Remember what I said in the AN last chapter? That the next chapter was gonna be the first part of the Rating Game?

Well I lied.

My bad.

Needed a kind of a prologue thing, a chapter between two arcs, like a connector. Because in the middle of writing the actual chap 18, several things were not right and was kinda awkward if I just jump into the RG

So here it is. Hope you like character interactions and a chapter thicc with fuckin plot (which i had to do because the past me is an expert at stalling the plot)


Death's Chosen


[XVII-Extra]

||Revelations||


For the very first, Ophis found an unknown; an idea she couldn't understand. Or in this case, a place. And she stepped into it.

A place where at first glance seemed to have nothing because of how terribly dark it was. Darker than the deepest night, where there were only so few glints of distant stars which even its own light couldn't reach farther than their surface. As if they were being caged by the domineering blackness surrounding it. There was nothing around her other than a miniscule amount of floating chunks of rocks the size of a planet. The darkness itself was unnatural, as if instead of a state of a total absence of light, it was as if it was its own object.

Ophis did not know she was, for a fact, in a junkyard. Reserved for all of the failed creations of one certain bubbly Primordial, as well as a 'prison' for the Unbidden; those who were not meant to be discovered by any mortals.

The Ouroboros Dragon included.

This place was a glitch, was her first hypothesis. There was no air to breathe. Not at all different from space and its near-perfect vacuum, but this one held a rather peculiar… eeriness, to it, because it was completely empty. No gas, no atoms, no dust particles. Just nothing. A protective bubble she cast prior to her was the only thing separating her and the absolute nothingness around her.

She scanned, and sensed not a single soul nearby.

"Peace." The Dragon God muttered in content, nodding to herself. The corners of her lips curled upwards as she rested her eyes. She found taking a human form was the most comfortable as it didn't take too much space and therefore she wouldn't bump into too many things, but as there were nothing around here and most importantly no giant red lizard to be found flying aimlessly above her head and interrupt her peace of mind, the Ouroboros Dragon shifted back into her true form.

Nothing happened.

She realized she wasn't able to.

The Void was beyond the reach of an abstract thing such as faith or belief.

Or magical powers.

A lesson learned, but learned too late.

Her protective bubble glimmered, struggling to retain its shape, threatening to pop. Once, twice, it kept glimmering unsteadily as its magical properties were being drained away at a dramatic rate. Ophis strived with all her might to keep it afloat, having to use all of her focus just to retain a simple magical barrier, grasping the cause of her sudden loss of her power as well as the harsh headache crashing her mind.

And with that realization, another was brought into her; the stars were moving.

She was not alone, and she could not move.

As though a living being, she felt the slimy darkness coiling her legs, snaking up to her body and neck, constricting her in place, completely bypassing her spherical last bastion of defense.

Those stars were not huge spheres of glowing hot gas.

Those were eyes, and they grew bigger and bigger, the closer they were. It was as if the skies split itself, revealing a circular maw of sharp teeth the size of Great Red, oozing black substance she could only determine as a poison enough to dissolve a god or a dragon. Or both. The indecipherable creature had no eyes, but it saw her, and knew she was there.

For the very first time in her life, she felt an ounce of fear that was becoming heavier the nearer that misshapen creature drew. Species who walked behind the stars. Its physical form presented to her was not an illusion. She saw it yet she couldn't understand what she was seeing. Its voices travelled not the empty space, but it entered her mind nonetheless, sparking an ember of madness and insanity that she felt it would be appropriate to tear her ears and stab out her own eyes just so she wouldn't have to hear or see its ungodly appearance.

But Ophis stared, and she now knew there were far worse things than evil. Evil would always try to steal the universe, but at least it considered the universe worth stealing. They put values in certain things. But the grey world behind those empty white eyes would trample and destroy without even according to its victims the dignity of hatred. They wouldn't even notice them.

Yet it noticed her.

Shackled by the unfamiliar mental chains called fear and dread, Ophis froze, not yet able to determine what exactly she was feeling or why her heart was beating so rapidly.

But then, a terrible roar. A mighty sound that shook the floating barren planets, piercing through the emptiness. The roar was so powerful and fearsome that the horror in front of her had halted its advance.

And she witnessed the black being contorted violently, screaming a horrible screech, as a black dragon she tackled its side. The impact sent it sprawling over the emptiness as the others looming around scattered almost instantly, in fear of this dragon. As if knowing this was not part of their prey, and instead, their natural predator.

Ophis stared, now in awe, slightly in abject terror. The bipedal dragon Earths away from her was the size of a planet that she believed it could perch itself atop of one if it chose to.

It returned her stare with its enormous purple eyes, approaching her as it shrunk in size.

And still it was bigger than Great Red.

Several growths of crystal ran down its powerful neck that was shielded in deep purple scales. If it was in a place brighter, the purple would've been seen as black. Gaseous lights of violet color whirled around its body and its muscular arms, and coiled around its two wings that seemed to be made of obsidian instead of the usual draconic leathery skin all dragons had.

The creature opened its jaw and spoke to her, its voice booming through the darkness.

"You aren't meant to be here." A statement of truth. Any creatures created or formed outside the boundary of the Void were not meant to be in the Void.

Wide eyed, Ophis stared at the largest dragon she had ever seen. She thought there was nothing left to discover, yet in the span of a few moments, she had been frozen twice. The surprise successfully wiped away the certainty of death that was tainting her mind, and the surprise turned into curiosity for the unknown.

Her steely black eyes carefully studied its appearance, mostly transfixed at the vibrant light emanating between its scales.

She sieved it into words in the most eloquent phrase possible, "You… are big."

Some dragons could shapeshift, but they could never turn into anything bigger than their true size.

This otherworldly dragon's true size seemed to be able to bite down a star.

And Balthazar probably would have tried to, if there were any real stars here.

"Listen carefully..." The colossal dragon snarled, and he unceremoniously swiped a giant hand, clawing her out of the abyss and into his palm, bursting her protective barrier as if it was made of a literal bubble. Ophis could feel a strange kind of power whirling around her, forming a spherical barrier made of… violet-colored mist? And it bashed away the dark, like it was trying to keep her outside their reach.

He was helping her. But why? They had never met before. Surely she would remember if she did.

Her head tilted to one side in an honest display of childlike confusion. "Why are you helping me?"

"Because you're a kid that got lost."

Ophis thought for a moment. She was certain she had the appearance of an adult woman, not a young child.

Unless he was referring to her numerical age… which didn't make much sense either, not that Ophis was certain of the moment she blinked into existence, but she was positive she had been around much longer than many dragons.

Interesting.

"Who are you?" She continued to ask. The dragon could have killed her, but he didn't for a reason, and she intended to exploit this fact.

"A resident of a universe not yours. Who I am specifically is none of your concern." Balthazar grumbled. What was it with these dragons? Last time a tiny red lizard bumped into him, and now another one but in the form of a human being - for whatever reason. Black hair, black eyes, and not much shorter than Death's Chosen with a blank face and stare. "This existence of this place is also none of your concern... I'm taking you back to where you belong. Do. Not. Return. You can't be lost twice in the same place. Understand? Else I will have you for lunch."

"But I wish to know more of you, and of this world."

Violet smog poured out from his nostrils as Balthazar huffed and laughed.

"This isn't a world. And tough luck, youngling… you're not one to make demand."

"You hold knowledge I do not know exists. I wish to meet you again."

"And you've learned more than you should. Remember my words... The threats I make are never empty."

The misty bubble shrank in size and swallowed her entirely despite her protests. She tried to punch it away futilely, but it didn't work. It sent her back to her plane of existence where faith meant something.

"Feh… Damn adventurers… Born in a universe full of wonders yet a dull place with floating rocks and tentacular beings interests them more..." He muttered, then realizing he was not within Issei's soul at the moment and had been talking to himself.

Balthazar huffed, craning his neck to scan around.

His violet eyes travelled the endless blackness, wary that the dragon's unintended arrival might have stirred some of the Eldritch Gods awake. A great battle and a better feast to behold indeed should they wake, but the Outworld Devourer now had more fun things to do than to be stuck here and chase them around, ruminating on them for several days or weeks. He had tasted the fine culinary within earth, and there were still more.

Admittedly, he might have been more than a bit spoiled to stay here and chew the tar-like substances these Outsiders had as their flesh.

Cthulhu's meat was surprisingly tasty, however, though very chewy. Like eating a seasoned tire of a car, probably. He recalled that some of its flesh got stuck between his teeth, forcing him to carve an asteroid to make a toothpick.

Very rarely, the Wayfarer of the Void had reasons to return to this abyssal plane, where it should remain untouched by the creatures of the known universe. And for a perfectly good cause as well. For example, to prevent the waking of an existence too large to comprehend even by the gods of any known Realms, whereupon it would slowly bring an age of eternal darkness should it descend into the observable universe as stars were consumed.

And far more rarely, he would need to return because of curious trespassers like Ophis. He was created in order to prevent ungodly horrors from leaking into the universe of the living, not kicking out outsiders from here as well. Twice now. Which wasn't much, but annoying nonetheless.

With that dealt with, he blinked from the Void, returning to his host. A bit anxiou he might have missed some of the fun stuff. Which, as a matter of fact, he did, even if only for a glimpse. As once he returned and nestled himself within the soul of Hyoudou Issei, Death was there, waiting for his return, and relayed a message important to him to be passed onto His Chosen regarding Life's Avatar.


Break


In the rolling hills within a territory owned by House Gremory, Rias and her remaining healthy peers studied and strategized one last time for their tomorrow's game against Riser. They re-reviewed clips and highlights from his last matches, paid extra attention to his general battleplan and if some tactics didn't change or applied in more than two matches, so she could exploit it to the fullest.

It was around 2 o'clock the moment they were done reviewing, and Rias had told everyone to enjoy themselves, or f0r Yumi's case, practise without exhausting herself. To make up for Koneko's absence, she told her. As long as her Knight didn't overexert, Rias didn't see the problem. The rest of the day was her Servants' to decide and enjoy.

And hers as well… On perhaps what could be the last day she could live enjoying her freedom… limited as it was.

Though she'd never want to admit it, she was deathly terrified of losing. Losing the match would lose her many things she cherished. She had Issei, whose growth had been… almost terrifyingly rapid. Not that she was going to complain, especially since she had learned the truth behind his otherworldly strength and magic. If it was even magic to begin with. That said, was she really going to have to rely on him completely? Relying on him to fix all her problems for her after everything he had done?

No… She had promised him the role of a Trump Card. She shouldn't think she was going to lose and become obsessed with it; she had been careful since then. Aside from Issei, the Champion of Death, she had the Huntress Atalanta, while her powers had been drastically reduced, was still a great addition to her team especially since she never had a reliable ranged attacker.

She had Akeno, the Thunder Priestess. If her opponent wasn't dithered by the Queen's sadistic nature and ruthless punishment, then her thunder will. Twilight Healing was also a strong Sacred Gear that, if used well, could excel against the Phenex' Phoenix Tears which were limited in their usage. Her Knight had Blade Blacksmith and was trained under Okita Souji, and Raynare was a natural counter for devils, whose weakness to Demonic Power no longer existed as it was nullified by her reincarnation into a devil.

Koneko and Kuroka's unavailability was a pity, but not something she should concern herself with.

Yes. She must put faith in her Servants and herself, and rely on him only when things had gone too far south to be recovered. To rely on him didn't mean she was weak, she was simply not strong enough to handle it on her own… And she could get stronger. This was not her peak… She must become stronger, for herself and her Servants.

Especially after knowing Issei had his own story to write.

He was Death's Chosen first… He was not her bodyguard… Though he was her Master who she knew would protect her.

What a funny, conflicting relationship she had.

All she hoped for was that she wouldn't have to separate from him regardless of the outcome.

With a brave smile, Rias held her head high and shut the journal she was reading with a soft thud, and exited her study room in order to spend precious time with that boyfriend of hers. Now then… If she was Hyoudou Issei... where would he be?

Apparently around the destroyed part of the forest, where evergreens were smashed or twisted; result of last night's clash between a Chosen and a Nekoshou. A good chunk of the forest was gone, its terrain mangled with holes. A messy graveyard for destroyed trees and unfortunate forest life that was caught under Atalanta's barrage of magical arrows.

Another needless casualties for her foolish act. Lives forever lost and nothing she could replace.

"I don't know how I can ever repay you for freeing me from my curse." Atalanta spoke, getting up to her feet after she failed to forgive herself.

"YEA DON'T WORRY 'BOUT IT." A shout came from behind her, leaning his body backward as Yumi's horizontal slash of a very real sword missed his throat. "NO BIGGIE."

{Back.}

Gritting her teeth, Yumi stepped to his side and rapidly to his back using her boosted speed to attack him from his blindside, and thrust her sword to the back of his head. It hit, just not the target intended.

The buckler made from Rias' Power of Destruction met the tip of her blade as Issei had put his hand behind him almost like an instinct. Surprised by his defense and the speed of his turn, Yumi forgot to keep in mind that this was a genuine spar and only remembered once Issei's bare knuckles was a milimeter away from her jaw.

"OH SHI—" Fully expecting for her to dodge his fist, it was too late for him to stop as the blow sent her consciousness into another dimension. Her body ragdolled through the uneven ground, not crashing into anything because Issei caught her a second after.

{Well. That's a shocker…}

He started to panic. Enemies were okay for him to knockout. Friends? Not so much. "Uh… H-hey Asia! Asia-chan!"

"Yes!" When he called, the former nun was already on her way, completely ditching her previous activity which was watching the two spar. Once she arrived, she immediately sat on her knees and conjured a tiny magic circle, and poured water over Yumi's face.

The Knight jolted awake. "—!"

{Told you this was a bad idea.} Said Balthazar, grumbling as he was slightly sleepy.

'Yeah but she was so insisting though… Mistake learned, I guess.'

Both Issei and Asia breathed a sigh of relief. "...Alright… I think that's it for today, Yumi-chan. Nearly gave myself a heart attack there…"

Yumi didn't take long to process the reason behind her sudden blackout as her jaw was suddenly very sore. "Y-yeah… O-ow… Sorry Asia-chan, can you fix a spot here? And maybe around my back and left leg..."

The nun nodded and proceeded to heal the devil without question. Warm glow of her Twilight Healing encompassed her palms and Yumi's cheek, gently removing its darkening color.

"But… Dang. You're a monster, Hyoudou." Yumi laughed sheepishly, still in his hands as Issei responded with a startled laughter.

"..." Issei was totally not transfixed by her black sports bra and her chiseled stomach or the glistening sweat running down her thighs and toned arms or anything. He was just worried she would lose her balance once he let go.

{...Yeah right. Keep telling yourself that lie, lad, and maybe you'll soon believe it.}

A blush began to invade her cheeks. "E-erm… Y-you can put me down now…"

"W-wait! I'm not done yet!"

"Yeah… listen to Asia-chan..." Issei mumbled, keeping track of one sweat that was gliding down Yumi's throat, seeping itself into the fabric of her black bra.

"B-but I'm fine… a-and also sweaty…"

Issei was searching for another sweat to keep track of. "Pf— like that'll stop me."

"E-eergh…" Yumi meekly averted her eyes away, consciously hugging herself as she started to think the warmth she felt on her face was fully from her blood and not from Asia's Twilight Healing.

"So the rumors are true…" From their side, Atalanta walked towards them. "My memories were rather blurry but the gods were not mistaken in believing you are a perverted human."

Issei blinked. Who called him a pervert? He must say yes to them.

His eyes found Atalanta's half-lidded green eyes; several shades darker than Asia's.

"Well. Yeah." He admitted blandly. "I mean… I literally froze when I was on top of you last night."

"..." A blush also invaded Atalanta's cheek. "...Y-you shouldn't have worded it that way…"

"What? What's wrong? Was I too heavy? Or are you admitting that you're also a per—" He paused as she had conjured her new bow and pointed an arrow between his eyes, "—fectly healthy girl with perfectly healthy and untainted mind like the one I have?"

Atalanta withdrew her bow and her arrow, sighing. "Sorry. I overreacted… instinct is hard to stop."

Yep. He failed to stop his just several seconds ago. Not the sweat-tracking part, the part where he knocked out his friend that was starting to squirm in his hold.

"I should warn you that the gods, at least the Olympians in Mount Olympus, have made use of your attraction to women by choosing mainly female Servants."

"Seriously?" Issei widened his eyes and opened his mouth. "That's awesome."

"Uh… no? All of them are historical figures themselves. Artoria Pendragon, Joan of Arc or Jeanne d'Arc, Nero Claudius… just to name a few."

"Woah… It's kinda bad that none of those names ring a bell in my head huh."

"..." Was this really Death's Chosen?

"Artoria?" Yumi Kiba repeated, momentarily distracted by the fact Issei was still holding her by her neck and around her back. "You mean King Arthur? Jeanne d'Arc I know for sure is a woman… but King Arthur and Nero Claudius? I thought they were… Well, men."

"Really? How so? I saw them with my own eyes."

"...Well… maybe the historians got it wrong?" Issei shrugged. Fine by him. He'd rather grapple a woman than a burly muscular man any day, any time.

"So they would seem…" Atalanta blinked, starting to grow doubtful too. "In any case, I am at your disposal. Though I wish I can provide more than just my bow."

Asia recalled her Twilight Healing once she was doubly sure Yumi was healed. "Oh! Why don't you try the Master-Servant Contract like you did with Ms. Raynare?"

"...Wait, you knew?" Yumi snapped her head. "Who told you?"

"Huh? Ms. Raynare told me…" Asia shrunk when all of the attention was suddenly on her. She was perfectly fine just being here. "W-well… she told me the gist of it. Wh-why? Was I not supposed to know?"

"Of course it's Raynare…" The Knight smirked, not surprised. "Corruptive little devil… Couldn't bear keeping the only innocent one in our party."

"B-but I want to learn more to be a proper devil…"

"Well I mean I can always show yo—" Yumi muffled Issei's mouth with her palm, sending a look at him, to which he nodded. "...Nevermind what I said. You can still be a devil without being… uh… knowledgeable about lewdness I guess?"

"L-lewd?

"..." Issei blinked owlishly. "What did she say to you, Asia-chan?"

"U-uh… she said the stronger the bonds are, the more power the Servant or Master can transfer to each other…? Sh-she didn't tell me how they do it, sorry…"

"Ah. It's okay. I know." Issei smiled smugly.

"I know." Yumi muttered. "I heard."

Not a fan of waiting, Atalanta moved the conversation along. "Excellent then. I assume it's a different kind of contract with the devil's Peerage system since you are able to do it with Raynare."

"Errr… you sure?" Issei asked. "I don't know if there's a way out from it yet, just so you know. Sort of a one-way ticket at the moment. There's also some drawbacks for you if you… well, disobey my 'order'. Not that I'll ever force you to do anything you don't want to or anything sexual."

"...Skeptical as I am, I'll hold on to your words. You will need all the help you can get, Issei. Let me repay what you and your God have done."

{Well. She isn't wrong.} Balthazar said, figuring out his advice was needed. {All she has to do to not trigger the curse is to plant her lips on your hand. You don't necessarily need to be a sexual partner or romantic partner to develop your bonds either.}

Sounded good to him. "Alright then… Just so you're aware of it, there's gonna be a curse involved in it. It's uh… kind of a bad one, but you can keep it from happening as long as you kiss my hand at the end of the ceremony."

"That's all?"

"...Yeah… I think… We should ask Rias. She knows more 'about this stuff than me."

"Great idea." Yumi said. "Now can you let me down?"


Break


That was not all of the events that transpired within the span of two days.

The next day, while His Chosen enjoyed his well-earned break from everything, Death had planned a series of visits to several gods He had deemed necessary and almost untouchable by the Purging; should it happen. These gods had one thing in common among them, which was being the caretaker for their appropriate Realm of Souls.

A Realm that was not connected to one another directly, but nonetheless held the same purpose. To store the souls whose bodies had perished, gods' or humans', to be kept safe according to their faith, or be tortured in their own personal Hell as the Caretaker saw fit.

A thankless and draining job indeed, as it wasn't rare for them to outlast their lovers, brothers and sisters, sometimes even their children, or their children's children. It required objectivity too, as under normal circumstances should they set a soul free. Be it the soul of a corrupted sinner because of their personal gravitation towards evil, or a good kindred soul for another chance in their life that perhaps had ended too soon.

Luckily such a thing was a rarity as these 'Caretaker of Souls', 'The Watchers', or 'Lesser Deaths', in a way, knew the significant importance behind their role and how vital their part in keeping the worlds operate as they were meant to be; without the dead interrupting the living and pissing them off.

The Realm of Souls; regardless of its name, be it the Realm of the Dead, Afterlife, Underworld, Nilfheim, was a temporary resting area where souls, gods' of the same Pantheon or humans' who believed in them, would take a temporary yet a very long rest. Before in the end returning to His eternal embrace, not after their names had been uttered for the last time, but after the ripples they caused in their world faded away.

And once there was not a single Creation left to remember them, Death would. Always.

Good or evil. Big or small. Virtuous or sinful. In the end, they were His harvest whose time had ended. And what could the harvest hope for? If not care from their last Caretaker?

Back to the Lesser Deaths, some, due to their duties, were unable to participate in this Game of His, as not all of them had the luxuries of Hades who had plenty of helpers.

That was unfair to them, He was aware after noticing their absence in this Game was not due to disinterest, and He intended to fix this during His visitations. So. In order to do so, several preparations had to be made.

The most important one was to ensure the safety of His sister and Her friends if He wasn't around to be their walking scarecrow.

While She was practically untouchable as He would instantly erase the existence of those who didn't know better, the same couldn't be said for Her merry band of misfits. They were gods, still, and gods were not meant to intrude other gods' territory. A problem made easy to fix as Lenora was still raring to go to Japan in hope of cheering her travelling companions.

Balthazar should then explain what Issei had to do once his little game with the devils was over. He would stay with Her until He felt His sister should be safer from harm. Physically and mentally.

The last one was sadly not completely avoidable.

Harsh lessons still needed to be learned for Her to be wiser.

Some she would only be able to learn if He wasn't around, but it would be foolish to think He would allow so much of a blink within His watch. She would always be within His sight, no matter where she was.

And with that in mind, He returned to Her.


"Brother! Where have you been!" A puffy-cheeked Lenora stared down the dark entity that had appeared out of thin air like the professional stalker He was.

"Savouring my brief time away from your noise."

"We were waiting for you!" Lenora chided, gesturing to the two Olympians and one very confused Chosen, sitting on a sofa next to her Master, who was just equally as confused.

They had woken up when Death wasn't present. And neither Lenora nor Hephaestus had mentioned a word about Him. Purely to not remind them of their unfortunate exit from the Olympus, in hope they wouldn't start blaming Him for creating the Game.

The two Gods knew they wouldn't blame Death, but better safe than piss off Death and be dreadfully sorry.

"Come on. I wanna go to the Land of the Rising Sun already. We're gonna get sushi and other Japanese stuff!"

"W-w-w-wait…" The pintsized goddess with a not-so-pintsized chest sputtered, animatedly flailing her arms, leaping off her seat to stand straight. Her Chosen followed suit, just doing what she thought would be appropriate; just follow her Goddess. "I-I-I uh… I think I should first thank the Non-Metaphorical-Death here…"

Death tilted slightly, slanting the very tip of His angular hood. "What for? It's your sister who rescued you."

"...O-oh… right…"

"But you were still the one who allowed me to come back here." Hephaestus pointed out.

"Ultimately it was my sister's decision, not mine."

"Sheesh, just take their thanks." Lenore kicked the metallic shin-protector of her brother, regretting it the next instance. "...Ow."

"If I simply accepted it, then you wouldn't have done that."

"Wow! RUDE."

"...What the heck, they're so jealous and I'm so cute. Wait… that's not right… I am cute though…" Hestia subconsciously let her thoughts leak, shaking her head immediately. "A-a-anyway, I uh… this here is mine Chosen…"

"E-erm… My name is Mash Kyrielight, er… Sir Death…"

Hephaestus chuckled at the nervous wreck of her distant sister and her Chosen. "You don't need to be so stiff. Just be respectful. At the least… I think..."

"Or don't. See what happens." Death suggested offhandedly, never really bothered with formality. Especially one that had to be forced.

"Y-yeah… I don't think we should…" Hestia gulped, wishing her Chosen could call forth her giant shield so they could hide behind it.

"Quit threatening my new friends!" Complained Lenora. "That's alright Hestia. Hesty? Hesty. He won't bite you or anything; He doesn't even have a mouth! Here, look."

Lenora beckoned Death to bend down slightly. Death went along with it as He lowered Himself enough to allow His sister to put her hand through the black pool of His face without harm.

"See? There's nothing in here—" Her eyes went wide with utter horror as she realized she was staring at the stump of her wrist. "...EEEEEEEEEKKK— MY ARM! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY ARM! GIVE IT BACK! NOW!"

And the missing portion popped back into sight as though it was always there, as if it just sort of turned invisible. Which was exactly what happened.

"...Stupid brother… Okay as long as you didn't do what I just did, you'll be fine, okay?" Lenora said, ending her sentence with a sniffle, upset.

"..."

"..."

"...O-okay…"

No one really had the heart to point out how hard it was to believe the word of someone who had tears welling in her eyes.

Death then turned his head to the Chosen and the Goddess of the Hearth. "Wanna give it a try?"

"W-w-we're good, thanks…" Hestia quietly muttered, hiding her hands behind her back while shaking her head in little panic.

"...Let's go to Japan already…" A sullen Lenora mumbled sullenly, sniffling several more times as her hands reached out to His armored arm, placing the palm on top of her head. A quiet demand for the pats.

Hestia leaned it to whisper to her scarlet-haired sister. "...Are they always like this…?"

"Hard to believe for me too, at least at the start."

"And I thought I've seen things…" The younger exiled Olympian muttered. "...Never thought I'd want Death to be my brother but here I am. D'you think if I marry Miss Lenora..."

"If she is willing, go ahead and try." Death said, fully aware that was impossible. They were Her children in Her eyes and Her affection could never breach the platonic wall. Nevertheless, their reactions were amusing and a general fuel to all of His replies. They were like kids getting caught planning to stay up late.

"Let's go to Japan..." Lenora sniffled a little bit quietly, feeling a bit better after the headpats. "I wanna see vending machines and try all the gacha games they have."

Death would prefer His sister to not fall down in that kind of pit, and His chilling eyeless gaze told the other goddesses of the duties they must uphold; Lenora must not get addicted to gambling. Both Olympians nodded hastily.

"Before we go," He said, "I would be away for a while once I take all of you there."

"You always leave anyway." Lenora pointed out.

"This 'while' is longer than usual. It's the kind that will make you miss my anthropomorphic personification dearly."

"What? Why?" The news saddened both Lenora and Hephaestus. Worry also seeped into the latter's heart, as Death had been the sole reason no gods had dared to touch her during their world travel.

"To meet with several gods. Face to face. Alone." He said without leaving a chance to be reasoned with. "And while I'm away, do try to stay out of trouble."

Lenora tilted her head, confused. "...What? What do you mean?"

"Wandering around other gods' territories and such. While either of us can trespass their lands as we so wish with impunity,"-lest they wanted to test His patience and taste their own ash if they thought they could enforce control over the Siblings-"these godly escorts of yours are not above the arrangement agreed among them."

"Wait… Really?"

Hephaestus nodded. "Yes I… We generally aren't allowed to cross other God's territory without prior notice. We aren't allowed to try to convert their people or use our powers in a way that would influence any creatures within their faith to switch. And even then they must agree to it first…"

Lenora widened her olive eyes. "But we've been to plenty of countries and you just told me this now?!" She snapped to Death. "Oh my god! ᵂᵃᶦᵗ ʷʰᵒ ᶦˢ ᵐʸ ᵍᵒᵈˀ But oh goodness! How many apology letters will I have to write?!"

"None." Death said. "They were from minor Pantheons and I've spoken to them. They understood. Other than trespassing without notice, Hephaestus has never once used her power."

"Oh goo- wait a minute... it's not like they can just say 'no' to your face. Not like there's one to begin with..."

"Sure they could. They just didn't want to."

"Well duh! They're scared of you!

"Their fear is illogical. I was never beyond reasonable argument. I would be willing to compensate them for their… noninterference during your visit."

"...True." Life looked defeated, but then she looked down again in melancholy. "..So… are you… will you be away for long or…"

"I need to reclaim several abandoned souls on the side between or during my visitations, but I'll come by from time to time if you can't be an adult." Despite His wording, He could always spare His endless time for His sister. That was without a shred of doubt. He just didn't want His presence and the insurance it provided would hamper the growth of His sister because she relied on Him to fix her problems.

Not knowing that part, Lenora pouted. "Fine. Go away for months. See if I care." A threat she immediately regretted two seconds later. "...Please don't be away for months."

"Never." Death promised. "27 days is still well under a month, mind you."

"Well not for that long either!"

"...Abandoned souls?" Mash repeated quietly, not liking the sound of it. "Erm… wh… What do You mean by abandoned souls? I-if I may ask..."

"Souls that are left behind and can't escape their body, for one reason or the other. Chosen souls, to be precise. Not all of them died in peace. Some abandoned by their gods, or the gods of the Chosen who bested them in combat didn't feel the need for their service, thus refusing them as well as sentencing them to death. And while their god can still extend their blessings of life, they rarely find a reason they like."

"...Because a defeated Chosen is no longer eligible to face Yours… is that their reason?"

"More often than not." Death firmly said to the Blacksmith Goddess.

"But… why are they stuck to their body?" Mash asked again, now brave enough to at least not stutter.

"Because they're faithless. They can no longer force themselves to believe in their former faith, or any other faiths for that matter. Faith, while it can strengthen someone, it can also destroy once they see the gods as cruel."

Lenora was quiet. Death kept on stroking her hair. He didn't need to see or ask to know she was sad.

"...I see…" Mash spoke softly, realizing how lucky she was to be picked by Hestia.

"Not many are as fortunate as you." Death looked at the pink-haired girl, then to her goddess. "And not enough gods can treat them as their companion instead of an arbitrary means to their ends. A tool to be cast away once its broken."

Hestia held her left arm, self-conscious. "Is there… Are there an awful lot of them? Or… like… They're a dime a dozen, kind of thing..."

A hopeful question, Death had noticed. "Gods are not equal, and so are their Chosens. The strongest pick the strongest; understandably so. However, it isn't strange that the gods who are perceived to be the weakest among them could create the strongest bonds with their human Chosens. They see the struggles and understand. A pity their strong bond can be severed by a sword, but that is the case when you put too much value in strength."

"O…oh…" Lenora whispered sadly. "...Well that took a sad turn."

"She asked. I answered." Death said. "But there's no need to concern yourselves with the grimmer side of reality or pity them. What's done is done, and they will be kept safe and rested."

"Can't you just… bring them to me?" Lenora bargained. "Give them a second chance?"

"I can but I won't. The life they had under their god is their second chance, sister." Reasoned Death. "These souls have been corrupted by bitterness and exhausted. A corrupted soul forced to live would only turn them vengeful, and if they wish to enact revenge against a god, some gods will justify it as a reason to perceive humans as a threat to their existence. A petty reaction, sure, but certain gods are pettier than most. Letting them to rest is the most merciful act you can give."

Lenora sighed. She never thought it would be so complicated. "...Okay…"

"Unless, of course, you wish to brainwash them and ruin their whole identity."

She giggled at the messed up proposition. "You keep them. And you better take care of them nicely." She pepped herself up. If her brother says so, her brother says so. "Let's go then. We're ready to leave. We can say goodbye once we're there."

"One last thing."

"Wha— come on! I even said the lines with style!"

"I fail to see how saying your line prematurely should be a part of my problem." Death stated, continuing as Lenora squirmed in embarrassment. "While I'm away, I suggest you stay in Japan. The Shinto is the first major Pantheon you'll be visiting apart from the Olympians - though not many are left—"

"Gee. Wonder how that happened..."

Death ignored Life's sarcasm. "—they are still well respected." He said, but Death knew the presence of a deity from a different Pantheon who thought they were being slick. "So you can enjoy your time there while your friends won't have to worry much about being harassed or hunted down by their own family."

Hestia hissed and winced as she recalled she was hunted. "Oooh… yea… Zeus probably wants me dead by now…"

"I'll do my best to keep you safe."

The Tiny Goddess squeed and glomped her Chosen. "You're so cool Mash. Why don't I marry you instead."

"Wh-what? Th-that's not why I want to protect you…"

"...My own Chosen rejected me."

Hephaestus tapped Hestia's shoulder. "Maybe next time little sister."

Life understood what Death tried to impart; that the safety of her friends were her responsibility. "We'll be nice. Hey, we can even visit your boy while we're at it!"

"I thought that's also why you wanted to go there." Hephaestus said.

"Oh riiiight… must've forgotten then. Now can we go? Or you have more dialogues you want to say?"

"Not here." Death muttered, and their scenery shifted from the living room of a four star hotel into an open field before a giant Japanese Shinto shrine. The ceramic floorings had changed into cobblestones, a trademark of the holy sites, which, despite its size, had no humans around tending it.

It took the girls a while to register they were not on Earth, but in a Realm resting above the clouds, surrounded by clouds and crystal clear blue skies on top of their head. A sun was shining brightly in the vast blue canvas, but its warmth was gentle and amenable, and the air was cool and breezy instead of being meltingly hot.

"...This isn't Japan." Lenora grumpily pointed out the obvious fact, feeling betrayed. "Even if it is directly above Japan, I bet this is way up their capability to defend this airspace which should mean this isn't part of their territory. Where have you taken us, brother? Did you get us lost?"

"I never get lost. You do. Sometimes."

"Eh well… this place's pretty. Let's take some pictures firs— wait…" Lenora froze as she tried to reach for her slung camera, but only reached air in front of her chest. "Our stuff! Brother you forgot to pack our stuff!"

"This isn't your destination. I'll have them delivered later once you move elsewhere."

"But the camera!" Lenora growled while her companions giggled in the back, waiting to see her outburst. But the siblings' squabble was interrupted as a being had noticed their arrival, flying towards them on top of her own comfy floating clouds.

"Oya-oya, what have we here? Mmmn~! Visitors? During this day and age?"

Lenora's eyes widened as excitement reeled in. "MY WORD. Look at her tail! It's so bushy!"

"Nufufu~ behold my lustrous tail… Oh ye who is fortunate enough to marvel upon the-" The young woman in the blue shrine maiden (very modified) outfit paused and halted her advance once Death allowed Himself be seen, interrupting her splendorous introduction as He had someplace else to be.

"Mm-mi…Mikon!" She nearly fell off her cloud ride, her long and fuzzy vixen ears and tail straightened sharply due to the shock. "Amatenyasu— Amaterasu-Ōmikami-sama! The spooky Primordial you mentioned is here with His companions!"

"Do you have to say that out loud you impertinent fox?" A thunderous, yet ladylike voice boomed from the surrounding area as the Goddess of the Sun descended from… well, the 'sun'. Her hair ornaments and golden orbs circling her white regal robe radiated brightly, causing the Olympians and the Chosen to shield their eyes. Except for Hestia, who put on her sunglasses that Lenora bought in Greek to 'cheer her up'.

Lenora was busy being distracted by her Chosen's swishing tail to pay any extra attention to the descending goddess. She didn't get why it suddenly got very bright though. Death ignored the Japan Sun Goddess, unamused by her attempt to make herself look more daunting to the Olympians via her entrance. He was instead keeping His sight to the Chosen she had picked; a goddess who once morphed into a human, now fully a human female - minus her tail and ears and divine powers.

But her reason was the most surprising so far; to seek redemption for the sins she had committed as a human.

This, He realized, was not normal.

Was He blind? How did He miss such an anomaly among the gods? Was it because she had lived among the humans that she could shed her godhood?

Not knowing why she was being gazed upon by the literal Death, not representation of it, the Chosen started to feel nervous and fidgeted as her tail flicked in an erratic manner.

"..." Amaterasu kept her fair smile in spite of this obvious slight by the Primordials who were marvelling her Servant instead of her. His sister she could tolerate. She heard Lenora was more human than god at the moment and as harmless as a newborn fawn. Her Avatar even looked rather… plain, for a being who had existed since them. But Death? He was blatantly disrespectful.

This was her territory, her home. —Which, while true, unfortunately for her, was Death's standard behavior, for everything the gods owned was there because of Her sister's blessings that allowed them to create.

But this slight wouldn't matter… as long as she got what she wanted.

But Death already knew she had her own hidden agenda without bothering to read her, hence His disinterest. Big or small. His respect must be earned.

"The Primordial Siblings have blessed me with their presence… To what do I owe the honor of your timely arrival?"

Lenora turned around, and her eyes widened upon seeing the goddess and her smooth, silky long black hair. "Wow... your hair is very pretty. What shampoo did you use? Are you a god?" Then she wrinkled her nose and turned to her companions before Amaterasu could speak. "Do gods use shampoo? Or does their hair stay flawless all the time with magic? Is there a general store for gods to buy their bathroom stuff?"

Knowing Lenora would take forever to focus on one thing at the moment, all thanks to her excitement of being in a new place, Death took the matters into His own hands. As per usual.

"We won't stay long." He said, moving the conversation. "Not here, specifically. For a time, they will stay in Japan."

Amaterasu noted His usage of the word 'will'. It was as though what He said was a decided future and not a request. As if He saw no possibility of her refusal and knew she couldn't refuse.

And to further annoy her more, He was right.

But she calmed herself with the general optimism that there was something she could gain from this exchange. Something she knew all gods and specifically her brother so desperately desired.

"Of course! Everything within Japan that the sun touches is mine, and what is mine is yours to enjoy… O' Avatar of Life. I am deeply honored to know you find entertainment within my lands and alongside my people."

"Why thanks!" Lenora smiled brightly. Brighter than the goddess' own sun in a way it was impossible to match. "See? Brother? They can be polite even if you don't force them to. Not all of them are bad."

"Mhmm." Death had lost interest in Amaterasu again for thinking showing fake courtesy to His sister could win her a favor. "And does that courtesy extend to her companions, I wonder."

"Unfortunately not." Amaterasu feigned a frown, while Lenora's was genuine. "Your companions hailed from the Olympus Mountain... Greek Pantheon, correct?" The two Olympians nodded - Hestia had taken off her sunglasses and tucked it in her shirt to be polite. "Regrettably, I have received news that one of you has already wandered into my lands without my knowledge. While it has been the most polite of you to request, what would the other Deities say if I allow two others to enter my land?"

Hephestus exchanged a confused glance with Hestia before asking, "Do you know who it is?"

"...Not yet." The goddess took a moment before answering, reluctant to admit her lapse. "But soon they will be found, and then they will be tried and judged fairly. Although… if they have a particular reason to avoid me and hide themselves away from me… then one must wonder if their purpose of being here is of good intentions…"

It wasn't. Death knew. It was another of His reasons to give Hades a visit. Out of all Olympians, the skeletal god was the last one that would help his 'family' without a clear reason. And while Death could just skip the formalities and find it out for Himself by simply allowing Himself, He figured it was a missed opportunity for a civil conversation with Hades. There was no enjoyment to be had when He knew everything all at once.

"But they're not here to do bad things." Lenora reasoned. "They're with me! We just want to sightsee and have some honest fun, really. Can't you please let them in?"

"W-well while it is an honor to be requested by Lady Lenora, I would lose respect from the gods as I have mentioned earlier. Respect is what keeps the Gods from sneaking into my land or others, and it seems to me the Olympians do not intend to show the appropriate respect."

"This is taking more than needed." Death said with hardly concealed ire.

"Brother wai—" Lenora and her companions vanished without a trace, instantly teleported into a hotel somewhere in the lands of Japan, where their stay had been miraculously booked until the next week.

The 'sun' in the skies cracked like a mirror and shattered, and the Realm of the Sun Goddess was drowned in darkness for the very first time.

As He shifted His hood towards the now startled goddess who could barely keep her composure, Death spoke to her, "You care not for the other gods' impertinence… And you thought you could use my sister's purity and use honeyed words to win her over. This would not have happened if you had treated her with courtesy for the sake of being courteous, not for a hidden want."

Amaterasu gripped her white priestess robe tightly, trembling as she avoided the eyeless gaze. Her Chosen didn't even have the gall to step in between them as she was also frozen in fear.

"You will not lay a hand on any of them and they will stay there until I state otherwise." Death spoke with a tone of finality. "Consider you are lucky for it is your country they chose to visit. Your intention from the start is to strike a deal with me in exchange for the Olmypians' passage. So, speak."

Amaterasu took a moment to steady herself. Death was generous enough to not embarrass her in front of those Olympians… although she wished her Chosen would be taken away as well.

"W-well… As You have guessed—"

"I don't guess."

"A-as you have known…" Amaterasu gulped, blaming the shadows for her inability to speak. "I merely thought it would be a fair exchange…"

"I'm not asking you to explain yourself, I'm asking you to state your demands."

"O-oh?" The goddess raised her head as confusion flashed across her pretty face, before nervousness took over again as she realized she couldn't bring herself to meet His eyes— wherever they would be. "Well then… My request is simple… As I am aware, it is not yet time for the Servants to face yours yet, correct?"

"Yes." Atalanta was a rare exception.

"Then I request the eligibility of mine." Amaterasu had no real interest in the Game, but since she knew her siblings took part in it, she joined anyway. And if she could beat her siblings before it even started, then the look on their face would be a story to tell for centuries.

But now that Death had mortified her within her own Realm, then perhaps defeating what He owned would be an added bonus.

"I'll allow it. What else."

She blinked. This she didn't expect. "Pardon me? I-I mean, really? That easily? Without any ill will, my Servant isn't one to be underestimated, O'Death."

"Neither is mine." Death simply said. "Name your last demand."

"B-before I do, may I know the reason why I get to ask two?"

"Two Olympians."

"Ah… I see." One for one wish… as simple as that. Death was… surprisingly sensible. "Well then… I'd imagine your knowledge knows no bounds and transcends the past, present, and future… As such, I would like to know which Olympian is traversing my land uninvited."

"That's a conflict between you and them, not me. Make another one."

"..." Amaterasu cursed inwardly. "Well then… Since You are confident in Your Servant—"

"Chosen."

"-Chosen, yes… In the event that mine loses, I wish for her to get another chance."

"Your Chosen gets one chance as any other Chosens. Your request should only be personal between you and me, not for your Chosen."

She raised her gaze. "Yet You allowed her to fight him?"

"Because you wish to humiliate your brothers. A personal reason. Last chance."

Amaterasu shirked away. "...W-wait a minute..."

"Granted. I will wait a minute."

"Wh-what?! That's not what I wanted to be my request—"

"Yet it is a request nonetheless." Death said with a tiny bit of snigger. That was all fully on her, and they both knew it was. "Be mindful of your words, godling."

And with that, Death returned the 'sun' to its place, shining as it was before, untouched and unbroken, as once again its light shone upon the Realm.

Amaterasu gritted her teeth, but her earlier arrogance had been completely destroyed by the Primordial and she wished for Him to leave her, but now instead she had to accommodate Him for a minute…

Worse still, his interest had refound its way to the Chosen standing behind her, hiding behind a handheld mirror that was the size of her torso. A curiosity that angered Amaterasu.

"Oh? Am I mistaken to think my Servant's attendance is distracting or perhaps, vexing in some way?"

"Yes, you would be severely mistaken." Death replied. Amaterasu's lips were tight and grim, but she veiled her jealousy from appearing further. And a jealous god was the most entertaining god to poke around. "Being a human is a requirement to be your champion."

"Ah, You refer to her animalistic ears and tailpiece, yes? But I assure you, she is part-Kitsune and part-human despite those qualities." Amaterasu said, and for a reason, her Chosen cast a downward gaze as the aforementioned ears wilted slightly, as if she was ashamed. A smile reached Amaterasu's lips despite that. "...You would allow her, yes?"

"An exploit all gods have taken advantage of. I'll allow it as long as they are human, even if only a part of themselves." Too late to be rectified and not as impactful anyway.

Amaterasu sighed. One bullet dodged. Though she didn't know it was never a bullet. "Well… she could have turned herself fully human… in fact I offered her to, but she refused. Claiming her fox-like characteristics a reminder for her past sins. And I agree with her. One's past misdeeds must not so easily be forgiven, no?"

Death kept His gaze on the wilting vixen. "So it would seem."

"Her name is Tamamo No Mae." If she couldn't get back at Him yet, then might as well spend her pent up frustration by talking to Him about her Servant. "It was a dreadful massacre… ten thousand people, was it? Or three? Tell me, O' Death, how does a former goddess repent herself after committing such a crime against humanity?"

It wasn't asked as a plea for advice for herself or her Chosen. It was asked as a light jibe for His own massacre.

One Death felt no looming guilt, unlike the Chosen, who was now looking at Him for actual guidance.

"Own it. Don't let it keep you down. And avoid doing it again." He said to the Chosen specifically. "It's been one minute. Until next time."

And Death was gone without a single puff of smoke or spectacular beam of light, as if He was a very real imagination they had.

Tamamo was left staring at the spot where He stood, wondering if those words were meant for her and not just some general advice. If it wasn't, then why was He looking right at her?

"Aaaaargh—" Frustrated still by her wasted chances, Amaterasu kicked the cloud underneath her feet, then paused to reflect. "...What a terrifying figure… though I didn't expect Him to agree so willingly."

Able to relax a little at last, Tamamo waltzed over to her goddess. "You were right, Okami-sama. He is scary. Scarily powerful too, and way bigger than I thought. Didn't He just explode your sun?"

Her tease was ignored as Amaterasu was deep in thought. "...But why…? It's impossible for him to match you at this moment... He had only two weeks while you were a former goddess… He's never killed anyone either… He's just a boy. A boy with boyish eyes for women." She eyed her Servant, who struck a cheerful cutesy pose with her self-trademarked 'fox sign' hand gesture, swishing the giant bushy tail she had. "But why is He so confident?"

"My, my, are you sure you want me to face him this soon, Okami-sama? I've yet to perfect my own skills either just so you're aware."

"Shut it, fox. You're still stronger than him. We wait much longer, then he'll grow too strong for you to handle." Amaterasu seethed. "I suggest you get back on training and not squander your only chance at redemption. You will fight against His Servant and win. No matter what. And I know the perfect stage where all will witness my greatness through the power I've blessed you with…"

"Oya… you're looking pretty scary too, Okami-sama… And is it me or are you trying to copy Death-Okami(?)-sama's speech pattern with your usage of the word 'will'?"

Amaterasu's deceptively gentle red eyes flared a flash of anger. "I didn't resurrect you so you can nitpick what I do or what I say."

Having pushed enough buttons in one day, Tamamo wisely shifted her cloud's gear into reverse and flew several paces back. "Worry not! This Tamamo will ensure our victory is in the bag!"


Break


The night of the same day, Death did not return.

But her purchased belongings did, even neatly stored in their appropriate storage. Clothes in dressers, food and beverages in the hotel refrigerator, snacks as they could possibly want stacked neatly in the cupboards… so in Death's absence, Life moved on.

Lenora continued her quest of enjoying everything the city life had to offer, to sightsee and hopefully brighten the days of her new companions. They certainly needed it, given what had happened to them… She hoped that He didn't leave a bad impression on the nice lady in the skies, but considering she hadn't visited or received a strongly worded letter from the Sun Goddess, she assumed it went well…

Hopefully.

But she didn't want to worry about what her brother did… not when she was picking clothes for her newest friends!

"Oh, oh! Mash, Mash, why don't you try this on?"

"U-umm… I think that's too expensive for me…"

"Ahhh don't worry about it! It's my brother's money which is also mine by sibling right, so here! It's a gift, okay? No need to feel you owe me or anything." Lenora said, pushing the pink-haired Chosen into one of the changing stalls, just as another popped open.

Out came Hestia, wearing the white dress she had picked which looked almost exactly like her older one except with less cleavage.

"Ah! Ms. Lenora! How do I look?" She struck a pose.

"With your eyes!" Lenora replied proudly as if she was original. "And you look the same! Did you forget to wear new clothes? This is a joke, yes?"

"...H-huh?" Hestia froze with disappointment. "B-b-but… well nevermind… I knew I should've picked red! Excuse me, Ms. Lenora!"

"Hm? Okay, bye again?" Lenora blinked as Hestia rushed inside the stall, dressed up in her goddess dress, and surged away in search of new clothing in the department store. This time she swore to listen to the saleslady.

"...Well someone's had too much sugar… She drank too much soda in one day…" Behind her, sitting on the waiting sofa, Hephaestus sighed drearily. Next to her were bags of clothes Lenora had picked out earlier for her.

Lenora leapt to her seat. "It's fine as long as she's having fun."

"...I suppose, yes." Hephaestus allowed a smile. "I was worried what happened yesterday would dampen her spirit. But I guess I should've expected it. She has been very strong."

"Really? She doesn't have that much muscle, I don't think."

"I-I mean metaphorically…"

"Hehe~" Lenora giggled, smiling smugly. "I know. I was just messing with you."

"A-ah... of course."

Lenora leaned back to the white drywall behind them. "Your sister seems alright. What about you, Hephy?" The goddess widened her eyes. "Oh is this isn't the right time to ask? Should I wait until we're back at the hotel?"

"N-no it's fine… I was… just surprised. You don't need to worry about me, Lady Lenora… Maybe I may appear sad but… frankly, I am glad to be freed from that place, and not having to worry about my sister now that she's here with me."

"Hmm. That's good then." Lenora beamed. "You're pretty close with her aintcha?"

"Not as close as you are with your brother."

"I-it's not a competition of who is closest with who!"

"Yes… I know." Hephaestus smiled. "I was just messing with you."

"Why you little rascal—"

As she fooled around, Lenora still found it hard to imagine such a schism among close family members. If Her brother would one day hate her, for whatever reason it was, be it her own carelessness or she got too obnoxious for Him, then Life knew Death would be missed greatly. Like a gaping wound deep in her heart that was already trying to keep its pieces from cracking further.

She couldn't save Her Creations... Salvation must be earned; that was the point, this She knew. However, that didn't mean she couldn't try to befriend them. Crafty as this method was as it would be abusing a loophole which was Her brother's favorable affection to Her, She knew well that Death would never murder Her friends. He couldn't be that cruel.

Then again, He wasn't cruel or callous to begin with. He was the most patient between the two, and He was not completely without mercy. But He was fair… to a fault, perhaps. Unprejudiced, despite His unfavorable view towards the gods. No matter how vile or vicious they were, they were granted the same chance, the same terms. The outcome, however, was theirs to shape.

Because after all, He had given them more than enough time to make Him change His mind. More than Life could ask for. This was what needed to be done.

But that couldn't bring Her down.

It depressed Her, sure, but there were still many of her Creations out there. Those that could be spared. The good Gods like Hephaestus and Hestia; Gods that could see the struggle of those underneath them and were able to be moved by a human's sheer determination despite their limitations. Not all Gods were corrupt with power or desire, and even those who were, still had a chance as long as their gamble against Death was not over and as long as they didn't cross the fine line He had set for them.

There was hope for them still, and Life without hope would feel empty, and likely dye her hair in dark colors and listen to sad songs and very positively would worry Death to death.


To be continued...


Geddit? Revelations? Cuz stuffs been revealed? :D :D

Massive plot dump of a chapter, yes. I know. My bad. Hope it was an enjoyable read tho

Anyway. That'll answer your question about where the heck our boy Raz had gone to the last chapter

Next chap is totally 100% gonna be the first part of the RG. If I lie again then feel free to send a strongly worded letter to my address. Where? You can ask your mother since she just visited last night

You've read, and now you will review, or I will throw a fit and turn into Punished Danzy