New Devil of The Gremory House

Life 49: Competition

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("Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! And welcome to Agreas Dome!")

"WOOOHOOOOOO!"

The atmosphere was positively electric as the crowd cheered and screamed at the top of their lungs. The giant screen in the middle of the arena turned on to reveal a handsome man with wild green and purple hair. As he appeared the crowd cheered even louder in anticipation.

("I am your host and commentator for this spectacular evening, Naud Gamigin!) As the crowd cheered he nodded appreciatively, ("Thank you very much! But let's get down to business! We all know what we are here to see today! The anticipated match between Sairaorg Bael and Rias Gremory!")

The crowd cheered even louder this time as fireworks exploded to cap off his announcement.

("Now this is a big event and it's going to take more than just my colorful commentary to keep up with everything that will happen in this match! So please welcome my co-commentator and our special guest, Governor-General Azazel!")

Azazel slid into place beside Naud and the audience cheered in joy, ("Thanks for having me, Naud-San.")

("Azazel-dono, you're something of an advisor to the Gremory peerage, aren't you? Should we be worried at all for any bias you might show to one team today?")

("Well Naud-San, in order: yes I am acting as an advisor to Rias Gremory's peerage, and no I won't be showing any bias. I am, first and foremost, an advocate for the growth and advancement of the next generation. I'm inspired by how these youngsters learn and evolve to deal with the new threats that appear and endanger our alliance. And I look forward to seeing how this match proceeds between these two upcoming stars. And I will be watching with an impartial eye. Hell, if anyone screws up too badly I might just point and laugh.")

("Is that necessary?")

("Necessary? No, but I know a few people who will be expecting it.")

"Ugh," Naruto groaned, "Someone gave him a microphone and put him in front of a camera."

Rias rubbed her eyes, "That was a mistake."

Akeno looked over at the others, "Is that us? Is he talking about us being the ones expecting him to laugh at us? Because honestly, he's right on the money there. I expect nothing less of him."

("Now without further ado, it's time to introduce the participants of the game! In the east corner, the young champion and undefeated warrior of power, Sairaorg Bael and his peerage!")

From one end of the dome, Sairaorg emerged with his peerage following right behind him. The stadium erupted in a roar of cheers that Sairaorg accepted with a confidant nod and smile.

("And from the west corner, the young heroes who have been in the frontlines of battles for peace, Rias Gremory, and her peerage!")

Equally, powerful applause was given as the ORC started to make their way out from their side of the dome and into the eyes of the crowd. However, while there were many cheers and applause, there was also a chant echoing out like a wave through the audience.

"Oppai! Oppai! Oppai! Oppai!"

Even though they wanted to appear confident and nonplussed from the attention, they hadn't been expecting that chorus to welcome them. So Rias ended up walking with her face flush in embarrassment while the others tried to avoid getting noticed by everyone watching them.

Naruto snarled, "This is your fault. All of this is on you."

"I'm sorry!" Issei whispered back, "I didn't ask them to do this!"

"Oppai Dragon! We love you!"

"T-Thanks." Issei nervously waved out to everyone while whispering to his friends, "I'm so sorry."

("As we commentate on this match, another shall be making the final call and handling any disputes of fairness during the game! Please welcome our arbiter, the excellent Rudiger Rosenkreutz!")

A handsome silver-haired man appeared between the two teams and bowed to the crowd.

"The 7th ranked competitor in the Ranking Games," Yuuto whispered under his breath for anyone who didn't know.

("And before we get started, we have one last surprise! Joining us for commentary in the booth today, give it up for the champion! 'Emperor' Diehauser Belial!")

Azazel and Naud both turned to look at the stoic man with grey hair and eyes seated beside them. And the moment he appeared, the reaction from the dome was more powerful than ever before.

"Diehauser Belial?" Naruto repeated the name, knowing it sounded familiar for some reason. And when he looked over at Rias and saw her excited but the nervous expression he knew it was important, "He's important, right?"

"He's the champion of the Rating Games." Rias nodded, "Anyone who participates or wants to achieve victory in the games… knows he stands at the peak. Undefeated."

The Underworld was filled with many exceptionally powerful and amazing people. So to see the man that stood above them all undefeated…yeah, there was a reason so many people looked up to him.

("Thank you for having me.") Diehauser nodded to his fellow commentators, ("I have been acting as the advisor to the Bael peerage, but like the Governor-General I will remain impartial and watch this game with hope for the future generation.")

("Exactly! Thank you!")

("But I don't think I will be pointing and laughing at whoever loses.")

("Aww, you're no fun.")

("Anyway, let's get on to the rules of the game! There is a bowl in front of each team with six-sided dice inside of it. Both [Kings] will throw their dice, land on a number, and the sum of those numbers will be used to determine the point value for the round!")

("In standard Dice Figure rules, each Evil Piece will be granted a point value and the sum of both dice will determine the points that can be used that round. 3 points for [Knight] and [Bishop], 5 points for [Rook], 9 points for [Queen], and 1 point for each [Pawn] piece one person might wield. In addition, the [King] will be granted a special point total to match their estimation by the committee. No one combatant can be used twice in a row. If they are sent into battle they must wait a turn before going back out.")

("Of course although the [King] may participate that doesn't mean it will work out the same as with the other members. If someone is beaten in a match they will be retired but if the [King] goes down then that team loses and the match is concluded. And even though the sum number of points can be used they don't need to be. It is up to either side to send out who they deem necessary for each match. But know that if the full set of points is not used those points will not be saved or used in any other way. It is using them or losing them mindset each turn.")

Rudiger floated up between each team and held up his arms, "The points for both [Kings] will be as follows! Rias Gremory will be valued at 8! And Sairaorg Bael will be valued at 12!"

Rias let out a sigh of relief after the announcement was made, "That doesn't exactly do wonders for my ego but it means Sairaorg can only participate with the total point value."

"Which means we can whittle down his team until all that's left to take care of is him." Akeno noted with a pleased smile, "That might work out in our favor."

("And finally, we will address the situation with the Phoenix Tears for this match. Since Phoenix Tears are especially valuable at this time, and in response to the rising threat of the Khaos Brigade, supply and demand for them have been extremely high. But with the generous donation from the Phenex head, both teams have been allotted one Tear to use in this game. They will find it in the compartment under the top of the bowl.")

Rias walked over to the bowl and felt around underneath it before an opening appeared. She pulled out a small vial with a beautiful clear drop of liquid inside it. And as she lowered it she looked over the space to see Sairaorg holding a similar vial. They looked at each other before nodding and turning back to their teams.

"So if they have a Tear too," Koneko voiced her concern, "They'll probably save it for him, right?"

"Which means we have to beat him twice." Xenovia sighed, "That complicates things."

"We'll handle it." Rias assured her peerage, "We've handled worse."

("Now with those rules out of the way, I think it's time we started this game!")

"[Kings]! Step forward!" Rudiger announced as the audience cheered loudly. Rias and Sairaorg stepped up to their bowl, "Retrieve your dice!" They did just that and held them up for everyone to see, "Drop!"

The dice fell from their hands and clattered inside the bowl before coming to a stop. The screen projected an image of the dice inside the bowl for everyone to see.

"3 for Rias Gremory! 1 for Sairaorg Bael! The point total is 4 for this round!" Rudiger waved out his arms, "[Kings], choose your representatives and prepare to begin!"

A dome suddenly formed around both peerages to block out sight and sound.

"Okay, we have 4 points to use. Which means we can either send out a [Knight] or a [Bishop]. I don't want to risk sending either Asia or Gasper out there without backup, so a [Knight] should be first."

"I'll go." Yuuto offered, "If you need someone to go out and test the waters, I think I'd be the best choice."

Rias smiled, "I'm glad you think so too."

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Yuuto found himself standing in an artificial field of flowers. They spread out as far as the eye could see with no trees or buildings in sight. A level playing field where it would rely solely on the two combatants to face each other.

The only choice for fighting right away was either a [Knight] or [Bishop]. Sairaorg's [Bishops] were probably more accustomed to fighting than their own, but if Rias' understanding of her cousin's mentality was believed-

Yuuto turned and found a man in armor seated atop a flaming blue horse standing across from him. The armored warrior removed his helmet to properly greet him, "I am Beruka Furcas, [Knight] of the Bael peerage."

Yuuto bowed gracefully in response, "And I am Yuuto Kiba, [Knight] of the Gremory peerage."

("It looks like we have two [Knights] facing off with each other to get things started!")

("Contestant Furcas comes from a long line of Devils who bond and control horses, and his mount is a legendary beast from the deepest levels of Cocytus that normally only Grim Reapers would ride. However Contestant Kiba has been battling in the frontlines of many grand battles recently, and his skills and experience have sharpened his skills far more since he last performed in a Rating Game.")

("Round 1!") Rudiger announced, ("Begin!")

The flaming horse neighed and reared back before galloping forward. Beruka drew his lance out and prepared to skewer Yuuto in their rapid charge. But the young blond vanished, running aside and kicking up a trail of petals behind him as he avoided Beruka's attack.

As the blue flames of the horse started to spread along with the flowers in its path, Yuuto formed a sword in his hand and took up a battle stance. Beruka circled back and charged in to attack again. Yuuto lowered his blade before disappearing in a flash of speed-

The sound of metal clashing echoed through the field as sword and lance collided. Both Yuuto and Beruka on his horse reappeared away from each other before they turned around and dashed again.

Both [Knights] disappeared in a blinding rush of speed, the only indicator of their movement being the displacement of petals, the path of blue flames, and the sparks of weapons crossing.

("What a brilliant showcase of speed! These two young [Knights] are so fast the display can barely keep up with them!")

Yuuto slid to a stop and held his blade up at the ready as Beruka paused with his mount, "To think you'd be able to keep up with Altobrau's movement all by yourself. You truly are a formidable warrior."

"I can't even land a proper hit." Yuuto stated with a smirk, "Any attack on your horse is threatened by your lance and any attack on you is avoided by your horse. You two make an effective team."

He wasn't going to be able to hit either him or his horse as long as they were both defending each other. There was a chance that he could unbalance them if he created a field of swords beneath their feet but he had the sinking suspicion the horse would just crush any blades he made.

"Why do you not bring out your Demonic Holy Sword?" Beruka questioned, "Do you believe me not worthy of its power?"

"Of course not." Yuuto denied, "I just think that even with a powerful weapon, there's no point in using it if you can't land a hit. If I hope to match you and your mount's maneuverability…" Yuuto swiped his sword aside before raising it straight up before his face, "I need some help!"

The ground around Yuuto glowed as several armored figures drew from the earth and stood at his side. With a raise of his hand, Yuuto created a sword for each knight to wield.

Beruka and his mount retreated, "W-What? What is this? I thought your Balance Breaker was Demonic Holy Sword?!"

"It was. For Sword Birth. This however is a Balance Breaker Sub-Species for Blade Blacksmith. Glory Drag Trooper!" His knights stomped on the ground and raised their blades in response to his proclamation, "Now then…time to end this!"

His knights rushed along with him before they surrounded Beruka and his horse. With him surrounded Yuuto knew they could claim the victory. One of his soldiers rushed into to attack first, forcing Beruka to raise his lance to strike-

Before the knight tossed the sword and abandoned its orders completely.

Only to bash its fist into the horse's face.

[Take that motherfuker!]

Yuuto just stared on in silent shock as his knight swore and assaulted the mount, sending it falling over and pinning Beruka's leg under its weight. Yuuto blinked, "W-What-"

[He's down!]

[Stomp the shit out of him!]

The other knights abandoned their weapons as well and rushed in to beat on the pinned [Knight]. Yuuto could only stare in disbelief and shock as the summoned soldiers he created went against his orders and attacked dishonorably, "W-What-"

[Hey, don't look so surprised!] One knight waved off his concern, [I'm helpin' ya win, aren't I?]

Yuuto recognized the irritating voice coming from the knight, "Shukaku-San?!"

[Yeah, that stupid fox told me that he bonded with his loser's Holy Tool or whatever so I thought I'd give it a try. I couldn't do anything but when you summoned these guys I felt a stirring and now I'm here!] The knight excitedly pumped his fists, [Man it feels good to beat on somebody!]

"B-But-"

[AND BAM!]

[Combatant Sairaorg Bael's [Knight] retired]

[Woohoo! We win!] Shukaku cheered with the other knights before Yuuto made them fade away.

Once they were all gone and he was the only one left standing in the field, Yuuto nearly wept in frustration, "But my honor…m-my chivalry."

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("That was quite a strange finish to the match. Azazel-dono, can you explain what we just saw?")

("Well this is only my educated guess but I believe we just witnessed an awakening.")

("An awakening?")

("Indeed. It appears Contestant Kiba has awakened to his latent dommy-daddy tendencies and stomped the hell out of Contestant Furcas in a show of sadistic glee. Better hope you don't face him in the future.")

"Oh, that is so fucking hot!"

"Kiba-kyunnn~, be my dommy-daddy!"

"Momma, what are those words you're using?"

"Pfft!" Shukaku laughed from his spot in the sky box, "A little wanton violence and beating and the people of this world get hot and bothered? Man, you guys are freaks!"

Baraqiel, Odin, and the other miniature Bijū stared the tanuki down critically after his unflattering showing in the match.

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As the crowd cheered and called for more, the ORC could only look at their victorious [Knight] pitiably, as he returned with his head hung low and ashamed from the cheers he was receiving around the dome.

Naruto patted his shoulder, "I should have given you more warning before you joined with Shukaku. I'm…I'm so sorry."

[No combination of Jinchūriki or Bijū has ever exactly had it easy but…yeah, I pity whoever gets stuck with that sick fuck.]

"[Kings]! Step forward!"

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In an abandoned warehouse district, Rossweisse and Gasper appeared across from a lightly armored man and a younger boy in a cloak and staff.

"Greetings," Rossweisse met them with a bow of her head, "I am Rossweisse, a [Rook] of the Gremory peerage, and this is Gasper Vladi-kun, a [Bishop] of Rias Gremory-sama."

"I am Liban Corcell, and this is Misteeta Sabnock. We are a [Knight] and [Bishop] respectively of Sairaorg Bael-sama. We hope for a proud and wonderful battle with you both."

("Round 2!") Rudiger announced, ("Begin!")

Liban drew his sword and Misteeta raised his staff the moment the fighting began. Gasper nervously stepped back in response and Rossweisse extended her wings in preparation for the battle. She immediately conjured her magic into her hand and lifted herself into the air.

"HA!" With a yell, she swung her hands out and released a flurry of lighting across the warehouse to attack her foes. Misteeta raised his staff to create a barrier to block the path of the bolt as Liban rushed forward, barely dodging the lighting as he drew his sword and swung at Gasper.

The little [Bishop] shrieked and broke apart into bats, dodging the sword and flying away before reforming into himself. He landed on his feet and tried to catch his breath before holding out his hands, "Hya!"

Fire gathered in his palms and flew across the warehouse at his opponents. But Liban didn't let the fireballs get anywhere near them, swinging his sword and extinguishing them in midair. He looked back at his [Bishop] partner, "Misteeta, is he the one?"

"Yes." The young boy nodded, "The Dhampir with time powers." He looked over at his [Knight] partner with some concern, "Are you sure you want to use that strategy?"

"I trust you." He nodded, "I'll leave the rest to you."

"Gasper-kun!" Rossweisse called out from above as her hair shifted over one of her eyes while the other became rippled under the effect of her Bijū's influence, "Now's your chance!"

"R-Right!"

Water started to gather and overflow from the palm of her hand. And with a flourish of her arms, she sent the water into the air around her. The droplets coalesced and formed magic circles that started to build up power. Every kind of element started to build in front of them before firing out.

The Bael servants were forced to dodge and guard against the onslaught of magic attacks. Liban struck the attacks down with his sword, dodging the ones he couldn't react in time to block before rushing forward. He made his way towards Gasper, the young vampire standing prone by the side as the aqua circles rained hellfire across the warehouse. He raised his sword in preparation-

Gasper's eyes snapped open and shined a brilliant red, "Forbidden Balor View!"

The [Knight] froze mid-movement under the power of Gasper's Sacred Gear. Once he'd frozen the [Knight] he called out, "Rossweisse-San, I have him! The rest is up to you!"

"Got it! Great job, Gasper-kun!" Rossweisse cheered for her teammate before waving out her arms. Her magical array started to build up power again as she prepared to rain her attacks on the lone [Bishop], "I apologize, but I'll make this quick-"

"Trick Vanish!"

Rossweisse gasped and grunted before she felt the magic power she had been building up suddenly slip away so unnaturally. She looked down at her hands as a disgusting black and blue mark started to develop over her body. She gasped in shock, "W-What is-"

"This is my Sacred Gear, Trick Vanish." Misteeta answered before looking over at Gasper, "For a time, I can rob a person of their ability. For you, it's magic. And for him-"

Gasper's eyes suddenly lost their lustrous red and the young [Bishop] was left reeling in surprise. He looked down at himself and the strange markings that covered his body in surprise, "W-What-"

"Gravity Jail!"

"GAH!" Gasper cried out in surprise as he suddenly felt his body get crushed under a powerful and abnormal swell of gravity around him. He fell to his knees and groaned against the crushing force, "A-Ah – W-What is-"

"You stop your opponents by freezing them in time within your line of sight." Liban said as his eyes shined with a bright yellow light and he continued to eye Gasper intently, "My Sacred Gear is much the same, however instead of freezing time, I intensify the local gravity of what is in my sight." The [Knight] lowered her sword and looked down at the struggling vampire, "I apologize, young warrior, but this will be the end of your battle."

"N-No-"

"Gasper-kun!" Rossweisse flew down to help her teammate as he writhed on the ground and struggled. However, before she could reach him the pressure around her intensified and she fell to the ground hard enough to crack it. As she was caught under the effect of Liban's Sacred Gear as well, she forced her arm up and held her palm out towards her opponents, "HYAH!"

A pressurized stream of water shot out towards the Bael servants. Misteeta saw it coming and quickly raised a shield to guard against the powerful stream. Once it stopped he lowered his guard and tried to catch his breath, "B-But I suppressed her magic. How is she still using water that strong?"

"It doesn't matter! We have to stop her!" Liban narrowed his eyes and increased the field of gravity on them even more. Rosswiesss grunted as the small crater around her cracked and deepened even further under the sudden weight placed on her. It was only due to the enhanced physical properties of her [Rook] status that her body could persist. And while he focused on Rossweisse, his attention on Gasper slipped for a moment-

"WRAHHHHH!" He broke into bats and flew out the moment he felt relief. He swarmed back into his physical form and slammed into Liban's side to catch him off balance. And then immediately jumped on Misteeta's back to distract him, "Rossweisse-San! Hit us with your water!"

"W-What?" The silver-haired Valkyrie questioned in shock, "B-But Gasper-kun-"

"You have to do it! Now! At full power! If we lose this chance-"

There was a flash behind him as Liban slashed him across the back. As blood splattered out from behind him and Gasper's eyes watered in fear and pain, he focused on the promise he made with the other men of the peerage. Their vow to do whatever they could to secure this victory for Rias Gremory, the woman that took them in and gave them a second chance at life.

Gasper closed his eyes, ignoring the slash on his back, and yelled, "DO IT NOW!"

Rossweisse grit her teeth, eyes welling up with frustrated tears as two giant orbs of water formed around her hands. With a yell she brought them together and thrust out, creating a powerful stream of water that slammed into everyone else in the warehouse and kept them pinned on the farthest wall. As Gasper accepted what happened, Liban and Misteeta struggled and fought against the stream as best they could.

The lines across her body receded and Rossweisse felt the magic return to her system. With the last shed of tears, she screamed and formed dozens of magical circles along the stream she fired.

A powerful explosion annihilated the other side of the warehouse before Rossweisse ended the rush of water. With a sigh, she lowered her hands and looked at her handiwork…

[Combatant Sairaorg Bael's [Knight] retired]

[Combatant Sairaorg Bael's [Bishop] retired]

[Combatant Rias Gremory's [Bishop] retired]

Rossweisse closed her eyes and bowed her head, "Thank you, Gasper-kun."

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"Well, it looks like the Gremory peerage pulled out the victory that round!"

"Yes but just barely. They didn't seem quite prepared for the strategies Contestant Corcell and Contestant Sabnock brought to the table. After they were caught off guard and had to scramble to adapt a tactic to counter them. In the end, they still pulled out the victory but at the cost of Contestant Vladi's participation."

"Indeed, but it was still quite an impressive showing." Azazel nodded with Diehauser's analysis as he smiled contently, "Contestant Vladi was quite the wallflower before, being unable to even face others or talk to them. But his growth recently into being able to stand up to foes and even make the sacrifice play are truly outstanding."

"Plus Contestant Rossweisse's control of water was inspiring! I don't think I've ever seen someone use an element to create magical circles for other elements as well!" Naud stated before looking down, "But looks like they're about to make the next throw! And the audience seems eager to see one person in particular."

("Oppai! Oppai! Oppai! Oppai!")

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"11 points! [Kings] pick your representatives!"

The barrier raised and Rias let out a small chuckle, "Well I think the crowd has made their voice known. Issei, do you mind giving them what they want?"

"Of course not, Buchou!" The pervert brunette pumped his fist, "I'll show everyone what I can offer! Gasper and Rossweisse-San did their best and now it's my turn!"

"Good luck, Issei-kun." Rossweisse solemnly looked on from the side, "I know you're strong but please be careful. The Bael peerage is craftier than we expected."

"You got it!"

"B-Buchou?" Asia spoke up from the side, "Since we have 3 points remaining this round, can you send me in as well?"

Rias and the others looked at her with surprise, "Are you sure, Asia?"

"Yes!"

"Well then…I leave you two to it."

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Issei and Asia appeared on a rocky landscape as a beautiful blond woman in a blue suit and pink undershirt appeared across from them.

As she was the only one who appeared, Asia looked on with concern, "It's only her? I believe she is a [Bishop] like me, correct? This means that Sairaorg-San could have sent out others to cover the remaining 8 points."

"Yeah." Issei nodded tersely as he looked on at the confident older woman standing across from them, "I don't know why but she doesn't seem nervous or worried at all."

"But you're so strong now, Issei-San. I don't think there is anything anyone on that team other than Sairaorg-San can do to you."

Issei smiled, "Thanks, Asia." He summoned his Boosted Gear, "Will you be alright if I focus on my fight with her?"

"Yes, I came here to cheer you on and give you support." Her hair shifted over her eyes as Saiken's influence came over her, "With Saiken-San's power I can make a barrier of energy to protect myself. So don't worry about holding back."

"Got it."

("Round 3!") Rudiger announced, ("Begin!")

[BOOOOOOST!]

Issei's Scale Mail formed around him and the Red Dragon Emperor appeared. Through the spectator's overview the sound of roaring fans could be heard, ("There he is! The Oppai Dragon! The legendary hero of the Underworld has finally made his appearance!")

("Not only that! He's joined by Contestant Argento, the co-star of Oppai Dragon's new spin-off, Journey of a Lazy Sage! She also happens to be the Oppai Dragon's sweetheart in real life.")

("I thought Contestant Argento wasn't a fighter.")

("Well she doesn't get down in the dirt, but you'd best not think she's someone you can easily take down. She's been gifted power from a close friend and she isn't someone you should go after if you don't want to incur the Gremory peerage's wrath.")

Issei stood in full armor and stood across from his foe. The blonde woman simply continued to stare at him before raising her hands to her buttons. Making sure to never take her eyes away from his visor, she started to undo her suit before fully removing it and tossing it aside.

Issei blinked in confusion, "What is she doing?"

"Issei-San, be careful." Asia whispered her warning, immediately raising a green barrier around her from a mix of Saiken's bubbles and Twilight Healing to protect herself, "I don't know what she is doing but we can't let up our guard."

"I know! I'm on it!" Issei confidently announced before holding out his hand, "Tell me her plans, Pailingual!"

As Issei activated his patented technique, Coriana's breasts began to converse with him and reveal her devious plans. After a few seconds of silence and listening to what they had to say, Issei understood fully her tactics and goals for this match. And after he did-

"OOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

"I-Issei-San?!" Asia reeled back in surprise after Issei threw his head back and roared at the top of his lungs in excitement. He then suddenly fell to his knees and cried out with his arms up like he was accepting heavenly guidance, "W-What is it? What's wrong?"

"S-She's gonna keeping going!"

"K-Keep going?"

Coriana smirked and reached up for the buttons of her undershirt, but instead of meticulously unbuttoning each one she simply gripped the collar and tore it open. And when she did, her big bra-clad breasts jiggled in the open air for all to see.

"SHE'S GONNA TAKE IT ALL OFF!"

("Is this what I think it is?!")

("It's a striptease! Contestant Andrealphus has subdued the Oppai Dragon with a striptease! Breasts are his strength but also his weakness! Although he may gain power and motivation from them, he's so enamored and engrossed by them that he can't act when they are being shown off in front of him! The Bael peerage prepared for his involvement, and they've made the Oppai Dragon a non-factor by giving him exactly what he wants!")

("That's…uh, an unorthodox strategy to say the least. I have to wonder if we should be broadcasting this. Well, the audience is laughing and applauding so I suppose they're enjoying the spectacle. The Gremory peerage on the other hand…wow, they do not look happy.")

("Oh yeah, they will probably kill him when they get home.")

"Slower. Slower." Issei begged Coriana as she tossed aside her shirt and slowly undid her skirt, leaving her only in her underwear. Even so, she was unashamed of her current state of undress and focused only on enticing the Sekiryuutei with her erotic dance. It was so glorious that Issei had no choice but to suck up his drool and yearn for more, "It's so good."

"Oh no!" Asia panicked and raised her hands. Coriana found herself trapped in a green bubble. The young nun still wasn't willing to hurt her enemies, but hopefully, if she captured the Bael [Bishop] then she could halt the striptease before it could go any further, "We need to-"

"Oh no~." Coriana moaned while leaning into the interior of the bubble. Her large covered tits pressed up against it as she mewled, "Now I'm stuck in here~. I'm sure this is going to look even dirtier in a confined space, right~?"

"OOOOHHHHHHH! DREAMS DO COME TRUE!"

Asia looked between Issei as he succumbed to his lustful desires while Coriana started reaching for the hooks of her bra. If she took that off, Issei's attention would fully fall upon her big, bountiful breasts. He'd be her plaything. If Asia could have matched her seductive mannerisms then she would have to try and bring her beloved back to sanity. Unfortunately, she wasn't as talented or gifted in that regard. If only there was something she could say-

Asia's eyes widened in shock as an idea came to mind.

She lowered her bubble and abandoned her protection as she quickly came to Issei's side. Asia touched his shoulder to try and get his attention and gained it for a moment as Issei looked up at her, "Asia? What are you-"

"Daddy," She whispered in an attempt to mimic the sultry voices the girls in those raunchy videos used when they talked, "Can you do me a favor and win this fight, please? Please, Daddy?"

Coriana stopped when she noticed Issei had looked away, "Uh, can you look back over here. The dance is kind of pointless if you-"

"DRAGON SHOT!"

A devastatingly powerful beam overwhelmed the bubble containing Coriana and blew her away completely.

[Combatant Sairaorg Bael's [Bishop] retired]

"We did it!"

"Ahaha!" Asia jumped and hugged Issei's helmet, "We won, Issei-San!"

The light covered them and brought them back to their team. Issei shed his armor and greeted his friends with a smile, "Guys! We won! Chalk up another victory for the ORC!"

He was met with very quiet, very skeptical half-lidded stares from everyone else on his team.

He hung his head bashfully, "That dance was sexy."

||||||||Devil||||||||

"Wow," Yasaka giggled, "I'm aware he's called the Oppai Dragon but I underestimated his adoration for them."

"Oh yeah! Issei loves boobs more than anything!" Kunou excitedly answered her mother while barely being able to stay in her seat, "When he was helping us I think he made all the breasts in the world light up or something!"

"Hehe, that's amazing. And I see it doesn't take a lot to get his attention." She looked over with a sly smirk, "I hope those interested in him are taking notes."

Irina and Ravel had watched the fight with blushes on their faces as they witnessed their crush fall so easily to his lust. And then they wondered if they would be able to do the same if they performed like that. And then they heard Asia call him daddy and saw the surge in power from him. And finally, they wondered if they would get a similar reaction if they did the same.

They had the same thought completely independent of each other. And it was only when they looked at each other with blushes on their faces did they realize what had happened and looked down mortified.

||||||||Devil||||||||

Xenovia looked around the wide, rocky plains that had been picked for their battlefield. With 10 points at their disposal, the contestants had been picked and the field is chosen.

"Senpai, are you alright?" Koneko looked up at the older girl as she started to stretch out her arms while her ears and tail were out, "You're ready for the fight, right?"

"I'm set." Xenovia nodded while lifting Durandal to her shoulder, "I'm just consistently surprised how vast these spaces they make for our battles are. Though I guess I should be thankful." She looked across at their opponents as Koneko joined her side, "We've got room to run wild here."

The people facing off against them couldn't be more opposite from each other. One was a giant hulk of a creature made almost entirely from what looked like stones and rocks acting as his muscles and bones. The other man looked like he had been starved since birth, his body was thin and dilapidated to the point his ribs started poking through his chest.

The thin man nodded his head, "I am Ladora Buné. [Rook] of the Bael Peerage."

The giant rock man did the same, "Gandoma Balam. I'm a [Rook] as well."

"Koneko Toujou. [Rook]."

"Xenovia Quarta, I'm the only [Knight] this round." She hefted Durandal off her shoulder and held it at her side, "Let us do our [Kings] proud and fight with all our might."

There was a quiet nod between all of them before-

("Round 4!") Rudiger announced, ("Begin!")

Gandoma stepped forward and Ladora retreated behind him. Koneko and Xenovia charged forward to attack, rushing at the large stone-bodied Devil with the intent to break through him. Xenovia picked up the pace, charging ahead with a yell as she slashed against Gandoma's body and guard. Once her strike was finished she hopped aside and gave Koneko the opening she needed.

The short Nekomata charged in with a rush of brutal punches to Gandoma's body. The rock man raised his guard and weathered the storm of blows. As Koneko kept him preoccupied, Xenovia rushed around him with Ladora in her sights. Gripping Durandal in preparation-

"HAAA!" Gandoma stomped his foot and cracked the ground underneath him. It caused both Koneko and Xenovia to stumble and stop for a moment as the ground beneath them shook. And then he slammed his fist into the ground, uprooting a portion of the earth and launching it towards Xenovia in a hurry.

The blue-haired [Knight] leaped back as the boulder crashed down inches away from her and cratered the ground. Gandoma uprooted more rocks and boulders and started tossing them at the ORC girls in an attempt to keep them at bay. Koneko dodged and weaved around most of them before deciding to shatter any stones that came within her reach. And Xenovia resorted to destruction immediately, swinging her sword with a mighty arch and destroying every rock that approached her.

"Koneko!" Xenovia called out to her friend as they swatted the rocks away together, "I'm going to make my move! Can you cover me until I'm ready?!"

"Yeah." Koneko nodded firmly, slipping in front of Xenovia and chambering her fists before rapidly punching down all the rocks that came their way. Xenovia stood behind her and took a deep breath, gathering her energy as her aura started to build up along her sword. She raised it by her head…

Her eyes snapped open to show a sharper set that had replaced them with her Bijū's power, "Kokuō." She whispered, high-pressured steam rushing off her in waves as her strength and power built up to their peak, "Give me strength." She raised her sword and prepared to swing-

Before a great shadow spread out over her and Koneko. They both looked up and gawked as a dragon soared over their heads.

("Is that Contestant Buné?! He transformed into a dragon!")

("The Buné family's talent is dragon-rearing, and it seems like he has picked up the ability to change into one! Now that is dangerous!")

"Xenovia-senpai!" Koneko rushed over to her comrade as her eyes became mismatched in color. And as Ladora reeled his head back with flames brewing in his maw, Koneko summoned a wave of blue fire over her arms.

Fire clashed against fire as Koneko tried to ward off the dragon's breath with a wave of her flames. They rushed against each other and the heat coming off them was sweltering as neither [Rook] eased up for even a moment. Until-

Gandoma rushed through the mix of fire and shoulder rushed into Koneko. The Nekomata let out a cry of pain as she went sent flying back after getting knocked off her feet from the rock-covered charge. She flew back into Xenovia who quickly caught her and jumped back, "Koneko! Are you okay?!"

"I-I'll be fine!" The little freshman groaned and blinked the stars out of her eyes. She rubbed the groggy haze out of her head and summoned her flames again before releasing a rush of flames against the rock Devil and dragon, "We can't let them get the upper hand, Senpai."

"Right!" Xenovia raised her sword again as steam rushed off her body. She and Koneko shared a quick look before nodding and dashing towards their foes again. Aura started to build over Durandal as Xenovia yelled and swung at the sky, sending flying slashes through the air up at the giant dragon. Ladora was forced to strafe and fly out of the path of her swings, staying out of her reach at all times.

Koneko meanwhile charged in and met Gandoma head-on. The rock Devil yelled and brought his fist down on Koneko's head. The ground shattered under the force and Koneko's feet dug into the dirt as she blocked the heavy fist bearing down over her head. With gritted teeth she growled and released a rush of flames, swallowing up her fellow [Rook's] stone arm and superheating it.

Gandoma groaned before swinging his arm out, pulling it out of Koneko's grasp before bringing his fists down again. Koneko yelled and slammed her fists against his, struggling to hold them back under his greater power before blue flames burst off her body. They grew and grew until they were both completely enveloped in them.

"HAAAA!" Xenovia continued to wildly swing her Holy Sword, sending slash after slash of aura through the air at the dragon. Ladora roared and continued to evade the path of her attacks as best he could. However, his big, lumbering form was not agile enough to avoid the path of her swings. Even as his scales were able to absorb the worst of the damage, his wings were torn and shredded from the cuts and he was losing altitude.

Xenovia smirked as the massive scaled beast landed on the ground and shook the earth underneath them. As Ladora looked over himself and surveyed his torn wings, Xenovia raised her sword in preparation, "Going to be a lot harder for you now on ground-level, isn't it? So how's about you and I get to the fight properly now, okay?"

The dragon [Rook] growled through his teeth before he started scurrying away. His massive size allowed him to travel further distances a lot quicker. But Xenovia's speed quickly helped her keep up. She was gaining on the dragon as he got closer to-

Xenovia's eyes widened in shock, "KONEKO!"

The little Nekomata looked back as the dragon drew in closer with a wide mouth. She was about to turn and run away before Gandoma stopped struggling against her fists and instead caught them in his hands. With nowhere to escape Koneko and her opponent found themselves pinned by the dragon's jaw.

The bottom slammed into Gandoma's back to little effect.

But the top half dug into Koneko's and pinned her to the other [Rook] with a bloody, agonizing yell.

"NOO!" Xenovia yelled out as she saw Koneko struggle against the teeth of a dragon in her back forcing her to get crushed against Gandoma's body. The blue-haired Exorcist raised her sword, "YOU LET HER-"

"Not so fast." Ladora grumbled through the two [Rooks] caught in his mouth, "If you want to take us out, you have to be ready to make the sacrifice and give up your partner here." He tightened his bite and Koneko let out a cry of pain as more blood spilled between his teeth. Xenovia started to shake with rage as the dragon let out a snort, "Maybe if you had the gall to do what that Valkyrie teammate of yours did, you would be winning this match for your team right now."

Anger filled her heart and Xenovia swore she could feel her blood boiling in rage. Her grip tightened around the hilt of her sword and with Kokuō's strength bolstering her she swore she might have just cracked it if she didn't start calming down. She tried to look into Koneko's eyes to get some idea of what she should do-

"HAAAAAA!" Koneko screamed as her body burst with blue flames inside of Ladora's mouth. The azure fire grew wilder and hotter as it increased with her scream. But the fire did nothing to stem or intimidate the dragon, as he spewed fire with ease and his mouth was built to withstand the flames. Gandoma on the other hand quickly felt the heat as he was swathed in the blue flames as well. Despite his hard exterior, he was still a person, and the burning sensation that continued to rise was causing him pain and discomfort. He tried to struggle and withstand all of it but his grip on Koneko started to wane from the flames-

Enough that she slipped an arm out of his grasp and punched Ladora in the tooth. And when she broke it, she dug her hand into his exposed gums-

"AAAAAHHHHHHHH!" Ladora's mouth snapped open in pain, forcing him to stumble back as Gandoma landed on his feet and an injured Koneko slammed into the ground.

The moment she was out, Xenovia spiked her sword straight through the air and into Ladora's nose. The dragon [Rook] cried out in pain and tried to yank out the Holy Sword piercing his flesh and burning him with its touch. And as he was distracted, the [Knight] rushed into Gandoma's flank and chambered her fist. With a ferocious roar, she punched the stone-covered Devil in the chest where the flames had weakened his defenses and cracked the rocks, sending him flying back into his dragon teammate and knocking them both to the ground as Durandal was finally dislodged.

The beautiful blue and golden sword landed back in the hands of its rightful wielder. And Xenovia stood there, with her Holy Sword raised in one hand while her injured friend was cradled against her body with the other. Xenovia raised her head, staring down her opponents with righteous fury building behind her altered eyes before her grip tightened tremendously as the aura of her sword spiked…

"HAAAAAAAA!"

Durandal was brought down at its full power, releasing a massive buildup of aura and obliterating everything in its path. The wave of power tore through the landscape and distorted the separate space for a moment before dying away completely. And in its place was a gouge in the land so large it'd take too long to follow its path to the end.

[Combatant Sairaorg Bael's [Rook]x2 retired]

Once it was clear their foes were beaten, Xenovia stabbed the tip of Durandal into the ground and fell to her knees. She gently cradled Koneko, feeling the wounds on her back and the blood coating her hands. The little freshman shut her mismatched eyes in pain before looking up at her, her normal amber color returning in their place. Xenovia closed her eyes as well, releasing Kokuō's influence from her system as she looked down at her friend shamefully.

Koneko showed a faint smile, "We won. There's that."

"I'm sorry." Xenovia whispered pitifully, "If I had hurried and caught that dragon-"

"Don't focus on that." Koneko shook her head as her voice started to get weaker, "Just make sure you…finish the rest…for…"

Koneko faded away in a show of light and Xenovia felt her weight suddenly disappear in her arms.

[Combatant Rias Gremory's [Rook] retired]

Xenovia bit her lip and clenched her fists in anger as she picked up her sword and was teleported back to their base.

When she arrived she found everyone in her peerage looking at her sympathetically. She lowered her head and shook it, "I'm sorry. I should have been watching out for her."

She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up as Naruto smiled, "She's the tough kid we know. I wouldn't expect anything less than burning the enemy and tearing out their teeth just to get an opening on them. She wanted you to keep fighting, right?" Xenovia quietly nodded, "Then do just that."

Asia, Issei, and the others tried to console her and ease her conscience. It didn't help much…but she swore she would honor her friend's sacrifice.

||||||||Devil||||||||

"Wow, the Sekiryuutei's party is getting pushed this time around. You'd think after everything else they've fought, another Devil team would be a complete wash." He waited for a response but when he looked over he saw his irate comrade barely controlling her fury, "What's with you?"

"Those guys beat Shirone!" Kuroka snarled, her pupils dilating as murderous intent started to waft off her, "She did her best but they still had the never to bench her, nya! I should storm in there and show them who they're messing with! I'll give Heiress-chan a tongue-lashing and then I'll make that other team regret-"

"That's enough." Kuroka growled and looked back as Arthur, Le Fay, and Fenrir walked over to join them, "You shouldn't be surprised that Rias Gremory's peerage is facing a real challenge now. They may have battled fantastical opponents as of late but their opposition is the top rookie of the Devil Rating Games. Sairaorg Bael isn't referred to as the Heir of the Great King just because of his heritage."

"I-I've seen some of his prior fights. They were so amazing. Most of them he won single-handed against entire teams!" Le Fay informed the others, "Even Vali-sama was impressed and said he'd like the chance to meet him in battle one day!"

"Oh wow. Does Vali want to fight someone? No way."

"Stop the fucking presses, nya."

Bikou and Kuroka deadpanned before turning back to the screen. They saw the broadcast showing Akeno now fighting the [Queen] of the Bael peerage. Both women were floating around the dark sky and firing waves of magic and Demonic Power at each other in revenge for their comrades who had already fallen.

The Gremory [Queen] was determined and motivated to fight on after watching her dear friends fight and fall like that. With a mighty roar, she conjured a raging storm of lightning in her hands. And with a loud yell, she launched her bolts across the field and directly at Kuisha to shock her to the core.

But before they could hit her, tears in space appeared in front of her and swallowed the lightning completely. And then Akeno was suddenly surrounded by tiny Holes, launching the lightning she just threw right back at her from all sides and electrocuting her completely as she cried out in pain. It continued until the lightning finally stopped and Akeno fell through the air before disappearing.

([Combatant Rias Gremory's [Queen] retired])

("Contestant Abbadon's Holes allow her to create tears in space around her, swallowing up attacks and releasing them back where she wants. Contestant Himejima was determined and very powerful, but in the end, that power was her downfall. Literally.")

("Damn.")

"Wow, they are pretty good." Bikou noted with a whistle as the screen changed back to both teams as they prepared to throw their dice again and determine the points for the next round.

"What are you all doing?" They looked back as Vali walked in and found them all around the screen. He sent a look back at the person standing just behind him before looking back at his team, "You understand how dire the situation we are in right now is, right?"

"I know we got the Heroes on our asses, but again I will ask; are any of the leaders or executives among them?"

"No-"

"Then what the hell is there for us to worry about?" Bikou pondered before looking around at the others, "I mean I get they outnumber us and we're on the run and stuff, but if Cao Cao and his goons aren't the ones doing it…what's there to worry about?"

The others looked between each other and shrugged. It was true that the Hero faction was going to be a pain in the ass but without their main battle force coming to meet them, currently preoccupied with whatever it was that had their focus, there wasn't much they had to worry about.

"Just don't get too complacent." Vali warned them, "It's that kind of overconfidence that gets people fat and lazy and off their guard."

"I'll give you lazy, but fat?" Kuroka scoffed while hoisting up her bountiful chest, "Pfft, these babies can only get more and more glorious." She then pointed back to the fight, "Just pick a spot and drop your ass in it already. You missed Sekiryuutei-chan's first bout, nya."

"Issei Hyoudou performed already?" Despite his prior warnings Vali couldn't help but get intrigued as he heard his rival had already participated. He asked, "How was it?"

"H-His opponent started stripping, and Oppai Dragon-sama screamed in joy as she did." Le Fay answered with a small blush on her face recounting the strange battle they had witnessed.

"And then little Nun-chan got down by his side and called him daddy before he obliterated the stripper." Kuroka chuckled, "Which I will admit is pretty hot but still ridiculous."

"Uh, of course." Vali couldn't help but rub his temple in disappointment. Here he was hoping to see the results of his rival's growth since their encounter with the Hero faction and he made a mockery of his battle. He sighed, "And Naruto Uzumaki?"

"Nothing yet," Bikou answered, "He's an [Illegal Piece] so he's only allowed to participate in one match this entire game. I guess Princess Rias is saving him for when she needs him most."

"Hmm," Arthur fixed his glasses, "Do you think she'll use him against Sairaorg Bael?"

"Frogger is…pretty tough." Kuroka begrudgingly admitted, "But it sounds like everyone wants to see Sekiryuutei-chan fight the big dude."

"I have a feeling he hasn't even used his full strength yet either." Bikou nodded, "So you gotta wonder which of them would be better for drawing out his reserves, and who would be enough of a match against him when they did."

"It is, so strange." The members of the rouge team looked over at their guest as they looked at the screen as well, "Not so, long ago, Dragons stood at the apex. All feared us. All avoided us. All knew our power. But, as time goes by, surprising strength rises from the unknown. To stand in opposition of it. To challenge it. To claim the title of strongest."

The little gothic-clad girl reached into her dress and pulled out the withered old headband with the metal plate she had retrieved in the Dimensional Gap. She stared down at the warped metal and spiral carving in the middle of it…

"Great strength, arises, without us even realizing."

("12! They rolled a 12! Could this be it? Is it time for The Strongest Youth to make his appearance?!")

||||||||Devil||||||||

"I want to go."

"Me too."

"Please let me go out there as well."

Rias looked over at Xenovia, Yuuto, and Rossweisse in surprise as they volunteered to face Sairaorg in battle. She tried to remain steel-faced after witnessing Akeno fall in battle just moments ago, "Are you sure?"

Xenovia nodded, "Koneko risked her life to win us our match."

"And Gasper-kun sacrificed himself to help me secure our victory." Rossweisse glumly added.

Yuuto's eyes hardened, "And Akeno-San charged into the fight wanting to avenge them. We want to do the same."

Naruto looked conflicted as Issei shook his head, "But guys, I should go out first. I think my Trianna would stand a good chance of matching Sairaorg-San. Let me-"

"Issei-kun," Yuuto shook his head, "We all know Sairaorg-San has something up the sleeve he hasn't shown yet. Even so, after all this time and all these battles he has never had to reveal it before. Not to mention that he still has a Phoenix Tear to spend and refuel himself with."

"We have to force his hand. Tire him out. If you did that but he used the Tear to recover, you'd be in danger. And even if Asia-San went out with you, she would be at risk."

"We can do this." Xenovia promised while looking at Naruto sternly. Her eyes showed profound determination to see this through to the end. She nodded, "Please let us do this."

Even if victory was not assured at the end of this fight. They wanted to do something for their fallen teammates…

Rias looked around at all their expressions and nodded, "Alright then…I'm trusting all of you."

"Do your best." Naruto held up his fist, "We're counting on you."

Xenovia smirked and bumped her fist against his in solidarity.

||||||||Devil||||||||

"They're making a big deal out of that guy."

"Among the young Devils, he's quite the superstar. He's fought in a lot of battles and always came out on top. And the energy coming off of him is interesting, to say the least."

"You can see it?"

"I can sense it." Indra answered while eating a few snacks from his seat, "I can also see the restraint he has around his body. Slowing his movements and causing him to refrain from releasing his full power. Even now he's training." The Hindu God looked over at his companion as he fed their crab pet some tidbits, "What is it?"

"In my world, I used to be able to read the chakra of other people with my eyes. I'm wondering if I had them still if I could have noticed the restraints he has on him even if it isn't chakra."

"Oh, these things can do that too?" Indra raised his hand and summoned the object just above his palm. He stared at them quietly with a hum, "These things just get more and more intriguing the longed I'm around them."

His young bodyguard looked over at the object in his grasp and the crab furiously clicked its pincers together. They both stared at the single removed eyeball with a red iris and three black tomoe surrounding its center.

Indra noticed his attention and smiled, "Don't worry. You'll get these back once things start to pick up, which they will soon enough." He sent the eyeball disappearing back into his vast space and smiled, "Besides you seem to be doing well enough with your replacements."

He touched just under his eye and tried to activate his family's sacred bloodline technique but to no avail. With a grumble, he turned his attention back to the fight and tried to ignore the irritation he was feeling.

He knew that whenever things were supposedly going to pick up…it would inevitably get more hectic around here too.

|||||||Devil||||||||

They walked along the body of the island in perfect sync. Around them was an endless ocean, or the closest facsimile to an ocean they could produce in this separate space. As they walked they finally spotted their opponent sitting on a rock and running his hand through the sand. He let the grains spill from his palm before he looked up at their approach.

Sairaorg stood up and dusted off his hand, "First off I want to apologize." He spoke up, "This is a fight so I can't exactly go around enforcing my values on how others battle, and there's something to be said about tactics involving taunts and provocation…but Ladora shouldn't have resorted to saying those things." He nodded to Xenovia, "You performed admirably in your match," And then did the same to Rossweisse, "And you simply fulfilled your comrade's wish in the heat of battle. There is nothing to be ashamed of in that."

"We appreciate the sentiment, but I hope you know that won't mean we'll go easy on you this round."

"I wouldn't expect you to." Sairaorg started rotating his arms, "You came here fueled by the desire to avenge your comrades' defeat. And knowing how clever Rias is, she probably also wants me to use up the Phoenix Tear before the end of the match."

"True, we did come out here to force your hand on using the Tear. But you know, now that we're standing here…" Xenovia's eyes shifted as she leveled Durandal at the Bael heir, "I want to take the chance to bring you down myself."

Rossweisse's eyes also changed as she let her Bijū's power boost her.

Yuuto summoned his Holy Demonic Sword and took his stance in preparation for the fight.

Sairaorg smiled, nodding proudly as he raised his fists, "I wouldn't have it any other way."

("Round 6!") Rudiger announced, ("Begin!")

Sairaorg launched from his spot like a missile, shattering the ground he once stood at as he flew straight at the ORC members. They quickly had to disperse and were almost blown away by the wind pressure of his landing. Rossweisse immediately deployed her wings to gain the advantage in the air as Xenovia and Yuuto charged in with their swords at the ready.

They came at him from both sides, trying to catch him in a pincer attack. And Sairaorg swiftly evaded their swings by narrowly dodging their paths and swiftly striking the blunt sides of their swords. Despite their ludicrous speed and efficiency, Sairaorg never failed to knock them aside and avoid a devastating wound.

As the two [Knights] pressured him from both sides, Rossweisse gathered water into her hand and formed a magical circle around it. She aimed it down at the young [King] and released her stream, boosted by the power of her magic to make it even stronger than normal. It sliced through stone and rock-like hot butter before finally reaching Sairaorg-

Only for the water to splinter off into several different streams as it hit his hand. Sairaorg grunted and pushed against the force of the pressurized water as it slipped out of his palm and sliced through everything around him so easily. He continued to push and push against her attack before the water finally petered out and her attack withered away.

Sairaorg let out a sigh of relief before looking down at his hand. He saw the hardened and calloused skin of his palm turn red under the pressure of Rossweisse's water cannon. He opened and closed his hand before nodding, "I apologize." He looked up at the Gremory Devils before lowering his hands to his side, "I thought I could use this round to train. To heighten my senses and test my skills. But now I see how wrong that is." He closed his eyes and tensed his muscles, "You are coming at me with your full strength with the intent to defeat. And I…should answer in kind."

A strange formation appeared on his limbs and glowed intensely before suddenly breaking apart. And once it was gone, the raw power coming off of Sairaorg spiked rapidly in response. It grew higher and higher until everyone watching was staring at him in disbelief. Sairaorg clenched his fists afterward and noticed how light he felt, "For the longest time I have trained and moved with a restriction and weight on my body. So cumbersome that if I wanted to move I had to exert my power to do so. Yet somewhere down the line I barely even noticed that it was there anymore."

Sairaorg chambered his fist at his side before suddenly throwing a punch with a mighty yell.

Everything in the path of his fist was suddenly uprooted and blown away like it had been shredded by a tornado. Xenovia and Yuuto tried to jump out of the way and avoid it but were still blown back by the force. And once it hit the water and released a gigantic explosion, Rossweisse was blown out of the air until she careened into the ocean around them.

Sairaorg lowered his fist as water rained down across the island, "It's strange…feeling this light again."

Xenovia lifted herself off the ground, gasping for air and spitting up some sand that had flown into her mouth after she had dodged the devastating straight punch, "Well I guess we know what he was hiding this whole time."

Yuuto sputtered as he dusted himself up, "Well we wanted this, right?" He snarked before raising his sword by her side and facing down Sairaorg again, "No turning back."

"No turning back."

Xenovia charged forward in a dash with Yuuto quickly following behind her. She yelled and swung for Sairaorg's head only for him to swiftly dodge the end of her sword by mere millimeters. And when Yuuto followed through from behind, Sairaorg was able to block the edge of the blade with just his arm.

("Incredible! Contestant Bael has suddenly released his restraints and now he's dodging sword attacks and knocking them back with his bare arms! Azazel-dono, what do you make of this?")

("Well we know Contestant Bael was never able to manifest Demonic Power or the Destruction that was prevalent in the Bael family, so he had to develop his strength and power through training. I believe what we're seeing is the unmitigated touki he has been able to summon through sheer force of will after all his years of training.")

("He doesn't seem to have a handle on touki like some Sages or masters of senjutsu I've witnessed, but the boost to his strength from it is quite clear.")

||||||||Devil||||||||

"Oh shit."

Rias looked over as Naruto stared up at the screen in shock, "Naruto? What? What is it?"

"His movements. The way he's getting out of the way of Xenovia's sword."

"Yeah, he's dodging!" Issei exclaimed, antsy on his feet while Asia clapped her hands together and gave a small prayer, "What about it, Senpai? What's the problem?"

[You don't think-]

"Yeah," Naruto grimly nodded as he gulped down the knot building in his throat, "It's…it's like when I dodge in Sage Mode." The others looked between him and the screen as Sairaorg effortlessly evaded the swords of the [Knights], "Sensing the energy and the forces around us…to dodge at the last moment."

[It's not as seamless as when you do it, but he's harnessed that energy around him enough to feel anything permeating it and dodging out of its path in time. An imitation of sensing natural energy.]

"He learned from me. When we had our spar - he figured out how I fight in Sage Mode and assimilated it into his fighting style with that swell of energy."

Rias looked up at the screen in dread as her hands tightened into fists, "Please be careful."

||||||||Devil||||||||

Yuuto's sword snapped against Sairaorg's thick forearm and he was nearly beheaded when the [King] lashed out at him with a back fist. The young [Knight] was blown back off his feet and he rolled along in the dirt and sand before slamming his hands on the ground. With a proud yell, he raised his hands and summoned his four knights to come to his aid.

This time, without Shukaku to take charge of them, they followed Yuuto's orders exactly and charged at Sairaorg. One slid towards his feet and another two approached him from either side as the last one dropped down on him from above.

It was done in the blink of an eye.

His fists moved so fast and cleanly that the armored knights being ripped apart seemed to just occur because they even approached him. Sairaorg raised his head and narrowed his eyes at Yuuto-

"HA!"

He turned and caught Durandal between the palms of his hands. Even though just touching the blade was causing him pain and discomfort, Sairaorg's focused expression never faltered and he pushed against Xenovia's subtle force.

The blue-haired Exorcist persisted and tried to cleave her blade through his guard and into his body. But his hands didn't let up even a little. It was like trying to push something embedded in concrete through to the other side. In all her years of fighting, she had never met a force as strong as this.

But they promised that they would give this their all! The others had opened this chance for her! Rias believed in them! Naruto told her to do her best! And Koneko…Koneko trusted her to carry on!

"GRRRRR!" Xenovia mashed her teeth and pushed, steam rushing off her quickly as her power built up higher and higher. Durandal shook between Sairaorg's hands and the Bael heir struggled to hold on until-

"HAAA!"

Her strength finally broke through and Durandal slipped through Sairaorg's hands, cutting his palms and earning a small cut on his chest. With that small advantage, Xenovia raged like a beast and started swinging for his vitals. The power built up behind each swing could reduce a normal person to chunks but Sairaorg quietly dodged each one.

"Dammit," Yuuto watched from the side as Xenovia charged at their enemy and attacked with unbridled fury, "There has to be something more we can do."

Just as he was about to stand up and join her in the assault, he noticed the water around the island start to change paths and converge around a single whirlpool just off the coast. The handsome [Knight] watched in shock as a figure rose from the center of the vortex.

"Rossweisse-San?"

The silver-haired Valkyrie opened her eyes and raised her hands. The water she gathered around her followed the movement of her hands and curled around the island. The Devils standing on it looked up in shock as several magic circles formed in front of the water to funnel them through more precisely. They shot out in a dozen small and highly-pressurized streams localized at a single point.

They all bore down on Sairaorg from multiple angles and forced him to stay in a horse stance to weather the attack.

("Contestant Rossweisse has reappeared! I didn't hear the alarm when she was knocked out of the air so she was never retired!")

("She's been waiting for the best moment to present itself for her to strike!")

("And such extraordinary control of water. I don't think she is going to hurt Contestant Bael without raising the pressure until it's lethal, but with all the force being pushed on him from all sides he can't hope to move.")

Xenovia rushed forward and thrust the sword at Sairaorg's chest as he was hammered with water from all directions. Even under the watery onslaught, his hand reached out and blocked the tip of Durandal with his palm. Xenovia suddenly found herself stuck against the familiar wall of Sairaorg's unshakeable muscles. Steam poured off her and Sairaorg pushed back with similar force-

Yuuto's hand latched around the hilt of Durandal between her hands and helped her steady the blade. The two [Knights] looked at each other as Xenovia was surprised by his arrival. But as he gave a small but certain nod, she knew she could rely on his help. So together they pushed as hard as they could-

And then twisted the blade and sliced.

The water finally stopped as the two [Knights] slid past Sairaorg after landing their hit. They both stood there and tried to catch their breath before looking back.

Sairaorg still stood tall and unwavering. However he was soaked in seawater from head to toe, and among the drops that poured off his body was a line of crimson red. His right arm hung limply at his side, a massive gash going all the way from the knuckles to the shoulder and leaving it completely useless.

("That doesn't look good.")

("Contestant Bael is a tough contender but I wouldn't put bleeding out as something he could withstand.")

("This fight is going to need to be finished fast.")

Xenovia tightly clutched Durandal and braced herself before Yuuto reached out, "Xenovia, wait! We need to-"

She rushed forward, boosted with speed and her Bijū power to rush the [King] at full speed. She leaped off the ground and raised Durandal above her head with the intent to bring it down on Sairaorg. With this, they'd secure victory and she could face the others proudly. She brought the Holy Sword down-

Sairaorg's other hand blurred forward and closed into a fist towards Durandal's hilt.

Everyone watching was left in silence as a terrible, unnatural noise followed their collision. And that silence lasted until Durandal flew through the air and slammed into the ground.

Xenovia stood in silence and blinked in confusion before she looked up. Sairaorg still had his fist raised to meet her as she dropped but it hadn't landed. He punched at her sword and she was fully ready to carve into his meat and bones if that would secure the victory. So how did she drop her sword? She looked down at her hands-

And found all of her fingers twisted and broken around the knuckles. They stood up and hung loosely from her hands completely black and blue after receiving Sairaorg's fist against them to loosen her hold on her blade.

She didn't feel it yet. The pain wasn't searing or piercing her mind. The only thought that was coming to her head…

Was that she been forced to drop her sword and failed to finish the fight.

Xenovia ground her teeth together before turning around and charging at Sairaorg, "WRAAHHHH-"

His elbow lashed out against her temple and planted her into the ground before she disappeared

[Combatant Rias Gremory's [Knight] retired]

Rossweisse quickly moved her hands and prepared to conjure another wave of water and magic. But before she could build up enough to attack, Sairaorg punched up towards her and sent a wave of touki and air pressure that enveloped her completely.

[Combatant Rias Gremory's [Rook] retired]

In the end, it was only Yuuto standing across from the weathered and bloody Sairaorg. The young [Knight] shook his head and sighed before giving a small smile, "I thought we had you on the ropes. I thought we were so close."

"You did. And you were." Sairaorg said with a gentle smile, "I'm glad to know that Rias has such an extraordinary family around her. And I can only imagine you will all continue to grow more powerful as time goes on."

"Hmm, it's just a question of if we'll be able to catch up." Yuuto whispered wistfully as he closed his eyes.

When they opened they were black with a star pupil, tapping into Shukaku's power as the wind picked up around him.

Just in time for Sairaorg to charge at his face.

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([Combatant Rias Gremory's [Knight] retired])

He turned his attention away from the Rating Game broadcast and made his way further into the base. He left Heracles and Jeanne to watch the fight as he passed Leonardo studying his books. As he walked into the back room he saw the experiment still going on and walked over to the only other person in the room not preoccupied, "How's it going?"

Siegfried looked up from his book and at Minato, "Pretty good, all things considered. Cao Cao has remarkable pain tolerance. How is the match?"

"Pfft," The blond hero scoffed, "Can barely be called a match. Although the final round is coming up so I suppose there's a chance something interesting can still happen."

"I want you to watch that. And also record it if you can." Minato looked over at the operating table with his leader on top of it. He walked over and looked down at Cao Cao as he tried to keep up appearances but looked in pain. The Hero faction leader nodded up at him, "If there's any information we can use for our missions ahead, I think this fight will give us a good idea. And until I get a look at it I want you to take note of anything that grabs your attention."

"On it." He agreed before looking down at Cao Cao's hand. He tried to hide his flinch of disgust as he saw the newly formed bones sticking out of the spot that had been a stump just yesterday, "Are you sure about this? I mean it would have been a lot faster just getting you a prosthetic."

"But this might still prove useful in the future." Cao Cao stated resolutely, "And it isn't so bad."

"We haven't even gotten to the hardest part." Georg warned him as he wheeled in the object of their experimentation, "It'd be one thing if we were trying to attach a foreign limb but this is just meat. So to graft it on, we'll need to form the skeletal and nervous system from your arm to create the basis for the new hand." The bespectacled Mage grimaced, "If you thought growing the bones was hard, wait until you have veins, ligaments, and nerves exposed to air before having to meld with the unfamiliar flesh."

"Are you sure this is a smart move?" Minato wondered as he looked down at the chunk of meat they were going to use, "I mean didn't we conclude this stuff is dangerous? Sure it gives people a boost in immense power but they pretty much keel over and dies not long after."

"Yes, but that was from the consummation of the monsters' meat. This time…" Cao Cao shrugged, "Well I'm not quite sure how it's going to turn out because no one has tested it before, but won't it be fun?"

"You are a special kind of mad man."

||||||||Devil||||||||

He witnessed his friends give it their all to try and claim victory from Sairaorg.

Xenovia pushed herself beyond her limits and even continued after her hands were broken to try and stop him. Rossweisse controlled more water and tapped into more power than she ever had before. Even Yuuto had broken his resolve to never use Shukaku's power to try and capitalize on everything they had tried to do.

They pushed Sairaorg further than anyone else had. Even Naruto hadn't been able to force him to release his restraints or suffer such a debilitating injury during their spar.

But in the end, he still won. He beat a team of three and used the Phoenix Tear to erase all the damage. Even if it was all a game and they were all fine and being treated right now…he still felt frustrated.

This is why he knew to reach over and hold her trembling shoulder to ease her worry, "It's okay. It's not over yet."

Rias hummed and nodded resolutely. Even though she couldn't hide the line of tears forming in the edges of her eyes.

Sairaorg finally arrived back on his side of the dome with the remainder of his team. With the Tear having taken effect the only evidence of the injuries he suffered were the stains on his clothes.

Issei shook with anger, "I can't believe he took them out. Just like that."

"I-Issei-San," Asia whispered and clutched onto his sleeve, "It's okay." Her voice was low and she tried to stifle the sob that wanted to come out after seeing their friends' noble effort, "We need to focus now. Sairaorg-San still has himself, his [Queen], and a [Pawn] left."

Rias sniffled and quickly composed herself, "Asia's right. They did what they set out to do and more. He used his Tear and lost some of his strength. We need to capitalize on this opportunity. On the next throw-"

("Hold on. It appears that Contestant Bael is calling Arbiter Rudiger over to speak with him.")

They looked back and saw Sairaorg speaking to the older Devil in a hushed voice. After a moment the older man nodded and flew over to speak with them instead. He floated just off of their base of operations, "Contestant Bael would like to propose a special final match instead."

"A special match?"

"Yes. Between both teams' [Kings] and another servant of their choice. A final fight to determine the victor of this match. If you don't wish to you need only say." Rudiger looked down at Rias, "What is your decision?"

The determined redhead knew the answer the moment she heard the proposal. A swell of pride and vindication filled her chest as all she wanted to do was avenge her fallen family and claim the victory they worked so hard towards. And one look back at her servants told her they agreed.

She nodded firmly, "We agree to those terms."

Rudiger nodded as well before flying up, "As a unanimous decision between the [Kings] of both teams they requested that the next round is between themselves and one servant of their choice! This next round shall determine this Rating Game!"

("Now that is exciting!")

("Both teams have their bare-bones members left! If there was any point for a winner-take-all, this is the time!")

("This is going to be quite the experience.")

Naruto felt a sharp tap on his back and looked back at Issei's wide grin, "Go on Senpai. Carry us home."

"We believe in you both," Asia said with a smile aimed at him and Rias. Naruto smiled back and gently patted her head before turning back to the edge of the platform.

He and Rias stood together and looked out over the vast space between as the crowd cheered. And standing on the other end was Sairaorg, arms folded and a quiet resolve in his eyes. With a nod, they both decided that this would be the end.

Time to settle this fight.

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Done

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