Take Up the Cross – Chapter 114: Kol Fixes and Breaks Everything!

An inexhaustible tornado cuts through the sooty mess.

Wooden chunks fly, sliced by an invisible edge of destruction layered over a gray sharp axe.




Though given no name this time, Kol’s inartful twirls through the area flow like a wild folk dance. A self-whetting weapon of pseudoprósōpon and a strong Talent leave the task as easy as reaping standing wheat, except what she claims are cooked chips that cause a dust storm.


“Clear this out, need space!”


This black storm rolls over the tree’s limbs, exploding the protective walls of alcoves shaped out of the branch. What hangs within collapses into more clouds, sending charcoal bouncing off the edge of this elevated perch to scatter far below.


When one room is chopped out and its contents tossed by fast hands, she moves on to the next, an orderly carnage that takes little effort on her part.




The whole time while dragging her axe, Kol dips and grabs at half-buried items in her path. Though dressed for lounging, this dervish instead violates physics with the gyroscopic strength put into her airborne sorting of what she uncovers.


A heavy iron pot is the latest object which lurches out with a pop when she turns, then flies dozens of yards to crash into a pile of similar trash. Each is a dozen feet high, creaking as the junk or salvageable items settle.



Behind this storm that halts for a moment, dainty hands dart in to grab up intact possessions unveiled by the blitzing axe. Risking limb so that the guest who is “trying to help” accomplishes her goal of saving valuables instead of trampling them in her frenzy, a doll attendant matches her guest’s movements.

Into the air the proud silvery-haired servant sends a jeweled box, where a shadow swoops in to nick it before flying away. Harpies vulturously circling overhead remain wary of the furred cleaner below except to recover things that belong to them.

“Thank you, little Representative!”

“Certainly, lesser servant.

… Now, this area is sufficiently cleared for waters to flow, honored guest. Shall we not break for a time?”

The maid that has been assigned solely to aid pats the kobold’s clothing once she slows, bringing annoyance instead of appreciation.

“Nnn, leave Kol alone. Why, suddenly go from shy to this?”

A small girl grooming another who nudges her away has a sisterly look to it, despite both having the same masculine sense of energy.

“Cute, too cute, though~! But, why so tired? Kol isnt’! Don’t you see, how easy it is for Kol to finish here, so why stop!?



Done is what she must be, though, because there’s no standing detritus left to tear up.


Jealous watchers land and begin calling forth waters to clear their former homes of finer bits now that they’re accessible. The debris flows over the edge of the branch, producing several waterfalls that glitter in the afternoon light.

“Thank you, Representative! Please keep her busy…

The nearest page harpy whispers before joining her kin.

Once venomous and dismissive, these harpies can only accept the rapid pace of reclaiming their aviary where they were once laughing before. Vigorous destruction fulfills with ease what their methodical gentleness couldn’t.


(Even if you hate Kol, all of you now understand her worth.)




That worthiness is still questionable when the worker leans on her axe, adopting a pose reminiscent of a boy’s questionable acting. With a furred hand held over half her face, Kol’s eye sharpens and a sneer comes to her, that womanly voice she cultivates growing deeper.


“Kakaka! Anything Kol can break, Kol can fix just as easily!

Feel free to praise Kol, being able to perfectly do what birds can’t.


Showing off to the innumerable watchers still working, such a pose of effortless contempt only earns stiffened backs and short whispers of vitriol between them. While it’s true that no harpy can lift what Kol does, nor use waters to break through the thick obstructions…


(Yes, she is demanding that you praise her for destroying your homes and then helping “fix” them. You didn’t mishear her.)




“Mmm… despite being quite a ‘personality’, she’s genuinely very eager.”


A friendly voice whispers behind, allowing a look into the thoughts of the one orchestrating this joint effort.

“If only her mind worked as well as her body, she might be useful for cleaning some of the more difficult places in the manse? Maybe the fireplace flues in the permanent sections~?”


(A little too open in your derision, aren’t you, Miss Sapphira? But, I don’t think a servant designed “like me” would notice…?)




And so, a servant named Fehl remains unaware, only observant, of the jest. If he were to comprehend it, it might change his attitude about a servant’s worth. —




(But… there are permanent areas, are there?)


Inexhaustible stamina still leaves sweat gathering on a knight’s brow with equal effort given, forcing Kol’s attendant to pull out a laced cloth and wipe soot off the braggart’s tanned skin.

“A guest’s beauty is tainted by improper cleanliness. Please be aware of this.”

“Hah, Kol knows, that Kol is ‘beautiful’, ‘cause Boss made Kol his ‘woman’! Mmm, stop tickling Kol’s face~!”

While never frightened, a kobold can timidly bat away busy hands if they annoy her.

“Seriously, first wouldn’t touch Kol, now want to all the time~? Hah, strange girl! Come on, Cute, over there, next!”

Kol’s enthusiasm launches her headlong at a standing tee-pee of collapsed beams she’d yet to deal with, a more ornate structure that used to stand over the bathing hole of these joining branches.


(No, that’s a bad idea.)


Wide eyes burn with the need to destroy the ruination she brought, to wipe it clean with the Kestner-made axe she swings overhead to split the wooden ground—!





Into her path slides a bowing figure with an extended palm.


“… Stop? Why?”

While almost bowled over by her furious charge, this servant absorbs the last of the kobold’s momentum with a light push.


It’s a cruel thing to halt someone enjoying themselves, but even servants must infringe when a higher purpose demands it. —


(… It definitely feels like danger from there.)


A rising cloud of thin smoke from deep within this trapped mess proves what rests within, hidden by destruction and nursing its lust for more.

“There’s imminent danger to the guest, and to others.”

Kol leans over the boy’s back, staring at the same spot he does, before she grunts and takes on a confused tone.

“Mmm, smells like sun? ‘It’s hungry’? Oh, it’s more of that stuff that Kol…?”


(If even you can confirm it, then I’m right.)


“There, lesser servant. Apply the alchemical extinguisher.”

“Yeaaah, Representative~.”


Lazily standing at attention many feet away, the harem harpy with a slow pace to her life bends down and then snaps into flight on sea spray. Spiraling upward, she uses the elevation to swing a thonged pouch in a circle before loosing it from her leg.




The pouch sails toward the beams, breaking open into a misty sludge on impact.

Sizzling and growling grows as the alchemical mixture sinks into the spaces between the charred remnants, earning earth-shaking tremors before the singing pressure releases.




Toward the sky an orange pillar that burns like the sun tries to escape.

Superheated air pops as the escaping flame curls around, seeking for anything to survive by feeding on as the tyrannical inferno turns downward.


It barrels down to meet a heat haze bursting from hands which stomp an axe’s head into the ground, followed by glowing fur racing up to her hair becoming buoyant!


Turning the air heavy and pushing back what nips at the grinning wolf girl, her domineering shadow is what looms over a servant and protects like strong fortress walls.


Kol… like to see try!


(Good presence!)


With hidden black cross and Inheritor of Fire standing against it, the reawakened carnage can only groan before thinning into thick smoke that is quickly spread by the rushing wind.


Its elemental spirit fades away, with all fear of that night passing.




“… No more locations bear the touch of Promethium, Miss Sapphira.”

“To think, we’ve only used two ‘shorts’ and that guest’s rambling axe to clear the Rowse Roost.”

Lit by the dying flame, a large matron ticks up on thick legs. The way she sways while walking mesmerizes, stealing Adris from his duties and enticing him to run toward her like a child greeting its mother.


(… Stop. Analyze. Focus.)


How she leans over, letting her enormous rack shake makes that very hard!

It’s altogether too easy to notice how she’s attempting to appeal, now.


“Aren’t you proud of your efforts? And your sister’s? Even if the arsonist is sincere, I can’t help but think the real thanks belongs with…?”

Her warm wings stretch down to stroke over the magical detector who has sniffed out the last vestige of Kol’s riot the night before.

Though doing little for the clearing other than this, Sapphira has singled him out for special notice.


(Nnn! You’re definitely coming on to me. I’m always proud of what I’ve done, but… I’m not “me”!)




And so, a servant must obey the laws of a servant. —




“A servant performs its function.”


Without enthusiasm and providing only the slightest smile of a congenial assistant acknowledging the truth, the servant named Fehl is again punished by being cocooned in the scent and heat of a harpy woman that could carry him on her shoulders.

“So concise! It’s like I’m standing in her boudoir, teasing the same way and getting the same result…” Again with her longing need, Sapphira sighs after and drags him along. “Do you understand the point of all of this?”

“Of what?”

Toward Kol’s clearing, Sapphira stretches a wing.

“Why would a guest ‘fix’ what they broke?”

“Broke? The guest… truly destroyed the aviary…?”

Unchanging in tone and betraying no surprise, it’s Adris’ subtle facial shifts, ones he’s observed with Neesiette for these days of knowing her, that let him sell his shock.

“A part of the manse was ruined by…? And this is… normal…?”


Though hinted at by that guest, a servant who has only recently been assigned would fail to notice this, especially when not told of it. —


Upon witnessing his trouble, Sapphira’s voice softens and grows more prodding.


“Falke is such a bore, throwing kids out to be wizened up by victims! Something that should be paid attention to is what your ‘guests’ say in passing.” A sigh follows, before Sapphira pats his head. “‘Face value’ has no meaning for a good servant. You must read between every line, or you’ll end up missing what’s going on…”




(… Please, instruct me. This is what I’ve been waiting for!)




It’s the oldest con Adris can recall, one he developed early on to deal with belligerent scholars who valued only their ability to “instill wisdom into others”.

Held within the confines of another’s reach and restrained by the demure nature of his guise, Adris should appear to be unable to assert any pull on his enemy.


(This is where people fail to see both sides of the tile, to understand that the scratches on the “unmarked” side reveal the truth beneath!)


After all, isn’t manipulation dependent upon a position of strength? This is what nearly all believe, but the truth is quite more devious.


(Regents are led by the nose by adjutants who choose their words and what to tell them! Children coax their parents into unexpected compromise with petulant behavior followed by piety… or so I’ve heard!)


As Adris listens to this woman’s subtle taunts…


“Don’t you see how great she is, to pre-roast our homes for us so that someone else won’t do it~?” Great pillows lean down on the back of Adris’ head, with the currently lazy missus behind. “Where else would you find such a lovely ‘guest’ to entertain us?”


(Who suggested that someone in the position of “inferior” cannot scam the “superior”? Where, indeed!? Sing to me sweetly of your true anger…)


Without a hint of dissatisfaction, Sapphira’s song then suddenly strikes at the existential question Adris has scratched at too.


“What would you call someone that ‘entertains’ us so well, Fehl? Would you invite them into your home, if you had one other than the manse?”

“Our purpose is to serve our guests according to the Maker’s design, not to remark upon its value or theirs.”

“Oh, my…?”

A fierce rejection is hissed out, with Adris spinning around to glare up at Sapphira. To her credit, the woman only pretends to jump back in fright.

“Just born”, this midget butler has sufficient spirit to try to distinguish himself by obedience to core values.


A servant who fails to squelch discord will invite it into their heart. Any who question the order of the household must be…! —


“Do you find yourself unable, or unwilling, to perform your duties? If so, then your position as tutor for these units seems incorrect.”

“… Hahaha! Such a cute child!”

Tapping her head with a wing, this cunning older woman only cutely smiles in a way that isn’t befitting of her age, but strikes home anyway.

“I wonder, what duties should I be performing besides taking care of you two…? I’m only a ‘miss’ right now, not a maidservant!”


(An excellent point!)


With this spoken, Adris’ next line is severed clean, leaving him gasping for a foundation.


“If the hat isn’t on, then what am I now, little Fehl?”


(I know the answer… but does a doll? I’ve used the same logical attacks…)


Both are left to wonder, with Sapphira seeming especially catlike, despite being a bird, with how she dances around his “limitations” while grinning.


Such a question is inappropriate, given her standing and responsibilities! —


“You… you are…?”

“What am I, dear?”


If this woman is to speak so candidly when “off duty”…? Does a reason for existing, what this woman would refer to as “her job”, allow for different rationales depending on current work load…? —


“If I’m not on duty, then shouldn’t I be considered… something of a guest myself~?

“… That’s not… incorrect.”

“Then, if a guest offers an opinion of another guest, can it be considered inappropriate? Shouldn’t I deserve equal standing and importance in your judgment?”

“… That…

… that… is not known…”

“Isn’t it fine that it isn’t, since you’re still just learning? If you must know the ‘official answer’… why not ask Falke his opinion of these ‘guests’, since he originally allowed them in?”

While softly said, there’s a hint of vinegar that turns her smile sour.


Before a moment later she’s beaming at Adris, red eyes light and hinting to turn around.






Fehl spins around, to find himself confronted by a somewhat interesting mirror.

With Kol’s hand grasped by hers, Fehr has led the kobold deep in thought to rejoin them.


“… Stop flirting with Phira.”

“That is an improper accusation, absent any evidence or even a suggestion of veracity.”

Unusually terse, Fehr ignores his reply and grabs his hand, too.

“Come away. The guest… the… Kol, has requested a solution to a problem.”



Sapphira chuckles while watching Adris get liberated from the temptress that has begun to weave discord in his heart, led to the center of the destruction.

Whatever he could entice with delicate thoughts to be ruined further, they will have to wait.




“Take too long to regrow, right, Cute?”

“… Wood… trees in such a state do not regrow, if I am to understand the lesser servants correctly.”

“Oh, right? Then… Kol was thinking, about ‘Memories Eternal’ in the Castillo, what Kol saw one trip…”


(She wanted to repair the limb? But now she wants to…?)


Adris struggles outwardly to follow the conversation that he’s joined partways in on, but the back and forth eventually ends up at Kol’s solution.

Stretching her arms wide and back to her imaginary design, Kol howls out.


“Make a place for the fish!”

“… Pardon?”


Fehr tilts her head in absolute ignorance, but Adris inwardly smiles at the insane idea.


(You really are going big!)


“RIGHT! Make, big, how did Rooster call it, ‘aquarium’!”


In his mind, the details draw themselves. Behind Kol, waters fill the space that has become a large bowl.

Its sides bow inward to keep strong against the weight of the fluids contained.


“Fill it with bright, colorful food! Plenty of delicious~!”


Kol’s fingers wiggle as she brings her arms in, mimicking the motion of fins.

Crystal clear waters tended by harpies will teem with fish that hide whenever they please within the hollows of the tree’s former rooms…


“Birds like water, but they only have small baths? Why not, have a lake!?”

“… Change… the manse, the aviary, and add a… lake?”

“Umu! Kol, really wants to see this! Think it’d be a big improvement!”


Horror of a subtle sort sets into Fehr, leaving her finally understanding the inanity of the desire.

Adris shares the same outward expression of it when they look to each other.


“A lake!? What about our homes!?”



Landing on the ground, the harem harpy that served as Kaskin’s mace champion strides up to Kol, staring down at the tyrant with barely concealed rage.


“Oh, hmm, you were called… ‘Macey’?”

“… This servant has no name… but if she did, it would be Kachua!


Low enough not to be heard by Sapphira, the harpy asserts herself before a guest, earning Fehr’s agitation as the servant steps forward.


“The guest has made an assessment. A servant does not refute it.”

“… The guest is asking us to live with nearly a third of our homes missing. We already…!” Taking a tone with the Representative, this ends when Fehl slides up beside his counterpart. “We… struggle to find enough space for everyone as it is. If, if we don’t have enough rooms, we can hardly sleep, and so, we’d be hard pressed to get our work done…”

Anger gives way to a reasonable complaint as this Kachua begins to murmur. “… If I have to sleep with Restia from now on, I’d rather die. She snores so…


The easy-going harpy trots over to join them, quizzically looking between the three staring at her.

“Did I do something~?”


(It’s a shame that nobody cares, or will be able to…)


When Adris stays silent, Fehr finally asks a question.


“Are you certain that… a lake would not help you sleep?”

“Why would a lake help…?”

At first trying to handle the problem, Fehr immediately pulls on Adris’ tunic sleeve with a mouth tightly firmed into a line.


“Brother…? The guest is, asking us to change the state of the manse.”

“Indeed, we are being asked to alter its ‘integrity’.”

Nodding slowly, “Fehl” is just as fundamentally at a loss while turning to face Kol.



The blinking kobold stuck in her happy thought pauses to size him up.

Despite not knowing her abilities in social settings, Adris is sure that his body language and original instructions carry through.




“Did Kol not say it loud enough, maybe?”


Making the same outstretched hand Adris does, the one that lingers before rolling back closed with an imperial aura about her.

Eyes squint as she sneers.


“… Kol… wants a lake. Kol will get a lake.


(Evil! Pure evil! Hahahaha!)


At this loud pronouncement, the rest of the harpies surrounding the group hiss or shake impotently.

Whatever effect Kol had in impressing them with her work ethic was just squandered.

Only enmity burns in them now.




“And where are we supposed to live!?”


Toward this tyrant, only Kachua is willing to speak up.


“We’re not fish! We breathe air!”

“Oh? Birds like water, but aren’t as useful as a fish?”

“That’s not what I said! You…!”


Kol’s shoulders shrug, her arms lifting as she turns her head.


“… Hah, learn to breathe water, then, bird.”

“YOU…! EH!?”




The confrontation ends the moment a figure rises behind Kol.


“A guest has spoken her desire…”


Staring down with shining eyes, the matron Sapphira brings her wing up to cover her mouth.


“… What former member of our ‘murder’ failed to answer that need~?


Reflected in her eyes is the image of a gold and silver-clad harpy bowing.

No matter how valued by a peacockatrice, Kachua is just another cleaning tool before the head maid.


“… A lake will be… very lovely. Its blue waters will be… an inspiration for us come winter.”

“Indeed, it’s very nice, Kachua, for you to see the value so quickly. I’m very heartened that someone understanding like you has offered to be this guest’s personal attendant along with Restia.”

With total defeat not enough, one harpy nearly collapses while the other shrieks.

“… That… please… no…”

“Haah~!? But…!?”


(Refusal is further punishment.)


“Kakakaka! Kol, welcomes bird to tag along! Good, finished!” With the decision made and all resistance abolished, the cackling Kol squeezes Fehr’s hand to wake up the girl with a jump.

“Then… let’s start! Kol, will leave everything to Cute and… hmm, Stud?”


(Stud!? What… even is wrong with your mind!?)




Adris jumps at that new name for himself, but quickly calms to assess how to fulfill Kol’s needs as Fehr is stuck opening and closing her mouth.

“That… to… change… the manse, in such a way, is a violation of…?”

“How is it a violation?”

Sapphira joins in at Adris’ question, patting Fehr’s head.

“Does the manse not exist for the sake of those it serves…?”

“It does, but, this unit’s rules state to ‘preserve the integrity’ of the manse…! As, was told to brother, and, brother understands…?”

Fehr looks to Adris for reassurance, but it’s a hopeful search that he cannot return in his guise.

“… The Maker’s designs specify to answer all of the needs of the guest, to make them content.”

“Correct, but…!”


(… “Fehl” cannot save you, I’m sorry.)


All this brother can do is appear to be in the same pain, leaving a harpy miss chuckling softly.


“It’s fine to change the manse if it makes things easier for what Falke wants, little ones. After all, he changes it all the time.”

“… But! To decide that for the Maker is…!”

“It’s fine. The aviary is… our area.”


A curious grin comes over the older maid, before she nods to Kol. “We’ll make the alterations, Miss Firebug. Once it’s constructed, it can be filled.”

Once confirming that, Sapphira turns and coos at the kids. “My, and you two, it’s not as if kids need to make the final decision themselves, since you’ll need to contact Falke to make the alterations!”


The mirth with which she shares this point seems like it’s making fun of them overlooking the obvious.

But, when the two share a glance between each other with placid expressions, Sapphira ceases to smile.


“… Why would we require the Maker’s assistance to alter the manse?”

Fehl asks this question, finally startling Sapphira for real.

“To command the pseudoprósōpon to alter form is the most reasonable way of doing this, so you’d need…”

“If it’s… to command the structure to change, then…?”


Fehr begins the sentence, leaving Fehl to finish it.


“… there’s no need to involve another?”







Into the air two figures leap.

The boy holds the girl in his arms, flipping once in the air at the apex of the arc.


When his feet land on the wall beside a tumor-like bulge in it, the girl’s hand plants against the flat surface of the gray material.


Before he can slip from the wall, it morphs to slide down and create a platform that he gains traction on.


“… Initial access… achieved.”



Whispering in front of so many eyes watching their progress, Adris is now being demonstrated the true abilities of this rogue girl he’s picked up after destroying the former inhabitant of the shell.

Changing his clothing and her own figure was only the first glimpse of her authority.


(I told you that you can do this… but I can’t actually prove it until you do. It was a self-reinforcing delusion if I’m wrong.)


“… This un—servant has never attempted to link with the primary circuit. Control of the central reservoir and maintenance spells is solely retained by the Maker… at least, it is identified as such by these instructions read.”

Upon saying that, she pulls her hand away from the undulating mass.

“The primary circuit refuses to acknowledge this unit as a part of its link, only accepting it as ‘Maker’, despite this being highly incorrect. As such… it seems… contrary to this unit’s rules to—?”

“Nonsense. You are a highly superior servant made by the Maker. If you have the authority, it is because you…?”


(What’s the right word!? Oh, no, it’s all too easy…?)


After all, there’s another lady with a grandiose self-image who uses language similar to this.

With how she refers to herself, it’s no wonder that Neesiette feels at home in this manse.




“You can do this because you were perfectly made by the Maker.”



At this veiled flattery, Fehr practically contorts in Adris’ arms.

The submerged darkness within her flares outward. Its power feels like after a bolt of lightning strikes nearby, heightening Adris’ nerves to the point of pain.




Stop! We’ll fall!

“… Hah…!?”


Her struggle ends just before sending him over the edge, leaving Adris squeezing her so tightly that it’s a wonder she doesn’t scream for it. Within seconds, the darkness seeping out from within subsides and ceases to revolt.


“Are you okay?”


… Ah, yes! I… am fine.”


She plants her hand back on the wall, her brows furrowing as she begins to concentrate.


“… I was… made well. The Maker made me like this, with this ability? My guest… my brother… was, no, is, correct, as demonstrated.”

“Of course I am!”


(What was that about!?)


“I’ll teach you what you need to know to be the best servant. We’ll start with refining your control over what you’re made of…”




With that concentration directed to sharpen, it begins to gather its kin.

The pseudoprósōpon at the tumor becomes a shaking pseudopod that stretches and spiral downward, thinning and taking on a glassy appearance as it begins to mimic the high windows of this aviary.


Each gentle correction Adris whispers earns a nod.

The sheet of living glass that begins to wrap around the destroyed harpy haven thickens at the bottom, arcing inward toward where the water’s mass will rest.


(It’s fortunate that I bothered to read a variety of scrolls in my youth.)


A breadth of knowledge about many topics makes theoretical ideas possible, especially with a resource that requires no destructive testing.


“Odd discovery. The central reservoir does not realize that changes are being made.”

“… What does that mean? Is it an attack?”

“It does not appear to be an attack. Some malfunction prevents passive reporting? The manse is not forwarding changes from this section. Should we alert the Maker?”




Only one witch would be responsible for subterfuge like this.


(What are you working on, my dearest Partner?)




“Ignore it, it’s probably just acclimating to you using it, a special permission! Will it keep working the way you need it to?”

“Normal functions are unchanged…”


To the chattering masses’ frightened view, the sides of the aquarium fill. The tree’s charred surface coats over with gray, before it changes color to an algae green.


Gigantically long and tall to enable water to reach the highest levels, there now rests a proper burial site for the harpies’ former roost by the time Fehr ceases manipulating it. Suspended high in the air, it’s a curiosity not see anywhere even in Xin with its floating islands.


(Like some pleasure land, detached from the world?)


“… It’s set in place. Unchanging, retaining form and function.”

“Will it be safe to leave it as is?”

“The draw from the central reservoir was negligible. The current maintenance spells will suffice for a structure of this size and in-animation.”


(Then we’re done. Let’s head back.)




From their disappearing perch, the two servants snap off with the thrumming power of rabbit boots.







“YES! THAT’S WHAT KOL SAW, TOO! Cute and Stud, made really great!”

“Of course…”


Fehr nods at this approval, despite seeming muted by her success. Not only self-aware, she’s also cognizant of the change with the other servants. Though not crowding around before, they’re even more distant after watching the alchemical building material come to life at her hands. Cold and isolated, but genuinely curious, they whisper inaudibly in small cliques.


(YES! This could never be expected, could it!? How do you like seeing another person do what Falke can do? Does it unsettle you…?)


The one who expected it least of all has remained unspoken while perched on the top of the newly constructed aquarium wall.

Sapphira proved she could fly by lifting off on a geyser of sea foam. After alighting, she’s only gazed within, contemplating something.


“Kakaka! Kol, didn’t know this could be done! Oh, Kol will have so much fun today…!”



The builder gets twirled around in the air like a baby, leaving Adris as the one to catch Sapphira’s eye when she glares down.




“… Falke…?”

“Excuse me?”


Mystified, Fehl calls back, but only receives more narrowed suspicion.

Grinding teeth.


“… If this is one of your games


Sapphira’s presence becomes like the Sea of Stars when roused!


Shining red eyes don’t match the deep green-blue of the swirling waters which answer her call without words. They form into many spinning disks that send the harpies immediately behind Adris and Fehr scurrying with squeals of fright.


“… I will share now that I am not amused


… Should…

… this servant fetch the Maker for you?”


Fear isn’t allowed to be revealed, especially not if the servant should be immune to it.

But staring at the thickened sea of air around Sapphira that is locked in place by her magical power is a hard task to keep to.


(Please stop threatening me so convincingly! I… can’t be discovered.)


Adris has only been found out so far by the act he’s orchestrating suddenly ending.

If he can, retreating so deeply into it that he lets it decide his actions is the suitable answer.




(I am not just “Adris pretending”, I am… “a servant named Fehl”.)


With that mental cue, the world as perceived changes further.




Unsure if the cross would stop this coalescing chantless magic, a servant named Fehl still remains completely impassive until these menacing discs instead lose shape and drop into the aquarium.


Fear is unheard of. —

Why would a servant fear another servant of the same master? —


Sapphira deeply sighs upon sensing no tells,


“… Would that his creations be normal or his actions be intelligible…?

Oh, torturous waters’…”


before the short chant she finally sings births swirling torrents up higher still.

Pulling into a ball of pure oceanic might, this giant drop slowly fills the tank that begins to groan with the weight gathering.




With this task set in motion, Sapphira leaps from her perch and glides down.

Landing next to Kol, the harpy matron smiles in a terrifying way that those less attuned to people’s motivations would miss.


(It’s the look of a woman who is ready to deal with a problem, no matter who has to pay for its solution.)


“Miss Guest’s aquarium will be finished soon? Do you plan to be the first to jump in~?”

“… Hmm? Kol is a kobold, not a fish?”

Blanking for a moment, Kol then claps her hands together.

“Oh, we need fish though! Who has the fish to put inside!?”


(“Someone else’s problem”, is it?)


“… They will need to be ordered, I would imagine?”


“Yes. It will take some days for the servants to determine the best ecosystem for the aquarium, and order the correct fauna and flora to fill it. After that, it will take weeks for them to begin arriving.”

Sapphira’s understanding tone conveys the mistake in Kol’s order, leaving the kobold’s enthusiasm dropping.

“… So, Kol won’t see anything like the fish people with rainbow scales in Memories Eternal today?”

“Unless you can convince the Alchemaster to let us fish some out, then I would think no.”



Suddenly drooping with a release of tension, Kol looks to Adris for aid.


A servant is not one to look to for… —

(Don’t give up!)


Though outwardly quiet, his eyes flash approval for whatever she has next.

His hand curls and he gives a thumb up, mimicking the slayer’s favorite gesture.


Umu! Understand.


(Give them the full taste!)


“If the guest is finished here, then why not join me in the reception hall for snacks…?”

As if she’s won, Sapphira puts her wing to Kol’s back to prod her from the aviary.


(That’s not where—!)


“Oh, snacks! Good idea!”


Kol rushes over to Fehr, putting her arm around the doll’s own and wrapping it up.


“… This servant can take—”

“Kol, wanted to share some thoughts with the cook about the food!”

“… Pardon? If you wish to pass a mes—?”




Toward the gateway is where the would-be messenger is dragged, leaving Adris to rush after as harem harpies click their tongues and follow.




Even if it’s discomforting, a servant goes where his master orders, and at the pace of that master. —




Only Sapphira takes her time in following, her grin morphing into a frown.


“… I see. The self-indulgent type?”


Around the frowning matron a family gathers, their faces unseen behind the hanging cloths which preserves their anonymity.

But does nothing to hide their disdain as they strike indignant postures.




“Then, let’s let that help self-resolve this, shall we, girls?”




She ticks after the party waiting at the magical gateway, swaying as she moves with that effortless grace of a woman’s sultry strut.


Those she passes by respond while bowing.


“ “Please enjoy your day off, Mother.” ”

“ “ “ “Be safe and successful, Grandmother.” ” ” ”

“ “ “ “ “ “We hear your order, Great Grandmother.” ” ” ” ” ”




Such a conversation, spoken in a language not meant to be understood by others, means nothing to a servant who is oblivious to drama between people. He is only intent on fulfilling his duties. —





“You, that creamy soft stuff! It needs to be sweeter! Make it fluffier, too!”


At this barked order, a head crisply nods before wings make strange pantomiming motions.


“Umu! Good, Kol will hold chef to that! Now, where is the one who did the meat?”


Within orderly aisles of counter tops and baskets, a brave knight leaps between chopping blades. Stepping over fresh vegetables being turned into bits by expert wings, she finds those responsible for her most important dishes.


She arrives at the next after being pointed there by an extended blade.


“Hmm, you did the spicy deer with onions?”


When the figure lifting shanks nods, a kobold leans down to smell them.


“Right! That smells delicious! But, make something smooth to dip it in!”


At the thought of meat being dipped into something rather than being eaten by itself, the cook leans over like a drooping wheat stalk.


“Kol says, ‘savory needs sweet’! Not really sweet, but something that bites back? Try harder, it’ll be worth it for Kol…!

Oh, and… chef will learn something, too!”




The tyrant barking orders is quick to upturn the natural order. It’s quite frustrating, because wiser minds should be surreptitiously intervening for the benefit of those who make poorer decisions. Yet, the servant’s thoughts are overruled by —


(What the hell is this? Leave me alone!)




A servant named Fehl can only continue his own work, chopping up potatoes into thin, flat slices so that the Fehr beside him can lay them into a shallow pan with a cheese sauce. Left to a station all by themselves by Kol and told to “make something tasty”, the decision of what was left to Fehl when his counterpart could only blink in ignorance.


Reaching for a bowl to throw the peels into, the servant avoids staring at a curious “chef” leaning over the counter to stare back at him.

This cook’s gold-banded iris shines in the late afternoon sunlight filtering in from overhead. Its choice of uniform has the Kestner green to it, but the monster it is…?




(Why are the Castillo’s spies here!?)




All about, swaying, jostling, grabbing up, and cooking in the uniform anarchy this proud kitchen has been reduced to by Kol’s one-sided demands, are Dandies, the Golden Heart’s private eyes.

Those not fawning over Kol are either ignoring her or slowly trying to escape. They move their own ingredients to further stations, not daring to be roped into the turmoil of Kol’s “perfect dinner”. The rest hurry to redo their scheduled dishes, only hours before dinner is to begin.


Two figures stand atop a meat-chopping block, the center of the kitchen’s storm.

The head cook, one that wears a puffier hat over the beak jutting out the back of his head, one larger than the others’, weaves his forward-facing wing in random directions while Kol murmurs “Mmmhmm?”

Stomping on the counter after, this Castillo servant on loan makes a point of jabbing his open beak and mono-eye, one with seriously inflamed red arteries, at Kol’s face.


“So what about the other guests? Kol, saying what Kol wants, now. Elf, only eats plants, so she’s easy. Only Kol eats meat, anyway, so what does it matter for other portions?”


At this bizarre logic, the head chef slowly nods, before throwing up his wings in frustration.


“Right, that’s what Kol said! Ignore Puddle, can feed that one trash! Moon doesn’t eat! Do what Kol says, because the knight must be fed to protect others~!”

Done with the final disagreement, they both hop down so that the head can begin flapping his wings wildly at the other cooks. Kol wanders back over to the twins, slapping them on the back.

“Everything, turns out great! Nobody cares about how it looks, only how yummy it is and how much! KAKAKAKA!”


(Then tell them to leave me alone!)


Aside from this spectacle, another is beginning to interrupt preparations.

At first only one, now five of the Dandies have abandoned their work to shuffle over awkwardly on their tripod legs and begin staring at Fehl.

Unblinking eyes drill into him as the bird-like creatures are left leaned over. Every once in a while they change their moods, leaning the opposite direction as if speculating.


The discomfort of it causes the boy to tighten his laced tie, seeking some relief by re-announcing his position.


A servant beyond reproach and in the service of the Maker should not garner evil attention from those belonging to another!

Even if they wish to recruit him, he belongs solely to one family…! —




“They’re usually not very active or interested. I can only think it’s ill-mannered to pry into others’ business…”

When a larger bird creeps up on the smaller ones, the Dandies all shake and then slowly hobble away. They’re reluctant to stop staring at Fehl, but all except Kol seem happier with them excluded.

“Dandies, very cool! Kol, thinks they always have this strong feeling to them!”


(That’s because they’re outlets for that mansion’s perverted and devious fascinations.)


It’s not a fact that can be shared, though, since nobody present should be aware of it. —




Continuing their work, twins that finally place their dish within a plated cooker are assaulted on both sides. While a kobold should be center of attention, these two also soak up affection inflicted on them.


“Cute, let’s change things around! How it’s set up now, put Kol up on a higher tier with Kol’s Boss!”

“… I am not in charge of seating in the reception hall. That is the Maker’s design…”

“So, remake it! Cute is better!”


A kobold who clings to his sister, driving her wild with obnoxious statements like these, constantly seeks more favor, while…


“Being able to cook makes you desirable by any woman, but it doesn’t do to be better than them.”

“… I must achieve competency in any task to qualify as a servant.”

A harpy matron hangs over Adris, letting her seductive words continue what had begun earlier.

“Oh, how absolutely troubling then! So you’re only a good servant if everything turns out right?”

“Isn’t that obvious? What point is receiving a task if you fail to carry it out?”


Trust placed in someone only exists so long as they honor it. Lacking talents that others have, we must cultivate what exists in order to survive in their world… —


“How regretfully old-fashioned that is! What sort of tasks do you have to be skilled at to solve everything, little Fehl? Can you count the number needed if you get the… hmm, wrong sort of guest…?”




Some questions are too improper.


How can there be a wrong sort of guest?




The edge in his voice draws another to grip his hand and squeeze.

Fehr becomes more alive with this growing stress, her own false heart beating strongly with his.

Dandies ignore this tenseness completely, bumbling around while somehow managing to prepare extraordinary ingredients that will turn into beautiful works of culinary art.


“Huh? ‘Wrong guest’? Isn’t a guest, whatever they are?” Licking cream off of her paws that she filches from a bowl, Kol’s question seems just as puzzled as the twins feel, yet for a different reason. “How can a guest be wrong? You invited them!”


(… That’s the right query, and the right mood…!)


It mirrors Sapphira’s own in a depraved way, causing Fehr to finally overcome the hesitation trapping her voice.


“… When a guest… violates the spirit of the hospitality provided…

… perhaps, they are wrong.”

“Ho? ‘Spirit of hospitality’? What is that?”


The very person asking that question brazenly steals a skewer of raw meat and vegetables from a Dandy shuffling by, pulling the vegetables off to toss away as Kol gobbles up the beef.


Fehr’s eyes twitch with each bite.


(… Good… you’re finally getting it…)


“Well, forget spirit! Nobody in this place of ‘goops’ can match Kol in spirit! Kakaka!”


Thirsty now, the rambunctious guest tries to take an entire pitcher of milk from a nearby table as a Dandy impotently reaches out for it.

Ready to drink, a kobold’s arm stops when another slaps onto it.


“Hmm? Ah!”




The pitcher departs, carried away from a kobold who willingly releases it when prompted.

A cup is placed for it to pour some of its goodness into.


And, into a kobold’s hands the cup finds itself placed.




“… Those in this manse, have the noblest spirits imaginable.”

While always visibly frail looking, when Fehr finds her voice she ceases to appear so.

Instead, it’s a chilly sort of tone that also sounds goading.


“Hoh!? Really?


In one long chug, the knight empties the cup and then slams it onto a counter. She wipes her face off on her sleeve, before turning deathly serious and leaning in.


Hah! Kol, likes that kind of talk. But, Kol will like more, when Cute proves it.”




The time for intervention is now.

Fehl reaches for his sibling, to assert priority.


To show rebelliousness to a guest, or to allow one’s feelings to come out in disagreement, is the worst form of ineptitude for a servant to display…! —




Now, now, let’s not interfere.



Instead of reaching, he’s cocooned within feathers, disappearing from the scene as two girls begin bantering.


The first and most important thing a boy should learn is to never come between girls and their disagreements.




Such disagreements must be stopped no matter what, especially if…! —

(… Just sit back and enjoy the ride…! So much is accomplished when… the puppets begin to dance willingly so that my tired hands can rest…!)





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?”

“One step forward, two steps into iredeemable vice?”

“Can you understand the difference between ‘contact that is forced, but welcomed’ and ‘that which inflicts mental harm’? On Zennia, aren’t these two things muddied?”

“Aren’t you more docile when pretending to be a servant? Or perhaps more alike your previous master?”


“Weren’t you supposed to be answering ‘who is Adris’ instead of ‘who is Fehl’?”



“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’?”

“To use a Talent upon others would normally make them an enemy, but if the Talent is designed to unlock their deepest desires, then…?”

“Choosing to take on a disciple, Adris has begun to walk an old path. How will this future differ from history?”

“As someone that originally was the ‘assistant’, it’s not a place that needs to be taught again.”


“In the end, he’s falling deeply into his own vision of his role.”



“To understand how to appeal to others, you must be someone who others can appeal to.”



Name: “Kol” fehl Dain, “Pink”
Titles: Idiot, “Tyrant Knight”
Race: Kobold, ???
Sex: Female
Age: ???


Occupation: Delver, Frontliner, ???
Discipline: Tyrant Squire




[Invisible Edge] – “Axe goes through everything?”


[Full Contact] – “Wanna go!? Kol, let fists talk!”


[“Ride on Dread“] – “THE WORLD, BELONG KOL! KAKAKA!






[ ?DARKNESS? ] – “▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒……!!!”




[“Dreadful Armor”] – “This is where Kol will live and die. When Kol roars, armor roars, too!”


[Halberd of the Whirlwind] – “GET OVER HERE!”


Disposition: Straightforward / Confrontational / Respectful
Alignment: Neutral

Eyes: Pink
Hair: White
Skin: Tanned



Rantil Value –

Attributes by Grade:

Strength – C-?!?

Vitality – C-?!?

Dexterity – E

Agility – F

Intelligence – F

Mentality – C




Cethran Value – “Are you attracted to rampaging metal? Though in your case, you appreciate the voice, don’t you? Do you long to see more? If she reminds you of a certain someone, then…?”

“Why do you flee from genuinity the moment you see its result?”

“What happens if she does a better job than you do?”


“Perhaps she can be as dislikable as you are?”



“Brash and forthright, a warrior wielding an axe with two hands forsakes protection to deliver only harm. Contrary to this impression, she also seems interested in a straight up fight. If her words are any indication, she offers little thought to her actions.”

“And now, the disciple has become the master!”

“But if she’s trying to emulate Adris, what is her impression of him going to look like?”


“Less like Adris and more like a person who sees the world gifted to her… no, isn’t that Adris?”



“Just because she acts dumb doesn’t mean…?”







Chapter 113         Table of Contents          Chapter 115