Dragon Emperor of Armageddon

Chapter II: Initiation


It had been several days since Issei had been initiated into Rias Gremory's peerage. It was remarkably simple once he became aware of the basic knowledge he had to know; his job was essentially handing out fliers to people who were exceptionally greedy, and when they wanted something they would summon a Devil who would fulfill the contract to the best of their abilities. In exchange, they would be rewarded with money or whatever they were given.

It stung that he hadn't been summoned for a contract yet. It proved that he was the weakest of the peerage, but Buchou had reassured him saying that his time would come; he had to get used to his duties first. He had agreed with the crimson haired beauty, and that was more than enough to get him through the humiliation of being the newest Devil in Kuoh Academy. He had also gotten to know the other people in the peerage rather well, if he said so himself.

Underneath the pleasant facade of the onee-sama, Akeno proved to be a very sadistic person. Whenever he ever did something wrong and as a result was punished, Akeno was often the displinary in the peerage. She would smile sadistically and let lightning spark between her fingers enough that Issei was sure he could smell something cooking.

"It seems that Issei needs to be punished~"

That was what she would say whenever she had to punish him. As he walked down the road, he shuddered internally; it was his coping mechanism to never think deeply on those events. It was too traumatic. Koneko and Kiba had given him looks of sympathy, but Koneko had given him a look that said she had expected it to happen. That hurt the most, and it felt like an arrow piercing his chest.

Koneko was also much tougher than she looked; due to her silence in school he had never really known much about her. But it turns out that she ate an inordinate amount of food, often onto second helpings by the time the rest of them were halfway through their meals. She also used boxing equipment occasionally, and spectacularly broke the equipment repeatedly by punching it too hard. Buchou had attempted to reign her in, but she always broke the equipment the next time she used it.

It made Issei fear her quite a lot.

The bishonen bastard was always swinging his swords around in elaborate arcs, and Issei always felt a stab of envy whenever he saw the ease with which Kiba was able to use those blades. Rias had explained that it was a part of Kiba's Sacred Gear, Sword Birth; it allowed him to create any Demonic Sword that he could think of, and with any effect that he chose. She had told Issei not to pry into Kiba's past, which was fine with him; he never really wanted to get friendly with Kiba even though the bishonen was always so goddamn polite! It got on his nerves!

"He gets worked up easily, too." Issei mumbled as he walked down the roads in the city. "Bastard...getting worked up over a question. That's what I expected from the bishonen..."

When Issei had learnt about Demonic Swords, he remembered something from his studies that there were swords in mythology that were the weapons of the light based forces. He particularly remembered Arondight, the sword of Sir Lancelot. So he had asked that if there were Demonic Swords, then wasn't there a Sacred Gear that could allow someone to create Holy Swords?

Instantly, the mood had shifted. Buchou's gaze had turned worried, and the rest were watching anxiously. Kiba's face changed from being relaxed to being wrath filled. It had made even Issei's spine shiver a little, before he caught the glimpse in Kiba's eyes. One of absolute anger.

"Don't talk to me about Holy Swords."

It had clearly been personal to Kiba, but the negative feelings Issei had held towards Kiba had made him ask indignantly what Kiba's problem was. It had been a perfectly legitimate question and that Kiba was being an ass. Kiba had almost lunged at Issei before restraining himself, before Rias got Issei to deliver fliers around the town while she calmed Kiba down. It made Issei's mood sour before realizing he shouldn't have pushed that button.

His manly pride wouldn't allow him to apologize, however. Badasses in his manga rarely apologized, but Issei did feel a bit guilty. Perhaps when he got back to the Occult Research Club building he would apologize. If Kiba didn't do it before him, of course. He had been so consumed by his thoughts that he didn't hear someone calling out to him before turning around.

"Hey, Issei. What's wrong?" The guy asked Issei in concern, before matching his stride. "You seem down on spirits."

"It's nothing, Sieg." Issei replied, fist bumping with his friend. "I'm just thinking, that's all."

Sieg Friedmann smiled in a way not dissimilar to Kiba, before taking a jab at Issei. "Don't think too much, eh? Don't want your perverted mind to get wiped clean."

Sieg Friedmann wore a black jacket with white lines; it resembled a biker jacket. His face was as damned handsome as Kiba's, but it was mitigated by the white-silver hair he had. Sieg had never told him how he got it, but he would say that he had been born with it. It was such a bullshit excuse, but Issei never called his friend out on it. After all, they were best friends. It would betray his manga idols if he went back on their principles regarding friends.

Issei had previously had a childhood friend called Shidou, with whom he had played video games and dressed up in Sentai outfits. Then, shortly after Issei's seventh birthday, he had moved away along with his parents. Issei had never been told why, but it had made him very downtrodden; even back then, Shidou had been his only friend in the world.

Sieg had moved into the house beside his just a while after Shidou left, along with his caretaker; a nun named Mathilda. She was a goddess of beauty; perfectly shaped breasts and kindly demeanour had immediately enamoured Issei to her. And when he had taken up the mantle of pervert, he was determined to potentially have her in his future harem. However, he also knew there were limits; she was, for all intents and purposes, Sieg's mom, so he wouldn't pull any tricks while Sieg hadn't given permission.

It didn't mean he couldn't spy on her occasionally, though.

Girls were attracted to Sieg to, and if he hadn't known him for ten years then Issei would have been as jealous of him as he was of Kiba. However, one thing stopped him; Sieg was very humble and never really took any girl 'to the next level'. If it could be said, he was the perfect gentleman. Sieg didn't string along girls either, or tease them like Kiba; he always let them down gently, which contributed to his opinion that Sieg was a bigger badass than Kiba. He wondered if Sieg ever fenced or trained with swords; maybe he could show Kiba up.

"Anyway, how have you been the past few days?" Sieg inquired. "You weren't like yourself for a while, and I'm pretty sure you didn't spy on anyone in the Kendo Club like you do every Tuesday."

It almost made Issei stop in shock, but Sieg had always known about the perverted side of Issei Hyoudou, and hadn't judged him. It hadn't damaged their friendship like so many Issei had tried to start over the years, so he was very thankful that he had at least one true friend.

"Ah, I was feeling a bit tired is all." Issei deflected Sieg's concerns; he didn't want to reveal he was a Devil. "I read all my manga all night as well. I can never get tired of Son Goku!"

It was a sufficient excuse to stop Sieg looking into him; Buchou had told him that humans were not to know about the Devils, Angels or the Fallen unless they were already associated with the organizations that were sided with each faction. Issei was relatively certain that Sieg was a normal human, so he did his best to conceal the fact that he was no longer human anymore from him.

"You're such an irresponsible student, Issei." Sieg sighed in disappointment. "Am I going to have to help you with homework again?"

"Oi, at least I attend school, bastard!" Issei countered, using the most often argument in his favour against Sieg. "What do you do all day? Stay at home and be secretive!"

There was silence for a moment before Sieg laughed lightly, and ruffled his own hair a little. "Well, I suppose I deserved that one, all right. Do you want to come to my house for a while? We haven't hung out in a while since you've been so unenergetic."

Issei briefly wondered whether or not to continue giving out fliers; he wanted to hang out with Sieg, but on the other hand he still hadn't delivered all of them. Eventually, his own personal interests won out, and he decided that after they hung out he would give the rest of the fliers out.

"Sure, let's go! I might finally be able to convince you to walk the path of the pervert!" Issei declared with gusto, raising a clenched fist in the air.

Sieg blinked before laughing and patting Issei's shoulder. "Sure, like that's going to happen anytime soon. By the way, what are those fliers you're carrying about?"

Issei had almost forgotten that he still had a large pile of the fliers Buchou and Akeno had given him to spread around the city. He couldn't tell Sieg that he was now a Devil; he had to mislead his friend and lie to him, which put a bad taste in his mouth. Friends shouldn't lie to friends, but Buchou had told him of the consequences if humans were alerted to the supernatural populace.

Instead, he puffed out his chest like a peacock. "I am now a member of the Occult Research Club! I was told to give these fliers out by Rias Gremory and Akeno Himejima, the two Great Ladies!"

Sieg seemed surprised, and rightly so; it was common knowledge that the two Great Ladies were rather sophisticated even if Issei knew otherwise now; they were expected to uphold their reputation. Associating with someone like him would tarnish their reputation and popularity, while simultaneously giving Issei a glare worthy of Death.

"I have to admit, I would have thought that Gremory-san wouldn't have let you into the club based on the infamy of your many endeavours." Sieg posed, and a metaphorical arrow seemed to pierce Issei's chest. "I mean, spying on the Kendo Club, Swim Club, the changing rooms...How did you manage it?"

Issei suddenly became nervous; there was absolutely no way that he could come up with a convincing story to tell his friend, and Buchou hadn't taught him how to modify memories or all that yet. Not that he wanted to use it on his friend! Buchou just hadn't told him what to do in this kind of situation.

How unfortunate.

Issei laughed nervously, before walking faster. "It's a long story in the chronicle of Issei Hyoudou! I'll tell you sometime of how I wooed the Two Great Ladies! Maybe then, you'll follow in my footsteps!"

So nervous he was, he never noticed how Sieg's eyes narrowed in suspicion, or how his gaze turned inquisitive as he thought of the Two Great Ladies. To Issei, Sieg was just his friend who was innocently unaware of the supernatural goings-on that happened in the world. One dose of normalcy he was allowed in Kuoh.

How wrong he was.

A short time later, they arrived at Sieg's house, and went in. Immediately, Issei was seized with envy before swallowing it down. The house was really roomy compared to his own next door; this house had a large lounge and a flat-screen television, but there were also bookshelves filled with books. Issei had absolutely no idea what any of them were about, but Sieg had never let him read any. He wasn't interested; the only reading material he liked was porn.

It was the kind of house that his parents would like and that they dreamed of having one day, but he and them liked their house the way it was currently; it was home after all. It was then that Issei realized that Mathilda wasn't anywhere to be seen. Odd, since whenever he came over he was almost guaranteed to see her in some fashion.

"Oi, where's Mathilda?" Issei inquired, and Sieg gazed over at him with those piercing eyes. "I thought she'd be here. Is she somewhere else?"

"Yeah; she has some business to do at the Church." Sieg handwaved. "She's praying there; a lot lately. Plus, she has something important to do so she's been busy the past day or two."

When Issei heard the word 'church', something unusual happened to him. A shiver went up his spine, and he was sure that his heartbeat echoed in his head. His hands became clammy, and it was a second later that he realized it was fear; he feared the church. At first, it seemed like a stupid reason before he remembered that Buchou had told him that the Church was the natural enemy of the Devils.

"What's wrong, Issei?" Sieg asked, concerned. "You seem a bit off. I mean, more than usual of course."

Issei nearly jumped in surprise; he had forgotten momentarily that Sieg was there. He really wasn't a good Devil if he couldn't have noticed how Sieg was observing him now with a careful look o his face; ready to worry if he had to. Issei had to get rid of Sieg's suspicions and questions, so he decided to use his perverted nature to his advantage.

"I got a shiver up my spine, idiot!" Issei growled back. "A hot woman has to be undressing somewhere! My Beauty radar has never failed me before!"

There was a long, long silence before Sieg just sighed to himself and stopped inquiring. Issei mentally patted himself on the back; he was an excellent liar! It was then that he realized just what he had thought and became depressed for a moment; lying to his best friend was one of the rules that shonen manga had taught him, and he was forced to walk all over the code! How depressing!

Sieg watched Issei carefully, under the guard of his close friend. There was something he needed to check now, something he had been meaning to for a long time. Now was the only chance he was going to get for a while, if his suspicions were correct.

"Hey Issei, have you ever seen my family heirloom?" Sieg asked. "You know, the one I've told you about?"

Issei shook his head in the negative. "You know I haven't; you've kept it under wraps for years! It's unfair; I've shared all my knowledge with you, but you never showed me your heirloom! A breach of friendship! Unforgivable!"

"It was because it's quite valuable in the modern day, and people might try to steal it." Sieg explained. "It would be worth a lot of money if my family was willing to sell it."

Issei withdrew to a corner, with a purple cloud above his head. He was in a fetal position, and Sieg felt pity for him. "You didn't trust me...what a friend you've been. How cruel..."

Sieg said nothing, and led the way into his room. As they walked up the stairs, Issei was seized by how beautiful and ornate the whole thing was; it was like it was crafted by some god. His head twitched as he thought that sentence, but ignored it. It was a minor pain compared to when he had said the 'G' word.

They arrived in Sieg's room, and like downstairs it had bookshelves full of books. There was also a few models of dragons strewn about, and Issei felt a blast of familiarity hit him as he regarded them before he shook those thoughts away. He had never seen these figures before, so why did he suddenly think he remembered them when they were much larger? Clearly, he was too tired to be thinking straight.

Sieg took down a large, ornamental box down from where it had been held on a shelf that resembled swords. The length of the box itself also matched those swords, but Issei suddenly grew apprehensive as he looked at the box. Something told him that the box was dangerous; it was like his instincts were yelling at him to run away like he always did when he was confronted by the Kendo Club.

Sieg opened the box, and Issei's senses suddenly went into overdrive. The sword itself was magnificent-dangerous-with the hilt being leather bound with a ruby pommel-enemy-. Plus, the guard resembled the head of a Dragon, with rubies for eyes and facing towards the sky-RUN-. Out of the mouth emerged the sword-edge, which was silver but had gold highlighting the middle of it, following the shape of the sword-DEATH-.

There was writing along the blade, and Issei instinctively knew what was written upon the blade.

Faas Dovah Kriin.

-DEATHRUNFEARENEMYSCAREKILLENEMYSLAYER-

Fear Dragon Slay.

-RUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUN-

-SURVIVE-

"Gram, the sword passed down my family for generations, ever since the age of my ancestor Sigurd." Sieg announced, before seeing Issei's reaction. "What's wrong?"

Issei scratched at his skin, with dark marks appearing after he rubbed and scratch at his skin like it bothered him immensely. Something about the blade made him afraid; he had never felt such a powerful emotion before. He began to sweat a lot, and he was drawn into the sight of the blade, seeing all of the Dovah it had slain, wielded by a silver haired knight-

The box shut with an almighty clap. Issei's attention was taken away from the sword and back to Sieg. Sieg looked concerned for him, and Issei realized that his friend might call the ambulance even though he was physically in peak condition. Even as the box was replaced on the shelf, he began to calm down, and his heart stopped beating so viciously.

"Sorry, I've had a really bad cold recently! I'm still recovering..." Issei replied, and acted like he had an actual cold; lethargic movements and all.

"Well, if that's the case go back to your house." Sieg told Issei in a tone that said he wouldn't take no for an answer. "I'll check up on you later on."

"Alright Sieg! See you later!" Issei said hastily, before running out of the room.

He was desperate to get away from that sword; from that sword that terrified him so much that he felt as if he would die if he touched it. It was dangerous to him-dangerous for a reason he couldn't fully comprehend. For a reason that his instincts knew a long time before him.

Back in his room, Sieg sat on his bed. It seemed that his suspicions were correct; if Issei reacted this violently to just been shown Gram, then there was only one conclusion that Sieg could come to that would explain all the facts and the hints he had seen over the past few days.

"World End has awoken..." Sieg murmured, before he felt sadness at the shared and bloody destiny they both had. "Damn it all..."

He considered Issei a great friend, and even before being made aware of Issei's Dragon-type Sacred Gear and exactly what it was and who it contained by Paarthurnax, he didn't want to involve Issei in his 'family business'. Now, it seemed as if he would have no other option but to eventually do so.

No, that wasn't important right now. He got up and walked to his closet; the sight of his 'hunting' garb greeted him. He needed to look for his old comrade Freed Sellzen and the Rogue Exorcists he had taken up shop with as per his assignment. Perhaps he could use that to drown the feelings of despair blooming in his chest.


In the night, Issei went back to the Occult Research Club building, pedalling as fast as he could on his bicycle. It was essential since he had been called by Buchou, and she had said to get there as soon as possible. The fastest mode of transportation available to him at the moment was his bicycle, so he had been forced to use it. It wasn't giving him as much trouble to pedal fast, he eventually realized; it probably had something to do with his new Devil body, and as a result his bike was semi-wrecked. He would have to get it repaired in the future.

It was night when he entered the candle-lit building, and was surprised to see Kiba waiting for him with an apologetic expression on his face. Buchou, Akeno and Koneko were around the building; Buchou was sitting on the largest sofa, Akeno was standing behind her while Koneko lazily sat upon a desk swinging her legs back and forth.

But they were all looking at the two males of the Research club. Then, Issei realized this was also the first time that Kiba looked genuinely apologetic instead of the teasing expression he wore when he turned down the invitations of girls. He was actually going to apologize. A guilty feeling spread through Issei's chest; damn the bishonen! Since he looked so apologetic, Issei was going to have to apologize too. Granted he had already planned to do so, but it was different since now it was more of a pride issue.

"Issei, I'd like to apologize for my earlier behaviour." Kiba extended the olive branch, as well as an outstreched hand. "I shouldn't have snapped at you; it was my mistake. I hate Holy Swords immensely, but that doesn't mean I should have gotten angry at your question. I'm sorry."

Issei looked around; they were all expecting him to act. He looked at Kiba's outstreched hand, and didn't hesitate to take it in his own and shake it as a sign that the past was past, and that it shouldn't bother him anymore. Issei smiled, before beginning his own apology for his behaviour.

"It doesn't matter; it looks like it was a pretty personal issue, so I'm sorry for bringing it up." Issei brought up in a surprisingly genuine reply; it had been expected he would have been reluctant to apologize by the others.

Tension seeped out of the room afterwards; they all smiled, and Issei even began to think that maybe Kiba wasn't as bad as he thought originally. Rias smiled at the forging of a bond between two members of her peerage, before she stepped forward to give Issei his instructions.

"Well Issei, it's time for you to fulfill a contract." Rias explained, and Issei couldn't believe it; he was moving on from giving out those fliers, at last! "This magical circle will teleport you to the contractor, so that you may fulfill the wish that the contractor has in mind."

The giant magic circle, when Issei saw it resembled something from a Satanic Ritual and given that they were all Devils, wasn't Satan their equivalent to God? Therefore, it would make perfect sense that the circle would resemble one from a Satanic Ritual. Inside the middle was the emblem for the House Gremory. It must have been created by Rias when she became the governing Devil of the city.

"I'll do my best, Buchou!" Issei declared loudly, striking a shonen pose. No one had the heart to tell him that it was laughable and silly. "I promise I won't screw up this contract!"

The super-pervert was eager to please Buchou; he needed to show that it wasn't a bad decision to reincarnate him after all! He silently hoped that the person summoning him would be a kind person, and maybe really hot if the contractor was a woman; big boobs would certainly fuel his enthusiasm! He also hoped that the contractor would be fair and didn't ask for much when he/she declared their wish to Issei, who would have to fulfill it to the best of his ability.

"Well, Issei, if you do fail..." Akeno gave him a sadistic smile that made his stomach turn. "I will be first in line to punish you~"

That straightened Issei up, and Buchou stepped forward, and surprisingly Koneko followed shortly behind. Issei stepped into the middle of the summoning circle, which began to glow as red as Buchou's crimson hair. She stopped just before Issei, and he looked at Koneko in curiosity. She simply stared back at him, stoic and silent.

"Koneko has a few reserved contracts to complete, however she can only complete one at a time." Buchou explained, and Koneko nodded. "So you'll be given the latest request she has gotten."

Issei nodded his understanding, and Buchou stepped forward and began to write something on his palm. It felt pleasant, like his hand was warm, but even he couldn't understand the writing; it must be Devil language, he decided; even with his new ability to read understand languages he still wasn't proficient enough to understand written language. How troublesome.

"Now, you'll be teleported to the person who has contracted you. Stay calm; the feeling of teleportation will only be mildly uncomfortable the first time, and subsequently you'll get used to it." Buchou explained again, as the circle lit up blood-red, seemingly at her own wish.

Suddenly, just as he was about to teleport, something happened. It was unexplained for a long time after, but at the time Issei's senses seemed like they were being invaded by something; or, more accurately, being observed by something. Then, static had enveloped his wish and all his senses, before he heard something speak from inside him, just like before.

[How very interesting...you are summoning me? I wonder…]

Issei's eyes turned bright red for a split second, before he was teleported with a loud bang. The furniture was sent flying into the walls, and all present merely looked at the scene of destruction with open-mouthed surprise. The magic circle had been burnt completely black, and in place of the Gremory sigil there now burned the sigil of a Dragon's head, with its mouth opened and seemed to be ready to devour them.

Koneko coughed; she was covered in dust. She looked around; even Kiba had stopped what he was doing and had comically protected himself by hiding behind a piece of furniture.

"It looks like I need to speak to my brother now." Rias spoke, remarkably calm despite the chaos. "This is the second anomaly that's happened involving Issei recently. Akeno, could you please set up a communication?"

Akeno nodded, and proceeded to do so. Koneko stood by Kiba, who whistled once he had proven brave enough to see the destruction Issei's first teleportation had caused.

"Well," Kiba began. "At least he's starting out with a bang."

Koneko just gave him a look.


Issei coughed as he appeared in the apartment. It seemed that teleportation was volatile, but he wondered if it was anything like when his Sacred Gear woke up. Dust still covered his vision, but it cleared up quickly. At least the Devil could be thankful for that; even he couldn't see through dust.

"Damn, that was unexpected." Issei muttered, before straightening up. "Hey, I'm the Devil you contracted! What's your wish?"

The apartment itself was really quite small compared to the others he had seen, but it seemed to have the basics that anyone would need; a kitchen, bathroom and bed. However, he was currently inside a large storage room, from what he could see, but there was nothing inside it. Nothing except a few grotesque things.

Issei's eyes widened. Adorning the walls were skulls of various animals, like a large bull who's skull looked really metallic, or a row of eight lizard heads that reminded him of something that he couldn't put his finger on. There were also jars full of blood on the shelves, and Issei briefly wanted to think that his contractor was a very violent person and he began fearing for his life.

"Ah, I see you're disturbed by my trophies. I apologize for that." A man's voice cut through Issei's discomfort, and turned. "Let's begin fulfilling my wish, shall we?"

The man was tall; a head taller than Issei at the most. He wore a long black trenchcoat that seemed tattered at the end, but curiously reminded him of wings. He wore matching pants and shoes, but they had red along them for a reason that Issei couldn't think of, but it looked cool. His hair must have been dyed, because the man's hair was predominantly black but with gold highlights throughout. The most curious thing was that he wore sunglasses even inside, and when it was night time too! Some people were just weird, Issei decided.

"I'm Issei Hyoudou, and I'm here to fulfill the contract you have with us!" Issei declared, and The Man seemed amused. "But, I can't do a large task just yet; I'm new and I'm the weakest Devil right now."

Issei realized what he just said, and began to get down again. The Man smiled, before patting Issei's shoulder in a comforting way. It seemed Issei's downtrodden opinion and fact of himself had made him decide to do that friendly gesture. Issei looked up in surprise at The Man; he was much friendlier than the skulls would imply.

"Don't get yourself down; even if you are weak at the moment, nothing's stopping you from going past your limits and beating your enemies." The Man advised. "In the end, the only obstacle you have to overcome is yourself; in order to move forward, you have to defeat yourself."

That was good advice; and it made sense to Issei. He had to defeat the 'weak' him in order to get stronger? But that advice wasn't like anything he had heard before. He had heard of overcoming his limits, but defeating himself? That kind of advice was practically unheard of and only used by battle maniacs.

"Besides, I'm only 'greedy' for a fight." The Man explained, and Issei listened. "It's been some time since I've had a proper fight, with someone who matches or surpasses my own power. That's why I desire you to be my opponent, Issei Hyoudou."

Issei blinked; he had never fought anyone in his life, and not since he had become a Devil. The only experience he had was when he was always running away from the Kendo club when they caught him and the other perverts spying on them, and waving their shinai around in the air.

"I don't have any experience in fighting," Issei admitted. "I'm just a teenager who's never punched someone before. All I've ever done is run away."

It hurt his pride to admit this, but The Man seemed to be understanding of Issei's pleas; after all, nearly all 'normal' teenagers were not very violent unless they wanted to be, and Issei was the kind of guy to stay out of violent confrontations. Unless, of course, they involved beautiful women, and preferably while they were fighting each other.

"Then this will be a lesson for you; mutually beneficial to the both of us." The Man continued without breaking, smiling at Issei. "If you lament your powerlessness, then I will train you so that you surpass your current self. I might even contract you in the future to do so as well."

It was too good to be true; Issei, ever since being reincarnated had been rather sure that he would never get very lucky again in his life. That he would be stuck as a low-ranked member of Buchou's peerage was something he had been made aware of. But if he could get stronger than he was, if he could protect his friends then he would take any amount of punishment.

And if he had to fight her…

"Yosh!" Issei declared, heroic will ignited inside his soul. "I won't mess up this contract! So show me what you got!"

The Man smiled ominously, and Issei's blood boiled as he saw it. "Good. Very good. Prepare then, Issei Hyoudou. Your journey to being a powerful Devil begins here."

They took up stances. Issei's was something that was influenced by his shonen heroes from the manga he owned, but it also resembled a boxing stance. The Man's stance was very different; he was almost relaxed, and his hands were clenched into fists while his arms were taunt; ready to be brought up in the case he had to fight.

Then combat started. Before Issei could blink, there was a fist lodged in his gut. Strength powered it, and he was hurled backwards into the wall, cracking the plaster. As Issei slid down, he coughed up a lot of blood and vomited a little as well. He grabbed his stomach with both hands as he knelt on the floor. He coughed up more blood and vomit before seeing that The Man still had his fist outstreched, and Issei had no doubt that The Man had punched him and caused so much damage.

"Damn it...that hurt..." Issei growled out, and his legs shook violently as he got back on his feet. "What...what the hell was that?"

He hadn't even seen the blow coming at him; it had been as if The Man had teleported. And he was so strong, so much stronger than him that his earlier declaration was absolutely rubbish. At that very moment, he himself realized that he had absolutely no chance of defeating The Man in front of him.

"Well, you wanted to fulfill my contract, didn't you?" The Man asked the injured Devil. "And you did want to become stronger, didn't you? To become strong, you have to surpass your limits and defeat your own weakness. It really is that simple to get stronger."

Issei got tired of The Man's monologue, and using his Devil-granted speed he rushed at him, determined to get a strike in. He drew his clenched right fist back, and was ready to send it right into the stomach of The Man, so that the pain was given back. However, another strike caught him in the face even as his own had rushed to his opponent's chest, and Issei was sent flying again. This time, he retained enough of his wits to crash down on his feet, cracking the wood.

He huffed in tiredness, and narrowed his eyes and sped forward again. This time, The Man didn't even try to attack; he merely held his hands behind his back and nonchalantly dodged each of Issei's blows. Issei sent a fist at his head, The Man simply moved his head to the right, and as Issei tried to do a one-two punch, but The Man raised his legs and caught the blows on his shin one at a time before, in a master stroke, kicking out and catching Issei in the chest and sending him flying back once more. This time, he crashed right through the wall, and coughed up more blood and dust as he tried to catch a sight of his opponent through the haze of dust.

"This isn't really satisfying..." The Man complained, rubbing his hair and yawning. "I knew you'd be weak, but this weak...things have really changed since the good old days."

Issei didn't understand anything of what The Man was saying; he was barely holding onto his unconsciousness. But his weakness was solidifed as of that last exchange; The Man was clearly much more powerful than him. How he had thought he would improve through training like Son Goku...it was worthless. There was absolutely no way he could improve. Manga made it easier than it really was when it came to training.

He was the weakest Devil...Issei regretted his own powerlessness, and even after unlocking his Sacred Gear he was still just on the power level of an ordinary human. He clenched his fists and gritted his teeth, and was completely unaware of the red that gradually took over his eyes. The Man noticed this, and was surprised; however, in the next moment he was smiling as if that was a development that pleased him.

"Do you get off on this…?" Issei asked tiredly, before channeling all of his strength to standing up. "How...is this supposed to help me?"

"There are several ways getting beaten by someone stronger than you is good training," The Man lectured, watching as Issei got to his feet albeit shaking under the pressure. "The more you're beaten down by someone faster, the more you'll be able to perceive their movements, and even more training will allow you to react to them in time. It's the same with all warriors; skill comes with experience, and experience comes with training that pushes you to the edge."

Then, The Man rushed at Issei. This was not remarkable in itself, but Issei processed over the next few beatings that he received that he was seeing him move. It had started when he had saw a blur smash into his solar plexus, and that time he had thought that The Man was moving slower, but then when he had received a blow to the legs Issei realized that The Man's words rang true; he was beginning to see them.

He couldn't dodge though. Even though he was finally comprehending the blows that were hammering him, Issei couldn't do anything. He was still getting beat up and soon he was sure he would look like a bag of beaten potatoes. He had literally no energy left; he was spending it all on staying conscious. It irritated him; even though he see when the attacks were coming now, he couldn't even stop them connecting.

He was still weak.

The Man caught the flimsy punch that Issei had sent at him half-heartedly, before twisting his body and suddenly Issei had been slammed into the ground. He coughed up more blood, and he was sure that it would take some time for him to recover fully. His vision exploded into black before he woke up suddenly. He then realized he had blacked out for a moment. He struggled to get up, and before he did so he was kicked in the side again, and hit the ceiling. He fell down, but miraculously managed to land on his knees which felt like they would break any second.

The Man was definitely not human if he could do all this damage to a Devil.

He got up, and faced The Man through one half-swollen eye. His vision began to swim, and he swayed on his feet before reaffirming his stance every few seconds. The Man stood proud and tall, but there seemed to be a hint of approval on his face. It frustrated Issei that he was still so weak. Still so weak that even if he fought someone else it was most likely he would be getting the very same beatdown from them.

Weak.

Weak.

[WEAK!]

For a few brief seconds, Issei saw a void, pitch-black and full of nothingness. There was absolutely no presence there, but it felt comforting to Issei; the darkness seemed to support him and keep him on his course. Then he had seen two great red eyes with slitted pupils, giving him a glare.

[How very weak. Compared to all my other hosts, you are so very weak. You have no talent for fighting, but you insist anyway. The fact you are getting beaten down by him proves that you are the weakest host I have ever had.]

The red eyes seemed to contract in anger, before Issei thought they gave him a look that was grudging respect. It was an odd feeling; to be put down yet complimented in the same sentence. He should have been freaking out, but he wasn't; something about this giant creature put him at ease.

[But...you are learning. You are proving that you are willing to surpass your weaknesses. Perhaps you won't be such a failure as I originally thought. Maybe there is more to you than your perverse desires or your blasphemous new state as one of Them.]

There was a venomous attribute to the tone that the creature used in that last word. Issei somehow knew it was talking about how he was a Devil now. He almost protested, but he was too tired as it was. His right hand twitched, and black-red energy swirled around it, becoming his Sacred Gear after nothing more than an unconscious thought that it responded to.

Desire.

Desire to surpass his limits.

Desire to become stronger.

Desire…

Desire…!

[Prove it then, Issei Hyoudou. Prove that you are worthy of being my host, and bearing my powers. Prove it now, and prove. Your. WORTH!]

Issei's eyes snapped open, and his Sacred Gear manifested in a flash of black-red energy. The Man looked at it curiously, before Issei ran forward in a mad rage. No, more of a state of mind where he didn't fully comprehend what his body was doing. All it was doing was following his desire; to defeat the opponent right in front of him! To defeat him to prove his own worth! To finally be a badass like Son Goku and Naruto Uzumaki!

The red jewel glowed bright, and The Man took a step back as he saw Issei gunning for him. He didn't even try to block; he was much too satisfied with this unexpected occurance. He smiled, and privately noted that Issei was going to be very strong if he kept up his training.

[YOL!]

Issei's gauntlet was then covered in fire, completely obscuring the original shape. The Man widened his eyes now; he could channel that through the gauntlet? Granted, it was a possibility since Issei hadn't shown any apitiude for Shouts, but to channel it through his gaunlet? How very unexpected!

The flame covered fist smashed into The Man's stomach, and for a moment they looked into each other's eyes; Issei's red eyes burned with passion, while The Man's gave Issei a look of respect. Then, there was a brief explosion of fire before The Man skidded back, with the front of his chest exposed and burned.

"Yes, you are..." The Man complimented, as Issei focused now, new energy coursing through him. "You are definitely going to be strong, and you are definitely going to inherit his title, Issei Hyoudou."

There was silence for a moment, where the blaze around Issei's gauntlet still burned bright, his eyes turned red in draconic fury. Then, as sudden as it could be, Issei stumbled and his gauntlet disappeared in a haze of dark light plus his eyes turning back to their natural brown. He gave a look around, before he noticed the wound-burn he had dealt to his contractor. Immediately, his eyes widened; would he be punished now?

He forgot his own injuries and ran or rather stumbled towards The Man, his own injuries forgotten. The image of Akeno in sexy dom attire and with a very severe looking whip was enough to make Issei plow on so that he could avoid that punishment. He just hoped that he hadn't screwed up this contract! He could see what Koneko would say, with her golden eyes narrowed like a displeasured cat.

"Hyoudou-sempai...you are the worst..."

"Hey, are you alright?!" Issei asked in a frantic tone. The Man merely seemed bemused by Issei's reaction. "I didn't hurt you too much, did I?! I'm really sorry, please forgive me!"

Issei's begging was almost comical. The Man smiled, before he glanced at Issei's right arm, clearly seeing the Sacred Gear despite the fact it was not manifested at the moment. That power Issei had coursed through it briefly...yes, it was true. World End had woken up finally, after several centuries of slumber. Maybe his and the other's quest wasn't so impossible anymore.

"I'm quite alright, boy." The Man assured the frantic Devil. "This is nothing but a flesh wound; I've suffered worse wounds than this. But, the fact that you were able to strike me shows that you are proceeding down the path of getting stronger. You should be proud of yourself. Was that your Sacred Gear?"

Issei felt immensely pleased at the fact he was getting complimented by someone for something he had done. Despite the fact he had been wounded, The Man wasn't even worn out; Issei had a long route to go, but it didn't seem so impossible anymore that he would get stronger. Then, he realized The Man had questioned him, and looked at his right arm. In a moment, the Sacred Gear had manifested itself without any conscious thought.

"Uh, yeah. I don't really know what it does or what it's called though. Buchou said it's a 'Dragon-type' Sacred Gear." Issei explained, before looking at The Man in surprise. "Wait, how do you know about Sacred Gears? I thought normal humans didn't know about them."

The obvious question was left in the air-whether The Man was associated with one of the other species or was a Devil himself. Somehow he knew this was wrong; his Sacred Gear had pulsed with fury when the thought had crossed his mind that The Man was not a human but a Devil.

"I know a lot more than you do, Issei Hyoudou." The Man confirmed, stretching his muscles. "Much more than you do. But, that's not really important right now. I consider the contract fulfilled for now. I think I'll be calling on you a lot in the future. Yes, I think a few more training sessons would be immensely beneficial to you."

Getting beat down into the ground was considered a training session by this guy?! Issei thought his first contractor would be a normal guy with knowledge of the Occult, not some really mysterious but super cool guy that looked like Neo from the Matrix! It just wasn't supposed to happen.

Issei was given some money by The Man, and quite a generous amount as well. It was more than Issei thought he would ever get in one setting! Not even his part-time job at the manga store paid that much! Issei nodded his thanks to The Man, and disappeared in a flash of red light, the same draconic sigil being burnt into the ground. But before Issei disappeared completely, he heard the voice from inside his soul speak again.

[Iilah Kenlok Dovah...it seems you have gotten much stronger in the past centuries. I will be interested to see your true power…]

The Man was left alone when Issei disappeared from his sight. The smile still adorned his face, before he grabbed a particular device and punched in a number. He waited for it to connect, before a rude voice cut in on the other end. The Man smiled, before beginning his report.

"Well, the fuck are you waking me up for, you bastard?!" The voice on the other end raged at him, but The Man was just amused by his comrade's reaction. "You better have a FUCKING good reason for interrupting my nap!"

"It's an important matter, so shut up." Anything civil in his voice was dropped, being replaced by stone-cold authority. "I want you to inform the others that he woke up. Right here in that city I've been scouting. You got it? Tell them all that he has awakened."

There was silence on the other side of the communication before the other voice dropped the hostility. "You shitting me? You're actually serious? Finally! It took too FUCKING long to find him after all this time!"

The Man was patient, before interrupting his comrade's tirade, during which he sounded like he was having an orgasm. "Just inform them, okay? Even Vritra if you can. We all need to know about it, so get to it now."

He shut off the communication, before looking out the window at the crescent moon. He smiled fondly as he recalled his past, and his most cherished memories of the times where he fought with his blood brothers on every single battlefield, sharing every wound and victory with them.

"It won't be long now." The Man breathed out, reaching up to the moon before clenching his fist. "Just a little longer...I just have to wait a little longer until that time."


Issei had spent the next few days healing from his injuries sustained from The Man's attacks. Even as he walked towards the school, his stomach ached and he resisted the urge to vomit. Nausea assaulted him, but he kept going. It seemed that The Man's lesson also known as a beating was working; he was stronger than before, which the others had noticed when he had joined in on a training sesson.

He hadn't managed to defeat Koneko, but he had lasted longer than they thought he would. Rias had said she was expecting that; when he had been summoned back with pretty much all of his body in tatters or resembling pulp, they had all been immensely worried. They had helped him into a seat, and Akeno had hastily applied healing magic. It spoke of the seriousness of the situation when Koneko the quiet, stoic junior had a fearful look on her face at Issei's condition.

They had asked him what the contract had been, and Issei had replied truthfully; The Man had wanted Issei to fight him, and had proved to be much stronger than him when they did fight. Issei had then lamely replied that he hadn't even been able to touch The Man until the end, where his Sacred Gear had activated one of it's abilities.

He had told them of how he had known about Sacred Gears, and he had told them of his suspicions that the guy wasn't exactly human. Rias had changed then; she had become more authoritarian and a leader, and began asking Issei very specific questions that he hadn't been able to answer; The Man hadn't even mentioned his own name.

"Issei...that man is dangerous. If you have to fight him outside a contract, then run."

Buchou had told him that. Buchou had told him to run if he ever came across the contractor in a hostile environment. He had to admit, he agreed with that sentiment; The Man could easily defeat him but there was no indication of what he would be able to do against the other Devils present here. He had then lamented his own weakness, despite how much stronger he had gotten, when Rias had embraced him between her massive cleavage.

"It's alright Issei; no one starts being strong. Even those who are prestigious have to train to get stronger. So don't worry; you will become stronger soon, I'm sure of it."

It had been the encouragement he had needed, and he had yelled his resolve in the matter. He clenched his fist and a grin spread over his face as he backtracked to the research club.

"Yeah, I'm gonna get stronger!" Issei told himself, swore to himself. "I'll be the strongest member of Buchou's peerage!"

His thoughts then turned to his encounter that he had had today. The image of a clumsy blonde nun cut into his head, with her cute smile that befitted a loli. It had been the first time that Issei had enjoyed the company of a girl since that night, and while he had been immensely apprehensive, he had enjoyed the walk all the more.

"I'm Asia Argento. But please, call me Asia!"

"Asia..." Issei murmured, a smile coming onto his face. "Yeah, such a cute name...and I met her like the protagonists do in those manga! Could my harem route be starting now?"

He had seen her panties as she had collided with him, and had savoured the sight due to his natural instincts as a pervert; seeing the panties of a nun had been on his bucket list when he was human though he had hoped he would see Mathilda's-but knowing Sieg, that wouldn't happen unless the formidably kind nun wished it to be so. Anyway, Asia had asked him to escort her to the Church in the city, after he had seen her heal someone with a green light.

It hadn't been like that time with the Light Spears of Raynare, this light had been comforting even to a Devil like him. She had healed the scrapes on a boy's knee, and he was absolutely sure that it was her Sacred Gear. It might be magic, but rings had manifested on her fingers when she had begun to heal the kid, so that fueled his suspicions. Plus, if there was a Sacred Gear that could summon Demonic Swords then surely there was a Sacred Gear that could heal wounds in a fast amount of time, right?

But something had happened when she had mentioned the Church. Some kind of fear had spread through him at the mention of it and when he had gotten close to it the feeling had intensified. It wasn't as severe as the feeling he had gotten from Sieg's heirloom, but it came pretty close to matching its effect on him. Asia had asked him to come in for tea, but he had hastily declined; Buchou had said that Church and Angels were the natural enemies of Devils, and that he should stay as far away from them as possible.

Devils and their enemies, if they came into contact, were sure to kill each other, Buchou had told him. He was adamant that Asia wasn't like that; she was too cute and nice to be so malicious, but then his thoughts turned to that bitch who had killed him and he realized that maybe he should draw on his experiences. It made him feel like a right bastard, but it had been necessary.

"Ah...I'm Issei Hyoudou, Asia. Let's meet again sometime!"

"Idiot...even after Buchou's warning, I still..." Issei berated himself, before deciding that he didn't really care about heeding Buchou's warning. "Damn...what's this feeling in my chest?"

It had been bothering him on his way to the Research club building; there had been a warm ember inside his chest when he had talked to Asia, gotten to know her a little better. It was strange, and distracting-it had only been when he was walking back to the school that he realized the feeling had been missing, and he had also been trying to figure out what the feeling exactly was. It felt familiar, but he crushed the notion with unusual strength; it wasn't familiar, it couldn't be.

Because that would force him to admit the truth that he was so desperate to keep hidden.

He shook his head to get rid of those painful thoughts and memories. He reached the Research club building, and he saw Rias sitting in a chair, reading a book and glasses on her face. She had exceptionally cute like that, and Issei hated that he would have to end that peace. He couldn't see anyone else here; it was just the two of them for now.

"Oh, Issei." Rias smiled at him, putting down her book and taking off her glasses. "What is it? The others aren't here just yet."

Issei scratched his hair sheepishly. "Ah, it's just that I met someone earlier, Buchou. I thought you'd like to know about it."

Rias gave Issei a curious look before standing up, and Issei proceeded to her side as they walked up the stairs. Issei's throat was now really dry, and it took him a bit of courage in order to say what he needed to say to her. As the governing Devil of the city, it was expected that he would tell her of any encounter he had with other factions despite his own personal opinion.

"I met a nun earlier today; she's been assigned to the Church in the city." Issei told her, and her face gradually set into stone. "Her name's Asia Argento. I thought I'd tell you. She also healed someone; I think it's her Sacred Gear."

The atmosphere went cold for a moment, and Issei thought that the sun had suddenly turned into the moon. Rias' face became stoic and she looked increasingly like a ruler; someone with power and the temperment to enforce her will. She slowly came to a stop against the rails, and gave Issei a look that reminded the other Devil that she was so much stronger than him.

"Issei, keep away from the Church and that nun from now on." Rias ordered him, and he began to sweat under the look he was receiving. "That is an order from me."

Issei was puzzled; there was too much venom in her words; there was too much animosity and some kind of maternal instinct in them to simply have been influenced by the fact that the Church was the natural enemy of the Devil race. He was surprised, and thus decided to investigate this matter now.

"What do you mean, Buchou?" Issei inquired, suddenly very cautious. "I mean, I felt really weird when I got near the church but apart from that I was fine."

Rias stepped around Issei, before leaning forwards against the railings and gave a very human sigh of exasperation. Issei just kept watching her, waiting for the crimson-haired Devil to elaborate and continue what she was saying before he asked the question that seemingly tired her out.

"The reason that the Angels who presided over the church didn't kill you was because you escorted one of their own to the sanctuary of the church." Rias explained, which also made Issei realized why he felt he had been watched at the church when he escorted Asia there. "The Angels would have killed you if you hadn't done so. It was completely lucky that you found that nun and escorted her there. If you hadn't, you wouldn't be alive right now."

Issei instantly recalled the sensation of being stabbed by a spear of light, and grimaced. If those Angels had attacked him, he would have died in much more agony than he did the night he was killed by that Fallen Angel. He guessed it was a good idea he had gotten the hell out of dodge then.

"But I'm disappointed; you knew that the Church is our enemy, but you escorted the nun anyway." Rias expressed towards Issei, who began to feel down after the huge positive boost he had had earlier. "I understand why you did so; you are a very kind person, but you can't afford to show mercy to our enemies. Do you understand Issei?"

He said nothing as he held his head down. Rias was privately observing Issei's reactions to her lecture. She hadn't wanted to do it to her newest and only Pawn, but she had had no choice. She had to inform him of the dangers of associating with the other factions even indirectly. The naivete he had would have to be dealt with swiftly if she wanted him to understand the knife's edge the current unofficial peace was perched on. She hated that she was going to have to make Issei so much more cynical because she enjoyed the refreshing light-heartedness he brought to her peerage, but ultimately she had to do it.

If there was no-one to make the hard choices, the world would be a very poorly run place. She just resented the fact that SHE had to be so harsh so soon after resurrecting Issei and giving him new life. She wished Sirzechs was here instead of her; he was able to balance being a kind person with this sort of duty. She wasn't nearly as experienced with it as he was, but she had to prove that she was the authority figure and that she was a weak Devil if her subordinates didn't obey her.

"Even Exorcists would be able to finish you off with ease, even with your Sacred Gear." Rias continued, and Issei spared a look down to his right arm. "Exorcists are supported by God, and they could eliminate you from existence. For example, you could be aware that you are alive, and the next moment you are not. Some of them have Sacred Gears that could easily kill Devils such as Blade Blacksmith. Do you understand?"

Issei understood all right. It didn't mean he had to enjoy the realization. The others entered the building shortly after, and they were clearly surprised that Issei was here so much earlier than them. Rias privately made a resolution to tell the others what had been discussed between Issei and herself, as they received a request to kill a Stray Devil just as the others got comfortable in their favourite positions in the room.

"Stray Devil?" Issei inquired once they had all heard the request to kill a Stray Devil called Vaizor, who had rebelled against her master. "What's that?"

"A Stray Devil is a Devil who have escaped the influence of their Masters, and fulfill their own interests." Kiba explained. "It is punishable only by death. Plus, since it escaped to Buchou's territory, it's our responsibility to kill the Stray."

Issei noticed that Koneko had a very pained expression on her face, but when she caught him looking at it her face became blank again. It was a curious change, but Issei had learned from his experience with Kiba that it was better not to pry. At least, not to ask things that could be insensitive subjects to bring up.

"Let's go." Rias commanded, and they all fell into line with ease as they walked out of the building. "We must answer this call, and not fail on my pride as a Gremory."

It was remarkable to Issei that the way everyone walked was very similar, and they were all arranged in a specific way; Buchou was at the front, with Akeno closer to her right side and Koneko just a bit further back from Buchou's left. Kiba and him were at the back, but he didn't really understand the relevance until Kiba pointed it out.

"It's to make sure all of our sides are covered." The swordsman explained. "Since she's our leader, Buchou's at the front. Akeno is the most powerful member besides her, so she's relatively close and ready to react the fastest. Koneko is our physically strongest member, so that's why she's closer to us than to Buchou; so that she can intercept any attack coming from that side.

"And then there's us." Kiba finished, giving Issei a smile that was returned, albeit reluctantly. "I'm the fastest member of Buchou's peerage, so I can afford to be at the back of the procession. But since you're new to the peerage, Issei, you're at the back with me; that way, I can guard you if anything unexpected happens."

Issei made a face; he didn't need to be coddled. It was insulting his manly pride! "I don't need a babysitter dammit...especially not some token bishonen..."

They walked in silence for the rest of the way. Issei didn't actually know where the Stray Devil was, but it seemed like Buchou did know. Did it have anything to do with her being the 'governing Devil' of the city and the academy? He wasn't quite sure. However, the night strengthened Issei, and he felt much more confident and powerful than he had during The Man's training. However, Koneko stopped them abruptedly, with Buchou paying the most attention to Koneko.

"It's here..." Koneko whispered quietly, and they all got on edge. Except Akeno, who just smiled sadistically in the face of a fight. "I can smell it."

The street was very dark, which suited them all, and only a few street lights were currently being powered. They weren't needed; as they were Devils, they could see in the night with no difficulty whatsoever. But even then, it seemed that only Koneko had that strange smelling ability. Issei wondered how she had gotten so proficient in it or how she even developed it in the first place!

"She can...smell it?" Issei asked aloud, and Kiba smiled in the face of Issei's incredulousness. "What the..."

Kiba merely patted his shoulder, and told him it was better that Issei didn't question a lot of things that they do or their habits. It made sense; after all, Issei's onee-sama fantasy involving Akeno had been painfully shattered when he saw her true personality as a sadist who took pleasure in pain.

Rias turned to Issei, and smiled at him. It made him feel very confident all of a sudden but also that it filled him with the kind of warmth he had never really experienced before. It was a nice break from all the beatings he had narrowly avoided from the Kendo club and their deadly shinai. Even though he was a Devil and thus much stronger now, he was very reluctant to test if he had the ability to shrugg off the kendo strikes.

"Issei, this will be the first sight you have of our powers in a fight, so do your best to observe them, alright?" Buchou asked, and Issei decided to comply. "This is also the first time you will see Devils fight, so any surprise you feel is to be expected."

Issei decided to trust in Buchou's words; after all, she was clearly superior to him and she must have undergone this exact same duty many times as the Devil that had the city as her base. Then, another thought made itself clear to Issei, who disliked it but admitted privately that it made sense.

"So what am I supposed to do, Buchou?" Issei inquired. "I'm too weak to fight anyway, so I'll be useless!"

Rias smiled at Issei; he might be 'wangsty' but at least he showed the desire to improve upon himself. And if he had improved so much from that mysterious training session with the contractor she hadn't been able to track down, then maybe the next time they took care of Stray Devils Issei could help.

"Eventually you'll get to the point that you can fight alongside us. You just have to be patient for now Issei." Rias comforted her Pawn, who visibly relaxed. "I'll also explain the roles of the Evil Pieces and their origins."

"You see, Issei, there was a large war between Devils, Angels and the Fallen Angels several thousand years ago." Rias explained, while they waited for the Stray Devil to get to them. "It was around a period of time that made the Angels nearly lose the will to fight, and God wasn't seen for sometime. Our numbers were nearly brought to extinction, so Ajuka Beezlebub created the Evil Pieces System in order to reincarnate humans into Devils."

Issei listened attentively to Buchou's history lesson; he hadn't realized that the bad blood between factions had been that dire. He couldn't help but think they were talking too much if they were waiting for the Stray Devil though. Surely it would take advantage of their momentary distraction to kill them?

"Reincarnated Devils bear roles similar to chess pieces," Akeno continued, as Issei felt a tingle go up his spine. Not very long until the enemy showed itself. "They are either Pawns, Rooks, Knights, Bishops or a Queen. The leader of the peerage is the 'King' and there can only be one 'Queen'. It's very interesting, isn't it Issei?"

It certainly was interesting; Issei was getting drawn into the lore of Devil society very quickly. But it was then that he realized something odd. The Devils had essentially based their entire future on a children's board game! Created by the humans they had formerly antagonized, in fact! It was too surreal for Issei not to express his surprise.

"Devils based the system on a human board game?!" Issei exclaimed, and Buchou looked embarassed. "Who was crazy enough to do that?"

Buchou sighed, and Akeno giggled at her friend's discomfort. "My brother's rival and comrade, Ajuka Beezlebub. He's never let Sirzechs forget the fact that he saved Devil society and not him. It's always a topic that makes them argue for a few hours."

"Rating Games were also invented as a logical conclusion to the Evil Pieces system, as high-ranked Devils began to fight amongst each other by saying, "my Rook is stronger!" or "my Knight is the fastest!". We can't participate in Rating Games yet, since I haven't fully matured yet, but the Young Devil Gathering will be when we can participate." Rias concluded.

"It's very fortunate; the Devil Gathering is some months away, so we have plenty of time to train." Akeno mentioned. "I will enjoy training you up, Issei~Plus, I'll enjoy causing our opponents no small amount of pain~"

It was times like this that reminded Issei that Akeno was not an onee-sama; that was just a facade that she hid under so that people didn't suspect her of being as dirty minded as she had proven time and time again to be. A combat sadist, who took pleasure in fighting and causing pain to others.

Why was that turning him on?

"Oh, are there pathetic little insects scuttling about?" A silky voice cut through the din, and they were immediately on guard. "How fortuitious; I was waiting for a meal~"

Out of the darkness came a gigantic shape. It had the lower half of a large beast, but the top half of a beautiful woman. She was really quite beautiful to Issei, if he disregarded the mouth full of sword-sharp teeth she had. But it was the two fleshy orbs on her chest that drew Issei's attention. They were big, and they were obviously…

"Boobs!" Issei's instinctual reaction made him call out, bringing attention to the topless woman. "That woman has big boobs!"

There was silence for a moment, before Kiba face-palmed and Rias sighed. Akeno just giggled quietly to herself while the Stray Devil was contemplating what the hell just happened. Koneko gave Issei a disappointed glare, before turning back to the Stray Devil.

"Issei-sempai...you are the worst."

It was the dead-pan delivery that made Issei feel like the worst of the worst. He couldn't control his subconscious impulses! And they really were magnificent breasts, so why couldn't he express his admiration and desire for them? It was totally in-character for him to do so!

"Ah, Rias Gremory!" The Stray Devil shouted, her cleavage bouncing up and down with Issei's head following it. "Such a delectable prey! I'll enjoy killing you!"

Buchou smiled in the face of danger, and Issei was struck again by how regal she seemed. "Well, Vaizor, it is my duty to confront and kill you in person. Speaking of which, Yuuto. If you would please."

"Yes, Buchou." Yuuto answered with a smile, walking forward slowly while drawing out the sword with the black blade. "As you command."

"Yuuto is a Knight Piece, Issei." Buchou told him as Kiba went rushing forward in a blur of wind. "His speciality is his speed. And since he uses swords as his weapons, this Evil Piece suits him quite well. However, in exchange for enhanced speed they have lowered endurance and physical abilities. They are like lightning; they strike quickly and often, and let their blows gradually weaken their foes."

The Stray Devil cackled as she fired nipple lasers-NIPPLE LASERS?!- at the Knight, who simply smiled and dodged around them as he ran forward towards the large shape of the Stray Devil. Here, his speed was to his advantage; Vaizor was simply too large to dodge his strikes and even if she had not changed her form then it was quite simple that Kiba would have eventually struck her, but as a large eldritch abomination, Kiba had a sure fire percentage of getting blood.

Eventually, Kiba's movements couldn't be followed by Issei's eyes; only now and then could he see the blond swordsman dodge around the deadly lasers like a professional dancer. His heart spiked with jealousy; The Man who had been his first contract had made him experience a similar situation, and it irked him that he was seeing it happen again-Kiba was dodging with such ease that Issei thought he could have done so as well, but of course Kiba was speed-oriented and Issei was a greenhorn.

In a flash, Kiba had jumped upwards at Vaizor's top half, and with ease slashed off her arms. Blood splattered everywhere, and Vaizor screamed in agony as she toppled backwards in the street. Kiba landed with his hand on the ground, and he smiled deceptively before a magic circle appeared under Vaizor. The next moment, a forest of swords of different shapes and sizes sprouted up from the ground to skewer Vaizor. Unfortunately, the Stray Devil had noticed this and had stumbled backwards, just dodging the deadly blades.

"That is the true ability of Yuuto's Sword Birth." Rias explained, and Issei was full of awe at Kiba's abilities. "He can create either a single Demonic Sword at a time or create many in one instant. It makes him very dangerous to opponents, but this application of Sword Birth takes a lot of energy; put simply, if he creates many Demonic Swords they become far more brittle and less durable than if he created one at a single time."

Kiba leapt back, and Koneko walked forward in minute steps towards Vaizor. The Stray Devil was still in agony, but in a haze of pain had noticed the small girl and had reared back and smashed her enormous legs down, ready to stomp on the white haired girl. Koneko watched impassively as the feet descended, before a cloud of dust erupted along with the sound of flesh hitting flesh.

Issei was aghast; why had Koneko just sacrificed herself?! There was no way she could have survived that stomp, but Buchou smiled at him, and the look told him not to worry about Koneko. The next moment, something impossible happened; the foot that Vaizor had stomped on Koneko with wasn't actually hitting the ground-it had been stopped through some miraculous application of strength!

The next moment Issei got his answer; he saw the foot being lifted by Koneko with one hand! One hand, and with how small she was it was an immense surprise to him! He had known she boxed and exercised regularly, but he had never imagined she had that amount of physical power compressed inside that tiny loli body! Koneko then flexed her arm upward, and Vaizor's foot was sent flying up as well, toppling the Stray Devil. Rias saw the question burdening him, and continued on her explanation as a way to make him understand the impossible feat he had witnessed.

"This the greatest trait of a Rook, Issei." Rias smiled as she watched Koneko nonchalantly brush off her hands and clench them into fists. "Superior physical strength as well as endurance. Rooks are the strongest physically-powerful Piece behind the King and on par with a Queen in physical strength."

Koneko leapt up without a sound, and landed a solid punch in one of Vaizor's eyes. The Stray Devil screamed in agony as she clutched at her eye, before sweeping her legs at Koneko in a rage. This was perhaps what led to the beginning of her downfall; Koneko, in mid air, batted away the limb and they all heard the vicious crack of bones breaking or bending in unnatural ways. When Koneko landed, she jumped forward and up again, driving her two powerful legs into Vaizor's stomach before literally using the injured Stray Devil as a board, leaping off and landing neatly next to Kiba.

The effect was slightly ruined by the fact that she generated a crater and cracked the stone.

And as usual, Issei made a comment that did not endear him to the Rook.

"Wow, Koneko! You weigh a lot!" Issei exclaimed in wonder.

Kiba sweat-dropped and literally smacked his face with his hand. Koneko's eye twitched rapidly, before she just sighed and walked further away from Issei, who was left wondering what had he done? Rias just sighed at Issei's foot-in-mouth remark and focused back on the incredibly injured Stray Devil.

"Akeno." Rias called out to her Queen. "You know what to do."

Akeno smiled with dissonant serenity. "Of course, Rias. I'll do my best~"

Akeno stepped forward with glee and her eyes lit up with pleasure as she saw Vaizor attempt to get up. She looked Vaizor in the eye, before holding one hand up to the sky, and suddenly lightning began to gather around it. Vaizor seemed to realize what she was about to do, which led to Akeno laughing at Vaizor's completely justified expression.

"It seems you still have some energy left. How troublesome; I guess I'll just have to put a stop to that~" She singed with delight.

A massive lightning bolt descended from the sky, and hit Vaizor straight on. Issei shielded his eyes from the flash of light, before he opened them a little and saw that Vaizor was being cooked alive by the thousands of volts that were being pumped into her body. Vaizor twitched and screamed until her throat was hoarse, and even then lightning continued to assault her form until Akeno stopped. Then, the air was full of the smell of cooked meat.

"Akeno is my Queen; she is the strongest Piece in all categories after myself. She bears the traits of a Pawn, Rook, Knight and Bishop. She is the ultimate 'jack of all trades' in this peerage. Only Pawns can match her power, due to Promotion."

"Take some more, please. I'm not satisfied just yet~" Akeno complained lightly at the twitching Stray Devil on the street.

More lightning hit Vaizor, and this time there was no screaming due to Vaizor's throat having been burnt too much preventing her from vocalizing her pain, but it also rendered the whole affair really uncomfortable for Issei who had never thought someone could take so much pleasure in causing people pain. Burns grew steadily on Vaizor's body, before skin literally boiled and seemed to just melt away, in some places just leaving exposed bone.

It made Issei sick. He curbed his feelings of the urge to vomit, and was content with becoming pale instead. The voice inside his soul similarly reacted as such; even it never took pleasure in causing pain, the creature had merely enjoyed subjegating others. It wasn't such a monster that it resorted to taking pleasure in sadism. Akeno, to the creature, was so much more evil than him tha he wondered if the wrong presence had been sealed inside a Sacred Gear.

"I'm really scared of Akeno, now Buchou." Issei muttered quietly. "I knew she liked punishing people, but..."

Rias sensed her Pawn's discomfort, and frowned. It was a perfectly normal reaction but she had forgotten that Issei hadn't seen such torture before. It was perhaps why he was so pale at the moment. She gave a command for Akeno to stop, which made the priestess moan before she had realized Issei's physical state of looking like he was going to throw up his insides. Akeno then stood to the side, as Rias marched forward.

"You have nothing to fear from Akeno, Issei." Rias continued as she marched forward to execute Vaizor. "She only feels this way towards her enemies; her friends and allies are completely safe from this level of violence."

Issei walked alongside Buchou, with the others at her side as well. Then, Issei realized, that Buchou had said one Piece that hadn't been elaborated on in some shape or form during her explanation; Bishop. It had to be a very important Piece, since in chess it could move a lot of spaces diagonally. He just wondered how that would translate to the 'Evil Pieces' system.

"Ah, Buchou? You mentioned another Piece; the Bishop." Issei brought it to attention. "Do you already have a Bishop?"

Rias turned to Issei, and answered his question as they came to a stop. "Bishops are incredibly skilled in the area of magic; besides the Queen they are most inclined to magic. However, they are very weak physically, and thus they have to remain stationary near the King if they can't fight."

"As well, my only Bishop is currently completing a task I assigned him. He has to control his very troublesome ability, which is to stop time." She elaborated further. "His power has gotten stronger over time, so I've had to help him try to control it. It's something that had to be done, for his own sake and for the sake of others."

A melancholic expression came onto her face, disturbing those beautiful features. It made Issei uncomfortable; he had obviously breached a personal subject, but like with Kiba it had been completely unintentional. So he decided to do the one thing he hadn't tried with Kiba-he decided to try and cheer her up.

"Don't worry Buchou!" Issei declared, surprising her. "I'm sure your Bishop will get better someday, I know it!"

It made Rias blush, the compliment and attempt from her Pawn to cheer her up. Akeno would have enough fuel for a hundred fires but what mattered was that Issei was doing his best to cheer her up. It made her feel warm inside; a very pleasant feeling. Her Pawn was special it seemed, since seldom did people cheer her up regularly like this. Her brother and Sairaorg were a part of those special people.

Vaizor struggled and looked Rias deep in the eye with burning hatred. She had a job to do first. She stepped further forward, and an increase in killing intent made Vaizor stops struggling for a little while; it would be enough for Rias to execute her with her Power of Destruction.

"Do you have any last words, Stray Devil?" Rias asked of Vaizor, her Power condensing around her hands. "As the governing Devil of the area, I will allow you your final rites."

There was silence as Vaizor seemed to consider what to say; whether to curse Rias Gremory or to make some trivial last request. Suddenly, Vaizor's distorted face seemed to see something and began to chuckle, the sound distorted due to the burns to her throat. They all looked at the Stray in puzzlement; what could she be laughing about?

"You really are a stupid bitch, aren't you?" She insulted Rias, whose eyes grew dark. "Did you think...I got caught because...I was careless? I wanted you to find me...You really should have watched your back."

Rias' eyes widened, and there was a sudden rush from the shadows at her back. Issei just barely managed to catch the image of a blackened spear speeding at her back when Kiba reacted the quickest. He drew the black bladed sword again, and clashed it against the spear in a storm of sparks. The Knight was unusually focused, and grimaced at the amount of effort he put behind his sword before with great effort he deflected the spear to the side. Almost instantly, he was kicked to the side by an armored boot. He grunted as he crashed into the asphault. The shape was stationary for a moment before a blast of lightning forced it to jump away. Akeno bore a serious expression; a change from the playful one she had bore just a few minutes ago.

This all occurred in less than a second, and Issei knew it.

"Yuuto!" Rias called out to her injured Knight. "Are you alright?"

He wobbled slightly as he got up; a cut had appeared on his face, and it bled into his right eye forcing it to be closed. He was also holding the right side of his ribs gingerly with his left hand, using the right hand to support his sword. It was clear something had broken, since he hissed in pain and gritted his teeth in order to stay standing.

"A few broken ribs, I think, Buchou." Yuuto reassured her, but winced in pain. "I'll be fine once I heal properly. But that guy...I think I know who he is."

The knight stepped forward out of the darkness. As it did so, the shape became apparent. It wore heavy looking black armor, with accents of gold on it. The armor was as black as the deepest darkness, yet the gold was as bright as the sun. It was a contrasting effect, but it worked to highlight the mystery and the powerful aura the figure bore. The helmet was fashioned so that it covered the whole face, and was little more than a medieval helmet complete with vertical spaces on the visor. The only thing that shone through the darkness behind the helm were two shining blue eyes.

It grabbed the spear, and twirled it expertly in one hand before gripping it in the middle with the right hand. It was clearly an expert in handling such a weapon, and then the knight spread it's feet and hunched its shoulders, ready to spring forward once it decided the moment was opportune.

"You're the Black Knight, aren't you?" Kiba asked the silent figure. "A Knight Piece of Diehauser Belial, aren't you? Why are you defending a Stray Devil?"

The Black Knight did not reply to Kiba's inquest; he merely said nothing which added to the uneasy aura around him. He gripped his spear tightly in his right hand, as if making some internal debate, before there was a crackle of electricity and his spear was covered in blue lightning, obscuring the original shape of the weapon itself.

Issei was shaking in fear; this was completely unexpected, and to face an opponent who had nearly skewered Buchou as well as easily defeating Kiba in a single kick was formidable. It made Issei afraid now that he was in the eye of the storm, so to speak. He was still beside Buchou, but his legs wouldn't move even when he willed them to. He was too afraid, and he had frozen. It was an opening the Black Knight would take advantage of.

The lightning spear was thrown at Issei, who was too paralyzed to dodge it. He watched as the spear was thrown straight and true towards his heart, and prepared for the end when all of a sudden it was blocked by a sword held by Kiba. It was different to his standard one; the blade itself was like a lightning bolt, and the blade was shining yellow as sparks emitted from it. But in amazement Issei saw that the lightning from the spear was getting absorbed into that sword, until the charge was gone. Kiba grunted before forcing the spear away, and launched the contained lightning at the enemy.

The lightning wave literally scorched the air and caused some fire to emerge, but the knight simply watched impassively before jumping upwards and back, dodging the lightning bolt expertly. He landed on his knees, before he leapt away again; swords emerged from the ground aiming to skewer him, and had he been just the tiny bit slower the black armored opponent would have been cut into pieces. That is, if he hadn't had his armor. The armor itself allowed him to tank the lightning that hit him, so it was reasonable to assume it was enchanted against magically generated lightning.

"This is 'Bolt Whirl'." Kiba twirled the strange sword around in his hand. "This Demonic Sword allows me to absorb any lightning and shoot it back at its origin point if I so choose. So if you use lightning, I'll be prepared. However, it looks like I'll need a different sword right now."

The sword was shrouded in some kind of light, before dispersing and revealed a sword that had no guard and looked more like a slab of chipped rock or metal. Kiba grunted as he took it in two hands, before rushing forward. He delivered a downward smash, and the Black Knight dodged it, but they were all surprised to see the power in the sword; it had literally created a crater as well as a fissure that zoomed after the Black Knight.

"Titanfall." Kiba stated, before hefting the sword again. "This sword increases nothing but the physical power in my arms; I suppose you could say its special attribute is pure strength."

Kiba yelled as he sent Titanfall at the Black Knight, who impassively watched the sword descending right at him, hoping that it would slice him in half vertically. As if it was just a routine exercise, the Black Knight calmly turned on the ball of his right foot, letting Titanfall slash down into the position he had been before dodging. Kiba's eyes widened, and turned towards the Black Knight who unsheathed a second spear and sent it straight towards Kiba's head.

"Kiba!" Issei cried out in fear, and clenched his fists. "Damn it..! Why can't I be stronger?!"

A roar of lightning sounded, and the fork hit the Black Knight, forcing him to bear the brunt of it before jumping away. Another bolt was aimed at him, but he kept jumping away or moving so fast that Akeno's lightning didn't hit him. He was at the pinnacle of speed, where only the highly trained could see where he was moving. Even Akeno had trouble doing so, as her eyes kept whirling around in search of the enemy Knight.

"Well, this is interesting. I'll enjoy punishing you, Stray Knight~" Akeno giggled, lightning surge increasing. "It's really too bad I couldn't get you to participate in an S&M session; I have a feeling you would have given me a lot of trouble!"

Issei couldn't believe his ears; Akeno ran S&M sessions?! What kind of person was she? The Black Knight continued to dodge the lightning bolts, but Issei's perceptions were gradually getting destroyed; every single opinion or perception he had had of the OCR members was being completely destroyed! There was no chance for an onee-sama fantasy anymore! Hell, if he was lucky Koneko was a cat, considering her obssession with cat themed merchandise!

The Black Knight then blocked the lightning with his spear, and amazingly it absorbed the lightning, in a similar effect to Kiba's Bolt Whirl. Then, he added his own blue lightning to it, before taking aim and throwing it right at Rias. There was surprise all around, and Issei tried to get to Rias fast enough that he could at least try to block it. His Sacred Gear had manifested on his arm, and he was ready to bat the spear aside.

However, it was not to be; Koneko got in the way of the spear and managed to block it through her superior defense. However, the lightning of the spear had rendered it able to easily cut through steel, and the spear impaled Koneko's right shoulder, causing her to wince. Without a moment to spare, the Black Knight ran forward and ripped his spear out of her shoulder, causing her to cry out in pain. The next moment, he swatted her aside with the shaft, forcing her to bounce before crashing into a wall. She slid down, coughing up blood before falling unconscious.

"Koneko!" Issei shouted in concern for her. "Koneko!"

A frightening change suddenly came over Rias; a red aura began bellowing around her, before she raised her eyes and looked the Black Knight in the eyes. Her seagreen eyes then became red with power, and black energy streamed with red gathered itself around her hands. Issei was very frightened, and the Black Knight seemed to know what was going to happen as he began to jump back.

"You harmed a member of my peerage..." Rias seethed, the energy reaching its peak. "You harmed Koneko...there will not be a single piece of you remaining."

The energy that Buchou sent at the enemy was truly terrifying; it contorted itself into the shape of a ravenous beast, howling for the Black Knight's blood. It roared after him, and the Knight tried to dodge numerous times, before eventually the energy caught up to him. It nearly devoured him, if not for his superior reflexes, and so he only lost his left arm, which was his weaker one. However, the loss of even one arm reduced his combat efficiency greatly; he would be half as powerful now.

Issei watched the fighting, and gritted his teeth as he was left on the sidelines. He was useless again; everyone else was getting beaten by this bastard and he couldn't do anything because he was too fucking scared! It injured his pride, and no matter what he did his feet wouldn't move; it was as if they were bonded to the ground. He couldn't even stop shaking at the level of combat he was witnessing.

"I want power..." Issei desperately desired. "I want the power to pay them back for helping me...I want power to protect them! If you can hear me, Sacred Gear, then give me power!"

A cold feeling suddenly went down Issei's spine, and the dark void appeared once more, those red eyes flashing as well. However, he was no longer afraid or worried; he merely stared down the entity inside the void. Unlike before, he could perceive massive scales and wings, but not much else.

[I already gave you power, boy. Why aren't you using it? After all, you used it against him easily enough…]

Issei remembered; the gauntlet had yelled out Yol or something, and then his fist had caught on fire. Yes, that was the power that Issei needed. That was the power that he required for this situation. He clenched his right fist, and the red jewel atop the gauntlet glowed. It was slow at first but eventually it lit up with the force of a red star.

[At least you admit your weakness. Now, eliminate that insect if that is what you so wish. Prove to me that you, at least, aren't so weak as before…]

The presence was gone, but Issei was filled with new purpose. He narrowed his eyes at the Black Knight who noticed that something was going on with him. The others, too, noticed that his gauntlet was flashing and cracks of fire appeared on the palm. The Black Knight knew that something was about to happen, so he dodged another sword strike and lightning bolt and dashed forward, his spear aimed for Issei's heart.

"Issei! Move out of the way!" Rias shouted in fear, her Power gathering around her; too slow to make a difference. "Get out of the way!"

He saw it. In his mind's eye he saw a great black Dragon breathing fire down at an armored figure. The recollections looked like they were from a cracked mirror as he couldn't see too much, and the speech was muffled but there was one thing that he heard. One thing that his Sacred Gear acknowledged. One thing that he could use.

"I'l beat you down you bastard..." Issei growled, and showed his now red eyes to the Black Knight. "I'll kick your ass, and I'll do it with my own fist!"

[YOL!]

The gauntlet was covered in red fire. The Black Knight recoiled in surprise, but it was too late for him to retreat. Issei reared back his clenched fist, and with a cry smashed it into the tip of the spear, causing sparks to fly. However, the blue lightning didn't bother him; all it did was focus his rage and purpose into that singular point.

The spear began to melt, both from the friction and force as well as the powerful fire that covered Issei's Sacred Gear. The others were surprised at this; Issei's Sacred Gear was an elemental type? They hadn't even suspected it. Granted, though, Rias knew that Dragons were heavily associated with the fire element, so that could be why his Sacred Gear manifested this element.

The spear broke into melted iron, and the Black Knight recoiled in pain as his gauntlet sizzled as well. He backdashed, but found that Issei followed him with speed that was comparable to his own. Underneath his helmet, the Knight's eyes widened; had this Devil just Promoted to Knight unconsciously? It was unheard of, but for a brief moment he saw the outline of a red Knight Piece overlap with Issei's body, before the image dispersed.

"Take this, you bastard!" Issei roared like a Dragon, fire twisting about his body.

He slammed his fire covered fist into the Black Knight's stomach, melting the black metal there as well as causing him massive damage. The Black Knight coughed up blood as his insides began to cook; it was the fury of a Dragon that fuelled those flames, and their power coursed through it. The chestplate buckled, before the Knight was sent flying backwards in a trail of fire. He landed, before realizing he was compromised if he fought any longer, and disappeared into the shadows.

The next moment, his Sacred Gear disappeared and Issei collapsed to the ground in exhaustion; it had taken a lot out of him to use his Sacred Gear like that, and all he wanted right now was a nice long nap. The presence from his Sacred Gear felt warm; it had given him its approval in the proof of his own power and determination.

His visioned waned and he saw the vague shapes of his comrades gather around him in a comforting shadow. He couldn't really make out any specific features, but the one who held him close in a tight hug had crimson hair and calm green eyes. He thought he could see a smile on her face, before he began to black out.

"You did a good job, Issei." Buchou comforted him, holding him close. "Take a long rest."

Issei smiled tiredly, before falling into the void of unconsciousness. Being complimented by Buchou...and getting such a hug from her...he guessed it had been all worth it.

Sleep enveloped him then, and he knew no more.


Well guys, here's the second chapter of Dragon Emperor of Armageddon. Over 16,000 words; I never thought I would write a single chapter that long. Though, I hope to wrap up Volume 1 next chapter, so this might be justified.

The Black Knight and why he broke off from Diehauser Belial will be explained later on, and if you notice anything similar about him, I based him off of Ornstein and the Old Dragonslayer from Dark Souls. Kiba also has a 'Titanfall' sword, so obligatory reference!

Now, onto World End. Yes, Alduin was sealed inside it by the current Great Satans, the Seraphs, Grigori Institute and Magicians. However, they could only do this because they 'copied' the seals put on Ddraig and Albion but were unable to completely replicate them because they were so much weaker. If God and Satan were alive when Alduin was being sealed, then he wouldn't have as much influence as he does currently. Also, he's the damn Nordic God of Destruction so of course he's gonna try and brute force his way through the seals; the only reason he's so much stronger than Ddraig and Albion is because his specific purpose is to end the world so that requires a lot of power.

What do you guys think of The Man and the conversation he has? If you guys know Dovah language from Skyrim then you know what Alduin says. I really enjoyed writing him and I hope you guys enjoy reading about him. Tell me if he's the 'Ensemble Darkhorse' of the story currently.

So, Sieg. He is a good guy here instead of joining the Hero Faction; he is still loyal to the Church and Heaven. He still has Twice Critical but I plan to elaborate on that next chapter with the end of Volume 1. I am really twisting the mythos to my own wants, so this is also AU territory. Plus, the whole being friends despite feud thing really interests me so I'm doing it here. Please, review with your opinion on it.

Finally, Issei is taking early steps in being badass. If you notice that I interchange 'Rias' and 'Buchou', the use of the latter is because it is from Issei's POV. Plus, I think that Issei's reaction to Akeno's sadism is a perfectly normal reaction; I know I would be scared the hell out of my mind!

I hope you guys enjoy this chapter, and please review with your thoughts on it!

Don't worry about Avenger of Swords; this new project has been taking over my mind but I am still working on it, I promise!