Chapter 2 complete
Not a sound could be heard.
Without even drying her hair properly, Ara reached the camp with such swift steps that she almost looked like she was flying. Ara breathed a sigh of relief when she realized that nothing was wrong. She had seen a glimpse of a giant shadow rampaging through and attacking the Velder Knights….. But she must have been mistaken.
Ara eased her mind and delved into her thoughts while slowly strolling around the camp. She recalled the talk she had while bathing with everyone.
She was so thankful of how Rena cared for her and how Eve was worrying for her that she didn’t know what to say.
Even now she wanted to confess everything to them….. But what use would that be?
“Lord Eun, are you there?”
‘Yes, I’m listening. The air is fresh tonight.’
Eun replied softly to Ara’s call. Ara determined herself and asked to confirm what she already knew.
“The events I’ve been seeing in my dreams…. Is it true that they could actually come true?”
‘Future isn’t unchangeable and is determined by actions of the present. My eyes can see much further than others and since you’ve also spent quite a bit of time together with me, you’ve somewhat become able to see as well. It’s an ability called foresight.’
The horrifying visions Ara has been seeing in her dreams past couple of days…
Eve being destroyed by Shadow Master in Elder, Elsword falling before Elesis’ blade, Rena trying to protect the other members then falling from a dark elf’s ambush.
And Add being killed by Karis.
Even though they were only dreams, they felt so vivid and horrible….so she almost didn’t get any sleep recently. It was to the point where she was too scared to close her eyes.
Ara stopped her steps and asked desperately while looking up at the moon.
“……What should I do then? What did you do in times like this Lord Eun?”
‘It’s now become part of my daily life so I don’t have much to tell you. Life of a warrior is like dancing on top of a blade, you should already know that death can come at any moment.’
If someone else was to see Ara right now it would look like she was talking to herself. Ara sadly shook her head. Eun had been always together with her and had given her many advices but she tended to be harsh sometimes.
Ara had always born Eun’s harsh words in mind but the situation was different this time.
“Still, I can’t let such a thing happen! It’s because I’m not strong enough……”
‘One cannot protect everything no matter how strong one becomes. This might sound cruel…. But I also have many things that I failed to protect.’
Ara bit her lower lips in frustration at Eun’s lecturing tone.
Ara was able to survive Karis and Ran’s attack on her village thanks to Eun. But all the people in her village were killed…. Ara was the sole survivor from that bloodbath.
‘No matter how strong you become….. You cannot change fate.’
“I don’t want to change something like that. I just want to stop the events I’ve been seeing if they actually have a chance of happening. I don’t want such things to come true!”
Eun didn’t continue her words anymore. Instead, sound of heavy armor moving was heard and someone else spoke to her.
“What are you doing alone here Ara Haan?”
It was a voice that she got to hear often these past couple of days. Ara got extremely startled as she stopped her conversation with Eun and turn around. A boy in white armor was staring at Ara.
It was Chung who returned after his bath with Add.
“Didn’t you promise earlier? That you’ll move about freely only when you’re bathing.”
“…..I’m sorry. I was deep in thought and forgot for a moment.”
Chung made a troubled expression when Ara bowed her head politely to apologize. Chung looked around the surrounding area for a moment to confirm that no one else was around then spoke quietly.
“I’m sorry if my words sounded harsh. Please return to the carriage now.”
Ara realized that complying with Chung wasn’t what she wanted to say right now.
She understood very well why Chung was doing this. But waiting without a spear in her hand made her mind too restless and anxious.
She was a mess right now……..to the point where everyone else was worried about her.
That was obvious. Ara Haan is a martial artist. She had always solved her unrest and problems through martial arts. There was no way she could ease her mind……from just waiting quietly without a spear in her hand.
Ara took a deep breath and spoke the words she should have said before.
“Mr.Chung, I won’t ask you to trust me. It’s an excessive request after all.”
“But could you let me fight together as well?”
Just when Chung was about to respond to Ara’s words…. A sound of people screaming and a roar tearing through the darkness was heard.
“…….We’ll talk about this later. Your weapon is over here!”
Chung quickly turned around to run and Ara followed his back without hesitation.
Add was looking over the map in the commander’s tent when the tearing roar was heard. Add instantly flew up on his Dynamos and swiftly headed North where the sound came from.
Dark shadow form was attacking by swinging its arm. Velder Knights were too shocked by its 3 storeys high size that they were hesitating.
Demon that made Add despair, it was his hated enemy from Elder. An enemy he should have faced with caution in the past. But Add snorted and threw a Void Impact.
Space tore and a giant hole was created in the center of Shadow Master’s chest. Shadow Master’s body shook from receiving a hole that would have killed any normal creatures.
“Did you really think I’ll get startled from something like this now?”
Thanks to the formula revamp that Aisha told him, efficiency of Add’s attacks had improved greatly. His mental ability to manipulate the Dynamos had improved as well so he could take down a Shadow Master by himself easily.
After filling the hole in its chest as if clay was being molded, Shadow Master looked up at Add. Then a Shadow Sniper started to sprout from Shadow Master’s shadow. It was a bizarre way to make an entrance but Add didn’t get startled and waved his arm.
Space exploded and the newly born Shadow Snipers rolled on the floor. Shadow Snipers were the correct choice for attacking Add who was in the air. But that was only when they could withstand Add’s attacks.
“It’s way too simple.”
It was not a bad choice to ambush them with Shadow Master….. But even Add alone could handle this much. Could it be that Ran didn’t know about the El Search Party’s skills?
Add was about to launch another Void Impact with an indifferent expression…. When Shadow Chargers that got born from Shadow Master’s shadow charged into Velder Knights that were still hesitating. Velder Knights were still frightened from Shadow Master’s size and were frozen still.
Add clicked his tongue and made a sharp dive down to open up a Void Field and tie down the Shadow Chargers’ in middle of their charge.
“Back out quickly!”
Velder Knight members were apologizing and slowly backing out. They weren’t at least bad since they distanced themselves while staying in formation.
“Well…. It’s kind of understandable.”
Add let out a slight laugh and shook his head. He couldn’t blame the Velder Knights for being scared of Shadow Master. Wasn’t it an enemy that even Add struggled so much against before?
Velder Knights probably had enough ability to take down Shadow Chargers or Snipers….. But Shadow Master was too much for them.
“Back off and observe. I’ll finish this quickly.”
Add declared lightly then closed the Void Field as he blew up the now free Shadow Chargers with a Void Double Impact. Shadow Chargers got caught up by the space explosion and shattered into pieces…. Then the pieces turned into a murky dark liquid then went back into Shadow Master’s shadow.
“It’s different than before.”
Shadow Master in Elder had appeared together with its minions through the dimension gate…..it didn’t have an ability to create minions on the spot.
Although it hadn’t changed in appearance, it had a new ability.
Not only that….
A tearing roar was heard from far away. The ambush was happening not only in one location but in multiple other locations as well.
Shadow Master in front of him wasn’t their only enemy. Add realized this and made an idle remark while letting out a laugh.
“Kukukuk, you’re making this quite enjoyable.”
There wasn’t a reason to be worried at all. The other El Search Party members should be fighting right now as well.
“But…. just in case, it would be troublesome if something happened to Eve.”
Add withdrew his laugh and glared at the Shadow Master coldly.
“And I’ve never liked you from the start. I’ll make sure to destroy you fast as I can.”
It was a dark night; sound of battle and screams of demons from all over the place was creating a terrifying atmosphere. But Eve was objectively facing Shadow Master by herself.
Explosion Impact detonated as Shadow Chargers got launched up towards the air and got destroyed. But they instantly turned into dark liquids then got absorbed into their origin shadow then they were reborn again.
“So it won’t end unless the source is destroyed.”
Minion demons will be reborn infinitely unless Shadow Master was defeated. Eve launched a missile towards Shadow Master but Shadow Defender rose up from the its shadow and became a meat shield.
Dismay rose up in Eve’s expression. Shadow Defender was obviously destroyed…. But they could be reborn quickly.
These minuscule skills didn’t have enough firepower.
She had to use Generate Black Hole or Junk Break to end this in one go….. But Junk Break had a short range so she had to a venture into getting close, and Generate Black Hole took time to bring forth from the dimension gate and activate.
While Eve was hesitating, five Shadow walkers got created and spread out. Eve quickly fired an electron ball to attack Shadow Master.
But Shadow Master didn’t even try to dodge and took the electron ball with it body. It was just focusing on spawning minions. Electron ball did do a noticeable damage to the Shadow Master’s body but the damage was quickly covered up by the shadow.
Eve’s firepower couldn’t keep up with the speed of the opponent’s regenerative ability and its minions spawning.
Eve wasn’t a battle type Nasod in the first place. She was the Queen of Nasods, one who reigns. She didn’t prioritize abilities to fight head on. Even the battle capabilities she had right now were self enhancements she made while going through various events during her travels with Elsword.
Eve’s firepower alone wasn’t enough to defeat Shadow Master.
And leaving Shadow Master alone like this would result in endlessly appearing minion demons….. This would endanger the Velder Knights.
Rena went to support the other area. Judging by how Rena or anyone else wasn’t coming to support her, they must be facing Shadow Master or demons that are of equal caliber.
Things will get out of control if she didn’t defeat it fast as possible.
Eve strengthened her resolve and boldly approached Shadow Master using aerial movement.
Seeing Eve come towards it boldly, Shadow Master attacked her by swing its arm but she dodged easily by using left-right movement.
While Shadow Master was shocked by this, Eve approached close enough for Junk Break’s effective range and positioned herself to summon the shredder. Junk Break was a double edged sword that ensured tremendous damage but lowered Eve’s functionality to immobilize her for a moment after its use.
But just when she was about to bring forth the shredder…. A beam of light flew towards
Eve from somewhere and hit her body. Eve noticed this late and changed to defensive posture but she couldn’t help but to get hit and pushed back.
“Where did it…..?”
Extremely long range sniping. Shadow Sniper that was born somewhere else had noticed its creator’s danger and had attacked Eve. Eve realized this and tried to locate the sniper……But a giant shadow loomed over her.
Shadow Master that haven’t been focusing on attacking directly before was now raising its arm. Eve quickly backed out far as she could….But Shadow Master’s attack range was too wide.
Not only that, blue lights were burning inside the darkness. Shadow Snipers were preparing for their second attack.
Danger, just when Eve’s face stiffened…. white clothing, a girl with a waving white hair grazed past Eve and dashed forwards boldly.
Ara charged in deeply without even minding how Shadow Master was about to smash its arm down. She made a big stab with her spear and pierced through Shadow Master’s center. Shadow Master shook after getting its weak point pierced and it tried to back out quickly….. But Ara who had Celestial Fox mode activated didn’t give it any room and closed in.
There were still Shadow Snipers in hiding. Just when Eve was about to inform her, a sound of explosion was heard and Shadow Snipers that were charging their beams screamed as they were destroyed.
When Eve turned around, Chung was reloading his Destroyer with a stiff expression.
“I’ll handle the snipers. Ms Eve, please focus on supporting Ara Haan.”
Eve quickly followed after Ara and closed in on the Shadow Master.
Ara was dodging all of the Shadow Master’s attacks while restlessly stabbing with her spear. Ara’s movements had always been fast but right now, she was so swift that even Eve’s eyes couldn’t keep up with her.
Tiger that broke out of its cage. Shadow Master couldn’t withstand the torrent of Ara’s attacks so it swung its arm to scatter Dark Fire orbs all over the place. It also created five Shadow Chargers at the same time.
They had to quickly destroy the Dark fire orbs because they will explode if left alone. But Shadow Chargers were getting in their way……
“Ara Haan, continue attacking.”
At Eve’s instruction, Ara instantly threw away all her doubts and rushed in towards Shadow Master again. A large portion of Shadow Master’s body was torn off when Ara heroically kicked the ground and spun her body to perform the 1st stance of her Dragon Fang art. Only problem left was Dark Fire orbs and Shadow Chargers.
“Generate Black Hole!”
Nasod Weapon that appeared through the dimension gate at Eve’s command created a gravity orb to gather all the Shadow Chargers and tore them apart then even cleanly destroyed the Dark Fire orbs in the vicinity.
But there were some orbs that weren’t taken care of by the Generate Black Hole…. Eve was about to quickly run over and take care of them but the sound of an explosion was faster. Chung had noticed Eve’s plan and fired cannonballs to destroy the orbs.
Dark Fire orbs were destroyed without a trace from the consecutive cannonballs that Chung fired. And….
Thanks to Eve and Chung taking care of the other problems, Ara was able to focus only on Shadow Master and was able to completely perform her Dragon Fang art. Ara rose up high into the night sky and swung her spear sharply as she fell, splitting Shadow Master in half.
As the spear struck the ground, the earth was shattered and shook as if there was an earthquake. Poof! Shadow Master’s body that was waving blew up with a strange noise.
Just when Ara was withdrawing her spear that was stuck on the ground, Eve approached and confirmed the situation.
“Shadow Master’s destruction is confirmed.”
“Thank you for your help, Ms.Eve.”
“Not at all. It was me who received help instead.”
“That’s not true! I would have gotten flustered and had been in danger if Ms.Eve didn’t help.”
Eve made a tired sigh and shook her head when Ara denied.
“What an odd persistence. Then let’s just say we helped each other.”
Ara smiled joyously. Eve turned her gaze backwards. Chung was approaching after reloading his Destroyer.
“It looks like demons appeared all over the place. Let’s hurry up and go support other locations.”
“Will you guarantee Ara Haan’s freedom from now on as well?”
It was an extremely sharp question for Eve who wasn’t too knowledgeable about worldly affairs. This was an emergency situation; they needed every fighter they could get. That’s why Chung freed Ara and returned her spear.
Eve was requesting Chung to treat Ara like this from now on as well.
Chung and Eve’s gazes met. Ara realized late what Eve said and quickly waved her hands.
“No, Ms.Eve. I’m fine with it so you don’t have to worry.”
“I’m not fine with it.”
Eve ignored Ara’s reaction and stared at Chung to request again.
“I cannot accept you trying to restrain Ara Haan when you’ve seen her performance right now.”
Chung made a long sigh then nodded. Then he bowed her head towards Ara.
“As Hamel’s temporary lord, I apologize for my rudeness up till now.”
“N, Not at all. I- as well…..”
“I’d like you to help us on our way to Temple of Water. We’ll talk about what comes after at that time.”
Ara quickly nodded.
Chung and Ara’s opinions on Ran’s treatment couldn’t help but to clash. But right now was the time to join their strengths and break through the obstacles that stood in front of them. Chung was suggesting that they should postpone the discussion about Ran’s treatment until later time.
“Thank you, Mr.Chung.”
“Not at all. Actually… I’m the one who’s sorry.”
Chung was honestly sorry. Actually, Ara had done nothing wrong except for the fact that she was Ran’s younger sister. Chung had first thought she’d be dangerous because she was sister of an evil demon. That’s why he tried to restrain her and use her as a hostage. But after actually talking and observing her, he realized that she wasn’t that kind of person at all.
Before they had left Hamel, it was better to keep her in prison for the sake of keeping her hidden. But that wasn’t the case right now. But even if his personal opinion was to release her, he couldn’t decide easily as someone who represented Hamel. That’s why he had accepted Add’s request but drew the line before.
This is why Chung’s mind had been very troubled about Ara’s treatment as well. But now he had an excuse to free Ara and a reason to fight together with her. This was rather a welcoming turn of events for Chung.
Chung held out his hand first and Ara also carefully held out her hand and they shook hands.
No matter what happens later, they had decided to fight together by trusting and depending on each other at least until the Temple of Water.
While the two of them were confirming each other’s will…..Eve was looking above towards the far off sky. Ara and Chung also looked towards the direction where Eve was looking and blinked blankly.
Shadow Walkers, Chargers, Defenders and Snipers all turned into dark mucus like liquid when they were destroyed and then regenerated.
Then what happens when…… Shadow Master was destroyed?
Not just the Shadow Master here, but the ones that were destroyed by Add, Rena and Elsword also admitted after turning into a dark liquid. They couldn’t defeat their enemy in their current forms.
Then they had to join together.
Body 3 times bigger than normal Shadow Master, a monster with 3 heads and six arms roared towards the sky.
A form so large that it was covering up the moon. People that looked up towards this giant shadow were all frozen and couldn’t say anything.
Giant shadow that could destroy multiple buildings just from swinging its arm.
“Y, you’re telling us to fight this?”
Even the Velder Knights were in state of panic and were wavering. They were all brave warriors that had protected Hamel from the attack of the Shadow demons…..but Shadow Master in front of them was in a whole different dimension.
You could tell from a single glance that this colossus that stood easily taller than 13 meters was literally a disaster incarnate. It instilled fear in humans just from them looking at it. All they could do was to only stare at it with their mouths wide open.
Demon of demons that normal humans wouldn’t dare to face, it was a monster of monsters…..but there were those that stepped forwards to face the giant demon.
“It’s really big. Where’s its weakness?”
“It’s too tall.”
“We’ll just have to focus our fire on it.”
“Is everyone alright?”
“Guys, is any one of you hurt?”
The El Search Party, and a cold voice that finished things up at the end.
“Hmph, there’s no need to be afraid. Just tell all the people that might get in the way to back off.”
Add glared at the colossal demon while wiping the dust off his hand. He had originally thought they were launching a simple multi pronged attack but they apparently had a hidden trick like this.
Hearing Add’s words, the El Search Party all looked towards him. Their gaze seemed to be telling him to explain the plan to them already. So Add quickly formulated a plan.
“Chung and Rena support from the back, Ara and Elsword go to the front line. I’ll support the front line from the air and Eve will support the front line from the ground. It looks like more demons will pop up from the Chaos Shadow’s shadow. Eve and I will take care of those, Rena will cover us if our firepower isn’t enough. If it starts scattering Dark Fire orbs, Chung will get rid of them the best he can and others also support him depending on your positions.
“Alright let’s go!”
Elsword grabbed his sword and immediately dash forwards. Ara got surprised and looked back and forth between Add and Elsword. When Add gestured with his chin telling her to go ahead she bowed and dashed forwards. Add snorted then asked Chung who was reloading his Destroyer.
“So is your mind settled now?”
“It’s not right to accuse her of the wrongs done to Hamel.”
Chung calmly shook his head. Add was satisfied with that answer.
“Then I’ll be counting on you.”
“Yes, I’ll be as well.”
Chung nodded then took up his position together with Rena. Penensio was arranging the Velder Knights and having them evacuate to the back.
“Kukukuk, good. Then let’s get rid of this small fry.”
Add laughed joyously as he got on the Dynamos.
Elsword bravely charged towards Chaos Shadow. Dozens of Shadow Chargers instantly rose up from Chaos Shadow’s shadow but cannonball that Chung fired cleaned them all up.
Thanks to that, Elsword was able to approach Chaos Shadow and swing his sword. Elsword’s great sword fiercely stuck the shadow.
But the impact felt strange and Chao’s Shadow’s lower body just wavered like a mist. Elsword swung his sword again despite being surprised and Ara who arrived later also made a swift stab but their weapons just passed through Chaos Shadow.
“Is it just a shadow?”
“This is odd.”
It didn’t look like their attacks were dealing damage. When Ara and Elsword stopped their attacks, Shadow Defenders and Chargers rose up from around them.
“Don’t let your guard down.”
Eve arrived a moment after and used her whip to blow away the Shadow demons. But she was just as confused by how Elsword and Ara’s attacks weren’t working on Chaos Shadow.
Add’s voice was heard in that moment and Chao Shadow’s body wavered again. Of course it recovered instantly with its shadows….but that attack did sure damage.
“So it won’t work with normal attacks. Then we’ll grab its attention while taking care of the minions.”
Eve proposed a reasonable action but Ara quickly shook her head.
“No, we’ll support you Ms.Eve. So please quickly…..”
“My attacks will work?”
Eve was confused by Ara’s suggestion but tried firing an electron ball. Then Chaos Shadow’s lower body got shaved off.
Eve was slightly surprised by this and asked Ara.
“How did you know?”
“U, um that’s….”
Ara had looked ahead with the Foresight ability that Eun talked about to see that not only Add’s but Eve’s attacks worked as well. When Ara hesitated and couldn’t answer, Eve gave up on questioning her.
“Then I’ll be counting on you two.”
Normally, Elsword and Ara would be up front and Add and Eve would support them, but the situation was opposite today. Add from the air and Eve from the ground poured their attacks on Chaos Shadow.
And Elsword and Ara stuck beside Eve taking care of the Shadow Chargers and Snipers that continued to appear.
Add was torturing Chaos Shadow by attacking it ceaselessly. Eve was also mixing up various attacks based mostly around electron balls but…..
Her firepower wasn’t enough.
The two of their firepower couldn’t keep up with Chao Shadow’s regenerating speed.
No. Strictly speaking, that was not a correct description. Add’s firepower was already sufficient. Chaos Shadow was suffering from Add’s literally ceaseless attacks utilizing space explosions, restraints and space distortions. It was to the point where there wasn’t a moment where all of its three heads were all safely intact.
The problem was…..Eve.
Add in the air was performing beyond expectations. He would have blown up dozens of normal Shadow Masters already by himself.
But Chao Shadow’s regenerative method was to supplement its losses from different parts of its body.
Even if Add blew up top of its body, it just had to supplement them from the bottom. If that’s the case, they had to destroy the bottom part and not give it any room to regenerate…. But firepower of Eve who was in charge of this was too lacking.
“It’s not enough.”
Eve murmured to herself without realizing.
The battle dragging on right now, how it was turning disadvantageous for the El Search Party was because of Eve’s lack of firepower. Rena, Chung, Ara and Elsword were all supporting Eve and Add with the best of their abilities already. And Add was already displaying a performance beyond his normal limits… yet Eve was performing below expectations.
It couldn’t be helped. She wasn’t a battle type Nasod.
Eve didn’t know how to describe this feeling that was filling up her heart.
So she tried ceaselessly firing electron balls but Chaos Shadow’s regenerative speed was far better than the rate that she dealt damage.
“If this goes on……”
It was foolish to continue battling when their failure was certain. They had to retreat and find another way. Eve’s firepower couldn’t become the main method of attack for the El Search Party. It was still unknown why Eve’s attack worked against Chaos Shadow. But it was more rational choice to look for a way to make Elsword and Ara’s attack work instead.
Eve gave up firing electron balls.
“We’ll have to retreat. Please get ready.”
“Huh? Are you hurt somewhere Ms.Eve?”
Ara stabbed to throw a Shadow Charger away then looked back to ask. The words refused to come out of Eve’s mouth for some reason, but she forcedly opened her mouth.
“I apologize. I can deal damage to this demon but my powers aren’t sufficient to defeat it. Let’s retreat and look for another way.”
Ara trailed her words with a regrettable expression. Anyone who fought knew how difficult it was to confess that their strength was lacking.
Elsword blew away three Shadow Defenders in front of them then leaned his sword on his shoulder.
“Eve, will that be okay with you?”
“……What do you mean?”
“When you were traveling with me…..”
Elsword murmured with a tone as if he was recalling memory from a far past. Eve winced as she stared at Elsword’s back.
“At first, you didn’t know anything. You didn’t even know how to fight.”
“But you became stronger quickly. I was honestly very surprised.”
It was a story from when she was traveling alone with Elsword. Eve felt moved by the old memories that suddenly rose up in her head. After meeting this rude red haired boy, she faced the world that she had never seen before…..and she learned offensive abilities while getting caught up in large and small fights.
“But is it really okay for you to give up right now?”
“Mr.Elsword! That’s too…..”
Ara got shocked and reprimanded Elsword but he didn’t look back. His eyes were on the enemy and his sword was in his hands.
He didn’t retreat or give up even with the colossal demon that his attacks didn’t work on in front of him.
Red haired boy was always like this. He never wavered or got scared even against enemies that were stronger than him. He never gave up. Even when his sister that he admired so much appeared as his enemy, while he suffered and hesitated, he took up his sword and fought her head on in the end.
His unwavering attitude always bothered Eve, it sometimes worried her, and it sometimes….
“Is it really okay for you to give up following me?”
Elsword’s words came out of the blue but Eve understood what he meant. She would have normally responded coldly but she couldn’t say a word right now.
Elsword strongly desired to become stronger so that he could be together with Elesis. Eve followed him while still being confused by the boy…… She obtained power to defend herself so that she wouldn’t get caught up in conflicts and ruckus he caused.
But was it only because of that reason?
“I won’t say anything more if that’s what you really want. But……”
Elsword sprayed his sword to cut 3 Shadow Walkers that were just appearing with just a single swing. His sword created a flash of light and Shadow Walkers all turned back into a black liquid.
“I was happy that you followed me in my stubbornness.”
Eve didn’t know how to describe this feeling that was filling up her heart right now. Eve pressed down on her heart and stared blankly at Elsword’s back. Her process execution was different than usual. An indescribable feeling came up from her fingertips and made her head numb.
Her feet wouldn’t move. She was concluding that they had to retreat, but it felt like she would lose something really important if she retreated here.
“Watch out, Ms.Eve!”
In that moment, Ara quickly threw her body to push Eve away. Shadow Charger swung its fist as it rose up from behind Eve and struck Ara’s shoulder. Flesh tore and blood splattered, but Ara clenched her teeth and stabbed with her spear to destroy the Shadow Charger.
“……Are you alright? Ara Haan?”
“It’s fine! This much is nothing!”
Ara replied stoutly but blood was dripping from the extremely deep wound on her shoulder. The impact had also damaged her bones so it was difficult for her to swing her spear but Ara forcedly endured the pain and smiled.
Then she held her hand out towards Eve who was kneeling down.
“This much will heal quickly when I fight! Don’t mind me and fight Ms.Eve.”
Eve blankly stared at Ara then grabbed the hand she held out towards her to stand up. Ara was smiling then got flustered after remembering how Eve was suggesting that they should retreat.
“Ah, umm…. Should we retreat instead of fighting?”
“I think I can somewhat understand now. No, I actually still don’t understand.”
Eve words were conflicting with each other. They were rare words for a Nasod who was always so logical. But her feelings right now could only be described this way.
Elsword wasn’t saying anything more and was fighting the Shadow demons by spraying his sword. Even during this, he was occasionally trying Spiral Blast and Triple Geyser on the Chaos Shadow trying to find a way to defeat it.
“I’ll admit it. Ara Haan, I was worried about you.”
“Huh? Huh? T, thank you.”
But Eve hadn’t said this expecting compliments. It was just a simple organization of her thoughts.
“I’ll admit it. What this feeling right now is.”
Eve spoke to Elsword while staring at his back. There was no reply from him but it didn’t matter.
The rude red haired boy Eve saw when she had just woken up was still acting however he wanted. The two of them had clashed and fought many times since then but Eve had still stuck together with him.
Because she wanted to be together with him.
The reason why Eve opposed Ara being imprisoned was simple as well. It was because she didn’t like it. Why didn’t she like it?
Because she wanted to be together with her.
“I see. I think I understand a bit now.”
Eve moved forwards while speaking to herself. Reby and Moby must have sensed Eve’s change as they started to circle around her.
She understood what this feeling was now……about why she didn’t want to admit right away that she wasn’t able to defeat Chaos Shadow.
Because it felt vexing.
She was not a battle purpose Nasod. So it couldn’t be helped if her lacking firepower wasn’t able to become strength for the El Search Party. She wasn’t able to defeat Chaos Shadow so they had to retreat and look for another way.
That was a correct decision, a rational decision. A decision suited for logical Nasods.
But it felt vexing.
There was a boy she wanted to be together with. She now had other people she wanted to be together with as well. Boy and the others believed in her and put their trust in her. They all believed that she could defeat this demon. That’s why they were all still holding their ground.
Not being able to measure up to their expectations felt extremely vexing.
Even while staring pitifully at the boy who was always picking disadvantageous fights in order to become stronger….. Even while always not being able to understand boy’s reckless actions of running straight into enemies clearly stronger than him without any fear. Eve had continued to strengthen herself through all of this.
It was under the pretext of self defense….. But she now knew that it wasn’t only because of that.
It was because she wanted to be together with the boy and she needed strength in order to do that.
Right now was no different.
Eve looked at Add fighting in the sky, Rena and Chung supporting them from the back, Ara fighting beside her then finally Elsword fighting bravely without showing any signs of fatigue in front of her.
She now had people she wanted to be together with. She wanted the power to protect them, she wanted be of help to them. They all believed in her and she wanted to answer their expectations.
“So this is…..emotion.”
As Eve spoke this to herself, a heat rose up in front of Eve. Since when did it come out? The El that Eve had surely stowed away inside her was now afloat in front of her chest.
It was a mysterious El bestowed to her by a powerful magician. But Eve stretched out her hand towards the pink El without a single hint of hesitation.
The heat overcame her. But Eve didn’t let go. She just desired to be stronger, she only desired of wanting to answer the others’ trust in her.
It such a human like, Nasod like choice.
Then through the darkness, through the shadow…..a giant light rose up towards the night sky.
The El Search Party’s gazes all naturally turned towards the pillar of light that appeared all of a sudden. Even Chaos Shadow stopped its attack on Add and looked at the pillar of light.
When the light disappeared, a beautiful mechanical doll stood in its place with her eyes closed. Silver hair waving gracefully from the night wind, Add groaned at such an exquisite appearance.
Different hair style and outfit. She was Eve and yet not Eve at the same time. No, she was Eve beyond Eve.
Add stood blankly, forgetting that he was in middle of battle. Everyone else was the same because they had all stopped their actions.
The one responsible for halting the fight just from her entrance finally opened her eyes.
The one who had been Eve, and is Eve right now declared coldly towards Chaos Shadow.
“Resistance is futile, surrender yourself.”
Eve’s declaration brought Chaos Shadow to its senses and it and summoned Shadow Chargers. But Eve didn’t mind and instructed Add in the air.
“We’ll get rid of it in one go, Add.”
Questioning about Eve’s change can come after. Sensing that Eve now possessed an enormous power, Add instantly opened a dimension gate above Chaos Shadow’s head.
It was something he saved to be used as a deciding move and it was now the time to decide this.
Chaos Shadow screamed as its body shook from downpour of gravity orbs.
Half of Chaos Shadow’s body got destroyed in an instant and it now desperately focused only on regenerating itself. Only two of its enemies could damage it, and only one amongst those two could do any meaningful damage. It would be all over if it could withstand this rain of gravity orbs.
……Is what Chaos Shadow had thought. But it sensed that something was wrong. Eve approached Chaos Shadow with graceful steps then stretched her arms out towards both sides.
Following her command, countless weapons appeared through the dimension gate.
Chao Shadow’s body was already broken from the gravity orbs and now focused fire from the numerous Nasod weapons poured down upon its body. Chaos Shadow screamed and twisted its body as it desperately increased its regenerative speed.
But attacks from the weapons that Eve summoned didn’t end. Chaos Shadow swung its arm as a last ditch effort but Eve didn’t get startled even for bit and continued to pour down weapon fire till the end.
“It’s over now!!”
With Eve’s clear declaration, hundreds of weapon fire consumed Chaos Shadow. There was no place for the shadow to hide in front of the bright light of intense energy.
Not even a speck of darkness was left behind.
“Situation is over as of now…..”
Eve confirmed the destruction of Chaos Shadow and withdrew all her weapons into the dimension gate. The El Search Party gathered around her. One who came running first was Add but he hesitated from seeing Eve’s different appearance and couldn’t talk to her.
“Eve, are you okay?”
“I’m fine Rena.”
Eve replied lightly when Rena came running after and asked worriedly. Ara and Chung also looked very amazed by how Eve’s appearance had changed all of a sudden.
Elsword also had a same expression as well.
But Eve wanted to say something to Elsword. She couldn’t say it until now but it felt like she could say it in this moment.
That’s how she felt.
After inhaling unnecessarily, just when Eve settled her heart and was about to open her mouth, Elsword stretched out his hand abruptly.
“You hair is all fluffy now.”
Eve froze from Elsword hand that suddenly stroked her hair without any consent or asking for permission. Others also froze and Add angrily clenched his fists.
But Elsword didn’t mind other people’s reaction and was now stroking Eve’s exterior armor in awe.
“I’m surprised that you changed so suddenly. What happened?”
After swallowing the words she was about to say, Eve stuck Elsword’s cheek with her palm. Everyone else pretended to ignore this and looked the other way. Elsword who just got hit couldn’t understand and blinked confusedly and Eve turned around coldly fuming from anger.
“Let’s go organize the situation.”
“Yes, let’s do that.”
Rena smiled and sent a graceful eye gesture towards Elsword. Elsword made even more of a confused expression at Rena’s gaze but Rena felt it was fine for her to not explain things to him right now.
Rena smiled internally as she followed Eve who was completely sulking as she walked ahead.
“What? Did I do something wrong?”
Add suppressed his complicated feelings and passed by Elsword to follow after Eve.
“Big Sister Ara?”
“…..Uuuu, U, um that’s… Mr.Elsword is in the wrong here!”
Ara looked like she couldn’t find a way to explain it to Elsword and got flustered. She then dashed off as if she was running away. Chung also followed the others with a helpless expression.
While kneeling down, Elsword who got left alone tilted his head as he stroked his cheek.
“Why is everyone acting like that…..”
Well it didn’t matter since they defeated the giant demon. Elsword pushed up on the ground to stand up. Since it’s late into the night he should also help with the cleanup…..
Elsword felt a strange sensation and turned around to look across the darkness. But there was nothing there.
Elsword tilted his head then followed the group that was walking far ahead.
Demon sitting on a large throne, Ran opened his eyes narrowly. The dark hole opened in front of him showed Elsword walking with his back turned.
“But he’s still a brat. He won’t even make it here.”
A seductive voice, Karis who was leaning on the throne mocked then let out an exclamation right after.
“But a demon that won’t get damaged by anything other than power of science? That’s a whole new level. While it does have a drawback of becoming a single entity and having a shortened lifespan… As I thought, demons have room for improvement as well.”
Ran ignored Karis’ evaluation and ordered her.
“Go bring Ara.”
“Aren’t you ordering me around too easily?”
“Weren’t you going to do it anyways without me asking?”
Karis stuck out her tongue as if she got found out. Her appearance was mature and seductive yet she oddly had a playful and sociable side to her.
But that playful side of her was what led to her toying with her opponents then killing them brutally.
“Since I’m going anyways should I kill them all? Ah, I can’t. I’ll get scolded by Master D if I did that. I’ll have to kill moderately. Moderately.”
When Ran ignored her, Karis looked bored and she disappeared through the dimension gate while muttering.
Ran’s gaze after being left by himself lingered in midair. After looking up for a while, Ran suddenly stretched out his arm….. But obviously nothing came into his grasp.
After grasping the empty air, Ran murmured bitterly.
Ran quietly called the name that no one knew about then lowered his arm and closed his eyes.
The end of time was approaching.