~ Chapter 81: Illsyore unchained (Part 2) ~
“What's this?” I asked myself as I looked at my cracked arms that kept shattering and repairing themselves time and time again like a broken record.
This was the first time I noticed something like this happening to me.
When I looked in front of me, I saw The Darkness found itself in a similar position.
I knew why... it was those memories... They were mixing up and attacking the very foundations of our existence. Mine was weak when compared to its, which constituted of countless other Dungeon lives.
“I'll shatter you before you will!” I threatened it, then I punched it again.
Another memory flowed through me. It was the memory of a Dungeon who tried to make a friend, but in the end was betrayed and destroyed.
I ignored all of these things. I hated them. They weren't mine. They were fake!
Dodging another attack, my left leg was shattered. As it reformed, I remembered how I fell in love with Ayuseya. From that time when I first heard her play her violin and then until our first night together. The gentle and elegant princess hid a real tigress behind that smile of hers... or rather, a dragoness?
It was strange how much I could love Ayuseya, but the same was for Shanteya... and Nanya. All three of them were my beloved wives, which I wanted to embrace every night and whisper sweet words to... Ah, yes~... I loved them. Strange how could a human honestly love three different women, but I did... Was it wrong or right, who cared?
“I'll kill you!” shouted The Darkness, pulling me out of my reverie.
“No... I will...” I declared, unwilling to let it rip away from me the women I loved.
There was also Zoreya now, yes... maybe no? Tamara was just a child, but I had to take care of her like I would a daughter, or maybe friend, until she was strong enough to leave my side.
The battle resumed with the two of us pulling punches at each other, but sadly, despite my words, I felt my energy draining... I didn't have the strength to keep up with him.
Was I going to lose?
I felt faint... weak...
My body was filled with cracks, my mind was blurry, my vision foggy... I was surrounded by a raging Darkness, while I... I was stoned.
Is this it? I wondered as I kept receiving the punches from the Darkness who rejected me and tried to destroy me.
Why can't I fight anymore? I wondered.
Was I satisfied with the little I did so far? Was I falling prey to my own weakness again? I could tell, and I had no idea how to find the answer to these simple questions.
But I want to see them one more time... I told myself as I tuned my gaze towards the women I loved.
They were crying, shivering, and screaming something at me.
Was I to blame for their tears?
“Illsy...” I heard Nanya's whisper.
“Illsy...” I heard Shanteya's as well.
“Master...” even little Tamara's.
What are they trying to say? I wondered.
I focused on them. This time, I felt too weak and numbed to think about my own pain. There was no reason to avoid their gaze, be it hateful or loving. I had to watch them, to see them, to hear those words leaving their lips.
“Illsy... I love you... please... fight... come back to me.” Nanya cried.
These... these are not words of hate... I thought as tears formed in my eyes.
Reaching out to them, I heard their voices, their true voices filled with pure emotion. Their cries for help and salvation not for them but for me...
“My love, don't despair... Fight! Fight and come back to me...” Ayuseya begged.
“Illsy, no matter what, we love you... I love you. That's why fight and return to us with a happy smile.” Shanteya requested through her tears.
“Master must fight! Master is stronger than that thing! Master can win... Mas... Illsyore is the only one who cares for me... I'm a poor nekatar slave, but... but... I want Illsyore to win and return to me, to pet me more and feed me fish! Don't leave me, Illsyore!” shouted Tamara.
Each in their own ways prayed and wished for me to fight so that I may return to them once more.
Do I still have the strength to do so? I wondered as I looked at my cracked hand as it was slowly chipped away by whips of darkness.
I closed my eyes.
I calmed my mind and listened to the echoes of their voices. They shook my soul, exciting the energy that could be found deep within it... a pure, white energy without even a spec of darkness around it.
There couldn't be any darkness inside my heart, or so I claimed. Nevertheless, these emotions... anger, hate, frustration, and fear, what were way they but not darkness? Could a soul made out only of light, carrying love and honesty, honor and kindness, be able to express such dark thoughts if there was no trace of shadow in it?
No... I thought.
What was Darkness in the first place?
For a while now, no matter how hard it punched, how many past memories of those long dead Dungeons it made me see, no matter how many times my body shattered and was rebuilt again, I was never destroyed. I never left this world, but at the same time, I couldn't destroy it either...
With my whole being numbed, I looked up at the endless Darkness. It was screaming something at me. It was shouting. It was casting a stream of endless spells, while I automatically dodged, blocked, or completely ignored them as they struck my body. It didn't even matter. For each attack though, I struck back either with a spell or with my fists.
When was it that I start to retaliate again? I wondered as I looked at this whole scene as if through the eyes of an observer.
Everything felt like a confusing blur that never stopped nor changed...
Not far from me were my beloved wives. Outside, Zoreya was dying... Her time was short, while I felt like mine was never ending...
I was like a Buddhist monk trapped in that eternal bliss when one first reached what mankind called Nirvana. It was a trap that made you unable to act, or rather... it made you see no reason as to why you should do so in the first place.
It was the same for me...
Wouldn't it have been better to carry such a powerful state of mind in your current life, accept it freely, and act upon it? Wouldn't it have been better to manifest myself in the real world rather than in the spiritual one? Wouldn't it have been better to let myself drown in that state than to experience another second of this life's suffering?
Ah... I strayed off from my thoughts again... I thought as I clenched my fist and stopped it right before I punched The Darkness.
“What are you?” I asked it.
“Guh... I am the manifestation of memories of Dungeons long gone... I am what you should be!” he growled at me while trying to maintain its cracked body just as much as I did.
Hm? I see it... but not think of 'it' as 'him'... When did this start? I wondered.
Looking down at my hands and then at his... I wondered if maybe we were indeed like oil and water, refusing to mix for all eternity, and yet... At our origin, we were both fluids...
Maybe fighting against the very state of being mixed is my mistake? Ever since I came to this world, I rejected the Darkness... I was born a human soul, pure and white, without a sin, yet I constantly pushed back the gift... of my biological parents. I blinked surprised at that last thought of mine.
“ARGH!” I screamed as I pulled back.
My parents... I had none... Tuberculus built me... but still...
What are the parents of a Dungeon? How do they raise their child? I thought as I felt my head splitting apart.
Morals, thoughts, ideas, everything was in complete contradictory with The Darkness. That was why we fought. That was why it got a hold of me... The Darkness... at its very core... was a part of me...
Deusur... That child... There were no parents around with him, yet... What did he tell me back then? I wondered as I tried to remember.
As I did this, the splitting headache was calming down.
“Despite only born, he held memories from his parents... He knew the laws, the rules, and the ways to control his body and everything around his dungeon. It was all thanks to them, then... even I who have rejected the thought of having a child with any of my wives, it wasn't because it was too early but... because I could not accept the 'biological' ways of a Dungeon. I am a human, after all... and as such, I don't accept anything besides what I already know... Hah~! Is this the answer?” I said as I looked once more at my trembling, crumbling, aching hands.
Then I gazed up at The Darkness. It said nothing.
“The reason why you were born... it's because... you are my shadow, aren't you? My fear, my anger, my hate... and the part of me that makes me... ME.” I said with a smile as I flew towards it.
“STAY AWAY! I WILL MAKE YOU SUFFER! I WILL TAKE YOUR BODY!” he shouted at me as it threw its best attacks at me, but none harmed me now.
“No... not anymore... You are not a monster... You are the gift from my parents, aren't you? Tuberculus may have constructed me, but there are no new born dungeons out there who are sent into the world as a blank slate, are they?” I asked as I now stood in front of it.
“Guh... No, but if you, the main consciousness... the soul were to stay put and lay down in my cage, I could rule this body as I desire!” he retorted and tried to punch me.
I stopped his fist in the air.
“No... I can't... and I won't... This is the only thing I have yet to try... because I can't defeat you with violence. The stronger I get, the stronger you become. The more I reject you, the more you try to come close. The more I harm you, the more I feel hurt... It makes sense now, doesn't it? Everything that happened to me, everything that took place from the very moment I stepped into this world, right?” I smiled for the first time... in how long?
“Guh!” he didn't like my words, but couldn't reject them either.
“Because I remembered my former life as a human, I was unable to fully accept the biological traits of this body of mine, meaning the memories of the long gone Dungeons... Memories meant to help me survive as their legacy...” I said.
“Do you think they will accept you as a reincarnated human?! They will hate you when they find out the truth!” The Darkness shouted and then revealed the four women who shared a bond with me.
“Illsy?” Nanya asked surprised.
“Your soul is that of a human?” Ayuseya was surprised as well.
Even Shanteya and Tamara were too.
“Yes, in a way. It's better to say that I'm a soul who can remember some of his memories from the time when he lived as a human in another world. That's why I'm a bit strange... Hm? Now that I said it... I wonder why I never got the courage to tell you before? Was I that afraid that you will distance yourselves from me as a result?” I asked myself as I came to realize this. Tears formed in my eyes and flowed down my crack cheeks. “Do you hate me now?” I asked them with a soft smile.
“NEVER!” Nanya shouted, shaking her head. “I love you, Illsy! Even if you are a Dungeon, a Human, or whatever!” she declared.
“I as well! No matter what, my heart now belongs only to you, Illsy!” Ayuseya nodded.
“There was never a doubt about it, my love... Neither of us even care WHAT you are, after all, we accepted you as a Dungeon, one of the most hated and despised sapient species in this world. Why should we hate you for being... a former human?” Shanteya asked a fairly decent and simple question.
“I wonder why, indeed?” I said with a smile.
“Master... Illsyore is my Master! Dungeon or Human, I'm a nekatar! Feed me fish, pet me, and be nice to me, and I will like you!” Tamara gave her own form of cute reply.
“Thank you, my loves...” I bowed to them respectfully.
Then I turned to the Darkness.
“See... there was never a reason to fear and run away from them. They love me, no matter what. If Zoreya could find it in her heart to love me, despite her being an Apostle and crusader... why shouldn't they? No... why should being a human even matter in the first place?” I asked.
“Because humans are evil! They killed us! They will kill you! They harmed us! They destroyed our creations! They slaughtered our pets, slaves, and lovers! They showed no mercy... they...” it tried to throw back reasons from its past while vehemently ignoring the present.
“They did... but besides Zoreya, aren't I the only human here?” I asked.
“YES! THAT'S WHY I HATE YOU!” he shouted at me.
“I... I don't anymore.” I replied honestly.
“You tried to kill me! To dispose of me like I was some bug! Kill or be killed... isn't that the way of all living beings in this world?!” he questioned me and reminded me how from the very beginning I was the one who acted like all the other humans in his memories.
I never approved him. I always denied at first even the existence of other memories besides my own, let alone accept them. I struggled to be a human in a Dungeon's body rather than a Dungeon with a human heart and mind...
So in the end, he spoke the truth. If I, the soul, was unable to accept and cherish him, then who would? And most importantly, how could he believe anyone else would?
It was simple... It was the truth...
“I don't anymore... and for what I did, I apologize...” I said and then reached out to him.
This time, my light stopped fighting and instead began to accept him. I embraced him.
“Darkness, I accept you now as part of me and wish for us to become the True Illsyore we never got to be... I want for both of us to finally be healed...” I declared.
And with this, light shone as bright as day, covering everything around us and reaching all the way to the edge of this infinite darkness. The memories of the former dungeons, which I ignored and reject this entire life, for the first time ever, I accepted them fully as part of me. However, accepting one's darkness and letting themselves be ruled by it were two different things... I was the one who was going to hold the reins, while The Darkness was to became that which was was meant to be from the very first time... the Dungeon part of me.
[Status system has been restored]
[New skills unlocked]
[Level has been reset to 1]
[Do you wish to switch to [Instinctual Mode] or keep [HUD Mode] Y/N]
Thus, the True Illsyore was born...
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
I promised an explanation about The Darkness.
To be fair, I was sort of expecting all of this angst/hate against it, although, I didn't expect it to appear from the point where the character wasn't even fleshed out yet. I remember that comments got a bit intense when The Darkness appeared for the first time in the story "officially".
The reason as to why this happened (from my point of view) is quite simple, but the best way to summarize it is to say that The Darkness is Illsyore's manifested Shadow (aka "Shadow Aspect" from Jungian Psychology). I basically took the concept and after a lot of study and experimentation on myself as well as learning how to heal a big part of it, I was able to understand more or less what it's about (this was also why it took me so long to post certain chapters, and why certain POVs were absolutely necessary). That being said, from all of this, I noticed a VERY important detail. No matter the situation, location, individual, or occasion, if one touches upon a single subconscious negative program of their Shadow, they won't react in a pleasant way regarding it.
As for what I tried to do in my story so far, well... I tried to keep focus on Illsy's Shadow Aspect through various small 'phrases' and 'words', hinting at it and even poking its fundamental programs with a stick (yeah... not funny, I know), so that ultimately I could make it realize that everyone has their own Shadow... It is something that's a part of us and also a part that can be healed and eventually transformed into something helpful. 🙂
And to be fair, I don't know if I was able to succeed in this or not... but Illsy's story doesn't end here, just The Darkness part... This Arc's Epilogue will end with the following chapters (2 or 3 more, it depends).
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