412 Chapter 373

"Alright, Roman, I'm where you told me to go, but I don't see anything?" I held my Scroll up with one hand as I whacked away some overgrown vegetation with Mirage.

"Do you see a big scary door?"

"All I see are trees."

"Then you're not in the right place."

"I'm exactly at the coordinates you gave me." I held the Scroll up and spun around so he could see.

"Hey, that's what I was told. But he said to look for a large tree – "

"Oh, that narrows it down!"

" – That's marked by a red dot." Roman ignored me.

Red Dot?

I looked around again and vaguely saw something like that a little further to the side. And the red dot was smaller than my palm and part of it looked chipped away. "Okay, I think I found it."

"Good, now look for the door."

"Roman, there isn't a door anywhere. There's no building in sight, it's literally all forest area."

"He said it was behind the tree and kinda covered."

What the fuck did that mean?

I stomped around to the other side, looking around again only until I accidently stepped on something. Something much harder than tree roots or dirt. A metal 'clang' rang out as I gave it another stomp. It was a small bundle of leaves and organic debris that were clumped together over what looked like a hatch. "I found it."

"See, it wasn't that hard."

"Roman, it's not a door It's a hatch. There's a big fucking difference."

"Technically, a hatch is a type of door." He pointed out.

"You know what? I'm done arguing with you." I sighed, pulling the rusty hatch open, and saw the top of a rusty ladder leading down into a dark abyss.

"Wow, that looks spooky."

"Thank you, Roman. You're free to come help me if you want."

"Yeah, no. I'll buy you a drink when you're done though! Toodles~" He hung up.


Honestly, even as strong as I am, able to turn a significant chunk of this land into a smoking crater without much effort, I'm not beyond feeling emotions. And that place gave me the creeps from just looking into the darkness.

Like, Giant Spiders from Skyrim, kind of creepy.

And I set everything on fire the last time I was in a cave with Giant Spiders.

And now that I think about it, that sounds like a wonderful idea!

[Hang on, I wanna see what those guys were talking about. Grimm are weird, in an interesting way.]

Fineeee, I kinda wanna see the creepy Grimm too.

And I wanna try to see if I can tap into this Hogyoku thing to see what's going on.

My hand ignited in fire and I tossed a Fireball down the shaft. I heard a strange and eerie sound a moment later, indicating that my instinct was correct and they were literally waiting for me.

"Well, here we go." I took a step forward and dropped inside, slamming onto the floor after a short fall.

I once more called upon Magical Flames and the room lit up under the flames. At the edge of the light, there was a silhouette, somewhat humanoid in shape but also distorted in some aspects. Its head turned completely 90 degrees. Red eyes, a bone-like face, a jaw that opened way too wide, and elongated arms that nearly reached to the ground and a green glow inside of its mouth.

"Jesus fucking Christ!" I didn't even realize what happened until I already had the True Longinus in my hand, and threw it at the thing.

[Bit of an overreaction.]

"Fuck you!" I hissed under my breath. "That was fucking terrifying."

[Oh, don't be a baby.]

"Like you wouldn't fucking burn this place to the ground in my place."

[I choose not to answer.]

"You know what, I think I know someone who'd love to be here right now." I just had the thought as I took my scroll out.

'Wilhelm: Hey, doing anything right now?'

'Scáthach: I am currently unoccupied. Do you require my assistance?'

'Wilhelm: Clearing out scary Grimm. I wouldn't mind company. Don't wanna intrude on you if you're enjoying yourself though.'

'Scáthach: I do not mind, I was about to depart from an acquaintance I had recently made. Elaborate on the Grimm.'

'Wilhelm: Uh, Apathy, Chills, Nightmare, and others.'

'Scáthach: My new acquaintance seemed to laugh once I relayed those types. '

'Wilhelm: I also figured I could experiment with a few things, and I wouldn't mind having you here with me.'

'Scáthach: Very Well, I will give you my location so you can retrieve me. Give me a moment.'

I waited a moment until she then pinged me on her Kaleidophone and I quickly calculated the location based on that.

I flicked my hand, opening a portal, connecting me to where she was, the new light filled the room for a brief moment until she walked through and the portal closed behind her.

"You bring me to such wonderful places." She looked around, looking rather amused.

"I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not."

Her smile wasn't helping either.

"You sure you're good with helping? I don't want to intrude on your personal time, I know you like to wander around when the mood strikes."

Her expression softened. "I am thankful for your consideration, and I will tell you if I wish to be alone. You need not question me if I tell you otherwise."

I really did like how blunt and upfront she was. I think it was one of her most attractive traits. She didn't sugar coat anything or beat around the bush.

"Is that your Divine Spear?" She pointed at said spear lodged into the wall. "Why is it present? There should not be a foe worthy of such a weapon as you usually keep it in reserve."

"….I was startled."

She gave me another amused look, lightly cupping my cheek and chuckling. "You are very adorable sometimes, my student. Come, shall I take care of these 'scary monsters' for you?"

I huffed, walked to retrieve my spear. "I wanted to test a few things too, mostly my new stuff. And I was going to see if I could get a read on what the Hogyoku is doing inside of me – or rather what it's doing to me as a whole."

"A wise decision to call me then." She hummed, clearly in a good mood. "You should know that I met the woman you are currently courting in my travels."

"…Salem?" I blinked.

"Yes, that is her name. We spent the night in one another's company sharing stories and such."

"And when you said that your 'acquaintance' was laughing…?"

Scáthach cracked another grin. "Yes, she found it amusing when you mentioned 'Scary Grimm' and I told her what you had said."

She probably intentionally made them fucking terrifying.

"And what were your thoughts on her?" I took out my Zanpakutō, giving it a little swing through the air.

"Hmm, I do not dislike her. I can feel kinship in a regard, and I believe I can grow to forge bonds such as those with your other paramours."

I nodded, not asking for any other information. If she didn't specify, I wasn't going to prod.

A red blur flew past my head, Scáthach's demonic spear impaled a misty black-like substance onto the nearby wall as it disintegrated.

"Huh, didn't notice until you got to it." I turned to look at the apparent Grimm she slayed. "That's a Chill."

"Even if these creatures do not pose a threat, I trained you better than to let your guard down." She lightly chided.

"Yeah, yeah." I grumbled, slashing my Zanpakutō through the air, cutting another one that had just phased through the wall.

The sword worked well, so that was something.

"What is it you wished to practice? Shall we get started before all the enemies are defeated?" Scáthach asked.

"Right, I specifically wanted to do this when I had some practice targets nearby just in case." I let out a breath. "You wanna take a look?' I offered.

"Yes, I will see what you are speaking of." She nodded.

I held my hand out, filling it with a few Talisman sand I threw them to the corners of the room, just to keep out any annoying pests for the moment before taking a seat on the ground, cross legged.

"It's basically sitting in my soul."

Scáthach sat behind me, putting a hand on my back as I felt her presence invade my body and I did my best not to fight against it.

"Hmm, and you have this Spirit that has taken root as well. Yes, I can see what you speak of, an object is now embedded in your soul. I fear I may not be able to remove it without consequence if it proves detrimental."

"Izzy already said that there's no noticeable negative side effects, so I don't think that'll be a problem. Not to mention my own budding spirit really likes it, so I'm fairly sure it's not bad."

[And it hasn't been growing any longer. I think it's reached its final stage.]

"Can you access it intentionally?" She asked.

"Yeah, I think I can sort of poke at it and get it to do what I want. I've just been hesitant to do so because my Spirit has been using it to some effect. But from what Ddraig just told me, it appears as though my spirit is done growing."

"And you do not know what the ability of this object is?" She questioned again.

"Kinda." I pursed my lips, recalling what Yoruichi explained. "Basically, it should break down the boundaries between two specific species of Spirits, Hollow and Shinigami, essentially giving someone the powers of both."

"Your tone does not give credence to that thought."

"No, I think it does, but I'm also skeptical that this was what it actually did. I'm not a Shinigami, I'm not a Hollow, but why did my sword Spirit want it so bad?"

"A wise question to ask. Do you believe it is something else then?"

"I think the people involved just so happened to be Hollow and Shinigami, that they assumed this was the case. But maybe it just breaks down the boundaries between species in general – or perhaps even a step further than that? That's why I wanted you here to help me test, in case anything went wrong." And her opinion was one I always welcomed.

"Start from the beginning. These Hollows and Shinigami – what are the differences between them?"

"The differences?" I tilted my head, giving it some thought. "I….don't really know. A Hollow I guess is missing its heart or something, they have a mask, and they hunger for souls. But apparently high-level Hollows become much more human-like in both appearance and a sense of self. So at their basic, they really aren't that different in that case…more like just opposites in their make up. One is a Plus, one is a Minus."

So what exactly was the difference? Those Hollows could use that 'Cero' thing, but why couldn't Shinigami do the same? Why couldn't Hollows use Kidō, why did Hollows use a 'different' method of moving? Why could Hollows open that strange portal, but Shinigami had their own method?

The difference between a Hollow and a Shinigami, at the most basic when you cut away aesthetics and outer appearance, well, they had different types of Spiritual Power.

"A Hollow has Hollow 'Energy', a Shinigami as Shinigami 'Energy'" Energy of course being the Spiritual side of the coin. "To break down the boundary is at its most basic, the transference of one energy to another, or blending them. Either one should be the case."

Which sounds simple on paper, but Shinigami and Hollows are different for a reason, physically and spiritually. To 'house' the type of energy required, there needed to be a more 'physical' change to accommodate that, which I assume the Hogyoku would also facilitate in the process?

But in my case….all my different energies exist simultaneously inside of my body.

What was there to change?

Hollow and Shinigami meant nothing to me, but I had other things.

Divinity, I had an Authority and had Divine Power at my fingertips as a Campione.

Magical Energy, was there more that needed to be said? Magical Circuits at my most basic.

Aura, the actualization of my soul, its own little Energy separated from the others.

Reiryoku, my most recent acquisition. A different aspect of my Soul manifested in its own pool of energy.

And lastly, and my smallest, would be my Demonic Energy. It's grown steadily from being nourished through the use of my Sword of Destruction, almost like working a muscle, but it's slow going. Devils are a species that live for thousands and thousands of years, the rate of growth reflects that.

So, I metaphorically reached for the Hogyoku that was sitting inside of my soul, and it responded.

I took my Magical Energy and attempted to test my little theory. The Hogyoku inside of me churned for the first time, responding without any hesitation. My Aura shimmered around me normally, but once I focused, my Magical Energy poured through the small object and something shifted.

My Aura exploded outwards, completely enveloping every corner of the room. My eyes widened and I felt my breathing hitch, the action was unnatural and so abrupt that I nearly lost my breath before I canceled what I was doing and reeled my Aura back in.

"Careful." Scáthach caught me, a gentle hand pressing my chest. "Do not overdo it, slowly."

I settled my breathing and calmed back down. "It was a success though. I think I figured out how to use this thing."

"Yes, your Aura increases significantly for a brief moment." She said gently. "Now, do it again."

I touched upon the Hogyoku again, my Magical Energy transferred, shifted and broke down into Aura, expanding my own reserves outward. I flared it a moment or two and brought it back in, returning it to Magical Energy. Then, I used my Magical Energy to shift into Reiryoku. The Hogyoku once more responded to my call.

My Reiatsu seeped out and enveloped the entire room as well.

Not only that, it was filling up at an alarming rate. I didn't need to cannibalize my Aura any longer, I didn't need to absorb the ambient Reishi from that world to gather my own. This Hogyoku was breaking down the boundaries between my Magical Energy and my Reiryoku, converting one into the other.


May as well give it a try.

I touched on my Hogyoku and my Divinity, expecting a little of the same, except, the Hogyoku did the equivalent of grounding to a halt and refusing to budge.

I guess it's understandable.

Divinity wasn't like my other 'energies' as it existed at a much higher state and the Hogyoku, at the end of the day, wasn't a Divine Object. I wouldn't be able to reach that high in a single step like that.

Now, the only thing left to test was my Demonic Energy.

The Hogyoku responded to both my Magical Energy and the small seed of Demonic Energy I had.

It felt different, though. I felt something swell up in my entire body and it wasn't just my Demonic Energy, my Power of Destruction began to act up, nearly uncontrollably. Like before with my Aura, my Demonic Energy exploded outwards, outside of my initial intent.

My Power of Destruction manifested, crackling to life around my hands and something else was pulled to the surface, like the Hogyoku reached deep inside and unearthed something buried very deep down inside of me.

It was painful and I could feel my teeth gritted at the change that was happening.

The swirling Demonic Energy lasted for a few breaths longer before dissipating ,and my rampant Destruction was rescinded once I regained my wits and forcibly recalled it.

I felt…odd

I looked down at my hands and….why were they more like claws?

Why were my wings out?

Why….was there something protruding from my forehead? I felt them with my hands and...are those horns!?


"Do I have a tail!?"



Had some discussion about this in Discord and such. So I'll make a little note here. There are no canon depictions of Lilith and Lucifer that I'm aware of, so I was using a more traditional demonic look for them when I picture them. And there is atleast one extra devil family with horns. So what happened? I'll give a more thorough explanation next chapter, but essentially, the Hogyoku traced his bloodline back to the source.

If you want to read 7 chapters ahead or support me, visit my p.a.t.r.e.o.n.c.o.m / astoryforone

Next chapter