Take Up the Cross – Chapter 74: Starborn Lords Walk Among Us

The omnipotent, dominating sense of interference from this thing the boy calls “Fate” finally withdraws, though not without fighting back against the black cross that rejects it. A burning on Adris’ hand allows him to move his arm, followed by the rest of his body.


When body and mind rejoin with the soul aware of danger, all of the foul details of this location and his antagonistic blockers pop up after being ignored before.




A perfectly reconstructed street also has a blank smell of total sterility. Not even flowers grace the path toward a large, arched building with stained-glass windows. Whoever these Grancescians are, they abhor any individuality in their constructions, for the walls here bear no art or banners, and not even trash can be found on the street.


(Completely similar to the drones that crowd this man! None of them have a spark of self!)


Figures that take up distances from Adris move like ants in a march, testing him as they close their circle. Their faces seen under their cowls are tight, lacking any expression other than focus.


All present also fail to trigger alarm with Adris’ aura senses, especially the most important one before him. Rather than like Meltisha’s ability to conceal it, they just appear…




(Missing!? Are these things even real?)


While Adris studies them, the smiling boy matching Adris betrays only the slightest hint of his own thoughts when he lets his two-ended, clawed scepter drop from readiness.

Both seem cognizant of something being unusual about the other.


“Adris…? This is…”


(Whoever acts first has the advantage!)


“A good question. Who might you be, talking about others as if they have no right to define themselves?”

Though he’s prepared to run using some of his newly acquired “tricks”, he’s not sure where to escape to. A confident tone further earns surprise in the green eyes that judge Adris.

“Choosing to talk instead of running or rampaging? I don’t understand your nature. How would you ‘define’ yourself, then, suspect?”


Needling him even with a polite voice, how this boy’s expectations are subverted isn’t betrayed much by the enemy’s emotions and thoughts, since they are guarded by precise body language.

It brings to mind Fatso, Adris’ instructor on humans, with how tailored this Granescian’s inquisitive tactics are so far.


(There’s no time to change my persona. If nothing else, I still have the ability to hide behind “being a false god”!)


While Ave calms while basking in this boy’s presence, Adris grows more fearful of the effect.


“Should the one who accosts another not introduce themselves first? Do Granescians have no politeness, either?” A dismissive tone brings a hissing sound from Ave as she winces, while the boy only offers a more friendly smile at the insult.


“Oh? An interesting tack to take. Very well, let’s engage as if you are…?”


Giving a slight bow, the boy then speaks as if they are friends with a higher-pitched lilt.


“A pleasant evening to you, dark thing. You’ve the honor of making the acquaintance of Intercessor Ciarán Ó Cuinn of the Unbidden Isles, leadership of the ‘Body of Granesca’ and newly arrived to this fair city of only stone.

Under the dictates of our faith, all who aid the monstrous and inhuman in contriving harm on others shall answer for their crimes.”

A face without lines of worry grows brighter, offering Adris the chance to play a little game.


(You want to be the “joyful one”, while I can be “stern”? I’m already regretting this…)


Wise in how others mislead and cajole, Adris already recognizes the “amiable” trap that the boy seeking information is opening for them both. The more aggressive Adris is, the more he gives away.


(Anger invites slips of the tongue, while he searches for any—)




“Good evening, Intercessor Cuinn!”

A chipper, sweet voice sounds just as carefree as Adris was predicting from her is added into the mix.


(SHUT UP! Don’t talk to him!)


But when Adris turns to glare at his comrade who is often too ditzy to notice danger…




A woozy look is on her face, one with eyes that are half-lidded. Adris follows her stare to glowing crystal points.


(… SHIT!)


Whatever power he cannot define, only feel as a current running through him, has completely overtaken his sole source of offensive power.


(No hesitation! Attack now! Then run!)




In his mind, Adris leaves Ave’s arm and springs forward with a raised cross, shooting like a missile with the aid of the rabbit boots.

The black cudgel drills into the shit-eating boy’s head by din of his bracer’s unnatural strength reinforcement, rendering him completely defeated and his cadre stunned into inaction long enough for Adris to grab Ave and flee.




“Does something about my appearance displease you?”

That question causes Adris to sweat, because the almost undetectable sarcasm in the boy’s question goes with this Cuinn noticing Adris’ tensing muscles.




(… I can’t do this by violence? What are these… Granescians… these “invaders” that they can wield such undetectable powers as strong as near mind control?)


“… Well, let us begin our discussion with you, since your compatriot seems to dislike me.”

Ignoring Adris for the moment, this “Intercessor” instead focuses on the worst liar on Zennia.


“Who might you be, snake woman?”

“How rude…!? I am a snake elf.”

“… Pardon?”


At this candid reply, the boy temporarily loses his omnipresent smile, turning to a slight frown as his circle all sway in unison at the declaration.


“… You are… a snake elf?”

“Yes! My name is Avenalliah Aurmaris, a snake elf of the deep earth! We’ve already met, too, Mr. Cuinn! … Do you not remember me?”


(Why are you telling him so much!?)


Turning his head as if in shock, the boy opens his mouth to reply. It’s a moment before he finds the words.


“… I see… you are… a snake elf.”

That is impossible.”


The closest member of the group cornering them interrupts her associate, bringing an evil grin from their leader as he regards this subordinate.


“She spoke it before me, therefore it’s true.”

Cuinn turns away without care, ignoring further dissent.


That is impossible! Elves—!




As if she’s a puppet whose strings are dropped, the woman’s posture collapses and she hangs while standing, only swaying uncomfortably in the night.




“Apologies for the interruption. You are truly… an Aurmaris?”


(What power is this!? Does he know such a family?)


“Eh!? Yes! My father was such, so of course I’d be!”

Ave pouts as the man confirms the information given so willingly to him, acting almost like a little girl as she offers up everything.

“Very well. However unlikely, it is the truth. … You say that we’ve met. When was this?”

“… You don’t remember!? Well… I was lost looking for the mayor’s office for residency. I called out to you from an alleyway, and you pointed out where it was before running off… though you looked very distracted, like you were searching the crowd?”

“I see, I do recall such an event. Was such as our encounter missed due to haste on my part?

… How coincidental. Won’t you tell me more…?”




(Leave Ave alone!)




Stepping in front of her, Adris stares down their questioner before he can probe further.

“… Who are you really?”

“That truth was already spoken, dark thing. Offering yours, now, since it’s being learned without your efforts or ability to stop it?”

This hostility earns Adris the scepter being raised once more, with its brightness increasing in intensity.




But its glow does nothing but hurt Adris’ eyes.




“Very well. You have the true honor of learning my identity.”


Something deep within Adris compels he assert his authority.

The light demands only the truth, while the black cross demands he advance who he desires to be seen as, especially in the presence of this queer snake elf…




“I am Adris fehl Dain, a [false god] from another world. One who dwells in vanity, come to this world by the efforts of those who called to me to ruin an evil that refuses to meet its end!


… If you get in my way of doing that, you will be added to my list.”


A bold statement delivered with all of his gravitas causes the “ant” people to start closing on him slowly. Something is irreparably broken by what he spoke; yet, is certainly a truth as he understands it.





Every ant freezes in place at this shocked command, causing them to become statues.

“… Wait. You are… a [Ziahlen] (EMISSARY TO BEYOND THE BLACK CLOUDS)?”

A very human expression of curiosity flashes across the religious leader’s face, before he reverts to a placid look. His hand continues to tap his scepter’s handle.




“Then, why are you here?”


(That was… said in Xin’El! I didn’t need a translation! But even without one, the definition is wrong!)




Both boys are stuck in silence as Ave looks perplexed.

While this Cuinn was once in total dominance of the encounter, discontent in his words registers at the truth Adris has asserted.


Such hesitation gives away something about this enemy.


(… You can’t force the truth. You can only force someone to answer with what they believe to be true! That’s why you’re so thrown off by what we’re saying.)


The power of the scepter has a fatal flaw, especially against Ave.

Because what this girl thinks is true rarely actually is.


(While Ave might have succumbed to whatever this light inflicts, I’m only partially affected! Plus, this boy must assert that his power forces the “truth”?)


Either the boy’s pride or status demands that he shut down all disbelief in him, preferring blind faith to interruptions.


(Let me get control of the direction of the conversation…)


Ave willingly offers the truth without worrying about whether she desires to or not, but Adris has no such motivations on his mind.




“Why wouldn’t I be here? Was this not where I was summoned to? I assert that this means that another has properly placed me.”

“… That… that seems strange. Are you not…?”


No longer willing to use the insult that calls him a “thing,” Cuinn hesitates as Adris smiles boldly.


“I am indeed a human. What else would I be?”


(No matter what has changed about me, I am me! I started this as a human! No lie will make me anything but!)


“… Human. I see. As spoken, so it is so.”

Tension grows as Adris forces this concession, earning more flashes of emotion from his opponent. Already, Adris’ audacity is firing up as the boy’s fragile authority can be challenged now.

While taking advantage of a power to try to corner them, Adris’ insight and Ave’s luck are allowing them to escape the net.




(Whatever this field of light is that we’re trapped in, it’s the source of his mind control and likely his personal protection. If we were outside of it…?)


Adris might be able to hurl a cross.


“This night has seen many strange events, least of which is the malediction placed upon the men and women of Centennial Street. Tell me, will you claim to have nothing to do with this, Ms. Aurmaris?”

With the probing question, the boy sniffs.


(… Oh no. What did Ave cause?)


But though he sniffs, the boy won’t discover anything from her.




Adris… can… can we… wash off, first? Ave feels gross…


Because a girl’s sad request already destroyed most of the source of the scent.




Time spent soaking beside each other had led to a suffocating silence in the wake of the sexual closeness that neither felt comfortable discussing.

While using the crystal clear waters of the elven grove to bathe in, she’d even gone so far as to clean her sashes and pareo using the same curious cloth that Cethran had once used to purify Adris’ clothing.

Though she cleaned her body, the poor girl couldn’t extract what was left inside easily.


“Eh? Ave has no idea what you’re talking about… unless it’s buzzing things! Has something bad happened!?”

“I’d believed that to be a separate incident. I see, so you’re not responsible for the sorcery.

Then, you…?”


(All of the evidence is gone! … Wait, except for…)


Green eyes direct their recriminations at Adris instead of Ave, because his clothing is still covered in the scent of her perfume.

This scent is picked up on by this inquisitor.


“What happened to the cityfolk?”

“They’ve become stressed by… carnal needs of an unknown cause. The people are growing belligerent, looking for others to sate them… Our preliminary investigation suggests the work of medicinal evil.”

“… Then I declare absolutely that I was a victim of that plot, not the perpetrator of it. I also don’t understand the makeup of the sorcery you speak of.”



Cuinn seems at a loss of how to proceed with both questions answered with clear denials. Little wordplay exists to hide details behind, at least without understanding what the medicine is.


“… So, affected by it yourselves, you and this snake elf chose to tend to your issues by embracing each other…?”

Please don’t ask about it!? No, don’t even talk about anything lewd, pleaaaase!?


When Ave “crouches” to hide, Cuinn again loses his train of thought before growing icy.

“I see. Then you captured this human in order to inflict yourself on—?”


“Do I look like someone who can be used, Granescian?”




Growing angry with this holy brat, Adris then jolts when the boy reveals a placid smile instead of righteous fury.

“With you as the instigator, is it. What a strange reversal.”




(Shit. Shit! Humans… don’t accept or seek the touches of non-humans!)





“… It’s not untrue that I claim such a title. But it’s not the sum of me nor my truth.”

Consorter with monsters?

“Indeed. I will consort with whomever I wish, so long as it fulfills my mission.”

Deserter from afar, running from your orders?


This causes Adris to laugh darkly, before giving a dramatic sweep of the cross.


“Not at all. My… reason for existing has ever been to bring ‘justice’ to where I am. ‘Smite evil where you find it’, is this not the perfect role to play for both of us?”




These allegations from Cuinn are accepted by the trickster exuberantly, causing the taller boy to shake his head at the conflicting information.


“Yes, we are in league with Petripolis to do exactly that, Mr. Ziahlen. If you will confess to all of these truths, then why not make life simple by speaking the simple truth? You can explain it—”

“If life is simple if you speak the truth, then why does everyone seem to hate you and your group, Intercessor?”

“They fail to live up to expectations they should aspire to reach, thus succumbing to jealousy.”




While they battle with words, the “ants” grow agitated. Another beside Cuinn steps forward to address him.

This is meaningless. Investigation with exuberance is required, no matter the truth spoken now.

“As you say, but this conversation has grown lively, and—”

Time is short! Continue after seeking—!




A dozen bodies lose life at the same time, swaying lifelessly and causing Ave to shriek at the horror of their mindlessness.




When Cuinn holds his shining scepter on high, Adris matches it with his cross.

Yet, the power the holy man leaks doesn’t assault them.




Instead, swirling, black clouds consume the red moon above. The surety of the horrible night vanishes.




“… Well, let’s have a proper discussion now!”


Lowering his scepter, the boy begins to act like one.

The practiced smile gives way to a refreshed one as the enemy closes. His other hand combs through his platinum blond locks, causing the short crop of hair to sparkle in the scepter’s light.


(Fuck you.)


An act Adris cannot hope to achieve causes him hidden consternation.


“It’s rare that I can speak freely, so why don’t we enjoy it with the limited time we possess?”

When this brat with an angelic face gives Ave a wink, the flighty girl…




(Why are you blushing!?)


Though she hugs Adris’ arm tighter, she also gives a fetching grin back to their mortal enemy, before looking even more embarrassed.


(Is this what pretty boys can get away with!?)


“It’s very peculiar to see a girl as beautifully honest as you associating with someone who runs screaming from the truth.

Isn’t a story as interesting as yours dying to be told, Ms. Elf…?”

His small hand that doesn’t bother with labor reaches, closing on her enraptured face.

“… Beau-Beautiful…!?






When pulled away, Ave cries out before clinging to the back of the protector who stands between Cuinn and her.

An errant hand stops short of touching the black cross pointed at the Intercessor, a glimmer of hesitation in the way he looks at it.


You’re ten-thousand, thousand-fold years too early to touch a woman as fine as her, boy.

“A boy, am I? That’s not untrue, at least for me…! And you make another interesting claim. Should I aid you in understanding the limits of your authority, ‘Ziahlen’?”

To Adris’ scowl, Cuinn offers only a sincere happiness at inner thoughts finally manifesting.




(This fake holy brat…! You step out from under the eye of your organization and turn into a submerged, unstable danger. This thing likes hurting others…!)


Only the target of it appears to detect the hazard flowing underneath the placid surface of this boy’s psyche, because Ave merely blushes redder at the two facing off. Something hidden from others with strong practice is laid out as an open challenge before Adris, using Ave as the goad to crack through trained mental defenses.


“… Are… two boys… fighting over Ave!? Howabsolutelyromantic! AHHHH, isn’t this sinful of me, too!?

The one who misunderstands the situation the most is whispering into Adris’ back, completely unable to face either of them now as she squirms.


(If you can’t help, at least don’t act happy about it!)


“If she is your bondage, then shouldn’t you free yourself of it to complete your mission? Despite your goals, you’re playing at night with monsters.”


(She is the mission! And she’s… not a monster to me!)


Unable to reply, this snake in fine clothing begins to nod appreciatively.


“… Eh? What did he say?”

This dubious question makes Adris realize the language has changed.


“For you to be with her indicates bonds much deeper than simply attachment…”

Wouldn’t you like to know?

“Yes, it presents a wonderful mystery to unravel. Mysteries are usually much easier when you can narrow down the specifics so quickly with a few questions. But you both seem to weave past them…


Shall we start with more answers from… Ms. Aurmaris?”



Now that he’s in full swing, the next questions are an ice pick in both of their hearts.




What crimes tonight are you two guilty of?


“… Ave stole honey from the mayor. I’mverysorry! Please don’t hurt me or Adris! No, if you hurt someone, make it me instead of him!?”

A totally servile bow comes with the girl’s ponytail whipping over to hang in front of her. The once-bold elf who was so effusive about their escapade immediately folds up, hinging on the mercy of a secret psychopath.


(Stupid girl! At least…! No, she can’t refuse to answer, can she!?)


Even though she’s caught up in her own little world like normal, she still displays signs of mental manipulation.




“That explains one issue.” Nodding his head appreciatively, Cuinn then looks at Adris while still speaking to her. “This is the only crime you’ve committed today?”

“Yes! Ave doesn’t do bad things! … Usually…”

“Understandable to say, for even… elves are fond of falling into folly. For what reason did you take it?”

“Because Ave is fond of honey and the store was shut down!? We weren’t going to sell it, only eat it!”

“… I see. What about you, oh noble Ziahlen? What is your truth about this crime?”


(Fuck your laws! If you ask if I “stole” from this mayor, then my truthful answer is…!)


A short laugh rumbles out from Adris’ throat, before he flicks his raised hand brashly to scoff at the question.

“A mayor is the servant of the people.

I am the people.”


(More than you are, at least!)


“For such a mayor to use their office to accrue profit while abandoning us to brigands, it can hardly be called a crime to take back what should belong to us all.

As for any other crimes? I have committed none today. All of my agreements have been honest and my manners perfect, which you will no doubt discover of your own efforts later.”


His accomplice gasps as Adris utterly refuses all blame for theft; but, despite the turnabout admission, the Intercessor merely nods his head in agreement.


“According to the laws of men, such an act as perpetrated cannot be labeled a crime. How strange, that two such as you would turn out to be innocent.”

That subtle smile Cuinn maintains causes Adris to grit his teeth at the hidden intelligence regarding the mayor that both share.




(You know she’s a monster! Stealing from monsters isn’t a crime to humans, therefore you can’t disagree!? Shit! Who else knows?)


“A noble, honest elf and a Ziahlen who reeks of darkness, yet is human. Truly, I couldn’t expect to encounter this except as fiction! You have definitely provided me much to ponder… but…?”




The figures around them who were once lifeless reawaken with menacing objectives. Each prepares to subdue Adris as their leader relishes in the growing light of his scepter.

The red moon once more glares down at them, trying to poison their minds.




“Despite you answering truthfully, too much remains unknown about a sweet elf and a sour boy. As few questions as I am allowed currently prohibits me from truly enjoying myself.

As such… will you not join me for tea later, so that we can discover more about each other at our leisure?


(Go neck yourself! I’ll tie the noose for you!)


Something about this antagonistic inquisitor causes Adris to long to murder him. Only two women on Zennia have earned this instinctive impulse so far, making this creature of polite corruption the first male on the list.


“… Ave… no… I don’t want to!”

While still ensorcelled, the girl takes back up Adris arm as she confronts their enemy.

“No matter how nice you are to me, you haven’t been polite to Adris! … As… as such, I’m afraid I must ask you to leave for tonight, Mr. Cuinn!”

A matter of fact demand has no relationship to reality, but the girl’s courage renews Adris’ drive to protect her.

“We’ve done nothing wrong, so you cannot hold us here without violating Petripolis’ agreement with you!”


(… Thanks for backing me up, but it’s way too late to negotiate or give orders!)


Now that they are being watched over by this boy’s organization again, with its supernatural ability to infest the minds of its followers and transform them into puppets for its will, a single elf cannot hope to turn them away.




“Unfortunately, Miss, searching for the truth of the world doesn’t provide for me to pass on any secrets, regardless of the legal nuances.”

A false look of condolences comes before his associates pull out white rods shaped like gem-studded lightning bolts.

Like the scepter, they hum with power that sets Adris’ hairs standing up.


“So, you’ll have to forgive them for being a bit brutish, please.”




They pin the two together, with Ave shaking as she clings to Adris. Too close to use her whip, cute claws raise ineffectually as a last-ditch defense.


“… EH!? Adris!? Granescians aren’t supposed to be like this…!?”


(Says who!? Get us out of here—!?)




Stronger than the pull of the red moon, a wave of crisp air flows around them, winding down the alleyways of Petripolis.

To this strange presence that responds to their attack…




Adris blinks in pain as he feels a new sensation kick back up.

Like a whip that found a golden ball, it runs through him, but the difference in force this time is far hotter as something plays around with their fates anew.


It riots at its chosen daughter being accosted, setting a conclusion to various things.




“Miss Ave! Where are you…!?”


“I heard her voice! Men, forward!”


“~EVENT~, ~EVENT~, ~EVENT~! Please, let it be a cute girl who has massive thighs…!”




Three simultaneous outbursts hit at once, surprising all present when an equal number of parties intrude on the scene from various directions.


The first bear surcoats of red-and-yellow, rushing out with truncheons ready. The red-faced younger man at the lead immediately locks onto Ave as his three compatriots march forward to get the Granescians’ attentions.


“OY! Get off from our Master’s friend, you disreputable snake oil sellers! Take your shitty, tasteless food elsewhere!”

“EH!? Cornelius!?”

The boy they threaten grows fascinated at this.



Another group barrels forth, too, looking like many of the merchants of Centennial Street. At their forefront is a tall, older woman wearing a cuirrass bodice with a yellow-and-black-squared shawl over her shoulders. Messy brown hair still has the dust of flour clinging to strands, but it does nothing to detract from the intensity of her stare directed at Adris and Cuinn.


“Intercessor! Be gone from that girl, or you’ll never do business in Petripolis again!”

A throaty, masculine tone cuts down at them as she closes with a mallet raised.

“… Getha!? How are you both…!?”

Laughing lightly, that very Intercessor sounds intrigued.



All by his lonesome, the last participant slams to a halt after jumping a stone fence and sending up chips of stone with the impact.

In full battle gear, this charger wearing lancer’s plate rides on a horse made of living fire, one that stamps around in anger while taking in the Granescians. His out-of-place helm resembles a bird head with an orange beak, while the rest of his armor is curved to leave him looking both fat and sleek like a fowl.

Painted black-and-white, the only menacing part of his ensemble is the jagged fang of a spear he levels at Cuinn and the seashell shield that glimmers red when light hits it.


“‘Handsome, slightly effeminate, and successful’… also, threatening a cute, green-haired snake girl. Yep, you’re the enemy of all men and my target!

Time for your ass rape, kid.”


A familiar voice lays out its lamentations from beneath its bird visor, before the magical horse starts tensing for its charge. Wind bursts from the spear when it activates its fake aura, producing a swirl of destruction that travels with its movements.


(Wait… you!?)





“… Eh? Starr!? SHIT! You’re already here!? Does that mean—!?”

“The event is still going! Help me and I’ll split the… the reward!”

“Let us live and die as brothers, Starr.”




The crazy slayer who trades stories of women to visit in the Castillo shows up at “just the right time” to prepare to mow down the horde of Granescians. Far more powerful than the men around this slayer, the cute-looking armor gains an evil effect when its helm’s eyeholes start to glow icy blue.


“Is this what this feels like, having everything ‘coincide’ against you? How novel, seeing this from the other end… my, what else could ‘go wrong’, Mr. Ziahlen?”

As though it’s someone else’s problem, Cuinn is in awe of the proceedings that turn against him.


(I have no idea! But now, you can’t dare attack us without the whole town discovering it! You… you…?)




Something within his aura senses is wicking off the back of Cuinn. Targeting for the Intercessor’s heart, the trail that Adris knows as magic is followed back to a building far in the distance.




The air shimmers on its roof.


“What a powerful girl, to call forth so much—?”

Move, pissant!





Adris’ hand launches Cuinn behind him, as the absurd spectacle of a blazing green ray lights up the night while aimed where Adris now stands.


The cross that has always served him is entrusted once more.




When it strikes the obsidian surface, the sound of whispers comes from both flailing light of the ray and resolute cross, before the growing screams of horror from Adris’ favorite tool send the light shooting back toward the roof as a cone of radiance.


Air grows choppy and explodes in the aftermath of the attack, blowing Adris into the back of the boy he just saved.


“… What is this?”


Both boys are held up by Ave as she stands shocked by the carnage that has enveloped the street in front of everyone gathered.

Their eyes trail to the source of the green magic.




“Why, oh why!? Why did it return…!?”

A faded green robe and sleepy cap flutter in the upturned wind. Many others huddle near this mystic after the illusion blocking them vanishes, revealing their old servants’ uniforms’ colors to be…


(Blue and gold! You sons of bitches, you almost killed me again!?)


“Scatter quickly, as quick as can be, you doltish incompetents!”

Their leader whips her glowing obsidian rod before exploding into a green cloud, leaving the rest rushing to escape the roof.




“… How amusing and unpredicted. [Pursue and gather].”


An unboyish voice barks an order that causes the ants to give chase with peak human agility, while a shining scepter rises to return his anger. Its shine turns into a pulsing current of white at the front of his outstretched hand, before the distant rooftop starts to quiver.


(What force is this?)




Night becomes day in full as tendrils of white shoot from the scepter, filling the distance like mammoth roots pulled from the ground.

Piercing into the roof and past it, the tendrils begin to undulate as the material that makes up the world responds by glowing.




Screams of agony and shrieks of warping stone come with this physically distorting effect.

Two Castillo servants left behind have erupted into sprays of Vigor as their bodies are revealed to be grossly twisted when the tendrils vanish, while the building itself has deformed into a curled sculpture.

Both servants dissolve into golden leaf while the roof collapses into thundering chunks of falling stone.




Despite the horrible revelation, Adris’ instincts lunge at the perfect opportunity.

“… You found your likely perpetrators for whatever crimes you were investigating tonight, Intercessor Cuinn. It’s a good thing that I was here to save you from such an attack on your valiant self.


In the silence of this horrific display of power that leaves all shocked senseless, Adris takes the forefront before the assembled witnesses to dramatically bring attention to him and Ave.


(Let’s see you blame me after I rescue you from the Alchemaster’s own servants. You are done with your questions.)




“You don’t let anything go to waste, do you?” When the boy frees himself from Ave’s rescue, Cuinn starts walking off after the Castillo monsters.


“‘Results speak for themselves’, is it? I do hope you’ll fix your flaws for the future, Mr. Ziahlen!”

“… What flaws are those?”

Despite knowing he shouldn’t take the bait, something within Adris prompts him to dive into the trap.


Three fingers come up to wave at him.




“You have three major tells.

Regardless of the questions asked, such tells give away so much more than your answers. From them, I can intuit that you care quite a lot about this girl, and also in a way that relates to your very survival. Very concerning for your sake, I’d imagine, to have such an eager, manipulable girl as essential to you.”


Adris shifts forward as this asshole taunts him about Ave’s safety, but the girl grabs him while hissing in fear.

“What is he saying!? No, don’t provoke him, Adris!”




“Right! Being forced to stop after your pride is wounded… you reveal one of your tells. Ah, such a delightful expression. Sometimes it’s not what you’re hiding, but the way it’s hidden it that gives it away.

Work on that for me, won’t you Ziahlen?”





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?”

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

“Having your fill of ‘good fortune’ are you? Shouldn’t you enjoy it before it runs out?”

“Isn’t it so much better when you’re honest, too, Adris?”

“You can always call for help, can’t you? Why should the dream end just because you feel the night is close to its conclusion?”


“Do you now see your limitations? Why not try changing yourself instead of your exterior?”



“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’?”

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

“When you give Adris something to care about, maybe he ends up giving that thing a bit too much of his attention?”

“Has no resistance to giving himself to females, perhaps?”

“If there is a false god, then why shouldn’t there be true gods?”


“The boy that loves to lie is going to have a hard time around someone that prevents telling willing untruths.”



“Here we go!”



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…”


[Elvish Venom?] – “Hm? Well, Ave doesn’t really know, but if you have fangs, shouldn’t you have venom?”


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?”

“Can you truly protect what you care about Adris?”


“Aren’t you happy that she stood up for you, even if she seems to favor his appearance more?”



“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?”

“Instinct isn’t always easy to recognize when it acts. Some people also have scars that need a lot of time to excise.”


“While she’s quick to enjoy something, she’s also so whipped that she apologizes for it after.”



“She might not get that some people are worse than they appear, at least until she experiences that pain herself.”



Name: Ciaran Ó Cuinn
Titles: Intercessor
Race: Human
Sex: Male
Age: Young

Occupation: Granescian Leader
Discipline: ???



[Fanged Scepter] – “Why shouldn’t truth be ever at hand? What reason do you have to hide it? What ability do you have to survive it?


Disposition: Inquisitive / Prideful / Taunting
Alignment: Ordered

Eyes: Green
Hair: Platinum Blond
Skin: White



Rantil Value –

Mentality – C

Luck – B

Charisma – A




Cethran Value – “Nothing about this child is beautiful. Why did you not simply strike him?”



“While offering only a perception of beauty and innocence, the character of the boy is revealed as something completely different. Adris seems to see evil within him, but is that an honest assessment or one driven by outrage? With the Granescians motivated by discovering the truth, doesn’t this sound oddly familiar?”



“Everybody needs a villain, so that’s why we invited you.”








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