Chapter 46

"They're going to the Underworld the day after tomorrow."

Myrcella Lucifuge narrowed her eyes in frustration, eyes trailing back to Saizo. "For what?"

"To train, from the sound of it. Something about a meeting of Young Devils?" Myrcella cursed, biting her thumb.

"They're still going ahead with that, even after what just happened? How foolish." she scoffed, but looked no less pleased. "Still, this entire incident took me by surprise. Many by surprise, in fact. But it's clear that Rias Gremory and her peerage are going to be at the center of future conflicts to occur."

"Is that a bad thing? Let 'em fight!" Her Queen shrugged from his seat, strumming his electric guitar. "If we're lucky, they'll get killed by someone else!"

"Their death may be my objective, but it's to serve a purpose!" Myrcella dismissed, snapping a glare directed at her servant, who held his hands up in surrender. "And with everything that has occurred, they've already gained more strength than I was accounting for! That damn Red Dragon servant and the Joestars…"

"Not to mention the guy who made that blasphemous sword. We've got a real problem on our hands if they get any stronger." Saizo pointed out.

"It's not like we've been sitting on our thumbs here! We've gotten plenty strong ourselves!" Malia argued, standing from her seat and flexing her muscular arms. "We should take 'em now, while the time's ripe! We've waited long enough!"

Myrcella raised a brow at this, sparing a look at her Queen who shrugged. "She's not wrong. My Stand has grown tremendously since the last time I saw those brats. I think it's safe to say we can take 'em now if you're worried about them getting stronger at this point."

"It might be our only option. Who knows what'll happen if the Red Dragon Emperor kid unlocks more of his Sacred Gear's abilities." Saizo agreed. "Plus, HIgashikata could agree to become a Devil any day now, or find another way to make his Stand stronger that we don't know about. It's best to take him out before that potential is discovered. Same with that Nijimura guy."

"... I suppose…" Myrcella held the tip of her chin in thought. "It might be our last chance."

"That's right, master! I think it's time to finally have some fun~!"

A new voice entered the conversation, drawing all eyes to a young woman skipping inside the room. She had blonde hair curled in long pigtails on each side of her head and draped to her knees. She wore a plated girdle on her waist with a steel skirt and shoulderless breastplate on her upper body, pink details sewn to the armor. She wore silver plated gauntlets and had an axe larger than her body slung across her back.

"Hilda…" Myrcella felt a small smile form as her last servant moved to stand next to her.

"I've been waiting so long! You've been talking and talking about them, but I've never gotten my chance to meet any of them! You know how I get when I haven't fought anything in a while," Hilda sighed, looking up at Myrcella with a pout. "Can we finally take them out? I want to see what they're made of before I chop them into pieces!"

Myrcella let out a quiet giggle, looking at the rest of her peerage. "Yes… perhaps it is time. We've waited long enough. Tomorrow, we'll ambush Rias Gremory's peerage and their Stand user friends. We'll take their heads and use them as an example to move toward my future!"

"Yes!" Her peerage cheered, standing from their seats.

"Good!" Myrcella pointed at Saizo. "Use your Stand to spy out the peerage one more time! We'll divvy up our teams to pick them off how we can."

"Yes, master." Saizo nodded briskly.

"Come, we'll examine who will be taking who in this fight. We'll each have our targets and deal with them as such."

"We still gonna go after that Sitri girl?" her Queen asked.

"No, not yet. We'll deal with them another time. We'll get our point across with Rias's peerage alone, at this point." Myrcella dismissed with a wave.

"What about the new guy? We leavin' him behind? His Stand can't do much right now." Malia jerked her thumb out the door.

"He'll work with me. He might not be ready for a direct fight, but he'll have to understand that he must fight for me." Myrcella declared. "Tell him to come and join us."

"On it. Hey, squirt! Get in here!" Malia laughed ruggedly. "Time for you to pop your cherry!"

"Wh-What?! What do you mean by-"

"Shut up and come on!"

"She really likes bullyin' that kid." her Queen laughed.

"It'll help him grow." Myrcella shrugged with a giggle. She slowly trailed her eyes to the corner of the room, a frown making its way on her lips. Elmenhilde sat there, eyes on the ground as clear conflict covered her expression. "We'll need your assistance in this Elmy-chan. The time for debate is over."

"I know…" Elmenhilde mumbled, standing from her seat slowly.

"You had every opportunity to try and recruit him. That time has passed." Myrcella reminded her with narrowed eyes.

"I know!" Elmenhilde gripped into the umbrella in her hand. "I just… I'll…"

Myrcella watched her for a long moment before letting out a dramatic sigh. "You're so lucky I have a soft spot for you, Elmy-chan. I'll tell you what: You will have this one chance to save Okuyasu Nijimura."

Elmenhilde's eyes lit up. "R-Really?"

"Yes. I need him out of the way, but that doesn't necessarily mean I need him dead. As things are, I will settle with the head of Josuke Higashikata." Myrcella held up a finger to cut off any celebration, "But, it is your responsibility to keep him out of the way. His Stand is dangerous and I will not underestimate it. If he is to interfere in our ambushes, I will have him killed. Do you understand me?"

Elmenhilde swallowed a lump in her throat before her brow furrowed. "I do. I will make sure he does not impede your mission. Please, allow me to take care of him."

Myrcella tapped the table for a moment before giving a short nod. "See to it that you do. I cannot promise you anymore than that."

"Of course, I understand." Elmenhilde turned around, heading for the door. "I'm going to make my own preparations… thank you, Myrcella." With that, she turned into a flock of bats, body disappearing from sight.

"You sure it's okay to leave that mission to her?" Her Queen questioned, raising a brow. "She's obviously too soft on Nijimura's little bro."

"She is. But I owe her more than you think." Myrcella sighed, crossing her arms before looking at Hilda. "Still. It's best to be sure. Hilda."

"Yes, master?"

"I want you to keep track of what Elmy-chan does. Make sure that her mission goes through." Myrcella ordered, eyes narrowed. "If she cannot bring herself to stop him, or is defeated herself, end Okuyasu Nijimura."

"I'm really not sure about this…" Josuke muttered, standing somewhat conspicuously around a corner street by Cafe Magot with Okuyasu, Issei and Kiba. After discovering Gasper's mystery crush, the boys of the club gathered together to speak to Gasper about Yukako, telling him her role in the Ratings Game. Josuke even detailed the intensity of her actions, making it clear to the dhampir that she had a volatile personality.

But surprisingly, Gasper didn't seem phased. He defended Yukako, saying that she was still very gentle with him and was definitely a good person. He insisted that he would speak with her the next day and tell her that he would be leaving soon. With little ability to convince the youngest among them, Josuke suggested that they keep it between the boys for now but also keep an eye on Gasper's date. If something were to go wrong, they would jump in.

"No kiddin'. I mean, I get it, she's pretty and all, but she did seem real intense when you fought her…" Okuyasu pointed out, scratching his head.

"I think we're doing the right thing by watching but not interfering, for now. This could be good for Gasper's growth, after all." Kiba suggested.

"I guess, but I am pretty nervous about what she'll do if he ticks her off. If she really feels the same, I bet she'll fly off the handle once she finds out we'll be gone a while." Issei bit the inside of his cheek, eyes still glued to Gasper who sat at the cafe alone at the moment, clearly fidgeting in his seat.

"That'll at least help us convince Gasper that he should keep his distance. He was really adamant that she's a good person." Josuke sighed, stroking his chin. "I guess he really is lovestruck, huh?"

"Oi, oi! She's comin'!" Okuyasu waved for their attention, immediately drawing all of their eyes to Gasper. Yukako walked up to his table, greeting him with a rosy cheeked smile.

"Hello, Gasper-kun! I hope you didn't wait too long for me."

"N-No! I-I got here just a little bit ago!" Gasper stood up, fully revealing his choice in clothing. He had elected to go with a knit maroon long sleeve shirt with knee high skinny-shorts and black and white sneakers. He had gone with their suggestion of doing a style that fit him rather than trying to look 'manly', and Josuke felt somewhat proud of their selections for the outfit.

"Oh my, your clothes are quite different than usual!" Yukako seemed taken aback by his choice, eyes scanning the dhampir for a moment. But a small smile slowly crept on her lips as her eyes shined. "It makes you look q-quite… handsome."

"R-Really? You really think so?" Gasper twiddled his fingers in front of him, giggling shyly as he blushed bright red. "I-I'm really happy to hear that… I was afraid it might not be enough…"

"N-Not at all, Gasper-kun! In fact, I'm very impressed!" Yukako dismissed, gently grabbing his hands.

"Th-that makes me happy to hear…" He grinned back at her, the two having a small moment as they stared at one another.

"Just great… he really is head over heels for her…" Josuke mumbled, stroking the back of his head.

"W-Well, at least it's clear the feeling is mutual, right?" Issei argued with a hesitant shrug.

"D-Damn it, I know we're supposed to be lookin' out for Gasper, but…" The two looked down at Okuyasu to see tears streaming down his face as he ground his teeth. "I'm jealous as shit! I've never had a girl look at me like that…"

"There, there. I'm sure you'll find one soon enough that will," Kiba chuckled, patting his shoulder.

"Hey, they're sitting down." Josuke announced, all looking back to see Gasper and Yukako finally break their long gaze.

"So you wanted to tell me something? What exactly is it?" Yukako asked as she took a seat across from Gasper.

"Y-Yes… two things, actually…" Gasper nodded, losing his momentary bliss as his expression became sullen. "I'll start with the sad thing first…"

"Sad? What do you mean?" Yukako's eyes became concerned, and Josuke noticed her fingers twitch ever so slightly.

"I… I have to apologize!" Gasper bowed his head. "I-I was really excited to spend time with you this summer, b-but I won't be able to! I'm sorry!"

Yukako looked devastated, face becoming paler than her naturally fair complexion. "Wh-What do you mean?! D-Did I do something wrong?! Are you mad at me?!"

"Here we go…" Issei muttered, swallowing a lump in his throat as they took notice of the subtle movement her hair started to make.

"N-Not at all! It's not your fault in any way!" Gasper denied, shaking his head furiously. Yukako seemed to momentarily pause at that, but still looked tense. "I… I have to go out of town with my club soon. And we'll be gone all summer… I'm sorry."

Yukako's expression flashed with irritation but she put on a calm facade, her hands clinging to the fabric of the table. "I see… I suppose Gremory-san keeps you busy, doesn't she?"

"Shit, did he tell her that she's part of Rias' peerage?!" Okuyasu felt sweat dripping down his forehead.

"He may have only mentioned the club, but that likely would be enough for Yukako to guess that he's a Devil." Kiba's eyes narrowed in concern.

"Y-Yes. But she's my precious senpai, so I don't want to let her down…" Gasper nodded silently, looking somewhat sad. "I'm sorry that we won't be able to have fun like we planned…"

Yukako's nails dug into the table, her hair once again beginning to frizz as her eyes narrowed. "Precious senpai, huh..? Does that mean you… like her?"

The boys aside from Kiba collectively gulped, wondering if they would have to make a move.

"N-No! Not like that!" Gasper shook his head again. "President is like an elder sister to me! Nothing more!"

Yukako's hair fell flat again and she stopped digging her nails into the table. Relief briefly passed across her face, and the boys released a collective breath. "I-I see… that's reassuring… Still…" Yukako suddenly leaned forward, hands gripping into the table as Gasper retreated in surprise. "But must you really leave?! So suddenly?! After we promised to go around town and do trips together?! REALLY?!"

Her expression once again became intense, sweat trailing down her face as her arms shook. Issei, Okuyasu and Josuke watched in worry while Kiba narrowed his eyes, the four unsure what to do next.

Yukako seemed to catch herself, face falling as she looked somewhat guiltily away. "I-I'm sorry, so-something suddenly came over me, and… I should-"

But before any could make a move, Gasper slowly stood up, surprisingly not looking as intimidated or shocked as they would expect.

"I have to… I want to." Gasper shakily extended his arms and took Yukako off guard when he grabbed her hand gently, holding it up in front of him. "B-Because if I train and become stronger… I-I'll feel like a man worth all of your passion!"

"... Huh?" The boys felt their jaws drop as Gasper stood confidently with Yukako still in his grasp.

"M-My passion..?" Yukako's voice wilted, eyes shaky as she watched him.

"Yes… I-I really admire how passionate you feel about our time together. It really makes me happy…" Gsaper's face lit up like a christmas tree as he shook, but he smiled. "S-So I want to make sure I'm worth your feelings! I'm going to get stronger! And when I come back, let's spend lots of time together! A-As lovers!"

"... EH?!" Josuke, Issei and Okuyasu blurted without filter, Kiba quickly shushing them to keep their position hidden.

"H-H-He just straight up…" Issei stammered out.

"H-H-How the hell… is he…" Okuyasu struggled to put his words together.

"E-Even after her crazy outburst, he still wasn't phased…" Josuke mumbled dumbly.

"Are you really that surprised?" Kiba chuckled, causing the three to stare at him, dumbfounded. "After all, think about how passionate the Devils around you are when it comes to this kind of thing."

Issei and Josuke opened their mouths slightly before it dawned on them. While perhaps not as aggressive, at least in the same way, Rias, Akeno and Koneko were rather… volatile when it came to them. Even Asia in regards to Issei at moments, though in her own kind way of course.

"This is par for the course for Devils and mystical beings in general. I only wondered if she was past the limit of someone as timid as Gasper, myself." Kiba admitted, smiling. "I'm glad we were wrong."

"Holy shit…" Okuyasu mumbled, the three slowly turning their gazes back to the potential couple.

Yukako seemed lost in a state of bliss, her cheeks furious red as her mouth hung agape. "R-Really..? Y-You want to be…"

"Y-Yes! I-If you think I'm good enough…" Gasper hung his head low as his face was hot red. It was silent for a moment before Yukako slowly touched his chin, lifting his gaze up to meet hers.

"Of course… I-I think I do, more than anything!" Yukako smiled vibrantly. "I'll be waiting for you to come back. Just promise me that you'll become a man you'll be proud of in that time."

Gasper's eyes began to well up, but he held it back, sniffling as he nodded. "I-I will! I promise!"

"Good!" Yukako's fingers traced along his jaw, hands trembling. She leaned in and pecked him on the cheek, causing Gasper to become stock still. "That's for good luck… when you come back, I look forward to giving you our first true kiss."

Gasper looked like he could shatter upon a touch, completely still as his face froze in shock. Yukako giggled,holding her hands to her chest. "I have to go… I feel I might not be able to hold back if I stay… consider it your reward to look forward to!" Yukako flashed her smile again before turning around and rushing off. Gasper stood there, eyes trailing as they followed the wavy haired stand user. His hand slowly trailed up to his cheek as he processed the kiss. And finally he started to hop in place with joy, giggling almost madly with glee.

"Th-That… didn't go… how I thought it would at all…" Josuke mumbled, jaw slacking.

"T-Technically this is the best case scenario… right?" Issei asked with a hesitant smile.

"I would think so. Gasper is quite happy, after all." Kiba pointed out without worry.

"D-Damn… I don't know how to feel right now…" Okuyasu let out a breath before crying out. "EXCEPT SO DAMN JEALOUS! He really pulled it off!" he whined, leaning into Josuke's chest as the purple haired teen patted his back in reassurance. "What do I gotta do to get a girl like that, damn it..?"

"Talk to Xenovia…" Josuke mumbled under his breath.

To be continued…

Hey everyone! Not much of an update but this is the best I can do with how low motivation has been lol

As announced on The Shield's Dragon, this story and others will receive far shorter chapters when updated, and figured this would be a good start to this one. I can't say this story is fully back or that I'm going to consistently update, but I figured something small like this would be fun to put out. Hope you all like it regardless!