Chapter 139: The Angel and The Devil

“…”

I looked confused at the idiot in front of me which let me touch her soul while I was still closing mine in thick barriers of mental energy. At the moment my mental self was filled with dark cuts and holes which released black smoke and made me feel a stinging pain just by moving. Exactly how my body was at the moment. However, that weird wave she released just now made the pain disappear for a moment, making me have at least the tiniest bit of interest and trust in this person.

“It’s nice to finally see you, Shen. I missed you.” → Sylvia

With a bright smile, the white girl in front of me emanated a healing aura which made my revolting thoughts to calm down for a moment. However, I was unable to let my guard down. These funny feelings which made me feel, in a way similar to how I felt when I fought Umbra, but at the same time much calmer and tranquil, made me think that I was stepping on unknown territory with possible dangers.

“You… give off quite the peculiar feeling. Fluffy and funny, what are you? What is this weird feeling you’re giving off? And why are you smiling at me like that? Are you perhaps one of the gods? Which one of them?” → Shen

I couldn’t help but ask myself while feeling annoyed by my own ignorance.

“I feel like this because I wish to fight?… No, I have no such wish. Then is it because she’s in pain?… It doesn’t seem so. Seriously, what the Hell are these feelings?” → Shen

Observing my confusion, Sylvia couldn’t help but ask with a saddened expression.

“Shen, did you forget what happiness is?” → Sylvia
Happiness?” → Shen

Her question made me look at her like she was an idiot, then I started to feel like her words made more sense now that I thought about it, making me the true idiot here.

“If I think about it, I really can’t recall any enjoyable memories. I can’t recall a moment when I actually smiled because I felt like it. Hm? I know what happiness means: it’s basically the feeling which comes together with the feeling of fulfillment, of accomplishment, or from having fun while doing something, either alone or with someone else. No?” → Shen
“Yes.” → Sylvia
“Hmm…” → Shen

I frowned as I thought about the fact that I really had no such recollections of a happy moment in my life. Suddenly the feeling of emptiness which I tried my hardest to forget about, suddenly resurfaced and made my eyes redden while I tried my best not to let this maddening feeling overwhelm me.
Conversing with someone inside a mental space was the same as placing two souls face to face, making them unable to hide any emotions or feelings.

“Tsk! And what of it, damn it?! I can make those so-called happy moments whenever I wish to!” → Shen

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I snapped out and asked annoyed at the white girl in front.

“Hehe, you still have the same bad habit of changing your sadness to anger so you won’t wound your pride.” → Sylvia

She giggled at me and I felt surprised by how easily I was read by this unknown girl.

“A-and what? Who are you more exactly? What do you need from me? Were you the one who took control over my own space? With that white appearance you must be some kind of phantom, right? How come you’re helping me? Rather, how come you’re so beautiful and healing to the eyes even on the inside while the other spirits are uglier than a toad affected by plague?” → Shen
“Oh, my~ am I that beautiful to you? I’m really happy to hear that.” → Sylvia

I was unable to say a word as the only thing she heard were the unintentional praises. For some reasons my words made her blush for a moment and then with a smile she explained calmly.

“I didn’t take over this entire space, only the part which was destroyed by the phantoms. My white appearance is because of the experimenting laboratories inside the empires and I’m not a phantom. You remember that information, right?” → Sylvia
“…I see.” → Shen

My expression darkened after I heard the explanation about her appearance. For some reason, deep hatred boiled inside of me every time I thought about those laboratories. Seeing me react like that, Sylvia sighed helplessly with a smile then she continued.

“The reason why my inner self is like this, despite the fact of all the things I experienced in my childhood, is because I held onto hope that one day everything will turn for the better.” → Sylvia
“And? Did anything change?” → Shen
“Yes~! I’ve met Ryu, Miss Bonny, Theo and Melinda, and everyone else who kindly accepted me despite that fact that I’m a pariah in the eyes of the others. And most importantly, I was accepted and embraced by you, Shen.” → Sylvia

With a warm and charming gaze, she looked at the golden ring around her finger, touching it with care as if it was the most precious thing in her life.

“…?”

I had a somewhat familiar feeling about that ring then I searched through my own inventory. To my surprise, I found a ring which, even though it had a more brute form and still unfinished, the design was almost the same. It had some kind of enchants on it, like [Blessing of Aegiz], [Blessing of Tyr] and [Blessing of Ing].

“The blessings from the runes of protection, victory, and wellbeing (given to husbands)…? Can I see yours for a moment?” → Shen
“Yes.” → Sylvia

She slowly took out the ring and calmly gave it to me, making me confused about the true worth of the ring if she gave it to me just like that. I then inspected the ring and was even more dumbfounded. On it, there were another three blessings coming from other three runes: [Blessing of Aegiz], [Blessing of Ase] and [Blessing of Bjork].

“The same rune of protection, then a rune for wisdom and enchanting magic, together with the rune of birth (given to wives)… Just from where did you find this? At least your ring was made with incredible crafting skills. I can feel a huge amount of energy infused inside it. I think is close to Legendary rank as an item.” → Sylvia

While I was applauding the skills of the one who crafted such an amazing ring, I passed it back to her and saw a pure smile of affection in her eyes while gazing at me. Momentarily frozen, I asked somewhat unsure.

“W-what?” → Shen
“You are the one who made the rings, Shen. Both of them. You made this one for me, while that one you tried to make it match mine so we could wear them together.” → Sylvia


“Hm?! B-but isn’t a ring given to the person which…” → Shen

After seeing her expression, looking at the ring inside my inventory again and feeling my own heart not feeling so alone for a while now, made me add one with one to finish this difficult calculus. With my mind in disarray, I felt so confused that even the pain diminished for a second. I then stared at her again and felt how her smile turned a few hundred times more beautiful as a weird, an almost annoying but funny feeling made my heart beat a rhythm unknown to me. Still unsure and just to be clear, I asked somewhat nervously as sweat fell down my forehead.

“A-are we, perhaps… Uhm, that?” → Shen
“That?” → Sylvia

Sylvia tilted her head in confusion, however, her eyes smiled mischievously, making me feel like, under that angelic face of hers, a little demoness was hiding.

“Are you messing with me?” → Shen

I reflexively asked still a little bit baffled by how she was playing around.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, so just tell me directly. You also told me once: If you ever have something to say to me, then say it clearly. I can’t read through the lines all the time. So why don’t you do the same now?” → Sylvia
“… I have no such recollections about that happening.” → Shen
“I have it for you~.” → Sylvia

“…”

Staring at her baffled for a moment, I then closed my eyes, breathed in then out and simply asked, trying to take myself by surprise.

“Are we married?” → Shen
“No.” → Sylvia

Her answer came back instantly and made me look somewhat confused, almost freeze in place.

“Yet.” → Sylvia
“Eh?”

I heard the continuation of her words and looked shocked at her.

“You said that once we’re done with organizing the kingdom, we will marry and have a family together. Even though it hurts me that your memories which you kept in your heart so dearly now got erased by the devil, you can still make new ones and fill your heart with more precious feelings.” → Sylvia

Her words made me fall deep into thoughts as I tried to search within me the wish to make a family with her. Even so, this thought only brought forth fears and worries. The reason of my fears was because I forgot my love for her, and nobody said that in the most miraculous case I’ll fall for her again, I won’t forget it the second time or even lose it completely. I felt how the responsibility of building a family with someone I still knew nothing about crushed my consciousness. I took a step back and said in a serious tone.

“I know nothing about you. Even though your feelings for me are genuine and you might know about me from before losing these memories, I’m not sure for how long they will last, especially with the actual me. Besides, for now, I have no such feelings for you… I think. Maybe I respect your maturity and power, your courage and resolution, but this is not love…err.” → Shen

While I was talking with a frown, the white girl seemed completely unperturbed, as if she expected this outcome. I stopped while talking and stared at her confused, not knowing what else to say.

“Hm~ last time I made you accept me instantaneously by opening up to you. It seems that because your memories are nothing more than plain information or painful experiences, your heart is even more locked up. Then, how about this? I will follow you wherever you go and be by your side, be it in hard or happy moments. If you’ll find me repulsive, then I’ll leave you alone, but if you’ll start to have feelings for me, you’ll have to ask for my hand once again. How is that?” → Sylvia
“How is that, you ask… Is this a bet for you…?” → Shen

I was completely baffled again and again ever since we started talking. I was unable to tell what she was thinking even though her soul was plainly open right in front of me, letting me feel her feelings and hear her hidden thoughts. However, her heart was filled with fluffy and funny feelings, making me unable to read it at all while her hidden thoughts were talked out by her without having me search for them at all. She was so plainly open to me that it made me feel ridiculous for remaining closed. As such, I retracted my consciousness from her soul and just conversed with her in our telepathic forms.

“This is the only way for me to win over your heart again. You’re the only person that ever made me feel love, which made me see the world in a brighter light and feel like each day is a blessing. Now I’m trying desperately to hold onto these feelings by betting it out with you. It might seem a rather crude way, but you’re my first love and only, I can’t think of any other way than this one which is the most direct and, I wish, the one with the greatest chances to win you over once again.” → Sylvia
“… I’m really wondering, what in the world have I done to make you trust and care for me in such a foolish way and so blindly at that. Is more to that ring than the eye could see?” → Shen

Even I wasn’t able to understand why her desire and trust for me reached such levels that were already a waste of time to convince her otherwise.

“I remember that I said once when I was only 15: Love is toxic. And you might have been a little bit too intoxicated by it. I think you would be better by turning back to normal by searching for an antidote.” → Shen
“If love truly is a poison, then I’d rather remain poisoned forever. What is life if normal means to live in monotony and sadness while happiness and love are labeled as toxic and poisonous? Wasn’t it also you who said that? Nothing is good and nothing is bad. Is us people who label them as such because of the fears we hold and ignorance that covers our eyes. Isn’t it the same here? What is so bad for me to fully trust you? To trust my love? And how can you call love toxic when your heart forgot its taste? Even if you were to betray or detest me, I would still hold you dear in my heart, only so I could let this feeling color my otherwise meaningless life.” → Sylvia
“I… Ugh, wow….” → Shen

I had no words for a comeback as I stared at her with wide open eyes. Nothing in my from my vocabulary was able to describe her resolution. Foolish? Maybe. Ridiculous? For sure. Noble? I can add that as well. But none of the ones before told were 100% right as, just as she said, I’m not aware of how love feels like to be able to describe her mindset.
As foolish at it seemed, I felt a lot of respect for her, and at the same time, jealousy. Jealousy because she actually had something which she could trade her all without thinking if she’ll ever get something in return, able to sacrifice it all with no regret and no remorse. Something that I was unable to do, be it when I sealed the World Tree, or when I saved the elves. I always thought of the positive result as my compensation, sure that I’ll get something in return, and I did get. From the World Tree incident, I acquired treasures and the alliance with the Alfheim, as for saving the slaves I got myself an alliance with the pirates, their king under my control and tons of other slaves which wish to become part of Antara kingdom. Everything, except for my repeated death, was calculated. But even with that I still got immortality, so I can’t say I’m completely mad about it. But her? She’s betting her own heart, her own soul for this… Uhm, love…? Without thinking of the consequences, not minding if she’ll end up suffering, betrayed by me, or some other thing which could cause greater pain than any caused by flesh wound. And if we truly were lovers before, then my repeated deaths must’ve caused her excruciating pain incomparable to even the pain I got when the monsters slashed at my soul.

In the end, I felt helpless in convincing her so I simply sighed tired.

“Fine. Do as you wish. But remember, no matter the result. I won’t be held responsible for what will happen. Understood?” → Shen
“My~ how cold. I’m alright with it. I only have to make you accept me in your heart. I will do it.” → Sylvia
“Do you think it would be that easy?” → Shen
“No. Not at all. But at least I have some hope that the chances of you loving me again are not zero. If I was able to do it once, I should be able to do it again.” → Sylvia
“Is really that how it works…?” → Shen

Once again I got amazed by her positive thinking and said with a neutral look.

“We should wake up now… Hm?” → Shen

Then I disappeared like smoke from the telepathic conversation, not before observing how some rays of light from her half of the space actually penetrated through my dark half, illuminating the floor and letting some strings of golden rays go through.

After I woke up I found myself touching her chest just the same way she was touching mine. I hurriedly retreated and searched through my inventory for some clothes to wear over the pants that I still had.

Thank God I still have them. Even my cloak became completely ragged after fighting those disgusting phantoms. → Shen

While I was still dressing, Sylvia woke up and smiled calmly at me while waiting without saying a word. Even so, the silence made me feel awkward so I asked.

“Oy. Even though we talked quite a bit, I still don’t know your name.” → Shen
“Oh, Indeed. Please excuse me, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Sylvia, priestess which serves the Goddess of Love; Hamata. Nice to meet you.” → Sylvia
“… Hamata, you say?” → Shen

My eyes sharpened after I heard that she was actually a priest who served a God. Hamata no less: one of the gods who ruled Sario’s Pantheon and also one of the gods who decided the mass summoning. Sylvia was somewhat surprised by my reaction then she remembered why I seemed so mad.

“Are you mad about her because she’s one of the gods which transported you here?” → Sylvia
“So you know.” → Shen
“Yes.” → Sylvia
“And how do you expect for me to have a good relationship with a follower of one of the idiotic gods?” → Shen

I-idiotic…? → Sylvia

She smiled awkwardly, not knowing how to react after having her Goddess insulted by her loved one. However, I didn’t care in the slightest and I continued with the same sharpness in my words. My voice was serious and cold.

“Not only is she one of the ones who transported us here without giving a proper explanation, but she’s also of the highest gods which accepted such a mistake to happen, changing the destiny of thousands of people just like that. Oh, maybe even millions, adding the residents of this world which will be affected by the players as well! She’s a principal God, right? Someone of the higher ranks of this world’s pantheon, no? But still made this idiotic mistake which could very well bring her in the deepest floors of Hell. She’s also a part of the bastards which, not only have they offered me nothing for saving their crappy world, but also decided to forbid me from activating the last chapter of [One With The Universe] from now on, saying that is too dangerous for a non-follower, or for someone outside the Winged Tribe to use such spells, or whatever they called that tribe as. Now let me ask the same question again: How do you expect for me to have a good relationship with a follower of one of the idiotic gods?” → Shen

Sylvia then starred in space with wide-open eyes and a neutral face on. She seemed as if she was in a trance, then she lightly smiled and said with a melodic voice.

“Why don’t I let you talk with Goddess Hamata directly?” → Sylvia
“What?” → Shen

I frowned and then raised my guard. I felt how her aura suddenly skyrocketed and strong energy shot out from the sky, piercing through dimensions and space, landing right on top of Sylvia’s head like a pillar of golden light, visible enough to be seen even by a normal human while pales of wind shot out everywhere around from her.

Sylvia then started to levitate in the air, her hair grew to her feet while her white color changed to that of a golden yellow. Her beautiful white skin took a more rosy and lively color while her lips became with a few shades redder, but not red enough to seem disturbing, rather, it was a beautiful color. She opened her eyes and a wave of pure and warm energy emanated everywhere around us, vitalizing all the little buds of grass and cleaning the air from the remaining miasma which still permeated from the dark spirits. Even though her appearance became even more holy and her aura incredibly attractive and enchanting, my expression revealed nothing but disgust. I couldn’t help but detest this show of holiness and purity when the one who released it was just an incompetent who doomed millions of souls.

“I know I’m a hypocrite sometimes, but at least I try to hide it.” → Shen

My mocking voice resounded as I stared coldly upwards with my guard up at the golden gaze that looked downwards at me with, at first, a neutral expression, now being more and more expressive, showing especially a face of sadness and guilt. This sudden change on the face of such a holy and prideful being, made me close my mouth shut and stare in surprise for a moment. Normally, gods and great spirits rarely do things which would make them feel regret, let alone guilt and sadness, thinking that their every choice is the best option they could make. But it seems that this time, something was different and regret was expressed on her angelic face. I was momentarily stunned when she opened her little mouth and a melodic, almost enchanting voice resounded and echoed throughout the entire space, sounding more ethereal than normal, but at the same time with a humble tone.

[Shen, or should I say Johan Hanover? Happy to finally have the possibility to meet you personally.]

Although her voice sounded pleasing to the heart, at this moment I was sure to put behind a barrier even my body, making for her holy aura and enchanting voice to brush past me. However, after hearing her call out the name I used back on Earth, fury built inside me as I lashed out instantly.

“I see. Well, I’m not. And now you’re taking control over your own followers as you please? Just how low can you fall?” → Shen

Before I could erupt like a volcano, Hamata explained herself in a calm tone, her eyes looking downwards as she still levitated in front of me. Even so, because Sylvia was with around two heads smaller than me, even while levitating, we both had the same height now.

[Please don’t be so quick to anger. I know I did mistakes unbefitting my age and soul-rank, but I’m still not so foolish as to possess your life-partner without her approval beforehand. I asked her for permission to give me the possibility to keep a quick conversation with you, Mister Johan Hanover.]

“One more time you say my entire name and we’re done. Just call me Shen. And she’s not my life-partner, but just another girl I see for the first time.”

I rebuke harshly while staring daggers at Hamata. I felt like I’d have more indulgence with a bandit than with this goddess. Even though I don’t have any good memories both in Sario and Earth, I would still prefer to use the name which at least I know from where it provinces. As for the girl named Sylvia… I’d prefer to not jump to any conclusions yet.

“So? What does the mighty Goddess Hamata need from me? I’m pretty sure that, as a God, you already heard my complains I said to Miss Sylvia about you all, so let me say it now; please have no expectations for politeness from me. Even if you torture or kill me for being insolent, believe me, I’ve gone through everything already. I don’t give a damn anymore and I won’t beg for jack-s*** in front of any of you.” → Shen

Even though the last time I talked with a God I felt quite pressured, after feeling a pain deep enough to have my own soul affected and after dying two times already, my only fear was to remain immortal forever, something that won’t happen because I can control the flow of Prana as I wish. At this point, be them gods or devils, all they could do would be to try and break my mind. But for this I got Second Will to back me up, so I had nothing to fear.
Hearing me talk with her as if talking with a nemesis, Hamata sighed in pain, not wishing to be enemies with nobody. She then shook her head gently as she raised her hands to her chest.

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[Haah~ yes, I heard everything through her ears and saw everything through her eyes. You’ve gone through a lot, Mister Shen, and I can only feel even more guilt for making you experience such horrifying things that would make even gods scream in pain. I have nothing to offer but my deepest apologies…]

A crystalline tear fell down her cheek as she bowed her waist to me as guilt swirled inside her chest. After touching the ground, the initially cracked ground started to become moist, turn fertile and fresh green grass grew right after for more than one kilometer around us. I looked somewhat shocked at this view and felt just as conflicted, seeing her so apologetic. Even so, I shook my head and sighed.

“Even if I forgive you, your fate is set in stone. Literally, not even the All-Father can help you now.” → Shen

[I-I know…]

With a trembling voice, Hamata became even more depressed, then with an almost desperate expression, she flew right in front of me, making all my muscles tense up. To have such a godly aura strike you from up-close was not something just anyone could resist. Even though there was no ill-will, I still felt pressured by her immense powers.

[Mister Shen, even though the Sabaoth won’t let me go after word of my actions reach them, I still wish to use anything at hand to save this world. I love Sario, Mister Shen! And it pains me to see it either stagnate or slowly destroy itself! I want to save this world but I can’t do it alone!]

I was frozen while seeing her suddenly start sobbing like a little girl covering her eyes as tears covered her cheeks, her hands trembling from the pent up frustration. For some reasons, I couldn’t help but feel some sympathy. Although my judgment told me to strike while she was down, I was simply unable to do so.

Instinctively I reached out with my hand and cleaned a falling tear from her long eyelashes. She looked at me with her big, golden eyes, surprised by my actions. While I stared at the crystalline tear, an idea crossed my mind and licked it then swallowed instantly.

[M-Mister Shen?]

Hamata covered her mouth surprised by my actions and asked in confusion while somewhat embarrassed.

Suddenly, the pain subdued, my mental state recovered completely while dark smoke evaded through my scars. My soul was completely healed as I never felt so revitalized before.

[You acquired Hamata’s Tear: The tears filled with sorrow and guilt of the Goddess of fertility, love, and vitality.

Properties:

— All the damage on the soul will be healed. And vitality will be boosted.

–Curses and poisons from Young God or bellow will be nulled. WARNING: Curse of Vepar and Rosabhi’s Imprint failed to be purified.

–HP:150.000 → 200.000]

As I thought. It had to give me some kind of bonus. Even though it didn’t break Vepar’s curse, this is definitely better than what I anticipated. → Shen

Seeing her surprised expression, I couldn’t help but look back with a matter-of-fact expression.

“This is my payment for saving your world once. Don’t be so surprised only from this much. Now, please tell me why you had to summon everyone into this world? And in such a crude way no-less.” → Shen

After explaining with a plain expression on my face, I turned serious once again and asked the question which bugged me from the very beginning.

Being also pressed by time and having no possibility to tell me otherwise, she calmed down and tried to explain as briefly as possible.

[Yes. First of all, I suppose you already know about the fact that this world has quite a lot of things in common with your world, am I right?]

“Yes. I observed how the design of the buildings is quite similar to what’s found in the ruins of my world, mostly from medieval but also from the antique era. And there are also spells, symbols, and languages mostly found in my world from the same eras as I said before. And if it was only that, but there are tons of cultures which come from my world as well, in some places the cultures are even mixed chaotically. I can’t help but only suspect that people from my world from different eras have also traveled into this world and helped it progress, or at least made some changes.” → Shen

[Exactly. If only your perception over the feelings of the ones around you would be as good as your perception over the surroundings. Reading the memories of this poor girl I can tell you neglected her quite a bit.]

Hamata sighed helplessly, feeling sympathetic for Sylvia’s hard times with me. Her reaction made me quite irritated so I asked her in a hurry.

“I have no recollection over that so I don’t care. Now continue. You said you don’t have enough time, right?” → Shen

[Yes. Just as you said, people from your world did indeed traveled into this world, either by accident, stepping through different portals found on Earth, created from the whirls of power which twisted dimensions in a respective place; either intentionally, using such portals knowingly, or through different spells to travel through dimensions, also known as Merkaba; or summoned by us on the request of our followers inside the empires, using a great magic circle they created which needs our powers to be channeled through it.]

I listened intently as she talked in great detail but with a  rushed voice.

[Since eons back, the souls on Sario showed slow evolution speed and many times have they been stagnant for millennia, even though we gods tried to give them inspiration. The ones who would step forward to bring the world on the path of evolution would end up being critiqued for blasphemy and even killed. No one dared to take the path of creation and evolution to tell the masses.]

“W-wait. Isn’t that weird? However lazy or scared one would be, there always will be some mad-men which would experiment and research even with the price of death so they could find answers to their questions.” → Shen

[Yes, indeed. There were such people before which did as they pleased while the empires reprimanded them and burned all their researches.]

Hamata shook her head in sadness while I thought for a moment, finding this explanation quite familiar.

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