webnovel

Beyond the End (My Landlady Noona)

Sentenced by the Gods, and executed by his lover, Alejandro’s steep climb through the tower goes up in flames. Instead of death, Alejandro is thrust into a new life, a new body, and a new name. However, the clock has never stopped ticking for him. The countdown towards the end has just begun. In this new game, he vows to be the one holding the match, ready to rewrite his destiny and confront the gods who once condemned him. But he’s got to be very careful, lest he singes the ones closest to him. // The start is a bit slow. // This is pure wish-fulfillment (don't expect a deep and complex plot). // If you enjoy this, please support me on patreon.com/nneeil (to get access to up to 15 chapters ahead).

Nneeil · Anime & Comics
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34 Chs

From the Ashes

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It's finally here! Gosh, it's been so long. Sorry for the delay, but at last we got this bad boy rolling. 

So far the release schedule is going to be 6/7 chapters a week. 

If you wish to read ahead, check out my patreon: /nneeil. 

Thank you for the patience! 

On with the chapter!

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'These white walls would be prettier with some strokes of blood, wouldn't they?'

Leandro's childish hands tightened over the railing of the balcony.

'Do not be afraid of death, mi querido. Be afraid of what comes after.'

Those words. That sensual, amused voice. It still haunted him. It still made his heart ache.

'That's what a psychopath would say, and I'm not one. But you need to die, you know that, don't you? The Gods themselves have written the divine decree, and I signed it with my blood. I had no other choice. Now, it's either you or me.'

The woman cloaked in fire glided closer and closer, until the heat coming off of her set his clothes alight. She held his face between her blazing hands. The remnants of his internal energy were the last bastion of defense against her touch. But even that was quickly eroded, and his skin started sizzling.

The excruciating pain, mixed with the smell of his flesh burning to crisp, and the sound of his ears bursting into flames. A symphony of agony that tortured him down to the last note.

Even years later, Leandro didn't want to think of it. In a way, she wasn't wrong. The afterlife wasn't permanent freedom from pain.

Leandro raised his eyes to the night sky, her words echoing in his mind.

'This is oddly similar to Icarus and the sun, isn't it?'

Her soft face glowed an incandescent orange hue. Magma dripped down her eyes, and if he was in a better state of mind back then, he would have wondered why she'd cry as she leaned forward, closing the oxygen-less space between them, and placed her burning lips on his.

'Love me. Hate me. I'll always be the death of you, Alejandro. You should have known.'

And then the world was bathed in a crimson nova.

Yet again, Leandro found himself reminiscing his last moments. The twinkling stars and the breezy night provided him with a sliver of solace. However, the memory of his death was indelible, printed in his brain with a searing pain and one last kiss.

A bitter smile came over his face. He should have known indeed. He should have listened to his sister. Giving up didn't make him weak, but pursuing the 'unattainable' certainly was a foolish endeavor.

At some point, he blocked out the voice of reason and treaded down a path of self-destruction. Step by step, he left a trail of fire and bodies in his wake.

And now, where was he?

A different world. A different body.

A world that was not torn by the apocalypse.

A body that wasn't marred by scars or capped with otherworldly power.

Leandro was not even his real name. Those young, uncalloused hands of his were not the bloodied ones he remembered—the ones he used to lift his Skyfang for the last time.

Not an ounce of energy circulated in his veins.

The cityscape glittered. Cars drove from left to right in the distance, like motes of light that sped across the highway into some unknown.

'I'm still alive…'

It felt like a dream. An illusion. A twisted prank. Just like a mirage in the desert. Did he really deserve a second shot at life?

'What is my purpose here…'

A breeze swirled through his hair.

'They say the dead find peace. I guess they weren't as guilty as me.'

Soft footfalls sounded out. Leandro tilted his head to look behind him.

A woman, robed in a silky gown stared at him, eyes aglow with concern. That beautiful face had been a constant presence in his memories. The ones that didn't belong to him.

Myeong—his mother. Specifically, this body's mother.

"Leandro, dear… why are you still up?"

The moment they made eye-contact, she flinched and instinctively looked away, looking apologetic as she did so. After all, what normal mother would recoil at the sight of their child?

That was normal, at least to Leandro. He was aware of the effect his gaze had on people that weren't accustomed to power. But that was all in the past. Now, he was weak. Vulnerable.

However, the eyes were the window to the soul, and his soul still brimmed with the predatory, ethereal intensity of his previous life.

Myeong, on the other hand, couldn't comprehend why a momentary pang of fear clenched her stomach in an icy grip. Leandro's beautiful, jade-green eyes had lost their innocent luster. Under the moonlight, those raw emeralds were like green lasers.

'W-What's with him…'

He had been like that ever since last week. Her husband, Diego, also noticed his drastic shift in behavior. Gone were the bright smiles or the constant laughter. He didn't speak much, and when he did, it was only when he was spoken to first.

They were extremely worried. But any attempts at finding out why he had become like that was met with a curt, dismissive response.

'I'm fine.'

'Yes, I'm sure.'

'No, nothing happened.'

Myeong and Diego begrudgingly came to the decision to give him space, hoping he'd come around on his own. Neither of them thought it apt to visit a psychiatrist yet, and left that card only as a last resort.

"I couldn't sleep." Leandro replied, his voice soft and measured.

Myeong slowly stepped into the balcony, tightening her robe against the chilly breeze. She crouched down in front of Leandro. "Would you like to sleep with mom and dad then?"

He shook his head. "No, mom, I'm fine."

"Leandro…" Meyong's words came out as a desperate plea.

And that, somehow, managed to squeeze a reassuring smile on her son's face. She deserved some comfort and peace of mind. "Do not be concerned, mom. I promise you I'm fine." She was about to rebut, but he beat her to it. "I'll go to sleep shortly. Five more minutes, please. I really like staring at the stars."

That was another thing that Myeong didn't know if she should have been proud or outright disturbed about. Overnight, the way Leandro spoke had exponentially improved, and so did his vocabulary.

He sounded more like an adult than a 7 year-old child. Diego had jokingly told her that Leandro had 'simply' awakened his genius, as if that was the answer to their son's sudden detachment.

"A-Alright…" Myeong acquiesced. Her black eyes were watered with unshed tears. "You promise, Leandro? Do not lie to mom, please."

His smile widened by a fraction. "I promise."

She smiled back as she held her pinky finger out. "Pinky promise. You know what I told you about pinky promises; you're never supposed to break them… or El Cuco is going to come and eat all your toes."

Leandro was tempted to roll his eyes, but in the end he entwined his smaller pinky around hers. "I pinky promise."

Myeong heaved a sigh of relief as she released him. "Do not be so distant, dear. You know I like to hug and coddle you." She rubbed the side of his face before she leaned in for a kiss.

Unbeknownst to her, Leandro stilled as her lips brushed lightly into his forehead. 'She's not her.' He closed his eyes, and the coiled tension slowly left his body.

The pleasant warmth lingered on his skin even after Myeong pulled away.

"Five more minutes." She affirmed with a nod. "Tomorrow, we're going to meet a young lady who'll be taking care of you while mom and dad are away."

Leandro's mouth opened, but no words came out. Instead, his eyes trailed to his left, where a faint, crimson screen hovered in his peripheral.

〔4750 days until the 'integration'.〕 

"But, you'll be back, right?"

Myeong bit her bottom lip, eyes wet and shining like the stars overhead. She wrapped her hands around his shoulders, squeezing them encouragingly. "Of course we will!" She tipped her forehead on his, until they were almost nose to nose. "We will never abandon you, Leandro."

"..."

•••• 

••• 

•• 

Leandro watched as his 'parents' talked to another couple. He stood under the shade of a tree. The sky was deep blue and clear of clouds, like an upside down ocean. A perfect day that radiated positivity.

Except that he couldn't feel any of it. He was under the constant doubt that one day he'd wake up only to find himself in front of a council of Gods, all of them sitting high above their mighty thrones, laughing at him for thinking he could do it all over again.

It was madness. Death and rebirth happened in the span of a second.

'Why? Who did it? Why am I here?'

"Don't be sad." If the wind could speak, that was how it would sound. Soft, like a shy whisper, but sleek enough that it would easily pour into your ears and never leave. "They'll come back."

Leandro turned around, head tilting up to make up for the gap in height. A young woman stepped closer, followed by a gust of wind that ruffled her hair. In fact, she was forced to lift a dainty hand up and tuck the swaying tresses behind her ear.

She was incredibly beautiful, for a lack of a better word. Leandro had seen Goddesses and all kinds of exotic beauty; he was immune to the impact a perfect, seductive face could have on his instincts.

This woman, Hari, had an indescribable air of innocence clinging to her, which stood in heavy contrast to her well-developed body.

It reminded Leandro of his sister, before the apocalypse forced her to become more resolute, more ruthless. Thinking about her, a glint of sadness overtook his eyes.

She was all the family he had left.

And now she was alone, mourning over his ashes.

Hari tilted her head and squatted down in front of him. "My parents are leaving too." Leandro raised an eyebrow at her words. She gave him a kind smile and continued. "They're going overseas for business, but don't worry, I'll take care of you."

She placed a hand on Leandro's head and gently stroked his brown curls.

Naturally, he didn't like being treated like a child, but such was his reality at the moment.

His eyes never once left hers. And unexpectedly, she didn't flinch. She continued staring at him with that everlasting loving smile on her delicate face.

"Do you even know how to take care of a kid?" Leandro asked off-handedly.

The question was valid. She was not that older than he was.

Hari's dusky-brown eyes sparkled. "I can cook and clean!" She replied, as if that was all it required. "Besides, I have a younger sister around your age. I'm experienced with kids~"

'Well, I guess it doesn't matter. I might be stuck in this tiny body, but I'm autonomous enough that I won't need any supervision from her.'

It was at that moment that Leandro's parents slowly walked up to him.

Hari, the sensible girl that she was, stepped aside to give them privacy.

"Leandro." Myeong dropped to her knees and enveloped him in a soul-crushing hug. Her scented hair swayed all over his face due to the playful wind. "I promise you that we'll be back soon, so be a good boy and don't cause mischief."

When she pulled back, tears were streaming down her face.

Leandro was not unaffected by the sincere look in her eyes. If anything else, he felt bad for being a 'monster' in this child's body. He didn't see them as his real parents, but giving them the illusion that he loved them wouldn't harm anyone.

So he did what Myeong expected of him.

He hugged her back, tightening his tiny arms around her.

A fresh wave of tears spilled out of her eyes.

Diego, a handsome, hispanic man placed a hand on his shoulder. It felt so big on his small frame. "Alright, chiquito. Chin up. We'll be back before you know it." He smirked. "You'll be living with a very beautiful young woman, don't do anything that I would do."

"..."

"Diego!" Myeong elbowed him in his ribs, causing him to huff. "He's only seven!"

"Sheesh, mi ángel, I was just kidding. You're so aggressive." He mumbled, nursing his aching ribs.

Myeong crossed her arms. "And you're so irresponsible."

After a quick reminder to behave and a very emotional goodbye, Myeong and Diego walked away while arguing childishly.

Leandro sighed.

〔4749 days until the 'integration'.〕 

That screen wouldn't be going away anytime soon. In fact, it was weird that it only appeared to him. A constant reminder of what was to come.

Gates. Towers. Monsters. Challengers.

Death.

Will it happen all over again?

Leandro turned to Hari, who was staring at him like a very curious rabbit. He flashed her a forced smile, which she immediately reciprocated. "I'll be in your care."

"Yes! Leave it to me!" She pumped a fist in the air with stars in her eyes.

'In my first life, I burned. In my second, I plan to do the burning.'

This time, for sure.

There'd be no God to block his road.