Chapter 180: The Devil and the Demon Lord

The high spirit named Luna was dressed in a bright white simple yet royal-like dress, a golden aura around her head from which a white and beautiful hair was falling down her shoulders. Bluish-white eyes, deep like the sky at night, shone with incredible power and intelligence, showing a wise and calm demeanor. With a calm and charming smile that mesmerized even some of the higher humanoid demons from the other side of the judging hall, Luna opened her mouth and started talking with a clear and melodic voice.

[I thank the three great spirits for letting me talk.]

She bowed her head lightly then turned toward Shen, a saddened glint flashing through her eyes for a moment.

“Ugh…”

For some reasons, that one moment alone made Shen feel incredible guilt. But not for what he did in this life, but because he was the cause of Goddess Luna’s sadness from just now, or rather, the main reason why she felt this sadness. The goddess then lifted her palm and atop of it, thousands of globs of red and blue lights appeared together, shortly after taking the form of numerous other individuals of different races, from dragoons, to humans, to beastmen. Shen was confused at first, only to understand that those were the souls of the ones who were mutated and unknowingly, he killed in cold blood.

[We all know who these are, correct? Such, I won’t waste our little mortal’s time anymore and get straight to the point.]

Luna looked at the souls that stood atop her gigantic palm and asked with the same calm and melodic voice.

[Does any of you resents the one who took your lives?]

Already knowing what happened, the souls immediately shook their heads and roared in a cacophony of words.

“Of course not! He finally freed me from that Hell!”

“We resent the bastards that turned us into those monsters!”

“Yeah! Those must be sent to Hell!”

“We resent nobody but them!”

More and more the fire of hate and rage burned in a collective manner, covering all the souls atop Luna’s palm. With a sigh, Luna waved her other palm to extinguish the red flames of hate and asked once again.

[So to understand, this mortal here sparks no flame of sadness, hate, or resentment from any of you?]

After cooling down the souls with her aura alone, the victims looked once again at Shen and thought for a moment then answered in a calm manner.

“I, for one, feel no hate for him. Rather, I’m grateful for freeing me. I was unable to feel anything but pain and sorrows inside that broken carcass. I can’t but thank him for making me a free soul.”

A middle-aged human took a step forward and talked aloud as if for every soul there, and everyone else nodded their heads approvingly of his words. Seeing such, Luna smiled delighted and slightly lowered her head in gratitude.

[I thank you all for answering honestly. For this, I shall help you all to walk toward the light with more ease.]

“We thank the goddess for her kindness.”

The souls all bowed their heads in gratitude and a sudden flash made them all vanish in a second. Afterwards Luna looked at the three spirits and continued.

[This clarifies everything. The souls do not resent the mortal Omisus with nothing. Such, I recommend to lower the severity of the punishment. Adding the fact that he was unaware of them being of the races, the penalty shall be lowered even more, adding the fact that he had in mind to free them of their misery. Also, we all know the universal truth that after Darkness corrupted the minds of mortals, the inner demons started to absorb their powers ever since they’re born. The fact that this mortal has been given since before birth such a ridiculously powerful demon that can already be on par with some from the Fallen-Angels race, I can say that is already a wonder and a miracle for him to not start slaughtering everything and everyone that crossed his path. Such a being like Rosabhi should have never been allowed inside a mortal’s soul, especially into someone who is so close to reach transcendence.]

After Rosabhi came into discussion, the demons started laughing maniacally, while the brows of the three great spirits furrowed. The 3 of them looked at Luna once again, a slight glint of worry flashing in her eyes, but Luna simply smiled and shook her head, as if trying to tell them not to worry for her. While the four great spirits were indirectly conversing such, the white, golden, and blue spirits listened intently, some even nodding approvingly while the demons booed and jeered, some even shouting things that made even Shen to gnash his teeth.

[You hypocrite! Boahahaha! And who’s fault you think it is that the little puppet turned into such a fine devil?!]
[Carry the cross you made yourself! You sinner!]
[No sinner can turn into God! You shall forever carry the one surnamed Armand for an eternity!]

-ENOUGH!-

Not only the three spirits, but even Shen himself roared and boomed in one voice, making for the voice of an whole Omisus to resound and boom inside the grandiose and colossal judging hall. For a short while, the demons and devils felt the dreadful and domineering aura of the Devil Slayer, making them all to raise their guards and tense up, remaining frozen in a combat-ready state. Even though it was for but a moment, it was more than enough for every spirit with a gram of dark energy inside them to feel their entire existence threatened and endangered.

“Damn! Why do I feel like this after hearing that name?”

Shen’s aura swirled like an incandescent fire, swirling around him from fury and frustration. The 3 high spirits simply spat out and burned the dark feelings inside, appearing as if all 3 of them just sighed out flames. The silver spirit then gazed at Shen for a moment and shook his head.

[Even if you won’t wish to, you will soon find out on your own.]
[Now, before any further deviations from the subject appears, let us take our decision.]
[But I’m not done yet.]
“[[Hmm?]]”

All of Omisus’ avatars turned at Luna with confused eyes and she lightly chuckled before continuing her ideas, 

[Seeing how you are in such a hurry, let me quickly also add the fact that everything happened at a moment when Mortal Omisus had as an objective the salvation of thousands of other individuals. Even though his dearest memories have been wiped and his heart filled only with cold or dark emotions, he still holds a kindness almost instinctual. To send such a pure soul as yourself, Omisus, into Tartarus for a welcomed mistake like this one, is rather improper. Don’t you think?]

[…]

The three spirits frowned for a moment and fell into silence. Even Shen had now a serious face on as he thought that even if his actions were justified in a way or another, he was still unable to forget the fact that he still killed humans. And for sure, he wasn’t the only one.

[Luna…]

After reaching a conclusion, it was the golden-armored spirit to talk as he looked at the goddess with some affection and a feeling of restrain.

[I understand your words. However, the fact that my mortal self killed humans, still remains true.]

[It might be, but you are just too severe to yourself. Even if you go there, Tartarus will still exile you, and I’m sure you know why.]

[Yes…]

Luna felt like laughing and the three spirits also smiled amused. Although is it true that Omisus had to live into Tartarus for quite a few millions of years before, nobody said that his time there was peaceful. He accepted to be punished by remaining inside Tartarus for so many years, but nobody said that he’ll let the demons, titans, fallen angels, and gods to mock him as they wished, such making him take action after having his pride wounded by many other such mighty individuals. Because of his volcanic and rather wild essence, Omisus was known as a troublemaker even in Tartarus: Starting fights with other gods or fallen angels, killing any and all demons that crossed his path, and confronting the titans which tried to subdue him, only to have him turn back stronger, wilder, and angrier. Unable to kill a soul, they all tried to seal him through different forms, but most of the time Omisus was able to either evade the traps or break free from them with the helps of the fallen ones who supported this rebelling spirit, trying to find a way to escape from Tartarus with his help.

Remembering with a complicated expression how even the demons wanted to have Omisus leave that place already, the bronze plated one turned toward Shen and with neutral eyes he said such:

[After further examinations, we reached the conclusion that going inside Tartarus would indeed prove to be not the best option.]

“…”

Not elated nor surprised, Shen awaited as he already knew that something else, possible worse, will come for him.

Then the bronze-plated spirit’s eyes turned sharp and announced with a severe tone.

[However, for failing a test, accepting the shortcut assigned by Hamata, and disregarding the test however you wanted, you will be punished by reincarnation on a faraway planet on which we, the children of the All-Father fight against the minions of Darkness according to the laws of that respective world; Through incarnation and using all our powers under the form of flesh. The average lifespan is of only 20 years because of the constant global warring, but a human can reach the age of 97 with ease. Your punishment is for you to reach 100 years of age while living all your life on combat. You will be born on the field, grow on the field, live on the field, and die on the field.]

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“What… So is just something a future God of War shall do, aint it?”

Shen commented unamused after hearing what he’ll have to live as for his next life. However, the silver spirit continued with a deep tone.

[Don’t hurry. Because we still don’t know how to grade your sin of gaining assistance from another God to reach the same rank, the whole punishment is still placed on hold.]

“Hah! So either way, I’m still f***** the moment Hamata forced that promise on me, huh? Then, why should I receive the punishment when she did that on her own?! I have nothing to do with this!”

The three spirits looked at one another and sighed together. The golden one then continued but with a calm and mild tone.

[You might think such now, but you will see in the future why such a decision has been made. The pride of Omisus will drive us to do otherwise you wish now.]

“Huh?!”

Shen couldn’t believe his ears.

“You mean I’ll take the bullet for another on my own accord? For Hamata no less?! No way! I understand that high spirits can read both past and future, but this is just screwed up! Why would I take one for such an inapt and idiotic Goddess?!”

[Mortal Omisus, I understand your feelings, but I beg of you to refrain from using such words to describe her. She is after all a friend of mine. Could you please at least do me such a favor as keeping these words from being spoken? I’d be very well delighted if you could do such.]

Luna gently intruded in their conversation while asking Shen for moderation in his words. Seeing her troubled expression Shen wasn’t able to say no as he immediately closed his mouth with a similar troubled expression. He then remembered something and suddenly asked.

“W-wait a moment. Superior Spirit. You told me that Luna will be able to help me release my child-self and other many spirits inside me. May I ask now that she’s here, how she’ll do that?”

Hearing him, Luna and the golden spirit looked at one another and a troubled expression filled both their faces. Then the golden spirit explained with a calm tone, knowing that he couldn’t evade this scenario which sooner or later, was bound to happen.

[She’ll save your soul the moment you’ll open up to her.]

“But wouldn’t that release Rosabhi as well?”

[Rosabhi will be indeed freed, but you will achieve what you need to defeat him. However, for that short period of time when he’ll be released, he’ll have a complete telepathic connection with you. Meaning that he’ll be able to impart knowledge to you that you are still not ready to accept.]

“Knowledge that I must not know yet? What? Is it another dark spell? I’m pretty sure that I haven’t caused any calamities after I received some of them, right?”

This time Luna entered the conversation and held her hands at her chest with a troubled look.

[Not that kind of knowledge… Is something that will test your heart the very moment you unlock it… Mortal Omisus, you must understand that depending on what decision you will take the moment you’ll learn the truth, yours and Sario’s entire destiny will be altered to a completely different path, either that of prosperity, or that of complete destruction. You shall not make haste in your decisions.]

“W-wait. Hold up a moment. What truth? And I’m yet to know who Mortal Luna actually is to say that I’ll even receive her help.”

Shen was completely baffled and overwhelmed by the news. Knowing that if he took the wrong decision based on the words of a devil would bring the end of everything he has built till now made Shen feel cold all over. As for Luna, even though she seemed to resemble someone he knows extremely well, he is still unable to grasp the person, as if a shadowy silhouette appears then disappears inside his mind, not wishing to be revealed no matter how much he focuses.

Luna looked at the golden Omisus and with a solemn face he nodded his head once. Luna then sighed out and with a wave of her hand, Shen’s mind cleared and Sylvia’s image appeared in his head, overlapping perfectly with Luna’s appearance.

Sylvia…? Sylvia is Mortal Luna?!”

[Yes. Please take care of me, Mortal Omisus.]

Luna smiled calmly at Shen’s shocked expression, then made him remember all those times he mistreated her.

“W-well… I can’t say I’ll promise…”

Knowing just how filled with problems he was inside-out, Shen couldn’t help but shake his head unsure, and Luna understood that all too well as she was already aware of his future, simply chuckling and nodding her head. The three spirits on the other hand stared intently at Shen, saying together,

[[Let’s be sure that we will at least try to be a bit gentler, shall we? Mortal Omisus.]]

“Yeah…”

Shen nodded once then the silver spirit slammed the table once again to end the judgment.

[Now that everything has been resolved, everyone is free to go to their own-]

“Hold up.”

Shen then looked up again and with clear dissatisfaction, he asked once again quite annoyed.

“If Tartarus seems oh so mild for me, I’m rather curious how that next life will uphold. I want to know just how will things turn out to be in my next life.”

[I never said Tartarus is mild, just… too troublesome. And, have I not been clear enough? Your entire life will take place on the battlefield. Your entire life will amount only of combat. Fighting, killing, breaking and destroying. The All-Father’s laws will barely reach that place while the laws of Chaos will surround you everywhere. More knowledge than this will be useless as the familiar laws of order and beauty will be foreign to you the moment you’ll arrive into that world.]

“…”

Still unsatisfied, Shen accepted this answer with a frown and simply turned around to leave from the great hall without a word. Seeing him leave, the spirits disappeared one by one in pillars of light, the three spirits leaving the last.

I wonder if I would’ve preferred Tartarus than that warring Hell…

These were his last thoughts as he strongly pushes two great golden gates open, wishing to return back into his body.

.

“Grrr~…”

What a headache…

Shen woke up with throbbing temples and saw that now he was alone in his bed, Sylvia already long gone.

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“Sigh~…”

Luna… huh…

Shen laid down on his back and tried to remember everything that happened inside his dream. His judgment, Luna’s words, the future decisions he’ll have to make, and the fact that his next life will be resumed to only wars between humans and minions of Darkness. All of this gave Shen a hard time taking it in, making him have a headache and feel his heart heavy.

Screw it. Thinking about it too much won’t bring me anywhere. I’d rather use this time to start meditating or something-

Morning Boss. Slept well?

Just as he wanted to enter in a trance, a familiar voice resounded inside his mind. Hearing that voice he instinctively asked:

Sabin?

Yes, boss. Am I disturbing?

No. Did something happened?

Just want to report that our men got in contact with Antara’s spies. It was quite the surprise if I have to say so myself. Simply stroll around the one of the neighboring cities and suddenly an old man calls out to me, later to find out that he actually was one of the micemen disguised as a human old man. Your connections are quite terrifying, boss.

If you put it that way, even I would’ve got creeped out.

Just imagining having a random person start chatting with him about familiar subjects out of nowhere made Shen also have quite the discomfortable feeling, but then another thought struck him and asked:

Wait. What about Alexander? Does he know this?

Yeah, leader told us to inform you about all of this.

Why didn’t he told me himself?

Because he said you’re scary.

….What kind of excuse is that…

Somewhat dumbfounded, Shen asked involuntarily and Sabin also felt like laughing. Right after, he continued with some more news.

After entering in contact with Boss’ spies, now our range of information-gathering got wider and we easily found the perfect merchant.

Hoh? Why you say he’s the perfect merchant?

Heh. He’s a small youngster that just started his business as a merchant but had no protection or backing. He was someone who was selling high quality crafted goods made from demonic beasts’ materials, crafted by friends of his and sold at the same price as the normal products on the market. Because his start was just too grand, many other great branches tried to destroy him before he could raise too much in power, now being quite deep in the ground, if you know what I mean.

Yes, I get you. And? Will Antara be able to sell its products through this merchant as well?

But of course! We already made contact with Minghzi from Antara that’s ruling over the craftsmanship and merchantship inside your kingdom, and agreed to secretly trade with our merchant for materials at the market’s price. For now, this guy is still low on money, but leader Alexander already told us to fund him with the riches we have on us.

Great. As for that lazy bastard, just where is he?

B-bastard…

Sabin couldn’t help twitching at Shen’s comment but still answered accordingly.

Leader has left with his woman and another group of men toward a neighboring city from the other side of the forest Miss Elsey talked about. We’re thinking that the players you talked about might have crossed the forest filled with beasts and reached the city from the other side.

Are you sure that they’re still there? I heard that quite a bit of time has passed since then. Maybe they’re already on the other kingdom.

Possible, but we might at least find more info on a group of injured adventurers who crossed that forest, no?

I see. Alright then. Do all you can to gather as much info as you can until you find those players. We can’t let them fall on the Eliberators’ hands and for sure we can’t let them die either.

Sabin was somewhat surprised by how much importance was giving Shen to the players, such asking curiously:

Why do you even care so much about these players in the first place, boss? Is because you’re a player yourself?

You kidding? I can’t give two s**** on a bunch that majority are mostly airheads which think they’re living their dream now.

T-then why…?

Sabin was baffled by his answer then Shen continued with some irritation in his tone.

Because an annoying being that might have screwed me worse than ever possible, has asked for me to save and keep safe as many players as possible for some reasons.

… So basically you are saving the players because of someone who did you wrong…?

Exactly so.

What kind of f***** up logic is that?!

Couldn’t help exclaiming, Sabin lost his cool for a moment and Shen was also thinking that destiny was indeed playing him good almost all the time.

Well, it’s complicated. All I can say is that is kind of a win-win decision, so I couldn’t really say no.

… I wish is like that, Boss.

Shen then continued to chat with Sabin some more then ended the connection and started to focus while atop his bed. Darkness swirled around him as the barrier around his room that he set beforehand started to vibrate, showing the amount of energy it was resisting from Shen.

Let’s see if it works~.

With a sinister smirk Shen then creates a screen of dark energy in front of him and on the screen, the demon lord atop his throne and covered by shadows suddenly appeared, at the moment seemingly asleep.

“Oy f*****. Wake up.”

Shen’s first words were imbued with mana, taking the form of strikes at the demon lord who slowly opened his eyelids, showing two deep blue eyes. With a frown his deep voice resounded,

[To strike at a sleeping man. How low have you fallen, Immortal Shen?]

“Not as low as you. Damn lowlife. If I knew just how much of a trash you are, I would’ve made you a visit when I still had all my powers unsealed!”

All the fury and hate Shen stored till now suddenly ignited, reversing it on the demon lord through the screen.

[Hmph!]

The demon lord’s aura skyrocketed as well and the two’s powers met through the spiritual connection made through time and space, making the space around the screen to shake and twist. Although neither of them could teleport on their own like Sylvia who learned some kind of Truth, they were still able to strike at one another with their minds alone. Then the demon lord smirked amused and with a deep voice he asked,

[Getting so mad after visiting our laboratories once. I wonder how you’ll react when you’ll see the more advanced facilities in the capitals.]

“Oh but I’ll do just like I did with this one: make it end up erased from the surface of Sario. Just like I’ll do with you!”

Shen then made a grabbing motion toward the demon lord and around his neck, a dark phantom arm gripped tightly, trying to choke the demon lord to death.

“Creating monsters from literally any living being by using the power of Chaos, creating God-like children nicknamed God-eaters, and having a coalition with the two partnered Empires for mass-production. Are you guys trying to replace the gods?”

The demon lord looked unfazed by the shadow arm and simply gripped it then broke it like glass, releasing himself then caressing his neck. With a deep voice the demon asked a question on his own.

[Such dark powers and energy… Have you fallen so much that a devil is now controlling you?]

“Quiet! Answer my question!

Shen’s eyes turned bloody red and his hair completely dark. He made the motion as if punching forward and, to the demon lord’s shock, a humongous dark fist formed right in front of him and-

-BOOM!-

The entire wall from behind together with a defensive tower that was nearby the throne-hall got blown to bits, resounding in loud rumbling noises, but the throne was still intact as the demon lord formed a barrier around himself right at the last moment. He smiled amused then said.

[Under such a form you will never be able to measure my powers, Immortal Shen. I’ll ask you to chase this façade.]

Shen’s red eyes then turned back to brown while his dark hair back to normal as a short laugh escaped his lips for a moment.

“Haha~ damn. Have I been found out? Just what gave me away?”

Shen scratched his head amused, not expecting for the Demon Lord to actually find out his plan for uncovering his real power.

This old fox actually saw through me… I wished to see just how mighty his power is so to help Theo in his future mission to defeat this guy.

After hearing what ridiculous task he gave to Theo when he was still his master, Shen couldn’t help but feel like punching himself. Now having a justification, Shen thought that maybe he could fake his true reasons with a fit of fury, suddenly striking the Demon Lord. However, his plan has been seen through, and much faster than expected,

[A devil shows compassion for nobody. And you’re not the only one with Devil’s eyes.]

“Wow well screw you then…”

The demon lord’s eyes shone with a demonic blue and observed around Shen. Shen on the other hand, dropped his shoulders as if never in his wildest dreams would he have expected for such a possibility to exist.

[There is no mist that shows anger and frustration around you. However, I can say that without this one ability, I might’ve been fooled, especially at that last one strike.]

“Well, kicking out your child for stupid reasons, even us humans do it sometimes. But putting your unborn child and wife inside an experimenting tube just to create a bio-weapon? Dude, that’s sickening even for me, and I’m a half-devil. That one fist was actually quite real.”

Shen shrugged his shoulders and defended himself at the violent reaction, but the demon lord seemed completely unfazed at his comment.

[Sacrificing one or two minions for a noble cause is a low cost.]

Shen stared blankly at the demon lord, not knowing what he should comment first: the fact that he called his own family as minions, or the fact that he called a cause for which he need to sacrifice his own family as noble. In the end he just sighed and said.

“You’re just twisted… And here I thought I could be able to understand you a little bit better if we had a chat. Now I lost all interest.”

[As I reached a superior mental understanding, I do not expect for you to understand my words or actions.]

“You mean inferior, yeah? Even I know that the higher you go, the more you must respect the creations of the All-Father as he is the creator of all. Rather, I can say you did indeed reached a superior level, but maybe on the other direction.”

[What makes you think such?]

“Going against the laws of nature and playing around with the weaker beings, killing all and everything in your path without trying to even search another option. But the most evident is the fact that you can’t even value something like family. Well, I’m not one to talk yet, but for sure I won’t become like you.”

Hearing his last words, the Demon Lord laughed out loud with a rather mad shine in his eyes then he massaged his throbbing temples.

[Immortal Shen. I always admired and respected your will, spirit, and power. But one must know just how cruel and mad is the world when you are in such a high position. You must be already aware of how this world looks. No? It is a fact that those who can see the real world are those at the top and the ones from the very bottom. And we both have been on both sides.]

Shen frowned and then asked confused,

“What do you mean by that?”

[Immortal Shen. Let me ask you one question. And I do not wish to hear the devil’s answer, but your own.]

“Huh?”

Shen was surprised by his words and listened intently as the demon asked calmly while his eyes shone tired, frustrated, and filled with madness,

[To save many, would you sacrifice the few? Even if the few is your family?]

At this question, Shen froze in place but his eyes turned sharp as he instinctively answered with a growl,

“I’ll save them all.”

[It’s impossible. Don’t disappoint me with your ideals, Immortal Shen-]

“Quiet, you dumbass.”

At the Demon Lord’s disappointed tone, Shen’s wrathful tone resounded inside his hall like an echo. He then continued while looking at the demon with disgust and superiority,

“I am not aware what familial love means, neither its price. But do know just how priceless such a thing must be once gained simply by looking at the ones around me. Many would give the world for their families, but I know all too well that to have a family, it first needs a world to live in. And so, if I’m a man, then I’ll save both. I have a head to process the possibilities, two arms and legs to materialize my thoughts, and two eyes to help me see it all turn into fruition. Sacrifices are just the excuses of the weak to gain quick results, distrustful on their own powers to materialize their dreams. So if you call yourself a man, a father, don’t ever come at me with crap like saving both is wishful thinking when all you do is cry for pity! Want a sacrifice?! Then sacrifice yourself! Not your people! You spineless coward!!”

Shen’s fury this time was completely genuine as a fiery red aura enveloped him, making the demon lord feel the weight of his words in full, especially after knowing that Shen has been placed many times in the predicament to make sacrifice or deal with the problem himself, choosing the second as he almost lost his life for good a few times.
The Demon Lord then sighed once and, with bloodshot eyes he glared at Shen while supporting his chin on his hands, growling disheartened.

[… There is no other option.]

“There is always another option. I had to learn that through the hard way.”

Shen answered amused while making a cutting motion at his own neck. Seeing his clean and sincere eyes, the demon lord also smiled amused and commented with a more easy heart,

[Then I expect for you to show me that other way of yours; as I’m sure that once you’ll learn the truth, you’ll also do all in your power to reach the goal me and the other two emperors are struggling so hard for.]

“Just tell me what is it and I might be able to find another way.”

Shen answered plainly but the demon lord shook his head,

[Right now your judgment is clouded by a devil. You won’t understand even if told.]

“And you’re the one telling me that? Not that convincing, are we?”


- my thoughts:
Here one hell of a chapter with 5k words. For Goodness' sake, I had quite a bit to add on this one...
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