Janus made another sigh before resuming his tale.

"We have been studying magic for a very long time. We, magicians, can be said to be the ones who are most accustomed to understanding mana. After learning the truth, we started delving deeper into the fabric of this universe. We started to better see the truth. We found many flaws. Now that we know this world is created by imperfect creatures instead of a perfect God, it makes more sense.

"While we were studying, the leader of the Alchemist Union came to visit. Our two factions always have a good relationship. Half of our members are also alchemists when they are not dabbling in magic. When the Alchemist Union's leader stood near us, we could sense something in him. Something similar to us. He possessed the same essence as us. An essence we know we can take.

"At that time, something clicked within us. We have always held some kind of resentment inside our hearts. Our teacher abandoned us. The persecution from other factions who think we are playing too much with the fabric of this world. The wariness against ambitious followers who wish to replace us. All this resentment burst like a dam breaking. Part of us wanted to take the essence from the Alchemist Union's leader, no matter the cost. Part of us didn't want him to get hurt.

"In the end, we split."

"Uh… Split…?" Jack couldn't help but ask. He couldn't understand what Janus meant.

"You are aware we have many clones, aren't you?" Janus asked.


"We created those clones using a modified technique. Not a spell, hence they have no cooldown. It happens by accident actually, because we are tempering with reality when we try to understand the time magic. It was an effort to become a Time Sage by ourselves when our teacher abandoned us. Anyway, these clones were like a variation of us from different timelines which we forced to exist in ours. They were the inferior versions, though, because they could be said to be just copies of those other timeline existences."

"Do you get this?" Jack asked Peniel, who shrugged in response.

"Anyway, the same thing happened then," Janus continued. "Two of us. One who decided to not succumb to the temptation, and one who decided to no longer play by the rule of this world, came into being at the same time. We split. I carry most of the good emotions while he took with him all the baggage of our resentment, insecurity, and fear. Different than before. The two of us are not copies of other timelines. We are both entities of this existence. Hence, both of us are real, not clones."

"I see your grade and level is lower than when I brought the Eye of Illios," Jack said. "I suppose during your split. He took most of the power?"

"He was weaker than that when we split. But yes, he took most of the power. His level was reduced to level 80 but his grade remained mythical, while I was downgraded to level 80 rare elite."

"What about the leader of the Alchemist Union? He was there when you split, wasn't he?"

"He was… My other self wasted no time to carry out his intention. He assaulted our unsuspecting friend. The leader of the Alchemist Union was just a level 70 rare elite. He also didn't have much experience in combat. Thus, he was quickly defeated."

"You just stood and watched?" Jack asked.


Janus' silence gave Jack his answer.

"… I might have inherited our good emotions, but it turned out it was not enough to spring me into action. I was horrified, but I was also intrigued about what might happen. When the leader of the Alchemist Union fell, I saw my other self reach into him. I was as if… he was leeching the dead body. I knew then, there was a way for us to increase our grades. This is the way, by stealing the essence of others who have the same 'codes' as us. By accumulating these essences into our own, we will finally become an eternal being. And perhaps one day, becoming divine.

"I should be happy. I should be elated with this revelation. But seeing the dead body of who used to be my friend lying there while my other self reveled in naked contentment on his fill, I realized then what a terrible mistake I had committed. I should have stopped him. If he was given free rein, he would become a monster that ends us all. I can't have this on my conscience.

"I attacked him then, but he was stronger than me. Even stronger after he absorbed the essence from the Alchemist Union leader's essence. In the end, he overpowered me and locked me inside here. Since then, he had gone around, murdering the other league faction leaders who had the same 'codes'. He picked off the weak ones first. He had grown much stronger since then."

"Yeah, no shit," Jack said. The evil Janus had returned to his original level, which was level 90. Not to mention, there was a frickin plus sign next to his mythical grade description. He supposed that meant he was halfway or more than halfway to the eternal grade already. In other words, he was stronger than the average mythical grade being.

"I believe it will be harder for him to act from now on. The murders should have drawn the attention of the other league factions. It won't be as easy as when he was still catching them off guard. This is also the reason you are here, isn't it? Because people start to pay heed to these incidents."

"That's right, but everyone is still unsure about what they are dealing with," Jack said. "Do you know how many more kills he needs to get to the eternal grade?" Jack asked.

"I can't tell for sure," Janus answered. "But I reckon if he absorbed essences from strong leaders, I suppose maybe two or three more."

"Which means we don't have much time… Oh, f*ck…," Jack uttered.

"What's wrong?" Janus and Peniel asked at the same time.

'Something is very wrong,' Jack thought while sitting down weakly. He wasn't going to be able to attend the Outworlders Convention.