Chapter 137: Resisting the Abyss

“That bastard Bururiba used my creations against weaker people than him even though he promised not to do so! He had his own skills to use but still used mine! As for those pirates, do you think I really crafted guns for them?! Bururiba must’ve stolen them from the other people that were with us that one day when I go kidnaped! What are you talking to me about morale and rights when you know nothing about what truly happened?! Brutes like you who only think about power this power that have no idea what it means to make a creation which, once thought it could be used for good, now is used for personal reasons by egotistical people! I won’t create any more weapons and won’t do so until I die!” → Khalid

Khalid breathed harshly while glaring at Ashura who was staring back with a dark expression on. He scratched the back of his head then sighed out. He then glanced at Khalid and said with a somber voice.

“You really are an idiot.” → Ashura
“What?!” → Khalid

Khalid barked back but was sent flying crashing on the wall by Ashura’s one flicker of a finger, making him spit blood.

“Brother!” → Tara

Tara then grabbed his arm and tried to drag him back but was shocked to see that she was unable to move him.

He’s like a mountain! → Tara

Ashura ignored her and stepped forward while Tara was still trying to drag him back, being dragged instead and making dents on the earthen ground with her naked heels.

“You don’t want to craft any more weapons because they might be used to kill those of the races, even though there are already some guns used for that right now. However, the ones killed until now were trashes and people who had no worth living.” → Ashura

Then with a twisted smile, Ashura grabbed Khalid by the collar again and rose him up from the ground. Seeing her own brother so violent and unable to stop him, Tara panicked and tried to create more beams of energy.

“Brother you need to stop- Guh?…” → Tara

Just before she could shot them out, Ashura reappeared behind her and knocked her out cold. Tara fell motionless on the ground and instinctively Khalid growled ferociously at this sight, unable to control his rage any longer. What Ashura said afterward made Khalid’s blood to boil and his fangs to show.

“Then tell me, what would you do if I were to grab some of those guns and start massacring the innocents? Would it make any difference to you?” → Ashura
“You dare…” → Khalid

Khalid’s eyes flashed with rare killing intent as he growled at Ashura’s mocking smile. Seeing his reactions, Ashura smiled even more and with thick bloodlust he continued.

“Do you think you can stop me? Do you think anyone can stop me from this kingdom? The only ones who could actually put a stop to my actions are unable to do a thing: Ryu is under the influence or the Dragoon-blood while Shen is barely dealing with a rebound from a failed experiment with magic, while Miss Sylvia is still sleeping with nobody being able to wake her up. I already know where Bururiba has his guns hidden and nothing could stop me on taking them and get revenge on a few villages or towns inside Victoria or Urius Kingdoms for trying to invade us. What. Think I’m scared to kill? I already killed more than you could ever kill in your entire life.” → Ashura
“Grrr~!”

Seeing the intense killing intent in his eyes, Khalid had no doubt that Ashura might as well go and do it, only so he could make him feel more miserable. Feeling the rage and pain of being betrayed by Bururiba, together with the possibility of having his creation kill even more people, Khalid’s expression changed in that of a wild grin and said while grabbing Ashura by the face with his claw, slight cuts appearing on Ashura’s face while blood still flowed through Khalid’s fangs down his chin.

“Do you dare… make a bet?” → Khalid
“Huh?”

Feeling some pressure from him, Ashura instinctively placed Khalid down and took a step back, getting away from his claw. He then understood what happened and a feeling of amusement swelled inside him.

Did he just intimidate me? This weakling might be more than what the eye could meet. → Ashura

Khalid then continued with the same dark smile on.

“Let’s do it this way. We’ll have a duel one month from now. I will craft something and I’ll use that thing to fight against you until one of us ends unable to continue or is incapacitated. How does that sound?” → Khalid

“…”

At his words, Ashura felt like laughing. He then pointed his finger at his own head and suddenly penetrated his own head.

“?!”

Khalid was confused by what just happened, then completely shocked to observe how Ashura’s deadly injury regenerated right back as if nothing happened in the first place.

W-what is he? → Khalid

“I’m immortal, so you’ll have quite the hard time incapacitating me, you know? However, if you’ll be able to land one deadly hit on me, then I’ll accept my defeat. However, if I take you down and incapacitate you, that would be your defeat. Also, I can’t guarantee your safety.” → Ashura
“Deal.” → Khalid

Both smiled like mad-men then Khalid raised three fingers and continued.

“This being a bet, we’ll have to put something at stake: if I win, you’ll have to help me get rid of all the weapons I created, you’ll stop pestering me about creating weapons for anyone else, and you’ll go on errands to acquire rare materials for my future creations, one full month, then disappear from my sight, forever. I’ll be sure to work you like a slave that one month.” → Khalid

Ashura nodded with a smile at his demands and answered back.

“I like how you think. Very well. If I win, I’ll be sure to make you build whatever King Ryu and Lord Shen ask of you, even if they ask for weapons of war against other kingdoms! I’ll also have you get away from my sister!” → Ashura

“Huh?”

Hearing his last demand, Khalid starred at him somewhat confused.

“Sorry but, what sister?” → Khalid
“Tara! She is my sister! She called me brother a few times already, you deaf wolf!” → Ashura

Ashura roared annoyed at Khalid’s ignorance when he also called himself Tara’s brother when he entered through the door. However, Khalid was still too dizzy from the explosion while all he could hear was an annoying tone while seeing two arrogant eyes starting from up at him.
Still exasperated, Ashura shouted at Khalid while pointing at his nose.

“Listen, this duel is not only about your stupid weapon-crafting. After this duel, I’ll be sure to prove to Tara that you’re unfit to be her lover!” → Ashura
“W-wait. What are you-“ → Khalid
“Brother, you idiot!” → Tara

Completely baffled Khalid tried to ask for an explanation, but before he could ask anything, he observed more shining energy-balls around him which suddenly exploded together, shaking Ashura’s innards and making him breathe out smoke.

Gah…”

“…Huh?”

He collapsed face-on and lost consciousness from having his entire body suddenly shocked, leaving Khalid to stare dumbfounded at Tara who was heavily breathing with a bright blush on her face and teary eyes. She grabbed Ashura by the leg and dragged him to the outside like a bag of potatoes, not before to beautifully smile at Khalid and say:

“Sir Khalid, please excuse me for a moment. I’ll return to assist you in less than an hour. You’ll have enough time to try and take control over one Energy Stone. Well then…” → Tara

And so she left with Ashura in two, not minding about the fact that after every step, his head will hit the stone-stairs again and again.

.

Then back in present, after the duel has been already decided and both of them dead-bent on fighting for their own ideals.

I was left completely baffled by the story and starred at Tara in shock.

“So basically… this duel is more about whenever Khalid can be recognized to be your husband in the future?” → Ryu
“No! It’s about whenever Sir Khalid will have to build weapons or not!” → Tara

Tara corrected me instantly with a red face on. She fidgeted as she grabbed on her skirt, taking quick glances at the serious Khalid who was crafting while using the Energy Furnace with a rare lively expression as if he finally felt alive. I also stared at him with an incredulous face on. I tried to understand what he was crafting when I finally observed that what he made at the moment was the muse of a sniper. A deadly weapon which in this world, if crafted from our materials and metals found inside the deposit, it would be strong enough to destroy two Panzer tanks in one shot.

So he really loves to create weapons… Sigh~… because of someone else’s ambitions, he now views his love for weapons as a deadly hobby which could kill thousands… I can’t help with this. I’ll leave it all to Tara and Ashura. → Ryu

While I was listening to Tara’s story about how Khalid had a duel to prepare for, Shen entered back inside the Hell’s Gate and tried to feel around the space which was now completely see-through, seeming simply like a globe of glass inside a greenish-dark void.

[[[POV CHANGES TO SHEN]]]

I walked with nervous steps back inside the dark and cold cave. Every step echoed on the hard stone while my nerves were stretched to a maximum, wary of any possible sneak attack, thinking that maybe the barrier actually got busted. For some reasons, inside this cave my senses were dulled while my detection of any spiritual entity completely nulled, making me feel like a child in the dark. After finally reaching the end of the tunnel,  there was no longer any ground to step on, having to activate a levitation spell so I won’t aimlessly float in the air. I reached inside the Separate Space and couldn’t feel a thing. Unlike before when the scorching heat struck my face the first moment I entered this place, now there was no feeling of cold, hot, humid or dry. There was no wind, no gravity, even time seemed to have no effect in here, barely feeling whenever a second passed, or a minute, or even a day.

I need to take control of this place. → Shen

I tried to feel the space around me and focus on the only thing that made me actually feel something and be aware of my surroundings; the barrier made out of shiny strings of energy intercalated together. While I was focusing on it, from right above my head, and below my feet, such strings separated from the barrier and circulated through my body down my spine. The barrier then molded and changed shape to look somewhat like a donut but with no hole inside it, only me as a center which it circulated through me. The sensation it gave me made me feel like the master of this little world I was in. Like a God of this little space, I now controlled.

I-incredible… So that’s how it feels like to have full control over space itself… I can do anything in here. → Shen

I stared outside the barrier and observed the green hue of the void, trying to understand what it was. Only after feeling more around have I understood that the black shades were dark energies, while the green ones were natural energies emanated by Sario itself. However, the fact that the darker shades seemed to be more dominant inside the void made me feel a chill down my spine. This was exactly the danger I talked to Ryu about.

It is known that the earth absorbs all the impure energy then turns it into pure natural energy… But what if the impurities are just too much for the earth to purify? Just what the hell will happen? → Shen

I felt somewhat urgent as I observed how the darkness covered most of the green shades, but I thought that at the moment I was unable to do anything, so I tried to control the natural mana from inside the void and imagined a world like outside.

With this in mind, I tried to create the earth and a sky, atmosphere and respirable air, trees, and plants together with mountains and rivers. I felt omnipotent while I was absorbing power from inside the void to create matter inside my own little space. The barrier recovered as it was before, but a thin, golden string still circulated through my body and kept the connection viable. I continued to work tirelessly until I finally created a space which had the same period of time as the outside, having a night-day time, reflecting the sky from the outside world inside this one and giving direct access to the sky from the outside. After continuously working, I finally felt something wasn’t right. I made the exit to be inside a mountain just as Umbra created it at first and decided to make the cardinal points go after it; the North is in front of the exit, the South is behind it, the West to the left while East to the right. And at this moment, I was feeling how the barrier was continuously knocked in the South-West. To actually feel the barrier, one needs first to enter in contact with space itself, otherwise, no matter how much one travels to a cardinal point, he would just go in circles, reaching the same point he started from. The only reason why Umbra and I were able to strike the barrier so continuously, was because Umbra’s control over the space faded considerably as he used only dark energy from the trapped souls.

After touching the space, the atmosphere and the illusory reality created by the separate space, cleared, letting for the barrier made of white spiritual strings to be seen. Going along the space and cleaning more of it, I slowly levitated toward the place where the feeling was coming from. There, even though the atmosphere and the spatial illusion covered the barrier, there was still a dark crack which was made visible even for someone who couldn’t enter in contact with space, appearing like a dark line levitating in the air while giving off an eerie feeling. Now that I was thinking better, this crack appeared in the same place Umbra shot out his breath and broke the barrier. It seems it wasn’t fully recovered even though I made sure to double-check for any damages.

This… That thing is back. → Shen

My heart turned cold as I felt the dark and insupportable aura seeping through the cracks, giving me an all too familiar feeling of the monster which also sent me flying outside the space. I couldn’t help frowning as the pounding sound of the barrier being hit again and again resounded again and again.

-Pong-Pong-Pong-

At short intervals, the sound would echo through the entire space while the crack would negligibly but surely widen. A few hours passed as the sound continued to reverberate throughout the space, showing no signs of stopping. My palms were cold while my forehead was sweating cold sweat. I tried numerous times to get over my fears but I simply couldn’t break the illusion of the space and let that monster strike my retinas with its ugliness for the second time. I simply couldn’t bear to look at such a deformity again. I wished to start repairing the barrier as soon as possible but I simply can’t with that thing still present, having me to work on the harmed area, not simply through an illusory barrier.

-Pong-…….

Suddenly the repetitive sound stopped and woke me up from my thoughts. I felt how the aura distanced itself from the crack and made me instinctively let out a breath of relief.

Finally… Now let’s see what this crack is all about. → Shen

However, just as I was about to dispel the illusory space and see how the crack looked like, the aura which was creeping inside suddenly became a few times stronger and a presence rushed toward the barrier at an incredible speed.

T-this is not good! → Shen

I had a bad premonition as I quickly created a mountain in front of the crack and locked the exit completely.

-CRACK!-

The projectile made contact with the barrier and a hole wide enough for two people to go through with ease was formed, letting inside something which I’d rather no remember how it looked like.

The monster crashed on the mountain and made a hole right through it as gray blood flowed out from its wounds.

Being inside my domain, I shouldn’t sacrifice my eyes any longer. → Shen

I then closed my eyes and felt around with space itself, being aware of what was happening everywhere inside the barrier, especially of the foreign presence which broke through the barrier.

Its existence is spiritual… → Shen

I was unable to detect any kind of matter, only a lump of dark smoke which was flying around while knocking on the mountains and trees, leaving behind stains of black miasma which was slowly killing the spiritual power used to keep the matter in shape, killing mountains by making them disintegrate and collapse, then making the trees and vegetation dry up until it turned to dust.

T-this thing is cancer! Not only for the living but for the spirit as well! Why in the world had the gods permitted for such a thing to exist inside Sario?! → Shen

I was completely baffled by the grade of destruction it left behind only by existing. Even the air turned foul and transformed into miasma everywhere that thing passed by.

Unable to watch how my world was being destroyed by such an entity, I hastily turned two mountains into two colossal stone-arms and smashed the spirit-monster which was corrupting everything inside, making for great tremors to reverberate inside the entire separate world as all the mountains slowly collapsed in landslides. Once, twice, trice. The strikes kept on coming as the ground cracked in huge ravines everywhere around.

[KYAAAA~!]

Being smashed again and again by colossal fists made out of entire mountains, the monster started to shriek in pain and agony. From the ridiculously powerful sonic-wave, even the two great mountain-fists started to crack, slowly crumbling. Even though it’s corrosive power was protecting it from any kind of materialistic objects, having a few hundreds of tones repeatedly drop atop its head, again and again, made even for that corrosive aura to seem rather inefficient.

“Just die already!” → Shen

I felt how after every strike, the smoke dissipated and parts of it evaded outside through the spatial rift, back in the green void. Even when the two arms were crumbling I still continued to use them to smash and punch the spirit which, in comparison with the arms, was smaller than the little nail from one of the colossal fists. Dust filled the air as the entire ground quaked from the shook which reverberates through the entire world I created after every strike from the humongous fists. Seeing how the spirit was weakening more and more, I felt like I had nothing to worry any more so for a moment I sifted my attention to the spatial-crack.

Before another such monster appears, I need to quickly seal that hole- → Shen

Just as I thought such, a cold glint, then a sharp pain penetrated through my head as a long and bony finger struck out of my forehead. My eyes turned bloodshot as my blood started to freeze.

T-this pain! → Shen

I felt the pain of that finger penetrating my head, not only physically, but spiritually as well, having no such thing as adrenaline to stop the pain go through every nook and cranny of my body and soul. A sudden convulsion made my head move slightly but that was enough to feel like another sword stabbed me continuously in the wound.

“GOAAAAAHH!”

Unable to bear the foreign pain, a loud and heart wreaking shout evaded my mouth as the finger slowly retreated from inside my head which made the whites of my eyes to show. Completely perturbed by the pain, I suddenly turned around and with all I had I punched out right in the melted-like face of the monster, making me only go crazier because of the ugly sight, disgusting feeling on my entire arm as it sunk in its face, and the pain which worsened from the sudden movements.

[SHRIEEEK~!]

The monster shouted out for the last time as it disappeared into smoke then left through the spatial-hole. Its last shriek made me only madder as it made my eardrums ring and my head to hurt even harder. Even though the wound already healed completely, the pain was still as present at the moment the finger penetrated through, while a scar was left behind on my forehead.

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“Guuuh~! Graugh! Aaagh!”

I scratched my head and body as I rolled on the ground from the pain, wishing to just pass out and wake up when the pain would disappear.

What is this?! Why is this pain not disappearing?! Aaargh!!! → Shen

Even thinking made my head throb as I tried to stabilize my breath with no avail. Even so, everything was useless as the pain was coming right from the soul which made it impossible for me to even pass out, while the physical injuries I created from scratching helped even less as the pain was numbed by the greater one in my head.

After two hours the pain finally subsided enough for me to think straight again. I got up while holding my throbbing head in my palms and dizzily trying to look around.

“…Huh?”

Completely frozen I stared around at more than a few dozen or so monstrous spirits which amusedly stared at me from above, having great joy while I was rolling on the ground screaming in pain. A glint of disappointment flashed through their nightmarish eyes as I calmed down, and I understood immediately what was next.

These monsters… are feeding themselves from sufferings.

I thought to myself as I saw one of them preparing to slash at me, wishing to see me swirl in pain once again. Seeing the inevitable danger coming closer, a twisted smile appeared on my face as my red eyes shone with a glint of revenge and hate, already foretelling how my subconsciousness will react at this.

Come and seek your own demise. Foolish, ugly insects! → Shen

With a grin of a mad-man, I welcomed the slash that spelled pain worse than anything I ever experienced, and more holes suddenly appeared all over my body in but a flash, making even me unable to follow the ridiculously fast strikes.

“KHAAAAAAAAGH~!!!”

Excruciating pain circulated through my entire body, making even for some foam to form at the corner of my mouth. Scars remained behind after the wounds were healed but I was simply too maddened by pain to be able to even notice the animosity that was happening. Seeing my pain-filled eyes, the monsters started laughing, or what one could even call laughing. More like coughing, snorting and screaming with a wide-nightmarish grin on their deformed faces.

I… If I won’t break… then I’ll see you all laugh in Hell later. → Shen

I felt how despair took over me from the pain but I tried to fight it back, thinking that once I reached my limit, Hell will break out for them.

Terror worse than when Rosabhi took over me. Fear worse than when Vepar had me in her arms. Pain worse than when I was pressured by Yggdrasill and a feeling of despair worse than when I almost killed Yuri in our duel.

Ah… So that did happen… → Shen

I thought to myself as I remembered my hand going through the chest of a person I actually had no grudge for. Then the monsters closed in and I felt like all hope was lost. I tried to sever my own connection with the body and try to evade from this place, when Second Will resounded inside my head, with a voice so disgusted, so infuriated and so disappointed in me, that it made even me shock for a moment.

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Am I truly giving up…?
…Ah.

Suddenly everything moved slower, as the light in my eyes reappeared, making me aware of what came next.

Am I truly… such a weakling?

His voice resounded again more thunderous and domineering, making my own consciousness slowly drift away. With a twisted smile, I slowly whispered as I felt my Second Will fix something inside the back of my mind as if turning a switch on.

“Damn… Finally…” → Shen

[Host’s condition: Critical. Activating defensive mode.]

It’s time to wake up. I’ve never been stepped on by Darkness’ minions, and I never will!

Second Will shouted in contempt and rage while I felt as if enveloped by deep drowsiness, but at the same time, more awake and alive than ever. The pillar of golden Prana that continuously fed my body, suddenly thickened as geometrical forms, initially invisible, now became more visible as they entered through the top of my head and enveloped my entire body.

« Status: [Automate Defensive Mode: ON] »

As the demons crawled, stumbled or levitated closer to my unmoving body, one skinny and white-bald undead baboon stabbed forward at me with its rotten and yellow long nails from its thick and oily fingers.

“…”

Just as the nails almost penetrated me, my arm moved on its own and grabbed a hold of its skinny stick-like wrists and stopped the nails 2 cm in front of my heart-area.

[Chichichi?]

The ugly-as-the-night baboon titled it’s monstrously huge white and seemingly hairy head, staring fixedly at me with its two small little eyes that seemed like two yellow shiny dots inside two huge dark eye-holes, giving off an even eerier image to anyone who looked at it, especially from so up-close. If there was someone who could look at such a thing in the first place.

I then lifted my head, my face completely neutral, seeming as if I was in a trance. I stared in the eyes of the phantom and inside my blood red eyes, a green glint flickered, making the monster suddenly tremble in fear.


If I can’t fight these insects yet, then I better just stay hidden inside the back of the mind as the subconscious will do my work… Fighting against Rosabhi… I still need the training to do so…


The last echo resounded inside my own head, giving off the last message from the I.T. created by my spiritual self as my consciousness finally faded, leaving the controls over the body and spirit to the subconscious: To something that accumulated billions of years worth of fighting and combat experience, something that would rival even gods themselves and the King of the Devils. Something which the great universal spirits themselves would call The Devil’s Bane, after the weapon created by forging millions of lives worth of cultivated feelings and emotions, molted by the most concentrated flames inside a Black Star, and blessed by the All-Father himself to be used only against Darkness and Chaos.


-CRACK!-


Suddenly a loud cracking sound resounded as the baboon-like monster stared bewildered at his broken wrist inside my clenched fist. It then shifted its gaze my way, only to see a small grin with unfocused eyes, making for a shiver run down its spine.

Just as it opened its mouth to scream in pain, faster than lightning, a hole as large as my fist appeared in its ugly skull, instantly turning into smoke and leaving the space through the crack.


The other monsters growled threateningly as they looked in confusion, shock, surprise, and anger at me who was now neutrally staring at every one of them, my chi swirling inside, while mana turned around my body, taking full control over the space itself as I started slowly levitating in the air without saying a word, only a small grin still visible on my face.


[[[POV CHANGES TO RYU]]]


As Shen was busily working inside the Hell’s Gate, Yuri finally woke up and I invited him inside my office for a light chat.

“… So Mister Shen really forgot about everyone present?” → Yuri
“Yeah. There is no helping it. The devil you sealed back seems to have dragged his heart along with him, removing all the memories which were labeled as fun, precious, happy, relaxing or heartwarming, together with the people that made him feel such feelings and were categorized as precious people. Seeing how he forgot you as well, I might say that he accepted you in his heart as well… Only to kick you out together with everyone else.” → Ryu
“W-well… It’s not his fault now, is it?” → Yuri

Yuri smiled wryly at my explanation, then a saddened expression took its place which made me understand his thoughts completely.

“It’s fine. I know Shen all too well already. Even if his accumulation of memories is a living hell up until now, he won’t break, but keep on going with a tall head and hollow eyes. Even if he can’t see his way any longer, he will make a way on his own. He’s not the kind to stay in one place even if forced.” → Ryu

I tried to lighten the mood but Yuri shook his head concerned for something else.

“No… If Shen truly knows nothing of his likes but only of his dislikes, won’t he find everything around him as a possible dislikable person or thing? You told me he also has a wife. What about her? I can’t even imagine how she’ll react after finding out that her own husband forgot her and he might not find her likable again… Sigh~… I can’t even imagine Shen liking something now any longer…” → Yuri

His words struck me like a hammer, finally making me aware of something I initially overlooked.

H-he’s right… He’s not working so hard for this kingdom because he likes this place or because he wishes to stay here. It’s simply because he knows that he has the “duty” as the founder to finish what he started… Also, this “friendship” between us was nothing but a connection, a bond he had to make so he could help the kingdom grow… → Ryu

I then remembered our conversation we had more times than once:

“So you really can’t trust me yet, huh?” → Ryu
“…Sorry…” → Shen

I knew that Shen would say sorry only on two occasions. When he wronged someone, and that someone is at least one of his important people, while the second occasion would be when he wished to end a discussion or conflict with the least usage of words and energy.

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