New Devil of The Gremory House
Life 44: Seigen
Fear gripped the hearts of everyone around her, and indeed she felt a sense of dread she had nearly forgotten since the last attack.
However this one was far more devastating and grim.
Green blasts of energy rained down from above and leveled the landscape around their home like it was nothing. The only thing protecting the Yōkai and humans panicking in fright was a barrier created by some of the best and brightest spellcasters they had to offer. And even then it was clear that the barrier was going to fall before long.
Yasaka looked up in fright, seeing the red-clad messenger of death rain down his endless barrage of scorn and anger. It let out a terrifying roar that strained on the barrier from its sheer force and sent the fear of death running through the fox's soul.
This wasn't at all like it was before. This Red Dragon Emperor didn't try to sneak in or intimidate them or place a sense of fear in their hearts.
This one was just a monster. Warped and deranged and bellowing like an actual dragon. Naruto had told her about this. The pinnacle form for the Heavenly Dragons. Juggernaut Drive.
This host - whoever it was - sacrificed their mind and their soul and everything that made them who they are simply for power. And now they were attacking for the same reason as the last one did all those years ago-
Her ears perked up and she immediately ran in the direction of his voice. As she did explosions riddled the barrier and strained it to its last legs. Any moment now their defenses would fall completely and Kyoto, Urakyoto, everything would be subject to its destruction. She spotted him, "Naruto!"
"That bastard's attacking!" He glared up at the sky as his wife, son, and daughter stayed by his side, "I have to stop him!"
"Can you handle him?! He's doing that Jugger-thing you told me about!"
His daughter ran into his leg and squeezed it tight with tears in her eyes. His son looked up at him with expectations, hoping that he would change his mind and come with them. Naruto looked down at them sadly and patted their heads before looking to his wife. She seemed to understand, leaning up and kissing him before pulling her children back.
Yasaka could feel the dread and worry between them, and could see it in her best friend's expression as he turned to her, "Look after everyone. And keep them safe."
"They'll be here when you get back." Yasaka frowned, "We'll meet again."
Naruto chuckled, "Didn't mean to make it sound otherwise."
She didn't believe him.
His white armor appeared around his body and he took off to the sky. As he did the barrier finally faltered and fell only for Naruto to charge into his counterpart and explode with power.
Yasaka immediately started in the opposite direction, making sure his family was together and guarded amongst the crowd. As they ran together she hoped to get everyone to safety before it was too late-
But a flash of light ahead of her followed by screams started to dash those hopes.
People were using the panic to attack and purge the residents of Urakyoto. Humans and Yōkai alike that had picked fights with them and made enemies of the peaceful settlement for years. Apparently the only thing they hated more than each other was the thought of their brethren getting along.
Did…did they bring the Red Dragon here on purpose?
Anger welled up inside Yasaka as she started to change and grow into her nine-tailed form. She stood over the crowd as a giant fox, facing the powerful humans and the monsters attacking them in their crisis with a roar as another battle raged through the sky.
It all blurred into black after that.
"Waste my time?" Naruto repeated and questioned Connla's odd choice of wording, "What does that mean?"
"Pretty much exactly what I said." The shadow-user insisted as the darkness by his legs started to rise and shift with his desire. The ends of the shadows he controlled sharpened into deadly points that all aimed at the whiskered blond Devil and the young, frightened fox at his side, "So how about we just get started?"
Naruto narrowed his eyes at the heroic descendent before crossing his fingers and summoning a clone. It quickly started to lead Kunou away from them as she looked back in concern. The blond Devil simply squared up with the Hero faction member, his Demonic Power curling off his fingers and prepared to take on elemental form at any moment as Connla raised his hand.
He threw out his palm and the shadows started weaving their way towards Naruto. The whiskered [Pawn] immediately jumped away from his first position as the shadow weapons rose and pierced down in his direction. As the shadows swarmed in his direction Naruto started weaving and moving across the train station. He ran towards a pillar along the side of the station and jumped on it before using it as a foothold to leap off again as the shadows stabbed through it.
Naruto reached the ceiling above them and used his chakra to stick to it. Standing on the ceiling, Connla looked at him in shock before scowling, "What the hell are you doing up there? Trying to copy Spider-Man or something?"
"Funny," The Devil scoffed, "I thought playing at being heroes was your whole thing."
Connla snarled and raised his hand as the shadows whipped up towards the ceiling. Before they could reach him Naruto started to dodge and slide along the tiles and lights above the shadows that sliced everything in their way. As he avoided the assault of shadows, Naruto converted the Demonic Power in his hand into lightning and spiked it down towards the shadows. He remembered how attacking into the shadows could return damage to their caster and hoped to gain a moment of reprieve with the attack-
But the shadows ducked down and weaved out of the way of his attack. They then focused in, swirling around each other into a point and lunging at him. Naruto quickly jumped off the ceiling as the shadows shredded the tiles and fluorescent lights into pieces. He glared at Connla, "Guess you got a little better with your shadows since then."
"I've had a lot of time to practice and hone my skills." Connla emphasized his point by raising a greater number of shadows than he did before, "I've been waiting for this day. Things won't end like they did back in that warehouse."
"Eh, don't be surprised if they do." Naruto signaled and a pop echoed from further down the station. He felt a rush of natural energy into his system as he activated Sage Mode. Connla must've noticed the change because he panicked, immediately reacting and throwing out a bevy of shadows to skewer the blond Devil.
But Naruto easily evaded the swarm of shadows trying to make him into a pincushion. With his heightened senses he felt the extensions of his enemy's will and intent try to surround him from all sides. He was dodging so effortlessly that he could also notice, just like before, that his senses were muddled the further he tried to extend his notice in the foggy realm.
Naruto slid in close by the young aspiring hero and slammed his fist into his chest. Connla raised shadows between his body and Naruto's fist to protect himself and succeeded in guarding against most of the force. But still he quickly jumped back with the strength of the punch and tried to keep his distance from the Sage.
Naruto rotated his wrist while staring the startled hero down, "You need to let me pass now before you get hurt."
"Don't be so cocky." Connla growled, tightening his grip as shadows started to raise around him into a curve and up into a wall that restricted the other side of the station, "I told you already that I've gotten stronger since last time."
"So have I. In more ways than one." Naruto threatened, "And believe me you don't want to see what I can do when I let loose. So get out of the way."
Connla looked aggravated and insulted by Naruto's dismissal of his abilities…
Before he nervously smiled. Naruto noticed his expression and glared at him suspiciously.
Connla shifted his hands at his side, "You sure you don't want to use some of those stronger moves right now while you can?"
The whiskered blond shook his head, "You don't want that."
"Oh? Is it because you're being considerate? Or for another reason?"
He knew. They knew. They knew his Balance Breaker had a fixed timer and the moment he used it that timer would start. He wasn't sure how they did but that remark about wasting time made a lot more sense now. Naruto glared down his enemy and decided to finish this as quickly as-
"Because if you're being considerate, you should also consider who else is involved."
Naruto's stomach dropped, "Kunou!" He heard the young Yōkai cry out behind the veil of shadows raised by Connla's side. He pushed his sensing out, feeling it as Kunou was captured with a shadow wrapped around her and struggling for freedom. Naruto tried to make his way through but the shadows grew wider and thicker, covering any way past and protecting Connla from punishment as Naruto was pushed further and further-
A flash of golden light, a cratered train platform, and an explosive blast of force signaled Naruto's push through the shadows and to the other side. He slammed a Rasengan into the shadows rising up around Kunou and freed her before clutching her in his grasp. Once they were by the wall he looked down at the fox girl, "Are you okay?"
"I-I'm fine." Kunou murmured before looking up at Naruto. Once she saw his golden form she worried, "I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to-"
"It's okay. He was looking for a chance to do this." He placed the young fox down and looked back as the shadows gathered and tightened around Connla's form. The visage of a human in all those shadows peered through as Naruto felt a surge of danger rush with the increase in power.
Connla stepped forward, his body coated by the shadows he controlled as his voice echoed out, "There. See? I told you I was here to waste your time."
Issei charged forward and swung at Minato as the blond ninja dodged his attacks. Even with his Scale Mail engaged he was always gaining on the young hero but just a hair's breadth away from hitting him. No matter how fast he attacked or how many punches he threw they never seemed to reach Minato's weaving around.
"Is this the best the Red Dragon Emperor can do?" Minato asked, "Heracles made it sound like you were a challenge but I find that hard to believe."
"Shut up dammit!" Issei swung up at his chin but Minato guarded with his knife. The punch slapped the knife out of his hand and straight into the ceiling while Minato leaned back and jumped away before he could get hit. In that moment Issei gathered his Demonic Power in his hand and unleashed it, "Dragon Shot!"
The green blast sailed through the air and looked ready to engulf Minato completely. The young hero's hands flashed to his side in an instant-
The green blast vanished against his knife.
And reappeared by the knife embedded in the ceiling above Issei, dropping down on his unsuspecting head and assaulting the Sekiryuutei with his own attack. Issei dropped to the ground as the force of his blast brought him to his knees.
Issei struggled against the blast before it finally vanished and he had a moment of relief. The [Pawn] looked up irritated at the blond hero standing over him without any fear. Issei grumbled, "Damn, that really is a pain in the ass."
"I can irritate a legendary dragon and Devil this easily?" Minato remarked with a small huff, "I guess I should feel proud."
"Hey!" Minato jumped back as Irina charged form the side and swung for his body. The Angel gripped her katana and stood defensively in front of Issei, "Don't think he's the only one you have to deal with."
"Sorry. I was under the impression that all of the Sekiryuutei's allies relied on him to fight the battles first for them." He shrugged, "I mean if you have a panzer tank you're not exactly going to tell the infantry to storm in and get in the way."
Irina felt irritated by his underestimation as she rushed forward with her katana in hand. The Angel swung her sword at the aspiring hero and he guarded with his three-pronged blade. However Irina didn't stop pushing forward, stepping in rapidly and bringing her sword down on him from every angle she could as she tired to pressure him. Minato answered her attacks with blocks only, back-stepping in time with her movements and parrying her swings in a shower of sparks.
Irina yelled and swung her sword down and Minato caught the blade on the prongs of his knife. He showed a bit of amusement as they struggled against each other, "I apologize. I thought very little of the Sekiryuutei's allies but it's clear you don't carry a blade for show."
Irina smiled to hide her nerves as she realized Minato's guard wouldn't budge an inch, "I'm not just a lovely Angel girl standing by Issei-kun's side. I was an exorcist that succeeded in completing many difficult missions for the Church while in its service."
"That so? Then I guess I'll have to respond in kind."
Minato dropped to the ground and kicked Irina's foot out. The Angel toppled over and Minato stabbed up for her chest only to hit air as her wings sprouted and she flew away. Now out of his immediate range Irina conjured up dozens of weapons of Light before dropping them down from above on Minato.
The ninja tossed his blade aside and disappeared in a flash before her projectiles could land on him. Irina spotted the flash of yellow in the corner of her eye and turned to throw another volley of Light attacks. But by the time she had thrown her attack Minato had already drawn another two knives and threw them in opposite directions.
And so the exchange continued for several more seconds. Irina struggled to summon the same amount of Light attacks each time and keep track of where he might appear as he flashed, threw several knives in different directions, and then transport to one of them only to repeat the process. Irina was quickly being overwhelmed by how quickly he disappeared and from where he could appear. The young [Ace] tried to keep up as best she could-
"I hope this was enough to honor you as an opponent."
Irina's eyes widened as she looked aside and saw Minato had flashed back to knife lodged in the ceiling. She tried to move to attack but he had already dropped towards her and punched her under the ribs. The beautiful Angel grimaced and gagged on the rush of bile that filled her mouth as Minato pulled out another knife-
Issei rushed out of the crater his attack and charged at the whiskered blond. Minato immediately responded, changing the direction of his momentum and spinning his blade around into a reverse-grip before it suddenly channeled a massive rush of electric power. He ducked under the staggering force of Issei's punch and slashed for his ribs, cutting through the armor of his Scale Mail with his lightning knife and into the flesh underneath.
Minato passed by Issei and turned around to deliver the finishing blow but found his arm gripped in Issei's hand. His eyes widened in shock as despite the devastating blow he had landed the Heavenly Dragon still had to strength to guard and counter. A green glow emanated from the inside of Issei's gripping hand while his fist drew back to attack, "RAAAAAHHHHH-"
Issei suddenly found himself being dragged around at impossible speeds around the train station as Minato flashed them to every knife he could. It continued until Issei was suddenly nauseous and found himself falling through the air. He slammed into the crater he was in before and Minato hung over him gripping the knife in the ceiling. He pulled it out and dropped to the side of the crater to look down on him, "O-Ow."
"Issei-kun!" Irina threw another Light attack and Minato just jumped back to avoid it this time. The Angel slid to his side and looked down at the cut through his armor that was seeping blood, "O-Oh no. I-It's okay. Just hang on. We'll get Asia-San to fix you up."
"Ah, no worries." Issei attempted to console his frightened childhood friend with a cheerful tone, "I've taken a lot worse than this before."
"I can believe you've taken worse beatings before." Minato said as he rubbed the wrist that had been squeezed tightly in Issei's grip, "What I'm having a hard time believing is that you won the fights you took those beatings in. Because if this is how easy it is to dispose of a Red Dragon Emperor…I'm a little disappointed about life in general if that's the case."
"Yeah well you got lucky. You should've seen what would happen when my true power showed itself." Issei hacked up some blood that spilled through the mouth of his mask, "Not that the fucking thing would choose to do it now when I could be dying. That'd be too easy."
"The fact you can't even use your power to its fullest extent is even more upsetting. I don't even know if killing you could be considered an achievement."
"Why are you doing this?!" Irina cried out, earning the blond's attention as she glared at him with frustrated tears in her eyes, "What do you have to gain from this?"
"I told you I wanted to kill the Sekiryuutei myself. My ancestor died fighting one and I was curious."
"No!" She shook her head, her twin-tails swinging around her as she looked up at him, "I mean you didn't know Issei-kun was coming here! You didn't know any of us were coming here! But you still came here, kidnapped Kunou-chan's mother, and are trying to attack Great Red here in Kyoto! Why?! Didn't your ancestor fight for this place?! Didn't the old Naruto-San die protecting it?! Why would you want to waste his effort and destroy it?!"
Minato stared at her and Issei in contemplative silence for a moment. He looked down at the knife he had retrieved from the ceiling before spiking it down into the floor by his feet. And before they could ask what he was doing he disappeared in a flash of yellow.
"When you hear the story from Yōkai or people who lived here, I'm sure they only have words of praise and love for him. But back then he forced his views upon a society that was rigid and unwilling to compromise." Minato flashed to another part of the train station to pick up his knife before disappearing again, "And that meant he made a lot of enemies with people that didn't share his view." He kept disappearing and reappearing to collect his knives as he spoke, "Not much of a problem for the legendary White Dragon Emperor…but not such a little nuisance for his family."
"He fought to make Kyoto a better place for people and Yōkai, even against the strong opposition of clans and families that refused to allow the two together. And each time he would fight them back and secure the line. But then he died…and this magical little place had to fend for itself. Which meant they had to choose what they could protect and what they couldn't. And his family wasn't on the list."
Minato flashed away and Issei whispered, "You mean…"
"My family had no one to protect them after he died and the place he gave his life to save abandoned them. Suddenly they were beset on all sides by enemies of this patriarch who was no longer around to guard them. They were hunted. Killed. Until only the son was left and had to escape. Change his name. Hide his history. Live among the people who had no idea where he came from. And that's how it was for centuries." Minato arrived back at the blade he spiked into the ground and yanked it out, "I was raised on stories of how my illustrious ancestor surrendered his family for his duty to this place. How the people and monsters he protected didn't return the favor once he died and they were left alone. How my line had to fight and scrounge and do everything to survive until this day. And now I'm here…and I guess I'm just settling things once and for all."
"His family…Naruto-San's…" Issei inquired, "What were their names?"
Minato looked back and stared at him silently until he let out a little chuckle. It had zero mirth or levity in it as the whiskered teen shrugged and sighed, "I have no goddamn idea. Who cares? They weren't the important part of his heroic legend."
Minato bitterly said as he turned and walked away. He left Issei and Irina together on the floor as he made his way upstairs and out of sight entirely.
Connla weaved dozens upon dozens of shadows around him like blades. They spiked out towards the several clones of Naruto that dashed around while covered in Kurama's cloak. The golden ninja flashed around at blinding speeds, trying to overwhelm the shadow-wielder to the best of his ability.
But his control of the shadows had greatly increased with the activation of his Balance Breaker. Even if they missed and stabbed into the wall while aiming for Naruto they would immediately branch out and try again for another clone. The train station in this artificial space was being riddled with blades of shadow looking to skewer their target.
And yet the Naruto clones weaved through every opening they could find in the web of shadows Connla made. They tried to move around as much as possible and keep the shadow-user's concentration split but his reactions were growing quicker and quicker. Some branches of the shadows started gaining spikes or edges that cut into the clones. In response Naruto created more to keep the madness going.
Some of the golden figures made their way through the worst of the shadows and rushed the shadow hero all at once. But they realized that when they tried to hit him they passed through him like air and couldn't land a blow. And when they did Connla took that chance to counter, forming spikes across his whole body that jetted out and skewered two unsuspecting clones.
Naruto and Connla resorted to rapid attacks and strikes to try and outmaneuver the other. Connla's transparent form made him invincible to Naruto's attacks, even as the golden ninja flashed around with flying kicks or punches from all sides. The shadow-user started weaving the shadows around him into edges and long blades from the hand to skewer Naruto on. But the ninja boy could easily predict his telegraphed movements and dodged them. The shadow-user's abilities might have been impressive but it was clear he didn't have combat experience or creative ways to use his Sacred Gear.
"HA!" Connla stabbed for Naruto's chest but was stopped just short of contact by an ethereal chakra hand sprouting for his back and catching the shadow blade. The hero and the ninja struggled against each other before Connla chuckled, "If you're having such a hard time with me then you'll never stand a chance against the leaders."
"Don't get ahead of yourself." Naruto grunted, "It's clear you made this form after we beat you before so I thought I'd at least let you stretch your legs in it. Plus you threatened a kid and that got me pretty pissed off so when I feel like beating you, trust me you'll know."
"Oh will I?"
"Yes you will."
Another Naruto jumped down from above with a spinning orb in hand and several smaller orbs rotating around it. The orb was slammed into Connla's back and create a massive vortex of that crushed him into the pavement. The force of the attack grew and grew for several seconds before finally petering out completely. The shadows vanished and the Naruto clones popped before Naruto's golden form disappeared and he stood over the beaten hero.
"G-Gah!" Connla spat up a mix of blood and spit as he tried to lift himself up before toppling over again. He let out a wheezing breath before scoffing, "I-It won't matter."
"I-I made you use your trump card. It won't be working for much longer. A-And the others will take that chance to defeat you. Hehehe," The shadows faded from Connla's body as he went still, "A hero…always wins…in the end."
The blond boy stared down at the beaten young man before turning away, "Kunou? You still here? You okay?"
"I-I'm here." The little fox girl spoke up as Naruto made his way over, "Is the fight done?"
"Yeah it's done."
"He's unconscious but not dead. Don't see a point." He looked around and saw the exit, "We should make our way out and find the others."
The young Yōkai nodded and followed his lead. As they walked out of the train station and found the area still covered in a hazy fog they realized they were still caught in Dimension Lost. No matter which way they went or how far they walked they didn't find a single other soul along the way. They were trapped in here with the Hero faction. Which meant that they weren't going to be able to leave until they found the Hero faction member from before that could cast the fog.
As they walked along the path Kunou spared a look up at the older blond beside her. She saw that his body had changed after being coated in that golden energy just like it did yesterday. He was shorter, with a slightly rounder face, and with new clothes and a headband on his head. She spoke up, "Um, why do you look different?"
"Huh?" Naruto looked down and realized what she meant, "Oh, because this is what I looked like a few years back before I came to this world."
"Yeah. My Sacred Gear's Balance Breaker allows me to change into a younger version of myself when I still had access to a greater amount of power." Naruto answered, "That power lets me link up with Kurama and achieve that golden flame form you saw earlier."
"You were really, really strong when you are like that. There were so many of you and they were moving so fast and that weird orb you made was so powerful."
"It was pretty good wasn't it." Naruto smirked, "So when you see that crabby old Fallen Angel again, make sure to pester him and tell him how great it is. Just rub his nose in it."
"But it has a timer, doesn't it?" Naruto looked down and saw Kunou's conflicted expression, "That's what that shadow-user was after."
"Yep. Now that I'm like this I have between 45 minutes and an hour before I turn back to normal. And that fight with that guy only wasted time." Naruto shrugged, "So there's a chance if we don't end this fast that I'll turn back to normal."
"I'm…I'm sorry." Kunou apologized, hanging her head in shame as she did so, "I was so busy watching you fight that I didn't see the shadows come up behind me. If I had maybe I could've avoided them and you wouldn't have - eep!" Kunou flinched as she felt Naruto flick her fox ear.
She immediately covered them defensively and looked up at Naruto as he reassured her, "That guy would've turned and attacked you completely if it meant getting me to use my ability. There's no point worrying about what we could've done differently. We're here now and we'll fix it how we can." Naruto smiled, "Besides this isn't my only trick. So don't you worry. We'll be getting your mom back soon."
Kunou lowered her hands and faintly smiled. It grew more confident as she nodded, "Right."
As they drew towards the castle, they spotted several familiar figures standing just outside of it. Naruto and Kunou quickly picked up the pace to join their friends, "Guys! You're here! Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." Yuuto greeted them on arrival, "Saji-kun, Rossweisse-San, and myself were trapped in different train stations with some Hero faction members. It sounds like Xenovia and Asia-San were together and were able to handle their fight as well. What about you?" The [Knight] noticed his younger form, "I see you had quite a fight."
"Yeah we'll it's handled now." Naruto looked over and saw Issei getting treated by Asia while Irina anxiously watched, "What about you?"
"With love from your alternate daddy." Issei said with a laugh and a grimace. Asia's green glow faded as Issei's gash had disappeared before he lowered his shirt again. He stood up and did a stretch before turning to Naruto, "It sounds like he wants to pick a fight with me, you, everyone and anyone he can."
"Had trouble with his teleporting?"
"It was so hard to fight him." Irina muttered defeatedly, "He was so fast and it was impossible to keep track of which knife he was transporting to."
"But you survived."
"Because I think he got bored of us and walked away. Didn't consider us the challenge he hoped we'd be." Issei looked down at his palm and gauntlet. He then closed his fist and smirked, "Big mistake. Because his trick isn't gonna work twice."
The conversation was stopped from going any further as the doors to the castle slowly opened themselves. The group of young fighters watched the path open for them completely in silence. Xenovia stepped forward, hefting a massive blue and gold sword up at her side as she marched ahead, "Good, I'm glad they're at least polite enough to invite us in and not waste our time."
"Xenovia," Naruto stepped and looked at her weapon, "I thought you had to turn Durandal over for repairs or something."
"I did. Modifications and upkeep by the Church. It just came back, and I promise it's got power to spare. Asia can attest to it." They turned to the nun who nervously giggled before hiding her face to avoid speaking. Something about Xenovia's confidence and Asia's timidity left them all feeling uneasy.
"Ugh, there were so many of them." Gasper moaned while dragging his legs along the ground as he made his way into the Arashi Heights, "A-And they were so strong." The little Dhamphir tripped over his feet and dropped to the ground, "No more."
"C'mon, Gya-kun." Koneko lifted her fellow freshman up and hoisted him up on her shoulder, "Don't go passing out yet. We need to take a bath and get the battle smell off us."
"Oh, a nice hot bath to freshen up! Sounds like a plan, nya!" Kuroka exclaimed with joy as she nearly started stripping right there in the lobby. Rias and Akeno quickly grabbed her kimono before she could slip it off and the older Nekomata looked between them slyly, "Oh, you two offering to help? I'm sure you've got more than enough experience working clothes over your babies too, right?"
"What, you don't wanna?" Kuroka teased, "You know I bet if we taped it and made it pay to watch, we'd make a killing. Now that sounds like a good way to make a living."
"Just wait until we're upstairs and near the bath before you start stripping." Akeno warned, "Can you at least do that?"
"Geez, you girls are no fun. Fine, I'll hold off." The Devil woman raised her arms and stretched them out as her breasts bounced under her, "Man it feels good to know I'll have unrestricted access to baths from now on. I'm gonna rub it in Vali and Arthur's faces when I see them and shove it right up Bikou's nose. Thanks again for saying I can stay whenever I want Heiress-chan-"
"Hold on." Rias grabbed Kuroka's sleeve before she could step too far away. She looked back at the redhead and saw her face settled in a concerned and uneasy expression, "Those monsters we were fighting on the frontlines…they were so strong and made almost perfectly to fight Devils. What were they?"
"Oh those? They were monsters made by the Annihilation Maker of the Hero faction. All those attacks they've been committing on the factions borders and in other Mythologies were so those monsters were strong enough to counter our defenses. And that fog they came out of was the Lost Dimension user. I'm guessing the numbers we fought here are 10 times worse over in Kyoto."
That answer left Akeno uneasy and made Rias gulp in fright. She steeled herself and asked, "The Hero faction…just how strong are they?"
Kuroka stayed quiet and thoughtfully considered the question before she said, "The guy in charge of it? He's one of the guys Vali wants to fight the most. He said if that guy could draw out his Longinus power like Vali could…then there's no one who could stand in his way."
She left, leaving them with that answer and making Rias freeze with concern. A hand on her shoulder drew her attention to Akeno as her best friend tried to ease her worries, "We can trust them to take care of themselves. We're not going to help anyone just by being here with our nerves."
Rias turned to her [Queen], "Isn't there some way we could go there and help?"
"We have to believe in them right now. If we went over there right now I don't think we'd be much help."
That answer left Rias disheartened as Akeno led her to the elevator. As they walked along the [King] wished her subordinates the best of luck in their endeavor. And hoped that she would see her love happy and well again tomorrow.
There was an air to Nijō Castle that sent each and every one of them on edge. The fog was still hovering over the ground and there was no one to be seen. Yet the team of Devils, Angel, and Yōkai could not shake the fact they were quite literally storming the castle their enemies had prepared as their base of operations. They expected the Hero faction to jump down and attacked them from any angle in an ambush…
Which made it slightly odder when they looked up and spotted the leaders and executives standing over them on a building within the grounds of the castle. Cao Cao waved to them pleasantly, "Greetings! So glad you all came to visit us again. I was concerned we wouldn't be able to settle our matches from yesterday and that you'd stay away from us out of fear or something?"
"You still got Kunou's mother, the other Bijū, and are planning to bring a giant world-ending monster within the city limits?"
"Then no. No we aren't going to stay away."
"I figured. Speaking of," Cao Cao raised his fingers and snapped, "Say hi."
They heard a shrill cry echo out from the trees inside the castle. And when that scream reached out, Kunou felt her stomach drop and heart break, "MOTHER!"
A figure started to grow up over the trees and expand. A giant beast with nine tails swirling around it started to overshadow them and crush the trees around it. The Occult club looked at the growing beast in shock before it finally stopped and stood over all of them.
A mighty fox with nine tails that towered over everything.
"Okay. Maybe she is as tall as me. On a side note, I prefer when I'm the one towering over people and not the other way around."
"Mother!" Kunou desperately cried out to her mother hoping that she would look her way and return to her. But as the giant kyūbi just stared ahead blankly, Kunou's hopes were dashed, "Mother! Mother it's me! It's Kunou! Please say something!" As Yasaka continued to ignore her, Kunou's eyes brimmed with tears, "What happened to her?!"
"Sorry little one." Cao Cao spoke up, "You're mother's cognitive functions have been hampered while under our control. We need her to control the vast source of chi and power running through Kyoto's leylines, and we couldn't risk her turning on us before our mission was complete. I know it's not much of a consolation-"
Xenovia raised her sword, channeled a ludicrous amount of aura into her blade until it breached the sky, and brought it down on their enemies. A deafening explosion rocked the earth and obliterated everything in the path of her sword. The light started to fade and the aura receded into the [Knight's] sword until everything was back to normal.
The Occult club stared at the giant crater her attack had created out of the national landmark in surprise. She let out a relieved sighed and hoisted her sword back on her shoulder, "Man, am I glad this place isn't the real world. Or that would've caused some trouble."
"Xenovia…" Naruto paused to find his words, "What was that?"
"My upgraded Durandal. Alchemists from the Church combined it with the fragments of Excalibur they were able to collect in order to enhance it. I call it Ex-Durandal." The blue-haired girl smiled at her sword lovingly, "Isn't its power amazing?"
"So that's it?" Yuuto said defeatedly, "You're already powerful sword was granted even more power?"
"No, it can do a lot more than just what you saw." She pointed back at the crater, "But what else do you need when you can do things like that, am I right?"
"Techniques, Xenovia." The other [Knight] groaned, "You could try to use techniques."
"The Hero faction member that attacked us…" Asia shook her head, "Never stood a chance."
"Well, that was something."
The Occult members turned in shock to see Cao Cao, Siegfried, Jeanne, and Heracles emerge from the woods with Minato now joining them. The Longinus-wielder rubbed his neck, "I wasn't expecting a blast quite that powerful. Thanks for the jump-in Minato."
"N-No way!" Xenovia reacted in shock, "They avoided that!"
"That was such a big blast too." Naruto grumbled in annoyance as his body was covered in chakra, "I was sure at least one of them would get caught."
Issei scoffed, activating his Balance Breaker and summoning his Scale Mail, "Clearly you two need to watch more TV. They never get taken out with the sneak attack."
As the other members of the Occult club started to draw their weapons and prepare for battle, Jeanne tilted her head curiously, "Mina-kun, didn't you go to fight the Sekiryuutei earlier? I thought you would've tried to kill him then and there."
The whiskered blond nodded, "I had the chance. He was on his knees and beaten. But I suddenly found myself in a very rotten mood." The ninja shook his head with a scowl, "All these years expecting more from the Heavenly Dragon and I could knock him around in a few minutes."
"You could?" Heracles questioned, suddenly feeling rather ashamed he'd fought for so long yesterday, "I thought he was very powerful."
"He is but all he had going for him is power. You can understand when I beat him down so easily that my expectations were crushed and I didn't have it in me to even kill the beaten beast."
"Was it that or because you were still dealing with your great-granddaddy issues?"
Minato's eyes narrowed on the red figure in front of them, "What did you say?"
"I mean you were obviously sad and looking for sympathy when you told that story, right? And I get it - it super sucks! But don't get your angsty melodrama confused with not being able to kill me."
"I-Issei-kun." Irina said nervously at the clear prodding the pervert was trying to pull on their enemy.
"You really want to pull that move, Devil?" Minato snarled through gritted teeth, a vein bulging over his eye as two knives slipped into his hands, "You should have considered me walking away a mercy. If I decide to come over there and kill you and your lot, it won't be as quick or cleanly as before."
"I know you mean that. And I bet you're right. Except you screwed up on one little detail!" Issei pointed at Minato challengingly and declared, "You didn't kill me when you had the chance! And now that technique of yours won't work on me at all!"
The Hero faction members realized what had been initiated.
The Occult crew could do nothing but look at their armored friend with worry.
Issei smiled behind his helmet.
And Minato's eyes narrowed a fraction deeper.
The gauntlet had been thrown down. And it demanded an answer.
Unfortunately for the group of Devils while they hadn't grown accustomed to Minato's advanced speed and maneuvering, they were having an easier time at least guessing from the movement of his knives. What they didn't know was that Minato had also learned to apply the transportation markings of his knives onto other surfaces and even people.
Like the one he planted on Irina when he struck her side during the fight in the train station.
In the blink of an eye Minato suddenly appeared in their midst. The fastest members of the peerage saw a flash of yellow in their center guard and suddenly found the hero lurching towards Issei's unguarded back. Yuuto and Xenovia reached for their swords, Irina was channeling her Light, Rossweisse prepared to cast a spell, and Naruto was ready to dash in.
But none of them were faster than the red gauntlet that was already swinging back and aimed for Minato's cheek.
The young hero flashed back to his comrades' side and they looked over at him in startled surprise. Minato's eyes widened in shock and he looked at the group of Devils, specifically at the giant armored figure that had turned to attack him when he appeared in their midsts. Indignation filled Minato's chest and he spiked two knives towards either side of their group before flashing.
He appeared by one mid-flight and then tossed it up over their heads. Minato appeared over them in a flash and prepared to attack from above-
Minato vanished again before the mighty green blast that was suddenly shot up at him could swallow him whole. He appeared by the heroes' side and turned with rage, "How?! How are you doing that?!"
"I told you…" Issei said with cocky joy in his voice, "Your attack doesn't work on me anymore."
"The Red Dragon Emperor has discovered a way to counter your teleportation?" Cao Cao rubbed his chin in intrigue, "Fascinating."
"Issei, what the hell is this?" Naruto asked, impressed by how his friend had somehow found a way to counter such a dangerous technique without implementing a type of super-speed to counter it.
"He has all these different knives to teleport from and it's hard to get a read on where they might come from. So I just made a technique that will help me discover where he is." Issei pointed at Minato, "And that's the lynchpin to the whole thing!"
A green glow started to emanated from Minato's wrist and he looked down at it in surprise. He saw a pairing of Devil letters grouped on his arm that he hadn't noticed until he had attacked Issei. Realization crossed his minds, "That's what you did when you grabbed me."
"I just needed that one chance!" Issei proclaimed proudly, "I've been practicing marking things with my Demonic Power and keeping track of them! When they approach me I can sense them like a sonar and react where they come from! I practiced with rocks before and you're my first human target but I'm glad to see it works!"
"Haha, you made a sensory technique for keeping up with teleporter? After a day!" Naruto grinned with admiration, "Way to go Issei!"
"You did it Issei-San!" Asia clapped for her beloved.
"I'm impressed Issei-kun!"
The Red Dragon Emperor blushed behind his helmet and rubbed his neck while receiving praise from his comrades.
"Hmm." Cao Cao looked at the marking on Minato's arms, "I'm not terribly familiar with Devil language, but what is this word? I see some patterns repeated and I think one of them is a B but-"
"It says boob!"
Most of the praise immediately died away while the heroes looked at Minato's arm in surprise. Only the sound of Yasaka's subtle movements and breathing filled the silence.
"I mark something with the word boob in Devil language with my Demonic Power and then I can sense it when it's around me! Rocks! Teleporting heroes! It doesn't matter!" Issei raised his hand victoriously, "Joining the ranks of Dress Break and Pailingual, I present my new original technique!"
"Meet the Oppaidar!"
His allies stared at him in expected disappointment.
His foes looked unsettled by his new technique.
Minato raised his knife up-
"No!" Siegfried grabbed his hand before he could bring it down on his arm, "You can't do that!"
"I need to!"
"I know it's unfortunate that he can track you but you don't need to risk fighting this battle with only one arm!"
"It's not that!" Minato yelled, "I refuse to have this idiot imprint the word boob on my arm!"
"It's your arm!"
"I'm sure we have some way to regrow it!"
"Minato, calm down." Cao Cao patted his comrade on the back to get him to calm down, "You don't need to go that far."
"Easy for you to say!"
"Maybe, but there's a chance it's not permanent. The Sekiryuutei imprinted it with his energy in a hurry. It's possible it's only temporary. Or it might fade if you killed him." He looked to Issei and Minato quickly followed his gaze, "And even if you killed him and it didn't fade…well you'll feel better before amputating yourself."
The young blond ninja slowed his breathing and relaxed until Siegfried let go. Minato nodded, "Yeah, kill him." He pulled out two knives that started channeling lightning, "That I can do."
This time Minato didn't flash towards his enemy but charged towards them. He spun both knives in his grasp and gripped them tightly as he sped towards the Devil he had in his sights.
A flash appeared in his eyes and Naruto was immediately in front of him to block his way. Minato abandoned any hesitation facing his ancestor's doppelgänger as he swung his lighting blades around. He slashed at Naruto's head and neck and the older whiskered ninja had to parry his attacks aside while they circled the grounds of the castle.
Yuuto called out and everyone jumped aside as a missile flew towards them and exploded the ground they stood on. Most of the Kuoh visitors jumped into the crater Xenovia had crated while Issei grabbed Asia and Kunou before they were engulfed in the blast.
Heracles cackled as he flexed his arms and summoned more missiles, "The fun finally begins! HAHAHAHAHA!"
Saji picked himself up and saw the giant fox still cresting over the edge of the crater. He sighed and summoned his Sacred Gear, "No time to waste. Ready Vitra?"
[And who is it we're draining this time?]
"The kyūbi guarding Kyoto!"
[My my, now that sounds like a tasty treat. Let's dig in.]
Saji's body was steadily engulfed in a black miasma that solidified and changed his body into a serpentine dragon. The Black Dragon Vitra hissed and roared before launching itself out of the crater and over the heads of the Hero faction. They could only watch as it tackled into Yasaka's giant fox form and started wrestling with her that shook the ground around them.
The sight of the Yōkai and dragon fighting spurred the heroes on to make their move. Siegfried activated his Balance Breaker, several arms sprouting out from his back each carrying Demonic Swords of their own. Jeanne laughed with glee as she created a giant dragon made of swords that acted on her will.
Xenovia, Irina, and Yuuto immediately jumped into action. The two [Knights] attacked Siegfried in a pincer move as their swords clashed together brilliantly. Irina sweated as Jeanne's huge sword dragon swept down towards her and released a breath attack made of blades. The Angel was forced to fly and maneuver away from the onslaught of blades.
Heracles cackled as he saw his comrades engage their foes in battle. As the wild brawler chambered his fists and prepared to launch his missile barrage across the castle grounds, he stopped when a wall of magical circles and water encircled him before he could launch his attack. He looked down and the muscular hero spotted Rossweisse cutting him off from attacking, her silver hair covering one of her eyes as Isobu's influence empowered her.
"Oho, you wish to test your magic and aqua skills against my strength, vixen of the North?!" Heracles reveled in the idea of testing his mettle against a Valkyrie. Without any hesitation he started throwing punches, cracking his fists against the wall of magic and water as his Sacred Gear launched waves of missiles around him. The giant superhuman was swallowed by a cloud of explosions and fire as Rossweisse's control of the wall she created waned and faltered. After just a few more hits her control wavered and she dropped her hands, letting water and magic flutter away around her-
"HA!" Rossweisse raised her arms and blocked a clumsy kick thrown her way through the cloud of smoke. Even though it had poor form and barely even hit her the Valkyrie was still sent back from the force behind it. If it wasn't for her armor and [Rook] properties her arms would've been broken instead of just aching in pain.
"Haha, looks like I did bring it down." Heracles emerged from the smoke cloud, his skin slightly singed and covered in soot but still standing strong even after being caught up in the blast of his own attack, "Tell me that isn't all you have to offer, Valkyrie!"
"Would you shut up!" Rossweisse yelled, raising her hands as water started to coalesce around her into dozens of rotating balls, "I still have a hangover and your voice is like an echo chamber of suffering!"
"Rossweisse-San!" Issei called out as the [Rook] engaged with Heracles again. The armored [Pawn] rushed over to the top of the crater and looked in to see his comrades in fierce battle with the Hero faction. As the ground underneath him quaked he looked back to see Saji's Vitra holding the giant fox at bay.
"Bedlam, don't you think?" He looked down and saw Cao Cao casually address him with his spear resting on his shoulder and a coy smile on his face, "Things can escalate far faster than you ever anticipate, don't they?"
"Bastard!" Issei snarled, "Let Kunou's mom go and fuck off!"
"That's harsh language but you didn't really think we just would if you asked, right?" Cao Cao raised his right hand and gripped his fist as a magic pattern of circles appeared over it and most of his arm, "In fact I'm feeling a little vindictive right now, so how about instead…we add to the madness?"
He held out his hand and three magical arrangements appeared along the ground. Issei stood in his battle stance as he prepared for whatever would come out next.
What appeared was the five-tailed hose he fought yesterday at the same small height as before. Along with a six-tailed slug monster and a tanuki with black marks over its body.
"Pretty cool, right?"
Naruto called out in a desperate cry before he started flashing his way over to the captured Bijū. Minato glared at his retreating back and spiked his knives at him. He repeatedly transported to and threw his knives alongside Naruto as he prepared to attack his flank-
"HEY!" Minato was forced to guard and dodge Issei's sudden jab as he rushed over to block his path. As the blond ninja slid to the ground and glared him down, Issei cackled, "I told you it wasn't going to be so easy, didn't I?!"
Minato growled and spun his blades around in his hands, "I just remember you talking a lot of shit! It's time to see if you can back it up!"
Naruto flashed forward faster and faster towards the brainwashed Bijū. The moment he made contact with them, Kurama could awaken their dormant personalities and return them to some semblance of normality. He reached his hand out, "Hold on-"
He had to turned his head aside to barely avoid the edge of the spear that cut into his chakra cloak and scratched his cheek. In an instant he jumped away and put some distance between him and Cao Cao as the leader lowered his spear and stood in his way. The thing stopping him from reaching the Bijū was a notoriously powerful aspiring hero with a weapon to kill Gods. The hero smiled, "I told you we weren't going to let you touch them, didn't I?"
"You fucking-" Naruto crossed his fingers, "Shadow Clone Jutsu!" A swarm of clones appeared from smoke and rushed towards the Bijū. Cao Cao could do nothing but watch as the vast number of clones jumped over his head and sailed towards his new tools.
But he smiled as he watched, gripping his fist tightly as the formation on his hand glowed and activated.
A similar formation of magic circles appeared over the Bijū and caused them to react. Saikon, the giant six-tailed slug, reared its head back before spewing out a massive amount of acidic slime. The clones couldn't do anything to avoid the tidal wave of ooze that flew their way and enveloped them completely. The horde of clones he just made popped out of existence as Naruto gritted his teeth and glared Cao Cao down.
"Your little gifts to the Khaos Brigade have a few nifty abilities." He did it again, causing the slug to spew out a wave of slime that bubbled and smoked on the ground like a moat between him and the beasts that he controlled, "That one produces acid. The horse one can match Heracles and then some in sheer power output. The tanuki can use wind, which we thought would be exceptionally useful for a flying dragon." Cao Cao lowered his spear and faced Naruto directly, "Truly the gifts Ophis got from you were blessings for our cause."
"They're not gifts! They're not tools! They're not your fucking weapons!" Naruto screamed, veins pulsing and spittle flying off his lips as he rushed Cao Cao and slammed his foot against the spear's length in a vicious flying kick, "THEY'RE MY FRIENDS! AND I WANT THEM BACK YOU PIECE OF SHIT!" Several Mini-Rasenshurikens appeared along his fingertips and he launched them at his heroic foe, "SO LET THEM GO!"
Instead of retreating, Cao Cao rushed in as the miniature jutsu flew by and exploded along the ground. His reflexes and agility worked in overtime to avoid the rapid jutsu erupting around him. As Cao Cao bobbed and weaved through the explosions around him he leapt up and thrusted his spear out. It extended at rapid speeds straight at Naruto's head.
The whiskered ninja stopped his bombardment and dodged the end of the spear flying for his head. It retracted into its base form and Cao Cao lifted up to bring it swinging down on the ninja's head. Naruto slid aside and started trading blows with the spear-wielding hero. Neither could land a direct hit as Naruto narrowly dodged the swings of the True Longinus while Cao Cao tanked his rapid strikes against the shaft of his Sacred Gear.
Both men were losing themselves in the rush and strived to destroy the other. Cao Cao was elated to fight a foe that could test his mettle and prove that he could match the heroes of old. And Naruto wanted to destroy his foe, clearing the way to the Bijū so he could finally liberate them like he had promised.
Neither was willing to step back or give up. And it was becoming clear to both that the only way to win was to annihilate the other first.
Cao Cao lashed out at the Jinchūriki and Naruto caught the spear before it could make its full swing for his neck. The two men glared each other down and struggled for victory until Cao Cao smirked. He clenched his fist, causing the tailed beasts to react.
Kokuō turned and charged into the fight between Yasaka and Vitra, slamming into the Dragon King and making it roar in pain. And Saikon's altered size had changed, returning it back to its gargantuan original state before it reeled back again. With one mighty spew it sent acidic slime flying into the sky and over the crater below them.
Where their comrades were fighting.
"NO!" Naruto yelled, looking back in horror, "YOU BAST-GAH!"
Cao Cao punched Naruto across the face, swinging for his chest and missing when the ninja flashed a few feet away. He rubbed his cheek and glared Cao Cao down as the Hero faction's leader smirked, "I can trust my comrades to look after themselves. Can you say the same for yours?"
Yuuto and Xenovia brought their swords down and clashed against the numerous Demonic blades Siegfried wielded. A shockwave surged out from where their attacks connected before the aspiring hero flexed out and forced them back. The four arms emerging out of his back relaxed slightly as the white-haired looked between his opponents, "This is truly a thrilling experience. You two are truly exemplary challengers to cross blades with. I can't remember the last time someone other than the Hero faction could keep up with my Chaos Edge Asura Ravage."
"Kind of a mouthful, don't you think?" Yuuto joked, trying to ignore how nervous he was as every swing he made was blocked by one sword and countered with two more, "And as much as I wish to take your compliment as earnest praise, it's hard not to consider it facetious when you're holding back both of us without breaking a sweat."
"I apologize if I come off like that." Two of the silver dragon arms sprouting from his back raised their blades at the two [Knights], "It's just usually what happens when I use my Balance Breaker. When my strength doubles by a factor of 4 I'm usually not as tired afterwards. I don't mean it as an insult. If anything it's a compliment that you're strong enough to handle me at my peak."
"We'll do more than handle you." Xenovia hefted her blade over her head as Durandal started to pulse with holy aura again, "Let's see if your Balance Breaker can take this."
"Oh?" Siegfried smirked as he faced Xenovia's challenge, "Minato stepped in to whisk us away before so I'll be interested to see if I can tank your blast properly this time."
Xenovia narrowed her eyes and prepared to bring her blade down-
Irina exclaimed as the blade dragon's claws clipped her wings and sent her tumbling into the ground of the crater. The Angel quickly picked herself up and raised her blade as Jeanne riding on the back of her Holy Dragon of Judgement cooed, "Aww, c'mon Angel-chan, it's not over just like that is it? It's not gonna be any fun if you give up like-"
"Irina!" Xenovia turned and prepared to send her attack in a different direction. Siegfried rushed her and swung at her exposed back only to clash against Yuuto's blades as he dashed in to guard his fellow [Knight's] behind. With that moment of protection Xenovia brought her blade down and released a wave of energy.
Jeanne's dragon of blades was obliterated under the force of the blast and the young hero had to jump away before she was enveloped in the wave of power. She rolled down the crater and glared up at the blue-haired swordswoman, "Hey, I was in the middle of something! Sieg-kun, control your opponents!"
"My apologies, Jeanne." Siegfried pushed against Yuuto's blade, and with a forceful swing sent the blond swordsman flying into Xenovia's back and knocking them both off their feet. Irina helped her friends up and the three of them stood ready as they were blocked on both sides by the heroes, "Would you like to assist me in dealing with them in return?"
"Oh yay! That sounds like fun!"
"Okay, this is troubling." Yuuto summoned another sword and handed it back to Xenovia as he stayed on guard, "Any options?"
"I could try hitting them with a big blast again." Xenovia offered, "Siegfried sounded like he was excited to try and test his endurance against it."
"I doubt we'll get away with that a third time." Irina warned, "We need to gain some distance-"
A powerful explosion drew their attention up to see Rossweisse being flung back with a magical shield of water around her body. The Valkyrie dropped her protection as she landed in the crater as a giant rushed out of the smoke cloud he had created. Heracles landed with a crack under his feet, some small bloody cuts over his soaked body as he grinned with excitement, "Haha, what's wrong Valkyrie?! Don't tell me you're retreating so soon! Your water abilities are magnificent and they are clearly able to cut through my defenses! Why would you be so winded now?"
The hero wielding super strength might have thought Rossweisse was a worthy opponent, but the Valkyrie wasn't willing to prolong the fight any longer than needed. Heracles' strength was no joke, and his punches dwarfed the strength her [Rook] piece afforded her. The only reason she was keeping up was her aptitude for magic and the influence over water Isobu's power gave her. But both of those advantages were being pressed as Heracles' swings and punches became stronger and more ferocious.
Rossweisse faltered on her feet and her comrades were ready to catch her. She steadied herself and frowned, "Dammit. I-I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this up."
"Stay strong, Rossweisse-San." Her friends encouraged her as they stood at her side, "Maybe our best chance is to rush at one, deal with them, and hope they go down quickly before turning our attention to the next one. It'll make the other two go to attack us but overwhelming one with our numbers is our best strategy."
"Maybe, but who will hold the other two off while we-"
They heard the sound of something like a powerful rush of water from a hose from the top of the crater as something flew into the air. The Occult club and the heroes looked up as the substance spread over their heads and then broke apart. And suddenly they found themselves under a downpour of acidic slime.
"Get close!" Rossweisse called out as she raised her hands and created a magic circle over her head that blocked the acid from reaching them. Yuuto, Xenovia, and Irina quickly came to her side to hide under her protection as they watched Jeanne and Siegfried try to avoid the rain of slime that threatened to burn them. The substance was dangerous but as long as they hid under her spell-
A giant rushed in under her magic circle, letting droplets of the acid eat through his clothes and skin without faltering even for a moment. Rosswiesse's eyes widened in shock as she started at Heracles' massive grin while he chambered his fist at his side-
Heracles buried his fist in her stomach and blew her back with a shattering explosion. The silver-haired beauty flew back and impacted into the other side of the crater, her body covered in soot and burns as her armor cracked and her eyes rolled back to the whites.
Xenovia, Yuuto, and Irina immediately turned to attack her assailant in the rain of acid.
They were quickly beset by the demigod of strength, the holy maiden, and the chivalric knight.
A yellow flash in the corner of his eye told him Minato had jumped again.
His Oppaidar warned him to block aside and a three-pronged knife skipped along the gauntlet of his armor. Before he could grab the speedy ninja the blond flashed behind him again. Issei was able to release a rush of energy through the jets on his back and knock Minato off course before he could land a proper attack.
Issei could sense Minato's position with his new technique, but it was becoming clear that noticing where he appeared and being able to keep up with him were two different things. Minato was being pushed by Issei's quick responses and Issei's armor was suffering more and more cuts. This was becoming a battle of attrition and neither side was willing to stop just yet.
Issei's ears perked as he heard a series of explosions sound off from the bottom of the crater. His instincts told him to move and he rushed over to the crater as Minato chased after him-
"GUYS!" He cried out as he saw Yuuto, Xenovia, Irina, and Rossweisse all sprawled out over the ground. His jets exploded and he rocketed down to the ground, immediately forcing the heroes who had beaten them to retreat. None of them had come out unharmed from their fight with his comrades, but it was clear his side had taken far worse damage than theirs. He gently lifted Irina's back, "Hey! Say something! Can you hear me?!"
"I-Issei-kun?" The Angel weakly spoke as she opened her eyes to look up at him, "I-I'm sorry. We tried to hold them back but they were so strong. W-We couldn't do it."
"It's okay! Just hold on alright!" Issei turned and glared the heroes down as he cradled his friend and stood in front of the others defensively, "You bastards are gonna pay for this! I swear I'm gonna make each and every one of you eat your own teeth until you're begging for mercy!"
"Oh, the Sekiryuutei is kinda scary, huh?"
"If he's looking to fight I'm game." Heracles cracked his knuckles, "That Valkyrie was a good warm-up."
"Now now, let's not be hasty." Siegfried spoke up before he his two comrades could challenge the Red Dragon Emperor, "We all know we're not the one who staked a claim on his life." A knife fell down from the top of the crater and a yellow flash signaled Minato's arrival as it careened down by their side. The whiskered ninja landed with his compatriots, "How's it going on your end, Minato?"
"Fine." The blond said curtly, "Are all the cuts on his armor not noticeable or are you going blind?"
"You know your short temper betrays the idea that you're handling your fight very well." The swordsman snidely remarked as the ninja sent him a slight glare from the side, "But even with a so-called counter to your techniques it's clear you're handling it very well."
"Of course. He might be the Red Dragon Emperor but he's also an idiot. No shock there."
Issei gritted his teeth, pushing his brain into overtime as he tried to figure out a way to get everyone out and to safety before the fighting could escalate. The heroes stalked towards him-
"ISSEI!" The [Pawn] powerhouse looked up in time to see a golden figure flash over their heads with a giant rotating orb in his hand. He dropped down towards them and slammed his jutsu down where the heroes stood, "Big Ball Rasengan!" It exploded and created an opening for them as Naruto landed by his friends, "How are they?"
"We need to get them to Asia! She can patch them up quickest!"
"That maybe so," They looked up as the smoke and dust cleared to reveal Cao Cao standing alongside his companions lording over the injured Occult team, "But you don't think we'll just let you pass that easily, do you?" He then tapped repeatedly on the side of his spear, "And even if we did-"
"You just wouldn't be that lucky."
Naruto's body glowed before the chakra cloak around his body vanished and returned him to his normal state. The whiskered Devil looked down over himself, still feeling the effects of his Sage Mode heightening his senses. He felt the heroes shadow over them, the fear from Asia and Kunou some ways away, and that Saji was struggling not only with Yasaka but the Bijū that were trying to attack him.
"Senpai?" Issei spoke in a hushed, nervous whisper, "What do we do?"
"I'm gonna give you a moment." Naruto warned his friend, "You need to grab all of them, get them to Asia, and get back here." The blond Devil stepped forward and stood his ground before the leaders of the Hero faction, "Because I'm not sure how well this is gonna work."
[Seriously?! We're doing it?! We always hit a wall and it never lasts! Is this really the time for a test run!]
"Well hey, I work best under stress." Naruto crossed his fingers, "Shadow Clone Jutsu!" Four more clones all using Sage Mode appeared by Naruto's side as they stood like a wall in front of their comrades, "Okay guys, ready?"
"Suck it up!"
The five blondes all extended a hand and started concentrating. They poured the Demonic Power into their hands and morphed the raw energy into a physical form.
Wind. Fire. Water. Earth. Lightning.
The elements of the five nations. The prime powers he knew best.
All of them yelled as they channeled the raw power of the elements and mixed it with the natural energy around them. Their Devil wings spread from their backs as the elements started to spread over them.
Wings channeling the elements spread from their backs in sporadic and uneven ways. Wild and uncontrollable cyclones of wind. Rampant and wild infernos of fire. Rushing and flowing streams of water. Hardened and unbreakable pillars of earth. Crackling and shocking currents of lightning.
Naruto and his clones struggled to control the pure power of the elements they wielded and faced down the group of heroes.
"Sage Art: Elemental Nirvana!"
Whelp, had to split this in half. Which is good because the chapter would've gone to almost 30k. I like having big chapters to read but when they're behemoths I'm not sure I can handle it.
Anyway, we're one chapter away from completion! I'm going to need to give it a lot of revision because I wrote half of it in the span of a few hours and I'm sure it's riddled with issues and errors.
But when I finished, I had an explosion of new ideas and stories to try in the future. Gotta love passing the milestones.
Thank You and Bye