Episode 40

Clash, Sloth VS Patience
1 month ago
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Ku-gu-gu-gu-gu-gu.

The space trembled.

Between the windless cliffs, even the pebbles on the ground trembled from the intensity of the vibration.

It was undoubtedly the music coming from afar, radiating its influence on everyone present at this scene.

The demons consumed by desire were eager to rampage, while the humans, driven by the desire to live, felt their bodies stir with thoughts of fleeing this place.

Ku-gu-gu-gu-gu-gu.

Yet, no one moved, for even now, they couldn’t defy the overpowering presence of the one controlling this space.

Helkry.

Still, there was one who remained seated, watching this situation while resting his chin on his fist.

“I don’t care.”

A lazy demon who dismissed such an attitude as bothersome.

The demon turned his attention to the human, who resisted with determination.

The human, driven by sheer determination to overcome the demon Sloth, felt so bothered that it became a matter of life and death.

Phwoosh!

Such determination erupted with terrifying force from the ground, propelling his body forward like a phantom.

A ruthless charge with no consideration for aiming or changing direction.

Kwaaaah!!

The fierce attack pierced the cliff and caused cracks on the surface, but there was no sign of crushed flesh or blood.

The attack missed.

The target, unaware of my attack, stood there, unaffected.

Kwak!

Then, a second time, and if that didn’t work, a hundred times or more.

Kwakang! Kwakang!

In the merciless turmoil raging between the cliffs, the human’s breath hardened in an instant, not even considering the option of leaving.

“This lunatic…!”

“Being crazy is bothersome too.”

Just passing by caused such a fierce shockwave that his clothes were torn apart.

Sloth, who had been gradually closing in with such chaos, collided with a boulder that collapsed in front of me.

“Fighting and talking, it’s all too bothersome…!”

Debris scattered in all directions.

Rushing toward the human, who stood still in the midst of the scattered debris, Sloth’s charge began to intensify, with the debris flying even faster.

However, in the process, a ‘twang!’ sound accompanied a sudden stop, and the view began to blur.

When he realized the shiver running through his body, Sloth’s gaze reflexively turned to the spot he had just passed.

There, he saw a spear deeply embedded in the ground.

It was the result of someone who had failed to read its movement and had only roughly predicted its trajectory to set a trap in advance.

Kwadeuk!!

Taking advantage of his slowed speed, the man who summoned the spear struck wildly, causing blood to burst from various parts of his body.

There was no armor to protect his body.

With his sole advantage of speed now cut off, each precise attack targeting him was sufficiently threatening.

“Ah, aaaaaaaaaa!”

Yet, Sloth did not stop.

With the spear lodged in his shoulder, he took a step forward, closing the distance, preparing to release the magic gathered in his mouth.

“This damn…”

Kwaang!

A red beam shot forth, spreading with the intensity to melt everything in front of it.

Although he barely avoided the attack, the distance had widened too much due to excessive caution.

“Annoying, it’s all so annoying!!”

A series of waves emitted from his mouth, accompanied by a scream.

As the attack indiscriminately saturated the surroundings, he felt the gaze of someone constantly targeting him.

That gaze was extremely irritating.

Even attacks that he could normally endure felt exceedingly bothersome now.

He felt the music coming from afar exacerbate his sloth, even in this moment.

“Even striking in detail and aiming… it’s all so bothersome…”

The opponent would have also felt the thrill of the spreading power.

What would follow was an attack that relied on nothing but overwhelming power, devoid of any technique.

“Then, sweep everything awaaay!”

His body, moving quickly and even faster, eventually stopped, and he swung his fists.

Kwang!!

The attack, released at peak acceleration, swept through the air, causing cracks to form throughout the exposed front of the cliff.

“What the hell is that crazy bastard doing…?!”

“Everyone, run!”

At that moment, the spectators, wary of the cliff collapsing, hurriedly vacated their spots.

But their screams were of no concern to him.

Kwang!!

The only nuisance was that one man.

To kill him, he must exert a lot of effort.

Kwaang!! Kwaang!!

He leaped into the air and collided with the cliff.

And the force of the charge, sweeping away the top of the cliff, began to continuously create falling rocks.

Kwang!

That was not just on one wall but also on the opposite wall.

Continuing the leap in both directions, the indiscriminate rampage gradually expanded, narrowing the range for escape.

Rumble!

Even that was blocked by something like a stake being driven into the path he was taking, causing his body, having lost acceleration, to start falling to the ground.

Again, like before, a spear was thrust into his path, blocking his way.

Kwaang!!

But even that was a shallow trick that could be ignored.

Soon, his falling body moved, stepping on the surface of the cliff, and with that rebound, it fell to the ground.

His body, which was thrown down, did not stop falling and dug so deeply that it soon started to burrow into the ground.

And in that moment, he unleashed the remaining magic in his body.

Kwaang!

The pit carved out by the expanding magical power was filled, and soon everything above it began to surge upwards again with an intense explosion.

Everything that existed crumbled, and in the end, a catastrophic scene akin to a disaster was created with a huge pit under the valley.

In the end, the demon Sloth, emerging from the underground, raised himself and began to open his mouth towards the sky.

“Ah, aah…”

At this moment, for his intensifying desire, he poured out everything that he could.

With such power, the possibility of a human who relied solely on grit to survive would be virtually nil.

After all, the human body, unlike that of demons, was far too frail to withstand a disaster like this.

“Now, I can rest…”

Kwadeuk!!

But blood spurted from his mouth due to a spear thrust from behind, overturning such certainty.

As his trembling head turned backward, the sight of the human who had thrown the spear toward him became clearly visible.

“You…”

The lowered stratum and the messed-up foothold.

The person standing above was covered in dust, bruises, and blood, yet he was still alive.

With a trembling body, he was casting a venomous gaze towards him…

“Human, you…!!”

“Yeah, I’m human. You’re a stupid demon bastard!!”

The man rushed at him and tightly gripped the spear stuck in his back, exerting force.

Despite being inherently weaker than himself, he began to feel his feet pushed back by the violent assault.

“It seems you poured all your strength into ending the fight quickly. What now…? I’m also doing everything to survive.”

Yes, a large-scale barrage was only effective against an army.

It would become inefficient against an individual, as it was too wasteful, especially if they had the capacity to get out of its range.

Just as his sloth was amplified by the music, so too was his desire to live.

For him, who found a way to minimize damage through such a desire, he considered the reduced stamina of the demon as hope in itself.

“Even considering such things is bothersome, ah…”

But Sloth, not even considering such weaknesses, was why it was called Sloth.

Keuk!

Ignoring the spear thrust into his back, he swung his body around.

The force of it pulled out the spear, and he flew towards the opponent with an injured body.

“So, I don’t understand…”

A struggle for power ensued right before the spear.

Sloth, while gripping the spear, kicked and began to pour power with an overwhelming force to overpower the opponent.

“Even in such pain, why do you struggle so desperately?”

Crack, crack!

Just from the struggle, the joints of his whole body screamed, and he began to step back from the pain.

Yet, the venom in the gaze facing him did not disappear.

“What meaning is there in such a painful life? To struggle so desperately just to keep that pitiful life!”

“…What reason is there for struggling? After all, you’re just living because you can’t die.”

Even as his body broke, the energy to reduce his sloth, even the will to do so, was overwhelming.

“Is it worth clinging on and being so spiteful just to try and live a life, however meaningless it may be?!”

With that statement, he managed to push his body away and began to support his collapsing body by planting the spear into the ground.

Even though just breathing made him shudder, and standing alone was breaking his muscles and joints in real time, he did not give up.

“If you also… find living so bothersome, why don’t you just go somewhere and kill yourself? Why crawl here and cause a fuss?”

At that moment, hearing such spiteful screams, Sloth paused his charge and fell into thought.

Fighting, talking, even breathing—they were all bothersome.

If everything was truly bothersome as he said, perhaps the answer was just to end his life by his own hand.

Yet, why was he fighting this person, going against even the source of his own desire, following the orders of his leader?

“…I don’t know.”

“I don’t know my ass…!!”

“It’s too bothersome to even think about that!!!!”

There might have been a time.

There might be a reason that made him feel a sense of responsibility to carry out the orders of his leader, which he reluctantly followed at this moment.

Kwang!

But in the end, it was a story of the past.

Looking back at the past contradicts the source of desire that made him Sloth.

He just wanted to rest.

Such desire eventually erased even his reflection, turning the wrung-out energy into a force that drove him.

“You, as expected, are a hindrance… human!”

“So die! Don’t bother about the rest anymore, just to save that pathetic life of yours!!!”

Indiscriminate blows followed the spear that blocked him.

Sloth, having successfully pinned his body that endured to the wall, poured more strength to push away the spear he held in his two hands.

To press down on his throat with this spear and strangle him to death.

“…If you want to rest that badly, I’ll let you.”

But he, too, was at the end of his physical strength.

On his face, a faint hint of what could be called a victory was visible.

He noticed the reason when there was one step left until the power in his arms loosened.

Kwang!

Yes, something he had thrown before colliding with him crashed onto his head and shattered.

He thought it was not a fatal impact and could be ignored.

At least for now.

“So, don’t resist.”

Crack!

The liquid from the shattered glass bottle spread.

“Even if you endure, it will only be more bothersome for you.”

It was a potion for healing wounds.

As it penetrated beyond his skin into his blood vessels, it began to forcibly regenerate even his internal injuries by burning them.

“Ah, aah.”

Sloth.

At this moment, when his mind, shaken by the words he uttered, even forgot the source of his being.

“Argh, eugh!! Aaah…!!!”

The pain that crept in, like splitting cracks, formed on him and eventually disrupted even the force pushing his body.

“Keu…”

The same was true for his opponent, who was also under the influence of that painful phenomenon.

The one who aimed the tip of the spear in the gap where his body had fallen was also enveloped in pain, yet he still tried to endure it.

Overwhelming power, vitality, physical strength.

Against the demon that overpowered him in all aspects, with only the mental strength to surpass it.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!”

Thus, transforming the scream of pain into a battle cry, he pushed away the demon whose power to press him down had loosened.

And then he swung.

Kwak!

It was a situation where the one doing the stabbing was in more pain than the one being stabbed.

Yet, still screaming in agony, he relentlessly thrust the spear blade into his body.

“Now die, you monster bastard!!!”

The weapon responded to this fierce shout of will.

It set the stage for a finishing blow, driving the enemy with the released magical power.

Kwang!

Flesh and blood droplets exploded on his face.

The demon Sloth, realizing its defeat at the end, fell into thought while looking at the one approaching him.

‘For what, exactly…’

He couldn’t understand.

‘What is this human struggling so desperately for?’

If a fight of this magnitude left him in tatters, then his life after leaving this place would be full of nothing but pain.

Knowing that the end of enduring such pain was meaningless, the demon of sloth couldn’t understand the human’s desperation before him.

‘Yes, it’s all meaningless…’

The demon of sloth already knew that at the end of a fierce battle, there was always only meaninglessness waiting.

Remembering the empty look of the one he admired and followed, who achieved countless things he thought of as his future but felt nothing…

‘Everything is meaningless. Everything achieved in life.’

As he reflected on such a process, the frustration he had always suppressed began to unravel and fill his mind.

Like an entangled thread unraveling and swelling, yet with so many knots still left, it was overwhelming even to think about.

“Ah, living is…”

Yes, there was no need to think about anything anymore.

“Living is, having so much to think about, isn’t it?”

The powerless being even took comfort in that fact.

He felt his long-desired moment arrive and prepared to fall asleep with a joyful heart.

Kwaang!!!


His head, unable to withstand the impact of the spear, finally burst.

I finally had the time to expel the burden wrapped around my body.

Puakak!!

I was vomiting blood from internal injuries suffered in the fierce battle.

But now there were no potions left in my possession.

Others might still have some, but having already pushed my mental strength to the limit, using any more energy to recover might lead to shock and death.

“…I have won.”

“So I must move now.”

As I stepped forward, I was met by an orc waiting in that spot.

“Yes. You won. You won…!”

At that moment, facing him, I felt the tension that had been ongoing throughout the battle tighten once more.

Just because I won once doesn’t mean it’s over.

Because right now, the music coming from beyond was stirring the desires I held.

Ddiring♬

Merilyn Sutherland.

The connection I had with her might end if things continue like this.

“So move aside, right now…”

Therefore, at this moment, I impulsively aimed my spear at the one before me.

Who, just like me, was enveloped in the impulse brought about by the music playing now.

Toward a monstrous creature with a power incomparable to anything I had faced before.

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