AN: Hey guys and welcome to the eighth and final chapter of "The Dragon And The Maiden"
I want to thank everyone who has favorited, followed, and reviewed this story!
Now, I struggled with a writer's block on this chapter but I eventually got past that and I hope that you'll like the chapter! :)
I know that some of you wouldn't like the ending but I felt that it was necessary, it felt right to end it that way and I couldn't be more content with the ending I chose for this story.
Now, without further ado, here is the next chapter. Enjoy!
Euphoria, this was the state both Issei Hyoudou and his new fiancee, Akeno Himejima, were in for the last hour.
It has been an hour since Akeno had accepted Issei's proposal and ever since then they both didn't release each other from the tight embrace they enveloped one another.
It took them another half an hour before they released each other but even then, no words had to be said in order for the two of them to know exactly how the other felt, just looking into each other's eyes and seeing the unconditional love and unadulterated passion they held behind them as well as the big and sincere smile they were showing each other.
They could have continued this forever if it wasn't for the moment when they remembered that they had to go and announce everyone that they are now engaged; making the both of them to start sweating bullets in dread as they thought about the reaction of their fellow friends and Issei's parents but most of all they dreaded the response of a certain red-head.
"I-Issei-kun...W-What are we going to do about Rias?" Akeno stuttered while asking the question both of them didn't dare to say out loud as she gazed at Issei who now had a blank expression on his once happy face.
"I...Don't know Akeno-chan, I just hope she'll not take it too hard," Issei addressed his fiancee with the new suffix as he internally wished with every fiber of his being that Rias, who he knew still held intense feelings towards him, would be able to deal with the news of him and Akeno in a lucid manner.
Akeno smiled at the new suffix Issei gave her before quickly transforming her smile into a frown as her mind took her on a trip that showed her every possible way for how Rias will react to the news, and most of them were not pleasant.
Issei, whose mind took him on the same trip as Akeno's, quickly shook those thoughts as he remembered a simple yet important fact, the fact that he had Akeno on his side and she had him so no matter what the redhead's response will be to the news they would stand by each other side with no hesitation.
And so, the brunette shook Akeno to snap her out of the unpleasant thoughts that plagued her mind so he could tell her this important fact that brought newfound confidence and comfort which he wanted Akeno to have as well.
After he told her, she nodded in agreement to his words before they enveloped once again in a tight embrace that unlike the previous one was cut short after several minutes as they saw no reason to delay the inevitable and so, with the newfound confidence they both left the Himejima shrine towards their house where they would face their first and biggest challenge as an engaged couple.
Once they reached the Hyoudou residence the newly engaged couple stood at the doorway; holding each other's hands tightly for reassurance before entering the house.
After they had entered the house, they went to the living room where they spotted Asia, Xenovia, Irina, and Ravel who flashed a smile at Issei and Akeno after noticing the appearance of the two; none of them taking notice of the rings they had on their fingers.
"Do you guys know where Rias and the rest are as well as my parents?" Issei asked in a tone that showed no emotions despite the ever growing nervousness that kept increasing with every second.
"Yes, Rias and the rest went to the clubroom to deal with something but they should get back any minute now, and I think your parents are upstairs," Xenovia replied in her stoic voice with her head turned towards Asia, Irina, and Ravel who she was talking too when Issei arrived therefore not noticing the small sigh of relief Issei took after knowing that he still had few minutes to get himself together before he and Akeno would announce their news to the rest.
About ten minutes afterward the door to the Hyoudou residence opened and from it emerged Rias, Kiba, Koneko, Rossweisse, and Gasper.
"Sorry we're late everyone, we had some business to attend to with Sona," Rias apologetically told everyone as they all entered the living room where they noticed Issei and Akeno sitting near each other; causing Rias to frown from the close contact her Queen and favorite Pawn had before she quickly replaced it with a fake smile.
Issei, who saw that now every member of their peerage sat in the living room, quickly jolted from his seat, excused himself and went upstairs to get his parents.
"Is Issei-kun ok?" Kiba worriedly asked as his eyes continued to linger on where Issei disappeared too.
"Yes, he just went to get his parents because he wants to say something," Akeno replied in her usual tone so no one would suspect of the thing Issei wanted to announce.
"Oh? I wonder what he wants to say that require all of us here," Kiba curiously said.
Several minutes later Issei arrived back to the living room with his parents in tow.
Issei motioned for his parents to take a seat before he started to talk but not before he nervously gulped.
"H-Hey everyone. You must be wondering what I wanted to say..." He began, his eyes taking a quick scan of the room and the faces of each and every person that sat in front of him; hoping that the expression their faces held would remain after the news.
When no one answered him back, he resumed his talking.
"I guess you all know that Akeno and I have been dating for a few months now," He said to which he received nods from everyone present.
"I loved Akeno with all my heart, but I always felt that she never really understood the extent of my feelings to her, but, after debating with myself for quite some time, I finally realized what I had to do to show Akeno everything that was so clear to me for a long time, and so I can happily say that Akeno is no longer my girlfriend..." Issei stopped so he could calm down a little before he would tell them that he and Akeno are now engaged but he found himself laughing internally at the expressions they currently had on their faces; expressions that consisted of utter confusion and frowns from thinking that he and Akeno had broken up, all except Rias who kept a stoic expression as hope started to fill her, hope that crashed down after hearing the next sentence Issei said.
"She is now more than that, she is my fiancee," Issei said with a huge grin as he showed everyone the ring he had on his finger; making everyone gasp in shock while looking at the brunette in wide eyes after the bombshell he dropped on them.
The unnerving quiet that followed his announcement made Issei and Akeno nervous. Several seconds after Issei announcement Akeno stood up and went to his side to take his hand in hers so they could bring comfort to each other and prepare for the reactions of everyone.
Eventually, the lingering silence was broken by ear-piercing shrieks from the girls who rushed Akeno to hug her and congratulate her on the engagement while the men that consisted of Kiba, Gasper, and Issei's father went to his side and congratulated him on the engagement in a more manly way.
While the men greeted him, Issei would occasionally steal quick glances at Akeno and Rias to see how both of them were dealing with everything. He was happy to see that both of them looked ok and that Rias didn't seem to upset from the news although he had his suspicions about the authenticity of the smile she had on her face.
"Congratulations Akeno! I am so happy for you and Issei," Rias said in a voice that sounded slightly strained which didn't go unnoticed by Akeno who decided to ignore this so she wouldn't cause her King and best friend more anguish.
"Thanks, Rias! I really appreciate it!" Akeno gratefully said while flashing Rias a sincere smile which the redhead returned although Akeno thought it was forced.
"I'm really sorry Akeno, but I have to go, I remembered that I had something to discuss with Sona. Tell Ise that I am really happy for the two of you," Rias said as tears threatened to escape her eyes before she rushed off towards the exit, but not without Akeno who noticed it and frowned in response.
Issei who noticed her frown and the sudden leaving of Rias realized what happened and turned his gaze to Akeno while frowning.
No words had to be said, just a tilt of the head from Akeno was enough for Issei to know that she wanted him to talk to Rias and cheer her up and so he did after excusing himself from the other guys.
What the couple didn't know was that Rias wasn't the only one whose feelings was hurt by that announcement; every one of the girls was affected by the announcement.
They were hurt that Issei hadn't selected them, they felt betrayed after remembering Issei's promise to continue to love them equally after they told him of his neglecting of their feelings when he sought their help with Akeno several months ago.
'Maybe he didn't mean all of that' Was the thought that ran through the girl's minds.
They were hurt, but for the sake of Akeno, their dear friend, they pushed the pain to the back and let happiness take its place instead. All of them deciding the same thing; to talk to each other and than Issei and Akeno about all of this.
"Buchou!" Issei shouted as he got to Rias.
After leaving the Hyoudou residence, Issei saw Rias was nowhere in sight so he rushed at the direction of Kuoh where half way there he saw Rias wandering around while panting which he assumed was caused by her running from the house so no one would catch her.
"What do you want Ise?" Rias sadly asked with a tinge of anger as well.
"I want to make sure you're ok," He replied with a smile after failing to notice the slight anger her words had.
"You don't have to worry about me Ise, you have your...fiancee to worry about now so please leave," Rias bitterly said, her back turned to him while shaking which this time didn't go unnoticed by the brunette who slowly approached her in an attempt to try and comfort her.
"I know that you must be upset by this Buchou but understand that I love Akeno and she loves me for a long time now, I used to love you and if things were different it would've been you who was wearing that ring but you chose Ruval even though you ended up leaving him for me, it was too late Buchou, I'm sorry," Issei sadly said as he placed his hand on the redhead shoulder who quickly slapped it off.
"I don't need you to tell me this Ise! I already know that what I did was nothing more than a mistake I'll regret for the rest of my life so, please...Don't put salt on the wounds I already have, don't tell me what could've been if it wasn't for the mistake I made," She said with her fist clenched and tears that cascaded down her cheeks while she continued to shake.
"I...I didn't mean this that way Buchou, I still care for you greatly and I will never stop to care for you and everyone else for that matter," He said in an attempt to bring slight peace to Rias.
"A few months ago there was nothing more that I wanted than being with you but seeing you choose Ruval over me despite how much it pained me made me realize something I've been trying to deny for a long time now..." He said; causing Rias to turn her gaze to him as she waited for him to continue.
"I realize the simple yet painful fact that no matter how hard I tried. In the end, I couldn't have overcome the wall that separated us, the master-servant wall, just like Ruval said," He sadly answered as he thought about the wall that held him from his happiness back then.
True, he had Akeno now, and he couldn't be happier for that, but it still pained him. She was the one who gave him a second chance in life, the one who introduced him to his best friends and fiancee. He owed her so much, and this would never be forgotten by the brunette.
"Even though we are not together in that way Rias, my care for you didn't change even for a second because without you I never would have reached the place I was today, I would have been deep in the ground," He replied with a broad, thankful smile at Rias who returned it.
"Thank you, Ise. It means so much for me to hear you say all of that and I am happy for Akeno and you but I don't think that I could ever stop loving you Ise. You were special, you were someone who didn't care for my position in the underworld, you cared for me as a person, and you overlooked my noble side and treated me like an average girl, and for that I am grateful,"
Afterward, Issei and Rias embraced each other tightly before they decided to head back to the Hyoudou residence together, both with smiles on their faces.
(Three Months Later...)
It has been three months since the proposal and the time have finally come; Issei Hyouodu and Akeno Himejima would end the day as a married couple, and they couldn't be more excited about it.
Right now Issei stood at the altar; gazing at Akeno heading towards him with his father as he escorted her down the aisle.
Speechless; that's how Issei currently felt as his heart skipped a beat and his breath was hitched while he watched Akeno. She was mindblowing.
When Akeno reached the altar a few seconds afterward, Issei regained his composure and managed to mutter to Akeno how beautiful she was to which she blushed and stifled a giggle.
The ceremony wasn't the ordinary one due to the obvious reason of them being Devils. Instead, the ceremony was administrated by Azazel who had a close relationship with both Issei and Akeno so selecting him to perform the ceremony was something they didn't dwell on for too long as it was the natural choice for the two of them.
During those three months, many things happened to the brunette, but two things would forever be engraved in his memory. The talk the girls had with him and Akeno, and the day he and Akeno told his parents everything.
He looked back at the talk he and Akeno had with the girls and the pain they were in when they confronted him about once again neglecting their growing emotions towards him. It hurt him a lot to see them like this, and after he had talked with Akeno a lot about it, they decided that the girls and Issei would have a romantic relationship just like he have with Akeno, who was quite excited about the addition in the bedroom, but the difference was that his relationship with Akeno was much advanced; meaning that Akeno would be the first to carry his child, and the girls will follow sometime afterwards.
Issei then looked back at the talk he had with his parents, the talk where he told them everything about him, Akeno, and the rest of the ORC who stayed with them.
He remembered their confusion when he sat them down and started talking about religious. The confusion then turned to curiosity as they heard the stories of the great war, the death of the God from the Bible, and the fight between the two Heavenly Dragons, but the curiosity didn't live for long as utter shock quickly threw it away when Issei told them that he, Akeno, and the others were in fact, Devils who got reincarnated by Rias.
It took them several minutes that seemed for Issei like forever until they managed to utter a single word but after thinking about it over and over in their minds, his parents reached the conclusion that Devil or human, he was still Issei, and if he wouldn't have told them they wouldn't have noticed it which just strengthen their claim that it didn't matter what he was or what he possessed with him. And so, they thanked them for telling them the truth and reassured them that nothing has changed between them.
Issei focused his attention back when he heard Azazel ask him if he would stay by Akeno's side through thick and thin, in health and sickness to which he instantly replied that he would for all eternity.
Shortly after they both had read their vows and it wasn't long after that they finally kissed; a kiss that signified that they were now a married couple.
(Twelve Years Later...)
Twelve years has passed since Akeno and Issei had their wedding and plenty of stuff happened during these twelve years.
Issei now had eight children from eight different mothers who he loved dearly:
Katsumi was his and Akeno's daughter who possessed her mother's lightning powers and diabolic powers as, she is also the possessor of the artificial Boosted Gear; the girl was eleven years old with jet hair that went down her back and green eyes which they assumed had to do with Ddraig. Katsumi could be described as reckless and overconfident.
Mitsuki was his and Asia's son and the current possessor of Fafnir who he got from his mother; the boy was nine years old with a brown hair and green eyes. Mitsuki could be described as kind and gentle.
Mitarashi was his and Xenovia's son and the current possessor of Durandal which he got from his mother; the boy was eight years old with blue hair that was set like Issei's and brown eyes. Mitarashi could be described as dense and simple-minded like his mother.
Mary was his and Irina's daughter who unlike the rest of her siblings had Angelic powers instead of Diabolic, and Valkyrian; the girl was eight years old with chestnut hair that was set into a single ponytail that would cascade down her chest instead of her back. Mary could be described as naive and kind.
Astrid was his and Rossweisse's daughter who possessed her mother's Valkyrian powers; the girl six years old with white, short hair and light blue eyes. Astrid could be described as mature and logical unlike some of her siblings.
Hideaki was his and Ravel's son who possessed his mother's regenerative abilities of the Phenex clan; the boy was six years old with dark blue eyes and his hair was a combination of brown and blonde and was set like Kiba's. Hideaki could be described as responsible and mature but also a closed pervert just like his father.
Niko was his and Koneko's son who possessed his mother's Senjutsu abilities; the boy had white hair with the same style as his father's as well as yellow eyes. Niko could be described as stoic and carefree.
And last but not least, there was Akai, his and Rias's daughter.
Akai had her mother's powers of destruction just like her mother, as well as her diabolic powers; Akai was six years old with red hair that was set just like her mother's and her eyes were blue-green. Akai could be described as spoiled and bratty.
Akai, his and Rias's daughter, was conceived six years after Issei and Akeno had gotten married. During these six years Rias did everything in her power to try and make Issei love her as he used too but this time she didn't want to be a replacement for Akeno, she wanted to be someone he loved along with Akeno and after six years Issei with the help of Akeno had finally found the way to shattering the wall that separated him from Rias, the master-servant wall.
Issei would never forget the pain he experienced him on the day he saw her with Ruval, but that didn't mean he couldn't forgive, especially after how things turned out for them at the end.
Issei never had it easy in his life, he was killed by his first date, reincarnated into a new reality he didn't know, he fought many battles both physically and emotionally, and he had his heart broken by the girl he loved so much, but even after all the pain he endured he was grateful, grateful for Rias's rejection on that day because if it wasn't for her rejection then he never would have known about Akeno's feelings towards him.
'Funny how things work out' Issei thought to himself.
AN: Don't forget to Favorite, and review! I hope you liked the chapter :)