My face dark while summoning the spear inside my own mental world. If I wasn’t careful, my own mind and soul would get erased together with the devil.
Seeing the spear, the devil’s smile turned in a serious look and with a grave tone he said to me:
[Have you gone mad even before I could eat you? This isn’t even funny]
Right when I wished to launch the spear toward the devil, he appeared right in front of me and took me by surprise with another punch in the abdomen. The spear was canceled while my mental body was sent flying another dozen of meters away, crashing through multiple blocks of stone. Blood was flowing from my mouth but a grin was slowly forming on my face.
[So that’s your weakness.] → Shen
I said with a twisted smile while immediately summoning another [Spear of Nothingness], this time launching it immediately.
The devil waved his hand again, the same way he did with the [Corrosion Spears], making it disappear like smoke.
[Just because you can summon a string form the essence of Nothing, you find yourself omnipotent. The only reason why I stopped you was so you won’t foolishly kill yourself before I can take my revenge.]
My form was canceled because of the shock I felt at that moment. Meteorites, Angelic Seals, Energy Stones, Great Spells, Great Martial Arts Skills, now the only weapon I had full confidence in the spears from the Chaos Set, the strongest of them all [Spear Of Nothingness], also failing miserably.
For the first time in a while, I started to feel despair. Something I thought I forgot when the voices and the force which woke me up at night, stopped after reaching 14 years.
All my spells failed. My martial arts were dodged or blocked with ease while my magic was countered even before I could give it a form… Now, this… Just what am I supposed to do? → Shen
My mind became blurrier and blurrier while I was barely able to think straight for another strategy. The devil, on the other hand, looked with a mocking smile at me, taking small steps toward me while emanating his own pressuring aura. My own mental world was shaking from his pressure, giving me a hard time to even breathe.
I can’t… I feel like giving up… Should I just go with one of those two options…? → Shen
I thought while trying to keep my consciousness clear and the soul still pure. Two ideas appeared in my mind for a while now, not knowing if from the devil or from the subconscious. Either way, both were as bad as possible:
- Go with the flow and let the devil take control, then when unprepared make a comeback and possess him back while absorbing his essence’s power.
- Gather all the remaining power left and strike with an all-out attack, then seal him back when weakened.
Both ideas are crap… If I go with the first one, I’ll first need to keep my consciousness intact and that would be something close to a miracle. In case this step fails, I’ll need some kind of external help to reawaken my consciousness to make the comeback, which is again damn ridiculous. As for the second choice; right now I’m at my weakest. Going all-out against this damn devil which is brimming with power would end up with my soul completely possessed… → Shen
While I was stretching my brain for another option, the Devil made his last step right in front of me.
I woke up from my thoughts and looked upwards at the grinning devil who was with almost a meter taller than me. He was not even half a meter distanced from me, making for some of his blood drop on my cloak.
“Damn!” → Shen
I stepped back and tried to clean off the corrupted blood, looking at the devil with exhaustion.
[Are you finally giving up? Omisus.]
[Just think about it, Omisus. There will be no divine help, for this is Karma. Your beautiful wife is too preoccupied with absorbing the knowledge you gifted her, completely forgetting about you, while your best friend is helping your opponent with ways to defeat you, at the same time using a few tips and tricks your own wife told them willingly. Your little spatial devil won’t be able to help you any longer, while the Artificial Intelligence you created beforehand has been shut down to conserve energy. You’re too weakened to create any kind of connections with the Superior Spirit or any other kind of spirit, leaving only you to defeat me when you can’t even defend yourself.]
A hideous smile appeared on his face while he titled his head. His long arm reached toward me while continuing with confidence.
[You should just let me take control. Like this, your sufferings from the tiredness will chase while I’ll be sure to take good care of that duel for you.]
My mind was shaking for a moment. I couldn’t think straight while my body shivered for a moment. It wasn’t from the exhaustion, but from the news the devil just gave me.
Eh?… So that’s why Sylvia couldn’t contact me? Also, helping Yuri? What? No… It must be- → Shen
“Lies… Sylvia won’t go against me… No matter the reason. Same with Ryu.”
My face darkened. I tried to negate it, but I knew it was true… Because:
[Spirits never lie… You know this all too well, Omisus.]
I clicked my tongue then snapped at the devil, looking at him with blood-shot eyes.
“You’re a devil! Why would I trust what a devil is telling me?!” → Shen
Hearing this, the devil bent from laughing, reprimanding me with a terrifying expression.
[Boahahahhaha! Devils ARE spirits, Omisus! And you know this as well! Be them of light, of nature, or of darkness; spirits never lie. Only some demons can. But I am no demon, Omisus~.]
I couldn’t keep my composure any longer. I feel on my knees with hopeless eyes while starting to even doubt myself.
Why… why am I suddenly betrayed? Is it because I’m possessed by a devil? Is that is? What… I can’t understand… → Shen
The tiredness and the despair took over me, making me unable to even think properly while my own common sense seemed to be stained by negative feelings.
[Kekeke~ that’s the way, Omisus. Fall into darkness and let me turn you into what you turned me.]
The devil’s aura then stretched out toward me and enveloped me entirely. However, a sudden spark appeared from right inside my chest.
The devil looked confused at first, then a sudden shockwave sent him flying while his tentacle-like aura was set aflame, having him severe his own tentacles so it won’t spread.
[This is not the Divine Fire…]
With amusing eyes, the devil looked back at me and observed with a twisted smile my mental body burning up with the flames of rage.
“I won’t permit it.”
Wrath took over me right at that moment. Rage, fury, anger, madness. All of these took over me, making my soul burn like never before.
[Kekeke~ If you don’t trust me, why not go inside your friend’s room right now? They must have a conversation about how to take you down at this very moment.]
Hearing what the devil said, my rage exploded and I woke up while spitting out a breath of fire, possibly even stronger than what Sylvia showed before.
The little sealed hut exploded while a huge pillar of red fire shot out a few hundred meters in the air. After I got out from the hut, I rushed like the wind toward the Middle-Tower, not letting the news that I woke up reach Ryu’s ears faster than me. Even though the fire must’ve alarmed some people, it still wasn’t enough to make Ryu react.
Meanwhile, inside my head, the devil was still smiling terrifyingly while looking at my mental-body which was now sleeping while standing, the body still burning.
[You must’ve thought these flames can stop me from reaching you. A grave mistake. I am not only fear but rage as well! This fire is nothing but nourishment for me!]
He then reached out and covered my entire mental-body with his own dark aura, the fire being completely engulfed then changed into dark flames.
[Go and have fun Omisus~. I’ll wait for you right here, when you’ll get back inside your own mind, and get possessed by me!]
Outside the body, my dark hair was becoming spikier than before, while my red eyes started to shine with blood-lust. Even my canines grew longer, looking more like the fangs of a wolf.
Everywhere around there were confused people and even Antara elites who rushed toward the Eastern Wall to understand what was happening. Feeling my sinister aura, some of them tried to stop me but I simply dodged them with a few dashes. After the Middle Tower appeared in my sight, I activated [Wave Step] and flew right toward the highest window inside the tower, where Ryu’s office was built.
The glass broke into pieces, together with my mind when I saw Ryu gifting Yuri a Legendary-Ranked sword. The [Thunder King’s Sword]; one of the strongest weapons we had in our arsenal.
“S-Shen?! When did you-?” → Shen
Ryu panicked and wanted to ask me something, when I suddenly roared out in rage and sorrow, unable to contain my fury any longer.
The tower cracked from the sonic wave while Ryu and Yuri had to create a barrier around themselves to keep their ears from breaking.
No… No no no no! This isn’t possible! → Shen
[Oh but it is! Don’t you believe your own eyes? Or shall we hear their pathetic excuses first?]
SHUT UP! → Shen
“KENAZ!” → Shen
I roared out and the tower cracked even more. Right after, the fiery golem appeared right beside me from a pillar of fire. Right after, with his sharp claws, he ripped off one of his own fiery eyes and passed it to me as another one was slowly replacing his. The eyeball looked like a burning orange beautiful crystal with a slit on it, seemingly the pupil of the eye.
I held the eye in one of my palms and before I could ask “What were these two discussing?” my mind suddenly clouded and my thoughts muddled. Without knowing I already asked in an angry voice:
“Show me the moment this sword appeared in front of them.” → Shen
Then regained control and observed the flames changing.
Kenaz3KenazAn Elder Futharks rune which, in this novel represents only \"torch\" and \"vision\". Appearance: Looks like a < and is normally written on stone, wood or even bone. bowed again and the flames from the eyeball burned brighter and stronger until two silhouettes appeared in the flames. Yuri and Ryu observed how everything happened with baffled faces, unable to comprehend how and what happened just now. I focused on the two burning silhouettes intently as I also tried to hear what they were saying.
“Kenaz” comes from the rune of vision and knowledge. By “torch” is not referring to the element of fire, but to the guiding light. The “light” that shows you what you want to see… Now, this is something disturbing.
My face paled as I started to hear the voices right after Ryu handled the sword to Yuri:
[I thank you again for agreeing on such a request, Mister Yuri. If not for you… I would have needed to kill my brother with my own hands.][Please don’t worry, Sire Ryu. I will be sure to defeat him, in your and in Miss Sylvia’s name.]
[Yes I thank you-…]
The fiery figures continued to talk some more but my mind was already in disarray as I was unable to think straight anymore. I smashed the eyeball into pieces as the fire died down in orange sparkles. I started to cry right there and then. I wouldn’t mind if I was betrayed by the others. But having my own brother betray me together with the only woman I loved; I wasn’t able to keep my sanity stable any longer falling right into the devil’s palm.
“Hold on, Shen! You have to let me explain first!” → Ryu
“L-Lord Shen! Please hear us! You might be misunderstanding us!” → Yuri
The two of them tried to talk with me while my dark aura gushed out like a fountain, cracking the stones around and making them unable to approach.
Aaah~! Ah… haah… Ha, Haha~ Hahahahahaha~! → Shen
My grieving face slowly turned and twisted into a smile, a wild dark flame appearing around my left fist as I glanced at Ryu with blood-shot eyes.
“Shen? Are you… okay?” → Ryu
A sudden chill ran down Ryu’s spine after feeling the ridiculous pressure and seeing the twisted smile on my face.
“Eh~? Man, don’t you-“ → Shen
Afterward, I appeared right beside Ryu, my fist right in front of him.
Both Ryu and Yuri looked stunned, not understanding how I teleported and reappeared right in front of them in less than a blink.
“-BE SO FRIEDLY WITH ME! ROAH!!” → Shen
My face turned ferocious while punching Ryu right in the face with the fiery fist I created beforehand, sending him like a rocket through the wall then crashing right at the other side of the Kingdom, hitting the Western Wall of the huge fortress.
“W-what was that?!”
“It came from the middle tower! Look!”
“The tower is destroyed?! Who?!”
“There! Look! The wall is damaged!”
More and more residents gathered together, confused and terrified by the strong roar then by the explosion which resounded in succession.
Yuri looked completely baffled at this show of power, not understanding how Ryu, who was almost a fully-fledged dragon by now, was sent flying for half a kilometer in just one punch. He then looked my way, making me feel amused by his dumb face. I placed my thumb at my neck and with a ferocious smile I mimicked a slashing motion while saying:
“You’re next.” → Shen
[[[POV CHANGES TO PAST]]]
A few moments back in time, while I was still struggling with the devil. Yuri talked it out with Ryu for more ways to save me and prepare some kind of plan.
“In my duel with Shen, I’ll need to use the best spells and chants for purifications I can think of. Anything other than the Lightning and Light element won’t be useful against a devil. Fire might prove to be of some help, but it might harm Shen’s real body as well. I can’t risk it.” → Yuri
Yuri explained while Ryu searched through a list of items. He thought of gifting Yuri some kind of weapon or item which might prove to be more useful in his fight against me. Last time he heard about me from Bonny, he understood instantly that I’ll fail the attempt for self-purification. He started to worry then thought of exchanging the victory of the duel for my safety. He took out a legendary sword from his own inventory and looked at it with a grave look.
“S-sir Ryu! That sword is-“ → Yuri
Without letting him finish his words, Ryu pointed the tip at Yuri, making him feel incredible pressure.
“So you know about it as well. The [Thunder King’s Sword]. A one of a kind which has never been found inside the game.” → Ryu
With a grave voice, Ryu then continued.
“Yuri… I know that you’re not one to back-stab. I can tell of what kind of material someone can be, and you’re almost the same as Shen in some points. I can trust people like you guys the most… However. I’ll still need you to promise. Here and now; that you will do all you can to save my one and only brother. Please promise me that you will save Shen from his own devil and I’ll promise you that the entire Antara Kingdom will remain indebted to you.” → Ryu
Seeing his serious and even nervous dragon-like eyes, Yuri felt somewhat moved by Ryu’s resolution.
To have such a strong bond of friendship… He trusts Shen with all his spirit and he’s ready to pay almost any kind of price for his wellbeing. Will I ever be able to acquire something like this? Ah heavens, I would do anything for such friends. → Yuri
Yuri smiled lightly then he answered with a calm smile.
“King Ryu. I, Yuri of Victoria Kingdom; swear on my name and promise with my life on the line that I will do anything I can to save Lord Shen from the claws of the devil. I promise you that I’ll try my best to exorcise the devil or at least seal it back, even if that means to gamble with my life. However-“ → Yuri
Ryu’s nerves stretched when he heard that he wished to continue.
He is helping an entire Kingdom after all. It would’ve been foolish to not wish anything from us. But this is for the best. If he tells me his wish now, I will be able to pay up immediately without remaining indebted for long. → Ryu
Afterward, Yuri continued with a calm smile and clear eyes, stunning even Ryu for a moment.
“-However, in return I would wish to become friends with Sir Ryu and Mister Shen.” → Yuri
His request would’ve sounded ridiculous to anyone who heard him. Trying to befriend a King and a future Patriarch of a Kingdom was the dream of anyone who wished to make connections. However, what Yuri wished for wasn’t the idea of having connections, but the possibility to have understanding friends with same ideals and hobbies. To be able to talk openly and have someone with whom to find solutions for any kind of problems.
Even though Yuri had his teammates from the Elite group, they were rather bound by the obligations and duties than by a bond of friendship. They had mutual respect for each other but he was unable to talk freely with them, not having the same mindset and not being able to percept the world the same way he did.
Seeing his sincere eyes and simple smile, Ryu was left speechless for a moment. He then couldn’t hold himself so he burst into laughter.
“Eh? S-so it’s too much to ask I suppose…?” → Shen
Yuri scratched his head with an embarrassed smile, feeling a little bit down for not being able to finally get some friends.
“Ah, ah no. Sorry, it wasn’t that. Ah~ I forgot since when I laughed like this.” → Ryu
Ryu cleaned the tears from the corner of his eyes and then reached out his hand.
“To have someone like you as a friend, it would be an honor, Mister Yuri.” → Ryu
Seeing Ryu giving out his hand, Yuri was dazed at first, then he happily shook his hand with a wide grin.
“Yes! The same for me, Sir Ryu!” → Yuri
Ryu smiled then passed the sword to Yuri while saying.
“I thank you again for agreeing on such a request, Mister Yuri. If not for you… I would have needed to kill my brother with my own hands.” → Ryu
“Please don’t worry, Sire Ryu. I will be sure to defeat him, in your and in Miss Sylvia’s name.” → Yuri
“Yes, I thank you for that. After this, let’s finish the alliance agreement and remain good allies and even friends.” → Ryu
Right after he finished talking, I appeared through the window, my eyes completely blood-shot while gazing at the familiar sword inside Yuri’s hands.
Both of their faces paled, not knowing how to explain this scene. And they were unable to do so.
After sending Ryu flying, Yuri looked at me with a stunned face, unable to understand how things turned out for the worst. After finally waking up, he saw a bestial smile on my face while imitating the cutting of his neck.
“You’re next.” → Shen
Hearing my hoarse and demonic voice, Yuri trembled at first when he tried to talk with me in a hurry.
“L-Lord Shen! King Ryu and I only talked for ways to free you from the devil! I swear on my name that he wasn’t betraying you!” → Yuri
I looked at him like at an idiot. At that moment I couldn’t care less if they truly betrayed me or not. The fire inside me quieted down while the fangs shortened back. However, the red eyes, black hair and demonic aura around me, still remained as vividly as before. Seeing him trying to talk reason with me so desperately made me more amused. In the end, I shook my hand and told him in a calm voice.
“You know what? I’m quite bored right now. That trash over there showed no resistance just now. Why don’t we have some fun together and start the duel today? Besides, what’s a day earlier? It’s not like we still have to prepare or something.” → Shen
“What…?” → Yuri
Yuri looked at me stunned again. He couldn’t believe I just called Ryu trash so blatantly right in front of someone else. Before he could answer, the door flung open and Ken, Isa, Bernard, and Bonny entered the office with worried faces.
“Milord! What happened here?!” → Bernard
Bernard asked in a hurry while looking around inside the destroyed office.
“M-master… Where is King Ryu?!” → Bonny
Bonny’s quivering voice only made me feel like laughing. In the end, I pointed to where he crashed and said with an amused voice.
“That idiot should be back in a minute now.” → Shen
“What…?” → Bonny
Bonny stared confused and shocked by my sudden change. Both Bernard and Bonny stared at me like at a stranger. Only Kenaz and Isaz2IsazAn Elder Futharks rune which, in this novel represents only \"Ice\", \"coldness\", and \"stillness\". Appearance: Looks like an I and is normally written on stone, wood or even bone. stepped forward, bowing to me with the same respect as before.
[We greet master]
They then stood tall in front of me, as if waiting for commands.
“Ah~ my best toys. It’s good that at least you regained your awareness and are able to listen to my commands now. There shall not be a second time.” → Shen
[We apologize to master.]
“Good~.” → Shen
After both of them bowed while their aura’s flickered with what seemed to be an emotion of fear I smiled brightly while throwing two energy stones for each one of them.
“Go and grab two people from the heroes’ party. The duel will start today-“ → Shen
“SHEN!” → Ryu
Right before I could finish my words, Ryu flew right back transformed into a semi-dragon and around his cheek, a burning mark was still visible which was slowly recovering. Unlike before, his scales were sharper while on his tail along his spine until the back of his neck, sharp dark spikes grew. His dragonic eyes starred with coldness at me, while his sharp claws were wide open and ready to strike.
“Shen. Not even listening, striking without hearing the other end of the story. How do you expect to be followed as a leader of Antara?” → Ryu
His voice deep and cold while emanating his own darkish-red aura. A ready-to-battle fire ignited inside his soul as his powers rose sky-high, making for the air to vibrate as if boiling.