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Book 2: Chapter 436
[It was a fun fight.]
It was the demon that said those words.
The man in front of him, who appeared so fragile that he would crumble if touched, remained silent. He felt wretched, in danger, and pitiful, to put it in one word, he felt miserable.
[I was able to get a lot thanks to you. Ego, personality, memories, values. And even a name.]
The Demon Kasajin laughed.
[I would like to express my sincere thanks. However, apart from that, I have no more business with you.]
The ‘Man without a Name’ felt like he knew that manner of speech.
[I’ll be leaving this place. I probably won’t see you again. So tell me what you want.]
“…what I want?”
The Man without a Name spoke for the first time.
It was such a small, quiet voice it felt like it would be impossible to hear if one wasn’t paying close attention.
But it was enough for ‘Kasajin’. He gave a big nod.
[Anything is fine. I’ll even return something you lost, that is to say, what I stole from you. Or it could even be something you didn’t lose. In my current state, I could probably give you whatever you want.]
[Do you think there’s a problem? Don’t overthink it. Since I took a lot of things from you, I want to at least give you something. Consider it a parting gift, a sympathetic gesture. Or pure goodwill. It doesn’t matter which way you take it.]
The Man without a Name was silent for a long time.
‘Kasajin’ couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Just like the first time this man had looked at him.
He was no better than an empty sh.e.l.l.
That was why he was even more curious.
What would a man who had nothing left ask him for?
“The 0th Demon.”
‘Kasajin’ hummed to himself.
Then he looked into the eyes of the Man without a Name. He was still unable to see anything in his eyes.
“Give me that name.”
However, there seemed to be a weak power in his voice.
He felt sorry for that fact. For a moment, a hint of pity appeared in ‘Kasajin’s’ eyes.
[That’s probably not what you wanted.]
[I feel heartfelt sympathy for your fate, Being without a Name.]
‘Kasajin’ spread his wings. That alone created a strong wind that swept the area. The hundreds and thousands of statues that filled their surroundings shook.
[You lost everything. To become empty. That was the absolute condition to become the [0th Demon]. In other words, you already have the name 0th Demon.]
[You are asking for something you already have. Are you sure you don’t want anything else?]
The Man without a Name didn’t answer.
[…I guess you even lost your ambition.]
[Fine. If that is all that you want, I will give it to you. Your fundamental reason for coming to the Pit. You continue to fight to achieve what you were seeking. Even if it wasn’t what you really wanted.]
As he spoke, ‘Kasajin’ looked into the empty eyes of the Man without a Name.
[From now on, you are the 0th Demon.]
At that moment, the Man without a Name felt immense pressure envelop his entire body.
It felt like something was rising up within him, at the same time, it felt like pressure from the outside was squeezing him. Feeling the great pressure from within and without at the same time made it feel like his entire body would explode at any moment.
At the same time, an unknown power seemed to be pouring in.
“Ku-, ah, ah…”
[You will probably sleep for a long time. Maybe you will die, but that would also be your fate. And I…]
[I will leave this place.]
In an instant, a tremendous aura seemed to shoot up towards the ceiling. If someone were to see the scene in the cave, they might have mistaken it for a black flash of light.
Despite the exit in front of him, ‘Kasajin’ didn’t leave immediately.
His eyes were on someone else.
“Where are you going?”
Pale leaned against the only entrance to the cave with her arms crossed.
[I’m leaving this place.]
A smile appeared on Pale’s face.
“This place… That doesn’t mean the Pit, does it?”
[You caught on quickly. That’s right. I’m leaving this world.]
“Didn’t you know? That that’s impossible.”
[…after acquiring an ego, I gained not just that man’s memories, but also ‘memories that I had’. Memories of the Beginning…]
A smile appeared on ‘Kasajin’s’ lips.
[If there is any being who deserves it, it’s me. I am going beyond the universe to find my other half. Is that wrong?]
[Such a precedent already exists, Blue Knight of Famine.]
Pale looked at ‘Kasajin’ with cold eyes for a moment before snorting coldly. Then, turning her back on him, she jumped to the bottom of the Pit.
It was tacit permission.
Looking at her back, ‘Kasajin’ grinned.
[That’s what I thought, rule follower.]
* * *
The brief story came to an end.
Lukas looked at the man in front of him and forced his mouth to open.
“Then how did you remember me?”
“Don’t you know? What kind of world this is.”
Lukas clenched his fists.
“You ate another Kasajin.”
“I didn’t go looking for them. After that guy left, I didn’t move from the Pit for a very long time. Then, one day, one of the countless ‘Kasajins’ in the World of Void came to me, and I ate him.”
“I regained a miniscule sense of self. But I was still confused. And my hunger grew. At that time, I had almost no reason left. Driven by instinct, I rushed out of the Pit and ate everything I saw. I probably ate a lot of Kasajins in the process.”
“They were all different possibilities of ‘Kasajin’, but they all had a common denominator. As a result, I took on their fate and obtained something similar to what I was in the past… Do you understand? I didn’t get back what I lost. Instead, I was filled with something similar.”
Kasajin got up and slowly began to look around.
“Do I like alcohol? Lukas.”
Lukas didn’t answer.
“I might or might not have. I want to drink now. But I don’t know if that was really something I did in the past. Because, technically, the thing that fills me isn’t mine. To borrow Pale’s a.n.a.logy, it’s like I’ve been filled by a completely different liquid. It has a completely different composition.”
…It was similar.
“The components of my essence are already gone. As a result, I don’t know if my composition now is really what the ‘existing Kasajin’ had.”
Just like the current him.
That was what Lukas thought.
“Now you can understand. Why I denied being Kasajin in the beginning, and why I had no choice but to claim that I am just an empty sh.e.l.l.”
However, it was different.
Even in the worst case scenario, Lukas at least had a choice. After all, it was his own arbitrary decision to consume so many ‘Lukases’. On the other hand, ‘Kasajin’ didn’t have such a choice. For him, everything was unexpected and unwanted.
Kasajin had suddenly been brought to an unknown place, dragged around by Pale, lost everything, and was eventually filled by unwanted components.
How did he feel? What was he thinking? What were his emotions?
He probably felt like he was constantly walking on cracked ice. Perhaps even now.
Even though he was aware of this fact, Lukas remained silent. His tightly closed lips wouldn’t open easily.
He could have said something.
He could have told Kasajin the simplest, but most encouraging words he could hear right now. Words that might save him.
For example, he could tell him he was still his friend. Or that he hadn’t changed at all. He could smile like it was nothing and say that didn’t matter…
He couldn’t say it.
He couldn’t let those words out of his mouth.
Lukas couldn’t take this matter lightly, he couldn’t let it slip by. And he couldn’t console him either.
Because affirming Kasajin would be no different from affirming himself.
He clenched his fists even tighter.
His chest hurt more than the nails digging into his skin.
The current Lukas couldn’t sympathise with or comfort himself. He shouldn’t.
If he did that, he thought that he would really break, and he would collapse without ever being able to get up again.
“It was possible for me to observe the outside to some extent, whether that’s thanks to ‘Demon Kasajin’ who went out, or whether it’s one of the powers of the [0th Demon]. And when your existence was forgotten in the universe, when you no longer belonged to the ‘Original Universe’(1) or the ‘World of Void’, it became possible for me to talk to you.”
He was talking about the time when they met in the dream.
“You are a special being, Lukas. As Pale said, few outsiders come to this place. When they do, it’s either as a Twelve Void Lord Candidate, Knight Candidate, or…”
He had shamelessly claimed that he was a Void King Candidate in front of Michael, but he didn’t really know if that was actually his fate.
“There are currently two confirmed King Candidates. You. And Diablo.”
He heard that name again.
“Is it because there is originally a Knight beside a King Candidate?”
“Then Diablo’s Knight must be… Lucid.”
Lukas wondered about Lucid’s goal once again, but shook his head in the end. In a way, Lucid had a firmer belief than anyone else. There had to be a compelling reason for his actions.
While this was a self-bia.s.sed interpretation, Lukas chose to believe it.
He was still looking at him with a smile.
He hadn’t heard any words of consolation from Lukas, but he didn’t seem to care.
The scrawny Kasajin, the statue carving Kasajin, the mellowed Kasajin.
He had changed, but he hadn’t changed.
“…is there anything else you want to tell me?”
Lukas deliberately changed the subject.
As if he expected this, Kasajin smirked.
“Right. About Sedi Trowman. I met her after the [Pit] had become a decent territory… Well. I didn’t have a hand in that.”
* * *
When the being known as Sedi appeared in this world, Kasajin was able to realise it immediately.
“What is it?”
Jiltex, one of the Apostles, asked.
Sitting on a throne, Kasajin turned to look at him.
…At some point, beings had begun to gather in the pit. They all had the appearances of demons.
No, it wasn’t just their appearances. All of them originated from the concept of demons.
From this pit, or from Kasajin. A sense constantly leaked out that drew such beings there.
It was only natural for them to be drawn there. It was no different from the scent of flowers to bees.
The gathered demons.
They formed a group, they made a society, and in the process, they naturally appointed Kasajin as their Lord. And they developed this place on their own.
Kasajin hadn’t needed to do anything.
When he had awoken from being immersed in his endless thoughts, the pit had the appearance of a city that had developed for centuries.
The more demons gathered, the more the overall level increased.
At some point, Kasajin learned that the number of demons present in the pit was comparable to the population of a universe.
Among the countless demons, those who were especially strong were given the name Apostle by Kasajin in order to distinguish them.
“Someone is here.”
“Is it an Apostle Candidate?”
Kasajin was usually able to foretell when strong demons appeared.
But Kasajin shook his head.
Suddenly, the huge door to the room was smashed.
“Wh-, what was that?!”
[What is this…!]
This was a place that only the Lord and Apostles could enter. And with a bit of exaggeration, it could even be called a place that was inviolable to the demons. Naturally, no one had the right to smash the door at its entrance.
In fact, there was one such person, but he was currently the being sitting upon a throne with his chin on his hand.
Someone appeared through the smashed door.
When the smoke cleared, their appearance was revealed.
It was a girl with long hair and bright red eyes.
She gave an absent-minded greeting.
[This rude brat…!]
The eyes of the two closest Apostles changed, and in an instant, they reached out to the girl. There was no need to talk. After all, this girl had already committed a rudeness that far surpa.s.sed the limits of the demons’ patience.
Compared to the ferocious auras of the hands that stretched out, the girl’s body looked like it was in a precarious position like a candle in the wind.
But the pair of hands twisted before they could reach the girl. Following the terrifying sound of flesh and bones mixing, blood dripped down.
“My, my arm…!”
Clutching their arms, the two Apostles collapsed. Paak! At an almost invisible speed, the girl kicked them in the jaw. The Apostles’ eyes instantly rolled back in their heads and they lost consciousness.
“Sorry about the first impression.”
The girl spoke without looking at the fallen Apostles.
“Who is the strongest here?”
1. I’m a.s.suming this is the ‘Three Thousand Worlds’ or what I otherwise call the ‘multiverse’. Usually, the author just uses the word ‘universe/s.p.a.ce’ to represent both individual universes and the universe.)