"Hey, you listening? Are you off in dreamland thinking about women?" Joseph asked, waving his hand around.
I clenched my teeth and quickly fired Piercing Red at him.
Joseph sighed and flicked his finger at my Piercing Red, causing it to change trajectory and it was now heading towards the sky.
"Hey now, calm down."
"What are you… doing here? How the hell did you even find me?" I challenged as I activated Angel's Crimson Hand and Devil's Azure Palm.
"Well, a voice spoke in my head and told me to find a man lying unconscious on the floor. To think that man would be the same one I met at the colosseum… Now that I look at you up close, you aren't as intimidating as I thought you would be."
"Cut the shit! What do you want?"
"…well, I'm here to help you. Is that so wrong?"
"Do you really think I would believe such bullshit?"
"If I was lying, you would be in the afterlife right now. Look, I don't even know what is going on, but all I know is that I'll be helping you for these next 6 days according to the voice that spoke in my head."
"I don't know, but it had a deep voice. It also had a hint of evil too, but I didn't really pay much attention to that."
A voice spoke to him? Could it be?
[Affirmative, Seffirot indeed communicated with him…]
He can do that?
[Only when the window is open, then can he communicate with others…]
I see… so I guess he can be trusted… for now.
I refocused my attention back to Joseph who handed me a bowl of stew.
"You just woke up so I'm guessing you are hungry. Here, have some."
I gulped as I stared at the bowl of stew in his hand. I wanted to refuse but it was either I crawl around and eat insects or a bowl of stew from an enemy.
…yeah I think I'll go with the latter.
I took the bowl of stew out of Joseph's hand and began to consume it. Well, it seems that I was starving because I devoured my first portion like an animal, making a mess everywhere.
"Hey now, slow down, otherwise you'll choke and possibly even die. I'm not gonna save you you know," Joseph chuckled in a darkly humorous tone.
After finishing my portion, he offered me another and I accepted without a second thought.
I didn't really care if it was just a simple stew, it tasted great. The tenderness and juiciness of the meat, the mixture of the salt, the broth, the spices…
What was that phrase again…? Oh right.
Finally, some good fucking food.
I continued to eat until I was full and then cleaned myself up. After a while, I hesitantly thanked Joseph who smiled before standing up and cracked his knuckles.
"Now that you are full, let's have a quick spar. For this, I want you to fight me with everything you've got."
"Huh? Right here? With everything I got?"
"Of course. I need to see what you are capable of before I start training you, right? Otherwise, I might be teaching you things that you are incapable of. For now, all I know is that you can wield Cursed Red and Blue energy, meaning you can learn Warlock techniques."
Being trained by a hero… normally I wouldn't really agree to such a thing since I have a strong dislike for them and even for that word itself, but due to the circumstances, I guess I really have no choice here.
"Fine then, let's start now," I said before firing a Piercing Red at him.
Immediately as soon as Piercing Red struck Joseph, it just seemed to… bounce off and head up towards the sky.
"Phew… If I hadn't had my Rejecting Barrier on, I would've surely been impaled," Joseph said as he patted some dust off his shoulders.
"Now then," He said, facing me as his arms changed; his right arm morphing into some kind of demonic arm while the palm of his left hand glowed red.
"Come at me."
I dashed forward while forming Caustic Blue before slashing the air with it.
Joseph noticed that he was being pulled towards me and he smirked as he pointed a finger at me with his left hand.
As I continue to slash in his direction, I suddenly felt my energy being drained away and I quickly seized myself.
"What the hell? The hell is this?" I asked as I withdrew Caustic Blue.
"Rejection. That was the principle I was gifted. With it, I can reject any attack that my opponent sends at me. Basically, I'm attacking them back with their own attacks."
"So that is why I felt my energy being drained away?"
"Exactly, and I assume that this skill of yours allows you to pull in your enemies and drain their energy in the process. Actually... no, it doesn't drain, it... gets rid of it... right?"
"What? How can you tell?"
"Well I mean, I felt my mana being drained away when you swung that blue blade and at first I thought you were absorbing my energy as I could, but then I notice that you weren't gaining anything, then I put that pieces together and that was the conclusion I came up with."
What the hell? Did he figure all that out in just a few seconds? That's absu- well actually I could've figured that out as well, just not that quickly.
Anyway, from what I've seen is that this Rejecting Barrier of his is strong enough to deflect Piercing Red. His Principle of Rejection allows him to basically counter his opponents with their own attacks.
Since he's a Warlock, he'll also have another principle besides Rejection. That arm... I wonder what it does...
Well, there is only one way to find out.
If he wants me to go at him without holding back, I'll do it.
I shot towards him and attempted to sweep his legs. However, he quickly noticed and dodged before delivering a swift kick to the side of my head.
I managed to block it and with my left hand, I shot a wave of Oppression at him. Then he held his demonic arm out and nothing happened next.
Nothing happened. What the hell? Did he negate it?
"This is Consumption. I can drain my opponent's attack and then convert that energy to my own."
"What the hell? That's just-"
"Absurd and possibly a powerful weapon to wield? I know."
"I just going to ask, why you are revealing your tricks to me?"
Joseph only smiled as he held faced his left palm towards my face.
"Because even if I tell you, or anyone in general about my power and what it does, they'll never be able to beat me."
Then, I was slapped by a powerful blunt force. I flew back and crashed into a tree.
Ow... what the hell? It was like being hit by a truck.
"I forgot to tell you, Rejection allows me to blast matter away. Matter counts for any organism, including us mortals," Joseph explained as I fixed myself.
"Now then, I'll get serious," Joseph said before he locked his right thumb around his pinky.
And then, he vanished in thin air.
I was confused and looked around to find out where he had gone. Then when I used Dragon's Blood, I felt a dangerous presence behind me.
Quickly, I spun around and delivered a quick jab, which he had caught.
I charged up another Piercing Red and attempted to shoot him but when it was just about to fire, Joseph caught my fingers, and Piercing Red was fired into his hand. As a result, it pierced through his hand, making a finger-sized hole.
"Focus on the fight."
Suddenly, he delivered a heavy kick to the side of my ribs, completely shattering it to pieces.
What... the hell!? He's fast! Abnormally fast! He's not just fast, I couldn't even sense him moving to attack at all!
"Still processing what just happened? Your mental process is quick, but it's not suitable for a quick battle."
Then he delivered a punch infused with Rejection towards my chest, blasting me into the air.
I quickly caught myself using Flight and took a minute to breathe.
He was... so quick, I couldn't even sense his movements. Almost as if he didn't intend to kick me at all.
Damn it... I don't even know what the fuck is happening anymore!
"Huh, you haven't learned it yet?"
I turned and Joseph was floating behind me.
"Learned what yet?"
"Cursed White Arts."
"You fly using... mana to direct yourself right? Pushing the air to travel around in an aerial manner."
"Well, yeah. What else am I suppose to-?"
"Only primitive creatures would use such a tactic."
Then his tone changed. It was stern and almost filled with hatred.
"You see, Nero, Warlocks are given access to the void because it is to separate them from the monkeys. We do not obey the laws that they do and we alter those laws to our will."
Then he delivered a blow to my head, and I began plummeting towards the ground. Crash-landing into the floor, I felt my strength being drained away.
"You may have obtained Warlock strength, but you are far from calling yourself one."
He appeared in front of me and lifted me by my hair.
"I've stripped you of your strength using Consumption, rendering you incapacitated. Rest. Tomorrow, we'll be heading to the Auroral Glaciers. I reckon you can... withstand the cold. If not, your body will be buried in a field of snow, alone. Now then, pleasant dreams. You'll need it."
That was what I heard before I fainted from the lack of energy and mana.