High School DxD:Volume 24 Slash1
Slash.1 Behind the Game —Sekiryuutei and Slash Dog’s United Front—
We dispersed around the venue according to the plan that Ravel had come up with, and whilst we get ready to respond in case of an attack, an explanation of the rules of the game was in progress.
<<The rules are — BOARD COLLAPSE!>>
On the huge screens that were set up around the venue, the decided ruleset was announced.
<<This is a rule which means that the field will begin to collapse starting from both ends.>>
The commentators discussed the rules with each other live.
<<That’s right. Both ends of the venue will collapse at the same time, and according to these rules, only the centre will remain at the end.>>
The rule meant that the field would gradually disappear from both edges. We had also played under this rule in the past.
<<The narrowing of the field means that the places to hide and escape will also disappear, and by the end, battle will be inevitable.>>
<<Holding a battle in a confined space means that there’s a greater chance for friendly fire or getting hit by a stray attack, so a key point of this match will be to set up an advantage while the field is still wide.>>
Even if there was a clear gap in strength between the two teams, if an advantage was established before the field collapsed, the battle would become even more intense, and the narrowing of the field would undoubtedly affect the situation of the battle.
<<However, because this is a standard rule, there is no doubt that the overall strength of a team is more important than strategy here!>>
Indeed, under these rules, there would be a minimal level of strategy between Rias’ team and Vali’s team. It was more of a direct confrontation. And for the both of them as well as for the audience, everyone hoped to see a direct battle. Anyway, it’s almost time for our side to get working. I put in my earpiece and checked that I could communicate with everyone. We would immediately contact each other if we found any suspicious figures. Ravel and I stood together as one group near the entrance of the stadium — our backs were basically facing the main entrance, and we monitored for any suspicious figures. Aside from us, there were also other guard troops patrolling the area…. Of course, we greeted them since it was likely that we would be fighting together this time. —And then, Ravel tugged on my sleeve to show me the direction in which she was pointing. Over on that side, there was a woman who appeared to resemble Akeno-san. She wore a priestess’ clothing. She was someone that I knew, so I walked up and spoke to her.
“You’re Suzaku-san, right?”
“Yes, it’s nice to meet you again. Hyoudou-kun. Akeno and Ouryuu have been in your care.”
I responded to Suzaku-san’s handshake. She was Akeno-san’s cousin. Akeno-san was quite close to her, and she was also the current head of the family who had agreed with Akeno-san’s return to the Himejima clan! Like Nakiri, she also belonged to one of the Five Principal Clans, and that was why he often mentioned her. Every time Nakiri spoke of Suzaku-san, he’d say ‘Suzaku-san is really scary’.
“Yes, I’m grateful.”
I replied, and then Suzaku-san turned her eyes towards the two people who were not far behind her.
“The two of them over there are Kushihashi Seiryuu and Doumon Genbu. Both of them are the current heads of their respective clans.”
One of them was a handsome guy who wore glasses, and the other one was a cute-looking loli lady. When the lady’s eyes met with us, she seemed to act rather shy, while on the other hand, the handsome guy raised his hand to wave at us. Suzaku-san said
“We originally came to cheer for Akeno, but after asking Tobio, we heard that you’re acting as guards. So please also allow us to help you.”
Aaaahhh! Suzaku-san is such a nice person! We still haven’t confirmed if the Grim Reapers will be coming yet! But, Suzaku-san said to me
“Tobio’s intuition has told him that they’ll attack. His intuition is always correct. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for us to stay on alert either.”
After Suzaku-san said that, she approached and whispered into my ear
(I hear that you’ve proposed to Akeno?)
Indeed, Suzaku-san seemed to care quite deeply for her own cousin. There was a slight hint of sadness in Suzaku-san’s eyes.
(…Make her happy, okay? I hope that she’ll be happier than anyone else. Because of my predecessor…a lot of cruel things have been done to her.)
I guess it’s because I knew about Akeno-san’s background that she told me about the past. Suzaku-san is really such a kind person. She’s definitely a good head of the family. And she’s also a beauty!
When I answered her frankly, Suzaku-san also smiled with satisfaction. After we exchanged a few more words with each other, we went off to our separate locations. It was just me and Ravel again. I recalled the words that Ikuse-san said to me before we moved into our various positions.
[Is it alright if I leave Ravel in charge of the operation?]
[Yeah, leave it to us. We’ll take up your advice in regards to secrecy. But if anything happens, we’ll improvise on the spot.]
Ravel nodded in agreement to this.
[Yes, that’s fine. That was how I originally intended to do when I thought about it.]
And then we listened to the arrangements that Ravel had made. Ravel stood beside me and determinedly said
“Ise-sama, I…will definitely fight for the sake of protecting Koneko-san and Kuroka-sama’s battle. Of course, I will also fight for the sake of Rias-sama and the others…”
Ravel had always cared for her friend Koneko-chan. She would always accompany her every time they trained, and she had also learned about Koneko-chan’s past due to this incident. As a result, Ravel’s face seemed to express courage.
“I will defend my friend’s important match.”
The current Ravel wasn’t the same as the cool-headed Ravel in the Tournament, right now, she was simply someone driven by her own passions.
“Ravel, fighting in order to protect your friends will make you feel the most nervous, but it’s also an incredibly rewarding thing, you know? This is one battle that I’m fired up for.”
After Ravel listened to my words, she also shivered in excitement.
“Fighting in order to protect my friends…. Yes! I will protect Koneko-san!”
“Yeah, let’s protect them together.”
Just as we were sharing our thoughts with each other, on the screen—.
<<What a surprise! The battle is heating up very quickly!>>
<<Gogmagog-senshu and — Vasco Strada-senshu have rushed forward for a direct confrontation!>>
The game seemed to be filled with excitement! Uwah, I really want to get a good look at His Eminence Strada in battle…! Just as I tried to calm myself and tell myself to be patient in my mind—. One of my comrades’ voices was transmitted to me through my earpiece.
[—Target confirmed. Near the west side of the venue—]
It seems like Ikuse-san’s intuition was correct. And so our fight against the Grim Reapers began—.
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