Unlike previously, this time, we were the first to be seated, waiting for everyone else to return. Yasaka took a rather polite posture. She showed no discontent when everyone started filing back into their seats, looks of…..mild exhaustion clearly showing before they steeled themselves.
I'm sure some things we revealed were making them very worried. The break was more or less about two hours, which was probably not enough time to really get into the true repercussions of an 'evil' organization composed of Gods and other mythological figures that crosses Pantheon lines.
Well, it did its job of thoroughly throwing all the other parties off balance.
"Are you all ready to continue?" Yasaka asked with a very kind tone, yet had a smidgen of impatientness to it. Which almost made me chuckle considering we were intentionally late to the meeting itself.
Even if no one react to her comment, I think I could pick up one or two faces that flashed a brisk annoyance before returning to normal.
"Yes, I believe we have much more to discuss now." Michael replied with a kind smile.
As if to respond, Ajuka loudly set a large container on the table. Glass on all sides so everyone could see what was within. It certainly made everyone tense as the power within was something menacing, even if a small quantity compared to the original.
"We were able to verify the earlier claims. It appears as though Ophis was in fact giving away portions of her power." The Satan revealed to everyone present.
There were a few hushed whispers in every direction.
"Feels like that damn Dragon." Odin grumbled. "Met it once or twice. You don't forget that kind of thing, ever."
"And at the very least." Lugh's eyes turned to us. "It adds some credibility to previous claims."
"Which raises the damn question." Odin grunted. "How in the dark depths of Hel's decrepit home did you – how did you say it – take Ophis off the board?" The Old God huffed looking our way as if trying to gleam an answer through a little glare. "What do you think, Monkey?" He poked Sun Wukong with his stick.
"Regardless of the many questions I myself have, I am here as an observer. I forwent my right to speak when you accepted my last-minute addition. I will respect those terms." The Monkey King said rather evenly.
Honestly, it sounded a little foreboding as well. Especially since he was staring right at Raikou. And regardless of the good impression I had of him, I did not appreciate those stares towards her.
I was feeling very protective right now.
"Bah, you got boring in old age." The Norse God huffed again.
"There are still some things we will wish to keep secret." Yasaka stated, earning another grunt from the Norse God.
"It seems like a rather important detail to simply keep to yourself, especially once you revealed that she is the 'leader' of this organization." Ajuka stared at her. "How are we supposed to take anything else at face value if you aren't willing to share something so important?"
"Well, as you yourself have proven." She gestured towards the container still sitting on the table. "You don't. And for that matter, don't believe us if you don't want to."
"What do you mean?"
"As simply as I said it. If you don't believe us, well, it seems that's where our cooperation will have to end. I think we've done enough to show our sincerity."
Ajuka tried to force her to reveal more, and Yasaka called his bluff saying we would just leave if we weren't going to be trusted at this point.
Surprisingly, it was Zekram Bael who responded by clearing his throat. "That will not be necessary. We are merely hesitant due to the volatile nature of this information. We welcome anything you are willing to share."
And for the briefest of moments, the fellow devils looked at him like he had three heads.
"Yeah, like Old Zekram said." Serafall was the quickest to recover, a bright smile on her face. "We're all here to work together."
"In the spirit of cooperation, I would like to know about what you discovered regarding this Diodora's peerage." Michael was the next to take the spotlight. "I assume you have investigated in what little time we were away." He gestured to the container.
Ajuka frowned slightly. "We are currently still looking into it and focused primarily on the more important issue. However, we will be completely transparent and if you want, we're more than willing to hand over the offending party for your discretion on the punishment."
Or in other words, they're saying to ignore it for now and they'll hand it all over to Heaven to deal with after the important matters are taken care of.
Call me skeptical that one of the Satans is willing to turn over a family member so quickly.
Or maybe I just don't have much faith in the Devils overall, bar a handful that I personally know.
"We'll talk more about it afterwards." Michael seemed to accept the intent.
"Great." Yasaka clapped her hands. "Why don't we address the elephant in the room. The three factions that are 'at war' still and sitting across the table discussing peace. I believe we can drop the formalities here and get to the details of it. It's pretty clear to everyone else that you all have already decided on something, so care to share?"
Azazel coughed awkwardly. "Haha, guess it isn't that much of a secret. Had to at least get everyone to sit down first, which came with some agreements and all that jazz."
"That's correct." Michael spoke up. "But we also have some concerns we'd like to address before we officiate anything. Specifically, we would like there to be more strict regulation on the use of Evil Pieces."
Well, can't say I didn't see that coming.
"Honestly, I'm with Michael on this one. I've had some of my people stolen by those things too, even if I didn't kick up a fuss, it's still a pretty shitty thing going on behind the scenes. You can claim all these 'rules' and stuff about them, but it's still going on." Azazel seemed to agree.
The Devils glanced at each other, not seemingly concerned. "We've already discussed this ourselves." The new Luciferreplied. "We were going to create another department to help regulate them and introduce new rules. Such that any new Peerage Member or use of an Evil Piece will have to be registered within a certain timeframe. Not only will they be forced to provide information on the newest addition, but we will also be conducting an investigation on our end to make sure nothing untold happened."
"Color me surprised." Yasaka genuinely sounded so. "Can't imagine that's going to go over well with a significant amount of your population." And she didn't need to specify who we were talking about.
"I see no harm with what is proposed. If someone is forcedto beholden followers through such means, then they are undeserving of their positions." Zekram Bael harumphed in disdain. "If any of themdecide to cause problems, I will deal with them myself."
As far as prideful and arrogant people go, he really isn't that unlikable.
"This arrangement is acceptable." Michael nodded towards the Devils.
"Not to be a wet blanket, but what about all the previouspeople turned into Devils. Are you just going to conveniently forget about them? I have quite a few of my own people who have last loved ones." Yasaka looked towards the Devils
The blank look on their faces, I guess they didn't expect to be so bluntly asked about this.
Sirzechs Lucifer cleared his throat. "We'll look into all the older uses as well once we get everything established."
I had to hold back on rolling my eyes. An open-ended noncommittal answer.
Though, I don't think Yasaka expected any different, merely taking the opportunity to cut into any momentum they were gathering.
"Actually, I'm really curious what you said to get Michael to willingly sit down like this. You were keeping It really hush-hush and didn't even let me peek at the message I sent to him." Azazel leaned forward.
The Devils and the Angels shared another look before Ajuka let out a sigh. "I guess it's not something we can really just keep to ourselves." He sat straight. "In accordance with the signing of a formal Peace Treaty, we of the Devil Faction will conduct Research in joint with the Heaven faction to manufacture devices similar to the Evil Pieces to turn humans into Angels."
"Oh?" Odin was the first to react when everyone else went silent. To be honest, I never even considered the possibility of this. "Now that's an interesting thought. As much as I abhor those things, I can't deny they're beautiful pieces of Magic. But to change their design to turn Humans into Angels, that's not a simple thing."
"Is it even possible?" Lugh looked a mix of intrigued and….concerned? "Angels are…..divine. A spark of Divinity in them that the Abrahamic God interwove. It's known that the Evil Pieces do not take to divinity well. In the very few occasions that a Demi-God was turned there had to be very extenuating circumstances. Such as more than normal pieces used, even if the one reincarnated isn't worthy of such a investment."
"Even with that clone of Surtr, it needed the literal strongest Devil ever to exist to succeed. And If I recall, the Evil Piece was – Mutated, is the correct word." Odin looked towards the Lucifer.
"You're right." He didn't deny it. "Even the initial Reincarnation had...complications. I had to call in Ajuka and Serafall to help me stabilize the process. And even with that, it was very close to failing."
"It isn't quite the same." Ajuka responded. "It would be a Human gaining some manner of Divinity and becoming an Angel."
"The context is the same. You wish to fundamentally change the aspect of a person. I would call the Evil Pieces a fluke of invention and now you're wanting to go in the opposite direction." Odin shook his head. "I would call it foolish if there were not more natural examples that have existed in the past." He looked up, specifically towards us. "And two of them are standing here now."
"…..Admittedly, it would help with research…" Ajuka said quietly.
Michael perked up. "Knowing how it's possible in different circumstances...would it be too much to ask how?" He directed his question towards us.
Scáthach snorted in response. "You wish to know my secret? It is simple. Merely kill enough Gods, bathe in enough Divine Blood, and you shall develop some of your own."
"….yes simple." Lugh twitched slightly. "I believe you are the only one who would say something like that."
"I have the weirdest boner right now."
"L-lord Odin!" The Valkyrie next to him screeched.
Michael smiled awkwardly. "I do not think such a method applicable to us. However…." He turned towards me.
Well, I suppose it wasn't really a secret. And with the many eyes on me, being Yasaka's Lover, I did want to make an impression.
"I killed a God and usurped its Divine Authority."
With Scáthach, it was more or less expected.
But I just openly admitted to a feat that was only has a handful of recordings throughout history. I, a mortal, slayed a God.
And not that just, I used it to pull myself to a higher state of existence.
"Odin." Lugh's head jerked towards the Norse God.
"He isn't lying." The One-Eyed God spoke almost dismissively.
"You know something." Lugh's eyes narrowed.
Odin snorted in response. "I know a lot of things, brat."
The Celtic God gave him a calculative look before letting out a sigh. "What God did you kill?"
"I will keep that to myself." I replied, making the God frown.
"Fufu, I taught him well." Scáthach preened under the intense stares we were getting.
"No wonder I get this weird feeling when I look at you. Like I have to be on guard around you." Odin again grunted, but otherwise didn't seem to be pressing me.
And that made me even more worried. I thought for sure a God so invested in wisdom and knowledge would want to know more.
And that's curious, because Izzy said something similar. I guess the differences between the Gods here and from that other world muted the absolute hatred that Campiones give off.
"As you can see, I fear these methods won't be applicable, so let's move on." Yasaka interrupted the murmurs.
Lugh was still looking at me with wariness in his eyes. It would do no good for him to carry on like this. "The circumstances that allowed me to do so were unique and I can't reproduce them."
May as well not make any unnecessary problems in the future.
And I chose my words carefully, as Odin was always able to see through falsehoods. Technically, I can't reproduce the effects by my own hand. Pandora is the one who facilitates everything, thus I wasn't lying.
Though, the looks on the Devils faces did make me amused.
"Very well." Michael acquiesced. "However, I do have another question stemming from your fight with Kokabiel."
"Yes?" I looked at the Archangel.
He paused for a moment, for which I assume he was wanting to be careful with his wording. "You were able to wield the Spear that Father created. Something that shouldn't have been possible."
"Yeah, I'll jump in on this too." Azazel interjected. "As much bullshit I've heard the past few days, that's right near the top of impossible and I'm pretty damn firm on this one."
"I would not quite word it that way, but I share a similar….sentiment." The Archangel looked….wary. "How were you able to not be affected by the intense Holy Power? And there was also the other Holy Weapon that enveloped all the Devils present, and they were fine as well."
I guess Artoria's turn was coming up next.
But they were staring at me, waiting for an answer.
And noticing Vasco Strada still standing at the side…..I couldn't resist. I cleared my throat as they all seemed to lean in. "Anything is possible through God."
And they all just stared at me blankly. Well, all except Azazel who suddenly broke out into a fit of giggles. "He's got you there, brother."
Atleast Michael looked the tiniest bit amused by the answer, even if he let out a sigh at Azazel's words.
Frankly, the Spear was giving me a weird feeling. Nothing was spoken, but I could faintly feel it not wanting to come out.
And telling them all that Big G might be coming back would definitely cut this whole thing short. There's no way things would play out the same if the scales were suddenly skewed so far in Heaven's favor.
"The Spear allowed me to wield it. Perhaps it was due to my Divinity that it couldn't associate me with a 'normal' devil."
"Even if it allowed you, the Holy Power should have killed you." Michael stated. "Unless…..you have some method to remove your weakness to Holy Power?"
Ah, that's what he's wanting to know. That definitely makes much more sense. He's worried I have a method to remove Devil's weakness to their only deterrent.
"I don't beyond my own abilities and inherent nature." Which was true.
And if Big G didn't let me wield the spear, it would definitely burn me inside and out.
"According to the report we received, you removedKokabiel's Holy Power." Michael seemingly jumped right to the next point. I guess he expected a minimal answer in that regard. "How? Even I cannot do such through the Heaven's System."
"I used the Spear." I said again. "I can tell you that I felt a sense of anger directed towards Kokabiel."
"….Hey Michael." Azazel looked over to his unfallen brother. "Do….you think something may have roused that little piece of Dad left in the spear?"
For the first time, the Archangel adopted a depressedlook. "We've looked at the spear in the past. Father…..isn't really there, not truly. I don't know what happened, maybe when Kokabiel forced a connection back to heaven did it react strangely with the Spear?"
"Honestly, it's a good an answer as any." Azazel shrugged. "Today's been a day of a lot of firsts." His eyes flickered to me. "I'm sure I could answer some of these questions if I had something to experiment with."
"Then what about the Sword." He gaze landed on Artoria. "From what was described, it filled the entire area with Holy Power."
"My blade does not discriminate by race." Artoria spoke up for the first time since her introduction.
"Been scratching my head on this one too." Azazel probed up his head on the table. "Wondering if Dad hid away a toy we weren't told about. What's the name of your sword?"
If there was absolutely one aspect that Artoria would never compromise on, it was things to do with her sword. If I asked for her sword, she would deny me. Not that I ever would. So that is to say, she wouldn't ever lie about the name of her sword either.
It carried much too much meaning to the point where she would rather die than besmirch it.
"You ask a question you already know the answer." Artoria didn't waver one bit. "It is Excalibur – The Sword of Promised Victory."
Hearing the report, then hearing it from the little ladies' mouth, yeah, it just really makes me even more confused. I'm not like Odin where I can just tell if someone's lying, but I've been around the block enough to sort of pick up on tells and such.
This girl was way too confident and unwavering in saying it.
The Kid with Dad's Spear…..that sorta maybe makes sense. I couldn't really call it bullshit, because there's a severe lack of Devils with Divinity to test that sort of thing.
Did the dying will of Dad inside the thing allow him to use it because he was upset with Kokabiel?
I really want to take a look at that thing, but they're being really damn protective of their secrets. Which makes it even more infuriating, because since when do the Youkai faction have secrets worth wanting to know?!
I think I really shit the bed with the last time I met them.
Honestly didn't think it'd bite me in the ass like this.
Atleast that one chick isn't here and I'm even hesitant to bring her up. Don't know how Odin and Lugh would react to her. Shit, I felt her presence for a second, and it damn well dwarfed even Odin.
…..was that Ophis in disguise?
No, she was too....focused? Every report I've ever read about Ophis spoke of the Dragon God as aloof or blank in their expressions.
Why do I feel like I'm the only one that's out of the loop here? I mean, I guess the Devils have no idea either, and Michael. But they're apparently talking about something so important with copying the Evil Pieces, and they didn't even consult me!
Really surprised me that they went for that though. I don't think Michael is happy about having to go that route. Not that he looks down on humans in the slightest, he's dad's golden child and all that. I don't think Dad would approve of the idea either. Not really be angry about it, but disapproval was probably worse.
Humans aren't supposed to be Angels.
We're different for a reason, and I'm sure Dad would say the same thing.
But I can't fault Michael either, he's in a really shitty situation, and he's doing everything he can to keep things running.
Besides, it's just even more Angels I can eventually bring to my side!
Win-win for everyone!
But I digress.
Short girl with probably the most powerful Holy Sword in the world, and we had no idea about it.
"Oi, Michael. Did Dad make another sword when we weren't looking? Hiding it away, and naming it after another….?" I asked towards my brother.
Honestly, it wouldn't have been the most convoluted plan Dad ever made. His bullshit ability to see the future and all that, he constantly did strange things we didn't even have context for until all the pieces fell into place.
And he was always smug about it when we questioned about what he was doing.
"I'm afraid this is the first I'm learning about this sword." Michael shook his head. "All the Armaments of Heaven are accounted for, even if they are not in our possession."
"It's kinda weird that Excalibur would have broken originally." I rubbed my chin. "Maybe Dad swapped them out beforehand for some reason? Hard to believe he'd hold back on giving his Golden Boy such a powerful sword. I mean, he already gave Arthur Caliburn and the that ridiculous Sheath. There was also that Dagger he had, and that spear..." And speaking of a Sheath…..I turned back towards the little blonde. "Which you also have now that I think about it." It was lost when his sister stole it before the final battle.
Dad imbued it with a Miracle that healed Arthur from anything short of his brain being splattered.
"I do possess the Sheath as well." She didn't even deny it.
And she has Caliburn at her side.
Even if it looks different than the last time it popped up. The special ability of the sword to shift to match its wielder's preferences.
Actually…..it looked awfully similar to how it originally looked when Dad shoved it in that stone.
And there was a hint of amusement when I was talking about Arthur. I feel like I'm the butt of some joke right now.
"You said you spoke on behalf of the Pendragon Family?" Michael asked.
She did say that, hmm.
They were pretty inconsequential when all was said or done. Sure, they had Caliburn and a few other of Dad's swords, but nothing really spectacular beyond that. Their combat strength wasn't very high either, producing an ultimate Class every now and then, but even that was hit or miss over the years.
Then again…..didn't I think the same about the Youkai before today?
I vaguely remember the report about them. Mostly because of the huge light show that happened there some time ago. Which, the reason is obvious, now. But they shut themselves up tight, not letting any outsiders inside.
…..what are they hiding?
"The Church and the Pendragon Family have been long allies." Michael smiled sincerely towards the younger-looking woman.
"The Pendragon Family has cut ties completely with the Church." She didn't miss a beat, cutting off the attempt of Brother to reach out towards them.
Hmm, isn't that surprising? I mean, It's not that much of a shock, but these kinds of things are usually cloak and dagger crap. Not…..just wiping hands of one another completely.
And the small reaction on Michael's part, I don't think he was even aware.
He turned to look at those Cardinals at the side.
"L-Lord Michael." One of them spoke up, looking rather frightful. "We are still in negotiations with the Pendragon Family and –"
"There are no negotiations" The little miss once more cut right through the bullshit. "You failed to uphold the agreements between ourselves. No more shall we look to the Church as allies."
Damn, didn't even give them an out to work with.
Little girl is ruthless.
"And what about the other Excalibur. The broken one." May as well help brother out of this weird spot. He did flash me a thankful look. "Hmm, maybe if we compare the two, It'll give us a hint about the origins….
"I am in possession of the broken sword that Kokabiel reforged." The Pendragon girl stated, producing said sword from somewhere. I wasn't quite paying attention, but I was now a little curious as to where she kept it. "However, my Sword is not a bauble to merely show off on a whim."
"Understandable." Zekram Bael of all people cut me off.
And there goes the wind that was in my sails.
A single word from Zekram Bael at the right time, and it was seemingly impossible to continue down that train of talk. If Zekram Bael – the current Devil – was being reasonable, how were we supposed to go opposite of that?
Nephew, the hell?
Why the heck was he helping her? Shouldn't he want to know about some absurd Holy Sword? Shit, even the newer Satans were looking at him strangely. Guess even they don't know what he's doing.
Maybe he wanted it to stay out of Heaven's hands? But I didn't think the Old Devil would really care about that sort of thing. I doubt he would even consider his power being inferior enough to a Holy Sword that he would feel threatened by it.
Can't really push now without looking like a complete ass.
Shit, really wanted to know about this Holy Sword that apparently doesn't even harm devils. Well, unless it's usedon them I assume. The report was very explicitly in detail to how that Dragon was utterly annihilated.
Now I'm going to have to look into it later. Figure out what the hell is going on there, because they clearly don't want to tip their hand – whatever it is. Something is going on, and I intend to find out.
"What do you think about the reforging job, Old man?" May as well change the subject then, maybe come back around to it after.
"Piss poor." Odin grunted, not being reserved with his observation. "The only notable thing about that sword is the fact that it's all held together without self-destructing. I see….two, no three different forging methods that went into combing them all. Noticeably, there are some mimicries of certain Demonic Swords. But they are not wise to use when forging a Holy Sword. But for some mortal to swing around, it's passable and won't break easily."
"We're more than willing to return it back to where it belongs." The Fox Youkai once more metaphorically stepped forward.
Considering the little miss didn't react at all, it's safe to assume that she was in agreement, or they already talked about it beforehand. Not overly important, but it would be hard to get anything from her knowing that she was 'hiding' behind Fox Milf over there.
If she hadn't been holding us over the proverbial barrel since this whole meeting started, I would have been rather impressed. But I couldn't even properly ogle those amazing tits of her after the complete reaming she gave us all.
I'm not Baraqiel, I prefer giving, not receiving.
"Well, since it's this much complete, why not just reforge the entire thing again? It's not like you don't got enough Holy Swords in those vaults of yours that you couldn't do without the broken pieces. Might be better off with quality increase in this case." I offered towards Michael, to help him salvage this situation with the Sword. "I wouldn't mind helping either, especially since it was Kokabiel who is responsible."
Would get me some brownie points atleast.
"That might not be a bad idea, Michael." Even Gabriel looked a little interested. "We have several people in this generation that are capable of wielding such a powerful Holy Sword...regardless if it is father's true Excalibur or not."
Even hearing that said out loud, it's ridiculous.
Where the hell did that sword come from!
I'm like 99% sure that it doesn't come from another Pantheon. No way in Father's green earth would another Pantheon let that thing within a hundred yards of us.
Not exactly a secret that the Church tends to…..absorb everything that it can get its hands on. 'Oh, a holy sword, that's definitely God's creation'. Didn't matter if like 90% of them came from 'pagan' origins.
Not to mention, that kind of concentrated Holy Power is rare.
Lugh could do something similar, albeit differently than Dad…..and the number of other Deities on that level could be counted on one hand that met the criteria.
Though, Odin had been noticeable quiet for awhile now.
I think Lugh is right, Old One-Eye definitely knows something and he's keeping it to himself.
I'll have to try and get it out of him after some drinks later.
"There may be a slight problem." Yasaka grabbed our attention again. "But the Excalibur Piece known as Excalibur Ruler no longer exists."
"The Church was already made aware."
….and double damn.
Michael looked like he was about to…..have very stern words with someone because he isn't the kind of person to start raging.
Funny considering that he always carried Father's banner into battle and fought with a fury that would leave the battlefield covered in the blood of his enemies. Sitting in Dad's chair really made him have to develop patience and tolerance beyond what was already engrained.
Well, the Church fucked up again...how surprising.
Seriously, I would have cut my losses with them at this point.
But it is funny watching those Cardinals squirm under Michael's disappointing gaze. Doesn't quite match up to Father's but I imagine the humans are shitting themselves right now.
"Was it destroyed when you attacked the Pendragon Family?" I asked. An inquisitive look by the Youkai Leader sent my way made me smile. "What, did you really think we couldn't put two and two together? Obviously you were the ones who attacked the place. Can probably guess a reason or two as to why, not really pointing fingers or anything." Would rather not start slinging mud when I apparently know very little about them.
"It was partially due to the children being tortured and used as experimental material in their basement." Yasaka said dryly.
Oof. Glad I didn't try to jab them with that little tidbit. Would have come out looking like an absolute cunt.
They are looking frighteningly competent compared to beforehand.
How much do they actually know about my own secrets?
Got some of my own skeletons I don't want coming out.
"Nay." The Pendragon Girl denied. "I destroyed it much earlier."
I blinked at her blunt acknowledgement to completely destroying what amounted to a rather notable Holy Weapon, and she didn't even bat at eye at such a thing.
"That was not yours to destroy!" Another of the Cardinals shouted from across the table. "You were allowed to bare that Sword by our Grace! How dare you destroy one of the Church's treasures!"
Michael raised his hand, causing the Cardinal to shut his trap. "Can I hear why?"
"It is a sword that forces obedience, a ruler has no need for such despicable means. It is a mockery of the legacy associated with its name."
"Good answer." Lugh was the first to respond, and I think several at the table agreed with him.
"I agree." Odin stroked his beard.
Well, Michael and the Church couldn't really call her out now without looking foolish.
The fucking balls on this girl, telling them to their face that she broke their sword and getting praised for it afterwards.
No way in hell that she's not aware of what she's doing.
There was almost no wiggle room there for Michael to try and grasp at. I think he realized it too because he shifted his focus back towards Lucifer Jr over there and Yasaka.
"Heaven will accept the goodwill with the return of reforgedExcalibur." He stated.
Guess he gave up on the other 'Excalibur'. Can't really blame him, she was stone walling him pretty hard on that aspect. And can't really claim it belongs to them if they haven't ever seen it before.
Though, I'm surprised the Church people aren't screaming for the return of it.
"We're more than happy to help." Yasaka smiled good-naturedly, but that underlining feeling as if everything went according to her plans.
"…..and we would like to negotiate the return of the True Longinus back to our side."
Guess I should have seen that coming.
Too powerful a weapon to keep going through Dad's broken system. I wonder if this means they'll start cracking down on all Sacred Gears and storing them away? I know for a fact that Michael wouldn't have touched them if the system was working, but with how messed up it is, he has to be grasping at any straws he can to make sure it doesn't fall apart.
I can't claim to know much about it, Michael definitelywouldn't let me anywhere near the controls. But I can't imagine the strain its under to try and manage the Sacred Gears all the time. It might alleviate a lot of stress if they started thinning the tide, so to speak.
"Back to your side, is it? Was it on your side, when a member of that Hero Faction used it to lay siege to Kyoto? To use it to kidnap my Daughter and slaughter my people?" And the Fox didn't hold any punches.
"….the initial intent behind it's facilitated lending seems to have fallen to the wayside. We apologize in how it was used by its previous user, but we had no hand in that. That being said, we can't agree to leave something with the potential to strip one of us of our blessings."
That's a really damn good point. Like, what if the kid was just blowing hot smoke, or didn't know, or he was just straight lying without being overt about it. What if he really could just point the thing and bam, no more holy power.
Michael is being composed, but I honestly think him and the others are shitting bricks.
"Denied." The Fox said with a near absolutely response.
Even if Michael didn't outwardly react, I spent more than enough time with him to know that he was upset.
That Fox just straight told Michael, and by extension, Heaven, to get fucked.
Surprised she's able to walk with those gigantic balls she's dragging around.
"We're willing to trade for it. Something I believe your people will appreciate more."
Yasaka raised an eyebrow. "Continue."
Michael held his hand out, producing a Harp. One I didn't immediately recognize, and it didn't feel like something belonging to heaven. "This is Dagda's Harp, with a link both to the Summer and the Winter of the Fae lands."
Holy shit Michael, bold move there.
Not hard to guess where he got it from, considering Lugh sitting at his side. But damn, he really went for the low blow there. To hold a potentialmethod of reaching the place where those Faeries are. That might be too valuable to pass up. With them at war, they might –
"No thank you."
Michael awkwardly cleared his throat. "Maybe you don't understand. With this you can –"
"I understand completely." Yasaka cut him off. "You want to use a method of connecting to the Fae Realms in order for us to hand over the Spear. In short, you want to use the fact that we're at War with the Fae to get a rather potent weapon from our grasp without much fuss. Did I miss anything?"
"We would be more than willing to lend assistance." Ajuka added. The Devils had been quiet for awhile, I was wondering when they were going to join in. I don't think they wanted to rock the boat considering they were already in some hot water with Michael and them. "If you accept the deal, I think we could manage a way to open a path after some effort."
"We're being very much underestimated here." Yasaka's expression turned dark. "Do you think we declared war just to sooth our own pride? That we didn't have our own methods?"
Admittedly, I did think just that a few days ago.
Kind of wave their swords around, make a lot of noise to make themselves feel better and all that. Maybe start hunting down any Faeries on earth as well? But a full on invasion of the Fae Lands, yeah didn't even consider it a possibility.
Going to have rethink a lot of things after this.
"Even Father once told us about that place. It isn't so simple to just teleport to." Michael replied, trying to salvage the situation.
"We're well aware." The Fox Youkai Leader once more dryly replied. "Wilhelm." She turned her head up to Lucifer Jr at her side. "How long will it take to construct a pathway?"
"Four to Six months." He said almost nonchalantly.
Almost makes me want to call him out as a liar, because even I couldn't manage that. But as he already showed, he has some method that I'm completely in the dark about. As is Ajuka…..but I don't think either of considered that method of being applicable in this situation.
Maybe our pride was getting in the way here.
"Well, that settles that." The Fox looked all too smug.
Michael was banking on that a bit too much. I can't really fault him either, I would have been confident too. But they managed to completely overcome our expectations throughout this entire meeting.
"Regardless, the Spear must return to the hands of the Heavenly Host!" Uriel, who had the job of looking tough and quiet slammed his fist on the table. "To be in the hands of foreign Demons and a Half-Devil, it's a stain on Father's legacy!"
And the Church people were nodding approvingly. Don't' know why they're always so eager to call for blood when clearly Michael was trying to be peaceful.
"And such Holy Swords should rightfully be returned as well. Caliburn, Excalibur, they are ours by right."
"Yours by right?" Yasaka slowly turned towards Uriel, and I held back the urge to face palm. At this point, I pretty much knew a kick in the balls was coming.
And Michael's little twitch made me think the same thing. And it would be even more awkward if he tried to shut up Uriel now as they needed to show a united front. Uriel, while someone who usually meant well, was always a hot head, thinking more with his fist than anything else. A veryblack and white outlook of the world, though he's mellowed out substantially over the years.
"Just as every other treasure that Heaven holds is yours by right, yes? I'm sure you have nothing of anyone elses, you wouldn't want to be hypocrites afterall. No Demonic Swords used in nefarious projects with the sacrifice of children. No other items of power stolen from other Pantheons." The Fox snorted disdainfully. "What was that line from the Bible – Let he who is without sin cast the first stone? What a mighty fine Glass House you've built up over there."
And right for the jugular.
She's right too, the Church and even Heaven, they have stores of things from other Pantheons that they've taken over the years for Safe Keeping.
"….I am still wanting to hear an answer as to howyour people acquired those swords." Odin wasn't loud, but it caused attention to turn back on him. "They were buried with Sigurd, my descendant."
It's not really an uncommon thing, but it just looks bad to be called out on graverobbing. And the Norse are one such people that really take insult to desecrating the dead.
Really don't envy my siblings in this tight spot they're in.
"To put it simply, there is nothing you can offer us to hand over the Spear that is rightfully in Wilhelm's possession." Yasaka said with a little bite to the words.
Seriously, what did Michael have to offer? It's not they didn't have other thins that could potentially be an equal trade, but the Spear was unique in of itself. Not to mention, they weren't hurting in that regarding in other ways. It hasn't really come up, but the Kid is the Red Dragon Emperor of this Generation.
Vali wouldn't shut up about it, otherwise I may have forgotten in all this commotion as well. He's going to pout for months once he finds out how utterly out classed he is right now. That kid took way too much pride in being the best host that Albion ever head. That damn dragon filling his head with all that crap, inflating his ego.
As much as he could do with the reality check, I didn't want to see him mope around for a long time. But damn it must have been a kick in the groin for both of them to realize that Ol' Ddraig's host basically gave them a timeout without even trying nor even using the Boosted Gear.
But I digress. Not the time to think about those things. Michael needs a hand and I am also uneasy about someone else having access to just shutting off my Holy Power – if that's actually a thing he can keep doing.
For all we know, Kokabiel was a cosmic fluke brought about by extenuating circumstances. But it was hard to take that risk right now.
"I'm with Michael, leaving the potential ability to just take away what makes us Angels, I can't sit here easy because of that." I spoke up.
I think I honestly spoke for every Angel, Fallen or otherwise in this matter. Michael flashed an appreciative smile for backing him up.
Good, I'm still in deep shit with what Kokabiel did, having them look at me nicely like that will help.
"I see no problem with it." Even Serafall joined in. "That seems like a dangerous precedent to leave outside of the Angels, to just take away the source of their power. I think everyone would have better peace of mind knowing it's in their hands."
Guess she wanted her pound of flesh in revenge too. It was undeniably a good opportunity to finally kick the Fox and Co. off their high horse and get the initiative back.
Yasaka frowned in response. "And how would it be any different than forcing an Evil Piece on one of them?"
Father damn those things. They're beautifulin design, just as Odin said, but fucking damn if they aren't annoying as hell to be on the opposite side of.
"We don't –"
"You don't force them on others, yes." Yasaka smiled coyly. "Which seems to placate the others here. Which only begs the question – if, and that's a strong if, the spear could continue to do what you all claim, why can it not simply be the same predicament. Do you think we would go around 'depowering' Angels for no reason?"
"As you so gracefully, point out, that doesn't seem to be entirely accurate." Serafall glared at me a tiny amount. Sorry girl, but we are trying to argue for our own factions here. And at the end of the day, you want this too.
"That's true, there has been a severe lack of assurances for those." The Fox didn't miss the opportunity to take a jab at the Devils again. "So I believe I can understand your concerns. But frankly I have to ask, or what"
"Excuse me" Michael tilt his head in confusion.
"Why should we be forced to hand over the Spear? As I said, you have nothing we want to trade it for."
Michael looked a little stumped. "We came here to discuss peace, and to –"
"Are we at war?"
"Then why would we hand it over. Unless you are insinuatingthat such a declaration is on the table if it isn't provided. In which case, we would have to step away and alert our own Pantheon to your intents." The Tails behind her flicked back and forth. "While Heaven hasn't been so heavy handed with the incidents we've had to bear with your Three Factions, we are certainly not on friendly terms. We have nothing linking ourselves to you. Not to mention we've been very polite in even handing back that Reforged Excalibur for no recompose. So, to answer that Angel who demanded it back – " She turned her hardened gaze towards Uriel. " – Or what?"
That silenced all of us. Mostly because it was true.
They held all the cards here, and they knew it. They knew it from the start when they flopped right down on the table and started verbally slapping all of us. They knew we would have to bow to their whims, but were even gentle about it, clearly not wanting to really get start any grudges, but at the same time, they weren't bowing down to any heavy handed tactics.
"However, that doesn't mean we don't wish to…..cooperate. I'll admit that the Harp would be beneficial even if it's not needed." The Fox looked thoughtful. "I may have a counter offer if you're willing."
Was she giving him face? An out to latch onto so not to develop any ill will? Shit this Fox is playing the game really well.
"Please speak." Michael forced a smile.
"One of the Hero Faction members was a wayward Holy Maiden that wielded Blade Blacksmith."
Michael's eyes flashed in realization. "So that's what happened to her…" He said softly. "We feared the worse when she disappeared from our ranks."
"I can imagine that a Sacred Gear that can produce Holy Swords would be beneficial?" Yasaka questioned, rather rhetorically, but it was one of the most valuable Sacred Gears to the church.
Not that it was one of the strongest by a large margin, but it could produceHoly Swords. Granted, they were relatively weak, but they were leaguesabove most Magic Swords that could be purchased. The only draw back was that it was difficult for the user to make ones that wouldn't disappear after a time. It took years of training, and a lot of energy, but it was a steady production that could be imbued with different abilities.
The value was….astronomical.
One of the Sacred Gears I reallywanted to get my hands on, but Michael wouldn't let me anywhere close.
"May I ask, what happened to the young woman who possessed the Sacred Gear?" Vasco Strada asked.
The Youkai Leader let out a sigh at the question. "Unfortunately, even if they were but children, we couldn't be soft on them. My Daughter was almost killed due to their direct actions, only saved through the intervention of Lady Izanami and Wilhelm. And many of my people had to bury loved ones, and not just my Guards. Large swathes of Kyoto burned, innocents died. They couldn't be allowed to continue living."
"…..I apologize for bringing up such memories." The Very Large Cardinal apologized. Which always felt weird considering his sheer size.
"Your question only shows to exemplify your compassion, no harm was done." The Youkai Leader let out another sigh. "We didn't do anything untold to her remains. We can hand over her body if you want."
Vasco Strada, the large mass of muscles, smiled warmly. "I thank you on behalf of her family."
If there was ever a man that deserved to be a Saint. I have no doubt in my heart that if Father was still living, he would have been turned into one many years ago. That or a Prophet, but that was even more unlikely to happen these days than someone being born a Saint.
No, it can't happen anymore.
Michael and Gabriel were leaning towards one another, whispering about something. I could guess what the topic of conversation as about. They couldn't really…..push the issue with the spear, not after how the Youkai propped themselves up as invaluable to everyone else here.
"We're willing to accept this trade." Michael stated after talking with Gabriel.
"Wonderful, we can worry about the logistics afterwards." The Youkai Leader accepted it immediately.
"I do have one last question, for Wilhelm." Michael stated, turning back towards the Half-Devil
"Oh?" The Young man waited for a response.
"Would you like to become an Angel?"
…..Credit where credit is due, because noneof us saw that coming. Way to even throw off the Youkai, brother, even if I think my own jaw is hanging open.
"This isn't a courtroom, Serafall." I regained my wits. "But I'm feeling something similar. What the hell, Michael?"
Even Uriel and the others at his side looked at him strange.
"Would it not be a good option for us?" The Archangel smiled brightly. "He is Half-Human, so it should be viable. And the Divinity aspect should not be a problem. Though it's only a thought for the future."
Admittedly, it would solve a lot of their own issues regarding the Spear and such.
"And he already showed capability with Holy Power, Father's remnants in the spear acknowledging him. So I see no fault in offering it." He added, with words that were hard to rebuke.
"You're asking me to just forsake everything I care about to become an Angel." The Red-Haired Half Devil said very dryly. "…..I will take it as the good intentions you perceived it to be. However, If I ever accepted, I would immediately fall. I do not share your cultural values, nor would it be fair to your others to make an exception – even if that was possible – to allow me to continue on as I am, but as an Angel."
"Actually, I take back what I said. Make him an Angel! When he falls, he'll be mine!" I slapped my palms on the table. "Best idea ever, Michael!"
Pretty sure he's banging all those girls next to him, so he definitely wouldn't last long as an Angel. I'm totally on board with this now.
And bonus, the Devils looked absolutely horrified at the prospect.
"….and I would have to associate with him." Her jerked his thumb towards me
"I can understand your reservations." Michael smiled humorously.
Well, that turned out better than expected.
Besides the obvious curve ball thrown there.
And while I don't think we neededthat harp, I think it would help Wilhelm drastically in what he's attempting. I didn't want to keep putting too much pressure on him after everything he's already done.
And we couldn't even use that Blade Blacksmith to begin with. It simply wasn't compatible with Youkai as a whole.
It was better to further enhance our good will with the Heaven Faction, even after giving them back their Excalibur.
Would also stop them from being overly aggressive about Artoria's Sword, and the Spear in the future.
"Now that this is settled. We should return to the topic of the peace between the three factions. Am I safe to assume that everything is still proceeding in that respect?"
The Devils, the Angels, and the Fallen all shared looks, a silent agreement between them.
"If there is nothing else, we are happy to formalize a Treaty." Sirzechs Lucifer stated. "I'm sure there are more smallerconcerns to be had, but I think we can work out those details later."
"We are willing to also accept peace." Michael nodded.
"And us too." Azazel quickly added.
Well, can't say I'm envious of all the additional work an officialagreement between them will mean. The paper work would be an absolute nightmare.
Rather uneventful too.
This is a big deal to the three factions, but it was just quietly reached without any misshaps. I expected some kind of dreadful attack or maybe some opposition deciding to be more aggressive.
Oh well, it doesn't really concern me.
"Good, now we can talk about the important stuff." Odin who had been quiet for awhile, slammed his stick against the ground. "Hearing you kids bickering was getting on my nerves. I came here because of Níðhöggr appearing, and the possibility of someone from my faction interfering in matters concerning yours. With some revelations that more might be going on, how are we going to deal with this in the future."
"It's obvious we need to work together if our enemies aren't adhering to the lines in the sand anymore." Serafall stated. "I think we should all pool our resources together."
And when all eyes landed over on me, I could easily tell what they really meant.
Do you think you'll be getting this information for free? You're sorely mistaken then.
"I was already suspecting that there was something remiss amongst my own faction." The God of Light spoke up. "What I've heard today has only confirmed my beliefs and opened my eyes to a wider conspiracy. Some of my kin may not be agreeable, but I do believe that a joint effort is required."
The others just nodded along, expressing similar sentiments, making themselves so oh so righteous.
They just played it up so I couldn't refuse.
"Unfortunately, we cannot share the same sentiments."
Which I did anyways.
And the looks that flash across their faces, they really weren't expecting me to say that after everything that happened.
"We're currently preparing for a War." I kindly reminded them. "We don't have time nor resources to look beyond our own borders and our own situation to combat a perceived threat that hasn't directly come after us."
"Didn't you say that this Hero Faction was part of the Khaos brigade?" Serafall asked.
"Yes, but they were working separately, not deliberating targeting us as a whole." I replied.
"We would be more than willing to help you ward off Kyoto." Ajuka responded. "To make sure an attack like before doesn't happen again."
"Do you mean like the ones that were supposed to protect this place?" I gestured to the destroyed buildings around us.
The Green Haired devil failed to hide the scowl that appeared.
"Oof, going to need a Phoenix tear for that one." Azazel said quietly. "But he's right. I think if we all worked together, we could easily set up some pretty good defenses so you don't have to be worried about that."
"The offer is appreciated, but we already have taken such matters into our own hands." I politely declined.
"If this Khaos Brigade is as far reaching as you say…..wouldn't they also come to retaliate after learning you revealed and know so much about them?" Michael asked. "I know you have some powerful people on your side, but are you capable of standing up against these Gods?"
"Do you think this is everyone that we have?" I let out a laugh. "I assure you, we are making our own preparations." I looked towards my lovely blue sister who was quietly standing to the side. "Jinn, sweetie. Tell me, how goes the project you were working on?"
Jinn perked up happily. I think this was the first time anyone here actually paid overt attention to the girl. Insofar, she hadn't really been any major focus. Jinn merely adopted a thoughtful expression. "I got it all planned out at this point and already started. Give me a month or so and I think I can cover all of Kyoto after some effort."
Or more specifically, where there were Magical Defenses. After hearing what Wilhelm was up to, Jinn also started doing something similar, albeit it a little different.
She was very familiar with Godly power. She, she began constructing City-wide wards that would detect those sorts of things as well as weaving into some new things she picked up over in that other world. Essentially it was in preparation in case the Khaos Brigade decided to attack us.
Would it stop them? No, but not much could.
But it was enough to buy time for our people to deal with them.
Between her and Wilhelm's efforts, well, Kyoto was going to be verysecure. Maybe the most secure, mortal place on the planet.
And of course, they didn't know the details, only that Kyoto was currently being completely defended.
"As you can see, we're doing okay on our own." I smiled towards everyone.
"But….the size of Kyoto." Ajuka muttered. "The sheer amount of work required would be astronomical."
"It's not that difficult." Jinn replied.
And I don't think she meant it to be as dismissive as it sounded.
Should I feel bad for Ajuka? How many times today has his ego taken a hit?
Jinn isn't a Spirit of knowledge without reason. I have no doubt that Ajuka could overcome Jinn in a battle of Magic. However, if he wanted to match her in sheer knowledge and ability, well, he would be in for a rough time.
Once again, it just showed that we utterly did not need them. So there was only one real way for them to proceed.
"Damn Fox." Odin grumbled. "Fine, what do you want?"
And that was basically the sounding of the end of this little meeting. Now it was just time to reap all the rewards~
Here's Friday's Delayed chapter. Why it took so long, I was revising it a little before the post date. I intended to get it done on Thursday, but it seems like life likes slapping me in the face when I get complacent. TLDR, my car got towed by 'accident'. That was fun to settle, took most of Thursday. So, here's part 4 of the peace meeting, wrapping up the main talks while the clean up starts the next chapter next.
Also, you can blame Cross. He linked me his snippet thread, so I lost track of time and spent a couple hours reading over those.
And to wrap everything up in a nice bow, this marks the passing of 1,000,000 words!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you want to read 7 chapters ahead or support me, visit my p.a.t.r.e.o.n.c.o.m / astoryforone