Take Up the Cross – Chapter 62: Slayer Starr and Tyrant Kol

Continuing to drink, the work of deciphering the slayers has entered its final stretch for this phase. Castile made a fatal error when he left Adris to his own devices. Freed from Still and Neesiette, nobody monitors his actions as he begins his grand, intoxicating work of scheming against the slayers of Petripolis.


(The vendors leave at night, letting me track them to their operations; I can match the items they sell to Petripolis’ market; the price of marks vs. Devotion outside is going to be fun; and the slayers who visited the market shared their thoughts, letting me know what’s in demand but unsuppliable…

With this, I can cripple or subvert their economy at my leisure~.)




What we sell to Bayonne? If it’s valuable and we can’t figure it out, give it to Bayonne!

Nobody does cheap ~LORE DIVINATION~ anymore, man. Better off selling what looks low grade or outside of your ~WAY OF SLAYING~.

Anyone that finds ways of doing things easy keeps that shit to themselves, the bastards!

The inn on that desolate avenue? … Sure, it’s perfectly safe, ~NOVICE~. Why don’t you go say ‘hi’ to the pretty lady there?




(Bayonne is the linchpin. I need to discover his source of Devotion and front for selling Castillo treasures. Meltisha is well known, too.)




Separated from the stage by walls of hanging carpets, a thick cloud of smoke permeates the area comprising Renée the Ashborn Magistress’ shop. Born from her jeweled, gray hookah and smelling of nerve-firing sweetness, it further invigorates Adris’ already peppy mood.


(No wonder why she was so smug! She’s got the best goods, in body and store!)


“You’re a quick learner to find me so early, young Starr.”

“Don’t assume I’m quick at everything, lady.”

He earns a chuckle and more attention when he confidently asserts himself.


“Hmm, care for some personal tutoring, or are you here simply for purchases?

“Without knowing the tutor more, wares for now.”

Reclined on soft cushions, her cryptic smile follows him as he peruses her store.


(Another dominating woman? Or just seductive? Either way, these healing stones are lucky finds!)


Picking out the better looking orange stones that are identical to what healed him after the giant rabbit’s rampage, their affordable prices bother him until she speaks up.


“While [alchemical menders] are useful, the more you use the weaker you become in the short term. I’d advise you to seek cheaper balms; though, your purse seems deep for a ~NOVICE~, doesn’t it…?”

She’s far cleverer than the rest to take in his baggage and understand his aims.

“Not at all. Though I’m good, the success of my party is mine, too.”

“Generosity is rare. Humans discovered it by exchanging favors, originally. Before the light and alms, there was only darkness and exchange…

Perhaps you’ve come to a pleasurable agreement with them…?”


(Wouldn’t you like to know.)


Rolling her body over, she curls her lips while drinking in his shape. Clouds of smoke coalesce of their own will, making crude forms of shapes in the air.


“… Would such an agreement be exclusive…?”


A black, sooty creature stalks Adris from the shadows, before vanishing at her question.


“Ah, I’m still getting accustomed to Petripolis. I’m not looking for… deals just yet.”

“That’s wise, of course. But never forget this: no other store like mine may be easily found.”


She gloats behind flashing teeth while he takes in the veiled threat.


(So, I better not piss you off.)


“Goods like these are impossible to find elsewhere!”

“Excellent relationships provide for all needs. I’m ready to accept what others have…”


(So you stock from the other slayers’ finds.)


Making a mental nod, he’s grasped her business well enough to handle future engagements.


“When next you visit, bring a gift.”

He can’t immediately figure out what she’s asking for, leading to her followup.

“It’s common courtesy to exchange gifts between those entering into new relationships. The better the relationship, the better the goods. As ours will be long and productive…


My gift will be quite tailored to your tastes, so worry only about yours…”

“That’s a bonus to look forward to as a repeat customer! I’ll definitely be back.”


A kiss with her fingers flies before she resumes smoking after rolling back. This leaves her fat, dress-covered butt available for view as her legs stretch out.


(This woman holds power over others and enjoys using it.)


Ducking out of the store, he knows how to handle this based on his experiences on Xin.


(Merchants establish their respect based on value and what profits them. Controlling Bayonne and earning her favor would be the greatest! This woman will give me equal to what I give her…? So… if I give her…)


He hurries off to finish his business while keeping his heartbeat down, though his dry lips hunger for something other than moisture.





(I’m finally outfitted enough to survive in Petripolis, as long as it’s not a fierce assault. The rest of my private goods can be sorted later~.)


Quite a number of useful potions and tinctures were obtained, promising interesting results.


(Doping myself is an effective method of circumventing the cross. Some non-lethal tools will help, too.

… It’s strange, I shouldn’t spend so much, but I feel… “lighter” the less gold I carry.)




The reason why only becomes apparent when he takes a long moment to think back.


([A Wonderful Curse] also punishes me for holding treasures! That was in the back of my mind the whole time, but I never made the connection to money!)




Finding an empty bar table after grabbing a drink, he flips Rantil open…


[Oh, seeking wisdom?]

“Does that old corpse’s curse hurt me for having money, too?”

[Kukuku, the Crossbearer finally noticed, yes? Indeed, witness the form of your destruction~!




Adris fehl Dain

– The luck he walks with be considered the weakest possible, though he has reached his potential.

– As of this moment, his environment or external effects have rendered his luck capable of destroying him in a moment.




A bit dangerous, don’t you think Adris?]


“Are you kidding me? How do I get rid of that!?”


[“You shall never hoard treasures unused, only what you yourself wield! All other wealth shall be transitory!” … That was what he said, y’know. Why not try getting rid of all of it?]

“Impoverish myself to save my life!? … No, that’s not impossible. If I can’t invest it in myself, then I can in others.”


(I’ll be like the fat, happy regent with a harem of supported wives.)


Going to close the book…




( ; ・ ` д ・ ´ )​




“… Thank you, Rantil. Certainly, you’re an indispensable part of my life now. One of the few things I truly treasure.”




No lines form after the embarrassing declaration.


(It’s… not a lie, but please take it the right way!)







Ahaha! … Uh, yeah, sure…


AH!? There’s some more stuff you should look at before you just run off…! (((( ; ゜ Д ゜ )))]


“Now isn’t a good time…! Whispering to myself looks strange, even for slayers.”


[Kukuku, a Crossbearer should pay attention to one good note in his life. Observe what one has gained from his efforts!


– A crossbearer’s ability to mix truth and lie has made it impossible for the uninitiated to tell the difference at the moment of it being spoken, so long as sufficient truth is mixed with lies that do not invalidate it, and the listener doesn’t possess superior supernatural or preternatural means.

If one maintains the illusion of veracity and one’s assertions are deemed plausible by the hearer, no doubt shall come solely by discounting the crossbearer’s physical impression, lack of details, or known allegiances.



Ahaha! Adris rarely distinguishes between truth and lie when speaking, so why should anyone else~? Such is the power of (Verisimilitude)!]


(Who turned what I do regularly into a supernatural effect!? No… but if it is supernatural, then that means it will beat lesser ones that see through me?)


“When did I get that…?”

[When you used that weird crystal and the bounty notice went poof! The stuff that flowed out was gobbled up by the cross~.]

“… Rantil, you record anything I experience, correct?”

[Without fail~. Your secrets are my secrets.]

“Excellent. I figured as much. We have a lot of plotting to do tonight.”

[Kukuku, a crossbearer continues to dive willingly into darkness! This Codex will oblige with great exuberance!]


“If you want another secret: statements like that are why I don’t trust you half the time.”

[Wha—!? Σ (゚ Д゚ ||| ) ]




He pockets the book with a gentle close before heading for his next round of information gathering.


(Understanding the markets does nothing without knowing what the slayers long for, cannot obtain, and constantly rub up against… In addition, I need to begin my work against Still.)


Having already made interesting contacts, one lead given by them introduced as “The Supreme Voyeur” was identified as a sneak to surpass all sneaks.




(The only real secrets they keep are about fulfilling their fetishes or getting further into the Castillo.

Anything else, and they can’t shut up about it!)




Like prideful kids, every last slayer is awaiting a free drink and a friendly ear to spill their guts to.


(Ahhh! I’m finally able to spread my wings! Still thinks I’m some impromptu actor, but no: my real talent is in groundwork and interwoven schemes. At the rate I’m going, it won’t take a month to have these fools licking from my fingers and dancing at my commands!)


A giddiness unfelt since Xin begins to color all of his thoughts. All other concerns fall away as Adris’ wonderfully crooked self brightens the days of bored slayers, bringing some color back into their world that will soon be dyed in Adris’ own shade.





“Best ever. No doubts. Have any?”

Mechanically moving eyepieces focus on Adris’ face as the man’s choking, quiet voice invites him to disagree.


Succinct, abrupt answers are given freely. The man wearing a heavy, asymmetrical trenchcoat leave Adris wondering how he can even walk with as many leather belts there are binding him. A multi-feathered hat whose brim stretches over the fore and aft of his head would give him away before crossing through a door, while the man’s raven mask obscuring his face would result in a call for town watch.


(I would notice you anywhere, so I hope you can move silently.)


“Well, I’m not saying I do! No, I was just told by others to talk to you about sneaking.”

“You interested?”

“A little, yeah. My… way of slaying allows me to avoid a lot of trouble. I wanted to know how a master does it.”

“Want learn? Good experience. Watching others. Okay, works. Party with. Pay up.”


(Pay up to what…? … the fuck!?)


Adris looks away from the man back to his mug to find that a piece of paper is now beside it.


(How did you do that when your arms are bound together!? … Okay, I’m a believer.)


An exorbitant price is listed for this Reverend, “Watcher of the Raven Star”, to take Adris through every Castillo location to the end of Memories Eternal without running into any trouble along the way.


“You can’t take me further?”

“Can’t do. Boss there. Must fight.”

“This is just the price for me?”

“Absolutely, yes. Only one. More costs.”


Shaking his head quickly, Reverend grows less interested when Adris doesn’t produce gold.

“The best. Pay for!”


(Prideful fellow, just like they said.)


Luckily for Adris, he didn’t come for this purpose.


“… Man, then why is that girl trying to charge less for doing the same thing?”

Leaning onto his hand while muttering, Adris’ comment causes Reverend’s beaked face to whip back toward him.


“What girl?”

“Huh? Well, I’m a bit newer than most…”

“Know this. What girl? Said what?”


The man gains a closer interest as the room gets scarier.

For the man is breathing heavily.


(Creepy fellow… but also very easy to lead to the real conversation.)




While slayers aren’t total idiots, every last one is proving to have no resistance against being conned with simple social techniques. So long as Adris stays out of their internal squabbles, they operate like a band of free agents with common blood ties who love a good mission to be sent on.


(They keep their purse-strings tight, but their “Code” prevents welshing on contracts. Lacking all fear of failure or repercussions, since they will just “end of try”, they’re foolhardy and arrogant! The perfect stooges.)


Such a combination was impossible to find on Xin, further tickling Adris’ doubts about their mutual origin on Zennia.




“She’s not a slayer, but I had a girl, a real mystic-looking sort, that said she’s the best sneak in all of Petripolis. She claimed she could get me to the end of Memories Eternal with no problem, all the way up to the Alchemaster if I wanted to, for a lot cheap—.”

Slamming his bound arms on the table, Reverend petulantly fumes.

“All lies! None better!”

The man then withdraws after halting his shaking body, falling back into his seat with a perfect aura of confidence.


“Give name.”


(Ho, this new… talent I got? It’s quite interesting.)


Starting with a simple lie, the man has showed zero doubt for the details of Adris’ encounter, nor asked for deeper information to prove it happened or necessary embellishments to make it sound deeper.


“I don’t know her real name? Just don’t worry about it, she’s probably—”

“Want name! Find out. Learn truth. Show difference. Seen where?”

“Huh!? Well, if you want details, I can give them to you…”

“Very good…”


Some of a cloak and cowl-wearing girl’s points get shared, but it is her porcelain mask, and fondness for blue and purple that bring pause to the man.


“… Sound familiar. … No, nevermind. Useful details. Can find.”

“Hey! Rather than just find out for yourself, I think she also might’ve stolen something from me!”


(Probably several things!)


“Thief, too? How lame. Sneaking supreme. Use wisely. Will punish…”

Shaking his head again, the man stops when Adris throws out some coins, bringing a start from Reverend.

“Cash, why?”


(Because slayers respect currency, friend. You can hide your eyes behind those goggles, but your hands already want to scoop them up.)


“Look, I’m actually interested in getting what she stole back, but I sort of want to do it myself! To prove I’m not a chump!”

“Pointless gesture.”

Slamming his hands on the table as Reverend did, Adris looks suitably furious.

“It’s not pointless! A man gets his own revenge! Beating her at sneaking is a good way to even the score.”


The man’s eyepieces focus more closely, inspecting Adris before he finally gives a brief nod.


“Strong words. Mostly correct. Need what?”

“I’m good at breaking in, but not always tailing. If you just tell me where her base of operations is, I’ll get my property out myself.”

“Agreeable proposal. Met where?”

“Ah, I met her on the street going back to the central road into Petripolis’ heart, back from the Call? Near the inn street. She was hanging out between buildings…”

“Dangerous place! Avoid forever. Good enough. Will find. Cost more? Let know.”

“Oh, but don’t hurt her or anything, okay? I’d hate if someone got messed up because I snitched…”

“Don’t worry. No harm. My punishment…”


Rather than full of anger, Reverend and his swift words speak of the joy he will gain on completing his work.


“… only white. Will find. She, too. Only after. Prove better. Ku, ku!”

“Wait! Be careful. I get the feeling this girl is really observant.”

“Pointless worry.”

“I don’t want her to flip out and sell my property fast after noticing something wrong!”

“Never see. Never hear. Never smell. Reverend, best. Item, safe.”


Shaking the man’s bound hand, the two finish their deal.


“Check back. Couple days.”

“Alright, just leave a sign for ‘Starr’ if you need me.”


(… “White punishment”, though? … It’s fine. If I go by Neesiette’s safety with those kobolds, this guy shouldn’t be able to do anything sexual to anyone bound by that… nightmare…)


The physical prowess of this Reverend seems quite low, though still superior to himself.


(Still could shank him easily, I bet.)



Adris gets up to leave after lifting his mug for one last drink…

“It was a plea— HUH!?”




Stuck getting out of his chair, Adris finds that he’s already alone, with even the note gone.





Isn’t it getting kinda boring around Slayer’s Call?

Feels like there should be more ~EVENTS~?

Asking about how to make it better? More fucking girls! I want bitches in here! Not the skanky ones that you see all around disguised as slayers! Real, fine, live, FRESH WOMEN! … Please don’t stab me, ladies!

I want a little boy that can serve me drinks before I help myself to his spigot~.”

Music would be nice.

In the old days, we’d get parties and… interactive sessions. Man, can we have those back? Everyone is too lazy! … ‘Do it myself?’ I, uh, got too much going on.


Taking in the complaints fished out over friendly encounters, Adris has a solution to them, too.


(Echo and Stalker are about to have jobs. I can finance my party by alternate means. Oh, this is a paradise.)


Without someone to headhunt for them, the slayers have obviously been “recruiting” people who wander in or around the area to provide services.

Adris has waltzed into an understaffed cadre of elite warriors, desperate for more support.


(Slayers don’t “get” people. They don’t even acknowledge them as being worth talking to. It doesn’t seem like a superiority complex, so why do they act like this?)


Disregarding the reason, Adris can think of a hundred different ways to improve Slayer’s Call.


(Brothels. Festivities. More market stalls. … Why not things like those pillories outside of the Castillo?

If the slayers want novelty, then I’ll let them drown in it.)




A plan is already taking shape.

One designed to rocket himself to control over them, with the scheme being simple.


(I’m going to be the black market they’ve been dying for. The Castillo monsters aren’t uniform in loyalties! Some of them would jump ship in a heartbeat to be the center of a slayer’s life…

Everyone’s good fortunes will tie back to my own~. And the best part is that it avoids that shitty old corpse’s curse by keeping the “treasures” tied to them!)




Heavy bonds of mutual interest are far more valuable than treasure to Adris. More than just to guide them from an unseen position, Adris wonders if he can unite them towards something more useful.


(In a short time, the Castillo will carry out the Wondrous Works’ plan to block out the torch-like sun forever. We have to reach the second tier before that happens; yet, I’ve heard nothing but complaints about how impossible that is.

Could I get them to solve my problem for me while I rake in the rewards? Maybe with the right motivations…?)


Sighing loudly, he drains more of his tasty ale while relaxing.


(Thank you, Serras! This Zennia is becoming a wonderland of sweets tossed on the ground for me to scoop up and eat! If the town’s levers of control are this easy to nudge, too…


How far can I go…?)




A sickening smile is directed at the coin spinning before him, one that shows the Alchemaster’s symbol and is proof that the sky is the limit.





Adris is outwardly smiling as he muses at the lack of flair the last slayer stalls he inspects have, aside from curious totems and personal affectations.


(They need to be far more flamboyant! They need pomp and character… If I can join the slayers and the monsters together, could I perhaps divide both factions and create a third, then remove the first two as a credible threat…?)


Reaching the last stall, he notes the interesting gadgets and tools laid out. Set up on stands, numerous firearms of good quality point to the air, while crumbled parchment smoke shoots from them amusingly.


(Colorful price lists and descriptions. Effective layout with plenty of attention to what will sell well. Who is this shopkeeper?)


Though the stall has no seller present, a slayer standing next to it seemingly on guard can help.


“Eh? Looking for Goldie, bro? She’s out right now. I’m just ‘guarding’ her stuff. Kinda pointless, I ain’t even watching.”

“… Nobody would…?”

“Haha! If you wanna be raped by the old man’s gun up your ass, go for it, kid. Ain’t had a theft here since hell week. I keep telling her that, but I can’t help but agree when she asks for stuff…”

“Oh? That beautiful?”

“Shittin’ me? Goldie is a class of her own. I mean, any chick that walks around with a muffin on display like that is begging to have it munched…”





(… Hmmm!?)




“… She does what?”

The man raises his hat to take in Adris more closely, paying attention to his quaking.

“Yeah, this goddess really fits in here the way she flaunts what a guy wants. Even got some of the les-wannabes wanting to dive between her legs. Says she comes from the west, but nobody cares. We’re too busy trying to fuck her to worry about details.”

“… I see… Anything… notable… about her?”

Searching her booth, Adris suddenly notices that all of the gadgets and tools look similar. Even the names are familiar.


“Huh? Well, her stall’s name is a bit weird.”

The slayer points above his head, leaving Adris realizing that he’d walked up at an angle to miss its large signs.


“… ‘Shining Star Sales

Your Grateful Star, ~☆~ Rose-Lycee ~☆~

Will You Be My Little Bro ♥?’”


Beside the entrance is drawn a beautiful woman holding a long, wooden box with holes in it, with a caption that says “The next in anti-Castillo weaponry! Pre-order now! ‘Shooting Stars’ MkII, Personal Mega.Magi.Tech Cannon!”




“Kinda cute, right? The lady herself just reeks ero, though. She said she’d be back in a couple of days, just missed her this morning. Last thing she did was put in a bounty with the old man yesterday…


… Hey, you okay…









Drinking to calm his nerves, Adris can’t formulate a plan fast enough, especially not after looking on the bounty board to discover a description of himself that is listed as “Kidnapping Victim: Please help this desperate older sister recover her younger brother! Reward: Special Thanks of a Desperate Woman, TBD ♥.”


(I need to hide from scent and sight. My scent is my worst enemy. … Meltisha can help me with that, I hope! Lycia wouldn’t dare invade her inn, right?)


Not a single eye had been batted at Adris when he asked around. The only thing he uncovered was male and female slayers hoping to find a boy that looks exactly like him, dying to fulfill Lycia’s needs.


FUCK OFF! Unless you’re going to help me find him! … I don’t mind letting you take a shot, too, but I go first! … No, nevermind! Kill yourself! She’s going to marry me!

A bunch of us went out for a look in the town, but no kids wearing silver masks. … They sure were nice when we ‘played’ with them, though~.

Know any kids like you that we could find that look close enough to fool her if we messed with their heads?


(No slayers recognize me as the target… Is it the mask or something else…?)




Life goes on as Adris sits alone, trying to design a plan to stop Lycia.


“… Here, drink.”

“Yeah, okay. Finally, some help…!”

“Pay up.”

“Huh!? Later!”

“No. Say, now. Rules.”

“I’ll pay whenever I— HUH!? … O-okay…”


Adris ignores the commotion around him as he lazes about, until he remembers his helper.


(Life was just looking up, too! I can’t subvert these slayers while hiding from Lycia! How can I permanently deal with that sexy, savage woman…?)


Looking into his codex, Lycia’s thoughts on Adris are brought up.




[Lycia Vehrose


Respect: 💖 💖 🤍 🤍 🤍

Obsession: 🧡‍ 💛‍ 💚‍ 💙‍ 💜

Understanding: 🤍 🤍 🤍 🤍 🤍


The woman known as Lycia Vehrose is nearly broken by her hunger to obtain a crossbearer, willing to do anything necessary to bind him to herself. The thought of a woman wanting to obtain him so badly leaves the crossbearer half ready to follow in her footsteps and throw himself at—




How did you get mixed up with such a weird, needy bitch!?


No, she has a reason!?]


“Then tell me the reason…!”



Kuuu, this allip longs to fulfill your request, but warns on the dangers of learning secrets that might control one’s own destiny! One must overlook this weakness of a Codex.]


“… It’s fine.”


(Since I don’t have a choice!)


Always bound to queer rules, Rantil has at least not openly tried to screw with him since he told him he treasured her.


(First priority is to pacify Lycia. I need to discuss “ghouls” and their weakness with someone. It’s going to cause problems if I ask here, though, because how could they not know what she is?)


Reverend promised to stalk Still, but this is the furthest Adris is willing to go with slayer contacts so far. The need to contain Still is that great.




Jangling armor sounds out as pattering feet move through the area.


“… What’s… she doing here!?”

“It can’t be. It can’t be. Nope.”


Hushed and nervous conversations crop up all around Adris. The whole tone of the room has shifted while he was busy thinking.


(What’s going on?)


All eyes are either on drinks or timidly following a cloaked figure awkwardly carrying a tray full of drinks.

Furry hands pull them off as the girl barks orders.


“Drinks! Enjoy! Pay up. Now.”

“Yeah… yeah, sure.”


A burly man with living, tendrilous tattoos on his arms throws quarter of a gold piece…


(They can split into parts!? So that’s why the next drinks were free…?)


… before taking the drink and turning his back on the barmaid.




(… What fucking barmaid!? What are you doing!?)




With her tail prancing about, the kobold drink carrier makes her way around the quiet room, accepting gold and leaving partially spilled drinks behind.


“Aren’t you going to get the bounty…?

“Fuck you, I ain’t touching Pink no matter how high it is!”


Even with the nervousness infecting them, these cowed hunters are still antsy as they show greedy eyes.


(Bounty!? What did you do!?)


Adris’ last instructions were to never admit their relationship in front of the slayers, and Adris hopes she will recall this as he grips the table tightly. Surrounding her is an all-powerful aura of intense supremacy, one which becomes more evident when he begins to feel afraid of the situation involving her.




“Hm!? … Oh, looking at Kol hard? Want drink… ummm, ‘strong guy’?”


(Don’t say that!)


He fumbles with the coin he was spinning after taking his drink. Quick hands manage to feel a subtle seam in it, which causes the coin to magically separate a piece from itself when he pushes.

Dropping it into her hand, she cackles appreciatively.


“Oh, good! Know the rules! … Another rule…”


She pockets the coin before her hand drops down and then slaps his butt, taking in the feel as he jolts.


“Umu, still always want…?”


(Too much!)


Kol hums to herself behind her full helmet, walking off towards the bar with no drinks left.




Watching her strut, a figure jumps up to prowl behind her.


(Oh shit, we’re in trouble.)


A murderous man named Biske swallows hard before taking a savage stance with his hands clawed out.


“PINK!? Didn’t we tell you never to come back, you runt!?”

“… Huh? You…?”


Lazily turning around, Kol tilts her head.


“Yer gone for this long then think you can just show back up!? Wrong idea, little dictator!” Fingernails sharpen and extend as the man’s body hair grows thicker, with his breathing getting rougher while hunching over. “Popping you before wasn’t worth it, but now that I get paid to, I’mma enjoy breaking in your body!”


(… I have to intervene.)


When Adris tries to get up, he’s immediately grabbed by numerous hands.




Pulled into a crowd of slayers, they all shush him when he struggles.


“Don’t get her attention! Let Biske eat this bomb!”

“You don’t know what she can do, ~NOVICE~.”

“She’ll eat you alive.”




(… What… They’re trying to save…?)


“You fuckin’ kobold! I’ve beaten up tons of your kind in the Castillo. You might’ve been strong back then, but you ain’t shit now!”

“Who, were you?… Huh? Oh.”

Kol snaps her fingers, thens points at the man’s face.


“Kol, remembers you! Right!”

“You bet you do, girl! Y’won last time, but I’m…!”


A deeply attractive voice, one of Kol’s most unique features, is thick like chocolate as she stabs him with words while cackling.


“Your name was… ‘Furry’! Kakaka!”

“… gonna make sure you— I’M NOT A FUCKIN’ FURRY!?”

“But… want to beat Kol, because want to mate with Kol, right? Because Kol have fur? So… other slayers call, furry!”





A haze comes to Biske’s body as his arms go over his face.


Pulling at his own head, the madness driving him erupts into an explosion, with the floor being sent up with fractured pieces and dust. Adris’ chest is thumped by the impact of the air, reviving the horror of Lycia’s rampage for him.






With the roar of this werebeast which stands on thick haunches and towers over Kol, a call to the hunt comes from the darkness of Slayer’s Call.


His body quakes as streamers of energy flash from him by the second, different colors that grow from his muscles and jaws and joints as he roars different things.

Scything claws whip up to lash out, dripping corrosive, neon-green liquids that bubble on the floor.

The whole time he was preparing, Kol was only watching.




“Oh, Furry… wants to fight.”


Before this lean direwolfman that Adris feels grow three times as strong, a kobold raises clawed hands confidently to match him.




A burning patch of ground spirals out from under her as phantasmal flames burst from her body.


The haze calls to every slayer on the stage, stuck as they are in sheer horror of the monster they call “Pink”. As the haze from them is sucked toward Kol, the sense of aura from her becomes a blazing inferno that causes Adris’ eyes pain to stare at her.


“… haaaaaAAAAA!”


Her pink eyes glow as her blood boils with the growing power.




(… Their terror is fueling her abilities.)




Even though Biske the Beast quivers where he stands, the animal taint driving him compels him to jump at his challenger.




A roaring, hopeful command comes as the enormous haunt tries to flay her with his claws.


A rush of claws strikes Kol, who stands bracing as the acid coats her with each slash. Weaving around her, Biske keeps raking heavily with luminous claws. A final thrusting strike aims for where her heart would be in the green mist.




But it’s intercepted by a strong hand which wrenches it still.




Even though corrosion eats at her armor and her, the kobold only briefly trembles from this wicked combo attack.

With his finished for the moment, she starts hers before his next claw arrives to free himself.




Kol yanks the beastman towards her before smashing his head with the now-flaming platter she holds, sending a torrent of fire from the impact. Neon-red Vigor splashes all around, before Kol puts both hands on Biske’s limp arm and heaves him.




One overhead body slam into the ground results in a broken table, before the bleeding slayer is lifted again.

Another smash becomes another.

Three becomes six.


An unending procession of curving slams results in Biske being pulped into the Call’s floor, leaving it cracking with each drive as pieces of his armor fly everywhere.


Swinging him up into the air, the conflagration surrounds them both as Kol jumps and goes for one last, seismic slam.








Where Biske hits the ground, the rubble erupts skyward before freezing.

Glyphs of fiery radiance start from the impact site and carve their way outward, forming channels of cracking stone that create greater words declaring an endless reign.

As they complete, the world distorts visually, with all light and shadow briefly merging to rush to Biske’s form.


Frozen in the impact as the ground records the fury of her judgment, he is then ravaged by the force releasing all at once as a vermilion pillar of woe fires skyward.




The torn slayer flies off the stage as she releases him, bouncing away and falling into the eternal emptiness where the floor once was.




“Wew… umu, Furry got stronger! Took a lot out, to use ‘secret’ so fast~!”


Surrounded still by a phantasmal inferno that wicks at the world around it, the pint-sized titan extends an arm turned up. No other presence feels as strong at the demon flickering at the center of everyone’s gaze.


“… Who, next?”







“Well, back to the Castillo for another run.”

“Who was that blood-sucking babe you wanted to find in the forest?”

“I’m never coming back.”


Ignoring her as they turn tail, the entirety of Slayer’s Call empties out while keeping their dignity as intact as possible.

Shops close up, people scatter, and the quiet becomes painful in the aftermath of Kol’s carnage.


(She didn’t just feel stronger. They felt… weaker if they had to face her?)


The workings of Kol’s insane Talent escapes him in full, but it depends on the relationship between them, for fear connects slayer and kobold.

As they run, her trauma haunts their steps.




“Hmm? No more drinks need?





All tension leaves the room as Kol relaxes her muscles, doing arm spin stretches as she walks up to the bar.


“You staying, ~NOVICE~? We got a safe house.”


With the rescuing slayer still gripping him, Adris has moments to choose.


“I want to see what she does. It’s fun.”

“Oh? You’re crazy, but I get it. See you after your ~END OF TRY~, Starr.”




A couple of minutes pass as Kol offloads her coins while humming. Doing random tasks at the bar as the white-faced soldier who manned it hides under a table, Kol then runs to an open door at the back of the stage.


MASTER! Kol, called you! Where are—!?”


“… Quiet your yelping, child.”




A smooth voice with perfect enunciation and a hint of fire shuts her trap.

Trudging out from the door to meet Kol is a figure that seems, at first, somewhat wavering to Adris.


When Kol backs up to allow him out, a tall, balding man catches Adris’ sight.


(… Not normal.)


Though his silvery, wispy hair is sparse at the front and he appears a bit wiry, there’s a resoluteness to his perfect posture that defies thoughts of him being infirm. Only a few wrinkles mar his face, with firm cheeks and a sharp, jutting jaw giving him a look of never accepting frivolity.

Wearing a worn, full purple overcoat with a high collar that has sewn scale patterns across it, its once gleaming brass and rich cloth are as faded as its style. Long, red cloth “tails” like a lizard’s spiral up his waist, with a hanging sash going up to a mouth-like flap of cloth over his right shoulder and the tail falling off from his left side to flutter.

Buttoned tightly to him, he resembles a man dying of chill, yet standing against the invitation to succumb to it, as he takes in the empty Call with a grimace.


(You stand in front of that monster without a weapon to your name and still don’t flinch.)


Dull-silver eyes leer at the exuberant figure below him, with her hand outstretched greedily. The man whose clothing reminds Adris of the “dragon” they fought in Dining Hell lacks not for contempt at first, but then closes his eyes with a slight sigh and speaks kindly.


“Pink, were you not done with your services here for good?”

“Hm? Kol, was done! Became a true slayer, you know? Did the hunt you gave her and came back after victory!”

“Then why are you manning the bar again, lass?”

“Huh? Well… Kol was… doing what she’s supposed to do when here? … Oh, well… just remembered how to do it, then did it? Old job!”

“That job was once yours, this is true, though I also spoke that it’d since been revoked.”


Chatting with him like he’s her fastest friend, Kol points around at the empty seats.


“Ah, Kol, got everyone’s drinks! Made them pay upfront! They weren’t paying like the rules say, old man!”

“… This is something known to me, yes. Expecting your pay, are you?”

“Of course! Pay Kol for work! Without her, you wouldn’t have cash!”

His question gains him a cheer while she waves her hand, before it opens up to receive her loot.




(… She was… working at the Call before being a slayer?)


An unshared story is burning through his mind. Kol becomes an enigma once more, demanding attention from what appears to be an important leader of the slayers.




“Paying you to drive off my customers…? Listen closely, you petulant child—”


Growing more vexed, the man’s eyes widen as he leans over, before a large chap with red hair flips down from a balcony.


“Whoa, whoa! Grandpa! Chill. It’s just Pink!”

“Gah, Rooster!? Go away!”

“Haha, no way, Pink! … It’s been a while, but y’know I’m still top of things, right?”


Kol is effortlessly dodged by Castile when she lunges for the man.

His eyes don’t display fear, only concern.




(The moment they all left, Kol deflated.)


While still irate, Kol has none of the presence as before. No phantasmal flames or heat haze comes.


“Pink, give it up! You can’t work without the uniform!”

“… ‘Uniform’?”


Bringing her to a stop, Castile nods while pointing to himself.


“Remember what MissMiss wears? You gotta have something like that to be a barmaid now! The other slayers want a girl whose butt shows, not a pants-wearing tomboy.”

“Kol, hates dresses! Too weak! No way! … Rooster, trying to start trouble!? Want to fight!?


She shuffles clumsily in front of Castile and tries to grab him, while the man jukes and dodges. He stays infuriatingly handsome the whole time.













All life halts at the yell.




Turning to look at the old man, they find his face is red for a moment before inner peace is found.


“… Pink, I’ve enough trouble with the trollops and gigolos that pile in day by day. Take your pay and leave for now.”

A few coins are flicked her way, prompting her cackling while pocketing them.


“Umu, thanks Master! Now, about the rabbit! Kol beat!”

“And so? Claim the bounty there with your stone, child.”

Pointing to the board, the old man receives her frozen look.

“Hm? Stone? Gave stone to Boss. Don’t want stone, want gold!”

“… Children who don’t listen don’t profit, Pink. The crystal you gave up is the reward. Having given it away, so, too, do you lose your chance to claim it.”

“… Huh…?”


Kol starts nearing the old man while lifting her hands.


“… Master, Kol went through a lot! Give it to me! Reward!”

“You’ve been given all you’re ever getting for that hunt, child. Leave for today or be removed.”



Gah!? Boss!? Why…?”


The old man appraises the daring boy who intervenes in a flash to grab Kol’s arm.

“… Hoh?”

A sinister, tight face reflects the decision he reaches about Adris. Silver eyes perfectly capture a black mask and cross. Following Adris’ approach the whole time, the man has great situational sense.


“Frater, be care—!




Castile has a cringing smile as he pulls back, before he takes on a neutral expression and nods solemnly.

“… Ahh, that makes sense. Good luck?”




Dragging her unwilling form with the minimum of her obedience given, Kol keeps saying things like “Kol, wants to get paid!? Boss!? WHY!?” as they near the exit. Refusing to speak, he doesn’t even know what he’d say.




(… Kol has… caused another problem.)




Not only Castile, but a shady-looking man of immense stature watches as a living terror gets forcefully evicted from Slayer’s Call.






Name: Adris fehl Dain, “Boss”, “Starr”
Titles: Lycia’s Little Brother, True False God, Slayer
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”, Slayer of Petripolis
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!”


[Verisimilitude] – “Stop giving weird names to what I do! But if my imaginative truths are more believable now, I’m not gonna complain.”


[A WONDERFUL CURSE] – “If that old corpse wasn’t already dead, I’d definitely kill him!”


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?”

“Learning the loopholes is very entertaining, isn’t it?”


“This sort of man is the one you’ve always longed to be, yes? While others would prefer outright power, it doesn’t do for you unless you live on the edge of destruction, correct?”



“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.”

“Even if he can’t run, he can throw up a barrier.”


“Taking advantage of his notoriety, he throws himself into his new role. Already plotting their heaven or hell, Adris thinks he can take on every last slayer in Petripolis.”



“I’m looking forward to getting to the schemes. Adris is decent at saving his skin, but is more of a long-term threat.”



Name: “Kol” fehl Dain, “Pink”
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…?”

“Being sought by others is quite cruel, isn’t it?”


“How does it feel? Seeing her have more impact than you thought it possible for you to have?”



“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.”

“Knows how to deal with difficult people.”


“Is also a difficult person. The former barmaid of Slayer’s Call, she also has a definite reputation that all slayers are aware of. Since only one chose to face her, it can be assumed her credibility is real.”



“She’s not OP. You’ll see.”





LORE DIVINATION – “Determining what an item does and especially it’s history, because some items hide terrible secrets.”


Alchemical Mender – “The name for the orange stones gifted to slayers, they are items which unwrite the damage done to the body, forcefully healing it as if turning back time. A wiser person would realize that they naturally hyper-activate the body’s healing and augment it.”


Renée de la Briquette, the Ashborn Magistress – “Proprietor of her unnamed shop and the only seller of the supremely useful goods that slayers rely on to even the Castillo’s ‘unlucky’ outcomes.”


Biske the Beast (Furry) – “An infighting beast-blood wielder who is firmly in the ‘all women belong to me!’ camp, except the women that seek him out are not the furless kind.”


Reverend Voyeur, Watcher of the Raven Star – “The most talented sneak in the slayer cadre, he is also firmly in the camp of ‘you’re not supposed to see me, I see you’.”


Shining Star Sales – “Lycia Vehrose’s shop in Slayer’s Call. Offers the finest in Castillo-made goods, straight from the Wondrous Works!”


“Grandpa”– “The unnamed leader of Slayer’s Call, he is at the very least respected by Kol and Castile. Appears to indeed be related to the head slayer.”



Chapter 61         Table of Contents          Chapter 63