HighSchool DxD Volume 24 (Life.4)

Continues on from Slash.1 Behind the Game —Sekiryuutei and Slash Dog’s United Front—
Continues on to Fist and Fangs

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Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.
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Life.4 Vasco Strada and Crom Cruach [1]


Part 1

I, Kiba Yuuto rushed up to the front line along with His Eminence Vasco Strada as soon as the game began, and our opponents also sent their players out to meet us. Our field this time was a replication of a certain city in the Underworld, and as soon as the game began, both ends of the field would begin to collapse at once. Although it wasn’t visible from our current perspective, the size of the field was indeed being reduced, as we had seen this in previously recorded videos. Only half would be left after around thirty minutes, and after another thirty minutes, only a small area would remain. Up until now, the matches that Vali’s team had participated in were only subject to the regular rules. They had a very typical and aggressive attack approach centred around Vali where the players who were good at melee combat charged forth. Rias-neesan was also aware of this, so immediately after the rules were determined, she chose me and His Eminence Strada to act as our scout and vanguard respectively. Although Vali and the others didn’t seem to have a particular plan of attack, this was in fact the best way for them to make use of the strengths of their team. Their original team composition was top-tier. In particular, Vali’s overwhelming offensive power allowed him to defeat even god-class opponents, and he had fought without reservation ever since the beginning of the tournament, thus sending the players of his opposing teams into the light of retirement in just an instant. His creed was not to engage in long battles with people who couldn’t measure up to his own strength, and he would attack them without any mercy whatsoever if he knew that they were no match for him. Aside from god-class beings, there were only a handful of people who were capable of impeding his advance. He had harmony in mind and body, and he was the most powerful Hakuryuukou in history due to his magical talent and demonic energy. All of his team members had also been brought together to maximise his strength, and everyone was also enjoying the fun of the Tournament. Needless to say, if the team’s solidarity was high, then it was less likely for anyone to be hindered by their team mates, and thus they could fight at full strength without holding back. His team had been with him through all of the chaos that he engaged in everywhere, and they were truly formidable. Moreover, the rules this time would allow them to go all out. As His Eminence Strada and I ran along the main road which extended towards the centre of the city, an enormous figure suddenly flew towards us. Looking over — Gogmagog swiftly approached us by using the jets on its back and legs! Upon seeing this, a smile was brought to His Eminence Strada’s face.

“Well well, I didn’t think you’d come to greet us so soon.”

His Eminence took out the holy sword with a blue blade from another dimension — Durandal II. It was the newest holy sword that had been created by the alchemists of the Church solely for the purpose of his use. His Eminence prepared to strike the enormous golem that was flying straight towards us. His Eminence said to me

“Isaiah Kiba Yuuto. I can sense some other presences. You pay attention to that side. First off, let me take down this ancient weapon.”

After saying so, His Eminence poured energy into his legs and ran forward. The incredible force of his movements left large cracks on the asphalt road. Using just the sheer strength of his legs, His Eminence leapt up high into the air! He swiftly unleashed a slash with his holy sword at the approaching Gogmagog! Doon! Accompanied by the sound of an explosion, Gogmagog was blown backwards by a powerful force! He had sent that ancient golem which was 10 metres tall flying backwards with a single blow!

<<Ooh! An intense skirmish is heating up right off the bat!>>

<<It’s a head-on collision between Gogmagog-senshu and Vasco Strada-senshu!>>

The live commentary was also broadcast to us. But, just before Gogmagog tumbled over near the city, a strange beam of light flashed from its eyes! However, His Eminence simply used the side of Durandal II’s blade to deflect it! After Gogmagog fell, His Eminence landed back on the ground in front of me.

“YOU’RE WIDE OPEEEEN!”

The person who rushed over whilst yelling out like that was — Bikou, who was riding on a cloud! He homed in on His Eminence whilst spinning the Ruyi Bang [2] around in his hand deftly!

“Hoh, an opening huh.”

His Eminence Strada immediately reacted and thrust out a single fist! A powerful holy aura coated his fist! —Holy Fist! Bikou did a somersault whilst riding on the cloud and managed to avoid the aura of that fist — but His Eminence had already gotten close to him. The old man who was eighty-seven years of age was incredibly respected by the warriors of the Church, and he completely cut off the option of retreat. He swung Durandal II at the current Sun Wukong! Bikou lifted his Ruyi Bang to block the hit — but the force of the strike overwhelmed him and Bikou was forcibly pushed down and onto the ground. The destructive power of that strike did not weaken, and having taken that blow, Bikou was slammed against the ground, causing a large crater to form beneath him! Boom! After enduring that ferocious blow, Bikou stood back up again, and at the same time, his nose began to bleed! Bsssshhhhh! A loud noise echoed across from some distance away, accompanied by an enormous hand! It was Gogmagog’s Rocket Punch! That fist flew with such vigorous momentum that it gouged out a trail across the ground underneath it as it flew through the air! His Eminence kicked Bikou away without a single qualm and then firmly clenched his left hand. The muscles in his arm actually swelled up to a preposterous size. And then he threw an unbelievable punch at the Rocket Punch! A loud explosion resounded as the Rocket Punch and His Eminence’s fist collided, and the ensuing shockwave blew everything in the vicinity away! The Rocket Punch surrendered to His Eminence’s superior strength, and was blown away. He had simply used his bare fist to send the attack of an ancient weapon hurtling backwards! It was extraordinary! It far surpassed the territory of what should have been capable for a human! After His Eminence dealt with Bikou and Gogmagog’s attacks, he shook his left hand to alleviate the slight pain that he felt. All I could do was stand there and watch—.

<<……What!>>

<<……What!>>

Both of the live commentators were also lost for words upon seeing His Eminence in battle. This was the first battle that His Eminence Vasco Strada had participated in since the beginning of the Tournament—. And then, a fiery voice thundered out across the entire field.

<<WHAT AN UNBELIEVABLE START TO THE BATTLE! Vasco Strada-senshu! The Church’s Device of Violence! The Vatican’s Evil Killer! The Violence of Heaven! A mere human has been able to easily handle the joint attack of the ancient weapon as well as Sun Wukong!>>

Even the grand atmosphere in the stadium could be felt by us in here. Bikou wiped his nosebleed and stood back up again. And at the same time, the space next to him was cut apart, allowing a lone swordsman to emerge — Arthur.

“Oh dear, Bikou. You said you were going to give them a greeting with Gogmagog, did you get hit with the reverse?”

“Shut up! That old man’s crazy. My grandfather is so strong that it seems like his very existence is a joke. And this old man almost feels the same.”

The two of them argued back and forth with each other. And then — a silvery-white shimmer descended. With his wings of light spread out, the Hakuryuukou stood before us. Vali had already equipped his silvery-white armour [3]. Vali said

“In the past, I used to discuss who the ‘strongest human’ was. Of those who are on my side, I would vouch for Arthur. —But it seems like I shouldn’t draw any rash conclusions.”

The God-Devouring Wolf Fenrir appeared beside Vali. Vali, Fenrir, Bikou, Arthur, and Gogmagog had already appeared on the front line. This was their standard offensive formation. Vali continued

“…The possessor of the Holy King Sword, Arthur, the wielder of the Holy Spear — Cao Cao, [Canis Lykaon]’s possessor — Ikuse Tobio, the one known as [First Dark] [4] Kanzaki Mitsuya who controls [Innovate Clear] and [Telos Karma], as well as — the former owner of Durandal, Vasco Strada.”

Vali asked His Eminence

“After being persuaded by Rias Gremory, you must have your own reasons for standing here. …What did the Maou’s little sister give you in return for participating in this battle?”

His Eminence stabbed Durandal into the road and laughed graciously.

“Hahaha, if this was before the alliance of the Three Factions, my actions would be a betrayal of Heaven.”

After saying that, His Eminence removed a small vial from his pocket. There was a sparkling white liquid inside.

“—Allow me to make use of this special technique from the very beginning. After using this, I will return to being a warrior of my heyday.”

It was a concoction that came from the holy water that had been poured out of Valerie’s Holy Grail, and then infused with Gasper’s Balor powers and Koneko-chan’s senjutsu touki. It took three days to make it, and it was a secret blend that only our team was capable of producing. His Eminence used his fingers to pop open the lid, and then he gulped it down in one go. His Eminence crushed the vial in his hand. And then his body began to change. White smoke dispersed from his entire body. After the smoke dissipated, the person standing there was — His Eminence Strada who had returned to the form that he had in his fifties. The aura that emanated from his body increased even further. His Eminence had used a secret technique to regain his youth, and this was what he looked like in his prime. His Eminence lifted Durandal up and said

“My prime wasn’t when I was in my teens or my twenties.”

Those words dispelled all of the doubts that everyone had in mind. In order to trial the effects before using it in a game in the Tournament, His Eminence had shown us the results of it during one of our training sessions. At the time, His Eminence had said

[—The so-called spirit or psyche is influenced by physical appearance and physical condition to a great extent. This is the conclusion that I have reached after fighting against so many supernatural beings and special ability users. If I return to the physical body that I had in my teens or twenties, I will return to the state where I was youthful yet immature, and all of the discipline that I’ve accumulated since then will be lost. Can that truly be called my prime? If I return to that mentally immature time, is there still any meaning in returning to the battlefield?]

His Eminence, whose body had returned to its condition as it was in his fifties said

[If that’s the case, I should return to the age at which the balance between my mind and body were honed to their limits. —To me, those days were in my fifties.]

To a Devil who could freely change their outer appearance, perhaps His Eminence’s words hit a sore spot. I had heard that a youthful spirit was accompanied by a youthful appearance. That was why a lot of Devils maintained their appearance to be somewhere in between their prime and their middle age. Of course, there were also Devils who preserved their youthful figures in order to maintain their youthful spirit—. Vali didn’t seem to care, and he fearlessly charged straight towards His Eminence! As a result, Fenrir pounced forth in front of him as well! The legendary wolf swiftly swiped down with its large front claws.

“The God-Devouring Wolf huh. With the Hakuryuukou and Holy King Sword on top of that, there isn’t a more suitable opponent.”

His Eminence evaded Fenrir’s high-speed assault with only the slightest of movements! He had completely cleared himself from the trajectory of Fenrir’s claws and teeth! Although a portion of Fenrir’s strength had been sealed, it was still a legendary monster. It was impossible to defeat it without a considerably trained mind and body. However…His Eminence borrowed his accumulated experience to easily dodge the attack, and then counterattacked with his fist to land a direct blow on the legendary monster’s face! Fenrir was actually sent crashing backwards!

“Hey, am I seeing an illusion? That old man just toyed with Fenrir!”

Upon seeing this, even Bikou’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Hmph, now this is interesting!”

Vali released an incredibly powerful silvery-white aura from his hands! Any ordinary human would be defenceless against this power. —But, His Eminence didn’t show any intentions of evading, and he simply held the holy sword up in front of his chest.

“It certainly is tremendous demonic energy. You could even say that it’s on the highest class that I’ve ever seen amongst Devils. —But.”

With a single strike, the silvery-white aura that Vali released was directly slashed apart by Durandal II! The aura had been cut apart, and His Eminence no longer stood there in that spot. Vali used his sight and senses to search for His Eminence’s presence—. His Eminence appeared right behind Vali, and swung down the holy sword! Vali immediately responded by swinging his fist that was covered in demonic energy across — but what he hit was just an afterimage! His Eminence roared

“—Take a good look at the skill and strength that a human has attained through only training!”

Zan! —It was the sound of a blade! Vali was unable to dodge, and he took a direct hit!

“Damn it! Ruyi Bang!”

Realising that his leader had been hit, Bikou rushed forward and swung his Ruyi Bang! His Eminence managed to evade the attack with ease, causing Bikou’s expression to turn bitter. Bikou pulled out a few of his monkey hairs, and then blew on them with his breath! The strands of hair which were blown out gradually enlarged and changed shape! There were actually his clones, and there were now a countless number of them! This was the cloning technique that Sun Wukong commonly used with his hair.

“Come one! Let’s go!”

Bikou and his countless clones all dashed forward with a Ruyi Bang in their hands!

“—That is a technique that belongs to your ancestor. But it hasn’t yet reached the level of Sun Wukong.”

His Eminence said that as he wielded the holy sword and destroyed the clones one after the other. It didn’t seem like he was struggling or getting hit at all. And even if he was hit, His Eminence would surely be fine.

“Then, how about this!”

The army of clones split into two squads. One group extended the length of their Ruyi Bangs, while the other caused them to thicken. The elongated and thickened Ruyi Bangs attacked all at the same time!

“—It’s still just half-baked.”

While saying so, His Eminence used Durandal to unleash a colossal holy wave which completely slashed every member of the clone army in half—. With just one attack! His Eminence immediately shortened the distance between him and Bikou so that he could throw a direct punch at Bikou’s face! Bikou was punched and blown away to a distant location! Bikou crashed into a car that was parked by the curb and slumped over onto the ground.

“Kuh! …I-Is this a joke, just how strong is this old man…!?”

Bikou spat another fresh mouthful of blood out of his mouth as he stood up. Vali began to move again. He didn’t seem to have been severely injured, and although his armour had taken damage, he could still fire off blasts of demonic energy from close range! His Eminence evaded all of the blasts with minimal movement. All of the shots that he evaded caused mass destruction to the buildings that were off in the distance behind him! Vali’s speed accelerated to the point that his figure vanished. He circled around His Eminence at nearly god-speed, but His Eminence didn’t seem intimidated by this at all, and he simply revealed a courageous smile.

“I’ve got you.”

Vali tried to attack from behind — but His Eminence had already realised. Once again, all that was left in his original position was an afterimage, and on the contrary, His Eminence appeared right behind Vali!

“Those who think that they can sneak up behind me are always prone to openings.”

—But, Vali immediately jumped away from that spot to evade the counterattack.

“As expected of the Hakuryuukou. You reacted immediately. —But you’re still too naïve.”

His Eminence enveloped Durandal in a tremendous amount of aura! The sheer amount was enough to make one shiver in fear! His Eminence slashed Durandal down towards Vali who was a fair distance away! The vast holy aura caused the road, parked cars, buildings, and everything in that singular direction to be annihilated as the wave approached Vali at high speed! Vali was able to dodge the wave of aura, but It continued to fly far into the distance, and everything left in its wake was eliminated! It eventually reached the end of the field and crashed into the barrier, causing an enormous tremor to rock the entire field. His Eminence said

“My Durandal can cut a target that’s even several kilometres away.”

…In other words, to His Eminence, this entire field was within his range of attack. Gogmagog, which had reconstructed its body and had begun flying back towards this location was once again blown away to a distant location by the holy wave that His Eminence had unleashed! His Eminence immediately charged towards Vali and attacked him. Don! —A blunt noise echoed. His Eminence’s fist had smashed through Vali’s armour and landed a direct hit on Vali’s abdomen!

“—!?!?”

With an astonished expression, Vali immediately retreated backwards after taking that blow, but His Eminence quickly sent out another wave of holy aura in pursuit. Vali crossed his arms in front of his body as a defensive measure—. Accompanied by the sound of a massive explosion, Vali’s gauntlets — not only that, the armour covering his entire body was shattered by that single blow.  His Eminence Strada said

“That silvery-white armour is of no consequence to me right now.”

“…So I might have to use that form that can defeat a god-class being huh. Seriously, are you really a human? I can’t blame Arthur for respecting you as much as he does. It’s no surprise that there are so many people who respect you.”

Vali voiced his words of praise for His Eminence.

“Now, the supernatural races will have a video recording of this. In the past, the Devils who stood above high-class Devils and all of the abnormal existences would only have appeared in rumours or legends. It was the first time that they had been seen, and no one knew how to respond. But if a recording of a battle is left behind, regardless of whether they’re a Heavenly Dragon or something else, there will now be evidence. All that’s left is to feel that aura on an actual battlefield.”

…Am I also seeing an illusion? After all, regardless of which faction they’re compared to, the strength of Vali’s team is undoubtable, but even after having the leader Vali, Bikou, Fenrir and Gogmagog as opponents, not only was he uninjured, he had repelled every single one of them. His strength could no longer be described by mere words alone, he was an embodiment of power—. The limits of humanity — Vasco Strada. …Is it truly possible for a human to be this strong!? Just as a serious expression emerged in Vali’s eyes, someone stood in front of him. —It was Arthur.

“Please leave this to me and Bikou. Vali, you take Fenrir and find someone else to be your opponent. Look, Rias Gremory and that Evil Dragon are waiting for you. —Collbrande and I have finally found an opponent with true skill that we could fight seriously against, so let me step into the limelight for a bit.”

Bikou also urged Vali to go by saying

“Hurry up and go.”

Vali accepted their gesture of goodwill and prepared to leave with Fenrir. I wanted to block the way, but Bikou stood in front of me.

“Well, why don’t you spar with me for a bit, handsome-kun?”

“…Alright. I’ll guess I’ll enjoy this together with His Eminence.”

As Bikou and I confronted each other, Arthur slowly walked towards His Eminence, and in response, His Eminence also stepped forward. The two of them were almost face to face when they revealed their grins of delight. It almost looked like the scene of two lovers reuniting with each other after being separated for many years—.

“It was quite a pity the other day.”

“Yes, indeed. But, here you are standing in front of me again.”

His Eminence gripped the hilt of Durandal tightly as the smile carved onto his face grew even deeper.

“—Knowing that an existence like you exists, I don’t think I’ll be able to enjoy my final days if I don’t fight against you at my best as a fellow swordsman. —Please be sure to make this a special memory for me before I depart for the afterlife.”

“By all means.”

Like this, the battle between me and Bikou, and the battle between His Eminence Strada and Arthur began—.


Part 2

On the other hand, on the east side of the field, Himejima Akeno wore a shrine maiden’s outfit, and Lint Sellzen wore a battle suit for the Tournament as they faced off against the current Zhu Bajie, Sha Wujing and Le Fay Pendragon. The eastern side of the field was a spacious park. Near an artificial waterfall, Akeno confronted Zhu Bajie, while Lint confronted Sha Wujing head on. And at a point that was some distance away from them, Le Fay Pendragon had deployed a magic circle. Akeno understood that the opponent’s formation consisted of two vanguards and one rear support. Her own opponent was the current Zhu Bajie, a humanoid Youkai with the head and features of a pig whose appearance was basically identical to how he had been described in the tales. His weapon had nine sharp teeth and resembled a bear’s claw — he held an iron-toothed rake in his hands.

“Onee-san, I’m just a little piggy, so please go easy on me.”

…I heard that the current Zhu Bajie was an interesting person…Akeno recalled. Akeno had already spread open her Fallen Angel wings, and created thunder clouds above them in the sky. She then threw bolts of lightning down towards Zhu Bajie! Although Zhu Bajie’s body was rather chubby, he dodged the lightning strikes with a few small steps and then instantly shortened their distance. He seemed to understand that Akeno was not good a melee battles. However, Akeno immediately created defensive magic circles, nullifying all of Zhu Bajie’s attacks. Zhu Bajie then took a deep breath, and his chest swelled — he breathed out flames from his mouth! The scale of his attack was incredibly vast! If Akeno had been caught by it, she likely would’ve suffered considerable damage! Akeno immediately flew away and prepared to counterattack in mid-air, however, Zhu Bajie continued to spit out great blasts of fire and simply looked up to change the angle of his attack.

“Holy Lightning!”

Akeno once again summoned forth lightning to counter the blast of Zhu Bajie’s flames, and then followed up with several additional bolts of lightning. Zhu Bajie evaded all of them one by one, but he was eventually caught in the line of fire of one of them. The lightning strike gave Zhu Bajie a powerful electric shock, inflicting burns upon him. The entire area surrounding him had also been charred black due to the aftermath of the lightning strikes. Light was also a weakness of the Youkai, so that last blow should have been quite close to an instantaneous knockout. That was what Akeno’s intuition told her—. But as the smoke settled, Zhu Bajie was still there. Although he had been struck, he was still capable of movement. After a brief silence, Zhu Bajie muttered

“……Yes.”

With an ectstatic, trance-like expression, those words leaked from his mouth. Akeno found the situation somewhat unfathomable, and she thought to herself ‘this can’t be’. Following this, they continued their fierce offensive and defensive battle, and after being struck by Akeno’s attacks several more times, Zhu Bajie finally screamed out

“Yeeeeeeeeessssssssssss! Good, it’s reeeaaaalllllllyyy gooooood!”

He cried out with both pleasure and pain—. Akeno recalled a certain piece of information. The man whom she loved and the one to whom she was engaged to — Hyoudou Issei had once told her this.

[Come to think of it, the Vali team’s Zhu Bajie has a really negative personality and he’s also an M.]

Certainly, my husband did say such a thing, Akeno reminded herself. She thought that he was half-joking about it, but after being struck once again by Akeno’s lightning, Zhu Bajie screamed out with bliss.

“Aaaaaaahh! P-Please show mercy to this masochist pig! Queen-samaaaa!”

Akeno had indeed inflicted damage upon him, but after every attack, her opponent’s enthusiasm only rose to an even higher level, and his physical abilities were also improving. In other words, the more he was struck by Akeno’s attacks, the more energised he became. Akeno herself had a fondness for S&M, but in the face of Zhu Bajie, she couldn’t help but feel confused. His high physical ability also left her at a loss for words. He had clearly been struck by several bolts of lightning, yet he was still full of energy, and it seemed that in terms of stamina and endurance, he was rather outstanding even among those in Vali’s team. Akeno sighed.

“I won’t hold back. After all, you’re a member of the Hakuryuukou’s team, and you’re also the current Zhu Bajie.”

Left with no other choice, Akeno shaped her lightning into the form of a dragon, and she began to attack with her Holy Lightning Dragon. —At that time, the magician Le Fay dashed across whilst stepping over magic circles that were created beneath her feet. She stood beside Zhu Bajie, and pointed her staff at Akeno.

“Then, allow me to be your opponent as well!”

“Ara ara, Le Fay-chan. —I’m not going to go easy on you, you know?”

Le Fay responded to Akeno with a smile.

“Of course!”

Akeno was now faced with both Zhu Bajie and Le Fay. Standing not far away from them was Lint, who held a sword of purple flames in her right hand and a specially-made pistol by the Church in her left hand. Facing her was a girl with vermillion-coloured hair who held a long staff that had a half-moon blade attached to it — the current Sha Wujing. As an opponent, Sha Wujing was currently still supposed to be in middle school. She was good at manipulating water, and there was a large body of water at the location of their fight. By manipulating the water that flowed down from the waterfall, she was able to fire off spherical bullets of water towards Lint. Lint used her pistol to fire off bullets of purple flames, vaporising every single one of the water blasts.

“Pew! Pew!”

Lint uttered as she resisted Sha Wujing’s barrage of water techniques. The pistol in Lint’s hand was a specially made product that aligned with the power of her Sacred Gear. Lint’s movements were also incredibly fast. They could even be compared to Kiba Yuuto. However, she didn’t have the refined technique that Kiba Yuuto had, and her movements seemed somewhat more rigid in comparison. But she compensated for that with the wild and unpredictable nature of her movements. She gracefully flexed her body like a gymnast to evade her opponent’s attacks whilst attacking with her sword and firing off bullets from all sorts of unexpected positions. Lint launched her attacks from an array of unusual positions, making it difficult for her opponent to predict them…but Sha Wujing was able to dodge them quite well with her petite figure. This was to be expected of a member of Vali’s team.

“Youkai missy, you’re pretty good.”

“I-It’s Sha Wujing! Pleased to make your acquaintance!”

They began to converse with each other as they fought. And then Lint said

“Ah, I do seem to recall now that the Kappa Youkai are pretty famous in Japan, aren’t they?”

“—!?”

Upon hearing that word, Sha Wujing halted her attacks and her entire body trembled.

“…Ka.”

“Ka?”

Lint tilted her head as she asked, while Sha Wujing’s cheeks swelled and she began to tear up in anger.

“I’m not a Kappa! The original Sha Wujing was a Youkai hermit who lived in a river!”

A vast volume of water floated up into the air! Although she had gotten caught up in her anger, she was still capable of controlling such a large volume of water…it was obvious that she had excellent innate potential.

“Oops, did I just say a taboo word?”

Lint undauntedly said.

“Well then, it’s time for me to get a bit serious.”

Lint’s body — gave off a dazzling glow. And then, six Angel wings appeared on her back. A bright halo also appeared above her head. Indeed, Lint — was a reincarnated Angel. Her wings weren’t pure white, but instead a dazzling silver—. The purple flames emitted by Lint’s body grew even more intense.

“Now, let’s have a good contest between fire and water.”

Sha Wujing cried out with a competitive spirit to Lint as she manipulated the water.

“I won’t lose!”

They once again resumed their fight—. And like this, the battle on the east side of the field gradually began to intensify as well!


Part 3

The location changed again, and this time it was the southwestern part of the game field. Wearing her uniform for the Tournament, Rias Gremory completed her preparations for battle and she began flying towards Vali Lucifer. On the southwestern side of the field were many high-rise building complexes. Rias was accompanied by Gasper, Valerie and Crom Cruach, and she gradually began to move further north. Rias stood on the rooftop of a skyscraper which was still under construction. There were several exposed steel beams and stagnant cranes in the vicinity. Rias stood on top of the building and directed her eyes towards the direction that Vali was approaching from. He was about to arrive soon, so there was no need to hide. Since the field was an urban area, there were a countless number of small shops where one could hide within the downtown area. But their opponent was capable of various ultra-wide-range attacks, so doing so was useless. Since their opponent Vali was someone who could overturn the entire scene with his powerful techniques, a strategy which made use of the environment was meaningless. Since that was the case, there was no need to hide. They simply waited out in the open for him to arrive right from the outset. Gasper stood by her side, and on an upper floor of the neighbouring building, Valerie remained in one of the rooms. As a rear guard, Crom Cruach stood on top of a crane and closed his eyes as he waited for the arrival of that moment. There was only one opponent whom he was looking forward to. Rias asked Gasper who was beside her

“Gasper, how’s the situation?”

Gasper had released his bats throughout the field and had been observing the battles that were occurring in various places. Gasper’s eyes glowed red as he said

“Yes, Koneko-san seems to have been able to meet her sister Kuroka on the west side. They both use senjutsu, so they’ve been able to determine each other’s positions.”

One of the things that Rias was concerned about in this game was the fight between Koneko and Kuroka. It seemed as though Vali also took note of this, and so he allowed Kuroka to head into a one-on-one battle. Vali always prepared only the bare minimum in terms of tactics and strategy. It wasn’t that he didn’t think about strategy, rather, he didn’t restrict his team members so as to allow them to demonstrate their full potential. Of course, the team members would also cooperate with each other when it was necessary to do so. That was why the Vali team had a tendency to value the respective thoughts and feelings of each member. As the leader, Vali always made it a priority to fight against the people that he wanted to fight against, and this idea also spread to his comrades. This time, Koneko’s battle held an important place in her heart, and it also carried a significant meaning for her future growth. Her past self who felt fearful of Kuroka at the time was something that she had to overcome on her own.

“…I see, if that’s the case, then one of the key points of this game has been resolved. All that remains is—”

Rias gazed into the distance, and soon afterwards, a silvery-white figure approaching at high-speed appeared in her view—. Vali Lucifer arrived in front of Rias.

“I’ll be fighting against you, Vali.”

“Hmph, so the Evil Dragon will protect the [King].”

Vali’s eyes were drawn to Crom who stood on top of a crane. As soon as Crom noticed Vali’s presence, he enveloped his body in a dense aura. Rias looked proudly at Crom and said

“Only in this Tournament will you be allowed to take Ise’s place. Very well, Crom. —I promised. Let loose and be Vali’s opponent. Is there anything you’re unsatisfied with?”

Crom spread his dragon wings and flew down. Crom stared at Vali and revealed a smile of acceptance.

“Fufufu, no, this is fine. I’m absolutely satisfied. I only participated in this rowdy Tournament because I wanted a fight like this.”

Vali responded to Crom by enveloping his entire body in aura as well. The space between the two of them began to distort as a result of the pressure exerted by each side. It was no longer possible to stop the two of them. The two of them had finally found an opponent to go all out against in this place. The duel of the dragons had already begun—.

“Do you need a promotion?”

Rias asked Crom before they began.

“No, I’ll fight just as I am.”

Under these rules, because the field would begin to collapse from both ends, it was not necessary to cross over to the opponent’s side to be promoted. A [Pawn] could be promoted simply with the approval of the [King]. Hence, a normal tactic would involve allowing a [Pawn] to use Promotion from the very beginning so that they could quickly engage in short and decisive battles. The [Pawn] on the other side, Bikou, had already been promoted. However, Crom rejected the promotion. It was certainly fitting of his style. Leaving Vali to Crom, Rias looked at the thing that was standing on the rooftop of a nearby building. The God-Devouring Wolf was staring at them. It looked like she was the target of that monster. Last year—. They had once cooperated with Vali’s team and expended a great amount of effort to use seals to suppress that legendary monster. Regardless of whether it was the former Dragon King Tannin, Issei, or Vali, none of them were able to defeat that wolf. Even though its power had been sealed, it would inevitably be a struggle to fight against it—. No, it would be impossible to win. But, Rias wasn’t planning to fight against it alone. Rias said to Gasper who was on standby beside her

“…Gasper, our opponent is Fenrir. —Is that okay?”

“Yes.”

The Vampire boy who originally seemed so timid — had become strong with the help of his comrades. Both in body and spirit—. A black aura shrouded Gasper’s body, and his body began to change. He transformed into an enormous creature with the power of Balor that seemed to resemble a dragon.

<<No matter who my opponent is, I’ll defeat them for you. —Whether they’re a Heavenly Dragon, or even a God.>>

“That’s what it means to be a man of the Gremory household!”

Gasper rushed forward from his original position towards Fenrir, and Rias followed behind him! And on the other side — in the sky above the high-rise buildings, the battle between Vali and Crom began. Crom’s body exuded a tremendous aura that was intertwined with the colours of gold and black, and he said to Vali

“Words are unnecessary. —Allow me to witness your true power, Heavenly Dragon. Hakuryuukou. Vali Lucifer!”

Crom made the first move! Without any hesitation, Crom charged straight towards Vali with the shortest path possible! Crom transformed his right arm into that of a dragon’s large claw, and whilst coated in an unbelievably dense aura, he thrust it directly at Vali! Vali didn’t make any excessive evasive manoeuvers, and simply evaded with the smallest possible margin. The aura that Vali had dodged caused a large hole to be drilled through the skyscraper that was behind Vali. One by one, a countless number of buildings were damaged as a result of this domino effect! With just one punch, Crom had been able to cause such destruction with his power, and he engaged in a fierce melee battle with Vali in mid-air! Crom exchanged blows with Vali at high speed; punches, knee strikes, elbow strikes, and even head butts were all thrown at his opponent! It was a battle of such extraordinary speed that the naked eye could barely keep up! Those punches and kicks — even an ultimate-class Devil, no, perhaps even a Maou-class being would not be able to endure direct hits from all of these blows. Every single blow generated immense vibrations and booms in the air, causing the entire atmosphere to tremble! As an aftermath of all of the aura that was evaded, everything that could be seen on the ground was devastated by it! Vali didn’t attack, and instead simply focused on evasion. It wasn’t that he couldn’t fight back, rather, he was deliberately focusing on evading Crom’s attacks. Crom watched as Vali continually dodged all of his attacks and laughed

“So is it really that fun just to dodge all of my attacks!?”

Vali replied

“These are the attacks of the so-called strongest Evil Dragon. As an appetiser, I wanted to see all of them first.”

Crom temporarily pulled back. The adrenalin rush had caused his entire body to tremble.

“To think that an Evil Dragon who only knows how to fight and spread death like me can fight against a beautiful silvery-white dragon like you…. It’s truly something to be proud of. As an Evil Dragon, I have no regrets!”

The onslaught resumed once more. This time it was Vali’s turn to act; the specialty of Vali’s attacks were bombardments of demonic energy. He unleashed a relentless barrage consisting of enormous amounts of demonic energy. His bombardments were just like Crom’s attacks in that any ordinary person would surely be reduced to nothing if they were hit by it. However, Crom simply used his fist to repel Vali’s attacks! The blasts of demonic energy were countered by his fists, causing their trajectory to be deflected towards the surrounding buildings which crumbled along with the sound of great explosions. Crom’s chest swelled! In the next instant, he spewed forth flames which covered the entire sky! The intensity of the heat was so extreme that even Rias could feel it from afar! Vali extended his hand out and then injected energy into it!

[Compression Divider!!!!]

That was one of his ultimate techniques that he had once used to compress the ultimate-class Grim Reaper Pluto into extinction. By using this, he would be able to destroy all of Crom’s flames. Under the compressive power of the Hakuryuukou, the flames were continuously compressed and gradually became smaller — or so that should’ve been the case originally! Baaah—! A loud noise erupted in the air, and the flames returned to their original size! Let alone Vali, even Rias was exceedingly surprised by this! —Crom’s flames had exceeded Vali’s ultimate technique! The immense flames that couldn’t be compressed completely surrounded Vali! Crom didn’t give Vali any time to rest, and he dived straight into the flames — he continued a melee assault against Vali amidst the inferno of searing flames! Being assaulted by an innumerable number of punches and kicks within the conflagration, even Vali was unable to endure for long.

“Haah!”

Vali’s entire body radiated a silvery-white aura, and he blew Crom’s flames away! But Crom didn’t hesitate and he continued his melee assault. Vali’s silvery-white armour had begun to melt due to the high temperatures it was exposed to, and it also began to crack as a result of the fierce blitz of physical blows. Vali was well aware that Crom would only attack him directly in a frontal assault, so Vali unleashed a blast of demonic energy at Crom from an ultra-close range and then used that opportunity to pull back and increase their distance from each other. —However, just as Vali was about to retreat, Crom firmly gripped onto his arm! Crom didn’t even seem to care that he had taken a direct hit from that demonic energy, but he absolutely wouldn’t allow Vali to flee from his side. With his helmet now shattered, Vali’s expression displayed astonishment at the fact that Crom wouldn’t back down even when he received a direct hit. On the contrary, when Crom saw Vali like this, he revealed an ecstatic smile. Whilst holding onto Vali’s arm, Crom transformed his other arm into that of a large dragon’s claw and thrust it straight across! Without any means of escape, Vali was forced to endure the attack, and he was propelled backwards into one of the skyscrapers in the distance! Upon seeing the various holes that had been created in the buildings as a result of Vali being driven backwards, Rias couldn’t help but gasp.

—The strongest Hakuryuukou is being completely overwhelmed in a physical battle!?

However, it was impossible for Vali to be defeated just like that. Vali immediately flew out of a collapsed building and came back to stand before Crom’s eyes. But, his figure — was already completely worn out. It was also the first time that the audience had seen Vali gasping for air like this.

<<…Strong! How outrageously strong, Mr. Black! No, Crom Cruach-senshu! The legendary Evil Dragon has actually forced the so-called Strongest Hakuryuukou in History into such a state! Moreover, he’s done so simply with physical attacks, aura attacks, and a dragon’s flames; all of which are a dragon’s standard abilities!>>

Just as the announcer had declared in a loud voice, Crom preferred the standard attack methods of a dragon. Using physical attacks, releasing aura, and spitting out flames. These were the only things that Crom pursued. And the result of this was Vali’s current pitiful state. As a Heavenly Dragon, one who was known as the Strongest Hakuryuukou in History, and as a descendant of the Maou Lucifer, he had been overwhelmed. Vali painfully realised that it was impossible for his silvery-white armour to win against Crom. Indeed, he found himself helpless against Crom. —The Evil Dragon Crom Cruach wasn’t a dragon who could be defeated by even any ordinary god-class being. Although a stream of blood flowed down Vali’s forehead, he still showed a courageous smile. This was the evidence that he felt truly happy from the bottom of his heart. Vali also exposed an ecstatic smile. Whilst trembling with excitement, Vali said

“I understand now, that both you and Aži Dahāka are equally noble dragons. I feel honoured to be given the opportunity to fight against you.”

After Vali repaired his armour, a quiet aura began to drift about. And then, he began to chant the words of power!

“The pure White Dragon dwelling within me, rise up from your supremacy—”

His silvery-white armour was gradually tainted by jet-black patterns.

[The silvery-white Morning Star I possess within me, claim the throne of Dawn—]

“The jet-black God of Infinity”

[—The mysterious and unfathomable father of Devils]

Twelve black wings grew from Vali’s back, the edges of his armour sharpened, and it transmuted into a form that seemed to resemble a living organism. The voices of Vali and Albion overlapped

“[—We shall transcend the limits to accept the oath]”

The magic circle that symbolized Lucifer appeared on all of the jewels of his armour, and his body released a dazzling glow!

“[[—Thou shalt kneel down before our bright and glorious existence!]]”

[[[LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLucifer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]]]

The loud voice that echoed out from all of the gems seemed like a malfunction. And then, a powerful and majestic voice rang out!

[[Dragon Lucifer Drive!!!!!!!!]]

What appeared in that place was a brilliant new Hakuryuukou with twelve black wings of Lucifer, and armour that was dyed in silvery-white and jet-black tones—. The shape of the armour seemed to beautifully resemble an organic form. …Rias once again realised how difficult it was to get close. The quality of his aura could instil fear in others—. One could even say that his aura could match that of a Super Devil. The quality and quantity of his aura had soared immensely from his silvery-white form. Glowing with the brilliance of Lucifer’s aura, Vali disappeared from that spot with godlike speed. The abnormal speed was beyond perception, and it was probably difficult to keep track of his presence as well. However, Crom didn’t waver as he thrust his fist out as if it were only natural. Don! A blunt sound emanated from his fist as Vali was hit! Unexpectedly, Crom didn’t use his eyes to keep track of Vali, and he didn’t seem to have detected Vali’s presence either. After a moment of hesitation, Vali immediately recomposed himself, and moved at a godlike speed once again. This time, he unleashed the aura of Lucifer at a velocity that couldn’t be perceived with the naked eye! Crom took a direct hit from the aura of Lucifer and was forced to stop. An explosion occurred at his body, and his blood sprayed out in every direction, but even so, he was still able to move his fists to aim for Vali! Don! —Crom’s punch hit Vali who had descended from above, shattering the armour at his abdomen!

“Guha!”

Underneath his helmet, Vali spat out a mouthful of blood. Vali immediately prepared to lengthen their distance, but Crom didn’t hesitate to shorten the distance between them so that he could punch him again! Whilst Crom swung his fists at Vali, he said

“You’re truly fast. Even the quality of your aura has changed. Even I’ll be in danger if I keep taking direct hits.”

Vali gathered aura into his hands to guard against the blows, and then asked in return

“…You can attack me. So doesn’t that mean you can see me?”

“No, I can’t see. I can’t even block or evade your aura.”

“Then, how are you able to hit me?”

Crom replied as if it were only natural

“Intuition.”

—What! It was an unbelievable answer, but coming from this dragon’s mouth, it felt too real, and so Vali had no choice but to accept it. He — Crom combined the intuition that he had cultivated through countless battles and his natural instinct to predict the trajectory of Vali’s attacks. As expected of a dragon who only knew how to fight. He was an embodiment of this concept. A dragon who specialised only in battle—. This was the Ultimate Evil Dragon, Crom Cruach—. He had even broken portions of the armour which had undergone Maouificaiton. Vali asked his partner as he pulled away from his opponent.

“Albion, measure this with your eyes. How would you judge the difference between me and that guy?”

[In terms of skill, technique and speed, you have the upper hand, Vali. But, he has the advantage in offense and defence. Simply speaking in terms of destructive power, Crom Cruach is above you.]

“I see, that guy’s attacks surpass even Hyoudou Issei’s attacks when he underwent Dragon Deification.”

[That’s right, this Evil Dragon…has already completely surpassed both me and Ddraig when we were alive.]

“With only physical attacks, aura and a dragon’s flames huh. With just these three, he can fight against me?”

[Yeah, physical attacks, aura and a dragon’s breath are all ordinary methods that dragons use to attack, and with just these three things, he can overwhelm you.]

“…Haha! This is quite the unbearable situation…haha!”

Whilst overflowing with fighting spirit, Vali laughed out wildly. Vali then understood something very clearly. Today, an opponent who could defeat him had appeared before his eyes. The absolute victories that visited him so casually in the previous games would not do so today. Crom once again inflated his chest and spewed forth a great wave of flames. The intensity of the heat was even fiercer than it had been before! Vali spread his twelve wings and flew out! Even a slight movement of his wings caused all of the surrounding buildings to crumble. He then extended his arms out and gathered aura into them.

[[[LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!]]]

An error-like sound echoed out from all of Vali’s jewels.

[[[Satan Compression Divider!!!!!!!!!!!!]]]

The absolute aura which was intertwined with relentlessly brilliant silver and jet-black light instantly caused the flames that Crom spat out to compress, compress even further, and compress even more, until everything around it disappeared. Even though he had been unable to compress it with his silvery-white armour, he was able to do so now that he had undergone Maouificaiton. Simultaneously, Vali released the same wyverns that Issei possessed from his twelve black wings towards Crom! Crom used his fists to smash them down mercilessly, but one of them used an ability.

[Half Dimension!!]

The small wyverns used the ability that allowed Vali to compress space itself. Even against Crom, it would restrict his movements momentarily—. But Crom still continued to edge closer to Vali without any restraint. Even more wyverns began flying towards Crom.

[Half Dimension!!]

[Half Dimension!!]

[Half Dimension!!]

The fabric of space was compressed over and over again. At last, Crom’s body buckled under the pressure and his movements were slowed…but Crom grit his teeth and continued to advance forward! The wyverns flew towards Crom as he tried to advance and they continually used their ability on him, causing the teeth that the Evil Dragon clenched down on to begin bleeding — but he still continued to swing his fists and destroy the wyverns one after the other! What incredible determination! What incredible power! Vali even cried out in surprise

“You can still move!?”

Vali continuously bombarded him with his absolute aura, but Crom continued to fly straight towards him without any intention of dodging! The aura of Lucifer crashed into Crom, and a massive explosion went off in the air. As he emerged from the smoke, Crom thrust his fist out at Vali! Whilst pursuing him, he let loose a mouthful of flames as well! Up until now, Crom had relied only on his physical prowess and his innate abilities as a dragon. His fist smashed Vali’s helmet and singed the six wings on his right side. With clear resolution, Vali unleashed a blast of demonic energy directly at Crom’s abdomen! After a violent explosion occurred, Vali flew back and augmented their distance. As the explosion cleared, he saw Crom’s body covered and dripping in blood! —But, his fighting spirit hadn’t decreased at all. In fact, he had become even more motivated. Upon seeing that his aura hadn’t faded at all, all Vali could do was laugh

“Evil Dragon Crom Cruach, I give my thanks to the Dragon God that I’m able to fight against you. —I am the Hakuryuukou of the Morning Star, Vali Lucifer. No matter how this game ends, I swear. I swear that I will continue to fight against you until the very end.”

It was a dragon’s declaration of war. Crom also announced his own name.

“I am the Crescent Circle Dragon Crom Cruach. I accept the oath of the Hakuryuukou of the Morning Star, Vali Lucifer. —A dragon’s duel does not need a reason. All it needs is pride, fists, and the will to fight. That is all. That is why I fight.”

Indeed, no reason was necessary for a fight between men [5]. As a woman, Rias found this difficult to understand, and whenever a powerful man met another powerful man, they always fought in this manner. —A warrior would be delighted by an even stronger warrior. Whilst Vali and Crom’s battle continued to rage on, on another side, Rias and Gasper’s battle against Fenrir continued. Rias released her demonic power of destruction while Gasper controlled his dark beasts. Fenrir moved between the high-rise buildings with quick reflexes, using the strength of its legs to push against the walls to jump off. It then leapt off the next wall that it landed on to evade the attacks of those two. The attacks of Rias and Gasper missed, destroying various skyscrapers one after the other. Fenrir suddenly charged towards Gasper with a speed that rivalled lightning and tore Gasper’s right arm off. Gasper immediately regenerated his arm, but Fenrir’s swift movements knocked him to the ground. Moreover, Fenrir’s claws and sharp teeth had a special characteristic that allowed it to devour gods. It was impossible to avoid a life-threatening injury upon being hit. As Fenrir charged towards Rias, Gasper directed his dark beasts to act as a shield. Although he had managed to block the attack, even a single injury was fatal. Fenrir paused, and then jumped up onto the roof of a particular building and began to howl.

Aoooooooooohh….

Its long howl echoed between the walls of the buildings. In an instant, the God-Devouring Wolf was enveloped in a grey aura, and its appearance also began to change—. After its aura dissipated, what appeared before Rias and the others was a giant ten-meter long wolf. Fenrir had actually liberated its power! Up until now, they had never seen this form in any of the matches! Could Vali and the others have returned it back to its original form…? Fenrir’s change into this form was a signal that it would continue to fight. It had been completely liberated from Loki’s curse, yet it still remained under the control of Vali and the others. No, this was Fenrir’s own will. It treated Vali and the others as its comrades and chose to fight for them. It was bad for them to face Fenrir in this form. Vali had put this wolf into the position of [Queen], which meant that the wolf was capable of a matching level of strength. This was the legendary monster that even Vali at the time couldn’t match up to—. Its sharp fangs and claws could destroy even a god. Vali had added it into his team for the purpose of defeating gods. But, this wolf wasn’t the only one that could wield such destruction. Rias said to Gasper

“—Gasper, we’ll have to use that one.”

<<Understood.>>

Gasper stood beside Rias. Rias and Gasper then chanted the words of power together.

“Darkness, everlasting darkness, respond to this Devil of destruction”

<<Princess of destruction, symbol of extinction, use this darkness of the Demon God>>

Gasper melted into his shadow, and that shadow fused with the one that was at Rias’ feet. The shadow writhed, and starting from Rias’ legs, it gradually covered her entire body.

“My evil eye, brother of the evil eyes, gather onto this destruction of mine”

<<My master, sister of destruction, drape this forbidden night and true darkness around you>>

Rias’ body was covered in darkness, culminating in a new form. What appeared there was a dark beast in the shape of a human—. And then, Rias and Gasper, the older sister of destruction and the younger brother of darkness chanted the last verse at the same time

“<<Give the enemy before you absolute destruction!>>”

Everything was swallowed by darkness. The landscape was dyed jet-black. Floating in the centre of this darkness was a human-shaped Devil of darkness who was enveloped in the deep red aura of destruction—. Having transformed into a dark beast, Rias said

[The inspiration came from Sairaorg. Just like how the lion of his peerage — the Longinus was worn as armour. This idea was supplemented with Ise’s combination technique, in which he turned his wyverns into armour for me. Combining these two elements, I’ve finally completed this form.]

Having turned into a dark beast, a third eye with a deep red pupil opened on Rias’ forehead.

[—It’s called Forbidden Invade Balor the Princess [6].]

Rias understood that so long as she continued to obtain victories in this Tournament, she would eventually have to fight against the Two Heavenly Dragons or god-class beings someday. Since that was the case, it was necessary for her to obtain the power to oppose them.

—I don’t want to become a high-class Devil who is only good at negotiations.

She wanted to use all of the cards in her hand to fight until the very end! This was the answer that Rias had arrived at for this Tournament. Having returned to its original form, Fenrir crouched down and prepared to pounce. The God-Devouring Wolf was now on full alert. It instinctively understood how dangerous this form of Rias and Gasper’s was. Fenrir leapt across at high speed! Rias — the eye on her forehead glowed, and with that, Fenrir’s movements were frozen! However, Fenrir immediately released its aura to free itself so that it could once again advance, but Rias submerged into the shadow beneath her feet. Rias then reappeared in the shadow of the high-rise building upon which Fenrir had landed. Rias unleashed her power of destruction — with an unprecedented scale. Moreover, she had also fused in the power of darkness into her demonic energy, causing the entire building to be destroyed as the demonic energy continued to dart straight towards Fenrir. Fenrir had already leapt away before the building was eliminated, but it was stopped in the very instant that it leapt out by her time-stopping ability. The power of destruction that had been released was also stopped, however it changed its course and then quickly homed in on Fenrir while it was stopped. Fenrir once again let loose its aura to break free from its frozen state, and it twisted its body to avoid being struck by Rias’ demonic energy. The attack which passed through empty air caused everything in its vicinity to be annihilated. The area with a radius of a few hundred metres had been completely eradicated. Fenrir likely believed that it would not have been okay if it took a direct hit from that. Rias was able to stop even her own attacks and manipulate them. So even if Fenrir was able to dodge the demonic energy of destruction, Rias was able to change its trajectory until it hit Fenrir. This incarnation of destruction was her own, it was different from her older brother Sirzechs—. In this form, Rias had already surpassed Maou-class. Although it was still in an experimental stage and there was a lot to be improved…now was not the time for such things. Right now, it was necessary for them to fight seriously.

—My dear Ise. Ever since I decided to fight against you in the Tournament, all that’s been on my mind is the thought of defeating you. But, this is only half of my determination.

—The other half comes from the desire of wanting to be by your side as you continue to grow stronger, so that I can fight together with you. Because, I don’t want to become a hindrance to you—.

The battle between Vali and Crom, and the battle between Rias & Gasper and Fenrir would only continue to intensify—.


Part 4

On the west side of the field—.
It was a downtown area, and Toujou Koneko passed by along the main street. Having stopped in front of a pedestrian crossing, Koneko — Shirone was thinking about her sister. In her memories, her sister Kuroka was always by her side. Whether in joy or in sadness, her sister had always been by her side. She wasn’t entirely clear on who her parents were, but to Shirone, Kuroka was her older sister, and she was also like a parent. Her whimsical older sister who always enjoyed causing mischief and trouble would always pick her up and keep her warm, regardless of whether it was a rainy day or a snowy day. On the other side of the crossing, Kuroka appeared.

“You came, Shirone.”

Her beloved sister had shown her the terrifying side of a nekomata. At that time, the scene of her sister unleashing her power and killing her original master in the household of the Naberius House’s branch family was something that still haunted Shirone to this day. Even though they had already reconciled, she still feared her bloodstained sister…. Afterwards, she was questioned by all kinds of people, and no matter what happened, there was no way for her to forget those horrifying memories. …In truth, she was truly happy, and even though she knew that such fear could not visit her again, in any case…. She was too weak at that time, if she had the power to help her sister…her sister might not have had to do such a horrible thing—. But, if that really was the case, then she wouldn’t have met Rias Gremory, she wouldn’t have met Himejima Akeno, she wouldn’t have met Kiba Yuuto, she wouldn’t have met everyone else, and she wouldn’t have met Hyoudou Issei either—. Despite all of the happiness that she had now, the pain of her past still lingered in her heart. All of these residual feelings were left in the depths of her heart. Kuroka said

“It’s impossible to eliminate everything from that time. But, you want to defeat it, right?”

In response to her sister’s question, she nodded quietly.

“…I want to surpass my past self who was weak. Please let me go beyond that.”

As Shirone stood there — Kuroka smiled as she looked back at Toujou Koneko.

“You’re strong and yet weak, weak and yet strong…it can’t be helped. Fine, onee-chan will be your opponent nyan.”

The unavoidable battle between the two sisters thus began—.

(All 4 of 4 parts) (30/4)

[1] Alternate reading: The Limits of Humanity and the Ultimate Evil Dragon
[2] This is the magical staff that Sun Wukong wields in Journey to the West. It has the ability to follow the commands of its owner – it can change in size and make copies of itself.
[3] Referred to throughout the chapter as the silvery-white armour, which is in fact Vali’s Empireo Juggernaut Overdrive.
[4] Alternate reading: Darkness of the Beginning
[5] Alternate reading: dragons
[6] Alternate reading: Beast Ruin Princess of the Forbidden Night and True Darkness

Continues on to Fist and Fangs

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44 Responses to HighSchool DxD Volume 24 (Life.4)

  1. ROSS IS RIAS says:

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    Ever since I decided to fight against you in the 

    Tournament, all that’s been on my mind is the thought of 

    defeating you. But, this is only half of my determination.

    It Should be

    “Ever since I have decided to fight against you in the 

    Tournament, all that’s been on my mind is the thought of 

    defeating you. But, this is only half of my determination.”

  2. ROSS IS RIAS says:

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    “Right now, it was necessary for them fight seriously.”

    It should be

    “Right now, it was necessary for them to fight seriously.”

  3. marllon says:

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    Thanks for the translation, zxzxzx, hug from Brazil.

  4. i love you says:

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    thx for your work m8 papa bless

  5. JeruTz says:

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    This is just a thought, but given that the kanji for Tobio’s title reads “darkness of the beginning”, I would think that the katakana reading should be “first dark” instead of “fast dark”. I imagine that they’d be written the same way.

  6. Ryu says:

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    This was awesome!!! Thank you zx! You the man!!! As always excellent work!

  7. Diabolos Crown Prince says:

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    I knew that Issei would not think Rias as a hindrance nor a burden but as a pure blooded high-class devil and also as the little sister of the Maou Sirzechs Lucifer, She has a pride to protect and it will be a shame if her servants and her lover become so powerful but their master is still the same as when she became a high-class devil… So that’s a natural reaction to a noble princess like her.

    On a side note, As I imagine the transformation of Rias and Gasper, A Crimson-haired Demonic Beast Princess covered in the darkness with a third-eye in the forehead is so creepy… I can’t wait for Issei’s reaction about this!

    Vali vs Crom, Arthur vs Vasco Strada, Rias&Gasper vs Fenrir, and many more! Damn! so many things to look forward to! Not to mention the alliance between Issei and Tobio Ikuse vs The Grim-Reapers is a hype too!

    THANK YOU SO MUCH ZXZXZX!! BECAUSE OF YOU, WE GOT TO ENJOY THIS AMAZING SERIES!! MORE POWER TO YOU AND GOD BLESS!

  8. Prototypeffx says:

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    Thank you a lot for the translation, as always, great job and thanks for letting me read the light novel that i read from the beggining.

  9. kenchan223 says:

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    Holy fucking shit this chapter is fucking intense!!

  10. Oppai Force says:

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    What an enjoyable read! Good job, and thank you for the translation 😘

  11. Káiser says:

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    Gracias por la traducción high school dxd :v 

  12. Shirogane-dono says:

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    zxzx man you rock ty so much for the hard work, this must have been an straining work with the amount of characters(letters) in it.
    The amount of awesomeness crammed in this chapter is just of the charts
    With the progress of the story I wonder how will the rias vs issei match go if both of them and their teammates master everything they can
    HYPE!!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

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    Muito fodaaaaa

  14. Annonymous says:

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    Vali responded to Crom be enveloping his entire body in aura as well. The space between the two of them began to distort as a result of the pressure exerted by each side. It was no longer possible to stop the two of them. The two of them had finally found an opponent to go all out against in this place. The duel of the dragons had already begun—.

    guessing this should be Vali responded to Crom *by* enveloping

  15. CrimsonDV says:

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    Damn it, all the fights so far were really good, Rias’s new power sounds insanely good, and Vasco Strada’s fight against all those opponents wow, he is OP AF

    Vali found a worthy opponent now, it will be difficult for him to beat Crom

    The only thing to read is the fight Between Koneko (Shirone) and her Sister Kuroka, I want to read it now, I can’t wait for it

    Why you thought this Life was beautiful zxzxzx? Because of Koneko and Kuroka? Honestly I thought it was for this but this was just the beginning I think it will be better when we read the actual fight between sisters, I think there will be a lot of emotional moments in that battle, that is something I was waiting since DxD introduced Kuroka and her past with the master and her sister

    As always thanks for the update and keep up the good work

    i’ll be waiting for the next update, hopefully see you soon

  16. adris says:

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    Excellent life. Awesome.

  17. Matt says:

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    Rias has a strong determination .. but how would she become a hindrance . Issei would never think of her as such

    • dragonosman2 says:

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      Yes, he wouldn’t.  And of course she also knows that.  But even if Ise doesn’t think of her as such, if she isn’t strong enough to stand by his side as an equal, she really will only become a hindrance because he’ll have to protect her.  And she doesn’t want that.

  18. Nematoda says:

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    Crom Cuach ~ Physicall attack to the limit ~

    Strada ~ Human who reach the God-class power.

    Rias ~ Queen of Darkness and Destruction

    • LOTRfreak101 says:

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      Strada isn’t God Class. He’s only Maou class at best.

      • Anonymous says:

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        Seriously dude? Strada is definitely above Maou class. He toyed with Vali in his Empireo Overdrive form that have a power of a Maou class or higher and his companions at the same time. Even Vali said that his only choice would be going into Lucifer Drive, used to face against God class beings. Strada may not be in the chief god tier but he’s at least in the minor gods.

        • Anonymous says:

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          Strada dominated Vali do to years of experience. Vali is faster and more powerful than Strada but Strada predicted Vali’s line of attacks and exploited opening. Remember the what Strada said “people who tries to attack from behind leaves openings”. Vali kept falling for Strada’s after image because Strada knew how Vali would attack do to his experience. If Strada was God class then why is he worth 1 Rook? God Class fighters are worth 2 Rooks, 2 Bishops, Queen or 8 pawn pieces.

  19. Oppai dragon says:

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    Thanks for update it worth waiting

  20. robin says:

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    OMG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This is the MOST awesome Chapter I ever Read in DXD ! This is what DXD stands for, This is why we love Highschool DXD So much !!!! Thanks a lot for you great work zxzxzx. The wait was worth it ! I miss Isse tho… wish he was a part of this fight….

  21. Mr. C says:

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    Thanks for the update.

     

    The DxD series has been a fun & engaging ride from the start.

    Issei, who was such a weakling at the beginning, has grown and advanced so much that he has inspired everyone around him to grow more powerful.

    Rias wants to be able to fight beside him and not be a hindrance.

    Gasper wants to be worthy of what he sees as his role as a member of the Gremory peerage.

    Koneko seeks to get beyond her fears and her past, etc, etc, etc.

     

    Thanks again for making it possible for us English readers to enjoy the world of DxD.

  22. FatesFlame says:

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    Although Albion said Crom surpassed him and Ddraig, I still think they’d be able to defeat him if they used their respective abilities. He didn’t say by how much Crom passed them, but the gap shouldn’t be large enough where they can’t boost or divide until they surpass him.

    If I remember correctly, Issei asked Ddraig if he could beat Crom, to which Ddraig said yes. The only problem he would have is the time limit, but it’s still insane that Issei really is Heavenly Dragon Class in the new form he got.

    If you use this information, then both Issei and Vali are within the Top-Ten strongest.

    • Nematoda says:

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      they are… and since Issei still not yet awaken his “True Dragon” power within him, if Issei awaken his “True Dragon” trait and “Infinite Dragon” trait and mastering it, use it together, Issei probably within the Top-Five Strongest being if Ophis and Great Red excluded.

      • LOTRfreak101 says:

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        more likely once issei unlocks all of his potential given that his body is completely that of great red as well as a devil with the power of Ophis, he would probably be in the top 5 including both of them if not at the very top. I’m not sure how he would compare to other dimensional beings, but likely be pretty high up there. it’s a good thing he only really cares about his lust.

        • FatesFlame says:

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          I personally think Issei will unlock his “True Dragon” power once he understands what it means to have a fight, just for the fun of it. Issei was having fun when he was fighting Dulio, and he had a “flashback” to Ophis and Lilith singing together. Even Ddraig was confused about what it meant, but I think he linked it together to the enjoyment of battle.

          Also, before Ddraig and Albion were sealed, they both were #4 in the Strongest (tied with Fenrir and The King of Monsters). This means the Heavenly Dragon Class is #4+, which is where you can place Vali, Issei, and Chrom.

  23. Anonymous says:

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    Magnificent chapter. Thanks man

  24. VisualTime says:

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    Truly, this is a beautiful Life. Thank you for your hard work zxzxzx.

  25. Grayfia_Fanboy says:

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    Is it only me that finds it a little creepy that Rias is “wearing” Gasper?

    • zxzxzx says:

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      Nope, you’re not alone there. As I was translating, I kept wondering if Issei would be okay with this. Gasper is pretty much touching Rias’ entire body.

  26. Grayfia_Fanboy says:

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    Thank you so much!

  27. Arrchangell says:

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    I feel kinda bad for Ise, like what the hell Vasco and Crom are stupidly op, and even Rias got to a Maou level? Ise can’t even use his original DD, does that mean Rias is on the same level as him now?

    • LOTRfreak101 says:

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      You talk as if Issei’s Team is weak. Rias needs Gasper for that form. Without him, she is no stronger than any of the members on Issei’s Team. Issei has Grayfia who is Maou level. She alone can take on Rias and Akeno at the same time. Then there is Xenovia who also has access to Crimson Destruction Dragonar. By comparing both teams, the only advantage Rias has is having Crom Cruach but that’s only for this volume. In Volume 25 his new team is more OP than Rias team.

  28. Anonymous says:

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    Alright!!! I’ve been waiting for this! Thanks for the update!!!

  29. Raman says:

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    Early morning woke up to see this….. truly i cant express how greatfull i am..

     

    Thanks broooo!!!!! [Boost] X [D∞D]