attacked you are connected to the Netherworld in some way. There have been at least two attempts from the Netherworld, and they’ve impacted various factions.”
…Hades, that skeletal god, so he’s finally making his move huh. After Rizevim’s death, Hades had become the number one threat. Because the Tournament was being held, the eyes of both Shiva and Śakra were focused there, and so we had to consistently stay vigilant of any movements from the Netherworld. Cao Cao shrugged
“Mount Meru, or perhaps Śakra has only one thing on his mind, and that is Shiva. At least until the end of the Tournament, there won’t be any movements from him.”
Cao Cao blew off the steam from the glass of hot milk as he spoke.
“I don’t know how frequently the games will be carried out from now on, but trying to maintain the status quo on the surface whilst planning a war at the same time would be a plain waste of time to Śakra. On the contrary, he’ll actually be able to achieve his goal of a duel with Shiva earlier by participating in the games, so Śakra shouldn’t be behind anything sinister because of this. Moreover, being able to fight against gods other than Shiva in an environment where their battles will be officially recognised is something that Śakra enjoys from the bottom of his heart.”
“In fact, perhaps it would be better to say that you’ve received orders to eliminate anyone who plans to hinder the Tournament.”
Cao Cao directed a smile towards Ikuse-san.
“Yeah, we have received such instructions. So I’ll be investigating those dangerous folks. And the target would be those Grim Reapers.”
After Cao Cao gulped the glass of hot milk down in one go, he placed his money down on the bar counter and then stood up to leave.
“My side will also investigate the connection between the mysterious Devils and the Grim Reapers, and I’ll let you guys know if we find anything.”
After Cao Cao said that, he walked towards the door, but he suddenly paused and asked me
“By the way, I have something to ask you. Hyoudou Issei, which side do you think will win between Rias Gremory and Vali?”
—Hmm! …This guy actually asked me right in front of Rias about my opinion on the game that was just about to happen. But, my view was already decided upon long ago, and so I answered without any hesitation.
“I don’t know who will win or who will lose, but I’ll definitely be cheering for Rias. But, it is also true that I can’t imagine how Vali will lose either.”
These were my honest feelings. It was needless to say that I would be cheering for Rias. But it was also a fact that Vali and the others were strong. I couldn’t imagine the sight of Vali losing because I felt such a strong sense of competition with that fateful rival of mine. In response to my answer, Cao Cao nodded as he said
Beside me, Lavinia-san quietly said
“I’m…only cheering for Va-kun just this once. I’m sorry.”
Lavinia-san seemed to act rather stiff, but both Rias and I said ‘it’s okay, it’s okay’ to stop her from feeling too guilty about it. Vali, that guy, he clearly has such a considerate onee-san, so why doesn’t he want to see her? …Could it be that that guy’s actually quite shy? After seeing Cao Cao off, we continued to exchange the information that we had before disbanding. Ah, I originally wanted to find out about why Koneko-chan had been targeted, but I didn’t expect yet another layer to be added to the complexity of the incident…. Well, we originally belonged to an anti-terrorist team, but there had been nothing to worry about until now. We had been so immersed in the Tournament thus far, but I began to feel nervous about my role in [DxD] after such a long absence from it.
Although the day of the match between Rias and Vali continued to get closer, Rias, Akeno-san, Ravel, Sona-senpai, Shinra-senpai and I gathered in the VIP room of the Hyoudou residence so that we could share our information on why the Grim Reapers were targeting Koneko-chan. After we told Sona-senpai and the others about the information that we had acquired from Ikuse-san and Cao Cao, Sona-senpai began to speak about Koneko-chan’s situation.
“A shortcut through all of this may be to explore Koneko-san’s past.”
“It may be clearer than asking Kuroka-san — what does everyone think?”
Sona-senpai agreed with Ravel’s proposal. Although we had heard about Koneko-chan’s past from Kuroka before, Sona-senpai intended to investigate it in more detail.
“Do you have a way to explore the past?”
Rias asked Sona-senpai, who seemed to have an idea about it.
“Directly…though I can’t say for certain, there is a type of Youkai that can show the past of someone via someone else who is related to them.”
Sona-senpai replied. So there exists a Youkai that can see the past! It was the first time that I had heard of this. However, Rias also seemed to know about it, and she mentioned the name of that Youkai.
“—Could it be the Magic Mirror? The mirror Youkai.”
Shinra-senpai answered Rias’ question.
“Yes, there is a clan of Magic Mirror Youkai who are able to show the past of someone via someone related to them. They’re also known as Ungaikyo. Although there are supposedly many restrictive conditions, as long as they’re satisfied, one should be able to see both the living and the dead, and you can also speak to that person as well. If we use this ability, Kuroka-san and even Koneko-san’s past…the close relatives of the past who knew the Nekomata sisters can be called out.”
S-So there’s actually a type of mirror Youkai with this kind of ability huh. It’s quite amazing to be able to speak with the dead. Well, given how vast the supernatural world is, it shouldn’t be surprising that there are Youkai with all sorts of abilities, and the Sitri peerage seem to have some understanding of these Youkai. A member of one of the families that are in charge of Japan’s supernatural is a member of the Sitri peerage, and so that’s why they excel when it comes to Youkai. Sona-senpai then explained to us
“However, the current one was killed due to attack of [Khaos Brigade], so it will still take some time for the successor to inherit that role.”
No way! The attack of [Khaos Brigade] also spread to that place…. Those bastards, they’ve really caused all sorts of damage to the various factions. Shinra-senpai said
“The Sitri peerage was previously able to establish a unique connection and relationship with the possessor…but due to their death, things have been affected. Because it is a unique ability, it has rather strict constraints. Especially after the current Magic Mirror passed away, all of the people who had sought help from them have lost their memories of that time. Even third parties who were informed of those things have had their memories disappear.”
What is this? All of the people who have sought its help in the past have had their memories of it disappear. In other words, all of the people who have spoken to the mirror or those related to the mirror in any way have had all of their memories from that time disappear because of the mirror Youkai’s death. Even the people who heard about it from someone else have had their memories of it disappear. Anyway, since the Ungaikyo has passed away, why don’t we just resort to exploring Koneko-chan’s past in the traditional way? Sona-senpai then continued
“But, as long as we can find the next Ungaikyo and allow it to formally inherit the position, the memories of everyone who saw it before will return.”
Oh, so that’s possible! There is still a solution then! Well, it’s best if we act sooner. But in regards to that, there isn’t much information on the Ungaikyo, and our own game is also coming up…. But just as such thoughts streamed through my mind, Ravel nodded and enthusiastically said
“The first step is to find that Ungaikyo then. I will also use the Phoenix House’s information network!”
Everyone directed their eyes towards Ravel, who seemed rather enthusiastic. Ravel suddenly became shy.
“…I want to help Koneko-san. And we’re also friends…”
The Ravel before my eyes was no longer the same brave Ravel as of late, she was merely a girl of a suitable age who got fired up for the sake of her friendship. Ravel’s proposal was correct though, and we all agreed.
“I will also ask the head of the Himejima clan.”
Akeno-san said. The information network of the Five Principal Clans who were most knowledgeable about Japan’s abilities and supernatural beings would probably be a powerful resource. We planned to use our own intelligence network to collect relevant information, and at the same time, ask Ikuse-san and the Grigori to help us.
“Bennia, are you here?”
After Sona-senpai said that, a magic circle appeared beside her. Bennia then hopped out from the magic circle, and it made me think that the way she appeared was still so unique.
<<I am here, Master Sona.>>
“Please stay here to help Rias and Ise-kun, Bennia. You understand the Grim Reapers, and you can also sense their wavelength, so your abilities will be vital to them.”
“Let us know if anything happens.”
After Sona-senpai and Shinra-senpai reached an agreement with us, they left Bennia with us and then left. I…fell into deep thought. At present, neither Koneko-chan nor Kuroka were present, so Rias and I both decided that we shouldn’t make Koneko-chan feel even more burdened than she already was. Koneko-chan…she had a tough time in the past. Although she had previously worked hard to overcome it, if she had to recall the memories of that time, it was possible that it could affect her mental state again. She wanted to gain valuable experience through the World Tournament, and she would also be fighting against her own sister in the next game. If we worried her too much, it was possible that she would overstrain herself again. Rias said
“Koneko has certainly become stronger, but she still has a weak side. She is determined to overcome her difficult past, but if she recalls the memories of those days, it’s possible that her mind may actually collapse.”
Rias was also quite worried for Koneko-chan. She was carefully considering how to deal with the situation. Rias had taken Koneko-chan in, and helped her overcome her psychological trauma, and that was why she was so worried about this incident. It was also precisely because of this that she didn’t intend to allow Koneko-chan to come in here. I had a conversation with Rias about Koneko-chan’s past before.
[Ise, did I ever tell you that Kuroka’s former master was a high-class Devil?]
[If I recall correctly, it was Naberius of the Seventy Two Pillars, right? A Devil of a branch family took Kuroka and Koneko-chan in.]
I had more or less heard about Kuroka and Koneko-chan’s past from Rias. It was mainly the story of when Kuroka was a servant Devil. Kuroka’s original master was a Devil who possessed the ability to forcibly strengthen the power of their servants, and they would also use this on their own family and relatives as well. It was scary how they didn’t hold back even against their own relatives. And then, their master’s interest was directed to Kuroka’s little sister who was also a Nekomata — Koneko-chan. And that was why Kuroka killed her master. Rias continued
[Yes, that’s right. It seems they were an aristocrat obsessed with research. Albeit in a bad direction. They ignored the main family’s wishes and continued to carry out dubious experiments. But there was also another problem. The thing is, when Kuroka started living here, this is something that onii-sama told me through Grayfia—]
What Rias said was that the research that their former master conducted was carried on and taken over by someone else, but when the Maou’s soldiers arrived at the house, they found that almost all traces of the research had disappeared. They heard that there had been a suspicious explosion. The research conducted by Kuroka’s original master had also attracted much suspicion from the upper echelons of the Underworld, and both Kuroka and Koneko-chan were identified as dangerous and unstable factors as well. Rias continued
[Kuroka was interrogated several times, but she had no clue about the true intention of the research. The only thing that was certain was that the research was extremely dangerous.]
[In other words…before she even knew about the purpose of the research, Kuroka killed her master in order to protect Koneko-chan huh…]
Rias sighed as she nodded.
[Knowing that her little sister would fall into poisonous hands, Kuroka definitely wouldn’t have allowed that to go on in silence. Of course, she also had a grudge.]
That is to say, because of Kuroka’s deep personal feelings — her anger erupted and she completely obliterated her original master and the surroundings. Upon seeing the power of the Nekomata, a deep psychological scar was also inflicted upon Koneko-chan. Koneko-chan and Kuroka’s time with the branch family of the Naberius House…seemed to conceal a lot of anxiety.
Although I was quite worried about Koneko-chan’s situation and the frequent riots caused by the mysterious Devils throughout various factions, time would not wait for anyone. Our [Sekiryuutei of Blazing Truth] team and Rias’ team were practising together today. The location was not the training space that was meant to be used by the Sekiryuutei, but the nostalgic space that was used by the Gremory peerage for training. Although I had said that it was ‘nostalgic’, it had actually been used until just recently. Because Rias would have her match against Vali and the others very soon, she invited us to act as opponents in a mock battle. Not knowing what would happen and also to follow Sona-senpai’s orders, Bennia also tagged along. And thus our training session began.
“Alright, let’s go, Lint!”
“Awah, Quarta-paisen, you’re a bit extreme.”
What we saw first was the scene of Xenovia and Lint-san training with each other. Xenovia wielded Durandal and Excalibur as Lint-san nimbly evaded her attacks and used her sword forged of purple flames to counterattack. Waves of holy aura and violent purple flames clashed in mid-air, causing explosions to be set off all over the place one after the other. Xenovia’s training was rather intense, but from this, we could also see that Lint-san’s strength wasn’t bad either. As evident from the video recordings of Rias’ games, Lint-san’s fighting style was very practical, and she was also an excellent and powerful female warrior who never backed down. On another side, Koneko-chan and Ravel began to train with each other seriously.
“I’m coming, Koneko-san!”
Ravel spread open her fiery wings and let loose powerful bullets of fire while Koneko-chan entered her Shirone mode and used white flames to make a myriad of Kasha in order to nullify Ravel’s bullets of fire. Koneko-chan also appeared to be rather enthusiastic about the practise match, most likely because she really wanted to win against her sister. In order to respond to Koneko-chan’s feelings, Ravel reacted with sincerity, and they continued to practise until the two of them were completely exhausted. It wasn’t just this one either. So long as Koneko-chan asked Ravel for it, Ravel would respond to her with sincerity each time. Since Ravel was both a friend and classmate of hers, I guess Koneko-chan felt as though Ravel was both easy and reliable to depend upon. Ravel was also quite aware that Koneko-chan could only ask her because they were of the same age, so she continued to respond positively to all of her requests. …Ravel, when she was considerate of our team, she always had a train of thought that followed the principles of supremacy, but when she faced her friend Koneko-chan — she did so with feelings of kingship.
“Koneko-san, your tail seems a bit burnt.”
“…It’s all because of you, Ravel. You’re throwing flames at me so mercilessly.”
“I’d be scolded by you if I went easy, so I’m working hard as well, okay?”
“Muu…. Both my ears and tail are burnt, and now it’s going to be embarrassing when I show up at the game.”
“Fufufufu, allow me to help you brush your fur later.”
When she laughed together with Koneko-chan, Ravel didn’t act strong-willed and determined as she did in front of us, but instead she revealed a cheerful and lively smile that was fitting for a girl of her age. …Ravel desires to stay by my side as my manager, but I want her to grow in the truest sense of the word, like when she’s together with her friend Koneko-chan. That’s why having more contact like this is good. The next thing I noted was — the battle between the golden humanoid dragon and the large dark beast. The humanoid dragon Nakiri and Gasper in his Balor state; the two boys who were in the same grade began a fierce melee battle. Nakiri’s touki-coated fist was thrust at Gasper’s body, while Gasper also used his dark fists to retaliate, causing Nakiri to be pushed back. Nakiri shouted
“Damn it! I already knew you were strong, but…you’re pretty good, Vladi!”
Nakiri fired off a vast number of spherical bullets that were mixed with his touki and aura. Gasper used his hands to deflect them one after the other as he slowly stretched out their distance.
<<…But you, are you really a human? You’re actually able to keep up with the melee techniques that Ise-senpai taught me!>>
Nakiri moved across the ground at high speed and rapidly continued his assault! Gasper summoned a countless number of dark beasts from the shadows. Nakiri kicked them, punched them, and even took out a vast number of spell talismans from his pocket and cast them to return all of the dark beasts back to the nothingness from whence they came.
“I am a human, though I use a few spells as well.”
After the two of them used their own techniques to hold each other back for a round, they resumed their melee battle again! The two of them showed fearless smiles to each other.
“…I can’t lose to a classmate, and especially not in front of Hyoudou-senpai.”
<<That’s my line. I can’t shamefully lose in front of Ise-senpai and Rias-oneechan.>>
Like this, the mock battle of the two male classmates continued as they fought happily in earnest. I watched all of our team members train together from the sidelines as Rias stood beside me.
“It looks like those two will make good rivals for each other.”
She was talking about Gasper and Nakiri.
“Yeah. After all, they’re both boys of the same age who don’t feel like they can lose to each other.”
I said. Indeed, it was natural that they would be concerned about other males of the same age. Just as I thought so — the male who was of the same age as me — Kiba approached me.
“Have you finished with your lunch box? It’s about time that I’d like to have a mock battle with you. It’s been a long time since we last fought, so how about it?”
Just as Kiba said, before our training session began, the girls + Kiba prepared bento boxes for us, and I had already polished mine up. Today’s bento was Akeno-san’s handmade ‘Seaweed Bento’, while Kiba’s was a ‘Character Bento’. Kiba’s bento used ‘my face in my armour’ as the character prototype…it was almost like the real thing, so I had some complicated feelings about it! But regardless of whether it was Akeno-san’s bento or Kiba’s bento, both of them were delicious! I energised myself as I stepped forward and stood upright as I said to Kiba
“You’re right, it has been a long time since—”
Just when I was halfway through my sentence, the training space suddenly began to distort!
All of us stopped what we were doing as we were astounded by the scene before our eyes. In response to this, Bennia stood up and revealed an alarmed expression.
<<As expected, they’re here.>>
Just after she said that, the distortion enlarged, and cracks eventually appeared. As the cracks splintered and spread, a hole had been dug out in the air! What appeared from there were Grim Reapers who readily held scythes in their hands! The training space that was located in its own special area and was protected by a defensive barrier had been attacked. This unexpected state of affairs caused Rias to cry out
“T-This can’t be! Even this space is under attack!?”
The Grim Reapers charged out one after the other from the hole that they had pierced in space, and they surrounded us! Close to a hundred Grim Reapers encircled us! All of us remained vigilant as we entered stances to prepare for battle! The opposing side had clear hostility and the intent to kill, and the very fact that they were standing here was proof that a battle was inevitable!
“Ise! Since the enemy has decided to attack us, kill them all without any further ado! They deserve that much for invading us here without permission!”
Rias and I agreed, so I instantly equipped my armour! These Grim Reapers, I don’t know how they had entered Kuoh Town and this training space, but if they stood in front of us with hostile intentions, then we had no choice but to repel them. Moreover, all of them were staring at Koneko-chan! The Grim Reaper with a decorated cloak was likely their captain, and he pointed at Koneko-chan as he said
<<Hand over the cat.>>
“What are you guys going to do with Koneko-chan?”
I immediately asked.
<<It is something that has nothing to do with you. Well, you’ll find out about it eventually.>>
Such remarks caused Rias to fly off the handle. Her precious and adorable Koneko-chan had been targeted by the Grim Reapers, and because of that, this group of Grim Reapers ‘deserved to die’. Of course, it was also the same for me! Rias made a chilling expression as her body began to ooze with a deep red aura, and she said
“The reason…you won’t say it? I’ll ask one thing before I destroy all of you. —Are these the orders of Hades?”
Unexpectedly, the captain-level Grim Reaper answered with
<<We were told only to answer this question. —The answer is no. This is an order from the ultimate-class Grim Reaper Thanatos-sama. It is not an order from Hades-sama.>>
—What! All of us were both surprised and puzzled by his response. Wasn’t it Hades’ idea?
“……? Thanatos? Not Hades…”
Rias also frowned and looked confused. …It could be a mere lie. But Ikuse-san had also told us of such a possibility. There could be more than one person issuing orders in the Netherworld—. In other words, if the situation was truly as he described, then the person targeting Koneko-chan wasn’t Hades, but instead the ultimate-class Grim Reaper called Thanatos? Bennia said
<< Thanatos-sama is also the strongest among all of the ultimate-class Grim Reapers. In any case, he is regarded as one of the oldest in the Netherworld.>>
Why would this powerful ultimate-class Grim Reaper act outside of the will of the Netherworld’s ruler Hades? We were full of doubts, but our opponents would not wait for us.
<<All we need to capture is the cat! Go!>>
At the captain-level Grim Reaper’s command, the army of Grim Reapers swarmed in on us!
I yelled out as I sent the Grim Reapers hurtling away! The scythes of the Grim Reapers could directly attack the souls of those who were struck! It was more terrifying than a normal physical attack! While we paid attention to this, we sent the Grim Reapers flying back one after the other.
<<Kuh! Indeed, t-they’re strong!>>
The army of Grim Reapers began to hesitate as they witnessed our effortless strength which was more than enough to send them all tumbling back. The captain-level Grim Reaper roared
<<No! It’s the cat! Aim for the cat!>>
All of the Grim Reapers directed their eyes at Koneko-chan! That only made things easier for us! We surrounded Koneko-chan to protect her, and then launched our counterattack against the Grim Reapers—. Zashun! It was the sound of a swift and powerful slash which was accompanied by an enormous pillar of holy aura that rushed straight up towards the sky. Looking over — the captain-level Grim Reaper had been cut in half by a longsword that was enveloped in a holy aura. After the captain-level Grim Reaper was pitilessly eliminated, the person who appeared in front of us was — His Eminence Vasco Strada, wielding a longsword that emanated a holy aura!
“Ho, this is…”
After seeing the scene before his eyes, he showed a fearless smile. He had eliminated a captain-level Grim Reaper with a single blow, and that demonstration of his strength left us speechless. Moreover, the sword in His Eminence Strada’s hand was a holy sword that bore a strong resemblance to Durandal. For today’s special training, the plan was for Crom Cruach and His Eminence Strada to arrive a bit later, but it seemed as though they were here now. —The next instant, the horde of Grim Reapers were blasted away by something with a single movement. It was Crom Cruach who had transformed his right arm into a gigantic dragon’s arm. His giant right arm had effortlessly pushed all of the Grim Reapers away.
“…What’s this, are we practising how to defeat Grim Reapers today? Whatever, this isn’t too bad either.”
Aren’t you misunderstanding something!? After losing their leader, and coupled with the appearance of His Eminence Strada and Crom Cruach, the Grim Reapers’ formation was broken and they began to gradually retreat.
After saying that, they quickly flew towards the empty hole!
“Hold it right there!”
Xenovia and Irina spread open their wings to pursue them, but Rias stopped them by saying
“You two, don’t follow them!”
After all of the Grim Reapers retreated, Rias sighed as she said
“…I’m already fully aware that Koneko is being targeted by the other side. This is important. And what comes next is to determine the reason — Bennia.”
Rias called Bennia’s name.
“Can I use your channel to that side? I heard from Sona that you have a hidden line that can contact the Netherworld.”
After hearing that, Bennia nodded.
<<I understand. Even I’m losing my patience here. Although it can’t be used too much, I will use it for an emergency like this.>>
Like this, we decided to use Bennia’s channel to directly contact the Netherworld.
Translator's Notes and References
- Lavinia tends to end almost all of her sentences in ‘nodesu’, which is probably just her style of speech. It makes her sound more natural and curious about everything as the ‘no desu’ puts a slight emphasis on the sentence’s meaning.
- Chuunibyou (lit. Middle School 2nd Year Syndrome) is hard to describe, though it would align with someone acting overly obnoxious and confident. Said person may also believe that they are more badass than they actually are and that they also have special powers.
- A type of Tsukumogami (possessed tool) found in Japanese folklore.
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