Take Up the Cross – Chapter 26: All For One

“No reason to remain exists with our task completed. More problematic passage becomes, accompanied by the one before us. To depart quickly and face all challenges with ample time, such a solution presents the best chance for success.”


(Nope, you’ll never make it. More… candid information just provided assures that. Honestly, what’s just transpired makes me sick about everything that’s about to happen… Oh well, I was committed before. It changes nothing to be twice as committed now… right?)


Rubbing his sore neck, Adris’ facade of quiet assuredness cannot contain his tired disappointment. With three girls watching him, he’s left to face the fourth sitting on the bed.


(Odd, that you choose the spot where I was sitting. Are you attempting to assert authority using my mannerisms?)


Seated in a very plain manner, white-stockinged legs hang loose, the raised front of her dress still an odd affectation to him. Dainty feet only lightly swing, the orders she issues remaining unsupported by her reserved and silent body language.


(And of the rest…?)


Steel-clad arms rest easily over her chest, the strangely silent terror lounging at the door; yet, even in silence, she absorbs everything said.

With gracious bottom given rest, a falsely relaxed, hooded stalker restlessly flips a dirk in the air, her mask a pleasant smile concealing a multitude of dangers.

The most easily read girl offers a thin smile full of regret to Adris. A once tear-stained face is dried up, but she says nothing.

Segregated from the other girls and put into a corner, the elf in time out blushes when he leers at her, before looking ashamed.


(Sidelined, are you?)


The loose-lipped girl’s intricacies are far better known by the group, meaning her predicted nudges for suggesting to seek Adris’ help likely led to a lengthy interrogation.


(You did your job.)


While Neesiette had been mostly cordial before leaving the room, his last words and actions have once more fired up her dislike of his existence.


“You still haven’t identified how you plan to leave.”


Cocking her head a bit, the girl’s dry, neutral expression perseveres.

“By threat or force, same as entry.”

Though serious in tone, his knowledge makes the words comical.


(They have no plans to come back or retreat. This will be their final attempt.)


Their belongings are gathered, with Ave carrying the lion’s share. When his gaze on her lingers once more, Still slides in to block the view with a teasing wave.


“And this plan is agreed upon by everyone?”

At these words, there is a reaction from Kol, who adds energy to her presence.

“What would further delay achieve? Food now becomes…” Stopping for a moment, Neesiette’s gaze softens.

“That provided by one before us reaches its end. Food of the mansion be a curse of insatiable lust. Weakness shall set in, with three days at most before trouble presents.”


Their supplies exhausted, Adris’ contribution sets them ahead only a day. Even water will torture them, if forced to seek it in the Castillo.

“Escape be paramount. This, and nothing more.” With everything falling apart, a clear voice states their resignation.


Closing his eyes, he pretends to be thinking.


(With you four at your level of power? With me along bringing the Castillo’s enjoyment? The moment we try to leave without presenting something interesting…?)




Scoffing, he smiles widely with dark eyes directed at a fellow traveler from outside of Zennia. Such valuables exist in this room, yet only these four girls must be claimed by him.


“Wrong! Escape is impossible with such a plan. As stated, I will not accompany a doomed initiative.”




The room’s atmosphere changes instantly.


Ave raises her hands while shaking, slithering forward with a quivering smile of fake amiability to cover her fear.

“N-n-now let’s… let’s just ta-!”


“Silence, lizard.”

Yelping at this insult, the would-be green-haired savior receives no help.


Sauntering up, the masked girl with flashing steel throws wide her cloak, the exposed brass buttons of her doublet glinting. A sadistic and bloodthirsty smile is given, a few concise motions finishing with a finger drawn across Adris’ neck.

{It’s funny to me how you think you have a choice!}

But intimidation is the one thing that won’t work on Adris.


(You need me to be willing. The moment I force a confrontation, you may plunder from me, “exit” me from the mansion as a statue, or rape me… but I will not be your slave immediately, for you believe I have Devotion.)


Only one in true deficit of Devotion may be enslaved. Defeating a weakling will not easily prompt it.


(A safeguard for… “bullying?” Only certain dangerous areas and monsters produce “the end” on a first loss. This otherworldly girl cannot measure Devotion, as only certain human devouts can. Feel free to tie me up and carry me, but good luck after…)


“Idle threats belie the true issue.” Adopting an imperious pose in front of the one truly dangerous girl here, he jumps straight into his plan.


(Destroy your unity.)




“I always possess choices, given my strength.”


Brushing past Still and producing shock from the girl, he coolly approaches the steel blue lady staring up at him from the bed. Reaching in, he slowly and gently lifts her chin.

Receiving narrowing eyes full of consternation and outrage, he knows her pride has been perfectly challenged.

“The answer to ‘how’ you intend to leave is simple, my dear Neesiette:

None of you have any idea. When the time comes, you will simply rampage and be destroyed.”

While Still hovers at his back, his true focus is on his contract.

With the statement issued, Kol finally relaxes.


(If you approve, then I’m going to enlighten them.)


“Claim now to be an expert prognosticator or diviner? Captured by our group, yet still mock us?” Putting up with his touch, the girl’s ringing voice intensifies. “… One’s concern for one’s own safety be understood, but entrust-”


“Never once have I been captive and my safety is irrelevant. Yours isn’t.” Unwillingly letting go of a fine face, he regrets its expression sours with his resistance. “You can no longer afford not to listen to me…”


“… Yet more words and schemes, be it? Very well. No longer will it be permissible to play at hospitality, when one misunderstands-”




“You will all be raped by monsters most cruel.”




A hissing sound comes out, Ave recoiling at the phrase delivered with a monotonous voice. Neesiette remains mostly impassive, except for her irises.


(That you think I am “preparring” my scheme shows your inexperience, Neesiette. I’ve already sprung it.)


“Misunderstand me not.”

Shrugging, Adris spells out their doom.

“All your efforts will be ground to dust. The desires of the Castillo will be set upon you in place of your own. This is the fate you’re choosing by not seeking all possible strength.”


Leaning in while Still moves closer as a reminder, he lets his confidence assault his opponent right next to her face.

“You cannot defeat this ‘block’ as is, or you would’ve already. Even possessing Kol, an indomitable and rampaging force; Still, a reliably precise friend in the shadows; Ave, a steadfast companion to support you; and you, a logical and forward-thinking sage…”




“Because you fail to pursue all avenues of victory, you are not fit to deny me.”




Pulling back from Neesiette, he remains calm while letting the pronouncements boil in their minds.

Ave looks terribly ashamed and also frightened, sidling up toward Still and Adris. Even though he can’t see Still, he knows he’s impacted her, too, as her aggressive aura has vanished.


“… Reject this our group does, especially ‘hinted at’ power offered by one as untrustworthy as a boy named ‘Adris’. Even supposing one’s assessment correct, one’s hidden assertion be plain that all which we lack may be granted only by allying with the one named.”


The statement, no matter how forceful it’s intended to be, carries great sadness deeply concealed, because Adris knows the girl would likely work with him if she felt she could.


“Because nobody else here is willing to openly lead… or, rather, because nobody else has the support of all members of the group… No truly objective decisions may ever be made. Therefore, my offer is not hidden, but obvious.”

Casting shade on the one manipulating three other girls, he feels sympathy for the Neesiette forced into an unwanted role.

“Kol cannot lead, as she is committed to fighting without burden of higher decisions. Ave lacks nothing in intelligence, but cannot find the heart. Still operates alone and in shadow, while also lacking the words to speak. You…?”

Neesiette’s pride doesn’t bend at the unfinished question.


“Who is left, exactly? A group cannot make a decision without someone to execute that decision. What you need is that executor.”

Though the group possesses difficult personalities, so far everyone gets along. They show capability and teamwork when it matters. If they couldn’t, they would’ve been defeated long ago.


(It’s not that I need to tempt you to give in to me. In reality, you’re already falling apart. I just need to make you realize the benefits now, so later will be “willing”.)


“Would it be you, then, claiming to be the solution? The point of your argument be ‘who’ being ‘you’?” Neesiette’s bell-like timbre is unhurried, but deeply accusatory.


(I don’t think we’ll be able to see things eye to eye this early. That will take time.)


Jumping down from the bed, the very girl flicks out her sparking rod before pointing it at him.

“Find one’s words supremely vague and intentionally caustic, a tool does. No more do they matter, whether intended to aid or harm. No matter our fate, find no one here one will who-”




“No, Kol, agree.”


Quick as a whip, Neesiette’s head turns, with utmost precision, to stare at Kol. Ave and Still do so as well: one with a blank face and open mouth, and the other with a neutral mouth on her mask.


Walking over swiftly, Neesiette confronts the girl much more imposing than her.


“Kol, explain.” Tension accompanies the actions of a girl swiftly exiting Neesiette’s predictions.


(It’s simple, really, what Kol truthfully wants is…)




“Kol, see human power. Moon, deny power.” Kol puts her hand on Neesiette’s shoulder, light and friendly. “Moon, not make sense. Why not, try claim power, either way?

Kol know: can’t win as now.”


Neesiette’s head rocks back a bit.

Moving to join them, Still is waving her hand insistently while making gestures, her mouth an undisguised smirk of loathing.


{No, no, no, your first mistake, Neesiette, was believing that the walking urinal pot isn’t crazy~! Ignore insane opinions.}


Stopping outside of Kol’s range with her axe, Still shifts while standing, keeping her feet moving as she insults the girl.


“Kol, not crazy! Kol, think! Puddle, die!” Instantly angered, Kol lifts her axe with one hand, before stopping when a small girl hops onto her arm to hang from it.


“Be calm, Kol. Competently does one explain herself when calm, for all words and meanings are known, if often difficult to find. Deny with action unkind words asserted, for in this be true strength.”

Like a patient mother, Neesiette soothes Kol’s outrage through compliments.


Making quick gestures, Still points at Kol while leaning forward, before making a mocking attempt to stifle a yawn.

{We’ll be waiting until winter for a decent argument by those terms.}


As Kol frays again, Neesiette whips around to eye Still.


“Still! Still, stop! Let Kol talk!” Ave slithers over to hide behind Still, even as she tries to talk to her. Keeping out of sight of Kol and Neesiette, Ave whispers to her cloaked benefactor.

As the elf tries to placate the elder girl, Still suddenly lifts her arms, shrugging in disgust before calming. Adopting a neutral posture, Still moves her arm slightly, before making gestures.


{Say your piece, Kol.}


Adris finally breathes again. Afraid for a moment that his attempt to disturb the group might destroy it, it instead affirms his observations.


(Things work out, no matter how frayed you guys are. You can’t buy that sort of dynamic. Even if you fight… nobody here really wants the others hurt. Even if you’re feeling outnumbered, you instead turn towards each other, and not away.)


This frightening amount of underlying trust sickens Adris, even as his stomach churns for another unspoken reason.


“Okay! Kol, only say short. Moon, strong. Stronger than Kol. All know.” With respect, Kol shows deference to another person for the first time, at least to Adris’ eyes.


(You only listen to…)


“Kol, know human strong. So, ‘question’: human stronger, or Moon?”


Neesiette’s face shows the slightest of doubts.


“… Such a question exceeds this tool’s knowledge, for power ‘self-proclaimed’ be only innuendo. Admittedly, it would be a lie to claim ‘stronger’ for what be merely ‘unproven’.” Neesiette answers without arrogance or self-importance.


“Right! Kol, agree! Easy solution!” Pointing at Adris with her hand, Kol uses an energetic, hungry voice.




“Beat up human, know stronger. After that, everything easy.” Nodding again, Kol growls.

“Human have power? Easy. Take it. Make him ours, always! Moon right? Can’t lose!”


At the mention of power, Neesiette sounds unsure.

“Fighting entails unnecessary risks for unrevealed gain. A human such as this one is extraordinarly…”




No! Fight! Tired, waiting, talking! Everyone, fight everyone! Human, reason!” Roaring loudly, Kol looks to everyone in the room. “Solve now! Not later! Kol, handle!”

Moving Neeisette gently out of the way, Kol picks up her axe, grabbing something from the ground with her other hand and marching up to Adris.




“Morning now, things here. Take, wear, glory.” A light voice accompanies the proffered items: a pair of white-furred boots and a small bag with trinkets in it.

“Kol, know where! Walk with!” Kol’s tail swishes a bit as she finishes with her short speech.


Neesiette starts to talk, but changes her mind, leaving Ave to shake a bit before jumping in between Kol and Adris.

“Kol! You can’t just fight him alone! You have no idea what…” Looking at their “captive”, his gaze forces her to shiver. “… you have no idea what he could do! We can’t let you just face that kind of danger alone!”

In a smaller voice with her hands over her face, Ave speaks to herself. “Even though I want tooooooooo!”


“No, why would Kol be alone? Kol’s power, doesn’t it include all of you?” Adris is firm as he speaks, adding in the mysteriousness he’s been perfecting over the past day.

“Kol, shouldn’t your ‘true power’ include your friends by the terms?”


“AH!” Kol yells, realizing Adris’ hint.


(Just go ahead and drag them all in, Kol!)


When Still walks up to stand between Ave and Kol, the iron bully pushes past her to grab hold of a yelping elf. Still pulls on a recalcitrant Kol, the attempt to rescue Ave completely unnoticed.


“Stop! Stop!” With Still backing off while making fast gestures, Ave turns to her shorter friend. “Kol, what do you…”

Pulling her until her nose is an inch from Kol’s helmet opening, the now instantly-tearing-up Ave is shaking while waiting for her to speak.




“Elf. Swear, fight with Kol. Now. Glory for us!” The voice is menacing, but there’s also a hint of affection.




“Huh!? Fight? Who? Adris!?” Quaking, Ave tries to pull away, but even the elf’s herculean strength is unable to sway the tin can grappling her.


(This is the difference in… [Talent], correct? Or is it [Aptitude?])


Of Ave’s explanations, Kol’s enormous strength is preternatural, borne of the Modus she subscribes to. If Kol latches onto you, a Talent or Aptitude prevents any chance of escape unless countered by another preternatural ability.


(Aptitude is borne of a quality of strength, speed, or intellectual ability… plus repetition and training. Talent is a complete set of abilities based on a plateau of victories? This world’s insane quirks boggle my mind.)


As Ave flails unsuccessfully, Still moves in to berate Kol, looking as if she wants to murder her.


{Let go, you retard!}

“I didn’t do anything~! Stop, Kol!”




“Elf want, coward forever?”


Ave stops moving instantly, stupefied by the description. Still ceases, too.


“Elf, fight. Claim power. Make yours. Be useful.” Letting Ave go, the girl only swaying a bit as she rights herself on her tail, Kol puts her hand on Ave’s shoulder.




“Elf, brave inside. Show brave, outside. Fight, by Kol. Say, ‘swear.’”


“… What? ‘Swear?’” Quietly watching the struggle, Neesiette now perks up. Her eyes lock onto…


(Don’t you dare.)


Adris glares at her, ready to interrupt.


“Idiot iguana, no further words shall pass one’s lips! Be silent and nothing more!” The amber-haired girl’s words are poorly chosen.


(This is why you can’t be a leader, Neesiette, even if you are as smart as you act.)


The boy’s slight sigh accompanies a shaking green form.

“Wh-what!?” Ave’s countenance changes from surprised, to saddened, and finally to vengeful in the span of a few seconds.

“Ah, leave me alone you… you tiny, no breasts, self-important, and… and… ARROGANT MIDGET!” Ave screams, shaking her hand in Neesiette’s direction.




“This tool’s stature referred to twice, be this not a clear redundancy? In addition, would not ‘no breasts’ apply to oneself, as well?” The quiet, emotionless rebuttal that follows Ave’s outburst inflames the forest which was merely smoldering.




(If not before, then certainly now.)


“… GYAH! AVE ‘SWEARS’ TO FIGHT BY KOL! Go be sold in a curio store for a single peca (SILVER COIN), you ungrateful doll!!!” Ave screams at the top of her lungs before hissing loudly at the end of her sentence.

She lunges forward, burying herself into Kol.


“… Ave… I will never let Kol go on adventure and into danger alone!” Crying while talking, she hugs Kol while being patted on the back by the armored girl.


“Good, nice. Elf, brave! Best friend; best ‘minion’!”

Cringing at the last word, Ave looks a little let down while being hugged by her companion.


Still, looking puzzled, walks over to Neesiette, squatting down in front of her while making furtive motions.

{They… “swear?”… eh…?}

Neesiette whispers during the gestures, conveying what Adris imagines is her realization about his tactic.

With Ave still sobbing a bit while saying “They aren’t… that…” and Kol cheering her up, the two noteworthy minds complete their discussion.

Still’s dark-blue ensemble is flanked by Neesiette’s ruffled and stately steel-blue, both pointing weapons at Adris.


“A complete denial. With force, if necessary.”


Three people immediately respond.




“Kol, not allow.

“Go away!”

“Nothing on this world will permit you to.”




Adris chokes a bit after speaking, the words coming out without his control.


(Okay, at least something happened.)


Kol and Ave stand aggressively between Adris and his threat, dividing the party perfectly. With only Neesiette and Still understanding what has transpired, the confrontation quickly self-resolves with their troubled impotence showing.


(Even if last time was a bit… unfortunate, having this unknown force arbitrating things makes this easier.)


“… Planned how far ahead are one’s designs?” Neesiette calmly questions him, while Still lets her head roll back while her body sags a bit out of tiredness.


“You may know only if you claim ownership of, or agree with, those designs.” Adris smiles mysteriously.


(Planned as far as I can, unfortunately. Which isn’t far… as proved by earlier.)


A hand goes to Neeisette’s shoulder, the doll girl receiving lazy hand gestures.

{We’ve been had.}


“So it would seem. Remind a… valued comrade this tool shall, why a gag be explained as prudent.”

A calm voice casts an accusation, which is quietly dismissed by a shrug.


“If you will make your own pledges, then shall we see where Kol picked out?”

Adris accepts their defeat with an immense amount of grace.


(The ants that don’t work together die off, one by one.)





The boy’s new boots sink into the rich, blue carpet, a pair of comfortable and very warm shoes that far exceed the quality of his old “acquired” ones.


As Ave had said, lacing them had provoked a change, the size and grip on his foot altering imperceptibly to become a perfect fit. Tested by Adris, he found that he could even alter the arch support and balance of the boots by consciously requesting it in action, flexing his foot in the right way.


The acrobat-in-all-but-name feels springy as he moves, his feet ready to leave the floor at any time. It becomes difficult to walk without visibly changing his gait, the energy in each step coming naturally, seeking to ruin his deception.


I don’t feel any different?” Adris had looked suitably mystified while relaying the information to Ave, and the girl had apologized profusely for giving terrible instructions, despite it not being her fault they didn’t “function.”




“Here, here! Human!” Kol’s voice rings out.


Moving into the open room, Adris inspects the strange scene.


The large, square dance hall with ornate, inlaid marble floors features a line of female and male dancers moving in a circle around the room.

At least they would be, if they weren’t stone.


Wearing strange, flowing, short body robes that tie up in places around their figures, they are adorned with heavy laurels on their heads and shoulders. Fifteen pairs make a circle around the hall.

On the east wall, a large brass-and-gold brazier is set into the wall, unlit and filled with kindling. Gold leaf scrollwork fills the whole wall, spilling out from the alcove like a magnificent sun.


“The space is sufficient.” Adris nods, continuing as his gaze picks out the details. “Is it not dangerous?”


“Intend to light the brazier, one does? If not, then safe it will remain.”


The doll girl walks to the end of the hall, setting herself up near the edge of the door leading out opposite the entrance. Kol inspects the dancers with Ave, the elf sliding up next to one, mimicking the stance with her arms and body while smiling. Still is at the exit ahead, placing a paper charm on the door frame.


Adris sees another to his right, strange lines and characters on a thin, red piece of parchment. The words upon it are legible, but appear to be complete nonsense.


(Warning, or barrier? A different form of magic?)


Unlike the verbose and eloquent forms of magic of the Works, these are randomly distributed, strongly emotional words, formed into non-specific patterns by connecting ideas.


“Sufficient space to be fair between the two doors. Open ground, absent any obstructions. No traps present, nor ambush awaiting.”

The distance of roughly sixty feet over the decadent marble imagery matches with he room room’s good light provided by innumerable floating candles high within the vaulted ceiling.


Coming back to join with Neesiette, Kol stomps to the front of the pack, axe high, with Ave behind her.

Ave’s whip is finally out, a deceptively long lash that she moves with surprising grace while testing it out. When she flicks the ground, the whip head gouges out a bit of the marble, leading to her smiling smugly with one hand on her hips.

Still sets up a little to Neesiette’s right, producing a short sword with a swift motion, yet looking languid. It’s a decisively deceptive posture, as Adris well knows.


Two metallic sounds catch Adris’ ears, his eyes moving to Neesiette, who has rods in both of her frail hands, now.


(Where does she store them? The book is…?)


The devilish book is over her back. Both rods are at the ready, while she stands without a defensive stance, her front towards him.


Adris decides to offer light banter, seeking to test his thoughts about them.




“Are you certain that you four won’t surrender and save yourselves from impending humiliation? We can skip to the ending where I share this power, anyway?”




Still makes light gestures, before producing a rather obscene one.

{You can stick your surrender the same place I might stick my hand in a bit~!}


“Very sad. Kol take surrender, yes?” Seemingly not understanding the question, Kol sounds disappointed as she prepares to let Adris throw himself on her mercy.


“No, we’re strong together! Not even you can beat all of us~!” Ave continues to look cheerful, full of unfounded pride.


“As spoken, disappointment shall be your reward.” Neesiette rounds out the refusal with a soft voice. “Receive shortly one will a fitting punishment for attempting to lead astray our numbers.”


(… Drawing them in with enticements, learning what I can from honeyed words, playing at their deepest wishes and fears… everything was…)




Purposefully brought to a fight, one designed to absolutely crush them.




(Thank you for lining up everything for me. In believing that I am weak, your loss will be ever sweeter to deliver.)


“Should I assume you are all prepared, then?” Adris smirks, loosening himself up, watching for a sign…


“Prepared, and together.” Neesiette speaks, neutral and measured. “‘Protection’ be what was offered before. Now? Who knows? One’s actions… hardly deserve it.”


Still gives a cute wave to Adris, before pointing to her sword. She arches forward to let her breasts hang low, before putting a foot behind her like a sprinter.


(No need to interpret that.)


Ave swishes her whip a few more times, before bringing her free hand to her breasts, breathing in deeply, and then… smiling gleefully at Adris while winking.


“Good luck!” Ave calls out with her sweet voice, no malice at all to be found.


(No hard feelings.)




“No luck, only proof.” Kol slams her axe against the floor, before bringing it back with one hand.


“Powerful human, show Kol…”


Inching forward, a challenge is thrown out.




“Power, ‘false god’!”




“Very well, let us set in motion this unfated future. Worry not…”


Swinging his cross to his side, he draws the purple-and-glyph-covered tool wide across his front to let it be held before him.

Feeling completely alive for the first time since his death, his mind and heart are finally one again with his prizes so close.




“I shall be the greatest power you will ever know. Even this mighty mansion shall quake with what I intend to make occur.”


The mansion’s presence, ever distant yet near, burns with excitement at this declaration. Its evil fills the room, adding to his presence as the girls shrink back.

The cloying smell of the mysterious and arcane suffuses the air, as the candlelights brighten.


“All your… deepest desires shall be fulfilled.”


(As you fulfill all of mine.)










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’?”

“There’s little to say, isn’t there? Aren’t you truly beautiful when you’re honest?”

“Playing up the mystery too much might prove troublesome? A man of only mystery can be angel or devil, yes?”



“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.”

“Losing everything is often an impetus to descend deeper into bad things. In Adris’ case, it certainly amped up his energy for harming others.”

“Nothing is off the table for a man with nothing to lose.”



“In the end, wanting a fight is the same as saying that you’re the bad guy. By this point, you might be…”





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.”



“Even if she’s responsible for this, she’s the only one willing to do something about it, so you can’t really feel like it’s her fault.”





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.”



“Got one pulled over on her, she looks ready for revenge.”





Name: Neesiette vera Luna
Titles: “Moon”
Race: Lunamata
Sex: Female
Age: ???

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?”

“A doll? How do you define the limits of your tastes? Or are they ‘unknown and unknowable’?”



“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.”

“Finally revealed, her interest in Adris is inextricably tied to the book that he has proved capable of reading. For what reason does one desire to bring an end?”



“From kind to heartless, it’s easy to step on a lady’s goodwill.”




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 –

Intelligence – C

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?”

“Another girl that won’t shut up, is it? Shouldn’t that dissuade you? Or is it okay if it’s her bubbly voice?”



“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.”

“The one thing in the world she loves the most is her own people, which makes her a master of everything related to them.”



“Even if you’re trying to be a carefree person, isn’t it a little much to cheer for your enemy? Or is he your enemy…?”





Aptitude – “A power born by fulfilling the required attribute and then unlocking the skill associated with it.”


Talent – “That which is obtained from a Modus as the essential component of a style of fighting or acting.”



Chapter 25         Table of Contents          Chapter 27