Disclaimer: I do not own High School DxD nor do I own Devil May Cry.


Death?


Mission 1: START


Vergil had already felt something wrong about the place he was in.

A week had passed since his arrival into this facility and he had yet to find information, not because of lack thereof but because he was barred from doing so by the adults who were in charge of looking after the children here, himself included among the children. Some of them looked regretful for doing so but the majority was cold and distant about it.

That had been his first warning that something was amiss.

The children had been given mass-produced swords of light upon arrival and told to hold onto them like cherished heirlooms. The reason why came when they were gathered into a quad area and told to line up in rows like soldiers. Since then, it was training day in and day out. Vergil decided to make use of that time to recondition his body however much he could in a child's body.

He had been paired with a boy fairly younger than he was. Blond hair cut medium length and rather wiry with an androgynous face, the boy had introduced himself as Isaiah and was not lacking in skills with the sword. They were now sparring, having mentioned their skills in swordplay to each other.

"Again."

Vergil prepared his stance once more.

Isaiah collapsed instead.

"Is that it, Isaiah?" The former asked the child who was on his knees. Perhaps to others, this was just plain cruelty. To him, this was his way of showing kindness. Specifically, he had not killed the boy yet. 'Yet' was the keyword.

"I-I'm tired…" Isaiah gasped out. "I didn't keep count, but we've fought for a really long time, Gilver. I think we're the only ones who haven't finished sparring."

The boy's statements were not wrong. The children and early teens had finished their own training, if it could even be called that, and were beginning to pay attention to the last two. That did not excuse Isaiah in the least. Vergil would not allow his sparring partner to have such a pathetic mindset. Not to mention, Isaiah was probably the most talented with the sword when compared with the others. That meant he was the only whetstone of the bunch that was worth using to sharpen his body back to its former self.

"I did not realize you were so lacking." Thus, he continued the cruel façade. "What are you going to do when you take a knee and your enemy sees you like that? Do you think they'll just let you "take a break"? No, they will pounce on you like wolves on fresh meat. They will certainly not let you rest."

"…But we're not enemies?" Isaiah looked confused. Abstract thought was not yet consolidated for the boy. Vergil had to remind himself that he was speaking to a seven-year-old, not an adult.

"Of course not," he replied dispassionately, "but answer this, Isaiah. Do you really think an enemy will let you take a rest?"

Isaiah frowned at him, struggling to wonder why he was being so mean, Vergil had no doubt. Fool.

"Aww, really? You're still gonna be a hardass, Gilver?" Behind him, Letitia called him out. "Come on, give him a break. It's not like we'll be on the frontlines the next day."

Others voiced their agreement and protested Vergil's seeming obstinacy.

"It will be an important lesson." He stood his ground. "Better that the habit is broken now than later when he faces his first real threat towards his life."

"What habit? I just see a dude who's really tired. Come on, Gil, don't be a jerk."

"I am not Gil, Letitia."

"Imma keep calling you that if you don't stop, Gil," Letitia instantly rebutted, having seen his annoyance at the pet name and capitalizing on it. Vergil instantly regretted letting himself be annoyed.

…Feh. If that was what they wanted, then they would have to learn the hard way then. Even if he was proven correct later, it would not fill him with any glee or pleasure. The loss of life did not concern him in the least.

Why did he bother trying to help? Why did he even feel the need to help, in the first place?

"Might controls everything," he recited the creed he lived his life by with utmost conviction. "The weak cannot do anything to the strong, and the strong can decide whatever they want. Without power, you cannot spare yourself from pain. Without strength, you cannot save anyone."

Vergil stared hard into Isaiah for a moment before finally sheathing his sword.

"You all will do well to remember that. Especially you."

If Isaiah were to die, it would be a tremendous waste of talent. Yes, that was it. That was why he bothered to spar with the boy.

Perhaps.

He walked away as some of the children began to gather around the downed boy.

"What a dickhead."

One of the observing children around Isaiah intoned once Gilver was out of earshot. A lot were quick to agree to the thought.

"Are you okay, Isaiah?" A concerned voice turned him away from his musing. Tosca, one of the girls he knew on the streets, knelt by his side to inspect the cuts on his person.

"Hang in there, big bro!" Another voice spoke up, encouraging him up. Tyler, all bright smiles and happy, gave him a toothy grin. "It looked like it hurt, but you can do it!"

"I'm okay, Tosca, Tyler. Just-"

"Honestly, that Gilver. What was he thinking?" Another voice interrupted him. Anastasia, auburn-haired and the eldest of their group, looked over his bruises and cuts with as much, if not more, concern as Tosca. Thankfully, they were mostly minor but that did not stop the big sister from fuming. "Saying all that adult words and walking away like he owns the place. What a jackass! Who taught him to be like that?! Did one of us offend him by any chance?"

"Nah." All eyes turned to Letitia, who was apparently the only person who had some experience in dealing with the resident grump. His eyes had not yet left the direction Gilver had left towards. "Gilver's always been a hardass. Methinks he's a guy who just needs more time to get used to where he is. He probably doesn't appreciate being forced into things he didn't plan for."

"That sounds stupid."

"It is stupid. But that's how I feel about him anyway," Letitia shrugged. Some dismissed the clown of the group, figuring it was just another stunt he was pulling off.

On the other hand, Isaiah felt a sense of conflict as he looked in the direction Gilver left towards. He should have been angry at Gilver for striking him down repeatedly, and he had been angry. Only, Gilver had said something that made that anger quell and fill him with confusion.

'Without strength, you cannot save anyone.'

It felt… unfinished, as if there was more to the statement. If not, then it was still kind of sad. What had Gilver gone through to make him go to such lengths to say that?

It made the blond boy look down as he did his best to make sense of the situation.

Isaiah was an orphan, much like most of his friends whom he had met on the streets and the orphanage, and as an orphan, he had to mature fast. He knew how painful it was to not know warmth, how painful it was to see other children with parents or guardians so happy while he and others like himself were miserable, and how painful it was to have hope taken away as quickly as it was given. Had Gilver resorted to becoming stronger as his answer to resolving the pain?

Isaiah looked at an open palm and gripped it into a fist.

'I need more power.'

The blond blinked at the uncharacteristic thought and shook his head. "…No, that's not right. I need to know why he thinks that is the right way."

'And to do that, I need to get stronger.'


Watching the children from a nearby balcony unseen, an Archbishop began to smile at the fruits of his research. By his sides were his assistants, all of whom he chose to assist him due to their innovation and brightness in regards to experimentation between the occult and science.

Of course, that did not stop some of them from being held back by archaic views, like principles and ethics. What use were those two when all they did was stand in the way of progress?

Regardless, so long as they followed orders, he did not care much about their beliefs.

The Archbishop looked through the files in his hands of the most outstanding of the group that he managed to gather. So many specimens to choose from that showed so much promise, he almost felt like he was dreaming. Among them were titled "Isaiah", "Letitia", "Anastasia", and "Gilver".

So exceptional, the lot of them.

Isaiah had promising swordsmanship, despite having lost the earlier spar. The boy was a natural, holding the sword like it was a part of his body and promptly taking to training like a sponge, absorbing everything that was said about the blade and filtering out everything else. Amongst the four, he was a worthy candidate.

Letitia was remarkably average out of the entire group and was the eldest of all the boys. He seemed to have realized the former and had spent a great deal of his spare time training when no one was looking. Not only that, he had dived into the art of "smack talking", disrupting others' concentration to his own ends and gaining the edge in his fights.

Anastasia had a softness that intermingled with elegance in her skills. She did not hack and slash so much as she danced and riposte, making her all the more deadlier to those unused to the ceremonial forms of swordplay. If she continued to cultivate this talent, she would become a ritual flower of steel on the battlefield.

Gilver was an anomaly. That was the most apt description the Archbishop could give the boy who hid his face with that linen bandage. He was like a veteran amongst neophytes, his movement decisive and undeterred. The hypothesis that made the most sense regarding the boy was that he was a soldier. A child soldier? Perhaps. If anything, the boy no doubt fought in a war once.

Truly, it felt like a dream to so many talents. So many great pawns to bring him closer to his dream.

"Archbishop Galilei." One of his assistants interrupted him in his thoughts. "Gilver is once again petitioning us to go into the library archives in this facility. It is the eighth time he has approached us for this. What do you suggest?"

"Hmm… very curious." Among the finest of the pool, Gilver seemed to be one who had a studious mind. He was strangely lacking in light elements unlike the others, but he made up for it with near-godlike swordsmanship that was seemingly blessed upon him as a child. Perhaps…

Yes. He would entertain Gilver for now. He was but a child. How could a child possibly understand the esoteric texts within the archives?

"If he wants to access the archives, then let him. If it will cease his inquisitiveness or reduce any of his suspicion of what all of this really entails, then by all means, allow him that courtesy." The Archbishop smiled indulgently, striking the image of a proud uncle watching his nephew expand his horizon to a tee. "Besides, the subject matters in the library are highly advanced. He'll eventually become frustrated and leave on his own accord, sooner or later."

"Yes, Archbishop Galilei."

He returned to his musing.

It was truly sad that some of them did not make the cut, though. They would have to be removed… but there would have to be an overall net gain from it. The Pontiff's Council was not being lenient this time around.

And with that, Valper Galilei smiled indulgently at the children from his observation poll.

Things were going according to plan.


They finally relented and allowed him to go to the archives. It was about time they did.

Vergil looked at the abundance of books lined and shelved on the many bookcases, almost awed by the number of parchments and texts lined and organized within them. He would be lying if he said he was not surprised by how much there was. It was not Temen-ni-gru sized, but it was still a sight to behold.

He began his search. From an outsider's perspective, he looked like a sickly child indulging in a passion for reading even if he did not yet understand the words. He was anything but sickly. So many to start searching at. He quickly set out for three books that caught his interest.

Once he did, he searched for an area to sit. Just as he did…

"Oh? There's another one here?"

Vergil looked at the new arrival. An older boy possibly a bit older than Letitia. He had blond hair like Isaiah, but had green eyes like that of a lush forest, serene and relaxed. Too relaxed, in fact. He did not miss the way the boy's eyes trailed about as if finding an excuse to be lazy. Case in point, Vergil himself.

"Oho. Those are some remarkable leatherbacks you got in your hand. You sure you understand what they say?"

Vergil looked at the book covers he had taken – An Analysis into the Mechanics of the Sacred Gear System and His Intentions. The Principles of Pagan Runes and Their History. Astral Observations: The Dimensional Gap. Among others. It was a start, he thought. He did not balk when he opened the first anthology, instead adopting an impressed expression as he skimmed through the words and diagrams on the first page he opened to and then returning to the very first page. This book alone was going to be a good two nights and a half of reading, at least.

"Um." He did not realize that the same boy was still there after two minutes. "You know, you're waaaay past the part where you're supposed to ask an adult what you're reading. You know that, right? Cuz I know I don't understand-"

"I understand this one well enough." Vergil silenced the boy and began his initial summary of the book, "The Sacred Gear System was implemented by the Biblical God as a way for Him to accessibly enact miracles on Earth via proxy of those who worship Him. Much of human history was written, led, and directed by those of special talent and influence, which correlated with them also happening to possess these so-called Sacred Gears. Its history spans far back before even anno Domini, with the first recipient possibly being either King David or his son, King Solomon."

Sacred Gears. What a fascinating concept… if not for the fact that it was essentially a form of borrowed power. It did not seem to ring well with him… but then again, he did try to take his father's power for his own once. Vergil would not discredit them for that, he supposed.

He was aware of the name Solomon, but it seemed to be the name of a Demon rather than an ancient human king in his world. It sounded nothing like the history he knew, further reinforcing his theory of him being in an alternate reality.

"Holy… you got all of that in just two minutes?" The boy was understandably shocked. Vergil snorted silently and returned to the book, ignoring the boy's impressed smile. "I don't think I can even read the book. The letters are just so tiny. Seriously. There are so many pages and the words are tiny. There are these things called "trilogies", you know?"

"I have good eyes."

"Not just good eyes. I can tell you're pretty well off in other areas." The boy's eyes remained relaxed and inviting, but the air about him shifted at that moment.

Vergil paused in his study to look at the boy. He saw it now. There was a tangible aura about him that he had not noticed due to how carefree his attitude was. He smelt of the ocean, ozone, and embers combined altogether to create a new scent that would drive a wild animal insane from sensory overload.

The boy was a monster who had yet to understand that.

"Name's Dulio. Dulio Gesualdo." The boy introduced himself, unaware of Vergil's assessment of him. "Since I've been here longer, I suppose that makes me your senior. Though, I guess that's a moot point since you beat me in the department of reading. Good on you!"

"…Gilver," Vergil introduced himself, and then realized he did not have a surname. He did not actually care about having one, but others may get really annoyed for some reason beyond his understanding. "Gilver Bluehide. And I would really appreciate if you leave me be."

There. That should do. If Dante could get a ridiculous (fake) surname like Redgrave, like the city he lived in, then Bluehide should suffice.

"Bluehide, huh?" Dulio closed an eye in wonder. "Strange name. Anyway, I'll leave you to it then! See you some other time, Gil! We can grab some Mediterranean cuisine while we're at it!"

"Don't-" He was gone before he could rebuke him. "…Perhaps I shouldn't have chosen that name."

Vergil shook his head and returned to the book. Longinus, he caught. A category of Sacred Gears that could allegedly kill Gods. He took note of the plural. Closing that book for now, he moved onto The Principles of Pagan Runes and Their History. From it, he predicted that magic was a natural phenomenon if runic magic was anything to gloss over. He had taken this book mostly because runes were a legitimate form of power to demons, so what were the chances it could give him some insight in this world as well?

And finally, Astral Observations: The Dimensional Gap. The name itself was foreboding enough, but he was certain that he would need to understand this reality he was in first before tackling that.

He did not know how long he had stayed in the archives so far, nor did he know exactly how long he would be staying in here from now.

All he knew was that he did not need sleep, he needed answers.

Answers as to how he could return to his former self. And answers beyond that.

These books might just be a start. If not… well, the archives were there for a reason. It would be a real shame not to look through everything.


Dulio whistled a jolly tune as he entered a certain chamber.

"I am back, and I have never felt so joyous about feeling defeated!" He announced his return.

"Dulio, you're late." A nun reprimanded him. A Northern European beauty, she wore a black nun's habit that went entirely against the piercing blue eyes hidden by her blonde hair beneath her habit. She was his superior and mentor, Griselda Quarta. "

"Sorry, Big Sis."

"Sister Griselda," the nun corrected him.

"Big Siselda," he immediately returned. The future paddling was worth the expression Griselda made at that moment. "I just met this really weird kid in the archives earlier. Had to stop and talk to him for a while."

"Of course you did. You found the parchments I asked you to find?"

"Brother Dulio is interested in someone?" One of Griselda's ward, an ashen blonde with grey-blue eyes, expressed out loud. Dulio remembered her name was Mirana Shatarova, a transferee from the Russian Orthodox Church. A shy yet bold person, if he had any thoughts of her. Handing Griselda the paperwork she had asked him for,

"Yes, laugh it up, Sister Mirana. Back to the kid. He was all bandaged up around the head like he has burns or something- didn't want to ask without sounding insensitive. But he was also reading through these really advanced books that should be placed a lot higher in the shelves. I'm pretty sure kids are not usually interested in Runic studies and astrology."

"Runes? Astrology?"

"To be specific, I wasn't paying much attention to the book covers. But it looked like that."

"And just what was it about the child that warranted the attention of Dulio Gesualdo, wielder of Zenith Tempest?" Griselda perused through the documents while keeping her attention on Dulio.

Dulio sniffed. "Dunno. But he had one of those swords of light that Valper Galilei had requested for his project for the Pontiff's Council."

Griselda hummed in thought, now looking into the blond boy's eyes.

"In any case, continue keeping an eye on Father Galilei. I need to return to Xenovia to make sure she is not slacking in her training."

"Will do."


A/N: Thank you, FREAKY, for your patronage. Your support is highly appreciated.

Just to clear up any misconceptions just in case, yes, this is a prequel of Son of Sparda DxD featuring Vergil.

And speaking of Son of Sparda DxD, that's being updated next.

-DarkAkatsuk1
Patre on. com (slash) DarkAkatsuk1