The Abyss in his eyes is as meaningless as a dark moon.
He sings despair, his voice as chilling as Death.
A cruel man who excludes everything else and sees only himself.
Who has let loose this terrible monster incapable of emotion and pain?
The young mage's already pale face turned paler, its bluish tinge creating a horrific contrast with the blood spattered on it.
This was the fifth time. Even the dumbest person in the world would know something was wrong by now.
He thought he came across a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when he was first asked to sing for the world's first Warlock. So, he belted out and daringly met his dark eyes.
He shouldn't have.
"I said, again."
"I'm sorry. P-please forgive me!"
He confessed the truth in a trembling voice, on the verge of tears. Disappointment flashed across the otherwise expressionless face of Sarpoza.
"Why does everyone ask me to forgive them?"
His dark eyes moved. He came where the young mage's head was on the floor and stopped, his last step sounding as sharp as a knife. The surrounding executives of Kashipa bated their breath as they watched their leader's movement.
"'In his voice as chilling as Death,' huh. Is that what you think? That I remind people of Death?"
"Oh, no. It's not—"
Desperate to save himself, he spilled out words that didn't make sense even to himself.
"I-I'm not afraid of Death. I'm afraid of you, Sir Sarpoza. P-people even say that the only ones not afraid of you are the dead. B-but now that I've met you in person, I-I think even the dead would be afraid of you."
"Even the dead?"
"Y-yes, sir! Even the dead—No, even Death itself would be afraid of you!"
Suddenly a light flickered in Sarpoza's dark eyes, but the expression on his marble-like face was unreadable. Doghead, who was standing behind him, smoking from a pipe, chuckled.
"Ho ho ho. You're a smart one. Boss, can I keep him? I've got a few spare leashes."
Sarpoza silenced everyone with this single word and lifted a hand.
"I'm going to keep him."
What happened afterward happened too quickly for everyone to remember.
The boy who curled himself up in an effort to escape from the deathly shadow disappeared without a trace. Even the Kashipa executives who were confident in their fighting skills fell and rolled around like empty cans in the face of the overwhelming power that was nothing like anything they'd experienced before.
Dark-eyed Sarpoza was the only one standing, and he was quietly looking down at his chest.
"The Doctor said he's a hero who even killed Apostles."
Doghead, who had approached her leader at some point, straightened his clothes and whispered,
"In their world, even stabbing a man in his sleep is considered a heroic feat."
"I want to see his face."
"As you wish."
Having understood her leader's intention, Doghead produced a spear and drew a circle. The wave of her mana spread, and she disappeared along with the other Kashipa members that had filled the space.
In the empty, silent room, a throne stood alone in the dark, waiting for a new owner.
I've never felt this great before.
The moment the immense energy engulfed my Abyss,
the gaping wounds on my body closed up, and the blood I had spilled was replenished.
My head feels as if it's boiling from the inside, and it feels amazing!
I've never felt so powerful, exhilarated, or ecstatic!
With this power, I don't have to hide anymore.
Not from the Half-breed in the gold helm that disemboweled me with its spear.
Not from Niu who keeps showing up at the worst possible times.
And definitely not from that adventurer who put me in this predicament!
Just a little longer...
Wait for me just a little longer.
Once I absorb all this energy through my Abyss,
I'll come to you, and chomp down on your necks.
Another of my kind blew up into bloody pieces before my eyes. The noise almost shattered my eardrums, which were already ringing from the previous explosions.
The violent earthquake forced me to my knees, but I widened my eyes, trying to find him behind the cloud of dust.
"Are these the best you've got? How disappointing!"
I pricked my ears at that low voice. It had a hint of laughter in it. I was right.
I didn't believe such a major player like the Dark Eyes would roll up his sleeves, simply to catch a runaway Half-breed.
He just liked the hunt, followed by gouging intact eyeballs out of his victims and looking at them in a glass jar from the side where the light entered.
I mustered up the last ounce of mana left in me and concentrated it in front of my hands. It jerked forward, missing his face by a hair's breadth, its force pushing me backward onto the ground.
But it worked. I heard him approaching. The hand that violently grabbed my hair sent a jolt through my neck.
"A Half-breed capable of magic, huh?"
"...I'll be useful to you."
I looked into the dark Abyss that was his eyes and saw the reflection of my face in it, stretched into a big grin, showing bloody teeth. Sarpoza threw me onto the ground and turned, walking away.
I could tell he liked me.
"Sir Doghead, Sniff Kei... He's been found."
A puff of smoke dispersed, revealing the reality before me. With the lanky, stupid-looking flunky standing in the middle of it, my office looked more unorganized and shabbier than it already did.
"You mean, he's dead."
"I don't need to hear that name anymore."
I've failed the Boss. I told him I'd be useful. I drew a long breath of smoke one last time to repel the surging memories of the past.
Since I don't have a good weapon to give him, I'll become it myself.
"Let's go to the Doctor. I want to get a gift for the Boss."
That fool didn't stand a chance.
His body that went haywire grew cold as soon as it hit the ground, and his powerful Abyss was extinguished just as quickly.
I should have devoured his body when I had the chance. Then, I'd never be in this miserable state!
I got to tear his skin and drink his blood dozens of times a day, and I wasn't in a hurry to get what I wanted.
I thought that with him, it'd happen eventually... I was wrong.
Everything had gone wrong. I might lay abandoned again, waiting for another millennium.
But then, it grabbed me along with his body.
This creature that looked too strange and dark to be a human
mercilessly stabbed me into where his Abyss was, exposing me to its energy.
The overwhelmingly powerful energy surged into me.
It was thick and filling, and nothing like the blood that I drank from him!
"Drink it all, Bachira. This is what you've wanted, isn't it? Hah hah!"
The creature was right.
This would do.
Now, I can devour his body and create a new body out of it,
like I've always wanted!
Having barely escaped, Sisley was angry.
She'd lost the precious results of her research that took her a long time.
She spent countless hours hiding in a corner
to create what she thought were the ultimate results.
But her happiness didn't last long.
In the Bronx where she didn't want to go, she met him and he burned her work!
I can't stop now. I must not stop now.
I broke the rules for the ultimate truth.
For that, I even sacrificed everything—even myself!
If I stop now, my life will have been wasted.
This time, I must create something flawless.
I'll break even the greatest taboo to discover greater truths.
I'll need so many things to do that.
First... Yes, I need that thing that got away.
Children, let's go. It's time to retrieve the "material."
Whee, whee, ho! Whee, ho! Whee, whee, ho!
Don't worry about failing. Don't let the clattering stop.
Shall we modify the prim cat? Let's hang the big snowman!
Stick a knife into the blazing pumpkin, and sew up the shiny worm.
Don't be afraid. We've done this before. Everyone, join, say goodbye to our foes!
Whee, whee, ho! Whee, ho! Whee, whee, ho!
- Sisley's humming
"Tagor won it. It's Tagor's."
"Why not? Tagor is right. Listen to Tagor, or she'll kill you."
"Tagor will kill you, kill you, kill yooouuu!"
Her shouts are swallowed up by the darkness, and her remaining conscious is driven by murderous anger.
Tumorous masses of greed, shame, jealousy, and contempt deprive her of her senses,
forcing her to rely on the unfamiliar sound of metal scratching against metal.
It shines. It sparkles. It's cold, pointy, and very hard.
The girl, who's embraced everything she's desired, opens her eyes, her body clothed in a white dress.
He was utterly defeated.
His body was destroyed, and his Abyss was losing its power.
He was angry, but he couldn't do anything about it.
He was sad, but he couldn't do anything about that, either.
He couldn't even swallow his pain.
He'd lost the faces that showed emotions, and was left with his own stiffened face.
"Heh heh heh. Here's a good material. It's too good to go to waste. It really is."
A strange old man approached him.
He tried to reach for the old man's face, but his body wouldn't budge.
"Nuh-huh, not my face. I'll give you a different face. You'll love it. Heh heh."
That was the last thing Bernado heard before he lost consciousness.
By the time he woke up, the work was all done.
The faces he'd lost were back, along with a new one.
And the power that ran through his body!
Maybe this new power could help him get revenge on the enemy who made him like this.
His body had been changed, but he didn't care.
"I could always fill it with faces again..."
"I've heard you're constructing a weapon."
There was no response from the small hunched man sitting in the dark corner of the lab.
Reminding himself that the success of his plan depended on this slave, Wordsworth loosened his fist.
"I need a piece of armor to control the power of the Abyss—"
"Keh heh heh!"
The slave, who had been busily moving his hands without looking back, coughed out a cackling laugh. His usually haggard face had become all the more unsightly in the last few days.
"Funny. Usually, people ask me to reinforce their Abysses. I can't help but wonder why you're asking this—"
Wordsworth's patience ran out. With a loud crack, the chunk of metal that the slave had been fumbling with was crushed by the fist that he swung.
"You'd better remember your place, or it'll be your head that will be crushed the next time."
"Keh... Keh heh heh! Very well! I'll make you armor fit for a warrior. I'd love to see how many heads you can crush with its power. Keh heh heh!"
The slave threw his head back, cackling. Looking down at his face, Wordsworth repeated his plan in his head.
I'll accept the Abyss, but I'll continue to fight as a warrior... for the Boss. For the prophesied day.
I'm still in pain. My hands feel as if they're on fire.
"Uh-oh. This is bad—real bad! I told you not to let your guard down, didn't I? Keh heh heh."
Shut up, crazy geezer, or I'm going to break your neck!
"Your Abyss is losing its power. It's a miracle that it's lasted this long."
So, do something about it! Urgggh...
"You're in so much pain that you can't even speak. Keh heh, alright. Your eyes tell me all I need to know."
Ugh... I'm losing... strength... I'm...
"No, you can't die just yet. I'll give you something good. It'll save you. You may not be as strong as before, though."
I don't care. Just give it... to me...
"Well, doesn't matter, does it? Here, take these gauntlets. They're one of my masterpieces. Keh heh heh!"
This was totally unexpected. She was right: it really exists!
Some say that some things that can't be explained by science don't exist. They're wrong.
Take a look at this world of the Apostles and otherworldly beings. And this wonderful source of abundant energy—the Abyss!
They exist, don't they? *Chuckle* Melvin would faint if he knew!
I don't care how great he is—I've discovered the Abyss first! I'm not going to let him steal it from me.
Now, what can I do with it? I'm getting all kinds of brilliant ideas!
I could improve the weapon I made out of a piece of Abyss.
Or I could make good use of the Kashipas who dragged me here.
They implant the Abyss in themselves to use its power. The idea alone is wonderfully insane! *Chuckle*
I could modify their bodies. They're dying, anyway, and modification is my area of expertise.
Oh, yes! I almost forgot about the amazing knowledge and materials I discovered inside the Castle of the Dead.
I also hear that the adventurer who destroyed Kartel is around here... *Chuckle*
The Dark Eyes is also bothered by this adventurer. Maybe I should show a little bit of gratitude to my temporary host.
Alright, let's get to work!
In the Mansion de Sarpoza in East Harlem in the depths of Harlem, there stands a strange tower.
Shaped like an inverted spire, it soars up toward the sky as if to challenge the gods.
No one knows what the owner of this place wants, but one thing's clear: one must reach the end of the spire and confront him.
Kashipa follows Omerta, a code of silence and a sacred ritual
performed to permanently shut up traitors of the organization.
The purple haze used in this ritual teaches the importance of silence to the unwanted guests coming its way.
In this ruined hall of knowledge and learning,
mysterious machines wander amidst the remnants of strange objects that are scattered everywhere, half-buried.
What's lurking inside this place? Something mysterious appears, casting a long, dark shadow.
This passage once existed for the sake of the lives of countless people.
Now, it's filled with the last bloody drops of their lives.
There's no hope in this place cursed by death.
One by one, beings that feed on death begin to approach.
The city has collapsed. The streets that were once straight and smooth have become warped and jagged.
In this ruined city where no refuge exists, a beast that never misses its prey lies in wait for intruders.
A new guest joins the secret place in East Harlem,
and he sticks out like a sore thumb in this place full of strange-looking humans.
Every day, he creates something with a mysterious smile on his face.
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