Book 2: Chapter 435
He never thought he’d lose something in a fight.
For Kasajin, fighting had always been a gift box that he didn’t know the contents of.
Whether it was a major or minor fight.
Whether the opponent was weak or strong.
Whether he would be injured or not.
Kasajin was always grateful and delighted every time he fought.
Because he always learned something. And he had the confidence that he would be able to fight even better next time. Even when he thought it was a trivial fight where he obtained nothing, at some point, when he looked back at it, he realised that he did get something.
Severed arms or legs, gouged eyeballs, shattered teeth, ruptured organs. Even though they were things that people called damage, for Kasajin, they were seen as medals that he won in a fierce battle.
He lost consciousness.
The demon had used another technique from the Warrior King Fist.
Using the ground, the soles of the feet, and an injection of mana to increase instantaneous acceleration before hitting the opponent with the palm of the hand. At the same time, it was possible to inject heated mana into their body to do even more serious damage.
It was an application of three techniques of the Warrior King Fist at the same time.
…But that skill, what was its name?
As soon as he regained consciousness, he heard a voice.
Cuk, Pale carved another slash on the ground.
Seven slashes were carved there, but they weren’t necessary.
Because Kasajin was very clear about how many defeats he’d suffered.
“What did you lose this time?”
Every time he lost, he lost something.
“I don’t know.”
The scariest part was that he could never tell exactly what he’d lost. He had to fight the demon to know. Because it would use whatever he stole from him in battle.
Not only that, it also changed it to suit its own fighting style.
…It made him feel dirty. Like someone had spat in his face.
-Your Warrior King Fist isn’t a big deal, so I’ll refine it into a more useful form.
Kasajin felt like he was being told that.
All of his wounds had been healed. Until just a moment ago, he had been on the brink of death, but a piece of Pale’s jerky the size of a finger joint was enough to easily regenerate all of his wounds.
So he could fight again.
Kasajin denied the thought that suddenly popped into his mind.
“You lose something every time you lose, but your body gets stronger.”
Pale’s soft voice seemed to mock him. Kasajin looked at her with a sunken gaze.
“I’m curious. Are you getting stronger? Or are you weaker?”
He didn’t know.
Pale’s question was something that Kasajin also wanted to know badly.
Was he moving forward? Or was he moving back?
…There was only one way to find out.
Straightening his posture, Kasajin walked towards the demon.
* * *
“…I remember there were five of us.”
His voice was as dry as sand without any moisture.
Pale quietly listened to this voice.
“Lukas, Schweiser, Kasajin, and…”
As he said those names, Kasajin stopped. But his mouth remained open. And it stayed that way for a while as if he was hesitating or unsure.
Suddenly, he swung his fist into the ground like a hammer.
Spider web cracks spread across the ground. Kasajin panted, unable to calm his anger. His glaring eyes turned to Pale.
“…it’s not just techniques. That guy, is he also taking my memories?”
“Techniques, and memories.”
Pale smiled creepily.
“But is that really all?”
“Are you trying to test my patience?”
Fighting intent rose up from Kasajin’s body. Pale took his defiance lightly. She took two containers from her pocket.
They were water containers.
One of them was empty and the other was filled with water.
“Hey, Kasajin, what do you think is the essence of these canteens?”
Pale’s voice seemed to contain an irresistible charm. So even though he gritted his teeth, he had no choice but to reply roughly.
“They hold water.”
“That’s their role. Not their essence.”
Pale chuckled before continuing.
“The essence of a canteen is the water. Do you understand? This is a well made canteen, but without water, it’s nothing more than a useless piece of junk.”
“What are you talking about?”
“This canteen is Kasajin. And this empty one… is the [0th Demon].”
“And this is the process you’re currently experiencing.”
Pale smiled as she began to pour water from one of the canteens to the other.
Splash, the sound of the pouring liquid was strangely eerie to Kasajin.
“The memories you have. The personality that formed your nature, your human relationships, and your experiences. Memories that only you know and the emotions that you felt at those times, the emotions you feel when you look at your loved ones, the trivial habits, and mannerisms that even you don’t realise… the Demon will take them all.”
“Now. Look at this.”
Pale picked up the empty canteen and shook it slightly.
“There is no water in here. It’s empty. So what should we call this canteen now?”
“An empty container, a shell.”
The empty canteen dropped from her hand and rolled across the bare ground.
“If you keep losing, you will become an empty shell. And…”
Pale’s gaze turned to the demon.
“Deep down, that being will become more like Kasajin.”
* * *
“…let me go.”
Kasajin spoke in a broken voice.
His voice sounded weaker than a hair, and thinner than that of a sick patient lying on their deathbed, but his body was still in perfect condition.
Pale was right. His body was becoming more powerful the more he battled.
However, his mind was cracking.
Pale tilted her head to the side.
“You liked to fight. Didn’t you?”
“No. This is different. I, I…”
Kasajin squeezed out.
“Don’t… want to fight anymore.”
If anyone who knew Kasajin’s true nature heard those words, they would have doubted their ears. Or they might have mistaken it for a trick or that he was a fake.
But it wasn’t anything like that.
It was truly the Magic Warrior King, who thought of fighting as his life, that spoke in such a weak voice.
Pale softly but firmly refused.
“Right. I can’t. You are fated to become the Void Lord [0th Demon]. There can be no other result. So…”
She pointed towards the [0th Demon] with her index finger.
“Whether it’s a hundred times, a thousand times, or ten thousand times. Keep fighting. -Now. Kasajin, you’ve had enough rest, haven’t you? Then get up now.”
At those words.
Kasajin rose from the ground like a puppet given an order.
Then he staggered over to the demon.
The 0th Demon greeted Kasajin with an innocent smile.
He looked up at it and thought.
…Did the demon take even his basic thinking ability? Why did he keep fighting? Why was he still fighting these losing battles? Why couldn’t he disobey Pale?
He didn’t know.
His mind felt like it was shrouded in mist. It felt like there was a heavy lump of lead in his chest, and he could no longer feel his heartbeat.
He couldn’t think of a solution.
So Kasajin had no choice but to keep fighting.
* * *
He was afraid of defeat.
To be precise, he was afraid of what he would lose upon defeat.
He wanted to protect them. He didn’t want to forget anything. He didn’t want to lose anything else.
Kasajin remembered the Demon Statue.
Statue… Right. Stone statues.
While his memory was still clear, he should carve the people he knew.
From that day, Kasajin carved statues whenever he had time. The materials were abundant. There was an uncountable number of strangely shaped rocks in the area.
He could also carve the broken stone fragments.
Of course, the results were sloppy. It couldn’t be helped that they were absolutely terrible. After all, Kasajin didn’t have any dexterity to speak of.
‘I can forget about anything else. But…’
But he didn’t want to forget his closest friends.
Kasajin grit his teeth. A man who used a sword, a woman who used black magic.
He couldn’t remember their names. But even if he couldn’t remember their names, he carved their faces while those memories were still clear in his mind.
At some point, the carving no longer brought Kasajin any happiness.
He carved the statues with a blank expression. He wasn’t allowed much time.
Was it a sense of obligation? A sense of duty?
Or was it something else that made him carve the statue?
He didn’t know.
So, Kasajin just kept carving.
* * *
At some point, Pale had disappeared.
The only ones left in this pitch black space were Kasajin and the demon…. Kasajin and the demon?
He looked at the being in front of him.
It had a body that resembled solid stone, eyes like a beast, and although the horns on its head and wings hadn’t changed, its features seemed to belong to someone he was very familiar with.
‘In fact, now.”
Wasn’t it more suitable to call this being Kasajin?
Then what did he look like now?
Kasajin looked down at his palm. He could see thin fingers that only seemed to be covered in skin. It was strange. It felt like… his body was stronger. In fact, hadn’t Pale also said that his body was getting stronger?
…Right. He was definitely getting stronger.
Although his muscles had disappeared, Kasajin felt like his body contained more power.
However… was that really the path he wanted?
* * *
He looked down at the statue and said.
“Hey, can you hear me?”
Of course, the statue couldn’t answer, and Kasajin knew that.
“My memories are gradually fading.”
He ripped out his hair. Bit his lips, and chewed his fingernails. He screamed like a madman, and at some point, he slammed his head into the ground until it bled.
“The Great Mage. My dear friend. The Great Teacher…”
And yet, it still couldn’t come to mind.
He couldn’t remember in the first place.
After all, Kasajin’s memories hadn’t faded, or been forgotten.”
“What was it… again?”
“There were a lot. He had more titles than that, a lot more…”
They had disappeared.
They were all gone.
Like burning firewood, or a fog at sunrise.
The colour of the letters on the pages of the book hadn’t faded, the pages were ripped out. And the contents of pages that had been ripped out of a book couldn’t be seen.
He had lost his memories, lost his essence.
“He looked like you.”
Kasajin looked down at the statue as he spoke.
This man with a blunt expression on his face, who was covered by a robe and held a staff in a majestic manner.
“Statues have a clear limitation. Because it can only show one form. That’s why, you…”
He could only remember being close friends.
“What colour was your hair? Your eyes? What did your voice sound like?”
The hand holding the statue tensed. And cracks spread across the statue, which was carved out of stone.
“Haha… I’m going crazy.”
“Hey, please answer me.”
The statue couldn’t answer.
Kasajin knew that.
Nevertheless, he felt like he couldn’t survive if he didn’t ask.
“…so, tell me. Great Mage.”
Kasajin said with a face that looked like he might cry.
“What was your name?”
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