While Shen was thinking about his own things, Sylvia dressed up and threw some clothes at him.
“Eh?” → Shen
Shen woke up from his thoughts and looked at Sylvia confused with a pair of pants on his head.
Is she still mad at me? → Shen
“What’s with that look? Dress up, you have to meet everyone properly, especially Theo. He almost left and destroyed the pirate’s peninsula on his own from all his rage.” → Sylvia
“Huh? How can he destroy an entire peninsula on his own?” → Shen
Shen asked dumbfounded while looking at Sylvia with a confused face, gathering the clothes from around.
Since when was he so strong? → Shen
“You don’t even know how powerful your own disciples are… Well, I expect nothing from a ridiculous master like you.” → Sylvia
Sylvia shrugged in helplessness while looking at Shen as if his weirdness was already a norm.
“Ugh.” → Shen
Shen felt quite guilty for that and scratched his head in embarrassment. Sylvia then explained with a serious face, making Shen frown the more he heard.
“After finding out about your death, Theo’s demonic part took control and used his demonic powers to destroy the pirate’s city. A great demonic shadow appeared over him, casting great spells you thought him, for example The [Super Nova], [Demon’s Claws], or some other spells which brought forth great storms and rains of blue fire… Seriously, he was so strong, I had to use my full power to suppress his outbursts. Now he’s confined in his room and he lets no one visit him. That time Melinda tried her hardest to stop him but because Theo was in a berserk mode, he injured Melinda severely and now he can’t face anyone for what he did. Melinda is still sleeping and has Freia take care of her together with Aria. Her wounds are infected with demonic aura and even I have a hard time to extract it from the wounds.” → Sylvia
Shen held his own head while feeling his head hurt again. His heart was filled with guilt while his face darkened.
All of this happened when I was unconscious?… Damn, if I knew, I would have told those old spirits to hurry up! Damn it… It’s my fault for wasting so much time in remembering the name of Iameth that one time against that Vepar, ending up washed away by the overflowing energies… → Shen
A warm palm was placed on his forehead that made him look up. He was surprised by Sylvia’s warm smile then a sudden kiss made him wake up from his daze.
“There is no point in self-blaming now, is there? You better go and see what you can do to help everyone. You’re their master, right? I bet you know a way to help them both.” → Sylvia
She then gave him another light kiss on his lips and rushed outside.
“I need to go and help Freia and Aria with Melinda’s healing. Also, after you’re done, you better sleep some more. I can tell your tiredness barely subsidized at all after reviving.” → Sylvia
Seeing her so spirited with no sign of any anger she showed yesterday, Shen shaked his head with a relieved sigh then changed clothes and left the room.
Everyone who saw Shen looked at him with stunned faces. They all knew that Shen died after Theo’s rampage. Seeing him walking around as if is normal made them freeze in place and stare at him with wide-open eyes, whispering between themselves but only after he completely left the area.
“D-did you see?”
“Was that a ghost?!”
“N-no. I don’t think so? Are ghosts so… alive?”
“I don’t know! We should talk with the higher-ups. They might know something!”
The groups that saw Shen walking around were either slaves rescued by Shen, either Bururiba’s and Tian’s people that decided to move out from the Pirate City and go to live inside the Antara Kingdom temporary. Because they were on the ship’s decks when everything happened, everyone saw Shen and his godly appearance when he saved the slaves and when he fought the Royal Demoness Vepar. Such a great show of power left them with a huge impression, almost feeling like worshiping him.
While everyone was busy with their whispering, Shen walked toward Theo’s room with rushed steps. After he arrived he knocked lightly on the wooden door then waited for an answer.
There was no sound from inside. Shen continued to knock once, twice, thrice, then a depressed voice resounded from inside. Shen was already pretty irritated and after he heard the answer he felt like breaking down the door.
“Leave… I don’t want to see anyone…” → Theo
Theo’s mournful and hoarse voice was heard from the other side. Only from the voice one was able to tell just how much he cried until now.
“So you think you became strong enough to even order your master, eh? Indeed, you’ve grown quite the guts.” → Shen
Shen’s voice resounded annoyed, making Theo’s eyes shine with hope.
Theo hastily jumped from atop the bed and rushed toward the door, making for stomps to resound inside. When he reached the door he opened it wide and remained stunned for a moment. He stared dazed at the young man with a white coat, brown, almost blonde hair and green sharp eyes that looked down at him. The young man was grinning with his arms crossed at his chest as if waiting for something. In comparison with the first time he saw him, his hair grew quite a bit, undulating and falling almost near his shoulders.
“M-master…” → Theo
Theo’s eyes reddened and his body shook. In the end, he fell on his knees and started crying on his own, unable to hold his tears from flowing any longer.
“Waah~, master! Aaahaah~!” → Theo
“Oy oy, come on now, I understand you crying for the dead, but aren’t I alive now? What’s the use of crying now?” → Shen
Shen showed a strong front with a smiling face while his chest tightened from remorse.
Sigh… This is the second person I’m making cry in hiccups… → Shen
Shen got on his knees and hugged Theo gently, trying to calm him down while patting his back. Even though he had monstrous power and a mentality of a grown up, he was still a child of 11 years of age. His family abandoned him, the ones with the same race as him are endangering his life together with the ones he loves. His only guardian passed away and now his only master threatens him with letting him alone for the second time already. He wasn’t able to resist the pain and sorrow that accumulated inside his little heart, resulting in him losing control of the demonic powers and going on a rampage. After he regained consciousness, he found out that he already destroyed a quarter of the city, injured Sylvia and grievously injured Melinda in the head with a stray explosion spell that was already out of his control. Now she was still alive just because Freia and Aria tried to heal her with their chi and mana day and night. If their intervention was late even for a minute, she would’ve been dead a long time ago.
Theo looked with hollow eyes at the ground while sitting on his bed. He just told Shen about the demonic voices inside his head and about the despair he felt after regaining control. He started to fear himself and keep his distance from the others, also a reason why he locked himself inside his room.
Shen was sitting on a chair in front of Theo and was thinking with serious eyes about what he just heard.
“So you’re telling me that a voice appeared in your head?” → Shen
“Yes… It told me to destroy this world full of pain and sorrow. It told me that I had nothing anyway so I shouldn’t care about it anymore.” → Theo
Theo answered feeling guilty.
“Master… The promise of not killing humans… I’m sorry.” → Theo
His eyes showed pain and anguish while staring at his own hands, still remembering the blood that stained his whole body the moment he woke up. He still remembered the moment he grabbed a hold of a pirate’s head and with a merciless look in his eyes he clenched hard, making for blood and gore to splash everywhere around, then another moment when his demonic shadow lifted a young pirate and ripped him in two like a gigantic demonic beast, making for blood to rain.
“Haah~, it seems you got yourself a quite strong mental demon.” → Shen
He truly is the son of the Demon Lord… His ruthlessness comes instinctively.
Shen scratched his head and sighed.
“And don’t blame yourself too much, Theo. You’re still only 11, barely 12 years old. Such power is already quite hard to control at this age. This is also my fault for not taking to mind your ridiculous talent.” → Shen
“W-what should I do, master? Will I go berserk like that time again?” → Theo
Theo asked with fear in his voice, gazing at Shen with pleading eyes.
“Quite possible. But if you can defeat your mental demon, you’ll grow stronger and your control will only become more powerful. I can help you to do such, only if you wish.” → Shen
“Please help me, master!” → Theo
Theo bowed his head and shouted desperately.
“… Don’t bow your head to me, Theo… I should be the one to bow to you. I’ve made you, Melinda and everyone else to experience such sorrows and pain. I can’t say how guilty I feel, but I will do all I can to take good care of everyone from now on.” → Shen
Shen caressed Theo’s head and looked in his eyes while kneeling on one knee in front of him.
“Now let me teach you a way to save Melinda with your own powers. What do you say? Are you willing to save the sleeping beauty?” → Shen
Theo was dazed for a moment while staring at Shen’s confident smile, then he wiped his tears and with the resolution he said;
“Please teach me how to save Melinda, master!” → Theo
“Good.” → Shen
Shen grinned, proud of his disciples then he started to teach Theo the best way to help Melinda.
“Because I’m still too weak and my mana is too low for now, I will teach you how to summon Prana and heal even the most dangerous injuries. Are you ready?” → Shen
“Huh? But why is not master using that powerful ability which transforms master into a Demon Lord?” → Theo
“It’s not a Demon Lord!” → Shen
Shen rebuked him annoyed then scratched his head, not knowing how to answer this.
How should I explain it to him that I’ve been forbidden to do such…? → Shen
“Theo, I’ll be sincere with you… I forgot how to use the spell.” → Shen
“Eh?” → Theo
Theo froze in place at my innocent look on my face, unable to understand how I was able to forget one spell just like that.
“Forgot” my ass! God, I suck at lying. I’m sure he won’t even believe me with that- → Shen
“Understood.” → Theo
“Wait, what?” → Shen
Did he just believe me? → Shen
“I trust Master! I know that master would have no reason to lie to me.” → Theo
At his innocence and shiny eyes, Shen felt like a knife just went through his chest but refrained for overreacting, showing a constipated smile while saying with a trembling voice.
“T-that’s right! N-now… Let’s teach you the way to save Melinda.” → Shen
I feel like a piece of trash right now… → Shen
After sustaining some damage, Shen tried to get over it and continue the conversation.
“Yes!” → Theo
“Good. First of all, you need to create the Ring of Power above your head. This ring has the ability to enchant the mental power that will be used to summon this Prana from the highest planes in this universe…” → Shen
Shen was eagerly explaining and made Theo practice at that exact moment. Theo listened with all his might and tried to make every part of the spell as flawless as possible, giving it his all. While Shen helped Theo to summon this valuable form of energy, Aria and Freia gave their all to heal Melinda and keep her alive.
“How is it? Is she recovering?” → Aria
Aria asked while wiping the sweat from her forehead.
Both of them had dark circles under the eyes from exhaustion as sweat covered their entire bodies.
“Extremely slow, but yes. The residual energies that remained inside the wound are extremely hard to eliminate.” → Freia
Freia said while she inserted her chi inside Melinda.
Both of them tried to clean up the wound from residual demonic energies then heal it as well as possible, but it took much more time than they thought. The hard part was purifying the wounds while healing took no more than a few minutes.
This demonic energy is ridiculously strong. We can only clean then heal little by little. The fact that this wound is a severe one makes things even more difficult… We have to be careful or else we might do more harm than good. → Aria
Aria thought while she was focusing her all to control her own chi while Freia focused on controlling the mana.
“And this healing method Sylvia taught us, why is it so difficult to use? It looked so easy when she did it.” → Freia
Freia felt frustrated by how hard it was to heal Melinda then she started thinking when was Sylvia thinking of paying them a visit. Just before she could ask Aria about her, the doors from the room opened and Sylvia rushes in.
“Sorry! I wasn’t able to help at night! Now I’m here and ready to assist.” → Sylvia
Sylvia rushed in and started the healing process with a flustered face.
“And what could’ve kept you for so long?” → Freia
Freia asked a little bit annoyed. She had to give her mana day and night together with Aria and keep Sylvia’s place when she visited Shen’s corpse.
“Well…” → Sylvia
Sylvia reddened a little. She couldn’t say that she double cultivated with Shen at such a serious time.
“T-the fact that Shen revived made me, uhm… a little bit-” → Sylvia
Aria and Freia left no room for Sylvia to explain herself and shouted together while staring at her with wide-open eyes.
Sylvia was surprised but then she regained her calm and answered with a smile, happily changing the subject.
“Yes~! And all his injuries have been healed completely. Even though he still didn’t regain his powers, he is growing back with incredible speed.” → Sylvia
Sylvia explained relaxed, making the other two girls look at her dumbfounded.
“So the rumors are true? Shen is really immortal?” → Aria
Aria asked with shock visible on her face.
When Shen died, a lot of people that knew his story from his disciples or from the two elves, said that he might revive again like he did last time. Aria was shocked when she learned about his journey to the World Tree and she was hard-pressed to believe it. When she talked with Sylvia she understood that, before Shen wasn’t completely dead, he was more like in a state of coma. But this time his heart stopped and his soul left the body. Nobody was able to give any kind of guarantees that he would revive, with the exception of Bururiba that said he’ll revive and then he would be able to beat him back to the grave again.
“Well, he wasn’t before, but I don’t know now.” → Sylvia
Sylvia smiled helplessly after she remembered how he healed up from her slap. She wasn’t able to think about it at first, but then she thought some more and understood that something wasn’t quite right with that ridiculous recovery speed.
Besides, he gave me so much knowledge… I will need months until I fully grasp all of it. What I can say for sure is, this kind of knowledge is too much for a mortal. Just why did he give it to me then…? → Sylvia
Feeling the weights of such knowledge on her shoulders made Sylvia slightly tremble.
Maybe it’s because Shen always experiments with what he discovers, that’s why he himself refuses to know this piece of information? Or is there more I’m still unaware of? However it might be, this knowledge is truly fearsome. It seems so dangerous it might really destroy the world. If someone with a curiosity for magic and mysticism like Shen were to acquire such knowledge, who knows what kind of monstrous spells he would create; even by mistake, the result would be terrifying. → Sylvia
“Hey, what is he doing right now? Does he still need time to recover? Or is he researching some kind of magic like always?” → Freia
Freia asked curiously, making Sylvia wake up from her thoughts.
“He left to visit Theodore. After I told him about what happened he said he wishes to help him recover. He said that he’ll bring Theo here to heal Melinda.” → Sylvia
Sylvia said while she tried her hardest to get rid of some more demonic energy.
“Would Theo really be able to do such a thing? We gave our best for a week already and her injuries have healed only halfway. And does Shen really have a way to heal her? Why didn’t he come on his own to do it? Or at least teach it to you.” → Aria
Aria asked a little bit suspicious about what Shen tried to do.
“I think he wants to make Theo save Melinda so he could get over this trauma. It’s like I save you to save myself kind of thing and Shen wants to save Melinda and help Theo at the same time. As for why he’s not doing it himself, even if he wished to do so, he needs more power for such a thing and his power-rank is only at the Master level right now.” → Sylvia
Sylvia said with a shrug.
Besides, I feel like he’s hiding something from me. This might also be a reason. → Sylvia
“T-that’s… quite the logical thinking.” → Aria
Aria didn’t know what to say at this and thought.
Was he thinking that Melinda would be able to resist a little more till Theo learns that healing spell? That might be true but… ah, I don’t know what’s going through that head of his!… And Sylvia seems to be just as weird as him, not minding at all. → Aria
The doors then opened again and this time, Theo together with Shen entered inside the room.
Both Freia and Aria greeted him with a bow.
“We’re happy that you finally woke up, everyone was extremely saddened after you sustained those grave injuries, especially your wife and your disciples.” → Freia
Freia said with a smug while looking at Sylvia and Theo.
Both of them dodged any eye contact and Sylvia’s cheeks turned with a few shades redder while looking downwards.
“… Sir Shen.” → Aria
Aria then kneeled in front of him.
“I can’t thank you enough for saving me that time and I’m extremely apologetic for my rude behavior that time in the interrogation cell. I’ll be sure to pay you back with all I have. My heart, mind and body are in your hands from now on.” → Aria
Aria said with a serious face while looking in Shen’s eyes.
“A-Aria?! You can’t really say that now, right?!” → Freia
Freia was flustered red and a little bit agitated, looking at Shen, then at Sylvia, then back at Aria.
Uuuu~ wasn’t that like a proposal? And, right in front of Sylvia!? What are you thinking! ARIA~!? → Freia
“First of all, get up.” → Shen
Shen shook his head and said with a firm voice.
“Yes.” → Aria
Aria got up and continued to look inside Shen’s eyes with a serious gaze.
“If you wish to be helpful to me, then I’ll always welcome you to my and Ryu’s kingdom, but don’t expect for me to take you as my slave, maid or something like that. I can take care of myself and if not, there is always Sylvia to tell me what’s good or not. Having you by my side won’t benefit me with anything.” → Shen
Shen said everything with a composed yet firm tone. He was really harsh but he had to make it clear.
“T-then what should I do to repay you for saving me? Am I that useless in your eyes?” → Aria
Shen’s words fell hard on Aria’s consciousness. She felt incredibly useless now.
“Useless? How can a warrior of the Grandmaster level be useless? You can be anything but useless, Miss Aria. My kingdom will gladly accept a warrior like you in our ranks.” → Shen
Shen said while nodding his head in approval.
“T-then-!” → Aria
“But! For me, who already has everything he could wish for, your services are of no use. I was speaking strictly to a Kingdom’s army level, not to myself.” → Shen
Shen then grabs Theo’s hand and walks towards Melinda’s bed.
“Don’t sell your body for so cheap, Miss Aria. There are other people who need you in their lives. Next time, think twice before saying such things.” → Shen
Aria was speechless. She didn’t fully understand what Shen tried to say but got the main idea, that Shen accepted her services as a warrior in his kingdom. Then she turned around and said with resolution.
“Then. Please let me work for the Antara Kingdom!” → Aria
Shen stopped his footsteps then turned around with a grin. Aria quivered at seeing his smile.
“Are you sure? Our place is in such dire situations right now, you might die the moment we arrive. Think better. I didn’t save you because I wanted your help, I saved you because of a promise. A second time might not come, Miss Aria.” → Shen
“A promise?” → Aria
“… Well, I suppose you have the right to find out.” → Shen
Shen then touched his own forehead with his index and from inside it, a little gray flame appeared atop his finger. Then with another finger, he touched the flame and created another one, flickering just the same. One of the flames he inserted back inside his own head, while the other one was sent flying toward Aria’s forehead.
“Eh?” → Aria
She was shocked after the flame entered inside her head then images and memories appeared inside her own mind, having the weird experience of living the memories of someone else.
“T-this is…” → Aria
“Those are my memories. And the sole reason why I saved you all… He is the true hero you should pray to.” → Shen
Shen said with a sad smile then he continued in a weak voice;
“Do you understand now? That’s why I don’t need any kind of reward for helping. I did it for myself.” → Shen
“Even so, I wish to be of help for the one who saved me.” → Aria
Aria’s resolution was unyielding as she stood tall in front of him.
“… As you wish.” → Shen
Shen knew that he couldn’t make her give up so he simply turned around and continued his steps toward Melinda’s bed.
“Yes.” → Aria
Aria felt happy for finally being accepted by Shen. She rushed beside Freia and looked from a distance at what happened.
“Geez~! How could you say such things when Miss Sylvia was present?!” → Freia
Freia whispered to Aria in a hushed tone.
“Huh? What do you mean?” → Aria
Aria asked confused after being awoken from her thoughts.
“Saying you’ll give your body and heart to Shen so brazen, were you even thinking of what you’re saying?!” → Freia
Freia snapped and hissed back annoyed.
“Eh?” → Aria
Aria was confused at first then she started to redden, finally understanding her mistake.
“W-wait! That wasn’t my intention! I wanted to be beside him as a maid or bodyguard of some sort! I had no ulterior motives, believe me!” → Aria
Aria flustered and tried to get rid of the misunderstanding.
That’s why Shen seemed a little bit irritated? And what he told me at the end…’Don’t sell your body for so cheap’ he was referring to that!? Awawawa~ what I’ve done now~?! → Aria
Aria reddened and held touched her burning cheeks with both palms in embarrassment.
“Sigh… Good thing Sylvia isn’t the kind to snap from such things…” → Freia
“Yeah. She’s a really cool person.” → Aria
Aria glanced at Sylvia’s calm smile with some admiration, then again at Shen with some sadness in her eyes.
Even so, Shen’s childhood is too much… → Aria
She thought at the memories she received from Shen, about a young boy named John who was bullied in middle-school. He attracted Shen’s attention at first because he had quite the similar name with his, but soon after he simply minded his own business, also having a hard time with his schoolmates. Not long after being aware of him, John asked Shen for help with his bullying, but after just going through a hard time of having his entire class turn against him because of a girl, Shen simply told him such.
Why are you even asking for help? Stand up for your damn problems and don’t expect for someone to give you a hand at this age! Can’t you see? The weak is the prey while the rest are the predators. If you don’t wish to be stepped on, then get your ass off the ground and f****** fight back!
Then Shen simply ignored John, feeling only more irritated after seeing his beat-down appearance. One day while Shen was walking toward the school, he saw John waiting in front of a crosswalk while the lights were green. At such a sight Shen shouted after him and asked why he wasn’t moving, only to see his eyes completely empty and soulless. A terrible premonition made Shen’s heart beat faster and he broke for a run after him, only to have the lights turn red and John to jump in front of a truck that was coming from a fair distance with 48 km/hr. John was sent flying and died in a pool of blood right in front of Shen who froze at that exact moment, unable to even shout after him.
And he was only 15 old… I think I would’ve gotten a trauma after that… But I think him helping everyone is a way in which his trauma is performing… Wait, I must not think about such things now. He only showed me this in a way to tell me why he saved me. I mustn’t interfere with him when he already has Miss Sylvia by his side. → Aria
While Aria was fidgeting beside the confused Freia, Shen left Theo beside the bed and took a seat on Sylvia’s right.
Shen felt a little bit conflicted and he asked Sylvia with a confused face.
“You seem rather calm after I’ve been proposed to.” → Shen
“Giggle do you wish for me to be more jealous?” → Sylvia
Sylvia asked with a slight smile while glancing at Shen.
“Nope. I know how it feels to be jealous and I believe that me being the only one who has such baseless feelings is enough. If we were both of us like that, then who knows what would’ve happened.” → Shen
“You? Jealous? Are you referring of when Bururiba helped me with dinner that one time?” → Sylvia
Sylvia leaned closer to Shen and reminded him of when they first met Bururiba and had him help Sylvia with preparing lunch.
“…That would be one good example.” → Shen
Shen remembered how he was like a dog around her while keeping on asking:
And how else can I help?
Making Shen feel a little bit irritated but he tried not to mind it that much.
“How cute. Who would’ve thought that you of all people would feel jealous.” → Sylvia
“Is it that weird?” → Shen
“No, is reassuring. That means you can still understand the human heart.” → Sylvia
She’s damn sharp… → Shen
One weird problem Shen had in his life was to understand the heart of humans. Because of his past-lives experiences, he started to see everything as little and insignificant. Even death wasn’t such a big deal for him anymore, especially now when he is immortal. After meeting Sylvia he started to understand a little bit more but he still felt like he still missed some parts. Like being more sensible with others, or having more compassion or awareness of the ones around him. He mostly did what he thought was right, without having a proper set of rules in his mind, is most of the times contradictory with what he was saying or thinking, most of the times disregarding the feelings of the people around him.
So it’s weird in the end, huh… → Shen
Shen thought for himself while starring in space with a plain face on. He always asked himself why he was alone back on Earth, but now that he thought better, it didn’t seem all that weird anymore.