A/N: Hello everyone; both to newcomers to my story and to those who have decided to go back and read the updated chapters to see what has changed.
For you guys and girls finding this story and joining us for the first time; firstly, I would like to welcome you and I hope you enjoy the story as – I hope – so many other people have. Secondly, I would like to let you know that, while I always write an Author's Note at the beginning and end of every chapter to keep you all in the loop with how things are progressing, both for me and the story itself, I won't be doing it for these first few chapters as I want to keep it simple and easy for people to follow.
Therefore, for newcomers I will give this brief overview of my story:
1: Instead of transforming into aliens as Ben does in the cartoon, the aliens will, instead, be changed to demons to suit the narrative. They will each be adapted to fit into the DxD universe, whether it be a change in their abilities, appearances or where they live. They will also be written into the history of the DxD universe as fluidly as it is possible for me to do.
2: I won't be bringing in everybody from Ben 10 into the story…and the ones that I DO introduce won't necessarily act the same way as they do canonically.
3: I'll say it straight out that there won't be much chance of certain characters or aliens making appearances in my story. Character-wise for instance, I won't be bringing Professor Paradox or Eon into my story at all so there's no point even asking me about it. Alien-wise, don't go expecting Alien X to make an appearance either. He's cool enough in the cartoon but he's such a Deus Ex Machina character that it will just make him boring to write.
. . . . .
For those of you who have come to see what changes have been made I would like you to know that I just wish to get these chapters to you without any other complications or issues. Therefore, all I shall be uploading are the chapters. I won't be adding int the reviews I have answered already.
Of course, I still hope you can leave me a review to let me know your thoughts on the updated chapters.
If all goes to plan then all twelve chapters will have been uploaded without any issue.
With nothing left to tell you guys, I will simply say that I hope you like the changes.
(I do not own Ben 10 nor Highschool DxD. They belong to their respective owners which aren't me.)
I don't own anything!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
He was flying in darkness this time.
He had flown before during these journeys, but this was the first time that he had been to…wherever it was he found himself now. He'd seen a large number of different locations through his frequent journeys over the years, from vast areas of grasslands with red grass to snowy mountain peaks in the middle of a powerful snow/lightning storm, but never once had he been to a place like this though.
The single biggest difference he felt immediately upon finding himself there was how wrong the whole place felt. If he were forced to describe it in words, he'd say it felt like the whole place felt…wrong; like it shouldn't exist, and the mere fact that it did defied all logic and sanity. Darkness surrounded him, leaving him in almost complete darkness if not for the network of cobweb-like structures, deep purple in colour, scattered all around him and emitting the only light that allowed him to see.
As he looked at his surroundings, he spotted the being that always seemed to be there with him during his trips. A gargantuan creature that defied nature with its sheer size, a single one of the emerald-green scales covering its titanic body easily dwarfed his own body in comparison. He knew the colour of the massive beast's scales because he recognised it as the same creature that he always saw in these journeys. He had been terrified of the creature when he first started having these 'visions', but now it seemed strange to have them without it there with him, especially now that he found himself in such a dark place.
He gazed up at the beast's huge head as it slowly gazed out at the 'cobweb' structure before it. To him, it looked like the creature was looking, or rather, waiting for something to appear or happen.
He didn't have time to wonder what it was waiting for though as the near-total-darkness was suddenly broken when a huge lightning bolt suddenly struck in the far-distance. In the split-second the bolt illuminated the darkness; another colossal creature could be seen where the bolt originated, a creature very similar in appearance to his guide though this one was a deep crimson in colour.
The other thing he noted aside from the vast creature's appearance was that it looked to be battling something in the darkness. Even as another powerful bolt lit up the distance again, he couldn't make anything out about the enemy the crimson creature was fighting. Whatever it was, it appeared to cling to the darkness like a lifeline as it fought against its enemy, avoiding every attack launched at it and releasing a powerful counter in response.
Even at the extreme distance he was from the terrible battle he was witnessing; he could see that the crimson creature was faring poorly against its adversary and was barely holding its own against it.
This thought appeared to be shared by his emerald-green guide who released a mighty roar to announce itself before then lunging forward at a blinding speed, taking him with it as it moved at a blinding speed through the weave of 'cobwebs' towards the fierce battle which rapidly drew closer.
In only a few seconds, they had crossed what felt like hundreds of miles when they joined up with the crimson creature to assist its battle. A silent message seemed to be passed to each of them as they nodded in greeting and turned their attention towards the area darkness where their enemy must've been hiding in.
As he followed their gaze, he suddenly found himself incapable of breathing as a large pair of narrow red eyes with a spiral pattern within looking back at them with pure malice and hatred within them.
When it looked directly at him though, he felt Death reaching out its claws to him.
. . . . .
Ben sat up abruptly, his breathing heavy and a cold sweat covering his body as he recovered from the intense dream he just had. He brought his hand to his head as he fought to calm down his heavy breathing.
'What the fuck was that?' he thought as he pinched the bridge of his nose with his free hand.
Ever since his tenth birthday he'd been having strange dreams every now and then. He never knew when he'd have them but, unlike his normal dreams, these ones stayed firmly in his head. He had no idea why he'd started having these dreams but, until now, they'd been perfectly fine in their own strange way.
This one, however, was completely different from those before it.
'This one was so vivid. I haven't had one like that for ages. It really felt like that…thing was really reaching out to me somehow,' he reflected as he slowly brought his breathing under control again.
Once he had calmed down his breathing again, he lay back down on his bed and closed his eyes with the intention of getting some more sleep.
As he was drifting back off though….
[BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP….]
"Shit," he groaned as he tried to cover his exposed ear while, simultaneously, trying to hit the snooze button on his alarm clock before frustration overcame him and he threw the damn thing against the wall.
He finally managed to find the snooze button just in time but the alarm was merely replaced by someone knocking on his bedroom door.
[KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK….]
"Come on, Ben!" a female voice called out from the other side of the wooden door. "You need to get up, sweetie! You don't want to be late for your first day of school!"
Ben groaned as he remembered what day it was and turned over, hoping his silence would make his mother walk away.
Reality isn't so kind, though, and his silence was, instead, met with his bedroom door flying open, the hallway light temporarily blinding him, causing another groan to escape him as he turned away from the silhouette in his doorframe.
"Up you get, Ben! Wakey, wakey!" Sandra Tennyson, the matriarch of the Tennyson household, ordered as she switched on his bedroom light, resulting in another groan from Ben
"I'm awake, mum! I'm getting up now!" Ben groaned, waving a hand up in defeat.
"I'm glad to hear it," his mother responded with a smile before turning and leaving his room, the light still on to act as an 'incentive'.
"Breakfast will be ready in a few minutes," she stated as she headed down the stairs.
Groaning at his mother's tactics for getting him out of bed, Ben forcibly pulled himself out of his comfortable bed and started his morning routine by heading to the bathroom and enjoying a quick shower. Once he was finished he returned to his bedroom and looked at the school uniform hanging on the back of his bedroom door. As was standard for the boys uniform for Kuoh academy, it was composed of a black blazer with white accents over a white, long-sleeved, button-down shirt with vertical linings and a black ribbon on the collar. The upper half was accompanied by a matching pair of black trousers and brown dress shoes.
Now, Ben wasn't unused to wearing school uniforms due to spending most of his early years of education in the UK. However, for the last few years, he had been going to going to school in the states when his family lived there for a while and he had gotten to appreciate not having to wear one. Suddenly reverting back was going to take some getting used to.
Once he was fully dressed, Ben headed downstairs to join his parents for breakfast. He entered the dining area to find his dad already sat down at the head of the table, drinking his morning coffee and reading the newspaper while his mum sat on his left enjoying her morning tea and cereal. He glanced up as Ben sat down on his right and made a start on the plate of toast in front of him.
"Ah, so you're awake then?" Carl Tennyson, the Tennyson patriarch, mused with a smile. "Shame. I was hoping I'd get to throw a bucket of water on you. That'd perk you right up."
"Har, har, you're a comedian," Ben drawled back in response as he buttered his toast.
Carl chuckled and took another sip of his coffee.
"You nervous about your first day at school?" he asked curiously.
"No more than the last time I went through it," Ben shrugged dismissively as he took a bite of his toast. "How about you? You nervous about your first day at your new job?"
His dad chuckled lightly. "Hardly. I can't wait. I've worked hard for this promotion and I can't wait to get started." He looked at Ben with a guilty expression on his face. "It's a shame that it meant we needed to leave Bellwood and move to Japan though."
"Now, now, sweetheart," Sandra chided her husband softly, taking his hand in hers, bringing it to her lips and kissing the back of it softly. "We already discussed this as a family and decided to do this together."
"Mum's right, dad," Ben added as he finished off his breakfast. "We Tennysons have to stick together. Whatever happens, we can deal with it as a family."
Carl smiled at his son warmly before he remembered something.
"Speaking of which, that reminds me. Jennifer called me this morning to say she's thinking of coming back to visit us if her studies allow it."
"That's wonderful news!" Sandra exclaimed happily while Ben groaned loudly at the possibility of his sister coming back.
Jennifer Tennyson, the eldest child of Carl and Sandra Tennyson and Ben's older sister by three years. When they were organising their move to Japan and planning to settle down in Kuoh, Ben had been horrified to learn that there was a university division in Kuoh academy and that there was a possibility that he and Jen could end up going to the same school as each other which was the perfect definition of hell for him. Thankfully, though, Jen had rejected the offer and applied to Kyoto university. She was accepted by them and left home shortly after they arrived to go and study in Kyoto, leaving just him at home with their parents; something which suited Ben just fine.
"If you're going to talk about her, I'm heading off to school," he informed them as he left the table and headed for the door, his schoolbag strap hanging off his shoulder.
"Don't talk about your sister like that!" Sandra called out at his fleeing form.
"Good luck, kid!" Carl added with a wave of his hand that Ben reciprocated before closing the door and heading off to school.
. . . . .
Remembering the route to the academy, Ben was able to make his way there without any difficulty. His ability to read the numerous signs guiding him to his destination was a major bonus; though it was one he was loath to admit to his mother.
Before she started a family with her husband and settle down to be a devoted mother and housewife, Sandra Tennyson had been an accomplished translator in the company both she and Ben's dad worked at. It was because of this that led them to meet in the first place and fall in love. Before quitting her job to concentrate fully on raising her children, she had been one of the best translators in the company and had been involved in many important business meetings which, largely thanks to her linguistical abilities, resulted in several huge deals which helped the company grow stronger and more profitable. She was so important to them that, when she announced she wanted to leave when she was pregnant with Jennifer with no intention of coming back, her bosses were devastated at losing her, but no matter how much they offered her if she stayed, she flat-out refused.
Even years later, though, she still retained her impressive skillset and put them to use in training her children and husband to speak it as fluently as she could. Carl had tried to argue that he knew enough of the language already as he had been accepted for the job after passing the interview which had been done in Japanese. Sandra had responded by firmly stating that, now that they were going to live in Japan for the foreseeable future, she wasn't going to be embarrassed by a husband who couldn't speak the local language and make small conversation when it was required.
Carl had been lucky to get an opportunity to discuss it with Sandra. When Ben and Jen had tried to get out of learning it, that idea was swiftly knocked out of them along with any objection or criticism to Sandra's often militaristic style of teaching.
Before long though, the hard work paid off and Sandra had succeeded in getting her children to speak Japanese almost as well as she could. Her husband made great strides from her teaching, yet he still failed to reach her high standard by the time they were due to leave for their new home. She promised to keeping working on him for as long as it took, much to his continued chagrin.
Before long, Ben found himself standing at the large gates to the academy and looking up at his new school. It was a huge structure with multiple buildings which accommodated the different school divisions that it taught, completely surrounded by a twelve-foot high, red brick wall. The school owned so much land that it even housed a small wood in the eastern section of the school grounds. He had to admit that it was an impressive building though the fountain in the middle of the entrance plaza was perhaps a bit too much for his tastes.
He stood to the side of the wrought-iron gates as he watched the students making their way to school, finding their friends and discussing everything that happened during the weekend that had just gone by.
As he observed the students, Ben noted the large imbalance in the male-female student ratio and remembered what his mother had told him about the school after she had signed him up to attend it. Apparently, until very recently, Kuoh academy had been an exclusive all-girls private school before it turned into the co-ed school he was attending. As the change had happened not so long ago, the number of male students was still incredibly small when compared against the number of female students.
From what he saw with those passing him in the gate, Ben estimated that the female students outnumbered the male students by at least seven-to-one if not more.
As he stood, awkwardly, by the gate, the other students soon began noticing him, particularly the clear signs that he was a foreigner, and he soon became a popular choice of conversation for the students meeting up with their friends in the plaza.
Despite his intentions, Ben couldn't help but overhear several snippets of conversation concerning him.
"Hey, who's that?"
"I don't know. He's a foreigner, that's for sure."
"You think so? Where's he from do you think?"
"I dunno. He looks American, though. Perhaps that's where he's from."
"Do you think he's here to study at Kuoh?"
Ben did his best to tune out the various conversations around him; he wasn't overly fond of being the centre of attention in most circumstances. He tuned out the noise around him and continued to stand where he was told to wait as the stream of students entering the academy trickled down until only the stragglers and late students remained. Just as he was starting to wonder where the staff member who was supposed to greet him was, a black-haired woman appearing to be in her late thirties and wearing a dark blue business suit with black tights and matching heels approached him with a smile and held her hand out to him.
"You must be Benjamin Tennyson," she said politely.
"I prefer Ben, miss," Ben replied, taking her hand and shaking it.
"Please, call me Kazumi. At least for today," Kazumi told him, her smile remaining warm and broad. "I've been looking forward to meeting you, Ben."
"Of course! You're the first foreign transfer student we've ever had here at Kuoh Academy," Kazumi told him excitedly.
"I must apologise for my lateness in coming to greet you as well, Ben," she continued as they ended their handshake.
"It's fine," Ben replied nonchalantly, shrugging his shoulders slightly. "I'm sure you must be a busy person."
"You have no idea," the headmistress sighed heavily. "Unfortunately, because of the sheer amount of work I've still got to do today, I won't be able to give you the full tour of the grounds. I can only give you a very brief tour before introducing you to your new classroom."
"That's fine with me."
Kazumi placed a hand on Ben's shoulder gently as she started to guide him across the plaza towards the main building.
"Hey, perhaps you could try asking one of your new classmates for a full tour of the grounds. There's a lot to see here at Kuoh Academy and we're very proud of that fact."
Ben merely nodded in response as Kazumi began the tour.
. . . . .
(Ten minutes later)
'Shit, she wasn't kidding about it being brief,' Ben thought to himself when he found himself standing outside his new classroom, waiting for the headmistress who had entered ahead of him in order to announce his arrival to the rest of the class.
True to her word, Kazumi's tour went by very quickly. In the space between entering the main building and standing outside his classroom, he had only been shown the large entrance atrium which separated the different school divisions (though he wasn't shown around any of the other divisions). Moving on, he only had time to grab a passing glance at the canteen as they went right passed it. The third, and last thing he was introduced to properly was the library, but Ben suspected that the only reason that happened was because it happened to be on the route they were taking to their final destination.
Anything else that he happened to catch a glimpse of was merely met with a brief explanation by the headmistress as she led the way.
As he leaned against the wall next, waiting for his name to be called, Ben heard a few voices through the door as they learned that they'd be getting another classmate joining them.
"I hope it's a smoking-hot babe with massive tits!" he heard an excited voice exclaim hopefully.
"Yeah, maybe we'll get a chance to see some beautiful bouncing boobies in gym class!" another voice joined in with equal enthusiasm.
Ben couldn't help but chuckle to himself as he heard a chorus of female students sigh loudly at something which clearly happened all too often while a few other female students actively called them out on their perverted fantasies; ranging from calling them worthless losers all the way up to informing them that the two of them were destined to be virgins forever.
The chorus of voices quickly halted when Kazumi spoke up.
"Matsuda! Motohama! I've warned you two already! If you continue to utter such inappropriate things then you're going to regret it! Do I make myself clear?"
The headmistress' question was met by a pair of mumbled acknowledgements.
"Now, for the record. It isn't a new female student joining you today; it's a male student." There was a muted series of groans by some of the male students, mainly from the two perverts speaking earlier. "Now, may I introduce you to your new classmate, Ben Tennyson."
Recognising his cue, Ben took a deep breath before pushing himself off the wall and opening the classroom door and entering.
It was a pretty standard classroom from his previous experiences, the only real difference he noted was that, instead of English, the various posters and printouts dotted around the classroom walls were all in Japanese.
Well, that, and the fact that everyone in the classroom was staring at him.
He closed the door behind him and stood beside the headmistress at the front of the class and stared back at the multitude of eyes looking back at him.
"Hi, my name's Ben. It's nice to meet you all," he introduced himself in near-perfect Japanese, clearly surprising a good number of them by the expressions on their faces. It pleased Ben a bit that he had that effect on them though he made sure to keep that fact very secret.
"Well, now that introductions have been made, I really must get back to work. I hope you enjoy your first day with us, Ben," Kazumi stated, already edging her way towards the door. "If you have any issues, please don't hesitate to find me."
With her final piece said, the headmistress left the room, closing the door behind her as she left, hurrying back down the corridor which led to her office.
Ben sat down at the empty desk pointed out to him by the teacher and begin the first lesson of the day, leaving off from where he had been before Ben joined the class. Thankfully, by doing this, the teacher instantly drew everyone's attention away from the new student and back to their work. This suited Ben just fine with his general distaste at being the centre of attention.
He simply sat back in his desk and took in what the teacher was teaching them, answering any question directed his direction to the best of his ability.
. . . . .
(A few hours later)
Lunchtime provided Ben with the perfect opportunity to find somewhere that gave him some peace and quiet, finding a quiet spot just inside the wooded area, not far from the entrance to the old school building. Thankfully, being the 'strange new student' made it so it was easy for him to be alone which is what he wanted for what he needed to do.
Once he had found his spot and made himself comfortable, he pulled out a folder, colouring pencils and a drawing pad and started doing what he always did every time he had a dream like the one he had this morning.
He was drawing a picture of what he saw in his dream.
To give some insight into the origin of this practice; when he had first started having them just after his tenth birthday he'd been completely freaked out by them. He had no idea what anything he saw in them meant and, unlike other, normal, dreams he has in between these strange, the things he sees stayed lodged in his head with him unable to get rid of them. The intensity of these initial dreams affected him so deeply that it began to severely affect his sleep and general health from the lack of sleep he was getting.
When things got so bad that he ended up falling down a staircase at school in his sleep-deprived state and hurting himself badly enough to be admitted to hospital, he couldn't hide it from his parents anymore. He told them all about the strange dreams he was having when they asked him about it. They had been vaguely aware of his bad dreams but had initially thought nothing of it. Seeing him in hospital, though, suddenly opened their eyes to how serious this was and how severely they were affecting him and did everything they could physically do to help him out as much as possible. In the build-up to his eleventh birthday, the dreams continued to affect Ben, their intense affect on him becoming more intense, to the point that his parents conceded that this was more serious than either of them realised and immediately set out to finding him professional help.
The person they found to help proved to be exactly what they needed. Like his parents, the professional was concerned for the effect it had clearly been having on Ben's health, yet he was also intrigued as to how dreams could affect someone to the extent they were having on Ben. After discussing it in many sessions with each other, the professional came up with an unusual yet extremely effective way to help Ben get better.
The solution was simple: Ben simply had to draw the things he was seeing in his head.
After the first image, it slowly started to leave Ben's mind, almost as if it were being transferred onto paper and didn't need to stay in Ben's head anymore. Once the resounding success of this treatment was made known, Ben went on to transfer all the images in his head onto paper; every image he drew resulting in a noticeable improvement on his health. It wasn't long after starting this practice that he was able to sleep soundly again. His parents continued to closely monitor their son for a long while after he started this, only relenting a few months after his sixteenth birthday when they were both sure that their son wasn't having the dreams anymore and was finally safe and sound.
Unbeknownst to them, though, Ben had always continued to have the dreams every now and then. He made sure that his parents were kept in the dark about these dreams as he didn't want to worry them anymore. The space of time between each dream was months and, until the most recent one, the dreams had been quite pleasant; journeys across strange new lands which had no negative effect on him when he awoke. The small folder laying by his side which contained numerous loose papers as well as the number of pages scattered around him provided evidence for these dreams; a folder he never wanted his parents to find out about.
'What was I seeing this time, though?' he mused as he continued to sketch the place he saw in his dream. With a purple-coloured pencil, he mapped out the intricate maze of cobweb-like structures with amazing accuracy, joining it with the blackness that made up everything else he saw, a blackness that seemed to consume light of any kind, no matter how big or small.
As soon as he added the final touch to the drawing he immediately began to feel the image disappearing in his mind. Sighing in contemplation, Ben stared at his finished work. Even as he stared at it, he felt a strange aura about the picture and shuddered unconsciously.
"What are you?" he wondered, muttering under his breath as he continued to look at the place he saw in his dreams, finding it harder and harder to look at the picture directly yet, paradoxically, also finding himself unable to tear his eyes away from the image for some reason.
He had no idea how long he ended up staring at the image but it was only when the bell started ringing that Ben was brought out of his almost-hypnotic state. He blinked several times at the loud sound and glanced down at the watch on his wrist.
"Shit! I'm going to be late for class!" he cursed as he quickly gathered the scattered images of previous dreams and shoved them into his folder. He didn't have time to secure them properly and simply held them close to his chest. He could sort them out properly once he was in class.
He rushed through the doors to the main school building and charged down the corridor, the emptiness of it acting as testament to how late he was.
In his determination to not be late to anything on his first day, he didn't see the small group of people joining the corridor he was going to collide with until it was almost too late.
"Shit!" he exclaimed when he finally noticed them.
Luckily, he noticed them just in time and swerved away at the very last second to avoid hitting them.
Unluckily for him, though, this caused him to lose his footing and trip up, falling backwards and leaving him sprawled out on his back as his papers were sent flying into the air.
. . . . .
(Several seconds earlier)
"So you still plan to find a way to get out of your engagement?" Sona Sitri, Kuoh Academy student council president, asked as she walked down the corridor to her next class. She was joined by her vice president, Tsubaki Shinra, as well as her best friend since childhood, Rias Gremory, president of the Occult Research Club and her vice president, Akeno Himejima, who were heading to their own class.
The two presidents walked side by side, their respective vice presidents bringing up the rear at a respectable distance as they slowly made their way to their next class.
The four of them were famous throughout the entire school, admired by both the students and staff as the four most popular students, both for their brains and incredible beauty. While Rias and Akeno were regarded as Kuoh Academy's 'two Great Ladies' due to their beauty, Sona and Tsubaki still enjoyed a very comfortable third and fourth place in popularity.
"Of course!" Rias retorted sternly, crossing her arms under her impressive chest, resulting in her breasts being pushed upwards, emphasising them. Sona would never admit it to anyone that she was always a tiny bit jealous of her best friend for having such a large chest.
"I don't care what my believe they'll gain from it; I refuse to have anything to do with a man like Riser! He's such a vile person!"
"I can't say I disagree with you there," Sona conceded with a small nod of her head in understanding. "Still though, your family is dead set on the match and I can't see a way for you get out of it, Rias."
"I can be quite resourceful when the need calls for it, Sona," Rias replied as they approached a T-junction in the corridor. "I'll find a way to solve my problem."
"I wish you luck, Rias, but the odds are stacked against you, you know. Your family wants this to happen as do Riser's. Forgive me for saying so, but frankly, you'll need a miracle to help you now, and miracles don't suddenly appear…,"
The four young ladies all looked in the direction of the sudden curse word's origin to see a male student suddenly entering their field of view, pelting down the corridor as fast as he could.
The student very nearly crashed right into them, mainly Rias who was right in front of him, only swerving away at the last possible second when he finally spotted them. So, instead of colliding with them, the student lost their footing and fell backwards, hitting their head on the polished wooden floor. As he fell, the small folder and stack of papers he held in his arms were sent flying everywhere. As they fluttered through the air, Sona was only able to catch brief glances at what was written – or rather, drawn – on them, quick glimpses of strange coloured landscapes.
"Ow," the student groaned, wincing as he reached with his left hand to the back of his head where it had struck the floor.
Quickly recovering from the surprise of the students sudden appearance, Rias was able to get a proper look at him as he lay on his back. The first thing she noted that he wasn't Japanese due to his distinct features which set him out from others.
'This must be the new transfer student that was starting today,' she thought, remembering Sona mentioning it to her in a previous conversation though she couldn't recall what his name was.
"You there!" Sona bellowed, now in full 'student-council-president' mode, as she glared down at him, her arms folded in an irritated manner.
The male student's eyes flew open and he looked up at the four young women staring down at him with different expression on their faces: Sona and Tsubaki's shared the same disapproving expression, Akeno was smiling at the scene before her and covering her mouth with the back of her hand in a bid to hide a chuckle, and Rias' expression was one of intrigue as she tried to remember what she knew about the new student.
"It's against the rules to run in the corridor!" Sona announced, frustrated that someone had broken one of the school rules right in front of her. "And why aren't you in class?"
"Crap! I'm really sorry!" he blurted as he sat up quickly before moving to his knees and picking up the scattered pieces of paper as fast as he could.
"I'm really late!" he gasped, more to himself than them, as he picked up the final pieces of paper around him and shoved them quickly into his schoolbag. Once he was done, the young man stood up in front of them and gave an apologetic bow to them before continuing on his way to wherever it was he was heading before he encountered their little group. While not outright running, he still moved at a particularly quick pace that caused Sona to growl in annoyance until he disappeared around the corner at the end of the corridor.
"He's not making a good first impression," Sona grunted as he disappeared.
"That was the new transfer student, right?" Rias asked as she also looked at the corridor he had disappeared down.
"That's right. I think his name was Tennyson. His family moved into town very recently from what I understand. I fear what sort of student he'll be if this is his usual behaviour," Sona muttered as she turned back to face Rias.
"I have to say though, he certainly is an interesting character," Akeno added though a slight chuckle.
"You're not wrong there, Akeno," Rias agreed with a small smile as the completely random encounter with the boy reminded her why she came to Kuoh Academy in the first place.
Turning away from where the male student had gone, Sona looked back at her friend. "As much as I'd like to remind that boy that, even if he's a new student, he still needs to obey school rules, we really need to get to class. I'll send someone from the council to fetch him later."
"See you later then, Sona," Rias smiled, giving Sona a little wave goodbye.
"See you, Rias," Sona returned as she and Tsubaki split from the little group they'd formed and made their way down the deserted corridor which led to their class while Rias and Akeno remained where they stood.
As soon as they were out of sight and earshot, Akeno's expression became slightly more serious as she looked over at Rias who held a similar, serious, expression.
"All joking aside though, Rias, what is our plan to get you out of your engagement?"
Rias sighed heavily, her shoulder drooping slightly as she allowed her emotional walls down for a moment. She only trusted a very small number of people to see this side of her, with Akeno being one of them.
"I don't know," she admitted dejectedly. "I don't know what we can do, but I absolutely refuse to let that vile Riser think I belong to him."
"We'll think of something," Akeno declared confidently, her smile returning to her beautiful face.
"I hope so," Rias muttered as she turned towards the corridor that led to their class. As she was about to head off, she felt something brush against her foot. She glanced down to see she was stood on a single, solitary piece of paper trapped under the heel of her shoe. The gentle breeze flowing through the corridor had caught it, causing it to brush against her.
She lowered herself to the floor and picked up the paper.
'This must have come from that student,' she deduced in her head as she rose up again.
"Oh dear," Akeno sighed as she looked at the piece of paper in Rias' hand, having come to the same conclusion as her. "He forgot something."
Curiosity getting the better of her, Rias flipped over the paper to look at the picture drawn on it. She wasn't someone who generally pried into another person's privacy, but sometimes curiosity got the better of her.
As she looked at the picture though, something overcame her and she found herself entranced by the strange image etched into the paper.
"What's wrong?" Akeno asked with confusion at seeing Rias' strange expression. She came to Rias' side and looked at the picture, a strange expression also forming on her face as she looked at it, unsure of what it was meant to be, but certain that something was odd about it.
"What is that?" she asked after a few seconds of silence.
"You feel it too?" Rias asked, referring to the small-yet-noticeable alien magic gently radiating off the image.
"How can I not? I've never felt anything like that before."
"Neither have I," Rias stated, folding the paper, stopping the flow of magic from it, and breaking its almost hypnotic effect on them. "One thing is clear though, there is more to that student that meets the eye."
She swivelled her face to look at her friend. "I'd like you to do some digging on that new student and find out everything you can about him, please, Akeno."
"Consider it done," Akeno replied with a short nod. "I find everything I can about him after class. I believe Sona said his name was Tennyson."
"Meet me back in the clubroom when you're done," Rias told her as she tucked the picture away in her breast pocket.
There was something strange going on with that Tennyson boy and she was determined to find out.
. . . . .
Kuoh Academy plaza
'Shit, Shit, shit!' Ben cursed internally as he stood to the side of the onslaught of students pouring out of school as they headed home after the end of another day of school, rummaging through his bag in search of something he was slowly realising was not there.
'Where is it?!'
During class he had tried to tidy up the mess in his bag which was composed of the stack of paper that had been shoved haphazardly in there after his encounter with the four senior students at lunch. While doing this, he found that he was missing one of his drawings, specifically the one he had just drawn today of the dream he had this morning.
He had never lost one of his drawings before. Not one. He had once, accidently, ripped a drawing in two when he first started doing his coping routine which resulted in that particular dream haunting him for intensely until he redrew it. After that episode, Ben made sure to take special care of each drawing he did and keep them safe, keeping them close to him to keep them safe.
When he started lying to his parents about the dreams, he became even more attached to the subsequent drawings in case they were ever found by his mum or dad.
"Fuck!" he hissed under his breath when he was forced to accept that the image was no longer in his possession. He thought back through the last few hours intently as he figured out where he lost it, finally settling on his near collision in the corridor.
Reaching this deduction, he darted back into the school at as quick a pace as he could without fully running (he didn't plan on being scolded again) as he returned to the corridor where he lost the drawing. When he reached the spot, it was completely deserted which wasn't a surprise though Ben was still frustrated by the fact.
'One of them must have picked it up,' he thought as he started picturing the four of them in his head, trying to work out which one of them it could be.
He recognised the student council president and her vice-president as part of the group he nearly ran into and, since it wasn't returned to him as they would've done, it couldn't have been either of them who found it which left the other two.
He had no idea who they were nor what their names were but he did remember that they were two of the most beautiful people he'd seen in his entire life with faces and bodies that movie and pop stars would kill for.
His mind was suddenly filled up with an image of the one he nearly hit, of her luscious crimson-red hair which flowed down her back like a beautiful sea of flames and her eyes which were a stunning blue colour that seemed to pierce through his own eyes into his very soul.
"One of them must have it?" he muttered under his breath as he began to think of ways to find out who they were and approach them.
Feeling a sudden feeling of being watched overcome him, he span around in its direction to see a completely deserted corridor. As sudden as the feeling overcame him though, it disappeared just as quick.
"I'm not going to get it back today, am I?" Ben conceded as he backed away from the direction of the weird feeling he felt even though the feeling was now gone.
"Excuse me, are you Benjamin Tennyson?" a feminine voice spoke up behind him, startling him and causing him to jump in surprise, spinning around to see a girl standing behind him.
She had short black hair which was usual for most of the students in Kuoh, brown eyes and wore the Academy's uniform for girls. She stood with her arms behind her back and looking at him with a kind smile on her face.
"Uh…hello," he said, unable to think of anything else to say.
"Hello," she replied, copying his greeting with a small chuckle at his awkwardness. "Are you Benjamin Tennyson?" she asked him again.
"I…uh…I prefer Ben actually," he told her dumbly.
"It's nice to meet you, Ben. My name is Julie Yamamoto," Julie introduced herself with a little wave of her hand, her smile broadening slightly. "I'm a member of the student council and have been asked to find you."
"You have?" he asked her, thinking of the possible reasons the council would ask for him. Was it about the running in the corridor in front of the president? Had he broken another rule that he didn't know about?
Could it be about his picture?
Ben's mind started racing at this thought. Had he been wrong with his deduction? Did the student council actually have his drawing? Was this them only now having the opportunity to return it to him? Did they have to wait until school was over before looking for him?
"Yes," Julie replied, answering his question. "The president asked me to find you for a very specific reason."
. . . . .
(At the same time)
Rias Gremory, devil princess and heir to the House of Gremory, was sat behind her large, oak desk, leaning back in her ornate chair, in the ORC clubroom as she pondered the strange event she encountered today with the new student.
As she waited for Akeno's return, she held the folded-up piece of paper which was the source of her interest in the new student, slowly twirling it, absentmindedly, between her fingers.
"I can't sense any magic from him, so how is it that this drawing is emitting such strange magic from it?" she asked herself for the tenth time since finding the picture. It frustrated her to no end that, until Akeno returned, hopefully with some answers, she didn't have an answer to her question.
The sound of the clubroom door opening brought Rias out of her thoughts. She looked over to see Akeno had finally returned.
"Well?" she asked quickly, turning her chair to face the raven-haired vice-president of the ORC. "What have you learned about him?"
"Quite a lot," Akeno revealed as she began to recount what she had learned. "His name is Benjamin Tennyson, the youngest child of Sandra and Carl Tennyson. They used to live in a town called Bellwood in America before moving to Japan after his father received a promotion for his job. Interestingly, the company his father works for happens to be your father's. Sandra Tennyson also used to work there as an accomplished translator where she met, and eventually married, Carl, quitting her job to become a devoted mother when she became pregnant with her eldest child, Jennifer Tennyson, Benjamin's elder, and only, sibling. They moved into their home in Kuoh barely a month ago where Benjamin was invited to attend Kuoh Academy while his sister, refusing the school's offer to join the college division, chose to attend Kyoto University where she resides currently."
"But what about…?" Rias began but Akeno beat her to it, continuing to reveal what she was able to learn.
"In terms of connections to the supernatural world, I was unable to find anything substantive that could explain how he came about the drawing he dropped. His cousin's family, however, live in Britain where they work closely with the Church of…."
"So how can this exist?" Rias sighed heavily, leaning back in her chair as she processed what Akeno had told her. While it was strange that his parents have both worked for her father's company was a little coincidental, it didn't explain the mystery she was trying to solve.
"How is it possible if he isn't aware of the supernatural?"
"I don't know, Rias," Akeno admitted with a slight shrug of her shoulders.
"What to do?" the crimson-haired devil mused with a heavy sigh. "We can't just find him and ask him about it, can we?"
"We may not have to," Akeno stated, placing the palms of her hands on the desk between the two of them. "As I was heading here with what I learned, I spotted him standing where we encountered him, figuring out that we must've taken the drawing.
"Hmm," Rias hummed, resting her elbows on the desk, clasping her hands together and resting her chin on her knuckles. "This might be just what we need to get some answers from him. We'll wait until he comes to us and ask him about it then…unless Sona sends one of her peerage for him first to chastise him for breaking the rules."
"We don't have to worry about that," Akeno informed her friend with a shake of her head. "we crossed each other's path and I brought up that suggestion as small talk. She told me that she didn't have time to have him brought to her unless he broke more rules because she was 'too busy'."
"In that case, we'll wait for him to approach us," Rias declared withy finality, dropping the subject for now as she and Akeno heard the other members of their group approaching the clubroom
. . . . .
Back with Ben
"Is it about the drawing I lost?" Ben asked, cutting to the chase.
"What picture?" Julie asked, tilting her head slightly to highlight her confusion at his question.
"Uh, nothing. So, uh, why did the council president send you?" he asked curiously, unsure of what the council could possibly want with him if it wasn't to return what he lost.
"I've been sent to act as your guide for your first week here."
This confused Ben as he thought back in search of any memory which mentioned such a process and couldn't recall any mention of it.
"Really? There wasn't any mention of that when I was invited to come here."
"It's a student council policy," Julie explained happily. "We're very proud of our school and since you are a new student, and a transfer student from overseas to boot, we wanted to do something more to help you to settle in here as quick as possible."
"And you're the one to help me do that?"
"That's right!" Julie exclaimed excitedly before a faint blush appeared in her cheeks and she adopted a sheepish expression, looking down at her feet which suddenly seemed much more interesting than their conversation. "Uh, that is, if you're okay with me being the one to take care of you. I really hope you do though. This is the first big task I've been allowed to do since joining the council and I really don't want to mess it up."
Ben couldn't help but feel bad for Julie.
"Uh, yeah, sure you can be my guide. It could be helpful," he shrugged.
Julie's face lit up at this and she beamed at him happily, startling him at her sudden change of expression.
"That's great! Let's meet up sometime tomorrow. I just wanted to find you today and sort things out before you went home. I'll see you tomorrow, Ben! I can't wait!" she declared before turning and walking away before he could say something in response.
"Uh, okay," Ben replied, more to himself than anything as Julie had already disappeared, leaving him alone in the corridor.
'What did I just agree to?'
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .