“If any of you want to die, then step forward.”
Ice-cold killing intent erupted from my body, freezing all the people in the surroundings. Even Andrew, Karime, and Jessica were frightened.
To be honest, I was also a bit surprised. I was only planning to scare them a bit, but I did not expect my killing intent would be this intense.
[It’s due to Confidence. Confidence is a technique that strengthens the soul and helps you to project it outwards. And killing intent is a manifestation of your soul, your will; so it’s greatly boosted by your proficiency in Confidence.]
Confidence sure is a great technique, huh.
It was the most unremarkable of the techniques I learned, but it’s the one that has given me the most surprises.
Now was not the time to be thinking about this, though.
“Let’s go,” I spoke to Andrew, Karime, Jessica while still releasing my killing intent and walked towards the exit.
Andrew, Karime, and Jessica were hesitant, but they followed after me in the end.
This time, though, none of the people in the surroundings charged towards us. Instead, they moved away in fear, frightened by my killing intent.
“… Is it truly alright?” Andrew asked with a complicated expression.
I sighed and shook my head.
“There is nothing we can do about them. If we try to help them, we will die as well.”
“Still…” Andrew bit his lips with a reluctant expression. Despite knowing that this was the right choice, he could not accept it easily.
I could understand him. In fact, inwardly, I was wondering if I was the strange one. After all, I could abandon all these people so easily.
Even in the previous dungeon, I did not hesitate to abandon the people on the bus.
[… There is nothing wrong with you, boy. Pity and compassion are detrimental when you don’t have the ability to bear their weight.]
… Your words almost made me felt better, demon. But well, you are a demon. I don’t think I can trust your morality.
The demon smirked and fell silent.
We continued walking towards the exit of the mall under the frightened and despairing gazes of the people inside. Fortunately, nobody else tried to attack us under the influence of my killing intent.
But when we were about to leave the mall, a trembling woman pulling a little girl approached us.
“P-Please, m-my child…” The woman stammered while looking at us. “At least, save my child, please…”
I was surprised. The fact that this woman managed to endure my killing intent was shocking. She was the only one among the people around us.
It showed how determined she was to save her daughter.
Is this the love of a mother?
I could not help but be moved by that, but at the same time, I felt terrible inside.
Because I will have to reject her.
But just then, I noticed something strange about the little girl.
There was mana inside her body.
I was startled and looked at the little girl again. She was around ten years old, with short blonde hair and a pair of beautiful blue eyes.
She was hiding behind her mother and staring at me with a frightened expression, but most importantly, she had mana inside her body.
“… Is she an Awakened?” I asked her mother.
The woman nodded hurriedly.
“Yes, yes, yes. My child awakened one year ago. Please save her. Even if I can’t survive, at the very least, I hope she can live, please!”
I sighed with a bitter expression and nodded.
“NO!” The little girl immediately shouted. “I won’t leave you, mom! I won’t go!”
“Mom, don’t leave me, please.”
“… I’m sorry, Chelsea. Please, go with this big brother first. Don’t worry, mother will find you later!”
“Liar! Mom, don’t leave me.”
“… Chelsea…” The woman kneeled in front of her daughter as tears started to drop from her eyes. “Mommy loves you, okay? Mommy loves you more than anyone.”
“… Mom, don’t… Please…”
“… I’m sorry.” The woman sobbed and hugged the little girl. Suddenly, she pushed the girl towards me. “… Please, protect her.”
“I’ll do my best.” I nodded heavily and held the girl firmly.
“Mom! Stop! Let me go! Let me go! Help! Please…”
“I’m sorry.” Apologizing to the girl, I walked off, leaving her mother behind.
Even when the little girl cried, when she struggled, and when she hit me, I held her firmly in my arms.
Andrew, Karime, and Jessica looked at us with complicated expressions. Their eyes had become red, and they bit their lips with powerless and guilty expressions.
But they did not speak. They knew that this was the most that I could do.
Even if it was painful.
[… How naïve. You came here to train, boy, but now, you have four burdens with you.]
Shut up, demon.
Even if it’s naïve, it’s something I must do.
Otherwise, what is the point of growing stronger?
[Sigh, well it doesn’t matter. This will serve as a good experience for you. I just hope that if you are unable to save all of them, you don’t fall into an abyss of despair.]
I will make sure that all of us leave this place.
With a heavy atmosphere, the four of us plus the little girl left the mall.
The true dangers of the dungeon had not appeared yet.
But the morale of our group was already at the lowest point.