Thank you guys for your awesome reviews. They are like having the perfect coffee on a Monday morning for me.
Glad that you all liked the stunt Naruto pulled. Also, I hope that the changes I made on the older chapters made the story more enjoyable. At least, they did for me.
Now, onto the story…
Disclaimer: Do not own Naruto or High school DxD; except for the story concepts.
A Different Beginning
"I can clearly see that every one of you wants to give your absolute all in the upcoming tournament. That is why, for the next two months, classes and assignments will be reduced by half. I expect all of you will utilize that time well."
The excitement in the auditorium rose again. Sona was no different. But to be fair, Sona looked to her side where Rias was sitting, she and her childhood friend knew about the tournament. So, the surprise element was lost to them.
While her eldest sister Serafall was not subtle about it, at least, she only told Sona the bare minimum. Thank the Satan for that. And as far as she knew, Rias' case was the same.
Yes, they knew that the tournament was to take place soon. A tournament where students were to group up and compete against others. A tournament where their values would be shown in front of the whole supernatural world. A tournament to see who was the best of the best out there from their generation.
What came as a surprise to Sona was how the gap between the devil students and students from other factions was handled. The 'Evil Pieces' the devil students possessed gave them an unfair advantage. She knew that the best approach would be to give something similar to the other students, a tool that would give them a power boost similar to the Evil Pieces. But she knew it was not easy. While the method sounded simple, implementation was another matter since there would be controversies if certain factions followed the Devil Faction's method. So, the other method, which she thought would be the way to go, would be to somehow put a 'lock' on their Evil Pieces during the tournament. A method, she was sure that not a single devil student would like.
But she just found herself proven wrong. Their principal, Khaoss, just announced that the 'Boost Pieces' would be given out to the non-devil students after they confirm their groups. But what really took her by surprise was how transparent and direct their principal was. In front of all the students, he admitted that the idea was inspired by the Evil Pieces and so he asked the creator of the Evil Pieces to help him out with an alternative for other students.
Of course, he also mentioned that the both Boost Pieces and the Evil Pieces would be going through multiple thorough examinations before the tournament; which was understandable.
"Before I conclude this session," Hearing his voice, Sona looked at their principal, "I want to inform all of you that from now on until the end of the tournament, I will personally oversee the security of the event as well as the whole campus."
The meaning was not lost, not to Sona at least.
The campus of Elemental academy was a combination of multiple floating islands. There was the large island in the middle where all the academic buildings were situated, surrounded by smaller islands which were used as dorms. Then, there were a few islands slightly far away where special activities would take place. As for the dorms, each dorm as well as the islands they were on was supervised only by their faction. Under normal circumstances, Khaoss would not intrude but it seemed like these upcoming few months would be different.
"But not difficult," Sona then subconsciously looked at Riser's group, "At least for some of them."
The auditorium became noisy again as their principal left. Sona stood up and looked at her childhood friend. She sighed mentally when she saw the determined look on Rias' eyes as she scanned the auditorium. Of course, just a glance told Sona that the competitive spirit was quite high amongst her fellow students but some had it more so than others. And Rias was one of them.
"I suppose we will have to cancel our joint training program," Sona said.
Rias looked at her and smiled, "I suppose. Are you going to our training room?"
The campus had no shortage of training rooms. They were large, fully equipped, and could be customized to match the need of the students. But she and Sona preferred the training rooms in their dorms. It was not that those were better in any way, quite the contrary, but it felt private and secure.
Sona shook her head, "I will check out the library."
"Oh~" Rias' eyes widened as she understood her reason, "The books you ordered have arrived already?"
"Then, let us meet at our usual spot, for dinner."
"Sounds good to me," Sona answered but she made a mental note to check up on Rias sooner than that.
With that, she exited the auditorium, her peerages following closely behind her.
When Sona was sure that no eyes were on her, she let out an audible sigh. The truth was that she was not that eager about the tournament. Yes, the tournament would be giving them an opportunity to make a name for themselves in front of the whole supernatural faction, something that she really needed to fulfil her dream… opening a Rating Game School that is open to all regardless of their status. She heard whispers, saying that all she needed to attain that dream of hers was the name of her clan Sitri and the connection of her sister, Serafall Leviathan. But she was not a naïve child. She knew that to realize her dream she needed power and prestige of her own, not others.
In that case, the tournament was the perfect opportunity for her. That was what everyone would say. While she would wholeheartedly agree, the problem was that not many were seeing the full picture.
While it was true that the supernatural world would keep an eye out for prospective individuals, what everyone would really focus on was those who would reach the very top of the competition. Now, usually Sona was no less competitive than Rias. But what her childhood friend was not seeing was that to reach that very top they would have to go through the two 'Juggernauts', Sairaorg Bael and Menma Uzumaki.
Sona had fought Sairaorg during the last rating game. It was an experience she would never forget. There was an old saying amongst the devils, 'Against overwhelming might, nothing matters'. Seeing Sairaorg bulldozing through her plans and tricks with sheer raw power, she understood how true those words were. Not just her, Sairaorg defeated every one of the competitors with ease. Now, just a couple of months later, they would have to face him again.
Yes, if it was Rias, she would argue that they should train harder to catch up to Sairaorg. But the thing was, during this time, Sairaorg was not the type who would play around and twiddle his thumbs. He would also train, harder than them.
And then, there was Menma Uzumaki.
So why she was putting him at the same level as Sairaorg?
Because she had seen how easily he had taken down Riser.
At the very beginning of the battle, Menma had created nude clones of Riser's peerages. Thank the Satan, he was gentleman enough to cover the main parts with smokes. Next he struck Riser below the belt when he was distracted. Last, he had struck him at the temple and knocked him out.
To some, it was a dirty move. To many, it was a short but entertaining fight. But to her, it showed how his mind worked. Menma started the fight with a distraction that he knew it was going to work on Riser. It showed that he observed his opponents, and he knew how to be subtle about it. Next was the combo, a strong kick on the crotch and a powerful jab at the temple. It was an old tactic to defeat a Phenex. Inflict enough pain for them to lose control of their power and then hit hard and fast to knock them out. Either Menma studied about that or he came up with that tactic on the spot. She had a feeling it was the latter.
And the funny part was that Menma won against Riser while having his one hand in his pocket and without taking out his katana. It was not overconfidence. She knew that look.
Menma was just sure about his skills and the gap he had between his opponent.
Sona sighed again. She was looking forward to the tournament but not going against them.
"Are you feeling well, Sona," Tsubaki, the Queen of Sona's peerage, asked.
She smiled at her. Tsubaki was one of the very few who knew how she truly felt about the tournament, "I will be, after I get those books."
Tsubaki let out a small smile.
The most important factor of the tournament, one that she was surprised no one was thinking about, was the consequences of reaching the top. Almost the entirety of the supernatural world would know about their achievements. But she knew, for sure, there would be some that would have nefarious thoughts about those who would reach the top. After all, the tournament would show who were the rising stars from which faction.
Sona closed her eyes and forcedly cleared her mind. She hoped she was wrong, and it was just her being paranoid.
Only time would tell.
Naruto looked at his reflection in the mirror and puffed his chest out, to make sure the necklace he was wearing was more visible. It was a simple necklace, a string tied to a red scale. But the value of the said red scale was immeasurable. After all, it was a red scale given to him by Great Red himself, a symbol of their newfound friendship.
Well, to be fair, it was not exactly a friendship he now had with Great Red. It was more like they were close acquaintances. But he knew that with time he would make Great Red say that they were friends.
How did he pull it off? A question everyone present there kept asking, even now. Other than Yasaka of course. She labelled it as a 'Naruto-thing' and moved on.
Well technically, she did not move on. She was quite angry at the stunt he had pulled. So, as he had expected, she had sent him to the couch. Usually, it would end there. But not this time. This time, he refused, he rebelled… he rejected the verdict, and took back the bed by force.
The hours of lovemaking that came after it… Naruto could not help but let out a perverted giggle.
The action he had taken against Great Red, yes, it was something he came up on the spot. But he refused to believe that it was a stupid idea. Because, at that time, when the question came to him – 'Why was it always about fight or flight?' – it became quite clear that they were looking at the situation with a narrow perspective. After all, even with all the infamy Great Red had, there was never a record of him harming anyone; not that he knew of.
With his mind set, he had approached him, not to fight or run away, but to talk. Now since Great Red was, at that time, not in a mood for a talk, he had to create a situation where he was.
And he knew exactly how to create that situation. It had to do with a discovery Naruto made when he had reached Godhood. He realized that for Gods and Goddesses food, baths, sleep… they became redundant. From a necessity, they became a delicacy. And that was why, many Gods and Goddesses would enjoy and appreciate delicious homecooked meals rather than expensive artefacts. So, why would Great Red be any different?
And there it was, his masterplan that he came up with on the spot, worked wonders. Great Red was so pleased with his tribute that he gave him a scale of his, a symbol that he was allowed to enter the Dimensional Gap any time he wanted. Of course, provided that Naruto would continuously bring him tributes.
His friends showed concern at the beginning that he would not be able to satisfy Great Red's hunger. But after seeing that Naruto was able to make Great Red have food-coma on their second day, they stopped caring at all.
It was a funny scene to be honest, the humongous dragon lying down on his back on top of multiple ruins, with his wings stretched out, and groaning.
"Ahh~ What a sight it was~"
"I hope you are not going to the meeting like that."
"I am trying for a yakuza boss look," Without turning around, Naruto replied to Jiraiya, "You know, that kind of 'Who do you think I am' vibe?"
"You have dressed like a subordinate, not a boss," Jiraiya chuckled as he came forward and buttoned his shirt. With a snap, he replaced the informal overcoat Naruto was wearing with a formal suit. Then he looked over his face, and a moment later, tapped his temple. Immediately, Naruto felt the object appearing.
It was borderless thin glasses.
Naruto looked at the mirror and adjusted the suit, "I look like a young CEO."
"Do you know the difference between a CEO and a yakuza boss?"
Naruto glanced at Jiraiya, "No."
"Precisely," Jiraiya grinned, "There is no difference," Then he gave Naruto another look-over, "That necklace has to go. Our aim is to create a harmonious setting, not to give them a heart attack."
Naruto pouted. Yes, Jiraiya, along with August and Amaterasu knew what happened with Great Red. Jiraiya took that information in a stride, but the other two…
"I know, I was not planning on it anyway," Naruto put the necklace inside his pocket dimension. He looked at his reflection one more time before dispelling the mirror, "Shall we then?"
Jiraiya nodded and extended his hand, his palm facing the ground. A teleportation circle appeared which was activated immediately, taking them to their destination.
Today, he was meeting the leaders of the three sides within the Biblical Faction. To be more precise, he was meeting two leaders and one second in command. This did not sit right with him. It was the Heaven Faction who pleaded with him to personally join the meeting and now their leader was the one who was absent. Yes, there was the apology, but it did not come directly from him either. Michael was the one who delivered it. Now, Naruto was not the type to poke into others' business, but he had a feeling something was not going right in the Heaven Faction.
Jiraiya also thought the same and mentioned to him that he would later investigate it.
They arrived at the island, one of those hidden islands used as the meeting ground for the supernatural beings. He was quite surprised when Azazel and Michael suggested having the meeting in Elemental Academy. Of course, he strongly opposed the idea. It was a sacred place for the children, not for them to use as a discussion table. So, in the end they chose this island.
The island only had one makeshift building; well, it was more like a large single room. When Naruto entered the room, he was not surprised to see the decoration being so plain. Everything was white. Jiraiya mentioned to expect this since it was the Heaven Faction who organized the island. Style and subtlety were not strong points when it came to the Angels.
Naruto came earlier than the appointed time, but it seemed everyone came earlier than him.
"Greetings everyone, I hope all of you did not wait too long."
Since it was a secret meeting of sorts, the four groups decided not to bring too many people. From his side, he only brought Jiraiya. Azazel had his second in command Baraqiel and a young man named Tobio. From the Devil Faction, Sirzechs Lucifer, Grayfia Lucifuge and surprisingly Serafall Leviathan came. Naruto was sure it would be Ajuka Beelzebub. But what really came as a surprise was that from the Heaven's side, all four great Seraph came.
"Of course not, King Naruto," Azazel smiled at him, "All of us just came earlier than expected."
Naruto returned his smile and walked toward the empty chair beside the large round table. As he sat down, he could not help but groan mentally. Other than Azazel, all the rest were either wary or uneasy. Except for Grayfia, even though she hid it well behind her mask of indifference, there was a spark of anger inside her. It was to be expected. And that was why, he was not so keen on attending this meeting.
"Thank you everyone for coming on such a short notice," Michael stood up and started, "And once again, I would like to apologize on behalf of our father. I know he wished to be here but for reasons we cannot conclude, he is unable to do so," For a moment it looked Michael wanted to say more, but then refrained himself.
"True, I would have liked if he was here," Azazel shrugged his shoulders, "But since the issue is of grave importance, I believe we should proceed," Then he looked at Naruto, the smile never leaving his face, "If that is alright with King Naruto."
Naruto just nodded his head.
Michael took a deep breath before continuing, "Thank you King Naruto for your understanding. Then I would like to start the meeting by clarifying why we are here? It is to create a combined taskforce whose objective is to capture Rizevim Livan Lucifer and retrieve the holy swords."
"If I may, I would like to use the term 'Stop by any means necessary' instead of 'Capture'," Naruto corrected politely.
Naruto was all up for giving people second chances or hearing them out. But he also knew there were some who were beyond saving, and there were some who just loved to see others suffer. As a hero, he had the luxury to at least try to understand his opponents. But as a leader, he knew that sooner some of them were taken care of, the better.
It was not worth it, to save a corrupted soul while condemning many innocent ones.
"On that," Sirzechs smiled, "We both can agree on."
"But, there is also the possibility of his possessing information that we may need," Azazel added.
"He will, for sure," Naruto answered, surprising everyone, "And that will be his bargaining chip the moment he is caught."
Naruto sighed as he noticed the glances being shared amongst everyone else. They were not comfortable talking over him, if so, then why invite him in such an important discussion. It seemed he had to take the lead. With his mind set, he lightly clapped once, gaining everyone's attention, "Let us get back on track, shall we? Our main objective for today's discussion is to decide on the taskforce whose primary goal is to stop Rizevim. Learning what is his plan, retrieving the holy swords and such, they are secondary."
"But those swords are sacred to our people," Uriel interrupted, but when Naruto faced him, he became abashed and looked away.
"I know, and so does Rizevim. Yes, we still have not confirmed if he is responsible for the theft of those swords, but the possibility is very high," Naruto sighed when he looked how uncomfortable Uriel started looking, "What I mean is that if Rizevim is involved, he would surely use the swords to throw us of the course."
"If I may, King Naruto, what do you think Rizevim wants to do with the holy swords?" Sirzechs asked, "Apologies if that sounded offensive."
"It is quite alright," Naruto met Sirzechs' gaze, "If Rizevim wants to start a war amongst all of you, then he would make a well-known fallen use the holy sword to kill a VIP devil."
"Why a fallen?" It was the young man, Tobio, who asked the question.
"Because, if I remember correctly, a Fallen Angel can still wield a holy sword unlike a devil," Naruto answered swiftly.
"And if he wants to involve your faction again?"
Naruto looked back at Sirzechs, "Executing multiple terrorist attacks and making them seem like they were conducted by," Naruto then looked away and pointed at all of them, "Your factions."
The room became deathly quiet again, but Naruto had no plan to go with the silence, "But that is why we are here, no. To create a taskforce whose purpose is to find and take care of Rizevim before any of his plans can be executed."
Easier said than done, since none of them had any idea what his plans were. In that sense, Rizevim still had the upper hand. Naruto just hoped that agreeing to this combined taskforce was not a mistake. He wanted to use this opportunity for the Avalon Kingdom to get close to the Biblical Faction. Of course, he would not leave this to chances. Jiraiya would have a squad of his own looking into the problem from a different angle.
"Now, let us get back to the topic at hand, to decide on who will be in this taskforce of ours?"
Somewhere in Sahara
All he could see around him was sands… a sea of sands. Of course, it was to be expected since he was in the middle of the world's largest desert… the Sahara. But what was not expected was the distortion in space, one that is caused by a 'Misdirection' spell. At first, he thought that the spell was so subtle that even those from the supernatural world would not be able to notice it. But a moment later he found out the truth. It was a spell so overwhelmingly powerful that it was impossible to sense. But he was not just anyone.
He raised his hand and started tapping on the air. It took a minute but then he found it. The space where the spell originated from. He smiled as he started walking toward that direction.
Surprisingly his son, Arjuna, was able to find out the location where Ophis was staying… more specifically, the locations. It seemed Ophis did not stay anywhere permanent. The worst part was that she was quite spontaneous making it hard to pinpoint her exact location. But Arjuna was able to narrow down seven spots she frequently visits. And as luck would have it, he was able to catch Ophis' energy signature when she entered one of those locations.
Of course, he did not put any monitor or observation spells of any sort in any of those locations; just a simple trigger spell. After all, he wanted to have a one-to-one conversation with her. While no one from their world truly knew her, many were aware of how territorial she could be.
So, why was he meeting someone so dangerous? To ask just a single question… why Khaos Brigade?
Everyone knew what happened, Great Red took refuge in the Dimensional Gap while Ophis was away. Of course, there was a bigger picture that all of them were missing, he was sure of it. But what really baffled him was why someone as territorial as her remained so unresponsive for so long. After all, Great Red took over the Dimensional Gap a few centuries back. The only answer he could think of was that she was afraid that a direct confrontation between her and Great Red would damage the Dimensional Gap. Then the step moving forward would be to figure out a way to remove Great Red without directly confronting him… A feat that sounded impossible, but then again, Ophis was also a 'Beast'.
With this came the question, something that he really wanted to know… what could she possibly gain from the members of the Khaos Brigade? He refused to believe that someone as old and knowledgeable as her would be so blind and naïve that she could not see the reality… that not a single member of her so-called faction was willing to help her.
He needed to know what her goal was since her faction created a variable that could later hinder his plan. Yes, it might not but there was a huge possibility, and he was not going to risk it.
He came too far to leave it up to chances.
He stopped when he felt the pressure around him suddenly spiking. It seemed he reached the gate… even though he was not seeing it.
"Time to face the music I suppose," He smiled as he bowed gracefully, "May I have the honor to have an audience with the one and only Infinite Dragon God."
For a brief moment nothing happened, and then suddenly the scenario around him changed. Teleportation so fast that even his mind could barely register what happened.
"What a terrifying power."
He quickly took note of his surroundings. It seemed he was in an underground ancient palace… something that, if he was not mistaken, Ophis had created since he was familiar with most of the ruins of all the cultures. And this looked like it was a mix between quite a few ruins.
"Egyptian tomb and a Hindu temple, what an odd combo."
Then he noticed it. Well, it was hard not to notice a gate of that size. As he got closer, the gate opened. And what he saw on the other side of the gate answered one of his questions.
"She misses her old home."
It was as if the gate was a portal that was connected to the world above the sky… to the space.
When he stepped inside, he knew that it was no illusion. He was really in space. To be more precise, he looked to his side, he was near Saturn.
"Ahh~ Seven locations that she frequently visits."
Then he saw her.
A girl with hair and eyes as black as the space itself, old enough to start questioning the wonders of the world, wearing an attire that was a mix between the old Victorian age and the present Gothic style.
Sitting on top of a floating rock, she had her carefree gaze was fixed on him. So ordinary looking… yet her aura was almost suffocating.
He bowed gracefully again, "Greetings…"
"Who are you?"
Simple question and yet it shook him to his core. There was no way she was not aware of who he was, unless…
"I sincerely apologize, but I am afraid…"
There was no warning, no provocation. She simply opened her mouth,
It was as if a switch had been flipped, he suddenly felt as if he was drowning. His vision was getting blurred, and it was getting harder to breathe. He tried to call for his power… all of it, but they were being removed even before they could manifest. No, even before his mind could even think about it. And, he felt himself drowning further.
It was a feeling that he thought he conquered. And yet, he felt that despicable emotion gripping his heart.
Suddenly, everything was back to normal.
He took a deep breath and calmed his heart. He glanced around and found himself at the same place.
"I thought you were dead."
Those words brought his senses back. His right hand automatically touched the middle of his forehead. And he was stunned to find out that his mask was removed. A mask that was even able to fool the Trimurti and the Core Stone was removed so effortlessly.
"What a frightening power."
"You did not answer my question."
He blinked once. Never in his life he had thought he would be wary of a little girl but here he was. He opened his mouth and immediately closed it. He had to be careful. One wrong step and she could simply tear his mind open and take the information she wanted.
Right now, many in his shoes would think that it was a mistake coming here but he did not since he expected this much. After all, the little girl in front of him was a 'Beast'.
"Apologies for not greeting you in my true form," He bowed once again, "But as you can see my real identity is something that I cannot reveal unplanned."
She did not say anything, just stared at him with that emotionless gaze of hers. It was quite unnerving especially since he now got the first-hand experience of what she was capable of.
Still, he knew what his next step would be. The first impression was enough for him to have a grasp on her behavior.
"I wish to help you retake your place," For the first time, he saw a spark of emotion in those lifeless eyes of hers, "My knowledge and my connection will dwarf the combined effort of your faction," He looked at her straight in the eyes and smiled, "Seeing my true self, you know it is true."
"What do you want in return?"
"For you and your faction not to obstruct my plan, in any way," He did not hesitate because he knew if he did, even for a second, she would tear his mind open; of that, he had no doubt.
"And your plan is?"
It was wishful thinking, but he had hoped that she would not ask that particular question. But he knew he could not avoid answering since the alternative was having the answer forcedly taken from him.
"Our world is dying. The Gods, the Divines, right now are nothing but leeches. Desperately clinging onto a glory that does not exist anymore, completely uncaring about the consequences of their actions," He let out a hollow smile and tilted his body slightly so that he could see Earth, "So, I want to end it. This era of diseased divinity."
With this, 'A Different Beginning' arc is over. As for the next arc, I want to have your feedback,
Do you guys want to see the tournament fights in detail or would you prefer more of a summary style and want me to focus more on Naruto's side?
The concept and the main story will not change. Just based on your comments and feedback, I will organize the chapters accordingly.
As for the 'DC fanfic', I will work on it alongside this arc. But my priority will be this story.
That will be all of now. Until next time…