Line.2 The Student Council’s Secret
Even though our team’s strategy meeting was important, we also had to live our daily school lives to the fullest. After school, Matsuda and Motohama brought up a topic just before we left the classroom.
“Summer vacation! Since the three of us are probably going to progress into Kuoh Academy’s University via recommendation, we should have some spare time! We definitely have to get girlfriends this year—”
“…Girlfriend…uh…! I originally thought that the three of us would stay the same!”
After saying that much, Matsuda and Motohama began to shed manly tears, leaving me at a loss on how to react…because both of them already knew that I was going out with Rias. The fact that they kept it a secret from our other classmates only reinforced the friendship between us. Of course, they had also said ‘introduce us to some girls aside from the ones around you next time’ and pressured me…. Girls aside from the ones around me huh…and that’s limited to ordinary humans as well, which makes things rather difficult. To begin with, I had absolutely no luck with ordinary girls. Anyway, us boys (and Kiba too) decided that we would head to the amusement park together during the summer vacation. Although I had Rias and the others, it was still important to go out with my male friends.
“We want to pick up hot chicks, so you gotta help out too, Ise.”
“The handsome prince is also going to help!”
—Matsuda and Motohama said. Because male friends had asked him to go out with them, Kiba happily said ‘Although I don’t really understand, I’ll do what I can to help’ and agreed. Kiba! Those two are just trying to abuse your handsomeness! Damn it! It’s probably because Kiba was now in the same class and group as them, and they had gotten into the habit of using him for such things! Surely, if I didn’t have a girlfriend, I’d probably rely on Kiba’s assistance as well! Afterwards, Kiba and I sent them off and we walked toward the old school building where we completed our activities for the Occult Research Club.
“So, we’re going to have a training camp this summer vacation.”
The discussion concluded with Asia-buchou’s decision, and all club members also responded with ‘got it’. Our new members seemed to look forward to the camp.
“Camping! I’m looking forward to this summer vacation!”
Le Fay seemed fairly excited about it.
<<I’ve heard that the true thrill of such activities depends on the snack budget. Perhaps the fun of choosing which snacks to get is more enjoyable with a lower budget.>>
Bennia was already thinking about snacks.
“A t-training camp! This is also my first summer vacation!”
Tosca looked happy as well. Everything that she encountered was a fresh first experience, so she was deeply interested in everything.
“The training camp sounds good, but I have to go back home during the summer vacation!”
Kunou already had plans to return home for the summer holiday. Although she had left home and come here in order to broaden her knowledge of the world, she was still an elementary school student so she probably looked forward to going back home. Ravel began to write down the camping trip into her calendar as she griped,
“…It seems there are many things to do this summer vacation.”
As the core of our team, and as my manager, Ravel would have little time to rest even during the summer vacation — but, it also meant that I would be extremely busy as a [King]! Aside from competing in the Tournament, I would also have club activities and my role as the [Oppai Dragon], so it felt like I would be even busier this summer…though having said that, I was also looking forward to going somewhere cooler for a business trip. Just as the Occult Research Club’s meeting came to an end, someone entered the club room. —It was Xenovia. Xenovia swept her eyes across everyone who was present.
“—Is Ise here?”
Does she have some kind of business with me? Just as I felt doubtful about that, Asia called to Xenovia,
“Ah, Xenovia-san! We’ve just decided on a training camp for the summer holidays! I was thinking that we should inform Rossweisse-sensei of this!”
After hearing Asia’s report, Xenovia responded without taking her eyes off me.
“Oh, a training camping huh. I’d also like to go — but, I’ll put that matter aside for now. Ise, there’s something I need to ask you.”
So like that, I went off with Xenovia to help with her request. It just so happened that it was almost the end of the discussion of our club activities, so I decided to accompany Xenovia. According to her, Saji seemed to have forgotten something, so she wanted me to accompany her to Saji’s house to deliver it to him. Although Xenovia had lived in the area for a year now, she was still unfamiliar with the locality outside of her usual places, so she wanted me to come along as I was familiar with the area. I knew where Saji lived — it was only a few stops on the train from Kuoh Town where we lived. It belonged to Sona-san’s territory — it was under her jurisdiction. After boarding the train, I looked at the document envelope in Xenovia’s hands as I murmured,
“So Saji also forgets stuff huh.”
“Yeah, he said that he had something to do, so he left the Student Council office along with the other Sitri members a little earlier…but, it’s unusual for him to forget to take documents. This is for tomorrow’s meeting, so that’s why I want to give it to him today.”
…He had something to do huh. I wonder if it has anything to do with the Tournament, or perhaps Auros Academy, or even…assisting Sona-senpai with succeeding Serafall-sama’s work. It seems like they have pretty tight schedules too….
Just as I was thinking about that, something else came to mind.
“Although I know where he lives, I’ve never visited him even once.”
Indeed, I had never been to his house before. I had visited the apartment that Kiba and Gasper shared a couple of times before Valerie and Tosca came to Japan…. Saji was a friend with whom I had become acquainted after reincarnating as a Devil, and only now did I realise that I had never been to his house. Xenovia was also surprised by this.
“Really? You two seem to get along really well, so I thought it was only natural that you’d visit each other’s houses…”
“That guy just comes over to my house a lot…”
After all, my house acted as a meeting point whenever an incident occurred, so he had come over quite a number of times. After chatting like this for a while, we eventually got off the train at the closest station and bought a Castella cake from the store in front of the station to bring as a gift. We then began walking toward Saji’s house by following instructions from a smartphone.
We eventually reached the corner of a residential district which was around ten minutes’ walk from the station, and came to a stop in front of a six-storey apartment building. …There was a distinct aura that I could sense from the apartment building. It was probably a building owned by the House of Sitri, and the people who lived there were undoubtedly acquaintances of Sona-senpai. Unexpectedly, it seemed that there were actually a large number of Devils who lived quite close to us. Curiosity suddenly got the better of me, and I asked Xenovia,
“For a warrior of the Church, approaching a place like this would feel the same as approaching enemy territory, right?”
“Fufufu, there are some Devil-related buildings which can be sensed from several hundred metres away. This is a building which belongs to a High-Class Devil of the House of Sitri, so I imagine that it would conjure a rather powerful presence.”
Xenovia replied. Prior to the peace conference, a warrior of the Church would probably feel quite nervous if they stood close to a building affiliated with a High-Class Devil such as this one. …In that case, when we first met Xenovia and she entered the Hyoudou residence which was affiliated with a High-Class Devil of the House of Gremory, she must’ve had an immense amount of determination to take that first step through the door — it was something that I had only just realised.
Saji’s place seemed to be on the fifth floor, so we took the elevator up. We then walked down the corridor until we reached the last residence on the level.
Oh, it’s right on the corner of the building! Well, since he lives with his family, it’s a pretty good location. Moreover, the geographical location of the apartment itself is pretty good.
I stood in front of the Saji residence and pressed the button on the intercom. …However, it seemed as though no one was home. Alright, what do we do now? Just as I was about to consult Xenovia on the best course of action—
“Hyoudou Issei-san — and President Xenovia, right?”
Someone spoke to us from behind. As I turned around, I noticed a middle school girl who was holding hands with a young boy who looked like he was still in kindergarten. The kindergarten boy’s face and knees were plastered with band aids, and he appeared to have gotten hurt. Judging by the plastic bags that they held, it seemed as though they were on the way home after some shopping. The middle school girl bowed to us.
“I’m Saji Genshirou’s younger sister — Kaho. This is my little brother, Gengo. Gengo, have you said hello?”
—! I was instantly surprised by the identities of the middle school girl and kindergarten boy who greeted us! Saji’s little sister and little brother! That guy actually has two younger siblings! …It was the first that I had heard of this. I didn’t know that guy had such family members at all. Xenovia handed the document envelope in her hands to Saji’s younger sister.
“This is Saji’s — something your brother forgot. Could you please pass it on to him? Also, this is a Castella cake for you guys.”
“Ah, I’m so sorry. He does forget things sometimes. Thank you for the Castella.”
His sister bowed and made a wry smile as she received the envelope and the Castella cake. Alright, our business here is done. Xenovia and I shared a nod as we prepared to leave.
“Well, we’re going to head home now.”
Just as Xenovia and I began to retrace our steps down the corridor—
“Ah, please wait. Why don’t you two come in for a cup of tea so I can thank you properly?”
Saji’s little sister called out to us.
“No, we really just came here to drop something off…”
I declined with such words, but Saji’s little sister said with a smile,
“Umm — you two are the Sekiryuutei and the wielder of Durandal, right? I’ll also be cheering for your team.”
—Hmm. It seemed that his sister was more aware of our situation than I had thought. Having decided to enter the Saji residence, Xenovia and I were led to the living room. The interior of their house was kept quite neat and clean. A portrait of the three siblings was hung up on the wall, and it had probably been painted by the little brother who was still in kindergarten. The siblings seemed to share an amicable relationship.
While Saji’s younger sister supervised her little brother in getting changed in the adjacent room which had its door open, Xenovia and I sat on the sofa and probed,
“Our true identities…in other words, you also know about Saji’s true identity, right?”
“Yes, I know. But Gengo still doesn’t know.”
…It was only natural that a kindergarten-aged child wouldn’t understand. Therefore, it meant that some form of open discussion was possible. Saji’s younger sister said,
“I’ve also been watching the Tournament matches. It’s a pity about the result of your match with the Angel, Dulio-san. I was cheering for your team, Hyoudou-senpai.”
She seemed to know a lot about our situation. However, since she was related to a Devil, she was able to watch television programs from the Underworld whilst in the human world. After learning about a side of Saji that we hadn’t known about before, Xenovia and I continuously nodded as we listened to a stream of fresh information. It was because that guy never mentioned his family. However, he always spoke up when it came to his dreams and ambitions…. I inadvertently looked over at a corner of the living room and noticed a photo frame that sat on a shelf.
“That’s a photo of our parents. There’s also grandpa and grandma.”
—Saji’s little sister informed us. Ah, just as I thought. Although, given that their mother was not at home at such a time, did it mean that something had happened, or perhaps she was at work? While that thought crossed my mind, Saji’s little sister uttered with a perfectly normal tone,
“They’ve all passed away though. Our parents passed shortly after Gengo was born, so it’s already been five years. Grandpa died last year, and grandma a long time ago.”
……Hey, what the hell!? All of the people in those photos have already passed away…?
Both Xenovia and I looked equally shaken by the impact of the unexpected news.
“…I’m sorry, Saji never mentioned any of that.”
Due to my ignorance, all I could do was apologise. Saji’s little sister also heaved a sigh and her expression seemed to convey that she had said more than was necessary. With a slightly puzzled and sombre smile, she murmured,
“Ah — so Gen-nii didn’t mention it after all. It seems I said too much…”
…Yeah, Saji never said anything about that. No, maybe he didn’t want to mention it…. We both became Devils at around the same time and we had been friends for more than a year, but that guy…. Xenovia also spoke with a solemn expression.
“It’s also the first time that I’ve heard of this. Ruruko and the others in the Sitri peerage didn’t mention it to me either.”
Those in the Sitri peerage probably knew about it…. I see, so Saji and everyone else in the Sitri peerage never mentioned this to anyone in the Gremory peerage. Though, perhaps Rias knows about it…. Just when Xenovia and I were rendered speechless upon suddenly learning the truth about Saji’s family…
“Onee-chan, I’m changed!”
A cheerful voice loudly resounded through the house. Having changed into his home clothes, Saji’s younger brother dashed out of the room and into the kitchen. His sister followed, and opened the refrigerator to take a few items out.
“Okay good, now come and have some snacks. This is the handmade pudding that the grandma next door taught me how to make! We also have the Castella cake that our guests brought with them today!”
Upon seeing the snacks being laid out on the table, her little brother looked indubitably excited.
“Cool! Two snacks!”
“Come on, have you said thank you yet?”
Prompted by his older sister, the little brother immediately bowed toward us and shouted,
“Thank you very much!”
Hearing his vibrant voice, a smile naturally formed on our faces.
“Good, you can watch TV now.”
After gaining his sister’s approval, the little brother switched on the television in the living room and inserted a disc into the Blu-Ray player.
“Monster Watch, Monster Watch!”
A popular children’s animation began to play on the television, and the little brother gazed at the screen as he feasted on his snacks.
“I’m sorry. He really has way too much energy.”
Saji’s sister sat down beside him as she gave us an apology.
“It looked like he was crying earlier…is everything okay?”
I asked. In fact, when we encountered them in the corridor, her little brother seemed to have tear stains on his cheeks. Saji’s sister replied,
“Ah — well actually, he seems to have been fighting with a larger boy quite often recently…and that boy seems to have a rather complicated situation as he’s raised by a single mother. Children of that age sometimes feel a bit depressed, so I think they look for someone to vent their feelings on.”
Fights in kindergarten huh.
“Our family doesn’t have a father or a mother, and both grandpa and grandma have passed away too, but the time that Gen-nii and I can spend together with Gengo is actually quite fulfilling. Some members of the Sitri peerage occasionally come over to help take care of my brother, and the old couple next door also help us take care of him, so we’re really quite fortunate.”
Saji’s sister said.
Afterwards, I pried a bit more about Saji’s family situation. About their parents — their father was originally a teacher, and their mother was a museum staff member. Both of them had been engaged in education-related work. Both of them passed away five years ago — in an unfortunate traffic accident when both of them were in the car. It happened shortly after Saji’s little brother was born.
Following the accident, their grandfather took care of them and they stayed together up until last year. However, the grandfather who took care of them also passed away last year due to illness—. Having lost their loved ones — after the three siblings lost their guardian, Saji incidentally encountered Sona-senpai, and she learnt about the Sacred Gear within Saji which lead to him becoming her servant and provided him with the means for support. And then, they moved into this apartment….
It turns out that their family had gone through such an experience…and it was the first time that I had ever heard about it! I wonder why that guy didn’t tell me…sure it’s hard to say…but we’re friends! No, we’re comrades who have fought through life-or-death situations together…but he didn’t say anything…no, perhaps he didn’t want me to worry, and he didn’t want to cause trouble for me. However…I could’ve randomly asked him about his parents…and when I think of that, I…. And so, I came to understand the meaning of his little brother’s paintings on the wall…by the time he grew up and could understand things, both of his parents were no longer present, and the only family that he knew…were his brother and sister.
Saji’s little brother looked exceptionally happy as he gazed at the animation which was being played. Seeing this, Saji’s younger sister said to us,
“Gen-nii has always said that he wants to become a teacher, right? That dream is something that he suddenly became focused on after he became a servant of Sona-san. Before he became a Devil, I clearly remember him saying that he wanted to get a stable job as a municipal office worker.”
With a pained look, she continued,
“I think Gen-nii wants Gengo to see the path that mum and dad used to walk in life. Mum and dad weren’t able to show Gengo how they worked, and that’s why Saji is engaged in education-related work — so that he can show it to Gengo.”
Saji’s little sister made a wry smile as she said,
“I think Gen-nii is trying to act cool to make up for the roles of both mum and dad.”
……Xenovia and I couldn’t utter a single word.
Afterwards, we talked about school and the Tournament for about ten or so minutes before bidding farewell to the Saji family. When we left, Saji’s little sister said to us at the door,
“I’ll be cheering for you in the Tournament…but, my support for the Sitri team will have priority.”
On the way home, I looked up at the sky as I mused,
“…Everyone has their own burdens to carry huh.”
My comrades had also gone through their own complicated and unfortunate encounters before arriving at Rias’ side. I had heard that the original lives of the Sitri peerage members weren’t exactly smooth, but Sona-senpai provided them with salvation…. Walking beside me, Xenovia said,
“I think this is precisely the reason why we should cherish and appreciate our day-to-day happiness.”
…I was momentarily surprised by how she could occasionally come up with such profound statements….
It seems that this minor detour has given me a little more to worry about before our important match. I guess I’ll go on a date with Rias on our next day off, and I can discuss it with her then.
After making such a mental note to myself, I continued on my way home—.
And so, on our following day off—.
Rias and I — along with Kunou and Lint Sellzan-san went to a local shopping mall. Last year, as a member of the Gremory peerage, I fought against the Sitri peerage in a game field version of this shopping mall. Rias said to Lint-san,
“Here we are, Lint. You can go and explore the places that you want to see.”
Whilst Kunou gazed around at various places in the shopping mall, I also said to her,
“You can head off too, Kunou. But, don’t go overboard, and be careful not to get lost.”
Kunou excitedly raised her hand and replied,
“Don’t worry! I’ve completely familiarised myself with this shopping mall! Come on Lint-dono, let’s go to the game centre first!”
Kunou tugged on Lint-san’s hand as she merrily pointed in the direction of the game mall.
“Oh, a game centre? I want to try the so-called ‘Crane Game’ at least once.”
“Leave it to me! Ise and Rias-sama can enjoy shopping together!”
After saying that, Kunou and Lint-san briskly walked together toward the other end of the shopping mall. …Children of that age really do enjoy places like department stores — I recalled how I used to be like that as well. Especially toy shops and game centres. I used to frequently ask my parents to take me to those places. Perhaps thinking that Kunou’s behaviour was rather amusing, Rias giggled and said,
“So she says.”
“Geez, Kunou — she begged me to take her to a shopping mall…”
There was one time when all of us came to this shopping mall, and back then, Kunou looked around everywhere with her eyes aglow as well. There were also large department stores in Kyoto, but she said that it was a separate matter, and there was also the fact that the people in her hometown seemed less willing to take her to such places in the human world. Moreover, it seemed she always had someone accompanying her whilst in Kyoto, so it was probably difficult for her to walk around freely like this. I guess it’s not easy being the Nine-Tailed Princess. Rias said,
“The same goes for Lint. She’s not accustomed to ordinary life at all, and isn’t good at shopping, so I thought today was a good opportunity to bring her along…did I cause trouble for you?”
Would it have been better if Lint-san wasn’t here during our date? —That’s probably what she meant. I shook my head.
“I’m happy just to be here with you, Rias. Ever since I became a [King], I haven’t even had the chance to go shopping with you like this.”
Not long ago, the two of us used to come here and shop together. After becoming a [King] — a High-Class Devil, my workload suddenly multiplied, and I couldn’t even think about going on dates. And not only with Rias, but also with Asia and the other girls. Rias held my hand as she said,
“As expected of my boyfriend — okay, we’ll keep an eye on those two while we shop…and have a nice date.”
“Yeah. Dates like this every once in a while aren’t too bad.”
I squeezed Rias’ hand in return as we began our date.
While keeping an eye on Kunou and Lint-san who were playing on Crane Game and Medal Game machines, Rias and I sat in a corner of the game centre drinking milkshakes while we conversed about various things that we had encountered in our lives. We spoke about school, Devils, the Tournament, and also — about Saji’s circumstances that I had just learned of not long ago.
“Did you already know about Saji’s situation at home?”
I asked Rias. Although she appeared somewhat surprised, she nodded as if she had managed to figure something out.
“…Yes…since you’re asking, did you only find out about it recently?”
“Yeah, I found out not long ago. Have you known for a long time, Rias?”
“Yes, Sona told me about it. I didn’t tell you because you’re friends, so I thought that Saji-kun would tell you on his own. And…it’s also a surprise to me that you’d never been to Saji-kun’s house before. If you had been to his house…he probably would have told you.”
“Hahaha, Xenovia also said something similar to me. I guess both of us got too busy with school, our Devil Jobs, and various situations with team [DxD].”
Even though we had been comrades-in-arms for so long, I suppose it was quite unusual that I hadn’t been to the Saji residence even once, considering our relationship as boys of the same age. After all, I went over to Matsuda and Motohama’s houses during the holidays after I started high school. Rias said
“Saji-kun…probably didn’t want to tell you. Although this is just my guess, I think he didn’t want you to worry about him. And he didn’t want you to be overly considerate for his sake.”
“…So that’s the reason huh.”
…I had those exact same thoughts. But, it still made me feel a little disappointed. If I had known, perhaps I could’ve helped him with something…. …To him, perhaps that would count as unwarranted concern. Just as I pondered over it, Rias continued,
“Moreover, the reason why you never went to Saji-kun’s house — isn’t it because you somehow sensed that something was odd in the way he behaved, and you subconsciously refrained from asking? You were actually able to read the mood and act accordingly.”
Saji exhibited the aura that he didn’t want me to visit his house, and I subconsciously noticed that, which is why I never brought up the topic of visiting his place huh…. …Perhaps…that was correct. With that guy — he was like a close friend to me at school and when we were in the Underworld, but in a sense, the aura of ‘I don’t want you to get any closer than this’ that he gave off was stronger than it was with Kiba and Gasper. After school, even if that guy was free, it didn’t feel right for me to ask him if he wanted to go around and browse some stores on the way home. But if it was Kiba, I’d casually invite him on such ventures. Rather than it being due to the fact that we belonged to different peerages, perhaps it was because of the unique atmosphere that existed between me and Saji. Whilst peering at my face, Rias asked,
“Do you feel uncertain about how to fight against him in the coming match?”
“If that’s the case, then that guy will scold me. And this isn’t something I can tell my peerage either.”
“Yes. Sairaorg and the others will probably be watching the match as well, so I imagine that there will be significant backlash if there is any hesitation in your attacks.”
…Yeah, that’s absolutely right. Even though I had learned of Saji’s situation, if that made my fists any duller, then how could I possibly stand proud and face Sairaorg-san and the others who had gone through their own unfortunate circumstances along the way? More importantly, if I hesitate and refuse to fight because of this, then I can no longer say the he…that Saji is my friend.
“…If I tell Ravel about this, I’m sure she’d get angry.”
Upon hearing those words, Rias simply smiled and said,
“That girl is doing her best to make you successful. Of course she would scold you.”
Ravel sure is strict. My ambition is also Ravel’s ambition. That’s why she becomes so determined and persuades me to defeat my opponents. In order to inspire her [King], my manager is capable of doing anything. …After discussing Saji’s situation with Rias, it felt as though my mood had lightened up.
“I can only talk to you or Azazel-sensei about things like this. I’m very grateful and glad that to have your support.”
Whenever I felt depressed like this, I used to talk to sensei. But he was now in a far-away place, so it wasn’t convenient for me to speak to him…although there was a method for me to communicate with him, the line would also be connected with Sirzechs-sama and the others, making it difficult for me to discuss such a topic. That was why I really appreciated having Rias by my side right now. Rias giggled as she said,
“Fufufu, that’s true. Asia and Xenovia truly admire you from the bottom of their hearts, so they feel the need to comply with your decisions. And I will simply be a sounding board for you. The rest is something that you need to think about on your own — you’re already a [King] after all.”
Something to decide for myself — indeed. …Asia, Xenovia and the others had all expressed their willingness to follow me. That made it difficult for me to ask them such topics in private because I felt that it was better if they didn’t see my weak side. They were probably using their own methods to mentally prepare for the upcoming match as well. I couldn’t give them new troubles at a time like this — to reveal to them the doubts of the [King]. Rias raised a finger as she said,
“Allow me to give you a suggestion before the match, or perhaps consider it a reminder on how to defeat Sona — that girl is undoubtedly strong. Her ability to construct effective strategies is exceptional. At the same time, she is very delicate…she is a girl of the same age as me.”
—A girl of the same age.
…Indeed, Sona-senpai was a girl of the same age as Rias. Although she normally had an air of calmness about her, she also had a passionate side in taking the initiative to inherit her sister’s business. At the same time, she was also an ordinary girl who was saddened by the loss of her sister.
“Ise, I got a Giga Rachu-kun!”
“I got a Hawaiian-version of Rachu-kun.”
Kunou and Lint-san held up the [Rachu-kun] series plushies that they had obtained from the Crane Game machines and showed them to us. Rias praised them with ‘that’s amazing’ as she petted both of their heads. Yeah, she totally looks like a mother! So when we have children, it’ll feel like this huh…Lint-san is just a little big though. Rias announced to the two of them,
“Alright, since we’re done with the games, let’s go shopping over there. Let’s take a look at the clothes first.”
Kunou led Lint-san by hand as we left the game centre. As she looked upon the scene, Rias said,
“Girls are good. In the future, I want at least one daughter.”
—The words that came from her mouth were so electrifying! O-Of course, I also want to have children with Rias in the future! I just didn’t expect Rias to say that right now. Have her maternal instincts taken over?
However, Rias also said with confidence,
“But, I think that our first child will be a boy. I don’t know why, but I just have this strong feeling about it. Ufufu.”
After saying so, Rias took my hand and we began to stroll through the shopping mall again. I clasped her hand in return, while thoughts such as ‘My son…will probably be a pervert after all’ streamed through my mind and caused me unnecessary worry—.
In this way, Rias and I looked after Kunou and Lint-san while we wandered through the shopping mall — at the same time, this helped to alleviate my worries which had arisen from Saji, and really aided with my mental preparation for the next match.
—Sona-senpai, and Saji. I…won’t lose!
(All 2 of 2 parts) (26/3)
Continues on to: Line.3 The Basis of the Dream