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"Rias" - Speech
'Issei' - Thought
[BOOST!] - Sacred Gear Ability/ Ddraig and Albion Speech
My name is Mei Schwarzwald. I have been known by many names in my short life, chief among them a title I despise for how mistaken and foolish it is.
The Queen of Blood and Betrayal.
In the entire history of the 'Rating Game' System, I am the only 'Queen' piece to have risen up and slain her master, becoming a Stray Devil in the process.
I have seen and experienced much in my life. I have seen the brightest of smiles and the most bitter of tears, alongside deepest hatred and the peak of joy. I have been betrayed by those whom I once trusted and brought low by those whom I respected.
This is my tale, my story, as well as my epitaph. Let us start at the rise of the curtain on the Third Act…
Prologue: The Beginning of the End
Nine individuals raced down a corridor that was seemingly carved from basalt, each possessing a look of determination upon their faces. None of them were older than seventeen or eighteen and most of them were beautiful girls.
The one in the lead was a girl with blood-red crimson hair. Rias Gremory.
"Buchou! There's another hall ahead!" a blond-haired bishōnen shouted from his place as point. Yuuto Kiba held one of his Holy-Demonic Swords in his hand and a grim glint in his eye.
"Xenovia, Koneko, take point! Rossweisse, cover them." Rias ordered immediately, "Asia, Gaspar and Ravel, you are with me. Kiba and Irina, go wild. Let us blow through our foes and recover my Issei from the witch who has stolen him!"
"Hai Buchou/Rias-sama!" Her Peerage, Irina and Ravel responded variously and shifted their formation as she had directed, finishing just as they entered the hall.
It was enormous, the size of a small football stadium, intricately decorated with fine carvings of countless intertwined dragons. As soon as the last member of the small group stepped over the threshold, a vast array of interlocking hexagonal shields snapped into place behind them, preventing retreat, while another set appeared at the only other exit from the room.
From bitter experience, the Gremory Group knew better than to try and break them down. They absorbed any Demonic or Holy energy that was directed against them, even a combination of the two, such as the Holy-Demonic Swords.
As expected, a large number of Magic Circles the colour of dried blood appeared around them, each bearing the symbol in chess for a Queen piece in the center.
Emerging from the circles were hunched, winged creatures resembling the classic image of a gargoyle. Each was the size of a small horse and as bulky as an ox. Their four clawed limbs were deceptively wiry and their wings granted them flight.
"These guys again?" Xenovia complained as she summoned her blade, EX-Durandal, from its dimension, "Does that witch seriously think that she can stop us with these things?"
"They don't have to stop us." Rossweisse pointed out, "Just slow us down. So far, they've succeeded."
"Not for much longer!" Ravel Phenex snarled, her fiery wings, unique to her family, spread wide, ready to take flight. Fire pooled in her hands as she glared at the beasts that stood between her and her beloved Issei-sama.
"Well said, Ravel-chan." Rias nodded approvingly as the magic she inherited from her mother, a former member of the Bael Family, the Power of Destruction, pooled in her own hands, the red-tinged darkness seething as it fought to be released at Rias' foes, "Let us sweep these creatures away, my adorable servants!"
Needing no further encouragement, the Gremory Group (plus two) attacked the gargoyle army arrayed before them.
Throne Room, Unknown Location
The Throne Room was massive. Twice the size of the hall that the Gremory Group was fighting in, the ceiling rose to such lofty heights that no one could see it unaided.
Of a similar design to Westminster Abby's interior, albeit without the religious iconography or pews. At one end of the room, a truly giant pair of doors carved from interlocking pieces of stone and wood barred entry to the room, each emblazoned with the symbol of the Queen in the centre of them.
On the opposite side of the room, was a magnificent throne that took up the entirety of the wall. Carved from a massive piece of marble, it drew the eye with the carvings drawing ones eye down to the rather modest seat that was the Throne proper and the person who was sat in it.
Currently, the occupant was a tall female with long black feathered hair. She was dressed entirely in black and her face was concealed with a simple facemask. Divided in half vertically, one side was black, the other white, with red outlines around the eyeholes and tear lines in red running from the corners of the eyes to the edge of the mask.
In one hand, she grasped the armrest of the throne, while in the other she held a staff. The staff was perhaps two meters long, seemingly made from interlocking and interconnected pieces of purple and silver metal. Attached to the top of the staff was an arc of silver, inside of which floated a small orb. Close examination shows that it is a model of the planet Earth.
Put together, both staff and wielder presented a rather intimidating sight that was further compounded by the aura of barely concealed power that they both extruded. An ordinary human would be rendered insensate just by being near her.
The sharp eyes of the female, barely visible through her mask's eyeholes, were currently locked on a screen floating in midair to one side of the throne. It was showing the Gremory Group cutting a swathe through her army of gargoyles like a hot knife through butter.
She winced at the on-screen images of Xenovia bisecting a gargoyle in twain vertically from groin to crown, Koneko smashing through a dozen in seconds with inhuman strength, Irina freezing one solid with an Ice-attribute Holy-Demonic Sword and Kiba ripping a whole slew of gargoyles to pieces using [Blade Blacksmith], countless swords cutting them to ribbons from below.
The attention of the female honed in on Rias Gremory slaughtering her gargoyle minions with The Power of Destruction. The marble armrest of her throne groaned as her hand clenched it in anger.
The male voice drew her attention from the screen as she turned to look at the speaker, who was standing in the shadow of a nearby pillar.
"No, merely…vexed with myself." the female corrected him as she returned her attention to the screen. Her voice was soft and cultured, sounding like that of an aristocrat.
"I knew that the Gremory Group was immensely powerful." she continued after a moment, "I knew my gargoyles would only barely be able to even delay their advance and yet…this surprises me. I should have strengthened them before carrying out my plan because this is somewhat embarrassing for me."
She gestured at the orgy of destruction taking place on the screen, making the man chuckle.
"Then again, you ended up not needing to do that, ne…Mei-chan." he said teasingly.
Mei glared at him for a moment before returning her gaze to the screen, where the Gremory Group had finished wiping out the gargoyles and was now proceeding to exit through the opposite entrance to the one through which they had entered.
"At this rate, they'll be here in less than five minutes." Mei mused, "Time to get set up then."
She rose gracefully from her throne and looked at the man leaning against the pillar.
"Ready?" she asked.
"Let's get to it then."
Five Minutes Later…
Outside the Throne Room Doors…
The Gremory Group stood in front of the massive doors emblazoned with the symbol of their enemy.
Kiba whistled. "Buchou, these doors must be at least ten meters tall and four meters wide…each."
"Stand back, my servants." Rias said as she strode forwards. She concentrated and created a truly massive ball made of the Power of Destruction. It was bigger than anything she had ever made with her own power.
With a snarl, she hurled it at the doors which, being only stone and wood, were destroyed in an instant.
Amid the destruction, the group of Devils and sole Angel rushed into the Throne Room.
Studiously ignoring the vastness of the room, Rias' gaze fell upon the woman sitting casually, yet regally, on the throne on the opposite side of the room.
"Mei Schwarzwald!" the Crimson-Haired Ruin Princess snarled as she prepared to attack.
Next Chapter: The First Turn