Now that we're entering this arc, I'm going to be focusing on developing the characters I already introduced. The stuff with Ningguang, Hax's Generals (and their actions) and Raphaeline will be developed later on through the POV of Rias as Lex guides her.
Chapter 4: I'm a Necromancer
Her beloved son had always been special. From the moment he was born, he was destined to reach heights beyond both of them.
It frightened her husband, and she knew it also made him jealous. She, on the other hand, had been nothing but proud.
But they both agreed not to tell him about their, and his, true nature. If he was to follow in his father's footsteps and be dragged unwillingly into chaos, it was best to allow him to live and enjoy his years of normalcy to the fullest before fate intervened.
Though she rushed back into her house and hugged her son for dear life, fearing the worst, nothing had changed.
"Lex, I'm so sorry." She backed off gently, giving her son back his space, and giggled sheepishly—though she heard the ringing of a phone, his phone. "Something happened today, and I was so worried. Also, I left you a text, but I'm sorry for being gone yesterday, an accident happened at your dad's workplace, I had to be there for him." She gave a half-truth.
Outside and away from prying eyes, she would be Raphaeline; but in this house, and in front of her child, she would remain as Emily Lothar for as long as she possibly could.
Lex raised his eyebrows.
"Is that right? And you left dad because you were that worried about me?"
She nodded and turned to scan the object that was making the noise; even without her goddess powers, she could sense her son's heightened power and she got the general gist of what had possibly enabled—she had to warn him.
But her son's next words would fry her brain.
"If I knew you were going to act like this just because I bagged a date on my first day to school, I would have waited a few more days." Lex joked. And she stilled.
She forgot about the nearby sound of a ringing phone.
What did her son just say?
"A date, already?"
She wasn't surprised about her son's ability to get a date; he had the looks of a heartbreaker, more so than his father. It was just that, in comparison to his father's pace when he had been a young adult, he was moving at light-speed.
It had taken years to get a date with Will, and after that date, it took a while longer before he even realised that their first date had indeed actually been a date.
Her son nodded, smirking.
"Yeah, she's a really hot woman. I'm planning to take her out tonight, maybe go sightseeing, play a game, just having fun, and who knows I might not be able to come home tonight."
Omg. OMG. Her son was usually so private. She didn't expect to have this opportunity.
She covered her cheeks, flushing—simultaneously giddy with excitement for her son, and brimming with instinctual hate towards that unknown harlot.
She needed to give him the talk. She needed to teach him about safety. She was new to this; she had to be a good human mom—she was empathizing with them so much now.
Who was that damn harlot who was trying to steal her son's heart; to defile her son with their dirty, lustful intentions?
She couldn't follow human sensibilities, not with her experiences of fending off the likes of Sapphire and Yoruichi. With her son's looks, which were simultaneously a blessing and a curse in this very moment, he was in very real danger of having something happen in the first date.
And then she remembered her son's last words.
"I might not be able to come home tonight."
"I might not be able to come home tonight."
"I might not be able to come home tonight."
Those words repeated in her head, and with each reiteration, her world seemed to go darker.
She had completely forgotten about that stupid Hax, he didn't matter at all; her son's romantic future was far more important.
"Then… then…" She stuttered.
Her son smirked wryly; he seemed to be enjoying her mini meltdown.
"So, you actually do seem to want to say something about that? Anything you want to get off your chest?" Lex asked.
He walked across the living room, passing by her as he hopped onto the couch and turned off his phone.
"Well," Emily was trying to think. What needed to be addressed first? How should she tackle this? Goodness, when she came home, she hadn't expected their conversation to lead into this direction. "It's a little embarrassing, but I think I need to teach you some things first."
Yes, she shouldn't smother him; and she shouldn't tiptoe around this topic. She could only guide him, and trust that he would act in his best interests… a young woman better not come to her doorstep pregnant.
Lex patted the cushion next to him. "Come, sit." He offered, and she did. "Teach me what, exactly?"
"You're a healthy young man, and you're attending a former all-girls school, so I know you'll have a lot of opportunities for sex." There, she said it, and he laughed.
She flushed further at his reaction, this was already difficult, and she hadn't even started. She subtly conjured up an object in her wallet.
"In that case," She took it out of her wallet and showed it to her son. "I want to make sure you know how to use these." It was a condom, the same ones she used for her husband.
She reminded herself. It'd be better for her son long-term if she didn't tiptoe around this.
Lex took it. Emily didn't know it, but he was fully planning to enjoy the opportunity that had so conveniently fallen into his lap.
"Thanks, mom." He inspected the condom, before giving his verdict. "But these won't fit."
She frowned. "Of course, they will, sweetie. They stretch." She clarified.
But he shook his head. "And I'm telling you, no matter how much this thing stretches, it won't fit."
She folded her arms over her chest in exasperation, not knowing that he would enjoy the sight of the ample chest being moved. Goodness, it seemed some parts of his father's obtuseness had passed onto her son, after all. But she was kind of happy about that.
"Nonsense, sweetie. I think you have some misunderstandings about how this thing works, I can teach you?" Those words were near taboo for a human, but she wasn't human, she could push some boundaries for her son.
However, she would come to rethink her decision to say those words when his smile became almost… hungry?
She'd forget about that when she saw his hands approach his pants. "Fine, you want me to prove you wrong? See it for yourself." And he lowered them.
"Oh my god, that cock… that cock!" Emily covered her open mouth in utter shock.
"I… I didn't know they could get so big… and you're hard?" She didn't know cocks could look like they could bend steel… and he had gotten that hard in front of her, his mother.
She struggled—it seemed like it took an eternity—to shift her eyes from that… weapon, and back to his eyes.
His beautiful clear eyes—focused, knowing, comfortable—this situation didn't seem to fluster him at all.
Her memories of Will as a young boy flashed by her in an instant—of the thousands of incidents where he froze up, chickened out, or blew up a red storm at the tiniest of erotic incidents.
She had acknowledged Lex as one… but deep down, she had still considered him her baby boy, until now.
When did her boy become such a man?
"Go ahead." She jolted from the sound of his voice. "Try to make it fit." He dared.
For some reason, she didn't even think of refusing. Her trembling hands obeyed, tearing open the packet.
Lex's mind was racing. Fallen angel, devil, goddess, sex beast, it didn't matter. They would all be overcome; he just needed to show them what they were missing out on, and they'd crumble. He loved the idea of taking them all for himself—and for a goddess to be his mother, fuck, he had underestimated her, she'd be near the top with Kiara.
He couldn't wait to tackle the task of taking away his father's wasted harem.
"Oh no," Emily whispered in dread. She tried to fit the condom on all the way through, but it couldn't even make it halfway. His father was quite sizeable for a human, but there was no contest in length; and this disparity shown by the condom was made worse by her son's massive girth.
The condom was barely holding together at the five inch mark, when it could easily cover her husband's seven inch dick.
Without even realising it, she was toying with her son's cock, with both hands, as she continued to pull down the condom.
She moved and kneeled on the ground in front of his lap. She rolled the cock around. She kept it still against his groin. She gripped it tightly, noticing that it did not bend, that her fingers couldn't wrap around the cock completely.
It was only when she could literally smell his musk that she snapped out of her trance. Her face was right next to it, as she lay between her son's legs. Her mouth was open, she was breathing hard, and her hot breath touched her son's cock—she was close enough to kiss it, close enough to—
She went cold at the memories of the last minute.
She had forgotten about the condom; she had just been exploring her son's cock.
"Keep going, mom. I'm loving your hands." Lex breathed out huskily. Her hands backed off and retreated rapidly to her chest.
"You love…?" She couldn't handle it anymore. She ran away from the situation, her mind going blank. Hax; the portal outside; her son's date; his cock—they were all shelved under her aroused shame.
Lex chuckled and watched, entertained, as she ran up the stairs—her beautiful ass revealed by the flying skirt in her haste—away from him and towards her room, like she was the naughty child who was in trouble.
It had been easier than he thought to distract her.
Now he could reconnect with Rias and Sona with ease, for now.
And if Emily reacted like this for his future attempts to distract her, then this was going to be a lot of fun.
Walking out of the house, with no distant objections from my mother, I began to admire his work from afar.
The atmosphere around Kuoh Academy was looking particularly spicy, and chaotic.
With my heightened senses, I could see a crowd gathering in a circle around the Academy. Though it seemed a perimeter had been formed, preventing the normal humans from approaching within three street blocks of Kuoh Academy.
I began walking to it, but during the leisurely walk, I took out and turned my phone back on.
I had missed several messages from Rias and Sona.
I dialled Rias' number.
She picked up in an instant, and I apologised casually.
"Sorry for the late reply. I was chatting with my mother. But to your request, sure. I'm heading over there right now. Anything else you want to tell me? What made you change our plan?"
I asked, but I already knew. It might, just might, have something to do with that gigantic red portal that was spiralling around black smoke at its edge and was coincidentally located right next to Kuoh Academy.
"Ah, no, it's my bad for asking for your help during your private time. I promise it's only because something serious has happened. Are you outside? Can you see what's happening?"
"Yeah." I replied. "I've been watching the videos of everyone else's reactions. I get the general gist of it; and it's kind of hard to ignore that portal of doom next to our school." I joked.
"You too? I was watching them as well…" She paused, a theory forming in her mind. "You signed up with Hax Incorporated, didn't you? That was why I couldn't get in touch with you, isn't it?" She asked, both worried and excited.
I smiled; she wanted to be part of this game, no matter how much she cared for my safety.
"Yeah, I've got interesting things to discuss. I'd like to get your opinions on the benefits I 'received'." I offered. It was nearing time to show off in front of Rias.
Rias didn't reply for a few seconds. In fact, I could hear her distant voice arguing with someone over the phone.
When a voice greeted my ears again, it was not Rias'.
"I'm going to have to teach you about the dangers of affiliating with suspicious organisations in the future. This is Sona talking by the way. But you've done it already, and you are your own man, so there's no use reprimanding you too much for your decision. However, please be careful in the future… can I also correctly assume that you plan to make full use of your membership benefits?"
Despite latching onto opportunity as well, I could just see Sona's stern, disappointed gaze from her voice. But she wasn't going full mother hen like I thought she would, perhaps because she recognised that I was not one of her own, as a new acquaintance, and she wanted to make a good impression.
"Yeah, in fact, I'm heading over to the dungeon right now… Want to join me?" I was grinning evilly when I asked that.
There was a pause.
But nobody was fooled. Their answer was obvious.
"… We're already waiting next to the portal. There are some things we have to reveal about ourselves. So don't be surprised at the help around us." She declared.
Yeah, I could sense some powerful presences waiting next to the portal.
Kokabiel kneeled on the ground, touching the chest of one of his fallen brethren. He ignored the chatter of those around him.
He burned their bodies with a thought. Fallen angels deserved better than to be spectacles for the amusement of insects.
"Return to our Father, my siblings." He would forgive them.
And when he turned his head to look at the crowd, they were silent—their useless musings crushed by the instinctual understanding that they were in the presence of someone much, much greater than them… and that he was beyond furious.
The legs of everyone in the crowd buckled as they stared into his stone-cold eyes, and watched him raise his hand, an ominous purple light gathering before it.
"I don't care if you're innocent."
If they didn't want to die here, then they should've known their place—out of sight.
The humans couldn't run.
So Kokabiel's attack easily melted them, as the purple ball of energy flew past and its mere presence shattered three city blocks worth of concrete before it exploded upon contact with a building lying at the end of the road.
The sight of the burning building finally shook the other humans surrounding him out of their fear-induced stupor as they screamed and ran away.
He could already sense the presence of a barrier, so whether or not these humans escaped this encounter was a moot point—the barrier would tamper with their memories.
"But for the one who orchestrated this display," Kokabiel gritted his teeth, and he uttered a promise. "I will ensure your last moments will be so torturous that even Hell will be—"
But his words were interrupted by the sound of a distant explosion.
He turned right to see a large, wide pillar of smoke start to rise above the city's multi-story buildings in the distance.
And then he felt it—the presence of divinity. Furthermore, an image formed in his mind—of a man covered in heavy armour and purple flames, who seemed to be smiling arrogantly directly at him.
But a chill went down his spine, which simultaneously excited his bloodthirsty spirit and made him feel another emotion he had not felt in a long time, when he felt similar spikes of divinity emerge from different directions throughout the city.
'It can't be… three… four gods have gathered in this ordinary city?'
Kokabiel growled at the stimuli.
He loathed this feeling from deep within his gut.
There was nothing to fear, not after the evolution he had earned.
Spreading his twelve wings, he flew up and from above the buildings, and even the skyscrapers, he saw the source of the phenomena he had just felt.
At the base of the pillar of smoke, a long stretch of road had caved in, with the concrete having collapsed on a subway tunnel.
Within that tunnel, amidst piles of rubble, a destroyed train, and splatters of human blood and organs, stood the two perpetrators, decked in full armour.
That Hax was facing Thanatos, the Greek personification of death.
And his bloodthirst grew when he saw Thanatos fall to his left knee, clutching his shoulder. There were black shards of energy around him—something powerful, maybe an attack, had shattered.
If an upstart could harm a God, then he, the great Star of God, was certainly capable of killing one. He had attained his twelfth wing in preparation for this very moment.
He flew down and charged.
"Lex! Over here!" I saw Rias wave her hand above her, indicating for me to approach the group surrounding her.
Some big guns had arrived.
I immediately took note of the important titbits my [Observe] picked up.
Rank: 4 Star; Satan-class
A beautiful, silver-haired adult woman dressed in maid attire was standing right behind Rias.
Rank: 4 Star; Satan-class
A young man with wavy black and blonde hair was standing next to Akeno. His youthful appearance belied the significance of his status as one of the wisest and most accomplished magicians in this world's history.
Rank: 3 Star; Ultimate-class
A Japanese man wearing a haori over a kimono, looking distinctly out of time, stood next to Yuuto.
Rank: 3 Star; Ultimate-class
The tallest and most physically-imposing devil in this new group, who was ironically the weakest out of Sirzech's peerage, was standing next to Issei. He was a buff blonde-haired man, with a build similar to that of Kratos'.
Just behind the school gate, they had all been chatting with each other—I could see some of Sona's peerage next to Beowulf as well, but Sona was nowhere to be seen—a moment for the juniors to soak up greatness and knowledge from the more experienced peerage, before Rias' shout caused them to stop and look at me.
As I approached, I smiled towards Rias and waved back.
Nearly half of Sirzech's peerage had been sent—for what exactly, I could guess. I mentally applauded Sirzechs; it was a wise and decisive decision. But from the near grumpy look in Grayfia's eyes, which was well hidden behind her calm facial expression—I wouldn't have picked it up without [Observe]—she seemed to think Sirzechs was simply spoiling or being overprotective Rias.
But if Rias was going to do what I think she was going to do, Grayfia was going to change her tune real quick.
"Hi, Rias. So is this the help you mentioned. A maid, a samurai cosplayer, and a bodybuilder?" He jokingly asked.
Rias rubbed her head awkwardly, wanting to say something, but clearly afraid of how I would react to them.
"Greetings, Mr 'Lothar'. My name is Grayfia Lucifige." I heard Grayfia's voice as Rias hesitated; my gaze shifted from Rias to the maid. And I was surprised. Grayfia's stoic look had been replaced by a warm, sincere smile as she looked at me, a mere 'human'. "It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance. I've been told much about you."
"Likewise." I replied.
But my slight confusion was wiped away by my amusement at seeing Rias flush as she looked at Grayfia, almost betrayed, and stuttered.
"I… I… Grayfia!" Rias reprimanded, before turning back to me, waving her hands fast in slight panic. "Please don't misunderstand, Lex, I didn't say anything that significant about you—we just talked for a few minutes about my initial impre—" Rias stilled. And her blush became redder, before she coughed in her hand, recomposing herself. "… I only explained to her why I thought we should wait for you, seeing as you've been exceptionally affected by Hax's actions—especially now that you've signed up to this 'game'. And I didn't want to tell you this, yet… I guess I should start at the beginning… you see, Kuoh is…"
Rias stopped, her hesitation returned, and Grayfia stepped in once again, both figuratively and literally, as now she was standing right beside Rias.
"What Rias is trying to say—forgive her for her current display, she has never had to explain her position to a 'human'—is that we're devils. And that as devils of high prestige, she and Sona have been entrusted to oversee this territory." Rias palmed her face.
"Grayfia… I was getting to that… slowly. And what's wrong with you today? You're not usually this proactive in conversation towards strangers." Grayfia closed her eyes, smiling at Rias' exasperation.
"Your explanation—and tactic to bring Lex into the fold—would be too slow, and unnecessary. Calm yourself. Look at him, Rias." And Rias did, putting her hand down. At the sight of my relaxed smile, her anxiety seemed to fade away and her back straightened. "Does this man look like he'd be scared of devils, or this situation we're in?"
Rias smiled gently.
"No. I suppose not."
"I can see why you have high hopes for him." At Grayfia's remark, the red returned slightly to Rias' cheeks.
"… Please, Grayfia, don't say anything else. Leave the rest to me and Sona." Grayfia smirked at Rias' plea.
"Of course; matters of a peerage are best left to its King." Rias growled, and she cutely stomped her feet, before she grabbed Grayfia by the wrist and began pulling her back to the group of devils—however, Grayfia was still able to sneak in one last cheeky remark at me.
"Please take care of Rias and Sona from now on; a lot's on their plate, they could use a big, strong shoulder to lean on."
It was a wonder how sassy Grayfia was being when her face was mostly deadpan.
"Ignore her!" Rias shrieked over Grayfia's request.
I waited as Grayfia was forcefully re-joined with the other members of Sirzech's peerage, who also looked surprised at Grayfia's liveliness.
She was making a lot of assumptions for someone who had just met me.
If I basically had a similar parentage to Shinmai Maou's Basara Toujou, didn't that mean I had two mothers?
Wasn't one of them a big shot Devil General?
Grayfia knew of my random-ass lineage, didn't she? And if she did, that would explain some things—surely a supposed goddess and a hero being in Kuoh wouldn't have escaped notice. And it would also mean that another hot MILF was waiting for me down in the Underworld.
With that understanding, the information from [Observe] regarding Grayfia was updated.
She was also under the assumption that Emily, aka Raphaeline, had not told me yet. So Grayfia would only be treating me as an exceptional human, rather than the ungodly hybrid I was.
All in all, I'd have to change my approach slightly… but there was potential here, this backstory gave me more options.
My musings were interrupted as I felt another familiar presence walk up from beside me.
I looked left to see Sona walk down the street and approach me.
"Hey, Sona." I greeted. "What's up; what were you just doing?" I asked, but from that earlier guard who had stepped aside for me to pass, I could guess her prior duty.
Sona looked at Rias, who was yelling at Grayfia. We both had enhanced senses; we could hear her words clearly.
"I trust Rias… no, it seems Grayfia has revealed our race and part of our responsibilities?" I nodded. "Good, and seeing as you don't look too flabbergasted, I trust you can infer some things about the supernatural… I was setting up a perimeter with some of the guards that had arrived from our home 'city'. Usually, a magical barrier would be enough to prevent ordinary citizens from being involved; but on this occasion, and from the multiple reports that I've heard, barriers are ineffective in concealing these portals."
Sona rubbed her chin, looking troubled.
"But the important thing is that you're here, Lex. Thank you for coming. An important meeting is about to happen, and I'd like you to join us. Furthermore, this is abrupt, but the situation is getting increasingly dire and it must be dealt with fast… may we have your permission to join this 'game' and destroy this dungeon together."
Despite her words, her tone and face made it abundantly clear. She was not making a request.
Outwardly, I nodded, seemingly put out a bit by her sudden assertiveness. But inwardly, I was gleefully delighted.
XXXXX—Raynare POV, just before Kokabiel's arrival—XXXXX
She couldn't… she couldn't think.
What was she supposed to do here? She was right in front of a god.
"I'll ask you for the last time. Are you affiliated with the one who had the audacity to teleport me?"
The pressure thickened.
What was she, stupid? Was she even allowed to breathe?
Her lips tightened, and she stopped breathing. With her constitution, she didn't need air; but for some reason, she was still suffocating.
The pressure thickened again. She couldn't remember, what did he say?
She couldn't even answer, in fear of tempting his displeased retribution. Wait, did her silence displease him too?
Was she even allowed to stand?
She lowered to her knees, and in the corner of her eye, she could see Kalawarner follow the same instinctual action.
"Nothing to say, hmmm?" The skeleton god scoffed. "No, you two are useless. Fine then," Raynare's blood went cold when she saw him raise his hand at her, energy gathered within them.
They were going to d—
"How boring, I'm giving you five minutes to show me something interesting before I send you straight back to Hell, dead."
A voice came from behind the god, startling him as he turned around swiftly and released the energy within his hand as he swung it.
The attack blew out several of the pillars holding up the ceiling and large chunks of the wall next to the railway, forming a line of destruction and smoke, until it stopped abruptly.
Raynare's eye widened.
As soon as the god finished his motion, she saw his left arm. His hand was gone, cut off.
"Hmmm, you're a lot squishier than I was expecting." Raynare heard the mocking voice again from behind the smoke that was spreading throughout the platform.
"You. It was you!" The god angrily shouted, and the being hidden within the clearing smoke laughed and taunted.
"You were acting all high and mighty before, whining to your boss, Thanatos. Well, the one who has been causing you all the recent fuss is right in front of you, what are you going to do about it?"
With the smoke fully clearing, she finally saw him. Holding the god's skeletal hand with a wide, menacing smile on his face, like a shark, Overlord Hax was standing right in front of Thanatos, towering over him.
Hax burned the hand; but Thanatos did not respond immediately, not like how she thought an offended god would.
"How… what are you?" Pure black, winged armour formed on the god's body, but it was not a sign of retaliation. No, she realised from his changed tone, it was an instinctual defensive mechanism.
The god had just seen something.
"Come on, don't buckle now, we've just started." Hax taunted. "Surely an upstart like me couldn't be so threatening to a god like you. Four minutes∿"
She could almost hear Thanatos gritting his teeth. His hand healed instantly. The pressure came back.
And when he joined his palms, his aura rising once more, a realisation came to her.
Kokabiel had sent her group to this place. He actually wanted to confront giants like these. They were ants. They were fools. They could only run. They could only hide. They could only hope these giants did not accidentally step on them. What in God's name was an ant like Kokabiel thinking?
But she could not loathe him any further. Thanatos had made his next move.
The god shouted, and a dome of pure black matter formed around Thanatos, concealing him, before it spread out rapidly.
Hax was the first to be touched, but he only cackled.
"Finally, something other than a fucking energy beam!" He declared, before he too was swallowed up by the black dome.
For a brief moment, the dome seemed to stop spreading there…
But a white crack appeared on its surface, the sudden contrast giving her whiplash, before several shapes began leaking out of it. She instinctually knew that was not intentional on Thanato's part.
Those were souls, but they were unlike any she had seen in her past in Heaven. They were tormented souls, wailing in anguish and polluted by otherworldly miasma.
She and Kalawarner jumped and shrieked, uselessly covering their ears, as the souls' wails nearly burst their eardrums and bypassed their mental defences. The souls were directionless, without order; they collided against the remains of the pillars, against the walls, against the ground of the platform—corroding everything they touched.
They were heading straight towards them.
Raynare and Kalawarner both spread their wings, able to move now that they were not suffocating under the presence of a god, but they were not going to escape in time.
"You two seem to be in a pickle. Looks like you two could use a change of scenery." A familiar voice whispered in Raynare's ear, the one she had just fantasised about, and the scene of hell being unleashed in the underground platform abruptly vanished.
It was replaced by the view of the dark sky, contrasted by the lit skyline of Melbourne; the peaceful sight was all seen through a mirror.
She was now standing on an elevated floor of a room within one of this city's skyscrapers, away from the danger, but they were not safe.
She turned away from the mirror to look at where she was and who had teleported them, right as she heard the sound of several explosions and felt the floor shake as she heard something collapse from the city below.
If she had remained looking through the mirror, she would have seen Kokabiel fly up and madly grin as he watched a city block collapse on top of the platform she had just been in.
But she was focused on the man before her, that fucking bastard was still wearing a wolf mask and a suit, as he lied on his side on top of a large bed, smirking at the two fallen angels.
He had transported them into the bedroom of a luxurious apartment. The change in setting gave her whiplash, leaving her stunned, but it also set off something else, especially when she heard his voice again.
"Didn't I tell you, Raynare? You belong to me, yet you listened to that fool, Kokabiel, again. You stepped out of line, so I'm going to punish you. And look what we have here," His eyes shifted to Kalawarner, "you brought a friend along to watch me humiliate you."
He ripped off his suit and the shirt underneath, the material easily ripping away to reveal that fucking body she had dreamed of—its muscles as every bit as perfect, even more so, as she had envisioned—
The show of strength wasn't anything impressive by fallen angel standards.
So why did she swallow her saliva nervously?
This vision of sexuality in front of her, enough to make her forget about all her priorities and blowing away all the experiences she had attained; the sudden change in atmosphere; the easy loss of control—they were distinct qualities she was quickly associating with this wolf disguised as a man, reaffirmed with each new meeting between them, and it was all overwhelming.
"Raynare, who is this? What… what is he talking about?" Kalawarner asked, but she too seemed to be under the same spell Raynare was just from looking at the man. Kalawarner's voice was trembling, and husky.
They were not safe at all.
So why was her body tingling with excitement?
XXXXX—Meeting between the Devils and Lex—XXXXX
I had been listening to Grayfia, Sona and Rias argue for the last five minutes—negotiating on the extent in which the higher-ups could impede on the two young devil's territorial duties, with Sona and Rias reminding Grayfia as to why they had come to the human world in the first place.
From the looks Rias sent my way and Issei's way, I imagine that reminder was also for our sake, as 'newcomers'.
Everyone else was just loitering around the front of the school.
"Sirzechs and Serafall will allow you two to enter the dungeon, if it is for the sake of protecting your territory." Grayfia addressed Rias and Sona. The two nodded in satisfaction.
"We recognise that we cannot baby you two, but this is not a territorial game to satisfy your pride; this is becoming a worldwide matter filled with unknown, but certainly dangerous consequences. We cannot leave you two to deal with it alone, therefore, especially for this particular instance, I, MacGregor, Souji and Beowulf will accompany you. And in the future, until we have attained enough data to determine the lethality of these portals, an interchangeable group of available veteran Devils will be sent to escort you. This is not negotiable, understood?"
The two young devils looked like they wanted to argue on that point, but the hard look in Grayfia's eye dissuaded them from that. The massive portal looming beside us seemed to help settle them down as well.
"… Fine. But only for a portal of this magnitude which looks like a clear outlier. If future portals look like the ones that have been shown repeatedly by millions of humans, we can easily handle them on our own. If other High-class devils have to come, they must stay on the sidelines." Rias negotiated, whilst looking like she had swallowed a lemon. Grayfia sighed. Their back and forth would continue for a while.
Yuuto shuffled up beside me and whispered good-naturedly.
"Please don't mind the way Rias and Grayfia are acting right now. Rias takes her duties very seriously, and she takes pride in being able to handle them independently. When the matter isn't related to territory, Rias quite looks up and defers to Grayfia—they're actually family, with Grayfia having married Rias' brother."
He explained, believing that I knew nothing about Devil history. I could see Beowulf next to Issei doing the same thing.
I shook my head, smiling back.
"Not at all; in fact, I like spunk in a woman. It means they've got drive. I can sense it, these people are important, aren't they? They feel powerful. Rias must have something to prove if she's refusing their help." I revealed my [Observe] information in a roundabout way, as a conversation piece.
"You can sense it?" Kiba asked, pleasantly surprised. He chuckled with his eyes closed. "Well, I'm glad you're not misunderstanding. From an outside perspective, it's easy to mistake Rias' pride for spoiled incompetence. But devils don't respect devils, who will one day lead others, that can't fend for themselves or back down easily, no matter how rational the choice would be. Despite Grayfia's exasperation, I think deep down, she is happy that Rias isn't yielding the field so easily."
Kiba was giving me the play-by-play, elaborating and hinting on the mental differences between devils and humans.
"I just wanted to apologise on their behalf for making you spend your time listening to their mini 'feud'—especially when they both know where this conversation is going, otherwise, Grayfia wouldn't be here—I imagine you had a different vision of how your approach towards this portal would turn out."
I looked at Yuuto, checking out his stats and disposition.
Rias Gremory's Knight
Race: Reincarnated Devil
Rank: 1 Star; Medium Class
Disposition: Wants to be friendly with you; like the other devils, he also senses your innate 'potential'; agrees with Rias' efforts to bring you into her corner
Yeah, there was nothing wrong with that.
I had been tuning out the three female devils for most of the last few minutes, at least until they got to the interesting bit.
Besides, the other versions of me were sharing their experiences, and ooh boy, was I having fun with the sensation of those memories.
It was like eating whilst watching a food video—with the conditions I had set, there wasn't a headache caused by an overload of conflicting stimuli; everything was meshing well with and enhancing each other.
"No problem. Though I will admit, rather than talking about how much help Grayfia should offer now, wouldn't it be more productive to speculate about the current danger, deal with it first, and then negotiate guidelines after?" I didn't raise my voice, but I knew everyone heard my words all the same.
Sona flicked her eyes towards me, and Rias' words lost their momentum as she took my words in.
They agreed, at this point, they were just wasting time.
I heard Yuuto chuckle next to me, and so did the devil who snuck up from behind.
"I agree with this young man, Grayfia." Okita Souji spoke as he walked around Yuuto. "Save your spat for the dinner table of your houses. We have come here to vanquish this 'dungeon' and collect information for our King, nothing more, nothing less. It is why this young man has been requested here, no? We devils have our unique customs, but etiquette is universal." Okita looked towards me before turning to Grayfia, waiting for a response.
With Rias and Sona no longer pushing her buttons, her facial expression returned back to that signature stoic, no-nonsense look.
"Yes, forgive our lack of tact, Lex. Please, come up, your 'membership' is an important matter we'd like to explore."
I nodded and I walked forward to the three women.
Showtime was coming up.
"Is there a specific reason why you had to wait for me? I don't think Hax mentioned anything about devils being forbidden from actually entering the dungeon, just that they can't benefit from running through it."
"Yes, that's true. But as you no doubt saw when you approached the school, there was a crowd gathering around the perimeter; they could still see the portal despite the barrier—which means there are hidden effects that Hax neglected to mention; which means there is the possibility of booby traps waiting, especially for those like us devils."
Sona joined in.
"Furthermore, this fear is supported by another piece of evidence. My sister has received reports from our men in other regions of Japan, who have also scouted the dungeons—with and without registered human members. With those registered, they were able to interact with this 'game' and receive 'rewards'—but more importantly, they were able to see that the 'party' leader had a choice of difficulty upon entering with a party of devils. In contrast, our men who didn't receive permission entered dungeons that far exceeded the standard threat level shown so far, for nothing."
"Yeah, it's like level scaling in actual games." Rias noted. "And keep in mind, those dungeons were all still behind blue portals. None of them looked this red one next to us. There are so many things we are yet to know about this 'game'. Grafyia is here because we can't afford to risk going in headstrong without reassurances."
She looked right to flick her gaze up and down the length of the giant portal.
Yeah, I was a bastard like that, wasn't I? I wasn't going to dump all the relevant information in one go; I'd leak it slowly, even if millions of lives died because of that.
I had to applause the nerves of the pure or more experienced devils, though—especially in comparison to the reactions of the newly reincarnated devils like Issei or Saji, who kept nervously looking towards the portal and swallowing audibly—they were treating this like a run-of-the-mill affair.
Oh, they were taking it seriously, but for the wrong reasons—satiating their innate greed and curiosity.
That would be their downfall.
Because they were seriously underestimating my endgame if they thought Maou-class Devils would be enough to safeguard themselves against every threat I introduced.
And Grayfia confirmed this with her words.
"But it is clear and true that only with the permission of registered members can a party receive the full benefits and uncover the full secrets of a dungeon. We have noted that in order to join a 'party', we devils cannot hide our intentions for doing so—otherwise, your acceptance of Sona's request would have sent her this 'invite'."
Grayfia bowed elegantly, and repeated what Okita had mentioned.
"We humbly ask you, Lex Lothar, to invite us to your party. We wish to test the fullest extent of a dungeon's danger and the benefits it offers—so, under your party, may you allow us access to the highest difficulty this dungeon presents? We recognise that doing so would pose a significant threat to you, so rest assured that some of the most powerful Devils in existence are here to protect you and you will be rewarded most handsomely in compensation for this risk."
"Sure." I replied.
Rias and Sona, despite my words over the phone, look simultaneously relieved and shocked by the ease in which I accepted.
It was one thing to accept going into a dungeon, it was another to ask a 'newbie' to go into what looked to be an 'endgame' dungeon.
Sona spoke, wanting to reassure me and clarify her earlier request.
"Lex, please know that we are perfectly fine with going at your pace—if you're uncomfortable with this request, feel free to choose a lower difficulty that's more suitable for you. Again, we understand that you're new to this scene; and we are perfectly happy with just—"
She paused as I held up my hand, looking relaxed.
But there seemed to be a misunderstanding based on their underestimation of this portal's threat level.
I looked at the portal with my [Observe].
[Epicentre of Calamity]
There was no lower difficulty.
But I didn't feel like correcting them on that.
"Sona, and Rias, I know you two are simply looking out for me. But it's fine." I reassured, and I stepped to them, hovering over them. "I didn't come here because I'm a suicidal idiot. I didn't come here because I'm a scrub in over my head looking for glory. I came here because I'm a man, and we don't run from trouble; if something's beyond us, we simply man up until we're tough enough to deal with it."
"That's not comforting at all." Sona replied, though Rias seemed to like my attitude. I winked.
And I heard a boisterous laugh from behind me, which seemed to be Beowulf's.
"That's big talk coming from a human. I like it! Oyyy!" The man's laugh was interrupted by Okita's sheathed sword whacking him on the head.
"Mind your manners, Beowulf. There is no need for distinction between humans and devils when it comes to determination."
"Hey, I said I liked it. You whacking me on the head is way more rude, Okita!" Beowulf barked back humorously.
Grayfia interrupted the banter, bringing the focus back onto the matter of the portal.
"Though I obeyed our King's directive, I am of the opinion, like Sona and Rias, that our being here is an overreaction. I do not think Lex will need to worry; whilst this portal does seem intimidating, more so than most of the others, I have my doubts about the threats behind it. From what has been gathered so far, rather than being random by-products of Hax's power, these 'dungeon' creatures are based on local legends or some part of the area in which these portals are located. I suspect this is to alleviate the energy cost these dungeons have incurred on Hax's reserves."
It was a good assumption based on the knowledge around this universe's power system—actualizing imagination required power. Unfortunately for her, the Game system I exploited and spread out did not submit to the logic of DxD's power system.
I snickered inwardly as I heard Grayfia continue.
"Kuoh has not existed long enough to have accrued a dangerous or epic history like Kyoto. Other than small-time threats such as stray devils, rogue fallen angels or human criminal activity, what can this dungeon possibly be based off of?"
MacGregor walked in, joining the conversation, to support Grayfia.
"As a mage, I made my name from dabbling in life-threatening mystical practises, so it is wise advice to err on the side of caution for all unknown phenomena such as this portal. But in this case, I have to agree with Grayfia, this portal and the dungeon within it is threatening only in appearance. Everything in this world with power leaves a trace of or emits it—no barrier or seal, no matter how skilled the user, can fully conceal this; it is simply a matter of how perceptive the people on the other side are."
"So have you tried going in, before I did? You're kind of giving me conflicting messages. Is this thing dangerous or not?"
I knew the answer—it was in my earlier [Observe] and my menu reports on the global dungeon activity. Furthermore, the dormancy period was gone.
But I wanted them to dig a deeper hole with their self-assurances.
"Yes, the dungeon inside was quite breathtaking. But I won't spoil the surprise." MacGregor replied. "However, its foreign appearance does conflict with Grayfia's theory about locality—unless it has also based itself off the presence and history of its resident devils." He eyed Rias and Sona as he made that note, before his gaze returned to me.
"The important thing of note is this: we, of Lucifer's Peerage, explored the first floor of the dungeon inside this portal, and our experience has informed and reinforced much of the assumptions we have just told you. Within the dark palace we entered are hundreds upon hundreds of unmoving statues, of many different designs; they emitted a weak signature, but they are undoubtedly intended to be part of a trap… and a puzzle—we'll tell you more about that if we head in; it seems to need a trigger. But for beings like us, a great number of awakened weaklings are of no threat; yet they may overwhelm the inexperienced, no matter how powerful they seem to be." He wasn't just directing that at me, he once again eyed Rias and Sona, and the member of their peerages.
Grayfia nodded at that assessment.
"Lex, Sona, Rias—we will not stifle your duties; and Lex is the only promising Hax Inc. member we have that is currently willing to join us. That is why we will escort you three, but only you three. The members of your peerages will need to stay behind and stand guard."
Both Rias and Sona agreed to that. And Grayfia smiled warmly at how much they seemed to care about their peerage's safety.
"Good. Then I am satisfied with our impromptu arrangement, but…" She narrowed her eyes at the two ladies. "We will continue our earlier discussion in a more appropriate venue, is that understood?"
The two young devils didn't look intimidated at all; they glared back and their chests puffed out as they seemed eager for that future discussion.
"Understood." Sona replied. "But I still agree with Rias' stance, we will not be babied."
Grayfia scoffed, shaking her head, before she looked at me.
"Now… before you send the invite, and we head in, I would like to ask you, Lex: can you tell us the benefits you received from Hax Incorporated? It'd be good to know of your new capabilities first."
There was a greedy glint that entered the eyes of every Devil before me.
I knew what they wanted me to divulge.
This was akin to a job interview—I knew they were scouting every possible gamer candidate.
I smiled and responded.
"I received something called the Necromancer Class. And yes, it does follow a game's logic and style of progression. I can see a tree listing my future possibilities—the tree seems to be really big." I purposefully teased dumbly, rubbing my head as I pretended to look lost at a menu. "I mean, compared to the other people I've watched, my class seems to be really powerful."
Grayfia nodded in satisfaction, as if some silent test had been passed—I inwardly chuckled; if Sirzechs was trying to make me the replacement for Issei in his plan for his sister, I wouldn't make it easy, and I certainly wouldn't follow his plan.
"See, Sona, I knew his would be special." Rias bragged, for some reason, as if she had already staked her claim on me.
And Sona scoffed in response. "We don't even have enough information to properly compare."
Rias continued teasing Sona. "You don't play enough RPGs, Sona. I've seen enough videos to know most of the participant's classes are based on the classics. No one's got Necromancer."
I tuned out their banter when MacGregor patted me on the shoulder, rubbing his chin in scholarly interest.
"Fascinating. I'd be interested to see how this 'game' interprets Necromancy—I hope you go far. If you ever want to learn more about this art traditionally, feel free to contact me for guidance; I also have contacts in all the greatest magical institutions around the world that can share their insight on the ins-and-outs of this skill."
I nodded and smiled politely at his offer, but I knew I wouldn't make use of it.
The most powerful necromancers in this world—gods included—couldn't compare to what my hacked, endgame Necromancy was capable of.
My other self was in the middle of proving that right now.
XXXXX—Tartarus, just before Kokabiel's POV—XXXXX
In the deepest party of the Underworld, where the Titans of old were confined, was an endless sea of fire and broken stone; and a solid sky which represented the world—and the rest of the Underworld—above.
Everything within this dark depth was Tartarus itself, a primordial entity of the Abyss and one of the first children of Chaos; and it was used to imprison and torment the souls of the wicked and all enemies of the Greek Pantheon.
"Hahahaha, you feel that, Lord Thanatos has returned with another foolish prisoner." Within one of Tartarus' fiery stone mountains, a Grim Reaper was cackling as he whipped a fallen god who, upon his death millennia ago by the hands of a Greek entity, had also been sealed within this entity. Now, he was fated to be chained and use his divinity to create beings of the Underworld that would rise up from Tartarus and serve Hades.
The ground shook slightly.
"You better 'liven' up now, it's been an eternity since he's visited, but you should still remember, right? In this realm, Lord Thanatos is all-seeing and all-powerful."
The god scoffed.
"There is no god that can truly boast such things, not even—"
But his words of derision and his act of mining were interrupted as the mountain quaked heavily; the walls around him started to crack, and the realm itself seemed to roar. Both the grim reaper and the god fell down to their knees.
But the reaper laughed humorously, the sound coming from its visible skill utterly disgusting to the god's soul.
"It seemed Lord Thanatos heard you," They both heard a distant explosion, and the mountain quaked again, even more dangerously, this time. "After Lord Thanatos deals with the new prisoner, he's going to come visi—" But the reaper's threat as it saw the god's eyes widen, before the god ran and took cover.
And the reaper knew no more, his last sight being the walls of the cave bursting from ungodly energy before his shadowy, robed body evaporated completely.
The left side of the mountain completely blew up as two figures flew out and above the eruption of boiling hot smoke, hellfire and fiery stone.
I had just landed a devastating uppercut to Thanatos as I dragged him haphazardly through the stony sea of Tartarus.
Now we were in the air, with Thanatos black and blue eyes rolling up his head from the impact of my attack.
"Hahahaha, what's the fucking matter, Thanatos? Weren't you just bragging about how screwed I was; didn't you have absolute control of death in this realm?"
My taunt caused Thanatos to recover, as he gritted his teeth.
"YOU DAMN ABOMINATION! WHY DOES TARTARUS NOT CONTAIN YOU?!" He shouted, desperate and angered that his technique had not worked.
He held up his hands, and a black ball of energy appeared before me, but it did not explode.
Instead, it acted as a gravitational pull, as massive chunks of stone and even mountains detached from the surface below me—dragging up and splattering the sea of fire—and flew towards the ball.
Soon, a miniature planet had formed to trap me inside. I could sense Thanatos relax. That wouldn't do.
Roaring from inside, shaking the makeshift planet, I charged forward, easily breaking through the layers of hot stone. The surface of Thanato's creation broke, but he would not react in time.
I flew above his head, spinning around as I laced my fingers together in a tight grip, forming a double-axe handle, and I slammed his head, feeling a tiny crack under the weight of my strike as he flew down towards the ground.
A spectral armour of a dragon aspect appeared around me, but as soon as Boost took effect, the aspect expanded. It no longer embodied armour; it was now a full-scale, conscious dragon.
The aspect roared, and I felt ungodly amounts of strength run through my body, as we flew down towards the god.
When the aspect collided against the ground the god was on, it was like a nuke had hit Tartarus. An enormous mushroom cloud rose up due to my attack, as shockwaves spread across Tartarus—wide enough to cover three human cities—and flipped the ground plates around us. The sea of fire flew up, covering everything around us in red.
But we were fine. The spectral dragon's hide was protecting me from the heat, though I would survive touching the sea anyway; and Thanatos had protected himself against the dragon's attack through a dome of deathly energy.
It was disintegrating the dragon's claw.
I grinned toothily. The spectral armour was not the highlight of Mul Qah Diiv; it was my heightened super strength.
The dragon morphed, becoming sleeker, as I dashed around. I flew to the side and drilled beneath the god. We struck the dome from behind, then from the side, then from the other side; the dragon flapped its wings, and we continued to attack angle after angle; until a typhoon of stone and fire appeared around the god.
The dome cracked. The god gritted his teeth.
Hundreds of gigantic skeletal hands appeared randomly from all directions. They held my spectral dragon in their crushing grips, disintegrating it fast. The dragon roared in anguish.
I saw my [death] within each of them.
I laughed, before shouting once more.
But Thanatos wasn't the only one with buffed, near instantaneous attacks. An explosion of ethereal wind emerged from my body, and I felt much, much lighter.
Two black and gold jewelled daggers appeared in my hands.
As soon as those skeletal hands completely disintegrated my aspect, I moved to counter.
Hundreds of afterimages appeared as I knifed each and every one of Thanatos' constructs, shattering them.
I was having a lot of fun.
There was a brief moment of respite as I landed in front of Thanatos, who backed away.
I smiled at him challengingly.
He looked at me, increasingly wary.
In that moment, the aftereffects of our exchange had finally dropped back down.
Lifted stones from my typhoon dropped onto the sea of flames around us. The stone segment beneath us rocked as turbulent waves of fire collided against it, and splashed up, revealing an orange curtain of trapped souls.
But we continued our face-off, completely resistant to the harsh conditions around us.
I joyously taunted him.
"Come on, I know you're holding out on me, Thanatos."
That wasn't why I had confronted Thanatos. It wasn't why I allowed Thanatos to bring me here, to Tartarus—where the biggest and baddest of Greek Legend were imprisoned.
We were in the realm of the trapped dead, containing souls of some of the most powerful and deadliest.
Yeah, we both knew the implications.
"You've probably got some divine oath in place to prevent you from exploiting this place. But you have to realise, if you keep holding back…"
I closed my eyes, taking in the refreshing air of the dead, before opening them again and making a promise.
"You'll be my bitch for the next hour."
I wanted to take him down at his best.
If there ever was a place to show off the skills of a godly Necromancer, this was it.
"You don't know what you're asking for, boy." He gritted out, but he sensed the truth in my words. And I sensed simultaneous dread and overbearing confidence from him due to that trump card.
But Thanatos had yet to realise that trump card didn't belong to just him.
"Come on, you were bragging to Hades about how great your Necromancy is. Show me my place."
And I grinned madly, after what seemed like an eternity of hesitation, when I saw his hands join together and form a symbol.
A surge of deathly energy spread from his body.
And I heard it, the sound of a billion lost souls crying out in obedience.
They were coming.
"HAHAHAHA…. HAHAHAHAA… HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA!" I laughed joyously, and Thanatos shook in shock, especially when he saw my hands imitate his.
Especially when he saw a similar wave of energy start to emerge from my body.
"It can't be."
Class: Necromancer LVL 93
All abilities have been buffed due to Divine Association with Tartarus
Let's showcase the greatest Necromancy battle of all time.
Main Class: Necromancer LVL 3
Yep, completely fair and balanced.
I hope you enjoyed. I had exams on the 29th of Nov and 1st of Dec, but now that they're done, I'm free to have a weekly schedule again for writing.
The next chapter will be released next week (7-8 days) and I will also be uploading a Danmachi/Fate God SI fic in 2-3 days, so watch out for that if you're interested.
I've 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