Way of Life
I was lying face-up in seemingly never-ending darkness.
I was surrounded by darkness, but it didn’t feel like I was at the bottom of the cold ocean floor, but rather like being sprawled out on a lawn during the beginning of spring.
It felt refreshing.
I was disturbed by a creepy-looking clown standing in front of me.
“There’s some strange filth here” I muttered.
A disgusting appearance as usual. It’s not like he looked ugly on purpose—I just couldn’t not see him like this anymore.
“Wow, you remember me!?”
Like I could forget someone like him. Well, I’m sure I’ll forget before long.
“So, what do you want?”. Though he was an unpleasant guy, he didn’t just go out without any reason.
“Do you know what’s happening outside?”
When I acquired the power of Human Realm, I was captured by that small fry, Blue-Beard, much to my displeasure. I escaped to this imaginary realm after exhausting both my mind and body to save Lucia.
I could only laugh at my clumsiness. I made no thought for what would happen if my abilities were restricted, and had interacted with so many people. It was lazy of me.
“Then it saves us time. I think I’ll lend you some strength, but just this time.”
Honestly, I’d rather not borrow his power, let alone even interact with him again.
“That’s not necessary.”
“Looks like I’m hated, but is it really alright? At this rate your friends will get injured, or even die.”
“It’ll serve as a good lesson for me.”
“I see, you’re still not being honest with your feelings, even after death,” he replied, shrugging in irritation.
“That so?” I asked.
“Yes it is. But you see, I don’t actually need to convince you.”
“Can you please organize your thoughts before talking?”
He paid my sarcasm no mind and continued. “You won’t abandon your family or your friends. No, you can’t. And even if you could, you’re not there. You’re probably thinking that those children can deal with the likes of someone like Blue-Beard by themselves, aren’t you?”
Sylphy was on a completely different level of strength, and she would never lose to someone of Blue-Beard’s caliber.
“Unfortunately for you, a legendary demon has appeared.”
“A legendary demon!?”
“Yeah, a ridiculous fool who calls himself the ‘Demon God’.”
He probably wouldn’t want to hear this guy calling him a ridiculous fool.
“Stop putting on airs. So, how strong is it?” I asked.
“The committee has deemed him a Rank S calamity.”
A Rank S calamity was a bit too much for those guys. In fact, they’d get slaughtered in an instant.
“Have you decided to listen now?”
The shitty clown broke into a smirk. “But before that, there’s a child I want you to meet.”
He looked behind his shoulder and closed one eye, disappearing like smoke.
In his place stood a young man with blue hair and an unshaven beard.
“Are you that brat?” he asked.
“I certainly am.”
Judging by the flow of conversation, this was probably Blue Beard’s original form.
“So that cheeky brat was a middle-aged man the whole time, I’m speechless” he said, exaggeratedly shaking his head back and forth.
“No, no, no. I’m the one who’s amazed how you can act so clichéd about despair and such at your age.”
“I wasn’t acting though.” his face twitched.
“Sorry, but true evil, like the filth that enticed you, never brags about their crimes.”
Repentance was mainly addressing how you were conscious of your crimes. But true evil, like ‘greed’, breathed tragedy and disaster.
Even though their actions resulted in the loss of so many lives and caused many to weep, they believed it was necessary. Thus, they didn’t have any concept for their crimes and just played their part in the tragic play with indifference.
Well, I had forgotten this obvious truth. Maybe because I hadn’t encountered true evil, or because my body and mind were affected. Nevertheless, I didn’t hold much interest.
“Am I not evil?”
“You are, you give off an evil stink, similar to ours. However, from my point of view, you’re nothing more than a small villain.”
As inexperienced as I have been, I had still noticed something off about Blue-Beard at the end.
“A small villain, huh……You say that so easily……but I stole so many lives, and tormented even more,” Blue Beard said. Then he hung his head and sighed.
“By the way, do you regret anything you’ve done in this world?” I asked.
“I would be lying if I said no.” His face twisted with sadness. I didn’t have to ask anything else.
Still, his thoughts seemed to have gone astray, just like a young man’s.
“Let me say this; Being conscious of your crimes, and regretting them are two different things. All humans have the former, you wouldn’t be a human otherwise.
Yes, therein lies the difference between monsters and humans. We generally called those who weren’t conscious of their crimes ‘Monsters’.
“My actions caused so many to lose their lives after all,” he replied.
“Hm, then let me ask this, if you were once again in the same situation, would you choose to do something different?”
“That’s……” Blue-Beard bit his lower lip and shook his head. “I would probably do the same thing.”
They were grim, but powerful words.
“I see, so you do not regret it.”
“I don’t……!? No! Every day, I—”
“I’m not a fan of repeating myself. You are conscious of your crimes but don’t regret them. You try your best while living in agony. No matter how unscrupulous and unforgiveable the crime, you fight to protect what’s important to you till the very end. Truthfully, I can only hate you, but I at least respect where you’re coming from.”
Blue-Beard was shocked and stared down at me.
“What, what’s with that look?”
I gave a dry laugh. “Is it that weird?”
“Yes, it really is. But in the end, I still hate you.”
“What a coincidence, Me too.”
“Haha, we can at least agree on that.”
“Greed, I leave the rest to you!” Blue-Beard shouted after nimbly turning around. “You!?”
And that horrible clown’s name appeared once again. There was nothing more ominous.
“For dozens of years, those were the words I had wanted to hear most,” Blue-Beard said. He burst into a warm laugh before suddenly flashing brightly.
I knit my eyebrows. “Hey! Who are you—?” I asked. After all, he had the face of an idiot who had thrown away his regrets he used to despise so much.
And with that final word, Blue-Beard burst into beads of light.
He entered my consciousness.
“I see, so that’s how it was!! Greeeed!”
I finally began to understand his intentions and yelled out with resentment.
The horrible clown appeared from amidst the darkness.
“Why, aren’t you the mad one?”
“Of course, I am. How much more will you mock me before you’re satisfied.”
“Sorry, but now you can move, right?”
I jumped forward and grabbed Greed, who was maniacally cackling, by the collar, and shouted, “Yeah! thanks to that young man’s sacrifice!”
“Regardless of his reasons, he committed too many crimes. I thought you knew that saving him was hopeless?”
“Even so, using him for my revival was going too far!”
My hibernation had most likely been caused by the title ‘Human Realm’ reconstructing my body and mind, not Blue-Beard’s demonification.
My body and mind were changing, and I’d need an enormous amount of energy. Greed had tricked Blue-Beard into using his life force to compensate for that energy I needed. Simply put, it was like throwing a piece of wood into the fire; it would greatly increase the efficiency.
“His life was already used for your recovery. It’s too late to reverse that now. So, will you let your friends die, or will you destroy that foolish demon and save them. Those are your only options.”
He was threatening me. “You haven’t changed Greed. You always did anything it took to complete your objectives.”
“I’ve also given you his sole desire.”
“His sole desire?”.
“Yes, ‘Please take care of my sister.’ It was his final wish.”
“Can she be saved?”
“She’s already been demonified. Do you think she can?”
“No, it’s impossible.”
My guess was that only the dead could be fully demonified, so his sister was already dead. You can’t bring the dead back to life; it was an absolute and sacred rule of this world. The most I could do now was to send her off. I see, what a shitty situation I’ve found myself in.
“Now you can probably use that ridiculous ability of yours. Well, I wish you luck.”
The disgusting clown who I still had in my grips suddenly disappeared, and I returned to the silent darkness once again. Then, an image appeared before my eyes.
〇 Mission: Slay the Demon God.
〇 Explanation: Slay Shuten-douji, the Demon God who has incarnated in Alteria.
〇 Mission Rank: S
I had already broken off with that shitty organization. Who gives a shit about a mission?
Well, whatever. I had plenty to gain this time, so I’ll do as he wants for now.
Now let’s go and investigate.
〇 Title: Human Realm
〇 Explanation: One of the sixfold paths that all beings eventually obtain as a result of their karma – the ultimate path. Also, the sole path to liberation from suffering and becoming a Buddha.
〇 Passive Effect:
・Perfectly Enlightened One: Forcefully enlighten those connected to your soul.
・True Crushing Evil and Spreading Truth: Gain an overwhelming superiority against hidden evils. When faced against hidden evils, all stats will increase remarkably and all attacks will be critical. Additionally, ‘Crushing Evil’ remarkably elevates growth rate.
〇 Special Effect: Gain the ability to use ‘Liberation’. However, it can only be used once per day, and the usage of all gifts, powers, and magic will be restricted for 24 hours after use.
That basically meant I gained superiority against all monsters. This will prove very useful.
Honestly, I could easily destroy that simple fool right now. The problem was that I’d lose all my memories if I left this deep territory. I would lose if I reverted back to my immature body and mind.
That meant the path to escape lay with Liberation.
I really didn’t want to rely on this ability, but I couldn’t let things end here. I didn’t have the time to be worrying about my methods.
Besides, getting past this predicament would mean that I would retain my mind and my previous senses would automatically return.
“Then let’s start.”
I activated ‘Liberation’ and returned to reality.