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JJK: Red Priest Pathway

Doesn't this world deserve a better end? The main character finds himself in the world of "Jujutsu Kaisen" with the power of the Red Priest from "Lord of Mysterios." Hello everyone, I am amattsu, the author of "Jujutsu Kaisen: Red Priest Pathway". Unfortunately, I had to re-upload this fanfic to my account because, for certain reasons, my co-author Vandalizer cannot publish it on their own account. patreon.com/amattsu

amattsu · Anime & Comics
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72 Chs

Chapter 3. Sleep Tight, Cowboy

Darkness.

Utter darkness. Black as pitch, a void of "nothingness." I couldn't see, hear, smell, or taste anything.

My thoughts barely registered.

I felt the cold.

I knew I was shivering.

And most of all, I felt alone.

Once again, I awoke in a cold sweat in the dead of night. I ruffled my hair, slipped into soft slippers, and stepped outside, swiftly lighting a cigarette.

This had been going on for two weeks now. It all began when I encountered a Special Grade Curse and found myself on the brink of death for the first time in a long while.

"I never thought I'd still be afraid of death," I mused self-deprecatingly, taking a deep drag of tobacco smoke that reached my lungs and then spiraled out in two plumes from my nostrils.

Sorcery... As it turned out, it wasn't exactly a noble endeavor. Sure, in the beginning, you get that sensation as if you're wielding a long staff and hear it slicing through the air. But after a few years of living on the edge, you start to question the sanity of your decision. Perhaps these thoughts haunted me because I was a fourteen-year-old kid who'd been battling Curses for over seven years, or maybe it was because I was still weak.

"They say that during funerals, you come to understand death and loss. It's all bullshit, nothing more. Funerals are just an abstract ceremony. But here," I said, rubbing the long scar that wound around my torso from my lower back to my chest, "here is where you truly understand death."

I could have fallen into deep emotional self-pity, shedding bitter tears and speaking of how, as a human, I aimed to be kind, help those around me, and how their grateful smiles brought me joy. However, there was no point in all of that, just my "righteous" ego indulging itself. Over the years, it became clear to me that in this long path of a Sorcerer, I had lost not only the ability to cry but also the illusions of "righteousness."

Funny, mentally, I was already in my thirties... And yet, I was still a fourteen-year-old kid who didn't understand what he wanted. In any case, one can't deny that at the very beginning of my journey as a Sorcerer, ideals of saving human lives and a moral compass dominated. Eventually, I was still human with all my flaws, but after many years, a certain weariness overwhelmed me.

"What's our society's reckoning for our shared illusions?" This is the kind of stuff you start thinking about when you've been staring at mountains of corpses and rivers of blood for seven years, when you watch ordinary people lose their sanity and turn into vengeful ghosts. Or when you realize that you save one life, but three others say their final goodbyes to this world forever. When every single day you're faced with a choice with no choice. And when you understand that it will keep repeating, over and over.

I wonder what would've happened to this body if I hadn't transferred into it. Could that poor guy have withstood the pace set by the old man and the cruel reality created by the world? And can I?

"I hate moments like these," I grumbled in annoyance at my weepy self, taking another drag of my cigarette.

Although, on the other hand, this is where the slippery slope begins…

"What moments?" Kishibe Yami suddenly interrupted my inner monologue.

"You're not sleeping either?" I handed him a pack of cigarettes and looked at the lights of Tokyo at night.

"Old age is no joy," he grumbled, lighting a cigarette.

"But I'm a Sorcerer, right?" I asked the man who had been exorcising Curses for over fifty years.

"For some reason, it sounds like you're making sorcerers out to be heroes," the old man replied after a pause, lighting his cigarette.

"Sorcerers, Curse exorcisers, firefighters saving a family from a burning apartment, doctors fighting for a child's life - they're all heroes, aren't they?" I genuinely considered Sorcerers heroes, not like the weirdos in rubber suits, but "ordinary" people who were brave enough to risk themselves for others.

"Listen, kid," scratching his gray beard, the old man continued. "A true Sorcerer isn't someone who exorcises Curses or has undergone training for it. A Sorcerer is someone who does what needs to be done. Sometimes, that means getting dirty, spilling blood, even your own. But they do it because it's necessary."

"And they do it because it's necessary... I guess that couldn't be a better description of adult life," I laughed, recalling the words of my father from my previous life.

"Sorcery is not for children," Kishibe responded, shaking his head.

"But I became a Sorcerer when I was just a kid. I don't think I was mature enough back then," I retorted.

"You weren't a Sorcerer back then. You were just exorcising minor Curses and trying to survive under my pressure. You only became a true Sorcerer when..." He pointed at the scar I had received from a Special Grade Curse and continued, "When you began to have the right thoughts, like you did today."

"It's damn hard to be a Sorcerer," I irritably clicked my tongue.

"Do you know why there are so few Sorcerers? It's not because there are few people capable of seeing Curses. No. It's because when you live like a Sorcerer, there's no certainty in any aspect of your life. It drives you crazy," the old man explained, extinguishing his cigarette and heading back into the house.

"You became a Sorcerer, but how long will you last? That's the true measure of a Sorcerer's strength," he said before disappearing.

"Goodnight to you too," I muttered, taking another deep drag of the bitter smoke.

For a few minutes, the night was silent, broken only by the sound of burning tobacco.

Who knew that everything would unfold like this? When I read the manga, this world may have been a "Dark Shonen," but it didn't seem so complicated in such simple matters.

"All that's left is to keep moving forward... One step at a time."

Two years later. Tokyo National Hospital. Oncology department.

"How much time do I have left?" the gray-haired man in white hospital attire for patients asked emotionlessly.

"Less than a day," I replied in a somber tone.

"Your Spiritual Sight is amazing," he said after a short pause, reaching his hand toward me. "Give me a cigarette."

However, I didn't respond immediately but rather stupidly stared at his wrinkled palm.

"I'm dying anyway, so let me do it with a cigarette in my mouth instead of a catheter up my butt and an enema in my vein," the old man impatiently waved his outstretched hand in front of my face, while the other shielded his face from the setting sun's rays.

It was indeed a compelling argument. I didn't care about breaking the rules of resuscitation because right now, it was the only thing he needed. Allowing it was killing him.

"Who would've known that tobacco kills more effectively than Curses, huh?" The old man chuckled, exhaling smoke from his nose.

I didn't know how to respond. All I could do was watch the soul of my grandfather, burning with a faint blue flame.

"You know, I'm glad I'm dying like this," started Yami senior, looking at me. "I'm not a samurai dreaming of dying in battle against a formidable opponent in pursuit of something legendary..."

"I didn't think you'd be so disheartened at the end of your... life," I hesitated to say the last word.

"You think too much," said the gray-haired Yami. "Today, I'll tell you the truth I learned when I was a little older than you."

"What truth?" I'd always been curious about the old man's past.

Yami Kishibe's expression turned serious.

"Do what you love."

"And what does that have to do with anything?" For a moment, my brain froze at the simplicity of his short answer.

"In the moment you stop loving what you do, you start dying. Sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally. In the light of these realities, I, a man who devoted his entire life to his passion, look back without any regrets. That's why letting go of this life is so much easier for me."

"Even though you forced me to become a Sorcerer?" I hadn't said something so foolish in a long time.

"Is that so?" The old man calmly smiled. "Well, at first, I did impose this idea on you. But in the end, you chose to overcome your weakness and become a Sorcerer. So, accept it."

"I was just a child."

"You were the most remarkable and mature child I've ever seen."

Silence hung around us. I didn't know how to respond. The old man simply enjoyed one of his last cigarettes.

"Listen, the world relies on Sorcerers and hopes for them. That's true, and it's part of our duty. But if you're miserable, don't be a Sorcerer. You don't have any choice other than living this life. So, don't go against yourself..." He patted my shoulder. "What matters isn't the number of days in your life, but the amount of life in your days. Now, give me another cigarette."

It was our last evening together. Early the next morning, he passed away. As he had instructed, I cremated his body, following the Sorcery customs. You know, as I watched the flames, I felt terribly ashamed. Ashamed in front of him for behaving like a spoiled brat, ashamed for not being able to say "Goodbye." And it was all because I lacked the strength to bid him farewell...