Chapter Two - Tails are Sensitive
*Location Unknown, Time Unknown*
Issei opened his eyes and sat up slowly. His memory was foggy for a second before it all came flooding back. His date with Yuuma. Her trying to kill him. The rushing power inside of him. Collapsing onto the ground with overwhelming exhaustion and the beautiful face over him as his world went dark. Those thoughts were all driven from his mind however as he looked around at his surroundings.
Issei sat in nothingness. White nothingness. White everywhere, beneath him, above him and all around him. It wasn't a cold nothingness though. There was a subtle warmth that permeated the air, filled it with a sense of calm. Deep endless calm.
Issei felt panic rise up inside him. Was he dead? Was this heaven? Or possibly hell? Maybe an abyss or purgatory from which he would never awaken. Only the warmth and calmness of the place kept him from descending into fear. Had this place felt cold and unwelcoming then he may very well have instantly lost his composure and broken down completely.
Issei was trying very hard to resist the urge to fret when a voice spoke from behind him. A guttural, ancient voice, a voice that spoke of wisdom and a voice that he recognised as having heard before.
"Ah you're awake Issei Hyoudou." the words were polite and yet direct.
Immediately Issei was able to place where he had heard the voice before. It had spoken to him when Yuuma had attacked him.
Issei turned and in doing so came to face the source of the voice. It seemed though that life wasn't done with surprising him yet. A dragon stood before him. A massive red dragon. Its face the size of Issei's standing body. The snout of the dragon was long with whiskers splaying to either side in a manner sort of like a scaly cat snout. Deep green eyes were staring into Issei's chocolate brown ones and thick horns stuck out of the dragon's head at odd angles. The dragon's body was long and displayed a powerful muscular build with thick scales and strong limbs. Everything about this being intimidated Issei immensely. Despite this something deep down inside of him told Issei not to be afraid and to stand in front of this titanic being.
Slowly Issei climbed to his feet and went to take a step forward but fell forward toward to the ground. His body had felt completely off balance the moment he went to move, like it was being offset incorrectly. A chuckle reached his ears and Issei looked up at the dragon. A friendly expression crossed the great beasts face as he spoke to Issei.
"You aren't accustomed to walking with a tail yet are you young one."
A tail? Did he say a tail?
Issei twisted his head around in a flash and of course there it lay, flopped onto the ground of the white nothingness. A tail coming out from between the top of his pants and pushing part of his shirt out of the way. The tail was almost three feet long, as wide as his forearm and covered in smooth yet thick fur that was the same dark brown muddy almost black colour of his hair. Now that he noticed it though, his pants were pushing uncomfortably against the base of it and forcing it up awkwardly.
Issei shifted his pants slightly to allow the tail to freely flow before standing back up and facing the dragon again. Back on his feet he noticed that the tip of his tail, now hanging naturally, was mere inches from the surface below his feet. Having returned to being face to face with the beast again questions began flowing through his mind but a few stood out as more pressing and that is where he decided to begin.
Clearing his throat, to both announce that he would speak and also to build some form of confidence, Issei began.
"Where am I?" Issei asked with his voice sounding far more confident then he felt.
The dragon took a moment before replying.
"We are inside of your mind. This place is simply a realm built in your mind by your subconscious, enhanced by the Ki of your ancient blood. That Ki has been enriched by the effects of the devices that healed your wounds and of course by my own power which is enhancing your potential, or as most have refered to it 'boosting' your potential. Your vast potential."
This answer only offered more questions then answers. This place was in his mind? Boosting? A vast potential? Potential for what exactly?
"And erm, I mean, with all respect, who are you?" Issei continued his line of questions.
"I am the red dragon emperor, my name is Ddraig." the dragon now known as Ddraig replied.
"And how are you here in my mind with me?" Issei said following with the next most reasonable question along his growing list of queries.
"I have always been with you Issei. You were born with a sacred item inside you. Imbued in you by pure chance known as the boosted gear, one of the thirteen Longinus. I have resided in that Longinus for the almost fifty thousand years moving from host to host." Ddraig's voice still guttural but with an edge of calm patience.
Issei thought on what he had just been told and went with the next question that came to him.
"What happened to your previous host then?" Issei's voice filled with curiosity.
"He died. His death came a single moment before you were born. Hence the Longinus was imbued in your body. But that being said, I am quite happy to be in someone with the power of your unique blood. I believe it will bring great wonders for both of us."
Twice now Ddraig had mentioned Issei's blood.
"Why do you say my blood is special?" The idea that his blood was special confused Issei immensely.
"Because you were born with a microscopic percentage, an absolute iota, of blood that isn't human. Deep in your ancestry is a mix of blood from a once powerful warrior race known as the Saiyans."
That was not an answer Issei had expected to hear and it was something he never would have though in hid wildest dreams of being told. Specifically being that his blood wasn't human.
Issei stood motionless. This was a lot to take in. As if reading his inner quarrels Ddraig continued his explanations of past events and knowledge that Issei would need to know.
"Over two hundred thousand years ago the universes were a very different place and the Omni-king, supreme god of all, watched over the twelve universes. Eventually he saw a need to rectify the weaknesses and in tolerances of many of the beings that lived in the universes he had created and was going to erase all of the universes so that he could start over again, however, a warrior god from the seventh universe whose name is forgotten to the annuls of history appealed to the Omni-king, supreme god of all. His plight was heard and a tournament for the fate of the universes was held instead. Unfortunately a selfish being won the tournament and so true to his word, the Omni-king, supreme god of all, erased all of creation and started again. But some of the creations, those that had impressed the Omni-king, supreme god of all, with not only their power but also their compassion and desire for things that he saw as positive, were able to pass on some of their power to the new universes. The blood of the warrior god's race, the Saiyans, was given in a very small portion to a few lucky human families which has been passed down from generation to generation slowly diluting further until finally it has been passed to you. Even I am descended from a powerful dragon known as Shenron whom resided on the Gaia, a planet similar to our Earth, of those times."
Ddraig's voice took on an almost sagely quality as he relayed all this to Issei.
Issei sat and listened to everything Ddraig said with deep intent. Ddraig went on with his deep voice echoing around the white nothingness.
"Now what is curious is what I know about the Saiyans of old. Born with unlimited potential they could easily become some of the most powerful beings of their time. Able to survive wounds that would kill any other being. Naturally able to control the most powerful of energy known as Ki through their innate control of their Genki, Yuki and Shoki. The same energy you used against Yuuma to wound and scare her off. Lastly Saiyans possessed tails that I suspect looked very much the same as your new one does."
Issei was quiet a few moment more, this was a lot to take in before he spoke with a direct voice.
"So I'm a Saiyan then, or part Saiyan." Issei asked trying to believe the situation he found himself in. How could he be anything other than human? Well now a human with some sort of tail it seems.
Ddraig let out a sound much like a snort of affirmation and his smile widened as he nodded.
"It is so. I believe that your Saiyan blood, despite having originally comprising such a tiny facet of your molecular make up, has in fact taken dominance within you. How this has happened I can only speculate so far but most likely it is a combination of factors. Being, when you utilised your Ki to defend yourself, the devices full of pure Ki that were applied to heal you and my ability to boost the latent power of my host. In this event it seems that my ability to boost is happening as a constant, rather than as a single event, and that your Saiyan genes have latched onto this ability of mine, Saiyan genes being more aggressive and dominant then those of humans. These events, while powerful in themselves, have amplified by coinciding together and that I speculate, has allowed your Saiyan biology to take dominance in your system and thus has caused you to become a full blooded Saiyan so to speak."
Issei took a few unstable steps as he paced back and forth. This was more than a lot to take in. It was insane. But that being said, so was having your date sprout giant black wings and then trying to kill you. He stopped walking and turned back to Ddraig. This question seemed like it would be rather important to know.
"What exactly is Ki?" he asked slowly.
"Ki is life essence manifest in the form of pure energy. It is the most powerful energy source in the many universes and indeed all of creation. Those able to harness Ki are able to strengthen themselves thousands if not millions of times over by training their Ki and bodies to have a greater union. But Ki is not just held by those that can use it but by all living beings in existence, no matter how great or small. Suns, trees, planets, animals, bacteria, all have Ki within their very essence and if a being uses all of the Ki that it possesses too recklessly then it may quiet easily kill itself by mistake."
Ddraig paused for a moment, changing his train of the conversation at the sudden look of worry upon Issei's face.
"You need not worry however, as that is a rare event these days as so few know how to wield the pure form of Ki as you can and you will be fine as I will be here to guide and mentor you through the use of your Ki."
Issei's worry at the idea of accidentally killing himself diminished with the reassurances of the great dragon and he took a deep breath, visibly relaxing.
Ddraig swallowed momentarily before continuing on, the young Saiyan before him silent, awaiting as much knowledge as he could get on this predicament that faced him.
"As I just said, few wield true Ki in this age. To understand why you must first understand the underlying nature of Ki. Ki is broken into three elements. The mind or Shoki. The body or Genki, and the will or Yuki. Many different beings are able to use the Shoki but far less can harness the Yuki. For without the Yuki connecting the Shoki and Genki together, there can be no drawing upon the true potential of the power of Ki. It is for this reason that their power is only a mild imitation of the true Ki."
Ddraig spoke carefully, as if ensuring that he got the facts right himself before speaking.
Issei thought on the concept of Ki for a moment. He was still feeling tense and apprehensive about the concept of wielding a power that he could inadvertently kill himself with however the great dragon's assurances took the strain off him greatly. His mind then moved over to the weapons and power that Yuuma had used against him, did that mean that he could wield power stronger then hers. Was the true Ki, the heat that he had felt? The mass of energy that had filled his hand? It seemed that he did have the Saiyan blood all along if everything Ddraig had said so far was correct.
As Issei pondered these things he noticed once again that he could feel a background warmth to the air around him. He had assumed the warmth of the white nothingness was not relevant but now thinking on the warmth he had felt in the fight and now the air around him brought another question to mind.
"I can feel a warmth in the air. Is that my Ki that I am feeling?" Issei asked simply. A basic question but the next logical in line and one that helped him to understand what he had been told.
Ddraig nodded his great head slightly with a twitch of a smile upon his lips, "Indeed."
Issei thought quietly for a moment more on what he had been told before another question entered his thoughts.
"How do you know all this?" he asked in a manner that wasn't meant to appear rude.
"As I said, I am one of the two descendants of Shenron. A great and powerful dragon far beyond myself who interacted with the most powerful Saiyans to ever exist. Ones who became more powerful then almost all the gods. I even have some of their memories. Images and sequences that may be able to help you as you grow stronger."
Ddraig's offer was interesting and Issei thought it through. Would he need to become stronger? Well definitely a bit. He didn't want to run the risk of being killed or badly injured again. Especially not if some crazy woman wanted to kill him to take his power somehow. Issei nodded and Ddraig nodded in reply.
"We will have to wait I think until you have learnt to control your Ki properly before we try anything more challenging though."
"Ok" Issei replied simply.
That seemed like the best idea, learning to control the power which could kill him if used incorrectly was definitely a high priority, but that led him to another thought and worry, one that Issei voiced as it came to him, "You mentioned a few times that you can enhance or boost my potential, can it hurt me? Can you expand on this further?"
Ddraig wet him mouth with his tongue before continuing his explanations to his young associate,
"It is the greatest skill that I possess in my arsenal to assist those that I bond with. I am able to, through my Longinus, to grant my wielder an ability to temporarily boost and enhance their strength, speed, stamina. Their physical abilities if you will."
Noticing the look of amazement on Issei's face, Ddraig continued quickly,
"However with yourself I can feel that something is significantly different. I can feel through my own power that the Longinus seems to be active permanently and yet fundamentally differently. I believe that my Longinus is permanently causing a low scale boost which is fueling your Saiyan DNA's control of your genome. Or in layman's terms, it is part of the power that has changed you from human to who you are now."
Issei felt a slight amount of disappointment at this, he had hoped for something that could help him out in a dangerous situation. Stop him from being skewered again by a certain insane girl with black wings and a malicious sneer. Ddraig easily read the look on his face and clarified further for the young man.
"You have nothing to worry about though. The power of true Ki that you possess as a Saiyan along with your innate natural strength, resilience and combat prowess, is far greater then what I could offer through a short term boost in power. While it may not be evident now, training, growing and nurturing your power will take you far further then I have ever been able to provide for previous hosts."
Ddraig explained this with a deeply satisfied smile forming on his serpentine face and Issei smiled back toward the dragon emperor. It seemed he would just have to work at it then. Both could feel the drive that was developing in the young man. An urge that he almost couldn't explain that seemed to scream excitedly at the prospect of pursuing greater strength.
With this feeling of motivation and drive still fresh in the air, a further ponder came to Issei. One that he realised was rather crucial to his current circumstances.
"Ddraig, how will I get back here?" his confusion at how to he had specifically arrived in this place of white nothing was evident in his voice.
"This is your mind Issei. You can come here any time you clear your thoughts or sleep if you wish. I will always be waiting here for you from now on. We have bonded by the power of your Longinus awakening. Now we are partners."
Ddraig stated these facts absolutely and as if there was no room for argument.
"It is time for you to wake up now though. You should close your eyes and concentrate on your world and if you clear your mind correctly then I believe you will no longer be here when you open your eyes." Ddraig instructed of the young Saiyan in a patient tone.
Issei did as was suggested and closed his eyes. He could hear the deep breathes of the dragon. Minutes ticked by as he attempted to clear his mind. Clearing his mind was a lot harder of a task then he thought it could possibly be. Further minutes dragged by and then Issei noticed he couldn't hear those deep breathes any more. Opening his eyes he saw a sight that he recognised easily. His own bedroom.
*Gremory Mansion, Hell*
Rias walked through her home trying to locate her brother, Grayfia or Ajuka. She had taken Issei to his home, checked his wounds to ensure that he was properly healed and tucked him into his bed. With him secure and safe, she had considered leaving a note but chose against it. She would speak to him at school on Monday and just allow the boy to rest and recover. Being in the bedroom of a boy she didn't know, Rias was tempted to snoop, her enhanced Devils vision allowing her to see easily but chose against it, a nagging in her mind stating that he deserved his privacy and as such she returned to Hell.
Now back in the domain of her people, she wanted to speak with Ajuka and find out why all the 'Ki pieces' had taken to a mind of their own and completely merged into Issei instead of just one type. She hadn't even had the opportunity to pick which piece to use before they had acted without any input from her despite her position as the King of the set.
Before finding her parents or anyone else, Rias noticed on of her family's maids and approached the young woman who courtseyed deeply too her. A quick discussion disclosed that both Ajuka and her brother were in one of the studies on the eastern side of the mansion. Thanking the maid, Rias bee lined directly to the room however slowed down when approaching the door so that she could knock politely before entering.
"Come in." she heard her brother say from the other side of the door.
Rias opened the door and walked into the beautifully furnished room. Like all the rooms in the vast mansion, this one was decorated with portraits of great devils or their accomplishments. A vast array of ornately carved hardwood book cases filled with tightly packed books ranging from simple novels to grand tomes of magic and scientific journals took up large portions of the wall space. Sirzechs and Ajuka sat side by side at a desk studying information on a laptop.
"Oh Rias, what can I do for you?" Sirzechs asked with a neutral voice.
Rias approached both men as she answered calmly.
"Actually I was looking to speak with Ajuka if that's ok brother?"
Sirzechs nodded to his sister and motioned for her to continue. Ajuka looked at Rias with an inquisitive expression.
"I have used those 'Ki pieces' that you gave me." She stated plainly.
She kept her face neutral so far, unsure of how Ajuka would take to all the experimental pieces he spent so long making being used at once. Ajuka's face split into an excited smile immediately and spoke with a voice that had a barely contained desire for knowledge laced in each word.
"Oh that's excellent, which piece did you use? Did the process work the same as always? I had thought is might be a bit different." he rattled off rather quickly.
Rias bit her lip and continued.
"Actually that's the thing I wanted to discuss, I wasn't able to choose, the pieces seemed to choose and they all entered the boy's body without me being able to stop them. And he wasn't even dead when they did. I mean he was dying but you know, not quite dead." she stated the words simply still unsure of how the older devil may react.
Ajuka seemed genuinely taken aback and then an expression of deep concern and utter ponderance overtook his facial features as he ran through all the possible and some of the impossible implications of what he had just been told. Rias looked to her brother who gave her a small smile and then shrugged lightly before Ajuka spoke up to the pair again.
"When you say all the pieces …" he began with a voice that didn't display any anger, just scientific curiosity.
"I mean the box is empty. All fifteen pieces in one boy." Rias clarified feeling more comfortable at his clear lack of disappointment toward the situation. As to enhance her point she withdrew the white box from her bag that she still carried. Ajuka took it from her and opened the box. Confirming for himself what had happened.
"Why don't you tell us everything that occurred up to the point of you using the pieces?" Sirzechs injected into the conversations.
Ajuka nodded toward both Rias and Sirzechs and she began to relay everything that occurred that day. Both men stood quietly and allowed her to tell the whole tale without interruption.
As Rias' explanation of the earlier evenings events ended both men stood quietly for a few minutes causing Rias to fidget before she stated that which she knew was on both of their minds.
"Humans aren't able to control such violent energy like he did naturally are they." her words were simple but the implication was there.
If the boy could control an energy like that, which she suspected was something to do with pure Ki, without supernatural assistance then what was he and what else could he do. Sirzechs smiled and chuckled at this. Rias rose an eyebrow to her brother and Ajuka looked toward his best friend. He placed a hand on Rias' shoulder and looked to her with brotherly admiration.
"If this boy had such a power to fight off a fallen angel and the 'Ki Pieces' gravitated to him so distinctly then I think you will have to make sure he visits your peerage first thing Monday. This could be very interesting." and with those words he left Rias and began walking out of the room with Ajuka following him.
Rias realised as soon as they left that neither of them had confirmed anything for her and that all the advice she had received was to speak with Issei sooner rather than later. Furthermore Ajuka had taken the box which held the scanner device with him when they had left. Rias clicked her tongue at that and shook her head in mild annoyance for her brother before taking out her phone. Dialing a number, she called a close friend and rival of hers, Sona Sitri, the student council president so that she could organize for Issei to have a clear schedule for the following Monday morning. Once that was complete she went to her en suite, washed the grime of the day from her body and dressed in her night gown before turning in for the night.
*Bedroom, 19 Hyoto Lane, Kuoh Town*
Issei sat up and scratched the back of his head. He looked at his bedside table and saw the LED display of his phone. It read 0519. That was a lot earlier then he usually awoke and yet he felt full of energy as if he had just had the most restful and perfect sleep of his life. The first rays of sunlight encompassing the dawn peeled through his room and gave it an inviting light that begged him to hop out of bed.
Issei stretched and heard a tearing noise. He looked at his shirt and saw that his arm had ripped the tight material of the shirt he had worn yesterday. Dried blood has stained all over the lower half of the shirt. It was completely ruined now. Issei stood up and felt his tail slip over the edge of his bed as he did so. He took a few tentative steps toward his bedroom mirror and looked at himself. If he hadn't been surprised so much recently then he may have been shocked but he had a feeling his reflection wouldn't be what he was used to seeing in the mirror.
In the reflective glass stood a teenage boy with the same facial features as he knew he had however this new boy reflected back to him was at least half a foot taller than Issei had been and his musculature was far more pronounced. Not overly so but far more defined as if someone had dipped his body in granite and then sculpted him. The long tail came around his right side and the tip flicked back and forth as he thought to move it. His clothes were a mess. Torn and frayed both from the fight and his rapid growth. A large hole where the spear had pierced him and an abundance of dried blood soaked into the material. Running his hand over his abdomen Issei found the small scar that showed where he had been run through. No other sign of the fight appeared on his skin. Ddraig was right that his new blood would cause him to heal quickly.
Issei removed all his clothes, grabbed a towel and started making his way toward his bedroom door to go to the shower when he froze. How the heck was he supposed to explain the tail to his parents? He thought for a moment and then curled the tail around his waist. It sat nice and snug sort of like a natural belt. He covered it with the towel around his waist as well ensuring that the tail was completely covered. Crisis averted for now.
He proceeded to the bathroom to shower and clean himself up. His steps were wobbly but he was starting to get a hang of walking around with his additional appendage. When Issei returned to his room another issue arose. Getting into his clothes. With his increased size and tail getting a simple pair of sweat pants and a shirt on was an absolute mission. He eventually succeeded but had to wrap his tail around his waist again before allowing the shirt to flow over it. With loose clothes he was find but with anything that had to be tucked in it would be difficult.
He thought for a moment figured if anyone asked he could say it was a new belt. Well unless someone asked to try it on or happened to grab it too tightly. Issei had already discovered that his tail was a bit sensitive to harsh treatment when he closed the shower door on it and almost screamed out from the pain. He would have to remember it was there to avoid further mishaps.
Issei returned to his room and pondered with what he should do with the day. It was when thinking of this that another thought entered his mind. How exactly had he got home? The last thing he remembered from the evening before was the face above him. Red hair and aquamarine eyes. Not exactly the easiest description to try and find someone but Issei had to admit, from what he could remember, she had been beautiful. Did Ddraig know how he had gotten home, he was about to attempt to speak with the dragon when another noise filled the room. A raucous growl that could easily be mistaken for a wild beast but he identified as being his stomach informing him that it was in need to nourishment.
Food was the pressing matter of the day and Issei slipped out of his room and down the hall to the kitchen. He filled his bowl with cereal and ate at a pace that was almost inhumane before returning for more and then more again. Before he knew if, he had consumed eight bowls and finally felt satisfied. Was that normal for him now? Yet another question to ask.
Rinsing out his bowl, Issei could hear the sounds of his parents waking up. Despite the walls between their room and the kitchen, he could make out the sound of rustling sheets, their feet on the floor and movement. He quickly decided that he didn't want to confront them yet without understanding his changes further and retreated hastily to his room. With the door almost closed, his father exited his bedroom and noticed the movement of his son closing the door.
"Morning son, you're up early." Gorou stated between yawns as he wiped his glasses on his shirt before putting them on.
Issei spun around and presented only his face through the gap of the almost closed door.
"Yeah, I have a big project that I need to work on today." Issei wasn't keen to the idea of lying but the circumstances definitely warranted it.
"Excellent, work hard then."
Issei closed the door and for once was thankful that his parents were workaholics who valued academic performance highly. With the cover of schoolwork he knew that they would leave him alone today which would let him try to work everything out.
He sat at his desk with laptop open and simply stared blankly, overnight he had grown taller, more muscular and a tail. He had access to an energy power he had never heard of and essentially been tossed from the human race. This was not what he intended when he tried to remain unnoticed by people. Issei powered up the laptop and began searching everything. He began with 'Saiyan', no information. Well that made sense, Ddraig said that the race was basically extinct and the universe reset.
He tried again with 'Ki'. This produced responses, nothing scientific or concrete as he had hoped for but hundreds of pages talking about the belief of Ki in ancient religions, predominantly in China.
Issei spent the next few hours reading as much as he could, pages discussing the essence of life, Taoist monk beliefs in energy and the flow of life. Martial artist notions of Ki and the flow of energy. A lot of the pages contradicted each other, many had strong religious overtones that he was sure made the information less credible or at least less able to be verified but after reading as far and as wide as he was able, all the information seemed to in some form line up with what Ddraig had told him. Ki was life energy, linked to the very being or soul of every creature and plant. Even linked to the Earth itself.
A knock on his door brought Issei from his inquiries and he quickly checked that his tail was hidden before calling, "Come in."
His mum opened the door, a plate of three sandwiches in her hands.
"You've been working hard, how is the assignment going?"
Issei scratched the back of his head, "Ah well getting there. A lot to research. Biology and all that."
"Keep at it. Your father and I will be heading out tonight for out date night, so we will leave you some money to get dinner." his mother then paused whilst looking at him.
"Have you been working out?"
Issei just smiled sheepishly,
"Yeah push ups and stuff you know. I just want to be in shape."
She eyed suspiciously him for a moment before smiling dismissively.
"That's good but remember that your studies come first."
With that she left, closing Issei's door and he let out a sigh of relief. He wasn't sure if she believed him about the push ups. It had been all he could think of on the spot. Now with his mother gone though, his focus fell solely on the food in his room which found itself consumed in another display of record breaking eating by the new Saiyan.
The remainder of the day flashed by as fast as the morning had with Issei becoming engrossed in trying to learn as much as he could about the power that had been thrust upon him and Segway into trying to study as many religions as he could. Ddraig had mentioned a god of all things, the Omni-King however Issei was unable to discover anything about this deity no matter how much he read. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, various shamanistic sites, even a site discussing the old Viking Norse gods and none of them mentioned him. It would be yet more things that perhaps only Ddraig could fill out for him.
Evening arrived and Issei heard the tell tale sound of his parents calling out good bye to him and the front door closing. Every Sunday evening they had a date night and he was so very glad they had today. His tail was cramping up from remaining hidden and immediately he let it flow out before making his way directly to the pantry and raiding it for a series of snacks.
With an entire bag of marshmallows shoved into his mouth and a jumbo bag of cookies demolished, Issei noticed the money left behind by his parents. They had taught him to cook and Issei was quite skilled in the kitchen for a fifteen year old boy however his parents always left money when they went out on Sundays. He suspected it was their way of saying that he could have a treat if they were going to be eating a fancy meal at a restaurant.
Fetching his phone, Issei spent the next ten minutes finding the best deals he could before ordering three large pizzas and two sides. He crashed down onto the living room couch and watched some HBO, Game of Thrones, before a knock on the front door had him there in seconds. Keeping his tail out of sight, Issei opened the door, practically shoved the money into the young man's hands, clutched the warm food and returned inside. As with everything else he had eaten today, the food was gone in record time and the boxes destroyed in the trash compactor.
After watching the remainder of the double episode, Issei checked his phone, almost nine at night. His parents would be home soon and Issei didn't feel quite ready to close enough for a prolonged period for them to scrutinize the changes he had gone through closely. Turning off the television, he tidied up after himself before going to his bedroom. Once inside, he stripped off into a comfortable set of pajama pants and climbed into his bed with his sheets and comforter tucked up. He lay there for a moment things of how Ddraig told him to enter his mind again. He focused on his breathing, the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest, his own heart beat and just tried to block out the world around him. Issei wasn't sure when but eventually he could no longer feel the coverings of his bed and opened his eyes to the white space and large dragon that had greeted him the night before.
"Hello Issei." Ddraig's voice cordial and welcoming.
Issei smiled. He had successfully entered his mind again. Strangely enough, he found himself standing here instead of lying down as he had been in his bed and speculated as to if that was because he voluntarily entered this place this time.
"Hi Ddraig. I was a bit concerned that I would have trouble coming back here." Issei admitted with a guilty chuckled and rubbing the back of his head.
"I never doubted for even a moment that you be able to. But I believe you have many more questions that you would like answered tonight."
Issei nodded eagerly and the discussion between the two new partners began in earnest. Ddraig explained further his knowledge of the skills and nature of Saiyans, that their massive appetite and ability to consume large amounts of food fueled their ability to produce such high volumes of Ki energy and strength. Ddraig could only provide Issei with a tertiary knowledge of Saiyan society as he himself had a limited knowledge but was able to reinforce that their existence focused heavily on combat prowess and that as a species they held a strong and powerful pride.
Hours of conversation was spent discussing the nature of Ki and the accuracy of the information that Issei had discovered throughout the day. A lot of the pseudo science beliefs held in the websites that Issei visited were denied by Ddraig but the relationship between martial artists and Ki proficiency was something that the great dragon confirmed. To the best of his knowledge he believed that Saiyans only fought with their natural weapons of Ki and their own bodies, shunning weapons in favour of what they could achieve through training and strengthening themselves.
Finally the end of their discussion approached and Issei broached the final topic that he wanted to cover tonight, he knew others would arise and further nights would fill them in.
"So, the Omni-King. I couldn't find anything on him."
Ddraig rumbled a noise in his throat like a chuckle.
"I would expect not. He isn't one for religions as far as I know. Not very much is known of him. Thank of him as the god of all gods. As much as you know of gods is what they know of him."
That wasn't the most clear answer he could receive but it did fill enough information for Issei to know that he wasn't going to get anymore and to simply move on.
All in all the night had been a very useful endeavour, he learnt a lot more about the energy he could now wield and the race that he had been forced into becoming. While it still wasn't exactly the situation he wanted, Issei was determined to gain the most from it. Fore armed is fore warned or as the saying went.
Issei said his goodbyes to Ddraig before closing his eyes once again and focusing on the calm within himself. His breathing, heartbeat and the stillness inside of himself. Once again after a couple of minutes when opening his eyes he found himself back in his bed. Sitting up, he found himself completely refreshed once more and so began the day as he had the one before, showering whilst ensuring the safety of his tail and then struggling to put on his school uniform. If he had thought that his casual clothes were difficult, getting the uniform to fit his newly enhanced frame was an absolute struggle and he worried that he may tear his clothes if her moved to vigorously.
After finally succeeding and ensuring his tail war as much out of sight as possible and wrapped to appear to be a belt, Issei walked down the hallway and the delicious smell of perfectly cooked food wafting toward him. His mother had cooked breakfast for the family. Issei was cognisant that his stomach all but roared at him over the smell of food as if he had never eaten a meal before. He took a seat at the table and proceeded to pile his plate to the point of overflowing before shoveling the largest portions possible into his mouth with his fork at as fast a rate as he could possibly manage.
"Someone's pretty hungry this morning." His father commented as he finished his own breakfast, already dressed in a sharp suit and ready to head off to work.
Issei only grunted in reply as he continued to inhale all the food before him. Lucky for him both his parents were workaholics and far too concerned with getting off to work as quickly as possible to notice the peculiarities of their son's eating habits this morning, Miki having told her husband that Issei was working out now and Gorou summing his appetite up to the increase in physical activity. As Issei finished eating a second helping he heard both parents call their goodbyes out to him and close the front door, each heading off to their respective places of employment.
Issei cleaned up the dishes from breakfast, picked up his school bag and left the family home. He had left for school about twenty minutes earlier then he usually would of but he didn't want to be late or trip over from rushing with his new found focus on not tearing his clothes as he moved or accidentally exposing his tail.
As it was it didn't take him much longer than usual to make him way to school. He stepped through the main gate and made his way toward his home room but stopped in the courtyard when he saw a person that held his attention. In a third story window stood a girl chatting with some other girls. The girl had long red hair and beautiful aquamarine eyes. Even from so far away Issei was able to make out every detail of her. He had noticed that his vision was far sharper than it previously had been. If Issei wasn't very much mistaken she was the same girl that he had seen before passing out in the park on Saturday evening. Had she been the one to take him home? As if she could feel Issei's gaze, she turned and looked directly at him and Issei could have sworn he saw a smile grace her lips before she turned back to her friends. His thoughts were cut short when a boy to his side spoke up.
"You must be new here, that's Rias Gremory and if you are thinking of asking her out then don't bother. She is every guys idol but won't date any boy here."
The boy said these things with a tinge of unreturned desire in his voice.
Issei thanked the boy, slightly annoyed that he thought Issei was new when he had been here for over seven months already. But he supposed he did keep to himself and looked a bit different today. Issei had heard the name Rias Gremory before and knew she was very popular but he had never actually laid eyes on her before now. He looked back up to the window but she wasn't there any more.
Issei took his usual seat in the classroom and resumed looking out the window waiting for the school day to begin. The school day started off as any other with roll call but as Issei answered, the sensei mentioned that his schedule had been cleared today and that he was to wait in the home room for a delegate of his new club to collect him. It was not something Issei had expected but he did not object either. Enough weirdness had occurred recently for him to ride this new change out and see where it went.
The other students left the room and Issei sat patiently. He didn't have to wait long before hearing a knock at the door. Issei turned to see a very handsome blond boy maybe two years older then himself in the doorway.
The boy bowed before entering,
"Issei Hyoudou I presume." The boy both asked and stated at the same time, his voice light and carefree. Issei nodded and stood up to walk to this new boy.
"I am." Issei replied and walked up to shake the boy's hand before he continued. "You are the club delegate I am to see."
"Yes indeed. I am Kiba Yuuto. A member of the Occult Research Club." Kiba replied casually before turning and leading Issei out of the room.
The pair walked in silence, not an uncomfortable silence but not exactly a comfortable one either. The young man led Issei out of the school building, across the grounds and down a lightly wooded path toward an old looking building to the far rear extremes of the school property. Upon reaching the building, Kiba held the door open and motioned for Issei to head inside.
Issei entered the dimly lit building and found himself in a den of sorts. Comfortable couches sat around the room. Crimson curtains covered the windows only allowing a portion of light to fill the room. Lamps were turned on to stop the room being too dark and drab. A thick red rug sat in the centre of the room. A fire place with an inviting hearth filled the room with warmth and lastly bookcases and an office desk took up the far corner of the room. Three more doors led off to other rooms in the building.
The room wasn't unoccupied however and upon Issei entering the current occupants all turned to face him. On one couch sat a small girl with white short hair, a few bangs hanging either side of her face and cat clips pinned into her wavy locks. To say she was small may have been an absolute understatement as she appeared tiny. Despite this, her face showed a complete lack of interest in Issei.
The next was a girl on the couch opposite to the first girl. She was almost as tall as Issei and possessed a stunningly beautiful figure with a very full chest, long black hair, violet eyes, porcelain skin and gorgeous face. She was possibly one of the most beautiful young women Issei had even seen. Her gaze seemed to be judging Issei as if she hadn't made up an opinion of him yet but as his eyes met hers she winked at him seductively.
The last member of the room was the only one Issei recognised, Rias Gremory sat behind the desk on a comfortable office chair, her chin in her hands with her elbows on the desk. At seeing Issei she stood up and walked around the desk coming toward him smiling sweetly.
"Issei, so good of you to come." she spoke with a sweet, smooth almost flirtatious tone of voice that Issei instantly took a liking too.
"Thank you Miss Gremory." Issei replied politely.
He may be just taller then her and the tallest in the room thanks to his overnight growth spurt but she was his elder and he would show respect.
"Oh there is no need for formalities here," Rias began with a smile before continuing, "I suppose you are wondering why we had you brought here."
Issei kept his face friendly but neutral before replying. He saw that Kiba had taken a seat next to the white haired girl.
"I imagine it has something to do with Saturday night's misadventure unless I am missing something." he stated with simple absolutism.
Rias nodded and indicated for Issei to move into the centre of the room. Issei moved over to where she had led him and she took a breath before speaking.
"What would you say if I said the girl who attacked you last night wasn't a human at all but was in fact a Grigori, or in plain speak a fallen angel, and furthermore that it was myself who saved you from dying?" Rias' voice was light yet direct, in a friendly yet to the point manner as she spoke to Issei.
Issei replied calmly, "I'd believe you easily enough. It's not the craziest thing I've heard or seen recently. At least not within the last thirty six hours."
Rias paused for a second. He took that very easily. Definitely a lot easier than she had expected him to.
"I see, well then how about if I told you that we, all of the members of the Occult Research Club are in fact Devils and that by saving your life I am now your master." Rias stated in a matter of fact manner, her voice still holding its light quality.
This time Issei was less then prepared for what she said. They were devils? She was now his master?
"Excuse me." he said in a plain voice. Clearly this time he was at least partially startled by what she was saying.
Rias smiled and indicated for her friends to stand up. As they did so crimson light filled the room. The glow of the light reached it's zenith before abating, Issei could now see large black leathery bat-like wings protruding from the back of all the members. Issei stood still for a second. Was he about to be attacked again?
Before he could make up his mind to do something the small white haired girl walked straight up to him. She only stood as high as his chest and she began to sniff him. The other devils just watched her, and it seemed that just like Issei, they were not too sure of exactly what she was doing. As she continued to sniff around him, her face getting closer and closer to his body, she came to Issei's tail, still wrapped around his waist like a belt and paused for a moment. Issei was about to ask her what she was doing when she bit into his newest appendage.
The pain was sharp and deep, instantaneously causing Issei to jump and yelp out. His tail unwrapped and flared out of the back of his clothes defensively. It was now the devils turn to be confused. He had a tail. That didn't usually happen when someone was resurrected. Issei stepped back from the white haired girl trying to get the pain in his new sensitive body part under control as he glared at her.
"Damn. That hurt. Why the hell did you do that?" Issei demanded a bit more harshly than he should have toward the short younger girl, all the while rubbing the tip of the furred flesh with his hands to alleviate some of the pain.
Before the small girl could respond though Rias cut in.
"You have a tail. Why do you have a tail? You should be a devil because I revived you. Well not quite revived but I did heal you with my new set." Her voice was confused, inquisitive and if Issei could hear properly a bit apologetic for his being bitten.
"I don't know why. But I do know I'm not a devil. Can you explain to me why you think I should be one?" Issei said whilst trying to control the pain in his voice. His tail continued to throb profusely and he moved away from the small girl as he now eased the massaging of the angry furred appendage to allow it to sit comfortably curled into the air behind him.
Rias nodded and motioned for everyone to sit including Issei. As he took his seat, one next to the dark haired girl and as far away from the short girl as possible, he noticed the wings of all the others receding into their backs and vanishing as if they had never been there in the first place.
Once everyone was comfortable Rias relayed how she had found Issei and saved his life. She also explained the new pure Ki piece set that had been given to her by Ajuka.
She paused and then continued by explaining how they had seemed drawn, almost driven, to Issei. Issei understood most of what she said, having either lived through the events, or from having had many of the questions he would have most likely asked already answered by Ddraig.
"Well that all makes sense to me, it even clarifies a few things." He stated when she finished.
"It does?" The taller black haired girl said with shock in her voice. "Because that makes no sense to me. I have never even heard of this pure Ki before, or how it is different to the Shoki or even how an evil set piece could have it."
Her questions taking on a slightly frustrated tone as if these things undermined her understanding of elements to her life she felt she should have understood in full.
Rias went to answer but Issei beat her to it explaining the origin and element of pure Ki. He went on further as well by giving a brief overview of how Saiyans were able to naturally draw upon and use it. His explanation being significantly more in depth then Rias had known about. She realised that Issei may know more about pure Ki then he was letting on and decided to ask him directly.
"Issei how do you know so much about pure Ki? For millennia only the Shoki has been known and utilised by our people. Also what is this Saiyan race that you mention?" she asked with her voice unintentionally sweet.
Issei looked at her for a moment trying to work out if he should spill the beans to this group about everything Ddraig had told him but in the end he decided he would. They had been upfront with him and he did owe Rias his life. Issei proceeded to relay all the information that Ddraig had told him in detail. The components and nature of Ki. The origins of the Saiyan race and how the ancient blood had survived the reset of the universes. The group was silent throughout his explanation and as he finished Rias nodded. She took a moment before commenting that she now understood why Yuuma had targeted him.
Issei gave her a puzzled expression and Rias went on, "It was your boosted gear. The Longinus that is housing the mythical dragon, Ddraig. She wished to claim it for her own. You are lucky that your natural ability to wield your stronger Ki allowed you to fight her off."
As Rias had been explaining this, the girl with dark long hair turned to Issei and looked him over with an almost predatory look before she spoke up.
"So your pure Ki is strong then. As strong as our Shoki magic can be. I'd like to see that." she made the final statement in a flirtatious voice that brought a tinge of redness to Issei's face. Her whole demeanour was very alluring if Issei was being honest with himself.
"I have been told that its power is directly linked to the wielders potential and as a Saiyan I have the potential to nurture, train it if you will, into being the most powerful energy in all of existence miss um …" Issei trailed off as he realised he didn't know her name yet.
Rias made a slightly embarrassed sound and looked around, "Oh sorry, I forgot to introduce you to everyone. Issei this is Akeno Himejima and Koneko Toujou." she indicated to each girl as she introduced them.
Issei bowed his head toward each in turn and replied to both. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
Koneko nodded slightly and Akeno smiled seductively toward Issei and said in a voice dripping with seductive overtones,
"It is always a pleasure to meet a man as well built and strapping as yourself."
Issei blushed at her comment and Rias shook her head in annoyance.
"That's enough of that Akeno. We don't want you to scare him off." she reprimanded her best friend.
She then turned back to Issei while asking him, "Well Issei, this is unusual but as you have not been bound to me by an evil piece or even a devil for the fact, it seems that I am not your master then and you are not obligated to be a member of my peerage."
She paused to smile sweetly at him, almost in a flirtatious manner that Issei would be lying if he said he didn't find endearing.
"But if you are in agreement then I would like to make you a full time member of both the Occult Research Club and maybe to help with my peerage anyway. Sort of like a contractor. Would you like that?" her voice was soft as she asked him.
Issei thought on it for almost close to a minute of silence. This would be a big change for him to become associated with this devil group, Rias' peerage as it would be. As he thought on it he began to like the idea more, it would be a group of people he could be himself with and not need to hide to his new identity around. A group of people who he could finally open up with fully and not worry about the ramifications of something strange happening. Issei also suspected that it would allow him the opportunity to understand and mature his new abilities further. Issei nodded and smiled politely toward Rias.
"Of course I would quite like that." he said.
Rias smiled to Issei while speaking softly to him, "Well then, I formally welcome you to the peerage of Rias Gremory."
Edited on 23 December 2020