Dragon of the Eldritch
"Hmmm, so this is your room," Akeno said coyly as she took a seat in his chair. "I'm almost disappointed. No sexy posters or figurines?"
The idea of Akeno being in his room carried many lewd thoughts, multiplied by the fact that she and Aza were apparently friends now.
"So, how did you two meet?" Issei asked curiously as Aza took a seat on the bed.
"Well, after everything was said and done, I eagerly volunteered to be the first "diplomat" to come and formally speak to you, O Great and Mighty King of the Eldritch," Akeno said with a giggle.
"Still working on the Great and Mighty part," Issei said sheepishly.
"I realized what you were up to with Yog and Yidrah, so I decided to meet this Akeno," Aza said with a giggle of her own. "We hit it off instantly and she's told me many interesting things~"
Issei looked at Akeno suspiciously. "Are you trying to corrupt her? Because I promise you, she already is. She's in love with me, after all."
"Yes, but I thought she might want more...native advice on what a man like you might enjoy," Akeno said, cupping her cheek with half-lidded eyes. "And she's told me all about what you've already taught her, albeit...vaguely, in regards to the shapeshifting. I must say, Issei, I didn't peg you as that type."
"First off, no one pegs me period," Issei said blankly. "Secondly...what type?"
Akeno just giggled.
"Don't worry, Beloved, she means it in a good way," Aza assured. "Speaking of such things, Akeno told me she made a certain promise to you."
"Hm? Oh...Oh, right, that," Issei recalled with a slight blush.
"And that you told her you'd have to do it with me first," Aza said meaningfully.
"..." Issei looked between the two. "I have two ideas about where this is going."
"Aza is going to give you a tit-job tonight," Akeno said, crossing her arms under her bosom and reclining slightly. "And after that, well...by your own terms you're free to call in that promise. Any time and, if you feel frisky, anywhere."
Issei swallowed. "Duly noted, and I definitely will do that! But..." he paused to raise an eyebrow. "Is there anything official to talk about, you being the diplomat and all."
"Business before pleasure then," Akeno teased. "Well, we were hoping to know the official backstory we all have for why we were gone."
"Right," Issei murmured, glancing up at nothing. "Yog?"
To their collective surprise, there was a knock at the door, which promptly opened to reveal another time goddess.
"Yad?" Issei greeted in surprise.
"I decided to handle this, less the Bigger Key let them fend for themselves," Yad informed, walking over to an owlish Akeno, handing her a folder. "Please give this to Sitri and Gremory. Officially, the Student Council were suspected but cleared of having a rare virus. As for your mistress and fellow servants? The records show that Rias Gremory went to visit a relative for the weekend and invited the whole club to come along. Your flight home was canceled and this was the soonest you could return."
"Oh. Um, thank you?" Akeno answered.
"You're welcome," Yad answered flatly, looking at Aza and Issei. "Would that be all, Lady Aza, Lord Issei?"
"No, no, that will be all," Aza assured with a dismissive wave.
"Thanks, Yad," Issei said with a smile. "Find some time to take a break, you deserve it."
"Yog takes enough breaks for us both," Yad informed with the barest of smiles. "But I appreciate the sentiment."
With that, she left just as she came.
"...I'm sorry, who was that? I don't believe I met her," Akeno asked curiously.
"Yad-Thaddag," Issei answered casually.
The door opened, Yad popping in her head with a head tilt.
"Sorry, sorry, still getting that down," Issei said apologetically. Yad looked unbothered and left. "She's...let's just call her Yog's little sister."
"Ahh. So she's also a time Eldritch?" Akeno questioned curiously.
"Yes, but she works in the finer details while Yog is more big picture," Issei explained. "And, you know, Yad isn't a troll."
"Well, I'm glad we have that settled all the same," Akeno said before turning unusually serious. "As a more formal matter, Rias Gremory and Sona Sitri are hoping there will be a mutual and open sharing of information about any...problematic elements we know of, in our own faction or otherwise."
"Sounds good," Issei accepted, looking at Aza. "Do we have anything for her yet?"
"Nothing apocalyptic," Aza answered, tapping her foot in thought.
The floor began to grow spikey green scales as she did. Issei paid it little mind, but Akeno leaned away only slightly in surprise, eyeing the change like it might attack her.
It wasn't an impossibility.
"Oh!" Aza exclaimed, snapping her fingers, miniature suns appearing over her head before vanishing. "I suppose we should tell you about the Eldrititans."
"Eldritch...Titans?" Akeno repeated with a furrowed brow. The title was concerning but unfamiliar.
"This is the first I've heard of them too," Issei commented curiously.
"It's Eldri-Titans, but...also, yes, they also go by that," Aza said, sounding more annoyed than anything. "They're a group of younger Eldritch Gods. Or Demigods, if you prefer. They're obsessed with the idea of overthrowing the Outer Gods."
Issei and Akeno shared looks of surprise. "That sounds kind of important, Aza," Issei stated.
"There's an Eldritch Civil War, and no one on Earth even knew about it?" Akeno questioned, her worry growing already.
"They're not that big of a problem to us," Aza answered dismissively. "They're weaker than Elder Gods, but they can take on hordes of the average Eldritch. Honestly, your Mistress could probably annihilate the weaker ones. True, if they work together, they can take on Great Old Ones, but that still takes almost all of them."
Akeno tilted her head. "Aza, I know you're literally Mistress of Reality, but you sound very dismissive of this group that's fighting against you."
Aza grumbled. "To the Eldritch Community, the Eldrititans are a bunch of, what's the term humans use? Issei, what do you call someone that is trying to seem tough and cool? Sharpy? Cutty?"
Issei blinked and tried not to snort. "Wait, you mean these are a bunch of edgy teenagers?"
Akeno bit her cheek to stop from laughing. "I see. I think I understand now. Do they even have a reason for trying to rebel?"
Aza sighed. "For whatever reason, they're trying to go from what you would call Blue-Orange morality to Black-and-White. And by that I mean, they've decided that we need to be overthrown because we're all evil, negligent, or both."
Issei furrowed his brow. "Wait a minute. My mind is already going toward Eldritch Morality. How the hell are they getting a more mortal morality when they're literal cosmic tentacle god-brats?"
"Cosmic Tentacle God-Brats," Akeno repeated in amusement. "You certainly have a way with words, Kungur."
Aza ignored the comment and answered. "They have an easier time mingling safely among non-Eldritch without causing insanity, so they're trying to mimic mortal morality to some degree."
"Still, I'm glad you warned us about them," Akeno stated thoughtfully. "Even if they're not a threat to you, if they start a battle on Earth with another Eldritch..."
"Right now they're recruiting, so they shouldn't try anything too stupid," Aza assured.
"Still, why hasn't anyone dealt with them yet?" Akeno asked curiously. "You make it sound like it would be easy to destroy them."
"She already answered that: Edgy Teens," Issei predicted. "It'd seem like overkill to bring the hammer down on them. Besides, if I haven't heard about them, I have to guess they haven't really done much damage."
"Not really," Aza answered with a shrug. "Endangering entire planets of mortals is against their beliefs. They've killed a couple Elder Gods and maimed a Great Old One. The Great Old One laughed it off, and the Elder Gods were more confused by why they were attacked or just grumpy about needing new bodies."
"So, this is what rebellious teenage phases for Eldritch are like," Akeno murmured, glancing at Issei playfully. "Hope you're prepared for that."
Issei cleared his throat and changed the subject. "So, umm, are there any specific concerns you or the others had?"
"Not yet, no," Akeno assured. "And do you have anything for us?"
"Well, we should probably tell them about two new arrivals that will be at school," Issei suggested.
"Three, Love," Aza corrected.
"Three? Oh, right, yeah." Issei acknowledged. "I picked up some servants, and they'll be showing up at school."
"Oh? Do Eldritch have something like the Peerage system?" Akeno asked curiously.
"Have no idea what that is," Issei admitted freely. "Anyway, while you're here, would you like anything to drink?"
Recognizing the lead-in for what it was, Akeno smiled. "I'll take a cup of tea if you happen to have anything."
She stifled her tensing as two beings emerged from behind her, one holding a tea cup and the other holding a teapot. They gracefully poured it even with their lower bodies slithering in front of her field of view. "We hope it is to your liking, Guest of the Kungur," the twins greeted in sync.
"Hmm, they appear to be lamias, and maids at that," Akeno said, looking the pair over with approval as she took a sip of the tea. "You have excellent taste, Kungur."
Issei chuckled sheepishly as he stood between the twins. "These are Nctosa and Nctolhu, the Twin Daughters of Cthulhu."
Akeno sat a little straighter at that, nearly dropping her tea while looking at the two with renewed surprise. "I see. I suppose I should offer my sympathies for your father being trapped."
"Father is not trapped," Nctosa correctly simply. "He can escape whenever he desires."
"But if he does, humanity dies," Nctolhu added in. "He is waiting for when he can do it without ending the world."
"...Then we're most grateful for his patience," Akeno said carefully, finding the two beauties a bit unnerving. Not in the eldritch sense, but something else.
"Don't mind them, they're still settling in," Issei assured. "And the third, well, she isn't an eldritch. Though she technically belongs to us."
Akeno raised an eyebrow as Issei went to his closet and knocked on the door. It opened and revealed a blonde girl in a nun outfit.
"Yes, Issei? Did you want anything?" Asia greeted with a smile before she spotted Akeno. "Oh, we have company?"
"Asia, you remember Rias Gremory? This is her, well, Head Servant is the easiest term. Her name is Akeno Himejima. Akeno? This is Asia Argento," Issei introduced. "She was, well..."
"It's fine, Issei," Asia assured with a small smile. "I was with the Fallen Angels for a while. After some of them attacked Issei, they gave me to him and Aza as a form of appeasement."
"And she's been a delightful offering ever since," Aza said as a compliment.
Akeno stared for an instant. This girl appeared to be human, but she was quite calm and friendly around the literal ruler of the universe. "Are you a cultist then?" she asked curiously.
"Oh, no. I still consider myself a follower of God," Asia answered softly, though her words were tinged with sadness and not as certain as they used to be.
Curiouser and curiouser, but Akeno opted to not poke and prod there too much. "Still, you have her living in your closet, Issei? How cruel of you~" Akeno teased.
"No, no! Issei and Aza gave me my own room and everything!" Asia assured quickly in Issei's defense.
"Well, more like Aza MADE her a whole room for herself," Issei said, opening the door fulling for Akeno to get a good view.
The half-fallen blinked as she stood up and walked over to the so-called closet.
"Oh my," Akeno said with a devious look on her face as she looked at the colorless replica of Issei's bedroom. "Oh, I see how it is now, Issei."
"What? How what is?" he asked curiously.
"You have another bedroom, in your closet, for your servants," Akeno summarized, cupping her face with half-lidded eyes. "I see the Sultan has already has the first step to making his seraglio."
Asia and Issei looked confused by the word. "What's a seraglio?" Asia repeated carefully.
Aza, meanwhile, made a noise of contemplation. "Hmmm, well we would need to expand in that case."
"Expand for what?" Issei asked, utterly lost now.
"Why, I'm shocked, King Issei," Akeno said playfully. "I thought you of all people would recognize a word for where one keeps their harem."
Asia blushed instantly while Issei went wide-eyed. "Wait, you mean one of those Arabian-" Issei stopped as Akeno nodded repeatedly. "...I can't say I never wanted one."
"And you will need one," Aza said knowing, holding up her hands almost as if forming a picture frame, but with different fingers and a weird shape.
"Aza, no expanding. Yet, at least," Issei stipulated, wary of doing any large-scale reality warping with his parents in the house. Not to mention Akeno or Asia.
"Don't worry, Love, I'm just making some plans," Aza promised.
Issei gave Akeno a look. "I should be annoyed at you for starting this, but I don't see a downside," he admitted freely.
Akeno just smiled. "Well, if nothing else, I should take my leave. Oh, and Koneko sends her regards. To you, specifically, Issei. I dare say our little kitten has taken a liking to you," she said with a smile.
"Kitten? Oh. Right, her," Aza recalled idly. "I'm glad she's recovering at least."
Akeno didn't let her smile slip. Despite their newfound friendship, some part of her was still upset at Aza for nearly mind-breaking her dear friend.
"Same," Issei said with an honest smile. "It was good to have you over, Akeno. I guess I'll see you at school."
"Definitely," Akeno promised as she headed to the door. She got to it before pausing for a long moment. She suddenly turned around and bowed deeply to Issei and Aza. "I feel the urge to thank you both."
"What for this time?" Aza asked, confused and curious. "You already thanked Issei for saving all of you, and everything else..."
Akeno stood up with a solemn look. "Despite all the chaos, there was one good thing that emerged from all of this for Rias. She was in an arranged marriage."
"Rias was getting hitched?" Issei asked in surprise.
"I'm confused. Isn't marriage a good thing?" Aza asked curiously.
"She detested the idea of marrying her betrothed," Akeno explained.
Aza furrowed her brow. "Then why would she marry him...?"
Akeno blinked as Issei looked at Aza in surprise. "You don't know what an arranged marriage is, Aza?"
"Not really? I thought all marriages were arranged? I mean, weddings don't just happen out of nowhere for mortals, right?" Aza asked curiously.
Issei looked from Aza to Akeno to Asia and back to Akeno. "Okay, let me see if we can explain..."
Ten minutes later, Aza was scowling.
"That's dumb. Mortals are dumb. Why are they dumb?" Aza asked flatly, hair weightlessly twirling in annoyance. "What is the point of marrying someone you don't like?"
"Alliances, normally," Akeno supplied. "Still, Rias was able to have the arrangement canceled in light of your arrival, Aza."
"Good," Aza said with a nod, snorting harshly. The temperature in the room rose notably.
The lamia twins, to Issei's slight amusement, were actually enjoying the extra heat until Issei kissed Aza's temple, causing her and the atmosphere to calm down. "Look, you don't have to thank us for this one. We did literally nothing. But I'm glad Rias doesn't have to be married to a guy she doesn't want."
"I expected as much. I just felt the need to say something," Akeno answered with a smile. "See you next time, O King and Queen of the Eldritch."
With that, she left the room. They waited for several minutes until Issei could see her leaving out the house. "Well, that was a very...interesting conversation," Issei said, rubbing his head as he tried to take it all in.
"Issei, I fully support you getting a harem, but you better not accept any arranged marriages," Aza said, still irritated by the pure concept of what she had been introduced to.
Issei wisely decided not to even try to explain to Aza that there were "marriages of convenience" and what they were. "Don't worry. If I get any offers, I'll make sure I get a chance to date them before anything official happens."
Aza just sighed. "I know your soul, so I'll just leave those matters to you," she said as she sat on the couch.
"O Great Queen, what troubles you?" Nctosa asked as they came to her side.
"O Mighty Center, how may we help?" Nctohlu questioned as they leaned closer.
They were still scared of Azathoth, but seeing the Daemon Sultana in such a sad mood was surprising and concerning. If they were human, they would call it humanizing. As they were Eldritch, they simply found Aza more relatable and understandable.
"It's fine, I just..." Aza tried to wave away with a smile before dropping it as she looked at the ground. "I've loved you for so long, Issei. I know no one can force me to marry anyone, but the idea of being with someone else, anyone else..."
Issei silently took a seat next to Aza, placing a hand around her shoulder and pulling her to lean on his. "This one bothers you, eh?" he asked in sympathy.
Aza nodded into his shoulder. "Can I get rid of it?"
Issei paused and blinked, processing both the implication and how unbothered he was by that. "I'd like to say yes, but you really shouldn't. You'd change...well, everything," Issei explained.
Aza leaned into him more. "I want to cuddle. Lots."
"We will, I promise," he said, kissing her on the cheek. "But first-"
Aza blinked as Issei's stomach rumbled. "Oh, right. You still need to eat."
Another gurgling was heard, making them look at Asia, who blushed harshly.
"Looks like I'm not the only one," Issei noted with a smile, looking at the twins. "You mind bringing us all something?"
"Of course, Master," they obeyed in tone.
"Bring yourselves something too!" Issei called before they vanished.
"Hmmm, your seraglio will need a dining table," Aza mused absently. "Asia, you don't need to just stand there. Issei has at least one free arm."
"Oh! I-I couldn't intrude o-on your time together," Asia said softly, glancing away and back to them nervously.
Issei was not at all opposed to having the cute blond join him, however..."You don't have to do anything you don't want to, Asia."
Asia stood there for a while before shyly taking a seat next to him. Not as close as Aza, but still very close.
Issei smiled reassuringly at her and Asia smiled back in thanks.
Aza just giggled and enjoyed her time in Issei's embrace.
End of Chapter
So, yeah, Akeno made some...impressive headways as a diplomat, becoming fast friends with the Queen of the Eldritch. Not a lot happens here, its mainly just formalizing the friendship of Akeno with the Eldritch couple. And yes, that freindship clearly has benefits.
And I explained the Eldrittitans in context. Are they annoyance? Yes. To most Eldritch, they're punks. And Eldritchbeing eternal beings, dying is just an annoyance. Everyone is mainly waitng for if/when they run out of stem or when they bite off more than they can chew.
Until next time!
Early viewing of chapters 22-23 avaliable on my pat-reon:
p a treon . com (slash) akumakami64