“Congratulations, youngest. The temple has appointed you out as a sacrifice.”
“Oh, my! There is such a happy event in my house!”
“You’ve succeeded, Iwata!”
It was an era when death meant the gateway to paradise. The boy smiled widely as he looked around at his parents and siblings, who were rejoicing while shedding tears.
“Yes, I’m glad. Thank you.”
It was the first time since the boy was born that he had seen such a dinner. The bread and meat that his parents received from the temple were piled up on the table.
However, the boy couldn’t even touch the meat. It was because there was the possibility that he would ascend to heaven.
The boy’s father spoke to the boy, who was looking down gloomily at the pile of gra.s.s in the old wooden tableware set, “Iwata, you might be young, but you have acc.u.mulated a lot of merit. Didn’t you join the Reflection Group early on and serve the poor?”
“I, Iwata, also saved the little fox cubs who lost their mother two days ago.”
“Did you? It is great that you didn’t dismiss it lightly just because the other party is a beast. The G.o.ds of Asgard will surely make you an angel. You will become one of the young angels who play musical instruments and sing for the G.o.ds forever. That is why you should refrain from eating meat. The G.o.ds might be reluctant if you have yellow lumps in your body.”
“Uwah, it reminds me of Taitta. I cut open the swollen belly and it was full of yellow lumps. I thought there were no intestines the first time I saw it, right?”
“Considering the priests who performed the ritual frowned, I wonder if the smell was also bad. How can you sacrifice the sick as a living sacrifice… The temple made a rare mistake.”
“It wasn’t a mistake. They knew and proceeded with it? Taitta was also a priest. Maybe they wanted to give someone who served his whole life a chance to go to heaven.”
“That is true based on what I heard.”
“Thank you for the meal. I’ll be going!”
The boy often hated his father, who always nagged him, and his older brother, who supported his father. However, that wasn’t the case since yesterday. The fact that he was chosen as a living sacrifice made the boy a more positive person.
The boy, who ate all the bland vegetables before he knew it, jumped up from his seat and left the house immediately.
It was around this time last year—the boy was called to the Reflection Group because he was fast and strong. From then on, he had been busy every day.
Sadly, there were many elderly people in this city. He didn’t know if it was difficult, but according to the explanation of his superiors, it was a disease created by peace. They were people who missed the time to die due to the disappearance of war. The number of poor people who couldn’t go to paradise was increasing every day.
“I heard that the shoemaker auntie, Domiri, has the hair at the top of her head turning white.”
“Is that true? It is my first time serving someone I know.”
“How pitiful… we should hurry and find her before she goes mad and hides somewhere.”
The boy mingled among the young men holding clubs stained dark red with blood and went out to serve the people. The destination was the shoe store. The young men dragged out Auntie Domiri and beat her with all their might. The auntie’s young husband and daughters cheered in congratulations while the auntie screamed. She begged for help.
The boy felt it every time, but elderly people were really strange.
‘Why are they afraid of death?’
The gates to paradise would only open when they died. According to the priests who received the divine message: Most people would go to the paradise that Yatan created underground and would be freed from all the suffering they had experienced as humans. Additionally, some chosen ones would go to the paradise that Rebecca created in heaven in order to wors.h.i.+p the G.o.ds.
They could enjoy all types of carefree happiness, unlike life on the surface where they suffered from all types of pains.
Of course, they knew that they would have to endure pain to reach death. However, the pain was only fleeting. If they endured for a moment, they would enjoy eternal happiness. So why resist?
‘It is as the seniors said. They must be suffering from madness.’
The boy felt pity for Aunt Domiri, who was waving her hands and feet to stop the clubs. It would’ve been better to obediently expose her stomach and head, rather than wailing louder as her fingers were dislocated and her s.h.i.+n bones broke.??e??e??ov?l.c?m
“It is tough, tough. At times like this, I just want to stab with a knife.”
“Are you crazy? That isn’t a service.”
Unless it was a sacrifice, she had to be beaten to death in order to wash away her sins in life. It was only after being hit in the stomach until the intestines were crushed that there was a possibility of reflection and ascension to heaven. Even if the underground paradise was better than the surface, it would be worse than heaven. That was why it was done with clubs.
“Auntie Domiri, you have already reflected enough. There is no need to suffer any longer, so put away that rattling arm and show your head.”
“Spare me… spare me…”
“Huh? What nonsense is this? Did you immediately go crazy the moment the hair at the top of your head started turning white?”
“I… if I die already, who will take care of my children…? They will starve to death under their immature father, who gambles with the money used to buy bread…”
“What are you saying? I don’t know what you are worried about.”
“Domiri is possessed by a demon!”
“Hurry up and kill her before we are hated by the G.o.ds!”
The people who were watching the service of the Reflection Group in an enjoyable manner started shouting. The auntie’s young husband took the lead. Domiri’s daughters, who had been laughing and clapping, started turning red with anxiety when they saw the atmosphere become harsh.
In the end, the boy stepped up. He used a much stronger force than his seniors to press on the back of Domiri’s neck, overpowering her. Domiri begged the boy, “Please, Iwata… please…”
Red blood filled the boy’s vision. The boy, who was covered with the blood from Domiri’s broken head, finally relaxed his hardened face. He approached Domiri’s young daughters, who were about to cry, and patted them on the shoulder.
The girls also smiled widely.
That evening, the boy went to the temple. For the next month before the ceremony, the priests visited the temple every night and told him.
It was a white liquid. The priests explained to the boy, who was curiously looking at the liquid in the transparent gla.s.s bottle“It is a medicine that purifies the soul. If you take that medicine every night from today on, you will gradually be loved by the G.o.ds.”
“Your chances of ascending to heaven will increase!”
“Um, that’s right.”
The boy joyfully drank the medicine and felt his consciousness go dim. His heart fluttered and he burst out laughing for no reason. As his soul became clean, it seemed that happiness came along with it.
He suddenly felt doubts. It was because the skin of the priests who came closer after taking off their masks and clothes was wrinkled. How could a person’s body be like that? It was the first time he had seen it in his life. It looked a bit similar to Uncle Domotan’s forearm, which had been burned as a child, but it was too natural to be a wound.
‘The people chosen by the G.o.ds are different from ordinary people.’
In any case, it was good. The drugged boy smiled and fell into the arms of the priests. Thus, the priests visited the temple every night.
Then around two weeks later…
The boy’s expression crumpled in the midst of his drugged happiness. He was stroking the bald head of the priest, Gurada, when he felt a sense of beard-like roughness at the tip of his fingers. Then he looked closely and found that it was a white hair. It was thick and short, as if it had just grown, but it was clearly hair.
White hair—it was a symbol of an old person who missed the time to die.
“Ack! Iwata! What are you doing all of a sudden?”
“Of course, I am serving you.”
The drugged boy was out of his mind. He wasn’t clear about where he was and what he was doing now. He relied solely on his learned instincts. He picked up a silver candlestick and beat the priest’s wrinkled body mercilessly.
“This crazy guy…! Aaack!”
The priest, Gurada, also went crazy due to old age.
The boy felt sorry for the priest, who resisted by swinging a bottle. Even in the midst of his blurred consciousness, he decided that he needed to serve the other person as soon as possible. It wasn’t hard because the boy was very fast and powerful. He had delayed when serving Aunt Domiri because he entrusted most of the work to his seniors, but it was actually easy and quick on his own. He quickly turned Priest Gurada into a mess and killed him.
The other priests trembled. There were no soldiers who rushed over after hearing the commotion. The huge temple at night was still. It was because the priests sent away the soldiers every time the boy came to visit.
The boy finally noticed. The eyes of the priests, which were usually hidden under masks—their eyelashes were white when he looked at it closely in the candlelight. Their shaved eyebrows and hair were probably white as well.
“W-What are you going to do…?!” The priests screamed, but it was too late. The boy blocked the doorway and started his service. All the priests were beaten to death.
The world was in great turmoil the next day. It was because the knowledgeable people who examined the corpses of the priests referred to them as ‘very old people.’ The folds of their skin were like the rings of a tree trunk.
Many things started to change. People learned the truth that the priests who ruled the city were older than the elderly people and they questioned death. There were many voices that doubted paradise and the G.o.ds.
The boy was fine. He just needed medicine.
The prison where the boy was locked up was meaningless. The crude iron bars couldn’t withstand the boy’s grip, which was even more powerful than yesterday, and crumpled at once. The boy chuckled after killing the seniors from the Reflection Group who ran over after shouting something.
‘All the seniors will go to heaven, right?’
The boy went straight to the temple. He killed all the soldiers protecting the entrance and also killed those who were investigating inside. He was glad that his father was there as well. He felt like he was being properly filial.
After that, the boy searched for medicine. On the way, people kept coming and interfering for some reason, but it was enough to just kill them. He was happy enough to fly away when he found the medicine. The temple was larger than he thought. The history of the destruction of the ‘kingdom’ was recorded underground, but it wasn’t his business. It was important to find the medicine.
However, finding medicine became increasingly difficult. The visits from those interfering also became less frequent. Now the temple where the boy stayed alone was as calm as any night. Before he knew it, the boy became a young man.
“I’ve never seen a hero who saved the world become so corrupted.”
It was when he was just about to forget how to speak. The young man was so thin it was as if his bones only had skin attached, and he had only a faint thirst for medicine. Everything as a human being was too worn out to feel any excitement about the visitor who suddenly appeared.
“If you die like this, you will surely fall into h.e.l.l. You are destined to become Baal’s plaything and be used harshly.”
“Hero who saved the world from the deception of the demons of h.e.l.l and deceived the eyes of the G.o.ds. Ignorant sinner who destroyed the world he saved. The G.o.d Yatan that I know will surely have pity on you. I, his apostle, will take care of you.”
The old temple collapsed. The white bones of the humans killed by the young man in the distant past were weathered and blown away by the wind. The city, which had long been reduced to a huge ruin, started to be covered in bone dust like snow.
The young man who saved the world was a hero, but he was also a sinner who unintentionally destroyed the world. In many ways, he transcended humans and survived for hundreds of years without eating. He relied on a craving for medicine that didn’t mean anything.
“You resemble me. You are a remnant of an abhorrent past and have no place to belong.”
The Specter, who identified itself as an apostle of Yatan, insisted. If he died and fell to h.e.l.l, he would just sin again. The demons who took advantage of Yatan’s cycle and started to occupy h.e.l.l were very vicious. Therefore, they had to be vigilant and they couldn’t die.
“I will build a new world and you will live there.”
The young man was obsessed with what had sustained him. He reached out toward the visitor who was talking weirdly, but he couldn’t reach it. The Specter had already taken the young man’s heart. It used the power of an apostle to make the young man immortal. Then suddenly—
“Are you three people I will meet in the future?” the Specter looked at the ‘view’ of Grid’s group and asked a question. A chill went down the spines of Grid’s group as their consciousness returned to the present.
[You have learned the story of Iwata, the Thick, Curved, and Fierce Sword.]
[Iwata’s soul has been purified by the divinity of the Divine Wood Coffin and refuses to fall to h.e.l.l.]
[The Divine Wood Coffin has accepted Iwata’s soul.]
[Some of Iwata’s memories and abilities are absorbed into the Divine Wood Coffin.]
Iwata, the Thick, Curved, and Fierce Sword—Skunk’s breathing quickened after experiencing the memories of his life. In particular, the shock he experienced at the end was so great that his face turned blue and he started sweating.
‘It wasn’t caught in the review?’
Grid had a useless worry. He thought that the ancient sentiments and customs of the time when Iwata lived were very cruel.
‘Well, I don’t think a minor will end up watching this story.’
Grid had grown tens or hundreds of times faster than others. Even so, it wasn’t until nine years after he started Satisfy that he entered the No Offspring Tomb. It was practically impossible for a player who was still underage to have the same experience as him here.
“It was a story from the time when Baal showed signs of distorting h.e.l.l. Yatan’s apostle… in other words, should we consider it a good thing that the Specter jumped out and escaped h.e.l.l…?”
-From the perspective of humanity, it is correct to say that it is unconditionally fortunate. If the Specter had left the lost sinners to die rather than bringing them to the No Offspring Tomb, the power of h.e.l.l would be much stronger than it is now. In any case, it is definitely diligent. Didn’t it once wander around the world itself, collecting garbage and disciplining them?
A home to sinners with nowhere to go—the ident.i.ty of the No Offspring Tomb was revealed. However, there was no basis to trust the Specter.
What was the ultimate purpose of the Specter? Was Yatan really buried in the No Offspring Tomb?
There were still secrets to be revealed, so Grid’s party moved on.
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