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IRNDGL - Chapter 19: Entrust It To Me

“Thank you,” Joseph said instinctively and these words were his innermost sentiments indeed. Even though his suspicions and wariness hadn’t diminished, he was sincerely grateful.

Joseph sat up straight, his heavy body placing immense stress on this old deckchair, causing it to produce a loud creak. Wincing, he decided he might as well stand up.

The bookstore owner waved his hands dismissively and said, “It’s alright, helping customers is just something I ought to do. Anyway, how are you feeling now?”

Joseph moved his joints and muscles, then made a clenched fist, creating a sound akin to a bow string being drawn taut. It was as if this fist was a drawn bow full of accumulated energy that would display extremely startling power when released.

He took a deep breath, his mind in a state of calm. Unlike past situations where he was tormented by delusions, his senses were exceptionally clearer. This was an unprecedented state of relaxation.

There were still some remnants of Candela’s sentiments.

Serenity, elation, comfort...

Unable to control himself, a relieved smile appeared on Joseph's face. This feeling of being at his peak had finally returned after two years.

Lin Jie watched from the side as his lips twitched slightly. If this uncle’s fist struck someone, it would very likely be fatal. He now felt his conjecture had been rather spot-on.

This stance, he really has the vibe of a military man… That austere look and that dangerous aura that makes one’s hairs stand on end.

“I’m good now. Never been better,” Joseph nodded as he withdrew his clenched fist and adopted a normal posture.

Deep down, he mulled over what the bookstore owner had said. Helping customers is something I ought to do… Does he mean to say he adopts a neutral stance and helps any customer regardless of who they are?

Even a heinous and cruel black magician like Wilde, or a crushed knight hell-bent on vengeance like myself. No, this seems more like a messed up desire to be kind. Anyone who steps into this bookstore would receive help from this owner.

Joseph had only seen this modus operandi amongst one community—elves.

A minority race from ancient times that had yet to die out till this day, elves were beings with long lifespans, graceful and adept in many arts.

Joseph felt that the vibe of this bookstore owner before him was really similar to them.

Only with a long lifespan would one lose desire to determine between good and evil and instead spend his time pursuing new interests.

The bookstore owner treated others politely and with a natural air of grace. Also, running a bookstore and his love for reading books corresponded to the affinity elves had to arts. Humans didn’t have too much interest in books nowadays.

Coincidentally, the demon sword Candela’s first owner was an elf by the name of Candela. Furthermore, from legends of times long forgotten, Candela was a prince of the ancient elf kingdom and later became the king of moon elves. Also, he was also known by two other names, ‘the source of the great pestilence’ and ‘first lunatic’.

His descent to lunacy was long lost in history but the only well-known bit was that he had killed himself with his own sword.

The sword became a wedge that crucified his soul.

His soul became a curse, causing this sword to become a demon sword. Thus, the prince and his sword came to share a name.

From then on, every wielder of the demon sword would ultimately die after going crazy.

Before today, Joseph felt that he wasn’t too far away from meeting this end. However, everything was different now!

This book in his hand could actually placate the demon sword Candela! Therefore, as he thought about it, he felt that a bookstore owner capable of owning such a book could only be an elf...

Given this assumption, the lack of disturbance in the aether made sense. If an elf had survived from ancient times to the present, he wouldn’t be capable of utilizing his power in other aspects besides prolonging his own life!

Now, as Joseph thought back to what the bookstore owner had said previously, he began to understand everything.

Holding up the book in his hand, Joseph looked towards the bookstore owner and muttered, “You mentioned before that this was the only copy and you liked reading it… Can this be borrowed?”

Lin Jie blinked once, then chuckled, “Of course, I wouldn’t have brought it out nor recommended it if it weren’t the case.” Clearing his throat, Lin Jie continued. “Actually, I felt that this book was very suitable for you the moment i first laid my eyes on you.”

“Many others like you suffer great pain from inner anguish and regret, often finding yourselves lacking in strength and resolve. As a result, stuff like this as a result of doubting yourself eventually drives you crazy."

Alas, Lin Jie had seen war veterans before. Oftentimes, their errors and experiences on the battlefield would eat away at them on the inside because most of the time, even the tiniest of mistakes on the battlefield could easily cost a life.

“But actually, it isn’t any pain that defeats them, but their frail kindness.”

Joseph was stunned and muttered, “Kindness?”

He had met two previous wielders of the demon sword, both reputable Great Radiant Knights of Secret Rite Tower. Both accomplished many great deeds and had perfect principles.

But ultimately, without exception, they were corrupted by the demon sword. In the end, their greatest regret was their lack of strength that made them unable to thoroughly control the demon sword!

Lin Jie shook his head as he took a deep long look at Joseph, then returned back behind the counter. Folding his arms, he continued, “Kindness is a good thing. But the keyword here is frail.”

“Expectations of such people are too high because of their virtuous morals and sense of responsibility. In order to give others help and faith, such people would arm themselves to appear like nothing can knock them down but in reality, such defenses are especially frail.”

“Once spirit crumbles, anything can become a chink in that armor. This kindness can save others but it is powerless to save themselves.

And when you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you—There are times where you aren’t needed to be an omnipotent hero but rather, an ordinary person instead. Retreating at an appropriate juncture is a form of courage and it shouldn’t overwhelm you.”

Chicken soup doled out! There’s no way you haven’t been moved. Lin Jie put on his usual professional smile.

This was a classic Teacher Lin marketing technique, binding the customer and merchandise together to let him feel deserving of such an item.

Joseph mulled over Lin Jie’s words and felt slightly enlightened.

So that’s the case…

The demon sword’s corruption didn’t happen overnight. Knights had impeccable ideals yet they were eventually eroded.

They had always assumed that the curse was just too powerful. But nobody expected that behind it all, it was actually the demon sword having a grip over the wielder’s ‘inner demons’!

We’ve been mistaken all this time! Damn it!

“But will just appeasing it work for a long time?” asked Joseph with a frown.

Hmm?

“Of course not,” replied Lin Jie with a shake of the head. But it was quickly followed by a smile. “But if you wish, I can help if you entrust it to me for long term effectiveness.”

Heheh, if this happens, wouldn’t I have gotten a long term customer who wants to resolve his emotional issues? Lin Jie thought to himself delightedly.

BeetleBarker's Notes:

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. - Friedrich Nietzsche

I'm still looking for an editor that can help me on improving this story!
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Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beetlebarker
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Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing
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Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/beetlebarker
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beetlebarker
BeetleBarker's Discord:  https://discord.gg/bEr3QYN
IRNDGL Manhua translation by Zeroscans
Written by Great Calamity Of Fire (万劫火). Translated by BeetleBarker.