Finally got to play Overclocked. Playing Naoya's 8th days (really Naoya's and Kaido's – I wish they'd made Kaido's path officially its own route since it is plot-wise) after Amane's revealed some interesting stuff about the background that I wanted to do something with.
According to Amane's, Abel was so angry about being betrayed by God and the murder setup that his spirit went into the demon world and became a powerful demon. According to Naoya's, the other Bel demons are parts of Abel. This means that the 'other Abels' who might have become the King of Bel were the Bel demons themselves, and that the Bel (word means master) or king the King's Gate was named for who used to rule a lot of the human world was the demon Abel became, later destroyed and sundered by God.
So Naoya trying to make Abel become the King of Bel is really trying to help Abel regain his old power and get the rest of his soul back. This is pretty interesting to me since it means the MC of the first game actually does get two cameos in DS2, as Beelzebub & Belial, and that little miss 'turn into zombies so I can has friends, kay?' Alice is approximately Naoya's adopted niece. It also explains Naoya saying at one point, 'Honestly, I don't really care who becomes the King of Bel,' since they were all aspects of his brother and assembling them would eventually produce Abel anyway. Of course, if any of the others gets the pieces, the human world will be overrun by demons...
At night, guarding the King's Gate was a duty entrusted only to the best and most loyal of the Godking's men. The gate was made of gold, pure enough to still be somewhat soft (the royal smiths had to look it over every month and fix any carvings that had gotten dented) & encrusted with jewels. They not only had to watch out for thieves but for each other.
But, during the day, the King's Gate stood in the main square of the city, where the most valuable goods were traded, and the job of the guards was mostly to stand there and look impressive, a full rank of them since it was also their duty to pursue thieves.
It wasn't that odd for a small child to come walking up to the gate: parents would tell their children to come here if they got separated from the crowd. There was shade in the guardhouse, and a fountain for them to drink from. It was odd for the child to head directly to the middle of the gate and stand there with its chin held high despite the fact it was dressed in only a ragged smock that didn't reveal if it was a boy or girl, with no shoes or even rags wrapped around its feet, and say, "Let me in," in a voice too young and high to reveal that either
One of the men snorted, but the old guard captain knelt down to explain to the boy, "This is the King's Gate. It only opens for the king."
"And one other person," the child corrected him imperiously.
"Don't be ridic-" red-haired Zunah said, but the captain held up his hand for her to quiet.
"He's right," Captain Shim told her. "Although it hasn't opened for him since my father's father's day."
The child looked very annoyed, which on such a young face was doomed to look like a pout. "It's not my fault I kept ending up so far away." He knew just whose fault it was, too, when most of the world's people were clustered around the Inland Sea.
"If you are the Holy Smith, brother of our beloved Master," in their language, the word for Master was Bel, the second part of their Godking's name, just as the word for smith was Qin, that of his brother, whose skill with all manner of crafts was legendary, "Then you will know the words that open this gate," said Shim. Those words were passed down in the Captain of the Gate's family. "But, if the words you speak are false, or when you are brought before the Godking he does not recognize you as his brother, then you will be punished severely." Not put to death, not a child who would have been forced into this by his family or his owner.
The child nodded impatiently. "I know, I know. Hurry up and kneel, I haven't had any food and I had to walk all this way."
Captain Shim went down on one knee, as per the tradition his father had taught him quickly, because either way the sooner this was done the sooner the child could have something to eat, whether it be flatbread in the cells or a feast in the palace.
The child cupped his hands over the guard's ear and whispered: Zunah saw his eyes widen as he first went to both knees, then prostrated himself. "Lord Qin."
"Hurry up and open the gate," the child ordered, as unimpressed with the people's adoration as his divine brother, who had granted their lands plenty and protection from invaders for generation upon generation.
Shin hurriedly stood and ordered, "Open the gate!"
"Opening the gate!" the men who worked the wheels called back as the giant, heavy gate began to creek open.
The boy tugged at Shim's shirt, the simple linen with rich dye the guard captain wore under his armor. "Carry me. And you," he told Zunah. "Fetch me some water."
The guard captain picked him up carefully, surprised and a little worried by how light the boy was. After only a glance at him Zunah quickly fetched one of the water buckets: the boy took it in his small hands, although she still needed to support it, and drank right from it before laying back against the Captain's chest with a tired little sigh and closing his eyes.
There was some fuss from the current Vizier: En-Suk was well known for being over-concerned with the details of proper conduct and the letter of the law, although it was that very unbending righteousness that had brought him to the Godking's attention, when he resisted and exposed corruption in the court of one of the Godking's vassals. En-Suk was determined that the child first be delivered to the Lady Ori, his wife and head of the palace staff, presumably to be bathed, clothed and perfumed before being allowed into the Godking's throne room.
Shim's frown deepened as En-Suk continued to bar his way. "The tradition is that the Holy Smith…"
"Yes, I'm perfectly aware of the traditions," the vizier said, about ready to tear his hair out, "but look at him! He can't have had a proper meal in weeks, his feet are almost scraped raw, and you want to subject him to a ceremonial welcome lasting that long?" The vizier was also known for his almost vicious persecution of the illegal slave trade: trade in adults who were captured in battle or sold themselves into slavery was perfectly legal, but to treat the children of slaves as slaves, or sell children kidnapped from their families into lives they were too young for? There were rumors the former special investigator had either turned a blind eye to what some of his outraged men had done to those monsters, or actively encouraged them. "I'll inform the Godking he's here and end court for the day as soon as you get moving!"
"…My apologies," the captain told him with a bow.
En-Suk, who thought the captain was apologizing for his stupidity and callousness towards a child instead of thinking that the Vizier had been delaying the brothers' reunion out of insistence on appearances, said, "Fine, just remind the Lady Ori to call the palace healers. And not to dress him in court clothes until morning!" It was impossible to sleep in the things: gold thread was way too damn scratchy.
At-Sur and his wife Uzu arrived with baskets of medicines and linens almost as soon as the boy was stripped of his dirty robe, quickly wiped down with wet cloths, given a clean robe and put into bed in one of the state guestrooms: the Lady Ori was having the Holy Smith's quarters cleaned and aired out, but they had been sealed for decades and the poor little thing (who grumbled incoherently when called that) shouldn't have to wait that long.
At-Sur set about preparing herbs to be mixed with a mashed fruit concoction for the child to drink while Uzu washed the child's feet more thoroughly, covered them with unguents and herbs and bound them up with strips of linen, then started doing the same to all his scrapes until he began to resemble one of the southwestern lands' mummies. There was more grumbling and trying to remove his arm from her grasp so he could sleep, but the Lady Uzu wasn't easily intimidated by patients, no matter how august they were.
Yes, the two of them possessed the rare healing magic, even if At-Sur's wasn't very potent (his knowledge of herbs and anatomy, on the other hand…), but since they could only cast so many spells in so long a time the magic had to be reserved for those who wouldn't recover any other way, and even a scratch could become infected when they had no idea where this child had been or what he had done in order to make his way here alone. Even in the heart of the Godking's domain, that wasn't exactly a safe thing to do.
Everyone bowed except the healers, who lowered their eyes for a moment and then kept working, when the Godking entered and sat on the bed next to the Holy Smith.
He looked over the boy for a long moment, and Shim held his breath in fear that the Godking was about to say no, this was not the one, but instead their ever-young ruler placed his hand on the child's head to ruffle his hair. "Took you long enough. I was starting to get worried he'd decided to take back the curse and I'd have to invade heaven to break you out." Sending Qin to hell wouldn't work, not when Lucifer would just hand him over even if he didn't end up in the King of Bel's domain to begin with.
The child grumbled in a way that was as good as saying, "Shut up, stupid, it wasn't my fault," and rolled onto his side away from the Godking. Or tried to: Uzu easily turned him back over so she could keep working.
"You'll have to tell me where you were those two lifetimes, or was it three?" the Godking asked him. "Where they hid you. I did send out embassies to distant lands." So Qin could make contact with them.
The Godking had tried to find his brother, tried to help him, not just sat and waited.
His little highness snorted in a way that said of course he knew that, he might be young right now but he wasn't stupid.
That was when Djinn, who managed the palace's foods and wines, came in carrying the fruit concoction At-Sur had ordered. After handing it to the healer he went to stand by the Lady Ori, who had a clear view of the little kid. "So that's the holy smith," he whispered. The one who had invented most of his brewing techniques.
Lady Ori nodded, equally impressed. He had also designed many of their weaving machines, and found out how to draw metal into first wires, then thread. "We'll have to make lists of all the new techniques we've discovered since his last incarnation for his approval," she reminded him, although Lady Ori would first need to get his input and put his wardrobe together. She'd found samples of the last holy smith's regalia, but it was so many decades ago.
Djinn nodded: the kitchens kept close track of their experimenting, especially when wines and cheeses might take years to mature and it was important to be able to remember what exactly produced a success or failure.
"But he's so cute, isn't he?" Lady Ori continued brightly, dark eyes sparkling under the hair she'd dyed with indigo to imitate the Godking's. "His eyes are the same color as his majesty's!"
"Ssh!" They both jumped when his majesty made that sound, holding a finger to his lips. "He's asleep," the King of Bel whispered.
More grumbling came from the body in the bed. The healer lady had only stopped manhandling him a few seconds ago: he wasn't going to fall asleep that fast.
"Well, you should be," his majesty told his wayward brother.
"Nnn," the holy smith disagreed, small hand making a fist to trap his brother's robes.
Alright, if that was how he wanted to play it. "En-Suk?"
"Yes, your majesty?"
"Summon the court songstress." Even Qin wouldn't be able to hold out against the Lady Har's magic forever. They'd had this conversation before: older brother or not, when he was in a young body Qin needed his sleep and he would either take naps willingly or Abel would have his people handle it. There wasn't much he could to about Qin going without sleep for days on end once he was adult and working on some project, not without a battle of demons that would bring down half the palace, but right now Qin barely had the focus to summon a little demon, or he would have ridden one here.
He even looked like a little angel. When he was asleep.
The name 'Cain' came from 'Qin,' meaning smith. Since metalworking was the most advanced tech at the time, besides agriculture, turning Naoya/Cain into a computer scientist is brilliantly justified.
Most of the names were arrived at by removing stuff from the characters' names: for instance, Zuna is Izuna, Shim is Fushimi, but since Gin couldn't be shortened into something periodish, heavy on the ish, I spelled it Djinn.
So, what was the brotherly dynamic like when Abel was an immortal, powerful demon lord guiding humanity's development (until he was defeated and they were struck down for their 'arrogance,' divided by language) and Naoya was 'just' a human who serially reincarnated? That kind of would explain why despite being the older brother, Naoya is letting Abel make all the decisions.
It was interesting, in this, to write almost everyone's perception of Naoya being filtered through the fact that he looks like a small child (although he does have the endurance of one, and is prone to pushing himself too hard and getting really cranky because of what this does to his system & blood sugar). The worst thing about reincarnation (in the days before internet, as Atsuro points out) is having to wait until he's 13, 16 and increasing as time goes on before people take him seriously.