High School DxD:Volume 9 Life 2
Life.2 Arrival at Kyoto
It was roughly ten minutes after the bullet train had left Tokyo station.
“For me, this is actually the first time taking the bullet train.”
Matsuda’s face was full of excitement as he sat on the seat in front, chattering away. I still have recollections about the first time I took the bullet train. Still, it was in early childhood when I didn’t know anything, so actually, there’s not much to it...
I was sitting on the last row of seats, alone. The seat beside me was empty, while Matsuda and Motohama were in front. Across the aisle were Xenovia and Irina’s seats. The scenery outside the windows was changing rapidly due to the high speed of the train. Over there, Xenovia and Irina were happily chatting away as they looked out the window. Although the bullet train felt rather fresh to me, it didn’t leave me an impression as deep as the train to the Underworld had. How should I put it? Perhaps it was because I saw with my own eyes the process of transferring to another world, which gave a feeling of entering a different dimension.
Xenovia came over to me and sat on the empty seat. Her first words were:
“Ise, I want to tell you something.”
“What is it, Xenovia?”
“This time, I did not bring Durandal. I am unarmed.”
Oh, oh. She suddenly confessed something incredible. Was it really true?
“You didn’t bring Durandal? Why?”
“Yes, I think it’s the alchemists belonging to the Orthodox Church. They discovered a technique to suppress Durandal’s offensive aura. Hence, Durandal has been sent over to them via channels belonging to Heaven.”
The Orthodox Church was another major faction within the Church, but they did not help much in the Excalibur recovery affair... Xenovia laughed ironically.
“Even the Orthodox Church is coming out to help. Looks like it must be due to the efforts of the Seraphim under Michael-sama’s leadership. However, it is still a rare opportunity to have those alchemists reforge the sword.”
Due to the current alliance, it seemed like the conflicts between Christian factions have also lessened. Xenovia continued.
“To suppress Durandal’s offensive aura without diminishing its power as a Holy Sword, this is really something that caught my interest. However, it is truly shameful for me to be unable to control it properly despite being the owner of Durandal... How can I call myself a Knight? Am I better off dead...? Oh, Lord...”
Ah, she’s starting to self-abuse. Really, doing this right off the bat.
“I understand. If anything happens, just borrow Ascalon from me.”
“Yes. Much appreciated for always lending me this sword.”
“It’s fine. Though I also need it sometimes, but considering the current situation, it’s much more efficient to lend it to you.”
“But then, Ise really should train in sword fighting. Don’t waste your gifts.”
“I have. When Kiba is your training partner, your sword skills definitely improve.”
Finishing the conversation, Xenovia returned to her original seat. After that, I looked outside for a while, but then I heard light high-pitched screams coming from the front. I looked ahead, and it turned out Kiba was coming from the train car in front of ours. Once he saw me, he walked over to my side.
“Eh...? W-Went over to Hyoudou?”
“H-How can it be...? Kiba-kun is going to that perverted territory...”
“Hyoudou x Kiba must be an undeniable truth!”
The girls began to mourn! Is my area a quarantine!? Damn! Is it wrong to have a handsome friend!? Although I once hated Kiba due to the unfairness of treatment, he is my important comrade now. A reason to hate him now...of course it still exists! Handsome guys truly are an unforgivable existence!
“Can I sit beside you?”
While I was occupied with my thoughts, Kiba had already taken the empty seat beside me.
I leaned my face against the window frame, narrowing my eyes as I asked.
“I wanted to know your itinerary once you get there. So that there’s a plan in case of emergencies.”
“Ah, after all we are in different classes. Where do you plan to go tomorrow?”
“We’re starting our tour from Sanjuusangen-dou. What about you?”
“From the temple of Kiyomizu-dera. And then Ginkaku-ji and Kinkaku-ji. Though these three places are a bit distant from one another, if we put in the effort to finish visiting the most famous places in the first two days, then we can take it easy during the third day and advance from Tenryuu-ji.”
“Tenryuu-ji? Our class is planning on going there on the third day too. We may very well meet at the Togetsu bridge. What about the last day?”
“Just end it by casually walking around the Kyoto station and getting souvenirs. By the way, Irina mentioned about wanting to go on the Kyoto Tower.”
The schedules for each class were prepared beforehand and handed in to the teachers. The students were even required to create travel guides for their own class to use. After exchanging details about our sightseeing plans, we changed topics.
“Ise-kun, did you join the activity with the various Maou-samas?”
“Ah, ah, it was an activity that totally revamped my image of the Underworld.”
A few days ago, Buchou and I participated in a mysterious Gremory family ritual. In the banquet that night, Buchou’s parents were very happy and lavished me with praise. At the banquet, there were also things like banners proclaiming ‘Congratulations young mistress, young master!’. I felt like there was something I didn’t know about going on behind my back. But anyway, it can’t be bad, so I’m not going to be particularly concerned.
“Actually, after the ritual finished, I even received Beelzebub-sama’s personal special suggestion.”
I changed the subject and said to Kiba.
“Yes, it’s about the compatibility between the characteristics of the Pawn and the Sekiryuutei’s power. So far, when using the Sekiryuutei’s power, I have been unable to fully unleash the Queen’s potential.”
Beelzebub-sama’s special suggestion was this; though promotion to Queen increases overall power, the combination with the Sekiryuutei’s power exceeds my current limits. That is why I couldn’t properly control the flow of dragon power. Overall, what I got out of it was this; because there are suddenly more things to attend to, it made me unable to adjust the distribution and flow of power properly. Sairaorg-san also seemed to understand the situation after a brief exchange.
It was true. Though the Queen will amplify power greatly, increase speed and power up the Dragon Shot, this does not automatically mean they can be controlled easily. Let alone the Rook, I haven’t even mastered the Knight or the Bishop’s powers. Even when my speed and demonic power increased, I often depended on charging straight ahead in the heat of the moment, and this sometimes led to tragic results. Speaking of the Pawn, its greatest characteristic was Promotion, so leveling up was the natural thing to do.
“He said to me that I should master the Rook and the Knight first to best bring out the Sekiryuutei’s power. The best way to master the flow of power would be to focus on applying the Sekiryuutei’s power into the areas of strength and speed.”
“Is that why you used the Rook against Sairaorg-san?”
“Ah, yes. Compared to the Queen, it was much easier to control. I could clearly feel the transmission of power into offence and defence. I think I will first focus on each of the traits of the pieces and apply the Sekiryuutei’s power flexibly.”
Hearing that, Kiba laughed.
“To suddenly test ideas out when sparring with Sairaorg-san is really like your style. Ise-kun will become stronger again. You really work hard towards exploring your own power.”
“Even if I possess great power, if I can’t control it freely, I won’t be able to defeat Sairaorg-san or Vali. So, after watching the spar between Sairaorg-san and me, what do you think?”
“To be honest, for a Devil from Buchou’s generation to fight evenly with you in a pure contest of power and to dominate so overwhelmingly, he is truly a great threat. And with bare hands too. Among the young Devils, no, all upper-class Devils, Sairaorg-san must be the only one who can destroy Ise-kun’s armour unarmed. In fact, my own defense would be like paper to him. Furthermore, his speed was amazing and he clearly wasn’t going all out. Not only me, but all the other servants will be critically injured if they receive a direct hit from him.”
That fellow gave his frank opinion as usual. That is why I trust him so much.
“After we get back from the trip, let’s start our training to fight against Sairaorg once again.”
“Yes. By the way, could you let me know when you go buy souvenirs?”
“Because I think there is no meaning in trying to hide what you are buying.”
“Ah, I see. Got it, then keep in touch on the last day.”
Having made these arrangements, Kiba got up from his seat and returned to the train car where his class was. The conversations with Xenovia and Kiba had ended. Asia and her group were happily chatting away. The two idiots Matsuda and Motohama were going ‘...zzzz...’ and were fast asleep. I stretched my back and closed my eyes. ...There was still some time till we arrived in Kyoto. I decided to delve into the depths of the Sacred Gear. I’ve done this numerous times already, like after the Devil’s work, when taking a bath, and also before sleeping every night. Plus on the weekends. Each time, there was only one goal; to talk to the past Sekiryuutei seniors!
Closing my eyes and entrusting my consciousness to Ddraig, I dived into the depths of my Boosted Gear.
...Leaving the darkness, I arrived in a white space. A vast, pure white space. On the various round tables and chairs, the past Sekiryuutei were sitting with their heads high and blank expressions on their faces.
“Greetings all. It’s me again.”
Even if I tried to make conversation using this kind of cheerful manner, they likely wouldn’t respond. Though there was a youthful senior with a similar age and body build as me...there was no response from him either. From above, I heard the voice of Ddraig.
[Among the past Sekiryuutei, he is the closest to your age. He was a real genius who awakened Juggernaut Drive very early. However, he was drunk on power and was carelessly killed by another Longinus wielder.]
“Not by the Hakuryuukou?”
[When drunk on power, they will rampage even if the opponent is not the Hakuryuukou. There are also others like that among the Hakuryuukou. Juggernaut Drive can allow a person to become a tyrant for a period of time...but no matter the era, tyrants will not prosper for long. It is something that cannot last. This is the truth.]
Ddraig’s tone of voice sounded like he was talking about himself. After all, he used to be drunk on power too.
“Still, they must have had things they treasured.”
Though my Sekiryuutei seniors haven’t spoken a word, it must be true. They were only swayed by power. It was the same for me... If I were to feel like I was about to lose something precious, I would seek power. And this would activate Juggernaut Drive.
“I, who am about to awaken, am the Heavenly Dragon who has stolen the principles of Domination from God...?”
“I’m not going to chant it all. Too horrifying. It’s just something I don’t understand. What is the Infinite? And Dream whatever, I don’t know. And what sneer and despise?”
It was just as I raised questions about some key words in the Juggernaut Drive chant.
[Infinite refers to Ophis, while Dream means Great Red. Sneering at Ophis and despising Great Red, who is also a red Dragon. It’s a mystery who came up with this chant. I wonder if it was God himself?]
—! A third voice!? I turned my head around to find a young woman with long wavy blonde hair, as well as a slim and trim figure, standing there. She was a beautiful lady wearing a full-body dress with a high slit! ...Facial expressions! She is different from all these past Sekiryuutei! Full of smiles, she looked at me.
[Yes~, Ddraig. It’s been a while.]
The lady casually greeted.
[Partner, this is Elsha, foremost among the past Sekiryuutei. Of all the female wielders, she is definitely the strongest.]
The strongest female Sekiryuutei! Come to think of it, I have never seen her before! Where did she come from?
[Your face is incredulous towards me? Among all the lingering memories, there are only two exceptions. I am one of them. Well, even within the Sacred Gear, I am hidden very deep, so I usually don’t come out here much.]
[...I thought you and Belzard were never coming out again.]
[Don’t say something like that, Ddraig. Belzard and I are always silently supporting you from the depths. We used to be partners after all. Anyway, he is going to lose his consciousness soon...]
The lady showed a slightly lonely expression.
[Belzard seems to have taken an interest in the current Sekiryuutei, so I came.]
“By the way, who is Belzard?”
Ddraig answered my question.
[He ranks up there with Elsha. Belzard is the strongest male Sekiryuutei. He’s truly a strong one who even defeated the Hakuryuukou twice.]
“Twice! That’s super amazing!”
Something like that can happen. To occur twice in one life. Elsha-san spoke again.
[Anyway, I would like you to have this.]
What she took out was—a box with a keyhole.
[You already received a ‘key’ from the current Beelzebub, right?]
Smack... Suddenly, with a flash of light, a small key appeared in my hand. Without involving my conscious will, the key popped out by itself. Was this the ‘key’ I received from Beelzebub-sama? Elsha-san smiled and said.
[The so-called ‘key’ isn’t literal. The box and keys are just metaphors to make things easier to understand. What is contained in this box are the delicate possibilities of the Sekiryuutei. Originally, it is something that cannot be opened nor recklessly faced. However, Belzard says ‘Perhaps you can do it’. Of course, because it is you who has received the Evil Pieces, that is why we feel you will be able to do it.]
Suddenly, Elsha-san began to laugh!
[Fufufufu! Oppai Dragon! Chichiryutei! I watched it with Belzard together. After coming to this place, it was the first time he and I were able to laugh to our hearts’ content.]
Elsha-san was laughing uncontrollably. ...How embarrassing! My seniors saw everything!
[Don’t be shy. And Ddraig, please don’t get depressed. Lighten up a bit. There has never been a Sekiryuutei this fun. By blowing apart that ominous Juggernaut Drive chant, the Oppai Dragon song really made Belzard and me happy. Since whether it was Belzard or I, neither of us came to a proper end...]
Elsha-san handed the box over to me.
[So he and I, we decided to believe in you.]
I took the box and inserted the ‘key’ into the keyhole... A perfect fit. It must have been made as a set.
[You and the current Hakuryuukou are unique existences. Not only competing between the two of you, but each having your own set of targets. How should I put it, it makes the rest of us look like fools. Please open it. But remember to take responsibility and not give up halfway. No matter what happens, you must accept it joyfully.]
After hearing Elsha-san’s words, I turned the key—and with a click the box unlocked. In that instant, I was enveloped by a blinding light—
...Opening my eyes, I was on the bullet train once more.
...Was that a dream? Ddraig?
[No, you did receive the box from Elsha and opened it.]
...Is that so? Then, what was in the box?
Hey, hey, hey! Hmm! I don’t feel anything different about my body. How’s the Sacred Gear?
[No change either... However, I noticed something flying out from the box...]
...Whaaaaaaat!? I frantically searched around—but found nothing! What the heck!? Did my possibilities just fly away!? If they disappeared like this, that is no joking matter! Not only would I have failed Elsha-san, but I would be too ashamed to face Azazel-sensei and Beelzebub-sama again! This was such a rare opportunity to receive aid!
[Don’t worry. It is something that belongs to you, so it will surely come back to you. Your fate is in your hands.]
Even if you say that...
“Mmm, oh, oh, oh! Oppai!”
“Oooaah! Matsuda! What are you doing!? This is mine! What is so fun about a male chest!?”
...Sitting in front of me, Matsuda and Motohama were wrestling with each other. Really! Who wants to get touchy-feely with idiots!? What the heck is going on!?
“Ha! What on earth am I doing...? This sudden urge for breasts...and then...”
“Matsuda, has your breast deficiency reached such a level...? OK, tonight, we will be holding an ecchi DVD festival in the hotel room! All the equipment is packed in the luggage!”
I heard it and couldn’t help leaning over with interest! What a great thing! We can enjoy super ecchi DVDs at the hotel!
“Oh, oh, Ise! That’s right! OK! Let us watch the titles I bought specifically for this trip: ‘Peachy Bursting Breast Scenery: Kinkaku-ji’ and ‘Fleshy Gigantic Busty Flavours: Ginkaku-ji’!”
Matsuda and I cheer loudly in response to Motohama’s announcement! Oh well, if the contents of the box will return sooner or later, then let’s enjoy breasts first!
“Go die, ecchi trio!”
“So disgusting on the train!”
Are these the voices of the girls in my class? I’ll just ignore them for now.
On the bullet train, it was just as I finished enjoying the seaweed rice balls specially prepared by Asia.
“We are arriving at Kyoto presently.”
The announcement sounded. Oh, oh! We’re there! As the bullet train stopped at the platform, we took our luggage and got off.
My first step in this much anticipated ancient capital! As our eyes were drawn to the sights in the railway station that we had never seen before, Kiryuu directed us to the ticket checkpoint. The roof of the Kyoto station was covered by a huge atrium! Inside the station were many automatic escalators! It was truly a massive railway station! It doesn’t lose to Tokyo at all! As a major sightseeing destination, it was natural that the ancient capital would have built a station on such a massive scale. It was crowded, totally packed!
“Look, Asia! It’s I__tan!”
“Yes, yes! Xenovia! It’s I__tan!”
Xenovia and Asia’s faces were full of excitement as they pointed their fingers everywhere, commenting on every sight. They were really happy.
“I really want to build a spectacular railway station like this in Heaven too.”
Irina, on the other hand, was amusing herself in another direction.
“The meeting point is the ground floor lobby of the hotel. Hey, boys, as well as you two, Asia and Xenovia, and Irina who is daydreaming about the station. If we don’t get there as quickly as possible, we won’t have any time for free activities in the afternoon.”
Taking on the role of coordinator, Kiryuu yelled at us, the boys trio, as well as Asia’s group. After we assembled together, Kiryuu took out the travel guide and confirmed the locations.
“Hmm, the hotel is quite near the station... Just now, we exited from the west checkpoint... Walking in the direction of the bus station, and then taking a right...”
“Come on, let’s just go outside first. Hanging around in a railway station won’t get us anywhere.”
As Matsuda finished his words, Kiryuu’s glasses flashed with a chilling light.
“Matsuda, getting lost in a strange environment is not fun. One person’s poor judgment can lead to many casualties.”
“Is this a battlefield?”
“No, Kiryuu’s opinion is correct, Matsuda. Teamwork is important. We’ll let Kiryuu lead from here. Who knows whether Kyoto has begun to bare its fangs at us?”
Matsuda could only timidly nod and say ‘I understand...’ in response to Xenovia’s persuasive warnings.
A woman’s screams were heard in the station!
A man was making fondling motions furiously, but had been restrained by other male passersby.
“Kyoto isn’t that peaceful after all.”
Motohama exclaimed. That was the truth. Perverts are present no matter where you go.
“OK, got it! Let’s go!”
Under Kiryuu’s leadership, we left the station and set off into the ancient capital.
“Ah, it’s Kyoto Tower!”
Hearing Matsuda's exclamation, everyone looked in that direction. Oh, oh! Directly in front of the station was the tower! So that’s Kyoto Tower! We were all planning to go up the tower on the last day. Matsuda, that fellow, immediately began taking out his camera to take photos. ...It turned out the hotel was just a few minutes walk away. It was also easy to find by following all the other students who wore the same winter uniform as us.
In a distance a few minutes away from the station was a massive high-class hotel. Its name was the ‘Kyoto Sirzechs Hotel’! ...Looks like our Maou-sama’s name was very influential even in the ancient capital. As a side note, also nearby was the ‘Kyoto Serafall Hotel’ under construction. Are you trying to claim all the prime real estate around the Kyoto railway station, Maou-sama!?
The hotel turned out to be run behind the scenes by the Gremory family. Hence, we were able to book rooms at very cheap rates. After showing our student identification to the attendants at the entrance, we were given detailed instructions to the lobby. Matsuda, Motohama and Kiryuu were shocked by the luxurious decor of the hotel.
“Amazing... Is it really fine for the entirety of the second year students to live in such a hotel...?”
Matsuda expressed a very sensible opinion, but this was no ordinary place. The power and influence of the Gremory family cannot be underestimated. On the other hand, Xenovia was much more calm.
“Yes, it’s amazing, but compared to Buchou’s house, it’s still a bit lacking.”
It was true. That one was a real authentic castle. The reason why I wasn’t shocked by the splendor of the hotel was because I had experienced Buchou's home already. Upper-class Devils, they really were quite something. Going inwards a bit from the waiting area, we saw the entrance to the lobby. In that vast and spacious lobby, many of the Kuoh Academy students had already gathered. After the meeting time arrived, each class began to take roll call and confirm their numbers. Everyone sat on the floor of the lobby while listening to the teacher’s announcements. However, Azazel and Rossweisse-san seemed to be discussing something among themselves... Ah, it was Rossweisse-san’s turn, and she stood up in front of the students. What will she be telling us to take note of?
“There is a 100-yen shop in the underground shopping centre of Kyoto. If you need anything, please go there. You can never be too careful with your pocket money. If you start being a big spender in your student years, you will grow up into an unreliable adult. Money is what makes the world flow. If you buy everything you want, you will run out of money soon. So please, settle for the 100-yen shop. The 100-yen shop is Japan’s treasure.”
The 100-yen shop!? What an enthusiastic speech! And she already investigated the locations of all the 100-yen shops!? Rossweisse-san, even though you have fulfilled your basic needs through Japan’s 100-yen shops, you don’t need to be that obsessed! It looks like 100-yen shops have many qualities which the former Valkyrie has fallen for. Admittedly, they are quite cheap. Ah, Azazel-sensei is face-palming. The conversation with Rossweisse-san must have been terrible... As Rossweisse-san hastily ended her speech, another teacher came up and made final clarifications. Starting from day one, Rossweisse-san was very popular with the students. Not only was she a beauty with a serious attitude, but she also had an endearing cluelessness. Both male and female students loved her and called her ‘Rossweisse-chan’.
“—Please take note of the above points. After putting away your luggage in your rooms, it is free activities until 5pm, but please don’t wander too far away. It’s best to stick to the area around the Kyoto railway station. Please be back to your rooms by 5:30.”
Having heard all the final announcements—
The entire second year student body replied so. And thus, we finished with the roll call in the lobby, as well as various reminders about the hotel and the afternoon activities. Everyone took their luggage and received their keys from the attendants at the lobby entrance. The rooms were western style double bedrooms. Since I was the odd man out, I get a room all to myself! It will be great. Y-you see, even on an outing, adolescence is a delicate time for boys, and every day, a certain something gets accumulated... As I was thinking about that, it was my turn to receive the key.
“Ise, this is for you.”
Matsuda and the rest had already got their keys...but I was the only one to receive it from Azazel-sensei. Azazel-sensei was quietly laughing to himself. I knew something was wrong, and I found out the answer very soon. The rooms the Kuoh students were staying in were spacious western-style bedrooms for two, with two massive beds and a full view of the scenery around Kyoto station from the window.
“I once again feel thankful for getting into Kuoh Academy!”
Matsuda cheered loudly, while Motohama was quietly touched. This room was Matsuda and Motohama’s. Then, what was the remaining room for me like... Only my room was on a different floor... I started to have a bad feeling...
Two floors above the boys’ floor, in the corner, there was a room with a Japanese-style sliding door that was clearly different from the rest. Upon opening it...
“...This is my room...”
I was taken to a single room roughly the size of eight tatami mats. I blinked. There was an ancient television, as well as a round table. Wasn’t this minimum standard!? And why was everything so old and worn!?
“Ahahahahahaha! Is this for real!? Only this room is Japanese-style! And it looks like it’s only the size of eight tatami mats? Ah, how fitting for Ise!”
“No bed, only sheets. And only a single set. Are these...the signs of resource allocation in the trip budget?”
Matsuda was bursting in laughter, while Motohama tried not to laugh as he calmly analyzed! Damn it! Why does it have to be me!? Because I felt it wasn’t as luxurious as Buchou’s home, I am being punished!? Was that why!? Toilet and bath... At least it still had them. But still, it’s nowhere near as nice as those luxurious western-style bedrooms! Tears gathered in my eyes. At this time, someone knocked.
“Ise-kun, are you inside?”
It was Rossweisse-san, dressed in a tracksuit. She got changed, huh? I approached Rossweisse-san and whispered.
(Rossweisse-san! Why on earth was I the only one assigned to this room...?)
(Please endure it. This room was prepared by Rias-san to make it easier for us to hold discussions.)
(Discussions? Ah, about Devil-related matters?)
(Yes, pretty much. If anything happens in Kyoto, we must first secure a place to carry out discussions. This is why the room was assigned to Ise-kun, who was the odd one out.)
A room for us Devils to hold meetings in Kyoto. So this room was the isolated Japanese room which carried such purpose. But still, it didn’t have to be my room specifically... After all, I want to enjoy a luxurious western-style hotel room on this school trip just like everyone else! However, since I don’t want anything to happen while in Kyoto, it would be best if this room doesn’t have to be used for those purposes.
(Please endure, Ise-kun.)
As if lecturing me, Rossweisse-san placed her hand on my shoulder and said.
“Anyway, I have to go meet with the other teachers, so your free time starts now. I feel like there will be lots of trouble during the afternoon free activities period... It’s not good for everyone to be mesmerised by Kyoto.”
The three of us answered with great spirit.
“Now, the first task is to locate Azazel. That man...slipped away once the announcements in the lobby were finished. ...Because of this, the Governor of the Grigori...”
Rossweisse-san murmured to herself as she left the room. Azazel-sensei started hiding away so early eh. Before the trip, he had been going ‘Maiko! First are the maiko! Next, I must have my fill of Kyoto cuisine!’ and had been planning such adult entertainment. As expected of Sensei, he has already begun to move! Damn it! I want to have happy times with the maiko too! Motohama took out a Kyoto map, and said to the dissatisfied me.
“Hey, Ise. In the afternoon free period, though it wasn’t planned, how about we go to Fushimi Inari?”
“Fushimi Inari? Ah, true, that’s the place with lots of torii, right?”
I recalled the scenery with the numerous red torii I saw on television before.
“Exactly. It’s one stop away from the Kyoto station. Just now, I asked another teacher, and he gave the OK.”
“Eh, if we already have a teacher’s permission, it would be nice to make a visit.”
Hearing my opinion, Matsuda rubbed his eyes.
“If we miss any opportunity to tour the famous sights of Kyoto, then that’s not really touring Kyoto!”
“Right! Then, let’s invite Asia and the rest!”
The two of them quickly agreed to my suggestion.
“ “Yes!” ”
If that’s the case, then let us visit Inari-sama for the afternoon! This was the true beginning of our Kyoto trip!
Inari station was one stop away from Kyoto station, and after getting off, we were able to see the visiting road leading to Fushimi Inari.
“Hey, look, Asia, Irina. These shops have many interesting things to sell.”
“Wa~, look at all these cute foxes.”
“Do I have enough spare cash to buy souvenirs here?”
Having just arrived, the Church Trio was already enjoying the Kyoto atmosphere. As Asia and the rest chattered away, they appeared to be no different from ordinary school girls.
“The beautiful trio against a backdrop of Kyoto scenery. Let’s take a photo!”
From the side, Matsuda takes the opportunity to photograph them.
“Hey, hey, what about me?”
Kiryuu narrowed her eyes in protest. Passing through the last torii, there was a huge door. On each side was a fox sculpture resembling a stone lion.
“...Exorcism statues. Normally, they have a presence that repels existences like Devils, but thanks to the passes, there’s no problem.”
Xenovia looked at the stone lion-like fox as she spoke.
“Are we really under surveillance?”
I spoke out about the sense of dissonance I felt ever since leaving the station just now. That’s right, it felt like we were being watched.
“Yes, of course. We Devils and Angels are foreign existences to the authorities here. Though we notified them beforehand, surveillance is still necessary.”
Well, that makes sense. I’ve heard about Kyoto being the centre of Japanese supernatural oddities. From their point of view, we are the outsiders. With slight wariness, we passed through the main entrance without issue. Walking further along, we reached the main hall. Moving on, we found the steps leading up the Inari mountain. We took photos as we advanced, and began our next challenge of climbing the mountain path through a thousand torii.
We had been walking for tens of minutes.
"...Hooo... Ha... W-Wait, wait for me... W-Why are you all so energetic...?"
Motohama was out of breath. Matsuda sighed as he spoke from the steps above.
“Hey, hey, Motohama. This is shameful. Even Asia-chan and the rest are fine.”
Since Matsuda was actually quite athletic, this level of exertion was nothing for him. Well, we are Devils after all, so our base abilities are definitely higher than those of normal humans. Not to mention that we have been training, so this sort of thing is a piece of cake. As for me, due to the summer training deep in the mountainous wilderness, this level of exertion isn’t even going to disrupt my breathing. ...Tannin-ossan, I can climb this kind of mountain without any sense of fatigue. I thanked the former Dragon King, who is now in the Underworld. We were checking out some little stores at the rest stop half way, while continuing up the challenge that was Inari mountain. Motohama was completely breathless at this point.
“Oh, oh, what a great view.”
“Yes, it’s too wonderful.”
“Then take a photo. By the way, the local schools in this area use this mountain path for running. But it looks like there are no runners today.”
Xenovia and Asia were touched by the scenery of the Fushimi Inari mountainside, while Kiryuu showed her knowledge as she snapped photos of the view. However, there really were tons of red torii no matter how far we advanced. Written on them were the names of companies or shops. They must have made offerings to the divinities at Fushimi Inari to make wishes. I’ve always felt that if you visit a mountain, you have to reach the top. That was what I learned from training in the mountains. If you climb a mountain, climb all the way to the peak! Something like that.
“Sorry, I’m going to head to the top first.”
I informed the others, and then ran up the steps at full speed. Ah, if I was still a human, ascending this mountain would have killed me. After becoming a Devil and undergoing non-stop training, this was very easy. I tried as much as possible not to disturb the other tourists and continued up the steps. And then, I reached the peak.
...At the top of the mountain was an old shrine. Was this the peak? To be honest, the path did branch off to other directions along the way. There must be other places to visit. Due to the dense foliage, there was barely any sunlight, and I was surrounded by a slight shade. The sound of rustling... The wind was blowing through the trees. It really felt deserted. Other than me, there was not a single soul. What should I do next? Let me pay my respects to this shrine, and then head back down. Everyone else is probably up here by now. I faced the shrine and clapped my hands together.
“Let me see and touch breasts all the time! Help me find a girlfriend! Help me do erotic things with Buchou and Akeno-san!”
As I finished this shameless but honest prayer and prepared to leave—
“...Not from Kyoto?”
A voice was suddenly heard. After noticing the presences around me... Ah, it seems like I am surrounded? There are clearly many inhuman presences, not very strong individually, but they are numerous. Heh, I didn’t know I had already honed my senses to such a degree! Anyway, it’s too bad I didn’t sense anything until after I was surrounded... As I prepared my stance, what appeared before me—was a very cute, short girl clad in a priestess outfit.
Her blonde hair were shining, and both her irises were also gold-coloured. She seemed to be around the age of a young primary school student. But she was clearly not human judging from the things on her head. —Animal ears. They were similar to Koneko-chan’s, but did not seem like a cat’s ears. That furry mass behind her must be the tail! A dog Youkai? No, since it’s Fushimi Inari, it must be a fox? By the way, why did fox-sama come to me? Because I’m a Devil? But on the bus... Could the feeling of being watched have come from these guys? Ha! Was my breast-related wish forbidden!? Just as I occupied myself with random thoughts, the animal-eared girl glared at me, gnashing her teeth in rage, and yelled.
“Outsider! How dare you...!? Attack!”
At the girl’s command, many fellows with black wings and crow heads who were dressed like mountain hermits stepped out of the trees. There were also some others with fox masks who were dressed like priests.
“Oh, oh, oh! What is this!? Are these karasu-tengu...? And foxes?”
These first-time opponents gave me quite a surprise. Without giving me a break, the young girl pointed at me and yelled.
“Give my mother back!”
The tengu and the fox priests began to attack! I instantly materialized my gauntlet and dodged their attacks! This level is not too hard to handle!
“M-mother!? What are you talking about!? I don’t know who your mother is!”
I roared at the girl. I really don’t know! How could I know about her mother since I just arrived in Kyoto!? However, the girl doesn’t seem to be listening!
“Don’t lie! My eyes cannot be deceived!”
I didn’t lie! What the heck, I just arrived in Kyoto, and this happens! Although I wanted to escape, a tengu’s staff came smashing down upon me. Am I going to be hit!? Just as I prepared myself—
The one who blocked the opponent’s staff was—
“What’s the matter, Ise?”
“What are these? Youkai?”
Xenovia and Irina have arrived! The two of them were carrying wooden swords. They must have purchased them from the local specialty stores. Asia also hurried over a little later. Seeing the four of us gathered, the young girl and her group showed surprise, but instantly became even more angry.
“...Is that so? You people are the ones who... My mother! Unforgivable! Unclean Devils! You have tainted this sacred place! I will not forgive you!”
...No chance to talk at all! Her unilateral decisions were so vexing! If that’s the case, leave it to me to endure such a situation!
“Asia! Do you have the thing you received from Buchou?”
After hearing my question, Asia took a card etched with the Gremory crest out from her jacket. If anything happened in Kyoto, this identification card could substitute for the absent Buchou and authorise me to promote. Asia had specifically obtained the card from Buchou before the trip. The reason why Asia was holding on to it was because it would be best if it was carried by someone who would stick with me throughout the trip. It’s true, Asia and I will be together all the time during this school trip!
Queen! Though I wanted to, I had to familiarize myself with the other pieces through combat experience! Also, Fushimi Inari was a famous sight, so it would be best not to use a piece that was too destructive. Buchou also reminded me ‘Listen well, Ise. Do not destroy Kyoto. Even disregarding the other factions getting angry, the Devil world will also seek responsibility. You have to treasure my beloved Kyoto!’. How can I damage Buchou’s favourite place!?
“OK! Promotion, Knight!”
As power flowed into my body, it felt lighter! If I just play hide and seek, it won’t damage Fushimi Inari-taisha, right? For now, let’s use thirty seconds worth of Boost!
The Sacred Gear’s power activated! Then it’s OK! Xenovia and Irina were wielding wooden swords. But those two can still cause destruction with just wooden weapons, so I’d better remind them.
“Xenovia, Irina, though I haven’t figured out the situation yet, remember that this is Kyoto. Though they attacked unreasonably, it would be bad if we hurt them or damaged the surroundings. As much as possible, just driving them away is fine.”
“ “Understood” ”
The two of them immediately agreed.
The young girl’s companions attacked all at once! Xenovia and Irina used their wooden swords to knock them down, breaking their enemies’ weapons as they defeated them. I also stood guard over Asia as I rapidly dodged their attacks and kicked them away. Yes! Xenovia, Irina and I will defeat them! Hehehe! I can feel the results of my training! My movements are much faster than them by far! To experience the Knight through combat! I must improve every day! Feeling they have lost the upper hand, the attackers begin to retreat. The girl glared hatefully at us and raised her hand.
“...Retreat. We don’t have enough numbers to beat them. Damn you, evil existences. I will make you give mother back!”
Leaving behind those words, the girl and her followers disappeared like a gust of wind. ...Really, what on earth just happened!? Released from the state of battle, we puzzled over why we would suddenly get attacked for some unknown reason.
I felt a premonition that something unpleasant would happen.
—The first night.
“Thanks for the meal!”
We had dinner at the hotel. It was a luxurious feast of Kyoto cuisine. The boiled tofu was really delicious! The tofu skin felt so tender and soft... Kyoto vegetables were also uncommonly tasty.
—Finally, we could take a breather. After the attack, we quickly met up with Matsuda and the others as we finished touring Fushimi Inari while staying alert. Due to our solemn attitude, Matsuda and the rest showed a puzzled expression. After returning, we reported what happened to Azazel-sensei and Rossweisse-san. The two of them were puzzled greatly. ‘Why would we get attacked in Kyoto?’. This was the hardest point to understand. The fact that we Devils were visiting Kyoto for a tour should have been conveyed to the rulers of this place beforehand. Sensei said he would confirm it once again. Though I was troubled over whether I should report back to Buchou, I was deterred from doing so by Sensei, who said ‘since we have not cleared up what happened exactly, do not cause unnecessary worries for her’. True, we had too little information to report to Buchou.
...By the way, where did my possibilities go after flying away from me...? I reported that to Sensei as well.
“If they will return to you one day, then waiting is a solution. Just be patient for the duration of the trip. However, I will ask some of my subordinates here to look out and report back for anything matching your description.”
Sensei replied so. Yes, yes, to think so much has happened in Kyoto after we just arrived... Then, about these matters, let’s leave them to the superiors to handle. Finishing dinner, I gathered with the pervert duo and the girls to talk about tomorrow’s schedule, and then I went to hang out with Matsuda and Motohama in their room for a while. Afterwards, upon returning to my room, I rested under the covers for a little more than ten minutes or so.
—It was time. I stood up and gently opened the door. After surveying the surroundings, I confirmed no-one was around. Yes! I swiftly left the room cautiously and opened the door to the emergency escape. ...Now is the time the public baths are in use! Peeking time! Those girls who always looked down on me! Kukukukuku! Let me savour your naked bodies as if licking them with my tongue! I couldn’t help smiling. My bursting desire drove me down the stairs. At this time, a figure could be seen standing guard on the platform linking the female bathroom to the emergency escape. Upon taking a good look, I realised it was Rossweisse-san. She had been waiting for me in her tracksuit.
Hoo... I smiled with self-mockery. They saw through my intentions after all—my great peeking master plan.
“From the very beginning, we already knew you would come to the bathroom to peek.”
Rossweisse-san prepared her stance.
“As a teacher, I will guard the girls’ naked bodies with my life!”
I slowly descended the steps and spoke calmly.
“Rossweisse-san... Even though we are teammates, this is the only thing I cannot compromise on. I must peek at the girls’ bathroom.”
As we entered into each other’s range of attack, we stopped, stared at each other and—
Rossweisse-san and I began to battle on the fire escape! Since this was the hotel, we couldn’t use powerful attacks. This was a battle of small-scale magic and strikes. Without Balance Breaker, I really have no confidence in beating Rossweisse-san in a serious battle. However, this was different since Rossweisse-san cannot go all out with her powerful magic within the hotel. I materialized Boosted Gear and released several mini Dragon Shots to deflect Rossweisse-san’s ice magic. Huhuhu, you cannot use fire and explosive magic here! Even when the Dragon Shot was broken through, I could breathe fire from my mouth to melt these ice arrows instantly! I am a Dragon after all, so this kind of heat attack is within my abilities!
“Hmph! Your attacks are strong as ever! As long as it’s related to sex, you can raise your power to this level...! How ridiculous!”
“If it allows me to witness the naked bodies of the girls in my grade, I will gladly battle to the death with you today!”
“What level of perverseness is this!? You! Shouldn’t you be satisfied with seeing and feeling Rias-san and Akeno-san’s naked bodies virtually every day!?”
“That is that! This is this!”
“What!? This perverted playboy Dragon is hopeless!”
Really? Me, a playboy? From the very beginning, I always felt like it’s the girls who played around with me at home...
“By the way, even if you get past me, there are the second year Sitri girls guarding against you. As a final resort, we will even let Saji awaken the Dragon King to obstruct you. No matter what, you will not peek into the girls’ bathroom.”
How can this be!? Such a defensive formation has been prepared! Looks like my plan to peek at the girls’ bathroom was seen through from the very beginning! How reliable of Rossweisse-san and the Sitri servants! By the way, letting Saji transform into the Dragon King to stop me from peeking, how dangerous do they think I am!? To bring Vritra out to stop the Sekiryuutei from peeking, is that it!?
“Come on, cut me some slack! If you don’t loosen up, you will never get a boyfriend!”
Hearing my words, Rossweisse-san suddenly got very upset.
“B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-Boyfriends are irrelevant! A-A-After all, I am still a virgin former Valkyrie! I also want to do erotic things with a handsome boyfriend with a promising future!!!!”
As Rossweisse-san screamed, her whole body started to give off magical power!
The emergency staircase was shaking violently! Oh, no! Due to those stinging words, the pressure from Rossweisse-san was expanding at an alarming rate. Her eyes were full of tears! I must have touched a forbidden switch! At this rate, the staircase will be destroyed! I’m going to die too! If that’s the case, so be it! I will use ‘that’ to stop her!
“I won’t forgive you!”
Rossweisse-san released lightning, which zigzagged all across the emergency staircase! Barely dodging Rossweisse-san’s magical attack, I closed the distance. I still got shocked a bit, but I must endure! During this time, I raised my imagination to the max, concentrating demonic power in my mind. ...Yes! Let imagination become delusion! And let stored power be released from the Sacred Gear!
Preparations complete! I took off the top of my sports uniform and threw it forward, obstructing her sight for an instant! She won’t know what’s coming!
“Just this level?”
Rossweisse-san used wind magic to blow away the clothing—but an opening was created for an instant! Do not underestimate my lustful actions! Rossweisse-san reacted to my fake-out, and as I brushed past her, finally—I touched her clothes!
“Fall apart! Dress Break!”
As I delivered magic into Rossweisse-san’s clothes, they were blown apart instantly! Dress Break, success! Finally, even Rossweisse-san has succumbed to this move! Oh, oh! What a great figure! Actually, this was the first time I got to see Rossweisse-san’s naked body! Those beautiful breasts make me feel so touched! Too amazing! Buchou’s breasts are quite beautiful too, but whether it is the overall shape or the nipples, Rossweisse-san’s breasts are excellent in every way! Beautiful legs combined with a narrow waist and a slim figure, it’s like a work of art! Rossweisse-san began to cry. Did...I go too far...?
“Sorry. It was an accident.”
Against my apology, Rossweisse-san cried with rage.
“You think being sorry solves anything!? T-That tracksuit was bought for 980 yen at a sale! I-It would take at least triple the price to replace it now! The bra and pants were also bought at discount!”
She’s angry at that!? Compared to being seen naked, her clothes being ruined is more infuriating to her!? Truly, this was the cheap and nagging former Valkyrie!
“Ah! Iyaaah! I-I can’t get m-married anymore!”
Finally noticing, Rossweisse-san covered her privates with her hands! I don’t know how to react to this total reversal of concerns!
“You only noticed now!?”
“What do you mean only noticed now!? Ruining clothes is such a waste! Your Dress Break is totally environmentally unfriendly! On top of that, your sex drive is too strong! Tissues, you must also use tons of tissues right!? As a teacher, I cannot forgive you for this! Please respect natural resources!”
Being lectured about respecting the items damaged by Dress Break! This is totally the first time! And about sex drives and warning me about using tissues! Well it is true, for a high school boy at the peak of puberty, tissues do get... Rossweisse-san truly is a stingy—no, no, a very environmentally friendly person! The virgin Valkyrie who loves to shop at 100-yen shops, she′s like a big sister one can′t help but feel sorry for.
“This is the first time I’ve been lectured about this! I’m really sorry! I apologize!”
Now that things have come to this, it was no longer possible to peek at the girls’ bathroom. At this time, a figure approached me. It was—
“Ah, my apologies for disturbing your fun at the climax.”
—Azazel-sensei. His eyes half-open, he was shaking his head at the incredible scene unfolding before his eyes.
“Azazel-sensei! W-Why are you here?”
“Oh, we’ve been summoned to the nearby Japanese restaurant.”
Summoned? What is it? They’re already at a nearby restaurant?
“Who is it?”
Sensei’s lips curled into a smile at my question.
“The very cute Maou Shoujo-sama.”
We, the Gremory group plus Irina, quietly slipped out of the hotel and followed Azazel-sensei to a restaurant on the street corner.
“...The ‘Dairaku’ restaurant. So, Leviathan-sama is in this kind of place.”
Yes, it looked like Serafall Leviathan-sama had entered Kyoto. We, as well as Sensei, received Leviathan-sama’s invitation. At this point, after passing through the path filled with traditional Japanese atmosphere, a single room appeared. Opening the door—Serafall-sama was quietly waiting for us, sitting in the seiza posture and wearing a glamorous kimono.
“Hello! It’s been a while, Sekiryuutei-chan and servants of Rias-chan!”
Leviathan-sama always greeted us with such joy and enthusiasm. The kimono suited her very well. Her very long hair was tied up today to match the kimono.
“Oh, it’s Hyoudou and you guys.”
Saji and the other second year Sitri girls were also there. They had come over first, eh?
“Yeah, Saji. How’s Kyoto? Where did you go in the afternoon?”
“We’re the Student Council. We spent the whole afternoon helping the teachers.”
Saji sighed as he spoke. That really was tough for them. But as members of the Student Council, it couldn’t be helped. Still, with the Knight Meguri-san, the Rook Yura-san and the Bishops Hanakai-san and Kusaka-san, there sure were a lot of pretty girl Devils among the second years over there. ...This makes Saji’s position as the only guy in the Student Council quite enviable.
“The food here is really good. Especially the chicken dishes are exquisite. Sekiryuutei-chan, you and Saji-kun must really eat up.”
We had hardly taken our seats when Leviathan-sama immediately ordered more dishes like mad. But we just ate dinner... Ah, but then, after taking a bite, that delicious taste made me feel like I could eat as much as possible. Looks like everyone also felt the same.
“So, why has Leviathan-sama come to this kind of place?”
To my question, Leviathan-sama made a kiraboshi pose and replied.
“I came here to secure the cooperation of the Kyoto Youkai forces.”
As expected of the one in charge of foreign affairs, she was doing her job dutifully. So, she was negotiating with the Youkai forces. But then, Leviathan-sama put her chopsticks down, a frown appearing on her cute face.
“But...it looks like there is an unusual situation.”
“An unusual situation?”
To my question, Leviathan-sama replied.
“According to reports from the Kyoto Youkai, their leader, the Kyuubi, went missing a few days ago.”
Once I heard her words, the day’s events flashed through my mind.
—Give mother back to me!
The young girl’s words clearly replayed in my mind. Wasn’t the Kyuubi the very famous nine-tailed fox? It appeared very often in manga.
“And so that means...”
Presumably because she understood what I was about to say, Leviathan-sama nodded.
“Yes. I heard your report from Azazel-chan. I fear...that is the situation.”
Azazel-sensei drank heavily as he downed his alcohol in one go, and then said.
“So the leader of the Youkai has been kidnapped. The ones responsible—”
“Most likely, it’s the Khaos Brigade.”
Leviathan-sama concluded most solemnly.
Has the terrorist organisation come here? That animal-eared girl—the Kyuubi girl’s mother has been kidnapped by them, which is why we were mistaken for being part of the kidnappers and attacked.
"Y-you guys, what kind of trouble have you got mixed up in again?"
Saji’s eye began to twitch slightly. Sorry, Saji, we are always getting into all sorts of trouble!
“Really, taking care of these kids for the trip is already tiring enough. How vexing, these terrorists.”
Sensei spat these words with contempt. Hey, weren’t you going to have fun with the maiko anyway...? Leviathan-sama poured another cup for Sensei and continued.
“No matter what, this situation cannot be disclosed. We must solve it by ourselves. I will continue my attempts to get the Youkai to cooperate.”
“Understood. I will act alone. Really, these terrorists bringing trouble all the way to Kyoto.”
Azazel downed another cup and cursed. Without a doubt, it was due to these terrorists making him lose the opportunity to go play with the maiko. It was just the first day of the trip, and things have become so serious... What were we supposed to do? To be honest, it could no longer be called a trip... No, no, precisely because this is the precious school trip of high school students, we must try as much as possible to enjoy the tour. However, since we are the Gremory servants, and Devils as well, we are compelled by the impulse to avoid inaction.
“Ummm, so what we have to do is...?”
As I asked with apprehension, Sensei breathed out and forced a smile.
“Anyway, you all should enjoy your trip.”
Sensei began to rub my head with his hand.
“If anything happens, I will call you guys. However, this is your precious school trip, right? We adults will try to handle the situation as much as possible. So you all go enjoy Kyoto for now.”
...Sensei. Sensei’s words made me feel deeply touched. What a sly fellow. The Governor, who always acted so slovenly, was saying such cool words in this sort of situation.
“Yes. Sekiryuutei-chan, as well as Sona-chan’s servants, please enjoy your time in Kyoto. I will also enjoy myself!”
There was nothing more to say since Leviathan-sama said so. Unexpectedly, it looks like Leviathan-sama is the one who wanted to enjoy Kyoto the most. Since we didn’t want to increase their burden, we decided to continue our sightseeing tour. And we can’t even report to Buchou... But if anything happens, I will take action.
I will protect the Kyoto that Buchou loves.
Translator's notes and references
- I__tan: a censored reference to the Japanese department store Isetan.
- maiko: apprentice geisha whose duties include singing, dancing and playing a three-stringed instrument to entertain guests. They are found in western Japan, especially Kyoto.
- Fushimi Inari: the head shrine of the Japanese Shinto deity Inari.
- torii: traditional Japanese gate used as the entrance to Shinto shrines and also found within them. They symbolize a transition between realms.
- sandou: in Japanese architecture, the road leading to the entrance gates of a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple.
- tengu: a type of supernatural creature from Japanese legends. Though the name means "heavenly dog" literally, they are often depicted as bird-like beings. Karasu means crow.
- seiza: traditional Japanese formal sitting posture consisting of kneeling while resting the bottoms on the heels.
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