Ryu shouted while trying to explain while irritated. Ignatius’ spirit was still inside him, and even now while talking his innards were remodeling and twisting, making him feel pain which resulted in only more irritation that soon would turn into a rage if this conversation continued.
“And I’m f****** telling you right back that if we don’t deal with that f****** Underground Threat there won’t be any kingdom for you to defend or people to care for! We need to go there before it grows more than this!” → Shen
I was also in a bad mood just like him. The last days I was unable to sleep, having only nightmares with the devil trying to keep me awake. When I tried to meditate, the exact moment I entered deep concentration, the devil would try to take control over me and shake my heart in disarray, making me wake up in panic and fear. All of this weakened my mental barrier and strengthened his strikes at my soul even more than before, turning my temper into a volcano ready to erupt.
“You said is thousands of years old, right? Can’t it wait five more years at least? We have no people, Shen!” → Ryu
“Then let’s go to war and get prisoners. We already captured some-“ → Shen
“SHEN! Are you even listening to yourself?!” → Ryu
“Then tell me what the f*** should I do?!” → Shen
Both of us shouted out then remained quiet in a tense silence. In the end, Ryu said in a disappointed voice.
“…Your judgment darkened, brother…” → Ryu
Ryu walked toward the window and looked outside toward the Northern wall, observing how it was being almost fully repaired. I looked at him in irritation then also turned around talking as if to myself.
“… F*** this. I couldn’t even contact Sylvia lately. They should be here by tomorrow, but why is she ignoring my voice? Another calamity is coming near and I can’t do s***… I feel like the last man right now and I got nobody to whom I could talk this over with.” → Shen
Hearing this, Ryu turned around and looked at me in indignation.
“Huh? What do you mean? Aren’t we best friends? You know I was always there for you to talk to! Man, are you growing weak on me or what?-“ → Ryu
“Yeah, I’m f****** weak now! What the f*** did you expect?!” → Shen
I suddenly erupted and broke the office’s table in two with my fist.
“I’m sick of everything, you hear?! I had to eat other’s s*** because they were unable to clean after themselves and ended up as a cripple after the World Tree incident. I had to sacrifice all the power I had, only for some slaves to live for a few more days after the Pirate Peninsula incident! And look at me now! I’m nothing! I lost it all! Even Gods turned their gaze from me while the demons and devils are hunting me from every corner! F****** Hell, man?! I’M F****** SICK OF IT ALL!-“ → Shen
Right after I finished shouting, Ryu punched me and sent me flying through the door, slamming on the stonewall.
“S-sir Shen!?” → Yuri
Yuri ran toward me with worry on his face then looked toward Ryu somewhat confused.
Only some slaves? Nobody asked you to do such, yet you did it not for gaining something, but because you wanted to. You saved this world for many reasons, but mostly because of your love for Sylvia. As for the gods? Since when did you cared so much about what the others thought of you?… Your mind is so cloudy…
Ryu was looking at me with sorrowful eyes then turned around as he said:
“Go… Cool your head. I know my true brother wouldn’t say such things willingly…” → Ryu
“… Don’t forget that everyone has a limit, Ryu.” → Shen
I said while hiding my red irises from both of them. I got up then left, ignoring Yuri completely. Yuri looked at my back, seeing how blood was dripping from my clenched fists. Together with this lonely image, he observed a dark smoke resting on my back that slowly grew stronger and darker.
“Mister Yuri, please come in.” → Ryu
“A-ah! Yes!” → Yuri
Yuri sent a worried glance my way one more time then entered the office, closing the door behind.
“… I’m sorry for showing you such a disgraceful image.” → Ryu
“No. Don’t be… but… I think he’s hurt now. Was it really necessary to do this?” → Yuri
Ryu looked at Yuri to see if his interest in what happened just now was political or for his advantage. However, to his surprise Yuri only showed genuine worry and sadness for both of us.
“Haha~… Are you worried about us, Mister Yuri?” → Ryu
“… To be honest, yes. I’m already quite well informed about the history of this place and also about the tight bond between the two lords. Seeing how both of you now have started to fight, it makes me feel like this might really put in danger hundreds of people in the future.” → Yuri
Yuri said in a serious tone while looking at Ryu with clean eyes.
It seems the residents of Antara are quite talkative, giving out informations without a second thought. Even though such knowledge wasn’t that big of a deal, Ryu still felt like massaging his temples.
Seeing him like this, Ryu sighed then frowned while looking at his own fist. The fist which just sent me flying out of his office.
“This damn fool… He has nothing? Then what the Hell are we? Everyone here, me, Sylvia. What are we to him, if not his strength? His family? And why is he suddenly talking about taking slaves in?!… Just through what has he gone to change so much?” → Ryu
Ryu murmured on his own, lost in his thoughts while Yuri listened and gave his own thoughts. Because of his own strong [Soul Eyes], Yuri was able to see something wasn’t right with my aura, observing how a dark form of energy was resting on my back like a devil on one’s shoulder.
“King Ryu. If I had to say so myself, I think Sir Shen is being pressed by… something inside him. Ugh…” → Yuri
Yuri scratched his head, not knowing how to explain himself, then felt Ryu staring at him in surprise.
“Do you mean to say that you can see the devil?” → Ryu
Ryu asked probingly, shocked by the fact that someone actually had stronger [Soul Eyes] than Sylvia.
“S-so it’s really a devil?!” → Yuri
Yuri asked shocked himself by the news.
“…Yes. If you can really see his devil, then think you could get rid of it? I would pay any kind of amount needed for that.” → Ryu
Ryu said with a solemn face then continued explaining.
“For a while now Shen had a devil to deal with. But no matter how hard it was for him, he told us nothing about it. Why? I’m not sure, maybe not to worry us, or some other stupid reasons. Why I know about it is because of other spirits which told me. But anyone else besides me, no one knows. So I’ll ask sir Yuri to keep it a secret from anyone else.” → Ryu
Ryu bowed his head to Yuri then looked at him with firm eyes. Ryu knew about my devil from Wrath while he was doing the Behemoth’s test. He didn’t know how dangerous a devil is, but he knew just how dangerous I can be once I lose reason.
Ryu was one of the few people who could see the worth into a person, so after understanding me in a way or another, he swore that I should never fall into darkness or he would need to kill me.
Something that he’d rather keep as the very last resort. Now that he found another way through Yuri, he’d rather risk it all and trust Yuri than have his own hands stained with his best brother’s blood. In case Yuri truly was a wolf in sheep clothing, then the outcome would be the same; as either the demonic me would die by his hands, or defeat him and lose control over myself completely, having Ryu interfere in our duel and kill me.
“I-I don’t know… King Ryu-“ → Yuri
“Just call me Ryu. We are alone, so there is no need to keep the formalities.” → Ryu
“Alright then, Ryu… Uhm, I am the grandson of an old Buddhist which worked with things like exorcism and other such mysticism. But all I was taught by him I wasn’t able to put in practice. I never had the possibility to work on the field like him, not knowing how to summon the holy energy from the heavens.” → Yuri
Yuri said with some embarrassment while scratching his head.
“An exorcist?!” → Ryu
Ryu was completely baffled. He never would’ve thought that an actual exorcist would appear in front of him just like that. Then he got back to reality and asked again.
“So you’re telling me that you’re not 100% sure… Then how much sure are you about it?” → Ryu
“Sir Ryu… The devil is bound to Shen with an incredible strong karmic connection. At most I can do is to weaken the devil and make it retreat inside Shen’s soul for when another form of power, purer and stronger, would appear and purify Shen’s soul completely, breaking the bond and freeing both of them.” → Yuri
Yuri said helplessly while shaking his head. Even so, Ryu still felt some hope.
“Weaken the devil? And how can we do that?” → Ryu
“I think I can weaken the devil’s will-power by strengthening Shen’s. Afterward, lock the devil inside Shen’s soul. From what I heard of Shen’s character before he left again, I can tell that the Devil awakened pretty recently.” → Yuri
“Exactly. I talked to him one month ago and he was just fine. All this hate, pain and weakness he shows now, are things I’ve never seen from him before.” → Ryu
Ryu explained while frowning frustrated. He knew he could do nothing to help when it came to such sensible and mystic operations. Hearing this, Yuri smiled wryly.
“Everyone has a moment of weakness, sir Ryu. I think it was pretty normal at one point for him to fall from tiredness. He did experience a lot after all.” → Yuri
Then he continued with a more serious expression.
“But if it’s really the fault of the devil this time, then that means the Devil was locked somewhere inside his soul before and tightly sealed by something or someone. If I could strengthen his spirit to how it was before, then maybe… Maybe we could seal it back.” → Yuri
Yuri said in an uncertain tone.
“…Please save Shen, mister Yuri… At this moment I am at my weakest as well. I might seem all-powerful and strong now, but in truth my body is more unstable than ever. If I would need to fight anyone at this moment, I’ll either be defeated or win with incredible sacrifices… Just like what happened to Shen…” → Ryu
Ryu smiled bitterly while staring at his fist again. He felt regret after taking such violent actions against me, but he saw no other way.
Just as the two of them conversed, Ryu felt how a telepathic connection was forming, afterward, a soft but worried voice resounded inside his mind.
Ryu? Are you able to hear me? → Sylvia
Hm? Sylvia?! → Ryu
Ryu was surprised by the sudden contact, then he looked at Yuri’s confused expression after observing him suddenly freeze.
“Sir Yuri. I will ask you to wait for a moment. I suppose you already know about the telepathic connections around the kingdom? Right now I’m in contact with someone important so please excuse me.” → Ryu
“Ah! S-sure! Please take your time!” → Yuri
Ryu nodded while Yuri took a step back as for giving him space. Afterward, Ryu focused completely on the conversation and asked while feeling conflicted.
Sylvia. Was there some kind of conflict between you and Shen? → Ryu
Ryu asked first after remembered hearing me say that I tried to talk with her but I was unable to reach her.
Ryu, Shen is in danger and I’m unable to help him. → Sylvia
What?! → Ryu
At her sudden ground-breaking news, Ryu froze in place. He then glanced at Yuri and asked in a serious tone.
Sylvia, I think I understand what you mean. And I think I got someone to help us. But what do you mean you’re unable to help? I’m sure you’re the one person Shen actually needs the most right now- → Ryu
Ryu… When Shen revived for the second time, he offered me knowledge more advanced than I could simply absorb after just one night of sleep. Because of that, my mind keeps on slipping into a trance. Right now I just woke up from another trance but it’s possible that this might be the last time I actually got the chance to do such before I will fall into a deep sleep, unable to wake up again for more than a week or so, until the next time that I might sleep again. At that time, I won’t be able to make any kind of mental connections with anyone. → Sylvia
W-what?! → Ryu
Ryu was again stunned. Then a question rose inside his mind and asked almost instantly.
Wait! Why aren’t you telling all of this to Shen? He said he tried to contact you for God knows how many times now. → Ryu
His mind is clouded by the devil while his heart is filled with darkness. Whatever I tried to do, nothing would reach him. The only way would be to cleanse his mind and recharge his defensive mechanisms of the soul. → Sylvia
W-wait I really don’t get what you’re telling me. → Ryu
Ryu felt how his mind spun after hearing what Sylvia told him. Mechanism? Recharge? What? Is the soul some kind of machine?