Take Up the Cross – Chapter 80: Battle to the Undeath – Eternal War

Time itself is irrelevant now.


Standing within this white space broken up by silhouettes of what used to have color, the boy who was once named…


(Adris. You can’t take that name from me again, not even in these insane spaces between what’s real and not!)


Moves to interpose the…




An object is missing from his hand.

Instead of holding the emblem that defines him, the meat beneath his skin has become that obsidian.


Power from beyond the veil flows inside, pulled perhaps from this very place.


(“Who am I!?” Cethran!? I don’t even recognize what I am!)


The flexing hand he stares at has sprouted white-and-red freathers from the wrists up his arms, while the armor which resembles that of his birth world glows with a dark light from its coppery sheen.

The shining glyphs of the long purple cloth wrapped around his waist bring claustrophobia, for when bound by it his body unwillingly keeps its original shape in this unusual space which deforms like the Chapel.


A final gift from a hated instructor, her memory sets Adris’ teeth grinding at how much he relies on it.


(I’m far from the strangest thing here, though!)


Disregarding the dreadful murderer which stands before him, a dead city entombed by stone has become an intact, vibrant one of black shapes.

In all directions, white lances of shooting destruction fill his view, for there are invaders everywhere bringing chaos to the proud streets.




Outside of the garden, animated shadows war against shining figures framed by black outlines that they erode, shapes from a fever dream that feel all too dangerously real.


The closest, which towers over him as he looks up, screeches in a voice that no beast can make, with the sound issuing from a circular metallic orb at the center of four open sails which flow behind it. Three disconnected legs, ones giving it a tripod gait, thunder as they traverse the ground, lurching it forward despite not connecting to the upper section.

This pseudo-mechanical monster dwarfs the garden, trudging toward the town’s center as cries of help come from its path of devastation.


(Who constructed this!? How!? What powers it?)


Warbling screeching becomes louder as light streaks towards the eye at the center of the orb body, before a blinding flash fires out.

Tendrils of white home in, bringing twisting death.


(Granescians! Invaders!)


These shaking lances force Adris to shield his eyes, leaving him cringing in pain as he follows them to their target.






A charging black beast the same size as the walker accepts the projections with raised arms, letting these limbs be twisted apart in place of the rest as its chimeric appendages launch it forward.

Reptilian legs pit muscle against the white vortex that springs up into view around the giant walker when it’s pushed on, producing lightning showers of sparks at their meeting.


Recovering from the impact, the eye on the orb begins to glow again.


The chimera made of underground lizard monster, a lion’s scarred head, and the scything talons of a metal praying mantis breathes deeply before it unleashes its own black fire at a terrible pressure.


As the black and white powers meet, they push back and forth.

A hissing, boiling whistle fills the air.




That pressure finally explodes with the brilliance of a falling Drop of Creation.




Adris guards himself with his cloak as the blast wave washes over the garden, knocking down floating crystal trees and shattering them upon the earth to a great cacophony.

The smoke from the burst is pulled back toward its center a moment later, vanishing into glittering cinders as nothing remains of the two titans.


Cries of terror from where they fought remain forever silent.




(This is madness.)




“Our lives for the Golden Heart! Immortality in Her gaze!”


To this cry, the dangerous servant who grins at Adris quizzically turns to face the direction it came from.


From the cliff-side overlooking Petripolis is the source of the voice, where the heart of a black legion resides.

Shooting death down upon the very city they claim, the fighters of the Alchemaster proudly display her all-black emblem as the shades defend against huge, birdlike contraptions with shining wingspans that dive into them.

Pale light rakes across the black soldiers, either meeting barriers and magical shields, or simply removing what is enlightened.


White-robed, tall humans continue their blistering siege of the mansion of the Origin of Greed, descending from animated, floating clouds overhead in torrents of slow fire that crash into groups.

The skies of Zennia are full of doughy-shaped fortresses of all sizes, these strange airborne carriers being where the Invaders jump from. These, too, descend from the heavens to encircle the Castillo and rake flashing rays upon it.


(To war from the air, how could one hope to prevail against that?)


Where rays strike, the mansion’s grounds flare up with golden sprays of energy before great crystal bullets launch in return, drilling into the clouds before erupting into blinding plumes of green fire.

The air fortresses crack like eggs when struck in the right places, losing their weightlessness and dashing upon the mountainside.


Ranks of pale zealots meet eager demises as they press their attacks against those who should be foul monsters; yet, the citizens that flee up the cliff choose to rely on the Alchemaster’s mercy.

For the Invaders that meet screaming innocents point glass spears at them, weapons which burn forth with energies that pelt the unfortunate until their bodies are filled with smoking holes.




(Who are the real villains?)







Even if this sight stuns him to the core, Adris is forced to stop by the unobtrusive approach of a familiar woman.

The rallying cry from earlier wakes the hunter.


In an unhurried way at first, the speed of her advance increases as she readies to leap upon the boy who finally returns his attention.

Clawed hands aim for the fly.






A reflexive dodge and cry end in a feeling of weightlessness.






His viewpoint flips multiple times as he empties his lungs before crashing.

Fluids splash ahead of him, coating his face as he slides on them.


The shocking suddenness leaves him blinking at the aftermath.

Black blood, not Vigor, drenches his arm as he reaches out to pull himself along the ground.




(… How… do I escape without…?)


A dilemma in the form of spasming legs, kicking in place briefly before they still, goes with that numb, tingling liberation beneath his waist.




Stuck in mid-swipe of a lunge, Lycia stares at him over her arm with that pleasant smile still affixed. Those claws, proved now to be beyond razor sharp, treated his flesh as if it was made of goat butter.




When she stands once more, the death march continues with her hips swaying.

Under the watch of her fellow Castillo soldiers, this pitiless face and silence offers no further banter.


(… No…)


Adris huffs in agony as the shock dies down, letting the pain take over completely as he tries to will it away and continue crawling as fast as he can.


(SHIT! Where… where are they!?)




His only protectors are stuck where they were at the beginning of this unholy transition.


A brutal squire kneels on the ground, clenching her helmet hard enough to deform it.

Her body spasms too, while she remains unaware or uncaring of the slaughter ongoing around her.


Streams of foul air which shift in view like a mirage whisper horrible accusations. This malevolence clings to the armor, refusing to let her attention shift.


(She can’t survive in this world without being able to face herself!)


Darkness is self-knowledge before it becomes enlightenment.

A kobold girl who cannot explain her own motivations cannot grasp the grandiosity of existence when it’s so nakedly forced on her.


Especially not with the hazardous scent clinging to her.




Basking in the light of the black moon, the monstrous qualities and emotions that lie repressed under Kol’s psyche are flickering in Adris’ aura senses.

A beast is dying to break free.


(… then… then her…!)




In contrast, a moon fairy sits passively on the ground with her legs to the side, staring at her hands.


“… Neesiette! Help!”


A dull cry, one that comes with a dimming of his view of her, gains from this special friend of his…


“A n a l y s i s   o f   R e q u e s t: parameters not understood.

A c t i o n: deemed futile…”

“What do you mean futile!? You spoke the name of that moon, right!? Where is this?”


Like with Kol, something is off about her, for that unemotional face she always wears is now crystallized into soullessness.


While she shines violet in this world brightly enough to match the Invaders outside of the private garden war ground, the luminance looks ugly contrasted with the black cracks running up her arms. These imperfections are what capture her horror.

What she does after refusing to help causes him to lose hope.




“… A f f i r m a t i o n: this tool be not imperfect/damaged/inferior/trash.

E r r o r: empirical data proves counter to affirmation.

R e c o v e r: nothing Luna constructs may be deemed a failure, therefore…!

A f f i r m a t i o n: this tool be not imperfect/damaged/inferior/trash.

E r r o r: empirical data proves counter to affirmation.

R e c o v e r: nothing Luna constructs may be deemed a failure, therefore…!

A f f i r m a t i o n: this tool be not imperfect/damaged/inferior/trash…”


The broken doll is locked in a torture of her own making, unable to escape from trauma unearthed by glimpsing the truth peeking through the curtain.

She speaks without even opening her mouth, becoming creepy even amidst the ongoing apocalypse.




(I’m dead.)


While thinking this and continuing to crawl, Adris suddenly feels the tingling and coldness abate, replaced by a growing sense of hot pain.




That pain increases when his bleeding legs catch alight with a white-hot, red flame.




In the distance, another bonfire flares up.

Legs shake and float as they turn to ash, taking his boots and clothing with it into smoke.




As the ash vanishes, his lost limbs return with a surge of power, reviving his clothing too.


The ghoul approaching him shields her face while grimacing.

When the light subsides…




“… AHHH… fuck… that hurt…!”

A boy beneath her sight is cradling perfectly good legs while crying.

The arms which have sprouted feathers begin to grow more, giving birth to an alien presence in his body that begins to expand into his greater self.


(… Why!? No…)


Turning his gaze back to Lycia, the ghoul tilts her head briefly.


Before an arm scythes out for him.




“UP, UP!”

Leaping from the ground, he dives for Kol.




Reaving claws try to follow, but the slavish servant chooses to observe after only snatching an arm from its socket. She winces as the arm she plundered begins to fall apart and burst into flames.




Cradling what’s left of his shoulder, Adris scoots up beside Kol.

“… GAH…! Kol, wake up! … Ah… AHHH!?”




The white-red flames return as his arm reforms, forming from fire to become altered flesh.


(… Ugh… but not as fast! Or rather… fast for what it’s changing!)


Something within is being leeched away with the flame’s recovery.

A reservoir like aura drains with its miracle.


(I am the cross! But why feathers…?)


A more avian arm replaces the one lost a moment earlier, snuffing out the pain while also feeling like it doesn’t belong to him.




“Difficulty: Analyzed. Battle Routine: Altered.”


This simple announcement comes with the end of Lycia’s observations.

Instead of chasing him, she lifts her hand up, turning the palm over to point it at him.


(I know what that is.)




Grabbing a hold of his vanguard, Adris shakes her without dignity.




“… Kol… can’t… win…!”

Only a low groan comes out in her deep voice before she resumes quaking.

“…Can’t win… can’t… be Kol!


(That’s terrible logic! Who cares if you can win! I need… I need you to win for me! For us!)


For the first time since his death, Adris has nothing left to defeat the foe gathering her strength.


(You are my only hope!)


Something that can’t be admitted drives this forward.

If he could merely say it, Kol might be reached through whatever psychological pain is consuming her.





A [false god] is not an entity that can say such truthful things so desperately enough to touch someone, not even during an endless war.




A menace pointing at them gathers blackish-purple smoke which starts to wind up around her as clothing becomes weightless and floats. Her figure is overshadowed by the darkness flooding out from golden chains in her flesh.


Adris pulls Kol’s hands away from her head with great difficulty, replacing them with his own.


(I need… I need to get her acclimated… I could exist in this world with the aid of Rantil. What can I do for…?)




Like a hammer to his head, the answer presents with the same subtlety as he inspects his obsidian body.


(Ah. If this isn’t a place you can function in normally, then I’ll just… make you into something that can function here.)




In his rush, old habits push through.

Without caring for the repercussions, Adris’ nerves catch on fire as he wills his inner expanse to change form while re-activating the core which lets him share senses with Kol.


In but a moment, hers responds by the body housing it lighting up into a surrounding heat haze.

Thoughts blur as he begins to feel her frustration and hopelessness.




Far from fear, what she feels is only…


A recognition of pointlessness.

Total despair as understood by a simple thought process.




(“Kol… cannot exist… without winning.” Then… win by any means necessary. No matter how dangerous anything with the concept of “Luster” is…!)




By the infinite power of a black cross that has peered through to the other side of existence, I grant you the power you won for its sake!

Calling its name causes his innards to rush with speed.

Swirling as they move, their black light comes to his palms.


(Accept this power, Kol! I give you the accomplishment of defeating a Grand Distortion! Gallus’ end should make you happy!)


Nothing within this place can hold you back! Be only what you want to be!




Like tar, the stuff which makes up his “accomplishment” filters through the membrane of his hand to begin coating a white wolf’s head.

The girl he holds groans when the viscous substance reaches tanned skin underneath.




Bells ring madly around them.


The entire world shakes as the change coming over her spreads.

Compelling enough is this alteration to cause the white world to ripple and crack.





Sight meets dirt once more as he tumbles, smearing his skin over it and cutting flesh on broken crystal until he reaches a stop.


The cause of his flight is the stout figure struggling to stand, one which slapped him so hard that he felt his head almost pop off.


“… aaahhh… graaaahhh… hah…”


Rising like a puppet, this chunk of cursed armor begins to smoke from beneath it.

White-furred claws raise up to rip at her helmet, while the raspy breathing from her grows troubled.




Kol… want…”


Air rushes toward her, becoming a cyclone that engulfs but doesn’t lift her.

The darkness leaking from her protection is picked up into its rotation.


(… Become someone who can win…!)




This power, still dwarfed by Lycia’s growing swirl of ghastly skeletal images and necrotic wind, goes wild all of a sudden.


The cyclone ends, leaving the weightless darkness left floating as Kol screams in pain. When it tries to clump on her, she twists and refuses it.


(No! Don’t cast it away…!)


“Kol! You are strong!” His yell causes the contorting squire to fall back to her knees, huffing as she turns toward him. “This is… power from me! For you, only! You’ve waited for so long for it, so… take it!



She begins to growl louder, finally recognizing the crippled Adris who is slowly becoming something else as fire roasts him.


“Kol is the strongest! Destroy the enemy!

Absolutely win!”




As she stands once more, the dark promise of victory begins to swirl around her when she accepts it.




“Remember what you hunt! That thing you met that you must destroy!”


That memory sends her wilder, clawing at the air and rending the empty space with the blackness that stains her nails.


Briefly revealed behind what she tears is








(That’s it! That’s the image that can give this power sufficient potency! … Oh.)


Beyond Kol, their mutual threat has finally distilled the death she was searching for into a single, smoking flame burning on her arm.

The ground groans under the weight of its malnourished souls.




“Imagine that you are as powerful as that thing was!

No… believe that Kol is stronger! Kol is the definition of what that ghoul must fear!”


(Whatever you once feared, become stronger than even it!)


Lessons from Xin on the form of thought come forth, being woven into a mental exercise that is quickly turning Kol into an abomination like Adris.

Her visible flesh is starting to turn into a white mist, shaking as her body disappears.


“Show her the true definition of terror! Claim your place as the supreme embodiment of…!”



Squatting down, Kol clutches her head as her tail and tabard flap within the renewed wind.




“[Hunger of the Stars].”


This congenial whisper assures his work is useless.

A billowing cloud of the end of all life sweeps toward them, cracking stone, rotting dirt, and turning to dust all greenery left.


Skeletal figures, jealous of the vitality Adris and Kol hold, reach out to grasp them.




As it washes over Kol, Adris closes his eyes and…




The air booms.

Earth fractures, spreading out from a burning figure.


Billowing death meets phantasmal flames, carried by the heated air upward toward the heavens. The supreme blow of Lycia is halted by the carnage of a birth.

A pillar of white fire flares up to the sky, bringing the eyes of the shadowplay figures around them.




The dark things watching Kol and Adris gibber in






and wonder of Kol’s answer to who she is.




When the twister of smoking death and scorching heat subsides, there’s only the winner left at the center.


The worn armor is physically unchanged, save for the red hatred coursing through it now resembling thick blood. Instead of upright, the wearer hunches forward while squatting like a beast, making it more like a shell than something external to her body.

Pulsating white light now stretches out from where hands and feet once were. Crackling in the air as they clench, these spectral hands then point out towards something.




A slicing sound carries through the air, before the caught halberd she demanded surges with power.

Its length flares up with her white aura, turning more sinister as it sharpens and grows barbaric.




Most concerning of all…

Beneath the white wolf helm, whose eyes swirl around looking for prey, are many pink wisps behind her visor slits.

When Adris locks eyes with their floating lights…





A perfect killer clad in a blue caftan swings up her curved sword.

The blue ocean winding up around it prepares to crush him.


There will be no further mistakes.

No escapes.

No resurrections.


A cold hunter confirms the target trapped next to an empty sarcophagus, one awaiting a fresh body.

This voice that screams as her sword descends—






Left cringing, Adris then curls up and stares at the ground for a moment.

An impossible delusion gripped him to the core.


Perfectly recreating that fateful death, no mental preparation could’ve averted his being mesmerized by it.

Even his body which rings like the cross often does couldn’t reject it.


(She… went straight to the heart of what I…)


A roaring monster near him forces a recovery of his mental state.


(… Kol…!?)


The source of his lingering dread turns while hunched over, glowing whiter inside when the entirety of the darkness swirling around her is slurped into her core.








An unintelligible scream radiates out with the creature’s white, transparent flames invading where death once flowed over. Black armor lurches forward, carrying the burning sphere with it as a polearm chambers to swing.

A reflected terror building within Lycia weaves invisible tendons between the two, already taut on formation.


(“The fear that she’s already upon you”?)


With a snap of this dread Adris interprets, the perfect terror is suddenly within range when space itself contorts with a fiery pop.






Lycia’s foot sails away with the first pass, departed from her by a red slash which hangs in the air.

While in mid-air herself, the ancient ghoul performs an impossible sideways dodge to avoid a second slice which also hangs there.




Yet, the unburdened dark thing has yet to truly swing her weapon, though.

White-fire silhouettes of her were the first attackers, disappearing after manifesting the fear of her assault.

So real in the mind of the observer they were that a foot could be lost to them.


(Phantasmal strikes like Serras’ shadows, except far quicker to use!)


Shaking as she growls, the actual strike spears through where the red slashes meet.

A shining lance seeks to impale the enemy.




The ghoul’s claws meet this strike, using the immense explosive force of this rebound to rocket away as her arms eat the feedback.

“… Enemy Recalculated. [Paralyzing Need].”




Plunging to the ground while flipping, Lycia plows her bloodied arms into it instead of landing on her feet.

Golden energy crackles through the soil, reaching up around Kol’s glowing form to inundate her with its power.


A magical manifestation of Lycia’s innate abilities spring from the ground.

Ephemeral, clawed hands slice Kol up while crawling all over. Where she bleeds black, bubbling gold from cracked mail between plates begins to form after, leaving large, weighted drops on her body.


(… “A curse of paralysis is the basis of a ghoul’s wretched attacks”? This is a physical bond, though!)


Whipping her halberd with her only free hand, the unrelenting beast leaps forward on one foot, pulverizing the ground when she fails to swat Lycia.

Sheer willpower denies Kol’s new bonds any utility against her.




When the ghoul tries to flee out of range…


(Even if deprived of full mobility, the aura is the key to this new form!)


… fear flashes across Lycia’s face when she tries to leave the sphere she’s locked inside of, bringing the first emotional response of the fight when the ghoul can’t force her shaking body to exit.




Standing up after the white-red flames heal him, Adris starts to walk toward Kol.


(We can win…! I can turn this!)


“… You did it. … No, of course you did! Kol, fight with me!”

Extending his arm, he smiles with a renewed sense of hope.


(I did it again! I pulled another victory out of my ass! Nobody can outwit me, even you, Lycia!)


Chuckling as he approaches, that winning smile he saves for when he feels on top of the world is his first gift to a trusted frontliner.


(If I have the cross within me, then I can knock off that shitty gold—)






When Adris nears her aura sphere, the hulking beast turns toward him while pointing her halberd.

Fear and antagonism eat into his marrow.





Rather than joining him to stand side by side, her center of gravity shifts.


(She… she… sees me as…)




Quick feet carry him in reverse, leaving Adris bouncing backwards as death launches at him.

A juke to his right saves him from being skewered.


Instead of dying, he leaves both juggernauts that want to kill him ramming into each other.




While enduring Kol’s flaming surroundings, one punch which carries rejection from the depths of his heart smashes through the fiery wraith rushing to meet him at its perimeter.


(I won’t succumb to fear! I’ll smash through it!)


Darting toward a poor soul that babbles brokenly to itself, Adris sweeps her up, tome and all, just before a shearing golden blade vanishes the calm where they pass through.




As Adris finally escapes, Lycia unwillingly turns and tangles with the accusing Kol, leaving him protected behind a wall.




“Neesiette. Help us!”

“A n a l y s i s   o f   R e q u e s t: parameters not understood.

A c t i o n: deemed futile.”

The voice without its own will goes with her uncaring stare. Despite the entire world ending, this Lunamaton is only concerned with…

“A f f i r m a t i o n: this tool be not imperfect/damaged/inferior/trash…”




That plaintive suffering is cut short when she’s violently shaken.

You’re not a tool!


R e b u t t a l: inaccurate by definition, such a statement be.

A c t i o n: dismissed out of hand, such lies must be.”


(If you can refuse me so arrogantly, then you’re still in there! Where is Still!? I’ve made a terrible mess…)




Despite Kol standing up to Lycia…


The earth is cleaved up in a mindless swing, producing a whirlwind finally.

Pulled in and struck by the hammer side on the upswing, Lycia’s jaw deforms as it slams up into her mouth.


Somersaulting away, this bleeding wound instantly fixes.

Bones reset and knit.


Just like the foot which has already returned,

Lycia is perfectly fine when she launches to once again savage Adris’ Right Hand.





A crackling fist of pure white slams into Lycia. In reply, claws pierce into Kol’s heart and skull through weak joints.

Both shudder with pain before Lycia kicks away again.


Black and gold Vigor flow without end, as neither side can break the other.


Without space to work with, Lycia can’t concentrate long enough to use intricate abilities.

But, without more power, the berserk kobold also can’t overcome the ghoul’s regeneration, a fact known to Lycia as she smiles broader from behind a dripping claw hand.




(We can win, but only if we can break the stalemate!)


“Okay, you’re a tool!”

Finally yelling at her, he’s disappointed when Neesiette doesn’t register the contempt he shows.


(If you don’t find emotion again, I’ll never reach you!)


“A f f i r m a t i o n: indeed, this object be a tool created for answering all questions related to Art—”

“Wrong! Created for many things! You’ve already gone far beyond what you were made to do, haven’t you!?”

At this accusation, the emotionless object doesn’t respond.

“Is that according to how you were made!? Should you not embrace it?”

“E r r o r: a perfectly made… tool… cannot… possess doubt about such a question, yet doubt exists.”

Stopping there, her voice then gains a hint of pain.




“Q u e r y: if doubt exists and a tool exceeds its orders… then…?”


(… You might as well ask if you were supposed to have free will to begin with! Only your creator can answer that!)




A far too intelligent girl’s question isn’t one that Adris can give an answer to.

He has no way of lying to her to assuage her fears, either.

Such a terrible question, likely birthed by the dark cracks running through her and arising from inner turmoil, reflects her insecurity about her place in the world.


(“If I wasn’t created to have free will, but act as if I do, then am I not broken?” As if you can count on me to find a logical answer! I don’t care what you were made to do…)




“Neesiette… you are… not—!






Quick as a snare, Adris’ legs are tied and he falls to his side.

The painful tightness grows as he yells, though he can’t stop being dragged even with his hands raking the dirt.




Another pained voice full of acidic sweetness yells back at him, with a winding of coils announcing the reason for his capture.


“Papa! Ave found you…!”


(Ave!? HAK!)


Adris becomes weightless again as he inverts. The powerful muscles hidden beneath winding scales are finally used to put him on display to the world.

His bones creak as her terror transfers to how desperately she must clutch him.


“Ahh…? Not Papa…!”

Like with Kol, something about her beautiful face is off. Not even teary eyes explains the feeling she exudes.


Though even more desperate than normal, the timid and shy elf no longer appears as such.

Her skin glistens while retaining a red blushing. Rosy cheeks are now happy, despite the earlier discomfort.

To her pitiful breasts are where Adris’ face is brought, mashed into her so hard that he can feel a rapid heart beat.


“… Ave! … Re-release…!”

“Finally… I found you…!”

That pleasant voice of hers is more happy than pained.


Hunger plays along his body with her delicate hands rubbing on him. Feeling under his coat, she rubs the skin of his upper thigh, snaking to go lower.

That foresty scent she always has had now smells much more dank and unforgiving.


(Like the scent of dug-up soil!)


“Wait! Stop…!”

“No… Ave can’t stop… because…!”




The kiss she forces is needy and skill-less. Her sloppy tongue cannot perform like his, but it’s no less demanding.

It’s capable only of showing him her true nature as she stares longingly into him.


Those crystal-green eyes are filled with a bestial glint.




“… Ave gave herself to you… so… you’re the one. Ave can’t… have another… so…”




She hisses while rising into the air, her humanoid torso angling as she lifts to stare down at him the whole time.


(Like… a snake ready to eat what it caught…!?)


Clothing hangs loose, though she doesn’t care as she lewdly rubs her waist and breasts with him unable to turn away.




The evil black moon overhead pulses with the same energy found in her slit eyes.


“Don’t worry… I will take you away!

I’ll protect you!

Give you everything I have…!”

“Ave, sto— GAHHH!?”


Her exuberance transfers to the coils that are crushing, stopping his breathing as they tighten more.


Touching his chin and stroking it gently while he rasps without air…




“Adris… want me…! Take me…!

Make me… yours, right now and… forever!”




The forest child becomes a true hunter as her caring smile becomes wicked, twisting with a long tongue that slurps his face.


(Ave… is like… Kol…! Except she’s…!)


Her hands clasp his limp ones, leaving her humming as she starts to slither away into the white darkness of another garden area.

The moment he exits the light of the battle, his body knows it will lose.




(A true… monster…!)





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?”

“Don’t you think a plan can be too withheld from the people carrying it out?”

“Isn’t it time you should return to discovering who you are? Why not do that by discovering who she is?”


“The less you become you, don’t you also become less interesting?”



“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’?”

“Why he, or anyone, would want a bloodstained ghoul to hit their true form is beyond the grasp of the sane.”

“Reddish-white feathers don’t seem out of place given what he’s been drinking.”


“A false god discovers his powers aren’t always compatible with others.”



“The more you try to fix things, the stranger the permutations of what goes wrong becomes.”



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!




[ ?DARKNESS? ] – “▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒……!!!”




[“Dreadful Armor”] – “This is where Kol will live and die. When Kol roars, armor roars, too!”


[Halberd of the Whirlwind] – “GET OVER HERE!”


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 not just hide with her in the hole?”

“Who is the linchpin in this battle?”

“Didn’t you finally lie to her… openly?”


“Did you think it would be this easy? Merely doling out powers without suffering or growth?”



“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.”

“Always for a false god.”

“Both Still and Lycia draw equal ire. Is it a smell thing?”

“Unrelenting, unforgiving, and totally pissed.”


“By accepting darkness, one may change.”



“Unwillingly accepted something that may turn out bad.”



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?”

“Who can see the conclusion to calling someone a name that burns them up inside?”

“Wouldn’t you like to see her doing more? Should she read from the book again?”


“Would you make her like this? A slave to your whims and without the need for strong emotions?”



“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…?”

“While Neesiette has few talents at the moment, perhaps she’s only hiding them in reserve?”

“Though no longer the team’s leader, she still voices orders just the same.”


“Acting more like an automaton than a Lunamaton, is this perhaps what she originally was…?”



“The strongest people are often incredibly fragile, like diamonds that shatter when their strength is pierced.”



Name: Lycia Vehrose
Titles: Beast of Conquest
Race: Blood-Stained Ghoul
Sex: Female
Age: ?? (Old Lady)

Occupation: Wondrous Works Researcher; Tool Creator; Total Monster
Discipline: Battle Pressure – Mad Ghoul



[Shooting Stars] – “A strange, wooden box with holes in the end produces a stream of missile-like light, which explodes with enormous force on the chosen target. I, of course, want it desperately. Hooray for aura tools.”

[Pocket Belmont] – “A spiked chain that flies with great force to strike out, before returning. It explodes with flame on impact, destroying whatever is around its point of release. Is this love? Am I in love?”

[Doom Rollers] – “Please make way for one of my favorite tools! Or, rather: don’t.”

[Heart Taking] – “Hey, won’t you give yourself to me~? Completely and absolutely.”


[DARK REVELATION] – “Only you wanted this, Little Bro.”


Disposition: Sultry / Intelligent / Vicious |-| Insane
Alignment: Neutral

Eyes: Green, Speckled Gold
Hair: Blond
Skin: Deathly White



Rantil Value –

Strength – C (B)

Vitality – C (B)

Agility – C (?)




Cethran Value – “Perhaps you have a fascination for that which seems human, but whose qualities deviate far from it when inspected? Even if she’s your ideal figure, Adris, won’t it be a problem if she decides to eat you up?”

“Are you ready for what it means to learn what someone truly is?”

“How alike did you think she was?”


“Like all of Aurumia’s creations, don’t you feel the essential conflict? Of wanting to have everything, and in seeking everything, destroying the essential beauty of the creation?”



“A woman whose first instinct is to not trust you, and to trust only in herself. A fairly good perspective and outlook on life, in a blue abyss filled with lunatics. The obvious question is: how sane can she be if she willingly lives there?”

“This is the real Lycia. No matter how she plays around, she doesn’t accept any sort of compromise.”

“And with the truth being revealed, one discovers that it is always a form of one’s own darkness.”


“Reflecting her truth from an age past, a bloodstained ghoul was once the powerful soldier of the Alchemaster. One that would never disobey, never give up, and never die.”



“Okay, now you can joke.”









Chapter 79         Table of Contents          Chapter 81