Idle Mage: Humanity's Strongest Backer -
Chapter 276 Mysterious Companion
Two months have passed since Pride and Wrath's fight.
The Qliphoth has recovered from the damages they caused and has moved on from it. Hardly anybody talks about it nowadays, but that doesn't mean that they have completely forgotten about it.
Pride and Wrath used this time to practice. They tried numerous ties to tap into that well of power that they've displayed before but so far, they have yet to succeed.
This was frustrating for the two of them of course. They just don't know what to do anymore, they've tried multiple ways but nothing worked. It's not like all of this was just some kind of illusion either, it did happen! So it didn't make sense for them to fail this much.
They just don't know what they were doing wrong. It doesn't help that their comrades were also losing faith in them after numerous failures. Pride couldn't handle that, neither does Wrath.
This is why they are in a bad mood most of the time during these past couple of days.
The lower-ranked demons were walking on eggshells around them. Afraid that anything they do might trigger their anger, causing them to take it out on themselves.
Pride probably has it worse than Wrath.
To Wrath, he's just angry at himself because he thinks that he's too stupid. Pride, on the other hand, was angry because this constant failure was tainting his reputation, and that is something he places a lot of importance on.
Pride could almost hear it; the jeers of the lesser demons, talking about how slow and stupid he was for not even being able to do this simple thing. It's his power yet he doesn't know how to use it.
He is Pride, and his reputation is far more important than anything else. That's why he's nearly consumed by unstable anger each passing day.
Pride never hung out with his men anymore. He just stayed in the training grounds, trying to tap into his Sin even deeper to no avail.
After the nth time of failure, Pride looked up and saw that it was already past midnight in this world.
He punched the nearby wall out of frustration once and did his best to calm himself down.
After taking a couple of deep breaths, Pride sighed and left the training grounds. He thanked the Demon God that he was not sharing this place with Wrath. If he did, then he would've probably already done something unforgivable.
He left that place and didn't go to his quarters yet. Instead, he made his way to the liquor area where he used to hang out with his men.
Pride wouldn't be able to sleep without drinking so he went here to steal a barrel of liquor to bring it back with him.
But when he arrived there, he was surprised to see that someone was still around.
Pride froze in his tracks and debated whether it was a good idea to still go in there. In the end, he clicked his tongue and decided to go in anyway.
Upon entering, he heard whoever it was, laughing. The one in question was a Lesser Demon who was having a great time by themselves, drowning in alcohol.
The lesser demon made a sound that is a mixture of surprise and hiccups. They practically jumped out of their seat and stumbled to look at Pride, whose mouth was pressed into a thin line due to how ridiculous this situation was.
"L-leader! I didn't see you Hic! there. H-hello..."
Pride stared at the lesser demon for a solid second, thinking of what to say.
"What are you still doing here?" He asked.
Inwardly, Pride tried to recall in his memory who this one was but he got nothing. This was probably the first time that he had seen this guy.
"I-I'm...." the drunken demon hiccupped a few more times due to nervousness before seemingly losing energy. Their shoulders slackened and they said:
"I-I was drinking...it's been a long day for me and I couldn't sleep so I thought about getting black-out drunk so I can sleep better and have the energy to do tomorrow's chores."
'...same.' Pride responded inwardly.
Pride then proceeded to make his way to the closest barrel of liquor, he then unceremoniously took it out and punched a hole in it. He then sat at some random corner and began drinking his fill.
"D-do you need me to leave? Leader?"
"No," Pride replied, much to his surprise. "You were here first. You might as well stay until you black out from drinking. Isn't that why you came here in the first place?"
What followed was an awkward silence between them, the only sound there was, was the occasional gulping sounds from either of them as they drank their alcohol.
Pride stared off into a blank space, his thoughts were practically empty at this point. Meanwhile, his company was uneasy. Feeling as if they were sitting on pins and needles.
"You look...tired, Leader."
That got Pride's attention back to reality. He stared at his companion and saw a pair of eyes with a rainbow-colored gleam in them staring through him.
Pride was unnerved for a bit, it's as if he was mesmerized by something just now but he can't remember what. Then, as if he had no control over his voice, he started speaking...
"I guess I am." He replied, "It's been frustrating recently...I don't know what I've been doing wrong."
"Um...if...if you want to talk about it. I can listen." His companion said.
Pride looked at his companion and saw the instant panic exploding from their whole body.
"N-not that you need to o-of course! It's just um...a suggestion, yes! A suggestion. Haha. Y-you see, I heard from s-somewhere that talking to s-someone about your problems makes you feel better."
"I-I don't know if I'd be able to understand it of course. I-I may also not be able to completely sympathize with you, but I can listen. Maybe that would help somehow? Ehehe..."
Pride just stared at his companion with an empty head.
He was quite surprised, to be honest. This was the first time that somebody tried to reach out to him and offer help. Even though this one looked unassuming and cowardly at a glance, they have some guts at least.
And Pride didn't hate that at all. Before he could even catch himself doing it, Pride was already talking...
"I fought Wrath not too long ago, you know it. Everybody does. You all also saw what happened back then. We tapped into a certain state of our being that was never seen before."
Pride sighed and furrowed his brows.
"After recovering from the fight, the others practically tasked us to figure out a way to tap into that state of being again, but so far, none of us succeeded just yet. That's it...that's why I seem exhausted and angry at all times recently."
And what do you know, Pride felt instantly lighter after admitting all of that. Just from this alone, what his companion said earlier was already proven right. But of course, it didn't simply end there.
"...I-I guess it's hard to let go of control consciously."
Pride's eyes snapped wide open upon hearing that.
"What did you just say?" i𝑛𝗻rℯ𝒂𝒅． 𝓬o𝘮
"Uh, um! I-I...I guess it's hard to let go of control consciously?" His companion repeated themselves hesitantly.
"How did you arrive at that conclusion? What made you think it's an issue of letting go of control instead of...well, pretty much everything else?"
"Don't be afraid. Speak freely, you're not in trouble. I'm not gonna hurt you. I'm just genuinely curious." Pride couldn't believe that he just reassured someone but he just did.
"W-well...I-I was there. I saw the fight with my own eyes. Leader Wrath was angrier than ever and seemed to have completely lost touch of...everything."
"H-he couldn't recognize allies from foes. He couldn't even talk properly. All that was coming out of his mouth were grunts and roars. I-it's like he was fully consumed by his Sin."
"W-which made me think that um...maybe he had lost all sense of control and just gave in...to his Sin."
"His Sin practically took over his body from that point in the fight, and it didn't discriminate," Pride said to himself. "I also was fully consumed by it which allowed me to enter that state!"
Pride stood up, his eyes were blown wide open as it finally dawned upon him.
"If Sloth didn't act too quickly, both of us might've attacked her as well. That's it! That's what I'm supposed to do! Let go of control!"
Pride them gazed heatedly at his companion. There was so much passion in his eyes that it was almost burning the poor thing.
"I-I suggest that you don't do it now..." his companion said despite being uncomfortable. "Y-you know...it's too late. The majority of us are resting. Y-you, look tired too. D-do it tomorrow instead."
"...right." Pride thought that what they said made sense, so he decided to go with it.
He was leaving at this point but he twisted his heel all of a sudden and decided to take another barrel of liquor.
Before he left, he gave the lesser demon another passionate stare before huffing and leaving.
As Pride made his way back to his quarters, he didn't know that parts of his memories were already on the verge of being erased.
Tomorrow, he will wake up. He won't remember talking to anybody before sleeping. All he would remember would be the trick to entering that state of being.
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