Title: The Essence of An Adventure is Exploration
Genre: Zestiria-AU. Humour/Friendship.
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Oga Tatsumi, Baby Beel, Furuichi Takayuki, Hildegarde, Lamia.
Warnings: Language/swearing, terrible puns and fourth wall breaking #soreynotsorey?? lol
Summary: Darkness has awakened once more in the fair lands of Glenwood; destiny has sent forth its unlikeliest hero in the form of the young Shepherd Oga. Will he bear the burden of bringing salvation to humanity or plunge it further into chaos and calamity? Either way, at least he’s handsome, or so they say.
A/N: A gift for Thebes ♥ This doesn’t even cover all those unfilled prompts you’ve sent me eons ago, but I hope this makes up for it a little. Many thanks also to Digi for helping me beta this; you are the best bro when it comes to inspiring/motivating me to finish my stuff! :p
Disclaimer: Bamco didn’t pay me to write any of this – I’ve just been roasting in Zestiria hell. [Wind Shrine theme plays dramatically in background]
Once upon a time – at ten past three on a rainy Sunday afternoon, to be exact – in a galaxy not so far away, there lived a young man. The young man was often misunderstood by his peers. He was too bold, too rough around the edges like a sea urchin or an uneven block of puzzle piece that didn’t always fit neatly into its slot. Too… demonic, they’d whispered among themselves, even if there was nothing but the slightest hint of wonderment and admiration in their hushed tones. For though the young man was bold and impulsive, he was, at heart, a kind-hearted and generous soul.
And above all, he was handsome.
“Are you done with your completely biased monologue?” Furuichi sighed for what was probably the fourth time within the span of the day.
“It’s not a monologue,” the handsome young man named Oga replied, looking up from the tattered book he had been scribbling in. “I’m narrating. There’s a difference, Furuchin.”
He gazed at the person standing next to him. Well, technically he wasn’t a human person per se, even if he looked like one by all accounts. Furuchin was a seraph, one of the celestial beings that could not usually be seen or heard by normal peasant humans, unlike Oga, who was clearly born of higher stock which enabled him to see and speak with these divine beings. Furuchin was the childhood friend who was raised alongside him, in the hidden mountain Seraphim village of Elysia, because obviously, Oga Tatsumi, our young handsome hero, had some sort of great destiny to fulfil and needed a loyal retainer to do his bidding and–
“Ow!” Oga yelped in surprise, feeling a sharp flick of fingers against his forehead. He looked up again to meet the retainer’s angry glare.
“It’s Furuichi, dumbass. And who are you calling a loyal retainer?!” The seraph huffed, arms folded across his chest as he eyed the book in Oga’s hands dismissively. “Look, I know that Dragon Ball was all we had growing up but you do realise that sketching out your aspirations based on manga and then trying to re-enact it in real-life and reciting it aloud isn’t exactly a bright idea, right? Not… that you were the brightest bulb to begin with anyway.”
“Be quiet, seraph-beast,” Oga grumbled, rubbing at his forehead. “Know thy place!”
Furuichi rolled his eyes. “I shall not.” Then, in a softer, more urgent tone: “Quit fooling around, Oga. We won’t be able to find Beel if we keep stalling like this. And you know what will happen if Hilda finds out…”
“Y-Yeah,” Oga gulped, the image of an eight-legged monster brandishing a bloodied hacksaw that promised pain and torture looming before him in his mind’s eye. “The crazy witch will just skin us alive.”
He tucked his book and quill away into the pack at his hip and hurried after Furuichi, who had already jogged ahead of him.
Such was the burden the young and handsome Shepherd Oga had to bear.
Technically, it wasn’t even Oga’s fault. Technically, he shouldn’t even have to care about what went on in Marlind, plague and all. But the people of Ladylake had begged so hard with tears and snot streaming down their faces that Shepherd Oga, stoic as he was, was moved.
… Well, okay, forcibly moved, by that dratted Princess Hilda, whom he was sure only dragged him along to a disease-ridden town to ensure his untimely death.
(Princess? Pah. More like major Distress.)
(… The rhyming didn’t quite work there, but Oga, our young handsome hero was trying very hard, okay. Don’t judge, fuckers.)
The party had decided unanimously to check out the creepy old museum filled with nothing but creaking furniture and rotting old books. Books that might have been important once – if reading yawn-inducing text scribbled by long-dead geezers in tiny, illegible font was your thing, sure – but for Oga, the young hero of this story, alas, it held no such appeal.
Until, of course, his eyes fell upon a copy of a very old and very dusty volume of Hajime no Ippo. First tankōbon edition and only half-chewed up by bugs. Sweet.
He had excitedly thumbed through the pages to skim-read some chapters. But of course Furuchin had to come over and steal a glance too, leading the young hero on to ride the wave of nostalgia so much so that he hadn’t even noticed when Beel, the baby seraph, had unlatched himself from Oga’s shoulders and crawled away unsupervised out of the room–
“Oi, I did not lead you to ‘ride the wave of nostalgia’. You dragged me over and shoved the comic right into my face,” Furuichi grumbled, breaking Oga out of his narrative again. “And I swear if you’re not going to stop narrating aloud, I’m going to knock you out with this book.”
Oga snorted. “You can try.”
They sprinted down the next flight of stairs, still in search of the missing baby Beel. Just as they hit the landing, they heard what sounded like a high-pitched wail.
“Furuichi, do you think–?”
Another wail sounded – unmistakably of a crying child – this time coming from the bottom of the stairwell.
Oga and Furuichi exchanged glances, reading the same look of panicked fear in each other’s eyes – Yup, Hilda is so going to flay us – and dashed down the last few steps, smashing their way through the double doors and into the room at the end of the corridor.
“Daa!” Beel cried out from where he was seated in the centre of the room, chubby arms stretched out towards the direction of the Shepherd and his seraph companion.
Oga breathed a sigh of relief; Beel was safe and in one piece, so Hilda wouldn’t have an excuse to mince them up for her mabo curry buns tonight. Abruptly, he felt an uncomfortable tightness and stabbing pain in his chest; felt the cold, clammy weight of dread as dark violet wisps of malevolence hung thick in the air surrounding them.
Beside him, Furuichi was already holding up his staff, pointing towards the sinister shadow advancing from behind Beel. “I think we’ve got a problem!”
A menacing full suit of armour clanked towards them, looming a good seven feet before them. Smoky tendrils of black and purple magic oozed from the cracks in the armour – a hellion, no doubt. With a screech, the hellion raised its spear to strike at Beel.
But our young hero was already throwing himself into the fray, ignoring Furuichi’s worried yells. He scooped Beel up into his arms just as the spear struck the ground, dodging swiftly when the hellion swung another blow at him. He winced, feeling the sharp sting of the blade grazing his left shoulder and side-stepping away, only to crash backwards into the corner of a wall. Oga gasped, winded, as the air was knocked out of him, but not before he curled his arms instinctively around Beel, bracing himself for the hellion’s next strike–
“Twin flow!” Two jets of water surged from Furuichi’s staff as he cast his arte, knocking the hellion’s spear from its hold. “Oga! Hurry up and get Beel out of here!”
The hellion let out roar, swinging its arms in frustration before clomping towards the seraph instead. Furuichi was already darting away, casting another arte and directing more volleys of water towards the hellion in a bid to keep it at bay.
Head still spinning from his crash, Oga tried to focus, ignoring the sting of pain in his shoulder. He could hear the crackle of static energy swirling around Beel as the baby sniffed, terrified. Oh crap… Definitely tell-tale signs of an upcoming crying fit.
“Listen Beel,” he began, trying not to worry about Furuichi as he lifted the baby so that he could meet his teary gaze. “A man doesn’t settle things just by crying alone; we beat the shit out of things first, talk later and cry in the bathroom in private.”
“Daabu..?” Beel peered up at Oga, sparks still crackling and popping around him like tiny fireworks. But he had stopped sniffling at least.
“So let’s go beat the shit– er, I mean, let’s go purify this hellion and save Furuichi before he gets flattened. Then you can cry all you want.”
“Daa!” Beel nodded firmly. He wiped his tears away as he latched himself upon Oga’s back once more, clinging tightly onto the patterned Shepherd’s cloak. Oga smiled, feeling a surprising sense of pride at the baby’s renewed determination. He pulled himself back to his feet; his eyes were devilishly bright with the fire of battle once more, the Shepherd’s emblem on his glove aglow with magic.
In a single bright flash, Oga Armatized with Beel, clad now in a raiment of white and embellished gold from head to toe, his Shepherd’s glove transformed into a huge iron-plated cestus. He surged forward just as the hellion bore down upon Furuichi, jumping in before the seraph to deflect the strike. The hellion let out another ear-piercing roar, drawing back to pummel them once more with its massive gauntlets. Oga met the strike with his own punch, magic dancing around his fists and he grinned wider, adrenaline rushing in his veins. With a carefully aimed Zebul Blast, he dealt a supreme uppercut to the hellion’s jaw and sent it pin-wheeling across the room and crashing into a mouldy bookcase. The perfect one-hit KO.
Just as it’d suddenly appeared, the malevolence dissipated from the air, and the previously hellionized suit of armour was now nothing more than cluttered junk and a major tripping hazard.
“Ugh,” Furuichi groaned from where he’d fallen, head still spinning from the fight.
“You were too reckless, idiot.” Oga said curtly once he’d unfused with Beel. “All your fault for making us worried.” There was no heat in his voice however. Instead he reached for Furuichi’s hand to help him back up to his feet, checking him over to ensure he was still in one piece – what use would retainers be without any working limbs, right?
“You were just as reckless,” Furuichi retorted, dusting himself off. He couldn’t quite help the smile that crept upon his lips when he noticed the brief flicker of relief in Oga’s eyes, and he leaned closer to nudge his friend playfully against the shoulder. “Thanks, I’d thought I was done for. That was a pretty cool move with the punch, too.”
Oga’s roguish grin only grew wider at the unexpected praise. “Aren’t you glad you were allowed to be Sub-Lord to such a cool Shepherd and his great Prime Lord?”
“… Okay, now you’re just back to being annoying. I take back what I said.”
“Ai?” Beel cooed, sounding hurt.
“A-ah, not you, Beel. You’re an awesome Prime Lord! Oga though, he’s just a jackass without an ounce of sense– ack!”
“You want to run that by me again, Furuichi-kun?” Oga snarled as he tackled the seraph to the ground with a headlock.
“Well, if you can’t handle the truth– arghhhow, ow, ow, ow!! Okay, okay, you win, you’re the most awesome, handsomest and bravest! Lemme go!”
“Mmrgh! Stop sticking your fingers in places they shouldn’t be in, dickbag!”
“You stop shoving your fingers up spaces without permission first, slut!!”
The two were so busy prodding and kicking each other in all manner of indecency that they hadn’t even noticed anything amiss until a voice sounded right next to them.
“Ah, the seeds of young love is in the air.”
Oga and Furuichi paused in their wrestling, staring incredulously at an oversized helmet which seemed to have magically sprouted four tiny legs to stand before them now.
“Another hellion!?” Oga instinctively reached for his sword.
“Daabu!!” Beel hissed, tiny fists held up and ready for another fight.
“Aeeeiii, no, please wait!” the helmet quivered in fear. “We’re not hellions, not anymore!”
The helmet toppled sideways to reveal two small creatures – one black and one brown – peering out from underneath it. They twirled about at Oga and Furuichi’s feet, making a grand show of how adorable and harmless they were.
Oga only cocked his head sideways, watching them with a wary gaze. The creatures looked a bit like earless rabbits, except the brown one was sporting a curly lion-like mane as a headdress and the black one was wearing a smaller replica of the helmet they had both hiding in earlier.
“Hmm,” he wondered aloud. “I wonder if they taste like rabbits too, when grilled over a fire.”
The two creatures scoffed, shooting dirty looks at the Shepherd. “We’re not rabbits! We’re normins.”
“Normins, huh,” Furuichi mused. “I’ve read about them in a book once; they are a kind of seraphim, though not as powerful.”
“You’re a sharp one,” the black normin nodded at them, bouncing from one tiny foot to the other. “My name’s Atakk, and this here is Komainu, or just Koma-chan. We’re really sorry we attacked you earlier. Didn’t even realise we’d turned into a hellion ourselves till you whacked some sense into us.”
Here, the two normins turned to bow their heads respectfully to the trio.
“Thanks Shepherd and friend!”
“Yeah, we’re awfully sorry for the trouble we must have caused,” Koma-chan said.
At the normins’ words, Oga immediately assumed a grand pose: arms held out before him over the tiny creatures and eyes closed as if in deep, saintly thoughts. That was how it was with the wise, yes?
Beside him, Furuichi was already sighing, one hand raised to nurse at his brow tiredly.
“Fret not, fuzzy hairballs,” Oga intoned in his most benevolent voice. “Defeating you was child’s play. And you do no wrong in worshipping the Shepherd, for he is very great and kind indeed. In fact, you should probably drop down to your knees and grovel more–ow!”
“Come on, Oga. Stop messing with them.” Furuichi scowled, elbowing him roughly in the ribs.
“I’m not fooling around, Furuchin. I am being worshipped.”
Atakk continued to gaze at them both, his googly eyes brimming with wonderment and awe. He nodded at Koma-chan. “Such close partnership between these two, especially for a human and a water seraph. Something you don’t see every day.”
“Indeed. You can almost feel a zing in the air about them.”
“A zing? Like a romance kind of zing?”
“Bromance,” Koma-chan corrected him. “That’s what they call it right? Close friendship between youthful men who mean something to each other.”
“Uh…,” Furuichi began, not quite liking where the conversation was suddenly heading. But the normins were too engrossed in their new topic of discussion to notice. Oga only yawned, already bored.
“Like being each other’s most important person?” Atakk asked dreamily, sparkles in his eyes now.
“Yeah, but you know, in the no homo way.” Koma-chan bobbed his head, crossing his little arms.
“Well, we can’t really be sure about that – they could be gay for all we know.”
“Excuse me,” Oga cut in abruptly, looking rightfully offended. “I’ll have you know, I am all homo. The homo-est sapiens.”
“Ai,” Beel agreed with a solemn nod.
“The fuck are you even saying?” Furuichi buried his face into his hands, unsure if to be exasperated, embarrassed or just both.
“So if what they have is a bromance–” Atakk continued breezily, clearly enjoying this way too much, “–there’s gotta be brolust too right?”
“STOP RIGHT THERE,” Furuichi growled, firmly placing himself between the normins now to gain their attention. “This conversation is getting way out of hand and that term is just all wrong and inappropriate. Look, Oga and I are close because we’re friends and we were raised together in the same village. And there weren’t any kids our ages back then, so it’s not like we could have hung out with other non-existent people! Besides, Oga is also an idiot who was born prematurely and dropped twice on his head as a baby, so somebody has to be watching out for him on this quest, right? Right?!”
The normins hemmed and hawed, mulling over the water seraph’s words.
“Ah,” Atakk finally said. “I get it. You’re the Shepherd’s tsundere.”
“You’re right,” Koma-chan agreed. “Brolust it is.”
“W-what?!” Furuichi gasped, very flustered and turning a very bright shade of pink now. “I am not an overused flanderized trope! And there’s no such thing as brolust between me and Oga–”
"Yeah,” Oga quipped, tugging lazily at his cloak. “It’s just lust.”
This time, it was the normins’ turn to gasp, tiny paws flying up to cover their mouths as they threw a scandalized glance at Furuichi, and then at Oga, and then back at Furuichi again.
Furuichi himself was staring at Oga, slack-jawed. “What!?”
“EXTREME BLOOD LUST!” Oga roared, eyes alight with a demonic fire as he fist-pumped upwards. Perched atop his head like an oversized butt naked parrot, Beel mimicked the pose as well, complete with a triumphant “DAA!!”
And then Furuichi was sighing once more, resigned that Oga was always going to be Oga – obtuse as ever and a piece of shit. He dug his elbow – harder this time – into the small of Oga’s back. “Speak for yourself, Shepherd. Anyway…,” The seraph glanced over at the two normins who were now whispering excitedly to each other and tee-hee-ing at both of them.
“Anyway,” Furuichi said louder, coughing into his fist and completely ignoring the normins’ knowing winks at him. “We should be heading back lest Hilda starts wondering where we’ve gone.”
“Oh, she’s not wondering anymore,” Hilda said, suddenly appearing behind Oga and Furuichi, who both jumped at the sound of her voice, cringing away from the icy glare she’d pinned them with.
Following close beside Hilda was the earth seraph, Lamia, her short hair hanging loose around her shoulders save for a small lock tied in a side ponytail with green ribbons. She jabbed the tip of her bright orange-and-yellow parasol into Furuichi’s sides, making him yelp and jump again. “You bunch of children. Always running about and causing trouble.”
“Princess Hilda is however, wondering why the Shepherd – who had not so long ago bound himself to the young Master and who had promised to serve as his vessel – seems to be slacking off from his duties.” Hilda fingered the pointed end of her lance as she advanced ominously toward them. “Perhaps you would serve your duty better if I turn you into Shepherd’s pie instead?”
“What are you babbling on about?” Oga asked warily, sweat dripping from his temples. “I’ve been doing my duty! We just purified a hellion!”
“Oga’s right. We also managed to cleanse the malevolence from this room too,” Furuichi pointed out nervously.
“Yeah! You’ve got nothing on us, you witch!”
The princess smiled sweetly at them, still radiating an aura of murder. “And did you remember to feed the young Master, like you’re supposed to five times a day?”
“Of course I –oh,” Oga snapped, only to blanch when he heard Beel sniffling from his shoulders, followed by the sharp pop and sizzle of electricity crackling around him. He turned helplessly towards the water seraph, panic in his eyes.
“Furuichi, I forgot to feed baby Beel.”
“No shit, Sherlock,” Furuichi snarled.
Too late. They were both engulfed in a cloud of rumbling magic and promptly shocked by bolts of lightning when Beel finally dissolved into a massive crying fit.
The two normins gazed out at the small group of adventurers from the library windows, watching as Princess Hilda and Lamia dragged the badly singed Shepherd and his seraph companion after them.
“That Shepherd Oga is quite the character, isn’t he?” Koma-chan said.
“Mm-hmm, quite so, quite so.” Atakk nodded. “Though, there hasn’t been a lot of them lately for us to make a fair comparison.”
They watched on silently as the party disappeared down the winding path.
“With a Shepherd like that Oga–”
“–Glenwood’s totally screwed, isn’t it?”
Atakk only crossed his tiny arms. “Well, thank goodness this isn’t the real Zestiria X anime airing this summer then.”
- I have no excuse for the ridiculousness of this fic. I just thought it’d be funny if an asshole like Oga turned out to be the chosen Shepherd. LOL. Also because a friend dared me to write a fic with ‘brolust’ in it, so that totally happened here. #soreynotsorey??
- That said, it’s uncanny how many similarities Oga and Furuichi share with Sorey and Mikleo when you think about it.
- Raeguwi Yukoyuwik is Beel’s True Name in the Ancient Tongue. I’m no expert but it’s as close as I could get after referring to the Zestiria Tongue chart and tweaking some parts. tl;dr, it’s too long to explain here but it just Beel’s actual canon title in Beelzebub (Kaiser de Emperana = Kaizer/Caesar of Emperors).
- For those who don’t know anything about Zestiria and its character roles:
Oga - Sorey the Shepherd
Beelzebub - Lailah, Seraph (Prime-Lord)
Furuichi - Mikleo, Seraph (Sub-Lord)
Hilda - Alisha, Princess of Hyland
Lamia - Edna, Seraph (Sub-Lord)
- I’d wanted to include Aoi and the other Red Tails into this, but it got too long. So I’ve decided to split into a few standalone one-shots based in the same AU. Hopefully they’ll get written and posted here in future.
- Thank you for reading! :)