Take Up the Cross – Chapter 56: Wavering Heart in a City of Stone

The rainbow-bleeding hands of a fake priestess never killed him. Instead, Adris rouses from jostling around, with air filling his burning lungs and spreading through a body almost numb from lack of it.


“… awake!?”

“… down…”


Quickly put on the ground, sounds become clearer as air fills him. A symmetrically perfect face stares back as he opens his eyes, showing a cool hand on his forehead.


“… This is… far from necessary.”

Pushing her hand away, he sits up, bringing shock from those crowding him.


“How!? Adris, you were in grave danger again!”

Ave’s eyes are watery as she frets, shifting uncomfortably due to her lingering panic.


(I’m always in grave danger around you four.)


Disregarding their concern, the cross’ activation in the Chapel remains nebulous in his memory, while the second’s is fresh.


(I’ve ruined myself. Trying to claim stake with a useful group of underlings, now every one of those powerful forces is aware of my existence; but, how aware are they?)


Cethran’s revelation as being a powerful entity within this contest between six powers demonstrates how he avoided being noticed before.


(Inside the Chapel I was safe; but outside, the cross was like a beacon to them. “Three Great Evils”? “Starborn Lords”? They have regular wars? How ridiculous it is to realize! This is… a contest between them! Have I bumbled into it!?)


“‘Far from necessary’ in what way could it be? Actions taken in a chapel seemingly carry the same conclusion outside of it: inescapable risk.”

Turning his face toward her, Neesiette’s reproachful look demands satisfaction.


(I don’t have time for you all to lose confidence simply because I black out!)


“A shell is always in danger. No matter the risks you believe you witness, it’s best not to worry about what you can’t explain—”


“For good, one be ready to exit our company?”

Neesiette lays into him with disbelief as she interrupts him.

“Still of breath and circulation, what one refers to as a ‘shell’ nearly became one eternally for a second time.”


Blank faced with this dangerous statement, Adris notes that Ave’s crying and Still’s grim smile prove this isn’t a jest.

{I asked if you were sure. I’m glad you were?}

The cloaked girl kneeling beside him tries to decide if he knew what he was doing or not.


(“A second time”. I see. I nearly died at the Chapel, hence why they were so worried? And they didn’t tell me. Because they couldn’t, wouldn’t… or they figured I already knew? This is the…?)


Waving her hand lethargically, the enormous golden gate Kol stands before creaks in response to the simple gesture as it begins to open outward. Pack over her shoulder with a shining helmet with feathered crest hanging from it, she stands guard while the party waits.

Beyond this gate is a path, flanked by the widespread gardens, that leads curving around the mountain side overlooking a stone-built city.


“Why do people not simply enter through the gate?” Shocked at how easy it is to gain entry into the Castillo’s grounds, questions come to him. “No, where are the rest of the kobolds and that slayer?”

“While exit be permitted, if not rare, entry be prevented in all ways. One may not walk, climb, fly, or burrow past the gate or its outermost walls. Due to risks of remaining, baggage known as a slayer led away the entire tribe ahead of us.”

Neesiette maintains her reproachful look even as she explains.


(You may leave, but enter only at peril? This is all a test of this… hell.)


Sure now of this point, the Castillo’s nature points to something darker.


“One seeks to avoid answering, perhaps? Does one care so little for one’s place with us that one would sacrifice it for others?”

Still laying into him, the small boss in steel-blue still holds his face.


“Do you think you have claim over me, such that you can dictate my actions!? I do what I please.”

Pushing away her hand, he starts to become frayed by all the unknowns racing around him. Raising his voice at this challenge to his power and when he may use it, Neesiette and Ave draw back at his tone.

“While we travel together, are we not still a group? I am me; you are you. If I require to—!”


“What drives one to quickly gift one’s influence to kobolds who were once one’s enemy, even if they be related to Kol?”

Pointing between the three arrayed before ending at Kol, Neesiette’s next question is difficult.

“Were we not who you sought? Influencing geckos into belligerency for a plot, does one now seek to gift to others what one once reserved for us? Are we now incompatible to one’s designs?”

“He needs us, midget! … Right, Adris? I’m sure you had a good reason…”

Taking up Adris’ hand, Ave checks to make sure that his pulse is strong, before biting her lip and whispering.

“… I never would’ve done that if you were going to be hurt! Why didn’t you tell me it was that same dreadful thing…?”




(… I don’t know. With only you four, it doesn’t seem like I can really make it, especially not after our near failures. I was willing to try anything to hedge that.)


Shaken up by the reveal of this world’s major powers, he can’t recover from the feeling of being totally doomed. With that feeling crushing him, he’s losing precious authority over them.


(If I can’t convince four girls I’ve already roped in, then what can—!?)


{Shut up, you two. He just couldn’t leave them alone. That’s who he is~.}

Tired gestures are voiced right next to his face, before a hand rubs his head.


“‘Leave them alone?’ Adris…?”

“Oh!? Were you doing it just because they were in trouble…? But why like that?”

With Neesiette and Ave confused, Still swiftly explains.


{You don’t get how the powerful have to do things. He can’t just swoop in and rescue them without gaining something from it, y’know?}

Standing up while pulling on Adris, Still’s random assertion leaves him somewhat uncertain.


(… I don’t think I wanted to rescue them?)


{It’d make him, and us, look weak if we forgave them too easily. Hence the show, right~?}

Catching on when Still’s smile becomes teasing with a hand wave, Adris nods a little too vigorously before calming down.


“… Right! To gain allies while also freeing them from the Alchemaster’s slavery, the rewards outweighed the risks. The only way I knew to free them was… to bring them closer to this cross.”


(It’s an effective excuse to disguise my actions.)


Sharing a look between them, Still subtly pays back an earlier debt.


“One never indicated holding principles as such, thus leading to irreconcilability with one’s actions versus one’s motivations when viewed from a neutral perspective.”

Coolly dismissing this explanation at first, Neesiette blinks when everyone looks at her in discomfort.


“… What this lady spoke be misleading. One’s possible mercies be difficult to predict, as one often reserves one’s thoughts. Kol’s belief that one intended to press them into servitude seemed accurate. To witness goodwill from you be… no, it be superior to alternative motivations.”

Standing up, Neesiette’s whole demeanor changes as she accepts this reason.


“Right way, way Kol wanted. Boss, chose… different… ‘annoying’! Red Tide, gonna be Kol’s…”

Kol mumbles while eying Adris with unrestrained irritation, but is too unenergetic to press further.


“One’s actions be demonstrably kind, so one may casually disregard Kol’s grumblings; however, one’s misunderstandings regarding our relationships must be corrected. Let us accomplish this upon arrival.”


Walking away, Neesiette gives no more thought to this.


Gripped arm-in-arm with Ave, the distraught elf refuses to let him out of her sight as Still quickly vacates to join Kol.

“… Being kind is okay, but don’t… forget about us…”


Walking with the overprotective escort, Adris is thrown out of balance by the unusually aggressive girl. After finishing her crying, she’s dried her face and is staring at him with hard, puffy eyes.

“We found you first! … Nobody else gets you. You’re not allowed to leave…”

She finally stops speaking with her complaint whispered.






With all prepared to leave through the gate, Adris is confused by the line they stand in.


“Be all prepared to exit Castillo’s effect?”

“… Yeah.”


“Yes! Very!”


(Effect? What effect?)


All four girls compose themselves well before pulling Adris through the invisible line that is the gate. Turning to him, Ave whispers once again.


“Please don’t… stop… liking us, okay…?”

“Why would I—?”




Stepping past this threshold, Adris grows nauseated as something feels ripped from his body.




In only a moment, the whole world changes in his view.

Though nothing is physically altered, the ever-present tinge of avarice is wiped clean from his soul.


Multitudes of schemes regarding the Alchemaster’s wealth, ones that were being written in his mind unconsciously, evaporate. Freed of unquenchable jealousy, they prove too dangerous to consider pursuing. Even the jubilation of claiming Red Tribe for their services darkens. The detriments of trying to claim the Slayers of Petripolis with kobolds is a plan so incomplete that it seems juvenile.




The girls around him, with his overwhelming need to make them his, share beauties that tickle dissimilar inclinations in him; but, these feverish thoughts lose their luster as his heart is strangled by pure rationality.




(What am I doing?)




Struck all at once by the weight of his prior actions, his better judgments overturned by greed are black marks.


A man who held pride in calm decisions, ones that tortured the rich of the floating continent of Xin for many decades, cannot understand casting his lot in with four bizarre teammates. Even Serras’ betrayal only categorizes these screw-ups as initial stepping stones to something better.


(Why would I decide on them as permanent replacements?)




Numbness drills through him, replacing all of his prior thoughts.

Even if this persona called a “false god” survives without issue, the man who wears it is suddenly insecure.




Arm-in-arm with a flighty elf girl, he inspects her as she flinches, almost yanking her arm away from his as fear courses through her at their closeness. Casting her face to look at the ground as she shares a similar reaction to Adris’…


She holds his arm tighter instead of letting go, though she continues to show doubts.


Neesiette and Kol show a sharper gaze toward him as they take in their own thoughts. Contemplative and stifling, Neesiette’s beautiful, horrible eyes remark upon the potential untrustworthiness of a being created by an “all powerful entity” called Luna. A girl who nearly killed him from excess is too intelligent to trust.


While some of the wildness vanishes from Kol, her sniffing of his scent comes with weakening of her subservient presence. Already sizing him up, shared passions between them weaken as she nakedly contemplates their hierarchy. Physically his superior in every way, the moment ambition grips her, Adris could be torn apart.


Of Still, even if she gives him the same smile, she’s a source of betrayal waiting to stab him.


(You’re the most competent one, but also the most dangerous. Why would I have ever considered you close…? Why do I still feel you are!?)


Though bubbly and kind, the elf girl he is locked to is also hazardous to all life. Being involved with her in the long term means coming to terms with this naive, embarrassing attractiveness she has…




Though she’s still beautiful and prompts zero physical revulsion to be around, Adris’ earlier laments that the worldviews of “demi-humans” being so different fight back to the surface to sow dissent in his plans.




“How, now, does one view us, Adris?”

Breaking the ice, Neesiette tilts her head after coming before him. The lifelessness of this pseudo girl is poignant to consider, for she isn’t alive like Adris is.


(How can we share a bond?)




Freed of the impulse to own them at all costs, their survival-forged partnerships war with the stark realities that speak against including them in any plans he should want to pursue.

Only a lingering fire that comes to his belly when he looks at each refuses to accept that they are meaningless to him.




“Nothing… changes.”


Even as he makes this assertion without fully believing it, something bright is shining into his eyes. Looking up, though not knowing why radiance would be coming from the clouds, Adris’ knees quake as he feels his legs lose strength.




Above him, the clouds are parting.

Memories of death by falling rainbow send him to the ground.


A hand raises to block the violet orb in the sky from view, hoping to defend against it.


(What is…)


“What is that…?”




Pointing at it as he sits on the ground, Neesiette grasps his hand to calm him.

Almost producing the opposite effect, only his need to retain the appearance of self-control and omnipotence prevents him from ripping away from her.


“[Traveler] it be called. Place of this lady’s creation, it traverses between the stars.”

The one who claims this globe of power as home cannot be considered a calming emissary for it.

For her eyes shine with the same brutal color that threatens his wildly beating heart.


(No, the stars are deep in the sea.)


Though the lights twinkle in this black sea above, these whispy swirls and bright pinpoints are demons in the heavens out to destroy him. Possessing their own radiance, they still pale in comparison to this Traveler which looms as a physical god in presence.


“This isn’t right. That shouldn’t be there.”


Losing a bit more of his sanity at the lack of the ever-constraining cloud cover, Adris wonders if he’ll fall into this black sea, perhaps being devoured by it as easily as the Near and the Nigh between worlds once ate him.


“Bolster oneself. This lady’s… homeland bears no ill will toward you. Respite be ahead. Concentrate on us and think nothing of the above.”

“Adris, you’re safe with us, okay?”




“Boss, nobody bother, unless Boss too weak to know that?”

Snorting at him, all turn their eyes to Kol as the girl shows uncharacteristic disgust.

“Kol. Be silent.”

Tsk, Moon, always say…”


Walking off, Kol seems more disgruntled than usual. Challenging him openly like this, Adris feels hot as he thinks of how to respond.

Pulled up once more by Still’s cold, clasping hand covered in melted mesh, she pats his back as she takes over walking with him.


“For what reason would I need support like this!?”

{It ain’t support. I’m just enjoying some company~.}

A barked objection earns no dissatisfaction from Still, prompting Adris to feel mistaken in his behavior as she simply holds him tighter.

“Leave me be. This world is simply… different.”

{Why wouldn’t another world be different, partner? Don’t worry. This place is your world, now.}


Moving forward because he must, Adris can’t keep up the illusion that he’s in control.





Surprisingly swift in travel, the trip down the cliff side, one whose cut walls were guarded by ancient, worn statues of…


(Tiberian Legionnaires. Had I not almost died to them, I wouldn’t recognize that presence in a statue so weathered by time.)


… allowed Adris to examine the small city they were approaching.


Set deeper within this valley than the Castillo, that glorious mansion overlooks it as a king, while the city of columns it lords over is mostly desolate. Showing similar architecture to the Castillo’s internal halls, a past age is the inspiration for domiciles and great municipal buildings placed between rock croppings.

With the only flat land being toward the edge of this mountain valley, a great chasm in the valley’s center is surprising. Like a quarry collapsed into a sinkhole, this chasm is emptied into by a small river coming down from higher in the mountain, one that brushes past the Castillo and Petripolis before disappearing without a sound.


(A mining settlement?)


Near this chasm, material piles are stacked high, only half as short as the tallest buildings. Though the city’s size should preclude being a mining town, the fact that artificial light only shines from part of it, and much is choked by vegetation or given to collapse shows its rebirth upon recovery.


“It’s being reclaimed?”


“Indeed. As one guesses, Petripolis be a city in recovery, one with ample room.”


Explaining things quietly as they progressed, Neesiette now gets to essential parts.


“Security be quite lacking in outlying sections, for not even barriers be manned. Only inner quarters under control of humans be privy to protection, with outer ones left to fend alone.”


Unmanned barriers seen behind sparse trees also appear to be heavily in decay, with open sections such as where they walk through now.


“Does the Castillo not attack?”

Shaking her head, Ave jumps in while making a waving hand gesture towards the human-occupied center’s direction.

“The Castillo hasn’t… been active until very recently. Nobody really knows how they would defend against it, because the Alchemaster’s forces have never come!”

“Not even raids?”

“Eh, not really…? Whoever wants to be in Petripolis can probably get in, at least to the outer sections. Only the slayers spook the monsters…”

“Indeed. Slayers may be said to represent the true deterrent of Petripolis, for when trouble brews within it, they are quick to seek out the cause and… dispense with the troublemakers in novel ways.”

In tandem, the two brainy girls explain the going ons. Ave blushes while getting to the reason of how the slayers serve as an effective deterrent.

“Anyone they catch gets treated… pretty… I mean, if you get caught, they might just strap you to a street corner to be… used…”


When Ave clams up, Still’s gestures spell a sordid story.


{What the meathead did with those kobolds, though a family matter for her, is similar. Slayers “have fun” any way they choose. Most humans abhor it, but some rare few get… “interested”.}


(Ah, I’ve made several problems worse. That Mantecado is sure to spread knowledge of the orgy in some way. Will I start a new trend?)


The thought increases his numbness as he continues walking. Though he learns a bit of the history of Petripolis from recent times, nothing of its history is known.


“Well, some of the humans keep finding small records of the old city’s life, leading them to claim the city is a [Crèche] (TIME CAPSULE OF OLD WAYS), while the Granescians and the mayor’s people keep trying to shoot them down on that!”

Noticing his look of ignorance, Ave quickly clarifies.

“A Crèche is a past age that’s been perfectly preserved! It normally has treasures beyond belief and a history that has its own life. A lot of machinery and magic the humans use is recovered from these places.

After being discovered, these old homes can… change everywhere around them. New monsters will show up, often freed from imprisonment and such, while the lands will adopt new climates or effects. It’s pretty bizarre?”


(That sounds… intentional, from an outsider’s perspective.)


“Problem is, most of the people who came to Petripolis believed the claim that it’s a Crèche, with the reawakening of the Alchemaster in this age sort of lending evidence to that idea. They’re always busy trying to find the heart of the area, a treasure trove awaiting delvers! Once the mining of the dangerous zone beneath Petripolis kicked up after unearthing even more wealthy ruins, who could really say they’re wrong?”

Sighing in her rant, Ave weaves through thick underbrush effortlessly while thinking of how to continue.


“The fanatics for Petripolis are the real power here. Outsiders try to stamp them and each other out, from what people say. The outer areas have the least politics, which makes them better! Except for… the slayers…”

“That makes Petripolis sound incredibly hazardous for anyone here. What would bring them to this city?”

“Ah? Ah!? Petripolis isn’t that bad! Even with the things that go on, the city itself is really beautiful during the day! There’s tons of things to do… so please don’t prejudge it! It’s my home, too.”

Getting flustered, Ave refuses to think only bad things about Adris’ future base of operations.


Wilderness gives way to a cleared street of finely laid flagstones stretching down a straight avenue of stone domiciles.

Arrayed like the Tiberian murals of Gallus’ death chamber, they are packed more tightly and with softer motifs. With most only two or three stories high, arches joining them and columns supporting roofed areas are very stately.

Rounded and asymmetrical, a hand-crafted appearance prevails, denying planning.




(But what is this? Why is… everything made of stone!?)




Where timbers would be used for cheaper residences and wooden doors would bar access to guests, these additions have petrified. Old curtains, banners, and organic materials once ossified and then collapsed under the strain. Once-wooden furniture is now worn stone.

Trees and shrubs along the avenue are now shards of rocky rubble, with only their jagged trunks and shoots left after the passing of time.

Footfalls echo back on them, even as muffled as their steps are.


“Everything… turned to stone?”

Nodding her head, Neesiette points out various parts before plucking a piece of rock from what was once a tree.

“A powerful act of transmutation permanently sealed the fate of this city. According to sources known to this lady, its architecture denotes at least a previous age as when it met its end, likely the Second.”

Dropping the piece, it shatters on the stone tiles.

“And its inhabitants?”

Shaking her head briskly, she sounds amused by the mystery.

“Of inhabitants, nay, ‘victims’, none ever be uncovered. Sealed forever as stone which does not share its history, such abandoned streets testify only to the viciousness of the perpetrator.”

Ave seems daunted by the one who is unstated to be responsible, but must be. Kol only “tsks” in annoyance at this powerful effect.


(The Alchemaster did this for certain. This is her style.)


Oddly, Adris notes that Still seems totally uninterested in the story, strutting forward unevenly as her hands fly.

{Even if Petripolis wanted to defend against that bitch in her prime, do you really think they could after seeing this?}

“No, I don’t.”


(There’s no way, with what I’ve seen, that a half broken city could prevail.)


{Right~. The only reason she hasn’t is because either she won’t or she can’t…}


“A newt overlooked one key change in history which could explain this dilemma.”

As they arrive on a main thoroughfare, Neesiette points down one way.

“All factions and intents pale in comparison to the slayers. Arriving en masse with no prior fanfare, the potential of such powerful individuals quickly deposed all of the existing factions.”


(How did they accomplish this…? Oh.)


“They completely destroyed any opposition to them?”

Smiling without energy, Adris can already guess what happened.


(If a master aura user were to desire his own village, he would simply walk in and take it. No one could stop him.)


“… Indeed.” Shifting her posture further upright as she strokes her cheek, Neesiette ponders how to describe events that were likely sordid. “All who live within Petripolis eagerly share knowledge of its darkest time as a warning.

In only one day, the Slayers of Petripolis descended upon it in legion.

The crimes committed against citizenry be uncountable, though no permanent harm came if one be neutral in accounting, for none were enslaved, consigned to Fate, or brought low by deprivation. Carnal punishments were the only thing sought, however eagerly.

Battered and vigorously assaulted, their half-naked victims fled in front of the Castellani security forces which sought to intervene. Simply swiftly returning to claim vengeance upon defeat, the slayers would prove that no matter how potent the response delivered to these novel invaders, they could not be stopped.

Paradoxically, they grew stronger with each attempt. Even the Castellani soldiers eventually succumbed to their ravages, tacitly surrendering control of the outer sections and begging for leniency for the inner ones.”

Pausing in her story, she points out how things remain standing, with banners of a castle against a mountain backdrop hanging everywhere.

“At some point slayers turned upon other slayers over ideological differences arising from these entreaties, causing what be named the ‘Week of Woe’ where they fought for supremacy over each other. Those who chose co-existence with the Castellani presumably profited, for a stalemate developed ever after.

Along with this invasion, many hidden monsters were scoured simultaneously, as well as elements of the worst criminal enterprises. Such sexual atrocities occurred that few could escape witnessing or being tainted by them…”


(Aren’t they fucking scary!? What sort of organization is born of a random invasion formed solely to rape and pillage!? Why hasn’t some army showed up to wipe them out!?)


“Ave… came after this. Nobody really wants to talk deeply about what happened if they were here. A lot of folks abandoned Petripolis after.” Though somewhat clinging to Adris, he notes that most of her enthusiasm for bodily contact has regressed into simply a need for security.

“Although people exaggerate events, I think, it’s one of the strangest things to happen in Zennian history. The slayers all have weird objectives and nobody knows why random people from totally different backgrounds would gather under one banner…”

Though his arm is taken by her, she seems in control of her lusts.


{Don’t worry about them. The slayers of now are nothing like then. … Okay, “home” is down that way, Adris. See you guys later.}


Simply walking away lazily, Still waves her hand as she starts to disappear into the gloom.


“Still! Are you not…?”

{Leave off for tonight. I’ve got business. … Don’t worry, I still like you, partner~.}

Still leans over coyly to tease him, making a gesture of a heart over her breasts.

{I’ll be back in the morning.}


Stopping only long enough for this, she then briskly enters the darkness between a building, escaping from sight without a sound.


(… She doesn’t room with them? Still remains diminished, even after the cessation of battle and escaping the Castillo. Will she recover?)


“Is Still not a part—?”

“Puddle, do what want. Always… sneaky…”

Huffing, Kol finds the event beneath her. Wobbling as she walks, Kol shakes her head to clear away something. Approaching her, Adris puts a hand to her shoulder.

“Kol, are you ok—?”


Throwing off his hand, the girl growls at him. As though a challenge is building up, her fur hackles as she dares him to step forward to engage with her.

Though almost nothing is left of her axe, she lifts it up as if to…




“Stand down shall you, now. Explain one’s actions, Kol.”

Pointing her sparking rod at Kol, Neesiette moves in front of Adris while backing up into him, forcing him away.


When Kol’s fierce eyes catch sight of Neesiette, she blinks a few times before lowering her axe.

“… Umu… can’t say, why… Kol, ‘sorry’…”

Regaining her composure, Kol turns around and drunkenly walks down the exposed avenue towards “home”.


“… Be aware of the reason for Kol’s condition, does one?”

“Not entirely.”

Whispering with Neesiette, the girl leaves her rod out as she follows along to watch over Kol.

“Why is she so angry? Adris, she’s been looking ill since you passed out… Should Ave do something?”

Looking concerned and fearful, Ave bites on one of her fingernails as she slithers forward, seemingly looking to catch up and comfort her “friend”.




Even as he says he knows little about it, Adris’ skin is clammy.

For he briefly felt from Kol that presence of aura that he detects from her in battle. This miasma is likely the reason for Ave’s increased shivering, as attuned as the elf is to Kol’s presence.


(Something has gone wrong with her?)






Name: Adris fehl Dain, “Boss”
Titles: Lycia’s Little Brother, True False God
Race: Xin’El, Emperor’s Child (Human)
Sex: Male
Age: ?? – Young


Occupation: Crossbearer; “Star of Ruin, Cast Down from the Sky Upon a Dying World”
Discipline: [Rule in Dark]



[Tool Savant] – “Adris is a tool-collecting-and-utilizing fanatic. Most men would consider him disgusting for loving tools more than his own partner. Has so many tools that it can be said to be his true power. What does he do when he has no tools left? He seeks to acquire more, obviously!”


[Rule in Dark – Wave of Darkness] – “Making victory possible? No, no, no. That thing isn’t that kind! There’s more than that!”


[Brainfry] – “You’re still with me, right buddy? Yeah, you’re still there.”


[Refuse to Kneel] – “Ah, even the Alchemaster can’t make me submit! This is the one that’s saved me all those times!?”


[Tongue of Air and Darkness] – “What’s the difference between this and the old one? Why ‘air’?”


[Conceptual Refusal] – “How the fuck does dominating people’s minds turn into a weird statement like this!?”


[Obscuring Sonjil] – “Man, this thing has gotten pretty strong on Zennia. At first only creating an area of fog, it can now cover a direction? Is something wrong…?”


[Marital Arts – Self-taught] – “Hoh, even if it’s dangerous to use, it feels good to prove to myself that the body is still as willing as the mind! Even if I can’t call it aura, something is inside me now!”



Disposition: Resilient / Adaptable / Sinner
Alignment: Chaotic

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



Rantil Value – “Even after all of that, Master is still an idiot!”


Attributes by Grade:

Strength – E

Vitality – E

Dexterity – D

Agility – C

Intelligence – D

Mentality – C

Luck – F

Charisma – D


“If you want more, stop being mean to Rantil!”



Cethran Value – “Much the same as before, but isn’t the way you look at others a bit more dashing, now? Forced to open yourself to the world, perhaps the gentleman may grow? That is likely impossible, isn’t it, Adris?”

“Is this perhaps the first time a woman has tried to give you what she thinks you want? Or the first time you’ve noticed?”

“How does it feel to finally just let go, fellow seeker of rare truths?”

“Aren’t you getting a little too old to be starting an army?”

“Bypassing army, you go straight for crime lord? How amusing, isn’t this distinction?”


“My, aren’t you getting quite ahead of yourself? Rather than worrying about the plans of others, shouldn’t you be drafting your own?”



“A boy who is a bit out of place as far as features, he descended from the top of the Castillo to the bottom by pluck, luck, and outrageous lying. Reborn into the world of Zennia, what can be said other than ‘he’s still exactly the same, but different’?”

“Being elevated means accepting responsibility for those who venerate you.”

“Taking control is not the same as keeping control.”

“Discovers that the cross still offers gifts, but at what price?”

“Weighing the odds, Adris is not one to let an opportunity pass. At heart, he is a gambler who refuses to gamble if he thinks the house will always win.”


“Relieved of the effects of the Castillo, what will he do?”



“Realizes far too late all of the various anchors he has tied around his neck.”



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


Occupation: Delver, Frontliner
Discipline: ???




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


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


[Unknown Aura of Dread] – “Huge blade, not dangerous?”


[Bulwark] – “Nobody get by Kol… ever. All belong, Kol!”


[Fire Resistance?] – “Huh, after big dark, Kol get fire, right? ‘Big deal’, flames!”


Disposition: Straightforward / Confrontational / Respectful
Alignment: Neutral

Eyes: Pink
Hair: White
Skin: Tanned



Rantil Value –

Attributes by Grade:

Strength – C

Vitality – C

Dexterity – E

Agility – F

Intelligence – F

Mentality – C




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

“Oh, a lover of dominating others? How shocking this is, isn’t it? Isn’t this matching with your tastes in general?”

“How does it feel to know doubt again, Adris?”

“If you see her as a princess to be saved, then why haven’t you jumped in?”

“Less the princess and more the villain, perhaps you have much in common?”


“Will you not check up on her?”



“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.”

“Seeking power so that she might force others to act, she also seeks the authority to defend them. The most paradoxical people are the ones who do dubious and mean-spirited things in the belief that they are doing the right thing.”

“Possessing a sexuality that is not easily defined, the act of taking measures highly for her.”

“A girl that puts herself on the outside, she’s not afraid to do what’s necessary to save others, even if it means being the brunt of their anger.”

“Immediately defeated by certain people, Kol is still too proud to admit fault if she feels even a sliver of justification.”


“Denied of what should’ve been hers, she took treasure to compensate.”



“Pissy, but also in trouble.”



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


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




[“Reprisal Strike”] – {You had it coming, deciding you could oppose me and walk away from it.}


[“Surprising Agility”] – {Is it honestly surprising by now? Walls are just another surface~!}


[Nectar] – {How does my suffering taste, spawn ofcursed blood”!?}


Disposition: Playful / Sadistic / Skulking
Alignment: Chaotic

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



Rantil Value –

Attributes by Grade:

Strength – E

Vitality – E

Dexterity – C

Agility – C

Intelligence – 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?”

“If she says that they have plans for you, then isn’t it simply fair that you should answer to them? Is this not your definition of beauty: endless plans?”

“If she speaks of justice, does that not ring true?”

“Yet if justice is truly what she desires, then why does she take pleasure in wrong?”

“Will you be kind to her at some point?”


“Do you appreciate what she does or merely rely upon it? Which is more dangerous? Adris, do you not understand women?”



“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.”

“Whether or not she would truly wish Kol to leave is up to debate, but she can play her quite easily when Kol doesn’t bother to gauge her mannerisms.”

“A master of potions, perhaps. It’s hard to know what delvers and slayers will have access to.”

“Cannot claim to be a master of puppets.”

“Showing unusual willingness to let others act as they will, perhaps she cannot stop it, even if she wanted to?”


“Appears to repay debts, if begrudgingly at times.”



“Already scampering away, plots are hard to do out in the open.”



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

Occupation: Delver, Mystic
Discipline: ???



[Rod of Force] – “In what way would it be changed? As designed, so shall it function, correct?”


[Rod of Respelling] – “A lady be every ready to instruct regarding what be in error.”


[“Brings An End” – Ponderous] – “[Ponderous was the end, for the unfair passage of time finally brought even earth to its conclusion]…”


Disposition: Impassive / Calculating / Curious
Alignment: Ordered

Eyes: Pale Violet
Hair: Amber
Skin: Pale White



Rantil Value –

Strength – F

Vitality – F

Dexterity – D

Agility – E

Intelligence – B

Mentality – C

Luck – F




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?”

“Isn’t it doubtful that you would get along with her if she was like this all the time?”

“How differently would this have turned out had she been aware of it?”

“In the end, doesn’t her mysteriousness only increase?”

“Not ready to match wits with her again? Feel you might come up short, this time?”


“Is Petripolis the place to find other charming ladies like this one?”



“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…?”

“Driven wild by what she called forth, she’s hellbent on pointing out the flaws of Zennia.”

“Perhaps not all spells are meant to be cast.”

“A girl that recites strange instructions upon awakening, has anyone actually ever seen her sleep?”

“Is the one that carries the stick when concerning Kol.”


“Though not the leader of the party, she seems most eager to be at the side of…?”



“Can be relied on for exposition.”



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

Occupation: Delver, Scared Girl
Discipline: ???



[“Sylvan Calling”] – “The spirits play when they want to! … They really do! Why are you looking at me like that!?”


[Preternatural Strikes] – “Um, I’ve always been pretty good with a whip? Elves use a lot of weapons! I just like… my whip…?”


[Monstrous Strength] – “EH!? Why is it monstrous!? Elves aren’t monsters!]


[“Unknown Angel”] – “Ave doesn’t feel especially blessed…”


Disposition: Joyful / Impressionable / Cowardly
Alignment: Neutral

Eyes: Crystal Green
Hair: Moss Green
Skin: White



Rantil Value –

Strength – C

Vitality – D

Dexterity – C

Intelligence – C

Mentality – F

Luck – A

Charisma – C




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?”

“Perhaps she doesn’t wear all her emotions on her sleeve?”

“It might be up to a man to show her how life works, yes?”

“Shouldn’t you burn alive treating a girl like this?”

“Of course you would treat her like this right after that question, wouldn’t you?”


“How do you feel about her eccentricities, now that you are freed from your libido?”



“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?”

“Rather than trying to push a tiresome presence out, she caves and invites her back in. Such is the nature of an elf named Avenalliah: she can’t quit her friends.”

“Cannot find love, nor love to accept sex.”

“Possessing something like normality is bizarre for a girl that… nevermind.”

“Choosing to stand for Adris means that she is putting herself at odds with three other girls.”


“Though she’s kind, she doesn’t let others try and take what she’s claimed.”



“She’s getting a little better.”





Castellani – “The name given to the state that Petripolis is contained within is Castile, with the rulers being the Castellani?”


Petripolis – “The stony city of slayers.”



Chapter 55         Table of Contents          Chapter 57