Starting Chapter 4
It was a small town that El Search Party arrived in after leaving Elder. This city built on an open terrain was quieter and less populous than Elder.
“Wow, look! Ms.Butterfly is flying around!”
“Stop moving around so much Ara Haan.”
“Yawwn, I’m so tired. Is anyone else tired? I’m also hungry.”
Rena who walked in the front of the group made a bitter smile. Everyone must be tired after not being able to rest in a proper inn for days since they’ve left Elder.
“Alright, I’ll go to Mr.Lento and listen to their current situation so…..”
While talking to the other members as the leader of the party, Rena stopped her words in middle of her sentence and stared at Add with a profound gaze. Add tried to ignore it….but couldn’t withstand the pressure when Rena continued to stare at him.
“…..I’ll look after the kids so go ahead.”
“Alright, I’ll leave it to you.”
Rena smiled brightly and went off with light footsteps. Add grinded his teeth as he saw Rena disappear into the crowds of people.
Back in Elder, ever since he fell fast asleep after lending his hand to Eve…… Rena was acting like this after she witnessed that scene. Add for some reason couldn’t help but to be obedient even though all she did was just smile at him while not saying anything.
Add could retort if she said something; fight back if she provoked him. But he didn’t know how to react when she kept gently smiling at him. Add ended up not being able to disobey Rena before long.
No, it didn’t end with just that…..he ended up responding according to Rena’s wishes just like what happened now. Add sighed and looked behind him.
Ara was looking up in wonder at the butterfly that sat on tip of her spear.
“It’s a small city.”
Eve was sitting on her gears looking around at Feita’s inner buildings and Elsword had his sword against his back while tapping the ground with his feet.
Ara let out a disappointed shout as the butterfly left her spear. Then for some reason she stretched out her spear towards the butterfly. It wasn’t actually Ara simply stretching out her spear. The sound of wind tearing showed how much force was in her thrust.
“It’s dangerous Big sister Ara.”
Elsword quickly swung his sword to hit the shaft of Ara’s spear. The spear’s trajectory was changed thanks to this interference and the butterfly was safe.
Ara whose face had turned deathly pale even though she was the one who had thrust the spear let out a sigh of relief after seeing the butterfly flutter away safely.
“Thank you, Mr.Elsword.”
“It’s nothing. By the way, do we have to wait here?”
“I already spoke with Rena beforehand. Let’s go to the inn….”
Add was looking over the group then started to move his steps unwillingly. He was in the end just an unwilling leader.
After letting out a sigh, Add took a slight glance towards Eve who walked behind him to the right. Eve either didn’t notice his gaze or was ignoring it. Regardless, she walked silently.
When they started off from Elder, Rena had already made a very detailed travel plan and even reserved an inn beforehand. The reason Add knew this was because Rena mentioned this to him as if he should remember this.
Guys and girls got separate rooms so Add ended up sharing a room with Elsword. This happened so many times now that Add didn’t have any desire to protest anymore.
After letting down his bag on the bed, Elsword looked out at the Feita’s streets through the window.
“When should we eat? Aren’t you hungry?”
“Big brother Add, isn’t this place a bit strange?”
A sudden question. But regardless of how Add disliked Elword, Elsword never brought up anything that was baseless.
“What is? Places where people live all tend to be alike.”
“That’s what’s strange. This place looks same as any other towns.”
Elsword turned his head around from the window and stared at Add seriously.
“Didn’t we come here because we heard that Feita was invaded by Demons? Then why is it so quiet?”
Elsword’s indication was correct. There were urgent reports coming in from all over the continent that Demons were appearing through the Dimension Gate and causing mayhem. The reason El Search Party left Elder was because they got an urgent call for reinforcements from Feita.
“I’m glad that the city is safe. But I can’t see any signs of fear or fatigue on the people’s faces. Streets are also extremely clean. I don’t think they defeated the Demons by fighting them off on their own.”
“They could have gone to another city.”
“I don’t know too much about this. But that Dimension Gate. Isn’t that something that doesn’t open too easily?”
For Demons to appear in Elrios continent they needed to create a portal called Dimension Gate and this consumed Dark El. Also, this Dark El was something very scarce so Demons couldn’t use it carelessly. This was what Eun told him before.
“They took the effort to invade Feita and went somewhere else without doing any damage? Isn’t that strange?”
Add’s face turned serious too. Other El Search Party members were all very surprised at the news that Demons were invading Elrios continent. But Add wasn’t particularly surprised. It was a rather expected event for Add.
‘Thinking about it now….coming after Eve must have been a signal flare for the Demon invasion.’
Demons had decided for unknown reason to destroy Eve the Queen of Nasods before they properly started their invasion of the Elrios continent. That’s why they deployed Demons to where Eve was.
In this timeline, the El Search Party was able to prevent Eve’s destruction thanks to Add’s directions. Did the Demons give up destroying Eve when they failed and decided to go ahead with their invasion first?
Would he have heard this news if he remained in the timeline where Eve was destroyed?
‘I don’t know why they came after Eve but…..’
Seeing how Eve looked surprised as well by the Demon invasion, it didn’t look like Eve was hiding any secrets.
Add was deep in thought when Elsword’s stare brought him to his senses.
“…..Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Since Big brother Add is smart, I thought you might know something.”
A calm response. His slight leisurely tone sounded unfittingly mature for his age.
“I’m not too sure either. But….”
Why are Demons invading the Elrios continent in such large scale? Well, you could roughly make the pieces fit by saying it’s to obtain the El or by saying Demons were evil beings in the first place but these theories were somewhat doubtful.
The key to this answer was Eve. Just why did they go out of their way to send assassins to such far off place like Elder? And also….
‘He said D…’
The one that ordered Dark Count Ran to destroy Eve. You could say that Shadow Master was sent by the same person also. Did D give up on sending assassins against Eve now?
“I’ll have to observe a bit more.”
“Tell me if you figure out something.”
Elsword finished lightly then headed to the door after putting away his sword.
“Then let’s eat first. Let’s bring Eve and Big sister Ara and eat together.”
Sitting and eating together with everyone was uncomfortable.
“Big brother Add is too skinny. You don’t each that much in the first place. You won’t grow any taller like that.”
“I’m already tall enough.”
“Eve is also going to eat with us. You should eat together with us too.”
Why did he mention Eve here? Add frowned at the unexpected words but Elsword left the room as if it was decided.
“Then I’ll go get everyone.”
Elsword disappeared without listening to Add trying to stop him. Add clicked his tongue, annoyed at the meal table that was decided without his consent.
Add didn’t like socializing with others in the first place. Moreover, his personality didn’t fit with the El Search Party members.
Ara who lost her mind over a single butterfly, Elsword who nobly covered for Ara’s mistake and Rena who overindulged those kids…..They were all opposite of Add’s personality.
If needed to, Add could tear apart something like a butterfly and laugh out loud. No, he could do it even if he didn’t need to.
Add sat on the bed and examined the condition of his Dynamos. He was doing maintenances whenever possible but he never had the time to do a feature expansion.
“I’d like to make the short distance space warp more fluent.”
The most important feature of the Dynamo was time travel. That is, its battle capabilities were more like extra features.
Of course, Add was extremely strong with just those extra features. Now that he can use Double, he was confident that he could defeat even the Shadow Master in a 1 on 1 battle.
“So field is the problem after all? I’ll need to improve the features affiliated with Space Warp…..”
Dimension Distortion mode, Optical Camouflage mode and so on, the Dynamo had so far put an emphasis on defensive features. But thinking about the fights that will continue on, he felt the need to enhance the offensive features. Double took too much toll on his body.
As he made plans for improving the Dynamo, Add suddenly pondered about the future. After the Demon invasion of the continent started, the El Search Party that were successful in defeating the Demons that invaded Elder(Although they had actually come for Eve) received a lot of attention. So they ended up being deployed to Feita.
If they achieved more feats in Feita….There was a pretty good chance that they’d get dragged into somewhere else.
“Finding the El won’t be important anymore. Kukuk.”
Other members’ opinions was that they couldn’t leave alone Demons that were trampling over the Elrios Continent(Ara agreed especially). Eve who shouldn’t have much to do with this also didn’t look like she had any discontents.
Was it because Elsword had decided to join the fight?
Elsword and Eve had been traveling together before and it looked like they will continue to do so.
Add stood up feeling dissatisfied. Why did he care?
Fights with Demons will continue regardless. Add just had to achieve his goal during the fight.
When Eve’s eyes turn not towards Elsword but toward Add himself….Add will take Eve’s Core without any hesitation.
“Kukukuk, that’s right. Good, it’s great.”
There was possibility that Demons will come after Eve again. In that case, he’ll just use the experience he gained from facing Shadow Master and defeat them again.
Add felt delighted and let out a refreshing laugh with both of his arms wide open. His head that was clouded with many unknown information before was clear now.
Add laughed enjoyably for a while then slowly shut his mouth after finally noticing a silent gaze towards him. A door that had opened without a knock, Eve was standing on the doorsill.
Why didn’t you tell me if you were watching?
Add was frozen and couldn’t move, Eve composedly stated her business as if she hadn’t seen anything.
“Meal is ready. Come downstairs.”
Add answered with a feeling of his throat drying up. Eve left right away as if she had no more business here now.
“Why is she acting like that?”
Eve’s attitude was like that ever since he had fallen asleep while holding her hand. It didn’t look too different since she was cold towards Add before….but he could feel a strange wall between them now.
“I thought I understood but I can’t.”
Well, that’s why she spurred his desire for research in the first place.
1st floor of the inn. Add, Eve, Elsword and Ara sat around the round table located in the corner and started to eat.
Four of their food preferences differed greatly. Elsword and Ara ate meat, Eve’s foods were completely vegetarian and Add had a small appetite so he only ate appetizers.
“Why do you eat only vegetables Ms.Eve? Meat is tasty too.”
“I heard that vegetarian diet is good for your health.”
Eve replied calmly then added as if she just remembered.
“Although Nasods don’t need to worry about health.”
“Vegetables are expensive, they are way too expensive…..”
“That’s why I used my own expenses to buy you some vegetables. Was there a problem with that Elsword?”
Eve’s voice turned slightly cold. Elsword was too focused with eating meat that he didn’t realize this and continued his complaints.
“Eating meat gives you strength to fight.”
“That’s true. I also ate a lot of meat since I was little!”
“Nutritional unbalance ruins the balance of your body. Didn’t I warn you before?”
Elsword took a bite out of the meat he was holding then swallowed. He then let out a large sigh. They seemed to have argued about this topic since long ago.
“What do you think Big brother Add? What’s better to eat in order to fight?”
At this sudden question, Add stopped his hand that was scooping up soup with a spoon. Elsword’s tone felt like he asked without much thought but Ara and Eve were now very attentive.
“Meat comes first for martial artists. That’s the teaching of the Haan family.”
“I also researched quite a bit into this. It’s better to reject careless consumption of meat and prioritize in vegetarian diet.”
Ara thought seriously at Eve’s response then shook her head.
“But strength is important for fighting. You can’t get any strength from eating vegetables.”
“Fighting isn’t done only through strength.”
Eve answered then looked vacantly at Add. That gaze seemed to be telling him to hurry up and back her up.
“…..Well, it’s true that fighting isn’t done only through strength.”
“Ah?! Then will it be better for me to consider eating vegetables after all?”
Ara became very surprised and asked. The way she disappointingly looked down at the meat on her dish seemed like she still had regrets.
“You don’t have much of a brain anyways. Only thing you know how to do is using strength so just eat what you want.”
“Ah, thank you for your advice Mr.Add. Then I’ll do just that.”
Ara smiled gently and continued her meal. Add had meant that as a taunt but he felt awkward now because he got a way too fresh response back.
Eve stared at Add coldly then continued to eat her vegetables quietly. Elsword whose hand had stopped for a moment also started chew on meat again. Only Add’s hands remained stopped from this oddly formed silence.
What was this odd atmosphere?
Could it be that they are calling into question how he taunted Ara? Although Ara herself was continuing to eat with merry expression…..The cold stare Eve gave him hung on his mind.
Was it too harsh to say that all she had was strength after all? Ara was a girl too. He just had forgotten because he got teased by Eun so much and also have only seen Ara fighting courageously in the front lines.
When Add opened his mouth again, all three of their gazes focused on him in unison. Add got startled by this unexpectedly heated reaction.
How should he apologize? No, did he really need to apologize? Add tried to buy time as he thought of various solutions in his mind. The three of them only stared at Add without saying a word.
This is why I hate eating together with everyone.
Let’s just get it over with. Just when Add was about to continue his words in a flat tone,
“Actually what I said was too muc…..”
“Were you guys eating?”
Rena approached and spoke to them. Eve asked as she pulled out the remaining chair.
“Did everything go well, Rena?”
Rena didn’t sit on the open chair and trailed her words. When the other members’ gazes fixed on her as well, Rena took a slight glance behind her. A young man politely bowed his head towards the El Search Party.
“I think it would be better for you to listen to what Mr.Lento here says.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m the captain of Feita’s temple deployment unit Lento. Thank you for accepting our call for help.”
“No, I just did what I had to as a martial artist.”
Ara answered brightly but Lentos expression was dark. Shouldn’t he be rejoiced that reinforcements had arrived?
Add noticed this and asked in a low voice.
“I thought you requested for help because Demons had invaded….But it seems you have a different problem. What is it?”
Add must have hit the mark because Lento did not answer right away. He looked at Rena once then looked at the El Search Party members in middle of their meal. Elsword was still continuing to eat.
“Actually…..It looks like the Demons have been defeated.”
“Kukukuk. That’s a very peculiar way of saying it.”
Add accepted Lento’s words while laughing. But Add’s eyes were shining sharply. Judging by how Lento had said it, it wasn’t him or anyone he knew that had defeated the Demons.
Then who did?
“Spit it all out since you called us all the way out here. Don’t stall for time.”
Add was speaking forcefully but stopped when Rena called his name. Rena made a bright smile.
“I know how you feel but don’t press Mr.Lento too much. He’s just as confused about this.”
“…..I also have my situation so I cannot tell you everything.”
Lento then spoke again in a low voice.
“I would like all of you to go scout what happened to the Demons.”
Telling us to go find out what happened without giving any proper information. Add didn’t like this at all but Rena had accepted this mission on her own.
El Search Party’s leader was Rena. No one else objected to her decision so they ended up taking this mission.
Add was going up to his room after the meal then stopped walking. Soft footsteps were following him.
“Add? Are you angry?”
“I never said anything.”
Add didn’t stop his steps and headed to his room. But Rena also did the same. Add was about to open the door to the boy’s bedroom but saw Rena who was making a slight smile beside him and let out a sigh. She was about to follow him into the room if he didn’t talk.
“If you have something to say then say it already. Why have you been acting like this recently?”
“Hmm, that’s because Add is not telling me what he wants to say.”
He didn’t understand what she meant. Anyways, it would better for them to avoid talking inside the room by themselves to avoid any unwanted misunderstandings. Add decided this and leaned on the door on his back. But he soon frowned after a moment of thought.
…..Why do I have to worry about getting misunderstood by someone else? It didn’t matter at all for him even if Eve misunderstood.
“How are things going with Eve?”
An abrupt topic, Add winced then forcedly let out a laugh.
“Kukukuk, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I’m asking about what Add thinks about Eve.”
Add withdrew his laugh at this sudden question thrown straight at him. He thought Rena was teasing him again but Rnea was just smiling calmly.
“Do I have to report everything to you? And that shouldn’t have anything to do with the current mission.”
“As I thought. You didn’t like me taking this scouting mission after all.”
Add turned his eyes around when Rena made a bitter smile. Seriously, she wasn’t an Elf, she was a devil. Add started talking straightforwardly now that his thoughts got found out anyways.
“I get that they are having trouble because Demons that took over Feita’s temple suddenly stopped moving. But if that’s the case, they should just look into it by themselves, why do we have to go do something so trivial?”
“Hmm, that makes sense.”
“Come to your senses. If Demons launched a large scale invasion then we’re bound to get lots of help requests from all over the place. We can’t physically answer them all. Try to measure the weight of the mission before you take them.”
Telling us to come then having us do the chores? Add didn’t like this situation at all. Rena’s overly soft-hearted decisions will become detrimental in more large decisions like this in the future.
Add felt more angry the more he talked so he shut his mouth. Rena was making a troubled look.
“….Just send Ara and me. We’re the fastest in the party so we’ll take care of this quickly so we can leave this place.”
They had already accepted this mission so there was no point in getting angry. He just had to make sure to stop her next time. Add was about to round things up but Rena shook her head.
“No, everyone has to go together.”
“That’ll just slow things down.”
Was she going to say something overly soft-hearted again? Add’s voice was filled with displeasure but Rena spoke calmly.
“It’s because there’s something I didn’t mention to others. Let’s all go together.”
“What are you hiding?”
That guy Lento was acting strangely and Rena seemed to know why.
“Demons captured the Temple of Dedication and were threatening Feita until two days ago. Then….the whole situation changed when a single person appeared.”
Rena explained carefully.
“That person headed to the Temple of Dedication alone and Demons have stopped all activities ever since. Now do you understand?”
“Who was that person?”
Add asked an obvious question. Let’s try to organize this situation. One person headed to the Temple of Dedication in order to save the endangered Feita. Then that person went missing ever since?
“Mr.Lento didn’t tell me that much. But….this mission might be dangerous.”
Rena was making a grave expression that was rare for her. Someone headed alone towards the Demons’ base then the entire situation changed completely after that.
It was logically difficult to believe this story.
“What? Did that person go do negotiations or something?”
“Well. Mr.Lento didn’t seem to know anything more. He must have his own situation as well.”
Add nodded at the truth that Rena told him. The situation in Feita did seem strange now that he heard about this hidden circumstance.
“Could it be that….that person killed all the Demons by themselves? But if Demons had used the place as their base then there must have been at least hundreds of them.”
“Well….what you said could be true.”
When Rena answered without any confidence, Add let out a short laugh.
“There’s no way a human capable of such thing exists. If such thing existed, it’d be a monster.”
“You never know because the world is a large place. And there’s nothing harmful in being careful right?”
“Alright, then let’s all go together even though it might take longer. Tell everyone to be well prepared.”
Someone went to the Demons’ base alone and there was no news after….. It was a very interesting story. Add didn’t know what methods that person used but it wasn’t bad if he could learn how to face demons more effectively from this.
Since he didn’t know when assassins that were after Eve could appear again.
“Yes. I got it.”
“……Then why are you following me inside?”
Add finished his words and had entered the room but was taken aback. Rena stood on the doorsill and made a cute smile.
“Because I want to talk more with Add…. Will that be okay?”
“We should have finished everything there was to talk about.”
Add spoke stiffly to the point where it could made the listener feel offended. But Rena’s smile didn’t falter.
“Hmm, we still haven’t finished our talk about Eve right?”
Yes, that talk wasn’t over. But Add was sick of this topic now. Add reacted coldly and glared at Rena.
“You’re meddling too much. I’ll take care of that of my own so stop it.”
“Hmm, okay. I’m sorry if you were offended.”
Rena apologized without any signs of being hurt despite Add’s cold answer. Add found it difficult to converse anymore and turned his head around to ignore her.
“I want to rest. Leave now.”
“Alright, let’s head out tomorrow at noon.”
Rena smiled brightly and left after closing the door. Finally alone by himself, Add dropped on the bed and let out a sigh.
“She meddles too much….”
Add already knew since long ago that Rena went out of her way to look after even the minor details of the entire group. He also knew that Rena especially paid attention to Add who always tried to be an outsider.
Actually, this was the first time Add had refused her so openly like this.
It was true that his heart felt at ease whenever he spoke to Rena. That’s why he was very fond of her. But….
Add was in a position where he had to strive to steal Eve’s Core in order to go back to the past. He had no reason to always match his pace with this overly soft-hearted party.
It should be better for him to at least draw the line for things regarding Eve.
“So Demons became silent….?”
Add murmured as he shut his eyes. He’ll soon be able to find out what happened.
Temple of Dedication entrance.
After preparing for the worst, El Search Party entered the temple. Since they had heard this place had been captured by Demons, only thing they expected to encounter here were Demons. Everyone obviously didn’t let their guard down.
“…..There seems to be no presences?”
They couldn’t see anything even though they moved inside pretty far. Ara murmured with a troubled voice and loosened the grip on her spear. Eve also looked around and agreed with Ara.
“There are no moving life signatures.”
“What could have happened?”
“We’ll find out if we go further.
When Elsword tried to round things up simply, Add butted in on their conversation.
“Moving together like this is waste of time. Let’s all split up and look for anything that’s wrong.”
“Hm, shall we?”
“This is Demons’ base it’s dangerous.”
Seeing Eve object, Add didn’t reply back to her and instead stared at Rena. Rena had the final say anyways.
“Let’s split up into two groups.”
Eve nodded in agreement when Rena suggested a compromise. Then the problem was how they were going to divide the groups…..But Rena decided that by herself.
“Elsword and Add go left. Me, Ara and Eve will go right.”
Add asked back after hearing such absurd order. He could get information from Eun if he was with Ara, and he could have various opportunities if moved with Eve.
But in the same team with Elsword? The least compatible person in the group? What could Rena be possibly thinking?
“I know Add only like girls but please move together with Elsword this time.”
“Who said I only like girls…..”
Add felt enraged but objecting in anger here would only look like he was trying to cover it up because what Rena said was true. Other members were already agreeing with Rena without objections.
“….Alright, I’ll do that. Then how about communications?”
“We can use these.”
Add took the weird objects Eve held out towards him. Add tilted his head. The object was shaped like a cone but he couldn’t tell their purpose.
“It’s an Extreme Nasod Megaphone. We can hear each other from far away if we use this.”
Add understood its functions and tried speaking lightly into the megaphones. It seemed to have an extremely far range seeing how his voice got spread far into the temple.
“This is incredible. How does this work?”
“Nasods are superior. This much is nothing.”
Eve unexpectedly gave a friendly reaction. Add was quite surprised by this fact and stared straightly at Eve. This made Eve turn her head around after a short pause.
“A, anyways there will be no problem if you use those. Tell us right away if you encounter any enemies. And Elsword?”
“I’m telling you now. Don’t do anything careless because I’m not near you. I won’t let you off easily if you charge in recklessly at enemies.”
“There’s no problem if I win.”
When Elsword replied bluntly, Eve’s gears suddenly jumped at Elsword. Elsword instinctively swung his sword to hit Moby away and laughed refreshingly.
“Heheh! Something like this won’t work anymore!”
Clank! Elsword was feeling confident after hitting away Reby that flew at him after Moby. But at that moment Eve dashed in as if she was gliding. Elsword’s stance had gotten disturbed after fending off Moby and Reby. He didn’t have any time to swing his sword again.
Still, Elsword somehow managed to block Moby who flew in towards him again. But….
He couldn’t stop Eve’s palm. Elsword who just got slapped staggered as he dropped on the ground. Eve looked down at him coldly.
“How can you say that when you can’t even block something like this? I’ll tell you again. Don’t do anything reckless. You’ll be putting not only yourself but other people in danger as well.”
Elsword looked extremely dissatisfied but didn’t talk back. Eve told Add stiffly.
“If Elsword does something reckless you can beat him down right away. I’ll allow it.”
Eve turned around and left without waiting for Add’s answer. Ara hurriedly followed her and Rena made a bitter smile as she stared at Elsword and Add.
“Then contact us if you find something. Let’s meet up in the Spire if we don’t find anything,”
Rena also left as she waved her hand. There were only two of them left now. Add looked down at Elsword with dissatisfied eyes. Elsword was sitting down muttering to himself.
“That attack wasn’t fair. You only attacked with gears before.”
“How long are you going to stay down there and mutter?”
Add spoke then started walking towards the opposite direction. Elsword who was rubbing his cheek also got up and followed.