Hello, everyone! I am back with another chapter for you all! Hope you enjoy more fluffy goodness, and Akeno breaking the ice!
Moka stared up at the building in confusion. Of all the places she expected to be taken, a shrine on a hill hadn't been what she thought of. It didn't look like a dangerous place, at least. Maybe Rias could be trusted? But that didn't make any sense. If she was the sister of the person attacking her family, why wouldn't she have used Moka's lowered guard to take her right to the Devil King himself?
"Come on," Rias urged, motioning for Moka to follow her inside. "I have a friend who lives here."
"A friend?" Moka's defenses immediately went up. Was this someone who could exploit her weaknesses? Did Rias lead her into an ambush?
"Relax," the redhead told her calmly. "It's only one person. Her name is Akeno. She's been my best friend for as long as I can remember."
Moka slowly followed Rias into the shrine and the Devil Princess called, "Akeno! Are you home?"
"Rias!" Akeno called, moving from a side room. She smiled at the sight of her Master. "It's good to finally see you again. It's been a month since you last came to visit!" She paused at the sight of the silver-haired woman and she summoned some lightning to hand. "Are you here under duress?"
"No," both princesses said before looking at each other. "I think she was talking to you," Moka murmured.
"She could've been talking to you," Rias pointed out. "Considering I know who she is and you're the newcomer."
"I could have forced you to bring me here," the vampire sent back.
"And why would you do that?" the Devil teased.
Moka shrugged with a smirk. "I could have her send a message to your brother claiming I've kidnapped you, you know."
"But I could have her do the same to your father," Rias grinned.
"Is this stalemate finished?" Akeno giggled. Bright purple eyes surveyed the two women curiously. "So, you're a vampire, then?" she inquired.
"Yes. My name is Moka."
Akeno felt there was something she wasn't being told, but considering she technically was an enemy, she let it go. "It's nice to meet you, Moka. I'm sure it's an interesting story how the two of you met and aren't at each other's throats."
"Rias saved my life from a werewolf," Moka shrugged.
"Moka saved me from some vampire guards," Rias added, the pair of them removing their shoes and settling around a blanket further in the shrine.
"And that forged an alliance?" Akeno laughed. She knew her Master was prone to making friends with the most unlikely people, but this just took the cake.
Moka turned her eyes to the ceiling for a moment. "Yes," she murmured. "Yes, I suppose it did."
"Then what brings you two by my place?" Akeno inquired, pushing on before an awkward silence could settle in.
"We needed somewhere to go off of Shuzen property," Rias responded. "The exit I most frequently use to get out of the realm quickly happens to be right in the middle of their forest."
Her friend flinched. "You're really lucky they haven't spotted you these last few years."
"I'm lucky I never accidentally stumbled on the palace," her master agreed. "If not for Moka last night, I would have been caught by some guards."
"Then I suppose I should express my gratitude." Akeno turned to Moka, much to the vampire's discomfort.
"That's really not necessary," the vampire told her. "We're on separate sides of a war. You shouldn't thank me."
Akeno looked to Rias, who shrugged. She tapped her chin and hummed, "Well, if I can't thank you, then I'll do something else. Because you protected my master, even though you had no obligation to, you're welcome here for refuge whenever you need it."
"W-what?" Moka gasped, red eyes widening. "But… I'm a vampire. I'm… I'm currently the number one enemy of all Devils. Why would you do that?"
"We're on opposite sides of a war," Akeno told her. "But that doesn't mean we lose all of our courtesy. Besides, you say that, but you helped a Devil, even when you didn't have to. That means you're certainly more trustworthy than any other vampire right now."
Moka glanced over at the Devil Princess, who shot her a smile. Truth be told, Rias was having the time of her life watching her best friend and her semi-enemy try to get along with one another. She hadn't expected Moka to be so cordial with Akeno, but she had expected Akeno to be this playful with the vampire.
"Why don't we all go for a walk?" Akeno suggested. "That way, we can get some fresh air. It's been a long while since I was able to have some free time with friends."
Rias stood alongside her servant and Moka looked between the two of them. Slowly, she got to her feet and the three of them made their way out the door, walking under the starlight. Rias walked in the middle, keeping Akeno and Moka slightly apart so as not to overwhelm the vampire. Akeno enjoyed the placement just fine, but Moka rubbed her arm uncertainly.
"Is it really okay?" she asked quietly, looking to the Devil Princess. "To act so… informal with each other, I mean. We're on opposing sides of a war, after all. My kind tries to kill yours every chance they get, and vice versa."
"And yet, neither you, me, nor Akeno has made an attempt on each other's lives," Rias pointed out. "That has to count for something right?"
The vampire blinked at her. "I suppose…"
They walked in companionable silence after that. Rias shot frequent glances to Moka, noting the concentrated expression on the vampire's face. Akeno kept an eye on her Master, practically seeing the wheels turning in the princess' head. Whatever Rias was thinking, Akeno was excited to see how it would affect the war. Moka, for her part, just wondered if this all was really fine. They were warring sides, their respective relatives hating the other's guts. Was it really fine for children of war to… hang out?
"Are either of you hungry?" Akeno inquired. The two princesses stopped to look at her and she gestured to a sweets stand. "I was thinking of getting us some snacks."
"Sure, I wouldn't mind something," Rias replied. "Moka?"
The vampire eyed the stand for a moment before slowly nodding. "Yes, I'm feeling peckish."
"Great!" Akeno chirped, leading them to the stand.
The nice man behind the counter smiled at them all, though it looked a little tense. That made sense. He was in the presence of two divine beings and a legendary monster, so his flight instincts were probably telling him to run. Even so, he politely asked, "What can I get you, girls?"
"I'd like a fruit sandwich, please," Akeno told him. She glanced to her companions expectantly.
"A crepe for me, thank you," Rias called up.
Moka looked away slightly and added, "Taiyaki for me, please."
"How cute," Akeno chuckled.
Moka's eyes narrowed at her, before she noticed Rias doing the same. "I'm kidding," Akeno told them both. "Besides, if you like it, there's nothing wrong with it."
They lapsed into silence while their treats were being made. Tension rolled around them and Rias wondered if Moka was regretting coming with her. She knew the vampire was supposed to be her enemy, but it was the first time Rias had ever come into contact with one. She was hoping to learn more about them, either as her enemies or perhaps as her friend.
"Here you are," the man called, handing the treats down to Akeno. She passed Moka the taiyaki, handed Rias her crepe, and took the fruit sandwich for herself. Moka's eyes widened when Akeno placed a hand behind her back and summoned a pentagram. Out of it dropped a few coins that the devil then gave to the clerk.
As they walked, Moka stared at Akeno in fascination. She only thought the heads of houses could do magic. She had no idea the other devils could do magic, too. So many of them fought with brute strength or lightning speed that she hadn't even known they could use magic to help themselves.
"Is something the matter?"
Moka started and glanced to Rias in confusion. The devil princess inclined her head toward Moka's untouched taiyaki. "You haven't touched your treat."
"Is this about what I said earlier?" Akeno inquired. "I really was only joking."
"No, it's not that…" Moka shook her head. "I just… had no idea other devils could use magic. I always thought it was the heads of the houses. The ones that invaded our castle only used strength or speed, so I thought…"
"Ah, that's right," Rias said quietly. "Brother only sent knights and rooks that day…"
"Rooks?" Moka asked. "Like the chess piece?"
"That's what we call some of our fighters," Rias informed her. It wasn't the whole truth, but they were still very new in this truce. If Moka proved to be untrustworthy, Rias didn't want to send her running to her father with too much information. Likewise, Moka probably felt the same about her and Akeno. This would be a difficult truce to maintain.
The trio enjoyed their treats as they made their way back to the shrine. The first signs of daylight began to peek over the horizon and Rias sighed. "I have to be getting Moka back home," she told Akeno. "And Brother told me I couldn't be out in the daytime. I'll try to stop by more often now that he's letting me leave as I please."
"Take care, Rias," Akeno said, waving goodbye to them. "And remember what I said, Moka. If you need to take refuge. My shrine is open to you."
"Thank you," Moka called as she and Rias made their way into the trees.
This time, Rias summoned a pentagram in front of them instead of surprising Moka. They stepped through near the outskirts of Shuzen property. "I don't want to risk drawing attention to us," she explained.
"Understandable," Moka said. She knelt down and Rias hesitantly climbed onto her back.
"Is it really alright?" the devil princess asked.
"It's the only way for you to get onto the property without being seen," Moka reminded her. "Hold on."
Rias tightened her arms around Moka's midsection and the vampire took off at full speed. When the border patrol came into view, she stopped and once again pushed all her power into a single kick off the ground. This time, she aimed on going higher rather than farther, because both her hair and Rias' were perfectly visible.
Once they landed, Rias slid from Moka's back and pressed a hand to her chest. It was such a rush feeling that amount of power right beneath her. She couldn't imagine doing a spar with Moka. Maybe when their friendship had solidified a bit more.
They raced each other back to the entrance to the Underworld. Rias paused as she made to enter and bit her lip. Truth be told, she had enjoyed tonight. Even though there were some tense moments, she and Moka hadn't been enemies, they had been… just two regular people getting to know one another. She hadn't experienced that since she first met Issei.
"Moka?" she asked, turning back. The vampire princess nodded to her expectantly. "Do you… Would you like to meet up again tomorrow night?"
Moka's heart leapt into her throat. Was the princess of the devils, her enemies, asking to see her again? "You… want to do this again?"
"Yes," Rias coughed uncertainly. "W-we could visit another of my servants. O-or explore more of the outside world if you wish. There's no shortage of things to see…"
"I…" Moka hesitated. She should tell Rias that's a bad idea, that they shouldn't keep seeing each other because they were enemies. But she'd had fun tonight, and she hadn't even seen all that much. Hoping she wasn't putting herself at risk for a trap, Moka said, "Yes, I would like that. Shall I… meet you here after sunset?"
"That would be lovely!" Rias beamed. "Good night, Moka."
As the entrance slid shut, Moka pressed a hand to her chest. A smile slid over her lips as she turned to make her way home. She was looking forward to the coming night.
Oh, this is going to be fun.
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