Book 2: Chapter 400
(TL: Again, not sure if this is necessary, but this chapter has a scene depicting extreme violence towards a child. Like last time, the translator notes ‘Start’ and ‘End’ will be in place.)
It was around the winter when Lukas was 13 years old that he’d started feeling strange.
At that time, Lukas was the oldest child in the orphanage. It hadn’t been like this from the start.
Ellie, Rohan, Fergus.
They were one or two years older than Lukas, but they had all gone missing last year.
The ma.s.s disappearance incident had been going on for nearly a year and it caused the atmosphere of the city to inevitably deteriorate. Even until that point, they had not been able to determine who the culprit was.
And yet, there were no large-scale movements from the territory’s soldiers, the Knights directly under the Lord, or the Wizards. This was because it wasn’t much of a big deal for the n.o.bles.
Most of the victims were young vagrants living in the corners of the city, and the Lord, who had the mindset of a n.o.ble, was indifferent to the plight of the poor.
But then, the criminal made a big mistake. They kidnapped the apprentice maid belonging to the Lord’s family.
After receiving the report, the Lord expressed his anger and displayed a firm att.i.tude that was completely different from before.
He claimed that he would punish the heinous kidnapper disturbing the city’s security and creating unrest among the citizens, but no one believed him. There was quiet speculation that the high-nosed Lord was only acting like that because his authority had been damaged, or that the maid was a plaything of the Lord’s, who was known for enjoying young women.
Despite the unclear circ.u.mstances, the Lord’s response quickly showed effect.
The disappearances, which had been happening at least once a week, suddenly stopped. In a way, this was normal. After all, the number of guards patrolling the streets had tripled, and now, people who seemed to be even slightly suspicious were frequently stopped and questioned.
—It was around this time that Sophia’s appearance became very unstable.
She seemed to always be sleepy. She had trouble waking up in the mornings, dozed off during lunch, and went to bed as soon as the sun went down.
That wasn’t all. Outwardly, she appeared to have aged by ten or so years. Her hair became white, and wrinkles and age spots appeared all over her face. Her straight back bent like an old lady.
This rapid ageing occurred in just one year.
The children were all saddened by Sophia’s sudden change. Some of the more mature children decided to not burden her any longer.
Lukas was the only one who still had doubts. Even though he was young, Lukas was very cautious, thoughtful and doubtful for his age.
So when he noticed something strange about Sophia’s appearance, he couldn’t help but follow her after a moment of hesitation. Ignoring his rising guilt, he sincerely hoped that he was just overreacting.
But his expectations were quickly betrayed.
He witnessed a scene in the middle of the night.
Sophia dragging a corpse-filled sack.
“What… is that?”
Lukas asked with a blank expression. But this wasn’t because he couldn’t grasp the situation.
Sophia’s entire body was covered in blood, and the thing in the bag seemed to twitch occasionally. Blood was also dripping from the blade in her hand.
His clear brain had already completed its a.n.a.lysis and pointed out an undeniable truth.
Nevertheless, Lukas called her name again.
Not accepting the truth even when it was in front of his eyes was simply denying reality.
Perhaps Sophia noticed that fact as well.
“Lukas, come here.”
As soon as Sophia’s voice became coercive, Lukas subconsciously took a step back.
“You’re… not listening to me.”
Then, the moment her expression became distorted, he was unable to overcome his fear and tried to use magic.
But the Lukas at this time, even though he was panicking, could not give up his lingering affection for Sophia. So there was still a bit of hesitation.
He quickly casted a spell, but not to kill. It didn’t even have any control properties. When faced with the clumsy spell that could barely be considered a form of containment, Sophia only suffered a few weak wounds. She didn’t even have any problem moving her body.
She soon released an overwhelming power that was completely unimaginable from her old self.
Sophia roared. Her muscles swelled and her veins protruded. With bloodshot eyes, she threw her sword. (TL: Start)
Although it was a simple sword, it shot forward with fierce momentum. Despite this, its path was straight, which meant that it was possible to avoid it simply by twisting to the side.
But Lukas, in his immaturity, was as limp as a frog who saw a predator.
Lukas screamed. The feeling of the blade cutting into his skin was probably the clearest feeling of pain that Lukas had ever felt.
It felt like a bundle of nerves had been severed. Far from continuing to chant spells, it became impossible for him to even think clearly about the current situation. The only thing that filled Lukas’ mind at that moment was pain.
Now, there was just terror and dread. It felt like death was approaching. Lukas tried to crawl away, but he couldn’t.
Sophia grabbed his ankle.
Unable to withstand the force of Sophia’s grip, the young boy’s ankle shattered. Lukas couldn’t help but scream once again from the pain.
“Lukas, Lukas! Why aren’t you at home? Huh? The forest is dangerous at night!”
Holding him by the ankle, Sophia spun Lukas around in an unfathomable display of strength.
Sometimes, she slammed his body into the ground. Soon, Lukas’ body was covered in mud, blood, and saliva.
“Ugh, kuk, kuhk…”
Lukas coughed. (TL: End)
“…know. I… huk.”
He tried to mutter in a faint voice that seemed like it would disappear at any moment.
“What is it, Lukas? Didn’t I teach you to look me in the eyes and speak clearly if you have something to say?”
Lukas spoke with tears in his eyes.
“Sophia isn’t like this. Right?”
At those words, Sophia suddenly stopped.
Her wide eyes shook heavily.
Her tone changed.
Sophia suddenly stumbled backwards and grabbed her head. Then she twisted her head back and forth like a crazy person. Crack, crack. The sound of her joints twisting was eerie.
“Ah, ak, ug.”
Sophia pulled her hair out. She ripped it out so hard that blood even began to flow from her scalp.
Then, she looked at Lukas.
And pulled out the blade stuck in his shoulder.
Lukas let out another scream.
Holding the sword in a reverse grip, Sophia staggered slightly before stabbing it into her chest.
“Auk, kek. Ku-, uk…”
Sophia coughed up a mouthful of blood and pulled the blade back out. Then, she inserted it into her chest once more. Over and over again. As if to say one time was not enough.
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Lukas crawled towards her. At that moment, he completely forgot about the pain in his ankle.
“…Iris and Sophia are different.”
Lukas’ voice was no longer as firm as before. Because he also realised it to an extent.
[It’s the same twisted behaviour… Sophia didn’t have a choice. Her situation was much more unfortunate than Iris, who decided to walk the path to h.e.l.l on her own two feet.]
[You forgave Iris in the past. However, the current you wouldn’t. That’s because the principles and rules that you have set are incomprehensible to humans with emotions… And Sophia could not escape your strict standards.”
‘Lukas’ continued to speak.
[Certain landscapes can only be seen after walking on the wrong path.]
[Humans are creatures that are p.r.o.ne to mistakes and failure. Because of this, they can explore other possibilities and develop into better beings. But you haven’t shown me that possibility.]
‘Lukas’s next words were the most shocking yet.
[Lukas, you no longer have the mindset of a human.]
This was not the first time he’d heard those words. But each time he did, Lukas had the ability to deny it.
This was true even if it was G.o.d or one of the four Rulers who said it.
But he couldn’t refute them now.
He couldn’t refute them because they were the words of ‘Lukas’, not anyone else.
For a very long time, he had considered himself to be a human. It had been like that since he became an Absolute, a long, long time ago.
But he wasn’t.
Lukas had changed.
Since when did I.
Had I obtained the mindset of the people I hated?
[You are far from human, but… Right. I think that’s why I’d rather leave it to you.]
‘Lukas’ spoke almost as if muttering to himself.
[Take it, Lukas. My possibilities, everything…]
The faint voice gradually disappeared like smoke.
It felt like something deep within his heart had been filled. It also felt like his very existence was satisfied, something that could be described as ecstasy or pleasure was constantly rushing in.
…And he was getting stronger.
The principles behind it were unclear, but the fact itself was obvious.
Nevertheless, almost paradoxically, while immersed in this feeling of immense fulfilment, Lukas couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss, as if a part of his heart had been torn out.
While inheriting this ‘possibility’, the sense of loss did not diminish, but instead grew stronger.
—’Lukas’, who had disappeared, had been wrong about something.
Until that moment, Lukas still had a faint human nature left. Although it was faint, it was one of the most intense human natures.
It was akin to a mindset of always considering oneself to be a human.
Regardless of his appearance, Lukas had always considered himself to be human. There had been a few times when he’d wandered off that path, or was swept away by uncertainty, but deep down, something had always convinced him that he was human.
But now, it didn’t.
This was due to the words of ‘Lukas’, who had disappeared.
Because of his words.
“…ah. That’s right.”
Lukas suddenly realised.
“I’m no longer human.”
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