Yay long awaited volume 4.
Sound of wall being destroyed was heard. Add took a slight glance towards the direction of the sound and let out a groan.
Wall that was behind the Dimension Distortion barrier was completely shattered. Clear sky could be seen above while streets could be seen below. It was blown off completely.
‘So it wasn’t a frontal attack. Was it an attack aiming for our back?’
That strange shout that Chung made, and a giant explosion that came after.
The El Search Party and Penensio were safe thanks to Add quickly realizing the danger that Chung’s weapon posed and opening the Dimension Distortion mode in time. Judging by how the soldiers weren’t harmed as well, Chung must be able to adjust the range of the attack.
“I’ll rush in.”
Elsword whispered in a low voice as he positioned his sword. It meant that he was going to run in quickly and take Chung down.
Chung looked slightly surprised by the barrier that Add’s Dynamos had created but warned sternly right after.
“I adjusted the power just now but I didn’t expect you to block it. This is the final warning.”
Chung seemed quite powerful but he wasn’t unbeatable if the entire El Search Party attacked him together.
Rena, Elsword and Eve were all giving a glance towards Add. They were notifying Add that they’d act soon as he gave his order.
But Add couldn’t decide quickly. It wasn’t because he didn’t have a plan to suppress Chung. The problem was what happened after.
Although temporary, their target was Hamel’s Lord. What will happen after they suppressed this boy by force? They could make entire Hamel, no entire nation of Senace their enemy.
On the other hand, it’s not like the problem would solve itself if he kept hesitating.
Just when Add had decided to go ahead and fight then was about to open his mouth…. gazes of the other members got focused in front of them. Add’s tongue froze in place after he followed the others’ gaze to look.
Ara was outside the barrier before he had realized it.
“I’m sorry everyone. Troubling you all because of me……”
Add was at a loss for words when Ara apologized while bowing. This was a barrier that absorbed physical shock….but there was no feature to block the people inside it from leaving.
I should add it in later. Add thought this while still confused about the situation.
Then Ara relayed her abrupt parting words to them.
“Looks like we’ll have to part here. Everyone, please take care of yourselves.”
“What are you saying?”
“Wait a moment, Ara Haan.”
“Ara, what are you…?”
Other members realized what she meant and hastily tried to dissuade her but Ara shook her head heavily.
“If many people were injured and hurt because of what my elder brother did, then that’s also a burden I have to carry. There’s no reason for everyone else to get caught up in this.”
“Don’t say something so absurd Big Sister Ara.”
Elsword suddenly spoke angrily.
“That’s what I should have said when I was fighting with my big sister. You saying that right now is unfair.”
“Alright, we’ll surrender.”
At that moment, Add held up both his hands and withdrew the barrier.
Elsword, Rena and even Eve couldn’t hide their shock and looked at Add. They thought Add would obviously fight to protect Ara. What was he doing?
Add ignored everyone else’s gaze then asked for confirmation with a blunt voice.
“Hey brat. Is the promise from before still valid? The one about where we won’t be involved if we hand over that idiot.”
“My name is not a brat, it’s Chung.”
“I’m calling you a brat because you’re responding like that. Anyways….”
Add pulled his bang up with a tired expression. Elsword, Eve and Rena were looking at him with eyes that were like surprised rabbit’s but they still didn’t intrude in on his conversation with Chung.
Does that mean they’ll trust him and watch what he does? This felt mysteriously shocking to Add as he forcefully focused on the conversation.
“Fine, take her away. Let’s come up with a plan to defeat Ran afterwards.”
Chung wordlessly ordered the soldiers with a hand gesture. Soldiers took Ara’s spear and grabbed both her arms.
Ara looked back with soaked eyes before she got taken away.
At Add’s cold response, Ara bowed.
“Thank you for all your help until now. Please take care of the others.”
“…..Leave it to me.”
At Add’s cold response, Ara smiled with teary eyes then got taken away by the soldiers.
Elsword, Rena and Eve stared at Add for a long while and then withdrew their weapons. It felt like things had become annoying to deal with but Add decided to keep a clear head for now.
“Something unruly just happened, but let’s start coming up with a plan to beat Ran now.”
That’s why he could speak to Chung while still smiling.
Although it was unexpectedly difficult.
Strategy meeting was held with Add as the lead. The El Search Party were guided to their lodges after the initial planning about defeating the demons invading Hamel was finished.
It was nearly time for dinner but everyone didn’t eat and instead gathered in the boy’s bedroom.
“Okay, what are you going to do now Add?”
Rena sitting on a table with her leg stretched out asked Add. Rena normally wore a leisurely smile but even she had a stiff expression now after seeing her comrade get arrested in front of her eyes.
“We have to rescue Ara Haan of course.”
“Big Brother Add, you have a plan right?”
Add let out a laugh seeing the three of them trying to urge him to answer. He had thought they were unusually being quiet. So this is how they interpreted it?
“Kukukuk, wasn’t Ara someone that didn’t matter?”
“I’m going to get angry.”
Add shut his mouth unknowingly after hearing Rena’s cold voice. Eve must have agreed with Rena because she was glaring at Add with a critical gaze.
“……You’re all too soft.”
“Haah…. Eve, can you take Elsword and go outside for a moment? I’m going have a talk with Add for a bit.”
Rena shook her head as if there was no other way. But Add’s words weren’t over yet.
“And I’m stupidly soft too.”
Add looked up at the cloudy sky, at the setting sun then frowned.
He couldn’t lose Ara. Eun inside her is the only way to ensure he can time travel safely.
“But not only that, her skill with the spear is outstanding. She’ll be needed in the fight with Elesis later…..”
Well, Although Elsword’s skills was growing ever so fast, it’s risky to leave the front line only to him alone. Add spoke to himself as he looked towards the other three.
“Let’s organize what happened. So, the temporary lord of this city found out that the demon general and Ara are siblings.”
“Ah, is that what happened?”
“You should have understood right away after listening to what Chung was saying.”
“The topic was brought up too abruptly.”
For Add, this was information obtained through his time travels, but the other members in this timeline were reacting as if this was the first time they’ve heard about this.
“But isn’t that no different from my big sister and me? Couldn’t we just explain the situation?”
“He didn’t look like he’d listen. It seems he’s treating Ran as his father’s killer.”
Add presented the solution he managed to organize in his head.
“He said he will use Ara as a hostage. Although I don’t think Ran is someone who’ll care about hostages….. but no harm would come to Ara if she’s being used as a hostage. Not only that….”
If need be, Eun will come out and protect Ara. That’s why Add wasn’t worried even when Ara was arrested.
But the other members didn’t know about Eun’s existence. Well, it would only get complicated if he tried to explain that right now.
“It would have been hard to manage if we fought back then. It was a correct course of action to comply with Chung’s request for now.”
“But what about Big Sister Ara? What are you going to do about her?”
“He’ll bring Ara to the fight with Ran if he’s planning to use her as a hostage. We just have to look for an opportunity and protect her at that time.”
Eve had an expression that she couldn’t understand and presented a different method.
“That’s not fair. Ara Haan is our comrade who’s fought many battles together with us. That lord wouldn’t be able to ignore this fact if we reveal it to him.”
“This is a different country…. Our words might not be convincing enough.”
The name ‘El Search Party’ was rather well known in the Velder Kingdom but the situation was different in the Principality of Senace. Their problem was the fact that they were in a completely different nation.
“Why don’t we make Chung listen to us by force?”
Elsword’s solution was reckless but Rena and Eve didn’t particularly seem like they disagreed. But Add shook his head.
“No. Us being reckless would trouble that knight captain.”
Elsword bit his lower lip in frustration when Penensio was brought up.
Actually, Add didn’t care what happens to Pennensio but Elsword and the other members would.
“So humans also persecute people that didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Didn’t do anything wrong…. Is that really true?”
The other members looked at Add with confused gazes at Add’s words. But Add stopped speaking and looked up towards the white ceiling.
Face consumed by fury that Chung showed when he heard the name Ara Haan. Add knew what kind of emotion that can cause a person make that kind of face.
It was a face that people who had their most precious person taken away from them made as they recalled those detestable memories.
Ara wasn’t sinless to Chung. Ara had already wronged him for just being Ran’s younger sister. It was an illogical and irrational emotion….. But aren’t emotions supposed to be things that were furthest away from logic?
That’s why Add didn’t want to say anything about Chung’s decisions. Add would have done something even more brutal if he was in Chung’s shoes.
“Anyways, we’re lacking information. We’ll act…..when we find all about what happened to Hamel, what kind of person is Chung and what weapon he uses. We’ll let Ara be until then.”
“Understood. Where should we go obtain information?”
Unexpectedly, Eve was very willing. She must have sensed Add’s strange gaze and denied.
“She’s part of the El Search Party as well. I don’t quite understand how humans handle these situations but I’ll help.”
“I’ll do it too. Big Brother Add.
“Things like this should be better if done fast as possible right?”
Add was at a loss for words at the three’s response.
What were they going to do if what he just said was a lie? How can they be so trusting? Add had basically ordered them to leave their comrade alone to be captured. Elsword, Eve and Rena would have fought back normally but they gave up because they thought Add had some kind of a plan.
And even now, they were trusting Add’s words…..and were following his instructions.
Add’s circumstance was that he couldn’t abandon Ara because Eun was necessary. But the three of them didn’t know this and had no doubts that he was taking all of these measures for Ara’s sake.
There wasn’t even a hint of doubt that Add was lying or trying to trick them.
They were putting their absolute trust in Add.
“Big Brother Add? Your face is red.”
“That also happened at the beach earlier. Do you have a fever or something?”
Add unknowingly touched his face then quickly put his hood on and hid his face.
Add knew very well that his voice was shaking so it was a struggle to speak at all. Rena laughed when she saw how Add pulled down his hood even more with his hands but Add couldn’t say anything back right now.
He just wanted to suppress and hide these emotions right now.
Because it was way too warm.
Eve, Rena and Elsword all separated and moved busily about gathering information about Hamel, Ran and Chung. But Add who had ordered them to do so was calmly leaning against the wall without moving.
Of course, it wasn’t like he was actually not doing anything. He was organizing his thoughts.
“There’s no way Eun wouldn’t have known this….and it won’t be difficult for her to escape even if she didn’t know.”
So Ara gave up fighting back and chose to surrender herself.
Ara’s decision was correct if you considered the El Search Party’s future actions. It was because she willingly left the El Search Party and let herself be arrested that the others members could move about freely and gather information right now.
Even then, she was stupid. Aren’t all creatures supposed to prioritize their own life and safety?
Of course that’s not all there is to humans. Even Add had something he wanted so much that he committed a grave sin of ridiculing time.
He could deal with even his own life being in danger if it was for that sake.
But it wasn’t even something like that in Ara’s case. This wasn’t because of her precious brother….. She forfeited her own safety for the sake of the El Search Party.
It left a sour taste in his mouth.
“She’s making things so annoying.”
Add muttered as he activated his Dynamos. Normally, Dynamo’s scanning could only detect life signatures and couldn’t tell those life forms apart. But now that he revamped the space and shockwave formula according to Aisha’s suggestion….. Dynamos now also had a data on personal signature of each of the El Search Party.
So even if there were some distance between them, he could detect the whereabouts of the El Search Party members now.
Add let fly his Dynamos towards the Hamel’s skies as he reorganized his course of action. They need to clear up the situation in Hamel first in order to return to Velder with the Velder Knights. Thus, they needed to defeat Ran in order to face the final battle with Elesis in their best conditions. In order to do so, it was better to cause as little commotion in Hamel as possible. Even if he had to allow Chung to do as he wishes and allow him to momentarily treat Ara as a criminal….
“….So she’s in the dungeon.”
Add started to move when he found out Ara’s location. His head was sorted now but his heart wasn’t.
He should give her some scolding after all.
Hamel’s underground dungeon.
As expected of city of water, you could even hear sounds of flowing water down here. With the collapsed prison guards groaning in pain in front of him, Add lightly wiped his hands.
This was the result of reading the space coordinates with the Dynamos, approaching close as possible, infiltrating with a short distance teleport, then ambushing the guards with a light electric current.
Ability wise, Add’s abilities were perfect for infiltration missions. Although he didn’t develop his abilities for this sake.
Add moved onwards after hiding the unconscious guards somewhere they won’t be found. Then a surprised voice was heard from inner most prison cell.
Ara was holding on to the bars and staring at Add with wide eyes. They made an eye contact when she looked outside after hearing the guards collapse. Add didn’t answer and looked around the cell Ara was being held in.
As expected of an underground dungeon, air was stifling and only place to rest oneself was a cold stone floor. Spending couple days in here would make any healthy person sick.
“How did you come here? Ah, could it be that Mr.Add was arrested too?”
Ara looked at Add with a concerned gaze. Instead of answering, Add asked bluntly.
“Alright, what should I do now?”
He didn’t want to talk for long. Add asked straightforwardly.
“Do you want me to break you out?”
“…..No, it’s fine.”
Ara immediately shook her head. He had expected with a 50% chance that she would react like this. Add frowned and explained.
“No one will suspect anything if I break you out of here right now. You just have to stay hidden for a while.”
“……I have to atone for the sins Elder Brother committed.”
Add sighed when Ara replied with a face filled with anxiety. He could already somewhat assume what Ara was thinking when she gave up resisting and let herself be locked up.
She was crying from a heart wrenching pain just from encountering the atrocities that Ran had committed. She wouldn’t know what to do when she gets questioned by Ran’s victims.
“Eve is worried about you. Rena and Elsword are busily moving around to obtain information just because of you. Are you satisfied now after making so much trouble for the others?”
“Don’t try to pass this away by just saying sorry.”
Ara got scared and stepped back when Add kicked the metal bar in annoyance. He did it unknowingly but it scared Ara.
“Is this the path you’ve chosen? Locked up and rotting away in here? Didn’t you say you wanted to turn Ran back?”
Ara lowered her head with a dark expression. Forcefully destroying the prison bars and breaking Ara wouldn’t even take an effort for Add. Of course, the El Search Party would be suspected if Ara escaped…. But they just didn’t have to get found out.
Hamel needs the help of Velder Knights, the Velder Kingdom. They couldn’t accuse such important reinforcements like the El Search Party because of a mere suspicion.
Conceding in front of Chung was only because it could have become an official issue.
“What are you so worried about?”
Add punched the metal bar with his fist and glared at Ara. Ara didn’t get scared this time and didn’t avoid Add’s gaze.
“Why do you have to pay for sins that your brother committed? Why are you so acting so diffident?”
“Let’s say that up to crying is fine.”
Since Add also knew how that felt. But what Add determined after wiping away his tears was to turn back everything.
To obtain power, to jump over time and go back to the time where his precious person was.
That was the life goal of Add(Time Tracer).
“Is being stuck in prison and crying what you wanted to do? If Ran’s so precious to you, then you should think about getting him back. Are you going to give up fighting and leave yourself up to the flow of events?”
This was someone else’ problem…..but it annoyed Add as if it was his.
Even Elsword was better than her. Even though Elsword suffered, he chose the path of fighting Elesis. At least that guy had some perseverance. He wouldn’t bend his will even if the fact that Elesis had joined the demons got known to everyone.
And Add was willing to help Elsword out long as it didn’t interfere with his goals.
Since Add also knew how it feels to be unable to give up on your precious person.
Add internally hoped while watching Ara get taken away by the soldiers that she had some other thoughts. That she wasn’t giving everything up….. that she was hoping the El Search Party would come to rescue her.
So this is how it feels to have your hopes betrayed.
“So annoying. Listen up.”
Add couldn’t hold in his fit of passion and was speaking without any restraints now. He couldn’t understand why he was so angry.
“If you want to fight Ran, if you want to turn Ran back but lack the strength to do so by yourself, then ask me, ask us for help. I already know you are a clumsy idiot so I don’t expect you to do anything that uses a brain.”
“So just stand by quietly and fight whenever I tell you to.”
Ara stared at Add with a dazed expression. She was hesitant for a while….then asked carefully.
“Could it be….that you’re trying to comfort me?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Elsword alone isn’t good enough for our front line. This is just because I lack people to use.”
“……Sorry for troubling you.”
Add started getting even more furious when Ara lowered her head. It felt like even talking with Eun would be better than this. He didn’t understand why he felt this frustrated.
Whatever, she wouldn’t object if he just broke her out by force.
Wrrr, just when Ara got surprised by the sound of Dynamos activating and was about to attempt to stop Add, footsteps were heard approaching. Add saw the shadow shown by the torch light and quickly activated the optical camouflage mode. This mode could bend light waves to hide his appearance.
He’ll see and knock them out depending on who it was.
Ara noticed Add’s intention as well. She must have realized it would trouble Add if she got flustered right now…… so she had her eyes closed tightly and was even holding her breath.
Add was staring at Ara with a dumfounded gaze then winced when the form of the person who was approaching was revealed. Golden hair shining from the torch light, it was Chung.
He was alone despite how he should be a temporary lord. Ara noticed Chung as well and got surprised then looked towards where Add was hiding.
Then she realized that she made a mistake and quickly turned her head around. Add lamented internally and started to formulate a plan, in order to ambush Chung if necessary.
“Tell me all you know about Ran.”
Thankfully, Chung didn’t care much about Ara’s reaction. Ara bit her lower lip at the question thrown at her from beyond the bars and shook her head.
“Actually…. I don’t know much myself.”
“Are you lying to me?”
“I’m honest. Elder Brother turned into a demon because of some other demon…..and he killed all the people in our village. That’s why I went on a journey to turn Elder Brother back.”
Chung’s cold expression didn’t change despite Ara’s explanation. It looked like he didn’t trust Ara. Ara hesitated then asked a question back instead.
“Did Elder Brother Aren say something about me?”
“He told me to send you to the Temple of Water when you arrived. That he won’t attack Hamel anymore if I did that.”
Chung closed his eyes then shook his head.
“But I cannot trust the words of a demon. If you’re someone important to Ran…. I’ll have you become a hostage for us.”
“……If you’re going to fight Elder Brother, can I also fight together with you?”
Chung made a surprised expression, but quickly responded sharply.
“How can I trust you? Are you telling me to trust an important sister of a demon that drenched Hamel in blood?”
“Stop. Even if I put away my personal feelings….. People of Hamel resent Ran and his minions. Many people will come after you if the fact that you’re Ran’s sister becomes known.”
Chung sighed as if he was settling his emotions.
“It’s probably safer for you to stay locked up in here.”
Ara must have understood what he meant and didn’t ask anymore. Chung also didn’t say anything for a while then clenched his teeth.
“I’ll destroy Ran for sure. I’ll do anything for that sake. So I’ll ask you to obediently follow along. I’ll let you go when Ran’s defeated.”
Ara had her head lowered and didn’t say anything. Chung must have sensed something because he stared at Ara with a complicated expression then turned around.
“I’ll send a guard so ask him if you need something. We’ll head to the Temple of Water soon as we’re ready.”
Chung turned around and left. Add turned off the optical camouflage when he couldn’t hear Chung’s footsteps anymore.
Add’s mouth didn’t open right away after unwillingly listening in on the two’s conversation.
Chung was confused. Ran was his hateful enemy. So he must have believed that Ran’s important little sister was also obviously an evil demon. But she was actually a human….. And looked innocent.
But he still couldn’t give up his vengeance
“So what are you going to do now?”
Nothing was going to change even if he kept silent. Ara was sitting crouched up with her head buried in her knees.
“…..I’m sorry Mr.Add. Please go back now.”
Add couldn’t reproach her anymore after hearing Chung and Ara’s conversation. Ara and Chung’s emotions were mixing up and colliding with one another.
“……We’ll talk about this later.”
It was lame but that was all he could say.
Lodge where the El Search Party was staying. Boy’s bedroom.
When Add returned late at night, Elsword was sitting on a chair dozing off. When Add headed to his bed while suppressing the complicated thoughts inside his head, Elsword abruptly opened his eyes.
“You’re late Big Brother Add.”
“Good ears you have there.”
Waking up only from hearing a person’s footsteps. While Add was being slightly impressed, Elsword made a long yawn then asked.
“So how’s Big Sister Ara doing?”
“…..Why would you ask me that?”
“I talked with Sir Penensio, Eve gathered rumors from Hamel’s citizens and Big Sister Rena asked the soldiers for how things are going in Hamel. So it was Big Brother Add’s job to know what happened to Big Sister Ara right?”
Add didn’t reveal what kind of information he would gather….. Elsword must have noticed this on his own.
But Add didn’t know how to explain it to Elsword.
“What would you do….. If Elesis Killed many people?”
“Not only that, what if someone that resents Elesis tried to get revenge? What will you do if that person gets in your way?”
Elsword’s expression turned grave.
“Is that why Big Sister Ara let herself be taken?”
“She can break out any time she wants. She’s just being stubborn.”
Eun did however she pleased but she tended to respect Ara’s decision. That’s probably why she wasn’t coming out.
“……What do you think she should do Big Brother Add?”
Add didn’t answer and lay down on his bed. Add was trying to change something that had already happened with the power to jump over time.
But normal people couldn’t do that.
The fact that Ran caused suffering for countless amounts of people and took many lives will not change. Then what choice does his sister Ara have to make?
Wouldn’t following what Ran’s victims and Chung wants and becoming a hostage to contribute in defeating Ran be a right thing to do? But then Ara’s wish of wanting to return her brother back to normal cannot be fulfilled.
Although watching Ara consumed in doubt locked inside the prison was annoying….. It wasn’t that Add couldn’t completely understand how she felt.
No, he was getting annoyed because he could understand her all too well.
Wasn’t Add also like that before he accumulated knowledge and jumped over time? It wasn’t that he didn’t have any fears of failure, or hesitation from ethical point of view like ‘was this really an okay thing to do?’
But he wanted the time where his precious person was alive so much to the point where he could stomp over all these doubts. So Add chose the path of not caring about ways or means in order to achieve his goal.
But he couldn’t ask that of someone else. He couldn’t pressure Ara to ignore the rage of Chung and people of Hamel…..then tell her to only strive toward returning Ran to normal.
Although her hesitation and dawdling was infuriating, he couldn’t say anything.
“In the end….. That’s something she has to decide for herself.”
Just like Add jumped over time, just like Elsword decided to face Elesis….. there was no point unless she decided it for herself.
At the sound of Add’s sigh, Elsword sitting far behind Add’s back asked.
“Then couldn’t you just become a strength for Big Sister Ara?”
“Don’t say something stupid.”
“You just have to do for her what you did for me.”
That was because there was no other choice at the time. It didn’t suit his tastes. Add pulled up his bed sheet and cut off the conversation.
“Let’s talk tomorrow.”
It felt like he’ll dream of something annoying but he should get some rest.
Next day morning.
The El Search Party gathered for breakfast and exchanged the information they gathered.
“It seems Ran commands Shadow demons and their numbers wouldn’t go down no matter how many you defeat. This is an enemy we’ve faced once before.”
“So it’s Shadow Master?”
Eve nodded lightly to confirm. If Ran is the general of the Shadow demons, you’d have to say that the fight in Elder where Shadow Master appeared and attempted to destroy Eve was by Ran’s orders.
And when Add didn’t go to the Wally’s Castle, Ran came personally to destroy Eve. Of course, he did say it was because of D’s orders…..
Add had a strange feeling that something was off but decided to pass for now.
Rena explained the information she gathered from the soldiers.
“And during the large battle that took place….. Hamel’s guardian Sir Helputt Seiker and lord Rodross was killed by Ran. It seems Sir Helputt’s son, Prince Seiker who performed outstandingly in that battle ended up taking the role of the temporary lord.”
“The same lord we met? The names are different.”
“That’s the name that he gave himself on the battlefield. It seems he said he won’t use his real name again until he has avenged his father.”
“People’s opinion of that Rodross person was really bad. He was hated by the masses.”
“…..Yes, everyone seemed to have hated him. There are even rumors going around that it was because of Rodross that Sir Helputt was killed despite his extraordinary skills.
Add nodded after hearing Rena and Eve’s stories.
“Then Chung must be highly respected by the soldiers. Since he’s son of the hero.”
“Yes, everyone trusts and follows him. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that he’s the spiritual leader of Hamel right now. Although Chung himself just wants to face Ran again….. It seems he couldn’t deny the desperate request of refugees and Hamel’s citizens and was forced to take the position of a lord.”
Add turned his head towards Elsword. Elsword who had just finished eating his meat and dropped his fork composedly then spoke his information.
“I talked to Sir Penensio about Big Sister Ara but it looks like there’s no particular way. He said it would rather be safer for her to be inside the prison.”
“That’s probably right…..”
Although the accommodations were horrible, the entire city will become Ara’s enemy if her identity was revealed. It looks like Chung was also keeping the fact that Ran’s little sister Ara had come to Hamel a secret.
Actually, even as how Add saw it, although Chung was burning with his desire for revenge….. the way how he suppressed his personal feelings and dealt with Ara was very mature. Even leaving aside the circumstances that made him the lord, Add could tell very well why Chung was trusted by the people of Hamel despite his young age.
“So what will we do now Add? Did you try speaking with Chung?”
“What happened to Ara Haan?”
“She’s still in prison. It also seemed she didn’t want to leave.”
Sour taste lingered on his mouth. Add dropped his fork and muttered.
“It looked like she wouldn’t comply even though I told her I’d break her out. It seems she was very shocked by what Ran had caused.”
Damage done to Hamel was so brutal to the point where even Eve couldn’t continue her words. Even now, they could see destroyed buildings just outside their window and it was difficult to find anyone that wasn’t injured when you went out into the streets.
“Then shouldn’t we just speak to Chung directly? Say that we’ll defeat Ran in exchange for him releasing Big Sister Ara.”
“It’s not that simple.”
Add shook his head heavily.
“Ran is target of vengeance for Chung. But he’s also a blood sibling for Ara. And Chung won’t trust Ara so easily.”
“Then what should we do?”
No one could answer Elsword’s question. This wasn’t a situation where anyone could come up with an acceptable solution.
After a long moment of silence, one who opened their mouth first was Eve.
“We should let the person in question decide.”
“Regardless of who’s right and wrong, Ara Haan is our comrade who’s been together with us. We cannot abandon her.”
Add was shocked at what Eve just said. He could understand if it was Elsword or Rena who spoke these words, but for Eve, a Nasod to say something like this?
When Add looked at her with a surprised gaze, Eve seemed like she was slightly offended. But she avoided Add’s gaze as if she didn’t want to care and concluded her words.
“We waited for Elsword when he made up his mind to fight Elesis. It’s won’t be anything special to wait for Ara Haan to make up her mind to fight.”
“Yea, of course! Eve is right!”
Rena got up abruptly from her seat and hugged Eve. She hugged her from behind and petted her head as if she didn’t know what to do because she was so proud of a lovely child.
“Rena, I’m not a human child.”
“You’re supposed treat cute kids like this.”
“I cannot understand….”
“You’re supposed treat cute kids like this.”
“I cannot understand….”
Add pondered on what Eve said then nodded. Ara also needed some time to settle her feelings. This wasn’t something that could be solved by him pressuring Ara because she reminded him of his past self when he hesitated about time travel.
“We have to go to the Temple of Water in order to defeat Ran and Ara is also set to come with us in that time. I’ll go visit her from time to time until then.”
“Alright. Then what should I do Big Brother Add?”
“Try to become friendly with Penensio and Velder Knights. That’s all you have to do.”
They could end up in a contest of strength against Hamel and Senace over Ara. Add had spoken with this in his calculations but Elsword nodded without any particular thoughts.
“I’ll do that.”
“Alright, then…. Let’s wait for the right moment.”
This was the time to suppress their impatient hearts.
Sound of water dripping was heard. Ara who had her head buried in her knees realized that she had dozed off.
The underground’s cold air awoke her senses …. And she slowly started to recall why she was confined in this unfamiliar place.
Ara’s older brother, Aren Haan, now turned into the demon Ran, was committing bloody massacre.
She actually had been somewhat prepared for this. It was Ran that had turned Ara’s hometown into a sea of blood after all. He could always do such things to other towns as well.
But being prepared and watching it first hand was different.
She had vaguely thought stopping Ran soon as possible and turning him back would solve everything….. But she hadn’t put into account the feelings of the people who have lost their home, fortunes and families to Ran.
It was way too obvious for them to resent Ran.
“What should I do……”
Then was it really right for Ara to try and turn Ran back? Wasn’t she just selfishly prioritizing her own wishes while ignoring the feelings of people who wanted revenge?
The reality she faced heavily pressed down on her shoulders.
Chung’s rage was reasonable. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that he imprisoned Ara in order to protect her. Numerous people will come to hate Ara when she’s found out as Ran’s little sister. It won’t end with just hatred and they will try to harm her.
Rage of those people will not just end with her and surely will get the El Search Party caught up in it as well.
It the first place, wasn’t it because of this reason that Chung and the El Search Party had to face off? The El Search Party won’t just stand by and watch as Ara was persecuted.
“Since they’re all good people….”
She could confirm this in their fight in Elder, and in their fight with Elesis.
Elsword was honest-to-good righteous and took care of others well, Eve also takes care of others more than it seemed, Rena always understood other’s feelings and didn’t give them any moment to feel depressed…..
And while Add had a sharp-tongue, he also cared deeply about the others as well. He even came to see imprisoned Ara secretly.
“I can’t trouble them because of me…..”
Eun must be asleep because she wasn’t speaking.
Ara looked down on her own hand and let out an agonizing sigh. She could destroy and break out of this prison if she wanted to…. But she couldn’t get a grasp on what she should do after that.
She didn’t want to trouble the El Search Party.
Chung’s desire for vengeance was obvious.
But she wants to turn Ran back into her elder brother Aren.
She didn’t know what to do because her desires were all colliding with one another. Ara was deep in worry then her body suddenly shook. She thought at first that it was because of the cold air of this underground dungeon but her body was already kicking the ground and dodging.
Her instinct as a martial artist was warning her of danger.
“You’re a lucky child as always.”
A seductive voice was heard from across the darkness. A voice that she had heard before, Ara instinctively tried to grasp her spear but she was bare handed right now.
Dimension gate opened in front of Ara who had the prison bars to her back. An uninvited guest revealed herself through the dark hole.
“Hohoho….. It would have been easier for you to just stay seated.”
A seductive woman with a red hair appeared inside the prison cell.
She had ample breasts, thin waist and her thighs were blindingly bright. Her attire was very revealing as if she was aware of her own beauty and wanted to show off her body…..But the horns on her head and purplish wings on her back was conveying that she wasn’t a human.
Beauty with an evil aura about her. A predator that shook people’s heart and instill them with fear just from making eye contact.
Succubus Queen Karis.
She was one of the demon generals and the person responsible for turning Aren into Ran. She was a loathsome enemy who had brought about all of these tragedies for Ara.
Putting her weight on her shoulders, Ara abruptly launched an attack forwards towards Karis as she was just walking out of the dimension gate.
Ara wasn’t weak even without her spear. This strike could destroy even a boulder.
“Don’t be so hasty. I was in middle of talking…..”
Karis smiled seductively with her eyes then lightly swung her wing towards Ara. Her sharp yet sturdy wings, when swung like this, could become a blade that could cut across the air.
Ara who was charging got a cut on her waist as she backed out quickly. Then her second wing grazed by the place where Ara’s neck had been just a moment ago.
Ara would have been critically injured if she had persisted to continue with the attack.
“Ohohoho, you seem much cuter than before now.”
Karis majestically withdrew her wings then looked at Ara while stroking her chin. It was a gaze like the spider evaluating a butterfly that got caught on its webs.
Ara could feel her own lack of skill all too well. Even then, Ara pressed on her wound as she steadied her breath.
Karis was too strong of an opponent even if Ara had her spear and wasn’t injured. So this was the time to borrow Eun’s power.
But Eun didn’t answer when she called. Just when Ara was startled and tried to call Eun again, Karis withdrew her smile and approached one step closer towards Ara.
“Don’t run about too wildly now, cute pipsqueak lady. Here I came to have a nice talk with you and you attack me? Isn’t that a bit harsh?”
“I have nothing to talk about with you!”
Ara didn’t hide her rage. All the tragedy she suffered through and the horrors Hamel went through….. Could actually be said that it was because of this demon.
Since she turned the ever so just Aren Haan into the demon Ran.
“Seeing you react so hatefully is cute as well. You have a different taste about you than kids back at my place.”
Odds were overwhelmingly against her. Ara with her back against the bars thought up numerous methods of attack but none of them felt that they’d work on Karis. Her instinct as a martial artist was warning her that Karis wasn’t an opponent she could face with her skills right now.
Ara was struggling to think of a way but stopped hesitating and launched a slap as Karis approached closer.
While it looked soft, this strike had enough force to take down any normal opponents….. But Ara had instinctively launched the strike just now because of Karis closing the distance between them.
“I told you to stay put.”
Karis simply dodged with a teleport then stood in front of Ara by stepping on Ara’s feet. They were so close now that their noses were almost touching. Ara was surprised and tried to escape but Karis whispered lowly.
“I came in the place of that Elder Brother that you like so much.”
Ara momentarily paused when she heard that Karis came here because Aren, Ran sent her. Seeing this, Karis giggled as she stroked the tip of her hand across from Ara’s cheek to her nape. Ara got goose bumps and tried to escape quickly but in that moment, Karis grabbed Ara’s waist tight with her hand.
It was a place that was cut by the wing earlier.
Even Ara who was trained for battle couldn’t help but to scream in pain after getting the wound that was torn and bleeding grabbed forcefully like this
Hearing Ara’s painful scream, Karis whispered to her seductively.
“Don’t resist when you lack the strength to. It makes me want to tear you apart.”
While Karis’s appearance was a glamorous beauty, her true identity was that of a demon general. She was a monster that could tear apart a bull’s head with just the sheer power of her grasp.
Karis killing Ara right now was easier than flipping a hand over.
But that didn’t matter. Ara would never spoke about justice in the first place if she was going to submit just because she lacked strength. When Ara suppressed her pain and threw her hand again, Karis sighed as she lightly blocked with her palm.
“My mood is starting to get bad from you keep resisting like this. Should I kill around half the humans here before I go back?”
“You can’t!! I won’t let you do that!!”
“That’s why you should cooperate so I won’t do that. Alright?”
The tone that she spoke this in was soft but it was actually a threat that she’ll really do it if Ara didn’t stay put. And this demon…. already had done such a thing before.
Town dyed in blood, Ara froze after hearing Karis’ warning that she’ll reenact that tragedy again. Seeing this, Karis giggled and looked pleased.
“There, there. Stay put. Good girl.”
Karis smirked as she stroked Ara’s cheek. Ara closed her eyes tightly and endured the humiliation. If this was her problem alone….all she had to do was fight with all she had. But she couldn’t let the threat of Hamel’s destruction pass.
When Ara didn’t say anything and continued to endure, Karis looked like she lost interest and took her hand off as she backed out.
“I want to toy with you some more…. But I’ll let you off since I have some other business today. Ran told me to relay this message to you.”
Karis made a sinister smile.
“Become a demon Ara. Let’s be together like the old times.”
When Ara reacted disgusted, Karis lightly waved her hand.
“I can turn you into a demon even right now if you want. Although I personally like how you look right now and want to stuff you then keep you like this forever……”
She would have rather died. She didn’t even have a slightest intention of becoming a demon. Karis mocked the enraged Ara.
“Refusing your precious brother’s request so immediately likes this, what a cruel little sister.”
“You are the one who turned Elder Brother into a demon Karis! And Elder Brother isn’t making correct judgements right now.”
“Then are you judging correctly?”
Karis spoke coldly.
“Berthe was thrown out because he was useless, Chloe lost because she was stupid. But do you honestly think you guys can defeat Ran? Even if you guys were to get extremely lucky and defeat Ran somehow, how about me? Do you honestly think you guys can defeat me?”
Ara knew very well know strong Karis was because she had fought her before. Even when Karis hadn’t shown her true powers, she was equivalent at least to Elesis’ 1st form.
Even if Ara had her spear and could fought by borrowing Eun’s powers….. She’ll be glad if she could even injure Karis.
“You guys cannot escape lord D’s grasp no matter how much you struggle. We’ll soon completely conquer time and space.”
Ran and Karis, and Elesis….. Will the El Search Party be able to defeat the demons filled with these mighty foes?
Ara would have normally declared that justice will prevail but she couldn’t answer right now for some reason.
“Ah, I forget to add the condition. Ran said he’ll spare the El Search Party members if you become a demon.”
“What do you mean…..”
“You’re only bound to become enemy of the humans if you remain amongst them anyways. Doesn’t everyone know already that you’re Ran’s little sister?”
Chung was keeping it a secret right now but it will be revealed soon enough if Ara was to be used as a hostage.
“There’s no place for you to be at peace in Elrios anymore. Place beside us demons is the only place left for you now.”
Ara couldn’t answer that it wasn’t true. After witnessing the tragic state the Hamel was in…. it felt like she couldn’t make any excuses even if the entirety of the human race were to resent her.
“So become a demon. I’ll specially make you into a pretty form.”
“I refuse. Because that’s…..not the righteous path.”
Ara still stubbornly shook her head. Karis narrowed her eyes then sneered.
“I didn’t expect you to obediently listen anyway. But remember this, you being stubborn will mean the death for the El Search Party.”
“That arrogant delusion about being able to defeat us will be shattered anyways when you see the corpses of your friends. Turning you into a demon in the moment when you are crying alone unable to do anything amongst the corpses of your loved ones…. might be rather fun as well.”
Karis turned around and opened the dimension gate.
“I’ll be anticipating a different answer when we meet again. If not…. Be prepared ♡.”
Karis disappeared through the dimension gate and silence dwelled inside the prison cell again. Ara who was leaning against the bars let out a groan.
She was enduring the pain from the bleeding wound with sheer willpower until now but that had reached its limit. Ara dropped down as if she was collapsing.
She made a painful cough and dust flew about. Her body shook as the pain from her wound became worse. It was a light cut so it was fatal….but it still hurt.
But her heart was more in pain than her body.
She couldn’t even fight back properly when the enemy who had turned her elder brother into a demon was in front of her.
Ara unconsciously apologized without knowing who the apology was directed to.
She was sorry to everyone. Elder Brother Aren who felt ever so far……even though she had determined that she’ll turn him back to normal no matter what, many lives that suffered from the calamity that Ran had caused, Chung who’s burdened with the resentment from losing his father.
And the El Search Party that she’s traveled together with up till now, Elsword, Eve, Rena, Add.
She was sorry to everyone. She could only say those words.
Although she apologized again and again.
Even though it felt so painful as if her heart was being torn apart.
There were no tears for some reason.