Gasalam felt a headache come over him as he tried his best to comprehend everything the strange Grand Elder was saying, but when he heard the words ‘I forced you to nearly become Wrath’, his temperature dropped and his mind went blank.
He stood there helplessly with his mouth hanging and his eyes shaking, the words replaying in his mind over and over again, it got louder each time and before he knew it the voice sounded petrifyingly monstrous. It slammed against his skull with each syllable and made him fall dizzy.
“W-what did you say?” He uttered. Maybe the Grand Elder was joking, or perhaps he misheard. Let him say it again.
The man, seemingly oblivious to his struggles, gave a bright smile. The brightest smile he had ever seen. But the words that came out his mouth dropped him to his knees.
“You heard perfectly correctly, boy. I forced you to nearly become the Sin of Wrath.”
His knees crashed into the ground. He grabbed his head, messing up his hair as he tried to alleviate his pounding skull but it didn’t work.
“YOUUUUUUUUU!!!” He screamed, but couldn't find any other words that could express even half of the emotions that were burning through him.
“It was a test of sorts. You won’t remember this, but I have big plans for my eventual true incarnation. Not only do I want it to hold the powers of this planet, or at least as much of it as it can, I also want it to harness the powers of the Heaven and Hell that I foolishly created.
So I thought, if I want the powers of Hell, it would help if I started off as a single Sin bearer before I became the one true ruler of Hell, wielding all Sins. So naturally I thought, what Sins do I like? Which one should I start with? The ones I wanted most were Gluttony, Lust and Pride, but I could only start with 1. So which one?
I went through a process of elimination, and eventually decided with Lust. Simply because it-”
“ARRRRRRRRRRRRGH!” Gasalam screeched with rage, his hands pulling at his hair and his face twisted with malice.
The man blinked, before continuing as if nothing had happened. “Simply because it provides the fastest way to gain strength. Well, gluttony is actually faster, but that’s only when you have enough power in the first place to obtain things that would be worth eating. Pride isn’t bad, but it’s a near suicidal power to have, I must admit. I only like it because I myself have a bit of affinity with the concept of pride, as you can probably guess. So lust would be best.
And how does this all relate to you? You must be dying to know. I would.” He said with a hateful smile on his face. It was a gentle smile of understanding, but that compassion was ruined by the fact that this bastard was the very source of his sorrow.
“Well you see, I had to work out whether it was even possible to make myself become a full Sin in the first place. I had to conduct a test. And naturally, as a man of efficiency, I decided to knock 2 birds with 1 stone. So I decided that I would try my best to push you into a transformation that would safely make you the Sin of Wrath. I always decided that I’d stop it before it fully went through, even if it didn’t fail, but I’m sure you don’t care about that by now.
Anyhow, the test was a failure. You were going to die. And as such, I ended things then and there. Still, even if I couldn’t hit one bird, there was still the other.
You see, for the transformation to even have started, I had to alter your mental state to one suitable for the bearer of Wrath. I’m sure you can remember your mental state in those short seconds so I’ll save you the explanation. However, even though the transformation was stopped and your mind returned mostly to normal, there were still… leftover effects, so to speak. This coupled with how people would treat you in the following years would make you a perfect stone to hit a juice bird.”
“I’ll kill you.” Gasalam said quietly. He had somewhat calmed down at this point, but he still had his two hands covering his face, only using a single eye to glare through a gap in his fingers.
The man continued. “As mentioned before, I’ve always wanted things to change for the Elves. The elements of sand, fire, lightning, lava and others had been overlooked for too long, especially lava. But elements don’t just need physical affinity, they also need mental affinity… See where I’m going with this?”
There was no reply.
“I needed someone, someone who was young enough that a drastic change in their mental state wouldn’t cause too much of a backlash, someone who was of the first generation, and someone who hadn’t cultivated yet. And I need them to be angry. That’s why I chose the Sin of Wrath of all Sins. A Sin that would give one an easy time comprehending the molten wrath of lava.
All of this has led you to this day, Gasalam. This lava here is your gift. Claim it and burn me with it if you dare, and make all of your suffering worth it.”
“I will kill you.” Gasalam spoke once more. Even calmer than before.
“My second gift to you… is a mutation. When you finish comprehending lava and gain the ability to control it, I will grant you a mutation that will make you like Zalucard, a progenitor of a brand new caste. Only after this is all done will you be allowed to leave the Burning Nines. Only then will your life truly be your own.”
And with that, he disappeared in an explosion of light… which then reformed the man who looked at him with a goofy smile.
“I almost forgot. Here’s a warning. Do not, under any circumstances, provoke the Ants if you want to live. You’re in the outermost ring of the burning Nines and they don’t often come here, but it’s still their territory so be careful.”
The man disappeared again but this time didn’t reappear. Instead, the protection that Gasalam had obtained against the heat vanished, and he suddenly found himself looking at various creatures not too far away from him that appeared out of nowhere.
As if a veil that had been between them had been removed.