Putting down gently the lifeless body of Kevin, I put my hands together and let out a small prayer to no one in particular before heading over to Brent and doing the same. I hoped that by showing them proper respect after their death, I would mitigate the effects of any bad karma, energies, or fate as a result of my actions. If any existed at all that is. Though to be honest, it felt quite hypocritical to do so, since I knew It would not be the last time I selfishly took a life. So I was more than prepared to live with the fact that, if it existed, I would have negative or bad karma or whatever.
Heading over to the room me and Ailya were supposed to be using to sleep, though we didn’t really have to as a result of all the vitality we had gathered today, I saw Roger’s lifeless body as he laid in large pool of his own blood. A few feet behind him was Ailya, who was holding onto a knife which had its blade covered in blood.
When she saw me enter the room, she simply smiled and asked:
“Is it over?”
At this, I simply nodded as I returned a smile to her and kept walking towards Roger’s body. Though part of me was reluctant to do so, I still carried out the same ritual for him as I had done for the other two.
The part that made this all so absurd was that there was no way my actions would ever let these three rest in peace. After all, even if there was an afterlife, or their souls were supposed to return to a cycle of reincarnation, all of that no longer applied to them. As I had devoured Brent and Kevin’s soul, and Ailya absorbed Roger’s, their souls were gone for all eternity. Reduced to nothing but vitality and xp for my and Ailya’s souls.
As I dragged Roger’s body out of the room since, I planned to put all three bodies next to each other, I couldn’t help but think about the events of today, and was a bit more than surprise at my feelings, or actually, lack of feelings, over having had the three killed.
It wasn’t as though I had planned to kill them from the beginning, things just unfortunately developed in that direction. Though it might seem like a pretty shitty excuse to say that things can just simply develop in a way that leads you to kill three men for no good reason, I’m afraid that I’m actually saying the truth here…
When I first saw three figures in the distance, I immediately used [Veritas] to check on their threat level, still a bit wary of encountering someone like the old hooded man I had seen the previous day. Thankfully, the highest level among them was ‘only’ level 17. Even though they were stronger than the two of us, they weren’t at an unbeatable realm like the old man was, which made me a bit more optimistic for the future.
Seeing them stop and stare at us, I began to worry slightly about what they were planning to do about the two of us, so I told Ailya to prepare herself in case of anything. Despite this, I didn’t stop walking in their direction, hoping that they were just curious and might be able to lead us towards the labyrinth the old man had mentioned. After all, I was only at level 3 and really needed to raise my level to a more respectable number. Even if I couldn't fight, I was hoping that I could use my [Fireball] on weaker monsters to grind a few levels. And if everything went perfectly, we might have been able to find something of value like monster cores that we could exchange for some much needed money.
However, when one of them raised their voice asking if we needed help, I decided to take a gamble and see if they might be willing to supply us with anything. Unexpectedly however, after I said that we did, one of them mentioned that they were heading towards the labyrinth. Deciding to take another gamble, I asked them to allow us to accompany them.
Since I was weary that they would find out the backstory I made up was fake, or they might find something suspicious in our words and question us about our origins, I had Ailya leave most of the talking to me. Luckily, the three didn’t seem to carry much in the way of knowledge about the world, and took our story at face value. It was in this manner that I had planned to follow them into the labyrinth and, after they said that they were planning to sell monster cores for money, work with them to get some of our own for Ailya’s and mine’s journey.
At first I was a bit excited to have some new company and people to talk to. It wasn’t as though I wasn’t happy to just talk with Ailya. In fact, I really depended on her company to keep me sane, as I felt myself slowly go crazy those five days in which all I could do was speak to myself and squash bugs. But the issue was that neither of us really had much to talk about. Ailya had spent all of her life cooped up in her home only meeting her mother, as for me, I was a person from another world with a set of that world’s unique customs and interests. As a result, most of the time we spent together was either killing insects together or just holding hands. Though Ailya seemed satisfied by this, I was beginning to greatly miss talking with my friends, or anyone for that matter really.
Much to my disappointment however, which looking back should have been pretty obvious, the three boys did not do much to fill in the void that had been forming in my heart. Though it was interesting to hear where they came from, who they were, about the labyrinth, and especially receiving their lessons on fighting, it was clear that I didn’t really have much to talk about with them as we had lived extremely different lifestyles and I couldn't exactly talk about myself much. To make matters worse, it was becoming very clear to me that they had ulterior intentions when helping us.
Though I didn’t mind it much at first, it was quickly becoming suffocating to have people trying to gain our affection when all I really wanted was someone to talk to. Considering that we didn’t really share anything in common to talk about aside from what we were experiencing at that moment, I was growing bored with all of them and annoyed at Brent and Roger for their extremely pushy personalities. In the case of Roger even more, since it was clear that he was going after Ailya. Though I had some hope that Kevin wouldn’t be like the two, It was sadly becoming apparent to me that he too had feelings for me. As a result of this, I was beginning to feel trapped inside of the labyrinth amongst the three men.
Though she wasn’t really my sister, I still felt responsible for taking care of Ailya and, considering she was only 12, I felt like I had endangered her and done her wrong by bringing her into a den full of lions. Despite me trying to focus more on clearing the labyrinth and gaining experience, any moment the fighting would die down, Brent and Roger would immediately flank us again in order to flirt with us. As a result, I felt my patience slowly dwindle and, seeing that no one thought there was anything wrong with going after my twelve year old sister in front of my face, my desire to leave the labyrinth and the three behind was growing ever so strongly. As a result, when they mentioned that they would only be staying for the night, despite part of me wanting to continue getting stronger as I had gained a few levels, I decided to just be content with what I had and wanted to eagerly return to the surface.
When we finally found a place to rest, and they offered to keep guard while we slept in peace, I felt the last barrier in my mind breakdown. I didn’t care if they were doing it our of genuine goodwill, I couldn’t believe that they would be so stupid as to think that I wouldn’t find it a bit concerning for the two of us to allow ourselves to become vulnerable while sleeping next to three people we really didn’t know. Though I might not have minded as much if it was only me who they were chasing after, the fact that I had to keep seeing Roger going after my Ailya had really been wearing down my sensibilities.
With my [Soul Devourer] soul ability having upgraded to tier 4, I decided that it was now as good a time as ever to test its new function. Therefore, walking towards the area the two were at, I had planned to to separate them and then ‘devour’ Brent’s soul. However, seeing the two sleeping calmly, I began to feel that maybe I had demonized the two more than I should have, and felt some reluctance towards the actions I was about to do. Nonetheless, I decided to carry out my plan as I laid myself on top of Brent.
At my actions Brent woke up, which ended up alerting Roger as he too woke up . However, I implored the two to stay quiet and had Roger accompany Ailya to her room. Seeing Brent’s excitement on his face, I couldn't help but release a wry smile as I decided to caress Brent’s face and give him a departing kiss as an apology for what I was about to do. It was in this way that my first kiss ever with a guy occurred in a room inside a labyrinth, as I sucked the soul from his trembling body…