Prologue: Hidden Target

"Hm, is this the place...?" A lone male human figure dressed in a sleek dark blue clothing with a feather and horn ornament on his head stood in front of the mountains within the Gold region. He began pressing his hands along the sides of the hill as if to feel something. Sure enough the wall eventually created a small ripple to his touch, decamouflaging into a magic barrier. "I found it... She said this was here for a thousand years? It must have dramatically weakened over time." the human muttered as an aura of darkness materialized in his right hand, forming two swords with their pommels fused together; a blade staff. He then slashed the barrier, cutting it into two before it dispersed.

The human then walked into the cave. The cave was extremely short and the sun shined in, revealing a curled up creature, which then uncurled. It was a monster with a white-colored carapace and hair along with two pairs of wings and pincers arms, and an abdomen lined with numerous pairs of breasts. She also had a fly-like head on top of her hair; a fly monster. "Ahh... what a wonderful thousand-year nap... Oh, a human, what a wonderful way to start my day!" the creature observed the human and giggled. The monster flew next to the human and wrapped him up in her abdomen, but he suddenly disappeared. "W-what the?!"

As the fly monster searched around, the human reappeared behind her and slashed her rear, hitting her pairs of wings. She screamed in pain as she collapsed to the ground with a little thud. "The hell?! My wings! How the hell did you-?!" the creature's eyes grew wide as she looked at the human; a dark menacing aura manifested around him. "That... dark power... Impossible...! You possibly can't be-?!" The human didn't reply as he walked toward the downed beast. She tried to use her abdomen to trip him, but he leaped up and slashed her waist, cutting off everything below it. The fly monster screamed in pain as the human stepped on her chest and stabbed her, driving his blade deep down into her heart. The creature struggled and her attempts to push the blade out were a futile; she eventually stopped moving after a few seconds as a pool of blood formed around her body, indicating that she was dead.

"...Beelzebub. My masters told me you were one of the most strongest and deadliest monsters a thousand years ago and a threat to everyone everywhere. Then again you just came out of hibernation..." the human let out a soft sigh and wiped off the sweat on his face. "She's dead, Mistress Tamamo. I'll head back to the castle now." human quietly muttered before vanishing in the darkness of the cave.

I am Shadow, a masterful Demon Assassin shaped to kill any target without regrets. I was raised and trained by the Heavenly Knight Tamamo and accepted into the Four Five Heavenly Knights and also joining the Monster Lord. I use my talents to serve them and maintain peace and order throughout the world... and destroy the evil that lingers throughout the world!

Chapter 1: Demon Boy meets Demon Girl

I reappeared in the Monster Lord's Castle in the Hall of the Heavenly Knights. I've been serving them for quite a while, following their orders in assassinating any evil monster. "Welcome back, Shadow!" a voice greeted me followed by the presence of Tamamo, a nine-tailed Queen Kitsune and a Heavenly Knight, and also my wife. "The Beezlebubs were sealed away a thousand years ago by the founding Monster Lord, in this 'Calamity Box', right? I didn't find a box anywhere. She was just resting in that cave." I informed Tamamo. "Well... Perhaps this one somehow escaped against the founder but sealed herself away to recover, but that's just my theory at best. You did a splendid job in eliminating her though." Tamamo commented with a happy face and pulled me into a hug and kissing me on the lips.

"Yes, you did a well on this task, taking care of an issue directly involving my ancestors." another voice rang out along with the appearance of Alice, a demonic-looking lamia that serves as the sixteenth and current Monster Lord. "Thank you, Alice... Hm?" as I got a look at her, she was wielding some sort of strange sword-looking item that depicted many angels clinging onto it in a rather unusual way. "Oh, this? It's called the Angel Halo, a weapon made from 666 melted angels. It can weaken and seal away creatures, but its true power lies in its ability to harm angels. Yes, today is Ilias's stupid baptism and when she descends to the world, I'll smack her with this!" Alice exclaimed gleefully; if that were an evil laugh it'd send shivers up my spine. "Also, I want to see the world with my own eyes and taste all the delicious food in the world, and I want to investigate the Slaughter of Remina. I'm going alone; both of you don't follow me." Alice finished. Tamamo let go of me and approached Alice. "Are you sureeeeeeee you want to go out~?" the Kitsune said in a very teasing manner. Alice gave off a very annoyed look. "Yes! Stop treating me like a child! I'll be 22 this year! I'm a full grown adult!" Alice whined. Tamamo nodded and Alice regained composure. "All right, Tamamo please take care of everything while I'm away." with that, Alice departed as Tamamo and I waved.

"Hmmhmm..." Tamamo gave off a slightly annoyed look. "Well, I think she'll be all right. She's the Monster Lord. You raised her well didn't you?" I told Tamamo. "... It's just... Ah never mind." Tamamo perked up and gently stroked my hair. "Mistress Tamamo, please excuse me. I've had a very long day and I would like to rest." I told her. She agreed and led me to her room. When I got there, I went over to the occupied bed and sat on the edge, looking at the monster resting there: Rose, an alraune who was fiercely loyal to Tamamo and my first lover who went into a coma when trying to save me from a fatal attack. I kissed her lips and told her what I did today before sighing. "I miss her too, Shadow. All we can do is wait for her to come back. I'm sure she's happy with what you've been doing for us, and I don't think she wants to see you sad." Tamamo held my sad face close to her chest before laying me on the empty bed and cuddled me tightly in her nine fluffy tails.

The next morning, I woke up but Tamamo wasn't in bed. I went back to the Hall of the Heavenly Knights and found her there, with an extremely shocked look on her face as she talked with her Kitsune subordinates; one of them was Nanabi, a seven-tailed Kitsune and one of Tamamo's right hands; the other was a young two-tailed Kitsune. "What?! Alice got hit by Ilias and was sent crash landing into Ilias Continent?!" Tamamo exclaimed. I quickly joined in. "Unfortunately yes. She was found by a human, but fortunately he didn't raise a blade against her. In fact, for whatever reason the two are traveling together and even slept together at campfire." Nanabi continued to report. "What?! I need to investigate this immediately! You two are coming with me right away!" Tamamo exclaimed. "Of course. And one more thing... Black Alice is making her move again. She was said to be headed to Fairy's Island, this time she's going there personally." Nanabi finished reporting. "WHAT?! That needs to be investigated too!" Tamamo shouted again; it's almost like she's having a heart attack. "Don't worry, go look after the Monster Lord. I'll investigate Black Alice straight away!" I told her. "...All right, I'm counting on you!" All four of us then disappeared from the Monster Lord's Castle, making our way to our own destinations.

I reappeared in an alleyway in Sabasa Kingdom. It was my first time here and the area felt very hot, due to being in a sunny desert area. I quickly rushed to the nearest bar I could find, and to my surprise it was filled with mermaids. I requested cold orange juice and gulped down several glasses and let out a relaxed sigh, feeling myself cool down from the heat. I then spoke to the mermaids to gather information about Fairy's Island; they explained it was remotely not far to the west but was extremely hostile to human trespassers. I thanked them and headed out of the kingdom to my destination; it took almost an hour under the scorching hot sun to reach the shores of the area. It was empty, but I could sense something coming off from the distance. Utilizing the dark power in my feet, I stepped on the surface of the water, perfectly standing on it as if it were normal ground; the bottom of my feet didn't sink. I quickly dashed toward the direction of my senses, and sure enough and island came into view.

The island itself emitted a strong flow of energy. I closed my eyes to focus, isolating that power to detect my objective's aura. I sensed three beings at the center of the island, two of them being queen-class monsters but the other was extremely faint but suspicious. I headed into that direction and Shadow Melded to turn invisible to avoid detection. I eventually arrived to a small clearing in the deep forest and there were three creatures: an elf, a fairy, and a... young girl? "I am the Queen Elf, who will unite all Elves of the world." the elf began. "And I'm the Queen Fairy, the most powerful Fairy." the fairy said after. The young girl smiled happily. "And I'm Black Alice. I'm the one guiding wonderful monsters to the glory of darkness. The group of monsters that live on this island that you lead... Won't you all become my allies? We'll gather all of the humans together... Suck on them... Feed on them... Sate our lust... It will be a wonderful party... Doesn't that sound fantastic?" the girl said. She had an extremely sinister tone and giggle and just as she said that an extremely sinister atmosphere grew around her; it sent me deep chills and I could also sense the two queen's fear. This power... it felt stronger than any of the Heavenly Knights... it felt so familiar... it felt like the current Monster Lord's! So this 'Black Alice' is real?! The elf and fairy queens hesitated for a very long while before giving an answer: "Erm... Will you please give us some time to discuss this...?" Black Alice gave off a slightly surprised look. "... Very well. I hope you will join me in creating a new world, one where we can use humans however we desire. I will be back soon to hear your decision." Black Alice smiled, vanishing. The two queens then turned to talk to each other.

After that I immediately fled the forest and ran back to the outer edge of the island. "Well well, look who we have here!" a voice rang out from behind me. My body froze as I turned around to see who was behind me. It was the same young-looking girl from before, Black Alice! Her oppressive aura made me fall on my back and crawl away, bumping into a tree. Black Alice giggled and walked over to me, then got on her fours and leaned in very close, causing me to squint my eyes. "Mm, you're that interesting human with that dark power, Shadow! I've been dying to meet you!" Black Alice giggled more; when I opened my eyes she was sitting down in front of me with a smile across her face, but that sinister aura wasn't making me feel better; it's like she could kill me if I made one wrong move. "Oh come now! I thought you were this 'fearless Demon Assassin', but you're shivering so much! Are you going to say something at least?" she giggled even more. I couldn't reply; I was completely frozen in fear. "Ah, it's rude of me not to introduce myself. I'm Black Alice. I know who you are; a servant of the sixteenth Monster Lord, playing as her 'Fifth Heavenly Knight', and a carrier of a very dark power. You're a very interesting person indeed." Black Alice said, holding onto her stuffed bear very tightly. But I still didn't say anything, her presence still making me shiver. "I was hoping we would have a little chat, but alas I've overstayed my welcome. It was very nice meeting you! I hope to see you again, perhaps over tea and a dance! And you'd better not die until then!" Black Alice grinned before leaning in to kiss my cheek. I felt my body numb and shut down from that kiss, seeing Black Alice stand up and disappear as my eyes went completely shut.

Eventually my body recovered, but I still felt chills. I looked around my surroundings and pinched myself; I was still on Fairy's Island, alive. I then heard quiet moans and saw a fairy grinding herself against my groin. I picked her up by the tiny back of her neck. "... I'm sorry. I'm sure it would feel nice but... I'm really not in the mood." I apologized. The fairy whined about not feeling a man, but I ignored her and disappeared into the ground to return to the Monster Lord's Castle. At the Hall of the Heavenly Knights, only Granberia was present; she immediately noticed me. "... What happened to you? You look like you saw a ghost." she said, noticing my body shivering. Just then, Tamamo arrived, along with a slightly frightened two-tailed Kitsune and a small seven-tailed Fox; Nanabi in her sealed form. "Hmmhmm, that Luka's quite interesting... You both run along now, I have some business to attend to." Tamamo told her subordinates, who bowed their heads and left. She then turned her attention to me. "...Hey, what the hell happened?!" Tamamo immediately rushed to me to pull me into a very tight hug. "Black... Alice... she's..." Tamamo gave off an extremely concerned look and interrupted me mid-sentence. "WHAT?! SHE'S THE REAL DEAL?! This is terrible!" Granberia added on, "Black Alice... The eighth monster lord from 500 years ago? That can't be..." I took many deep breaths to calm myself to explain the situation. "Black Alice... she seems to be gathering rebel monsters to dominate the humans and overthrow Alice!" Both the Heavenly Knights had a shocked expression. "This is a very grave matter. The tragedy of Black Alice must not repeat itself! We need to deal with this discreetly and as soon as possible. Only the three of us know of her existence in this day; Alma Elma won't give a damn and Erubetie's too much of a shut in to care. Shadow, you'd better get some rest, I'll contact you and Granberia tomorrow."

I nodded at Tamamo's request and headed to her room straight away. As I headed out of the hall, Alma Elma passed me, also mentioning about a 'Luka' whom Tamamo already mentioned once earlier. I shrugged it off and continued heading to Tamamo's room and plopped myself on the bed; Tamamo entered a few minutes later and held me extremely tight to her fluffy tails.

Chapter 2: The Hunt

When I returned to the Hall of the Heavenly Knights to receive orders, both Tamamo and Granberia were present, discussing something. "That Luka... he's showing a lot of potential even though he's just a human. I just wonder how he'll compare to Shadow." Granberia said. All three of them mentioned a 'Luka' and that piped my curiosity. "Just who is this Luka...? You all mentioned him, so now that makes me interested too." I spoke up. "Ah, good morning, Shadow. Luka... is a human who seemed to have sparked Alice's interest. She gave him the Angel Halo and she's training him in Cursed Sword style. He seems fairly ideal on coexistence, despite being a devout loyalist to Ilias. It looks like he's Alice's 'hero'." Tamamo replied. "So he's basically like me, huh? If he sealed Nanabi then he must be very powerful. Maybe I'll observe him one day."

"Well, Alma Elma went back to the colosseum... again. And Erubetie's still shut in at Undine's Spring. So, let's get down to business with just the three of us. As we all know, Black Alice was the eighth monster lord and she's gathering monsters to rebel against the current lord." Tamamo said, bringing us up to speed. "She's stronger than the three of us combined. Confronting her like that..." Granberia said. "... We'd get our butt whooped, obviously. She's had 500 years to strengthen herself. We need another approach." Tamamo continued. All three of us pondered a little bit before I spoke up. "...When I was at Fairy's Island, Black Alice showed a lot of interest in me. I'm sure there's a way we can use that to our advantage while thinning her herd." Tamamo gave off a concerned look. "... I don't want to lose my husband and find a replacement, but I don't have any better ideas. It's a huge risk to attract Black Alice; she's very malicious and she could kill you right on the spot, you're just lucky to be alive on that first encounter but next time she may not be so merciful. All right, here's what we'll do: me and Granberia will investigate any potential rebels while you deal with the ones that have fully defected; that will attract Black Alice's attention to you." Granberia and I nodded our heads. "By the way... Fairy's Island hesitated to defect to Black Alice. But I've heard they still harbored a grudge against humans. Will one of you keep an eye on them to make sure they don't defect?" Granberia acknowledged the task at hand. "Understood. Will that be all?"

"I guess that's all for now. You're both dismissed. Get some more rest, Shadow, you'll need all the strength before your next encounter with Black Alice." Tamamo said. I nodded and the three of us went our ways. I returned to Tamamo's room and plopped myself on the bed to sleep.

The next few days I spent myself lying around in bed, doing nothing. I eventually got a call from Granberia to meet her at the hall. "You look a lot better now, are you ready?" Granberia asked me. "Yeah... Where's Mistress Tamamo?" I asked, surveying my surroundings and noticed that only Granberia was present. "She went back to Yamatai Village. Anyway, there's a huge crisis going on at southern seas of Sentora. Down at the depths of the sea the monster population there has been vastly decreasing over the past few days, and word is already reaching Port Natalia. It might be Black Alice's goons, so you know what you need to do." I nodded at the response. "Of course... Humans obviously can't swim down that far, let alone breathe. But I'll figure something out, not like Erubetie's going to do anything about it." I said nodding before leaving.

I went my way and appeared out of an alleyway in Port Natalia. It looked interesting, with humans and mermaids living together, just like in Sabasa, only that there was no hot desert sun. I went to the bar and asked for a cup of hot tea. "Hey, have you heard? There's something down under the sea, devouring everything!" a nearby mermaid said. "Yeah, so what do you think it is?" another mermaid said. "It might be a giant mutant fish!" a third mermaid said. I sighed at the gossip and continued to drink my tea. "Some rumor, huh?" the mermaid bartender said toward me. "All this gossip is so annoying..." she then wrote something under a paper plate and slide it towards me along with the refill of juice, saying "Meet me out back"; the bartender winked at me before leaving. I finished the cup and went into a lone corner to disappear and reappear out the back of the bar; the bartender just appeared out of the door. "Woah, how the hell did you beat me here?" she asked. "I'm light on my feet like that." I replied. The bartender just laughed. "Wow, you are pretty damn good, Shadow. I've watched you fight in the Queen's Cup four years ago; that was an impressive performance against Kyuba and Granberia! To think a human could survive against them! Anyway, my name's Seira, it's nice to meet you at last! I'm guessing you're here because of that rumor? There's some crazy monster or something that's roaming around the seas..." the mermaid continued. "Yes, I'm here to investigate that, but I don't know how to get down there..." I said. "Ah, not to worry. You can have this!" she said, handing me a orb. "This Ball of Guidance allows you to reach the depths of the sea. Just stand on the beach shore and hold it up there. You can keep it. Now, go kick some ass!" I thanked Seira and headed out of the port.

Arriving at the beach, as I held up the sphere, a small normal crab came out of the water. It then tried to pinch my toe, but I leaped back; it then scurried back into the water. I shrugged it off and used the sphere; it shone brightly and emitted a light down into the sea. I stepped into the light in the water and dove down. While underneath the sea, I noticed my vision wasn't obscured, my clothes were still dry, and I could breathe normally, though I still needed to swim. As I swam down and reached a temple, I noticed a normal jellyfish, sea anemone, and anglerfish pass by me, not paying me any notice. At the temple I heard battle cries; I investigated and stayed hidden in the shadows: a human boy was battling against a squid monster, the Kraken. This boy had no visually distinguishing features, other than he was wielding an unusual looking sword: the Angel Halo. "So that's Luka...?" I muttered. "Hey, are you here to observe him too?" a voice rang out from behind me. I turned around and saw Alice in a corner, chewing some seaweed. "Oh, it's you, Alice. No I came here for a different reason, but I didn't think you'd both already be here." I said, watching the human hold out well against Kraken who used Demon Skull Beheading on her and then dodged her tentacles that fired simultaneously. "I see. Well, I trust you have it handled." Alice replied. Kraken summoned a humongous wall of water: Aqua Pentagon, a water barrier of space and time that nullifies any attack. Luka's attacks were futile until Alice peered out of the corner and stared at Luka, causing him to collapse into sleep. "Hehe... Just watch." Alice said as Kraken moved in to attack, but the unconscious Luka mysteriously dodges it. Still asleep, Luka's blade flashes and strikes the barrier, causing it to shatter completely! "What the-?! That's not human!" I was shocked. A hidden power in his sleep; was he a half monster just like me? Some giant meteor-like object then landed on Kraken as Luka slashed her nine times! "Even I don't know what it is, I'm just as curious as you are. Hm, well I guess that wraps up the battle. I guess I'll see you soon." Alice swam out of the hiding spot and stared at Luka again, causing him to wake up; the Kraken was trembling and shaking.

The attacking monster could no way be Kraken. I've heard she's too loyal to the Monster Lord, but she's also too slow in the head to know what's happening in her domain. I left the temple and walked around the deepest parts of the sea. I could sense a few monsters around, but they were all in hiding. As I continued to look around, I sensed something... aimed towards me! I saw a large fish monster swim toward me at a very fast speed, but I narrowly dodged and slashed the target's underside. The creature roared in pain as I got a better look at it. It was a shark girl, with deep blue skin and a white underside and had her humanoid body in her mouth: a great white shark. "What a feisty meal! Just stay still and be devoured!" the creature said. The shark was about 10 meters long; there was no way she could be the one devouring everything down here. The creature darted at me at a much faster pace, but I dodged while slashing off her fins. The shark girl roared and could only shake side to side; without her fins she couldn't move.

However, just before I could finish off the great white shark, a humongous creature burst out of the ground beneath her and devoured her in one gulp! "?!?" it was an even larger shark that was 25 meters long with a fat body that was big as a house, had grey skin, and a scar on its right eye: a megalodon! The sheer oppressive body and power of the creature caused me to take a step back; this had to be the creature terrorizing the southern seas! The megalodon turned towards me and let out a fierce roar, revealing her humanoid body in her mouth. She wasted no time for an introduction statement and swam at me faster than the great white shark; I narrowly dodged and cut along the creature's sides and fin, but her body moved to the side and smacked straight into me, sending me tumbling across the sand. As I struggled to get back up, the creature then tried to inhale me while swimming towards me, giving me no time to evade. "Hmph! Black Reaper!" As the beast moved in to swallow me, a powerful darkness formed around my blades, elongating them. I aimed a powerful slash toward the creature's mouth, cutting it and causing the megalodon to rear backward.

This only provoked the creature, causing it to swim even faster than before. It darted towards me and suddenly turned toward its side to ram me with its body, but I narrowly darted out of the way, causing the creature to tumble across the ground a bit. I took advantage of the opening and slashed her fin, but only small cuts were made to the creature's body, as if my attack had little effect! The shark quickly recovered; I had to think of a way to damage her faster. The creature then darted back at me with its vacuum power and open mouth, exposing its human body in it; I waited until it got close before executing Concealed Blade, darting into the creature's mouth to slash the human body, then darted out to my original spot. The creature roared and tumbled into the ground again, stunned, its mouth open and exposed; I swam in to execute a Shadow Strike, a powerful focused dark slash on the human body before darting out.

Megalodon recovered again and let out a furious roar, causing numerous smaller sharks to appear. However, to my surprise, instead of allowing them to assist, megalodon turned and devoured them all in a flash! "Damn... And I was just making progress..." I muttered as the humongous shark replenished her vitals while I was left tired. The creature roared again and darted at me, this time with her mouth closed; the headbutt connected, smashing me into the ground! I felt my body failing me as the creature moved in, mouth open! As the creature was inches away from my body, it suddenly stopped to turn around: several powerful-looking mermaids armed with tridents were behind it! "Reinforcements have arrived!" one of the mermaids shouted; I recognized her as Seira, the bartender from earlier. The giant shark swam towards the mermaid reinforcements head-on, but they ejected bursts of water and electricity from their tridents toward the shark, slowing it down. A couple of mermaids swam next to me and helped me get back on my feet and Seira gave me packet full of blood to drink. I recognized it as mermaid blood, special blood with healing properties, and quickly drank it down, feeling my body revitalize. The giant shark then tried to devour the mermaids around it, but I intercepted its path and slashed the exposed human body. Megalodon roared and collapsed to the ground, stunned again.

However, when I swam to attack the downed creature, it quickly recovered and its monster mouth closed shut, trapping me inside. The human body of the megalodon released a war-like cry as her giant tongue slammed me against her wall of teeth. I struggled as the human body moved closer, with sharp teeth from her human mouth at the ready. Suddenly there was a huge force of impact coming from the outside, causing megalodon to loosen her grip and be stunned again! The beast roared as I took the opportunity to slash her human body repeatedly. Covering her entire body in scars, I was eventually spat out from the monster; the giant shark turned upsidedown and sank to the ground, finally dead for good. The mermaids were cheering at their victory. My body felt weak after the battle, landing me into unconsciousness.

"Nngh..." I felt my body regain consciousness. I looked around my surroundings and found myself in a house, laying on a bed. "Finally awake?" a voice rang out followed by a giggle. I know that voice. There was also a figure sitting on the edge of the bed, turning her head toward me. "Y-you...! B-Black Alice!" Her unexpected appearance shocked me and caused me to crawl backward; she turned her body and started to crawl toward me as well. I instinctively tried to attack her, but she grabbed my sword arm! "C-crap...!" I shouted as my sword dispersed and Black Alice grabbed my shoulders and pushed me down, pinning me with her body. "Is that any way to treat an old friend~? Bad Shadow!" Black Alice giggled as she started to rub her waist against my groin; I shut my eyes tightly and felt my face turn deep red, and after a few seconds a moan escaped my lips. "Aww, how cute~ You're blushing and moaning~" her voice said, right next to my ear. Black Alice stopped her teasing movements as I felt her get off me. I got back up and looked at her for a bit before turning away. "... What's with the teasing...?" I nervously muttered. "Oh now, if I wanted you dead I would have killed you a long time ago. I've already told you, I find you interesting! You've handled your own very well, and I'm curious to see how far you'll go with that dark power of yours." Black Alice said, giggling. I stayed silent. "At least you spoke up this time, I'll want to hear more of that lovely voice the next time we meet~ I'll get the tea ready next time, promise! Good night~" Black Alice leaned in to kiss my nose; again her touch caused me to pass out, only seeing her throw a blanket on me and leave the house.

"Nngh..." I regained consciousness and looked around. "Finally awake?" a voice said along with a figure sitting at the edge of the bed. It was a different one this time; it was Seira. Was I dreaming about Black Alice...? She passed me a cup full hot tea as she mixed her blood in it. I drank it all and felt my body revitalize. "Ah... thanks. I don't think I could've done it without your help..." Seira smiled at me and gave me a hug. "There's no need to thank me, really. After all you put your efforts into vanquishing that giant shark girl! Port Natalia couldn't be more grateful! And for that I thank you!" she replied. "I'd like... to reward you for your efforts... Shadow." Seira said, blushing, as she gently smothered her large chest against my face.

After finishing, I got up, ready to leave. "Oh? Already going to go? I hope you visit soon! Thanks again!" Seira called out as I left the house. I went into a secluded area to teleport back to the Monster Lord's Castle.

I returned to the Hall of the Heavenly Knights. Tamamo was still absent, leaving only Granberia. "I heard what happened, you did a well done job eliminating the threat." she said, smiling. "I thought megalodon sharks were extinct...?" I wondered. "... Who knows, really? Still, a humongous shark must have been tough." Granberia muttered. "... I don't think I could have slayed it without the help of Port Natalia's fighting force. It only means I need to train harder. I'd like to rest but... Granberia, would you like to spar?"

Chapter 3: Dance of the Night

"The Queen Vampire, an infamous greedy aristocratic-like vampire that mercilessly attacks and sucks humans dry. So she's my next target?" It's been a few weeks since I've fought that giant shark, and now Granberia's giving me my next task; Tamamo's still lounging around at Yamatai Village for whatever reason, as are the other two knights. "Yes. I don't need to say more now, do I? Oh, Tamamo wanted me to give you this before you engaged the vampires." Granberia said as she handed me a spherical object before leaving the hall. I quietly analyzed the object. "A Flash Bomb? Right, vampires are sensitive to light sources."

I arrived a bit of a distance from a cave where Queen Vampire was said to be hiding in. As I went nearer, large hordes of bats flew into the cave; vampires transformed, was there some sort of urgent meeting? The entrance wasn't guarded either, but I still had to be careful. I stealthily made my way to the core of the cave, surprised there wasn't any vampires roaming about other than overhead bats. The cave's core was a very large room, containing a lot of bats circling overhead and vampires standing around in wait; there were far too many for me to deal with alone. After a while, two vampires appeared on an elevated platform; one was a tall pinked haired vampire while the other was shorter and had a more younger appearance with silver hair, less clothing, and a monocle. The chatter came to a quiet with their appearance. "Please, give a round of applause for our glorious queen!" the two said as a swarm of bats came together and formed a small dark cloud, and out of that cloud formed a tall figure in regal clothing; the Queen Vampire herself!

"Welcome, my brethren!" the queen announced, and her followers began to cheer and clap. There were far too many vampires plus the queen's two hands; they'd give me very little opportunity to attack the queen, so all I could do was wait. "Yes... welcome to our tea party!" another voice rang out. "D-damn..." I muttered under my breath as a figure gently floated down in front of Queen Vampire: Black Alice! With her around, my chances of assassinating the queen dropped to zero percent. "Join me in creating a new world! We'll overthrow the current monster lord and devour all the humans in our path! Doesn't that sound like a sweet party?" Black Alice said sinisterly. The vampires murmured a bit. "Yes, a new glorious world for me-- I mean us! A new world, one right for us vampires! Come my brethren, we shall dance in the promised night!" Queen Vampire cackled, and the vampires began to root for her.

Dammit, I'm too late. I have no choice but to abort the mission; as much as I hate to do that I can't breeze through all the bodyguards, especially not Black Alice! I quickly turned to leave the cave. "Hm? *Sniff sniff*" the Queen began to smell around her. "I smell... the scent of a human!" the Queen hissed; her followers hissed in response. "Oh my..." Black Alice giggled; I tried to make a mad dash out of the cave, but a barrier blocked the exit, causing me to stumble backwards as I collided into it, revealing my presence to all. "Little rat!" the Queen shouted as she approached me, her two hands following behind. I quickly generated my blade and slashed the Queen Vampire's chest; she leaped back and bled, but licked up her wounds and laugh. "Hahaha, the rat sharply bites back! But are you truly worthy enough to bask in my glory? Dance with him, my children!"

The massive swarm of bats and vampires went straight for me! I nimbly dodged a bite attack aimed for my shoulder and slashed the first vampire that came at me, causing her to screech in pain as she collapsed to the side. "Black Reaper!" I spun my lengthened blades vertically to cut down the bat swarm. "Surround him!" The vampires then tried to surround me from all sides as their mantles moved around as if controlled by magic and shot toward me, but were evaded. "Become my slave!" a vampire shouted; I turned toward her but her eyes shined brightly, causing my body to stop. "Guh... Yes... Mistress..." I shambled over to her as she laughed, only for my hand to stab her chest. "Hmph... Those eyes don't work on me." I stared at her face as she fell onto her knees.

"You're good as they say, Shadow. But the Queen's Royal Guards shall end this!" the other vampires ceased their attacks as the queen's hands moved in. "I, Carmilla, shall silence you!" the tall pinked haired vampire said. "Are you going to have him all to yourself? I, Elizabeth, will dance to this lovely night as well; don't stop me from joining in." laughed the shorter vampire. Two vampire hands... It's bad enough that I have to fight them simultaneously. The two vampires moved in to bite me, but I teleported behind them with Shadow Walker, however their cloaks had small specks that shot out like needles, hitting my chest; it wasn't strong enough to pierce my body but it was definitely enough to cause bleeding. "Gah..." I regained my composure and used Ghost Stab to erect my shadowy blades underneath the two, both of them dodged, but I noticed Elizabeth's movements were slower than Carmilla's, so I went after her first with Concealed Blade. She took the direct hit, but the force my attack only caused her to slide backwards. "Not bad!" the attacked vampire commented as Carmilla moved behind me and tried to wrap me with her mantle, but I moved out of the way. However, as I dodged, Carmilla rushed at a blinding speed, the surprise gave me no time to dodge her mantle that shot out as fast as her movements, knocking me down. As I struggled to get on my feet, Elizabeth stood in front of me and grabbed me with her mantle; my struggles were completely futile.

"Ugh..." I groaned, continuing to struggle. The two vampire hands laughed. "Thanks to Black Alice, we're not ordinary vampires! We're much more stronger thanks to her power! You can't escape my grasp!" I ignored them and continued struggling; as I did so something dropped out from my clothing; the spherical object Granberia gave me. It hit the floor and started making sparks and a fizzling noise. "W-what is that...?!" the vampires observed the object. A loud explosion then occurred, and a white light suddenly filled the room. "Guh! What is this blinding light?!" the hands immediately let go of me and shielded their eyes. As this happened, I noticed the magic barrier sealing the exit fading away; I wasted no opportunity to flee. Eventually the light died down after a few seconds. "GET HIM! GET HIM!!" shouted the vampires as I ran. Eventually a bright light appeared in front of me, the cave's exit!

However, as I ran towards the exit, the light faded away into nothingness, and so did the space around me. A black empty space enveloped my surroundings. "Hm, are you stalking me, Shadow?" a voice rang; I turned around and saw Black Alice! She was sitting down on at a table with tea cups; there was an empty seat across from her. "Come, come sit and join me! I promised tea, haven't I?" Black Alice giggled. I gulped and looked at my surroundings again before sitting down at the empty seat; I had nowhere to run. Black Alice then poured me a cup of tea and slid it towards me, and I picked it up but hesitated. I looked at the eighth monster lord, who just smiled at me and was leaning on the table in an admiring way; I gulped and nervously drank the tea. As the hot boiling liquid slipped into my lips. "It tastes... normal...?" I couldn't sense something off from the taste. I quietly finished the tea and set it down as Black Alice giggled at me. "More tea~? Ah, it's so nice to finally do this with a human~" she said and poured more tea without waiting for me to answer. "Um... at least you're not trying to kill me... yet." I let out a sigh of relief as I continued drinking Black Alice's tea. For some reason I could feel my nerves calming a bit with each sip, although the fear of Black Alice did not fade. "Your inner darkness has guided you pretty well. To be able to stand against one of the most famous types of monsters... It's quite unexpected for any human, though I guess fighting that giant shark was more than enough to impress. Like I said, I'm not going to kill you yet." she giggled more as she got up and walked around the table.

"Come on, let's dance~! Dance in the night with me~!" Black Alice led me by the hand and stood up, holding me close to her as we did a rather 'slow' dance; I had a rather bored look but Black Alice wouldn't let me out of her grasp, so I was forced to comply. As we danced, Black Alice moved her hips close to me and started rubbing herself on my groin, causing me to blush and let out a moan. At some point my body tripped and landed on the dark floor, causing Black Alice to stumble on top of me as she straddled my lap. "Woah, what a fall there~" Black Alice giggled; I blushed and looked away, but she turned my head back to her, wraps her arms around my neck, and kissed my nose again; I felt a little woozy from the contact but this time I didn't faint. "You never cease to amaze me, Shadow. You really are the perfect dark human, that manifested darkness within you came to you by no accident, I can assure you." Black Alice continued to comment about my inner power. "... Just... why are you so interested...?" I asked. Black Alice's expression suddenly turned to a surprised one, but she quickly resumed her giddy expression. "Oh~ I'd rather tell you another time~ We're both busy people after all~ Thank you for all the fun, though~ I'll see you again~!"

Black Alice waved toward me as the surrounding darkness faded away; when I blinked I found myself back at the Monster Lord's Castle. "What the... Just what are you planning, Black Alice...?" I muttered and went to the hall of the heavenly knights. Of course, Granberia was waiting, but to my surprise Alma Elma, Tamamo, and Erubetie were also present. "Luka-boy, he's getting a lot stronger! He defeated me during the Queen's Cup using Sylphy!" Alma Elma exclaimed. "Hoho, really? Surely you must have just given him the win. Nevertheless he's getting a lot better at handling the power of earth." Tamamo said. "... That boy will pay for treading his muddy feet through my territory." Erubetie grudgingly complained. "Hm, looks like I'll have to test him again. Once he acquires Salamander I'll drop by..." Granberia said. "Are we talking about Luka? I've seen him hold well against Kraken... Even got past her Aqua Pentagon technique." I joined in. The knights were surprised at my appearance, but they quickly greeted me. "So, how'd that mission go?" Tamamo piped up. "... I... failed. I'm sorry, but the target was too heavily guarded." I said, sighing. Tamamo and Alma Elma held me to them, comforting me for my failure; Granberia stood on the sidelines with silence and closed eyes while Erubetie gave off a grudgingly annoyed sound. "It's okay, I understand you had little opportunity. Still, you did a splendid job in your investigation, so go rest." I nodded at Tamamo's suggestion and retired to her room.

Chapter 4: The Mysterious Seal

"Hey, Shadow. Do you remember Grangold?" Tamamo asked me. "Yes, you mentioned about a mysterious figure named Promestein giving them technology. Did something go haywire?" I asked. "Well, I've just received a report: the humans are detaining Queen Ant in there! That must be why the Ant Girls are mindlessly obeying the humans there." Tamamo exclaimed. "Queen Ant's loyal to the Monster Lord. I'm guessing you want me to free her?" I replied. "Yes, also I want you to bring me any notes and data pertaining to the seal used on her. The other knights don't know about this, so report to me only, all right?"

I warped to the outskirts of Grangold. As I approached, a humongous rocky figure stood in front of the gate. "WARNING. NO AUTHORITY TO PASS. RETURN." the figure's voice boomed, but I ignored it and walked toward the gate through the creature's legs. "INTRUDER REMAINS. BEGIN REMOVAL." I still ignored the creature. "ATTACK METHOD B SELECTED." the figure tried to stomp me with its gigantic foot, but I rushed out of the way. "Tch, how annoying..." I muttered as I dashed into the open gate; there was no way for the creature to follow beyond the gates. I sighed and looked around, noticing humans lounging around while the ant girls, a mud monster, and a mechanical-like monster were doing all the labor. "Lazy-ass idiots..." I searched for the castle and headed into it.

I stealthily made my way in via invisibility, noticing many lazy humans guards but a number of ant guards and scientists working and walking around. I followed a scientist heading down a long staircase, leading me into a large busy room with many strange devices unknown to me. The workers called them 'machines'. I waited a while until the scientists finished their errands in the room and left.

There were a few discs carelessly lying around so I snagged those. I then went to press the buttons on the machine, and eventually a long document came out of the machine. I had no time to read it; I quickly glimpsed the top which said "Queen Ant's Seal Data" and took the report with me. After looking around I found a hidden door in the corner of a room, leading me to a small chamber. There was another machine with a capsule above it; inside was a powerful regal figure: Queen Ant. She looked like she was in stasis, but her antennae were still moving. I generated my sword and slashed the machine; the small wreckage emitted sparks, but the room started blaring and flashing red. Suddenly an overwhelming force of anger appeared in the room, as Queen Ant's antennae were moving more vigorously and her body began to shake; the capsule slowly began to crack. "What the hell?!" a came a voice outside the room as the scientists returned and stared in shock; I Shadow Melded to hide from them. "No! She's about to be free!" I quickly fled the room as I heard the sounds of glass shattering and the ecstasy screams of the male scientists behind me.

I immediately left the castle and saw the monsters attacking the humans, spotting the ant girls taking the humans into the castle. As that happened, I spotted a male human fighting back against the monsters. "This must be Luka..." I muttered to myself, this time he felt much more powerful since I first encountered him. I sensed Alice's presence nearby, coming from outside the kingdom walls. I escaped the kingdom undetected by the monsters; Alice was slumped against the wall. "You look bored, Alice..." I said. She gave off a terrified shriek as if I scared her. "AIEEEEEE! Oh, it's just you, Shadow. Did that fox send you on a mission here?" Alice asked. "Yes. I came here to gather data on Queen Ant's seal and free her. Her aura of anger is pretty extreme. I'm sure you're interested as to why she was sealed?" I replied, handing her the report. Alice examined it thoroughly. "WHAT?! They're developing a seal... to use against the Monster Lord?! I have to make sure...!" a shocked Alice exclaimed as she handed me back the report and went back into the kingdom. Knowing Luka and Alice obviously have the situation under control, I returned to the Monster Lord's Castle.

Tamamo greeted me as I handed her the report and discs. She studied the document thoroughly. "WHAT?! They're developing a seal... to use against the Monster Lord?!" Tamamo echoed Alice. She then put one of the discs into her mouth and said: "Five years ago, a mysterious scientist named Promestein gave Grangold free technology to use and test them..." I looked at her in confusion and awe. She then took the disc out of her mouth and had a grave look on her face. "... So it's true, Promestein's working far more sinister plans. I knew one day someone would try to seal the Monster Lord... Anyway, you did well done retrieving this. I have to analyze this right away." I laid down on the bed as Tamamo studied the document and continued sticking discs into her mouth.

Chapter 5: Land of Eternal Paradise?

"Well, Mistress Tamamo? You look troubled." I said, clinging onto Tamamo's fluffy tails. "Yes... Well... The thing about that other day has been on my mind for a while. And now I have the feeling that something very bad will happen in the upcoming days..." Tamamo replied. "Eh? What's this 'bad thing that will happen?" a voice rang out from behind us; it was Granberia. "Oh, um... Nothing...?" Tamamo responded. Granberia went silent, eyes closed, as if she knew Tamamo was holding back on her. "Anyway, you got here just in time; there's two problems that needs to be taken care of. The first is the Succubus Village: I've recently received word that they're planning to revive a legendary succubus known as Lilith; she was a subordinate of Black Alice 500 years ago, and we need to confirm her plans right away." Tamamo explained. "Hm... Wait, I thought the Purple Sabbath happened almost a week ago? This is a succubus problem, right? Shouldn't Alma Elma have done something?" I asked. "Yes, well... As the so-called Queen Succubus, I THOUGHT she'd take care of it, but since that would require her to actually do something useful for once, I guess not. And I didn't know that she hadn't done anything about it until less than an hour ago..." Tamamo replied. "... Lazy-ass idiot... Fine I'll clean up her mess. And, what's the second mission?" I accepted the task and waited for the next mission's details. "The second mission is Fairy's Island. You both remember what happened right? This time they've escalated into kidnapping a human; the Sabasa Princess to be precise. I don't know what they're planning, but it can't be left alone, especially when they might be planning to align themselves with Black Alice." Tamamo explained the details of the mission. "Oh, right. I guess I should clean up after mysel--" I responded, but Granberia interrupted, with a light blush on her face. "... No. You have your own task; I'll investigate this one. It's more efficient this way, and you don't need to tire yourself so much."

I thanked Granberia and the three of us went our own separate ways. I arrived just at the outskirts of the so-called Succubus Village. I was told that this Purple Sabbath happened every 100 years where succubi flocked to the village to attack and rape humans, or so it was said; in actuality high-level succubi implant themselves and use magic to turn the female human inhabitants into succubus. As I stepped into the village, I could feel the presence of monsters all around, along with weakened spirits of human men. Eventually coming closer, I spotted many human men laying on the ground with ecstasy faces, being openly 'serviced' by naked women with demonic wings and tails; succubus. "Hi, welcome to Succubus Village!" a female voice greeted me; I turned around and a red-haired succubus greeted me, a Maccubus judging from her power and semen covered all over her body. I quickly engaged a defensive stance, ready if she was going to try to attack me. "You must have had a long day, traveler!" said another voice. "Yes, let us make you feel welcome to our village!" two more succubi joined in; a younger light-green haired Mincubus and a taller blonde Lencubus. All three of them showed no signs of hostility, so I stood down. "Sorry, but I don't have time. I need to speak to your leader right away." I told them. "Aw, you don't want to get serviced by us?" Maccubus seductively gestured. "... No."

The three succubus that introduced themselves had disappointments on their face, but I waved it off as they pointed to the chief's house. "This isn't like what Mistress Tamamo described to me at all... Rather it seems like the humans want to be sucked dry, but at least the succubi aren't going that far to kill them..." I muttered to myself as I arrived at the chief's house. "Hello there!" the village chief greeted me; a senior succubi with green hair and had a strong flow of power coming off of her. Next to her was a witch-looking senior succubus, also radiating power, who greeted me as well. "Ah, what a cutie! Did you come all this way to have fun with me~?" the village chief smiled in delight with a blush on her face while the witch simply giggled. "... No. I'm here to investigate the revival of Lilith and the Purple Sabbath. But... it's far more different than what I was informed of." I told her. "Oh, I see. You're a bit slow in getting here. Well, not to worry our days of attacking human settlements are over. We're not kidnapping men or keeping them against their will, in fact they love us so much they want to be our livestock!" the chief said. "The men that are here came on their own, and they're free to leave whenever they want. Not that many want to, of course." the witch added on. "I see... Still, I'd like to meet Lilith." I told them. The chief nodded and lead me into the back room. "Very well. Lilith and Lilim are right this way."

I entered the back room; it was a ritual-summoning chamber line with magic circles. At the center were two tanned and blonde succubi. "Hehe... A delicious smelling boy is here, sister." the elder succubus, Lilith asked as her eyes looked up and down on me. "He looks absolutely delectable, sister. I want to play with him, and absorb his energy so badly..." the younger Lilim said. "... Let's get to the point. Even though I don't look like it, I'm actually an agent sent by the Heavenly Knights, they want to know what happened to this town." I told them. "Oh? Interesting." the chief looked on in curiosity. "Hm... when he approached us, I could feel an unusual aura clinging to him. I don't think he's lying, what kind of human would boldly claim that?" the witch said. "Teeheehee. How curious! Will you reward us if you do?" giggled Lilith and Lilim as the four succubi began to explain in great detail how they wanted a haven to live in without being orchestrated by human women, and after being stopped by a hero, he and the current Monster Lord allowed them to live and prosper in the village. "I see... so it looks like Luka handled the village here, too. Thank you for your time." The four succubi seemed really happy, so it looks like there was no need for violence after all. The chief and witch left and as I was about to follow suit, I stopped and turned toward the legendary succubi sisters. "One more thing... You both were once subordinates of Black Alice, right? What was she like...?"

Both the succubi sisters looked at me in surprise. "A human, curious about Black Alice?" Lilith asked curiously. "Teeheehee, what an interesting boy." Lilim giggled in delight. "Alice the Eighth, she was so kind to us back then..." Lilith began. "Yes, she was the one who inspired our dream." Lilim continued. This left me dumbfounded; despite all I've heard about Black Alice being evil, these two are saying that she's actually kind-hearted and looks out for her brethren. Was the Black Alice I've met really her 'good' side as these two are saying? The two were loyal to the current Monster Lord, so I intentionally neglected to tell them about Black Alice's existence in the current era, otherwise they'd likely jump the chance to join her. "By the way... That dark power of yours... For some reason it feels like I've come across it before." Lilith examined me, sniffing my body. "Why yes, sister. The power lying with him also feels familiar to me as well... But it's too hard to pinpoint its origin." Lilim commented. Wait, my power existed around 500 years ago? It was astonishing to hear, but it's too bad they didn't know much about it. "Heehee, you must have had a long day. Why don't you relax with us?" the sisters offered. They're rather quick to change the subject, but I nodded as I pushed Lilith down on the floor and threw Lilim on top of her before moving in pantless. "K-kya?!"

The next day I found myself sandwiched between Lilith and Lilim. I excused myself to head back to the Monster Lord's Castle, but before I left the two said I was welcome to be sandwiched again anytime. Back at the castle, I went to the hall to report in. "Eh? Shadow you... smell funny." Tamamo told me. I explained to her the condition of the Succubus Village and she was relieved to hear that Lilith and Lilim pledged loyalty to the current Monster Lord, unaware of Black Alice's existence. Tamamo was quite pleased to hear that as Granberia arrived as well, blushing. "W-well... Queen Elf pledged loyalty and turned down Black Alice's offer. She apologized for kidnapping the Sabasa Princess, too. Coincidentally, Luka was also there." she reported in. "Erm, why so nervous?" I asked. "... B-because... I accidentally 'kidnapped' her..." Granberia replied. Both me and Tamamo jaw-dropped. "WHAT?! RETURN HER RIGHT NOW!" Tamamo shouted. "I-It was an accident! She jumped me! And I can't, she's insisting on being my maid!" Granberia replied, her face reddening more. I sighed a bit and retired to Tamamo's room, but it was rather interesting to hear Granberia 'capturing' a human...

As I was about to lay down on the bed, there was a knock on the door. "Hello? I have a plate of thin fried tofu for a Tamamo and a cup of tea for a... Shadow?" a woman's voice came from out the door. "Yes? Come in." I replied. The door opened and an unexpected figure stepped in: a blonde human wearing a maid outfit. After setting down a tray carrying a cup of tea and several dishes of thin fried tofu, the maid turned toward me and bowed. "It's a pleasure to be in your acquaintance, miss... eh?" the figure looked up at me with surprise. "Y-you're a human... Are you working as a butler?" What kind of assumption is that? I don't even look like a butler! "... No. I'm in line with the Heavenly Knights, the Demon Assassin Shadow, and Mistress Tamamo's right hand." I told her as I took the cup of tea, but this only caused her to be more confused. "Eh...? How did a human become one...?" she pondered. "... Long story short, I'm a half-monster too, just like you. I can sense your monster bloodline; succubus power flowing through your veins." I said. This caused her to be at awe. "... Wow, you can tell that much? You're like my father; he can gauge the abilities of other creatures. Oh, how rude of me not to introduce myself. I'm Sara, the Princess of Sabasa. I'll be working here in the castle as Granberia's maid, out of my undying love for her! See this dragon mark on the back of my hand? With proof that I completed the Dragon Seal Trial, I'm one step closer to being Granberia's lovely wedded wife!" Sara exclaimed; I quietly sipped my tea. "I... see." It was only fair I shared my story as well. Once again, Sara was surprised and at awe. "Wow... what an impressive half-human you've become, just like my dad..." I finally finished my tea and set it on her tray. "Ah, right I'd better get back to work. Thank you for your time." Sara bowed again before leaving with the tray. A minute later, Tamamo came in, munching thin fried tofu. "Hmmhmm, so many interesting humans. I figure it won't be long for that Luka to come barging in, too."

Chapter 6: Epic Human Battle - Hero vs Demon Assassin

"Shadow? Are you almost through with your mission? When you're done, get back to the Monster Lord's Castle right away!" Tamamo telepathically ordered me. "Give me a minute!" I telepathically responded while slashing my enemy's chest, Tsuchigumo; an elite spider monster. "Grr, you brat! How can you resist for so long?!" the giant spider hissed as she tried to ram her body into me, but I noticed she was drastically slowing down, allowing me to dodge. "Stay still dammit!" the creature tried to fling webs at me, but I dodged them; I Shadow Walked behind the creature and used Shadow Strike on her rear, causing her to hiss in pain before collapsing. Her space-time cave field around us disappeared, and I fled the cave of spiders once the dimension was distorted. Eventually I made it out and went a safe distance from the den to teleport.

"Teeheehee." a voice rang out in front of me; Black Alice. She gently floated down in front of me and opened out her arms. " I want you to join me, play a part in the new world that will be created." she offered. "... And I've told you before, no. I won't follow a path of destruction. I've made my own path of defeating all those that are evil... And one day that will have to include you." I sternly told Black Alice. She put her arms down. Her facial expression didn't display shock or disappointment, rather she smirked at what I said. "I... see. You really are interesting in your own way, using that power that way... Very well, I was hoping we wouldn't have to be on opposite sides. This will be my last offer... I hope you're ready to accept that decision~" Black Alice giggled before vanishing.

I returned into the Hall of the Heavenly Knights in the Monster Lord's Castle; surprisingly all the other four were gathered. "Just in time. Luka's already here rampaging in the castle, making his way toward us. We've already deployed the Giganto Weapon against him." Tamamo said. "Luka... He's finally here at last?" So that's why all five of us are present, waiting for Luka to challenge us... Eventually, the door leading to the hall burst open, and the human Luka stepped in. As the Knights greeted him with varying levels of friendliness, I stood in the shadows. He then asked the Knights to stop attacking humans, but they refused. As Luka readied his blade, I launched a lightning-speed slash toward him, but to my surprise he blocked it. "W-what the...?" Luka looked at the knights, but they were still in the same gesture as when I attacked Luka. He eventually got a good glimpse of me: a human standing between him and the other knights. "You... A human...? Did they capture you?" Luka asked." There was a heavy silence as I put the palm of my hand to my face. "Hmph... The first impression of a so-called hero... Idiot." I muttered. Luka blinked before studying me further. "No... You look human, but you radiate some sort of power. Could it be... like Sara?" Luka asked. "Sara? ... Oh, the new maid. Indeed, I'm human with a power of a monster laying within in me. I am Shadow, an assassin raised in secret by Mistress Tamamo. Of course, you know what that means."

I quickly zipped behind him and attacked him; Luka took the attack by surprise and was flung forward. "... Are you holding back on me because I'm half-human? Idiot." I taunted as I charged forward to slash him. "Sylph!" Luka cried out and narrowly evaded my attack. I was informed that Luka was receiving aid from the Four Spirits; I had to be careful. "That was quite a strong surprise attack. I suppose I should expect no less from someone who worked under Tamamo, even for a human." Luka commended. He then made lightning fast thrust toward me, which I tried to dodge but grazed my cheek; Lightning Sword Flash, enhanced by Sylph. I wiped the blood off my cheek. I retaliated with Concealed Blade; Luka shouted "Gnome" and tried to withstand, but the attack's force knocked him back into a pillar. He then quickly jumped up and dropped his sword down on me with a heavy force, but I dodged as the attack came inches away from my foot; Earth Rumbling Decapitation, enhanced by Gnome.

I used Shadow Walker to slip behind him and executed Blink Dagger; he took all ten hits head-on, causing him to stumble. As he struggled to get back on his feet, he suddenly closed his eyes and took a second breather before getting back up on his feet; I sensed his vitals completely recovering. "Did you... heal...?" What a cheater; I myself lacked any healing abilities. I executed Concealed Blade again, but Luka too used Lightning Sword Flash; our attacks completely collided, completely offsetting each other. "Hmph, you're as good as they say." I complimented, noticing his power beginning to show its colors. I gripped my sword tightly and shot a Ghost Stab at him; he didn't dodge the two spikes that struck the back of his neck, and I used the opening to attack him with Black Reaper, once again knocking Luka down. He used that recovery thing again; jeez, how many times can this guy use that?!

"I see now... I see now why you're one of the Heavenly Knights. It's impressive for two humans to come so far into the Monster Lord's Castle." Luka commended. "Undine!" he shouted, calling the spirit of water. "Undine... It's been so long hasn't it?" I muttered as I used Blink Dagger again, but Luka dodged my attacks; that accursed water power was close on Granberia's level, but more than enough to still evade my attacks. "Shadow Meld." I calmly said, turning invisible. Luka looked a bit shocked, but remained clam. He then made an attack that, despite my invisible shroud, hit me square in the shoulder, knocking me out of stealth and causing me to cough out blood. "I shall cut along the flow; Serene Demon Sword!" Luka cried out as he sheathed his sword before pulling it out in a fluid slash; I tried to intercept him but he dodged the attack and struck back, hitting me in the chest and knocking me on my back. I got back up, but Luka struck me down with the same technique again; I was no match for his water.

My body was on the ground, exhausted from the relentless water attacks. "Come, Sylph!" Luka shouted as he raised his sword above his head. "Come, Gnome! Come, Undine!" Luka called out as his sword began to radiate immense power. "Come, Salamander!" Luka's sword started shaking, radiating an overwhelming force. "Quadruple Giga!" Luka cried as he dropped his blade, creating a massive explosion and a giant empty crater in his wake! "What the hell is wrong with you?! Are you trying to kill me, just like how you vaporized Imp?! Idiot! That was completely overkill!" I Shadow Walked behind Luka and kicked him into the crater. He quickly got back out. "S-sorry... Come Salamander; Vaporizing Rebellion Sword!" I was panting, but I had enough strength to muster one final attack. "Twisted Demon; Demonic Shadow Strike!" an aura of darkness enveloped me as I drew a focused darkness slash in retaliation, colliding with his five hits of flame. Our attacks were completely offset; but due to the damage I sustained I collapsed onto my knees. "... Damn, it's my loss..."

"You fought very well, Shadow. I commend your power. Now, are you going to stop driving a wedge between humans and monsters?" Luka tried to help me up, but I ignored his hand and helped myself, then slumped over to one of the pillars to lay back and rest. "... I never did any of that. I was only assigned to eliminate those who tried to cause trouble. However, you do have my word in creating a coexisting world." I replied. "One down, four more left..." Luka went to challenge the remaining knights, and one by one he defeated them all while enhancing his Four Spirit powers. Luka was quite shocked to see all five of us bowing before him, but his congratulations stopped as a booming voice entered the room: Alice. The door ahead opened and Alice called Luka to challenge her; Tamamo told him to wait but Luka ignored her and rushed through, and the door closed. "... Luka... He'd better not go down that path..." Tamamo said scornfully. "... We can't do anything... All we can do is hope Luka makes the right choice..." I said as I slumped onto the ground, passing out.

Chapter 7: Violent Assault

A sudden violent rumble woke me up; the heavenly knights had grave looks on their faces as a Behemoth came running in. "I-it's urgent! S-strange monsters have invaded the castle!" she reported. "W-what?! Intercept them right away! " Tamamo commanded. "We've already begun to counterattack, but there's far too many! They're also being assisted by a-a-ang-- Gah!" the Behemoth was interrupted as she was shot by an arrow from behind. Her assailant was wearing pink with a bow, had hearts for eyes, a long braided blonde hair, and two white wings; an angel. "A-angels too?! H-has Ilias declared war again!?" Tamamo exclaimed in surprise; the other knights were shocked. Shortly after, several castle residents rushed into the room, followed by a horde of many unusual-looking beast monsters. Tamamo quickly disappeared from the hall and Erubetie went into the throne room, leaving only me, Alma Elma, and Granberia to fight against the defenders.

"Concealed Blade!" I shouted as I attacked the strange monster, but the creature blocked my attack with their long tails; my fight with Luka left me severely drained, unable to go all out. "Death Sword Chaos Star!" Granberia leaped beside me as her sword flashed like a shooting star and unleashed a barrage of strikes, knocking back the opposition. Two more strange monsters appeared to take the downed one's place and charged at us, but were quickly pushed back by a gust of wind. "Shamshir!" Alma Elma cried out as she fired more wind blasts. "*Pant Pant* Thanks..." I was on one knee already, clearly in no condition to fight. "Are you all right, Shadow-boy?" Alma Elma asked with concern. "You shouldn't push yourself so hard, remember you're not fully monster. Let us handle this." Granberia told me, but I eventually managed to get back up. "No... This is my fight too. I'm not one to give up easily." I told them, and Granberia smiled. "You still got some fight in you, boy. I admire that."

Suddenly, the wall behind Granberia burst open as a giant hulking figure slid through; Granberia turned only to get sucker punched in the face and got sent tumbling to a wall! Me and Alma Elma were shock, which was interrupted when a lightning fast harpy figure came through the hole and slammed into Alma Elma, also causing her to slam into a wall! I didn't get any time to blink to what happened when I was also felt two sharp cuts slash along my chest and the force of the attack causing me to fly back into a wall as well! The three Heavenly Knights present struggled to get back on their feet as we got a better look at our attackers: the one striking Granberia down was a large hulking humanoid mecha, Alma Elma's attacker was a harpy mecha, and my attacker was a shorter humanoid mecha armed with... a blade staff! "Well done! Arc-En-Ciel, Hainuwele, Raven!" a voice exclaimed; a human-looking scientist walked in and was clapping as the three mechas stared us down; a spider-like mecha, a tiger-like mecha, and an insect-like mecha also arrived and started laughing and mocking the three of us. As I looked at the mecha that attacked me, I remembered something. "Y-you... You're the one who copied me!" I shouted and rushed toward her. "Twisted Demon." the mecha Raven muttered, gaining a dark aura and launched another attack that sent me back onto the wall! "Th-that's my technique...!" I shouted angrily as I struggled to get back onto my feet. "Yes. She's the perfect copy of you. The Shadow Chimera, Raven!" the scientist calmly said with an evil grin. "Hah... That Darkroid you fought before was just my prototype. The data from your battles, combined with your semen samples, your dark power, and upgrades to my mechanical body has made me surpass you in every way. You cannot hope to defeat me, and this time there's no one here to save you!" the copycat mecha laughed evilly.

Alma Elma and Granberia continued to struggle against their respective attackers and the castle citizens too were faltering. Luka and Alice also eventually arrived and took notice of what was happening; the scientist then introduced herself as Promestein, and I recognized that name as the mysterious scientist instigating technology all over the world. Luka's attack failed when Promestein suddenly moved fast as the wind and explained her army was massively fortified by artificial Four Spirits, forcing Luka to resort to attacking the angels and Alice to attack the chimeras. I, on the other hand, continued to fight Raven, but my fatigue from my fight with Luka already decided the fight in her favor. "Concealed-- ack!" Any skill I tried to execute, Raven would do it right before I did and strike me down. Promestein wasn't kidding; this creature copied me and my abilities perfectly, and the backed-up force of her offensive power only just made it worse for me. "This is the legendary Demon Assassin of the Heavenly Knights?! Pathetic!" Raven taunted as she continued slashing me down, giving me zero opportunity to fight back. I tried to Shadow Meld, but a Ghost Stab from her knew where I was and suddenly forced me out of the shadows! "There's nothing you can do, just lay back and die!" Raven shouted as she pushed me down and impaled her swords into both my shoulders, causing me to scream in pain as I was wedged into the floor. "He's done for, Master Promestein!" Raven exclaimed as she walked to Promestein as I weakly struggled with the blade in my body.

Arc-En-Ciel and Hainuwele were finished with their respective opponents, but Luka also just wrapped up defeating the angels. Alice tried to attack Promestein, but suddenly a seal appeared on her and she disappeared! Luka was also suddenly weakened as the Four Spirits didn't come to his aid and his attacks were frail. Promestein then offered Luka a chance to surrender, but he refused. As the six unique chimera, the Next Dolls, began to close in on Luka, there was another rumble! The wall next to me burst open as the Giganto Weapon came rushing through, with Tamamo riding it, and the beast went berserk on the chimera forces while accidentally throwing Tamamo off her back. The Next Dolls were stopped in their tracks as the beast came rushing toward them, but Arc-En-Ciel single-handedly took down the Giganto Weapon. Tamamo rushed over to me to pull out the blades. "Careful, you need medical attention right away. Give me a minute." Tamamo informed me just as she was surrounded by more Chimera Beasts. After hearing correctly from Promestein that the beasts were mostly comprised of animals, Tamamo gave off a menacing glare, causing the beasts to cower before her, the queen of all animal monsters; this forced Promestein to order a retreat, to the dismay of the Next Dolls. I glared at Raven as she left with her master. Luka immediately chased after the chimeras, once again ignoring Tamamo's warning.

I was immediately given medical attention and bandages all over my cuts and pierced shoulders and Tamamo channeled magic to heal my wounds. I was told to lie in bed and rest from my severe injuries and I had no choice but to comply.

Chapter 8: Falling into Despair

My body felt very weak and frail. Over the course of my life as the Demon Assassin serving the Heavenly Knights and the Monster Lord, there's been a line of failures; I failed to eliminate Cassandra, Queen Vampire, and Spider Princess, and just recently I fell to defeat by the Shadow Chimera Raven, and before that her prototype put my lover into a coma. This could only bring despair into my heart; was I really the one meant to carry the essence of darkness...? Did I make the right choice in joining the side of good and not fighting alongside Black Alice and creating a new world with her...?

"Shadow, are you okay?" Tamamo asked as she came into the room, inspecting my body. "I... don't really know. I was defeated so easily by a copy." I replied. "... Don't let that get to you. Promestein made counters to all five of us, but my tail's even more fluffier than Tsukuyomi's. Of course, I'll win in my fight against her, but what about you? Your shadow's more stronger than her's I'm sure." Tamamo told me to try to cheer me up. "... Thanks but... I initially struggled against her prototype, and now her finalized version is more powerful, faster, and flexible than I am... I've already failed a number of missions too, and Rose is still in a coma. It's all my fault..." I replied, hiding my head into the pillow but Tamamo pulled me out. "Stop thinking like that, idiot! Remember who you are and how far you've gotten! You can't let your resolve falter here! If you do, the world will end!" Tamamo shouted as she started to shake me. "You're one of the Heavenly Knights, and a masterful Demon Assassin! Look at Granberia! She struggled in the battle royale against my earth defenses, but that never stopped her from getting stronger! Alma Elma, Erubetie, Alice... Haven't you seen them all change?! All because two humans impressed them, and that Luka never gave up either! Both you and Luka made it to where no other human's ever gone before! Get your head in the game, dammit!" Tamamo continued to shout and lecture me all while shaking my body. Tamamo eventually stopped, sighing and got up to leave. "... I really want you to think carefully about this. Think very hard and I want to hear your answer when I get back." she said bitterly as she walked out of the room. I had never seen Tamamo so angry...

As I pondered about what Tamamo said, the space around me suddenly warped into nothing but pitch-black darkness. This space... Black Alice. "You don't look like you're enjoying the party prepared by Ilias, Promestein, and I. And I did it all for you." Black Alice giggled as she appeared from the shadows of her dimension. "What's wrong? Falling into despair? You should have joined me when you had the chance." Black Alice continued to giggle as she sat down on the bed. "... Here to gloat, Black Alice? I'm tired of playing games." I told her. Black Alice looked surprised when I said that. "Oh no no no no no, I've never gloated to you. How could you think that? I'm only here to check up on you, and you look like you don't look so happy. I can feel your... despair looming. And it looks like Tamamo isn't happy about that, either." Black Alice said, and to my surprise she was still in a surprised state.

"Shadow... You promised me you wouldn't die, but now you're dying to despair. What kind of guy breaks a girl's heart like that?" Black Alice asked, still concerned; I couldn't get a read off her emotions so I had no idea if she was bluffing or not. "No matter the obstacle you faced, you never faltered. I would have killed you at any point, but yet you still haven't faltered. Have you forgotten that? I've told you countless times, you're an impressive boy, but if you're going to let yourself down then I might as well finish you off here and now." Black Alice continued going on, still making the same face, but I didn't say anything. "... Are you going to disappoint your fellows? Are you going to disappoint me? Have you forgotten everything up to this point now? If you're going to be a burden to us all, I'll make your death quick and swift."

Black Alice... is lecturing me, just like Tamamo. As Black Alice went on, she waved a hand, and the darkness around us changed to show a figure standing alone in the breeze of a grassland near a lake... That figure was me. The vision showed all of my past: from befriending Rose to awakening my inner darkness and defeating Ilias Kreuz, assassinating Chrome and Black Alice's Scylla messenger, then me standing up against all the Four Heavenly Knights and becoming the Monster Lord's servant, and finally all my encounters with Black Alice. "Who... am I...? I came so far and I'd forgotten the accomplishments I made to get here... I'm a half-human, half-monster... I've inherited a power of darkness and using it to defeat all the evil standing in the way of coexistence! I won't hesitate to slay anyone that serves as an instigator to that path, and that includes Ilias, Promestein, and your evil nature Black Alice! I have to keep fighting, and I can't let any obstacle get in my way, not even a useless copycat!" I shouted. Black Alice's expression once again changed to my surprise, from shock to a brief smile.

"You've come so very far, Shadow. I'm very glad to see how much you've grown, and I really want to see how it fares when we finally have our final dance together. You're very unique in your own way, and that makes me very giddy inside." Black Alice giggled and handed me a cup of tea. "Black Alice... That title of 'Black' hardly seems to suit you, given the way you've tried to push me up so many times. Were Lilith and Lilim right, that you used to be so kind?" I chuckled as I sipped her tea. Black Alice simply continued to giggle. "Hm, may~be~ But don't misunderstand, I'd still chew your head off if you disappoint me again." she said innocently. "Also... they mentioned someone holding my power existed 500 years ago..." I told her, but all she did was giggle more. "Oh~ Who could ever that be~?" Black Alice replied, clearly avoiding my question. I finished her tea and set it aside, which vanished into the black space.

"I'm looking forward to our final meeting, Shadow. Please keep moving forward and don't disappoint me, promise?" she held out a pinky, and I found myself agreeing to it. "Thank you... Alipheese the Eighth." She giggled as I said that and waved as the dimensional space warped back to Tamamo's room. Shortly afterward, Tamamo entered. "Oh, hello Mistress. I thought long and hard about my future... I remembered everything I did up until now, I was stupid to let the despair reach my heart and for that I apologize. I'm going to keep fighting against Ilias, Promestein, and Black Alice.... I won't falter against them or their twisted army, I have to push forward to create a coexisting world, just like Luka's doing... I'm an assassin! And my darkness overpowers that stupid chimera copy! I'll do everything in my power for the better new world..." As I said that, Tamamo hugged me tightly and brushed her tails on me. "Welcome back, Shadow. It looks like you've recovered from the darkness of despair, and I'm glad to see you're in good spirits again. Thank you for not disappointing me."

"Now, what's my next mission?" I asked her. "Oh? How eager... Very well, your next mission is to lie down and recover! You're still not ready to go out yet!" Tamamo cheerfully exclaimed as she laid me down and continued focusing her magic on my injuries. I nodded and laid down, leaving my body in her care. Once I'm ready, I'll get going, completing missions and making one step closer to defeating Ilias!

Chapter 9: Epic Human Battle - Seeker of Truth vs Demon Assassin

Eventually my body fully recovered and I was ready to go out. "Finally ready? Good, because this is a vital task. We found one of Promestein's laboratories in Remina, and it holds a lot of data discs that I'm sure details her plans. I snagged a few, but the moment I left the area was immediately reinforced. I'll stay here and decode the ones I have; Nanabi and Yao will join you in obtaining those discs." I nodded at Tamamo's request and set out to Remina.

Nanabi and Yao were already at the outskirts, waiting for me. "It's been a long time, Shadow." Nanabi began. "Yes, I was wondering when you'd 'play' with us." Yao chuckled. "Get to the point already. I want a status report right now." I ordered. "Yes, our kitsune forces are still fighting off those strange beast monsters. However, we detected another presence amongst the enemy forces, perhaps a commander." Yao informed me. "Understood. While the forces are diverted, we'll go straight for the leading enemy. I'll stay in the shadows until I see an opening." I told them. "Understood."

As we headed into Remina, many kitsunes were fighting on even terms against the Chimera Beasts. However, one of the beasts suddenly grabbed a kitsune with its tail, but I sliced it off before it could fling her and caught the kitsune; the same silver two-tailed one that I've met over the course of my time. "Wawawa, thank you Shadow!" the Kitsune cried out as Nanabi and Yao kicked the ass of the beast attacking her. "You shouldn't be here, it's too dangerous. Tamamo could use your help in deciphering the discs." I told her. She thanked me again before running out of Remina.

Eventually the three of us made it into the heart of the ruins; I stood hidden in the shadows as Nanabi and Yao approached the commander: a... technologically powered human male? An unexpected enemy, guarded by two Chimera Beasts who were easily crushed by the two kitsunes, as expected of Tamamo's right hands. The human introduced himself as Solomon, a Seeker and Enforcer of Truth, armed with a strange-looking staff, a typical sword, a pair of metal claws, and some weird-looking goggles. Nanabi moved in, but I sensed the power of Earth appear in him, allowing him to effortlessly break Nanabi's hold. Yao jumped in and the two prepared a combination of Seven and Eight Moons, but Solomon's wind power made itself known and he fired a blast of bright white light, allowing him to dodge Fifteen Moons. Nanabi had to recharge while Solomon took Yao by surprising by firing an electric pulse from his staff, hitting and stunning her.

I Shadow Melded out from behind Solomon to attack, but he drew his blade and suddenly blocked my attack as if he knew where I was. I quickly leaped back in an engaged stance. "Nanabi, Yao, you've done well." I commended the two kitsunes said. "A quick glance from his fighting style: the fake Four Spirits, a weapon that induces paralysis..." I turned my attention toward Solomon. "And who are you?" he asked, but I said nothing. "Well, then I'll have to face you first." And soon the two of us charged in. My opponent was more formidable than I initially expected; even though I was faster, his wind somehow allowed him to narrowly dodge my attacks, and I could tell he was analyzing my movements when he stared at me with those goggles equipped. He also countered my Shadow Meld, striking my attack down with his metal claws when I moved in to appear behind him. "... You can detect me in stealth... though I suppose I shouldn't be surprised with sensor technology." I muttered. "These eyes reveal the truth." He said pointing to his goggles.

He then cast his earth power, and despite my sneak attack, he successfully grabbed me with his metal claw, holding me up in his restraints. I struggled feebly but with that earth power it was no use. "Intriguing power you have. Ah, a Monster and human hybrid? Extraordinary!" Solomon exclaimed as he examined me. "Like I said... These goggles reveal the truth. And your power is intruiging. Perhaps we can make something of it." As he said that, he swapped to his electric gun-staff and charged a blast, but I smirked and teleported out of his grasp with Shadow Walker. He looked on in surprise, allowing me to retaliate with Concealed Blade, knocking him away. Shadow, are you alright?" Nanabi asked when she went to check up on me. "I'm fine. Thank you." I said, dusting myself off. "It seems he's extremely troublesome, we must face him all at once." Yao suggested. "I don't want this to drag on longer than it should..." I replied and charged toward Solomon. As he tried to charge his electric gun-staff, I executed Ghost Stab in motion, striking the ground while erecting an ethereal blade under his foot, interrupting Solomon's charge; I didn't hesitate to unleash a Black Reaper on him, tripling my blade length and striking him down several times. Solomon flew back into a wall, and struggled to get back on his feet.

"Surrender? I'm afraid not. This ends now... for me at least. You are quite rare to force my hand at this." Solomon exclaimed as he reached into his pocket and grabbed a syringe. "I was afraid of what might happened after I call him out. He takes things too far. But for you three... he might have a lot of fun. They're yours now....Hyde." Solomon said as he pricked his arm with the syringe, its fluids entering Solomon's body; he then dropped the syringe as his eyes closed. "What's going on? Who is Hyde? And what happened to him?" Yao asked. "This... isn't good. I sensed something sinister in that injection..." I said in a cautious stance. Yao went to sniff him and exclaimed "He's...not down yet! In fact... all of the damage you have done to him is healed!" I quickly sensed something wrong when Solomon's vitals suddenly replenished itself and his body gave off a destructive, murderous aura. Solomon's body suddenly puffed up a bit he raised his head and his eyes opened, and started laughing and grinning. "Ehehehehe.... of course my eight-tailed fox girl. He's letting me play now. And look here! Three new things to rip open!" I quickly realized a murderous alter-ego of Solomon appeared before us. "If this becomes dangerous... I want you both to evacuate." I told the kitsunes, who nodded in agreement.

Hyde switched to his sword and charged toward me, but I managed to block his powerful strikes. Nanabi tried to intercept, but Hyde leaped onto her and drove her into the ground. But before he could attack, Yao swatted him off with his tails. I moved in with Shadow Meld to strike his back, but he blocked it and tripped me. "I watched as he fought you three. I know all your little tricks! Gigamander! Azure Flame Blade!" Hyde grinned as he pulled out energy canisters and summoned the power of fire, glowing with an unusual blue fire, more hotter than the red one. "Blink Dagger!" I shouted and spun towards Hyde with five consecutive slashes, but my steroid enhanced enemy deflected my attack with three powerful swings from his flaming sword, the scorching flame nearly burning my face. Nanabi took advantage of Hyde's distraction and grabbed him as Yao tried to charge a Moonlight Cannon, but on completion Hyde managed to cut off Nanabi's tails and causing the cannon to miss. As Nanabi's tails regenerated, Hyde didn't hesitate to rush to the two kitsunes and, with a red glow in his eyes and a evil laugh, spun rapidly, creating a massive crimson cyclone! "Black Tyrant Wyvern Blade! Die! Die! Die! Die!" the evil alter-ego shouted as the cyclone dealt devastating damage to the kitsunes, causing them to fly back overhead. I turned to the two Kitsunes before glaring at my opposition.

"Hehehe. What's with that face? I'm not done playing." Hyde chuckled evilly. I quickly regained his calm composure before closing his eyes. "You've done well, both of you." he said. "I'll finish this here... Shadow Walker." I said, teleporting Nanabi and Yao away. Hyde merely chuckled. "Hehehe. I'd never thought an assassin of all people would hide my prey from me." I turned my attention back to Hyde. "You're going to wish this 'game' was over when I'm finished." I told Hyde threateningly. "Well then, don't disappoint Shadow. You're more entertaining than those foxes." Hyde said, engaging a stance. "Twisted Demon!" I shouted, generating my dark aura. "Grandine!" Hyde called as the two of us charged. "Blinking Blade! Black Reaper!" we called out; Hyde struck with a fast moving blade while I struck back with quadruple lengthened blades. Our attacks collided, striking each other, but Hyde's power of water allowed him to make a blow to my chest, causing me to wince in pain. I then used Shadow Walker to get behind Hyde, and he struck the ground to make a large impact, but I was already behind him, and I landed my attack square on the back of his neck, causing my opponent to wince in pain! He didn't even try to use water for dodging!

Hyde seemed to be slowing down dramatically as our fight raged on. It was quite clear Hyde was panting, from the high energy levels used by the steroid in conjunction with my attacks inflicted over time. "This isn't fair... I'm supposed to be winning." Hyde said while exhausted and lightly dazed. "Where'd you go?" As Hyde looked around, it was too late: "Demonic Shadow Strike!" more dark power radiated from my sword as I slashed Hyde's back, causing him to fly back; the battle was decided in my favor! However, just before I could finish him off, an energy shield enveloped Hyde, and he switched to his electric gun-staff to drop another bright white light; I shielded my eyes and detected Hyde fleeing. "Coward..." I muttered. Once I was able to see again, I noticed Hyde had dropped something: data discs.

"Mistress Tamamo? I've secured some of the discs." I telepathically contacted my mistress. "Ah, excellent work. One moment please." Tamamo said; she suddenly appeared next to me, along with several kitsunes accompanying her. They collected the discs that were dropped by Solomon, and realized that he left a trail. "Shadow, you did splendid fighting their general; you never let me down. Now, please take some rest while my merry band will collect and investigate these discs." I nodded. "Hold on... Promestein had a male human helper... Who was he? He called himself... Solomon." I told her. Tamamo looked at me in surprise. "Eh...? Two years ago, a person named Solomon came to me and asked me historical questions. If he's an underling of Promestein, he must be one of her truth seekers and her right hands... Oh shoot, so that's why Tsukuyomi has my DNA! I knew something was off when he came to me!" Tamamo said with a concerned look. "Anyway, you defeated him, right? Even though you didn't capture or execute him, you still did well facing him. He'll be taken down one way or another. Now, please take your rest, I'm very very busy busy!" Tamamo shooed me off and I teleported back to the castle.

Chapter 10: Fate and Destiny

Luka and, surprisingly, a smaller Alice had returned to the castle. However, Luka had undergone an immense transformation: he had some wing-like structure on his back right, the left half of his face was lit ablaze, and the tip of his sword shined in a bright holy glow. Luka explained that he was the son of the second angel Seraph, Lucifina, and Alice explained how she partially escaped her seal. "Two half humans present, not counting Sara... How interesting." I quietly muttered. Queen Fairy and Elf eventually arrived to request that their kind be allowed to stay in the castle, due to the enemy force overtaking the island and moving all prisoners there; Tamamo explained the existence of a Drain Lab run by Promestein. Nanabi was also able to sense the presence of Alice's seal somewhere in the Forest of Spirits. Tamamo also planned to retrieve the holy energy source from the Sealed Sinner's Prison to counter Ilias's angel army. Despite Luka's determination to set out, Tamamo and Alice ordered him to rest his body and take care of it tomorrow, forcing him to retire into an empty room.

Tamamo suggested I let Luka handle all of that, but pulled me into a corner and whispered into my ear: "Our scouts have reported Black Alice at the Sealed Sinner's Prison. It seems that she's waiting for either you or Luka. We have an opportunity to take her out, or at least weaken her." I nodded to Tamamo as I left the castle. The prison itself looked rather unusual: it was just a simple old monument. Black Alice was there, leaning on one of the ruin walls and plucking off the petals from a black-colored rose. "Ah~ Shadow, you're here at last. I was hoping you wouldn't keep me waiting." Black Alice giggled as she noticed and skipped towards me after gently placing her rose on the ground. "Let's not waste any more time, I know how you hate it when people don't get to the point." Black Alice said as she snapped her fingers, once again forming the dark empty dimensional space around us. "So, it's finally time..." I muttered. Black Alice grinned. "Yes it's time we finally danced for real. You've come a long way to face me like this, so you'd better not disappoint me. One misstep... and it'll be your end." I never fought the current Monster Lord before; this would be a very tough battle.

As I generated my blade staff, Black Alice rushed toward me and tried to punch me at a fast speed, but I slashed her chest, causing her to slide backward. She then appeared behind me and reached over my arm to rub my groin; this caused me to let out a little moan, but I quickly regained my senses and elbowed her face and slashed. As she rubbed her cheek, her hair began to move and darted toward me, but I countered with Black Reaper and sliced her hair down. Black Alice giggled as she regenerated her hair and charged toward me, but when I slashed, she evaded and pushed me down from behind. I tried to roll, but Black Alice pinned me and tried to drop her waist down on my groin, but I Shadow Walked away and reappeared in front of her to kick her face. Black Alice rubbed her cheek and got back on her feet.

"Ha... Hahaha, you're just as fun as Heinrich! I expected no less from you!" Black Alice giggled as she started to radiate power, generating two dark orbs in her hands and a dark aura around her body. She then began to float into the air. "It seems pleasure attacks won't work against you. I wonder how you'll fare against my dark magic?" Black Alice began firing blasts of dark energy out of her hands, which I dodged, however they suddenly turned around and impaled me from behind, knocking me down. "Hah! Don't be foolish! A low-rate monster's magic doesn't even compare to mine's!" Black Alice gloated as she continued firing blasts of magic; I dodged and charged towards Black Alice, and moved out of the way once I sensed the blasts home back on me but ended up hitting Black Alice, knocking her down from the air! As she got back on her feet, I charged in and used Twisted Demon and Demonic Shadow Strike, striking her vulnerable body down! As I finished the attack, Black Alice generated a shockwave around her body that sent me flying into the air! She then made a hand gesture that summoned a large magical hand that grabbed me in mid-air! "See for yourself the power of the Monster Lord!" Black Alice exclaimed as she started to concentrate magic while I struggled in her grip. As she finished, a giant flaming whirlpool followed by a very cold atmosphere and finally several blasts of darkness were all ejected simultaneously.

I quickly Shadow Walked into the air and slid behind Black Alice. "Huff... That was really close..." I muttered as I jumped high into the air and again in mid-air to strike Black Alice's rear from behind. She quickly turned around to me in surprise. "Well well... I half expected you to dodge that. But how's this?!" Black Alice shouted as her dark aura began to radiate even more. Her blasts of dark energy were fired even faster and swerved in random directions, forcing me to hide in Shadow Meld, distorting the targeting of her blasts. When I tried to get any close to her, Black Alice grinned, as if she sensed my presence. "Black Space!" she shouted, channeling a magic vacuum that pulled me in, but what caught me by surprise was a magic shield during the vacuum, giving me no time to retreat after being pulled into the depths of the vacuum as Black Alice expelled the energy and ruptured the area around her with darkness, impacting my body and sending me flying! She then started channeling magic into more charged bursts that fired out at a lightning-fast speed, giving me ample time to evade. "Still light on your feet, huh? Frost Ozma!" Black Alice used her magic to freeze the atmosphere around us, which then suddenly froze the floor and caused me to trip! I noticed ice particles began to form around my feet, making it difficult to move. "And now, Omega Blaze!" a giant whirlpool of flame was summoned over me, but as she did that I used Ghost Stab on Black Alice, generating an ethereal blade that struck her hip, breaking off her concentration on me and allowing me to escape the flames before they incinerated me.

Black Alice's magic was incredibly oppressive, giving me zero opportunity to get anywhere close to her. However, she was far too focused on offense, so Ghost Stab nailed her a few times, but she laughed it off and maintained her attack, continuing to fire magic blasts repeatedly. I used Ghost Stab to distract Black Alice and charged in; just as she tried to use Black Space and envelop herself in a shield, the attack was interrupted by my quadruple lengthened blades of Black Reaper, striking her down to the ground! I leaped on top of her, using Demonic Shadow Strike to drive my blade down across her chest! Black Alice coughed blood as my blade penetrated her body, I retracted and got off her. "Heehee... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Black Alice's voice rang as her body got back up and she snapped her fingers, clearing up her blood and wound gash. "It's been centuries since I've had so much fun like this, since Heinrich! No more games! I'll show you my secret skill! Be glad to be the second person to see it, behind Heinrich of course!" Black Alice sinisterly laughed as her dark aura grew even bigger and more menacing; I felt my knees wobble slightly but I had to stay strong. Just what was she planning to use...?

"Both of us lived in the darkness but followed two different paths... Two fates were set in motion, and our own destinies were born! Our choices led us down this road, and it's finally come to this! I chose to conspire with the nefarious Dark Arts, but you've made your name as Death's hand! This is our fate and destiny!" Black Alice said aloud, grinning. "Now come to me... Demon's Curse!" Black Alice shouted as she disappeared. "Demon's... Curse? That's...!" Black Alice suddenly reappeared in front of me and attacked; I knew to block right away! As I got a good look at her, Black Alice's clothing changed completely to sleek dark blue overalls, and her left hand she was in possession of... a blade staff! Not just any kind; demonic eyes in the blade's centers, along with bat-like wings in the cross guard, and encompassed by a dark mist! "T-that's... my clothing! My weapon! H-how?" I was completely stupefied; Black Alice held a perfect replica of my own weapon! "If that's the case, then that means... I'm... Y-you're..." my train of thought was interrupted as Black Alice attacked in blinding speed, hitting my chest by surprise!

"Twisted Demon!" To my surprise, Black Alice generated an aura of darkness,just like I did! "Ah, it's been so long since I've fought this way!" Black Alice exclaimed as she suddenly reappeared behind me. "Wraith's Shackles!" Black Alice shouted the sharp metal of her blade created a long, shadowy leash that entangled around my leg! She made a forceful pull, knocking me off my feet, and didn't hesitate to rush toward me. "Wailing Banshee!" Black Alice continued by firing ten curved waves of dark energy toward me simultaneously, traveling at incredibly high speeds and sent me tumbling across the field, my hearing suddenly ringing and my vision feeling weak. "Deadly Specter!" Black Alice's snapped her fingers, creating an explosion on my back that pushed me down into the ground, which also formed a web that pinned me. "Abyssal End!" Just as I tried to Shadow Walk, Black Alice slashed me twice which summoned a black hole that vacuumed me towards its center before making two more heavy slashes which caused the black hole to create a huge explosion, sending me flying and dropping my body down to the ground! "The grand finale! Demonic Astral Phantom!" Black Alice finished off her showcase of skills as five astral projections were shot out from her, each one delivering a deadly slash.

I struggled to get back onto my feet. "*Pant... Pant...*" Black Alice approached me and pointed her blades up under my throat. "The Demon's Curse... Was a lost Cursed Sword art created by the darkness of the 8th Monster Lord: Alipheese the Eighth, under the alias of Phantom. Adopting the moniker of 'Demon Assassin', and armed with a wide variety of poisons and restraints, she would 'play' and torture her victims slowly until they were expendable..." Black Alice said, smirking. "There were mostly no survivors to this technique. But this style was lost since her downfall. However, you... are its inheritor. And that line became very true once you used it. You see now why I'm so interested in you, Shadow? You may be part monster, but don't forget you're also human as well." Black Alice looked down on me coldly, ready to kill me any time. "I'm... human...? That's right... even if humans seem frail and weak... Heinrich, Luka... and I aren't like typical humans..." I said softly; Black Alice tried to slash my throat, but my body reflexively leaned backward, causing the attack to go over my head. "They had help... from another source... But it was still their human body that allowed them... Gave them determination... To defeat their opposition! I won't... lose to you!" I shouted to Black Alice as I reengaged my battle stance.

Black Alice smirked as she used Wailing Banshee; I charged toward her as she slashed me numerous energy blades, but I dodged and retaliated with Concealed Blade. She quickly used Shadow Walked away and went a distance to use Wraith's Shadows, but I used Ghost Stab and ejected the blade out in front of me, resulting her grabbing that instead which vanished shortly after. "I fought my doppelganger... twice! You're only different... with a whole new set abilities!" I shouted at Black Alice used Deadly Specter, but I used Shadow Walker to escape before the web was created and moved in with Blink Dagger, knocking her back.

Our epic battle continued to rage on, and I could sense Black Alice beginning to tire, however that also meant I was tiring as well. "Abyssal End!" Black Alice shouted as she used the black hole technique again; I was sucked in, but just as she tried to strike me, I quickly used Black Reaper, its length was long enough to strike Black Alice from afar and hit her cheek, causing her to flinch and release the black hole on me! She quickly recovered and we charged toward each other. "Let's finish this with one final attack!" We both shouted at the same time. "Death's door awaits you! Demonic Shadow Strike!" "Let's all have some real fun together! Demonic Astral Phantom!" we both shouted in unison once again as we used our signature skills against each other: a focused darkness slash of murderous intent, verses five astral projections that swarm and overwhelm. Our attacks collided, a massive shockwave erupted on the impact of two extremely powerful forces!

We both panted from the final impact. A moment later, both of us fell onto our fours, our dark auras fading, clearly we were no longer in condition to fight further. As I panted, Black Alice crawled toward me and pulled me into a tight hug. "Guess I'm really rusty for not having used that in 500 years... But it's been so long... since I felt like this." Black Alice said, with a smile on her face. I saw tears beginning to form in her eyes. "I'm... proud of you... my dark child."

Chapter 11: Black Alice's Gift

"'My dark child'...?" those words left me shocked; I'm the descendant of Alice the Eighth herself? "... Yes. It's very long story. Lilith and Lilim were right, I used to be so kind back then..." Alice the Eighth went on, gently petting my head. Her personality has completely changed at this point, from a playful but murderous villain to a... caring figure? She then took off her outfit and laid on her back. "Please, enjoy my loving embrace, you deserve it~" she giggled as she spread her legs. I smirked, and she soon let out a loud cute moan.

Once we finished, we both put clothes back on. "W-wonderful... Just like Heinrich was~ It's been so long since I've felt so giddy inside~" she giggled. Just like Heinrich...? "Everyone says I was a tyrant, but that was... only half true. 500 years ago, I wanted to travel the world, but also fulfill a duty as the original Demon Assassin. I met Heinrich... and I fell madly in-love with him. We went on our journey together, just like Alice the Sixteenth and Luka did. We fought... and got married. But then... It's all Ilias's fault we were split! That witch possessed Heinrich to kill me! She wouldn't let him go... until she offered me a position in her ranks. She wanted me to control the darkness in the world so that Alice the First couldn't escape the counter to her seal. I... had no choice..." Alice the Eighth began to tear up at this point. "I love Heinrich, I still do... I'm certain he still loves me, since Seraph Lucifina gave him the Angel Halo and he tried to fight back against Ilias... When he lost, it was then I decided... to have revenge. I split my soul in half, containing almost all my good side and my swordswomanship, and fused it with Heinrich's seed, then sealed it away... That soul would draw in Heinrich's essence and incubate over time into your current form whilst sealed. You're technically half of me, but also my child. One day you would awake, and I knew you would rise your blade against Ilias, the good part of me fighting against her and making sure she's defeated."

"... I watched over your seal, waiting until the day it would be time to release you..." another voice rang out; out from the shadows stepped in... Tamamo! "M-mistress...?" I was shocked; not only was she here, but she also assisted Alice the Eighth a long time ago?! "Yes, Shadow. T-thank you for watching over him for me, Mistress Tamamo." Alice the Eighth said as she turned to the nine-tailed Kitsune, who smiled happily. "Of course, it's always my duty to look after the Monster Lords and her wishes!" Tamamo exclaimed. "... But seventeen years ago your seal broke and you were found in Noah by rogue humans. Fortunately your darkness erased them, and then Tamamo picked you up. And then you know the rest after that." Alice the Eighth continued. "... It must have been hard on you, Alipheese the Eighth, to do all this... But you didn't have any other options." Tamamo replied. "... It's that dreaded witch's fault. I made a choice, I followed my own fate and this is what my destiny became. But I'm happy that Shadow was able to prosper and live for me." Alice the Eighth continued, still tearing up; me and Tamamo held her tightly. "M-mother...? I'll do everything I can to stop Ilias." I told them. Alice the Eighth smiled and held me tightly. "My son... Thank you. I know you'll do everything you can to defeat all that's evil. You've proven so much; we couldn't be more proud."

Alice the Eighth then got back on her feet. "... I can't stray from my path now, otherwise Ilias would notice something off. But, I have a gift for you; this will help you in your battle to defeat her." Alice said as she closed her eyes and focused magic. A stream of darkness began to flow from her body and attached itself to me; as she did that I could feel the darkness within me getting stronger. "A part of your power...?" I asked. "Adopting the moniker of 'Demon Assassin', and armed with a wide variety of poisons and restraints, she would 'play' and torture her victims slowly until they were expendable..." Alice the Eighth repeated. "... After which she would eliminate her target swiftly and cleanly in cold blood... You're the true heir of the Demon Assassin's Cursed Sword arts." she said, smiling as she also handed me her stuffed teddy bear. I held it tightly to my chest. "Please take care of Beary too, my child." I nodded and Alice the Eighth kissed my forehead before taking a step back from me and Tamamo and waved. "Ilias will launch a second wave onto the world again; I'm sure you know what to do, Mistress Tamamo. I'm going to fight Luka and Alice the Sixteenth... and I know they'll beat me, even with Promestein's White Rabbit... It doesn't matter; what's left of me will be carried on by Shadow, and that's all I want. Thank you again, Shadow, and be happy with the peace you will obtain. I was Shadow's mother and Heinrich's wife... but now... I am... Black Alice..." were her final words to us before she snapped her fingers, distorting the dimensional space and sending me and Tamamo back into Tamamo's room in the castle.

Tamamo simply nodded to me; it was totally unexpected that she and Alice the Eighth were in cahoots, even up until now. As I set down Beary, I saw traces of magic suddenly flow out of her. The flow immediately went into the unconscious Rose. "Ngh..." Rose began to move and let out small noises! Me and Tamamo happily rushed toward her and held her tightly, happy that she was awake. "What... h-happened...?" she asked, and we began to explain what happened up until now, minus Alice the Eighth's assistance. "Promoted to Heavenly Knight...? Demon Assassin? I'm so happy, Shadow." Rose said and kissed my lips. "All thanks to you, Rose. I love you." I told her and kissed her back before taking her on the bed and proclaiming marriage.

Alice the Eighth... Not only did she empower me for the future, but she also broke Rose's coma! She sided with evil, but was always a good person in the end. Thank you... mother...

Chapter 12: Half-Human Tag Team

Tamamo finally called in a strategy meeting, involving the half-human half-angel Luka, the Monster Lord, and all the Five Heavenly Knights, including the half-human half-monster Demon Assassin. As Rose brought me tea, Alma Elma and Granberia began to bicker about the succubus queen triumphantly defeating the Cursed Sword master; remembering what happened four years ago and judging by their opposite personalities, it was pretty obvious how that happened. Tamamo quickly shut them up before instructing the original Four Heavenly Knights to attack the Ivory Towers to divert their holy energies and restore Luka to his full power. Alice would head alone to the Biolabs to wait for the holy energy to be diverted and then destroy the seal on her body before going after Ilias. As for Luka and I, Tamamo told us we would be working together at the Navel of the World. "Eh...?" Luka wondered. "Hm, a half-human tag team... How interesting." I quietly muttered. "The first human tag team I was with was Sara. I'll be looking forward to our teamwork together." Luka said as he walked over to me and offered a handshake, but I waved it off. "Sorry, but I'm not fond of handshakes. Though, the power of light combined with the power of darkness... Quite a dynamic duo." I told him. Luka smiled as he returned to his seat and I continued sipping my tea.

Just then, Tamamo said there was a second meeting; many human and monster figures began appearing in the hall via summoning magic. Amongst them was Shirohebi, Grand Noah Queen, and Succubus, who recognized me. "It's been a while, 'Mighty Assassin.' Are you well?" Shirohebi asked me. "I was hoping you would appear at the Colosseum again, but being under Tamamo's hand you seemed far too busy." the Grand Noah Queen said. "Yes, I'd love to have you around again~ We should play~" Succubus said with a blush on her face. "... When I'm off duty, maybe I'll come visit." I quietly said. As the two sat down, a muscular human figure with battle scars approached me, gazing at me. "You... Even though you look human I sense a monster power within you..." he said. "Yes that's correct. I am Shadow, of the Five Heavenly Knights and their Demon Assassin. And you must be the current Sabasa King; even though you look human, that monster blood and sensing ability is impressive." I replied. The King smiled at me as he took his seat. "Fifth Heavenly Knight? For a human... that's impressive!" voices from the group complimented my status. The second meeting began when Luka made a rallying speech, then Tamamo mentioned Ilias's second wave from Alice the Eighth's info leak, telling everyone to defend their hometowns. The meeting was then adjourned and we all retired.

I went back to my room. Tamamo came in shortly after and started writing several letters, but refused my help; I wasn't fond of writing anyway. Luka also came in and begun chatting with Tamamo, asking about her role the Monster Lord's Coronation, how she will beat Tsukuyomi, her plans after coexistence, and the story of Heinrich's demise. Luka then turned towards me and asked me my story, and I told him everything up until now, minus Alice the Eighth's flirting and the truth behind her past. Impressed, Luka then asked me about how I will defeat Raven, and I told him that she was merely an inferior copy and my shadow was stronger than hers. "Hm, what will I do after coexistence? Keep following Mistress Tamamo's orders and make sure the world stays that way. Of course, I only kill if Lord Alice wills it." was my response to what I would do after coexisting. He then asked me the plan for our tag team. "... You should know I'm not oriented for defense, but my offense is supreme. If you can create a distraction an opening, then it's finished for our enemies." I replied. Luka simply nodded, and with no more questions Tamamo finally kicked him out. I laid down on the bed and went to sleep.

As I rested, my body appeared in a black empty space; the same one made by Alice the Eighth. I expected her to show up again, but to my surprise a spectral figure came out, a figure greatly resembling Luka! "You... In this space... H-Heinrich, isn't it...?" I asked the figure. He nodded before putting my hand on my shoulder. "You've grown so fine, in Alice's good image. It's been so long since I've last seen her and stepped out of the prison, but I can see her figure shining in you, son." Heinrich's ghost said. "... It's my fault she turned 'Black'; I let Ilias distort my mind and that made Alice turn herself over to Ilias. I realized I had a chance at redemption with the Angel Halo, but even in the end I was powerless to stop her..." Heinrich let out a soft sigh. "... It was neither you or mother's fault, only Ilias can be blamed for that. But despite your failure, your redemption is still there; you have me and Luka!" I told Heinrich. He smiled at me and patted my back. "Shadow, you really are your good mother's successor, the child of the Demon Assassin and the Hero's Soul. While I've declared Luka as the rightful heir of the Hero's Soul, it wouldn't hurt to pass it onto you too. Even though you have your mother's techniques, I'm sure you'll find a way to incorporate my elemental philosophy with your abilities." Heinrich then took a step back. "... My time has come; my soul's been weakened over the years I was sealed, and I've only had enough power to see my two descendants. You both have grown so much, and I'm pleased to have fine children. Thank you for doing everything in your power to help us. Be happy... with the peace you'll obtain." Heinrich waved farewell as his spectral body vanished.

The space around me distorted as I found myself back in Tamamo's room? "Hey, Shadow? You've look like you seen a ghost." Rose said as she hugged me. "Ah... Mistress Tamamo's waiting? Thank you." I quickly got ready and rushed out to the main hall where everyone was getting ready to leave. Rose left with Shirohebi to defend Yamatai while I jumped on Luka's Garuda Girl, Galda, and we flew towards the Navel of the World. When we landed, Galda took off and Luka and I moved on. The entrance looked like a valley, lined with numerous naked angel statues, most with stone humans clinging onto them. A voice suddenly came out from the statue and ordered us to leave, but we drew our swords. I used Concealed Blade on the statue, but it suddenly released a gas, spraying itself over me! "Sylph!" Luka shouted, creating a gust of wind that blew the gas away. "*Cough* Thanks. *Cough*" I coughed a few times to make sure the aphrodisiac gas was dispelled out of my system, and just as I did that Luka shouted "Cutting through time, space and reason! Flash Kill!" and his flashing blade slashed the creature, cutting it in half. "T-that cut through Kraken's Aqua Pentagon didn't it...?" I muttered, witnessing Luka's angelic powers in action. Luka offered a hand, but I once again turned it down and got back up on my own.

Luka and I pressed on and we encountered another statue sitting in the middle of the road; a gargoyle. Suddenly her eyes lit up and her body unpetrified. "Hehe... so the Hero and the Assassin's come all the way here?" the statue said with a sinister grin. Luka mentioned that he couldn't sense her presence. "... Idiot, a statue in the middle of the path is obviously not noteworthy." I sarcastically said as we engaged a fighting stance. The monster explained her previous role and her new role when recruited by Black Alice. Luka quickly applied Gnome as Gargoyle Girl went after him using her giant breasts; while guarding against her attack, I Shadow Walked behind her to attack her wings using Blink Dagger. Bits of her body parts were chipped off as she angrily turned toward me and tried to grab me. "All life returns to the nature from whence it came! Heavenly Demon Revival!" Luka shouted as he fired a magical blast at Gargoyle Girl, hitting her rear. "Pests!" she angrily shouted and tackled Luka, pinning him. As I attacked the creature, Gargoyle Girl's body slowly reverted back to stone, but Luka eventually managed to escape. As Gargoyle Girl's body was petrified, her eyes briefly opened and shined brightly, but I obstructed Luka's vision and quickly shielded my eyes. "The jaws of the Rakshasa come to make the wicked pay! Ninefold Rakshasa!" Luka shouted as he slashed the petrified monster with nine rapid slashes. "Death's Door awaits you! Shadow Strike!" I shouted in unison with Luka, slashing Gargoyle Girl with him using my dark power.

"Grr...!" Gargoyle Girl recovered from her petrified state and angrily stared us down. "Devil's Fang!" a female voice rang out; it didn't come from Gargoyle Girl. "T-that... Luka!" I shouted toward my comrade and pushed him out of the way as seven waves of energy impacted me and pushed me towards Gargoyle Girl, allowing her to pin me. "Hehe, to receive help like that from all people. Now to play with you!" Gargoyle Girl triumphantly laughed as her body turned to stone. However, as it neared me, I quickly Shadow Walked into her pedestal and leaped away. "C-curses! Not again!" As Gargoyle Girl petrified herself again, Luka and I turned towards a new attacker. A completely naked angel, with blonde spiky hair and an Ilias tattoo engraved on her body, armed with a curved sword. "Hehe, it's been so long, Shadow!" the angel said to me. "You... I thought you died years ago." I cried out to the angel. "Oh no, that was just a familiar, fool. I am Principality Python, I was implanted into Ilias Kreuz in order to keep you under watch!" the angel laughed sinisterly as she took a swig of beer and swiss cheese. "And I'm a f**king angel; you can't hurt me now!" She triumphantly exclaimed as six snakes appeared and cloned their master.

I was at a complete disadvantage; I couldn't harm angels at all. As the clones moved in to attack me, Luka jumped in front of me and used Ninefold Rakshasa, knocking the clones away. "I'll be your opponent! Shadow, I'll take care of the angel, just watch my back and deal with the monster, will you?" Luka requested. I nodded and redirected my attention back to Gargoyle Girl, who was freed from petrification. "You're really, really, really getting annoying!" Gargoyle Girl angrily glared at me. "Twisted Demon." As I used that, she charged at me, which I evaded and slashed her side. Despite being a powerful enemy, she was actually very slow, as expected for a statue, though her body was quite difficult to penetrate. A few of Python's clones ran past Luka and aimed their attacks toward me, but Luka took them down with Flash Kill, sending one of the clones tumbling into Gargoyle Girl. After recovering, the monster glared at the angel before resuming her attack on me.

"Ugh... How are humans so strong...?" Gargoyle Girl was getting extremely exhausted. Just as she was panting, an attack Python made and deflected by Luka struck the monster. "What the hell you stupid serpent?! Stop getting in my way!" Gargoyle Girl angrily shouted and attacked the angel, to no avail. "Me?! It's your fault for not dodging!" Python replied and swung her sword down at the monster, who angrily groaned in pain. "Hah! And you deserved that!" The angel laughed and taunted. "You ass! I knew teaming up with you was a bad idea from the beginning!" The two women quickly got into a cat fight with each other, completely forgetting about me and Luka's existence. "My mother is the Star of Morning, the child of dawn. The star thrown to the Earth shall obtain victory! Daystar!" Luka shouted asa humongous meteor was dropped onto the two creatures; they were both completely annihilated, nowhere found in the crater that was made. "W-was that Lucifina's signature skill...?" I muttered, impressed. "What a tough battle..." Luka and I wiped our sweat as we put away our weapons and moved forward.

The two of us finally made it to the core of the Navel of the World. There was another figure... that resembled Luka! The figure suddenly turned from male to female and revealed itself to be Luka's doppelganger before attacking. As I tried to assist, I sensed an attack aimed for me and prepared to block. "Flash Kill!" Luka shouted as he slashed behind me, but the attack phased through my body and hit another figure in front of me: the Shadow Chimera, Raven! "Ugh, you're supposed to keep him occupied!" Raven angrily shouted towards Doppel Luka before returning her attention to me. "You've come this far at last, but I'll end you here and now!" Raven shouted as she and I engaged a battle stance.

Chapter 13: Demon's Curse - Second Path

"Twisted Demon! Zylphe, come!" Raven shouted, generating a black aura around her and summoning the artificial spirit of wind to aid her, combining the power of darkness and wind. I held off from using Twisted Demon, needing to conserve my energy. "Promestein suggested that I let you watch Luka's downfall back at the Monster Lord's Castle and let you suffer from that..." Raven said as she attacked me with her blade staff, which I tried to parry, but her attack was incredibly swift that I could only stop her after a graze to the cheek. "But I see that was a grave error. I should have made your death quick and swift, and I'll do it here and now!" She quickly jumped back and tried to attack again; Luka tried to intercept with another Flash Kill, but Doppel Luka also jumped behind Raven and attacked with her own Flash Kill, striking through us and impacting each other, offsetting them. Luka was shocked as Raven suddenly slipped past me and went in between me and Luka; we both tried to strike her body. "Gnomaren! Blink Dagger!" her body used the power of earth to block our blows before striking us down with a fierce multi-hit attack with the earth's weight behind it; Luka's my own attempt to retaliate with Ninefold Rakshasa and my own Blink Dagger failed due to her added overwhelming earth power. "How disappointing..."

Raven took no hesitation to continue her onslaught. I attempted to retaliate with Ghost Stab, but she quickly shouted "Grandine" and effortlessly cut down the attack with the power of water; a Black Reaper also failed to save me when her water attack pierced straight into my chest, causing me to scream in pain. "Get it through your thick head! You have no chance at beating me! Gigamander! Demonic Raven Strike!" As I recoiled, a fiery blaze and dark glow encompassed Raven's blade as she slashed me cleanly across my chest, sending me tumbling across the ground. As I struggled to get up, I noticed Doppel Luka effortlessly offsetting Luka's own attacks and he too was on his knees. "See now? It's hopeless to resist!" Raven gloated as she slashed me, knocking me down. "It really was a mistake for you to have those powers! Now die!" Raven shouted as she drove her blade down into my body to pierce my heart.

"... What a waste..." Raven said as she coldly looked down at my body. However, my body had vanished into a thick black smoke, but Raven was unfazed. "Pathetic, are you going to keep resisting death?" she said, turning around to see my body reappearing behind her. I struggled to get back on my feet, eventually managing to stand. "Hmph, I won't die here and not to you... You stupid copy. I made a promise to someone... that I wouldn't die. And I won't!" I shouted at my clone. "How cute, petty words before your death." Raven replied, shaking her head. "Zylphe! Concealed Blade!" With the wind behind her back, Raven made a quick straight dash forward. "You've forced my hand... Very well... I guess I will play with you for a little while." I began to chuckle, transferring my weapon over to my left hand and spun it; the weapon's deep black glow was replaced by a thick black mist. "Wailing Banshee." I muttered as I made five slashing motions with my blade, each shooting out a wave of dark energy and raced toward Raven at the same speed, striking down her face and stopping her in her tracks. "Gah... What was that...?!" Raven muttered as she got back on her feet.

"What is that skill?! How come I don't know it?!" I heard Doppel Luka complain as Luka infused the power of the four spirits into his right arm, boosting his sword slash and hit his copy with an attack he called "Element Spica". After a brief dialogue exchange between Luka, Doppel Luka put her sword away and took off her clothes. "You're really going to use that? He doesn't look worth raping..." Raven scowled, disliking Doppel Luka's new tactic. "But he is, after all, quite weak to sexual techniques." Doppel Luka replied as she made sexual advances towards Luka. Raven simply ignored that and returned her attention to me and charged. "Wraith's Shackles." I muttered as a shadowy leash was ejected from my weapon, entangling itself around Raven and restrained her body; she quickly switched to Gnomaren while bound and broke free of the restraints, but with a snap from my fingers came Deadly Specter's explosion directly on Raven's blind spot on her back, knocking her off balance and on her face. "New skills, I see... And you managed to pierce my earth somehow..." Raven said, gauging my ability. "Don't tell me... you're actually using that dumb elemental shtick too?"

As Raven carefully eyed me, Doppel Luka was on her knees and accidentally fell into Luka's Daystar, defeating herself. "Incompetent fool..." Raven muttered as Luka turned to her. Shortly after that, a surge of elemental power grew from within him; the Heavenly Knights had accomplished their mission! "Oh dear... It seems I came too late. To think all four of them would lose! Each and every one of them, useless!" someone's voice rang out; the insect Next Doll Rapunzel appeared and flew into the battlefield. She stared intently at Luka before gazing her attention to her Next Doll companion. "Oh good, you're still here Raven." Luka and I knew Rapunzel had no chance, but she insisted on fighting. "They all lost?! Promestein must have made some very grave miscalculations!" Raven gauged me carefully. "It's far from over! I'm still standing!"

Raven used Grandine in response to my next wave of Wailing Banshee, but she successfully cut them down with Black Reaper. "Hah! Don't think the same trick works twice! Have you forgotten that I'm designed after an assassin? We're made to think and adapt!" Raven boasted her high intelligence. "Then... I'll have to use them in a way you can't anticipate them." I replied. "Stay with me, Grandine. Ghost Stab!" Raven generated two ethereal blades of darkness to my front, but using my sight and reflexes I sensed their approach and dodged them; she used Black Reaper again and approached me, but despite her water I narrowly evaded her lengthened blades. "W-what is this?! My perfect artificial spirits should be unmatched!" the chimera shouted, shocked; I could sense her bloodlust rising greatly at this point. "... Except you're not using them right... I fail to see your greater intelligence if you can't understand that." I replied. I've known Luka and the other Heavenly Knights using their elemental powers properly, but Raven is being too heavily dependent on them, not understanding the source of their true power. "That doesn't make any sense at all! How dare you mock me! Gigamander, come!"

My copy scowled as her blade of flame appeared; she recklessly charged at me with Concealed Blade. "Oh my, a blind spot. Wraith's Shackles." I giggled as I intercepted with a shadowy leash that wrapped itself around her, and threw her up into the air. With an opening present I jumped sky high after her with multiple airborne jumps. "How pathetic, you claim to be an assassin but you're just a lowly clone, always has been, always is and always will be." I taunted while above her. Raven used Shadow Walker and teleported above me, trying to retaliate with Demonic Raven Strike. "Abyssal End." I responded with a quick double slash across her chest, creating a large explosion that blasted her out of the air. On landing, Raven was left completely shattered and ragged, only their upper body parts remaining and profusely 'bleeding' oil. "N-no... I'm-I'm-I'm th-e-e-e ul-ul-ul-ul-timate... S-s-s-shadow c-c-chimera.... R-r-r-ra-v-v-ven! H-h-ow di-d-d I-I-I l-l-o-o-o-s-s-e-e-e-e?!" Raven pondered on her defeat, sputtering and emitting sparks. "Let's all have some real fun together! Astral Phantom!" I giggled as I made a slashing motion, ejecting five astral projections toward Raven and cutting her down and finished her off for good, her body deactivating and slumped onto the ground, lifeless. Luka also finished off Rapunzel using Element Spica, sealing her and causing her to vanish completely.

"And that's the end of the Next Dolls..." I panted. Luka was also exhausted from fighting two powerful enemies. "That darkness... It feels stronger than before... Quite impressive." Luka told me as he gauged my strength. "I told you my darkness would outshine my doppelganger's. Now, there's no time to rest; we need to keep pushing forward. We've fought very powerful enemies, but they come nowhere to Ilias." I told Luka. He nodded as the two of us proceeded, coming across a large door in the middle of the field.

Chapter 14: Final Farewell

"So, that's the Gate of Heaven?" Luka asked as he reached out to touch it. "You two have done well to make it this far!" a female voice came out, causing Luka to jump back from the gate and pull out his sword. The gate began to distort and warp itself, transforming into a humongous angelic being. Her angelic body was riding atop a beast creature with many tentacles and angel wings to her sides and had a very large mouth lined with numerous breasts inside and had a very long tongue. "I am the angel that connects the Heavens and the surface world. A gate that serves as her own gatekeeper." the angel introduced herself. "No enemy shall pass. You will be sent to the underworld, not the Heavens. No... Perhaps I'll simply keep your souls forever to play with..."

I materialized my sword; the Heavenly Knights must have finished distorting the world's holy energies so I should be able to harm her. Luka quickly summoned all Four Spirits while I covered him, distracting the gate; her massive tentacles fired at me but her massive body also slowed her down, allowing me to evade. However, attacking directly would just mean getting stuck in her mouth, so I had to wait for Luka to finish. After channeling Undine, he attacked the Gate with Heavenly Demon Revival; the angel turned towards him and attempted to lick his body with her massive tongue, but was suddenly stopped when Salamander's flame blazed brightly on his sword as a Daystar was dropped onto her. As she was taken aback, I jumped onto her beast body and used Abyssal End to cut her angelic body cleanly with a powerful explosion, causing her to scream in pain. "Y-you! How did you hit me?!" the Gate roared as she tried to flick me off with her beast tongue, but I jumped off and the tongue licked her angel body.

The Gate then shot tentacles at Luka and I, but I cut them off with Wailing Banshee while Luka countered with Flash Kill. "W-what?! How...?! What are you monstrosities?!" The gate reared back in shock, trembling already. Luka slashed her with Element Spica, causing the beast body to collapse. "How pathetic, a weak Cherubim..." I muttered as I jumped to attack her angel body with Astral Phantom, overwhelming her with multiple powerful astral projections. Her body slumped as I jumped off and Luka took my place to slash her angelic body, defeating her at last. "To think... You could destroy this gate..." were the Heaven's Gate's final words before her particles reformed her body back into a normal gate.

Luka opened the gate and the two of us entered Heaven. The area within was glowing and somehow tranquil, but deep down we both knew it had sinister presences. Shortly afterward, a normal-looking angel appeared. "So you've finally arrived... I am Seraphim Eden. The first and highest among the angels, who serves at Ilias's side." the figure greeted us calmly; a Seraph meant business. "So you're the highest ranking angel? But your heart looks so disturbed..." Luka said. Eden angrily scowled at this. "Son of Lucifina! Even you dare to taunt me!?" "I am the most faithful among Ilias's followers! Both Micaela and Lucifina betrayed her! I am not the Third! I love Ilias! I honor her always!" Enraged, she began to radiate power. Her body then transformed into a colossal appearance; her angel body stood atop a throne with multiple women, with some garden-like fluff and tree growing out of her throne, and below that were large angel wings along with many pairs of breasts and serpent-like tentacles. "Look upon my power! The power of a Seraphim, inferior to neither Micaela nor Lucifina!" Eden boasted as Luka and I stared on. "It has been a long time since I've shown my true form. Not since the Great Monster Wars against the Ancestors... You both are dangerous. There will be no reincarnation for neither of you. You will be weakened, and eliminated. With that in mind, you will be imprisoned for an eternity. Rather than letting those heretic souls free, it will be something much safer. Prepare yourselves for the eternity to come. The humiliation I've endured will be inflicted upon you, thousands of times over..." We could both sense her sheer hatred and rage and we both drew our swords, ready to face the towering menace.

Eden focused her attacks simultaneously on both of us, swarming both of us with her numerous serpent tentacles. There were far too many for me to cut down, and eventually one of them managed to grab me and held me up high in the air, and Luka was also captured. After a bit of caressing, I managed to escape with Shadow Walker while Luka broke free with Gnome. "That annoying power of yours..." Eden muttered as she sent her angels on her body to grab us, but we evaded, however this was Eden's trap to lure us into her massive wings, which she brushed us against; I could feel my strength being sapped away from her overwhelming power. Both of us quickly broke free and started fighting back with Wailing Banshee and Heavenly Demon Revival, carefully managing our distance. "Those who were tempted by the serpent were cast out from paradise. I wonder if you can withstand her temptations?" Eden shot out numerous tentacles at us, but Luka and I managed to dodge.

"Haa... Haa..." Luka panted; I too felt exhausted from Eden's violent onslaught. "You're quite skilled, son of Lucifina, half-breed monster. But you're only human. You cannot stand against a Seraphim!" Eden triumphantly shouted as she shot countless tentacles toward us. Suddenly, a vortex of fire surrounded me and Luka, shielding us from the tentacles. "Sorry for the delay, Luka, Shadow." Alice said as she slithered into the fight, back in her original body with fresh powerful magic flowing within her. "But... Is she even an angel? If a hideous figure like that descended, children would just cry." Alice said, mocking Eden's body. "Monster Lord Alipheese... Even if you show up, the outcome won't change. The three diseases that have been plaguing Ilias... I'll eradicate you all at once!" Eden shouted back. "Let's take her down quickly! A more powerful foe awaits us, after all!" Alice told us. With a renewed morale, the three of us charged into the fray!

"Now, I'll invite you to paradise... Surrender to your baser instincts, and indulge in the finest of pleasures." Eden sent her angels to grab Luka and I again, but Alice countered with Frost Ozma, freezing the angels completely, shocking Eden. She then sent her tentacles out at us again, but Alice also countered with Omega Blaze again and Luka aided with the fiery Ninefold Rakshasa while I helped with Wailing Banshee while picking up the fire from Omega Blaze, burning them into a crisp completely this time and leaving Eden defenseless. "Curse you, Alipheese! Curse you, son of Lucifina! Curse you, half-breed bitch!" Eden angrily shouted. "See for yourself the power of the Monster Lord! Monster Lord's Cruelty!" Alice shouted as she fired four barrages into Eden's angel body, pushing her back. I followed in after Alice, jumping on Eden's monstrous body and right up her face. "Let's all have some real fun together! Astral Phantom!" I threw astral projection barrages at Eden, pushing her back again. "My mother is the Star of Morning, the child of dawn. The star thrown to the Earth shall obtain victory! Daystar!" Luka finished Eden off by dropping a giant meteor onto Eden, exploding her with holy energy. "I... Can't lose...! I am not... Inferior... To Lucifina!" Eden cried out in agony as she vanished into nothingness.

While I took deep breaths, Luka and Alice complimented each other. "And you, Shadow, your darkness seems to have grown a lot over the passing days. You've grown so much into a very powerful half human-monster." Alice said as she complimented me. I simply nodded at her before the three of us advanced deeper into Heaven. "... Everyone is fighting..." Luka muttered. "...If you're sensing it, then it must be so. It looks like their voices are reaching you." Alice replied. "That is correct... Once you're in Seraphim class, you can hear the cry of the soul itself. With that power you hold, it's no wonder." A voice rang out as a human-looking scientist stepped in; Promestein. She said something about loving humans and knowing her fighting forces are losing. "Hehe, it isn't futile! This situation is exactly what we wanted! I've been waiting for these circumstances for so long! Thanks to you, everything has gone perfectly. It means this is all going according to the scenario I laid out. The dispersion of Heavenly forces... Eden being knocked down... And for Black Alice to devour Ilias herself! The power of the Dark God will fuse with Ilias, and create the ultimate existence!" Promestein boasted. This shocked us; Black Alice and Promestein were in cahoots for Ilias's downfall? Promestein then held out a syringe with sinister power flowing through it; she claimed it contained the cells of the first monster lord before injecting it into herself. Promestein's body suddenly expanded and transformed, ripping off her coat and becoming a giant tree-like figure with many stalks and tentacles near her main body.

Promestein boasted her power, but knows she's nowhere near Black Alice for she had become infused with Ilias's light, and plotted to swallow Luka right here and right now. Her massive tentacles reached out for Luka, trying to suck his groin area, but he used Sylph to dodge. As she attacked Luka, I leaped onto her stalked and aimed for her angelic body, but she grabbed me from behind with her tentacles and threw me into the ground. "Oh, how could I forget you? You looked like a great test subject; I had a lot of fun experimenting with your power to create Raven, yet you crushed her still! Let's assimilate your dark power into me!" Promestein stared down at me as her tentacles raced around my body and caressed me; the attack was far more draining than Eden's, and left my body feeling numb and weak. "Ugh...!" I groaned as the tentacles lifted me into the air and brought me toward her angelic body, where her plant base revealed a giant mouth ready to swallow me. My own body, still feeling exhausted, refuse to move, rendering me helpless as I was brought closer and closer to her mouth, which opened wide and prepared to swallow me. "N-no..." I muttered feebly. But before I could be swallowed, the tentacle carrying me was charred by Alice and cut down by Luka, dropping me onto the ground. "Ngh... I don't think I can withstand another attack..." I weakly said. "It's all right, you've done well. We'll handle this!" Alice responded and she and Luka stood in front of me, preparing to defend my body.

"Oh, what a disappointment. The great half monster at mercy at the power of the Dark God, from just a single attack!" Promestein boasted. "Come, Gnomaren!" Promestein summoned the artificial spirit of earth and tried to restrain Luka, but he dodged with Sylph and Undine's help and continued attacking with a flurry of sword strikes backed with Alice's magic. Promestein quickly switched tactics and summoned Zylphe; this time she managed to restrain Luka, but as her giant swallowing mouth came near, he broke free with Gnome. After a fierce fight, Luka managed to finish her off with a Daystar; Promestein's body disintegrated and worms started pouring out of her flesh. Before she disintegrated into dust, Promestein arrogantly declared humanity as her successor of her insane research. Luka and Alice quietly pondered her last words before turning back to me, as I managed to get back on my feet. "I'll be alright," I told them. "Don't allow me to be a burden. The final fight's up ahead, better finish it now than never." The two nodded, leaving me to rest.

I took a few minutes to rest and regain my strength. Black Alice absorbed Ilias; her power must be stronger than Promestein's. But I'm her descendant, and she wanted me to stop her evil side. "You're almost there, Shadow! Keep pushing forward and let nothing stop you!" I heard a voice in my head; Heinrich's voice. "Shadow, my dear child... You've grown so strong; you don't know how happy I am to see you blossom. Now go, rid the world of the evil that lurks within the light and darkness!" I also heard Alice the Eighth's voice ring in my head. "My mission... is to seek out and destroy all evil. I'll be the one to stop your nefarious ways, Black Alice!" I said aloud before rushing out. When I arrived at the center of Heaven, Luka and Alice were fighting a transformed, naked Black Alice attached to a demonic lamia-like body with many tentacles behind her back, with a divine power clinging to her body. "Feeling better? You're just in time. Black Alice is almost down." Alice said to me as Black Alice's body was faltering under Luka's might. "This can't be... I..." Black Alice acted shocked before gazing her attention on me.

"Shadow... You're here at last... I'm surprised you still came to my final tea party." Black Alice's voice suddenly softened at my presence, although Luka and Alice were still wary. "Shadow... What are you doing?" Luka questioned. "Reports stated that Black Alice showed a very high interest in Shadow. Let them talk it out for a bit, Luka." Alice replied. I gazed my eyes upon Black Alice's demonic body. "Hmph... Black Alice, look at what you've become now. All the more reason for me not to join your side." I chuckled. "I had a lot of fun, watching my minions chase you down, you looked so cute as you feebly struggled. But now here you are... Finish me off, I'd like to see you try." Black Alice softly smiled at me. "Very well then. I'll be the one to finally end this all. Farewell, Black Alice. Shadow Strike." I told her, drawing my blade and cutting her chest cleanly with the power of darkness. Luka and Alice looked on in surprise when Black Alice allowed me to attack her without resistance. She recoiled under the attack, beginning to tremble and shake, a high level of hostility suddenly bursting from her. "Hehehe... No... I cannot lose! I will never lose! I will rule over everything! The power of the Dark God that sleeps in this body... I'll release it all... Even if I'm no longer myself... Even if I can't hold the world in my hand..." Black Alice shrieked as her body began to expand like a balloon, releasing overwhelming berserking power. I engaged a stance, ready to deal with the final threat.

Black Alice's flesh expanded rapidly and filled up the area around the three of us. Black Alice emerged, her body fused to the mass behind her containing numerous tentacles, venus flytraps, breasts, suckers, tongues, hands, and so forth. "I am Alipheese... The Monster Lord who will consume everything... I will consume the world itself... Starting with you three..." Black Alice said to us. Her power continued to go berserk, and her flesh continued to expand; Black Alice was no longer herself, not the loving mother or the dark terrorist, but an insane demonic figure with a mouth that of a black hole, consuming everything in its path. "This is insane! At this rate, she really will consume the world!" Alice shouted in surprise. "Then we have to stop her now!" Luka shouted back, readying his sword. "You shouldn't have driven me this far... Your deaths won't be easy now. I'll toy with you until you regret ever being born. Let me see you cry as I digest you alive." Black Alice glared down at us, her body parts ready to attack.

I applied Twisted Demon and waited for an opening; any attack could easily finish me. Luka tried to summon the Four Spirits simultaneously, but as he got to the second spirit, Black Alice shouted an incantation that dispelled them instantly, shocking him. He quickly resorted to Undine against the colossal monster, narrowly avoiding her tentacles. She eventually managed to grab him and started squeezing his groin with her tentacle. "Luka!" Alice cried out and used Monster Lord's Cruelty, but Black Alice swung her tentacles at her and knocked her away, sending Alice tumbling and downing her. "Alice!" Luka shouted as he managed to break free with relentless struggling and fired a Daystar onto Black Alice. I quickly rushed in and followed up, but Black Alice appeared unfazed by the Daystar and grabbed me, sticking a venus flytrap near my groin. I quickly attacked it, breaking free from her grab.

Black Alice shouted her spirit dispelling incantation before summoning Zylphe and grabbed Luka who infused with Gnome, then put a tongue on his groin. I quickly ran around Black Alice, keeping my distance as her tentacles proceed to caress me. After a while, Luka eventually escaped, but heavily exhausted. "She's... She's so powerful...!" Luka shouted, using a Heavenly Demon Revival. "Don't give in. We have to keep fighting!" I shouted back as I used Blink Dagger to blow off the tentacles around me. Black Alice ran her spirit dispelling incantation again, then summoned Gnomaren and chased us around with a large sucker, but we nimbly evaded as Luka used Sylph and Flash Kill and I used Concealed Blade, damaging Black Alice. She scowled and called her spirit dispelling incantation once more, summoning Grandine and attacked with her flesh hands, but Luka's Salamander and Ninefold Rakshasa in conjunction with my Black Reaper blew them off, even though they managed to inflict damage to us, exhausting our strength even more. Black Alice called her spirit dispelling incantation one last time, then switched to the final spirit, Gigamander, and popped out breasts from her body, but Luka countered with Undine and him and I evaded her attacks using water and he retaliated with Daystar and I followed up with a Demonic Shadow Strike to her main body with the opening made.

"THAT! IS! IT! I'VE HAD IT WITH YOU TWO!!!" Black Alice angrily roared as she began radiating even more power. "ZYLPHE! GNOMAREN! GRANDINE! GIGAMANDER! ALL OF YOU COME RIGHT NOW!!!" the berserk demon shouted as she somehow managed to channel all four artificial spirits simultaneously! I sensed the artificial spirits being used beyond their normal limits, as if they were going berserk just like Black Alice! "T-they're going berserk too!" Luka shouted as he gripped his sword even more tightly. "THIS ENDS RIGHT NOW!!!" Black Alice used all her arsenal simultaneously, firing every single piece of her body parts at us. The sheer power she just channeled was extremely overwhelming; we couldn't counter it! Black Alice effortlessly grabbed us and stuck us on her body, imprisoning us. Luka was immediately swarmed by tentacles, venus flytrap, suckers, tongues, hands, and breasts, leaving him in complete agony! "ENJOY THIS HELLISH TASTE!!!" Black Alice said to me as she dropped her body down onto me, sticking my thing in the lips between her legs! Luka and I let out a loud moan as Black Alice tortured us; we couldn't endure at all, and both of us soon leaked.

Black Alice had a triumphant smile as Luka, Alice and I were defeated by her. "Hehe, you're both quick to reach your limits. In the end, you couldn't stand against a God!" Black Alice gloated her victory as she continued her movements on the two of us, humiliating and torturing us with her immense body and power; we lost. There wasn't any hope left... "Shadow... you promised me... you wouldn't die..." I heard a woman's voice; I looked at Black Alice but she was still moving toward me. I blinked and saw what was talking to me: a faint silhouette of Alice the Eighth behind Black Alice! "Are you going to fall right here and now, let everyone's hopes and dreams die?" Heinrich's spirit suddenly appeared next to Alice the Eighth. "Are you going to let this colossal beast win and break your promise? You've come so far..." I heard Alice the Eighth say. I closed my eyes for a bit, absorbing their words. "No... I'm an assassin made to defeat all evil! I can't fall here!" I shouted at Black Alice as my body began to summon the darkness within my heart. She looked at me surprised as I managed to summon my swords and attack her body, shocking her and releasing me from her grasp! Luka too was also released and he fell to the ground, slumped but alive!

"W-what is this?! How is this possible?! You leaked into me! YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN BROKEN!!" Black Alice roared at me; my body was still fazed and damaged but my spirit wasn't shattered! "I'm not going to lose to you! I'll defeat you and bring peace to the world! My duty is to assassinate all evil creatures, including you!" I shouted back at Black Alice. "Grr... ZYLPHE!!!" Black Alice shouted and tried to summon the spirit of wind. However, nothing happened; her body wasn't emitting any element at all. "WHAT?! GNOMAREN!! GRANDINE!! GIGAMANDER!! COME!!" Black Alice tried to summon the artificial spirits, but once again nothing happened. "WHY AREN'T YOU COMING?! I ORDER YOU TO COME!!" I gauged Black Alice's body and sensed that the artificial four spirits were no longer in her; they must have overloaded and shattered when Black Alice used them all simultaneously. "It's the end at last... The Demon's Curse, its true power revealed! Curse Unsealed!" I shouted, my blade shining a deep black glow surrounded by a dark mist, humming with power. "NO!!" Black Alice was shocked and I took advantage of that to use Wailing Banshee on her main body, pelting her all around with ten dark energy waves. I could sense her willpower was fading away, Black Alice's mentality and physiology being completely unstable due to her very short-lived victory and my attack. Black Alice's sexual parts raced towards me, but I used Deadly Specter in rapid succession, creating numerous explosions across Black Alice's monstrous body and snaring it down with shadowy-like webs. "WHAT?! HOW?!?" Black Alice was even more shocked as I rushed over to her main body. "The end for you. Fall into the abyss; Abyssal End!" I created a black hole on her body, her base seemingly being pulled in, before slashing it to create a massive dark explosion.

Once the smoke cleared, Black Alice appeared heavily weakened. "Wraith's Shackles!" A shadowy leash shot out from my blade, entangling itself around Black Alice's main body, and pulled with all my might; I successfully yanked her out of the monstrous body, her own landing in front of me. "Alice the Eighth... I'm happy... that I can finally bring you peace. Cursed Astral Phantom." I muttered under my breath and attacked her with astral projections, slashing her down. Finished once and for all, both her monstrous and main bodies began to melt and disintegrate. "I am... The Monster Lord... I will... Consume the world..." with Black Alice's power sapped, the battle between us was finally over. "We did it! We finally got her!" Luka cheered triumphantly. "You hold nothing now. Now vanish into the darkness of history." Alice got back up and coldly told her ancestor. "My power... Is gone... My... Everything... I... I..." Black Alice was stunned as her body faded into dust that faded into nothingness. While Luka and Alice were cheering, "It's... over at last... Alice the Eighth." As I looked down at the lump of flesh, I saw a figure rising from it, an ethereal one; Alice the Eighth's spirit. It didn't seem like Luka and Alice could see her ghost. Heinrich's spirit appeared next to her and Alice the Eighth rushed into his arms, smiling and crying. "Thank you, Shadow. I knew... I could count on you... I made the right decision to mother you. Please, be happy with the peace you've obtained..." Alice the Eighth smiled at me before vanishing with Heinrich. As they disappeared, I smiled knowing that Alice the Eighth was at peace, something I don't do very often. I turned towards Luka and Alice and shook their hands. "Thank you, Luka, Alice. I couldn't have put Alice the Eighth to rest without your help." I told them. "No, thank you. If it wasn't for you, we couldn't have defeated Black Alice at all! The remaining ounce of your darkness came out and defeated her!" Luka smiled and shook my hand, and the three of us triumphantly exclaimed our victory.

Chapter 15: Final Dance

"Yes... Ilias and Black Alice are both gone..." Alice triumphantly exclaimed. However, no sooner do the words leave her mouth, a powerful feeling of imitation spreads through the air. A remaining piece of flesh from Black Alice suddenly started wiggling and moving. "Her body was destroyed and her spirit's gone. No..." I muttered as a figure emerged from the flesh: Ilias! "Well done, Luka. You've served me well." the goddess smirked as her radiance filled the air around us; all three of us were shocked at her appearance. Ilias proceeded to explain her true master plan of being eaten by Black Alice and then having Luka free her to become the ultimate entity of light and darkness, using everyone whether friend or foe to achieve her goal. Not only we could sense her divine aura, but also some dark magic clinging to her body, the same feeling from when we fought Black Alice. Ilias announced her new plan of restarting the world in her own image and destroying the Dark God once she revived, eliminating every monster in her path. "Hero Luka... Of course you were an important piece in my plan, too. You were my precious servant, who ripped me free from Black Alice's body. You have performed your role beautifully. So... I must reward you."

The three of us were finally fighting Ilias; the final battle at long last! Ilias wished to reward Luka with her body, while planning to send Alice down into hell. "And... That half breed, Shadow. Even though you're part monster if it were not for you Luka could not have released me. How about I reward you as well, once I purge that darkness lurking in you? Or would you rather be sent down to hell, like with Alipheese?" Ilias offered to me. "This is... our first and last meeting. But like Alice said, you're nothing but a petty bitch. I swore I would slay you a long time ago, and I will!" I shouted and charged towards her. She retaliated by firing a bolt of lightning, but I narrowly evaded the attack and slashed Ilias's body, harming her, but she didn't lose composure. Luka and Alice quickly followed up and the three of us teamed her. However, Ilias had a lot of sexual skill and she damaged Luka quite a lot with her hand, mouth, breasts, and wings, but he stood strong and continued attacking her. Ilias also tried to mount me, but Luka shoved her off and I assisted him.

After a few tradeoffs, Ilias took a step back and softly smiled. "I see... Great power, indeed. As expected of the one I entrusted to defeat Black Alice. If you're going to resist this much, then I suppose you don't wish to be rewarded. I shall have to show you my true power, then." Ilias said and begun to radiate with power. Her angelic body slowly broke apart and grew monstrous traits. Luka and Alice were a bit surprised but knew they couldn't falter. Ilias's transformation completed: her main angelic body was attached to a monstrous form possessing a massive tentacle and a giant semen extractor. "Look upon my sacred form. This is the appearance of a true God!" Ilias arrogantly exclaimed. "Sacred form? No matter how you look at it... You don't look like a goddess." Luka commented the figure. "Hmph... Like a primitive monster. If you hate monsters, you should hate yourself." Alice said. "... This is just sad. You look worse than Eden, Promestein or Black Alice..." I quietly muttered. Despite her overwhelming power, the three of us kept standing head on. Luka and Alice quietly prayed for strength from their loved ones; "Rose... the Heavenly Knights... Yamatai and Noah... Alice the Eighth... Heinrich... Without you all I couldn't have been where I am today. This is my fate and my destiny... And I'll continue that path, I'll continue where you all left off and finish this accursed bastard! Mother, father... your strengths have been incorporated into me, and I'll use it just like you both always wanted me to!" I quietly muttered to myself. "Despair! Lament your fate as the ones who would resist a Goddess!" Ilias shouted as the four of us clashed in the epic final battle!

Luka quickly channeled Gnome as Alice attacked. "My inner darkness, rampaging and destroying: Twisted Demon!" I shouted, generating my dark aura around me. "Hehe, splendid. The power of the Dark God, who plagued me... In my own hand!" Ilias boasted as her power shook the ground itself. "What power... I know, Gnome. You're protecting me!" Luka shouted, infusing himself with the earth. "Wind, I command you to tear them to pieces!" Ilias shouted and summoned gusts of wind that cut the air around us. "Reaper, cut down all evil that surrounds me! Black Reaper!" my blades quadrupled in length and I spun them, slashing down the wind gusts. "Hidden blade surprise! Ghost Stab!" I then stabbed in front of me, creating two ethereal blades to Ilias's sides and slashing her main body. "That dark power within you... Impossible... To think it be staring at me again from 500 years ago... For her defiance I thought I'd turn her and her wretched human mate against each other... So that was her plan all along, to seal her power into you and hide you from me. That bitch... I'll make sure to reunite you with that hellspawn in hell!" Ilias glared at me and was shocked, as were Luka and Alice. "Unforgivable Ilias! Turning two star-crossed lovers against each other!" Luka exclaimed. "Shadow really is part human and part monster, huh? Looks like Ilias's own meddling created her own downfall!" Alice chuckled. "Is that the truth...? My my, I'll happily savor every ounce of your fear and hatred. I'm sure my parents will delight once I claim your head!" I responded. "Hehe... Those two deserved what they got! They deserve to have turned against each other, and their son twisted! I was hoping I could purify you and I'd use your pure human body to rescue me, but you foiled me and let your power grow. Oh well, it was still satisfying to see mother and son fight each other to the death! Hahahaha!" Ilias boasted. "... The Demon's Curse, its true power revealed! Curse Unsealed!" I shouted, my blade shining a deep black glow surrounded by a dark mist, humming with power.

Suddenly a feeling of wind appeared: Alma Elma! "Aha, I'm the second of the Knights to arrive~!" Luka, Alice and I were delighted with her appearance. "The Queen Succubus, is it? What does a weak Succubus think she can do here?" Ilias shot out her massive tentacle towards her, but she caught it and drove her palm into it, damaging it and stopping it in its tracks, surprising us. In a ready stance, Alma Elma and her martial arts style joined the fight! Ilias glared down Alma Elma, saying she hates succubi the most for their pleasure, and cussed at her after Alma Elma replied that disavowing pleasure is what caused conflicts. "Those who defy their God shall vanish." Ilias said as her massive tentacle raged about, but Alma Elma once again countered it with a palm attack, giving the rest of us an opening. "Burn to ashes! Omega Blaze!" Alice started off with a vortex of fire around Ilias. "Faster than the naked eye! Concealed Blade!" I shouted and dashed into the flame, cutting Ilias's lower body before rushing out. "Cutting through space, time and reason! Flash Kill!" Luka finished and used his space-time slash to cut through me and the fire to hit Ilias. "With my very heart and soul! Palm of Pure Violence!" Alma Elma then flew towards Ilias's main body and struck her shoulder with a palm attack.

"How annoying, Queen Succubus! Vanish!" Ilias shouted and dropped a thunderbolt on Alma Elma, but she used her wind to evade in time. I quickly rushed towards Ilias for my next attack. "Hehe... Even the power of the Dark God is mine now." Ilias summoned a hellfire around her, but I leaped out of the way and onto the flying Alma Elma's back, then jumped off of her for altitude. "Scream and defile! Wailing Banshee!" I retaliated by firing blade waves off my sword, homing directly into Ilias's body. "Break! Dragon Knee!" Alma Elma followed up with a knee attack, but Ilias used her massive tentacle to blow her off, which also slammed into Luka, Alice and I. "Guh... She's strong..." Alma Elma said concerned; she's already faltering compared to the three of us, and Ilias still had a lot of health remaining. "Alma, pull back already!" Alice ordered, but Alma Elma shook her head. "No... I can go for more..." Alice shouted again "This is an order from your Monster Lord! I forbid you to die in front of us! Fall back, and live in the peaceful world to come!" Alma didn't take long to think about it and smiled. "If you're going to go that far, then I'll have to comply... Monster Lord, I wish you well in your fight. And Luka, Shadow... I'll give you a reward once you're back safely~" Alma Elma then blew a kiss towards Luka and I, magically revitalizing us as we all turned back to the threat in front of us.

Luka quickly reapplied Salamander as Alice used Omega Blaze again and I again used Concealed Blade. "This fight will end now. Be purified, you evil being." Ilias said as a tsunami was summoned around her and moved in to crash into us. Suddenly a wall of water was formed around us, nullifying Ilias's attack! "So I made it in time. I'll assist now..." Erubetie finally arrived, once again to our delight. I could sense her hatred towards humans had vanished, now that she was fighting alongside Luka and I. "Let's fight together, Erubetie! We'll entrust you with defense!" Alice told her subordinate. "Understood, Monster Lord. No attack of hers will get through me..." Luka, Alice and I attacked as we thought Ilias was stalled with Aqua Pentagon. "Now then... Should I crush this annoying defender of yours?!" Ilias shouted as her holy fire magic was condensed and exploded onto the wall, instantly shattering it with one blow! "It can't be... With a single blow? Then I shall protect you all with my body." Erubetie was shocked but calmly regained her composure as her body of slime appeared in front of us and shielded us. "... What? What are you thinking, Erubetie?!" Alice looked on in surprise. "Repent your sins through pain!" Ilias then dropped another thunderbolt on us, but Erubetie blocked it with her own slime body.

"I am protecting the hope of our world. You won't lay a finger on them while I live!" Erubetie exclaimed. "Erubetie, don't be foolish!" I told her, but she ignored me. "The flames of hell Alipheese herself thinks she can use!" Ilias summoned another hellfire, but Erubetie once again blocked it with her own body. "You cannot block my attacks forever. It seems you will be the first to fall into hell." Ilias taunted as she continued attacking with lightning and fire while Luka, Alice and I kept fighting her, but the two begged Erubetie to withdraw. Her body was collapsing on herself, clearly past her limit! "I said you were dismissed! None of us want your sacrifice! If you wish to protect the hope for the future, you must survive! Don't abandon your responsibility to lead your brethren! You cannot indulge in self sacrifice here!" Alice ordered. "Please... For everyone's sake, retreat! Don't you believe in us?! Then fall back!" Luka shouted as well. "Erubetie, if anyone's going to die here, it's Ilias! You have my word on this, I swear as the Fifth Heavenly Knight!" I shouted too, requesting Erubetie to flee. After a moment of silence, Erubetie spoke up. "I hate my own lack of power... Please... May the fortune of war be with you..." Erubetie slowly staggered away, and Ilias just laughed. "Oh my... Your shield of slime seems to have vanished. And here I was hoping she would shield you to her death."

I could sense the power of the Four Spirits fading away from Luka, so he reapplied them. Alice threw another Omega Blaze at Ilias while she threw a thunderbolt at Luka, who was unable to dodge in time. "This has gone on long enough. After I eliminate you three, I will remake the world..." Ilias muttered as she stared down at us still. "You're breaking our agreement, Ilias!" a voice shouted and a large crimson flame appeared around Ilias, heavily damaging her; out from the flame was an elder-looking Tamamo with immense power greater than the three of us! Ilias was surprised, acknowledging her from the past; a Six Ancestor. "Heh... All our powers have hidden secrets don't they?" I chuckled as Tamamo explained her mission given to her by the Dark God. "Evil shall be purified by fire!" Ilias condensed holy fire magic and released it onto Tamamo, lightly burning one of her tails. Ilias offered Tamamo to join her friends from long ago, but she said she wasn't alone because of the current generation and mocked Ilias for being alone.

"I'll remind you of the pain I can bring. Dance of Death!" Tamamo began spinning around her, clawing Ilias and clearly showing heavy damage from cut marks onto her body. "All life return to the nature from whence it came! Heavenly Demon Revival!" Luka followed up and fired a magic earth blast at Ilias. "I shall crush you like the insect you are." Ilias retaliated, shooting her massive tentacle to crush Tamamo. "Freeze! Frost Ozma!" but Alice countered, stalling the tentacle with ice and giving time for Tamamo to move out of the way. "Relentless death and a splash of blood; Blink Dagger!" I slid next to the tentacle and struck it repeatedly. "It has been a thousand years... But taste the power of my tails! Nine Moons!" Tamamo followed up and smashed the other side of the tentacle with the might of her tails, crushing it. "The apocalpyse awaits." Ilias suddenly radiated a holy wave of destruction, impacting Luka and Alice; it made straight towards me but Tamamo shielded me with her own earth body! "Mistress Tamamo! Are you hurt?!" I shouted to my wounded mistress.

Tamamo struggled to get back onto her feet. "I'm... all right." she said, but suddenly she shrunk back into her sealed form. "Guh... My time's up! But I won't fall back. I'll settle the score from the war long ago!" Tamamo kept standing up to the plate. "No, fall back! I've always thought of you as my second mother. I don't want to lose another mother before my very eyes." Alice begged her. "That's right... Leave them to me." rushed in the final Heavenly Knight, Granberia! "Then I'll leave it to you young ones. Monster Lord, you aren't allowed to fight to the death either. Shadow, you've grown so strong, but I can't find a replacement husband, so stay alive for me. Luka... You must swear to survive, no matter what. Understood? You must all live, and come back safely!" were Tamamo's final words before leaving. Granberia then stepped up to the plate. "Now then... The Cursed Sword user Granberia challenges you!" the dragonkin shouted while unsheathing her weapon. "Another sword waving barbarian." Ilias scowled. "I won't deny it... I've lived for the sword ever since I was born. I'll show you the results of my lifetime of training!"

"Enjoy! I brought a gift! Deadly Specter!" I quickly created a series of explosions on Ilias's body, a shadowy web slowing her parts down. "Ha!" the four of us attacked Ilias simultaneously with a basic attack. "I'll show you the power of darkness! Monster Lord's Cruelty!" Alice shouted and fired four blasts of dark magic at Ilias. "I'll pierce you through! Bloody Fissure Thunder Thrust!" Granberia charged forward and slashed Ilias with a piercing thrust. Luka and I quickly followed up with Flash Kill and Concealed Blade. Ilias suddenly broke free and retaliated by throwing thunder, fire, giant tentacle and holy fire at us all, but we all managed to dodge. "Break! Dragon Butcher Attack!" Granberia cleaved Ilias. "The power of the Four Spirits, in my hand! Element Spica!" Luka channeled elemental power into his right arm and slashed Ilias, using the torrent of magical power against her. "Death's door awaits you! Cursed Shadow Strike!" I jumped onto and off Granberia and Luka and leaped towards Ilias, slashing her with the power of darkness. Ilias immediately fought back with another Ultimate Messiah; none of us were able to dodge and we all took the full force; the attack left me on the ground but I shortly managed to get up. Alice then quietly focused magic. "Someone has a bondage fetish! Wraith's Shackles!" I shot out a shadowy leash at Ilias's main body, tying her up. "A speed faster than the gods! Death Sword Chaos Star!" Granberia resumed with a flurry attack. "The jaws of the Rakshasa come to make the wicked pay! Ninefold Rakshasa!" Luka followed with and slashed Ilias nine times. "Let's all have some real fun together! Cursed Astral Phantom!" and I finished off, releasing the leash and firing five astral projections at Ilias. "See for yourself the power of the Monster Lord!" Alice finished charging up and fired a simultaneous strike of Omega Blaze, Frost Ozma, and Monster Lord's Cruelty. Ilias reared back in pain, but she was still releasing deadly power. "Shall we begin the recreation?" Ilias dropped a huge wave of genesis power onto us, dealing huge damage and leaving me heavily injured.

I was now on the ground, panting. "Shadow, retreat right now! You can't go on like this anymore!" Alice ordered me. "...I made a promise... that I would see this to the end... But I guess even I have limits. I trust you'll take care of everything?" I told my comrades before retreating a safe distance. "Hmph. That good-for-nothing half breed, finally gone." I heard Ilias say. I turned around and saw Ilias trying to beat the crap out of Granberia, who retaliated with Vaporizing Rebellion Sword repeatedly. After many barrages, Granberia finally collapsed, prompting me to run back. "Fall into the abyss; Abyssal End!" as Ilias raced her tentacle towards Granberia, I leaped in and vacuumed the tentacle into a black hole in front of Ilias and slashed it, exploding waves of darkness into her face. The attack left me on the ground again, dispelling my dark aura and my energy completely spent. "What are you doing?! I told you to leave!" Alice shouted at me. "I... I'm not going to let my comrades die like that...!" but Ilias just laughed. "Allow me to finish you two off!" the evil goddess moved her tentacle toward me and Granberia. "Come, you face my holy blade!" but Ilias was suddenly stopped by a sword slash that left a huge injury on her; we turned around and saw a seraphim angel flying before Ilias. Luka was surprised as the angel named Micaela said she lied about running out of power before claiming to be out of power now. Ilias towered over us, but Micaela suddenly returned and slashed Ilias again! She claimed to have lied yet again, but now truly out of power, she picked me and Granberia up before taking us away; the rest of the world's shoulders now finally rests on Luka and Alice. I felt my body suddenly slip into unconsciousness as the final battle grew farther and farther...

"Ngh..." my eyes opened and I looked around the surroundings; Tamamo's room in the Monster Lord's Castle. "Was I... dreaming...?" I looked around and saw Tamamo right next to me, wrapped with a few bandages on her body and tails. "Ah, you've woken up! It's been a week since then!" Tamamo exclaimed and hugged me tightly. "Did they... beat Ilias...?" Tamamo nodded and explained that Luka slipped into a coma since the final battle and Alice is staying next to the bedridden hero. "I see..." I leaned onto Tamamo, smiling as she held me tightly. "Welcome back, Shadow!" the citizens of the Monster Lord's Castle stormed into the room and greeting me, Rose included, who all hugged and kissed me and explained how the world was slowly becoming a coexisting world, and they all thanked me for my help. "Ilias, she's gone at last... I couldn't have done it without the great monsters I've been with all my life... Alice the Eighth, Heinrich... I finally fulfilled my promise to you... Luka, I couldn't have done it all without you..."

Epilogue: The New World

I quickly received a report that with the downfall of Ilias, all of her followers immediately surrendered and all the world's leaders and Heavenly Knights are working to keep the peace; so far there has been no serious act of rebellion or revenge. Rose, Imp, and several other monsters in the castle invited me to "sleep" with them as thanks.

Once my body felt better from the fight with the evil goddess, I set off to see the new world myself, leaving to Yamatai Village. The humans were still worshipping the monsters present, though there were still men lusting after monsters. I found a bunch of Akaname and also a Miko Lamia mentioning that humans forgave them for their crimes and now happily coexistence with the village. At the snake shrine, Shirohebi was accompanied by her elder sister, with red eyes; she had trouble apologizing and eventually gave up upon seeing me, glaring down at me. I quickly left after the younger said the elder was being tsundere about apologizing. I also heard Yamata no Orochi made amends and I decided to check it out. "Oh? It's been so many years. Ever since I've been released I made amends; I don't keep villagers captive now. Though, a lot of men happily visit me every now and then, and I'm satisfied with that. Thank you and that other human for helping me see the error of my ways." the creature said as she greeted me. That other human she's referring to must be Luka. "And if you ever want to visit again I'll be glad to keep you company."

I then headed to the cat shrine, where the nekomata was happily eating her food. She quickly noticed me and gently nuzzled my leg while mewling. After a bit of petting, she pushed me over to her nearby friend, a goblin girl. "Oh? If I'm not mistaken you must be the 'Mighty Assassin' and the 'Fifth Heavenly Knight' I've heard so much about. Me and my friends looked up to the Four Heavenly Knights, but news of a fifth never reach our ears until recently. I'm a goblin who used to be a bandit, but ever since that hero taught me from right and wrong the village of Iliasburg accepted me and allowed me to make amends. I now transport heavy objects to and back." The goblin said. The second time I'm hearing Luka's name; he must have done a lot over the world. "Once I'm ready, I plan to travel around the world with my friends back at Iliasburg, and of course with this nekomata." the goblin girl finished. "I see. From your story, you seem to have changed a lot. Just continue the good path you're going down now." I told her. "Yes! Thank you for your kindness, oh great knight!" she said, bowing before me.

At the fox shrine, Nanabi and Yao were relaxing along with a two-tailed Kitsune. The young Kitsune happily hugged my leg while Nanabi and Yao simply greeted me. "It's been a while. Have you rested well?" Nanabi began. I simply nodded. "Yes, your final battle with Ilias must have been rough." Yao said. "Well... dealing with her was a rough fight, yes, but I wouldn't be in any condition to defeat her were it not for everything you have given me as well as the fights before Ilias. I thank you from the bottom of my heart." I replied as the two smiled. "By the way... Mistress Tamamo..." I began to ask, but Yao motioned to say no more and just nodded. "What about her? What is it? Tell me!" the two-tailed Kitsune happily jumped up and down on my leg like a little kid. If she kept that power hidden for so long until absolutely necessary, any leaks of her true identity, even to her own, could spell a lot of trouble. "Oh... She's just happy to have us supporting her back." I said, petting the young Kitsune's head. She looked up at me and smiled. "I'm happy to have a mistress like her~ Be sure to tell her I said hello~"

"The future's changed a lot, hasn't it? All because of you." Rose greeted me outside of the fox shrine. "It's only fair I return the kindness to the monsters who helped me." I replied as she pulled me into a kiss. "I'm... happy that I met you, that you led me out of the light of Ilias Kreuz. You've always been there when I needed it the most. You changed my life so much... I couldn't have fought against the evil or serve the Heavenly Knights and the Monster Lord without you... I'm... grateful." I told her, smiling. "Shadow... You know you're very much welcome. After all, you saved me so many times, even saved me from permanent darkness. I'm very happy to have been the one... who looked after you all those years ago." I could see a tear coming down Rose's cheek; I held her close and took her back to a quiet place, continuing to profess my love for her.

Surely, Yamatai wasn't the only one who achieved peace. I wanted to see if it really happened in other areas. My next stop was the Grand Noah Kingdom. As usual it was bustling with life with humans and monsters, with some new additions to the population: Chimera Roids. "I'm a fighter in the Colosseum now," one of them told me, she was armed with a large lance and a whip, a Knightroid. "It would be an honor to face Raven's inspiration on the arena floor... If Arc-En-Ciel had lived to see this day, she may have found a reason to live on, as I have..." It seemed as if the colosseum was still lively as ever, but as I made my way there, a creature flew down from the sky, darting toward me. "Yoo-hoo! Shadow-boy!" the voice called out as the figure, Alma Elma, landed next to me and gave me a tight hug, squishing me against her chest.

"Alma... I see you're the main attraction as usual." I said. "Of course... I can't have fun unless I'm moving my body. I love this kind of play, after all." Alma Elma replied. "Why don't you enter the next tournament, Luka? I'm going to participate too... I'll give you extra special attention." she giggled, continuing to smoosh me against her chest. "Hm... Unfortunately I've got matters to attend to. Perhaps next time." I turned down her offer. "Oh my, are you scared? Are you worried your white stuff will shoot straight up in front of a huge audience? Hehe... Come back if you change your mind." Alma Elma giggled as she let me go, and flew off.

I then went to examine the castle and hear from the Queen herself. As I walked, people continued talking about the inclusion of the Roids. I've also heard one mention from the former Noah Ilias Kreuz had been left in a daze since Ilias's machinations and downfall. "Welcome, Shadow. The Demon Assassin who aided the true Hero, Luka." the Grand Noah Queen elegantly bowed as I kneeled before her in respect. "Hahaha! No need for formalities. Are you here to inspect the kingdom? As you can see, ever since your victory in the Queen's Cup, along with Luka's, many warriors have thrived to meet the expectations of the Hero. Although of course the rape shows are still lively, I'm indebited to you and Luka that at least a balance between the two have formed." The queen smiled. "The Roids have also pledged to stop attacking the kingdom. It is the duty of the Hero to create peace. And it's the duty of us administrators to maintain that peace. We will protect the peace you have created with the Hero. All of the Kings and Queens of the world are united in that desire." she then put a hand on my shoulder. "So... You have borne more than any one person should have had to. How are you holding up?" I looked at her and smiled back. "... Thank you for your concern. But through all this, I wasn't alone, and neither was Luka." The queen nodded. "I see... You have good companions. You are always welcome here in Grand Noah. Next time you visit, I will prepare a grand welcome."

Feeling that all was done with the Grand Noah Kingdom, I made my way to Undine's Spring. I was informed that one of Black Alice's goons had poisoned the spring with magic mercury, that it will take a very long time to purify. "Oh, Shadow?" A voice called out to me. It was Undine, the water spirit, who was attempting to purify the lake along with Erubetie, stationed at the opposite end and out of hearing range. "I'm surprised. You actually managed to master your inherit darkness. I'd never thought I'd see that power awaken again, not since 500 years ago... When we first met, I really wasn't sure what I was seeing, but now that the Demon Assassin has been made whole again..." Undine said, gently placing her hand on my shoulder. "So the Four Spirits really did travel with Heinrich and Alice the Eighth... Almost makes you spirits my godmothers, in a sense?" I let out a hearty chuckle, and Undine softly smiled in response. "The Hero's Soul and Demon Assassin, an unusual combination, did indeed travel and fought together, like a happy couple. But once Ilias set her roots and strained the relationship, Heinrich left us spirits to rescue his lover on his own. When he failed, seeing you I can only surmise Alice the Eighth left a descendant of her power behind somehow. Of course, none of this information has been relayed to Luka." Undine then held me close, pressing my head against her chest and patting my head gently. "I'm grateful for your aid. I've made my stay in Plansect Village and come here every day to purify the spring. But there's no need to rush it, perhaps there's no longer a need for a refuge for Slimes now... I'm expecting great things from you, descendant of the Demon Assassin. As much as I'd like to 'reward' you, I'm certain you're preoccupied, and I won't hold you from your duties."

I then made my way to see Erubetie on the opposite end of Undine's Spring. "You came all the way here just to see me, Shadow..." she said as she saw me. "I trust everything's been well?" I asked. "...I'd like to have a nice, long talk with you. About wet, sticky coexistence between humans and monsters. So... Won't you please come in the Monster Lord's Castle with me?" she asked. I looked on surprise, as if she's matured lately thanks to Luka's influence. I shook my head in response. "I still want to see the changes of the world. Perhaps next time." I responded. "I see... That's too bad... Truly a pity................" Erubetie went back into silent mode as she stared intensely. I then waved farewell to Erubetie and Undine and left the spring.

The next place I wanted to see was Port Natalia. Surprisingly the Megalodon that threatened the waters hadn't been much of a talk compared to the assaults led by Queen Mermaid; now there were more mermaids living in the port, and the Queen herself has been nestled up in a little palace not far away from the port. As I walked, I came across a familiar face. "Well well, if it isn't Shadow. Come for a visit?" Seira, a mermaid bartender, spoke to me. "It seems like Port Natalia's more lively than ever. I'm rather curious as to how Queen Mermaid's holding up." I told her. "Ohoho. First you wrangle with a colossal sea creature, then we do the tango in bed, now you want to go toe-to-toe with the Queen? Does nothing ever scare you?" Seira laughed as she moved close to me, gently pressing her large chest against me. "I'm sure you'd give me the wildest ride of my life, love. Unfortunately as much as I'd like to stay, I'm afraid I'd have to postpone that." I responded. "Oh, that's a shame. No problem, if you're here to see the Queen then just follow this road." Seira told me. I thanked her and left.

The palace that the Queen Mermaid was staying in looked like a small temple-like structure. "Hm? You must be Shadow, the Demon Assassin. Apparently, Black Alice spoke highly about you as her 'destined one'." the Queen Mermaid greeted me. "Is that so...? I did consider putting you on my target list, but given your conflicted views of humanity I decided to give you a chance to redeem yourself." I told her. "My misanthropy cannot be changed now. But there's no reason for me to pass it down upon my descendants... So I've decided to migrate here for the sake of my family. I will let them experience for themselves, and let them decide on their own. I'm also here to ensure a tragedy as what happened to me before doesn't arise again." Queen Mermaid replied. As I nodded in agreement, I felt a little tug on my side. "Huuman~?" a timid voice said as I looked down, noticing a younger mermaid, the Princess Mermaid El, tugging at me. I knelt beside her and gently patted her head, and she looked at me innocently with a giggle. "Ehehe~ Play with me, play with me~!" El exclaimed, wrapping her little arms around the back of my neck. I gently kissed her on the forehead and picked her up, spinning her around. "Whee~! This is fun~!" El giggled in my arms. Her mother smiled at us as we continued to play. I then held El close to my body as I threw ourselves into the ocean, my body positioned under her as she looked down with me in glee. "Hey, hey~ You wanted to show me something~?" I smirked as I leaned in to kiss the little mermaid's lips. She giggled in response, kissing back and pressing her waist against mine, her eyes glittering as she looked at me intently. "Hey mister, is this how it's supposed to go~?"

After the 'swim' with El, I promised to visit again and left. My next destination was the San Ilia Kingdom; in addition to Ghosts and Fairies populating the place, some Chimera and the Angels have also agreed to settle in peace. "After Ilias's downfall, most of the angels have fallen into grief and despair. I don't know what I should do now, either..." a loli angel, Archangel Mariel, told me. I gently patted her head. "Have you repented for your sins?" I jokingly asked. "Uuu..." Mariel pouted and puffed her little cheeks, prompting me to pull them a bit. "If not, I'll have to 'discipline' you later. Be a good little girl now~" I ruffled Mariel's hair and gently kissed her forehead before taking my leave to continue wandering the kingdom. "The humans here are so serious... It isn't interesting at all! Should I go play in another town?" another lovestruck pink angel, Cupid, had said. "Eh? Weren't you attacking the Monster Lord's Castle?" I recognized her. "Hmm, maaaaaaybe~" Cupid said in singsong. "... In that case, you must be punished." I replied as I lightly hit her head with a clenched fist. "Kya?! Owie!" Cupid recoiled and rubbed her head. She then tried to draw an arrow and stab me with it, but I grabbed her arm and turned the arrow back on her, making Cupid stab herself. "Wawawa... H-haaaaah..." Cupid let out a lustful moan and her eyes began to roll to the back of her head, all while slumping down, drooling and wetting herself. "... Or you can punish yourself. Either one works for me." I said before walking away.

As I walked, I noticed the ghosts and fairies communicating with the humans. Suddenly I felt a presence eying me down. I stopped and calmly closed my eyes; I sensed someone staring at me intently, peering from a crack in the church's doors. "Shadow Walker." I muttered and disappeared from my location. The figure let out a small gasp as I teleported behind them, gently flicking their nose as they turned around to face me. "Wawawa! Ow!" the figure cried and looked up at me. "Well well... It's been a really long time huh, Chrome?" I said to the figure, a little succubus. She stared at me, a little blush on her face. "Shadow...? I'm surprised you're here of all places." Chrome said, turning her face away as she blushed. "I'm just visiting. I've heard you were an invaluable asset to Luka, and you've given up Frederika to implement the dollmaking arts." I said as I gently patted her head. "W-well... You understand my aim is to restore honor to the Artiste family, and the Monster Lord is afraid of ghosts and prohibits desecrating the dead? I'm still working on a few things, so it'll be a while before I can get a show running. I almost have a prototype ready though..." Chrome said, blushing a bit deeper at the last sentence. I put my hand under her chin and turned her head around to face me. I leaned in, gently kissing her lips; her eyes widened in shock, but she wrapped her arms around my shoulders and embraced the kiss. "H-haah... S-shadow... Since that day... I've been... longing for you..." Chrome said as she blushed even more, making me sit down on the ground; she lowered her pants before straddling my lap. "Mm... I can't say I didn't miss you either." I softly smiled, embracing Chrome.

Chrome was left in ecstasy, a large puddle of white ooze was left between her legs. I gently patted her head and kissed her lips again, smiling, as she was left in pure bliss. I looked around her humble abode, spotting several small dolls fashioned after me, Luka, Chrome's creations, and Chrome herself. "Perhaps you can use 'that' again to boost your arts." I let out a soft smile as I left the church. The last thing that intrigued me in San Ilia was the wind spirit Sylph living in these parts. I made my way into San Ilia's castle, where a large group of people assembled at the chapel. "Oooh! It's Sylph!" one person had said. "She helped out the brave Hero and took down the evil Goddess!" another person had said. It seems as if this became a tourist attraction, and the little wind fairy spirit Sylph was being worshipped. "Long ago, Sylph was revered in this land. Now that Ilias is gone, attempts to revive the old faith are being pushed." a scholar explained. "I'm hungryyyy! I want to eat candy! No, I want what I had before! Baumkuchen!" Sylph cried. A priest left to prepare baumkuchen for Sylph. Shortly after it didn't take her long to notice my presence. "Ooh? Yay, it's Shadow~!" Sylph exclaimed as she excitedly flew around me. I extended out a palm for her to land on. "Eh? Eh? You smell funny. Almost like my former master. Ehehe, this is so nostalgic!" Sylph said. So Undine was right, the Four Spirits did adventure with the Hero's Soul and Demon Assassin. I gently rubbed Sylph's little head with my finger. "Is that so...? I'm quite curious what you mean by that. Or perhaps the others know more?" I told her. She looked up at me with a glimmer in her eyes. "Yaaay! Let's get everyone together again! I know! Let's go on a picnic! I'll make the lunches, and we can climb a mountain! Then when we get to the top, we can all go "Yahoooo!"! After a few seconds, you know, it echoes back! Then you know, you know---" Sylph energetically exclaimed before I cut her off with a little kiss to her head. "Hm, that doesn't sound too bad. Good to see you, Sylph. I'll be sure to talk to the others." I let her fly out of my hand before making my leave. "Yaaay! Bye bye!"

The Natalia region seemed to fare well, so I decided to take Sylph's advice and head over to the next region, Safina, to meet with the earth spirit Gnome.

All these places have evolved so much because of my influence, and I figured most of the world did. I decided to cut my sightseeing for today and make one last stop: Heinrich Hein's "grave". I quietly approached the altar and got on my knees. "Mother, father... It's finally over. I helped stop Ilias, and helped to create the world you both always dreamed of. I know how proud you both are of me, and I couldn't have better parents. I couldn't have done all this without both of you, and the weight of the world behind my back. The monster's darkness, and the human's strength, both gave me the will to push forward and accomplish everything I had done... Thank you... Alice the Eighth, Heinrich..."

"Testing, one... two... three... Still here? I have an assignment for you; return to the castle right away." I heard Tamamo telepathically contact me. I got back on my feet, and knowing that the world still needed my help I rushed back to the castle. "I'm on my way. Whatever target needs to be eliminated, I'll take care of it."

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