Take Up the Cross – Chapter 59: Who We Are

Being laid into bed, the sleeping terror wearing only a tunic finally ends up under sheets. Beside her, the pale, half-dressed snake elf whose hair is still wet lies in repose.

The equally lifeless Neesiette is placed back on her “throne”, leaving his work complete.


(Kol got you, too!?)


All present from his group appear knocked unconscious by Kol’s awakening.


Adris’ heart, one which was finally recovering from the horrors of the last crisis, is unsettled by the shadow lingering at their large door.


Offering a pleasant smile, the tired boy doesn’t look forward to the impending blame.

“Thanks are deserved for transporting Ave from the bathroom. Though circumstances turned out badly, I was only trying to save Kol, so any harm is an unfortunate—”


“Words alone will not placate me.”

An even refusal denies him, while the curling finger the large arachnid innkeeper beckons with allows no refusal as the woman skitters backwards into the darkness of the hallway.


(Well, looks like I’m in trouble.)


Assured now that all present are safe, he hopes to do the same for himself.


(… It will be fine.)








Joining her in the dark hall and closing the door, the woman towering over him is unamused by his charm. Wearing a lacy nightgown instead of her dress, only the darkness hides peeking sights of what’s underneath.


(You don’t care much if I look, or am I supposed to?)


“Had I known you were user of sorceries (VAGARIES OF TRUTH-SEEKING MAGIC), I would’ve explained the rules of this establishment; yet, such rules should be unnecessary to explain if you were properly trained, wildling.”

“The word you use isn’t known to me. What I did was simply to preserve the life of—”

A chitinous finger pokes into his cheek, with this woman without a presence leering down with absolute authority.


“Why is your purpose suddenly important? Obey the rules and decorum, before all else.

… Here for only one night, yet I’ve noticed someone murky skulking in the areas of my protections. Would this not be you?”


(Well, yes! I didn’t know they were that sensitive, though.)


“I’ve not seen work like yours, before now. It was quite attractive—”


“Leave off with your charm!” Hissing at him, the woman is menacing as she steps forward, cutting him off from his room as she backs him up with her advance. “Your mutt’s little outburst knocked out my Robbie and unsettled numerous things I’m working on! I was just getting into a whole night’s relaxation…”

Indeed, the woman is glowing from the pleasure of her night. Healthy skin and dried sweat show the lengths she went to while egging her brother on. Adris’ own interest is unusually high, forced as he was to provide for Kol while skipping himself, leaving Meltisha as an effective surrogate for his imagination.


“… It’s fine to find me attractive, you bizarre boy, but any sort of relationship we have will be of my discretion and not your making, and it’s certainly not going to be as a way for you to kiss up to me!”

“… Was I indicating a relationship was—?”

A black hand runs over her stomach, before she draws back in a sultry manner.

“Huh, the way you look at me is precious! Trying to deny it implies arrogance you don’t truly have. Don’t worry, we’ll have time to explore the uncertain future and our place in it later ❤️.”


(This isn’t what I wanted! Don’t you already have your brother!? You’re awfully confident in me wanting to fuck a spider!)


Trying to back away from the predator before him, only a wall meets his retreat. Even if he tries to deny her appeal, his lust certainly isn’t decreasing.


“See? Honest men like you, ones who lie through their teeth elegantly enough but leave their naked eyes blatant, are easy to chat with. As to your nightly activities, I see that child has found a bosom companion that matches her private interests.

Very well. In support of her vetting of you…”


Adris’ leg is lightly raked by the woman’s hand as he stands his ground.


(Who is this “child”!?)


“… and Robbie’s little dream, I won’t mangle you too much.”


The woman smiles kindly as she figuratively ties him to her web, taking his arm by the shoulder before he can lift the cross.




(There’s no battle! So… she’s not going to hurt me, right!?)


“Though I don’t have time for proper tutoring, drilling the basics will suffice in aiding your understanding of who owns this [atelier] (PRIVATE WORKSHOP).”





The morning light is a mixed blessing.




After receiving a week of practitioners’ etiquette lessons in an hour’s time…


(Never try to charm these monsters! How can a woman be so serious in me memorizing something, yet employ skinship to distract me at the same time?)


… he’d been released and offered pleasant dreams.


Haunted in his dreams by a figure bearing a curved sword, only his repeated smashing of the reforming phantom allowed him to sleep. Adding to this discomfort was where he was forced to lie.


Between two unconscious teammates, Adris took his chances.

Now, his punishment is to wake up while being held by a distinctly warm body, with no Neesiette present to rescue him.


“… Hmmm…”

Kol groans as she cradles him, clinging to him with her breasts squishing into his face.


Behind him, a girl’s head is drilling into his back as her arm reaches over him. A long tail has wrapped partway up around his legs, keeping him trapped.


(Let me go.)


While pushing Kol off is easy with deliberate steps, the ensnaring elf requires a plea. Her hand hanging over him stirs to life as he touches it, before it tracks along his body.

Eager and hungry, this hand moves to his waist before freezing.


“… Ah, ah… sorry…”

Uncurling from him, her tail plops onto the ground as the girl rises from bed slowly.


“Um… why am I here, Adris? The last thing I remember is taking a bath, then something horrifying attacked me…!? But was it a dream?”

She quickly pulls out a cute green robe from a drawer, using it to cover her disheveled clothing.


“Kol was attacked by a peculiar condition. Freeing her from it by my efforts had some strange effects. Everyone is safe, though. Or are you not?”

“Safe? Yes… AH!? Wait. Did you… see…!?”

Blushing profusely, Ave draws into herself before Adris quickly intervenes.

“Miss Sha dressed and carried you to bed.”

“… Oh!? That was kind of her. Ah, I knew I was wrong! She’s actually really nice…!” Smiling at the treatment given to her, which was actually rough in truth, Ave begins going about her morning routine.

“Well, let’s have a good day, Adris! There’s tons of things to do! Everyone wants to talk about what we’re going to do, now.”

The process of combing her hair and setting her hair ornaments in line is an old ritual, leaving the young girl humming as she beautifies herself in front of a small mirror.


(You’re awfully confident I didn’t do anything, but friends wouldn’t, right?)


Trying to get up himself, the braies underclothing given to him by Meltisha is a poor fit designed for a larger man. All the same, he is happy to not expose himself, for green eyes in a mirror eagerly watch him as she combs.


“… Not leave… Kol’s…”

His hand whips out of the way of a white-furred one which tries to grab it. Unconsciously continuing her attack, Kol forces Adris to roll away while substituting Ave’s pillow. She yawns and returns to her slumber after grabbing it up, only an ear twitch given after.


(I’m not your pillow! … This is already turning awkward. There’s tension with my presence, but the wrong kind!)


Even if Ave is trying to act normal, the girl keeps fumbling her work of putting on the various jewelry she wears.

“Adris is Adris. He wouldn’t do anything unless I asked, right? Although… maybe it wouldn’t be bad…?”


Adris’ masculine addition, even if as a boy, has thrown off her life. Leaving the girl whispering to herself as she shares her semi-private sanctuary, she still mistakenly believes he can’t understand her.


(Receiving an open view into her thoughts is harmful to my health. She’s way too easy to take advantage of.)


Escaping from his own thoughts on her to his clothing…


(I can understand the lacking mysterious impression I’ve had, forced as I am to wear… huh?)




Where he set his rags down last night, something else entirely different is picked up.


A soft, animal-fiber brown tunic with long sleeves ending in gold cuffs lies over a pair of thick protective pants with an inner, soft silk layer. Hanging from the peg on the wall next to them is a replacement for his torn half-cloak and jerkin. The heavy cloak is weatherized cloth with a velvet lining. Having a rich fur collar, its whimsical brass clasp and trailing end-pieces subtly project the stature of the wearer.


(Who did this?)


Pulling the jerkin up, the fingers rubbing over it show quality leather to its make, while brass buttons and accent lines where it joins at the front give its wearer a Zennian look of high-breeding. Though the subdued drab color is less fetching, he doesn’t need to concern himself with grime showing on it.


“Ave, where did these come from?”

“Hm? Those are…? Oh! Hmmm!?”


She only stops her work for a moment, before she offers an unusually knowing smile as she gets excited for his discovery.

“Welllll, they might be a gift from a secret admirer!? They’re the best, right? Try them on!”

“Tell me who…!”

The elf helps Adris dress despite his implied reluctance, slithering to surround him. Letting him put the pants on, she assists with the rest of the ensemble.




“… It’s not bad.” Admitting this truth, he nods approvingly.


(And it fits perfectly.)


Using her small mirror, he tests his movement in this new clothing set. Like a second skin, every conceivable rough spot in his motions shows the seamstress’ expertise in softening the wear on him.

Though cleaned and new, he can’t help but feel he’s worn them all his life.


(I couldn’t afford this kind of quality on Xin. I’m wearing a treasure.)




“… Ah… you look…”

A calculated turn of his body leaves his dark mask and striking appearance catching her suddenly in its pull, driving the snake girl to fall back.

“Um… You look… dashing.” Her eyes dart, drinking in the appeal as she fails to convey her true thoughts.

“That goes without saying.”

Flinging his arm out, the cloak flies in the perfect motion to settle.


(Haha! This feels amazing. Who did this? Neesiette? No, she wouldn’t deign to make me clothing.)


Ave stares at him as if she’s never seen them, far too caught up in the impression as her wide eyes gleam.




(It can’t be Ave, so… this is… Still’s work.)




Immediately, he feels dread at that knowledge.

His “partner” knows his body even better than he does, if she can make clothing tailored to it.




Before he can muster a plan to confront her, the door opens.


“Awaken from slumber and meet the day. Toward noble goals, eat and be ready to pursue them in earnest.”

Carrying a tray with a meal on it with some difficulty, a well-dressed girl sweeps into the room. Impassive, yet spirited, she walks up to join Adris and Ave as the one behind her artistically struts along behind.


{Hm? Looking good, partner. Clothes make the man, and a man deserves the clothes, right?}


His last image of her as being beaten and worn is banished, with the vivacious girl with perfectly fresh, repaired clothing and clear colors throwing Adris energetic signs as she plops herself on the bed. Rousing Kol with the impact, Still sets down two plates.


“AH!? What? You shitty Puddle! Kol, trying, sleep— HAK?”

Kol’s rant is cut short by a cooked chicken leg tossed into her open mouth, earning a reprieve as the famished kobold strips the meat from it with sharp teeth.

“Umu, Puddle is finally useful.”




(When did you… change…?)


Gone is the reserved, if still toying, young woman of the Castillo.


Almost glinting darkly in the light, this born again vixen offers a coy smile on her faultless mask. Though her figure is exactly the same, mesh-covered thighs freed from protective chausses draw closer attention as they cross. Lacking her thicker duelist’s jacket, a thinner flounced bodice with a style like her paneled skirt leaves her assets prominent.

Vitality overflows from her, filling Adris’ senses with the “taste” of her recovered personality. Exuding a room-filling sense of femininity, her jubilant mannerisms invite him to lose himself in the tale she weaves.


{Conquerer of the Castillo, savior of our party, and deliverer of justice to the distant past? I didn’t think you could accomplish anything more impressive than that; yet, in only one night you managed to get Meltisha’s private instruction and blew up this white ingrate with a firestorm?}

Offering him a kiss with her fingers, she declares her heart is stolen as she leans back.

{False god of my dreams, please always weave your schemes by my side~!}


(I don’t know if you’re being dramatically sarcastic or sincere! But I don’t dislike your reverence.)


“I don’t see how you can call that instruction.” Leaving out Kol’s true story to save face, Adris finally knows who “the child” Meltisha referred to is. “Would you be Meltisha’s student?”

{There’s no such thing as a teacher here, partner. We just talk about stuff~. She has this idea that you’re supposed to be invited to the next “tea party”…?}

“I’m not a mystic, no matter my power and knowledge. Please disabuse her of her misunderstanding and unschedule me.”


(The less I meet her, the better!)


{I think you two might have more in common than you think, but I get it.}

“Learning of others be the purpose of today, Adris, instead of lessons from strangers.”


While Ave, Kol, and Adris fervently eat their meals…


(It’s pretty good? Chicken and gravy goes well with whatever this squash is.)


… Neesiette draws attention to their spoils.


“Achieved now be success beyond all previous attempts. Quite a bounty of Castillo gold be only the beginning, for with four treasures, as examined and discerned by this lady, our group exceeds common gains of other slayers.”


Over to Ave’s area is where the midget intrudes, picking up a green trapeze bag.

“Ah! That’s mine!”


Fretting at the display, Ave quickly rushes over to grab it.

“Magical items be of— Ah! Newt, relinquish for explanation!”

“I can explain it just fine! I was the one who told you what it is! Adris, look!”


Modeling the bag, Ave starts gushing about it as she runs her hands along the metallic surface.

“It’s a magic bag from Myth Mandostesse! An artifact from the First Age!”


Neesiette is dragged into a debate as the two begun tugging against each other, until Ave handily wins.

“Look at the markings, midget! I can’t miss something like that! It’s definitely from them! Anyway, the ability of the bag is to hold anything that you can fit into it! Size, weight, composition, it doesn’t matter! Heeheee!”

Twirling around, the snake elf smiles like sunshine rescued from servitude.

“I don’t have to carry packs anymore!”

“‘To an upward limit’ be lacking from explanation, though its limit be above our party’s needs as yet.”


Nodding at her explanation, Neesiette then leaves the dancing elf to touch the helmet near Kol.

“Mine. Kol earned this, definitely. Kol won’t let anyone try to sell it or give it away. Moon always says: ‘to who needs it, it goes’.”

“…? Of course. Kol, what fits with your purposes be owed.”

“Huh? Kol… you said that pretty clearly?”

With Neesiette backing off from Kol’s assertion, and Ave shocked out of her reverie and Still balking at Kol’s words, Adris has to admit that Kol was quite clear in how she spoke.


(I can always understand her even if she rushes, but how do they hear her…?)


A question that’s always out of reach is swiftly answered.


“Answer this question, Kol: what is fifteen plus four?”

“Huh? Umu…”

Pondering the question deeply…

“Plus means ‘put together’, right? Kol thinks that Moon said that, some day?”

“… That… that be… correct…”


Neesiette then looks to Still, who is frantically signing.

{She recognizes addition!?}

“So it would seem.”


(Does she not normally know how to add!?)


“Spare a few ten-turns for inspection, Adris, even if it would be inconvenient and seem odd.

Kol, answer the following questions.”

“Umu, Kol can still eat, right?”





A series of questions and answers led by Neesiette touch lightly on many subjects, such as math, sciences, social interactions, and philosophy.

In all of them, Kol scores better than anyone could’ve dreamed of.


{No way. She’s… smarter than she was before.}

“No other explanation suffices. Though still ignorant and naive, Kol’s current ability to make inferences, deductions, and inductions exceeds all previous instances, though this lady knows it be impossible to teach her anything she dislikes as a subject.”

“Ave can understand Kol now!? Why!? This is scary!”


While three girls huddle next to each other whispering, the subject of their investigation grows frustrated.


“Kol, always, understood! Why do you three, think Kol, dumb!?”

“Wait! Kol, calm down. Try to think about what you’re saying before you say it. We can understand it better when you do.”

When Adris pats her on the shoulder, the irate kobold stops fuming.


“… Why think about it? Kol, knows what needs to be said. Elf, Moon, and Puddle just never listen!”

“Scary!? I can understand that!? It’s weird! Please stop!”


Flinching, Ave backs up from the bed while Still and Neesiette remain too shocked to act.

“Ave, what does she normally sound like to you?”

“Like… grunts, growls, and really mangled words!? I mean, Kol can speak Castilian just barely and also the kobolds seem to understand her yipping like she speaks with them, but even they seemed frustrated…?”

Your ability to understand Kol would be considered the strange part, Adris.” Neesiette interrupts Ave while the snake mutters to herself, prompting Kol to bark in annoyance.

“Boss isn’t strange! You three are strange! Kol, always speaks, normal!?”


(… All of her strange words and ways of phrasing things were because she wasn’t quite… bright?)


Pondering the question while holding onto Kol to keep her from raging, only his scratching behind her ear keeps her contained.


(Awakenings can have interesting effects? No, nothing like this is normal. If I think about what happened, it felt like there was something within her trying to get out. That power might’ve been interfering with her normal functions?)


“Ave wants the Kol back who she doesn’t have to understand all the time! No, maybe this is better?”

“Elf, you want to fight? You saying, you want Kol dumb!?”

“I don’t want to fight! No, wait! If you can understand me more, then stop making me do all this weird training! Friends don’t make friends—!”

“Refuse! Elf, too weak! Kol, friend of Elf because Kol make Elf rise above being weak!”



Ave cowers at the door while releasing that feeling of authority that wells up inside of her when she’s scared. Despite it normally setting Still off, the strange girl in mesh only seems a mite pained.

Only a quizzical smile is given to Adris when his gaze lingers on her.


(How have you changed so much…?)


“Kol being different is fine.”

When Adris asserts this, the girls just absentmindedly nod their heads.


“Boss, Kol is the same—! Ah, stop scratching there…!”

Disarming the girl with skinship, she finally breaks free of it when she slaps his hand away.

“Leave Kol alone! Get back to the treasure!”


(We can solve this later. If she’s smarter, then perhaps she’ll also be less impulsive.)


“… As one says. A helmet that shines with the same dwarven metal be more complicated. While protective effects against heat and offensive impacts be read, a terrible defacement of Art also be writ upon it.”


At Adris’ lack of understanding, Still makes some gestures, ending in a finger poking her heart.

{She’s trying to say that it’s cursed. It’ll probably ruin you if worn long enough.}


(Great! A disaster of a monster gives us a disaster!)


“Kol, know where she can take it to get a good deal! Kakaka! Leave to Kol.”

The kobold slaps her thigh and goes back to eating now that Neesiette isn’t interested in this prize.


Returning to the desk, a crystal orb and a book are the remaining treasures.

“‘Jackpot juice’, as called by the slayers, be what this orb contains. ‘Uncertain crystallization of magical enhancement’ would be a more definitive assignation of its purpose.”

The crystal with a drop of purple liquid at its core she holds up…


(… Wasn’t that red?)


A horrible feeling of incongruity assaults him, forcing him to stay silent as he considers how it could’ve changed.


(Am I remembering wrong?)


“When applied to a non-magical item, that item shall gain a fairly potent effect, given the purity of this… ‘juice’. With regards to our lack of protective equipment, either Adris or Still would best benefit from using it.”

{We’re getting Adris some armor to pop that on it.}


(No, if anything, Kol should get a weapon and use it on it!)


Immediately deciding to use it on Adris, Still points at him before his open mouth can refuse.

{We know enough about you to not need to say any more, right?}

Flicking her head at Ave and Kol, who are currently…


“Huh, Elf, thought Kol was dumb, is that it?”

“No!? NO!? I didn’t say that!?”

“Umu, Kol has another good lesson to teach later.”



… engaged in reestablishing the pecking order, Adris realizes that Still is referring to his lack of Vigor.


(On second thought, being able to take a hit might be nice. I should be acquiring as many magical items and tools as I can.)


“And what of the book?”

Attention is turned back on Neesiette, causing her to purse her lips.

“… A plan for the future be what this book represents, at least according to this lady’s designs.”

With that explanation stopping suddenly, Adris blinks while waiting for her to follow up.


When she doesn’t, he swiftly moves over and plucks the book.


“Desist! A book be the treasure claimed by—!”

The bizarre runes are easy to read, causing his temple veins to throb as he does so.

Elemental Designs and Alchemical Foundations of Existence by…”


Adris’ smile unnerves Neesiette when he squats in front of her.


“… the Alchemaster?”

{Neesiette!? That’s not what you said!}

“No lie be spoken by this lady. A fundamental basis for an area of profane magic be truly described by the title’s—

Do not pick up this lady with such impudent…!”


Twirling Neesiette up, Still squeezes the girl to vent her anger.

“If it’s not a big deal, then why hold back on telling us?”

“Already three here attempt to dissuade this lady from fully investigating the potential of the tome this lady owns! Presenting the perfect opportunity to understand the nuances of degenerate elemental precepts a book written by our enemy does!”

“You’re never going to give up, are you?”

“Indeed. Never.”

{… Maybe we should just burn it and the tome?}



(We’re not getting rid of it. Neesiette will probably revolt.)


“Leaving off on treasures, we should probably decide our next course of action.” Settling onto the comfortable bed, the other girls perk up on hearing the topic.

“Knowing so little about all of you, it behooves one of my stature to understand those who rely on my authority.”


(I need to get them under wraps. Once I make plans tonight, I can begin breaking them down.)


“Oh? A useful topic this be, Adris. With such a plan, this lady finds herself in full agreement.”

“Lacking knowledge of Petripolis and the establishments I need to begin outfitting myself…”


(I have dangers haunting me.)


At a loss for what to do next, he then smiles at the group as he stretches out his hand to.

“… I’d like to know what areas you four frequent and are best able to introduce me to. I can only rely on you—”


“Kol wants to show the Bumbling Bee!” Jumping on the bed, the kobold is salivating by the time she rubs up against Adris.

“What!? What sort of shop is—?”

“It’s a great shop! It has the best sweets in all of Petripolis, Adris! Oh, Kol’s choice is the greatest! Hey, hey, take me along when you go, please!?”

“Elf, going! Kol and Elf know the best sweets! Kakaka!”

{You two aren’t children! We can go there once we know what we’re doing.}

“Shut up, Puddle! Kol, went through the whole Castillo without sweets, except for one apple that tasted weird! Some things, important!”


(… Wait… you did eat that apple. I gave it to you to free me from any difficulties if it had been tainted, but… what actually happened when you ate it?)


Peering at Still from the corner of his eyes, the girl has a smirk on her mask as she “looks” at Adris from behind it.


(You absolute backstabber! You gave that apple to her through me on purpose! What did it do!?)



As he grows flustered, Still’s hand makes a hidden, explanatory gesture that seems genuine.


(She’s gotten better at reading me, too!)


“… Disregard the input of others, Adris, and listen closely:


Kol be useful to find the armorer and Slayer’s Call, though be careful of an honest girl’s reputation.

Reptile be arguably essential for dealing with merchants and the human quarters, though caution be necessary in doing so.

Still be an expert on potions, sundries, and any sort of non-mundane, magical means.


For all issues regarding the procurement of magical items, please utilize this lady’s aid in order to avoid fraud. Kol and Still best know the layout of Petripolis, and how to reach locations without drawing attention, though…”


{I’m not going to just be seen by every jerk that looks out into the street. If you want to hang with me, you’re gonna have to prove you can~.}

Laughing into her hand, Still takes pride in what appears to be an unwelcomed status in Petripolis.


(I see. You’re going to be the hardest to get my head around.)


“I don’t understand why you’re telling me everything at once. It’s not as if I’m going out to procure for the entire party.”

Tilting her head, Neesiette is blank as she takes in this misconception he seems to have.




“In purchases and planning, does the party leader not usually determine the course of action the party takes?”




(What? I’m not your leader! Not openly, at least! Why are you acting like…? No…)


At this question, nobody around seems perturbed. Ave smiles proudly, while Kol nods her head.

Looking to Still, he receives glowing praise.


{How could we choose anyone but our savior!? Adris fehl Dain, we acknowledge that we escaped only by your efforts! Without a mysterious boy who swooped in to rescue us, how could we hope to accomplish the same results in the future!?}

“Indeed. A suitable vessel for holding the party’s will intact and focusing it be a… pure human who lacks non-human features. Leaving procurement and administrative tasks in the capable hands of an intelligent boy be superior to dividing tasks between members who cannot effectively carry them out.

This lady stands ready to assist one in carrying out one’s new duties.”

A hint of a pleased smile comes to the Neesiette eager to shed her former duties.




“No, this seems an odd role to ask a newcomer to per—!”


“Adris, who else could do it but you!? Just think of how well you interacted with everyone!”

Getting up into Adris’ face, she holds his hand while gushing.

“You got a slayer to come to our aide while earning his respect and solved Kol’s problem with her tribe! Everyone touched by you who was good inside benefited! All the bad people got swept away! You’re like… an expert slayer, sent to guide us!”

Showing him white teeth with her brilliant smile, an elf’s faith is unshakable.


“… A real prince…”

The softest whisper, in a language she reserves for herself, comes as she stares into his eyes.




“… Surely you would refuse to obey my orders simply because I give them, right?”


Turning to Kol with his enigmatic grin intact, Adris succumbs to despair when she shows reserved respect instead of outrage.

“Kol has to say, the strongest should lead… but you know, Boss isn’t just strong. He’s also smart. Talks well. So, letting Boss be… ‘Boss’ seems normal?”

Clapping him on the back way too hard, he hiccups from it.

“Boss making plans, sounds fine?”




(No, no, no. I don’t want to be at the forefront of you four! I don’t mind stepping in, but I don’t want the attention, at least if I can’t deflect to another persona! I suggest plans, not draft them for you to openly accept! Doing this… all the time, as if I’m publicly in charge, isn’t that horrifying!?)




Turning back to Still, his eyes flash a cry for assistance.


(You have to help me! This isn’t going to work!)


But, her merciless smile denies him any aid, causing him to arrive at a conclusion.


(… No.)




“… When did you girls decide this?”

Neesiette perks up at this question, pointing to the young woman beside her as Adris expected.


“Still be the key figure in convincing us of the obvious truth, as strange as it may sound. Her observations connected well with our own, for she studied one far more closely. Her opinions proved compelling, justifying leaving certain group decisions in one’s hand.”

When Neesiette’s smile turns to an impassive glare, she amends her logic.

“Save for you, none among us commands equal respect within this group. No agreement may be found, if left to a group determination of tactics for each combat. One’s expertise regarding the Grand Distortion we faced won victory, proving excellent analysis and leadership.

Therefore, as you suggested, an ‘Executor’ becomes now appropriate. In addition, since all have equal stake in fulfilling one’s designs, one’s often unshared goals and plans be easier to share now, correct?”


“I see. Certainly, you’d find it an impossible task to locate a man more suitable than I in… overseeing things. I did leave everything up to the group to decide, too.”

Accepting his promotion with a nod, the approval from all four means he can’t back out.

“Though I’m reticent about asserting authority among peers, especially since I hope to make your ambitions come true… I can no longer sit to the side. It’s time you all saw my true ability.”


{Right! Like you’ve shown us the whole time…}


Unseen by the rest, Still’s mask becomes a sneer full of payback at earlier jabs and slights. Hidden gestures stab at him.


{… When I told you to imagine what I could do, didn’t you imagine this~?}


(I hate you…)




His biggest cheer leader gestures wildly before throwing herself into his lap to put her arm around him.


{Only a false god has the potential to guide us and deliver victory over the Alchemaster~!}






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?”

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

“Will you go after women who are taken already? Isn’t that quite vulgar? No, but aren’t you a vulgar man, originally?”


“Didn’t you want to be in charge? How can a man be handsome if he doesn’t lead?”



“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’?”

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

“Easily throws off suspicion by casting it upon others.”


“Can no longer run from what he is, now that others have seen fit to make him their spokesman.”



“Now that he dances in the open, how will he operate in shadows?”



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


Occupation: Delver, Frontliner
Discipline: Tyrant Squire




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


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


[“Ride on Dread“] – “THE WORLD, BELONG KOL! KAKAKA!


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…?”

“Will you not check up on her?”

“If she suddenly starts using aura techniques, will you be content or pull your hair out, Adris?”

“Isn’t such jealousy unbecoming, all powerful false god? Now that she’s the perfect replacement, what reason could you have not to want her?”


“Does she become a danger if she’s more aware?”



“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.”

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

“Having displayed strange abilities for quite a while, they had always seemed incomplete. Now, it might be understood why.”

“In one night, a kobold without training acquires aura… would not be the case, in most circumstances. Rather than aura, fear born of darkness is what leaked out.”


“Upon cleansing herself of something, she grows more cognizant of the world around her.”



“Is it wrong to make her a bit smarter?”



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?”

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

“You seem to have ended up on her good side, for once?”


“Renewed in vigor and purpose, isn’t she more beautiful as she grows more dangerous?”



“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.”

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

“Shows that she doesn’t stay with them, but the question then is where does the girl call home?”


“Upon returning, she has grown to a new height of skullduggery.”



“She’s doing this for you, Adris!”



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?”

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

“Do you not feel she regards herself as royalty in many ways?”


“If she believes in you, isn’t this a sign that you’ve increased your standing with her?”



“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…?”

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

“Within a room owned by two girls mostly, she claims only one spot, a throne made for her.”


“Quickly abandons responsibilities that force her to make decisions.”



“Sees through people in her own way.”



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?”

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

“Why didn’t you join her?”


“Are you going to keep running from the inevitable?”



“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?”

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

“An elf in all ways, she is also their biggest fangirl.”


“Finding her home again, she has regained some of her bravado and adventurousness.”



“Do people like Ave? I hope she’s liked.”





Bumbling Bee – “Two out of two teammates agree, it’s the sweetest.”



Chapter 58         Table of Contents          Chapter 60