Hello everyone. A note before you start on the chapter:

I have read the reviews and saw how quite a few of you are dissatisfied with the direction of this Arc. First, thank you for pointing it out as proper feedback rather than lashing out.

As I mentioned in Chapter 34, this arc will focus on multiple events that were happening during the last arc. And these events will be told from various perspectives, meaning there will be no single focused character in this Arc. I apologize if it felt like so.

So from now on, after every chapter, I will inform from whose perspective the next chapter will be told.

Now about Naruto – the next Arc will be heavily focusing on him. I already decided which world Naruto and Shiva will be in through a poll. Basically, you guys will see a new universe. (The poll was not added in FF, it was on that site)

I think this should be enough. Again, if you leave proper feedback, I will try my best to tackle the concern.

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

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Pandemonium

IV

Issei Hyoudou

16 hours before Great Red's imprisonment

0 hours before the Academy's lockdown

Just ten minutes ago, Issei was a nervous wreck. Who would blame him? He was going to have an official battle with Sairaorg Bael. Again.

Last time, he was nothing more than a glorious punching bag. Yes, many congratulated him for lasting the longest against Sairaorg in that rating game tournament, but they weren't in his shoes. They weren't going against that monster with their back against the wall. It wasn't a fight. It was a massacre.

And, he would have to go through it again.

Or, at least he thought so.

But as soon as the battle between Sairaorg and Arjuna was over, there was an announcement from Khaoss that all the activities of the tournament would be put on halt.

He didn't know why and he didn't want to ask. He was just glad that he didn't have to fight Sairaorg.

Issei looked at his hands and clenched his fists. For some reason, this was leaving a bad taste in his mouth. And he couldn't understand why. He ought to be happy. He was not going to be beaten to a pulp by Sairaorg. No matter what anyone else said, Rias or Akeno, he saw how powerful Sairaorg was. The monstrous tenacity that he had shown during his fight with Arjuna… Issei couldn't beat that.

He closed his eyes and released an audible breath.

But a part of him was unhappy about it.

"Am I becoming a masochist or what?"

A commotion made him shift his focus.

Currently, all the peerage members of Rias, Sona, Sairaorg, and Riser were sitting comfortably inside an enormous living room. He was not given all the details, as usual, but from what he had gathered so far was that the devils residing in the academy right now wanted to leave for the Underworld. Even he could tell that it wouldn't be easy since there was no direct portal to the Underworld from the Academy.

However, the young masters of the four groups still went to see their principal along with someone special.

Now, they were back.

Issei got up but before he could even take a step forward, Rias looked at him and shook her head. The message was clear, she was asking him to wait.

But seeing how Sairaorg and Riser were standing beside Rias and Akeno and discussing together just didn't feel right to him. Even though Rias, Akeno, and Issei were in the same room, there was still a huge gap between them.

Issei clicked his tongue and looked away.

Something was wrong with him since this morning. He was easily agitated and distracted, was overthinking a lot, and couldn't stand still. Plus, for some damn reason, his senses became sharper.

It felt like his body was itching to do something.

"Probably because I didn't fap for a while," He smiled at the conclusion he reached, "Yes, that's probably it."

"Everyone."

A soft tone but the demand behind it was unmistakable. One of the most gorgeous ladies Issei had seen but that chilling power behind her appearance and that knowing gaze made it impossible for him to act anything but proper in front of her. This was Grayfia Lucifuge, wife of Satan Sirzechs Lucifer.

She was also the Etiquette professor and was in charge of overseeing all the devils in the Elemental Academy.

"Rias, Sairaorg, and all of their peerage members along with me will leave for the Underworld; while Sona, Riser, and their peerages will stay here."

From the corner of his eyes, Issei could see many devils shifting in their places. Clearly, they had questions but since Grayfia didn't permit, they could only nod back.

Issei smirked. That was why they should have been like him. Ask less, follow behind their master, and enjoy the rear…

He shook his head.

"Yup, I really need that…"

"Do you have any questions, Issei?"

Issei looked at Grayfia, horrified, "No!" He cleared his throat before trying again, "I mean, everything is clear to me."

Grayfia nodded before addressing everyone again, "Principal Khaoss will be teleporting us to the nearest crack to the underworld."

Issei wondered if those who named this underworld portal 'Crack' knew what they were doing.

Probably yes.

"May I ask when will the principal…"

Multiple circles appeared beneath selected devils.

"… never mind."

Grayfia looked at Sona and Riser, both of whom immediately nodded back.

A few seconds later, his surroundings changed.

He immediately started patting his body. Such clean and seamless transportation, not even the ones made directly by Sirzechs was this good.

Grayfia raised an object. It was a cracked stone medallion and from the fractured parts, subtle energy was being released. The more he looked at it, the more it felt as if the cracks weren't random, they were part of the design.

"A gift from Khaoss. This medallion has created a barrier that is shielding us from unwanted attention," Grayfia's gaze started to shift from one devil to the next, "But we must also keep our powers and senses in check."

Issei nodded back.

Grayfia then shifted her body slightly. As if a silent command was given, Rias, Sairaorg, and their queens moved forward.

"Of course, they will be having their secret planning session now."

Issei turned away and started to examine their new environment.

There was nothing but trees all around them. He couldn't see any landmarks nor he could feel any. It seemed like they landed in the middle of nowhere.

Clicking his tongue, Issei looked at where Rias and Akeno were.

He could feel his agitation building up again.

Not wanting to create a scene, he tried to calm himself by taking deep breaths. When it didn't work, he tried stretching without being too obvious about it and even tried meditating while standing. But nothing was working.

He never had a sexual frustration this bad, "Is it something else?"

But what else could be bothering him?

Suddenly, Rias looked at him, her voice tinted with confusion, "Issei?"

It was not her words but her tone that made Issei straighten up. And a second later, he noticed the oddity. Everyone was looking at him… well not exactly at him. He followed their gaze and looked down at his left arm.

His Longinus, the Boosted Gear, had materialized without his consent. The red dragon-like gauntlet, with a green jewel and golden spikes, was even pulsating dimly with draconic energy.

"What the…" Issei quickly covered his left arm with his right before looking at the other devils present, "I am sorry, not sure…"

"Brat."

Issei paused and glanced at his gauntlet, trying his best not to look obvious about it.

"Fly, away from the shield."

"What!"

"Issei?" The concern in Rias' voice made him feel giddy. Since it was a clear sign to him that Rias, this otherworldly gorgeous devil, cared about him. Unfortunately, this giddiness lasted only for a second before he remembered their current predicament.

"Don't worry, Rias-bucho," Issei tilted his body to hide the Longinus from Rias' sight, "Ddraig is just nagging."

"I was not asking."

Issei grunted as he felt the intense pressure coming from the Boosted Gear. Ddraig was serious and Issei knew from his past experiences that he needed to listen to the Red Dragon Emperor, otherwise, it would be getting a lot worse.

"Rias-bucho," Issei kept his voice calm and cheerful, but he knew that he wasn't fooling his teammates, "I am just gonna fly up there," He pointed upwards before hurriedly adding, "I am not going anywhere! Just…"

"Taking some fresh air."

"Taking some fresh air," Issei repeated Ddraig's words without missing a beat.

Rias made quick eye contact with Grayfia before slowly and reluctantly nodding back to Issei. That was all Issei needed before he took flight. And the moment he passed the barrier, the pressure disappeared.

He heard Ddraig taking a deep breath, "It's the festival."

"What?"

"Can't you feel it brat? The draconic energy? It's so potent," another deep breath, "And refreshing."

Maybe it was just him, but Ddraig sounded wistful. Issei raised his left arm and closed his eyes, trying to expand his senses.

The moment he tried to focus, he felt the taste of the draconic energy in the air. He snapped his eyes open. The potency of the draconic energy in nature was so high that even someone like him could feel it.

Ddraig was right.

Issei glanced down. Seeing Rias and the others standing inside the barrier made him feel relieved.

Taking a deep audible breath, he closed his eyes once more. He tried to expand his senses, hoping to find the source. It only took him a moment to realize.

"It's everywhere."

"Let me help, brat."

He felt the push from Ddraig. His senses became sharper and his mind became clearer. He felt a path and immediately started following it. And a second later, he almost regretted it. It was like going out of a swimming pool and jumping straight into an ocean. The draconic energy was so high that he could even sense the intent of it.

And then, he felt a pair of eyes.

Issei immediately opened his eyes and shook his head.

"Be on your guard, we have a guest incoming."

"What do you mean?"

Issei looked behind and saw Rias, the one who asked the question, and the rest of the devils. It seemed at some point they also joined him. And then he realized that Ddraig had said that out loud for all of them.

But before Issei could ask his own question, he felt it… the raw power of the individual approaching them.

To Issei, the strongest being he had faced so far was Sirzechs Lucifer. Yes, from what he had learned, there were quite a few supernatural entities who were in a different league compared to the current Lucifer, a thought that always gave Issei goosebumps. But he had not met them face to face, did not feel the depth of their power, or saw firsthand what they were capable of.

And since Sirzechs and his peerages would often train Rias and her group, he had the chance to see and feel the power level of the top Devils firsthand.

But now, whoever was approaching them, Issei could feel it in his guts that the individual was stronger than Sirzechs.

Then he saw him.

The majestic bipedal dragon was Strong, with a capital s, there was no room for argument. The enormous aura he was radiating along with the powerful frame of his was the proof of it. And the ebony glistening scales gave him an eerie-like appearance.

Issei couldn't help it. He felt nothing but awe and respect toward this majestic dragon in front of him.

"Brat."

Issei coughed into his hands.

Grayfia was immediately in front of them, facing the dragon. Her aura not only became visible to the naked eyes but also shielded them.

"State your purpose, dragon," The voice of Grayfia made Issei shiver.

But the dragon looked unamused. He tilted his head, just a bit, "Greetings, Red Dragon Emperor."

Issei visibly shivered when he realized that the dragon had zoomed in on him.

His gauntlet started to pulse with draconic energy again, "Are you the whelp who started the festival?"

"Whelp? Now that is something new," The dragon chuckled, "Yes, I started the festival. Don't you think the position of the Heavenly Dragon is empty for too long?"

Before Ddraig could reply, hundreds of spears made of crystal-clear ice appeared all around the jet-black dragon. What surprised Issei was that instead of being angry or annoyed, the dragon just sighed heavily, "Don't start a fight that you can't win."

"Grayfia Lucifuge," Ddraig sounded quite annoyed though, "If you don't want these children to be six feet under the ground, then cease this nonsense and fall back!"

Grayfia looked back and Issei immediately knew that he would be in trouble later. He shook his head violently while pointing at his gauntlet. At the same time, he kept mouthing 'Not me' over and over, hoping that he wouldn't get into trouble because of Ddraig again.

It seemed luck was on his side. Grayfia faced the unknown dragon, "What is your purpose here?"

The dragon smiled, "Just to have a short chat with the ex-Heavenly Dragon."

The draconic energy around Issei's gauntlet intensified, "A whelp with a big mouth, why am I not surprised."

Issei could tell that Ddraig was pissed. So, he subtly raised his gauntlet toward the dragon and kept his mouth shut.

"Am I wrong?"

A simple question but it struck true. All the hostility that Ddraig was emitting disappeared instantly. And then for the next few seconds, no one spoke, not even Grayfia. Finally, Ddraig broke the silence, "What's your name?"

"Bahamut."

"Just Bahamut?"

In response, the dragon named Bahamut gave an ambiguous smile.

"Did you finish the festival?" Ddraig sounded nostalgic.

"Almost," Bahamut glanced back, "Just left Crom Cruach, but we decided to postpone it for the time being."

"Let me see that fight," The tone of Ddraig sounded almost childish, something that surprised Issei.

"It would be an honor," The dragon chuckled, "I will try my best to invite the wielder of 'Divine Dividing' as well."

Ddraig's tone didn't change, "Make the fight spectacular… grandeur."

"I can't promise you that," the dragon sighed, "Since the majority of the fight tends to end very one-sidedly. But it's Crom Cruach. So who knows?"

"Now I can't wait to see it," Ddraig's tone softened during the next part, "Maybe that empty throne will finally be occupied."

The dragon nodded his head, or was it a quick bow, Issei could not tell. He turned around but stopped at the last second, "A word of advice. Be on your guard, devils."

"What do you mean?" Grayfia immediately stepped forward.

"There is a reason why you need to go to the Underworld… on foot." With that, he left without giving Grayfia any chance to ask anything more.

The entire area trembled because of the shockwave created by Bahamut's flight speed.

"Badass."

"Brat."

"Issei."

Issei immediately lowered his head, trying to look smaller.

Grayfia shook her head before focusing on the gauntlet, "What is this festival you were speaking about?"

"A sacred event where powerful dragons gather to select the next Heavenly Dragon," After replying, the energy on the gauntlet disappeared. A clear indication that Ddraig didn't want to talk about the topic any further.

Grayfia continued to look at his gauntlet for a few more seconds before moving away.

Issei released an audible breath, "Looks like I dodged multiple bullets just now."

His relief was short-lived when he noticed Sairaorg, his queen, and Rias gathering around Grayfia who was standing a bit further from the rest.

"Are you alright, Issei?"

Issei straightened up and smiled at Akeno, "Of course, Akeno-senpai. Why wouldn't I be?"

Akeno gave that sweet but knowing smile before heading toward Grayfia.

Issei's smile weakened as he subtly glanced toward the direction Bahamut flew off.

"Will I be able to stand beside Rias-bucho and Akeno-senpai if I am powerful enough to join the festival?"

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14 hours before Great Red's imprisonment

2 hours after the Academy's lockdown

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"Boost!"

Issei sighed for the umpteenth time.

"How did it come to this?"

Their goal was simple. At least, it should have been.

Their destination was one of the hidden hub cities managed by the fallens. The city was just outside of Izmir, at the edge of Turkey and near the Argean Sea. According to Grayfia, they should not have any issues using the cracks supervised by the fallens in that city to go to the Underworld since they had a permit.

Unfortunately, the issue didn't come from the fallens… but the Greek Faction that had set up a siege around the city.

As a member of Rias' peerage, Issei needed to learn about other factions. But that didn't mean he knew the ins and outs of every faction. And from what he could recall, the Greek Faction didn't have any major conflict with Grigori.

That's why it wasn't making any sense. Why were they…

"Are you scared?"

Issei snorted when he heard Sairaorg, "I am not scared."

He was scared shitless.

"Boost!"

Because they had decided to help the Fallens. Why? The next few closest cracks were maintained by the Heaven Faction. And even Issei knew that they wouldn't listen to them. Heck, they would be lucky if that bunch didn't welcome them with holy spells and weapons.

Meaning, they needed to help Grigori to get a safe passage to the Underworld.

The plan was simple. Grayfia would start the battle by destroying the enormous "Golden Cross" and then taking the fight to Poseidon, the leader of this assault. She would start with a bang, an opening that should give him and Sairaorg enough time to take down the second "Golden Cross" on the other side of the battlefield. They believed that destroying these Holy artifacts should allow them to reestablish communication with the Underworld. That responsibility fell onto Rias and the rest. Plus, they were to help the Fallens if possible.

Sounds simple if one were to read this in a paper. But looking at the sight in front of them… Issei released an audible breath.

"Boost!"

Grayfia would be fighting Poseidon… the Poseidon, the Greek God of Sea, and one of the three major Gods in the Greek faction. Who didn't know about him? But Rias was confident that Grayfia would win since the Greek Gods and Goddesses now were nowhere near their prime.

Then there were these Divine artifacts. The one they were targeting was right in the middle of their enemy's base. The reason why both of them were chosen was because they had a strong defensive technique against holy powers – their 'Balance Breaker'. Technically his form still wasn't considered one but it was close enough.

"Get ready, it's starting."

Before Issei could even nod, a giant explosion rocked the entire area making him flinch and subconsciously look in the direction.

"Balance Breaker: Regulus Rey Leather Rex!"

The shout from Sairaorg grabbed Issei's attention.

Sairaorg was standing in front of him in a full-bodied golden armor. He looked menacing in that lion-themed suit, but to Issei, it fit him perfectly. Unfortunately, his awe turned into a grimace as he felt Sairaorg's energy trying to subdue him. Sairaorg wasn't doing it consciously, he knew that. But, for some unexplained reason, Issei couldn't accept it this time.

Issei shook his head to ignore his wayward feelings, and screamed, "Dragon Force!"

Issei felt a surge of power exploding from his gauntlet and filling his entire body; his muscles stretched, his senses heightened, and his energy reserve expanded.

'Dragon Force' was a High-tier custom spell that he had created with the help of Rias and Akeno. At its core, it was a simple spell where multiple Beast-type spells merged into one – hardening his skin, improving his senses, increasing his physical attributes and magical reserves.

He could also fly within the duration of the spell. Although, his control was garbage according to Ddraig.

But his technique didn't end there. When he was using 'Boosts' just now, he was focusing on the spell and the effects without even casting it. And when he finally cast it, the spell came out completely different.

Ddraig called it 'Boosting a concept'.

He didn't understand what he meant, but all that mattered to him was that it worked.

He wanted to call it his custom 'Balance Breaker' but Ddraig pointed out that this spell, while unique, didn't reach that level.

Not yet…

With a roar, he followed after Sairaorg who jumped, more like basted off, and headed toward the enemy army.

Because of the 'Camouflage' spell cast on them, their preparation went completely unnoticed and their enemies were caught fully off guard.

The moment Sairaorg's feet touched the ground, the land parted. The shockwave violently pushed away the enemies creating an empty space. Then he jumped again and punched the ground on another side of the battlefield filled with enemies, creating the same result.

"Boost!"

While Sairaorg was making a way for Issei, he was making a beeline toward the Cross while dodging as many attacks as he could.

"Boost!"

Yes, the magical layer on top of his skin significantly reduced the intake of holy damage, but it didn't completely negate it, even though he was boosting it.

And it hurt.

Still, he had a job to do.

"Boost!"

With one last shout, he slammed into the cross, completely obliterating it. But at the same time, he also lost his momentum and fell down.

He stood up as fast as he could and roared, pushing away all the enemies from him. It wasn't as effective as Sairaorg but it created the opening he sorely needed.

"Good job you two. We are approaching the city, meet us at the hidden entrance. Akeno and Tsubaki will provide cover fire for you," Rias' voice came to life from the earpiece.

Sairaorg created another shockwave before immediately flying toward the location.

Issei did not waste a second and followed him.

"Halt!"

It was an instinct, forged by Ddraig through training… to listen to his command without questions when he was using that particular tone.

And so he stopped. And dodged a holy sword that would otherwise have pierced his body.

He looked down at the person responsible. It was a beautiful young foreign woman with blonde hair and sky-blue eyes, wearing simple-looking armor.

From his peripheral vision, Issei saw someone large smashing into Sairaorg and dropping him onto the ground. Subconsciously, he started to turn his head to have a better look at his ally…

"Focus!"

But stopped.

His opponent was almost upon him wielding holy swords in each hand.

He dodged the swings by creating some distance but the girl reached him with quite ease.

Issei roared, it was different this time. Instead of spreading the shockwave, it was focused on her.

His shockwave attack was strong enough to breach Akeno's defensive spells. Unfortunately, it didn't give him the same result here. His enemy's armor glowed and the shockwave stopped close to her as if it hit an invisible wall. And without stopping, she swung her sword.

Numerous holy swords erupted from the ground below Issei in the blink of an eye. Because of his honed senses, Issei was able to save himself. He flew up but couldn't completely dodge the attack as quite a few holy swords reached him.

"Argh!"

And they didn't just graze him. Unfortunately, he wasn't given the luxury to assess his injuries as he was forced to tilt his body to dodge the sword that was aimed at his head.

And again, she was right in front of him. This time, Issei saw the energy emitting from her boots.

"Of course, she has multiple highly enchanted gears."

Issei once again created a moderate distance between them by flying higher this time.

"Please, let it be just regular enchanted gears and not Sacred Gears."

His opponent didn't follow, rather she did a downward motion with her sword.

"Dive!"

Issei did so, barely dodging hundreds of swords that were summoned from the sky. But unlike the same attack on the ground, this time, the swords were falling.

He tried to maneuver and move out of the way but saw himself coming face-to-face with the girl. And his enemy was already in the middle of swinging her holy sword.

Issei felt his heart beating faster, his breathing becoming erratic.

Dodge.

Dodge.

"I need to dodge!"

Out of nowhere, everything around him changed.

Instead of a battlefield, sandwiched between holy swords, he was standing in an empty red void. The ground, the sky, and the fog… everything here was red of various shades.

It was his mindscape.

Suddenly, the fog moved.

Issei turned to face the fog, "Ddraig! What the hell! If you didn't notice, I am in the middle of a battle!"

"A battle that you will lose along with your life."

Issei went rigid at that statement.

"You don't know that!"

Two burning green orbs appeared inside the fog and the movement of it became more erratic.

Issei subconsciously took a step back and lowered his head, bracing for the roar.

But it didn't come.

"Issei, what do you desire?"

This surprised the hell out of him, the tone and the question.

Still, he knew from experience that it wouldn't be wise to question Ddraig's motive, so he answered, "You know that," He straightened himself, "To be the next Harem King."

Since Jiraiya was the current one.

"Do not lie to me, brat."

The tone was soft but the shaking of the world around him told that Ddraig was not pleased. And he knew why. Since Ddraig was a part of his soul, it was impossible for him to hide anything from him.

Even his heart.

"If you know," Issei looked down, "Why do you ask?"

"Because I want you to join the Dragon Festival," The fog started to disperse, "Not as a bystander but as a participant."

It was the first time Issei saw Ddraig in full.

A mighty red western dragon with a long, sinuous neck and piercing green eyes. His body was adorned with fiery red and golden spikes. And his aura… it was terrifying.

While both were bone-chillingly powerful, Bahamut radiated eeriness while Ddraig exuded ferocity.

"So, I ask you again, Issei, what do you desire?"

He always knew. The moment he took her hand and was introduced to the peerages, what his desire was. He was just too scared to say it out loud since his desire was anything but chivalrous.

"I want to stand in front of Rias and Akeno, I want them to rely on me, and," He looked at his shaking hands, "I want to embrace them. And I want them to love me back."

He was being greedy, he knew that. For someone like him, staying in the same group as Rias and Akeno was a privilege. And having his existence acknowledged by various supernatural beings and groups was a blessing in itself.

He shouldn't ask anymore.

But he couldn't help it.

"And do you know why you cannot achieve your desires?"

Issei let out a tired chuckle, "Are you going to say something cringe like it is because I am weak, because I lack motivation? Save it. I know"

Ddraig went down on all fours so that his head was closer to Issei, "Who are you, Issei?"

Issei sighed. He had no idea why Ddraig was so talkative today or why he was being so melodramatic but he decided to follow the mood anyway, "My name is Issei Hyoudou, son of Gorou Hyoudou and Miki Hyoudou, and the pawn of Rias Gremory…"

Ddraig roared.

There was so much power and anger in there, that it actually terrified Issei.

"The little devil didn't approach a regular human! Her family and the fledgling Satan didn't accept a regular human! The crowd in the Underworld and in the Academy didn't cheer for a mere pawn! The young but powerful individuals didn't approach you for who you serve!"

Ddraig stood up and from Issei's perspective, he looked like a red eternal mountain.

"That Bahamut, I smelled it. The blood of the five Dragon Kings and two Legendary Evil Dragons still lingered on his claws," Ddraig took a deep breath and visibly calmed down, "Someone of that caliber approached you because you are the wielder of 'Boosted Gear'… so did everyone else."

Issei looked down, trying to calm himself down but it was getting harder, "I know! I know, damn it! 'Boosted Gear', that's all I am worth."

"If you know, then why are you not abusing it?"

Issei looked at Ddraig in surprise.

"Issei, we are creatures of chaos, weapons of war. We are the embodiment of strength. So if you desire to stand in front of those two girls, become stronger than them. If you desire to have them as lovers, become so strong that they can't help but be attracted to you."

Issei cracked a smile, "You make it sound so easy."

"It is, as long as you accept it," The piercing green eyes of Ddraig glowed, "You have the mind of a servant and the heart of a human. Shed them. Accept your true nature."

Then Ddraig smiled. Instead of calming him, it sent chills down Issei's spine.

"And what's wrong with being a little greedy? After all, we dragons are simple creatures of desire."

Issei wasn't smart. But even he could see what Ddraig was trying to tell him. Just like how he had discarded a part of his being when decided to become the pawn of Rias Gremory, Ddraig was asking him to do it once more.

"Ah~ Screw it."

He was never the type to think things through. He didn't have the brains for it. So, just like every other time, he decided to follow his guts. Basically, charging ahead without thinking much.

He spread his arms and widened his stance, "The things I do for boobs!"

His words echoed throughout his empty mindscape. He saw the surprised look on Ddraig before being replaced by a terrifying smile.

Issei leaned backward and then fell to the ground. And the moment the back of his body touched the ground, it shattered and swallowed him whole.

As he was drowning in the red endless ocean, he could hear Ddraig laughing.

He never heard a dragon laugh but it sounded badass.

Just as he was about to lose consciousness, he saw some words forming in this never-ending red world.

This made him smile. It was a genuine one.

And he shouted once more.

"Balance Breaker: Blood Scale of the Welsh Dragon!"

His bones creaked, his muscles strained... and an intense heat coursed through him as if he was being boiled alive. But he endured it. He gritted his teeth and endured the pain as his body was altering.

And a moment later, the pain was gone.

Releasing a tired breath, he started inspecting his arms and then the rest of his body.

Both of his arms had the gauntlet now, a modified version of it. These gauntlets looked more organic… looked like real dragon hands. Then there was his body. The skin color took on a dark-red hue and his entire body was filled with tribal-like markings. He looked back and saw a long scaly tail and two red dragon wings.

"Wicked."

Hearing the sound of swords, Issei looked up. The falling swords from the sky were getting closer to him. And he could see from the corner of his vision that the girl stepped back to create a good distance between them.

Probably she got spooked by his transformation.

It seemed he forgot about his situation for a second. It was time to rectify that. With his mind made up, he took a deep breath and roared.

This time, his roar didn't only generate a shockwave. Red hot flame came out from his mouth and engulfed the weapons above, melting them in one go.

He felt something in his butt moving and heard a yelp.

When he looked back, his eyebrows shot to his hairline. His enemy was trying to land a sneak attack but his tail was having none of that. It automatically lashed out at her and sent her flying.

With a grin, he followed after the girl. But just before his fist touched her, her boots glowed and she disappeared. Then, he was surrounded again by numerous swords.

He spun once while extending his tail. His new appendage smashed onto the swords, shattering them with ease.

"Balance Breaker: Stake Victim Dragoon!"

He watched as hundreds if not thousands of holy swords rose from the ground, stacking on top of each other while creating a dome.

The process was too slow. Issei could easily close the gap and take down the girl. But a part of him wanted to wait, wanted to see how he would fare against a holy element Balance Breaker.

The dome shattered once it was completed. And from within emerged a while Holy Dragon.

It roared and just from that, Issei could tell it was strong. If it was before, he would have been cautious, but now, he felt nothing but excitement.

Letting out a challenging roar, Issei rushed toward the dragon. So did his opponent.

He countered the tackle by grabbing its head.

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

And then with his enhanced strength, he slammed the head to the ground.

The sound in the wind alerted him. His right wing expanded and then shielded him. Not a second later, multiple swords pierced his wing.

He hissed in pain but didn't let go of the dragon.

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

This time, he dragged the dragon's head through the ground while turning his body and then tossing the dragon at its master.

Then he let out another Fire Breath. And the moment his flames touched the dragon, his Longinus shouted once more.

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

In a flash, the entire area in front of him went up in flames. He held the Fire Breath for a few seconds before stopping.

He could sense that his opponent was alive but unconscious. The only reason she survived was because she used her own dragon to shield herself.

"Reset!"

Issei released an audible breath as he felt the excess energy from his body leaving.

It was the only technique he learned directly from Ddraig.

He looked around and noticed that various fights all around the battlefield were still going strong.

Sairaorg was fighting a giant muscular man who had an enormous lion-head gauntlet equipped in each hand. And from the looks of it, Sairaorg was losing. It was not because of skills but of elemental affinity. His opponent's weapons were so dense with Divine energy that even he could feel it all the way from here.

Then there was the issue of another of those "Golden Cross" popping out of nowhere. And this one was slowly being moved toward Poseidon who was fighting Grayfia.

If that reached its destination, Grayfia would be having a hard time.

Issei took a few calming breaths, "Let's see if it works."

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Rejuvenation!"

Issei groaned as he felt his injuries healing and his muscles relaxing. The fatigue was still there but it was manageable now.

Taking one last deep breath, Issei flew.

When he was done positioning himself, he released his Fire Breath.

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

And he wasn't using this skill aimlessly. He focused on the intensity and range of his Fire Breath.

Something he learned on his own. One of the very moments he felt proud of himself. Boosting without any focus will enhance every aspect of his attack or attributes in general. And that would take a considerable amount of toll on him. But if he were to direct his 'Boost' to affect only a particular area, the toll would be less… meaning he could use more 'Boosts' on his techniques.

Speaking of techniques, the color of the Fire Breath started to change from Orange to Red and the attack itself started to shrink. No, it was more like the fire was being condensed… significantly.

Then it hit him, "I am shooting a freaking laser beam from my mouth!"

"Focus."

"Right!"

Issei moved his head and aimed the beam toward Sairaorg's opponent. Technically, he aimed the attack toward the "Golden Cross" while going over the large brute.

Multiple barriers went up to protect the Cross but they all shattered like cheap glass, same with the Cross.

This surprised Issei since he expected more resistance.

"We still have one more enemy."

Since he had quite some juice left, "Why not?"

He redirected the beam toward Poseidon who blocked it with ease, unlike his previous targets.

He couldn't tell why but this pissed him off.

"You know what, screw it!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

"Boost!"

This time, he didn't focus on anything other than the spell itself, meaning every aspect of the spell got buffed 10 times.

The beam expanded, power and size-wise. And it became strong enough for Poseidon to fully focus on his defense. He knew Grayfia would be utilizing this opening for sure.

Unfortunately, the attack was too much.

He felt his jaws widening unnaturally and he started to wobble in the air. He could even smell something burning.

But he still held on… for five more seconds before stopping the attack.

As if a switch had been flipped, Issei felt all energy leaving his body as he fell onto the ground.

It hurt like hell but he knew he was smiling from ear to ear.

"Ddraig… this power… it's intoxicating."

He heard the Heavenly Dragon chuckling. He sounded pleased, "That's what it feels like whelp… to be a true dragon."

Issei matched his chuckle as he stood up. He could get used to it… feeling powerful and not being a side option.

And then he heard it.

A bone-chilling scream.

The rage and hatred behind it was so intense that it felt nauseating.

Issei was immediately up on his feet and took a shaky defensive stance while trying to look for the source.

"It's not from here."

Issei frowned, "What?"

"The scream, the energy… it's from the wielder of 'Divine Dividing'."

Issei looked toward the endless sky.

"Shit."

.

.

.

Done

Next Chapter: Arjuna

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If you want to show some support or read ahead, you can find 'AlphaDreamer' on the page of patrons. And if anyone is interested, here is the invite code to my discord server:

v2ChQdhvFe

If the code does not work, check the latest chapter or my profile.

See you all soon…