High School DxD:Volume 24 Life 3
Life.3 The Truth of the Cats, and the Beginning of the Game
We returned home from the training space. After leaving the restorations, improvements and subsequent investigations to the Gremory House and the Underworld’s government, we returned to the Hyoudou residence. Because the surrounding area had been invaded, several powerful barriers had been erected around the Hyoudou residence, and we also borrowed some guards from the Three Factions as well. In order to prevent ordinary people from noticing, the Devils and Angels standing guard in the garden and at the front gate used techniques to conceal their presence from humans. In order to prevent my parents from being attacked again, they would be accompanied by invisible guards whenever they went out. This was our highest state of alert since the war against Qlippoth. In particular, the guards in our garden were the members of Roygun Belphegor-san’s peerage who had come here the other day to join our [Sekiryuutei of Blazing Truth] team. But, as Xenovia also said, it was impossible to cause any harm unless it was a worst-case situation in which our house was attacked by a god-class being of the strongest kind. As for the reason, it was because we still had Ophis and Lilith here. There shouldn’t be many gods capable of standing up to the Dragon God sisters. Although they were our last and strongest line of defence, it was still necessary to raise our vigilance given how many times we had been invaded so far. Damn it, where did the information on all of these barriers leak out from!? Under such circumstances, we gathered in the VIP room as we prepared to contact the Netherworld. It seems like we gather in the VIP room whenever something happens, though this was the original purpose of the room anyway. Bennia generated a communications-type magic circle on the desk, and once we finally made contact with the other side, we began to focus on them. A face from the other side appeared above the magic circle. The projected face was — a Grim Reaper whose skull mask was even more extravagant and majestic than Bennia’s. The Grim Reaper who gave off a rather authoritative impression remained expressionless as they spoke.
<<To connect to my line via Apollon…. What’s the matter?>>
The way he spoke was calm and yet dignified, as expected of one of the ultimate-class Grim Reapers — Orcus. The person who was face to face with Orcus’ projected face was Bennia.
<<Long time no see, papa-dono.>>
—Papa-dono. …The way she addressed him was rather unexpected! I thought so to myself, but the Grim Reaper who was called by that name seemed dumbstruck by the sudden appearance of his daughter, and the expression on his face froze.
After a moment of silence—. Bennia’s father completely changed his previously dignified tone and he began to speak in a flustered and overwhelmed manner!
<<B-Bennia-tan, no way, I didn’t imagine that you’d be the one to contact me…>>
—Bennia-tan!? …He actually added a ‘tan’ onto the end! I didn’t see that coming at all! His previously majestic atmosphere completely vanished, and he began to dote on his daughter! I’d always thought that Grim Reapers were dangerous and cold people…but it looks like I was wrong about that. Bennia got straight to the point.
<<Papa-dono, I have something to ask you. —We were attacked by Thanatos, would you have any idea about that?>>
Orcus seemed somewhat surprised, but after a moment of thought, he said
<<…Thanatos huh. Hmm, I see.>>
Orcus noticed those of us who were standing around Bennia.
<<All of you are members of [DxD], right? My daughter has been in your care. In any case…very well. This is a rare opportunity, so allow me to talk with you for a bit.>>
Orcus then began to speak.
<<Thanatos is an executive of the so-called militant faction. He often takes actions that go beyond the will of Hades-sama, and he hardly ever listens to any of Hades-sama’s orders.>>
Ooh, he said that to us so casually! Perhaps it was because Bennia was present, but I felt moved by the fact that there was a Grim Reaper with whom we were able to communicate with calmly. Rias inquired
“Orcus-sama, do you mean to say that as an ultimate-class Grim Reaper, you’re also unclear on what Thanatos’ motives are?”
<<Ultimate-class Grim Reapers — in other words, the executives of the Netherworld. Because of our respective posts and duties, it is difficult to get away. But, even if we know about some things, we can’t intervene because of our positions.>>
In response to this, Xenovia dejectedly shrugged.
“So that’s why Pluto attacked us during the ‘Demonic Beast Riot’.”
<<You’ve really hit a sore spot, but the Netherworld is not entirely unified. There is a progressive faction that listens to all of Hades-sama’s orders and acts on them, and there is also a conservative faction that adopts a wait and see approach. I don’t know if you guys will believe this, but I belong to the latter. In any case, we are the gods who manage death in Olympus. Various chain reactions will be set off if I deliberately cause a death.>>
Orcus belonged to the conservative faction—. I chose to believe that, because he was the first decent Grim Reaper that I had seen, and he also acted very courteously. If he’s been able to raise Bennia into what she is, he should be the same as what I believe…. He probably didn’t allow Bennia to encounter any of those abnormal Grim Reapers in the Netherworld. After the game against the Bael team, I met Hades for the first time in Agreas and had a horrible impression of him, and I was also attacked by Pluto in the Netherworld. —Every single time, I never had a positive impression of the Grim Reapers. Bennia protested to what her father had said
<<Not only are you doing nothing to prevent them from doing these bad things, you’re also causing other mythologies to get involved…and you dare to say that you’re a member of the conservative faction.>>
Orcus…didn’t make any excuses and instead continued
<<…In any case, I’ll let you guys know about Thanatos’ movements after looking into the matter. After all, my daughter has been in your care, so it’s my role as a father to help you guys as well. However, due to the political issues of the Netherworld, our cooperation can’t be made public on the surface…. I will also work with the second generation Pluto.>>
It was quite helpful that we had been able to obtain some level of assistance from the Netherworld. It was also an unexpected surprise. I was willing to believe in Bennia’s father. If he truly betrayed us, I think Bennia would definitely cut off their father-daughter relationship. But any father who could call their daughter with a ‘tan’ couldn’t possibly be a bad person. However, I was rather curious about one thing that Orcus had mentioned. I quietly asked Kiba who was beside me
(…There’s a second generation Pluto?)
Pluto…the first generation had been annihilated by Vali during the ‘Demonic Beast Riot’. Kiba quietly answered my question.
(Regardless of the mythology, there are many gods who have children. Even in the case of Bennia-san, she is the child of Orcus.)
Ah, I see. The gods also have children. Regardless of whether it was that old geezer Odin or Zeus, both of them already had kids. Bennia continued to stare at her own father with narrowed eyes.
<<Papa-dono, is Hades-sama thinking about something bad again?>>
Orcus looked directly at his daughter as he said
<<…Bennia-tan, I don’t fully understand Hades-sama’s way of thinking. But, well, it’s best to be wary of Thanatos and Hades-sama. Everyone else, the same goes for you too.>>
“I will remember your advice, but if your leader hears what you just said, won’t he punish you?”
After Orcus listened to Rias’ question, although his face still remained expressionless, he let out a voice that was tinged with laughter
<<I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. But, it is precisely because the Netheworld is not unified that I can say that, and obviously, Hades-sama has long been quite aware of this.>>
…The Grim Reapers that lived in the Netherworld each had their own unique rules and relationships. The way Hades was perceived was different between us and the Grim Reapers, and even amongst the Grim Reapers, there was a difference between the conservative faction and the militant faction. We gained the cooperation of Bennia’s father, Orcus, and he would inform us of any news regarding Thanatos. We were forced to cancel our training session, and just as we were considering what to do next, we received a message from the Sitri peerage. They had found the next Ungaikyo—.
With me, Rias, Akeno-san, and Ravel in a group, the four of us jumped to the place that Sona-senpai and Shinra-senpai had told us about via a magic circle. The destination was an old shrine that was situated deep in the mountains of the Tohoku region in Japan. We were surrounded by a thick forest that was enveloped in fog. …The fog was enough to make me immediately realise that we had entered a supernatural territory. As the four of us walked into the shrine, we noticed that Sona-senpai and Shinra-senpai were already waiting for us. A gigantic elliptical mirror stood in the centre and gave off an eerie glow — there was a mouth and eyes on the mirror. Sona-senpai said
“This is the current Ungaikyo who has inherited the ability.”
After being introduced, the Ungaikyo opened its mouth and spoke as it looked at me with intrigue
<<A dragon with tremendous power.>>
We immediately told the Ungaikyo about the reason why we had come, hoping that it would be able to summon a close relative who knew about the circumstances of Koneko-chan. We didn’t bring Koneko-chan with us. It was possible that we would touch on a subject that she was better off not knowing, so we didn’t bring her just in case that happened. After all, we were looking for Koneko-chan’s parents who had already passed away, or perhaps just one of them. However—.
<<I’m sorry, but I cannot fulfil your request.>>
The response to us was a refusal. We couldn’t help but feel confused. After hearing the Ungaikyo’s response Sona-senpai quietly murmured
“As expected, it’s no good huh.”
The Ungaikyo continued
<<Not to mention the living, the secret technique for communicating with the dead is related to the value of my clan. I cannot use it so freely.>>
“But the previous generation showed us…”
<<The previous generation is the previous generation, and unlike the previous generation, I will not do everything asked of me. After inheriting this ability that is even watched over by Shaka Nyorai and the Great King Enma, I have long wanted to disappear.>>
It actually said the names of Shaka-sama and Enma-sama that I was familiar with. I guess it is a difficult matter to meet with the dead. Ravel said
“Youkai and Devils…once the supernatural die, they are considered to be extinct, so it is very difficult to call their souls out again.”
Well, that’s true. Koneko-chan’s mother was a Nekomata, and that’s why it was difficult for this Ungaikyo to summon her. We also wondered about using Valerie’s Holy Grail to try…but we gave up on the idea as it might have an adverse effect on Valerie. Awakening someone who was originally dead would certainly have a bad influence on the present world. This was something that I thoroughly understood from the Evil Dragon War. Although I didn’t think Koneko-chan’s parents were bad people…doing so would strain Valerie’s mind and body, so it was better to give up. Just as we felt troubled by this, a small figure suddenly appeared. It was a calico cat with seven tails. I’ve seen this cat before! Indeed, this person is—! The calico cat stood in front of the mirror and spoke in a human language.
“Young mirror, could you listen to the request of these children?”
The Ungaikyo appeared to have been startled by the appearance of this cat.
The calico cat — the seven-tailed Youkai cat named Magari looked at us.
“Long time no see, Ryuutei boy.”
The elder of the cat Youkai, Magari-san! She was an eight hundred year old Youkai! She was one of the Youkai that I had met when we made peace with the Japanese Youkai. Presently, Koneko-chan and Kuroka would occasionally visit her for regular training. If the two of them said that they were going to the mountains, then it was highly likely that they were going to train with Magari-san. Though Kuroka seemed quite reluctant every time!
“Why are you here?”
When I asked, Magari-san squinted as she said
“It’s nothing, I just happened to hear that you wanted to find out about the situation behind those sisters, Kuroka and Shirone.”
And then Sona-senpai said
“If we’re to find out more about Koneko-san and Kuroka-san’s background, I thought that the power of a cat Youkai elder would be necessary, so I invited her.”
I see, if it’s Magari-san, then I’m sure she’d know about Koneko-chan’s mother. Magari-san said
“As an elder of the cat Youkai, I cannot ignore that matter. So, what will you do, mirror?”
After hearing Magari-san’s words, the current Ungaikyo resolutely answered
It looks like Magari-san has a rather strong influence on the other Youkai. It’s best to rely on other Youkai for these so-called remedies and persuasions I guess. The Ungaikyo accepted our request, allowing us to tell it about the details of Koneko-chan and Kuroka, and then it used its ability to begin searching. The mirror flashed with a radiant glow and the Ungaikyo said
<<…The situation of their parents is quite complicated. The religion that the father’s family belonged to is Buddhism, so it is necessary to perform negotiations with that hell.>>
Speaking of which, the Buddhist and Hindu mythologies also have a Heaven — paradise and hell. Depending on a person’s religion, the place where they would go after death also differed. Magari-san, who seemed to know a bit about the circumstances of Koneko-chan and Kuroka asked
“Can you summon him? I think the mother Fujimai would be more difficult.”
So that was the name of Koneko-chan’s mother. The Ungaikyo bitterly said
<<The father’s side…I don’t know what he did during life, but his soul is bound by a troublesome seal. Even if I summon him here, he won’t be able to speak very well.>>
There is a seal on the soul of Koneko-chan’s father? Just what did he do in life…? Magari-san said to the Ungaikyo
“I guess I’ll go and ask Great King Enma for a bit of help.”
<<I appreciate it.>>
“Nekomata are often regarded as Youkai who govern the death of humans, so I have had a few meetings with Great King Enma in the past.”
Magari-san asked us to prepare a tub filled with water, so I quickly jumped back home and returned with a tub. After the tub was filled with water, Magari-san stared into the depths of the water.
Her mouth constantly moved as she chanted a long string of incantations. After around ten minutes, Magari-san lifted her head and said to us
“…Apparently, it seems like that side can’t do anything about that soul either. It’s said that several layers of a Devil’s demonic energy combined with a magician’s seal have been used together to have that soul sealed. Even Great King Enma’s side can’t do anything about it.”
It looks like this is rather complicated! The matter of Koneko-chan’s parents was more serious than I had expected, and the six of us looked at each other with solemn expressions. Magari-san added
“If we could get the cooperation of a Maou-san and a magician’s association, there may be some leeway.”
Upon hearing this, Rias immediately said
“It’s a good thing that we’re part of [DxD] right now. I’ll go and ask them.”
After saying that, everyone except me — Rias, Akeno-san, Ravel, Sona-senpai, and Shinra-senpai used their own respective channels to begin seeking help. While I waited, Magari-san said to me
“Since it will take some time, do you want to summon someone else that you know?”
Someone I know can also be summoned with the Ungaikyo? Rias created a magic circle while she said to me
“That’s right, Ise, your grandpa has already passed away, right? Your family is also Buddhist, so couldn’t you summon him?”
“J-Jii-chan? Ah, I see, I could summon him.”
I’ll have the Ungaikyo summon jii-chan! While we were discussing the wedding ceremonies, jii-chan had also become one of the topics of conversation. …My grandfather. It had already been quite a while since he passed. …When I recalled the smile of jii-chan when he was alive, I felt like I wanted to see him again even more. If it’s possible, then I really do want to see him. The Ungaikyo said
<<If you want me to call him here, then tell me his name and the address of the house where he lived. That will make him easier to find.>>
So if I tell it that then I’ll be able to summon jii-chan huh. Since it’s a rare opportunity, I’ll guess I’ll make use of it.
“Well, I’ll respectfully accept the offer. Umm—”
After I made up my mind, I told the Ungaikyo about jii-chan’s details. The Ungaikyo went silent for a while—.
“Connected. Then, I will now reflect the image of the Sekiryuutei’s grandfather.”
After saying that, the reflection of my face in the mirror began to warp. Waaah! It’s starting! So it’s possible for someone to be summoned so quickly if they don’t do anything problematic in their lifetime! I hurriedly sat down in front of the mirror in seiza! I-I feel a bit nervous! The next second — a voice came from the mirror.
I tried to speak—.
[Zoom zoom iyaan!]
The figure of a familiar old man was reflected while he sang a familiar song in the mirror! He was an old man whose face was really similar to both mine and tou-san’s — it really was jii-chan! Jii-chan looked at me, and he still had that same familiar smile as he said
[Long time no see, Ise! You’ve gotten bigger! Are you well?]
Uuh, it’s jii-chan! It’s jii-chan’s voice and face! It’s the same as when he was alive. Faced with this unprecedented development, I let out manly tears of joy!
“Uuh, jii-chan! It really is jii-chan! Mmm, I’m doing well! But, why are you singing that song?”
The tune that jii-chan was singing along to was the ‘Oppai Dragon’ song, and I just couldn’t help but ask. Jii-chan heartily laughed
[Hahahahaha! Word of your deeds have reached even Buddha-sama’s world! Lately, I’m always being summoned by the Bodhisattva-samas to receive praise! The more active you become in the current world, the more comfortable I become over here! After all, I received the title of being the Sekiryuutei’s grandfather after dying! With the Oppai Dragon song in the background, I’ve been singing and dancing every day in a blissful world!]
Jii-chan spoke with the same fiery enthusiasm that he had when he was alive. I see, so I’ve become famous even in the world of Buddha-sama! In that case, jii-chan already knows my true identity…. The Sekiryuutei’s grandfather huh, this has become quite amazing…. And over on that side, he constantly uses my song as a background tune to sing and dance along to! Jii-chan then explained to me that in the paradise of the Buddhist world, the Sekiryuutei — my successes were widely renowned, and they knew everything about my battle against Qlippoth. Almost all of the gods and goddesses knew, and famous gods would come to visit every odd day to ask about my childhood. I suppose it isn’t a bad thing that my activities have allowed jii-chan to feel comfortable after his death, right? Jii-chan who was enjoying his life in paradise spoke to Rias who was beside me
[The one on that side, are you one of Ise’s future brides? It’s nice to meet you, I’m Ise’s grandfather.]
“Ah, yes, it’s nice to meet you too. I’m Rias Gremory, ojii-sama.”
Rias greeted jii-chan like that. He even knows that she’s one of my future wives! …He really does know everything about me. Jii-chan looked at Rias’ — chest, and then he also looked the chest of Akeno-san who wasn’t too far away. He nodded many times with a satisfied smile.
[Mmm! Mmmhmm! Ise! When you were young, you always said ‘I want to marry an onee-san with big oppai’, and now that dream of yours is going to come true! Regardless of whether it’s that red-haired girl or the ponytailed girl, both of them have splendid oppai! When your grandmother was young, she also had lovely oppai, but those two don’t lose to your grandmother!]
<<It’s almost time. I’ll be scolded by Great King Enma, so please say goodbye.>>
After such a brief period, the Ungaikyo conveyed that our time was up.
I was surprised! I only got to listen to jii-chan’s proud achievements!? Rias said to me
“Religions are quite strict when it comes to speaking with the dead. You’re also a Devil, so it would’ve been impossible for you to contact the Buddhist world originally.”
…Indeed I…have reincarnated into a Devil, and I was now a high-class Devil of the Gremory peerage, and I belonged to the mythology of the Bible, Christianity. Although our time for parting had come, jii-chan was still so cheerful.
[We haven’t spoken enough, but we may have the chance to see each other again in the future. Don’t worry, if anything happens, jii-chan will go over to help you, so leave it to me! Ise!]
Jii-chan made oppai-groping gestures in the air as he said
[—Feel as many oppai as you can. When I was young, a lot of oppai—]
Before he could finish, the communication was cut off.
<<The line has expired. I’m sorry, but that’s as far as we can go.>>
I grabbed the sides of the Ungaikyo and appealed to jii-chan!
“What happened when you were young!? What kind of oppai did you see!? Jii-chaaaan!”
Damn it! He’s still such a perverted jii-chan! But, he’s still so energetic! If my current activities can allow jii-chan to live comfortably after death, I’ll be proud of that and do even more! Like this, my brief reunion with jii-chan ended—.
After Rias gained the cooperation of the other factions, we spoke to the Ungaikyo again.
“—It looks like they’ll help. The magic seal will be analysed with their techniques.”
The Ungaikyo then said
<<It looks like we’ll manage somehow.>>
And then prepared to use its ability again.
<<Because the memories of the soul have been subjected to a powerful seal, they may not be normal. And because they are also deceased, they may not give you an accurate response, so please keep that in mind.>>
After saying that, it used its ability again, and that person was reflected in the mirror. …Based on the information that we had obtained beforehand, Koneko-chan and Kuroka’s father was a human. However, they weren’t a hybrid of a human and a Nekomata. A special characteristic of the Nekomata was that they could reproduce with other supernatural races, but if it was a human, then the child born from them would still be a Nekomata. If they mated with races other than humans, then the child born from them would have the characteristics of that race. That was why Kuroka pushed herself onto me and Vali, she hoped to obtain the strong genes of a dragon. The surface of the mirror was almost like the screen of a television, it was rather grainy and difficult to see the person on the other side. It was completely different to when I saw jii-chan just a moment ago.
[…I-I am…I-I am…]
They finally spoke…but there was too much fuzziness and I couldn’t hear them properly. The Ungaikyo added
<<It seems like he’s even forgotten his own name. His speech is also fragmented, so he can probably only listen.>>
…Why is it like this? Just what did he do? Rias faced the man who didn’t even have a clear appearance and said
“Toujou…no, do you remember the Nekomata sisters Shirone and Kuroka?”
There was a brief silence. The fuzzy voice then responded
It seemed as though he could still remember his wife’s name…but Koneko-chan and Kuroka — he seemed to have forgotten the names of his daughters? Magari-san asked
“That’s right. They’re the Nekomata that you took away. …What did you do to those girls? No, this is how I should ask. What did you do to those children after taking them away to that place?”
And then we — learned the shocking truth.
[……Took them to…the Naberius House…. There…I…wanted…to make Super Devils…acquired artificial methods, to make modified Devils…I did that kind of…research…]
……Super Devils, artificial methods, and modified Devils…?
“Super Devils can be made artificially!?”
I couldn’t help but cry out! Koneko-chan’s father was associated with the research that Kuroka’s former master of the branch family of the Naberius House conducted…? And that research was on — artificially producing Super Devils after birth…! T-This is somewhat beyond what we envisioned, isn’t it? Neither Rias, Akeno-san, Ravel, Sona-senpai, nor Shinra-senpai had imagined that this would be the case, and they were all extremely shocked. Rias narrowed her eyes as she said
“…It looks like we’ve stepped into an area that people should not encroach upon.”
…That seems to be the case. This is super top secret research. Ah, so that’s why the Maou-sama’s soldiers rushed over to destroy most of the research material. Someone felt that something was amiss, and that’s why the order was given for it to be destroyed. As the topic began to veer towards a bad direction, I couldn’t help but feel my heartbeat accelerating. A small portion of the higher-ups in the Underworld were aware of the internal situation, and that’s why certain theories emerged and they wanted to get rid of Kuroka and Koneko-chan. It would have been troublesome if the top secret research in artificially creating Super Devils after birth was not completely erased. Koneko-chan’s father continued.
[That was…the wish of that person of the Naberius House…and also the external…order…from…Nebiros.]
“Nebiros…! That name has actually come up here…!”
Rias and the others were highly surprised. Aside from me, it seemed like all of the Devils knew about that name. Seeing my confused expression, Rias explained
“…You know that the Lucifugus House served the first-generation Lucifers, right? In ancient times, there were a total of six Houses, including Lucifugus that served the Lucifers.”
Those six Houses were Lucifugus, Agaliarept, Satanachia, Fleurety, Sargatanas and Nebiros. Some of those families are still surviving today, though there were also some families that cut off contact with the government in the previous Devil Civil War and have gone missing. And Nebiros was one of those unknown missing houses. Sona-senpai spoke in a speculative tone whilst holding her hand to her chin
“…The branch family of Naberius and Nebiros were connected…. I’ve heard rumours that during the Great War of the Three Factions, the vassals of the Nebiros House included the Naberius House.”
Koneko-chan’s father continued to speak in a broken manner.
[…Fujimai was a good Nekomata…research on creating artificial Super Devils…not only did she help me…she herself…also seemed to have fallen in love with me…and would do anything I said.]
It seemed as though Koneko-chan’s mother helped her husband with his research. I asked Magari-san
“Did you know about this?”
“I didn’t know about it in such detail. However, I only knew that Fujimai fell in love with a human who researched bad things. I also advised her not to continue.”
…I see. It looks like Koneko-chan’s mother fell in love with a bad person. I had something worrying on my mind, so I asked that person
“U-Umm, Kone — Shirone and Kuroka, the names of these two Nekomata…they’re the children you had with Fujimai-san, don’t you remember!?”
After a moment of silence, he replied to me
[…Now that you mention it…Fujimai…indeed birthed two cats.]
—What! …O-Of course! That’s not going to change! He actually said two-hiki! Isn’t that way too strange!? I couldn’t resist grabbing the mirror and shouting
“Don’t you remember!? The sisters, they’re cute girls, one with black ears and a tail, and the other with snow-white ears and a tail! Aren’t they your daughters!?”
[…I can’t remember…their names…I can’t recall either…though now that you mention it, Fujimai did indeed mention such names…]
……I-I can’t possibly forgive such words…. His wife…no, he took the Nekomata away for research…he clearly had children, but didn’t even know. Correction, he didn’t acknowledge them. …Something like this, there’s no way I can tell Koneko-chan…. …Your father used your mother for the sake of his research, and although he was your father, he can hardly remember anything about you…! I was already shivering and burning with rage. Ravel also held my hand with a sorrowful expression. Ravel felt the same as me. Koneko-chan’s father continued
[…That’s right, I remember one thing…Fujimai…gave the hair ornament to…the black cat…in case anything happened…to hide the research results…the one who knows this…Naberius…and that person…Nebiros’…]
Koneko-chan’s hair ornament matched this information—. That cat-shaped hairclip was actually meant to hide the research results…? Rias and Sona-senpai seemed to have reached a conclusion.
“The reason why the Grim Reapers are targeting Koneko-chan is…because of that. That girl’s hair ornament has always been treated as a memento of her mother.”
“Thanatos’ aim is probably the research on artificially creating Super Devils. Although we don’t know where he heard this information from, it’s at least a great step forward now that we know the reason.”
It was indeed a good harvest to find out about Thanatos’ motive. …Though I couldn’t say anything because I was still in shock…. However, I was curious about something, so I asked Rias
“Koneko-chan’s hairclip, didn’t you give that to her, Rias? In the past, Koneko-chan told me that she got it from you.”
“The one she normally wears is the one that I gave her. But she also has another one. I didn’t want to damage that memento, so I made a replica to give to her. Mementos should be cherished.”
So that’s how it is. I learned another thing about Koneko-chan. The Ungaikyo said
<<Time is almost up, I need to disconnect.>>
In the mirror, Koneko-chan’s father—.
[…Ah, that research…what happened? After I died…were there any results…? …Anyone…. …Create Super Devils aside from Rizevim, Sirzechs, Ajuka…artificial Super Devils…please…]
The Ungaikyo’s ability was cut off, and our conversation with Koneko-chan’s father also ended. Until the very end…he was still just a man who only cared for his research—. After the conversation with him ended, we began to discuss the future.
“Koneko-chan’s hairclip conceals research data on how to artificially produce Super Devils after birth, and just knowing this is an improvement…!”
In any case, we should communicate this matter to a trustworthy organisation and then allow them to analyse the information. Beelzebub-sama and the Grigori should be quite suitable. Everyone nodded in agreement with that suggestion. Whilst half-filled with the joy of reuniting with jii-chan, and also half-filled with the sorrow of hearing the story of Koneko-chan’s father, we embarked on our journey back—.
After returning to the Hyoudou residence, we told our comrades about what we had just learned. As for Koneko-chan, we avoided mentioning her father, we simply said that Koneko-chan’s parents once conducted research on artificially creating Super Devils and also talked about how to deal with that hair accessory. To Koneko-chan, this was a memento of her mother, but Koneko-chan agreed to hand it over, so we decided to lend the hairclip to Ajuka Beelzebub-sama.
“Is this really okay?”
“Is it okay?”
Rias and I were both worried about Koneko-chan who had to hand over her memento. But, Koneko-chan smiled as she replied
“It’s okay. Because I still have the hairclip that Rias-neesama gave me.”
—She answered. …We hadn’t told her about the truth of her father…. An important game was coming up soon, so how could I tell her something like that? But, even if there wasn’t going to be a game, I don’t think I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that…! An ill feeling swirled around within my heart. Just at that time, Kuroka and Le Fay returned to the Hyoudou residence. There was a fair period of time during which we were unable to contact Kuroka and the others. Upon asking about the reason—.
“We…went to a place that was in the depths of China’s Youkai world.”
Le Fay answered. After asking further, it turned out that they had gone to train with their team’s current Zhu Bajie and current Sha Wujing. They also had a large-scale battle with the Bull Demon King’s faction! There was a so-called riot that occurred. Because the Bull Demon King was rampaging over there, they deliberately went to the location of the riot so that they could supress it and at the same time, also enhance the cohesion of their team. After we told Kuroka about the Grim Reapers’ attack on Koneko-chan, she was rather surprised. She lightly pulled on Koneko-chan’s cheeks.
“Well, it looks like you’re okay. I’m relieved nyan.”
“…Nya, pwease stwap.”
With her cheeks being pulled on by her older sister, her face seemed to be filled with displeasure. Rias said
“Thanatos is also after you, Kuroka, but I don’t think he expected that you would go to the depths of China to fight against the Bull Demon King.”
Since Thanatos was currently searching for that research data, it was certain that he was targeting both Koneko-chan and Kuroka. He only attacked us because he already knew where we were.
“Kuroka, could I speak to you for a bit?”
“Arara, it looks like a serious story.”
Afterwards, Rias called only Kuroka over to a separate room to tell her the truth—.
The match between Rias’ team and Vali’s team was about to begin, and so I asked the girls around the house if they had seen Kuroka. After finding out that Kuroka had been seen on the rooftop, I went towards the roof of my house—. Kuroka was sitting on top of the roof, enjoying the cool night breeze. When I approached, Kuroka noticed me and then said
“Sekiryuutei-chan also knows about our father huh.”
“For now, please don’t tell Shirone. Shirone has always believed that our mother fell in love and became pregnant with us, but then died in an accident.”
“Koneko-chan…she doesn’t know about the truth of her parents at all…?”
Kuroka shook her head. The expression on her face was clouded in mystery.
“…Sekiryuutei-chan, you spoke with that person…our father through the Ungaikyo right? So you should understand. He isn’t a good person. He wasn’t even aware of the fact that we had been born in the past. I heard a lot of things from the Naberius House afterwards. He was a man who was very passionate about research. No—”
With eyes full of love and hate, Kuroka declared
“He was only interested in research, and anything outside of that wasn’t visible to him.”
Kuroka looked up at the sky as she continued
“Even our mother who gave birth to me and Shirone was also…it was only the result of a man who was carried away by a fit of lust and vented on a Nekomata. What’s more troubling is that our mother left us and ran off with that man.”
Koneko-chan and Kuroka’s mother — Fujimai-san, she had taken her daughters to see their father several times, but their father remained indifferent. Ultimately, due to a large-scale experiment, Fujimai-san was unable to bring Koneko-chan and Kuroka along, so all she could do was entrust them to that man’s former association — a research facility run by the House of Naberius’ branch family. And then — due to an accident caused by an experimental failure, both she and her husband lost their lives. With their mother unable to return back to their side, Koneko-chan and Kuroka both lost someone to depend on.
“In the end, both of our parents died because of an explosion in the experiment nyan.”
But the story didn’t end there. The Devil of the Naberius House’s branch family still continued the research.
“After the Naberius House learned about the loss of those two, they persuaded us to become their servants. …Back then, I had no family nor power, so the option to refuse didn’t exist.”
So that she could allow her little sister to have enough food, Kuroka became a servant Devil. Afterwards, when Kuroka awakened her powers, she killed her master and became a target of the Underworld’s government. Kuroka’s eyes were filled with sorrow.
“Fujimai…I still remember when mother introduced me and the infant Shirone to that man. …Mother thought that we were the children born from her and her loved one, and she hoped that he would want to see us…but that man wasn’t interested at all. We were his children, but unless he was told, he probably wouldn’t have known.”
After saying that much, Kuroka’s eyes lost their lustre.
“No, that man should’ve known. But he pretended not to know. …Aside from research, any other existence was simply in the way…. Mother temporarily entrusted us to someone else so that she could be with that man. She didn’t go after that man so that she could abandon us, she did so because she wanted that man to acknowledge me and Shirone.”
In regards to this, Magari-san had also told me about it
[Fujimai…among the Nekomata, she was a child who excelled in senjutsu. But, although she was good at it, she was a kind and gentle child who didn’t like fighting.]
…In any case, she wanted the man that she loved to acknowledge the daughters between them…. That was why she continued to follow him. Kuroka knew everything about her parents so very clearly. Even though she was normally smiling and quite laid-back, she knew about such things so thoroughly….
“…You already understand this so well, so why didn’t you tell Koneko-chan about your mother?”
“It’s precisely because I know that I don’t tell her. …If I talk about our mother, then it definitely involves our father, right? Shirone…is very weak. Although she’s very strong, she can also be quite weak…”
Kuroka — hugged me and whispered
“…Please Sekiryuutei-chan. …I want to keep living here with Shirone in peace. Of course I’ll also make amends for all of the trouble that I’ve given you so far, and I’ll also fight against the threats that may come in the future with you. But, aside from that…I just want to live on normally in peace and quiet…”
This bad cat was always so mischievous, but now that she was in my arms, she seemed so delicate and so small. I quietly held her in my arms, and then said
“Yeah, I understand. If you like, you can stay here as long as you want, also—”
I readily asserted
“No matter if it’s you or Koneko-chan who gets threatened, I’ll rise up to fight. Because we’re family who are living together.”
After hearing my words, Kuroka—.
“Ahaha, that’s really something that you can say as a high-class Devil. …Then, I’ll stay by your side. As your family.”
After frivolously saying that, Kuroka added in a rather charming manner—.
“Please let me stay like this for a while.”
After speaking to Kuroka, I decided to go take a bath to relax and change my mood, so that was why I came to the large underground bath. Because our house had become so large, we even had a large shared bath, and being able to privately enjoy it by myself at night was a rather pleasurable thing. Being able to have a mixed bath with the girls is nice too though. I really welcome it! Occasionally, we even help each other wash our bodies (of course, the girls always say ‘me too’, so it becomes quite hectic). It’s the best! But I still have to say, in such a large bath, it’s also great when I can enjoy it all to myself! At public baths and hot spring resorts, it’s very rare to encounter a situation like this where one person can have it all to themselves. So when there’s such a large bath in my own house, sometimes I want to enjoy it alone! I really just want to occupy the centre of the bath, or even have a swim, even though it isn’t very courteous. I just want to relax for a moment. Well, it’s nice to change my mood before something major happens. Although there were a lot of people who lived at my house, I roughly knew what time everyone took a bath. At this time, there shouldn’t be anyone else here to take a bath. I neatly took my clothes off in the dressing room, and began to hum a tune as I walked towards the large bath, and then sat under a shower head. After noticing that the shampoo was completely used up, I had no choice but to reach over to grab the shampoo from the adjacent wash area—.
“…Here you go.”
A bottle of shampoo was placed into my hand accompanied by someone’s voice.
“Ah, thank you!”
After I replied like that—. I suddenly came back to my senses and looked to my side — a completely naked Koneko-chan was standing there! I hadn’t felt her presence at all, and that’s why I thought I was the only person here! I should have paid more attention to the dressing room! Her small oppai were laid bare before my eyes! Koneko-chan shyly murmured
“…I was originally in a corner of the bath, where I wouldn’t have been seen…. And then I heard Ise-senpai humming as you came in here…”
I-I see! Koneko-chan was so small, and she was also in a place that was invisible from the entrance, so that’s why I didn’t notice! After saying that, Koneko-chan went back into the bath again. So she got up just to give me the shampoo huh. It feels a bit awkward…. I quickly washed my head and body down and then sank into the bath, a slight distance away from Koneko-chan. There was an awkward air between the two of us…. After I made up my mind, I began a conversation with Koneko-chan.
“…Koneko-chan, the game is quite soon isn’t it?”
Koneko-chan looked at me with earnestness.
“Yes, I am Rias-neesama’s [Rook] and also her family. So that’s why I’ll definitely allow her to win.”
And then a sense of determination began to fill her pupils.
“I’ll also defeat Kuroka-neesama.”
But, once she said up to there, she revealed a complex expression.
“…Although I’ve reconciled with Kuroka-neesama, I can’t say that all of the grudges between us are gone. To erase all of the thoughts that I had back then…is indeed impossible. But Kuroka-neesama is still the same gentle Kuroka-neesama as back then, and just knowing that is enough.”
She was talking about how Kuroka killed her former master. Koneko-chan already understood that it was done for the sake of protecting her. But the fear that she felt back then was genuine. Koneko-chan truly felt afraid of her sister, of a Nekomata’s power. Koneko-chan clenched her fists and said
“…The fear, sadness, loneliness and despair that I felt back then…is something that Rias-neesama and everyone else helped me to dissolve little by little…and to completely overcome it — in order to surpass my past self, I have to defeat Kuroka-neesama fairly.”
The fear that she felt back then — only by facing Kuroka and fighting against her could she overcome the past and eliminate it.
In order to surpass her past self—.
“Hmm, if Koneko-chan has made up her mind, then I’ll be rooting for you. Though I’ll also have to cheer for Kuroka as well.”
Koneko-chan laughed quietly and then said
“Yes, please be sure to cheer for Kuroka-neesama as well. …But, I hope that you’ll be able to cheer for me a bit more than her.”
After that, we fell into a brief silence again. The first to speak up was Koneko-chan.
“…Do you know about what happened with father and mother?”
—Hmm. …Koneko-chan is asking me about her parents huh. I — nodded without making any excuses. Koneko-chan looked up at the ceiling as she said
“Kuroka-neesama has always been quite vague on what kind of people they were…. But even if she doesn’t tell me, I more or less understood. …In any case, that’s the kind of people they were, and that’s why Kuroka-neesama doesn’t want to tell me, but I had somewhat realised that already.”
“Koneko-chan, but your mother—”
I wanted to at least tell her about that, but Koneko-chan — shook her head. With a radiant smile, Koneko-chan said to me
“It’s fine if you don’t tell me. Because I’m happy right now. I have so many sisters around me, and Yuuto-senpai is like a brother. I’ve made so many friends, and most importantly…there’s also someone that I love.”
With her cheeks dyed slightly red, Koneko-chan said to me
“With so many family members around me, I can fight well. I can live well.”
Kuroka—. Koneko-chan is strong. She’s stronger than you think. No, she’s become strong. Because she has Rias and us all by her side—. One day, even if we tell her about the truth of her parents, I think she’ll definitely be able to accept it. If it’s from me…then indeed, that won’t do. Kuroka should be the one to say it. Koneko-chan waded through the bath, and gradually drew near me, little by little. She faced me and asked
“Ise-senpai, do you still remember what happened during the [Demonic Beast Riot]? What I said.”
—When I grow bigger, please allow me to become your bride.
Back then, that was what Koneko-chan said to me. Of course, there was no way that I could forget.
“Of course, I remember that clearly.”
Koneko-chan’s face turned completely red as she loudly declared to me
“When that time comes, please give me an answer.”
After saying that, she quickly climbed out of the bath and headed towards the dressing room.
“Also, Rias-neesama is in the sauna room!”
After saying that, she left me alone in the bath! Just as Koneko-chan had mentioned, I peered towards the sauna room — and I happened to see Rias who had just opened the door and come out completely naked! No matter how many times I see those enormous oppai of hers, I never feel satisfied because it’s such a stunning sight to see those pretty pink tips! In my eyes, she also had perfect thighs, and her gorgeous body was the ultimate eye candy!
“I’m sorry, I didn’t plan on eavesdropping…but I just couldn’t find the right timing to come out.”
She said that as she walked over towards the showers to wash down her sweat. She then stepped in to join me in the bath. It just so happened that the game was about to begin soon, so this was a good opportunity for us to talk.
“I’ll be cheering for you in the game. Well, you knew that anyway.”
“Ufufu, of course I know.”
Rias winked at me, and then undauntedly said
“Don’t hate me even if I defeat your destined opponent, okay?”
“If that really happens, I think it’ll be a very interesting development.”
After saying that…I felt as though the atmosphere between us gradually evolved in a good direction. And like that, we moved closer to each other, and just as our lips were about to touch—.
“It’s nice to have a bath in the middle of the night too!”
“That’s true! I was angry when you suddenly dragged me up to take a bath, but now that I think about it, having a late-night bath is also nice!”
“…I’m very sleepy, but I’ll accompany you guys.”
The Church Trio composed of Xenovia, Irina and Asia (sleepy mode) came in! The three of them were all startled upon seeing us.
“I-It’s so late, and yet you’re having a naked tryst with each other in the bath!?”
“No way, so something like this was going on!?”
“O-Oneesama! Sorry for bothering you!”
As the situation unfolded, Rias and I couldn’t help but look at each other and laugh out loud. In the end, I wasn’t able to enjoy the large bath by myself…but I was able to listen to Koneko-chan’s thoughts, and give words of support to Rias, so I felt good about that—.
And then, it was finally the day of the match between Rias’ team and Vali’s team—. In order to cheer Rias on, and also to act as a guard, I arrived at the venue of the game. The venue for the game was the newly constructed stadium in the Fallen Angels’ territory of the Underworld — [Fafnir Stadium]. This name came from the Dragon King who had once helped Azazel-sensei in the past. At the entrance, there was a golden statue of Fafnir and Azazel-sensei wearing his Down Fall Dragon Another Armour. …As soon as I saw this, I knew it was one of sensei’s own proposals. His style is way too conspicuous! That’s right, the reason why we came here to act as guards was also due to some advice that Ikuse-san had given us.
[I’ve received news that the Grim Reapers of Thanatos’ faction are targeting the game between Rias Gremory’s team and Vali’s team. Although its authenticity hasn’t yet been confirmed…it’s possible that they may attack, based on my experience in working behind the scenes.]
…I also felt that something seemed amiss, so I came along with all of my team members whilst remaining cautious. It would be best if nothing happens. The live broadcast of the game could also be watched on a mobile phone. Damn it! I wanted to see the game with my own eyes, but all I can do is watch the broadcast on my phone now! But it’s worth it if this will allow Rias and Vali to have a smooth game. Because the information wasn’t confirmed, the game hadn’t been cancelled. Of course, there was also tight security for every match in the Tournament. In the unlikely event that something does happen, the game will be suspended, and our team would join Rias and Vali to fight against Thanatos’ faction. However, since this was a major match, it would be for the best if the two of them and the audience could enjoy it as much as possible. That’s why this is a top secret mission of [DxD]. Our opponents are Thanatos’ faction. …I don’t know if they’ll come yet, but if they do, I’ll definitely defeat them! On that topic, we don’t have any assistance from Sairaorg-san or Dulio this time. They originally wanted to come over as well, but because the mysterious Devils were causing trouble in the areas under their jurisdiction, they couldn’t afford to spare any assistance. The Sitri peerage had also been attacked by the mysterious Devils while protecting Kuoh Town, so they remained in the human realm. However, they were fortunately still able to lend Bennia to us. Hence, we would have to deal with this matter on our own. We might have to fight against those who can break through the barriers again. Just what kind of technique are they using to pass through the barriers at the various locations? The members of our [Sekiryuutei of Blazing Truth] gathered in the vicinity of the venue (Bova maintained his mini-dragon form). Although we weren’t currently participating in a match or training, Bina-shi and Roygun Belphegor-san also came to join us. I thanked Roygun-san
“I’m so sorry, even though the news hasn’t been confirmed yet, I still insisted on standing guard here. And you accepted that to join us as well.”
Roygun-san smiled as she answered me
“No, it’s okay. I have plenty of time anyway. Moreover, if nothing happens, then that’s for the best, isn’t it?”
Just as we were about to decide on our placement of guards—.
“I’ve also come to help, Hyoudou Issei-kun.”
—While saying that, the people who appeared before us were Ikuse-san and several other agents!
After Ikuse-san told the black dog — Jin to sit down, he said to us
“Since our opponents are experts in assault and assassination, you guys will also need the experts in hunting them down.”
Ikuse-san glanced up at the stadium and smiled as he said
“Also — I don’t want to see any unnecessary interruptions creep into Vali and the others’ game.”
Yeah! That’s really encouraging to hear! The Slash Dog team has come along to help us in protecting the venue!
“Exactly! We can’t let them get in the way of Va-kun’s game.”
The person who said that was a beautiful blonde-haired witch who wore a white witch’s hat and a robe — Lavinia Reni-san. The next person who greeted us was a beautiful and high-spirited onee-san who had her hair tied back and wore an agent’s uniform.
“My name is Minagawa Natsume! So you’re Oppai Dragon-kun? I really wanted to meet you! I’ve been following all of your TV shows, you know?”
After her, the next person to greet us was a brown-haired man with a white cat sitting atop his shoulder. He was a handsome dude who looked like a delinquent.
“Ah—, my name is Samejima Kouki. Well, I also like big breasts I guess.”
Minagawa-san tightened the grip of her hand around Samejima-san’s head and then said
“There are still a few other official members of the team. We’ll introduce them to you all later.”
Although the Slash Dog team had come over to help us, I still intended to decline the offer.
“Ikuse-san, this is something we’re doing on our own. We only came to guard this place because we worried that the game could be subject to an attack. …You guys are all important agents of the Grigori, so I’d feel bad if you guys came to guard this place with us when we don’t even know if there will be any enemy activity—”
Before I could finish, Ikuse-san interrupted me
“We’re here to accompany you. It’s precisely because you guys plan on doing your best that we decided to accompany you. What I said earlier was also my intuition.”
…I was speechless. All members of the Slash Dog team also nodded in agreement with their leader. Their enthusiasm really moved me! Ikuse-san said
“Before Azazel left, he also said this to me. —You should join their adventures sometimes.”
Samejima-san stroked the head of the small cat on his shoulder as he said
“The Nekomata girls are being targeted by the Grim Reapers, so as men, we have to fight back against those Grim Reapers with everything that we’ve got. As a cat user, I’ll definitely help you guys out.”
Minagawa-san also nodded enthusiastically
“Yep, that’s right, we may be a special task force specialised in spying and assassination, but we’ve always enjoyed having passionate battles!”
Ikuse-san stuck his fist out.
“Let’s allow them to have a wonderful showdown. It’s up to you and us to protect them. It’ll be best if nothing happens. But in the off-chance that something does—”
I also stuck my fist out and bumped with Ikuse-san’s fist.
“We’ll beat them down.”
“We’ll cut them down.”
Ikuse-san and I declared at the same time as we made up our minds! Like this, we guarded the venue along with the team led by Ikuse-san to deal with the enemy whom we still weren’t sure would show up yet, Thanatos—. I hope you guys will have a wonderful game. —Vali, Rias!
Translator's Notes and References
- The –tan honorific is a more affectionate and moe variant of –chan.
- Another name for the Gautama Buddha.
- A god in Buddhist mythology who is said to be the king or judge of hell.
- A formal sitting position that would convey respect in this situation.
- A being dedicated to Buddhahood. They could also be termed as an ‘enlightened one’.
- Super Devils are also known as ‘Transcendent Beings’.
- This is something that gets lost in translation. The ‘hiki’ is used when counting small animals and shows here that the father saw them as nothing more than that. In English, the closest thing might be a ‘litter’ of kittens.
- A demon king from Journey to the West whose true form is that of a giant white bull. Originally a sworn-brother of Sun Wukong, they later end up as enemies.
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