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Book 2: Chapter 441
Lukas didn’t ask about the exact timing of the meeting. This fact meant two things.
That meeting the Beginning Wizard no longer had as much significance to him, and that life in the castle was so comfortable, he almost forgot what his goals were.
Nevertheless, Sedi answered without needing to be asked.
“There is still a while until the meeting.”
He just nodded roughly.
Inwardly, he didn’t really care whether the meeting would be the next day or in a few years.
Lukas stayed in the castle and did nothing. Most of his time was spent idly.
He hadn’t forgotten his burdens. But there was a thought in his heart that it would be fine even if he didn’t do anything like this.
He spent most of his time talking to Sedi. Whenever he talked to her, his mind felt at ease, and a calm smile spread across his lips. Sweet happiness welled up inside of him like a spring, and for a moment, he forgot the tiresome headaches and goals that made his heart heavy.
[…are you doing? …in…]
At some point.
The voices in his head began to fade away.
The voices of the ‘Lukases’ that Lukas had absorbed. Those voices began to disappear. It was an unexpected but happy change.
‘I don’t need to meet the Beginning Wizard any more.’
The solution had been so close.
Just by stabilising his mind and body, he was able to obtain an unexpected harvest. For the first time in this world, Lukas found rest in the truest sense.
“You have times when you work.”
Sedi, who was laying on the bed, as usual, replied.
“What do you usually do then?”
“Not much. I just sit and listen to reports. My role isn’t to identify the problems or solve them on my own.”
She continued in a smug voice.
“A decision maker only needs to do two things. Look serious and listen to everything till the end, then nod or shake your head.”
It was clear that this was a crooked mindset, but Sedi seemed to be of the belief that this was true.
“Of course, if something big happens, I will have to step up, but that rarely happens.”
As if to show she had a bit of conscience left, she added.
“Considering that you only have to listen to reports, you seem pretty busy.”
Sedi only spent about half the day with Lukas. Even the longest periods were never more than half a day. (TL: Lukas wants more attention.)
“Sometimes I have to listen to complaints, sometimes I have to go do inspections… I don’t have any specific work, but it really feels like I do a lot of ch.o.r.es. It’s really annoying.”
Surprisingly, the Twelve Void Lords had a lot of ch.o.r.es.
Sedi grumbled for a moment before her expression suddenly changed and she fell silent. Then, she got off the bed.
“…I should get going. Ah. Would you like to go on a city inspection with me tomorrow?”
“It’s just an inspection in name, I want to take a walk with you. I’ve never walked around the Pit with Father.”
Lukas nodded because that was true.
Since coming to the Pit, Lukas had not left the castle.
“District Z-17. That’s the busiest shopping district, and there’s a cafe there that sells that cheap coffee thing. It reminded me of Father.”
Now that he thought about it, it seemed that he’d drunk it quite often when he was on Earth. This was because the sweet flavour surprisingly suited his tastes.
Although it felt bad that Sedi disparaged the drink as cheap, he nodded his head since he knew she had good intentions and probably wanted to introduce him to a decent store.
“Right. I’ll go with you.”
“It wouldn’t be bad for you to wander around the city without me. This territory, I didn’t really develop it, but there are many things to see. All of the members are demons, but it’s not that much different from where people-”
Sedi’s voice cut off. Then, she staggered a bit as if she’d lost her balance.
Lukas jumped up from his seat when he saw her perilous appearance. He tried to help, but Sedi pushed him away with one hand.
Frowning, she grabbed her head.
“Sorry. I’m just a bit dizzy.”
Just as Sedi smiled bitterly, a bit of blood dripped from her nose.
When he saw this, he couldn’t help but feel even more surprised than when she’d stumbled.
The blood dripping from Sedi was black. Seeing Lukas’ hard expression, Sedi waved her hand.
“Ah. Wait. There’s no need to get worked up. This happens sometimes.”
She wiped her nose offhandedly.
“Was it backlash from not fully digesting the power of the 0th Demon or something like that? Anyways, it’s not a big deal.”
Despite the fact that she spoke in an insignificant manner, Lukas had a strange feeling.
Then, they heard a knock on the door.
It was one of the Apostles who made an appearance. He didn’t remember its name, but it was a being with the head of a snake.
“Am I interrupting?”
Slurp, its split tongue shot out of its mouth and its yellow eyes flashed. It was an eerie sight but it wasn’t threatening. Instead, this att.i.tude came because of tension. The Apostles were very afraid of Sedi.
“No. It’s fine that you came. What’s wrong?”
“…that, a guest has arrived.”
That was not an easy word to hear in this place. When Sedi frowned and urged it to speak more, the Snake Apostle spoke with an expression that didn’t hide his apprehension.
“Who is it?”
“…it’s the Beginning Wizard.”
Lukas and Sedi’s eyes met.
* * *
“The hospitality towards guests is pretty poor.”
When meeting him personally for the first time, Lukas recalled the description Kasajin had given him.
His entire body was covered by an auburn robe, and his face was covered by a hideous mask that was reminiscent of a sickly old man.
The only part that wasn’t covered by his robe was the hand that held a twisted staff, but even then no flesh was exposed.
Surprisingly, the Beginning Wizard had not come to the Pit with anyone else. He also didn’t seem to release any pressure. Even when he was in front of him, it felt like he was looking at a ghost. If he closed his eyes and didn’t focus his senses, he couldn’t sense his presence at all.
“…I’d thought so before, but the Lord is really different in person.”
The strangest part was his voice. It was impossible to guess his age or gender from his voice.
It sounded like several overlapping voices, so it felt as if several people were talking at the same time without a single error.
“Nice to meet you. New 0th Demon, Sedi Trowman.”
“Your first impression is the worst, Wizard of the Beginning.”
“Did I do something wrong?”
“To call me by my full name at the first greeting is very unpleasant to me. It feels like you have grasped something about me, and it’s freaking disgusting.”
The Beginning Wizard didn’t seem to take offence to her rough remarks.
Or at least, that was how it felt.
‘What is this…?’
From the moment he first saw him, Lukas had been feeling strange. He could see the blue eyes behind the mask, and every time he saw them, his chest fluttered.
Almost instinctively, a question arose within him.
‘I… do I know this person?’
“Why did you come here? Do you want a war?”
Sedi spoke with a provocative smile, but from her perspective, it was probably not something she really thought about before saying.
But, instead of denying it, the Beginning Wizard nodded.
“You catch on quick. That’s right.”
It was as if the nod of his head was a signal.
The body of the Apostle standing beside Sedi, the Snake Apostle who had guided them to this room, exploded. Flesh and blood splattered in every direction.
“Isn’t it always refres.h.i.+ng to hear that popping sound?”
There was probably no one who could have foreseen this situation. At the very least, Lukas hadn’t. He couldn’t foresee what trick the Beginning Wizard had done. The reason for his delayed response was because he was thinking about the reason. Perhaps that wasn’t the only reason…
Nevertheless, Sedi was different. She was the same as Lukas in that she was unable to predict the situation, but she regained her composure faster than anyone else there.
Black energy rushed out of her clenched fists. Sedi’s entire body became dyed back.
Perhaps feeling an unusual omen, the Beginning Wizard retreated with a flutter of his robes. But Sedi was able to close the distance much faster than that.
In the blink of an eye, she landed dozens of consecutive blows. The Beginning Wizard’s body fluttered like a scarecrow being swept by a typhoon.
Sedi’s gaze became cold. None of her previous attacks had any effect.
“Let’s all calm down a little.”
There was a hint of amus.e.m.e.nt mixed in with the Beginning Wizard’s voice.
“Why are you so angry? It was just a greeting.”
“Killing someone without saying a word is a greeting? Then let me try it too. That kind of greeting.”
Smiling ferociously, Sedi began to raise her aura, but she didn’t release it.
The sudden voice made Sedi freeze. She turned around.
The Snake Apostle, whose shattered flesh and blood had scattered, was now standing there.
“Like I said. Calm your agitation.”
The Beginning Wizard spoke in a soft tone.
“Agitation narrows your vision, makes it dark. In times like that, taking a deep breath makes you feel better. It might sound simple, but it really works.”
“…you… what the h.e.l.l did you do?”
“Instead of a simple greeting, I showed you a bit of magic. Did you enjoy it?”
Lukas’ fists subconsciously clenched at that word. He was still staring at the Beginning Wizard with wide eyes while lost in his thoughts.
He had confirmed the death of that Apostle. It wasn’t an illusion. The Snake Apostle had died without a doubt.
And yet, he was revived… No, was he revived?
‘I don’t know.’
He didn’t even know what method he’d used.
All he knew was something beyond his cognitive ability had happened.
“Your expression still doesn’t look so good. Mm. Then, perhaps I truly was disrespectful as you said. I apologise. However, that was absolutely necessary for me.”
“Hoh. I wonder what the deal behind that is.”
The Beginning Wizard looked around before speaking.
“It’s not difficult to tell you, but there are too many ears around.”
“Fine. Let’s go to my office. I won’t allow the others to enter. You and I will have a long talk alone.”
“I like your hot temper.”
Before leaving, Sedi winked at Lukas. This meant for him to leave it to her. After hesitating for a moment, Lukas nodded.
Suddenly, the Beginning Wizard turned his gaze towards him.
“You are comfortable, young man.”
When his attention turned to him, it felt like he could hear his voice more closely.
Lukas once again had an indescribably strange feeling.
“Life is a series of struggles. As long as you live, you will have no choice but to keep fighting. All that changes is the subject of the fight.”
“…what are you talking about?”
“I thought you needed some advice, was I wrong?”
“Hey. Don’t talk nonsense.”
As Sedi growled threateningly, the Beginning Wizard burst into laughter and walked past. After a while, his figure, which was getting further away, eventually disappeared.
But even after he left, Lukas was unable to move from that spot for a while.
* * *
Lukas returned to his room. But he couldn’t stop thinking about the Beginning Wizard.
The biggest question he had was the face behind the mask. He kept feeling like he might know it.
It was strange. The more he thought about it, the more clouded his mind felt.
Suddenly, the door swung open.
When he was alone in his room, there were only two beings who would open his door as they pleased. And one of them was probably still talking to the Beginning Wizard at that moment.
Lukas looked at the man who appeared through the open door.
Kasajin nodded slightly and said.
“An important guest arrived.”
“The Beginning Wizard. I saw it from a distance, but I could tell. He hasn’t changed.”
He wasn’t saying that he hadn’t changed.
Kasajin was saying that the being he’d seen in the past and the current Beginning Wizard was the same person.
Kasajin looked into Lukas’ eyes as if he was trying to see what was inside, then, he suddenly asked.
“Are you satisfied with the current situation?”
…This wasn’t the first time.
Lukas had been asked this question several times by Kasajin.
Even when he didn’t have anything to talk about, he would suddenly appear and ask those few words that he could never figure out the reason for.
“If you have something to say, say it.”
“You… by chance, are you looking down on me?”
Lukas looked at Kasajin.
“Because the ‘Lukas Trowman’ you knew wasn’t like this? Because I pa.s.sed my responsibilities to someone else and leisurely took a break in my room?”
His voice gradually rose. Lukas himself probably realised this before Kasajin.
“Are you dissatisfied with me because the Lukas you knew wasn’t like this?”
Kasajin didn’t say anything. He just kept looking at him with his dark eyes. At that moment, Lukas couldn’t help but feel pathetic.
What was the difference between him and a child who was getting excited because of his own guilty conscience?
“It’s not like that, Lukas. I have nothing to say to you because I don’t deserve to. I just… I want you to realise.”
“You want me to realise? Realise what?”
“It’s not my place to tell you. However, you already have a clue. You just don’t want to think about it too deeply.”
“Stop ignoring it. That’s all I want to say.”
After saying that, Kasajin opened the door and left.
Lukas, who was left alone, thought about chasing after him but suddenly had a deep feeling of incongruity.
—Since the day he first arrived at the castle, Kasajin had visited Lukas without fail. Most of the time, there didn’t seem to be any reason for it.
Of course, one didn’t need to have a reason to meet a friend, but this was Kasajin. Even if he had been completely emptied and refilled with something else, it didn’t change the fact that he was, in essence, Kasajin.
He was never a guy who would commit a meaningless act.
Why was such a serious guy coming to him so often?
‘…to let me know.’
To inform him of something.
He felt the warmth on his fingertips gradually fade. Of course, it was just an illusion, but Lukas’ heart was already ice cold.
…It felt like he was missing something, something crucial.
And when he had such doubts, he knew how to find a clue.
Lukas calmly went back to the drawing board.
He had come to the Pit to find a method to get to the Magic Planet, and he had a semi-forced meeting with the Lord of this place, Sedi. At that time, Lukas had been reluctant to meet her.
And at the same time, Kasajin had tried to stop him from meeting her.
At that moment, there was a flash of thunder in his mind. It felt like he’d finally remembered something he’d forgotten.
Sedi hadn’t forgotten about Lukas. Instead, she’d achieved victory in her first fight with Kasajin, who was the [0th Demon] at that time, and therefore succeeded in perfectly maintaining the ‘Sedi Trowman’ that Lukas knew.
He finally realised what was missing, what he’d ignored.
Sedi hadn’t forgotten Lukas.
Naturally, this meant that reuniting with her would have no negative impacts. And that was actually the case.
But if that was the case, then why?
Why did Kasajin try to stop him from meeting Sedi?
(TL:…Sedi might not be our best girl after all…)