Hello everyone.

First of all, once again, I would like to give a shout-out to everyone who left so many wonderful reviews. Just letting you all know that they work wonders as a motivation.

Disclaimer: Do not own Naruto or High school DxD; except for the story concepts.

Updated: 03 / 05 / 2022

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A Different Beginning

II

Elemental Academy

3rd Month

"Iron Skin!"

Feeling his skin hardening, Issei immediately did the follow-up,

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

The ten second time gap was a pain in situations like this. He could go as far as 2 more 'Boost' but his opponent had already started moving.

As Issei tried to move, he felt the changes. It was quite an odd feeling. It was as if he gained few more kilos all of a sudden, and he could clearly feel that his skin was less sensitive. Still, he did not forget his purpose, "Let's see if it works."

Issei blocked the incoming sword attack, not using the red gauntlet on his left hand, but with his bare right hand.

The look on Yuuto's face was priceless. But the genuine shock on his opponent's face quickly vanished as he quickly moved back.

"It worked!"

"Focus! You have only five minutes before the spell expires."

Issei blinked few times to clear his mind. His vision zoomed in on his opponent.

Yuuto Kiba, his senior and fellow member of Rias's peerage, was a skilled swordsman. Well, many considered him a master swordsman, but Ddraig thought otherwise. And who was he to question a thousand-years old Heavenly-Dragon. Still, the fact remained that Yuuto was a beast with a sword. His speed and agility were also insane.

And then, there was his 'Sword Birth'. The sacred gear had the ability to create numerous demon swords each with its own attributes and properties. And from what Issei had seen so far, Yuuto was really good at using it.

Needless to say, even with his 'Boosted Gear', Issei never won a single duel.

But that was going to change, starting from today.

"Giant's Might!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

Again, he was only able to go till three 'Boost' since he was still not used to dodging and focusing on his powerup at the same time.

Issei felt his muscles stretching… tightening. He felt a sudden burst of strength spreading throughout his body. But unlike before, he did not feel the strain or the pain. It seemed his plan was working.

"Alright! Let's go!" Issei clenched his fist, "Swift feet!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

Issei could feel the strain now, but it was still neglectable. But, his plan was working. The strain on his body was manageable, unlike before.

His plan was that instead of forcedly increasing his overall attributes by using 'Boost' directly on himself, which he always did before, he would cast specific spells on himself and 'Boost' their effects. So, even though he would be casting low-level spells, he would transform them into a higher level by using 'Boost'.

Of course, even though they were powered-up magical spells, Issei's body still needed to be sturdy enough to handle all of it. So, he trained his body as much as he could.

And now, he could see the result.

Previously, he could only use 'Boost' ten times, when he was using it directly on his body. But he could only hold on to it for a minute or two And when the effect would expire, he was out of the game because of the strain his body had to go through. But now, through spells, he could use 'Boost' ten times without feeling the strain. And he could hold his power for five minutes.

Ddraig mentioned that his impression of the concept was very flawed but in the end, it was the result that mattered, so his partner did not bother him too much on this.

"Alright, Yuuto, this match will be mine!" Giving a victory pose, Issei dashed toward his opponent.

Of course, Yuuto was not unprepared. He had the sword 'Flame Sword' out. He continuously dodged Issei's attempt to catch him, while simultaneously throwing fireballs at him.

Issei was losing focus. Yes, the fireballs did not hurt him. Yes, he was as fast as Yuuto. Yes, to win, all he needed was one good punch. Maybe two…

But, the way Yuuto kept slipping away from him and then hitting him with a fireball to make him lose his balance was becoming very annoying. He knew what Yuuto's game plan was. Issei knew that he was not the brightest member of their team, but that did not mean he was a complete idiot. Yuuto was playing the stalling game. He was waiting for Issei to run out of gas. That was a decent plan. But Issei thought that Yuuto would try to go head-on-head with him, at least to a certain extent before resorting to the stalling game. But the moment Yuuto saw Issei powering up differently, and without many side effects, he started running away from him.

"Ah! Fuck it!" Issei screamed as he focused on Yuuto. He crouched down, but just before he was going to propel his body forward, he shouted,

"Boost!"

He felt the strain on his muscles. But he was able to push aside the pain when he saw the surprised look on Yuuto's face. Issei was too fast for Yuuto to dodge. Or, so he thought.

Yuuto crouched down. Issei did not know what Yuuto did but suddenly his vision was engulfed in flames. And then he felt something hard hitting him on his ribcage. It did not hurt that much but the blow made him lose his balance.

He really tried to stay on his course. But he failed. When the flames disappeared, the first thing he saw was the stone pillar. He only had enough time to raise his arms to protect his face. He hit the pillar, broke it, and then hit the ground, rather roughly.

That impact hurt.

"Stand up or the boy will strike!"

Issei immediately stood up, stretched his arm to the side, and let out a scream. It took a second for his vision to clear but fortunately, Yuuto was still maintaining his distance.

"One minute left, brat!"

Issei knew that the moment his 'Iron Skin' spell would expire, Yuuto would strike. And from experience, he could tell that the match would be over by then.

As much as he wanted to start chasing again, he could feel his body slowly becoming sluggish. He needed a new plan. And then, he saw the small pieces of stones around him. And then, it hit him.

It was a dumb idea, but it was all he got.

"Cleanse!"

It was a spell that removes all the effects of other spells. Usually, it was used to remove negative effects, but Akeno taught him how to use it to remove positive effects as well. So, as soon as he used it, Issei felt all the power leaving his body. Even though his body felt lighter, it was hit with sluggishness. But he gave no mind to it, he had a crazy plan to follow.

"Flare!"

Another low-tier spell which was used to blind the opponents. Most of the time it would not work but if timed right and used properly, it could cause the opponent to be distracted… which Issei really needed now.

And, as luck would have it, Yuuto created more distance from him to hide from the attack.

"Perfect," Issei grinned.

"Giant's Might!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

Issei felt the swelling of his muscles. It felt very uncomfortable, but again, he paid no attention to it. He picked up a single small rock, one in each hand. And then threw them at Yuuto.

Issei saw how surprised Yuuto was. Heck, even he was surprised at how fast his throws were. With a big grin, he immediately started picking up stones and throwing them at Yuuto.

Of course, the bastard swordsman starting using his flashy sword moves to deflect or cut the stones. But he did not mind. He just kept going. He hoped that he would get one good solid hit. But if not, then it was his loss. He knew it.

"Stop!"

Issei paused as he looked to his side.

The one who stopped their match was Rias Gremory, their leader, and the heiress of the Gremory clan. Rias was one of the most beautiful girls Issei had ever seen. White skin, blue eyes, and she had the most striking long, beautiful crimson hair he had ever seen. A gorgeous noble lady with a buxom figure, she was a full ten out of ten.

Beside her, stood Akeno. She was just as gorgeous as Rias. Surprisingly, Issei did not know it was possible, her bust was bigger than Rias. To be fair, she had the biggest amongst all the girls in the academy. She also had that onee-san vibe as well as the famous 'Yamato Nadeshiko' vibe. She was also an easy ten out of ten.

"This is a draw," Rias said calmly.

Issei blinked. He looked in Yuuto's direction, who was far away from him, and then back at Rias.

Rias chuckled as she looked at Akeno, "It seemed that some dust has entered his eyes, both of them. While it is not an alarming case, there is no point to continue, not for a practice duel."

Issei blinked again, "Wait, does it not mean…"

"And you are unable to move from your spot."

It was like a waking-up call. All the power left from his body in an instant. Issei wobbled and then fell on his butt. She was right, as always. He was forcing himself to go on. Once again, he unknowingly pushed his body more than his limit. Even though the strain on his muscles was not as bad as his usual runs, his body was not capable of continuing the fight.

Releasing an audible breath, Issei fell on his back.

What a year it was.

Just a year ago, Issei was just another normal teenager living with his parents in a small town, Kuoh. He was no one special, at least that was what he had thought… until that day.

He remembered it clearly, even till this day. After all, how could he forget when one of the sexiest girls he had ever seen sought him out when his school was finished. She had this otherworldly beauty that made even the girls to drool. That body, that hair, that aura, he was smitten the moment his eyes landed on her.

After their initial introduction, she took him to a café. There he learned about the hidden supernatural world. To be fair, most of the words she spoke went in one ear and out the other. Well, he blamed it on her beauty. But after she teleported them into an empty park, and revealed her wings, his brain finally started to process what she was actually saying.

Then, she made an offer. An offer he wholeheartedly accepted.

And thus, a year ago, Issei Hyoudou became a devil and a member of Rias Gremory's peerage on his own will.

Issei knew that the ride would not be smooth, and the road to have his own harem would have its own hardships. But it was crazy what he had to go through just in one year.

Adjusting to his new self, new power, and his new life; learning about the supernatural world; finding out that he possessed a 'Sacred Gear', which later turned out to be a goddamn 'Longinus'. And he did not even have time to fully digest all of these as the 'Rating Game Tournament' in the underworld for the younger generations began.

Most of the time, Rias was a calm and gentle person. But when it came to training, she was a monster. But he also had to give it to her, she knew how to motivate others.

"If we reach the top four, we will go to the beach, for a week." That was what she had said to him.

So, in order to see Rias and Akeno in their swimsuit, Issei trained and later fought like a madman in the tournament. Well, his fight against Sairaorg earned him some fame, from what he had heard. He did not know why though. To him, the fight was a disaster. He failed at using the 'Balance Breaker' and was only used as Sairaorg's punching bag.

They lost, but Rias kept his promise.

It. Was. Worth. It.

So, if anyone would ask him if given another chance would he decline Rias's offer.

His answer to it was simple.

Never.

It was not only because of the gorgeous girls he got to see and interact with, something which he could not even dream about a year ago, but also this vast supernatural world. And the many amazing people he met, and the knowledge he received from them. From a nobody, he became a somebody…

And the one who he really wanted to meet again was Menma Uzumaki. Even though he was just a year, or maybe a few years older than him, he was more mature than that. He learned so much from him when they only chatted once.

"How long are you going to lie down, Issei? Get up and go freshen up. The café will close soon."

Issei's eyes shot open, and he hurriedly sat up, "I thought I needed to win to take you out on a date."

Rias let out a tiny smile, "A draw against Yuuto in a match for the first time, I will consider that as a win."

Issei smiled back at her… and did his best not to tilt his head to get a peek at her underwear.

Why did she wear such a short skirt?!

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X

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Unknown location

Naruto punched the undead in the neck, breaking it. He then grabbed paralyzed the undead, picked it up, and threw it on the other ones that were coming at him. He did not waste this time, he could not. He immediately reloaded his Desert Eagle and took out one undead at a time, starting from those that were close to him. And within a minute, the kitchen was clear. But he knew it was only temporary.

Thor was out there in the dining area holding off the main force of the horde.

The moment his bullet hit the last undead in the head, Naruto immediately started moving. He broke the gas cabinet, and to his delight, there were two gas cylinders. He started loosening the slider, just enough for the gas to leak out slowly. He immediately ran to the other side and lit up some candles.

"Thor! We have to go, now!"

Thor immediately came barging in. Fire axe in one hand, not a magical one, and a shotgun in other, it was Winchester 1887.

"I am out of bullet," Thor said as he rushed past him.

Naruto immediately followed him, "So am I, just have 2 grenade shells left."

Thor stopped, put the shotgun on his back holster, picked up a chair, turned around, and threw it where he came from. And then, he started running again. He did all of these in one swift move.

Naruto did not need to look back to see that the thrown chair bought them some time, which they did not waste. They ran out of the back door from the kitchen, they crossed the backyard and stopped when they reached the main road.

They stopped and looked back. The house could still be seen from where they were standing.

They could hear the groans and growls of the undead hordes… but no explosion yet.

"Did you set it up properly?"

Naruto gave him a flat look, "I did exactly how you asked me to."

Few more seconds passed by, the sound of the hordes was getting closer but again… no explosion.

"It's not working," Naruto said without looking away from the house.

"Strange, I saw that technique working in the movies."

Hearing Thor's answer, Naruto blinked once… twice. Then he took out his assault rifle. There were no bullets left but the rifle had a grenade launcher attached to it. He aimed at the kitchen and fired.

As the building exploded and they felt many of the undead disappearing, Naruto turned toward Thor, "Let's go with my plans from now on when it comes to explosions."

Thor just gave him a dejected nod. And he recovered in a second. Giving him a large slap on the shoulder, Thor pointed at the road, "Let us charge, the main villain is just ahead of us."

Naruto nodded and also gave a warcry. He also did not forget to reload the grenade launcher, it was the last shell he had.

A minute later, they saw the end of the road and their primary target.

Thor raised his axe and pointed at it, "We shall put an end to you, Draugr."

It was a zombie that can use magic. But when Naruto pointed it out, Thor was quite adamant to use his term 'Draugr' instead of Naruto's 'Magical Zombie'. Heck, they wasted quite some time in the beginning just to decide what to call these. Naruto wanted to keep it simple, 'Normal Zombies' and 'Magical Zombie'. But Thor refused to back down. And so the normal ones were 'Undeads' and the magical one was 'Draugr'. Naruto was ashamed to admit that he butchered the pronunciation for the first few times.

"Brother, he is calling for minions again."

Naruto frowned and looked at the 'Draugr'. Thor was right, that undead bastard was summoning more… undead. And not just around him, but also around them. Naruto turned toward Thor, "You go ahead, brother, I will cover you."

Thor looked surprised but immediately accepted, "We shall feast on Valhalla."

"And hunt by Odin's side," Naruto added.

They shook their hands. As they broke off, Naruto immediately took out his Desert Eagle, and Thor started running toward the Draugr. But they immediately noticed a problem.

The undead surrounding the Draugr were more, they were coming out faster. Thor would be swarmed even before he could reach it.

Naruto looked around and immediately found a solution, a crazy one but a solution nonetheless, "Thor! Get to the top of that bus!"

Thor did not question him as he swiftly, surprising considering his size, got on top of the bus. Naruto already had his assault rifle out. He aimed under the boss, at one particular corner. Thor understood what he was doing but Naruto did not give him any opportunity to protest.

He fired the last shell.

The explosion caused the back of the bus to shot up propelling Thor toward the Draugr… not exactly where it was but close to it.

A makeshift catapult, that was why Naruto told Thor to leave the explosions to him.

Thor landed few feet away from Draugr. When he stood up, his silhouette in the dust gave an ominous feeling. It looked like one of those cliché scenes from the classic action movies when the protagonist or the antagonist would make their entrance. Still, to Naruto, it looked badass.

As the dust settled, Thor leaned forward, his grip on the fire axe tightened. He opened his mouth, to give a warcry, but suddenly his face scrunched.

"A…"

"A…"

Naruto blinked, and then suddenly his gaze zoomed in on Thor's bracelet. It was turning yellow, a deeper yellow. At the same time, the wind started to vibrate and the ground started shaking. Naruto immediately understood the situation.

"Shit! Thor…!"

But he was too late.

"ACHOO!"

The Draugr in front of Thor… disappeared. So did the undead around it… and the building behind it, and the other buildings around it. Basically, the whole place was flattened to the ground.

"Argh! Thor! You dumbass!" Naruto screamed as he teleported beside Thor, grabbed him, and then teleported out of there.

When Naruto and Thor teleported to their ship 'Explorer', Naruto was not surprised to see the reaction of everyone. Shiva had an amusing smile on his face. Yasaka was covering her mouth with her hand, but the shaking of her shoulders told Naruto that she was trying her best not to laugh at him. Scáthach was also the same. She was actually facing the other way. But Naruto could tell by her body language that she was holding back her laughter.

And then there was Amun-Ra.

He was sitting down on a chair, one hand on his knee and one hand on his stomach… and he was wheezing.

"Oh~ My stomach~ Oh~ This was superb~"

Naruto turned his head and looked at Thor, who actually looked quite lost. It seemed like he still hadn't registered what had transpired. So, Naruto decided to help, "We fucked up."

It was as if a dam had broken. Everyone started laughing, some quietly… and one was almost on the ground.

Naruto saw Thor opening and closing his mouth multiple times. It seemed like the big guy was actually having a hard time digesting the fact that they royally screwed up their turn.

"So," Naruto looked at Shiva, the one who was laughing the least, "What's our score?"

Shiva, still chuckling, waved his hand and a board appeared on his side.

Team Magi – 9 + 10

Team Sages – 10 + 10

Team Warriors – 10 + 0

Naruto released a heavy breath when he saw the score. From the corner of his eye, he saw Thor was going to protest, but in the end, he quieted down.

Naruto stood straight and then pointed at the rest, "Just watch. We will climb from the bottom and take the first place, you will see," He then turned toward Thor, "When we do that, the victory will be that much sweeter."

Thor blinked once, and then smiled, "Well said, brother," He then looked at the rest, "Enjoy your short victories as we, warriors, will be the ones who will win at the end."

"Yes~ You will pass us by sneezing," Amun-Ra added.

Everyone started laughing again, everyone but them.

Thor pouted, and Naruto just gave Amun-Ra a flat look, "Ha. Ha. Very funny," He then turned toward Thor, "Let's go and clean up."

Thor nodded and both went inside the ship.

When Naruto stopped hearing their laughter, he looked at Thor, "Thor, you owe me a week's worth of drinks for the crap you just pulled."

Thor looked back at him and blinked once. And then he smiled, it was a genuine one, "Aye, that I do," Then he gave him a knowing smile, "Or, we can just wait till you do a big screw-up."

Naruto raised one of his eyebrows challengingly at Thor, "We will see about that."

A moment later, both burst out laughing. When their laughter died down, Naruto was the first to speak up, "Why not you go and freshen up first?"

Thor just gave a friendly slap on his shoulder, and then went further inside the ship.

Naruto, on the other hand, turned around and went inside another room. A large room filled with maps, notes, and images.

According to Avalon Kingdom's exploration team, led by Magari, the Dimensional Gap could be divided into two sections. The first part was the inner border, a gate sort of, of the Dimensional Gap. This section was not small either, it was almost as large as half of their solar system. But the core of the Dimensional Gap, the place where Great Red dwelled, was enormous. Even till now, with all of their combined effort, they still could not get a grasp of exactly how big it was.

Truth be told, as of now, the Dimensional Gap seemed endless. And the biggest reason behind this was their incapability to map the place.

They would enter the core of the Dimensional Gap, then they would place carefully crafted markers and create a part of a map. But the issue would come after it. Every time they reentered, the markers would be in a different position. They would not be damaged but their placement would be all over the place. And every time, it was different.

They even added magic for the markers to record their surroundings, but they were unable to pick up a damn thing. So basically, every time they reentered, they had to start their exploration blindly.

Every. Single. Time.

Amun-Ra had a theory. The displacement of the markers could be because of Great Red. According to him, it could be that when Great Red would pass by an area, his power repositioned everything inside of that area.

A plausible theory, but they could not verify it since none of them were keen on testing it out.

But this was not the biggest surprise. No. It was what they found in the core.

There were ruins, of the old, of the unknown.

They found remains of cities and structures of all the pantheons. Some they could identify, and some they could not. It was as if these ruins were based on their pantheons, yes, but they were not made by them. And then there were some which were clearly not from their universe.

And the most surprising part, most of these ruins had beings living inside them.

Naruto had never seen Shiva being so excited, even Amun-Ra was running around like a child.

The reason for their excitement was because this was the first time they were able to venture this far into the Dimensional Gap. The most any of them were able to discover was rock-structures, inhabited by the Gogmagogs.

Finding the places was one thing, but exploring them was another matter.

True, the monsters living in these ruins posed zero threats to them. Yes, Naruto and his team considered these beings as monsters since none of them could be communicated with and most of their intentions were simply to kill and destroy. Heck, they found a futuristic-looking spaceship that was filled with grotesque reptile-like monsters. These creatures only wanted to kill or use other living beings as hosts.

But if Naruto and everyone else moved together, there was a chance that they might overuse their powers which in turn might alert Great Red.

And this was where Naruto came up with another brilliant idea.

There were six of them, so they could pair up with another to create a team. The idea here was that when they would come in contact with a ruin, one team would be chosen to be in charge of 'Discovering' the ruin. 'Discovering' here meant that the responsible team would have to scout the area first. They needed to figure out if the ruins were filled with bloodthirsty monsters or dangerous but passive-minded beings. The team would also have to understand what kind of ruin it was. After their initial assessment, the responsible team would come up with a plan on how they would explore the area. It could either be that they take down all the monsters and then do all the exploring; or that they subtly and secretly explore the ruins, without alarming the dwellers of the ruin.

Lastly, the responsible team would present their plan to the other teams for feedback and improvements. After all these steps were done, the responsible team then would carry out the plan.

Each team would get their turns in 'Discovering' the ruins.

And also, as usual, Naruto tried to spice things up. He suggested that they could make the whole process a bit more competitive.

Naruto really did not expect to see everyone, and he meant everyone, agreeing to it instantly.

So, after some careful discussion and consideration, they set up some simple rules. Basically, the responsible team would be awarded points by the other two teams based on a single factor – How much information the team was able to recover without harming the ruins too much.

10 was the perfect score, and 0 would be given only if the team screwed up with their power output and would raise the possibility of alerting Great Red… which Naruto and Thor just did.

Naruto sighed and scratched his cheek. It was funny, yes, but was also quite an embarrassing situation. After all their careful planning and them roleplaying as stranded soldiers, they scored a 0 just because Thor sneezed too hard.

An unexpected chuckle escaped his lips. Alright, now that he put it like that, it was really funny.

So, the team in the lead was of course 'Team Sages'. It was Shiva and Amun-Ra. At first, Naruto jokingly mentioned that the gramps in their group should team up together. And they did. And it was a mistake.

The way they handled 'Discovering' during their turns was insane. From the scouting, to the planning, to the execution, they were flawless.

It was times like these that reminded Naruto just how strong and sharp they were. Yes, raw power-wise, Naruto was stronger than both of them. But they had thousands of years of experience and knowledge, but the scarier part was how they used them.

And then, there were the ladies, 'Team Magi'.

It brought a smile to Naruto's face seeing how Yasaka used her magic to recreate so many of their old world's jutsu. And it was also surprising to see how fast Scáthach could adapt to their situation. It was his first time seeing her in the battle, and she was very skilled. To be fair, she acted more shinobi-like than many of the ones from back his old world.

Naruto stopped reminiscing when his eyes fell on one particular paper.

The reason why they were able to explore the core of the Dimensional Gap so freely was because Great Red was easy to avoid. Easier than they expected. But during the time of Ophis, what Naruto heard from Shiva and Amun-Ra, it was close to impossible to even enter the core, let alone stay here for a long duration.

Ophis, from the stories he heard, was more territorial than Great Red.

If so, then where was Ophis?

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X

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Tokyo, Japan

Naruto, along with Yasaka by his side, was following the waitress.

They were currently in one of the super-expensive restaurants in Kyoto. Usually places like these were reserved for formal meetings. Today was no different.

Naruto had nothing against these kinds of establishments, but he was more of street food or home food kind of person. These places were too stiff for him. But then again, those places were not appropriate to welcome guests from oversea.

The waitress opened the door to a private room and held it for them. Naruto gave her a nod of acknowledgment before he went inside.

Jiraiya was sitting on one side, having some small talk with Azazel, the one who asked for this. And sitting to the governor of the fallen angel's side was the main guest.

The girl was very young, with long blond hair and green eyes. She was wearing a dark teal-colored nun outfit with light blue accents. And at one glance Naruto could tell that she was quite pure and shy. But the emotion that was rolling off her was fear. And Naruto knew what kind of fear it was.

It was the fear of rejection.

Azazel had already talked with Jiraiya about his predicament, who in turn relayed all the information to Yasaka and him.

The girl, Asia Argento, was an abandoned child raised in a church. She had a rare sacred gear called 'Twilight Healing'. And from a very young age, she was treated as a 'Holy Maiden' by the Catholic Church members. But the situation took a turn for the worst when Asia healed a devil which caused her to be banished from the church. The same people who treated her as a 'Holy Maiden', now labeled her as a 'Witch'.

Azazel was not forthcoming, as of yet, on how she came under his care. But he reached out to them, the Avalon Kingdom, if they could take her in. His reason was simple. He cannot directly take care of her, and with her personality, she might once again be taken advantage of.

Needless to say, when Naruto and Yasaka heard her situation from Jiraiya, they immediately agreed. That actually should have been enough. After he received their approval, Jiraiya would have taken care of it all. But Yasaka wanted to meet her. She wanted to be a direct part of the procedure.

And Naruto knew why.

The girl, Asia, immediately stood up and made a clumsy bow, "I-It is an honor to meet the Great King Naruto Ōtsutsuki and the Great Queen Yasaka Ōtsutsuki."

Even the stuttering was there.

Before Azazel could say anything, Yasaka went directly toward the girl, without glancing at anyone else. Asia flinched when Yasaka stood in front of her, but she still did not raise her head.

Yasaka then raised both of her hands, "If it is possible, instead of a bow, may I receive a hug from you?"

Asia's head snapped upward, her eyes clearly showed how surprised she was hearing that statement. The same could be said for Azazel.

Naruto, on the other hand, could not keep his smile down.

"B-But, I am a stray priestess."

Yasaka let out a small but gentle smile, "You are a brave and a kind young girl. And it will be my honor to receive a hug from you. Will you not indulge me on this?"

Asia opened her mouth and then closed. She repeated the motion few more times, before slowly looking at all of them. When she locked her eyes with him, he gave her a nod of acknowledgment.

She looked back at Yasaka, and Naruto knew what he the little girl saw in his wife's eyes.

Acceptance.

With slow steps, she got closer to Yasaka, and after a moment hugged her. Yasaka graciously returned the hug, "See, you are a brave child."

The shaking of the shoulders told Naruto that Asia would break down any moment.

Yasaka then suddenly looked at all of them, "Apologies, but I will have to take her back to our place. I am sure you will not need both of us to complete the rest of the procedure." Her tone left no room for any arguments.

Sharing one last look with him, she disappeared with the child.

"So," Naruto clapped once, lightly, to broke Azazel out of his trance. His wife did make quite an impression, sometimes more than him, "As our queen mentioned, I think we can wrap up the rest."

Azazel blinked once and then looked at him. A moment later, he started to chuckle, "She is one hell of a woman."

Naruto could feel his smile reaching his ears, "That she is."

Azazel stopped chuckling and frowned at him, "How can you be so damn lucky?"

"In his defense," Jiraiya interjected, "He is also quite the catch."

"Tch~" Azazel clicked his tongue, rather childishly, "Of course he is. Do you know how many women in the supernatural world desire him?"

"The fuck?!" Now, Naruto frowned at Azazel.

"I know," Jiraiya gave a mysterious smile, "I told him many times before that, if he wants to, he can easily take the second place as 'The Harem King'."

"Second place," Azazel leaned toward Jiraiya, "If he really tries, he can take your spot."

"Nah~ I have to disagree with that."

Naruto waved his hands, "Hello. I am right here. Can we stop getting sidetracked and get back to the important topic?"

Jiraiya chuckled and Azazel just shook his head. The fallen angel then pointed at the envelope on the table, "Just verbal consent should have been enough, but just as you asked, here are the documents regarding her banishment and her stay at the church," He then looked at Naruto, "You really cover all the areas."

"When it is needed." Naruto gave a simple answer.

"You did say that you will answer the most crucial question of ours," Jiraiya added.

Azazel glanced at Jiraiya, the smile on his face becoming a bit more strained. But surprisingly, it seemed Azazel decided to answer, "It was Michael who informed me of Asia's situation."

Naruto frowned. He could easily ask 'Why the Archangel did not protect her' or 'Why did he not clear the misconception', but he decided to go something different.

"Did he ask you to bring this to us?"

Azazel shook his head, "I brought it up first. But in the end, it was something we mutually agreed on."

Naruto just shook his head but did not say anything. A moment later, he started tapping the table, "Is there anything else you want to bring up, Azazel."

All the mirth from Azazel's face immediately left. He leaned back in his seat. He looked at Jiraiya first, before locking his gaze with him, "Rizevim Livan Lucifer was spotted."

Naruto stopped tapping on the table. He could feel the smile on his face turning predatory.

"Please, continue."

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Done

So, about Issei, I will be honest here. The world of DXD itself is vastly different now. And I want to write how the original main characters got affected by the changes. Their core personality may not change but they will not be exactly like their original counterpart. I will focus on how they view this different version of DXD, and how will they thrive.

But, rest assure, they will not be the major focus point. The spotlight will always be on Naruto and his team.

That's it for now. Till next time…