Desire - Chapter 22 : Sake 
Like Heuk Seolhyang’s house, Sake’s house was in a quiet place away from the center of the village. Perhaps he was concerned about the dangers and evil magic experiments. Which is rather favorable on Ajin’s part. He was not feeling lazy when he was looking around. He walked and headed towards another place. He didn’t do much with the people around him right in an instant, but he thought that he would be different from now.
With so much time and effort, Ajin reached Sake’s house. There was no one around. Ajin immediately approached the door and turned the doorknob without even knocking.
As he entered, silence prevailed. He listened intently as he breathed the air in the house; it was filled with the scent of old corridors, the scent of reagents, and the aroma of Hanemos.
‘Runia is probably at home.’
It’s better that way. Ajin stretched out his feet while smirking. There was a very small creek that disturbed the silence. He opened the door that led him underground and went inside.
Sake was so engrossed in his research. Without knowing that Ajin came in, he was just sitting at the table with his robe on and his back stretched.
“Runia? No, it’s Ajin.”
Sake turned around due to the sound he heard. Ajin bowed his head, smiling the same way he usually did last time they met. Sake also smiled kindly as he swept his sweaty hair.
“I can see that you are finally here and questioning what’s happening. Looks like Runia opened the door for you.”
Ajin came up to Sake, answering gently. Sake shrugged.
“You must have gotten close to Runia, huh? Oh did you bring Hanemos with you?”
“Of course, it’s for your research.”
With Ajin’s reply, Sake smiled. He said something as he wiped the sweat dripping down his wrinkled forehead with the back of his hand.
“Just put it over there, with the Hanemos that has been already collected.”
Ajin took out the Hanemos from his bundle and put them in the pile. This is the last time he will pick that goddamn flower. So far, the Hanemos, which he and the other players had collected, have been piled up. As he looked at it, he let out a pleased smile and turned around and wore the robe that is on the wall.
“What about the experiment?”
“Hmm. Frankly speaking, it isn’t going well. Baking, boiling, burning…I’ve tried it all, but the amount of mana I can get is very small. Do I need to do magic too?”
Sake murmured solemnly. He had already learned about the process from Sake. Magical processing will get refined mana, but that would be costly just like Sake doesn’t want it to. Wizards are high-level personnel. Hiring one would be expensive.
“I thought it’d be a little better if I mixed it differently, but there’s a limit for that. I need a way to extract pure mana from Hanemos.”
Ajin knew how to do it. He had energy drain after all. He can extract the energy of his opponent; he can also extract the pure mana from Hanemos. However, it would be impossible for Ajin to extract and get the mana that he absorbed out of his body.
‘If that’s possible, that would be amazing.’
Ajin clicked his tongue out of regret. If the mana he extracted was made into a potion and distributed, he could have accumulated lots of fortune. With that in mind, they have experimented Hanemos several times, but the energy they have absorbed has already been replaced with internal energy that they have accumulated in the power plant. It was impossible to turn it into mana and take it out. Would it be possible if he can just learn magic? He thought so, but he put this on hold for now.
“First of all, I want you to work as hard as you did yesterday. Of all the things that aren’t magical, baking works. Why don’t you give me 20 Hanemos?”
He answered Sake’s order, he slowly approached Sake. Sake was mixing reagents as he glanced at the flask on the table. Ajin was struck with a strange feeling as he looked at Sake’s back.
Sake is not a bad man. He had a good character. He was weakened by his request, and didn’t think of anything malice and helped Ajin. He even promised to write him a letter of recommendation to the magic school because he wanted to walk a path towards being a magician.
‘You’re a good man.’
Ajin admitted purely. Unlike the image of a wizard being eccentric, Sake is truly a good man. He knew how to take care of all the people and he knew how to make concessions. Perhaps it is to focus on the experiment of making a lot of cheaply produced mana. His personality and attitude deserve praise.
‘I won’t be like him forever.’
Ajin stood behind Sake. He looked at this small wizard whose back was bent, for a moment. Yeah, he can’t be like this good wizard all of his life. He can’t care for others, and he can’t yield. It’s not possible for him because he is Ajin after all.
He is selfish, individualistic…Because he’s a man of desire. After all, this is his personality. He is a scumbag who thinks he has nothing to do with what happens to others for his good. If it is him, he is the best out of all. He is a person whose brain has developed with such values. He smiled silently.
He bargained that he liked the confidence he had. He liked himself for not caring about others, and he liked himself for not doing anything bothersome for others. It is also excellent to be faithful to desire. He questioned himself what’s wrong with doing what he wanted to do? Living alone is one of the reasons. It’s comfortable to be alone because he can be immersed in himself and only for himself.
The same reason he had right at this very moment.
He trusted his hands together, up and down. His target was the top of his head. Yeah, he was a good man, so I won’t give you painless death. This was the least courtesy and consideration for the wizard called Sake whom Ajin referred to him too.
Instead of groaning or screaming, Sake made such a stupid noise. He was floundering and falling, so he grabbed the table instinctively. His head was hot and could feel something sticky and damp flowing down his forehead. Sake thought as he looked with blurry vision.
‘What is this?’
The idea he had, of course, did not last in the end. He was swallowed by darkness as if the wind blew out a candle. Ajin lowered his fist raised while looking at the safety of the basement.
Ajin smiled. Wizards are not that single focused. They can create numerous phenomena with a few bites on their lips. They cause thunder to strike, set fire, spit water, cause wind, and shake the ground.
But they are also weak. They are not warriors who had mastered martial arts, keen senses, and strong bodies, but that is something wizards disregarded. They exert a powerful force if they are ready, but if they don’t give time to prepare, they are no different from ordinary humans. So for Ajin, this was very easy. His body is strong and fast. He didn’t feel any difficulty breaking a middle-aged man’s head.
Rather, the red wolf’s head is harder than that of this man.
“You’ll be in big trouble if you trust anyone.”
Ajin giggled and laughed as he watched the blood-soaked Sake’s hair and his unclogged colorless pupils. No one can tell what he was thinking, his facial expressions, his behavior, and his speech. It is the first impression of others to guess and accept it and when it becomes long term, it changes the perception of others.
After all, what one feels about others is a mask that cannot be known whether it is true or not. Even if the mask is smiling, no one knows whether the face inside the mask is laughing or crying. He thought how ridiculous it is to trust others with that kind of perception.
Ajin wore a smile as a façade when he met Sake. He masked himself as a ridiculously kind, gentle…and with that, he had hidden his true nature, which is a hideous beast. And it worked well for Sake. The foolishly good-natured wizard never doubted that Ajin’s façade was not even true.
And so he died.
“I think magic is an attractive discipline.”
Ajin threw Sake’s body right in front. He slowly stretched his hands and grabbed Sake’s head. He smiled wryly and activated his energy drain.
“But it doesn’t suit me.”
Ajin whispered. The energy drain sucked into the dead Sake’s body. The mana that the wizard, Sake, had gathered so far, slowly slipped into his body through his hand. It would not be a bad idea to put his dead body in front of others and ask for forgiveness. It would be like an insult to the lion, but the shape wouldn’t have been bad. He can’t afford to be so relaxed. He had already experienced how inefficient it is to spread the energy he drained of a dead body.
If he kills them, they lose energy and dispersed into thin air. To stop it, it had to be sucked out immediately after it was killed, when there is still warmth left in the body.
Ajin held on to Sake’s head for a long time. He didn’t know if Sake was an outstanding wizard or not, but he had a considerable amount of mana at least a lot more than the black wolf. He was thrilled with the amount he had received. He gazed at the mummy-like shriveling Sake in his hands.
After a long absorption of the energy drain he had from Sake, Ajin immediately went to the place where Hanemos was piled up. He activated again his energy drain while holding a pile of Hanemos in both hands. In the end, he spent the whole night collecting Hanemos, pretending to skip hunting. He would suck it all anyway, but he didn’t think it was a waste of effort.
If a definite return was promised, the effort he had is pleasurable.
Although Hanemos was all shriveled already, Ajin kept moving instead of having a dry breakfast as full energy was swirling around his body. He thought how much bigger it would be if he rolled around with this?… It would probably be possible to level up his blood attack into ten…Ajin though he continued to do his deed while imagining something pleasantly. He then raised his foot and…Squash! His raised foot hit Sake’s body. As he did that for a long time, Sake’s body was already butchered.
Next, he picked up the note on the table. It was Sake’s research note. After glancing into it several times, he gave up the idea of getting it into action. Aside from the magical powers, it is difficult for him to understand without systematically learning magic. However, there is a risk of being caught up in selling them away. Ajin put down the notes without hesitation and took out the candles that were lighting up the basement.
And he took the oil out of the inventory. He bought it at a local grocery store. He sprayed oil all over Sake’s body, the table, and the basement of Sake. He then dropped the candle and lit it. The ravaging flames shoot up. He turned and went out of the basement while watching Sake’s body being swallowed by the flame.
It’s funny how a magician dies in a simple fire. With that, some directing is needed. Explosion…yes, the experiment would have killed him in an explosion. His body is made of rice cake, so of course, it is also burned which is reasonable. He wished he could have saved a bomb, but he can’t. He thought that should he just let the basement collapse? No maybe a little later. Once this house collapses, he must kill everyone but himself.
‘Next one is…’
Centinni is translating this novel.
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