Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Chapter 22: The Meeting of the Three Lucifers

- Damien -

I looked back at the crowd who all ignored the vampire and looked at me with various kinds of expressions. My Observation Haki took in their emotions and told me about the state of all their minds.

Euclid was… stunned, hateful but more than anything else… afraid. The gauntlet of his was similar to a Sacred Gear but at the same time not. It was full of negative emotions but also contained a life of some sort, although the entire thing was of a demonic nature. It was unlike anything I had heard or read about.

Sirzechs was shocked as well but was hiding it well behind his stoic mask. Grayfia was the same but was nowhere near as composed. Euclid and maybe even Gretel's presence was a major reason for it maybe.

Rias was scared and excited.

The one with the weirdest reaction was probably Rizevim.

That guy was… happy. No, he was beyond happy and it was kinda unsettling.

The eyepatch on his face was a reminder of Razevan's suicidal attack and the memory of receiving that news made me recall several other things as well.

I slowly calmed myself and reigned in my Haki. Losing control of my emotions against this guy would be the biggest mistake. Finally in control, I turned towards Gretel. "Are you both alright?"

They nodded.

"Hahahahaha I knew it. I absolutely knew it. How can someone like you die? And to the likes of those. Impossible. You really pulled the wool over everyone's eyes. Did you hate your big brother so much?" Rizevim laughed.

"Look, Sirzechs. Aren't you so proud of your little sister? This is my little brother. Well, half-brother but you know, it's the same. Let me introduce him. This is Damien Lucifer… Asmodeus. The satanic miracle child if you will."

I looked at him, narrowing my eyes very slightly before I calmed myself.

Showing any kind of weakness in front of him would be a mistake.

The bastard revealed my Asmodeus lineage which I was trying to keep out so as to not spook out people too much.

And as expected, when I looked at Sirzechs, he looked shocked and his eyes stayed on me a second more than normal. Sigh. So much for keeping a mysterious air for longer.

The bastard however wasn't done yet.

"So, how is my cute granddaughter, Vienna? I thought her father was a waste but even he gave me a good surprise. I wonder if she will do the same?"

I took a very light breath and pushed my anger away with my occlumency.

"Really? You almost seem like you care about family. You sent people to frame me, you arranged my own teacher to assassinate Vienna, you made your son's life a living hell and then killed him, not to mention the fact that you killed your own father."

Several heads turned my way except Rizevim who was completely unphased, "And you seem like you care for our family. If that's your care, I'd rather you left us alone."

….

….

The silence which settled over the place was deafening.

Everyone except Rizevim and I were tensed by the reveal.

The reveal wouldn't do anything because even if Sirzechs himself went out and declared it… no one will believe him. In fact, there will be a high chance for people to speak against him for making such claims.

I mean, claiming that the actual son of Lucifer killed Lucifer when he had led a rebellion against the Old Satan descendants would only serve to paint him in a bad light.

The man in question however was not bothered at all. Instead a feral glint appeared in his eyes as his smile widened. "I am hurt you know… that you think so about me. I care for my family. In fact, I care for our family the most. You see Damien, there is not a single person in the world whom I respected more than dear ol' Dad."

He spread his arms while explaining and astonishingly, I didn't sense a single bit of lie in the statement.

"He was the very definition of Evil. I have been fascinated with him since the moment I was born. He was my idol. The perfect devil if you will. My only goal in life was to surpass him."

I got a bad feeling in my heart. This guy… Didn't lie. Not a single word was a lie.

In fact I was not the only one.

I could sense the disturbed feelings from everyone.

The man in question however carried on as if he didn't notice anything.

"But I realised that there was nothing I could do. No matter what I did, I would just be 'A Devil' while he would always be 'The Devil'."

I saw several people look in my direction.

"But I lost that respect, you know… when he decided to end the war. What kind of Devil would end a war that caused such terrifying chaos all over the world. And for what? Because some people died? Because his fellow Satans died? Because his father died? That was not the man I respected. So I only had one choice. I killed him. To keep the Devil, the real Devil's memories alive in my heart, I killed him. I did it for him, you know? I didn't want anyone to see that weak and pathetic Devil who would choose peace over war."

His expression at the end was of pure loathing and disgust. "But he did show me that he was the Devil at the end. He, our Father, made a prophecy that I would die by the hands of a Lucifer someday."

"And that's why you kept every Lucifer in chains. So that you can escape the words of a dying man and continue living?" I asked emotionlessly.

"No no. On the contrary, I was bored out of my mind. After the four Satans died, two by my own hands, it was as if the Underworld had lost all real devils. The new ones were idiots who preferred to wave around the name of their parents but couldn't do anything of their own. While people like these," He pointed towards Sirzechs, "And his bestie did spark my interest, it was just not that. They were devils, strong ones no doubt, but they were just that… simple devils, not… The Devil. I was all alone. They didn't have that, that instinct. So in the end, I just had to go back to the Prophecy made by Dad." He stared directly at me.

"You see Damien, I didn't mark Razevan with the Death Trigger because I was afraid of being killed by him… I marked him because I was afraid he would give up on trying to kill me….and run away."

I continuously forced out all kinds of negative thoughts out of my mind to not let my emotions show.

This bastard… this fucking insane bastard.

"Razevan found out about me sending off Dear Old Dad on the next journey from Gloria Lucifuge, the mother of the three present here… but, who do you think told her about it?"

Despite my preparations, my eyes widened slightly when I realised what he had said.

"Gretel, hold back." I shouted in my head the moment I got back my senses.

"I wanted to inspire him, to provoke him to become a good devil but that son of mine was a waste. Even when his first two wives had accidents, he didn't fight back. The first time he did was when my people found out about my cute granddaughter. He killed them all….and I rewarded him. I let his human wife stay and give birth. After all, half it might be, she still had Lucifer blood. So she was also qualified."

I bit my tongue to show no expressions and he continued.

"But then something happened. Do you know what, Damien?" He looked crazily at me. "What else, you were born. A two year old child knocked over a thousand devils unconscious. That power, that potential, I knew it at that very instant that I got my new playmate. You see Damien, I care for my family. I care for them the most. Sure, I poke them, taunt them, torture them, but it was to make them into proper Devils. I also rewarded them when they did. What, you don't believe me? Ah, you hurt your big brother's feelings. Well let me prove it to you."

"You overcame the trap set for you to sully your image and I made little Gretel your aide. Razevan overcame his fear and attacked me, even gave me a wound and I proudly keep this wound on me. I could have easily healed the wound like Euclid did, but this" He touched the eyepatch on his face, ''is proof that my son was not a waste."

"I also rewarded him by….not following or searching for you."

I am pretty sure I skipped a heartbeat.

"What! Surprised? You see, after Razevan passed away, I checked all his activities and found several interesting things. He had removed my cute granddaughter from the Lucifer House and made Gretel the Head of the Lucifuge House. I even passed it and now little Gretel is Lady Lucifuge. Now….why would he do so right before attacking me? If he could remove the Death Mark from himself, couldn't he do the same for my cute granddaughter and you. It gave me hope or else Big Brother was so sad after losing all his playmates…."

"And you were not afraid that I would run away with Vienna and never show up?" I asked, narrowing my eyes slightly. Razevan's actions and removing his Death Mark might have aroused suspicion. I had hoped for it to be ignored as they made no move to search for us.

"Oh no. No no no no no. I was never afraid about that. You are not the type to run away. You Damien, are born different. When I was disappointed by my son, I started a project, a big project to make the evilest Devil I could. It was called Project Genesis. To combine the genes of two Satans and create a Devil who could entertain me and after two hundred years and several hundreds of failures, there was a success. I was ecstatic. So ecstatic that I even ignored my son for a while and that led him to elope and get a human wife. And you didn't disappoint me either. Ultimate Class at eight, Satan Class at 11 and now, a Super Devil at 14. Even Dad was not this crazy. Big Brother will have to work harder to not get left behind."

I noticed that Sirzechs and his group were now staring at me as if I was a ghost.

"But it was not your power either. You see Damien, Dad was not dangerous because of the power he possessed. I mean, even I, myself possessed several times more power than him and Gramps, he was far stronger. No, it was the way he thought, his mind, his talent, his whole being! And you remind me of him in not just your looks but your entire being. It was as if he himself came back from the dead and stood in front of me but somehow, became even better than he was before. Lucifer 2.0 if you will hahahaha."

I felt a slight chill in my spine at his words.

"I know you are not the type to run away because it's not in your very nature. Euclid tried to pull a prank and discredit you in front of others and almost instantly you turned the entire crowd against him… without speaking a word. If I hadn't interfered, he would have been declared a traitor.

"Katerea tried to control you and within a month she was so scared of you that she wouldn't even look you directly in the eye. And that was when you were nine."

"The human you called mother died and within a year over ten thousand devils passed away all the while you were being monitored 24/7."

"I planned to test my granddaughter in a harmless assassination attempt and you erased one of our biggest bases along with two thousand devils and even your first teacher. You Damien, killed more devils while not even leaving a room and being continuously monitored than he," He pointed at Sirzechs, "and his bestie did during the entire Civil War even when in the open… and don't even dare say that it was Razevan. No, he had neither the guts nor ability. It couldn't be him. I know."

"Just like you knew how strong he was or what connections he had made until it was all over?" I mocked.

"Touche. But no. If he had such an influence, he would have ganged up on me and had me ambushed and killed long before now. He didn't. So it was not him."

I didn't reply to it.

"You don't give up on grudges and so you will not run."

"I have no interest in your games, Rizevim."

His smile widened as he burst out laughing in front of everyone.

"But you want to kill me, right? Right? Then you are already playing my game. No take backsies."

The atmosphere became even tenser if it was somehow even possible.

- Sirzechs -

He felt the hair on the back of his neck rise up from the revelations. He had already known, both from the repeated warnings of his elders and his own experience that he must not provoke Rizevim Livan Lucifer and he had paid attention to it too. His entire peerage was made up of non Sacred Gear users for the sole purpose of countering Rizevim.

But even in his wildest dream he didn't think that Rizevim would be this… insane.

He didn't have the slightest word for it.

And then he looked on the other side. That haunting image of Lucifer.

Damien Lucifer Asmodeus.

That name alone would cause rebellions if people heard about him and that's not even counting the face which accompanied the name.

That fleeting hope that Henriech was tricked was all flushed away as soon as the boy… no, he was not a boy, this man entered the scene.

The same power which had knocked out the Youkai in Kyoto, also knocked out the Vampires today.

It was beyond a shadow of doubt that he was the same person.

The girl behind him was more like a hammer to his face than anything. Even now, he could feel the shivering fingers of Grayfia as she looked at both Euclid and… Gretel.

When he came out today, it was to get a short break from his hectic schedule and spend some time with his family.

To think this is what he would encounter… First Euclid being alive, then Grayfia's younger sister and then the news that Grayfia's mother was alive.

He couldn't even imagine the state of mind she was in right now.

Back then Grayfia and he had liked each other and were actually trying to get each other to their own sides. Grayfia had no intention of betraying the Old Satan faction but more importantly her own family.

It was the death of her mother, or now that he found out, the news of her death at her hands of none other than her own little brother that had convinced her to ditch the Old Satan faction which had turned her little brother into that.

When they had gotten the news that Euclid had died, she had been hit the hardest. She still believed that Euclid was influenced by them. It had still grated her to no end that she had failed her mother and brother. It was one of the reasons that despite being his wife, she acted like a maid as some sort of twisted repentance. Even he had stopped trying to convince her about it after knowing her reason.

And now this news, coming and blowing everything she knew, out of the world.

She was suddenly hit with the fact that she had not only failed her mother but also three other brothers whose names and faces she didn't even know and now another sister who seemed to hate her too.

Damien looked stoically at the crazy person that was Rizevim.

And the man in question looked like he was having the time of his life. After finishing with Damien, he looked at Gretel.

"And look at you Gretel, all grown up. You look so pretty and have become strong too. The strongest Lucifuge and that too at sixteen. Gloria would be so proud."

He was not wrong. The power that she just exhibited would easily put her far above the likes of Grayfia and Serafall… maybe even together.

Even he would need to get serious to fight her. And she was just sixteen. Not even mid twenties when the natural growth of a Devil is the strongest. This meant that she would just get stronger in the future. A lot stronger. Perhaps even…

She was beyond loyal to Damien from what little he had seen.

Which left the biggest unknown of all.

A 14 year old Super Devil. How the fuck do you even get that strong?

Even he and Ajuka needed to get to their fifties to come close to that level.

And he was 14? He looked more like sixteen or even eighteen.

This makes two beyond Satan Class beings in the younger Lucifer's team.

The girl with the Absolute Demise could also fight at the same level. So three. There was that Youkai girl. Four.

Four known members and all could fight at the level of a Satan or beyond. And who knows how many others he had supporting him?

If this was matched with whatever he had just heard from Rizevim, then this new Lucifer was far more dangerous than Rizevim.

And the worst part was that he didn't know anything about him either. His motivations, his powers, nothing.

He watched as Rizevim continued. "You know what would be awesome. Yes yes I know." he turned towards Euclid. "You know, you could always try to make another little sister from your mother."

Sirzechs froze and so did Grayfia.

"Surprise. Did I surprise you, Gretel? You see, Euclid was worried that you were becoming a mama's girl so he lied. The body you saw of your mother… was a fake."

"Gretel stop." Damien shouted instantly as Rizevim's power burst. Barriers far stronger than the ones before were casted and even the twisting space around him was shattered. The shockwaves from the attack rushed out and Sirzechs stood in front of Rias and Grayfia, his power of destruction flaring and creating a dome around them, erasing the shockwave.

On the other side, Damien stood in front of the girls and blue flames emerged from his body creating a ring around them and burning the shockwaves.

The Blue Flames of Asmodeus.

He inherited the Clan Trait.

Sirzechs had only heard tales of the fabled blue flames which could burn everything but now, seeing it up close, it was even more than he had expected.

He took a look at Gretel's face and the sheer look of pain and rage was only controlled by the fact that Damien was standing in front of her and she didn't want to hurt him.

"Uyahahahaha youngsters nowadays. So excitable. Anyways, enjoy the fun, Damien. We will meet again soon. Anything you want to add, Euclid?"

Euclid walked from behind Rizevim as the man himself backed away… to watch the show. He glared at Damien and then at Gretel. "You both had the chance. You could have been the leaders of the devil race and taken back its glory but you chose to be traitors. Especially you." He looked at Damien. "You are a shame to the blood in your veins. And for what? All for that filthy human woman. Trash like her…"

"Euclid." Damien spoke. For the first time, Sirzechs saw a hint of rage in those piercing blue eyes. His voice was perfectly calm but hundreds of years of instincts honed in wars screamed at Sirzechs to be alert. And then he continued. "...your voice is annoying."

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

He didn't see it.

Sirzechs didn't even feel Damien moving and the next moment Euclid was under his boots and the entire area, hundreds of metres around them caved in.

He quickly eyed Rizevim and saw the look of surprise. Even he didn't realise it.

What kind of speed was this?

There were no indications, no demonic power or energy surges, nothing. One minute he was there, the other, he had crossed the distance and kicked Euclid into the ground.

The only reason anyone even knew that he didn't teleport was the trail left on the snow.

Miasma collected around Euclid and his wounds started healing quickly as he started to struggle to get up but to no avail. His demonic energy flared but to no avail.

He waved his hand and clawed towards Damien but all that resulted in was the sound of metal striking another metal as the claw was grabbed in Damien's hands who effortlessly ripped it apart.

"ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Euclid cried out in pain.

"Hmm. A consciousness inside it. Very similar to a Sacred Gear but of Demonic Nature. Made of Agarasite, the same ones used to make the Evil Pieces. Strong enough to rival a Low Tier Longinus. But… not strong enough." Damien tossed the claw gauntlet aside but this time it didn't return like before to attach itself to Euclid.

Damien continued.

"Now, tell me. Who gave you the guts to raise your voice against me? Was it that toy of yours? As you can already see, it was useless. Or was it him?" He pointed towards Rizevim. "Because as far as I know him, he would clap his hands in glee and even praise me if I were to just rip your head off your neck. Or could it be that you are relying on your Big Sis? Despite all your hate words, you still want her sympathy? How pathetic."

The shouts continued and the demonic power increased.

"Be quiet." Damien flexed his leg and all the demonic power from Euclid disappeared.

No matter how much Euclid struggled after that or tried, no demonic power was released.

Damien crouched and removed his foot from Euclid's face but grabbed his hair instead, raising him by it.

"Now then, where was I? Yes. Why are you so proud, Euclid? Just because you kept your mother a prisoner and experimented on her? Is that an achievement for you? Your mother is alive, right?" Euclid glared but didn't answer.

BOOOOOOOOOM!

Euclid's face was bashed into the ground almost instantly and again raised by his hair.

"When I ask a question, it means I expect to be answered. Do you know why I don't just end your suffering, Euclid? I mean I could have killed you anytime since I was nine. Even in a one on one fight. And yet, you are here. Tell me, do you know why?"

He raised Euclid to his eye level, staring directly into his eyes.

"It's because you are already dead. You just haven't realised it yet."

Sirzechs felt a deep chill at the statement.

"You died the moment you laid a finger on my Gretel."

A cold wind blew silently. It was as if the cold Romanian forest somehow miraculously got even colder.

"Everything you did after that, plotting against me, trying to brainwash Gretel. Oh! You thought I wouldn't notice such blatant use of mind magic? Do I need to remind you that I surpassed my teachers in all their fields of magic? So, where was I, ah yes, trying to assassinate my sister, everything… all you did, just made the time before you realise it… more painful."

"The only reason I let you be until now was because I promised Gretel that she will get to decide what to do with you. And that is what will happen. You will live… and you will realise death… by her will. If somehow by an off chance, something else happens, I will drag your filthy, corrupted soul from whatever corner it is hiding and throw it at her feet so that she can decide what to do with you. If… in doing so, your mind breaks into tiny pieces or your spirit crumbles or even your soul remains an empty husk… that's not my problem. And when all this is over and your soul, if it somehow, miraculously survives and makes it to hell… I will be there… to continue our game even longer. Do you know why?" He brought his face an inch from Euclid's and continued. "Because I am The Devil."

"Do you get it Euclid? So today, when you go back to your mother, tell her this. I am sure that the woman will be happy."

He dropped Euclid's body and got up before walking towards the two girls, only to pause for a moment and turn back.

"Oh! And never again insult my mother. I promised Gretel not to kill you. I never said anything about not tearing you limb from limb and feeding them to you till you break. And yes… this is a threat."

"Uyahahahaha wonderful wonderful. In that case, the game is on. I will be honest, big brother is a little jelly of Euclid getting all the attention. But no problem. I am looking forward to the game. Congratulations on your new toy. Buh-bye."

A magic circle lit up around Rizevim, Euclid and the gauntlet, thrown on the ground and a moment later, they were all teleported away.

A few moments passed but no words were spoken.

Damien took a deep breath and suddenly broke the silence. "Your mother's body was not fake. She did die the day you saw her. Rizevim was baiting us."

What!

- Damien -

I looked towards the dumbfounded Sirzechs and then at Grayfia.

I knew it from the moment Rizevim had lied but I didn't want to tell them about my power. So, I explained. "Just now, when I attacked Euclid, I forcibly removed that artifact from him. It was loosely attached to his soul which caused him to be disoriented. I took advantage of his flaring Demonic Power to use a spell on him and attacked his head to cause him to lose control of his consciousness. This made it easy to dive into his head and find out information about Gretel's mother. The question about his mother was to direct his attention to the subject and make it easier to find the information. She died. I was trying to find the location of her body but couldn't do so in a short time and just marked him."

I turned towards Gretel and completed, "I marked him. He will not be running away."

Yes. I put a Binder's Mark on him.

When I said that even if he died, I would resurrect him… I was not lying.

Binder's Mark can be controlled in a way that I can control what I do to the target.

I can choose whose will to bend and whom to give power.

For Euclid, he got his allegiance turned to me but got none of the power.

A fight with Rizevim would have been stupidity in this situation.

First, my own faction was just starting. A massive battle such as between two Super Devils and others possibly could have destroyed a major part of Europe and that would have directly given people a reason to brand me as a terrorist.

Second, there was a chance that Rizevim would run away or Sirzechs would intervene and I couldn't be sure of the win if such a thing happened.

What I did know was that the Sirzechs would definitely not let a fight happen as that would put the already shaky Devil faction in the frying pan once more.

The only thing left was killing Euclid but… why kill him now if I can use him?

As I explained earlier, he was already dead. He just hasn't realised it yet, because Binder's Mark is just that broken. The Euclid who served Rizevim was already dead. Now, he was just my pawn waiting to be used by me.

I needed an in within Rizevim's inner circle.

The two ways to do so would be to send one of my own people or convert one of his, and who better than the one whom we all hate.

I also needed information on what that gauntlet that Euclid was using now was. All I got from Euclid in the passing was only bits of information. It had the power to rival a Longinus and if they had more or those things, I needed it out of my way quickly.

I walked up to Gretel who was still shaken and took her in my arms, caressing her head.

"I will bring back your mother's body. I promise."

She nodded her head while still in my chest.

She moved back a little after a few moments and I caressed Lavinia's head who was much better.

I finally turned my attention towards the group that was left

"I still have an hour and a half. I heard that you wanted to meet me. So let's talk."

The guy looked surprised. "You are going to wait for the vampires?"

"I said I would wait for two hours. I do not lie."

….

….

It was Rias who broke the silence first.

"So, you, just now, you were not angry? Were you acting?"

"About what?"

"When he… that guy insulted your mother."

"Rias!" Sirzechs stopped or rather tried to but I just smiled it off.

"I witnessed my mother's cold dead body while my little sister was crying her heart out in my embrace… and although barely, still held back. I was ten back then. I think it would take something more than just mere words to get me riled up and snap."

….

"I… I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault. You didn't know anything."

She didn't.

We never talked about my past even when we talked.

She was probably the only person with whom I could have a normal conversation with, as a friend and she was too young. We never got so much into details.

"But you know what, you lied just now." SHe replied looking smug.

I smiled. "I didn't Princess, I assure you that every word I said was true. The emotions behind them were as real as they get. The fact that my other actions got covered behind them was just a….happy coincidence. I prefer the word Misdirection rather than lying for this."

I noticed Grayfia was looking at Gretel and wanted to say something but was holding back because of me.

As for Gretel…

Sigh.

Sometimes, it's better to rip the bandage off to let the wound heal.

"Gretel." I looked at her. "Have a talk. Just don't force yourself and don't fight."

She looked at me wide-eyed and I patted her head.

"It's better to atleast have a talk and understand each other's circumstances first than hate each other because of the words and actions of a deplorable trash. I am not telling you to get along if you don't want to but… your mother took an action to save her life. Don't you want to know her at least and see what your mother was thinking about? After this, no matter what action you take, I will support you." I slowly caressed her head and she looked at me for a moment and then at Grayfia with a complicated look before looking at me and nodding again, leaving slowly.

Then I turned to Lavinia. "Go and see if Valerie is alright."

"Will you…"

"I will be alright. If I want to leave, I can leave easily."

She nodded and left as well.

I saw Sirzechs heaving a sigh of relief.

The guy was extremely tense.

Finally, I turned my attention towards Rias and a smile formed on my face when I thought about the worries of the Gremory family.

With Sirzechs being present here, I decided to have some fun.

"We have to stop meeting like this, Princess. I'd prefer a meeting over a cup of tea than like today."

She had gotten much better since the first time we met because of our occasional meetings. She didn't blush much.

"Were you trying to recruit Gasper as well?" She asked me.

"Hmm, I would be lying if I said I didn't. He is a good potential recruit. High Magical Power, a strong Sacred Gear which is on the verge of evolving due to a Mutation. I estimate it reaching the level of a Longinus soon."

"Really?" She asked, perked up.

Sirzechs paid attention too but didn't interfere.

"Really. But no. My primary target was not Gasper. It was Valerie all along."

"Eh! Why?"

"Hmm, who knows? Maybe I am just the type of bad guy who goes around kidnapping Princesses." I smirked and she blushed.

Sirzechs' emotions were going up and down like the world's craziest roller coaster. He decided it was as much as he could take.

"Damien. Can I call you that?"

"Sure can. It's my name after all."

"Are you really going to wait for the vampires? They might come with an army. The vampires are a very prideful bunch."

"Pride is only as good as your strength can support. They will not come. Just pretend that they don't care for a filthy half-blooded mistake." I spat out the last part quite annoyed.

"Are you really sure?" He asked, genuinely confused.

I smiled and decided to humour the guy. "I assure you. They will not come. After all… I knocked out everyone within twenty kilometres radius, except us. This includes their King Vald Tepes, the 14th. Even if he regains consciousness this quickly… he wouldn't dare to come or spread the news. Because that would mean accepting someone knocked them all down….alone. Their tiny pride wouldn't be able to handle it."

….

….

I let him take a few moments to realise what I had said. This was exactly what I did. I knocked out every vampire in the area. My Observation Haki found no one left awake.

Then again. It was to be expected. Even the likes of Nue were rendered helpless and that was me holding back.

The King of the Tepes faction was far from Nue.

"What exactly are your plans, Damien?"

I chuckled a little at his straight forward question.

"Believe it or not but my answer will remain unchanged. I wish to live a peaceful life with my people but my identity makes it nigh impossible. Is it really so hard to believe?"

"With everything that has just happened, can you blame me for it?"

"I am not blaming you. If anything, it's a perfectly reasonable thing to do. But you seem to have a misunderstanding. Razevan wasn't crazy. My cute sister isn't crazy and I'd like to think I am not crazy either… or well, maybe a little. But the fact still stands, Rizevim is an outlier. Don't use him to judge everyone."

A period of silence wafted over the place.

He took a deep breath and looked me straight in the eye. "Are you really going to fight Rizevim?"

"Does it look like I have a choice? Things have already gone beyond the point of taking a step back."

"We can help you avoid this." He said earnestly.

I looked at the man closely and asked. "Why?"

"The Devil Race cannot afford a war right now. If such a thing can be prevented, I would do so."

No lies.

I sighed and looked at him before replying. "You do know that idealistic people like you always get walked over by others, right? Maybe if you were a little firmer, things would be easier for you four to manage."

"It's politics. We win some, we lose some." He answered, completely unphased.

"Ah yes, politics. We have that in the underworld nowadays. Really, you people took the Underworld and turned it into hell. So, Mr. Win Some Lose Some, how's that been working for you all?"

"The Underworld has enjoyed over five centuries of peace and is the strongest among the three factions. We have advanced a lot compared to what we were after the Civil War. The general public is happier than ever."

Yup, a politician.

"Hold on for a moment." I turned towards Rias. "We are going to have some private talk. Can you give us some privacy please?"

"Eh!" She looked at me, surprised.

"Rias, please do." Sirzechs himself asked, looking seriously.

"Okay." She nodded, although a little reluctantly and went a little distance from us. Sirzechs casted a privacy barrier.

I started without the worry of displeasing one of my rare friends.

"So, you think the Underworld is stable and peaceful? Can drinking poison to quench thirst be called a good move? I don't deny that you four have done a lot of work for the underworld. Much better than what those idiots in the Old Satan faction would have done. But that doesn't mean the Underworld is in a much better position."

Seeing that I got his attention, I continued. "The Underworld right now is a powder keg waiting to be lit. On the surface, it is the strongest of the three factions, both in number and power but the reality couldn't be further from that. While the Evil Pieces definitely saved the race in a very dangerous situation, it has also gained you all more enemies than the previous Satans combined despite their evil acts. Like the Youkai, the Devils have trampled over several other factions. The only reason they don't say anything is because of you and Ajuka."

He listened but didn't say a word.

"While on the surface the Devils have a lot of population. A major part of it is made by the Reincarnated Devils, many of whom were forced to become devils against their wills. Do you think they suddenly had a change of heart as soon as they became devils and decided that being treated as second class citizens is the way to go? No. They are only quiet because of the Satans. They know that any resistance will be met by you with a swift end."

"Not everyone treats their peerage members badly." He protested, although the discomfort in his heart was not hidden from my Haki.

"I never said everyone did but the majority of them do. You cannot use a minority to define people. Kidnapping people from their homes, against their wills doesn't make them like you. Not to mention their families." I shut him up instantly.

"And that's only the case for the Reincarnated Devils. Even the Extra Devils and many Pillar Houses are dissatisfied. Let me ask you, how many Pillars are there today?"

By now, his face was serious beyond anything. "Thirty four."

"Wrong. Fifty Six." I saw him being taken aback at the reveal.

"Even if you consider the Pure Blooded Devils Or Clan Traits being a criteria for a House to be alive, there are still fifty six houses alive. So, why is it that only thirty four of them are counted."

His mouth opened but I continued before anything could be said.

"Because ultimately what today's Devil race's motivations have been reduced to is not the stupid purity of blood, it's not even the survival or the betterment of the Devil race as you call it. No. It's just profit. There are twenty two houses who are alive but were declared extinct, their lands taken and their positions abolished. When I said that I disliked politics, I meant politics between the houses, not with other factions. If you don't believe me, search the list of the alive but extinct houses and you will find something very interesting. Do you know what?"

He didn't answer but his silence alone gave me the answer I needed.

"Each of those houses were the political rivals of the old devils in the council. The so-called Great King Faction. They were systemically sidelined and driven into bankruptcy or even better… fell into the Devil's Sleeping Disease."

"But that's…" He started, taken aback at the sudden change of direction.

"Artificially created. Just examine the list of victims closely. I think Ajuka knows this already. I mean it would be surprising if he didn't. I mean, why do you think it surfaced magically after the Satans died. But more of that later. Do you think any of these houses will support you if a war happens? If you and Ajuka were to die, the current government wouldn't last a decade and that's already pushing it."

By this point he was quiet, maybe reeling from the shocking reveal of the Sleeping Illness.

"And let's assume that I do take my people to join you all, what then? They would be marginalised, treated with suspicion and partiality and even plotted against. Some of them will encounter accidents while others will fall ill. Children will be left without supervision and forcibly married to the branch houses of the Current Pillars, being absorbed while their own houses. will ultimately go extinct once more."

"They will never…" he started but I countered.

"Ingrid Leviathan was attacked and killed one hundred years ago. She was one of the rare few who didn't participate in the Civil War and even went against her family to stay out. She was killed and her only daughter, half-devil, coincidentally fell ill. She was attacked by Devils and no, it was not the Old Satan Faction. They didn't even know she was alive. Thankfully she was sent to a safe place by her mother before she fell or she would have been used to rejuvenate the Leviathan blood. Her children wouldn't have been problems because they could have just used her human ancestry to side-line them. Also, what is this about being Pure Blooded? For a race created by a former Archangel and a former Human, don't you think separation on the basis of blood is stupidity?"

I let that sink in and then continued. "In simple words, the current Devil's Government is a ship full of holes and I… will not take my people onto a sinking ship."

He looked at me, face not betraying any emotion. The man was shaken. "Is this really what you think of the Devil's Government?"

"Yes."

….

….

"I think we should keep this discussion aside for today." I got up, ready to exit the discussion.

"Is there really no way that we can cooperate?" He asked, giving the topic a last push.

"... if, someday, you all decide to man up and clean house… call me. I'll help."

"Do you have any bad intentions towards the current government?"

….

"As long as they don't push for me and mine, no."

Currently, everything I am doing, might actually end up saving the Devil Race. Even the upcoming Operation Regicide.

Sirzechs removed the barrier, his mood still quite sombre.

I didn't care. I had already thrown the bait. He will join me. Sooner or later. It was no longer a question of if but rather, when.

I mean, as much as I want, I cannot completely separate myself from the Devil Race. The association of this face will always follow me. So, I do need to take some measures for them.

Right now, I didn't need them but they needed me.

Rias noticed the barrier being removed and came back quickly directly in front of me. "Say, you are the Devil, right?"

A bit taken aback at her question, I noticed the glint in her eyes and identified it as the look she has when she is about to pull a big prank.

I humoured her. "In the flesh."

"I want to make a deal."

Sirzechs who was lost in his thoughts looked at us but didn't say anything. He was probably trying to organise whatever he heard.

"Oh, what deal?"

"My father wants to marry me to a guy I don't like. Help me."

….

….

"Pfftt hahahaha." I literally burst out laughing.

Sirzechs seemed to be attracted by the mess too as he looked at her. "Rias you…"

"What? You people are forcing me to marry that idiot, Riser. I don't even like him." She then turned towards me. "Also don't laugh at me."

"I was not laughing at you, Princess. I was just laughing at the situation. You know what? I accept your deal."

"Really!"

"Absolutely. Now, there are three ways we can do this. First is the easy way. Second is the slightly harder way. Third is the most troublesome way. Let's not talk about that for now."

"What's the easy one?" She asked, genuinely intrigued.

"Oh, we'll come to that soon but first let me tell you a story. It was the reason I laughed. You see, there was once a girl whose Father wanted to marry her to someone she didn't like. So she went and asked a guy for help. They ran away together and got married. Simple right."

She nodded her head while Sirzechs kept listening while not saying anything. He was probably trying to take in everything about my personality from today's meeting.

Well, let him have a massive headache then.

"But what's so special about it?" She asked.

"Well, the special thing is… the guy she asked for help was called… Lucifer."

Sirzechs' eyes widened as he realised what I was saying while Rias was still catching up.

"The father in this story was also Lucifer's Father. So, tell me, do you know the name of the girl?"

"Lilith."

"Correct Princess. Now, the easiest method would be to go on an Underworld wide television broadcast and tell this story to everyone and then the thing about you asking me for help. I guarantee you, that your father or any other devil would dare… To force you then."

"Stop giving her crazy ideas?" Sirzechs interrupted me.

"Hey, I am just helping. And it's not really hard. You will have to agree that it is in fact the easiest method."

Rias seemed confused about the whole thing and asked me. "Why? What will happen if I do this? Would father even cancel the engagement?"

"Oh, he obviously will, dear. If he doesn't, at the very least, half the population will rebel against him."

"What!"

"The Devil Race was created on the idea of freedom. The freedom to pursue one's emotions. Lucifer, the Archangel of Light and Desires, had an altercation with his father about allowing Angels to pursue their desires and not be puppets used to merely guide humans. This led to a fight and he left Heaven and created the Devil Race with Lilith. The Devil were allowed to pursue all their desires, provided they didn't harm each other. This is or from what I can see now, was the basic law that governed the Devil Race. Forcing something like a marriage on someone against their will is a blatant slap on the face of this law. It will not be allowed." I looked at Sirzechs. "What was your father even thinking about? Is he perhaps taking the role of Lucifer's father too literally? What's next, starting a Great War?"

….

….

She looked a mix of fascinated and discomforted at the news.

"I don't want to cause trouble for my family. What is the second method." She spoke after a moment.

"That's awfully kind and mature of you Princess. Well done. The next method is, well you can train hard, get strong and when you are a month from eighteen, beat the idiot you are engaged to, into the ground. Then declare that you won't marry anyone weaker than yourself. Easy."

"Can I do that?" She looked at Sirzechs who looked quite calm now that his little sister was not thinking about nuking their family reputation in front of the whole underworld and nodded.

"Wait! But, how do you help me with this? I mean, if I do everything on my own, how would that even be fair?" She put her hands on her waist and looked at me.

"Oh, you drive a hard bargain, Princess. Then… how about I help you out on this?"

"How?"

I took her hand and lifted it up. "You have always heard me saying I am the Devil, right?" She nodded. Let me prove why. Calling it a blessing sounds too holy for my tastes. So, let's call it the 'Kiss of the Devil'."

I placed a kiss on the back of her hand and gave her the nerfed essences. The Archmage Essence and The Blank Essences. "From today, anything you try to learn can be learned and your talent will increase with time. You will not encounter any limits and can grow endlessly as long as you put some effort into it. There. All done."

I looked at Sirzechs, surprised that he didn't stop me. He perhaps sensed my gaze and understood. "You didn't hurt her the last time which would have been easier. There is no reason for you to do it this time either."

Rias checked herself. I didn't send the information in her head so she looked a little suspicious. "You are not tricking me, right?"

"I wouldn't dare."

"I don't feel any different."

"Oh, what were you expecting? Overwhelming power? That's my Blessing, not the Nine Tails Chakra." She blushed. "You know what, hold on a moment." I knew exactly what to do.

The price of this deal and the final bait towards Sirzechs.

I brought out a shining orb from my pocket.

"Here. Use this."

"What's this?"

"Crush it."

She did and a light shined around her, ending up on her left arm.

Sirzechs who was ready to intervene was stilled on hearing the next sound.

"Boost."

I didn't care and ruffled the hair on her head. "There you go. This should be enough."

I looked at Sirzechs who was looking at me with both a shocked and a questioning gaze. "Why?"

"I said I didn't want to get involved in your matters but….it would be a pity to see a race created by my family die. Consider this as me buying you some time."

I again looked at Rias who was looking at the gauntlet in awe. "Now then Princess, I think you know what this is and that I have already carried out my end of the deal. It's your turn now."

"O-oh. What do you want? "

"I want… you to become my sister's rival."

"Huh?"

"My sister has been growing at a very rapid speed, only matched by my subordinates and me. This has led her to become very overconfident, thinking that she can only be defeated by one of my subordinates or me. I don't want her to live in this delusion. So… I want you to become stronger and fight my sister, once every year at least,till both of you come of age."

Both looked at me with an open mouthed look.

"Moreover, don't you think it's cool this way? Both are Little sisters of Lucifers, wielders of Heavenly Dragons, rivals. And even the colour themes match."

She took a deep breath. "I will train harder."

"Good. That's the spirit."

I looked at the time and two hours had almost passed.

Gretel had come back during this time as well. She was… controlling herself but I could sense her emotions being a mess. Grayfia looked the same.

Today must have been very taxing on everyone.

I need to go back and prepare too.

Rizevim knows about me and will be actively starting his game.

Add on to that, Lilith, Satanic Arms- Melbranche and Project Regicide. Not to mention the supposed rebellion of Sataneel. My days suddenly became very hectic.

"It's time for us to leave. Take care, Princess. And congratulations on your new peerage member."

"Thanks. B-by the way, you only told me about two ways. What was the third?"

"The third… that would involve me waking up a sleeping midget with a camel fetish, in your basement and having a talk with her. Too troublesome."

She looked confused but Sirzechs was taken aback.

The guy has been doing that a lot today.

"How do yo…"

"I know many things that you don't. I think we already established that a few minutes ago."

Rias on the other hand looked at him in surprise. "We have a pervert hidden in our house?"

That… made me laugh hard.

Let them have some headache.

I took Gretel and we looked at the trio as we teleported away.

Everything just got more complicated.

_x_x_

Beta Reader: LuluViBritania(FF.N, SB, WN and QQ)/-LuluViB|99th Britannian Emperor(Discord)

Author's Note:

Support me on:

Pat-reon.-com/-crossedge

Deal with the Devil always takes a lot out of me. I tried to rush the chapter a week earlier so if you find any drop in quality, I apologise for it.

Many things happened.

We finally saw what Rizevim's real motivations were.

Did anyone like the Euclid twist?

The story will pick up pace after this chapter and I will only have one more good time skip after the Slash Dog arc maybe.

Until now Damien was the only one making moves but now others will do the same. Things will become interesting.

The Melbranche were mostly unknown so I will have to use my imagination.

I will write a Grayfia's Pov and the contents of their conversation in the next chapter.

Enjoy the new chapter.

Good Day, Peace Out.