Villain Hides His True Colors
[Translator – Yasi ]
[Proofreader – Karane ]
I once read an article in a newspaper that said the following,
According to a study by a university from the UK, on average, people with higher IQ were more likely to develop depression.
If that article is true, I might have been a genius that far surpassed even Einstein when I was a child.
At least that's how I see it...
Back then, I was a very miserable and depressed child. A person who, every day, thought of ways for a quick death.
* * * * * * * * * *
(TN: * means a scene change)
My mother was a very beautiful person.
White and soft skin like freshly baked bread, long and coveted hair as if melted by the sun, and mysterious purple eyes that shone like jewels.
If she had lived in an ordinary city and not the slums, perhaps she might have been a world-class model or actor by now.
As such, she had an appearance that everyone would envy. Unfortunately, she didn't have the power to protect that beauty.
As history had proven, a shining treasure out of reach of the unworthy always brought tragedy.
"Heuk, mister, please don't kill me...I-if you let me go now, I won't tell anyone."
"Fuck! When did I say I was going to kill you? Why are you being so annoying? Do you really want me to kill you?"
"N-no! That's not it! P-please spare me this once. Please..."
"You're making a fuss because I look like shit, right? You want to shoot me?"
"I would never have such thoughts!"
"Look how you're lying. What do you mean no? It's written all over your face. Well, don't think it's too unfair."
"H-huh? What do you mean...?"
"The law of the world...There's a set of rules for the strong where if they tell you to strip, then you strip huhu."
"Ah, no! Please stop. Let go of me! Release me you bastard! Aahh!"
As a result, my father had committed a sin against my mother, and soon I was born into this world.
Was it because of that? My mother acted as if I didn't exist.
When it was mealtime, my rice bowl was nowhere to be found on the table.
Even when I begged or pulled at the hem of my mother's skirt out of desperation, my father would just chuck cigarette butts at me with no care.
At least it could be said that the only time I had a conversation with my father was when he was drunk and cursed me.
And then, one day.
After my mother had gone out somewhere and returned, she suddenly came to me and took the initiative to speak to me.
"Noah. Do you enjoy living?"
How should I answer this?
I was confused by the sudden situation. I stuttered and answered like a child who had just learned how to speak for the first time.
"Well, I don't know..."
My mother took out a well-packed box from a paper bag and handed it to me.
"You can't say that. Life is meant to be enjoyed."
I couldn't understand what she had said. Every day was so painful, so what in the world was there to enjoy?
"You have to enjoy your life from now on."
My mother said with a broad smile. As far as I could remember, it was the first time I had seen such a smile.
To be honest, I didn't know what she had meant, but I nodded without realizing it when I looked at her bright expression.
"I bought this for you, so open it."
I was a bit hesitant when presented with a gift.
But when I tore off the package with awkward hand movements, a box with a cute little boy wielding a sword on it appeared.
I stammered as I read the words on the box.
"A Warrior's...Adventure? Wh-What's this?"
"A game. When I asked people what kids like these days, they said this was the best."
I didn't know what a game was, so I could only stare blankly at her face. My mother smiled and then spoke.
"Pfft. You'll know once you try it. I'll show you what to do first, so watch carefully."
She took the game console out of the box and turned it on.
Cute music resonated in the gutter-like house and a beautiful world of various colors unfolded inside the game console.
My eyes became glued to the small screen.
"Hmm, is this how you do it? It's been awhile since I've done this, so it's really awkward. I used to play it a lot in the past..."
The appearance of my mother playing the game made me feel as if she had become a different person.
In the past, even when my eyes sparkled like a child, she would suddenly frown as if she was angry. And sometimes, she would even laugh while hitting my back.
I had learned for the first time that day that my mother had such various facial expressions.
"Now, look. If a bandit appears here, you can press this key to attack. Simple, right?"
"Yes! But...Wouldn't that person get hurt if I stabbed him with the sword?"
"It's okay. That's how games are played, so don't worry about it and kill him."
For a long time, my mother taught me how to play the game.
And when I got used to the controls to some extent, my mother crept up from her seat.
"Play by yourself for now. I'm going to go somewhere for a bit."
"Wh-where are you going?"
Suddenly, I had an ominous feeling that my mother would disappear like this. So I grabbed her skirt.
My mother gently removed my hand and patted me on the head.
"Me too...I'm going to enjoy my life from now on."
Was she going to play a different game?
It was a pity that I couldn't play with my mother a little longer, but I could understand it because there was only one game console.
"Then, when will you be back?"
"...I'll be back before you finish the game."
And just before leaving the front door, my mother called out my name one more time.
She stared at me with a heavy, sinking expression. Did she think I wouldn't be good at the game on my own?
I wanted to reassure my mother, so I replied in a brave voice.
"Yes! Don't worry. Now that I know how to play, I can do well by myself!"
"Yeah...I'm sure you'll do well."
My mother looked at me for a moment before turning her back and leaving the house.
While I sat in the empty house, immersed in the game alone. I wanted to surprise her when she returned.
How long has it been? The street lights outside the window shone and it was dark before I knew it.
I heard the door opening, so I quickly ran to the front door with the game console in my hand.
I wanted to show my mother my newfound skills and the monster I had caught.
"H-how was your..."
But standing there was my father, not my mother.
He looked around the house without saying a word. Soon, he pushed me aside and began to rummage through the house.
By the time the house had turned into a mess, my father approached me with a terrifying expression.
"Where are all the money and goods in the safe?"
My father slapped me on the cheek with his thick palm. The pain felt as if a piece of flesh had been ripped off.
I couldn't see well with tears in my eyes, but I could see my father raising his hand again beyond the blurry view.
"Fuck! Where did she go? Hurry up and tell me where she went!"
I, who had fallen to the floor, was kicked by my father indiscriminately.
All I could do was roll to my side like a shrimp and pray that this time it would end quickly.
After a while, my father left the house with a snort.
As I laid on the floor, I had a thought.
Mother...was she not coming back?
Even though I was young, I could tell that much intuitively. That my mother would never return to this house again.
But still, I turned on the game console with bruises all over my body.
No, she said she would be back by the time I finish this game.
So it was my fault. She wasn't back because I wasn't done with the game yet.
I denied reality with that thought.
It had been more than two days and my father still hadn't returned. During that time, I skipped meals and didn't let go of the game console.
While playing the game, different thoughts continued to collide in my head.
I wanted my mother to be happy just like before, and I wanted my father to bring her back and then we can be together again.
But I didn't like that side of me. However, the more I had such thoughts, the more I fell into the game.
The moment when a spectacular celebration exploded on the screen and the ending credit went up, the front door opened.
Standing in front of the door was my father staring at me.
"...You cook the rice from now on."
From that day on, I was on my own.
* * * * * * * * * *
I had to fill my mother's vacancy after she was gone.
From preparing breakfast every day, cleaning, laundry, and even walking the dog of my father's girlfriend.
Fortunately, I was good at housework, so thanks to that I was able to live by mimicking my mother.
However, in her vacancy, sometimes there was housework that felt too big for me alone...
"Fuck! Do you think I'm shit now too? Huh?"
It was dealing with my drunk father.
My father began to hit me in place of my mother.
And unlike my mother, I wasn't very talented at this kind of thing.
"Hey, what's with that look on your face? Are you going to stab me in my sleep?"
"...But I've never had such thoughts."
"My, my. This won't do. I'll play the role of your father today and teach you the truth of life."
* * *
[ Translator - Yasi ]
[ Proofreader - Karane ]
Join our Discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics
* * *
"Son, if you meet someone stronger than you in life...You have to bow your head in front of them. It's a very simple rule."
"So what I mean is...Don't open your eyes like that to me, punk!"
It wasn't until my father's anger was satisfied every night that my daily routine would end.
Whenever it was over, I would turn on the game console I had received from my mother as a gift.
And in the stale basement, with the volume lowered, I fell into the game.
It was already a game that I had cleared over and over again, but there was no other game I had.
So after I clear it, I would challenge it again from the beginning, and again, and this repeated countless times.
By the time I was able to recall every NPC line in my head, suddenly, I had a thought that it wasn't fun to live.
Each day became repetitive and a daily life where I couldn't feel any happiness.
If life was supposed to be this boring, I wondered if there was a need to live for decades more.
What the hell was life?
What did it mean to live when it was so painful?
I thought about it for days and days without playing my game. But I couldn't think of an answer.
It was too difficult of a problem for a 12-year-old child to solve.
How long did that last? Eventually, I was able to find the answer to my problem.
* * * * * * * * * *
"I have an errand for you."
One day, my father called me.
"Go to Hairy's house."
At the time, there was a butcher called Hairy living in the slums.
As can be seen from this intuitive nickname, he was a giant with a shaggy beard on his face.
Hairy didn't want to be close to anyone in the neighborhood, as if drawing a line in his mind that he was different from everyone else. He refused any conversation beyond buying and selling goods.
But for some reason, he was especially kind to me.
If I bumped into him on the street, he would deliberately surprise me with a scary face, or sometimes he would secretly give me snacks he had gotten from somewhere.
Perhaps my father knew this relationship between me and Hairy, so whenever there was something that involved him, he would usually use me to run his errands.
"I understand. I'll be back."
"Yeah. I believe you'll do well."
And that day, too, I visited Hairy's house to run an errand for my father.
But if there was something different...
Instead of a shopping basket in my hand, I held a loaded handgun.
I fired the handgun at the man who had welcomed me.
As he collapsed on the floor, I hurriedly closed the store. Through my teary eyes I could see blood spurting out of the hole in his chest.
Like his tough appearance, he was still alive after taking a bullet.
He looked up at me with a shocked expression.
Still, I pointed the gun at him.
"My father ordered it."
"Keuk...Bloody hell, that fucking bastard..."
"He'll let me meet my mother if I kill you."
"No-Noah...Y-you're being fooled by him. He said you'll be able to meet her, but your mother died a long time ago! Qui-quickly put down the gun..."
He kept lying, so I shot him a few more times.
In the cellar, his arms and legs flopped like a cockroach before going limp.
Soon, his ragged breathing stopped.
Only the smell unique to a butcher and the strong smell of gunpowder permeated inside the quiet room.
In fact, my father had told me to do it, but it didn't feel very good. It felt as if my whole body was stuck in a quagmire of filth.
What should I do now?
I didn't know what to do after I had shot him. So I looked at the body lying on the floor for a while.
For some reason, I felt like he would wake up at any moment now and surprise me. Unknowingly, I called out to him.
(TN: Ahjussi means older man, middle-aged man, mister, uncle, etc…)
Naturally, there was no answer.
"Are you really dead?"
Strangely, my voice trembled. Without realizing it, my strength faltered and the handgun fell.
I slowly approached him and shook his body. Again, there was no answer.
Instead, sticky blood clung to my hands.
When I looked around, the floor had become covered in red as if a large bottle of wine had spilled.
There was a strong fishy smell of metal, the very same smell that came from my body.
Only then did I realize.
That I had killed this man.
The fact that the person lying here can't hand me snacks ever again.
"I-I had to do this..."
I just wanted to see my mother one more time. So I had to kill him.
However, I didn't think I would be feeling this sorry for him.
"I-if I take him to the hospital now..."
I hurriedly blocked the hole in his chest with my hands.
But I soon realized that it was useless. This was because there was no more blood leaking out of his body.
There was nothing I could do. I wanted to apologize, but he couldn't hear me anymore.
I just sat there blankly, feeling his blood turning cold.
Suddenly, the handgun that had fallen to the floor caught my eyes.
And...a thought passed my mind.
This was my chance...
Since it was a life where I only suffered day to day anyways, was there a need to continue living?
And now I had a way to die comfortably.
I slowly reached for the handgun.
The cold gun touched my forehead and the finger caught in the trigger slowly exerted force.
At that moment–
A clear sound rang from the depth of my soul.
In my field of vision that had become blurred with tears, very familiar letters began to appear.
Level has risen.
Gained a Fragment of Growth.
The very same message like the one in the game my mother had given me. I touched the letters with my hands as if I was possessed by something.
Immediately after, another screen popped up in front of me.
< Level 2 (+1) >
*1 Fragment of Growth
I could feel it instinctively. This was the answer to the problem that had troubled me for so long.
My body shook and I had a realization.
I see...life was a game!
The world I live in was just a game.
Suddenly, I felt like I could hear the cute sound of music in my head. Colorful and pretty effects were added over the desolate scenery of the room.
When I turned my head, the body that was lying on the floor looked as if it had turned into a monster. However, even though I felt sorry for him, there was no sense of guilt.
Rather, I felt refreshed because the problem I had been agonizing over for a long time was solved.
My mother had told me that this was how games were supposed to be played. In games, you could kill anyone.
I recalled the smile of my mother that I had seen a long time ago.
[Life is meant to be enjoyed.]
At that time, I didn't understand the meaning properly, but now I somehow felt like I could understand it.
"I see. If life is a game..."
I looted the wallet from the man's pocket. Next, I secured the handgun that I had been holding.
"...I should enjoy life to my heart's content."
It was the moment when I realized the meaning of life.
* * * * * * * * * *
I ran away from the slums.
For the first few days I couldn't sleep properly because I didn't know if my father would come after me.
But that only lasted for a few days. I soon faced a wider world as I began to enjoy new stimuli.
At most, it was just the beginning of the game, so it would be too bad if it ended without me being able to play it properly.
So I would always value the precious time I was given.
I didn't hesitate to challenge myself if there was something I wanted to do.
Rather than falling into negative thoughts, I would think of how to have more fun.
Thus, I enjoyed every moment like a game.
And at some point, people started calling me by a different name.
"A-a villain is here!"
Why? What was the matter?
I just wanted to enjoy the game.
To be honest, I couldn't understand it with my common sense, but I tried to empathize with them.
I also hated this game terribly when I was young. Usually, any game wasn't fun at first.
Recalling my immature days of the past, I passed on the know-how to the newbies one by one.
"How is it? Isn't it more fun now?"
I thought hopefully this was enough for them to be able to enjoy the game. But...
[A villain has been spotted downtown. Citizens, please quickly move to a nearby shelter...]
"You're finally showing your true colors, villain!"
"Be careful! He has multiple abilities. Don't think about rashly running in!"
"Damn! The information was wrong. How can they say this crazy bastard is just C-Rank?!"
On the contrary, the Hero Association had placed a greater bounty on me.
As expected, the world's view of gamers was negative. Even if I tried to do something good, I was being cursed.
But because of this, new heroes began to come and bother me every week, and I had no choice but to kill them one by one with the feeling of playing a tower defense game.
Level has risen.
Level has risen.
I grew stronger and stronger.
The more I killed, the higher my level rose, and then little by little, higher rank heroes came to me.
That was how I continued to enjoy this game.
Then one day, heroes no longer came to me. Instead, they had given me a new nickname.
The only EX-Rank villain in the world. A living disaster. The Mad Demon.
Join our Discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics