Admittance (2)
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The question Ariadne asked was an obvious one.

It was something which he already knew the answer to by nature, but hearing it come from her mouth in such a 'sweet' tone made him a little pissed off. After all, he had done enough...

"And so what if I DO kill myself?" He felt it was outrageous that someone else criticised him.

She didn't answer him. 

Merely turning her head...

"...What a joke you've become." She seemed disappointed while watching his pathetic figure.

"Hey~ Aren't you being too mean? I've done my job as a 'Hero' to the best of my ability. No one could have done it better than me!" These words were able to cause the woman to make a strange smile while she looked at him, then shook her head.

"Either way, I see you're going to 'off' yourself with that vile arrogance... Sorry, but you have it wrong."

"I have what wrong?"

"You can't earn salvation even if you die using the Eclipse God's Divine Gift. Unless you want your good 'grandson' to die." These words struck a nerve. The man silently listened to her continue:

"You don't even know your body's condition."

"I'm an empty flask now with a bunch of holes inside it. The reason I can't store Internal Energy is because I've become a sieve. At least, that's how that 'servant' of mine put it." Was there anything else to say about it? He was broken beyond belief!

There was no saving him... The fact that he could not improve anymore was worse that death...!

"That's a simple way to put it, but yeah, you can't become stronger anymore, even if you were to somehow gain 'Qi' or 'Mana' as Internal Energy. A body like yours won't be able to go above the Magical Talent of an ordinary, useless Celestial."

"I have no idea what a 'Celestial' is, but if you 'get' I have no potential, then buzz off already, because it makes no sense for some random bimbo born from my imagination to be looking down on me like this."

"How harsh... Sure, you have a limited potential. It makes sense that you'd give up like a coward."

"What are you supposed to represent anyway?"

"Didn't I already tell you?"

"You told me nothing but your name. Who the heck is 'Ariadne'? You can't be a Wine Goddess, right?"

"Ding ding ding~" The nymph tied to a tree by a noose was jovial as she manifested a table before her. Two cups and a bottle of wine appeared, which lead to her pouring some in for the two of them.

The ridiculousness of her actions actually made him feel better. A lot better than being formal... It made talking with her much easier than someone he personally knew or might've known in the past.

Seeing her inviting gesture, he got up to take a sip as well. It's a force of habit to have some alcohol...

"This is the first time I've actually 'drank'." Mostly due to his tolerance being lower than average.

"At least, as far as you can remember right now. It really DOES seem to be the case, doesn't it?"

"Even if you you know something about my past, it isn't funny to say I can't attain my 'salvation'."

"Funny?" Her smile frustrated him.

"...Don't joke with me." He spat out gravely before widening his eyes dangerous in her direction. 

Ariadne leaned herself hard over the table.

"Can you die peacefully after knowing this?" She whispered into his ear, and the truth he was made aware of only served to make him smash his cup in anger. He didn't know how, but she seemed to know about 'that thing' that had ruled his life.

"I should have expected this." Even though he drank alcohol, it didn't seem influence his mind.

And yet the more he drank from the bottle she offered directly, the clearer his senses became.

"You've had your entire life in the palm of 'your own' hand, and you don't dare to admit it~" She laughed jovially. There was a reason he joined the military rather than any other professional career.

It was because of a 'Curse' he came back with...

"What's the point of bringing it up?"

"I'm curious..." She waved her hand, and someone he didn't want to meet appeared before him.

On the right side of the square table was the part of his 'repressed consciousness' that had took on the form of a split personality. The inhumane person who looked just like him sat there silently.

How she released 'that freak' was a mystery...

"...why didn't you accept him?" She finished off her question with a sly smile. Simon stared at the man.

This was the first time he was actually taking a good look at the 'Kill Switch'. The ego which acted as the suppressor of his Divine Gifts, and someone who took over every time someone tried to kill him. 

The reason he had such a hard time in any other profession was because he couldn't control the bloodthirsty intentions of this 'Alter Ego'. It was exactly why he gave up on more mundane jobs.

He wasn't able to tame the demonic ego…

'It' always required sacrifices before Simon could gain the ability to keep this persona in check. 

Especially before he repressed it...

The lives he killed after participating in the Second World War were necessary for him to overcome the control of this split personality a little... Though there was no true way to fully escape its influence.

This was the nature of his 'Kill Switch'. A trigger that now only activated when his life was at risk.

"You could regain a large portion of your abilities and even manage to heal yourself if you accepted it. You already know of the trump card it has." Her words were inquisitive, seeking a full answer.

Someone as pragmatic as Simon, who cared about the ends more than the means, would normally accept this 'Kill Switch' and make it part of himself already. Rejecting it was a worthless action.

The 'Master' that Fauna remembered was also someone who had these cold and robotic aspects about him. Perhaps if he just accepted it, he would return to being his 'True Self'. Cold and efficient.

No problem would ever be too hard for someone of this mindset. He'd never despair ever again.

However, this wasn't something he could accept.

"I'd rather die a human."

"Because it's better that way?"

"No, I just don't want to become near emotionless like this guy. I mean, just look at those eyes!" He had to admit that he didn't expect his 'Kill Switch' to have such dead and unfeeling eyes like this.

Now he was even more averse towards it...!

"...Even though you can regain your power with it?"

"What's the point of regaining my powers when it's already proven how useless I am? I'd rather stay the way I am now than gain this machine-like persona. It doesn't even have any sense of 'self'!"

"So you choose death over being emotionless?"

"Of course!" The resolve here had in those eyes made Ariadne rethink her opinion of the geezer.

"Wow, you're SOOO unlike 'yourself'~" She giggled and leaned her head on the table, unable to hide her beauty that was radiant even in the darkest of nights. The reason he knew she was a figment of his imagination was because this 'unreal appeal'.

"What was I like... in the past I don't remember?"

"You..." She tried to find the right words: "...were so selfless and full of justice that you'd hurt people."

"Is that why you don't like me?"

"No." She spoke firmly before pointing at him: "I just hate those who abandon their lovers like you."

"...I don't have any lovers."

"Like hell you don't...!" She seemed serious about this, but the old man only saw it as mere nonsense.

"Anyway, why did you say my grandson would die if I killed myself? Be serious. Will 'he' rampage a lot?"

"Your Kill Switch is fine with death. You know yourself that it doesn't have a 'will' to reject death."

"Then why...?"

"It's because of my half-brother." She pointed at an inconspicuous corner of the darkness they were trapped in. There was a strange horn growing out of the ground, causing an eerie feeling in the air...

"That's your half-brother?" He smirked. It looked like the guy was already buried in his dreamworld.

"Don't look down on him. He survived for this long after taking in the dregs of the Twilight God's Divine Gift. Trust me, there's nothing stopping him from eating humanity if you 'die on the inside'."

"Shouldn't my body also die if I die?"

"Yeah, if you were a 'normal' person."


"Pfft, really?" She rolled her eyes before looking at him as if he was some sort of court jester. A fool!

"...That doesn't make any sense." Even if someone took a part of his 'Adaption' Gift, there shouldn't be a way for anyone to screw with him like this. The destruction power of the Eclipse God couldn't be resisted unless one harsh condition was met...

"You thought of something."

"That's impossible...!"

"Just like me being here~" His face paled at her casual remark. Simon looked at the black horn... 

His head started to ache, realising that there was something off about this. Why was it that he could feel a vileness emanating from the buried 'horn' in the ground...? Why was malice pointed at him? 

"What IS that Attribute?" He didn't want to believe it, but he must admit that this bundle of demonic energy that was within that black horn was somehow bonded yet disconnected to him like a parasite.  He wasn't one bit happy about this...

"It's something created by those Cultists you had been fighting in the adventures you don't remember. Some call it 'Sinful', others call this power 'Toxic', but it's agreed that this Attribute was better named as the potential it brought... 'Evil'."

"Heh, what a poetic power..." This wasn't his first time encountering such a creepy Attribute. He stared at it for a long time before cracking his neck and getting up, ready to destroy this 'parasite'.

"I can help you exorcise that being, ya know~?"

"Even if it's your 'half-brother'?"

"We're both imaginary existences that only 'exist' in your dreams. He can't be persuaded anyway."

"Then I'm sure it won't be for free."

"I'm glad you're starting to understand me better~"

"Then I refuse your offer."

"A pity... You haven't even heard it."

"It can't be good." He sighed, before she spoke out what her terms were without him even asking:

"Live a happy life." He turned his head to look at her, and she continued drinking her bottomless alcohol bottle. Simon wasn't sure he heard her right, but she didn't elaborate any further about it.

The nymph kept her silence about her intent...

"How... unexpected."

"You're finally taking me seriously." She smiled before leaning her head on the table once again.

"And that's all you want?"

"You're quite the stubborn man. No wonder no one could stop you 'retiring' as a Calamity Crusher."

"Change your terms and I might agree."

"Not happening~"

"You know I'm planning to die after dealing with that 'thing'. I can't 'live a happy life' now, can I?"

"Who said you can't?"

"..." He felt more tongue-tied. She seemed to know him better than even his closest friend could ever figure out. She played with her glass while being amused by his expressions of bewilderment.

"No one's stopping you." Her words were more enticing than even the sweetest of nectars...

Rather than answering her, he turned his attention to the pitch black horn in the middle of the darkest area of his dreamworld. He felt a change after getting close enough to the 'thing' in the ground.

He heard the 'Mooing' of a bull as a humanoid arm extended out of the ground, revealing that the horn was part of a human bull hybrid that had buried itself alive underground. The Minotaur roared to the top of its lungs as it revealed its appearance.

It didn't seem to have much intelligence and was much larger than a human being. This didn't make him scared or nervous though. The man had killed numerous enemies of larger scale back as a 'Hero'.

"Here's some free help if you're going to take it on anyway. You'll be needing this." He grasped the blade that had been thrown to him and realised that the 'Sword' given to him also had an Attribute he didn't recognise. It made him furrow his brows...

How much was he unaware of about 'that world'...?

He stopped thinking about this. The old geezer could somehow 'feel' that there was a mocking expression on the Minotaur's face. It looked down on the puny human that was about to face him.

The fact that such a revolting demon had parasitically attached itself to him disgusted the old veteran. Simon swung his sword while the Minotaur was laughing at him, finding that the weight and length of the sword was just right.

Then he started to 'swing'. His Ginga Scream started to be executed. The geezer implemented the sword movements he knew into the various and undefined stances he took while swaying around.

A great amount of killing intent caused the great bull demon to shut its mouth, taking the opponent more seriously. It readied itself into a stance that would only fit someone of its large stature. The kind of 'Kung Fu' it used amazed Ariadne greatly.

The time for their one-to-one grand battle was approaching. This made her hair stand on end.

She even dropped her cup by accident. The sound of it crashing into the ground acting as a signal.

After it fell to the ground, they attacked each other!