Far away, during the two week period of training for the Gremory devils, Fury continued her hunt for the rest of the Seven Deadly Sins. And with Envy, Avarice and Sloth reimprisoned within their own amulet, only four are left to be found, Lust, Pride, Gluttony and Wrath, the latter that she aches to face again after he defeated her in such humiliating fashion. Through means that are yet to be revealed, Fury found herself on top of what looked like a massive stone wall, big enough to stave off even giants, overlooking an enormous city of wooden huts and houses. Strangely enough the city looked eerily silent, as if there are no inhabitants to speak of in this place.
Prior to her journey to this place, after the War and Death fiasco, she made a brief sojourn to one of humanity's libraries, and listed through several books regarding the pantheons the humans have recorded over the centuries. Apparently the Greeks are not the only ones who had gods in their domain. There were others that were well known in respective nations, like Egyptian pantheon, along with Persian, Buddhism, and Hindu mythologies to name a few. Well, after her bout with Sloth in the realm of Olympus, these gods are hardly a myth anymore. Among these was also the Norse pantheon, but apparently they do not have a realm within the Third Kingdom like Olympian gods do. From what knowledge she could glean from the human mythology books, they live in a world of their own called Asgard, which is one of the Nine Realms known in the said mythology. Other realms don't concern her though, because it is this world that her quarry resides in. With this knowledge in mind, allegedly this city is where gods of Norse Mythology reside. A curious sight indeed, she expected a massive kingdom of marble and gold like she did with the Olympians, but instead their home is a collection of wooden huts, houses and lodges, almost comparable to the ancient human settlements in nations known now as Norway or Sweden. A rather surprising and admittedly suspicious sight, since gods tend to flaunt their domain with ridiculously exaggerated buildings, the Olympians being a more recent example. If this is truly the lifestyle they chose for themselves, despite their power, then this would be the first time she met gods that have such modest lifestyles.
In any case, Fury's objective remains the same, retrieve the Seven Deadly Sins and bring them back to the Council. And due to her talisman's strong reaction, the Sin she is looking for is right here. Undoubtedly the Sin resides in what she assumes to be a Great Hall, a larger and more ornamented wooden structure situated near the cliff at the edge of the walled city. There was something that bothered Fury though, more specifically the pattern that she began to notice with the Sins. First it was the Olympians who were sabotaged by Sloth, and now it is the Norse Pantheon who fell under their influence. It's a common knowledge among the Horsemen that the Sins are not picky with choosing the place from which they could spread their corruption, so it is a curious sight that this time they decided to target humanity's pantheons, and use their realm as seats of power from which they could spread their influence across Creation, the Third Kingdom included.
Regardless it is a mystery that will hopefully be revealed by itself with time, because now is the time for action. That being said, Fury made use of her Storm Hollow and leapt fast towards the Great Hall, crossing the entire city in seconds before she struck the ground like lightning, with a sound of thunder. Then she stood up and slowly walked towards the double doors, opening them wide as soon as she was near and entering the building without hesitation. As she walked forward through the hallway, the interior was dreadfully silent, like she entered a haunted building. It was either that the Sin in question eliminated the residents or they evacuated before the Sin could take over their home. And since there is no sign of blood and corpses nearby, it would probably be the latter.
Predictably, Fury found the target she was looking for, sitting comfortably in what looked like a chieftain's throne.
"Curious these Norse gods, are they? Despite their reputation as barbarians, they still show a modicum of intellect to evacuate this place. A pity really, it would fit my decor with some divine thralls trudging about these halls." An all too familiar individual spoke.
"Lust." Fury said grimly, all too aware of the voice and appearance for the Ruler of Twisted Desire herself.
"To what do I owe this pleasure? After all, to be visited by a fabled horseman." Lust asked in her low, silvery voice, enough to sway even the most fortified of minds to her will.
"I have but one purpose here." Fury pointed in serious and determined tone before she pulled out Scorn and charged at the Sin. But as soon as she did, Lust vanished like smoke from her throne.
"Must we engage in violence? You already have my respect." Lust said behind Fury, prompting the rider to immediately turn around and face her.
"I have no interest in your respect, just your head!" Fury said spitefully before she attacked the Sin, but Lust again vanished from sight, nowhere to be seen. This wretch is apparently as elusive as the last time she fought her, which only annoyed Fury to rapid degree.
"Come now Fury. I am no barbarian like these Norse gods. No, we need not meet as enemies the second time." Lust said as she dashed across the throne room, maintaining her silvery, in control tone.
"Tell it to the Charred Council!" Fury said sternly, but Lust only let out a muffled chuckle a bit in amusement before she reappeared in front of the rider.
"They aren't here. So I tell you, powerful Queen of the Horsemen, armed with the Flame and Storm Hollows and your fabled whip." Lust said, but despite her honeyed words Fury maintained her stern stance.
"I am above your distractions Lust!" Fury shouted angrily before she charged and whirled her bladed whip again, but Lust easily dashed her blow, making her slam her whip on the wooden floor, breaking it in straight line.
"Really? The truth is often distracting when one lives a lie." Lust said in amusement.
Fury was really starting to lose her patience the longer Lust prattled on. Again she charged at the Sin, but this time Lust dashed past her right side and used the flat of her sword to slap her butt, making her lose balance and almost dropping on the floor in front her, but she remained on her feet, her anger rising the longer she continues to mock her.
"You speak as though we are natural enemies. Why must this be so? I know my role in the universe, I wonder if you've ever stopped to question yours? You are a horseman, but why? Did you make that choice? And if so, was there some reasoning behind it?" Lust asked inquisitively.
Fury now felt like her words are scratching at the back of her mind, probing her for any hidden desire that she might absolutely exploit on her, giving the Sin a leverage to turn her into another obedient slave. Fortunately Fury remained resolute.
"Shut up and fight!" Fury shouted angrily as she again whirled her bladed whip at the Sin. This time however, with sickening ease Lust used her sword so Fury's whip would wrap and lock around it, putting them in temporary stalemate.
"You don't even know why you fight, do you?" Lust said before she used Fury's own whip to swing overhead and throw her at the other side of the room, but Fury immediately flipped and landed on the floor.
"Do you fight for your brothers? Oh, of course not, your antagonism towards them is well known." Lust continued while Fury once more charged at the Sin, whirled her whip at her foe, only for it to be dodged as well.
"Do you seek to achieve some sort of 'Balance'?"
Fury gritted her teeth in increasing frustration as she swung down her whip hard and carved a line that drilled through the wooden floor, but Lust dodged her blow with ease, which only added to her anger with each missed strike.
"Or you never believed in the greater good until it suited you."
Despite her taunts, Fury stubbornly continued to attack, trying to land even one hit on the elusive Sin, but this time, as Lust and Fury leapt in the air and the horseman was about to strike once again, Lust swung her sword, aimed to inflict a crippling injury. Fury mid-air tried to dodge the attack, but the long reach of Lust's sword managed to inflict a sufficient cut on Fury's left hip, throwing her off balance, but still managing to land on her feet. Now she knelt down and held onto her bleeding wound, but a few moments later she used her crimson flames to cauterize the wound, but making her grit her teeth and groan in pain at the process, not wanting to make use of her Nephilim's Respite flask for such a minor injury.
"No, no, no, what I see in your actions is a lust all your own. A lust for power, privilege and protection from the Nephilim's inevitable fall. Ultimately, that makes us allies, doesn't it?" Lust said, maintaining her silvery voice as he approached Fury from behind and knelt close to her.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Lust was shot with what appeared like a bullet on her chest, followed by two more gun shots, stunning the Sin on her feet for a few moments before she succumbed to her fatal wounds and collapsed on the ground for dead, leaving Fury completely perplexed as to what just happened. And when she looked in front of her as to who it was that executed one of the Seven Deadly Sins…
"Stand down Fury!" A familiar, masked face ordered.
"Death? What are you… all of you doing here?" Fury asked in surprise and confusion as the newcomers were not only Death, but War and Strife as well.
"Are we not Four Horsemen united? We are here to confirm that the mission is complete." War said in usual, serious tone as he marched towards Lust, Chaoseater in hand, to see if she was truly eliminated.
"The mission…" Lust said in contemplation.
"The other Sins have been destroyed by my hand. Death worked to ensure that the remaining pieces of the Armageddon Blade have been gathered in our care. More importantly, we have exposed a great conspiracy." Strife explained grimly.
"What conspiracy?" Fury asked curiously.
"Heaven and Hell working in secret consort, to bring about the Apocalypse earlier than anyone would wish for." War said seriously.
"The Charred Council has dispatched us together, to wreak havoc on both sides. Balance will be restored, the wicked will be punished." Strife said in serious, almost livid tone.
These news came as a shock to Fury to say the least. It's a common knowledge that angels and demons despise each other to the very core of their entire beings, even waging eternal, brutal war against each other before the Charred Council intervened to form a truce between two kingdoms, mostly to benefit humanity. But to hear such news from her brothers, that both factions conspire together to defy the Council and bring about the Apocalypse… even she couldn't help but be thrown slightly off her loop.
"You mean… all of this…"
"We are to unseat the rulers on both sides. And in honor of your unwavering loyalty to the cause, the Council has decreed that you will lead the Horsemen." War said in acknowledgement as he gestured to his sister.
Fury couldn't help but raise her left eyebrow in confusion at War's statement. Another common knowledge among the horsemen is that despite pledging their fealty to the Council eons ago, none of them are willing to truly throw away their autonomy, their freedom to anyone. Whenever they bend the knee to the Council when summoned, it was more of a formality to the Nephilim than actual show of submission to another power. So to hear War say such a thing so openly, to praise her as a leader, despite berating her so many times over her flaws that she lost count at this point, she can't help but be extremely skeptical about War's behavior at that moment.
"You Fury will usher in a new age across Creation." Death said in his usual grim, but uncharacteristically praising tone.
Fury then looked at her eldest brother, her confusion and skepticism rising at another one of her brothers giving her such praise, and from Death of all people. The Reaper is the last person that would utter such words of praise, especially from someone who is well known for his dry and sardonic quips and attitude.
"Set aside the past sister. Today we live in service to you." War said in serious, but strangely submissive tone.
And then, much to Fury's utter shock, all three of her brothers knelt before her, bowing their heads down in such manner that sickened Fury down to her entire being, almost like a legitimate slave meekly bowing their heads down so they wouldn't be whipped hard by their taskmasters.
"Thy will be done." Strife said in equally submissive tone as War.
This sickening display of her brothers groveling at her feet only served to confirm every suspicion she had about her brothers. And now, with all the knowledge she had regarding her fellow horsemen, a crystal clear clarity surfaced in her mind to a single truth.
"This is not real!" Fury shouted angrily as she pulled out Scorn and used her bladed whip to strike at War, Strife and Death at once. And as expected, all three of the illusions dispersed in smoke and ash.
"Oh, it was worth a shot." Lust said behind Fury in mildly disappointed tone as she sat on the throne, resting her head on her left fist.
"You think you know me so well?!" Fury barked angrily as she pointed at Lust, having all she could stand from her mind tricks.
"Is it not what you want most, hmm? The power to lead in a manner you see fit? What was an illusion could soon be reality, if you set aside the wants of others and focus on yourself. Ultimately, it is your choice to make. So choose." Lust said, maintaining her usual, silvery composure as she pointed her sword at the rider.
At this point, Fury was practically fed up from her constant prattles and mind tricks. This time there will be no indulging this brain rot on the universe, except for that of excruciating pain.
"You should not have made them KNEEEEL!" Fury screamed in rage as she conjured two crimson blasts in both of her hands, merged them together and fired an enormous blast of black and crimson energy straight towards the Sin.
Lust remained comfortably still on her throne as the blast made its way towards her and struck her head on. Not only that, but with the size of her blast being so massive it destroyed the back end of the Great hall completely, continuing it's way across the sky before it dissipated harmlessly. But when the smoke cleared, Lust was revealed to be still sitting on her throne, and Fury couldn't help but growl a bit that her attack barely phased the Sin.
"Pity. Amusing as this was Fury, apparently I am unable to stay his hand any longer." Lust said, maintaining her composure as she gestured her left hand behind Fury.
"Who's hand?!" Fury barked angrily.
As soon as she finished those two words, Fury looked up and noticed that the storm clouds started to form in the sky, darkening the land more than it was prior to her journey to the throne room. And when she turned her head right, she could only see a hammer crackling with electricity all over, held by a large, cloaked, bearded and apparently obese man, barely visible by the shadows of what's left of the throne room, the man's eyes lighting up with electricity as well.
Elsewhere, Death rode on his steed Despair to a location only known of him. Being a man of action that he is indeed, he made his way with a determination to mend the broken bonds with his fellow horsemen. Given his current situation, War is definitely going to be the hardest to make amends with, so he might as well start with his other two siblings, Fury and Strife. And with so many threatening events occurring in such a short time span, this will be one of those extremely rare times over the eons where he would need their support more than ever, which is another reason to renew his relations with his siblings.
And out of the two, Fury is the first one to make his way towards, due to her no doubt hunting the rest of the Seven Deadly by herself, determined in her foolishness to prove her worth to the Council as a leader. She can only imagine that in her dreams as far as the Reaper was concerned. As a warrior she is about as ruthless and brutal as War, and her magical prowess has proven to be of use many times over in battle. But due to her all too apparent flaws that barely if ever changed over countless millennia, her true virtues were always as a fighter, not as a leader of men. Even if she were to have the Council's blessing by some form of madness, she is not ready to lead, not even close.
After days of fruitless search throughout the Underworld and Earth for a single clue as to the whereabouts of the remaining Sins, leading to the day of Fury's venture to Asgard, he made his way back to the Gremory devils, most notably Issei, to further aid Tannin in whipping the boy into proper shape. But as he slowly rode on his steed Despair, suddenly both he and Dust tilted their heads up slightly as they heard a squawk in the air, and not the kind of sound that crows usually make. When they did, they noticed a black avian flying in their direction while continuing to caw and squawk.
"That bird doesn't appear like it belongs to the Crowfather." Death said curiously. Usually if there were to be some kind of trouble from the Keeper of Secrets, he would send his warning through telepathic images via Dust, and thus to him, due to their spiritual bond made eons ago.
When the bird was close enough, it landed on the back of Despair's neck.
"A raven. Curious." Death mused to himself. And up close he could tell that this is no ordinary raven, this particular black bird had turquoise eyes and red paint around its eyes, head and wings.
Dust was the first to caw and squawk, a type of communication that only a bird can understand. The raven also cawed and squawked to Dust, engaging the conversation between the two birds. Even though the Reaper doesn't have a clue as to what the raven was about, he could tell to some degree that it was bearing a message. After a few short moments, Dust turned his head to his master and squawked a few times to him. And since this is Dust, the pale rider can understand what he is saying.
"Asgard? Under attack? How does this concern me?" Death asked Dust in rather disinterested tone. Whatever trouble that may be occurring in this 'Asgard', he had far more pressing concerns to deal with at the moment.
Another series of back and forth caws and squawks occurred between Dust and the raven, but when Dust translated mentally as to what the raven said, Death's eyes widened slightly in surprise before he immediately turned his attention on the raven.
"Take me to Asgard, this instant!" Death snapped loudly, so loud that the Raven instinctively flapped its wings and flew back a bit in fear.
The raven messenger obliged as he cawed and squawked loudly in the air. Then one raven, two, and then three materialized, flew towards Death and made circles around him, and moments later dozens upon dozens of ravens circled around the rider until they completely shrouded him and his steed in darkness. Afterwards, the raven flock dispersed and disappeared, leaving only the red-marked raven present.
Death found himself in completely different location altogether. On the first glance he would say that the raven took him to Earth, but that notion was immediately erased as the first thing he noticed was a gigantic stone wall, appearing as if was constructed by an equally enormous entity, if not larger. But it appears that it was so crudely constructed, a single powerful blast would have easily demolished an entire wall segment. He's by no means an architect, but even demons are capable of building a more sturdy fortification than this.
A sudden sound of thunder rumbled violently in the stormy sky, and it appears that it came from behind the massive wall. Moments later Death noticed a ball of lightning quickly flying across the sky above the wall, outside of whatever is residing behind it, followed by another ball of lightning. And if he's not mistaken, from even a great distance away, he noticed humanoid figures within those lightning orbs, the second lightning orb quickly closing in on the first one.
"I've been waiting for this! Lust promised me you would offer a fight that will challenge my strength, you'll prove her right!" The barbarian growled as he held Fury by the back of her head with his left hand and used his right to grip onto the hammer's hilt, eager to commence his fight.
"I'll be happy to oblige!" Fury gritted her teeth defiantly before she started punching the barbarian repeatedly in the face. And although her blows were forceful, making Thor even bleed from his mouth and nose, the warrior barely registered the pain of her punches.
As the two figures were closing in, Death identified one of them to be Fury. Thus, as soon as they were close, the Reaper jumped from the saddle high in the air and used his Death Grip to latch onto the red haired barbarian's back, pulling himself towards the assailant. While closing in, Death mid-air pulled out his scythes and impaled both of them on the barbarian's back, flipped sideways and used his scythes to throw the barbarian off of Fury and down on the ground, crashing in the nearby hill, shattering it completely from the force of the impact, while Death and Fury landed on the ground miles away from the hill.
"Fury, can you fight?" Death said as he stood upright and glanced at his sister from the corner of his right eye.
"Of course I can, what kind of question is that?" Fury grunted in frustration and annoyance as she slowly stood up.
"Good." Death said before he looked back at the hill where he threw the red-haired warrior towards. "Who is he supposed to be?" He asked curiously.
"That redheaded brute is called Thor. From what I understood, he is one of the gods of Norse pantheon." Fury said as she walked next to Death and also looked at the hill where their opponent is currently.
"God of the Norse?" Death asked curiously.
"You know of them?" Fury asked as she looked at her brother curiously.
"Only in name. I was told that the Norse gods intend on forging an alliance with the Devils in the Underworld." Death explained.
Suddenly a massive, electric dome imploded from within the hill, shattering it completely, while the lightning orb bolted up towards the sky and quickly making its way towards the horsemen.
"And it would appear that we will witness the power of one of these gods firsthand." Death said grimly as he gripped his scythes, while Fury pulled out Scorn with a battle-ready frown of her own.
The barbarian now known as Thor, champion of the Aesir landed violently on the ground in front of the two horsemen, the electric impact shattering the earth beneath them by a mile around, but Death and Fury didn't even flinch from the aftershock of Thor's landing. And as the Norse god stood up, Death now had a full view of the deity's appearance. So this is one of the vaunted gods of Norse Mythology. At first glance he appeared what most would ignorantly describe as an enormous, obese peasant, fit to beg on the muddy streets of a medieval province. The outfit that he had on himself was comprised of leather and cloth, aside from his large belly and chest, where he can see what appear to be a pattern of runes etched from the sides of his chest towards his neck. But Death was no fool. An instant later, with the battle experience both of the horsemen attained over the eons of brutal battles, and especially after his display of power up until this point, they can immediately tell that this individual is far more than he appears. The power emanating from him is almost palpable, both from the god and what appears to be an ornate, rune-etched hammer on his left hip, which if it's true to be a weapon called Mjolnir. Judging by its unique design, this is no simple tool of war. Apparently this weapon is the extension of Thor's might much like Harvester and Scorn for Death and Fury respectively.
"Good, another one steps into the fight. Now show me your power, Riders of Ragnarok!" Thor roared in pure battlethirst as electricity rippled around him and his hammer, emitting gale winds and electricity as his power was rising.
Death and Fury again didn't flinch from the winds as both of them took a fighting stance.
"Even if it means tearing your whole realm apart?!" Death asked, but judging by Thor's near blind battlethirst, that question seemed unnecessary to ask.
"Yes! Now fight and die!" Thor roared, losing what's left of his patience.
As soon as he finished his boisterous challenge, he waved his hammer backwards and swung it upward, sending a frontal wave of electricity towards Death, drilling through the ground. The Reaper nimbly flipped to his left side while Fury dashed to her right, but at the same time Thor threw his hammer towards the pale rider. In that moment when Death touched the ground, he noticed the hammer coming straight towards him and prompted him to shield himself with his scythes before the deity's weapon hit him hard, but to his slight surprise, the force of the hammer was far more impactful than he thought as it sent him sliding through the ground backwards in the effort to stop the weapon. Then Thor dashed forward with a speed of lightning and was about to slam his right fist and crush Fury, but the black rider promptly flipped backwards and dodged the thunderous blow, making Thor slam his fist violently into the ground, mowing the surface of the ground by a mile around him. The Thunder God charged forward and threw a flurry of slow and heavy punches, prompting Fury to duck and evade every single blow with ease. Suddenly the Norse god grabbed her left hand, making the rider grit her teeth in anger before she threw a right punch, which Thor also grabbed. Immediately after did Fury performed a double rising kick, at the same time flipping backwards and staggering Thor a few steps back, before she mid-air pulled out Scorn and whirled her bladed whip directly at the barbaric deity. Thor saw the attack coming as the razor-sharp whip wrapped around his left hand and wrist, and despite the blades of the whip piercing his flesh and spilling blood, Thor also gritted his teeth in fury and battlelust before he pulled the rider towards him. In those moments when Fury was closing in, she charged her left hand with fiery, crimson ball and blasted it violently directly on Thor's face before he could punch her, sending him flying and rolling backwards a good distance from her. The Norse god quickly stopped himself before he glared daggers at the rider and snapped his fingers, while Fury took up a fighting stance, ready for Thor's next attack.
But to Thor's and Fury's surprise, instead of having only Mjolnir return to him, like everytime the weapon was recalled, he was instead kicked hard in the face by none other than Death, holding onto the hilt of Mjolnir and using it's recall speed to give his kick more force, again sending the Norse god flying, rolling and sliding on the ground before smashing into the nearby, small hill, shattering it completely and leaving rubble in his wake. And with that done, he dropped Mjolnir on the ground before he headed towards his sister.
"This slayer of Giants is every bit as mighty as they hailed him to be." Fury smirked, pleasantly surprised that it's not just the Olympians who can produce mighty deities, Zeus being undoubtedly the mightiest of them all if his show of power against Sloth was of any indication.
"Lust Fury. Is it here, in Asgard?" Death asked quickly.
"It is, over the great wall seated in the Chieftain's Hall." Fury said seriously before both of them looked where Thor crashed.
"I will handle the Thunder God, you go out there and capture Lust before she escapes." Death commanded in his usual, grim and strict tone.
"Escape?" A nauseatingly familiar voice suddenly spoke behind Death and Fury, prompting the two riders to draw their weapons, turn around and take their fighting stances. And sure enough, it was Lust who arrived. "Why Death, you wound me. Why would I possibly miss out on a dance such as this one?"
"Very foolish of you to think you can defeat the both of us by yourself." Fury said strictly.
"By myself? Not quite horseman." Lust said in her usually calm tone before she pointed her sword at Death. "Perhaps you would see more reason than your sister."
"Your definition of 'reason' is rather skewed Lust." Death said sternly.
"Come now Death, despite your colorful insults and quips, you always have at least one ear to listen. So do so right now." Lust said in her sickeningly silvery voice.
"No." Death said in deadpan tone he gripped both of his scythes in front of him.
"No? Even to my proposal to bring your people back?" Lust smirked a bit.
At that Death's eyes widened a bit, a subtle surprise that Lust recognized to her great amusement. As for Fury, she couldn't help but glance at Death in slight bewilderment and concern.
"Isn't it what you desire, the return of the Nephilim? Just imagine, your people restored to their former glory, an army of brothers and sisters at your command, all of Creation trembling once again from their mere presence. More so than it was under Absalom's leadership, whom you can fight alongside with as well." Lust stated, her composed, silvery voice not changing in the slightest.
Fury doesn't like at all at what she's seeing right now, especially when she noticed that her brother was slowly lowering his scythes to his hips. Death is actually hesitating, absorbed in Lust's all to apparent false promises, which is a massive red, if not crimson flag for her.
"Don't listen to that venomous snake's words, she'll say anything to get you on her side!" Fury shouted to Death in mix of bewilderment, frustration and concern.
"They can be brought back indeed. Join me, and all that you desired can be a reality." Lust smirked as she gestured her hand to the pale rider.
Fury's concerns were only rising with every moment that Death is standing still, listening to Lust's every vile word.
"Death!" Fury shouted loudly and angrily, but inwardly she was starting to really worry, at the fact that if this keeps up then Death might actually fight her as well, yet another thrall to Lust's lies.
"With your people back, you may finally rid yourself of the chains that the Council placed on you." Lust continued.
In that moment when Death lowered his head and looked down on the ground, Fury noticed that he was actually considering her offer. And in that moment she knew that she has to attack the Sin immediately before her worst fears come to pass.
"SHUT YOUR MOUTH!" Fury roared as she charged at Lust and whirled her bladed whip at the Sin.
"The chains that your sister is keen on still having on herself, and thus on you and your brothers." Lust said as she was parrying one blow of Fury's whip after another, before she quickly disengaged and dashed quickly behind the Reaper, leaning closer to his ear. "Kill Fury and all that you want can be yours." She said in lower tone, heavily laced with her evil venom that seems to be dripping in Death's ears at this point.
Fury growled angrily as she again charged at Lust, but when Death sent a murderous glance at her, Fury's assault came to a screeching halt as she looked in the Reaper's eyes. Even though there was not a single word uttered between them, she can see that he is sending her a murderous gaze. While that is quite common with Death, what really erased her doubts that he succumbed to Lust's wiles is that he started to walk towards his sister, readying his scythes to slice her to pieces.
"No." Fury uttered to herself as her fears came to be. Death is now a slave to Lust, another disposable thrall. Of all three of her brothers, Death was always the indomitable force of will, not a single being over the eons would make him flinch, be it by word or blade, the only exceptions would be the Council and even his fellow horsemen on occasion. And while that can be applied to both War and even Strife, Death is best known by this trait, among others he is known for. But now, seeing that Death wasn't putting an act, she might actually have to fight her brother as well.
"We have our differences, but you cannot allow that masked harlot to warp your mind like this. Fight it!" Fury shouted as she started to back away while Death continued to advance. Sadly her brother is ignoring her every word.
"This will be fun." Lust said in amusement before she dashed behind Fury, preventing her from backing away any further, trapping her between the two combatants.
Almost on cue, a massive electric explosion erupted behind Death, and none other than Thor emerged from the explosion, roaring in rage as he violently charged forward towards them, Mjolnir in hand.
"Marvelous." Fury gritted her teeth in anger and worry as she glanced to Lust and back to Death, readying herself for the most brutal battle yet, if not last. Even with the powers of the Flame and Storm Hollow, not even she, for all her might and power could hope to fight Lust, Death and Thor all at the same time.
Death attached his dual scythes and readied himself to dash towards his sister, while Fury gritted her teeth as she gripped Scorn and took a fighting stance, ready for a rather rough battle against her brother. But strangely, as Thor quickly closed the distance between them, Death subtly tilted his head to the left, making Fury curiously raise her left eyebrow slightly. Fortunately, it didn't take long for Fury to pick up the signal as Death started to dematerialize in purple energy and dash towards her, signifying his use of the Teleport Slash. In that instant when Death utilized his ability, Fury leapt above Death while the Reaper zipped below her, utilizing her Storm Hollow mid-air and converting her weapon into a lance. Lust' eyes went wide as Death appeared right below her, but before she could dash backwards Death managed to slice a large cut on the Sin's abdomen, while at the same time Fury threw her lance directly towards Thor like a spear at lightning speed, hitting the ground below the thunder god and detonating violently in dome of yellow lightning, knocking the Norse god backwards again. Lust gritted her teeth in pain and frustration as she tried to slash Death with her sword, but Death nimbly flipped backwards and landed next to Fury back to back.
"For a moment there, I thought you were going to kill me." Fury said in serious, yet relieved tone as she looked at Death from the corner of her right eye, still going back to back with each other.
"So little faith Fury." Death said in his usual, grim, if not snide tone, not letting his sight off of Lust. "It will take far more than a silver tongue to sway me to anyone's side, especially Lust's."
Despite his scolding, Fury couldn't help but let out a muffled chuckle.
"Very convincing act, you should have taken the calling of a theater play." Fury teased with a smirk.
"I'll take that as a compliment." Death said nonchalantly as he glanced at his sister from the corner of his left eye before he looked back at Lust. "Deal with Thor, time for me to make this Sin pay for toying with my mind to begin with." He said in now dead serious tone as he gripped his scythes.
"Make her suffer brother." Fury said in murderously serious tone.
"Nothing less than that sister." Death added.
With nothing else left to say, the two of the Four Horsemen went straight into action as Death quickly closed the distance between him and Lust, while Fury leapt in the air and dashed quickly towards Thor as a ball of yellow lightning.
"You know in your heart that I speak the truth Death. You cannot hide your-"
Lust was promptly interrupted by Death as he charged at her and swung both of his scythes, which Lust blocked with her sword, putting them in temporary contest of strength with the collision of their blades.
"The time for talk is over." Death growled in low, dead serious tone.
"Pity." Lust sighed slightly in disappointment, before both of them promptly broke the clash and dashed around the battlefield while swinging their weapons at each other.
Meanwhile, Fury landed close to Thor, striking the ground like a ball of yellow lightning, the electricity crackling around her as she stood up before they dissipated, while the rider herself pulled out Scorn and stood sideways. Thor wiped the blood from his mouth and growled furiously, already tired of being thrown around like a pinball by now, gripping Mjolnir in hand.
"Come then son of Odin, show me the true power of the God of Thunder!" Fury challenged in almost same battlethirst that now completely consumed Thor, courtesy of Lust due to the Norse god's burning desire for challenging fight.
Thor was more than happy to oblige, enraged by the taunt as he was as blue lightning started to crackle in his eyes and around his body. Then the Norse god roared in fury as the wind and blue lightning exploded from within the deity, the trails of lightning slithering fast through the ground for miles around them, the skies above them roaring thunder in response to Thor's fury. The deity's body was now covered in aura of lightning, empowering the Norse god tremendously.
With that done, Thor roared and charged at the horseman like blue lightning, reappearing right in front of Fury and ready to swing Mjolnir down. The black rider quickly dashed backwards and up in the air, making Thor smash his hammer on the ground, projecting multiple lightning trails in a wide circle. Thor didn't stop there as he threw Mjolnir high in the air, bolted towards it like lightning, reformed near the weapon, grabbed it and then threw it at fast speed towards the rider. In that moment when he did, Fury fired a blast of yellow lightning behind her, propelling her forward at fast speed. When Mjolnir was near she actually stepped on the hammerhead of the thrown weapon and used it as a platform to jump above, spin sideways and countered Thor's attack by throwing her lance at the Norse God at incredible speed, hitting the Norse god in the gut with a violent impact and sending him flying and crashing into the ground. Then like yellow lightning Fury dashed and reformed right on top of Thor, grabbing her faithful weapon, but as soon as she did, Thor retaliated as he gritted his teeth, grabbed Fury by the throat and slammed her on the ground, the force of the impact actually making Fury gag loudly in pain. As Thor was about to punch Fury with his right fist, the black rider quickly sheathed her weapon and tilted her body to her right, dodging Thor's blow, followed by a left punch, which Fury also dodged. When Thor charged his right punch with electricity, Fury quickly flipped backwards and made distance, while the Norse god punched the ground with the sound of a thunder clap. Before Fury could retaliate however, Thor immediately charged at her and grabbed her in a bear hug before he leapt high in the air, trapping the horseman in his grip. The black rider gritted her teeth as she started to throw one punch after another right on Thor's face, but even though blood can be seen spitting from his mouth with each punch, it barely has an effect. That said, Fury charged both of her hands with yellow electricity before she placed her palms on Thor's face, electrifying his head and making him scream in agony. However, he quickly grabbed Fury by her head and right hand before he tossed her down, but Fury flipped backwards several times before she landed and started sliding through the ground. When she stopped at that moment, Thor quickly landed, recalled Mjolnir and then both of the warriors threw their weapons at each other at the same time. As soon as they clashed, a massive explosion of blue and yellow lightning erupted from the weapons, and as the two weapons stalemated, an enormous dome of yellow and blue lightning crackled for miles around, while Fury and Thor gazed at each other, their eyes filled with thirst for challenge.
"Good, now we have us a fight!" Thor growled in excitement as he clenched his right fist.
"My thoughts exactly!" Fury shouted before both of the fighters recalled their weapons and charged at each other, their weapons ready to swing.
Far away at that time when their weapons clashed again, another explosion of blue and yellow lightning shook the landscape, before all around the area explosions of yellow and blue thundered across the lands of Asgard as the two combatants clashed repeatedly, the skies booming thunder and lightning and emitting hurricane winds as the titanic battle occurred between the Norse God and the black rider, threatening to tear their realm apart the longer the battle goes on.
Meanwhile, Death and Lust continued with their blade dance across the realm's landscape. And while their clashes were nowhere near as all-consuming, destructive and flashy like those of Fury and Thor, their battle was just as deadly if not more so. From their battle thus far it was revealed that Lust managed to inflict many cuts across Death's body, but due to the pale rider's extreme resilience he thought nothing of them as he never broke his sight from the Sin. Lust on the other hand only had several cuts, but none that were as damaging as the one Death inflicted with his surprise Teleport Slash.
"You won't accept my generosity, yet you dally with those Gremory devils. I'm offended." Lust said in disappointment as she took her fighting stance again.
"Your mere existence is an offense to Creation itself." Death retorted grimly before he gripped his scythes and attacked again.
The Reaper charged towards the Sin in what would appear to human eyes like a blur and clashed his scythes with her sword again, with both combatants once again dashing about and swinging their weapons at each other in dance of death. As Lust was gliding backwards, she swung her sword with such speed and force that it sent a sharp, crescent wind in the Reaper's direction, prompting Death to dash sideways and avoid the wind strike. Immediately after the first strike did Lust continue swinging her sword in every direction, sending more crescent wind blades towards the rider, which Death narrowly ducked and evaded through as he quickly closed the distance towards the Sin. Suddenly Lust stopped dashing backwards as she leapt above Death and made distance behind him, but the Reaper saw that maneuver coming as he quickly turned around and used his Teleport Slash again. However, as soon as he was near, Lust parried both of his scythes and retaliated with a riposte, prompting Death to flip backwards and take his fighting stance again, while Lust let out a muffled chuckle.
"Oh the things we could do together Death, if only you weren't so damn stubborn." Lust said in amusement as she once again took her fighting stance.
Death said nothing as he maintained his usual fighting stance. Lust is definitely as formidable as the last time they fought. Despite the Four Horsemen being much more powerful than they were eons ago, the Sin is still capable of keeping up with him. This battle will certainly not be a short one, and not so easily won.
Although the battle seemed relatively short for the four combatants, in reality it went on for a full hour. During that time, the once verdant grasslands of Asgard were reduced to barren wastelands for many miles across the realm, while it's hills and even mountains were shattered from the continued, thunderous blows of Fury and Thor. However, after another destructive clash, Fury and Thor landed on the ground and ceased their bouts for the time being, both taking their fighting stances and both wreathed in respective cloaks of lightning. And while Thor was panting from the intensely violent, high speed clashes thus far, Fury appeared as if she didn't lost her breath in the slightest, not even once gasping for air. While the Norse god is formidable, that much she can admit, this battle is nowhere near as intense as her bout with Wrath was, a Sin that made her fight with everything she had and more. Sadly for Thor, that will not be the case, such is the gap in power between her and the Norse deity, something he is about to have a taste of very soon.
"This battle is over." Fury suddenly said.
"What?" Thor asked in confusion.
"Thank you for providing me with an entertaining battle Thor." Fury smirked confidently, bordering on arrogance even, before her face went dead serious. "But I have a mission to fulfill for the Council. And you are standing in my way." She said as her eyes started to glow crimson at the last sentence.
Fury crouched down and placed both of her hands on the ground as a pillar of black and crimson energy erupted from the ground around her, and as she pulled up two conjured, bladed whips similar to Scorn, her entire body surged with unbelievable power, coursing through her entire being as the black rider underwent an intense metamorphosis into her own version of ultimate power. The Havoc Form, a demonic visage of molten rock and crimson flames, similar to War's Chaos Form, only more lithe and with less demonic features unlike the bulky and outright demonic appearance of the Chaos Form.
"What's this?! Now we're talking!" Thor roared in excitement.
Sadly for the god of thunder, Fury in her Havoc Form was never known to have even a shred of restraint. Fury whirled both of her empowered whips upward, and in that moment when Thor charged at the black rider straight on, Fury swung her crimson whips forward like a cross and hit Thor hard on the chest, consuming him in crimson flame. But it didn't stop there as the crimson wave continued its course, the force of the impact carving the land deep through the earth in the straight line, going straight towards the horizon, into the vastness of space until it finally fizzled harmlessly in the cold void. When it did, the land was carved so much that only a long pyramid shaped earth remained, stretching as far as towards the horizon, and Thor himself lied charred at the top of the long pyramid. Was he dead or unconscious Fury didn't know for certain, but she couldn't care less as the battle was won, thus she dropped out of her Havoc form and back to normal. With that ludicrous deed done, Fury turned around and looked in the direction of where Death and Lust are fighting, before she made use of the Storm Hollow again and bolted back towards Death like lightning.
Before another exchange could occur between Death and Lust, both of them were distracted with a sound of thunder rumbling through the cloudy sky. Both of them noticed yellow glow streaming through the clouds, quickly closing in on their location, before that glow was revealed to be a yellow lightning. And almost instantaneously did Fury land on the ground in a thunder clap next to he brother.
"Reckless." Death grunted, referring to her stunt with Thor in her Havoc Form.
"Nothing new there brother." Fury smirked.
"That feeling Fury, the one you're in right now? That's true Lust. Feels nice, doesn't it?" Lust said, trying now to play into her battlelust, but Fury's mind was completely shut to her temptations at this point.
"Death? Let's shut her up." Fury said grimly as she glared daggers at the Sin.
"Agreed." Death said in his usual, grim tone.
Fury charged up her palms with yellow lightning and spread her arms wide, projecting her power by controlling wind and lightning around her and forming an enormously wide tornado, trapping the three combatants within, the force of cyclonic winds and electricity strong enough to prevent even the likes of Lust from getting away.
"No escape this time Lust, it ends here." Fury proclaimed as she pulled out Scorn, shaped it into a lance and took her fighting stance, with Death doing the same.
Not wasting a moment, the two of the Four Horsemen attacked Lust in unison, and Lust parried their blades while at the same time leaping above and landing behind them. Death and Fury immediately continued their assault by dashing in opposite directions and attacked Lust from both sides, not wanting to get in the way of each other's assault. The two horsemen threw a flurry of ferocious attacks at the Sin, while Lust barely managed to parry each and every blow. Lust then swung her sword upward towards Fury, prompting her to flip backwards, and then the Sin immediately swung the sword overhead and down at Death, but the Reaper managed to parry her blow. Lust proceeded to throw a flurry of fast stabs towards the pale rider, but Death managed to easily dodge every single jab. Afterwards Lust threw a hard sword swing, frustrated by her futile attempts thus far, but Death leapt backwards, attached his dual scythes mid-air and immediately threw his weapon like a sawblade towards the Sin. Lust immediately parried his weapon back towards the pale rider, but suddenly Fury whirled her bladed whip straight towards Lust from behind, wrapping itself around her neck. Before it's blades would bury themselves into her flesh, Lust quickly grabbed the bladed whip with both of her hands. Seeing the opportunity, Death moved instantaneously with his Teleport Slash ability, but before his attack would strike it's target, Lust leapt backwards high in the air, with Fury's bladed whip still around her neck, and used it to pull Fury up, swing her about and threw her down towards the ground, loosening her hold on the Sin. However, in mid-air Fury reshaped her whip back to a lance and immediately threw it like a spear towards the Sin, but Lust parried it upward high in the air. Fury smirked as this was exactly the opportunity she was waiting for. Thus she raised her right hand up and used all of the electricity that charged her tornado and funneled them all into her lance at lightning speed, charging it up significantly, and without a single moment to spare, she swung her hand down, and the lance struck at Lust on her back before she could even react. Seeing another, but now gamechanging opportunity, Death assumed his Reaper Form and dashed towards Lust using his now empowered Teleport Slash, slicing her right arm clean from her shoulder, forcing her to drop her sword. But Death didn't stop there as he dashed like a purple blur in all directions, inflicting dozens if not hundreds of wounds at what seemed in a split second, cutting off her left arm and even her legs for good measure. The Reaper himself then reappeared next to his sister, while Lust was frozen in place, limbless, profusely bleeding and paralyzed from the agonizing wounds before she finally collapsed on the ground.
Witnessing that they have indeed prevailed over Lust, Death dropped from his Reaper form back to normal and stood next to his sister. Finally, after many, intense clashes with a rather deadly opponent, the two of the Four Horsemen succeeded in succumbing another of the Seven Deadly Sins. Death and Fury silently nodded to each other in praise before both of them marched towards the incapacitated Deadly Sin, ready to assimilate her back to her prison from where she escaped from, but not before asking her some questions first.
"Who freed you from the Talisman?" Fury asked in demanding tone.
"The one constant in the universe: those who possess the most power inevitably crave more. Lust is everlasting. As for who, know this: I was merely a pawn. A feeling that I presume you both know all too well." Lust said in pain as she lied on her back, while Death and Fury now towered above her.
"Then who?! Tell me!" Fury shouted as she pointed the tip of her lance on the Sin's chin.
"The players in that game will reveal themselves in time. But what if I reveal something even more valuable, hmm?" Lust smirked, even now retaining her silvery voice, despite her morbid state.
"Do enlighten us." Death said sarcastically.
"Spare me horsemen, and I will give up the location of my fellow Sin, Envy." Lust said.
"You lie Lust! I defeated Envy with my own two hands!" Fury shouted in outrage.
"Not quite. The Envy that you believe to have won against was a fluke, a mere distraction. The real Envy is in hiding, and she is closer to you and the Council than you may think." Lust smirked a bit.
Death and Fury couldn't help but glance at each other curiously.
"And why would you do that?" Fury said in vapid doubt while grabbing onto Lust's neck and pulling her closer.
"What reason would I have to protect that sniveling coward, hmm? She has never experienced front line combat, the horrors of war that you and your brother have. She is the most pathetic of us. Grant me this and what you want can be yours." Lust offered.
"An attractive offer." Fury jested, having being practically fed up of Lust's futile efforts at this point as she pulled out her lance and impaled Lust through her neck, finally finishing her off.
"But I tire of your kind underestimating my intelligence! I will find the rest of the Sins by myself."
Finally she pulled out the Talisman of Sin and proceeded to reassimilate the Sin back into the prison she escaped from, with green lightning condensing her and remprisoning her where she belongs, but not before dropping something from her person the moment she vanished into the talisman.
"At your core you were just an endless void that could never be filled. How disappointing." Fury contemplated as she looked at the talisman.
And with her defeat and reimprisonment, Death and Fury both turned their attention to the dropped object. And they noticed a familiar fragment of a broken weapon, which they quickly recognized to be a shard of none other than the Armageddon Blade. Without hesitation Fury picked up the piece and straightened herself afterwards, but then she gazed at the shard in contemplation, her thoughts being her own in those moments. Even though their mission is yet to be fulfilled, this signaled another tremendous progress for the horsemen, at the fact that they defeated another of the Seven Deadly Sins and acquired the fifth out of seven shards from the said Sins.
"I have to admit, I'm surprised that you did not succumb to Lust's temptations, given your own desires." Death said as he approached his sister from behind while sheathing his scythes.
"Lust's call to power is indeed intoxicating." Fury said seriously before she phased the shard away for safe keeping, turned around and looked at Death in the eyes. "Even more so when one is fueled by grief."
"Are you implying that I carry grief in my heart sister?" Death said in almost insulted tone.
"Yes." Fury said with certainty.
"And what would possibly give that away?" Death asked in sardonic tone.
"I was with you if you recall, when Lust offered the resurrection of the Nephilim. I know that you weren't entirely bluffing, because for a moment there you were actually considering her offer. Is that one of your true regrets, that you slew our kin on that day?" Fury said accusingly as she pointed at her brother.
"Not all." Death said quickly, before a moment or two of silence later he looked down on the ground to his right in what would appear to be regret and guilt. "One of our kin."
"Absalom." Fury thought outloud in realization.
A sudden, unfamiliar noise was made miles away in the distance, drawing the attention of the two horsemen. And when they did, they noticed what was apparently an ethereal, rainbow bridge extending from the horizon all the way to the massive stone wall of Asgard itself.
"We will continue this elsewhere." Death said in his usual, grim tone. Fury nodded silently in agreement before both off them walked towards the walled city.
"What could that possibly be?" Death asked curiously.
"If I were to venture a guess, that must be a Bifrost bridge, a gateway from Asgard to other eight realms of the nine that are connected." Fury explained.
"How do you know of this?" Death asked curiously as he looked at his sister.
"After my encounter with the gods of Olympus, I made a brief sojourn to one of humanity's libraries, courtesy of Vulgrim, to see what knowledge I can glean from other deities known to the Third Kingdom. These Norse gods are among the pantheons that have been recorded throughout the centuries, though how accurate those descriptions are remains to be seen." Fury explained in neutral tone.
"And are they?" Death asked.
"Well, what was written is that Thor is the champion of the Norse Pantheon, a Slayer of Giants of a realm known as Jotunheim. Given his fighting prowess against me, the tales of his strength and power are not entirely exaggerated." Fury said in amusement.
"You gained all this knowledge from humanity's libraries?" Death asked curiously, taking mental note to have a look at those history books himself.
"Not all the details of their history, but yes, although to the humans these gods are a part of several books of mythology. How foolish would they feel if they realized that their gods are anything but myth." Fury smirked in amusement, imagining their bewilderment and shock when the likes of Olympians or Norse were to suddenly show up in front of the human crowd.
But suddenly, a flock of ravens encircled in front of them, prompting Death and Fury to quickly draw their weapons and take their fighting stances, ready for anything that might come out of the flock. When they dispersed, two individuals were shown, an old man with a long white beard and a long monocle on his left eye, and a younger man with violet eyes and golden teeth, carrying a sword and what appear to be an ornate horn on his right hip.
"Calm horsemen, we did not come to fight you. I am Odin, All-Father of the Norse, I am so honored to have you in Asgard." The old man now known as Odin introduced himself.
"That raven." Death said as he recognized the raven perched on Odin's right shoulder.
"Yes, his name is Huginn." Odin said nonchalantly as he petted the raven.
"And the other raven is yours i presume, the one with blue paint instead of red?" Fury asked curiously.
"Oh, that one would me Muninn. I have to say, it is quite a relief that you accepted their request to teleport you to Asgard." Odin smiled as he stopped petting his raven.
"Only because Lust took over your kingdom, otherwise their request would be ignored." Death said grimly.
"A blessing in disguise then. Oh, this is Heimdall, Watchman of the Aesir." Odin said as he gestured at the young man next to him.
"A privilege to meet you." Heimdall replied in not so polite tone.
"I am Death." The Reaper said simply.
"Fury." The black rider said simply as well.
When they introduced themselves, Odin started to eye Fury's body lustfully from head to toe, most notably her breasts covered in armor. And much like with most women he encounters he found her attractive as well, despite her ruthless warrior spirit.
"An honor indeed, to witness a combination of a fierce warrior and a beautiful woman." Odin smiled as he stroked his beard while he continued to eye on Fury.
Fury furrowed her eyebrows as she picked up on Odin's lustful antic, but before she could deal her own brand of punishment on the lecherous relic, Death reacted faster as he almost instantaneously grabbed Odin by the throat hard and lifted him up a bit. Heimdall was about to draw his sword and attack Death, but Odin immediately raised his hand, signifying him to stand down.
"Cast that lustful gaze at her again, and I will skin the flesh from your face and have Dust feast on your remaining eye. Am I clear?" Death growled in low, grim and dead-serious tone, his orange, almost fiery eyes feeling as if they're peering into the All-Father's very soul.
Odin couldn't help but sweat a little and barely gulp from Death's legitimately scary threat.
"Crystal clear." He choked out through Death's iron grip.
That said, the Reaper let go of the Norse god, but immediately after did the tension rise between the horsemen and Norse gods. However, to Death's and Fury's mild surprise, Odin started to crack up a bit, mostly to ease the tensions between two parties before things get really bloody.
"Well, your protectiveness for your siblings is not exaggerated." Odin said in now relaxed tone as he rubbed his neck.
"You have no idea old man." Fury smirked as she folded her arms.
"You behave as if you predicted that your home would be invaded by the Sins." Death said seriously.
"Word quickly spread across the pantheons that the Olympians were invaded by an unknown evil, and that it took the might of Fury and your brother War to stop it. I had assumptions that until these threats were dealt with, our people would be invaded as well, along with the rest of the Nine Realms. That is why I made the decision to evacuate Asgardians until this threat has been dealt with, and closed off the Bifrost bridge. Everyone except Thor, who was all too eager to have a fight of his life." Odin explained in more serious tone.
"That would explain why there was not a single corpse to be found on my way to confront Lust." Fury said in clarity.
"That drunken oaf has always been a hopeless battle whore. Hopefully the beating you horsemen gave him will teach him to use his own head and not the hammer head for once." Heimdall said in annoyed and condescending tone.
"Either way, you have my gratitude for dealing with Lust." Odin said as he bowed his head slightly in gratitude.
"We simply followed the Council's orders, it has nothing to do with aiding your pantheon." Death said in grim, almost emotionless tone.
"Like i said, we all benefit from it regardless." Odin said seriously.
"I won't lie, I expected your realm to be more… grandiose than this." Fury said neutrally.
"Do you truly believe that the All-Father has the need to puff himself like some petty, mortal chieftain? I'm so sorry if our cornerstone of civilization is a letdown for you." Heimdall said condescendingly, which annoyed Death to a noticeable degree.
"Cornerstone of civilization?" Fury said before she cracked up a bit in amusement. "Clearly you need to leave your realm more often little watchman." She said, and this time it was Heimdall who was annoyed to the bone.
"Relax Heimdall, we can give them the benefit of the doubt, considering they did meet with the Olympians beforehand." Odin smiled.
"Olympians, children to the last." Heimdall said in annoyance.
"In what regard?" Fury asked in curiosity and amusement.
"In regard to their opulent lifestyles in their little mountain. Real power you see, does not need to flaunt. It emerges when the time is right. Wouldn't you agree?" Heimdall said in annoyance, mostly to the Olympians themselves than the horsemen.
"I would indulge you with an answer, but we delayed here long enough. We must continue our mission." Death said in his usual, grim tone.
"I will have my ravens send you back to the Underworld where they first found you, unless you'd wish to be taken elsewhere." Odin said with a more neutral expression on his face.
"Before you do, does your meeting with the devils still stand?" Death asked strictly.
"You mean the conference with the devil king Sirzechs?" Odin asked curiously.
"Yes." Death said simply.
"It does horseman." Odin replied.
"Then we are leaving, send us back to the Gremory domain in the Underworld." Death asked, more of a demand than a request.
"Until out next meeting then." Odin said before he looked at the raven on his right shoulder. "Huginn?"
On cue, the raven flew towards the two horsemen, and another flock of black crows materialized all around them, enveloping them in darkness, before moments later they dispersed, and the horsemen found themselves back into the familiar landscape of the Gremory domain in the Underworld, with Huginn flying off towards the horizon. Then the two riders summoned their steeds, Despair and Rampage, mounted them and started to gallop across the landscape.
"'Cornerstone of civilization'. The gall to say such a thing outloud, when their precious realm is nothing but a collection of wooden huts and houses. Other civilizations across Creation would chew these cavemen up and spit them out for the audacity." Fury mocked in almost baffled tone at the statement.
"Heimdall has a point Fury." Death said as a matter of factly, slightly surprising his sister as she looked at the pale rider. "They may chose the primitive lifestyle, but their power is nothing to be scoffed at. That much has been proven with your bout with Thor, and even before that in other realms that we visited over so many millennia."
"Perhaps, but it will never get not frustrating when they place themselves as the pinnacle of universal civilization, gives me the urge to burn their home to the ground everytime." Fury said in frustration.
"Forget about the Norse gods sister, we have more important matters to deal with." Death said, wanting now to drop the ridiculous subject.
"Agreed." Fury nodded before both of them kicked their horses in the ribs, prompting them to ride faster.
Death and Fury now intend to venture far from the Underworld for the time being, where they can discuss matters in more private surroundings. And to do that they need to visit certain someone far away from the Gremory domain. The two horsemen eventually reached yet another hideout of Vulgrim, apparently the demon conjured another one of his glyphs in Underworld as well, which is fortuitous for the horsemen since they can use its Serpent Holes to travel to their destination. And as Death entered the Serpent Holes via Vulgrim's glyph on the ground, suddenly a black and orange portal materialized behind Fury, catching her off guard and pulling her inside the portal.
And when she emerged on other side, she found herself in familiar, volcanic surroundings, along with certain, ancient being standing in front of her.
"Curious. Very curious indeed. With each new challenge you show more depth." The Lord of the Hollows said in almost impressed voice.
"What do you want? I Death were to find out about this..." Fury said in frustration, anticipating Death's own brand of scolding similar to Strife's.
"Both you and i are painfully aware of the endless parade history inflicts upon us, creatures so pathetically focused on one, single purpose. But ironically, these creatures are completely devoid of meaning." The Lord of the Hollows said almost in contemplation, seemingly ignoring what Fury said beforehand.
"Make your point Lord of the Hollows, and be quick about it!" Fury said angrily.
"It's just surprising... no, refreshing to see something headed in the opposite direction. You are coming into greater awareness of the flaws that kept you in chains." Lord of the Hollows said in a rather pleased tone.
"Flaws?" Fury asked curiously.
"Shall i list them?" The Hollow Lord asked.
"No, thank you. I've seen enough recently to know they are many." Fury said in almost shameful tone.
"Which is exactly why i give you this." The Lord of the Hollows said as he now conjured another of his signature Hollow power, this time purple in hue as he telekinetically levitated it towards Fury to have.
"And by wielding it, the raw power of Force itself is yours."
At this point there is simply no use in washing her hands off of her involvement with the Hollow Lord, so almost as soon as she got it, she absorbed it's power as the force energy thrummed across her entire being.
"It vibrates in my hand. I do not understand." Fury said in confusion, and the Hollow Lord couldn't help but chuckle a bit in amusement.
"When the time comes, you will know when and how to use it." The Lord of the Hollows said before he conjured up another portal behind her.
"No, not yet!" Fury shouted, but it was too late as the portal sucker her in before she could react.
Moments later she was transported back to where she originally was, in front of the Vulgrim's glyph. But to her frustration, the demon merchant himself was hovering above the glyph with that annoying grin on his demonic face.
"Not one word demon." Fury threatened as she pointed her finger at the demon.
Vulgrim merely grinned mischievously before he hovered back and gestured for Fury to enter his Serpent Holes, which she did.
After traversing the dimension, she too emerged from the Serpent Holes, with Death waiting for her on the other side.
"Fury? What delayed you in the Serpent Holes?" Death asked curiously.
"Vulgrim did, that annoying demon will never cease to pester us for even a morsel of souls to consume. Someday i will break him of the habit permanently." Fury said in annoyance as she walked past her brother.
"I see." Death said, not entirely convinced in his sister's story.
Later that day, Death and Fury traveled to the arctic wastelands on the distant ice world, far away from Earth and it's Underworld. The realm itself has such below zero freezing temperatures that barely if any living soul would be able to thrive in such a dark and hazardous world, especially with a heavy blizzard raging across the landscape. But to the likes of the Four Horsemen, these places are perfect locations where they can have a private conversation, far away from anyone who might think to interrupt them, thinking nothing of the cold that would freeze any other lesser being into an icy husk. Though rarely was the need over the eons for the horsemen to convene like this, this would most certainly be one of those times, especially with Fury finally coming to a decision to confess to her brother what she had hidden from them for all this time.
"You are lost in thought Fury. Speak your mind." Death said in his usual grim, but neutral tone.
But to his inward surprise, Fury didn't even register what he said as she walked forward and gazed towards the horizon in deep contemplation, almost losing herself in her own thoughts.
"Sister?" Death asked in confused, if not mildly concerned tone. Out of his three siblings, Fury was never the one to allow her mind to drift away like this, unless it is in the bloodiest of battlefields where she can unleash her battle lust at her leisure.
As for Fury, she continued to be silent as a crystal clear image of her brothers kneeling before her like slaves was seared into her mind. And in that moment, she realized that the time has finally come to be open with her eldest brother, to reveal secrets that she had kept from her brothers for far too long.
"I never told you my reason for pledging my fealty to the Council." Fury said in low, almost remorseful tone before she looked at Death with a surprisingly humble demeanor, without a shred of arrogance or sternness in her eyes. "It is something I can no longer hide."
Death couldn't help but be taken aback a bit by this surprising development. Fury was also never the one to confide to neither him, War and Strife, if anything her relationship for the most part with her siblings was borderline antagonistic, be it out of spite, arrogance, jealousy or from the simple never-say-die attitude that all the horsemen share. Whenever she would be questioned for her many moments of apparent vulnerabilities over the eons, be it physical or mental, she would dismiss them almost immediately and behave as if nothing happened at all. Guess her recent bouts with the Sins must have finally made her aware of her vices, something that was long overdue as far as the Reaper was concerned.
"I'm listening." Death said simply, being all ears now.
Another few moments of silence followed, before Fury looked down in thought, turned her back on her brother and then again gazed towards the horizon.
"Eversince the slaughter of the Ravaiim on their homeworld, we burned many worlds to the ground across Creation. I knew even back then that Absalom was making a fool out of us, spouting stories that by purging all those planets we invaded, it would pave the way until the day we finally found a realm we can call our own. But I was all too aware of the ambition of Absalom's little crusade, that we would make enemies out all of Creation to satisfy his thirst for war." Fury explained seriously before she stood sideways and looked at Death. "You, War, and possibly Strife, pledged yourselves to the Council because you believed in their concept of Balance. It is a concept I haven't had the slightest interest for. My interest towards that position was the power and privilege that it offered. Especially it's protection, from the inevitable demise of our people." She then turned her back again, almost ashamed to look at her brother now. "Call me a coward if you wish, but I knew that with you leading the horsemen, the death of our people at Eden was a certainty. Not even Absalom himself managed to defeat you, with the power granted to you by the Council. All these eons I paid only a lip service to the Council, so I may continue to make use of the granted privilege. Lip service even towards my own kin. And it wasn't until this day, after my battle with Lust that I became aware of that fact. That we must stay true amongst ourselves if we are to fight as a truly unified fighting force to be reckoned with."
After she finally finished with her confession, strangely enough Death remained silent, prompting her to turn sideways and look at her brother again.
"Death? You have nothing to say?" Fury asked in confusion.
"I already know that Fury." Death said plainly.
"What?" Fury said in surprise.
"I have known about it for over many millennia. At this point even the blind can see that you do not share true kinship with us, that you always in secret followed your own path." Death said in usual grim tone.
"And you kept it to yourself all this time?" Fury asked curiously as she fully turned towards the pale rider.
"Until the day you would tell me of it yourself, yes. In fairness, my bond was not as strong with War and Strife as it is today, less so with you. But for every century, every millennia that passed, I became aware of both your vices and your virtues." Death said, before he slowly approached Fury in almost threatening stance. "And despite of your meddling with the Lord of the Hollows, I would still slaughter every demon and angel across the universe should they dare to harm you."
"You know of my involvement with the Lord of the Hollows?" Fury asked in mild bewilderment.
"You think I wouldn't recognize his power coursing through your entire being, back there when you fought Thor and Lust?" Death asked in low, serious, almost insulted tone.
"Then go ahead, scold me like Strife did." Fury groaned a bit as she looked sideways, wanting to get that verbal lashing done and over with as soon as possible.
"Strife actually berated you? Now that is amusing to hear." Death said as he let out a muffled chuckle of amusement.
"I said get on with it! I know that you want to bleed my ears off for what I did, more than Strife did and ever could!" Fury snapped, but inwardly bracing herself for the inevitable.
"No." Death said simply.
"No?" Fury asked in legit surprise and shock.
"Were it any other time, I would, but his powers have proven to be useful against the Seven Deadly Sins, it certainly turned the tide against Lust compared to the last time we fought her. So for now, i will allow you to utilize its powers until future events deem otherwise." Death said seriously.
Fury couldn't help but be speechless at that. She has adamantly expected for Death to give her a verbal lashing of her eternal lifetime much like Strife did, for taking the powers from one of the most reviled of the ancient beings antithesis to the Council's concept of Balance. But bizarrely there will be none of that, which honestly made her relieved a bit.
"Besides, I have already made an enemy out of one of my siblings. I do not wish to have bad blood with you as well, anymore than we already had at any rate. Dark times are ahead of us, and it would be alot easier to deal with the current and future threats united." Death said in low, serious tone, almost in contemplation of his own.
"I concur." Fury said seriously before she approached her brother, now having her own questions to ask. "Still, i need to know. Why did you do it? Sending War to his demise? We had many, many disagreement over the eons, but you had never willingly sent us to our deaths. What caused you to betray him like that?!" She asked accusingly.
"I did not betray him!" Death snapped angrily, but that anger diminished as quickly as it came as the Reaper now bowed his head down and looked bitterly on the ground. "There was simply no other choice."
"There is always a choice Death, you know that better than any of us." Fury said sternly.
But to her repeated surprise, Death had no near instant reply as it was now his turn to lose himself in his thoughts. A surprise that increased when he turned his back on his sister and looked towards the horizon in self-loathing and hatred.
"Sometimes, even I can be cornered Fury." Death confessed in grim, if not defeated tone. "I found myself in those moments a select few times in my lifetime, and that moment was one of them. Had I told War the truth, we would bicker and bark at each other, until that angel inevitably charges inside our hideout and kill us all, especially since he was equipped with an accursed Grand Abomination, Black Mercy. Those were my choices, for all of us to die, or send War to die and do whatever it takes to bring him back later, risking his eternal resentment and hatred. I chose the latter, and tried to avoid it's consequence, bracing myself for the day when I would be caught in the act. It is only in that moment when the truth was revealed, that I realized that there is no mental barrier that can prepare you for the pain only a sibling can cause, just or no."
Fury remained silent, taking in the truth behind his surface level betrayal of War, before Death turned around and looked at his sister.
"I made a promise that I would make it up to him, no matter what lengths I need to go to achieve his forgiveness. And it is a promise I intend to keep. But before I can start my difficult path of redemption with War, I need to know if you are still with me sister. Can I count on you to fight by my side, should the need ever arise?" Death asked in his usual grim, but now sincere tone.
Although Fury was taken aback a bit by Death's seemingly uncharacteristic behavior, she realized that Death's situation is similar to hers. Were it any other time she would hardly had forgiven Death for what he did to War, and would had intense trust issues with the Reaper afterwards. But considering she had willingly accepted her bargain with the Lord of the Hollows, she is certainly not innocent out of the two, so she has no right to grill him for his sins when she has her own to answer for. Both of the horsemen have their hands dirty in their own way, and both have a long way before they wash them of their sins and receive their redemption. And taking this into account, there was only one answer to the Reaper's question.
"My whip is yours brother. Despite our difference even now, that much hasn't changed. And if we are to survive, all of us, then we must not let ourselves be divided." Fury said seriously as she nodded to her brother.
"Good to hear." Death said sincerely as he placed his hand on Fury's shoulder. "Come sister, we still have much work to do."
Fury nodded silently before the riders started to slowly walk back towards their steeds down the hill of snow and ice.
"Isnt it curious Death, how these Sins have conveniently chosen their realms by conquering them from the gods? First the Greeks, and now the Norse pantheon. I do not know how or why, but these gods are targeted by something, or someone, and are using the Sins to achieve the goal of eradicating the deities." Fury asked in contemplation.
'There is no being out there who can outright direct the Sins Fury, they obey no one but themselves." Death said seriously.
"Perhaps, but these takeovers are far from accidental." Fury stated in doubt of the Sin's motives.
"Even if we are to consider that their intent is to eradicate the pantheons and claim their realms as their own, what would their end goal be with such conquest? Other than the fact that it would undermine their attempt to forge an alliance with the devils. Even united they can hardly pose a threat to even one of the Sins without us to fight them, especially with their influence being as potent as it is." Death contemplated.
"Another mystery that is yet to be solved is to how they managed to get a hold of the shards of the Armageddon Blade. The Sins are the last beings in all of Creation to be considered to safeguard the broken weapon. Michael told you once that these shards were scattered across humanity's kingdom. And yet we keep finding every shard from each of the Sins, barring the two pieces that Ophis gave you. Did the archangel lie to you when he told you that?" Fury asked curiously.
"No, angels are bound to truth Fury. Maybe they were hidden on Earth, once. But that much apparently changed when the Sins were released." Death said grimly.
"How is it that they managed to sneak in the Third Kingdom and find the shards?" Fury asked.
"They didn't. Powerful wards have been placed across the entire planet, making it unable for any power across the universe, angel, demon, Sin or otherwise to enter that world, unless it's through illegitimate means like through Vulgrim's home in the Void. If i were to make a theory, either the reincarnated devils or the humans themselves must have discovered the shards and brought them to the Underworld, or any other outpost they would settle in. And from that point it can be debated as to how they managed to end up in the hands of the Sins. Were those shards brought to them on purpose, or did they took interest in those shards and took them by force? Either way, they are now using them as baits to lure us in, knowing that the Council would not allow such a powerful weapon to end up in their hands. As far as im concerned, this is the most fortuitous scenario we can imagine to have." Death explained.
"We deal with Sins and obtain the sword pieces all at once?" Fury smirked.
"Precisely." Death said simply.
"When you put it that way, i suppose it is." Fury added before she looked at her brother. "That said, any idea as to where we can look for Wrath, Gluttony and Pride?"
"Not yet. But undoubtedly they will make their presence known much like the previous Sins have done." Death said simply.
"I can't wait to face Wrath again, so i can make him suffer before we imprison him again." Fury said in frustration as she clenched her right fist in front of her at the thought.
"Why Wrath specifically?" Death asked curiously.
"He mocked me at every turn during our fight, before he skewered me with an angel spear. Suffering is the least of the punishments that i will inflict on him before he is put back in his prison." Fury said in absolutely livid and vindictive tone.
"Do not dare lose yourself in your thirst for vengeance Fury, you know very well how that obsession ends everytime you succumb to it." Death warned in grim, almost angry tone.
"Do not concern yourself, i learned the hard way of the consequences for succumbing to rage." Fury said, bitterly remembering how Wrath impaled her with the angel spear, before she retaliated by shoving the tip of the spear onto Wrath's forehead.
"Is that so?" Death asked skeptically, given his sister's many antics over the eons when succumbed to rage.
"Yes. I learned that my anger is better suited when it's focused, when i can use it as a weapon. Against an opponent like Wrath, a wild rage is what lead me to my defeat. The next time we fight, that outcome will be entirely different." Fury said in serious and determined tone.
"Good to hear, but i will be more convinced once you put your theory into practice." Death said in usual, grim tone.
"I will, once we find him." Fury said seriously, having that look that screams bloody vengeance. A common sight for Death, but woe everytime to the individual who wronged her, who in this case would be Wrath.
All of a sudden, Death and Fury have both heard a sound of a mighty horn echoing and rumbling in the distant sky, a clarion call than the horsemen recognized all too well.
"The Council." Death said ominously.
"Let us see what they want this time." Fury said casually to her brother. Death silently nodded to his sister before both of them teleported back to their masters.
Death and Fury manifested once again in the volcanic domain of the Charred Council, and didn't waste a moment as they walked through the portal, exited at the very heart of the world and slowly made their way up the stairs, closing in on the massive volcanic stone heads that are their patrons.
"Death! Fury! Approach us!" The middle head commanded.
"Another matter in need of tending to?" Fury smirked as she stood brazenly and proudly in front of the Council, knowing their substantial progress with both the Seven Deadly Sins and acquiring shards of the Armageddon Blade.
"Answer us this horseman! Is it true that you were meddling with the Lord of the Hollows?!" The second, horned head asked accusingly.
"Not only that, but that you had the audacity to accept the vile powers that he offered to you." A third, narrow head said in accusing and disgusted voice.
"Those statements are true, but it is nothing that should jeopardize my mission to imprison the Seven Deadly Sins once again. Four had been taken into custody, and other three are soon to follow." Fury said with utter conviction.
"Are you aware of the repercussions of your actions?! By accepting the powers from the Lord of the Hollows and using it on your enemies, you eradicated their souls as well!" The middle head raged.
"What?!" Fury shouted in shock and outrage.
"Indeed. When you used the powers of the Hollow against the demons of Hell, it was not just their bodies that were turned to ash, but their souls as well, an act of utter desecration to the cycles of life, death and rebirth that the Balance demands!" The second, horned head explained.
"Be that as it may, this power allowed me to..."
"SILENCE!" All three of the Council heads bellowed in unison.
Fury and even Death couldn't help but be taken aback by such a sudden enraged outburst, from all three heads no less. While they are known to be rather volatile and demanding beings, no different than slave masters at times, they only show this level of rage when the horsemen really make a mistake, which Fury did in her case with the Hollow Lord.
"From this day forth, you are forbidden to make use of the powers bestowed upon you by the demonic Traitor!" A third, narrow head proclaimed. But before Fury would protest to such ludicrous decree...
"Be warned Fury! The fact that you make use of these powers of the Hollow is a sacrilege of the highest degree, and a betrayal to your duties to the Council and the Balance. Make further dealings with the Lord of the Hollows and we will have no choice but to consign you to Oblivion." The middle head threatened.
At that, Fury's eyes went wide in legitimate shock, practically leaving her speechless.
"The Council has spoken!" A second, horned head concluded before the flames of all three of the Council heads faded away, leaving the three stone heads completely lifeless, a sign that the horsemen have been indeed dismissed.
When they did, Death couldn't help but glance at his sister in mild worry, while Fury herself remained speechless at the proclamation. That reaction is entirely normal, even to the likes of the Four Horsemen. If there was one thing that the riders dread, it would be fated to be casted through the gate of Oblivion. The very thought of being sentences to be erased entirely from existence through that black abyss... even Death himself couldn't help but have a chill at the very idea. Even the thought of fighting Lucifer himself and his endless legions all by himself seemed like a more pleasant idea compared to that fate. The future now seemed very uncertain for the black rider, far more than it was with her previous antics. Regardless, he will stay by her side to the bitter end, the least he can do if he is truly to begin his path of redemption for what he did to their youngest sibling, especially to War himself.
Finally back to the present, it was the night before the Rating Game between team Gremory and team Sitri. Far away from the Gremory castle, Tannin is on his way to attend the party venue that is currently taking place, landing near the grounds of the castle itself. But before he could make his way to the home of the Gremory devils...
Someone called out for him on his left side. When the figure rose from the hill, it was revealed that it was War, gazing at the dragon with the usual, serious expression.
"Horseman? What would you have of me?" Tannin asked in curious and respectful tone.
"I have a question for you. Dragons are known to be prideful creatures, they would never allow themselves to be turned into obedient servants of the Devil Kings. Why would you succumb yourself to such a fate?" War asked curiously.
"Obedient? Not entirely rider. But you answer your question, for the king of the tribe threatened to be extinct, pride is a foolishness that i could not afford." Tannin said seriously as he folded his arms in seemingly insulted disposition.
"How so?" War asked.
"Allow me to retort with a question of my own. Do you know of the dragon apple fruit?" Tannin asked.
"Can't say that i do." War said simply.
"There are some tribes among my kin that can only subsist on dragon apples, which in this case would be my own tribe. But after environmental shifts wiped out much of the crop, the only source left was in the devil realm. However, dragons are not welcome here, and it is not in the devil's nature to give something without receiving something in return." Tannin explained.
"Which lead to you being reborn as a devil." War deduced.
"Precisely. And in doing so, i made the fruit's entire habitat as my own domain, because only ultimate class devils and higher are allowed to own a land here." Tannin said.
"Was it worth it Tannin, trading away your freedom for survival?" War asked curious, if not accusing tone.
But Tannin was silent for a few moments, seemingly lost in thought after the question was asked as he gazed towards the horizon.
"On one hand, it was. By being reborn as a devil, my tribe barely avoided complete extinction, and gave them the chance now to research how to artificially manufacture the fruit." Tannin contemplated before he looked at War. "On the other hand however, it does bother me at times that i relinquished my people's freedom for survival. Neither were the choices that were easy to come to a decision on, so i opted for a less selfish choice."
When he was finished, Tannin noticed that War doesn't seem convinced by his story, staring at the dragon, as if silently accusing him for being a liar.
"I don't know what kind of dragons you encountered in your eternal life, and I can admit that most of my kin tend to be selfish to the extreme, but i can assure you that my story is true." Tannin said seriously.
"I can confirm that from the get go." Another voice said from War's right, drawing the rider's and Tannin's attention.
"Azazel? Why are you here?" War asked curiously.
"I was on my way to have a chat with Sirzechs regarding the Rating Game to come, but then i saw you two chatting, so i came to see what it's all about." Azazel said in laidback demeanor before his face went serious. "I can confirm Tannin's story for you. Dragons indeed tend to be selfish deuchebags, but Tannin here is one of rare exceptions. Everything he said is hard truth."
When the fallen angel was finished, War looked back at Tannin again, still mildly skeptical of Tannin's tale. The red rider had endured so many lies and manipulations over the eons from various, deceitful species. Demons are notorious for these falsehoods, but other beings on the list would definitely be dragons. And at this point if someone were to tell him that snow is white, he would still be skeptical of what they were saying. But when even a renegade angel vouched for the dragon, Tannin might be telling the truth after all. Besides, it wouldn't be so farfetched at this point. If even the demons of Hell are capable of morphing into devil peace lovers, then there is also a possibility of a noble dragon among so many self-important reptiles that plague this realm, and others across Creation for that matter.
"I commend you for your selfless deed Tannin. Few among your kin could ever hope to place their people's wellbeing over their personal interests." War said in serious, yet respectful tone, surprising both Tannin and Azazel.
"You honor me with your words horseman." Tannin said seriously as he bowed his head in respect, before looking at War again. "One warrior to another, Rias Gremory couldn't have hoped for a better instructor than you."
War in response merely nodded silently, while Azazel couldn't help but smile a bit in amusement, only now hearing that War trained Rias personally.
"I must go now, Issei Hyoudou is waiting for me at the party. Farewell." Tannin said respectfully before he took to the skies and made his way towards.
"That's new, The Horseman of the Apocalypse taking in an apprentice." Azazel smirked in amusement.
"I'm in no mood to endure your jests fallen angel." War said in low, serious, if not threatening tone.
"Okay, point taken." Azazel said, maintaining his laidback disposition before he turned sideways. "Anyway, you plan on tagging along and join the kids at the party?" He said as he pointed at the castle in the horizon.
"You can attend the festivity if you wish, but I have other matters to attend to at the moment." War said seriously.
"You'll still be there tomorrow to watch the kids fight at the Rating Game, right?" Azazel asked curiously.
"I will, if only to see if Rias Gremory's training didn't go to waste after all this time." War said simply.
"Enough said. Well, im off too, until next time." Azazel said before he sprung his black wings and also took off towards the castle, leaving War alone before he too left as well.
Within the Gremory castle, a great party venue was provided for the young generation by the Devil Kings themselves, where they can relax, celebrate and enjoy the festivities before the Rating Game itself inevitably comes tomorrow. Especially the participants, notably the members of the Occult Research Club, due to the brutal training sessions they endured under War's guidance and proving their worth by purging a hidden base of demon infiltrators. But as Rias walked among the crowd, to her surprise, Sona and other members of her peerage are nowhere to be seen among many young devils gathered at the hall. Even though the two devils were not exactly on speaking terms anymore, it was still rather strange that she is not in attendance. It does make her question with sadness in her heart at the magnitude of the damage she had caused to their friendship, due to her negligence for Issei's actions.
Speak of the literal devil. And not just one, but two devils at that, Issei and Kiba, who both wear black suits for the occasion.
"Oh, Issei, Kiba. Are you enjoying the festivities?" Rias smiled warmly.
"It's such a bore, not really used to these kinds of parties. But at least it beats those training sessions i had with Death and Tannin, they were unapologetic murder to go through." Issei said as he rubbed his temples, feeling even his bones ache at the memory of how brutal their sessions were.
"Wait, Death trained you personally?" Rias asked as her eyes widened slightly in surprise. Turns out that it's not just her who had a special treatment from the Horsemen.
"More like standing and ordering around while i get grilled by the dragon, but yeah." Issei quipped dryly.
"I didn't know. I'm so sorry that you had to go through all that, i can't imagine what kind of tortures you had to go through with Death around." Rias frowned sadly in compassion.
"Yea, that guy is the definition of cold and merciless." Issei said, almost shuddering at the thought of his training. "But on the bright side he helped me achieve my Balance Breaker, so that's a plus." He smiled as he pumped his right fist, trying now to lighten the mood.
"Indeed." Rias smiled, appreciating his attempt at having a positive outlook on his unforgiving training regime.
Someone called out cheerfully to him, and Issei smiled brightly too when he noticed not only Asia, but Akeno as well following the blonde behind her. As soon as he saw Akeno in a beautiful dress, Issei started to have a lecherous look on his face as he noticed Akeno's breasts ready to bounce out of her dress. But an instant later he shook his head to shake off any perverted thoughts, mostly due to Asia around.
"Asia, Akeno! Both of you look gorgeous." Issei said cheerfully.
"Thanks Issei." Asia blushed as she looked down shyly.
"My my, you shouldn't be so careless with your words Issei, look what you did to poor Asia." Akeno teased as she giggled cutely, making Asia blush more from her teasing.
"It's kinda embarrassing, I'm not really used to this at all." Asia said shyly.
"That makes two of us, somehow training with Tannin feels more natural to me than this whole nobility business, even though it was a complete murder." Issei smiled.
"Guess it can't be helped, since you had more humble lifestyle than the president's." Kiba said lightheartedly.
"Aint that the truth." Issei said light-heartedly as well before he looked around. "By the way, has anyone seen Gasper?" He asked with a blank look.
"I haven't seen him since we started our training three weeks ago." Rias said in more serious tone before she looked down in concern. "I'm honestly starting to really worry, especially when it's Death we are talking about."
"Poor Gasper. Bad enough that he whipped me like a bitch, I can only imagine what that grimdark emo did to him after all this time." Issei said bluntly.
"Greetings Lady Rias."
A newcomer suddenly said behind the Gremory group. When they turned around, they noticed that it was Ravel Phenex, sister of the traitor Riser Phenex, wearing a formal dress of her own for the occasion.
"Lady Ravel?" Rias said formally.
"Good to see you all in one place, there is something that I must say to you." Ravel said in uncharacteristically serious voice.
"Is something the matter?" Rias asked curiously.
"I would like to extend my apologies to you. To all of you." Ravel said as she bowed humbly to them, much to their surprise. "I never got the chance to formally apologize for my brother's betrayal. And believe me when I say that my family was devastated when he turned over to those monsters of Hell." She said in sad, yet disgusted tone as she looked down in shame.
Issei, Rias and Akeno couldn't help but be surprised by her humility. Back at the Rating Game she was about as arrogant and self-centered as her brother was when he came for Rias, before War brutally put him in his place that is. But after the fiasco that was the demon invasion, with Riser behind it no less, that arrogance was now nowhere to be seen. Guess despite the pride that both of them share, they were still family, and the consequences of Riser's actions are plainly seen on Ravel's face.
"No need to ask for forgiveness Lady Ravel, you had nothing to do with your brother's actions." Rias said in slightly serious voice.
"No. I don't. But his betrayal has forever stained the family name, the Devil Kings have even prohibited us from participating in the future Rating Games, among other consequences dealt by Riser's crime." Ravel said bitterly before she frowned sadly again. "But most of all, I lost my brother that day. And…" Tears now formed in her eyes from the magnitude of the pain that resurfaced in her heart. "I've missed him eversince." She said sadly with a lump on her throat, even starting to sniff a bit.
Rias, Akeno and Asia frowned sadly in compassion to Ravel's pain. Even Issei felt bad for the curly haired girl. Despite of the fact that Riser Phenex was unbearably self-absorbed and arrogant asshole the first time he encountered him, he was still a brother to Ravel, a family. Some tradeoff that turned out to be in the end, breaking off the engagement with Rias at the cost of Ravel losing her brother to the demons of Hell, even though it was by Riser's own desperate decision to damn himself like he did.
After a few moments, Ravel started to calm down and compose herself as she wiped the tears from her eyes.
"That said, some among Riser's former peerage would want to join you and you team, if you would have them." Ravel said formally before she stepped aside.
On cue, three women approached the four devils of Gremory group. They immediately recognized the trio, the purple-haired woman was Riser's former queen, Yubelluna the Bomb Queen. The other girl was a knight called Karlamine, and…
"Isabela?!" Rias said in surprise.
"Wait, you're alive?! I thought you were blasted away by that demon!" Issei exclaimed in shock.
"I thought I was too, but fortunately I had an emergency transport out of the Rating Game dimension before the killing blow was truly dealt." Isabela explained in neutral tone, almost having a chill down her spine at the memory of how close she was to opening death's door.
"If that was the case, why didn't we get transported too when those demon deuchebags joined the party?" Issei asked himself inwardly as he scratched his hair and looked up in confusion. Seems incredibly convenient as far as he was concerned, for her to be saved and for them to be stuck to fight that horde of insane killers.
Then Isabela clenched her right fist and gritted her teeth at the memory of that moment when Riser turned on his own retainers.
"Wish I could say the same for Ni and Li. Even now it makes my blood boil at the very thought of that bastard's betrayal. I fought with all my might in every Rating Game that we fought, never questioning his decisions in and out of the battlefield. But after what he did to me, to all of us, treating us as nothing but disposable tools, no different than those-"
"Isabela, please." Yubelluna interrupted Isabela's angry outburst in slightly strict tone as she placed her hand on the rook's left shoulder to calm her down. "Lady Ravel is still present."
The half masked woman then looked at Ravel in realization, and immediately felt guilty when she again had that sad look on her face.
"Forgive me milady, my anger got the best of me again." Isabela bowed in regret.
"It's okay Isabela, Riser's betrayal is keenly felt by all of us." Ravel said sadly.
"It is like Lady Ravel said, we wish to fight for you Lady Rias. I would be grateful if you were to accept my sword, so I can commence my path of regaining my honor stolen by Riser's treachery." Karlamine said formally as she bowed to Rias in respect.
"I would also like to join your team Lady Rias. Riser's treason gave a bad name to everyone in his peerage, so I would like to clear mine by fighting by your side, with everything I have and more." Isabela said formally she also bowed her head in respect.
"No need to be so formal. Turns out that there are available places for a knight and a rook, so I would be happy to accept your offer." Rias smiled.
"Thank you, Lady Rias." Karlamine and Isabela said in unison.
"Rias will do just fine." Rias smiled before she glanced at the Bomb Queen with a slightly serious look. "But as for you Yubelluna, unfortunately there is only one position of queen, which is occupied by Akeno. However there is another piece I have left to fill, which is another rook. The first one is for Isabela, and if you so choose it, the second will be yours. I know that for someone of your power and ability, a bishop would be best suited for you, but since both are occupied by Asia and Gasper, a position of a rook is what i have available to offer. If that's okay with you that is." She said in more formal tone, aware of the detriment of her becoming a rook, since Yubelluna is more inclined on her magical abilities rather than brute force.
"Very well. It will be my honor to fight alongside you as well Lady Rias." Yubelluna said as she humbly bowed her head down.
"The honor is mine Yubelluna." Rias smiled gratefully as she also bowed her head. "Now then, I would want you three to have fun for now, later on we will officially induct you into my peerage. And make sure that you are also well rested, because tomorrow, we have a Rating Game to win." She said in more confident tone.
"Yes Lady Rias." Karlamine, Isabela and Yubelluna smiled and nodded gratefully.
In hindsight, this certainly turned out to be fortuitous development for Rias. In their desire to atone for Riser's sins and regain their honor, Isabela, Yubelluna and Karlamine have decided to enlist their services to team Gremory. Despite of these noble facts, Rias couldn't help but smile in joy. With their abilities tremendously improved by War's intense training schedule with each instructor, and with three former Phenex members added to her own roster of chess pieces, Rias' chances of victory have noticeably improved. Rias and Sona may be enemies now due to recent events, but even so she intends to win the Rating Game to come, to further her own dreams and prove herself again to War as a capable combatant.
A/N: Eh, i really got nothing this time, no solid excuse for delaying 8 MONTHS for this bloody chapter. And if i did, it would probably a repeat of what i've made excuses for in previous chapters, lack of motivation, playing video games etc. (Especially Wrath of the Lich King, that was a huge time sink). But praise be the Creator, i finally uploaded another chapter! And if i can stop distracting myself for too long with aforementioned things, like video games and such, i should be able to post new chapters at far sooner rates. Really hoping i didn't lose my touch with this chapter tho :D
Also yes, the Norse gods enter the scene in this chapter! Won't be spoiling too much, but when it comes to the appearances of some of the gods that haven't been illustrated by DXD, i made a personal pick from different deviant artists and video games. In this chapter for example, for Thor and Heimdall, i went with their God of War Ragnarok appearances (best Thor depiction ever, fight me!). Other gods like Odin, and valkyries like Rossweisse will retain their DXD appearances tho.
-Wacko12 Yea, sorry about that, tend to miss out a word or two in some sentences when it comes to overly long chapters (which is almost every chapter come to think of it :D)
-BoilingPoints30 Yea, considering my "consistent" upload schedule after long absence, wouldn't be surprised :D Still, welcome back. Yup, still is. Unless I go mad enough and type "War then kissed Rias deeply, made a family with her and watched his favorite show, My Little Pony." Or whatever :D You're welcome, hoping that my next chapter wont take half a year or longer to post.
-Gamelover41592 Thank you very much
-Nantono He kinda was for all the eons that went by while serving the Council. He's definition of antisocial, he only deals with people if it serves his goals or helps his mission laid out by the Charred Council, otherwise he's perfectly fine being left alone.
Sure, cause lines like "I see an enemy before me, ready for his end" or "None are beyond death!" or "All who oppose me shall know death!" are certainly not edgelord material :P
-DOOMRAIDER Preach brother, especially with War being so vindictive and extremely hard to forgive when wronged, case in point with Straga, along with Abaddon when War said "It is not for duty that I kill you now." And then ripped his wings off. And yea, It will certainly be an uphill battle to regain War's trust, but like you said, Death certainly isn't a quitter, and certainly not for his siblings.
Exactly, events are now certainly more hectic than they were in canon, where they don't have the luxury of time and invulnerable plot armor on their side (at least not as blatant as it was in canon). They are certainly going to get whipped into shape real soon by either the Horsemen or the enemies they are about to face, cause none of the characters have Essential trait (meaning they can't die).
-rick12 Exactly. If there is anything she can hope to get from War, its that there would be no more animosity between them due to her being a demon, or best case scenario his respect, seeing her a comrade in arms. But love interest? Nah fam, even I would be pissed if War of all fictional characters would go "Rias, I love you, my crimson princess etc etc." lol
Thanks again for review mate, more coming and hopefully sooner :D
-Super heavy weapons guy Thank you, I'm glad.
-darthkratos24 Well it is a crossover story, so meshing story plots from both franchises into one universe comes with a package, though I tried to make them flow as cohesively as possible. "Pleasing all fans at once" Is usually a death sentence for any media, be it games like Dawn of war 3, movies or in this case, fanfiction. I admit that I may have bloated the story with too many plots at this point, but I myself always write in the direction that I imagined the story would go. Others might write its direction better than I would, but still. Well, War was bound to show up at some point in the story, along with the other horsemen, so might as well do it at chapter 5. As for Death, why is it considered bad that he's an asshole to others? The only people that he legit cares for are his siblings, War, Fury and Strife, and the only true friend that he confided so many times to was Keeper of Oblivion, who is described to be as fearsome and terrifying as the Reaper, if not more so, someone Death can relate to. Everyone else he couldn't give a damn for. Even in the trailer he said "His fate concerns me (War's). Yours does not (everyone else)" And of course they don't like him, no one likes the Horsemen, even Strife pointed it out in Genesis "No one is ever pleased to see us, that's kinda the idea." Especially Death, who's about as cold and merciless as he can be, not for nothing he is considered as the most feared being in ALL of Creation, next to Keeper of Oblivion in novel.
Thanks for review anyway, critiques are also welcome as long as they're constructive. Besides, I'd be an idiot if I expected all the reviews to be 100% positive, im not exactly the messiah of writing :D
-Alexander von Cartein Zarovich You know, demons be demons so on and so forth :D
-THOTSLAYER9000 Wouldn't be writing this story if so, cause I hate OC's, but your opinion is your own.
Once again, thank you all so much for the faves, follows and reviews, and i really apologize for taking bloody 8 months to post this chapter. I won't make any promises at this point, but i will do my best not to take overly long between each chapters, bare minimum i will post chapter updates on my profile so it doesn't appear like the story is on infinite hiatus or smth. Anyway, thanks again and I'll see you (Hopefully sooner) in next chapter :)