Episode 112


“….Friend.”

Hierian tightly closed his eyes.
Did he have a friend? Terrifyingly, the shadows surged and stood in front of Hierian.

The amorphous darkness fluctuated, each taking on a different form.
Hierian stared blankly at the figures that appeared and disappeared like billowing clouds.
They approached Hierian and whispered.

“Hierian, have you already forgotten about us?”

“Don’t you remember eating candy with me yesterday?”

“We were supposed to play together, Hierian.”

The voices that reached his ears were sweet, and smiles bloomed on their faces.
Although they had all betrayed Hierian, at this moment, they treated him better than anyone else. 

Entranced by the illusions created by the darkness, Hierian slowly fell into their embrace.
The more Hierian sank into the darkness, the more detailed their forms became.

Before him stood the young mage he had befriended when he first came to the Demon King’s castle, the son of the court mage who had given him his heart, and the nanny who lovingly embraced him and her daughter.

The nanny’s daughter held out candy to Hierian and asked, 

“Let’s share this.
I received it from my mother today.”

“….”

“My mother wants us to share it.
You like candy, Hierian.
I like candy too.”

Between her smiling lips, her fangs were revealed.
Hierian accepted the candy at that moment.
His heart thumped as if it were about to burst.
The darkness laughed along with him.

But in an instant, the girl who had given him the candy transformed into a bloodied figure and collapsed to the ground.
From her hand, a single candy rolled away.

Thump, thump—

Hierian’s heart started pounding like mad.
His vision blurred and his breath was constricted.

Hierian, trembling, staggered backward.
He hastily sat on the ground, clutching his chest.
His complexion turned pale.


Hierian couldn’t recall why he had come to this place anymore.
He desperately wanted to escape from the sight of the girl bleeding.
Overwhelmed by fear, he muttered.

“I’m scared, I’m scared, whoa.
I didn’t do it…….”

‘Then who hurt that child?’

Without thinking, he looked up.
Dianel, who had grown to the size of a giant, stood there.
Dianel, in his solid form, had icy-cold eyes that looked down at Hierian as if he were a worthless insect.

As Hierian faced Dianel, his body trembled.
Hearing Hierian’s words, Dianel uttered.

“You should have listened to me.”

“…But it wasn’t me.”

Criticisms poured in from his surroundings as a response to his excuse.
The words came from those who had believed Hierian was their friend.

“Why on earth do you think they sent you from the palace?”

“Why did they allow such an incompetent mage into the palace?”

“A parasite who only lives off of others’ resources.”

“Acting cute and ignorant.
I thought you would be good for something.”

“Now you’re even killing friends.”

“Oh, my poor daughter! Return my daughter! Ahhh!”

Criticism poured in, and Hierian’s hands trembled uncontrollably.
Individually, each statement could be refuted, but Hierian didn’t have the luxury of arguing at this moment.

Deprived of love, Hierian even lost the smallest kindness he had within himself.
He believed that he was friendless, acted foolishly, didn’t smile, and was indecisive—

“Make a contract with me and work for me.
Then, such things won’t happen again.”

Hierian hesitated to make a contract with Dianel, and as a result, this happened.


It would undoubtedly happen, and it was agonizing for Hierian to even accept that he had made a mistake.
As someone penetrated his thoughts, a whisper sounded.

“Who would like someone who doesn’t even admit their own mistakes?”

“…Huh.”

Unable to bear the turmoil, Hierian burst into tears.
His chest ached to the point of bursting.
There had certainly been someone who comforted him during times like this, but now there was no one.

Could it be that person got tired of his incessant and repulsive behavior and fled? Overwhelmed with sadness and frustration, he wailed.

“Waaah, waaah!”

Now, no one would love him.
Hierian believed he was worthless, incompetent, and a bad child who didn’t deserve love. 

The more he entertained such thoughts, the more his body turned black.
He became more similar to the figures that stood before him.
The shadowy figures beckoned to him.

Hierian thought that if he became like them, he might be able to receive love.
The shadows seemed to read his thoughts and laughed at him.
Hierian closed his eyes as if resigned.

‘It doesn’t matter who it is.
If they comfort me and hold me, that’s enough.’

With a terrifying determination, Hierian’s body completely transformed.

It was agonizing as if his body was burning.
But it was better to feel pain than to be alone.
Hierian was accustomed to pain, so it wasn’t a significant problem.
The pain was so familiar that it felt strange.

It felt like he had experienced this before.
It was torturous as if his whole body was on fire and his throat was parched.
He believed that it was impossible to survive like this.
At that time, facing death, he remembered his last thoughts…

‘…I wanted to make her happy.’

Something welled up from deep within his heart.
Simultaneously, the name of one person, which he had forgotten all along, came to mind.

“Siara!”

The shadows that were trying to imprison Hierian fiercely lunged at him.
They wanted to devour him and dominate him. 

When Hierian opened his eyes again, they appeared as nothing but pitch-black darkness.
The shadows whispered into Hierian’s ears.

“Come with us.”


“I’ll give you something nice if you come.”

“You don’t want to be alone, scared.
You don’t want to be alone, right?”

The chilling darkness clung to Hierian, wailing and pleading.
Hierian recoiled in horror, forcing them back with his touch.
The shadows weakly retreated from Hierian’s touch.

And then, Dianel appeared.
With an arrogant appearance that seemed to match him perfectly, he was born a noble being.
Confronted with a mountain-like wall, Hierian’s strength seemed to drain from his body.
But Dianel looked somehow different from usual.

Hierian had never thought that Dianel could be weak.
However, the Dianel standing before him now seemed fragile.
He had an unstable expression as if he could collapse with a slight touch.
Dianel looked at Hierian.

“What…?”

Hierian blinked and, after firming his resolve, clenched his fists.
For a moment, he almost punched Dianel without realizing it.

He had been a tyrant who took away countless things from him and forced him.
The one who deserved to be comforted was not Dianel, but himself.

Realizing that, Hierian barely grasped where he was.
He was in the Demon King’s consciousness, in the Demon King’s castle.

‘I have to go back.’

Hierian concentrated and attacked Dianel.
Violet magic overflowed from Dianel’s grasp.
It was Hierian’s power that the Demon King had taken away.
If he retrieved it, he could return to his original state.

Hierian absorbed the power hastily as if wanting to hurry before something happened.

Finally, as an adult, Hierian had planned a way to return from the world of consciousness to the real world.
Amid his actions, the consciousness of the dragon whispered to him.

“Well done.”

Hierian nodded in response.
He had too many thoughts to answer.

The dragon didn’t speak any further, leaving Hierian in silence.
The surroundings were calm, and occasional screams from the darkness intermittently broke the silence.

The world of consciousness would inevitably be reflected in the real world.
And the place Hierian had just been was Dianel’s consciousness.
With that thought, a smirk formed on Hierian’s lips.

“Damn you, Dianel.
You’ll suffer.”


Having regained his strength, he felt pity for Dianel. 

It wasn’t about erasing the past or forgiving everything, but now he knew that Dianel wasn’t entirely happy either.
It gave Hierian some relief.

Hierian had a different mindset from when he used to dismiss the past and act.
The dragon noticed his change of heart and murmured.

“It seems like you’ve matured after experiencing hardships in your child form.”

“Uh, yeah.”

Instead of answering, Hierian stumbled over his words with a rough and low voice, feeling awkward.
He asked, seemingly uninterested in what the dragon had just said.

“What will happen if Siara no longer kneels before me as I grow up?”

“Just sit down wherever you want.”

“It’s not that simple of a problem.”

“You made it seem so easy before… Is that the most important thing now?”

The dragon murmured as if it was astounded.

“You’re still far from becoming an adult.”

Although there were only words left, the emotions were vividly conveyed.

If the dragon had a physical form, it would have pushed Hierian’s back, urging him to return to reality. 

Hierian smiled and completed the ritual, pretending to write in the air.
Soon, the door to the realm of consciousness opened, revealing the real world.

There, a grown-up Hierian was peacefully sleeping.
Even in his sleep, he seemed to be murmuring and had a slightly sweaty forehead.
Siara might have been there.
But she was nowhere to be found, for she too had passed out.

Hierian quickly assessed the situation and woke up from the dream.

Now it was his turn to help Siara.

 

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