Abyss was focused on fishing. He quietly said that he was also exhausted. Just like Abyss, Riley was holding onto a fishing rod. Puzzled by what Abyss had just said, Riley turned around to look at him.
“You are exhausted?”
Abyss flicked the fishing rod and said,
“You killed me, but isn’t that purely due to your abilities being exceptional? Despite having a feeble human being’s body, you still reached such height… I am astonished.”
In Abyss’s past life, Riley hadn’t just cornered him. In the end, Riley had made it so Abyss would meet his end by Riley’s sword. Reminiscing about the Brave Hero he had fought in his past life, Abyss shook his head and went to the main point.
“Anyway… It does not matter if you were the one who killed me or not. I just want to enjoy fishing with someone who can understand me. That’s all.”
In his eyes, it looked like Abyss really didn’t have any intention of fighting Riley. Also, unlike his past life, Abyss looked like he was not interested in killing humans either. The look on Riley’s face said that somehow he felt like he could understand Abyss. Riley mumbled,
“A Demon Lord is saying that he is exhausted and wants to go fishing with the Brave Hero? If the demon bastards that I had cut down in my past life heard what you have been saying, I think they would faint from the shock.”
Abyss was watching the waterline on the lake. He had a hollow laughter.
“Haha. I’m sure they would.”
“You told Andal ‘the oldest friend.’ What was that about?”
“I referred to you as such because I thought we had become close in a way. In our past life, at the very end, we became pretty close, didn’t we?”
“What a load of bullcrap…”
“Haha. It turns out there is a saying like this among the humans. Becoming friends after a fight…”
“The so-called friendship of the humans… I heard that it is something that grows bigger and stronger through bickering… Am I wrong?”
Abyss saw that Riley’s face was crumpling. He glanced at Riley’s face and asked carefully if what he was saying was incorrect. Riley’s face looked like he was getting a headache. Riley was massaging the temples of his head.
“You used to be a demon. Now you became a human. Did your insides change too? If this was your past life, you would have never said such things.”
“I am not sure? It could be that I’ve changed. Perhaps I didn’t change. Still…I think I have not changed much. Instead of me, you have changed a lot.”
Abyss snickered and said Riley was the one who had changed more. Having heard Abyss, Riley thought about the conversation he had when he had been fighting the Demon Lord in his past life.
‘Oh… A Demon Lord is showing concern for the Brave Hero? Oh my, this is ridiculous. The fact that a Demon Lord is kinder than the Priestess… I wonder who should I bring this up to?’
‘Did you say I am kind?’
‘Ahah… If I knew about this sooner, I would have sided with you instead. Nobody would have tried to trip me off. I wouldn’t have had to be concerned about people’s gazes either.’
‘In that case, why don’t you side with me now?’
It was not exactly just before Riley’s death. The conversation had taken place just before his battle against the Demon Lord. Thinking about the conversation, Riley had a bitter look on his face. He started to laugh but it was hollow.
“In the past, you were the Brave Hero who could not go a day without swinging his sword. Now, I have been hearing that you are living in a Count’s Family and demonstrating the pinnacle of laziness. Honestly… it was hard to believe.”
Having heard Abyss, Riley thought about his second life in this world, starting from the moment of his reincarnation and up to this very moment. The look on Riley’s face seemed to be saying that what Abyss had said was plausible. Riley showed a hollow look on his face.
“Now that you mention it, that’s true. Compared to you… perhaps I have changed more.”
Abyss was looking at Riley’s face from the side. Abyss twisted the tip of his lips, smiling. He then explained his impression of Riley.
“Compared to the past, you seem to be comfortable.”
“I’m saying you look well in comparison to your past life.”
It seemed the fishes were biting. Straining his eyes, Abyss pulled the fishing rod. He saw a tiny fish hanging on the hook. Disappointed, he clicked his tongue.
“Hm. It is small.”
Abyss saw the tiny fish that was struggling in the air while hanging from the hook. With just his gaze, Abyss freed the fish from a distance and released it into the water.
The tiny fish looked as if it had been grabbed by something invisible. It was pulled from the hook, released, and floated in the air. It was set free and returned to the lake.
“You are letting it live?”
“I learned to save the little ones.”
Changing his mind… Riley also thought that Demon Lord had changed a lot in comparison to their past life. He casually asked where Abyss had learned this.
“I learned it from you.”
Riley thought Abyss was going to babble on about the order of nature or what not. Instead, Abyss said he learned it from Riley. Riley was not expecting this. He put a question mark on his face.
“So, I have been staying with the children of Ansyrium who were left behind. With your senses, I’m sure you would have noticed them along the way… By any chance… did you not see them?”
Riley had seen the children with ragged appearances who were peeking out of a ruined building. Riley said,
“I did see them.”
“They are the children I’m talking about. After this city named Ansyrium was destroyed by Epidemic, the humans called adults abandoned them… They are the children who have nothing left.”
Abyss checked the fishing hook. He then started fishing again. Abyss started to explain about the children who were left behind.
“I’m staying with the children. Regardless of who I am inside, still, my exterior is similar to these children. Perhaps it would be correct to say I have been protecting them. On a side note, Epidemic, the child of lizards had been looking for, is one of those children.”
With a look of disbelief, Riley stared at Abyss. However, it seemed that Abyss did not really mind it. He continued.
“Although my decision started with seeing Epidemic struggling to not harm the children, fundamentally, the thought of wanting to help these children occurred to me because of you. In the past life, I had seen you desperately trying to save children.”
A Demon Lord was?
A Demon Lord protecting human children?
As if that was not ridiculous enough, he was actually living with them?
“Enough with your ridiculous jokes.”
With a cold gaze, Riley looked at Abyss. Riley demanded that Abyss should cut the lies and tell him the truth.
“Do you realize who was the one that toyed with the lives of those innocent children who knew nothing… After all this time, what are you saying? Protecting children and living with them?”
In his past life, the children who had been tempted by the demon… came back as monsters that killed humans. They were shedding tears of blood. Riley remembered this. It made Riley tighten his grip.
‘Mister… I have a favor to ask. Can I please ask you this one thing?’
‘I am sorry, but a request from a monster…’
‘We are not monsters.’
‘Mister, we are not monsters, really.’
‘Hk… Mommy… I want to see mommy.’
‘Mister. It hurts so much. We are in pain.’
Riley was fond of children. He was kind to children. He was like this because of the children from his past. The Priestess from the past had not been able to cleanse them in the end, so the monsters, those children, had to die by Riley’s sword.
“You made those children kill their parents with their own hands and tear apart their friends, and yet…after all this time?”
The fishing rod that Riley’s holding, looked like it was about to get crushed. Abyss was looking at Riley. The look on Abyss seemed to be saying that he could not understand why Riley was reacting this way. Abyss furrowed his brows and asked back,
“… What are you talking about?”
“I have never done such things. I never ordered such things either.”
With a crumpled face, Abyss was saying that he had never done such things or ordered anyone to do such things. Having heard this, with a confused look on his face, Riley crumpled his brows.
“… Explain to me once again.”
Riley was facing Abyss directly. Riley realized that he was starting to strain his own shoulders.
“Are you saying that we tempted human children, turned them into monsters and used them to kill their parents and friends?”
The Demon Lord was infuriated.
“You may have changed since the reincarnation, but I am well aware that you are not the kind of the man to lie. Explain it to me again.”
Abyss had the look of a young boy and his eyes were half closed as if he was sleepy. However, there was a deadly aura in his eyes now. They alerted Riley’s senses.
“It is true that we had fought humans for a long time due to our differences. However, we ‘demons’ are not so lacking that we would resort to such despicable method.”
Before Riley, Abyss broke the fishing rod that he was holding. With eyes full of deadly aura, Abyss faced Riley and continued.
“… I don’t know about other humans.”
Abyss looked genuinely infuriated. Riley was facing Abyss with crumpled face, but Riley asked, thinking that perhaps it was not the case.
“Did you… really not know about this?”
“Don’t they do things that are worse than this?”
Having heard Riley’s question, Abyss stared at Riley with piercing gaze and asked back.
“I’m asking. Don’t humans often do horrible things that are even more horrendous than what you have just described?”
“Past life or this life… Humans are not all that different it turns out. The abandoned children of this place, Ansyrium… Looking just at them was enough for me to see that. The nobilities or whatever… They are all talk. In the end, they completely ignored the children. Watching their despicable side… They made me puke.”
Abyss’s fishing rod’s handle was completely broken. He picked up the rod and said,
“Ever since I was reincarnated as a human, when I saw humans committing despicable acts for the first time… I absolutely hated the fact that I was reborn a human.”
Solia Magic Tower’s human experiments, the suffering of the slaves of Ansyrium, suffering of commoners, the nobilities who live just fine despite having committed all sorts of evil… Also…
“We demons never do such things.”
Abyss rapidly fired away all disgusting things that he had seen humans do. He then added that demons didn’t do such things.
“We merely let the powers collide and have the winner decide right and wrong. That’s all. Despite our ways, no demon has ever voiced their complaints.”
It was a rough method, but Abyss said that no demon had ever voiced their complaints. He explained why no demons would have felt wronged.
“When we believed that the loser’s side was correct, other strong demons stepped in and helped. Otherwise, they just watched.”
“What about humans?”
There was no response from Riley. So, Abyss continued on by himself.
“I have been living as a human now. I cannot say that all I have seen so far are the disgusting sides of humans.”
Abyss was infuriated, but it looked like he was regaining his calm a little. He disengaged his deadly aura. He briefly explained the good things he had noticed in humans.
“Just like there are two sides of a coin, unlike the humans who only do disgusting things, there were other humans who made me smile. It’s just…”
Abyss sighed briefly.
“Well, I’m sure you know better than me when it comes to the humans who do good in this world. You had been living as human longer than I have.”
What Abyss was trying to say was probably that… There are far too few humans who do good in comparison to the humans who do evil or that the good humans are being persecuted by the bad ones.
What about humans…
Abyss had said those words earlier. Riley thought about it. He then asked Abyss the following. The look on Riley’s face could not look more serious.
“You are being honest, right?”
“If you are asking me if my demons and I turned human children into monsters in my past life… I am telling you the truth.”
Abyss nodded and said in stern voice,
“Let me make this clear. In my past life’s tens of thousands of years…I have never done such and I never ordered anyone to do anything like that.”
Riley looked at Abyss’s face. To be precise, Riley glared at Abyss’s eyes. Riley confirmed that he was not lying. Riley said,
“In that case, just who…”
Riley carefully went over what had happened in his past life. Soon, the look on his face stiffened.
‘I am sorry, Brave Hero. It is too late for these children.’
‘Too late? You said that you can definitely save them!’
‘I’m sorry. My cleansing is not enough.’
‘Young Master… You will have to cut down these children.’
‘As soon as possible, please hurry. These children…no, before these monsters kill more people.’
‘Monsters? They are children…’
‘You need to harden your heart. Brave Hero, you are the only one who can.’
It seemed that a big fish had bit on the hook. The fishing rod that Riley was holding started to flinch.