Chapter 34. The Price For Immortality
The skill that I was about to buy was [A Thousand Thunderbirds].
[A Thousand Thunderbirds]
- Rank: C+
- Summons a thousand birds made of lightning. It is possible to control these birds within a range of 10km. It is possible to tune the amount of electricity in the birds, and the skill can only be used once a day.
I left all my equipment to the bank, and was loaned 83,000,000 dollars. I immediately used the money to buy the skill. My body was enveloped in blue light, and I became able to use my new ability. Of course, I couldn’t kill the Warrior with just this. It only existed to persuade and talk to the Warrior. I activated the ability, and sent the birds flying up to the sky. The birds turned into blue streaks of lightning, and disappeared into the clouds.
This really is worth its money.
I took a look into the village with the floating eye, just to make sure if someone hadn’t evacuated yet. The survivors at this point were four speedsters, seven teleporters, and eight hundred soldiers. There were pitifully little compared to before. They must’ve never expected that they’d be pushed back to this point by the Warrior. I took up my white flag and descended down the hill.
The town was a smoldering mess. I could see corpses lying everywhere in the streets, with plumes of black smoke rising everywhere. I could hear gunshots every once in a while, but the sounds soon faded. Right now, my distance from the Warrior was 1km. I closed my eyes for a second, and became enveloped in the rain. Water bounced off of my face. When I opened my eyes, I could see a giant force of violence standing in front of me. Two giant swords were put against my neck, as if it was about to tear me to pieces at any moment. The Warrior looked at the white flag in my hand, and narrowed his eyes.
“What kind of trick are you planning on pulling this time?”
I knew exactly what he meant by this. If I answered wrong, I’d be turned to mush immediately. The man was far stronger than me, and I had no power to fight back. Here, I needed to draw out his curiosity, instead of surrendering.
“Hold on. I’m not about to attack. I just want to give something to you.”
I took out a protein pack from the vault. I had prepared this earlier in the event that a situation like this should arise. The Warrior looked at me dumbfoundedly, then put his swords down on the ground to receive my gift.
“...Where did you get this?”
“I have an internet shopping ability. I can buy anything from our previous world as long as I have the cash. I can get it to be delivered anywhere I want it to as well.”
By telling him about my ability, I fulfilled the second condition. If someone who didn’t know about my plans saw this, he’d think I was a fool for revealing my ability to him. I took a look at my wristwatch and continued talking.
“It kind of works like this. Three, two, one...”
Eight boxes of water appeared to my right. The Warrior looked at the boxes silently.
“Get it now? How would I kill you with an ability like this? Let’s talk.”
The Warrior was a hero of war. He wouldn’t kill a person who approached him without a weapon. He is suspicious, but he is only cautious of my actions at this point. I took a look at the shallow wounds all over his body, and edited my theory about his power. The man didn’t seem to feel pain. No matter how used to pain one was, being cut by a sword would make the person flinch in pain a little bit, but he didn’t show any of that. At first, I thought he just didn’t feel anything, but…
If that was the case, people around him would’ve noticed. It probably would’ve been recorded as well. His sense of touch was fine. Seeing how he immediately responded to attacks from Heat Eye, he was capable of feeling heat as well. If that was the case…
He didn’t lose his senses. He lost the realness of life.
He was quite similar to me in that regard. The feeling of life as opposed to death didn’t seem very different. You almost feet disconnected from reality. If this was the same for the Warrior, wounds must not matter to him as much. To him, it must be a lot like seeing his HP go down in a video game. In the same line of thought, the Warrior probably never became scared of a monster that came for him. Any normal person would lose strength in their legs and plop down on the ground, but the Warrior would be able to counterattack easily. This was his secret to staying alive in the battlefield.
“Ah, I almost forgot to ask. How does it feel to lose the ‘realness of living’ after becoming an immortal?”
Seeing the visible change in the Warrior’s expression led me to believe that my theory was indeed correct.
“The cost of your power is the happiness in life, isn’t it? Your power must be more like a curse than anything.”
The Warrior tried to feign an emotionless face.
“I don’t understand what you’re trying to get at. So what? Get to the main idea. Do you just want to stall for time so that the soldiers can escape?”
“If you want to kill more of them, go ahead. I’m not at all interested in the lives of others.”
Saying this should stop the Warrior’s movements for a bit. Killing more at this point would just get him marked as a brutal murderer. The Warrior probably understood my implications.
“I just want you to listen to my story. You’re immortal anyway, right? Spare me some of that time of yours.”
After thinking for a second, the Warrior let out a mocking laugh.
“Why would I?”
I bit down on my e-cigarette. The thunderbirds, each of them carrying a charge of 10mA, immediately began to stream down towards the earth at the speed of light.
The rainwater began to conduct the electricity. The Warrior seemed to have tried to resist the electricity for a second, then fell down like a log once the second thunderbird hit the water. Unlike him, I was wearing rubber boots, which allowed me to stay unshocked. This is why you should be careful of telephone poles during monsoon season… Tsk, tsk.
“Do you know how the muscles move?”
I looked down at the twitching Warrior, and put the e-cigarette between my fingers.
“Let’s say that this cigarette is myosin filament, the string of protein that forms the muscles in the body.”
I lessened the distance between my fingers slowly.
“As the actin filament inside the myosin filament begins to move, muscle contracts. This phenomenon can be recreated with a little bit of electricity as well.”
In 1780, an Italian Biologist with the name of Luigi Galvani discovered that an electric shock to a frog’s legs could cause the leg to contract. The situation wasn’t really different here, except that this time I was using a live human instead of a frog.
“It doesn’t matter how strong you became. You are still an organism. You might be able to stop bullets, but not electricity.”
The Warrior’s high magic resistance only allowed him to resist a little more electricity than others.
An electric bird struck the Warrior’s body again. I looked down at the Warrior silently for a second before continuing to talk.
“‘Once you die, the cause of death is eliminated.’ In other words, ‘As long as you don’t die, status effects will continue to be in effect.’”
Freezing current. Once an electric current over 60mA shocks the body, the nerves become paralysed. This would happen to the Warrior with an electric current at 110mA.
I thought of the conversation I had with Necro and the saint two days ago.
“This magic resistance thing… If it raises resistance towards heat and electricity, wouldn’t the term be a mistranslation? Instead of magic resistance, it should be...”
I couldn’t really think of anything. The full definition of it would be ‘resistance towards various attacks such as fire, electricity, and poison except kinetic energy.’ A thick armor might be able to block an arrow, but not fire. This is where magic resistance comes into play. Being able to block the arrow would be the defense stat, and the ability to block flames would be magic resistance.
“The reason why they’re using such a term is because it’s a word that people are used to seeing. After all, everyone’s played a game at least once in their life.”
“The theory of it is correct. Electricity still works when you have high magic resistance. You just feel it less. But the thing is, how much would it work on the Warrior? His body’s different from the average man’s, you know. His body might be completely resistant to electricity.”
The saint immediately shot this idea down.
“His bioelectricity would be completely messed up, then. His nerve center would become completely messed up and he’d start getting palpitations.”
“Like a person whose pacemaker’s been broken?”
“Would a training to raise magic resistance lead to such drastic changes in the body?”
“But… If that were the case, wouldn’t demon eyes work on him?”
I answered that question.
“Of course it’d work. But if it’s too powerful, he’d die. If he dies, he revives. Once he becomes ‘reset’, he would temporarily become immune to the cause of death. Only then would the ‘immortality’ work.”
Necro and the saint both popped a question mark over their heads. Their use of the Oracle really was…
“Think about it. Invincibility and immortality don’t have the same definitions, correct?”
“Well… That’s obvious, isn’t it? They’re different words.”
The saint nodded to Necro’s comment. Do they still not get it…?
“If the Warrior was invincible, there wouldn’t be cases where he’d even get hurt. But he’s not invincible. He takes less damage thanks to his high defense stat, but there are records of him getting injured.”
I had read about this in the report.
“What happens when the Warrior becomes completely burnt? Can you call the pile of ash ‘alive’?”
The saint answered immediately.
“That would be… stretching the definition of life.”
“What about when his brain’s completely smashed? He can’t think. Can you still call him ‘alive’?”
The two were quietly listening now.
“The reason why immortality is called immortality is because the Warrior revives after every critical wound. ‘In the end’, he’s still alive.”
This was the difference between invincibility and immortality.
“In other words, immortality completely relies on the results. If he doesn’t die at all, you’d have to call him invincible, not immortal. If I tried to make this even easier to understand...”
I began to draw in the air using the Oracle.
1. A person who got stabbed by a spear in the head.
If this person was invincible, this case wouldn’t have happened in the first place. However, immortality is not invincibility. Because immortals can still suffer from damage, the spear would still go through the head. The person with immortality would be stabbed in the head, and die. This would be ‘death.’ Why? Because his brain turned to mush.
“It’s not that you don’t die because you’re immortal. You die for a very short period of time, then revive. If you’re not invincible, you have to go through this process at some point.”
The two let out exclamations of understanding at my drawings.
“Mr. Murderer, you’re super bad at drawing.”
“Thought it was drawn by an elementary schooler. Damn.”
I frowned, and drew my second picture.
2. A person who fell after being stabbed in the head by a spear.
The saint smiled mockingly at me. I ignored her, and asked my question.
“...What would the person do to recover from this situation?”
“He’d remove the spear. Ah…!”
Necro seemed to understand.
“You get it, then? That ‘the cause of death’ gets removed?”
For immortality to work, it would have to remove the cause of death for the user, be it a spear, poison, fire, or anything else. In other words--.
‘As long as you feed enough electricity into his body to keep him paralyzed, even though he’s not dead, it’s possible to restrain the Warrior.’
But of course, this wasn’t something that would continue forever. I could only use this ability once every day, and I couldn’t kill the Warrior with an ability like this.
I was just warning him. I was warning him that if he wasn’t willing to listen, I would continue to restrain him. The Warrior looked at me with hateful eyes from the ground. How scary.
“I know, I know. I can only hold you down in this state, and once you die from lack of air, you’d revive. But… aren’t you curious about how long I could do this to you?”
The electricity in the village disappeared. The thunderbirds would wait inside the clouds. The rain began to dissipate slowly. The ability users appeared above the rooftops to watch me and the Warrior. Did their curiosity surpass their fear of death? Steam rose from the body of the Warrior. And a second later, deathly black killing intent began to rise out of the Warrior. The ability users nearby tensed up in fear.
The Warrior let out a deep breath, and stood up without even twitching a muscle in his arms. He looked at me like a beast that was just about to lose control.
“I told you before. I’m only here to talk. You’ve fought enough already, haven’t you?”
His rumbling voice was quite the scary thing. I’d probably get smashed like mud if he just swung his arm at me right now.
“Well, it would be a trade more than anything, or something like that?”
“...Fine. I’ll listen to your last words. But, if you say anything boring, just know that I’ll kill you.”
“Shouldn’t that be a villain’s line? Well, whatever. How was it? That feeling of just lying down on the ground like a dead body? Just because you don’t feel the realness of life shouldn’t mean that you don’t feel the meaninglessness of it, right?”
Just like I did. The only fun I could have in life without realness was reading and talking. It must be the same for the immortal as well. What good was life if it wasn’t fun? The Warrior thought for a second, then threatened me in a low voice.
“I could make you experience it right now.”
“Trying to solve everything with violence isn’t ideal in the modern society, you know? And--”
“Shit like that never works against nature.”
The Warrior made a confused face. I snapped my finger in response.
The earth shook, and the volcano released a huge amount of steam.
“At a time like this…?”
The ability users nearby looked at this with surprised faces. Of course, all this was ‘acting’ for me. If it’s possible to save a person’s life with lies, it must be easier to kill with it as well. Well, I’ll have to see if he would actually fall for a childish trick like this though.
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