AN: Had a guest review on chapter 14. An anonymous guest said that Iris acted OOC by even considering Riser for a master. I feel like that's a kind of weird opinion to have but I'll put my ideas here anyways. To me and my idea of Iris freedom is the ability to act as you please. She added so many restrictions on whether or not she'd become Riser's familiar that she'd be in control of herself, not him in control of her. No she isn't going to (and won't) ever willingly enslave herself. Ever.

I did say "I've thought a lot about whether I ever even want to have one. I decided that I would be better off having one than not." And I think that left the wrong impression. Being better off with a 'master' means, as I thought it, that it left her safer from being forcibly bound, giving her a powerful backer and loyal companion, etc. Not in the way that she'd enjoy taking orders. I edited chapter 14 a little to clarify this. Just a little add-on to the sentence to show this thought process. Nothing major.

Besides that little explanation it's nice to know that people are making ships. Mostly Riser/Iris and one person shipping Ravel/Iris. I can see both.

Surprised nobody figured out what Sirzechs wanted last chapter. As the author it seems apparent to me but then again… I'm the author. I made the puzzle. Of course I'd have all the answers. This chapter ties up what he's been aiming for but I'll add a little explanation just in case.

Chapter 16

The many faces of sin


Normally the arena for a rating game was a randomized playing field. It could be a desert, a foggy plain, a forest, a city, or something more ridiculous like a pool of lava. Ajuka had made the system, like with most important devil inventions, and it had been copied plenty of times into every arena used for rating games.

In more private settings the arena could be set. Rias had wanted Kuoh academy to be the arena for their game. Not really caring Riser had allowed it. It wasn't like he would have a hard time making the whole arena rubble. One minute of preparation and the field would be as even as it could be. It wouldn't reveal any of his more exotic abilities either, leaving him plenty of tricks for Iris. Less than she'd have - who knew what she had picked up traveling - but enough to dull that edge she had.

Oh right, Rias. He'd just crush her. If she had been working hard she might scuff his shoes as they fought.

As he reclined on a couch in the lounge waiting for the match to start he wondered if Sirzechs was being honest. The deal they had struck seemed mutually beneficial but it could be more beneficial if he was backstabbed… right? Maybe.

The topic was quickly pushed from his mind. If he was betrayed then he'd deal with it. If everything went through then he'd do a little happy dance as he hid from Iris' fury. Maybe she'd get all pretty again like the last time she was angry. This might be a little more furious than last time.

His mind kept wandering through a few topics, circling back to Iris and Sirzechs' deal every few minutes.

"Lord Riser," Yubelluna spoke up. "The game is about to start." He looked up at the wall. An analog clock ticked down from thirty. It felt slow to him.

"Remember my orders." He said as he stood up from the couch. He adjusted his red suit and checked his hair. Immaculate as always. Just enough hairs were out of place to make his hair look natural.

"Yes, Lord Riser." Yubelluna bowed briefly. The rest of his peerage followed suit. He stared at the clock.

5…

4…

3…

2…

1…

… Well?

There was a brief red flash in the room and Riser looked around to see an office. It was classy for a human's workplace. Shelves lined the wall behind him, the floor was made of smooth wood, and there was even a pleasant smell in the air, though he didn't recognize it.

"Your attention please," oh fine. If you must. "Welcome, everyone. My name is Grayfia, a servant of the house of Gremory. I will be your referee during today's match… " Riser kicked his feet up on the desk and leaned back on the chair deeply enough that it almost fell over. Almost. Grayfia prattled on for a minute about the match and the location and rules. The only useful information was Rias' location, the occult research clubroom in the old school building. There was some rundown shack out in the woods somewhere. That would be the ORC building.

"Go. Call me when you're done." He said, flicking a hand at the windows.

"At once." Yubelluna nodded. She let her wings out and leapt gracefully out, the others following her lead. They hovered outside the room for a few seconds while Murent put invisibility effects on them all. Yubelluna helped but wasn't so good with the spell as his sole bishop.

"I've always wondered, do these books have words in them? It would be a waste of time but then again…" He craned his neck a bit to look at the shelf and snapped his fingers. Books flew off the shelves to neat piles beside him. He cracked one open and and snorted.

"Children's picture books? Really?" He rotated it and let the pages fall down. Some hardworking devil had crammed a number of children's picture books into some dusty old tomes in the principal's office. They likely thought nobody would ever notice.

"It's not like I have anything else to do." He mused out loud. People were watching the game. If he was going to read picture books in front of a crowd he'd at least justify it to them. He'd get to the burning and dream crushing in a minute.


The 'plan', if it could be called that, was for all of them besides the four twins to come at the club from the flanks, pressing them into retreats until they hit the forest their clubhouse was surrounded by. Their lord would then fly up and and turn the half mile of forest in the arena to a burning mess, making the ORC take to the air to be picked off.

It wasn't an exact plan but their lord liked to be flexible. So much could go wrong, after all, and only Karlamine, Mihae, her lord, and herself were any good at improvising. Not that Yubelluna blamed them. She wasn't much good at quick thinking when she first joined her lord either. It was a difficult skill to nurture if you weren't a natural at it.

So when she saw Rias' queen flying low to the ground under a poorly made camouflage spell she rolled her eyes and pointed. An explosion knocked the girl to the side where she tumbled in the dirt a little.

Couldn't have one of the pieces missing, could she? The plan as a whole wasn't made to win but to make her lord look good. It would help legitimize his ascension during his wedding. It wasn't that he needed to look good but that it was convenient. And making things convenient for her master was her third most important job; just after being a good fuck and being able to fight with him.

She prided herself on being the best fighter and the best lay in the whole harem. She couldn't have some schoolgirl bimbo making her look bad, Rias' queen or not.

"Now that's just precious," she said in her most condescending tone. "Were you looking for me? Is there some matter to settle queen to queen that I didn't know of? Or were you running away from a hopeless battle?" The girl sighed and dusted off her skirt before looking up at Yubelluna staring down at her. She looked mildly irritated, as though the bruises and scrapes from the explosion were nothing too bad. Maybe they weren't. She was a queen, after all.

There wasn't any talk before the queen shot a lightning bolt at her. Yubelluna held out a hand, a magical shield on her hand. She blocked it soundly but felt her reserves of magic take a hit. The queen was powerful. Not to her level but she was at least to be taken seriously. That meant no more standing in place as she got hit.

"No flirting before we start? A pity." The girl smiled kindly as she pointed her whole arm at her and magic circles sprung up. More lightning and a little fire barraged her in the air. Yubelluna was forced to make a shield and do a heatless explosion, what plebians might have called a 'force push' to throw herself to the side.

With the talking apparently a bust Yuelluna let loose a few of her own spells. Snakes made of explosions, loud and a bit terrifying, flew down towards the queen. She tried a few spells at them before slowing them down with small spheres of ice and cold air.

More explosions were thrown at the girl, making her take to the air again, probably an effort to escape the ground, where all the explosions had been before. It also gave her more maneuverability to escape the snakes.

So futile. Yubelluna's right hand slipped down near her stockings and plucked out a few stones from a pocket space. It had been easy for the Phenex family to provide her with one of the normally expensive artifacts. She used it to store rocks.

The rocks were thrown at the girl after being tagged with a homing spell. She pulled away from the stones but not far enough. Explosion spells hit the stones directly, making shockwaves that threw the opposing queen into a flip. That was her chance.

A javelin of steel flew from her fingers and detonated near the queen, eliciting a scream of pain. The queen fell to the ground and glared at her hatefully, the smile still on her face, maybe a little wider than before. "Oh… keep looking at me like that. You wouldn't hesitate to rip me apart, would you?" Yubelluna shivered a little. All that queen's hatred hit one of her biggest kinks head on.

She just loved making other people's lives hard, making them hate her. Did that make her a bitch? Absolutely. Not that the label was important to her.

The queen flicked her wrist and the ground around her erupted in smoke. Yubelluna made another heatless explosion immediately, blowing the annoyance away. She caught the queen's back as she ran through the forest, right where she wanted her.

A little giggle escaped her at that and she flew after the woman slowly, taking her time. A few more explosions would keep the queen on her toes and in the right direction.

Maybe she'd glare at her again. That would be wonderful.


"Did we miss one of them?" Xuelan asked Isabela, though she was more rambling to herself with how grumpy her companion was. The other warrior said nothing, just looking around silently. "I don't think we did. I didn't see any, anyways. Rias isn't much for subterfuge. I don't think any of her peerage even know the invisibility spell. Not that it's easy to learn. Yubelluna spent-"

"There." Isabela looked towards a gap in the treeline. Xuelan stopped her spiel and looked with her. He blended in pretty well in the shadows with the dark school blazer and pants on him. He looked at them neutrally. There was silence between the two groups.

"No words then?"

"Well you already know that I don't want you here, right? I didn't see any point in talking but if you want to speak first that's fine with me." He shrugged cheerily.

"So get out or you start fighting, right?"

"Exactly." He seemed pleased that they had caught on so quickly. Xuelan traded a look with Isabela. As one the two rooks rushed forwards. One of Xuelan's hands fingered a knife under her dress but she kept it hidden for now.

The boy, Rias' knight apparently, formed a sword out of nothing and leapt out of Isabela's way. Her punch, a tight haymaker, boomed a bit in the empty air. He leapt back in at her side, thrusting, but it was easily slapped away by Isabela's strength.

"Not very strong, are you?" She said casually. "Just fast."

"I like to think so," the knight said, a little sweat beading on his forehead already. "Strong, I mean."

"You're not." She turned to avoid another stab and was only a little surprised when his spare hand swung with a follow up, another sword forming as he swung. She casted one of her few spells and a pale blue shield flickered over her skin. The sword crashed against it, breaking it, and stung her skin, leaving a red gash, if a light one.

In exchange for the blow, however, Isabela landed a side kick right on the knight's stomach. He flew back and crashed to the dirt, looking a bit green. Xuelan took the opportunity to step in and kick his head neatly, knocking him unconscious. A little red glow came over his form and he disappeared.

"Rias' knight is retired." Grayfia's voice rang over the battlefield.

"Knights. They can't take a hit worth shit." Isabela poked her wound and sighed. It looked like it was only surface level. That knight was fast but couldn't land a solid hit even head-on. It was way different from fighting Karmaline or Siris.

"I'll take the next one. Wait for an opportunity if we get into another fight."

"I'm fine. It just stings." Isabela snapped.

"If they're all as weak as the knight then you might be able to handle them all yourself. But assuming that would be sloppy. Also, in case you forgot we're supposed to drive them towards each other, not knock them out of the game." Isabella grumbled a bit but nodded unhappily.

"Great. Let's keep going then. I'll take point."


Far across the forest a dark figure was flying high. She/he pointed upwards and let loose a flare. A bright red light that arced through the sky, flickering out after a few seconds. "Oh crap." Rias muttered. She didn't know what the flare meant but it couldn't be good.

"Everyone, any idea what that meant?" She put two fingers by her right ear.

"Maybe they're in trouble?" Koneko suggested.

"I don't think so." Akeno said, still sounding a little pained from her injuries earlier. It hurt her heart to know that her best friend had been hurt because of her. Going to take out Riser herself had been an ambitious plan but with invisibility, a tactic Riser's peerage had used several times in their earlier rating games, she thought it would work. Clearly he had precautions against people mimicking his strategies.

"Agreed. Nobody is seeing any trouble?" She got a chorus of negatives.

"Uh, Buchou? I think grilled chicken is coming out of the schoolhouse." Issei sounded a little nervous. What was he seeing?

"Are you sure? Can you see him?"

"Does he have flaming wings?"

"That's him." She felt the dread creeping in. Riser had never come out to fight in his rating games, his peerage doing all the work. But if his peerage was so strong how well could he fight?

"Buchou, he's coming towards the forest!" She held in a swear.

"How fast?!" She demanded.

"He's here," Issei had moved on from nervous to fearful. Then his tone got confused. "I think it's getting hotter. I'm right around the edges of the forest. He's moving… above the schoolhouse?" The words didn't register for a moment. Then it hit her.

"He's making an aerial strike! Everyone take cover!" She sprinted out of the schoolhouse and into the foliage. "Akeno, Issei, Koneko, meet up west of the schoolhouse, we need to group up and pick off his peerage from the-" the sky turned orange. She looked back at the schoolhouse and took a quick breath as a fireball slammed into it. She only had time to throw up her hands and release her power of destruction towards the blast when she was thrown off her feet. Then everything was quiet.

"Buchou? Buchou?! BUCHOU?!" Issei yelled. She couldn't hear anything but his voice. Everything else was ringing. It was like she was underwater.

"I'm alright. I just… can't hear very well." Something wet trailed down her right ear. Her voice was almost muffled. "Regroup in the west. Move." There were a few seconds where she took some breaths and let her hearing recover. She immediately wished it hadn't.

"Rias," she felt hatred as she heard that voice. It rang over the battlefield much like Grayfia's. "I suggest you surrender now. You have ten seconds."

"I… you know what? Fuck him." She hissed.

"How crass." Akeno giggled.

"… Buchou, what if we all hit him at once? He's all alone up there." Issei suggested. Rias considered it.

"His peerage is in the forest. They could shoot at us from the gr-"

"Five." Her fiancee counted down. Her mind scrambled.

"Four." What to do, what to do, what to do… she was the king! She was the person who made the plans! But now…

"Three." One plan came to mind. It was risky and a bit stupid. But it might work. Maybe.

"RISER!" She yelled from below. She stepped backwards closer to the burning schoolhouse to see him high in the sky, a globe of flames around him. That must be hard to maintain. She never knew he had any talent in magic. "I DON'T THINK YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO FACE ME!" There was silence.

"We're going with Issei's plan. I'll distract him." She muttered for her peerage.

"Why bother with weaklings?" His voice rang out again. That had to be some sort of voice amplification spell. "I have better things to do with my time. If you can't even handle my peerage you can't handle me. I've never needed to step in before. This is a special occasion, however, so I'm making an exception."

"AN EXCEPTION? COME DOWN AND FIGHT US, IF YOU SAY THAT YOU CAN!" She just had to delay until-

"Fine." He was so arrogant! Was he honestly going to face her whole peerage himself? Riser was powerful, a rating games veteran, but he was just Riser, an arrogant, spoiled devil that relied solely on his bloodline.

He started flying down, the flames around him flickering out as he landed atop the burning schoolhouse. The fires didn't seem to hurt him at all. "Good to see you again, Rias! Now where is your peerage?"

"Right HERE!" Issei yelled. He and Koneko walked side by side into the schoolhouse's clearing and glared at him.

"And your queen?"

"She's injured. It may take her a minute." She replied. She looked Riser over. He looked almost bored, looking over her and her peerage. He must have thought of something since a smile crept at the edge of his mouth, one he crushed to boredom quickly.

"Who injured her?"

"Your queen."

"Well Yubelluna uses explosions. It's fairly expected. Oh well. Any last words, my second wife?" She hated that word. Wife… she wanted so badly to kick his ass. She was spared from having to hold her tongue any more when a blast of lightning flew from the woods, blowing half of the schoolhouse to splinters.

"Oh, Akeno. Finally." She gritted her teeth at his tone. He didn't look injured by the lightning that hit him head on at all. "Now, let's get this over with."

"You hurt ASIA!" Issei yelled, running at Riser. His wings flared out as he leapt at him. "I'll NEVER let you marry-!" Riser pointed at her pawn and a cylinder of flames shot out, engulfing Issei in fire. His body fell short of the schoolhouse, to smack against the ground.

"Rias' pawn is retired." Grayfia announced.

"One down." Riser said casually, like this was all a game to him. Rias swallowed her screams - he had HURT what was HERS! - and shot a blast of destruction at him. He had to fly upwards, dodging it soundly, and Akeno blasted him with another lightning strike from wherever she was hidden. The air smelled of ozone but Riser was perfectly fine.

Koneko was visibly hesitating to rush head on like Issei had and, after a nod from Rias, she ran into the trees, scampering up the trunk of one and disappearing into the leaves.

"There you are." Riser seemed to… burn? No, wait, that was a teleport-! A scream pierced the air and Rias heard a chilling snap.

"Rias' queen is retired." Grayfia's voice was grave. It suddenly occurred to Rias that she hadn't heard Asia's announcement. Was her bishop retired as well?

"And that's everyone. Besides your pawn, of course. Where is she?" Riser's eyes sweeped the tree line for a few seconds. He shrugged. "Oh well."

"So it's just us." Rias lied. "What now?"

"Now you lose, obviously. Do you surrender?" She blasted him once more. He swept his hand grandly and flames blocked the blast. It pierced through and he stumbled backwards with a grunt of pain as he was hit. It wasn't pretty. His skin seemed to fade away to injuries that were quickly recovered with fire. His bloodline again.

"Ow. Fine." Fires sprung up around him and he ran at her, probably hoping to get close where she was weak. She let loose with her power, careless of how much destruction she caused. The ground around her rippled and fell to dust under her power. And that was all it was. Pure power.

Riser ignored it, lunging at her through the damage. His bloodline flicked over his skin, healing the damage as quickly as she could make it and he grabbed her wrist, his other hand pulled back for a punch.

"No!" Rias pulled back the power as she heard the voice. Koneko had grabbed onto Riser's arm and was struggling to pull it down. One arm.

"There you are." Rias barely saw the movement, just heard a crack and saw Koneko skidding over the ground before she fell limp.

"Rias' rook is retired." Grayfia almost sighed.

"We're done." She looked at Riser and her vision went black. There was some sort of pressure on her forehead.

Her last sight was him frowning down at her in… disappointment.


Well fuck. Riser was getting married. Good for him, I guessed.

Despite not needing to I smoothed over my dress, a coal black one with patterns of grey spiraling down it. It looked a little like smoke on a night sky, or as Jeanne eloquently put it 'Boring black with some grey scribbles'.

"I'd appreciate it if you told me that this was for Riser." I said to Ajuka.

"That's only the fourth time you've said that tonight." He took another sip of his wine, clearly looking to get drunk tonight.

"I mean it ten times over. I'm holding this against you."

"I thought it's be a good surprise. Shouldn't you be happy for your friend?"

"You know he wants me to marry him too, right?"

"Oh no, to be pampered by a rich, handsome, powerful sire to a pillar clan."

"You know it's not like that."

"No, but they think of it like that." He gestured his glass towards some gossiping female devils, the second in line daughters and the minor nobles, all of them of a lower station than Riser and fawning over his power. I had chatted with a similar group a few parties back. It was all about 'manliness' and how coll he looked at one point or another. I wasn't making the mistake of separating from Ajuka, except maybe if Ravel wanted to talk.

This was a party at the Phenex manor after all. If I was lucky I could go hide with her in her room. And then maybe I'd be handed a nice manor where nobody would bother me and I'd be handed the sword of excalibur for a main course meal. Yeah, right. I was stuck out here with the rest of the nobles. At least we were given chairs this time. Tables were spread out over the ballroom, letting people lay back and socialize or lay back and drink in the case of many. Some of the devils looked a bit young to be drinking, though…

"Aren't I a citizen now?" I asked Ajuka.

"Mhm."

"What rank am I?"

"Officially an outlier, a status used for newborns and immigrants. Unofficially you're at the peak of the high class, maybe ultimate class, though you've got a wider skill set than most. I've got the authority to run some tests and assign it officially."

"When do you want to do that?"

"Fairly soon. Tomorrow, I suppose." He pulled a phone out and flipped to a calendar.

"I'm up for that. It's not like I have anything else to do."

"How about at six pm?"

"Sure." He typed something down while I did another scan for people that I might like to talk to. Hanging by Ajuka and glaring at anybody with the balls to approach us was alright but there were a few people I wouldn't mind talking to.

I was just in time to see a purple haired beauty slip in through a side door and look around for someone. Now I wouldn't mind talking to her.

"I'll be back in a few minutes."

"You? Socializing? Did you see an enchanter to flirt the secrets out of?"

"That was one time!"

"And a waste of it, as I told you it would be."

"You know what? Screw you. I'll be back in a minute." I started walking away.

"Be sure to talk to your boyfriend too!" I muttered a few insults under my breath and kept making my way to to the woman. I had to slip through some tight spaces of chairs pushed nearly back to back but when I needed to do that I just turned my waist to smoke and slipped through, though I saw some people stare.

She noticed me when I was about halfway through the room and I met her with a smile. "Yubelluna," I said cheerfully. "It's good to see you. We've never really talked. I thought now was a nice time. Care to sit down?"

"I wouldn't mind it." She looked amused at something. Not willing to cross the whole room again I grabbed her hand and blinked across the room. She looked a little unstable but got her footing and froze at the sight of Ajuka tilting back a wine flute. The bottle in the middle of the table was a quarter full at this point with an empty one beside it. I'd only had one glass.

"Satan Ajuka, I'm honored to-"

"This is Yubelluna, Riser's queen. Mind if I have her sit here?"

"So long as I can work on my projects."

"Fine by me." I had Yubelluna around to keep the social vultures away now so he could do his own thing. I sat the lady beside me while Ajuka pulled out a tablet and began making a magical spell structure. The specifics went over my head but I equated it to a computer subroutine at a glance. All of his projects were almost indecipherable to me. I was no genius like he was.

"So what's it like in Riser's peerage?" I got straight to the point as I poured both of us a flute of wine. She seemed a bit taken aback by my bluntness. Perfect. I took the opportunity to get a telepathic probe into her head as she was unfocused. I got a beachhead in her quickly and was bale to spread my influence. For now I just checked her for truths or lies.

"It's… satisfying," she smiled and looked at me flirtatiously. "VERY satisfying." Fake. The flirting, at least. It seemed like a tactic to feel me out, find a weakness to put pressure on. If I was flustered she'd have a way to put me off balance. I decided to prod her a bit more aggressively.

"So you're only loyal to him because he rewards you?" The flirting disappeared and her mouth pressed to a line. Oooh, that was telling. I pushed on that anger, prodding her to be more honest, to prove me wrong.

"Riser is my opportunity and a good person despite his vices," her tone was clipped. She had good control of her anger. Most people were controlled by them in one way or another. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't insult either of us like that."

"Character, then?" I raised an eyebrow and pushed harder. "Riser isn't exactly the best person. You know that he's forcefully marrying Rias right now. But his character is what makes you loyal to him?" She finally got angry. I pressed a mental button and felt a little rush in her head. She was about to do something impulsive.

"Riser at least gives a shit about us!" She snapped. She immediately caught herself and clammed up, swallowing any other words. I was smirking in victory. I even took a victory sip of my wine.

"Ahh, so since he cares you're loyal. What he can give you just cements it." She nodded grudgingly, not happy about how I had gotten her to spill. A thought started to bud about how I was a telepath. I squashed it. Her mind was mostly mine now, though it wasn't direct mind control or anything. It was all latent. All I was doing was pushing her to be honest and to trust me.

"I, and many others in his peerage, owe him much. I'm from the Yamakawa family." My eyes lit up.

"Oh, the new noble household?" She nodded.

"The second noble household to rise that was founded by a reincarnated devil. My grandfather is very proud. I'm the heiress. Being in Riser's peerage as his queen is… good for my social status. I've been his since his twelfth birthday."

"But your parents…" I gave her a sympathetic look.

"I don't want to talk about that." She said dangerously. I nodded and came to my own conclusion. She was indentured to Riser, basically his head harem member, but I doubted that she'd had a choice in it. If her parents didn't care about her as I suspected then Riser was one of the few people to care about her, even if it was just as a favorite servant.

A glance at a few memories gave me flashes. Birthdays without proper gifts, just things she needed, a wardrobe controlled by her parents, a hired trainer to teach her how to seduce Riser and be prepared to give her maidenhead to him, all very repressive stuff. She was all but her parent's puppet when she was younger. Riser overshadowed that. Her life revolved around him, which made her loyal to him.

I thought it was ironic that when her life was controlled she only wanted freedom but now that she was mostly free to make her own choices she let herself be controlled by Riser. It was the sort of thought process I didn't understand. Maybe it was because she chose to give up control?

"And the others?"

"… Family." She admitted. I smiled at that. Ravel had equated them to the same. It showed that Yubelluna was getting more comfortable being honest with me.

"That's good to hear. I was a little worried that he was forcing some of you. If you're that close you're at least slightly better than eye candy," there was an awkward silence and I caught a glimpse of two sets of twins. "Most of you?" She nodded. I sighed.

"Well I guess that's more than most. I've heard some horror stories about peerage members. Rape and the like. Riser didn't seem like that kind of person, more of a playboy, but it's better to be sure." I dulled the irritation she felt and looked a little more at the twins she thought of. There were Ile and Nel, both too young for sex and brought in as a favor. They were more like the peerage's little sister's than anything. Then there were Ni and Li, who were Nekomata and… applied to the peerage? People could apply to peerages like a job? … No, but the two did it anyways. And Riser accepted. Strange.

"He would never do something like that," she wanted to say something but was reluctant. I pushed telepathically. "Frankly Riser doesn't even care about Rias anymore. He wants to fuck her but no more than any other pretty devil heiress. He's only got his eyes on you right now."

… Oh boy.

"Huh… think I'd make a good harem sister?" I asked jokingly.

"Hm." She leaned back and gave me a once-over. Slowly. It was a little uncomfortable. "You need to wear more open clothes. Show more skin. A V-neck to your dress, for example. See what I have?" She waved a hand over her chest, which was only held in place by magic and some tight cloth at the sides. Other than that everything was visible but her nipples.

"Oh," she said with a little condescension. "And try wearing leggings. You have the legs for it. Your best asset is your breasts, a close second with your pretty face and eyes, but your legs are still better than most. I can't see your ass since you're sitting. Care to show?" I stared at her.

"I was joking but isn't there more to being a harem girl than a pretty body?" That was why there were so many 'waifus' on earth, after all. Some of them weren't even pretty.

"Riser likes you because you're beautiful but also smart and independent. I wouldn't know about the second. I always thought I was smart but…" An annoyed look crossed her face.

"I'm just creative and talented. And I have a lot of time on my hands. I'm not a genius like Ajuka."

"What?" He looked up at us.

"Nothing, keep doing your thing." He looked back at his tablet and continued ignoring us.

"I can't believe anybody talks to a Satan like that." Yubelluna shook her head.

"I respect him. He's just… chill. That's why I stopped you from prostrating yourself or whatever you were about to do. He gets that from a dozen people a day. I had to attend a meeting with him once. Everyone stood up and kneeled when he walked through the door. That's more than he usually gets but I think he'd be happier if people just treated him with casual respect than reverence."

"I don't understand that." She frowned.

"You'd want everyone to bow before you and speak empty nonsense about how powerful you are?"

"Empty nonsense is an insulting word for praise but yes."

"I don't get that but fine. Good luck with that," I finished off my wine and Yubelluna did the same. "So I've just about interrogated you. Anything you want to ask me?" A feral grin came across her face.

"Oh I'd rather stick with talking about Riser. Tell me, what's your opinion on sleeping with other women?" I sighed. I should have expected this. Just by skimming the thoughts in her head I could tell that she was a pervert. And one who had slept with every member of the peerage besides.

"I've tried it. I'm interested in men but women are fun. I'm not sure I'd ever marry one since I want a kid but yeah, I'm open to sleeping with women." I said, trying to not let her thoughts get to me."

"Mmm… Riser mentioned that you could shapeshift," I stared at her. After I broke it off I shook my head and sighed. A flex of my thoughts later and I was a completely different person. "Oh my," she eyed me hungrily. "I look good."

"I figured you had a narcissistic streak," I flicked my hair - her hair - over my shoulders, instantly disliking how it tickled my ears. And the breasts? I could feel a cold breeze coming through my open boob window. Goodness' sakes, only a pervert could wear her clothes. "I'm not sure about the clothes, though. Sure they look good but being so open feels odd to me. I'm no nudist." I reverted to my normal form and looked down at my once again mostly covered breasts. I felt better about my appearance in general.

"Such a shame. We could have snuck off together if you looked like that." She said, an open proposition if there ever was one. I actually considered it for a moment, if only to get rid of the dullness of the party. You didn't need to be a mind reader to know that Yubelluna was nothing close to a romantic partner, just a great fling.

"… Maybe later. Maybe." I stressed. That was a probable no.

"Once you've started dating Riser then." She shrugged.

"Not going to unless he shapes up. No, I don't want to talk about that," she closed her mouth. "Instead, care to talk about magic?" That brought a smile out of her.


I walked out of the closet with a very satisfied Yubelluna. She wasn't hiding that afterglow she had.

"Quit looking smug." I scowled at her. I hadn't been intending to sleep with her but, well, there was a closet and she was a really good kisser. Harmless fun and a need for a distraction weakened my will. It was probably worth it, not that I'd tell Yubelluna that.

"No," I scoffed at her and walked down the hallway. Yubelluna walked beside me. "Well this was a fun way to kill some time. Do you mind if I accompany you to the grand hall?"

"Not at all. I want to talk to Ravel, though. You won't be the center of my attentions."

"Oh boo hoo. I'm used to being supportive. You remember how we met, right?"

"When you were carrying Riser's ags for him, yes, I remember." Yubelluna and I came face to face with a butler and I gave him a look. He pushed open the doors and announced us.

"Lady Iris and her companion, the queen Yubelluna." Some heads turned towards us as I walked into the stone hall. It was all marble and stone tile floor, some elaborate and doubtlessly expensive as sin paintings on the walls.

I ignored all the guests, none of them being too important, and went straight to Ravel. "Obviously my brother won. Being so talented he hardly needed to try! Honestly just one peerage member would have done it. And just like some of the greatest devils he won himself a bride by crushing her in combat!" She bragged to… Rias' peerage? Then she glanced my way, hearing me approach, and her face lit up.

"Iris!" She walked towards me, a little quicker than formally appropriate, and hugged me.

"Ravel! It's great to see you! How have you been?"

"I've been having a wonderful time! Did you see the game?"

"I did. Riser's really been putting in effort. I'm impressed, though I can't say how much until he actually pushes himself," she almost started dancing from my praise and at how I indirectly supported her bragging earlier. The Gremory peerage looked a bit confused. "Oh, Akeno, it's good to see you again." I smiled at her. She didn't recognize me at all.

"You too! It's been awhile." The rest of her peerage looked between her and myself with confusion. I widened my eyes and tried to look insulted.

"I wouldn't say that two months is a long time." I frowned at her and Ravel caught on, glaring at the queen.

"I…" She was looking around, probably hoping for some escape. I let the silence sit before I snorted.

"We met one time when I was brought along with Riser. The club? I think it was a year and some months ago." It took her a moment before her eyes lit up.

"Oh! I believe that I still have your number!"

"We never really talked," I agreed. "I'm fairly sure that you and Rias thought that I was the newest harem girl." She giggled.

"A bit of a blunt way to say it."

"That's a yes, then," I grinned at her. "Mind if I steal Ravel for a bit? I haven't spoken to her for awhile."

"I'm perfectly fine with that." She smiled.

"As am I." The blond haired guy agreed.

"Please take her." The white-haired girl said plainly. Ravel glared at her.

I put an arm around her shoulders and walked away with her. I heard Sona Sitri, that clever pillar heir that kept the suitors at bay with chess, approach the group after I left to talk with them and Yubelluna, who picked up taunting Akeno after I left. The poor group couldn't get a break apparently. "So what have you been doing since I last saw you?" Ravel asked excitedly.

"Normal exorcist things, mostly… I had to visit Egypt again."

"What?! After that whole… mess with the-"

"Yes, yes, total mess, worst time ever, stole the doohickey from the cult. I didn't see them around. Maybe they fell apart after I stole the rod."

"What about that solar mage?"

"What? He's dead twice over."

"Well he came back once, right?"

"I don't think you can reanimate a soul after someone's eaten it. Anyways, no trouble this time thankfully. I also grabbed some of your favorites." I pulled two pouches out from my pocket space and handed them to Ravel. She fought herself to not snatch them from my hands and gently pulled them from me. The first one she opened let out a corona of light of different colors.

One hand dipped into it and pulled out a clear gemstone, a magical one that glowed softly even without light. "Ooooh. I'll look at them later but thank you!" I hummed happily, not caring that the gifts were expensive. I had plenty of money thanks to looting some of my enemies (turns out bad guys had a lot of stuff I could sell on the magical markets, which didn't ask questions, unlike the normal pawnshops).

When she opened the other pouch she let out a quiet squeal. "Is this…"

"Yup."

"Really?!"

"It's the real thing." Ravel almost drooled at the vial in her hands. A small container of slightly golden liquid sat innocently in the palm of her hand. It sloshed around a little, behaving almost like water with some gold food coloring and glitter in it. It didn't seem too impressive at first but magically it was a whole other story.

"Phoenix blood," she whispered. She swallowed thickly and set the precious liquid in the pouch again. "Thanks, Iris… really, thanks." She was close to tears herself.

"Don't worry about it. You're using this for yourself, right?"

"Yeah…" She got a little bit down again. I knew that she wanted to help her brother however she could but giving over such a powerful magical reagent to him? No, Ravel wasn't as strong as her brother in blood or combat. I wanted to help her out, not her brother. It wasn't like Riser could perform the ritual to strengthen his blood without his sister anyways. "How'd you even get this? It's not on any of the markets! Not even the shady ones!"

"Mind magic and some… somewhat immoral decisions." I didn't like violating privacy but when it made Ravel nearly cry in happiness it was a different story. Besides, I didn't permanently hurt anyone. Not anyone who didn't deserve it, at least.

"You didn't… kill anyone, right?" She seemed suddenly nervous.

"Not for the phoenix blood, no. I left one druggie terrified and a cartel half dismantled, though."

"That doesn't sound immoral."

"Doing that wasn't. I took the phoenix blood as payment for my services. It was all the victims could offer me. They preferred revenge and keeping their kids from… it's not one of my happier experiences. I'd rather not talk about it." Ravel seemed a bit sad.

"I guess-" There was a loud 'fwoosh' or fire. I looked to my right to see Riser in some sort of outfit. It wasn't the normal suit a groom wore. It was more like something I'd see on a flamboyant spaniard, though that might just be the white and red color scheme he had. It was open above the waist, leaving his bare chest open for everyone to see.

"Greeting, renowned devils of the underworld," he greeted everyone. "On behalf of the house of Phenex I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming today! This is a historic moment for the house of devils! Two great dynasties are about to become one! I, Riser Phenex, and Lady Rias of the house of Gremory. And now, I present to you… my bride." A magic circle appeared and with it Rias, not hiding her displeasure to the audience. She openly scowled at Riser but was interrupted by a boom from the front door of the manor.

It was Rias' pawn, bursting through, with his gear on his hand. I let my eyes linger on it. I hadn't gotten a good look at it before but… the boosted gear. One of the longinus gears… Georg could kick his ass.

"Issei!" Rias gasped.

"Things are heating up in here." I muttered to Ravel, who nodded, eyes locked onto the pawn.

"Oh, it's you again." Riser groaned.

"Damn right! On my name as Issei Hyodo Nobody's going to take anything from Rias that she doesn't want to give!" I wondered at the phrasing of that for a moment before shrugging it off. It was probably nothing.

"How obstinate." Riser muttered.

"Seriously, is this guy mental?" Ravel wondered amongst the mutters of the nobility.

"Seize him!" Riser ordered. From the shadows some armored guards, ones I hadn't noticed before, leapt out at the boy. And then the rest of the peerage jumped in, attacking the guards from behind. I put my face into my palm and groaned. This wedding was a total disaster.

"Lord Riser, what is the meaning of this?!" One noble demanded, catching my attention.

"I didn't-!"

"It's just a little entertainment I prepared." A figure said, stepping close. I immediately recognized it. Sirzechs 'Fucking' Lucifer.

"Satan Lucifer," Riser nodded respectfully. "I would have preferred that my wedding stayed as planned."

"There have been complications," the Satan smiled. "You didn't get to properly test yourself, after all."

"That is true. However, I miss the point of this. It was a complete victory on my part. This wedding is done in the name of maintaining a noble line of devils and joining two families, not as entertainment." Riser was speaking strangely. Maybe if someone didn't know him they'd think he was just changing to be more respectful in the presence of a Satan. This was something else.

"Yes. However, I don't believe that you're a high class devil any longer. I think that you've crossed the threshold to an ultimate class devil and that you lacked the opportunity to show that." This was an act. A stage play for the nobles, who were trading gossip and meaningless opinions on the sidelines. What was the end goal here?

"I have. I've simply had no need to display my strength."

"Oh? Most would love to show their improvement. Do you have any reason to hide this strength?"

"Not particularly. I simply had one reason and one reason only to grow stronger." Oh shit. Srizechs made a curious hum, clearly heard throughout the room somehow. "I promised one year ago that I'd grow strong enough to match a Satan and that I'd grow wiser and more mature as a person. Only then can I have my beloved close to me. Then I would be able to show her that I truly do love her." Fucknuggests, Riser, don't do this.

Sirzechs laughed. "It takes courage to admit that you love another woman more than my sister when you're an inch away from marrying her. Some would see that as an insult… who is this woman?"

"Iris Gellian." And just like that every eye in the room turned to me.


AN: Dun dun DUUUUUNNNN!

This is the second time I hint to some of the stuff Iris did in the background. I've all but said it but she stole and consumed the rod of Aaron, the same one mentioned in the Bible.

I forgot to keep to my word and post an update of all the power stuff every five chapters so I'm putting it here instead. I'm working hard to make sure that it's not overpowered. A quick note that the grades I'm using are arbitrary and based on power of an ability, not a skill.

Abilities gained so far:

Magical abilities

-Smoke form/physical form (Natural ability)

-Raw/primal magic (Superior)

Gained from numerous monsters and a shaman's ring

-Shadow control (High)

Gained from a Necromancer's shade (timeskip)

-Telepathy (Moderate)

Gained from a necklace of communion

-Natural instinct (Medium)

Gained from hiding moss (timeskip)

-Transmutation (General) (Medium)

Gained from a fake philosopher's stone (timeskip)

-Temperature control (Medium)

Gained from a thermal golem prototype (timeskip)

-Magic sensing (Innate) (Superior)

Upgraded via dowsing rod (timeskip)

-Regeneration (Medium)

Gained from Dire wolves

-Faefire (Moderate)

Gained from a Pixy queen

-Illusions (Medium)

Gained from blessed sunstone of Helios (Timeskip)

-Light manipulation (High)

Gained from blessed sunstone of Helios (Timeskip)

-Empath (Minor)

Gained from a Hypno-plant (juvenile)

-Tactile telekinesis (Superior)

Gained from an ancient poltergeist (Timeskip)

-Pheromone control (Medium)

Gained from a Dragonlily (Infant)

-Temperature resistance (Extreme)

Gained from blessed sunstone of Helios (Timeskip)

-Phytokinesis (Medium)

Gained from Nerthus' magic

-All-tongues

Gained from a translation ring

-Enhanced sight (Moderate)

Gained from a magical spyglass

-Enhanced learning (Medium)

Gained from a magical learning enhancer (Augendae)

-Enhanced durability (Minor)

Gained from a ring of physical enhancement

-Enhanced speed (Minor)

Gained from a ring of inertia reduction

-Curse resistance (Medium)

Gained from a curse of taint (timeskip)

-Pocketspace

Gained from an enchanted satchel

-Pyrokinesis (Superior)

Gained from blessed sunstone of Helios (Timeskip)

-Holy infusion (High)

Upgraded potency from a holy sword from Jeanne

-Soothing aura (Medium)

-Gained from a soothestone

-Holy sword creation (Medium)

-Gained from a holy sword from Jeanne

-Devil magic (Medium)

Gained from Ajuka's trinkets

-Sneak (Medium)

Gained from cloak of Callisto

-Luck manipulation (Moderate)

Gained from a leprechaun's gold coin

-Fabrikinesis

Gained from a carpet-bound demon

-Magical corruption (timeskip)

Gained from a curse of taint (timeskip)

-Magic capacity increase (Moderate)

Gained from Blue well sacred gear

Magical techniques

-Metalhide

Gained from a Terradon (Juvenile)

-Air defense

Gained from Magical dragonfly (Common western variety)

-Shadow walking (Minor)

Gained from a Mantis (Shadow affinity)

-Spyglass

Gained from a magical spyglass

-Repair (Minor)

Gained from a repairing hammer

-Refrigerate

Gained from a talisman of cooling

-Mapping

Gained from enchanted mapping paper

-Heat aura

Gained from a Fire Wyvern

-Holy bolt (Moderate)

Gained from an exorcist's light pistol

-Blink (High)

Gained from seven league boots

-Charm (Extreme)

Gained from Aaron's rod (timeskip)

-Scorching beam

Gained from Blessed sunstone of Helios (Timeskip)

-Reanimate spirit

Gained from a Necromancer's shade (timeskip)

-Corrupt spirit

Gained from a Necromancer's shade (timeskip)