webnovel

Highschool DxD: A new opportunity

Life is ever changing, a choice can make great changes. A young man is given an opportunity to start over after he realizes the worth of keep moving forward, when he had already given up. Rating is M for the future content. The story is slow paced at the beginning. I do not own Highschool DxD or the characters in it, I only own my original characters. The image is also not owned by me. First Fan-fantion, I might be lacking but I hope you can tell me your opinion. An actual opinion... Might contain elements of some other anime works, particularly... the images of some characters. https://discord.gg/wezGW8yV5b Created this and have pictures for the characters there, take a look.

Nyarlathotep00 · Anime & Comics
Not enough ratings
111 Chs

No matter the price, no matter what, I... II

Saya's POV

Seeing the youth suffering so much, the Nekoshou felt like her chest would burst at any moment. It had nothing to do with the dark and cursed energy trying to break from her. The energy made her feel sick, and her senses were thrown all over the place. Her mind was invaded by destructive thoughts, and she could easily link it to the events of the past where youkais faced an almost annihilation from an unique breed of enemies. Her ki was turning murky and it made her sick.

Her sanity remained and was not being corroded any further because of the magatama hanging on her neck releasing a gentle light and warming her body. It was fighting against the corrupt energy and helping her resist it effects, although the origins of that energy was a little too much for the magatama. Saya could tell, even if this was the magatama from legends, this would be a losing battle. Even if she put her mind to it, she could only delay the inevitable. Nonetheless, her mind was elsewere. She could not get her mind of that issue, not when it was happening in front of her.

The fight unfolding in front of her involved her childhood friend, Yasaka who looked somewhat thicker and had taken a delinquent's path by changing her hair color somewhat, and even people she could consider allies such as Kasen, the cunning Oni and Forest Wraith's copy cat. There were a pair of big breasted maids that tickled her memory somewhat, since they reminded her of a long lost memory, but the details were too blurry. The blonde young lady wielding Excalibur tickled her memory even harder as she recalled her teacher, Forest Wraith having an associate with that weapon. For some reason, the was a maid, different from the other two that put her in an odd mood. She did not recall meeting her but Saya felt the need to smack that woman's head.

A torrent of thoughts and emotions invaded her mind along with the corrupt energy, but Saya honestly did not care. There was something she could simply could get her eyes off.

The sight of the youth suffering.

That youth, everytime he was hit or wounded made her heart ache like never before. It was a pain that someone who had been at death's door before could guarantee was ten times worse.

She could not stand it, but Saya could not understand why it was that way.

No, there was a part of her that could understand. Shiroko, no, that youth was not named that. That name was wrong. Her whole being was telling her that. It was wrong.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

His name was not Shiroko. She of all of people should know that.

It was at that moment, when the blinding light swallowed him that something inside of her snapped and memories she had sealed were released.

Her name was Saya Shiki. That youth's name was not Shiroko. His name was Nora Shiki. Her idiotic son who went as far as fake a new identity to not burden her mentally after she had sealed most of memories for a reason.

Once her memories were back, Saya noticed the barrier around her. Even for her, one punch might be hard to take it down at once. However, the Nekoshou just grinned.

"If one is not enough, I just gotta use two..." Saya stood up in front of the barrier and-

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3rd Person POV

The blinding light and heat slowly subsided and Artoria prepared herself. The killing intent which Karen glared at her with as she approached was heavy, her eyes were filled with resentment and she did not seem like she would stop her actions and following just behind her, Grayfia looked just angered. Their eyes were not the type you would use for an ally, but rather to a bug you would step on.

Sighing, Artoria felt like she should just accept it head on, after all, she felt torn for what she just did. However, Artoria was saved by a figure standing between her and the duo ready to rip her apart.

"How about you two cool your heads? You two must be aware of it, but this child is unable to do something like that to my hubby." Yasaka (?) spoke.

Her words seemed to reach Kasen and Grayfia whose eyes went back to normal, but still did not show the same level of goodwill toward Artoria.

Inwardly smiling in a bitter manner, Artoria hoped Nora would deal with these two after this was over. She would rather not to have to watch over her shoulder from this day on. However, first they would have to-

"This isn't over." Yasaka (?) said. "Our enemy's presence is gone, but he isn't dead."

"...Nora is..." Kasen mumbled.

"His aura is weak, but he clearly sent a message to all of us to stay away." Yasaka (?) muttered.

"However!" Grafía raised her voice.

Before anyone said anything else, a suction force could be felt. However, there seemed to be a distinct detail about it, like it had two different origins. Yasaka (?) felt by sharpening her senses how the ki was willing going toward the are area full of dust that did not settle down. It seemed to be doing its best to aid who was calling it for. On the other hand, the vitality of trees and earth was forcefully being absorbed. In fact, Yasaka (?) could tell that if anyone with a weak body was present, they might also be the target and get absorbed. Nonetheless, one glance at Artoria and Yasaka (?) sighed in relief. It did not seem to be indiscriminately adsorbing everything.

"That's..." Grayfia mumbled.

"Please, don't worry me like that again." Artoria sighed.

Her reaction surprised everyone, but they turned their gaze toward the center of the dust filled area. Slowly, even the dust was absorbed and they were able to see the figure of the duo who were the target of Excalibur.

Nora stood there without much of a change of expression despite having a gaping hole bigger than a head where his heart was supposed to be. The last bits of dust were absorbed into his left hand along with the ki that gathered on his right hand. There seemed to be traces of the area nearby turning into sands, but the group was more focused on another detail.

Compared to the youth, the man still seemed alive, however, more than half of his left side was missing with a wriggling mass of flesh remaining in the shape of one leg and part of his right side and head. His coat had been destroyed and the weapons that seemed to have been stored there were scattered around. There were plenty of guns still in good shape, with the sniper rifle he used thrown near the group. It made them wonder what kind of material they were made of, but the most pressing matter was how the man was still standing and how he had his revolver pointing at the youth's forehead.

"Did you have a death wish or something?"

"I would rather die after I have eaten everyone at home, but what can I say? I am quite desperate here." Nora chuckled.

"Enough to kill yourself?"

"Pffft, I did not do such a thing. My heart is missing and my lungs are out of commission, who cares?" Nora nonchalantly said. "However, at this moment, I am in a better situation than before..."

Pointing toward his chest with his right thumb, the youth grinned.

"Your little bullet is gone." Nora spoke. "It was annoying to make it so I could not remove it, but that meant that someone else could, right?"

Gritting his teeth until you could hear them cracking, the man did not move his gaze from the youth as it seemed he could pull the trigger any second.

"You are not sane in the head. You think you can recover from this kind of damage? Regeneration has its limits, you-" "Do you know the best way to improve healing skills? You have to use them, over and over. Kaa-san mostly improved her skills that way. Hundreds of years, ahem, a dozen of years in experience can do wonders." Nora interrupted. "Compared to the beings like vampires or even devils like Phenex... youkias do not have automatic regenerative abilities that allow you to even have your head torn off. We simply do not have that kind of abilities, or at least, most youkias do not. There are always exceptions, but unfortunately, nekomatas do not fill those shoes."

In a clear tone, that did not seem to fit the current situation, the youth spoke. Those listening did they best to react when he sent them a message into their minds using magic. Nonetheless, they could not help but perk their ears to his words that seemed to be a truth none could exactly find out before since he was always so vague about it.

"...indeed, you would need to be constantly healing people and that requires a constant supply of injured people, unless....!!!"

"Aren't you a smart cookie? Do you want me to praise you and pat your head?" Nora smirked. "There is need for that, there is a more simpler and easier method. Use yourself as a guinea pig. Stabbing my hand, arms and any part of my body so I can heal the wound myself. I would do this on daily basis for years. Some places where a tad hard though, my heart was particularly tricky and I hesitated often, but after almost dying for having my heart pierced before, I knew I had to step up my game. I am just a weakling compared to everyone around me... the weakest one. I needed to become stronger, I needed to sharpen my skills and that is how I decided to do it."

Even those who had an idea about what he could be doing to get better at his craft felt their blood running cold. The youth had just admitted that he has been constantly injuring himself for years. Yet, until now, no one had found out or gotten any proof. No one had stopped him.

"You are far too insane..."

The man spoke.

"Nothing new." Nora chuckled. "Compared to you though, I think I am normal."

"I would never dare to destroy my heart for the sake of training"

"I guess that is true." Nora shrugged his shoulders.

"Nonetheless, all that is ultimately useless. After all, I..."

From the areas that were destroyed using excalibur's attack, flesh began to wriggle and grow back.

"You really forsake everything..." Nora smiled wryly.

With that as the clue, the youth pushed away the revolver aiming at him using his the back of his left hand. There was a sound of a gunshot, and the youth's cat ear was blown of, however, he did not even flinch, he used his right foot and with his toe, he tossed one of the weapons belonging to the man lying on the ground, and he easily caught it before emptying the magazine on the man. The bullets belonged to a sub machine gun that had been modified heavily to the point you could not guess the origin of the weapon anymore, but rapid rate of fire and the damage proved the modifications were useful. Even before the flesh had fully grown, the youth had used the weapon he took to inflict damage on the man.

His actions were the trigger, and those watching sprang into action. Noticing the damage the weapon Nora used could deal, Grayfia saw the sniper rifle the man used before lying nearby and pointed at the man, but after pulling the trigger she was unable to shot. The weapon did not budge at all. Kasen got her weapon back thanks to Forest Wraith and leaped toward the man.

"Nine Lives!" Kasen shouted.

Sirius and Alkaid brandished their weapons after picking them again while Artoria gritted her teeth while trying to wield Excalibur again and failing to do so. On the other hand, Yasaka (?) rushed toward youth to get him away from the man. The youth had injured the man with the weapon he used, but the man was still not falling. In fact, an creepy aura seemed to be expanding from the man, along with a change to his body that turned murky black. It was almost like an explosion and it happened in an instant. From the back, twenty tentacles about the size of an adult male's arm, they twisted grotesquely and divided in 4 groups before twirling around each other until the end formed something akin to a hand. On the other hand, the chest are was filled again and grew bigger before dozens of eyes opened on the skin. The eyes did not have focus at the begining but once they caught the movements of everyone, they glared at them.

Only one eye was enough, one look from that made those moving toward the youth to stiffen and cause then a terrible headache. Even if they tried to resist, they were unable to. It was a violent and vicious mental attack. Sirius and Alkaid were the first ones to go down. They did not have time to scream before dropping down unconscious. Artoria managed to curse before falling to her knees, yet she bit her lips to avoid passing out. Yasaka had a violent response and had to kneel while holding her head with both hands while silently screaming. Forest Wraith was unaffected and Kasen only grimaced, however, she slowed down. Grayfia saw the youth still near the man and a thought crossed her mind, the sniper rifle in her hands could perhaps be used.

This was all seen by the man, he used two tentacles as his legs to rise from the ground. While two were sent like whips to hit the youth. He reacted by shooting the tentacles and jumping back, but more eyes kept appearing and they focused on the youth until he could no longer act like nothing was wrong. His body stiffened but he just smiled wryly.

"I didn't expect you would go down the hentai route." Nora joked. "I ain't a princess knight..."

The youth had absorbed a lot of energy before, but the damage his body had sustained was too heavy. Gambling all, he tried to use his shadow like abilities but it was at that moment that a young girl's cry was heard and the fusion was undone. Miyako separated from Nora and launched to one side as she held her head.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHH." Miyako growled.

This change weakened the youth and he resigned to receive the damage from the blow as he leaped backwards to reduce as much as he could the force of the attack.

It seemed impossible to evade, and perhaps it was. The youth was not able to see a way out.

Just then, everyone heard it. The sound of breaking glass. It caused the man's attack to stop slightly before resuming. However, that split of a millisecond hesitation was enough. The culprit of the sound arrived and with a wave of her right hand, the tentacles were smacked away. The left arm was used to gently hold the youth and snuggle him in her embrace.

"Sorry, I don't know who you are, but this one is mine." Saya spoke as hugged the youth from behind. "I would appreciate if you don't go caressly touching him."

Part

3rd Person's POV

The words that would usually make at least one person raise an eyebrow due to knowing the relationship between the two was ignored given the situation. However, the new arrival did bring changes. The magatama hanging on her chest alone caused the influence of the eyes to disminish significantly but Saya herself was the one who made the biggest change. Starting with youth in her arms who widened his eyes fully and an indiscriptable joyful smile spread on his face, however, the youth corrected his expression before showing wry smile.

"Shiki-san, I think it is inappropriate for man and women to hold each other like this when they are not close to each other-" Nora wanted slip away, however-

"Cut it out. I have seen you naked, you have seen me naked. My hands have touched every inch of your body and you have responded in kind by doing the same as well." Saya blatantly said.

This caused more than one to inwardly exclaim 'SUSPICIOUS' or 'I knew it!' but there no one uncoth enough to actually voice out their thoughts. This was after all, a touching (it seemed than in more ways than one) reunion.

"...I." Nora opened his mouth to speak but words did not leave his mouth.

Using the chance of the man who seemed to be frozen in place for some reason, Kasen swung her weapon like it was made of paper, without taking into account the weight behind it to slice the tentacles of the man, but the attack slipped and bounced off. This took Kasen by surprise and stepped back, allowing Forest Wraith to connect his attack using two curved blades with rust covering the edges. Swinging both blades horizontally, the two blades caught the tentacles from both sides and Forest Wraith sliced the apart, he tried to follow up with another attack, however, the tentacles grew back instantly to replace the damaged parts. Once he noticed this, Forest Wraith jumped back and stood in front of the parent and child duo to cover for any attack they might receive.

"...Is it really you?" Kasen posed a question.

Changing her gentle smile as she looked at the youth, Saya turned toward Kasen and noticed that the Oni was further than what her arm could reach. Grinning, Saya's right arm moved like a snake aiming at Kasen's throat, only that instead of ending in the normal position similar to how you would hold a glass of water, the hand was twisted counter clockwise. That alone seemed to be all she wanted to do and the action missed, unable to catch Kasen, but the Oni only smiled bitter since in one motion, without actually stopping, Saya pulled her arm back slight and twisted her hand to the previous position. This action brought fort a suction force and Kasen was trapped in it, being pulled toward Saya. The hand, held like a snake would bite someone, did not go toward the oni's neck, instead, Saya got a hold of the clothes.

"...say there, why is your SCENT all over MY Nora-chan?" Saya asked.

The Oni was not able to give a proper answer before Saya shot her a deathly glare.

"Grayfia... you b*tch, I can smell your scent on him too..." Saya glared at the maid. "...no, what in the world? You too Yasaka-chan? No, every damn woman here... You guys, until we deal with this crap, I will teach you to not bully my son."

More than one person wanted to retort that it was her son the one doing the bullying, but they all decided to shut their mouths given the situation.

"Then, you decided to fight this guy in your current state? What is wrong with you? One of the four Devas was unable to break through using brute force, isn't this a joke?" Saya turned her attention back toward Kasen. "Once a Great Youkai feared through the nation, you have been reduced to this after sealing all your power in your missing arm. Yet, you would rather get yourself killed, get MY SON killed before unsealing your arm?"

Shaking her head, Saya released the Oni and turned toward everyone else. Her gaze ended in the youth whom she had just finished patching up.

"Forest Wraith, since your master is not here, you can barely be qualified to wield the power of this place... but that should not be weak enough to be reduced to suck a lamentable state." Saya stated.

"...my apologies, my lady. It is a basic flaw so I cannot exert my current abilities to the fullest." Forest Wraith respectfully spoke.

Sighing, Saya did not say anything else regarding that.

"Punk Yasaka-chan, get over here. What are you doing there holding your head?" Saya asked.

Without anyone ordering it, the magatama on Saya's chest released a blinding light, with it, the effects of the eyes disappeared completely.

Once that was done, Saya waved her hand and orbs of light appeared around her, with a snap of a finger, they moved like missiles toward... her allies. Despite the fast speed, they did not cause any damage when they crashed onto the person.

"You personality is the same as ever." Grayfia could not help but smirk at the treatment.

However, she soon held her mouth and watched Nora's reaction, but the youth was still staring at Saya even now. The same could be said about the man that did not seem to be into it. The regeneration of the tentacles being something automatic.

"Would you look at that? Your rotten personality is hidden once you look at my son, aren't you ashamed?" Saya scoffed.

Listening to the duo bickering, punk Yasaka regained her wit and stood up, the torrent of memories combined of the duo had assaulted their minds-

"Wait, is that how I am going to be called? Punk Yasaka? Is that the best you can come up with?" Punk Yasaka exclaimed.

Shaking her head at Punk Yasaka's nonsense, Artoria cautiously moved toward Miyako and dragged her to the side, along with Sirius and Alkaid. The trio were then swallowed by the ground as Forest Wraith chimed in.

"Kaa-san...!!!!" Nora's heartful words were the begining. As soon as he recovered, he embraced Saya.

The hug almost brought the duo to tears, but it also woke up the man.

"You are not supposed to awake now!!!"

With a loud yell, the man swung the tentacles and his hand, already restored using the black flesh also had a pair of revolvers with large barrels aimed at Saya.

Snorting, Saya's tails deflected the tentacles. Pointing her index finger at the man like the barrel of a gun, Saya shot Senjutsu Bullets at the same time the man pulled the trigger. The bullets were redirected mid air and missed the target fully.

"I don't care which hole you crawled from..." Saya said.

Letting the youth stand on his own two legs, Saya fearlessly walked toward the man and covered for the youth.

"I also can tell you have your story..." Saya muttered.

Around her, Senjutsu orbs were formed. They first were as big as basket balls, but they were soon compressed until they ended up at the size a thumb. The process rapidly repeated itself dozen of times.

"You might also have a noble purpose." Saya shrugged her shoulders.

Sighing, Saya turned back toward the youth who was giving her a hard to bear look.

The deep affection and care directed at her made her somewhat embarrassed, and Saya had to admit that the way the youth's eyes shone as he examined her next move was as cute as it was when he was way younger. Indeed, Saya could guarantee that. His eyes were always unique, there was something mezmerizing about them that even Yasaka had mentioned before. The duo had stayed many nights awake just staring back at the youth that did not try to even blind for a long time. During training his gaze would be similar and his ability to absorb information incredibly fast.

Patting the youth's head tenderly, she almost showed him a face that was meant for their foe when she saw the blood marks of the cat ear she helped him restore.

"You messed with wrong the cat." Saya turned back and gave a deathly glare at the man.

Whether because he was intimidated by it or some other reason, the man shook, even taking a few steps back.

"There is no way I will let you go unscathed after this." Saya said.

"Mother-in-law, the resistance to youkai techniques this man has is very high, these types of attacks will have-" Punk Yasaka spoke.

"Oh, is that so?" Saya nodded and decided to smack Yasaka for the choice of words.

At a later date, Yasaka will be unsure why she got smacked in the head while a certain mysterious Tamamo will watching while laughing, only to receive a dual pounding from Yasaka and Saya, but that was for another time.

Dozens of Senjutsu Bullets began fusing and their numbers decreased while their size grew, but Saya would also compress them again until only one remained about the size of a thumb. Grabbing it with her open hand, Saya made a fist. The energy contained inside the fist was hard to ignore and the man pulled a rocket launcher and shot it a Saya knowing full well the youth was behind her.

Snorting, Saya saw the aproching attack and... pushed it away with the back of her hand.

"If it doesn't hit. It is nothing but a scrap of metal." Saya said.

The woman- ahem, the young woman spoke about her feat easily but judging from the look of Kasen who was the physical type, archiving that feat when there was hardly any time difference between the pull of the trigger or the arrival of attack before her eyes, Saya reacted too fast for an attack that ignored a large amount of the distance like it was nothing.

"Remember to always let the ladies go first." Saya said as she leaped toward the man.

Before he could react, the fist holding the Senjutsu Bullet hit the area where the numerous eyes grew. Once it made contact, a blinding light hit everyone and the had to close their eyes momentarily just to find a huge chunk of flesh missing from the man and Saya retreating.

"If one hit is not enough, hit twice." Saya spoke. "I am not capable of using Youjutsu spells the same way other youkais can. Instead, I poured my all in Senjutsu. Compared to wizards or magic users who sometimes try to learn too many things, I specialized into only one. Don't think you will come unscathed if you get hit by me."

In reaction to those words, or perhaps the attack he received, the man snapped.

"Why... Why... WHY!? WHY WHY WHY WHY WHYWHYWHYWHYWHY!!!!!!"

The remaining eyes suddenly exploded and the man's flash began to change, the difference this time that this time, all of the flesh in the body changed. No longer retaining human features, the man was turning into a monster. First a powerful aura was released from the man. You could also feel the emotions that aura contained.

Not flinching, Saya created Senjutsu Bullets and shot them as they were to the man's feet. Her attack began making a hole under the man and he sank deeper and deeper the more Saya widened the hole.

"So, you guys are going to join the fun?" Saya gave a side long glance.

The slightly condensending look (in her opinion), made Grayfia's anger to sky rocket, but she put aside her emotions to assist the mother of the youth she-

"We will have a long chat after this." Saya spoke.

With her glare directly straight at Grayfia, there was no way someone would make a mistake.

"My lady, even if we bury him underground, he will just continue to grow and with his strength, leaving that place is easy." Forest Wraith muttered beside Saya.

"I would rather not to get mixed up with the thing on our back. If this one happened to fall there, who knows what kind of monster will be born out it. Even if we would be getting HER help by getting closer... youkais should not carelessly approach that location." Saya commented as she began to plummet the figure of the man using Senjutsu Bullets.

The growing figure could be hardly called a man anymore since the figure had been swallowed by the flesh of tentacles. The new apperence of the man changed greatly until he turned into a column of wriggling tentacles. Gone were the eyes from before, replaced with mouths that began to scream in an unknown language.

"The Lamenting Writher." Forest Wraith spoke. "That is one of Nyarlathotep's Avatars..."

"...urgh. An apostle with the ability to take on the Outer God's form? Nyarlathotep itself is not there, isn't it?" Saya asked.

"With that one, you cannot tell." Forest Wraith shrugged his shoulders. "My lady, you must be aware but..."

"At the cost of one life, the power you can bring is immense." Saya sighed.

"Even if that is the case, the barrier around Urakyoto is still in place." Punk Yasaka added.

"If we force him to lower them, I can make Sirzechs-sama and Serafall arrive here in a jiffy. Thankfully, Nora-kun gave me pictures of Sona and Rias-oujou-sama..." Grayfia said.

"...my son, could he be actually a big shot?" Saya mumbled.

"...he can easily make three of the Maous do his biding." Grayfia truthfully replied.

Turning to look at her son, Saya saw him staring at her with a look beaming with happines. The almost innocent like gaze directed at her surely did not suit what she had just heard.

"...what do you want to do?" Saya asked.

Her job was to protect Nora, but Saya could tell that the had grow strong and his body irradiated an almost impossible to ignore aura. It made her proud, but it also saddened her. The aura of someone who had gone through numerous life and death situations was notorious. Saya was certain he would not stand back and join the fight.

"...what do you think?" Nora grinned.

Smacking the head of the youth, Saya rolled her eyes.

"I have told you to not answer a question with another question." Saya sighed.

"Hehe." Nora just grinned happily.

"Grayfia, be a darling and blow yourself up for our sake." Saya suggested.

Continuously creating Senjutsu Bullets, Saya held a conversation while she made the guy sink more on the ground, but her actions seemed to be reaching the limit given the man was not as affected as before.

"...Nora-kun, I am getting bullied..." Grayfia pulled a handkerchief as she pitifully called for the cat.

"Now now, let's all get along." Nora smiled widely.

"Kuh." "My eyes...!" "I can die in peace now..." "The camera has no battery, damn it."

The ladies of the party had different reactions at the smile of the youth that irradiated an incredible level happines and desire for the others to get along. It was not the normal Nora, but a super Nora whose worried had been blown away.

"My lady, my constrains have loosened somewhat." Forest Wraith informed.

Looking at the Lamenting Writher, Forest Wraith felt the limitations from before loosening. Losing the 'human' factor seemed to be what is helping him.

"Nora, what do you want me to do?" Artoria, silent until now, asked.

Scratching the back of his head, Nora looked around. The Lamenting Writher as Forest Wraith called it was... making feel like puking. If he was not close to Saya, the words in ancient tongue he was hearing would be making his ears to bleed and his head to suffer. Understanding any kind of language was not always that good. Hearing the string of cursed and laments was heavy for the youth, but he just laughed it off.

"If you can make that thing disappear..." Nora chuckled.

"...I am not a magician." Artoria rolled her eyes.

"...can you use the Lance's powers?" Nora asked.

"...I would be a goner, but sure, I can probably oblirate that thing." Artoria spoke.

"Stick to the sword then. Match with Kasen-san for attacking and do your ultra best, it might be possible to use your overpowered Sacred Gear if your will is strong enough." Nora gave Artoria a thumbs up.

Sighing, Artoria did as he said and nodded toward Kasen.

Shrugging his shoulders, Nora pulled a bow.

"Kaa-san, I think this is better in your hands..." Nora smiled wryly.

The long black bow was handed over to Saya who looked at the bow and then at Nora alternatively.

"It refuses to let me use it most of the time..." Nora said. "I think it would rather have you as it's master than me."

"No, what nonsense are you talking about, this bow was made for you. How can it hate you?" Saya spoke in a dumbfounded tone.

The bow trembled as it tried to communicate. Tilting her head, Saya seemed to be listening what the bow was saying.

"...it says you are a cheater." Saya spoke.

Looking away, Nora decided to not touch the topic. Losing seemed the only future.

Observing the figure of the Lamenting Writher gave him some pain, it did not affect him as much as when there were eyes, but just looking Outer God's related things was bad for your mental health.

Inwardly, the youth was certain. Even with the addition of Saya, a being at the level of a great Youkai, they would not be able to take the man down. Nora could not see an end to the extremes the man could go or the powers he could tap into. A hopeless battle. If he could tell that, there was no way everyone else could not see that. The conditions to win. It was all reduced to that.

Closing his eyes, the youth recalled what was laying far behind. Tapping into that kind of power should be enough to recover fully... but if he went further and threw himself into that place, he could gain more power, but it would result in dying.

"Haha, how pathetic." Nora smiled.

Fear of death, it was common, but it was laughable for him to have it after making his mind to protect Saya. She was by his side, she was back. Nothing would change that.

The time finally came and the Lamenting Writher recognized the youth as enemy. A tentacle that was two meters thick was swung violently at the youth, but he made no effort to dodge. Before it hit him, a flash of light was seen and the tentacle was stopped in place by one attack. Unable to pierce into the thick tentacle, an arrow had bounced off the tentacle and fallen onto the ground.

Admiring the ability of Saya, the youth gave the Lamenting Writher the middle finger before aiming the weapon he picked from the ground around him and shooting the tentacle Saya just shot. A peculiar revolver with only one bullet was shot and the impact pushed the youth's arms back to his suprise. A hole was gouged out from the tentacle, but wriggling flesh repaired the damage as a smaller tentacle grew to patch up the damage.

Like his actions were the trigger, everyone else reacted.

Kasen passed him and sent flying another tentacle descending at the youth. Artoria stood in front of the youth and diverted the trajectory of another tentacle, causing it to slam the ground beside them. Dusk was raised and it swallowed those nearby, but no one flinched.

Perhaps seeing that a little amount of tentacles was useless, this time it attacked with dozen of them. They rained on the youth, but-

"Sunshower Barrier." Punk Yasaka muttered.

An spherical barrier that covered the youth, Kasen and Artoria was instantly conjured to protect the trio and the tentacles bounced off.

Joining the fray, Forest Wraith changed weapons. Instead of the two previous blades, he now pulled a scythe with a broken edge. The weapon had seen better days, but he still carried it to fight. On his right hand he wielded the scythe that had a blade as large as his arm, while the other hand had a small bead like magatama. He crushed the bead and coated the schyte with the dusk. Once he was done, Forest Wraith gave a full swing with both hands and cut down a tentacle cleanly. The smooth cut of the wound was odd given the edge of the scythe, but the most important detail was that the restoration and grow of flesh was not triggering like before. Only upon a closer look you could see that it was slowed down to the absolute limit. Watching what everyone could do, Grayfia considered her role and acted. Chunks of ice were created and they floated around her, she aimed and launched them off. Her target was simple, the maid was aware that physical damage did not seem to work that well, so she created the ice and shoved it inside the numerous mouths that continuously cried out.

"All righty, Kiyohime, your turn." Nora sighed. "Spiritualization: Kiyohime."

Like the previous times, the traits of the fused were passed onto the youth. His cat traits disappeared and on his head, a pair of three pointed horns grew. His eyes turned yellow and his arms grew green scales with the hands getting strong but short claws. Instead of his cat tails turning strange, he grew a serpentine tail that was long and thin.

"Neat- wow." Nora tried to speak but fire left his mouth.

His appearance made Punk Yasaka pout and Saya almost dropped the bow in her hands.

Wanting to test out his new form, the youth left the barrier perimeters and took the blow from a tentacle head on. The force behind it was hard to beat, but in the new form at least was bearable. The youth felt the mark on his neck itching even more, but he ignored it. Wanting to try out something else, he held the tentacle in place by sinking his claws on the flesh with all his strength and opened his mouth. Without much difficulty, fire breath left his mouth. Nonetheless, the tentacle was barely scorched on the surface.

Done testing, the youth went back inside the barrier. He could feel Kiyohime mixed emotions of being happy to become finally one and being sad because her form did not raise much his combat abilities.

Unfortunately, the youth had no time to offer consolation, just as the small spider hiding in his body jumped down from his tattered clothing, the mouths from the Lamenting Writher screamed at top of their lungs (?). The hideous sound made all the ones with sensitive hearing be briefly stunned while the tentacles shot up in waves to each member. Their length not being an impediment as they easily stretched dozen of meters more.

Each person took evasive measures as they could. Nonetheless, the ones who handled the attack better were Saya who carried the magatama and Forest Wraith for some reason. The shikigami went to cover for Punk Yasaka with the schyte cutting the tentacles whole. Saya on the other hand, shot dozen of arrows in one motion, pulling the string of the bow several times in less than a second.

...

...

...

Despite the ability to slice off tentacles that prevent from other ones growing from the cut parts, as it to mock the efforts of everyone, the Lamenting Writher kept growing tentacles all over. There was no end in sight as to which the youth decided to do what he usually does. The youth would do his ultra best. Taking an action akin to a madman, and causing his allies to scream profanities, the youth evaded the tentacles coming at him and got closer to the main body of the Lamenting Writher before jumping into one of the biggest mouths he could find.

Once inside, the youth contemplated why was his luck so rotten, nonetheless, he did not lose focus and gathered all the demonic energy he could muster and focused it in one attack while feeling his skin burning by the corrosive saliva around him. The disgusting interior made the youth consider getting professional help to treat a trauma, but he pushed those unnecessary thoughts aside and used an ability he tended to keep hidden. As his number of techniques widened, he tried to keep this particular skill in the dark.

A blue fire was lit on his right hand while his left one was trying to slow down his descent into... whatever he would end up in given that there was no end. Inwardly sighing, he prepared to the great trashing the Lamenting Writher would give. Planting the blue flames onto the flesh, Nora gave his all while holding his breath. Preparing to get burned, the youth was mildly surprised that he was unscathed as the flames engulfed the never ending 'throat'. Ruckus was mild word to describe what happened, the youth was unable to tell which was was up or down as he was sent all over the place, yet he never dropped the output of the flames. The corrosive level of the saliva spiked several grades and he could feel burns of several degrees all at once. Nevertheless, the youth was stuborn to no ends. It was only after his demonic power was emptied that the flames died. He could feel the trashing of the creature getting worse and using his ability he could see how everyone had got bonkers as they mercilessly attacked the Lamenting Writher in hopes of getting him out.

The youth had to take off his hat to the Lamenting Writher, even Sirzechs was scared of the blue fire he coukd control, yet this man (creature) had tanked a powerful attack that attacked the very soul.

"Can't underestimate your determination huh." Nora spat out.

There was a limit to how much air he could hold in his situation and the corrosive saliva also exuded a fool and poisonous smell. The youth felt light headed after receiving it for so long.

Sleeping sounded nice. The youth had really done his best. It was ok to close his eyes for a second... no, there was no way that was the case. He could not accept it. The youth would be the one to put an end to the man. He had decided as such. He could not let anyone else do it. His actions were not powered by fear, but rather simplycould not stand such a thing. It was not permitted. The man had committed a great sin and the youth wil be the one to judge him. Thus the youth decided to stop holding back THAT. The union between Kiyohime and him was the trigger that taught him what to do. It was crazy, but he had to try it. Different people could use it differently. In another situation, Nora would certainly not use it, however, he was cornered.

Opening his mouth, Nora charged up his strength, no, her strength. Her blessing, the mark bothering him on his neck for a while now seemed to shine with his intentions. The youth simply opened his mouth, just like before when he planned to use fire breath. Expecting an enhanced version of the attack, the youth was not prepared when a laser came out. Everything in its path disappeared just as fast as the attack occured. It was literally a flash of light. One second he was inside one of the tentacles... the next second he had blow off more than half of the Lamenting Writher.

The youth was not the only one dumbfounded from what happened, more than one of his allies had their mouths gaping open and had stopped their attacks midway.

"...since when do cats get to use Dragon Breath!?" Artoria vocalized her surprise.

The youth was the one who wanted to know that the most.

Quick on their feet, Punk Yasaka and Saya went to pull out Nora, followed by Grayfia. The Nekoshou stuck out her tongue to the other two as she grabbed the youth and took him away.

With the corner of their lips twitching, the remaining duo stayed silent.

For a moment, the mobster's figure was unmoving... until, it began to evaporate like everything before was a lie. At the end, the monster's figure was gone.

Remaining in place was a mass of flesh that barely looked human like. It turned into a man with a red tentacle instead of a head and then changed again, golden tentacles was all it turned into before changing again. This time he turned to a giant blue jellyfish with red veins. This form was not kept for long and he changed into a giant two headed bat.

"L'rog'g, the Floating Horror, Athu... they are all avatars of Nyarlathotep." Forest Wraith muttered.

"So he still has that much of a leeway?" Punk Yasaka asked.

"Luckily for us, he seems to be unable to properly use any of those forms." Forest Wraith spoke.

Just like they say, one must not speak too soon. Forest Wraith's words jinxed it. The man changed shapes again, turning in a man with deer horns

The previous robe that seemed to have been destroyed slowly mended itself back around the man, his figure was was mostly the same except the deer horns on his head.

"...how do you punish a shikigami?" Nora mumbled.

"Leave that to me 🎶" Saya replied in a cheerful tone.

"...I don't understand."

The man's sanity seemed to have returned and his raspy voice was directed at the youth.

"If I answer you, will you let her go?" Nora asked.

"Impossible."

Shaking his head, the man expressed his will.

"There is no need to talk then." Nora shrugged his shoulders.

"I have come to the conclusion to solve the issue."

Ignoring everyone else, the man glared at Nora with his red eye. Despite looking somewhat the same, the man's aura had disminished. His gaze contained weariness that had grown exponentially since he first began fighting the group. Everyone could tell he was getting weaker, but he still stood with his back standing straight, no showing his weariness in his stance.

"I guess you do." Nora smiled bitterly.

"...you have gotten mixed up with two calamities already, that figure... you also have taken that vicious snake under your wing."

"She is indeed viciously sexy. She usually wears kimono and her figure stays hidden, but she has a really nice body underneath. Her soft skin always brutally mess up with my senses and lil' old me has a hard time keeping my sanity..." Nora smiled.

"Do you know what this form is about?"

"I will take a wild guess. You can royally screw us with it." Nora smirked.

"A somewhat uncouth description, but I can agree with the description."

"Nora-chan, that person..." Saya mumbled.

"The worst guy, but he still has not ran out of steam." Nora shrugged his shoulders.

Narrowing his eyes, the youth kept looking his eyes on the man. Below the ground, there seemed to be some movement. Cracks began to form, and the ground seemed to expand. Everyone felt the unusual situation. Forest Wraith in particular seemed to taking it more seriously as he kneeled with a hand on the ground with an unreadable mood.

"Among the avatars from the Crawling Chaos, there are some with better affinity to people like me."

Those words caused the youth to furrow his eyebrows but there was a pressing matter that could not be ignored.

"This one is rather fitting for the likes of 'me'."

From the ground, roots emerged and quickly began to turn into trees. A forest had grown in matters of seconds and it had separated the group by changing the landscape. The trees were rather special, or rather the forest itself. There was no way that Punk Yasaka and Saya would allow themselves to be separated from the youth so they did not pull their punches and wasted no effort in breaking apart the obstacles in their way. Nonetheless, the rate of the trees growing and the toughness was getting in the way.

The loud sound of trees being torn apart was heard around the youth, Artoria, Forest Wraith and Kasen joining the fray and trying to get to the youth.

"You don't look that surprised."

The man chuckled.

"Heh, this fits our style more." Nora shrugged his shoulders. "However, you got some nerve, trying to use the very first thing Saya taught you as training, all for the sake of killing her."

Narrowing his eyes, the youth's tone was cold.

"Power is power. It does not matter where you got it from. The origins of it should have nothing to do with how you use it or for what reason you wield it."

"I know that such a thing is correct. In the end, the way you wield the power you acquired is to the person. Pretty words, belief, pride or glorified ideals. All that can sound good and make your self-righteous ass satisfied, but we know it just to keep face and make yourself feel good." Nora sighed.

"Which is why-"

"However, there are some things that Nora Shiki should never do. One, never harm Kuroka and Shirone. It does not matter what kind of thing he is put through, Nora Shiki will not raise a hand against them." Nora muttered. "...I guess, I should've made a vow regarding Saya as well."

"I will break any kind of vow if it is for a greater cause."

"Pfffft, look at you. I never thought I would hear that kind of self-righteous bullshit. Are you trying to be a hero?" Nora smirked.

The sound of destruction got closer as it seemed like Saya and Punk Yasaka were smashing everything in their way. However, the man took a step toward the youth. This made the growth of plants around him to be more violent and it seemed like a wall that was dozens of meters long had been raised to swallow those getting close to him.

"Hero huh. I guess I wanted to be one at some point in the past. To be someone those close to me could believe in... however, I disappointed them. They all died while believing in me. Yet, here I am, living... I can't be called a hero."

In a bitter tone, the man took another step. The ground began to shake and roots emerged, all aiming at Nora.

"That is obvious. Nora Shiki is a monster. A murderer." Nora took a fighting stance.

"I did not learn that this young..."

The man shook his head and took another step.

"No, you knew it. The biggest difference between you and me is that I acknowledged it, instead of running away from the truth." Nora sighed.

"...how come you are surrounded by people despite being upfront about it?"

A lone root attacked the youth, he reacted by parrying it to one side with the back of his left hand, the root easily pierced the ground.

"Haha, they are weirdos. Good weirdos." Nora smiled gently. "For putting with the likes of me, I am extremely grateful. I am willing to dirty my hands to protect them so it is not like I can't understand you."

"Then-"

"However, I cannot agree with you no matter what." Nora glared at the man. "I am Nora Shiki, as the guy with the same name as you, I can't allow you to make the biggest mistake in your life. No, I guess I don't care about a piece of shit like you. Saya has made stupid choices, her taste in men is concerning since my father was a real piece of work and I had to knock some sense into her to see what she did wrong. She also foolishly abandoned me to go alone in a quest to get rid of the scum bag."

Two roots were swung to each of the youth's sides, he deflected one but the other one struck him on the side, nonetheless, the youth did not move from his location. Blood spilled from his mouth and the struck area had sunk considerably, but the youth held onto the root with both arms and using all his strength he crush it.

"That woman... she might be a few hundred years old, however, she is still mentally young. She has yet to experience the world. Saya can still grow, she still has much to see." Nora spat out more blood.

"Aren't you a cocky one? Your age is still in the two digits even if you add the time you lived before, but you have the gals to say that about her?"

Scoffing, the man took another step, he still five steps away, yet this step made five roots to attack the from the direction of each of his limps. Crushing sound were heard as the youth was swallowed by the oversized roots.

A banging sound coming from the youth's direction was heard, and pieces of wood were blown away until the roots were gone. The hands of the youth had the fingers twisted in the wrong direction and pieces of flesh had been torn. The youth had also suffered damage in his legs that had seen better days.

"Ignoring the safety limiters you body have placed on you will not be cost effective on the long run."

Snorting, the took another step, this caused the youth to brace himself for the following attack, but the smirk on the man's face was clearly seen by the youth using his ability.

"The way you speak is the same as those who place themselves in a pedestal. Those who think they have seen it all. That is just bullshit, sheer arrogance."

"Perhaps you are correct. I am acting like a know it all. I might sound like an arrogant bastard by looking down on others... Yeah, that is how I look." Nora smiled bitterly. "I can't argue against that. However, I want everyone to live a long life and see everything there is to see, hear everything there is to hear. I want them to enjoy their lives to the fullest. For that end, I am willing to give my all."

"Your all is not enough... I will kill her."

Coughing blood, the youth looked down and-

"You might regret if I show you my last trump cards." Nora mumbled.

Once the man stepped forward again, a small spider made of crystal, hidden until now, emerged from the ground after burying itself.

Growing in size, it clung onto the man's leg as it started to increase its size. A blueish crystal began to grow from the place the spider had clung onto and the man reacted fiercely to the appearance of the spider.

"Even this calamity is under your wing!?"

The crystal swallowed the man's leg and he took a violent response. He swung his left hand and his right leg was cut apart while he used his left one to jump aside.

"Meet the cutie called Rin, she is a good girl, isn't she?" Nora smirked.

The man no longer bothered with speaking, he swung his hand and roots grew from the ground below the spider, they tried to swallow it but their grow was hindered when the spider stomped the ground and crystal grew like a wave, locking in place the roots trying to attack it. The spider climbed the roots and moved toward Nora after jumping down.

The youth undid his transformation, and Kiyohime, the small snake grew, opened her mouth and shot a fireball toward the man who was approaching the youth. For the man, it was nothing threatening, that vexed Kiyohime so she prepared to face him. In the mean time, the spider was getting closer.

"Can't you see how you are being used by that wrench!?"

The angry tone of the man was filled with hatred.

"Heh, who are you? My mom? You don't seem to think none of the women near me are good enough." Nora mocked.

"You know about it?"

Passing by Kiyohime, ignoring her, the man arrived in front of Nora whose stretched left hand was already touching the spider.

"Spiritualization: Rin." Nora said.

His intention was clear, but the youth was unable to complete his action. The man cursed his lacking and his lowered regrowing speed. He placed his left hand on the youth's left shoulder and the right hand on the left arm, without wasting a second, he ripped the arm off. The youth simply clicked his tongue kicked the man on the nuts, but this did not bring the desired result.

"Are you an eunuch now, you fucker?" Nora cursed.

Without answering, the threw the arm at the spider's face before punching her with all his might using his other arm. The impact send it flying, but before it was sent away, the spider launched a spider web with crystals embedded toward the man's left arm. Unable to evade, the man was caught. The spider web reduced the movement of his arm, but the man snorted. Rising his right arm, he acted.

The roots did hold back any longer. The youth tried to resist but he was already past his limit. The first root was dodged. Rolling on the ground, the youth felt one of the roots almost piercing his head, but he kept rolling as much as he could. Using his remaining arm, the youth got back on his feet but there was hardly any place to escape. One of his feet was caught, the strength of the root entangling his foot was crushed. The youth did not wince from the pain, but he inwardly cursed. Getting one foot caught sealed his movements.

"There is an easy way to drop everyone's morale. Particularly... that woman will become an easy prey."

"You overestimate yourself. Nora Shiki never won against Saya Shiki. He was plummeted to the ground over and over. This time, victory won't be yours." Nora smiled.

"Hold onto that wish. Let me see you crawl back here without limps..."

Snorting the man used the roots to rip off the remaining limps of the youth. It almost seemed timed when the group finally broke down the last barrier between them and the youth. They all saw how the man held the youth from the neck and throw him far away.

Looking at their frozen expressions, the man grabbed the remaining limps and sent them flying toward the group. They could only dumbfoundedly grab onto the thing thrown at them, and a despairing scream almost escaped their lips.

Dropping the bow, Saya was the first one to lose reason and attack the man. She was followed by everyone else, except Artoria who ran after the youth without bothering with anything else. Kiyohime and Rin went absolutely mad and forsake all reason.

The sound of destruction and rage filled screams could be heard, but Artoria just ran like her life depended on it. The roots created by the man attacked her, but she just deflected those getting in her way while sustaining injuries.

...

...

...

Landing roughly and face first, the youth cursed. He rolled on the ground and once he stopped he raised his head to look at the familiar location. He could feel an absurd amount of life force nearby along with a somewhat old sign that said 'Enter and die ⭐'. Even to this day, the youth raised an eyebrow to that message but he could hardly complain because he was not sure who put it there. Lying face up, the youth could only stare blankly to the sky.

"The fuck am I supposed to do now." Nora cursed.

A shadow covered his vision and he soon recognized it. Carrying a parasol, the green haired woman look at him.

"Hello there, fancy meeting you here." Nora flashed a smile.

Coughing blood, Nora's natural flirting seemed to forget he had been deprived of his limps and had internal injuries. He was repairing the damage as best as he could, but he was severely spent.

The woman did not answer and only watched him. Like always, she would not interact with the youth more than necessary but would oddly listen to him from time to time. She never had spoken a word and at most would gesture at the youth or simply take action. Her eyes were always full of affection and felt conflicted, but even now, she refused to help him.

Doing his best, he turned over after struggling for a while. His eyes were directed at what was after the sign. It was a rocky formation in a circle, that seemed to contain a spring or a hot spring bath. However, the amount of life force emanating from that place was suffocating. The youth had used the location to refill his ki reserves, but he had not dared to venture into the spring. Nonetheless, he currently had one plan in mind. To soak his body inside.

"Wait!" Artoria's tone sounded exhausted.

The young woman was sweating and she finally dragged her tired body toward the youth. One step, two steps, once she was close enough to the spring, the green haired woman narrowed her eyes and pointed the parasol toward Artoria.

The pressure the woman gave off was even more monstrous than a Great Youkai like Yasaka. Yet, Artoria just swallowed hard before taking a step forward. The green-haired woman was ready to attack, but-

"She is my ally, she is not a sketchy person." Nora's voice made the woman stop.

Clicking her tongue, the green haired woman seemed sullen but she still listened to the youth.

"I am not a sketchy person?" Artoria sighed.

"It is your sister who steals my- ahem, you are cool." Nora coughs.

Without waiting for Artoria, the youth drags his body forward. Pushing his forehead to the ground, he forces his body to move forward by dragging his torso.

"Wait, I can tell you will do something stupid. I heard about this place from Kasen. Falling into that... in the past many people tried getting stronger using that place... none survived." Artoria called out.

The young woman being as far as she was already felt a nauseating pressure. It was too much life force for her to handle at once. From the distance, it looked like a nice place and in fact, sometimes it would be easier for her to be here. Nonetheless, the spring seemed to be acting strange.

"So what?" Nora spoke. "Do you want me to abandon everyone?"

"...You have done more than enough, instead of being torn apart by the guy again, we could work breaking out of here. If we can do that, you can call upon your Maou friends, or even your teacher." Artoria's tone was tinged with concern.

Seeing how the youth stubbornly tried to continue despite his state, Artoria gritted her teeth and went after him. Just a few steps and she was feeling dizzy. However, Artoria was no push over. One of the few people who would butt heads with the youth had to have a few screw loose.

It was not hard to catch the youth and she lifted him. The rate of his regeneration had slowed. He seemed to be spent and had not bothered recovering his energy.

"Let me go." Nora demanded.

"Are you really willing to die? There is no even the tiniest of the hope you can make it out alive." Artoria rebuked.

"I have to do something. The current me is only a burden..." Nora gritted his teeth.

Unable to shake off Artoria, he closed his eyes and began gathering the ki around him. It was dense enough to form a mist and he absorbed all that like a sponge. His right arm grew, the youth focused on the basic functions so the skin ended up lacking, however, he grabbed Artoria's hand.

"If you are going to get in my way, scram. I did not reunite with Kaa-san just to lose her again. I don't give a fuck about the risk. I need power. Even if that ends up killing me." Nora's hand pressed on Artoria's wrist holding him, and despite applying sustancial strength, Artoria did not flinch.

"If you die, Saya will be sad." Artoria retorted.

"...I would rather die a hundred times than letting her die. I am not losing someone again. I WILL NOT lose someone again." Nora exclaimed. "I can't do it so back off. I don't need anyone stopping me now."

"...what about Kuroka or Shirone? If you die. They will be devastated." Artoria said. "My sister... everyone else at the house will be sad. You speak like you don't care about the feelings of everyone else. You are heading there with the intention to die."

"That is called being mentally prepared. I know how low my chances are! I am not the fucking protagonist of a story! I don't have a super luck to find a magical granpa in a ring who will solve all my problems with his advises or mystical arts. I don't have a hot waifu sealed inside me that can leave my body to kill my enemies every time I find a difficulty. I don't have a superior talent than others. I am just your average cat who has too much free time."

"You are Nora." Artoria spoke.

"What kind of bullshit are you saying now?" Nora narrowed his eyes.

"I have never met a guy like you." Artoria mumbled. "I can feel hope just by being close to you."

Regenerating his other arm, Nora tried to pry open the hand holding him, but he failed to do so.

"Are you on drugs...?" Nora spat out.

"..I think you are someone great. I don't know or care if you are destined for a greater stage or it is simply my desilusion. I don't care about crap like that anyways." Artoria said. "However, I feel like impossible things become possible thanks to you."

"Did you eat something strange?" Nora rudely asked.

"...Nora, don't be afraid and never lose yourself. You must come back alive at all cost. Not only you have to save Saya. You have many people waiting for you." Artoria said. "I will also wait for you."

"...so this is some sort of dream or I am agonizing so hard I am hearing delusional things." Nora looked down.

Holding back the impulse of beating up the youth, Artoria sighed.

"If you don't come back alive, Kuroka and Shirone will end up in the hands of some shady guy who seduced them." Artoria said.

A huge vein popped on the youth's forehead and his glare was as deadly as Gae Bolg.

"Yasaka too." Artoria added more fuel.

Grinning blood thirstily, the youth seemed ready to kill anyone with just his eyes. Nonetheless, Artoria did not want him to be blinded simply by rage so she added something her sister had suggested long ago that could make Nora do something of her choice.

"I will wear any kind of cosplay you want if you pull this off." Artoria pulled Nora closer until her mouth was near his left ear. "Even the 18+ ones..."

Looking at her like he had seen a ghost, the youth had frozen momentarily.

"I know I cannot stop you. That is the kind of guy you are. So I hope you are motivated enough." Artoria said. "I will not go back in my words."

Saying this, Artoria threw the youth toward the spring.

The soft sound of wind chimes reached Artoria's ears and the green haired woman observing until now.

The youth sank on the spring and his body was immediately restored. His ki reserves were filing exceedingly fast and he could reach his top condition in matters of seconds. The ki on the spring was the purest kind. Energy taking liquid form, the spring directly connected to the Ley Lines that course through the land and contain abundant and inexhaustible spirit energy.

It was not enough, the youth was certain of it. He could see Artoria with a worried look and that made the youth recall her earlier words.

She had changed a lot. The girl who would gladly take his head if he jokingly said it had changed a lot. Her earlier words were out of worry and the youth would be a fool if he could not see that. The faith she had on him should not be wasted. Artoria believed in him, Saya needed him, Tamamo... So many people were waiting for him.

Listening to the gentle sound of chime bells, the youth submerged himself even more. Even with his ability, he could see nothing. The youth felt dizzy and bloated, but he went further. He felt his body being torn apart from the excess of energy entering his body, but the youth was still not happy.

The deeper he went, the heavier he felt everything about him. He could hardly make out left from right, but he did not give up. He needed more. He had an idea, and while it was bound to fail as much as it was bound to succeed, the youth could only gamble.

Was it seconds? Perhaps minutes or even hours. At some point, the youth lost all sense of time. The excess of energy coursing through his body was damaging his body, but the youth repaired it. He felt like he could blow up at any second. Yet he could not stop there.

Thus he continued and continued, the youth began to lose his sense of self rapidly. He was but a grain of sand on the dessert that the stream of spirit energy was. He felt like getting distracted could make him lose himself and turn into one with the stream.

Was it wrong to do that though? There would be no pain, no suffering, he would turn into one with nature.

He was not sure how, but he shook his head to get rid of those kind of thoughts. The youth felt reluctant to let everything go for a reason, but his mind could not immediately tell why. However, he would follow that reason no matter what it was.

There was something more. The youth could tell.

He was looking for equilibrium, but so far, he could only feel life energy. Positive energy. Nature was formed by a never ending process of destruction and rebirth so he kept looking. His body was breaking down and regenerating continuously but the youth ignored that.

He looked and looked.

Deeper and deeper.

What he needed to do was to mutter one word and everything would work out. He was not sure what could work out, but he did not stop. Everytime he felt like he was lost, the gentle sound of chime bells would wake him up and he would continue.

The search seemed never ending but he found it.

"Link." Nora muttered.

He was at a loss about why he did that, but he could hear a gentle a satisfied tone of voice whispering.

"Well done."

After that, the youth recovered his sense of self slowly. The positive and negative energy, destruction and rebirth had combined in his body.

He could feel it. Something changed inside of him.

...

...

...

Outside the spring, the green haired woman suddenly smiled. She got on her knees and greeted the figure that emerged from the spring after it exploded.

Looking at what happened, Artoria was worried and wanted to jump in to go after the youth. However, a gentle voice accompanied by the sound of wind chimes made her stop in her tracks.

"He is coming. The one... the one who will..."

The voice stopped there, but Artoria understood.

An overwhelming presence had appeared.

------------------------------

3rd Person POV

After kicking Kiyohime toward Rin, the man caught the feet of Grayfia that almost hit his face and threw her toward the approaching Kasen.

A combined attack of Saya and Punk Yasaka got parried by the man who kicked Punk Yasaka away while he caught Saya by the neck.

"Your existence is destined to destroy everything..."

Ignoring the kicks and punches coming from Saya, the man closed his eyes as he tightened his grip.

Nonetheless, those hastily trying to release Saya such as Forest Wraith about to stab the man on the neck to those unable to get up anymore such as Kiyohime, everyone without exception stopped in their tracks.

They could all feel it.

A presence that was familiar but the intensity was on another level. It was a long distance away, but they could almost feel like that presence was right before them, however, all of sudden, the presence was gone like it had been all a lie.

The man dropped Saya and a slightly tremor could be seen on his hand. It seemed that compared to what the others felt, he was under the effects of something different.

The man shook his head and ordered the plants he controlled to finish the job, while he focused on trying to sense what was going on, yet, no matter how hard he tried to order them to move, the roots and trees remained in place. A chill went down his spine and he tried to attack Saya who was choking after he released her, however, he was blown away.

"It seems you have been doing what you pleased to my women while I was away." Nora spoke.

The tone caused more than one to tilt their heads, it sounded more mature and once they laid their eyes on the owner of the voice, they could tell what happened.

Easily surpassing the 190 cm tall mark, the youth from before was now a man. His features were more defined and great part of his clothes were gone, barely having a hakama to cover his lower parts, exposing his torso fully. The well-toned muscles cause a few to swallow their saliva, but most importantly, his black hair had grown past his waist, reaching his ankles. The green eyes were filled with an unusual glint and they were directed at the man. Above his head, a pair of protuberances similar to horns were growing on his head and pointing backward, but upon closer inspection, they noticed they were thin roots of some plant. The youth, no, the now man was not alone as he let down Artoria whom he carried like a child.

"Couldn't you let me stay back there?" Artoria grumbled, but there was a blush on her face as she looked at Nora. The young woman slapped herself and looked away to calm down whatever was happening for her.

Looking at the women who liked their lips without even noticing it, Artoria praised her past self for advising the youth to hide his tails and cat ears that raised his charm stat for some reason.

"I don't have time to fill on the details to everyone." Nora chuckled.

Directing his gaze elsewhere, Nora turned toward Saya.

"Are you ok?" Nora asked in a gentle tone.

"Y-Yesh!!!" Saya almost bit her tongue as she replied.

More than one person glared at the woman who got a slightly blush on her face, but Nora just smiled and looked at everyone else that had been hurt.

Despite not feeling a crushing presence, no one present dared to question that Nora was much stronger than before.

Biting the tip of his thumb, Nora let one drop of blood fall to the ground. Immediately, a leafy tree had grown. Spamming hundreds of meters, the tree easily covered everyone. Without needing a command, green drops similar to morning dew began to fall down on everyone. Once a drop made contact with anyone, they felt their injuries healing and their stamina recovered.

"Now then, I will be taking just a second, wait for me." Nora winked.

Directed at no one in particular, the wink caused some friendly damage as certain women got a nosebleed. However, the damage was instantly cured by the green drops.

Before the man could stand up properly, Nora had already moved in front of his figure without being detected. Holding the man front the neck, Nora disappeared the next second.

Despite carrying a blush on her face, Artoria had a concerned face as she was the only one that noticed that Nora was bleeding from his nose.

"You! Explain!" Punk Yasaka demanded.

With a finger poking on her shoulder, Punk Yasaka seemed ready to retort to turbid interrogations if she delayed any second. Artoria would've been slightly more scared if there was not blood running down the nose of the angry lady.

"He used the magic spell he developed... Link." Artoria confessed. "He is currently using the uniqueness of that spell to directly link himself to the Ley Lines."

"What did you just say?" Punk Yasaka growled.

"That is what he said." Artoria replied.

"That idiot!!!" Punk Yasaka stomped her foot on the ground.

"Enough." Artoria called out.

"Enough what? Don't you know how dangerous that is? Do you think he is the first person in attempting that feat? The Ley Lines, unlimited power, sounds great, right?" Punk Yasaka raised her tone. "The method to use them was personally bestowed by the Shinto Gods, it was with their permission that the method was passed down from generation to generation in my family."

"He is aware of that." Artoria said.

"No, he is not. That idiot-" Punk Yasaka spoke.

Her transformation was stopped and Yasaka was separated from Tamamo.

"Stop it. It is not your place to judge him." Tamamo coldly said.

Trying to rebuke, Yasaka opened her mouth but Saya spoke first.

"Yacchan. You should be aware that he only relied on that method because he had no other choice. It was impossible to win." Saya muttered.

"It is my fault." Kasen spoke. "My arm, if I had made use of it."

"Are you guys done? We should be going after Nora-kun." Grayfia interrupted.

"What for? To get in his way? Do you know how hard is for him to control all that power without injuring anyone?" Artoria pointed out.

"Although I hate to agree with Miss Bath Peeping Tom, she is correct." Tamamo nodded.

"Wait a minute, what is this about?" Saya asked.

"Oh, Mother-in-law, it just happens to be that this lady here is a repeated offender of watching my hubby naked while in the bath." Tamamo pitifully (?) commented. "She strikes fear into my hubby,and he can't help but look over his shoulder everytime he wants to soak his tired body in a hot bath."

"Yacchan, I have been meaning to ask you. What is this cheeky kitsune doing here?" Saya glanced at her friend.

"...it is a long story." Yasaka looked away.

"Make it short." Saya narrowed her eyes. "Dark History."

"Saya, let me introduce you to Tamamo no Mae in flesh (?). The original nine-tailed fox, daughter of Amaterasu-sama, and in a way, my great great great grandmother." Yasaka hastily replied.

Rubbing her chin, Saya watched the pouty face of the kitsune called Tamamo. While the woman was indeed pouting, Saya noticed the flint in her eyes as she watched everyone get into the topic she mentioned. Briefly, Saya considered her dangerous person but she inwardly laughed at that thought. Her son had a good eye for people. The reason the kitsune did this was to distract everyone from Nora.

"I am also your most likeable daughter-in-law <3" Tamamo winked.< p>

Feeling a vein popping on her forehead, Saya resisted the urge to smack the woman.

Before she could attack the kitsune, Saya, no everyone almost felt like falling to their knees. A suffocating pressure had surrounded the area and the concentration of ki on the air got thicker. The origin, nonetheless to say was clear, Nora. Their lung barely worked as they struggled to breathe, Artoria was the one having it worse but she endured with sheer force of will.

Just when they thought that it would get worse, the pressure disappeared like it was a lie. They could only breathe heavily as they tried to get their bearings back. She resisted for long, but Artoria's legs finally gave up.

"...why did you stubbornly held on?" Tamamo's voice could be clearly heard.

"That idiot can be a handful, if he finds out his reckless release of ki brought me to my knees, he will blame himself." Artoria spat out. "...I don't want worry him anymore."

"...is that so?" Tamamo inwardly raised her opinion of the blonde, however, she still divided to mess up with her. "Are you trying to practice for some sort of Princess Knight play? I recommend adding the 'Kuh--- Kill me!' to your router. It is a classic and you will be able to turn on my hubby."

Grinning lewdly, Tamamo gave Artoria a thumbs up.

This caused more than one woman to turn toward the blonde young woman with a piercing glare.

Inwardly cursing at the kitsune, Artoria decided to accept her fate, her legs felt like jelly so she could not run away.

"I take off my had to your cunning strategy to distract everyone, but I don't think you need to waste more time. I think this will be done any second from now." Forest Wraith pointed to the sky.

They had failed to notice and the group could only agree that it happened while the pressure was released and they could not afford to pay attention to their surroundings, but a towering tree with no visible end from their position and as thick as a football stadium. Nonetheless, their eyes were drawn to the sky around it. The one most familiar with this technique could recognize it at once.

"Those are Kashas. Each individual Kasha looks as big a minivan, but the power inside them is immense. Yet... he created enough of them to cover the sky..." Saya could hardly believe what she was seeing.

---------------------------------------

3rd Person POV

(A few minutes back, just after Nora taken away the man.)

Letting the man fall to the ground after he had dragged him away, Nora waited for the man to stand up and he wiped the blood from his nose.

"Hahaha, you really can't stop getting in my way, can you?"

Standing up, the man pointed at Nora.

Without answering, Nora flicked his finger at the man, the result was the man being pushed back several steps.

"Show off."

Cursing the man inwardly considered his next course of action. He had felt the terrifying pressure from his foe before, but right now, he could not feel a thing. Nonetheless, that flick of a finger was cold water being poured down on him to make him realize that everything was real.

The vegetation that he could control before no longer responded to him so the man decided to give up on his horned form. He just considered doing that and blinked, once he opened his eyes again, his foe was gone. He immediately tried to find him, but he could not detect any presence... until a hand was placed on the base of his horns. Less than a second later, the horns were torn apart.

"ARGHHHH!!!"

The severing pain made the man hold his head. However, he still turned back to hit his foe, yet he saw nothing once he did so. Turning his eyes back to the front, his foe was standing the with a horn on each hand.

"...you can still leave this place alive. You are going to die for the abuse of your powers, but you go to hell on your own terms." Nora muttered.

"Hah, haha, hahahahaha! I would rather die than to abandon my mission. I will do everything I can to accomplish it. I will spend every second of my remaining life to eradicate that woman."

"...why, why can't you let your own mother go?" Nora asked.

"I told you before. She will destroy everything I love with her bare hands."

Shaking his head, the man wrote several symbols in the air. There was a distant sound of breaking glass, and Nora confirmed the destruction of the barrier surrounding Urakyoto. At the same time, the aura of the man grew exponentially. If the man before was someone could toy with the group, his form in full power would be enough to kill them. The man seemed ready gamble it all.

"Our grow was always greater than many others. In the same level, we had many advantages. Although I honestly did not expect to fight a younger version of me who can turn into a Great Youkai."

"A Great Youkai...? No, you are wrong. Compared to Saya and Yasaka who worked hard to become a pair of powerful Youkais, reaching a stage not many can dare to mention. Indeed, compared to them, I am just borrowing power that does not belong to me." Nora shook his head. "However, even though it is borrowed... you are wrong about a certain detail."

Little by little, the aura around Nora began to grow.

"A great Youkai is a being who can be considered the top of top of their face. They are considered the peak of their specie. The current you qualifies for that position."

"I am nothing but a cheater who got this power through cheap tricks." Nora spoke.

Raising his arms to the side, the ground where the duo stood began to break apart. A tree had become their new ground it began to rise upwards nonstop. With a snap of his finger, Kashas were beging to get created around the duo. The speed of their creation made it hard to follow them with the naked eye.

"Nonetheless, you should not look down on this form. I am not a simple GREAT YOUKAI. I dove into a spring of pure ki until I almost died and established a link with purest form of energy in the earth." Nora snorted.

His aura kept growing to the point the man found it hard to bear again. However, he braced himself. After forsaking the barrier, his powers went back to normal, he would not need to hold back any longer. Nonetheless, the pressure kept increasing and the man's movement because difficult to perform.

It was not until the man could feel waves of pure ki released almost per second. The waves did not feel unreal since his clothing was soaking wet. Nora had spoke about a spring, but at this point, th waves of liquified ki coming from Nora were almost the as a spring.

"The form that stand before you is none other than the Incarnation of Nature itself. A never ending supply of ki and absolute obedience from the nature around me." Nora spoke.

The Kashas around Nora began to spin, no, not simply rotate, they all moved in circles similar to how a tornado was formed.

Vines suddenly tied the man, and when he looked back, a beautiful green haired woman holding a parasol slowly walked past him and stood beside Nora. The culprit for his bindings was by no means weak, the man struggled and struggled but he could not break free.

"Good bye, Nora." Nora spoke in a forlorn tone.

Swinging down his hand, the Kashas all descended toward the man.

...

...

...

"You have guts, to actually have called me a cockroach when you are the same thing." Nora smiled wryly.

The tree remained strong thanks to Nora protecting the tree with ki.

The man could be hardly said to be in one piece as his right hand and head were the only things not turned into charcoal. A weird medallion hung on the chest and even after that attack, it seemed to be in perfect shape. Except a crack on the stone embedded in the middle of it. Part of the chains that tormented him before could be seen coiling around the remaining healthy arm. The robe was almost destroyed, and it barely covered the face. Upon a closer look, despite the damage he had received, you could still make out Nora's features.

"...it has always been on our nature to be hard to kill."

Looking at the green haired woman, she vanished just like she had appeared behind the man at some point.

Walking toward the almost dead Nora, the other Nora sat down beside him.

"I don't care what kind of enemy we will have to face, but I will not give up on her." Nora said.

"...You won't be able to keep shooting those words once she begins killing your loved ones."

Snorting, the man noticed how Nora was in pain, blood continuous went down his nose and at some point, even his eyes. His body seemed to be swelling and blood was leaking in different places.

"Forget about me kicking the bucket, you are about to die too."

"The price to harness that power is too much. I am constantly restoring my body, but it breaks down faster than what I can consciously fix." Nora explained.

"Was it worthy? I believe the pain you must be going through is immense."

"It was worthy." Nora said. "Now then, how about you spill the beans. You are dying anyways, tell me what made Nora Shiki travel back in time to kill his own mother."

"Haha, you are merciless, aren't you? Alright. I will show you. I will embed despair in your brain as my revenge for frustrating my plan. However, the worst punishment you will receive will be watch your world fall apart as you are unable to save nothing."

Extending his hand, the man patiently until Nora extended his.

"I happened to travel into some xianxia like places."

Once the hands touched, an absurd amount of information flooded Nora's brain. Among other emotions, the person who did not bat an eye from pain or gave up despite the odds... Nora felt complete despair.

It took a long time until Nora went down with the others and no one dared to ask what happened as the youth, who had reverted to his normal form slowly walked toward them with a medallion hanging on his neck, the hated chains tied around his body and the robe that regenerated around him.

"Hey, can be leave the clean up for tomorrow?" Nora smiled brightly when he said this, but his intentions to fool everyone failed. Yet, everyone just nodded.

There was much to do, but they all agreed to have a rest.

Despite trying to leave everything for later, there was a basic explanation and follow up that had to be done.

By the time everyone could go home, the sky showed a starry night.

Will edit later, I kept writing and my initial estimations were off. Sorry about that. I will edit tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, but with this, the chapter is done.

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