The woman was shocked by his stats, especially by the curses, but the young man glared sharply and said in a grave tone:
[This golden soul again. We should have ended him when we had the chance. Ever since we brought everyone here, he was the only one who tried to resist having the system inserted in his spirit. I had to use a surplus of mana to make him lose consciousness and extract his spirit.]
The woman was baffled for a moment then asked worriedly.
[W-wait a moment. Aren’t we going to talk about the fact that his soul is in danger? Aren’t we going to send any kind of help?!]
Her worry was something the others didn’t expect and her words were even more of a shock. Both the demonic being and the young man glanced at the woman, then the young man asked:
[Hamata, I think your feelings for the mortals will sooner or later cloud your judgment, just like it did to us after we decided to change the form of Sario’s destiny to a string. Nothing good will come out of this, so you better stop minding them.]
[How could I? When we are the main reason of why these poor souls are now suffering! Kaveh, you used to love them the most, now you’re almost turning against them. Why?] → Hamata
[I’m not turning against them, nor am I with them. I just wish to save Sario from crumbling.] → Kaveh
[And what’s your reason for not saving this golden soul from his devil then?!] → Hamata
[… That’s his Karma. It was meant to be, and our intrusion will only harden his bath. I shall not play any hands in this.] → Kaveh
[Wrong! His Karma is still bound to the one from Earth, where the field is much weaker! Now his devil, which was supposed to be felt by him at most just like a whisper, is now straight out trying to possess him and only our fault! How can you say this is his Karma!?] → Hamata
Hearing his words, Hamata’s clear eyes were now misted with tears as she tried her hardest not to burst out crying. She then glared at Kaveh and turned to leave.
[Fine! If you won’t help him, then I will!] → Hamata
Kaveh then roared in a hurry, agitation and fury visible on his face.
[You already saved him once before by convincing us to not execute him from endangering the entire Sario! His spiraling destiny is all too chaotic and you’ll never know when he’ll turn against the entire Sario!] → Kaveh
[If he does then I’ll take full responsibility and finish him when time comes myself! And I’ll also be sure nothing will happen to him, as long as I can save his soul!] → Hamata [Hamata! If you dare interfere directly with the mortal-] → Kaveh
[I won’t! I will just let someone else to save him.] → Hamata
She instantly interrupted him from continuing and left in a hurry with a plan already formed in her head. Kaveh then fell back down on his sit with a distressed expression while the demonic man whistled with a laidback and impressed expression on.
[To see the rigid Kaveh so expressive lately. How many eons have passed since the last time you even raised an eyebrow?] → Lucian
[Lucian, not now.] → Kaveh
Kaveh glared at the one named Lucian and said in a deep voice. Lucian then laughed aloud terrifyingly as he glared back with his blood-red demonic eyes at him.
[However much I’d wish to have a go against you, space itself is simply too active to resist any kind of internal strife. So if we start anything now, this entire world might collapse and our Heavenly Palace together with the Underworld will crash onto the surface of Sario where the mortals are now living.] → Lucian
Lucian got up and right before leaving he said:
[As for this individual, Shen, or as he was named in the previous world: Johan Hanover. I still think he must not be left untouched. We must convince, or even force, Hamata to close her eyes at least upon this mortal which has the wildest, uncontrollable, and the most twisted spiral of destiny from all I ever saw.] → Lucian
[… Are you saying we should subdue Hamata? She’s a top God on the Sario’s Pantheon, right beside us. We can’t turn against one of our own!] → Kaveh
[A mighty God which might bring destruction upon Sario simply because she felt pity for an extremely dangerous individual. That child has a spirit which should be summoned on more stable worlds, not on our shaky one. You better think things through, God of Justice.] → Lucian
Lucian then left the hall, leaving Kaveh alone inside the meeting hall. He then glanced again at the screens and tried to think of something on his own.
[If that Rosabhi were to fully take control over him, then we’ll have a freeway to exterminate him and exile his soul from Sario… Whatever Hamata is going to do, I must convince her to stop and chase her struggles on saving this uncontrollable and heavy individual. As for subduing her… No, we must not turn against each other.] → Kaveh
[[[POV CHANGES TO SHEN]]]
Back on Sario, at the moment the devil almost finished on taking control over myself.
“W-what is that?!”
Both Caila and Leorio shouted together after observing the changes in the environment. They then looked toward the Antara kingdom and saw how, only at around 500m away, the chaotic area stopped, as the kingdom wasn’t affected by the deadly miasma being protected by an old yellow aura and a pure-white barrier. The residents of the Antara who were in the middle of listening to Ryu’s explanations, suddenly felt the change in the wind and looked shocked, some even terrified, at the dark clouds which twisted and swirled only above the mountains, at some places even creating tornadoes which destroyed the crowns of the great trees atop the still-untouched mountains.
[A nest…] → 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.
Isaz grunted on its own while his eyes sharpened. He felt as if he finally remembered something then got down on the position of meditation. Caila heard what Isaz said and remained completely frozen.
Nest…? I heard that only heavenly creatures of rank SS and beyond, or Young-God ranked power warriors can create one! Why is he able to make one? Don’t tell me… h-he acquired the Young-God rank of power?! T-then Mister Yuri is in danger! → Caila
I roared out ferociously then shot out toward Yuri with incredible blood-lust. The freezing air turned even colder and my thick blood-lust tuned everything with a shade redder. I appeared right in front of Yuri and showered him with punches in a frenzy.
“Damn!” → Yuri
He hardly redirected my punches to the sides while retreating desperately.
W-what should I do?! This is not a normal exorcism! And what happened with the space around us?! Did he do this?! → Yuri
Yuri used Blink and distanced himself from me.
“[Space Bending]” → Yuri
Yuri then created more different golden magic circles and redirected one of them towards me. He slammed it hard and the magic circle broke. Not long after, the space shattered and the cracks engulfed me as well. My bones and muscles ruptured and cracked while blood was oozing out from everywhere around, but I couldn’t care less. I simply waved my arm and space broke again, leaving behind a huge rift which was absorbing the space around to close itself.
Nightmarish shrieks and screams resounded from the other side of the rift, making even Yuri feel like his heart was turning into a block of ice.
Oh God, just what is on the other side of that dimensional crack?! → Yuri
Yuri started to sweat while a ghastly, thin hand with long, bony and sharp fingers appeared through the rift.
“… Shut up.” → Shen
The screams made my head hurt so I slashed off the arm with my own, breaking it and having dark grayish blood gush out from the wound. At the contact with the dirt, the blood started to foam like an acid, releasing a toxic smoke in the air.
The monster screamed out in pain but that only made me even angrier.
“I SAID! SHUT UP!” → Shen
I grabbed the broken part of the arm, twisted it then tore it apart. Then a black flame covered it in my hands and threw it right back inside the rift, together with the contaminated dirt.
[BREAK!] → Shen
With another fist, I broke the space around the rift and made it close up while opening a black hole in its place. Because of the soul-shaking shriek, my consciousness recovered for a moment but I only felt how the darkness slowly enveloped me again.
Yuri looked at me completely shocked, not understanding what happened.
Did he just push back that monstrous creature? W-how?! Does he even know what that thing is? Or, ‘was’?! That aside, he’s breaking space as if breaking walls with a hammer. This is ridiculous! → Yuri
Unable to comprehend what was happening in front of him, the black hole finally closed up then I shot at him again.
“Ah damn!” → Yuri
Yuri woke up from his dazed state then pointed the rest of the magic circles at me.
“[Space Binding]” → Yuro
Another circle broke and I suddenly froze in place, unable to move.
“[Spatial Collapse]” → Yuri
Yet another one was destroyed and the gravity around me suddenly grew and made me sink into the ground. The pressure was ridiculous and almost broke my legs. I roared out again then slammed the ground with my fist.
[BREAK!] → Shen
The deformed space around me broke and cracks appeared all around me, then Yuri suddenly brought together three circles and united them in the form of a triangle.
[Universal Binding!] → Yuri
Again, I was unable to move, then after uniting the last two he formed one huge golden magic circle and shouted out:
[Buddha’s Word: Banishing Devil] → Shen
A humongous fist appeared above, entirely made from golden mana and falling from above like a meteorite while pushing away the heavy clouds.
This won’t end me… → Shen
My mind was almost completely engulfed by the devil when he whispered to me again:
[Leave it all to me and you will be the victor.]
My consciousness collapsed completely while the dark aura shot out with even more ferocity.
W-what is it now?! I used more than half my mana for this skill while also using from around! If this fails then I’ll have to ask for help! → Yuri
Yuri was perturbed by the huge spike in my powers once again then started to chant a prayer.
[ROAR~!] → Shen
A monstrous roar boomed from inside my mouth then all my aura disappeared, focusing only on my left arm. My arm was fully engulfed by the darkness and it took the form of a humongous burning black claw.
[Ira Daemon: Asmodeum Brachium] → Shen
With a demonic voice, I roared then shot out a humongous burning dark claw toward the golden fist, the two meeting head-on seemingly like the fist of God against the Devil’s claw.
Both I and Yuri spat out some blood while my nest completely shattered at the impact. Because light would always overcome the darkness, Yuri was able to push me back even though he was below me with almost three entire ranks. Even so, when it came to the amount of power, the devil was the superior one.
The golden fist cracked then exploded with a shockwave, breaking the tips of the neighboring mountains.
Both Leorio and Caila hastily created barriers around themselves while the tip on which they stood shattered completely. Landslides appeared everywhere around, the two golems looking from above with neutral faces.
The smoke lessened, leaving behind a tired and injured Yuri. He barely held his staff with his injured arm while his clothes were almost completely ripped off him. I then dashed around through the smoke-screen like a shadow and jumped at him again.
[Purifying Area] → Yuri
Yuri shouted out while stabbing his own staff on the ground.
The air 4m around us made my lungs burn while my skin to melt. I retreated right outside the danger-zone and gazed at Yuri with a blood-lust almost insane-like, my whole body covered in bloody cuts which barely healed.
“Haah, haah, haah…” → Yuri
Yuri breathed roughly while having blood drop down his chin. The fury of punches he had to dodge and redirect was fiercer than he thought, making the pressure alone to hurt and cut his skin, together with the disastrous explosion just now, ending up injured all-over the body. He then closed his eyes and entered a deep meditation. The [Purifying Area] would remain on for 30 more seconds. So he had to come up with something before the time limit.
[Time limit… that would be so if I waited.] → Shen
With sharp eyes, I started to focus all the dark energy inside me toward my fist and take an offensive stance.
“Good-bye~” → Shen
[Abyssal Touch] → Shen
I said mockingly then punched out with everything I had. The concentrated energy was released in front and a huge pillar of darkness shot out, engulfing every boulder, tree and even the earth in front, going through the next mountain in front, forming a deep and huge tunnel through it, cleaning the terrain on the other part for another few hundred meters. After the dust settled, a deep dent appeared in front while everything else completely disappeared in the direction the dark beam has been shoot.
[Tsk, he’s still alive.] → Shen
Yuri then reappeared from his [Blink] with his eyes closed. He bowed his head, not to me, but as if to someone else, then he opened his mouth and said in a calm and confident tone.
“Sir Shen. When I was young and my cousin was in danger to fall from a cliff, I discovered one of my truest laws: ‘True power comes from the wish to help the others.’ Believing in this, I was able to lift my brother with only one of my tiny arms, taking into consideration that I was only 10 while my cousin was 20 at that time. I understood that If I’ll ever need for power to save someone, the heavens will surely help me to do so. And my only wish at this moment is to have the power to save your soul from the claws of the devil. Because of this, my wish has been granted by the Goddess of this world and I reached the next level of [Soul Eyes].” → Yuri
Yuri then opened his eyes. Two golden rays of light shot out and his once green irises turned completely golden. He looked my way and I felt as if he was able to gaze into my very existence.
“[God’s Gaze]. I’ve been granted permission to help you. Now please wait some more for me, Sir Shen. I will do everything in my power to help you get your body back.” → Shen
Yuri then shot out toward me with even more speed than before and with a light-imbued palm, he struck out toward my chest in full-power. I blocked the punch but still felt a burning sensation on my arms. I looked down and saw my skin turning into coal only from the touch.
“You’ll only kill me!” → Shen
“What I’m burning is the devil your body has united with. After he leaves you, every and all injuries will disappear completely.” → Yuri
“That’s because of my own Prana! You dumb-ass!” → Shen
I darted out in rage and started an exchange of fists with Yuri on equal grounds. He nimbly redirected the fists while I was skillfully dodging and blocking every palm sent my way. I tried to use different styles of martial arts, changing from Karate, to Capoeira, to Kung-Fu, to stabbing at his acupoints, to even using sumo strikes. Whatever I tried had the same result: he dodging and redirecting everything in a calm manner. However, Yuri wasn’t on a higher ground either. Be it with his staff, palm, fists or kicks, whatever he used, nothing would land on me. Both of us fought with incredible speed, exchanging blows in such a fast and explosive manner, the ground started to dent while space was close to collapsing again, creating strong shockwaves which affected huge areas around us. The friction with the air caused sparks to appear between us while even the clouds in the sky swirled and twisted from the violent energies around us.
I distanced myself and forced my mental energy to unite with the soul-waves, creating telekinesis abilities and made it so dark energy enveloped my entire body. I then raised both my arms and slapped my hands.
From the ground two huge arms of earth rose in the air, looking like two skyscrapers. Both arms rushed toward Yuri, trying to squish him in between with incredible force.
Yuri activated two huge magic circles I never saw before and blocked the colossal arms from squishing him. He then entered the spiritual world and reappeared behind my back. He struck with his staff, sending my flying for around 10m. I shot right back while creating a huge demonic fist above my head from the dark energy and tried to smash him again.
“[Devil’s Phantom]” → Shen
The punch struck the ground right after Yuri dodged, but it didn’t stop there and another fist was formed, this one is blocked by more magic circles formed right in front of him. Both fists then shot out in a fury and broke the ground under him, creating deep cracks and rising a thick cloud of dust, covering him together with his magic-circle barrier under the dust.
I reactivated telekinesis and sharp spears of earth imbued with dark energy shot out from the earth more than 10m in the air where I last saw him, turning the place into a tinny mountain of spikes.
“Huff, huff, huff…”
When the dust settled down, Yuri appeared through a place where the spikes were cut down with his Lightning King’s Sword in hand while bleeding from his mouth. The barrier was pierced through in different places and barely still holding.
If I continuously use [Blink] I might really risk on remaining into a spiritual form forever. And if that happens, Mister Shen’s Devil will be able to deal with me completely. → Yuri
This time when he entered into the spirit world, my Devil almost ripped one of his arms. He shot out one of his long claws and wished to grab Yuri but he was too slow and left him to re-enter into the material world again.
[You can’t win, mortal. Why do you fight for a stranger? He can give you nothing! You will only lose from helping him!]
The devil whispered into Yuri’s ear and tried to make him give up on bringing back my sanity. However, Yuri looked with calmness and tranquility at me then rose his right hand. The tip of his five fingers started to shine with a golden light while magic circles appeared around his every finger. The circles contained more runes I never saw before, together with a sign I was pretty familiar with: the two combined squares; one like a straight rhomb, while the second like a regular square, forming an octagon.
“Mister Shen. Please remember… The ones who wish you well are waiting for you. I know this devil is bringing to the surface the darkness in your heart. But please resist some more, I will free you of the chains you placed upon yourself, for this is my law.” → Yuri
Afterward, we restarted fighting in a destructive manner. Me creating large-scale spells, while Yuri using more magic circles and turning the fight into a melee.
While I was fighting in a stale-mate with Yuri, the tiniest part of my consciousness was still fighting against the darkness which took over the body. Inside my own head, I was still struggling and trying to fight back when there was not even a ray of light to be seen.
I tore and slashed with my bloodied arms at the darkness around me while breathing exhausted. I felt heavy and sleepy while I continued to keep my eyes open, continuing to fight the dark and tiredness.
How much have I been continuously fighting for? How much have I been put in danger, unable to relax for a moment after being taken as a prisoner by those pirates? For how much longer will I have to endure this pain and suffering? Unable to close an eye and relax, unable to free me of this constant tension? I… want to sleep… I just want to lay down… and sleep… → Shen
My spirit was hampered down while my arms became heavier and only heavier.
After turning into a cripple, my body became weaker than that of a normal mortal, while needing sleep and material food. When I thought I could finally take it easy, I had to deal with one full week of torture, day and night, in constant pain and sufferings. My body was exhausted while my mind was cloudy. However, my spirit was still strong. When I fought against the Duke demoness Vepar, I used up all the mental-power I had while my body shut down completely. After I came back from the astral world, all the tiredness and weakness I had still persisted. Even though Sylvia was able to heal me after we slept together, I was still far from being completely recovered, but I had no time for that, my disciples, the ones I saved, everyone still needed me. However, what actually destroyed my mental strength was the moment I had to help Ryu in his fight against Thanatos. After that battle, not only my mind and soul, but my spirit became completely vulnerable and that was the moment I had no more any chance to fight the Devil.
[Do you think you have the right to relax? Do you think you’re free to take it easy when there are still so many things to do?!]
Another me appeared inside the darkness I was fighting against with. His eyes were red like blood with a firm and severe expression on his face.
But… If I go on like this, I’ll burn myself out… I’m tired, I’m hurt… I’m…weakened… → Shen
[Then do exactly that. The Urius kingdom is already an enemy. The Victoria Kingdom must be subdued now as long as we still can. The demonic waves are coming anytime now and because of that stupid huge lizard, our warriors are completely drained. Let’s not forget about the problem I have to face the ‘Underground Threat’ and also the restriction placed on me by the damned gods. Everyone is against me. EVERYONE! And the idea of relaxing shouldn’t even cross my mind now!]
The other me boomed irritated while clenching his teeth. His veins bulged from the irritation, then behind him, another me appeared. This one looked exactly the same, but his eyes were completely black.
[The old story with ‘I against the world’, isn’t it? Oh well… Nothing different this time either… From those visions, I understood that is the same story all the time… The victor… will always remain alone, while the ones below will try to subdue him… I’d say that the morale of it would be to “never be very good at anything”, right?]
The dark eyed-me sighed with a cold voice then continued in indifference.
[Let’s not forget that Ryu also betrayed me, giving to that brat Yuri a legendary sword to end me. And Sylvia? I heard nothing from her after we parted ways, not even a heart-wave or something. I remember I gave her some kind of precious knowledge, right? Think she gave up on me after acquiring a way to increase her powers?]
NEVER! → Shen
I roared while breathing heavily. I then looked at the two me with tired eyes and continued.
They would never… betray me… I can trust them on that much… Right? → Shen
I asked while feeling despair and uneasiness, being unsure of myself.
[I am really stupid sometimes, aren’t I?]
The dark-eyes one said with indifference while shaking his head.
[Why the hell do I still believe in this world, when all it did up till now was to kill me again and again and now betray me again and again… It’s just a waste… They took me away from home only to bring me into this Hell.]
The dark-eyes one looked downwards while dark tears fell down his cheeks.
[They should thank me that I’m not destroying it! I already discovered spells which can kill masses by using a minimal amount of mana! I discovered secrets which can bring this world into Nidhoggur’s garden, filled with undead and darkness! I know dozens of ways to bring forth horrible calamities into this world!]
The red-eyed one shot out in rage while crying tears of blood.
[That Hamata goddess told us to save this world, but how she repaid me after I did that? Getting restrictions and warnings?! I SHOULD BURN THIS WORLD TO ASHES!]
Haah, haah… No… Wrong… → Shen
I fell on my knees, unable to put up any more resistance. I finally understood who they were. All my tiredness, pains, sufferings, hidden thoughts, rage and fears, accumulated and took form in my own sorrows and fury. The devil gave them forms and now my reasoning can barely fight against them anymore.
The darkness then started to approach me and engulf my legs, reaching up toward my stomach, then chest.
“ Mister Shen. Please remember… that your loved ones are waiting for you… I will help you… for this is my law.” → Yuri
I suddenly heard a familiar voice like an echo in the distance.
Ah… right… I was fighting Yuri, wasn’t I? And those words… Where have I heard them before? → Shen
A sudden feeling of Deja-Vu resurfaced inside my heart, so I tried to reconnect with my consciousness to gaze even for a moment, into his eyes.
[I forgot to teach ye… that helping… is not equal to gaining… one must do what he wants, so his death won’t be meaningless…]
His sincere eyes full of spirit made me remember of someone else more vividly. The old, almost ancient words resounded in my head and along with them, other memories and feelings of sorrow and pain. It was from a dream, or rather, from a vision I had when I was smaller. One of the many visions which left a huge mark on me.