Hello, everyone. Sorry, i failed in my goal to post this chapter within a week. By five days too. I'm a failure*sniff, sniff*
I hope you all enjoy the chapter. 22,000 words.
Ravel's personality: A number of reviewers said Ravel was too arrogant. Ravel did actually insult Issei when she met him too. Naruto got it worse because he had insulted Riser and the entire Phenex Clan before even talking to her. So she was a bit miffed at him before she even talked to him, and she expressed that annoyance by insulting him. I have a general opinion on Ravel's character. She does usually appear to be modest, elegant, and polite. I view that as just how she's been taught to behave. The behavior of a 'proper lady.' When she moved into Issei's home though, she was shown to be a bit spoiled and immature underneath that. So when flustered or surrounded by people she trusts, she'll behave a bit more like an spoiled princess. That is how i view and shall write her. A bit of a tsundere as well, of course.
Crossing his fingers, Naruto created two clones in front of him. The clones shot off ahead of him. Splitting up slightly, they both came at Ravel from different angles. Gathering fire around her hands, she shot off attacks at the two of them. They didn't bother dodging. Their job was already done. While Ravel was briefly distracted by the clones, the real Naruto had closed the distance between the two. Ravel only had time to lauch a single fire attack at him.
Naruto didn't stop or dodge. He instead held his hands together to form a block of demonic power. He thrust his hands forward, and the demonic power collided with Ravel's fire to neutralize it. Naruto hadn't practiced much using raw demonic power, but it was useful for on the fly attacks where he didn't have time to form hand seals. The threat dealt with, Naruto reached Ravel.
Before Ravel could dodge, Naruto drove his fist into her stomach as hard as he could. Ravel doubled over from the punch, spit flying from her mouth as she gasped in pain. Naruto didn't give her any time to recover. Grabbing an arm, Naruto used his wings to move downward. Using that momentum, Naruto spun with her arm in his grasp. The maneuver translated into a throw in midair.
Ravel tried to use her wings to prevent her from hitting the ground, but Naruto had expected that. Several hand seals already completed, he drew in a breath as he called out, "Fuuton: Daitoppa."
He then let out a blast of wind. No cutting or compression involved. Just a blast of intense wind.
The wind slammed into Ravel's back, pushing her towards the ground even faster. Ravel collided with the ground in no way any self-respecting person would want. Headfirst. The impact threw up a cloud of dirt.
Naruto quickly dropped to the ground, retracting his wings. He preferred fighting on the ground, even if he could fly. He then watched as the dust receded to show Ravel clumsily getting to her feet. Her previously immaculate dress was covered in dirt, and there was an shakiness to her movements that had previously been absent.
It all confirmed a hypothesis Naruto had come to over the training trip.
Without a doubt, the hardest part of defeating Riser was his immortality. The Phenex control over fire and wind was formidable, but their regeneration was their greatest asset. Get rid of that, and most of the battle was done. Easier said than done, but Naruto had experience dealing with hard to kill people. Orochimaru, Kabuto, Shinno, Tsunade, and those revived with Edo Tensei. Naruto himself had a great healing factor. All of them had weaknesses though. There was no ultimate technique. Everything had limitations. Including the Phenex immortality.
There were ways to kill a Phenex. The best option was to hit them with an attack rivaling the power of a god. An attack of that magnitude would do one of two things. It would crush their mind in one shot or it would damage their body beyond even their ability to regenerate. Naturally the problem with this option was managing an attack of such raw power. Naruto doubted even a regular Rasenshuriken would be sufficient. While Naruto has yet to see any himself, Selene and Rias have told him of beings in this world who are far more powerful than even the strongest ninjas of Naruto's world. So even an S-rank jutsu might not be a 'god-class' attack. So this option was out.
The second option was basically attacking and defeating a Phenex until their will to fight was destroyed. Most people seem to believe you got to go until their mind was crushed, but a person will naturally give up long before their mind breaks. This option was a problem simply because of how long it can take. Not to mention they aren't just going to sit there and let you kill them over and over. Riser is no schmuck. While his immortality was his main strength, he was still a powerful devil. Defeating him once would be difficult enough. Doing so several dozen times was a task likely beyond anyone not of ultimate-class strength. Unfortunately, this was their only option.
So Naruto had researched the regeneration ability of the Phenex. There had to be weaknesses to any healing ability. After watching many fights involving members of the Phenex Clan, Naruto came to a hypothesis. Their healing factor seemed focused on 'fatal' injuries. Naruto had watched Phenex members get their heads blown off. He had watched them get stabbed through the heart. Magical attacks. Swords. The type of attacks that typically dealt the most damage proved the most ineffective.
So he came to the belief that the type of attacks that are typically the least lethal would prove the most effective. Unarmed attacks.
A magical attack to the face was dangerous. A punch to the face, not so much. A sword in the gut was clearly an injury, but can a punch to the stomach truly be viewed as an 'injury'? It was precisely the lack of lethality in these strikes that made the regeneration of the Phenex less effective.
It might not even be a physical difference so much as a mental difference. Phenex members seemed unbothered having half their bodies blown up. There was obviously some discomfort, but not the mind destroying pain such an injury would usually cause. Punches seemed more effective at causing them pain. Naruto theorized there might be some sort of pain threshold. Anything beyond that threshold was suppressed by their healing factor. Anything lower than it was left alone though. Whether Naruto was right with that or not, unarmed attacks seemed to cause Phenex members the most pain.
If you wanted to break someone's will to fight, causing them pain was a good start. Which meant Naruto was going to restrict himself to using blunt force trauma against Ravel. No cutting attacks. He was just going to punch her, kick her, and slam her into stuff till the spoiled and arrogant princess got tired of the abuse and gave up.
Already Ravel looked frazzled and worn. If a single punch to the stomach and throwing her against the ground was able to damage her so much, Naruto doubted this was going to take long. Maybe four or five more successful attacks before she gave up.
Ravel scowled at him before announcing, "Now you've earned my ire. I'm just going to finish this now."
Ravel then held up a hand. Fire formed in a tightly condensed ball. Naruto could feel the demonic power radiating from it. That was a finisher. An attack meant to end a battle. He didn't know it, but this was the same attack that had defeated Yuuto.
Naruto wanted no part of that. There were limits to his rook defense, and he was pretty darn sure that attack surpassed them. A direct hit with that would finish him. No question. Unsure whether he was capable of dodging it, Naruto ran through several hand seals and called out, "Fuuton: Atsugai."
Naruto's best chance was to overpower her attack with one of his own. This was the strongest pressure type attack Naruto knew. If any of his current attacks could manage it, it was this one.
Using wind techniques against fire attacks was generally discouraged. Wind fueled fire, and so the result was usually explosive. Naruto was willing to do it for three reasons here. First, Naruto had found that chakra attacks were generally more concentrated than magic. Magic produced larger attacks, but chakra was more intense and concentrated. Second, Naruto was putting a lot of chakra into this attack. Third, Naruto really didn't have any other choices.
"Disappear," Ravel ordered as she threw the attack at Naruto.
Naruto waited as the attack came at him. Letting it close the distance, Naruto finally acted when it came within twenty feet of him. He released all the wind chakra infused air he had in his lungs. As soon as it left his mouth, the full power of the attack was revealed. The air exploded outwards, forming a whirlwind of incredibly dense air that was aimed right at Ravel.
The two attacks collided just fifteen feet away from Naruto. The condensed ball of flames exploded in a firestorm. Naruto would have easily been engulfed at his distance, but his own attack distorted the explosion enough to protect him. He still felt the intense heat wash over him.
There was one difference between the attacks though. Ravel's was centered around the explosion, that single instant being the climax. Naruto's was a sustained attack. Which meant even after Ravel's attack exploded, Naruto was still breathing out the cyclone of wind. With Ravel's attack spent, Naruto's continued onwards. No, it grew stronger. The flames of Ravel's attack were absorbed and nourished by the powerful winds of Naruto's, creating a massive firestorm. A collaboration attack of wind and fire. A tornado of fire.
And it was heading straight for Ravel.
"Eh?" Was all Ravel managed to get out, caught completely unaware by the sudden turnabout. That was her last act before she was engulfed by the inferno.
The entire attack didn't just stop at Ravel. It continued onwards into the forest. Thankfully, as it detonated not long afterwards. A large chunk of the forest was incinerated, and a wildfire started raging. Naruto had to brace himself as the shockwave hit him. Covering his face with his arms and sticking to the ground with chakra, he weathered the wind washing over him.
And then it was over. Lowering his arms, Naruto looked at the results of the attack with slight awe. The forest was on fire, trees falling over as the intense heat ate away at their structure. The grass all in front of Naruto had turned to ash from the fire.
Damn! That was one big attack. That was fire on the level of some of the techniques Madara had used. Guess that's the level achieved when you combine an overcharged B-rank wind technique and the most powerful fire attack of a high-class devil. If they had been used in concert from the beginning, it might have been even more powerful.
Naruto didn't allow awe to distract him though. He stayed focused on the conflagration. There was no announcement, so Ravel was still active. Apparently even an attack of that magnitude wasn't enough to rival the power of a god. Not that Naruto was aiming to kill Ravel. She may have pissed him off, but killing her was still overkill in his opinion.
It took close to a minute for Ravel to finally reappear.
"You…you dare," Ravel whispered as her form appeared from within the flames. The flames didn't seem to bother her in the least, but that didn't stop her from looking at Naruto murderously as she continued in a voice so soft he could barely hear it over the flames, "…wind…we rule over fire…and wind…You dare to use wind…against me…Not only that…but you turn…my own flames against me…the audacity."
By now Ravel had cleared the flames. She actually looked better than she had before that attack. Her clothes were now free from dirt, and her skin seemed to have regained some color. Apparently that whole 'rule over fire' spiel wasn't a complete load of bull. She genuinely appeared to be rejuvenated by the flames. Naruto saw her limbs trembling though. While it was partly due to anger and indignation, Naruto could see the fear in her eyes as well. Physically the attack had proved less than useless, but mentally it had affected her. Her most powerful attack had been overpowered, and then turned against her. And it was done by wind, another element she supposedly ruled over. That had clearly shaken her confidence. Naruto had just proved that he could actually defeat her in her area of specialty. The sense of superiority she had carried was suddenly gone.
Shrugging Naruto replied casually, "I did say I was going to roast your ass. I never said I was going to use my own flames to do it. I never break my promises, yakitori-chan."
Ravel's trembling increased, although it was clearly due to anger now. She then hissed out furiously, "You think this is a joke?…You have insulted my honor as a Phenex…Y-You insufferable buffoon."
"Calm down, yakitori-chan," Naruto said with a wide grin. His prankster side was acting up. He quickly unsealed something from the storage seals on his wrist. Naruto held up the stick of yakitori as he added mockingly, "You aren't alone. I brought some company for you."
Being mocked with yakitori was clearly the final straw for Ravel. With an enraged scream, she shot at Naruto. She rapidly started striking at him, fire blasting out with each strike. Naruto frantically started dodging.
Despite her rage, Ravel had clearly chosen this method of attack for a reason. These blasts of fire were far weaker than her previous attack, but they came at a faster rate. Staying just five feet away from Naruto, it became nearly impossible for Naruto to dodge the rapid fire attacks. If she actually knew how to do this sort of attack instead of just flailing her arms wildly, it would be very dangerous
Utilizing raw wind manipulation, Naruto did his best to affect the fire coming at him by controlling the wind currents around him. He couldn't change the flow of the fire completely, but he could subtly redirect it to pass by him…Barely. The fire was missing him by inches. The heat of the fire was potent enough for Naruto to worry about being burned just from the proximity.
Knowing he couldn't keep it up, Naruto created two clones without any hand seals. Both moved at Ravel in an attempt to stop the assault. Ravel stopped the rapid fire blasts, but clearly didn't plan to let up. Crossing her arms across her chest, her entire body lit up with flames. Uncrossing her arms, she released a wall of flames in all directions. The two clones were destroyed, and the real Naruto was forced to jump backwards to avoid the flames. As soon as he landed and the flames started dying down, Naruto spotted another attack of Ravel's. It missed by quite a bit, proving that even Ravel couldn't spot him perfectly through the flames. The attack created a large shockwave when it hit the ground though, buffeting Naruto.
Shielding his face, Naruto jumped away a bit. He then saw another attack coming. With the wall of flames down, he also saw Ravel charging another one. So that was her plan now. Just repeatedly chuck attacks at him until something hits.
Naruto was actually a bit disappointed. Ravel's lack of experience was already starting to show through. She came on strong at first, but that momentum was already starting to wear down.
Not planning on just dodging, Naruto unsealed a rock from the seals on his wrists. With a quick snap of his arm, the rock was sent at Ravel. She looked at it dismissively when she calculated it wouldn't hit her, instead focusing on charging her next attack.
She really should have looked closer because an explosive tag was wrapped around the rock. Naruto didn't have enough kunai to waste them, so he just substituted a rock instead. When the rock was closest to Ravel, Naruto detonated it with a hand seal.
Ravel was knocked off her feet and sent rolling. Any real damage quickly healed, but it interrupted the attack she had been charging. She quickly started getting back to her feet, although her hair was frazzled and her clothes dirty from the unexpected tumble she took on the ground. Naruto was already on the move.
Closing the distance before she could get her bearings, Naruto created three clones with a hand seal. The clones moved ahead of him. The first slid in front of her before nailing her in the chin with a rising kick. It sent her into the air. The other two jumped up, both hitting her with kicks to send her higher. At the peak of the jump, the real Naruto was waiting. He readied an axe kick to send her into the ground, but Ravel clearly wasn't going to let him have his way. Screaming in effort, she covered herself in fire. Then those flames exploded outwards.
Naruto had to do a quick substitution with one of his clones to avoid the counter. Looking up with a scowl, Naruto was surprised to see Ravel herself falling down. She hit the ground back first, an inelegant landing to say the least. That attack seems to have cost her as well.
Naruto just watched as Ravel slowly clambered to her feet. Even more dirty and frazzled than before, she was also breathing heavily. Naruto could practically see the weariness settling in.
"You are very good. I'll give you that. It's almost unfair that you could become this strong without any serious training, and I have little doubt you'll get stronger and improve over time simply by virtue of your natural talent," Naruto declared honestly. Ravel immediately perked up while smirking proudly. His words clearly agreed with her. Naruto then stated bluntly, "But I've finished studying your overall ability, and you come up short on what is necessary to defeat me."
That didn't agree with Ravel as much. Crossing her arms, she raised an eyebrow as she asked haughtily despite her disheveled state, "Is that so?"
"Yep," Naruto replied with a smile. Holding up a hand, he formed a Rasengan as he added, "I'll now show you the difference between you and I."
With that, Naruto darted at Ravel. Head on. Ravel frowned. She was confident the attack couldn't harm her, but this battle was not going they way she had predicted. She was…losing. It was galling to admit, but it was true. If she wanted to win, she couldn't take anything for granted. Which meant she had to act as if that attack could finish her.
Calling upon her dwindling demonic power, she formed fireballs in each hand. Slamming them together, she combined them to form a single large attack. With that she launched it at the approaching Naruto. This attack had been powerful enough to overpower the fallen angel's attack. Unless he did those weird hand things, he couldn't match the power of it.
Naruto just grinned as he looked at the approaching fire attack. He didn't plan on tackling it head on. Instead Naruto dropped into a slide, and slid right under the attack. The fire was so close Naruto had a feeling his skin would develop several light burns just from the proximity…but he got through. The attack passed over him safely. As soon as he cleared the fire, he popped back up to his feet.
Ravel was wide open. Eyes wide at the unexpected dodge, she didn't have time to dodge or counter. Naruto lifted his Rasengan. He didn't shove it into Ravel though. No, instead he dropped to a crouch five feet in front of her. He then dug the Rasengan into the ground. The soft earth might as well have been water for all the resistance it gave. As soon as the Rasengan was sunk into the ground as much as it could go, Naruto let the attack destabilize. The release of energy created an explosion, which Naruto controlled to release in Ravel's direction. The explosion of energy carried the dirt with it. The result. A wave of dirt that crashed into Ravel.
Ravel reacted in the way anyone would when pelted with soil. Letting out a cry, she closed her eyes and lifted her arms to shield her face. Which left her completely open to an attack.
Naruto moved at her. Passing by her side, Naruto grabbed her wrist with his hand. His other hand rose to grab her upper arm. Using those two handholds as a grip, Naruto continued running past her. He then used that momentum against Ravel, as with a roar Naruto pulled her arm to throw her in the direction he had been running. Naruto distinctly felt her shoulder dislocate from the force. With a panicked cry, Ravel was helpless as she was sent flying in the direction of the forest that wasn't on fire. Like a bullet she flew before she was stopped after smashing through several trees.
Naruto watched in satisfaction. That no doubt hurt her. Considering her previous state, she was no doubt close to breaking. When someone is close to breaking though, they tend to fight back even harder. Better be prepared. Naruto already had a plan.
Fire erupted from the forest where Ravel had been sent, setting even more of the forest on fire. She then burst out of the flames, flying into the air. Pausing in the air above Naruto, it revealed that the wings of flame on Ravel's back were at least double their previous size. Wasting demonic power needlessly. Yep, Ravel is on her last breath here. A candle always burns brightest right before it goes out after all.
Calm as a cucumber, Naruto lifted a rock in his hand. He then lobbed it into the air high above Ravel. It wouldn't at any point be near Ravel.
Feeling like he was mocking her, Ravel saw red. Screaming in rage, her entire body lit up in flames. Raising her hands above her head, the fire started gathering at one point. Ignoring her lowering energy levels, Ravel put as much demonic power into the attack as she could. She didn't stop until the flames burned with a white center.
"Just disappear already!" Ravel yelled as she sent the attack flying at Naruto. As soon as the attack was sent flying it exploded outwards, turning into a wall of flames.
Naruto just smiled as the attack consumed him.
Ravel panted as the fire died down. She was desperately gulping down air, and she was sure she'd be sweating like a pig if the heat of the flames hadn't evaporated it all. Even her demonic power, which had always been her greatest advantage, was running on empty. She had hit her limit, but that infuriating blonde was finally done.
Wait a second…There was no announcement.
Sensing something, Ravel looked up with wide eyes. All she saw was a descending foot before it connected with the top of her head. The axe kick had horrific power, and sent her speeding to the ground. For the second time that day, Ravel hit the ground headfirst.
Naruto rolled his shoulders as he stayed in the air after the attack. Calm, he watched Ravel laying on the ground trying to recover. Her regeneration might have fixed any real damage, but there were several things it couldn't fix. Like stamina. Ravel was clearly out of stamina. Not to mention an attack straight to the head likely left her dizzy, even if the actual damage was healed.
It took half a minute for Ravel to finally work her way to her feet. After a second though, she collapsed onto her hands and knees. Panting as her muscles were shaking from the strain they hadn't ever felt before, Ravel could only lift her head to glare at Naruto. She then demanded in a weak voice, "H-How?"
Naruto didn't answer the question although the answer was quite simple. After throwing her, Naruto had created a clone. The real one had then transformed into a rock. The clone threw the rock into the air above her. The clone made her waste that powerful attack for no gain, and the original got to land a powerful attack.
Ravel should have noticed that. The explosive note wrapped around the rock earlier would have made her suspicious of the weird move. She would have suspected something was up. The fight had left her panicked and desperate enough that she hadn't noticed though.
"You can't win," Naruto stated simply.
Naruto hated the 'you can't win' speech. So many enemies had said it to him before, and he had repeatedly proved them wrong. He never thought he would say it himself, but here he was. Defeating a Phenex was as much about defeating them mentally as physically. Naruto had already proved he was stronger than her. Now he just needed to force her to accept that.
He didn't want to fight her anymore. Honestly…he was starting to get bored.
On one hand, Ravel was amazingly powerful. With her bishop enhancement, she was equal to Rias in terms of demonic power. Combine that with her easy control over fire and you have a powerful fire user. She's smart and observant, quick to notice fighting habits of opponents. She even theoretically knows what to do in a fight, managing to use positioning in a battle quite well. Add in her immortality and you have a dangerous opponent.
On the other hand though, she had a number of deficiencies. Experience obviously. She had clearly studied battles extensively, and thus can formulate proper methods of battle. At the start of the battle against Naruto and Raynare she had moved brilliantly. You don't always get to think in battle though. You have to be able to act on instinct. Act without thought. When Naruto started to press her, Ravel fell apart. At the beginning she had actually bested Naruto be stalling him long enough to eliminate Raynare, but afterwards the strategically planned moves stopped in favor of repeated fireballs. Which was another problem of Ravel's. With her it was fire, fire, and more fire. A fireball was eventually her answer to everything. She didn't even use any wind.
Naruto really preferred the fight against Karlamine. Ravel would almost certainly defeat Karlamine in a battle, but that was by pure virtue of their power difference. Karlamine trumped Ravel when it came to experience and skill. Every move Naruto had made in their battle, Karlamine had her own counter. She adapted and changed to fight Naruto as efficiently as possible. Ravel…not so much. Naruto used clones. Ravel used fire. Naruto used wind techniques, Ravel used fire. Naruto used taijutsu. Ravel used fire…The pattern was clear.
Ravel had come on strong, but she simply lacked the ability to continue that momentum. She kept doing the same tricks, expecting different results. She was like a lost child. With Naruto having figured out those tricks and devised counters, she was helpless. Even more so now that she's run out of stamina.
Naruto made sure to keep flying. His elevated position making his words even more powerful. "Just admit your loss. I've figured out your fighting style. You've nearly run out of demonic power. Physically your stamina is gone. Even your immortality is failing. I am different. I've used little chakra against you, and have sustained few wounds beside some light burns. I have stamina to spare. The difference is clear. Fighting will achieve you nothing. So just accept your defeat gracefully, and forfeit. I don't want to hurt you anymore than I already have."
Ravel's pride was flaring, but she couldn't deny his words. Ravel had used basically all her demonic power in that last attack. She could regenerate it given time, but she didn't have time. Her body was aching as well. Even if she hadn't been moving around a whole lot, fighting of any kind requires some stamina. Considering her lack of proper training and comfortable lifestyle, it was a surprise her stamina had even lasted so long. Not to mention she hurt. She had no real wounds, but her body had received more damage in this battle than she had in her entire life before. Phantom pains were plaguing her. Just standing up would be a challenge in her current state.
It was all too much for her, with her opponent staring down at her. Opening her mouth, she hesitatingly started, "I-I…I surr-"
With a wave of her hand, Akeno created a multitude of thunder strikes. They came from all directions, surrounding the enemy queen completely.
Yubelluna cursed. Her fire was unsuited for blocking so many attacks. With a wave of her hand, she constructed a series of red magic circles. They formed a box around her. The constructed barrier endured the thunder that attacked it from all sides.
As soon as it ended, Yubelluna waved her hand again. The magic circled rearranged themselves, lining up. Utilizing the remaining demonic power in them, Yubelluna channeled that power into a fire spell.
An attack which Akeno met head on. Thunder formed around her hand. Throwing it forward, a large thunder bolt went shooting forth to meet the fire attack. The two attacks distorted each other, trying to gain dominance. They then exploded when neither gained the advantage, nullifying each other.
"Ufufufu, this is so much fun, Bomb Queen. Don't you agree?" Akeno remarked, a blush on her face. She even licked her lips sensually, showing the battle was arousing her.
Yubelluna stayed quiet, not letting her opponent's actions get to her.
The battle had not gone as she had expected. A battle between two wizard types comes down to a few different factors. Compatibility, power, control, and finally demonic power. Compatibility refers to elemental advantages. A water mage will naturally have the advantage against a fire mage. Neither had the advantage here. Fire and thunder were relatively equal elements, which tend to nullify each other. Power refers to the amount of demonic power one can easily charge into their attacks. Once again, the two are relatively equal in this field. Control is their ability in using their demonic power. Akeno had the advantage here. She can use multiple elements, while Yubelluna is limited to fire and basic devil spells. Demonic power is overall energy reserves. Akeno had the advantage here as well. Overall it was close, but Akeno definitely had the advantage. Yubelluna wasn't surprised by that. She'd actually come in expecting that.
No, it was the attitude of her opponent that was off-putting. Akeno wasn't acting in a professional manner. Not in the least. Akeno had been attacking with sadistic glee the entire battle. There was no caution at all. All she seemed to care about was hurting her opponent.
And she had been successful. Yubelluna was not unscathed from the battle thus far. Akeno had used a fire spell to destroy the staff Yubelluna had been carrying, her hand being burned as well. A subtle ice spell mixed in with a thunder attack had allowed her to pierce Yubelluna twice with ice spikes. Once above her right hip, and in her right thigh. The blood was dripping down her right leg. The repeated thunder attacks had also often shocked her by virtue of proximity as well. Nothing fight ending, but even minor injuries build up over time.
Akeno's reckless fighting style was a double edged sword though. In her desire to hurt Yubelluna, Akeno had also sustained injuries. Her entire right arm and sleeve had been burned moderately bad, and her left foot and calf had received a burn only slightly less intense. Not to mention her miko clothes were burned by this point, just covering enough to keep her modesty.
Not that Akeno seemed to care. Unlike Yubelluna, who was clearly in pain whenever she had to move, Akeno seemed to be enjoying it. Her face was locked in a blush, and she was frequently giggling happily for no real reason. Yes, Akeno had firmly retreated into her S&M mode. She was thoroughly enjoying the experience of inflicting pain on her opponent and having pain inflicted upon her in turn.
It was starting to get to Yubelluna. Even if she isn't showing it, fighting an opponent who only seemed to grow more aroused as the fight continued was rather disturbing. Really. Akeno was looking at her like a piece of meat she wanted to devour. Very worrying.
At least things were going as they desired. Yubelluna was clearly on the losing end so far, but that was acceptable. She came into this battle expecting to be the weaker one. As long as she injured and tired out her opponent enough before using the phoenix tears she had on her, she would win.
"Ara ara, Bomb Queen. This is fun, don't you think?" Akeno asked in an joyful voice. Yubelluna didn't answer. Akeno didn't seem to care though, and just declared, "But I think it is time to finish up this duel."
Lifting her hands into the air, a large yellow magic circle formed above Akeno. The demonic power was palpable. Akeno was clearly putting everything she had left into this attack.
Yubelluna quickly reciprocated. Gritting her pain as she aggravated her burned hand, Yubelluna put both her hands before her. A red magic circle formed as she did her best to match the power of her opponent.
The demonic power between the two was intense as they charged their attacks for fifteen seconds. Like a lightning rod, a bolt of thunder shot down from the sky to collide with Akeno's magic circle. The thunder was summarily absorbed. With that as her cue, Akeno moved her hands in front of her. The magic circle then regurgitated the thunder it had absorbed, this time aimed directly at Yubelluna. Yubelluna shouted as she shot her magic circle forward. The magic circle itself moved to meet the thunder bolt. As soon as they collided, the magic circle detonated to form a large explosion of flames and heat. The thunder was briefly held back, but then pushed through. Her attack overpowered, Yubelluna had no choice but to take it. Crossing her arms and trying to focus her rook attribute, she waited till the thunder connected.
She screamed in pain as the electricity surged through her system. Blasted out of the sky, she wasn't capable of recovering in time to prevent hitting the ground. Her body dug a trench in the ground before she came to a stop. Letting out a pained groan, she sat up.
That hurt, but she had survived. It also signified that Akeno was done as well. A direct shot like that would have defeated Yubelluna at the beginning of their battle. That she had survived indicated that Akeno was out of demonic power. There was no other explanation for her survival.
Which meant it was time for the phoenix tears.
Yubelluna looked into the sky for her opponent, but was confused to see nothing. Her opponent was gone. Frowning, she struggled to her feet. She could use this opportunity to use the phoenix tears, but she wanted to see her opponent's face when she saw that she had been played. Using what little demonic power she had left, she floated into the air. Her head then swiveled as she searched for her opponent. She simply didn't think her opponent was one to flee entirely, so she had to be nearby.
It was a surge in demonic power that drew her attention. Moving in the direction, she came upon a sight she hadn't expected. Her opponent had alighted down near the edge of the trees, but she wasn't alone. The blonde girl, who was wearing a nun habit, was with her.
The blonde was the source of the demonic power. She was clearly concentrating on something. Based on the amount of demonic power and concentration, it was a high level spell.
Something else alarmed Yubelluna though. A little fact. Riser had spied a bit on Rias before he had gone to the human world to talk to her. Just to get a sense of her peerage. He had found out that nun possessed the sacred gear, Twilight Healing. A sacred gear capable of healing nearly any being of nearly any wound. A healer with her injured opponent. The conclusion was obvious.
Not willing to let her opponent be healed, Yubelluna sent an attack towards the nun. It never hit. As soon as the attack was sent off, the nun let out a cry. A golden barrier formed around the duo, which endured Yubelluna's attack.
"A barrier?" Yubelluna remarked in shock. The nun could form barriers already. Basic barriers aren't exactly uncommon, but the nun had supposedly only been a devil for a bit over a month. To learn to create barriers in such a short time was very rare, and implied a great deal of talent in using demonic power.
The barrier wasn't the strongest. If she was at full power, Yubelluna was sure she could destroy it with brute force. She wasn't at full power though. She was exhausted. Yubelluna couldn't deny the brilliant timing of her opponents. Riser hadn't considered the nun much of a threat. While her healing power was powerful, there were several limitations that made it much less of a threat than it could be. The nun had to be physically present for the healing power to work, which would leave her exposed. To their knowledge the nun hadn't had any noteworthy abilities besides her healing, which would simply make her a liability in the middle of the battlefield. Her comrades would be forced to defend her, which would create openings to finish them before they were healed. The nun could heal them outside of battle, but that would become a non-factor as long as the pressure was kept up to deny them the opportunity. Overall, to properly use a powerful, but limited sacred gear like the Twilight Healing in the middle of a battle would require a level of experience and strategy they had believed Rias Gremory lacked.
Which now came to bite Yubelluna in the ass. While she had focused on wearing Akeno down to use phoenix tears, her opponent had been doing the same to her. Once Yubelluna was exhausted herself, the nun came out. Putting up a barrier that Yubelluna was too tired to destroy, the nun was now able to heal Akeno.
Just as Yubelluna believed, Asia had turned to Akeno as soon as she put up a barrier. Reaching into a pocket, she pulled out a vial filled with a purple liquid. Holding it out for Akeno, Asia told her in concern, "Quickly drink this. It will taste bad, but drink all of it. I'll start healing you."
"G-Got it. Thanks, Asia," Akeno replied with pain in her voice. Now that she had exited her S&M mode, the burns on her arm and leg were just plain hurting. Not just pleasurable tingles anymore.
Taking the vial, she opened it. Taking a quick sniff, Akeno couldn't help frowning in displeasure. It smelled horrible. Forcing herself, she threw back her head and drank the potion. Choking it down, she still felt a small warmth start spreading through her belly.
"Kareha-san," Asia called out as she held her hands up to Akeno's burns.
"I know," Kareha called out as she flew towards the two. She quickly began flying in rapid circles above Akeno, golden dust falling down from her trail.
Rias had clearly explained how important Asia's Twilight Healing was to their group, but Naruto had been quick to point out Asia was relatively vulnerable. So they had quickly come up with a plan to protect her until she was needed. At the beginning of the game Akeno had created a thick fog. The main purpose of that fog was actually to hide Asia. Asia had been waiting near the edge of the forest, hiding in the fog. That final attack of Akeno's where she drew lightning down from the sky not only acted as an attack, but also as a signal for Asia to come out to heal her.
The healing then consisted of three parts. Asia naturally would heal any wounds Akeno had accumulated, but that wasn't enough alone. Akeno also needed to recover her demonic power. Rias had asked Asia to brew up a potion that helped recover energy. Asia was still limited to beginner level potions, so the effect was limited. The potion would recover roughly 25% of Akeno's demonic power over ten minutes or so. Not amazing, but enough to possibly make all the difference. Kareha was also using her fairy dust on Akeno. Kareha's dust could recover around 33% of a person's energy. Put together, Akeno would recover half of her demonic power.
Sending a smug smile towards her opponent, Akeno called out, "Just a minute, Bomb Queen. I'll be right out."
Frowning at her inability to stop her opponent from being treated, Yubelluna was still confident. Lifting a hand, she summoned a small magic circle that dropped a small vial in her hand. Phoenix tears.
Produced by the Phenex Clan, phoenix tears were one of the most power restorative agents in any world. The healing ability of phoenix tears was most concentrated when applied directly to wounds, being capable of healing even fatal injuries near instantly. If one lacked a fatal injury though, the best method of using phoenix tears was to drink it. The healing effects would then be spread throughout the entire body, healing every wound a person has. At least any nonfatal wound. Any leftover energy was then used to restore the person's energy levels. Based on her current condition, Yubelluna would not only be healed entirely, but would regain the majority of her demonic power reserves.
Phoenix tears were actually restricted in Rating Games for this very reason. They were just too powerful. Phoenix tears could only be used twice per game, unless a rule was announced that contradicted that.
Whose healing technique was superior? Yubelluna would bet on the phoenix tears.
Before she could drink the phoenix tears, a voice spoke up by her ear, "Lady! Hey, over here."
Yubelluna automatically turned, her eyes wide in surprise at the unexpected occurrence. She quickly found herself staring at a figure no more than six inches tall. The dark-skinned fairy smirked at her, while waving at her. She just stared, baffled by the weird event. Something which Chikyu took advantage of.
By spitting in her eye.
Yubelluna acted as anyone would in such a situation. Letting out a cry, her free hand rose to try and wipe the spit/dirt from her eye. The hand holding the phoenix tears also loosened, which was what Chikyu wanted. He moved to that hand. Grabbing onto one of her fingers, he opened his mouth wide before biting into it with his needle-sharp teeth. Yelping, Yubelluna let go to wring her hand out due to the stinging sensation. She immediately realized that she had let go of the phoenix tears, but Chikyu had acted to take advantage of the involuntary reaction. Grabbing the bottle of phoenix tears in his arms, he immediately darted to the ground. Instead of pulling up, he went full speed into the dirt. The earth fairy ghosted into the dirt harmlessly, but the bottle of phoenix tears wasn't so lucky. It broke open, spilling its precious contents onto the ground. Phoenix tears became impotent when mixed with anything, so they lost any power from this.
Yubelluna just stared with wide eyes, trying to comprehend what had just happened…Did a fairy just jack her phoenix tears?
"Ara ara. Chikyu-kun did very well," Akeno spoke up from where she was still being tended. Sending a victorious at Yubelluna, Akeno added, "Looks like this is checkmate for you, Bomb Queen."
Yubelluna snarled in response, but her mind was already racing. Considering the healing her opponent is undergoing, she wasn't in any shape to take on Akeno in her current shape. She needed phoenix tears to win this. Her own were now gone, but someone else had some.
Her solution found, Yubelluna turned her back on Akeno. She then started flying as fast as she could in the direction she had repeatedly seen fire from. She needed to find Ravel. Thankfully the two battles hadn't been too far from each other, so she arrived there in under a minute. She was astonished by what she saw.
Ravel Phenex was in bad shape. She was on her hands and knees, looking to weak to stand up. She was looking upwards at a blonde who was flying above her. Yubelluna immediately recognized him as the rook that had insulted her king. He looked somewhat worn. Much of his clothes were burned or torn, and his skin sported a number of light burns. Despite that though, he looked unbothered. His posture and air of confidence showed that he was still ready to go.
Yubelluna was shocked that her master's younger sister looked to have been defeated by, who they all believed, had been a arrogant rook with more bark than bite. It meant there was another heavy hitter on the enemy team. Just another reason she needs those phoenix tears.
Quickly acting to save Ravel, Yubelluna launched the most powerful attack she could in her weakened condition at the back of the blonde.
Naruto sensed the attack just a moment before it hit him. Moving to the side, he narrowly avoided the attack from connecting perfectly. Instead of hitting his back, it connected with his left wing. The resulting explosion not only removed the appendage, but sent Naruto tumbling uncontrollably out of the air from losing the wing and the shockwaves of the explosion. Hitting the ground heavily, his body dug a short trench before coming to a stop.
Naruto cursed as he struggled to his feet. Okay, that had hurt. The overall damage was little though. The attack had not only been off target, but had lacked much punch. He would have survived a direct attack. As it is, the only real damage was the destroyed wing and a few scrapes. The wing would regenerate. They were more natural manifestations of demonic power than physical limbs. He'd be relegated to the ground for a few minutes, but that isn't much of a problem.
Once he got back to his feet, he looked for the culprit behind the sneak attack. So he quickly found the enemy queen alighting next to Ravel. She looked to be in rough shape.
"Yubelluna," Ravel exclaimed in relief at the sight of her ally.
"Ravel-sama. Quick, I need your phoenix tears," Yubelluna declared quickly.
"What? What happened to yours?" Ravel questioned in confusion.
"…A fairy took them," Yubelluna answered after a second of hesitation. That really just sounded like a bad excuse.
"…A fairy?" Ravel asked, looking to be unsure whether to be disbelieving or bewildered.
"Ah, so Chikyu managed it. Good man," Naruto commented, drawing the attention of the two. Shrugging, he pitched in helpfully, "He's one of my familiars."
"You! You own that little monster! He spit dirt in my eye!" Yubelluna raged as she pointed at her eye that was still closed.
"Yeah, he does that," Naruto remarked in amusement. It was funny when it happened to someone else for once.
Yubelluna looked like she wanted to strangle Naruto, but instead to turned to Ravel and said, "So I need your phoenix tears, Ravel-sama."
"O-Of course," Ravel stuttered out as she finally managed to digest the situation. She had basically been beaten into the ground, and the ally who saved her was in bad condition herself.
Ravel created a magic circle to summon the phoenix tears. Naruto prepared to run to prevent her from handing it off, but he didn't need to. A dark crimson beam of energy shot from somewhere behind Yubelluna. Narrowly missing the queen, it headed towards its true target. Ravel and the phoenix tears. The arm holding the phoenix tears and a good third of her torso was annihilated by the attack.
Ravel's regeneration ensured the attack didn't overly harm her, but it still took something important. Ravel stared with disbelieving eyes at her regenerated hand. A hand which had previously been holding the bottle of phoenix tears, but was now empty.
Relaxing, Naruto called out with a grin, "Great timing, Rias-chan."
Yubelluna spun in disbelief to watch as Rias appeared from thin air. The illusion that had been hiding her dropping. It wasn't just that either. Her demonic power had appeared from nothing just a second before that attack shot off.
Rias smiled in satisfaction as she replied happily, "Thank you, Naruto-kun. I barely made it in time."
"What the hell is happening?" Yubelluna screamed, not understanding what had just happened.
Rias grinned smugly, crossing her arms under her breasts as she explained, "After I dispatched the three pawns at our base, I went to the school yard where you and Akeno were battling. Between my illusion and the seal Naruto developed to suppress demonic power, you never even noticed me."
Naruto now took over, "See our original plan was this. After Raynare and I defeated the group that confronted us, we would wait for Yuuto and Koneko to join us. We would rest here until we saw the signal Akeno sent out that said Asia would start healing her. We would then go to the school yard and meet up with Rias-chan. Chikyu was sent with Akeno to try and prevent you to use your phoenix tears, but our plan would manage for both possibilities. If Chikyu failed, we would all team up to eliminate you. If Chikyu succeeded, we would cut off any attempt by you to retreat. After taking you out, we would head to the new school building to confront Riser."
Naruto looked at Ravel as he continued, "Ravel unfortunately ruined that plan. We figured you would retreat to Riser after the ambush. So not only did Yuuto, Koneko, and Raynare end up eliminated, but I was stuck here fighting her. So I couldn't go meet with Rias."
Rias now elaborated while looking at Yubelluna, "Since I was left alone, I positioned myself between you and the new school building to cut off a possible retreat to regroup with Riser. Unfortunately by instead heading to the sport's field, you bypassed me entirely. I ran to catch up, coming up behind you guys just as Ravel pulled out the phoenix tears. We originally didn't care about the phoenix tears Ravel was most likely carrying since our plan was to defeat everyone else before confronting her and Riser. Phoenix tears would do little for a Phenex. I naturally didn't want you to use her phoenix tears. I saw a chance to remove them, and I took it."
There it was. Their master plan. Things didn't end up so nicely, but they managed to adapt nicely.
Yubelluna and Ravel both looked shocked by their plans.
"Ara ara, don't start the fun without us," a voice called out. Everyone turned to see Akeno flying towards them, Asia hanging with her arms around the queen's neck.
Yubelluna and Ravel both realized their situation as Akeno alighted on the ground. Both of them were injured and tired. All the remaining opponents had gathered. All of them looked fresher than them. This was definitely not an ideal situation.
Yubelluna decided to make the first strike in an attempt to catch their opponents off guard. Her target was Akeno and Asia. The two were the closest together, so an explosion might have the chance of injuring both of them.
Surprisingly, it was Asia that managed to act first. Holding her hands out in front, she created a quick barrier before them. The quick barrier was weak, but so was the attack from the exhausted Yubelluna. It held against the explosion, and a cloud of smoke briefly covered the area.
Until Akeno darted out of it, heading towards Yubelluna. Her hands were sparking from her power. Yubelluna was too exhausted to try and counterattack in time, but Ravel managed a quick blast of fire. Rias was ready for that though, and negated it with her Power of Destruction. Which left Yubelluna wide open for Akeno's attack.
Pressing her hands against her opponent's stomach, Akeno announced with a beatific smile not fitting the situation, "Bye bye, Bomb Queen."
And with that, the full power of the attack struck. A massive ball of electricity engulfed Yubelluna. Screaming in agony, she was helpless as the attack carried her backwards. The attack continued on till the tree line. The attack destroyed a few trees before finally ending. Then-
[Riser-sama's Queen, retired.]
"Yubelluna was…" Ravel exclaimed in horror.
They hadn't ever expected for Yubelluna to be eliminated in this match. Yubelluna had only been eliminated in two games before. Both times at heavy cost for the opponents, and at times that Riser had deemed her loss acceptable. This match they hadn't contemplated Yubelluna losing. They had given her phoenix tears, and hadn't figured the opponents to be powerful enough to challenge her.
Seems a lot of their assumptions coming into this match were faulty, and they had been paying for it since the beginning.
"Seems like it is just you now," Naruto whispered, having used Ravel's shock to sneak behind her.
Ravel stiffened before automatically turning and trying to blast him with fire. Using his hand to catch her arm, Naruto then used that grip to throw her away. Landing roughly, she rolled several times before coming to a stop. Struggling to her feet, she looked at the group of opponent's. She was clearly intimidated by the impossible odds against her.
Instead of looking back at her, they all looked upwards as they sensed the powerful source of demonic power. A figure appeared above them, wings of fire holding him up. Riser had arrived.
Seeing a large ball of fire form in his hands, Asia quickly created a barrier. Unfortunately, Riser's attack was on a different level than Yubelluna's. The barrier shattered before the force, and they were forced to scatter to avoid being fried.
The group got back to their feet, smoke covering the area they were in. They waited as it cleared to show that Riser had landed near Ravel. He didn't pay them much attention, instead looking around the field.
"Tsk, I was hoping to arrive in time to save Yubelluna after I heard the second bottle of phoenix tears was destroyed. Seems I was too late," Riser remarked in dissatisfaction. Turning to Ravel, he continued, "At least you are safe, Ravel. Although need I remind you that I ordered you to never fight in my Rating Games. You are my bishop as a fashion and status symbol only. You'll be traded as soon as you or our parents decide upon a new family for you to join. I shall not use a piece I know shall be leaving me soon."
Seemed Ravel's decision to fight went against Riser's orders. The other information was somewhat confusing, at least for Naruto. A fashion and status symbol. Naruto doesn't understand the fashion part, but he at least understands the status part. Kings are judged by the strength of their peerage. For one to have a pure-blood devil, high-class devil in their peerage was a large achievement. Having Ravel in his peerage no doubt boosted Riser's prestige noticeably, even if she hadn't ever fought in his battles.
Ravel looked slightly chastised, but still argued stubbornly, "The marriage between you and Rias-sama is more important than your ego, Onii-sama. I couldn't allow you to lose this match."
"I do not need you to win my matches, Ravel. I shall do that myself," Riser declared in a tone that clearly closed the debate. Turning away from Ravel, his eyes raked over Naruto, Akeno, Asia, before finally landing on Rias. He then claimed, "You have done well, Rias. Much better than I expected…But this is the end. You performed well. If you surrender now, people shall remember that. You have nothing to be ashamed of."
Rias frowned and swiped her arms as she exclaimed, "I intend to win this battle, Riser. Anything less in unacceptable."
Riser scoffed before asserting confidently, "Yet it is impossible. You did well against my servants, but I am on a whole different level. You know this…You cannot beat me."
His words weren't totally as arrogant as they seemed. Riser was on a whole different level from his servants. Even Ravel. Ravel was strong, but she had several clear weaknesses that made her far less dangerous than she could be. Weaknesses that Riser didn't have, or were far less apparent in him. Naruto doubted Riser ever trained a day in his life, but neither had Ravel. Their pure talent and inherent bloodline abilities were what made them so strong. Even doing nothing, they will still improve over time. Riser had at least five years on Ravel, so his demonic power reserves and overall skill are no doubt higher. Riser has also fought in Rating Games before. He wasn't a newbie like Ravel when it came to actual battles. He had experience. Riser wasn't called a genius for nothing. He really was strong.
Their side wasn't quite as well off. Rias was as fresh as could be hoped for, but she was rather useless against Riser. That sounds harsh, but it was true. Her Power of Destruction was a bad match for Riser's immortality. The Power of Destruction was so feared because of its pure lethality, but as stated before the Phenex Regeneration was centered on countering 'lethal' techniques. So Rias' main strength was rendered useless here. Akeno was a bit better off, but not much. The only chance she had of seriously hurting Riser was if she combined light with her thunder to create lightning. Something she was both reluctant to do, and has no experience doing. Not to mention she wasn't completely healed from her battle with Yubelluna. Asia has no offensive capabilities, and her barriers aren't strong enough yet to block any of Riser's attack. She'd be a liability in battle as they'd have to protect her. Naruto himself had proved he could defeat a Phenex, but he wasn't in the best shape. Kareha was doing her best to restore his energy, but there were limits. He's been in two long battles by this point, and so his stamina might not be up for an extremely long battle of killing Riser over and over again.
Thinking about it logically, they were actually at the disadvantage despite their numbers.
Luckily, Naruto wasn't one constrained by logic. Removing his armored gloves casually, Naruto asked mockingly with a raised eyebrow, "Really? You are so sure we can't beat you?"
Looking down at Naruto, Riser replied in a haughty voice, "Of course."
"Totally, absolute, 100% sure?"
"So if I walked up to you, right now…There is absolutely nothing I could do that would defeat you."
"No, there isn't."
Giving a playful smile, Naruto shrugged as he commented, "Alrighty then."
With that, Naruto started to walk towards Riser. Not fast or slow. Just a normal walk. Riser raised an eyebrow in amusement, but didn't do anything. Ravel looked cautious, but Riser was completely confident. He just smirked as Naruto finally came to a stop just inches in front of him. Naruto looked up at the slightly taller blonde, a wide grin on his face. Nothing happened for several seconds.
A loud smack rang through the area from Naruto's palm impacting Riser's cheek. Riser's anger spiked at the action. To be disrespected like that. Riser prepared to roast the infuriating rook.
Instead his body crapped out on him. Riser just fell to the ground like a puppet with its strings cut. Not elegant or graceful at all. A total flop.
As soon as his hand had impacted Riser's cheek, Naruto had shot off at Ravel. She tried to stop him in a panic, but she was too tired and exhausted to really put up a fight. Clasping her hand in his own, Ravel struggled for a second before her body too fell limp. Unlike Riser though, Naruto caught her.
Lowering her to the ground, Naruto was forced to listen as she yelled out in panic, "What is this? What did you do?!"
Sighing, Naruto looked at her and claimed, "Don't worry. I'll be explaining to Riser in a minute. You can listen, but I'd rather you didn't talk. Ruins the mood, you know."
"Are you an-" Ravel started, but was stopped halfway through when Naruto shoved something in her mouth.
"I was going to do this the easy way, but you don't seem like you'll stay quiet. So the hard way it is," Naruto grunted out with a shrug.
Naruto removed his hand to show that he had shoved a ball gag in Ravel's mouth. Rias blushed slightly as she recognized it as the same gag that had been used on her. Naruto stood up, ignoring Ravel's muffles of outrage.
Turning towards Rias, Naruto shot her a piece sign as he announced gleefully, "It worked!"
"I'm actually a bit surprised it did," Rias admitted before continuing, "Seems you proved me wrong, Naruto-kun."
"Never doubt Uzumaki Naruto, Rias-chan. It's just not smart," Naruto told her smugly.
"Stop ignoring me, dammit," Riser growled out.
Showing Rias he'll take care of it, Naruto walked over to where the immobile Riser was. Naruto kicked him none too gently to roll him onto his back. Stepping till Naruto was standing over Riser entirely, Naruto crouched down.
"I know you are arrogant, but that was still pathetically easy to trick you. Letting an opponent walk up to you and take a free shot? Are secretly an idiot?" Naruto questioned mockingly. "I know I played off your confidence and all that, but did you really have to make it so easy? All it took was a few sentences to make you give me a free shot. That's just stupid, you know."
Growling, Riser spat out, "Shut the hell up, you peasant. What have you done to me? I demand an answer."
Giving Riser a smug grin, Naruto indulged him by explaining, "You see, I know this obscure art called fuinjutsu. The art of sealing. With that ten day grace period you were so kind to give us, I managed to develop a specific type of seal. By placing it on my hands before we started, I then applied it to you through skin contact. Its purpose is to seal all movement of the victim from the neck down, which you are now bearing witness to."
It was a seal Jiraiya had showed him during their training trip. The Seal of Subjugation was mainly used as a way to allow the easier interrogation of prisoners. It would seal the victim's ability to resist in any way, but would still allow them to talk. It also wouldn't interfere in vital bodily functions like the beating of the person's heart. Usually it had to be applied directly to a person's body, but Naruto managed to modify it with a Transference Seal. That way he could draw it up on a scroll, put it on his own skin, and then transfer it to someone else through skin contact.
There were plenty of downsides though. The seal took up quite a long time to draw up, upwards of three hours each. The Transference Seal also destabilized the entire seal. Not in a way that would make it fail, but the seal would very quickly break down. It would only last on a scroll for three days, and just one hour when on Naruto's skin. The Transference Seal was also automatic. The seal would activate on the first person to touch the seal directly. Naruto didn't control who it would work on. A careless brush from a teammate would turn them into the victim.
Naruto got around these issues in various ways. He wrote up the seals two days ago, and used his gloves to prevent anyone from touching the seals after he transferred them to his hands. He then removed those gloves as he talked to Riser. The seal on the right hand was then used on Riser. The left on Ravel.
It was still very much a seal that could only work under specific conditions though. Naruto needed to know exactly when a battle would happen in advance otherwise he wouldn't be able to create the seal in the proper time frame for it to be viable. The surprise of the attack was also vital. Naruto hadn't dared use the seal on Ravel at risk of warning the more powerful Riser of the danger. Not to mention the time limit. If the Rating Game lasted longer than an hour, a very real possibility since some of the longest Rating Games can last days, the seal would break down before Naruto could use it.
Naruto naturally had backup plans, but this was easily the best option for defeating Riser.
"Such a cowardly method of fighting," Riser claimed with a sneer.
"Please. It is called being smart. I enjoy a good brawl as much as the next guy, but you aren't exactly a guy that can be dealt with like that. I'm man enough to admit that I'd probably lose if I fought you upfront, no tricks," Naruto acknowledged without shame.
"At least you know your place," Riser said with an arrogant smirk.
"I do…It's above you. If you haven't noticed, I am the one standing while you are on the ground. Not a position to be acting all high and mighty about," Naruto pointed out while crossing his arms.
Riser didn't lose any of his confidence at Naruto's words, instead retorting instantly, "Take pleasure while it lasts because it won't last for long. I'll admit to being impressed by this 'seal' thing, but this is far from over. I am still immortal. You can take all the shots you want at me right now, but it will do you no good. If anything, you'll only be hastening your end. I very much doubt that my body will regenerate with this 'seal' still on me. Once it is removed, I'll make sure to punish you for every insult you've paid me."
He had a point. The seal had moved to Riser's neck, looking like some form of a collar. The Subjugation Seal was meant to restrain a prisoner. It wasn't constructed to withstand damage to the sealing matrix. As soon as the seal was damaged, it will fail. No seal, no helpless Riser.
Naruto just rolled his eyes though, and exclaimed in exasperation, "Please. You think I haven't considered that. You really are a fool if you believe your healing factor is so flawless. I'll confess it is amazing concerning battle injuries, but it is focused around the type of injuries one would obtain in battle. There are plenty of other methods of harming you that I doubt your regeneration can help. Such as…Maybe burying you alive."
Riser's eyes nearly popped out of his head at that, his skin also turned pale. It was unlikely even a Phenex could survive being buried alive while incapable of moving. Naruto's not quite sure if you can burn dirt, but Naruto doubts it. So getting your lungs filled with dirt would be a viable way of killing a Phenex. Not to mention fire consumes oxygen, so it was very unlikely the Phenex's regeneration born from flames could prevent them from suffocating. Yes. Burying Riser alive would have a high chance of killing him.
Laughing at Riser's realization, Naruto threw his arms out wide as he declared, "I see you finally realize. There are actually a lot of methods that could successfully kill you. The problem is that these methods would be very difficult to manage if you were fighting me at the time, but you just so happen to be immobile and helpless right now. So those options are complete feasible right now."
"Don't worry though. I don't want to kill you," Naruto stated with a shrug before elaborating, "After all, I just need to make you give up. Seasoned torturers are supposedly able to make victims wish for death after just a few hours. I once knew a guy who managed to managed to make a room full of soldiers with years of experience run away with just words. Good for you, I'm not a seasoned torturer. Bad for you, I am a fuinjutsu expert. Which is just as bad because it means I can do this."
Crouching down, Naruto ripped Riser's jacket open. With Riser's chest now accessible, Naruto moved to sit down beside him. Pulling out a set of sealing tools, Naruto quickly started writing on Riser's chest with elegant brushstrokes.
"Hey. What are you doing? Stop that!" Riser protested futilely, completely helpless to stop Naruto.
Naruto ignored Riser completely, focusing on the seal he was creating. Rias, Akeno, and Asia had all sat down to rest. They had nothing else to do. This battle was won. Riser just hadn't made it official yet. Ravel was still trying to scream from around the gag, but gradually fell silent when all that achieved was to exacerbate how much she was drooling around the ball gag.
It took fifteen minutes for Naruto to finish applying the seal. Letting out a relieved sigh, he sealed up his equipment. He then stood back up.
"What the hell did you do to me?" Riser demanded angrily, clearly not happy about his position or being ignored.
Sending him a smile, Naruto made a hand seal as he replied cheerfully, "Why would I tell you when I can show you?"
"What do yo-AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Riser started before cutting off to let out a scream of pure agony. The seal was lit up on Riser's skin.
Naruto let it go on for about five seconds before dropping the hand seal. Riser immediately stopped screaming, his face going slack as he panted heavily from the excruciating ordeal. His body hadn't moved at all when he was screaming, but that was just the paralysis seal at work. Riser had clearly been in agony.
"Yep. This is a torture seal. This is actually my first time using it. It synchronizes with your nervous system to send signals that your brain interprets as pain. Nasty, isn't it? That was actually a pretty mild usage. The full power ones tend to leave the victims as vegetables," Naruto explained clearly. He really hated using this seal. Not even Riser deserved to be tortured, but this was the best way to force him to surrender. Very little was more intimidating than an opponent capable of causing you agonizing pain by a hand seal.
"Ha…ha…I'll kill you," Riser muttered out, clearly still affected by the pain he had just experienced. His anger apparently surpassed that though as he spat at Naruto furiously, "You dare treat me like this?! Do you know who I am? I am a mighty member of the Phenex Clan? A high class devil with an honorable bloodline and inherent talent you can't even contemplate. You are just a low-class devil. A human who was lucky enough to be reincarnated. You are below me! You will always be below me!"
Naruto didn't flinch away. He actually chuckled as he replied with a wide smile, "Keep telling yourself that, Riser. I don't care because…It doesn't matter…It doesn't matter if I'm a low-class devil and you are a high-class devil. It doesn't matter that I am a reincarnated devil and you are a pure-blood. It doesn't matter if I grew up an orphan while you are from a pillar family. Those things might matter in that little fantasy world you believe to be true, but the real world doesn't work that way. What matters is what we make of ourselves. With enough effort, anyone can become great. Even a low-class devil like myself can defeat a high-class devil like you."
Naruto kneeled down there. Gripping Riser's neck in his hand, he straightened. Naruto easily raised lifted Riser into the air with a single arm. As Riser dangled helplessly, Naruto continued, "And I did defeat you. And you want to know what that means? It means that right now…regardless of what station in life either of us occupy…in this instant…I own you!"
With that ominous statement setting in to Riser, Naruto formed half a hand seal as he finished bluntly, "So I'm going to tell you your two options. Either you can surrender now…Or you can refuse, and I activate the seal a few more time. And then you surrender…Make your choice."
Riser glared at Naruto while gritting his teeth. Naruto just met his eyes sternly. Riser finally backed down by lowering his eyes meekly, finally being forced to accept his defeat.
As soon as those words came from Riser's mouth, Naruto dropped him. Leaving the defeated opponent behind, Naruto turned towards where Rias, Akeno, and Asia were standing. Naruto immediately shot Rias a grin. He then gave her a peace sign as he declared gleefully, "There you go, Rias-chan. Uzumaki Naruto for the win. One engagement, broken."
Rias actually looked like she wanted to cry. The years of stress. The years of fear. The years of knowing she might be forced to marry someone she doesn't love. It all seemed to drain out of her as her eyes started to overflow. Trying to hold it in for several seconds, the dam finally broke. The tears running down her face were offset by the beautiful smile of relief that spread across her face. Delighted laughter bursting out of her mouth, Rias moved suddenly. Running at Naruto, she jumped to catch him in a hug. Naruto was shocked, but managed to stay upright. His own laughter quickly joined in with her own. Asia and Akeno stayed back, smiling as they watched the scene.
[Riser-sama forfeits. The winner of this Rating Game is Rias Gremory.]
"Good evening, everyone. The Gremory Clan thanks you for attending this party. We are hosting this party to celebrate the heiress apparent of our clan's first victory in the Rating Game. An array of drinks are currently being served, and food shall be served soon. I hope you all enjoy the party."
Apparently invitations for a party had already been sent out to many different nobles of the Underworld before the Rating Game even happened. It was a joint party of both the Gremory and Phenex Clans to celebrate the eventual result of the Rating Game between Rias and Riser. Clearly everyone had been expecting Riser to win, and thus expected it to be an engagement party. Rias' upset victory changed that though. The party was too late to cancel, and they couldn't exactly celebrate that the marriage wasn't going to happen. Apparently they decided to make it a party to celebrate Rias' first Rating Game victory.
Naruto really didn't care, honestly. Something else was on his mind. Turning to Rias, he once again demanded indignantly, "Why do I got to wear this monkey suit? It's uncomfortable."
Giving a heavy sigh, Rias explained once again, "This is a formal party. Formal wear is required. Just deal with it. It's not like wearing a tuxedo for a few hours will kill you."
"It might, and I don't really want to take that chance," Naruto retorted quickly. Seeing Rias just roll her eyes at him, he started fiddling with the tie as he grumbled, "This tie is too tight."
Slapping Naruto's hands away from the tie of the knot, Rias snapped in exasperation, "It isn't too tight. These clothes were adjusted specifically to fit you by professional tailors. They even took your measurements, remember?"
"Don't remind me," Naruto murmured petulantly. Those tailors had measured everything, and Naruto meant everything. At least they were guys…Actually, that just makes it worse. If Naruto was going to be pseudo molested, he'd prefer the one doing the molesting be female. "That should count as sexual harassment. Those tailors officially know more about my body now then I do. They even refused to let me wear orange, not even the tie. I might have been able to take being choked by a piece of cloth if it was at least orange."
Rias just raised a hand to her forehead. Apparently Naruto disliked formal parties. He's been complaining the entire time. Rias could understand a bit. Naruto and 'formal' were basically mortal enemies. Being forced to wear a tuxedo and surrounded by people Naruto would likely consider to be pretentious and snobby is far from what Naruto would consider enjoyable. Still doesn't mean she isn't getting tired of his childish grumblings.
Turning to him, she looked him in the eyes seriously before asking sincerely, "Please, Naruto-kun. Just endure it. Two hours. That's all I'm asking. After that you can return to your usual joking, playful, and disrespectful ways."
"…Promise I can be disrespectful again afterwards?" Naruto asked seriously.
"Fine," Naruto said while lowering his head.
"Thank you, Naruto-kun," Rias exclaimed in relief.
Resigned to the party, Naruto looked around as he reminisced on how he ended up in this situation. As soon as they were teleported out of the battlefield, they were separated. After being treated for any injuries, they were given some food before being put to bed. After waking up, Naruto was forced to follow do a bunch of seemingly random things. He'd gone to tailors, seen a stylist for a haircut, and had even been doused with cologne. No answers or anything. By the time Naruto had been shown to the party, he'd been a step away from punching someone. Thankfully, Rias had quickly found him before he could throw a fit over being led around like a dog all day.
At least he looked good. Naruto had never felt he was a particularly good looking guy. He knew he had some good features, but he wasn't overtly handsome like Sasuke or Yuuto were. Right now he was drawing some looks though. No doubt some from his performance in the match, but more than a few were admiring looks from nearby females. Naruto's blond hair had been washed with some fancy shampoo that made it even brighter than usual. Hair gel had been used to slick back a majority of his hair, but a few of the longer bangs were left to fall down to eye level. He was dressed in a black, silk tuxedo that probably cost more than anything Naruto had ever worn before. Naruto still couldn't compete with someone like Yuuto, but he didn't care.
Speaking of Yuuto, Naruto spotted him. Yuuto's hair was slicked back similarly to Naruto, and he was dressed in a differently styled tuxedo. Clearly Naruto hadn't been the only one receiving a makeover. As expected, the princely knight was surrounded by a gaggle of young female devils enamored by his appearance.
The rest of Rias' peerage was scattered around the hall.
Akeno was wearing a formal kimono that really emphasized her Yamato Nadeshiko vibe. A couple of male devils were talking to her, although Akeno looked rather uncomfortable. Naruto had little doubt she would eventually excuse herself.
Koneko and Asia were together at a table. Koneko was wearing a pink, strapless piece, and Asia was wearing an baby blue cocktail dress. The two were eating, and that appeared to prevent anyone from trying to talk to them.
Raynare was sitting at a table in a corner. She was wearing a plum colored evening gown that was very stylish, and suited her greatly. Everyone kept their distance though as she was sending out an aura that discouraged anyone from talking to her. She was clearly in a mood.
And of course one couldn't forget about Rias. Rias was wearing a white evening gown. It bared her shoulders and complimented her bust greatly, the bottom falling to the ground to hide her legs. A diamond necklace was around her neck, but otherwise she was devoid of jewelry. As the star of the party, her looks only solidified that she would be the center of attention here. Naruto noticed that basically everyone in sight was looking to her frequently, no doubt waiting for her to become available.
Naruto's thoughts were cut off by Rias tugging on his arms and informing him, "My father wanted to talk to you, Naruto-kun."
"What?" Naruto asked owlishly. Pointing to himself, he questioned, "Why would he want to talk to me?"
"Why wouldn't he? You're part of my peerage, but he hasn't been introduced to you yet. He'll probably use this party to talk to Asia and Raynare as well. Not to mention, you were without a doubt the MVP of the match. You probably caught the attention of every devil in this room with your performance," Rias explained matter-of-factly.
Couldn't really argue with that. So Naruto just shrugged and told Rias, "Lead the way."
"Got it. Last time I saw him, he was this way," Rias claimed as she started moving through the throng of people. After a minute of searching, she seemed to spot her target. Changing direction slightly, she called out, "Otou-sama."
"Ah, Rias," a man said in response.
As Rias led Naruto, he examined the man who appeared to be Rias' father. The resemblance was definitely there. He had the same vibrant crimson hair as Rias, and his eyes were a similar blue color. He looked like a man in his late 20's. His hair was long, and he had a small beard on his chin. He was dressed in a predominantly white suit, that had golden highlights and a black undershirt.
He wasn't alone either. He was standing with two others. A man and a woman. The man had a clear resemblance to Riser, although his features were overall kinder looking. Looking to be middle-aged, he was dressed in a red and gold suit. The woman looked like an older version of Ravel. Similar facial structure, blonde hair, and blue eyes. The only difference was that instead of Ravel's drill-curl hairstyle, this woman had her hair done up in an elegant looking bun. Her hair had a web of string running through it that had diamonds and pearls interspaced. That piece alone was no doubt prohibitively expensive. Their figures were also different. This lady was a bit taller than the petite Ravel, and her figure was curvier. She was wearing a red evening gown. The resemblance of the two towards the two Phenex members Naruto had met made it clear who they were.
A though that Rias reinforced by bowing slightly and saying, "Lord Phenex. Lady Phenex. I apologize if I've interrupted."
"Do not worry, Rias-san. We were talking of nothing of import," Lord Phenex claimed with a nonchalant wave of his hand. Turning to look at Naruto, he added, "You actually brought someone we've been hoping to talk to."
Feeling Rias elbow him in the side and send him a commanding gaze, Naruto reluctantly bowed and said politely, "Hello, sirs and madam. My name is Uzumaki Naruto. Nice to meet you."
"Naruto-kun, these two are the Lord and Lady of the Phenex Clan," Rias informed him needlessly.
"And I happen to be the father of this young girl, who seems to have disregarded her own parent," Lord Gremory pitched in, giving an amused look in Rias' direction.
Rias looked somewhat chastised, but Naruto could clearly see she was uncomfortable. The reason was obvious. She was standing near the parents of the person she refused to marry.
Something Lord Phenex disregarded in favor of examining Naruto. He finally commented, "So you are the one that defeated my son and daughter so completely."
Rias replied before Naruto could by bowing and saying in a rush, "I'm sorry, Lord Phenex. I know I disrespected your clan by my actions, but-"
"Do not worry, Rias-san," Lord Phenex immediately claimed easily. "We long knew you weren't exactly pleased with the engagement. We shall not blame you for acting on that. We accepted the idea of a Rating Game to decide it, and we shall abide by it. No hard feelings."
"If you knew Rias-chan didn't want to marry Riser, than why did you continue the engagement?" Naruto asked bluntly. Rias immediately elbowed his side, but he didn't care.
Lord Phenex gave a wry smile as he answered, "I'd say it was our greed as devils acting up. Both Lord Gremory and I have a pure-blood grandchild by our eldest children. Having achieved that, we naturally desired more. Our greed blinded us."
"Does every devil use some inherent selfishness of devils as an excuse to do what they want?" Naruto questioned frankly. "Cause I still say I haven't felt diddly squat since-" Rias finally managed to snap out of her shock and cover his mouth before he could continue.
Blushing in embarrassment at her servant's words, Rias turned to the surprised Lord Phenex and claimed, "I'm sorry, Lord Phenex. My servant is kind of thoughtless. Please accept my-"
She was now cut off by Lord Phenex bursting out in laughter, quickly being joined by Lord Gremory. The two actually threw their arms around each other as they continued laughing. Lady Phenex looked slightly embarrassed by their behavior.
Lord Phenex quickly exclaimed happily, "Man, it's been so long since I've been called out like that. Especially by a low-class devil."
"Seems we've turned into the old geezers we used to criticize. Using the 'nature of devils' to justify doing whatever we want," Lord Gremory added. "We're getting old, Rihal. Just a few more decades and we'll be retiring. Maybe it is time."
"I think so too, Rouge. The next generation has grown up well while we've apparently turned into our parents," Lord Phenex admitted.
Naruto and Rias just looked at the two laughing devils in confusion and bewilderment. Taking pity on them Lady Phenex explained, "You might see it much nowadays, but those two were among the first generation to turn against the old ways of the original Maou. You'd be surprised by how much trouble they got into when teens for saying very similar things to their parents."
"But I've met Obaa-sama and Ojii-sama. They don't seem to follow the old ways," Rias claimed in confusion.
"Remember that you are from the Gremory Clan, Rias-san. A Clan that has long been known for its affectionate devils. It was the generation of most of the current clan heads that first turned against the Old Satan Faction, even if it wasn't until the current Four Great Satans rose up that the war was won. Almost every devil from before that generation was a follower of the old ways. They've basically been forced into retirement to prevent their beliefs from influencing the next generation. Your grandparents might be an exception, but my children haven't been allowed to meet with their grandparents due to the conflict in beliefs," Lady Phenex explained to them.
"I knew that Sona had never met her grandparents, but I never was told it was because of differing beliefs," Rias muttered in surprise.
Lady Phenex nodded before looking at the chuckling clan heads and elaborating, "Being criticized like that probably have caused those two to reminisce of those days. Back when they were teens fighting against their parents just like you two are now."
"I see," Rias muttered, still looking somewhat confused. Finally she turned to Lady Phenex and asked, "I saw Ravel earlier, but not Riser. Is he attending?"
Lady Phenex sighed before admitting, "No, he isn't present. I tried to get that child to attend, to show he isn't a sore loser, but he locked himself in his room. He seems to be brooding. This is Riser's first actual loss in a Rating Game. Not to mention Riser's first real defeat, on a personal level. He no doubt feels mortified by the result. Not to mention the engagement being broken. Despite his behavior and attitude, he really did on some level desire to marry you, Rias-san. Even if it was just lust."
"I'm so-" Rias started.
"Don't even say you are sorry, cause we know you are not sorry to have broken the engagement with Riser," Lady Phenex quickly interrupted with a sigh. Looking Rias in the eye, she announced honestly, "You need not worry, Rias-san. My husband and I hold no hard feelings. I particularly am somewhat happy with the result. I never agreed with the engagement in the first place. Matching devils up for the sole purpose of producing stronger devils is disturbingly similar to the old way. I myself refused the husband my parents chose for me, instead choosing my husband personally. I'd be a hypocrite if I refused you the same opportunity just because it was my son you were going to marry."
Lord Phenex seemed to have recovered from his amusement, and came over to add, "Our family is not so weak that a broken engagement will hurt us. The opposite actually. Riser was in need of a humbling. Our family is not by any means invincible. He needed to be shown that, and your rook went above all expectations to deliver Riser a complete and utter defeat. Hopefully Riser takes the time to think about that. If he comes out of this with more humility and a greater understanding of his own weaknesses, then we'll happily accept this defeat."
"It seems the task of humbling or changing people frequently falls to me," Naruto remarked in amusement. Neji, Gaara, and who knows how many others had changed after fighting Naruto. It might be because of Naruto's hero complex that he insists on beating the stupid out of people. That whole spiel he told Riser at the end of the battle was actually an attempt to force Riser to acknowledge that he wasn't invincible. Naruto simply couldn't be around so much arrogance without doing anything.
"Speaking of your defeat of Riser," Lord Gremory said as he came back into the conversation. Looking at Naruto, he commented, "I figured you would use Excalibur Ruler, Naruto-san."
"Excalibur Ruler?" Lord Phenex repeated in confusion.
"Yep. Rias sent me a letter explaining that this boy was the wielder of Excalibur Ruler," Lord Phenex informed them simply.
Seeing attention turn to him, Naruto told them simply, "Excalibur Ruler was one of my backup plans."
"Yeah. The seals I used on Riser have a few weaknesses that meant they might not have been usable. If they failed, I had a few backup plans. Excalibur Ruler was one of my last resorts," Naruto explained to them. Naruto had multiple backup plans. He still had ten gallons of holy water sealed. Holy water alone wouldn't be enough to defeat Riser, but enough of it might just do. He had a few more seals in backup to weaken Riser. He had even sealed one of Raynare's light spears. Even if the main seal had failed, Naruto was sure he could have pulled out a victory.
"Why one of the last resorts? It seems like using it would be a sure victory?"
Naruto scratched the back of his head sheepishly as he admitted, "Well I'm not too fond of its Ruler ability. It isn't a power I want to use too often."
Rias quickly pitched in, "I also felt that the Ruler ability will probably be restricted during Rating Games. Its use might have called the entire game into question."
"That was smart of you, Rias," Lord Gremory claimed before explaining seriously, "Rating Games are meant to be similar to real battles, but they aren't real life battles. There are rules and special conditions that make the game more intense and entertaining. Items or abilities that would in a sense 'ruin' the game are forbidden. Like phoenix tears. If every team could use as many as they could afford, there would be a long period of each side simply restoring their fallen comrades. So their use is restricted. Excalibur Ruler will probably be limited in the same way. Controlling your opponents would make the entire game pointless. I actually expected you to use Excalibur Ruler to win. In which case I planned to give Riser a rematch. I would have made it a year from now, but that was my original plan."
Rias looked relieved by his words.
"So Excalibur Ruler will be forbidden in all future Rating Games?" Naruto asked.
"Not totally. Just the Ruler ability. It could still be used as a holy sword," Lord Gremory answered.
Satisfied with that, Naruto decided to look around the room. Yuuto was still surrounded by female devils. The life of a handsome guy appears to be difficult. Akeno was now sitting with Asia and Koneko. Sona, who was wearing a blue strapless dress, was sitting with them. Raynare was still in her previous spot, alone.
Naruto then caught the eye of someone he hadn't expected. Ravel. She was dressed in a purple dress with spaghetti straps. Naruto recognized the person next to her as Isabella. Despite wearing formal wear as well, she was clearly standing in a way that showed she was Ravel's bodyguard. Naruto and Ravel met eyes, since Ravel seemed to have been looking at him.
Blinking in surprise, Naruto finally smiled and waved at her. Ravel's response was a sharp turn of her head, clearly snubbing his friendly gesture. Sighing at the gesture, Naruto shrugged in acceptance. Like he really cared.
When he turned back to the group though, he found Lady Phenex looking at him. She quickly commented, "Seems Ravel is somewhat interested in you, Naruto-san."
Scratching the back of his head, Naruto grunted out, "Naw, I think she's just mad at me."
"Oh, she's definitely mad at you. Just because she's mad at you doesn't mean your abilities didn't draw some attention from her though," Lady Phenex claimed.
"What do you mean?" Naruto asked in confusion.
"You managed to overpower her flames, and you did it with wind. The Phenex Clan rules over fire and wind. Ravel has to respect such a powerful wind user. Not to mention you defeated her brother. Ravel admires Riser greatly. She definitely has taken note of your abilities," Lady Phenex explained to Naruto.
"Really. I always got the feeling she was pissed at me," Naruto muttered thoughtfully.
"She was and is. After all, you did insult Riser and the Phenex Clan multiple times. She was mad at you before she even talked to you," Lady Phenex told him bluntly, an amused smile on her face.
Naruto could definitely believe that. Naruto had insulted Riser liberally. Ravel apparently respects her brother greatly, so no doubt found the disrespect infuriating. Not to mention many of the insults could be considered as insults to the entire Phenex Clan, of which she was a part of. She had been harsher towards Naruto than she had been to anyone else. It was entirely believable that she was already ticked at him, and was just expressing that.
Lady Phenex quickly continued, "You also became the first person to defeat her. You then defeated Riser, hurting and humiliating the brother she so admires. Not to mention you shoved a ball gag in her mouth at the end."
"Oh yeah. She must hate me," Naruto exclaimed seriously. On one hand Ravel had to acknowledge Naruto's strength. On the other hand, he basically did everything he could to piss her off. Professionally she was interested in his abilities, but personality wise she definitely dislikes him.
"Yep. That girl is still surprisingly immature sometimes. Those insults of yours really got to her. She also lacks experience, so she doesn't really know how to react to her defeat by your hands. She's unsure whether to be impressed or angry. She seems to be leaning towards anger. I thought she was more mature than that, but it seems I was mistaken," Lady Phenex explained, concern in her voice.
"Don't worry about Ravel. Maturity comes from life experience, not lessons or coaching. A girl as talented as her will surely grow well when she gets some life experience," Naruto commented, his mature side showing through.
"Life experience is a difficult thing for a girl like Ravel to gain."
"Is it really?" Naruto questioned immediately. Looking at the woman with a raised eyebrow, he continued, "There are many ways to experience life. Don't make it complicated. Just choose one."
Lady Phenex just looked at him in surprise for several seconds before chuckling and remarking, "I guess you are right. Seems the wisdom of youth is as strong today as it was during our younger days."
Naruto rolled his eyes at that. More like the stupidity of the old is as strong as it ever was. People always act as if being childish and naïve is bad, but adults are the ones who do the really stupid stuff like start wars.
"Aw, the food is here," Lord Gremory suddenly announced as a number of waiters appeared carrying platters. He quickly waved one over.
As soon as everyone saw what was being served, they froze. Lord Phenex finally commented, "…It's yakitori."
Lord Gremory suddenly waved his hands as he claimed in a panic, "It was suppose to be lamb kabobs. I don't know what happened."
"Really, Naruto-kun?" Rias asked in resignation, knowing only one person that would do something like this.
Naruto just crossed his arms and gave an amused smile as he retorted, "Really, Rias-chan? You've seen the pranks I do for fun. I was dragged around all day without a single explanation. You really didn't think that I might just replace myself with a clone for a time? You also think that if I stumbled across the kitchen, I would be incapable of convincing the chef that the main entrée had been changed? Plus, I promised to serve yakitori at our victory party. I never break my promises."
Rias rubbed her temples in exasperation. Looking towards Lord Phenex, she started, "I'm sorry about-"
"Don't worry, Rias-san. Riser and Ravel might fall for such childish jokes, but your servant isn't the first or the last person that will use the yakitori joke in reference towards the Phenex Clan. Plus, personally," Lord Phenex declared before taking a stick of yakitori. Taking a bite, he finished, "I love yakitori."
"See, he has a sense of humor, Rias-chan. No reason to freak out," Naruto exclaimed with a wide grin.
Sighing, Rias just told him, "I think you can go now, Naruto-kun. Try not to offend anyone."
"No promises," Naruto stated immediately as he turned and walked away. Looking around briefly, Naruto quickly decided where to go. Naruto slid into a seat at a table as he exclaimed, "Why so grumpy, Ray-chan?"
"Stop calling me that," Raynare immediately grunted out. Slowly turning her head to show Naruto her unamused face, she demanded bluntly, "What do you want, Uzumaki?"
"I want to know why you in a corner brooding when a party is going on." Naruto answered honestly.
"You act as if I want to attend a party with a bunch of devils. When it comes down to it I am still a fallen angel in their eyes, and in my own as well. Fallen angels and devils don't mix," Raynare replied harshly. "Plus, not like I have a lot to celebrate. You are the one who won the match. I got eliminated in my first battle."
Naruto figured that second thing was what was really bothering her. Raynare was so prideful that losing to Ravel no doubt bothered her. Her elimination of Karlamine and Siris was by ambush, so her battle with Ravel was her only real battle in the match. Not the best showcase of her abilities, being eliminated so quickly.
"You really have nothing to be ashamed of. You probably could have defeated most of their team. You just happened to fight-"
"I lost to a fifteen year old girl that you proved had no actual experience in battle. Even with promotion I was completely overwhelmed by a brat like her," Raynare snapped in irritation. Her words silenced Naruto, who just waited for her to continue. Raynare stayed silent for a minute, glaring at the table. She then continued in a whisper, "When you first insisted upon training me, I told you that the world isn't fair because some people are blessed with power they haven't earned. As far as I'm concerned, this battle just proved me true."
"And back then I admitted you were partly right. Honestly, even I was a bit intimidated by Ravel. High class devils are scary. I've never encountered a person like Ravel. Someone who could become so strong without any training whatsoever," Naruto confessed thoughtfully, looking up at the ceiling.
Naruto had long since accepted that the world wasn't fair. There would always be 'geniuses' and 'prodigies'. People who are just so naturally talented it was unfair to everyone else.
His battle with Ravel scared Naruto though because it showed Naruto how different this world was from his own. Naruto beat Ravel, and probably any jounin level shinobi could have done the same. That didn't detract from just how powerful Ravel had been though, and she got that powerful by pure talent. No training whatsoever. That was something Naruto hadn't ever experienced before. Even people like Sasuke and Neji still had to train to become powerful. They just learned faster. Ravel wasn't like that. That all came as natural as breathing to Ravel.
And that seemed the norm among the pillar families. That was the differences between devils and even the humans of Naruto's world. Ninjas used intense training to become powerful Being powerful was just part of being a pure-blood devil.
Then there was probably the scariest thing about devils. Their lifespan. Devils just had so much time on their hands. Ninjas had about 3 or 4 decades before their bodies started to weaken from age(assuming they start training at ten). Some devils alive today are over 3,000 years old. The thought of Uchiha Madara having even a 1,000 years to train and hone his skills was enough to send shivers down Naruto's spine.
Devils weren't alone in that either. Angels and fallen angels. Youkai. Dragons. There are even gods in this world. Some born with power to rival the strongest of ninjas, and thousands of years to hone that power. It was no surprise that there are beings capable of destroying entire countries with ease when you consider that. Even Uchiha Madara couldn't compare to some of the beings Naruto has been told about, like Great Red or Ophis.
"Yep, very scary," Naruto repeated before smiling and continuing, "Yet I beat Ravel, and I beat Riser. It might be scary, but you can still overcome it."
"You are an exception," Raynare grumbled out.
"Yeah right. I'm not an exception to anything. I was the dead last of my class. I get by on guts and hard work. No talent involved," Naruto retorted indignantly. It might be a weird thing to be proud of, but he was. Naruto wasn't a guy that could just breeze through life on talent. He fought and earned everything he gained. Leaning back and crossing his arms, he continued, "Talent can be beat with training and effort. Everything in my life has shown that to be true. Training will never betray you. You lost. Big deal. Get your ass back to training, and work that ass twice as hard this time so you won't lose next time."
Raynare just stared at him. After a minute Naruto started to get a bit uncomfortable. Finally Raynare chuckled before claiming, "I thought you were going to say something to cheer me up, but that failed completely. 'Get my ass back to training.' How was that suppose to make me feel better?"
"It wasn't it. It was a reality check to get you to stop brooding and feeling sorry for yourself," Naruto retorted quickly. Waving a waiter over, Naruto took the entire tray from the surprised guy. Placing it on the table, Naruto gestured to the tray full of glasses of champagne as he continued, "As for making you feel better, that's what getting shit faced drunk is for."
Raynare laughed at that. Not a chuckle. A full blown laugh. Probably the first one Naruto had ever heard from her. When it died down, she said in an amused voice, "For once, you say something I completely agree with, Naruto."
"Oh referring to me by my name just because I got you some alcohol. What will I get if I get you drunk? A lap dance?" Naruto questioned teasingly.
"You wish," Raynare countered as she took a glass of champagne.
"Of course. Every real man is always up for a good lap dance," Naruto declared as he took a glass himself.
"You wish," Naruto said in a joking tone. Lifting up his glass, Naruto said, "To getting shit faced drunk."
"I'll drink to that," Raynare said as she touched her glass to his. The two then drank their glasses in one go.
Twenty minutes later the two were still drinking. Each had gone through half a dozen glasses of champagne. Naruto still wasn't feeling it, but Raynare was clearly feeling a buzz. Naruto had suggested talking to other people, but Raynare appeared to not be in the mood to converse with others. Naruto similarly doubted he could interact with most of these people without somehow offending them. If you got nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all.
Naruto did have his eyes on something though. It appears Maou Sirzechs Lucifer was attending the party. Naruto had finally caught sight of the most powerful devil, but had been content to watching for now. The Maou had been surrounded by people the entire time. Grayfia was standing at his side, still in her maid outfit.
Seeing the Maou appear to withdraw himself for a bit more privacy, Naruto acted. Especially when he saw the Maou send him a look, clearly acknowledging that he had sensed Naruto's look. Standing up, Naruto told Raynare, "I'll be gone for a little bit." Raynare just waved him off.
Approaching the Maou, Naruto stopped in front of the man. Sirzechs Luvifer was a handsome man that appeared to be in his early 20's. He honestly looked like a male version of Rias. His shoulder length hair was a crimson just a tad darker than Rias', and his eyes were the same blue color. Standing a bit taller than Naruto, he was dressed in an elaborate black and gold armor with a blue cape. He really cut a regal figure. Not to mention Naruto could sense immense power in him that surpassed even Grayfia.
"Ah, Uzumaki Naruto-kun. I was hoping to have a chance to talk to my sister's newest rook," the Maou stated with a friendly smile.
"Maou Sirzechs Lucifer-sama," Naruto started, bowing his head slightly in respect. Looking at the Maou with sharp eyes, Naruto continued, "If you don't mind, I reque…No. Actually I demand to speak with you in private."
That drew gasps from all the devils in hearing range. A low-class devil, demanding to speaking with a Maou. It was outrageous.
Grayfia stepped forward and informed him sternly, "You do not demand anything of Lucifer-sama. If you even insinuate such a thing again, I shall step for to issue your punishment myself."
Anything else was cut off by Sirzechs raising his hand to stop her. Smiling at Naruto amicably, he proclaimed, "There is no need, Grayfia. I shall acquiesce. I am interested in what he wants to talk about."
"Thank you," Naruto said blankly.
Still smiling, Sirzechs led Naruto out of the hall. Entering a hallway, Sirzechs went to the nearest door. Checking to see if it was empty, he nodded in satisfaction and announced, "This room shall do. Grayfia, stand guard. Do not let anyone enter."
"Yes, Lucifer-sama," Grayfia intoned emotionlessly.
Naruto followed the Maou into the room. Grayfia closed the door behind them. The room was an empty, circular room. Naruto couldn't guess its purpose, but it didn't really matter.
Turning to Naruto, Sirzechs smiled before asking, "Now that we are alone, what did you wish to speak to me about?"
"Well firstly, I wanted to do this," Naruto announced grimly. Reaching forward, Naruto hooked his hands in the armor of the Maou. Using that as a handhold, Naruto pulled. Snapping his head forward, the top of Naruto's head collided with Sirzechs' nose.
Sirzechs stumbled backwards, managing to keep his feet. Quickly lifting his hands to his throbbing nose, he looked at Naruto in complete shock. A low-class devil attacking a Maou is more than enough for them to be executed.
"Did you just head butt me?"
"Yep," Naruto admitted unabashedly.
"Is there a reason or did you just want to be executed?" Sirzechs questioned, recovering from the shock of the attack.
"Of course. I did it for Rias-chan," Naruto claimed.
"For Rias?" Sirzechs repeated, completely confused.
Naruto leaned forward as he declared angrily at the Maou, "Rias-chan didn't want to marry Riser. You no doubt knew that. So where the hell were you? Isn't it the job of an older brother to protect his younger sibling? You are a Maou. You could have stopped the marriage. I want to know why. Rias-chan says that you love her deeply. Where the hell was that love when she needed your help?"
"I see," Sirzechs muttered to himself as he lowered his hands. His nose was a bit tender, but lacked any physical marks from the head butt. "Out of curiosity, did you head butt my father as well?"
"No," Naruto admitted reluctantly before elaborating, "Parents make mistakes of their own. He at least gave her an out by allowing her to fight in the Rating Match. He did something to give Rias a chance. I haven't heard anything about you acting to help Rias-chan."
"I didn't," Sirzechs confessed without shame. He then continued, "After all, I was the one that proposed the idea of marrying Rias to Riser to my father and Lord Phenex."
That surprised Naruto. That shock quickly turned to anger. Grabbing the Maou's armor again, Naruto proceeded to give the Maou another head butt. This time the Maou actually fell on his butt, cradling his nose again.
"What the hell?! You had to have known Rias-chan wouldn't have wanted to marry that prick. So why would you encourage an arranged marriage? Don't you care about Rias-chan?!" Naruto demanded loudly.
"Don't you dare insinuate I don't care about Rias," Sirzechs hissed out, looking at Naruto with sharp eyes for the first time. Even the slight bit of blood leaking from his nose didn't lessen the intensity of his glare. Standing up, Sirzechs continued strongly, "I held Rias as a baby. I watched her grow up. I read her bed time stories. I taught her to use her Power of Destruction. She is and always will be my precious Imouto."
Realizing he may have crossed a line, Naruto forced himself to calm down before asking, "Then why?"
Sirzechs stared at Naruto grimly for several moments, his amiable persona gone. Turning around, he explained without looking at Naruto, "Rias might not like it, but she is the heiress of the Gremory Clan. More than that, she is my sister. The sister of a Maou. Rias may wish to believe it doesn't mean anything, but it does."
"I remember when it happened. Rias came up to me when she was twelve, and told me that she wanted to study in the human world. She wanted to become independent. To step out of the shadow of expectations as the 'Gremory heiress' and 'Lucifer's sister.' It was admirable, but I felt the fear appear in my heart that day. As much as Rias wants to become independent as a devil and as a king, she can't change who she is. Even if she renounced her position as heiress, she is still my sister…I have enemies. Enemies who would do anything to try and strike at me. Even strike at Rias. In our castle, she is safe. In the Underworld, I can protect her. The human world though…Rias could be killed before I even receive a message of help."
"That girl though. She insisted, and kept insisting till our parents allowed it. I wanted more reassurance though. I wanted to test her. If she wanted to live in the human world without my protection then she needed to prove herself powerful enough to defend herself. So I to suggest to my parents of having her marry Riser. Riser is powerful, yes, but he has clear weaknesses. He was a perfect hurdle for Rias. Rias would never accept the marriage, and the obvious conclusion was to use a Rating Match. It would push Rias to become stronger."
Naruto was gaping by this point. Finally, he whispered out in disbelief, "A test…This was all a test. You risked Rias getting married…for a test."
"I risked nothing," Sirzechs quickly claimed. "You were right before. I'm a Maou. At any point I could have cancelled the engagement. If Rias proved herself incapable of handling Riser, I would have stepped in."
"So this was all for nothing? No consequences or anything?" Naruto demanded, getting angry again.
"Of course there would be consequences," Sirzechs asserted. "If Rias proved herself incapable of breaking her engagement to Riser herself and I was forced to step in…I would have forbade Rias from returning to the human world. She would have been forced to stay in the Underworld and focus on her duties as heiress."
"I told you. I did this due to my concern for Rias' safety. I would give Rias and her peerage as much chances as they wanted to break the engagement. If they succeeded, I deemed they would be powerful enough for Rias to live in the human world. If they failed, the opposite. It would be proof that Rias wasn't powerful enough to be without my or our family's protection."
Naruto took a deep breath to try and calm himself. The Maou's words infuriated Naruto. Naruto could actually understand where he was coming from, but that didn't make it any easier for Naruto to accept. Rias had been afraid for years of being forced to marry Riser. All because this guy was overprotective. Finally calm, Naruto looked at the Maou.
And then head butt him again.
"Gah! Will you stop doing that?!" Sirzechs demanded as he once again was forced to cradle his nose.
"Then don't do stupid things!" Naruto yelled in anger. "Did you ever consider just telling Rias about your worries?! You had to go through some manipulative plot?"
"Rias needed the motivation that came from her belief of her possibly being forced to marry Riser. She wouldn't have worked so hard otherwise," Sirzechs argued stubbornly.
"Maybe so, but she wouldn't have gone through several years of emotional distress either. If you want to become strong, you are upfront with them. You don't trick them. You should of explained to Rias and her peerage your worries. Then test her progress biannually. Rias isn't one to betray someone's trust, so why the hell didn't you just believe in her?!" Naruto shouted.
"…Rias has found some good servants," Sirzechs claimed randomly. "I think I can entrust her to you and the rest of her peerage."
"…Don't just change the topic when you don't have a comeback," Naruto exclaimed in irritation.
"I stick by my choice. I know I might have hurt Rias, but I would do anything to protect her. Even if she might hate me for it. That is the duty of an older brother," Sirzechs claimed solemnly.
Naruto just stared at him for several moments before groaning and admitting, "Great, now I can't even tell her what you did. It would just cause all sorts of problems about a closed issue."
"Hehe. I'd appreciate that. I'll tell Rias someday, when she might understand why I did it," Sirzechs stated sheepishly. Looking at Naruto seriously, he continued, "I meant what I said before though, Naruto-kun. I'm entrusting Rias' safety to you and the rest of her peerage."
"Why does that sound ominous?" Naruto asked cautiously, his danger sense tingling.
"I told you before. Rias is my sister, and I have enemies that would strike at her to hurt me. Worse, Rias goes to school with Sona, the sister of Serafall. Two younger siblings of Maou in one school. It is a tempting target. There is a large chance that someone will eventually attack either Rias or Sona," Sirzechs explained.
"Come on. It can't be that bad. I haven't heard of any attacks before, and both Rias and Sona have been attending Kuoh for year," Naruto pointed out. Seeing Sirzechs looking sheepish, Naruto deadpanned, "You did something."
Chuckling awkwardly, Sirzechs looked away as he admitted, "I might have ordered Falbium to station scouts around the city, without Rias knowing. The scouts wouldn't interfere in things Rias could handle herself, but they would act as an advance warning system. As well as reinforcements if something did happen."
"So why did you do all this about making Rias stronger if you were protecting Rias anyway?" Naruto demanded, not understanding the thought process of the person in front of him.
"I respect Rias' desire to be independent. I'm sure she'd be mad if she found out I was protecting her from the shadows, but…I'm her brother. I'm always going to want to protect her," Sirzechs said softly, a small smile on his face. Taking a deep breath, he continued, "When I did this, I made a promise to myself. If Rias managed to break her engagement to Riser, I would legitimately allow her to become independent. I would withdraw those troops. The time has come to follow through on that."
"The other factions no doubt noted the troop presence around the city. They backed off, knowing myself and Serafall would protect our siblings. With that presence gone, it might galvanize some of our enemies to act. If that happens, I entrust Rias' safety to you and the rest of her peerage. I do not want war, but if Rias were ever to be harmed…I'm not sure I could control myself."
"Crap. Not like I can refuse that," Naruto groaned out with a hand held to his head. Sighing, Naruto turned to Sirzechs as he declared honestly, "I shall protect Rias. You don't need to worry about that."
"Good," Sirzechs said with a smile. He then held out his hand to Naruto. Naruto automatically grabbed it. Bad decision. Naruto's hand was grabbed in a vice grip. Sirzechs' face turned scary as he whispered in a deadly voice, "Because if Rias is ever hurt because you got scared and ran…No force on this earth could protect you from my wrath."
Holy Crap! Naruto's hand was being crushed. Naruto could literally feel his bones cracking.
Naruto sure as hell wasn't going to back down though. Gripping back as hard as he could, Naruto leaned forward to press his forehead against the Maou's. Glaring, Naruto told him determinedly, "Don't worry then cause I'd rather kill myself than turn my back on my friends. If Rias is hurt, it will only be after I'm placed in a body bag."
Apparently satisfied with the answer, Sirzechs pulled back. Letting go of Naruto's hand in the process. Naruto let out a sigh of relief. He was sure he had a few broken bones.
Walking towards the door, Sirzechs stated happily, "Yep. Rias has got herself some very good servants."
Taking the compliment in stride, Naruto followed after the Maou. That was way more than Naruto expected. He'd known he might be going out in chains for attacking a Maou. That might have been better than the responsibility Naruto had been given. The day might arrive where Naruto was the only thing preventing war from breaking out. No pressure.
As soon as Sirzechs opened the door, it revealed Rias arguing with Grayfia. Rias turned to Sirzechs as soon as she saw him and exclaimed, "Thank goodness. Grayfia wouldn't let me…Did something happen to your nose Onii-sama?"
The Maou's nose was slightly swollen and red. He'd wiped the blood, but it was still noticeable. Laughing slightly, Sirzechs answered easily, "Yep. Your servant head butt me."
"He what?" Rias asked in horror.
"Head butt me…Three times actually."
"Three times?" Rias repeated, her horror growing.
"Yep. Yelled at me too," Sirzechs claimed with a smile.
Rias' eyes could not go any wider as she looked at Naruto in disbelief. Naruto blushed slightly. Crossing his arms, he looked away as he explained in embarrassment, "Well I wanted answers. I couldn't just allow him to get off scot-free after not helping you when you needed it."
"B-But, he's a Maou. You could get executed for that," Rias said to him incredulously.
"So?" Naruto asked with a raised eyebrow. He shot her a grin as he declared without hesitation, "I promised to help you, Rias-chan. No matter who stood in the way. If that means I have to head butt a Maou…three times, I'll do it. I'll always protect you, Rias-chan. That's a promise."
"Naruto," Rias whispered, blushing at his words. Her heart was suddenly beating very fast.
The moment was cut short by Grayfia. Placing a hand on Naruto's shoulder, she remarked calmly, "I've changed my opinion of you, Uzumaki-kun. I thought you were a pervert and deviant who seduced Ojou-sama. Now I see that you aren't a deviant. You are a fine young man. A massive pervert, but still a fine man. Plus, I always welcome a person who can keep this carefree master of mine in check."
Naruto could only respond with, "What the hell are you talking about lady?"
"Oh yeah, that reminds me," Sirzechs burst out, punching a hand into his palm. Turning to Rias, he exclaimed, "I heard that from Grayfia that you two do sexual play where Rias is tied up before sleeping on the floor like a dog. Boy was I surprised. I was actually planning on eradicating from existence the foul culprit who would dare do such a thing with my precious Ria-tan. Yet it appears my precious Ria-tan is actually a pervert who enjoys being treated like that. Seems Akeno had been right all along about you being a masochist."
"O-O-Onii-sama. I told Grayfia it was a misunderstanding," Rias stuttered out, her face red as a lobster.
"I'm still confused over here," Naruto stated, only to be ignored.
Sirzechs continued by claiming, "I was so very confused on what to do. Someone hurting and degrading my precious Rias-tan. I should destroy them with my Power of Destruction. Yet she enjoys it. Should I praise the person instead for taking care of her. Yet can such a thing truly be considered taking care of her?"
"So you're just going to ignore me." Yep, they just continued ignoring him.
"So eventually I decided to try and understand your fetish," Sirzechs finally announced. He gave Rias a starry eyes look as he continued, "I finally understood. It is so liberating being helpless like that. Grayfia refused to do it regularly, but I understand your feelings. Embrace your inner masochist, Ria-tan. You have my full support."
That caused Naruto to burst out laughing. Sirzechs looked confused by the outburst. Rias still looked mortified by the entire conversation. Grayfia was somehow maintaining her cool despite the ridiculous scene happening in front of her.
Naruto didn't care though. He couldn't stop laughing. The Crimson Satan. The Leader of the Four Great Satans. The strongest devil in existence…is a masochist.
"We're ready to go, Rias-chan," Naruto called out as the entire group gathered together.
"Good. Now we just need to wait on one more person," Rias claimed.
Tilting his head in confusion, Naruto asked, "What do you mean? Everyone is here."
"You'll see, Naruto," Rias answered.
Rias had changed to calling Naruto by his name alone since the previous night. Naruto had wondered why, but didn't dwell on it. Not like he cared.
Naruto quickly looked around. It was the morning after the party, and the entire group was waiting to return to Kuoh. Raynare was holding her head slightly. Naruto and her had ended the night by getting drunk. Unfortunately, Naruto had not gotten that lap dance. Oh well. Raynare seemed to be affected by the hangover. Something which Naruto thankfully lacked. Uzumaki vitality FTW! Everyone else was alright and looked eager to be off.
Too bad they were apparently waiting for someone. After five more minutes, the door opened. "Sorry for being late. This daughter of mine tried to pack her entire closet."
Huh. It was Lady Phenex, and she was leading Ravel. After the two came three servants, who were holding two suitcases each for a total of six suitcases.
"What is this, Buchou?" Yuuto asked in confusion.
Closing her eyes, Rias replied emotionlessly, "Lady Phenex made a request of me last night."
Lady Phenex quickly came up and said with a smile, "I once again thank you for agreeing with my selfish request, Rias-san."
Rias quickly told the baffled group, "Lady Phenex requested that I allow Ravel to attend Kuoh Academy under my protection."
Lady Phenex smiled as she explained, "Truthfully, I originally asked for Rias to take Ravel on as a bishop. Unfortunately, Rias' other bishop already seems occupied. So instead I requested that she be a allowed to join the Gremory Group, even if as a guest."
"Why?" Naruto asked bluntly.
"Naruto's bluntness aside, I think we would all welcome an explanation of why you would ask this, Phenex-sama," Yuuto said.
Nodding in understanding, Lady Phenex started calmly, "Ravel chose to become a bishop. Her inevitable fate is to eventually join the peerage of another devil. The wish of myself and my husband is to increase her value as a bishop as much as possible before that."
They understood what she meant. For whatever reason, Ravel chose to become a servant instead of a king. That meant she was viewed as a bishop, and just like any other servant she had a 'value' as a bishop. Ravel would naturally become part of a devil's peerage. The greater her 'value' as a bishop, the greater leverage the Phenex Clan would have when it came time to trade her. If the Phenex Clan managed to put Ravel into the peerage of a powerful or influential devil, they would gain a certain amount of influence with that devil. The higher the 'value' of Ravel, the greater the devil.
"We allowed her to temporarily join Riser's peerage to allow her to gain experience in the Rating Game. Her battle with Uzumaki-san showed that while our attempt was successful, she still lacks experience of other natures. Your group was very impressive, managing to defeat Riser's peerage. I feel there is a high likelihood of Ravel managing to experience many different things if she attends the same school as you all," Lady Phenex clarified for the group.
Basically she was saying that she was impressed enough that she was sending her daughter with them in the hope that some of their awesomeness would rub off on her. Uzumaki translation.
Ravel clearly wasn't happy about it though. She gave them a stiff bow as she said, "I thank you all for this opportunity. Please take care of me from now on."
"So Ravel shall be joining the Occult Research Club. She'll also be under my protection. So view her as an…unofficial member of my peerage," Rias informed the group.
Huh, looks like the Gremory Group has a new addition.
*Omake* Inspired by KuroKishi, who created possibly the funniest ending to a serious fight, ever.
"I found the perfect way to to force you to give up," Naruto declared to the immobile Riser.
"Give me your worse," Riser spat.
"Oh, you'll regret say that," Naruto claimed with a demonic grin.
Bending down, Naruto rolled Riser over. He then carefully placed Riser into a position where his ass was in the air. Things then took a turn for the wird when Naruto pulled Riser's pants down.
"Hey, what the hell are you doing?" Riser demanded, not liking where this was going.
"Just setting you up," Naruto said simply. Walking in front of Riser, Naruto showed him as he unsealed something. The object. A six inch dildo. Waving it in front of Riser's wide eyes, Naruto told him, "You want to forfeit before I have to use this."
Riser actually hesitated. Finally he grunted out, "You wouldn't."
Instead of responding with words, Naruto walked behind Riser. He then acted. In one shot, Naruto shoved the dildo in Riser's ass.
Riser screamed/squealed at the unwelcome penetration.
"Ready to give up now?" Naruto asked him.
"…I'm going to kill you," Riser hissed out.
"Wrong answer," Naruto said. Unsealing another dildo, he once again showed it to Riser.
Riser immediately turned pale as a ghost. This dildo was around fifteen inches, and thick. The black, obviously, dildo even had some spikes on the first six inches.
Riser's next action was obvious.
"I FORFEIT! BY THE MAOU, I FORFEIT!"
There it is. The end of the Rating Game, and the after party. Sorry for those of you that wanted an epic showdown between Naruto and Riser, but this is what i had planned all along. I originally even created the Naruto vs. Ravel fight because there wouldn't be a Riser fight. I just think that if Naruto was given ten days to plan ways to defeat Riser, he'd have Riser so beat that it can't even be considered a fight. Hence beaten on the first move.
Warning: I'm having a bit of an overflow of ideas for stories. Since i don't want to just start new stories, i'll be doing something a bit different. I'll be writing the first chapter to a number of story ideas, and posting them as challenges. Hopefully for other authors to pick up. Just a warning to those of you who are following me. My next update or two might not be this story.
Gremory and Phenex names: I named Lord Phenex Rihal, since it was similar to the names of his children. Lord Gremory was named Rouge, which is french for red. Not really important, but just for those of you who were wondering why i chose those names.
Ravel: Yes, Ravel has joined the group. Some of you probably guessed what i was going to do. I like Ravel and decided to give her a bigger part. She isn't officially part of Rias' peerage since Rias' two bishop slots are take, but she'll basically be an associative member. Like she is in the light novel. She won't just be in the background either. She'll be receiving quite a bit of attention from now on as well. I also hope i portrayed Ravel's strength level correctly. I wanted to make it seem like she was powerful, but very much in need of some fine tuning.