A few days after the shoot where I first properly met with my doppelgänger, the Foreign Director sends me a video of the finished product through my email. I watched it in between classes and found it pretty amazing; even if it was a video of me getting beaten up by three people (two, really, Koneko-chan stayed on the sideline for the most part). I showed it to everyone in the peerage and they were generally impressed by it all. Buchou went out of her way to pre-order the season set on Amozan. There wasn't much reaction from the peerage the show besides the mild awe of seeing me and Koneko play good roles. Even the appearance of my doppelgänger and her rampage didn't get many reactions.
When I show it to Azazel-sensei, however, I got a very different reaction.
"I hope I'm being paranoid but... does that power ranger costume look a lot like your Scale Mail, Ise?"
What Sensei said made me do a double-take.
"It looks kinda similar, I guess?" Color-wise anyways. "It seems kind of slicker, though. It's probably the red color that's tipping you off."
And the fact that she has my face and fights like a juggernaut... or me when I used Juggernaut Drive. Wait, no. Please don't tell me she has a Sacred Gear and a Juggernaut Drive of her own, I don't think I'll survive another movie shoot with whatever grudge she's got against me.
"If you think so then you've never seen your Balance Breaker in a mirror, Ise. You might have not noticed the more minute similarities. I've studied Sacred Gears for centuries now so I can say with a degree of certainty that the suit is similar to Scale Mail; if not yours then one of your predecessors who broke through with unlocking a Balance Breaker. I hypothesize that the suit could be modeled after a Balance Breaker variant of a Twice Critical even."
"Twice Critical... I remember hearing about that from somewhere..."
Huh, I remember hearing that name somewhere. Where did I hear it?
"Doubtlessly, you have. You need to refresh your memory of past lessons, Ise. The Twice Critical is a power-boosting, self-reinforcing, state-change type of Sacred Gear. It is a common dragon type Sacred Gear that doubles its wielder's strength once when activated. In a sense, it is a weaker Boosted Gear."
Weaker than my Boosted Gear, so it's kinda like my Boosted Gear? Ah, right, my Boosted Gear looked like a Twice Critical when I first unlocked it.
"-Yuuma-chan mentioned it when she..."
It slipped my mind and my mouth the moment I thought of it. That's right, Yuuma, no, Raynare, told me that she thought my Sacred Gear was a Twice Critical when she kidnapped Aisa-chan. My Heart clenches when I remember my ex-girlfriend... if I can actually even call her that.
In the corner of my eyes, I vaguely notice Sensei's mouth twisting.
"Don't mull over it too hard, Ise."
He pats me roughly on my shoulder to bring my thoughts back to the present.
"As for the current situation, my subordinates aren't finding anything strange about her or the people around her, and they're digging in pretty deep. It's not even suspiciously clean either. The man who's funding most of the show's production, Dertaerg A. Pocalypse, is a tycoon who does all sorts of morally questionable things to make a profit and that foreign director and his underlings have a lot of dirt on themselves as well. About the only "clean" people in that group is your look-alike and that Matsuri girl. It's practically a television drama series with these people. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that these people's lives were made on the fly and fabricated out of thin air. It's amazing how deep this well goes."
They did act pretty wildly from the two times that I've seen them a few days ago. Dertaerg-san didn't seem like a bloodthirsty tycoon though, but I didn't get to talk to the man much off-stage. Rather than some tycoon, he seemed pleasantly down to earth. As for the director... I honestly have no comment. It was my look-alike who held most of my attention.
"Can I read the report about them?"
"Sure, It's pretty stacked though so you're going to have to flip around to find whatever it is you're interested in. Also, for obvious reasons, don't tell anyone else you have this."
Sensei hands me a thick stack of paper that he pulls out from his desk's cabinet. I look at the stack with a bit of apprehension because it weighted like a bag of bricks and had a word font-size even smaller than the words in a dictionary. Is it too late to just ask Sensei for a summary? I don't think I'm fit to dig through this sort of paperwork.
"...I'll read it later."
"Make sure not to lose it. It'll be a mess if anyone else knows you have this."
I nod to Sensei's order and put the stack of paper into my bookbag. I reach over to Sensei's laptop and pull out the flash drive that had a save file of the filmed episode that the foreign director sent me. I look at the time on the bottom of the screen and sees that it is nearly time for class to start again.
"I should head back to class now. Lunch is about to end."
"Alright. I'll see you later, Ise-kun."
"Yeah, I'll be going, Sensei."
I stuff the flash drive into my pockets and head to the door. When I was about to leave the room, Sensei calls out behind me.
"Also, I won't be going to be at the clubroom this afternoon. Something came up that I need to take care of in the Underworld. You kids behave yourselves and don't make too much trouble."
I turn to Sensei and give him a thumbs up.
"Sure, Sensei. good luck with whatever you're doing."
Rinnggg Ringgggg Ringgggg
I had just left the classroom after class has ended to go to the clubroom when I received a call from Kiba.
"Ise? Where are you right now?"
"I'm walking to the clubroom. Why?"
"Did you not get the message? The Khaos Brigade's Hero Faction declared another attack on Kuoh again."
I widen my eyes and stop halfway down a flight of stairs when I hear this. The Hero Faction is attacking Kuoh?
"I didn't get a message..."
"Bad reception maybe. Whatever the case, come to the clubroom quickly, we are preparing to meet them before they cause too much trouble."
I nodded to his words and begin to run down the stairs. As I run, Kiba continues to talk.
"Is Koneko also with you by any chance, Ise-kun?"
"The same thing that happened to you. She hasn't come to the clubroom either."
I get down to the first floor, where the first-year students' classrooms are located, and take quick looks around. I don't see anyone around. If Koneko-Chan is around here right now, she's certainly not heading to the clubroom.
"I'll give her a call. I'm heading to the clubroom right now. It'll take me five minutes."
"I'll give her a call as well. I'll see you at the clubroom, Ise-kun."
I nod at his response and pull the phone away from my ear. I flip through my contact menu and come to Koneko-chan's number. I press the call button and put the phone to my ear.
After a few rings, Koneko-chan's voice comes through.
"Koneko-chan, where are you? Did you get the message? Are you meeting at the club? The Khaos Brigade is planning an attack again!"
"...I'm coming, I'll be there soon."
"Alright, hurry! I'll meet you at the club!"
She hangs up on her side and I pull the phone away from my ear. I stuff the phone into my pocket and run faster to the clubroom. The odd exchange didn't register in my mind as it races through plans that Rias has made to deal with the Khaos Brigade.
After many practice attempts from their frequent raids, it took us a record-breaking thirty minutes to meet all meet up at the clubroom, gear up and teleport ourselves to the warehouse that was being squatted in by the Khaos Brigade. As one, we got into our positions right in front of the warehouse and begin our internal countdown. Kiba and Xenovia are going to rush in first, with me tagging behind as support or another heavy hitter if need be while Koneko and Gasper are staying behind to ward off any assaults against Aisa, Rias, and Akeno who are staying back and take shots as full support in the rearguard position.
Without a moment wasted, Rias nods and the operation begins. Sliding the warehouse door open, Kiba and Xenovia blitz in with their amazing agility while I slowly lag behind while building my boosts. We made it halfway through the warehouse before we come to a stop. Warily, we huddle against each other back to back and begin to scan our surroundings. After waiting for what feels like a minute to receive absolute silence, I came to a striking conclusion.
"Did we come to the wrong warehouse?"
Kiba, who was dual-wielding two demonic blades, took a moment to answer me even as he scans our surroundings.
"...I'm fairly sure that Buchou and Akeno-senpai got the address right."
Xenovia leaves her readied stance and slams her borrowed Ascalon into the ground.
"Or maybe they gave us the wrong address to mess with us."
"You think so?"
"Well, maybe, those Khaos Brigade guys are always finding new ways to mess with us. Who knows if this is their latest scheme."
"They have been targetting Kuoh a lot for some reason."
"Yeah, this is our third, maybe fourth, encounter with them this month already?"
The three of us have a back and forth after a moment to take in that, no, there weren't any enemies around, and, yes, we might've been duped. Kiba waves his sword to signal for everyone else to come in and the rest of the peerage walks in with expressions as confused as ours.
As they came to us, I hear Koneko mutter about nobody being here. I can faintly see an aura emanating from her and can tell that she's using senjutsu to sense her surroundings. Out of all of us, it would be Koneko-chan who can see if anyone's around. It's hard to hide from a senjutsu user, after all.
"That's strange, they couldn't have left that quickly without me realizing..."
"Perhaps we are being tricked, Rias-buchou?"
"It could be but that would mean they'd have to trick both Akeno and I. We were monitoring them with our familiars just until before we all met up in the clubroom."
Kiba traded some ideas with Rias when they come into a conversational distance and Akeno begins to cast a spell. As she speaks of them, her bat familiar pokes its head out from behind her back and flitters about.
"The spell says that there were definitely people here earlier."
After a second for it to cast, Akeno declares this.
"So they had to have left in a hurry between the time that we met up til now... approximately half an hour."
Rias is deducing this with a furrow in her eyebrows. She seems pretty certain that they were here.
"Why would they leave a base they already made a claim on?"
Standing next to Rias, Akeno says the question aloud to nobody in particular. Rias thinks about the moment for something before deciding on our next move.
"Whatever the case, something is suspicious. Split up and search the warehouse. We might be able to find some clues that they've left behind in their quick exit."
Nodding as one, all of us take a section of the warehouse and search.
In the end, we couldn't find anything. Whether it is inside the warehouse or the surrounding areas, there wasn't a trace of the Khaos Brigade. As Rias has stated, it was like they had completely disappeared. As the day comes to a close, Rias eventually calls off the search with inconclusive results.
"Be careful going home and watch out. Take every precaution possible. If even the slightest thing seems off, contact me immediately. Is that understood?"
Standing in front of the warehouse that we've searched thoroughly, Rias warns everyone in the peerage to be careful when they go home. She and Akeno are both returning to the clubroom in order to talk to School President Sona about what was found today; or rather, the lack of what was found today.
We said our goodbyes to each other and headed off to our separate paths. Kiba and Koneko walk off after saying their polite good-byes towards the direction of their apartments. Gasper follows after Rias and Akeno in the magic circle to go to the clubroom. Xenovia, Aisa and I all head towards my house.
On our way back, Xenovia unclips Ascalon from the belt on her waist and hands the sword back to me. I take it and materialize the Boosted Gear to put the sword back in.
"Does it get bothersome having to materialize the Boosted Gear every time?"
Seeing me dematerialize the Boosted Gear, Xenovia curiously asks me this. I blink at the question and thought about an answer.
"Not really. I kinda got used to doing it. It comes out almost without me thinking about it, nowadays."
It used to take a lot of concentration back when I originally managed to bring it out. I had to pose and think hard about bringing it out the first few times. Now, I can bring it out on a whim.
"I've read that Sacred Gears are connected to your soul. The stronger you are, the stronger your soul becomes and with it, better ease at expressing it. In my case, the more I heal and the more proficient I am at healing, the better Twilight Healing's qualities shine overall."
Aisa pops in on the conversation with her own experience.
"So Sacred Gears grow with the users, huh? That's a bit different from me."
As the odd one out with no Sacred Gears to her name, Xenovia tilts her head at Aisa's explanation. Growing with the user huh? That's one way of saying it. Another would be that we become accustomed to pulling out the Sacred Gear's potential.
"It's not so different from how you use Durandal, Xenovia-san."
"Yes. The more you use Durandal, the more you get used to it, right? In a way, that is how I am with Twilight Healing."
I nod to Aisa's comment. Yeah, that's how it is with me and the Boosted Gear. At one point in time, it was a miracle to be able to use Scalemail. Now I can pull it out pretty easily. With some more training, I can probably use it as easily as I could pull out the Boosted Gear.
"So it's a matter of training? I wonder when I'll get to be able to use Durandal so freely."
"I'm sure that it will come any day now, Xenovia-san!"
"Yeah, thanks Aisa."
Wistfully, Xenovia looks at my right arm. Aisa tries to cheer her up and she receives a grin in return.
Vrrrr Vrrrrr Vrrrr
As they continue talking, I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket. I pull it out to see that I've received a text from Koneko. In it reads a foreboding message and a picture attachment.
[Meet me at the warehouse, alone.]
The picture below this message was that of a crate sitting in its lonesome in the warehouse besides an open shipping container. The painted label on the crate reads Uzumaki Ramen.
Issei was reading some very spoiler-filled edition of Shounen Hops with Koneko when he got the message that there were people heading towards the mansion. He puts down the laptop and puts on his glasses. With a few taps on the Dert's most recent piece of super-technology, six holographic images blare from the glass's frames to show what is being recorded from the many cameras around the mansion. Picking the gate entrance's camera, the image zooms in to show that it was his and Koneko's doppelgangers who were coming. He gives Koneko a puzzling look.
"Were we supposed to do something with them today?"
...No, I don't think so."
Koneko returns his pulled look with one of her own. Neither recalls any reason for those two to be coming to the mansion today. Naruto and Dert are off doing whatever they're doing since this morning's started and Matsuri is out shopping for tonight's dinner ingredients. With only Issei and Koneko here to man the fort, there's no reason for anyone in their group to call for a meeting with the doppelgangers.
"Maybe they wanted to talk to you about something?"
Watching the camera recording intently, Koneko suggests this.
"Wouldn't they call or text me over the phone if that was the case?"
Koneko thought about it and shrugs.
"Meet them anyways?"
Issei thought about her suggestion. That was an option. Another would be to just bunker down and pretend nobody's home until either Dert, Naruto or Matsuri comes back.
Then a thought strikes him. Naruto, Dert, and Matsuri aren't here. If he were to meet with the doppelgangers right now, nobody would be with him. Issei gives Koneko a cursory glance to see that she is still eyeing the camera image. Yes, nobody would be with him; not even his Koneko, since she hasn't shown herself to anyone of this world as a doppelganger of this universe's version of her.
"You're right, I should probably meet them. It might be something important."
"Okay. I'll go watch from the camera room. Good luck."
The beginnings of a plan start formulating in Issei's head. It's not quite anywhere yet but with enough luck, he might be able to extract his future self's secrets for success with women. With a tap of a button on the frames of his glasses, he feels a cool sensation wash over his body. Like how Dert made it so that his ring can give him a gauntlet and transform to fit him into a power ranger costume, the glasses were upgraded to be able to instantly don him into his Ryuudou Seiko disguise.
He waves Koneko off as she walks to one of the many secret entrances to the camera room and begins formulating plans on how to extract information from his doppelganger. An innocent smile filled with ill intent surfaces on his face as he walks to the mansion's entrance to greet his guests. Almost unconsciously, he slips Dert's ring on to his finger.
Issei felt something was off the more he watches the pair walking to the mansion's gate. He was at the entrance and was waiting for the pair to ring the doorbell. The door wasn't opened yet because it would seem strange for him to be waiting for the pair but he was still watching them from the lenses of his glasses.
There was something off about those two's dynamics. Issei taps through a few options on his glass's frame and pulls up a function of the glasses that Dert called "detective vision." With it, he notices a few minuscule details that he'd otherwise miss. Whereas before, from what he gathered of the recording session, those two were aloof with each other but still had a semblance of closeness that wasn't expressly shown, this time, they were starkly standing beside each other.
His doppelganger is standing protectively next to Koneko and it seems that Koneko has a stance of her own in reply to his. They were aware of each other, which means they were aware of their surroundings and that, in turn, means that they're on their guards. Issei's eyes would've narrowed in suspicion and scowl if the glasses didn't correctively adjust his facial expressions to be more fitting to his role as Ryoudou Seiko.
Why were they on their guards? This threw off his plans by a lot. If they're on their guards, then that means it will be a lot harder to separate them which is the crutch of his plans to extract information from his doppelganger. Did something tip them off? No, nothing should've done that. Though the plan that Naruto and Dert concocted was full of holes, the acting and implementation were absolutely flawless; mostly due to the ludicrous amount of cash that Dert happily threw around and the exorbitant work that came from Matsuri and Naruto to make it believable.
Something must've happened between dinner a few days ago and today to make them act like this. Whatever the case, his plans are still in effect though he'd have to be more careful now.
[Don't be distracted.]
From the glass's comms, Koneko's voice quietly speaks out. She is in the camera room right now, watching everything that's happening in the mansion's premises. She's another factor that he had to take into consideration. Though the camera room secures almost every square inch of the mansion and a large amount of land surrounding it, its entrances to those areas of the mansion are few and far in between. Should he want to interrogate his doppelganger, he'll have to do it in a place that is far from those entrances so that he can get the most time with his double.
The gate's doorbell rings, signaling the arrival of our guests. Issei takes a deep breath, counts to ten and exhales slowly.
"Alright, let's do this."
Pressing a button beside the entrance to unlock the doors, his expression transforms from apprehension into wonderment as he greets the ones who rang the mansion's doorbell.
"Sorry for intruding without notice, but we wanted to talk to you about something."
Issei's doppelganger is holding his phone in his hand with the screen unlocked to show an image. It was blurry from a distance and his doppelganger probably didn't intend to let Issei see it from that far away. Normally, he wouldn't be able to see it from the distance of the entrance to the gate but his glasses come in to aid him again with an automatic zooming function. With it, he was able to see the picture perfectly and it showed something else that he should've factored into his plans. It showed a picture of a crate with the name of Naruto's restaurant painted all over it in bright orange.
Crap, what did that blondie do this time?
"M-Matsuri-senpai is n-not here right n-now. Please enjoy the s-snacks that I've p-prepared."
As he says this, Issei sets down a tray filled with soda bottles and chips. Since Matsuri is not here, he doesn't have anything fancier to distract them with. He can only give them Koneko's snacks and mark it off as his own. Of course, he got permission.
"Ah, you didn't need to."
Though he says this, his doppelganger still stands up to help Issei with the distribution of snacks.
Koneko's doppelganger thanks him in a distracted manner and nibble on a cookie.
"S-so, w-what brought you t-two here today?"
As he sits down on his side of the table, with his doppelganger to his left and Koneko's to his right, he asks them this. His doppelganger pulls out his phone and unlocks it again. It opens up to the picture that Issei caught an eyeful of earlier; a crate of some of Naruto's products, whatever they are.
"Something came up and we'd like to ask you a few questions."
Issei's doppelganger puts down the phone with the image facing towards Issei. He pretends to take a long look at the image before meeting his doppelganger's eyes.
"D-does it h-have something to do w-with the i-image?"
Of course, it had to do with the image. Why wouldn't it have anything to do with the image? It's got the name of trouble written all over it! Issei curses in his mind and berates Naruto for doing whatever it is that he's doing.
"It does... kind of. Hey, Seiko-san, what do you know about your senpai?"
Senpai? Matsuri? What does he know about her? He knows that she's really nice, that she takes care of him and just about everyone else in the groups, that she is a killer cook and that she is able to deal with Naruto's shenanigans on a daily basis. Though that's not what his answer should be in this case. In this case, according to the script, Matsuri is-
"She's a c-caring person who's v-very talented. S-she can cook r-really well and h-her acting s-skills are i-incredible. S-she can d-do almost a-any job that D-director Naruto gives h-her."
When the filtered words came out of his mouth, it occurred to him that Matsuri's job didn't really change. Neither did Naruto's, now that he thought of it... Or Dert's... And Koneko doesn't even have a job to play. She's just sitting in the camera room eating popcorn... Wait, why is he the only one who's getting the short end of the sticks!? Here he is crossdressing and acting an Oscar-worthy performance when the rest of the group is doing nothing!
"And her family?"
Koneko's doppelganger speaks up and Issei had to pause for a moment to think. Her family? He didn't know that much. She's Naruto's relative or something, right? In this world, what was her backstory again? The only thing that was written related to her family is some random stuff that Dert made up along the way. What was her family name again? Right, she used Naruto's. It was-
Issei's doppelganger nods his head and things start to begin clicking in Issei's mind. The box had Uzumaki written on it but Naruto hasn't given his real last name, so the next person that name would correlate to by default is to Matsuri, whose false identity has that family name. Whatever it is that's putting these two on guard has to do with that box and by proxy, the person connected to that box, Matsuri. Of course, it could be talking about any Uzumaki but to have an Uzumaki here in this city, in this time, the coincidences are a bit too much to wave off.
"Yeah, your senpai is an Uzumaki. The same Uzumaki as the name written on this crate and every other crate in the shipping containers in this warehouse."
"D-did something h-happen at the w-warehouse?"
"Yeah. Our... group, the Occult Research Club, noticed that a group of strange people was loitering in this warehouse earlier today. They disappeared without a trace around three hours ago. We were worried that their aim was something in the warehouse."
Issei wanted to ask them what they were doing in the warehouse in the first place to know that there were loiterers or what is inside the shipping containers but something cuts him off. From the other side of the microphone built into his glasses, he hears Koneko put down her plate. It happened at the same time as the mention of the Occult Research Club, an organization that Koneko was involved with in both dimensions.
He understood then that this topic is something that Koneko's invested in. So, rather than asking pointless questions that will most likely get him nowhere, Issei pushed it away and continues the conversation to bring out more information.
"T-those people are i-investigating M-Matsuri-senpai?"
The two doppelgangers share a look with each other before taking a serious look back at him.
"We're worried that you and Matsuri might be in danger of being enlisted by these... strange people."
"They're... not very savory people. I don't really know what their plans are but they're always up to no good. Wherever they go, they're always causing trouble."
When his doppelganger says this, the image of a strange gang comes to Issei's mind. They sound like they're warning him about a bunch of hoodlums.
Issei's mind steps on the brake with sudden force and made a spin off of the road. Terrorists? Terrorists?! What happened to hoodlums?! Rather than hoodlums and delinquents, aren't terrorists a whole level above that?! No, rather than a threat single level, it's jumped up a couple of dozen ranks!
"Koneko! Don't just say that! You'll scare her!"
"It's better to tell her what's after her. We might need to fight them soon."
"There's still an order of event that you have to follow before you say something like that, you know."
Issei's doppelgangers scold Koneko's doppelganger for letting out the identity of the TERRORISTS. Frankly, Issei could care less about the order of events because he's more worried about the fact that there are TERRORISTS somewhere apparently gunning for him, Matsuri and most likely Naruto and Dert since they're definitely the ones who crammed that warehouse full of Uzumaki brand products.
"W-why a-are you t-tracking down t-terrorists! S-shouldn't you c-call the p-police?!"
"Can't. Special case."
"Yeah. They're most likely aiming for you because they suspect that you have something they want."
Something Issei and everyone in this group has that terrorists would want? What? Dert has a ton of money buy so does every other millionaire in the world. Besides that, he's just an eccentric old man. Also, Dert's money is only known to him. Koneko and Issei's doppelgangers pointedly out that it was he and Matsuri who were getting targeted. There's something that they know that Issei doesn't.
"W-what would t-they w-want from u-us?"
The doppelganger pair gives each other another sideways glance as if to confirm something. With a nod from Koneko's doppelganger, Issei's clear his throat and lean forward.
"Hey, Ryoudou-san, do you know what Sacred Gears are?"
Issei winces when his doppelganger says this, not because of what he said but because Koneko, his Koneko, did something that thumped loudly on the other side of the mike. He's not quite sure what happened but that question made Koneko panic to react like that. He took a second to think about why. Does he know what Sacred Gears are? It sounded familiar, so he's heard of them before. He just can't point a finger on where. It's important, though, he knows that for sure.
[...Sacred Gears are like the rings that Dert gave us.]
He hears Koneko whisper this to him in an almost hesitant manner and he widens his eyes in understanding. The ring can put a power suit on him which can be described as a weapon of mass destruction. Of course, that's what people like terrorists would want! They'd want weapons of mass destruction.
"I-I know a-about S-sacred Gears. T-they're strong w-weapons."
His doppelganger nods along with the statement.
"Not all of them are weapons but most have combat utilizations. How they are used and what form they take is what makes them so powerful. That's why those terrorists want to collect people with Sacred Gears. They're gathering strength to do something bad. I'm not sure what but with how they're causing trouble everywhere they go, it can't be anything good."
Issei wanted to clutch his head when he hears this from his doppelganger. What kinda mess up future did Dert bring them to?! Rather than a trip, this suddenly sounds like a battle manga. And these two still haven't answered the question of why they're the ones tracking down these terrorists in the first place!
"W-why do y-you think t-they're t-targeting me and M-Matsuri-senpai?"
Koneko's doppelganger grimly says this with a sad expression. She pulls out her phone as well and plays a video for Issei to see. It's one of the unedited action shots that Naruto and Dert had mailed her to ask her for opinions on how it should be edited. This was one of the older ones from the first episode, where Naruto hasn't quite nailed down what his role in this messed-up play should be.
When the video pauses, she immediately slides her finger on the screen and plays another short clip. This one is from a shot for episode two, where Issei is brawling with Dert. Again, once the video stops, she slides to the next video and plays a shot for another episode. She keeps on doing this until she plays the latest scene that was filmed a few days ago. This one was where he was fighting his doppelganger.
"I've only known you for a short time but Koneko's known you for almost a month now and she has stated more than once that everyone in this group is amazing. From you and Dertaerg-san with your absolutely scary fighting skills to Director Naruto's and Matsuri-san's talented handling in every other matter, everyone working on this show is amazing, to the point that it is irregular. And it's well known in certain groups that irregular people are people who have Sacred Gears."
"Y-you think that M-Matsuri-senpai a-and I h-have S-Sacred Gears?"
"I'm not sure about Matsuri-san but I'm almost certain you do, Ryoudou-san."
An alarm rings in Issei's head when his doppelganger says this. He flexes his finger and preemptively activates the ring he's wearing. From the distance of his room to the camera room is enough so that if Koneko activates hers, the pair of rings will activate fully together, and allow Issei to use his Boosted Gear. He shifts his eyes slightly to the camera and implores Koneko to be ready to activate hers. There's a deep rumbling in his stomach that screams trouble. After being the target of Naruto's pranks so many times, he's almost assured that something bad was happening.
"W-why do y-you think I h-have a S-Sacred Gear?"
"Because you trounced me during filming and left a lot of bruises. Despite how I look, I'm pretty sure that no normal human can do that anymore."
"N-no normal h-human?"
"Yeah. Even if I'm not fighting at full strength, I can't see a girl as frail as you manhandle me without a Sacred Gear."
"W-why would y-you t-think that?"
Issei's doppelganger gives him a questioning look and then looks over at Koneko's doppelganger. She was just as confused as him for some reason. Issei has come to an understanding from this conversation that his alternate self probably also has a Sacred Gear in his possession if he's "not fighting at full strength," but the way his doppelganger worded it was weird. Why would he say the phrase "normal human?"
"Because a human without a Sacred Gear would have a hard time beating a trained devil, especially as easily as you did it?"
Issei's doppelganger shrugs off his blazer as he says this and from his back, a pair of leathery bat-like wings sprouted from it and curls around his shoulders. From the side, Koneko's doppelganger does the same.
Issei's eyes would've twitched violently and he would've screamed out in shock at seeing this if it wasn't for the glasses correcting his instinctive movements.
Instead, all that came out was a stuttery eh that came out of his gapped mouth which shows nothing of his mental state. Not for the first time, he wanted to scream at Dert and ask the middle-aged man about this strange future that he's been brought to.
Lazy Idiot #1: Whoohoo, made it just before the end of the decade!
Lazy Idiot #2: For us anyways.
Lazy Idiot #3: Not sure about other people.
Lazy Idiot #1: Happy New Years to them then, I guess.
Lazy Idiot #2: Sounds about right.
Lazy Idiot #3: Anyone got anything witty to say?
Lazy Idiot #1: Not really. Kinda just wanted to say happy new year.
Lazy Idiot #2: Me too. Kinda force myself here so that we can end the year on an anniversary chapter.
Lazy Idiot #3: Guess we're done here then. See you next year~
Idiot 1, 2 and 3: Thanks for reading. Favorites, flame, and review. We accept it all~!