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    However, before completely losing his sense of self, there was one moment that wasn’t easily forgotten like other memories, strangely enough: when someone had told him they would come to save him.

    Could it be because it was something that had never happened to him before, someone holding onto him and saying they would save him?

    As time passed, the face grew hazy, but the voice remained vivid. He also remembered being told to do as instructed and they would help him.

    For some unknown reason, he had made every effort not to forget that memory. Even though he had forgotten his own name, he had tried to hold onto that memory somehow.

    Looking back now, it was laughable. Why had he tried so hard and followed the words of the person who said they would help him?

    ‘Now I can’t even remember what he said.’

    With his mind empty now, all those things felt distant. If he forced himself to recall, it was painful, as if his insides were being squeezed. Rather than enduring that terrible pain, it was better to forget. So he didn’t try to remember anymore.

    With no memories stored, everything was hollow. It didn’t feel like living even when alive. It was a series of meaningless lives to the point where he thought it would be better to die.

    Nevertheless, the man maintained his body. Although he couldn’t possess a sense of self, he unconsciously controlled himself perfectly.

    But surprisingly, this kind of life was quite comfortable.

    By entrusting his body to the duties and orders someone had given him, he didn’t have to deliberately seek out his “self,” and there was no pain.

    When he decided to follow his duties, his body moved on its own. When he submerged his consciousness underwater, no thoughts came to mind. He simply sank deep below the surface for a long time, doing nothing. There were no headaches either.

    Looking down suddenly, there was no bottom or end. There was only the sensation of endlessly sinking. Within that sensation, the man thought.

    The conviction that if he ever reached the bottom, he would disappear, leaving only an empty shell.

    However, he didn’t want to avoid it. The fall was too peaceful. He was completely in touch with tranquility, without the sensation of his body and mind being constricted.

    ‘Would it be alright to sink like this?’

    Giving up was sweet and easy. If he just left himself alone, he would reach the bottom. But the man couldn’t do that. Because something strange had caught his eye.

    Originally, even when he opened his eyes, there were no colors. It was a world of black and white. It was because of the eyes of the ghost that covered his face. The man’s world had been darkness for some time, so the clarity of white and dark was more familiar and comfortable.

    But that was different.

    Round eyes that looked at him purely.

    Yes, it was strange, so very strange. That was truly strange.

    Even though all emotions and desires had been taken away, the moment he first saw those eyes, an unbelievable amount of devotion and joy welled up simultaneously. It felt as if he had regained the meaning and joy of his meaningless life.

    But at the same time, he realized that those feelings were false.

    ‘Young master.’

    He was the reason for his training and his master.

    He was a being created for him, and the joy of his life came from his master. So all he had to do was faithfully fulfill that duty.

    But did he always feel this strange sensation when standing in front of his original master? He had never experienced this feeling even when looking at the person who had directly trained him. From the young master in front of him, something… seemed familiar…

    “Let’s greet each other properly when we meet again.”

    What could it be? Amidst the pain that felt like his head would split open, a kind voice warmly greeting him came to mind.

    But that was all. Nothing else was remembered except for that brief moment lasting only a few seconds. Nothing came to mind regarding the circumstances before or after. He only felt the desire to regain that memory. He tried his best to get rid of it because it was a feeling he shouldn’t have, but to no avail.

    The strange feeling gradually grew. The man thought that he wanted to greet him out loud somehow.

    He thought he would be satisfied after greeting him, but it wasn’t the end. Strange urges began to arise as well.

    ‘I want to touch him.’

    He knew he shouldn’t touch his master except when necessary, and he couldn’t move without his orders.

    But unlike his mind, his body kept moving first. He wanted to convey his greetings to him somehow, he missed him when he was far away, and he wanted to touch him when he was close. When his master was with someone else, he wanted to separate them and protect him, and he wanted to prevent others’ hands from touching him.

    ‘My throat keeps getting dry.’

    Strangely, his throat felt dry whenever he looked at him. He had never felt thirst or hunger before, but it happened whenever he saw his master. He couldn’t resist it when looking at him.

    Each touch he offered was like a sweet rain, but afterward, thirst surged as if he were addicted.

    The thirst and hunger worsened day by day, and later, direct desires arose. He tried to talk to the master in front of him somehow. If there was distance between them, he narrowed it by any means necessary.

    However, whenever he had personal feelings for the young master in front of him, he had to suffer from a tremendous headache, as if it wasn’t right. Pain struck his entire body as if to block his thoughts.

    ‘It’s painful.’

    It was a pain that felt like his brain was being split and his neck was being cut off. Each time, the man looked at the bottom. When he looked down at the deep, dark bottom instead of the surface above his head, the painful headache disappeared.

    He was now sick and tired of the agony. If he sank deeper, he felt like he would be freed from this pain. So he closed his eyes to the unknown emotions and no longer listened to the sounds. Then his body sank towards the bottom again. The stillness suppressed the pain, and thoughts disappeared once more.

    ‘Yes, this is comfortable and good.’

    When the strange sensations disappeared, everything was peaceful. The man believed this was the right answer.

    He was fed up with the pain. He didn’t want to inflict any more pain on his body. He wanted to rest his already overworked body, but…

    “Sleep, well.”

    Even as he sank into the deep water, he always regretted the moment his young master closed his eyes. He wanted to hold onto him and plead for him to stay awake longer, not to go to bed, and to keep his eyes open just a little longer.

    “Mother.”

    When he smiled at someone else, he wanted to somehow wedge himself beside him and stay by his side.

    “Did you sleep well? Thank you.”

    Above all, he wanted to caress the face that greeted him every day without fail. Even just once, he wanted to properly respond to his greeting while their skin touched. Instead of the back view of him turning away with a disappointed face after talking to him alone each time, he wanted to see him smile brightly after receiving a response.

    He wanted to see his young master’s face fully, without a veil, without any barriers.

    ‘I miss you.’

    Before he knew it, the bottom was right in front of him. The man, who opened his eyes right in front of the bottom that had seemed distant, looked up at the surface.

    It seemed daunting to go back up there, but once he made up his mind, it wasn’t difficult. The man parted the water. He somehow lifted his heavy body that had sunk deep and headed upwards.

    “Can you say anything to me? Like before, a greeting is fine, or any other word… I want to have a conversation with you.”

    But…

    “You don’t have to try to talk to me anymore. You don’t have to have conversations or anything. You don’t have to do anything, so… please stop.”

    The man was always in the same place.

    Every time he uttered a single word, every time he took a single step forward, his body was in pain as if his limbs were being torn apart. Blood flowed from every hole in his body, along with the pain of his insides bursting.

    Those beyond could easily touch his young master, look at his face, and converse with him, but he alone couldn’t.

    The man struggled. He desperately headed towards the surface. However, the closer he got to the surface, the more memories and sensations that seemed to be grasped but couldn’t be grasped arose. Eventually, they made him realize a certain fact.

    If he escaped from here, he couldn’t be with him.

    ‘Why?’

    It was unfair. It was maddening.

    It was right in front of him. If he just reached out his hand from here, he could touch him the way he wanted, like others. He could touch him. He could stay by his side and have conversations.

    But why?

    Why couldn’t he be with him if he left here?

    ‘Still, if it’s like this, I can somehow live together with him.’

    After a long struggle, the man chose resignation. After all, he was a being created for his young master, so he would stay by his side until he died.

    That was his mission and the meaning of his life.

    ‘It’s better to stay like this.’

    Of course, from time to time, the desire to find the memory full of blanks was inevitable. However, if he filled in the blanks in his memory, he might have to leave his young master’s side, so he emptied his mind out of anxiety.

    So the man decided to be satisfied with the reality of being with his master. Even though his master kept coming back with unfamiliar scents, happily laughing and talking with others in front of him, and frequently going to places he couldn’t go…

    …It was still alright. The muscles in his body swelled as if he would immediately jump up and leave due to the anger that had nowhere to go, but he had to endure it. If he deviated from here, he couldn’t be by his young master’s side.

    After all, the man was his young master’s servant. As long as he could stay by his side for the rest of his life, everything was fine.

    He would be the one to greet his mornings and the one to wrap up his nights. It was also good that he could touch him if there was a proper reason. Of course, whenever he tried to touch him impulsively, the shackles attached to his body tightened painfully, but at some point, he became accustomed to the pain, so it was alright.

    Even if he couldn’t remember his original self, even if he couldn’t do anything on his own, as long as he could stay by his side…

    “…I should hurry and get you out of here.”

    …As long as I can stay by your side, everything will be fine.

    Even if he ended up living as a fool, he would have been willing.

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