Disclaimer: I don't own Highschool DxD.

My Mind's Got Its Own Plan Tonight

Joshua looked, head slightly tilted, as the spar went on.

Margalo had perched herself on his shoulder, while Cheshire stood next to him in her cat form. Nagini and Morag watched from further away, since they were too big to really stand close by without getting in the way of a stray attack or something. Besides, the bird was there more because she wanted to be close to him than anything else and Cheshire… Well, Cheshire almost always was by his side anyway. The feline seemed to have decided that it was her duty to accompany him almost everywhere at almost all times.

He wasn't complaining though, it was always nice to have his familiars with him.

At the moment though, he was contemplating other things. One of them being how to better train the Fallen trio that lived with him. They'd progressed really well so far, he'd admit in the privacy of his own mind, but there was still quite a long road to trek through for them. As it was, he'd brought them up to a level that they now could stand on even ground with Rias and her peerage, as the spar was demonstrating.

That was as far as they'd gotten in the time they'd had to train under his spells for most of their days. After all, there wasn't much else for them to do except maybe lazing around. Joshua was fairly sure that they didn't dare do much of that, if any at all, for fear of him growing tired of their slow progress or something. He hadn't bothered to ask, but it seemed to him like a fair assumption.

It was certainly fast progress for them and in general, he was sure, but it wasn't enough. He wanted them to beat Kokabiel and he was aware that it'd be difficult. There was a reason why most people thought it impossible, people whose opinions mattered to him to boot. However, he didn't want to give up that goal.

The absolute bastard deserved a slap in the face like that, if nothing else. So, Joshua wanted to give it his best to make sure he got it. Ultimately though, if he failed, he guessed being beaten by a human might be insulting enough. Not quite the same as being beaten by the sacrificial pawns that he'd used and discarded that were also trained by a normal human, he thought, but that was a matter of opinion.

'I'm getting distracted,' he chided himself with a shake of his head. 'Focus.'

So he did, narrowing his eyes as a bolt of lightning passed through his chest courtesy of Raynare. He felt a spike of fear from the woman, but it went away when he didn't react. He'd reassured them that it was fine and to focus on their spar instead of him. If their attacks went at him, Set's blessing would keep him safe and if their attacks were too strong or directed somewhere else that shouldn't be hit, then he'd cast a shield to stop them.

'I could tweak the training spells up a bit, but that might be too much. I don't want to break them while trying to train them,' he mused with a hum that went unnoticed with the battle that was going on at the moment. 'Is there some other spell I could try? Some adjustment that I haven't thought of, maybe?' he wondered.

Some ideas did come to him, but those weren't going to achieve what he wanted. At most, they'd improve things a little bit. Furthermore, he was noticing something concerning in regards to his plans for the Fallen trio.

Their magic wasn't growing like it had before.

Sure, Joshua knew that any progress would slow down. It had happened to him too. Training and such had yielded much better results when his stats had been low. As time passed, getting stronger was more and more difficult.

What was happening with the Fallen was different though. There was something making that climb much harsher for them and Joshua wasn't sure what it was. It was slightly annoying, because it was happening with all of them and he had no idea what it could be. They were healthy and they were dedicated enough, if only out of fear.

And yet, they were reaching a point that made Joshua wonder if they'd stop getting better altogether.

Then his eyes narrowed as he watched them sparring. More specifically, he looked at Kalawarna as she pulled up to dodge an attack by Kiba, flying for a moment before dropping to the ground. Joshua didn't focus on any of that, however. No, he looked at her wings instead.

'Do those have something to do with their power level? A cap for Fallen with fewer wings? Maybe even Angels in general?' he wondered, narrowing his eyes as his mind started working. He knew that Kokabiel was supposed to have… more wings. He wasn't sure if the guy had six or eight or ten or whatever. He hadn't thought that important besides the fact that it seemingly marked him as an old Fallen or something…

But maybe there was more to it than that. Did the number of wings have more meaning than just that? Was it like a visual measure of how strong they were or how strong they could get?

He might have to look into that, with spells and senses, but also with information. He'd already gone through Fallen information to make the wards he was using to train them at the moment, but he'd have to re-check in case he missed something. If he hadn't, then… Well, there were things he might be able to do to get more information. New analysis spells, look more deeply into them with his sense now that he had something else to look for and…

'I might need to contact Azazel,' Joshua thought with a half-smile on his face. Before that though, maybe he should brush up on his Sacred Gear related spells. He was sure he could give the man something that would make it worth his while to give potentially dangerous information to Joshua.

Difficult but doable.

'Story of my life,' Joshua thought, his smile going the whole way and turning into something that gave the three Fallen, still sparring, pause.


[Aika Kiryuu]

"I just… don't know," she said, for what felt like the thousandth time in quite a short while.

"Understandable," Davis told her with a kind smile that reminded her of some of her favorite teachers. "You were quite roughly thrown off the deep end and told to make a decision on how you'd prefer to swim. Or, at least, that's how you feel, but it's not the case, Kiryuu."

"Feels like that," she repeated, feeling a weight that hadn't quite left her since Gremory had spoken with her and Issei. As for her boyfriend… Well, he was sitting with her, learning all that Davis taught them, and he was doing his best. Occasionally, he'd show as much commenting on something that even she might have missed.

However, she knew his faults very well and not being a great student was one she was very aware of, especially then.

"But it's not," Davis repeated in kind. "You have all the time in the world to decide what you want to do and all the freedom too."

"It's… Issei showed his Sacred Gear the other day at the Occult Research Club," Aika told the man then, growing even more nervous. "Boosted Gear, it's-"

"A Longinus, I'm aware," the man told her calmly, as if she hadn't dropped a bomb on him.

"It's… We've looked into it with Gremory's help. Boosted Gear wielders never live peaceful lives."

"And that might be true," Davis agreed easily with a nod, still looking like there was nothing wrong going on. Aika shared a confused look with Issei, her boyfriend even showing some hurt. It didn't take a genius to know why either. Issei looked up to Davis a lot and the man was treating the potential dangers and tribulations of his life like they were nothing. "But that doesn't mean you should feel pressured or in danger."

"And why is that?" Issei asked then, deciding, for once, to speak up himself instead of letting Aika do the talking.

"Because there's people in your corner, Issei. Gremory and Sitri are important, and they are invested in your well being," Davis explained calmly, but Aika frowned.

"That's only if we decide to join one of them," she pointed out and then Davis grinned.

"True," he conceded, still looking perfectly fine. It was getting a little infuriating. "But I'm also in your corner," he added then.

"You?" Issei asked, not understanding. Aika could relate.

"I'm a human magician, no Sacred Gear and no hero ascendancy whatsoever," Davis told them, which wasn't very encoura- "But I have friends in high places, several of them. I also have plans that would get me even more. I can pull the strings to keep you safe, Issei, for as long as you need to make a decision."

"You can?" Issei asked then, like a man that had finally been thrown a lifeline right before drowning. Aika could relate to that too, as she hung onto the man's every word.

"I make no promises, but I can tell you that I'll try. And not to brag, but I think I'm decent enough at the things I set out to do," the man told them. It was then that Aika noticed that his calm, friendly expression had shifted at some point. Instead, his blue eyes had frozen, turning cold and steely as they looked forward. His warm smile had become something sharper, meaner, more dangerous.

Suddenly, Aika could very well believe that this man was a big deal.

The kind of big deal that could threaten to make someone disappear and deliver on that threat.

"Thank you, Joshua-sensei," Issei said, visibly relieved.

"Anything for one of my best employees," Joshua replied, his entire being shifting back to friendly cafe owner seamlessly. "Now, I know you guys are stressed, so how about I prepare us some snacks and drinks?"

"I'd love that, but-" Aika said quickly before the man could stand up. "You said… You said you could help me learn magic, get me books and such, is… Is that offer still there?"

"Sure, is there something specific you want to learn or-?"

"Astrology," she answered before the question was over, making the man blink and tilt his head. "Is… Is that an option?" she asked hesitantly then. "I want… I always thought divination was fascinating, learning about the past, the present and the future, possibly finding out things that shouldn't even be possible to know about, I just…"

"Yeah, you definitely got the passion alright," Davis told her then, grinning… Not excitedly, but something like that, she supposed. "I'll admit I'm not overly familiar with divination magic branches, but I've heard some things. I'll look into it, I can tell you that. If there's books on it, I'll get them for you. If there's a teacher, I can get one for you too."

"I… thank you… But a book would be alright. I'm sure a teacher would be expensive and I don't have that much-"

"Nonsense," Davis waved off then. "You are Issei's girlfriend and if I can help the guy stay out of trouble by helping you get a handle on things, then all the better."

"Divination isn't all that… battle oriented though," she mumbled then, unsure if she should pick up something more apt for use in a fight.

"My main magic is defensive in nature. Placing defenses over an area. I've managed to do well enough for myself, even in combat," he told her, grin still in place. "All magic is dangerous, Miss Kiryuu. Especially those that don't seem to be. Those are the ones that will take people off guard, after all."

"You sound like a teacher."

"I should. I am a magic teacher," he commented, now looking amused. "Now, with a clearer head and less worries. Anything you guys want to learn about in specific?"


[Joshua Davis]

"That was faster than I thought," he commented, walking and looking around. The place he was being led through was a lot different from what expected. Then again, after House of Water, he hadn't been all that quick to come up with assumptions of how his destination would look like.

Still, he'd thought Grigori would look… different.

Not that there was anything really wrong about the place, just that it looked pretty normal, and Azazel didn't seem to do very well with the word. Evidently, Joshua didn't make a very good prediction there. Or, maybe and more likely, Azazel hadn't had much to do with the design of the base he was visiting.

"Lord Azazel was very eager to meet with you," the woman by his side told him. Penemue, she'd said her name was, Chief Secretary or some such was her role in Grigori. He wasn't sure how high up that was, but she did pull on some long lost memory of the series in his brain, so he imagined she was important enough to at least be mentioned.

Considering the rather… considerable size of her breasts, he was pretty sure that was a fair assumption, but he'd learned a thing or two about making guesses. It was also rather sad, that he could tell if someone might be important in the plot just considering how big their boobs were. Very sad indeed.

"I'm sure he is," he replied wryly. After all, he was sure Azazel had wanted him to get in contact sooner so that he could get access to more Sacred Gear spells and such. Unfortunately for the Fallen, he hadn't really been in much need of help and such before that moment.

He'd have said something else as they walked, but there was no need for such things. Sure, the silence was a bit uncomfortable, but he knew all about quiet and awkward moments. It was better to let them be instead of trying to fill them with even more awkward conversation.

"Joshua!" Azazel exclaimed as Penemue led him through one last door. "I thought you'd never contact me again. I was getting nervous."

"I'm sure you couldn't wait," he replied blandly, having his suspicions all but confirmed.

"You joke, but it's the truth, my friend," the Fallen Angel Governor said, making Joshua smile wryly. He wasn't sure he could consider the man a friend, after all. Sure, they'd had some good interactions regarding each other's projects and such but still… "Your contributions to my research have been incredible, I'll tell you, and you say you can give me more spells?" the man added immediately, a greedy glint in his eyes. "More information?"

"I can, but I need information myself for a project of my own," he said. Azazel's expression didn't really die, but there was a shift from excited and happy to something more… placid. The greed also turned into a knowing look that was quite… curious, Joshua would admit.

"Ah, those Fallen you picked up are reaching their plateau, huh?" the Fallen Angel immediately commented, making Joshua's eyes widen slightly. "I imagined it'd happen, but not quite so fast. You are either a very good trainer or they were better than I expected. I'll bet on the former though. I might need to ask for your method."

Unsurprisingly, he didn't seem very interested in that. Azazel was all about Sacred Gears, after all. Joshua could relate. Magic as a whole was all sorts of interesting, but he had a special fondness for Wards, Hexes and Boons.

"So, it's true?" Joshua asked, following the man into his office and taking a seat across from the desk. Somehow, it reminded him of some chats he'd had with Agnes. He wasn't sure how the woman would have taken that, however. "I'd read a few things that pointed in that direction, but I wasn't sure that was the case."

"The fact that the number of wings is more than just a symbol of how old an angel is and how strong?" Azazel supplied without a care. "That's hardly a secret, but I'm guessing you want more than that."

"I do."

"As far as I'm aware, both kinds of Angels can climb the power difference between wing numbers," the Governor told him, leaning back and talking freely as if he weren't telling Joshua things that he was pretty sure must have been some kind of secret. Or maybe he was wrong about that? Either that or Azazel was confident he wouldn't be spreading that information around. "However, it's much more difficult. About as difficult as a human climbing to the level of high ranked members of the three factions… Although I'm sure that's not a good example to use with you."

Joshua ignored the last part tilting his head. So, he was getting what Azazel was trying to say, even if he wasn't so sure of that comparison. The point was that a low number of wings worked as a negative modifier to their training after some point. That was annoying, but-

"Also, as far as I know, the only one that can grant an angel more wings is… Well, I'm sure you can guess," Azazel told him with a grin and a shrug. 'God, of course,' Joshua thought with a sigh.

"Well, that's disappointing," he replied then, shoulders dropping as he ran his fingers through his hair. "I'd still like as much information as you can give me on the subject. All the differences having more wings imply and such."

"And lose the opportunity to have a trade with you? With the things you are offering? No way I'll say no," Azazel told him, laughing as if he were scamming Joshua… Which immediately got him thinking, especially when he considered how open he'd been.

"You know what I'm gonna do."

"Of course I do," the Governor replied, sounding almost offended. "I'd be a disappointment of a fellow researcher if I didn't."

"You told me all that and are ready to share that info with me because you want me to do this."

"Why wouldn't I want you to?" Azazel asked, his grin widening even more, which Joshua hadn't thought was possible. "And it's not like I won't pay you a whole lot if you succeed."

"... This is why you were fine with me having the three of them, isn't it?" he noted then, making Azazel's eyes widen. Even then, the Fallen's smile remained firmly in place. "You are lucky I don't get offended easily. That was manipulative enough to irk me a lil' bit, not gonna lie."

"But you get your information, so everything's fine."


"Good luck finding a way to give a Fallen Angel more wings, Joshua."

"Luck's got nothing to do with it."



Kuoh was a town that was… interesting.

In some ways, it almost seemed like a city. In others, it barely reached town level. And above all else, it had an interesting and very much unexpected level of supernatural activity. It was also a somewhat new development, because people didn't know at what point, but she knew that Kuoh hadn't been the supernatural hub that it was now in the past.

Regardless, as the woman walked in the shadows, taking full advantage of the night, she wasn't considering any of that. Her mind was focused on a single objective and that was all she cared about. There were a number of things one could pick up in Kuoh and what she wanted was certainly far from the top, but that didn't matter either.

She had her priorities, after all.

The Satan siblings were interesting and somewhat easy targets, but she wasn't there for them. There were also a number of other interesting characters in their peerages and even some out of their peerages too, but most of them weren't important enough. Joshua Davis, for his part, hardly was found in the place, let alone late at night like it was the case.

Speaking off, as the woman continued on her way, she felt the wards wash over her. Not for the first time, however, since one had to pass through them long before reaching the town. Every step saw her stepping deeper under that trap and she'd admit to being nervous. The woman had made the trip several times already, but it never got easier.

The wards loomed over her like an indestructible dome. Walking through those was like being given entrance in a high security vault, somewhat exhilarating, but with the threat of the door closing behind her. The spells watched them for every step, like walking through a hallway that was covered in security cameras. Unnerving, but one had to do their best to ignore their presence, else she appeared more suspicious.

Then there were the hexes, sniffing around like beasts following a trail. Occasionally, the woman would feel them twitch, as if they were hounds barking at something that caught their attention. Adding onto that frightening picture was the presence of the non-detection oriented spells though. While the wards felt like a cage, a steel trap, the hexes felt like a pack of beasts circling around them, watching for a mistake, a reason, an excuse to jump forward.

She was still safe, whoever.

Her preparations and abilities worked well against those.

She knew how to hide, if nothing else.

So, the woman continued walking, getting closer and closer. Her goal was so close… Just a bit closer, so that she could get a good look and then she'd run far away from Kuoh. Far away from the imposing presence of Davis' spells, that's where she preferred to be.

And then, it happened.

It was subtle, like the click of a door closing. It was also loud, as if it had happened in a completely silent space. A new ward, small, unnoticeable for her until it triggered. The effect was anything but subtle though. All the spells came alive then. The wards blared like an alarm going off, the already firm feeling walls solidifying even more. The hexes seemed to come alive even more, the stalking beasts that they were suddenly charging for the kill.

The woman wasted no time before she started running away like the devil was on her heels, and she would know about that.

The hexes and wards ate away at her energy without a pause, like birds pecking at her reserves and needles sucking at her forces. She didn't stop, however, she couldn't, every second counted and every second could mean the end. The spells worked relentlessly, mercilessly, and in a matter of seconds she was almost without strength left in her body.

Fortunately, she was no weakling.

She was almost out of town, way before the spells finished her off.

Except, it wasn't that simple, because before she could leave, an invisible wall rose in front of them. Her fist flew forward instantly, crashing against the Shield Ward and cracking it. A second blow made the web-like fissures spread further. The spells were not weak, however, and they were repairing the damage immediately with their own power.

A third strike broke through the wall, and good thing too, because they were almost out of energy already.

'Just have to get away. Just a bit more,' she thought as she rushed.

It was not going to be that easy, however. A second wall appeared, just as suddenly as the last one and this one she didn't even feel before she crashed face first into it. The woman tried to strike through the barrier like she had done before, but her reserves were drying up and this one Shield was even stronger than the last one.

'So, that's it, huh?' she thought weakly, a self-deprecating smile on her face.

The defenses didn't stop there. More of them slammed down around them. More walls, more energy being taken from them, more force being applied on top of them and pushing them to the floor. A strong sense of dread filled her, telling her she shouldn't be where she was. The wards and hexes loomed menacingly over her, whispering that she should stay away, and she couldn't, because she was trapped.

Deterrent spells on a caged target, Davis was a bastard.

"Well, this is a surprise."

Speak of the devil…

She turned to regard the man as he walked up to her, just outside the cage. The blonde looked at her with a tilted head and curious blue eyes. He looked… vaguely interested more than angry or annoyed, but she wasn't sure that was a good thing.

"Nothing to say?" he asked then, seemingly genuinely wanting an answer. When she remained silent, he let a lazy half-smile form on his face. "Cat got your tongue?"

"... That was terrible," she replied, drawing a chuckle from the magician.

"Well, good thing we have other things to talk about besides my non-existent sense of humor, right?" he commented, running his fingers through his hair even as he kept his eyes firmly on her. "Kuroka?"

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

Well, that happened. This is one of those cases were I more or less actually know what's gonna happen, just not when. Good to see that sometimes I can predict my stories… a lil' bit…

Let me have this, ok? Shut up.

We'll all just ignore the part where the Fallen Angel side of this chapter came out of nowhere for me, ok? I wanna have a win and I'll have it, damnit. I said shut up.

Oh, and there's Aika and Issei too, I guess.

Anyway, I hope you guys liked the chapter.

Announcement: I've started posting some stories that I've written in collaboration with a Discord mod over there in the server. For now, it's sort of a server exclusive thing, but if we see that people like it, maybe we'll start sharing them in FFN for everyone to see. So, if you are curious, go take a look and tell us what you think.

As always, if you can't wait until next week for next chapter, there's up to three new chapters in my Pa tre on:

P a treon . com (slash) AdrianKing

Discord Link: discord .gg/UTDransjJZ

Random Question: Are you listening to anything right now? If so, what? I'm listening to "Darkness Before The Dawn" by Caleb Hyles, Lacey Sturm and Judge & Jury. For more detail, I'm listening to my weekly spotify recommendations.

See you.