Book 2: Chapter 27
The fact that the Demons had killed his entire family wasn’t special. Leo also thought so.
But for someone who’d witnessed the tragedy in person, it was a nightmare. The hardest thing to overcome was their sorrow.
Leo lay on the bed and looked up at the ceiling.
Everything Lukas said was true.
He’d become like this because he was too weak to overcome himself. It was something that he would have avoided thinking about for a long time, so he was unable to control his emotions when he heard someone else say it.
‘I thought I’d buried my emotions long ago.’
Ironically, Leo had been living a dead life.
Lukas was right.
He ran away because he didn’t have the courage to fight back. He was a loser, who couldn’t break past his own flaws, and a fool, who thought that he was sacrificing himself for his goals.
However, the thing that touched his heart the most were the words that he was just comforting himself.
Then there was a knock on the door.
Leo had already figured out who it was, but he still got up and opened the door.
It was Gerard.
He smiled and pointed at the room.
“Can I come in?”
Leo stepped away instead of answering.
Gerard didn’t hesitate to walk into the room. Then, he closed the door.
“Did you talk?”
At the same time, a cold voice sounded out.
Gerard stood in the room with a cold expression on his face. If there was anyone there except Leo, they might have doubted their eyes and ears at that moment.
But Leo wasn’t surprised. He’d long known that this was Gerard’s true nature and the nature of his team.
He denied it.
It was a short question, but he could tell what he was talking about.
Leo had been treated by a completely different priest, or, to be precise, by someone who wasn’t one of Gerard’s subordinates.
This was because Nina had noticed his injuries.
In other words, there was the risk that the bruises on his body would have been noticed during the process of removing the demonic energy.
Gerard might have seen Lukas enter the room. No. He must have seen it.
And as soon as he noticed him leaving, he came to check on Leo.
Gerard responded in a dry tone. It seemed that he didn’t think Leo would lie to him.
Gerard flopped onto the bed as though he was the owner of the room.
“I like the relationship we have right now, Leo.”
Lee didn’t respond to his words again, but Gerard continued to talk like he didn’t care.
“In a world like this, I feel stressed just by breathing. And it builds up so much that I can no longer hold it in. So at first, I vented my frustrations on small animals and stuff like that. Like cats and dogs. Their screams were really satisfying at first, but I grew bored of it after a while. They were too weak. That’s why… I was so happy when you said you wanted to join our group.”
A wide smile appeared on Gerard’s face.
“You are strong. Although you’re weaker than me, you’re stronger than most hunters.”
He was telling the truth.
Gerard had the talent and strength to rank around the top among hunters his age, and most Titled Hunters had great interest in him.
Nina, the Branch President, was no exception.
Above all, Gerard was older than Leo.
They had fought numerous times, but Leo had never been able to defeat him.
“When you, like a doll, don’t do anything and let me beat you up… Do you know how excited I feel? It’s like you were a toy that God created just for me.”
He didn’t know. He wasn’t even curious.
Leo remained silent.
“Our interests match perfectly. You get the sense of accomplishment of killing Demons while I get pleasure and stress relief. I hope this relationship can last for a long time.”
Gerard laughed at the silent Leo.
“That’s all. Make sure you heal your bruises quickly. As your group leader, I worry about you.”
With that, Gerard left the room.
Leo remained in the same spot.
Leo didn’t kill Demons.
He was just a member of a group who killed Demons. He had tricked himself into seeing it differently.
He thought that he had a stake because he helped the group slay Demons. But how could he not know that it was just a delusion?
Did his support really help them kill the Demons?
Were there any missions that would not have been successful without him?
What exactly did Leo Freeman really want?
‘A loser who couldn’t break past his own flaws.’
As soon as he remembered Lukas’ words, the bruises on his body began throbbing fiercely.
It was like the senses in his body had only returned at that moment, and the pain was unbearable.
Nevertheless, Leo endured the pain.
With a staggering gait, he left his room.
Of course, he didn’t go looking for a priest like Gerard said.
* * *
Lukas felt that there was a high chance Leo would come to him.
But he never expected him to show up after just one hour.
Leo didn’t say anything. It seemed that he was waiting for Lukas to speak first.
He was still covered in bruises. Lukas felt that it would have been better if he’d come after being treated.
He looked into Leo’s eyes and thought. It didn’t really matter.
“Have you had a change of heart?”
“Well. That’s good. Get ready.”
Leo didn’t continue to ask.
This was because Lukas removed his coat and took a stance.
It was the first time he’d seen such a stance in his life, but Leo immediately realised what it was.
Lukas had taken a martial arts stance.
“Do you want to fight me? With martial arts?”
Leo’s voice had a tinge of absurdity in it.
Lukas didn’t look like a Warrior. Just as he had looked at his physique and figured out his strength, Leo had done the same to Lukas.
He didn’t have a trained body.
More importantly, didn’t he say that he was a priest?
As soon as he thought that, Lukas’ murmur appeared in his mind.
‘…well. Something like that.’
…Now that he thought about it, Lukas had never affirmed that he was a priest.
Leo was well aware of his own capabilities when it came to fighting humans. If it was a 1-on-1 battle under equal conditions, he was confident that he wouldn’t be pushed around even by the most talented fighters.
At least he didn’t think he could lose to a skinny man like this.
Suddenly, Lukas kicked off from the ground.
There was no need for him to panic because it was a telegraphed attack. But Leo’s gaze changed when he saw the speed of the charge.
It was much faster than he expected.
Leo hurriedly drew upon his ki.
He leaned back and avoided Lukas’ fist.
The tip of his chin was stung by the wind generated by the punch.
After a brief moment of surprise, Leo’s expression became serious.
It wasn’t just speed. Lukas’ fist also contained a lot of destructive power.
He didn’t know where he was hiding such strength in his skinny body, but Leo knew that if he didn’t take this seriously, he might suffer an unexpected blow.
Among all the classes, their close-combat capabilities were said to be the best. Only those who had undergone strict internal screening and difficult trials could become Monks, so it could be considered an elite class.
It wouldn’t be strange for a Monk to be good in both healing and fighting.
Bluish energy rose up like a haze around Lukas’ body.
It wasn’t ki. Nor was it holy power.
As far as Leo knew, there was only one bluish energy.
Martial arts using mana?
He’d never heard of it before.
This was natural. While Lukas had spread numerous abilities around this world, he had not spread Magical Martial Arts.
There were several reasons for this, but the main reason was that this world already had its own martial arts system.
In particular, Lukas was impressed by the ancient Chinese martial arts.
They had learned to use martial arts based on their ki, and their system was so established that they didn’t need the martial arts from another world.
Unlike the lack of knowledge of magic, the various martial arts styles and techniques were firmly embedded in this world. There was no need to spread martial arts.
But for Leo, who obviously didn’t know that, Lukas’ movements were a mystery.
‘I’ll think about it later.’
Leo’s gaze sharpened.
His waist, which had been nearly bent in half, became straight in an instant. He used nothing more than his flexibility to correct his stance.
His entire body throbbed because of his bruises and tiredness, but he endured it.
And naturally, he launched a counterattack.
Leo’s fists shot forward quickly.
He unleashed a series of quick, powerful attacks in an instant.
Lukas dodged all of the attacks before he grabbed Leo’s fist after the last punch.
But at that moment, Leo leapt off the floor and kicked towards Lukas’ stomach as though he’d expected this.
Unable to withstand the shock, Lukas’ body slid backwards.
His eyes shined.
‘His reactions are good.’
He made no unnecessary movements, and his balance was solid.
Above all, he was extremely calm. That calmness would become this child’s greatest weapon.
But only if he could maintain it under any circumstances.
Unlike Lukas, who had a soft smile on his lips, Leo’s expression was stiff.
‘It’s like kicking a lump of iron.’
If it wasn’t for his ki, he might have broken his toe. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop him from taking advantage of the situation.
Leo quickly closed the distance and continued his attacks.
He mainly used his fists, and every attack was aimed at a vital spot. Because the connection and flow between his attacks was smooth and clear, it would be hard to retake the initiative after it was lost.
‘I have the flow.’
Although he thought this, Leo couldn’t hide his nervousness.
He’d launched over a dozen attacks, but let alone a decisive blow, he could not even inflict a scratch.
Lukas avoided most of his attacks, and for the ones that he blocked, it made Leo feel like he was hitting a wall instead of a person.
By then, Lukas had finished judging Leo.
‘He should be a Second Class Warrior.’
This was extremely impressive considering his age. Even with the flaw in his mind, he was looking forward to how far Leo could go when he was given an environment in which he could focus.
Lukas sucked in a breath.
Just as Leo started to feel uncomfortable.
Leo’s vision flipped, and he found himself lying on the floor.
It was a good thing that the training room had padded flooring, or he might have gotten a concussion.
Leo stared blankly at the ceiling for a moment before realising that the fight had been decided in an instant.
‘Was he testing me?’
This fact was hard for him to accept.
As he stared blankly at the ceiling, he heard Lukas’ voice.
“First of all, we’ll start with breaking your delusion.”
“…delusion? You mean me?”
“Right. You have the delusion that Demons are the most fearsome beings in the world.”
Lukas looked down at Leo as he spoke.
“My old friend once tried to make someone, who was similar to you, his disciple. He wasn’t able to finalise the relationship, but, at least, he managed to fix their mental trauma.”
Leo didn’t think that that could apply to him, but he was curious.
“How did they overcome it?”
“They didn’t overcome it.”
“They simply learned that there were things even more frightening than what they were afraid of. That’s all.”
“Stand up, Leo Freeman, catch your breath, and take your stance. Your last break for today has ended.”
At that moment, Leo felt that something was wrong.
“From today on, you will learn that Demons aren’t the thing you need to fear.”