Take Up the Cross – Chapter 23: Saucy and Bitter

“Um, thank you~! I’ll be back and…”


A dark hand waves silently with its palm opened forward, followed by an open hand beside a white mask.

{No need, just get some sleep.}


“Ah, but… I want to talk… EH!?”


A snake girl yelps, being prodded out the door by a chair thrust against her tail.

“Then… then, thank you, Sir Adris, for your time~! Ah, where is the pot…”


(Enjoyed a little too much of her own delicacy.)


A trained hand silently closes the door. The black-cloaked, fashionably dark girl…


(Definitely older than me.)


… slinks about while dragging the chair, taking in the decor before she spins the chair to rest against the door, plopping into it and leaning back.

The girl moves her hand to showcase the room, before giving a thumbs down.


{A little lacking, ain’t it?}


“I don’t think you’ve formally introduced-”


Waggling a finger, her gestures end with a flat palm facing down – a name.


{No, you already know, right? Still is fine~.}


A masked face that changes on command combined with carefully controlled mannerisms hide all her thoughts. True intentions only rarely peek out.


(A personality profile is… impossible for you. Aside from you being “nice”, you’re an agile combatant with a penchant for dueling, ambushing, and flanking. A technical fighter? But… your sword hand is awfully amateurish. Still, you remind me of…)


Zon’til, the city Adris had been abandoned to, had many older youths like this one: quick of wit and flexible of character, they reached their ages by surpassing the cruelty of even adults.

Languidly relaxing, Still’s curves intentionally invite Adris to lose himself in them, though it’s difficult now after the comparison.


(An orphan your age would be quite venerable, terribly world wary… and, just like me, a criminal.)


“A pleasure, of course. Interceding to protect Kol earlier earns my favor.”


Still raps a closed fist on her temple, before making a sliding movement with her hand at her neck, then shrugging with both arms up.


{Would it have ended badly for her if I didn’t? Missed opportunities~!}


(At least there is symmetry in their rivalries, or is this profound dislike?)


At the quip, Adris lines up her traits.


Operating at the edge of the group, she avoids attention.

Shows kindness to Ave and possessiveness of Moon, bordering on sisterliness.

Wastes few words, but always lavishes coquettish teasing for Adris.


(She’s already guessed that… non-humans don’t bother me, which means she’s not human.)


Living dangerously, she-


Launching into a bizarre chain of gestures after getting his attention merrily…


{Do you like sleight of hand? Lunastra won’t let me show her anymore. I need another person’s opinion.}


Thoughts interrupted, Adris smiles, “Very well, so long as it’s amusing. Though I warn you, my senses are-”


A chair walks on two legs, with the girl approaching the desk while on it. Her large breasts sway with the effortless balancing act.


(Balance and agility are both superb. It’s not like I couldn’t do it, but it-)


{Sorry, sorry, I misplaced the prop! “Spare a coin for a starving girl?”}


With a grabbing hand reached out, Still’s mask is a great smile.


(Are you a scout or a performer? Very well…)


With his only money being in a pack in another room, he’s left with…

Pulling out the faun’s reward, he surprises her in mid motion by flicking it. Not missing a beat, she catches it mid flip between two fingers.




Sitting back as the odd girl starts, he finds his mouth cracking, a slight smile breaking through his persona before he corrects it.


(Pay attention, Adris.)


{As you can see, a simple coin of the hated, old golden bitch. Worth a lot in Petripolis, but only if you know who to talk to. Observe!}


Pulling up her doublet’s sleeve, she reveals mesh traveling up her slender arm. Also revealed is…


A wrapped piece of cloth, with a pocket that could conceal a coin. With a shocked look on her mask, she quickly removes the cloth before letting her sleeve drop.

{Sorry! No idea how that got there!}


(… Distraction.)


One finger held high, she points it to her open hand.

{Now, the actual trick! Take one gold coin, put it in the hand like so…}


Letting the coin stand between two fingers, she drops it into her palm and flicks her hand, opening it to reveal…


Nothing there.


(Sleight of hand with her sleeve… or actually magic. That is a possibility.)


Lamenting that he never studied sleight of hand, his focus is ever on social manipulations and schemes.


(I’d rather work magic on a crowd with my tongue. It’s not her sleeve, too obvious.)


“True magic?”

Genuinely interested as he throws the half-joke, half-question out, he leans over the desk to study her body. Doing so, her legs start slowly opening, drawing his attention to the gap revealed underneath her slightly pulled up skirt.

The girl’s chausses don’t go all the way to her hips, showing…


Looking up at a tapping sound, the mask bears a confused expression as she thumps it, before she makes the movement of an explosion with her hand.

{You were watching, right? Why do you think magic?}


Glancing back down, her legs have neatly closed. Realizing he’s been caught peeping, he’s still impressed.


(This girl knows how to distract. Did I miss the trick?)


“Because it’s ever present, why not use it for this? If not magic, then your sleeve-”

Waggling her finger, Still reproduces the coin in her other hand with a flourish. The boy witnessed no crossover between her arms, making exchange impossible.

{Ah, but how could it be in my sleeve when it’s here?}


(That is impressive, but there are still options.)


{No, but magic is still a viable answer, right? Then… “I swear upon my magic that it was not used to perform this trick.”}


A light haze creeps upon the girl, surrounding her with a deep bluish-green for a moment before vanishing with a sigh.

The cross in his hand twitches, a feeling of danger in the room, now.


(You can use magic!? Then you just… swore an oath on it? Is that even possible…? No, assume it isn’t!)


While he recovers, the quick flick she does results in the coin reappearing in her other hand.

{The trick is quite easy to reproduce~!}


(And also to explain.)


“Simple. There are two coins: you received one as Recompense as well. Taken from Ave, or you already possess another one in the same style of minting.”


(Where she palms it is the mystery, but a two-coin trick is easy.)


“Rather than tricks, I had assumed you might want to know more about me or-”


Slamming the coin on the table, Still gestures with an inquisitive look.

{Am I not learning about you~?}


(… You are testing me.)


Waving her hand, she then points to the coin.


{We’ll see if I can duplicate the effect with…}




Metal flashes in the air, as a thin blade is slammed into the table next to the coin. Body limber and ready to strike, Adris’ concentration was on the coin instead of where she instantly produced the blade from.


Still makes a bunch of gestures, before the blade goes to the coin’s surface.


{With a trusty pointy, the trick escalates~! See, if you put a little scratch into the gold here, it becomes a perfectly-impossible-to-pass-off-as-a-copy coin.}


Sweating while watching her carve, he wonders at this “test”.


(A threat? Intimidation? Battle of wits? Isn’t it all the same thing…? She’s far quicker than I am!)


Flicking between the blade, coin, and her face, his senses tell him that the girl’s eyes have never once left him, even if they’re unseen.


(Can you sense aura… no, something comparable?)


Moving with fanfare, her fingers wag as the coin is thrown up.

{Now, for the grand finale: it vanishes, and…}


Grabbing the coin out of the air, she then opens the palm, revealing nothing. A moment later, her other hand opens, producing the same coin with an identical scar across the Alchemaster’s symbol.





Watching the girl, Adris’ extended aura senses ponder her true nature.


(She feels more like Ave, except… not as… pure? Vigorous, but not energetic like Kol? Compared to this shining ‘Lunastra’, softer and concealed? How undefinable.)


“… It’s a good trick. Excellent distractions, but the essential detail is easy once you think.”


(And stop letting yourself be scared by a little girl half your age.)


Tilting her head, Still leaves her hands out.



Smiling, he reveals his talent.

“The black mesh you wear has holes in the palms. The coins are hidden underneath the mesh, obscured from sight by the mesh color and size of the coin. Two coins exist, both with the exact same scratch. You’re good enough to duplicate the mark outside of the room. The first time, you showed me the unmarred door side rather than the marked symbol side. Alternating between them…”


Shrugging, it’s all academic to Adris.


“It’s an effective trick, for someone not paying attention and easily impressed.”


(You’re not bad at social manipulation and you certainly know your appeal.)


With a flick of her wrist, the second coin appears, too.


{My, so observant!}


“Not terribly so. You are quite… distracting, but not enough so to miss it.”


The girl slowly makes a number of gestures, a genuine smile on her mask now, carefree and appreciative.


{Lunastra always notices obvious things, as she loves details; but, she hates distractions~. Nice to have another person’s viewpoint~!}


(You have to appreciate distractions, or you’ll die to them.)


“Intellect is a powerful weapon. While this Lunastra is intelligent, she doesn’t appreciate cunning in the same way you do, obviously. Kol and Ave aren’t dumb, but-”

Still makes an “x”, before mimicking a wobbling box with both of her hands.

{The walking waste bucket is dumb.}


(Cunning comes in all forms.)


“Regardless, you’ve carried them through this mansion through your wits and guile, something that anyone should be proud of, but…”


Adris leans forward, his voice low and stern.


“Aren’t there limitations to that? If you carry them through all the dangers, they won’t grow stronger through tribulations. Something eventually will go wrong, the dangers-”


{Hey, did you taste what I left you with? I went to a lot of effort to set you up with it~.}


Mind freezing at the hand movements, he watches Still rise and put her elbows on the desk while leaning in, the catlike grace of her figure enticing him.


(Taste… what? … Ave?)


Knocking on the desk, she makes a coy gesture to her mouth after, mocking him.

{She was giving it up that easy and you never bit? Really~?}


Looking down on him after standing, she continues to needle him.

{Are you not fond of ripe fruit? You don’t want to sink your teeth into something fresh? … Even when she wanted you to so desperately~?}


(What is with this girl? Your “best friend” is asking if I threw myself on you… or invited you, Ave?)


Growing frustrated with her, she continues her badgering.


{What, did you have some in the Castillo? Is that why you weren’t hungry? Not even a delicious morsel like that for dessert?}


With an innocent-looking mouth drawn upon her mask, the way she also sways with her hands behind her back sets him off.

“Ah, I’ve had a sample of the flavors the mansion has to offer. Not eating too much, merely enjoying the variety. Some ‘fruit’ is…”


With an authoritative smirk…


“Definitely more appetizing than others.”


(I am not some naive virgin, little girl. If my passion for her were that strong, I would’ve seduced her without any pressure. Ave is worth it… but you…?)


Bringing her hand to her mouth, she pulls it away to reveal a slight “o” of surprise.


{No, that’s just a bad idea! The Castillo’s are poisonous~. If you’re going to taste fruit, always accept it from a friend.}


(I won’t disagree that they were poisonous, but I also don’t need you to sate my lusts! And we’re not friends.)


This girl lowers her esteem in his eyes by the minute. Between being mocked, reducing Ave to an object, and-


Animating suddenly, Still hops a bit and then taps her head, making a furtive gesture of apology after, before reaching behind her back to get something off of her belt.


{Ah, sorry, sorry! No wonder you didn’t taste it!}




A red object soars lightly toward Adris. Catching it with his bound hand, he turns it up to look at it.


{I forgot to give it to her! My mistake~.}




A pristine and delicious-looking apple does seem appealing.




All of the tension drops out of his body as he calmly sits back down.


Retrieving her blade, Still sits on the desk, her thighs luxuriously pulling up on it. Thicker than Adris would’ve guessed by sight, the soft flesh spills out temptingly, a pleasant picture while mentally drained.


A coin trick – Logic and observation.

Seductive gestures – A guage of how attracted he is to her, yet also in control.

Subtle comments and allusions – Emotional analysis.


(Feelings of outrage for a deserving girl, one who is this girl’s “friend”, are correct? Very cute, Still. In the end, this was an interview of me. I wonder, did I pass..?)


Such sympathies he demonstrated for a girl of recent acquaintance and limited usefulness surprise him.


Still begins to sign while fanning her face with her hand.

{I was keeping it from the walking trash, saving it for Ave to impress you with it~. She’s pretty curious about-}




“… Do you believe that deception has power?”




Still freezes, with moments passing before her hand goes to her mask, revealing a sarcastic smile.

Tapping her head, she moves her hand around the room, as if she’s pointing out the Castillo itself, before returning to put her hand on her breasts.




{Isn’t deception the strongest power of all?}


(I agree.)


Considering the girl before him, he finds she is…




… an absolute threat.


(Though, her thin blade can be turned outward.)




“Deception can win without a fight, but to win after deception fails you require more. Beyond poise, chicanery, and fraud there must be… real power to safeguard the illusions you weave.”


(A woman named Serras was once that. Now… you four will be.)


Still’s wry smile is silent as approaching night, a night that can perhaps banish the whispers which haunt this mansion.

Throwing away all pretense, his persona’s voice booms out.




“Raw strength and a future. That which is true even beyond the petty lies. If you found a true power that could accomplish all your goals for you, would you reach for it?”




Unmoving for a moment, she finally shrugs her shoulders. Moving her hand in a looping fashion, she then points to her eyes before moving to Adris’ cross. A few more gestures round out her thought.


{I’ll believe in what I see, when I see it. It’s not like I’m… completely unimpressed, so far~.}


“I see? Isn’t that fine? Though if you desire it, always remember that there are requirements and necessities best worked out beforehand.” Adris is solemn, before smiling lightly. “Enough about pleasure, surely you have questions about more than tricks?”


Shaking her head, the wry smile turning to a joyful one with a moving hand as she grabs up the two coins a second later.

{You had half of the trick, but you don’t know the rest! Observe~!}


With perfect flourish, her hand whips before opening, revealing them gone.




In her other hand proudly held before Adris’ face…


Two golden coins, both with exact marks, are deftly held between “V” shaped fingers.






Refraining from screaming, Adris’ heart races.


(Four coins? But how does she hide them? No, there was the blade, too!)


Tossing the coins in the air, her other hand gestures before stroking her chin, a quizzical smile on her mask.




{If not by magic, then how did the young lady do it, oh all powerful false god?}




Mystified by this dark and purple jester, Adris also finds his heart racing as he studies her, forcing his eyes not to wander from her face down her body.

Even though only understanding her at the surface level…


(Yeah, you definitely must be mine!)


He can’t help but reveal an evil-looking smile at this perfect find.





With the strange reverse interview over, conversation moved to a single topic.


“The upper levels themselves are rather sparse for enemies, but you won’t be able to avoid the traps. They’re everywhere. With only four access points, they control the entire dynamic of the mansion. Knowing this, they appear to be… reviving the upper quarters with the minimum of people.”

Finding himself doing his favorite thing, Adris trades information for better information.



Lounging in the chair as if it’s his throne, Still remains sitting on the desk, showing off her femininity even as she remains remarkably businesslike.


(Finally… someone competent. You alone are worth the risk, even if you’re dangerous.)


Making fluid gestures with the barest use of energy…


{The eastern access within the Forbidding Quarters is a death trap on the second floor. No real name, they call it [Invasion Grounds]. The western access is through [Memories Eternal] and no slayer group has survived it. The Spiraling Flesh…?}


An open-ended question brings only a knowing smile from the boy.

A neutral mask accompanies a long pause.


{Then that leaves Servant’s Circle. Anything about it?}


Leaning forward, he shares Cethran’s “wisdom”.


“Awakened, ready, and the most dangerous place to consider. The personal servants of the Alchemaster are staffed there. A series of forced duels are the only passage up the spiraling climb. As should be expected for the climb to her Throne.”


(More than just them, you will also have to deal with the Alchemaster’s lieutenants and this vaunted Mother, but you don’t need to know that. Though, why do you want to reach the Throne so badly?)


Listening, the girl abruptly tenses. With questions concentrating on this one goal, Still rapidly gestures.


{How many duels-?}




The door opens with great energy, a rust-red, clanging monster bursting in. Still’s head sharply turns, great hate exuding from her cloaked body.




“Get out, Puddle.” Kol growls, leaving no room for misinterpretation or refusal.


Still’s arm extends straight in response, before relaxing. Jumping up lightly from the desk, she walks up to conspiratorially lean next to Adris while pointing at Kol.


{Glad you agree with me about that thing, I’ll let them know it’s a unanimous vote to eject her~. We can replace her with you~!}


After incriminating him, the seductive lass sways while walking out the door, easily sliding by the pink-eyed terror glaring her down.

At the door, she produces a gold coin, rolling it between her fingers as she looks back.


(That might get annoying quickly.)


The door slams violently, with Still’s arm narrowly escaping being mangled.

A red apple still lies on the desk, waiting for Adris to take a bite.




In the ensuing silence, Kol’s helmet is locked on him.

Examining his newest interviewee, he finds her completely unchanged, but more details stand out. Though uncleaned and devastated, her armor doesn’t fit sloppily, for an expert touch was given to resizing and joining disparately crafted pieces.


The short girl throws a rolled up fur blanket onto the floor, before grunting at him.


(Too much aggression to share your nature with me verbally.)


Quite one-track minded, Kol has voiced little more than a desire for contest, but Adris still feels something deeper.


Standing at the front of danger, she also acts to protect the others.

She imposes her authority whenever possible and favors her own solutions, but defers to smarter ideas.

Foremost, she shows neither fear nor hesitation about committing to action.


(Doubts? Yes. But she doesn’t fear me in the least.)


“How was your sleep? Given the day, I’m sure you put in a lot of effort-”


The girl’s rich voice booms out, instantly taking over.


“No talk. Only listen. Talking, dumb. Only important, action. Human words, trash, prove action!”


Lifting her head as she walks up to the desk, she projects an image of disdain for him.


“Human brave, strong, true. Laugh at magic, move into danger, fight! Defeat rabbit, Moon worry. Moon worry, know strong.”




A fast, exasperated voice, combined with clenched claws, shows her impatience.

“If human strong, why no fight!? If human powerful, why not show!? Why, nothing happening!? Human… Kol understand: human’s words, offer power… Why not give?”


(The comparison between you and Serras… please don’t say it’s totally accurate! I don’t need a second butcher girl!)


Even if people don’t die here, the last ally needed is a blood-thirsty calamity.




“Though you might enjoy fighting and inflicting pain, I find it uncouth. If all you want is to rage, then wander the halls.”


Leaning over the desk now, completely unafraid of her…




“My power would be wasted on you.”




(The entire plan will be ruined if this girl is as belligerent and foolhardy as she seems.)


Frustrated, he holds back from shaking in dismay…




“What? ‘Like fight?’” The girl sounds confused, tilting her head.




“No, Kol hate fight.”




(Now you’re a contradiction!?)


Wondering if he’s made a miscalculation, he adjusts his tone and measures his words.

“… If you claim to hate fighting, then for what reason do you seek to challenge me?”


“‘Challenge’? Yes, challenge! Exactly!” Animated, the girl pounds the desk.


“Human have power, Kol want power. Only important, who in charge.” Serious and short, Kol leans in, too.




“Win battle, own other; lose battle, be owned. Castillo rule!”

Her deepest beliefs come out, absolute and unchangeable.


Submit, unless beat Kol. Decide. … If submit, Kol… protect. If beat… liar, ‘maybe’ protect… If win… then, hmm…?”


A lustful inflection is added to her rough words when she speaks of him winning. Pink eyes swim with this feeling, while her heated body shifts to demonstrate the effect.




(You’re sounding like an inverse Lycia… Why does the thought of me winning excite you?)


Licking his lips, the two are locked briefly in this charged atmosphere.




“… Why must we decide with a fight? Why now?”


Tilting her head, Kol lets out a voice full of disbelief.


“Is easy, strong human! Whoever win, ‘right’; whoever lose, ‘wrong.’ Only true right and true strong, become knight (NOBLE RETAINER)!”

Rapping her hand on the table…




“Only true knight, protect weak.”




The idea of this bundle of carnage protecting others seems somewhat out of character.


(But this girl doesn’t lie.)


“Human strong, unbeaten. Maybe dangerous? Not know, then threat. Threat? Elf, danger. Break danger.”


(Is your goal to protect others or to be strong enough to do it? Your logic is contorted by itself… But you consider Ave weak, so that’s accurate.)


“You never want to lose?” Adris’ voice is low, sensing a path in her desires.




“RIGHT! Never lose! Every time, Kol win! Nothing else!” The screaming voice should carry through the door, but he feels no rescue attempt forthcoming.


“‘Kol can’t lose’, ‘reputation’! Moon, great knight, both say: ‘protect weak, only strong!’ Kol strongest, nobody cause trouble.” The girl backs down finally while nodding, the edge out of her voice as she calms.


(That’s like ruling, but different? You’ve lost me, but at least it’s… noble. “Winning every time” sounds like “never having to lose something”, because you have lost something for you to have this fervor over it.)


Redeemed significantly, her desire is vague but usable. Because she understands loss, she will cling to the power to prevent it.


(And protect me, the source of this power.)




“Very well, we fight tomorrow.”




Fist shaking and voice happy, her tail finally wags.


“Yes!? Tomorrow, fine!”


“Hold! There are conditions.”


Leaning in, the girl digs into the desk with white-furred claws.


“‘Conditions’? Limit? Why?” Suspicion is strong in her tone.


(Because, you are my prey.)


“Don’t worry, they’re easy:


1.) The one who is the winner claims dominance of the one who is the loser. The winner is the one who defeats the other. Anyone who cannot act is the loser to the one who caused it.

2.) Only those who agree to the terms of the duel and to be bound by its oath may participate, and must only fight when it begins.

3.) All participants are allowed to take into the duel all of their weapons and the personal effects of their choice.

4.) Anyone participating in the duel must support the duel taking place and completely resist the efforts of others to forestall it, and the duel must take place on neutral ground.

5.) Those who agree to this must swear to the unknowable unknown that they will abide by these terms, signified by saying they ‘swear.’ And they must not speak of this part of the oath.”


Nearing his head to hers while leaning in, Adris looks grave as he stares her down.


Kol, to her credit, pauses, searching him for duplicity.


“This is in order to prevent others from infringing on our fair fight, Kol. Have you never had someone sabotage you?”


Gripping her fist, Kol points at the door, straight towards Adris’ bait.


“Right! Puddle! Always lie, interfere! ‘Fair fight’? Bring everything!” Kol sounds pleased as she agrees with him. “Only know ‘strength’: no mercy, no lies!”




(No lies about the fight I intend to bring, at least. Manipulating people by using what they like and dislike… flitting between them, it’s all too wonderful.)




“Swear it.”

“Kol, [swear]!”




Once more, Adris feels out with his senses to detect this unknown thing he is bound to; yet, once more it eludes him. Aside from the intensity of Kol’s emotions, the room is quiet.


“This one known as Adris fehl Dain also swears to the unknowable unknown to honor these terms as stated.”




Again, nothing happens.




“Kol, enjoy!” The girl cackles, an affectation that disturbs Adris.


(Is that… supposed to be your laugh?)


“I thought you didn’t like fighting…”


“… Kol not like fighting, but…” Looking at him, the girl speaks in a voice he hasn’t heard yet: untroubled, yet also pensive.


“Human, different.”


Pointing to the blanket, she says, “Kol, give. Sleep good. Must sleep. Good fight.”


As she clomps to the door, Adris adopts his grandest pose.




“Kol, would-be knight: if you had absolute power, what would you use it for?”


Stopping with her hand on the door, the girl turns, her pink eyes menacing.




“Hunt down, ‘winning’ monster.”




(Which one…?)


Surprised, he almost forgets his next plan.


“Ah, wait.”




“Human say, morning-”


With a clumsy catch, the red object is held before her sallet for inspection.


“Though it’s not tribute, you can accept this as a ‘gift.’ As one warrior to another, you have to be strong, too.” Adris looks solemn, respectful even.


“This why, better! Human… not Puddle! Kol say… ‘thank you’?”


Opening the door with enormous strength, she slams it behind her, causing a precariously balanced book to topple to the floor.




Throwing off his persona leaves him exhausted, a sigh finally released as his eyes droop. Moving to the fur and unrolling it, the idea of being tied up and sleeping on stone is unappealing.

Laying down, he realizes that he can’t put his arms under his head.


(… I’ve never seen what she looks like.)


The always armored girl keeps hiding from him. While he’s seen the other’s beauty, hers evades him. Lustful feelings that sprang up from her briefly during their conversation had an effect on Adris, despite his efforts.


(Do you want me? I sort of want to… know…?)


Sleep comes easily, one last look given to the banal paintings on the wall, which now seem to silently drip their running paint onto the-






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?”

“Taking advantage of looking evil and dangerous is an easy path to being hated, or have you forgotten?”

“If you can be strong, perhaps that’s all the beauty you need? That might be a principle you agree with, somewhere?”



“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.”

“Seamlessly moving into his role, Adris does what he does best: leading people astray.”

“Where else to start with manipulating people than to getting to know them? Information is the most important part of a scheme. Be sure not to give too much away, or you’ll lose again.”



“Do you think more or less of the main character? It’s not easy to tell if he’s just an asshole or really good at faking 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?”

“If she feels excitement looking at you, then perhaps she isn’t as pretty as you’re thinking she is?”



“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.”

“While somewhat behind in intellect, she is far from witless.”



“Is it okay to start off with a noble goal and then show how the character evolves from that first impression?”





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?”

“Do you find yourself losing focus in her presence? You might be weaker to seduction than you think? Or is it something else…?”



“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.”

“Showing something of her true nature, the girl that says little can surprisingly say a lot when she needs to.”



“Probably the most difficult character to get right, she’s a strong minded type, but also cunning enough to use others.”





Invasion Grounds – “Tier 2, right section.”


Memories Eternal – “Tier 1, left section.”



Chapter 22         Table of Contents          Chapter 24