Optimus470: Indeed, he seems to be a powerful devil...but there is more to it than that ;)
Talking Pumpkin: Yes, the gender bend ray! XD XD I am so glad you liked it and especially Moloch...someone linked to Dorian's overall story not in canon :D
Okaze: Let us hope so, they have enough issues being stuck in the Gap. Very few have powers to open/close portals into that place. I hope you like what I have in store.
Hollowreaper 93: Hahaha thanks, that'll be one crazy commission to have drawn someday. You should find the next couple of chapters more to your taste I am guessing ;)
horakthy baraq: It means a lot you saw it that way as I thought the same when we saw him fight in canon. He claims to be for humanity, yet is part of the Brigade that really wants every side to suffer, humanity too. I tried fleshing that out a bit that he saw them as a means to an end rather than true allies. I am glad that was unexpected, we get so little information on Samael, a mystery or two surrounding his biblical past I hoped would add some impact to him. Normally, Samael has strong anti-magic barriers...but Cao Cao had no idea that Dorian was acting as a distraction for an invisible Rossweisse and Bennia to reseal him back to Cocytus so they were weak enough for it to work. Oh, you can believe those two are coming in swinging if they find a way back to Cao Cao...
Divine Blizzard: Oh geez, a cursed hour indeed lol, no need for long reviews especially that early in the day XD. Lots for them to do, thankfully the tower that was utterly devastated was the Dimension Lost copy...though I can't imagine Moloch opening a black hole into the Gap in the middle of Dorian's office did the real tower any favors XD Better get that legendary Gremory Construction Co. team over there! lol. I hope you have a good night's rest after reading it :)
avenger3576: I can't give that away here lol, I will say we witnessed his beginnings earlier in some small part which is how Iggy recognized his face (Good thing she has an amazing memory). More like he can wield her snakes/infinity power, the only way he'd be a dragon god in full is if he found a way to integrate it into himself...but he has plans for it beyond Cao Cao's idea of making a clone.
runelt99: He was referring to Dorian's time travel, meaning Iggy when he mentioned his "weed" of a girlfriend. He and Kassaegtha's relationship to Dorian are almost mirrors of one another which is why he never made a move before. Kassaegtha avoided Dorian out of fear that interfering would cause him to not go to the future and thus they'd never meet. Moloch, on the other hand, avoided him knowing that if Dorian never went to the future...then he'd never be where he is either.
fanficcyberman: You can get Bennia would want some form of heavy metal music playing when she transforms XD Yea...I am sure Rose could remake it, but it wouldn't be the same as the first gift she ever gave him. Thank you for such kind words, how to handle Samael's past was a bit of a point I wanted done right, even in canon we know virtually nothing beyond the biblical story. I sent a full reply via DM, but not to worry, I had some extra drive to get the next arc out in a row after which I'll take that break to recharge. Your concern is really appreciated as burnout can be such a frustrating thing, but so far I have steered clear of it. Still staying safe, and I hope the same for you my friend :D
Naroni: I totally understand that worry, balancing Dorian to be strong but not OP or belittling the abilities of the canon cast is a big point for me. With Vali's orb, all that did was allow him to create a counter to his dividing, but Dorian cannot use any ability that requires a unique trait to use (Destruction, Boost, Divide, etc.). Allowing everyone to break their limits and have their own role to play is a huge goal of mine, Issei included as while Dorian is my MC, he is still an important figure in DxD. I am so glad you've been enjoying it so far!...and indeed, hearing the strongest being in the world singing such ridiculous lyrics would make his eye twitch hahaha.
Just a reader now a writer: A new power would definitely come in handy considering what they're up against. Same here, I hope to never disappoint :D
xhope14x: I'll admit, that confused me too how you can take a portion of the infinite lol. I liked the idea that Samael's curse somehow locked her into her body and made her finite. I totally agree though, which is why here Moloch got basically all of it except for minute traces still in Ophis' body. I most certainly will and thank you for the kind words! :D
7: A level up he shouldn't have were it not for Moloch ;) Well, I don't want to give spoilers...but I tried to infer the relationship with how Moloch spoke of his body that he had to hone it. He has more to him than being a simple devil, but it's still a devil's body. He isn't given instant power just from what may or may not be possessing his body. Sort of like how when Loki possessed Dorian's body, sure he was stronger than usual thanks to his soul, but he was nowhere near what he was in his own body. I hope you enjoy the next chapters indeed! :D
Zachary Wisky: Great to hear! I hope you continue to enjoy my story :)
Dragonx411: Thank you so much! Hahaha, not to worry, it is temporary. The device actually existed in canon but was relegated to short stories/joke chapters. But I thought...considering Cao Cao's powers are gender-based, oh what fun could be used with it XD
Over a million views on this story over 4 years, I don't know what to say other than thank you to everyone who has been reading it both as one-offs and those who have enjoyed it all this time. From the bottom of my heart, truly thank you :D And with that...ONTO THE SHOW!
"I-it's absolute chaos here," the young woman on the television called out, a clear sense of fear in her voice despite the safe location she found herself. "As you can see in the distance behind me, these strange monsters that appeared in the Underworld continue to advance. All attempts to stop them have failed, even Emperor Diehauser's own peerage seem unable to…"
Seekvaira Agares gritted her teeth while turning up the volume to hear better. After evacuating the collapsing Dimensional Gap pocket almost two days earlier, the Crossroads and Team Gremory had taken refuge on Agares Isle to lick their wounds, rest and plan how best to proceed. While everyone's wounds had healed, there was no word on Dorian or Issei and it left a cloud over the group that weighed down their spirits. Not even Yggdrasil had any word of Dorian's movement since the battle.
"Our homes…" she muttered alongside Rias watching the chaos. Super gigantic abominations resembling a sinister mixture of the humanoid anti-monsters and dragons marched across the landscape crushing all in their way. The appearances differed between each, no two being the same with some on two legs and others four. Standing at over a hundred and fifty meters, they could be seen from miles off. There were thirteen of the larger ones, though they seemed capable of spawning smaller anti-monsters like they fought in Kyoto as a self-replenishing army. It was sickening how they were created almost ripping away from the main creature's flesh. Many had extra appendages, bringing back unpleasant memories to Le Fay.
They almost look like that…THING from the dark future, surely there is no relation between the two?
They pondered how Leonardo had generated such beings from Annihilation Maker, realizing they could only be some form of Balance Breaker, Azazel wholeheartedly agreeing. Emergency broadcasts followed the destruction helping civilians and non-combatants stay out of their way. Helicopters and other aircraft followed them from a safe distance bent on keeping their movements public knowledge. It was only through such efforts that all in their path had been safely evacuated leaving only property damage thus far though that was small consolation. After their passing, the region was absolutely wrecked, entire forests leveled. Their steps were slow and lumbering with no rush to reach their destinations…the central cities of devilkind. Azazel's remark that the Sacred Gear was capable of threatening gods and the entire world was not an exaggeration.
"That thing, how can there be anything to stop it?" Rossweisse asked, coming downstairs being restless and unable to sleep with a cup of cocoa. She referred to the largest of all the monsters created by Leonardo dubbed the Jabberwocky while the others were referred to as Bandersnatch by Azazel from the Lewis Carroll stories of a little girl in Wonderland.
This was the grandest creature that, unlike the others who attacked where they pleased, made a straight path for Lilith, the capital of the Underworld itself. It was so large that it filled much of the television screen even from so far away. It was the most draconic of all the creatures with two heads yet still maintained a near-humanoid shape with great wings emanating a black aura that seemed detrimental to any that it touched.
"I-It seems impossible to believe!" The reporter stuttered as explosions went off all around the marching creatures. "But the attacks from the defensive forces, every single one of them Ultimate-Class…aren't working!"
Demonic energy explosions and attacks that could level mountains detonated into the anti-monsters with displays of power to shock and awe all that witnessed it. All the same, not one managed to even scratch the Jabberwocky and barely slowed the other Bandersnatch to any degree. Every devil of significant power who could help, even top champions of the Rating Games, and all their peerages, were there including Diehauser Belial, yet there seemed to be no stopping them. While the attacks could damage their skin, the injuries were either superficial or healed so quickly as to make them pointless. Entire armies of the smaller monsters were swept away only to be replaced so long as the main thirteen remained.
"Even Heaven sent help," Seekvaira pointed out glowing rays of light among the defensive teams. Brave Saints, Exorcists, Fallen Angels, Valkyries, Einherjar and even Spartans made up those fighting to slow their pace. Thus far, only the Underworld had been attacked but it was clear to all that if the monsters succeeded there that it was only a matter of time before they would target others.
If even the emperor could not defeat them, then what hope do we have? That was the thoughts racing through the minds of the devils. Perhaps worst of all, the monsters were not alone in their assault.
Cao Cao, along with what was left of the Hero Faction, had been seen in cities attacked helping to sow chaos where they went. Disturbingly, they discovered that some peerage servants were using the opportunity to rebel against their masters and join them as former humans. Seekvaira knew for certain it was devils who had forced their servants into their peerage or treated them how the old ways would have approved, no different than Diodora or close to it. She empathized with their situations but knew they had no room for sentimentality after attacking so openly. With them as his shock troops, it was clear Cao Cao was in the Underworld, it was why the Satans could not take the field as a single sneak attack from the True Longinus while they're busy fighting the monsters could be their end. Even Sirzechs likely could not survive a direct full power hit from it like the one he'd used on Ophis.
Azazel had departed shortly after their evacuation first making sure that the real-world tower and mansion were fine. He breathed a sigh of relief that this was the case, Mr. and Mrs. Hyoudou sleeping safe. The Tower had suffered substantial damage centered on Dorian's room, but there was no sign of him or the others. While coordinating the Grigori's defense from the anti-monsters, he'd discovered Aika and Ratatoskr having successfully made it to the higher ups. Unfortunately, with the creatures beginning their march even as the Hero Faction started their attack on the Crossroads, they could not send help on such short notice. The pair had rejoined their friends on Agares Isle.
"That Old Bag of Bones will pay for his backing of the Heroes," the Governor-General had promised. "I have no clue what strings he's pulling, but we'll root him out while the big guns deal with these things. You have my word."
That had been the last they'd seen him, leaving the rest to recuperate and plan their next moves. Things didn't feel the same since the attack had commenced, Seekvaira remained at her ancestral home, but the Crossroads for the most part had scattered upon receiving the calls from each of their respective groups. Irina could not help but return to Heaven as Michael called for what she knew on the monsters. The Valkyrie trio had gone from the attack on the Hero Faction Base straight to Asgard with Bennia rushing off to Olympus to inform of Hades' betrayal with her evidence. Zepar left with Azazel intent on helping where he could and Hecuba hadn't left Vali's side since they started attempts to remove Samael's Curse from him.
"We can coordinate civilian evacuation efforts if nothing else!" Rossweisse shuffled awkwardly, still acclimating back to being a woman after the effects of Azazel's genderbend ray had finally worn off. "Perhaps Dorian will find a way back there? The devils have such a low population, if these things keep advancing, even minor casualties would be detrimental to their future."
Dorian's actions were what brought us together, and now we are scattered to the winds with him missing. He was always like that, the glue that kept the Crossroads as one…it just doesn't feel right as it is.
The remaining Crossroads members sat uncomfortably having heard no word from Dorian or Issei since disappearing into the portal after Moloch and Ophis. Not even Le Fay's contract or the piece connections could sense him. Thrud pointed out that if he were dead, surely that would render their pieces inert which was clearly not the case, but the system was so new they truly did not know what it may entail. All traditional summons had failed to recall the pair, all that remained stronger was the Dragon Gate which required multiple powerful dragons to work.
"Old Man Wukong will be working on Vali for a bit longer," Hecuba emerged wiping her brow, sweat having accumulated from hours assisting them with the Sage Art ministrations through first aid and holding Vali still as they worked before being forced to take a rest. "Yu-Long is assisting, we don't have enough for the Gate yet."
"Perhaps I may help with that," Rias turned to the welcome site of Saji flanked by Sona Sitri and Riser Phenex arriving via summoning circle with his entire peerage. Migdalia rushed forward to embrace Catherine, it clear as day how well she was getting along with the other Phenex Peerage women. "If we can't find Issei, we'll drag him back kicking and screaming wherever he is."
"Thank you!" Rias remained composed though her concern for Issei had only grown since getting back without him. "Please, get comfortable, once Vali and Yu-Long are able, we will summon Issei to us. I did not expect to see you here."
"When I heard Issei's friend was needed to help save him, how could I stay away?" Riser Phenex threw his arms up as if had no choice in the matter. "It happened to coincide with my older brother, Ruval, needing escorted to the frontlines. That, and I needed to ensure my beloved little sister was safe."
"Don't act like you didn't volunteer the moment you heard," the oldest Phenex standing behind karate chopped his little brother in the head playfully.
Seekvaira recognized him well, having attended more than one meeting of their families together. He was world famous being counted in the top ten Rating Game teams yet could never crack the top 5 despite his incredible talents. The two brothers could not have looked more different between Riser's delinquent ambiance and dress against Ruval's more graceful and refined one. While Riser spoke to Rias, Ruval had made straight for Ravel who was sitting on the couch clearly still shaken from their inability to find Issei. His first thought was to cheer up his little sister.
"We were authorized to give these to counterattack teams," Ruval handed out several vials of Phenex tears to Rias, Sona and Seekvaira after whispering words of comfort to Ravel that made her smile just a little. "You'll make sure the Crossroads will get those?"
"I will," the Agares heiress nodded with a smile to the man she'd very nearly been arranged to be wed to when she was younger. The Phenexes had been fortunate over the years, having more children, four in total, than any other individual family. The working theory was their natural immortality and regeneration had been part of the reason, but no conclusive studies could prove it. No doubt that was why so many requested their tears even when not in immediate need, hoping that natural virility would be transferrable. "Thank you Ruval, once we are done here, we'll make for Lilith to stop these things with the rest of you."
"Even without that Dorian fellow?" Seekvaira narrowed her eyes at him, his question a mixture of true concern and clearly to gauge her reaction.
"He…has been lost too. We do not know where he went after tumbling through the portal. I do not believe the Dragon Gate can summon him, but perhaps once we have Issei here, he can tell us where he is and we'll mount a rescue. Who knows, perhaps his connection to Midgardsormr may be enough to allow passage."
"Well, don't take too long with the reunion when you get him back," he threw a suave smile that drove her insane just like when they'd courted in years past. He was a good man, but with that personality of superiority that was a staple of his family, he wasn't her type. Thankfully, her father had been understanding and the marriage talks ceased altogether. "Riser, now is a chance to show that our entire family can be counted on. Show those wings when we burn those monsters to dust!"
"Of course, brother! And Rias, I expect to see you there as well. You took my advice so well and bested Sairaorg, it would be a shame to let that victory seem like a fluke."
Rias created a sphere of destruction on her finger as an eye twitched at the insinuation that he'd been the cause of their victory. Frustration turned to amusement as Ruval chopped his brother's head again, clearly seeing the boast for what it was. The two siblings departed with that final act.
"As you can see, their rampage is not slowing," the television volume was increased by Sona as she and her peerage stopped to see the latest updates. "The destruction is…disturbing, we can only hope that someone will find a way to stop them!"
"Don't worry," a young boy Rias thought looked oddly familiar from past Oppai Dragon signings remarked from the refugee camp near where the news was filming. "The Oppai Dragon will save us…he and the High King won't let those things have their way!"
"Here," Catherine handed a cup of tea to Ravel once her brothers had left. "You have been skipping meals, it's not good for you."
"I can't be wasting time," she asserted while taking a sip. "It takes lots of preparation to set up a Dragon Gate. Now that it's ready, we just need three dragons to make it work, then we'll have him back, he BETTER come back!" The youngest Phenex suddenly snapped. "I've worked too hard to get close to him, becoming his manager, him letting me in…when he gets here, I am giving him SUCH a talking to!"
Ravel cares about him, we all knew it but she's now saying it. She wanted to be by his side so much, to say it so openly right now, she has more courage than I.
"And I'll be there to add my own thoughts," Catherine sat down beside her. "He is…more than he lets on past his perverted exterior. I will forever be grateful, without him I never would have considered approaching Asgard for a home where my sisters could live."
"You too?" Ravel wiped away the beginnings of a sniffle. "Heh, if he knew how good he was at helping others we'd never hear the end of it. Does he really want a huge family so bad?"
"He does," Cat nodded with a content smile. "When he gets back, we can both tell him everything. If only we knew where he was…"
"He's in the Dimensional Gap," Ratatoskr answered immediately perched upon the shoulder of Rias Gremory as she entered the room. "Le Fay and Rossweisse confirmed Dorian is not dead, they'd both know that via their contracts. The fact he hasn't ported them to safety probably means he CAN'T do it and the Gap is the only place he can't open one to."
"The Dimensional Gap!?" Catherine stood up immediately with Ravel. "Then we need to get the Dragon Gate open NOW! It's been almost two full days since they vanished, not even Vali's protective wards could last much longer than that without returning to the real world!"
"I asked Hecuba to tell Lord Wukong, even if Vali can't stand, we only need their power to open the Gate for Issei. If Ophis is still weakened, we may be able to bring her through too."
"If he is in the Gap, locking onto Issei's location will tell us where to find him. It's the only way to track them in there considering its size and constantly changing state. How did Vali find them last time?"
"He sensed that stalker Goddess of Dorian's," Ratatoskr reminded them while leaning on her head. "Boss man tricked her into outputting some power, but unless she's willing to do it a second time, that's a no go. Don't sulk like that, but when are you planning to tell that perverted dragon how you feel?" Catherine and Ravel's faces exploded red at how blunt the rodent was being.
"Now is not the time," the Knight insisted, the eyes from Rias on her seeing how she'd react.
"Like Hels it isn't! I've been around the block longer than everyone on this island put together and let me tell you what, clamming up out of embarrassment or propriety gets old super-fast. Do you have ANY idea how much I wanted to strangle boss man for being all shy and slow with Rossweisse at the start? Do you like Issei or not? No, don't think, first answer to come to your head! If yes, then tell the little bugger when we get him back. If not, then I'm available and…"
Ratatoskr barely dodged Rias' slap, bounding to a nearby lamp and up to the roof not having sensed her approach from behind. He stuck a tongue out before disappearing into a nearby vent leaving the three women together looking to one another.
"You have not been in my peerage for very long," Rias looked to Catherine with a softened expression. "I said it before and I'll repeat myself, you have no need to fear reprisal or anything of the sort from me. If you truly do care for Issei as Asia and I do…I will not stop it."
"And…Asia feels the same?" She asked while avoiding giving a clear answer.
"She does, but is resting from healing so many. She even insisted on tending to wounded refugees from the evacuations, she is an amazing person."
"Ravel?" Rias did not stop, looking to the other woman in the room, her eyes saying more than words.
"As if!" She blurted out with reddening cheeks. "He's a pervert, immature, impulsive, doesn't know a thing about common sense for any given situation and…and…" She slumped back down almost looking defeated. "And there isn't anyone else I can see myself being close to. I saw how he looked at you when fighting my brother and for a moment I found myself wondering what it'd be like if he looked to me that way."
"He can be unbearable, and yet is capable of such kindness," Catherine looked at the good luck charm dangling from her hip, the same from Kyoto. "My sisters have true happiness because he thought to talk to Dorian…that was the first I saw that spark in him."
"And what a spark it is," Rias sat beside the two with a proud smile both to the women for admitting their feelings and Issei for continuing to help those around him. "When we get him back, we will all talk to him together, Asia included, agreed?"
The three nodded; a Knight and two heiresses in that moment saw each other as equals amidst the chaos affecting their home. They just knew deep down that once their beloved was back, that there would be nothing stopping them from obliterating the Jabberwocky and all the other monsters rampaging unchecked.
"Is there nothing more we can do?" Irina tried to control her breathing as she asked the room around her. All the Seraphs of Heaven had come together including Gabriel and Michael at the head. Even the strongest exorcist and reincarnated angel, Dulio Gesualdo, was present in the back.
Irina had to admit he was quite handsome, being tall with flowing blonde hair and green eyes. He was adorned in priest robes not too different from the set Dorian had donned for their tracking of Freed months before. Despite being in a state of rest, she was fully aware he had manifested ten wings when being reborn as an angel, the four recently gained was impressive but left her far from him in terms of power even not accounting for his ownership of the strongest Longinus after Cao Cao's, the Zenith Tempest.
"We have sent who we could," Michael started. "But even that is quite taxing to us," she could tell his words were not understatements as he looked almost sickly, something clearly taking a toll on his body. "Sending as many as we have is straining the system trying to keep us out of the Underworld as it prevents devils from entering Heaven. "I truly am nothing at handling it compared to our Father."
I've never seen the Heaven system, Irina thought to herself while trying to think of something. To think we have full access to it, and yet its powers are still so beyond us.
"And Dorian or Issei?"
"We can confirm they have not died," Gabriel took over to alleviate Michael's weariness. "We do not know where they are, but neither the Boosted Gear nor Laerad Ragnarök have passed through Heaven which would happen even briefly on their way to a new host. Granted, Dorian's Gear is wholly unknown to us, but the Grigori have been similarly watchful. For the moment, I am certain they still live. As for Ophis on the other hand, we have no way of knowing."
"If only someone in the Church had inherited the True Longinus," Michael lamented. "Then so much of this could have been avoided. Dulio, we have a task for you. We know thanks to Pluto's involvement and Bennia's evidence that Hades has betrayed us beyond any doubt. Azazel, Freyja and Poseidon have put together a task force to invade his region of the Land of the Dead. We want you there to represent us with Gabriel."
"That'll be such a bother," He sighed while standing with a crack of his neck. "Hades will be an issue, but his Reapers are pushovers."
Michael stood to end the meeting, wobbling slightly from the strain. Irina was upon him immediately, catching the archangel in her arms helping him remain upright.
"M-my thanks," he smiled back in that gentle way that made her want to prove herself to him all the more. "Having so many of our numbers in the Underworld helping against these anti-monsters, it is more taxing than I thought. Perhaps I can try to make an adjustment to ease the burden. Will you help me there?"
"Of course!" Irina took him by the arm, her newfound strength more than enough to keep him standing upright. "The rest of you, please do your best. With the crimes we committed against devilkind and their own to us, it would not do for their home to be destroyed and set our efforts of peace back."
"You mentioned crimes." Irina asked as the others split off to their duties. "You mean the Great War?"
"A great many were committed then on all sides," he admitted as they made their way deeper into Heaven's halls towards the Seventh Floor high above taking the grand elevator up. "Though they were approved by our Father, I see them as my sins too, it warms my heart that at least one has been undone by your friend Dorian."
"Dorian?" Irina looked confused. "What did he do?"
"The Sleep Disease," he clarified. "I am…beyond ashamed to admit that was a construct of our doing. One of our more desperate measures when things were not going as well as we had hoped in the war."
"The illness that afflicted Sairaorg's mother and all those others…" Irina didn't know how to respond. "That was us?"
"Yes, a weapon that once unleashed we could not contain even after the war ended. If we'd revealed it sooner, the alliance would surely never have materialized. Lord Beelzebub insinuated to Gabriel some time back that he was aware of it, yet kept his silence as well. Whether that is due to desiring the alliance or he just couldn't be bothered to reveal it, I do not know."
"But it's cured now, they said their people will be waking up from it. It's already being distributed!"
"And that is why I shall ever promote our inclusion in these Crossroads. It was surely providence that we sent you to aid them. I say this now and mean it with all my heart. Whatever relationship you wish to have with Dorian and your friends, I shall support every step of the way."
Any relationship? Irina immediately started smacking herself much to Michael's confusion as her halo flickered once. No Irina, don't think like that while in Lord Michael's presence…especially while walking Heaven's halls!
The Elevator reached the seventh floor, highest among the halls of Heaven. Irina breathed in and out, her heart racing at the fact she'd never set foot there before. The seventh floor, the one used to run both the Heaven and Sacred Gear systems set up by the God of the Bible in ages past. The most heavily fortified part of the angels' home. The pair were immediately greeted by a golden fog that settled over the entire area. Once in, Michael's strength seemed to return somewhat, releasing Irina's arm to stand on his own power.
"Thank you, my child," he walked forward, the fog parting as he went through it so that not even a wisp touched him. The density began to fade until she finally made out their destination.
"I-is that it?"
The pair stood before a massive structure, the closest comparison she could make was to that of a massive pipe organ built into the very wall itself. The extravagance of the device was awe-inspiring with great wings, faces and other imagery carved into it. Each pipe towered high into the air almost unable to see the top, perched above was what looked like a statue of a figure, however the top was broken and crumbled only leaving a robe and sandaled feet remaining.
"That was a statue of our Lord Father," Michael explained. "It shattered the day he died and I tried to fill in for him. It is of course not just a musical instrument. Since his death, every archangel tried but only I have managed to use it well."
"It's beautiful!" Stars were in her eyes as she looked it over while the Seraph Angel sat before the keys. "So, the glory of Heaven is truly music?"
"Not only music," he tried to explain as he played on the keys, a soft beautiful melody ringing through the halls into other parts of the floor. "While the inner workings elude even us, we know it reacts to one's faith, power, belief, aura, why we think even the personality may…!"
Michael locked eyes with Irina as he played on the organ, each sound taking a bit more power and focus to bring about the changes he sought. To his wonder, the golden fog had begun swirling around her, the young angel giggling. She spun in place, following the ebbs and flows of the divine light which Michael knew was just as much a part of the device as the pipes themselves.
"It tickles," she tried to contain herself. "And is warm, almost like when I was little by the fire during the holidays."
It's…reacting to her directly? The Heaven System is treating her almost like she's part of it. He considered what to say as Irina seemed blissfully unaware of the meaning behind the fog's actions. Granted, only Seraphs have entered this place before. Father, did you have a plan for humans I wonder? could you foresee them one day stepping among the ranks of angels or is this a divine coincidence?
"Would you like to see?" He asked, sliding to the side to give Irina room to sit down. The young woman froze, eyes widening and lips quivering.
"I…I couldn't," she muttered while inching closer. "I'm just a reborn angel."
"You are one of the first of something new," Michael explained his theory without fully giving away his intentions. "A human and an angel. Perhaps, just perhaps, you can see something that we who came first lack. Despite your youth, you were able to wield the complete Excalibur so beautifully and apprehended Jeanne," he pictured the angry Joan of Arc inheritor bound in their cells saddened by her choice of allies. "Please, sit."
Irina took a seat at last with shaking hands looking at the pristine ivory keys. The honor of what was being asked almost froze her body for fear of making the wrong move. She turned up towards Michael almost feeling like she was sitting beside her own father who had always tried to teach her everything he could.
"I don't know how to play."
"Neither did I," Michael admitted with a fatherly smile. "Do what feels natural."
Irina inhaled, laying her hands on the keys softly enough that she didn't press down on any yet. The first sound that came into her mind was the soft melodies played by Dorian when he'd have a chance to relax with his lyre. When he played from the roof, despite the sturdiness and size of the tower, the songs could be heard throughout the building. Remembering the tune he played when she and the others had been mesmerized by the songbird, Irina pressed down harder…and started to play.
Vali screamed louder; he couldn't hold it in any longer as Lord Wukong pulled another glob of poison through his skin. Despite Hecuba's quick thinking, he still had trace amounts of the vile substance that they were coalescing together and purging from him. The Spartan had returned to help, holding his shoulders down as he gripped her arm so strongly it turned pale. Kuroka and Koneko helped, each adding to the ministrations. In the back, Le Fay, Bikou and Arthur watched their leader prepared to help however they could. The pair felt a twinge of regret, having been fighting the other members of the Hero Faction while Vali challenged Samael.
"Aaaand, there," he lifted the black substance into a special containment jar and sealed it tight. "That is the last of it, I dare say that is even more than we pulled out of Baldur. At this rate, we'll have a sizeable quantity of the stuff on hand. It was good my successor called me when he did, to think I'd get a chance to work on the Vanishing Dragon. Who knew he could feel such loyalty?"
"Shut up ya old geezer!" Bikou crossed his arms indignantly not fond of being talked to as if he were a child. "Will he recover or not?!"
"He'll live," he got up while cracking his back. "Just have that little lady tend to his wounds and I surmise he'll be at 100% in no time," Hecuba was still holding his shoulders down on the table not noticing Vali swallow hard realizing just how close she was to his face. "His high demonic powers and inability to relax will do the rest."
"Th-thank you," the White Dragon Emperor finally gasped in a show of respect. "If need be, I can fight even like this."
"Fighting so soon after getting such a poisonous curse placed on you?" He laughed while smacking a hand across his own leg. "The battle maniacs nowadays are even worse than during my time. I can't stay any longer, let us try summoning the boy now that the Black Dragon has arrived."
"Where are you going?"
"Why, to take down a terrorist," he winked. "I am to be in Sakra's Vanguard to the Underworld. He sure has us all running ragged."
"Lord First," Vali started as he sat up despite Hecuba's face at the unnecessary strain. "Indra is linked to Cao Cao, isn't he? Indra has been in talks with the greater alliance, but was also considering speaking to the youkai. I am no fool, Cao Cao fights with a style similar to Indra so where does he stand with him now?"
Hecuba had a thought run through her mind. Cao Cao's Balance Breaker names were jewels of Hindu origin. That cannot be a coincidence.
"I'm not very interested in his thinking," the first Wukong shrugged without a shred of deceit or enmity. "I'm more a free spirit old geezer. That said, his little desired conflict with Shiva is always on his mind. He's been a lot more on edge since that Norse ally of yours came into the picture, Hades making a move now did nothing to help his paranoid side. From what I've heard, it's not just Dorian who is a blind spot to him...but everyone near him who is influenced by his actions."
"So, you're going after Hades then? I want in," Vali sat up. "I will repay him for releasing the creature that did this to me."
"We don't exactly need another fighter; Indra will be with us and he's stronger than your four Satans put together. Being considered traitors to the Khaos Brigade, it may be dangerous for you to move around outside Asgard, especially that deep in the Land of the Dead. Though your adoptive stepmother will be present, so that protection may still be available."
"I don't care, as it stands his intervention left me like this and likely whatever has happened to my rival. I won't let that stand."
"And Dorian," Hecuba asserted. "If you are leading a team to Hades, I will be present as a member of the Crossroads."
"Your group is scattered," Wukong remarked. "Not much of a Crossroads right now." The redheaded Spartan fumed at his words.
"Bikou and Arthur follow Vali, Le Fay and Kuroka did too," Hecuba started as she spoke her mind. "The Crossroads are meant to be a union of the various myths to show our differences are weaker than what we can do together. As long as even one of us believes that, we will stand. As loyal as they are to Vali, we are to Dorian even if he's not here."
He's made mistakes, we all have, but that doesn't change where we are.
"You're starting to sound as sappy as those others," Bikou laughed with a smile eerily similar to his elder. "It's no wonder Vali the Butt Dragon keeps talking about…" Bikou didn't finish his sentence as Vali's white wings exploded from his back slamming the monkey youkai into the wall leaving his indentation within it. "That's…the leader I know…" He gasped before collapsing forward with only Le Fay rushing forward to help him.
"Albion is not too fond of that title," he muttered almost acting as if the outburst wasn't him. "I will prepare for the mission," he staggered only for Hecuba to catch him. The two shared a look, possibly the longest they'd looked at one another before glancing away simultaneously.
"Take a break," Koneko handed a towel to Kuroka sweating profusely from the Sage Arts surgery on the White Dragon Emperor. "Have you even gotten any rest?"
"Please, I have stamina to last," she lied but put on a good front. "You be sure to tell Dorian that when he gets back."
"And I thought Issei was the worst, who knew it was my own sister." Kuroka only smiled as if taking that as a supreme compliment.
"Do not push yourself beyond your limits," Vali interjected. "There is still fighting to come."
"My old boss and my sister agreeing on something? How do I know I haven't already died considering such a rare occasion?" Koneko felt a bit better she could still be so catty.
"Kuroka talked often of you," the White Dragon continued to the young Rook. "After the terrible things your first master did, I can see why she looked over you."
"Looked over me?" Koneko bristled slightly as if things she'd wanted to talk about bubbled to the surface. "She left me alone where Rias found me, she tried to take me from her in the Underworld…but, but since then she's tried to be like the big sister others have."
"After killing that bastard, where I had to go was no place for you," Kuroka answered in a softer tone than was expected of her. "He wanted you to use your Sage Arts until you dropped, with how young you were, you would have gone berserk for sure or worse. No roof over our heads was worth your life, so his own became forfeit."
"You became a criminal to protect your sister?" Hecuba asked, still helping Vali and hearing every word. "Does Dorian know?"
"I am sure he has an idea, he's rather intuitive like that. I saw some documents on House Naberius on his table, so he has been doing his homework on my former Master. Does he do that with everyone in the Crossroads, go to such lengths to understand them? That could be what I fancy most, he's so dedicated for such hopelessly innocent reasons despite the mass of power he's becoming. It's contagious."
"I am glad," Koneko said suddenly surprising her sister. "I thought so poorly of you all these years and you do love reveling in your own power, but…I am glad you found a place you feel peaceful at. Though you don't have to smile so much when you embarrass me in front of the others."
Kuroka started laughing at that earning a scowl from Koneko. She had only just started to die down on the laughter when the original Wukong approached.
"Yu-Long is ready," he announced. "Shall we begin?"
Saji had entered the room with Vali being helped to stand by Hecuba. Arthur had intended to do the honors, but decided he could assume who his leader would prefer. As they had done to call Midgardsormr to consult against Loki, the group raised their hands; the respective colors of each dragon mixing together to form the magic circle beneath them. They were not alone, Rias and Rossweisse having come to watch for when the summoning completes. It wouldn't be long now…
Issei screamed again and again, the pain burning through him beyond any comprehension as blood flowed. Dorian had to use the gold light of Asgard to find the strength to hold him still as Iggy laid her crimson-stained hands on him trying to stabilize as best she could. Her knowledge of Sage Arts was basic from her time interacting with the nekoshou, complete with her gaining cat ears, but it was the best they had. Ophis directed her, being the most familiar with the poison that ravaged his body.
"O-one more," the Ouroboros Dragon gasped as one of her snakes crawled atop Issei's body. The thin serpent glowing white quickly bloated and turned dark, shriveling up until it was dead. It was the latest of many lying lifeless to the side, what remained of the infinite being using up bits of herself to draw the venom out.
"How many of those do you have left?" Dorian knew she'd been drastically weakened by Samael then Moloch and she was looking more ragged by the moment.
"Enough," was all she would say.
The four were huddled together with the chaos of the Dimensional Gap raging around them, the realm that was detrimental to all life in almost a polar opposite to how welcoming the Roads Between Realms were. The passage of time was hard to tell, but it had been quite a while since being knocked inside. With Ophis' powers weakened she could not transport them out and as before, the Road's portal would not manifest. They would have died long ago were it not for the glowing bubble that smelled sweet and clean surrounding them.
I still don't understand the Midgard power, Dorian mused as he continued restraining Issei in the throes of pain. This bubble of…life? But it is more than that, it feels like I'm just scratching the surface.
He had been in the Gap far longer this time than when trapped with Asia, allowing him to notice differences from before. Chief among them was the presence of flowers blooming from the ground. It was common knowledge no life could live in the Gap and yet within hours of generating the protection, beautiful unknown types had begun sprouting from the ground. The group was almost surrounded by a small field of them now with more growing. Dorian could not help but pick a few for study later knowing how Iggy would feel about seeing a new species.
"It seems to work in the absence of life," Iggy had said before Samael's poison progressed too far within Issei. "It makes everything within it habitable, life itself comes from it."
"That's impossible," Dorian had wanted to say. Even with the power of other gods, the ability to create life had been something of legends. Considering the given situation, they had no time to dwell on it, though Dorian did notice that as he shrank the bubble to conserve power, those flowers and other foliage left outside the barrier withered and died immediately.
"D-Dorian, can you…" Iggy tilted her head towards him. Understanding her discomfort, he gently scratched an itch behind her newly formed cat ears. She sighed with a satisfying moan and continued working.
"I c-can't die here," Issei gasped through the pain. "I-I can't squeeze Rias' breasts, or Asia's smaller ones…I didn't even get a chance to build my harem."
"You'll have all the time for those!" Dorian half-heartedly punched him in the arm but was intent on saying anything to keep him conscious. "Just keep thinking about those two, who knows, I think Ravel was looking at you the other day." He at first thought he'd made a bad move as Issei started chuckling which turned into a hacking cough.
"Real funny G-goldie, I think that laugh was actually worth the pain."
"That is the last I can do," Ophis staggered, barely able to move. "I…I can't summon anymore snakes." Despite her best efforts, Issei continued to writhe in pain.
"Rest a moment," the blonde man tried to insist. "Maybe we can try again to get the remainder of the poison out."
"It won't matter, I am not replenishing my power," Ophis looked truly unnerved by her own words. "My infinity is…gone, I am finite and Issei has suffered the consequences of my weakness."
Her words were not exaggerated, Issei's body was mangled from their hours of trying to syphon out as much of Samael's poison as they could. Dorian could only theorize that it spreads itself unbelievably fast as they had taken out far more than the thin coating that Moloch used in the first place. The fact of the matter was undeniable.
Issei was dying.
"There has to be something we can do!" He groaned, his own injuries preventing him from moving too much. The fire of Hestia and minor healing runes had helped but were vastly inadequate after the fight at the tower. "Could a large influx of power rip a portal open perhaps? Even a random location would be better than here."
"That power is beyond all of us," Ophis explained again. "That…and I am…I…" She collapsed next barely breathing prompting Iggy to jump to her next.
"Her energy is almost gone!" The despair in her voice broke his heart. "At this rate, we'll lose both of them!"
Damnit damnit damnit! Dorian screamed in his head as he shuffled her half-conscious body closer to Issei so he could shrink the bubble more. I am NOT dying here, I am not letting Issei die, or Iggy, not even Ophis. But I can't open the Roads and the Dimensional Gap is infinite in size, going in any direction is pointless. He remembered hearing about lost ruins or reclusive mages that made their home there, but with no starting point finding them would be mathematically impossible.
As those thoughts of frustration swarmed in his head, a familiar magical construct appeared over the bubble materializing into being. Dorian got up, a smile spreading across his face.
"The Dragon Gate! They're trying to summon Issei, if they can pull him to them, he can tell them our location!" He almost got ready to fling Issei inside until Ophis weakly tugged on his leg.
"What? Why not?" He had no issue with them getting Issei out even if he was left alone with Ophis though considered if the portal could take her too as a dragon.
"S-Samael's poison," she coughed. "It is poisonous to ALL things dragon both physical and magical. If there is even a drop of it inside Issei and he interacts with that gate, it'll accelerate within his body."
"But he's barely surviving as is, if it accelerates…"
"He'll be dead before he even reaches the other side."
Without hesitation, Dorian aimed his Sacred Gear upward rotating to the power of Heaven. In a flash before the Dragon Gate could form, he fired a spear of light upward shattering it completely. In so short a time, their hope had been rekindled and dashed with those on the other side completely unaware as to why their attempt to summon Issei failed.
"Just our…shit luck," Issei coughed through the blood. "That's what we need now, right?"
"Luck will often save a man if his courage holds," Dorian repeated something he was certain he'd heard Lord Vidar mention before during one of his remarks on Asgardian wisdom. "We hold out, and do EVERYTHING we can to stay alive every second until we can't move. Come on, huddle closer."
Dorian shifted his gear, shrinking the bubble even smaller. With a sorrowful expression, he left many of the items from his office outside in the destructive landscape. More than a few nick-nacks had been pulled ranging from his model buildings, office supplies and even a few pages of music he'd been practicing with his lyre. He uttered a soft thanks under his breath that neither the lyre nor his more important documents or trophies, such as Fenrir's fang, had come through. The one that was most disappointing was when he saw the Nagalfr bottle roll outside the smaller barrier, the glass already starting to crack from the pressures of the Gap.
"So, cling to life down to your last breath? That has happened many times before."
"Kassaegtha!" Dorian snapped in her direction as the black fog that was the old goddess floated just outside the field of safety. "I am getting sick of this!"
"You're telling me, with how many times you've nearly died since that fire I am wondering if you don't have some higher protection. But I won't make the same mistake I did last time."
"And what mistake was that?"
"Assuming that it was the end for you," she smiled eerily like someone who deep down did not understand the nuances of the gesture. "You have a fascinating ability to get out of deathly situations. So many call you friend or ally when you shouldn't even exist. It's all so…unique."
"That's why you follow me, I'm this anomaly? You're linked to that other future and knew I was supposed to die as a child all this time."
"At last, the boy learns," she reformed once more as a child like the first time they'd met. "You are a relic, a remnant of a dead timeline affecting the past trying to overwrite the doom that awaits them. That has never happened in all of time to this point, and the others of my kind thought nothing new existed on this world or plane. I believe if such a rarity was found by your people, you'd put it in a museum for all to see."
"I saw that doom," Dorian muttered. "So, I will NOT stop until I prevent it from happening. Wherever the Trihexa is at this point in time, we have a chance to stop it. What Cao Cao is doing now pales in comparison. You saw it too, right? If you do remember me from then."
"Vaguely," she waved her hands dismissively. "Do you recall every step you've taken since you were born? But you, you stand out like a ray of light. I won't alter your fate, but neither will I ignore it."
"You've been altering it already," he pointed out as others had. "You're just trying to act like you haven't. Why, are you actually embarrassed you slipped up?" The old goddess' face scowled at him at those words before gliding closer almost touching his face.
"I don't 'slip up.' My people existed in this place before your first deity even willed themselves into existence in old Sumer. "We view time and space wider than you can perceive, we saw the lights of those that could be interesting to us great and small, far and near."
Lights? The metaphor wording caught his interest, the gears turning in his head. Just like what Hades asked in the arena.
"Our magics laid the foundation for your kind, we don't make mistakes."
"I can refute that off the top of my head," Dorian shouted back, the frustration growing as the minutes dragged on and his bubble shrank further. "No one is infallible."
"And how can you do that?"
"Because I know one mistake they made. They didn't trust you'd find something new; they left you behind!" His words brought about something not even Kassaegtha could foresee…absolute silence from the old goddess. She just floated there, not a single word exchanged between them.
"Always unexpected, I knew you had to be in my time, it's how we met, but I never imagined you would do more than simply be there. Seeing your doom, even bringing back…" Kassaegtha suddenly grew silent, Dorian raising an eyebrow.
"Bring back? I didn't bring anyth…OF COURSE!" He looked down at his gauntlet, the gem turning to a familiar shade of green matching the same on Issei's own. "The gem I touched in the future, that's where it went, like with Vali's. It was part of that older Issei, right? Maybe it can stabilize him or at the very least reinforce him to help fight the poison!"
Kassaegtha didn't say anything, her words having inspired a spark within the Einherjar grating on her ancient psyche once again. Iggy was certain that if it weren't for her decision of non-interference, she may have strangled him right then and there out of frustration. Placing a hand over Issei's chest, Dorian closed his eyes and prayed.
"Future Issei was going to tell me to do something with the gem, is this it? I can't use your power anyway, what would happen putting some of your future self into you? One way to find out."
Drawn like a magnet, the green light of his gear drained out into the air winding straight into Issei's chest. Nothing happened for a moment before the young man lurched violently as a green and crimson light enveloped him. His mouth opened to scream but no sound came beyond a shocked gasp realizing his gauntlet had materialized as well, the gem shining brighter than ever.
"It…doesn't hurt as much," he groaned but was still pained. "What did you do?"
I don't know, Ddraig answered for him. But I feel…greater than I was, like my very being has been expanded, we can fight onto life a bit longer.
"Ha ha!" Dorian couldn't help but laugh in success seeing Issei's improvement. "That bought us some time, let's see what we can do for Ophis. Thank you Kassaegtha, you always know just what to say. The Old Goddess bristled with restrained anger, though what retorts she may have had were lost as behind them, the glass bottle holding the Nagalfr model finally imploded.
"Dorian, get back!" Iggy called out, shielding him with a wall of Roots from her very body. As the innocuous bottle shattered, a massive burst of energy had cascaded out in all directions. Dorian looked on, even Issei ignoring the pain to keep his eyes open and see the truly magnificent sight unfolding before them as the ship within groaned and warped...then started to expand.
"Well now," Kassaegtha smiled while dispersing back into her fog, recomposing herself. "This certainly didn't happen the first time around. "Dear Ophis, you may yet make it. Find that fragment of yourself that got away."
The Crossroad Einherjar, his soulmate and the Red Dragon Emperor stared on at the event happening where the Nagalfr once rested. They were so entranced, that none noticed a looming shadow coming up on them from behind blotting out all light with its size. Even then, they continued to watch on, the three expressing their thoughts with what few words would come.
"We can enter on the northern side of Lilith and assist in evacuations," Rossweisse pointed to a map with the few members of the Crossroads still there; Thrud, Seekvaira, Xenovia, and Kuroka. "The remaining members of the Hero Faction may be present and, if we are fortunate, Moloch himself to find out what they did with Dorian. The devils allying with them are low in numbers, but beware of them as well."
"Leonardo is our main target, right?" Thrud fingered the haft of Gullbjorn anxiously. "We take him out, this army may disappear."
After the failure to summon Issei or Ophis via the Dragon Gate, Rias Gremory and her team had returned to her family's castle to take further steps. Sona Sitri and her peerage had remained to consult with Seekvaira's family before all would be heading down to assist in the battles to come. Everyone was exhausted but had no time to rest. With the near-certainty that Dorian and Issei were in the Gap, their new priority was to end the crisis in the Underworld so the resources could be diverted to scouring that realm for them.
"My peerage will focus on relief," Sona volunteered fully knowing her own team was not known for their brute strength. "If we spot them, we'll delay their movements while calling for reinforcements."
"Unless I get my hands on em," Saji muttered just loud enough to be heard. "They might have killed my friends; I won't let that stand. I'm a Dragon King too, Vritra has just as much of a grudge against that Sam-whatsit thing they brought in." He was emitting a powerful dark aura as he spoke. "I'll end them even if it kills me."
"It would be worse if you died," Sona remarked with eyes locked on him. "I do not give you permission to do that. Is. That. Clear?" Saji nodded with an expression that screamed of intimidation yet in that moment looked like he'd fallen in love with her all over again. Ruruko and Momo laid hands on his shoulders for support, the atmosphere between the three being quite complicated.
"Well, I'd never disobey a command," he tried to act tough before them. "But I'll need to take out at least one."
"Sister went to Lilith before the rest of the army despite the threat to the Satans, but hasn't contacted us since," Sona reported after holding her gaze with Saji another moment. "That is where we'll be heading to find her, if she hasn't been attacked by Cao Cao, I have an idea of why."
Katerea was expecting soon and didn't evacuate with the rest of the civilians. What is going on in there? Of course sis would go in to look for her.
As Sona's team prepared to head out, Rossweisse saw Le Fay in the back. Despite Team Vali having head out to deal with Hades, she had remained behind watching the Crossroad meeting from afar.
"Do you want to come with us?"
"I do!" Le Fay shot to attention with a salute. "I'm contracted with Dorian after all. If we might run into Moloch or Cao Cao and find him, I have to be there. If it's some strange dimension he's gone to, I have experience opening portals to weird places. Vali and the rest of us, we sought out the continent of Atlantis, scoured the Dimensional Gap for signs of Great Red and tried to find mysteries of the beginning of the world, even the Lost Continent of Mu! Before Dorian, we'd even tried reaching the Road Between Realms…" Her speech had quickened, the eccentric side of her enthusiasm shining through before realizing how she looked and regained her composure.
"I am very much the same in that mindset, though did not have quite so…adventurous a time," Rossweisse tried to alleviate her awkwardness by showing the side of herself that had allowed her to graduate college at such a young age. "Those mysteries, secrets of magic and formulas that just beg to be found…they are hard to not find enticing. I didn't realize that for years, content to hold up alone with my studies."
"So, you DO understand?" Le Fay looked up to Rossweisse almost like a big sister in that moment. "I wouldn't have traded it for the world, we had adventures every day, even trying to find the fabled source of all dragons."
"So that Vali can one day fight Great Red?"
"Well, that is his end aim," she admitted sheepishly. "But between us that is really, really, really far off. All that's been happening with the Khaos Brigade has kind of put our goals on hold. If we run into the heroes, I'll make them pay for not listening to my warning in Kyoto. Siegfried, I know doesn't like us much, big brother could sense that during his time among them."
"Arthur came from the Hero Faction?" The Valkyrie's eyes were wide, not having heard that tidbit of information.
"A while back, but he left to follow Vali when they met. I left Nilrem and went with him, Volody wasn't happy," she chuckled. "He's so serious, that guy needs a calming presence."
Not sure how calming working with us will be, Rossweisse mused internally, having seen Volody depart with Rias' team in the hopes of helping recover Issei for their future pact.
"The monsters are in sight of the city! I can still see evacuations haven't finished." The reporters voice interrupted them; the broadcast having been left on. "Even the Satans' peerages have been ineffective at stopping them, our news crew will stay on the air as long as we can, but at this rate…"
"We're moving out!" Rossweisse jumped to her feet, calling the attention of the room. "This is what the Crossroads were made for, to protect the realms that ally with one another to make a better world. We may be scattered, but that doesn't mean we stop doing what we need to do…what Dorian would want us to do. We'll stop them, save everyone we can…then rip the Dimensional Gap apart to find him!"
"Here here!" Thrud called out in a moment of emotion, prompting the others to do the same. With a smile on her face, Rossweisse started generating a complex teleportation circle.
"The Satans have given us access to teleport straight there, though it will take some time to finish. Next stop: the Underworld Capital of Lilith!"
Our heroes, now rested and healed of their wounds, must return to the forefront of battle to repel the invasion threatening the home of the devils itself. Dorian and Issei struggle to survive in a realm that no living thing can last in...but may have found more than they ever imagined in their hour of need. Until next time, I hope everyone stays safe, Reads and Reviews...but most of all Enjoys! :D