"Shun, are you listening to me?"
I turned my attention back to the Crimson haired beauty seated in front of me, from where I was staring off into the distance while taking an extended sip from my tea cup.
I sighed and rubbed my eyes, fingers ending in a pinch between them. The name of the crimson haired lady I had been unintentionally ignoring, was Rias Gremory. She was a lady of many titles; High class devil, Future Head of Clan Gremory of the 72 pillars of the Ars Goetia, Crimson Haired princess of destruction, King of a peerage, First of the two great Onee-samas of Kuoh academy...
"Sorry Rias, I was up late finishing a marathon of Tengen Toppa Gurenn Laggan."
"OH! That was epic! With the robot that merged with another robot that merged with another robot that merged with another robot which threw a galaxy at..."
...And was also a major Japanophile. If you are wondering how I managed to meet such an interesting character well... I met her at a manga convention. She was wearing a stupid disguise. I can't believe no one else from our school recognized her.
I had gotten my hands on a special reprint of the first few arcs Jojo's Bizzare Adventures. They were the last copies and I had gotten my grubby little mitts on them, snatched from right under the nose of one angry redhead. After glaring with a fury that would have put Odin's berserkers to shame, she tried to hypnotise me into giving up the goods.
She failed, and that was how we got to know each other. From then on, I considered her a casual acquaintance and she considered me... an asshole who deprived her of her precious limited edition manga.
Most of our interaction from then forth involved her trying to barter with me for the manga and me politely refusing. This for some reason made me public enemy number one amongst her fan club.
Of course on the 'not so normal' side of things, I later stumbled upon her and her peerage fighting a particularly wily Stray Devil. The fighting had spilled out from the stereotypical abandoned warehouse that the Stray had decided to use as a base of operations and onto a side street. A side street that I happened to be walking down. The stray then tried to take me hostage to use against them... I proceeded to beat it to death.
The next day I was invited to the Occult research Clubroom and the rest was history. I didn't join her peerage of course but with the reveal that we both knew about the supernatural, it was like a barrier between us was dispelled.
I mean I could understand, there weren't really much people she could talk to that were also 'in the know'. Even though she still held the theft of the manga against me, we talked with each other far more freely. I also began to spend time in the Occult Research Clubroom and over time I got to know Rias and her peerage better and the two of us became... something akin to friends almost.
Still doesn't stop me from keeping a mace bottle filled with a mixture of Ghost pepper and holy water. Just in case.
It looks like she had finally stop her spiel on how what happened to Kamina was such a great tragedy yet was a defining moment of Simon's road to becoming a badass. And how it was so inspirational and manly. She took a moment to catch her breath before taking a sip of her tea to calm her down.
"Ahem, back to where I was before, I need to ask for a favour from you."
Well, this is interesting. "A favour? Can you tell me more?"
Rias handed me a few photographs in response. They were primarily of a young couple and a few of them were hidden camera shots of them individually. I did not recognise the girl, but the guy was infamous. His name was Hyoudou Issei and in Kuoh academy, he had been given the dubious honour of being a member of the perverted trio. He had been given a code name; The Beast. Alongside the Three sizes scouter and the super lolicon cameraman.
And from what I've heard, their reputation is hard earned. And that leaves a few questions.
"What does super pervert #1 have to do with this, and how the hell did he score a chick that hot?"
"For the first question, he has everything to do with this and for the second question, he didn't find her, she found him."
She did a small cough and took a moment to collect her thoughts before continuing.
"Let me start from the beginning. The girl goes by the name of Amano Yuuma and had approached Hyoudou out of the blue with a love confession. He accepted and they became a couple."
"Thing is, Amano Yuuma is not just an ordinary girl, she is a fallen angel. Not only that, but she is part of a snall group of fallen that have taken up residence in an abandoned church in Kuoh town."
"Recently many Sacred gear users have simply... disappeared or have turned up dead. We have reason to believe that the fallen angels are at least partially responsible for this. And with this group on my territory and approaching uninvolved civilians-"
"You believe that Hyoudou Issei may possess a Sacred gear and fear that this Amano Yuuma may kill him."
"Exactly, this is my territory and I want to protect the boy but there are... complications."
"The Great War." I spoke, connecting the dots in my mind. She nodded with a grim smile.
"Yes, while it has been a long time since there were any open hostilities, the three factions are technically still at war."
"While this is my territory and it is within my rights to use force on any trespassers especially when said trespassers are members of the opposing two factions, I do not know if they are operating on the orders and backing of the Grigori, or if they are operating rogue."
So that's what this is all about. "Even if you are in the right by attacking them, if they have the backing of their organisation, reinforcements will be sent to retake their objective in which then your faction will have to respond to this show of force. Eventually escalating up to the point of open conflict."
She gave a tired sigh, it spoke of the great weight the authority of being a high class devil and the future head of a pillar family conferred upon her.
"Yes... the reinstitution of a state of open conflict is the last thing the devil faction wants. The Great War had severely weakened us, our original leaders, the Maous were dead. And the civil war which followed afterwards nearly ended us as a species."
"The Evil piece based Peerage system has helped to alleviate the problem of our numbers somewhat, but they are still nowhere near sufficient for us to survive in a state of open warfare against the other two factions. Not in a three front war, not even against a single faction."
Rias Gremory sighed, it was a sigh that foreshadowed many other sighs to come.
"It would be a simple matter if they were a rogue cell of operating on orders separate from the Grigori, but until we can be sure of that beyond a reasonable doubt me and my peerage cannot afford to implicate ourselves and thus the race of devils by extension."
She took a pause, almost as if she was mustering her conviction. "But I will not let this boy die. Not when there is something that I can do... or rather something I can do indirectly."
My lips stretched into a thin smile. A smile that never reached my eyes.
"And that is where I come in."
She gave a small nod. "Indeed, as a free agent unconnected to any of the three factions you have the freedom to move where others cannot and on the behalf of anyone who wishes to remain anonymous."
"So this is what I want you to do, this Sunday Hyoudou Issei and Amano Yuuma will be going on a date. They will be meeting in front of the station at 10 am in the morning. Tail them for the day and if she tries to kill him... don't let her succeed."
She looked at me straight in the eye, her eyes conveying her conviction and hope. "Will you do it?"
Sigh... I can't let him die now can I?
"Yes... yes I'll make sure he stays unharmed."
Her face brightened considerably, relief flooded her features. She really wants to save him doesn't she? Nevertheless, I'll need to prepare for sunday so I stood up to leave.
"Eh? You're not going to ask for payment?"
Oh right, yes... no I can't take money for this. "Well normally I would be negotiating a price, but... no not for this."
I showed myself to the door and got ready to leave.
"I am a hero after all..."
I let out a breath as the door closed behind Shun. A hero huh?... that's not exactly inaccurate.
"Akeno, can I have a look at his file?"
I did not know why I want to read it again after going through it multiple times... or perhaps I just wanted assurance that my choice was the right one. My queen, Akeno placed the file in front of me then refilled my tea.
She gave me a smile, an attempt to reassure me.
"Rias, they'll be fine. Shun can take care of himself and Hyoudou-kun has Shun looking out for him."
"Sigh... thank you Akeno."
I took a sip of my tea and turned my attention back to the file in front of me. Opening it, I began to read through all the available information on Shun.
Full name is Li Sen Shun, age: 17, Year 2 student in Kuoh Academy. Height: 182 cm and weight: 80kg, ethnicity: Chinese.
I took a look at an attached photograph of him, his features were ordinary if somewhat defined and slightly handsome. His black hair was messy and set in a perpetual bed head. What stood out the most however were his eyes, they were coal black and if I had to describe them... they were like deep pits that drew you into hell. Ironic, considering I was a devil.
I shook my head to clear my thoughts, I had always found it hard to look away from his eyes, and that effect seemed to extend to his photographs.
Right, his abilities. He is an expert martial artist qualified to teach XingYiQuan and Bajiquan though is not limited to them in practice, proficient in the usage of Qi for various martial practices and A practitioner of various eastern mystical traditions.
As for special traits, sacred gear is unknown, he is a heroic descendant of Yue Fei and Li Shu Wen, granting him a great affinity with martial arts and Qi usage, he is also a survivor and hero of the slaughter of the Ghost month.
I didn't know much about the slaughter of the Ghost month, but what I did know... wasn't pleasant. But if he managed to survive that, I could at least be confident in his abilities. I closed the file and took a sip of tea to calm my nerves.
"Sigh... nothing left to do but to... no."
I can't just let everything be.
"Koumori, follow and observe them."