Line.Maximum vs Life.Maximum Dragon King (Idiot) and Dragon Emperor (Idiot)
—My name is Saji Genshirou. I’m a second year, and I am President Sitri’s [Pawn].
On my way to the centre of the field, I recalled the first time that I met Saji. I was rather happy at the time to discover that there was another [Pawn] in the same grade as me. However, in contrast to my reaction, that guy made a sigh instead.
—Actually, you’ve damaged my pride pretty badly. For you, one of the Perverted Trio, to be the same [Pawn] as me…
At the time, I thought he was really annoying. He even boasted to me about the fact that he had consumed four pieces. But, when I spoke to him about Kiba’s situation, he cried and promised to help me. I immediately knew that he was a good guy. Though, both Saji and I were disciplined by our masters after that.
When I could finally see Saji waiting for me in the distance, the words that Ravel sent me off with earlier surfaced in my mind.
[Ise-sama, to be honest…I already knew that the situation would turn out like this.]
After starting like that, she went on to say,
[Ise-sama, all members on both teams understand that both you and Saji-sama are personally committed to having a one-on-one battle with each other. So I predicted that Sona-sama would respond in kind by allowing Saji-sama to have a one-on-one against you. As for the reason — I’m sure you’re already aware of it to some extent.]
[I know. Sona-senpai — she may appear cool and calm on the surface, but she’s just as affectionate with her peerage as Rias. She wants to make Saji’s wish come true.]
Sona-senpai greatly valued her peerage members. I had also heard that when Saji was praised by a senior official for his performance in a Rating Game, she teared up. Ravel said,
[I once thought that one-on-one battles were much safer compared to being attacked by a large group of people — but it’s actually the opposite, isn’t it?]
[Of course — compared to a bunch of people attacking me, a one-on-one against that guy is way more difficult. That’s what he’s like. Regardless of how deeply Sona-senpai feels about this, I’m sure she’s looking forward to it.]
Indeed, both he and I were the same type of Devil. If we had to work with a group of people to defeat an enemy, our motivation would actually decrease. Even if we followed a combat plan, we’d still long for a one-on-one duel in our hearts.
He had already equipped his armour. And I — also equipped my crimson armour along the way. A crimson Heavenly Dragon — confronted a jet-black Dragon King. The space between the two of us had already begun to distort under pressure, and the very air that we stood in tremored.
“I’m here, Saji.”
Listening to those words, Saji’s body trembled with excitement.
“…Yeah, ever since that time, I’ve always been looking forward to this moment.”
Saji and I stared deeply into each other’s eyes in our armoured forms, but the battlefield did not belong to us alone.
[My name is Vritra. I am a dragon hailed as one of the Dragon Kings. I request a duel with the Red Dragon Emperor, Ddraig.]
That was…an invitation to a duel. Upon hearing such words, Ddraig delivered a hearty laugh from within my body.
[…So you’ve given me your name, Vritra. Kukuku, it’s been a long time since anyone has given their name directly in front of me. Alright, partner. We’ve gone past the point of no return.]
Ddraig fearlessly declared,
[—Since another dragon has given me their name, then I cannot retreat as a fellow dragon. We must fight until one of us falls!]
Ddraig’s roar rang out across the sky!
[My name is Ddraig. I am a dragon hailed as one of the Heavenly Dragons. I accept the challenge of [Prison Dragon] Vritra!]
The next instant, a dense aura enveloped both of our bodies. Heat, desire, fighting spirit, hostility, passion, fervour, obsession — all kinds of emotions ran high and radiated uncontrollably from our bodies which could no longer contain them. Any further words would be meaningless. We were far past the point of exchanging words such as ‘let’s fight’ or ‘let’s begin’. The duel — the battle to destroy each other had already begun!
The moment that we raised our fists at each other…a swirling vortex of undeniable and uncontrollable emotions drew us in and ensnared us.
…Do you remember that time when I lost to you a year ago, Saji?
Ever since then, I’ve always felt….
FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED FRUSTRATED….
…I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve imagined the day that I beat you down in my fantasy simulations. I’ve always thought about the scene in which I utterly defeat you. …You humiliated me in front of Rias, my friend…how could I possibly forget such humiliation…!? The feelings from that time have lingered in the depths of my memory, not fading even once…! You are the perpetrator…it’s not a delusion this time, because you’re here in front of me right now—.
—I can finally get revenge for that match. It’s as if someone’s prepared my favourite meal for me after a week of starvation…I want to pounce on it, and there’s no sanity that can stop me.
And then, both of us readied our stances and allowed a hollow silence to prevail for a moment—.
I don’t know who initiated it, but by the time I was aware—
We were already screaming at the top of our lungs as we charged forth, flying toward the enemy before our eyes! The initial attack — was a punch directed at each other’s faces! The impacts which crushed our helmets were transmitted directly to our heads, causing a bout of sudden dizziness…. But, we didn’t care about recovery as we mindlessly slugged it out, throwing punch after punch!
His fists slammed into my face, my fists slammed into his face, and both of us focused only on the face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face as we continuously hurled our fists at each other!
Eventually, we grabbed hold of each other’s shoulders in order to cut off all routes of escape, and we continued to madly punch away at each other’s faces! We grabbed each other’s shoulders — no, we had a chokehold around each other’s necks as we constantly punched each other in the face from an extremely close distance! We endlessly threw punches at each other’s faces! All we cared about was a nonstop barrage of punches at each other’s faces!
I launched my power-imbued fists at that guy’s face! My body had become accustomed to the repetitive motion of sending my fist into his face at the fastest possible speed! The eventual number of punches numbered in the dozens? No, more than a hundred punches…more than two hundred punches at his face. It had clearly become a fight with no purpose or sanity! The battle that began with our fists plunged into each other’s faces — continued unrelentingly in the same manner!
Watching this scene, the announcer boomed
<<WHAT IS THISSS!? WHAT KIND OF BATTLE IS THISSS!? In the centre of the field — both sides are using only their fists to punch each other in the face; it’s an almost primitive battle! The Red Dragon Emperor and the Black Dragon King! It’s as though they’ve been possessed into doing nothing more than punching each other in the face! Would you take a look at this! This back-and-forth boxing match has made all of the audience members stand up!>>
I don’t really want to imagine what my face looks like right now, but I’m certain that it looks damn manly. And that’s because the man I keep punching in front of me is getting more and more manly as well!
We continued to punch each other’s faces in order to vent our feelings of frustration! From the very moment that Saji and I met, there was already a mountain of things that we wanted to say to each other. After a year, the things that we wanted to say to each other only piled up even higher—. And now, the friendship between Saji and I had already deepened to such a point that there was no need to say such things.
But I understand. I understand, Saji! You and I just want to punch each other’s faces out, and there’s not a single thing that could get in the way of that!
A reliable comrade. A despised person of the same generation. An amazing friend. An object of envy—.
With all of these feelings mixed together, all we can do is — use our clenched fists to hit each other’s faces to express them. Three hundred punches…when we had exceeded four hundred punches, our noses had already become crooked, our eyes were swollen, and our mouths were full of blood. Just as the announcer said, it was as if we had been possessed to perform the singular task of continuously punching our opponent’s face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face, face!
Finally, when we both staggered and separated — we were completely out of breath and covered in injuries. Stamina and endurance had long been forgotten amidst our frenzy. —Trivial matters such as that had long been discarded…! Whichever side collapsed first was the loser — it was plain and simple…! With swollen and bruised faces, Saji and I both grinned.
“—You look like shit, Hyoudou.”
“You’re one to talk, Saji. Doesn’t your face look more miserable than mine?”
After laughing for a while, Saji took a deep breath. He threw a punch at my face as he shouted,
“I hate you—! No matter what I do, you’re always ahead of me!”
I also returned a punch at Saji’s face and yelled back,
“I also want to beat you down—! I’m always ahead? How dare you! Who the hell told you to crush my debut match!? That’s why I wanted to get ahead of you!”
We thrust our fists out simultaneously — it was a cross-counter as our fists jabbed each other’s faces and penetrated deeply into them! Both of us were repelled backwards, but Saji and I fixed our stances and we continued to fight whilst voicing our charged emotions!
“You shitty bastaaaaaaaaaarrrrrddd!”
“You’re the shittier bastaaaaaaaaaarrrrrddd!”
After yelling at the tops of our lungs, we — stopped caring about everything and concentrated on punching each other’s faces again! This time, I enveloped my fists in aura, and that guy also coated his fists with black flames! Even though my entire body was scorched and burnt because of the black flames…the only thing that I focused on was using my aura-coated fists to hit that guy’s face! Observing the situation, the announcer cried,
<<Absolutely unbelievable! It’s started again! A battle in which they only throw punches at each other’s faces! To think that such a method of fighting exists—!>>
As a flood of punches mercilessly smashed my face, I occasionally felt as though my consciousness was on the verge of fading…but I fought desperately to stay awake as I infused my fists with all my will and continuously hit Saji!
Nonetheless, this was still a battle between a Heavenly Dragon and a Dragon King — even an exchange of fists was sufficient to cause a tremendous impact on our surroundings. The earth shattered, and even distant trees collapsed from the shockwaves that we produced. I transformed my arm into its Solid Impact form and threw punch after punch at Saji’s face. The full-powered strength of my arms was so immense that Saji could barely stand…but Saji wrapped several lines around his right arm and punched my face with his fist that was covered in black flames.
We had already long exceeded the level of inflicting severe pain on each other. We used fists with enough power to cause death against each other…. Our face-to-face punch-out finally came to an end after a countless number of punches had been thrown. I had already lost count of how many punches I had thrown, but the instant that my fist connected with Saji’s face, I felt as though it had finally reached him. But even so, I continued and threw my next punch — but, my fist only caught the air. —Because Saji was already on the floor. Saji — lay on the floor and didn’t move in the slightest.
<<In this battle of raging fists against each other’s faces, Saji-senshu has finally fallen—!>>
The announcer thundered. …With that punch which caused his consciousness slip away, Saji…would probably disappear into the light of retirement, ending all of this. Just as I stared down at my fallen friend on the ground, a change seemed to have occurred on the broadcast side.
<<Ah—! A mysterious young girl has stolen our microphone and occupied the broadcast gallery!>>
Above the field, a projection of the situation in the stadium was shown. The person who appeared in that projection — actually turned out to be Saji’s younger sister who held a microphone in the broadcast gallery.
<<Please excuse me, I am Saji Genshirou’s younger sister. Please let me borrow this microphone for a moment.>>
His younger sister held the microphone and began to convey her words to Saji.
<<Gen-nii…can you hear me? In the kindergarten today, I heard the teacher say that — Gengo won a fight. He won against the boy who bullied him!>>
Tears welled up in the eyes of Saji’s younger sister, and they eventually streamed down her cheeks.
<<Gengo already won! You’ll look horrible if you keep lying on the ground there, Gen-nii! Stand up! Stand up, onii-chan!>>
His sister’s voice resounded across the entire field. And the next moment—.
Little by little, Saji gradually began to show signs of movement, and he slowly stood up. His expression was hollow, and it didn’t seem as though he had regained consciousness at all…. …Indeed, Saji should’ve already lost consciousness. He had already endured so many blows. Yet, in the depths of Saji’s swollen eyes — a flame ignited. A grand conflagration of black flames ignited across Saji’s entire body and re-formed his armour. Watching the scene before my eyes, the words of Saji’s sister surfaced in my mind.
—I think Gen-nii wants Gengo to see the path that mum and dad used to walk in life.
—I think Gen-nii is trying to act cool to make up for the roles of both mum and dad.
…Saji, I see. That’s right. You want to show them. You want your little sister to see your cool side, and you also want your little brother to see it in the future as well!
—Hyoudou, I want to become a teacher.
…I get it, I understand, I know, Saji. That’s right…both you and I have our ambitions…our dreams, and we’ve come all the way to the present with them. Moreover — you have family that you must protect. That’s why there’s no way you can just fall down in this place, right!? At that moment, I heard Vritra’s voice
[…I see, so you’ll stand up, my avatar. Even if your consciousness is blurred, you’re still an Evil Dragon. That being the case, you should take a good look, Sekiryuutei! Hyoudou Issei and Ddraig!]
Vritra’s roar echoed through the sky. The cold-mannered Vritra unveiled his emotions.
[We are Evil Dragons! Even if half our bodies are destroyed, and even if we fall unconscious! We will rely on obsession, and act upon that singular purpose! We are strong enough to stand in the way of a Heavenly Dragon!]
Black flames and aura like none I had ever seen before billowed all over Saji’s body. Seeing his appearance, I made up my mind and strengthened my resolve.
“…Yeah, I know. It’s just as you say. You…that’s who you two are.”
I spoke to Ravel through the transceiver on my ear.
“Ravel, can you hear me?”
[Yes, go ahead.]
“I’m going to apologise in advance — I’m going to use [Dragon Deification], even though we might need it in the second half of the match.”
Ravel was momentarily surprised, but she immediately understood the situation.
[…This is what you have to do to settle things with Saji-sama, right?]
“…I’m sorry for being the same foolish [King] as always. Since I’ve already fought this far with him, I have to accompany him until the end. I have to do this…!”
—I won’t back down. I can’t possibly back down! …If I back down here, I won’t be able to face Saji and Sairaorg-san with pride! If I don’t take everything that he has to give me, then I won’t be able to call myself his ‘friend’!
[I understand. I’m only by your side because you’re the type of person who would face something like this seriously, Ise-sama.]
Ravel accepted my resolve.
“Thank you, Ravel.”
After thanking Ravel and terminating the communication channel, I said to Ddraig,
“Well, with that done, it looks like real fight is just about to begin. Let’s go, Ddraig.”
[Kukuku, this is nothing. Aren’t things always like this? I understand.]
Ddraig truly seemed happy. It seemed like Ddraig had also enjoyed this duel between dragons to its fullest.
“So Ddraig, if I use partial Dragon Deification now, how many moves can I make?”
[Since you haven’t fully recovered, it won’t be possible to do too much. At worst, just a single move will—]
“Lend me your support! No, let’s do this together! This is the only way left to defeat those two! There’s no other way to pierce through their obsession!”
Saji had already readied his fists in preparation for a second round.
Alright, sorry for making you wait, Saji. Shall we fight again? Shall we clash again? This is the only option we have. This is the only way in which we can express these feelings—
I charged straight ahead.
Even on the verge of losing consciousness again, Saji also rushed toward me! Even if everyone else is tired of watching, we’re going to start punching each other in the face again! Anything other than that has become meaningless. Any other kind of attack is no longer possible for us! Saji entwined a large number of lines around his hands, and he raised both his aura and flames to their maximum! His strengthened fists made me feel intense pain and heat across my entire body! Ddraig couldn’t help but grumble,
[He can still produce that many lines…!? He’s so damn persistent!]
In order to decide everything with a finishing blow, I began to recite the chant.
[The jet-black God of Infinity! The glorious God of Dreams! Watch over the forbidden existence we shall become that transcends the boundaries—!]
“[<<Dragon ∞ Drive !!!!!!>>]”
My right arm partially transformed into its Dragon Deification mode!
“I won’t lose to yoooooooooouuuuuuu!”
With my Dragon Deified fist, I smashed Saji’s face! The instant I landed that hit, Saji stopped moving. The impact of that blow severely damaged the ground and dug out a crater.
Having received my single Dragon Deified blow, Saji stepped back unsteadily. Step by step, he slowly receded away from me. Saji murmured as if in a trance,
“…I made a promise with everyone…I’m going to become a teacher…with President……Kaho…Gengo…”
After saying that, Saji stood still. And then—
“…I’ll…do mum and dad’s part as well……I…I…!”
For the third time, black flames ignited and erupted around his body—
“—I’m going to become a teacher!”
Black aura continued to discharge from his body as he shouted toward the sky. …All I could say was that it was breathtaking. Saji’s strength should’ve already reached its limits. His consciousness was also hazy and clearly not in a normal state. He probably couldn’t even feel pain.
But even so, you’re still…
[…I see, it’s obsession. A human’s obsession can be described as the most frightening thing…it’s been a long time since I’ve been exposed to such obsession. Even after reincarnating as a Devil, his will has remained so strong because he still retains the spirituality of being human.]
…Yeah, Saji is an incredibly human guy. That’s why I’m fond of him.
[—The next [Dragon Deification] will be the last! How do you want to use it, partner!?]
Ddraig asked, but my answer had already been prepared! Anything else was impossible!
“It’s obviously going to be a punch—!”
I once again partially transformed my fist into Dragon Deification mode — and hit Saji with it! Covered in black flames, Saji’s fist could be described as a punch that represented all of his spirit — and he used that to strike me first. My consciousness almost left me, but I just barely managed to hold on, and — when it was the turn for my Dragon Deified fist to hit Saji, he was launched backwards with immense force. As I looked at Saji on the ground, I thought that he wouldn’t be able to get back up again—
…Saji…moved again. He was that strong. Are you that obsessed with me…!? Seeing this, even the announcer’s voice trembled.
<<He’s gotten back up again. Saji-senshu has stood up again! Such incredibly persistence! Not a single person in the audience can say a word! What motivation does he have to resist to such an extent!?>>
In the projection above the field, Saji’s little sister could be seen in tears near the broadcast gallery. In an attempt to get back up, Saji collapsed. He tried to stand up again, and collapsed. After falling several times, Saji finally stood up…but his knees didn’t stop shaking, and his eyes were unfocused.
…Saji is already—. But, that’s fine. You…that’s just like you. Even though it was already over, that man of the same generation, my friend, Saji Genshirou still—.
Suddenly, a black snake appeared by his side — Vritra had summoned his body in a miniature form. Vritra — couldn’t stop tears from overflowing from his eyes.
[…Finish it…deal my avatar the final blow…he has nothing left. He has already exhausted everything. He can’t even ignite a small ember…but even so, my avatar won’t stop.]
Just as Vritra said, Saji moved forward and approached me, step by step. Even though he no longer had the capacity to fight and was unconscious, Saji — Saji still…just wanted to defeat me…! Watching this, Vritra pleaded,
[…Please help…personally deliver the final blow as his friend, Sekiryuutei…]
I…tightly clenched my fist and stood in front of Saji. Saji reflexively raised his fists…and then slowly punched me. He was no longer capable of exerting any power through his fists.
“…Hyoudou…President Sona…everyone…Kaho, Gengo…”
I hugged Saji, and delivered the final punch to his abdomen. It was a quiet conclusion to the battle—. Saji’s body shook for a moment, and then his arms finally dropped down, limp and weak. I hugged Saji tightly…as tears overflowed from my eyes—.
Despite Saji’s swollen and bruised face — he smiled. After exhausting all of his strength, his smile conveyed a sense of satisfaction despite his defeat. In my arms, my friend spoke with a voice that only I could hear.
After leaving those words behind, Saji’s body faded into the light of retirement as he gradually disappeared.
Up until the final moment, I continued to hold onto my friend tightly.
“…You idiot…that’s what I should be saying to you…”
Even after Saji’s body disappeared and our battle was over, I — still couldn’t stop my tears from flowing.
(Part 1 of 1) (26/3)
Continues on to: Final Line. The Student Council and Leviathan