Take Up the Cross – Chapter 67: What Does Greed Desire?




Both old man and boy speak at once, taken aback equally by the short wonder standing smugly before them.


“Compensation be required for rendering services to one unequal in our goals and designs. If this catastrophe appeared not to be self-inflicted, considerations would be possible…”

“It’s not my fault! They just kept flooding in!”

Such an indignant rebuttal aids Anaxis not, for the girl only tilts her head while maintaining her narrowed eyes full of superiority.

Nothing permits such capricious ordering such as evident here.” Marching up to him, she leans up to glare at him, an act which causes the kneeling man to shirk back. “‘Shining Sword #3’? Truly constituting one’s best efforts, this does?”

“… How else do I categorize it!? It shines, and I wrote who I received it from and where they found it! What else do I know about it!?”

Though his voice is shrill, Anaxis’ cheeks redden in shame at this being pointed out before he turns his head.

“Such a problem requires man hours beyond simple identification to rehabilitate one’s collection.”


(I suppose she has a point.)


“… Compensation for this lady be simple, as well, once leaving off on such complaints.”


Extending her hand, it’s pointed at the tome that Adris holds.

One that Anaxis jealousy tainted with his sight licking over it upon first witnessing it, before he fell back in the same dread Adris often feels.


Without allowing for amending or refusal, this lady’s terms be that any and all truly unique items which come unto one’s possession shall be rendered as payment, now and in the future, to be determined by—”




Even when Anaxis screams at Neesiette, she doesn’t display emotion. Regaining control of himself, Anaxis rises from his knees to leer down at her from behind a raised chin.


“You don’t gain ownership of everything in the future just for aiding me now! Such predatory terms will bankrupt me!”

“One waits not to hear the definition properly elucidated. ‘Truly unique’ be a specific and rare categorization. Only one item counts as such within one’s current stores.”

To this dismissive tone she uses, Anaxis gawks at her before taking in the sum of his horde.


“I have over one-hundred-and-sixty different items from the Castillo! How can only one fit your… no…”

That canniness comes to his eyes again as he gives a thin smile. Taking in her own inestimable qualities, Anaxis’ tone softens.


“Truly unique doesn’t mean ‘most powerful, useful, or valuable’, does it?”

“One possesses a quick mind. The definition of ‘truly unique’ speaks instead to the intrinsic irreplaceability and unsurpassable historical value, as one comprehends; though, such items are often possessing of powerful traits…”

“Haha, I see. I understand your interests, now. Though not an amendment, would you at least allow me to record your observations about such objects for sharing with other collectors?”

“… Both acceptable and encouraged that be.”

They share a smile as they take in the measure of each other, with Anaxis’ quick recovery earning Neesiette’s softening of features.


(… I don’t like how I’m being left out of this, but they seem to understand each other now.)


“Can we move on then, Neesiette?”

Finally acknowledging Adris once more, the party’s mystic nods.

“Then to one’s stock of objects writ upon by Art, especially to whether or not they be ‘hazardous to possess’, this lady may sum up their natures succinctly:


All items one possesses be hazardous; yet, also containing great strengths to balance out such detriments.”

“They’re all cursed!? Every last one!?”


(… I see. Good job, oh beneficent Alchemaster.)


“A deeper understanding of the nature of the Castillo be revealed by one’s tainted trove, for both objects and gold betray, with the aid of this lady’s prior examinations of the Castillo itself, the guiding principle of the Alchemaster’s artifice:


By purposefully allowing detriments to accrue with her work, the raw benefit of its outcomes mellows out this forcibly amplified mixture. If one be ready for elucidation, then step-by-step, one may say—”


(We don’t have time for a lecture!)


“In summary, the Alchemaster is so powerful because what warps and harms is treated as a part of an agreeable outcome to having a really powerful artifact, yes? They still hold great value?”

When preempted by Adris, Neesiette scrunches her face briefly.

“… Indeed. ‘Agreeable outcomes’ be these horrible flaws for those who wield them, for such crafts and acquired treasures be both quite powerful and so also valuable.

Her gold, too, betrays its effect when placed with sufficient quantities together. Measurably radiating from it does a palpable field of pseudo Art, similar in nature to the ambiance of the Castillo and that which be toyed with by others known to this lady...”


(I’m not her, leave me out of this!)


Nodding sharply, her fragile arms sweep to take it all in so that Anaxis understands perfectly.

“‘Greed’ be guiding principle, effect, and empowerment. Lingering upon one’s soul it does, settling into it as avarice which never departs.”


(Even if you leave, it remains!?)


“By the Lords of Light… it all makes sense…”

Sitting down in his golden chair, Anaxis has a dark look while staring at his piles of treasure. Something registers for him as his expression turns surprised.

“I’d often wondered about what the lorekeepers say of this Great Evil’s nature, but basking in her misbegotten treasure explains much about my own actions at times. I’d often thought I was taking too many risks.”

“You didn’t think it, Anaxis! I’ve been drilling it into your thick skull, only for you to keep saying ‘It’ll be fine’!”

“Shut up, Cherie! You don’t handle the business side!”

Slapping him on the shoulders as they bicker, this Cherie shifts away from the now eerie gold.


“Ahhh!? That crazy monster up above did this as a plot!”

Anaxis begins to crack up, screaming at the top of his lungs as all become alarmed.


“Think about it! If you plan to ‘awaken’, yet also stay dormant, and you also want to keep your minions alongside you, why not destabilize the outside world through ‘treasures’ liberated from your coffers!?”


(… That makes sense, actually.)


Adris had in the Castillo wondered why the demonic fortress would intentionally reward those who seek to plunder it. At first believing it only to be required by her Modus to grow with it, Anaxis’ insights are altering that perspective.


“… Shit, now the containment the Granescians enforce makes sense! Am I a traitor!?”

“Anaxis… it’s okay, you old fool. Plenty greedy you were before touching the gold. If anything, you’ve grown kinder after facing hardships!”

“… Miserable woman…! I’ve been destroying that curse, right!? … I’m still fine…”

As the two’s personal moment continues to fray, Neesiette takes center stage between everyone as she continues.


“Indeed, much of her evil be explained by such an inauspicious revelation. Returning to their homelands with corrupting ideas and personality defects, those empowered by her crafts or boons would possess ample power to bring ‘change’ conducive to her designs if they did so for the sake of personal ‘greed’.”

{… That bitch. … Permanently dealing with her is definitely needed.}




“No, that’s far too simple. Her designs don’t suggest just wanting to bring chaos to the world. There’s more to it.”

“… Expound upon this.”


At first looking down at the floor, the girl who appears beneath him reveals hungry eyes.


“Hm? Are you fascinated by her now, Neesiette? I recall you trying to read her book…”

Such a flippant grin and question brings his teammate to frown up at him, before she huffs.

“As one already knows and declined to assist with such, a book proves quite difficult given its inherent secrets regarding notations and meanings. … Every special insight one gains about this world, one treats as an existential joke to lord over others, it seems.”

“… That’s a little cruel. I’m just trying to chat with you, Neesiette. Anyway…”


Picking up a coin, he holds it up as his prop.


“Alchemy, as explained to me by others, is the search for perfection and truth, as epitomized by such concepts as ‘true immortality’ and ‘transmutation of one thing to another’. Gold, after all, is perfect, while the silver peca is not.



Walking over, Adris lightly grabs Still’s hand, earning him a jolt of dissatisfaction before she willingly trails behind him as he grabs a peca from a pile.

Coming over to Cherie, she whips her hand away before he can grab it, until Anaxis coughs disapprovingly at her.

“… Geh, this guy…!”


Taking up Cherie’s hand with a silver peca and assigning the golden Castillo coin to Still, Adris stands between them with a pleasant grin.




“If we state that Still won their last engagement, then that means she is the superior specimen to our otherwise impressive Miss Cherie.”

“… Ya really wanna get gutted, eh, boy?”

Ignoring the fuming rat woman who gets over her fear of him just enough to bite back, Adris continues.

“Supposing that Still is the standard you wished to aspire to, and also supposing that you wanted more of her, how do you acquire copies?”


When nobody responds with an answer, not even Neesiette despite the look of minute understanding that dawns on her, Adris turns to Anaxis.


“Anaxis, if you found an artifact and wanted more of it, what would you do?”

Nodding his head, the seated Anaxis comfortably twirls his hand while teaching the boy.

“Provided you could upon inspection of its outward specifics confidently recreate it using humanity’s level of skill, you would have a sage or mystic disassemble it, noting the components and craftsmanship.

No different from taking apart a competitor’s new product to reverse engineer it.”

“Assuming that the Alchemaster operated under the same principle, then how would you apply that idea to the way in which the evil mansion on the precipice above treats its invaders?”


The man scoffs, before blinking at the strange question.

“The mansion? The slayers that talk at me say that it tests the very limits of their abilities, as if it supernaturally knows just how to break them down. In fact, many of the treasures they obtain sound awfully tailored to their obvious abilities, though I have yet to gather my thoughts on these definitive traces of artificiality…”

Putting those thoughts together now, Anaxis begins to grow fearful, even haunted.

“… If… If the Alchemaster was intentionally bringing these slayers to her, and watching how they grow, then… she’d… be…?”


Like with Neesiette and her painful grimace, Anaxis arrives at the same mad solution.


“… that’s not possible, right?”


“Why not? She’s utterly immoral, completely immortal from the sounds of it, and has sufficient power, or at least the reputation, to forestall any real external threats aside from treasure hunters acting out of sheer ambition.

If you had all the time in the world, why not spend it seeing how perfect examples of peerless conquerers are birthed by the tests you throw them through, especially since you have these ‘slayers’ that defy all expectations as perfect candidates?

Why not turn ‘silver’ into ‘gold’, and figure out how to repeat that forever?”


“… What sort of monster is she!?”

{… That’s… that’s not…}

While Cherie shies away from Adris after he lets her go, Still hovers closer to him, this time in distress rather than teasingly.


Neesiette’s closed eyes finally wake back up after she sighs.


“[Form] be the Alchemaster’s favorite ‘element’. Within it lies the concept of ‘life alchemy’, or the pursuit of a ‘perfect existence’. With that as one’s guidance:


‘Perfect servants, how are they made? Shall we find out? Please come for your testing, eager slaves.’”


Shrugging at his own realization, only Adris doesn’t appear horrified beyond speech after Neesiette finishes.




(All you have to do is meet that thing to know she’s both capable of it and also undoubtedly in love with her solution. After all, everyone but her suffers from it while she’s left to guide it happily behind the scenes.


But you know, I think it’s more. As he says, it’s “artificial”, almost as if she’s trying to… create a challenge to keep people strung along. Serving a purpose higher than her own, the way this world treats… power and ability, in contrast to Xin, seems almost… whimsical and inclined to prevent any sort of definite outcome from—)




A cross rings, drawing the fear of all in the room.


The massive headache moving into the skull of the stumbling Adris, as he is held up by Still, bleaches the light away from his view.


Only when it stops ringing does he understand the significance.




(The cross is reacting to the truth!? … What have I done now!? Wait, which… which is the truth out of my thoughts!?)


But it refuses to elaborate, leaving his soul feeling cold.





(Rantil never elaborated further on my “accomplishments”. I still have one left. I should ask her about it and use it before…)


The Alchemaster had given her hatred to Adris, earning him the cross’ notice of it. With time running short to gain power to oppose Lycia, it might be the wild card that solves his issues.


(But what is this feeling?)




“Y’want me to just… hold it?”

“Indeed. Do so, then concentrate on feeling within it. Let whatever you feel through into you.”

“… ‘kay?”




One of the guards from the entrance stands in the trove room, though everyone pretends not to take notice of his actions. Only Neesiette’s instructions are important as he picks up the steel axe she points to, one which has slashes of red rust along its battered and spiky form.


Cherie watches with a smile on her face as the man starts waving the axe around a bit while focusing on it.




“… Um… feels fine…? Nothin’ to it, ‘eh?”

“… Indeed? Then free to go one becomes.”

“Sure. Later, Cherie! Don’t kiss the ol’ man too much, hahaha!”


Though the wretched boor jokes as he walks, his actions cause Still to slip in between him and the exit to the vault.


“Oh, what’s this? Somethin’ wrong?”

{Shouldn’t you return the treasure you were testing, first?}

“… What?”


With Still pointing to the axe resting on his shoulder, the limber sneak realizes he never bothered to give it up.



“Return what one received.”

“Do it, Seele.”


Neesiette, with her sparking rod drawn, issues this command to the man, followed by Cherie’s orders confirming it.


“… uh… Y’sure? Cause… I kinda like it… Can’t I have it, Cherie?”

“No. No you can’t. It’s company property.”


The clicking sound from Still’s emerging shortsword comes when the man lowers his center of gravity and his tail goes stiff. Creeping from his shoulder to a readied grip, this axe he retains prompts Neesiette to lift her rod.




A blur of gray fur and the light reflecting from the approaching killer’s eyes charge on Still, with a pulsating, glowing-red weapon pulled into a psychopathic swing full of technique and brutality.








A shaking, turquoise beam explodes at the man’s feet.






Sweating and deranged, Seele adds “airborne” to his description, crashing into the ceiling feet first with a crunching sound after flipping.

Even when dropping to the floor, the sputtering berserker tries to rise, before Still stabs his hand and causes him to drop the axe.




Rolling away, Seele rushes to the far wall of the room, trying to escape from the blue angel that stands between him and the once-glowing axe.



“… Shut up, Seele.”


The tired woman immediately begins bandaging his neon-red leaking wound after putting some balm on it. Crying the whole time, the man keeps making threats until he’s led out.


“I’ve wondered why you don’t rely on healing from Vigor, Still. Should it not eventually restore all wounds, even if it takes time?”


(That was what Lycia said it did… I assumed your balms were just more expedient.)


{It does. But there’s a price for relying on Vigor, too, and it doesn’t revert all ailments. Nor does it completely restore during battle. It is an expenditure of a reservoir, tied into Recompense, even if humans don’t quite understand it…

Once truly exhausted…}


A finger across her neck gets the point across.




[Fate] will not abide any who can’t pay up.


(… I need to know all the rules. Only then can I break them!)







Time passes before Anaxis nods his head with satisfaction at the demonstration.


“Quite efficient proof of your capabilities, young lady. A perfect match to your observations. This contract can be finalized.”

“No doubt existed to begin with.”


Neesiette lets Anaxis offer her a dainty shake of her hand after some trepidation, before the man goes to get his parchment and inks nearby.


(You won’t need those~!)


“… Well, such a contract still requires my stipulations, Anaxis, but Neesiette’s portion is approved. Still, can you guard Neesiette while she begins her work?”


At his request, the cloaked phantom gives him a side-eyed look with a neutral expression.

“A wise appointment that be. Still, one’s aid will be useful in identifying certain unknown characteristics.”

{… Ah. Yeah, sure.}


Though she immediately suspects something, Still gets roped into the task by Neesiette’s exuberant acceptance.


(I swear I’m not going to betray you. I just have things I want… that feeling is growing nearer?)




Still pacing around the room, Adris is searching for something that continues to draw his attention. Beginning after the black cross started ringing, the vault has briefly become alive with a feeling similar to the Godless Chapel and its advent of darkness.


(… But it doesn’t feel malicious. It’s more like…)


Like boots, ones worn by Adris that are also quite hot right now.

As though a presence in them is also coming alive, Adris fears the sight of red eyes at the corner of his mind.


(There’s… an artifact of darkness in here. One like Echo’s bell?)


Without being given the chance to inquire about her bell, Echo had lost it and then reacquired it after the second investiture.

The object had drawn from both the cross and Echo’s form to be reborn.




A dizziness comes over him as his vision narrows, the blackness forming a circle in his view that centers on a bracer to his right.

Rough gray metal in bands are attached to old leather, bands which have have circular studs along their lengths. At the end of it are black strips which bind dull-gold oval stones to it.

Were it not for the supernatural draw pulling him to it, this scrap item with no apparent value would be passed up.




“Anaxis, I’ll be claiming this as a part of our deal. I’ll pay for future items.”

“Oh? … What does it do?”

The low tone detects a ploy brewing; but, worse than this observant man is Neesiette trotting over to join him.


(Shit! I spoke up too obviously! … It’s too appealing.)


“… Such an item contains no useful effect for the one before this lady. A modicum of strength amplification be its only enhancement; its bane be an unknown, curse-like detriment of not-insignificant potency.”


(‘Unknown’? To you? Then it’s definitely something good!)


That thought is confirmed when Still focuses her “sight” on it, too, before becoming unnerved.


{… What is it with you and dangerous things?}

“Dangerous things are a beauty I’m drawn to, Still. It’s a flaw I choose never to fix.”

{Hah! Even now, you aim for the heavens…}


Waving him off, Still’s appreciation of his subtle flirting seems adequate.


“Since she says it’s worthless, consider it a steal for you then, Anaxis!”

“… That sounds like what you’d do.”


Still prickly with him, Anaxis walks with Adris outside of the vault with Cherie in tow.




“Not worried about your own safety, ‘young master’…?”

Lovingly stroking the cutter’s blade after it’s forcibly returned, Cherie regains more of her acidic tone from the carriage the further away from Still she gets.


“If Still can defeat you, then there’s no worry from me, young lady.”

The evil tone of ‘Ruinous Star’ is revived as Adris sweeps his cross slowly, earning their hesitation.


Ever since it rang, Anaxis’ looks of doubt regarding Adris’ power have vanished.




“Let us make this simple. I am not like Master Drache. You may keep all that you earn.”

“That’s unwise, but I assume I can offer something more valuable to you?”

While he’s still fearful, the merchant Anaxis no longer wastes time pretending this is anything other than a polite negotiation.


“The way that… humans view the world is distinct. While the monsters of the Castillo see it in practical terms of ‘what I can get from it’, and think of humans as slaves to other humans, the slayers think not of either at all. They only prey on others as they will.

I believe your view is truer to how I must understand it.”

“If you want me to explain about humanity’s ways of living, then I must assume you are not human… how strange, that is. Even with your discomforting presence, you feel human…”

“Looks it, too! Like I could chop him in a second…”


This unsaid, implied detail creates more respect, and also disgust, in them.


(Fear is useful, too.)


“They see us as slaves, is it? … Haha, that isn’t untrue at times. The stifling nature of the [Lords’ Laws] can create that impression. Even doing business is very ritualistic and prone to intentional favoritism behind the scenes. Our… odd negotiations are a thrilling change from the norm!”

The sardonic quality to that statement goes with Anaxis’ relaxed posture, an inviting one that approves of Adris’ candid observations.

“I would be interested in debating one of those degenerates on the virtues of our two sides!”

“Oh? That’s easy then. Do you know of the blond-haired woman who runs a shop in Slayer’s Call?”


(Tell me what you know about my nemesis, please.)


“GAH!? That… creature is… not someone you want to mess with!” Drawing back from Adris, the memory of Lycia inflicts the same wound on Anaxis that Still did. “She’s a pure monster, but the slayers don’t care! Pale skin and inhuman eyes, yet they worship her as if she were a vestal icon! It’s… bizarre…!”

“Do you know anything about her?”

“Why would I!? I know enough to stay away! Drache already heard my complaints and told me to remain quiet! He values her wares too much to offend her.”


(Sorry, Master Drache, but your “star seller” is about to have an unfortunate encounter soon. I wonder: is Lycia a spy, or simply a free agent? With her…)


The ghoul who was willing to help free a boy because he tickled her fancy isn’t capable of living as a spy. She values only what she loves.

As the two eagerly depart the topic of Lycia, Adris is confronted with the important part of this deal.


“In understanding humans, I require certain things.”

“So you don’t value money, despite being able to buy anything with enough peca or Succor?”

“Of course. If I had to place value on your operation, why… wouldn’t the young lady beside you be much more valuable than your gold?”


When the cross is pointed at someone…


“… Hiiee, y’what!?”

A lewd gaze directed also at the pretty ratfolk sneak causes her to choke in surprise, before hiding behind her boss.

“I don’t care what you hold over me! I do not prostitute my comrades, even for blackmail protection or profit!”

Anaxis’ face grows hot, despite having no choice in the matter. The man has no option to refuse sexual favors and keep his business intact.


“… Perhaps there’s been a misunderstanding?”


(One of my own making, of course. I’m glad that “faith” is not misplaced in you.)


The man pulls his cloth hat off to clutch it to his chest, a look of dark humiliation bleeding his realization of Adris’ tactic. He passes another test that could’ve turned much darker.


“Don’t look sad. I consider loyalty to be valuable!”

“… So long as you can use it against me, huh!? … Fine, nevermind.”

“Don’t think he won’t do it, Anaxis! The weird brat is probably fucking that undead slut! Maybe the stuck-up halfling, too!”




“Leave my ‘date’ out of this, Miss Cherie. Don’t make me warn the two of you thrice.” When she shuts her mouth while shaking at his sinister tone, Adris smiles softly to lure them back in.




“Rather than money, I am interested in two things which you provide by your respective talents:


Identities and information.”


Taking a minute to digest what Adris wants, the old man chuckles happily.

“A foreigner like you needs a local name, is it?”

“Why just one? I need many identities.”


(A false god can be anyone and accept all the blame!)


“As soon as you can, begin preparing a rotating list of plausible people from a variety of walks of life and businesses. They must have history within Petripolis that can escape suspicion, though not all must be so thorough as to last forever. Disposable ones are needed, too.”


(Any competent merchant can accomplish this. Even if they have some magical way of identifying people, you must know how to defeat it, or you wouldn’t operate in the “gray” or “black”!)


“… That will cost… quite a bit and take a lot of effort.”

“I have time and money. I plan to take the long road to my goals.”


Verbally cornering an old man and his mousy attaché outside of a vault of cursed gold is just the start to Adris’ aspirations.


“The second is easier to explain. I want to know, Anaxis.”


Leaning in towards him, the small boy wearing a black mask resumes flooding the room with his practiced presence.


“Know what…?”




“About you. About Cherie. About your operation. About Petripolis. About the Granescians.


I want to know everything.

Your spies and contacts will exist to service me. And that will be what our contract dictates!”


Bringing the cross nearer to the man, he trembles as Adris’ maddening smile grows wider.




“Greed brought about this meeting, and so you can never escape from the result! You’re going straight to the top with me, Old Bayonne, one way or another!




The darkness you will swear that to shall make it so!





Two hours later, the contract they agreed upon was finalized with the whispering of the shadows from the vault’s magical items after the cross glows darkly.


Anaxis, to his credit, demanded every explicit explanation of terms and haggled every benefit that he could out of Adris.

No loopholes remain in their deal.


(Fucking old fossil of a bitch merchant! You wasted two hours of my precious remaining time before a sexy older woman either murders me outright or breaks my pelvis beforehand, on a deal that was slanted to your benefit in the first place!)


Trailed by his teammates as he leaves, Adris doesn’t bother looking back at the man sighing in relief behind him.


Neesiette is in high spirits, clutching a peculiar mirror with a clean, pearly-colored handle and backing. Despite its surface reflecting nothing, she didn’t even ask for her beloved tome back, as she worships it instead. Contracted to return at intervals to catalogue Anaxis’ goods, she’s now a contributing member to the team’s fortunes.


Remaining quiet after their earlier discussion of the Alchemaster, Still hovers protectively near Adris.


“What’s darkened your night so much?”

Reticent at first, Still makes only a single comment before remaining silent.

{… I wasn’t… aware of the “work” she was doing…}


(Have you become a hero now, Still? I thought revenge… Ah, you want a complete revenge.)


This girl with an atmosphere of unapproachability cannot abide her prey enjoying the time the Alchemaster has left to “live” before a just blade ends that wicked life.


(Will that silver poison you used against Gallus make a repeat showing? Better charmingly brooding than a loudmouth like Cherie… I should’ve fucked that rat just to spite her!)


Watching that boisterous street “rat” break into stifled moans as he thrusts into her would surely shut both her and Anaxis up…


(Huh, maybe I should be a little crueler to some people~!)


His blood rushes with the fantasy of asserting complete dominance to punish that last minute deluge of annoyances, feeling a little giddy at the idea.


(… Ugh… why do I think that!? … I need to be mindful, and … talk to Rantil to find out what’s going on!)




Temptations devoured by Still are starting to grow again, ever so slowly, as the night continues.

A night which looms closer recently, as if what hunts in the shadows is nearing.






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!”




[“Rabbit Boots”] – “Providing increased agility while moving as a passive boon, they also allow actively to bound great distances with surprising grace. What do they cost though, I wonder?”


[Metallic Bracer] – “The darkness called to it, and it called back. Ominous, but I need all the help I can get.”


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?”


“Isn’t it simply precious how eagerly you bully people with a high perch to thrust down at them? Aren’t spear users well known for enjoying the distance their weapon provides?”



“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’?”

“Establishing himself within the black market and underworld was once Adris’ first goal in every new place…”


“Even if time is running out, Adris leaves nothing about the future to chance if he can. Seeds of distant victories are planted now.”



“Two steps forward, one rape back. Let’s see what Ave is up to, shall we?”



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

Mentality – D

Charisma – E




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?”

“How does it feel getting her back, Adris? Finding that special place of security once more? Will you hold onto it?”


“Will you treat her any better than you treated the last ‘tool’, or has she graduated to ‘person’?”



“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.”

“It is easy for people to underestimate Still when first viewing her, precisely because she presents herself with a style of clothing and posture which invites misunderstanding. Within the original group of the four idiots who marched into the Castillo, however, Still is by far the closest to being a peak slayer on her own.”


“Being the peak of slayer, she also isn’t shy about establishing her reputation early and often.”



“Also likes letting others solve her mysteries for her!”



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

Charisma – C




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?”

“My, won’t a bit of greed go a long way in reassuring you of her worth, Adris?”


“Would you be lovestruck if she cradled you with such care?”



“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 she is helpful to others, that doesn’t mean she does it for free. Even for a girl that needs little, you make a mistake in thinking she wants nothing.”


“Revealed finally is the true pursuit of Neesiette aside from Art: items of such profound uniqueness that they exist only to be preserved for all time.”



“I don’t think that kuuderes should be people who let others walk over them.”







Chapter 66         Table of Contents          Chapter 68