Since his wife and daughter passed away, Todd no longer wanted to stay in that house as it now felt inundated with emptiness. Hence, he gifted that house to an orphanage. That way, more lonely children would have a home. He even avoided going to his wife and daughter’s grave for closure; all he wanted to do was leave all of this.
Orphanage Director: Todd, this will always be your home!
Todd did not respond. Warm words like this can no longer enter his heart. It was then when he heard the sound of his carriage approach and with that, Todd picked up his luggage and left.
Todd: It’s raining...
Todd turned around in the rain, and through the window, he saw the children gazing out at him. The rain drops splattering the window obscured their expression. That no longer had anything to do with him. Thus, he decided to journey to a place closest to death — the battlefield — where he could seek an end...
Todd: ‘War! Please grant me an anonymous death!’
Soldier: Fall back!
Todd: ‘Finally! The death I have awaited — ’
The Midnight Joker: Human...You have a special soul!
Todd once again thought of the time he spent together with his life. Every time, Lucy would lean against Todd’s shoulders; yet, her gesture would be so light that it was almost undetectable for Todd.
This remained true until Lucy was in deep slumber, when her relaxed breathing would draw Todd’s attention. He would freeze his body immediately. Todd wished he could stop his heart, to ensure that his jumping heart beat would not wake his beloved who was in such deep sleep.
Their hand holding was always silent, as they would only communicate through their interlocked fingers. A tightening grip from the fingers meant “stop,” scratching on the nails meant “annoyance,” and if Lucy lightly turned his wedding ring with her finger, that was the time to kiss. Their love continued in silence until the birth of their daughter Johanna, who brought sounds into their lives.
Todd had thought his life of bliss would continue. Hence, when his daughter died from a lack of medicine during the shortages caused by war, Todd started thinking about suicide to end his own misery. That was why Todd went to the chaotic battlefield as a medic.
Although Todd desired death above all, he was unable to do so on the battlefield. Yet, his “potential” was noticed by the Demon general Midnight Joker, who began his corruption of Todd through the dream world. Todd would reunite with his love in his dream, his soul being corrupted by the made-up fantasy.
Unfortunately, dreams would sometimes corrode and dissolve; Todd would then realize that everything was just a hallucination. The head leaning on him was a bloodied empty helmet, while in his hand was a white skeleton... He cried in despair, and he resolved to fight the spell even if it would cost him his soul —
Todd: Let me leave —
Todd: Let me die!
The Midnight Joker: You contribute precious power to my war efforts. Why would I let you leave?
Army Veteran: You don’t need to thank me. If I hadn’t gotten your help back then, I would probably have died on the battlefield.
Army Veteran: Everyone in this town are comrades from the war. If you need anything, just ask!
Todd bade farewell to his friends. Upon locking the door and blocking the window with curtains, he isolated himself in the darkened house. Only then did the craving for souls in his heart slowly die out.^ Since escaping from the Demon army, Todd had stayed hidden. Only when the war ended did he settle down anonymously in a little town with help from old friends.
Todd sat in the sparsely decorated room with his head down. In the darkness, he stared down at the ring on his finger. The dim glow sent shivers into Todd’s heart; he clenched his fingers as his originally cold heart showed gaps in its indifference. That sense of reminiscence drilled itself into Todd’s heart —
Back then, Todd did not know his wife was pregnant. He held his wife’s icy hands as the pair stood in the falling snow...
Todd: ‘Hungry...So hungry...’
Army Veteran: Todd, stop!
Army Veteran: You lunatic!
His wife liked snow and Todd shared this feeling, believing that it was the only thing more beautiful than she was. When his wife returned to Todd after being abandoned by her lover, Todd brought her to the north to distract her, in hopes that the sight of falling snow can resolve the troubles in her heart. The two walked hand-in-hand with the mittens their sole barrier. However, the coldness of her hand still pierced through to Todd’s.
Lucy: ‘How beautiful...this pure and white snow. It is not filthy like me...’
Todd pulled his wife into his embrace from behind, and smelled her sweet scent.
Todd: ‘Lucy, you are the love of my love. My most precious!’
Lucy: ‘A woman like me...’
Todd moved in front of his wife. In her eyes, he could see bemusement on the dreary expression. In the white snow, Todd lifted her cheek and kissed her hard. He hoped that this would allow him to suck out the discomfort from his wife’s heart —
The Midnight Joker: Foolish Human. Do you really think you can escape like this?
The Midnight Joker: All I did was imbue some dreams of reminiscence into you, and do you see what you have done?
Todd lifted a dying warrior, sucking out his terrified soul.^ After just a few years of seclusion, Todd was discovered by the Demons. The Clown general stimulated the curse on his body. Rendered insane, Todd slaughtered everyone in the village, and pillaged each of their souls...
The Midnight Joker: Are you satiated? Then, wake from your dream! The most painful instant is awakening from dreams!
At the Demon’s command, Todd returned from his dream, snapping back into blood-stained reality —
Nightfall Savant: I have endeavored to improve every inch of Todd’s body. His mechanical joints —
The Midnight Joker: It was I who had developed him through dreams. Look at his consciousness, always on the brink of collapse. That is a palpable piece of art!
Nightfall Savant: What we need is not art; what we need is a force powerful enough to defeat Gods and Humans alike!
Battle lines expanded as the wars between Gods and Demons raged on; with the expansion of the conflict, the Demons were starting to disagree strategically among themselves.^ Nightfall Savant planned to plunder the ruins in the realm of Humans to develop power, but the Duke Astaroth advocated the conquest of cities to establish strongholds.
As the one who discovered Todd, the Midnight Joker had always treated him as private property. Midnight had promised Astaroth to shift Todd over to other battle lines, but was halted by Nightfall Savant.
The Midnight Joker: I will give you a choice! Either you come with me, or else just let me take Todd and be on my way!
Nightfall Savant: Then why don’t we conduct a test? We can see who Todd would obey!
With an indifferent grunt, the Midnight Joker summoned Todd’s nightmares —
The Midnight Joker: Todd, I am not your enemy!
Nightfall Savant: You have descended into madness, eh?
Nightfall Savant: Guess I will have to defeat you first...
Nightfall Savant: You have successfully developed an insane soul! I can’t believe it actually had the ability to defeat my demonic Combatant...
Nightfall Savant: Looks like I would have to admit it; your creation is superb.
The Midnight Joker: I told you! I told you...
The body of the grievously injured Midnight Joker started disintegrating, and his soul was consumed by Todd.
The Midnight Joker: ‘Todd, ameliorate yourself in this final dream —’
Todd: ‘You...Where am I?’
Todd: ‘Let me out! Let me die! I have become a monster! I no longer belong anywhere!’
Lucy: ‘You have me! Stay by my side forever! Together, we can enjoy souls for what they are! Delicacies!’
Todd lost himself in the nightmare, but was dragged back to reality in confusion. Although he was released from his nightmares because of the Midnight Joker’s death, he had long lost his sanity. For Todd, awakeness was just another maniacal dream.
Spirit Gourmand Todd: Take me...to...battlefield. I still...want more souls!