Well, here we go. This is an idea for a fic I've had floating around since I finished up the story of Disgaea 3. Specificaly, when I Youtube'd the Almaz ending.
It had hurt to watch.
So I thought about what the next step he could take would be and, a few weeks and several pages of depraved, maddened scrawls of plot later, this resulted. Then I took months to actually post it.
It's my first fic, which I'm writing for a few reasons.
1- To flesh out my storytelling chops.
2- To create a plotline and follow through on it (with foreshadowing and cliffhangers and running gags and everything!) and, of course,
3- For kicks and giggles.
Should be fun, folks. Hope you enjoy!
disclaimer: Nippon Ichi (N1) characters are Nippon Ichi's characters. All I own is an idea in my head and a pocketful of dreams...
Fail to the King!
Tale of the Pure-Hearted... Overlord?
Chapter 1: All Things Considered...
Looking back, the advent of the new Overlord's reign had gone rather well. It is said the notoriety of an Overlord can be measured by the number of assassins sent to hunt him down, and at the moment, only one single kunoichi was dashing silently through the Deans offices, who was frankly rather confused.
There was a really good reason her confusion, not to mention the grievous lack of assassins. I assure you, normally standards would be much higher than this but, in the words of the Vato Brothers when interviewed after the fact, "Eet's been a preeetty weird week, ese."
Things had settled down after the initial chaos and rioting ignited by the declaration that the new Dean of Evil Academy was, in fact, a human Hero. That is, it had settled down to normal levels of chaos and destruction- the school had a reputation to keep up, Hero Overlord or no!
Riots were fairly common among the student body- in fact, the entire school had been engulfed in a free for all when Lord Mao and his allies went to face the terrifying Super Hero Aurum. This was a fight against Justice! A fight for Anarchy! A defiant struggle against the forces of Good! Then, after Lord Mao stormed out of the Dean's office, a handful of troubled vassals at his back and a furious shadow of anger dancing on his face, the entire school stood still. Silence rippling through the Netherworld in his wake as the news spread that something was wrong.
And not the good, everyday, honour-student's-misdeeds-wrong.
Then the news came that Lord Mao's group had defeated the Super Hero and ended his reign of order, demons across campus rejoiced in celebrations... which became decidedly awkward when they heard about their new Dean. Turns out that, upon defeating Aurum, Lord Mao's former slave- Almaz was his name, right?- had in turn betrayed Mao and claimed the throne of Overlord for himself in startling honour student fashion. Who knew the wuss had it in him?
Of course, hearing that little gem, the Netherword imploded in on itself.
Not literally, of course, but it's a good description of what happened. Pandemonium exploded outside the gates of the Overlord's castle as demons rioted and rampaged in protest. All across the Netherworld demons gritted their fangs and fingered their weapons, itching for chances and excuses to revolt. This wasn't like the revolt against Aurum's brainwashed lackeys, this wasn't chaos born from defiance. It was chaos born from fear, a fear the student body would never admit. They were afraid this new Hero Overlord would be the same as the terrifying Super Hero, that Almaz would finish what Aurum began.
Of course, fighting him would have been much easier if he had actually showed up to the riots. No, the Hero just stayed holed up in the Deans office, protected by the former Overlord's defences, leaving the demon warriors outside to loiter menacingly (or so they hoped) outside the gates and ninjas bouncing off invisible walls in their efforts to break in.
"I mean, seriously, how long does it take this guy to finish gloating?" said some of the second year rioters after a long day of fighting. They were crowded around a bonfire outside their classrooms, barbequing some of the tastier looking lower classmen they had faced that day. "Maybe it's a human thing? Or a plot to deceive us?" asked another, a samurai wearing a yellow bandana around his neck.
"No, don't you see?" said a silky, commanding voice. The second years turned to see their year head, Master Big Star approach their circle. Flourishing with practiced elegance, he looked each of his vassals in the eye. "He is a Hero, deception is beneath him." He paused, a perfect rose held to his nose as he pondered for a moment. "And considering the Hero in question, it's probably beyond him as well."
"So, what, are you saying we should support him? Mao's usurper?" growled the samurai, frustrated after the days fighting. "Sorry Master Big Star, but there's no way I'll trust a Hero, especially after Aurum brainwashed so many of our allies. Isn't that what our war was about? Opposing the oppressive Heroes?"
The sophomore leader merely chuckled. "No, Jericho, our war was to preserve our freedom, to ensure our lives followed the paths we carved ourselves, with the help of our friends."
"But how do you know this hero won't-" Jericho's protest was cut off by Big Star's elegant laughter.
"Listen to yourselves? Do you not trust me? I joined the fray to test this Overlord, not to destroy him. Almaz has made no movement to oppress our chaos. Since I know him to be an honourable soul, his inaction is not a deception but…" Big Star paused dramatically here to snatch a glance at his vassals, a hand placed lightly over his heart. Enamoured? Enraptured? At the edges of their seats? Check, check and check. "…But rather, it is acceptance of our ways, mayhap even encouragement. Let us return to our dorms, friends, and follow the wind. Perhaps he shall deliver a golden age to the Netherworld? But fear not, my dear comrades," he concluded, casting an assured look of confidence to his soldiers. "Should it transpire that the Hero's intent is sinister, he shall know where to find us- among the battlefields of his demise!"
The demons cheered and celebrated, excepting Jericho and some of the other demons, who squirmed in their seats but couldn't deny his logic. The same was happening across the Netherworld, with tensions gradually loosening, partially, of course, because demons have low attention spans and were getting really bored but mainly because it was becoming more and more obvious that their new Overlord had no intentions whatsoever of turning the school into a delinquent haven, brainwashing honour students or declaring war on their carefree existences.
In fact, the truth was that Overlord Almaz had no intentions of affecting Evil Academy in any way at all…
Or leaving the damn throne room after his 'victories' over Aurum and Mao…
Or uncurling himself room the fetal position he had scrunched since then…
Or, you know, even doing anything at all.
A few of Mao's soldiers had stayed behind to try and rouse him, as well as drive off the few teachers and Diez Gentlemen left behind in the wake of the battles. When day two of Almaz's mental shutdown rolled around however, the remaining guardians collectively shrugged and said "Screw it". Almaz would have been impressed by their coordination, but might not have appreciated them leaving him curled up alone in the throne room.
It didn't occur to many in the Netherworld that humans, even those promoted to Overlord, have a nasty tendency to wither and die if they don't eat or drink for half a week…
It only occurred to one to actually do something about it. It would really be a shame if the new Overlord were to die, after all. Well… of starvation, at least.
Which is why there was one single kunoichi was dashing silently through the deans office hunting for the Overlord, very confused about her mission. Letting her feet guide her, the ninja thought back to her orders…
"So, what, a top-secret mission to infiltrate the castle, track down Almaz and… babysit him?"
"Just… track him down and watch his back. Humans are fragile, they break easy, or so I've heard. I don't want some two bit honour student wannabe cheap shot him before I… Just stand by his side and guard him. You'll be paid well, I assure you. You know the way, right?"
The kunoichi nodded. "Of course. I was there during the storming of the castle and final battle, as well as…" Here she hesitated fractionally, but continued as if she had merely been taking a breath. "..The aftermath. I was there after the former Dean's declaration. But I… why do you even care?"
"How was he, during the aftermath? Smug? Arrogant? Proud?" her employer asked in turn. She thought it was a rhetorical question at first, but his silence demanded an answer.
"No… he was devastated, for some reason. After everybody left, he just… I don't know, became shell shocked. Wouldn't move or anything. Must be a human thing. But he's not in any danger, he's more powerful than any of us, plus we drove off all the Diez Gentlemen-"
"What about Aurum?"
She froze. "No… the Super Hero lost hard, he probably… ran away… right? Besides, he wouldn't attack a defenceless, comatose Overlord… right? Goes against, ah, that delinquent thing, what's the word… principles. Delinquent honour."
"What if Almaz doesn't snap out of it? What if he starves to death?"
"Is that why you told me to bring you those snacks?" the kunoichi exclaimed, jerking a finger to a bag full of buns, cup ramen, soda and the like. "I thought you were just hungry! Give me a break, it would take at least three months for somebody to die of starvation-"
"For a demon, yes. For a human, three days would be closer. Humans are fragile after all."
"What? But- It's been almost four days!"
"It has indeed."
"Would he really… could he really be that stupid?"
"He can, and something tells me he is."
She edged towards the food, then shook her head again. "But why? Why do you even care? Wouldn't it be better for everyone if the Hero was dead? And why me?"
Her employer grinned knowingly. "Demons live freely to their hearts content. Since when did you start caring about what was supposedly best for everyone? I want the Hero to survive for my own reasons, as do you, I suspect."
She had stiffened at this, and cursed herself afterwards for displaying her emotions so clearly. What was the point of masking your face if your body gave away your feelings so openly?
"I'm not a delinquent, nor a hero fanatic. I defeated Diez Gentleman Gorillian the Effort Ninja myself, so you can't question my loyalty."
"Heh, exactly. You're loyal, both to your superiors and your friends, which is exactly why I'm sending you to aid him. I don't want him cut down before things get interesting, but I can't act directly myself. You understand, don't you, Aria?"
Aria nodded, sighing inwardly. There was no point in arguing with him- he had outmanuvered her protests and cut off all means of escape. Thus, as the ninja way dictated, there was only one option left to her. Face forward…
"Alright already. I'll go."
… and face this disaster head on.
Spotting the Deans office, the throne room, up ahead, the ninja slowed her run, becoming more cautious. Glancing around, she adjusted her grip on her spear and sharpened her senses in case of an ambush. Finding no immediate threats or signs of life, she slinked through the massive doors that were still left ajar, exactly as they had been when she and the rest of Almaz and Mao's soldiers left the new Overlord curled up on the floor a few days ago.
'Okay, scout around for Almaz's trail,' Aria thought, giving a preliminary glance into the room, 'then it's a simple matter of tracking him down and IS HE STILL LYING THERE?'
Sure enough, there was the new Overlord, clenching his white coat like a safety blanket in the same way he had been since the battle, lying in the same spot. She hoped he had at least blinked during the three days. "Lord Almaz…" growled the kunoichi, approaching the curled up, non responsive Hero. "Why the hell are you still lying there? You had better not be dead, or so help me…" No response. She nudged him with her foot, then kicked him out of irritation. Still no response. 'Okay, this is kind of worrying…'
She rolled him to his side, and winced- the most miserable, pitiable, puppy-eyed look in the known universe was frozen onto his features, pathetic misery etched into his face the likes of which Aria had never seen, never before been subjected to. It was a maelstrom of exaggerated sap and despair, so powerful and pervading that it overrode all of Aria's mental walls and instincts and reduced everything she knew at that moment into two simple options:
Comfort the source of misery, or destroy it.
Being a demon, the choice was rather easy. Almaz's expression had a much needed appointment with her fist.
"SNAP OUT OF IT YOU MELODRAMATIC SAP!"
A thunderous crunching sound resounded across the hall, the unmistakable sound of a skull clearly thicker and tougher than stone violently carving a crater in the pristine marble floors. The violent impact jarred Almaz's pity parade, as he blinked and spluttered, hands flying to his face to nurse his nose and skull injuries. Disorientated, he blearily glanced around the room for his attacker, his blue eyes meeting Arias' furious red ones.
"A-Aria? Is that you? Who just-?"
"I did! What exactly is your problem? You're the Overlord now!" Aria hissed, circling around a cowering Almaz like a bird of prey. "Don't you get it? You've become the most powerful, influential person in the Netherworld, something anybody would kill to be! Have killed even, and will kill for soon if you don't get your crap together!" She rounded on him, glaring at him with hellfire in her eyes. Almaz was caught like a sabercat looking down the cannon of a Baciel. "You didn't even have to betray your crazy Hero ways either! You became Overlord because you did, Grendel strike me down, the 'right thing'! You should sitting on that throne, grasping the Netherworld with your iron fist! Declaring absurd laws and national holidays! Or, hell, even just celebrating with that princess of yours! Instead you're just-"
"…" Almaz's gaze broke from Aria's, and he mumbled something inaudible.
"What was that?" growled Aria, in no mood for his melancholy. He glanced back up to her, his depression forged into something stronger, something real.
"…How could I? Celebrate with Sapphire? She left… all of them left… and I just …"
Aria's anger rushed out of her suddenly, leaving her feeling… strange. Tired, shaky and somewhat empty. She knew the hero prized his friends greatly, placing his trust in each of them and, as a kunoichi, she had respected that aspect of him greatly. Warriors like her were always wary of companionship beyond that of comrades and battle buddies, always cautious against giving their trust completely, lest it be betrayed. A Hero, however, was a being supposedly powered by Love and Friendship, and if those were away ripped from him because he was trying to protect them... A heavy, uneasy silence descended between the new Overlord and the kunoichi, neither of them able to find the strength to break through.
Until Almaz's stomach growled noisily.
"I'm hungry," muttered Almaz redundantly, scratching the back of his head sheepishly.
Aria shook her head, the corners of her mouth curling into a grin under her mask. "I'm not surprised, you've been out of it for nearly four days."
"Huh… I should be dead…" muttered Almaz absently, eying the bag of food Aria was reaching into. She tossed him a warm meat bun which he caught and, presumably, inhaled, beckoning for another. She tossed him a soda instead, taking one for herself and sitting down seisa style. She placed the bag between them, giving Almaz free reign over the snacks.
"Isn't that really uncomfortable? You're sitting on your feet…" Almaz asked through bites of pork buns and pizza slices.
Aria inclined her head in thought. "Eh, yeah, it's kinda sore, but you get used to it. Force of habit really, a kunoichi is loyal and respectful, so in the presence of the Overlord it's, ah, the word is… impulse. Compulsion to sit like this."
"Well, you don't have to," said Almaz, swallowing his mouthful of food. "I don't want to be Overlord. I mean, I came to Evil Academy to defeat the Overlord, not become him!"
Aria shifted her feet into a more comfortable position and inclined her head again, confused. "That's… that's generally how somebody becomes an Overlord, Lord Almaz. You just got lucky."
Almaz shook his head viciously, frowning. "Lucky? Mao, Rasberyl, all of my friends want to kill me!" His eyes widened. "Oh God, Sapphire! Even the Princess wants to kill me! And because of what? Because I'm suddenly the damn Overlord?"
"Just so you know, I don't think they're going to kill you," said Aria, cutting into his tirade before it could get started. He gave her a blank look. "Putting aside that you're stronger than Lord Mao, meaning they probably couldn't hurt you if they tried, there's the fact that, during the riots the students tried to get Lord Mao, Master Big Star and even Rasberyl to lead them, and-"
"Wait, riots?" Almaz jumped to his feet in a panic, knocking over his drink. "They're rioting? Because of me? Close by? Did they break in? How-"
"Hey, calm down, you spilled your soda," said Aria, unperturbed. Almaz sat back down, fidgeting and glancing around the room again. She handed him an iced tea. "Drink up, you need fluids after your hibernation, or whatever that thing was earlier." She took a swig of her own drink, momentarily pulling her mask down and replacing it when she was done. "Yeah, there've been riots across the Netherworld after the announcement that you became the next Overlord." Seeing Almaz flinch, she hastily added, "Standard fare, really. We demons just need an excuse for a riot, honestly."
"So, we're safe here, right?" asked Almaz, grinning nervously. "It's just that I don't think I'm really able to fight off assassins right now."
Aria rolled her eyes. "Fear not, brave Hero. The Deans office is surrounded by protective seals and defences, no assassin unaffiliated with you or Mao could dream of getting in."
"So who are all those guys over there?" said Almaz, pointing behind her, back towards the chamber doors. Aria whipped around, spear in hand, to face their foes. Along the edges of the room, to her shock, were the slumped, incapacitated forms of what looked like almost a hundred demons, piled up against the walls as if they had been blasted away by an explosion of power. How in hell did she miss that? More importantly, who in hell took them out? Surely not Almaz?
"Lord Almaz… you don't happen to have some sort of sleep-related special attack by any chance? Like, a legendary sword technique useable only when you're unconscious?"
"I… I don't think so. I mean, I managed to avoid most of Mao's experiments, but…"
"I thought this might happen," announced a third voice from deeper in the room that chilled both the kunoichi and the young hero's blood in fear. "So I stayed behind to ensure nothing... untoward happened to the new Overlord."
Almaz and Aria turned slowly to face the lone figure, dressed in his vibrant red robes, leaning against an ornate pillar. That figure was the source of the voice, as well as the source of all their troubles.
Before them stood the Netherworld's greatest enemy- Super Hero Aurum.
Chapter 1 -end-
Varanotes: DundunDUUN! Also, Aria has no idea what sort of foods you're supposed to give a person who hasn't eaten for half a week. I mean, soda? Really Aria?
Yes, I'm using the whole 'OCs are members of your party through the story lol' but Aria isn't going to be hogging the spotlight or stepping on toes. The tale itself revolves around Almaz, Sapphire, Mao and all the other canon characters of the Disgaea universe. And when I say all...
Besides, Aria has a rich and interesting backstory! Okay, that was a lie, she spent hundreds of years screwing around as a Valkyrie before deciding to become a Ninja on the fly. Seriously, that's it.
I'll update as soon as I can, but they'll be erratic until Summer, when I'll actually have time to work on a buffer. I just wanted to get this out in the wild. Reviews appreciated, they let me know I'm onto something here!
Until next time,