High School DxD is a Japanese light novel series written by Ichiei Ishibumi and illustrated by Miyama-Zero. The Fate series is owned by Type-Moon. I do not own any of the characters mentioned from both series. The only things I own are the ideas that popped into my head for this story and whatever original characters I would create for the story.
My main muses come from Gabriel Blessing and Marcus Galen Sands, authors of great works themselves. This story is meant to be a work of pure fiction made solely for fun, constructive reviews will be welcomed, flames will be ignored. Any references to characters in real-life are purely coincidental and should not be taken seriously. If I could make money out of my ideas, it would be nice...
Root Damn It!
Published: January 12th 2015
Edited: 18th September 2017
Prologue: Journey to DXD
How long have I been walking?
How long have I been fighting?
How long have I gone on, trudging through battlefields and conflicts, in the hopes of saving as many lives as I could?
How long have I been seeking the silent hill of swords and the golden light that awaits for me?
Apparently, long enough to find myself standing on a broken slab of rock floating in between the dark spaces of dimensions while fighting against a horde of the undead and its Dead Apostle creator in front of me. All the while being surrounded by dead bodies and blades skewered into the ground.
Yeah, just your typical day of hunting down Sealing Designations, taking down evil villains and saving the world from certain doom. Oh goody.
Further thoughts of my wayward life were interrupted by five of the undead breaking off from their pack and lunging at me at once, hoping to distract me with their tactics and attack at my weak spots. Quite honestly, they are really stupid. How many times have they used that tactic against me? Have they not seen how many times I have kicked their rotting undead asses to the curb and danced on their graves?!
Oh well, I can't complain. Stupidity on their part means easier targets for me.
As soon as those words were uttered, all five fell to the ground screaming as the Black Keys embedded in their heads proceeded to burn their face off, with the fire spreading quickly on their bodies and reducing them into ashes. The others that had held back started to hiss and cursed at the sight of their kind killed.
"Damn you, Dog of the Queen!"
"White Haired Demon Magus!"
"That's right people. That is my name." I allowed myself a moment to voice that out as I touched a sword from one of the dead bodies and burn the body before pulling it from the ground and rest it on my shoulder. "Don't wear it out."
All of them bristled with anger, only to be held back by the Dead Apostle who merely raised his right hand to silence them. He was a very different creature compared to them; he had pale skin that would have gone well with that blond hair extending past his shoulders if not for the throbbing veins that made him appear to have a plant taking root underneath his skin. His eyes were completely black and his lips were a dark shade of blue, evidence of his own transformation into a Dead Apostle. His clothes were a cross between the clothes normally seen in the 18th Century and those in the current time, giving him an unusual appearance but would not look too out of place in the Association.
This fellow was also the Sealing Designation that I was hunting for a few months now. Ranked 6th on the list, this guy was the highest ranking target I have come across so far, and this was backed up by his magecraft that has been beating everyone in his path.
"Boy, why do you persist?" The Sealing Designation spoke for the first time in a long while since we came to this place to fight. "Why do you keep interfering in my work? Others I can understand their motives for doing so, but you are a mystery." He said those words in an unusually polite and straight manner that conveyed his confusion to me. A rarity amongst all of those I have hunted down all this time.
"You should know that your work is the type that could get the whole world in danger." I said as I dismissed some of the swords around me to conserve my energy and to have a more open field around me. "Your work in the resurrection of the souls and Prana Symbiosis was something too drastic for the Association to ignore, not to mention the potential to summon the Counter Force if you were to continue such research was too much even for those old coots. And to top that all of, your ability to partially jump through dimensions has put a big target on your back."
"That I shall not deny. It is unfortunately dangerous work. And my ability is dangerous in their eyes and somewhat valuable considering the similarities to the Wizard Marshall. But still you are unusual." He agreed while giving his opinion. "No matter how I looked at it, you do not have much of an incentive to come after me."
"Yeah well." I shrugged while eying the undead. "I cannot exactly relax while you have your undead buddies going around to attack other people and taking their souls."
"Maybe the case, however that's the thing I don't get about you." The Dead Apostle remarked. "You keep on coming after me and the others, constantly sending us off to the Association to be their lab experiments or to kill us, and for what? The mere promise of rewards? Or the feeling of satisfaction that each successful job deters them from keeping an eye on you?"
"And if not, why do so? To be a Hero? To be thanked by those mere humans that do not know the true difference between monsters and themselves? To receive some form of recognition from those 'nobles' who don't even bat an eye for people like us? They will never understand people like you or me." It asked that with a hint of sarcasm and somewhat prudish dismissal.
All along, I listened to him, merely listening but not concentrating on his words. But at those last words, I could not help but look at my reflection on the surface of the sword I had in my hand, and after evaluating the situation, allowed myself a mental grimace.
I was currently dressed in a black shirt and dark trousers, with white stripes going along the sides, and reinforced with a special thread that acted as body armor of sorts. The dark brown coat I wore on me has holy runes and other symbols that help to repel creatures like the Dead Apostles and to boost my defences. Ending that all, I had battle gloves and steel-tip boots adorned with more holy symbols to protect myself.
Now that would be nice, if not for the tears on my clothes and the blood stains on me and my current facial appearance.
Oh, don't get me wrong. I am not the least disturbed about the wear and tear of my clothes, I can always repair them easily. The blood stains from the undead are a pain and the smell even more so, but nothing like super strong detergent, a bit of Holy Water, and a little elbow grease can't fix. The thing that bothered me was my head reflecting on the surface of the sword. The sight of seeing strands of white at my sideburns, the patches of skin turning dark that made me looked like I had been burned irregularly, and one of my eyes that was changing its colour to that of steel, was really bothersome.
In other words, I was slowly changing into that dreaded Root be damned Archer.
It was shocking to say the least, when Rin and I woke up the next day to be confronted with this sight. I could at least say with confidence that I handled the shock a lot better, if a broken mirror and a few swords nearly stabbing my least liked individuals were of any indication. As for Rin, well… Let's just say that we needed to find another apartment 2 hours later and apologize to the entire Rune department for cursing them with fully-charged Gandrs.
Still that was the least of my problems, as this guy would no doubt attest. It was true that many would not appreciate my work for the simple fact that I was both an Asian and a mere third-rate magus who was connected to my dad in terms of name and partial legacy. And I was becoming a little too popular for the Association's liking.
"Even if by some small chance you managed to defeat me, what then? You would just hand me over to the Association to be in the 'Lock-up' and pray they don't come after you? You who also possess the power that, if I may quote, 'could get the world in danger'?" He continued to speak with that unsettling politeness and objectiveness. "You of all should understand that once labeled as a Sealing Designation, there is no hope for us to escape. It is either to cower in fear while hiding, or to be cut up and stored in glass jars, never knowing if we are truly alive or dead, forever praying for someone to end our suffering."
Again, I grimaced inwardly. There was some truth regarding the words he said. It was sometime after I gained the ability to travel between dimensions from Zeltretch and started to hunt this creature, when word got out about my true abilities. Let's just put it as 'the results were expected.'
Translation: shit just got crazy.
The idea that a third-rate mage who could barely use some of the more basic spells, was able to attain a Reality Marble was something that both galvanize the higher nobles and excited the crazier types at the Clock Tower. Within ten minutes of hearing the news, my name went from 'Lowly Mage List' to the 8th highest of the Sealing Designation List. A huge reward was offered to bring me back in any state, just as long as I could still breathe.
Three guesses on their ideas of keeping my head, the first two don't count.
Anyway, it got to the point that I literally had a few minutes to pack my bag, get into a quick argument with Rin and beat the crap out of the closest group of Executors after me, before I could activate the portal that would lead me out of the area. Since then, I have been bouncing back and forth to deliver any other Sealing Designations and killing off any Dead Apostles or undead that I met along my journeys, occasionally checking on Rin discreetly to ensure she was safe. Some of the saner or better mages like Waver were both decent and sensible enough to let me go on with my jobs and to pay me for my services, not to mention I was confident of Rin's safety due to Zelretch's watchful eye on her. I will give him this: when he has found a potential talent, he keeps an eye out for them no matter where he goes. That was why both Rin and Luvia enjoyed the relative safety and freedom under him without getting attacked by the other magus. Doing so would make them wish they could die a normal death.
But in the end, it doesn't change the fact that I could no longer stay with Rin, nor visit Fuji-nee, Sakura, or any of my other friends without bringing some form of danger to them. Many of the crazier mages would have used them to draw me out, without any regard to their lives. That I cannot handle.
"Why don't you join me, Shirou Emiya?" My thoughts were interrupted as I looked at the Dead Apostle offering his right hand. "You may deny your circumstances, but when you think about it, there is not much of a difference between you and me. We are both outcasts from the Association and those of great power. We are both being hunted down for having powers that could be used to benefit others, abilities that could potentially save lives, if not for their greed for knowledge and disregard to lives."
"I believe that as your – what is the word in Japan, Ah Yes! 'Senpai' `- I can help you get even stronger, strong enough to oppose the Association and protect Rin Tohsaka." He let out a smile that had just too much sharp teeth to be nice. "Will you consider my offer to be my ally?"
And that is the other thing I don't get about this guy. Most of the Sealing Designations, Dead Apostles and demons I have faced tend to be less polite and more 'grab me, bite my throat and suck me dry'. Aside from the few female counterparts, most would have gone on to curse me or hurt me in some way. He was by far the only one who genuinely wanted me to join him in some manner.
Even when we fought each other a few times in the past, he was unusually 'courteous' in his manner of pointing out my mistakes, not to mention being somewhat understanding for my desire to move to an area with no innocent parties around. He made exceptions regarding the criminals who he took personal pleasure to kill, but otherwise he did not attack needlessly. Furthermore, I have seen his fights with other mages, and more often than not, he held back in defeating them, only expanding the correct amount of strength to do so and only resort to outright destruction when they did something that was, in his view, 'distasteful'. Doubly so when said mages have a certain preference for using children as ingredients for their work.
And as disturbing as it sounds, I actually considered about his offer a few times when we fought. He was a lot like me in many ways: a third-rate mage who was adopted into a noble family, someone who wanted to help the world, he strived to complete his research with the same type of frenzied dedication as me, and in the face of opposition, he just kept on going. He did not bother about the hierarchy of the Clock Tower or the higher nobles, and he would tend to take more risks than most would dare to do so.
It was unfortunate that his research took a turn for the worse when he decided to dabble into necromancy and started his work in the resurrection of people to attempt cheating death. His methods were considered too drastic as it was essentially, if I had to give it a proper description, a 'bastardized' version of the Holy Grail System, in which it took souls from the afterlife and forced them into containers, only problem was that said souls could not be freed from their curse even after the destruction of the body, thus leaving them in a state that would be totally stuck between the living and spirit world, unable to pass on to the afterlife. Not to mention the aftereffects of such a research ended up creating a large number of undead that could spread the virus, potentially upsetting the balance and calling upon the Counter Force.
As surprising as it sounds, it seemed that even those old coots from the Association who would not bat an eye at those who regularly used children as ingredients, conduct inhuman experiments on pregnant women, or even wipe out an entire town for their work, would actually be horrified at this research. Guess the idea of not being able to pass on peacefully was the line of morality for them.
I closed my eyes and shook my head slowly and somewhat sadly at him. "You know, if we had met any other time in the past, I might have taken up that offer. Maybe we could have been good friends." I opened my eyes and faced him resolutely. "But I'm afraid this is not possible right now."
"… I see." The Dead Apostle also let out a sad smile of acknowledgement as he dropped his hand. "It is unfortunate, I would honestly have liked to avoid fighting you and to maybe know you better."
"Hmm… Who knows? If you escape this round, let's have some drinks next time." I said as I materialized Kanshou and Bakuya in my hands and ready my stance. The Dead Apostle also readied his stance as the undead around him started to get more aggressive facing me. "But it will be on your tab okay?" I threw in one last wit as I gripped my weapons tighter. He only gave a light-hearted smirk in return.
It was time.
"Let's end this then."
The dead Apostle nodded before straightening his back and looking at me with a defiant look. "My name is Julius Luther Balsforth, the third son of the Balsforth Duke and wielder of the 'Shadow' Creed. State thy name and fight me!"
For this one alone, I will follow decorum and introduce myself. "My name is Shirou Emiya, the son of Kiritsuguru Emiya, the Sword Magus, the Blade Executor and lastly, the Second Magus Killer." With that, I kicked off the ground hard and ran straight at Julius, who quickly sent his minions after me in waves as he held back to prepare his spells. This would need to be handled… delicately.
"I am the bone of my sword."
"Trace Bullet, Continuous Fire!" I conjured more blades behind me and sent them straight at them, taking down most of them and leaving the few that escaped to be introduced to my two blades in my hands, all while shortening the distance between me and Julius. As I took care of my twelfth undead, I watched Julius complete his spell and his shadow started to rise up from the ground like some ghastly ghoul and the ends started to sharpen into blades. This was Julius 'Shadow Creed', the ability to use his shadow as a weapon. That was a particularly troublesome magecraft he used, as his shadow could be switched between the ultimate lance and the ultimate shield, and its ability to increase its distance using the shadows of either his minions or his territory was a definite headache. Many of the Executors sent after him were killed due to that ability.
Thankfully for me, I had just the right blade in mind to handle that after our numerous encounters with each other.
"Break, Claíomh Solais!" I traced the blade and launched it high in the air, closing one eye and using Byakuya to block the glare resulting from the explosion and saving myself from the brightness that blinded Julius and the undead. More importantly, the resulting heatwave burned off most of the undead forces and forced back the shadow that Julius sent at me. As soon as the light faded off, I quickly opened the other eye and made a beeline for Julius. Before he could fully recover, I raised Kanshou and cut off his right arm.
"GAHH!" He directed a small part of his shadow to cover the wound while commanding the main body to attack me, forcing me to backtrack and maintain a safe distance from him. Julius used this opportunity to stab a few of the corpses near him with the shadow and break them apart, gathering them near the wound so that the shadow could force the pieces into it and form a semi-deformed arm that was darker in colour, with strands of shadow peeking from the gaps like dark tentacles.
'Oh great, just freaking great.' I grumbled mentally as I readied my stance again.
That was the other troublesome aspect of his shadow and also related to his research. By using the undead as his replacement flesh and the shadow as his binder, he could effectively replace his body parts as many times as needed. Thankfully he can't heal immediately as the body takes a while to recognize the new parts and assimilate it properly.
And that was when the second part of the plan kicked in, in the form of an exploding sword right next to him.
"BOOM!" With that, his newly repaired arm became a newly amputated arm that flew in the air and vanish in the dark reaches of the dimension gap. "Tch!" Julius let out a sound of irritation as he raised his arm to cast a different spell. "Hölle Flamme!"
"Oh shit!" I barely had time to create a wall of blades before a giant wave of black flames came surging right at me and hitting them with enough force to crush a battalion of soldiers. I did not bother to check if it would hold and just jumped out of the way in time before the black flames flared up and surged over the wall, engulfing them completely. I quickly summoned a few more blades and shoot them straight at him, each one exploding upon hitting his defence of black flames and shadow. When the smoke cleared, it was to find an empty area littered with blown pieces of rock and flesh.
'Crap, where is he?!'
"Your sides are wide open, boy." A voice on my left side was the only indication I got before black blades cut my body deeply.
"GAHG!" I moved away from the spot and quickly fired off a few more blades in the general direction, just in time to see his body pierced by them, only for it to suddenly bend over unevenly like soft clay and changing colour, just as a figure emerged from the shadow and formed itself to be his look-alike. I looked around and saw multiple copies of himself popping up from the shadows, surrounding me and cutting off my escape routes.
Ah yes, how could I forget my least two favourite aspects of his 'Shadow' Creed? Shadow cloning and shadow teleportation. Oh Joy.
"Doesn't this remind you of our previous 3 fights?" The multiple bodies of Julius all talked at the same time, sounding eerily haunting in the setting we were in. Certainly not helped with the black eyes with a notable red gleam present and them smiling with more teeth than some of the Twenty Seven Apostles I knew. And those guys had a lot of teeth.
I Traced a few more blades and shot them in all directions, detonating them all at once to clear off most of the clones, with several Claiomh Solais to remove most of the shadows as I attempt to seek out the real one.
"Steel is my body, fire is my blood."
I decided to go for broke and create a few Dark Keys to latch on to some of the shadow to at least restrict them temporarily, before calling forth a sword of crimson flames into my hands. "Reduce all to ashes, Surtr!" I stabbed the flaming sword into the ground, forming a ring of flames around me which spread forward, consuming all the shadow clones and surviving undead in its wake. I ignored the screams of agony and used my eyes to find the real Julius. If I don't end this fight soon, it would be very detrimental for me.
It only took a few seconds to find him at the far of the rock slab, and what I saw did not comfort me at all. Standing in a ring of his shadow that served as his barrier from the flames, Julius had all the time he needed to call forth his greatest weapon yet: a giant spear that was swirling with black shadows and black flames, with red streaks of electricity arching from its surface.
"It has been quite a while since anyone pushed me this far." Julius said as he raised the spear to aim at me. "Honestly, I should be feeling angry for losing an arm, yet I feel extremely happy to be fighting you. This is a strange feeling."
Yeah ~ just to let you know, I am straight. On to more important matters then.
I am currently running low on Prana due to fighting this fellow for the past few hours now, and I'm not sure if I am able to return home with my current level. But if I don't stop him now, things will get very hairy and Rin might get hurt.
Guess there was only one thing left to do. Keeping my left hand on Sutr, I brought my right hand to the side and concentrated hard.
"I have created over a thousand blades."
I had spent a short time with Saber, and through our talks and shared memories, I was able to get a glimpse of many of the weapons in her past. Normally I would try to create Excalibur and just blast him to oblivion, but that was if I was at full capacity to begin with, and even then I was uncertain if that might work. So I went for the next best option of Saber's: Caliburn, the Golden Sword of Assured Victory.
"Beautiful." Julius praised as I tightened my grip on the blade and directed the tip at him. "In a way, I can understand why the Association would want to capture you. Creating all those Noble Phantasms so easily would make you one of the rarest magus out there, and that blade has a great deal more power than any of the others you have used against me." Julius narrowed his eyes as he looked at me. "By chance were you holding back on me?"
"Well you know heroes have to keep at least one trump card hidden for the final showdown?" I let out my own mischievous smirk. Technically I have a few more trump cards, but he did not need to know them.
"HAHAHAHAH!" Julius let out a laugh as he smiled widely. "You are a really strange man." Pouring more Prana into his weapon, he held the spear like a jousting lance and directed the tip right at me. "So shall we end this?"
I took Caliburn in both my hands and raised it high, pouring all my available Prana into the sword and making it glow very brightly in the darkness. Its light and warmth reminded me greatly of Saber during our final moments together before we went to take down the Grail.
'Looks like I'll be seeing you sooner than expected Saber.'
The flames curved and bellowed as both of us rushed forward without hesitation, the resulting leakage of power from our weapons causing the rock around us to crack and split from the ground. Despite the relatively short distance, it felt like an eternity, seeing Julius coming at me with the demonic spear of flame and shadow, knowing that failure would mean certain death.
"GOTT TÖTEN!" Julius bellowed as he threw back his arm to throw the spear. In response, I took my blade to the side and raised it to my right side.
"DÄMON LANZE!" Julius thrust his arm forward to pierce my body. Too bad he was a second slower.
"LIBURN!" I took one more step and brought the blade down, shooting out a Prana burst that collided with his weapon, generating a small ball of light and energy that swirled unevenly. Then with a loud explosion, the ball expanded, engulfing all of us in its light and blasting us off our feet. Idly as I soared through the air, I had a sudden image of Rin and the others back home.
'Sorry guys. Looks like I'm not able to come back for New Year's Celebration.'
"OW, OW, OW…" I groaned as I steadily raised my head from the ground, wincing from the throbbing pain that was making me see double. For a while I used one of my hands to steady my head and take a few deep breaths until my eyes could see straight. I looked at both my hands in disbelief before looking down at myself. I thought I should be dead by now, considering that explosion. The fact I was still bleeding red and the Prana inside was my own meant I was still human. But man, that was a rush!
"Well I guess this is it for me then." I turned around quickly and took in sight of Julius. And boy what a state he was in.
He was currently strewn on the ground, resting against a jutting rock that came up from our fight. His legs were completely blown off and his remaining arm looked like it was ready to fall apart any second now. His clothes was burnt off to reveal a very charred torso and scars from the fight. His face was partially burnt off from the left side, with its eye looking like an eggshell that was broken and leaking its sick fluids. The right side of his face was the only part which remained relatively intact and that eye was looking at me unsteadily.
"Now that was a fight." Julius gave a somewhat strained smirk as he wheezed heavily. It seemed he took a lot of damage internally as well to be breathing erratically. I slowly stood up and took stock of the situation around me. Outside the battle zone, the small handful of undead that survived the onslaught stood silently and staring at me with their cold eyes.
"Need not worry of them." I turned back to Julius who attempted to put himself in a better position. "They will not attack you for now, unless you do something to provoke them."
"… Thanks." I replied as I slowly stood up and dusted myself a little. Julius let out a weak chuckle at my seemingly ignorant state. "Truly, you are an unusual mage. Normally others would either be running their asses off or be overjoyed at the prospect of cutting my head by now."
"Yeah well, I have often been told that I was a total idiot for many things." I remarked as I straightened myself up. "And for your case, the fact that you did not command them" I jabbed my thumb at the undead "to come for my neck means you have something else in mind."
"That is true." Julius gave a weak nod. "At least I get to have a good fight."
"Same here." I paused before asking "This may seem like a weird question at this point, but you are not a true Dead Apostle, are you?"
"Oh?" Julius let out a sound of amusement. "Now what brought this on? Has our fights seemed that unusual to mistake me?"
"I have fought many other Dead Apostles and undead in the few years I have been with the Association and the Vatican Church. Each one of them had a very distinct 'feel' and 'smell' to them if I were to say it." I answered evenly. "Even the Wizard Marshall has the overwhelming aura around him that I associate with the strongest of Apostles. But for you, I can't detect that much from you; if anything, I would say your core is still human."
And that was definitely the case. Typical Dead Apostles I had faced would have the scent of rotting flesh coupled with another scent that distinguish them from the others, but up till this point, none smelled remotely human like Julius. It was as though he purposely kept a part of his body as a human for some odd reason.
Julius looked at me with a hint of pleasant surprise before letting out a rather energetic and remarkably human laugh that echoed in the open area. "I guess I really can't hide too much from you. You always seem to know what I am and what I will do in the end."
"That is one thing, but the other clue stem from your reasons to turn yourself into your current state. You only wish to help others with Prana deficiency and those of lesser backgrounds. Not once did you bother to use woman or children in your experiments, and you tend to deal a heavy hand to criminals or mages who dishonor your code of ethics." I paused before continuing. "But perhaps the biggest reason for your transformation was you wanting to resurrect your wife, wasn't it? She was killed by the one whom you took his life as your first victim, right?"
In that moment, the part of the face that was not damaged gained back some colour, and maybe it was the trick of the eye, but it looked like I was finally seeing the part of him that was hidden all those years behind the mask of a villain: a human soul who wished to get back that small light of happiness to illuminate the darkness it was stuck in.
"You are really unusual for a magus. You know this, yet you do not try to take advantage of it like the others, and you always seem to hold back against me." Julius gave that cursory stare I had become accustomed to. "Why do this?"
"Why huh? I don't really know why, but…" I let out a sad smile of my own as the image of a blond girl came into my mind. "A part of me can relate to your reasons, so I wanted to see if you could perhaps find yourself in time."
"And that is why you are so interesting." Julius shook his head as he let out a weak chuckle. It was clear he did not have much time left, the most I could do was to ease his pain either through words or blade. "So what will you with me?"
"Well, you are half-dead as it is, and I'll be honest. I do not trust any of those nobles back at the Association. Knowing them, if I bring you back, they would probably find some way with your abilities to make your methods look tame." I said in a rather tired and irritated tone. Truly, those fools at the Tower have absolutely zero compulsions to do any experiments on anything that could get them closer to the Akasha Records.
"Yes, that is so true." He let out another wheeze before pausing in deep thought. "I just realized, you have won this fight, so you deserve a reward of sorts."
"Don't bother." I waved my hand tiredly. "Right now, all I want for a reward is a bathtub with hot water, and maybe a warm meal after that. A warm bed would be a good bonus."
"Hahaha…" Julius let out another amused smile as he looked at me. "Well, I can't give you that, but I can perhaps give you the next best thing."
I barely had time to register when the shadows started to gather around Julius. I instinctively traced Byakuya and Kanshou again and watched his moves carefully. Was he trying to put in one last attack?!
"Relax. I'm not going to attack you." Julius remarked as he watched my moves. "I barely have enough strength as it is, and I'm not in the mood to hurt you." He then closed his eyes and took deep breaths as small tendrils sprouted from the shadow and crawled along his body, converging at the wound in his chest. Then with a loud and wet sucking sound, they started to burrow into his body.
"KUKH!" He coughed out blood as the tendrils forced their way into his body. "Wait, what are you doing to yourself?!" I took a step forward to him only to jump back as the sharp spears protrude upwards and nearly giving me another hole to breathe through.
"Apologies, but I ask that you stay back for now." Julius wheezed as he choked on more blood. "I may not be able to control my shadows as well as before, so stay away please." I shook my head as I tried to make sense of the situation. Why was he trying to kill himself?
"KUGG!" Julius doubled as the tendrils started to get more vigorous in whatever they were doing. With a loud ripping sound, they tore something out of his body.
Julius let out a primal roar of agony that send chills down my spine, before he braced himself against the rock and threw up more blood. Silently, he conjured up another tendril that appeared with a glass flask filled partially with a green liquid, into which the other tendrils placed the object and sealed it up tight. "Catch." With that, the tendril whipped rather lethargically and send the flask at me. I barely had the time to react, so I nearly fumbled with it when I caught it before holding it tightly.
"Butter-fingers." Julius remarked with a hint of amusement when he saw my reaction to catching it. I ignored his comment and took a closer look. What I saw took my breath away and considerably took the blood from my face. "This is…"
"Yup, my Magic Crest." Julius replied as he clutched his wounds. "My parents were along the lines of jerks when they thought of implanting into me the unused and utterly useless bits of Magic Circuits from the main one, just so they could use me as a guinea pig for adopting what they regard as the worthless magic of the family, while giving their prodigal son the best of the Magic Crest. Then when they saw how far I have advanced within a year compared to their son, they decided to chop me up and reinsert those circuits in an attempt to get the best for him."
I nodded as I recalled the information regarding the family. The Balsforth were one of the intermediate noble classes at the Clock Tower, meaning they were somewhere in the middle of the social ladder that made them a target at both ends of it. High enough for those often bullied and leeched to hate them, yet low enough for the higher ranking families to treat them with disdain. It was one of those situations that made the Balsforth take in a relatively weak magus with poor quality to at least appeal to the masses that they were a kind family, all the while giving him a crappy education and even crappier version of their spells by removing what they viewed as worthless circuits and implanting them into him.
What they did not expect was Julius being so utterly stubborn that he took said magical skills and polished them to the point that he could go against some of the higher nobles if needed. This got proven a year later when the son, who was hosting a party with some of the more distinguished groups at the Tower, decided the best way to showcase his abilities was to challenge his 'worthless' brother to a duel.
Let's just say that if he had taken less shots, he would have been in a better state of mind to last longer. Then again, it may be thanks to said shots that allowed him to take a massive beat-down by Julius who completely dominated the duel despite him using the most mundane aspects of the family works. From what I was told, it was a fight that others could not believe was won by a third-rate mage, given the level of control he had.
Thanks goodness they did not know about my involvement in the Holy Grail War.
In any case, the reactions by the parents were understandably explosive when they found out about it. The embarrassment that their pure-blood son was inferior to an adopted child with 30 low-grade circuits was only heightened when the other nobles heard about it and laughed at them. So they decided to remedy such a situation by trying to regain the implanted magic circuits and leaving him for dead.
"It was the family butler that got you away in time, wasn't it?" I asked a question to confirm a theory I had. "The story was that you killed him while getting away, but when I checked the place and the records, there were a lot of inconsistencies with them, and considering the Balsforth passion for covering their asses, I would say that the story was a load of bull."
Julius let out a weak sigh as he nodded, looking even paler than usual. "Old man Alfred was one of the small few who did not looked down on me and even encouraged me to get better at what I do. He went to get me out the secret passageway when he overheard dear mother about cutting me open. The last time I saw him, he was blocking her spells with his own body."
"After that, I spent my life back on the streets, learning all the spells that I could get from others before I could think of making a living. It was after my transformation that I returned to the Association and took on my brother, and with the help of an enforced geass, made him surrender his Magic Circuits."
"If I recall, the family did not let you do so without a fight?" I asked dryly, to which Julius gave a smirk. "They tried, but I took them all on easily. Most were left alive with broken limbs and more broken circuits, only a few dead for being total assholes. As for dear Daddy and Mummy, I decided to leave them in front of the Association's doorstep to explain why their entire home was destroyed, their wealth being distributed to the 'lesser folks' and their son left with a big gap in the chest from which I took the crest from." He let out a laugh only to choke out more blood. Time was running out, so I decided to cut to the chase.
"I see, so I am to assume this is the result?" I held up the jar for confirmation.
"This is the product of bringing together both of our crests once again, but using my circuits as the main body." He said as he took deep breaths to steady himself. "I do not mean to brag, but it is considerably better than when they first implanted them into my brother."
"Why?" I asked again for clarification. "You do realise that you still have a chance to survive if you did not rip this out of your body?"
"Honestly, no idea." He shrugged using his remaining shoulder. "But from the way I see this, you are not someone who would go and hand over something to the Association that has the potential to be abused on the masses. At the same time, you would probably use something if it has anything that could benefit others."
Well, that much was clear. But that still did not answer my question properly.
"The real reason why I am handing it to you, is the fact you are very different from the others." Julius said that as he looked at me straight in the eye. "You don't go around asking for a reward or bragging of your accomplishments. You kept helping those less fortunate even when there is no real need to do so, and you keep worrying about your opponents. That is not usual for a magus."
"And thus, I have decided to leave my Magic Crest in your care. Whether you wish to destroy it, hand it over or even keep it yourself, that decision is yours. My only wish is that you put that to good use. Just call it a gut feeling that it might benefit you in the future." Julius let out another weak chuckle. "Man I must be getting soft at my age, I'm actually let a kid decide for me."
I pondered on his words while splitting my attention between him, my surroundings and the Magic Crest in my hands. Certainly, this was too dangerous to be given back to the Association. Waver and a few more sensible magus might be able to find good uses for this, but the rest were either too powerful or too greedy to let that thought get in their way. Furthermore, there were some proper usage for some of the spells in the Balsforth family that could be used to aid others, but were they worth the risks?
I sighed while lightly shaking my head. It was times like this that made me wonder what Rin would do. I paused before suppressing a snort. Considering how valuable an intact Magic Crest is worth, even one belonging to a lowly family was worth quite a fair penny, so one like this was worth millions easy. I shook my head again as I thought about it. Logically, she would not do it, she would rather burn it to a crisp to ensure the Association does not get their hands on it, but it was still a funny thought, seeing an imaginary Rin with dollar signs in her eyes.
"Now that you have it, I would suggest you leave this area quickly." My musings got interrupted by Julius who was looking a little serious. "This is not a good place for you to be in for a long time. The dimensional gaps between worlds are highly unstable, and if you stay too long, the currents would eat away your body. Also there is another danger here."
"Another danger?" I echoed as I gestured with my hand to place the flask into one of the mini dimension pockets with me. Seriously, learning this spell was a great asset for me; since I could not handle the extremely complex spells, I was only left with the options of Runic Spells and similar archaic magecrafts, which to both me and Rin's surprise, were areas which I could get excellent results with. Now I don't worry about lugging around heavy luggage and other questionable objects. Rin on the other hand, was grateful for reduced travelling expenses.
"I chose this spot in case any of the other Executors were after me, but you being here has changed the situation significantly." Julius said as his shadows started to writhe uneasily, like they were aware of a danger that was coming. "You need to leave now."
A sound drew my attention to the undead, who were getting restless and scared about something in the distance. I looked in the general direction they were looking and stared for a while before blinking. "A red star?"
"I told you, didn't I? There were only two choices for us Sealing Designations." He wheezed as he grasped his wounds. "I simply chose a third option: 'to go out with a bang' if I may say so myself."
"So your option was to take me to the dark gaps of time and dimensions, and fight to the death in an area with a red star?" I could not help but ask in a flat tone while pointing at the red light in the distance.
"Let me ask you something, Shirou Emiya. Have you ever wondered whether there were others like ORT out in any other universe?" He asked that while I watched the red light getting bigger from a dot to the size of a quarter. "Call it a childish dream, but I had considered it a bit of a quest to seek out other worlds, to see for myself whether or not such creatures were possible. In my years, I have seen many creatures, most do not even come close to it, or even the True Ancestors for that matter."
Well, that is kind of the case. You would be hard-pressed to find any stronger than those two monstrosities. But apparently, Julius thought different.
"At least that used to be the case, until a few days ago when you found me." Julius coughed more blood as he struggled to form more words. "That day, just as I was thinking this journey was futile, I have finally found a theory and more importantly, a new 'Type' that could compete with those two."
"Whoa, wait a minute." I interrupted him with a slightly pale face. "Are you telling me that there is a creature out here that could potentially be stronger than them?!"
Julius laughed weakly as he raised his arm in the general direction of the star. "Shirou Emiya, allow me to introduce to you, quite arguably the strongest of all the Types we have known aside from Type Moon." He paused as he took in one last breath while looking at the star. "Type Great Red." With that, his arm fell to the ground and his eyes closed slowly with a peaceful smile on his face.
I did not think too much about it as I looked at the red star that was still growing bigger. Whatever that was, it was still getting bigger at an increasing speed. That meant that whatever was coming my way could really move fast. Thankfully I did not have to bother with the undead as they were running away from this spot like a bunch of headless chickens. It seems that they really did not want to face the big… red… star…
"Oh you have got to be Root Freaking KIDDING ME?!" I yelled as I finally make out what the thing that was coming here using my Reinforced eyes, and it was making me sweat in my boots.
A dragon. A red dragon. A big, red dragon. A big, red, Root Be Damned PISSED OFF DRAGON WITH SHARP TEETH!
Me and my bloody E-rank luck.
I quickly grabbed the Kaledo-amulet that was hanging from my neck and started to pour all my available Prana into it. It was a really bad situation for me to have almost zero Prana to try and get out of here. And the part that was scary regarding this 'Type Great Red' was the fact it was still getting bigger in the horizon, and considering it hasn't reach this point to begin with, I was getting a rough idea of its true size.
I am actually finding myself thinking that I would rather take on Hercules, Lancer, Archer, Gilgamesh, Caster, Rider and Kotomine Kirei all at once in the Holy Grail War again, rather than me taking on the giant dragon that was looking really pissed and hungry.
Come on you damn amulet, work already!
The jewel in the middle of the amulet started to glow weakly, with strands of electricity arching from it. It was weak, but there is definitely some Prana left inside for one quick travel. Ideally I should not be attempting to travel without fully charging this amulet and having a clear idea of where I am going, but considering my options, I will take my chances with dealing with whatever enemy in the next world than dealing with a big-ass dragon here.
'Here goes nothing!' I thought as I concentrated on the amulet and opened the portal to get me away, just in time from seeing the beast open its mouth with fire spouting out of its nostrils.
At that point, I felt pain of the most excruciating type like I have never felt before. It was not the numbing pain I would normally experience travelling between worlds, rather this felt like my body was being twisted and squashed into a tight container, occasionally getting pulled apart and pieced back together without anaesthesia.
It was getting too painful!
That was the first thought that came to mind.
The scents that attracted it to this part of the dimension was almost nauseating that it was sorely tempted to just blast the whole area if only to get rid of them. The only reason it held back from doing so was to investigate the two unusual scents and the bright beam of golden light that originated from that spot.
The first scent was that of underlying death and burned flesh that was rotting. It was unusual, but that was definitely the feeling it got from it; the promise of despair and death was pervading from its source. But the strength of the scent seemed to have weakened and died out quickly, as though something had ended it.
But the second scent was more pleasant, if not more confusing to it. The scent was most certainly human, yet there was a slight hint of 'Steel' that was both welcoming yet chilling, and another hint of something that for whatever reason, made it think there was a kindred in the area.
'No matter.' It thought as it finally reached the spot where the scents originated. On a floating slab of rock that drifted around in the gap, it saw small creatures scattering in fear, dead bodies on the ground that showed signs of a great battle, and a brief flash of light. The second scent had disappeared with that light, suggesting that it was some teleportation spell, but it did not care. These creatures were invading its home, and it did not like pests in its home. They smelled bad too, probably won't taste good as well.
It opened its mouth wide to show rows of sharp teeth and took a deep breath.
It should just burn them all to a crisp.
"OOFF!" I let out a groan of suffering as I finally came to a stop and slumped ungracefully on the ground, feeling chills in the open air. It was not the most graceful or softest of landings, but at least it helped that I had come out of the wormhole on a grassy hill with a gentle slope, making me roll all the way to the bottom before hitting the ground. Judging from the smell and the texture, I was currently on the roadside. At least that meant I was near civilization.
I grunted as I tried to lift myself off the ground only to slump again. This was a bad situation for me; I could tell that my injuries were substantial, and I barely had enough strength to move. For now, I was not in danger of being attacked by the Dead Apostle or the undead, but I do not want my death to be road-kill. Rin would never let it down.
Even if that was not the case, there was a high possibility that someone would come along and find me there, and that would make answering questions difficult. I had to get out of here before…
… That would happen. Oh joy.
"Somebody get Doctor Takashi now! Someone is on the sidewalk here!" A man's voice bellowed close by as footsteps came closer to my side. It seemed that I landed back in Japan, I thought deliriously before letting out an involuntary groan as I was gently rolled over and a light shone on my face.
"Holy shit, how are you still alive with all this blood and wounds on you?!" The same voice was tinged in shock as the light flicker on and off around me. I could briefly see through the blood in my eyes a man who was examining my body for my wounds and blood all over me. A sound of wheels clattered in the distance, then a second man's voice came. "Is he alive?"
"He is breathing very lightly, but he seems to be losing a lot of blood." The man replied back before lightly grabbing my legs, with the second lightly lifting my shoulders and supporting my head. "Okay, on three. One, Two Three!" My body was lifted briefly before being placed on something soft. In my semi-conscious thoughts, I noted that my clothes were unusually loose and heavy on me. Must be because of the blood.
I felt myself being jolted a few times, before squinting my eyes as I was exposed to even more light. I heard the second man shouting out orders and female voices sounding very frantic. After blinking a few more times, I was able to see a white ceiling and a few overhead lights. I twisted my head a little and watch a few woman and men rush around me in a bit of a frenzy. Judging from their clothing and what I had heard, it seemed that I had landed close to a hospital in the area. At least it is in Japan; if it were anywhere else, my language skills are a little rusty, not to mention my lack of passport.
"Hang in there!" The doctor whose voice I recognized as the second man who came, started to push my stretcher forward as other people started to put an oxygen mask on me and other medical pads. "Don't worry kid, we will patch you up good in no time."
Ah I see, thanks doc for the info. Guess I will just relax and…
Wait a minute, 'kid'? Okay granted, I am pretty young at my age, but I'm pretty sure that twenty qualifies me as a young adult. Unless this guy watches a lot of American ER films, which would be just stu…
My thoughts got cut off as my stretcher stopped in front of an elevator and I moved my head to take stock of my situation, only to stare wide-eyed at what I saw. It was me in the reflection of the door, which is the case, yet it cannot be me. I mean, it would be me if my hair were fully red with no hints of white, my skin being very fair and my eyes were back to its golden-brown colour, and my face being not as hardened from my years of battles and…
Oh sweet mother of the Root, Alaya, Gaia and everything in between.
How in the name of Blue's tits did I turn back into a Root be damned teenager?!
Hello, this is my first attempt at writing a FSN and DXD Crossover.
You heard of an 'Ear-Worm', right? The type that refers to songs getting trapped in your head. Meet its literature cousin, what I called the 'Writer's Brain Bug', by which I get ideas from reading and watching shows, and they get stuck in my head that unless I write them down, they will never go away. This is the result of me watching the latest FSN series by ufotable, and reading Highschool DxD novels.
I don't expect to be writing this often, since I am focusing more on my main story, 'Iron Stratos'. But if people like this story, I could try my hand at this.
And I lay my pen down for now.