Hiiiiii~ Another chapter is here!

Another late update im afraid, irl work made it impossible for me to spend too much time writing my stories.

Anyways, this marks the beginning of the Kokabiel Arc and its the arc im the most excited about! I've always wanted to see a certain scenario take place but very few, if any, fanfic chose this route. I won't spoil anything but be assure that everything will be very different from how it happened from canon.

Also, thank you to my newest patrons: Ray Gill, Tyler.V, Anonykor and Jacob Kerins. Y'all rock!!!

That's all,

Author NimtheWriter out!

Beta read by n1ch, Shigiya, Solitary heart and 8kagi


-Basement-

This morning was quite something. Not every day you would get such an intense wake-up call.

I felt a bit blue balled with Asia's interruption with Rias but I couldn't bring myself to be even a little angry with the young girl. She was just too innocent and pure for that. Even while having breakfast, the girl looked so radiant and happy that she resembled a cute puppy wagging her tail at the slightest attention.

Speaking of breakfast, just as Asia had said before, Kalawarna was her as well. I hadn't seen her for a while, so we had a nice reunion. Surprisingly, she didn't try anything lewd or bombastic with me and didn't even tease me like she always did in the past. The Fallen merely hugged me for a good minute, which I returned back, missing her as well before assuring her that I was okay. I think Azazel might have told her about my mission and how it went FUBAR. That must have made her worried sick, and I felt bad not going to talk to her and Asia when I came back. I procrastinated on such little things, and it caused many to worry.

"Are you sure that'll work, Asia?" As we descended below to the basement, I questioned the girl if she genuinely believed that Viser was redeemable.

Not that I didn't want this to be the case, but the woman had turned into a perverted abomination who ate humans for sustenance and tortured many for her own amusement. People could change, but should they also be forgiven for such heinous crimes they committed in the past?

"I'm sure, Hachiman-san. Viser-san can be saved." Even her tone was filled with conviction. She honestly believed that someone like Viser could be saved but forgiven? That's another issue.

A stray memory resurfaced in my mind… one where I stood in front of a funeral.

An empty casket with the picture of a tricolored man on display, surrounded by flowers. I gazed at the middle-aged man, crying with his wife at the foot of the casket. A father and mother grieving the death of their only child, a son who I was the killer.

I remembered being sent there by Scáthach, much to my dismay. Even while sitting at the back of the funeral, watching the procession, watching family, friends, mourn for him. I felt horrible, so guilty that it physically hurt, and I wanted nothing more than to leave the place.

But I also recalled the witch's words, "If you want to move on, then you must confess to the parents themselves. Take responsibility, and don't be a coward. Own up to your actions."

Was I even capable of walking up to them? To face the man crying tears of sadness over the death of his only son. To step up to the mother and tell her that I pierced their son with his own freaking weapon?

It felt like torture.

Was I truly capable of asking for forgiveness?

No, I wasn't.

I contemplated leaving the funeral after offering them my condolences. I felt I was about to get sick the longer I stayed there. My stomach churned, and my hands shook as I clenched my palms until they were piercing the skin.

But all of my courage crumbled to dust when I saw the father look at me. Thinking that I may have been one of his son's friends with my age, he gave me a nod of appreciation. As if he was glad that I came here to wish his son a peaceful afterlife.

It broke me, and at that moment—I ran away.

"Hachi-kun?"

I was forced out of my thoughts by Kalawarna. She, Asia, and I went together to check on Viser. Rias and Akeno had some work to do with devil-related affairs and were not able to accompany us. "Are you feeling well? You don't look so good." Even now, she was worried about my health.

"I'm fine, just thinking," I said to help relieve her of any worry or stress.

I worried her enough with my actions.

"You haven't told us much about what happened on your mission.. Azazel gave us the bare minimum of information on the situation, but not enough to get the full picture.." Well, that was indeed what happened; a good thing he didn't mention how I got stabbed by a cursed spear that nearly killed me. With Asia nearby, if she learned about this, the girl would definitely worry herself to death.

"I rather not talk about it right now… I promise to talk to you about it in the future. But not now… I just need time to process it all."

"Right, sorry, Hachi-kun."

"Don't be, I get that you're worried about me."

'Hey partner,' called Vritra after the conversation finished.

'Yeah?'

'You promised to help the dragon maiden with the Stray. Do you even know how to go about it?'

That was true.

How was I going to help her in the first place? Stray Devils are just Reincarnated Devils who had diverted away from their masters for their own selfish desires—though other times because they had no other choice. Without their masters to keep their powers in check, they become a significant threat because their powers went beyond their control. Viser morphed into a horrifying creature because she couldn't control the devil magic inside her without a King acting as a filter.

'Vritra, will you be able to handle an abundance of devil energy without any of us getting negatively affected?'

'Of course, I have survived the fusion of hundreds of my soul's copies being fused back with me. A mere Stray Devil will pose me no threat whatsoever.' he proudly boasted.

Vritra had a point, this shouldn't be so hard. If it didn't work, then at least Asia would sleep soundly knowing she tried her best… Hopefully.

We arrived in front of a dark cell. The bars looked abnormally large, with the interior being wholly lit with a dim light like something straight out of a horror movie. Bonded with dozens of chains at the very back was Viser.

At least, it looked like her.

I saw the familiar upper body of the naked woman, she had her arms bound by more chains, and her lower chimera body was also unable to move. The cell was surprisingly clean. It had proper ventilation, a small garden, and even a small aquarium.

"Asia… what is all this?" I asked the only one who might be responsible for this.

"Ah! W-well, the cell looked so dark and depressing before. I-I felt horrible for leaving Viser-san in such a place all by herself, so I asked Kalawarna-san to add some decorations so that Viser-san won't feel so bad in here. Oh! And I also fed her some bananas to stop her craving for human meat!"

The last part was said with joy as if she had overcome a significant hurdle in giving her food, which might've been seeing that she just fed a Stray.

And also, "Why bananas?"

"Because they are my favourite!" she exclaimed excitedly.

I should have figured as such, here I was thinking that there must have been some sort of hidden meaning or method behind Asia's actions.

"She can't even move."

Why go through all this hassle for someone who will most likely not care?

"That doesn't mean she should stay in a dark and cold place."

"Y-You…" Viser woke up.

Her voice was weak but far calmer than the last time I saw her. Her eyes shined brighter with more clarity and focus than her bestial hunger when Rias' group confronted her. I would have appreciated it if she was given some clothes, though considering how dangerous she used to be with her acid milk—I can guessed no one bothered to try until that was fixed.

"Yo, Viser… don't know if you remember me, given that it's been so long, but with the behest of Asia, I came to return you to your previous form. I make no promises, and this process might fail for all I know." she growled at me, the chains rattling, getting louder by the second.

Asia immediately went to calm her down.

"Wait! Please Viser-san, give Hachiman-san a chance. Please accept his help, he—"

"—Asia, let me handle this. She looks like she's about to lose it at any moment."

I could feel the bloodlust and feral anger coming off of her from here. I told them to let me in and cut off her chains. I was in no danger of getting killed by her, I could handle her easily back then, and with my current prowess, the gap had become far broader. I could even somewhat hear each of her heartbeat threatening to burst out of her chest with each step I took to walk toward the Stray.

Clank!

The cell door closed as I walked inside alone. Viser was becoming increasingly more agitated the closer I got, and by the way she was eyeing me, she was getting hungry. Not even the time when Rias first fought her was she this aggressive—guess the curse of being a stray had worsened her psyche. But strangely, she only became this way afterKalawarna and I entered the room, not when Asia stepped in first. The nun's effort to help the woman made her see reason for the moment, but it was a prolonged process and it will not last. So I decided to try an experiment to speed things up.

Her problem was an overabundance of devil energy that moved chaotically through her body. If the energy from the chess piece inside—which has already fused with her at this point—gets taken under control or emptied of all its stocked power, maybe, just maybe Viser can return to normal once again.

"Vritra, let's try using one of the newer Sacred Gear's abilities."

"[Absorption Line!]"

The black gauntlet appeared in my hand, and I fired the line to Viser, going around her waist and hanging on. The purple tongue was nearly unbreakable. Even Sétante using Gae Bolga's blade couldn't break it with a single attack. Viser was nowhere near his level, so she wouldn't have been able to do a single thing.

"Haaaaaaaaaargh!"

She immediately began screaming in pain as I started absorbing the demonic energy within her. I started slow, siphoning small amounts bit by bit, being mindful to not cause some irreversible damage or even accidentally kill her. This was my first time doing something like this. I was moving in blind with just the bare minimum of ideas.

"Is it working?" I asked Vritra, starting to strain from the slow process.

I wasn't feeling drained, but rather the opposite. My body felt bloated with the constant absorption of devil energy and it was getting very uncomfortable.

'I am… not sure. There is some resistance from the stray. It is interfering with the extraction process and slowing everything down.'

"Then we need to weaken her further."

My other original Sacred Gear appeared on my other arm and shoulders.

"[Delete Field!]"

A small dome of black energy expanded in the cell, covering only me and Viser. I didn't use the Isaz rune as it would have merely paralyzed her and not weakened the Stray.

"Uuur… Hugh… Kagh…"

This shook Viser a lot, her many legs gave out, and she was left dangling with only the chains keeping her straight. I increased the rate of absorption, the line glowing dark red by a large amount of devil energy seeping out of her. She couldn't muster up any more resistance as she was hit by both attacks.

"Look!" Exclaimed Asia, joy evident in her voice, "She's changing!"

To my surprise, my made up plan was actually working!

As she mentioned, the monster part of her started to become emaciated. One could see the flesh sticking to the bones and the cracking sound of something breaking within her. It was painful for sure. The woman didn't stop the muffled screaming for over the next hour. Her voice was hoarse, and if she continued screaming, her vocal cords would also become damaged if it wasn't for her devil physiology.

But it was working!

Her lower part shrunk considerably; parts of it had even rotted before breaking off.

Crack

Crack

"Almost done…"

It wasn't until another ten minutes that her monstrous limbs had been completely broken, leaving behind two pairs of pristine white legs. Though some traits remained, such as her sharp ears and pointy teeth, this was better than before. So I stopped, dismissed my Sacred Gears, and broke her chains. I caught her in my arms before her body could fall to the ground. I was a bit uncomfortable with her naked body, but given that this was a serious matter—I put such thoughts at the back of my head. Now was not the time to be a naive and flustered protagonist who would become a bumbling idiot by the sight of a naked woman.

It'd been overdone to death.

"Th… thank… you," Viser whispered to me in her weakened state.

Was she grateful for her temporary release from the amassed power or was she glad that I stopped the pain from absorbing her powers?

'I'll take it.'

Not like many would thank me in the first place.

"Don't thank me, I was willing to let you die back then. Even was planning to kill you, be grateful to Asia over here. She is the sole reason why you are alive right now. Got some bad news for you though... The evil piece is still inside you and is still continuously absorbing raw energy. I'll need to regularly absorb the energy to keep you from going all bloodthirsty abomination on everyone. So if you start feeling weird, then have Asia call me, I'll be here as fast as I can. For now, try to refamiliarise yourself with your human-ish body and please, don't try to eat people again—or else I'll really kill you."

"..."

{Break}

-Occult Research Club-

I handed the photo on Kiba's phone to Rias. Kiba explained that the sword in this photo was a holy sword fragment and explained how he managed to get the information. I added to what Kiba was planning to do afterward.

"A holy sword? At Hyoudou Issei's house?"

I nodded at Rias' words. Kiba and I decided to have a talk with Rias with just the three of us in the club. Kiba was much calmer than usual, but I could sense the underlying tension.

"Yes, according to Azazel, it might have had a hand in killing the previous overseer of Kuoh." Kiba even told her the case of the forbidden love between a devil and exorcist, shocking the heiress a lot.

"Cleria Belial…" she contemplated that name. "To think such a thing happened in Kuoh. A Devil and an Exorcist falling in love seem like an impossible reality. Both sides hate each other with a passion."

But I guess… There can be exemptions.

"It's kind of beautiful in a sense. Love can bloom anywhere and even between the most unlikely of people. I wonder if Onii-sama knows about this. If so, then why didn't he tell me anything?"

"It's not a guarantee that he knew about this first, Rias. Maybe he was suspicious but couldn't be completely sure. Not to mention, this is a major scandal that I do not doubt that both sides of the factions would go to any length to keep in the dark. Knowing about this piece of knowledge may have endangered you, and Sirzechs would not allow that to happen. For now, let's be happy that Kiba didn't go on a crusade against the holy swords all on his own."

The man in question shifted uncomfortably as he was suddenly assaulted by his king's ire at that reminder.

Rias and the Gremory as a whole saw their peerage members as their own family. They valued each and every one as if they were related by blood. Their greed twisted these emotions to an aggressive and over-possessive trait. Rias would go to great lengths to keep her peerage safe, even if it meant dooming herself—just like she was about to do during the Rating Game.

"Holy swords are the ultimate weapons against Devils. If we, the Devils, touch the holy sword, then we will burn ourselves as if we were touching lava. If we get cut by it, then we would die instantly, and leave nothing but ashes. It could be called the ultimate weapon for those who believe in God and see Devils and anything demonic, as enemies." Rias explained, then gave Kiba a harsh glare, making him squirm more under her gaze. Glad I'm not in his place, "The idea that you were planning to hunt for such swords on your own is reckless and idiotic, Yuuto. You let your anger cloud your judgment, and it would've gotten you killed."

The reason why he detested priests or anyone associated with the Church. The reason why he was so obsessed with the information regarding holy swords. He still couldn't forget about them. No, they played around with his life and killed his family afterward. It's not weird for him to hold an unending amount of hate and grudge against them. After finding out more about Valper and his twisted experiments, I understood his contempt for the Church, but I also disagreed with him, generalizing the actions of a few to the whole.

"Don't worry, Buchou, I was brought back to my senses after being kidnapped and brainwashed by Hachiman-kun over here." he said teasingly, trying to break the heavy atmosphere.

"Oi, don't stain my name like that. I was just trying to prevent you from doing something stupid."

"And you succeeded."

Rias didn't laugh, causing the mood of the room to become awkward.

"So the swords are in Kuoh…."

"That's highly debatable," I said, hoping that the situation wasn't as dire as she finished explaining, "There is no guarantee that Kokabiel would bring the swords here. Much less when both Azazel and Vali are stationed here. Even if the guy is a Cadre level opponent, we have a Seraph and completely broken Heavenly Emperor. It's not like he's arrogant to believe his plan to cause trouble here would turn out well—he can't be that dumb, right."

"..."

"..."

'Oh right, people CAN be that dumb.'

"Sona and I got a letter from the Church yesterday."

Oh no…

She handed me an already opened envelope with a letter inside. I opened the paper to read the content and grew wide-eyed. I really did jinx myself back with Azazel, didn't I? According to the letter, three representatives of the Church would be sent here to Kuoh soon. Two of them are newly fledged Exorcists and another more experienced one who will foresee those two on their mission. Even worse was that two of them will be carrying holy swords with them! Though they didn't specify anything for the third member.

Wasn't this a blatant provocation?

Three Exorcists in Kuoh… this was nothing but another ticking time bomb.

God, why do you hate me?


The next 5 chapters of Snafu, Harry Potter and my 2 Fate fics are already available on my With 4 more Broly chapters at /NimtheWriter.