When are you going to stop wasting your time with all this pointless shit?

Merith sat on her knees underneath the 10ft tall statue with her hands clasped together. The statue stood overhead with its palm facing down. If one were to stand under it, it would look like they were being blessed by the statue. Praying underneath this statue was said to give one good luck and purify any evil surrounding them.

I told you this shit was a scam, stupid! You think I want to be stuck with you any longer? If I had the chance, I wouldve offed myself to Hell already. Just give me control of your body for five seconds and let me end both of our misery. Sounds fair, right? The deep but soothing voice continued to talk within Meriths head.

With a long sigh, Merith stood up and began to walk out of the Church of Diem. Out of the hundreds of new deities that have arrived on Earth through the dimensional portals, so far, none of them seemed worth a crap. Most people are able to go to a church, become a member, and get blessed by that deity all within a few hours. All Merith wanted was to get rid of this annoyance thats been living inside her head for the past fifteen years.

Merith was three when the world went to hell. Both of her parents died when their house was struck by red lightning. It exploded to bits but strangely Merith was completely fine despite being struck head-on by the lightning. That was because the red lightning wasn a natural force of nature from our world but a type of magic used by Supreme Devils.

Masmerus, the voice inside her head, was this Supreme Devil. When arriving at Earth, he attempted to take over the body of the first human that caught his eye. That human was supposed to be Meriths father but due to the strain on his body from passing over, Masmerus miscalculated and accidentally hit Merith. His pride wouldn allow him to possess a three-year-old mortal child with zero potential in magic, thus, he tried to cancel the body-snatching spell altogether.

Magic has severe repercussions even for Supreme Devils, a race that was only second to dragons in the use of magic. Masmeruss soul was not allowed to leave Meriths talentless body but since he tried to leave, he was also unable to fully complete the takeover. Leaving him stranded in the body of a three-year-old in a world completely unfamiliar to him.

Merith had her fair share of trouble over the years listening to the devil on her shoulder. As a three-year-old child who recently lost her parents, she had no one else to rely on. So, it made sense that she would listen to the strange voice in her head that she couldn see and no one else could hear.

If things went perfectly wrong, Merith wouldve probably become one of the worst Closers by now. In her younger days when she didn know better, Masmerus frequently tried to teach her devil magic. He succeeded quite easily. As a Supreme Devil that lived for thousands of years, manipulating a three-year-old wasn that difficult. At least, until the first time she successfully cast devil magic.

Masmerus, at the time, wished to leave her body as soon as possible. So, he manipulated her into trying to send his soul into one of the orphanage kids by teaching her the spell, Parasite. Unfortunately, at the time, one of her frequent bullies at the orphanage decided to push her as she was performing the spell. This altered her aim and caused the spell to miss its target entirely. Instead of hitting Jamie, her best real friend at the time, she hit a cockroach on the wall.

Merith instantly seized up and collapsed from having an infinitesimal part of her soul enter the bug. Masmerus soul didn get the chance to fly out nor was it allowed to the next time Merith tried the spell. He was completely locked within Meriths body and that sent the thousand-year-old being mad. His next goal was to have Merith kill herself to free himself.

Merith didn like pain nor did she want to go to sleep forever at the time. So, she began to refuse Masmeruss suggestions after being hospitalized for the first time. Her child-like mind at the time slowly began to realize that her invisible best friend, may not be her best friend at all. A mindset that only continued to further develop during school.

Masmerus would frequently tell Merith to do bad things at school. After getting in trouble countless times, Merith eventually understood that Masmerus was a bad person, no one understood there was a second voice talking in her head at all times, and she should stop listening to him if she wants to be a ”good person. ”

Over the years, she never mentioned the existence of Masmerus to anyone anymore. Every time Masmerus would suggest she do something devil-like, she would do the opposite. Doing the opposite began to work wonders for her social life since every suggestion by Masmerus was something evil or terrible. Even now, she still did her best to be a ”good person. ”

Strange unexplainable portals suddenly appeared all over the Earth that had extraterrestrial beings come from them. All of the creatures were hostile to humanity and a majority of them preferred to kill, devour, and harm humans. These creatures that are now just called monsters usually possessed some type of supernatural ability or physique that modern weaponry couldn stand a chance against.

Nukes were effective but nations couldn just start launching nukes or everyone would begin launching nukes. Firearms had varying degrees of effectiveness against monsters. It depended on the rank of the monsters. The rankings went from F-rank to S-rank. F-rank is the weakest rank in where a fully grown adult man could deal with it with sufficient weaponry like a sword or axe. S-rank monsters were creatures capable of taking on nukes. Luckily for humanity, S-rank monsters were more interested in ruling over territory than wrecking the planet.

After trying her luck at the Church of Diem, Merith continued her way to school: Golden Fist Closer Academy. An academy only for future Closers. Humans that willingly crossed over into the dimensional portals, facing monsters, collecting loot from the other side, and closing the portal down by defeating the strongest monster on the other side. When the portals arrived fifteen years ago, monsters weren the only things to come over from the other side. According to Meriths teachers, a new force arrived in our universe that previously wasn present before, Mana.

It wasn initially called Mana but over time eventually came to be called that by everyone in Meriths country. With the introduction of Mana, certain humans began to gain strange supernatural abilities. The ability to generate fire from their bodies, produce lightning, heal the most incurable diseases and injuries. All sorts of miraculous abilities sprouted up across the planet.

These abilities were called Talents. Meriths Talent wasn anything special in her opinion. Her Talent was Bug Control. She could control insects from spiders to ants to flies to bees to parasites. But she could make do with it. Closers had no control over the type of talent they would awaken or if they would awaken a talent at all. It wasn determined by genetics, personality, or age. As far as science understood, it was complete luck if one awakened a Talent or not.

Don you get tired of coming to this place every day? Why don we skip for today and watch a movie or something? Masmerus disliked school.

”A good student comes to school every day. ” Merith muttered.

What a **ing bore! Come on, kid. We both know that you don need this place. Ive taught you more than enough to handle some shitty dimensional portals. Even with your crappy talent, you could probably become an S-rank Closer in a year or two if you listened to me.

”Id rather live my life doing something to help the world. ” Merith knew whatever plan he had in mind would involve hurting, stealing, or killing others.

Now now now, kid. No one said you had to hurt anyone innocent. If its really such a bother for you, why don we just kill, torture, and exploit the bad people in the world? That way, youd be doing good for the world, right?

”Hmm… ” Merith was unable to reply to this as she headed into the building with the rest of her peers.

Golden Fist Closer Academy was closer to a military school than a regular school. Meriths first class was Combat Training 101 out on the field. Since they were being brought up as saviors and protectors of humanity, naturally they would be trained in the most appropriate way to deal with dimensional portals. They needed to know how to fight for one.

”Alright! Head over to get your weapons and then begin training! ” Mr. Mosely shouted with his back straight and bald head shining.

Get the trident! Masmerus suddenly shouted with a strange tone of excitement in his voice.

Merith grabbed the spiked metal bat instead, much to the displeasure of Masmerus. With a fluent obscene wave of slurs, Merith made her way to the field. She looked for someone to spar against but didn actively call out for anyone as she had yet to make any friends. Its only been a few weeks since school started but still, she expected someone to try and befriend her by now.

But then again, it wasn like Merith was the most eye-catching of girls. She was unnaturally tall for a girl with glasses, slim but sturdy shoulders, long and thin dark legs, and wasn very impressive in the front or the back. Merith also didn talk much but it wasn because she was shy, but rarely found something to talk about. Most of the conversations she had with people usually involved them talking to her and she nodded or shook her head.

There were a few people that had a crowd of people around them wanting to spar or obviously avoiding them. No one wanted to spar with someone that was too strong or skilled because itd only make them look bad. Not to mention it was usually painful when they lost. Only in severe cases would practice sparring between students be stopped forcefully.

Those severe cases are broken limbs, severe blood loss, being knocked unconscious, sometimes even body parts were accidentally cut off, burned, frozen, etc. Merith had yet to witness anything as bad as those but shes heard that her upperclassmen witnessed it more than a few times. Thankfully, those injuries aren unfixable thanks to the highly-ranked Closers working at the infirmary with talents specialized for healing and recovering injuries.

”Merith! Fight me! ” Julius came running over to her with a metal sword in hand.

Julius was considered one of the most talented seniors. Wavy blonde hair, overactive and friendly personality, and a strong Talent that overshadowed others with ease. Calling him one of the most popular students would probably be an understatement. Everyone loved him, students and teachers alike because of how he treated others and his potential as a Closer.

Oh, here we go again with this little twit. Why don you just accept that he wants to mate with you already? I don know what the hell he sees in an ugly human like you but the urges you mortals have confounded even the mightiest of races.

”Hes cute. ” Merith muttered in response. She wasn against dating Julius but the boy himself never acted like he was romantically interested in her. He acted the same with everyone.

Just ** him already. Or kill him. Im tired of looking at him. Masmerus sighed.

Merith nodded at Juliuss invitation. She had no reason to refuse and didn really have another option. The number of eyes that focused on her drastically increased when Julius came over to her though. It was impossible for her to not hear the whispers and judgment being thrown her way but she ignored them.

Heh, look at these little kids! Who knew bullying was so popular with humans? You should kill them all. You know they
e just jealous you got the boys attention, right? If you kill them, you don have to deal with their annoying voices anymore.

Merith saw that Duncan and Cassie were also surrounded just like Julius was before he came over to her. Duncan was the most skilled marksman among the freshmen and frequently helped out others improve their shooting during Marksmanship 101, plus his looks weren bad either which made him rather popular. Blonde hair, toned body built through training, and a friendly demeanor that made it easy to get along with him. Cassie was also another well-liked student among the 1st years but for a different reason. She was ranked as one of the top 10 cutest girls in the school because of her small and innocent looks along with her gentle and bright personality. One of the nicknames that her friends frequently called her was Acorn since she looked like a little squirrel. Merith didn understand it but she also wasn popular either so, what would she know? Besides that Cassie was also a Healer, a Closer with a talent to support other Closers in battle or outside of battle.

”Ill go first if you don mind, Merith! ” Julius rushed toward her with his sword.

”I don care. ” Merith replied to Masmerus.

Meriths dealt with all sorts of bullying when she was younger thanks to Masmerus. Children were the cruelest things at times. Crazy Merith, Special Merith, Insanith, and other such nicknames she was called. That was probably the most difficult time in her life to ignore Masmeruss suggestions. In another world, she could see herself as an international criminal or something of the sort.

A sudden force of wind came flying toward her body and Merith instinctively reacted to the dangerous thing nearing her. Her spiked metal bat swung out in front of her and a harsh clash of metal on metal rang around them. Julius was sent sliding backward with his sword slightly dented in. A look of amazement and surprise appeared on his face.

”You
e amazing, Merith! How are you so strong!? ” Julius exclaimed.

”Weight Training. ” Merith answered honestly.

Due to her refusal to learn more magic from Masmerus, she took a different path to gain strength. Merith lifted weights every day since the age of seven. 4,015 days of weight lifting without skipping a single day of the week. Maybe something like that was impossible, but because of a spell, Masmerus taught her very early own, her body was fundamentally different from other humans. He told her it was a spell that broke her mortal limits as he couldn stand being inside such a talentless human. It did take fifty years off her lifetime though after she casted it. So, if Masmerus wasn just trying to scare her, she had only about four or five years left to live.

”I don believe you! ” Julius thrust his palm out toward her in a pulling motion.

Merith found herself unable to control her body. She was rising from the ground before being pulled toward Julius at high speeds.

Looks like you
e **ed, kid. Masmerus giggled.

Since she couldn free herself, Merith decided to handle things as they came. She brought her bat overhead as she readied herself to swing down on Julius as she neared him. Then Julius brought his palm down with heavy force, crashing Merith into the ground. Grass, dust, and dirt rose as she was buried in a crater.

”Are you okay, Merith!? Did I go too far? ” Julius called out.

Gravity magic is always such a bitch to handle. I could help you out, you know? I know just the magic spell for a situation like this. Masmerus chuckled.

Merith wasn down and out like everyone thought she probably was. Right now, she was sharing her senses through the bug crawling on Juliuss school uniform. She could see, hear, smell, and touch through the bug while also controlling it. It was planted on him when they first clashed with their weapons. The bug traveled from Meriths spiked metal bat to Juliuss sword before latching onto his body.

Right now, she could order the bug to inject Julius with its venom and quickly paralyze his body but that would be going a bit far for just a simple spar. Merith got up from the ground, patted herself off, and accepted her loss. Many of the methods she used to fight just didn work in a spar. They went too far.

”Good fight, Merith! People always tell me Im strong but you
e definitely strong too! My arm is still shaking from our first clash. ” Julius held out his arm that was shaking.

”… ” Merith reached out toward Juliuss face.

”Uh… Do I have something on my face? ” Juliuss cheeks slightly turned red.

”No. ” Merith was simply collecting the bugs that latched onto Julius without him knowing.

Black little critters crawled on her finger in an orderly manner. Julius watched as the bugs crawled up her uniform to her neck before crawling into her mouth. They walked over her teeth, tongue, and down her throat. Juliuss shaking only increased after witnessing this situation but it was completely natural for Merith.

”You… held back… against me… ” Julius suddenly realized.

”No. You won fair and square. ” Merith corrected.

Poisoning another student either directly or indirectly wasn allowed. If she did have her bugs inject him with venom, she would be suspended or expelled. Using her Talent was the only way she could have overcome his gravity talent. Since she couldn use them, she had no other option but to surrender.

”Attention!!! ” Mr. Mosely yelled.

All the students immediately stopped their sparring or chatting and lined up in an orderly manner together. None of the students could have expected Mr. Mosely to suddenly beam at them with a bright smile. The Mr. Mosely who was known as one of the fiercest Closers at the academy and strictest instructor smiled. A shiver ran down the students backs.

”I have good news for a few of you lucky little bastards. ” Mr. Mosely paced back and forth with his hands behind his back. The unusual smile still hanging on his face.

Can you kill us? This human is really irritating. I don think I can last any longer.

”Patience is a virtue. ” Merith quietly muttered.

”The top five students of your batch will be given the chance to cross over into an F-rank dimensional portal while being escorted by powerful graduates of Golden Fist Closer Academy! Five of you will get the chance to gain experience and knowledge that your peers will be unable to attain and surpass them! All you have to do is prove you
e worthy of it. Combative Ability, Talent, Dimensional Portal Knowledge, Closer Understanding. All of these will be tested to see if you are worthy of attaining one of the five spots by the end of the month. So, work hard you little brats! Im excited to see just how hard you all will work this month. ” Mr. Mosely left them with that. ”You
e all dismissed. ”

The excited chattering of her classmates resounded in Meriths ears. Julius was one of those classmates that came up next to her also as excited as everyone else.

”Merith! We got to get two of those spots! Do you know how much we could benefit from that trip?! ” Julius exclaimed.

”It would be nice. ” Merith nodded.

Closers were one of the most profitable occupations to be a part of. If it was related to the dimensional portals or mana, it was guaranteed to pay good money but at the same time could be costly to ones life. Closers died all the time inside dimensional portals. It was an occupation that gained new people as quickly as it lost them. However, no one was praised and admired as much as successful Closers.

They were more popular than idols, actors, musicians, and even world leaders! Closers were the heroes of humanity. Fighting and pushing back the evil monsters that actively attempt to take over our planet. How could the occupation not be one of the most popular?

Merith personally was interested in the money and developing herself further. As a child that grew up in an overcrowded orphanage, Merith quickly learned the value and importance of money early on. Along with growing up in the orphanage and all the bullying, she also realized how valuable it was to have strength of her own. Becoming a Closer seemed to be the best way to deal with both of those things.

Meriths Talent couldn develop further without involving mana or monsters. She was at a standstill regarding her Talent. So, taking one of those five spots would be greatly helpful for her. While she didn know if they would get paid or the school would take anything they get in the dimensional portal, it would still be for the best that she tries to get the spot.

”Just nice?! Its going to be life-changing! ” Julius remarked.

”I suppose so. ” Merith couldn argue against that.

With the money from closing dimensional portals, Merith could change her life quite a bit. She could afford a nice apartment before moving up to a real house of her own, buy a good car to get around with, purchase some equipment to aid her in the dimensional portals, eat healthier food, and a lot of other stuff.

Money is pretty **ing nice. This was one point that both Masmerus and Merith agreed on.

”Auggg! Merith, how are you not exploding in excitement right now!? You
e too calm about this! ” Julius shook her shoulders back and forth. He was shorter than her.

Hes annoying. We should kill him. I don even know what he sees in someone like you. Id rather mate with that girl over there if I was a human. Masmerus was talking about Jessi. Brunette, powerful talent, rich parents, great looks, she had it all. She was just as popular as Julius but she didn like Merith at all.

Even though Jessi didn like Merith, Merith admired Jessi in a way. It wasn because she was rich, popular, and beautiful but because even though she had it all, she never used it for evil. She never bullied any other students, never went too far during combat training class by purposing injuring a classmate more than she needed to, and Jessi frequently volunteered in programs to help those in need. If more people did good things like Jessi, Merith wouldn feel half as convinced by Masmeruss belief that all humans are innately selfish and evil.

”We still have a month. ” Merith reminded him. She wasn bothered by his friendliness as Masmerus was.

”Im so nervous but Im so excited too! We have to work hard this month! We can let anyone take our spots, okay!? ” Julius shook her even more.

”I don think you have anything to be worried about. Your talent is very strong. ” Merith explained.

”No! I can get complacent. Haven you heard that the strongest Closers are those that always tirelessly work to get stronger? ” He finally released his grip on her arms. ”You feel stronger than you look… ” Julius murmured after feeling her arms.

”We
e not Closers yet though. ” Merith corrected him.

”Still! ”

Do you think if you mate with him, hell go away? No, no… Hed probably get even more attached. We should kill him. Hes too noisy.

By the time school was over, Julius officially declared Merith as his friend. She was confused why he was suddenly so interested in her all of a sudden. Before this week, she never even had a conversation with Julius. But she didn think too deeply about it as she got on the city bus to return to her apartment. Making a new friend was always a good thing since Masmerus always tried to get her to not make friends.

You
e hanging out with the wrong crowd. You gotta hang out with kids like that! Merith looked over at the group of delinquents hanging outside an alleyway, smoking and chatting with each other.

”Smoking is bad for you. ” Was Meriths only reply on the subject.

Looking out the window of the bus, Merith saw some of the same old sights she had been seeing over the past few years. Many of them were shops or stores that advertised heavily to Closers or sold items made solely for Closers. As a young adult living on her own, the only luxuries she could afford to spend on were related to school or weights.

As Merith reached her stop to get off the bus, she grabbed her backpack and headed toward the door. She planned to lift some weights as soon as she got home before taking a shower and eating. Maybe she would watch some television to pass the time. Or she could just sleep the day away now that school was over.

Just as Merith got off the bus, she felt the wind pick up drastically behind her. With a slow turn of her head, she could see the bus she was just on suddenly flying dozens of miles in the air. The screams quickly faded into the distance before Merith felt the hot breath of something standing to the side of her.

EAT HER MUTT! KILL HER!!! Masmerus screamed.

”Shut up… ” Merith made the first move.

She jumped off her feet into the air as she slugged the black dog monster in the face with her fist. Multiple bugs crawled from out of her skin onto the dog monster and began to crawl over to its vulnerable areas. Merith used this chance while it was stunned to flee and left the rest of the work to her bugs. The bugs started biting at any exposed area on the big dog which took its attention away from Meriths running away.

It whined and whimpered before crashing itself into multiple buildings to get rid of the bugs. Merith looked up into the sky during its rampage. A city-wide circular purple oval was hovering above. It was a dimensional portal… Along with the appearance of this sudden portal, a loud blaring alarm began to ring.

Size isn everything, **ing idiot. My portal was 1/10 the size of that and I was still stronger than anything that could come out of that. Masmerus spoke with pride.

”I could use this… ” Merith muttered to herself.

Her bugs were now crawling inside the body of the monster dog. It was helpless to resist the bites, venom, and numbers of the insects. Each piece of the monster being fed to the bugs strengthened them in some way. Its body was filled with mana and that seemed to boost the growth of Meriths insects. The initial slow infestation quickly turned the giant dog into a corpse after feasting on it.

”All citizens please head toward your nearest defensive shelter! I repeat, all citizens please head towards the nearest defensive shelter! ” A womans voice echoed across the city.

”All Closers inside the city, please protect the citizens and escort them to the shelters! ”

Merith ignored the warning as she walked to the corpse of the monster. She held her hand out near its empty eye sockets eaten away by her bugs. The insects returned back into her body at her command. Once all of them were back inside her, a pink worm-like bug jumped out of her mouth and dug into the head of the dog.

You cheating little bitch! You can use corpses for your stupid Talent! You need to use living humans! Stop! Masmerus whined.

The body of the monster started to shake even though all life within it had been extinguished. Then it shakily rose up on all fours before bending its head down. Merith got on its back and the two walked through the city together. She ordered the parasite in its brain to look for more monsters as a feeling of excitement, fear, and joy built up inside her.

Abandoned cars, fleeing people, screams of monsters and people, the city was completely devastated in less than an hour. The shops shes looked at for most of her life were now partly destroyed or crumbled into pieces. Her ride was very wobbly and tripped a few times before the parasite learned how to use the corpse more smoothly. Eventually, the three of them raced through the city. Meriths goal was to save as many people as she could and develop her Talent as far as she could.

I see that you are leaving the human corpses behind. Any reason you
e leaving that free nutrition for your little insects?

”People don have much mana and messing with corpses is bad. ” Merith replied.

Fly meat is still meat, you know?

”No. ”

What about that guy over there?

Merith looked around her surroundings to see a lady being attacked by a man with a knife and black bag over his shoulder. She immediately ordered her parasite to speed over there before the woman got robbed or suffered worse. It didn take long for either of them to notice the giant dog speeding their way. The mugger pushed the woman behind him to the floor as he dashed off.

There was no mercy within Meriths eyes as the dog crashed into the mans body. A sickening crunch from his legs flowed into her ears before the shrill scream came after. Not a single speck of guilt could be seen from Merith as she turned her head and rushed off into the distance, leaving the man behind in critical condition.

Maybe he was just helping her with her purse. No need to get so bloodthirsty over a guy giving a helping hand. Masmerus lectured her.

”He was trying to hurt her. If he was going to help her, he wouldn have left her behind like that. ”

Imagine it from his perspective though. You are suddenly helping out this nice lady, right? Then all of a sudden a giant monstrous dog comes rushing at you with saliva dripping from its mouth with its mouth full of sharp teeth and bugs wriggling in between them. Anyone would drop what they
e doing and run the ** away.

”Inexcusable. Only with good traits can a person be good. ”

Are you saying good people can do bad things? Masmerus asked in an amused tone.

”Good people… Don do bad things… ”

I see… Masmerus laughed.

The three traveled throughout the city with Merith helping excavate anyone who was still trapped in the city while feeding her bugs all along. Eventually, she met up with some Closers who saw her saving people. At first, she wanted to run away because technically she wasn a Closer but a civilian. Meaning, she should be heading to the shelters. Not helping people out and fighting monsters. If she was caught, she could be in big trouble and possibly have her Closer license suspended in the future. Merith would have to take several classes and pass them to show that she was reformed and understood her mistakes.

But, one of the Closers removed her path of escape. When she tried running away on the monster dog, both of them were held in place. Unable to move a single muscle under the power of the black-robed Closer. He pointed his staff at her so, she assumed it was him doing it. The worst part was that she couldn move her lips to explain herself or say anything at all.

One of the women Closers dressed very lightly came over and patted her down. She found her school id and state id without any trouble before smiling at her.

”Shes not a criminal or traitor! Just an overeager kid wanting to be a Closer as soon as possible. ” She assumed.

How the hell would she know if you
e not a traitor to humanity or a criminal? You left that guy to die earlier. Fucking dumb bimbo.

I can escape from an encirclement like this… Merith wanted to frown. I guess Ive progressed enough. She could feel the incredible growth her bugs have gained in these past few hours.

”Dumb brat… ” A muscle-bound baldy grabbed her from the top of the dog, giving her the opportunity to spread her bugs on him but she chose not to.

These Closers were good people. They were concerned about her. A woman dressed in all white came over and produced a bright light that forced Merith into closing her eyes.

SHES ABOUT TO KILL YOU! QUICK! USE YOUR BUGS TO TAKE HER HOSTAGE! Masmerus screamed in her head.

Merith didn bother listening to him. This woman had a talent that allowed her to heal people. Most people that wore white robes like that usually called themselves Priests or Healers. An invaluable spot in most Closer groups. But the thing was, Merith wasn injured at all. She felt warm all over but that was it, just warmth from the womans magic.

”Do you mind telling us what the hell you
e doing here instead of evacuating to the shelters? ” The bald Closer asked.

Merith found the force acting on her body was no longer present. She could move her lips, limbs, and do all sorts of things now. Since lying was bad and wouldn help her anyway, she decided to tell the truth. ”Helping people. ”

”You do know you can do that right? ” A swordsman looked down on her.

”Yes. ”

”So, why are you doing it? ” Baldy asked.

”… ” Merith did this for a couple of reasons but shell just go with what she said already. ”To help people. ”

Kid, we seriously need to work on your social skills… Tell these jack-offs to ** off already and lets go have some fun. Maybe kill a few people or infect them with parasites before taking over the city for yourself! You know, I used to rule over my own realm back in my world. Since I was the strongest, I ruled over everything. Being the overlord is fun.

”Jacky, send her to the shelter, please. ” Swordsman asked the black robe. Jacky nodded.

Meriths body lost control again as she was suddenly floating in the air. She was brought along behind the Closer as they flew toward the nearest shelter. All in all, she wasn too bothered by this. There was a lot she accomplished today that she probably wouldve had to wait an entire month for. So, Merith sat inside the crowded shelter without any complaints as she waited for the Closers to deal with all the monsters.

The aftermath of the attack wasn as bad as people thought it would be. The death count was low in comparison to the usual numbers for sudden dimensional portals. People expected death counts into the millions but it was only a few hundred. Merith thought it was because of how many Closers lived inside their city. There were many popular and strong Closers like Super Diane, Snuffing Flames, Cold Heat, Flying Wonder, Boy King. It was because of those Closers that many people stayed in the city.

The stronger the Closer, the more protected the people felt if something did go wrong. Because of this, several cities will try and make deals with up-and-coming Closers so that more people would come to their city. Merith didn know if she would ever do this when she became a Closer but would be tempted if the pay was good enough. Money sometimes causes her eyes to go blind if theres a lot.

Tch, I told you size wasn everything. Those bastards couldn even kill a few million humans even by surprise. Masmerus shared his thoughts on the attack.

”I was wrong to doubt you. ” Merith just never experienced anything like that before.

Now, what do you say we skip this boring fest and go do some drugs or something? Masmerus asked with some joy in his voice.

”Can . I need to make top five before the month is over. Skipping school will ruin that. ” Not that Merith would do drugs in the first place. Drugs were bad since Masmerus liked them so much.

Can we at least hurt some people before the months over?

”Good people only hurt bad people. ” Merith didn outright tell him no.

So I have a chance?

”Who knows? ” Merith replied.

Over the month, Merith didn change her habits all that much to make it into the top five. She still continued to lift weights, practice with her bugs, study every night before bed and on the way to school while riding the bus, and lastly make a few more friends thanks to Julius.

”I can wait! I can wait! ” Julius was busy hyping himself up as they prepared to go into the F-rank dimensional portal.

”You
e such a child, sometimes. ” Jessi scoffed.

”How could I not be excited about this!? Wed have to wait for graduation for an experience like this! Ive been wanting to become a Closer my whole life and now my dream is finally in front of me. ” Julius shared.

”I guess that makes sense. ” Duncan nodded. ”Im only interested in the fame and money. ” He explained.

”I hope you won be bouncing around like this the entire time we
e inside… ” Jessi seemed annoyed at the sight of Julius.

”No way, Jessi! Ill be alert, and ready to chop at anything that comes at me! ”

”Whos going to protect me? ” Cassie asked. She was the groups only Healer.

”Me. ” Merith answered.

Cassie was just as short as Julius was. Both of them seemed like they missed more than a few meals growing up and suffered for it. Cassie in the girlie departments and Julius in body size. Merith felt good protecting the weak.

”You got nothing to worry about with Merith protecting you, Cassie! Shes the strongest girl I know! ” Julius patted Cassie on the shoulder.

”Strongest, huh…? ” Jessi gave Merith a quick glance before looking away.

”Alright, enough chit-chatting. Get inside. ” Vice Principal Dan pushed them into the portal without touching them at all.

Merith felt her entire world turn upside down when she passed through the portal. Up was down, left was right, and the swirling circles were triangles?

Youll get used to interdimensional traveling soon enough. Masmerus advised.

When they reached the other side, four out of five of them all vomited immediately. Merith was not the outlier, Jessi was. Jessie covered her mouth and violently gagged but nothing ever came up her throat. Duncan gave her props for holding it down. She just slapped his hand away and said his breath stunk.

”Ill only intervene if your life is in danger. Otherwise, you all will be left to your own devices. ” B-rank Closer informed.

”Okay, team! Formation! ” Julius shouted.

At his shout, the sound of multiple monsters growling appeared around the corner. The place was dark, moist, and filled with glowing crystals. A sort of cave. Merith stood in front of Cassie with her spiked metal bat.

”Keep your voice down next time, you loud idiot. ” Jessie quietly shouted, pulling out the battle axe from her back. ”Duncan, stay with Merith and Cassie while firing from a distance. Idiot, you come with me to attack. ” Jessi relayed her orders.

”Yes, maam! ” Julius yelled again. ”Oops, sorry. I mean yes, maam. ” He corrected himself in a softer tone.

”Augh… ” Was Jessis only response as she ran toward the monsters coming around the corner.

The monsters came in a large group altogether. It was a bunch of gnolls. Small dog-headed humanoid monsters that fought in groups. Their intelligence wasn high but the most dangerous part about them was their numbers. A situation like this was unfavorable for them, especially when they just arrived inside the dimensional portal.

Jessi seemed to not care one bit about the dozens of gnolls in front of her. Her axe swung without restraint nor mercy, easily tearing through multiple monsters with one swing. A vicious red glow appeared around her body that dyed her hair blood-red. The weapons of the gnolls couldn seem to get past that red aura and it looked like it only got stronger as she killed more of them. Julius was somewhat helpless in helping Jessi out because she was clearing all of the monsters on her own!

”Mind saving a few for me…? ” Juliuss legs were shaking.

He wasn the only one shaking in fear from Jessis performance. Duncan and Cassie were also frightened. Cassie had to puke again seeing all the organs, limbs, and blood strewn about the floor. Merith didn have a problem with the sight. Masmerus forced nightmares on her that showed her things that were worse than this. He would whisper scary things in her head at night when she was little to make her have nightmares and a Supreme Devil knew of plenty of ways to give innocent children nightmares.

”Lets get going. Its easier to withstand it if you remember they
e monsters that won hesitate to kill you. ” Merith gently patted Cassies back once she saw Jessi was finished.

”Thank you…? ” Cassie tried to smile.

”Wipe your mouth. ” Merith whispered. She still had a little vomit around her mouth.

”Are you babies going to come or what? We have a boss to finish and I don have all day. ” Jessi was confident but not stupid. She knew she couldn beat this dimensional portal alone.

”We
e coming. ” Merith responded. The combination of smells was starting to get to her now. She wanted to leave quickly as well.

Cassie tried to puke once more after passing by the corpses ripped apart by Jessis axe but nothing came out this time. Duncan quickly moved out of the way once he saw her hunch over. Julius held his hand over his mouth when he saw Cassie bend over. Jessi aggressively rolled her eyes.

”Its just a bunch of corpses! Hurry up and come on! ” Jessi loudly sighed.

”Theres no need to rush. ” Merith spoke up. ”Lets take our time until everyone is able to kill a monster on their own. That way, well all gain something from this. ”

Jessi growled at her statement but seemed to be unable to refute it.

”Whatever! ” She softly exclaimed.

Merith left a few dozen of her bugs behind to feed on the corpses as they moved ahead.

That egghead was looking at you in a funny way after you released your bugs. You think hes a pedo? Wait no, you
e 18. You think he likes em young? But wait, he should be more interested in Jessi than you. Shes way hotter than you are. Unless he likes the fuglies. Then hes a real **ing freak. Masmerus idly commented.

”Up ahead. There are four sitting around a campfire. Duncan, you take your shot and I swear if you miss, Ill break your hands. ” Jessi shared with the rest.

”Ill do my best… ” Duncan released the safety off of his academy-sanctioned pistol and aimed at the gnolls unaware of their existence.

”You can do it. You
e the best shooter in our year. ” Merith placed her hand on his shoulder in support.

”You
e right… ” Duncan took a deep breath to stop his shaking hands. ”I never missed a shot on the field. ”

In two seconds, four bullets shot out from Duncans pistol. Each one directly hitting the heads of the gnolls and splattering their brain matter across the cave floor. Jessi didn say anything but Merith imagined she approved of his skill. Her attitude wasn the best, but it wasn like she was a bad person. She did good things.

The next person to kill was Julius. Jessi took out a small group of gnolls until there were only two left. One for Julius and the other for Cassie. Julius used his gravity Talent to hold the monster in place as he shook like crazy while slowly plunging his sword into its chest. He vomited after the deed but told everyone with a strained smile on his face that he could do this now.

”Killing something with that is going to be hard, can you do it? ” Merith asked Cassie. Shell need more than a few whacks to kill with that thing.

Cassie rapidly shook her head.

”Here, Ill let you borrow my sword. Try not to look into their eyes… ” Julius gave her some advice from his experience.

Julius handed her his sword and after five minutes of fright, Jessi eventually got fed up. She grabbed Cassies hands and forcefully plunged the sword into the restrained monsters gut. Cassie started shaking all over once the two of them pulled out the blade. Until Jessi smacked her across the face and told her to get her shit together.

”Its either you will die or them. There is no third option. I hope all of you will understand that! ” Jessi stormed off ahead.

Im starting to like Jessi more and more. If only she was a bit stronger maybe she could kill you and finally free me from this prison.

”She is strong. ” Merith muttered.

Hey, wait a second. Aren you a **ing huge hypocrite!? Didn you say good people don do bad things? What the hell did those gnolls do to deserve being killed by some ** ass kids? Masmerus suddenly brought up.

”Monsters are enemies of humanity. They don deserve kindness. ” Merith softly replied.

And who the ** determined that?! Would you kill me without thinking about it just like those kids did to those gnolls?

”… Yes. ” Merith felt conflicted at how she hesitated to answer such a question.

Masmerus has killed millions, tortured even more, and done several things that Merith would consider bad and evil. If she had the opportunity to kill him, would she hesitate just like she did in answering his question? Merith didn know… Masmerus has been with her for basically her entire life. Could she kill him?

A good person would surely kill him without hesitation or remorse but what do you do when someone youve known all your life is an evil person…?

”I would. ” Merith answered with more conviction in her voice.

”You would what? ” Cassie asked.

”Nothing. ”

Hmph! Youd need a hundred more years before you could even think about killing me, you little psychopath! So, only humans deserve mercy and every other race needs to be exterminated. Thats **ed up according to your human morality and ethics bullshit.

”No, thats not… ” Merith didn want to exterminate every other race besides humans. Several history classes show that only bad people do things like that and history only remembers them as the worst of the worst.

Explain to me, how you aren evil by massacring these innocent gnolls who are only defending them home from violent intruders!

”… ” Merith stopped moving with her group as Masmeruss words froze her heart solid.

What did these monsters do to deserve being killed by Closers? It was different when dimensional portals appeared back in their world and monsters went around destroying buildings and hurting innocent people. But when Closers went into dimensional portals, aren they doing the same? Merith believed that it was even worse when Closers went into the dimensional portals because when Closers closed a dimensional portal, it never opened again. All the monsters inside were slaughtered and their home was destroyed or the Closers were killed by those defending their home.

”I can do this… ” Merith realized. ”I can . ” It was difficult to breathe. ”Im not evil like him… Im good. ” Meriths bugs began to shake and hiss inside her.

The others began to panic as a dense aura of mana surrounded Meriths body, keeping them away even if they wanted to get closer and comfort her.

”Merith! Whats going on?! Are you okay? ” Julius tried to get closer but couldn step forward.

”Im good. Im good. Im a good person… ” Multiple bugs crawled from the inside of Meriths body to the outside, covering her in some sort of bug armor.

”Cleanse! ” Cassie used her talent to temporarily wash away mental fatigue.

The bugs momentarily paused before continuing to cover Meriths body.

”Is she having a mental breakdown? Whats wrong with her? ” Jessie questioned, raising her axe.

”We
e here, Merith! We can help you! ” Duncan tried to comfort her.

The Closer sent to protect the kids frowned. He slowly walked over to Merith swallowed up in multiple types of bugs. Her mana wasn strong enough to keep him away as he reached out to touch her shoulder. As his hand was inches away, a sharp ear-piercing hiss came from all of Meriths bugs. Meriths bat suddenly swung into his side.

The B-rank Closer was unable to predict such a violent and quick movement and suffered for it. Meriths spiked bat dug into his body and sent him flying away. Because of the spell that Masmerus taught her to break her mortal limits, Merith held natural strength that far surpassed her peers. He crashed into the cave wall with cracked ribs as the hissing from Meriths body screeched.

”I didn … ” Merith held her hand out. ”Im sorry! ” Merith ran off deeper into the cave.

”Merith, wait! ” Julius used his power to stop her from splitting away from them.

Merith directly stopped in her tracks but just as soon as she stopped, a web shot out from a bug on her body and hit Julius right in the face, temporarily blinding him and breaking his concentration. This allowed Merith to get away deeper in the cave with no one being able to stop or catch up to her.

”Can anyone explain to me what the hell is going on!? ” Jessi shouted. ”Why did no one tell me Merith was a nut case? People like that have no right being inside dimensional portals! ”

”Shes not crazy, Jessi! Something must have spooked her and she freaked out! ” Julius shouted back.

”Not all of us are used to something like this, Jessi. Give her a break. She already has it hard enough being treated like an outcast at school because of her talent. ” Duncan added.

”Augh! Not that you two are defending that freak! ” Jessi growled. ”Like literally! Whatever! I knew this was going to go wrong when I got grouped up with people like you. ” Jessi crossed her arms.

”Lets ignore her until she calms down. ” Julius took a deep breath.

”I agree. You know, my dad told me if you don have anything nice to say, don say anything at all. ” Duncan agreed.

”Guys, I healed Mr. Peter. We can go find Merith now. ” Cassie came over to the others.

”Ill lead the way since things went wrong. Stay close behind me and do not run off. Make sure to say something if you see something strange. ” Mr. Peter walked ahead, keeping a close eye out for anything nearby.

*****

Merith tried communicating with the gnolls after overpowering them. She was no longer coated in her bugs. When they first saw her, their first instinct was to try and kill her. She quickly beat them to a pulp with her bat before trying to talk to them with gestures. Pointing her finger at things and saying what they were in her language before trying to get the gnolls to do the same in their language. But they didn understand and simply mimicked her gestures and tried to sound out her words.

”Do you have a spell that can help me talk to them? ” Merith asked Masmerus.

Of course, I do. But what do I get out of teaching it to you? Masmerus questioned.

Merith didn want to deal with Masmerus at all but this was too important.

”I will do one command for you as long as it isn bad or evil. ”

Two or no deal.

”Will this spell let me talk to any intelligent species or just gnolls? ”

Hmph! Im a Supreme Devil! What do you think?

”Fine. ” Merith agreed and soon Masmerus began to chant incoherent words in her brain.

Merith did her best to pronounce them with her human tongue but it took several tries before she felt it activate. Her mana was drained by half and her tongue felt very hot like she ate something spicy.

”Can you understand me, now? ” Merith immediately tried talking to the gnolls.

”It speaks! ” A gnoll cried out.

”How did it figure out our language?! ”

”It must be magic! ”

”We must consult the king! ”

”If only this creature wasn so strong! ”

”Why did you attack me? ” Merith asked her first question.

”You came into our home! Why wouldn we attack you?! ”

”You
e right, I apologize. But do you have… ” Merith stopped her second line of questioning.

If someone came into her apartment when she was home, she too would attack them.

”I came here through a dimensional portal. Do you know what that is? ” Merith tried gesturing an oval-shaped portal and herself walking through it. The gnolls shook their heads.

”Your king. Does he have a core? A colored orb? ” Merith soon asked after.

”Yes! Our king received it from the gods themselves and greatly improved his strength! Now our great king will lead our tribe to greatness and we will no longer go hungry again! ”

”Would you bring me to your king? I would like to trade with him because I can leave your home unless I get that orb. ”

It was the orb necessary for closing the dimensional portal. Usually it was only obtainable by killing the boss at the end of the dimensional portal but Merith wanted to see if there was a different way to leave dimensional portals. No, she refused to believe the only way to leave was by killing the boss.

I could teach you an inter-dimensional teleportation spell for a price… Masmerus offered.

”Ill wait to see my options first… ” Merith planned to rely on Masmerus when all available options have failed.

”You have food!? ” The gnolls asked. It seems like they were only interested in trading for food. Hopefully, the king would be the same.

”Yes. ” It wasn a lie. In some countries, bugs were considered food.

”Come! ” The injured gnolls helped each other up as they led Merith deeper into the cave.

Soon, Merith entered a throne room that Masmerus he said wasn even fit to call a throne room. There was a stone throne with a large gnoll sitting on top of it with a wooden staff in his hand. On top of the staff was the skull of an unknown monster. The king gnoll was dressed in rags that weren tattered like the other gnolls and a headdress of another monster skull.

”Is this a prisoner or an offering? ” He asked.

”Ally!? ” The gnolls didn know how to describe Merith.

”Hello. Im Merith. I would like to trade you food for your dimension orb. ” Merith explained politely and to the point.

”You want to trade with us for the gods holy relic?! Impossible! ” He immediately refused her.

”King, please reconsider. With the food, I have available on hand, your tribe will never go hungry again but with that dimension orb, only you will have anything to gain from it. ” Merith tried to reason with him.

”The holy relic is only good for the king? ”

”But the king said the holy relic will help us all. ”

”Did the king lie to us to increase his own power? ”

”KING! TELL US THE TRUTH! IS WHAT THE MERITH SAYS TRUE!? ”

”Fools! You would believe the words of an outsider over mine!? I will take the head of any traitor of the tribe! ” A purple glow of mana radiated around his fist, silencing the gnolls around.

”Its true. ” Merith crouched down to one knee, used her hand to reach deep in her throat before pulling out a fat slimy worm-like from her mouth.

The gnolls shivered at the sight as multiple gnolls pulled out their weapons in response to this strange sight out of fear. Along with the slimy bug, a bright red beetle flew out from her mouth as well. Merith ignored the dangerous spears and sticks being pointed at her. She ordered the beetle to light the worm on fire and from its mouthpart, a small stream of flame lit the slimy bug aflame. Surprised gasps rang out at this but very quickly the gasps turned into gulps.

A delicious smell overtook the throne room and flowed into the nostrils of everyone within it. None of the gnolls could make sense of it but every one of them fantasized about the taste of the delicious creature. Merith took the initiative and bit half of the bug herself before chewing. Juicy, crunchy, and flavorful.

”Would anyone else like to try? ” She asked the gnolls around her.

”Bring it to me! ” The king demanded.

One of his right-hand men carefully walked over to Merith and the cooked bug before snatching the bug away and running to the king. He offered up his hand and presented it to the king as if it was a valuable relic. The king didn hesitate as he immediately plopped it into his mouth and savored it with several bites.

”How many of this food, can you trade for the gods holy relic? ” He soon asked after a few seconds of deliberation.

”Enough to feed your entire tribe and generations to come. ” Merith answered.

”I am willing to trade. ” The gnoll king put away his greed for power. It was simply too delicious.

Merith brought out dozens of similar worms and taught the gnolls exactly how to breed them, care for them, and raise the flame beetles. They couldn make fire on their own, so Merith added the flame beetles as an extra to their deal.

What kind of pathetic king gets bought out over food? HE SHOULDVE KILLED YOU! His greed for power shouldve overcome everything and anything. His followers shouldve been beheaded for daring to question his orders. You shouldve been made his plaything. What a **ing waste of my time… Masmerus cursed.

After hours of teaching, communicating, and sharing, Merith received the dimension orb from the gnoll king and fulfilled the conditions for clearing the dimensional portal. An oval-shaped green portal appeared in front of her, just waiting for her to walk through it. But, the others haven arrived yet. She couldn leave on her own, otherwise, theyd murder the gnolls and the gnoll king.

Eventually, her teammates arrived at the throne room drenched in blood, guts, and the willingness to kill any gnoll in their sight. Their eyes lit up in joy at the sight of her but soon turned murderous at the site of her surrounded by dozens of gnoll children.

”Don hurt them, or I might hurt you. ” Merith said to stop Duncan from firing at one of the gnolls.

”Mind control? ” Jessie questioned.

”Cleanse! ” Cassie tried using one of her techniques again but just like before it failed. ”Its not a mental status effect… ”

”Walk through the portal and well talk back home. Ill explain everything… ” Merith told them.

Despite telling them what to do, Merith didn really give them a choice either. Abnormally sized insects were clinging to the wall above the entrance to the throne room. Meriths allies were shoved into the portal by the bugs and soon she followed after them after saying her goodbyes to the gnolls.

You know you
e about to be sent to a mental hospital or something right? Masmerus added.

”Even if it does, I feel much better knowing that I know more than I did before… Ill be able to do more good thanks to you Masmerus… Thank you for opening my eyes. ” Merith sincerely thanked him.

Fucking stupid brat, who was trying to help you? Just go die already…

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