Author's Note: Hello, readers! For now I am stopping writing chapters of series "Of things to come" and further chapters gonna be about my Protagonist's story from the very beginning of his path. Be so kind and review chapters, flames will be ignored.
Disclaimer: I don't own Highschool DxD or Nasuverse works
Chapter 1: Witch, vampire and devil meet-Wait, this isn't bar!
The Land of Shadows.
These were all the names of the Irish domain of the dead, or at least a specific part of it. A realm of neverending twilight, haunted eternally by wraiths and ghosts, voracious spirits that hungered for the very essence of life. Poor and pitiful creatures that forever craved something truly beyond their reach.
Yet, for however alien it may be to the modern world, it was not always so separate from it. Things used to be different, the veil between this realm and the land of mortals so thin that all it took was an errant step for some fool to wander to their doom. So few were still alive who remembered those days.
Scathach, Queen of the Land of Shadows, the Witch of Dun Scaith, was one of those very few.
Flat red eyes stared down upon the vast expanse of lifeless earth below, her seat of choice little more than a conveniently placed rock. Most apparent people of status would consider themselves above such a thing, allowing themselves to rest only on the finest and most luxurious of materials. But to her it mattered little. A mere seat of stone would suffice.
After all, what good were soft little luxuries to one of her skill and stature? To a warrior who conquered the Land of Shadows? To a slayer of Gods? To a woman who had become so steeped in death and battle that the reaper himself didn't dare approach her?
...It was amazing just how much zest for life a person could lose when death no longer became a concern. A revelation Scathach had become intimately familiar with.
So few things truly roused anything in her beyond a passing acknowledgment anymore. Naught but a glance before she went back on her way. No excitement, no joy, no surprise...nothing.
At least the outside world could still do something for her. Watching it all unfold like some grand play in the making. Nations born and unmade, the world shifting, the clashing of great armies in the field of battle. Or perhaps the subtle things, like watching the life of a specific individual unfold. Didn't the mortal media have a term for that last one? She thought it was called a...soap-somethign?
If nothing else, the innovations could be interesting. Commodities such as modern electricity and plumbing seemed so mundane now, but back in her own era they were practically the stuff of fantasy. And she was quite sure no one from her ear had ever found a way to send a man to the moon. And to think mankind was doing this all even in spite of Gaia's attempts to stamp them out like they a particularly stubborn virus.
Oh, but technology wasn't the only thing to change with the passage of time. Magic had changed as well. Or Magecraft, as many people called it now. So sad that it had become so much weaker, but that also caused the exceptional few to stand out. Several in particular came to mind-
"YOOOOOOOHHHHOOOOOOO! Ms, Tall, Red, and Gloomy! Guess who came by for a visit?"
Including one of the few people who could truly test her nerves. And so, releasing a sigh of resignation, she turned to her rather ... unorthodox guest. "Kischur Zeltretch."
Forcing herself to take a deep breath and exhale, Scathach turned to her very sudden and unwelcome guest. The Master of the Second True Magic. The victor against Crimson Moon. And the most singulary annoying prankster she'd met in centuries. "I believe I told you quite succinctly that you could only return here under VERY specific circumstances?"
The deceptively looking old man just flashed her one of his trademark smiles. She had come to dub this one as 'Prankster smile #3' , meaning he came her with something he believed she would find at least midly surprising. " Oh, don't worry my dear, I assure you THIS will be far more interesting than the Kaleidostick I showed you."
She nearly summoned a lance in her hand at the mere mention of that … THING! She still remembered the feeling of it trying to manifest its power in her before she managed to force it out . Followed by snapping it on her own knee. "Do not ever mention that creation to me again," she said , her voice eerily calm.
Fortunately Zelretch seemed to realize how dangerous that particular subject was, holding his hands up in a gesture of apology. "Right, right, I get it."
She continued to stare at him, red eyes boring holes into his own bloody crimson, neither glarenor playful expression abating. It didn't take long before she realized the futility of trying to cow him into submission, but, rather than cease her glare, she decided to broach the all important subject between them instead. "Why are you here ? And it BETTER be something good."
Zelretch crinkled his eyes closed in apparent disappointment, ending their little stare, though his smile remained. "Straight to the point as always, eh? Too bad, you should really learn to take your time with meetings like-"
The air shimmered in her hand and a long red spear materialized , the tip pointing straight to the man before her in a silent warning.
"-Or maybe not. Fair enough. Long story short , I have a bit of a favor to ask you."
Her right eyebrow rose at that . Really, a favor? THAT what he came here for? How could something like that be of any interest to her?
"Now hold on," he stated, seeming to feel her confusion. "I know it sounds strange , but just give me a moment to show you."
Scathach made to respond in the negative, but by the time her mouth opened Zelretch had clapped his hands an quite literally summoned something out of midair. Or, rather , someone.
"A boy?" she muttered in question. Because it truly WAS a boy of perhaps eight years at most, albeit a strange looking one. Silver hair and blue eyes weren't , to her knowledge , a common phenotype. To her knowledge they rarely existed outside those of supernatural ancestry, or at least through utilizing The Craft.
He seemed just as surprised at his teleportation in as Scathach herself, considering his frantic glances as he observed his immediate surroundings . Then his eyes turned to her and became even wider. She also thought she could see some recognition. Perhaps the old man had spoken of her?
"Allow me to introduce my young apprentice,"Schweinorg spoke up, gesturing to the boy. "His name is Reinherz, I won't bother with the rest because you've never been fond of formalities anyway."
Shifting her gaze to the Dead Apostle, Scathach kept her expression carefully bland. What did any of this have to do with a favor from her ?
Wait a moment …
"I ask that you would train this young man," he said, confirming her suspicious. "I know he might look small and pathetic, but I have VERY good reason to believe he'll grow up into someone truly impressive. With the right training of course."
"Allow me to be certain I heard you correctly," Scathach requested calmly. " You mean to say you came here, intruded upon my domain, all to ask me to train a CHILD?"
She didn't miss how the boy -Rein something, was it?- flinched slightly at being called a child. Seems he didn't like that.
"That's it exactly," Zeltretch admitted, face still holding that damned smile. "Good to know you were listening."
Her eyes narrowed by the slightest margin at his choice of wording, but he made no attempt to backpedal or change it. She had known this man for long enough to be aware of his most common conversation tactics, among them the little insults in choice of wording, and it was STILL something she hadn't quite been able to simply brush off.
"And if I say no?"
Somehow the old Vampire's smile became even wider at that. "Come now, Queenie. Take a quick look at the boy and tell me you'll turn me down."
Her eyes narrowed even further at his answer. He was leading her on, like he did with EVERYONE. Never giving a straight answer, just just enough information for people to want more and inquire on his own terms. It had always been infuriating to her.
Almost absently her eyes turned to the boy. Around eight years at the oldest, silvery white hair and blue eyes. Not the oddest appearance, but rare outside of lines with Magic in their ancestry, particularly in the modern day. Still not enough to truly provoke her interest.
Even so, she had a feeling there was more to him than that. Zeltretch was...complicated, even at the best of times, but he rarely got involved in anything unless it somehow provoked his interest. And she was certain the looks alone of the child before her wouldn't have been enough to perk it from him. There had to be something deeper, but WHAT?
After a moment of focus her senses expanded. People had become so limited in the ability to grasp the environment around them, limited only to their more tangible senses. But Scachach had come long before that, before Mystery and Magecraft began to vanish from the world. Back when the senses weren't confined to a mere five but an entire SPECTRUM of instincts and magical sensation.
And that was when she saw why Zeltretch had brought the boy to her.
He wasn't HUMAN No, wait ... he asn't ENTIRELY Human. The body certainly wasn't, but the soul, the self, decidedly was. The intermingling of energies and flows were so intertwined to the point that they barely seemed apart at all even to her finely honed ability to discern Magic.
But that wasn't what got her attention. What stood out to her, what shot this boy up from barely worth her attention to something of interest, was that these energies were all but foreign to her. HER, the Queen of Shadows!
Could it be the same for Zeltretch? Is that why he took the boy on as his apprentice? It would certainly fit with what she knew of him.
"Quite the sight, isn't he?"
She was broken from her thoughts as Zeltretch spoke out, turning to face him again. "Where did you find this boy?"
"Does it matter?" he asked, shrugging. "Either way, my request for you to train him still stands. I can certainly tell you the boy won't be boring. And don't worry about attitude, he's very mature for his age."
She didn't miss how the boy glared at him for the age comment. Could there be something else in play? Regardless, she was starting to truly take his request seriously now.
He wasn't wrong when he'd told her the boy could perk her interest. He was different in ways that she'd seen in only rare occassions beforehand. More than that, he showed POWER. Untapped, but still present and waiting to be harnessed. If he could learn to use it...yes...yes, this was certainly a FAR more tempting offer now. Still ... " Why would you not train him yourself, you are hardly infirm or incapable."
"Because I've stumbled upon a real GEM," he responded, his tone different. Whenever he spoke before there was always a playful hint, a glimmer of mischief in his speech. But now it was gone, replaced with something akin to...excitement? Exhilaration? No, not quite either of those, they just weren't strong enough. But she knew for a FACT that she'd never heard him speak like that before. "And when you find a gem what do you do? Leave it rough and base? Keep it around as a fancy looking rock? No. You need to get it properly prepared. Cut and polished. And for that only the very best will do. BOTH of the best. So, are you REALLY going to turn me down?"
His eyes bored into her own, the weight of his history behind his eyes. For the first time in her life Scathach could say she saw Zeltretch the Immortal Prankster become dead serious. Perhaps, more than anything, that was why she couldn't say no.
"Very well," she answered, somewhat reluctantly. "I will accept him as a student."
"Wonderful!" he exclaimed, bringing a hand down behind the boy and roughly pushing him forward. "See ya kiddo, take care of yourself and do what she says. TRUST me, she knows what she's doing, no matter how much it might look like she's trying to kill you." He turned and made to leave, a ripple in space just ahead of him. A foot moved forward for him to take a step before stopping, turning his head to look at the boy once again, this time with a gleam in this eye. "And whatever you do, don't ask how OLD she is."
Sadly, he managed to escape before she could issue a rebuttal. The edge of her gleaming spear shone in the air, right where the back of his neck had been. It had only taken one second.
She didn't seem to be the only one disappointed.
"Damn. I really wish I could've seen you kick him around for a bit."
Her only response was a sign of muted agreement. One day, all she wanted was ONE day where he would be just slow enough for her to catch him. But she knew that was something for later, and so she turned her crimson eyes to the boy.
He straightened up immediately, back going straight and his posture stiff. Somewhat, expected, all things considered. She turned to him, eyes not breaking contact for a moment. "You know who I am," She stated.
He nodded , and her eyes narrowed slightly.
"Then you know I do not take students lightly. If you expect to be learning from me, you WILL meet my expectations. Or I will send you back to him. And I will NOT be gentle."
He nodded again, posture still stiff. But his eyes hadn't changed, still hard and cold. How curious.
"Why are you here?" she inquired. "What is you want so badly that you would agree to this?"
He didn't answer right away. More interestingly, he actually broke eye contact with her , albeit briefly, as he looked downward at the ground. Hesitation? No, not quite. It felt like something else to her.
But it didn't last long, only for a few seconds. The he met her eyes again. "There's someone I want to reach."
"And what will you do when you reach them?"
Her expression didn't change, neither the apthy nor disinterest made clear on her face. Not even a raised brow. "And what will you do afterwards?"
Again, he didn't answer right away, this time his eyes traveling to the side. Unlike before, this time there was definitely an element of hesitation on his part, some uncertainty. Could he have truly not thought so far ahead?
His next choice of words confirmed it to her. "I don't know."
She shook her head slightly, showing her disapproval. "That's not good enough," she stated bluntly, words so edged with frost that they felt cold on the air. He flinched back slightly from them, not even noticing as she walked past him before standing behind the boy. "We will train for a week. I will not go easy, I will not be soft. You will come out of it stronger, or you will break."
She turned to see him again, crimson eyes pinning him in place again, like the glare of a terrifying predator. "And you will have an answer for me then. Or you will return to Zelretch." She readied the spear. "Your training starts now. Think fast."