Take Up the Cross – Chapter 21: Winning Arguments

With the intentional capriciousness of the Castillo absent, the chambers and passageways thereafter were easily navigated. Still and Moon’s uncanny duo technique brought the party down safe routes to a series of rooms laid out in a curving hallway.


With all of them possessing finely made, wooden plaques adjacent to them, Adris stifles a yawn as the girls eye both directions of the hall before opening room “7” unnoticed. When the brass handle with no lock turns, the sealed door releases a loud rush of air.


“Inside, pleeeaaaseee…” Looking concerned as she prods him, Ave quickly shuts the door.


(It’s a shame that they can’t be told the truth about the “threat” from earlier. It would calm them immensely.)


As the girls all part on entry, Adris takes in the decor. Not an overly large room, the blue wallpaper with golden lines forming repeating chevrons contrasts with the furniture crafted almost entirely of animal parts or petrified wood.

The outlandish taxidermy features a great, fanged orange cat turned into a sofa and a large bed whose blanket is a woolen beast’s whole hide.


Across all surfaces, personal possessions are strewn. The room definitely bears the damage of four girls inhabiting it.


(What safe space? Aren’t you four just squatting in a guest room!?)


Still quickly approaches a bureau, opening an ornate box set on top that folds out into multiple compartments, exchanging vials and sealed containers she draws from somewhere. The blue-flames illuminate their oddly colored contents, with the interesting knickknacks she shuffles between her body and the box all seeming very unique and attractive to Adris.


(You remind me of someone… Where did your hinged sword go, though?)


The flame-bladed sword that Adris had noticed could be separated into two pieces is nowhere to be seen.


Moon walks up to a regal viewing mirror, pulling out a carved shell comb from her dress to begin combing her tussled hair. Still creeps up from behind after finishing her tasks, plucking the comb from Moon’s hand and calmly doing it, instead.


(Why do you look displeased, but also content?)


A whetstone sparks shortly after a thud. Kol’s efforts at sharpening her axe begin before she even sorts her possessions or removes her armor. On the small dresser that stands next to the bed she’s sitting at, oils and maintenance tools are laid out. They’re messily picked through by Kol as she chaotically checks her gear.


Taking in the room, Adris is slightly put off by an alien feeling, as if someone else still lives here. A presence other than these girls clings to the air and walls, as though the true owner of this room can neither be changed nor its ownership diminished.


(What if they never departed?)


Abruptly pulled forward, a humming Ave moves Adris to a statue in the left corner of the room with multiple packs beside it. The bent-over girl opens a pack to begin pulling out a kettle, flask, and various pouches. She dances a bit in place as she does so, matching with the statue’s imagery of a barely clothed couple twisting.

When she accidentally tangles with clothing hanging from the dancers after lifting her head, she yelps in surprise.


“Intend what course of action do you, iguana?”


With her amber hair still being diligently brushed, Moon interrupts Ave’s business, narrowing her eyes with displeasure.

“A tea party planned with a stranger found only a ‘quick’ ago, defy all explanation this inane behavior does.”


“Shut up!” Cringing at the jab, Ave then whips her tail towards Moon. “Hospitality is the most graceful thing any girl can offer~! … Not that you’d know…”


“Answers should be accepted, not good graces offered.”

When Still pats Moon’s head, the short girl marches over to Ave. Cornering the snake girl, the two spark once more.


“If grace one seeks to find, then cease useless gestures and inculcate it within oneself first before worrying of displaying it for others.”


As Ave puffs up at this, Moon includes the nearby Adris in this disagreement.


“Suspect to the extreme one remains. Were it not for necessity, returned to the mansion’s corridors one would be.”


(That’s honestly the intelligent thing to do.)


Adris has no delusions of appearing enticing to them by his handsomeness.


(Or lack thereof.)


He can only play up a broader appeal based on the mystery of his existence, found at random as he was by these four.


(Kol and Ave might accept my presence, but they haven’t put as much thought into things as these two have. Even now, Still is observing me.)


“Yes, but brought me you have. Even should I have desired to accompany you, there are some sensibilities that must be maintained. To hold a guest in bondage, yet also state him incapable, haven’t you considered the insulting contradiction…?”


“Right! He can’t do anything, so let’s just…”


Ave smiles brightly as she claps her hands once, before letting go of the rope and…




“Silence, lizard. Be joined in bondage a fool will find herself, should she seek to end our ‘guest’s’.”




Ave stops in mid-motion, looking immediately to Still with a frozen smile.


(Is she who you go to for help?)


Walking into the fray, Still makes several quick motions, first shrugging and then pointing to Adris’ cross, before making an “x” motion with her arms.


{As long as he’s as weird as this, there’s no way he’s being freed and left unguarded.}


(Weird, am I? That’s accurate, too. While I’m annoyed at the term, it’s still preferable to being treated as a cripple.)


“Rather than worrying about my bonds, what do you intend to do yourselves? If you have me, as you say I am necessary, then does that mean you will be leaving?”


Adris’ deep voice carries his reserve of dignity with it, seeking to take control of the conversation.


(You absolutely cannot leave until you’re in my grasp, even if I have to sabotage you. However, none of you look too hurried. Having found your goal… shouldn’t you all be…?)


As he looks around, Kol is not packing up but rather pulling out more things. Indeed, she’s scratching at the golden necklace she obtained from the imp, checking its purity.

Everyone has been somewhat subdued since they returned, aside from arguing about Adris. As he examines the faces of the people here…


Still meets his gaze, her mouth neutral, only a shrug given in response to his question.

Ave is touching her pointer fingers together with an expression of discomfort and uncertainty, before noticing Adris and giving a strained smile as she puts her hands behind her back.



The midget has a mildly unhappy look at the thought of leaving.


(… Are you four unable to leave?)


Though unsaid, the lapse in response indicates that they either will not tell him because they distrust him or because they don’t want to admit they can’t.


(And given Ave’s expression… That improves my outlook considerably.)


“Leaving aside the question of leaving, is anyone hungry!” Ave breaks the silence, going to a pack.

The strained smile she wears grows ever harsher as she peers inside. Adris steal a glance, seeing relatively little: morsels of meat, fruit, and bread are glimpsed, with the pack quite larger than the contents within take up.


(And you’re running out of food.)


“Un, Kol hungry!” The clanking warrior moves over to join the other four in the small corner, giving Still a focused glare before the cloaked girl moves slightly out of the way. Ave’s mouth is aghast as Kol closes on her.

Looking around, Adris doesn’t pick out any more likely food stores.


(Is there no food in the Castillo? No, even if there was, who would trust it? Madmen from the Works roam the halls and traps of food are left out. Water might be a bit safer, though I have no knowledge of the longer term effects…)


“More immediate issues there be, disregarding such trivialities.” The midget speaks up, regaining Adris’ attention.


“Leaving the mansion is trivial, is it? Then that’s good.” A sly smile at her attempt to avoid the issue results in her tilting her head.


“… As one says. No issue exists within this room, at least concerning sleep and safety. Of hospitality…”


“No, more there. Kol, still hungry, right?” Kol grumbles at Ave, trying to muscle past her.


“You… you have to watch your weight, Kol! Don’t… don’t eat too much…” The sight of Ave denying Kol prompts the fairy before Adris to quietly sigh.


“… Offer of ourselves what is possessed in earnest, should one before us be dispossessed of sustenance…”


(No, that’s fine, I actually have some.)


Within his pack lies the oil-cloth-protected remnants of the expedition to the Emperor’s tomb. Gesturing towards said pack…




“Then partake of what I come with. Within my pack is food, though not much. Feel free to ration it.” Adris’ kind smile, but hard eyes, capture Moon’s. Before she can speak…


“Really!? Thanks! Food from… another world!?”


Ave sways back and forth, as Kol tries to figure out what is happening. Slithering over to Adris’ pack, she retrieves the wrapped packages.


“Oh, human give… Moon say word, ‘tribute’?”


(It’s not tribute, you…!)


Ignoring the question, Adris addresses Still and Moon.


“Feel free to help yourselves, as well. Should you be taking me from the mansion out of kindness, then I have no issue returning it in kind.” Adris stresses the last words, a quid pro quo relationship his honest desire.


Looking at Still, she wears a curious smile, only a slightly dismissive hand gesture with a waggling finger indicating her thoughts.


{No worries, maybe later.}


“Concern unneeded, for such a necessity will not present.” The midget flatly denies him, refusing any for herself. Waiting for Ave to unwrap her package, Moon pulls out a morsel as Ave hisses.

Holding it for Still, the swift handed sneak nicks it and goes back to her opened box, pulling out some vials.


(Commendable security, even if openly rude.)


Using a tray and the vial, Still does what Adris imagines is a screening for poisons, even if he doesn’t recognize the method. Not even aware of the potential threat, Ave is sniffing happily at the food before she looks slightly disappointed at the aroma.


Adris takes one of his own packages, sitting down on the sofa and opening it dexterously with one hand before eating as best he can.




Time passes, the hunger of Ave and Kol not a slight issue. They exchange food, a curious act to Adris: Kol gives Ave the vegetables, while Ave gives Kol all of the dried meat. More curiously, Kol refuses to remove her helmet, simply tossing the pieces through the gap.

After they scarf down their meals, Adris is left alone clumsily eating his.


(For starving people, I guess the rations aren’t bad.)


As Adris had been forced to eat them for weeks, he has to seriously concentrate to avoid openly showing his displeasure at the food he himself offered.


(And made, what wasn’t bought.)


Even Serras, a woman who could eat anything, hadn’t…




He momentarily pauses eating, before brushing off the line of thought entirely.




“At a high overlook, for what reason one waited there?” Moon asks Adris a question similar to the one he asked Cethran.


(Wasn’t that answer fine? No, best to vary it…)


“… Have you never sought… explanations for why the world works as it does?” Adris tries to mimic the exact look that Cethran gave, that slightly vulnerable tone and face.


(That would be one of my deeper questions.)


When he turns his mournful gaze to her, she…




Wears an expression far more conflicted than Adris thought she could show.


(Did that actually…?)


Disappearing as quickly as it came, she returns to expressionlessness. The temporary emotion didn’t appear false, however.




“Then the worst place be chosen by one, like so many fools before. Only desire, treasure, and disgrace be found in a cruel Castillo.”


Moving up to stand closer to him, she leans in a bit, ruffling her dress against his legs.


“‘Who are you? Why are you here? What do you seek? How did you get here? Where do you come from?’” A series of questions issue forth without her pausing, very pointed ones that seek to deny Adris room to evade.

But they don’t seem to be voiced using her own words.


“Explain how the strangeness of the one before this tool, be one not of the Castillo?”


(I’m more than collateral or a prize, am I? To call yourself a tool, though?)


Even Still seems tenser at this interrogation, despite not contributing any questions of her own.


(I cannot begin to imagine what about me is odd from your viewpoints, considering how strange all four of you are to me.)


Lacking a more comprehensive frame of reference, Adris has played up the parts he wishes to imprint on their thoughts, but he’s certain more seems unusual.


(That’s why I can only choose a charade that excuses the things that are out of place.)




“All very fine questions. Shall we begin?”


Adris speaks with surety and conviction, wiping his face with a cloth after finishing his meal. Setting aside the remnants, he starts.


“I am Adris fehl Dain, an unchanged fact. I am here because I was… called here to this mad place by something from your world. I came from beyond the…”


(How to phrase it?)


“Uncertainty and instability at the edge of this world, from a great domain known as…”


(If anyone knows what it is, then I run a risk, but it’s better to give a name that I am familiar with. A lie in the wrong place can disturb the larger ones.)


“Xin, a realm of godlike beings and those who control the very flow of the natural world. I would say I arrived by means of the very same power.”


Looking to his bound cross, Adris moves his eyes back to continue.


“A great existence has sent me here, and with that conveyance comes a certain opportunity that I intend to explore. I will say one thing, though: this Castillo is not and never will be my ally.”


Continuing, this bell-voiced questioner rapid-fires once more.


“‘Why do you appear in such a form, should you be an entity as claimed? Why do you not simply demonstrate your power? What are your objectives?’” The questions that seem unrelated to her own words pick at Adris’ weakpoints.


“As a human? Why not?” Considering this question, Adris’ answer goes back to the voice at the end of his life. “Why does form matter? Do you not take a similar one, yet still possess expertise in use of mag-”






Immediately interjecting, Adris’ sentence dies on his tongue. The shining violet eyes will not provide allowances for any refusal to use the correct term.




(Quite proud of your talents, are you, to call them “Art”?)


“Very well, Art. And if you ask why I don’t demonstrate my power, then perhaps you simply haven’t noticed it? Isn’t this more interesting, discovering things about each other? Why force what is inevitable, this wisdom we gain when appropriate to discover?”


(Any information you seek needs to come with certain exchanges, midget. I don’t care how cute you think you look.)




“The power… no, the insights I have to offer… Have you not dwelt upon what their nature could be? What you could… gain from understanding? Even if you seek knowledge of my secrets, should you also not share your own?”




The hint of a frown on the girl’s perfect face is satisfactory, for Adris has given her completely truthful answers that only invite more questions. A stalemate he creates intentionally lays bait for this group.




“As valuable as I obviously am to you… why not indicate why?”


This question prompts the gaze of the picturesque face before him to slightly falter.

No one else in the room speaks up for her.




The promise of secrets unshared invites them to share theirs.


(Cethran is a treasure trove of useful behaviors to “borrow”. I can shame you with your own questions at any time.)




“Wait… ‘Xin (BROKEN SKY WORLD)’? You lived in the sky!? That sounds wonderful~!” An elf girl slithers over to perch on the bed next to Adris, her mouth still having flecks of dried bread on it as her shining eyes grow wider.


(“Wonderful?” It’s not a… wonderful place. If anything, Xin in comparison to even this mansion seems muted and sad. Nothing remains there for me to consider “wonderful.”)


“… Say what one will. Doubts and concerns merely grow, for no answers provided illuminate one’s true qualities. Complete safety and opportunities remain forever unavailable, so long as one avoids such questions.” The midget seems to have given up, walking off as Ave pesters him.


(You speak of trust, yet ignore my own questions.)


As Ave says “Hey, what is it like~?”, the armored Kol moves beside Moon and looks down at her.








“… Indeed, a day be laid to rest. Axe recovered, treasure secured, tomorrow beckons gently.” Moon nods, giving her “permission”.


Adris receives Kol’s attention next as she hovers over him, giving him a look when he doesn’t move. Ave is pulling on his jerkin, asking, “Like, where in the sky? Is there nothing below~?”


When Kol tilts her head, Adris is forced to mimic the motion.




“Get up. Kol, take bed.”






Rising from the bed with Ave attached to him, Adris allows the small Kol to throw herself on top of it, her armor jangling as she lays on the tucked sheets and fur cover.


“Good work, see tomorrow.”


Kol gives a slight cheer, before… she goes completely still.


Though Adris can hear the girl breathing, her tail doesn’t even move as she lays flat, still wearing her armor and having failed to wash her sweat off with a damp cloth.


(Is… she just going to take the whole bed…?)


Still only gives a dismissive gesture when Adris looks to her for answers. Walking up to Ave, she motions to give up something.


“Ah, thank you, Still!” Ave is appreciative, pulling off her sashes and the ornate dress at her waist right in front of Adris. Only her bodysuit clings to her, a very thin piece of metallic scaling that does little to disguise her slight curves.


Rather than stare impertinently, Adris folds up his arms and turns to regard a painting on the wall. The painting turns out to be the worst place to look, as closer inspection shows two lovers meeting in a forest glade and already engaged in a carnal act, the man leaning upon his lover who is on her knees…


“Hm? What Still? The… ah… AH!”


There’s a rushing sound as someone moves to the corner, with cloth rustling.


Adris waits, until a tap is felt on his shoulder.


Turning around, Still is looking at him, her mask a bright smile as she again shrugs. In the corner, Ave has a hand over her face while rummaging through her possessions, wearing a one-piece dress made of green cloth, the designs of foliage and flowers.

She tries her best not to meet his eyes.


(This girl has rarely been around men.)


Still moves over to her box, pulling out a tailoring kit to begin repairing Ave’s sashes. The girl called Moon is toying with the rod she menaced Adris with, while another silver-colored, thinner one sits next to it.


(I need privacy to work. My plan can’t begin until I can talk with one or more of you without the others there.)


“Given the situation, it would be boorish to have a man stay with four girls.” Adris tries to start the conversation that should be on everyone’s mind.


Stopping her work, Moon looks as impassive as usual.




“Where be the man?”




Preventing himself from collapsing to his knees, Adris laments that he had completely forgotten his body’s situation.


(Rather than a man, am I not more like a brat forced to room with his annoying sisters!? This sounds like a rural nightmare. Ah, I had… forgotten, that explains her earlier comment.)


Suddenly reeling in his own mind, he wonders what the presentations he’s been giving them seem like from their perspective. Even if all of the gestures and tones are right…


(I’m still about their own fucking ages! No, some appear older!?)


Though not a terribly young boy, he’s still nothing special to look at.

Collecting himself, Adris…


“For someone that doubts me and my reliability, shouldn’t you be more concerned for your bodies? Ho, no… With me being ever in control, shouldn’t I be more worried about advances from the four of you?”

Adris gives a smirk as he challenges the midget. When he sees Ave twitch, he wonders if it was the correct way to phrase it.


“None… correction, three of those present would not be considered any danger for a boy.”


“HEY! Which three!? The fourth is Kol! Right!? RIGHT!?”


Moon’s quiet statement is met by a strangled cry of outrage.


“Disregarding newts…” When Ave slithers forward menacingly while crying in frustration, Moon snatches up her rod and points it at her. Flinching, the usually cowardly girl makes aggressive clawing gestures at Moon while hissing cutely.


“… would one not be quite precocious for considering oneself within consideration for intentional sexual companionship?”


(I’m not precocious and I’m not a kid!)


Adris refrains from yelling at the annoying girl who puts on lady-like airs, his heart racing with his tension.


(If anyone here appears young, it’s you!)


“Ah, but… um…” Ave moves up closer to him, finally willing to look at him now. “We… we won’t attack you, you don’t have to be worried! We’re all in control!”


(Disregarding that… I could attack you… No, I can’t, because I proved that I won’t. Then…?)


Unable to appeal to fear, Adris instead…




“Is there not another room?” Adris points to the door.


“Indeed, another room be there. A study.” Moon lightly replies, lowering her rod.


“Then, there I will sleep. Someone of my dignity shouldn’t be forced to share a room so small, especially not while intruding on a woman’s space.” Adris tries to appeal to her femininity, though with the state of the room’s disarray he considers that it might be a worthless gesture.


“With one who demonstrates presumed intellect and obvious secrecy, would such a location not be ideal for developing a conspiracy against us in hiding?”


(No, I won’t be doing it in hiding. I’ll be doing it with at least one person.)


Because this isn’t an appropriate response, Adris decides to use emotion.


“Quite the accusation you make against me, despite my assistance rendered to you more than once? If you find my existence to be so duplicitous, then I suppose you will return my food? Or will you now claim to be insincere?”


Attacking their reputation, Adris hopes that he is right about their dispositions. Though they’d immediately sought to capture him, that was without a doubt the smartest thing to do within this Castillo.

But, judging by their conversations and appearances they don’t seem to be malicious. Even this “Moon” is simply acting for their safety, including Adris’ in her calculations.


“… Right, right! Adris hasn’t done anything to us! He even… ah.” Ave begins to speak up for Adris, until Moon glares at her. Still, currently out of Moon’s gaze, makes a gesture of silence to her own mask.


{Don’t start.}


“An existence such as yours defies trust, no matter what assistance rendered. Whether a slayer, or prisoner, or creature of Castillo seeking to subvert us, classifying one’s existence be currently impossible. As such…”


The girl wearing heavy clothing offers a relaxed expression before continuing.


“One named Adris cannot be trusted. Unharmed one will remain and all one possesses entrusted with us, but aforementioned be impossible to easily alter.”


(Then don’t trust me.)


“Ah, a truly wise stance. I completely understand.” Adris nods. “Yet, the need to be apart remains. So, how about this?”


(If someone is with me, then I’m not a danger, right?)


“Let someone ‘guard’ me. They may keep me company as long as they wish and you may switch out at your leisure.”


“Find no one here who…” As the midget starts to respond…




“Ave will stay with him~! I’m not tired right now, anyway!” Avenalliah cheerfully speaks up.




“Truly deranged of mind you’ve become.” Lashing out at Ave, a girl looks up at her with distaste written plainly on a pale face.


“Entrusting one’s body to a man within the Alchemaster’s Castillo… Be this not the easiest way to be taken advantage of? Intentionally seek this, does an addled creature?”


With a growl in her throat, Ave pumps her arms up and down.


“AH! I’m not lewd, midget! Put that silver seal on the ropes! I swear I won’t take them off! If he attacks me even after that… then… then…”


Throwing her hands up high, Ave reaches her limit.




“Then he can just ravish me if he’s that powerful! You’re the one that keeps saying I’m not worth notice and he’s weak, right!? What would you do if he proved you wrong either way, you nitpicking, fun-killing, friendless bully!? Would you even be able to admit being wrong!?”

Smugly yelling, Ave then laughs while shaking in anger, taunting her opponent while pointing. Moon’s eyes widen at the argument returned to her.




“Brain finally liquefied in full, be this your affliction…?”




Stopping in mid-laugh, Ave’s face goes from smug to horrified when she remembers who is behind her.

Brushing his hair back, Adris tries not to look bothered.


“…… Ah… No… Ave didn’t… imply that she wants… no, that you would… or should…”


(I’m not going to do anything… So please stop looking. This just makes it more awkward. I guess even you can have enough.)


The stay in the mansion has unnerved these girls as much as Adris.




A mesh-covered hand pats Moon lightly on the shoulder, the perfectionist looking back to receive advice.

Making fast gestures, Still ends with an “ok” sign.


{Between noticing magic and the response time for anything dangerous, I think he’s pretty much secure~. Just lay the [Slayer’s Friend] out on his ropes and I’ll handle the details. I know you’re fine, but we’re a bit tense. If Ave wants to chat, then we don’t have to make this a bother, okay~?}




“… hah, Kol not care, do what want, wake when ready, but…”


A disgruntled voice issues from the bed.




Stop talking.”




The voice finishes its sentence with an edge of anger.




With three out of four members agreeing, Moon shakes her head at the futility of resisting further…


“Truly ill-conceived. Very well.”




With the holdout relenting, Ave claps her hands and goes to get her paraphernalia, pretending that her dubious exclamation never happened as she sings to herself.

Still opens the adjoining room, walking in and checking it out.




(This will… be okay.)


Bending down for Moon to begin altering his binding, Adris’ disappointment seems to always deepen…




… but his conviction in his plan oddly never wavers. Instead, he now feels firmer in his belief that he can succeed.






Name: Adris fehl Dain; “Mister Meat”
Titles: Scholar Bound in Madness, Greedy Informant, Lycia’s Little Brother, True False God
Race: Xin’El, Emperor’s Child (Human)
Sex: Male
Age: ?? – Young


Occupation: Crossbearer; Charlatan/Swindler; Xin’Reh (former); Soldier of Fortune (former); Bounty Hunter (former)
Discipline: Crossbearer – Cursed Aura User; Spear Veteran (former); Aura Warrior, School/Specialization: Self-Taught (former)



[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!”




[Unknown Protection from Poisons/Compelling] – {A MAN WALKS, HIS STEPS UNWEARIED AND RESOLUTE. NONE CAN STOP HIM.}




[Unknown Mental Domination] – {A MAN DEMANDS. THOSE WHO HE DEMANDS OF, OBEY.}


[Familiar] – “Through means unknown, a familiar has been acquired. Aren’t familiars a kind of tool? Isn’t this sort of strange to consider a ‘power’?”



Disposition: Resilient / Adaptable / Sinner
Alignment: Chaotic

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



Rantil Value – “Idiot master receives idiot information~”


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 – “If all men looked like him, it might not be odd for women to think that the gods had painted the world in only the drab color brown? While not ugly, would he not exemplify the idea that ‘normal’ is perhaps indistinguishable from ‘undesirable’?”

“What do you think these four girls each find attractive? Isn’t this the question you should ask?”

“If you’re going for appeal, then mystery is the easiest to rely upon, but the absolute hardest to create, isn’t it?

“Only remembering your dilemma now? Are you getting used to your perspective?”



“A rather plain-looking man wearing traveling robes, what he carries hidden is far more dangerous than his appearance lets on. A disarming smile, leads to you being suckered. A clever tongue, leads to your sorrow. Possessing quick wit and intellect, hubris and arrogance are certain to follow. Well known across the floating islands of Xin, but not by name, only by reputation. Owed many favors, but not with great joy, and certainly not love. The only person he seems to care about other than himself is his lifelong partner.”

“Only now does Adris appreciate his finer qualities. Pretending to be something you aren’t is a talent that takes a long time and hard practice. It also takes a willingness to submit without appearing to, all while becoming in truth something you aren’t.”

“Not content with being thought of as helpless, a foolish need to demonstrate self-reliance always seems to shine through.”

“A man that willingly sets fire to the plains so that he can use it as a weapon, weaving between the burning nature with glee.”



“When people believe that they are in control, that’s usually the same time they are about to lose it.”



Name: “Kol”
Titles: Idiot
Race: ???
Sex: Female?
Age: ???


Occupation: Delver, Frontliner
Discipline: ???





Disposition: Straightforward / Confrontational / Respectful
Alignment: Neutral

Eyes: Pink
Hair: White
Skin: Tanned



Rantil Value –

Attributes by Grade:

Strength – C

Dexterity – E

Agility – F




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…?”

“Is forthrightness an attractive quality? What is the difference between truth-seeking as a subject and living a lifestyle of it?”

“Perhaps an uncomplicated female would be useful for a man that seems so interested in complicating life himself? But why are you fooled into believing she’s simple?”



“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.”

“In addition to being honest, she is also obsessive about certain things, least of which is deciding who is stronger than others.”

“Not worrying about details, Kol prefers to let others deal with them for her, so that she can concentrate on what she cares about.”



“Wearing your armor to bed sounds like something people do in tabletop games.”



Name: Still
Titles: Puddle
Race: Human?
Sex: Female
Age: Young Lady


Occupation: Delver, Trickster/Outfighter
Discipline: ???





Disposition: Playful / Sadistic / Skulking
Alignment: Chaotic

Eyes: ???
Hair: ???
Skin: ???



Rantil Value –

Attributes by Grade:

Agility – C




Cethran Value – “Do you really think it’s not obvious? What she possesses is what you’ve missed all your life, yes? Breasts and curves… are these not a new fruit for you to taste?”

“While you don’t get to see much of her, it may be that her lifestyle is the most appealing thing, perhaps? If she’s always surprising you, doesn’t that create an appeal of danger?”

“Possessing feminine pursuits such as sewing and toxicology, isn’t she perfect for you?”



“A mute girl who says much with gestures, she also has more going on than she seems to. Though not outwardly aggressive, there’s an atmosphere of danger about her. Opposite of Kol, hers is subtle… Yet, she also can protect others. Given to acrobatics, it matches with her dark, but flamboyant, colors.”

“Self composed as always, it won’t be easy for Adris to get into her head.”

“Not interfering unless she has to, Still appears to be mild-mannered, but such a misunderstanding might be dangerous.”



“Is it okay if you have girls that don’t put themselves at the forefront of every chapter?”




Name: Avenalliah Aurmaris
Titles: Lustful Lizard, Elf
Race: Elf
Sex: Female
Age: Young

Occupation: Delver, Scared Girl
Discipline: ???




Disposition: Joyful / Impressionable / Cowardly
Alignment: Neutral

Eyes: Crystal Green
Hair: Moss Green
Skin: White



Rantil Value –

Mentality – F




Cethran Value – “While not possessing your newly favorite curves, isn’t a girl with a naive charm also fine? Because she covers so little, you are also left without having to imagine what you could possess, yes?”

“If you’re looking for a girl to protect and curl up with, where else could you find a girl as clingy as this? Does being innocent entice men? Isn’t that a stupid question, Mr. Star?”

“Not being afraid to flaunt her beauty if she doesn’t notice that she is, yet cowering at exposure… isn’t this a gap?”



“As cheerful as she is skittish, Avenalliah fits an unknown position within the four delvers’ group. Though she carries a large sack, that would hardly count as a position… right?”

“Prone to fits of panic, there’s a lot she needs to do to prove her worth…”

“While a master of avoiding confrontation, she finally finds a backbone after being kicked around enough.”



“Now we get to learn about elves.”





Name: “Moon”
Titles: ???
Race: Human?
Sex: Female
Age: Young?

Occupation: Delver, Mystic
Discipline: ???


[Sparking Rod] – “The danger inherent be apparent, even if not demonstrated.”


Disposition: Impassive / Calculating / Curious
Alignment: Ordered

Eyes: Pale Violet
Hair: Amber
Skin: Pale White



Rantil Value –

Agility – E

Intelligence – B




Cethran Value – “First imps, and now short girls? This is certainly becoming a pattern, isn’t it? Though you might not fare badly with a girl as beautiful as this, yes? Though she’s a little perfect, doesn’t she seem oddly demure?”

“Having her rebut all of your words so desperately, is it her intellect you’re falling for? Are you sure that’s wise, considering she could dethrone the wisest person you know…?”

“Having a woman stand up to you… isn’t this a strange fetish for you to discover?”



“An otherworldly existence, she wears clothing that doesn’t fit with the Castillo. With mannerisms quite distinct from all others, even the girls she travels with seem incomparable to her uniqueness. Yet, she definitely seems to be in charge…?”

“Given to only worrying about what she can demonstrate as true, how does such an uncompromising and uninterested person lead a group of four girls through situations that cannot be easily explained?”

“The reasoning member of the group, all of her questions are direct and impossible to sneak away from.”



“Hopefully her thought processes and style of conversing find people that appreciate it.”




Slayer’s Friend – “A special substance that resonates with a magic of its own. When it’s looped to itself and then broken, it emits magical energy that can be detected.”



Chapter 20         Table of Contents          Chapter 22