“Welcome, Samuel Hayden.”
The man sitting on the boulder in front of me welcomed me with wide arms.
“Your hands are still trembling, you know?”
I looked down at my hands, and my right hand was trembling only slightly. So slightly, that one would need to focus all of his senses on my hand to notice it.
And that gave me the answer I was looking for.
“I see.” That man smirked at my reply. “I understand what this Trial is, Samuel Hayden Number II.”
The man, Samuel Hayden, a perfect clone of me, jumped down from the boulder and started walking towards me.
“Is that so? And what exactly have you understood, Sam?”
Going by what I saw before and after coming here, and after theorizing what a normal human would go through when faced with them, this is the most likely possibility.
“The Trial itself is divided into two parts. The first part shows the Trial taker- let’s call him X for now- his deepest, most coveted desire. X must face that desire in a world where it has been fulfilled, recognise that it is fake, and exit that world.”
His amused eyes asked me to continue.
“After leaving that world, X is at his weakest mental state; he did destroy the world of his dreams by his own hands, after all. Even if X knew that that world was fake, it’s impossible for a human to completely separate his emotions from his logical counterpart. No, on the contrary, those who tend to think logically would be shaken up more greatly when faced with such a situation.”
Those who act solely on logic are more often than not inexperienced with emotions. No matter how hard they try, it’s impossible for them to eliminate their feelings. The world shown to them in the first part shows them what they desire the most, and desire itself is a compilation of several emotions.
“And this is where the second part of the Trial comes in.” Sam II squinted in pleasure as I continued. “When X is emotionally weakened, he is forced to face his own self, which means that he must battle his own perfect clone. In this case, that would be you.”
“Congratulations, congratulations, you’re absolutely correct.” He laughed and clapped, as if giving me a standing ovation. “But tell me, what exactly is the clone supposed to do to X?”
“Perhaps, something like confirming the resolve of X?”
Which means that the clone of X will confront the latter with things that would stir up the mental state of X even more. And since he’s a perfect clone of X, it would be really easy for him to do so. It’s possible that the clone will bring X to the very brink of despair. If X manages to not lose sight of his original goal, then X would pass the Trial.
“Marvellous.” His eyes widened. “Sherry was right; I really can see through everything.”
“Hearing that from my own self feels really weird.”
How am I supposed to feel about that, oi?
“Haha, I can understand that feeling.” He chuckled. “So, what should we do now?”
“Aren’t you my host? Why the hell are you asking me?”
“I simply thought I should allow you to give your opinion. I mean, it is you who will ultimately be affected by what happens here, right?”
“Ah, how magnanimous of you. You really are my clone, huh?”
“Of course.” He grinned. “I am you, and you are me.”
Gosh, that sounds creepy.
“Well……. You are supposed to be my perfect clone, but exactly how perfect are you?” He narrowed his eyes. “We both know that I’m a bit too special, don’t we?”
Yo I’m not an Undead King.
“In a more general case, I would have fought you and stimulated your emotions during battle. But since this is a really special case, I have been granted a bit more….. freedom.”
Now that’s surprising.
“Consider this the courtesy of the System.” He continued. “It used around 10 percent of its resources to construct me as close to you as possible. In other words, I have every memory that you have, I know every plan that you’ve ever made, and I have almost the same scheming capabilities as you.”
Every plan that I’ve ever made, and every one of my memories? Does that mean…….
“But of course, I’m simply not as powerful as you. Even the System cannot create Tzeeneth, Maxwell, or the others.”
“Well, that’s true.” He also nodded. “So, are you going to confirm my resolve now?”
“I wonder….” He cupped his chin in his hand. “I feel that would be……. Interesting.”
I see, his personality is not a perfect copy of mine. No, perhaps it’s the character of my past self?
⟦Oh, so you realised? That’s surprising.⟧
⟦Shut up, Asswell.⟧
Not knowing of my inner turmoil, or perhaps knowing but choosing to ignore it, Sam II continued.
“I know what doubts you hold in your heart.” He first raised his right hand a little. “Should you be happy with what you currently have; be content with the five prerequisites that currently hold your existence together?” He then did the same with his left. “Or should you follow your greed and risk losing those five in order to get back that one prerequisite that gave meaning to your very existence, the one that is the main pillar of your heart?”
As he smiled in a knowing way, I chose to remain silent. Taking that as the cue to continue, he joined his hands together and opened his mouth again.
“Or, should you pursue both?”
Should I answer him?
“Oh, you don’t need to give me an answer.” He let go of his hands. “I already know it.”
He closed his eyes for a moment, as if letting that answer sink into him. It was clear that he was enjoying this.
“No matter how much you ponder over it, agonise over it, suffer due to it, in the end you have only one choice.” He smirked. “All your actions, all your plans, all your sacrifices, are for one and only one single goal; to protect and avenge your Angel of Salvation.”
He smiled, but it didn’t reach his wavering eyes.
“Heh.” I took off my mask and smiled in return. “You really are my clone in the truest sense of the word.”
“The System gave its all to create a clone as perfectly as possible; it was creating a clone for you, after all. You should probably thank it the next time you meet.”
“I’ll remember that.”
That day will come eventually. And when it comes, I’ll have to pay back all my debts.
Good grief, I can already see what a pain the ass that day is going to be.
“So, what are your plans after this?”
He asked as I donned my mask again.
“My plans? Not really much. Since you don’t have any will to stop me, I’ll just pass by here and wait for the rest of them to come after completing their Trials.”
“At least put some effort into your lie.” He smiled wryly. “Aren’t you supposed to be a magnificent liar?”
I was seen through? Let’s be honest then; that’s supposed to be the best policy after all.
“I’ve now understood what the Trial is, but to be more honest, I’d already predicted it would be something like this one.”
Well, ‘prepared’ would be a more proper term. After consulting with Phiria, I had drawn up some possibilities for what the Trial could be, and had prepared accordingly. I just happened to land a jackpot.
“I see. What of it?”
“Since I’d already predicted it, I’d naturally laid some groundwork before coming here. I knew which Hero would react in what way towards the Trial, so I just modified their mental states a little through simple manipulation to direct their reactions in directions favourable for me. If all goes well, they would take one step closer to becoming my puppets.”
“Good grief, how devious are you? You aren’t the Demon God for nothing, are you?”
“The correct term would be ‘Overlord’.”
“Yeah yeah.” He waved his hand. “Let’s go now, shall we?”
“Wait, you are coming with me?”
“Another courtesy of the System.” He sneered. “I have the freedom to go anywhere I like inside this dungeon, and it just so happens that I have the desire to witness your exploits by my own eyes.”
He has one hell of a twisted personality. Not that I can’t understand him.
“So, you can’t go outside of this dungeon?”
“Quite unfortunately, no.”
That’s regrettable. He would have been useful for many things. But there’s still something I’d like him to do for me.
As he turned around and started walking towards the exit of this room-
“Wait a minute.”
I stopped him. He turned his head and raised an eyebrow.
“While we’re at it, I need one more thing from you.”
“And that would be?”
“Take Tzeeneth.” I raised my right hand. “And let it rampage to its heart’s content.”
Both Sam II and Tzeeneth had the same reaction at my unexpected proposal.
Good for you, right, Tzeeneth? Kill the monsters here as much as you want. I’ll come retrieve you later.
Finally, you dumb ass bitch! You should have brought me here since the very beginning.
I could feel it saying something along these lines while nodding enthusiastically. It instantly appeared in my hand, and I threw it to Sam II. He easily caught it, and just like what happened in God’s Realm, Tzeeneth settled itself in his body.
“Oh, and one more thing.” I demanded the attention of Sam II who was clenching and unclenching his fist while staring at it. “We had been separated for a very long time, so I would appreciate if you could tell Tzeeneth about my plans, especially the 3rd stage of Rododactylus.”
⟦Maxwell, initiate the lambda protocol.⟧
⟦Hmm?⟧ He grunted. ⟦All right.⟧
He did as he was told and executed the lambda protocol. As a result-
⟦Don’t tell me……..⟧
Suddenly, Maxwell muttered from inside me, his tone one of disbelief.
⟦Samuel, do you know anything about the lambda protocol?⟧
⟦I see. Ha!⟧ He scoffed. ⟦What a fucking madman! This is bullshit, I say, bullshit!⟧
And then cut the connection with that.
Sam II, on the other, was silently staring at me, and then, a slight smile appeared on his face.
“Aaahhh, you really are a-”
His eyes glinted maliciously as a wide, manic grin appeared on his face.
I did pay attention to the reference of certain undead king novel that gonna end in vol 17
Ty for ch
Sasha Ainz-Sama sausage Sam-sama
That hurt me
Such a great novel, ending so soon