Take Up the Cross – Chapter 65: Only A Rumor, Ever A Mystery

Light cannot penetrate deeply enough from the surface anymore as a figure pulls Adris closer and drags downward.


Intense black eyes invite him to sink further into the abyss below. Flowing hair that shines even here wraps around his body, as if this oldest part of his life has merged with a familiar monster willingly so long as hell is their mutual destination.


No running! Not after everything! You don’t get to run!


A first death where he was splattered against a wall wasn’t enough for this wraith, for she wants his punishment even after.


(… I’m not going to die just because you feel I betrayed you! I won’t die for that reason, not even for you!)


Suddenly pulled into an eddy along with his tormentor, they’re drawn away from the abyss.




Shining white blades of light streak toward them from above to slay the living hair that grasps him, freeing Adris from his weight.




A plunging figure dives into the swordmaiden, driving a dark blue and black blade into her heart before kicking off of her.

The impact explodes like a blossom of malicious magic, leaving his rescuer lit dramatically by the clash.


With her face locked in surprise, his attacker from the past sinks while inks of blood begin to cloud her descent, a lonesome hand stretching for Adris before it disappears into the gloom.




Ripped up by the blue angel wearing a steepled hat, she sets course for the surface where red stars burn.




Taken by the buoyancy of their ascent, Adris is forced to pull her tightly.


A porcelain mask and steepled hat are grabbed away by the waters, revealing a smiling face underneath.

Joy felt at freeing Adris with violence transfers to him to be tasted. This new partner in his life offers a similar love to his own, for Adris knows she also abhors “evil people” living without getting their just rewards.


While the swordmaiden was ever taciturn, this girl’s placid outward soul hides a raging sea underneath that threatens to drown him in its ambitions.


A sea that Adris, for a moment, is desperate to challenge before doubts resurface…





(… “A slut only for me”? “Give yourself to me”? … “I want you”!?)


Despite the brutal aching that relays through his body nerve by aggrieved nerve to report how broken he feels, Adris’ first thoughts on waking hyper focus on his total surrender last night.


(AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!? Why did I let her sauce me up and then act like a love-struck brat!? “Taking Petripolis~? I’ll do it with you~! Let’s take this whole city, okay~!?”


AM I A RETARD!? Why am I promising cities to that…? Is she a sarcastic young tart or a debauched woman on the prowl!? Make up your mind…)


All the wonderful calculations in his mind were overrun and then executed by spear thrust at the command of a girl who inexplicably turned into a bonafide man-hunter. As the victim, he’s left to deal with the headache from that and his own technique backfiring.


(Where did she learn those lines!? “I don’t know what these desires are, but they’re the feelings of a woman for a man, so please let me prove them!” Horseshit! You just… knew exactly what to say to a horny idiot like me…!)


Sensations still feel a bit crossed as he tries to get his sight to work again. Using a forbidden link resulted in Adris’ brain melting when Still’s all-consuming climax had come.


(… Shit! Undead… cum the moment a man gives up his seed to them? Lycia must’ve been swimming with pleasure when she swallowed it all, then!)


Still is not a woman he can ever go drinking with again.




Despite his sight being late to recovery, Adris feels his breathing impaired by an unknown weight propped on his head.


(What now!? What is this!?)


Reaching up with his hand, taut muscles give to fur the lower he reaches. Going the other way, softer flesh is round. Moving around it, he comes to a crevice that squishes.


“… Nrrrnnn…”


Upon touching the crevice, the object moves.


(… It’s… Kol?)


Adjusting to the light of the room, what greets his eyes is tan skin and a tight crack. Laying on top of his body is a fit tomboy using him as a bed. A force of nature that’s only placated while asleep is perched on his chest.


Moans come from the kobold as he rubs her butt, before she starts marching her now glistening slit towards his face.


(I don’t feel Ave or Neesiette in the room! I’m stuck!)


Strong hands grip his legs as the girl lifts her tail and mashes herself to his face.


(… Ugh, you need to wash more often!)


The thick smell of her body pierces into him, yet his predicament allows only one way out from this muscular girl who has cut off his words.

Sticking his tongue out, he starts licking at the one spot that will wake her up.




A clever tongue isolates her engorging button, flicking at it before he parts her outer lips to wet further in. At first passively needy, Kol’s muscles flex with the jolts of satisfaction building through her from this sudden change. While he goes to work on her, she clings to him harder and starts panting.


(As long as I can wake her up with this…!)


Even after the thorough cleansing of last night, his cock is emboldened as it’s crushed by her body. Feeding that dissatisfaction into his work is how Adris slurps up the juices quickly gathering for him.

A natural honey carrying her flavor is a bit too rich to enjoy, but the way her body surrenders to a male giving her attention grows into a pleasant payback.


(Still might get the better of me, but I own your body completely!)


Freeing his hands, he pulls on her cheeks so he can adjust her. Soaking his face is her response, along with a tail that beats wildly against the bed and wall.


“… Hah! Graaah! … Morreee….!?”


Viscous fluids coat his exposed side when a girl slurps him, causing him to jump into her cleft. Though she doesn’t think to suck on his cock, she does paw at it when she pulls back to continue moaning loudly.

Should anyone hear her and check, a white-haired girl growling while stretching out and getting wrapped up in the sheets, desperate to claim a growing release, would be an erotic sight worth remembering.


Minutes fly by in a flash while slurping sounds fill the room, before quick breathing joins with quivering muscles to announce the culmination of his work.

This early in the day and still sleepy, there’s no impediments to her sexual fulfillment.




A boy’s face earns her ire as she grinds against it while cumming, shaking desperately and yelping while her puffy lips drench him.


Continuing to clean her clit while she clenches and unclenches on top of him, her orgasm eventually subsides before she throws herself off of him.

Quickly maneuvering to face Adris, the flush-faced Kol shows her teeth while panting.


“… Boss… why are you…!?”

Powerful hands grab onto his shoulder and arm as her pink eyes burn with passion. Moving to climb over him, she licks his exposed chest while taunting him with her words.


“OH!? Want to… mate? Kind of early, but Kol has been waiting! Finally, get a contest…!”

“Hold! That wasn’t my intent!”



Her face hovers over his as the sleek beauty looks gobsmacked. That surprised look changes into a scrunching mouth with squinting eyes.


“… Boss, licking Kol there… pretty much gonna lead to mating.”

“That’s understandable Kol… but I didn’t do that to lead into that…”




(I don’t have a deathwish! I’ve been looking for a way to turn sex into something other than a contest, so now is a good time to try…)




“‘Annoying’! Kol is waiting for the contest she’s owed after beating the big bird! Finally getting it, and now you say it’s not!?”


Knowing that “mating” will mean several hours of brutal sex, Adris instead has a “better wisdom” for her. Light streaming in through Neesiette’s clear window becomes his example when he lifts his hand.


“Kol, it’s probably half-past the morning and you’re still sleeping. I was only trying to rouse you.”

“… Huh?” Her groan comes with total confusion, before her cheeks puff out. “Wait! Boss, sleeping until now, too!”

“I’ve been awake for a while contemplating the plan I’ve come up with.”

“What!? Plan, while laying next to Kol? Boss, sometimes… Boss is really weird. Fine, how does licking wake Kol up?”

Kol wraps around him to hug, sighing with the lingering pleasure while also tutting at him.


“Males have trouble getting up because they have a full display of their… maleness in the morning, or do you not know that?”

“Kol, seen before with tribe. Kaka, can feel right now!”

She roughly pats his dick while cackling.

“Boss, always like that… good show.”

“… Your appreciation is correct. Don’t you feel the same when you wake up? It’s not just males, right?”


(At least Serras would sometimes disappear for no reason to come back looking refreshed…)


“Oh? True. Kol always feels sluggish because it feels hot for a bit. Can never do anything good on her own… Hmmm? Boss, did for Kol to help!?”

“It’s called ‘relief’. Teammates are there for each other, right?”

Flicking ears earn a scratch as Adris seals the deal with his impromptu logic.

“I want to invigorate you. It’s an old form of body manipulation! … It works to stimulate the energy veins of a person.”

“Hmm!? Smart! Kol, definitely feels like doing stuff now… Very energetic.”

The sweaty girl pulls away from Adris, inverting herself to let her legs face him.




Her feet go high towards the ceiling while gripped and pulled wide, exposing her perfect pussy which cracks open just a bit after his work.


“So, things like mating can be done for health? Kol, understands!

Mmm, not fair for just Kol to have, right!? Boss need, too?”


While rocking on her back, Kol’s lips earn a licking as heated eyes flash at him.


“If Boss wakes Kol up, Kol will wake Boss up~? Kakaka! Kol, can be ‘relief’!”


A voice authoritative, yet also inviting, growls out at him.


“Come on, climb up.”




(… That’s very kind of you!)


A throbbing cock is definitely appreciative of this lewd offer, for the eyes he devours her with connect straight to its needs as he envisions himself burying it inside her.

That burning hole is a beautiful memory he wants to go back to.


(Not… worth the risk.)


“No, I’m perfectly invigorated, Kol. I also have work to do. As do you.”


Throwing his legs off the bed, he ignores the temptation, earning a sigh from Kol and her snatching his pillow to hug it instead.


“Hm? Okay. Kol… gonna go get armor today. Give money!”

“Yes, yes. I’ll get some to you.”

“Kakaka, good! Kol, forgive Boss for being stingy with others! Oh… but you know…”


Claws grab onto his shirt to pull him around to face her.


His pillow is between soaked legs as she lays there with her other hand pulling up her tunic to reveal her perky tits.

A wolfish, innocent smile draws him in with her luscious voice.


“If Boss wakes up before Kol and feels sluggish, go ahead and get ‘relief’, okay? Kol won’t mind~!”

“Huh? … Ah, sure…”




Redoubling his efforts to escape the disappearing daylight hours that Kol’s offer represents, Adris barely clears the room before his cock’s demands that he throw himself at the waiting treat he left behind win out.


(… I should just wake up how I feel like, huh? I’ll keep that in mind.)


Cethran and Castile did both say to stop hiding from these sorts of offers. The only drawback is that Ave and Neesiette share the same room.


(I’m not going to give them a show! … It’s a shame she just feels like she’s being useful.)





Breakfast went without incident, save for a brief cornering by Meltisha to discuss business.

Several pages of parchment and two vials of a liquid which had caused him to dry heave when ingested were his first payout from their new relationship.


Avoid exerting yourself heavily in areas the ghoul might linger in. This tincture doesn’t prevent all scent. It simply reduces and diffuses it, leaving it more inclined to rapidly degrade when left behind.


Still quite miffed about the pursuer hunting him, Meltisha did include tailored notes for Lycia’s subspecies.


(Useful ones, in fact. I need to understand Avenalliah’s power, though.)


The opportunity for that is gone for the morning, because both Ave and Neesiette decided to leave. Most curiously, they left together.


(I’m glad they can get along well enough to do that.)




“As I said: it’s a simple plan.”

{And this mystery thing we’ll be slaying later this week?}

“That is a mystery for a reason. Only worry about preparing for fighting an undead.”

In the shadows of the patio is where Adris and his skittish accomplice plan their night.


{Anyway, simple is true. I’m not unimpressed, though. Following this man back to his stash in order to blackmail him will let you control certain aspects of his trade.}

“That’s the whole point. I don’t want him closing down, just under thumb and aware of it.”


Though Adris started the session sitting closer to her, the unquenchable temptation from last night had quickly put more distance between them.


(But why?)


The cloaked girl shakes two fingers in assent before crossing her legs.

{… It will work, I think.}

“What I need first is to determine what routes he takes back to his storehouse…”


Deft hands rub the table while she coyly scratches her mask.

{How fortuitous that such a task is already accomplished?}




(How did you do it so fast!? … Oh, I see.)


His winning smile is offered with all the arrogance of a man who has seen through her capabilities.




“This Bayonne is someone you’ve already investigated for your own plans, is it? Now I know why you’re so eager to join in on a conspiracy against the slayers.”

{… Right, they’ve been on my mind. I’ve never been inside, but a guy who isn’t a slayer constantly going to their base is interesting, right? Though the human areas are often out of bounds for me, I know his routine paths through the outer quarters and his rotation schedule for them~.}

“What a wonderful partner you are! Why, we can hit him this evening, then…”

{Sounds good! Do you have a way to force him to his storehouse?}

“‘Force him’? Does he not always go there each day?”


Nodding briskly, Still enumerates conditions with her free hand.

{This fellow only travels there when carrying objects of certain value, from what I can divine, and only if he doesn’t have his morning luggage full. Otherwise, he stays at an inn close to the outskirts and heads towards the Granescian area the next morning.}

“… I see. Then that’s no issue. I have the perfect bait to trip him up with and plenty of gold to trade.”


His tunic sleeve is pulled back to reveal a familiar fog tool, earning Still’s “ok” signal and a “chuckle” from her.

{Yeah, he won’t pass on that. It’s a fascinating device…}


(What a glorious little spy Still is. As long as she’s on my good side, can I even fail?)


A map is whipped out by Adris, one he’s been working on in the spare couple of hours he had without being bothered. Showing the sections of Petripolis he’s visited, it is quickly scribbled on by Still as she bobs her head while expanding its streets and locations.

{I’ll set up a “greeting” here. He travels with some escorts, so we’ll have to be fast. Find me here after the trade and we’ll wait…}




The meeting jolts into a new tone as Adris’ hand comes to hold hers while settling on the map. A quietness about this morning adds to the intimacy of the location.


Still’s inner “sight” locks onto him before her uncertain mask does the same. The two show visible insecurities that each examines for clues to thoughts unshared.

At least until Still grows bold and leans in.


{What’s this about, now? Need a friend?}

“You’re not going to say anything?”

{About what?}

“Last night.”


Adris exhales in frustration at her unwillingness to talk, before she “laughs” into her hand after pulling away from him.


{You have some epiphany while you were drinking last night, is that it?}

“… I wouldn’t call it an ‘epiphany’, but certain things became clearer.”


That acknowledgment becomes a wide grin when she flutters her hand over her mask.




{Oh, oh, had a good dream, then? What’d you learn from it, partner?}

Lazy gestures offer a flippant question that cuts into his patience.




(“A dream”? Is that what it’s going to be!?)


“Running away?”

Almost growling with the question, she turns her head away and lets the shadows take her mask.

{I don’t know what you want, but… a mood is just a mood…}


With just that stated, she stands up out of her chair to walk away from the table, stopping only briefly when he slaps it.


“What is it with your moods?”

{What is it with you coming in smelling like dog?}

Hands that make a “woof” motion earn him her ridicule.


Freezing at the accusation, Adris grits his teeth while she grows visibly agitated at his silence.


(That’s not…)


{… Nevermind.}

All of her dislike flows away at once, returning her to her chipper self.

{Anyway, good dreams aren’t… rare, Adris. I hope you have another one soon, one day?}

Shoulders shrug as she crosses her arms, while a whimsical smile plastered on her mask is ever more infuriating with how little she pretends to care.

{Until then, keep your eye on what’s important~.}

“Still, we decided we’re partners. Isn’t that important?”


Twirling in place before sliding back her leg, Still offers a clumsy, ironic bow before her mask shows her tongue to him.

{Then don’t act like you’re my better! We’ve got business, real business with time constraints, so stop whining about other stuff…!}

“Fine. Have it your way. Business is what you care about now?”

An even tone in Adris’ voice cuts a bit harder than anger, leading to Still tapping her side uncomfortably.

{For now, yeah. … There’s stuff going on, and I don’t want you getting lazy or distracted~. Or burning out your mind doing weird sorcery…}

“Don’t worry about that. When alcohol isn’t in play with this cheap vessel, I’m ahead of all others.”




Striding off before she can respond, Adris takes his map with him.


Until a pebble hits his back, forcing him to turn.




{… Stay safe, partner. Don’t worry, I know you can’t forget about me~!}


Shocking gestures full of allure come from the girl who offers him a friendly air kiss, before her slippery self flips over the wall behind her to escape.




When he’s sure he’s alone, Adris rubs his still throbbing head.


(First she’s shaping me like putty, then she’s unsure about us and full of ire, and now she’s flirting again!? I’m certain now… Still has… “moods” that drastically change how she interacts with people. Very mercurial ones.)







Finding a quiet spot on his way to the Call with Kol at his side, Adris pulls out Rantil.




Respect: 💖 💖 🤍 🤍 🤍

Obsession: 💖 💖 💖 🤍 🤍

Understanding: 💛 💖 🤍 🤍 🤍


The girl known as “Still” refuses easy quantification, but her relationship with a Crossbearer has becomes impossible to easily describe, as she seems content to flit between classifications for it. In turn, the Crossbearer is just as insecure, yet finds himself unable to separate from this strange story growing between them.


Hum, hum, she’s starting to get a bit interested, ain’t she Adris? As you’ve surmised, golden hearts have special meaning~! If you think girls are easy, then you’re gonna be disappointed when they all turn that color, hahaha~!]

“I see. In the end, Still is… Still, right?”

[Yep, yep. That girl is a real heartbreak waiting to happen! I like her~.]

“How do I deal with it, I wonder?”

[Shouldn’t you just try to get deep and wet with her again? It worked out well last—


Hey! (;゚;∀;゚; )

Don’t just close—!]


Saying goodbye to Rantil, Adris starts off again with less stress in his step, but burgundy hair and an enchanting smile run through his mind when it concentrates on other things…





Under fairylight gleams the workings of a contraption from Xin.


Furtive eyes worship it as it lays on a broken pillar.


“Worthless piece of shit doesn’t do anything. I’ve tried a bunch of stuff, but I give up. Gimmie some marks for it, Dirty Bayonne.”

Flippant scowling is what the old man hiding a tonne of greed gets. Though Bayonne restrains himself, the way he strokes the fog tool’s brass features and warm cylinders shows Adris everything he needs to see.


“At the end of my rope was how I obtained it. Nearly got splattered all over a wall for good and this damn thing was the only treasure I took with me of any worth! Hey, how much is it worth?”



Mumbling to himself, Bayonne begins digging into his baggage. Pulling out three marks, he quietly sizes up Adris’ reaction.

“That much!? Damn fine!”


At the obvious tell, Bayonne hands over the marks before taking up the fog tool and placing it into a very ornately inscribed box. Reaching out with his senses causes Adris to refuse to try to penetrate the box, for it feels like fire when he spiritually touches it.


(… Neesiette would probably call them protective “runes”?)


“I got this gold, too! So let’s get a bunch today!”

“… A fine quantity of vestiges, oh noble slayer. Bayonne thanks you for your aid against the apocalypse.”


Thankful he is, for Bayonne’s bag is mostly cleared of marks by the time Adris is done.


(My entire fortune is now gone, except for drinking money.)




“Alright, time to get stronger, get a bounty, and crush some pussy!”

Yelling as he walks off, Adris heads to the bar area.


Greedy eyes turn back to normal, though Bayonne’s subtle smile lingers as he watches Adris depart.




(I need to tell Castile that I’m going to be indisposed of while ambushing this bastard.)


Looking for one of his new slayer friends to relay the message for him, Adris settles on a dark-looking fellow covered with body hair.


“Hey, Biske! You recovered just fine!”

“… Huh?”

The man looks up from his drink, with always aggressive eyes showing confusion.


Sliding into a chair across from him, Adris gives greetings to the man who Kol brutally destroyed the day before.


“There’s no shame in it, I ain’t trying to insult you, man! That Pink is a real terror I hear—”




“Who are you, boy?”





The man’s deep voice isn’t unfriendly, yet there’s a current of incredulity, as if he’s not used to people stopping by to drink with him.


“… Now don’t get mad! I ain’t saying you can’t drink with me!”

Scooting closer, Biske quickly tries to placate Adris.


“I just ain’t used to new faces trying to chat with me is all.”

“… Didn’t we talk together yesterday? With Castile and Renée?”

“Huh? Whenthefuckdidthathappen? Sure you ain’t drunk? … Oh, didn’t Castile say we had a new ~NOVICE~ in the Call!?”


Slapping the table, Biske’s toothy smile becomes heated as he offers to buy a drink for Adris with a coin he’s fumbling with.




“That you!? You looking for a team, bro!? What’s your name?

Come on, I don’t know what you’ve heard, but I’m not a—!”





Name? ‘Cutie’ will work, right~? … Aren’t you a new guy trying to pick me up on a date?

Huh? Who you are? ‘Lord Wasting-my-fucking-time’ sound right?

You wanna trade stories again!? I already got a lead out on getting into Dining Hell! A guy named Mantecado says he knows an easy way in and saw the same lizardwoman! Did you know they’ll fuck any dude that beats them in battle? Want in?

Dragon? There’s a dragon there? Is it female!?

Older sister does want to play if you’ve changed your mind! … Where are you going…!?

Business or pleasure, Mister Starr? Please say it’s both. … Have you chosen your gift yet?




Adris scratches his head in horror at the list of names and recognitions given to him.


Out of all of his prior acquaintances, only a small percentage remember him. Though just as pliable and inclined to be friendly with him as last time, none of these recalled meeting before.


“Only a vague feeling that I belong here and am a slayer is constant!”


Asked if they knew there was a new novice, all had agreed and then assigned that status to him.


Strange souls like Renée the prestige-hungry shopkeeper, the slayer who had gone crazy for Acacia the Lizardwoman, and the boy-hunting priestess had recalled Adris without prompting, though they hesitated for a moment before acknowledging him. Afterward, they acted as if nothing was out of place.


(And Castile still isn’t here, but going by last time he should recognize me.)




“Bro, lucky finding you here!”


Looking up from his drink, Adris receives a stare back from a giant piece of raw steel.


Two mugs are slapped down on the table by the meathead with a steel barbute for a head, his friendly burning eyes staring at Adris. Powerful, reddish-smoke armor shaped like a crustacean life form’s body covers the man’s entire form except for his crotch and hands.

A simple loincloth covers the massive package down below.


(Easy access to his dick. This is definitely Mantecado.)


“Do you remember me?”

Quiet with his question, it makes Mantecado’s burning eyes wink in and out of existence a few times before the man laughs uproariously.

“How the fuck could I forget my favorite wing commander!? Check it!”

Big pieces of ham are upturned, displaying those black tattoos he gained from the cross proudly inked into his wrists.

“If I forget you, I’m a huge pussy, bro. Like, a quivering cavern of rotten beef. I owe you a lot. Mantecado don’t drop favors.”

“… Glad to see you again, Mantecado.”

“Yeah, yeah, sure, bro. Hey, where’s your payload at?”


Searching the room with a comical whipping of his upper body, Mantecado shrugs disappointedly.


“Man, I was hoping I’d see Pink at least.”

“Kol was here yesterday. There was a disagreement.”

“I know, bro! I heard Biske got flattened. Hi-fuckin’-larious, right? Everyone else hates Pink, but Mantecado is smart enough to play nice! We cool.”


(Mantecado remembers me, too. Quite easily. There’s only one explanation, then.)




[A WONDERFUL CURSE] included a section about this.


“[You shall never be known to others, for all your successes will be spoken of in rumor! All will see only your station and shadow!]”




“Hey, Mantecado, what do you think of me?”

The giant man scoots away from Adris, bringing his drinks with him.

“… Kinda gay question, bro, but you’re alright, I guess? Anyone who can get me more girls is a guy I want to know!”

Nodding his head, Mantecado then clicks his tongue at the unfriendly implication.

“No, but I don’t mean just that, y’know!? I ain’t just hustlin’ after what you find… But you’re just impressive, so it feels like I gotta keep my eye on you?


… Don’t make this weird, man! You’re cool with me, leave it at that.”


(That supreme asshole Emperor prevents me from securing relationships other than by reputation or being… desired! I bet if I look in Rantil under every person that remembers me, they will have at least one heart set for Obsession!


Respect and “love” are the only things allowed for me…?)


“… Where are Kindle and Chill?”

“The payload? I had to leave em unstrapped with the gaggle of ‘em. Pink promised that they wouldn’t rape my pets…”


Sighing loudly, the man then shifts uncomfortably.


“… I don’t really care, but I don’t want ‘em getting roughed up too often. They’re starting to grow on me, so I kinda want ‘em to be happy sometimes?

Maybe? Especially since they like giving me their tongues, now! Those bitchy girls know how to lick, y’know…?”

“… Good luck with them, Mantecado.”

“Luck ain’t a substitute for a big fuckin’ cock, bro, but thanks?”




Spending some more time with the man who is quickly falling under the twin sisters’ sexual spell, Adris considers his life in relation to this specific part of the curse.


(How annoying! How can I conceivably form working relationships with people if they forget about me after I leave!? Are you telling me that I can only do it when people know me as “a false god”? That’s…

that is…






A cheshire grin comes to Adris’ face as Mantecado assumes he’s laughing at a joke the man spoke about the twins’ abilities to fit large objects into them without breaking a sweat.




(Anything I say, do, or align myself with, for good or ill… will be laid squarely on “a false god”, am I understanding this correctly, you shitty Emperor?








Cethran, can you believe the fuck up that ancient creature made!?)




Pure evil awakens at a table in the Slayer’s Call, and Zennia will never be the same afterward.




(Long live the True Emperor of Xin!)






“I think they’re going to drive me insane.”




A man wearing a nondescript cloth hat and traveling robes moves down an alleyway towards the center of Petripolis’ trade district. Pulling two packs with him, he watches the environment for anything standing out.


“… It’s bad enough that they don’t bring as many artifacts back, but they’re also getting chummier! One of these days… they’re gonna come after my body…”


A snickering from behind causes the man’s face to flash red, before he turns and hisses at shadows.


“Shut up. You don’t get it! You only see them on the outside…!”


The man quivers in terror before he manages to swallow a crystallized yellow drop he pulls from his pocket. Chewing on it, he sighs before setting off again.




Walking through a narrow passage between two collapsing buildings, he pauses briefly a third of the way in. His eyes strain while darting around, with his passionate subject being the rubble.


A moment later, a rock falls to his right, echoing down the passage before it comes to a stop.


“… Need to find another way for next time, Cherie. This one’s about to fall.”


Chittering whispers from behind to placate him, a youthful female voice with a touch of crisp sarcasm to it.


“Don’t worry, old man. We’ll know if it’s gonna come a tumblin’ down. Trust us~.”

“As much as I’m worth to you, you mean.”

“Right-o. Good thing you’re worth the world to Miss Cherie and crew.”




While whispers keep laughing behind him, the man reaches the end before exhaling the breath he’d been saving.




“Just like I was saying, old man, nothing—”




A deafening roar of debris lifts up multiple shapes out of the shadows behind the man, breaking them upon the rubble piles and shaking the collapsing buildings.

The explosion sends dust to obscure almost everything, before a second burst of pure wind picks up the impacted sneaks and sends them skyward.


Looking behind to confirm that nearly all of his entire escort was taken by it, the man starts back before a blue shadow falls from the air to land on one of his remaining protectors.


The prone figure with large, circular ears and a whipping ringed tail cries out in pain as a flame-bladed shortsword plunges into his back.


Another figure emerges from the rubble to draw her own scything sword out.


“Run, you old dodder!”


“… Fucking old salt…! Forget me! Run!

[Rasping Blade]!”


When the short, rat-like demi-human woman with dull brown hair and a pretty face calls forth winding vapors from her weapon and lunges at their languid assailant, the man unleashes a curse and hotfoots it down the alley’s turn.




“Why does this shit always happen when I forget my comfortable shoes!?”


All the man can do is wheeze as he flees, trying to remember which intersection’s turn exits into the human quarters. Within a city of nothing but stone everywhere, only the plantlife has any relevant color.


“As if I can navigate by flowers!? Ohhh, it was over there~!”


Bumbling around obstacles, the old man’s eyes glitter with relieved tears.




The earth comes at him fast as he tumbles forward, hitting the side of his face and skidding on it as he comes to rest on his back. Crying out in pain, the man quickly sits up.

Dark-reddish, bright-white Vigor streaks from his cuts as he checks his fragile arms and legs for more serious wounds, but he is forced to start moving backward as a dastardly presence drops from above and fills the alley.




Wearing a black mask and pointing an obsidian cross at the man, the aura of sheer otherworldly terror projected from this creature in human form implies a fiend who can only be from…




“No, no! Not the Alchemaster! I didn’t do it! It’s not me! … I’ll give it all back! Every last coin!”


A desperate old man prostrates himself before a shorter one, offering both of his packs to him.


“Don’t turn me to stone! Please!”






The figure makes a “tsk”ing sound of disappointment before raising its cross.


“Can you make nearly as much profit as a statue as you do right now with the slayers,




old Bayonne?”




Before the man can gasp at the name, the last sound heard is a peal of thunder and glass breaking, followed by a thud.






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?”

“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?”

“Do you think a man that hides all his pain is seductive? Isn’t it the opposite? Shouldn’t you lay it out on them?”

“Should I expect anything less than total surrender by this point?”


“Let the games begin, oh beautiful boy?”



“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’?”

“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.”

“Forces himself to take on the task of solving all problems, but is he really up to the task?”

“Even if he’s a false god and a conman, he’s still a man.”


“As a consummate trickster and impersonator, giving him a legend he’s encouraged to build for his own benefit is a terrible idea.”



“Give a man an out and he’ll take it every time. Adris found a very useful tool disguised as a curse.”



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?”

“Justice is beauty, but only if it’s your justice, right?”


“Will you turn her into a slave for your pleasures, Adris? Don’t you feel that’s quite ambitiously dangerous?”



“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.”

“Is used to being the one who is found wanting by her party, though she obviously rails against it every time.”


“Not really understanding the differences between things until someone explains them, the first person who explains it that she trusts is liable to leave a lasting impression on her life.”



“Kol is far from skittish about sex.”



Name: Still, “Cyrene Stillwater”
Titles: Puddle
Race: Undead?
Sex: Female
Age: Young Lady?


Occupation: Delver, Trickster/Outfighter
Discipline: Accursed Avenger




[“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”!?}


[Delusional Movement] – {How did you forget that shadows are also a doorway, Adris?}


[Undead Fortitude?] – {Do you think that what has no life cares about your pathetic strikes?}


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?”

“My, after learning only a bit about her, you threw yourself back into her embrace? Who is the winner in this, Adris?”


“When will you get the hint that you’re moving too quickly, Adris? Do you believe women approve of a man too desperate? In this case, might your desperation not be the intended result?”



“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.”

“Though useful, that’s not the same as saying she’s completely reliable. What goes through her mind as she leads Adris on? This is the important question.”


“A mercurial girl who isn’t always sure what she wants at a given time, but definitely wants it.”



“Hopefully this relationship will work out okay. Still will never be an ‘easy woman’.”








Chapter 64         Table of Contents          Chapter 66