The Devil King Exchange Program
Pandora was having a day like any other, sitting in the floor in her own corner of the Netherworld reading the latest work of her favorite human author and reminiscing about her latest children, two campiones in less than a year, truly remarkable, especially for her newest children, that timid girl that slayed Tezcatlipoca, she actually expected Alex to do it but the boy was so excited with the new resources he could use for his research that he was not about to go to the far lands of the "New World" to fight some local divinity.
It was then that she felt it, the tug in her powers that indicated the activation of the ritual she and her husband had made in protest to the gods, the dark art of the witch and the fool, the Birth of the Devil King. Pandora was perplexed, two Campiones in one year was rare but not unheard of, three, however was a first, oh well it was what it was, she started concentrating to draw the power of the Heretic god most recently killed by a mortal... "Hmm, Solomon... WHAT! Oh for Akasha's sake really? Eugh!" you may ask why was Pandora having such reaction, to answer we have to explain how the ritual of the Campione works.
When a mortal kills an heretical god, their power is "siphoned" to Pandora, there she feels in her very soul the identity of the god, the origin of the distortion that made him rebel against his myth and descend to the mortal realm, then the dark art "measures", for a lack of a better term, the level of the impossibility of the mortal killing the god and grants an "Authority" taken from the original legend that befits the deed of the new Godslayer along with the other traits such as great physical and magical abilities, superhuman senses and reactions, the ability to learn any language in minutes, etc. Is for this that usually the first authority of a Campione tends to be his strongest and is actually that kill that makes the Birth of the Devil King ritual enter in a feedback loop every time the Godslayer kills a new god, after all, once an authority is attained is no longer an impossibility to slay a god.
All that aside, after Pandora "received" the power of Solomon she felt the distortion that made him heretical "Once a great proud and just King, now a megalomaniac cannibalistic rapist" said Pandora sadly, once upon a time she took great interest in Solomon, she actually though he would eventually be a Campione, to see the once proud King of Israel reduced to... that, actually caused her great sadness "well at least you were deal with quickly, just a couple hour of existence... that's actually kind of amazing, so he was dealt with in his first rampage... As a woman I can only be glad. Well my new child should be coming abouuuut... Now! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhh!"
It was understandable for Pandora to be surprised, although she could use the ritual to gather information about her children to be, she liked to see them for the first time in person and not in a vision, so It was actually a total shock for her to see appear in front of her a baby that couldn't have more than two or three years out of his diapers .
Now usually a Devil King is born in his late teens or early twenties, your average new Campione being 19 years old. Is at this point in life that human are more naturally bold and more likely to attempt something as foolish as to challenge a god. Older human too made Campione from time to time, the record for the oldest being a woman in her late sixties, a powerful martial artist defending her grandson, while the record for the youngest being a thirteen year old boy that killed cupid in a struck of dumb luck. But never even in the darkest corner of her imagination could Pandora begin to believe that one day a 7 years old kid would be crowned Devil King
Pandora was panicking in front of her new child, understandable since she never had "actual" kids of her own, contrary from popular beliefs she was neither the first woman nor was she created by the gods, she was only a witch tricked by heretical gods into giving a "gift" to her husband that unleashed a monstrosity that eventually killed Epimetheus as he managed to weaken the beast enough for Pandora to kill it, this was the motivation that led her to create the ritual Birth of the Devil King turning herself into a goddess in the process after "creating" the authority Circle of Usurpation.
As it is Pandora is actually used and comfortable dealing with teenagers and young adults the most since once they grow old she rarely meet her children, dealing with what is practically a baby she didn't know what to do, timidly she starts to close the distance between she and the sleeping child, it was at this moment that the new born Campione started to wake up, at first clearly confused, he started to check his surroundings and then catch sight of Pandora and stares. Poor Pandora enters in a new state of panic when the young Devil King just stares at her unmoving, the only saving grace is the fact the he blinks from time to time or she would have a psychotic breakdown, and then she hears him for the first time. "Mommy" says he as Pandora blushes deeply as he starts crawling towards her and hugs her, then Pandora had the singular experience of having a panic attack while feeling in cloud nine.
It was not rare for the children of Pandora to feel the connection to her upon arriving at her realm, after all, all of them had great intuition, a few even knew who she was and what was going on, sadly, only few and far between of her children called her mother but even then it was usually at her request or a in playful or deferent way. It was the first actual time that one of her adopted called her that from the get go and treated her as he would treat his birthmother, she guessed that a kid with the natural intuition of one that eventually slays a god, would recognize his mother with more of a gut feeling rather than actual experimental knowledge.
As the panic starts to fade away and she starts to look at him and realizes that she has yet to see the confrontation between this kid and Solomon, she normally does this after they arrive and before they wake up and is usually done in time to explain what is going on and let the ritual carry on, but due to freaking out at the sight of Vincent she didn't do it so she has to do it now, she slowly sits down and let the kid rest in her arms with a timid smile in her face as she saw him falling asleep in her arms and then connects once again her soul to the ritual to see the confrontation.
A few minutes earlier...
Vincent Lionheart was a very bright and happy child, even though his father died before he could even remember him, the love of his mother was more than enough. Elizabeth Lionheart doted a lot on his child, some may say that too much, but for Elizabeth It would be rather difficult not to, Vincent was always energetic and smiling, was a very smart kid too, showing academic abilities that were clearly ahead of his peers although he normally used his keen intellect to mischief, something that only caused those around him to consider him even more adorable.
Vincent always managed to keep a smile in his mother face, even though she was a widow she never felt like one, It was somewhat difficult to keep living in the past with someone like Vincent close by, but what made Vincent Lionheart a really exceptional child was his intuition, his ability to discern the nature of those around him, his mother learned very early to be wary of those his son distrusted and to put a healthy distance from those Vincent clearly disliked, which takes us to the current conundrum, after all it's not like you can jump through customs in the airport just because your child is freaking out.
Elizabeth never saw his child in this state, surely he showed himself distrustful and wary of some people, outright scared of some, but he never cried out of sheer terror! Now the rest of the people in the airport were looking at her in reproach, and she had no idea what to do, Vincent rarely cried after all, and when he did was because he was hurt somewhere, this was a new situation and not a good moment to experience it, she began looking around for the source of her child outburst (she was positive it was caused by something external) and it was in that moment she saw him.
He was a regal looking man, brown hair, fine features befitting royalty, a trimmed beard, and clothes that she was somehow sure were more expensive that the airplane that had just carried them across the Atlantic, he walked with the poise of a man that knows himself better and above than everyone surrounding him. It took but a single moment for Elizabeth Lionheart to realize that she was born to serve that man
. . .
Vincent was terrified, in his short life he had never been this scared, he was a clever boy, he figured out a long time ago that the nagging feeling in the back of his head when he looked at some people means "bad news", but when he looked at that man it was not a little tug warning him to be wary, It was a feeling from every inch of his skin to the deepest part of his bones that screamed "DANGER", so he started crying, and started struggling, trying to get his mother the hell away from the monster, to his dismay however his mother didn't bulge and tried talking to him out of his outburst, when this didn't work she started looking around as if searching for something, and then she looked at him... and everything went to hell.
Vincent looked in terrified amazement as his mother disentangled herself from his grasp and started walking towards the man, as were doing several other women across the place, and then Vincent heard the voice of the man for the first time "Ah... yes, come, come to us, give yourselves to your new master, let be consumed by lust and debauchery" Vincent could feel the world tremble with every word the man spout, and then the women all started to touch him, at least the ones close to him, the ones that couldn't started pushing each other trying to get close to the man, the man himself seemed totally unconcerned with the situation, as he started fondling the breasts of whatever woman was the closest to him.
At this point Vincent was so scared and confused that he didn't even cry anymore, he just stood there in a corner, terrified of this man and whatever the hell he was doing, but his psyche was going to take a turn for the worst as he saw the man take a woman and bite her, blood started flying as the man started to chew the meat he took from the young woman's arm, the woman herself seemed to be in a mix of ecstasy and pain, if the screams and the creepy smile were anything to go by "Ah, delicious is only fitting to satisfy the both needs of a man in the same action, hahahaha" the man saw fit to eat another mouthful of the arm and the one of her breast before proceeding to tasted another woman, or he would, if he was not interrupted.
"Release the girl in your hand and put your hand in the air!, ladies please back down!" said a voice that for Vincent came out of nowhere, it belonged to a figure clad in what looked like SWAT armor and equipped with a rifle that was pointed towards the man, the figure apparently was leading a group of other similar looking individual that had the monster surrounded. One would think that this would be comforting to Vincent, after all those were the "good guys" but no, he knew, somehow, that the only thing they would achieve was to anger the monster, and that they did
"hmmm, to think that the times changed so much that guards are now willing to raise weapons towards their king... appropriate punishment is necessary! let's see then how you receive the might of my treasure" and saying this the monster raised his hand and the Earth started to tremble, the SWAT looking guys looked confused at each other when suddenly the floor started breaking in different parts and golden spears, swords, maces and other weapons started to merge from the floor impaling the guards that could only scream in pain as the less injured started firing at the monster.
"Hmm it seems that this punishment is not enough, very well, as celebration of my return… Let the coffers be opened, let the treasures overflow, let my enemies die in envy at my wealth and my might!" hadn't he started talking when pandemonium occurred and hundreds of holes erupted from the ground and thousands of weapons started spurting from them killing not only the guards but other random men that were for the most part confused and scared by the situation, it was both unlucky and a blessing in disguise that a mace hit Vincent in the gut and sent him flying away from where a cluster of golden swords were converging, leaving him in intense pain from the strike.
"Ah yes much better, well now that the rabble know their place, where were we my dears?" Said the monster with a lecherous smile while taking another woman and fondling her a little before proceeding, to Vincent's horror, to eat her hand and then her leg "Hmmm, good but not the best of the lot, let's see what else is in the menu... oh my... such a powerful spirit, hmmm, I can feel your soul struggling against my royal decree, oh yes, you my dear will be specially delicious"
Vincent was so scared at this point that it took a moment for him to realize what woman the monster took this time, it was his mother. All the terror, all the panic, all the fear seemed to rise to a peak and then turned cold, the kind of cold that numbs the muscles and the nerves "Mommy... not mommy, please don't hurt mommy" muttered Vincent as the monster dig his teeth into Elizabeth's neck and a rain of blood started falling. And then Vincent knew it, he would save mother, he didn't knew how, but he would do it, it wasn't even a matter of dying trying, he would save his mother period.
A still dazed Vincent started walking towards the nearest sword and... couldn't raise it, it was simply too heavy, there was simply no way a 7 years old kid could raise a pure gold bastard sword, frustrated he ran towards a spear, of course this yielded the same results but Vincent was a clever kid, it was clear by then that this golden weapons were too heavy for him, so he started looking for something else, curiously at this point, all the despair he felt earlier was gone, there was only determination, a look at his mother revealed that the monster had taken a good chunk of her shoulder and was eating her arm, strangely enough this didn't affect Vincent too much, he was going to save his mother, there was that fact, everything else just had an ethereal, unreal quality to it as he kept looking for a weapon to destroy the monster that was tormenting his mother.
Guns wouldn't do it, he didn't know how to use the things and he wasn't stupid, it didn't work for the guards, there was no reason it would work for him, if only the weapons that the monster called from the ground weren't gold, gold and more stupid gold... And there it was, even for Vincent inexperience eyes it was beautiful, much more refined and valuable than any golden stick around. It was a slim curved blade of steel that ended in a handle adorned with three emeralds, one in the pommel and one in each end of the cross-guard.
For one second Vincent looked mesmerized at the beautiful weapon in front of him, he could feel the power emanating from it, this sword was far, far more powerful than any of the golden monstrosities laying around in the floor, snapping out of his dazed state he grabbed the sword, it was still heavy for his little body but at least a manageable weight, looking towards the monster he saw chunks of his mother's arm bitten off of her while the monster was crutching to start feasting in her leg "Hmmm delicious, simply delicious, to think you are still alive and your soul struggling as I feast on you! Oh yes, when I eat your heart it will be glorious!"
There was no form or grace, not technique or plan, Vincent just pointed his recent acquisition to the monster back, and ran, until he was close enough to thrust the sword in the flesh of the monster.
"Aaaarrrrggh! Who dares?! You impudent child! How dare you to wound me! You will die in pain! I will personally dismember you and give the pieces to the dogs!" screamed the monster and moved his hand which caused a golden spear to fly towards Vincent impaling him through his belly "Errg, don't worry you won't die right now, oh no, your death will be in so much pain that will make the punishment of Prometheus look like nothing, Arrg" at the end of the monologue the monster held his hand around the sword and cried in pain.
To a being such a him, being impaled in the heart was no major problem, no, the problem was the weapon, the sword even if was his, was still a legendary steel, for a "Hero" of gold such as him that was a problem, the steel being better at military affairs. But even then he would not be impaired if it was only that, for the sword was first his and second had a different purpose than to kill him, the other problem was that as a being like him descending to the earth he gained certain disadvantages inherent to the mortals, like an anatomy not too different from a human, when Vincent impaled him with the sword he severed the aorta and since the sword stayed there he couldn't regenerate, he could still function for a while since he had a way better constitution than a human, but the lack of blood being pump into his veins was severely weakening.
Vincent was in pain, surely enough the most painful experience he ever had, he was impaled and even if the spear didn't pierce through any organ it still hurt, but that didn't matter, as everything else that was a little unreal, he would save mommy, that was all, he somehow through great pain pushed himself away from the spear and started limping towards the weakened monster that once again seemed to not notice him, busy with his new predicament of having an impaled heart.
Vincent took a small golden dagger from the floor, he hadn't taken one earlier since they were too small and he didn't think he could hurt the monster with them, but he instinctively knew that he was not in condition to look for anything better and with the monster weakened it would have to do, as he was just a few steps away he saw how the weakened monster was looking at his own back and trying to extract the sword from his body, he would have succeeded given a few more seconds but when there were just a couple inches protruding from his chest Vincent stuck the dagger in the side of the monster's face
There was no scream, no insults or curses, the monster just fell limp into the floor, which is the expected behavior of anything that has his brain pierced, but Vincent was not fooled, he still had the same feeling as the first time he put his eyes in the monster, so he mounted into the monster chest and extracted the dagger and stuck it again the monster's face, and again and again, he didn't know if he had done it ten or a hundred times before he passed out from fatigue and the blood he had been losing since he had been pierce by the spear.
Back to the present...
Pandora blinks in amazement, the fight itself was hardly remarkable, by her standards anyway, what surprised her so much was the traits displayed by Vincent at such an early age, the fact that he felt the presence of the heretic god upon entering the place where they fought, the determination once he realized the danger to his mother, and the sheer force of will to "disimpale" himself and land the finishing blow was amazing and then some, when she saw him for the first time she thought that he dropped some legendary weapon on Solomon's head or something similar, there had been some cases like that, usually the ritual gave them very week authorities, so what was left was a human with great physical and magical ability, a big lifespan and a paltry authority that made very unlikely that the new Campione would kill a god again
This situation actually had Pandora worried, on one side such a young Campione was bound to attract the wrong sort of attention, and while she had no doubt that Vincent would grow to be strong, he was simply too young to face a god, or a Campione for that matter, that actually took him seriously, the second worry she had was the level of power the ritual would grant him, the sheer impossibility of such a young child actually defeating a God through will, craftiness and determination rather than an unintentional fluke (as she first though it was), was bound to give him immense power that he simply wouldn't be able to understand, the only saving grace was that he killed a "Ascended Hero" or like she like to call them a third rate heretical, had he killed a "Chief God" (first rate) It would have been a disaster, such gods were known to give massive authorities to newborn Campiones and to such a young child it either would break the ritual potentially killing him and Pandora in the process if countermeasures were not applied or it would give him some cataclysmic Authority able to distort reality or destroy continents if he was displeased, still though, she was pretty sure the ritual would grant him at least an authority of a tier 1 level
In conclusion, she couldn't just do her usual shenanigans of sealing his memories of the netherworld and leaving him to his luck; it would be way to cruel and dangerous to all parties involved, even more with the child actual mother death or in her last breaths.
She had an option actually, a few centuries ago she received a missive asking for a "partnership" regarding the birth of a Devil King, she was not interested so she ignored it, that part of the supernatural was simply something that she avoided, oh she knew that her children had altercations with both sides from time to time, especially in their "Great War", but not her, she had by her very nature a very unstable relationship with balance, sometimes adding to it, sometimes taking away from it, if she started drawing herself to other matters apart from Campiones and Hereticals It could open a can of worms that would leave the supposed "Pandora's box" in shame. Still this was her youngest child ever and she would be dammed if she left him helpless, and it was not like she could raise him in the netherworld, a Campione was likely to grow crazy if he stayed there for an extended period of time.
"Hmmm, how do I do this... well he is supposed to answer to witches and maidens so It shouldn't be that hard and I'm too lazy to draw the circles so the words of power will have to do it" said Pandora as she extended her arm in front of her and pointed towards the ground with an open palm "Great commander of the 66 legions, oh Lord of the Flies heed my call and manifest before me great and proud First King of Hell Beelzebub" as Pandora ended her chanting a circle appeared on the ground and slowly a green haired man started to appear
The man started blinking looking confused "hmmm, so this is the fabled Netherworld... and I assume you are my summoner Miss?" asked the man
"Pandora, and I'm calling you because I'm interested in your proposal Ajuka-kun" answered Pandora as if the proposal was made yesterday and no 300 years before
"A pleasure to meet you my lady, if I may ask what prompted this acceptance, I actually didn't expect a favorable answer, least of all after all these years" asked Ajuka without malice, he didn't particularly feel insulted by her, as most thing in his life, his questions were motivated by simple curiosity
"my most recent child as you can see is a rather unique case even by Campione standards, my deal is simple, I'll allow you to do what you asked and in exchange, you'll keep any vultures away from him until he is ready for them, ah, and you'll revive his mother... the other one" said Pandora to the Devil before her.
"Very well, the terms are acceptable, the contract is sealed" Said Ajuka. The Devils of old would look for loopholes and ways to take advantage of the wording of her request, Ajuka didn't do this because:
1- He didn't need to, as for the new devils those practices were viewed as both unnecessary and as a dangerous overindulgence of greed
2- He didn't want to, as he simply didn't like to make enemies out of clients, more in this case since crossing a Campione and his mother was just asking for a slow death, even for the likes of him
3- He couldn't as Pandora was a witch goddess, every word of the deal was a word of power, and as such her request conveyed all the intentions inherent to it, even without them being worded
"Excellent, so how do we do this? Is there a ritual or something?" asked Pandora rather curious as she rarely had opportunities to see the magic of devils and as a deity of magic, she was actually extremely interested
"Hmmmm, no exactly, first of all, since he is alive, it would be a good idea to get him to agree to it first. What is his name?" asked Ajuka getting close to them and crouching.
"Vincent... Vincent wake up, hello sleepyhead, you see this guy here? He is here to give you a gift, I would like if you hear him out and accept it if you like it" said Pandora in the most motherly way she was able to manage
Vincent rubbed his eyes and yawned before taking a look at Ajuka and asked "are you goanna give me a present?"
Ajuka answered starting to explain "something like that, you see if you…"
"I want it" said Vincent cutting Ajuka in the middle of his monologue before curling himself once more against Pandora
Ajuka could only blink as the boy accepted like that without hearing him out, then looked at Pandora with a confused frown, Pandora lets out a sigh and says "he probably felt your goodwill and your sincerity, his instincts are incredibly good even for a Campione, he just felt there was no reason to decline, so he didn't"
Ajuka could only nod at that, as a devil, even a "new devil" trust was just not something freely given if at all indeed given, but trying to rationalize a Campione was an exercise in futility even for him, besides this made everything easier.
Ajuka extracted a box from his clothes and opened it revealing sixteen chess pieces of black color "These here are the evil pieces, normally there is a lot of ceremony regarding this but at the end of the day the set only require to adjust itself to the user life-force of the user and then the king piece is used to bind him to the other pieces, of course this is the first time someone will start the process as a non-devil so it should be interesting. He just needs to let a drop of fresh blood fall inside the box" Explained the devil
Vincent just looked at Pandora with a questioning look "right, give me your hand... that's it" said Pandora taking a needle out of nowhere and leading his adopted Son's hand over the box before pinching Vincent's finger and letting a drop of blood fall over the box
Ajuka and Pandora were not sure what to expect at this point, but neither expected the blinding explosion of light that appeared between Vincent and the pieces and the sheer amount of power that was being directed from Vincent to the pieces.
"Incredible! The ritual recognized it as part of him and is redirecting one of the authorities..." this was actually new territory for her, although the ritual sometimes granted divine artifacts from legends, it never actually created new ones, so this was a completely mind-blowing event.
As the light settled in they both regarded the now very different pieces with curiosity, the new pieces were gold in color and for the most part were very curved and adorned with very feminine filigree, the exception was the King piece, this one was blocky regal and masculine in appearance, and bigger than almost all the other except, curiously enough, the queen.
Ajuka could only stare in amazement at the newly formed pieces for almost a minute before chuckling "as expected from a Campione, all 16 of them mutation pieces, even the king, and that's unheard of " Said Ajuka with an interested look in his eyes before noticing the confused face of Pandora "mutation pieces are rare cases that occur sometimes. As the pieces react to the user they normally only change color, sometimes the shape also changes, these ones are by general rule much more powerful pieces and have some added property dependent of the user, hence, mutation pieces. To get one is a one in ten possibility, two of them? Can be counted by the dozens, more than that? Almost unheard of, by the way which authority was taken by the pieces if you don't mind me asking?"
"Mmmh, normally you just don't give information about a Campione's authorities just like that but... well I guess you'll know in time" Saying this Pandora entered a trance for a few seconds in which she gave the impression that her eyes were made of glass "oho... looks like my new child will be quite the lady killer, Harem of the King, an authority that augment any natural affection held by his chosen lovers as well as magnifying the target's physical and magical ability. Hmmm, it seems that the ritual recognized that as a part of him the pieces are a more suitable vessel, so the chess set both magnify the potency and restrict the number of uses of the authority."
"That's… an interesting ability; I didn't know that the pieces could be influenced in such a way. I'll have to study this later" Said Ajuka with a sparkle of curiosity in his eyes "But anyway I think is time we proceed. Vincent, take the King piece… the square one, and put it in your chest"
The effects surprisingly were not as dramatic as the chessboard but not less impressive, it was a simple shine of golden and crimson light in his body that receded almost immediately. Slowly from Vincent's back started to grow a single pair of black bat wings that seemed to have a crimson sheen upon them and a golden horn at the upper end of each wing.
"Mhmm, magnificent, you'll be a devil like no other if I say so myself" Said a satisfied Ajuka that was almost salivating at the potential of the individual in front of him "I think is time for us to go, I must hurry if I am to revive his mother" said the devil looking at Pandora
"ok" said Pandora with a little sadness in her voice, just a few minutes but Vincent had claimed a big spot in her heart "time to go Vincent… bye bye" she said to said boy that gave her a strong hug before answering
"Bye bye" said Vincent running to Ajuka's side and waving his hand at her
: : :
A/N: Hi there! So this will stay as a one shot for the following months while I flesh out what I really want for the story and make something resembling a decent timeline, the reason why I published it is that I'm not really sure what to make for the peerage, there are some members that are set in stone, some tentative and some undecided so I would like to get feedback about it, btw Vincent will be a quality over quantity kind of guy so not massive harem (2 pawns and just 1 bishop, 1 rook and 1 knight is the plan)
I'm looking for members from other franchises; they have to be powerful within their stories
Queen: decided (you can suggest if you want but this one is pretty much set in stone)
Bishop: undecided (gimme ideas, this one is the one I'm struggling with most, Vincent is going to be pretty much an overpowered wizard so the bishop has to cover some pretty unique niche to be relevant)
Knight: almost decided (I like my current choice but I'm open to suggestions)
Rook: tentative (I'm 50/50 about this one)
Pawns (2): decided (you can suggest if you want but I'm unlikely to change)