Hello there! You may or may not know me, unless you read my other stories, but this is my 3rd story. So for those of you who are new to me and my stories, welcome! For those of you who are following me or my other stories, welcome back. And yes, I'm making another story. Don't worry, don't worry. Like I said with my second story, this story will not get in the way of my other stories. Those take priority. In terms of importance the stories would go: 1. Red Dragon Of Golden Light, 2. Red Dragon Of Stupidity, 3. This one. That doesn't mean this story will be dead for months at a time (like CERTAIN writers on this site). I will still try to update this story at least once a month like my other stories, which I update twice a month. So this story will still live well I'm just saying the other stories are more important. Anyway, this story came up as an idea after I received a challenge fic. My 3rd one! The first one I forgot because it was uninteresting. The 2nd one….was a lemon story...I'll explain later...And this one! Technically….You see, the person who actually sent me a challenge gave me one that was just waaaaaay too ridiculous and just kind of stupid. I'm sorry but if you're gonna send me a challenge fic send me one that isn't ABSOLUTELY INSANE. His challenge started as a Self insert/OC becomes Issei after dying. Which is unacceptable. I hate stories like that. So then I had him fix it and Issei was somebody who had his family killed at a young age but after that it was just INSANE. Having a Harem with like 10 or more members? Making the Devils into antagonists? Having certain characters as harem members just because you want it instead of it making sense? OP Issei? Issei has powers that don't make sense within the original universe?
I CAN'T! I'm sorry but I just f*cking can't! I absolutely detest stories that are so ludicrous that they can't even be written properly. Like come on guys can't we think of more original and simple ideas as a community?
Anyway, no hate to that guy, everyone has their own preferences I guess. But in the end we had so many disagreements about the story that it ended up just being an idea of my own and not even one he came up with. They were just completely different stories. He's not even the reason I thought of this story. It's thanks to my boy JC who wrote "Red Dragons power" (check it out) because it essentially has the same premise. It's just that having that talk with that guy convinced me to actually write this because he said "Issei has his family killed and awakens his Sacred Gear" and that made me think of JCs story so I just said "f*ck it I'll do it". So yeah.
I won't be naming the challenger because I don't want to put him on the spot but at the very least I'll say that without him I wouldn't have made the decision to write this so here we go. This one goes out to our boy JC!
(Lol, "two stories." Ah, what a young and naive lad I was.)
Speech = "..."
Thoughts = '...'
Sfx = Sound/SOUND!
Flashbacks = ("...")
In a town known as "Kuoh", there was once a normal family, living happily, in a normal house.
The family consisted of 3 members. The mother, the father, and the young boy - their son. This family was known as the Hyoudou family.
The young boy, despite being born into a normal family, unbeknownst to even himself, was a special case.
This boy's name — was Hyoudou Issei.
"Ise! Lunch is ready~!"
The one who called out for the boy was his mother.
She called to him from the kitchen of their home. A timer had dinged from the left side of the stove, indicating that whatever his mother was cooking up was done settling, and was ready to serve. Though she was already preparing the table, which her husband, the boy's father, was sitting at, she still received no response from her son.
"Iseeeeeee! ...Honey, where is Ise and why isn't he answering me?"
The boy's mother questioned her husband, wondering why it was she was receiving no response from her hyper, playful, loud, and food addicted boy when lunch was ready.
The boy's father, who was reading a newspaper in a stereotypical manner, simply answered her casually, while continuing to read.
"Hmm? Ah, Ise? If you're asking about Ise, he left quite a bit ago. Most likely he went to the park."
"What?! When was it that he left? He didn't even say anything."
"Mm... I think he may have left around an hour and a half ago? I didn't notice it right away either. He must've gone unnoticed intentionally."
The boy's mother glanced towards the door worriedly.
"..But to not tell us? It doesn't seem normal at all."
"Well, he has been quiet lately. Irina has just left and now he's all alone, after all."
"..That's true, but then, where could he have gone? Even if he's sad, even more than that, Ise does not like being alone. It wouldn't make sense for him to go to the park with no one.. I would've at least expected him to ask you to play with him a bit."
The father continued speaking to his wife as she set the table.
"Mm.. Maybe he went off to talk with that old man?"
"Oh, goodness no! I hate that old man! Such a dirty, perverted, person is a bad influence on my poor Ise. He should be arrested!"
"Hahahaha! Now, now, Kaa-san. Isn't that going a bit far? He is young. Ise is just trying to look up to someone. I don't see any harm in it."
"HA! —Are you joking? He is the worst role model there is! He is the last person Ise should be around! Don't you see that he is making Ise think of bad things? Just last month when we took him to the beach, all he did was make large, round mounds of sands mimicking Oppai, instead of sand castles like Irina!"
"Oh, come on! He's a boy. I'm sure I did something similar when I was younger."
"At the age of 6? I highly doubt such a thing. Not only that, but he's done worse! Just a week ago, when I decided to bathe him after so long, he asked me what was it that was inside my breasts! Then, when I told him it was nothing but fat, he asked if he could t-touch them!? Do you have any idea how ashamed I was?!"
"Hahahahahaha! I think you may be confusing "lecherous" for something else, honey. To me, that just seems like a child's curiosity. I like to touch your breasts and that doesn't make me lecherous."
"You're my husband."
"And he is your son."
To her husband's response, the mother gave an almost hopeless sigh of despair.
"Haah... Nevermind, you are a lecherous husband so it is useless."
"I am lecherous and he is curious. I see no difference."
"How do you expect him to take responsibility for his actions if you always take his side?"
"He's my boy. I will always take his side."
"And will you take his side if I have you sleep in the living floor?"
"Yes. Then I will just sleep with Ise in his room."
"And if I forbid you?"
"Then I will sleep with Ise in the living room futon."
"You would force Ise to join you?"
"No. But he will join me because he will not want me to be lonely. I know my son."
"HAAH... Such troublesome boys."
The mother sighed once more, finally taking a seat at the table. She sounded irritated with her family's actions, but she was smiling sweetly.
The subtle sound of rusted metal. An empty swing moving back and forth, slowly.
A boy was swinging on the next swing oh so slightly. Alone. Looking to his feet with a melancholic expression, his shoes not fully reaching the ground below him.
The boy named Hyoudou Issei.
"Ossan wasn't here today, huh…"
The boy said that meekly, to no one in particular.
It seems the person he had expected to see wasn't present. He was the only one in the park.
"...Guess I'll go home then…"
He spoke half heartedly to himself again. No matter how odd it would seem, the boy felt like there was possibly someone listening. Or at the very least, he never truly felt alone. He wondered why he always felt that way, despite his newfound loneliness.
Issei stood up from the swing and proceeded to make his way home in silence.
He felt odd.
For some reason, he felt like he wasn't at that park for that long. And yet, it was somehow already sunset. He had arrived at the park around 3PM. It couldn't have been that he was sitting there doing nothing for that long.
Not only that, but it seemed like there weren't many people around as well. Usually, more people would be at the park so that Issei could at least play with someone else while he was there.
But, this time, nobody was there, all day. From the time he arrived, to now when he was leaving. It's almost as if they were avoiding it. To be fair, not many people actually went to that park altogether, but there were some kids and their parents. Circumstances aside, there should be at least one family, or a couple kids.
As a matter of fact...it didn't even seem like there were people around in general.
Issei didn't see anyone outside of their houses on his way to the park, but that much was normal within a residential area. The problem was that you would see a car pass by the park occasionally on weekdays. People heading to and from work, or to the store, or elsewhere.
But he didn't see any cars today. He didn't even hear them. It was like he was the only person left on earth...
As Issei was walking home, he noticed something.
A pungent, and unfamiliar smell. An unpleasant smell.
But he could not pinpoint where it was originating from. Almost like it was all around him. It made him feel uneasy. He decided to walk a bit more quickly towards his home.
His home….wasn't this far...?
For some reason, even though he was walking down the right path, it seemed like he should've already reached the exit of the large park…. It was a longer walk than expected...
He felt incredibly uneasy. He felt like his instincts were trying to warn him of something.
Something behind him? But there was nothing there.
No, maybe it was something that was "all around" him. He certainly felt like that was the case. As if he was locked in some never-ending dome.
Issei's breathing became ragged.
What's going on? He wasn't tired. He was walking a bit quickly, but definitely not enough to warrant him being out of breath. The reason was simple.
He was afraid.
He doesn't know what it is that he fears, but he can feel it.
It's right next to him. It's over him. It's all around him. In this "dome" of a world. A world that never ends. A place he can't escape.
Just as he was feeling paranoid, the sky began to curve. It looked as if the evening sky was now visibly a ceiling. The path he was going down began curving upwards as well. Almost like he was peering over a hilltop that was gradually rising before. He could only think one thing.
—It was like a dome.
Issei started running. It wasn't a full on sprint, but nevertheless, the boy was making his way quickly down the path.
He was right. The ground below him was curved upward. The more he ran, the more he would just see more of the same concrete rolling over the top. It was as if the path was endless. As if the world was contained within some sort of fisheye lens.
He then felt something approaching him from behind. Yet when he glanced back, he saw nothing.
No, something was still there. The feeling of something, he can't get rid of it. What should he do?
As if answering his call, something 'indistinct' answered.
Not a voice, but more like a 'physical' response. It was like something was trying to speak to him, but subconsciously. Something that existed inside of him, but that could not be heard.
And yet, despite not having a voice, he knew perfectly what its message was:
(Run, you fool)
The boy was in a full sprint. He was running with everything he had.
He could feel It! "It" was behind him! Something was chasing him! It was closing in! It was right behind him! He could feel its presence with every fiber of his being!
He didn't want to see it. He wanted to keep his eyes shut. He didn't want to see the same path stretch further and further. He simply kept his eyes closed out of fear, and sprinted.
It was there! It was going to touch him! It was mere inches away! It was reaching out towards him! It's going to touch him!
And only one last feeling was surging through his body—
Issei suddenly tripped and tumbled over, falling onto his back.
He was looking up at the sky... It was no longer the same odd color from before, it just seemed like your average evening sky... It wasn't in any bizarre shape like a dome either, it was just his regular perception of a sky...
...And most of all, the "feeling" from before was gone…
He picked his upper body up to look around.
Issei was no longer in the park…. In fact, the park was behind him….. Somehow, it was almost 30 meters away, hardly even in sight... Had he really ran that far? But he was just in the park, wasn't he..?
That's right, he tripped over something. Issei looked down to whatever caused him to lose his footing.
—It was the corpse of a small dog.
He couldn't help but squeal. After what he had been through he was already paranoid enough. Now, there was a dead puppy in front of him.
Upon closer inspection, it looked like the dog had been crushed by something.
"Oh.. You must've been run over, huh, wan-chan…."
Despite seeing the corpse of an animal, Issei had calmed down a bit. It must have given him a sense of reality after the surreal nightmarish feeling he was experiencing earlier.
He decided to forget about the previous event out of fear.
The poor dog lay there, lifeless. The death was most certainly instant. It must have been a truck. It looked like it had been crushed completely over its midsection. After all, nothing else could have done something like that.
Issei stood up straight, despite the subtle weakness in his legs.
Oh well, there was nothing he could do now. The poor thing was long gone. The best he could do was tell a neighbor. He was in the suburban area now after all.
Issei walked over to the nearest house, without a fence blocking it off, and decided to knock.
Well, maybe he should've rang the doorbell first.
The cutesy doorbell rang, and Issei waited patiently for someone to answer the door.
That's odd. It seems a bit too easy to hear the doorbell from the other side of the door, doesn't it? It's not a loud doorbell, so for it to be heard clearly through the door was odd. That must mean the house is intensely quiet.
Not to mention, there was no answer. Could no one have been home? No, that can't be. All of the lights in the house were on. As a matter of fact… There we even light was peering through the door frame….
Issei pushed the door a bit...
..The door was open…. He wasn't able to tell immediately because it was almost fully closed, but indeed, the door was left slightly open…
Another feeling of fear came over him…
He wanted to go home….. But, something else urged him forward…. It was like he was comprised of two clashing personalities…. One telling him this place was dangerous, the other telling him he needs to check inside…. Possibly because…. There was someone there..?
Was it his instincts telling him these things?
It certainly didn't sound like anyone was in the house. So, why does he feel like there is? And why does he feel like that same "thing" from earlier, was telling him 'don't go inside'?
….His better judgment would've been to listen to the feeling and back away. Walk home.
But…. If there was someone in there, then…..why does it feel like Issei shouldn't leave them in here either?
Issei finally decided to open the door.
He didn't announce his presence. A wise decision, unbeknownst to him.
The lights were on just like he thought. The first thing he saw was the staircase leading up to the rooms, presumably. To his left, he saw a living room.
It was empty, but other than that, everything seemed relatively normal. The TV was left on, playing some random talk show.
A cat scurried by Issei's legs, running out the door. Well, if the family is here, then he might as well apologize for letting their cat escape.
The next room was to his right. It was a kitchen—
….A girl was standing there. She was standing near a kitchen table, staring at Issei.
She was a small girl, probably around 4 years old, with blue eyes, a brown haired bob cut, and wearing a large pink shirt that basically went down over her knees. But most of all—
—She was drenched in blood.
Issei approached the little girl without hesitation, despite his fear.
The girl stared up blankly at him. Her eyes were empty and dull, like a dead fish. Her expression was blank and she didn't move, aside from her head. She had her arms hanging down loosely, with a rabbit plushie in her right hand.
But why was she covered in blood? There was nothing in the kitchen that indicated anything bad happened.
And what kind of thing could happen that could bathe her in this much blood—
Bom Bom Bom..
The sound of heavy footsteps... Coming from the left of Issei, where another door was leading into the back section of the house was... Meanwhile, the entrance which Issei came through was behind him.
For some reason, he had the feeling that he would need to get ready to run.
That reason was..
A tall creature with an elongated body of black, leathery skin— No eyes and no mouth— ducked its head under the doorway it entered from. And in the grasp of its elongated, three-pronged claws - was a severed woman's head.
Issei grabbed the girl and ran outside of the house!
A blood curdling, ear piercing scream was let out from behind him. It was undoubtedly the monster's.
It screamed and yet it had no mouth!
The sound of glass breaking, originating from the house.
It's going to chase after them!
It's above them! It's running and jumping across rooftops! No matter where Issei takes a turn, it jumps to an adjacent rooftop and effectively catches up!
Only Issei's fear ridden mind ran faster than the monster itself.
'Run faster! Faster faster faster faster faster faster faster! FASTER!'
Issei was running with all of his might, but along with the girl's weight, and his previous sprinting, he was already at a disadvantage. It's hard enough carrying another child, when you are a child yourself.
—No! That didn't matter! This monster was certainly faster either way!
A monster! A real monster! Is this what was at the park?! Is that what was following Issei originally?! If that was the case, why didn't it get him right away?!
'No! Wait! If it's the one from the park..! Then I can outrun hi—!'
The moment that Issei's thoughts had become optimistic—
The monster had slashed his back open.
Issei tumbled over, while still maintaining his grip on the girl that was latched to his chest. He rolled over multiple times, sliding against the hard ground to a stop, smearing a blood trail across the street.
As a result of the attack, Issei was left discombobulated.
...Where is he? He doesn't even know. It had to be some neighborhood near his house... It wasn't far from here.. Ah, that's right, wasn't he running from something..? Why does he have this girl with him?
Issei sprung himself up and realized he was on sitting on the floor, with a searing pain and wetness on his back. His eyes darted everywhere around him.
'I can't see it! Where did—?!'
The monster suddenly landed on the ground ahead of Issei, cracking the floor beneath it. Slowly, it stood.
3 meters tall, and with an unnatural, elongated form. As if the creature was made from black skin and bone only. And slowly, it approached.
Issei tried to scurry back, but..
He was met with the fence of another person's residence.
Issei cried out in terror, hoping that someone would hear him.
Are there even any people around? Did this thing kill all of them? No, something like that couldn't be possible. Yet there was no one. Do they just not hear them? Do they not hear the monster's screams?
For all of that was happening, only one thing was certain.
—No help was coming.
Issei mustered up the last of his courage and extended his left arm, hoping to halt the monster.
Of course, he knew that was futile. The monster only continued approaching slowly, while clicking its fingers and head in a disturbing manner.
"I-I S-S-S-SAID STAY BACK!"
Was this it? Was this how Issei was going to die? Without even saying goodbye to his parents? Or the pervy old man? Or Rin?
Is this how he was going to meet his grandfather?
..He didn't even get to save the girl..?
—Something stirred within him.
'I don't want to d-die! Not here! Please! At least if I die here..! At least..! Not this girl..! Don't let her..!'
As the monster approached, clicking its body, stepping closer and closer - something moved. From the inside of Issei, something moved...
Click click click.
'PLEASE! Just..! Just..!'
In one instant, something inside of Issei..
A green light blinded the monster and forced it away from the two children.
The light was so bright and powerful, that it caused the monster to flee.
Its screams died down as the light did, and when Issei could finally see…
...There was nothing….
The monster was gone….
"...I did it…"
"I did it!"
Issei felt a modicum return to him after realizing the monster was gone.
'I don't know what I did, but I did it! It ran! I actually made it run away! I scared it off! Hahahahaha, yes!'
"Ah... Hahaha… I did it.."
Issei laughed tiredly.
For some reason, he felt truly exhausted.
His childish body could not keep up with the extraneous physical activity he forced upon himself. Not to mention, he felt even more exhausted after he stopped screaming. And his left arm felt heavy for some reason…
Issei looked down to his left arm in curiosity.
It was encased within a red gauntlet…
"...Eh?... What is…?"
Issei lifted the gauntlet. The green jewel set in the middle of it reflected the moonlight. The entire gauntlet glistened against the nights sky...
'This… What is this?.. Is this why that thing was chasing me? But then why did it run? And what was that monster..?'
[That beast was known as a "Nightwalker". They stalked the woods in northern Europe during the middle ages. They happen to be quite cowardly when properly threatened. Though, regular humans will most usually fall prey to them very easily.]
Issei immediately whipped his head in every direction, hoping to find the voice that spoke to him.
[Do not search for me. You will not find me.]
Issei felt chills run down his spine.
[If you wish to "see me", then look to the device located on your left arm.]
Issei hesitantly looked down at the gauntlet….
[As I said, you will not see me. I reside within you. This is merely the greatest representation of my current self. In other words, I am part of you.]
"You... You're..inside of me..? I'm...possessed?"
[No, I am not "possessing" you. Your body is your own. I have no control over your thoughts, nor your actions. I am no more than voice in your head. My spirit is sealed within your gear. Foolish boy.]
[—"Sacred Gear". Devices created by the Biblical God. This device is known as the "Boosted Gear". One of the 13 Longinus: god-slaying weapons. A Mid-tier Longinus, to be precise. As it is now, however, it will not display much potential. The fact that you were even able to unlock it through sheer will is remarkable on its own. Especially considering your age. Unfortunately, it does not seem like you are capable of activating its power yet. If you did, then you would surely collapse. Whether you would survive it or not is uncertain as well. Be grateful that the beast had fled when it did.]
Issei had no words. If anything, he had no thoughts either. Hardly anything the voice said was properly processed within his young mind.
[It seems I was the foolish one to believe that I would be able to have you comprehend such foreign concepts. Forget about what I've said for now. That can be discussed later. More importantly, you must find somewhere safe to hide.]
The voice's words struck fear in Issei.
"What?! Is it another monster?!"
[Quiet, boy. Do not speak. You may communicate with me through thoughts alone. You needn't announce yourself to anything else.]
'Eh? I can think to you? Oh..! Okay! What's the problem then— um..'
[I am the 'Welsh Dragon Emperor', "Ddraig". So you may address me as such when needed.]
'Oh..! Okay! Um... D-Ddraig...? What is the problem now?'
[Well, as of currently, there is no immediate threat within about 25 meters of you. The problem lies outside of that radius.]
'Um... Okay. How far is that?'
[Unimportant. The main issue is what, not where.]
'Oh, okay... Then, "what" is it?'
[Many things. Magical beasts of different variety, measuring in completely different levels of strength. The one you had faced was a pure weakling. Much of its power outside of physical capability was not threatening. Had those people not been measly humans they may have survived their encounter.]
Issei was suddenly reminded of the girl in his arms. She was unconscious. Maybe during the roll, or the initial mayhem, she ended up passing out. What was he supposed to do with her?
[Focus, my young partner. We have greater issues. If you do not find somewhere safe soon, then you will surely perish. There are many looming threats far greater than the measly Nightwalker. They are all moving in separate directions, randomly. They are most likely like-minded beasts with no true direction, wreaking havoc across this village you reside in. Tell me, boy. Is this a capital?]
'Uh... I don't know. This place is called Kuoh. It's my town.'
[I see. I cannot fully grasp the size of your town because you are too weak. Our connection isn't very strong at all yet. There is a limited range that I have with this body of yours. And even now, it is taking most, if not all, of my focus in order to create a "radius" for the purpose of keeping you aware. If our connection was stronger, or if your body was, then I would do more. But for now, this is the extent of it. So the greatest estimation I can make about how many "beasts" are located in your town is limited.]
'So… How many do you think there are?..'
[Hmm.. I cannot give you a proper estimate, but the unsettling truth is: You are surrounded.]
Issei's throat felt unbelievably dry. He couldn't even begin to imagine what else could be out there, even more dangerous than the "Nightwalker". He needed to find somewhere safe. He needed to go hom—
Issei unconsciously shouted.
His parents! That's right! Issei was so distracted by thoughts of self preservation that he'd forgotten about his mother and father!
[Your family? That is troublesome. If you truly care for them, then I believe this is more of a disadvantageous situation than I had thought before. They are normal humans?]
'Yes! They don't do anything crazy, or have anything like this! ..I think…'
[Hmm. I also do not believe that they possess any abnormal qualities. If they had, then at the very least, the mere exposure of it would stir me in my sleep, even if just a bit. I experienced no such thing.]
'Oh no! I need to get to them now!'
[I would not suggest that, partner. As it is now, I do not know the location of your home, as I have never experienced being aware in that specific location, nor do I recognize the presence of your family. Therefore, I cannot find them. You would be wandering aimlessly.]
'Just..! Can you find people?'
[Yes, I do believe so.]
'Then just find two people who are alone together.'
[Nicely thought for a child. Very well. I will try.]
Issei waited anxiously while Ddraig initiated a search.
[..There are multiple.]
[There are 3 directly west of you. Then there are another 2, directly east. West is behind you, East is ahead of you.]
'..So, east? That's...this way!'
Issei looked ahead of himself.
Indeed, that did seem like the direction of the house. So he can only assume they haven't moved yet. Even though he lost his way, he should know his way back if he reaches a certain street.
[Ah, it seems one of them disappeared.]
[Within the group of 3, directly west of you. One member of that group that I had detected seems to have vanished. They must have perished.]
That's right. People are dying. Just like this random girl's family. People are dying and there was nothing anyone could do…. Nothing Issei could do..?
'..D-Ddraig? You said this "thing"... This, um, "gear", does things right? ..Can I use it to k-kill those monsters?'
[Impossible. As you currently are, you will die in an instant.]
...Issei could do nothing.
'Why?... Why is this happening to us, Ddraig?... Why…'
[I do not have the answer to that, partner. I have never witnessed such an event either. It is odd for such an ensemble of powerful beasts to be in such close vicinity to each other. Their auras differ in magnitude and compatibility. Most of them feel as if they belong in different parts of the world. Something like this is not a spontaneous event.]
'Spon... What do you mean, Ddraig?'
[It means: This was intentional.]
'..?! Intentional…? Doesn't that word mean "on purpose"?...'
[Yes. There is likely no other possibility. You are in the human world, with the wrong beasts in the wrong areas, all placed closely together. This does not occur naturally.]
'...Who could've done something like..?'
—The image of the random girl's decapitated mother flashed through his mind. It was quickly replaced -- with his mother's own.
'I have to go! I have to find Mum and Dad!'
[Partner, I cannot guarantee that when you locate your family, they will be safe. I cannot focus all of my attention on keeping them in view. My first priority is to make sure you survive. The greatest advice I can provide is to tell you to hide yourself. If you cannot do that, then I will prioritize masking your presence, at the very least to the point where no beast will find you. And that will require practically all of my attention. I may not even be able to warn you when they do indeed get close.]
'I don't care! I have to find Mum and Dad!
[Very well. I will not be able to communicate with you as frequently or easily. You will need to be the one who initiates contact with me. Be sure to keep aware of your surroundings. I will not be the one to warn you of any incoming threats. Listen well to your surroundings, and look everywhere you plan to step. Move from shadow to shadow. Avoid open areas. Most of all, do not speak aloud. You musn't make any unnecessary noise, especially if you encounter any beasts along the way. Hold your breath and don't make any sudden movements.]
'That's a lot... But, okay! Here we go!'
Issei stood up and was ready to dash towards the direction of his house with the unconscious girl in his arms.
[A fundamental issue still remains, partner.]
'What is it?'
[The girl. I cannot mask her presence in any possible way. She is not optimal for your survival.]
Issei realized it with Ddraig's words.
That's right. The girl was still here with him. She's still unconscious and she is heavier than Issei realized. He wasn't focused on anything besides escaping so he had forgotten that he was running with another person in his arms. She is heavy. How was he even holding her before, let alone running with her?
'Oh no. What do I do, Ddraig?'
[The best choice would be to cast her aside.]
[It would be wise to abandon her.]
'...Y…..You want me to...leave her?'
[It is the wisest choice you have, considering your options.]
Issei ran, while maintaining his hold of the girl. He acted as if he hadn't even heard Ddraig's suggestion.
He stuck to the shadows and tried his best to stay quiet.
He took many different turns, preferring to cut through different adjacent pathways and only crossing streets when necessary.
—Issei's body felt absurdly heavy. His legs hurt, his back hurt, his arms hurt. Even his head hurt, thanks to the throbbing caused by his blood pumping.
'I want to go home. I want this to be a dream. I want to wake up. I want to go home.'
Issei continued running. He quickly crossed another familiar street—
Issei's body froze…
There was a sound. A vibration. A rumbling.
A deep rumbling that resembled a bellow….. Like the snarl of a beast…
'...Ddraig…. Where is that coming from?..'
[Yes, I hear you child, what is it— Retreat, now!]
The disgusting sound of something like moist skin... Something wet, like a squishing sound… But it was large. And it originated from directly to his right…. Morbid curiosity forced his head to creak slowly to his right…..
He was met with...
A giant, glowing red eye.
[Flee, you fool!]
Issei bolted without hesitation.
'Another one! It's another monster! Again! Not again! It's big..! Too big! Bigger than a house! Huge!— It moved! Its eye opened! It looked at me! It saw me! It had white skin! But I couldn't see its body! It was too big! Too close!— Run! I have to run!'
Once again, Issei was sprinting more than he ever had in his entire life. It felt like his legs would give out at any moment. Only his sheer will was keeping his body moving.
"Hah! Hah! Hah, hah, hah!"
[That's far enough, boy. That beast will not follow. You are no longer facing the east. You are heading north. Many of the lower beasts are gathered in that direction. Do not proceed.]
Issei forcefully halted himself. He attempted to catch his breath, but he could only wheeze painfully and violently.
"Haaaah!…. Haaaaah!... Haah!..."
'It hurts! It hurts a lot! It feels like my chest and head are being crushed!— Help! Somebody, please help! It hurts! Mum! Dad! I'm dizzy! I can't breathe! I wanna go home!'
[Calm yourself, partner. Your current position is not the most disadvantageous to us. There are no beasts in your immediate area. Nothing has found you, aside from the "White Whale" you encountered. But it will not follow you. Its body is much too large for it to waste its energy searching for something as insignificant as you, and I am already masking your presence. As long as your power does not spike, it will not sense you.]
'...What happens if it notices us?...'
[It will erase you from existence.]
How many times can one avoid death in such a certain amount of time, at such a young age, Issei wondered..
'...? ... Actually….. Aren't I….kind of amazing?...'
Issei wanted to praise himself for a moment, but there was no levity for him to indulge in just yet.
—A sudden feeling of the world crashing down on Issei's body.
'..?! Wha—?! Ddraig! What is..! What is that?! This feeling is..!'
Issei looked up, and what appeared in the sky was..
Lights. An overabundance of lights in the shape of something.
Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shin Shiiin!
They were circles. An seemingly endless amount of circles from Issei's perspective. All with different colors. And bizarre designs with unrecognizable symbols. They reminded Issei of symbols that a wizard hero would use in video games.
And from those circles of light, something began to emerge from each of them.
'..People! There are people coming out from them! They're floating! They—!'
'..?! W-What?! Hide!? W-Where?!'
[Anywhere, just hide. I will mask your presence.]
'W-What about the girl?!'
[I cannot hide or protect her, and neither can you. Your survival is only guaranteed if you cast her aside. If not, then hide yourself and simply hope they do not find you.]
Issei whipped his head around, frantically searching for a hiding spot.
He found some nearby shrubbery and hopped straight into it. He didn't consider abandoning the girl even for a second before hiding.
His breathing was heavy and ragged, which didn't move well for stealth. Fear began to pulse ever stronger within him.
—He could feel them. Now, of all times, he began to 'feel' the presence of various beings that surrounded the area. Not only could he finally feel all of the monstrous beings that surrounded him, but even more than that, he could feel the people. He could feel those floating people, emerging from the sky. Many of the floating people began descending quickly, flying off in different directions.
Most of all, he could tell they were likely heading in the direction of the various beasts scattered throughout Kuoh. Like a fleet, or a legion, they were in groups, flying towards different directions, hunting different monsters, presumably.
Issei also noticed that the largest group was sent in the direction Issei was just previously in. They were headed towards the giant, white one…
—A dark, incomprehensible feeling overcame Issei like a blanket. It was unlike any feeling he experienced before... Anger, or..?
'..Are...these the people who did this?...'
[Control yourself, partner. You may indeed be a child, but regardless of that, the Boosted Gear has just been unlocked at near full capacity. You will release pressure in response to strong emotions. Whether or not your body will maintain itself is the issue. I do not believe it will. That's why, you must stop.]
'...Ddraig?... Who are these people?... Why do they fly?... Why do they have wings?... What…are they?...'
Issei questioned Ddraig worriedly. The response he recieved was one of slight disgust.
There was once a time when Issei's best friend, Rin, had warned him of such existences. Something called "Devils". Those beings who "take the souls of innocents". Those who insulted the name of "The Lord". Those who "wreak havoc" and "disgrace the holy teachings"….
These were those same beings? They were real?
[Devils. What meddlesome existences. Our situation is truly a disadvantageous one indeed.]
Issei looked around the sky. Most of the "Devils" that had populated it were now no longer in sight. They must have scattered and went to the monsters. —No. That wasn't the problem. The problem was that he knew they were all around him, just like the beasts. Not to mention…
'Ddraig…. Those ones in the sky….. Those are….'
[Your assumption is correct. Those four figures that you see are indeed the most powerful amongst them. They seem to be surveying the landscape and providing intelligence, or relaying commands. I'm certain even a child like yourself can feel the pressure they emit, even from this distance. Amongst Devils, they are monsters.]
'...What happens if one of those finds me?...'
[You would perish within an instant. No resistance you could manage would reach them, even in your dreams. I daresay there are a few amongst that group that would have relatively no trouble dealing with that large beast you encountered before.]
'...I can't handle this, Ddraig...'
[You will die, should you refuse to. And so will your family.]
A loud roar interrupted the communication between the two. It was close. Ahead of Issei, a few shadows appeared above the rooftops of certain houses.
The sound of something being pierced, followed by a painful howl.
Then, suddenly, the large body of a beast crashed in the street in front of him.
'..?! Wha—?! It's dead! What did—! What is that thing even?!'
[A manticore... They are approaching. Do not move.]
Issei placed a hand sternly over his mouth in order to silence himself. Multiple figures landed near the corpse of the beast that struck the ground. Three figures, to be exact.
It's them, the Devils.
The trio stood around the corpse and began speaking to each other.
"How many have they identified?"
"Unknown. As it currently stands, they have only been able to spot around 50+ [Magical Beasts] in total. They seem to be evenly spread throughout the entire town."
"Dammit! This is chaos! How could this have happened?.. I've never heard of such an event taking place! How is it possible that someone could transport this many magical beasts of this calibre?! Even the [White Whale] is present! This is madness! Had it not been for the [Maou-sama] sealing this place off from the rest of the world, surely some catastrophic incident on a far larger scale would have taken place!"
Issei was confused by all of the unrecognizable terms and vocabulary that the "Devils" were using.
'..What?.. What are they talking about? They killed he monster and now they are sounding...worried? Did…they not do all of this?...'
While Issei was lost in his thoughts, the Devils continued their conversation.
"Indeed. What haunts me is the fact that if there was a being with the capability to transport such beasts, then why would they limit themselves to only a place like this? Why attack such an unpopulated area? Why not attack the underworld with this power? What sort of motive would drive them to bring the beasts only here?"
"Perhaps their range was limited?"
"That would be an illogical conclusion. They have the capability to transport an S-Class Beast such as the [White Whale]. Not to mention, the other SS-Class just south of us, the one that distorts time and space. Its spectral dome is practically inescapabale, but outside of that, its not as hard to contain as the Whale."
'..Is that thing they're talking about... Was that the monster that trapped me in the park?'
"Nevertheless, they aren't concerned with range. They must have an objective that lies within this place."
"A place of humans?"
"Yes. For an ideological objective."
"An ideological attack..?"
"Do not forget: the current [Lord of the Gremory Clan] was present for secret business before we arrived. It might involve that family."
"It is as he says! Indeed [Lucifer-sama] had mention of his father visiting this place offhandedly, when he was speaking with another Maou-sama! ..Could this be an attack from a separate faction? A declaration of war?"
"Not likely. It seems the subordinates of [Mephisto-sama] have already identified the magic that brought the beasts here was uniquely demonic in nature... This could be the act of a traitor."
"What?! A traitor, you say!? What sort of traitor would be capable of accomplishing such a feat?!"
"Not one. There has to be more. It would not be possible for one being alone. This is a group, not an individual."
"A possible attack on Lord Gremory's life by traitors…? Is it possibly the actions of a revived [Old-Satan faction]...?"
"Impossible! That faction is no more. An event like this is too chaotic to be considered a mere Civil strife! This mayhem was constructed for the purpose of sending a message! No other reasons could be attributed to the arbitrary killing of 100+ humans! For what reason?! It was ordered that the humans were no longer a target, by all sides! If this was the will of those in the deceased Satan faction, then for what reason did they transport so many dangerous beasts in areas not inhabited by anything but humans?! Why not only send the [White Whale] to the location of the Gremory household?! Why not bring it to the territories of the Underworld?! Is their only target the Gremory?! This attack must be symbolic! It's ideological in nature! But what message could they be trying to send?"
"Hmm... As I recall, the Lord of Gremory was also accompanied by his next heir to the Household... This territory is to be a gift from him to his daughter... Perhaps it involves that."
"But then why attack here?! Why not attack their home?! Were the Lord of Gremory and his daughter the prime targets?"
"No, no, wait... Think about it... If their target was really just Gremory, then they would have attacked the estate... But since they're really aiming for the Maou-sama, in an idealogical sense, what would be the best thing to attack? [Sirzechs-sama] cares for his family, but there is one person who he values above all else."
"..?! As I thought, this is symbolic! This attack is a message! It's an announcement! Someone is announcing their presence! They're saying: "We're here, Maou-sama", while aiming at the most important person to the strongest Maou..! It's likely the faction of the deceased old Satan, but perhaps a new version of it! Maybe a new group entirely dedicated to a similar cause, even!"
"But that leaves the question: what sort of group would adhere to senseless destruction that did not assist in their goals towards Gremory and Maou? As you said before, wouldn't simply make more sense to attack the estate, when the Gremory heir is still present there. Why wait until they come here to attack them, causing uninvolved innocents to die? It just seems so...chaotic.."
"..I do not know either... Something is still missing. I myself do not understand yet why they did not attack Gremory head on... Moreover, who would even be able to bring these beasts here?"
"[Demonic Power] was detected amongst the lower level beasts. However, none of it has been detected on those of great ability such as the Whale….. Which means the weaker ones were sent here by Devils and the rest... They could be the result of a Sacred Gear…"
"A Sacred Gear?! Humans working with Devils is..! Could they be trying to hide the fact that they are Devils..?"
"No... If that was the case, it would be more logical to just have the Sacred Gear user transport all of the beasts instead of just a few... This looks to be intentional. As if to mock us by saying: 'this is what our human ally can do'. Either that, or they're using reincarnated slaves."
"..But, a Sacred Gear capable of transporting almost Ultimate-Class beasts across different spaces, to and from the Underworld, in the possession of traitors….? What sort of catastrophe are we witnessing unfold..?"
"..What sort of enemy are we faced with?"
"That is not something we need to concern ourselves with. That can be discussed by [Beelzebub-sama] and his colleagues. We have already wasted enough time talking. Our first priority is to provide enough support to seal or capture the Whale, and any other high level beasts are also included."
"Ah, I'm afraid I must depart. My objective was to assist in maintaining a perimeter in which there resided no beasts. Those associates of the [Sitri organizations] are currently attending to any humans who are wounded. They are also rescuing those currently in danger. Once they have contained them within a certain area together, they will erase their memories and create the false narrative of a natural disaster. It should be accepted, considering the destruction and lack of connection with the outside world, as of currently. Indeed, if this were an attack on a highly populated capital, then the situation would be nearly impossible to cover up."
"I see. Good luck then."
"You two as well."
The Devils ended their conversation, seemingly as they were about to depart.
'Are they leaving?'
But right before they left, Issei's gauntlet suddenly shined and even seemed to release some energy. And the Devils took notice of it.
"..?! Did you feel that?!"
"Yes.. Behind us."
'..?! Wha—?! They found us! What just—!'
[Partner, drop the girl.]
[I revealed ourselves to them. I will not risk your life by allowing you to protect this girl any longer. Separate yourself from her. Just do as I say. They will not hurt her. Separate yourself and hide. Trust me.]
"It must be coming from there."
"Yes…. That feeling…. It couldn't be a beast..?"
'They're getting closer to us?!'
[Do as I say, boy.]
Issei closed his eyes in frustration, while the Devils approached him cautiously. The closer and closer they got, the more his fear heightened.
"This presence... A human?"
Issei finally released the girl and moved further down into the foilage, causing it to rustle.
"Wha—?! Who goes there?! Are you hurt?! Don't be afraid!"
[Don't answer. Be quiet. Hold your breath.]
Issei kept his eyes shut, curled himself into a ball, and covered his mouth. He could only distance himself a meter away from the unconscious girl. Had he moved any further, they would have noticed the distance between her body and the rustle.
One of the Devils finally approached and separated the shrubbery, revealing the child.
"I see..! It was a human after all."
The Devil pulled the girl out from the shrubs and held her in his arms.
"She is alive, but unconscious. She must have hidden here and passed out. But that energy…. Could she possibly possess a Sacred Gear?"
'They….can't sense me…?'
Issei breathed a silent sigh of relief.
"Nevertheless, I shall take her to the Sitri's associates. Remain vigilant, you two."
The three men— No, Devils, extended black leathery wings and flew off. One in a separate direction from the other two.
'What is going on?...I didn't understand any of it….is this their fault or not?...Why is this happening to us?...'
[Do not concern yourself with that now, partner. If you wish to find your family, now is the greatest time. Though, I still do not recommend it. This "perimeter" that the Devils have created may not stretch as far as your home. That place may now be infested with other beasts. At the very least, I can say that it is not as clouded by beasts as the North is, but I suspect it is still the second worst place to be.]
Issei immediately jumped out from the shrubs and ran towards where his house should be, not caring for Ddraig's warning.
'Mum! Dad! Please be okay! I'm coming home, so please be okay! Please!'
—His body felt heavy. Heavier than ever before. He couldn't believe the physical stress he was under. His entire body was on the verge of collapse. Pure will was what was moving him.
His sides hurt. He was hungry. He was exhausted, mentally and physically. He was hardly aware of anything around him anymore.
This really did feel like a dream. It was surreal. It didn't feel real in the slightest. But that's okay. When he saw his parents, it would all be alright. He would wake up when he saw them. They would have breakfast and his mother would comfort him after his bad dream. He knows it.
He would apologize for everything he's done. He would be the greatest son ever. He would make his parents proud. No more perverted stuff from the old man. No more pranks against his aunts and uncles. No more being sad about Rin. No more difficulty making friends. No more troublemaking.
He'll take that martial arts class his dad wanted him to take. He'll ask his mum to color coloring books together with him like when he was a toddler. He'll kiss him mum every morning. He'll hug his dad everyday. He'll never ask for anything he doesn't need. He'll never cause problems for his parents ever again.
He'll do all of that, and more. That's why..
'That's why, please be okay!'
Out of nowhere, Issei slipped and lost his balance. He landed flat on his back.
He groaned in pain. If he wasn't already in pain from the physical stress, then he was hurting now.
And his back was wet..
A liquid. A thick, almost "sticky" liquid. It smells.
Issei lifted his hand. He couldn't see the color of the liquid because he was currently lying in the shadow of a house; the moonlight couldn't reach him from his position. He put his hand up to his nose and tried smelling the liquid.
...Copper? A familiar "copper-y" smell.
Issei lifted his upper body up with a small groan. He could feel the thick liquid seep into the back of his shirt and shorts. It was on the back of his legs too. It was in his hair. All over his back. It felt gross.
Once again, he decided to put the liquid up to his nose. It does smell familiar.
'Doesn't this smell like…..that girl I saved—'
The sound of something cracking. A different sound to the cracking of wood. It sounded more like..
—Issei slowly turned his head to the right, opposite of the house that was blocking the moonlight to the left of him.
He caught sight of a tree. There were little monkey-like creatures sitting on one of the branches. One of them was eating something small, like a grape. The branch they were sitting on had vines hanging from it too.
But…the vines were dripping wet.
In fact, they seemed more like rope than vines…. They were bumpy and thick…. And they're torn at the ends…
The liquid dripping from the rope…. Issei followed it to the ground. A thin streak of moonlight gave the tiniest bit visibility to the things on the ground, including the liquid that surrounded them….
Human torsos and blood.
The thing that was below the tree, and Issei's body, was blood.
The rope was human intestines.
One of the little monkeys holding a grape, took a bite out of it.
—It was a human eyeball.
Issei violently vomited onto the ground. The vomit mixed with the blood pool on the ground below him, only disgusting him further. He hadn't eaten in maybe 8 hours and didn't make it to lunch. And now, he threw up his breakfast, the only thing left in his stomach.
"Haah…! Hah..! Hah.."
He was wheezing painfully. His dry throat now burned, and his stomach was empty. He didn't get a good look at the deceased mother of the unconscious girl…. But now, he didn't need to…. He was able to get his fill of death properly.
[Partner, distance yourself from those beasts. They are small, but as a normal human, they are still a threat. They travel in groups for a reason. They are feasting now, so they should ignore you.]
Ddraig's words repeated in his head.
Issei placed a hand over his mouth, as if to instinctively prevent something from escaping it. He felt the urge to regurgitate again. Probably nothing would come out, just some saliva and mucus, maybe.
[Now, partner. Let's go.]
Issei stood up unsteadily. His knees almost buckled under his weight. Whether that was because he felt weak or his body felt heavy, he didn't know. He didn't care either.
All he felt, aside from physical stress, was fear and despair.
The sight of the dead only reminded him of the possibility of his parents no longer being alive.
'No! I'm home! I'm almost there! Just one more minute! I'm right here!'
He was right. He was just a street down. He was practically limping at this point, but he could make it. He turned the corner...
'There! There it is!'
He could see it. His house was down there, on the right side of the street. He could see it a few houses down.
He was almost there. Issei was almost home.
'I'm home! I'm home! I made it! Mum! Dad! I'm here! I made it! I'll never make you mad again! I'll be the best son in the world! I'll always make you happy! I promise! So please! Please!'
He threw the small fence of his house open and limped as quickly as he could, towards the front door. It was closed. Nothing was broken. Everything seemed intact. In fact, it looked like the entire neighborhood was alright.
'It's okay! They're okay! Mum! Dad!'
He slammed the door open.
The house was empty.
He looked around. —Nothing was out of place. The TV was off unlike the other house. The lights were off. He didn't smell anything rancid.
"Okaa-san! Otou-san! It's okay! You don't have to hide anymore! I'm okay! There's no monsters around! Are you in a closet?! Are you upstairs?! It's okay! It's the real me!"
He ran upstairs and frantically searched the rooms. His room was empty, nothing in his closet. He went across to his parents room. This was the most logical place to be. Their closet would be the obvious choice. He approached it and slid the door open.
'They were saved!'
That's right. The Devils had been "saving" people. They most likely already have been extracted. Issei breathed a sigh of relief. It looks like he'll have to rest in the house by himself then.
Bom Bom Bom Bom..
Issei slowly descended down the stairs.
He was so unbelievably tired. Maybe he should eat something? His parents might be mad at him when they see him. Actually, the Devils said they'll have no memories, so they'll just think that something like an earthquake happened and he was away during it. They'll probably cry a lot too. Or at least, his mum will. His dad wasn't always the most expressive type.
Ah, that's right. The play area. He didn't check there.
In the back of Issei's house, there was a play room. It's a room he played in when he was little. He kept all of his toys there. Nowadays, he plays games and watches TV in the living room. So now, that area is just a room that leads to their backyard and has all his old toys. It's past the kitchen.
"Aaaaah…. I'm hungry…"
Issei stepped into the kitchen and saw some food made. It must've been lunch. He just threw up so he'll just eat something light, like the rice.
After deciding to serve himself some, he sat down at the table and ate it quietly.
He could see a bit of the play area from the kitchen. Or at least part of it. With everything that's happened, he has thought a lot about his short life. So he was feeling randomly nostalgic.
Before he knew it, he had finished the rice within minutes. That was enough for now.
"I gotta get going.. I have to see where they took Mum and Dad. At least I'll stay in the safe area those Devils set up. Maybe even I'll be able to save some people…... Actually…. Maybe I'll just sleep in the living room…. Everything hurts…"
Bom Bom Bom..
Issei made his way to the playroom out of nostalgic curiosity. He could see his old box of toys sitting at the corner of the room. He couldn't see the middle of the room from his angle though. Not until he turned the corner, at leas—
The only thing visible, in the middle of the room, was a pond of blood with a severed human hand resting in the middle of it.
"Aaaah….. Aaaah….. Ah…"
Issei groaned robotically, before he fell to his knees.
"Aaah…. Aaah...? Aaaaaaah..."
The hand was inherently feminine. Soft light skin.
—And wearing a wedding ring on its finger.
The household known as the Hyoudou family—was no more.
[Report: Large earthquake reported in southern Japan. Areas most affected were Nagoya and Kyoto. Kyoto was relatively undamaged. Nagoya had minor damages. A small town known as Kuoh, located near the outskirts of Nagoya, was the most affected area. 112 reported casualties. 108 dead, 4 injured. A major tragedy.]
Woooh! That's the first one out! Was NOT expecting this first chapter to be this long. But I just couldn't resist. For some reason more and more came to my mind as I was writing. That's passion for you. Man I love starting new stories. It's always like that. Anyway, as I said before this story is a challenge/inspiration fic. Although saying that feel like a lie because literally everything that happened here was my original plot. So the closest thing to inspiration is the fact that Issei's parents die in both this story and my friend JCs story. Other than that there's like NO similarities. And there's absolutely nothing left from that guys challenge either. This is nothing like it.
Anyway, tell me what you guys think and what you think is gonna happen next. I want to hear all your thoughts about this story. So go ahead and let 'er rip.
Read, Rate, Review go crazy.