High School DxD / High School DxD Volume 23 Chapter 2
Continues on from
Continues on to Life.3
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.
Life.2 Dragon Attracts Dragon
On a clear day, I visited Ajuka-sama’s research facility after the end of business, and used the dedicated communication device to communicate with Azazel-sensei who was in the Isolation Barrier Field. …Last night, I ended up being with Asia, Xenovia, Irina, Ravel, as well as Rias and Akeno; all seven of us had slept together. …And just like last time, I was kicked off the bed by Xenovia, and awoke on the icy cold floor. Since it was the first time that we had all spoken in a while, I told everyone in the Isolation Barrier Field about all of the events that had happened recently.
“That’s roughly how things have played out so far, and I’ve been on a winning streak so far.”
The large display showed Sirzechs-sama, who cheerfully replied after listening to my report with
[Congratulations! Rias has also been on a winning streak, ah I’m happy! In that case, I can fight Trihexa with peace of mind!]
—After saying that, he landed a stunning blow. …Trihexa still couldn’t be defeated even though it had received such a deadly strike, and that made me realise once again just how exceptional this monster was. Then, Leviathan-sama appeared on the display, and made a request of me.
[Tell me more about what’s been happening with Sona-chan! Otherwise, I might get eaten by Trihexa!]
As her voice faded, she hurled an enormous piece of ice…. Of course, I couldn’t imagine Leviathan-sama being eaten. Next to her, Azazel-sensei sighed.
[Seriously, these guys are so rowdy…]
I couldn’t help but show a wry smile. At that time, Azazel-sensei looked at my face and seemed to have noticed something.
[Ise, you look troubled. Is it about the tournament? Or are you not used to being a [King] yet?]
—Hm. …As expected of sensei. He read my mind with just a glance.
“…It’s both of them.”
Sensei nodded as he said
And then he asked me
[Say, Ise. —Have you ever truly enjoyed fighting ever since you became a Devil?]
…I couldn’t immediately answer that question. To be more precise, because I had almost never thought of such things, I paused after thinking about it briefly. …Enjoy…fighting…? …There were times when I felt emotional during battles. I had also experienced the joys of victory that were enough to have an impact on my life. But, those kinds of victories were sparse, and up until now, I had been driven to fight because of the pressure of ‘I must win’. After all, most of my battles had been when my comrades and I were in a crisis, when we had been attacked by those who had come to destroy our daily lives. I believed that Vali was someone who enjoyed battles. That was the type of person that my rival was.
“…I don’t think I have. Every time I fight, I don’t have that kind of feeling as my opponents have always been stronger than me, and I had to pour in everything I had in order to survive. When I was under Rias, the idea of granting her certain victory was what drove me to become stronger.”
After listening to my candid answer, sensei nodded with certainty, and then said
[But you know, the tournament that you’re participating in right now isn’t that kind of serious fight — it’s just sport. Even if your opponents are stronger than you by a lot, it’s still a ‘game’. Even if this ‘game’ is called a Rating Game, to Devils — or perhaps to the people in the Underworld, it is important. Since you’re already a high-class Devil, not only will you be unable to ignore this, you’ll also have to formally participate in future.]
Indeed, the path of participating in professional Rating Games was originally out of reach for me, but it was clearly visible now that I had become a high-class Devil. It was no longer an unattainable dream. Sensei continued
[I think I’ve also said this before. It doesn’t matter if you have fun or if you worry. Regardless of whether it’s love, school life, or daily life, as long as you experience them, your troubles will grow. The Rating Games — the tournament follows the same reasoning.]
Azazel-sensei pointed to his own head.
[Devils’ bodies do not grow old, but the same does not apply to the mind. Even if you are a reincarnated Devil, it’s impossible to maintain a youthful spirit forever, you know? So, you should have worries and enjoy your youth while you’re still young. These experiences can only be obtained while you’re young. You may not be able to think things through while you’re young, but once you get older, you’ll realise that those bitter experiences in your youth are precious.]
—Hmm. …Experiences that can only be gained while I’m young, huh. Although I can live for ten thousand years, a Devil’s life is almost eternal, so what exactly is considered young? Having lived for just eighteen years, it was something that I couldn’t imagine. —But, high school is undoubtedly the most youthful period. So all of the experiences and feelings that I’ve had until now — they’re highly precious memories for the future me. In ten thousand years’ time, what will I think when I reminisce about my high school days? Perhaps after a while, I may forget…. It was too ethereal for me to imagine, so all I could do was smile. —At that time, Michael-san appeared on the display, and while showing a bright smile, he said
[Ah, if I remember correctly, it was Blazer Shining Aura Darkness Blade, right? Ah, that brings back memories. Back then, even your eyes were sparkling. You always had a strange pose as you leaned against the wall muttering about some strange things.]
Seemingly infuriated about that, Azazel-sensei retorted against Michael-san
[Shut up, Michael! Why do you always have to bring that up!? You’ve always had such a poor personality!]
However, Leviathan-sama ignored those two, and she began to recall her own memories.
[That’s right. That’s what youth is! That made me remember how Sirzechs-chan and Grayfia-chan were on opposing sides as enemies, and their love was painfully caught in the middle…it was so touching.]
Seeing Leviathan-sama act like a young maiden, Sirzechs-sama (destruction form) scratched his forehead as he shyly said
[Hahaha, in fact, I looked for gaps to meet in secret, and from then on, she was the only one in my eyes.]
…Their peaceful dialogues always made it seem as though they weren’t fighting. However, it was possible to see explosions on other parts of the display, and enormous attacks flew around in every direction! Azazel-sensei calmed his breathing, and then summed things up.
“In short, situations like this also exist, and I’m afraid it’s almost time. Ise, since this is the case, you should find someone that you don’t normally talk to and discuss this with them. Maybe it’ll give you a new outlook? Though it may also increase your troubles.”
…Someone that I don’t normally talk to? Hmm, who might that be? …A new outlook huh. I was relatively concerned about what sensei said, so I thought of trying it out at once.
(Part 1 of 4) (4/9)
And so I went to a pier in the neighbouring prefecture the next day. I started fishing on the embankment. I didn’t come alone though, I invited two other people.
“I didn’t expect you to invite me fishing.”
The person on my left side who spoke while tying his fishing line was — Vali. Indeed, this guy was one of them. I spun my reel as I said
“Yeah, somehow. After all, Kiba and Sairaorg-san have their matches soon so I didn’t want to disturb them.”
Kiba — Rias’ team had a match today, and the match between Sairaorg-san and Cao Cao, as well as my own match against Dulio were quickly approaching. So, that’s why the guys who I got along with couldn’t be invited for fishing this time. And the other person that I invited was—. The person holding a fishing rod on my right was—.
“…Even so, this group is too unreasonable, Hyoudou…. It just happens to be the Two Heavenly Dragons plus me.”
It was Saji! Coincidentally, he came over to my house for something so I forcibly invited him as well. I said to him
“I’m going fishing, so let’s talk about stuff there.”
And that’s how I ended up dragging him along. From his expression, Saji seemed rather concerned about Vali. After all, it was the first time that the three of us had gotten together.
“Hahaha, you don’t actually hate Vali, do you Saji?”
Upon hearing my question, Saji’s eyes shifted towards Vali.
“I can’t say that I hate him…it’s just that I don’t know how to deal with him…*mutter mutter*…”
Saji seemed to mutter about something on his own. After Vali reeled a fish up, he said
“Since you’re one of the Five Great Dragon Kings, there’s nothing to be concerned about right, Saji Genshirou?”
“Ara, you actually know my name?”
“For the time being.”
“For the time being, huh…”
Sandwiched in the middle between Vali and Saji, there was still a unique wall between them that I felt. Saji sighed and said
“I…came to challenge Hyoudou, but I didn’t expect to be invited fishing. On top of that, the Hakuryuukou is also here, which is completely unexpected!”
Well, don’t say it like that. Who could’ve known that you would show up just when I was about to invite Vali to fish with me? It was such a rare opportunity, so I pulled you over so that we could all fish together. The three of us fished in silence…but there was still a strange atmosphere between me and Saji. It was because Saji came to challenge me. Vali also seemed to notice this and smiled.
“By the way, the group matchings were already decided earlier. It seems Hyoudou Issei will have a match with the Sitri peerage. It’s right after the match against Dulio Gesualdo, isn’t it?”
—Indeed, my match with the Sitri team was going to be after that! It was another important match that I had after the game with Dulio. I always wanted to wash away last year’s regret, and I was looking forward to an opportunity to challenge the Sitri peerage again, and now I could finally make that happen in this tournament. I didn’t imagine that I’d have another chance with Sona-senpai — and Saji for a rematch. The chance for revenge had come within my reach so quickly…! Although the Gremory peerage had been the victors of that match, to me — it was a match filled with disappointment and regret. After all, I had successfully used my Balance Breaker, but I was forced to retire. In the match against Riser, I loathed my own lack of strength, and after the regrets I held from that match, I wanted to rid myself of them…but that result is what happened in the end. —I was defeated by Sona-senpai and Saji. So, I was deeply grateful for this match. Perhaps I could get my payback for last time. How could I not get fired up for a match that would give me a chance at revenge!? Vali’s words filled me and Saji with an unspeakable pressure.
“Yeah, that match is after the one against Dulio.”
Saji’s expression was also filled with fighting spirit — but he immediately revealed a bitter smile.
“I was pretty motivated when I went to your house. After I challenged you loud and clear ‘I won’t lose to you!’, all you replied to me with was ‘Do you want to go fishing?’. …My entire rhythm was completely shattered, so I don’t know what to say anymore…”
…Don’t worry about it so much. You just happened to come along just when I really wanted to go fishing.
“Well, the truth is that I was ignited by your challenge to me. But this is this, and that is that; I already had plans with Vali, so I just brought you over as well.”
After hearing that, Saji settled down.
“I get it, that’s why I said ‘Okay, let’s go’, and I came with you.”
That’s right, you’re so understanding, Saji. Faced with Saji like this, I answered his earlier challenge to me
“No matter what, I’ll definitely defeat you this time.”
Saji then immediately stood up and replied to me
“No, the person who will win is me! I never considered last year’s match as a victory over you. So this time, we’ll take you guys on with everything we’ve got, and we’ll take you down! No matter what happens in the match, I believe in my master — the ability of Sona-kaichou!”
“You still call her ‘kaichou’?”
I couldn’t help but ask. After Xenovia became the new Student Council president, Saji’s address towards Sona-senpai was still ‘kaichou’. Saji shyly scratched his cheek as he said
“I thought about it for a long time, but ‘kaichou’ is special to me. There is only one ‘kaichou’ in my heart. So that’s why I call her ‘kaichou’. At the very least, I’ll continue with this until I graduate. Of course, it’s not that I don’t recognise Xenovia as president, okay? Xenovia is also a great president, and I will support her well. However, my master is Sona-‘kaichou’.”
“As long as you’re happy. You also have to get along with Xenovia. After all, she’s one of my servants now.”
“Of course. I will do my best to support her. —But I will win when it comes to the game.”
“Impossible, I’ll be the one to win.”
At this time, Vali shrugged as he said
“Hmph, I’ll defeat the both of you anyway.”
Ooh, those words really suited Vali. However, I really didn’t know whether his remark in that moment was just a joke, or whether he was actually serious. My opportunities to speak with this guy had increased lately, and it was often difficult to see his true intentions. Incidentally, the difference between the three of our teams was that my team was on a winning streak, Vali was also undefeated by great margins, and the Sitri team had lost one match against god-class beings, but they were otherwise undefeated. My comrades had also performed fairly well in the tournament. Vali then asked me
“Well, why did you invite me to fish then?”
—He asked. Inspired by sensei’s words last night, I passed the question that sensei asked me onto the fighting maniac. Vali declined with
“What is the meaning of anything that I say now?”
But he then said
“It’s true that you haven’t enjoyed fighting. But, you should’ve gained a sense of fulfilment during your battle against Sairaorg Bael.”
That match against Sairaorg-san huh. That match could be described as — one where I learned and gained many, many things. It was the first time that I had felt such a sense of accomplishment from victory. Moreover, it was also the first time that I used my crimson armour.
“Well, it was an all-out brawl, so that feeling was justified. I learned a lot of things from that match.”
But if you had to ask me whether or not I enjoyed fighting…it would be difficult to answer. I watched as my comrades were knocked down, and I clearly know that I was filled with regret and frustration at the time. I fought with my life on the line with the idea of ‘I will win for Rias’.
‘Oh, I’m enjoying this’ — that kind of light-hearted statement was not suitable for that match.
“Then have you talked about it with Sairaorg Bael?”
“…I haven’t yet. But there’s still a bit of time until my match against Dulio begins, so I’ll go to see him. After all, I also want to cheer him on.”
I decided who I would see next. I would talk to Sairaorg-san before the match. Vali said
“Your match is coming up soon. Hmph, I guess it could be considered a good match for the spectators.”
Saji spoke with a serious expression
“…Master Sairaorg will definitely win.”
Like me, Saji also held deep respect for Sairaorg-san.
“Yeah, I think so too.”
“I wonder how much research Cao Cao has done on Sairaorg Bael, but if I had to speak about Cao Cao, if he received a direct hit from that Lion King in the right place, then his entire body would break. So this point—”
“How he can overcome that…you mean. …But he will also rely on his own techniques to find or create openings.”
Hearing me say this, Vali showed a wry smile.
“After all, both you and I have been at his mercy.”
Sairaorg-san’s opponent was the most powerful Longinus wielder that both Vali and I had struggled against. …With a holy spear capable of dealing a tremendous blow to Devils, even Sairaorg-san wouldn’t be able to withstand it…. At the same time though, Cao Cao would be defeated if he took a direct hit from Sairaorg-san. In other words, this match would hinge on a single fatal blow. I think the match will be filled with tension. Just as I was thinking about Sairaorg-san’s situation, Saji suddenly said
“…About the question regarding ‘enjoying battles’ that Hyoudou just asked. Although it’s complicated, I think I’d be the same as Hyoudou. We’re both [Pawns], and we’ve fought for the sake of our master’s victory, for the sake of our comrades, and for our own promotion. Isn’t that why we expend our efforts to run back and forth during a match? To experience the fruits of our hard work, and to face a difficult match. There is simply no time to think about what we’re enjoying in a match. If I lose, then it’s hard to face my comrades, and my master; I might even think of dying. And this thing is exactly the same as our battles against the terrorists. We have to face the enemy with the resolve to die.”
…Indeed. It was exactly as Saji had said. We were both [Pawns] at the same time, we both participated in the Rating Games of the gathering of young Devils, and we faced the terrorist attacks together as well. As the situation constantly changed, it took a lot of effort to keep up…and there was no memory of enjoying a battle. However, Saji also said
“But if I had to say whether there was a ‘battle that I enjoyed’ in my mind, then it would be that battle against the Gremory peerage last year. I received a very good evaluation, and I was recognised by someone with an influential status. Sona-kaichou was also so happy that she cried for me. I more or less felt proud, and I was happy. Simply put, that was a meaningful match for me, and it’s also a memorable game to me.”
…I see, a meaningful battle huh. If I had something equivalent, then it would be the battle that I had with Sairaorg-san. I feel like that match was very meaningful…as for an ‘enjoyable battle’, I couldn’t think of one. My idea of an ‘enjoyable battle’ was slightly different from Saji’s…. If this continues, then I’ll simply become even more confused by my own doubts…I originally thought that it was impossible for battles to be enjoyed. I was planning to continue asking Vali, but at that time—. There was someone who suddenly struck up a conversation with us. Looking over, I saw two men standing there. One of them was a twenty-something Northern European man with a slim figure. He wore a fitting white suit. He had white-gold hair and golden eyes. He also had a beard. He was clearly a handsome guy, but he gave off a somewhat frivolous aura. The other one was a man with curly black hair and a handsome face. His eyes were a rare orange colour, and he wore a large robe…that would be called a chiton, right? It was something that the ancient Greeks wore. …I didn’t notice them walking towards us at all…and sure enough, a godly aura was emitted from their entire bodies! I had also seen these two before. But having said that, the sudden appearance of these two surprised me! After all, these two had appeared in broadcasts from the tournament and other related programs! When Vali saw the handsome guy with white-hold hair, he sighed and said
“…Vidar huh. What brings you to a place like this?”
After hearing that, the man called Vidar laughed and then said
“Hey now, is that how you should be acting towards your nii-chan? Seriously, you’re not cute at all. Fine, perhaps that’s what father likes about you.”
This handsome guy in front of us was the next chief god of the Norse mythology, Vidar! The son of that old man Odin! Vidar-san extended his hand out towards me and Saji to greet us.
“I am — Vidar. The son of Odin of the Aesir. A lot of things have happened, and I will be the next chief god. —Though, all of you already know that.”
Vali was now the adopted son of the old man, and that’s why Vidar-san was his stepbrother. This time, the curly-haired man greeted us.
“Likewise, I am Apollon. I will succeed the Zeus, the chief god of Olympus, and will become the new chief god.”
—The next chief god of Olympus, Apollon! I had also heard about this person…but I never expected that these two super VIPs would suddenly show up in front of us, so both me and Saji could not help but panic! Even Saji’s voice was shaking.
“…Ah woah, Vidar! Apollon! Aren’t these two major gods described in legends…!?”
Saji and I couldn’t help but tremble in front of these two big names, while Vali introduced them.
“Vidar is a Norse god, and he is also the one and only existence that Fenrir fears. And Apollon over there is a god named after the sun. At the same time, he’s also a bright patron god of the arts. Regardless, both of them are highly qualified as the next chief gods.”
Upon hearing Vali’s explanation, Vidar-san laughed.
“To actually be praised by the Hakuryuukou, perhaps it will even snow tomorrow? My father and Apollon’s father Zeus will take a long time to return. Apparently they were also thinking about retirement. When the time is right, the authority will be handed over to me.”
Vidar-san shrugged and continued
“In fact, I think my brother Thor is more suitable…but he also went to participate in the fight against Trihexa…. So it’s come down to me according to the order.”
Vali took a step forward and asked Vidar-san again
“Well, what did you come here for today?”
Vidar-san approached Vali, and familiarly put his arms around his neck. Vali’s expression was full of disgust….
“Vali, don’t be so cold. I only came to see my own stepbrother and — and the rumoured Oppai Dragon-kun. It also happened that the Dragon King-kun was also here.”
“As you are the Two Heavenly Dragons, I presume that you will have many exchanges from now on, so this is also a good opportunity for me to see the other side.”
Vidar-san moved away from Vali and adjusted his collar as he asked
“We’re also participating in the tournament, did you know that?”
It was precisely because of that that I knew these two. I checked out all of the god-class beings participating in the tournament beforehand. They were all especially famous participants. I originally thought that I would meet them on the stage of the tournament…but they suddenly appeared in front of me! It really caught me off guard. Vali replied
“Of course, there is no one who doesn’t know. But the fact that the next chief gods of Olympus and Aesir are on the same team touches on a problem.”
The team comprised of the next chief gods of two mythologies participating in the world tournament naturally became a problem. Normally speaking, one should be concerned with their own mythology’s team. Having said that, only for this tournament, it was worth seeing because the main forces of each faction were participating! The other problem was — the team that Vidar-san and Apollon-san belonged to. When I had first heard about it, I thought ‘You’re kidding me right!?’ because it was so far-fetched. Vidar-san responded with
“Our team, led by me and Apollon, is a team composed of young god-class beings. Well, the general is Typhon thuogh.”
The team that Vidar-san and Apollon-san belonged to was — the team with the King of Monsters, Typhon as the [King]. Typhon garnered a lot of attention at the opening ceremony of the tournament due to his towering stature. Among all of the forces, he was both strong and conspicuous. In addition to that, Vali speculated that he was among the top ten strongest of all factions. …I wonder how this tournament will go. Regardless of whether it’s the Heavenly Emperor or Typhon, everyone who makes an appearance on the stage is well-known and they’re all participating in the tournament. There are even some people who have also suggested that this tournament is a contest between the god-class beings in some sense. Also, since the Heavenly Emperor’s team has the Four Heavenly Kings, and Typhon’s team has the Vidar-san and Apollon-san in front of us, the balance of the competition has been completely destroyed. This kind of havoc that is only supposed to happen in movies has repeatedly happened, so the entire field has been repeatedly blown away. When god-class beings are given total freedom to rampage, the tournament field is easily destroyed. The tournament committee also allowed this situation…but even so, there are so many teams aiming to win the tournament. …Vali and I, as well as the Sitri peerage that Saji belonged to all held desires of being able to conquer the teams of god-class beings, so no one was going to speak out about it now. Vidar-san laughed cheerfully as he said
“In fact, anyone could’ve been the general, but Typhon himself said that he wanted to be [King], so Apollon and I yielded that to him.”
“…In the Greek mythology that I belong to, it’s not a bad thing to be able to make peace with Typhon whom we’ve always been in conflict with…but Typhon’s selfishness still hasn’t changed.”
The topic of the gods suddenly went up a notch, and I couldn’t keep up at all…. When Apollon-san noticed our reactions, he said to us
“That was rude of us. In any case, contrary to Vidar, I came here because there was something that I wanted to tell you.”
After saying that, Apollon-san raised his index finger.
“Firstly, let me tell you about it. Hades is currently scheming something bad. It is very likely that it may involve you. I will put this into a formal report in future for all factions.”
Upon hearing such news, all three of us reacted fiercely. …Hades still held hostility towards us even now. When Azazel-sensei went over to his side, he realised the dangerous ambition of that skeleton king. He had contact with the Evil Dragon Apophis, and it seems he obtained from Apophis and Rizevim some kind of evil weapon or tool…or something? The information and technology held by Qlippoth had been mostly recovered by the forces of the world, but there were still some things that had not been looked into yet…. The chief gods of the next generation had conveyed this message to us, presumably to alert us of the danger. It was truly filled with unease. Vali asked Vidar-san and Apollon-san a question.
“I’ve also got a question here that I’d like to ask you two. Right now, among the various mythologies after the end of the Evil Dragon War, how many dangerous gods still exist? Although I can guess how many, I’d like to know your opinion as god-class beings.”
“Your question…is it for the sake of world peace? Or is it for your own ambition…in order to gain permission to fight against gods?”
“The possibility of the latter is relatively large…but I can’t deny the former either.”
Hearing Vali’s honest reply, his stepbrother laughed.
“Hahaha, what an honest answer. As my stepbrother, that’s a nice answer. Very well, then let me tell you. Currently, the most dangerous god is probably Hades. A similarly dangerous one is Indra — the Heavenly Emperor who appears to be participating in the tournament on the surface. If he takes the victory prize, then he’ll definitely ask for a war with Shiva. For the sake of this objective, he probably won’t try anything during the tournament.”
So the one to be most wary of at the moment was the God of the Realm of the Dead, Hades huh. Apollon-san then said
“I’ve heard that the god Indra is enjoying the tournament quite purely. He’s also enjoyed watching your battles—. That god is extremely honest when it comes to battles. That’s why it’s also terrifying…. Even if the field is an extremely simple and easy kind of match, the god Indra will prepare intensely, that’s the kind of god that he is.”
…So the Heavenly Emperor is the type that enjoys fighting. However, his ideas and aesthetics were different from Vali’s.
“There is a possibility that he will finally be able to achieve his long-desired dream of a war with Shiva, so he’s naturally motivated and unlikely to cause any incidents. The god Shiva’s commanding skill after the Evil Dragon War was also very outstanding.”
…The Heavenly Emperor was completely focused on the tournament. After all, the prize of the tournament was the ability to realise any wish, so if he could achieve his one dream of a war with Shiva, focusing his attention on the tournament was a wise and correct decision. Apollon-san also nodded in agreement
“Shiva-san himself is also considering the unknown…but when I think about the groups that are fighting against Trihexa including my father, the other gods of Olympus and the Norse mythology are watching the situation closely in case anyone tries to plunge the world into chaos.”
Both of these next-generation chief gods believed that Shiva-san had good intentions. …I met Shiva-san once, and though he gave people a rather frightening feeling, he wasn’t the type who would wreak destruction on the world without batting an eyelid. Vidar-san spread his arms as he said
“—Mmm, that’s roughly what the situation is with Hades. It would be best for Team [DxD] to stay alert. Alright, we’ve already spoken about my stepbrother and the Sekiryuutei, and we’ve also met Dragon King-kun coincidentally. Apollon, it’s almost time.”
“Mmm, we’ve really interrupted your fishing trip. —Oh, there’s one more thing.”
Apollon-san seemed to want to say something, so he approached me and grabbed me hand as he said
“Finally, to the Sekiryuutei-dono, all of the songs about you are wonderful. As a patron god of the arts, I had to make sure that I told you that.”
“…H-haha, thank you.”
I didn’t know how to respond! The next chief god of the Greek mythology symbolising the sun said to me that the [Oppai Dragon’s] songs were wonderful, so I simply didn’t know how to react! I-Indeed, those songs have already been acknowledged by a patron god of the arts, so that’s a good thing…. Azazel-sensei, Sirzechs-sama, Leviathan-sama, the songs that you composed have been conveyed even to the gods…. I told the three of them in my mind. Just before Vidar-san went on his way, he said to us
“If we meet in a game, I won’t go easy. I’m also looking forward to a battle with you. If it wasn’t such a large-scale, lively competition, we wouldn’t participate, so you should enjoy this opportunity to it’s fullest.”
“Even if you’re my stepbrother, I won’t lose to you.”
“I won’t lose either!”
“I’ll do my best.”
—Like this, Vali, me, and Saji put our own respective thoughts into words.
After Vidar-san and Apollon-san left, Vali began to speak after a little while
“Vidar and Apollon huh. Hyoudou Issei, you should remember them. If you want to live in the next era, you may be in contact with the gods of various mythologies. Vidar and Apollon are also young leaders among the gods, so you will meet them many times from now on.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Seeing my response, Saji sighed.
“You’ll have a lot of trouble to deal with from now on. It’s such a relief that it’s a Dragon King that’s within my body.”
…I also hate troublesome things myself. But since I’m a high-class Devil now, it’s impossible for me not to be involved in these things. Moreover, they’ll come to find me on their own. Encountering these two future chief gods while fishing was truly beyond my imagination. All of a sudden, our communication devices rang at the same time. We took out our own devices as we looked at them. After Vali saw his, a smile emerged on his face.
“Oh, Hyoudou Issei. That was some very interesting news.”
“Yeah, I also received some news from my comrades. This is pretty amazing, Hyoudou!”
Saji was also surprised by the news. I also…looked at the news and widened my eyes in surprise! Vali happily said
“—I didn’t expect that the [Rias Gremory] Team would use that mysterious [Pawn] now.”
Indeed, Ravel’s news was about that!
[Rias-sama will use her [Pawn] in the next match.]
That was what her message contained!
“Yeah, I also received that news at the same time.”
…The [Pawn] of Rias which was a mystery until now was finally going to have its veil removed!? Vali revealed a genuine smile
“If my predictions are correct…fufufu, it looks like things will become interesting. We should go to watch the game together.”
Saji and I looked at each other and nodded as we accepted Vali’s proposal.
(Part 2 of 4) (3/10)
After Vali, Saji and I stopped fishing, we immediately transported ourselves to a place close to the arena so that we could watch the Rating Game that was being held in the Underworld — Rias’ game. We entered via the entrance for related personnel, and then arrived at the special viewing room. The match began just as we took our seats! Rias’ team and her opponent’s team (a team led by an ultimate-class Devil as the [King]) both appeared together on a vast field that was mostly made up of the sea…one person from Rias’ team took a step forward first — it was a man who wore a familiar black coat. The colour of his hair was a mix of black and gold, and the aura surrounding his entire body was of a similar colour! …S-So it’s this guy! This guy was Rias’ [Pawn]! The scene that occurred before me left me dumbfounded, and all I could do was stare at the game. The man in the large black coat flew and charged at the opponents across the sea while he reached out with his arm. …Enveloped in an incredibly potent aura, it was compressed and compressed again until it turned into a powerful destructive shockwave! Upon seeing the man who flew in the air in front of them, the announcer called out
The man — Crom Cruach extended his hand and unleashed an extraordinary attack! In an instant, the area in front of him had been overwhelmed by an explosion, and the large special barrier that had been deployed over the entire marine area was dealt a devastating blow. With the single strike that Crom Cruach released — a colossal hole had opened up in the sky and the middle of the sea where cracks in the dimension itself could be noticed. Seawater from the field flowed down into the cracks of the dimension. Throughout the tournament, only god-class attacks had been able to cause such ridiculous damage to the game field’s barrier…. Needless to say, not only did these opponents lack the strength to fight back, but five of them had already been retired in that instant. …So, Rias’ [Pawn] is…Crom Cruach…! Sitting beside me, Saji was also astounded and completely lost for words. As for Vali, it seems that he anticipated Crom Cruach’s participation, and he looked delighted to finally see him make an appearance. The announcer yelled out
…Purely in terms of power, I was confident that I wouldn’t lose to him. The problem was the number of times that that attack could be used, and how long that level of firepower could last. Ddraig said
[…That guy, Crom Cruach. He destroyed the field on purpose. Your previous battle must have given him some inspiration.]
“Fufufu, he must’ve done that deliberately. I wonder if Crom Cruach himself decided to do that, or whether it was an order from the leader. Either way, it seems like there’s some kind of mutual understanding.”
“Is that a challenge from Crom to me?”
When he heard me say that, Vali pleasurably said
“It was for probably for me and the other strong contestants to see. This is very interesting. Indeed, this how it should be. This is the essence of this tournament.”
…Just to show off, he had erased the field.
“Ddraig, answer me honestly. —Can I fight that guy as I currently am?”
In response to my question, Ddraig answered
[Of course, you’ll be able to fight with him as long as you undergo Dragon Deification. It’ll definitely be a good fight. —But.]
…I knew what was next even without it having to be said.
“If there was a time limit, then it’s out of the question, huh. …Seriously, Rias has actually taken in such an unexpected team member.”
Also, even if I did undergo Dragon Deification, it would be impossible for me to defeat him within the time limit. Ddraig continued
[Rias Gremory is rather conscious of you, partner, which is why she pulled Crom Cruach into her team as a [Pawn]. Of course, she probably persuaded him because of his relation to Gasper Vladi, and of course as a countermeasure in order to fight against the god-class beings and the Two Heavenly Dragons. Crom Cruach himself would gladly accept this proposal. To him, this arrangement would be like a dream.]
Although the real reason why Crom Cruach joined Rias’ team was unknown, there was definitely something between the two of them where their interests aligned. Rias herself could be very persuasive, so she could have coaxed him to join her team very cleverly. She was able to bring out everyone’s full potential during the early battles of the Occult Research Club, and on top of that, there was also Gasper who had the power of Balor, which she could have used as a means of persuasion…. Having Gasper with the power of Balor and the strongest Evil Dragon Crom Cruach, this was a truly terrifying combination! —And then, someone else entered the room.
“Ise-sama, I finally found you.”
After Ravel came in, she was followed by Asia, Xenovia, Irina, Rossweisse-san and Bova (mini Dragon form).
“Ah, Ravel, sorry for coming here to see them without saying anything to you.”
“No, it’s fine…. The problem is—”
Ravel’s gaze turned towards the rampaging Crom Cruach on the screen.
“Ah, what are we going to do about this now, I wonder.”
Looking at the screen, I could only make a bitter smile as Ravel frowned.
“Rias-sama’s team not only has Crom Cruach—”
Along with the announcer’s exclamation, Gasper transformed into a monstrous black beast and released a darkness that engulfed the entire sea, causing all of the opponents’ attacks to be swallowed by the darkness. And then, several players were dragged into the darkness—. The next scene on the display showed a small island which floated on the sea. On it was — a girl who resembled Freed — Lint Selzan, who had just entered a fierce close-quarters fight with the opponent’s swordsman. After all, it was the peerage of an ultimate-class Devil, so their swordsmanship was correspondingly good. Lint Selzan’s sword of light landed a blow on her opponent, but she was immediately injured by a counterattack from her opponent. Lint Selzan then increased her distance from them by leaping backwards. The person who appeared at that position was — Valerie. In Valerie’s hand — she took out a Holy Grail, and a sparkling white liquid overflowed from the goblet. It poured down onto Lint Selzan’s wound — and the wound disappeared as though it had never existed in the first place!
The announcer also praised the ability of Valerie’s Sacred Gear. Indeed, that was the new method of recovery for Rias’ team! Valerie used [Sephiroth Graal] to heal a person’s injuries. Although she couldn’t keep up with Asia in terms of speed, a means of recovery was highly important in the game. The recovered Lint Selzan produced purple flames from her entire body, and the sword in her hands was set alight. The sword of purple flames released a flaming aura towards the opposing swordsman! The injured opponent simply could not withstand the pain!
Just as the announcer had said, the player who had been struck by Lint Selzan’s purple flames immediately disappeared into the light of retirement. …That girl also has the power of a Longinus. Gasper, Valerie, Lint Selzan…. Rias had already added three powerful Longinus wielders into her own team. Naturally, the activity of the new Rias team extended beyond just that. Rias’ Power of Destruction completely overwhelmed the opposing [King] (ultimate-class Devil). The opposing [King] had already been wounded by Crom Cruach’s initial blow, and wasn’t an a challenge for Rias at all. Beside her, a Fallen Angel-mode Akeno-san released an enormous lightning dragon to take down the opposing [Queen]. Kiba had also defeated the opposing [Knight] in the blink of an eye while Koneko-chan used Kasha in her Shirone-mode to incinerate the opposing [Bishop].
The other side’s players were forced to retire one after the other. The victory of Rias’ team was already set in stone. Rias herself also had repeated victories, and was undefeated so far. Rias then forced the opposing [King] to surrender. Vali joyfully said
“Without you guys, the team of Rias Gremory seems to have shed its skin, and they’ve been well-received in this tournament…they’re a perfect combination of the existing and the new members. Using everyone’s characteristics to their fullest potential is a bold approach…”
But even so, what was the true motive behind revealing Crom Cruach’s true identity at a time like this? Could it be possible that she wanted to demonstrate her overwhelming power to the tragic players who had already been supressed by the power of god-class beings so as to further reduce their motivation? Nonetheless, seeing these guys, as well as the debut of the legendary Evil Dragon would cause a lot of people to withdraw. In fact, while the tournament had progressed to this point, there were teams that dropped out every day. I lowered my head as I said
“…Well, it might be a good idea to increase our fighting power for the next match as well.”
When I muttered that, Ravel whispered to me
(Ise-sama, there’s something that I’d like to discuss with you on that matter.)
(Really? Do you mean we’re going to use that girl?)
Upon listening to my question, Ravel nodded. Hoho, there was actually another candidate aside from Elmenhilde.
It was the announcement to declare Rias’s victory. Rias had gained yet another win. …I can’t lose to her either! Vali looked fairly satisfied as he watched the victory of Rias’ team and Crom’s appearance, and then got up to leave the viewing area.
“Well, I should also go back now I guess.”
“Ah, I’m also going to go.”
Saji followed Vali to leave.
“Ara, Vali, Saji, are both of you are going home?”
When I asked that, Saji replied with
“The match is over, and we’re not going to go back to fish again, so I wouldn’t want to disturb you guys. After all, we are competing teams, and we’re going to have a match with you soon.”
“That’s right. —Saji, I’m not going to lose to you this time.”
“Hehe, that’s my line, Hyoudou.”
Saji and I shook hands. Although we were good friends who could go out fishing together, we had to make things clear when it came down to the things like this. This time, I was definitely going to win. Vali smiled.
“Going with the flow of things, it looks like the Hyoudou Issei team is going to have to reinforce its fighting power. That’s something I’d welcome though.”
“Vali, you’ll make it to the tournament’s finals, right?”
After hearing that, Vali shrugged.
“That’s what I should be saying to you.”
Vali waved, and then left the room. —Just before he left, he said one more thing.
“We were interrupted halfway through fishing…. But I’ll bring along my two rookies next time. Bikou will be happy when I take those two off his hands since he’s taking care of them.”
…Rookies…ah, he was talking about the current Sha Wujing-chan and that pervert, the current Zhu Bajie. The latter of them was a complete pervert. I was also quite troubled on how to deal with him. In any case, it was not as though I disliked his invitation.
“Yeah, let’s go to a river in the mountains to fish next time.”
Vali and Saji raised their hands in agreement with my proposal as they left. …In the end, the answer to the matter of ‘enjoying’ battles was still unknown, and I didn’t pry into it too deeply with them…. Perhaps this was something that I had to discover for myself. Although it was a rather vague conclusion, this was what I told myself.
(Part 3 of 4) (15/10)