Demiurge was pacing back and forth.
"So, to summarize…" Demiurge adjusted his glasses while the demon's face was utterly neutral and his forehead utterly red.
Albedo flinched a bit as she was tied down to a 'seiza' pose with a huge gravestone on her lap.
Demiurge sat on a chair in front of Albedo's cell in the Fourth Floor, where she had been put for the second time. "You learned that Lord Issei was having a 'date' with Yuri Alpha, and shadowed the two. You managed to restrain yourself for most of the duration of the date, except when Lord Issei approached Yuri physically."
Albedo flinched again. "I was… ensuring they wouldn't be disturbed."
"Albedo… That is a lie. I heard from Sebas that Lupusregina was assigned to guard the date. Moreover one of the Homunculus Maids found Lupusregina upside-down and dangling from the ceiling on one of the Cherry Blossom Sanctuary's storage rooms, and she was under the effect of 'Insanity'." Demiurge tapped the floor with his shoe, causing Albedo to flinch for the third time. "Moreover, the evidence suggests that once you arrived to Eighth Floor you were stopped by Aureole Omega, whom you brutally murdered on the hallway."
"She wasn't dead! I just, ahem, relieved her from her watch and gave her a nap!"
"It is true that disembowelment and splattering of her upper body wouldn't kill Aureole-san. Moreover since she is fairly fragile in terms of defenses, outside of her ability to put herself back together with the help of her abilities and the World-Class Item entrusted to her, it'd be hard to restrain her in a non-fatal way." Demiurge conceded. "However, that is not an excuse. We both know that this is a critical breach of trust and more importantly, abuse of our current 'free' state that allows us to 'friendly-fire' each other."
"All of that could be excused. Yet…" Demiurge leaned forward as Albedo looked guilty. "You inflicted [Paralyze] on Yuri Alpha, causing Lord Issei's date to end prematurely."
Albedo flinched for the fourth time and bit her lip to control her mental state that was clearly fluctuating between shame, embarrassment, anger and jealousy. "I… saw that Yuri was, ahem, approached by Lord Moo- Issei, and… hmg… I… I couldn't take it anymore…"
Demiurge sighed and leaned back. "Indeed. I suspect this was the reason for the date- To show how little self-control you have when it comes to our lord's affection, specifically when it is directed at his other creations. Among many other sub-plans he has shown with that single move, only few of which I am aware of. After all, you have clearly shown that since our 'absolute bond' to the Supreme Being is something that we can defy, it is imperative that we keep our newfound freedom in mind at all times- Lest we end up abusing it."
Albedo flinched for the fifth time as if the words physically hurt her. "I…"
"Indeed, I must confess that I am looking forward to indulging myself in my lord's wisdom by speaking to him, but at the same time I am restraining myself from doing something as unsightly as stalking our lord… Or should I say, my lord." Demiurge added on a somewhat sharp note, causing Albedo to let out an indignant sound.
"I am not a traitor! Lord Mo- Issei is my lord as well! I was, I just… I…" Albedo shook a bit, and finally let out a long sigh. "I see what you're saying, Demiurge-san, and I… I admit, I got ahead of myself, it's just that my lord's declaration, his bold claim, his statement of desire, I… I couldn't hold myself back anymore! I don't know what it is, whenever he looks at me, or when I look at him, it's as if my feelings are amplified… I feel so incredibly perverted I can't help but indulge myself! It's unusual- It's like I can barely control myself!"
"Strange… I thought you would be able to control your abilities and habits to a much greater degree. This certainly hasn't happened before, even considering how I remember you were before the Supreme Beings united to become Lord Issei." Demiurge sighed as Albedo seemed to lose it once again. "Haa… Then again, I suppose the temptation would be quite harsh for a succubus like you. I feel like I must apologize as well, as I do not have a point of reference as to how exactly you feel. Perhaps you should not be blamed for your behavior…"
"B-but w-what if Lord Issei grows to hate me because of it?" Albedo calmed down with visible effort. "I… I've done such despicable things to my lord, what if he rejects me?"
"In that case I would suggest that you focus on your behavior, Albedo-san. Perhaps consider assisting Shalltear in her duty, or otherwise vent out your frustration in a way that won't be a hindrance to our lord and potentially expedite our breakthrough from captivity?" Demiurge suggested. "After all, as it is, the entire Nazarick is on borrowed time. I do not know specifics on how long we can maintain ourselves without outside material, but I've taken a look at the books we have on the subject in the Library, and I believe that Nazarick requires monthly 'upkeep', lest it loses parts of its functionality. It is no stretch to think that the resources spent in 'upkeep' won't regenerate on their own. This implies that once we have grown weak through entropy and time our enemy may attempt to break us physically."
"This is true. The upkeep must be paid monthly in the Treasury, although I am not aware as to the exact specifics… Pandora's Actor would know more. Perhaps we should attempt to contact him. We do not have a way to access the Treasury without the Rings, nor do I know what else the Supreme Beings have done to ward off any unauthorized access to the Treasury, but I'm certain that Nigredo would be able to enable us to send a [Message] to Pandora's Actor… Assuming we wish to take action on this. After all, Lord Issei is all of the Supreme Beings so he would have access to the Treasury.." Albedo spoke and fell quiet for a while as she pondered Demiurge's words. "Lord Issei asked Shalltear to break through the seal on the First Floor, or at least weaken it, and tested our traps alone… That suggests that your theory is true, and he is inspecting our defenses and abilities in preparation to rearrange them to better resist the coming invasion. Moreover, I've not heard that the Supreme Beings had tried to 'date' any of us in the past, which in this context implies that the dates are in actuality and attempt to change us to better resist when the time comes."
"It is so, at least as far as I dare to interpret the Supreme Being's actions. However the monthly upkeep date may pass before our lord finishes restoring himself, as the amalgamation process has clearly left his memory in a somewhat scattered state even if his wits are as sharp as ever and his plans deeper than ever before. Moreover, depending on what traps they have set into the Treasury, it may be dangerous to try to access it without full memories of the traps, specifically now that we are capable of harming each other." Demiurge nodded slightly. "Speaking of scattered memories… I am not quite certain as to our lord's current action's full scope, however it utterly terrifies me if what I suspect is correct…"
"What do you mean? What is Lord Issei doing at the moment?" Albedo perked up as she heard Demiurge's uncertain tone. "Is he in danger?"
Issei was cowering in the corner of his room on the Ninth Floor, and was currently experiencing a PTSD episode.
'T-that, It… s-such a thing, haha… Raynare, you damn monster… ahahah…. Albedo…' Issei wobbled back and forth while hugging his skeletal knees to his chest. 'Damn, this… this…'
A camo-cloaked, orange-haired maid was standing beside the door of the room, utterly calm and emotionless like a doll, and was looking at Issei's back with unflinching green eyes…
Until she moved with mechanically perfect motions towards Issei, and after a moment of staying still with her hand outstretched, she reached to pat Issei's head while her expression was utterly unchanged as if made from porcelain.
"Uhuu…" Issei would have cried if he could as the trauma resurfaced…
Roughly a hour ago:
Issei was feeling utterly overwhelmed as he worked on autopilot. That Yuri melted into the touch and kiss was one thing, but that she took initiative was another, and the combination of the two was causing Issei's internal gears to run idle as his brains were struggling with the realization that he was, as far as he understood the concept, 'reaching first base'.
Or, rather, he was getting as close to it as he could with the bony body that he had, considering that his means of 'physical interaction' were extremely limited- Even to the point that he wasn't sure if vaguely pressing teeth and skull against Yuri's lips could be called a kiss.
However, Issei could feel Yuri's soft flesh against his sharp finger-bones, and even if the touch felt mundane, it was causing a reaction in his mind. Not so the touch, but rather that it was something that he could do to a girl, both giving him courage in the realization he had gone over Raynare's trap and that he could actually score.
'Er, that being said, I feel a bit dirty… Yuri-san knows I'm not 'Momonga', but I might not have given enough time to process that fact…' Issei was considering stopping and clarifying some things, but as soon as he opened his mouth a bit Yuri stuck her tongue in it and Issei lost the trail of thought he might have had.
Thinking felt oddly feverish for him, even if oddly muted, and Issei found himself toppling over Yuri and pushing his teeth against her neck, unsure what he'd do but somehow acting both on instinct, on what he had seen in porn, and overall confused over the situation. 'Er, uh… Um, s-should I wear a condom? What bone would I put it on? U-um, is this going to go that far?'
Yuri let out a cute moan in response as she lay on the balcony under Issei's skeletal body, and she looked to the side while her eyes were half-closed and her glasses a bit wonky on her face… And then she froze.
Issei realized that things had somewhat escalated, considering that it was his first real date with someone who likely wasn't planning to kill him by the end of it, and was unwilling to undo the progress he had made towards recovering from Raynare by going too far and making both him and Yuri uncomfortable.
So, he pulled himself off Yuri, even if the motion took some willpower as his confused sort-of-horny state was having trouble internalizing the situation, with even 'beast-Ise' confused over the event at hand. "Hm? Ah- Sorry, I must have gone overboard-"
However, Yuri had frozen still and her eyes were wide with what looked like fear, making Issei feel as if someone had dipped his head into icy-cold water from the whiplash. 'W-wait?! She's afraid?! D-don't tell me I misunderstood the situation and I… I was about to take her by force or something?!' "Yuri? What's wrong?"
Yuri turned her head towards Issei, opened her mouth in seeming panic and fear, causing Issei to recoil in sudden fear that he had done something despicable… And Yuri's head fell off her shoulders.
Issei's mouth fell open in shock and fear. "Y-Yuri? Wait, you- what- eh- u-?"
Yuri's body became utterly motionless, stuck to a limp pose like a corpse.
"W-wha- ah? Y-you're just- ah, I remember, you mentioned your head falling off because you were a dullahan, sorry, I'll get that now-" Issei breathed a half-sigh of relief as he remembered something that Yuri had mentioned, and reached for her head that had rolled off to the side. "U-um…"
Yuri's expression was stuck to an expression of terror and her eyes were unfocused and glazed-over as Issei took the head gently into his hands and turned it to face towards him.
'C-creepy! T-that's- not good…' Issei felt fear grip his heart as he slowly put Yuri's head into her neck-stump. "Ah- ahem, is that… is this right?"
He let go of Yuri's head, causing it to fall off her shoulders again, which did nothing for her expression of terror or Issei's feeling of abject discomfort and dread.
"Yuri-san? A-are you- what?!" Issei jumped upright as he could have sworn he heard something. "Who- Aureole-san? Are you there? Something happened to Yuri-san! Help!"
However, no-one answered… And that was when Issei realized that there was a bloodstain on the wall of the room, looking like it had seeped through the thin paper-wall of the traditional-style building. "A-Aureole-san?"
Issei glanced at Yuri's head before making a quick decision to put her head on a pillow and prop it so that her head was attached to her neck, or at least as close as he could without also allowing the head to roll off once he let go of it. And after he was done with that, he turned to head to the hallway to find out what was going on and find help.
"Aureole-san? Are you here? Listen, Yuri-san is- EEEEEEK?!" Issei jumped back and almost launched himself through the wall as he walked into the hallway and turned to look to the side… And saw a body in the hallway.
Or rather, a half of a body, which looked like it had been cut in two from waist and it's upper half exploded all over the hallway, covering it with blood, guts and organs.
Moreover, the lower part of the body wore a japanese shrine-maiden like skirt and sandals, making Issei realize who exactly the body belonged to. "W-wait?! Aureole-san! Aureone-san, snap out of it… ah…"
Issei realized that the girl was already dead as he reached down for her, which would have been obvious for just about anyone outright but Issei was struggling to internalize how the nearly idyllic date had turned into something from a horror show in less than a minute. "D-dammit, I have to… Wait, this floor is in Victim's control, I have to find him and alert him that something is going on- Or would he blame me? No matter how you look at it I'm the prime suspect for the murders?!"
A faint 'ahaha' came from somewhere, making Issei spin around in sheer panic while making a mental note to kick himself later for returning the blade Cocytus had borrowed to him as he was completely unarmed.
Issei looked around as he didn't spot anyone with brief glance, and saw that there was a fruit knife in a tray that Aureole had presumably carried with her before she had been murdered, and he grabbed the weapon with shaky hands. Even if he felt oddly embarrassed that he was brandishing a fruit knife in the face of some kind of unseen assassin that was stalking around the place. 'I need to bluff… Um…' "I know who you are!"
A faint 'ahaa…' echoed from somewhere, making Issei's 'skin' crawl. Or rather, his bones rattle in a frightened manner. "Come out! Don't make this worse! Surrender!"
"Ahaa… Ahaha… Of course…" A voice came from behind Issei and he turned around with as much speed as he could muster, even if it caused him to almost stumble.
Issei froze as he saw the murderer who had come to view and stopped in front of him.
There was a huge, bloodied bardiche in Albedo's hand and her free hand's fingers were gently pressed against her cheek and face as if she was keeping herself back with considerable effort.
Issei's mouth opened wide in shock and terror, all the while the part of him that was 'Issei of Kuoh' flickered to flame as another Fallen Angel had destroyed his date for the second time in a row.
"You-" Issei started but was interrupted as Albedo lunged for him, causing him to topple down and fall on top of Aureole's splattered corpse.
"Ahaha… My lord, now that the annoying distractions are out of the way… Indeed, and now that my lord has declared himself to be my partner in crime… Would it be time for our daring getaway to begin?" Albedo had an outright insane look in her eyes and her gaze burned with bright yellow flares as if her eyes were mystic somehow.
Issei was frozen solid in terror and mounting post-traumatic flashback as the Yuuma-Raynare event seemed to play once again… Yet, instead of freezing up and being killed once again, he reached to push Albedo off his chest.
"Kyahn~" Albedo let out a small moan as Issei had touched her chest with the shove and she seemed to fall off Issei and flop to her back without much effort, arms flung wide as if expecting Issei to climb over her-
And Issei made a run for it.
'Albedo- Dammit, she's snapped-' Issei realized three steps into his escape that he was once again running instead of standing his ground, which might incite the people of Nazarick to attack him like they had done before… But then he remembered Aureole's butchered corpse and realized that Albedo was likely not in a mental state where she would be able to discern friend from foe, making Issei frightened that this time just standing his ground wouldn't cut it.
Moreover, as soon as Issei realized that was the case, he realized that Albedo must have done something to Yuri to cause her to be in the state she was in, and he realized that Albedo would likely go after Yuri if she had the chance and finish her off.
Issei glanced behind himself while skidding to a halt, and realized that Albedo had stood up and was making a lunge towards him.
Issei channeled the experience he had gotten with Cocytus and his training in order to dodge, and managed to dodge Albedo's outstretched arms… And get his face in the way of Albedo's knee, which impacted against his skull and sent Issei flying through a paper-mache wall. However, Issei used the blow as an opportunity when he realized that by acting the part of a prey he could draw Albedo away from Yuri, and potentially save the dutiful yet shy dullahan from sharing Aureole's fate.
'Dammit, dammit, dammit-' Issei crawled up and made a run for it, reaching a staircase and flung himself down to save time as Albedo flew towards him.
The woman grabbed the back of Issei's jacket mid-tumble, but he was ready for it and slipped out of it… But the chains that Yuri had added to his sleeves held him down as he had forgotten that he was wearing those, meaning that instead of slipping off entirely the jacket came off but caused Issei's hands to be caught behind his back as if he was a prisoner in chains.
In the end Albedo was left holding Issei's jacket and keeping him in some sort of chain-hold, and it looked like Albedo was… experiencing some sort of emotion as she realized how she was holding Issei.
Which was to say, Issei saw as she froze on the spot, her face gained a confused and curious expression, before she began to breathe heavily and her face began to redden. "Ah… ahaha… Indeed… Partners in crime… No, rather, you took responsibility for my 'crime'... And now my lord is my prisoner… F-free for me to do as I like!"
Issei squeaked in genuine horror as Albedo's expression changed rapidly to that of an extremely perverted, heated one.
"Ghyaah! Noooo!" Issei yanked himself off the jacket, and managed to somehow undo the chains enough for him to get free.
Between the trauma resurfacing in Issei's mind, the danger of the situation, the shock of seeing Aureole in pieces, and worry for Yuri, Issei's mind was… simply put, no longer there.
He had completely gone into fight-or-flight mode, and was running away blindly, without a plan and his rational mind struggling to overcome the panic in order to make some sort of a plan.
In the end Issei failed to realize how long he had been running, where he had been running, only that he had kept dodging, kept running, and finally crashed into something.
Female screaming invaded Issei's ears and he looked up to see that he had crashed through a door of some sort, and that…
Lupusregina was screaming as she was tied to the ceiling by her ankles and dress like a pig being readied for slaughter, her eyes wide open, unseeing and wild while her arms lolled limply.
The girl was screaming as if she was possessed while her body convulsed uncontrollably, hair reaching the floor and throwing dust around.
Issei stared at her for a moment.
Lupusregina's screaming turned to sobbing, followed by turning to screeching in terror, and Issei found his vision starting to dim.
Something crashed into the room with him, and he realized that Albedo's horny panting had invaded Issei's ears.
A pair of smooth, soft hands reached to caress one of Issei's shoulders and the other his throat. "My, my… How brave to run away, my captive… my prisoner… my lord… kukuku… ahahahah… Now~ I~ must~ punish~ you~"
Issei made to lunge to the side, to get away from the grip, but he realized that he had been stripped bare during his escape and he had nothing covering his bones, meaning that he could not ditch more clothes in order to lose Albedo's grip, and he was not strong enough to break it.
Issei found himself slammed on his back on the floor, and a weight settled on his pelvis.
"Now… kukuku…" Albedo's eyes were manic and she rubbed her hips against his pelvis with completely unrestrained, unhinged and insane motions. "Now, after all this time… After all this teasing… I-"
Silence fell into the room.
Albedo was gone.
Issei looked up with eyes that couldn't properly see anymore.
Lupusregina's screaming echoed in the room.
Albedo was no longer on Issei's hips. She was no longer anywhere in the room.
"Hehe… Sorry, Albedo-sama…" A shaky but mischievous voice came from somewhere and Issei managed to turn his head a bit towards the direction, utterly exhausted both mentally and physically.
Aureole Omega was leaning against the hole in the wall, blood all over her clothes yet seemingly intact despite having her upper body shredded to bits.
She had a wooden staff with odd paper-looking decals hanging off of the end of it, and she was resting it against her shoulder as if she had used it just now. "I sent Albedo-sama to… hehe… chill down a bit… But that was strange- What happened to her? It's unusual for Albedo to be that, ahem, unrestrained… Ah- Issei-sama, is everything alright?"
"Yuri- she…" Issei mumbled as he felt completely detached from the situation, as if he was looking down at his body from a third person perspective. "Is she alright?"
"Yuri-neesama? Ah, yeah, she's fine, just paralyzed… hehe, getting blown to bits really gets my blood pumping…" Aureole looked to be in high spirits… And that was the final nail to Issei's coffin.
The relief that Yuri was alright, that Albedo was gone for now, the horror of the past moments clashing against the tranquil date-
Issei passed out, with his last memory being Aureole asking if Issei was alright and then asking it again with a panicked, frightened tone.
'...Nazarick is so scary! Albedo is so scary! Why does this keep happening?! H-haa…' Issei rocked back and forth while Shizu kept patting his head, and her mouth made an 'x' shape as if she was unsure if patting was helping or making things worse.
It looked as if Shizu realized what she had been doing after a while and pulled her hand back before walking to her usual position next to the room's door, resuming her silent vigil.
Issei had woken up in his bed, and had been hiding in the corner near it ever since, feeling as if his head was getting torn to shreds over everything that had happened.
'This… I have to get to the bottom of this. And I need to learn to defend myself quickly, or I'll die for real… However, what is wrong with Albedo, seriously?! It's like she's a serial rapist gauging her next victim or something- Wait, I think I- oh no.' Issei put two and two together, and suddenly everything made sense. '...Albedo… Albedo is a Yandere, isn't she?'
The memories and contents of few specific hentai's came to Issei's mind, and he suddenly realized he was in the deep end of the 'red flags' pool, and by going out to a idyllic date with Yuri after sort of confessing to Albedo he realized that he had probably lifted the biggest red flag of them all.
'...So, in other words…' Issei realized that he had started to slowly calm down, and realized it might have been influenced by Shizu patting his head for a while. 'Albedo is stalking me and making sure she's the only one in my life… Not good, Rias-buchou is going to be in danger when I get out of here!'
Issei paused to think more as knew he needed to be strategic with his decisions or he'd invite further disaster upon the trainwreck he had found himself in. '...But Albedo agreed to be part of my harem, er, or for her and Shalltear to make one because it's not like I have one to begin with, which implies that the harem has more members than Albedo- Or she 'joined' just to find out who those were so that she could get rid of them. Dammit! That means-'
"Shalltear is in danger!"