Chapter 3: The World Reacts

"Please understand. We cannot allow you to enter this portal. It is too dangerous."

Xenovia stood beside a stone pillar of a museum, behind a gathering crowd. Everyone was focused on the blue portal that had appeared in the middle of the plaza, and the spectacle that was happening right before it.

There were three young men, clearly strangers to danger, trying their damnedest to enter the portal.

They were being stopped by her colleagues. A perimeter of church exorcists and guards had been formed around the mysterious phenomena.

"This is a free country, and nobody made you in charge of this portal." The boy in front rebutted. Whilst two of the boys looked increasingly nervous due to the stalwart resistance from the exorcist in front of them and the attention of the growing crowd around them, the one who seemed to be their leader stepped forward and declared his intent.

"And what we choose to do with our lives is none of your concern."

The exorcist shook his head at that and his gaze lingered on the crowd.

"It is when your actions can endanger the innocent lives around you. By choosing to go in, you are taking their choice to be safe away from them. We cannot allow that."

"What the fuck does that have to do with me?" Xenovia could see a few bystanders gasp or mutter at that. "It's not an absolute law that they have to be safe; just like it's not a law that everyone should be fair, or just, or kind."

"… It kind of is." The exorcist replied, matter-of-factly, which seemed to aggravate the boy. Xenovia immediately knew why when the boy shouted his next words.

"Then my parents wouldn't be dead! And their murderer would be rotting in jail or, better yet, deep beneath the fucking ground. But guess what, they're not! And if pieces of shit like that can get away with whatever they want, I can damn well do as I please!"

"… Son, I'm sorry for your loss. But one wrong does not justify another… your parents would want you to become better than that." Oooh. Xenovia shook her head at that. Amateur move—and this was coming from her, the last person to criticize anyone for social ineptitude.

"Don't you dare pretend to speak for them!" The boy shouted, even more furious. "Don't you fucking pretend to care! And it's not like I'm pointing my sword at an innocent person." He held the hilt of his sheathed sword behind his waist—the exorcist twitched in alarm—but he did not pull it out. "I'm not threatening to take revenge. We're making a choice to explore the dungeon, and I should stop because there's a risk that monsters can come out? Should people stop driving because they can potentially hit people? Should we stop drinking because we potentially harm people? Fuck no! How the fuck do you know something bad is going to happen to the people around us? They've got legs, they've got a brain, they know how to make their own decisions and run."

The boy, gathering courage by the second, walked up to the exorcist and jabbed his finger towards the man's chest, though the boy didn't touch him.

"But if you're so concerned about keeping people safe, why don't you protect them when something bad DOES happen, instead of when it COULD happen? If you're so fucking concerned about random people being safe, where were you when my parents died? You were nowhere, because it's not your job to care. You're not the government. You're not the cops. Who the fuck even are you guys to dictate what I can or cannot do?"

The exorcist seemed like he wanted to refute that, Xenovia could even sense his rising irritation from his facial expression, but then he seemed to remember the true state of affairs.

As relatively powerful as the exorcist and their organisation was, the boy was right. They were not official.

Power and the heart to seek and serve the greater good selflessly, that was all they had.

The authority to manage humanity was not theirs, it was the Heavens. But where they could easily influence the European governments, no official decree had come from the angels.

Xenovia watched as the boy sensed weakness and verbally pounced on her colleague's hesitation.

Her colleague did not respond; he simply stood there, listening patiently, whilst making sure that his body would block the boy from passing through.

If this were a devil or even another human who was serving an enemy faction, no exorcist would willingly tolerate this nonsense meekly like this. But these boys were not dangers; they were ordinary humans, the very same people that the exorcists had sworn to serve.

And it was not as simple as just saying they were exorcists and that they were fighting the good fight. They could not speak for the Church as a whole, for doing so would risk revealing too much of the truth. Right now, even with all these dungeons and that announcement, Hax's words had not yet delivered a crushing blow that would force everything into the open.

There was still an opportunity to salvage everything—somehow. But that opportunity bred indecisiveness.

And due to this indecisiveness, confrontations like this were happening all over the country, at a rapidly growing pace. Soon, they would be stretched too thin to monitor all the portals popping up.

She did not envy her colleagues who were undoubtedly also encountering personalities like these.

"My, my, young children these days are so wilful." Xenovia heard her master, Griselda Quarta, sigh out. She looked down at the steps where Griselda was sitting, with a phone in her hands.

'Irina, dear, these ads keep interrupting the livestream. Is there a reason there's so many of them? Is there a fee you can pay to block them?"

Griselda held out her phone to Irina Shidou, who stood one step above Griselda and bent down slightly to examine the screen.

Xenovia also looked at it, whilst there was an ad playing, Griselda had minimized the video where Xenovia and Irina could both see the title of the video that was playing on Twitch.

'FIRST LOOK AT LOCAL DUNGEON—MONSTERS ARE REAL—REAL TALK ABOUT ALL THIS—PRAY FOR ME"

It was a livestream of an American girl, who was similar to the boys in front of Xenovia, but had already entered the dungeon. Over the past few hours, more and more pieces of media were popping up to verify Hax's actions—which only further encouraged more idiots.

The fact that the comments on the website's chat were mostly supportive, amazed and excited did not help.

"Mmmm. Well, corporations pay streamers so that their audience can watch them. But if you want, I can setup an ad-blocker to block them for you." Irina replied.

"Oh, so these 'ads' help out these poor souls… Ok, never mind then, dear. I'll gladly watch them. It'd be sinful to take away from their efforts just for a few seconds of my convenience."

Xenovia's attention swapped between Griselda's phone and the near confrontation that was happening on the plaza. Trusting that her colleagues would successfully prevent escalation, she was more focused on Griselda.

"How is the one in the video doing? Has she been harmed?" Xenovia asked.

Griselda turned her head around to address Xenovia.

"No. But she has only just entered. So far, she's opted to sneak around and stay away from attracting the monsters inside. Considering her normal background, she's already done a remarkable job surviving and scouting."

As soon as Griselda finished commenting, the ads stopped and the livestream resumed.

Xenovia walked down the steps to watch alongside her friend and Master. She had been waiting to see the good stuff.

"Shit, guys, can you see all this? I'm not hallucinating?" The girl was out of sight, and whispering. She was pointing the camera away from her and towards something in the dungeon.

Xenovia had not had the chance to be inside one, yet, as Griselda, Irina and she had been assigned to overseer duty. She was curious to see what a dungeon looked like.

And contrary to her expectation, it was not just a simple cave.

When Griselda had started watching the stream, Xenovia vaguely remembered the streamer being surrounded by miles of city blocks.

But now the girl was in an open field, with unnaturally tall green and orange grass that was clearly not the local fauna of anywhere in America. The girl was hiding in it and behind a rock, peeking her camera out from its side.

Through it, Xenovia could see zombies walking around. They were walking slowly and dumbly out in the open field, but they were real, and they were a threat, and the girl was smack in the middle of dozens of them.

How?

The chat was exploding at the sight as well.

'What the fuck. We in an apocalypse movie now?'

'Omegalul. You so dead.' *Laughing face* emoji

'If those zombies are real how is she not dead yet?'

'WTF. CGI has gotten crazy advanced in the last 24 hours'

'WHERE ARE YOU?'

The girl repositioned her camera so that her face was back in centre. She was young, just like Xenovia and Irina. But there was something about her that seemed to separate her from the innocence of people like Irina… it was the dirtiness, Xenovia noted. It was subtle, but there were hints about her face—the lack of makeup, the slightly baggy eyes, the lesser 'shine' of the skin; but that dirtiness also emphasised the one distinct thing about her, the wild glint of madness in her eyes.

"Okay, you guys see that too. Holy shit. Holy shit!" She breathily exclaimed, but her voice was still low, barely restraining her panic. However, how did the zombies not notice that sound regardless?

"Trust me, guys. Guys, this isn't fake. There's a reason I can sneak around like this. Holy shit!' She simultaneously laughed and hiccupped, turning her head around to scan the situation. She took a deep breath, before addressing her audience again.

"You guys can't see it, I think. Fuck… I can't even think straight, I don't know where to begin explaining. But there's like… like these 'screens' in front of me. They're displaying stuff like my… attributes, I think? And my 'skills'? There's like all these numbers…" Her eyes veered off the centre of the camera view, presumably towards her chat, where she seemed to notice a comment.

"Yeah, that's right! Like a game; like a status menu. Fuck, my brain's turning mush, I was trying to think of that word. Okay, I've got this 'class' and 'skill' related to Thief, somehow, it gives me the ability to better sneak around, I guess, these zombies can't see me as long as I don't yell… trust me, guys, I'm not a real-life thief, I haven't done anything illegal; and I'm not shitting you guys." She whispered in reassurance when the chat started going haywire, but to Xenovia, the twitch of her eye told another story.

"How fascinating." Xenovia's mentor remarked.

'Bullshit. I don't see shit, what menu?'

'So you can believe in real-life zombies, but you can't believe in real-life superpowers?'

'I thought that shit only happened in fanfiction'

A bevy of comments and emotes of disbelief and amazement were piling rapidly on each other. But one comment quickly gained Xenovia's attention.

'OMG you have it too! So I'm not crazy! I've been watching multiple streams and videos to see if anyone's mentioned it. Did you call those Hax Inc. guys too?'

It seemed the streamer noticed it too. She looked up and around to make sure her immediate surroundings were safe, before looking down again to address that same comment.

Whilst she did, at the same time, multiple other comments came along to state similar lines.

"Yeah, dude. See! Other people in the chat have also got it. Like, before I went inside the portal, I called up the number that Hax dude said to call. It's not a scam. There are genuinely other 'people' on the line, and if you talk to them, and sign up with them, you instantly get powers and gear that you can summon."

To confirm her words, out of thin air, a sword, much like the boys' in the plaza, seemed to 'digitally' appear and land in the girl's hand.

And the chat exploded.

'HOLY FUCKING SHITTTT!'

'POGCHAMP'

'POG'

'WE EATING GOOD TONIGHT, BOYS! SIGN ME THE FUCK UP!'

'you guys are crazy. No powers are going to get me to fight zombies'

'YOU GET A SUPERPOWER! AND YOU GET A SUPERPOWER! AND YOU GET A SUPERPOWER! EVERYONE GETS A SUPERPOWER!'

This was bad. This was very, very bad. And Xenovia could feel it—this was only the tip of the iceberg. Furthermore, this was only the first video the three had begun watching.

She heard her master hum and then chuckle ominously at that.

"This Hax Incorporated, perhaps we should attempt to get some of our members to sign up to spy on their processes." Griselda debated, rubbing her chin.

Xenovia could see the tactical sense in that. Right now, with the perimeters, the church was only addressing the symptoms of this issue. They needed to address the disease itself—Hax Incorporated, which led to Hax.

But she remembered the pressure she felt simply watching that Hax on video, and the way he held himself.

He didn't seem like the type to make things that easy. But then she heard her master mutter some spine-tingling words.

"I wonder, would humanity still be considered neutral, if angels revealed themselves to the world?"

Things couldn't possibly have already become that bad, could it?

XXXXX-Lex POV-XXXXX

I was sitting on the couch, with my phone in my hands and the television on in front of me.

I was enjoying the opening act of everyone's reaction to me.

But I would get fat indulging on all the choices. I had to be selective.

I had to identify the star talents.

Fortunately, there was a way to better identify such talents merely from my seat.

Through Ultron's cross reference of my participant's histories and the information Hax Incorporated had obtained of their game status, inferring who was most likely to survive out of the first wave and possibly make it to the top was frighteningly simple.

Thomas Andre 4801 Points

Choi Jong-In 3602 Points

Erza Scarlet 3004 Points

Mikael Woods 2603 Points

Petra Williams 2350 Points

My god, this Game universe really was contaminated with multi-crossovers, wasn't it? But considering that they were allowed in my game, I was going to assume that like Ningguang, they weren't just dropped into this verse from theirs, and that their personal histories had been adjusted to suit this verse.

But a pre-existing (potentially otherworldly) history, an OP skill, or the speed in which experience points was gathered were not foolproof indicators of the talent I was looking for. At least two of those three qualities were possessed by everyone in the Top 100 Participants.

But that could be misleading, especially for this bunch.

Except for people like Erza Scarlet, who I knew the Game was going to lead to me for fanservice reasons, the first generation of any group was always going to have the most flaws.

This was the test group.

When a strange man who was laughing like a homicidal maniac invited normal people to enter dangerous, unknown portals, it was clear that only the most suicidal, desperate, craziest or retarded people would be first to accept that offer.

As such, a lot of people—216,056 unofficial deaths out of the 1,367,896 participants—had already died. The governments would crack down on this if they knew of such a figure, but events were happening too fast.

And those who were currently at the top didn't necessarily make it so due to sheer ability, but rather, their desperate will to escape from reality had pushed them to pursue an ungodly grind.

I couldn't yet rely on this list.

No, rather than the ability to grind like a crazy robot, I was looking for swagger. I was looking for presence. I was looking for entertainers.

And so was everybody else.

In this mad new age, normies were flocking to whoever could make the most light of this situation. The governments couldn't do that, fumbling with the information overload I had presented to world about the supernatural and desperately trying to suppress the outbreak. But whatever garbage they came up with, people could smell the bullshit from miles away.

No, it was the simple-minded people on the ground who were only single-mindedly focusing on the situation that had personally affected them—the dungeons. Especially those who were dealing with them with gusto.

Through my phone, I was watching the currently top-viewed stream, with a record-shattering 12,056,786 concurrent viewers.

It was hosted by Thomas Andre himself.

"Okay, now that these things have stopped, let me continue my explanation about how I got my powers ." A bold, reassuring voice stated.

"Thomas, please! You can talk to the audience after you've dealt with these things! Please!" But the panicked voice of a female behind the camera interrupted him.

The blonde, tall muscular European was in a world dungeon in America. He was surrounded by ghosts, bloody spirits and ghouls in a haunted mansion; they were all looking at him and the camerawoman—who was anxiously whispering to Thomas to do something—hungrily.

Despite being new to this himself, despite being outnumbered, Thomas didn't look one bit flustered. He looked like a veteran, as he placed his hands on his hips and smiled confidently.

I knew why.

Thomas Andre

Age: 32

Level: 15

Main Class: Fighter LVL 8

Race: Enlightened Human

Rank: 1 Star; The One Who Dreams to be King of the New World

[New Order] Level 3

Allows the user to set one rule onto themselves or their surroundings; the absoluteness, range and allowable targets of this rule is dependent on the ability's level.

Perhaps he would be the real deal, after all.

"Laura, no need to worry. I'll take care of this easily; you're in no danger. But the viewers need to understand how I'm doing the things I do." He said, utterly relaxed.

"Fine. But if I end up in hell, which is apparently real, I'm going to haunt you for the rest of your life. We already had a close call earlier today." Laura sighed and vented, causing Thomas to guffaw, much to the mob's chagrin. They shrieked and let out loud non-human sounds in an attempt to overpower Thomas' voice. But somehow, they could not.

Thomas' ability was already in effect. They were stuck, and lessened.

"Gotcha, Laura. I'll do both at the same time, then." He began walking to a nearby ghost.

"You see, my viewers, after you sign up with Hax Incorporated, you get these game-themed abilities and a weapon of your choice that is stored inside your inventory, which is also the storage for anything else you obtain. From what my acquaintances have told me, these abilities differ from person to person." He showed off his left hand, which was covered by a steel gauntlet.

"But when you do get these abilities, you also get these quests. Nothing nefarious, I think, because from what I've gathered, they're based on your own desires. Fuck a woman," I could hear Laura sigh exasperated at that, "get rich; grow strong; level up your skills. And the best way to do most of those things is here in these dungeons."

When he stood right in front the ghost, which still did nothing but shake in response, he held out his covered hand to the side, clenching his fist.

An aura surrounded it, and Thomas swung.

There was barely any resistance. When his fists collided with the ghost's neck, the contact enabled through New Order, its head flew straight off. The mob quickly dissipated in blue mist, dropping Thomas' loot, whilst the surrounding enemies whimpered in fear.

"The viewers who came here early have already noticed it. I've gotten stronger! Where I was struggling in the first few dungeons over my city, now they're a breeze. But more importantly, because unlike my menus, you can actually see them, check out what these things have dropped."

His eyes seemed to scan the chat.

"Oh shut it. These things are real. The ability I was given allows me to touch them… Hmm, what is it?" Andre smiled cheekily and he bent down to grab a piece of the loot. "It's a secret."

"Besides, back to this," Walking back to Laura, he showed it off close to the camera, waving around what were clearly two hundred dollar bills, "yeah, see it, smell it, and savour it, that's real fucking money."

'And as for the rest of that shit over there, eh, it's useless garbage, probably. But whether they'll be useful or not, I can just store them into my inventory with a thought. No hassle."

The items on the ground and in Thomas' hand disappeared with a pop.

'Lol, forget about playing this game, no more taxes baby. I can just use the inventory to launder the money I already have.'

'Yes, FBI. This retard above.'

'What's your skill? I got some shitty skill. Is it RNG? Or is it pre-determined?'

'Fuck, this stream and this guy are so good. At the beginning, he was shook like every other newbie I've watched. An hour later, he's just cruising through. This guy's built different.'

'This is so hype! I'm a chicken, but seeing this guy in action makes me feel like I could do anything. I wanna join in this action'

'Person above, be careful. Don't risk your life; be warned, you can have shit stats. It's clear that this guy is a maniac.'

'How's he got all those mobs stuck in place? He couldn't do that before when he was in the dungeon with all those wolves. Man, those two got through that one by the skin of their teeth.'

'It's called 'git gud'. You ever heard of levelling up?'

The chat was in frenzy, asking multiple questions in a dozen different directions.

"But some of you newer viewers may be thinking, 200 bucks, that's it? That's some fucking chump change to risk my life. But the people who were here at the start can attest to this, the rewards can change, and from what I've noticed the more difficult it gets, the higher the rewards. This is stuff you can get from just one shitface in the early game. Imagine how much you can get in the later stages, whilst you're also getting stronger!"

Thomas laughed, and he walked up to another horror-themed enemy. Hunching over to get a real good look at the ghoul, he laughed even more as he stood by its side, wrapped his arm over the thing's neck and posed for the camera.

The chat laughed and reacted with him, amazed by his bravo.

He was a natural.

Where most stood by or stuttered with fear and confusion, he charged forward with reckless excitement. It was clear why so many had gathered to watch. That kind of charisma and showmanship went beyond fighting ability.

'The scariest shit is in the beginning, when you don't know what you're doing. But trust me, if you survive after your first encounter, a few hours grinding, and this shit becomes easier than a damn sales job, and way more fucking fun! Fuck, I'm excited for what's coming next.'

"And as a participant with this 'gamer' crap, I can give you insider information, especially with what I've already experienced. The higher level you are, the higher perks you get, not just in the dungeon. The moment I hit level 15, I got a call from Hax Incorporated and well… I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise. But let me fucking say this, that Hax dude is the shit, man. I probably stack at the top, so I can't speak for the others, but with the rewards you can earn, fuck, I could become a billionaire easy, just doing all this for fun."

The chat exploded at that.

'How?'

'Don't cocktease us. Tell us what's coming.'

'Theorycrafters, where are you? Are there any maniacs yet who have somehow already reached the endgame? Is there an endgame? Tell us what's coming up!'

'Four years earning a degree just to get an entry-level job, when all along I could just be a Gamer to earn the big bucks. Who said gaming was a useless hobby. Ten years of WOW, please help me.'

'Bitch, look at all those muscles. Ten years of sitting down at a desk drinking mountain dew and pressing buttons ain't gonna help with shit, especially with that belly of yours.'

'How the fuck do you know what peak performance looks like?'

'Quick, someone do the math. There's like 20ish mobs per dungeon. He got like 200 for these ghosts, 50 I think for the wolves, I couldn't see the loot for them properly. Is it true, especially if harder enemies are going to pop up?'

'The Government and IRS are going to throw a fit. How are they going to regulate all this?'

'Assuming one dungeon per day, and he solos, and the rate of rewards continue to grow as fast as what we've seen in this stream, heck, let's say the cap is 20000… it's not a billion per year, but holy shit, he actually could feasibly become a billionaire, JUST through hard work—the concept alone is impossible in this economy. And this is information only from what we currently know.'

'Nah, that's bullshit. I don't think you know the difference between a millionaire and a billionaire, son. Millionaires are like peasants to billionaires, it's not just three extra zeroes at the end. And there's no way the resources in all these dungeons are limitless. There has to be a cap.'

'Dude, we're not going by ordinary standards anymore. Today, some maniac just blew up the Chinese Government like it was nothing and declared that gods and magic existed. Money doesn't mean anything to a person like that.'

Thomas crushed the ghoul in his arms, and walked up to the camera again, reading the chat. He smiled, liking the energy he was seeing.

And then he spread his arms, showing off his bloody chest, as he boldly declared.

"You guys see it too, don't you? The potential of this game!"

"Forget cryptocurrency, forget spending half your life slaving away just to survive, cause you might as well already be considered dead!"

"All the riches and strength you've always dreamed of. It's real; it's obtainable! And unlike all these scams or celebrity fucktards who keep saying you can make it too if only you just work hard enough, the fate of the rewards you earn is entirely in your hands. No corporate roadblocks; no fat schmuck who leeches off your efforts; no rug being pulled from out underneath you because those with more information than you are manipulating the playing field; no praying for a miracle. Just go out here and fight for it, and whatever you earn is 100% yours to keep!"

He was hyping up the chat to a fever pitch. And they were being suckered in, even those who wouldn't know how or want to fight—those people, too, had value.

He was building a community.

For the lowly, there were few things more powerful and attractive than the illusion of belonging.

And as if to confirm my analysis, his next words fully revealed the direction he wanted things to go in.

"But I know you guys are anxious, I know some of you don't know how to take your first steps; and some of you may even be demoralised by the abilities you were given; so I'll offer an olive branch."

He smiled toothily. It was a charming smile which was warm, friendly and inviting. His next words reflected that too, a shift from the boisterous bravado he was displaying before.

"From now on, for the next seven days, I'll be waiting at Central Park at 9:00 AM. If you're in my vicinity, and you're too nervous about this but you do want to join in, come to me, we'll talk and I'll guide you the best I can. I'll be starting a 'guild', let's say; I've already got members lined up. So whatever comes next, let's stomp it out together."

He was good. He instinctually knew how to play this game.

That was another star talent found.

Because contrary to what he was saying, I could see it in his eyes, he didn't believe for one second that everything was going to be a smooth ride from now on.

His unwillingness to share the secrets of his ability; his eagerness to establish a power base; they were signs that he had understood the true meaning of Hax Incorporated's message.

The dungeons were only a tiny aspect of the game I was establishing.

Despite watching this enthusiasm, I wasn't deluding myself. The loudest and most eager voices were always part of the minority.

Most people were sane. Most people were quiet. Most people yet had any incentive to risk their lives or need this game—so they would be ambivalent, and relieved, when the governments and the supernatural leaders tried to stop it—for strength and fortune alone were not enough.

I needed to show them why power was needed. And why this game was necessary for them.

So, it was about time to set up the next video on my channel.

"Hey, Ultron…"

"Yes, Master?" I heard his voice from my phone.

"Take control of all cameras and voice detection devices around Melbourne. Prepare to edit the upcoming footage for the next video."

"As you command, and what should be the title of the video?"

"… 'The Wild World of DxD—Official 35-minute Gameplay Reveal'. And have—edit one in, if you need to—Kokabiel's maniacal face as the thumbnail; in fact, have him laughing amidst a burning city."

"I see. Will you require any help?" Ultron wasn't offering to help with the fight.

"No. Leave the aftermath for humanity to deal with. Telling them isn't enough; they need to soak in the true magnitude of how easily they can be destroyed. And I'll gather the pieces I need for the video myself."

I reached into the power of my Realm.

[Rule Set: Lex can be in multiple locations at once, and reality will alter so that others will not able to recognise Lex's clones regardless of the circumstances, unless Lex explicitly states they can]

I recognised my Realm's interference upon reality when my surroundings seemed to glitch, my gamer vision going static—especially when a new skill popped up in my menu.

[New *Skill* Gained *Error*: Unrecognisable Clone LVL MAX]

Lex will be able to create, connect with and control an [unlimited] amount of clones. These clones will be able to craft false identities that will be considered truths by anyone who listens, so long as the given backstory is not completely outlandish and does not contradict itself.

Example: A clone of Lex may say they are a long-lost relative of Rizevim Lucifer, and Lucifer himself will believe it—with reality itself altering to accommodate this backstory. But this clone will not be able to pretend that they are Rizevim Lucifer, so long as the real Rizevim Lucifer still exists.

Be warned, TwitchTube will interfere if Lex cheeses battles using Naruto tactics. Viewers may vote to hijack the skill and create a clone with a backstory of their own choosing.

I smiled as three clones of me appeared. One of them was already outfitted in the armour of my Overlord Hax persona; another donned the wolf mask I had when I confronted Raynare just earlier; and the other in regular street clothes.

They already knew what I was planning.

"Yeah, yeah," They simultaneously spoke, "We got the plan. Drag some random bigshots in who are talking shit about us; fuck with Raynare some more; and infiltrate the Hero Faction."

I clapped mockingly, pretending to be like a proud parent looking at my children saying their first words.

They all flipped the finger my way as they teleported out, heading to random destinations—with our luck and clairvoyance, what we wanted to happen would do so conveniently.

But unfortunately, I couldn't continue focusing on wholeheartedly enjoying all of these videos. Not long after I had sent the clones out, my wards had been tripped up.

'Mother' was home.

Before I could stand up and turn around to greet her at the door, she had quickly sped across the front of the house and barged in through the door, yelling worriedly.

"Lex, dear, are you alright?! Are you unharmed?!" Well, that was a weirdly pessimistic greeting.

A bit put out by her sudden, genuine fear—it was strange to have a 'mother' again—I looked at the hallway, only for my eyes to widen at what I saw.

What the fuck?

XXXXX—Hades POV—XXXXX

"Lord Hades, we have to make a move soon. I've had a vision of our deaths!" Thanatos, the God of death, declared to the God of the Underworld, who was sitting at his desk, busy with paperwork.

The red Cerberus resting beside Hades growled at the distress it sensed from Thanatos, though it certainly calmed down quickly, salivating over the set of divine bones that was Thanato's body. It was only the runes on the ancient robes covering Thanato's body that kept Cerberus at bay.

Hades simply continued checking off the paperwork, nonchalantly replying.

"I die. You die. So what? Everything dies eventually, even gods. I don't give a damn; I'll simply revive in some random part of the Underworld. And if you die, meh, I'll go easy on your sentencing."

"But the prophecy!"

"You should know better by now, Thanatos." Hades lectured, his voice echoing across the grand hall of his throne room/office. "Trying to mess with prophecies is a sure-fire way of actualising them; half of damn Tartarus is filled with examples of that idiocy. If something is meant to happen, just let it happen. Fate is beyond even my power to prevent."

"But this death is not natural! Not when that damn abomination is involved!"

Thanatos was losing his mind over his vision of Overlord Hax. Prophecies were one thing; prophecies of a legendary figure's death were also common place; but a prophecy of a god's downfall was unusual—even for a being that had existed for millennia.

Hades sighed.

"Then you do something about it yourself, if you're so troubled by him. I can't be bothered dealing with all this drama, that's my siblings' shtick. Go to Poseidon or something; he's the one that likes to wage wars; though make sure he's not in the cycle when he's obsessing over Athena when you do."

Thanatos grunted, but he closed his eyes and huffed, realising that was all he was going to get from Hades.

"I will! I'll gather an alliance of all the gods willing to agree with me, and you'll see I'm being rational."

Here he goes again. Hades tuned Thanatos out as the skeleton god began his timely rant, taking his concept to the most extreme end.

Hades shrugged inwardly, knowing why Thanatos came to him first; it wasn't like he had expressly forbidden his subordinates in the Underworld from associating with the others above—it was just that most of them were socially awkward as hell.

Insect this. Bringer of death that. The gods' natural place blah blah blah blah.

Even as egotistical and condescending as his siblings were, even they couldn't be bothered with such dry speak for thousands of years.

And knowing them, the other gods would sooner pick a fight with Thanatos than come together to deal with a stranger—unless Zeus too was a target.

He stamped another paper.

Oh, just because he wasn't dealing with this matter, didn't mean that he wasn't aware of it, or that he was underestimating it.

A lot more souls were passing through the Underworld right now, and they had interesting secrets to divulge.

"Well, good luck."

But at least he had an excuse, he was busy doing his job; and when he wasn't busy, he was tending to his lovely wife.

Thanatos didn't listen. He was lost in his maniacal rant—having unconsciously switched his sights from Hax to random citizens.

"We'll show all those insects. Before Death itself, humanity will learn to worship the gods once again!"

He was using Hax as an excuse, for like most of the bloodthirsty Greek Gods, he just wanted to flex his conceptual muscles.

"I'll summon an army of millions of the dead! I'll show the world the power of Necromancy! And this Hax, this pretender, will—"

Thanatos disappeared, forcefully dragging him away from the Underworld.

Hax had taken him.

Right on schedule; he sighed in exasperation.

The abrupt sight, of a god being toyed with, didn't rattle him.

Time and the Underworld, ironically, had mellowed him out.

The secrets of the dead were enlightening, and constantly broadening his perspective.

Though this only came about because he dutifully tended to governing them. Which was why as a god, he had long exceeded his irresponsible brothers.

But Thanatos, among many of his subordinates, never followed his example.

That was why Thanatos could not see that which Hades had seen.

That was why he had just summoned the papers regarding Thanatos, after Thanatos had been forcefully teleported.

Thanatos' will be killed by Overlord Hax

Thanatos will be sentenced to Tartarus

In Tartarus, after his death, for the length of his imprisonment, Thanatos will lose access to all of his divine powers and belongings. Thanatos will be forbidden from seeking aid from any associates.

It was five pages worth of information related to Thanatos' death and his punishment in Tartarus.

In the Underworld, time was convoluted. It was useless for most of its denizens, but if one grew Insight into the workings of the Universe, it was possible to take advantage and make use of that fact.

As such, through greater Insight, Hades could see the Underworld sentencings of not just the souls that had died in the present and past, but the future as well.

Thanatos would die in the next 24 human hours in combat. In the Underworld, where time was convoluted, that event had simultaneously yet to happen; already happened; or was currently happening.

If he wanted to, he could almost certainly find a similar document relating to his own death. But some things were best left unseen—at least for his eyes.

He scanned through the document of the events that would take place, resulting in this death; the punishments that would occur; until he reached the line at the bottom, and he made a decision.

Using his quill, he wrote next to the dotted lines.

500 Years of Imprisonment

Signed, Hades

Hopefully, that would allow Thanatos to mature—it wasn't often that Thanatos was defeated, much less killed. But considering how often Ares ended up in Tartarus, from picking a fight with the other Pantheons, and how much of a buffoon he still was, Hades didn't have much hope.

After that, his eye went to the document he had just received recently.

Dear Hades,

We at Hax Incorporated would like to arrange a partnership between you and Overlord Hax. We would like to discuss setting teleport markers in your territory for our product and establishing an economy around trading for the souls under your management….

As he continued reading the document, he had to chuckle darkly. Goodness, that upstart had some fucking balls.

XXXXX—Kokabiel POV—XXXXX

Where was he?

Kokabiel remembered setting fire to a church-affiliated village, in search for answers about the hidden Holy Swords.

And then darkness covered his vision.

Now he was mid-air, with his wings expanded, in a random human city. He didn't care to know which one, they all looked the same. They all looked suffocatingly hideous.

And they were made even uglier by the presence of these dungeons. Though this city, fortunately, didn't seem to have one; he couldn't sense one—which barely put it a step above the rest that did.

He scoffed at the idea of them. What use was giving power to insects? And what use was giving the barest of powers and items?

That upstart had insulted The Father for the flaw of the Sacred Gears System. But at least there were Gears that could rival and kill gods.

He had sensed and seen those who had fallen under Hax's temptation. And he was still unimpressed, just as he had been before Hax had come along. Iron swords, pitiful imitations of magic and brittle brats dreaming to be soldiers of glory, who would get nowhere—there was no threat of revolution.

A game for children—that was all that was—and it was led by a deluded fool.

He looked around, nothing. After having been teleported here, no one had come to confront him.

This random occurrence had been a waste of his time—that alone was enough to anger him. The one who was responsible would die a horrible death.

But as he made up his mind, his instincts flared.

He twisted around. At the borders of the city, a massive barrier started to rise up and converge over the centre of the city. It interfered with teleportation; and it tampered with memories—it was the ritual for the supernatural to battle carelessly over the helpless, ignorant mortals.

So someone had indeed brought him here for a confrontation.

"Come then, fool." He shouted in the air to whoever was waiting in the shadows of the city, fully confident in his ability to overcome this upcoming encounter. "You must have spent quite a lot of resources and time to set this trap for me! Let me show you how foolish your delusions are. You're facing the mightiest member of the mightiest race! There is nothing for you but failure."

There was no response.

Except he felt a surge of energy at several locations across the city, new supernatural beings had arrived.

But were they foe, or fellow targets, or both?

Yet his attention could not linger on verifying these new presences.

For a laugh echoed throughout the city, it sounded like it was coming from a screen.

He turned and he blinked at the sight.

In the middle of the city's tallest skyscraper, despite no electrical or magical screen being present, Hax's face was being presented, covering the building's windows.

"I've prepared a present for you."

His finger appeared in front of his face, and he pointed down.

And Kokabiel sensed something wrong. It was a trap, but something was calling to him.

He flew to the centre, and he stilled in the air at the sight he saw.

He couldn't…

It had been a long time…

He gritted his teeth, refusing to believe in the damn audacity!

He flew down, and slammed down onto the ground, forming a small crater as a shockwave flew out from his landing. The humans around him in the city block shrieked, not at what he saw, but at him—the barrier had prevented them from seeing it; he ignored them in his blinding rage.

Before him were the bloody remains of some of the fallen angels he had recruited.

But that wasn't all.

Their body parts were embedded and arranged in the middle of a building to form words.

"Kokabiel The Retard"

Beneath the patterned body remains of his comrades, blood was spilling and it formed another unnatural sentence of words, mocking him further.

"Only the biggest idiot starts a war because he thinks his race of vermin is the strongest. Know your place, dumbass."

When he found this Hax, he'd repay this fucking insult a thousand times over, until even Hell itself was a comfort.

XXXXX—Raynare POV—XXXXX

Raynare bounced on the foot long dildo atop her bed, with her blankets covering her, as if hiding her shame, as she desperately tried to satisfy the burning hunger between her legs.

She didn't want to deal with any of her annoying subordinates; she didn't want to deal with any more disappointing humans; she just needed to get this itch out of her body.

But no matter how high she lifted her body; no matter how many times the bed groaned as her supple ass collided against the soft sheets, no matter all the experiences and fa she just couldn't stop thinking of that man and his grin.

That fucking grin of his.

She growled, and she howled, bending backwards; the blankets slid off, revealing her bouncing tits and her beautiful pussy being split apart by the purple mammoth of a dildo. But as soon as she howled, she collapsed forward against her pillow, biting it, hiding her groans against it, as she continued to fuck herself.

She knew her fallen angel comrades might hear. She knew she shouldn't lose control. They could be on the other side of the door, snickering. She knew she had to get over this.

But even though that man 'freed' her from his spell, or whatever that power of his was, her body just couldn't get the damn memo. He was lying. He had to be lying. She was still infected by his taint; she could almost smell it, she could almost still smell his body.

She tossed and turned on the bed, holding the pillow over her head, as her other hand gripped the base of the dildo and pushed, jamming it in. it was not enough. She bit the pillow even harder, freeing the hand holding it; she rubbed her tit, she rubbed her clit. Nothing was enough.

She should absolutely despise him with all of her being for what he did.

So why did her breath and heartbeat go out of control at the thought of being claimed by him?

"You are mine."

She couldn't think rationally anymore, she let go of the pillow, allowing the world to hear her moan at the memory of his voice.

The door didn't matter anymore.

She knew she wasn't scared of the reaction of her fellow fallen angels—they were all depraved with lust, this sight would not shock them. But this wasn't lust, this was weakness; and deep down, she was scared that in the climax of her vulnerability, that man would appear once again, like he always did, without plausibility, without sense—he was just always there, to take advantage of her.

She remembered last night, as she finished her hunt, when that man appeared out of nowhere and grabbed her.

She remembered this afternoon, when she had given in and sacrificed Freed, where that man had repossessed her and toyed with her mind and body.

Shock and arousal consumed her both times; she had thought herself a predator, only for another, bigger predator to come along and force her to realise her place.

"I will be watching you."

His voice was so gravelly. And his body was far too big. Everything about him was too big, too firm. It made the dildo in her hand feel so lacklustre; it made the thought of everybody else look so small, so soft.

"You've been a naughty girl, Raynare."

Fantasy blurred reality, she couldn't even remember if he had actually said those words.

But they felt right. They felt like words he would actually say—she imagined him saying those words, admonishing her, with a snarl.

She looked right, to the couch; fuck, he was there. Sitting with his arms and legs spread, looking down at her, like he owned the place.

She got up from the bed, taking the dildo out of her, and approached the couch.

She had been a bad girl. She needed to be punished.

She placed the dildo on the middle of the couch, where she pictured his cock would be, if his trousers were to slide down. She jumped onto the couch, against the back, imagining herself colliding against his rock-hard chest; as she kissed the top of the couch's back, imagining it was his soft, but firm lips.

She remembered the way he had kissed her. The way he had lifted her, bent her and trapped her in the air with his tall body as he devoured her, forcing her to see nothing but his perfect jaw as he took her breath away.

And then she returned to the present, for he would smack her ass. Nothing had hit her, but she yelped in pain anyway, swaying her ass right above the dildo.

He'd hold her hips with his big, strong hands. She'd want to sink down and devour his cock, but he wouldn't let her. And he'd smile cruelly as he teased her lips.

"Do you think you deserve it? Why should I fuck you when you're loyal to someone else?"

She sobbed in boiling frustration. She didn't sink down; she couldn't sink down despite nothing preventing her from doing so.

Why did this fantasy of torturing herself feel so much better than actually fucking herself?

"Please me, choose me, with your own free will. And I might reward you."

What was wrong with her? She was acting like a virgin who was experiencing the forbidden temptation of falling into ecstasy for the first time.

She knew she loved Azazel more, above all else. She knew she would never betray him for anything.

So why did the thought of betraying Azazel and giving herself over to that masked man feel so unbearably good?

But she didn't have to tell the truth. She could just lie, take her reward now, and remain loyal to Azazel after.

And yet she couldn't, she was staring into that man's hard, arrogant eyes now. He would know, she was too desperate and too vulnerable, he would see through her too easily and he wouldn't tolerate lying—he'd punish her; turn her pleasure into pain.

The dildo—his cock—it wiggled at her entrance. She was too sensitive, she needed this so much.

So she uttered her next words truthfully; in her haze, she could only desperately and vaguely hope that nobody would hear her surrender.

"Please, please, I'll do it. I need it~, I'll do anything for you, you fucking bastard~, so fuck me, pleeeasee!"

If her allies didn't know, then she hadn't betrayed them. These words were just for her, this wasn't real.

But she saw his pleased smile, sending shivers down her spine as his hand moved from her hip to trace a line down her back. She had given in an inch, and he would take a mile.

"Good girl. Sit."

She let out a deep, husky breath, relieved, a weight releasing from her chest. She straightened her body, preparing to slide down his.

"God, yeeeessssss~"

Until a shout shook her from her daze.

"Raynare!" She jolted, bouncing atop the couch, as she blinked rapidly; the illusion was gone.

She looked to her bedroom door—it was Kalawarner's voice.

"Stop fantasising about Azazel! We have a directive from HQ! Kokabiel's ordering 'everyone' to abandon our mission, relocate to Melbourne, Australia and be prepared. Something's going down."

She was panting and in no mood to move out, but she hadn't lost sight of her role.

Her eyes hardened immediately, though she slid tiredly down the couch and rested her entire body on the cushions.

Kokabiel—there were things she had to ascertain about him.

If that man was speaking the truth, then she would stop at nothing to see Kokabiel pay for his betrayal. But to verify that, she'd still need to pretend to be an obedient lapdog.

"Dohnaseek and Mittelt have already teleported ahead. Let's go now!" Kalawarner demanded.

It seemed Kalawarner hadn't realised what Raynare had just moaned out.

That was good.

She was still the leader. She hadn't done anything wrong yet—at all.

Snapping her fingers, her naked body was covered by the suit she had worn this morning.

"Oh, shut it, Kalawarner!" Raynare responded. "I'm going. We're going. I'm conjuring up the teleportation circle now."

So why was she feeling so guilty?

Ah, fuck this! Raynare wanted this mission to involve combat. She needed an outlet to vent on, bad.

But knowing Australia, which had no major supernatural faction, she doubted she was going to find that satisfaction.

Imagining and desiring to join the location Dohnaseek and Mittelt had teleported to, a purple circle of power formed beneath Raynare.

She could sense the same thing happen outside her door.

And both fallen angels vanished from the church, heading to Melbourne.

But something went wrong.

Halfway through the teleportation, they could both feel their control over their route get disrupted.

A barrier had been set up over Melbourne, and it wasn't from one of theirs.

Against their will, the two suddenly appeared in an underground railway platform, losing control of their balance as they stumbled forward.

Dohnaseek and Mittelt were nowhere to be found, and no humans were nearby. They didn't have time to consider that they had been led into a trap.

Instead, Kalawarner and Raynare were greeted by something much worse.

"So, are you two the underlings of the one who transported me here?" A chilling voice rang out from behind them.

They looked back to see a robed skeleton, and they stopped breathing. An instinctual dread was building.

It was a god of death.

XXXXXXXXXX

"Thank you so much for the help! I don't think I could have completed this dungeon safely without you guys." A young European boy bowed in gratitude towards two lightly armoured men.

"It's no trouble, lad. It was wise of you to accept our offer. You've got a good head on your shoulders; you can make it far with your abilities." One of the men complimented the boy, who rubbed his head sheepishly, happy for the praise.

The boy chuckled, rubbing his head. "Thanks. Man, sorry for my scepticism earlier. I was on edge from all of this new stuff, and just when I'm thinking of my options near the portal, you guys show up conveniently and offer to help."

"No problem, lad. Like I said, good instincts. It's a fortunate thing this system of yours is so thorough, it evens know our identities. I was surprised to see those menus and my name the moment I accepted your invitation."

There was a glint in the man's eyes, which went unnoticed by the boy, who was still cooling down from the unfamiliar adrenalin rush.

"Yeah, the party function and eligibility check is really convenient; if it weren't for that, I'd still be wasting time being scared of you guys. But by the way, you guys do know you can just register with those Hax Inc. guys, right? I mean, no offense and I appreciate the help, but you didn't have to wait for me to come along to go in."

A look was shared between the two men, before the senior one shrugged.

"Eh, we didn't know if we could trust some random strangers on the phone. We thought it best to confirm the rumours with our own eyes and feet, which you have helped us do most graciously. In fact, it should be us thanking you. So thank you, for choosing to trust us."

The boy became flustered at that, rubbing his head.

"Oh, by the way, I've been meaning to ask, if you didn't get your gear from Hax Inc., where'd you get it from? And not just the gear, but you guys are, like, really strong. What faction did you say you were a part of? I mean, are you guys not allowed, you're human, aren't you?" The boy asked.

He noticed that their equipment looked way better than his starter gear. It almost seemed… ancient, in a mystical way, rather than a useless antique way.

"Ah, that's another part of the reason why we didn't register beforehand; it seems like even the human factions, so long as they've partaken in the supernatural, are forbidden from registering with Hax Incorporated. Frankly, it's offensive that we've been lumped in with even devils."

The boy became alert at that, but the man laughed good-naturedly, waving his hand to indicate that he was no threat.

"Oh, don't worry, don't worry, we're not like those devil scum this Hax mentioned. We're part of the Hero Faction. And our lifelong mission is to protect and strengthen humanity, because all of us in the Hero Faction, no matter our lineage, once knew what it was like to be helpless in the face of this world's true food chain too."

The man's smile was genuine, spreading an infectious joy.

"Which is why, for the most part, we would gladly offer aid to any fellow humans who choose to fight to control their own destinies."

He took a card out of his pocket and handed it the boy.

"So if you choose to continue fighting in this 'game', or know anyone else who would like to participate in it, or would like to know more about the truth of this world, feel free to contact us for help. After all, we humans should stick together and support each other."

XXXXX—POV of another Hero Faction member—XXXXX

"Where's my fucking coffee, you damn slowpoke?" A robed man yelled to his new apprentice, or slave, more like it.

He was a senior wizard who was planning to climb the Hero Faction's ladder, and get closer to the True Descendants. He didn't have time to school amateurs, he needed to be out in the field stacking up accomplishments, and he frequently let the boy recruit know of his frustrations.

When the boy finally did bring his coffee, the wizard scoffed.

"You can't even make coffee right. If you can't do that, how are you supposed to be any good at learning magic?" He clicked his tongue. "What the fuck were those recruiters thinking in regards to you? We need people with potential, not charity cases with sob stories."

"… My apologies, master. I'll do better in the future."

"You better be. This matter I'm dealing with is already frustrating, I don't need you to be even more of an eyesore than you currently are."

He could see the boy grit his teeth, but the boy bowed and backed off into a corner, nonetheless. Good, idiots should know their place.

Today, he was in a particularly bad mood. Not only was he forced to be cooped up at HQ, not only was he forced to mentor a good-for-nothing, but now he had been saddled with another task. He was supposed to find a way to register with Hax Incorporated.

The problem was that they kept hanging up on him.

Summoning a new phone, he dialled up that accursed number, again, for the umpteenth time. And soon, a robotic female voice greeted his ear.

"… Hello, we do not have this number registered in our database. Would you like to register as a member of Hax Incorporated's Game?"

"Yes, my name is Ken Fields, and I'd like to sign up. I can provide you my date of birth, contact information and bank account. But before that, could you please tell me how you apply these 'gamer' abilities to your participants. I've been seeing all these people talking about them, but I don't know the specifics of how it happens. I'm just worried that something strange could happen to me."

He had given up on actually succeeding in signing up, now he was just fishing for information under a false name.

"… Gladly." His face brightened at that. Finally?! Was he finally having a breakthrough? "But before we do, to ease your mind, first, we'd like to issue the proper warning to make sure you know what you're getting into."

So excited by this change in greeting, his voice became warm. That's right; he should've tried this method from the beginning. He had been too hasty before, demanding his eligibility, when he should've been less greedy. He slapped his head softly; he was a genius. "Of course, of course… haha, I was a bit nervous before I called. There's so much I don't know."

He heard the female voice cough and inhale. He regathered himself for he could pat himself on the back afterwards.

"…from yours truly at Hax Incorporated, we would kindly like you to know… GO FUCK YOURSELF, MARVIN MUSK, YOU LITTLE SHIT FOR BRAINS!" The tonal whiplash shook him, causing him to jump in his chair.

What the hell?

He almost fumbled his phone, but he caught it before it could drop.

The next words he heard from it would soon make him wish he had left it to shatter.

"YOU'LL NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING. CAO CAO DOESN'T EVEN CARE ABOUT YOU, YOU SCRUB. YOU'LL PROBABLY DIE IN A DITCH SOMEWHERE, AND NOBODY'S EVEN GOING TO NOTICE! AND WE KNOW ABOUT THE PHOTOSHOPPED POSTER OF A NAKED JEANNE YOU GOT IN YOUR ROOM; WISE UP, YOU KNOW THAT HOLY MAIDEN'S SLUTTING IT UP WITH HERACLES. SHE WOULDN'T EVEN NOTICE YOUR TINY COCK. AND IF YOU CALL US AGAIN, WE'LL TELL YOUR DEAR MAIDEN ALL ABOUT YOUR DIRTY LITTLE FANTASIES ABOUT HER… sincerely. We hope you have had an excellent experience with our customer service and feel free to tell us if you have any other concerns."

So flabbergasted, and flustered, by the mental shock those words had inflicted upon him, he didn't even obey his instincts to give in to his temper and smash the phone. He just remained there, with his mouth wide open.

But eventually, there was one thing that did shake him out of his silence.

From the corner of his eye, he saw his servant shaking. That brat was trying to hold in his laughter.

He cracked his phone, and he threw it at the wall next to the boy.

That stopped the boy's laughter cold, and the wizard addressed him, deadly serious.

"… If word gets out about what was said in this room, I will know who was responsible. And the one responsible will only wish he was dead… understood?"

The boy pursed his lips and nodded.

"… good, clean that mess up."

The boy bent down to gather the remains of the phone.

Fuck this, the wizard decided. He would have to inform his superiors that there was no hope. Besides, the others who had also been assigned this case were probably faring no better.

So flustered, he wasn't even concerned with the fact that their security had been breached.

But impossibly, he heard that female voice again.

"Ah, Mr Williams, welcome." That was the name of the boy. The wizard looked over, to see the broken phone somehow, impossibly, remain on. The boy looked just as startled. "Seeing as you have taken hold of this phone, does it mean that you are interested in participating in our game? We are glad to inform you that you are eligible for a membership; if you accept our offer, we will be sending a notice to Cao Cao; may your future be bright. And again, please go fuck yourself, Marvin Musk."

This had to be a nightmare.

XXXXXXXXXX

"How interesting." Ajuka Beelzebub remarked.

He was reading the reports in regards to this 'game', and he had abandoned his current research to do so—which was a miracle in itself. But it was a worthy necessity. Ajuka smiled, it was a rare thing when an act of creation could so utterly surprise him, especially coming from an unknown entity.

"Is there a way to destroy this system, or at least a way to bypass its rules?" Sirzechs Lucifer asked.

And Azuka nonchalantly replied with words Sirzechs rarely heard, and always dreaded—his hope in his best friend's infamous skillset was the primary reason he had come to hear Ajuka's report.

"Kankara Formula doesn't work on this system Hax has established—not even when I'm empowered by my other form; not even slightly." But Ajuka had never so completely shut down Sirzechs' hope like this—not even the Sacred Gear system was as impenetrable for Ajuka.

Sirzechs couldn't help it, he gawked.

Ajuka simply hummed, seemingly unbothered by his 'ineffectiveness', in fact, he seemed to take it as a challenge.

Brainstorming, he could already theorize the possibilities that were not yet revealed to others about this system. There were so many layers… but, for some reason, he didn't want to reveal them, yet. Some part of him wanted to see this unfold.

He stopped humming to address Sirzechs.

"If we worked together with the other factions, we could suppress access to the dungeons themselves." He surmised. "But I have a hypothesis that the dungeons themselves are not the true motive behind Hax's actions." It didn't take a genius to know that.

Snapping out of his shock, Sirzechs nodded his head. He too had already realized the implications.

"A war could start again. I've been working overtime to suppress information as best as we can in the human world."

"Yes… but to prevent war, and to control information, we need information ourselves. I've ordered my subordinates to run tests to see what is and is not allowed in regards to these dungeons. I've already surmised a few possible loopholes, but we can't take this Hax's words for granted, he may change or patch them up with but a mere thought. We can't treat this situation like our experiments with the Sacred Gears; this administrator isn't dead."

At that, Sirzechs replied, "Which brings us to the topic of this Overlord Hax. Can you guess where he's gone, or what he's up to? It doesn't matter what we do with this system, if this Hax can so easily establish one. It goes against all known sense, not even God could so easily establish a universal system; it takes too much power, power we should have known about long before, if this Hax was this great."

"I don't know. But that man strikes me as someone who professes himself as a chess master. And a move of this magnitude can have only been made possible through years of careful planning and considerations of all possible variables. He's probably watching his plans unfold right now, laughing delightedly as all the chess pieces, even the opponents, move according to his predictions."

"I fucking hate those types." Sirzechs muttered, dropping decorum in front of his best friend.

Ajuka laughed at that. Yes, they had dealt with far too many of those types trying to quell wars. But a stray thought came to him.

"By the way, have you checked up on your sister? With how busy you've become, I should remind you that she is a desperate young girl, and this seems like an opportunity that she'd willingly grab, regardless of the risks."

"Dammit, you're right… Grayfia!"

XXXXX—Lex POV—XXXXX

I stood flabbergasted as 'Emily Lothar' charged from the hallway, across the living room, and hugged me, her head desperately cuddling the middle of my chest.

"My beloved darling, thank goodness you're safe."

I did not respond, for whilst she still bore a physical resemblance to the normal 'human' woman I had met a day ago—though now she was wearing expensive-looking clothes like she had just visited the shopping mall—I had seen something absurd.

Raphaeline, the Goddess of Light

This goddess posed as the human 'Emily Lothar' in order to live a normal life with her husband 'Will Lothar' and son, Lex Lothar. She wanted the best for her beloved son, especially because of one omen surrounding him.

But due to the actions of Overlord Hax and her personal witnessing of the effects of Hax's shouts on normal humans, she unsealed her powers to regain her ability to perceive the world on a higher level—to better witness the full effects of Hax's actions—and rushed home, frightened for her son.

She is afraid that the prophecy surrounding Lex Lothar is now commencing. Lex Lothar, the One who is Fated to become the Great Destroyer, or the Great Saviour.

She has noticed your elevated powers. But she does not yet know you are Overlord Hax.

For fucks sake… the Game really did give me an altered backstory of Shinmai Maou's Basara Toujou.

I was making shit up when I was talking to Scathach about what I would be roleplaying as. I didn't actually want there to be an actual prophecy surrounding me.

How am I supposed to casually roleplay as an anonymous, evil Overlord when there's a damn goddess of light hanging over my shoulders?

Quest Gained: The Over-loving Mother

Objective: Convince Raphaeline that you are fine and safe. Tell Raphaeline about your day—your 'new' powers, and your encounter with the devils—or don't, and risk your mother rubbing her nose further in your affairs. Quell her worries; please your mother.

Reward: Increased Affection with Raphaeline/Emily Lothar, the Kuoh Devils are safe, Overlord Hax does not get hunted immediately, ?.

Failure: Raphaeline goes on a rampage. The possibility of the Kuoh Devils dying due to a misunderstanding is dramatically increased. All-out war between the Ten Gods of Heroes and the Devil Race. Possibility of Raphaeline dying is dramatically increased.

… Goddammit.

I could've sworn I was just sitting down and twiddling my fingers like a cliché know-it-all Aizen type just a few minutes ago. What in the world happened? Fix your [Observe], Game.

And it was just perfect that in the moment I received that reality-shattering quest, my phone released a noise, indicating it had received a message.

It was on the couch, right in the open, where I had left it due to my shock at seeing Emily's changed status.

Emily's back was turned to it, so only I could see the message.

"Hey Lex, about what we discussed earlier. I know I said we should be careful and slow in regards to how you should use and develop your powers, but there's been a recent development. Could you meet me at the club so we can discuss some things?... and I'd also like to get to know you better, as friends, hopefully."

Not the best timing, Rias. Fuck, it wasn't the best timing, me. She was talking about the dungeon I had summoned.

A cold sweat ran down my neck as I watched, almost in slow motion, as Emily heard the noise and began turning around.

These next few seconds could decide everything… somehow. Seriously, what the fuck was this development?

No. I was overreacting.

This situation was easily salvageable.

I made a split-second decision, and the system responded to it.

Quest Gained: Netori the Vanilla, Oblivious ex-MC

Will Lothar, when not sealed, is actually a living, legendary Hero who has accomplished many great feats of battle and has won the affection of many beautiful females. The only problem is that he is also the living embodiment of an anime harem MC—dense, meek and painfully slow when it comes to love.

It was only after being trapped in another dimension for an eternity with a goddess and a devil general that he finally got the hint. But in doing so, he has broken several hearts of women close to him, who mostly and inexplicably still have feelings for him, and left two beautiful MILFs unsatisfied with his inadequate love skills, especially the devil waiting alone in the Underworld's Devil Society.

Get them under your control.

Objective: Steal the hearts of Raphaeline and Sapphire

Optional: Steal his ex-harem members

I guess I was going to cuck my 'father'.

Thank you for reading. I hope you had fun. Don't worry this reveal won't lead to anything seriously upsetting or be a sudden downpour on his power fantasy. How he will deal with this will be fun, and the quest has warned you.

The next chapter will finally commence Lex and Rias hanging out, exploring the dungeon for the first time; and shit's about to get down again. To those who were worried that stuff was going to get slow or the lack of smut—seriously, we're like 4 chapters in, not 20, or even 10; chill, give me time to build it up, it's coming—I'm about done with my initial setup. Because there will be future chapters, back-to-back-to-back, where half an 8-10k word chapter will be nothing but smut and this fic becomes a smutty slice of life, again, I'm just building up to it—it'll be worth it, I hope.

Warning, Spoilers:

The next chapter's going to pick off from where Hax left off in Chapter 1 and things will really fly off the roof; [The Epicentre of Calamity] won't be a one-and-done dungeon, and it will act as a mini arc that literally changes the landscape, it'll take several chapters to depict.

Anyway, thx again for reading.

I've recently set up a pa tre on, so if you'd like to read the next chapter a week early, all it takes is a dollar.

If you'd like to donate, enter /user?u=64056805 after the base website's .com