Take Up the Cross – Chapter 110: Crash Course in the Humanities

“Subject, verb, object! It doesn’t matter how you phrase it, but get consistent with asserting your thoughts directly!

“… This unit—”

“No! I! Avoid passive voice, at least until you understand assertive language!”


(There’s already enough people around me referring to themselves childishly!)


[Wowee~, Rantil feels very validated~.] [Shut up!]


“… I—”

“Correct. Firm your existence! Now, show me how high you can jump from standing.”

“… Understood.”


A Codex earns more scribbles when the cadre neophyte under review mechanically squats and then launches skyward. Giving a flip at the end, this “Serras” currently cannot exceed the abilities of the original.


(As I thought, absolutely no connection via opaque threads. Only ten feet, though? Even I could do that…!)


[Do it without your boots, Rantil dares you!] Directly beneath where he’s jotting down thoughts, an annoying girl further confuses Adris.


(On Xin, I meant. What can you read from my thoughts, I wonder?)


His private opinions are open, but she cannot discern his essential nature? His pet allip proves stranger still by her worth being questionable.


“Show your strength!”



On the way down, the neophyte plunges headfirst with a fist reared back.

Just above crashing, “Serras” slams a naked blow onto the roof with a jarring crunch. Chips of hardened alchemical construction material fly up, but the doll balancing upside down on the impact fails to crush the tower.

Instead, she acrobatically slips over her back before her caftan falls up, flexibly landing on two feet again. The woman turns and folds her hands, awaiting further instructions.


(More durable than a human, but Kol is more destructive? Still, useful.)


[Hnn, hnn, so generous~. Why not show Rantil how you could—?] [Stop screwing off Rantil.] Adris taps the beginning of his list with his aura quill, before instructions are given. [One more time from the top, to make sure it’s right.]


“List your known instructions.”


First — Protect the Maker of this unit, preventing any harm to either the Maker or known objectives of the Maker, and the integrity of the Unnatural Protean Manse and its contents.

Second — Serve the one assigned to this unit, so long as requests are within the capabilities of the unit and do not endanger the first objective—”

“Remember to always rephrase prior knowledge with what you learn! ‘This unit’ will become ‘me’!”


“Wrong! ‘Okay’ would be used when responding to me…”

Finally shaking her head, the composed face she makes doesn’t mask the confusion developing still in her jumbled-up mind.

“That which is created must defer in inferiority to that which was not created.”


(Normally, yes, but that interferes with my own… designs. “Will always protect Falke, but otherwise will serve me”. And, when not serving…)


“Ignore that thought and continue.”

“… ‘Okay’. Third — Absorb and re-purpose all synchronized information and prowesses, refining toward the goal of achieving ‘perfection’ with final crystalization of experiences.”

With three goals listed, she stops speaking and blankly stares.


Still quietly obliging any request Adris makes, he can consider himself both fortunate and not so blessed that whatever personality survives from Serras’ passing shadow grants both linguistic competency and the definitions needed to convey ideas seamlessly.

Were this doll truly a doll, it would fail to be useful. If it were more capable, it wouldn’t be so deliciously prone to being re-molded to his liking.


(Almost as if she’s still benefiting from my own [Tongue of Air and Darkness] Talent, the words I use instantly gain understanding in context…? Or is that simply what my Talent does, since Kol grasps things easily, too?)


As if a toddler when trying to comprehend the idea of independent action and individuality, this “Serras” still shows surprising adaptability with more advanced conversational concepts that children wouldn’t grasp.

[Rantil still doesn’t understand the rush? Why are you so confident about this… weird power you dredged up, anyway, that you’re gonna bet everything on it? It just made strange things… huh?]

Adris continues sketching out a diagram while noting his thoughts, not even bothering to look at his protégé anymore when correcting her. No face he makes conveys any useful impact; nor does goading nor chiding nor positive reinforcement speed up results.

[You sure sound jealous that I’ve got a source of information more accurate than you…] [Rantil will pretend that you didn’t just suggest that she’s being forgotten~! Or would you prefer to face the bad stuff alone, next time~?]


(I still don’t believe that I needed you…)


Immediately before turning back into a book, Rantil had made an ominous assertion.




Don’t think for a moment that just because your self has settled into one form, instead of being torn between the multitude, that all of the horrors of the unknown no longer bother you, Crossbearer. If you truly wish to face them alone and discover what your soul can withstand, then this noble entity will oblige upon the next encounter…

Though tired, the girl who refused to let herself be seen beneath the cloak had spoken with a dignity she rarely forces on Adris.


(Maybe… I’m being a little too cruel to her? Perhaps underestimating the dangers…?)


The motley crew of abominations that answered her call had, all appearances aside, seemed rather affable to both her and Adris…


(Were… they behaving because Rantil was there?)




While considering that, Adris finishes his drawing, provoking fast words to write themselves.

[Wait? ‘Hour of Finality’? We’re in a rush!? Ehhhh!? Why!? What happens at midnight!?] [Do you want to find out without winning first, Rantil? The story has begun…]


Drawn is the torch-like sun and the dial which governs day and night. The Pale Throne, reflection of the distant object in the sky of Xin which returns the light of the day, facing away from those gripped by darkness, is the final mark.

When it would be at its height, Adris’ story will conclude without any further words possible to speak.

[Sure of that? Whyyyy do you feel so many vague, brooding things with certainty? What’s makin’ yah so antsy?] [Even if I don’t know what this new Talent does, I cannot help but feel danger looming…]


Though only a drawing that comes to life when put to Rantil’s pages, ticking ever forward as the torch-like sun turns, witnessing the loss of time forces Adris to swallow hard. In addition to his senses both broadening and refining to the point of inducing throbbing pain in the front and sides of his head, he’s begun to have flashes of random insights.

When looking at this fake, she blurs. Two images start to overlap, the clear one of the real doll obscured by a blurred, shaky delusion whose details affirm when he considers them.


[It’s… so, it’s fine as long as I match both uniforms? Mine changed once, so can’t it possibly be altered in more…?] [Quit changing the subject! Jeez, when have you ever gotten this single-minded!?]


(I can’t control my thoughts…!)


[The ideas are just coming to me. They don’t shut up until I write them down into you!] [So, that’s what’s up with you…? Hmm…]


Another agitation has yet to be dealt with, too, stemming from this doll that lacks any awareness of her immense crime.

“You are an ‘independent’ servant, yes? Does this mean that Falke doesn’t constantly monitor your duties?”

“Correct, this servant lacks direct control and messaging functionality. If summons are required, a location rune exists internally.”


(Then why don’t I feel his presence?)


If that is true, then Falke would already be attempting to reclaim this rogue asset.

Yet, there’s no taste of pseudo-aura or “technique” in the crisp air outside, leaving the two of them sunbathing quietly while there should instead be soulless soldiers rising out of the rooftop in great numbers.


(For her to resonate with an aura core, Falke correctly eliminated outside interferences that would pollute or dilute the—?)


“The Maker’s presence, required?” Showing rare initiative, this is the worst offer!

(Ascended, no!)

“Not at all!”


Though Adris anticipates that Falke will try to track them down, that he hasn’t discovered them yet proves this ability isn’t relevant.


“… Rather, you’re functioning perfectly, so why bother him with trivialities?” When “Serras” betrays no doubts, Adris points to her outfit. “Now, what are the capabilities of your clothing?”

“Questionable inquiry, what purpose—?”

“I can’t be presentable to Falke as a guest without looking my best, and if I’m to change my look, obviously my servant’s look must adapt to complement it, yes?

The woman’s stare goes distant as she ponders Adris’ rational attack on “Rule One” via “Rule Two” with an arrogant demeanor fitting a “guest”.

“Logic testing—

Acceptable, within—”



Adris opens his palm and points to it with his quill, tapping on his index finger with the feather.

“‘Please let me consider this.’” Closing that finger, he moves to the next. “‘It sounds advantageous, let us proceed.’ If you want to sound refined but also servile, as befitting a high-class servant, then you must also sound… ah…?”


(How did that beanpole family head in Xira’zhen put it when he slapped his caretaker’s ass…? Oh, to get to that age and still be hard, praise be to his medicine refiner…)


Tapping his finger, Adris finally clicks his tongue. “Right, refined but also obsequent. Submissive, yet astute in replies! Commonplace, but uncommon in action! Make your master feel like you are secretly hanging on every word, a reflection of their own intellect magnified by each of your responses!” By the end, his closed fist is shaking, an affectation that is useless on his student.


(So sad…)



“Shadow… counterpart? Who cares about the term! So long as you are a mirror to their level of competency, but always appearing the junior in the relationship, the way you talk makes you seem reliable to them while also exalting their own image before others witnessing your exchanges.”

“‘Reliable’ constitutes the proper objective, under—”

A fierce glance from Adris halts the woman’s brooding voice, leaving him tapping his foot while she figures out the right response.

“To be seen as reliable is best… for this relationship… I, understand.”

“… Now: what can you change about yourself?”


(Pseudoprósōpon has great strengths. Now, show me yours.)


“… I am capable of—”

“WRONG! Demonstrate with action while using words! Assert your existence with both.”

“… Okay.”

Without a hint of dissatisfaction, the servant-in-training lifts her hand.

“… Is this form not the perfect one for your tastes?”


(She will never be worn by another as a mockery, no matter how much I hate her.)


“Don’t you dare presume what I like. Ever again.” A growl ill-befitting a child brings a rapid nod in return.

“… Apologies, I will comply. Then, I will commence with instructions.”

Tanned skin that’s as suitably soft as his memories, while calloused on the inner fingers, swishes as it changes.

A thin hand becomes a jutting knife-point, before swishing back to produce a man’s larger hand.

“Any form is suitable for this servant to be altered to…

… given available medium and physical integrity of desired image.”

“Excellent. And your clothes?”


The doll tilts her head sideways like a bird, before looking downward to Adris’ feet.




A blue caftan mimics a chameleon by subtly altering to red, before turning to white.

The fabric then changes to fur, albeit without a semblance of normality to the work. Instead of appearing taxidermied to style or grown naturally thick, this fur is wildly spaced in length in spots and absent human refinement.

Finally, the sleeves change to disparate lengths before the caftan’s bottom shortens. The end result resembles a schizophrenic tailor’s idea of bitter mountain wear.


(She has difficulty with concepts not witnessed personally as a crafted product?)


Upon exhausting her own creativity, the doll speaks haltingly.


… As demonstrated… this—

… I can alter all aspects of the clothing imagined.”


(I see, you aren’t good with unknowns.)


“Excellent. And your face?”

“… My face can be altered—”


“GOOD! Then, immediately, change your body to be someone else.


A surprising quantity of hostility hisses out with Adris’ order, before he realizes just how tense he is. This hostility is apparently so obvious that even a newborn doll can understand something is wrong.

Mimicking that special person at precisely the wrong time, the doll combs through long, dark hair for Adris’ benefit.

“I… I do not understand the request. Is there something wrong with an appearance historically favored by the master? This should be the optimum—”

“Change — your — face.”

His quill’s feather slaps against her cheek before he even realizes he’s up.

I will not tell you again.

[Adris… get a grip.]


Reproach earns a fast nod from the doll, letting Adris collapse back onto his butt as he ignores his Codex. He waits for her to change while jotting down more ideas, but squints when she remains frozen.


“Have you forgotten to do what I just told you to?”


… Please provide the desired form’s design.”



“Show some independence! Carry out my order without demanding to be led along like a little puppy!

“… I…”

“Are you a competent servant or are you a witless piece of scrap!? Figure it out for yourself!


Back to his book Adris goes, grinding his teeth as he nears completion on his task list. The sound of semi-solids swirling proves that this doll can listen.


(If you can’t manage to look like someone else of your own accord, then “potential star” or not, you’re useless to me!)


When not even Rantil interrupts his final thoughts, Adris gives a slight grin before setting the useful Codex down to take in the result. Though an odd feeling to have when Adris pretends to be so many different people, he can’t help but feel angry when others pose as those he cares for.


(Let’s see what you—?


… Huh…?)


Though lovely to see in olden days, a “Serras” produces nothing but venom in Adris’ heart after if it’s an image worn by another. That venom is washed away by a healing called…


“You’re… stunning.”


Did this ser—

… Did I correctly choose an image that produces—?”

“Shut up! Just… let me take in…”


Still speaking in Serras’ emotionless voice, the impression of the new is almost ruined by the old.


(Who is this?)


In place of a child of the mudlands who grew into a conquering beauty, there is now a sterling lady with the kindest, yet also coldest, blue eyes staring down at him. Taller than Serras by two or three inches, she could easily stand beside some men and exceed their own heights.

Naturally curly, shoulder-length hair resembles a fluffed bird’s silver feathers, being not the burden of aging but simply of a color Adris would not expect to see humans have. In contrast to this somewhat unkempt coif of hair, fine facial angles of feminine softness betray a stock of humanity far different from the more swarthy and rougher Castilians.


(I see, such barbaric features, yet also appealing.)


Without makeup applied, there’s some blandness to the colors of her cheeks and lips, but this fully-formed persona is assertively attractive. Despite somewhat kind eyes, the rest is unapproachable and noble to a fault. Like Still under the mask, the woman that leans down to bow to him is definitely a treasure worth killing for.


“Would this… be a correct choice?”

“Change your voice! Now!” Another hissed order sends the wrong impression of Adris, causing him to close his eyes and sigh. “… Immediately.”



A dark voice dies forever, no longer staining his memories.

“… would this be an appropriate voice, master?”

In its place, a somewhat masculine lilt without musical qualities asserts a confidence more like Kol’s, though far softer than her bragging tone.


(It fits perfectly.)


“Yes. That’s good.”


A little tomboyish, it’s still the adult voice of a woman who grew from enjoying games played with sticks and mud, to a débutante’s that amazes with its uncommon forcefulness.

Like a rough gem being ground down, but retaining a luster uniquely its own.


“Excellent, keep it. Now, the clothes…” Coughing into his hand, Adris considers this part of his plan while trying not to feel attracted to this pretend woman.


(Who… who the hell is she?)


With a stern, unapproachable beauty of hidden, but obvious, qualities staring down at him, Adris can feel his long-denied cock stiffening. Though not overly thick, this woman’s butt is more filling than Serras’. Breasts of a bigger cup also extend the front, throwing off Adris’ estimate of her attractiveness by making him consider her like he would Kol.


(Is it more attractive if a woman’s parts are covered in a masculine presentation? Ah, it is? Maybe… things that are off, but highlight the off-ness, are their own style of sensuality…?)


Only the familiar caftan that is sorely out of place keeps him grounded in just “considering” her.


(Why does she seem familiar, though…?)


Something about her face draws his thoughts, but he can’t place the reason.


[Soooo, you can get it up for a sex toy without emotions, but not for girls that are always nice to you~?] [No, I am forced to “get it up” period! Can’t you just steal away my lust, too, and make this easy!?] [Rantil can only steal secrets that you can’t admit. Everyone knows you’re a horny gigolo, no secret found, eheeeeehehehehe~!]


(Shut up! I’m not! It’s this place, not me…)


“Clothing?” A prompt from this charming voice of hers jolts Adris back, before he starts yammering.

“Clothing! This is what makes a person’s image stand out before others, what defines them…! Without careful consideration, you cannot hope to leave the right impression, much less perform your role. Clothing like that is no good, for it’s meant for a warrior!

Get rid of it…”

“Okay, I will.”


(Good, then we can— Ah, AHHHH!?)


Without closing her eyes in shame or bothering to hide, the noble young lady before him starts to “shed” the clothing as it swirls around a very feminine body.

Being absorbed into her figure, very pert breasts with nipples pointing slightly upward wobble as they’re freed. Naked arms flex to display their articulate allure, joined by bare thighs and legs without any hair upon them. Slick gray slime rushes between legs with a discernible gap between thighs, revealing a cleft that’s puffy and bearing a well-trimmed bush above…!



… You are a servant, even if you’re my servant…!”

The gift of seeing a beauty disrobed is denied when Adris turns his back to her with a fast scoot. Crossing his arms, he spits out on the roof to get the sweet, pink taste off of his tongue.

“But, you must not carelessly shame yourself by displaying everything for others to undeservedly see!”


(I’m… not going to fuck a doll!)


Pants are far too tight despite his protests, though.

They’re saying a different truth.


(… There’s only one… automaton I’d consider…)


“I don’t understand?”

“WHAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND!? Shaming yourself by being nude before others is the same as shaming your master! Which means you’re currently shaming me!

“This is in violation of my second instruction set…”


(Fucking right it is!)


Moments pass as wind whips by, yet nothing sounds like it’s changed.


“… Please relay the desired design.”

“A standard servant’s uniform of this manse! NOW!

“… Okay.”


Seconds later, Adris sighs and turns back around.

Mercifully, the chosen design matches the vibrant green and purple of the female uniforms. Though loose about her breasts and revealing in the same manner, it still bears the same hallmark grace.

Yet, seems out of place, as though it can’t match her well-bred nature.


“No, it should look different…”

“… How so?”

“I’m talking to myself! Know when your master is talking to you and when he’s openly musing for the benefit of those less intelligent than he is.”

“… Okay.”


A quill goes back to a book, while the page spouts obscenities.

[Just another fuckin’ slut trying to make Rantil look unappealing in comparison, huh? I don’t really—?] [And that would fit with the intention of appearing average, yet decidedly new. If it’s the two of us, then we must match—] [Rantil feels like she’s been much more… demure lately, right!? A little like you have to chase her? Even Rantil would like to be seen as a… nice girl and not just—?] [The weakness of this manse is that the… “outer” servants have no idea what Falke does, since he’s so aloof. If I can sell myself as a “new servant”, then—?] [Girls are fragile, okay? If you ignore them, they’ll start to hate you, Adrissssss~?]


The point of the quill blobs on the sheet as his hand shakes.


[Shut up! You’re plenty feminine enough, so feminine that I end up assaulting you every time you pop out! Have you considered that I already find you attractive enough, with your plump butt that no little girl is supposed to have that makes me want to slap it, without you interfering with every line I try to write!?]

Despite his anger peaking, the curly glyphs after are sprightly.

[… That makes me feel really fluffy inside, hehe, but it’s also absolutely rude if you don’t call me cute and sexy, you know~?]


(I’m going to burn you.)


But not before he finishes drawing the uniform. An image in his mind is hard to put to paper, for Adris has never had much talent with art.

Servants’ uniforms, with a matching male and female dichotomy, slowly take ugly shape.


[Correct me if I miss anything: Falke’s doll servants don’t possess true hearts of their own, but follow whatever details he sends via these “threads” of his substance…]


(They react only to certain triggers, like my outfit!)


Within the festive hall, Falke’s servants had only reacted when he’d entered their vicinity. They had first looked at his ensemble before noting him.


[Therefore, his powers being based around a “Technique” mean that he’s limited by senses, since aura techniques are extensions of them. This explains his limited control of the mansion and the need for the garden within to hide some sort of mediating device…?] [A pretty big stretch of what yah know, Adris!? But… it makes sense and doesn’t sound wrong?]


(It’s what Still wanted to take out, which means that she’ll be working on a way to take over the garden and Falke’s monstrous tree…)


It’s the only place the absent Still would be, unless she’s being held prisoner.

Adris finds that unlikely, as Falke’s pride and devotion to Neesiette, combined with Neesiette’s strictness for details, precludes him hiding the fact of imprisonment from her.


(The key to reaching her will be found with my new servant.)


“Hm, going back to this earlier bit, you have the ability to command certain aspects of the manse?”

“Yes. I am capable of aligning spatial displacement gateways with new destinations as well as accessing physical transit points.”


(Like when the harpies get engulfed by the walls? No, not possible. The cross will definitely react poorly.)


Of the two, aura, or rather, spatial gateways alone provide travel that’s safe.


[If the doll ate up a bunch of ‘darkness’ that makes the goop go wild, but she’s still holding it together, isn’t she probably a nicer toy than before…?] [Right, she’s holding out on us.]


“Can you not do anything else?”

A birdlike tilt in the opposite direction of the last rushes with insecurity. In this one instance, she betrays an almost human shock.

“This servant exists to serve the assigned master. What extra functions should this servant be capable of carrying out to fulfill the needed one?”



Getting up, he stretches his sleeve out. Black-colored after being donned, Adris has wondered if the change to the magical outfit is only one-way.


“Are you able to change my own outfit to match yours?”


(The cross can force you to change. Why shouldn’t you be able to change others, now?)




Something is scratching at Adris’ thoughts. It’s a desperate hope, yet Adris feels assured in probing on this subject.

Almost as if it’s obvious, directed by some certainty which shouldn’t exist but is necessary to proceed—?


“This servant is incapable of issuing orders to other un—

… servants, or in modifying that which is crafted by the Maker.”

“Oh? Truly? Hah!”

A short laugh makes this doll’s eyes dart to his face, before he leans in and whispers.

“… What if I told you that I ‘altered’ you a bit to make it possible?”

That would be impossible.


Antagonism floods out when the “servant” straightens up.

Such a reality is impermissible.


This servant cannot disobey the Maker. This… I must protect the ‘integrity’ of the manse and its contents. To modify the contents would disobey adherence to—”


(I see, strict in following the rules. Perfect!)


“Oh, a kind fib won’t work?” Sighing with difficulty, Adris pats her boobs with both hands to force her to go silent. “Then I suppose I’ll just have to be brutally honest…? Your Maker made you with special capabilities that were not included in your limited knowledge.”

“… Unlikely…”


An immediate rebuttal is followed by deathly silence.

Straight-faced as always, yet colder in how she responds, how she betrays a hint of emotion prompts Adris to stay silent.


(You are not just an automaton, are you? Or else…)


With the assertion he made, and the moments that follow ticking by, the glimmer of a darkness about this woman grows.




… Quantify and qualify the differences in capabilities this servant possesses that do contradict the instructions given. Clarification is requested.

Despite refusing outright, she cannot help but be tempted.

“Certainly, though I admit I’m only beginning to understand myself…”


(Do you feel the difference, and need to understand in order to reconcile; or, are you… emboldened by the idea that you’re “special”?)




Understanding his partner in this “act” will be paramount.

Adris’ own self-image and proposed guise grows firmer in his mind as he comes to understand this stranger.


Like a reflection of her own insecurity and need to examine her full capabilities, he grows to take up the same challenge.


(I need to know what my new power can do. Flashes of insight and the voice of an old bastard spouting random words isn’t enough to help me hurt Falke!)


Only if he can rope this woman into being his knife will the stab in the back be delicious enough.

A “poetic revenge” begs for…




“Touch my sleeve.”

“… Okay. I will comply.”

A hand grips hard, earning an “Ah” from Adris before the woman lessens her strength.


(Quick uptake…)


“Now… believe that the cloth on my body is the same as your own.”

“… This is impossible. It is not made of—”

“Don’t worry about what it’s made of! Just presume that you can issue the same commands, whether you know how to or not! Turn its colors to yours in the same pattern…”

“The clothing is of a different—”


Adris’ hand slaps over hers, with his voice turning stern and unyielding.

Improvise. Adapt. And force the cloth to obey.”


… Okay.”


Despite her reluctance, the moment Adris feels the pseudo-aura within this woman flare up he grows equally excited. Confusedly weaving about, when her eyes focus on the cloth touching false skin, the impetus to change firms in one direction and…


“Ho! Told you that you could do it.”

“… Unforeseen. Unnatural?”


Black becomes green and purple.

An emblem of a cross and key turns swiftly into the matched Kestner coat of arms.


Though no words are spoken, an instinctive magic asserts that proves this doll is…




(As I thought, a special key.)


More than just opening doors, this woman holds interesting value related to a larger role. The ability to alter what Falke has given finality to is a heresy that rides straight into the man’s bleak preoccupation.


(Falke alone is the one who seeks perfection. For one of his own creations to change what he has made… ahahahaha! I love it! It’s already so compellingly sinister!)


A smile on Adris’ face draws a curious attention, an innocent fascination he’s beginning to enjoy.




“Now begins your training, my servant. Finish matching our outfits according to this drawing and let’s be on our way.”

Holding up the book to a page which contains only two figures standing side-by-side, Adris notes every change to this woman’s behavior when she examines it.

Every minute detail that alters with her experiences is one he can’t miss.


“We have very little time and many people to meet.”


(The victory in this plot, this ploy… this… whatever this is, requires that I meet a number of people.)


Kol, Ave, Still, and Neesiette. These are the principals.


(But also, I must discover everything I can about this manse and its inhabitants.)


The page harpies will be the first roost to stir up.

Taking perfect advantage of their disguises…


“If the master is the master, then why would that master wish to be dressed like a servant? This is illogical.”

“How better to understand this manse and all the wonders it has to offer than by experiencing it, being a part of it from the lowest of perspectives?” With his hand to his chin, Adris whispers the next part. “… How can I know whether it’s worth making it my home unless it’s… perfect?

That fake whisper prompts renewed interest from the doll.

Possessing enough wits to question a strange situation, she still cannot escape the web of Adris’ duplicitous logic and temptations. So long as his objectives conform with her instructions, she will not oppose misleading intentions.


(And you are hiding more unspoken instructions, aren’t you? “The purpose of you ‘copies’ is to blind us into staying forever.” I can’t prove it yet except by inference, though…)


Fierce-blue clouds momentarily, before certainty in her mission clears up doubts and she looks instead to the great orange tree in the middle of the garden.

Though she has many uncertainties now with her “personality acquisition” beginning, Adris cannot offer all of the solutions except by enticing this madcap adventure with the prospect of it ending in success for her secret mission.


(This is your one, and only, day with me, too. If you will metamorphose into the perfect human butterfly, then soak in as much of me as you can.)




“This servant… should be shorter?”

“Be as youthful as I am and feel, my dear little sister~!”





A trio of workers’ wings adjust hanging banners pulled from a trundle cart full of similar decorations. Bearing the manse’s colors in place of the gray that exists elsewhere in unending certitude, they alleviate the mental efforts of the dictator that guides its next formation while still achieving the right ostentatious style.

This hallway which has recently reshaped, given now to showcasing statues of armored warriors frozen in aggressive motion with every kind of brutal armament imaginable on Zennia, is quickly festooned with only a moment given to hesitation at their surroundings.


(No hunters, only normal work? Has Falke given up? Fortunately…)


Harpies with unseen eyes turn their heads, tilting briefly in amazement before their manners recover and they resume their tireless tasks. They promptly ignore the set of feet marching in lockstep past them.

Not even when those feet stop do they turn. The black-feathered maids only grow uneasy, slowing and refining their movements as they fly about a muffled ephemeral sea spray to place more hanging banners.


They are eager not to be the one inspected by eyes which stare from behind black and white masks.




Despite appearing human, thanks to the efforts of Adris’ tutored servant both of them appear to be products of the Maker.




(No matter how unusual, it’s only to be expected given their owner that they ignore incongruities that fit a style. Any interest can only be considered… foolish when it could arouse Falke’s own.)


Some unspoken agreement between the two spectators resumes their synchronized march in silence.


Down a hallway full of uneven, raised tiles they navigate carefully until reaching the end and perform a mechanically precise right-angled turn to enter the next stretch.


(This is even more perfect than I’d hoped for!)




Hand-in-hand, two children dressed in exotic outfits continue their journey through Falke’s wonderland.

One bears the standard male uniform dress in green and purple, yet across the vest a sash of a woman’s arm stretching to place over the heart hangs. Youthful embellishments of brass like large buttons and clips give a luster absent elsewhere from Falke’s numbers.

The only truly unique items would be a black mask with a strange glyph upon its center, white boots that exude killing intent, and an obsidian cross carefully concealed as an adornment for the sash to wrap around.


Tousled black hair goes with a black mask, a white streak carefully obscured by its disarray. Red eyes stare forward, refusing to acknowledge any servant that passes by as these page harpies live up to their reputation by being nameless and unobtrusive.


(I’ve outdone myself. Especially with the “counterpart” that completes the glaring flaw that is “me”.)




Where the boy is plain, yet refined and self-assured, the girl is fragile, but full of chilling beauty.

This child’s sash hangs from the opposite direction, a hand over the right breast which is quite subdued in comparison to earlier. A thick skirt and lacy over-coat leave her more aloof than her outgoing “brother”, even though a white mask framed by vivid silver hair is more stunning then anything he can offer.

Demure rabbit-fur boots are cute where his are vicious, creating a dynamic that provokes as many questions from the heart as the mind forms when others consider the manse’s newest servants.


Wearing the Kestner colors and placid expressions, however, denies those questions eternally.

Just as predicted…




(To suppress lesser servants’ curiosities, become the superior version.)




Just as she was told, this perfect counterpart replicates his actions.

Burgeoning curiosity defers to his selfish aspirations.

Provides the legitimacy that he craves.


With no one in sight down this length which has completed its rebirth, Adris reaches over to pat his co-conspirator’s hand as they stand in the light of the frosted garden windows.


“… Excellent. You are a masterfully fast study.”

“Your ser— I am capable of anything that is required.”


(And growing more capable with your language skills with each conversation…)


Simple directions yield complex results, as Adris notes while taking in the form of the young girl he has helped realize a new “job” for.

While overwhelmingly unapproachable as a lady in the prime of her life, as a girl Adris’ own apparent age there’s a cunning stateliness to her. A cuteness that lulls the other party into submitting to bossing, no matter if they’re brat or adult.


(Thankfully, she knows who is in charge.)


Even less attracted to this doll now, a supremely energizing freedom from sexually coveting a madman’s creation leaves Adris instead spoiling this heiress. Especially since her reluctance to seek independent action has been overcome by assigning her to study an already perfect example of humanity instead.




(Me; myself; I~!)




“Then, where are you taking me?”

“I am currently taking you to find the page harpies which roost within the manse…

… if that is the goal, then why were the ones behind us improper?”

This emotionless question proves that this pupil has a long way to go to understand “the plan”.


(I’m glad you kept walking after I pulled on you.)


A plan that she is enabling thanks to careful cajoling and expanding her known capabilities through gentle exploration earns her his favor, though. Tsking at her quietly, Adris pats her hand like a sibling and then points a twirling finger at her. “You don’t bother with the rank and file, ‘sister’. We are superior existences. The only lesser existence worth our time is their head wrangler… no, more likely…?”


(If they’re likely to reproduce by gang rape, then there’s a matron or elder group that divides up the spoils…?)


“The mother hen of the rest is who we seek.”

“Meeting this one will increase our efficiency in learning?”

“Indeed, efficiency is what we seek in all aspects as proper servants of Falke!”

“What we seek to discover by indoctrinating you… ‘brother’ as a servant—?”

“… is the fun truth to how wonderfully inviting this place actually is, of course!”


Easing into the flow of a chipper back-and-forth, Adris’ warm smile provokes only a stare back.


(… Well, we’ll work on physical emotions next! At least she’s easy to talk with…)


Unlike other children Adris has known, this girl that earns a reassuring squeeze of his hand before they resume their trek is a quick learner.

That talent is one that too many street urchins lacked.


(And so, without food they went, until food they became…)


Morose with that thought, Adris’ mood sours as he plunges into thought.




(Only the harpies will grasp the mansion outside of Falke. Since I can’t encounter any of his servants, lest the illusion fade, we have to be very careful who we run into. One false step is death, especially before I have “properly trained” this girl.)




To the harpies, to acquire the magic called “navigating” since this attaché holds the aptitude, but not destinations to travel great distances by door.


Skipping along as Adris’ mood perks at his plot’s simplicity, he then has a taste for fucking—


(Meeting! … Meeting my blue angel and seeing what secrets she’s learned before I search for some myself…)


His tunic is too tight with this strange lasso about the neck, leaving him pulling on it with a finger. Though not radiating any heat, the alchemical hallways are boiling.


“Then… we’ll find that silly elf and her evil comrade that whispers improper invitations.”

“After, the happy smashing drunkard and the all-powerful Casanova who enables her?”

“Right, then take a look about the halls and see what stands out—!”

“… to our eyes, and maybe discover what perfection is achievable by our own hands?”


(Right!? Not a bad plan, if I do say so, for understanding this place. The lacking issue is our “reason for existing” within it.)


A plan spoken rapid-fire between them takes Adris’ mind off of his own needs and back to the flaws inherent with his design so far.


(Falke builds nothing that doesn’t help him understand others, seeking answers from their hearts, if I understand his intentions. “Why do we exist?” What is the purpose for building “children” to inspect the mansion’s lessers…? Maybe to “hunt down” Serras? No, too focused, very limiting…)


A missing “detail” and human element dooms him past only surface inspection. The fact that his mind will not stop pondering answers while in the midst of the “con” shows how rapid a mentality can change.

Normally, he wouldn’t commit to this scheme without something so essential solidified, but…


(My heart is telling me to “jump”! Intuition, screaming as loud as it can: “Trust the one you’re with to uncover the truths you need.”)


Along with that, he now feels a deep longing to meet the page harpies he once reviled. It’s an emotion that has no place in his plan, but now is an obsession. Any other time, Adris would refuse to follow such instincts, but…




[What remains not understood be this, Crossbearer: ‘why mistrust the grace of the divine and declare war upon the Will of Fate; then, ignore the calling of secrets sweetly submissive to one who would grasp them; and yet, embrace instead an unexplained and nebulous Talent just obtained…?

Rantil thinks you’re pretty crazy to pass up on a ‘sure thing’, especially when it comes with a free kiss.]


(You’re just jealous of what it, and she, can do that you can’t! I trust my Talent because…!)




No matter the help he receives from others, he’s never claimed a single power on Zennia born solely of his own making or provenance.

A Talent called [Authentic Fiction] exists only because Adris grasped the very minimum of a tier of enlightenment. Upon the next stage of ascension, the “boundary between real and unreal” gained shape in his thoughts and became an abstract he can almost sink his teeth into, sating a hunger born long ago.




It was conceived, given shape and concept, solely of Adris’ own potential.

And with it, he can now consider a great many potential outcomes to this ploy unfolding…




(Even if they’re horrible lake vultures, it might not hurt to entice one with blunt, but innocent, words for an “impersonal personal inspection” in a small side room…~?)


A cough clears that thought only briefly, before his straining pants tightening with the merest thought of touching some elastic, sweaty skin leaves it difficult to walk.


(I’ve got to do something, soon, or I’m going to pull out a book and start grinding on the pages until she opens her tiny hole for me to—!)




Arriving at the first transit gate after leaving the chapel, Adris reaches in to open the door. Around his arm is a metallic chain identical to the ones worn by the harpies they passed by.


(“If we become separated, you can obtain a new one while I will be trapped. Isn’t it more… logical for the leader to carry the proof of legitimacy that grants access to all corridors?”)


The door unlocks with a grinding sound as its tumblers turn, before the pressure keeping it closed relents.


(Thank you for giving up your authority, my wonderful pupil. I grow to love you ever—!)




A room absent impression other than two lonely children comes alive with hostility the moment the seal parts.


On the other side, as the door bursts open,

is living fear given its own perfect shape.




Can find, way, cuz, Kohl ish zha—!




Adris almost collides with a bumbling idiot screaming over her shoulder, slurring half the words howled out in a voice that always brings a sigh from the boy when he first hears it intrude into a conversation.


NAH!? SHIT!? Damn…!”

A pint-sized warrior that’s dragging a gray spear of immense size in comparison to herself stops inches from colliding.


Annoying— shitty—



Pink eyes are blazing like the sun as Adris’ breath is plundered.

His gut flips its meager contents around while baking in a heat haze that sends the liquid inferno boiling in his loins even higher in temperature.




Bared teeth drip saliva as this white-furred monster leans in to assert dominance that his body naturally refuses to yield to. Listening to her eager growling just makes him want to eliminate their distance with a kiss.


A noble defender to his left is ready to spring forward and intercede, but stays rooted because of his squeezing palm.


“… This servant will stand aside.”

Masking his own voice in servility and subdued pride, Adris brings his hand to his heart and prepares to lower his head.

Ever so slowly, so as not to betray…


(IT WILL WORK! My role will work, even on you, I believe it will!)




A powderkeg called Kol wobbles drunkenly, growling as she grabs onto his vest to prevent him from backing down now.

“Nah, nah!? Kohl… Kol ain’t gonna let, shitty gray goop look down on—!


About to bite his cheek, the wolf-like idiot instead sniffs once and closes her mouth.

Then a bunch of times as her cheeks sag, a smile spreading on her face as she inspects someone who should be completely unknown to her.


“Uh? Nah? AHH!?”

“… Yo, Pink, don’t eat the help.”

Rather than bite, the kobold pulls Adris close and slurps his cheek noisily.





Leaving threads as she pulls away, the tanned beauty’s already cherry face flushes even more naughtily. A thumping tail starts striking the half-open door she materialized behind.







A great spear clatters to the floor as Adris is ripped into the air, exhales with the blow of a girl’s face entering his armpit like a hammer, and suffers the indignity of endless huffing.


HMMMMPH, aaaah! UP! BOSH, UP!”

The disguise that almost passed inspection falls away completely, leaving the confidence it was accruing to vanish like embers from a fire kicked into the air.


At Kol’s back a muscular hunk raises eyebrows at the unseemly grapple by a sex-starved musky drunkard, while a complementary doll’s legs grow unsteady without her “other”.






Rantil had amply warned Adris with her direst words, which is why this “thing” was last on his list of principals to speak with.


[Synchronicity of the Soul:


Respect: 💖 💖 💖 💖 💖

Obsession: 💛 💛 💕 💕 💕

Understanding: 💖 💖 🤍 🤍 🤍


The girl known as Kol has one purpose with the Crossbearer, an unerring pursuit which will see the hunt end in glorious carnage and spilling semen.]




The intricate ploy crafted on the roof abruptly shatters in the unbreakable clutches of a sexually charged mass murderer of libidos, leaving a child being whipped around painfully by an energetic profligate.










Name: Adris fehl Dain, “Boss”, “Starr”
Titles: Lycia’s Little Brother, Slayer, Gigolo (Self-Admitted)
Race: Xin’El, Emperor’s Child (Human), ???
Sex: Male
Age: ?? – Young


Occupation: Crossbearer; “Star of Ruin, Cast Down from the Sky Upon a Dying World”, Slayer of Petripolis, [True False God] Discipline: [Rule in Dark]



[Tool Savant] – “Adris is a tool-collecting-and-utilizing fanatic. Most men would consider him disgusting for loving tools more than his own partner. Has so many tools that it can be said to be his true power. What does he do when he has no tools left? He seeks to acquire more, obviously!”


[Rule in Dark – Wave of Darkness] – “Making victory possible? No, no, no. That thing isn’t that kind! There’s more than that!”


[Brainfry] – “You’re still with me, right buddy? Yeah, you’re still there.”


[Refuse to Kneel] – “Ah, even the Alchemaster can’t make me submit! This is the one that’s saved me all those times!?”


[Tongue of Air and Darkness] – “What’s the difference between this and the old one? Why ‘air’?”


[Conceptual Refusal] – “How the fuck does dominating people’s minds turn into a weird statement like this!?”


[Obscuring Sonjil] – “Man, this thing has gotten pretty strong on Zennia. At first only creating an area of fog, it can now cover a direction? Is something wrong…?”


[Marital Arts – Self-taught] – “Hoh, even if it’s dangerous to use, it feels good to prove to myself that the body is still as willing as the mind! Even if I can’t call it aura, something is inside me now!”


[Verisimilitude] – “Stop giving weird names to what I do! But if my imaginative truths are more believable now, I’m not gonna complain.”


[A WONDERFUL CURSE] – “If that old corpse wasn’t already dead, I’d definitely kill him!”


[Authentic Fiction] – “All tales eventually gain sufficient truth if retold often enough, right? Why shouldn’t my fiction be better than ‘reality’?”






[The Mountain King] – “[Honor the gods, inheritor, and ever seek victory for their sake.]


Disposition: Resilient / Adaptable / Sinner
Alignment: Chaotic

Eyes: Black
Hair: Black, with strands of White
Skin: Tanned



Rantil Value – “Even after all of that, Master is still an idiot!”


Attributes by Grade:

Strength – E

Vitality – E

Dexterity – D

Agility – C

Intelligence – D

Mentality – C

Luck – F

Charisma – D


“If you want more, stop being mean to Rantil!”



Cethran Value – “Much the same as before, but isn’t the way you look at others a bit more dashing, now? Forced to open yourself to the world, perhaps the gentleman may grow? That is likely impossible, isn’t it, Adris?”

“Isn’t it awful that you were finally hitting your stride, only to have your lusts interrupted at the last moment?”

“My, haven’t you chosen a truly exquisite authority? Then, this means we’ll be meeting again, doesn’t it? Who can turn down a wonderful tale…?”


“This is more like your true nature, isn’t it? Supremely adaptable in all cases?”



“A boy who is a bit out of place as far as features, he descended from the top of the Castillo to the bottom by pluck, luck, and outrageous lying. Reborn into the world of Zennia, what can be said other than ‘he’s still exactly the same, but different’?”

“A sacrifice has to be made, so a false god chooses…?”

“A sacrifice is made, and thus a false god can finally be what it was meant to be.”


“No matter the role one thrusts themself into, those who know us the best will never be fooled.”



“Past success is not indicative of future glory.”



Name: Codex Rantilius; “Rantil”
Titles: ???
Race: Allip
Sex: Female
Age: Old As Human Fears

Occupation: Complement to a False God from Another World
Discipline: [Rule in Dark]






Disposition: Whiny / Deceitful / Sweet | Unnervering / Eloquent / Loyal
Alignment: Chaotic / Chaotic


Eyes: Slit-Green with Black Swirls
Hair: Purple
Skin: Stark White



Rantil Value – “KUKUKU, such value is immeasurable. While you seek to quantify with words, know that a true heroine can only be measured in feels!”



Cethran Value – “Do words exist to describe how low you will plumb for comfort from women, Adris? At least the imp you are fated to marry isn’t that dumb, yes? Perhaps her beauty might end up complimenting your decisive lack?”

“Now that you know she enjoys it, don’t you feel comfortable falling further into this pit?”

“Aren’t you a bit cruel?”


“Shouldn’t she be considered essential because of the protective effect she has on…? No, isn’t it fine that I don’t finish?”



“Forever together, a book has become a strange girl. Codex Rantilius, also known as Rantil, is a magical book born of the merging of [A False God]’s “evolution” and an imp. Possessing conflicting natures, she seems content enough to swerve between the two of them, so long as she doesn’t get left behind.

“She was also known as ‘one forever at the edge of acceptance, but refusing it’, a quality that is unlikely to change given who she is.”

“Although revealed as a deathtrap, doesn’t it specify that she’s only dangerous to the one who isn’t supposed to own her…?”


“Adaptive, there’s also an element to Rantil that seems to be far less airheaded than the original was.”



“Please become more?”







Chapter 109         Table of Contents          Chapter 111