What's up guys! Quicker update than usual. Hope y'all enjoy.
Two years passed since Gohan had become a Devil.
Serafall celebrated his twelfth birthday with him as did Rias and Akeno. He had to admit, he was starting to feel rather comfortable around everyone. It had taken time, but the horrible homesickness had eventually passed. His concern was still ever present, but the knowledge that Bulma was working on a way to get him back gave him some peace of mind. However, after all this time, he wasn't sure what to really think about his eventual return home. He had grown attached to the people around him and was coming to see this place as a second home. The thought of him returning home brought more conflicting feelings than that of relief.
"Who knows how many more years it'll be before I can really go home?" Gohan pondered somberly. He was strolling through a marketplace in the Underworld. The plaza was booming, with shops for as far as the eye could see and more people than he'd ever seen in one place at home. It was like a festival, except this was how it was all the time. "And even when I do go home… I'm a Devil now. I feel like just abandoning my position here would be an insult to everyone that has helped me so far."
His state of mind was that of constant conflict over the issue.
"Is something troubling you?" Akeno asked. The half-Saiyan Devil sighed heavily, lifting a piece of paper up to read its contents. It was a shopping list that Serafall had given him. It seemed that even in Devil society, mundane tasks like grocery shopping were to be performed by peerage members. Akeno often tagged along with him to help, but also to do some tasks for Rias.
"Just the usual," Gohan replied somberly. "Getting lost in thought tends to be a regular activity."
Akeno reassured him with a small smile. The girl had grown to be one of his best friends over the years, along with Rias. They were some of the only devils around his age that he bonded with. Sona and her queen Tsubaki were also quite close to him, but not quite in the same way that he was with Rias and Akeno.
"If you keep looking so depressed, I'm afraid I might lose myself to lust and take you myself."
Gohan chuckled rather weakly.
It seemed that over the years, Akeno had developed a rather subtle… sadistic streak.
It was hard to believe that such a timid girl had become so sadistically charged. Maybe it had something to do with her traumatic past? Perhaps a coping mechanism? Regardless, Akeno tended to turn her sadism and make it incredibly sexually suggestive. The young Devil Saiyan did his best to ignore it. For the most part, she was a normal friend that Gohan enjoyed spending his time with.
The two turned into a grocery store out of habit and began to walk together, picking out the things on their respective lists. Gohan would be hesitant to admit it, but life… felt more normal here than it ever had before. His time was split between training and completing tasks for Serafall, like helping her with paperwork, shopping, or housework. He also spent his time studying the Underworld and various other cultures, tutored by Grayfia; and spending time with Rias, Akeno, Sona, and Tsubaki gave his education practical experience.
He chuckled thinking about it, but life here was more normal than it was back home. He couldn't remember a time he wasn't training or preparing for a mortal threat back on Earth ever since Raditz showed up. All his life had been just one giant fight after the next. Finally, he seemed to be getting a somewhat peaceful life here, despite dying and being resurrected as a Devil.
"I feel kinda bad for Serafall," Gohan admitted, chuckling a bit as he loaded more food into the cart. Akeno turned to him, a knowing smile on her face. "Her food expenses have gone up since I started living with her."
"That's unsurprising, given the way you eat," Akeno laughed, causing Gohan to flush in embarrassment.
"I can't help it! I have a big appetite!"
"I remember when you came to sleep over with Rias, Sona, and myself. You almost ate Sirzechs out of house and home! You should have seen the look on Grayfia's face when you cleaned out your fifteenth dish," the Fallen Angel-Devil hybrid giggled. Gohan grumbled at her attempts to embarrass him. He had trained with Rias and Akeno at the same time and wiped the floor with both of them. Akeno decided since she couldn't get her sadistic pleasure out of hurting him, that she'd get it out of embarrassing him instead.
"Don't remind me," he rolled his eyes in response. "It was mortifying enough to have Serafall chew me out for that afterward when I got back home. She'll never let me live it down!"
Akeno's giggles only increased, her face turning beet red from the laughter. She was holding her sides as she continued to publicly humiliate the Son of Goku. With a huff, Gohan turned to carry on with his shopping, his mood thoroughly soured. As he turned, he neglected to keep aware of his surroundings and bumped into someone. A few things fell out of the basket the person had been carrying as they fell.
The victim of his ignorance let out a tiny squeal as they hit the ground. Upon investigation, he found a small white haired girl with cat-like ears strewn across the cold marble floor. Gohan couldn't help but notice the white feline tail as well. He hadn't seen anything like this since arriving in the Underworld three years ago.
She was dressed in some kind of loose-fitting yukata that had a white, flowery theme to it. The clothing was quite indecent as her current position on the floor didn't leave much to the imagination.
"S-Sorry!" Gohan reached down and helped her to her feet. "I should have been more careful."
She didn't open her mouth to respond. Instead, with a rather panicked look in her eyes, she bent down and tried to pick up the things she had dropped. She looked extremely young, perhaps younger than him? Gohan wasn't quite sure, but the moment he tried to open his mouth to say something else, another voice came from behind her.
"Shirone!" Looking up, Gohan saw an older looking female approach in the same kind of outfit the girl was wearing. Except this one was black and extremely loose fitting. Gohan managed to suppress a small blush at the indecency of these girls. His mother would have had a fit if she saw them in public.
This girl had black hair, along with black cat ears and a tail. Sister perhaps?
"Kuroka…" the smaller girl mumbled. The older sister wrapped her in a hug.
"You were supposed to finish the shopping fifteen minutes ago. Quick, let me help you finish," Kuroka hastily led her little sister away from Gohan and Akeno, not even sparing either of them a glance. Kuroka's black tail wrapped around the shopping basket and pulled it up to her hand. Before Gohan could say anything, the two had vanished into a different aisle. The sense of urgency the older girl had displayed gave off bad vibes.
"What was all that about?" Gohan wondered aloud. The older girl had looked so panicked. Akeno walked up next to the boy and let out a heavy sigh.
"If I were to guess, maybe they're in a peerage with an unfavorable master," Akeno said somberly. There were hints of sadness in her tone. While Gohan knew she was rather sadistic, she had an empathetic side to her.
"That'll change," Gohan stated, a scowl appearing on his face. "One day, I'll make sure of it."
"Plenty of time for that," Akeno retorted softly. "Maybe within the next hundred years or so, we'll be able to change that."
"That's too long," Gohan replied, a low tone to his voice. His fists clenched, knowing that his time here would be limited. "I won't be around for that. I'll be back home before I can see those changes made."
That thought upset him and he knew why. He had grown attached to this place and its people.
The two finished up their shopping, doing their best to forget about the possibility of the two cat-girls being in some kind of abusive enslavement. However, as much as they tried, it seemed their efforts would go to waste. When exiting the store they saw that a crowd had gathered, encircling three individuals. Through the gaps, Gohan could see Kuroka and Shirone, the older sister standing protectively in front of her while an older looking man stood a few meters away from her.
"Stupid whores!" the man roared. "We're on a time limit here, and yet here I catch you two fuckin' around with one simple task!" the man continued. The bystanders were watching, looking at the man in disgust, but refusing to intervene. To them, this was simply peerage drama, and involving themselves was not a smart move considering how strong High-Class Devils tended to be.
"She just got lost!" Kuroka defended desperately. "Please! It's not her fault!"
"Spare me your excuses!" the man spat angrily. He stalked over, causing Kuroka to back up with Shirone in tow. The younger girl hid behind her big sister's legs, terrified of what was going to happen. "Do you two have any idea what you've done? Time is precious! You fucked up my chance to get another rare piece! Instead, I have to come looking for you idiots!"
Gohan went to take a few steps forward before Akeno stopped him.
"What!?" he hissed under his breath. "You expect me to just stand here and watch?"
"It's not something we can get involved in, Gohan," Akeno said sadly. It was clear she didn't like it either. "It's looked down upon to intervene in another Devil's peerage matters, not to mention insulting. He could be part of a prestigious house. If you intervene, you will be causing issues for Serafall and by extension, the Sitri clan."
Gohan balled his hands, remembering that Grayfia had taught him the same thing. In fact, it was one of the first things he was taught. He didn't see much of a problem with it, but he had never considered the fact that Devils could abuse their peerage. So much time with Serafall, Rias, and Sona had twisted his view on Devil culture. They were so nice and caring, making it rather hard to imagine what the opposite would be like.
"Akeno…" her hybrid friend said, sorrow lacing his tone. "I can't just-" Gohan was cut off by an audible slap. He turned in time to watch as Kuroka hit the ground. She had a blistering red mark on her face, seemingly shocked that she'd been hit. The devil that had slapped her had a glowing red hand. He had a look of hatred in his eyes.
"The only reason you two are even alive is that you and your little bitch of a sister are powerful and have the potential to make my line stronger. Be grateful that you have that chance."
Before Kuroka could snap and kill her master, the boy she had seen earlier flew over the crowd that had gathered and touched down in front of her, placing himself between her and their master. The boy wore a black undershirt with some loose fitting obsidian fighting pants and dark navy boots. It wasn't exactly anything fashionable, but it seemed that practicality was the goal.
"That's enough," Gohan declared as Akeno begrudgingly landed next to him. If he was going to get involved in this, then she would at least lighten the weight of his punishment by involving herself. Which meant the Gremory family would be brought into this as well as the Sitri clan. Probably not a really smart move on her part, but whatever. She'd be in for an earful by Rias and Grayfia when she returned home.
Murmurs broke out throughout the crowd that had gathered, which unintentionally drew more people to observe the situation. Some staff in nearby stores even came out to see what the big deal was.
"The fuck?" the abusive devil muttered. He ran a hand through his long black hair, a menacing look in his eyes. Gohan immediately knew there was something about this guy that was seriously unhinged. If his treatment of his peerage was anything to go by, then the half-Saiyan could certainly assume this guy was nuts. "Get lost. This has nothing to do with you."
"I don't care," Gohan snapped. "I'm not just going to stand by and watch as someone like you gets away with treating their peerage like trash!"
"You wanna die, kid?"
"You're welcome to try."
A white flame exploded around the boy, causing Akeno to step back slightly and adjust herself. Gohan glared at the High-Class Devil who seemed to re-analyze the situation after his sudden display of power, backing up to put a fair distance between them. Even Kuroka looked slightly stunned. She hadn't been expecting such a small boy to be packing High-Class Devil power. He must be from one of the royal clans!
Which begged the question, why was he getting involved?
"You're making a scene," Akeno grunted lowly, just loud enough for Gohan to hear. He didn't care though, and it was obvious to his female companion. Despite being taught all the rules, he seemed like the type to disregard them when he felt like the situation required it. "Oh well," a small sadistic smile gracing her face. "I'm sure I'll get to see Serafall punish you later."
"No punishment will make me regret what I'm doing," Gohan declared softly to his friend. Akeno sighed dramatically.
"Heh," the arrogant devil smirked. "I'm willing to bet you're a High-class with that kind of power, and that small hottie standing next to you," he licked his lips in a manner that made Akeno scowl. A switch flipped in her head. Now she wanted to see this guy suffer. It would help her sleep better. "I bet she's part of your peerage. Tch, reborn trash."
"Sure," Gohan responded without care. "Now are you going to apologize? Or do I have to make you?"
"Apologize?" the man asked, looking at Gohan as though he was speaking a foreign language. He straightened up and crossed his arms, a smirk crossing his face. "Now why would I apologize to the members of my own peerage? That doesn't make any sense. I own them. They should be thanking me for being so generous. If not for me they'd be living on the streets and shitting in alleyways!"
"That doesn't give you the right to treat them like slaves!"
"Oh, it absolutely does," the man countered. He shrugged as parts of the crowd booed at him. "So unless you want to get hurt, I'd suggest you take a hike!"
Gohan remained standing, showing no signs of movement. It clearly aggravated the devil to see him refuse the warning. The son of Goku knew there was no backing out of this now. He had committed to the cause. The two victims behind him were either going to be set free or he'd die trying. There was no denying it. The Leviathan's Queen was fully prepared to bear the weight of the consequences for this one. This was just one step, a small victory towards creating a better future. If he didn't start now, he wouldn't get the chance later.
"Do you realize who I am?" the man snapped viciously after Gohan's silent denial. "I am one of the last surviving members of the Naberius clan! I could have you cast out of the Underworld and labeled a Stray for this interference!" he roared. Somehow, the Saiyan-hybrid doubted he'd be cast out due to his position as the Leviathan's Queen.
The abusive man was very clearly losing his cool. However, he hadn't attacked yet. At least he had some restraint, but maybe that was because there was a law preventing that. However… there were ways to circumvent that. A duel could be proposed. It wouldn't be the first time he had witnessed a duel in the middle of a populated Underworld market street. If Gohan could play his cards right, he could probably get the devil to forfeit his rights to the Evil Pieces that bound the two Nekomata.
However, to do that...
"I doubt that," Gohan retorted, smirking viciously. "Sounds to me like you're scared. I guess I must be pretty intimidating."
He had to take a page out of Vegeta's book. Push their buttons and get them to lose their cool. Make them do something without thinking. He just had to hope this guy was an idiot.
"Of you? Please, don't make me laugh," the noble devil dismissed with a wave. Gohan wasn't buying it and simply crossed his arms, continuing to gaze at the man with obvious contempt. The crowd around the two started to murmur, mocking the older man. It was laughable from their perspective. Here was this fully grown adult male devil, threatening to cast out a twelve-year-old child. Everyone started to make the assumption the guy was a weakling, and he started to pick up on that. "I'm serious kid! Get lost!"
He sounded more desperate.
"There's only one way that's going to happen."
"And what would that be?" the arrogant devil responded angrily. Gohan gestured to the two Nekomata behind him.
"Forfeit your rights to their Evil Pieces and leave. It'll save you the embarrassment," the half-Saiyan stated, feeling a little bit brutal. It wasn't exactly in his nature to trash talk like this. Having Vegeta around for a portion of his childhood really did rub off on him. The man had a tendency to rile up his opponents and those around him with his massive ego. In some cases, it paid off temporarily. Others… well, overall it never really ended well for the man.
"Good joke," the Naberius devil hissed. "What kind of moron would forfeit his Evil Pieces like that?"
"The kind that wants to keep living," Akeno giggled, eliciting a growl from the opposition. Her remark had clearly pushed the right button because the noble devil started to summon his demonic energy.
"Fine! If you want to fight, I'll gladly oblige!"
"Just you and me," Gohan added. "If I win, those two behind me go free."
"Whatever, you can have 'em! As if you'll win anyway!" the man retorted furiously. "When I win, I get you and that little whore of yours. Maybe then I'll get to teach you some respect!"
"Deal!" Akeno cried, practically laughing. This caught the Naberius devil and Gohan off-guard. Akeno then turned to Gohan, arms crossed over her chest. "I've seen you train with Serafall," she whispered, so only he could hear it. "You make her take you seriously. If you can do that, this clown is roadkill. I shouldn't have anything to worry about."
"Still," Gohan rubbed the back of his head, unsure how to really respond. "Your enthusiasm kind of stunned me."
"Are we doing this or what!?" the man boomed, his smirk more arrogant than ever. "Come over here and let's get this over with so I can get on with my day."
Gohan just sighed.
"Try not to kill him," Akeno giggled.
"No promises," Gohan retorted, his expression displaying boredom.
The fight started the moment the devil launched himself at Gohan without warning.
His entire body was enveloped in a green glow that circled with emerald electricity. The half-Saiyan merely glared back, clearly bored already. However, his opponent didn't care in the slightest. All he saw was white rage, determined to teach the arrogant children a lesson. The Naberius clan would not be taken so lightly! Dashing forward, the attacker closed the distance with impressive speed. To Gohan, it wasn't anything to worry about though.
"Balance is off… lazy form and too much frontal power in his offense," the child warrior thought, eyeing his opponent's every move. "How exactly do I do this without turning this guy inside out? I don't want to accidentally kill anyone over something like this."
The madman threw his magically enhanced punch toward Gohan only to have the boy dodge it effortlessly. Having blurred to the left, the son of Goku easily brushed off the man's fist, allowing it to glide harmlessly past him. A powerful jab to the man's forearm altered the course of the attack's direction vastly. In a moment of irony, the man ended up hitting himself in the chin, Gohan having guided his own fist back into his face.
It had happened in a flash!
Dazed, the assaulting devil stumbled back, metaphorical stars circling above his head.
"No need to drag this out," the boy thought, curling his right hand into a ball.
With a thunderous crack, Gohan slammed his fist right into his enemy's stomach, in the same way he had done to Cell.
The devil spewed up blood onto Gohan's outstretched arm. Stumbling back, the man continued to cough up blood, unable to get out any words. Kuroka and Shirone stood up sporting looks of complete shock. Akeno sighed in satisfaction as she watched Gohan's opponent fall to his knees, gasping for air, blood trailing out of the corners of his mouth.
"Damn, he's bleeding. Did I overdo it? Hope I didn't cause any lasting damage…"
The half-Saiyan glanced at his arm as Akeno walked up to his side and summoned a red towel, before handing it to him. Gohan calmly cleaned off the blood as the crowd watched in abject silence. In a few moments, he handed the towel back to Akeno. She promptly lit it ablaze with a static discharge. The boy then returned his attention to the downed man.
"You're not very smart, are you?"
"F-Fuck… y-you!" the winded playboy wheezed.
"Again with the profanity… seriously," Gohan rolled his eyes. He took a few steps forward, making the arrogant devil fearful. "Are you going to honor our little deal? Or are you going to look like a coward in front of all these people?" he asked in a rather bored tone. The Naberius devil fumed as he opened his mouth to snap back with a retort, only to stop as the murmurs of the crowd reached his ears.
"Is he going to follow through?"
"He got beat, he'd be a coward to back out now."
"Those girls need to go free, he lost fair and square."
"Naberius clan? Surely he'll honor his claim."
Gohan turned to Akeno and gestured to her after his defeated opponent showed no signs of upholding their little deal. She walked over looking rather excited.
"Hey, you're better at doing this. Can you make him do what we agreed?" the half-Saiyan asked casually.
"Oh my…" Akeno started to blush. She bent down and ran a finger under the arrogant Devil's chin. She got up close and personal with the abusive man and gave him a sadistic smirk. "Are you going to follow through? Or am I going to have to discipline you? No one likes a coward who goes back on their word."
She licked her lips, and for some reason, the Naberius devil looked more scared than Cell had.
Gohan wasn't exactly sure how Akeno was able to instill such terror into people, but it worked. The devil raised his arm and pointed it towards the boy. A magical circle appeared between the two of them. There was a glow as a stream of red energy left him and entered the son of Goku's body. There was an unmistakable look of hatred and regret in the defeated devil's eyes.
After a few moments, the deed was done and his ownership over Kuroka and Shirone had been transferred to Gohan.
Although, the half-Saiyan was wholly unaware of what actually went on. He hadn't quite been educated on what the process was regarding Peerage trades seeing as Grayfia thought he wouldn't need that knowledge for quite some time. The requirements for a reborn devil to become a High-class Devil were quite intensive. Not many got beyond Middle-class.
"This i-isn't over," the man spat. "I'll be back to take what's mine. You'll pay for this in blood!"
Before anyone had a chance, the defeated man shot to his feet, glaring at both Akeno and Gohan, a mad look in his eyes. He then turned and sprinted into the crowd, pushing his way through people who hadn't already managed to get out of his way. When he was just out of earshot, the hybrid Saiyan guessed he started cursing him for what he had done, judging from the echoes of anger he heard.
The crowd slowly started to disperse, murmuring to each other about the strange boy who had taken down an infamous High-class noble in one hit. Gohan didn't pay it any mind as he turned to retrieve his groceries.
"That was quite a show you put on," Akeno giggled as she walked up next to him. Her tone then flipped to a more serious one. "Although, now you're going to have to explain to Serafall how you gained the starting of a peerage."
"Huh? But I'm not even-" Gohan paused, scratching his head in slight confusion. He had only recently been promoted to a Middle-class Devil by Serafall, and that was just based off all the mundane tasks he had done for the Underworld. According to Grayfia, he was a couple of years off being promoted to a High-class. Apparently, there was a big festival and party involved when a Reborn Devil reaches High-class.
Gohan turned to Kuroka and Shirone, the two just staring at him in slight shock. Neither of them seemed to have any words to say and just settled for stunned silence. Years of abuse and torment by that disgusting man had just ended in an instant. Kuroka still had bloodlust running through her veins. She had been ready to take her old master's head until this boy had appeared out of nowhere and claimed ownership over the two of them.
She was honestly… speechless.
"Wait… I'm a master now?" Gohan asked in a panicked whisper. Akeno once again giggled, taking pleasure in his distressed features. "I thought I just freed them."
"Nope," Akeno replied gleefully. "They are bound to you now. That's what the idiot did. He transferred his rights over their Evil Pieces to you."
"B-But, I can't be their master," Gohan whispered dreadfully. "I'm not even a High ranking Devil yet! I don't even want a Peerage!"
Akeno's smile just widened.
"I can't wait to see what Serafall's going to do to you."
"YOU DID WHAT!?"
The Leviathan mansion had just gotten a whole lot more lively.
Sitting in the formal dining hall, Gohan, Kuroka, and Shirone sat together on one side, while Rias, Akeno, and Sona sat opposite to them. At the head of the table, Serafall stood, both palms planted on the polished wood, glaring daggers at Gohan. While her glare didn't particularly strike fear into him, it did make him feel incredibly guilty for screwing up. If he had realized that he was going to end up with a peerage after that bet, he would have never taken it. It looked like that devil had meant his words quite literally when he said that Gohan could have them.
"In my defense, I-"
"NO!" Serafall screamed, her voice a mixture of comical despair and anger. "THERE IS NO DEFENSE HERE!" she roared. She glared at him for another few seconds before breaking down and sinking back into her chair. Slumping, she allowed her body to almost deflate. She then started kicking and punching the air like a child having a tantrum. "Of all the stupid things you could have done! That was one of the worst! Now what am I going to do!?"
"It isn't that bad…" Rias chuckled weakly. Sona coughed drawing everyone's attention to her.
"Actually, it is. Gohan is in the possession of an Illegal Peerage. He is only a Middle-class Devil. It is against the laws imposed by Ajuka Beelzebub himself. Only those of High-Class and above are legally allowed to possess a Peerage. Although, Gohan is a very intricate case," Sona stated. "He's my sister's queen. His status should technically already be High-ranking or more, but we have systems in place that are preventing that from happening."
"Quite the predicament isn't it?" Akeno chuckled. Rias glared at her queen.
"You're not innocent in any of this, Akeno. You could have prevented things from getting this far."
"Oh my… what could I have done? Gohan was so determined to help them. Are you implying I'm powerful enough to restrain a devil whose power rivals Ultimate-class?" Akeno chuckled, causing Rias to blush and turn her stare back to Gohan. Akeno did have a point there. Even if Akeno wanted to, she couldn't force someone like Gohan to do anything. Hell, Rias herself wouldn't be able to do anything to stop him. Only Serafall herself or Sirzechs would be able to do something like that.
"This is turning out to be an interesting day…" Kuroka murmured to herself. When she went out shopping this morning with Shirone, she hadn't expected to be traded, especially to the Leviathan's queen of all devils.
Serafall rested her head on the table on a slanted angle so she could continue to glare at Gohan. However, the look only caused Gohan to nervously laugh. Her glare turned into a pout as she released a heavy sigh.
"Seriously, what am I going to do with you now?" she groaned, having calmed down. "Getting you to High-class status is stressful enough. Adding THIS to the list of growing concerns is going to make me wrinkle! WRINKLE!" Serafall whined. "Magical girls don't have wrinkles!"
The group fell into silence, aside from the intervals where Serafall was groaning, mumbling about how her life had gotten so difficult as of late. Gohan knew she loved having him around, but she'd often over dramatize how his presence causes her grief. He knew she was always joking because he actively went out of his way to try and make her life easier, and it showed for her. She got her paperwork done quicker, chores around the mansion were cut down by half the time. It was only when Gohan stepped out of line due to ignorance that she got upset.
However, those instances were few and far between. Although, this time, it seemed he had really fallen into hot water. Apparently, this was undeniably illegal and had serious repercussions.
"I guess there's no way around this," Serafall muttered depressingly. She stood up and turned, lifting an arm in the process. Magic radiated from her arm and hit the ground in front of her. She waited for a few moments, crossing her arms while the group waited in anticipated silence. After about a minute, she nodded and turned to sit back down. The glowing blue magical circle on the ground disappeared and was soon replaced by a green one.
In a flash of neon green light, Ajuka Beelzebub stepped out of the teleportation circle. Rias and co. gasped at the sudden appearance of a Satan Lord. Ajuka's time was never wasted and always preferred to continue his research than his actual role as a Beelzebub. However, when required, it seemed he'd fill the role without hesitation. Gohan allowed himself to swallow nervously as the man approached the table. He was tall, pale with dark green hair. Rather lanky for a Satan, but if Sirzechs and Serafall were anything to go by, then looks didn't matter at all.
"Lady Leviathan," he calmly said, his tone projecting the utmost respect. "What seems to be the issue for you to call on me so urgently?"
"We have a problem," Serafall moaned, gesturing to Gohan. Ajuka briefly glanced at the boy and observed him for a few seconds. A small smile appeared across his face, one of intrigue and delight. "My queen has gotten himself into a mess."
"Ah… an Illegal Peerage," Ajuka murmured as he took a seat at the table. "How fascinating. How did you manage that, young man?" he asked politely. Everyone seemed rather taken aback, aside from Serafall who rested her cheek on the palm of her hand. She couldn't look more displeased even if she tried. It seemed this Illegal peerage stuff was really important.
"How could you tell?" Sona asked, shocked at the accurate leap in logic. Ajuka merely chuckled.
"Dear, I designed the Evil Piece system. I know how it works. I can identify any piece if I wanted. That boy undoubtedly has become a King to those two Nekomata. I am quite interested as to how that happened. You don't seem like the type to go around breaking rules," Ajuka stated, turning back to Gohan. The boy rubbed the back of his neck, his expression one of uncertainty. He didn't know the specifics of how it all worked, but he understood enough to know how it all happened.
He briefly recounted the story, omitting no details.
"Ah, I see. A simple poor assumption. I do wonder why you did not correct the master."
"I didn't really see the point. I wasn't expecting him to trade them to me. I thought they were just going to be set free," Gohan reasoned. Ajuka shrugged, understanding his viewpoint completely. The boy wasn't a criminal. It was just a fair oversight. He clearly hadn't been educated on the intricate workings of the Evil Piece system. He would have to have some words to Sirzechs and Grayfia for omitting that knowledge from Gohan. He understood why they had probably done it. The boy wasn't anywhere close to being a High-ranking Devil so there didn't seem to be a need to teach him these things yet.
"A small oversight," Ajuka concluded. Serafall scoffed at his response. "Lady Leviathan, please. There is no need to be so hostile." the Beelzebub reasoned. The female Satan looked ready to pull out her own hair due to stress.
"I don't want to banish him! I'd tell him to trade the two to Rias or myself but he doesn't even know how to perform that spell, and it's not easy to teach!" the Devil queen cried. Rias raised an eyebrow as she turned her gaze towards the two individuals in question. It wasn't like she was opposed to the possibility of taking at least one of them as servants if the opportunity was presented. Both of them seemed powerful in their own right. However, it wasn't about power to Rias. All she really wanted to do was give her peerage members a family or friends to rely on.
"What pieces are you two?" Rias asked out of curiosity.
"I take up a mutated bishop. Shirone's a rook," Kuroka replied. Rias placed a hand to her chin in deep thought. It wasn't like she didn't have those pieces available to her. She only had Akeno right now and she had very recently recruited Kiba Yuuto. He was back at the Gremory estate doing some jobs she had left him to fulfill while she hung out with Sona. However, now she found herself caught up in this mess because her queen decided to get herself into trouble. Rias would discipline Akeno, but she was afraid the girl would take it as a challenge and enjoy it.
"Well, it's not like I can't do a trade," Rias shrugged, looking towards Serafall. "I'm sure Lady Leviathan can also take the two of you off Gohan's hands if the situation really calls for it. Lord Beelzebub, is it really such a problem if Gohan has a peerage? I mean, from what he told us it was completely unintentional."
A quick glance at the crimson Gremory heiress told everyone in the room she had ulterior motives. It wasn't like Akeno, Serafall or Sona had forgotten that Rias had wanted to become Gohan's queen not that long ago. To Akeno, that fact hadn't exactly changed.
"Rules are rules, Rias," Serafall moaned, her head sinking closer to the table. "If the Satan Lords can't uphold the rules, then how can we expect everyone else to? I mean, sure, even if we did make an exception for Gohan, I feel like that's a slippery slope. There's a reason why ascending to the rank of High-class is such a widely celebrated event in the Underworld. Getting Evil Pieces is one of the biggest accomplishments out there."
"However," Ajuka interjected. "Gohan is a part of your peerage, Serafall. By that notion alone, he already is a High-ranking Devil. It's only the arbitrary rules we agreed to put in place that really contradict that little detail. The fact that this is an issue now is only because us Satan Lords have never recruited Devils lower than Ultimate-class into our peerage. Gohan being in your peerage has revealed a unique flaw in our laws."
"Sorry I had to go and die," Gohan chuckled weakly, trying to lighten the mood.
"I'm not really that well educated on the specifics of Devil politics," Kuroka spoke up, drawing everyone's attention towards her. "But, I really don't have an issue with my master being a Middle-class Devil. Shirone won't mind either. If it's really such a big deal, it's not hard to just keep our mouths shut. Nobody has to know," the black-haired Nekoshou stated. She then shrugged, as if the whole situation wasn't all that big of a deal in the first place. "Besides, I don't recall our ex-master even learning about Gohan's name or identity. As long as our little master here doesn't go galavanting about, there shouldn't be a cause for concern… right?"
"Well spoken," Ajuka praised, causing Kuroka to blush lightly. "The Nekoshou girl is right. I don't see any need to punish Gohan. He may -by our law- be in the possession of an Illegal peerage, but I personally believe he should have been a High-class Devil from the start. That was the only detail I disagreed with Sirzechs on. Most of us here have seen his power. Most would assume he's an Ultimate-class anyway."
"Unless his status is called into question," Sona brought up. "There's always a possibility."
"It can be minimized by being careful," Serafall said finally, giving in to the direction the conversation was going. She adored Gohan and the last thing she wanted to do was get rid of him over something like this. "Which means no jumping in and starting fights!" she finished, glaring at the boy. Gohan raised his hands in a surrender motion.
"Alright! Gosh, I'll be more careful next time."
"I did warn you what would happen," Akeno giggled, causing Gohan to deadpan. The girl really found enjoyment in the suffering of others, no matter what form it was in. Just like a true sadist. However, despite all of that, the half-Saiyan had to admit that Akeno did, in fact, warn him about what could possibly occur.
"Well, if that's all," Ajuka stated, standing up. A green circle appeared beneath him as he prepared to teleport away. "I have things I must return to. I bid you all farewell and good luck. Rest assured, my knowledge of this will remain restricted to those I trust completely."
"Thanks, Beelz-y" Serafall yawned lazily.
In a green flash, he was gone. Suddenly, Gohan felt a lot more relaxed than he had before. He hadn't even realized he was so tense. It was as if he had been getting scolded by his mother. Although, it didn't seem as bad. Serafall was starting to feel like an older sister as the years had gone by. Although, that didn't stop him from feeling guilty when she told him off. Despite Ajuka leaving, the tension in the room still remained fairly high.
"So that's it then?" Rias asked, looking fairly disappointed with the outcome. "They're just going to stay bound to him?"
"Seems like it," Sona commented. "Unless he's willing to learn the spell to trade them, there's not much we can do aside from request they be forcibly removed from him, and Lord Beelzebub is one of the only people that can do that," she finished. Gohan glanced at Kuroka and Shirone out of the corner of his eye. Neither one of them particularly seemed too thrilled about being traded again. Despite her silence, the younger of the two Nekoshou displayed subtle signs of distress at the thought of being traded again.
"Can we not talk about them like they're property?" Gohan frowned, a more serious look coming across his features. "I'll admit, I don't really want a peerage, but it's not like it's going to cause me any issues. I'll happily learn the spell to trade them, but I'd rather leave the choice up to them. They're not property, they're people," the half-Saiyan finished, turning to Kuroka and Shirone. The two of them looked rather stunned, especially the older sister.
"Our… choice?" the black-haired Nekoshou breathed as if it were the most unbelievable thing she had ever heard. Gohan could only nod in response.
"I didn't really know that peerages can be often summarized as slavery," he glanced at Serafall. The Devil queen's expression dropped, a crestfallen look in her eyes as if she were ashamed that a good portion of Devils treated their peerage members like garbage. It reflected badly on their entire race. However, the Sitri and Gremory families were standouts when it came to respect and civility. "Akeno did tell me that we were lucky to be bonded to such nice and caring people," he smiled, looking at Rias, Sona, and his own King. The three of them all lightened up a bit.
The room was silent for a few moments, no one really knowing what to say, that is until it was broken by the most unlikely individual.
"I'll stay," Shirone said quietly. She leaned over and hugged her older sister's arm for support. "I want to stay."
"That's… not a shock," Kuroka admitted, turning to Gohan. "We were reborn into Devils, our ex-master claimed that it would be for the best. Turned out he was nothing but a bastard. I saw nothing but tyrant Kings wherever we went. I was always under the impression that Devil's were nothin' but garbage," she said, a slight look of distaste in her eyes. However, the look vanished when she looked over each person in the room. "You guys feel different. I think… we'll get to know our new King before we decide to jump ship."
Rias smirked, opening her mouth to say something but was cut off by a nudge from Sona, accompanied by a glare. The Sitri and Gremory heiresses glared at each other for a few seconds, drawing the attention of the room. After an awkward few moments, Rias got up from her chair and beckoned for Akeno to join her.
"Well, now that everything is sorted out, we should be leaving."
"Aw, but I want to get to know-" Akeno was cut off by a stern glare. The fallen angel hybrid bit her lip as she stood up, bowing, before joining Rias.
"We'll see you all soon," Rias said, staring at Gohan. The boy wasn't quite sure what had just happened between her and Sona, but it obviously had the two heated. Before long, Rias had teleported both her and Akeno back to the Gremory estate. Sona allowed herself to sigh while Kuroka idly wondered what had just happened.
"I really need to talk with Sirzechs about that," Serafall murmured. "It's really starting to get troublesome."
"Sister," Sona started. "Is it true? That Lord and Lady Gremory wish to-"
"Yes," Serafall answered before she could finish. "It's why little Rias has become a little more pushy about it."
Gohan then realized what they were talking about. Rias was still adamant in becoming his queen. Despite all the times he had turned her down, she didn't let up. If anything, the rejection made her advances stronger. Now that he actually had the beginnings of a peerage, he came to the startling realization that he had just given the Gremory princess all the more reason to persuade him to allow her to become his queen.
Even despite the reasons he had already given.
"Uh, does this have anything to do with us?" Kuroka asked curiously.
"It could," Serafall retorted blandly. "Depends on whether or not Rias will take a liking to Riser Phenex."
Gohan only had one question.
Gohan did his best to hide his awkwardness from the two cat-girls. He sat on the edge of his bed, his legs and arms crossed. Kuroka and Shirone sat on the floor in front of him in a kneeling position. They were both still in their black and white yukatas respectively, despite how loose fitting Kuroka's seemed to be. The half-Saiyan wasn't exactly sure where to start with all of this. Serafall had ditched him to go inform Sirzechs of the predicament he had found himself in. With the support of both her and Ajuka, there wasn't much Sirzechs could do anyway. Besides, the man seemed to like him too much to punish him regardless of this unintentional crime.
"There are, uh… plenty of guest rooms," Gohan chuckled weakly. The two had followed him to his room. What seemed even more strange was the lack of intention to actually leave his room and go find a spare room to sleep in. He wasn't sure if he was comfortable sleeping in the same room as these two. He barely knew the two, despite saving their lives.
"I know," Kuroka said simply. "I think I'd rather sleep in here though, in that bed," the girl said pointing to Gohan's bed. The boy frowned, a tired look overcoming his face. Shirone didn't give any physical or verbal response, though, Gohan guessed the younger sister felt the same way.
"OK, let me stop you right there," Gohan held up his hands to stop her before she went any further. "First of all, that's my bed. Second, no one is sleeping there besides me. I understand that you feel grateful to me for getting rid of your old master, but there's no need for that."
"Oh?" Kuroka smirked, noticing a light blush cross her new King's cheeks. "What kind of thoughts were you thinking?"
Gohan summoned a small ball of energy on his fingertip and flicked it at her. The light smacked her in the forehead so hard she toppled over. Despite his blush, he was sporting a deep frown, clearly embarrassed by the older girl's insinuation. He didn't need to be a genius to understand what she was implying. Maybe a few years ago it would have gone over his head, however, he had since hit puberty. He got enough teasing from Akeno and Serafall about all that nonsense to get fed up with it very easily.
Kuroka steadied herself, rubbing the red mark on her forehead with a playful smirk on her face. Her previous master would have probably attacked her for such a comment. Her new King only did so out of embarrassment, besides, Gohan's little light flick wasn't intended to hurt her.
"I get enough of that from Serafall and Akeno. I would prefer if we could keep that nonsense to a minimum, please."
"Aw," Kuroka purred. "Spoilsport. I'm quite enjoying this. So much more relaxing than my previous master."
"I don't really know what it's like to be a King," Gohan started, changing the subject. "I only know from what I've seen from Serafall and Rias. So… since we are still kind of strangers, should we introduce ourselves?"
"I suppose that would be fair," Kuroka agreed. Shirone gave a supportive nod, accepting the notion. "I guess I'll go first. My name is Kuroka. My sister Shirone and I are Nekoshou, a special breed of Nekomata. Our background is rather complicated. We lost our parents at a young age and we were fooled into becoming Devils by that bastard. He's from the house of Naberius, one of the Seventy Two Pillars," Kuroka explained. Gohan hummed looking the two girls over once more.
"Nekoshou…" he glanced at the cat ears and tails the two seemed to be sporting. "So you guys are like cats?" he couldn't help but think back to the time when he still had his tail. There were times he missed it, but it honestly didn't really bother him all that much anymore.
"Careful," Kuroka teased, her tail waving about lazily behind her. "That could be considered insulting."
"Sorry, I meant no offense."
"None taken. Funnily enough, we share a lot of characteristics with cats. Though, if we go into that, we'd be talking all night."
Shirone nodded in silent agreement. Gohan wondered if her refusal to speak had something to do with their ex-master. Kuroka just claimed she was shy, but he had a sneaking suspicion it was a bit more than that.
"Well, I guess it's my turn," Gohan cleared his throat. "I'm Son Gohan. Unsure how to really explain this, but I'm a human-Saiyan hybrid. I lived on Earth when I was younger, living with my Mom and Dad. I uh… ended up in the Underworld after a tough fight and I've been here ever since. I do wish to return home when the opportunity presents itself, but I have a feeling it won't be anytime soon… so I'm here to stay for the time being."
"Can't Serafall or the other Devil Kings just send you home? A trip to Earth isn't anything difficult," Kuroka asked, tilting her head in slight confusion. It wasn't exactly hard to get from the Underworld to the Human world. Devil's did it all the time. In fact, Gohan should be able to do it himself now. However, the look on his face told Kuroka that there was more to it than that.
"It's um… a little more complicated than that."
"My Earth is different than the one connected to the Underworld."
"Yeah," Gohan laughed sheepishly. "I don't really know how it works either."
Kuroka and Shirone shared a look between the two. Neither of them really understood exactly what that was supposed to mean. They had been to Earth a grand total of three times with their previous master. The idea that there was more than one Earth was a little confusing, to say the least. Although, to the two sisters, it didn't exactly matter right now.
"Say… Sayin…" Shirone voiced, her face contorting as she tried to pronounce the word that had caught her interest.
"Saiyan?" Gohan offered with a smile. The silver-haired Nekoshou nodded in response. "Well, the most I know is that the Saiyans were a warrior race. My dad is one of them. Since my mom is a human, I'm technically a hybrid of the two."
"Warrior race huh?" Kuroka hummed thoughtfully. "It explains how you dropped our previous master so easily. Seriously… one shot and he was done. He ain't a joke either. I may hate him, but I've seen him fight," the black-cat chuckled. To her left, Shirone yawned, her head resting against her sister's shoulder for support. The older sister instinctively pulled her closer and guided the silver themed cat's head to her lap. It was almost like a clockwork action, as if it had been done a thousand times. "Aw, is the little kitten tired? We have had a pretty loaded day after all."
Shirone's feline ears twitched as Kuroka rubbed them lightly, gently lulling the younger girl off to sleep. Gohan absently wondered what it would be like to have a sibling. Being an only child, he had never gotten to experience that kind of bond with anyone. His life was just one fight after another before he arrived in the Underworld. Looking at Kuroka and Shirone, a small part of him was jealous. The two cared very deeply for each other.
"I guess it is pretty late," Gohan yawned, stretching his arms in the process. He watched as Kuroka picked up her sister and walked over to one of the few couches that were placed in the half-Saiyan's room. Being a wealthy mansion and all, Gohan had a very large master bedroom all to himself. It was decked out with an absurd amount of decor and luxury. Television, furniture, and even a small kitchen. It was like a tiny apartment! "Are you sure you don't want to sleep in another room? I'm sure a bed would be more comfortable than a couch."
"It's fine," Kuroka reassured. "You may not realize it, but you emit a calming aura. Shirone seems to have taken a liking to it, plus the additional feelings we have due to the re-established bond of our Evil Pieces. We feel safer when we're closer to you," the older cat explained casually as she found a blanket and tucked her little sister in for a peaceful night's sleep. "Besides, I'll take a couch over the floor any day."
"Floor?" Gohan's features twisted to a look of dismay. "That guy made you sleep on the floor!?" he hissed in disbelief. Kuroka took a seat on the opposite couch and crossed her legs, a somber expression painting her face as she watched Shirone's eyes flutter as Morpheus' realm took her peacefully.
"Wasn't just us. The other members did as well. We all did," Kuroka said, ending with a yawn. "Like I said, dude was an asshole. Had plenty of room as well. His view on reincarnated Devils wasn't exactly a good one. We were slaves to him. From my experience, most High-Class Devils view their peerage as slaves."
"That's wrong," Gohan declared, his conviction as solid as steel. It stunned Kuroka somewhat, but by now the fact dawned on her that she and Shirone got absurdly lucky. To think that there were people like Gohan in the Underworld… people like Serafall, Rias Gremory, and others. Why had it taken so damn long to come across them? Every Devil that she had ever seen had either looked down on her or pitied her. Not one, until Gohan had come along, had ever stood up and spat in the face of slavery.
"It is, and you can't comprehend how grateful I am to you for allowing us to escape that Hell. The last thing I want is for Shirone to grow up through all that abuse and neglect. If you hadn't done something…" Kuroka idly held up a hand, her eyes washing over her palm as she unconsciously channeled a portion of her Senjutsu. A purplish glow covered her hand as she chewed her lip, pained thoughts plaguing her. "I probably would have done something I would have regretted. Something that would have placed Shirone in a lot of danger."
"You would have killed him," Gohan guessed somberly. Kuroka confirmed his suspicion by her silence. "I learned that killing your master results in you becoming a Stray Devil. They're-"
"Executed on sight, yes, I am aware," Kuroka cut off a little too harshly. "A law that favors the side of the King over that of the peasants. I'm not surprised though. If it wasn't such a harsh law, then peerage members would be suffocating their masters in their sleep. Devil-kind close to extinction and what not." she rolled her eyes dramatically. "Cry me a river. Maybe when the remaining members of your kind can be counted on one hand, I'll be sympathetic."
"Only Shirone and I are left. I don't know if there are any others."
Gohan remained silent as Kuroka ran a hand through her hair. Silence reigned between the two as the older sister merely stared at her younger sister, watching to make sure not a hair on her head was harmed or out of place. It was as if Shirone was the most important thing in her life. The half-Saiyan briefly thought of his father and Vegeta, the only two remaining full-blooded Saiyan's in the universe. It had never really occurred to him, seeing as the Saiyan culture was as much of a mystery to him as it was to anyone else on Earth, but he wondered if this is what Vegeta felt like.
If it was, then he certainly didn't show it. He remembered as clear as day how Vegeta had brutally executed Nappa after the bald Saiyan had lost to his father. Did Vegeta care about the survival of the Saiyans? Or was he more concerned about his own strength? On multiple occasions he had proclaimed himself as the proud Prince of all Saiyans, but if he truly cared about the survival of his- their- species, then why did he constantly want to fight Goku?
Perhaps, in the end, Vegeta already saw that his race was done for. To him… in the end, his own strength was what mattered.
It would certainly explain his actions since meeting the ruthless man.
"Tell me," Kuroka said suddenly, drawing Gohan out of his thoughts. "You seem pretty well-spoken, yet you look about the same age as my sister. How old are you?" she asked.
"I'm twelve. I'll be thirteen soon though."
"Shirone will be twelve soon as well. I happened to just turn sixteen awhile ago. I feel older though, having to take care of her on a daily basis."
"Well, I'm sure you don't have to worry about that too much anymore. I promise you're surrounded by good people. They aren't like the Devils you know."
"I can see that," she retorted with a small smirk. "I figured that out the moment you stood up for us," Kuroka smiled. There was a warmness in her eyes, something that Gohan was sure he wouldn't forget any time soon. Despite all the people he saved back home with his father and his friends, there was very little opportunity to be thanked for what they do. This was one of those rare moments for Gohan, where he got to see just how much of an impact his actions had on someone.
"Well," the boy sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck. "I would do it for anyone. That felt like the first moment in a long time where I knew I could make a difference, so I did. I didn't really need to think about it."
"Well look at you," Kuroka purred. "Mr. Romeo himself. Be careful, with a heart that big, every girl is gonna want a piece sooner or later."
"Aw come on," Gohan moaned. "We were having a moment, why'd you have to go and ruin it?"
"Sorry," the girl giggled. She clearly wasn't sorry. "You better get some rest. Tomorrow, I want to take you for a test drive."
"A spar, if you want to phrase it that way," Kuroka replied, clearing up the confusion. "I want to know if my new King is packing as much power as I think he is."
"You want to train?" Gohan asked, his curiosity rising. "That doesn't sound like a bad idea. Serafall's been pretty busy lately so I've been slacking a bit. I could use the exercise."
"Good," Kuroka snarked, grabbing a blanket and throwing it over herself as she stretched out on the couch. "I won't go easy. I'm much stronger than my pathetic ex-master, so don't expect me to go down in one punch, ya hear? I'm not that foolish."
"Yeah, yeah," Gohan chuckled as he walked over and switched off the lights. "Don't expect me to go easy either."
"I'd kick your ass if you did."
"Good night, Kuroka."
"Night… Monkey Boy."
Gohan tensed as he stared through the darkness at Kuroka's form. She was tucked beneath a blanket, chest rising and falling. The lower end of his back started to itch as his thoughts drifted to his amputated tail. He shook his head as he moved to his own bed and prepared for a good night's sleep. Though the thought still bothered him.
"How'd she know?"
So! Kuroka and Shirone. Bet you guys didn't see that one coming! It may seem a wee bit rushed with how quickly it all happened, but I've been reassured that it's fine. Some of you might have an issue with Gohan having a peerage even though he didn't intend to. Trust me, Gohan's mostly against having it and the ramifications of it will be explored as the chapters go by. This may be a deal breaker for some? I'm unsure, it's really hard to gauge what some people think is a bit too far. Also, I'm not a complete expert on the intricacies of the Evil Piece system so I'm taking creative liberties with it to add to the world building of this story.
Anyway, that's all for now guys. Catch you in the next update!