Take Up the Cross – Chapter 70: A Master and Mistress Take to the Streets

“Kol will die wearing this armor. Never, ever remove it.”


This confident assertion leaves Adris momentarily daydreaming.


(I could solve so much if I just hit her with the cross. But that’s an easy statement to break without violence.)


“I see. I’m regretful that you’ll be forever abandoning our nighttime challenges, then.”

A sad smile goes with his quick retort, before he turns away from her to speak to the dwarf.


“NHA!? … Uhhh…? AHHHH!? Kol, didn’t think of that!” Rough, evil steel screeches with the girl’s voice as she scratches at her helmet. “… OH! Crackbrass, make the armor like slayer’s! Put hole in that place!”

“… I am not excited by dark plate that reeks of hate, Kol.”

When Adris dismisses her, she begins rapidly doing squats in frustration.

“Kol will figure out a way! Boss! Don’t do this to Kol! Finally: dream armor!”

Her rough chestplate is slapped repeatedly as she tugs on his sleeve.

“Boss, must let Kol wear forever! Kol, wants to—!”




“Crackbrass, what caused this?”

Once he discovered the true outcome of his work, the outcast dwarf gained a reinvigorated sense of madness to him. Just being in his creation’s presence has affixed a permanent rigor mortis smile to his face.



(Couldn’t you just stay as the fulfilled person from before?)


An annoying voice of warping iron is now returned, along with that schizophrenic way Crackbrass regards them both.


“Kol doesn’t care about how it worked. It worked! Dwarf, do the thing!”


When Crackbrass lazily picks up his smithing hammer, Kol proudly presents her undefended head and chest.


A side swing arcs with the dwarf’s strength put into it, taking her handily before he swings back as a blur into an overhead shot to her temple.

Both metallic thuds result in Kol’s dug in claws keeping her standing while rattling.





(They… they’re both crazy. This is irrelevant, Neesiette will know what to do. I need to get to Ave…)


“A doomed armor is not what is needed by her team…”



(This is not my fault!)


His work is about to go to ruin if the brain-dead kobold or this dwarf’s blame game keep his attention any longer.


“Umu, Boss! Look!”

Broad, aggressive movements show how easily Kol can force her armor to move…


“… Nah, still a bit…!”


… at least until her left leg grinds and yanks back on its own, before she corrects while kicking.


“Kol is getting the hang of this! She can make it listen! So, Kol will—!”

“Take. It. Off.

“… Boss, wants contest right now? Weird. Sure, want Crackbrass to watch?”

Her dumbfounded retort earns his hand rubbing over the bridge of his nose, for a growing feeling of pressure is killing his earlier happy mood.


“Give her something to tote it in that’s safe. That’s my first minor favor.”

While the dwarf is a good smith, Adris notes that he has no apprentices. A room that would belong to one is instead used to store broken and battered pieces for the growing scrap collection.

Kol is sent back into the rune-protected storeroom to change out with a new carrying case, leaving Adris with time to work his plots once unobserved.


“The first major favor is this: make me your apprentice, Master Crackbrass.”


Without missing a beat, the dwarf points to his forge’s floor door. One which spews never-ending fire when opened.


“A legitimate apprenticeship isn’t needed. Only being one on paper.”

“… What are you on about?”


Momentarily exiting his perpetually lunatic mood, the dwarf mops his thick brows with a towel while taking Adris’ request seriously now.


“For all intents and purposes, anyone coming into your shop must believe that you have an apprentice fitting my description.”

“… Wanna use me as a cover, ya do? Better be getting something from it…”




The disgruntled smith easily catches onto his plan, earning approval once Adris explains Anaxis’ business in very unspecific terms. A promise to provide a safe house and meeting place under this identity is agreed on.

“… Might have some ideas on how to fix your problem. Nothing happening without some Granescians dropping dead, first.”

“As a foreigner from a different region entirely, I don’t know them. What’s your impression of them?”




Presenting an old apple for Adris…


“Your average, all-hating Granescian…”


… he places it on his thick table, before a hammer is raised.






The boy covers his face before the fruit is evaporated.






While asking for a towel comes to his mind first only for Crackbrass to wipe the table with it, Adris manages a congenial smile, instead.




“… Yes. Where is their… shrine located?”





(Why is Neesiette off on her own?)


When Kol said that she was in town, too, Adris was forced to send Kol into Petripolis instead of back to the inn.


(There’s no way that over-energetic creature can refrain from putting the armor on if left alone for a long time.)


If Meltisha feels its effects too, she will immediately evict them all. Only that truth had convinced Kol to relent.

“That girl will show restraint only for the sake of her teammates.”




Nearing midday brings short shadows and a sense of urgency. Without Ave there waiting for him, Adris wonders at her status.


(It would be my life completely if Kol brought that curse upon us and then my easily distracted elf gets—)




“Adris! I’m here!”


(… well, this is at least going to turn out better than… huh?)




The second time seeing this exuberant girl in the same day is a totally dissimilar experience when she slides up from the unlit alleyway.


“… Is… is something wrong!? … Did I mess up!?

A fast mirror comes out of her bag, held up to the side by the girl as she examines her face and neck with a nervous hand. Chattering to herself in her “hidden” language, she further dishevels.

This is… the style for here, isn’t it!? Did I screw—!?

“What an effortless appeal you have now.”


Putting his hand over her mirror, a once silent friend tries his best to recover as he congratulates her.


(You went far beyond what I anticipated!)


Rose blush and slightly dark eye shadow have been added on to the light-pink lip gloss she wore earlier, all working to accentuate that crystal green color which draws others in. While makeup of this quality would be reserved for consorts of regents on Xin, a snake elf can easily splurge on it for “not a date.”


(Rich girls…)


“Oh!? … I do?”

“I leave for only a ‘short’ or more, and a girl transforms into a fairy-tale spirit.”

“Ah!? … Thanks for noticing…!”


Paying attention to her change earns him an embarrassed shift in her posture, with festive, yellow elbow ribbons flapping about being tugged on to show them off.


“I can never wear these in the Castillo! They damage too easily…”


The shades of orange added to the color reminds him of the sunset he witnessed with Still, while a shaking tail’s travel-safe bow has become a daring one with golden threads, trapping his gaze until a nervous twitch runs along her scales.


(Too bad I don’t have phoenix feathers for you to wear.)


“… I’m… I… I have to make sure I send the right impression for this ‘joke’, right?”

Rather than fleeing at his compliment, she gives a flirty, if still nervous, tilt of her head.


(… Right.)


“Oh, this is going to be so much fun! … But it’s also going to be horrible.”

A joyous comment turns into a subdued, hidden lament in front of Adris.

“Might there be those who aren’t as appreciative of you as they should be?”


While full of enthusiasm, Ave also shivers as they close on the end of the alley to the main way.


“YES!? … At first, there were a lot. Ave… I wasn’t well received, at least until I talked to Old Getha. That first day I just went home and…”

That refusal to admit what happened doesn’t matter with her eyes tearing up to reveal the truth.

“But after people talked to Getha, Mr. Navar came to make my acquaintance! Once we became fast friends, everyone started piling up to meet me~! … Even though there’s still tons of them that just stare at meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


Almost to the light of the street ahead, Ave slumps against the wall and dirties her clothes.


“Ave, over here.”

“Huh!? Oh…”


Snapping her out of her wobbling fugue, Adris dusts off her arm and offers his attention.


“Isn’t it daunting?”

“… Yes, it is… I mean! Why!? You think so!?”


Adris’ question discombobulates her when he intentionally displays apprehension.

“Do you think I’m an unfeeling person?”

“No! But… certainly fearless!”

“Nobody who has a heartbeat is fearless. … Ah.”


The exception to this comment makes them both blink.


“Right. Kol.”


They smile privately at this amusing truth, before he continues while lifting his hand to lightly twirl his fingers.


“Disregarding her, a normal person will always wonder about the uncertainties to come. Even I, with the innumerable enemies I have challenging me and grand plans that change with each nearly imperceptible fluctuation of the world, must admit that the future is only interesting because, to me, it is… unknown.”


(Sometimes I must “humanize” myself to make her fall for that perceived weakness. Unyielding strength keeps others away, while moments of doubt let them latch onto you.)




A hand is offered to her.

One which is not nearly as kind as normal.

If anything, it’s simply confident and possessive in how it demands to be held, arrogantly stretched out for her.


Along with that calculated impression is a hidden, growing longing he refuses to acknowledge.


(… She has such a sweet smell to her, especially right now. Elves are very different from musky kobolds.)




Hesitating for a moment, Ave takes it up with her own while facing forward.

Fast whispering begins as they inch toward the light.


You can do this Ave. Elves aren’t afraid of change or people. You are a child of the wind, and the wind is always with you with every breath exhaled.

The need to hype herself up shows how different the outside world is from her needs.


“How fortuitous their day is, to have a personage like yours bring comfort from such a noble god.”

“… OH, IS THAT RIGHT!? … Ah, right…? Okay then, let’s… get pumped then…!”




Just before the finish line, Ave puts her a hand lightly over her face.


While silent, her body’s anxieties flush away. A cowering tail begins to whip proudly as she pushes her meager breasts out.




While releasing a deep breath, one which signals the powerful, pure feeling welling up inside of her body, she grows in stature to a level similar to his own.




This close to its source, Adris now understands what Still must experience each time she’s touched. His hand is enclosed in her firm, but kind one seems to be pleasantly warm without heat.

Happiness washes over him that he cannot identify the reason for.




“The day that we awoke to has fully opened its arms to greet us, Adris.”

A stunning sight, one more blinding than what Zennians call “the sun”, offers him sunshine as he walks with her out into the lit street.

“Though you’re a human and not a child of the forest, I think a heart as courageous and just as yours is equally capable of understanding the wind’s love.”




(So this is your… “ideal you”.)


Gone is the fear.

In place of it, an elf walks out of legend to grace plebeians with her divine form. The smile she wears is both unmarred and capable of righting all wrongs of this world.


Less like a girl now, womanly movements close in tone to Still’s, but effortlessly energetic and flighty, give her a new mature flavor.




“… I’m confident that it has always loved me a bit, Avenalliah.”

“More than a bit, Adris! It whispers to me its affections! Every morning that I wake up beside you… it entices me to share them intimately.”


Briefly shocked faces come from the common folk on the street, along with a few respectful nods. Before he can return them, Adris stumbles into a rush.


He’s yanked toward a call coming from the crowd.




“Come, Adris! Adventure awaits!”





The intensity and rush two men bring with them as they close instantly set Adris’ senses blazing as he searches for hidden threats on this street. With only a few open businesses catering to provisioning diggers or brokering sales of ore, he recalls that this street likely does travel to the dry lake down one direction.


With one man being thinner with white hair that doesn’t match his youthful nature, and the other being stocky and with a low, room-filling voice as he speaks to Ave, they work to guide Ave toward her first destination.

At one’s side, a bump appears under the herald-less red-and-yellow surcoat, clothing both share. Purposeful movements and fit muscles betray the rudimentary training they have had, but lack of concealing such skill shows a public face to their duties.


(Town militia? Not mercenaries. They have hidden weapons?)


Smart, well-fitted caps and shoes, and general cleanliness convince Adris of their jobs.


(Private militia.)


“We’re glad that you’re fine, Ms. Caller!”

“… Is this… boy the reason for your being kept away till this late?”


Rough words show what the first thoughts of the common folk of Zennia are for Adris. Though calling him a boy, the reverence one of them holds for Ave pales in comparison to the apprehension the threat called Adris brings to the stocky one.


(‘Fear me, you lowly worms!’ … Or not, this is already a lot more tense than I thought it would be!)


It’s far too late to back away from the naked looks of hatred, apprehension, and jealousy directed at Adris by close watchers. The moment this green-haired idol stepped out, the small crowd on the street divided immediately into fawning attention for Ave or a desire to be away from her while giving fitful stares.


“‘Boy’? My escort is a worthy gentleman. How rude, Cornelius~!”

“… It’s… Bresco, Madame Caller.”

Only a slight shift gives away how deeply Ave appears to be regretting the mistake.

“She was looking at me! Slip of the tongue, eh?”

The younger one brags as he then begins his own sizing up of Adris.

“… Yes, fair faces draw me, Bresco. Please forgive my wandering eyes! As to your question, this comrade of mine is absolutely indispensable to me, so I had to wait for him.”


Already jumping into their “joke”, Ave rubs Adris’ hand affectionately. Bresco raises his eyebrows at this, while Cornelius flushes red at the attention Adris gets.


(Haha! You can’t have her~!)


Firmly returning her grip and bringing her hand to his lips for a kiss…


“You sing my praises too soon, Avenalliah.”

“Nonsense! As an authority from a far distant—!”



When Adris interjects, Ave raises her other hand to tap his in agreement.


“… And from that land, you hold standing sufficient to have it widely known! Please refer to him as Master Dain, if you will, Bresco!”

“… Sure, milady. Will you be beginning on the Centennial Street as usual with your… missionary work?”


(This Bresco is not a believer. The way he scoffs inside at his own words proves a dangerous issue.)


“The breeze sweeps me there, yes! … Anything changed? Hasn’t Mr. Navar returned from his grand adventure yet?”

At the sweet-sounding question, the one called Bresco fishes out a closed piece of parchment affixed with wax.

“Master Navar did return from the forest. Here’s his invitation, should you find the time to join him for a late lunch.”

“Of course! Let’s—!”

“Aye, this way.”

Nodding briskly, the older man hurries them while cutting her off.




(… You two don’t want her seen here. There’s someone orchestrating these “tours”. If she was supposed to arrive earlier, then there would’ve been less witnesses?)




Already, Ave’s presence is weal and woe to the townsfolk. For every one that approaches to greet her and receive her quick words of…


“Is your husband doing better, Mrs. Milan? May you both receive blessings!”


… beneficence before thanking her profusely and exiting with expressions of total gratitude, there are more that retreat from view down side streets and through doorways.

The hope that the woman will be blessed caused Avenalliah’s body to shine in Adris’ senses momentarily.


(… They know! How do I fix this…?)


“‘Just like always: smile, say hello, remember something you talked about last time, ask them about it, give your gift if you have one, and respond to what they say…’

Whispering under her breath, Ave goes over mental notes on how to endure the attention already sapping at her “mask”.

“… What’s your impression, Adris?”

That smiling mask longs for him to be impressed with Petripolis.

“How different the inner quarters are from the outer.”


Stone surfaces are weather protected by deep yellow and vermilion colors of some mineral pigment that gives an interesting smell of red earth. This breakup of the monotonous gray goes with crisp, hanging textile banners on buildings that whip with lively snaps.

Revealing either painted scenes of their shop’s work or bearing a coat of arms of a winged hunting cat flying over a mountain range with a castle underneath, the way they frame the street reminds him of the ancient room where Gallus was interred.


(What a thick coating of hair at its neck! What is this winged cat?)


“The people do well to recreate cities that have such color, when an evil curse once bleached it away.”

“Yes, it’s a very pleasant place, Adris! Unfortunately, only Neesiette bothers looking, but she says it’s too ‘unordered’ for her, as if she’s got anything straight in her own…


… nevermind.”


Though much more austere than the Welcome Web’s owners, the people here still walk with comfortable weave work and flamboyant coloring for their clothing. Nobody seems malnourished or fearful to be on the street. Commerce proceeds with limitless energy, seeing to the needs of each business as runners noisily move past them.


(They can’t possibly match Ave in presentation, though.)


“I’d worried at first about the possibility that those hoodlum bandits at the amphitheater would accost you, but…”

At this description of Adris’ “band of brothers”, the two guards visibly relax.

“… having such fine protectors makes it hardly seem necessary for me to throw in my own considerable talents. I take it we may relax in your care?”

“Of course! Nothing happens within the Arcade, Master Dain. Even if it did, I’d stop anything from bothering Ms. Caller, even if it was one of those ravagers!”


The compliment Adris gives manages to bring a smile from the younger guard, while the older one has lost most of his tension at being relied upon.


(I’d figured I looked too much like a slayer. Good to see I can shake it off.)




“Centennial Street is ahead, madame.”


Striding ahead to denote their path along a procession of drawn wagons clattering through, Bresco sweeps his arm to show off the row of arches bordering a highway with perfectly fitted stones.




“Welcome to the Arcade.”





“May you be blessed by the wind, Ms. Elise!”


Adris winces for yet another time as her words cause his sight to brighten with her “purity”.


“Wind nothing! Your words are enough, child. Have this cream tart. I saved one from that filch I call a son.”

“Thank you for this gift!”

“A tart!? Have this Jygah root! Pure energy that’s way better! It’ll help you with your ‘company’, Ms. Caller!”

Another woman, more spindly than the first and wearing an orange headscarf, corners Ave at the door to a small home, with the two women seeking her attention eying each other vindictively as Ave keeps calm.

“That root is only good for one thing, and it’s certainly not good taste that you got on your mind!”

“I ain’t a widow like you! Of course I’m talking about that!”


At the foot of the door where they bicker is a statue of a tall, lanky figure with pointed ears who wears an enormous cloak which winds down his body and also has merged with his long, flowing hair.


But where it has flapped away, only a floating leaf covers his unmentionable “godhood”.

Though it’s only a crude figure, there’s a presence that lingers in it.


Ave places two fingers on her breasts and bows her head toward it, before returning to the ladies’ quarrel to stop it.


(This is… her god? The divine has a real presence to me, though it’s small in the statue. Then… what is that?)




Though Ave notices it not at all, a feeling of something like the elf’s own purity drifts from inside the house which smells of the deep earth.

Another, much more aesthetic statue sitting on a table is shrouded halfway; but, what shows is a throne having an arm with a bracer resting on it, two womanly legs, and a host of snakes surrounding and climbing up them.


(… Why is… that…!?)




A great headache assaults Adris momentarily, bringing to mind a dream where a girl cried out for help to escape, only for all to remain ignorant of it.


(… Two… gods?)




“Thank… thank you for your gift, too, Mrs. Frutos, may you be wind blessed, as well…!”

“Ahhh! Thanks, girl! I’ve had such a wonderful harvest since I met you! Here’s a little bud that will leave you both happy, too!”

“T-Thank you… ‘Accept any gifts, no matter how inappropriate. Getha will help you later…’


The serpent maiden escapes from the two feuding women, rejoining Adris next to the arch he was using for support.


“Adris, let’s move on! … Ahm, thadt dosh tashte gut~!”


Immediately biting into the tart and talking with her mouth full, Ave then flinches before quickly swallowing. She breaks off half of the remainder and then offers it in the air.


“A-A-Adris, try a bit, okay? There’s plenty of cream for you…”


Soft eyes half close as the girl’s mouth opens to demonstrate what he should do.


“… Ah… Ah?”

A sultry, forked tongue extends to show her expectations.


(… Hahaha! How delicious this is!)


His prior concerns wash away in a moment. Leaning his head over, he accepts the bite while she smiles, chewing and enjoying the tasty treat.




But what she doesn’t expect is his hand scooping the soiling cream off of her cheek with a wicked touch, before he licks it in front of her gasping face.


“It might taste sweeter after touching your skin first, Avenalliah?”

“… Does… it…?”




A bizarrely focused crowd briefly watches them, before she looks around at the attention they’re getting.

Just like that, the spectators fade away. The midday siesta sees most people idling and socializing while eating the snacks on offer. Their two guards pretend not to watch, though one grinds his teeth.


(Right! Watch me enjoy the real treat! This girl belongs to me! None of you can have her, hahahaha!

Ah, did Serras and I ever enjoy a play like this? She was always the focus of attention when it came to her beauty and menace, but I doubt anyone regarded us with anything more than hatred and fear? It is quite liberating to play the part of “a foreign dignitary and his beautiful ‘pet’ idol”! Ave is quite bubbly when she tries her hardest. Maybe I should just break down and kiss her…?


… No, pay attention Adris.)


Walking beside Ave is starting to draw him away from his “goal”, an effect becoming more powerful the longer he’s with her. Just smelling her makes his lungs burn with fulfillment.


(It’s just fun. I’ve been away from crowds for too long. Plying them with my acting once more is a joy after almost dying in a hole and then a fortress. Having a beautiful girl by my side is great.

Let’s not rush this. The long build up is the best part of the play!)




The long, wide archway they walk under protects from the sun, while also running the length of this Centennial Street. As the part of Petripolis most protected from the elements, the businesses that came to this ruined city immediately sprang on settling here.

With the city having little in the way of permanent population, they all congregate here, producing a surprising display of intermingling between classes. The rebuilding of the city is almost complete on Centennial Street, for the great cracks have been filled and collapsed buildings renovated, and petrified ground removed to allow fresh soil to grow unending displays of local flowers.


(Very little on offer in comparison to a major merchant city of Xin, though. Mostly a bakery, a butcher’s sale front, provisioner, and import shops.)


Each business proudly carries itself, spending inordinate wealth on advertising that should be unnecessary. Wooden signs and painted works list their wares with cursive words, while artworks liberated from vacant structures have been reinstalled to provide a showcase-level of beauty to the Arcade.


(I wonder if there’s a mandate that the city be beautified so prominently?)


The people of Zennia have the wealth for such extravagances as tailors, barbers, and daily essential vendors who use indoor locations far too large for their meager shops.

Independent stalls of all kinds fill the spaces under the many arches, inviting the exchange of peca or Devotion for all needs.


Even an animal stall exists, selling chickens, ferrets, and other creatures to be raised for processing by families.


(… They’re all hiding?)


The moment they approached the wicker cages smelling of a spice, all of the animals awoke and began to screech. Their eyes focus on one point as the stall owner fails to calm them.


Following their gaze, Adris gulps as his companion’s face shows never-before seen emotion.




Bright, green eyes stare hungrily at the cowering animals, flitting between each as she rises up slowly to take them all in.

A predatory smile has settled on her face while she swings in place, with a tongue darting out once to taste their terror.




The kindest girl in the world currently has the face of a mass murderer. Even now, she begins to lean closer to the nearest potential victim…







Tapping her on the shoulder causes her to jump away.


“HUH!? … Adris? Ah… Ah, I was lost for a moment? It must be the heat. Let’s keep going~!”

Despite her suggestion, only his hand forcing her to follow results in them leaving. Slithering scales roll over the stone street as she stares back at the stall.


“From our discussions, it’s correct to say that elves only eat plants, yes?”

She is stupefied by the question, gaping like she’s been wounded by it.

“Of course! You see what I eat all the time. Why do you ask?”

“… I would never make a social error, so reconfirming delicate information is essential. Such mistakes can be brutal for the inattentive.”

“… Right…


… ‘Don’t stare at pets and small animals… ever.’




Their browsing of the stalls leads to her chatting endlessly about the origins of the products, a topic he eagerly engages in.

“Because of Petripolis’ location and lack of farmable land, it must rely on the relay hub of Artorias to provide most goods. Rare ores provide the city’s wealth, assuring an economy strong enough to support the brave merchants who journey to keep the market supplied… Oh!”


(The mine’s goods are likely handled by the previous street, being deserving of their own section; yet, curios from the mine are sold here? Interesting. They value the ores, but not the artifacts…?

Anaxis can make a killing if he capitalizes on selling artworks from this underground trove he seeks. They just line the streets with them!)


“… And… may you be blessed as well!”

“Thank you, Mistress Caller! … I’ve always wondered about the one you’re serving. Nobody here knows anything about other gods, because of the Granescians saying they don’t matter…”

While she was breathing heavily for a moment and trying to leave from this man who stopped her, interest in Pellaeon rouses a tornado in her brain.

“REALLY!? … Really? Then would you like to learn some rites or stories?

… ‘Wait for them to ask about Pellaeon, don’t just ramble until they run away’. Lucky!


Far from having ulterior motives, the older man with a fresh face seems bookish in posture, clothing, and bearing.

“If you’ve the time, Mistress, I’d love to!”

“Bresco! When was Mr. Navar expecting us?”

“… Not for half a ‘short’, madame.”


(Plenty of time to shop.)




Information is found in markets, and Adris plans to mix business and pleasure.


“Avenalliah, take your time and share the beauty of Pellaeon. I wish to look around.”





(The curios they keep are all non-magical, by the feel. Historically important and artistically valuable, but…)


Searching through stalls turns up nothing he truly wants, aside from extra clothing for his “side jobs”.


(I have to burn through all this Devotion I saved by getting free armor! If I have any treasure left, there’s no telling what could happen.)




The existence of Ave acts to forestall “bad luck”.

Bolstering that protection goes with his pursuit of a suitable gift for her.


(Only one class of treasure truly satisfies Ave, right? But what are the odds…?)




While that thought lingers in his mind, his fingers run into something sharp.




A pinprick of blood reminds him of the fragility of his “vessel” as he stares at the wound.

On a worn table with a dirty cloth, various tarnished, inexpensive jewelries are pushed aside to reveal the source of his pain.




A glass-like bird of paradise with a sharp hairpin glints in the light when he picks it up.


(… Everything is “born” from one piece. It has very smooth lines that human tools cannot recreate with this type of material. And the predominant colors are orange, green, and whitish-blue.)




Lessons forced on him replay in his mind as he offers money for it.


(And if it cools the wearer when held and has spiraling patterns, then it’s from at least the Second Age!)




A mark is thrown out to be scooped up thankfully, a tip included so that he feels justified ridding himself of the entire thing.


(What a wonderful day this is turning out to be…? A flirty elf at the pinnacle of her competency and an elvish gift from the past, all at once. She’ll fall all over me when I give it to her “as a side thought”.


… Could I get any luckier?)




That thought causes his skin to go colder than the jewelry he holds makes it, before he brushes off the hidden feeling causing it.


(Everything is fine.)


While he thinks that, his body feels pulled toward emerald scales and an ephemeral, comforting smell that comes from only one girl.


(When did she become what I’m thinking about so often…?)






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”] – “I can punch Kol into a wall with this!? But it hurts like shit!”


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?”

“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?”

“Eagerly brutalizing little girls seems to be your style, after all, doesn’t it? My, in one respect I must call you beautiful, yes? Having accepted your own darkness as existing, won’t you sort it out, now?”

“You are willing to trust a being from nightmares, but not your own blood and flesh fellows?”


“Oh ‘Lord Adris’, won’t you smile for us?”



“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.”

“Is quickly realizing that he can’t blame everything on an imp. Since she is only showing him the way, that means that the one responsible for his thoughts is…?”

“There is the world, and then there is Adris.”


“Adris out in the world is just as capable of pretending to be someone important, because inside he knows he is.”



“Perhaps he too much enjoys lording things over people if they’re rare? Ave might be a status symbol for Adris?”



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!






[POSSESSED ARMOR] – “Kol doesn’t care what anyone says. Kol cannot be taken from armor!”


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…?”

“Why do you think it’s odd that she likes you more for hitting her? Do you not understand the kind of man she’s looking for, by now? The more you assert yourself, the more she’ll hunt you, yes?”

“Isn’t it this? The intricate and simple beauty of unbridled aggression? Black and white: which do you prefer, Adris?”


“Doesn’t the armor complete her? Isn’t she as much of a horror on the outside that she is inside, now?”



“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.”

“Though usually forthright, she is also forthright about looking for what she wants. If you refuse her, you’d better be ready to back it up.”

“Once she has the target within sight, not even a living curse can stop her from taking it.”


“Perhaps she hasn’t learned that sex is supposed to be something that you enjoy leisurely.”



“Once you become obsessed with something, you lose all track of what else you cared about. I do that every time I install a new game that isn’t shit.”



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

Occupation: Delver, Scared Girl
Discipline: ???



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


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


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


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


Disposition: Joyful / Impressionable / Cowardly
Alignment: Neutral

Eyes: Crystal Green
Hair: Moss Green
Skin: White



Rantil Value –

Strength – C

Vitality – D

Dexterity – C

Intelligence – C

Mentality – F

Luck – A

Charisma – C




Cethran Value – “While not possessing your newly favorite curves, isn’t a girl with a naive charm also fine? Because she covers so little, you are also left without having to imagine what you could possess, yes?”

“Oh? She has a sort of gusto about her when it comes to adventure, does she?”


“Is she too competent for you now? No? Is this more to your taste than the open liar of an elf that pretends not to be scared?”



“As cheerful as she is skittish, Avenalliah fits an unknown position within the four delvers’ group. Though she carries a large sack, that would hardly count as a position… right?”

“While a pure coward at times, when she shows the briefest hints of self-assurance she can turn into a different girl.”


“A girl who tries her best is a powerful creature.”



“This is Ave at 80% power! Just imagine what she is like when you slip under her clothing…”






Chapter 69         Table of Contents          Chapter 71