What is human nature?
If anyone were to ask that, Lukas would say that it is the qualities that make humans human.
Then, what were the qualities that made humans human?
What were the decisive differences between humans and non-humans?
Ironically, it was during his time as an Absolute that Lukas pondered this question the most, not when he was human.
When he decided to become a god, when he decided to save every suffering human in the entire multiverse.
Lukas had to distinguish between those he should save and those he shouldn’t save.
It was a time when he didn’t realise that such a distinction was built on disgustingly self righteous arrogance, a time when he was incredibly immature and thus fearless.
Humans, humans, they, he…
Remembered a story.
He remembered the story of a man who, on a night when the moon was exceptionally bright, had a drink with a precious woman.
To refuse the offer.
According to the Black Horned Demon God, that would be Lukas’ choice to abandon his humanity.
…Was that really the case?
Did he have the right to decide that?
Once again, he thought a little deeper.
What was human nature to him? What would it mean to throw it away?
At the Dump Site.
Lukas had thrown everything away. He thought he had become a being that was completely devoid of dignity, morality, ethics that humans had. Depending on the perspective, it could be interpreted as a kind of liberation.
However, what happened to him after that?
I looked at the current ‘Lukas Trowman’.
Was the image of the current him as disgusting as the ‘Lukas eating humans’ was concerned about? Was he so disgusted with himself that he couldn’t even maintain his own ego? Was that how he saw himself even at that moment?
That might have been the case right after.
However, as time passed, Lukas eventually affirmed his existence. And eventually, he accepted the fact that he was Lukas.
‘Is it something that can’t be thrown away even if I want to?’
Or are humans creatures that can’t live without affirming themselves?
In this situation, where two Rulers had made offers to Lukas, the causal relationships were probably much more complicated than expected.
There were also facts that he could learn from their attitudes.
The Rulers seemed to believe that there was a high chance that Lukas could become the Void King.
In the end, that was the reason.
The reason the Lightning God, who was hidden inside Lukas, and the Demon God, who was standing a short distance away, were both making offers as if they believed that Lukas could become the Void King as long as he wanted to.
After he finished talking, the Demon God didn’t open his mouth. He wasn’t even looking at Lukas.
His gaze and attention were directed at the battle that was taking place not so far away.
This attitude seemed to suggest that he understood that Lukas would need a lot of time to think before answering.
Nevertheless, his face was strangely relaxed.
It was as if he already knew what he was going to say.
‘Is he assuming that I can’t refuse?’
Lukas let out a silent laugh.
While the Demon God’s attitude was annoying, he felt embarrassed by the fact that he couldn’t completely betray his expectations. There was a reason for his composure, as well as a certain charm.
For Lukas, it was clear that he had nothing to lose in this offer.
If he nodded, the Demon God would surely keep his promise. Lukas could live the life he desired and pursued for hundreds of millions of years. He would give him a tediously long time to drown in happiness.
Why was he not willing to obediently accept the offer?
Was it because of his nonsensical pride?
Surprisingly, that was it.
Lukas looked within himself and realised that fact. His breathy laugh grew louder.
[Did you get an answer?]
The sound of his laughter seemed to reach the Demon God.
Nevertheless, Lukas’ laugh didn’t stop.
Guaranteed happiness, a safe life.
A life like that.
“…it’s not for me.”
The Demon God turned his head.
By this point, the laughter had grown even louder. For a while, Lukas laughed like a madman. The Demon God’s attention, which had been focused away, was immediately drawn over.
“What’s the point of living a life that you made and prepared?”
[There is no meaning to giving a reason to everything.]
“It might not be needed for other things. But happiness has to have a meaning.”
[That is an extremely emotional and impulsive answer. Why can’t you understand? Just the fact that you can elicit this offer from me makes you amazing…]
That was probably the greatest compliment a Ruler could give.
[Since the dawn of time, how many beings in this vast multiverse do you think have been able to receive an offer from a Ruler? You are one of the chosen few.]
“Did I make a mistake? Hearing that doesn’t make me feel proud at all. Instead, it fills me with anger. The way you’re talking seems to be looking down on me.”
“…not just me. Any human that could maintain their discernment in front of you would be offended. Because you’re treating them like a pet.”
I’ll make a good kennel for you and feed you, so listen to me.
The Demon God’s offer didn’t deviate too far from that.
That was why such an offer was an insult to Lukas.
“I, cannot let go of my pride.”
“Because I am Lukas Trowman.”
At some point, Lukas’ laughter became a faint smile.
Then, he recalled a certain point in his memory.
—Pride. What do you call someone that abandons it?
In his memory, Lukas was proudly talking to a certain man. (TL: I can’t remember this… maybe S1?)
—Livestock. Understand? You would become a domestic animal. You’ll gradually get used to the feed they give you, and you will be stripped of your ability to think for yourself. Is that what you want?
He had preached like this to a fallen man who had submitted to an absolute being.
That man must have had reasons too. There must have been a good reason for him to fall. His actions and choices were obviously wrong, but they were understandable.
However, just looking at the result, Lukas saved that man’s life. He became his condemner.
That was to say, he could not repeat the sins the man committed.
That was too ugly.
“…do you understand, Demon God? To me, human nature is being able to take a sip of wine under the moonlight.”
Like another man had done.
Right, Yang In-hyun.
Who had become a powerhouse as a human.
Even after obtaining overwhelming power, even after becoming one of the Twelve Void Lords,
He was still human. Still stuck in the past.
He recalled his expression as he regaled him with stories from the past on the 5th floor of a bar, where the noise from the street below drifted in.
That was cool.
[Are you declining my offer?]
“Have you ever smiled while thinking about the past? Do you know what it means to reminisce? No, you don’t know. You can’t even understand it.”
[…you even reverted to the bad part of being human.] 𝒻𝓇𝘦𝘦𝘸𝘦𝘣𝘯𝑜𝓋𝘦𝑙.𝒸𝑜𝓂
The Demon God muttered.
[That’s truly a disappointing answer. If that is your conclusion then I have nothing more to say. I have no choice but to proceed as planned.]
The Demon God stretched out his hand.
With just that simple gesture, Lukas’ expression became filled with a deep sense of crisis.
…Fight the Demon God.
He’d probably have to risk his life. He wasn’t sure he could win even if he poured out all the void he had stored, but he couldn’t do that.
Lukas still had work to do. He still had a role to play.
[Are you going to fight while preserving your strength? Against the Demon King that has been possessed by the Demon God?]
[That is reckless. Even ten lives won’t be enough.]
‘I know that too.’
[…why don’t you ask me about my offer?]
Lukas let out a laugh at the Lightning God’s words.
‘In this current situation? Quit it. It won’t be enough even if I use all of my concentration.’
[That’s right too… This is a separate offer, but I have a great way to break out of this situation. Do you want to hear it?]
‘Are you going to suggest I use your power again?’
[Will you refuse this time too?]
He didn’t feel as much resistance to it as when the Lightning God had first offered it.
‘Wouldn’t that make you completely hostile to the Demon God?’
[That’s another disgusting misunderstanding I sometimes hear. We were never on the same side in the first place.]
Before answering, just as Lukas hesitated…
Dark red thorns shot out of the Demon God’s body. Lukas didn’t hesitate and immediately roused the void.
Or at least he would have had it not been for a sword falling from the sky.
The dark red thorns shot by the Demon God were severed.
Lukas looked down at the sword stuck in the ground. It was a familiar sword.
Not long after, someone made a soft landing in front of him. Lukas looked at the back of a man that was dripping with blood.
Yang In-hyun straightened his bent back… He was fatally injured. Let alone standing on two feet, it was amazing that he was still alive with such serious injuries.
“Cool answer, Lukas.”
But the voice was clear.
Pulling his sword out of the ground, Yang In-hyun took a stance.
“I lost consciousness for a bit. It’s my mistake for letting this guy come here.”
“I won’t let him go twice, so go. To where you need to be.”
“…are you going to fight with that body?”
Yang In-hyun smiled at that.
“Are you worrying about my fight? As I said before, that’s crossing the line.”
Lukas smiled at those words.
“I have something to tell you about Lee Jong-hak.”
It was out of the blue.
Even when Yang In-hyun gave him a strange glance, Lukas continued without a care.
“It’s something that would help if that man became your disciple. You could call it advice.”
“…why at this time?”
“Naturally, I don’t have any intention of talking about it now. I’ll tell you later.”
At that, Yang In-hyun’s mouth fell open slightly, then he burst into laughter.
“Right. Then I’ll listen to it, later.”
The conversation ended.
Lukas just left like that.
[This is a new feeling.]
The Demon God’s voice was gloomy.
[So this is what it’s like to be ignored. It’s certainly new, but not pleasant.]
Crack crack crack!
Hundreds of thorns attacked Lukas, who was about to leave. But Lukas didn’t even look back at them.
This was because the thorns were cut off before they could reach him.
Yang In-hyun brushed torn fragments off of his blade.
“My body feels light. It seems I bled too much. No. That’s not it… Now that I think about it. I haven’t risked my life in a fight in a long time, so maybe I’ve grown a bit from fighting.”
[How are you alive?]
“You can’t kill me with something like a thorn.”
“Since my opponent is a Ruler, I should also come up with a suitable means.”
Smiling, Yang In-hyun said.
“Let me show you. Everlasting Plum Sword Final Form(最後招式).”