Disclaimer: I don't own Highschool DxD.

I Would Never Be In Your Masquerade

"This was… a lot easier than I thought it would be," Joshua mumbled to himself as the last Khaos Brigade member in the base went down. It wasn't even to an attack, but to the pressure of the wards finally getting the better of her.

"You won't get away with this," she muttered where she was, on all fours on the ground. "Our superiors will know something happened. They'll find it was you and they'll deal with you… And you won't like it."

"Hm, you sure about that? Because I have plans to make sure nobody can prove it was me that was here, not even the people that will know it was me," Joshua commented with a lazy smile on his face as he kicked another guy that laid face first on the ground. That one had a small pool of magic, it seemed, because the wards had already drained him completely and had made him pass out.

"Khaos won't be stopped," the woman hissed and he raised an eyebrow at her. "You will regret-"

And then she was silenced as a sword embedded itself right next to her face. The woman then said something, but no words reached Joshua. He turned towards Jeanne who gave him a shrug that said 'what can you do?' quite clearly.

"Guess she was getting annoying," he acknowledged with a shake of his head before taking a deep breath in. His magic was recovering fairly quickly, since he hadn't needed to cast anything after setting up the ward array outside. Still, natural magic regeneration wasn't all that and he didn't have much to boost it in the shape of Perks or Skills, so it wasn't a huge change in the handful of minutes that had taken them to deal with everyone in the building.

'It really was faster than I thought it'd be,' he mused, looking around at the Khaos Brigade members on the ground and the walls. As it turned out, battles didn't drag on for hours, even if they were somewhat big ones. Nagini, Cheshire, Jeanne and him had made their way through the halls and rooms, dealing with everyone that they came across or that rushed at them. There weren't long pauses or anything to draw out how long the entire thing – Battle? Skirmish? Confrontation? Whatever. – was supposed to be.

And yet, despite how logical it was for the whole thing to be over quickly it still felt… Lacking, to Joshua. Anticlimactic, one could say. His first foray into attacking a terrorist organization had been entirely too easy, really. He'd expected someone with at least a mid tier Sacred Gear, but if there was one, then it was a particularly weak one or something. There had been some mages that showed promise, sure, but the only one that had gotten even close – A woman that had tried to cast a decently powerful fire spell at Jeanne. – had been interrupted by a Poison Shot courtesy of Morag and swiftly taken care of by Joshua.

[Joshua Davis

Rank - C+]

[Jeanne Davis

Rank - C+]

[Cheshire

Rank - C+]

[Nagini

Rank - C]

[Morag

Rank - C-]

'I mean… Maybe C rank is higher than I initially though?' he mused. Granted, most of the people inside the place had been ex-exorcists and a handful of magicians, but still. He was human too, and so were they, right? How was there that much difference? The system? Jeanne didn't have that, so… Well, she was a Hero Descendant. Was that it? Were they just above the level of normal humans, even those involved in the supernatural?

Admittedly, he had even less of a measure for how strong his familiars were. It wasn't like he'd come across a number of magical beasts or anything. He had books that spoke of creatures such as those, but that was still hardly enough to know for sure at what level they actually stood. Maybe if Sirzechs got him the information about creatures collected by his fellow devils, but that would probably have the same issue as regular books.

As for Jeanne and himself, well, they'd only really sparred against Sairarog's group and Yasaka's guards. It wasn't that good a measure either, because the former held back and the latters varied in their level of competence. No way to know if he was training against regular guards, mediocre ones or even outstanding ones.

What Joshua did know was that even if they were stronger than he initially thought, maybe even much stronger, they were still weak. No matter what they did, he knew there'd always be someone stronger. Ophis, Great Red, gods and goddesses, Longinus and so on the list went. Georg had been dealt with mostly by luck, but Joshua couldn't rely on that forever.

'Cut off the head and the body will follow,' he mused as those thoughts passed through his head. 'But what if I do the opposite?' He wondered, eyes trailing off towards the fallen Khaos Brigade members. That last one was already panting, laying flat against the floor. 'I'm not strong enough to take out the leaders, but I can hunt down all their lower soldiers. Leave the higher ups to people more capable than me.'

It sounded like a good enough plan for him. It'd take time, but he had that, for the time being. If he could spread his web of ward traps wider and wider, cover more and more ground… Who was to say he wouldn't manage to cover everything, take out everyone but those out of his league? Wishful thinking, maybe, but he thought there was some chance of that actually happening. That was enough for him to want to try.

"What now?" Jeanne said, fiddling with the two swords she'd used for the raid. The main ones, at least, the Flying Sword and the Shield Sword. She'd made a handful of other ones when a specific effect could be quite handy, like she'd done with that Silencing Sword.

"Now, we regroup with the girls and then I start taking these people back home," Joshua explained, taking a deep breath in, as if gathering the will to take the next step. "After that, I'll cover our tracks over here and then we can get on with the interrogation."

"So, what can I do to help?" Jeanne asked.

Instead of replying, Joshua looked at her. She seemed to be doing fine, thankfully. He'd been so sure that someone would die during the whole thing, but it'd been so easy that they could safely go around avoiding any lethal damage. For the time being, which was the important part. So far as he could keep that part away from Jeanne, it was all a success. Well, besides some close calls, but that was about it.

"Well, can you go look for Cheshire, Nagini and Morag?" Joshua told her eventually, getting a nod and a knowing glance from the teenager. As she left the room, he turned towards the Khaos Brigade members and sighed. It'd take a while to move them all to his place, which was even more troublesome. There were a lot of terrorists to take care of, too many for Joshua to take back to the Hunter's House for interrogation, he soon realized.

'Then again…' he thought, turning towards the last person to fall, who was surprisingly still conscious. With how strong his wards had gotten by draining basically everyone, he was honestly surprised that they could still manage. Many of them had just collapsed as their magic reserves were emptied.

[Emilia Gerhardt

Title - Captain of Khaos Brigade

Rank - C]

'Appraisal is… weird,' Joshua noted to himself with a tilt of his head. After all, he'd used it on the woman before and it'd shown him her stats, race and gender on top of what he could see then and there. However, now that he'd wanted to see only her title, it'd shown only that, and her name and rank, that is. Maybe that one skill could be affected by intent? He knew he'd turned off the weakness reveal thing, since it basically told him stuff that he already knew whenever the effect triggered, which was more annoying than useful, in most cases. Even when it told him something that he could use, it was more distracting than he'd have liked. 'Maybe I need to train with that.'

Something to think about, but some other time.

At that moment, Joshua looked at the woman as she finally passed out. He'd have to check over everyone with the skill, since he'd only done so with the troublesome individuals, and he hadn't precisely been paying attention to their titles as much as their stats. Unless the title said something about their battle styles. He also hadn't paid much attention to the Khaos members' faces either…

It'd take a while, but he'd have to find everyone that had a title saying they might have important information. If the woman was the only one, then he'd pick the stronger people and see if that method worked. He didn't remember anyone high up in the organization that had been weak, so maybe it was a valid way to weed out the grunts from the officials.

Probably.

Maybe.

Possibly.

'Better get started,' Joshua thought, sighing to himself.

It took around twice the time it'd taken them to raid the place for him to appraise everyone, but he finally had some people with interesting titles. There was the Captain, of course, then there were some people with the title of Special Agent. The one that had made it all worth it was the guy with the Treasurer title though, because if he'd gone by power only, Joshua would surely have missed that one. After all, he'd been on the weaker side of the whole place.

With the small army reduced to a handful of people, Joshua took a moment to consider if there was anything else to take care of besides what he already knew. That was when Cheshire approached him, mewling and rubbing her head against him in her tiger form, which made the whole thing the slightest bit surreal. Fortunately, he was getting used to that sensation.

"Found something interesting, girl?" he asked, receiving a firm nod from her. Replying in kind, Joshua hummed. "Well, Jeanne, do you mind taking these lot with you, Nagini and Morag? I'll be along as soon as I can, but you know how it is," he said with a shrug.

"I know, I'll be waiting, ok? Don't make me have to deal with them myself," Jeanne said, although it was more of a threat than an actual request. Joshua almost sighed at that. It wasn't really that Jeanne wanted to actually do the interrogation, but she wanted to feel included. One would think that she wouldn't feel like that, considering that he'd literally brought her to a raid on an enemy base but a teenager's mind worked in strange, mysterious ways.

If he had to take a guess, what she truly wanted was for him to stop trying to keep her away from the whole thing. She was being included, but he didn't want her to be, and that was what grated on her nerves. Jeanne didn't like that he didn't want her to be involved.

'All things considered, I guess I can give up on keeping her away from all this,' he mused as the girl took his familiars and the Khaos Brigade members and disappeared with the teleportation circle he'd given her. 'Now, onto the next step.'

"Is whatever you found urgent?" Joshua asked Cheshire, to which she replied negatively with both, the feeling of the bond and a shake of her head. He hadn't thought so, considering that she hadn't been pushing him or anything, but he thought it better to ask. "Well, I'll set something up and then we can go."

With that said, he made his way outside the building, where he'd set up the ward arrays. There, he knelt down and set up a few more wards. The clean up wards, as it were. A Draining ward that would gather all the magic residue that had been left by their presence, and more importantly their casting, and even start draining the other wards except for the Concealing ward. At least not for the moment, Joshua needed that ward to be the last one to go down and so he'd set up the whole thing.

All that energy would go to Joshua himself until his reserves were full. Once that was done, he'd pick up all the wardstones filled with magic and go away. Nobody would be able to prove that Jeanne or him were there.

After all, another ward that he put up was one he'd been working on recently. The cleaning ward, which he'd taken and modified to erase any physical proof of them being there. It hadn't been the initial purpose of the thing, but once he thought about it… Well, it did sound like it could be useful in the circumstances he was likely to be in, as it was at that moment.

"That's all, what did you want to show me, Cheshire?" Joshua asked, immediately starting to follow his tiger familiar as she walked back in and led him through halls and rooms. Eventually, he found himself opening a desk's drawer and pulling out a sheet with a storage seal on it.

'Ah… I'll have to analyze this to see if I can cast it to check the contents,' he thought, but it shouldn't be too difficult. Especially because, considering the study the thing had been in and the several files all over the place, he was fairly sure the thing belonged to the Treasurer. If he was right, he could… persuade the man into helping him with it.

"Anything else, girl?" Joshua asked then, following her once more to what seemed to be some sort of armory. He rather doubted any of the weapons would be all that, but he could check that later with more time. As it was, he was pushing it a little. It was unlikely that anyone would find him with his Concealing ward up and whatever defenses Khaos itself had set up, but he didn't want to tempt fate too much.

As such, he pulled a few cards and stored all the weapons inside them, careful not to actually touch them. Last thing he needed to deal with was a cursed object of some kind, even if he was sure Cheshire would have picked up on it and warned him. Once that was out of the way, his feline familiar seemed to have shown him everything she found.

"Now, to deal with the rest of these idiots," he mumbled as he walked, one of his hands laying on top of Cheshire's head. It was a good thing that he'd considered this already, even if he'd hoped that it would be a lower number of people. 'Where do these crazy bastards even get this many people from?' He had to ask himself. "Yasaka, call," He said, and his bracelet/necklace activated.

"Joshua?" the woman greeted/replied. "Everything went well, I hope?"

"Yeah, but you were right, there's a lot of crazy people in this world, it seems," he grumbled, receiving an amused giggle from the other side of the communication spell.

"Told you so," she said and he could imagine her shaking her head. "My people will take care of them, just use the teleportation circle we gave you."

"We took a few for ourselves, I hope you don't mind," Joshua told her.

"Considering everything, it's best that we take the people but do nothing with them. If we don't know, nobody can get angry at us for anything. They can't prove we did anything," the woman explained, sounding perfectly calm. "Plausible deniability, if you will."

"... I have a feeling you aren't planning on throwing them in a prison," Joshua said then, reading between the lines a little. If she couldn't use the people's information and couldn't be found to have them…

"Plausible deniability, Joshua," she told him and he sighed.

"Well, thanks for the help anyway," he replied, and that was that.

He'd already known the world wasn't nice and shiny, like the series might try to make you believe with its 90% silliness and stupidity. He'd experienced that too, which helped quite a bit. 'Besides,' he thought, turning slightly to look at one of the Khaos members. 'They brought this on themselves. Shouldn't have joined an organization that wants to screw everyone over.'

And that was that, he told himself.

It was shitty, and it felt awful, because he knew what he was doing. No amount of lying to himself would change that. He was no idiot. He can hope though. He can hope that Yasaka is lying to him. Or, more accurately, that she's giving him the wrong impression on purpose. That she's actually going to hold onto them and get the information out of them too.

He very much doubts it though.

Joshua sighed. At least Jeanne had even less of an idea than he did. Thank God for small mercies.

A few minutes later he'd already gathered everyone and teleported them with Yasaka's circle.

"So, last things last," Joshua mumbled to himself as they walked out once more. The draining ward had already recharged him and drawn all magical residues of magic, even the last bits that he'd generated with his use of the Storage Spells.

That bit of magic had been tricky. Most people couldn't even pick up on the specks of energy that were left behind when one cast a spell. However, Joshua had found in several places mentions of that and he just knew that the thing would be what screwed him over if he needed to do something… less than acceptable, as it were. To put it very, very mildly, that is. Illegal, others would call it, he supposed.

If dealing with a terrorist organization was illegal then he'd be a criminal, as far as he was concerned.

"And that's that," Joshua said, picking up the wardstones filled with energy and standing up. He'd have to drain them later in some other wards. Magic inside wardstones that weren't actually connected to a spell of any kind were… volatile, to say the least. He had some room to wiggle regarding that though, and he'd use it as best he could. He'd make a trip close by to set up some more traps to see if he could catch more Khaos members out and about.

As good a use for those stones and energy as any, he supposed.

Eventually, only one wardstone remained there, the Draining ward that was still erasing his magical signature from the place. Not even the Concealing ward was up anymore, which meant that he had to be quick. Good thing that only one thing was left for him to do.

"For the last touch…" He whispered, taking a deep breath in.

[Magical Signal Spell - Lvl 3/50

A Communication Spell which the user can cast to send a magical flare for others to sense.

Consumption with circle – G to ∞

Consumption without circle – E to ∞]

He looked at the skill screen for a moment, before letting the air out of his lungs and actually casting the spell. He poured as much magic into as he could when the circle appeared in front of him. Nothing happened outwardly, but he knew if anyone was paying attention in any way to the area, they'd pick up on the spike of magic. It was like a flare, but magical and way better at getting attention, if one had the right means.

'One, two, three…' He started counting in his head. He'd done extensive testing on this particular part, since it was the most time sensitive of them all. Joshua needed, after all, to wait just enough time for the Draining ward to erase that last spells' mark with his name on it and then he'd have to leave as fast as possible. He almost expected people to teleport in immediately, but clearly that didn't happen.

It made some sense. Even if travel time wasn't a thing, any guard or such people would need a moment to get ready. Or even if they were ready, they'd have to make their way to where they would be teleported from or something. Instant response was almost impossible, even with magic. Unless, of course, one used something other than living beings for it.

'And that's that,' Joshua nodded to himself, picking up the last wardstone and the circles on the ground. Those, he put inside his pockets, since he couldn't very well cast the Storage Spell after going through such efforts to erase his magical presence from the place.

Cheshire, now in her cat form, walked alongside him as they left.

'This is only the beginning,' Joshua thought to himself.

[Quest Complete: Raid the Khaos Brigade Post

Rewards:

+ 3 Throwing Weapons Levels

+ 3 Ward Magic Levels

+ 1 Levels to all Stats]

[}-o-{]

"We know it was you, Mr. Davis," Griselda said bluntly, curtly even.

The Church had called practically the following day after his little stunt. Joshua had to admit he was slightly amused. Even if he had made some mistake or something, he was unlikely to face consequences with a handful of pantheons behind his back. Shed seemed particularly adamant on supporting him, even if Joshua wasn't too sure how high up on his pantheon the guy was.

"You sound pretty sure of that," Joshua replied with a tilt of his head. "Are you actually accusing me? Arresting me or something? I don't know how it works in the supernatural world."

Her silence was telling, just as the glare that Xenovia was directing at him.

"You are treading a dangerous path, Mr. Davis," Griselda said, her voice calm as it always was. She certainly didn't sound like she was threatening in the name of her faction, but she certainly was.

"I don't know what you are talking about, Griselda," he replied with a shrug and a lazy smile. Next to him, Jeanne seemed to be trying and failing to contain her giggles. Someone wasn't made for spy work, not that he was one to talk, really. "I did nothing."

"We know it was you," Xenovia growled, unable to stop herself and he gave her an amused expression.

"And yet, there you are, just saying that instead of doing something about it," Joshua pointed out. "Which means you don't actually know anything. I'm pretty sure you've got no proof… Because I did nothing, of course," he added, almost like an afterthought.

They all knew he was full of shit, but they had to stick with the story. He wouldn't be admitting anything to them, that was for sure. Besides, it was certainly funny to do that. Or, at least, Xenovia's twitching eyes were, for sure. Joshua simply looked at them as he took a sip of his drink and waited for them to say something.

"Our faction will not stand for such a breach, Mr. Davis," Griselda said, but Joshua noticed then that there was something in her voice that day. Something that hadn't been there before. He wasn't very sure what but there was something. Unfortunately, he wasn't good enough with Life Sensing to pick up on precisely what.

"But they seem perfectly fine to do nothing when there's a terrorist organization running around and doing whatever? Seems a bit… What's the word?" he wondered out loud, snapping his fingers as he tried to find the right term.

"Stupid?" Jeanne offered.

"Not what I was going for, but it works," he settled, before finishing his drink and fishing out his wallet. "Well, if that's all, I'm a busy man. I have spells to tinker with and people's jobs to do, apparently."

"Are we just going to sit here while he goes?" Xenovia hissed, not nearly low enough for them to miss it. "He'll probably go with his devil friends and take them straight into our territory."

"That's funny, considering that you are accusing me of… What was it?" Joshua asked, as he stood up, smirk still in place.

"Staging a raid inside Church territory."

"Now, why would I do that, I wonder," Joshua pointed out to Griselda.

"Because it was a Khaos Brigade base, and you have a history with them. Nevermind the fact that you contacted us regarding information you'd picked up that involved them and the Church," the woman explained, looking like she knew exactly where he was going.

"So, you accuse me of going into your territory to take care of criminals and somehow that links to me going there to bring devils and do… whatever you think we'd do," Joshua mused out loud before chuckling. "Yeah, I think I'm done with the Church. Don't bother calling for me, through any means. As far as you are concerned… I don't exist anymore."

"Mr. Davis-"

"I guess the fact that you never actually bothered to call me Joshua should have been telling," he interrupted, his expression shifting into a cold one. The fun was over, and the annoyance he'd been feeling reared its ugly head.

His statement was followed by silence.

"It always rubbed me the wrong way, how you acted like you were on this pedestal that made you better than me or anyone else. Like you had this moral high ground no matter what. I've had some people in the supernatural annoy and scare me, but that was worse, for some reason. Maybe I should have listened to that feeling and not have bothered with you," He said then, taking a deep breath in to calm himself down. "We are done here."

And that was that, Joshua and Jeanne walked away.

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

I know people think Joshua's thoughts and reactions regarding the Church are over the top and he didn't react nearly as badly with Ajuka's mess. However, there's a difference, despite the devil's actions being worse. That difference is Sairaorg and later Serafall. They offset any bad impression other devils cause. There's only one connection with the Church though, and it was never good per se. They've barely done anything for him.

I'll admit though, that there is a possibility that I may have a bias against them and in favor of the devils. I hope that's not the case… all that much, but if that's what it looks like, well… I apologize, I guess.

As always, if you can't wait until next week for next chapter, there's up to three new chapters in my Pa tre on:

P a treon . com (slash) AdrianKing

Discord Link: discord .gg/UTDransjJZ

Random Question: What do you think about the raid? There's several things I'm not too sure about, honestly. Maybe with more time to think it over, I might have done several things differently but… Who knows. It's what it is. I hope you aren't too disappointed.

See you.