What?! A new chapter and it's only been a few months instead of an entire year?! Crazy, right? What is the world coming to?
In all seriousness though, I really can't thank you guys enough for all your support, whether it's old or new. At this point I don't think I could ever truly give up on this story even if I wanted to.
I mean really, more than a hundred reviews per chapter, more than thirteen hundred Favourites and over sixteen hundred Follows, all in the first three chapters?! You guys are the best. Considering how long it takes me to give you people a single chapter, I always feel like I do not deserve you.
Make no mistake however; your generosity WILL be rewarded. No matter how long it takes me, I WILL write this story, and it WILL be glorious.
Onward! To the new Chapter!
The following is a fan-based story. High School DxD is owned by Fujimi Shobo, TNK, Madman Entertainment, Manga Entertainment, Funimation, Hiroji Mishima, Miyama-Zero, and Ichei Ishibumi, while Fate/Stay Night is owned by Kadokawa Shoten, Tokyopop, Hanabee, Aniplex of America, MVM Films, Ufotable, and Type-Moon. Please support the official release.
Chapter 4: Worst. Date. Ever.
As Rias rested in her bed, her head on Archer's chest, she cautiously looked up at her Servant's face. While the Heroic Spirit seemed to be asleep, he demonstrated just how aware he was of his surroundings even when he seemed to be at his most serene, as his eyes quickly opened and met Rias' troubled gaze.
"Is there something wrong, Master?" the bowman asked.
The Devil broke eye contact with her Servant in order to push herself up with one arm, the blankets falling to her waist before she spoke.
"Archer," she began hesitantly "when I gave you the name Kaname, I… it elicited a negative reaction from you." She saw Archer open his mouth to speak, but continued before he could. "Don't try to deny it, I saw the look in your eye, brief as it was. You're uncomfortable with your new persona, aren't you, Archer? If that's the case, then I'll change it to something else, or even do away with it entirely. Like I said, I want you to enjoy your time as my Servant."
The Servant of the Bow sighed and removed his arms from Rias to cross them behind his head. "I suppose there's no point in pretending otherwise. You're mistaken though Master. I'm not uncomfortable with the role you're asking me to play… It simply dredged up some unpleasant memories."
Rias thought about what he was saying for several seconds before their true meaning hit her, and she suddenly felt like she deserved to languish in the deepest, darkest pit in all of Hell for a millennium.
The heiress lowered her head in shame. "…You once had a little sister, didn't you." the words came out as barely more than a whisper.
As the silence went on, Rias felt her self-loathing grow with each passing second. This continued for nearly a minute before Archer finally decided to break it. "I can't say how long I've been a Heroic Spirit; time is a strange concept when you exist outside of the cycle of death and reincarnation. But I do know that I've existed this way for so long, that most of the life I once lived is now little more than a blur. And among the few memories that I still have… yes, there was a girl who I knew as my little sister."
Rias hated being the one to have brought up such an uncomfortable subject for her Servant, but even so, she forced herself to ask. "…What happened?"
Archer let out a disappointed sigh, though Rias couldn't tell for certain who, or what, it was directed at.
"I failed to save her. And so she died." He gave a grunt that was thick with disgust, and this time Rias knew who the target of his ire was.
"Some big brother I am, right?"
The Gremory heiress felt like she wanted to cry. Her wonderful, glorious Servant; this hero who had achieved things that most people only dared to dream of; who had made the story of his very life into a tale worthy of being recorded in the annals of history for future generations to look to for inspiration; who had willingly entered into a pact with her that would place him on the level of mere animals in Devil society despite his vast power, and sworn to dedicate his very existence to serving her… and this was how she repaid his loyalty. By making him relive what had to be one the worst moments in his life.
"Archer, do you… should I tell Koneko you don't want to pretend to be her big brother?"
The tragic figure before her shook his head. "No. As unsuited to the role as I am, I think that it is still a necessary one. From the way that young Toujou-san was so ready to jump to your defense and protect you from me when I first arrived – even threatening to kill me if I ever harmed you – compared to the way she was all too willing to accept me as a caretaker figure once I showed her kindness and the ability to look after her, it seems obvious that the girl has had a bad history regarding the people who were supposed to ensure her wellbeing. If she loses another such figure so soon after finding him, I fear it might do a lot of harm to her emotional stability."
"I suppose you're right," his Master nodded in sad agreement as she rested her head on his chest again. "Though I am sorry for putting you in this position, Archer."
"Don't be," the Servant replied, his hands still folded behind his head. "I may not have been able to save my own sister, but perhaps I can do something to help Toujou-san."
"I think that you will." Rias nodded. "And Archer,"
"I don't believe you when you say that you failed your sister."
He gave a disbelieving 'hmph.' "And precisely what was it that brought you to that false conclusion?"
"Because if you looked after your sister even half as well as you've looked after me, I don't think you would've let anything happen to her unless it was completely beyond your control."
"No." Rias interrupted as she tightened her arms around her Servant. "You made it to the Throne of Heroes for a reason, and that's why I refuse to even think that you would've just let your sister die if there was something you could've done to stop it. I'm your Master, and this is what I've decided, so I won't hear another word of you devaluing yourself."
The two of them continued to lie on the bed together in silence for some time, until Rias heard Archer chuckle at her words, and his arms finally embraced her. "What a terrible Master I have, that she won't even allow me to degrade myself."
"Shut up," Rias murmured half-heartedly, "you're my Servant, so that means you're automatically the greatest Heroic Spirit in existence."
"Your words, while truly kind, are wasted on me, Master." Archer said with half of a smile. "But enough of this. You need your rest – this coming weekend may prove to be an eventful one, what with the boy's big date and all…"
Yuuma Amano smiled at Issei Hyoudou as the two of them walked toward the fountain in the middle of the park, the sun setting and their date about to come to a romantic and heart warming end.
"I sure had fun today."
"Yeah, this was the best date ever," Issei replied, but gulped and felt a shudder run through him as his hand brushed against hers, and an idea hit him, Dude, I think this is my chance to make a move!
He took her hand, and Yuuma gave a small gasp, but it changed into a gentle smile.
Aside from a smile of his own, Issei actually managed to keep his cool as the two of them walked hand in hand, but on the inside this simple but undeniably important gesture made him ecstatic.
I'M TOUCHING HER!
The pair then stopped a few meters from the fountain, and Yuuma's hand slipped from Issei's as she skipped ahead of him before turning around.
"Can I ask you a question?" As she said this, the young girl slowly walked back toward the boy who had gone out of his way to ignore his own perverted tendencies (for the most part) so that he could be a good boyfriend to her and treat her to a nice day.
"In honour of our first date, there's something I'd like you to do. To commemorate this special moment."
Issei heart was hammering at nearly two hundred beats a minute. I'm gonna get to kiss her! I'm totally gonna get to kiss her!
Out loud he said "Sure, you can ask me for anything you want."
Yuuma smiled, and looked up at the boy with nearly closed eyes.
"Would you die for me?"
Issei blinked, and chuckled nervously. "What'd you say? Sorry, I think there must be something wrong with my ears. Could you maybe say that one more time, please?"
Yuumo leaned in to whisper in his ear, and this time the voice that she spoke with sounded deeper, more mature… and sinister.
"I want you to die for me."
With a dark chuckle and an evil look in her eyes, Yuuma unleashed a burst of power causing her body to grow, becoming more developed, which shredded her clothes and laid her bare to the world… a certain aspect of which immediately captured Issei Hyoudou's full and undivided attention.
Breasticles! He mentally screamed. Those are boobs… I am looking at boobs! My little boy eyes have finally grown into manhood! And she's a super hot chick too!
So focused was Issei on his "girlfriend's" breasts, he failed to notice other aspects about Yuuma, such as the dark, leather-like material that had seemingly been created from nothing to cover her in a fetishist, yet undeniably cruel-looking outfit. A thong-like series of straps with a thick one on one side and three thin ones on the other served to cover her lower extremities, while a few straps on her upper body functioned as a makeshift bra, with one strap supporting each breast and another barely concealing her nipples, leaving the rest of her chest exposed. She also wore thigh-high high-heeled boots, and gloves that ran up the length of her arms with a small length of chain and even a few spikes jutting out from the shoulders.
He also failed to notice the black-feathered wings that had sprouted from her back.
What's that old saying? he continued to ramble on as he treated himself to the visual feast. "This is a sight for sore eyes?" This is totally a sight for- finally the second-year student of Kuoh Academy noticed the rest of his so-called girlfriend's body, and he fell backwards on his rear, shocked as he took in her new appearance. Wait, no it's not. She looks like a demon!
…Are those WINGS?!
"Well I have to admit, I did have some fun today," "Yuuma" sneered. "Considering how naïve and childish you are, things could have been much much worse." She then brought up her left wrist and mockingly admired the fluffy pink bracelet that Issei had bought for her on their date. "Thanks a lot for the gift too. Very sweet. But, even so…"
She then extended that same hand, and a bright violet light shone from the palm, quickly condensing into some kind of bizarre spear.
Issei gawked at this, confused as to what the hell was happening. He held put a hand out to this… monster before him that he had fallen for. "Yuuma-chan wait, please-"
"It's time to die!" "Yuuma" laughed as she plunged her spear into Issei Hyoudou's chest…
…Or she would have, had it not been destroyed mid-thrust.
The winged woman's eyes widened as her spear of light shattered like glass, and reflexively flew backwards to stand atop the fountain as she tried to figure out what had just happened.
That wasn't the brat's doing, she internally growled, realizing that someone uninvited had seen fit to disrupt her plan. It was some type of projectile, so who-
The answer to her unfinished question dropped right out of the sky to land between her and Issei: a tan skinned, white haired male dressed in red and black, with a strangely shaped black bow clutched in his left hand and an arrow in his right.
"Who the hell are you and what business do you have interfering in this matter?!" the sadistic creature snarled at the newcomer.
Unfortunately for her temper, the man's reply was infuriatingly casual. "Oh, just a Good Samaritan who happened to be in the area." he shrugged, his features far too relaxed given the situation he was in. "I noticed that you and this boy were about to conclude what I can only assume was a romantic date with a nice walk in the park and a lovely kiss as the sun was setting, but then you instead tried to murder him. Care to tell me what that was all about? Or perhaps you'd like to offer the boy behind me an apology first?"
"Yuuma" grit her teeth in fury at the man's sheer audacity, but then she smiled cruelly and laughter erupted from her mouth.
"Why would a Fallen Angel, let alone one even half as beautiful as myself, ever have to justify herself to lowly worms such as the two of you?" she sneered. "On top of that, even if you were deserving of a explanation or an apology, there's no point in wasting my words on dead men!" Her intentions made clear, the Fallen Angel crafted a new spear of light and hurled it with all her might at the man in red.
But instead of being skewered, or even trying to dodge her attack, the man simply turned his left wrist to twist the bow it held, intercepting her spear of light with it. The creature that had once bathed in the divine light of the Almighty before being cast down from Heaven would have laughed this man's feeble attempt of a counter, had the black bow not obliterated her holy spear as soon as the two weapons came in contact with one another.
"Funny," the man muttered, not even bothering to look at her as the shards of light dissolved into nothing around him. "If you can't even put a single scratch on a 'lowly worm' like me…" he looked the Fallen Angel dead in the eye, and at last she began to realize that there was more to this strange man than she had first thought.
"…Then what does that make you?"
Even if this man did have some surprising qualities, this entire ordeal was still humiliating for the Fallen Angel. She had been thwarted by a human; the disgusting creatures that still crawled in the dirt even after thousands of years of having the gift of magic. These pests would always die after a matter of mere decades, a single century at most, yet in spite of their pathetically short lifespans they still spread like locusts; never content with what they had; always seeking something new to infest… and now one had even tainted her with the curse of failure. Because of a man, she had failed in her objective. She had failed Lord Azazel… but no matter how much she hated this, the fact was she couldn't beat this stranger, not on her own at least. She needed to fall back, regroup with her comrades, form new plans, and call in old favours…
She was running away, there was no other way to look at it, but this was a Fallen Angel who would not fight a battle she knew she couldn't possibly win.
And the insult this man had dealt to her was one she intended to repay a thousandfold.
"Enjoy this minor victory while you can," she spat at the two males – one of them still stunned at what was happening right in front of him – spreading her wings as she took to the skies. "Because all too soon it will turn to bitterness and ash. When we meet again, despair and agony will be the only concepts in all the world that define your existence!" the Fallen Angel called out as she made her departure. "Know that before your pathetic lives come to an end, you will beg Raynare for the sweet release of death!"
Archer was feeling a distinctly strong urge to scoff at this "Raynare's" claims as she flew away. Even if he hadn't been able to get a feel for her approximate level of strength – and just to be clear, he had – his Master had already told him that the amount of power that an Angel, Fallen or not, possessed affected the number of wings that they had. And with only a single pair, this one was probably nothing more than a common foot soldier.
She has no idea just how outclassed she is, he thought to himself as he watched Raynare make her escape… or her attempt of one at least.
That this Fallen Angel had attempted to derail his Master's plan was bad enough, but that she would have done so by murdering an innocent boy after toying with his heart for no discernable reason other than for the sake of her own amusement only served to seal her fate.
The Servant notched his arrow, and pulled back the string as he took aim at the black dot fluttering in the air. If she was ten times faster and that much farther away, plus more aware of her surroundings, she might have been able to avoid his shot. But with the way Raynare was in reality, one arrow would be all that was necessary to bring her down.
Archer's head snapped down to see Issei Hyoudou tugging on his bow arm with all the strength he could muster, trying desperately to throw off his shot.
"Please… don't kill Yuuma-chan." the boy whimpered, tears leaking out from his eyes.
Is this boy serious?
He'd have to check.
"Boy, are you serious?" Archer demanded. "You do realize that just a minute ago she was trying to kill you, right?"
"But…" Issei stammered "she had so much fun on our date. I saw her smile and heard her laugh. She was happy…" he then looked at Archer, the look in his eye showing the Servant that this boy before him had questions about what was going on, and he needed the man who had come to his rescue to have the answers.
"What did I do wrong?" he asked, no, begged, the man in front of him. "Please, tell me where I screwed up with Yuuma-chan!"
The poor kid's in shock, Archer frowned. Not surprising though – his first encounter with the mystic side of the world was also his first girlfriend trying to murder him.
Archer allowed his bow and arrow to dissolve into motes of light which quickly faded, and gently pried Issei off his arm before grasping the boy's shoulder with his left hand.
"Look at me, boy," Archer's voice snapped Issei out of his reverie. "Focus on my voice and listen to what I'm about to tell you, because you need to hear what I'm saying. Do you understand?"
Issei nodded, but that wasn't good enough for the Servant of the Bow. All too often people would nod or say that they understood something, when in reality they hadn't even been paying attention to half of what they'd been told.
"No," the Heroic Sprit said sternly. "Don't just nod. I want you to tell me that you understand what you're supposed to be doing, and what that is."
Issei gulped nervously. "I… I understand. I'm listening."
"Good." Archer released his shoulder and took a step back. "The first thing you need to realize here is that Yuuma was never your girlfriend. In fact I'm fairly certain that 'Yuuma' isn't even her real name. It's Raynare."
Archer saw denial flash in the boy's eyes, and raised a hand to halt any arguments from him. "I say that because the simple truth is Raynare never had any interest in pursuing a relationship with you. She simply disguised herself as this Yuuma girl and used the pretence of wanting to be your girlfriend as a front so that she could get close to you and kill you."
Issei's eyes were the widest they'd been all night as the cold hard truth was laid out before him in clear terms.
"But… why?" he cried. "Why would she do that?"
"Because, Issei Hyoudou," hearing his name, the boy looked back up at Archer. "She was afraid of what you might become."
Archer saw the boy's confusion fade slightly only to be replaced with more of it, and continued speaking. "You probably never had any way of realizing this," he explained, resting the tip of his index finger on the kid's sternum. "But deep within your being there is a power that has slumbered within you from the day you were born. Properly honed that power could make you quite strong, and very dangerous. That is why Raynare attempted to kill you: to prevent you from ever becoming a threat to her or her superiors."
Issei was flabbergasted at what he was hearing. "But… why? I've never met Yuu- I mean, Raynare, until a few days ago."
Archer shrugged. "In some circles, even the smallest risk, no matter how insignificant, is simply intolerable. But where Raynare saw a threat to be destroyed, my Master sees an opportunity."
Issei started to become a little nervous at those words. "What do you mean… opportunity?"
"Did you think I was here to stop Raynare from killing you by mere chance? My Master was aware of her plans for you, and sent me to observe your little outing. If she tried to do you harm – and of course she did – my job was to ensure that you emerged from the attempt on your life unscathed."
"Well… I guess I should say thanks then." Issei said, suddenly feeling awkward for not having already thanked this guy for saving his life.
The man in red shook his head. "Don't thank me just yet, boy. My Master did not order me to protect you simply out of the kindness of her heart. But before I continue, we need to establish something here."
Issei blinked. "Um, o-okay, what is it?"
Archer took a deep breath. "The words I'm about to say are simple, but they will change the world as you understand it. To start," he held up a hand, and a four-foot pillar of light shone for an instant before solidifying into a longsword that floated a few inches above his palm, pointing upward.
"Magic is real."
Archer then released the magic that held the blade together and looked back at a stunned Issei. "And all the other tales you heard about growing up that you thought were nothing more than stories? They're all true. Heroes, monsters, dragons, gods, Angels, Devils, and Fallen Angels," he said the last one with a glance in the direction Raynare had flown off at before returning his gaze to the boy. "All of these things and much more do in fact exist."
Issei's mind was going around in a loop. He'd seen what happened when Raynare had tried to kill him, but his mind hadn't really been able to process it. What he saw didn't even factor into the equation of what he knew to be possible at the time, so in his shell-shocked state he had denied it. But this guy had just proved to him that magic – not some college dropout's trick to impress little kids, but real, honest to god magic – was actually real, as was everything else he'd always thought only existed in stuff like video games and anime.
"For better or worse, Issei Hyoudou," Archer continued. "You have stumbled into the world of magic, and it has taken notice of you. When you break it all down, you only have two options to choose from going forward." he said, holding out both his hands to emphasize this choice. "Your life will either come to a very abrupt and quite possibly painful end in the near future… or your life will be forever changed in ways you never imagined to be possible."
The second-year high school student looked at the man in front of him, fear, confusion, and uncertainty plaguing his mind, causing the teenage boy to ask the only question he could think of to the only person he knew who might be able to provide an answer.
"What… what should I do?"
Archer wanted to sigh. The kid was just asking to be manipulated. He couldn't find it himself to blame Issei though; that Fallen Angel had just put him through what was most likely the most traumatizing event of his life, and immediately after he had proceeded to have his entire world flipped on its head. He was full of questions that he couldn't ask any of the people he knew without sounding crazy, and Archer was right in front of him, offering the answers.
"Well whatever you decide, I'd strongly advise staying away from Fallen Angels, seeing that Raynare is one." Archer muttered. "As for most of the other factions, even if I knew a way for you to get in contact with them – and just to be clear, I don't – I can't say for certain how they'd react once they became aware of you. You could receive a warm welcome, be completely ignored, or they might try to kill you. I honestly can't make any guarantees. But I do know of at least one group that doesn't want you dead."
"Your Master's." Issei deduced, seeing where this was going.
Archer nodded. "Correct. As I mentioned before, Issei Hyoudou, my Master sees potential in you, and is prepared to offer you protection, provided you join her ranks."
"And what exactly does that mean?" Issei asked, his eyebrows narrowing worryingly.
"Nothing in this life comes free, boy." Archer explained. "One of the many principles that the world operates on is equivalent exchange: to receive, you have to give. My Master is willing to protect you from those who wish to do you harm, and offer you training in the ways of magic so that you may learn how to awaken and use the power I spoke of that lies dormant inside you. In return, you will swear loyalty to my Master, and use that power to serve her to the best of your ability." he announced.
"In short, in exchange for my Master saving your life, Issei Hyoudou, you will devote your life to her."
"Well, how big are her boobs?" Issei asked on instinct.
Hey, he had his priorities! And the answer to that question would be an important factor in his decision!
…For him at least.
When Archer's reply turned out to be a steel-faced glare, Issei rushed to rephrase the question. "Uh- um, I mean-! W-what… should I expect serving your Master to be like? I-if I accept her offer, that is."
Archer forced himself to calm down, and closed his eyes so he wouldn't have to look at the perverted brat as he gave his answer. "Given the way I've described things so far, I can understand if you're thinking that you'd be expected to be a slave for my Master. I can assure you though that that won't be the case. My Master is not cruel, in fact just the opposite. And if you serve her well, you will be duly rewarded. Also understand that since that you are completely new to the world of magic, you will start out at the very bottom of my Master's societal hierarchy if you come into her service. However, know that despite your low ranking, there are ample opportunities for advancement to increase your status, which I do believe you would enjoy greatly should you attain it. Just know that you will be forced to work hard if you ever expect to earn these rewards."
"Okay, so," Issei hesitantly began, "can you take me to meet your Master?"
"Better; I can bring her here." Archer replied. "Just before your date began, did a woman in a strange outfit give you a pamphlet? I believe it said something about 'granting your wish.'"
"Huh? Oh yeah, that's right." Issei said as he fished out the piece of paper in his pocket that a woman garbed in some kind of Halloween-themed dress had given him just before Yuuma, or rather, Raynare, had shown up for their date.
Archer held out his hand. "Give it to me."
Issei wordlessly handed over the flyer, and the Heroic Spirit focused his will into the magic that had been ingrained into the sheet of paper, calling out to his Master through it.
Almost instantly, the paper burst apart and three rings of crimson magic spun in the air for several seconds before settling on the ground to display the magic circle used by Rias Gremory and her household, before the woman herself appeared in a brilliant flash of silver.
Issei Hyoudou couldn't stop himself from gaping as his mysterious saviour's enigmatic master turned out to be the most popular girl of his high school.
"R… Rias Gremory-senpai?"
The redheaded beauty gave the boy a disarming smile that worked like a charm. "Hello Hyoudou-san, I'm glad to see you're unhurt." She then turned her attention to the most powerful being present for the conversation. "Thank you for keeping him safe, Archer."
"Just doing my job, Master." the Heroic Spirit shrugged, arms crossed.
Rias felt herself sigh inside her head. Honestly, why can't he ever just take a compliment? On some level though, Rias already suspected the reason. Archer had informed her during their first meeting that his story was a tragic one, and that he was the cause of his own misfortune… or at least that was how he saw it. Combine that with the way he blamed himself for his sister's demise, and Rias Gremory's Servant obviously had a very low opinion of himself, to the point where he brushed off compliments and used conversation as a tool to diminish himself as a person in the eyes of others whenever the opportunity came up.
All in all, Archer's own assessment of himself was that for all his power and incredible talents, he was ultimately worthless as a Heroic Spirit, and thus completely undeserving of happiness or praise. And just the idea of that broke Rias' heart every time she thought of it.
Rias quickly discontinued that line of thinking. This was neither the time nor the place for that, and even if it were it wouldn't get her anywhere.
"What did you tell him so far?" she asked, still looking at her Servant.
"Everything I thought he needed to know before meeting you," he replied. "I told him who that Fallen Angel was and what she planned to do to him – her name's Raynare by the way. I also explained the situation that he's found himself in, and how you're offering him sanctuary."
"A good way to get him started." Rias nodded approvingly before turning back to the boy in question. "So Hyoudou-san, do you have any questions for me?"
The boy blinked as the focus of the conversation shifted directly to him. "Who… who exactly are you, Gremory-senpai?"
Rias tapped a finger against her chin. "That answer is more complex than you probably expect, and I believe it would make things simpler if I explained what I am first."
Issei's eyes widened to comical proportions as a black pair of wings vaguely resembling those of a bat burst out from Rias' back.
"As I'm sure Archer already explained, the woman who just tried to kill you was a Fallen Angel," Rias began. "I on the other hand, am a Devil. Most humans think that we're the same thing but that's not true at all. They once served God but have been banished from Heaven, whereas we have resided in Hell from the very beginning. Now as for who I am, I have the honour of being the heiress to the House of Gremory, one of the oldest and most prestigious Devil houses in all of Hell."
Surprisingly enough for Issei, he managed to get over his shock regarding Rias' true nature relatively quickly. "Um, o-okay," he stammered. "Uh, so who's he? Is he another Devil like you?" he asked, pointing at Archer.
Rias' smile widened as she introduced the person she could honestly say she was most proud to have in her service.
"This is Archer. And he isn't a Devil, he's my Servant." Rias began. "Now I don't mean he's my butler or bodyguard when I say that. 'Servant' is a title given to the spirits of legendary heroes once they're summoned to the physical world and placed in a special container, after which they form a familiar contract with the one who summoned them; their Master, which in Archer's case is me. Unlike the standard familiar though, Archer is able to retain his free will and higher thought-processes, and more impressively despite only having a fraction of his true strength as a Heroic Spirit due to his current status as a Servant, the amount of power he wields is nothing less than incredible."
Archer breathed out heavily through his nose as his Master finished introducing/glorifying him. "In a layman's terms, I'm the ghost of some forgotten hero and am currently in the service of Gremory-sama. By the way, Master, unless my memories of recent events were somehow distorted, I'm fairly certain that I actually am your butler as well as your bodyguard."
Rias did her best to ignore her Servant's attitude, and focused her attention back on Issei.
"Is there anything else you would like to ask, Hyoudou-san?"
"Uh, I can't really think of anything at the moment." he answered.
"Then if you don't mind, I would like to move on to the reason why I have come here before you in the first place." Rias said gently.
"R-right," Issei stuttered. "Archer gave me the rundown of what you wanted with me right before you came. Basically, you protect and train me, and in exchange I become your servant."
Rias' eyes narrowed in a frown as she glanced back at Archer. "A bit blunt for my tastes, but that is the essence of it."
"I told him more than that, Master." the Servant of the Bow muttered, prompting Rias to look back at Issei.
"Oh, uh, he also told me that I'd start out at the bottom of your social ladder, but that I'd have the chance to move up in the, I guess your, world if I worked hard enough."
"Obviously there's a lot more to it than that, but you are correct," Rias stated. "Now, before we continue, are you sure you don't have any more questions at the moment?"
Issei rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "Er, nope. Still can't think of anything."
"In that case, I would like an answer from you in regards to my offer: Issei Hyoudou, will you allow me to resurrect you as a Devil so that you may join the ranks of my peerage and swear to serve me?"
Issei blinked. "Hold on, what do you mean 'resurrect me as a Devil?'"
To her credit, Rias didn't miss a beat. "Technically, any member of any species can join a Devil's peerage, but in order for them to do so they must become Devils themselves, at least in part."
"But what about Archer? You said he isn't a Devil."
"Yes, but Archer isn't a member of my peerage, he's my Servant. And even if I wanted to, I don't think I could forge a familiar contract with you, Hyoudou-san. The method I used to form a pact with Archer is… irregular to say the least. Besides, if you were a familiar, that would make it impossible for you to advance yourself in Devil society, as you'd be seen as nothing more than a pet. So I ask again, Hyoudou-san: do you accept my offer?"
Despite the kindness that his senpai exuded, Issei couldn't help but still be nervous. After all, in order for someone to be resurrected, there was typically something else that came right before it.
Sweat began pouring down his face.
"Will I have to… die?"
Rias blinked before hastening to reassure him. "Oh, no! No! Nothing like that. I mean, I can understand why you'd think that, but no, you won't have to die, Hyoudou-san. The method Devils use to resurrect other beings into Devils can be done if the individual in question only died a few minutes ago, but it works perfectly if they're still alive as well. The process might feel a bit weird, but I promise you it won't even hurt."
Part of Issei was tempted to say no, go home, and pretend that this whole night had been nothing but a bad dream. But one look at Archer's no-nonsense stance reminded the boy of the position he was currently in thanks to his brief "relationship" with the Fallen Angel he had called Yuuma, and how right now, not only was Gremory-senpai offering him to protect him from the Fallen Angels and train him to use this power she seemed to think he had, but she was in fact the only person who was offering him any kind of help with this bizarre situation.
If he said no, he had no guarantee that Rias would extend her generosity to him a second time. And if Raynare came after him again, who else was he supposed to turn to for help? Police? The government? Ha! Raynare had fucking magic.
His mind made up, Issei gave a shaky nod. "Okay, I'll do it. I'm in."
Rias' eyes shined at Issei's words. "Splendid! Now, just hold still and I'll take care of the rest. Oh, and do try to relax. Right now the best thing you can do is to keep calm."
The redheaded beauty then raised her right hand, and a small magic circle shaped just like the one she used to teleport herself appeared above it, vanishing to deposit a small figure constructed out of what looked like red marble in her palm.
Issei looked at the object in confusion. "What's that?"
"This is what we Devils call our 'Evil Pieces.'" Rias explained, holding the Evil Piece between her thumb and forefinger. "They're based on the pieces from the game chess. Are you familiar with it?"
"Er, a bit," Issei replied. "I've played, but only a little since I kind of suck at it."
"It's fine, what matters are the pieces themselves. As master of my Peerage, I of course hold the position of King. My second in command is the Queen, and the Knight, Rook, and Bishop pieces serve as my offensive, defensive, and magic support units respectively, each of which I have two. Finally of course, we have the eight Pawn pieces, which typically serves as the front line in battle."
"Okay, cool," Issei said, starting to get a little excited. "Does that mean you're gonna make me your Knight or something?"
His words were clearly amusing to Rias, as a chuckle emerged from her lips. It was at that moment that Archer chose to speak.
"Use your eyes, boy. If you're at all familiar with the game of chess as you claim to be, then you should be able to identify the piece my Master is currently holding."
Issei did as instructed, and as he realized what position Rias intended to have him fulfill in her peerage, somewhere in the depths of his mind his dream of one day having a massive harem of hotties with boobs that were all at least the size of his head, shattered into a thousand pieces.
But it didn't stop there. Even as the fragments of his lifelong dream flew apart from one another and away from him, Issei could see his vision continue to be worn down even further by the relentless, unforgiving force that was Reality. Eventually all that was left of his dream were flakes of dust blowing in the wind, so small and fleeting that, try as he might, Issei Hyoudou couldn't hold onto a single one. And as the last speck of his greatest wish vanished from his sight, Issei Hyoudou fell to his knees, alone within the newfound emptiness of his mind, and all he could do was cry out at the unfairness of the world for taking away even the possibility of the one thing he desired most.
Chicks do not dig Pawns.
And that is it for the time being. Also, rest assured that I am in fact working on the next chapter.
Oh, and if you should happen to spot any spelling or grammar errors in this chapter or any other, please do notify me so that I may correct them.
Oh, and if I may make a recommendation on a good story to read, I highly advise you all to go check out the crossover "Daily war with monster girls" by Masterdude21. It can be found in the Halo/Mass Effect Crossover section, but it also has the world of "Daily Life With Monster Girls/Monster Musume no iru Nichijou" added into the mix.
I know that multi-crossovers tend to suck and/or be confusing, but Masterdude21 actually manages to pull it off surprisingly well, and the world that he's built within this crossover is amazingly detailed and thought out.
I also advise you go check out his other stories, particularly his other Halo crossovers. Some of them are abnormal in regards to the world/franchise he's chosen to mix them with, but he manages to make it work surprisingly well.
Just don't be too harsh on the guy when you spot a mistake in his writing. Please understand that English is not his first language.
Please Favourite, Follow, and most of all, Review to show your support! And please, do tell me your thoughts on this chapter. I always appreciate feedback.
Until next time!