Take Up the Cross – Chapter 119: Motivation Called Madness

“Why ‘Greed’, beaten bunny? You gilded fools offer so many conflicting explanations, it reeks of seeking philosophical truths from ‘mind-burn’ addicts.”


(Greed? Is that a “feeling”, too?)


The weaselly voice doesn’t spare Fehl an answer no matter how his feverish brain longs for one. Like a great tube wrapping through the once underground kingdom, the structure housing this speaker branches along the city’s strata into more winding tubes that hug buildings. Large enough for beasts of burden to enter and with a diameter of eleven men stretched arm-to-arm, its construction mirrors the rest of this dwarven city.

Stout dwarves of gray stone carrying stabbing prods flank its entrance, with others depicted on its walls with red, inset bricks for bears. They yank on the leashes of the monsters that climb the building as slithering art, using similar prods to fend off the advances of these vicious steeds artistically rendered as climbing from spherical holes in the sides.


Through the mouth of their last stand, two must pass.


“Fehl… keep quiet and refrain from issuing orders with this one.”


(What orders would I issue? I only want to know why you, with me…?)


The sister that threw herself on top of him has stifled the fury that left Fehl unable to comment then, only to follow along meekly.

Now staring into the darkness with something approaching a brave face, the chilling blue of her sight turns to examine him again.


Her hands reach out toward his face…




Bringing his own up defensively, he is left blushing when she simply adjusts the loosened tie at his neck.


“You are looking ahead, right?” The tone is mocking, no matter how lowly whispered! “Or are you going to blame me for your constant staring?

A victory grin given with this question, no matter how small, after she watches his jerking response stiffens Fehl’s spine.

“Don’t worry. With me, you are safe.”

Ironically, there’s a fierceness to how she coddles him that he cannot understand given his prior leadership.

“… This is dangerous and ill advised! If the Maker considers him hazardous, then how can we—!?”

“The Maker considered him in many ways. I now understand that people fit… into more than one category.”

Watching her finger approach, Fehl’s mouth shuts before she touches it with the tip. Just this sparking contact brings a shiver through his core.

“People… ‘fleshy ones’ are more than just ‘guest’, ‘servant’, ‘owner’, or ‘invader’. They can also be…”




“‘Easy, easy it will be with me, with meeeee~!’”


A meaty slapping reverberates out the dark hole leading into the building that twin servants must march into, missing the dying sun already.

“I seem to recall your promise being so? Can we continue with that prior issue? ‘Not going anywhere fast’? True, true…”


Within, the torment of another continues that punctuates the hazard.


“If that evil boy didn’t have claim on you, you’d instead be punished by Falke or I. You’re truly hated by all living creatures, aren’t you, Hoime~y? Gahaha!




(He’s vicious…!)



“Some people deserve bad things, that’s called ‘punishment’. It is not frightening, it musn’t be, that the ‘just’ should punish the ‘wrong’!”

But… sis—!?

Fehl’s last warning attempt is kept to himself, for his sister “harrumphs” when he opens his mouth and then drags him slowly toward the evil voice.

“Others can become many things even if once an ‘invader’, so let us make him our ‘friend’ now, Fehl, since this man is different from those he despises. Two guests, Kol and the other, demonstrated as such, but you never saw beyond your own efforts to our lessons, Fehl!”

“Sis, this one is…!”

“If you have nothing to add but… vague warnings, then shut up, Fehl!




With that order, he does so.

But not without producing a look which apparently causes Fehr to wince, then turn from him.




No townsfolk precede or follow them, avoiding this one ancient wonder whose outer walls are climbed over by many-legged lizards. Within, the fuller gathering of statues of them proves why.

These innumerable beasts of burden stare down from the walls at the twins, frozen in time as the carvings that they truly are. Having two-feathery tails that split off from each other, they are lean like panthers but have the heads of sleek, snapping crocodiles.

If the pale, white plaster that survives under the false accents of harnesses and straps set on top of them proves, they once perhaps stood out in the darkness of the underground as ambushing ghosts. Replicas of them are all that’s left, lounging on rods jutting from the inner walls up and down the cylinder, once inviting their real brethren to wait beside them.


With all other life vanished, a new entity claims it as home. Its presence causes an error within Fehl to propagate, rooting him to his spot.




There is also a surety deep inside that is spreading.

This spot where the “voice” once spoke from is quite certain in its clenched terror. It knows that they are making a mistake.


(“You will be destroyed?” I don’t want to be uselessly destroyed…!)




“What… what I witnessed, and what I learned from their ‘lives’, I will now replicate.”


Breaching the building’s perimeter so openly with Fehr’s next yank leaves Fehl sinking into a thick sea!

Through an invisible perimeter they violate the new owner’s terms, bringing a buzzing feeling of danger at such trespass.


“As-As long as we are together, Fehl… I am ‘c-complete’.” Choking on her words, his sister’s strength returns with a reaffirming squeeze. Her own unnoticed until now trembling stops when unnatural warmth shares between them. “So… stay beside me, and I cannot fail to fulfill my purpose.”


So brags his sister while observed by something as potent as the sun itself, while Fehl’s inner emotions drive him to protect her above all else.


“Believe in me, and yourself, brother… so that together we can reject that…!

“Yes… sister…?”




(Were we made to reject our Maker’s wishes? What is this feeling that joins with the idea of disobedience to him and the dread of entering this place? What do I “feel”?)


The sole pillar of sickly yellow radiance shining from above into the creatures’ pen intensifies, centered on an isolated platform connected to where the twins enter from and one which defies the drop over the abyss of the cylindrical building’s descent.

Bearded snouts and beady peepers share the twins’ inspection of this quizzical, oily man in a dress-kilt at its center. In his hand, a tentacled rod is raised to let its limbs linger near a slowly-turning bound figure hanging from one of the replica creature’s neck by some unseen, moving bonds. Fluffy ears droop lifelessly, with only her tail pointing up since her butt is presented for abuse.


“Because my prompt aid, no need to thank me as we’re, AHEM” into his sleeve the man sputters, heaving with laughter before continuing, “‘allies’, tightened your well-worn hole right back up, maybe if we still had some thick-‘limbed’ sarlathi climb down to repeat the widening procedure then that devil boy might be contented to let my eminence dispose of you, instead?”


“Not appealing? I get it, after all, how couldn’t you enjoy getting loosened enough for a weasel to nest in there after only one night, lagoslut!? My dearest Falke spared few voyeuristic details… saving them all for personal property in the shape of an arrogant kleptomaniac. How romantic, it must’ve been…”


Another slap echoes when a single tentacle noisily, but lightly, strikes the worn-out rabbit woman’s reddened butt. Only wearing silken lingerie that fully displays with perfect accentuation her most intimate parts, within this cold room she’s like a side of fattened meat left to hang, slowly turning in place with the momentum of hits.


“Two big, wriggling plungers at the same time, they have TWO, you know, might be just what’s needed to loosen some other lips before you say goodbye for good…?”


At first jovial, the man hunches forward when more tentacles join the first to lick at the bunny’s skin. His free hand’s fingers wriggle, that demeanor of a composed minder he was offering melting away.


Why did you lead me into a trap, you floppy-eared sow, and why now pretend like you don’t have the obligation to aid me in resolving it!? Certain secrets can still save you if shared, I promise…”


Despite the pure venom lacing his kind question and the air thickening with the feeling of madness radiating from the creepy tentacle master, there’s still no real response.

“Ugh… uguu…!” Even when two tentacles slap at her drooping breasts like they’re drums, the beaten property only moans.

“Can’t say I hate what he did to you, Hoppy Hoime~y! Even if it screws me over, at least he shut up your…!”


Tentacles start prodding her…



Even flicking her cute nose and leaving a slime trail in her nostrils.



They pull on her jugs sharply, before the tentacles snap off at just the right moment!



“Hiie!?” When she squeals, the man’s scummy voice goes shriller.


“‘Mistress of Mysteries’, you called yourself!? More like ‘Mistress of Getting Fucked into The Floor’, or ‘Sorceress Supreme of Being Unconsciously Bred’! Do you know how much… well, spunk I had to flush out of you, with Falke insisting that you’re ‘my responsibility’ to tidy up as a prize!? It was like a whale went off inside you, then just pulled out and kept spraying…!” Finally rubbing his forehead like he has a headache, the man then begins a giggling fit. “Hehehehe, haah, so embarrassing to be labeled as your ‘accomplice’ after clarifying that your childish threats had nothing to do with me! But, maybe this ‘Adris’ really IS a Djinn or Feylord like that dreamy elf-loving airhead hopes, HOIME~YYYY!?”


(There can be no doubts.)


“‘Answers your deepest desires’? How’d he know mine was to do the impossible and shut your trap up for good!?


A brutal monster in humanoid form that tortures his former ally, proving that he is also an [invader] of the mansion, establishes as a threat worth grabbing Fehr’s hand for.

The girl turns with a jolt, her shadowed eyes narrowing at this sudden grab.


(You’re in danger, most of all, though I can’t voice why…!)


“You got shredded into chum to draw the same shark again, that red bitch Ylva got a taste of what it means to fail as a Number, and now Falke has to deal with his own experiments going bonkers!

Oh, but me!?”


Spankings begin again, turning the prisoner left and right with their love taps. The bunny increases in rotation finally in one direction, the man screaming at the top of his lungs with satisfaction!


“I get to rub elbows with a charming girl for as long as I want to, landed guaranteed subjects for a long-term study, and will enjoy the everlasting satisfaction of seeing you compensated to a devil as a debt slave! And, and the best part…!?


The speaker’s voice sounds wet, choking on its own words!






(This is is an “Orloss”, “gentlemanly friend” of the Maker.)


“… Boy, Master-Brother Peak, everyone else is stupid except me! BAHAHAHAHA!


(We made a mistake in coming here!)




No matter how unnerved Fehl feels by lingering in this man’s dangerous territory, with his insides bizarrely warm the world instead consists only of the glowing visage of his sister’s body and the need to clutch it to himself. His remaining rationality must calculate how to proceed without much wit to aid it, to free her from danger.


(We should avoid interacting with him as much as possible… so I should take Fehr somewhere else? Where we’ll be… alone, right? Fehr should hide, with me…?)


The sister he cares so much for resists his yanks, instead dragging forward slowly.




(What is it I feel when you are at risk, Fehr?)




“… you’ll get yours, for sure, too soon…



Tentacles drag the one named Hoime closer, putting her face with swollen cheeks next to the man’s turned ear.


“THE BARK OF A LOSER!? How daunting, a whipped bunny’s mewling is!?”

“… thought that thing was nothing, too, but nothing is what you are after it…

“I’d like to compare my outcome to yours, then, Hoime~y. After all, the supreme organization of the Castillo would be the supportive altar which was constructed for Master-Brother Peak’s purposes, not the fanatics drowning in a realm like the ocean depths that I am already A GOD of!”

“… bunch of mad little chew toys, you ‘tent posts’ are…

“Say that while staring into the eyes of the man who cleaned out your cooch! Bahahaha!


Finally her ears perk up, limping ever-so slightly at the ends. Fiercely staring from above her tormentor, this former invader’s smothered fire finds its last hot ember.


“… turn your back on it, on IT, and doomed you’ll be, just like me, you shrimpy little piece of pet octopus…!

“I’m going to enjoy asking what he tasks you with, Hoime~y! If he rents you out by the hour, you can count on my Grand Collection to help you find a clientele!”

“… EH!? N-Nobody… nobody belittles Hoime Hele—!




At the point of fury, the demi-beast woman suddenly sniffs and goes silent.

Then looks over the man and to the two guests framed by the world outside that she can’t escape to.


“H-Huh? Uh…?”


(Why are you staring at me?)






Her frozen body then starts a’quivering.


“Uuu… uuuuuuu… uuuuuuuuu!


Followed by her lips trying to find speech, before she spurts out a spray of saliva.


“… guh…


Finally, her eyes roll back into her head, body goes limp, and a stream of liquid from her lower section pours uselessly into the darkness below, presumably her last emotional statement before passing out.




“Did she suffer an aneurysm from sheer stupidity without the Recompense to recover from it?” Sounding more congenial, the man’s slender hand pats the woman’s head with more care than his previous insults would imply as considering. “Well, it’s fine if she goes this way.”

His whole body turns with an effortless, slick slide while stroking her fluffy ear from base to tip.

Pulling his hand free, Orloss temptingly flicks it toward the two youths he now addresses.


“After all, we need to talk, right, Falke? How rude of you, to speak from statues when I’m performing a personal favor?


Lacking the imperiousness of their Maker, this Orloss seems a queer fellow to Fehl. The frock coat he wears is shabby and covered with baubles of quantity to weigh him down. But, no matter now much like a peddler he appears, the slimy, overly-fluid way the man moves carries great strength.

Less like a king and more like some philosopher with disharmonious knowledge to spread, Orloss agrees to their approach with one finger incessantly curling.


“Come, come, what next do you need for your silly game, Old Birdkeeper? Waste my time and pride further…!”


(He believes us to be simulacrums for the Maker to operate through?)


Fehr nods her head at this demand, releasing Fehl’s hand and stepping forward.

Pulling at her dress’ hem, she performs a curtsy before speaking.


“… Noble Orloss of the Pillars, our Maker commands you to release the invader, so that we may convey the prisoner to—”







This baboonish howl the man unleashes silences Fehr. At first congenial enough, the man’s face now appears stricken with pulsing veins!

When he hunches forward, the darkness which surrounds and eats at the walls of this tubular pen writhes.


(Something lives within it!)



“… the… the Maker is indisposed of, and thus… we were…”

INEFFICIENT PREPROGS, AT THAT!? GET TO THE POINT AND STOP HESITATING! Jeshti’al’FUHLK!” An unknowable curse in a tongue that chills Fehl’s core passes from the man’s lips before he calms. “My word, if he’s going to insult me, he could at least not half-heartedly program the messaging units…!”


Fehr’s “message” is unfinished, but her timidity passes far faster than Fehl’s own. She nods and steps boldly forward.


“Apologies, for misidentification and misrepresentation. The Maker intends no disrespect.”

“… What?”


Dramatically waving his arms around until she speaks, Orloss squints and pulls back at Fehr’s apology.

With a tap of his finger upon them, the eyepieces with multi-colored lenses he wears makes a clinking sound with different lenses exchanging places.


“Neither a simulacrum nor a messaging unit, the Maker intends only the deepest respect for his esteemed fellow Pillar by sending these two… for we are…”

Fehr looks behind, nodding toward Fehl.


“Independent units, at your service.”



Astonishment is his own response, until his countenance hardens.

Then relaxes, his thoughts imperceptible even to Fehl.



“Of course, please permit us to introduce ourselves.”

Fehr’s hand flicks before curling over her chest.




Bringing his hand over his heart to mirror hers, Fehl performs a deep bow in time with Fehr’s own.

They match their timing, in order to convey the orderly impression befitting their Maker’s design.




“Greetings, Master Orloss—”

“Greetings, Master Orloss—”


“Well, if you’re going to just walk in to be captured…?”


From every direction, the unliving stony cylinder springs to life.


Hatred is not its sole motivator.

Yet, that “feeling” is the only one that isn’t alien to Fehl with this attack!


“—we are—HEY!?”

“—we are—MYAH!?”


Springy tentacles wrap around Fehr’s slender legs, inverting her toward the ceiling and hoisting her to within arm’s reach of the sneering man.

“… then even if it’s boring, why not oblige?


The odd man pulls a whirligig from his coat and throws it into the air. Upon reaching its maximum, it spins with a whipping speed that shuts out the din of the crowd outside.


(Isolation magic!?)



Fehl’s attempt to jump for her ends when he senses more coming for him before he can even see them!






At first inspecting the undergarments of the girl Orloss snatched, who so desperately tries to free herself from tentacles that her dress falls up to obstruct her face, the horrible ambusher stares more quizzically at Fehl when the boy yells out.





(I also want to know why, or how, you should stop!)


Their mutual astonishment over the lack of restraint afflicting the boy speaks much of the day’s surprises.

While Fehl feels the man must be toying with him while watching the fifty smaller tendrils surrounding him either coil around the air outside of touch or try to prod him without success, there’s a different emotion than joy represented by Orloss’ tone.


“Grab him, you incompetent!”


Fehl follows Orloss’ own gaze toward the beastly call of a sickening creature above, finding that the oily light which once flowed only over the evil man now centers on himself.


(Oh… that is…)


A horizontally-squared eye of total malevolence burns inside the black mass lodged within the cylinder above them.


(Is that… a Kraken’s spiritual manifestation? He’s never been alone, even discounting the prisoner…)




The revealed presence of an oceanic nightmare of impossible proportions drives Fehl’s view away from it, for he must stare at the ground not to turn and flee. Not even the barest hint of its full potential manifests in the half-incarnated dark spirit, for its measly tentacles that split from its mass to try and contain Fehl only partially exist.

Though squinting with annoyance, the beast is only momentarily confused, not endangered, because Fehl’s defensively raised arms exert no real influence over his own fate.


(Fehr… Fehr was impossibly stupid to try to…!)




He’d tried to warn her, though without success because he was lacking with his reason.


It’s simply his fault that she blundered in here.

It’s Fehl’s incapacity that leaves his sister at another’s mercies.


His inexperience, lacking diction, and horrid leadership that leaves him…


(Ah, ah, this is… [fear]?)




“… skurr…?

“Right! This girl is obviously… but, then that one if you can’t touch him is…?


Orloss scratches his chin with a sharp nail, a grin crossing his lips.


“… F-F-F-Friend… Friend Orloss, please wait…!

“Ho…? Friend!?


The man’s pinched fingers pull up her dress, allowing Fehr to speak with more dignity despite being totally restrained by a creeping mass.

White-faced and stuttering, whatever confidence Fehl felt from her has vanished.


“Who am I friends with, you rogue unit?”

“Rogue!? I am not rogue! W-With… with the…! The Maker, you’re his friend!”



Fehr’s body is coiled around completely, removing all view except her head as she twists with them winding.



“… Silence, Fehl! I speak for us, not you! Only I understand!

The mass prevents Fehl from saving her, but even his voice full of terror gets refused by her.

“Understand what!? To just call me that, and think I am that, ‘a friend’, possibly your Maker’s!? BAHAHA!”


Orloss grinds both hands on his cane head, revealing sharpened teeth that could bite her throat out.


“Did you think you could save yourself from being torn down, despite the sad loss that a wonderful specimen like you would prove, simply by appealing to a misbegotten idea of friendship!?”


Slime trails over Fehr’s face cannot hide the horrific confusion she registers at being taunted, prompting Orloss to cackle.


“Oh, it’s a jest! Your existence is a jest, a fraudulent joke that I don’t even want to laugh at! After all, just who would say that he and I are friends!?”

“I-It…!? It is…!? Isn’t it… true…!?”

The tentacles tighten around Fehr, while constraining Fehl’s cage of air further as they test the limits of his boundary!


(Someone… someone save her…!)


“Who put that silly idea into your head!? Who spoke this lie as if it could be used against me, Orloss Krakenclaimer, dear little rogue!?

“… He… said…!?”



That cane of his rubs on her cheek, leaving a sticky connection behind.

Before his eyes it’s as if Fehr is being digested!






But, that voice is silent.

Abandoning Fehl at a time of need.


It doesn’t need to act, after all, though.







A ripple rolls through the tentacles that writhe everywhere, petrifying them.


Master Peak’ aside, Orloss is also the closest thing to a… ‘gentlemanly friend’ that I’ve maintained in my advanced years.

The masculine voice that speaks these words is their Maker’s own, replicated by Fehr’s body as if she were his implement.

“This creation of his heard this said, without lie or lacking context! If the Maker said it himself, then… t-t-t-then it must be…!






Fehr spins around on one leg when the tentacles unwind from her, before her balance asserts itself and she comes to stand before the man once more.

A large handkerchief assaults Fehr’s face, cleaning away the viscous fluids that cover it.


“Stand still, child, you’ve got a smudge here, too!”

“… Oh? Yes, this un— No, I will comply…?”

The man wearing a kilt and dress squirms around Fehr, fluffing her hair back into its prior birdlike tufts.

“How stupid, how foolish, the very nerve of the man to say something so inaccurate! So misleading, putting you at risk…! Oh hohoho…!


Like an uncle doting on his niece, Orloss corrects any perceived deficiencies before patting her head twice.

Only she gets this treatment though, because Fehl’s cage of tendrils remains tight.




“… What else did he speak that might be a misunderstanding? Let’s hear it!”

“Ah? He? The Maker…”

Fehr frets when put on the spot by the man rubbing his hands together.


(Be… be careful what you say!)


“… The Maker… called you…”

“Called me!? What?

“… ‘Painfully reasonable’…?”





Whatever good will might have accrued seems to vanish when he sprays out saliva in a fit. His thick neck bulges, eyes straining in his sockets.



The man’s hand stretches for her own neck…!







No weapons exist to fight with!

Fehl’s design does not conjure them, and no manipulation of his mass of pseudoprosopon can overcome the barest power of a Kraken.


The one that commands this creature stands shaking in outrage, preparing to crush the only thing Fehl has ever “felt” something for other than their Maker and the…!




From deep within, the voice finally speaks.

Its advice is confusing, seemingly only understood with context.




Anyone who thinks well of Avenalliah Aurmaris, and who doesn’t want to hurt her, cannot be purely evil. Therefore: appeal to his sense of virtue, whatever twisted shape it takes.






Without understanding the advice, and having no way of stopping Orloss, Fehl can only rely upon his memories gifted by the Maker.


(They… lack!)




To lead Fehr means that she will resolve the problem once he has determined what it is.

If his leadership fails, then there’s only one possible resolution.


(I’m… I’m a failure.)


Without a weapon to act with, he can only entrust an “appeal”.


(I don’t know! Creator, aid me! Memories…! I need…!)


The wisdom of the ages. Gifted by the perfect creature that is his “earthbound god”, Fehl’s core searches for something which matches this scene! A resolution derived from action that he can take.


(There… there would be a man standing before him, with a similar potential for loss… then…






A scene flashes before his eyes.

Of a ruined hall where a godlike figure covered with an assortment of possessions that absolutely clash with each other stands like this Orloss, holding his…


(Feathers…!? Black?)


The circumstances are different, but the feeling is the same!


(I will follow what he did, with his passion and this feeling…!)




To the ground he goes, pushing the tentacles from his path with his trajectory.

His head plants upon the false stone, two fakes meeting each other.


Hands go flat upon this ground and he speaks the words capable of saving anyone.





“… Hah!?”


Though he can no longer witness what transpires, Fehl can “feel” the mood shift. The tentacles that are his jailkeepers quiver with shock.


(My… my action is resolving this!)


“Geh!? Don’t… bow before me! Not wearing his face, at least, and certainly not for a second time…!?

“DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND, I OFFER MYSELF UP IN PLACE OF HER! Please, don’t… destroy Fehr! If the Maker wishes to punish, then I am at fault! Fehr is, she is, to me…!”


(If all I can be is the one that directs her to greatness, as is my design, then if she’s destroyed… if I lose her… then my own existence is…!?)


“Fehr is, my irreplaceable—!?”

Get off the ground, now, Fehl.

“… Huh!?”




A growl that comes with her commanding voice has no composure. For the first time since he was “created”, from the sister that he shares his existence with, there is…!?


If you dare to ever again prostrate yourself to another who is not the Maker, I will retire you myself.



Rather than saving Fehr and winning her approval, anger more intense than his personal fear supersedes his authority.


(I did the wrong thing!? Then, my sister hates…!?)


On his toes so quickly that the tentacles pull away completely so as not to touch him, Fehl puts as much composure into his attentive stance as he can…




Bowing to me wouldn’t save you, anyway, if I decided to, well, y’know…


Between the siblings, Orloss appears at a loss to comprehend the sheer hate exuding from his former captive. Fehr’s icy stare registers nothing but the brother that shivers under its torments.


“What is going on, I wonder? You’re… here for the bunny?”

“… Noble Friend Orloss…”

“Now, see here…!?”


Drawing upon a charisma that Fehl was unaware she possessed, his sister drops the pretense of servility.

Instead, she draws up to the man and tugs on his clothing.


“He’s in danger…”

“Who is in danger!? Your… ‘counterpart’ over there!? Look, I haven’t even decided…

“The Maker is in danger!”

“Falke is?”


Even though Fehr cannot cry, the way she screams is just like a child’s. A pure terror that Fehl cannot feel even for the Kraken is one she unleashes upon Orloss while dragging at the man’s clothing.


“He! That… horrible liar, she’s done something! The Maker is planning to…!”

“Oh? The ‘Automaton of Destruction’? Haaaah, yes, yes, Falke is playing some little game with it…” Continuing to stroke Fehr’s head, Orloss grimaces while sighing. “He’s always been one for indulgent japes, so don’t read too much into—”

“Not a game, not a joke, the Maker’s will has been poisoned!”

“Huh? Poisoned how? Jeez, why am I consoling an automaton…?


Orloss looks toward Fehl with the appearance of discomfort, but the boy’s steeled countenance causes the man to squint.


“Is Falke actually…?”

“There’s a witch! Evil poison in the walls that numbs our mass!”

“… Huh? Please, continue, you have my undivided attention.


(Don’t tell him! I don’t know why, but don’t tell this Orloss!)


Fehl’s fears are instantly confirmed by the man’s purring reassurances. The details that stream unbroken from his distraught sister bring something like a sparkle to his presence.


“… And so, there’s a Granny of Malice! The ghoul says that she can undermine the entire manse!”

“Yes, I recall that one. But, she was destroyed according to Falke.”

It’s the one that was with her, the one in blue, that’s doing it…! That witch conspires with the [Liar] against our Maker!


(“Witch in blue”? Who is that?)


Fehr speaks of odd details with surprising specificity that Fehl can’t recall experiencing or being gifted.


“A concerning thing this is, but Falke isn’t some Number.” Stroking the girl’s head with more care than expected, Orloss almost seems bemused. “A great concern this ‘wager’ of theirs is, as Falke’s purity of skill will no doubt be ruined by having a bunch of permanent guests to dote on…”

“No! You don’t comprehend the danger!”

“What danger~? It’s not as if the doll or its allies are capable of defeating Falke, much less his pet birds if they were serious.”



The small girl jumps at Orloss!

As if to climb into his arms, she swings from his neck with his sudden shock sending Orloss wriggling.


“Calm yourself, you…!”

“With words that monster tears down his spirit! Reduces our Maker to servility! Makes him claim that she… that she is capable of succeeding the family!



Only when he takes up both of her hands into his will Fehr back down, crying out her woes for the whole world.


“Our Maker says that she’s… ‘qualified’! She hears the earth, makes Regalia, and she’s ‘noble’! It’s all false, but she makes him say it, to stroke her… VANITY! To make her appear ready to replace him!

“That calamity is anything but noble! But, it’s not as if Falke would really set her up in his place, it’s only a game, child…”


(No, you’re wrong… you didn’t see his…)


“The face our Maker had when looking at her says otherwise, Orloss. Our Maker stared at her with… ‘love’.”

“I’m not speaking with you, boy.” Despite dismissing him, Orloss’ face twitches at Fehl’s claim. “Falke has only ever loved one thing, which he’d never turn his back on even with death at hand. I cannot see him loving anything else, no matter how appealing its design is to his—!”

Fehr pulls him back to her, patting his shoulders.


“Friend Orloss! Our Maker, she compelled him… forced him, goaded him into turning against not only his pride and worthiness to lead, but also against… you!

He and it did what, now?


(That is the important part! Proof that we must do something, soon, fast…!)


In his fervor, their Maker hinted at rebellion against the Pillars, those he is sworn to serve with!

Such an error in judgment is one that even Fehl cannot excuse. To turn against the Pillars in the shadow of the Alchemaster would be…!?


(We’ll be destroyed!)




Fehl begins the shocking revelation.

“He stated that he would prove his adoration by—”


While Fehr buries her face into Orloss’ chest, nearly sobbing.

“—destroying you, solely because she hates you! She commanded that he turn on you and the Pillars, and he agreed!














It is not only Orloss’ mouth stretched wide that howls this deranged cry.

Also, the squiggling horror above joins in, shaking the walls and causing the whirligig to warp with what it must contain.




Both children collapse to the ground from its mind-wrenching intensity.


(… But… I don’t feel like I would have to…?)


Obeying his sister’s example forces Fehl to override his own thoughts, unable to save her or flee from the thing shaped like a man who begins to seethe.




After… everything I’ve done, all the days spent camping here, learning everything there is to know, you think you skulk away with your head still high on your shoulders…!?” Orloss’ private conversation ends when he notices two people gazing at him with wonder. “Ah? Oh, right, these…”


A flush of emotions flow through him.




Decisions are made with but a final squint of his eyes, and then a lifting of his chin.


Timidly at first, but then with a rush, Orloss reaches down to pull Fehr back up.

When they touch, he cries out with fear.








The man gyrates while holding onto her, his eyes rolling violently to match with his contortions.


“AM I… WAS I…!? ALSO…!?”

“Orloss!? Am I… harming you!?”


Fehr tries to pull away, but the man clamps harder!







Something like a religious experience quakes Orloss to the ground, with tentacles from under his dress splaying out.

He sprawls out ungainly, dragging Fehl’s sister with him as the entire lizard pen begins to rumble.


(What is going on!?)





“Understand what!?”


To the horrified, kneeling Fehr that he’s latched onto Orloss cries out himself!


“For some reason, until we touched, I felt that it could not be true what you were saying, that I mustn’t consider it! That it wasn’t allowed!

“…! You… Orloss…!”




The Kraken’s ire withdraws. Rumbling ceases, to replace with silence. Tentacles holding the unconscious bunny woman set her back upon the overhang, departing with the ones that menace Fehl.


“Oh, dear children, I understand now what you two are…!”




Into a hug Fehr is pulled, while Orloss’ free arm invites Fehl.


(Huh!? I…?)


Though still terrified of the man, the boy meekly walks into his embrace. Quiet while holding them and sharing his own meager warmth, this Orloss who was so violent now is…




“Falke would never want to harm one of his own works if he were in his right mind, so for him to declare you rogue…? All of the strange events transpiring, aren’t you supposed to clear them up?”


“… We are?”

“… Is that our duty?”


Mystified in tone, Orloss then squeezes harder! A vitality returns to him that was sapped by his fit.


“Oh… Orloss!? That Liar hexed you as well!?”

“Yes, dear, sweet, kind girl! I know neither how it was inflicted upon me nor cleared up, but the haze obstructing my brilliant mind has melted like morning mist with the sun that is your gentle face!”


(Orloss was being controlled, too!?)


Such a feat seems impossible to Fehl. It is absurd enough that Fehr’s claim that their Maker is being controlled means an enemy could overcome his mentality, but to also…?

Orloss pulls back to look between them both.


“Ah, you both are the definition of loyal, true saviors who have set forth to act!”

His presentation is the definition of an ugly gentleman’s so full of love and adoration that he fawns over them as if he birthed them himself.

“All of the contrivances of the past night and this morning, alas, I see now that Falke has been taken out from under my nose!”


(That seems an odd claim…)


“Our Maker has been subverted? But, we were instilled with rules that would prevent us from acting to discover such a scenario…?”

“Fehl! We never overcame the rules, in the end, because the only real rule was ‘act to save the Maker’!”

Joining in on Orloss’ logic, Fehr now seeks to pull him toward her and into her own beliefs.


(That is… valid? But, I don’t detect this rule in effect?)


“I witnessed no discernible enchantments upon him when we checked in on him, Fehr.”

Fehl’s incredulity prompts the man to quickly nod and slap the boy’s shoulder.

“It is not only theorems of magic that may sway a gentleman! There are… ‘feminine’ sorceries that even a mind as logical as Falke’s could succumb to!”


“She attacked him with ‘female magic’?”

“YES! Exquisite are the powers of the female sexual persuasion, Fehr!” Rubbing the back of his hand over his forehead, Orloss languishes in an enervated pose as if to demonstrate the effect. “Those you are shaped after hold the power to enchain the hearts of men with but sweetly toxic words alone! Even I, the sanest and purest of those devoted to Master-Brother Peak, could hardly resist the allures of a committed woman like, oh, for instance and only as a theoretical example, Falke’s second closest confidant Sapphira!”

“Like the page harpies said how they control their Beloved? Like how… the large Sapphira…


A look toward Fehl carries hatred once more, Fehr’s eyes taking a different hint of a color than the normal stunning blue!


(What did I do!?)


“The ghoul I met mentioned the power ‘sisters’ have over ‘brothers’, which I have proved true, as well.”

“… Have you? How was that proved, I wonder…?


A suspicious glance from Orloss joins hers looking at Fehl, sending the boy looking anywhere but at them, though he otherwise doesn’t react.

As far as he can tell.

Fehl isn’t too confident in his own actions, anymore.


(Everything is so confusing. I feel… that I should be able to piece together the events more accurately and much faster than Orloss does, but he sees more than I do…!?)


Every time Fehl stares at Fehr for too long, errors accrue and spread. How he should proceed is becoming a mystery, his mind stolen by her kisses…


(Fehr has ruined my logic processing!)


So, it seems females are the superior sex.

“In this instance, perfectly true, little Fehr, bahahaha! If you determined it with practice, then you’ve stumbled upon how that calamity has done it in deed!”


Fehr’s own commitment doubles when the man’s logic supports her own.


“And so, when Falke was overcome by another’s manipulations, a man as inventive and intelligent as he is would obviously have a weapon as a failsafe…?”


His hand joins Fehl’s and Fehr’s together.


“… I see. I see, our Maker is brilliant!”

Fehr turns Fehl toward her, their faces close and bright with her smile.

“Fehl, I understand our purpose now. Why we started with so little. Why we were sent out to discover, instead of given direct orders by our Maker!”

“… Do you? Then…?”


(What is it?)


Although he can only think to taste her tongue again, his sister’s dreamy expression sees only another person.


“We were activated in order to save the Maker! We are… a final line of defense! The reason that your were gifted perfect discernment of magic and form was to identify the danger, and the reason I was gifted rights over the manse and the Maker’s creations was to root out the corruption once discovered!”

“Shaped like the Maker, I would promote others to aid us by gaining their attention…?”

“YES! And I was gifted the personality firmness to utilize their ensuing friendship to overcome the threat! We received no aid from the Maker because we were activated not by his command, but by an unknown principal that wished us to aid him!”

“That… that is…?”




(Actually… plausible? But if I was shaped like him to aid us in finding allies…?)


The thought, “Then who is Fehr modeled after?” floods into Fehl’s mind.

If his is obvious, then hers is…?







All around, a ticking process continues.

The gears of an unseen design carry it along, now and ever before. Unheard over the sounds of sensations that are normal, when certain events register it grows louder.








Gears shift, a new trajectory starts.

Rather than truly grinding gears, they come to sound like ringing bells, instead.


The narrative that was decided upon seamlessly refits to this question, and all the others unsaid that arise from this question and this moment with Orloss, into its new… —







“You received what now? What are you burdened with, child?”

Into their private world Orloss intrudes with tact, fretting at Fehr’s words.

“Friend Orloss! From the Maker, I was created with the central, non-reproducible key to accessing and directing the other creations of the Maker!”

Oh, how…!

Both of the man’s hands clench Fehr’s head, leaving the girl quite shocked by the display of affection.


How grand!” Sharp nails almost dig in, but he seemingly restrains his joy.


“… How… impossibly useful your designs are! My, I’ll fall in love with you two, myself, at this rate, bahahaha! I get it, why you would feel so strongly, too! You two are his… finest creations yet, and instead of you two—?”


That lying scrap… dares to… replace us, to fool…!” Fehr’s eyes are stretched wide, a hideous expression of her lips pulled back to show her teeth.


(Sis-Sister… control yourself…)


“… It… we have to… save…! We have to correct his mental instability, and right our Maker with his own rules! We must… meet with him, confront this outsider immediately—!”





Orloss’ hands crush at his head and he swings around, moaning in pain at Fehr’s objective.

“No!? But, we…!?”

Meet!? And do what!? Try to defeat this creature with ‘logic’!?


(And why not? If it uses no magic, then we can…)






Fehl’s simplistic view of the problem is ripped apart by the man’s sudden spin!


Thick inks of rainbow colors spray from his sleeves, filling the air around the twins and swirling into shapes that take form bit-by-bit like clay clumping onto shapes!




Know the ignominious fate of the Grand Collection, the repository of unliving Numbers which our Master-Brother hoards in his radiance, on that fateful day when the [LUNATIC DESPOILER] shed its false slumber!




Twins hold each other tight, because the world changes before their eyes!


Instead of stout dwarven ruins, they now soar in the missing space between floating islands where thirty pillars of pure, crystal rainbow luminance climb infinitely toward heaven and hell.




On the island which serves as bridge between Castillo and Pillars’ home, our humble work continues in his glory…




Orloss’ voice continues the narration of their vision, for the man vanished into the last spray of rainbow ink. Painting the very workers of this great repository, Orloss’ lifeblood reveals hundreds, perhaps thousands, of menials and scholars and all sorts of strangers sifting through the sorted works of ages.


At the center of the sky-reaching aisles cordoned off by columns and architecture in a totally—













Though the name upon it is clearly not his, the gold and jade that are used, unmistakable to a boy/man who once sought the tomb which housed his Pinnacle style, justly state that this place is made for one that claims the same position as THAT CRUEL EMPEROR MET IN A CHAPEL









(This… this place is massive…)


Whatever revelation he experienced slips from Fehl’s mind.


Each island which is pierced by shining pillars meets the grand palace above. This palace defies either examination or description with how brightly it shines, established atop a rainbow bridge and circled by living stars.


At the center and apparent entrance of the central pillar of the five, those which pierce the Grand Collection and its proud aisles of busy archivists, “sits” a man drinking tea.


This resting gentleman watches the spectacle of his busy subordinates through multi-lensed glasses. A pleasant smile upon his face reveals how this day meets his satisfaction.




On this day, which until it awoke was like all others, I, Orloss, discovered that absolute chaos does have its own incarnated form…




When the voice ominously trails off, a stream of living rainbow rips free from one of the corner pillars of the island! The Orloss in the distance drops his cup, which shatters moments before the next streams rip free from both the first and the other pillars.


Cries of havoc break out, for the orderly aisles rumble. When the first stream of rainbow meets with another one, an eerie buzzing noise starts upon their mutual tugging!

The growing rift of darkness and color formed at their joining pulls in more streamers from the pillars, flaying them of their light!




It watched us, for centuries, secreting from the Collection the implements needed for its apocalypse! Useless were our attempts to fight back, pointless our horror, for it…!




When the shining light fills all corners of the heavens of the Pillars, its rainbow can no longer be survived.

A great explosion rolls through the aisles of the Collection, sending its scholars careening into the stellar abyss that rips free from the controlled world.




This hungry maw begins to devour…






With no understanding or love of our master-brother’s order, it bade that the Pillars should be thrown into disharmony that pleased only IT. From its destruction, it rose…!




On a jagged piece of the island that rips free from the rest, this single shard seats upon its intact tip a shelf wrought by platinum.




Within this shelf, standing arrogantly, is a small figure wearing a dress that fits no other style seen in this heaven.




Violet eyes shine with fascination, and amber curls lie bound by a shining gold circlet.

Looking down upon those who are devoured, this “causation” lifts its chin and covers its mouth with one hand, holding a tome as large as it under its other arm.

This Instigator locates a man in the tumult below, one that is dragging his fellows from the ongoing carnage to the safety of his pillar!




It watched as the collected ages were minced by the void or vanished into it, feeling only one emotion, if that THING can even feel…!




Upon meeting Orloss’ sight, the steel-blue nightmare wrapped up in a vortex of unknowable stellar magics that it has woven, seems to grow to encompass the whole sky with its haunting perfection!


This terror which threatens the entire Pillars squints, only evil revealed in its eyes…!




Oh, ho ho ho ho ho.




… and laughs merrily directly at this chief caretaker, fervently enjoying the annihilation it wrought while sailing away from the island in a calculated launch.












Free of the ruin it caused, this childlike abomination was the only non-victim.


The twins watch with horror, unable to intercede, as the organization that their Maker belongs to descends into the anarchy of the post-Lunatic advent.

A multitude of rescuers arrive to begin weaving a great, unified spell to stifle the rainbow maw that tries to devour, but it is far too late to save everyone…







With the tale ended, the ink disappears into blackness.

The darkness and Kraken’s revealing eyesight are all that can be seen.




Kyros and Resindia are still lost in that void, perhaps forever…?


Staring down into the abyss below, the distraught Orloss reappears into the light, returning to them slowly on his wriggling tentacle legs.


“It’s shameful, painful even, to admit our inability to comprehend the evil machinations that calamitous automaton twisted to unleash upon our noble home. Though I say that it relies upon its feminine wiles to turn others against its foes, it is only the most meager of its corruptive Talents!”


(Is it… such a thing possible? Could that… frail creature really be such an evil god’s work?)


“So much was lost that rightfully belongs to Master Brother Peak, purposefully destroyed by maleficence! If it seeks to replace your creator, to make dearest Falke its… slave of love, then that is only the first step on its plan! Such a being will never be content merely to rule your Maker…!”


Fehl flinches at how his sister paws at him.


I see… it’s going to use our Maker, twist his mind, make him use his own Talents to… destroy the world…!


How her voice squeals in this determination of its plot grates at his ears, makes him doubt the story all at once because of how violent her spirit becomes.


(The world? Really? Fehr… are you okay?)


“I won’t permit this. I will… destroy it.”

“Yes! Talking with it will get you nowhere! That has already been attempted…


(Is it…?)




“Is this… ‘Descendant of Luna’ really so powerful? I didn’t get the impression that she was that strong.”



Orloss seems aghast to be asked this question, especially since it’s Fehl asking it.


“No, I wish to defeat her, or rather, it, but is it really a creature that could destroy the world?”

“Why don’t you go find out if you think I’m exaggerating?”


For his part, Orloss doesn’t seem offended, only shaking his head in disgust.


Fehl… look within yourself and ask this question.

Yes, sister!


(Why within!? And… what would I ask?)


Closing his eyes, Fehl wonders about the sight of this fragile doll from a place called Luna.


(Do I have memories of…?)





Within this question, there is an open tome.

The knowledge within its flipping pages serves only one purpose.


For its name is “Brings an End”.


“… Oh, Creator, these eyes capture the way in which a world may die, a way meant to be shared…”


The one who reads it speaks with such energy for this one purpose. Only now does she seem truly happy.


For Luna’s sake, be undone with majestic splendor!


[… everything ended with a final…!]”


And though it defied all expectations,


The world as she knew it ended with her demand, being ground into literally nothing as the earth itself died. —







Fehr goes stiff when pulled into Fehl’s arms, held close to him. Her softness is a wonderful cure for his rage and doubts.


(That… Lunatic can actually do it! She can destroy… everything, even what belongs to me…!)


“No matter how perfect it looks, how stunning its apparent creation, and how… ugh!?”

A small fist drives into Fehl’s stomach.

“… Uh, a liar that takes such a false form of equally false beauty is one I must vanquish! I’ll never let her take my world, this manse from me!”

To this statement, Fehr’s arms close around him again.


(AHHHH! Yes, that was the correct thing to say, too!)


“Yes, dear Fehl, it lies upon your shoulders to protect Fehr!” The man arrogantly musses up Fehl’s hair, then pulls away. “Unfortunately, while I shared its crime, its mentality is only barely understood by me and I also can offer no more aid. But, as I said, you should not attempt to directly engage with it, for it is a formidable opponent in combat for any but Falke or I!”


In sharing his storied history with the evil that has invaded, Orloss’ despair touched upon his inability to resolve it himself.


“Don’t worry, Orloss. I will save our Maker… though, I don’t know how to free him.” Fehr is muted by the difficulty, for there are innumerable foes in the way. “Between confronting my Maker, the servants who will not permit approach, and… potentially opposing my ‘friend’, how can I win?”


The twins are equally baffled by the conundrum, though Fehl’s is more of a thought experiment since he cannot feel the same need for revenge that infests Fehr.


(How do we “win” in this case? What exactly do the constituents in this game truly want, if our Maker is being manipulated?)




“How? What do you mean how!? You must, no matter the cost! If you can’t save him…!?


Before them, Orloss cries tears of blood. His plaintive hands are turned up and reaching for them, begging!


What is the point of all that Falke has made if his own body and soul, especially his mind, are lost to that abomination!? It sounds as if tonight is when it makes its final move upon him! How can you allow anything to stop you, no matter the sacrifices necessary to free him!?


(… Ah… aaah, this is… a feeling, isn’t it…?)


Fehl’s own understanding is now crystalized, seeing it originating from another!

This is the feeling called “despair”, what he felt when watching Fehr being assaulted by Orloss during his mistaken introduction to them.

What he felt when they halted their Maker’s sacred calculation.




(What I felt when… someone was nearly lost…?)


Memories seem to exist that don’t agree with him, but are felt even more strongly.




Orloss puts his hands together, begging for children to do what he is not allowed to by “oath”.


“Please, good children, for the sake of this old man who allowed himself to be roped into a game without understanding the stakes, will you save my dear friend, Falke? I have… so few friends, and I don’t know how I could continue without such a predictably principled one by my side in the Pillars?”




(I’m sorry for doubting you! I’m so sorry! I see, I was being cruel…!)


For such a proud man to cry strange tears, to betray his emotions so openly before “lessers”, is surely a sign of sincerity. Fehl could never demonstrate such candidness to any but Fehr, someone to whom he owed everything.


(Orloss is a good man, one who cares about our Maker like we care for each other!)




“I will save him! I will save… my Maker, even if I have to destroy anything, and everything, that gets in my way!”

Fehr speaks before Fehl can, but she doesn’t lack anything for his own sincerity.




(Yet… to destroy… “anything and everything”, isn’t that…?)




“There is…” To Fehl she looks, a suspicious glance. “A possible ally that we shall turn to. I am uncertain if we should trust this ally, but I have been taught that not all are defined solely by one designation.”

“Wise words! An equally wise principle…”

Drying his tears onto his handkerchief, Orloss nods and points to the unconscious bunny.

“I would hope that this ally…”




Orloss’ eyes join with the Kraken’s own to focus on Fehl. Each has the same color and strangely squared pupils.

As if two sides of the same coin, their joint inspection freezes his soul.




“… will not turn on you, and desires the same goal?

“If you’re asking me, then I’m not certain? It is an ally of Fehr’s. I’ve never spoken to them.”


(The guest appears to be a friend, a comrade, of Kol and numerous other unmet guests, and even this ghoul that invaded…?)


Noticing that Fehr is also staring at him, the mania in her inspection heightened after meeting Orloss, Fehl just shrugs his shoulders.


“I don’t…?”


(No, this will not do to sound unsure! I must be precise…)


Standing up sharply, Fehl raises his voice with a certainty he lacks recently.


“There is an impression I get from what we’ve been doing, only an impression, that whoever backs my sister and I desires solely to re-establish boundaries that were broken by the actions of others? At the very least, he doesn’t seem possessed of a cowardly and criminal nature inviting him to try and steal my sister or I from our Maker, so that will prevent me from having to destroy him, too, if it turns out that he actually favors this witch or the doll over our Creator!”


(Were he after my Fehr, I would absolutely not only destroy this monster, but also hurt anything he cared about until I was certain he would never return to haunt us…!)




“Good boy!”

“Fehr!? Please… please stop in front of…”

Good boy, good boy…

Fehl surrenders himself unwillingly to the stroking hand of his sister, who rubs the back of his head and cradles him.


(This isn’t acceptable for us to show…!?)


“Make certain that this failure is disposed of quickly, for she was acting with the Granny despite my wishes, and will ally herself with whoever most expediently accomplishes her own nefarious goals!” Orloss relaxes, too, pointing his twisted tentacle cane at the bunny mystic. “Your enemies are numerous, and I shudder to think what any indecision or unwillingness to assert force might result in…”


For his part, Orloss seems reticent to see them leave as they hoist the bunny up between them. A sad look upon his face, the way his yellow skin seems to grow even more sickly, leaves both visibly disheartened by his forced exclusion from their plot.


“Do not worry, Orloss. We will save our Maker.”

“Of course. It’s just… be wary of different traps along the way. Falke is a very efficient man, no matter how unstable his mentality at present.”


(How so?)


The strange Orloss overtly winks one eye when Fehl has no response.


“… The hallways are very dangerous places, easy to get lost in, so you children should avoid opening gates without a key phrase attached to them, or you might be separated into another plane without the chance to leave unless you can deduce a proper destination…?”


(How is that relevant?)


“I see? We’ve yet to encounter a misdirected gate, but we will be very careful, Orloss.”

“See that you do so. I think I shall place my faith in you, instead of others, boy.”


The way that he smiles is ominous, sharp teeth glinting as he laughingly turns from them.




It’s so distracting that Fehl feels like he’s vibrating a bit, promptly forgetting what Orloss said.





They exit out of the riding lizard’s pen into the false night sky.

Below them, the hated enemy that they cannot yet approach must be basking in the dark rendezvous with their beloved Maker.


“I would very much like to rest after we save our Maker, Fehr. I feel that I perhaps do not excel in this sort of duty.”

“On the contrary, brother.”


(On the contrary?)


“Brother… has turned out to be… a very reliable counterpart.”

“… I wish I was as reliable as you so often require me to be.”


When he tries to proceed forward, the rabbit burden is pulled backward!



“Brother… feels less than completely reliable? That… that is… strange, considering how boastful you always are? How you always… try to… exceed me.”


A frown briefly revealed by her dip, one that looks decidedly uncute, doesn’t hide the burning ambition Fehr feels! Though ever obedient before, she’s actually cutting at him with words recently.


(Don’t look at me as if I’m disappointing now! I swear, sometimes you’re…!)


“Exceed? I merely wish for you to rise to your fullest potential!”

“… As dictated by you? Does brother know more than I do about myself?”

“What do you mean!?”


(Why would I, other than what I’ve seen!?)


“Brother is always… dictating exactly what I should do, and how I should accomplish it…”

“I’m not dictating! I am merely performing my function!”

“… Making me feel insignificant is your function?


Fehr’s voice grows distant, though he can’t see her beyond the hanging fat of the bunny they are hauling.


“‘Insignificant’!? That… isn’t that me!? You’re annoying, Fehr!”



(I only now understand why I feel so vexed by you…! In the end… I couldn’t even…!)




When Orloss misunderstood and attacked you, how could I be any more insignificant when I couldn’t mount any attempt to save you!?


(Wouldn’t I have failed… wouldn’t you have been ruined, had you not saved yourself…!?)


“You can shape and fight, but without you, I can only see and talk! I… I’m the one who will get left behind if I can’t…!”


“You’re the annoying one, Fehr, not me!”

“How so!? I only ever try to meet your—!”


(You constantly put yourself in danger!)




“‘Fehr is the Executor, Fehl is the Interpreter!’ If Fehr fails to accomplish her task, then I am at fault for not aiding you! But, if you fail because I failed in my own task of providing exact information and warnings, then you bear no fault!”


(I am always the one who will be the failure if one of us fails!)


“Having to convey perfect information and goals so that you never feel indecisive or unsure of the next step… is really hard!






“It’s hard, but… if Fehr fails because I failed, and she’s… lost because of it, then I don’t deserve to have existed in the first place…”




Silence endures after, for Fehr doesn’t respond to his deepest fear being spoken.


(Why… won’t you respond? Didn’t I just insult you again, somehow, like I always seem to? Uh, then I should…?)


“Well, it turns out… that you were correct about Orloss. So, I… apologize for doubting you, Fehr. Even if I want to be perfect with my interpretations of the situation revealed before me, you are very personable, where I’m often… well, Sapphira told me I’m apparently not.


Seemingly losing his nerve, Fehl’s apology earns a cough from Fehr that prompts him to continue.


“You… Fehr, you have saved us already from my failure to properly judge his helpfulness. My warning was immaterial, at worst detrimental. So… so, thank you for—”


“I see.”

“You see!?”


(Is that all you have to say!?)


“… Maybe the large Sapphira was right?”


(Why is Sapphira relevant to being right or wrong?)


“I accept your apology, Fehl. You will now… accept mine for misunderstanding your motivations.”

Sounding stilted while demanding is strange, but since this is very Fehr-like and it’s the perfect chance for making amends, Fehl chooses to accept it.

“Yes! I’m not… intentionally boastful. I don’t mean to sound grander than I am, but I will not allow my apparent weakness or lacking to drag Fehr down with me! If I am harsh with you, it’s because I… care so much? And have expectations that I know you can meet?”


(And also… I feel… “good” when you succeed?)


Leaving off that revelation is probably the smart thing to do, from Fehl’s limited experiences with women.

They like things being more about them” is the advice that goes through his mind.




“Sister is always the best at what she does, so I try to be, too. Sister is my example to strive for!


(Was that good application of that ad—?)


“I see!? So… so you think… well of me?” Her musing tone sounds more girlish, earning a tickle up Fehl’s spine.


(Very good advice!)


“Then, from now on, you will assume that whatever I do will succeed with your input, and if we don’t, I will apologize to you very directly.”

“That… sounds fair?”


(Oh, it also puts everything on you if something goes wrong? I am smarter than you, after all, and can argue in my own favor much better…)


That revelation is also unshared, but Fehl nods at the brilliance of it!


“Your… sister will now ensure that rather than just for pride’s sake, brother has equal enticements to work for, so make sure to treat me with respect?”

“O-Okay…? I respect you, sister. I’ll always try to prove that with action.”

“Good, then?”


(“Enticements”, what kind? I’m going to be… rewarded for doing well, is it!?)


The idea of being rewarded for his work is novel, a spirited concept that fills in easily for the lack of revenge he should supposedly feel toward this enemy that Fehr stridently hates.


“Show me what kind of man you are, Fehl, and I’ll show you what I think~?”

“If I can, I’m more than happy to do so! Sister deserves to be rewarded, too, so shall I reward you if I find that your efforts are superior to my own?”

That…! That…”


Her voice is rough, and Fehr even lags behind when Fehl offers a better truce between them.




“Yes, that idea sounds… very enticing for me. I’ll think of some rewards I’m interested in, Fehl.”

“Good! We are joint units, so it makes sense that both of us should be happy.”

“… Yes… Fehl is the only one that tries to ensure my happiness…




(I do what I can. I’m glad that I could bring Fehr back to my side of things!)


But, despite feeling that he’s won, Fehl’s throat is also awfully tight with the way Fehr’s mood seems to shift from furious earlier to almost carrying the same honeyed tone that Sapphira often uses with Fehl.

If the bunny weren’t between them, and he was holding her hand instead, might she be hanging closer to his side…?


(She sometimes acts like this with the guest called “Kol”, except now it’s much more… naughty? What will the rewards be, I wonder…?)




Now, Fehl… it’s time to destroy that witch…





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?”

“Are you still with us, boy?”


“Now that you can be handsome, will you abandon that worthless personality you cultivate to achieve it?”

“Aren’t you a little too eager to be the Adris we all know? Who are you, now?”



“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’?”



“Recalculated! A False God has found a new role?”

“Fehl is asserting with emotional logic. A pride once felt only as something to pursue now has a reason for existing. Is this good?”



“Where is Adris?”



Name: Fehr
Titles: Sister of Fehl
Race: Automaton
Sex: Female
Age: ??

Occupation: Creation of the Maker, Falke of the Kestners
Discipline: [Beyond the Peak] – Modus of the Pillars of Zenith



[“Maker’s Special”] – “This unit controls all aspects of the Maker’s creations, so long as she obeys the four rules that bind her.”



Disposition: Assertive / Demurring / Inquisitive
Alignment: Ordered -> Neutral (DARKNESS ACQUISITION)

Eyes: Blue
Hair: Silvery
Skin: White



Rantil Value –

Strength – C

Vitality – ???

Dexterity – D

Agility – D

Intelligence – D

Mentality – D

Luck – ???

Charisma – C



Cethran Value – “Don’t you think you’re allowing yourself to grow a bit too fascinated? As someone that sees things from the opposite end of the spectrum, what you are playing with… hasn’t it become quite dangerous if you only believe she is a… ‘tool’?”

“Isn’t she shining a little too… darkly, too quickly, Adris?”



“What started as Serras has become something completely different. With each step, it grows. With time, it feels. Within this… story, even something born in one day may achieve…?”

“An automaton is something without a soul. A Lunamaton is an automaton created by Luna that possesses a soul. What do you call an automaton created by something else that has…?”



“She’s becoming someone unlike anyone else, which is great.”





Chapter 118         Table of Contents          Chapter 120