After hearing the news from the orc, Airn Pareira came down from the mountain at a fast pace and, without delay, headed to the garden where Gurgar’s tomb was located.
In his mind, he just wanted to run all the way there with all his might, but rather than that, he was inclined to think that he needed to calm his complicated mind.
What were his feelings right now?
Or even Longing?
He didn't know. It wasn't something that he could describe in one word.
Phew, he paused for a moment to catch his breath before moving on.
There were many people behind him.
First of all, Lulu, and then Judith, Bratt Lloyd, and Ilya Lindsay.
They were the people who understood Airn’s heart the most, and were deeply interested in Airn’s past life, if not, maybe even more than Airn too.
However, Karakum was different.
He didn’t know about Airn Pareira. There was no prior relationship he had with Airn.
He planned to teach the Five Spirit Divine technique to Airn, but except for that, all he did was cross swords with Airn once.
He didn’t even know much about Airn in his present life, so was there any reason for him to know about the previous life?
Curious about it, Gorha asked Karakum why he was following the young human?
After thinking for a moment, Karakum opened his mouth.
“It’s a feeling you know? The feeling an old man feels when we see talented and young ones.”
As we get older, the number of walls and inhibitions around people increases, and as they overcome them, it is always exhausting.
Right now, Karkaum was still active, but nevertheless, there were times when he wanted to act reckless and impulsive, like when he was a young person.
And that was the reason Karakum was going with Airn.
And thinking that, he said.
“Even though it was a surprisingly fast growth… I don’t see the end. I just can’t take my eyes off him. If I did, I don’t think I would be able to watch the beautiful flower bloom.”
“… are you saying that he will grow in here even further?”
“I don’t know. But it will be fun to watch.”
“Aren't you here for the same reason?”
Gorha couldn’t refute and nodded.
The conversation ended there. The two old orcs and Airn climbed the mountain.
It took quite a while, but since everyone was feeling anxious, the destination quickly revealed itself in an instant.
Unlike the first time, Gurgar was dressed very neatly.
“Hey, you came.”
“… can you really drink?”
“It is fine, fine. Since I am a spirit I can't even get drunk.”
“Why drink when you can’t get drunk?”
“Why do you think so? It is for the taste.”
“Please do not joke with me Master Gurgar.”
“There is no reason for someone to drink. You drink alcohol because you want to.”
Judith was speechless, and Kuvar rolled his eyes.
“Teacher, stop it now. Everyone is here.”
“Huhu, I get it. The Chief and Gorha. I am sorry, but only Airn and his companions can come in.”
“I am no longer the chief.”
“Ah, sorry. It has been a while since I left the world, so my memories are hazy.”
He bowed politely.
Karakum and Gorha, who were greeted, quickly stayed back and followed the instructions of Gurgar, and Airn, with the rest of his companions, entered the tent.
An amazing sight unfolded in front of their eyes.
The tent they entered wasn’t some small space. It was as if it was a portal to another world, and a completely different landscape greeted the group as they went in.
A big city.
It had a bit of an unsophisticated feel compared to today's world, but it was definitely an urban city.
Everyone couldn't keep their mouths shut at the vivid sight, and even the faces of people entering and leaving a castle gate could be seen.
“Huhu, stop worrying about it and calm down. It is absurd that I appeared as a spirit after I died, right? What could be more surprising than that?”
Gurgar watched everyone’s reaction, and guided Airn and the others to their seats.
There were five chairs; their upper part was reclined; it was a piece of furniture that was somewhat a cross between a chair and a bed.
On the far right was a small basket.
Lulu, who sensed that it was her place, moved and sat inside the basket.
Starting with her, Airn, Ilya, Judith, Bratt, and Kuvar began to sit in their reclined chairs.
Gurgar, who saw that everyone was seated, spoke.
“After a while, we will meet the man who has been messing with our Airn Pareira for a long time. As everyone must have realized now, his true identity is Airn's past life, and he had been wielding a sword for decades for an unknown reason. He did that till his death.”
“Well…I already know why. But I cannot explain it right now. And instead of doing that, I chose this cumbersome way because I thought that this man’s life and his experiences will be helpful to you. Of course, it is for the others too, and the others are here because you are Airn’s precious friends. Airn...”
“Do you feel uncomfortable or burdened by the fact that the people here will know about your past life?”
“No…nothing like that.”
“Then now I will ask you people. Just as much as showing ourselves to others is hard, looking in depth into others is also quite burdensome. No matter what Airn Pareira’s past life is, are you confident that you will continue to hold the relationship with Airn Pareira the same way as now?”
At the end of Ilya Lindsay’s answer, silence fell.
Gurgar nodded with a happy face and spoke to those who were looking at him.
“Good. Then I think everything is ready. Let’s start.”
“By the way, what do we do now? All we are doing is sitt….”
Judith was unable to speak till the end as her body dropped back onto the headrest, as if she had fainted.
And it wasn’t just her.
Bratt, Kuvar, Lulu, Ilya and even Airn too. Everyone fell into a deep sleep.
A deep and dark, but not a sweet sleep.
All of a sudden, they were in the dreams of the man.
A blinding headache. Unknowingly, my expression distorted at the pain I was feeling in my skull, which felt like someone was hitting it with a hammer.
One of the knights approached me and asked as I groaned.
“Are you alright?”
They weren’t just empty words.
I was really okay. The pain I felt earlier was suddenly no more, and my vision became clear.
What was that? That pain…
“… that is fortunate. Even if you weren’t alright, we will still have to go through this.”
The knight who received my gaze bowed his head as if saying he was sorry.
I understood him.
This situation was very uncomfortable and burdensome to be in.
I nodded and looked away from him.
As I walked into a wider room, the figures of those who filled the room entered my field of vision.
They were all my loyal servants.
They were my knights who were more reliable than any other.
They were my most capable servants.
Although not my family, they were all precious beings who played a huge role in my life.
And now, all of them were uniting and calling for me to resign.
This wasn’t the result I was hoping for.
However, it wasn’t as if I couldn’t understand their decision.
At least seeing the guilt in their eyes was comforting.
Of course, I didn’t think that they would change their decision just because they were feeling guilty.
I pondered for a long time, asking myself whether I should shout, cry or hang myself or if there was a better way…
“… please leave.”
In the end, I had no choice but to nod my head at their words.
No one followed me as I left the room with a deep sigh.
I thought it was rather fortunate, and then I smiled.
I was grateful that no one backstabbed me, but the anger still pounded on my chest.
There was something inside that kept eating away at me. Most of my emotions were bottled up, but some still found their way out of the closed bottle.
Regardless of that, I left the residence.
The street was quiet, but it wasn’t like there were no people, and some of them even recognized me.
No, they couldn’t call me Lord. I was no longer a Lord.
Gradually, villagers flocked to me and began to swear at me.
“You crazy bastard!”
“You want to fight the devil? Go there and just hand yourself to them!”
“You are just being used by the devil! You must be a demon!”
“Die! Just die!”
“You! What are you all talking about! Our Lord isn’t like that!”
“Are you still spouting that bullshit? Rumors said that this bastard was gathering troops to go into the devil’s territory, and the rumors even spread to the other estates too, still you’re…”
“There is no way that’s true! They are all rumors, stop with that!”
“Rumors my ass! He needs to die! Either that or we throw him out!”
“It is clear that he intends to fill his own stomach and that he would not even hesitate to sell us all the devil including himself!”
Evilness, anger, and profanities were pouring on me with each step I took.
I deserved it, so I accepted it.
I was able to bear the sound of them telling me I would sell myself to the devil and even that I would give away the people to the devils.
I passed through the village with the poison within me growing little by little and finally reached the estate gates.
A middle-aged man with shaking hands placed an axe on my neck, and asked me with teary eyes.
“Please say it, my Lord! What they are saying, is it true? That you tried to gather the troops and enter the devil’s territory?”
“If it isn’t, just let me know! Even now, it isn’t too late. I will go gather the people who spread the false rumors and slash their throats. If there is a reason, tell me. Despite me being a dirty hunter, I still have the purest ears. But….”
If the rumors spreading were true, then give up the thoughts that you have of living.
The hunter didn’t have to finish his words, and all the villagers looked at me.
I had no intention of telling the truth.
Already to my knights, vassals, and servants. I’ve been through it 3 painful times.
It didn’t matter if people understood or not. It was a fact that I could no longer stay in my own estate.
But I couldn’t speak out.
If I did, then the hunter’s axe would come for my throat, and I would turn into a mockery of the devil.
I didn’t want that.
I forced myself to breathe and cleared my blurred vision due to the tears running down my eyes, and I spoke to convince one other person.
“Two months ago, a devil with a clown mask came to me.”
“And then said. Either my wife or son, that it would spare only one of them.”
The air around turned heavy at my words.
Of course, the story must have gone out, because there was no one who didn’t know of the devil in the clown mask.
I too, thought that I was dreaming of the appearance of this great devil which was strong and dangerous enough to subdue everything in the nation.
However, it was real, and the proposal wasn’t a dream or a lie.
So, I continued to speak.
“Just looking at that monster made my breath go still, but still, I had to speak. It was because I couldn’t choose. Who could make a decision about leaving their beloved wife or son? I questioned why I should listen to his ridiculing offer, and he wasn't offended, thankfully. He took out a crystal ball and showed me something.”
“… what do you mean?”
“A horde of monsters rushing towards the province.”
“And… he said. If I accept his offer... If I decide to choose either my wife or son, he promised to block the invasion of the demons and demonic monsters for 50 years. Now, let’s ask this question.”
Who should I have chosen? My wife or my only son?
The moment I said that, the air around me turned heavy.
No one dared to speak.
The hunter, and the angry people, who were all enraged, now held their breath.
Looking at them, I smiled.
I could still remember what happened at that time.
No matter what I chose, my life would become a living hell. I remembered the devil’s eyes looking down at me from the mask, and my wife, who couldn't handle me being indecisive, put a knife through her chest to help me, and that made the devil in the clown mask laugh…
But that wasn’t the end.
After taking a pause, I confided the story to the residents.
“The devil said that what my wife did was a suicide and that it was not my choice…. So, I had to choose again.”
“And like that I lost both my wife and son that night. And… the estate was guaranteed safety for 50 years.”
I closed my eyes as I said that.
Right. In exchange for making a terrible choice that I didn't want to think about, my estate was granted safety.
The cost of escaping from being destroyed by the demons, and 50 years of peace was sacrificing my family… It was sad, and I couldn’t bear it.
The fact that the hordes of demonic monsters were running to trample the estate were because of the words of the clown devil.
If only I knew that. That the beginning and the end of that hell was all for the sake of that monster’s entertainment.
“Haa, haha… haaa…”
My heart ached, and I forced myself to breathe, knowing I was losing my control.
Even then, the suffering continued.
There was a change of the emotions I felt; from sadness to hate, and from hate to vengeance.
At first, his vassals were angry and were suffering along with me, but they couldn’t continue till the end.
They were worried I would go against the demon, blinded by my rage and revenge.
Eventually, they drove me out of my home.
Perhaps, the same was true for his people.
Unlike me, who had lost everything, they still had a lot to lose.
I pushed away from the hunter’s axe and said.
“I have and never will ask for anyone’s help. It must be scary for all of you. Unlike me, who has lost everything, at least I have granted you safety. You don’t have to take any more risks. However…”
“Please don’t stand in my way.”
That was the end.
With those words, I left the estate, and the people didn’t follow me.
A quiet and bitter farewell, but this time I was relieved that no one was chasing after me.
However, it wasn’t like no one came for me.
A clown popped out of the shadows.
-Woah, so bad! Those people are so rude. Don’t you think so?
-Knowing well why you did it. In times of famine, you provided grain, and you worked day and night to solve the problems of the people, and that was for every single person too… to betray such a devoted person. They are such bad people.
-So, by the way. There is a new offer. Make a contract with me? How is it? Okay? You want to kill them. Just bully those bad people. If they lose their wife and kids, they will understand what you went through, right?
-As you know, the only things I said I would stop are the demons and demonic monsters. If you make a contract with me and turn into a demon, you can slaughter them all. You can do whatever you want to! How is that? Doesn’t it sound good? Okay? Is it not okay…?
As I walked along, I quietly closed my eyes.
I remembered the servants who greeted me with warm smiles.
The faces of my sincere vassals, the scenes of my reliable knights training, and the appearance of my butler who bowed his head.
And now, all of those faces seemed disgusting to me.
Everything was disgusting.
However, the voice of the devil inside my ear was even more disgusting.
-No? Well, I can't help it. I live at the southern mountain range's edge, so come visit me whenever you want. See you next time.
The devil’s voice faded away. But I wasn’t sure if he had left.
Maybe he was looking at me from somewhere and was smirking.
No, he was certainly sneering while looking down on me.
I opened my eyes and vowed to go in that direction.
I am not a swordsman nor a Lord.
All I am, was alone.
Inevitably, I will develop my strength and visit the southern mountain range.
And I had to do it before the burning fire in my heart went out.
… And like that, 3 years passed.
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