He pushed through the rubble and debris that had covered him from his crash. His body protesting that he should stay down. In pain, a broken arm and bleeding both internal and externally, Bell Cranel pushed through to the entrance that he had made earlier.
The scene that greeted him was something from a nightmare. Orario was destroyed. More than half the city was on fire. Corpses littered the streets as beams of light signalling the gods being sent back from the lower world. A silhouette of a monstrous beast flew overhead at high speed. Raining down fire and carnage upon them.
Bell had watched the black flames consume the woman he loved and summon the One Eyed Black Dragon. It was a part of a scheme to defeat Aiz Wallenstein but the conspirators did not expect her to be the beacon that calls forth everyone's demise. Just like the Xenos, it was intelligent but evil. A monster that surpasses level ten. When it took form, the first thing it did was kill the gods. Without the Falna of their gods, many adventurers were left powerless but still they fought. It was in vain.
The white haired boy dragged his body towards Babel. The place that the beast had begun using as a nest and the entrance to the dungeon. His eyes widened as his eyes took in his environment. Across the ground were bodies. Many were so burned that they were unrecognizable and the smell of burning flesh made him want to puke. Lily with her crossbow loaded laid in a pool of her own blood. Welf was in a crater. Something akin to broken glass in his hands. The mangled bodies of his friends from the far east was horrifying to look at.
'What is this!?' Bell asked while clutching his head.
With the reality before him, Bell's mind blanked. His body moved unconsciously. Knife in hand, he charged the thing that took everything from him.
"Fool," the dragon said.
"Bell!" A second voice said at the same time. "No!'
'Where am I?' Bell asked in his daze. His mind still unable to process what was happening.
His body tried to attack but without Hestia's blessing, he was but an ordinary boy. The knife shattered on contact. His eyes widened as his mind came to a realization.
'I get it,' Bell thought.
A swipe of its claw had cut Bell at the stomach. Throwing him of the dragon. Memories of his life flashed before his eyes. Guilt and regret overpowering his other emotions.
'I see now,' Bell thought as the memories of how his companions, friends and family's gruesome deaths came to mind. He let himself succumb to his injuries with one final thought. 'I'm in hell.'
Bell opened his eyes to see white. Looking around he found that everything about this place was white. He noticed that he was no longer in pain and that his wounds were gone.
"You're awake," a voice said behind him.
Turning around, Ouranos, Hestia, Loki, Freya, Zeus, a goddess and god that he did not know. He was surprised. They were the first that were sent back. How was he standing before them now? Upon asking that question, his eyes widened at the realization.
"I'm dead," Bell said. Tears fell from his eyes as guilt and defeat settled into his stomach.
"I'm sorry Bell," Hestia apologized.
"Don't apologize goddess. You were forced to go back because you protected me," Bell interjected. "You and Lady Freya did so. I'm the one who should be apologizing for not being strong enough to… to…"
"Be a man ya stinkin' rabbit!" Loki cut in.
"Loki!" Hestia, Zeus and Freya shouted.
"What? Someone needed to say it," Loki shot back. "Look brat. There's a reason why Chibi and Freya chose to protect you. It's grindin me grill but there's a reason why Aiz shows the most emotions around you. She woulda done the same."
"Although she said it so crudely," Zeus said. With an uncharacteristic seriousness that Bell had never seen in his grandfather. "She is right."
"Grandpa," Bell said.
"Oh don't be like that Bell," Zeus said placing an arm around his grandson. "What did I tell you about failure?"
"That it doesn't matter as long as I learn from them because the victor will always come from the losers," Bell answered.
"Right…You've become a hero Bell. Something that I was very doubtful of," Zeus said before his smile became lecherous. "Also… I'm proud of you."
"Thank you," Bell responded obliviously.
"Of course your achievements make me proud but I meant about something else, my boy," Zeus continued.
A resounding smack was heard in the blank world. Zeus can be seen nursing multiple bumps on top of his head as Hestia and Freya stood over him with wrath overflowing from them.
"Stop corrupting Bell-kun you perverted old man!" Hestia shouted.
"I am not going to stand here as you taint my Bell's soul," Freya stated angrily at the same time.
"My Bell!?" Hestia shouted at the goddess of beauty.
"Why yes Hestia dear," Freya said.
"He is not your Bell!" Hestia shouted. "He's mine!"
A shouting match between the two goddesses ensued. A competition between wills and who loved the boy more was happening. Confusing the poor boy. It also irritated a certain goddess of mischief.
"Will ya two lovesick idiots shut up!" Loki snapped. "We're not here for this! Ouranos, Gaea, Chronos, will ya stop takin entertainment from this farce and start talking!"
"Ahem," Ouranos coughed. He straightened himself and look the young boy in the eye. "As you know I am Ouranos, the primordial god of the heavens and the leader of the guild of Orario. This is Gaea. She is the primordial goddess of the earth or mother earth as you mortals call her. Lastly, Chronos, the primordial god of time. Usually he remains neutral stance to events but the situation threatens more than just the world that you were in. We turn to him in this hour of need. Chronos, if you please."
"Bell Cranel," Chronos began. "We are assigning a quest to you. You may choose to reject it and your soul will still ascend."
"What is the quest about?" Bell asked.
"You see, when the black flames consumed Aiz, it gave the One-Eyed Black Dragon her strengths and the ability to cross worldlines. Causing the destruction of those worlds and with each world, it grows stronger," Chronos explained. "Your quest is to go back to the past to stop the One-Eyed Black Dragon. Fail and the world would be destroyed."
"Yes," Bell said readily.
"Are you sure Bell?" Hestia asked worriedly. "You don't have to. You can just ascend and I'll take your spirit with me to the upper realm and…"
"Goddess… Thank you, but if there is a way to save everyone then I will take it," Bell said resolutely. "Even if it hurts."
Hestia sighed. Loki smiled. Freya looked turned on. Zeus laughed heartily. Proud at how heroic the boy had become.
"I guess that's just how you are," Hestia stated with a sad smile. "All I can do is try to support you as much as I can. I'm such a useless goddess."
"Hestia," Bell called her uncharacteristically. "Never say that you're useless. You were the only one that accepted me when no one else would. You gave me a place to belong. You fought other gods for me. Everything that I've achieved. Everything that I've become. All of it was a gift from you."
"Bell-kun! Bell-kun!" Hestia cried as she slammed herself into his chest. Her arms around him. His hand patting her head.
"Will ya two stop it with the all the mushiness? You're givin' me a headache. The boy has a quest before him. Is this really how you want to send him off shorty?" Loki said as she pretended to gag.
Hestia shot the mischievous goddess a withering glare before conceding. She got off of the rabbit boy. Crossing her arms and pouting to show her displeasure at being separated from him.
Loki knelt in front of Bell in dogeza pose. The same pose that Hestia used to beg Hephaestus to make his knife. A very uncharacteristic move from the proud goddess. Tears fell from her eyes as she grit her teeth to make her request.
"I know you and I have had our differences. Many times I made you and your familia suffer," Loki said. "I know I have no right to ask this of you but please! Save them! Save Aiz! Save my children! You're the only one who can."
The silence was deafening. Loki's cries and pleading were the only sound that could be heard. The gods and goddesses expected Bell to only agree to saving Aiz. His frown as he looked at Loki practically said he would not do even that. Approaching the goddess of mischief. He placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Raise your head Loki-sama," he said. Raising her head, she was almost blinded by the brightness the boy emitted with his smile. "I would've done that whether you asked me or not. Many members of your familia are comrades of mine not to mention friends. I will protect them as if they were family because to me they are. We may not always see eye to eye but they've helped me so much that I can't help but be grateful to them. I will try to help Aiz-san and protect her. I will help her save her mother from the One-Eyed Black Dragon and stop that hell from ever occurring again. This I swear to you.
"Thank you," Loki muttered. Tears still falling from her eyes that were hidden behind her hair.
"Be careful Bell-kun," Freya said before giving the boy a hug and a kiss.
"I will," Bell replied. Returning her hug. "Thank you for all the help that you have given me through the years, Lady Freya."
"Mhm," Freya cooed as she tightened he embrace. Realizing that she had no intention of letting him go, the others had to peel her off of him.
"I will ask again. Bell Cranel, are you willing to take on this nigh impossible quest?" Ouranos asked. "You will experience many hardships and you will be hurt not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. So I ask, are you sure you want to take on this quest?"
"I am," Bell answered resolutely.
"Very well," Ouranos said. "We are not sending you back with nothing. My fellow gods and goddesses, we now place our hopes in you, Bell Cranel."
The gods and goddesses pricked their fingers before they placed their hand on Bell. He could feel something familiar with the action of the gods and goddesses but could not place it.
"May our blessings help bring about a brighter future," Ouranos said.
"Be careful, Bell."
"Stay safe, Bell."
"What is this!?" Hestia asked disbelief. The numbers on the back of the boy did not make sense. Normally, adventurers get stronger in single digits. He was growing by leaps and bounds. "It must be this."
She was happy that Bell was growing but it was because of that Wallensomething. Pouting. She began hitting the boy.
"You pervert! Miscreant! Scoundrel! Philanderer! Playboy!" She accused as she slapped the boy in the back repeatedly.
Bell just closed his eyes and let his goddess vent her frustrations. As dense as he is, he did become more aware of subtle hints as time passed on. Which he was glad, he does not need another incident of a woman slapping him. If he could help it that is.
He had come back the day after the first minotaur incident and was now getting his status updated. Although, he did know that the stats she would get were not exactly going to be accurate. He felt a little guilty about the fact that she could not access his full stats without Loki, Freya and Ouranos.
"I'm sorry." He whispered.
Bell sighed. He was feeling quite nostalgic. Standing there in front of the Hostess of Fertility. He could not help but smile as he saw an elf with blonde hair carrying a box to the back. Chloe and Lunoire arranging tables. Remembering memories of the times they helped him. All the times he spent here with his friends and familia. Gratitude towards these women swelled from within him.
'I shouldn't change things just yet,' He thought as he approached the cat girl sweeping outside. 'Not sure what could change by changing things this early on.'
"Kyaaaaa! The dine-and-dasher from before, nya!" Anya exclaimed. "The one who came to give Syr an offering, nyand then abandoned her at the table, nya! That white-haired kid! Nya nya!"
"Yeah, sorry about that," Bell said in an embarrassed tone. "Is Mama Mia and Syr here?"
"Bnyya?" Anya sounded before a lightbulb lit up in her mind. Looking at him with teasing suspicion, she asked. "Why nya?"
"I apologize for my coworker. I will retrieve Syr and Mama Mia right away." Ryu said. Appearing behind the cat girl. Like the wind, the aloof elf suddenly had the catgirl by the collar and dragged her away.
"Thank you," Bell said with a bow. He watched as the two waitresses disappeared up the stairs. 'Elegant, fast, refined… That's Ryu-san for you. Strong, graceful… Beautiful. How many times has she saved me? Hopefully I can help you this time around.'
"Bell?!" Syr said from the bottom of the stairs. She smiled upon seeing him.
He walked towards her and bowed.
"I'm very sorry" Bell apologized. An image of a deceased Syr flashed before his mind. An image he would rather forget. 'I wasn't strong enough.'
"… No, no, it's okay now. I'm happy that you came back." Syr replied with a giggle. Snapping the boy back to reality.
"This should cover the food I ate," Bell said as he handed her a bag of valis. "If that isn't enough, I can pay more…"
"I would never say it isn't enough! You coming back is enough for me…" She said with a cute smile. "And I'm sorry, too."
"You don't have to apologize… I'm the one who just ran out and forgot to pay," Bell said. Tears began falling from his eyes. 'I'm the one who should be apologizing. I… I couldn't protect you! I let you die!'
"Bell?" Syr said worriedly.
"Sorry… It's nothing," Bell said. "I'm just happy you forgave me."
She continued smiling at him until she remembered something. Going to the back room, she later returned with a basket.
"You are going to the Dungeon soon, aren't you? Please take this with you." Syr said happily.
"Um Syr, isn't this your lunch?" Bell asked to make sure.
Syr's cheeks flushed a little. Wondering how he knew that little detail. Then again, she did pull that stunt on their first meeting.
"I'll take that as a yes," Bell continued. "You know, you don't have to bribe me for me to come back later? Right? I like this place. The food is good and you ladies are very nice."
"I know," Syr replied. Her blush becoming deeper. "Would you believe me if I said I wanted to?"
She tilts her head, avoiding eye contact. A shy smile that looked cute was on her face. She looks so kind, gentle… It is hard to refuse her when she was like this.
"Thank you. I'll eat them before I go into the Dungeon today," Bell said. Finally taking the basket from her.
"Well ain't you a little charmer," A voice said. Looking at the source, Mama Mia can be seen standing at the door to the back of the restaurant.
'She really does take over a room. Hehe,' Bell thought. Processing her words. A look of confusion took over. 'Wait!? What does she mean little charmer?'
Looking around he noticed that Syr was not the only one blushing. Ryu was holding a red faced Anya back from jumping on him. Her face held an undeniable blush as she avoided eye contact. Chloe and Lunoire also had red tints on their faces. Although they were pretending not to listen, the twitch in Chloe and Ryu's ears and the fact that Lunoire was slowly scooting over betrayed their intentions.
"Ah! I gotcha. Came back to pay the money, did ya? Ain't that nice o' you," Mia said.
"I'm really sorry!" Bell apologized as he bowed towards the hostess' proprietress.
"It's fine. At least you had the decency to come back and pay for your bill," Mia said. Shrugging off his apology. "Syr, take a break, eh? You been in 'n' out all day."
"Yes, sure," Syr said. She makes a quiet bow before running out of the room.
"The rest of you, back to work!" Mia ordered. Causing the others to scatter. She walked towards the boy who was now scratching the back of his head in embarrassment. Giving him a scary smile as she placed a hand on his shoulder. "If ya hadn' come back, we woulda released the hounds ta find ya!"
"If you'd been a day later, I'da enjoyed hearing me prey squeal again." She continued. "Syr, that's your lunch he's carryin'. Ya okay with that?"
"Oh, yes. Missing lunch isn't that big of a deal," Syr replied. Sticking her head out of the double doors that led to the kitchen.
"Why is okay to go hungry and give him nyour lunch, nya?" Anya asked. Walking back in with a crate of vegetables. Placing them on the counter.
"It just—" Syr began. Her face turning crimson.
"Oh-oh! Don't be rude nyow! You two are like that, nya? He's nyour—" Anya teased before the gray haired girl could answer. Running away to a different room before the girl could respond.
"Not that!" Syr shouted. Chasing after the cat girl. Laughter and shouting could be heard.
A small smile appeared on Bell's face before the hand on his shoulder squeezed and made him tense. Turning around, the dwarf had an intimidating aura that made Bell vow to never do anything out of line in front of Mama Mia again, ever.
"Be sure 'n' say thanks ta Syr. Lot o' us here are not as forgivin' as she is," She said. "In fact, if she 'adn't said okay, you'd be swimming with the fishes 'bout now."
"Syr chased after ya that night, but she couldn't find ya. Came back all depressed, mopin' around," she informed him. "That there elf, Ryu, grabbed a claymore from the back. Wasn' easy stoppin' 'er from huntin' ya down."
Bell could not help but feel gratitude towards Syr and a healthy dose of fear towards the elf. Memories of the help the women of this tavern played in his mind. He was indebted to them and felt helpless because they died trying when the dragon attacked the west corner of the city. A tear managed to escape one of his eyes as he tried to keep himself from breaking down. One that was noticed by all present in the room.
"… Oi, boy!" Mama Mia called. Pulling the boy from the storm of self-deprecating thoughts.
"Huh?" Bell grunted.
Getting a good look at the boy. Mama Mia's eyes widened. Something that the other girls noticed as well.
"Bein' an adventurer isn't for those who just look the part. Just fight to survive at first. Once ya build up a bit, the worst rarely happens," Mama Mia lectured. "Most of the times you'll feel like you aren't strong enough. Powerless even."
Bell's eyes shot wide open.
'Does she know!?' Bell asked in his mind. 'Wait, she's smiling at me?'
"You shouldn't put everything on your shoulders. You just became an adventurer right?" Mama Mia asked. To which Bell could only nod. "The best is always the last one standing, ya hear? No matter what it takes. Come on back an' I'll fix ya up with a large ale! Hey, ya won, didn't ya?"
'Mama… Mia…!' Bell internally cried.
"Don' be givin' me that weird face!" She said. Suddenly, a massive force spins Bell around and guides him out the door. "Now head out, will ya? Yer in the way!"
"Oi, boy!" Mama Mia called before he passed through the door. He turned to her. "I've said this much already, don' ya go dyin' on me now, ya clear?"
"I won't! Thank you again!" Bell responded. He then passed a gaze to the women of the establishment. "I'm heading out! Love ya!"
The boy disappeared into the crowded street. Silence fell in the room. The blushes on the waitresses deepened and most of them did not know what to do with what the boy said. Although, the girls noticed that Mama Mia was just staring sternly where the boy had disappeared from.
"Mama Mia?" Syr called. Question clear in her voice.
"Too old," Mama Mia replied. Confusing the girls.
"Huh?" They responded.
"His eyes, they weren't of a new adventurer. They felt tired. Like he is carrying a burden heavier than it should be. There was also too much guilt and regret in his eyes. What could have happened for him to possess eyes so sad?" She explained. "It's like the boy grew twenty years older in the span of a few days."
"Bell," Syr whispered worriedly. Looking towards the entrance of the bar.
First of all, a disclaimer. I do not own Danmachi.
I hope you enjoyed reading the chapter. It would be great to hear your thoughts and opinions on it as it is new. If people like the story enough, I'll continue it. It still up in the air whether he would just be paired with Aiz or a have a harem. Quick warning, Bell will be really OP.
Here is Bell's full stats at the moment:
Level: 6 == 1
Strength: SS1094 == I0 →H120
Endurance: SS1025 == I0 → H110
Dexterity: SS1099 == I0 → H140
Agility: SSS1500 == I0 → F350
Magic: SS1000 == I0
Luck: C == I
Abnormal Resistances: C == I
Escape: G == I
Swift strike magic
Liaris Freese: Rapid Growth
Continued desire results in continued growth
Stronger desire results in stronger growth
Argonaut: Heroic Desire
Charges automatically with active action
All abilities are drastically enhanced when fighting minotaurs
Exponentially increases user's capabilities if the user perceives a member of the opposite gender to be in trouble
Changes can be permanent depending on circumstance
Stats will be lowered when it is known that the user is fighting a member of the opposite gender
Stronger emotions results in stronger effects