Hey, glad you all like the last chapter. Here's chapter 13 and we'll learn Kuroka's fate. Enjoy and leave a review!
Also, I have gotten a lot of reviews that people are getting notices of updates of new chapters, when in fact it is just me doing some corrections. I deeply apologize as this bothers me too. I have no idea why that is happening and am trying to find a solution. Worst case scenario I would have to create a new story and move all these chapters over there.
Once again, I deeply apologize for all this.
On with the story!
(17th Floor, the Underground Prison)
In a section of the 17th floor, also known as "The Deep Valley", is a place called the Underground Prison. The only way to enter by normal means is through a secret passageway underneath a large boulder. As the name implied, the facility was where prisoners were kept, beings too dangerous to be detained in Avalon, or those who possessed information that Babylon wanted. As such, the prison was run by a Custodian created for collecting intelligence through torture and interrogation.
This is where Kuroka was being kept. Having woken up not too long ago, the Nekoshou found her left ankle held by an onyx shackle that was attached to a chain linking it to the wall. Worse, Kuroka immediately discovered that it was nullifying her magic; she couldn't even use Senjutsu. "Nya, this sucks" She muttered to herself as she tried to free herself.
Her thoughts were broken when the cell door opened. Entering was none other than Magnus. Behind him were four Babylonian Sentinels. Though their presence was not really necessary, the Dragon player knew that the NPCs would not feel satisfied if he didn't have a protection detail. The sentinels remained outside as Magnus approached Kuroka.
Up close, Kuroka could tell why Ophis was so determined in getting this guy's help. Though restrained, Magnus' aura was as clear as day for someone with master sensory skills like Kuroka. It exceeded that of any other being she ever encountered. It made Kuroka's hair stand on end and a shiver of fear and…arousal run over her body.
Given her current situation, Kuroka tried to use her sex appeal. Getting on her knees, she bent over so that her large breasts were in view. "Nya, you're pretty rude you know. Leaving a poor girl all alone." She mewled in a seductive tone.
All she got was a raised eyebrow and a bored look from Magnus. "You know, not every male is a horny pervert." Magnus said causing Kuroka to pout. Sighing, the dragon sat down. "Though I do apologize for having you locked up in here for so long. Especially since my people weren't your original targets. I trust you were fed right?"
Kuroka thought back over an hour ago. She had to admit that the Oyakodon the guards delivered to her was heavenly. Nodding, Magnus continued. "Well, to start off, you're currently in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. My home and the center of the Orbis Faction. I advise you to forget any hopes of escape or rescue."
The Nekoshou frowned and huffed, putting her arms under her breasts, causing them to jiggle a little. "So, what are you going to do to me? Torture or something?"
To her surprise Magnus shook his head. "Nah, you were never targeting me or my people in the first place, so I have no reason to treat you like an enemy. The reason why we captured you is because 1. The Devils would most likely execute you. 2. Because we can work out a bargain the benefits us both."
"Oh?" Kuroka asked, raising an eyebrow. "And what bargain would that be?"
Magnus internally smirked, already worked out what he would say. "As you know, we have a device known as Purifiers, which can remove Evil Pieces. I can use that too remove your status as a Stray Devil, in addition make you a citizen of Avalon. In return. I want you to train the Youkai here in Senjutsu."
Kuroka frowned. "Senjutsu? Why do you want to learn that?" She asked.
"It is not for me, it's for some of my people. Specifically, Youkai." Magnus answered. "See, the Youkai on Avalon are either descendants of those who immigrated there or lived there for too long to remember what the feeling of corrupted natural energy feels like. And the Youkai inside Babylon do not use Senjutsu but might have the talent to learn it."
"And that's where I come in." Kuroka stated.
"You're an expert in Senjutsu, your powers are boosted by the Evil Pieces. Plus, you have no affiliations with any faction. And don't say the Khaos Brigade, we know the majority of those people don't care if you live or die." Magnus said. "Work with us, and I will grant you asylum from the Devils. Prove yourself and I will use a purifier to remove the Demonic energy inside of you. Good deal, right?"
Kuroka was silent for a moment. It did sound like a good deal. And it might mean she would get a chance to reconcile with her sister. And…she gave a brief scan of Magnus. There might be just one other thing she gets out of this deal. Still, "I need time to think, nya." Kuroka said quietly.
Magnus nodded in understanding and soon left, followed by his guards after they locked the cell once more. Not too far away, Magnus was greeted by several individuals, ratmen. At the front was a larger ratman who reached Magnus' waist, shorter because he was hunched over. He had blackish-gray fur and wore a dark brown hooded cloak that reached his ankles, just barely showing his paws, while his long tail stuck out from underneath. He wore a gas mask over his face and had a bag of various items used for potion making on his back while around his waist was belt carrying potion bottles as well as a curved long knife. In his right hand was a wooden staff with rat skull on the top. This was Kosketus Tuntea, a Custodian, direct subordinate of Grapmaker and Interrogator of Babylon.
"Make sure she receives three meals a day. If she needs to use the bathroom, have guards escort her. No torture or other methods are necessary for her but be sure to keep an eye on her." Magnus ordered.
"Yes, your Majesty. As you command!" Kosketus replied in a squeaky voice.
Later, Magnus was at his desk once again. On his left and right were EZY and Sole, respectively. Standing in front of Magnus was Mortem. Piles of paper was on Magnus desk as he discussed with his two Wardens and Custodian Commander. "We still have no idea where the Nephalems came from?" Magnus asked.
"We searched for any surviving invaders after Checkmate took out the airship, but no luck." The General Warden replied. "However, we can be sure that this means there are none on the island at all, instead of hiding."
Magnus nodded. Better they be gone then somewhere on Avalon lying in wait. "What about the bodies of those who were killed?" Magnus asked.
Mortem shook his head. "We tried that, your Majesty. But the bodies disappeared after they died."
"Well…at least confirmed that they're summons from YGGDRASIL." Magnus said. In the past he had experimented with his summons shortly after arriving in this world. The player had discovered that under certain conditions, a summon would remain even after serving its original purpose. However, most summons disappeared after a specific amount of time, the other being if they were killed.
"You do not sound entirely surprised, your Majesty." Mortem said.
Magnus looked at his General Warden. "Over a thousand years ago, Babylon was attacked by a World Enemy and its summons. We just barely managed to drive it back but failed to kill it." Even after obtaining the powers of the strongest World Enemy, Magnus still had to struggle against the powerful Boss, even force to use his true form before it retreated.
"Perhaps these Nephalems were its summons. Trying to gain revenge." Sole suggested.
"Possibly, but unlikely. Nephalem summons can only be summoned by players who have mid to high racial levels of the Nephalem class." EZY added.
"Thus, there can only be one logical conclusion." Magnus said with a serious look on his face. "There is a player here who is both a Nephalem and has a high level."
The room went silent, an uneasy atmosphere about now. The theory of other players being in this world had never been ruled out. And Magnus' worse fear was that these players could be hostile too. That would not go well for him. Though he was confident in his abilities and that of his forces, an unknown enemy was far more dangerous than a known one. Knowledge of rival guilds was important back in YGGDRASIL.
"Well, for now we'll put that aside for another time. Back to the business at hand." He took a piece of paper from Sole. "The Egyptian Pantheon still have not responded to our request for an alliance?" Magnus asked.
"To be precise, your Majesty, they are divided." Mortem said. "On one end is Horus, the public leader, who supports the idea of an alliance. He sees it as a way for their faction to regain some of their strength and is interested in our faction's diversity. On the other hand, is their private leader, Ra, who is rather unsure. While he approves of what we did to the Biblical Faction, he is rather cautious of accepting an alliance with other factions given what happened with the Moses incident."
Magnus nodded in understanding. On a personal level, Magnus was glad that Moses had freed the slaves. The dragon himself was in fact Jewish from his mother's side and disliked slavery as a whole too, which is why he was so opposed to the Evil Pieces, the other being what Valefor did. Officially though, the Egyptian Pantheon's unique rune magic would be a great boon to Orbis, with them willing to provide resources that the Pantheon would enjoy. "What about the others?" Magnus asked, changing the subject in the meantime.
"Do you want the reports of all factions or just the major ones?" Mortem asked.
Magnus waved a hand. "The major ones for now. I'll look at the others at a different time."
"Understood, this what we know from Pars' intelligence network. The Chinese Faction prefers to remain neutral but are open for trade. I'm sure we can work something out there. We might have some luck with the Shinto and Youkai Faction given your relationship with Lady Yasaka. The Olympians and Hindu are the most difficult. While I cannot say that having them as allies would not be a bad thing, there are not many reasons for us to seek out an alliance with them. And just like with the Egyptians, their leaders are divided in how to approach us."
"Is there a possibility that they might become hostile towards us?" EZY asked as she read a report. This one had less, charming thoughts about Orbis.
"It is not impossible. They're two factions that have powerful individuals, especially the Hindu Faction." Mortem answered.
"I rather not have any hostilities at all." Magnus stated. "Even if we can't open negotiations with them, I at least want to remain neutral."
"Your Majesty, even though they have strong individuals, and even impressive armies, those two Pantheons combine could not defeat us. The forces of Babylon, and those under your protection, are formidable. There I say that we are the strongest faction in this world, and we would be honored to wipe out your enemies." Sole commented.
Magnus rolled his eyes. Confidence boarding arrogance was a common trait among most of the NPCs. They took pride in being the creations of the World Searchers, that in the beginning, they would always praise Magnus, being an army of yes men (and women). In addition, they would not tolerate any form of disrespect towards Magnus or his comrades, to the point they would kill anyone who even said the smallest of insults about them. The same was for Babylon, the NPCs were fiercely protective of the dungeon that they would defend it to their last breath. Admirable traits, but they needed improvement. Magnus lost tracked on how many years it took for him to get the NPCs to mellow out a bit so they wouldn't kill every person who said even the tiniest bad remark towards him.
"I won't deny that we have many powerful fighters. And I appreciate your dedication, as always Sole. But I rather not start an all-out war unless we have no other choice or for the right reason." Magnus replied. "In all honesty, is there a chance they might try to start hostilities?"
"Doubtful, but they will be cautious. Pars' intelligence shows some might even become paranoid should anything…extreme happen in the future." Mortem said.
Magnus groaned. "Even if they cannot be allies, I rather they remain neutral. Orbis is still sorting itself out. Combined with the Khaos Brigade becoming active and whoever sent those Nephalems, I rather not have anyone else come at us at the moment." Magnus hummed. Then his face brightened. "And I have a good idea for it."
A few minutes later, Mortem exited Magnus' office, preparing to carry out his leader's orders. A voice suddenly called out to him. "Heya, Mortem! What's new with his Majesty?" Grapmaker asked, the Brain Eater walking over to him. The assortment of items hanging off his cloak making noise as he moved. Though it looked more like sliding because the cloak hid his feet.
"Grapmaker. Why are you here?" Mortem asked.
"Oh, I just finished a new set of healing potions, and came to get his Majesty's approval to have them shipped. Why? Did something happen?" Grapmaker asked, wondering if he should come back at a different time.
"Just some plans his Majesty has come up with, nothing bad." Mortem said as he thought of how to coordinate for what his Majesty was planning.
"Oooh~! What kind of plans?" Grapmaker asked as he looked over Mortem's shoulders to see what was written. What he saw made the Brain Eater loudly shout, an overdramatic expression on his face. "What?!"
(Few Days Later, Underworld, Gremory Mansion)
Sirzechs had called the other Satans to his Family's home. His sister had just finished a match against none other than Sona's Peerage and both groups were relaxing before going back to school. However, a letter had come in and thus the red head Lucifer summoned his friends. The reason why? It was because it was from Orbis. Thus, Sirzechs had requested Grayfia to take them on a tour of the Gremory territory with their son Millicas. It would distract them while he met with the others.
Said people had just arrived. Ajuka sat to his left, Falbium across from him and Serafall on his right. "So, what was so important that you called us here, Sirzechs? I was in the middle of something important." Falbium said, the bald Devil letting out a yawn.
'More like his nap was interrupted.' Was the shared thought between the other three Satans. Sirzechs cleared his throat. "A few hours ago, I received a letter labeled with a certain mark." The Red-haired Devil said as he raised said envelope. On it was the symbol of the World Searchers, Magnus' guild, and the symbol for Orbis. "After confirming it was legitimate, I read its contents. In short, Magnus is inviting us to attend a gathering. And not just, but leaders of all factions."
The others were silent, but it was clear that the news impacted them given their wide eyes. It was Falbium who spoke first. "This cannot be something done at random. If I had to guess Magnus wants to forge good bonds with the other factions. He is after all a new figure in the supernatural world who until recently, has been staying in the shadows."
Nodding, Sirzechs continued. "I agree. And I've already talked with Azazel and Michael, and they agreed to send representatives. However, for us, this is our chance to finally reach out to Orbis and establish good ties, to undo the mistakes of the past. We cannot waste such an opportunity."
The other Satans nodded in agreement. "The question is who to send?" Ajuka asked. "They need to be someone who will not ruin our reputation any further. Someone who will show that we Devils have changed."
"As head of foreign affairs, Serafall will naturally be sent." Sirzechs said, looking at said Devil.
Serfall nodded and the others agreed at the obvious choice. "The letter also mentions we may send a small number of individuals to serve as representatives of what our faction has and can offer. So, long as we send an early notice."
"Who will we send then?" Ajuka asked. "I propose we send Sairaorg Bael and his peerage. He's the heir to the Bael Clan and is the strongest young Devil. His peerage also consists of several Devils from extinct houses. That would put a good example of how our future looks like."
"Show them that the new generation is better than the old one. I like it!" Serafall exclaimed. "In that case, let me bring my sister's peerage too. I'm sure her dream to open a school for reincarnated Devils would also leave a good impression."
Sirzechs nodded. "Both are good candidates. And if we're following that trait, Rias and her team can also join too."
His suggestion was made with silence. The other Satans had looks that showed they were not entirely on board with his idea. "W-what?" Sirzechs asked.
Ajuka cleared his throat. "Sirzechs, I don't mean to sound rude. I won't deny that Rias is someone who knows to act her station and could probably be useful during the gathering. The problem is her peerage…or rather her sole Pawn."
Sirzechs looked confused. "Issei? What do you mean?"
"It's kind of obvious, Sirzechs. The kid is a pervert and not afraid to admit it." Falbium said with a yawn. "I read his file; his entire power practically runs on lust that he developed a technique to destroy women's clothes. Hell, he needed to poke you sister's breasts just to achieve Balance Breaker. Despite his show's popularity, a lot of the older Devils find that kind of behavior, well…immature."
"Personally, I have nothing against the boy. Having strong desires is what makes a Devil a Devil." Ajuka added. "But this situation is different. Orbis has a lot of reason to be hostile with us, as do many other factions after the Valefor affair. We cannot risk another scandal. And the boy can barely control his urges. If he follows his desire and does something, we might lose any chance of redeeming ourselves in the eyes of the supernatural world."
"And uh, not to be rude, but some of her other servants have their own bad quirks." Serafall added, thinking of an S&M Queen, a cowering Dhampir Bishop, a naïve Bishop, and dense Knight. "To be honest, they may not be the best options to bring to such a gathering."
Sirzechs was shocked by their comments. True, Issei's lust was rather strong, he did not think it would be an issue. And though his friends made many good points, he still had faith in him, his sister and the rest of Rias' peerage. "I'll admit the boy needs some work, but as the current wielder of the Boosted Gear, Issei is already destined to be put under the radar of important individuals. This gathering will be a good chance for him to leave a positive impression. Just in case, I'll tell Rias to make sure he is on his best behavior, okay?"
The other Satans did not seem fully convinced. But seeing how determined Sirzechs was on the matter, they relented. "Fine but remember, we cannot screw this up." Ajuka said. They had to be careful as this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to restore the reputation of the Devils.
(Avalon, Tristan Region)
One of the popular cities in the Tristan region, Meliodas, people were going about their usual business. Like many places of Avalon, the residents comprised of various races, such as humans, elves, dwarves, fairies, dragons, etc. And yet they were all moving about peacefully, no sign of discrimination or prejudice. However, there was one thing going on amongst the populace.
"Have you heard? His Majesty, Magnus has invited representatives from the other factions."
"Really? Even the Youkai and Shinto?"
"The Greek and Hindu too."
"Do you think they will take a tour of Avalon?"
"Does that mean they'll be stopping here?"
"Wait, are the Devils coming too?"
"Oh shit, I hadn't thought about that."
"Surely his Majesty wouldn't truly invite them."
"They better not come here if they know what's good for them."
All this and more were heard by Naboots. The Doppelganger was currently disguised as an elf, browsing some wares while secretly listening to the nearby conversations. [Naboots: You're Majesty, it is the same here as the other places] Naboots said through [Message]
[Magnus Dragan: I was afraid as much, looks like grudges are hard to let go in any world]
The announcement that Magnus was inviting representatives from the other pantheons and factions was spread quickly across Avalon. Already people were discussing about it, wondering who would be showing up and if they would meet them. And many excited of the visitors' coming too, as some had moved to Avalon and were curious if representatives from their old homes. On the other hand, there were discussions about the possibility of the Devils coming. Many had not forgotten the Valefor incident, and the animosity was still strong if what Naboots was hearing.
Speaking of Naboots, he and several others had been sent across Avalon in disguise. Magnus wanted to know the thoughts of the people without them being aware of him listening in. The main reason was because he was concerned how they would react if they learned the Devils were also invited. And as he feared, many places had voiced their contempt for said race.
[Magnus Dragan: 'sigh' good work Naboots. Return to Babylon.]
[Naboots: As you command, your Majesty.]
[Magnus Dragan: In the meantime, Chorus you there?]
[Chorus Agri Ferox: I am here your Majesty.]
[Magnus Dragan: Let Lord Oberon know I wish to speak with him regarding the topic of the Devils. I have an idea that will satisfy all sides]
[Chorus Agri Ferox: At once, your Majesty]
Sorry for the long wait everyone! Things have just been so busy and hectic I barely had time to work on my stories. I hope you all enjoyed this. I don't think I need to tell you that the gathering will be interesting. Be sure to review!
Epithet: Enigma Doctor
Creator: Twisted McDougal
Position: Warden of the 17th Floor "The Deep Valley" of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Brain Eater (15)
Witch Doctor (10)
Total Level: 100 (Racial Class: 40/Job Class: 60)
SPECIAL ABILITY: 87
Character: Despite his appearance, Grapmaker is one of the easier Wardens to approach, as well as the most inquisitive. He is always curious about new or strange things, wanting to learn more. In addition, Grapmaker tends to overreact a lot in a comedic fashion, especially when surprised, though this is also due to his excitement upon seeing/hearing something that interests him or is new. However, Grapmaker is also reliable, backing his allies in battle, which in turn makes him quite ruthless on the battlefield, using various potions and curses on his foes without hesitation if it meant protecting Babylon and Magnus.
Grapmaker's being easily shocked I got from the character Queen from One Piece. He's funny.