Varian gripped the handle and pulled the sword out of his chest. But as it came out, the sword liquified and entered his body. The liquid of darkness began to eat up his organs, like an insatiable beast.

This time, the pain was unbearable. Varian's body shuddered and he screamed at the top of his lungs.

"Fuck off!"

His life force exploded and the darkness was blown out, before it quickly melted away.

Varian then sidestepped to dodge another sword but…


There was no sword.

Varian turned to his left and bent.


And there was still no word.

He took a step back following his instincts.

No sword.

"M-My soul…is being lied to."

It's difficult to digest the fact that her manipulations had gone this deep. Now his own body and mind were no longer reliable.

'She's toying with me.'

Isadora must be watching with relish, enjoying the hunt.

First, she messed with his mind by putting it through daydream like nightmares.

Then, she trapped him in a field of darkness, numbing his senses and leaving him hanging to his most primal instincts.

Exploiting the situation, she 'made' his own soul believe something else, manipulating even his instincts.

Now, he's completely under her control. Even his senses were subject to her whims.

Rather than dodge her attack, she could make him impale himself on her sword and he'd do it thinking it would save him.

Cold sweat trickled down Varian's forehead.

If it was just the power of darkness or just the power of binder, he'd have been fine. But combined together, this was a nightmare.

'Is this how others feel when they fight me?'

To be fair, he didn't really fight anyone in his rank. They were too weak. But if he did fight someone of his rank, they'd have no choice but to despair. Heck, even someone a rank higher than him would be helpless against his multiple powers.

'I can't fall into this trap.'

Varian stopped the fusion and his powers fell back into their own ranks. The strength in his body seemed to be drained and he felt like he had gone from being an athlete in his prime to an old man in his twilight.

He then fused powers into time rank, and cast a time dilation boost onto himself at a ratio of 1:10.

Then, he split his powers again and this time, instead of combining all paths into one, he fused two or there into one path.

The composition of his paths changed.

[Adept: Mid Rank 5

Binder: Mid Rank 5

Energy: Mid Rank 5

Time: Mid Rank 5

Famine: Rank 0

Matter: Rank 0

Space: Rank 0]

It wasn't a luxurious setup per se. However, Varian picked it after careful consideration.

A field of energy formed around him, barely covering his perimeter. It was nothing in comparison to the vast field of darkness. But it cast a light on the immediate surroundings and lifted off the shacks on his senses.

The power of time, worked together with the power of binder to create an incredible synergetic effect.

Varian reasoned that he needed some sort of consciousness to even have these nightmares.

So, he mixed his time power, with the help of his nightmare power, and 'froze' these nightmares or fast-forwarded them to the point they blurred.

Since both of these powers came from the same source, they had no problem mingling which they otherwise would have, and worked incredibly well.

As a result, while some part of Varian's consciousness was still bombarded by nightmares, 'He'—the observer, the one experiencing it—saw it all as a blur, a distant memory that echoed through time.

The final problem was his body. He resisted the gravity as a rank 6 when all his powers were fused but now, he was having a hard time just standing in place against this back-crushing gravity.

He had trained with Enigma's gravity many times and was already familiar with the characteristics of the power.

It started when he randomly invited Enigma to help him train under severe gravity while he limited his powers.

Since then, Enigma, who didn't talk much and marinated an indifferent expression all the time began nagging him.

'Gravity practice.'

'Your training.'

'Come train.'

'You're slacking off.'

At times, he really wondered if he had grown lazy because he had defeated the Abyss Emperor and had no known enemies.

But looking back at it now, every training session would last at least an hour. He'd full of injuries, light but painful while Enigma would be soaked in sweat, her black training clothes sticking to her skin and strands of her wet hair sticking to her forehead.

The indifferent expression she always had would be gone as she'd be panting heavily in exhaustion, taking small, cute breaths and staring at him who'd have collapsed right beside her.

He'd remain on the ground for almost thirty minutes and Varian couldn't remember a single time when Enigma wasn't staring at him for those thirty minutes.

His mind was too exhausted after training to care about that back then but looking back, it was obvious.

Her pretty purple eyes were always cold and had a touch of softness and her lips were curled a little upwards.

Sometimes, she'd lie down beside him and stare at the ceiling. When he asked why she was doing that, she'd answer that she was also too tired to move.

He took her words at face value back then but now, it was clear what she was up to.

Perhaps because he was messing with his own soul his thoughts went out of control, thinking things he shouldn't be in the midst of a life-threatening battle.

'Enigma…I won't let you disappear.'

Varian vowed as he stared at the pair of red eyes glowing in the darkness.

'If it's against anyone else, I'd have to worry about exposing myself, but…'

A thin but bright white light flowed out of his body, weaving into threads. Along with it came a dark light, distinguishing itself from the darkness created by Isadora.

'I'll use the slivers to the fullest.'