Humanity's Illusion (Highschool DxD)

Chapter 1


Well-known member
Sla-Mori the one known only by Him

To august realms, the sorcery within

If you hear the call of arcane lore

Your world shall rest on Earth no more

– Wishmaster, Nightwish

Philip tried to ignore the screaming from outside his room.

The eight-year-old boy sat on the edge of his bed, a book in his hands. It had been a Christmas gift from Santa, along with several other books, and a bag too keep them in.

He focused on the words on the page, as the screaming continued. His parents didn't get along. He sought refuge in the words on the page. They were an escape, they were safety.

To Philip, his parents outright screaming at each other was not uncommon, though this volume was. The topic this time was money, based on what words Philip heard creep past his attempts to ignore the noise. His father had bought booze, and his mother had bought makeup. Both without consulting each other, something that they hated. They also hated that the other wanted them to consult with them over their purchases.

He sighed as the volume increased.

He closed the leather-bound book closed, and returned it to the small velvet bag that held the rest of the books he got from Santa. Its external appearance was too small to contain the many books it contained, yet it held them safely, nonetheless.

Philip passed back and forth.

He paused when the shouting stopped.

His bedroom door swung open.

"Philip. Get your backpack, you're going to spend some time at your friend's house." His father said, his voice slightly slurred and a beer can in his hand.

He waited while Philip threw some clothes in his backpack. His vision slid over the velvet bag as it went into the backpack. The fact that Philip didn't pack any stuffed animals, or toys, might have been strange to some parents, but Philip's often didn't care what he did.

Philip remained silent, as he slung the backpack over his shoulder and walked past his father.

His mother ignored him to glare at his father, as he put on his winter gear.

Moments later, he was outside in the snow.

Philip walked alone down the sidewalk, snow crunching under his boots. Despite it being the day after Christmas, the sidewalks had yet to be cleared by the city, leaving him to make slow progress.

The Kato residence was only four houses down from him, but he made slow progress in the deep snow. Deep to an eight-year-old anyway.

He knew that it was not that deep, and that there were many places elsewhere in Canada where the snow was much deeper.

He paused at a sudden noise from a snow-covered bush. A fox stuck its head out of the snow to look at him. Philip blinked at it, before it darted back underneath the snow and bush.

He shook his head.

'Den was probably destroyed or disturbed in late construction work. Lot of that being done in the area recently.' Such a thought was perhaps more advanced and aged then what might be expected from an eight-year-old.

After what felt like an hour, but was probably only maybe fifteen minutes, he reached his destination.

The door swung open before he could touch the doorbell.

"C'monc'monc'monc'mon! Its coooold." The dark-haired child literally bounced as she held the door open. Aya Kato was slightly shorted than Philip, and his only friend in school. "Miracle Levia-tan is starting soon!"

Philip hesitated briefly at the name, only for a half second. Internally he winced at having missed something so obvious. Aya had been obsessed with the show, ever since it came out. Even now she was wearing a t-shirt with the main character printed on it.

He let her drag him in.

She bounced over to the couch, and sat, practically vibrating, as she waited from the commercials to end, before the title sequence would start.

She was also waiting for Philip to finish taking off his coat.

"So, what did you get for Christmas?" She asked him, still bouncing in her seat, as he hung the red and black coat up. "Mom got me the Levia-tan doll, and some new posters!"

"Giftcards from my parents, and books from Santa."

Aya had a strange look on her face at the mention of Santa.

"Books? He got you books?" She made a face. "But toooooys. Books aren't fun."

"You enjoyed Animorphs." Philip pointed out as he sat down. "Besides, I'm pretty sure you also read the Levia-tan books."

Aya poked him as he sat next to her.

"Not fair. Most books are boring. Like my mom wanting me to meditate." She pouted. Then she brightened. "Oh, right, giftcards! You can get toys with those!"

"Nope. Bookstore, and only twenty dollars total."

She slumped.

"Your parents suck."

Philip certainly agreed with that sentiment.

"I'll take you down to the bookstore later today." Aya's mother, Minori, said.

Philip flashed her a smile.

The Japanese-Canadian chuckled from where she sat at the table, drinking a cup of coffee.

Philip was certain she was addicted to caffeine.

"Ooh, ooh, its starting!" Aya cheered as Miracle Levia-tan's intro sequence started.

It was not to Philip's taste's, the theme song that was, being too to hip hop. The show itself was alright, if a bit pinker than he would prefer.

Philip paused.

'What was the last show I actually enjoyed watching?'

Aya groaned.

"I thought there was a Christmas special on today! This is just episode thirteen again."

Philip got up.

"Minori, can I check on your computer?"

"Sure, just don't touch my files." Minori said behind her mug as she drained it. "I'm getting another cup."

"Ooh! Philip was just out in the cold! We should make hot chocolate!" Aya bounced up out of the couch.

Her mother shrugged.

"Fine by me. We don't have marshmallows though, that alright Philip?"

"Its fine!" He called as he walked into Minori's office.

It was dominated by a large 'L' shaped desk. A pair of bookshelves held several law texts. Philip ignored them, he had already read their titles.

The computer was already on, and he simple moved the mouse to wake it up.

A few keystrokes later, and he had the information desired.

"Its not till four in the afternoon." He called as he walked out. He paused as something on the back of the office door caught his eye. "Hey, Minori, this fox mask is new."

"Hmm?" She glanced away from her coffee as she stirred it. "Oh, right, that was a gift for my birthday from my parents, back in Japan. They're upset that I'm too busy to visit, so they have started sending random knickknacks. Mostly to annoy me."

"You don't like foxes?"

"I like foxes fine, hence why I hung it up, rather than stick it in a box. But if I displayed everything they sent me, I'd get odd looks for my house being covered in tourist stuff from Japan."

Philip snickered.

"It's funny now but wait till I show you how many boxes I have to go through."

"They send me cool stuff!" Aya grinned as she waited for the kettle to finish boiling. "I got this cool wooden sword… what was the word for it?"

"Bokken." Her mother informed her.

"Right, Bokken, and a bunch of cute plushies!"

"That now have taken over half your room." Her mother snarked.

"Nuh-uh. Just the top of my dresser." Aya huffed.

Philip laughed.

"C'mon!" Aya started bouncing again. "Get your hot chocolate, and let's play something!"

"No running with hot things in your hands!"

"I know, mom." Aya pouted at her mother. "And I won't bounce. I'll be careful. And Philip will be too!"

"I'm not worried about him. He has more sense than three of you. Though, you do have more energy."


That night, Philip sat in the guestroom bed of the Kato house.

Using a flashlight and the blankets over his head to hide the light, he carefully copied a diagram from the book he had been reading with a pen.

Once that was finished, he took several breaths.

Carefully, he followed the book's instructions, pushing a power down his arms. It felt strange, a tingling and cold sensation.

The spell circle glowed.

It was a simple spell. Used only to test if someone had magical power.

The spell followed Philip's will and formed a small collection of letters. They were blurry, and pale, but he could read them, nevertheless.

"I, Magus."

Philip's smile was wide enough to split his face as he read the words, and he felt a euphoric laugh escape him.

He could cast magic.

This world was not safe, but he could cast magic.

He stifled the laugh before it woke anyone, but could do nothing to hide the face splitting grin.

Something landed on the covers, and he nearly screamed in surprise.

"Philip!" Came Aya's faux wisper. "Whatcha' laughing about?"

Philip took his head out from under the covers.

Anya grinned at him in the dark.

The door swung open.

"Anya! Bed. Its late!" Minori stepped into the room and placed her hands on her hips, glaring at her daughter. "Let Philip sleep."

The euphoric feeling had not faded completely, despite the scare, so Philip felt a measure of mischief creep into his mind.

As Aya was led from the room, he grinned at her.

"Night Ayacado."

She gave him a look of betrayal at the pun.

Her mother snickered.

"Oh, that's a good one."

"Mooom! No, not puns! They aren't funny!"

"I should tell your grandparents about that one, they love puns."

Chapter 2


Well-known member
Philip ran the numbers through his head.

The magic was not simple. It relied on mathematics and geometry. For an eight year old, it would seem like an insurmountable challenge. For a person that had found themselves born a second time, living a second life, it was far easier.

It was still difficult, but Philip was confident that he could cast a spell. A real one, not relying on a diagram.

He just needed to wait for school to finish, then he could go home, and use the forest. Few people went through there, and there was no hiking trail.

He was snapped out of his thoughts when he felt someone poke him in the ribs.

"Philip!" Aya whispered, leaning out of her seat. "Don't fall asleep in class."

He glared at her. She responded with an angelic look of innocence.

"Did the homework before the period ended. Also finished my book and have been getting 'hundred percent on my tests." He shrugged.

She made a face at the mention of reading.

"Wait," She paused. "have you been reading in class?"

"Yes." Philip whispered back.

Aya giggled.

The teacher cleared their throat, giving the two a look.

"Does anyone know the answer to this question?" They frowned when Philip's hand went up. "Anyone besides Philip, who has answered every question since the end of Christmas break? Anyone?"

The class was silent, most watching the clock with bored expressions.

"Fine. Philip?" The teacher sighed.

"Three times four, divided by six equals two."

"Correct." The teacher glanced at their watch. "Okay, lunch starts in two minutes, I'm hungry, your all hungry, form a line quickly and quietly, and you can go early."

Philip found himself parallel to a Cheshire grin.

"What is it with you and getting part of my lunch?"

Aya chose not to answer, instead avoiding the question by biting into one of the taquitos she had snitched from his tray.

Philip rolled his eyes as she made a pleased sound at its taste. With her momentarily distracted, he swiped the packaged brownie off her tray.

She gave him a look of betrayal, to which he simple raised an eyebrow.

She pouted.

He ignored her and began eating what lunch he still had left.

She pouted harder, still chewing on the stolen food.

She sighed.

"Fine. I'll give you… uhm." She paused and considered the problem. She winced, noting how little Philip had for lunch. "I'll get mom to add something to my lunch for you, if you share the taquitos with me?"

Philip paused.

"Why won't your mom buy taquitos?"

"She doesn't like me having fried food."

"Oh." Philip blinked. "Fine. But… I would have given the brownie back if you had said please. I wasn't going to eat it."

Aya blinked. She let out a barking laugh that made her shoulder shake.

Aya bounced alongside him, as Philip walked towards his 'home'. This life was more dangerous than his last, and his home was not one he considered a place he would like to stay.

Yet, he knew the world from fiction.

A set of books from Santa, that outlined the basic factions and state of the world. He knew it already.

He was in Highschool DxD. He was not, as far as he could tell, anywhere near the place the story took place.

Canada was not the farthest one could get from Japan, but it was a decent distance.

His knowledge of future events, they were encouragement and warning in equal measure, feeding his desire to learn and grow.

"You coming over today?" Aya asked.

Philip blinked, and realised he had gotten lost in his thoughts, waking past his 'home'.

"Uh, maybe later." He gave his friend a grin. "Got something I'm working on."

"Ooh! Is it a present for me!?" Philip blinked as Aya seemed to bounce higher.

"No." He cracked a grin as she seemed to deflate. Her winter coat making her seem round adding to the illusion. "I'll be over later, okay?"

Aya pouted.

"'Kay. See you later." Her cheer returned as she started skipping toward her home.

Philip shook his head. In some ways, she was more mature than her age would imply, such as noting his poor lunches. In others, she was immature with a one-track mind.

Philip ignored the front door. His mother was probably home, but he didn't want to run into her. Instead, he walked around the house to the backyard. Slipping into and out of the fence was easy enough, and soon he was in the woods.

He came to a clearing he had found months earlier. The snow would hopefully muffle any sound well enough, and the trees would help that, and obscure his presence.

Leaving his bag beneath a tree, he pulled out the bag of holding.

Swiftly removing one of the tomes inside, he found the spell he had bookmarked.

Carefully, he went over the formula in his head.

His energy shifted as he pushed it around.

The math was not simple. It relied on concepts, in addition to raw numbers.

The spell pounded in his head, as it slowly filled with energy.

Speed would come with practice, the books had said.

The circle flared to life in front of him.

With a last push, a bolt of frost struck the tree. The circle vanished

Ice magic would be easy to hide amidst the snow and ice already around.

Philip's grin grew. He charged and fired the spell a second time. A new circle appeared and died as the spell was cast.

A giggled escaped him.

He fired it again, and again, the circles appearing as fast as he can make them, flashing into and out of existence with his spell, until he started to feel lightheaded.

He blinked, letting the last circle fade.

He felt… empty and tired in an alien way.

He winced upon seeing the tree. It's bark was tough enough to resist the impacts, though it was now coated in a layer of frost and ice. As thick as Philip's fingers in some places.

He sighed and shook his head. A snowbank would have been a better target. Something for next time.
Chapter 3


Well-known member
Minori knew something was wrong before she saw her daughter's face.

"Mom. Philip wasn't home when I went to go see him."

Her daughter was clearly distraught. The fact that Aya was not bouncing with energy alone made Minori raise her hackles.

She glanced outside. It was mid-February now, and the snow was falling heavily. It would cover tracks and scents within moments.

"Okay. Aya, your sure he wasn't home?" The possibility that she had missed him was there, though remote, with their senses. Her daughter gave a shake of her head.

"He usually doesn't go straight home after school. He disappears for a little bit, about an hour, then comes here or home, but its late." She started to sniffle.

"Okay. Do you know where he goes?" A pit started to form in Minori's stomache.

"Somewhere in the woods."

Minori winced.

"Okay, I'll go look. He probably doesn't go far, there are a couple clearings that are sheltered he might play in, I'll look around there." She pointed at her daughter. "You stay inside. If you see anyone strange, and you know in what manner I mean, you call me and hide. Understand?"

Aya nodded, sniffling.

Minori threw her coat and boots on and was out into the woods in a heartbeat, the snow whirling around her, but never obscuring her vision.

Ever since January a change had come over Philip. Minori's thought flickered to his parents. His father was a drunkard, though not abusive as far as she could tell. His mother was both a hoarder, kept from being a problem by her husband throwing things away on a whim, and well known for sleeping around.

It was not a situation she liked Philip being in, and if he had run away, well, she certainly would help him. Though she was annoyed at him for making Aya worry.

She paused in the first clearing she came too. Her eyes scanning for any sort of discrepancy. She took a deep breath, tasting the air.

Her eye's flickered to a spattering of ice on a tree, and what looked like a spot where someone passing by had thrown several cigarettes. She winced as an acrid scent touched her nose.

Nothing stood out in the middle of the clearing. Her eye's flickered to a patch of recently disturbed snow, and the faint colour beneath it.

Warily, Minori made her way through the snow to the patch.

Her beath caught as she found Philip, unconscious in the snow, his face pale and beads of sweat frozen to his face.

Before she touched him, she breathed in, looking around. When nothing happened, she frowned, and took the eight-year-old inter her arms and bolted for home.

Philip knew he had overdone it the moment he awoke.

He had been ecstatic at the progress he had been making. He had moved on from the simple frost bolt, to a the more versatile elemental dart. The more advanced version, elemental bolt, had only been slightly more complex.

He had revelled in the ability to change the element of the spell on a whim. Fire, frost, acid, lightning, he had tested his endurance for a week by tossing them into a snowbank in the clearing. It was when he had tried to cast elemental spear, the third most advanced version of the spell, and one that he saw as actually useful in a fight, that the problem started.

He had the math right, he had been sure, yet casting it had given him a headache. He had ignored it, and tried to cast the spell again. The first attempted had been unstable and paltry, so he had increased the power he put into it. Then everything went black.

All that he was able to process as he slowly became ware of his surroundings was the aching headache, one that felt like his head had been filled with molten metal and explosives. The only thing keeping him from screaming was the weariness he noticed moments later.

Finally, after what felt like hours, he could summon the strength to move.

Touching his head, he found a warm, wet, cloth placed on his forehead. Someone had stripped off his winter jacket, and tucked him under a blanket.

He froze when someone entered the room, but relaxed once he recognised Aya's mother.

She gave his shoulder a rub and gently removed the soaked cloth, changing it for another.

"How are you feeling?" She asked.

"I hurt." He moaned. Minori frowned at his answer, a sympathetic look in her eyes.

"Do you remember what happened?" She asked. "I found you unconscious in the snow, after Aya couldn't find you."

Philip knew what happened. He had exhausted his mana, after pushed it far to hard. But he wasn't going to admit that. Minori would think his crazy, or just playing.

He gave a negative grunt and shook his head.

He missed the brief look of doubt and minor panic in her eyes.

"Okay." Minori said. "Aya wants to see you, she is just outside."

"Okay." Philip mumbled. He felt very tired, and his eyelids felt heavy.

He felt his friend hit him.

He blinked his eyes open in surprise, to see her had buried in his chest, doing her best to hold onto him without jostling him.

"Don' wanna lose you." Aya mumbled into his chest. "Don't do that again."

Minori smiled at the scene as she left the guestroom. She would inform his parents later, it wasn't like they would notice him gone, and she had the excuse of seeing to his health. But first, she had a few calls to make, and preparations.

Whatever had attacked Philip had messed with his mind, she was sure, and while it hadn't done permanent damage as far as she could tell, she preferred to cover all her bases.
Chapter 4


Well-known member
Philip didn't begrudge Minori and Aya going out of their way to involve him whenever they could. He knew he had made a mistake and had made them worry.

The fact that it left him with no time to practice was what frustrated him. Aya was constantly by his side, or Minori was having him help with something. He hadn't been home for any long period of time in over a month. That neither of his parents seemed to notice mildly alarmed him, though it was no surprise.

He sulked in the ferry seat. Aya bounced in her own seat.

She was impatiently waiting for the, now half over, ferry ride to be over. Today was her birthday, and as a treat, before the party tonight, her mother had bought the three of them tickets to a live show of Miracle Levia-tan.

Philip preferred to avoid the Devils as best as he could until he could defend himself, but he could find no excuse to avoid the trip, without insulting his only friend.

At the very least, he felt safe enough with the assumption that Serafall herself wouldn't cause him and his any harm. If his memories of fiction were true.

"How much longer?" Aya whined. "I don't wanna miss it!"

"Just another half hour till we reach Victoria." Minori rolled her eyes. "C'mon, your nine now! Have some patience! Even Philip…"

Philip flinched. There was a strange feeling in the air, like it had been charged, and suddenly was discharged. It reminded him of his own magic.

He concentrated, bringing a simple spell to mind to protect his mind from foreign magic. It wasn't strong, or effective, but it could protect him against anything meant sort of power used to make people unaccustomed to magic avoid noticing, like the spells often used by the Three Christian factions to avoid breaking the masquerade.

He almost lost his concentration on the spell, the circle hidden in his pocket, when he heard Minori curse mid-sentence.

"Aya… hide yourself and Philip."

Aya blinked.


"Do you hear that? Hide. Now."

Aya leapt out of her seat.

Something moved outside the ferries window, even as Philip's spell let him notice the screaming on the upper deck, and that the engine had stopped.

"I think it's a bit late for that…" Philip moved out of his seat, pointing at the shape pulling itself over the railing.

Clumped black hair trailed down its thin frame. Its skin a blue of frozen and dead flesh. Blackened ails grew from its fingertips to the lengths of its own long fingers.

It fit the image of a Mahaha, an Inuit mythical creature that preyed on people and 'tickled' them to death with its long fingernails, clawing open their chests. It was named for its laughing like cry.

There were just two problems with that. One, Mahaha could be defeated by pushing them into water, especially in winter, as they could not swim. The other problem also served as an answer to that first problem. Namely, the pair of black bat-like wings on its back, which were not normal to the typical envisioning of the Mahaha. It would make drowning it particularly difficult. At least they knew how it had gotten onto a ferry in the middle of the British Columbia Strait of Georgia. It, being a reincarnated devil, flew.

The blue skinned monster cackled as power sheathed its nails, and people panicked. A stampede started to form, as people tried to get away from the monster.

Minori turned and took Aya and Philip, fleeing amidst the crowd.

Philip almost missed the four fox tails that sprang from her back, despite one pressing against him to keep him from getting lost, but he certainly didn't miss how people, despite their panic, didn't press in on them.

Minori was a kitsune.

Philip kept up, even as they fled down, into the large garage deck. Behind them, he could hear the increasing cackles of the Mahaha-turned-devil, and the sound of claws tearing through flesh.

Other people had the same idea, though Philip was baffled at the couple that tried to start their car. It was packed in amidst others, and they were on water in a ferry. Then again, panic was not rational.

He hissed in pain suddenly, as he felt something biting into his arm.

He blinked as he realised that it was Aya, holding it in a death grip.

"What is that thing?" She was shaking.

Minori pulled them between a minivan and a pickup, her tails wrapping around the three of them.

"Mahaha, Inuit monster." Philip replied without thinking, more focused on the fact that his heart seamed to be bouncing around his chest as it panicked. "You're a Kitsune."

His jaw was chattering. Why was his jaw chattering? He wasn't cold. He clenched it to make it stop. Had he been stuttering?

Minori hugged both Philip and Aya tighter.

There was a sudden screech of metal, and then a short-lived scream. It ended with a wet noise.

Minori's hands covered both of their mouths, just as the Mahaha leapt into view. Its blue skin now more red than blue, covered in blood as it was.

It paused and looked around. Then it shrugged and sat down on the car roof it had landed on.

"Well, that was over too fast. Pity we won't be able to hit them very often." It spoke as another form crept into view.

The newcomer was likewise bloodstained, though it was more obviously a stray devil. Its shapeshifting powers out of all control, leaving it in a deformed state. It had more arms than anything else, leaving it to crawl and pull itself along, which it did in a manner both fast and unnerving. How it saw or spoke, Philip couldn't determine.

"Indeed, my friend. I regret accepting that oafs offer, it would have been so much simple, yet, I cannot say I regret where that choice led me. Plenty of souls to eat, far more fulfilling than simple desire." Its voice was at odds with its form. Well spoken and clearly pronounced, with an English upper crust accent, like one might find in an older British movie. "Do you smell that?"

"No, why?" The Mahaha looked at its friend and cocked its head. "Did Fred make a mess again?"

"No, not that, though yes. No, its… ki? No… Ah, of course… we are on the West Coast, of course there would be a Youkai or two."

The ball of arms quivered, and then pointed towards Philip, Aya, and Minori's hiding place.

"There. Well, we can't have anyone follow us, and we were going to sink the ferry anyway. What do you say old chap? Half-and-half?"

The Mahaha simply let out its kinds signature laugh in response, muscles tensing to leap.
Chapter 5


Well-known member
The Mahaha leapt.

The other stray devil simply attempted facepalmed at the stupidity of his friend. He couldn't see the Youkai, which just meant…

The Mahaha went sailing back, striking a van hard enough to tear through one side, and severely damage the other side. He grunted and struggled, trying to disentangle himself.

Minori did not glance at the spot she had shoved and hid her daughter and Philip, behind a car. She did not let her fear show. She would not betray them.

Instead, she showed only anger, her four red-furred tails spread out like a fan, gold fire dancing on their tips. Her nails sharpened and ignited with the same gold fire.

Punching the Mahaha had been far too taxing on her reserves, when combined with the necessary boost to reaction speeds to hit it before it saw the children. Still, it had been dramatic enough to distract the both of them before they realise there were three of them, instead of just her.

The malformed stray flinched as she growled, striding forwards, and settling into a position to strike. It was mostly bravado. She was no fighter; she was a lawyer. The last time she had struck anyone with the intent to kill had been over half a century ago.

"Hmmm…" The malformed stray hummed as its compatriot finally got free of the fan enough to tear it open. "Normally, I would prefer to avoid fighting a kitsune, even a four tailed one but… the Leviathan is nearby, and we would prefer not to be recognised. I don't suppose you'd be willing to make this easy for us?"

The stray put a barrier in the way of Minori's response. Foxfire straining it to its limited, and roiling around it making the asphalt ground hiss and boil.

"I thought not. But it never hurts to ask."

"Can we just kill her already and go? It feels like Fred is nearly done." The Mahaha pulled itself from the ruined van. "Enough talking."

The blue skinned reincarnated devil threw itself at Minori. She swore and rolled to the side, leaving more foxfire behind her for the Mahaha to crash into. It howled in agony as the gold flames burned at its soul. But it didn't kill it, serving only to enrage it.

Slashing at her blindly in fury, the Mahaha howled. She countered by using her tails. The foxfire burning through the demonic energy coating its nails, leaving the blows less than useful against her.

The second stray watched her carefully. It was annoyed that she was not turning to face its friend, clearly recognising it as the greater threat. Yet, why wasn't she moving more?

Its eyes were long gone… but not its senses.

"Aah… you are protecting someone…" It flinched when it saw her face. Rage morphed to fury. Calling that out had been a mistake.

She moved as if to breath more foxfire against the monstrosity, but when they threw up the barrier, instead spun and struck the Mahaha. The blow was a clawed palm, burning claws digging into the Inuit demon's face, ruining an eye and inflicting a soul deep agony.

As it reeled back, Minori hurtled herself at the malformed one.

Fire, gold in colour, lashed out and struck its form, burning flesh and charring the bone beneath.

One of its many arms lashed out and struck her in the face. Another guided a spell.

She danced back avoiding the spell as a bolt of power lashed out and encased a light on the ceiling in stone, wincing as she felt a bruise form.

She glanced back at the Mahaha and relaxed seeing it's still form on the ground.

"Tsk. A pity. I liked him." The multi limbed thing before her said. "Ah, well. You are only a four tail, no match for a mid-class bishop like myself."

Any further posturing was cut off, as it was forced to put up yet another barrier to stop another blast of foxfire. With the flames for cover, Minori closed the distance again, lashing out with claw and tail still ablaze, more watchful now for any counter attack.

They duelled back and forth, Minori keeping the stray in close to hamper its spells, and it desperately trying to land a hit, despite its lesser agility.

Painfully, awareness returned to the Mahaha. Its one remaining eye glanced around, taking the sight in. With a groan, it rolled itself into its back, keeping a hand over the ruined portion of its face, in a vain attempt to ward off the pain.

"Enough of this farce!" It shouted, triggered a spell beneath it, sending a shockwave of destructive demonic power out from where it 'stood'.

Minori found herself breathing hard, too tired and taxed from the fighting to properly dodge. Her reserves nearly gone. She should have kept up with her ki practice.

The power didn't travel far, but it struck faster than Minori expected. It struck her sneaker covered feet, sending jolts of pain up her legs.

It was only a momentary distraction. But that was all the stray needed. It lunged, using its lower arms to throw itself forwards. Grasping limbs took hold of Minori's arms, legs, and tails, keeping them still, as a pair of hands wrapped around her throat.

The Mahaha's eye flickered to the left, seeing underneath the car it had landed beside.

It let out a laugh.

The monstrous stray pushed itself forwards, pressing its weight down on Minori, intent on keeping her from being able to retaliate. Tightening its grip on her.

"Ah, your reserves were spent, weren't they? You are no fighter… and you are going to die." It drank in her fear and desperation.

The Mahaha leapt onto the car, taking a hand from its face. Raising both arms, it sheathed its nails once more in demonic power.

It blinked in surprise when it was faced with a pair of spell circles appearing right in front of its face.

Both Elemental Bolt spells fired. One after the other. The first was water. It lacked the energy or pressure to cut, but it didn't need to. The second was ice.

The Mahaha tried to howl, both in fury and in agony, as the water froze to its face, sealing its mouth and nose shut. A small stream of foxfire, pale and weak, struck its throat, failing to melt the ice. But its throat burned.

Desperate to try and remove the ice, let lacking fingers capable of the delicate work necessary, the Mahaha futile tried to smash the ice with the heel of its palm. A second pair of Elemental Bolts, the same as the first, struck its face again.

It stumbled backwards, flailing off the roof of the car.

"Ah… a mage and your daughter, I presume?" The stray mocked. "I'll deal with them after. My compliments young mage, on killing a devil. It will be your last accomplishment in this life."

Philip's eyes flickered around, looking for a solution.

A hasty Elemental Bolt of fire was contemptuously batted aside by the stray's defensive spell.

The ship suddenly shook, groaning.

"What are those two buffoons doing up there?" The stray groaned. "I knew I should have brough some more competent people… then again, an eight-year-old did bring down one I thought competent. Good help is so hard to find these days."

The Mahaha's flailing slowed, as it tried to bash its ice covered head against the ground.

Aya glared at the stray choking her mother, her hand grasping Philip's arm.

Philip gritted his teeth, his mind racing… until he noticed his breath had begun to fog up. It had been warm today, warm enough that one's breath was not visible, even on the water.

The stray was confused when it saw Philip notice this fact, and grin.

"What…" It started to ask a question that was probably going to also double as an insult, but was interrupted by the sound of shearing metal.

The dead form of a plant-based devil crashed through the ceiling, its form a mix of rotting plant matter, and ice.

Standing on its crumbling corpse, was a girl dressed in pink, posed in a fashion that revealed she had just kicked the stray plant devil.

"Oops." She flinched. "Too hard."

The black bat wings on her back betrayed the fact that she was a devil.

Aya and the many armed stray stared in disbelief.

"The Leviathan is Levia-tan!?" Aya screamed in confusion, then glanced at Philip. "… and you're a magician… can the world go back to making sense please?"
Chapter 6


Well-known member
"Glittering Ice Fury!" Serafall flicked her wand, a pink thing with a star in a circle at the end, in the direction of the stray still pinning Minori down.

Philip blinked.

One moment, it was there, the next, there was a line of spikes of ice, leading from Serafall to where the many armed stray once was. The ends of the ice spikes closest to where the stray had been, were stained crimson with blood. Something struck the far end of the ferry's wall hard enough to tear metal apart.

Aya sighed in relief as she saw her mother get up, rubbing her neck.

She released Philip's arm, throwing herself into her mother's as she jogged over to them.

"Are you both okay? Neither of you were hurt?" Minori coughed as she inspected the both of them.

"I'm… feeling tired now that the adrenaline is puttering off." Philip blinked. "But I'm okay."

Minori brought him into a hug with Aya, then, she stood and turned to face the Leviathan.

Serafall calmly walked towards them. She glanced at the Mahaha, now dead, its body quickly decaying, and gave Philip a smile and nod as he peered out from between Minori's tails.

"I'm terribly sorry about not stopping them sooner. I only noticed them when they put up a barrier around the ferry." She sounded mournful to Philip's ears. "I'm Serafall Leviathan, pleased to meet you. Call me Levi-tan!"

Minori narrowed her eyes at Serafall, before sighing.

"I should have paid more attention to what my daughter was watching." She bemoaned. "Your assistance was appreciated, Lady Leviathan."

Minori winced and rubbed her throat. She focused on what was left of her ki, guiding it around her body, to focus in healing, and preventing any swelling in her throat.

Serafall pouted.

"No one ever calls me Levi-tan." She muttered under her breath. Her cheer quickly returned. "May I ask your names?"

Minori frowned.

"My name is Philip. Do you want people to call you Levi-tan just for the pun?"

Serafall's grin grew as she looked at Philip.

"Yup! But also, because its cute!" She clasped her hands together, holding them near her jaw. Phlip briefly wondered where her wand disappeared to. "So! Were you the one that killed the one with claws?"

"Philip was the one that killed the Mahaha, yes." Aya said nervously. "Ah… I'm Aya. I watch your show."

"Well, Aya, it's a pleasure to meet you!" Serafall beamed before glancing at Minori. "Are you okay?"

"I'll be fine in an hour or so." Minori waved her off. "May I ask… what you intend to do with the people on the ferry?"

"Ah, I'm… not sure yet." Serafall shook her head. "Obviously, the survivors would be helped, and their memories altered, but I'm not sure what the explanation would be."

Philip looked past her and winced.

"Ah… I think you cut a wire when you went through the deck." Serafall spun around. To look where Philip had started pointing. "And a gas tank is leaking from a damaged car."

"Oops." Serafall said for the second time that day. "Phooey. We'll need to quickly evacuate people then. At least we can blame a fire as the cause."

Philip glanced down at the flyer Serafall had given him, before they had been left with the other people at the docks. It was… probably not something an eight-year-old would normally be given, with the silhouettes of naked women on the edges. He wondered how it worked.

He had pondered it, largely ignoring the live show. It was too noisy and pink for his tastes, but it seems Aya enjoyed it, with how she had started bouncing on the way there.

Serafall had been as friendly and energetic as his memories of Highschool DxD suggested. It was comforting that at least some details were accurate.

"I am very glad we took a taxi." Minori said, as she walked in the front door of her house. "Else we would have lost the car with the ferry."

Philip's thoughts were first to sit on the couch and think. There had been something that had occurred to him on the ride home, and it wasn't the fact that his best friend and her mother were Kitsune.

His plan was foiled when something landed on his back. Aya wrapped her arms and legs around him, her brownish-red tails wrapping around Philip's right leg.

"How long have you been a magician?" She muttered into the back of his head, ignoring his fumbling as he fought for balance.

Minori sighed.

"Aya, we can talk to him later. For now, I think we should all go to bed early."

"No! My best friend didn't tell me he knew magic or that he knew about youkai and magic, and I was hiding that I was a kitsune from him." Aya shouted at her mother, and hugged Philip tighter.

Philip stumped over to the couch, collapsing on it.

Minori sighed.

"Philip?" Aya got off him, sitting next to where he lay on the couch. "Are you angry at me?"

"No. Just tired." Philip muttered. "Started learning after Santa gifted me magic books for Christmas."

"What!?" Aya shrieked. "You got books on magic for Christmas! Lucky!"

"I've never heard of Santa Claus gifting anything actually magic to anyone that didn't already know about magic." Minori frowned. "Wait… that time you passed out in the snow, was that because you were misusing magic?"

"… pushed too hard, too fast." Philip muttered. "Know I screwed up."

"Philip. If I hadn't found you, you might have frozen to death." The fact that she doubted his parents would go looking for him before that, if at all, went unsaid. "No more practicing alone."

"Who else is there? You have work." Philip sat up on the couch.

"Me!" Aya bounced along the couch to sit next to him. "It was sooo cool how you froze that monsters face! I wanna see more! Can you teach me magic?"

Minori sighed. Then sighed again when she realized she had been doing that a lot today.

"Fine. But you both be very careful. Philip, I'll see if I can find you a teacher, but you make absolutely sure that no one will get hurt, understood?" She gave both a stern look. "I will try to make some time so I can supervise."

"Actually, can you teach me how to use Senjutsu?" Philip asked.

Aya deflated.

"Mom, please don't make us both meditate." She moaned. "It's boring."

"Most magic is math. Gotta do boring stuff to do fun stuff." Philip said.

Aya grumbled.

"Fine. Probably a good idea. I don't know much, but at least you will be able to heal some bruises quickly, and move faster." Minori shook her head. "Aya, you know you need to work at things to get better at them."


"Now, Philip." Minori walked over and sat in front of him. "How did you find out about… all this."

Philip winced. He had hoped that question had been forgotten.

"Hey, its okay." Minori reached out and rubbed his shoulder. "Whatever happened, I'll help."

"So will I!" Aya cheered as she hugged him.

Philip turned the problem over and over in his head.

"… are you familiar with the Many Worlds Theory?"

He wasn't sure what to expect from their reactions when he told them.

He told them of his past life. He told them that he knew this world through a franchise, how he knew events would happen. He told them of his fears, about the potential dangers that existed, what he knew of them, and what ones he remembered would come.

Their response was a shrug. Aya hugged him tighter. Minori decided she would find a way to kill Diodora Astaroth and would help find a magic teacher for Philip.

Philip would admit he should have seen the latter two coming.


Well-known member
Ah. The "I am a reincarnate/self-insert talk". Always troublesome. Always need to add the caveat that "This is just what I remember, and what matches up. Just me being here changes things, and I have no idea about any other deviations independent of me."


Well-known member
Ah. The "I am a reincarnate/self-insert talk". Always troublesome. Always need to add the caveat that "This is just what I remember, and what matches up. Just me being here changes things, and I have no idea about any other deviations independent of me."
Not going to go into detail of it, because I don't feel it necessary. Doesn't really add anything to go into detail, and I can reference back to it if I do need the detail, later.

But yeah, its going to be an ongoing issue.
Chapter 7


Well-known member
Serafall hummed a happy tune. One of the prototypes for the theme of an upcoming season of Miracle Levia-tan. She checked her watch, waiting for the other party to arrive.

Part of her wanted this done with. She hated wearing these stuffy suits, but the other party didn't particularly care what she wore to the meetings.

She wondered who they would send. It wouldn't be a low level flunky, as they were too polite for that, but they might send a mid-level official.

The door opened.

Or they would send one of their four leaders, to meet with one of the four leaders of their enemies. Not that there had been any large-scale fighting in centuries.

"Uriel-sama." Serafall greeted with a smile. "How are you today?"

"Lady Leviathan." Uriel greeted coldly; his face decorated with a polite smile. "I hope you do not mind if we deal with this matter quickly."

"Oh? Scared that my ice might freeze your flames?" She teased him.

Uriel, without losing his polite smile, shook his head.

"Not in the slightest." He said. "But the recent upswing in stray devil numbers has Heaven concerned."

Serafall frowned.

"The Underworld government is likewise concerned. Do you have any leads?"

"The Church believes this is your doing, however, Michael disagrees." Uriel frowned. "You have always taken a stance opposed to taking in any of the creatures that deliberately feed on humans, or would otherwise present an increased risk to them, barring unique individual cases."

Serafall nodded.

"The presence of a Mahaha was alarming. We had thought them wiped out by one of your legions, two centuries ago." Serafall kept the pain she had felt upon seeing the number of bodies buried. "The Devil Piece system cannot bring back the long dead, as you are aware."

Uriel nodded.

"Indeed. I, myself, was present for the purge, alongside several local Sasquatch tribes, and it was two legions present. We were certain we had removed them all." His frowned deepened. "Is it possible for a ghost to be reincarnated?"

Serafall shook her head.

"Not of most creatures. Humans, fae, and a few others. But Mahaha are closer to vampires." She paused. "Do you believe someone may have created new Mahaha?"

"It is one possibility." A bitter look flickered across Uriel's face. "Would Sirzechs be opposed to a combined research group, to look into the Mahaha?"

Serafall raised an eye at Uriel avoiding using Sirzechs last name and title.

"I'm not sure, but I can certainly as him." She smiled. "Now, here is our report on the incident."

Uriel accepted the documents with a polite smile.

"Thank you, Lady Leviathan." He paused. "Here are the requested Church documents, regarding the traitor exorcists. We would prefer if they were taken alive and remanded into our custody."

"Of course." Serafall smiled at him, a mirror of his own. "I believe that is all. Good day, Uriel-sama. Tell Gabriel I said hi!"

"I would like to present this council with a diplomatic proposal."

The leader of the council of magicians raised an eyebrow.

"You know that it is not our purpose. So long as your chosen path does not run counter to the group's, you are free to take your own path, and enjoy the brotherhood's resources."

"While that is true, archmage, I must stress that this would merely be our group connecting with another. The Khaos Brigade likewise does not care about its individual's goals, and is willing to share power, so long as the goals do not oppose the Brigade's ultimate goal."

"And just what is the Brigade's goal? Hmm?"

"The death of Great Red, too permit Ophis to return to the Dimensional Gap. She is willing to share her infinite power with any who would aide her, no matter their own goals."

"I fail to see how that benefits us."

"Besides the raw power, imagine what we could learn, or do for humanity. Too long have we been preyed upon by unnatural powers, pawns in other's games. With that power we could stand equal to them, and lead humanity to destroy all who would enslave us."

"You speak of war!" A third voice accused. "Besides, we benefit from all three of the Biblical factions, and some others to a lesser extent. Why would we want to follow such insanity."

"Because we could lead humanity, as we should!"

The archmage cleared his throat.

"Please, keep this civil. Now, regarding the Khaos Brigade's main goal, I must point out we do not know what the knock on effects would be, nor do we know if Ophis would let us keep that power, or of she could control us through it."

The speaker tried to interject but was silenced as the archmage continued.

"In addition, the Khaos Brigade is made up of many factions, including one led by
Rizevim Lucifer. I trust I do not need to remind you all of what his goals are?" The assembled council of spellcasters shuddered. "As for your ambitions of… rulership over humanity, I will simply point out that most of humanity is rather strongly opposed to genocide, as our esteemed colleague brought up the other major hurdle."

"A few could be kept to be used to strengthen humanity…"

"And now you speak of eugenics." The archmage spat. "No. We will not ally the Khaos Brigade. They are a danger to the world. And considering your own… ambitions, well, all in favour of… removing his presence from the brotherhood?"

The human supremacist spat at the council as they voted him out unanimously.

"Fine. If you are too blind to see the opportunity…" He snapped his fingers, and the door burst open. Several of his students strode into the room, spells ready. "Then I will remove the problem."

The archmage sighed. With a flick of his wrist, the students' spells were torn from their minds and hands, flying across the room, and over the table. The archmage was stuck by a dozen spells. He should have been wracked in agony as the spells caustic energy flayed, burned, ate, froze him. Instead, it was the students that screamed, their own spells somehow turned back against them, despite the fact that the archmage had been the one struck by them.

The archmage let loose a blast of lightning, slaying the last foe standing, and leaving the air full of the scent of ozone.

"Now, I believe we should adjourn so that this mess can be cleaned, unless someone has urgent information." A hand went up. "Yes?"

"I do not believe 'Brotherhood' fits this group. May I suggest we use the break to come up with alternate names to be used?" A feminine voice asked.

"All in favour of choosing a new name for our organisation?" The archmage counted the raised hands. "Very well. I still prefer Nod, but I also remember seeing something about a videogame using 'Brotherhood of Nod', so we should perhaps choose another name. We shall reconvene in a weeks' time."
Chapter 8


Well-known member
"So, that number represents the concept of fire, when multiplied by that number, it converts raw mana into the spell, but pi here increases the efficiency." Philip explained. "That make sense?"

"Kinda, but if we are casting the same spell, why is it more powerful for me, and more efficient, than yours?" Aya asked.

"People have different elemental affinities." Philip explained. "I don't have one, as far as I can tell, while you are better with fire."

Minori shook her head with a grin as she listened to the two twelve-year-olds discuss magic. Most of it went over her head, but despite her daughter acting like she had an allergy to math, it disappeared when she was faced with magic. She was drinking up Philip's lessons as fast as he could learn them from the books.

Minori set the pen on top of the court files. They could wait for a couple hours.

"Okay, how are you to faring?"

Philip glanced up.

"Homework done at school, and we should practice these spells so we can memorise them better." He answered.

Aya glanced at the clock.

"Its time for meditation, isn't it?" She pouted. A moment later she blinked in surprise when her mother shook her head.

"This time, I'll teach you to cycle your ki. Its just a simple exercise, like stretching, but necessary if you want to be able to do anything else." Minori grinned. "Then, I'll teach you a bit about throwing a punch."

"Can you teach us to accelerate healing?" Philip asked. "It would speed up muscle growth."

Minori blinked. That was… probably a smarter idea.

"It's only basic stuff I know with that. I can teach you to accelerate natural healing, or keep swelling down in yourself, but I can't teach you to heal others, or seal a wound with a bit of concentration." She shrugged. "Not many senjutsu teachers over here, and even fewer that would be willing to give lessons."

A flicker of something flashed across Philip's face.

"Something you remembered about your past life?" Minori asked.

"Kuroka. She was a senjutsu user, and on the run." He frowned. "It would cause butterflies, but keeping her out of the Khaos Brigade…"

"I can put some feelers out, but if you don't know where she is, then I can't really help with that. If the Kyoto Youkai are willing to help her, I might get a message and offer to her, since my parents have some contacts there…" Minori considered it. "But we have no power there, so if Yasaka wants to hold her, or bar her from coming here, I can't do anything."

"Then why not get some more money to hire someone?" Aya asked. Philip snorted, earning a glare from her. She explained. "I know money doesn't work like that, but mom spends lots of time home instead of taking on extra cases."

Minori sighed.

"I'm not leaving you two alone. Not after the foxfire spear incident." She glared at the two of them. "I still have no idea how you managed to generate foxfire with an arcane spell."

"Elemental spear, and its related spells, is able to copy elements, so it wasn't that hard." Philip shrugged. "Sorry about the tree again. But I'm still frustrated I can't replicated holy light or demonic power with it."

Minori gave him a flat look.

"By the way, why is your foxfire gold, where I seem to remember Yasaka's being blue?" Philip asked.

"The way its manipulated, if I remember correctly." Minori shook her head. "Ours is more spiritual in nature, needs something spiritual to burn, before it can burn anything else."

"Oh, that's why it worked against the tree!" Aya said. "It's the anchor for the… protections for the… house… oops."

"Well, that explains why you had me set up arcane protections as well, and were so panicked, beyond the risk of fire." Philip snorted. "So, anyway, ki cycling?"

Minori rubbed her temples and stood from where she sat at the kitchen's island.

"Okay, first, sit on the ground, about arm's length from each other. Focus on breathing. Now, I've already taught you to feel your own ki, so sync it with your breathing…"

Birds chirped in the air, the breeze drifted through the trees, making the autumn leaves drift down.

Philip slowed his breathing, his eyes closed, as he listened.

He reached out with both his magic and ki, feeling the world breath, as the leylines in the distance, under Fallen control, pulsed, and the world shifted with the seasons.

He gave a yelp as he felt something soft and furry go up the back of his shirt.

Aya cackled behind him as she twisted around to face her.

"Not funny! How did you do that anyway?"

She just grinned it him over her shoulder. A moment later, she withdrew her tail from his shirt.

Philip grumbled for a moment as they both went back to meditating.

Both of their ki pulsed in time with the beating of their hearts, synchronised to the world's own breathing. It had become instinctive to constantly cycle ki, over the three years. Philip had mastered what Minori knew of healing, though he struggled at the more physical aspects, while Aya was fast approaching her mother's skill in illusions, and had already found her talents in hand to hand fighting.

A bruise on Philip's jaw from training itched as it healed.

"So, mom found a group of mages." Aya asked after some more time had passed.

"Yup. Apparently, they found something in Egypt. Since I passed their test last week, demonstrating their minimum required skill level with spells, I'm skipping being a student, and am going to apprentice under one of the professors." Philip replied with a grin. "I even get to participate in the dig."

"What was the test?"

"Just casting elemental spear with proficiency, some defensive spells, and some utility spells, like cushioned fall and a sealing barrier." He shrugged. "Not particularly difficult, but that variety is pretty diverse."

Aya was silent for several minutes. Suddenly, she spun around and hugged Philip from behind.

"Don't want you to go." She mumbled. "Gunna miss you."

Philip hesitated for a moment, before reaching up and rubbing a spot on her head.

"Mph. Not fair." Aya whined as he scratched a spot just behind where her fox ears would be. Her grip on him tightened. "No. Staaap!"

"Fine." He started to pull his hand away. Her tail caught his wrist. "Well, that's new."

"Just figured it out." She mumbled. "But I'm going to miss you."

"I'm only going away for weekends." Philip snorted.

"We always spent time together." She moaned, releasing him, and moving around to stand in front of him. "I don't want that to change."

Philip sighed. He uncrossed his legs and stretched them out.

"What about when all that stuff goes down? Has your mom heard anything?"

Aya frowned.

"Just that Kuoh Academy has started accepting boys." Aya bit her lip. "Mom… doesn't want either of us involved. It turned out fine, right?"

Philip winced.

"In a piece of fiction… there isn't any plot armour here, nothing to guarantee things go correctly, or have the best outcome. Yasaka could get killed, things might not be exactly as I remember, I might have misremembered things, hell, I could be mixing fanon and canon!" Philip shouted and threw his arms in the air. "What am I supposed to do? World is fucking terrifying, just on how powerful some people are, people with no morals and evil goals."

Aya frowned.

"I mean… aside from the stray devils we were unnoticed…" The words felt hollow as she said them. "I… I don't want you getting hurt."

"Better I get hurt than the world gets destroyed." Philip snarked. "But seriously, I don't want to get hurt either."

"Don't want to lose my only friend." Aya sniffled. "I… the girls at school don't know anything about magic, or the supernatural, and I hate how they lie and scheme against each other, over petty things."

Philip started to move, then froze. He took a deep breath and wrapped his friend in a hug. A moment later, he felt her arms and tails wrap around him as she started to cry.

A heartbeat later, a form darted through the woods towards them, pausing at the edge of the clearing. Minori, in her vulpine form, watched from the side-lines for a moment, before approaching in her human form.

"What's wrong?" She asked, eyes full of concern, focused on her daughter.

"Don't want Philip to disappear." Aya hiccupped.

"She… is worried about me getting hurt with all the future stuff, and me going away for the weekends." Philip explained. "I'm… still not sure what to do. Focused on learning more, yeah, but…"

Minori winced and wrapped them both in a hug.

"But what can you do to influence things?" She said.

"Warn some people, maybe undermine some plans by talking some people out of them. I just… don't have a good idea of when things will happen." Philip shrugged.

Minori was silent for several moments.

"Well, I'll keep an ear out." She gave Philip a glare over Aya's head. "But keep yourself safe. You hear me?"

A.N. Not completely happy with this chapter, but a timeskip was necessary.
Last edited:
Chapter 9


Well-known member
Minori glanced up from where she was working in the kitchen. Her daughter, with tails in the open, lay curled on the couch. Neither were worried about being seen, the house was properly warded. Clutched in Aya's hands was one of Philip's books, a black robed wizard facing the reader and a woman in white clutching him facing the wizard decorated the cover.

"He'll be back in an hour you know." Minori frowned at her daughter. She was normally very active, but since Philip had left each weekend, she had become more and more reserved. "Aya?"

Her daughter curled herself tighter, no longer reading, now more trying to hide herself in her bushy tails.

Minori frowned.

"Hey, you can talk to me." She set her pen down, and walked into the living room. "You worried about Philip?"

Aya closed the book, placing it on the coffee table.

She took a breath and nodded.

"I… back on the ferry," She started, and Minori's heart dropped. "you… you almost got killed, and that… Mahaha almost got us. But… Philip wasn't scared. He killed it. And then Serafall rescued you."

Aya sniffled.

"I'm… I'm scared of being alone, and I'm afraid of losing Philip."

Minori wrapped her daughter in a hug, with both her arms and tails. They stayed together for several minutes, Aya quietly sniffling and Minori struggling to find a proper response.

"Okay." Minori began as they parted. "So… you know how Philip talked about… future events?"

"That he saw in an anime and Manga?" Aya smiled slightly beneath her sniffles. "Yeah. And how you don't think he needs to do anything."

"Well… this might… alter events but I happened to find someone that can teach you and Philip a bit about how to defend yourselves." Minori hated the idea of her daughter and Philip being in danger, let alone deliberately putting themselves in harms way, but she could hardly sit idly by and leave them vulnerable. "But she is in a bit of trouble. I was going to wait until Philip got back to discuss this, but… she is hiding from the devils, so that means say nothing about who she is, and don't ask about her past, f she agrees to come here. She wants to stay safe."

Aya frowned.


Before Minori could answer, a knock sounded at the door. Philip was let in a moment later, and Aya tacked him to the floor with a hug.

"Aya, hello. Ow." Philip groaned. "Please don't crush my ribs. I need those."

"So, how was Egypt?" Minori hid her amusement at seeing Philip struggle with Aya wrapped around his torso, keeping his arms pinned. "Any interesting relics?"

"Nah, not letting us keep anything. Bunch of Fallen are there as well, but no problems I've seen so far. They are trying to unbury this massive palace-slash-temple complex that had its doors sealed and buried. Rest of the city is a mess, crushed by sand or simple swept away." Philip paused, looked down at Aya, waiting for her to get off. Instead, her ears appeared, smacking him in the jaw in the process. He simple raised an eyebrow. "Lot's of learning how to cast spells to protect against the environment, mostly sun and sand in the air, and learning how to guide golems. Not my thing, but most of the other apprentices are pissed I know how to redirect the wind better than them."

"So, no tomes of ancient lore to hide and study?" Minori grinned. "That's disappointing, but… wait, golems? For what?"

"Moving sand. What, you think a bunch of mages would dig themselves?" Philip quipped. "Nah. And before you ask about using magic, the one attempt I saw ended up making more work when the sand was blown back into the hole."

Philip glanced down at Aya again.

"Can you please let go? My arms are going numb, I'm laying on my backpack, and I'm rather thirsty." Aya hmphed before she released Philip. "Thank you."

As Philip got himself a glass of water, Aya sulked on the couch.

"Hey, that's my book." Philip commented as he walked towards them, his glass already half empty. "Dragonlance Legends: War of the Twins."

"I started reading them." Aya said. "Anyway, mom, you were saying something about a teacher?"

"Yes." Minori sighed. "As I was saying to Aya before, I found a teacher… but she is on the run from the devils."

"Kuroka." Philip guessed.

"I haven't been told her name, just that there was a youkai that had the skills we were looking for, that might be willing to teach them in exchange for protection." Minori sighed. "Because of the Fallen nearby, and the local First Nation bands that still have some power, she'd probably be safe in anonymity here."

"But… is there anyone else it could be?" Philip asked.

Minori winced.

"Probably not." She sat down next to her daughter and looked at the two fifteen-year-olds. "Look, I hate the idea of either of you being drawn into danger. I hate that so much… insanity is going to happen soon, but… I can't stop you, Philip, from getting involved. Can I?"

"Since plot armour isn't a thing, and there are so many things that can go wrong, just in the things I can remember… no." Philip frowned.

"Philip?" Aya asked suddenly.


"… Don't disappear on me, yeah?"

"Wasn't planning on it." Philip looked at her strangely. "Something wrong?"

"I don't want you to get hurt. And I don't want the world to end either…" Aya hugged herself. "I… I don't know what to do."

Philip snorted.

"Neither do I. Still trying to figure out how to change things, where I should try. Do I gamble that some things will go the same, or they be completely random?" He shook his head. "At the very least Kuroka would give is a lead, and I am willing to bet we can get Serafall to look into her case, and find the… stuff, that her former master was doing that caused her to kill him. Plus, weakening the Khaos Brigade seems like a good idea."

Aya smiled sadly, before getting up and hugging him.

Minori saw Philip's mind crash and reboot. He was as used to seeing Aya this downcast as she was, which was to say, not at all. She also knew he was not overly fond of physical affection, something Aya either didn't notice, or simply didn't care. It was rather amusing at how different the two were, and how well they got along.
Chapter 10


Well-known member
The glow of the teleportation spell faded.

Philip flinched as the heat of the desert hit him.

"Right, you know the way to your tent, Philip. I've got other things to do." The apprentice that provided him with transportation said.

Teleportation magic was not easy, nor simple. Philip had yet to approach even the simplest spells of it, necessitating him borrowing a ride from someone else, in order to get to the dig site in Egypt. Often, it was one of the older apprentices.

"Pretty sure flirting with the Fallen isn't a valid excuse." Philip shot at him. The apprentice twitched.

"Hey, man, they're hot, and are up for a one night stand, or two!"

"And dangerous." Philip shook his head. "Pretty sure a good chunk of them hate humans. Wonder why they are even here?"

"Archmage Peterson hired them for protection." The other, older, apprentice shrugged. "But yeah… a few are assholes. But the others… well, the action is great!"

Philip shook his head, and finished casting the environmental protection spells that would keep him from getting sunburnt or overheated. Ignoring the other apprentice, he shouldered his bag, and stepped out of the tent that protected the teleportation circle.

Situated in a valley between two massive dunes, the camp was established at the entrance to what had once been a massive palace/temple complex. From what he remembered reading about the translated and recovered texts in the surrounding city ruins, the city had been founded by a group of rebel priests, opposed to the weakened pharaohs at the end of the old kingdom, and took advantage of the chaos when the kingdom fell to carve their own settlement. It had artificial canals, fed through magically gathered water, powerful magician-priest leaders as a form of theocratic magocracy, and could have been the start of a new dynasty. Then, something happened, and the city was abandoned.

Most of the city was still buried, as the main excavation efforts have been focused on the palace and surrounding 'upper class' domiciles. The mages Philip had apprenticed under were less interested in any archaeological gains, then they were in magical gains. An enchanted mythril khopesh had been found and quickly studied to learn its magic, rather than as an example of trade between the Underworld and the city.

Philip took a sip from his water bottle, filled before he had left home, as he found the tent assigned to the apprentices.

He stowed his stuff near the bed he had been using, noting that the other apprentices were not present. This was usually the case. He had been assigned to the laziest magician in the group, though this was due to his interest in self-study. As a result, the others were often fulfilling duties assigned to them, leaving Philip to his reading and practice. Another part of it was the fact that Philip didn't have the same sort of spell repertoire the others did. He still needed to practice magic detection spells, as they were not happy with his ki based one, even if it was far easier to do.

Elitism and arcanocentrism aside, Philip was benefitting from his time here. Several of the magicians had no issue being asked about the mathematical formula in spells, and several had set up some experiments that had proven entertaining to do.

Philip was quite happy that he had been able to master the elemental lance spell, and its variants. He had even been able to cast up to four elemental spears at once, at multiple targets, with decent speed. He had also found he was partial to the feybane version of the spell. While not as flashy as a spear of fire, being able to create a spear of magical cold iron on a whim that could harm fey had its uses.

Philip flipped open the current book he was studying. He had read through all of the spellbooks from Santa, but it helped to go over things again. This one however was not, rather it was one that had been bought from magicians who apparently operated a magical online bookstore. It was very convenient.

Philip had only just started to practice his magic detection spell, when he felt a sudden discharge of magic.

There was shouting outside the tent a moment later.

"We're through! The Palace gates are open!"

Philip held the spell for a few seconds as he decided whether or not to go look.

There was another burst of magic, followed by many more. It wasn't the earlier spellwork meant to disrupt or disassemble a barrier enchantment. It was violent, corrupt and twisted. And composed of light. The light of Fallen Angels.

Philip froze.

Outside he heard shouts, screams, the sounds of barriers being smashed, and combat spells being thrown. It lasted maybe twenty seconds.

Silence reigned.

Philip's heart raced as he struggled to comprehend what had happened.

After a heartbeat, he came to a decision, tearing through his bag. There, he found what he was searching for. A slip of paper, with arcane symbols on it… as well as some provocative imagery. He almost slipped it into his pocket, but paused, and instead slipped it into his shoe, extending his ki to hide it as best as he could, with his poor skill at ki illusions.

Gathering his wits, he stepped out of the tent.

Coming face to face with a spear of light held by a Fallen.

Philip tried not to gag at the sights he saw as he was forced towards where they had corralled the survivors. Dead magicians, mortals, and a few Fallen, most felled by their own, lay scattered about the camp. A coup was Philip's guess, purging those that were not loyal to the new leadership, with the magicians in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Philip stumbled as he was shoved into the group.

A Fallen with four wings, apparently the leader, stood in front of the now open gates to the Palace, facing the prisoners. Philip noted that there were few of the senior magicians left, mostly just apprentices and students left, plus a handful of non-mages that had been brought in.

The Fallen leader gazed over them, watching as they looked around, in shock. He saw Philip, looking at him, and gave a toothy grin, saying something quietly to another Fallen, who had wild look to him.

After a moment, he shouted out to his prisoners.

"If any of you want to survive, you will do as you are told!" He said. "You will go into this palace, and you will had over what you find! We will then let you leave!"

What went unsaid was the fact that they were surrounded by kilometres of desert, would be given no supplies, and that the Fallen apparently expected traps, or dangers, necessitating disposable pawns.

'Not a coup then, I guess.' Philip groused mentally.

The prisoners started to be forced into the palace.

"Not you, yet." One said, grabbing him, and pulling him to the side. "Heard you killed a Stray devil knight, so we have a… gift for you."

Philip frowned as the Fallen laughed, clenching his fists to keep them from shaking.
The Fallen in Egypt with the Magicians


Well-known member
Copied from SB:

So, since a lot of this is going to be well out of Philip's perspective, I'll state it here.

Philip is actually correct, that there is a coup. They removed those that were not interested in joining any faction, acting as mercenaries. These are all not first generation Fallen, but rather later generations, looking for a chance for power. Initially, they sought magic knowledge and money, earned through working as mercenaries, but then a large number of them were offered the opportunity, by the Khaos Brigade, to become their own faction.

The Grigori are not the only faction of Fallen Angels, but are the only one comparable to a nation, with the rest being much closer to gangs or other small close knit groups.

These mercenaries did have a decent reputation, but the coup members ultimately want power, in order to stand up as a player on the world stage, rather than as someone else's pawns. This will crater their reputation... if they survive. As for why they bothered here, well, a faction in the Khaos Brigade is paying them very well for... something inside the Palace.
Chapter 11


Well-known member
Aya huffed and shut off the TV. Serafall's smiling face vanishing in a flash to reflect Aya's own.

She was finding it harder to enjoy Miracle Levia-tan each year. Not because it was childish, and not because she had met Serafall, but because the stories and conflicts seemed far too close to home.

She got up off the couch and began to pace.

Philip was off in Egypt.

Her mother was working a court case.

And she was left home. Alone.

Aya huffed and wrapped her tails around herself. Finding a clear spot, she sat down and tried to meditate.

Most weekends were like this since Philip left. Usually, the two of them would watch TV, study magic, maybe do homework (okay, Philip would always have his homework done and she would pester him into helping her), or practice fighting in the woods, to practice magic and senjutsu.

Since he had left for Egypt, Aya found herself home alone, with no idea of what to do.

She gave up on meditating after a minute.

She was too… upset.

To nervous and unbalanced. Philip had always been around. He was her friend.

Her only friend.

It was too hard to make more friends, while keeping her nature a secret. It was too close to lying to them, and despite how Philip hadn't seemed bothered, or surprised, by the fact that she was a kitsune.

It wasn't surprising in hindsight, as he had already known the supernatural existed, and he had lived a life already. But while it soothed any fears that Philip was simply hiding his fear of her, it also made her feel… left behind by him.

He had his magic and was making immense progress with it. She wouldn't be surprised if he teleported home on Monday. He was learning senjutsu as fast as she was, and could keep up with her. His grades were better than hers, he seemed more mature, and she… felt eclipsed.

Her stomach coiled, distracting her from her thoughts, and she busied herself smoothing out her ki.

She took a deep breath, and tried to meditate again, but her mind betrayed her, constantly wandering back to Philip. Her ki roiled again.

"Fine!" She shouted to the empty house. "Philip is going to put himself in danger and is getting himself prepared for it."

She huffed, to keep herself from sobbing.

"And I can't do anything about it." She felt a tear go down her cheek. "I'm not some reincarnated person, with knowledge of the future, or some mystical prodigy. I'm just a… normal kitsune. Not even from one of the legendary lines."

She hugged her tails tighter, not caring that her fur was soaking her tears.

She stayed like that for longer than she would care to admit, if she ever admitted to moping on the floor. It was only when the phone rang that she leapt up.

"Hello?" She answered. Then her face brightened. "Ah! Grandma! Hello!"

"Hello granddaughter!" Her grandmother's voice rang clear through the phone with happy tones. "Is your mother home?"

"No, she's off at court."

"Ah, oh well. So, any chance you can come visit?" Her grandmother's grin was audible. "I hear that magician friend of yours is quite good. Has he learned how to teleport you here to Japan?"

Her grandmother always spoke with a slight accent, but when she said the word Japan, it seemed thicker than normal.

"No, and he's off at… some place, being an apprentice. Still hasn't learned how to teleport."

"Is something wrong granddaughter? You seem… sad when you spoke about him." Her grandmother's voice hardened. "Did you finally ask him out?"

Aya blushed.

"Grandma!" She hissed. "Its not like that and it's just…"

She took a deep breath.

"He's… growing faster than me. I don't know how to keep up."

Her grandmother laughed.

"Well, there is one area you are ahead of him. How often does he look at your chest?"

"Grandma!" Aya shrieked, and then groaned in frustration and embarrassment. "Your dirtier than he is. By far."

"Well, that's disappointing. I want great grandkids to spoil before I'm gone!" Her grandmother laughed again. "Has he ever hurt you?"

"No… and Grandma, you will…" Aya's voice caught. "… you will outlive him."

"And so will you. So, why are you interested in outdoing him? 'The candle that burns twice as bright, lasts half as long.' You have time that he does not. Enjoy that time granddaughter. Well, unless he joins the devils, in which case you two will live a long time together."

Aya fought against her blush.

"Like you and grandfather?"

"Yes. Say, how would you like an aunt?" Aya's grandmother laughed again. "Perhaps in a few years. Now, do remind your mother I want to see you in person at least once. Photos are so much better in the modern age, but still not as good as seeing someone you care for in the flesh. And bring that friend of yours!"

Aya sighed.

"I'll tell her you called grandmother." She paused. "Grandmother… can you email me… I mean… I…"

"Yes, granddaughter? How can I help?"

"I… I'm worried about Philip, and want some way to help him. NOT in a lewd way! I'm still fifteen. I mean… I'm worried that… if we run into another stray…" It almost physically hurt to lie to her grandmother.

"Hmm… I don't appreciate you lying to me… but I can tell you are at least telling most of the truth. You are worried about him being hurt, and being unable to do anything?"

"Yes…" Aya admitted. Her tails started to itch. "And I hate it. I… I can do illusions, and throw some foxfire around, but…"

"But you want… more. Not for the sake of power, but for the sake of another… alright. Your mother never wanted to learn much of those things, so we never taught her… but I can send you some exercises, and techniques. And some things for Philip as well." Her grandmother's voice took on a strange quality. "Hmm… strange… I just got an odd feeling. Not since that idiot fallen started poking around Tamamo-no-mae's prison… I will send them to you granddaughter, expect them by email sometime tomorrow. But I need to check on something."

"Okay. Thank you, grandmother, and goodbye."

"Goodbye, granddaughter, and best of luck winning Philip's heart!"

"Grandmother!" Aya whined, then pouted. "You hung up after saying that, just to tease me."
Chapter 12


Well-known member
Philip winced as he stumbled forwards, his head aching. The wind kept blowing hot sand in his face, and the statues kept shouting something.

He gasped awake as he felt something bite his wrist.

He blinked, finding himself on the floor. A sandstone floor covered in sand, and in the dark.

Slowly, he pushed himself up.

He remembered things more clearly now.

After being separated, the wild eyed Fallen shoved something on his head, muttering in an unfamiliar language, and then dragged him into the buried palace. He had stopped to inspect a series of hieroglyphs, then… everything became blurry.

Philip glanced around, wincing as he realised the headache had remained from… whatever that had been. He vaguely recalled sand and statues, but why would sand by green or purple?

Using a spear of light as a lightsource, the insane Fallen stepped around a corner.

"Hmm. Survive the illusions? Good, good, maybe it's taking better than last time…" He muttered. "Now… there is magic here, but its… and the hieroglyphics make no sense… like they are hiding from me, and mocking me…"

He seemed to be ignoring Philip's presence for the moment, though he could only understand one sentence in three.

Philip stood slowly, looking around.

The entrance was nowhere in sight, and the Fallen was the only source of light.

Philip's face twisted into a snarl.

The Fallen suddenly started.

"Come. No time to waste. She'll be here, can't be late." The Fallen glanced at Philip, then started to wander down another corridor. Unwilling to lose his only light for the moment, Philip followed. "She twisted me, well, I got her rock and twisted her, and I'll soon twist her again, then again and again."

Philip slowed his pace to open some distance between him and the raving Fallen.

'Bloody insane.' Philip bit back a groan. 'Of course, I'm trapped with an insane Fallen.'

His hand reached up to rub the spot on his face where the Fallen had shoved something onto him. Feeling only skin, Philip shrugged, deciding it had probably fallen off. Moments after coming to that decision, his headache increased. Philip nearly doubled over from the pain. As soon as it had appeared, it vanished, leaving Philip shaking in the growing darkness as the Fallen continued on, unaware.

Panting, Philip sucked in a deep breath, and tried to cycle his ki, to either reduce the pain, or find the problem. Instead, he found himself in greater pain.

He stumbled forwards after the Fallen, stilling his ki. He didn't understand it well enough to know what went wrong, but he suspected whatever the Fallen had attached to him was to blame.

He sagged with relief as the Fallen stopped.

'Make not a sound, lest he remember you are here.' A voice whispered in Philip's ear. 'Watch the glyphs, but do not be drawn in. Your moment to strike will come.'

Philip bit his tongue to keep from saying anything. His headache pounded, increasing in intensity again.

A flicker of movement caught his eye. Philip peered into the darkness, frowning, and trying to ignore his headache.

"Almost. Just move the beetle, yes, like that." The Fallen giggled and leaned towards the paintings on the wall.

Philip blinked. Had the Fallen always been wearing a pink shirt? He couldn't remember. His head felt foggy. In an attempt to clear it, he shook his head.

He froze when he felt magic surge. Something tugged at the corner of his eye, trying to drag his attention to the painting on the wall.

Philip bit his tongue.

'Just a little more…' The voice gave a feminine giggle. '… almost… he is already blind in so many ways, he won't see the trap…'

The Fallen suddenly relaxed, staring vacantly at the paintings. A heartbeat later, the tugging vanished.

'Quickly, before it fades, now is the time to strike.'

Philip pushed himself off the floor, not remembering when he had fallen to his knees. Keeping the body of the Fallen between him and the paintings, just in case, he stepped in close. Doing his best to clear his mind, he summon his magic, a spell in his mind.

He expected there to be pain, something to keep him from using his magic, like there had been for his ki, especially since he had been with a group of magicians. But there was nothing. The lance of flame flared to life in his hand at his command.

The Fallen's spear of light vanished when its conjuror died, and the corridor was plunged into darkness.

Philip took a shaky breath in the pitch black. His thoughts drifted to the paper he had hidden in his shoe. It was a way out, but Philip feared the cost he might have to pay.

"So…" He said to the voice, in an attempt to combat his growing panic as his situation fully settled in. "… who are you?"

'Ah, that is an interesting question. Who am I? Who is anyone? Can you place the sum of a person into words? Into a name perhaps, but… I know not which name you might know. I am… fragmented.' The voice mused. 'I honestly remember little from before I was placed into the first 'subject'. That Fallen considered himself a genius. He was anything but.'

"Sounds like you are in an artificial Sacred Gear." Philip mused. He then hissed as another flash of pain hit. Magic flooded the air twice more before it subsided. Philip sat on the floor in the dark, panting. "Okay. Move, gotta move. Light, need light."

He focused his magic again.

A moment later, a spear of foxfire appeared, illuminating the corridor in a blue light. Philip retched at the sight of his handywork on the Fallen.

"Okay… uh… I don't suppose you know which way we came in?"

'No. I can barely sense what you can.'

"Damn. Okay, let's stick to a wall, and go in one direction."

Philip chose a direction and moved. One step at a time, doing his best to ignore the pounding of his head. He paused and blinked.

"Oh… trippy. Well… shit. I'm hallucinating."

He was absolutely certain the corridor had been some shade of blue and yellow under the light of the foxfire. Instead, it kept shifting from green, to red, and then to pink. The lines of the corridor were not remaining straight either.

Philip swallowed.

"One step at a time. One step at a time." His breathing was coming shallow now.

He place a hand on the wall, and used it for both guidance and balance.

Focusing on his feet, and keeping them going evenly, he worked his way down the corridor, taking a left at every intersection where he could. He knew it didn't work on every maze, but he hoped it gave him better chances at least.

He quickly lost track of time.

Another lance of pain struck his head, and he lost his spell. The foxfire died, and Philip was plunged into darkness again. Over the pain, he heard music, just beyond his hearing, then it blended to voices. It transitioned to other sounds he couldn't name or describe.

Crawling his way back up from where he had curled into a ball from the pain, he leaned against the wall, and then resummoned the foxfire lance.

"Not fire, so no heat, and no consumption of oxygen. Won't set off gases. Safe, until it runs into non-me living tissue." He pulled trivia from his memory. "Roman school of magic adapts all other into a universal one. Not efficient, but by far the most flexible. Ki illusions can collapse fae illusions, even creating a sense of physical detail, even up to real damage, but fae illusions are better at tricking perceptions and the mind."

Philip blinked and stared at the dead end. He cursed and turned around. He blinked several times, seeing another wall. He placed his hand against it, feeling stone. He spun around, wincing at the pain the motion caused, and saw a passageway that had been a wall a moment ago.

He crushed the impulse to try and clear his head with a shake. If turning around caused pain, then shaking his head would as well.

He pressed on.

Only a few steps later, he cursed, recognising some of the hieroglyphs.

"This is where I killed the Fallen." He groaned. Then he froze. There was no body.

He blinked, and glanced at the spot, then at the paintings on the wall. The hieroglyphs around them had changed.

One moment, he was looking at the paintings, displaying strange circles, with a pounding headache, the next he found himself free of any pain.

He blinked and looked around.

He was standing on a large balcony. His clothes were gone, replaced with a tunic and skirt of cotton, in ancient Egyptian style.

The balcony itself looked like it had been pulled from the pages of a movie, or reconstruction of an Egyptian Palace. Columns decorated with gems and metal depicted scenes of life and history. Hieroglyphics explained parts, or names actors. Cloth curtains waved in the light breeze, coming from outside.

He heard the bustle of life, of people talking. Philip knew the words, but at the same time, knew that the language did not match English.

"I hope, for all our sakes, that you are seeing this because a weapon was found, and you simply made a mistake, after the beast was destroyed." Philip spun to face the speaker. An elderly man, his skin dark, dressed in Egyptian clothes, wearing in elaborate headdress, walked to stand next to him. "But I know we aren't that lucky. We didn't expect many to survive, let alone escape. But we could spare the world."

The old man, stroke the decorative metal beard he wore. A moment later he gestured to the open balcony.

"Let this message be heard, and seen, and experienced." He said, his voice strained, tired, and extremely sad. "Know what this Palace became, know, and understand, and know how to resecure this prison."

He led Philip to look out over the balcony. It looked over an ancient city, bustling with life, even as the sun set. As the last of the light faded, Philip saw something in the sky.

A massive black dragon swept over the city, snarling and biting something. There were no words to describe the dragon's size, for it seemed to eclipse the world, swallowing the sky yet still being able to fit into the atmosphere. Its foe likewise could not be described. Where the dragon at least was clearly a creature, its foe was not. It was more an absence, an absence of anything.

But Philip saw features. Heads, and scales, and claws and fur, despite the entity's absence from the world.

He knew what those were.

It answered several questions he had had regarding the world of DxD, and its history.

Why had Ophis left the Dimensional Void?

What had Trihexa been doing before it was sealed by God?

Why did Ophis spend enough time on Earth that the massive Dragon Great Red could claim her place in that void?

The answer was now clear.

Ophis had fought Trihexa, probably until God had sealed it before his death. She had probably been wounded, as many others had been.

Ophis, dragon god of the infinite had fought Trihexa, the beast of the seal so powerful God could only trap it, and had spent who knows how long on Earth doing so.

Philip saw a piece of Trihexa fall, as the two combatants passed over the city.

The flesh was an absence… yet without that piece, Philip realized that Trihexa was no longer an absence. Its form was now more clearly definable.

Moments after the flesh struck the city, there was a flash of light that struck Trihexa, and tens of thousands of angels, with pure white wings, passed overhead, in pursuit of the two combatants.

Philip was given to change to process this, as the flesh grew and moved.

He could hear screams from the city.

The flesh was Trihexa's otherness, something else. But it was a fragment, and it was moving under its power.

He heard people shout behind him.

"What… what is that!?"

"I… I can't scry it!"

Dozens of voices raised in panic. Philip watched as the city slowly was consumed, unable to turn away.

"Enough! We have been panicking for hours now! We cannot hurt it… but we can seal it. We lure it to the temple, here, and trap it. It will cost us our lives, but we have a duty to the people!"

Philip blinked and found himself elsewhere. A chamber, its doors being sealed.

On the floor, magicians poured power into a massive spell, inscribed into the floor.

Philip recognised some symbols, enough to recognise the spell's purpose. It would trap the fragment of Trihexa, but it would use the life of the casters to do it. There was also parts related to space, and pocket realms, even a bit on illusions. The spell wrapped up the walls, merging with the hieroglyphics on the walls.

There was a thump, as the old man from before placed a heavy looking tome on a plinth. He met Philips gaze, and tapped he book with a sad look. Then he opened it to a page and began to speak.

Philip didn't hear the words, as a roar drowned them out. Moments later the spell flared to life, and a second roar sounded. This one almost sounded… scared. The Egyptian magicians plunged daggers into their hearts, blood pooling into the written spell on the floor.

Philip gasped as he found himself on the ground in darkness.

The presence of his headache informed him he was no longer dreaming, or whatever that warning was.

He pushed himself up, even as the room spun, and the headache sent claws of agony into his brain and down his spin.

A roar sounded through the corridors.

"Oh… shit." Philip swore in the darkness as the fragment of Trihexa woke.
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Chapter 13


Well-known member
Philip leaned against the wall, using it for support. A moment later, he stumbled away from it.

A spear of foxfire was conjured to provide light.

"I… could have sworn I felt something moving on the wall." He looked at his hand. He blinked when he saw it covered in jam of some sort. Yet, he felt only dusty, dry, skin. "Oh… okay, hallucinations are now also tactile, in addition to visual. Probably going to start… no, already was hearing voices… I think."

Philip held back a sob as he pushed himself to his feet, stumbling forwards as best he could away from the direction he heard the roar.

'That is rather rude.' The voice quipped. 'I am quite real. I know that much.'

"Meant… other things I heard… I can hear rushing water… or that might be my own blood bumping as my heart races." Philip said, wincing as he felt unfamiliar sensations on his tongue. "Now I hear a trombone."

He giggled, with gave way to sobs.

He shuddered as he felt a wave of pain strike and leaned against a wall. A heartbeat later, he realised he was on the ground, the wall having been an illusion, or hallucination.

He lay there, panting in panic and pain, as the world that he could see ran away, swirling in indistinct and vibrant colours that made his eyes hurt.

'I do not believe staying in one place is going to help.'

"Can't see. Can't feel the wall. Can't hear. Only thing working is my perception of your voice and… my magic." Philip wasn't sure if he was even speaking, let alone enunciating properly. But he had an idea.

He breathed in, then out. Trying to ignore the pain.

Then he summoned his wits and power and focused on the magic detection spell, letting the foxfire spear flicker out.

He could feel the pocket dimension the interior of the Palace had been turned into. He could feel the magic that spread through it. He could feel the spellwork of the illusions, meant as a warning, broken and fragmented in many places by time.

He could also feel the spells being thrown against the fragment of Trihexa. Both were far too close, and the people casting were decreasing with each moment.

The heart of prison pulsed, the magic still working, despite the warning and message being broken, it still served its purpose. The power flickered through damaged hieroglyphs and paintings.

Philip shut his eyes, relying solely on his magic to guide him.

The hieroglyphs acted like guiding lights to his temporary arcane senses. He could see the immense, twisting labyrinth of the prison. He saw the entrance… but also the heart, nearby.

Philip headed towards the heart.

He stumbled, unsure of where his legs where, but he moved. The fragment was far from the entrance, and the prison shifted to keep it away, but it was not perfect. The fragment was getting closer.

'You found a solution to your problem? I'd rather not be trapped here with… whatever that thing is.'

Philip ignored the voice. He didn't have the concentration to spare.

He stumbled into a wall. To his hands, it felt like skin, and fur, and liquid and solid. He discarded what his senses were telling him.

It wasn't covered in hieroglyphs, rather, it seemed the power moved through it as if it wasn't there.

Philip grit his teeth, took several steps back, and hurtled an elemental lance at it.

It was a stupid gamble, but Philip had no patience. He was running on hope, fear and desperation.

The lance of magical kinetic energy tore the wall apart.

Or at least Philip hoped that was what happened. He stumbled over something.

The heart of the spell was… the chamber from his vision.

He could see the spell on the ground, still glowing, even through his detection spell, long dried blood mixed with the metal that framed it.

He stumbled towards where he felt something else radiate power.

It was most likely the bound tome from the vision.

Philip froze. He hadn't felt any spells be cast against the fragment in some time.

The tome was stuffed into his bag of holding, which he had not let leave his side since he had gotten it. A handful of items that glowed with magic, that were close by, were tossed in as well.

Philip started to move in the direction he had come. Something tripped him, and he went sprawling in the ground. Hissing, he forced himself up, only to collapse on rubble.

He felt dizzy, in addition to the headache and hallucinations. His breath was short.

'Now is not the best time for a nap. I don't suppose you can teleport out now?'

Philip barely realized the voice was talking to him.

After a moment, Philip forced himself to abandon his spells. He wasn't going to be able to crawl out. Even if there wasn't a fragment of the Beast of the Seal coming to kill him.

He felt strangely calm and relaxed as he reached for his last option.

His shoe came off easily. He prayed he wasn't hallucinating that as well.

He felt a brief moment of panic when he couldn't find the paper on his shoe, but once again relaxed when he found it stuck to his foot.

He knew it was real when the paper started reacting to the magic he poured into it.

Desire was the only focus. No mathematical spell. It was not necessary.

"I…want… help." Philip found his breath coming short.

The paper burned away, and there was a rush of demonic magic filling the room.

Serafall groaned to herself. It was one of the days where she couldn't see her sister, couldn't visit anyone, not even the other Satans. No, today was the sort of day she dreaded. The day that she was required to fill stack after stack of paperwork.

She nearly leapt out of her seat in joy when she felt the call of a contract.

"Behemoth! Hold my calls! Something came up!" She grinned. The number of flyers she had given out recently could be counted on two hands. As a result, she knew it wasn't likely that it would be anything serious, and if it was something she wouldn't want to deal with, it would have been directed to another. She teleported away before her queen could comment or protest.

"Miracle Levi-tan is here to…" She started to say in a cheery voice as the magic faded. The sight before her made her freeze.

It was dark was the first thing she noticed. It wasn't a problem for her, but whoever contacted her probably would have issues. The next thing she noticed was the smell. Foul air, probably due to the building they were in having been sealed for a long time. Wind magic cleared that up. The third thing she noticed were the bodies.

They were dressed in the robes of ancient Egyptian magicians and priests, and their bodies were clearly very old, yet extremely well preserved. They had also died of self-inflicted wounds, to power a ritual.

Serafall glanced down at the person that had contracted her.

She recognised him, despite the years. He had grown from the young eight year old that killed a stray devil.

He was also clearly unwell. He was shaking, pale, his face streaked with dirt and tears.

She gently kneeled in front of him.

"Hey, Philip, right?" She tried smiling at him, conjuring an orb of light to let him see. "You alright? What happened?"

Contrary to what some might believe, Serafall was not an idiot. Her persona of an energetically cheerful ditz was false. She was a cheerful and energetic, but she was not stupid. A little lazy perhaps, but certainly no fool.

She recognised the signs of exhaustion, panic, and fear on Philip's face. She also recognised the way his hands and pants had been torn. He had been stumbling in the dark, in a panic. It was possible that it was simply the dark that made him panic, but something in Serafall's gut was telling her to get out of there. She had long learned to trust her gut, but she was not going to abandon someone either.

Philip's reply came broken and slurred.

"Fallen… headache…" He blinked rapidly and his eyes struggled to focus. "Can't… hallucinations. Don't… want to be a devil…"

"We can talk about payment after you are well." She grinned and held up her hand. "Mahou shojou's honour."

She frowned when Philip didn't react.

"Can… only here… by magic." He shook he head and tried to stand. "Payment… location of tomb… prison… fragment of Trihexa."

Serafall started to step forwards to keep Philip from falling. Then she heard the word Trihexa.

Her wings snapped out and she grabbed Philip.

Her earlier smile was gone. In its place was a look of fear.

She felt the prison shift as she flew with Philip in her arms. It was guiding them out, shortening their path. Serafall had no need to navigate.

It was still a distance to cover, and now that she was looking for it, she felt something deeper in the prison shift and move, fighting its way to the entrance.

She saw the light of the entrance ahead, and could hear the wind howl outside.

Her heart racing, she poured on as much speed as she dared with a passenger. Moments later, they were out.

And into a raging sandstorm.

She ignored it for the moment, instead, she focused on the entrance of the prison, and the entrance that was not sealing itself.

She sealed it with a mountain of ice, then wheeled around, placing herself between something approaching through the sandstorm and Philip, who lay curled on the sand, digging around in a pouch for something.

A Fallen stumbled forwards into view, its four wings held limp.

She opened her mouth to taunt or question them when they collapsed. A spear, one of material make, buried between their wings.

"Serafall!? What are you doing here!?" A voice cried out from the roaring sands. "Hold on. Sister! Enough with the sandstorm!"

The, apparently artificial, sandstorm vanished.

Standing before Serafall was a short, dark skinned girl, dressed in elaborate ancient Egyptian armour. She wore no weapons, as the claws that grew from her fingers made them redundant. A pair of cat ears, and a tail completed the image.

"Bastet!" Serafall greeted the cat eared goddess, ignoring the slaughtered Fallen and animated animal headed statues around them. "Summoned by a magician. He was attacked by Fallen… and there is a fragment of Trihexa in there so…"

"Right!" The Egyptian goddess of war, one of many, bounced. "Hey! Sister, Maahes! Get over here!"

"Yes, mother?" Maahes appeared older than his mother, and where she was a cat girl, he chose instead to have the head of a lion. Sekhmet shared the appearance with him, with the head of a lioness. "What is it?"

"Serafall is here, and we need to seal the prison. Turns out, the city was destroyed by Trihexa."

Sekhmet paused and sniffed the air.

"We had best move fast then." Her leonine features twisted into a frown. "At least we know why these fools vanished. Lady Leviathan, do you know how to reseal the spell?"

Serafall rubbed her head.

"Nope. Sorry." She glanced at Philip. "Hey Philip do you… uh… anyone a healer?"

Maahes jogged over the insensate teenager.

"No, but… I do recognise some of the symptoms. His sacred gear appears to be… twisted."

"Wait, what?" Serafall paused. "He didn't have a sacred gear when I first met him."

Sekhmet cracked her neck.

"I'll drag Azazel here from wherever the crow is hiding." She gave a savage, gleeful grin as she vanished.

"Sister, wait! You idiot! Trihexa!" Bastet called out to her sister. "Bloodthirsty idiot!"

"Mother! I am no scholar, but… Philip appears to have a spellbook." Maahes frowned. "An ancient one. Can you read any of this?"

He pulled the book from the insensate mage's hand.

"No. Serafall?"

"Nope. Looks like it's written in code."

Bastet huffed.

"Of course, Thoth chose today to be out of contact."

Something struck the ice wall Serafall had conjured.

It slid backwards a meter.

Maahes wasted to breath or time, throwing himself against it, trying to push it back.

Philip started awake. He hissed in pain, then froze when the fragment threw itself against the ice barrier again.

He heard the impact, and the cracking of ice. He heard a dozen more sounds, several which he was fairly certain were fake, but he wasn't sure about the rest. His hands felt sand and water, and he gave a cry of alarm when he realised he couldn't see the book near him.

A voice spoke, distant and unclear. It took Philip a moment to realise he had gotten rid of the magic detection spell. He called it to mind again, and was nearly blinded when he saw Bastet's power near him.

He didn't know who it was, or understand what they were saying, but he did see the book in their hand. He weakly reached for it.

He could see the fragment, blocked by a barrier of demonic power, straining and eating it away.

He felt the book, clearly, as it was placed in his hands.

He didn't know why, or how, he was able to feel it despite the hallucinations, but he knew that he did. The cover swung open at his touch, and he felt drawn to a page.

A spell was inscribed on it. A very familiar spell. The same spell the priests used.

Philip saw the hieroglyphs and unfamiliar symbols in the spell formula, yet he understood them. Some part of his mind, touched by the long dead magician's illusory vision, had been imparted with the code and language. Feverishly, he touched the papyrus page, tracing the spell.

Slowly, he fed a trickle of power into it, then more and more. He was well beyond rational thought, between pain and the hallucinations, acting mostly on instinct.

The spell flared to life, both in his mind, and in the heart of the prison. The damaged wall knit itself back together, and the dried blood flared to life. The blood of the Fallen and magicians that had been slaughtered by the fragment of Trihexa trickled and was drawn towards the heart, glowing with power.

In but a moment, the doors snapped shut, and Maahes leapt back as the ice was shattered.

Serafall sagged in relief, no longer pouring power into the ice.

Philip felt empty and tired. His world darkened before he hit the sandy ground.
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Chapter 14


Well-known member
Serafall glared at Azazel.

"Don't give me that look." He shook his hand dismissively at her, as he drank something from a silver flask. "It wasn't one of mine. Can barely tell it was supposed to be a Sacred Gear, the workmanship is so shoddy."

"And the Fallen that made it?"

"Not sure. I don't recognise any of the ones Bastet and her people killed, most of them look to be later generations." The Governor-General of the Grigori shrugged. "The magic doesn't seem to be based on any of my work, but it's so bad I'm surprised the kid lasted as long as he did."

The Fallen Angel paused.

"Anyway, he'll live. Sacred Gear was fixed. Seemed like it was designed to cause pain, and whatever was trapped in it to leak out, those weren't easy to fix, but aside from that, and some minor boosts to the kid, it doesn't do anything." He shook his head. "If the idiot that made it was still alive, I'd kill him myself. It's an insult to my craft. He should wake in an hour or so. So, if that's all, can you tell Sekhmet to stop glaring at me and let me leave? I was in the middle of something when she grabbed me, and my people are probably in a panic."

Serafall contemplated the terms, such as they were, of the contract, as Azazel grumbled about needing to redo all his security plans and enchantment. She had agreed to help him, in exchange for his information about the fragment, and its location. 'Help' was rather vague, but that left her a rather large amount of leeway.

"When you said, 'minor boosts' what do you mean?"

"Just that. Minor boosts, same with any Sacred Gear. A little bit faster, stronger, etc. Probably won't notice anything, it's a rather weak gear, partly because it was designed as a containment measure. There are thousands of those around. They don't do anything." Azazel frowned. "I think it interfered with his ki as well, probably more so because of whatever was trapped in it, but I can't tell. It's integrated with the Sacred Gear system now as well, so it shouldn't cause problems in the future."

"Could it grow or change?" Serafall knew she didn't need to ask that question, but just the existence of a fragment of Trihexa was a very big deal. It wouldn't do to have an unbalanced contract, even if it was in her favour. She was not going to take advantage of a child, and it would make her So-tan upset.

Azazel snorted.

"Probably not. If whatever is in there is aware enough that it can integrate things into the Sacred Gear, then maybe, but that isn't exactly common among Sacred Gears, let alone their holders." He paused. "Actually, that might make for an interesting experiment. Give him my number, once he wakes up, and if he is interested in participating in an experiment, he can call me."

She would certainly not be doing that. Letting Azazel fix the Sacred Gear was one thing, but being used as a test subject was another, and would not be helping Philip in any way.

"That's all. Thanks, Az-kun!"

Azazel rolled his eyes at the shortening of his name.

"Just don't get me mixed up by Azrael." He turned and waved over his shoulder. "Then I'm off. Need to get some ice to put on this."

He was referring to the black eye Sekhmet had given him when she barged into his base in the Underworld. Serafall was tempted to pelt him with a snowball.

Serafall watched him leave the tent that had been commandeered for the operation, Sekhmet glaring at him as she stepped aside to let him exit. She was not going to ask about their history, or why Sekhmet had jumped at the opportunity to hit him.

A moment later, Azazel vanished in a teleportation spell.

"You going to stay until he wakes up?" Sekhmet asked Serafall, even though she knew the answer. She snorted. "Devils. I'm off then. I want a drink. I can't believe I missed a chance to fight a fragment of Trihexa."

Serafall shook her head. Sekhmet had cooled down from what she had heard about her, but she was still a battle maniac and had a taste for alcohol.

Bastet sidestepped her sister as they passed through the tent entrance.

"So! Just us then?" The Egyptian catgirl goddess bounced in.

"You're staying?" Serafall gave Bastet a confused look. "Drew the short straw, and have to be the one to fortify this place?"

"Yes." The goddess slumped. Then she perked up again. "But! I am also curious about what Philip saw in there, and I think he has a relic or two from inside. Oh, and the book, we need to decide what to do with it."

Something thumped deeper inside the tent. In an instant, both Serafall and Bastet tensed.

It was one of the largest ones, used to store supplies. A space near the front had been cleared, and a pair of large crates converted to a temporary bed, upon which Philip rested.

Serafall manifested her wand, and Bastet her claws.

Without needing to verbally communicate, the two shared a look and began to move deeper in, moving in a circle around Philip.

A moment later, a Fallen and human sprang up from amidst the boxes, their hands in the air.

"I'm with Philip!" The human magician shouted. "I was his ride here and home!"

"I… was with him?" The Fallen said weakly, gesturing to the human at her side.

For a moment no one said anything.

"I'll keep an eye on them until Philip wakes up," Bastet said when the moment passed. "then, he can tell us if you are lying."

The Fallen remained tense, but Bastet noted that her statement caused the magician to relax.

A.N. Now with Grammarly, so reading will be less stress inducing. No guarantees.
Chapter 15


Well-known member
Consciousness came to Philip slowly.

He was more familiar with arcane exhaustion than he would care to admit, so he was quick to recognise the symptoms, despite his grogginess. His head was still pounding, and he felt a spark of fear when he realised he had fainted.

He forced his eyes open and winced at the light filtering through the tent roof.

He recognised the tent as being one used by the magicians he was with, something that confused him. He remembers the slaughter by the Fallen, being forced into the Palace with something that locked down his ki and caused him pain.

He sat up abruptly as he remembered the fragment of Trihexa, the vision, and the hallucinations. He regrated the sudden motion as his headache punished him.

He vaguely recalled using the summing flyer he had stuffed in his shoe.

He blinked and wiggled his toes. Said shoe was missing.

"Okay, too lucid to be one of the hallucinations." He croaked to himself. "Guess Serafall was able to help… if that was actually her I summoned."

"Yup! It was me!" Philip's heart leapt into his throat in surprise as Serafall leapt onto the crates he was sitting on. She sat on the edge by his feet, grinning. Her grin diminished when she saw the look of pain on his face. "How are you feeling?"

Dread pooled in his stomach.

"Still in a bit of pain, but I think that is from mana exhaustion." He answered, trying and failing to keep his tone even and hide his fear.

Serafall reached out and rubbed his shoulder.

"Well, that should clear up soon. Azazel was dragged here by Sekhmet to fix the Sacred Gear you have, and it shouldn't be hurting you anymore." She frowned. "How did you get it, if you don't mind me asking?"

"Crazy-looking Fallen hit me with something. Didn't get a good look at it, then I felt headaches. I think that was the Sacred Gear." Philip swallowed. "Am… what price did I offer?"

"You were kinda unclear, but I think it was the information that there was a fragment of Trihexa, and where it was." Serafall gave Philip a friendly smile in an attempt to calm his fears. "In exchange for help. So, no need to worry about payment."

Philip sighed in relief.

"Hey, uh, Phil, not to be rude, but can you tell the uh, Catgirl we're with you?"

Philip blinked in surprise at the familiar voice. Following it with his gaze, he saw the apprentice that had been teleporting him… and a female Fallen that he had seen him with.

"Seriously? You survived that whole mess… because you were too busy, what, making out?" Philip asked incredulously. "Seriously?"

"So, you know him?"

Philip blinked in confusion at the new voice.

"Sorry, you are… part of the Egyptian Pantheon." Philip blinked at the catgirl, who was radiating power to such a degree, he didn't need any spells to detect it. "Since Serafall mentioned Sekhmet…"

A squeak escaped him as Serafall put an arm around his shoulder, and gestured to the goddess, now dressed in an ancient Egyptian dress, sitting on another crate watching the apprentice and Fallen.

"Philip, allow me to introduce Bastet." She grinned.

Bastet glanced at Philip.

"Bastet, goddess of war, fertility, homes, women's secrets, cats, and protector of the Kingdom of Lower Egypt." She winked. "Also, trying to find a way to stay relevant in the modern age, hence my current appearance."

Philip blinked, trying to process the fact that he was meeting an Egyptian God.

"Ooh!" Serafall suddenly leapt up, standing on the crate. "I had an idea! How good are you at singing?"

"I'm not bad, why?" Bastet cocked her head to one side.

"Idols! They are big in Japan, and you look cure enough to be one! You could go worldwide!"

Philip blinked.

"They've been like this since they found us." The apprentice sighed to him. "If they start singing JPOP, I'm going to just ask them to get it over with and stop the torture."

"I like JPOP." The Fallen shrugged.

Serafall nodded.

"It's awesome! Right Bastet?"

"Mhm." The catgirl nodded. "I like rock and roll more, but it's still good."

"I like metal." Philip admitted. Then flinched as everyone looked at him.

"So do I, but you look nothing like a metalhead." The Apprentice said, running his hand through his dreadlocks.

"Eh?" Serafall blinked, then pointed a finger at the apprentice. "Don't judge a book by its cover, as they say… but metal? Really? It's not bad, but it seems… aggressive."

"Specifically, power metal. New band called Sabaton does history stuff, and then there is Blind Guardian who does a lot of symphonic metal and fantasy songs." Philip swallowed. The shrugged. "To each their own?"

Serafall blinked, then nodded.

"Right! Everyone is allowed to like what they want!" She muttered something under her breath about old fools. "Anyway! Philip, you know these two?"

"Uh, yeah. He… has been sleeping with her. And he's been the one to teleport me here and home." Philip shrugged. "I trust him, enough, and her… well, I don't know her..."

The Fallen flinched.

"…but I do know I saw a bunch of Fallen that looked like they had been killed by their own, so I am willing to extend the benefit of the doubt." Philip frowned. "But seriously you two? You avoided the slaughter because you were making out in a supply tent?"

"It was more than just making out." The Fallen mumbled. "And I didn't want to be disturbed… and I'm good at hiding spells."

"I can confirm that… and I really wish I couldn't." Bastet wrinkled her nose in disgust. The apprentice flushed.

Philip shook his head.

"So… I barely remember what happened after I killed the Fallen that stuck me with the Sacred Gear… which I know nothing about, by the way so… Serafall, could you fill me in on what happened?" Philip asked. "I was pretty out of it till I woke up, due to the hallucinations."

"Sure. Well, when was summoned, I found you near a chamber with a destroyed wall and a bunch of old bodies…"
Chapter 16


Well-known member
"Okay… that should be it. Plus, the book." Philip set the last item he had taken from the prison on the table. "So… recognise any of it?"

Bastet hummed as she inspected the instruments on the table.

Philip was hoping she would at least let him keep one of the staffs and a dagger.

The cat-eared goddess picked up a curved rod. A crook, albeit a ceremonial one, Philip noted. He blinked as Bastet poured energy into it, and a well-hidden enchantment flared to life.

"I wondered where this got to!" She cried with joy. "One of the first priests to worship me made it!"

Philip paled.

"That sounds like something extremely important then." He winced. "Ah, please tell me the sword isn't Horus' or something like that."

"Oh? No. None of the others are as important. I think the sword was given to a warrior my sister favoured, and this rod belonged to a magician Ra used as one of his agents…" Bastet mumbled a bit as she looked over the items. "There's something here you are wanting to keep, isn't there?"

Philip flinched at her look and shifted in embarrassment.

"A staff and dagger." He admitted, looking away.

He looked back in surprise at Bastet when she giggled.

"This staff isn't going to be much use, since it was made for sealing tombs with curses." She felt the head of one of the two staffs. "The other… has no power. It's symbolic, a Was-sceptre, used to represent authority. More or less."

She picked up the decorated dagger.

"This is not much use now days, in its intended role, but aside from being kept sharp and maintained, I suppose it can still serve." She handed it to Philip. He blinked and stared at it. It was a simple thing, bound in leather, with a piece of gold on either side of the sheath. "I'll find some good materials for you, that can be made into a proper staff."

"Oh, uh, thank you!" Philip fumbled as he took the dagger.

"Something wrong?" Serafall asked from where she was thumbing through the book. "You had a weird look on your face."

"It's just… I can read the inscription on the side of the sheath." Philip answered, mentally ruffled. "The enchantments are tied to the inscription, yes?"

"Yup!" Bastet grinned, nodding. "Simple, but easy to produce, not like modern enchantments, where you need a dozen spells to tangle it all together inside the object."

"So… why can I read it?"

"Aha!" Serafall cried. "This part of the illusion, inside the prison! They realised they couldn't get the meaning to translate to other languages easily, not with what time they had, so they made the spell impart their language to whoever used it. It's temporary, but I bet if you kept with it, you could keep the skill!"

Serafall grinned. Then she paused and pouted.

"Phou. Wish I knew about that trick before I spent a decade learning to read ancient Egyptian."

"Why do you know ancient Egyptian?" The female fallen asked as she and the apprentice continued to dig through the supplies, making sure they hadn't ruined any with their… activities. "Don't you have language?"

"Like yours, it doesn't work with written language, and do have any idea how many old curses are written in Egyptian?" Serafall glared at the Fallen, who flinched.

"So, uh… what about the book?" Philip asked.

"Well, it looks to be all about the prison, so…" Serafall started.

"Property of the Egyptian Pantheon." Bastet interrupted. "I'm not letting Ajuka poke at the prison for a fragment of Trihexa!"

Everyone blinked.

"Sorry. Bad experience with him… and Trihexa is terrifying."

Serafall nodded.

"I agree!"

Bastet stared at the devil girl.

"You do?"

"I have to work with him daily." The Leviathan said, sympathetically.

Bastet blinked.

"You were already my favourite devil, but now you are my favourite by a looooong distance." She took the book from Serafall as the devil handed it to her. "So… you can keep the rest of the supplies and stuff. The Ushabti are about done burying the bodies, and I'll be sticking around until we have proper security here, but… I think we are done… and I have an idea about how to be relevant!"

"Really? What?" The apprentice asked.

"You'll see… or, rather, hear." Bastet gave a cat-like grin.

"So, the supplies… I'll take the books, and you can have the rest?" Philip said.

The apprentice shot him a look.

"We are the only two surviving members of the group." Philip started. "We can talk later about the castle, but the books… eh, yeah, sure. Not sure what I'd do with all these supplies, but I can teleport them to the castle. With some help."

He gave the Fallen a look that made her grin.

"I don't want to know." Philip shook his head.

Within minutes, the Fallen and apprentice disappeared, the supply tent with them, leaving a handful of stacked books.

As Philip stored them in his bag of holding, he paused.

"Crap. I never learned his name… and he was my ride home." He sighed.

Serafall snickered.

"By the way, Serafall I wanted to ask…" Philip paused. While learning Sona's age would let him narrow down the timeline nicely… Serafall was rather protective of her younger sister. Philip chose life and fumbled for a different question. "Does the underworld have an equivalent to those exorcist lightsabers?"

"No, but I bet I could convince Ajuka to make some… it would probably be expensive though." Serafall cocked her head.

"What's a lightsaber?"

Philip and Serafall blinked in surprise.

"From Star Wars?" Philip said, his voice incredulous.

"You've never seen Star Wars." Serafall said, shocked, upon seeing the catgirl's baffled look. "Has Ptah kept you under a rock for the last fifty years?"

"No… is it important?"

"Yes! It's the biggest American space opera in the last hundred years! Its like… like… Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, in terms of importance!" Serafall cried. "It inspired massive cosplay groups, so large they got canonized in the story! It was a worldwide phenomenon!"

She whirled around.

"Quick! We must educate her…" She trailed off. "Please tell me you at least saw Star Trek or my show?"

Bastet gave an embarrassed smile.

"I thought video entertainment would be a passing fad?"

"Noooooooo!" Philip facepalmed at the Leviathan's antics. "Next time you visit me, or I visit you, we are going to watch at least one of those three… and there are a couple of other movies and shows to watch… hmm… you might like Yu-Gi-Oh…"

Sona Sitri woke in a cold sweat.

It was three in the morning in Kuoh, Japan, but she knew her sister was doing something that would make Sona embarrassed.

"Serafall, what did you do?" She whined.

The teleportation spell faded.

Philip blinked, his bag over his shoulder.

"Do I want to know why you knew where I lived?" He asked Serafall, who had offered to teleport him.

"I used you to guide the spell." She grinned. "Law of sympathy. I wanted the spell to take us home, and had you define home."

Philip grumbled tiredly in the early B.C. morning air about cheating devils. There were quite a few hours between Egypt and Canada's west coast.

"Okay, so, the help rendered, in exchange for your information about the fragment of Trihexa. That should be the contract complete!" Serafall beamed at Philip.

"Yeah, yeah it is." He sighed and shook his head. Then paused. "Uh, one thing before you go. Potentially another contract."

Serafall looked at him as he took a breath of the crisp air.

"So, as you know, I live with a pair of youkai. Well, I heard a story about a youkai turned stray devil. Two stories in fact, that contradict each other." Serafall frowned and nodded. "The official story has… a key point in it that I know is bull."

Serafall blinked.

"You want to know if the other story is true?"

"Yeah. So, the official story is that this youkai went made due to their senjutsu conflicting with their devil power, except that shouldn't happen, period, because they are separate powers, and I use both ki and magic. They then killed their king and fled the underworld." He took a breath. "The story I heard was that the King was from a family that had been involved in 'super devil' research and that the youkai's parents had been some of the researchers. When they died, the youkai joined a peerage to support her sister. The research went on, and when the youkai thought that her sister would be used as a test subject, killed her king to protect her sister, and fled to take the heat."

Serafall gave Philip a sad look.

"I know it's fake. I don't know if the other story is fake but… the House of Naberius pushed the story that it was madness, because ki and devil power didn't mix. That's a lie, but… they were well-known to be researchers and experts on devils and other powers, so… a lot of people believed them. We punished those that killed peerage members that used ki since there was no proof, but…"

Serafall sighed.

Philip shivered as it started to snow.

"I hate parts of the way the underworld government works. The houses have too much interference in the courts, and the laws. We can't push back too hard, because a second civil war could doom us. The last one… some places still haven't recovered." Serafall led Philip to the steps and sat down. "I used to have another sister, older than Sona. She… didn't survive the war."

"That's why there are rumours you are so protective of… Sona, was it?"

"Yup. I… I don't want to lose another sister." Serafall sniffled. "We can't easily investigate, not without evidence that they were doing the research, which was banned. But…"

Serafall blinked and looked at Philip.

"I don't want another civil war. But!" She leapt up and struck a pose. "I, as Miracle Levi-tan! Promise I will not let this injustice stand!"

Philip shook his head.

"Just… I just need to know which version is true."

He knew there were limitations to the underworld's bureaucracy, after all, they had failed to investigate from what he remembered. But at the same time, he didn't want Serafall to start another war. Or have her angry at him. He was pretty sure the latter would be worse.

He shivered again as the snow picked up.

"No! I will see it through to the end. I think I remember something about Sirzech's sister having a rook nekoshou that was saved…" Serafall frowned and grumbled. "Some idiot tried to have her executed, just because she used ki, but she wasn't even a devil at the time."

"Could that be traced back to Naberius?"

Serafall blinked and then looked at Philip. She gave him a predatory grin.

"I bet it could!" Philip squawked as she picked him up into a hug. "I almost missed that! I was thinking of asking her about it, but she was young at the time, and it was probably traumatic. Oh, but then I don't have an excuse to visit my So-tan…"

"Could you please let me go now… it's getting rather cold."

"Eh?" Serafall blinked at him, still trapped in her arms. "Oh, alright. Hey! I know! I could introduce you to Sona!"

Philip's brain crashed.

"What sister wouldn't introduce her to a magician needing a devil to contract!"

His brain rebooted. Of course, Serafall wouldn't…

"Have you ever played chess?"

Philip_mage.exe has encountered an unexpected error and ceased to function. Please try again later.

Serafall laughed at Philip's expression as she let go of him.

"Oh, you've heard about her challenge? My So-tan is very picky."

Behind them, the door creaked open.

"Philip!" A kitsune-shaped missile struck him.

'A, finally, a situation I can handle.' Philip thought as his brain rebooted.

"Wait. Serafall?" Aya looked between the two of them for a moment. "Philip, why is she here? What happened!?"

'I stand corrected.'

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