Most of you are wondering where I've been and what I've been up to.
I haven't really been in a good place the last couple of months.
This is usually the part where I tell you that I'm in need of help and give you my pat - on account, but I don't believe in earning money from writing fan fiction. I don't believe I should fucking get paid for playing around in someone's hard-built world.
I'd rather create my own.
And I did.
As of last week, my novel Janus and Oblivion - Book 1 of The Nightmares of Alamir hit the Amazon Stores. Inspired by Overlord and I'm a Spider, so what? it's the reason I haven't updated any of my stories in a long while. I've been working on it between jobs and it's the first book in what will hopefully be a series of books. It's got a Paperback version - and it'd be cool to realize that I've actually made something of mine.
I'd like to give a shout out to Wysrd, lubabpaul, Dominus1389,justlovereadin, CursedWriter69, Tsunashi777, eddy14, Gosster, Podge0303, nwordmuffin Beowulf Anarchy, Bolondka, Riftar Pokemaster, MKaius, Ascandas and everyone else who sent me so much as a "We miss your work" or a "You dead?" it gave me the unexpected motivation to keep on writing.
If you'd like to support me, rather than donating to me for writing fan fics, please buy my book - Janus and Oblivion, and it'll mean the world to me.
Now, back to the story.
Recap: Last time on How to Destroy a Universe: a Satan got beheaded, we discovered Boosting and summoning Atronachs turns you into Ains from Overlord with your own army, and there was some tension between everyone's favorite zombie-girl slave and our not-so-favorite protagonist. Oh, and Asia was adorable, as always.
"The fires at the food storage takes priority!"
"The battlefield fires take priority!"
"Reinforcements cannot arrive until the fires are quenched!" Another man roared. "All those with a water affinity! Quench the flames at the frontlines! Prevent the enemy from –"
A spear of fire plunged into the devil's neck as he spoke. His eyes went wide as his throat burned from the inside out.
"Retreat! Retreat! The enemy has – AHHHH!"
"Where are the water affinity users?! Where are the damned Sitri?!"
"My hands – my hands are melting – I – I can't –"
She flew, in the air, roaring as much as she could, charging her magical power through her body. The sky became the sea. A wave of currents that would have Noah scrambling for a second ark approached from the heavens. Gallons upon gallons, enough to be the sheer envy of lakes and rivers.
"THE LEVIATHAN IS HERE!"
"DEVILS OF THE UNDERWORLD! RALLY TOGETHER!"
The chants of a thousand devils overwhelmed the crackling roar of flames. The cascading ocean of water descending from above sent many of their number, charging forward with roaring battle-cries, lifting their spears into the air and thumping their chests proudly.
Then it stopped.
The sky was an ocean, and the ocean began to sizzle.
Then, to the horror and screams of many, the ocean boiled.
"AHHH! AH! AH! AH! MY FACE! MY FACE!"
"SEEK COVER! SEEK COVER!"
The concept of 'friendly-fire' was not new to the devils as they scrambled away from satan's own flood. Yet, no one had ever seen friendly fire of this particular variety. The redeeming water they begged and pleaded for like the rich man to Lazarus did arrive, but it had not quenched them. No, the ocean of boiling water only sent them fleeing from the danger above, fleeing forward to their enemies who slaughtered them like senile rabbits tilting their heads in confusion at a butcher's blade.
Up above, Satan cringed. She panted heavily, sweat dripping from her form. Her clothes enchanted to resist damage from magical attacks of apocalyptic beings, shriveled up into nothingness in lieu of the heat. Her skin was a shade of red customarily associated with the cartoonish depictions of devils, and naked as she was, sweat covered every inch and nook of her body. Her hair clung to the sweat at the back of her neck, and she winced ever so often from the burns on her body.
She flickered her gaze away from the carnage she unintentionally wrought. She bit down at her lip and narrowed her eyes as she contemplated ways to end the perdition of flames provided by her enemies.
A sphere of fire the size of a dragon shot past her doing a flawless imitation of a shooting star. The heat burnt at her already blistering skin. She weaved out of the way of the attack, managing, barely to maintain her flight. Her expression was the only thing cold in the burning landscape as she faced her assailant.
The creature, feminine, beautiful in the manner of which red hot flames curved and carved around slender, delicate features. The body was made of what looked like superheated rock. Despite having a willowy waist and two mounds that gave it its feminine appearance, it did not have a defined face. Faceless, incapable of speech, yet, flames burning at its feet, the feminine flame demon conjured another sphere of fire, crackling and simmering to life between long sharp hands, burning with such a ferocity that the water-wielding devil could feel the heat as though it were directly before her.
The creature's heat alone was incredible, yet, when they began using their pyrokinetic abilities, their natural body heats rose to levels that went above and beyond 'incredible' and into the realm of the lovecraftian. Being near a single one of them was comparable to being at the depths of a volcano on the verge of eruption. And there were thousands of them – thousands of these feminine flame beings.
"Who are you!?" Leviathan roared. "Why have you attacked us?!"
The creature did not respond. Nay, the creature's response was the ball of fire unleashed that narrowed itself into a straight beam and aimed for the Satan.
Leviathan dodged at the cost of several singed strands of hair and a burnt back. Gritting her teeth, she charged at the creature, summoning a blade of water and slicing horizontally as quickly as she could. The two severed parts of the creature fell, no blood emerging, but rather –
A mind-shattering boom physically ruptured her eardrums as she let out a screech of pain from the new sets of burns that arrived on her back. The creature's parting gift, a sizeable explosion that illuminated the sky with a brilliant globe of infernos that would feature effortlessly in a collage of megaton explosion videos.
The blast sent her careening out of the sky, dizzy and disorientated, crashing into the molten earth like she was a wasp carelessly smacked into concrete. The hot, indescribable sensation of burning burning burning was her sole saving grace, forcing her to take to the air once more. The damage however, was done, and she gazed down to her blackened, charred legs as she bit down on her lips and resisted the urge to scream in pain.
Normal flames wouldn't have affected her so much. Normal magma or molten rock would never be capable of reducing her legs into blackened husks. Her power and innate magical defense would have prevented such things from happening. However, these flames were not normal. The magma created were not normal. Her enemies, were not normal.
A fiery lance slammed into her stomach, her eyes widening as she felt her small intestine, liver, and blood boil rapidly. This time, she couldn't stop herself from screaming.
Her vision could only vaguely make out the green-hair of the man who called out to her. Her eyes stung from the pain of her skin and internal organs being cooking within her body. The sensations stopped, pausing as a cold hand brushed over her skin. The hand continued downwards, brushing over her legs, and she realized that she was capable of feeling them again.
She blinked away the tears from the pain, not entirely trusting her voice as she gazed up at the green-haired man.
"Can you still fly?"
Her wings hadn't taken any damage, so she nodded a bit slowly. The Beelzebub glanced over her nudity without any bother, turning around and firing a beam of concentrated energy straight at three of the creatures attempting to flank them.
They were barely able to escape the range of the suicidal blasts, flying higher and higher into the air, reaching an altitude at which the creatures where incapable of flying at, and an altitude that would be easy enough to identify and dodge incoming attacks.
She took several breaths, exhaling deeply as she did, even as her heart pounded heavily in her ears and her hand unconsciously moved over to the area where she'd been struck. The area where she'd felt her insides cook like it'd had been placed on a grill for a family barbecue.
Her gaze examined the battlefield, the hellish landscape filled with molten magma and thousands of flame creatures burning away indiscriminately at everything in their path, making a straight charge for the enormous shimmering green barriers erected at the ends of the Glasya-Labolas territory. From high above, the heat still sweltered, and the enemy appeared like embers rampantly racing outward from the center of a burning leaf.
"The enemy's defensive prowess is weak."
She turned her attention to the Beelzebub. She noted, that he too, was lacking heavily in clothing.
"I've calculated their strengths. An overwhelming offensive capability. Body temperatures reaching thousands of degrees. Limited flight. High-Tier Pyrokinetic Capabilities. Self-Immolation upon sufficient bodily damage." Ajuka ticked off, one after the other. "Explosions generated from their death is in the range of several megatons, capable of annihilating a town with little difficulty."
The Beelzebub took a deep breath.
"They are a dangerous force. This army of ten-thousand could wipe out a significant portion of the devils of the underworld on their lonesome. I cannot fathom the manner in which they invaded, and unless I can calculate a method to prevent concurrent invasions… our numbers are not favorable."
She knew about his powers. His Kankara Formula, his specialized Calculation Demonic Power. It was a power specializing in creation, the exact opposite of that of his friend, and it was the power that enabled him to stand alongside the Crimson Satan as the only other Super-Devil in existence. An honorary rank that went above and beyond that of mere High-Class Devils or Satan-Class devils. She was powerful, yes, but compared to the two of them –
"Mou… that doesn't sound good." She said frowning. "Can you tell us our odds Juka-chan?"
The creator of the Evil Pieces closed his eyes momentarily. "Eighty-six point nine two one four percent chance we survive this encounter." He spoke up. "Seventy-seven-point-three-seven-one percent chance of defeating the enemy."
"Forty-three-point-six-one-four percent chance we fare far worse in the next conflict." He paused.
She frowned "There's more of them?"
Slowly, morbidly, he nodded. "Ninety-eight-point-nine-nine-nine percent chance."
Nothing sounded so overwhelmingly morbid as that particular fact.
"Sirzechs is at the northern end attempting to prevent the enemy from leaving the barriers. He has little problem holding them back and eliminating them… but the majority of our forces are not capable of surviving the enemy's onslaught so easily. The heat is the major reason, as the temperature is…" Ajuka blinked. "…odd."
"What is it Juka-chan?"
"The temperature. It is exactly 10,000 degrees Celsius. Often, it fluctuates to be slightly higher or lower, but it always seems to fix itself at that number: 10,000." The Beelzebub frowned. "The initial number of invaders was that as well. 10,000. There seems to be a pattern –"
A force of pure magical power unleashed itself upon the entirety of the underworld with such abruptness that reality itself shuddered from the unexpected visitation. A fountain of black and red energy swirled from a distant point, rising higher and higher into the sky like a shadow cast by cosmic giant.
"…he has decided to annihilate the enemies in one fell swoop." Ajuka said blandly, shaking his head. "We need to leave his range and strengthen the barriers as much as we can if we want to be able to contain the fallout."
"The fallout of the explosions?"
At the beginning of this battle, she'd unleashed a tidal wave of water to consume the enemy, to no avail. At the conclusion of it, she witnessed a wave of destruction scatter across the land, terminate everything, anything, air, fire, heat, explosions, the very earth itself and light – all of it sucked into the darkness – all of it destroyed.
When it was done, there was nothing of the Glasya-Labolas territory but an inky blackness devoid of matter. There was no sound, for sound could be destroyed. No gas, for it could be destroyed. No energy, for that, too, could indeed be destroyed by the nightmarish hell that was the Power of Destruction.
Nothing, but a dark space devoid of everything. A blot upon the otherwise perfect scape of reality. In the middle of that blot, the being with majestic blood-red hair stood, naked as the day he was born, unbothered and aloof to the surrounding nothingness.
She shuddered at his casual smile, the expression upon his face that she rarely saw, as the all-consuming master of destruction looked upon his work, and he was pleased. It reminded her, dimly, of the gap that existed between them. Satan she may be, but him…
He was a monster.
"Sera-chan, are you alright?"
She smiled a bit uneasily. "H-haha! I'm alright Zechs-chan! J-just… m-my skin is so sunburned from all the heat!"
They were friends. They fought wars together. Logically, she knew, she had no true reason to be afraid of him. He would never turn his power against his companions, and he would never hurt her. But when a man's sheer aura spoke and whispered nothing but the complete and utter destruction of every atomic bond and every conceptual element that made you, you –
It was easy to be terrified.
Right up until Ajuka smacked the red-head on the back of his head. "Idiot. You just rendered a good chunk of territory forever inhospitable. Do you know the amount of work I'm going to have to do to quarantine this area?"
The Lucifer did manage to appear a bit sheepish. "I didn't have much choice. It was either destroy them all or risk letting them break past the barriers and spread into other areas of the underworld."
Ajuka sighed, shaking his head a bit. "Not all of our forces were not able to evacuate before you went nuclear."
Sirzechs smile never left his face. "Would they have survived if I hadn't?"
Ajuka paused. "No." he said easily. "They would have died slow and agonizing deaths to the flames."
"I spared them that agony." Sirzechs said, still smiling. "We can tell their families they did not suffer in their final moments. Isn't that right Sera-chan?"
Serafall forced herself to smile. "R-right."
"We're down a Satan."
The announcement cut into the 'jovial' air rapidly. The Beelzebub and the Lucifer gave each other looks, before nodding. There was a synergy there that she couldn't understand, couldn't even begin to interpret, as the duo had long generated their means of silent communication to a mastery since they were infants. It was a level of trust and understanding that she admittedly wished she had with someone. She did not. Not with her sister. Not with Grayfia. Not with anyone.
"We contain the information." Ajuka said. "Letting the world know that one of the Satans died in combat against unknown, unestablished assailants would be ill-advised. The Angels and Fallen are seeking a reason to attack, and news of Falbium's death might give them delusions of our weakness."
"Um… Juka-chan… people are going to notice that Fal-kun wasn't here."
"He is engaging in a classified mission to determine the source of the infiltration and gather further information about the origins of the invaders." Ajuka said without missing a beat. "Unfortunately, he will be cornered by an enemy commander and sacrifice his life to provide us with valuable intel. His memory will be honored, and his martyrdom will be acknowledged."
She wanted to swallow a bit. Contrary to the public belief that all the members of the Satans were best of friends who would always defend each other like the true companions of her favorite shows… the reality was a bit different. Falbium was the oddball amongst the Satans, he was certainly stronger than her, but his strength paled in comparison to that of the Super Devils, Sirzechs and Ajuka.
Ajuka was a genius. The man single-handedly responsible for aiding in the repopulation of their race with the invention of the Evil Piece System. A perfectionist with sociopathic tendencies who was driven purely by his goals of studying and learning and tinkering with matter. His ability to use his Kankara Formula to calculate anything often meant he was the smartest person in the room, and with his immense magical power, he was often the strongest. That was why he was Sirzechs' rival.
But Ajuka didn't really care for anyone in the world (or the world in general) other than Sirzechs. He only became the Beelzebub… because of Sirzechs. He 'cared' for her because of Sirzechs. Because Sirzechs was the type of person born from the Gremory Clan, a clan of devils who were 'nicer' and 'more compassionate' than most, Ajuka followed sway underneath his friends' methods. Sirzechs cared for her, and hence, Ajuka would try to 'care' for her in order not to annoy his friend.
She knew if Sirzechs were ever to give the order 'kill Serafall,' Ajuka would only hesitate not because he was averse to it, but because it would be irritating to formulate a viable tale to the underworld as to why one Satan killed another.
The fact that neither of them seemed all too bothered by Falbium's death did somewhat discomfort her. From Ajuka, she expected it, he was a devil who rarely saw the purpose of generating such attachments… but from Sirzechs?
The sudden sound of her name shook her. "A-ah? Y-yes?"
Ajuka frowned. "You have been out of sorts lately. Are you still worried about what happened to your sister?"
The memory of it was enough to sour her mood and darken her face instantly. She wasn't the only one, as Sirzechs' expression flickered. "My sister lost her precious peerage members," the Lucifer said. "When the summit holds… I'll be demanding retribution."
"As long as you refrain from doing something that starts another war. We might be able to fight a war on two fronts, but the rest of the Underworld most certainly cannot." Ajuka said with a sigh. "I wish you'd left at least one of the invaders alive so I could examine them."
The Beelzebub made a strange movement of putting his hands at his sides.
"…I desired to put my hands in my pockets, but naked beings can't do that it seems. I should modify my epidermis in case of such a scenario next time."
They were, indeed, naked, flying over a large pit of nothingness, which, seemed to be the rather appropriate time for numerous floating demonic cameras to spring into the air and begin videoing and capturing them.
Ajuka readied his hand to blast them, only to be stopped by Serafall.
"We just fought off a major invasion Juka-chan." She said. "We can do with giving the people a little fanservice."
Ajuka gave her a long, bland look, before sighing. "If I hear tales about young devils using these photographs for group sexual activities…"
She blinked. "I thought you didn't care about such things."
"I do not." Ajuka explained. "Grayfia does."
Serafall turned, and she realized indeed, most of the cameras were locked on Sirzechs and herself. "…oh."
The Sirzechs Lucifer Army Veterans Eternal Slaves would have a field day with this. She only hoped Grayfia understood. Rabid fangirls were a sign that her husband was desirable. Right? Right… Grayfia would understand.
"Zero point zero zero zero eight seven percent chance of what you're thinking about coming to pass."
Her brow twitched. "Juka-chan… have I mentioned how much I hate you sometimes?"
"Seventy nine times in the past century."
"…Thanks, Juka-chan, that makes me feel so much better."
On the sixteenth day of the eleventh month of the year 8852 N.D.E of the Gehenna Calendar, an unknown intruder broke into the underworld through the Gremory train system from the human realm. Sometime during this encounter, an army of approximately ten thousand female humanoid demonic beings possessing immense pyrokinetic powers appeared within the Glasya-Labolas territory and annihilated the entire population of thirty-six thousand devils.
With the aid of Sirzechs Lucifer-sama and Ajuka Beelzebub-sama, the 10,000 Demon Army was effectively defeated. Three thousand and ninety-seven devils died due to exposure to the heat which has been confirmed to have reached ten thousand degrees Celsius. An additional six hundred and nineteen devils died as collateral damage from the explosions generated upon defeating the demonic beings.
Little is known so far about the invader or his motivations, and even littler is known about the Demonic Army and the methods they utilized to enter the underworld. The remaining Satans have therefore declared a search with a massive reward for anyone capable of providing information on the invader, and have subsequently proceeded with the mobilization of troops for war. The Supreme Council of Devils had this to say –
The Television screen went blank. A dark-haired girl sat up, groggily managing to narrow her eyes and rub the side of her forehead. The information was almost too much for her too handle. How? An army had invaded the underworld –
It felt only like yesterday, her greatest concerns were managing the Student Council and trying to ensure that the Perverted Trio did not cause wanton chaos in their blatantly obscene desires for sexual gratification. She shook her head merely thinking about it. Events seemed to be occurring, one after another, spiraling faster and faster, tipping as if they were the final dominoes on a pile-up that had long been started.
The destruction of Kuoh Academy seemed like a trifling matter in lieu of this sudden invasion. Yet, there was something, something telling her that there was a connection between the events. The attack on her school, the horrific memory of the sheer madness in the eyes of Freed Selzen –
Her vision turned to the sight of her Queen. Dressed in her uniform, ever as smart and as neat as she remembered. Although, there was concern in her eyes. It was understandable, after all, she had endured a somewhat harrowing ordeal before being pushed to the brink of death.
Even now, she felt the phantom sensations of something clogging her throat, preventing her from being capable of breathing, suffocating her as she clawed and grasped and –
"I brought you your tea, kaicho."
She blinked. Nodding, but not speaking, as she glanced at the steaming cup.
"In case there is anything you need to talk about… I am here for you, Kaicho."
She understood the sentiment. She understood the intent behind it. Yet, she could not accept it. It burned at her. Irritated her. Somehow, they believed she was 'traumatized' by the incident.
She was not.
Nothing had happened. So what if an insane exorcist had shoved his phallus into her mouth and the offending object had gotten stuck in her throat and nearly suffocated her to death? Regardless of how demeaning it was to have nearly died from such a thing, it was not as though she were sexually humiliated and used as a tool of some fool's gratification. Her 'purity' had not been soiled or whatever nonsensical drivel people believed occurred to young women like herself unfortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of an attempted assault.
The rumors that circulated across the underworld stating that she'd been 'scarred' and 'ruined' and was nothing more but 'spoilt goods' served to peeve her more than anything else. Her peerage and family tip-toeing about her and acting as though she were a fragile egg on the cusp of breaking did not do her any favors either.
Nothing. Had. Happened.
She was not 'traumatized' for there was nothing to be traumatized about. It was in the heat of battle, and she already consciously knew the unfortunate fate that befell female combatants across the world where they to fail. If anything, she fought more valiantly and bravely than most.
"Kaicho. You… you can talk… to me. To anyone."
Of course she could talk. That much was obvious. She could, she just did not see the need to. It was not as though when she opened her mouth, and willed her vocal cords to create sounds, she hesitated out of uncertainty. She knew, that it was gone, the object blocking her throat was long gone, and she was not choking, not suffocating and attempting to scream and beg but being unable to utter sounds in lieu of her throat being occupied. No – of course not.
She was not traumatized.
The very concept of a devil exhibiting symptoms of post-traumatic-stress-disorder was laughable. Pathetic. Utterly and completely disgraceful. Such a diagnosis was meant for human war veterans or rape survivors. She was neither of those things. She was a devil, a strong one – and she would not be oppressed by a singular past event in her relatively long lifespan.
So what if she came tremendously close to dying without being able to as much as scream or beg? That was in the past. She was past it. As such, she would prove it.
"T –" she swallowed heavily. "T –".
Two words. Two simply words. She grit her teeth as she tried to force her mouth into the proper shapes to articulate the sounds.
Her stomach churned heavily.
Her throat felt obstructed. Blocked. Choked. She reached immediately for the cup of tea, caring little for its temperature as she gulped it down as rapidly as possible. Swallow – swallow – swallow –
She finished the contents instantly. Her throat burned from the heat of the liquid, but it felt free. It felt unobstructed. It was not constricting her or choking her.
She inserted two fingers down her throat to be sure. Just to be sure. She had to be sure there was nothing there. It was just a matter of being prudent – being as judicious as possible. So why, then, did her Queen give her such a look?
"Would you… like another cup of tea, Kaicho?"
Her fingers twitched a bit. She remembered the burning sensation down her throat. The tea was fine, but she needed something that burned hotter. That burned and cleansed and would eliminate the vileness from her tongue and her throat once and for all. She shook her head, and gestured to something else. Her Queen slowly, hesitantly nodded.
"A-are you sure Kaicho?"
"Very well. Would you prefer it chilled, or at room temperature?"
"I swear to you Azazel-sama! I didn't know! I didn't know that Selzen was going to –"
"I cannot protect you Raynare."
"Azazel-sama please! I'll die – I'll die if you do what you're saying!"
"I gave you a simple task. Spy on Kokabiel. Report his plans to me. Sabotage his plans as possible. I could have used someone more capable, but I made the mistake of believing you were up to the task."
"It – it would happen again! I swear on my life! Please, please please give me a second chance!"
"Your name and the name of your companions will be handed over to the Devils to seek retribution however they wish."
"No – nononono – Azazel-sama! That's – that's a death sentence!"
"The very least I can do for you is warn you ahead of time and give you time to flee."
"There's nowhere in the world I can hide if the Lucifer and the Leviathan are out for my blood!"
"Perhaps. Perhaps not."
"P-please Azazel-sama! You can't do this to me – I – I – I love you! I –"
"And how does that change anything?"
"It – I – b-but –"
"Leave Raynare. I don't want to see you, hear from you, or hear about you. I never met you, I do not know you, and you do not know me."
"No! Azazel-sama! Azazel-sama!"
Her eyes snapped open. Gone was the departing form of the most beautiful angel of them all, gone were his parting words, his burning rejection. All that remained was the slowly turning fan of a dilapidated motel room, the thick smell of musk and sweat, the heavy sounds of snores, and a cockroach skittering across the wall.
She sat up, both amazed and irritated at the sight of the two females beside her. Neither of which stirred the slightest from their sleep, instead, merely rolling over. Mittelt's naked form clung greedily unto Kalawarner's body, their legs entangled, as both fallen comfortably slept.
Her gaze turned around in search of the last member of their group, and she found him, sitting a ways off, a lit cigarette between two fingers, as his gaze locked unto hers. She frowned, uncomfortable at the unerring eye-contact.
"What?" she snarled.
He shrugged, taking a deep drag of his cigarette, blowing out a small puff of smoke into the room.
"Do that outside. I don't want to inhale your horrible smoke."
"You said we should all stick together and not separate under any circumstances."
She had hadn't she? Of course. Because she knew more than anything else, that Selzen's disappearance had not been normal. That Mittelt's pet suddenly losing his heart had not been normal. Someone or something out there had it in for them, framing them as they did. Regardless, there were other benefits that came to having her minions in close vicinity of herself always. The likelihood of escaping from attackers increased, if only a little bit, with their presence. She would sacrifice them to give herself a chance of fleeing or escaping from potential pursuers without a moment's hesitation.
Dohnaseek's gaze lingered on her form, and she shuddered at the man's eyes.
"I can practically feel you raping me with your eyes. Can you be any less pathetic?"
The bowler-hat wearing Fallen shrugged again, and she realized that without his bowler hat, his dark hair was longer than she thought.
"Have you just been sitting there watching me sleep?"
"Yes." He responded without hesitation.
Again, he shrugged. She found his usual lack of response to be more grating than normal. In lieu of the dream she'd had, the dream that was nothing more than a replay of actual events, of the moment she finally bared her emotions to the greatest man on the earth and watched as he dismissively disregarded them –
She growled as she dismissed the memory, rising out of the bed and unto her feet. Again, Dohnaseek's eyes roamed all over her form like a hungry panther desperately seeking sustenance. Irritated as she was, she moved up to the fallen, grabbed the cigarette from his hand and stomped it on the rug carpet of the motel.
"No, really? What gave you that idea?"
"Is it because Azazel-sama basically told you to fuck off when you confessed to him?"
"That's none of your fucking business."
"I know how it feels."
She laughed. Laughed, straight in his face. "Oh, do tell."
There was something in the man's eyes that seemed to lack mirth. "It's been over a hundred years. A hundred years ago, I was nothing but an inexperienced Fallen, barely entering his fist half-century. I met someone older, masquerading as a soldier in the Human War. She slaughtered and massacred left and right with a smile on her face and a laugh on her lips. She was carnage, personified. Beauty and bloodshed, madness and chaos."
"She showed me what it was like to live. Within a river, while men died and bullets rained, she pinned me down, owned me, possessed me – drove me to understand what pleasure was. Deprived me of my will and stripped me of my inhibitions. It was my first time – and I wanted to do my best… but even after I tried, even after I gave it my all, even after firmly implanting herself in the most memorable eve of my existence, she looked down at me with apathetic eyes, and do you know what she said?"
No. She didn't. She couldn't remember.
Dohnaseek let out a laugh. "So I know what it feels like, Raynare – to have your hopes crumbled and stepped upon like shit. I know."
She couldn't stop herself from avoiding his stare. "And even after that… you're still here, chasing after me."
"Because..." he hesitated, seemingly chewing on his lips. "Because I…"
"Because you… what?"
He said nothing, his gaze lingering on her, before averting from her and seemingly locking unto the ceiling. The fan. The floor. Anywhere but her.
She laughed. Laughed. It wasn't a small, happy giggle. It wasn't a snort of amusement. It wasn't even a chortle. It was full blown, disbelieving laughter.
She spun on her heel and approached the bathroom, the door slamming shut behind her. A sole male fallen angel sat on a chair in a motel, reaching deep into his pockets for a cigarette, bringing one out, lighting it, placing it at his lips, and taking a deep, long drag.
"It could have been you."
Those words sprung up, uncertainly, and whispered traitorously within her ears. No matter as she retained her expressionless visage before the maids and servants of the Gremory household, as she was often patted slightly on the head and told easily that unexpected deaths were the bread-and-butter of those who served the mighty and powerful.
It could have been her, whose cooling corpse was collected as an afterthought, who was not even given a true, proper funeral, as her 'King' consistently declared that she treated her peerage like family, blamed herself ceaselessly for her loss, and yet, did not bother to ask how the death of one of her 'family' affected the others.
She sat in the large opulent bathtub that was provided to her, steaming hot water reaching up to her neck as she hugged her knees and gazed down at her reflection.
"It could have been you."
The voice whispered again. It could have been her, instead of Kiba and Gasper that were dead. Rias seemed to 'mourn' by ignoring everyone and dedicating herself into some form of training, pushing past the limits of what she could do with her magic. Akeno, ever stoic, continued with the expected grace and elegance of Rias' Queen, not, in the slightest, seeming perturbed by the death of someone that was 'family.'
Or maybe she was, maybe Kiba's death bothered her deeply, maybe it weighed down on the girl's conscience in the same manner that it did the sole Rook of Rias Gremory. If it did, however, Akeno would never show it. Her image was important, and her grief would formally bow and hide itself beneath curtains in order to preserve her dignity. Rather, Akeno attempted to console Rias and alleviate the girl's guilt, trying her hardest to convince the Gremory that the deaths of her 'family' were not as a result of Rias' own actions.
"But it is her fault."
The nekoshou frowned at the voice. It was her voice, but it was rarely ever so vocal. She wondered if it was because she had been ignored since they'd arrived at the underworld. If it was because she was treated like a child, patted, petted, and dismissed by everyone from the butlers to servants. Perhaps it was because she was a bit irritated at being overlooked, a bit vexed at being unnoticed. Or maybe it was because, she respected and liked Kiba, and she, too grieved for him, but unlike her King, there was no one to console her.
There had never been anyone to console her.
Not when her sister abandoned her. Not when their parents died. Not when she was imprisoned, enslaved and almost killed. Not when she was finally 'saved' by her current King, a little girl who acted as though the nekoshou's past had not happened, and who never attempted for one day to discuss and help the nekoshou come to terms with it.
She was not cold, or aloof because she found it amusing. She did not maintain a constantly unreadable range of emotional expressions because she was incapable of conveying joy or laughter or glee or desire or lust or happiness or envy or anger or rage or –
She wanted to laugh. To be able to sing, and dance and stand her ground firmly or decry things she loathed. She wanted to look at her reflection and see more than just the same cardboard-dry expression staring straight back at her.
Mockingly, she gazed further into the clear hot water. Her white hair and blank face returned to her. The expression she'd worn ever since her sister left. The expression she'd worn ever since she stopped being "Shirone" and started being "Koneko." The expression she wore when she felt elated, when she felt distressed, when she grieved the loss of a mentor and friend.
Kiba understood her more than anyone else in the Occult Research Club. He understood being the last of a kind. He understood betrayal. He, too, mastered the act of masquerading his thoughts. He was one of the few people that did not treat her like a child or like a pet.
And she could not so much as shed a tear for his loss.
"It's her fault."
Maybe if Rias did not spend all day reading her Japanese manga and watching anime. Maybe if she had trained up Kiba to be stronger, maybe if she had constantly checked up on them, pushed them to the limits of their ability, ensured that they possessed both the drive and the power to overcome any enemy –
Maybe if she had actually done something to earn their respect –
She shook her head slowly to bat away the thoughts. She slunk herself into the bathwater, unusually comfortable with the heat, taking a deep breath as she was submerged within. She was capable of harboring such thoughts in her head because no one expected her to harbor such thoughts. No one expected her to think for herself. No one expected anything of her.
She was a trophy to be displayed; a rare totem to be collected.
"Aren't you sick of it?"
She sat up straight from the bath, blinking her eyes at the unexpected thought. She turned her gaze, conspiratorially around the bathroom, ensuring that she was the only one within it. No doubt she'd heard the words, and it had been in her own voice, but she could not believe she had actually thought of it. It was a stray thought. Just one, random seemingly stray thought –
And that was what made it so dangerous.
She – she could not leave Rias. It was impossible. She would be hunted and searched targeted until she was killed.
"Rias wouldn't do that. She won't kill you."
She frowned at that argument, pursing her lips. It was a possibility, but it was not one she could easily risk taking. Besides, where would she go?
"The Red Dragon Emperor."
The answer loomed over her head. It felt like ages ago, when they had gone in search of the mysterious man, and the overwhelming scent of blood sickened her to the point of incapacitation. In lieu of all that had happened, she had forgotten. Forgotten about the note directed to her that she hastily swallowed in order to avoid drawing scrutiny. Forgotten about the overwhelmingly dangerous individual who claimed to possess a sense of hearing superior to her sense of smell. Forgotten about the absolutely asinine fact that this being had somehow managed to place a message on her person despite her never seeing or encountering him. The message which hinted at something regarding her sister.
She shook her head dismissively. She could not go to him. She did not know him. His motivations, his reason for even being remotely interested in her, or even his background. For all he knew, he was another person looking to hang up "the last nekoshou" as a trophy.
"But he's strong."
There… there was no doubt about that. The sheer smell of blood on his form, the blood of dragons and monsters that saturated his entire being spoke of inconceivable strength. Stronger than Rias by ludicrous margins. Stronger than Rias' father or mother – perhaps as strong as Rias' brother.
"He can make you strong."
Could he? She frowned uncertainly, rising out of the bathtub. As it stood, there was a war coming. War was dangerous, unpredictable, and as a member of Rias' peerage, she could be drawn into the conflict at any time. Conflict against enemies she could not win against, against foes that could potentially end her life easily… and Rias… Rias had not trained her.
No. Rias never trained any of them. Ever.
Even if the girl were to suddenly change and decide to train them, it was too late. Kiba was already dead. She did not feel like fighting enemies for a master who let her own laziness cause the death of her 'family.' She doubted the effectiveness of any potential training Rias could offer. The Red Dragon Emperor however…
"He can make you strong."
She climbed out of the bathtub, grabbing a towel. She knew that it was risky, it was dangerous, and it was perhaps, not the best idea, however, she could not help it. She needed to become stronger. She did not want to die. She did not want to continue to be viewed through the lens of an exotic animal that purred indolently in the laps of its master.
"Maybe… maybe… the Red Dragon Emperor…"
She crushed the stray thought as it arrived. She would find a way to meet with him, but she did not want to get her expectations too high. It was a single meeting, one, harmless conversation.
"With a tremendously powerful being who overlooked Rias Gremory for you."
Koneko found herself slowly fidgeting with the towels in her hands, her gaze straying down to her body. Her underdeveloped breasts which only managed to possess small mounds which indicated she was female. Her flat, toned stomach and ungraciously tiny hips. Her legs, which were perhaps her best feature, strong, smooth and firm, yet still lacking in an overwhelming amount of voluptuousness that could be found in numerous other females.
Suddenly, she felt that meeting the Red Dragon Emperor was a bad idea, but for all the wrong reasons.
"…he's different." Vali allowed a minuscule nod. "…I know you want to fight a strong opponent…"
The earth around them was dry and cracked. A marsh deprived of water and heavily abused by sunlight. Hills and other rocky formations could be seen off in the horizon. Nothing living could be found scurrying or skittering across the land. Such was the barren wastelands purportedly tilled endlessly by the first son of Adam, cursed forever until it descended into the pits of the underworld on its lonesome. Such a fitting location was suitable for their battle, with no civilizations or settlements for several thousand kilometers.
"Vali… it is your decision as my host… but I feel I must remind you, the battles between Red and White Dragon Emperor will always end in the death of one."
"Are you saying you believe I'll die here Albion?" Vali ignored the warm breeze as he felt his blood pump faster and faster within his system. "Have you so little faith in me?"
"There are miracles faith can perform." The aged dragon said. "Defeating him is not one of them." There was a long, somewhat tired sigh. "Yet I feel you will attempt to fight and try against the impossible, no matter what."
There, perhaps, was the crux of it. A fight against the impossible. It sounded like an exaggerated statement when one examined it from an outside lens, yet, it was true. Even now, the warm breeze that blew strands of his hair away from his face and made his clothes billow were the mere residue effects of his opponent's presence.
The ground around the tall dark-haired vampire was boiling. Sizzling. Cracking and hissing like a venomous snake that had been stepped upon by an unruly hiker. The air around him shimmered with a burning haze that turned it visibly red. The man stood, his hands casually within the pockets of dark jeans, his gaze locked upon the form of the descendant of Lucifer with an unerring passion. Lightning crackled from his form, occasionally, twitching and blinking in the air in bright flashes like a legion of cameras endlessly capturing a moment of history.
Their agreement was one month, and the man indicated that he would fight him with his all, holding absolutely nothing back. In the span of one month, so much chaos occurred in the world that made Vali realize that the man in front of him was the most likely cause. The Devils were fighting back an invading force of fiery demonic beings, the angels and fallen stood with baited breath wondering if there was any need for a meeting between factions, and instead thinking about how best to utilize the chaos to their advantages, and the supernatural world as a whole watched with baited breath and anticipation to know when the next war would start, and who it's combatants would be.
The man in front was certainly going to be one of them. Whether or not Vali would remain as one of the combatants would decide on this battle, a battle that was agreed upon a mere month ago.
"Once this battle is over," the man's voice seemed smoother, silkier, and definitely more persuasive than it had before. It lacked the previous general sense of apathy and easygoing nature that was almost reminiscent of young adult humans. If it wasn't for the same unforgettable magical signature, Vali would have believed he was speaking to a completely different being.
"We'll discuss your shifts."
Vali wasn't entirely sure that he heard those words correctly. "What?"
"I was thinking of getting a castle," the voice was angelic, seductive, to a ridiculously annoying fault. "But I realized I don't need one. It'll be funny, when people realize that the world was conquered from a nightclub."
Vali prepared himself, pouring out his demonic power and unleashing the full might of his Balance Breaker. The White Armor of the English Dragon covered his skin, the helmet covering his face and eyes from view, as the magnificent blue wings emitted light and took him into the air.
"You're taking me too lightly."
The man, amidst the boiling earth and crackling lightning, managed a friendly smile. "The agreement was that I'm not to hold back."
Vali hovered in the air, feeling his irritation rise with each moment. "Why?"
"If I attack first… it ends."
There was nothing else that needed to be said.
Speed was his strength. The White Dragon Emperor dive-bombed his opponent, tearing through the sky with an ear-splitting boom, his fist extended, the first strike in the combat between dragons that was certain to shake the entirety of the underworld –
"That was fun."
The man was no longer standing in front of him. Vali found himself inexplicably frozen, no, paralyzed in place, his fist still halfway extended. He reached for his power, calling upon it to "DIVIDE!" only for nothing to happen.
No, something did happen. His hands fell off his body. Then his feet. Then his arms. Then his knees. He dropped to the ground, limbless, his mouth open to articulate a silent scream.
"So," the Vampire stood over him, smiling. "Can you make a cappuccino?"
Dead Man's Drink
The club was a quaint little place. Dark curtains hung and contrasted with macabre skulls. The imagery of bats and skeletons fit snugly in the room along with the archaic mugs and pitchers, mosaic tessellated floors, and oddly enough, the stripper pole and stage that were currently vacant. Her eyes flickered over to the pole, painted over in the visage of the human femur. The stage, large enough for two. The chairs and seats arranged to face it, a group of salarymen eagerly chatting amongst themselves. Occasionally, they'd reach for a bottle or a glass of alcohol, drinking, sighing, unknotting their ties and freeing their corporate shirts from the bondages of their belts, and lean in, at peace.
She'd questioned, at first, the logic of even coming here. She was a high-schooler, albeit one that currently did not have a high-school to attend. Laying on her bed, night after night, rolling from edge-to-edge with an albatross planted on her shoulders, questioning herself, wondering:
How had I escaped?
How had she? How had she gone, from suffering the ignoble torment of her bullies, to the doors of the school, mere seconds, seconds, before the flames that consumed it all?
Relax… there's no need to think about that now…
Indeed, there wasn't. Her hesitation, her uncertainty at holding the coupon in her sweaty palms and taken uneven breaths as she pushed through the doors of the establishment had vanished. She did not realize when she removed the hood of her hoodie, sat comfortably at the bar, and felt ease and warmth seep through her pores.
"Welcome to the Dead Man's Drink. What can I get for you?"
There was something odd about the barmaid. Familiar. As though she should recognize her. The hair was certainly different, and the clothes were risqué enough that she would never consider it, but there was something there.
"I – I'm not actually – I'm underage –"
The barmaid gave her an odd look. Actually, now that she realized it, the barmaid seemed to be around her age. Definitely a teenager. Dressed in fetish outfits that had her blushing a bit at the skin exposure.
Underage, overage, just relax… no one cares…
She found herself feeling confident, before managing a smile. "I guess… I'll take whatever's cheapest?"
The barmaid made a sound somewhat like a grunt. "I've got this coupon for a free drink."
She waved the piece of paper, sliding it across the smooth wooden feel of the bar, and making the young barmaid's eyes flicker to her. There was something in her gaze.
"Oh. It's you."
Her heart pounded a bit. "Me?"
The barmaid took the slip of paper. "Seth-sama is currently out recruiting for new members of staff." The woman frowned. "Viser-san is currently out on an errand for Seth-sama."
"Wait… who is that?"
"Seth-sama is the owner of the Dead Man's Drink. The one who gave you the coupon." The barmaid said. "Viser is the Senior Manager."
"Oh." She stumbled a bit on her words. "Well that's great."
A large glass was passed over to her. "On the house."
The barmaid left before she could protest. Another one took her place, serving drinks, and this time, she could swear that the young woman looked familiar. If the hair color was changed a bit and a permanent scowl would be put on her face, she'd look just like –
"Hey Mura!" one of the customers called "Another one of that Alto Wine!"
"Coming right up!"
The barmaid's gaze met hers. Her heart raced. She felt glued to her seat. Her breathing slowed and her body –
Her muscles relaxed. She felt as though a soft breeze blew into the area. There was neither a need nor reason for concern, for chaos, even though the eyes were unmistakable, and even though it was undoubtedly Murayama wearing that skimpy outfit and acting as a barmaid. But hadn't the girl been registered amongst the names of the deceased? Her parents thought she was dead… didn't they? So why was she here, acting as a barmaid?
It – it didn't matter though. The bar… the bar was so nice… the air was relaxing, the entire place, it calmed her, and for the first time, she wasn't overthinking or stressing needlessly about things. She wasn't worrying about what school she'd transfer into next, or her goals for the future, or whether she'd just drop out entirely and enter the porn industry. Well, not that her parents would approve… but… they… didn't… matter…
She reached for the drink, slowly allowing herself sip from it. It was her first ever taste of alcohol, and it burned down her throat, she coughed, awkwardly, as she felt a warm feeling transfer from her throat to her chest, and down to the rest of her body. She felt lighter, and at the same time, felt as though she'd taken a full cup of coffee. Her vision did buzz a bit though, and her mind melted into soft, gooey-mushy puddles of idle bliss.
W-wow… if I'd known alcohol tasted so good…
"U-um… a-ano… excuse me… are you… are you the one looking for Seth-sama?"
She blinked numerous times to stop the haziness. Standing in front of her, was a clear foreigner, with blonde hair and brilliant green eyes. A white purse hung over her shoulders, and she wore a blue sundress that stopped just above her knees, a large, encompassing smile on her face.
Aika looked at the glass, and then turned back to the young blonde, and then turned her attention to the glass. She dropped the glass, and reached out, blinking when her fingers pinched soft skin.
"W-wait… you're real?"
The girl huffed in a manner that was supposed to be indignant, but only appeared more unbelievably precious. "T-that's very r-rude! I'm real!"
Aika managed to rub the back of her head awkwardly. "Sorry, you – you just appeared out of nowhere and seemed so out of place I couldn't believe it, y'know?"
"Out of place?" the blonde girl tilted her head a bit.
"This – this is a nightclub. And…" and… and what was out of place here? Was there? Nah… maybe she was imagining things… this place was soothing… "And… I… what was I saying again?"
"Ah! That's true…" the girl reached for something within her purse. "Um… can you – put this on?"
A small, metal ring. It seemed to glow a bit in the dark, and possessed engravings of the likes she'd never seen before. Still, there was no reason to turn down a perfectly good present from someone so cute, now was there?
She slipped it on to her right pinky finger, smiling at the look of it. "Huh… this looks…" Overwhelming amount of sensations and negative emotions slammed through her mind like a car through a solid brick wall. "W-w-what – what the hell?"
For starters, what was up with the weird macabre theming? Why was there a stripper pole in the middle of the place making it hard to tell if this was a nightclub or a strip club? Why were the employees underage and dressed in fetish school-girl zombie cosplay? Why the hell did no one seem to care about that fact, and why is "Baby Don't Hurt Me" playing on the goddamned stereo?!
"Nothing – nothing in this place makes a lick of sense. Those cosplay dresses are sexy though –" she slapped her cheeks gently. "No. Focus – focus Aika –" Her suppressed libido came charging through her mind and was almost already threatening to push aside more important thoughts. "Why… why are they here?"
"Seth-sama says they were bad people who did and said bad things." The cute blonde girl responded. "He… um… well, he's making them… work here, to atone."
"He's making them work here?" She couldn't believe her ears, also, she couldn't believe her eyes, the girl in front of her was cuuuute. Kawaii in such a way that Aika wanted to glomp her and cuddle up with her, and do some things that came up in her Shoujo-Ai manga…
She forcefully shook her head again. "How? They – they're acting weird… they didn't even recognize me… and…" actually, no, it was more than just that, wasn't it? "This… this place… what is this place… all my thoughts were fuzzy and light… until I put this thing on –"
She rose up her hand, staring ominously at the ring. There was a nagging sensation at the back of her mind and an uncomfortable feeling that was added on top of it.
"Seth-sama's bar… he made it so people who come here would always be relaxed and happy!" the girl clapped, excited. "Seth-sama is so kind, though he doesn't know it."
Made it so people who come here would be relaxed and happy?
"…er… how exactly… did this Seth-guy do that?"
"Seth-sama's a very strong vampire."
Aika stared at the blonde and realized she had encountered a rare, real-life 'ditzy-blonde' archetype. "A vampire."
The girl nodded excitedly. "But – but Seth-sama isn't like most Vampires! He's kind! And warm! And he offered me a place to stay and saved me and he doesn't even ask me for anything in return." Though her lips went down a bit. "Sometimes… sometimes I feel like I owe him a lot. I don't know what I can do for him to make him happy."
Aika didn't know what to say to the girl. "Um –" It was the only word she could think of, because as it were, she was still trying to wrap her head around the whole vampire thing.
Maybe the girl was a Chuuni? Yes, one of those people who invented names of fictional attacks like "Dark and Darker" or "Ebony Darkness Demon Punch." Probably. The blonde girl was probably one of those supernatural chunibyou if she believed in vampires. Sure, Aika possessed her own fair share of erotic likes and fantasies, and sparkly supernatural romance was a rather fun genre, but there had to be some sort of limit.
"Ah! I'm sorry, I w-went on and r-r-rambled about my problems…" she tried to smile, though it came off a bit awkwardly. "U-um, Seth-sama says I need to talk with people my own age and make friends so I c-can b-be more confident and l-learn t-things…"
The girl hesitated, her face heating up a bit before she took a formal bow that was excellently performed coming from a non-Japanese person. "Ano – if – if it wouldn't b-be much t-trouble… would you… would you be my friend?"
"I – huh – wha?"
"S-Seth-sama said s-someone w-with a coupon would c-come a-around and t-that I s-should try to become friends with that person." She bit her lip. "I – I don't really… have any friends, other than Seth-sama… and I…"
"I'll be your friend!"
Too adorable! She couldn't help it anymore, she reached out to the shorter girl, her arms wrapping around her long blonde locks as she pushed the girl's head closer to her chest.
"Oh you cute, cute little thing," she squeezed tighter. "I understand… I understand what it's like to be alone because of your passion, because of what you love."
When confronted with the potential possibility of the existence of the supernatural, one was not going to take it at face value, not without irrefutable proof. It made more sense, in Aika's mind, that the young blonde girl in front of her was a displaced foreigner with a heavy obsession with vampires, who lacked friends and was ostracized because of her clearly unorthodox passion.
Aika smiled at her. "I'm Kiryu Aika. You can call me Aika-chan, okay?"
"Ah – okay, Aika-chan. I'm Asia Argento."
"Oooh, you really are a foreigner. Where are you from?"
"Ano… I think… Italy?"
"You're not sure?"
"Um when I – I was with the church. I-I didn't really l-learn about… geography…"
"When you were… with the church?"
The girl's face appeared somewhat solemn. "I'm a nun. I – um… I used to be a nun, before I was excommunicated." She perked up. "But – but it's okay! I'm glad things worked out the way they did. If not, I'd never have been able to meet Seth-sama!"
She even worked out a backstory like that? Aika mused, amazed. A former nun, in a nightclub belonging to a Vampire? "Why were you excommunicated?"
She grimaced a bit again. "I um… I… used my powers to heal a devil. I didn't know… that I wasn't allowed too…"
Now there are devils involved? Aika was beginning to feel more and more fascinated with the girl's invented world. "Oh… I'm sorry."
Still… the person she believes is a vampire… Aika turned her gaze to the side a bit, keeping her attention on Murayama and Katase. To be able to keep them in line, keep Murayama in line, especially considering how haughty and arrogant the Kendo Club Head was, and the fact that they came from rich and influential families, either the man was richer and more influential, or worse, he possessed very damaging information and was blackmailing the girls into working for him. But for them to be so docile, and for them to pretend as though she didn't exist… could it… could it be?
The odd feeling she felt when she entered the bar… maybe… maybe it was a drug? Something that was sprayed on her person or in the air. A drug that made people feel calm… that… that had to be it, right?
The antidote must have been in her drink… but it took some time to work, so Asia provided a ring instead and made her believe that the 'ring' possessed some sort of effects to counter the drug.
They went to such extremes just to sell the story of magic and vampires?
Aika was simultaneously fascinated, impressed, and horrified all at the same time. Could it be… that she'd encountered something extremely sinister here? Was this "Seth" person some sort of Yakuza or Drug Baron?
Was… was that how she was saved from the explosion at Kuoh? Drugged? A drug that knocked off some minutes of her memory? At first, it seemed insane, but it couldn't be a coincidence that the girls bullying her just so happened to be working for the same guy who saved her. Had they drugged her food before pushing her into the bathroom and commencing with their plans to strip her?
It sounded a bit like a stretch, but what other logical explanation could there be?
No doubt… there was something fishy going on here, there was something bad… and it probably had to do with Murayama's posy and this 'Seth' character.
Was… was Asia-chan, sweet, green-eyed Asia-chan, the unwitting, innocent victim, being used for her delusions by some evil megalomaniac?
"Asia-chan," Aika said, conviction dripping from her voice. "Don't worry. I'll save you."