High School DxD:Volume 5 Life 4

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Life.4 Buchou vs Kaichou: First Half![edit]

Part 1[edit]

The night before the decisive battle with the Sitri family.

We gathered in sensei’s room and had our last meeting.

There had been the attack by Bikou and Koneko-chan’s onee-san, but the matter had been settled for the time being thanks to them being driven away by Buchou’s group and Tannin-ossan, and things had already settled down concerning that incident now.

There was talk of Buchou gaining an even higher assessment and value thanks to that battle. Since Vali’s team was repelled and she made me attain Balance Breaker. It seems that the points for these were high.

W-Well, it seems like she couldn’t report to those at the top that I had attained Balance Breaker by poking her breasts, though. It was impossible for her to report it, after all…

So, we were having a meeting. Right away, Azazel questioned me who had attained Balance Breaker.

“Ise, how’s the state of your Balance Breaker?”

“Yes. I’ve managed to get used to it, but there are several conditions to it.”

I told my friend about those conditions.

I somehow was now able to use the Balance Breaker [Boosted Gear Scale Mail], but several conditions were attached to it, and I was still far from being able to use it freely.

“First, when I change into Balance Breaker, it takes time for the transformation to occur. The time until the transformation is displayed on my gauntlet’s jewel. Moreover, when I have entered that waiting state, I can’t use my Sacred Gear. Both doubling and transfer are impossible. Furthermore, I can only transform once per day, and even if I cancel the transformation before it ends, my Sacred Gear will be deprived of almost all its power.”

Sensei nodded as I answered his question.

“Yeah, it’s just like the data says. It’s almost exactly the same as past Sekiryuuteis. Though there were also cases in which they could use the Sacred Gear even once they released their armour. So, what’s the time needed for the transformation in your case?”

“Two minutes.”

“So the time was shortened thanks to your training and getting used to it. However, those two minutes are a matter of life-and-death. To put it bluntly, it’s hardly useful in actual combat. Above all, the time until the transformation during which Boosted Gear can’t be used is just too painful. Since there are a large number of people that can defeat you within those two minutes. You have to think of how you can take care of yourself until you transform. Those two minutes are your greatest weakness.”

…He instantly repudiated my Balance Breaker right to my face. As expected of sensei. That’s why my objective was also easy to see now, though. What should I do during those two minutes until the transformation? Did I have no choice but to evade and run away?

“The normal Boosted Gear’s doubling and transfer are also important, since they have a wide range of uses. However, Balance Breaker is indispensable when fighting a powerful enemy. The normal state and the Balance Breaker State each have their advantages and disadvantages. So, for how long can you use Balance Breaker?”

“Yes, at full, I can use it for thirty minutes. When I use my power, it decreases more.”

“That’s pretty good for your first time limit. That’s the results of your training. However, in an official game, that is completely out. It’s out of the question if it’s just thirty minutes, and what’s more decreases as you use it more. There will also be games with long stretches of distance and time. We have no choice but to increase Ise’s time limit from now on.”

So the training I did still isn’t enough. When will I be able to catch up to Vali?

However, Balance Breaker also depended on the time and situation. I had attained the power I wished for, but depending on the circumstances during battle, there would also be times when skilfully using the normal doubling and transfer ability would be better than using Balance Breaker.

I could use the transfer ability while in Balance Breaker as well, but the chances of me running low on gas would be quite high if I did use it. If I beat the enemy before I ran out of gas it was fine, but I couldn’t guarantee that. Yeah, this really was difficult.

As I thought of all these things with my very lacking brain, sensei made a poking gesture with his hand with a lewd look in his eyes. I responded with a smile, and poked the air just as he did.

Seeing that, sensei offered his hand for a handshake. I accepted it!

Yes, sensei! I attained Balance Breaker by poking Buchou’s breasts!

I silently communicated this to sensei! Both of us mutually filled with emotion, we returned to the conversation of the meeting.

“Rias, Sona Sitri knows about the Gremory group to some degree, right?”

At sensei’s question, Buchou nodded.

“Yes, she understands us roughly. For example, she knows of Ise, Kiba, Akeno, Asia and Xenovia's main weapons. Video recordings of our battle with the Phoenix group were partly open to the public, after all. Furthermore, Gasper’s Sacred Gear and Koneko-chan’s background have also come to light.”

“Well, she knows roughly about all of you then. So, how much do you know about her side?”

“I know the abilities of Sona, of her [Queen] the vice-president, and of several others of her servants. Though some of their abilities haven’t been confirmed yet.”

“So you’re at a disadvantage in that regard. Well, such a thing is fine for a game or an actual battle. That is often the case in both the games and in actual battles. There are also cases of a Sacred Gear evolving and transforming during battle. You should pay careful attention. The number of your opponents is eight.”

“Yes, one [King], one [Queen], one [Rook], one [Knight], two [Bishops], and two pawns, for a total of eight enemies. It seems she still doesn’t have a full set of pieces yet, but it's the same numbers as us.”

Iyaah, the conversation with sensei continued! Buchou also precisely listened to sensei’s comments.

Rather, so there were eight opponents. On our side, there were eight of us, including Buchou, Akeno-san, Kiba, Koneko-chan, Asia, Xenovia, Gasper and me. It was the same numbers…

Next, sensei wrote something on a white board he had prepared.

“The Rating Game classifies players into different particular fighting-types. Power, technique, wizard, support. Out of these, Rias is a Wizard-type. The type that is superior in magic in general, so to speak. Akeno-san is the same. Kiba is a Technique-type. He fights with speed and technique. Xenovia is a Power-type that excels in the area of speed. A player that aims for a one-hit-certain-kill. Asia and Gasper are Support-types. Also, if you classify them with even more detail, Asia is closer to a Wizard-type, while Gasper is closer to a Technique-type. Koneko is a Power-type. And lastly, Ise. You’re also a Power-type. However, you’re also good at being a Support-type as well. With your [Gift] power.”

I was bewildered by all these things that I suddenly had to learn and remember, but in other words there were various types within the families playing in the games. So I’m a Power-type that can also serve as support, huh.

Sensei drew lines to form a cross, and wrote the names of the four types within each of the four quadrants of the cross, thereby making a chart.

Our names were written on the chart according to location of type. I was located in the Power-type while being situated near Support. Kiba was located in Technique. Xenovia was in Power-type, and each of the other members was located somewhere else on the chart, thereby making a diagram illustration that was easy to understand.

When I looked at it like this, weren’t we a pretty balanced group? We didn’t have a Wizard-type that was also situated near Power, though. There was no [magic warrior] in our group.

Sensei suddenly circled me, Xenovia and Koneko-chan in the Power-types and spoke.

“The things that Power-types have to be most careful of are—counters. A troublesome class among the Technique-types. That is the counter-type ability. There are counter-types even among the Sacred Gears, but when fighting an opponent who carries one, power-types like Ise, Koneko and Xenovia can have their situations turned around by a single counter blow. It’s because counters return the opponent’s power to them plus the power of the one who counters. When one is strong, it’s natural for there to be damage just as strong.”

I-I see, it certainly is scary when your attack is returned to you. If the power of my Balance Breaker state in particular was countered, it would cause damage to not only me, but my friends as well.

“If there’s a counter, I just have to overcome it with power.”

Xenovia said that bravely. However, sensei shook his head.

“It’s possible to overcome it with that, but it’s another story when your opponent is a genius in that field. Avoid attacking as much as possible. It’s better to face counter-users with the spell-user Akeno, the technique-user Kiba or Gasper with his special vampire abilities. Everything is a matter of compatibility. Power-types are simply strong. But the risk is big for them when fighting against Technique-types.”

Xenovia was silent to sensei’s explanation. Since Xenovia has an abundance of battle experience, she was likely understood his meaning. Sensei turned to look at me.

“Ise, you have Balance Breaker now, but do you think you can win against Kiba?”

“…Speaking honestly, he would probably toy with me using his speed and receive no attacks.”

Those were my real thoughts. Certainly, I’ve attained the tremendous Balance Breaker. But, when asked whether I can win against Kiba, the answer is no. It’s impossible for me, who has just attained Balance Breaker, to win against Kiba, who has attained it since over a month ago. Most of all, the difference in our battle experience was great from the start.

The power I showed during the time with Vali was temporary. It was possible when I was enraged. The power of the usual me still wasn’t enough.

“That’s how it is. Whether it is against Kiba or anyone else, you have openings for counter-attacks. Ise, if you don’t create a counter-measure against counter-users, you won’t be able to win against Kiba for life. That is what battle compatibility means.”

Nuuh, so first I have to get past the wall of Kiba. If I can’t cross over that, I won’t be able to catch up to Vali, right?

Sensei spoke to Buchou.

“Rias, if there are counter-users in Sona Sitri’s group, they might run into Ise, you know? If a counter eats up his enormous power, it will be an instant out. You need to come up with and refine some tactics for that.”

“But, if the opponent is a female, the possibility of that is…low.”

Buchou, what do you mean? I wondered about that, but I soon knew the answer.

“…Dress Break. Since he’s the enemy of women, I don’t think they’ll want to fight him at all.”

Koneko-chan’s sharp words! Ah! What a certain kill! I see, so I’m the enemy of women! Buchou was also nodding! So it was like that!

That’s right, they wouldn’t want to fight against an opponent who sends their clothes flying!

Rather, Koneko-chan, you seem to have returned to your old self. I’m glad. Because there was that thing the other day, I was worried. Did you possibly break through your problems instead?

But, that’s a problem. To think I wouldn’t be able to face women, even though I came up with a new technique during my training…Now that I’ve attained Balance Breaker, I think that it’s possible. My new technique that’s in another field than Dress Break—.

“By the way Ise, the fact that you attained Balance Breaker was noticed by people nearby during the attack of Bikou and the others. Sona Sitri should also know about it. You should be thoroughly careful. Since the possibility of you being crushed before you transform into Balance Break is high.”

Sensei, you’re that worried…I gave a bitter smile.

“Fuh. Don’t worry. I’m an adult.”

While putting my hand to my forehead, I responded with a nihilistic smile.

“What’s wrong? Somehow, you were acting as if you’ve matured a lot?”

“Sensei. I’m an adult. Because I poked them.”

Giving a thumbs up, I nodded vigorously. Yes, I have a special existence that has poked Buchou’s breasts. I’ve climbed the stairs to adulthood.

“Ah, I get it, I get it.”

Sensei, please don’t talk that way. I have just gotten to this point.

“Kiba.”

I put my hands on his shoulders.

“What is it?”

To the puzzled-looking Kiba, I told him words of gratitude with understanding eyes.

“There are two kinds of men. Men who have poked breasts, and men who haven’t poked breasts. I’m the former. It’s unrivalled. Incredible. I have crossed over.”

I thought that was the cleverest remark. Fufufu, Kiba. You’re a happy man. Since you can associate on equal terms with a man like me who has poked breasts.

Kiba gave a look of pity, and shook his head several times.

“…Buchou, this is no good. He needs to receive counselling before the game.”

Hmph. Since I’ve become a higher being, it seems that there are things we can no longer understand each other on. However, Kiba, that isn’t your fault. I’m the sinner for poking Buchou’s breasts.

Yes, I’m an evil sinner. From now on, I’ll introduce myself as [Darkness Welsh Dragon]. Fufufu.

“Ise-senpai is showing a strange smile…I’m scared…”

“…Gya-kun, don’t approach him, otherwise you’ll be infected with idiocy by being close to him.”

Gasper and Koneko-chan were giving me burning gazes, but…Fufufu, my charm is even understood by male girls and loli-kids…

Sensei closed his pen and said a final conclusion.

“I’d say that the chances of you guys winning in this game is over eighty percent. I do believe that you’ll win, but—I don’t believe you’ll win “for sure”. And the value of pieces isn’t absolute either. Like an actual game of chess, the value changes according to the situation on the board.”

Sensei continued. Everyone listened seriously and attentively. This person’s words—had great effect. In the root of both the mind and body.

“I have lived a long time. In that time, I have seen a great variety of battles. That’s why I will say this. —I have seen guys win despite having less than a ten percent chance of victory. Do not take even a one-percent chance lightly. Don’t believe that you’ll definitely win. However, think that you want to win no matter what. This is the last advice I can give to you all in this training camp.”

That was the last advice sensei gave us this time.

After that, sensei discussed tactics with the members who had been left out in the conversation until the day of the decisive battle.

—We’re definitely going to win!

Part 2[edit]

The day of the decisive battle—.

There was a huge magic circle underneath the Gremory castle for the exclusive use of transporting us to the game area.

Our group gathered on top of the magic circle, and prepared to transport to the game area, where the battle would soon be commencing.

Besides Asia and Xenovia, we were all wearing our Kuou Academy summer uniforms. Asia was in her sister clothes, and Xenovia was wearing her bondage-like battle clothes that she had worn the first time we met. Both of them seemed to be full of fighting spirit. And the Sitri side also seemed to be wearing their Kuou Academy uniforms.

Buchou’s father, mother, Millicas-sama and Azazel-sensei spoke from outside of the magic circle.

“Rias, you’ve lost once before. Win for sure this time.”

“Fight a battle that won’t make you ashamed as the next head of the family. Everyone else as well, okay?”

“Do your best, Rias-nee-sama!”

“Well, I’ve taught you about the things you needed to be informed about this time. All that’s left is to exert yourselves and go all out.”

Sirzechs-sama and Grayfia-san weren’t here, but they seemed to have already moved to a spectator’s lounge for the exclusive use of VIPs. It was said that not only the leaders of the three great powers were present, but also VIPS from the other powers were invited. It seemed that sensei would be heading there after this.

Our game was getting a lot of attention… As expected, among the promising young devils, the fight between the two little sisters of the Maous was being basked in attention…

A feeling of tension floated in the air, but the magic circle mercilessly began to shine.

—At last, the game had begun!


The place we arrived at after jumping through the magic circle was—a place full of tables.

…This was a wide restaurant somewhere? When I thought that and looked at the surroundings, it seemed to be a dining floor, with fast-food restaurants surrounding the tables.

Was this also an exact replica of a real place, prepared in a space for our exclusive use? The power of devils was just as amazing as usual.

Huh? I feel like I’ve seen this place somewhere before… Things like the shop arrangement matched somewhere within my memories.

I stepped out from this floor a bit and looked around the interior. There—was a vast shopping mall there.

Familiar stores were lined up within the interior, and there was a glass-ceilinged atrium! Light spilled down through the glass.

This oblong shopping mall and this glass atrium! They were ones that I knew well!

“I didn’t expect that the department store near Kuou Academy would serve as the stage.”

Buchou said this as she came up next to me.

Yes, the game stage was the department store we often went to! At that time, we heard an announcement in the store!

[Everyone, I, the “Queen” of the Lucifer group, Grayfia, will be carrying the role of arbiter in the “Rating Game” between the Gremory group and the Sitri group on this occasion.]

Just like during the battle with Raiser, the announcer was Grayfia-san. But, wasn’t her introduction slightly different from last time? That time she called herself a servant of the Gremory family, yet this time she clearly stated that she was part of the Lucifer group. Was it because the quality of the game was slightly different from last time…?

[In the name of my master, Sirzechs Lucifer, I will watch over the battle between these two families. It’s a pleasure to be here. To get right to the main topic, the battlefield for today is the department store within the neighbourhood of the school “Kuou Academy” that Rias-sama and Sona-sama attend, which has been prepared within a separate space as the game field.]

Since the game field was once more somewhere that we were familiar with, you would think that it would make things easy for us, but the same goes for the Sitri group as well. Since they’ve also come to this department store many times.

This department store which had become our battle stage was a two-storied building. It wasn’t that big in terms of height.

However, it was a long shopping mall across its two floors and the atrium, so it was considerably large horizontally. The rooftop was a parking lot. Besides that, there was also a multi-storey parking garage elsewhere.

[Both groups have been transported to their respective “bases”. Rias-sama’s “base” is on the second floor of the east side, while Sona-sama’s “base” is on the first floor of the west side. In order for “Pawns” to promote, please go to your opponent’s “bases”.]

Our base and our enemies’ base were on opposite ends of the department store. We were on the second floor’s most eastern side. The opponents were on the first floor’s most western side. Around our base, there was a pet shop, an arcade centre, a dining floor, a bookshop and a drugstore. On the first floor beneath our base, there was a branch store of a major second-hand bookshop company, and a sports-supplies shop.

Over on the opponent’s side, there was a grocery shop, an electrical appliance store, a junk food shop, and a general goods store.

During the battle, each side would have to respectively head towards the other end of the department. That was simple and clear, but it wouldn’t go like that.

[This time, there will be special rules. Documents on this have been sent to each group, so please check them. A single bottle of the healing item “Phoenix Tears” has been provided to each team. Furthermore, the time to strategise before the battle is thirty minutes. Contact with the opponent during this time is forbidden. The game is scheduled to start after thirty minutes. Then, let the strategy time begin.]

After the announcement, everyone quickly gathered together. We couldn’t waste even one minute of this time.

“The battlefield is modelled on the department store near Kuou Academy. So it’s an indoor battle.”

Buchou said this while looking at a guide map of the department store’s interior that was depicted on the dining floor’s wall. There was also a personal diagram of the place divided into chess squares in Buchou’s hands.

We had encamped ourselves in the aforementioned dining floor and were planning out our strategy.

An indoor battle! So the Rating Game has that kind of battlefield as well!

I thought about how each side had a base on this certainly wide battlefield, and how we would have to run around within this field. It was like that during the House of Phoenix battle as well.

Rather, the stage was the department store near our school! This was a place we often came to on our way back from school.

More than ninety percent of the students attending Kuou Academy knew about the appearance of the store's interior. Me, Buchou and Asia have also come here on our days off. Buchou looked over the document with the special rule that had been sent to us.

“The rule this time states [Don’t destroy the department store which has become the battlefield]; in other words, we can’t do any showy battles.”

Buchou narrowed her eyes and seemed to be thinking about this rule.

“…I see, so to me, the fuku-buchou[1], and Ise, this is a disadvantageous battlefield. We can’t do attacks that affect a wide area.”

It was just as Xenovia said. By saying that it was an interior battle and furthermore that the building itself couldn’t be destroyed, I couldn’t use my Boosted Gear-raised Dragon Shot! The great fire attack that used doubled fire magic, which I obtained at great pains in the training with Tannin-ossan, was also impossible here! It would turn into a conflagration! Akeno-san also couldn’t use her extra-large lightning attack by creating thunder clouds unless she was on the rooftop, right? It seemed that, if she didn’t suppress her power, she could deal damage to the building as well!

Xenovia also wouldn’t be able to unleash her holy slashing wave with Durandal either. Even at the best of times, it was a sword that gushed out a holy aura even in its drawn state, so it couldn’t be recklessly swung in order to not break the rule.

“That really is troublesome. A battle of large mass attacks has been mostly sealed.”

Akeno-san put a hand against her cheek with a troubled face. She gave her opinion after letting out a sigh.

“Gasper-kun’s eyes also won’t be as effective. There are too many places to hide within the department store. All the goods and products have also been exactly reproduced, so there is an overflowing amount of objects to obstruct his vision. There is also the possibility of surprise attack in the dark…It’s troubling. This is a disadvantageous battlefield for our special characteristics. Because the Rias Gremory group’s forte is to battle showily, we’re completely sealed.”

Damn. I believed that we were strong, but everything has completely changed just because of this rule!

Buchou shook her head at Akeno-san’s words.

“No, Gasper’s eyes couldn’t be used from the start. They put in a restriction on it here. [The use of Gasper Vladi’s Sacred Gear is forbidden], it says. The reason is clear and simple. Since he still can’t perfectly control it yet. They judged that it would be problematic if the entire game was spoiled by his eyes going out of control. Giving him Ise’s blood is also prohibited. It seemed that they’ve provided him with Sacred Gear-sealing glasses developed by Azazel. [Since it was made for Gasper’s exclusive use, it won’t have any particular bad influence on his body]—so it says here. Really, he likes to prepare.”

What another problem! So Gasper’s Sacred Gear couldn’t be used! Now that you mention it, I heard that Gasper’s training didn’t go well in regards to his Sacred Gear. He made a lot of progress, but it seems it will still take quite a bit of time for Gasper to master his eyes. Besides, I doubt it would be good even if he simply unleashed it.

“Then, will Gasper fight using magic and his vampire abilities?”

Buchou nodded at my question.

“That’s right. From the beginning, his time-stopping power carried a lot of risk. The other side has not only the counter-types I mentioned before, but also Saji-kun, who possesses a Sacred Gear that absorbs the ability of others, so we don’t know what kind of counterattacks they’ll use. Like suppressing it with genjutsu. There are also other technique’s to take away a person’s vision. When talking about such things, it becomes impossible to use that power in either the games or actual battle. Using meticulous caution is only natural.”

Vali also said the same thing as Buchou. That if you know that the ability activates from the eyes, it’s easy to deal with it. Buchou continued. Ah, Gasper had put on the glasses right away.

“…The Rating Game isn’t something you can win simply by having a lot of power. The battle situation changes completely according to the battlefield and rules. Because this is a ground where even devils that lack strength can depend on wisdom and rise higher, it has become popular in the Underworld and among the other powers. The rules this time may be disadvantageous to us. However, if we can’t make up for this, we won’t be able to win and advance in the games from now on. [Even a “Pawn” can take down the “King]—this is not only a basic rule in chess, but also a proverb of the Rating Games. In other words, it implies that [anyone can win with the proper method].”

Akeno-san also approved of Buchou’s words and nodded.

“That’s right. There may be indoor battles like this on true battlefields as well from now on. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be able to completely display our power like today. This may be a good opportunity for us. Today’s battle is most suitable for getting used to indoor team battles.”

Among this discussion where all the smart people were talking, I timidly raised my hand.

“U-Umm, Buchou. While I desperately trained to attain Balance Breaker and raise my power, I didn’t practice holding back my power when fighting…”

“I know. This time, things came completely opposite from what we expected. Although the battlefield and rules are decided randomly, this game may be close to being the worst for Ise. Your power is too enormous. According to the rule, destroying the building means an instant out. However, there’s sure to be somewhere where you’ll be able to use Balance Breaker. But please hold back your power as much as possible while fighting. Don’t shoot your Dragon Shot as much as possible as well. The department store may be blown away. Please survive with just hand-to-hand fighting somehow…I’m sorry for asking such difficult things from you.”

“…Y-Yes. Rather, to be honest, I’m really worried, but…”

Seriously. As a Power-type, I was really at a disadvantage at a time like this. Oh well. Since I’m aiming for the top and will be participating in the games from now on, I have to get used to this kind of battle as well.

…I cried at having to face so many difficult things. I had never imagined that the training I spent most of my summer on would have no meaning in this game! Now that I think about, Azazel-sensei also talked about it.

[Attaining Balance Breaker will certainly become a weapon for you. However, that’s not something absolute in the games. There are devils with servants without Balance Breaker that manage to rise up, you know?]

I didn’t really understand it then, but now I do.

With such a battlefield and rule, Balance Breaker wasn’t always a knockdown technique!

While I fell into despair, Buchou continued her strategy plan.

“Even if we attack, the atrium of this shopping mall is a problem. You can grasp the progress of the opponent from both the first and second floors. It’s the same for the other side.”

Buchou said this while looking at the interior of the store. Akeno-san also expressed her opinion.

“I’ve considered an attack from the parking garage as well, but they would also be looking out for that too.”

“Yes, it’s the same for moving from the rooftop. Whether it be breaking through the centre, from the rooftop, or from the parking garage, we have to advance along these routes. Since we can’t leave the department store itself.”

“There should be cars in the parking garage as well. That’s what I feel, after seeing that they reproduced even the merchandise and merchandise shelves. They may have copied the cars that were parked there.”

The discussion between Buchou and her [Queen] Akeno-san had somehow become really diligent. Yeah, this reconfirmed once again what the [Queen] was to the [King].

Kiba raised his hand and gave a proposal.

“Buchou, I’ll go look at the rooftop and parking garage. Since there are stairs nearby, I’ll go check them out.”

Buchou nodded.

“Please do, Yuuto.”

Kiba immediately headed out at a quick pace.

“Are the cars important somehow?”

I asked that question honestly. Why were they that worried about the presence of cars here?

“If they plunge into the store interior with a car, it’d be serious, you know? Besides, we have to openly consider the possibility that they’ll use the car itself as a bomb. Though I don’t think that someone like Sona would do something like recklessly driving inside the department store.”

So said Buchou. Ah, I see. She really is thorough about this. Everything on the battlefield can also become a weapon. When thought of like that, a car was a big weapon.

“You’re really cautious.”

“Naturally. I still feel like this isn't enough. It’s also possible for someone to rest and hide inside cars. Now that I think about it, we haven’t seen the inside of the staff room before. We should go check it…Even if we have Ise’s [Dress Break], there are many clothes in brand stores within the mall…Since it’s a department store, there are an endless number of things to consider.”

Buchou seemed to be considering even the minute details. She didn’t want to overlook anything.

Buchou then gave instructions to Gasper next.

“Gasper, please change into bats and fly to every location within the department store. In the opening of the game, you’ll inform us of the situation within the department store in detail.”

“R-Roger!”

Ooh, Gasper also had some fighting spirit. That’s right, to him, this is his first game.

The strategy-planning continued on after that as well and we decided on even the minute tactics.

Then, once half the time had passed since the strategy session started, we had solidified our plan.

Buchou looked around at us and spoke.

“The game will be starting fifteen minutes from now. We’ll gather here again in ten minutes. Everyone, please remain on standby with your respective methods of relaxing until then.”

At Buchou’s words, we all broke up and walked away. However, Buchou called out and stopped just me.

“Ise, since you attained Balance Breaker, the power of the eight [Pawn] pieces I placed in you have all been forcibly released.”

Yes, it was just as Buchou said. By attaining Balance Breaker, the power of the sealed pieces inside me had been released.

“With this, you may be able to completely use Ddraig’s power, but your body still can’t handle it. Ddraig should also save power in order not to break your body. Be careful. If you make a mistake with the Sekiryuutei’s power, the host’s body will be destroyed.”

“Yes! I’ll be sufficiently careful, Buchou!”

It had finally been released. One day, I’d like to be able to completely control Ddraig’s power. From the start, my value as a [Pawn] was almost completely made of Ddraig’s value.

The power flowing inside me is Ddraig’s power.

Being able to control Ddraig’s power is my true value! I have to keep that in mind.

After that, Buchou entered a shop on the dining floor and began to pour herself some tea. So she was enjoying some tea until the time came. Gasper was eating donuts at a donuts shop.

Asia and Xenovia were talking about this and that in front of a hamburger shop. Kiba was rummaging through the drugstore beside the dining floor. I see, since it seems like medicines and the like were copied as well, he was trying to find things to take.

Everyone was trying to spend their time until the starting time with their own respective relaxing methods. So then, I as well—.

I left that place and entered the bookstore near the dining floor.

Gufufufu. Somehow, it was just like I thought! This bookstore was perfectly reproduced just like the rest of the mall! I went to the ecchi book corner, and looked for ero-books by myself inside the empty store! It’s here, it’s here! Amaziiiiiiiiiing! I could read all these ero-books as much as I liked! So there were also nice battlefields like this! Ah, which should I look at! Was this the feeling of a treasure hunter who had found an amazing amount of gold and silver treasure? I could pick and choose as I like!

Was it possible for me to bring these all home? I want to take them home with me! Since I began living with Buchou and the others, my two bad friends and the boys in class have said that I didn’t need ero-books.

That’s not true! That’s not true at all! That is that, this is this. Because, even if I lived with Buchou like this, I might be hated if I tried to make a move; on the other hand, not knowing what to do my on sexual desire as a healthy male high school student made me live in anguish every day.

Because of this, I had to vent myself everyday for the things I couldn’t do with Buchou and the others. Ah, if I could make a harem, I could do ecchi things every day and I wouldn’t need these kinds of books.

Until that day, I have to look at ero-books! Since Buchou and Asia were in my room, it was also difficult to read them.

In any case, I took out and read one of the books in front of me. Uhyoh! Breasts really are amazing. But, as I thought, when compared to Buchou’s and Akeno-san’s beautiful and big breasts, these ones still have a ways to go.

Fufufu, but, it was also spicy to look at the breasts within this ero-book while remembering the sensation of touching theirs.

“Ise-kun♪. What are you doing? Ara-ara, you’re reading very dirty-looking books. It’s the remaining time before the decisive battle, you know.”

Munyuuuuuu.

I felt something with first rate softness on my back! It was breasts! Moreover, I remembered this sense of texture! And this voice! As I thought, it’s Akeno-san!

She was clinging to me from behind and was checking out what I was reading from the side.

“A-Akeno-san! T-This is! I was just checking the extent to all the copied objects had been reproduced!”

That was a lame excuse even for me. But Akeno-san didn’t seem angry, and just kept her sweet smile.

“Ufufu. I’m not particularly angry at you for this. I don’t despise you for it either. Rather, I’m relieved at how Ise-kun this is.”

Akeno-san is more tolerant about things like this than Buchou. Then, Akeno-san looked at the book I was reading with a serious expression.

“…I see, so Ise-kun likes this kind of thing…”

For some reason, her eyes really seemed serious… As expected, is the ecchi onee-san also very interested in ecchi books?

“A-Akeno-san?”

While I was troubled about her reaction, Akeno-san pointed at the actress photographed in the ero-book.

“Shall I wear something like this next time?”

The thing that Akeno-san was pointing at was—the cosplay costume for ecchi games that the actress wore! But, this was practically nude! The area covered by cloth is so small! You wouldn’t be able to put on underwear either!

“S-Seriously!?”

I reflexively asked that. Is this for real!?

“Seriously. Ufufu. Since it’s Ise-kun, it’s special.”

She replied with a smiling face! Amazing! Akeno-san will put on such an outfit! I had to seriously order this next time. I see, so ero-cosplay really existed…

This is bad. My delusions wouldn’t stop! This was nice, and that was also nice too…

While I was having non-stop delusions like this, Akeno-san embraced me from behind even tighter.

“A-Akeno-san, what are you doing?”

“…I’m getting courage from Ise-kun.”

Akeno-san had a painful voice. I was surprised at the sudden change.

But courage, huh. Now that I think of it, Buchou had also said that she was getting courage by grasping my hand during the meeting between the three great powers.

“…I need the courage to fight… Because I might have to use the other power that flows inside me this time, I’m scared. I hate it. That’s why, I’m getting courage from Ise-kun.”

Akeno-san… So she’s resolved to use the Fallen Angel power that she hates.

It was a power, that she didn’t wished, flow inside her. But, the circumstances that we were in here didn’t permit that denial. —If she doesn’t accept it, she can’t advance forward.

It was something I didn’t understand, but I thought that it was a very tough thing.

“If you’re fine with me, please fully get courage from me!”

I grasped the hand of Akeno-san as she embraced me and spoke while smiling. If Akeno-san could gather courage from someone like me, it was the best.

“When I bring out my power of light, will you watch, Ise-kun? If Ise-kun is watching, I will be able to use it.”

“Y-Yes! If Akeno-san can display her power just by me watching, it’s a small price to pay!”

“…I’m happy. If I’m together with Ise, surely… You belong to Rias, but even so I will always… by your side…”

Akeno-san seemed to say something in a low voice that I couldn’t hear.

Akeno-san moved away from my back. But, her eyes were moist—. Suddenly, Akeno-san brought her face close to mine this time—. A-Akeno-san’s lips were—.

“…Ise-senpai, it’s almost time to gather.”

When mine and Akeno-san’s lips were just about to touch, Koneko-chan unexpectedly appeared!

Uaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! W-W-We were seeeeeeeeeeeen!

This is bad! This is bad! Just a little more and I would have seriously kissed Akeno-san!

Because! Because, it’s Akeno-san’s lips! They were incredibly attractive! But if Buchou learned of this, I would be killeeeeeeeeeeeeed!

If I, her servant and pet, become intimate with someone else, she would destroy me!

“K-Koneko-chan! This is, umm!”

I tried to come up with an excuse while being flustered, but Koneko-chan just sighed with half-closed eyes.

“Ara-ara, Koneko-chan. You saw us. Ufufu. Ise-kun, thank you. I’m already okay now.”

Akeno-san returned to her usual pleasantly smiling face, and tried to leave this place.

However—.

“…Next time, for sure… with you…”

She left behind some kind of whisper. Her expression as she left seemed regretful at having to part.

No, it was my mistake. Akeno-san was surely just trying to approach me in S-mode.

As I nodded with certainty on that—Koneko-chan grasped my hand.

“K-Koneko-chan?”

I was surprised by Koneko-chan’s sudden action, but she spoke while blushing red.

“…Please give me courage too.”

—.

I see. This girl was also going to try using the power she had suppressed until now. Her hand was trembling. She was very scared. She feared that her nekomata power might swallow her up—.

“Sure. If you’re fine with me.”

I grasped her hand back with a smiling face.

If Akeno-san and Koneko-chan could obtain the courage to get over their problems by holding someone like me, it was a small price to pay.

“…Ise-senpai, aren’t you afraid of me, as a nekomata?”

Koneko-chan asked me this with an anxious expression.

“No, not at all.”

I answered calmly. Eh? Why would I be afraid of Koneko-chan? Rather, how could I be bothered by her lovely cat-ear form? I knew her circumstances, but I couldn’t see a reason why I should be afraid of Koneko-chan.

Hearing that, Koneko-chan looked completely astonished. But, her face looked down.

“…Before the training began, I said something horrible to Ise-senpai.”

Ah, so it’s about the time I spoke care-freely and Koneko-chan got angry.

“You don’t have to worry about that. I was also at fault then. Although I didn’t know your circumstances, I—was an inconsiderate senpai.”

“That isn’t true.”

Koneko-chan grasped my hand harder.

“…I’ll use my nekomata power.”

“—!”

I was surprised by Koneko-chan’s words.

“…I hate what nee-sama became. But as things are now, I may not be able to be useful to everyone. That’s why, I’ll use it.”

She had a resolved look. So she overcame her problem when she met with her sister and declared that she would break off her relationship with her.

“Koneko-chan, you’ll surely overcome your nekomata power in the future and someday become a hell cat.”

“…Hell cat?”

“Yes, it’s written as “cat of the underworld” and read as hell cat[2]! Like this!”

Though it was a method of encouragement even I wasn’t sure about, I declared further!

“I’ll declare this to Koneko-chan too. Even if you run out of control with your nekomata power, I’ll stop you. I want to use this Sekiryuutei power not only for myself, but for my friends too. And even if that scary onee-san comes again, I’ll definitely save you. Since I’ll blow away that nee-chan with a punch, you don’t need to be scared.”

That was my best encouragement. Because I’m unfortunately an idiot, I couldn’t give any smarter words than this. That’s why, if it comes to it, I’ll risk my life and save this girl.

“…You really are a gentle Sekiryuutei.”

She seemed to murmur something, but I didn’t hear it. I think I heard “gentle”, but…

By the way, your cheeks were a deep red, Koneko-chan. Why? Was I making an ero-face again?

Part 3[edit]

—It was the appointed time.

We had gathered at the dining floor and were waiting for the starting time.

Then, an announcement streamed through the store.

[It is now time to begin. Furthermore, the time limit for this game will be a blitz-style of three hours. Then without further ado, game start.]

Game start!

Wait, blitz!? So they decided that to give it a short time limit! So there were also cases like this! So this is why they gave us strategy time before this. It was because they change the rules every time, huh. The Rating Games are profound. Buchou stood up from her seat and spoke with an expression filled with fighting spirit.

“Your instructions are just as we agreed on before. Ise and Koneko, and Yuuto and Xenovia will split into two separate groups. Ise and Koneko will advance through the store interior. Yuuto and Xenovia will advance forward via the parking garage. Gasper will transform into many bats and do surveillance and reporting inside the store. According to the condition of your progress, me, Akeno and Asia will go by the route of Ise’s group.”

We listened to Buchou’s instructions and we fitted communication-use microphones in all of our ears.

“Now then, my cute servant devils! We won’t lose again! This time, we’ll win!”

[Yes!]

Everyone was filled with fighting spirit. Naturally! We can’t lose like that again! We’ll win! For sure!

“Then, Xenovia, let’s go.”

“Yes, Kiba.”

Kiba and Xenovia headed out first. They rushed out from the dining floor and headed down the path that connected to the parking garage. According to Kiba, it was confirmed that there were cars in the parking lot. However, they seemed to be mere imitations. So charging using the car was apparently impossible.

Now then, we were next to leave after Kiba and Xenovia.

“Koneko-chan, let’s go.”

“Yes.”

Me and Koneko-chan left that place behind and headed out. Koneko-chan had already told everyone that she would use her power.

Buchou’s reading was this. She predicted that the enemy would read our movements as following.

I would burst into the base while avoiding battle as much as possible. In order to promote myself to [Queen].

The quick-witted Kiba and Xenovia would move together and go around back through the parking garage to the base. There they would disturb the enemy’s formation and attract the attention of the enemy. In order to promote to [Queen], they would quickly distract and lead the enemy away from their base. When I became [Queen], everyone would temporarily pull out and then attack once again. Buchou would also move out at this time.

In any case, making me the Sekiryuutei promote to [Queen] was considered most important—or so it would seem.

Buchou assumed that Kaichou would read us like this, and so did the opposite instead.

I was moving forward just as Kaichou would predict. They would also receive an attack. But, our true main offence was Kiba and Xenovia. It wasn’t a diversion, but a genuine attack. Instead, I would be the feint.

Since the opponent would aim at me and send out several assassins, Buchou predicted that the area around the [King] would be short-staffed. Of course, assassins would also be sent after the parking garage group, but we expected that it wasn’t secured that much and would be assaulted by Kiba and Xenovia.

Meanwhile, we would aim at the [King] and claim checkmate!

The tactic for using my Sekiryuutei power was different. This time, I wasn’t playing an active Power-role. Since I was a first-most member of Buchou’s family. I have to combine my power with everyone else’s.

“Ise, good luck.”

“Ise-san! Do your best! Don’t lose!”

“Ufufu, I expect to see your cool side.”

Buchou, Asia and Akeno-san all had high expectations of me! Uooooh! I have to show my good side! Wait, even if I fight, they’d only be able to see it later from the recorded videos…

Me and Koneko-chan advanced at a subtle pace that was neither quite running or walking.

Since sound echoed in the store interior, the opponent would be able to judge our distance from them if we ran. Moreover, the store interior was a horizontally long shopping mall that extended in a straight line towards both ends. We had no choice but to advance while concealing ourselves beneath cover.

Well, even if we called it a big department store, it wouldn’t take even ten minutes to walk from end to end. We moved while being attentive of that.

…Hmm. There were no enemies in sight. Five minutes had already passed since the game began, but because we were moving forward while being on alert, we’d only progressed through a quarter of the place.

We appeared to be evading battle, while we were actually acting as a diversion. I was nervous.

Then, next to me, Koneko-chan—grew cat ears on her head!

Those ears moved with a PIKO-PIKO! What’s more, she even grew a tail! What deadly cuteness! Strange. I was this excited!? Even though I didn’t have a loli-fetish, did I have a beast loli-fetish!? Koneko-chan’s nekomata-mode was deadly cute!

Koneko-chan pointed somewhere far away with her finger and spoke.

“…They’re moving. There are two people straight ahead moving towards us.”

“You can tell?”

“…Yes. Because I released a part of senjutsu in my current state, I can read the flow of spirit fairly well. Naturally, I can’t grasp the fine details of it, but…”

I see. But, were those cat ears like sensors? How incredibly handy.

This is the senjutsu which can read the spirit of one’s entire surroundings! Thinking about it, nekomatas can understand everything that happens to a certain degree through smell, after all. Since she’s a cat, her nose was better than devils like me with a human base.

“…How long until we meet up with those guys who are heading towards us?”

“…At this pace, most likely within ten minutes.”

—Ten minutes, huh.

We had better prepare ourselves. Should I use my Sacred Gear normally? Or should I use Balance Breaker? I wavered between them, but I still didn’t know what kinds of abilities the opponents’ had.

My strong point was—my simple physical strength that I prided myself on. I barely had any magic. Even if I increased my magic power with my Sacred Gear, I would quickly run out of gas…Even if I had strong power, if I mistakenly used it, I would instantly lose!

…I was always in a dangerous situation. I had to bear at least that in mind.

Koneko-chan was looking at me seriously. Was it my imagination that her cheeks were red?

“…No. Ise-senpai wears a warrior's face when it’s important. Even though you usually have a lewd look…”

…Seriously? Did I really have that kind of lewd face normally? W-Well, it’s because I’m having erotic delusions everyday, after all…

As I was touching my face with my hand—.

“—!”

Koneko-chan suddenly looked up at the ceiling ahead of us.

“…Above!”

What, what? As I followed the gaze of the surprised Koneko-chan—.

Stretching straight up to the ceiling was a rope—no, a line! Descending from the ceiling using that Tarzan-like rope was—.

“—Hyoudou! The first attack is ours!”

It was Saji! He prepared to attack me while positioning himself for a knee kick! Moreover, there was someone on Saji’s back!

I quickly guarded using my gauntlet as a shield!

Dogon!

The impact of the combined force of the momentum of their fall + the kick + the weight of two people was transmitted to my body through my gauntlet!

My stance shook from the force of the attack, but I somehow recovered and I prepared to advance on the—enemy in front of me.

“Yo, Hyoudou.”

Saji had appeared. Next to him, the one who had been riding on his back was—a girl. A member of the student council, huh. I think she was a first-year student. She often acted together with Saji from behind him.

Saji’s right arm—had a black snake wound around it several times. Its shape was different from before! There had just been a deformed lizard head there before. Did his Sacred Gear change!? …Wait, there was a black snake wound around my gauntlet on my left arm as well, and it was connected to Saji’s Sacred Gear. He must have put it on me when he attacked before!

There was also a line connecting to my right hand, but…it wasn’t connected to Saji’s Sacred Gear. Rather, it seemed to be tied to something far away. Was this line connected all the way to the enemy base?

It was weird, but it didn’t feel like my power was being sucked away.

Saji noticed that I was looking at his Sacred Gear, and spoke while smiling bitterly.

“Well, I did some training. The result of that is this. So, when I had stuck a line in the ceiling and rose up in order to observe the store interior from above, I saw two people hiding under cover further away. Since you didn’t notice me, I used that brief chance to do a Tarzan attack.”

I see. So that’s how you arrived here. Yeah, I understand somehow.

If I had gotten here first, I would have done the same to you. I understand somehow.

You also think that, right? Hey, Saji.

We’re similar, you and I. From head to toe, we’re similar. When it comes to our lewdness, our earnestness towards our masters, our idiocy, and our tendency to plunge straight forward only.

We really are too similar. That’s why I understood it right away. That you and I will fight today.

“I also trained. I spent almost all my summer vacation being chased by a dragon!”

Sorry, Saji. I will beat you and advance forward. Winning today is what’s most important for us.

I have to get closer to Vali. He will aim at me at some point. At that time, he may cause harm to Buchou, Asia and the others.

For the sake of preventing that, I will become strong! I can’t stop at a place like this!

Yes, at that moment when I was filled up with fighting spirit. An unbelievable announcement reached the ears of me and Koneko-chan.

[One of Rias Gremory-sama’s “Bishops”, retired.]

—! What!? Which one! Hadn’t the game just started!? Asia was with Buchou, so—. Saji grinned.

“The one that was taken out is most likely Gasper-kun.”

…Gasper was taken out? That was too fast, wasn’t it? Wasn’t he transformed into bats and moving around the inside of the store for the sake of surveillance?

“Gasper was caught.”

Saji continued as I thought dubiously.

“We were contacted and told that Gasper-kun’s Sacred Gear was sealed according to the rules. As such, it was inevitable that he would use his vampire powers instead. [He will change into bats and observe the situation within the store]. This is what Kaichou thought. So we utilised our base.”

Your base? That was the grocery store. Saji continued further.

“First, one of our members moves suspiciously at the Sitri base. Then, Gasper-kun who was doing surveillance would naturally be interested and follow them, you know? Then, when we showed more suspicious behaviour, he would call the other bats he had launched and start to observe with several of them. When all the many bats had gathered, that’s when it happened. If something happens to the bats when all of them are gathered, they revert back to Gasper’s body. Near the place where the bats had assembled together was—garlic, a vampire’s greatest dislike. Our base is a grocery store on the first floor of the west side. There were large quantities of garlic left there. It was easy to catch Gasper with that.”

So they captured and took him out while he was incapacitated by the smell of garlic! No way! So there was such a way to deal damage to him!

“It’s pretty simple, right? But even if I say that, this method of taking him out won’t work again. Kaichou said that, no matter how much training he did, he still wouldn’t be close to overcoming his aversion to garlic yet. It was a lucky coincidence that we had a base at such a location, but even so, a defeat is a defeat.”

…So you’re saying it was his blind spot? No, no matter how effective it is on you, you should be able to withstand garlic to a point, Gaspeeeeeeeeeeeeer! From the start, that joke is too overdone already!

Gya-suke! After this, we’re doing practice to make you overcome garlic! I’ll replace your normal food with garlic rice and garlic toast! You can’t just withdraw from the front lines without doing sufficient surveillance!

Having gotten mad, I tried to activate my Sacred Gear, but—.

[Partner, doubling is dangerous. Now that you’re connected to that guy’s Sacred Gear, you’ll have part of your power stolen by him if you double.]

—! That’s right, Saji’s Sacred Gear has the ability to suck in energy from the thing it is connected to. Now that my Sacred Gear and his Sacred Gear are connected, doubling is dangerous!

[To detach this line, you have no choice but to blow it away by using the after-shocks from activating Balance Breaker.]

Damn it! My hand was forced right from the outset! —I’ll activate Balance Breaker and blow away this line!

“Start!”

[Count Down!]

The time until Balance Breaker was displayed on the jewel and the count had begun. Now that it’s like this, I can’t use my normal Sacred Gear abilities! I couldn’t use either doubling or transfer until I transformed into Balance Breaker!

For two minutes, I had no choice but to evade Saji’s attacks!

This was a short, decisive battle. We’ll use the momentum of activating Balance Breaker to continue on all the way to the [King]! And the likely candidates for doing that were Kiba and Xenovia. I’ll act as a diversion and attract the enemy here!

In order to get some distance, I tried to temporarily draw back from here, but—I was pulled by the line and lost my balance! As I thought, Saji’s Sacred Gear really is troublesome!

“Are you running away, Hyoudou!?”

In an instant, the space between us was shortened and—Don! A kick was delivered to my abdomen!

Gahoh! My upper body was pulled down by Saji’s kick. But, I had already put strength into my abs and avoided the worst of the damage. Hehehe, it’s because I properly did my basic training. I had confidence in my abs!

“Heh, even though I kicked quite seriously there. You also seem to not have done incomplete training.”

Having not given the damage he had thought he would, Saji smiled bitterly.

It’s impossible to run away here! Then, I’ll just attack from the front!

I gave up on getting some distance from Saji and suddenly headed towards him! I wasn’t that good at fist-fighting with my body, but I had accumulated plenty of basic training! I had made a body just for the sake of close combat! All that’s left is to believe in my own body!

I clutched my fist and tried to strike at Saji, but—. Saji fired a line at me from his right arm! Does he intend to suck away my power!? I was on guard, but the line went passed me and attached itself to a certain store’s light.

“Nimura! Put on the sunglasses we got at that store just before!”

Saji and Saji’s kouhai took out sunglasses from their pockets and put them on! What were they—. Just as I wondered this, I immediately understood the meaning behind it.

Kah!

The store lighting issued a blazing light and burned me and Koneko-chan’s vision! Damn it! They’ve blinded us!

[They got you. He caused a burst of light for just an instant by connecting his line to the light and sending magic power into it.]

Don’t explain it so calmly, Ddraig! It’s no good! I can’t open my eyes—.

Dogon!

“Guhah!”

Once again, I received an impact in my abdomen! Because I didn’t strengthen my abs this time, I received the damage completely! Then, while my body was hunched over, I received another blow from Saji to my back!

Ooooooooooow! The pain was welling up inside me, and then my jaw—.

Bagan!

An uppercut-like attack from Saji sharply shot through my jaw!

From such a considerable impact, I fell face-down on the floor.

…Kuh…He got me. He had completely stolen the beginning…Moreover, he gave me considerable damage.

My teeth rattled from the impact to my jaw. I had also gotten a cut in my mouth from it. The taste of blood spread within my mouth. My eyesight was restored and—. While still face down on the ground, I looked up and…

I saw Saji point his hand at me and trying to fire a magic bullet at me! He intended to deliver the finishing blow right away! I quickly got up and rolled over to the side!

Don!

A big hole was made in the floor from the magic blast he fired! What power! It was completely a finishing blow move! It’s dangerous! I was going to exit the stage before I activated Balance Breaker. I wouldn’t be able to say anything about what happened to Gasper then!

“…Not bad, Saji.”

“Hyoudou. I’m serious. I'm going to seriously defeat you, the Sekiryuutei.”

—. Saji’s eyes were filled with resolution. I could tell that his seriousness was tremendous.

Then, Saji raised his hand and tried to fire another magic blast.

Don!

He fired another high-volume mass of magic! The size of it wasn’t considerable, though. Mostly like, he was following the rule that said that not to damage the building as much as possible.

But, the attack was powerful enough to take down an opponent like me!

I dodged, and the store I was standing at before was destroyed by the blast of magic.

However, how did Saji create such an attack? I had heard that he had low magic like me. Yet, how was he able to release such power?

At that moment, I opened my eyes widely. Because Saji’s Sacred Gear had its line connected to his chest— to his heart.

—The source of Saji’s continuous attacks was his life-force!?

“Saji! You! Are you converting your own life-force…into magic power!?”

“That’s right. With my low magic, this is the only way for me to shoot powerful attacks. I convert my life-force into magic power using my Sacred Gear’s ability. It’s just as you see. I’m [risking my life], as it were.”

“Do you really intend to die…!?”

Saji—smiled with a serious look.

“Yeah, I intend to die. I intend to beat you with the intention of dying. —Do you understand our frustration, having our dream laughed at! Do you understand our desperation as we believe in our dream? This battle is being broadcast across the entire Underworld. We have to show the seriousness of the Sitri group in front of those guys that laughed at us!”

Suddenly, I remembered that scene.

—Yes, this is similar to the time where I marched into Buchou’s engagement party.

I didn’t consider my own life and simply poured my first into rescuing Buchou. I just thought of helping Buchou, even if I died. This battle overlapped with that scene.

Saji, you’re the same as me from back then.

As me and Saji were going through a fierce battle of dodging and drawing near at that time, Koneko-chan and Saji’s kouhai had started attacking and defending against each other next to us.

Koneko-chan was superior in hand-to-hand fighting. Even so, though, the female opponent was hanging on well and the battle was intensifying.

However, after Koneko-chan’s fist grazed her opponent’s cheek, a change occurred. The body of Saji’s kouhai shook just a little. Her eyes also seemed to be swimming just a bit. Did she receive damage from the shockwave of Koneko-chan’s fist?

Koneko-chan didn’t miss the opening! She clad her fist in a pale white aura and drove it into her opponent’s chest!

Bang!

A good-sounding noise rang through the surroundings. At that instant, Saji’s kouhai dropped to her knees!

High school dxd v5 287.jpg

“…I drove a fist clad with spirit energy into you. Since damage was also dealt to the blood vessels flowing inside you at the time, you won’t be able to build up magic anymore. Furthermore, the damage also pierced through your insides…You can’t move anymore.”

So said Koneko-chan!

Sensei had said this before.

[Koneko’s true fighting style, which mixes senjutsu and hand-to-hand combat, will certainly become a weapon. An attack that not only deals damage to the opponent’s body, but also their blood vessels that circulate within their body will break the enemy’s aura from its foundation. However, if she becomes consumed by power, she must stop using it immediately. Senjutsu can read and handle spirit energy, but it also takes in the malice and ill will that floats in the world. Koneko’s sister became like that because she absorbed too much malice as well.]

This was Koneko-chan’s fist shot! She fired a blow filled with spirit energy. It dealt external damage, of course, but its main destructive power was—the damage it dealt within the body! It sent spirit energy that was charged within her fist into the opponent’s body and dealt damage to their internal organs!

Even if the damage from the punch itself didn’t penetrate, as long as the fired spirit energy destroyed their interior—the effect was enormous!

So I saw in some book. I wasn’t trained in internal organs!

A punch that dealt damage to the interior! So this was the attack that Koneko-chan had sealed. If she uses it well, she may be the servant with the most effective attack among us.

“…Saji-senpai, I’m sorry.”

After she let just those few words leak out, the kouhai’s shone and she disappeared from here. She had retired and been transferred away because she had sustained serious damage.

[One of Sona Sitri-sama’s “Pawns”, retired.]

We heard another announcement. With this, each team had lost one person.

“…I have become a hellcat. I won’t lose!”

Now then, since Koneko-chan has decided while looking cool, I have to exert myself as a senpai as well!

However, I was having a hard time with just dodging Saji’s magic bullets. I would receive considerable damage if those even grazed my body. With that much magic power loaded into them, it was quite considerable stuff. It was literally with his spirit and soul!

“Haahaa…Haahaa…”

But, Saji’s exhaustion from repeatedly firing that magic was also quite severe. He won’t be able to keep it up!

“…Ise-senpai, I’ll help.”

Koneko-chan tried to come over.

“No, Koneko-chan. Please let me do this just between me and Saji.”

When I refused her help, Koneko-chan shook her head.

“That’s no good. This is a team battle. Let’s work together.”

“Yeah, it’s just as you say, Koneko-chan. But, while he was fighting against me, Saji didn’t make any direct attacks on Koneko-chan. If he wanted to, he could have attached the line to Koneko-chan and sucked up your power. Why do you think he didn’t do that even so?”

Koneko-chan couldn’t answer my question, but Saji answered it while giving a complacent smile.

“…Sorry, Toujou Koneko-chan. I want to win against Hyoudou, against the Sekiryuutei one-on-one. Didn’t I tell you? Our dream is serious. We will build a school. We will construct a school without discrimination in the Underworld. And I will become a teacher…That is my dream…This battle is being broadcasted across the entire Underworld. That’s why this has meaning. I, a [Pawn]! Will win against the same [Pawn], Sekiryuutei Hyoudou Issei!! I will defeat the Sekiryuutei! I’ll win and say it boldly! That I will become a teacher!”

Saji was serious. His gaze was strong and had neither shadow nor gloom anywhere in it.

I also spoke to Koneko-chan.

“And that’s how it is. If I just run away from his challenge, I’d be uncool, right? If I don’t do it—. That’s why, I have to do it. Because I’m his friend, I have no choice but to fight him seriously. I have to do it! Otherwise, I won’t be able to show my face to Buchou!”

Yes, we were similar. From head to toe, we were similar. —We’re both unskilled idiots.

After hearing that, Koneko-chan put away her fist and got some distance away from us.

““Thank you.””

Me and Saji thanked Koneko-chan at the same time.

But, why did Saji connect a line to not only my Sacred Gear, but also me directly on my right arm?

[He wants to prevent your Sacred Gear’s doubling ability from being restored and then flowing into him at the same time as he sucks away your own power. He knows that, if he sucks away both your own power and the Sacred Gear’s power at the same time, his body won’t be able to take it and will blow up. He plans to stop the Balance Breaker countdown and return you to your normal form instead.]

What a complex Sacred Gear!

“—This is going nowhere, huh.”

As Saji sighed, he gathered a mass of magic power unlike anything until now between his hands! What size! It will affect the entire surroundings!

As I felt that, that magic power was compressed and shrunk. Then, a magic bullet the size of a softball was created between Saji’s hands.

“With this, it won’t affect the surrounding area, and it will completely destroy just your body.”

Having made that, Saji—was already breathing heavily. An attack filled with all his might. That was what he had created.

He intended to kill me with that. Saji smiled a bit.

“I was jealous of you. The pride of your master and senpai. The Sekiryuutei. Everyone knows about you. But, even though I’m the same [Pawn] as you, I have nothing. Nothing! That’s why, I obtained pride and self-confidence. I will kill you, the Sekiryuutei!!”

That was Saji’s yell. I didn’t know. To think that he saw me like that…

But, I—will overcome your dream! I had my own, Buchou had her own dream! For the sake of fulfilling, we will risk our lives, together!

Tooon!

Saji finally shot the attack filled with all his might! I tried to avoid it, but—.

Saji released the line that was attached to my Boosted Gear on his end and then fired it towards my foot!

My Boosted Gear and the floor at my foot were tied to each other by the line! I tried to pull it off, but the line was too firm and hard, and I couldn’t get the Booster Gear free from the floor!

This is bad! At this rate, I won’t be able to avoid the approaching magic bullet! Balance Breaker would activate in just a little more, but it still wouldn’t be in time!

I had no choice but to resolve myself! The magic bullet hit me!

Doooooooooooooooooooooooooon!

The moment it hit, the magic bullet burst open and its aura spread throughout the surroundings!

At that instant.

[Divide!]

A white gauntlet appeared on my right arm and caught Saji’s attack.

…I received half of the damage. But, the other half was annihilated by the Hakuryuukou’s power. My body couldn’t endure anymore…But, I won’t receive any more damage!

“—! My magic bullet was halved!?”

Saji was shocked.

“I was able to tentatively activate this power during my seclusion in the mountains. But, it has several conditions. First, the chances of activating it are less than ten percent. This is close to a gamble. Second. This also requires resolution. It’s my life-force. Regardless of whether the activation succeeds or fails, my life-force is shaved off when I try to use it. It’s a pretty scary gamble, isn’t it?”

My gamble had succeeded. But my life-force was shaved off. With its duty complete, the white gauntlet immediately disappeared from my right arm. I can still use it, but I was unable to keep it materialised.

However, thanks to that, it’s complete. The Boosted Gear’s countdown—was finished!

“I’m also risking my life. I can’t stop at a place like this. Let’s gooooooooo! Shine! Boosted Geaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!”

In response to my cry, my Sacred Gear’s voice rang out!

[Welsh Dragon Balance Breaker!!!!!!!!]

A dazzling red and extra-large aura surrounded me and changed into armour.

At the same time, overflowing power welled up inside me.

—About ten minutes had passed since the game began.

I was wearing the [Boosted Gear Scale Mail].


Translator's notes and references[edit]

  1. Fuku-buchou: Club vice-president, referring to Akeno-san.
  2. By written, it means the kanji used are 冥界猫, which means "underworld cat", while it is read as the English phrase ヘルキャット (hell cat).
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