Momonga rose from the table before pausing for a moment as his instinct warred with his usual behavior. His body couldn't get tired, and sitting in one place definitely wouldn't cause any exhaustion to him, thanks to his undead nature. But, the remnants of his human emotions and feelings, seemed to be urging him to reach out his hands and stretch his stiff limbs a bit.
Deciding to satisfy his body's desires for once, Momonga stretched his body, then felt that strange pleasurable feeling he had sometimes felt in the past under similar conditions, before nodding internally. 'Half the pleasure of such action is simply mentally, not physiological, so it makes sense that I am able to take joy in such things.'
A moment later, Momonga shifted his gaze to the rest of his class, also beginning to stand up from their desk after the bell sounded, looking thoughtfully. 'I can't say that I knew my colleagues all that well in my past life, but usually, after a new employee showed up, the others at least once introduced themselves back. Many even come up to chat a little. Given that a shift lasts about ten or twelve hours daily, it makes sense that everyone tried to at least know exactly who they worked with. Communication is necessary for everyone, even if it consists only of 'hellos' and 'goodbye' every day. I wonder if I appear that standoffish?'
A moment later, Momonga's emotions were extinguished, allowing him to look at the situation with cold rationality again. 'Not that I really need friends, I went to this school to gain knowledge, not that I have found much gain there… In fact, I'm already considering taking the opposite step, finding a suitable reason to get out of from school! It was too boring, and it turned out to be completely different from what I imagined. So, would it make sense in that case to try to become friendly with people that I'll soon never see again? On the other hand, without interacting with them in the first place, I have absolutely no idea what exactly I should be doing at school other than attending the lessons. Actually, even if I want to, how do I exactly do that? On the first day, it might have been easier if I said something like 'I'm new here, can you tell me what's to do around here?'. But this is my second day in this class… Did I already miss the golden time for finding friends!? School is just so hard for me!'
Another bout of emotion suppression calmed him down once more, allowing Momonga to sigh. 'Well, not everything in the world goes the way I want it to, I'll have to start coming up with a fallback plan once I stop attending school. Maybe summon a doppelgänger, and get him to adopt my appearance and go to school for me? No, again, same problems as with Pandora's Actor, since my identity as Satoru needed to stand scrutiny, the possibility of the doppelgänger acting strangely would ruin it… What if they become enraged if someone mocked 'Satoru' thinking that it's an insult against me? One mistake, and I'll lose my place in Kuoh, forcing me to look for another place to create another identity in.
Thinking about how much of a waste it would be, relocating and dealing with another possible faction, almost made Momonga think twice about quitting school. Almost.
'Okay, the hell with it, I'll just have to pen a letter of resignation from the school. I'll probably have to pay a forfeit, considering I haven't even paid the first tuition fee yet. Hmm, where would I find the legal tender needed? I do have certificates at least accrediting the fact that I finished Middle School, so a job at a Factory should be possible… But if I can't get a job legally what then? In YGGDRASIL, money isn't exactly hard to come by. Players could earn by killing monsters, but it's not like monsters drop loot in this world, so no point in attacking anyone, never mind the fact the possibility that they might have a backing behind them. Maybe I could start hunting criminals? Surely, even if they don't have a bounty on them, criminals would have some money, and I could appropriate it for myself.'
As soon as he thought about it, Momonga became sure that this course of action was the right one. Momonga had heard many times, stories from Touch Me about his job, and just how rich some of the criminals he caught were. Some even have apartments with more than one room!
'Besides, no one would miss the criminals… But how to find criminals in this city? Potentially using [Find Evil]? Hmm, even if I did and could, negative karma doesn't necessarily mean a person is a criminal, though it does increase the odds of that… Hmm, perhaps I could just start walking around town invisible, attacking criminals in action, who commit crimes in front of me? But that again would only work if I could find those, worse even, as I have to find in the instant they commit the crime.'
And perhaps as expected, the previously 'easy' solution turns out to be harder than expected to accomplish.
'Huh, do I really have to rob random people? I guess after I accidentally killed Issei, kidnapped Raynare, ruined the Hyoudou family, and forged documents, it wouldn't be the worst thing I've ever done…'
Momonga shook his head internally before rising from his seat and taking a few steps out of his already almost completely empty classroom. 'Hmm, I've already come in contact with a fair number of different magical creatures, creatures that possess magical artifacts. Surely I could sell them if I stole it!'
Another brilliant idea, one that is almost immediately cut down by some pertinent factors.
'I don't know any of the possible buyers! Besides, they will probably be noticed missing very quickly. And since I am new here, having already attracted Rias and Serafall's attention, being a stranger at that, I would end up being the first suspect!'
Step by step, Momonga began to descend the stairs, not really paying attention to his surroundings, busy as he was thinking up ways on how he could earn the money to pay for his schooling. Or more precisely, how to pay the indemnities of quitting it. Letting his eyes wander towards the schoolchildren running around the academy grounds, towards their clubs probably as they carried their equipment, Momonga came to a realization.
'Hmm, I wonder if they have a lot of money? Those sports equipment must be quite expensive, so if I use the [Perfect Unknowable], I could… No, there are too many demons skulking around, I'll probably get caught if they do something like that. Even if I'm invisible, the items I stole would still be visible…'
Moments later, Momonga heard the loud angry voices of the two girls, and yet amidst the anger, Momonga instantly heard the familiar sound of exhausted helplessness in those voices. A tone similar to the one he had heard before at his job from older workmates, especially those assigned to the hardest and dirtiest jobs. Momonga was instantly intrigued.
'Huh, that kind of reaction… I wonder what has happened to the owners of those voices for them to be so dispirited even while expressing great anger?'
A moment later, the situation became a little clearer to Momonga when he saw a guy dressed in Kuoh's school uniform and shaved almost bald run past him with enviable speed. The boy was soon followed by a guy wearing thick glasses seemingly opaque because they were mirror-like, the last person he saw however caused Momonga's eyes to widen in surprise. It was Issei, or to be precise, Pandora's Actor in the form of Issei, perfectly imitating Issei's physical abilities, not overtaking other people but also keeping up with them.
They were followed close behind by a girl with rather long brown hair, dressed in a white training shirt. A uniform that, as far as Momonga himself could remember, was called a 'kendogi'. Complementing the shirt were wide skirt pants, and a dark-colored hakama. She was menacingly holding a training wooden sword over her head.
Putting the two facts together in his head was surprisingly easy, especially considering how all the other students at the academy had reacted to the trio before. Something which made Momonga sigh in despair at another hit to his standing in the Academy. 'On the one hand, I'm glad that Pandora's Actor is good at impersonating Issei, and on the other hand, I'm not happy about it at all! Issei's endlessly collapsing downward reputation pulls mine after him too!'
Momonga wanted to immediately order Pandora's Actor to stop his reputation plummeting action, before pausing.
'Huh, that leaves me with a choice between suspicion and reputation… On one hand, having Issei acting 'normally' creates a good smokescreen for my fake identity. On the other hand, if I have already attracted the attention of Serafall Leviathan – maybe I don't need to care about suspicion anymore? If anything, and they question me about Issei's 'strange' behavior, I can answer that I've used some kind of magic on Issei… Actually, wouldn't that just increase my suspicion? Back on that matter, umu, surely I should give Pandora's Actor a ring to protect him from surveillance, or should I not? It seems a complete concealment of one's abilities is capable of generating quite a few more problems in itself. Having Serafall around is proof of that.'
While Momonga pondered, the girl and the three guys running from her managed to disappear around the corner, and Momonga heard a labored breathing and rapidly slowing steps approaching behind him. Turning toward the source of the noise, Momonga saw an irritated beyond all measure girl in the same uniform as the one he had seen earlier. She was also holding a shinai in her hands and with the murderous looks she has, there is no need to imagine what she wanted to do to the Perverted Trio.
The girl was considerably shorter than her friend, with short pale-blond hair gathered in a simple straight hairdo to her shoulder height, with curls thrown back from her high forehead, supported by a small white headband.
Judging by the girl's red complexion, the wicked crooked smirk, and at the same time – the underlying resentment in her dark brown eyes, she was annoyed at her lack of stamina. Judging by her downturned expression, this was not the first time she had failed to keep up with her friend, an outcome that she was already expecting.
'Umu, I've seen the same eyes in people who worked in my department, who tried for the tenth time to get themselves promoted, but the boss only increased their quotas instead. A death march, only to find out that the march would be extended since they were so 'enthusiastic' about it.' Momonga sighed inwardly, sad at the memory, as their liveliness immediately disappeared, replaced immediately by despair instead.
'To think that Issei had driven this girl to such despair – perhaps killing wasn't so bad now… And now she's being driven further into despair by Pandora's Actor – I feel as if this son of mine is to blame for everything. I want to apologize for his behavior, but he's just doing my bidding and imitating Issei to the best of his capabilities… It's a complicated situation.'
The girl, after taking a few more labored steps, stopped completely after apparently completely losing sight of the fleeing trio. Though, in Momonga's opinion, if she had simply followed after them to the corner, she could at least still catch sight of her friend, but it seems that girl has given up entirely. Then, to Momonga's surprise, with a shout of frustration the girl raised her shinai high above her head, then slammed it into the ground, causing the wooden sword to almost crack with an unpleasant sound.
Momonga, who had been silently watching this, did not react to the girl's actions, as they roughly fit with his earlier conclusions of her great frustration. He only noted that now she would probably be asked to reimburse the cost of a new shinai – or, if it was her own, she would have to buy a new one, probably getting scolded by her parents about it.
The girl, however, with this action, having apparently shaken off some of the emotions that were overwhelming her, now noticed Momonga's gaze on her as she turned to him with an irritated frown on her face. "What do you want?!"
At these heated words, Momonga only slightly bowed his head in apology, feeling somewhat guilty at the very least for the actions Pandora's Actor had taken on his orders. Not enough to actually give any compensation for their discomfort in any way, but enough to apologize at least verbally, given that it was a free meaningless gesture. "I apologize for Pa-khem, Issei's behavior."
The girl frowned at these words, confused as to why a stranger would apologize for another's behavior, after which Momonga decided to clarify. "He's my younger brother."
She blinked, trying to comprehend his words, before comprehension dawned on her, and anger flashed in her eyes again as she instantly adopted a kind of fighting stance. The quick successions of expression making Momonga even feel a little dazed.
Both by the fact that he would have to try very hard not to turn the girl opposite into a bloodstain by almost any action. Up to and including a careless pat on the shoulder, and by the fact that his words seemed to be a personal affront to the girl.
"So it was you who taught him to act like that!" The girl's inference instantly caused a short circuit inside Momonga's brain before, with a terrible realization, Momonga realized something terrible. 'Is that why everyone is so wary of me and no one tries to even try to greet me?! What, like, I'm not guilty, I'm completely innocent! How can I be responsible for the actions of someone I had only met recently! A dead person at that!'
Frozen, stunned by the eldritch truth before him, Momonga didn't even react the moment the girl across from him lunged at him. Apparently transferring all her anger at Issei to his older brother, as he had already been subconsciously defined by her as someone that is 'not a threat'. Either that, or her great anger at being harassed constantly had fried the part of her brain responsible for self-preservation.
Of course, as might be expected, when faced with Momonga's [High Tier Physical Immunity III] a simple strike done by what probably counts as a Level 1 Player it didn't do anything. The girl probably felt as if she had tried to break a thick steel pole with her shinai, an attempt that ended with roughly the same result. When faced with an unexpectedly sturdy obstacle, the girl suddenly spun to the side, and the wooden sword, already cracked due to the slightly earlier blow, let out its last long groan and broke in two halves.
The girl fell to the ground, completely not expecting such sturdiness from Momonga.
Momonga, instantly shedding his brooding, identifying the attempted attack on him, frozen in indecision, as he looked at the fallen girl.
Strictly speaking, he had indeed just been attacked, and Momonga considered himself fully within his rights to respond to this attack. Besides, the shinai, a little dirty from the previous blow on the ground, had stained his clothes, so in a sense Momonga could even say that his opponent's attack had an effect on him. But along with that, she had already fallen to the ground, getting dirty in the process, had broken her shinai and apparently injured her hands a little. So whether or not Momonga needed to 'balance' the scale remains in question.
Besides, the girl had attacked him in demon territory, which meant that Momonga couldn't attack her back anyway, especially if he wasn't wounded.
'Could it be!? Was this a probing attempt by the Demons!?' Almost frightened by his genius and patting himself on the back for his adroitness in always staying vigilant, Momonga was somewhat happy by the course of events. Perhaps it was a test by the demons of his defense, making their non-interference treaty somewhat suspect, but even so he gained another trump card in case of subsequent negotiations with the demons.
Either way, the current situation was again his own fault. It was his orders to Pandora's Actor, to be exact, that resulted in the attack. And while the attack itself didn't please Momonga, in the end he wasn't even so much annoyed or angry about what happened as he was simply surprised.
Eventually, he decided that instead of attacking back, to limit himself to a warning. "Miss, I would much prefer it if you didn't try to attack me. I admit, I don't react very well to attempts from people trying to pick a fight with me."
After another moment, Momonga did decide to give the girl a hand, which she, after a few moments of lying silently in the ground, nevertheless accepted and rose easily from the ground.
A moment later, she was back on her feet, cleaning herself of the dirt. She looked a bit chastised but still irritated, angry, and in no small measure surprised by what had happened as she bent down to pick up what's left of her shinai. Once she saw that she had broken it, she looked devastated, and perhaps a bit scared.
'I won't compensate you. It was a result of the attack attempted on me anyway. Actually, shouldn't I be the one compensated?' Momonga decided his course of action in a moment, before glancing at the girl, immediately noticing how she looked suspiciously at his shoulder, where her strike had broken the sword.
Realizing that he had accidentally demonstrated an ability that clearly didn't exist among 'normal people', and, for whatever reason, the local magical creatures didn't show it to normal people – Momonga tried to quickly find an excuse for his durability. And, failing to think of one instantly, decided to use another tactic, he tried to distract the girl instead.
"By the way, I am not really Issei's brother. To be exact, I'm more his estranged brother? The first time I saw him was the day before yesterday. We have the same father, but different mothers. I haven't seen him all my life and came here from Kyoto after my mother died, determined to move in with my only remaining family."
Hearing this, the girl was immediately distracted from contemplating his strange abilities. After which, emotions like surprise, doubt, and finally regret flashed across her face in a rapid kaleidoscope as the girl realized she had just attacked a random man, and perhaps caught the sad message of his backstory as well.
Momonga wasn't too good at reading faces, so he couldn't tell for sure if the regret on the girl's face was real or fake. But a moment later she bowed deeply to him, showing her apology – in a very unpracticed motion, though. She almost even struck him with her hair.
"My deepest apologies! I apologize profoundly,"
Momonga nodded happily, before hurriedly stopping her apologies, as he saw that she was about to do a dogeza, at least from the contemplating look she has. "Apology accepted, but just in case, I'll warn you that I won't let the next attempt to attack me succeed."
Hearing this, the girl, who had already stopped bowing, looked away, as far as Momonga himself could tell, feeling awkward and probably ashamed of her action. Attacking someone out of nowhere is a dire social faux pas, after all. It was as if the girl had adopted a learned behavior when dealing with the Perverted Trio – Momonga was just the unfortunate victim of familial relations.
Momonga stared at the girl silently for a moment, before realizing a not insignificant detail about her – he actually has no idea whatsoever about her name. Shaking off a little of his shoulder, the one she had struck in another misdirection just in case, extended his hand to the girl, introducing himself. "Satoru Suzuki."
The girl, hearing the introduction and seeing the outstretched hand, still embarrassed by what had happened, extended hers in response. "Katase Higa."
Momonga shook the girl's hand contentedly, feeling a little better after seeing the sincerity of the girl's apology, before the reverie was broken by a feminine, and tired, but more than that, angry voice. "Katase!"
Katase, hearing this voice, instantly turned around, Momonga did exactly the same, seeing the girl he had already seen a little earlier chasing the trio. Now that he could take a closer look, and not be distracted by Pandora Actor's actions, Momonga could actually note the features on the girl. The girl has long brown hair fashioned into two ponytails that reached a bit past her shoulders, with bangs that framed her brown eyes.
Her youthful beauty however was ruined by the look of irritation splashed across her face. Judging by her exasperation and annoyance, she seems to have failed in catching the surprisingly quick perverts. Though, it seemed that she had found another target.
Stalking close towards Momonga, she immediately noticed the remains of Katase's shinai on the ground, and her friend's slightly disheveled look. Almost immediately, Momonga could see her hackles rise. "Katase, what's with the broken shinai?"
"She tried to attack me." Momonga quickly intervened, drawing attention to himself, before a misunderstanding could occur. "I hope that you won't repeat such a thing? My name is Satoru Suzuki, and I am indeed Issei Hyoudou's older brother, but I am not to blame for his actions. I've only been acquainted with him the day before yesterday, having moved here from Kyoto to Kuoh after my mother died."
After finishing his introduction for a second time, Momonga held out his hand for the girl to shake.
It took the girl a few seconds, and Momonga noted a familiar kaleidoscope of expressions, from anger to sadness, before she put down her shinai and accepted Momonga's outstretched hand. "Murayama."
"Maruyama?!" Momonga suddenly felt an irrational awe for the family name, as if he should have been courteous to her because of it for some reason.
"Murayama. It's Murayama." The girl corrected Momonga's misunderstanding, as the irrational awe in Momonga's mind immediately dissipated, leaving Momonga slightly bewildered by the suddenness and rapidity of what had happened. Thankfully, the girls didn't notice the confusion Momonga was having in his own mind. "Murayama Tanabe."
"Oh, alright, it's nice to meet you, Katase, Murayama." Momonga nodded in greeting to the two girls, then, suddenly, he became lost on what he should do next.
"Talking about that",- Katase suddenly realized that she was still holding the wreckage of the shinai in her hands,- "About the sword…"
"Ah, that's right!" Momonga almost shouted, nodding almost too overtly, interrupting Katase's thoughts, eager to prevent her from asking too many questions about Momonga's inhuman feat. " About my little brother, Issei – if he's causing you so much trouble, I think I should talk to him…"
Then with a swift and confident, at least Momonga hoped so, motion he walked away, eager to get away from the two girls, heading to catch up to Pandora's Actor. There's a very important conversation that they need to have. 'Huh, if only I knew exactly why the paranormal in this world hides from humans, then I would also know how I need to behave in case I accidentally demonstrated my inhuman capabilities. Sure, I can use [Control Amnesia] to erase memories of me from Katase and Murayama's mind, but being in demon territory, using such an MP intensive spell is undesirable. Not only do I not know how the demons will react to my actions, I also wouldn't want to give my powers away to a potential enemy. Should I come up with an excuse as to why I have these powers – or should I just disable them for a while, while I'm around humans at least?'
It didn't even take a moment for Momonga to judge such an idea to not only be idiotic, it's almost outright suicidal.
'No, considering that there are many potential adversaries with unknown powers living right next to these ordinary people, I don't want to lose my protection at all. Getting ambushed with my proverbial pants down, is the last thing I want to risk. So, okay, then the right thing to do here is that I'll have to come up with an excuse… But what kind of excuse, though? I would like to ask Pandora's Actor for help, or even just suggestions – but he creates as many problems as he solves!'
In fact, currently, Momonga had the strange feeling that his 'younger brother' was up to no good!
Issei, Pandora's Actor, took a leisurely stride that observers might have mistaken for panicked running, which in fact is nothing farther than the truth. In fact, it was only through his excellent acting skills and perfect control over his own body that allowed him to realistically show that he was 'running' at the level of a mere human. Of course, it was helped immensely by his ability to identify the rapidly changing emotional states of the two unfortunate victims of his schauspiel.
'As expected, Father, where Your son merely announces a new scene, You with a quick stroke of Your pen create a sketch. In a single second, Katase, who was full of anger and long-standing resentment, at me and at herself, for her weakness and inability to stop the mental and emotional torture befalling her friends, tried to rebel against her weakness… Oh, how brilliant! Father, had I not known exactly what You were planning to do with Your movement, I would have slain her instantly, when she dared to glance at You with anger. But, as always, Your brilliance turned her own anger against herself. Turning that light of passion and righteous anger into a seemingly 'wrong' blow against a target that proved to be fairer and more innocent than a white lamb. At once making her look like a villain, making her doubt her judgment for a moment.'
Issei, Pandora's Actor, was literally shaking in excitement, a gesture mistakenly taken by his 'friends' as a response of fear, as they patted him on the back to calm him down.
'At the same time, combining my infinite coolness along with Your act, it broke her, giving her no opportunity to understand what had happened, planting in her mind along with the seed of doubt, the seed of interest. An unsolved mystery! What incredible bait, attracting, in a few moments the question will return to her mind again, but now there will be no answer, and the seed will grow fueled by her interest. Katase is already marked by Your act, and together with her deep friendship with Murayama, the one that will carry her along, to play a part in Your play. For where Katase received doubt, Murayama was left with misunderstanding, the seed of interest in Katase will stretch its roots to her friend, and will sprout on again and again. All that remains, is to secure Your will and conclude the little play with a final scene before proceeding to the next act. '
And, of course, just as Issei had imagined, Father appeared moments later. While Issei himself was leaning against the wall of the building, imitating the labored breathing of Motohama who lay on the ground, trying to calm his rapid heartbeat. And Matsuda, who was rubbing his bruised back, which had already begun to show deep purple bruising from the strikes of Murayama, who had come dangerously close to them several times.
Still, Father adopted the same look of understanding and polite detachment that gave Him the halo of the divine. And yet, hiding behind its radiance, lies the true flame beyond the mind and gaze of lesser beings, the flame of the Supreme Being.
"Umu," Father looked around the 'trio' of perverts and sighed, "Guys… And you too, Pa-khm, Issei, I understand that you are what you are, but if you can't control yourself, could you at least not bother with the kendo club? The girls in it are two steps away from committing murder and are already, um, attacking anyone who looks like you or has anything to do with you even indirectly…"
"What!?" Matsuda's rude answer would very likely have been the last thing he would have uttered in this world had Pandora's Actor not controlled himself. But, knowing that this was all just another part of His great play – he was able to keep his hand, mind under control as he looked up at his Father.
"Are you Issei's brother?" Motohama looked up from the ground, finally able to catch a breath, and his heart no longer seeking to leap out of his chest. Though, if he dared to insult Father, that could be corrected.
"Yes, I am," Father nodded, "And to make a long story short, could you please stop being, ahem, so perverted? At least in relation to the kendo club?"
"No way!" Matsuda replied sharply, then squinted his eyes, glancing back and forth between Issei and Father, as if trying to determine whether their outward resemblance was just a trick, a play on light and shadow. "Ise, are you even sure you're related to this guy?"
Again, another phrase, after which Matsuda would have been relegated to bloody dust in all other circumstances. And yet just another rejoinder from a background character who did not understand his place, not even capable of realizing that he was one.
"Bro," Issei sighed, playing his part, realizing it was time for his lines. "I understand everything, but what are you suggesting?"
"Ise!" Motohama, clearly not expecting such treachery from Issei, looked at him with a look of undisguised horror.
"Ahem, there is nothing wrong with a healthy libido, nor is there anything wrong with being open about one's preferences – I had such a friend." Issei instantly took note of the words of wisdom from the Supreme Being who so rarely, and therefore so valuable, shared information about others of the Forty-One.
"But problems arise when it goes from one's own preferences and personality traits to, in fact, sexual harassment and sexual crimes and causes serious harm to others. Even the megac… I mean, anyone would find something like that abnormal – I'm even surprised you haven't been arrested for your actions so far."
Father, of course, could not be unaware that Rias Gremory was to blame, pulling strings from the shadows of Kuoh Academy, so His words were essentially for more than one recipient – both condemning the trio of perverts and Rias Gremory. In all likelihood, Father had decided to put on the mask of one who disliked perverts this time, as if the Supreme Being really cared about the deeds of inferior beings. Or maybe indeed, Father did possess that trait, which was now to be part of His will?
If that were true, it would be quite a blow to both Albedo and Shalltear.
"No way," Motohama finally got off the ground and rose to his feet, his face full of indignation.
"Katase and Murayama have the most gorgeous bodies! Katase is a proper 78.5-65-79, Murayama is 84-70-81, such bodies don't just walk by! It would be a travesty if such a treasure is to be hidden."
Father blinked before uttering slowly, his face full of surprise. "That is, umu… Very strange and surprisingly specific information…"
Issei was instantly distracted by Motohama's mind for a moment, as it was busy reviewing a catalog of human female anatomies. 'Ah, what an amazing and strange ability, [Perverted Glasses] is it? An ability to always accurately and unambiguously determine the volume of any girl's chest, waist, and hips… Incredible! It seems that the unique abilities of this world can really take any form – is this a unique skill of the [Pervert] class, or is it something else?'
"Okay, discarding that information." Father, however, did not allow his mask of surprise to last.
"If you are so eager to break the law and molest girls, at least alternate your targets. That way, umu, you'll reduce the influence on the girls – and you'll be much less likely to get the police called for you if you're caught peeping for the first time in a new place."
"No, definitely not." Matsuda immediately shook his head. "Someone will definitely report us if we do that! There are no convenient peepholes, one that is so hidden in other places, and we don't know who we'll get caught in them! Plus there will be other people to share them with, plus we have to run all over town… So definitely not an option."
Father paused for a moment, though what the reason might be for that act, Pandora's Actor could not tell. Father, being Undead, was immune to Actor's mind-reading abilities, but even if not, he would never allow himself to touch Father's mind, trusting His judgment, not daring to know more than he was allowed. And equally, fearing that the pure glow of Father's eternal mind would burn even his Supreme One granted mind and flesh, turning him into something incongruously greater than he had been destined for in His great play. Or it might just kill him outright.
But still, in such moments of the Father's thoughtfulness, Issei wondered inexpressibly what great plans were going through His mind and what unspeakable millennia of intrigue were developing in an instant. At His will, reshaping the countless thousands of destinies of this world.
"Eh, okay, I tried to be diplomatic, but it's a lot harder than it sounds – and not that I really care about your wishes, I already know whose side I'm on." Father sighed, coming to a decision that made the Pandora's Actor eager to hear His judgment, tearing the Issei mask off his face for a moment,
"Leave the kendo club alone and stop being perverts – or else."
His father left the last words unspoken, but its presence was unambiguous.
Pandora's Actor's mask was fully thrown off in that moment, when the Great One decided to take a moment to warn lowly beings that isn't worth even that. He had spent a moment where He could have peered through a thousand, thousands, veils with His true greatness, all to utter His infinitely profound ultimatum in the simplest form that even lower beings were capable of understanding.
Submit or die. Even if he wasn't the target of his Father's ire, Pandora's Actor felt the briefest touch of Death's icy grasp on his heart.
"Or what?" Matsuda, understanding but not accepting what was said, stood against Father, it seems that his small mind couldn't fully comprehend just how close he came to death at that moment. But, just as the smallest grain of sand has no chance facing the birth of the universe, so was Matsuda's fate was no more than a foregone conclusion, significant only in demonstrating the very meaning of the word 'insignificance'.
"Feel free to find out." Father replied, whereupon, for a moment, His polite half-smile and patient look disappeared, exposing the true form of the Supreme Being through His gaze and expression. Something which caused lesser beings, not ready to accept Him, no, who never had a role in the Great Play, to recoil away. And Matsuda and Motohama is certainly the perfect picture of 'lesser' beings.
But fear is so easily replaced by anger, and Matsuda, finding a renewed confidence in himself and in his past achievements, as scant as they are, were planning on doing monumentally stupid. Issei caught the emerging thoughts of Matsuda's past numerous school sports records – Matsuda stepped forward, trying to hide the all-consuming fear behind false anger and confidence. "I…!
Matsuda did not have time to utter the next phrase, in Issei's vision, Father slowly raised only one finger, then, without even touching Matsuda, held it out, clearly calculating exactly the right amount of impact force. To Motohama, however, Father's movement looked instantaneous, not even having time to be reflected on his retina, and Matsuda crumpled on the ground.
It took him a second to see Matsuda, who had no time to make a fist, and, as Issei could tell, not really planning to do such a thing, were already on the ground. He was lucky to be alive, if Pandora's Actor even had an inkling that he was about to attack Father, he would've been dead already. No, it was simply out of youthful bravado, a desperate attempt to alleviate his brush with Death.
Issei had to praise Father's mercy, in only repaying such an insolent challenge with only a broken nose. The blood leaking out of Matsuda's nose should be an appropriate enough message.
"Maybe you didn't quite understand what I said." Father, however, paid no attention to Matsuda, who managed only to make a sound of surprise at the unexpected pain, thus bringing his level of unverfrorenheit to a peak. "I was not giving you a choice – you only have one option."
Issei could not restrain himself after these words, radiating Father's infinite coolness, and raised his hand in a gesture of military salute… Which, unexpectedly, was mimicked by Motohama, who glanced at Issei and decided to copy his action, like a mindless child repeating after an adult's action without realizing its meaning. As amusing and embarrassing as it is, pride-inducing stupidity.
'I wonder if Father sees me the same way, with equal embarrassment and proud joy, repeating actions that I don't really understand, even if I have been granted funke at my own lowest level?' Issei thought for a moment before dropping this distraction before his Father's words.
"You want to keep harassing the girls, I don't care." Father looked down with his cold gaze, drawn in like the cold light of distant stars and frightening like the emptiness of the bottomless depths of distant worlds. He was speaking calmly, measured and cold as the coming step of death, "But if you keep peeking at the kendo club, you will bring them to the state of Herohero…"
Issei clenched his teeth, feeling his hands grow cold as he realized exactly what had been said before him, and exactly what had happened to the Supreme Being Herohero.
"And then I will catch you, and break every bone from your body, starting with hyoid and up to your skull, so that death will not find you for some time." Father looked into Motohama's eyes and then Matsuda's, not looking into Issei's eyes, understanding and trusting his judgment. Of course, there's not a bone in his body that would disobey the Supreme Being's will.
"Not that I care about those girls in particular, or even their club in particular, kendo in particular, or people in general. But I care infinitely about Herohero's fate, I am in no hurry at watching it happen to another person. And the fact is, I am simply stronger than you, and therefore can dictate my will to you. The strong rule, the weak suffer – it's the way it was, and the way it will be."
With one last look, Father put in the fear of God into the two perverts.
"In other words," After a moment, Father's benevolent politeness returned to his face. "From now on, you're all no longer allowed to act like perverts to the entirety of Kuoh Academy… You too, Pa– Issei," Father looked up at Issei, and he began to wonder as he watched Father's face adopt an unreadable expression, Pandora's Actor doesn't know, what it means his mind was too abuzz with thoughts to even think about it.
Does Father's words meant that Pandora's Actor no longer needs to play a part in the Masquerade anymore? Is it really?
It would make sense that if Pandora's Actor's test was to understand his Father's will, then it would follow that the end of that test should have been carefully determined by Issei himself.
At that moment, a memory came to Issei – of what Father Himself had said, unequivocally and directly. In other words, his Father had foreseen every question that might arise in His son's mind, and had answered it long before it was asked…
But then, what did the Father's words mean? If Issei was still supposed to be Issei, but was supposed to stop being a pervert… What does that mean? After all, being a 'pervert' was almost the main pillar of Issei's personality, his defining, distinctive, unique trait. An Issei who was not a pervert was no longer Issei - in other words, Issei had to remain Issei and not be one at the same time.
After a moment, understanding pierced Issei's mind! No, Pandora's Actor's. Father had already mentioned it twice, beginning to address Pandora's Actor with his own name, before, at the same time blurring His voice, addressing him also as Issei, with one single address. He had done it twice, specifically in case he missed one of them, to make it clear that it was not an accident, but another important detail of His play!
In other words, it was time for Pandora's Actor to step into the picture – not only as Issei, but also as the Pandora's Actor. Not throwing off with it, the mask of Issei, but changing it to match his own, to continue the play in another role.
In other words, in just two full days, Father had already reached the end of one play. Bringing it to a crescendo before reaching the catharsis of resolution, and was confident that it was time for the Actor to play his part, trusting his understanding on what part he would play…
In other words, it was time for Pandora's Actor to step up onto the stage.
Father looked up at Pandora's Actor, as if trying to convey a thought to him…
And the Actor only smiled a little, his face brimming with confidence. 'Don't worry, Father – I am absolutely certain that I have interpreted Your will correctly!'
Sorry for the delay, a fridge landed down on my leg, so had to spend some time recuperating. Beware, those things are heavy.
Also I just noticed that all this time I was't praising the best beta there is in this world, so starting now. Kudos to DiscereEstVivet - he is the best.
Yes, this fanfiction HAS 18+ scenes and even lemon chapters... On my Pat reon. That's right, on my Pat reon. I would post limes here, and I will post all of the plot-relevant chapters on this site, for free, eventually. But no lemons. No. Not at all. If you want lemons - feel free to look into my Pat reon. It also contains 18 chapters ahead of the schedule there - so, I just posted the current chapter - and also 18 of the next chapters, which is roughly 18 * 8 = 136 pages worth of reading on my Pat reon for 3$! And yes, my Pat Reon HAS lemon chapters on it too.
a spell which mimics gaspers gear and costs a ton of mana... which is a level equivalent to a heavenly dragon having such strong restrictions? kinda feels wrong tbh - 1 - They are not each other absolute copies. 2 - Different magical systems act differently
What odds that they'll come to a conclusion that he is the "God of Nothing"? - Pretty small
So, the Pat reon\rure is your way to go. 18 chapters ahead of the schedule for 3$. Also lemons.