“… Your story has a lot of loopholes but I think I understood the main idea… Must you really put yourself on the line all the time?” → Ryu
“… Are you worried?” → Shen
I felt somewhat annoyed by his reaction and it seems he understood what I meant quite quickly.
“Right… Forgot you don’t appreciate when someone worries about you, much less a stranger. Sigh~ listen here, Shen. I am indeed worried for you, I am your friend in the end even though you don’t remember me. For me, you are like a brother, and as your bigger brother I can’t just be at ease knowing that my little bro is going somewhere around the globe, throwing himself in the teeth of death to save someone else again and again.” → Ryu
“You mean I should’ve left them to die?” → Shen
“I mean you should’ve have thought of a way that didn’t place you in such a disadvantage. Just what were you thinking?” → Ryu
Ryu gazed in my eyes with a serious look then I answered back with the same calm voice.
“It was improvisation. I told you that I simply woke up in there. Besides, the main plan was for me to enter in contact with as many slaves as possible then escape after I was able to talk with everyone there. The plan was to escape with the slaves while Bururiba took his time with the demon. The Ship-Battle was a miscalculation. I only heard about it on the day of the battle. While the fact that the idiot-king had knowledge of how to summon demons from Solomon’s Lesser Key was a complete disaster. Just who would’ve thought that such a trump card resided inside the hands of some pirates.” → Shen
“But you could’ve used that little squirrel to take you out, then, only then, search for slaves, right? And the reason why the pirate-king summoned the demon was mainly because your overpowered appearance frightened him. If you worked more undercover then maybe nothing of this could have happened.” → Ryu
“… Right, didn’t think of that.” → Shen
Ryu almost choked on his tea then looked at me irritated.
“And that’s what I’m talking about, you idiot. You really should think about yourself some more. You’re wise and smart at one point, then a complete fool at another…” → Ryu
“Well, it’s fine now. I won’t do such things again from now on anyway.” → Shen
“And why is that?” → Ryu
“Because I forgot why I was doing it in the first place.” → Shen
Ryu muted and then he sighed out again.
Is like he lost his own heart… → Ryu
He shook his head lightly then he said with a helpless smile.
“I suppose you don’t remember what happened with Yuri as well, right?” → Ryu
“Who?” → Shen
“Thought so…” → Ryu
It seems he forgot just some people. He can still remember Bururiba, Jian, the elves, the pirates and some other demons he fought with. However, the ones he stood with the most and fought with him are nowhere to be found through his memories. Why is that? This is not normal amnesia. → Ryu
He then started to explain what happened after I passed out. I only remembered that I lost myself to the devil and snapped at someone. Then I had to fight the heroes and made a bet that I will go and teach their people my forms of spells and martial arts.
What was in my head? Was I that confident of winning? Have I even won in the first place? → Shen
“Because Yuri was the one to fall first, we concluded you as the victor. However, he did give up on winning to help you out by sealing back the devil. So, in the end, we decided to simply agree on the relation of an alliance between the two kingdoms and open a trading road between Antara and Victoria.” → Ryu
“Antara?” → Shen
“The name of this kingdom. Sigh~ at least remember the name you yourself chose.” → Ryu
Ryu massaged his temples while I started to feel awkward about all of this. In the end, we simply continued some more chatting and later I understood the reason why I lost it to the devil.
“So you’re telling me you offered a legendary sword to the one I was supposed to fight against?” → Shen
I frowned while waiting for an answer from Ryu.
“…Yes. I knew that you might really get possessed by the devil, so I gave Yuri a sword which maybe would help to purify the dark energy of the devil. It seems he wasn’t that proficient with the sword and barely used it.” → Ryu
“That doesn’t change the fact that he was the enemy. What if he tried to use it in a way to kill me?” → Shen
“… Shen, I can guarantee you that Yuri is a trustworthy person. In the end, he almost gave his own life to save you from the devil, didn’t he?” → Ryu
Yeah… I can’t negate that… → Shen
I felt again somewhat conflicted then I got up from my seat and excused myself to leave. Ryu also got up then said with a wide smile.
“How about going inside the hot-spring? Waking up in a foreign environment would tense anyone. We recently discovered a vein of hot underground water, so Jack and the others were able to use it to build a hot-spring. Like this, you might be able to remember some people.” → Ryu
“By the way. For how long have I been asleep?” → Shen
“Hm? Close to a full week I suppose. So? Are you coming?” → Ryu
“… I have no bath-costume.” → Shen
“Just use a towel at the entrance and we’re good to go. The dog and pig-men are incredibly good craftsmen. Give them the materials and they would create some really luxurious stuff.” → Ryu
Ryu laughed out while showing me one of the towels made from what looked like the fluff of a goat. However, unlike the fur of the goat which is rather rough, this one was incredibly silky and smooth.
“Sigh~ fine then. I’ll go.” → Shen
“I’ll come and get you when it’s time to go.” → Ryu
Ryu waved his hand while I left his tower and returned to my little hut.
He’s a weird one. Asking to take a bath together so suddenly, I’m pretty sure I don’t swing that way… But he said we’re brothers though… Let’s wish the bath it’s large enough… → Shen
After I returned to my hut with some worry for the next day, I got on my bed and started meditating. I tried to visualize my circulation and at what level I have reached. The changes from what I remembered last time were mind-blowing.
I opened my eyes in shock then opened my stats, trying to understand what was happening.
—– START OF STATS —–
« General Information »
Class: Spirit Fighter
Primary Element: Darkness
« Skill Points »
Avg Attack Power: 720 → 2.000 (AP)
« Status »
Soul’s rank: golden (Locked)
Pride’s might (Awoken)
One of the Seven Deadly Sins. The essence used by Gods against Gods.
Feeding on Prana:
Regenerate 50.000 HP/s. In case of instant death, the body will be completely rebuilt in 30 seconds.
Curse of Vepar (Weakened)
Strengthens inner demons and Rosabhi’s awakening power.
Your soul has been touched by the devil while your heart was stolen. Physical mutations will appear while the control of the elements of chaos and darkness are strengthened.
WARNING: The Seal Of The Devil has been activated. Once Devil Rosabhi shows signs of possession, the seal will activate and the host together with the devil will be set aflame, suffering 1.000 damage per second while any movements will be burdened.
—– END OF STATS —–
My stats were all over the place with ridiculous regeneration power, low HP but a huge mana-pool, and my main element changing to that of darkness. The attack power oscillated between that of a Master and that of a Spiritual while the INT is now double that of STR.
No, even a spiritual would be hard pressed to reach such points on AP… Have I broken through to God rank? No, I still feel weak. Maybe there must be some kind of trigger which would let me use this power. And from what I remember, this, sure enough, is not my power… → Shen
“Rosabhi… You might have stolen my memories, but I stole your powers.” → Shen
I then focused and through my veins, what seemed to be a dark smoke circulated and flew through my skin then covered my entire arm in the darkness.
Did I just transmute the “yin” of my blood into darkness? → Shen
I felt my body depleting while my HP bar was emptying slowly. However, the difference was barely visible because of Prana that regenerated the lost blood instantly.
That Rosabhi… His abilities aren’t normal. Turning the vitality of my body into dark power… Literally the power of a devil. → Shen
Even though I couldn’t fancy with Rosabhi, I felt that his power described my style the best.
Sacrificing yourself for your goals, huh. We’re both idiots indeed. → Shen
I continued to focus and try to familiarize myself with the new powers. I enveloped myself with the darkness and felt some kind of kinship with this element.
Based on Yin and Yang, Darkness is definitely yin. Because of Rosabhi, all my memories are either informative or pure sufferings which can also be poison for the heart, included in the Yin category… My body’s structure is built on pure Yang while my memories are full in Yin, now having to combine with a toxic Yin like a devil’s… I don’t know what might happen, but at this point, I don’t care anymore. Power is power and I will use it as I see fit, no matter of the category. → Shen
Then I accepted the chilling yet comfortable element of Darkness, absorbing it through my pores and tried to merge with it.
Darkness is not ‘evil’, power is not ‘evil’. The true ‘evil’ can only be the consciousness which uses it, the ego who lost reason. And that Devil used it until now to consume other demons and mages fooled by him… And it seems I almost was one of them in one of my other lives. → Shen
“Gah?!” → Shen
Trying to remember about the dream I had when I was 17, I suddenly felt a strong rage inside my once empty heart. A fire started to burn with anger and fury inside me, feeling as if my chest was set aflame. My eyes turned blood-red while my veins bulged, darkness gushing out from inside me, resembling a steam-engine which was overheated.
This is Rosabhi’s rage! Is not mine! Calm down! → Shen
I tried to cool my mind after understanding that the powers from Rosabhi also brought with them some lingering feelings from him. Some extremely violent and strong at that.
I tried to cleanse my spiritual body from the rage by circulating the energies and connect with the ground. I was sending the energy inside the earth below to be filtered then absorb it right back, working like a sieve for contaminated energies. After I completely purified the energy acquired from Rosabhi, I tried to circulate it again through my body and make it my own.
That was dangerous. I almost turned into a berserker because I forgot to separate the Devil’s essence from his emotions. Now it must be safer… I suppose. → Shen
I then focused again and felt how it was much easier for me to control the darkness around me. To my surprise, even the coldness seemed to listen to my commands.
This is… interesting. → Shen
I started to feel a foreign feeling of having fun, just like a child who was playing around with building blocks for the first time. I continued to play and experience around with the two seemingly similar elements, and without even knowing, the sun already raised in the sky then a knocking sound was heard from the door. I stopped from playing around with the elements then opened the door.
“Yo, Shen! Ready to take a bath?” → Ryu
Ryu smiled at me while behind him a little tiger and a young man greeted me together.
“Good morning, Lord Shen.”
“Good morning, Sir Shen.”
I looked confused at the two behind Ryu, then I started to feel some kind of familiarity for both of them.
“… Gregor… I suppose?” → Shen
“Yes. I’m happy you still remember me, sir.” → Gregor
“… And King Tian Jian.” → Shen
“Glad you remember me.” → Tian
Both smiled and bowed their heads slightly, making Ryu feel somewhat conflicted. By their actions, I was able to tell that Ryu already told them about my amnesia.
“God damn it, man. You forgot about me but remember others?” → Ryu
“Uhm… Sorry?” → Shen
“Sigh~ anyway, let’s just go and relax for now. The bath just opened and it’s huge. There mustn’t be too many people inside at this hour.” → Ryu
While we were chatting on our way toward the hot-spring, some players were already entering with merry faces.
“Haha~ what did I tell you? Is better if we go in the morning. No one will try to come at such an early hour. Ah~ since when had I took a bath? Only using spells with the element of water to take cold showers is simply not cool at all.”
Black Fang laughed merrily while taking his clothes off and showing a muscular body of a wolf-man. Here and there one could see some scars, but the numbers were quite reduced.
“Yeah, you were right. And lookie here~ you got yourself some nice signs of courage, eh?”
Another warrior player laughed after seeing the scars on Black Fang, while he also began to strip from his clothes and put on a towel around his waist.
“Ehehe~ after that bloody fight with the Dragon’s army, I could say I got my share of trophies as well.”
Twenty players talked merely while entering the hot-spring from the male-part and showed off their scars. As players, they were part of a world of peace, having your life put in danger more by the food you consumed rather than from a fight or an accident. Being able to show might and strength comparable with the warriors of this world which they respected so much, made them feel some pride and glory inside their hearts. And these scars they now showed with such pride, were exactly proof of them sitting on equal footing with such mighty warriors. However, such a pride cost them heavy.
Then a rather chubby player that sincerely made his character like himself, stepped forward and with a mild smile he patted black Fang on the back and said to everyone around:
“We all are happy and stuff about these scars, but let’s not go beyond our abilities, boys. The less we turn into a legend for our baseless pride.”
“Haha~ yeah… You’re right, Big B…”
Black Fang smiled weakly and the others scratched their heads with complicated gazes. Seeing them like this, Big B walked forward and opened the doors toward the hot spring.
“Now, now. No need to be so depressed in the morning. I never wished for you to remember all the losses we suffered, I’m just trying to make you all aware that, rather than being all high and mighty, we’d rather search for a more humble way of thinking as we defend our homes in the most efficient manner. Right boys?”
“Hahaha~! Chubby B is right. Let’s go, guys. Is time to chill.”
“Yeah~. Oy Fatty B, be sure to make some space for everyone.”
“I see you guys are giving me more and more nicknames. I’m not sure I’ll be able to answer all of them, so don’t get mad if I ignore you guys by mistake, yeah?”
“Wait, don’t get used by such names now!”
They then entered the huge and spacious bath, relaxing their sore muscles inside the warm water and chatting merely together. After only ten minutes, the doors open again and four silhouettes enter the spacious bathroom.
“Oh? There are already people inside?”
“If I’m not wrong, they are also players?”
“Yes. From the Fire-Wing clan. Good morning everyone.”
“Hmm… Yes, I remember them as well.”
We four entered after changing to only some towels and prepared to take part inside the hot-spring.
“K-King Ryu! And King Jian as well!”
“Not only! General Gregor is here as well!”
“O-oy, is that black and blonde haired man also someone important?”
“I think he’s Patriarch Shen?! It seems that his appearance changed after being possessed by the devil!”
They all whispered for a moment then saluted together, only a tower hiding their more private parts.
“Good Morning!” X20
“Hahaha~ just take it easy, you all. This place was made to relax, no need to be so formal.” → Ryu
Ryu laughed while sinking to his stomach inside the hot-spring.
“Ah~~! This is Heaven!”
We followed suit and also started to relax, letting the warmth to relax our tense muscles.
While we were trying to relax and feel the warmth penetrate our bones, the twenty members of Fire-Wings starred at us with wide-open eyes of shock. They got together without us noticing then started gossiping between themselves.
“O-oy… Is just me? Or the four of them have some sick battle-scars on?”
Then they all turned and gazed again at the four of us who were sinking in the bath with our eyes closed. They looked dumbfounded at Gregor’s tinny but muscular body, filled with huge cuts around his ribs, a few claw-marks around his chest and tons of scars from sharp objects or spikes around his one arm, the other one being cut off from above the elbow. One ear was also missing while his left eye had a vertical cut, making it remain shut forever. Then they observed Jian’s athletic body filled with scars made by sharp objects or blunt ones as well, having also tons of scars from whips and on his nails one would be able to see more purple lines which remained from the needles inserted through them. Ryu’s body was the biggest and most built from us all and huge scars from thorn skin remained all over his body, while a huge and ugly scar of a claw remained around his rib-area, made by Thanatos when we fought together with Ignatius. In the end, they observed the huge tattoo that stretched all-over my body, having no scars because of the constant Prana but still have some changes because of the devil.
We can’t compare. That’s on a whole other level…
They all thought the same thing while staring at us sleepy four bathing guys with baseless veneration and respect. After a few more minutes of silence, we hear behind the closed doors more voices. In the end, the doors opened and people from the Heroes party entered the hot-spring, stepping carefully on the wet stone stairs. First the elites from Victoria: Leorio, Darius, Tom, Alfarr. Then the heroes of Vestria: A bald Stefano and Lupus, Zhin, The Lion-man Hasat, and the Bear-man Kuma. We looked behind to see who entered and all of them froze in place after making eye contact. The two bald heroes especially started sweating after seeing me and Ryu.
An awkward silence befell us all until I finally reacted.
“Ah. I remember them as well. How come they can roam around so freely? I expected for you to place them in prison.” → Shen
The heroes’ party started to sweat, even more, then Zhin made a step forward and crossed his arms with a malicious gaze. He then told me in a reproachful voice.
“Big words for someone who almost killed our leader in a normal duel. Even more, I heard you actually got your ass saved by Yuri? How can you ask for us to be imprisoned so suddenly?!” → Zhin
The little dark fairy shouted a little bit nervously while glancing at me cautiously.
“Hoh~? I still remember how your people almost massacred innocent children and the elderly for no good reason. Do you know? If this was on Earth, in some parts of the globe you would’ve been sentenced to the electric chair.” → Shen
“Shen, enough.” → Ryu
Ryu said in a calm voice then said to the heroes’ party just as calmly.
“Feel free to do as you please. This hot-spring is open for everyone. And Shen, after you passed out we got an agreement of non-aggression. The ones who did the awful things already paid for their mistakes… more or less. And now were allies.” → Ryu
“… You’re the king.” → Shen
I said nothing more so I simply closed my eyes while trying to relax again. The heroes and the elite group saluted and welcomed each other then sat down inside the hot-spring beside the other players. In the end, Leorio spoke out to Ryu in a grave tone.
“King Ryu. I suppose you already heard about Yuri’s state, am I right?” → Leorio
Hearing such, Ryu opened his eyes and said in a calm tone.
“I am aware. But I don’t understand how he got such a disease. Since when do Great-Saint warriors get sick?” → Ryu
“Well, his disease is something that everyone must have at least once in their lives.” → Leorio
“I see… So it’s something like Chickenpox from our world. But how come no other player got it by now?” → Ryu
“What are you guys talking about?” → Shen