I’ll Start My Own Cartel, With Blackjack And Hookers
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Vera, I misunderstood you all this time! To think you actually had such a pure maiden heart!

I was, of course, talking about that stunning, tear-jerking, unintentional confession of her's.

Obviously I was awake for the whole thing. By my account it must've been at least three hours since i was knocked out, but i actually woke up in the first hour and only pretended to be asleep for the rest of the time. Why? Because I felt someone rubbing my hair. The hand was too small for it to be Bubbles so I thought it was Lottie and was incomparably happy thinking that she really did care about this Papa of her's.

However I heard her saying something about taking a nap? And Bubble's responded by saying she was gonna look around. So she must've been talking to Vera. Unexpectedly, it was her.

To think that the gentle, loving fingers running through my hair came from that cold, foul-mouthed kid!

It was truly a surprise. She's the last person I'd expect to see, or feel, doing something like that for anyone. Let alone me.

That aside, uncle Llyr. i heard that dubious offer, dammit. From the what i could guess, he was definitely saying he's gonna drug me up and throw me at her! What a goddamn dirty trick.

I mean that's what would usually happen in this kinda story, right? Yet despite the Devil's whispers, Vera didn't waver in the slightest. Really, how pure!

"I want to be chosen." She said. Ah. So precious.

She really was in love with this big bro!

At the very least, it was a deeper feeling than what I had for Minnie. I mean I liked Minnie, but only like. Attraction was there, and good impressions, but I couldn't say I loved her since we haven't spent much time together.

Vera's feelings felt a lot different than that. More genuine, I'd say. I had no idea why.

Because, well, I didn't really get what I'd done to deserve it? I never once tried planting flags with the kid.

Was it the face? It was the face, yeah? No, if I said that it'd be making light of the girl's emotions and that's a scummy thing to do, now isn't it? Still it was quite baffling.

Nevertheless, she's too cute!

But, i'm sorry! You're really too young for this big bro! And if anything you're a sister to me!

Still. She's too cute and innocent! Such an angelic little maiden, we've gotta protect her! That's it. From now on i'm giving her all the head pats!

I propose the start of the Make Vera Happy Foundation. We need to find her a good man! I ran through a mental list of possble candidates.

Let's see...

Will...no, too much of a damn dirty weasel....Phil...he's already been traumatized by her...Baz...wait, that's her brother. WIncest? Unlikey, but interesting if possible....That left Jacob? Ooh. Nice option, him!

Handsome, born into wealth, talented, and the son of high ranking Nobility. Yeah. It must be said, the Broscharts are all world-renowned freelance knights. They're called a family of heroes, even, very strong and valiant with llustrious reputations. And Jake's the golden boy of the current generation!

He'd surely make a great match for Vee! Polite, thoughtful, talented, handsome. Heck he's basically perfect.

Alright! I'm hooking those two up.

Vee, though this bro can't be with you, don't worry. I shant let you suffer in the meantime! I'll definitely find you a good man!

But before that there were several things that had to be done.

Number one!

"How do i get my second Core goin', uncle dearest?"

Several hours later after "waking up" in an abrupt Dracula-like rise, shouting, "My ganja, NOOOO!!!" 
and watching Vera hurriedly stand up while covertly dusting her knees, I sought out the man to ask this important question.

"Absorb the energy of Heaven and Earth, nephew." He said, hand raised like Buddha. " Contemplate the myriads of Dao and compress the countless whisps of understanding into your Dantian, solidifying the sea of hundreds of thousands of energies into true physical form."

This really is becoming a goddamn Xianxia novel! Well I ain't gonna be wasting time fighting several bazillion tournaments and saving useless jade-skinned beauties, dammit.

"That doesn't make any sense!" I shouted furiously.

"Oh yeah? Fuck off anyway. Dang brat, you're why that kid refused my deal."

"Dunno what you're talkin' about man. You high? You're high, right?"

He flicked my head and blasted me several dozen feet away. My body rolled along the floor and made a trail of ruin.

"Thinking i didn't realize you were awake, hmph. You thought I'd be fooled by your shit acting? Hah. FIgure out how to make the Core yourself, or go ask that sister of mine. And you're not getting any of my drugs either!"

"What?! Bastard, you said--"

"A verbal contract is meaningless!"

Ah, I wanna stab this dude to death!

"Fine then." I stormed off, unhappy.

Scratch that, the new first thing on the agenda today is...Heh.

You'll see.


I'd woken Charlotte, found Bubbles, and brought them all into the forest. Then I started a completely unnecessary rollcall.






"...What're you going to do now?" She asked doubtfully.

"Alright, all of you just wait here."

Half an hour later a piercing pillar of light roar tore through the air. Followed by a enormous ball of swirling energy, a wave of blue-silver sword light and an explosion of pure lifeforce which caused a strange sway in the environment.

A deafening roar echoed through the isolated little world.

Ten minutes after that I was frantically running away while dragging a crate tied to my back and several plump bags over my shoulder. The roar behind me sent chills down my spine and I increased my pace frantically.

I saw them before they saw me.


The three stared at me in shock.

"Look at the size of those things!" Bubbles shouted. A moment later her eyes widened. "What a strong medicinal fragrance! Don't tell me you stole his entire field?!"

"No, I burnt the half I couldn't carry."

That goddamn flower knocks me out for a full hour, but he's up in half that time? Of course I couldn't pick up everything. I wanted to take some of the trees too but settled for the fruits.

Just then an enormous figure rose into the sky. It was perhaps a mile or two long from head to tail and looked like the Blue Eyes White Dragon's bigger, meaner, cousin.

The sight was hair-raising.

"Vee, anytime now would be nice!"

I grabbed her and started shaking.

From far away the Dragon stared down at my form with untold amounts of hatred. It opened it's mouth and a violent torrent of water burst outward.

Bubbles cried. "We're all gonna die!"

Charlotte painfully gripped my arm with a pale face.


"...Ah. The guy hasn't transformed in centuries. Young Master is truly capable of angering both Gods and Devils alike."


"As you wish."

And we were gone.


The vast jungle disappeared from sight. In it's place was a safe, secure, well-lit room. We were back in the temple.

My heart was pounding at a thousand beats per minutes. I felt my hands tremble in giddiness.

"We're saved!" I shouted jubilantly. In a fit of pure excitement somewhat backed by the effects of so much burning drugs I lifted her by the armpits and threw her up into the air.

She kid screamed at the sudden move. When I caught her again I spun her around and hugged her, laughing hysterically.

"Young Master! Young Master, let me down, let me down right now!" She protested.

I ignored her. "Vee, I could kiss you!"

"Don't be disgusting!"

Finally letting her down, I ruffled her hair. "Alright! Today was a good day." I calmed myself. I looked over at my haul, extremely satisfied.

This big bro has drugs! So much drugs! Drugs for days!

"Damien! You're back! How did you...?" I heard someone call my name.

It's only now that I noticed several other people walk in from the other room. Cass was in the lead, saying, "We saw you were gone and decided to wait. Where the hell have you been? And what the fuck are you carrying?"

"Cass! Look at these!"

I shoved a leaf in his face. He took it from my hand, had a sniff, and whistled. "This is high-quality stuff. Fresh too, not the dried kind you usually see. Seriously, what've you been doing, robbing a drug lord?"

"Exactly." I nodded.

"What? Really?" He cursed. "Fuck. Was it the Carmello Cartel? They're the only ones here who can cultivate this kind of premium-grade product." A grunt. "Tell me we ain't messing with those assholes again. You know Will's still got a thing for that bastard's granddaughter. And those drugged up thralls of their's are a damn pain to kill. Dealing with them is just so much trouble. Although I suppose if it's us now they might be...huh." The man rubbed his chin. "Well. Might not be a big a problem as before. Still. You really can hold a grudge, can't you? It's only a few dozen gold, why's a Noble as rich as you so grumpy over that kind of sum? Always harrassing those guys. Now you're even stealing their drugs. I've never see someone so damn petty in all my--"

"Those bastards cheated me!" I growled. The very thought of those rats made my blood boil. "I won that money fair and square!"

"You were banned from every gambling den in the Kingdom." He shot back.


"So who the hell gets five Queens in a row? For ten games straight?"

"Actually, Lady Luck is my second mother."

"Not even a mother spoils their kid that much!" Cass snorted.

"They do if they're soncons."

"Bullshit. Are you sure you aren't her little lover? Are you really a virgin?"

"My body is pure. How dare you question my virtue?"

"If there's a single virtuous bone in your body then it'd still make a Devil look like a Saint in comparison. I've seen you turn priests into thugs and nuns into...no, actually, I don't want to remember that."

This is taken out of context. For one, the priests needed money for their orphanage and the local community was being greedy. So I just gave them pointers on how to properly threat--ahem--that is to say, encourage the hearts of the people.

And the nuns...

...The nuns were on a whole 'nother level. Let's leave it at that.

Know what, no.

Anyone remember Eda and the Rip-off Church? Basically her with Revy's personality. Don't ask me how they ended up like that. I don't know myself. But fuck me if they aren't terrifying. Never should've taught them how to use a throwing knife.

"Oh shut up. Do you want some or not?" I swiped his hand.

He dodged, tucking the leaf safely in a breast pocked.

"I never said that."

"Good. I stole that from a Dragon uncle of mine. Now you're an accomplice."

I remember he did overhear the conversation too so he had to have known my lineage.

"I hate you."

"What the hell. You really think I'm related to lizards?"

"Yeah." He shrugged. "You could tell me your grandpa's the Demon King and I'd say you're full of shit. But if you told me you're the Demon King himself in disguise, I'd believe you. Is being related to Dragon's any less believable?"

My mood grew decidely less pleased. "You guys are always exaggerating. I am NOT that bad."

"You literally started a murderous cult to kill other cultists based off nothing more than the words of a single girl saying she's scared of a threat she'd probably never even encounter."

"Mass murder is a small price to pay for security of mind." I insisted calmly. "Ah, and that reminds me. We have another cult to add to the list."

The man let out a tired sigh. "Why not? I don't need sleep anyway."

"That's the spirit."

"I was joking."

"Sucks to be you then. Anyway let's go get messed up. Tonight drinks are on me."

The man's haggard face got a little lighter once I said that. But, sadly, someone ruined the fun. "Wait!" Yesmina held me back.

"Where've you been? Do you know how worried we were? And why's the Little Goddess with you? I heard people talking about someone with a sun on their chest carrying a finely-robed woman through the city. Don't tell you kidnapped her?! Also, what's grasshead doing here? How the heck did you just appear out of nowhere? We didn't even heard the doors open! What's going on!"

The girl was totally freaking out.

"Calm down. Deep breaths. In, out. In, out. In--" Thunk.

She hit me.

"I'm not giving birth!"

"You bitch." I glared. "That...actually, it didn't hurt. Sorry."

"I'll make it hurt! You didn't really try kidnapping her, did you? Please tell me you didn't." She turned towards Bubbles. "Are you okay?"

"Oh I'm fine. He did kidnap me though." Bubbles informed benevolently, a saintly smile to her face.

"Oh Gods!"

"He spanked me too. A lot."

"He WHAT?!"

"But it's fine, it felt pretty nice."

"That's terrible!...Wait, what?" Her face was incredulous, not believing her ears.

Bubbles went on as if she didn't hear. "And I know why the Dry Lands is dying now. I'm going to have to make some calls to Becks. Knew that place was weird, I should've checked it out sooner." She lamented. "If I can convince Becks to help out, get back my original strength and we work together I think we can break that darn barrier. It'll restore the country's vitality."

"Huh? Barrier? That...that's good, yes?" The poor girl. She had no idea what was going on.

Among the group was Cass, Yesmina, Minnie and Evie.

The first two we already had a talk with. Now it was everyone else's turn, apparently.

"Master, you're back." Minnie smiled. "Did you have a fun trip?"

"My harvest was great."

"Master, these bags..." Evie looked at the items with interest.

"Those aren't for kids! They're...divine herbs. Yes."

"Divine herbs!" One eye was bandaged but the one left uncovered sparkled with wonder. They must've overheard my conversation with Cass. Yet they still believed me.

"I took them back from an evil man who wished to hoard them all to himself."

Me, I was more generous. Better in my hands than his. I'll just take LITTLE for myself. And plant the rest.

"I feel...dizzy." The little girl swayed.

"I told you they weren't for kids!" I chastised after seeing her take a whiff. The fragrance alone left her uneasy.

"Evie, tell Master the good news."

The girl nodded. He wrappings moved around her mouth, indicating a smile. "Master, we've successfully raised over a thousand new followers for the cause!"

A thousand! Holy mother of God, I've only been gone like half a day!

At that moment Milly, the Holy Sword, flew from the scabbard at the child's back and streaked towards me as if to say, "I helped too!"

Bet if I had her with me I a while ago I would've been able to do more than burn that bastard uncle's clothes off.

It rubbed it's hilt against my cheek painfully. I pushed it away. "Don't get so attached. I still gotta return you to the Hero."


Minnie and Evie echoed.

"Um. My champion?"

They stared.

"...Oh, that makes sense. Even a reborn Divine needs competent Chosen to champion his cause, just as Kings needs their Generals."


Am I really reaching Divine status in their eyes? I need to find time to take Min on a date, show her I'm a average dude too. Don't want to be like Cass said and make her only see me as an object of worship.


"Lottie?" Alex was the second last to come out. He'd been hiding behind the door and only came out after he spotted Charlotte.

"Alex!" Charlotte exclaimed softly. "Look at you. You've filled out more. Did you get a little taller?"

The boy approached her. "What's wrong? You look...troubled. Are you alright?"

"I'm fine. I'm okay. Why wouldn't I be?"

I broke in with a shot of realization. "Hell with that. Listen kid, you sister was kidnapped and nealy killed by asshole cultists. She just don't want you to worry so she's lying through her teeth."

"What!" He blinked in surprised, his mouth hanging open. "Kidnapped? What do you mean, kidnapped?"

"I'll explain later. For now, we got somewhere to be. Baz!" I shouted.


"Get your ass out here."


"Come now and I won't hit you."

"...Promise?" A faint voice come from the side room.


And finally, the very last of our group. Baz. He walked over carefully, his ahoge on full alert. As soon as he got close I took that cowlick hostage!

I wrestled the boy to the ground, feet around his waist, ahoge in hand. Ready to tear it off.

"You promised!"

"Verbal contracts are meaningless!"

"Devil! You Devil! I knew I shouldn't have trusted you!"

"Too late now." I twisted.

"Young Master, no! It'll tear, it'll really tear! Tap out, tap out!"

"Oh shut up!" I pulled. "You bastard, you could teleport all this time and never told me?!"

"But, but..!" He cried. "You'd abuse me! You'd definitely abuse me! Young Master, I did what I had to survive! I regret nothing!"

"You got some nerve, fooling me all this time. I'm cutting this thing off!"

"Ah! Don't! Young Master, I'm sorry! I take it back! Abuse me however you please, my body is yours!"

I let him go. "Miss me with that gay shit. Bastard. Take me to Lucy's or I'm cutting it in half."

A crying Baz touched his ahoge tentatively, fearing for it's life. "Young Master is evil incarnate!" He sniffled quietly.

"And you, Alex. You're coming with." I grabbed the other boy by his wrist and dragged him over. "Cass, take care of my dru--divine herbs! Tonight we party. But at daybreak... we hunt!"

"Baz, let's go."

Just like that, we vanished.