Chapter 4 complete
Okay I miscalculated and couldn’t finish chapter 5.
Chapter 5 in itself is around hour of work but I do skim over the entire volume to do checkup whenever I finish a volume. So I thought I’ll post chapter 5 together with the full volume 4 pdf. (I’ll also post chapter 5 only in wordpress as well). Getting this done won’t take all week and I’ll probably post it earlier than next monday.
Think of chapter 5 as an epilogue.
After entering the Temple of Water, the El Search Party advanced slowly while carefully scanning the temple’s inner structure. They had expected it to be crawling with demons since it was the enemy’s main base….. But unlike their expectations, they didn’t encounter too many demons.
It was around a Shadow Sniper or two appearing once in a while. They were cleaned up easily by Chung’s cannonball and Rena’s arrow.
“There are too little enemies.”
Add agreed with what Elsword and Eve were saying. They came heavily prepared because they obviously thought there would be a large scale battle. But disappointingly, only small fries appeared once in a while.
“Let’s still be careful.”
At Rena’s words, the El Search Party advanced while still being on guard for traps. Add tried pondering in Karis and Ran’s perspectives to figure out what they were thinking but he couldn’t come to any conclusions.
Finally, a long tunnel ended and they arrived at a wide open hall. Just when the El Search Party members were about to breathe a sigh of relief….. Rena aimed her bow forwards.
“Someone is coming.”
Just as she said, they could hear footsteps approaching. They were quiet footsteps but this hall was so silent that the sound of footsteps rang out loudly.
This was enemy territory. Anyone they encounter here would obviously be their enemy.
Just when the El Search Party were preparing for battle….. Rena suddenly lowered her bow.
“It’s alright everyone.”
“What do you mean?”
Add couldn’t understand what she meant and asked. He then figured out what Rena meant when he looked at the figure that appeared around the corner.
The one who was walking across the hall towards them was Ara.
“Big Sister Ara!”
Elsword tried to quickly run up to Ara but Eve grabbed his collar to stop him. Add also frowned and examined Ara’s condition. Ara wasn’t wearing her usual clothes and was wearing attire similar to Ran instead.
Most of all, there were horns on her head.
“……Is she a demon?”
Add couldn’t deny the words Chung said in shock. Elsword also noticed the horns on Ara’s head and stopped.
The El Search Party didn’t let down their guard because they couldn’t tell if this was the real Ara. Ara must have realized this too and stopped her steps 10 meters away from the group.
“Hello everyone, have you been well?”
The way she bowed politely to greet them. Add sensed that this Ara wasn’t fake so he replied bluntly.
“I can’t say that I’ve been well. What’s with that getup?”
Ara seemed to hesitate then bit her lower lips. She shook her head then made an eye contact with each of the El Search Party members. She then opened her mouth heavily.
“I’m sorry everyone, but please go back.”
“Big Sister Ara?”
Add and Elsword reacted as if they couldn’t understand. Rena frowned lightly then raised her bow.
“She must be brainwashed……”
“No! It’s not something like that!!”
Ara sorrowfully shook her head. The El Search Party closed their mouths after realizing from her voice that she was being honest.
“I’m sorry. But please go back….”
“Explain it in a way we can understand. Although I’m sure such explanation doesn’t exist.”
Even while scolding, Add was seeing through how this situation was turning out. One of the suggestions he gave to Elsword when he was lost and wavering, betray the humans and remain beside Elesis.
Ara had chosen the measure that Elsword refused.
“Elder Brother Aren…….said he won’t harm any more people if I stay here. So…..”
“So you’re telling us to turn back and leave?”
At Chung’s question, Ara bit her lips with a pained expression. This reproach especially from Chung should be very painful for her.
When Ara didn’t answer, Chung looked towards Add. It meant that he will leave the decision up to Add. He was keeping the promise he made before they came here.
“So you’re telling us that, I’ll live here happily ever after together with Ran so please go back?”
Ara didn’t answer but that was basically the answer. Add snorted as if to tell Ara to listen up.
“Don’t make me laugh. We’re not here to get you. We’re here to defeat that eyesore of a demon and drag you back if we have some leftover time. We’re not here to ask for your opinion.”
“But Mr.Add……you should know why I’m doing this!”
Her voice filled with blame. Add did understand what Ara was thinking. The future where the El Search Party was annihilated by Ran, Ara had seen this already and was trying to prevent it.
Yes, he at least understood that feeling. Add had been the same as well.
“You’re not making any sense. That’s something I’ll take care of on my own. Your petty resolve isn’t going to change my methods, you idiot.”
In a rare moment, anger rose up in Ara’s face. But she immediately made a face as if she was repenting then shook her head.
“No matter what you say, I cannot let you pass.”
“Then we’ll go through you.”
Eve spoke as she stepped forward then stared straightly at Ara.
“Ara Haan, we are here to bring you back. We’ll bring you back even if you refuse. And while we’re here, we’re going to punish Ran who’s been doing bad things.”
It probably wasn’t intentional but what Eve just said right now was cute. Add forcefully put strength on his lips so they wouldn’t curve upwards.
“So stand aside, you can stay back if it’s difficult for you to point your spear against Ran.”
“……Even if it’s Ms.Eve or Mr.Add, I cannot back away from here. No matter what.”
As if she already made up her mind, Ara was grabbing her spear tightly and steadying her breath. She was determined to not stand aside.
As if responding to her resolve, shadow under Ara’s feet looked like it was getting longer then stood on its own two legs. This dark shadow didn’t have any facial features…..but its outline was exactly the same as Ara.
“…….Did she make a clone of herself using her shadow?”
It wasn’t an ability that Ara had before. Just when Add became alert as was thinking of a way to counter it….. A clear voice rang across the Temple of Water.
“We’re not done talking, Ara Haan.”
Eve shook her head as she approached Ara. She was completely defenceless, she walked forward confidently with her back straight as if she will let herself be hit if Ara stabbed with her spear. Add got surprised by this and quickly stuck close to her.
He didn’t know what Eve was thinking but he had to stop her if it became necessary. Just when Add was preparing to activate dimension distortion just in case, Eve stopped at a distance where Ara’s spear would reach.
“It’s pointless for us to fight.”
“……I cannot let you all pass through here.”
Ara spoke depressingly but didn’t withdraw her spear.
“Why? I heard that in the first place, you were traveling with us in order to meet with Ran and turn him back into Aren. Why did you give up on that goal?”
Ara couldn’t continue her words because Eve hit the mark. Give up, that’s right. She knew also that this was giving up.
This right now wasn’t the righteous path.
“……I cannot say.”
“Why can’t you?”
Tip of Ara’s spear shook when Eve asked calmly.
How Ran had harmed innocent people, Chung’s resentment, possibility of the future she’s been seeing…… Everything was intermingling complicatedly that she couldn’t organize them.
“If I’m not sufficient enough to talk about this, how about you talk with somebody else? Rena, will you talk with Ara Haan instead of me?”
“I think it’s better for you to continue talking Eve.”
“Is that so?”
Rena was thinking of leaving this to Eve since she was being so assertive about it. Eve nodded then turned her gaze back to Ara.
“Why are you trying to stop us from meeting Ran?”
“That’s because all of you……”
Ara shook thinly then continued her words with much difficulty.
“Cannot beat Elder Brother.”
“Do you really think so?”
Her foresight ability was active even in this moment. How Add was preparing for a dimension distortion, how Chung was alert trying to jump in and defend Eve if it became necessary. She could see everything as if they were all on top of her palm.
And this amazing power……was telling her what would happen if Ran and the El Search Party confronted each other.
“You think that we’ll lose when we fight Ran. That’s why you’re stopping us. Am I right Ara Haan?”
“……Yes, that’s right.”
No one joined in between Eve and Ara’s conversation. While everyone was watching, Eve took one more step forward.
Eve was now within the range of Ara’s spear. Ara who had been extremely alert instinctively tried to move her spear but realized who the target was and barely managed to stop. Eve asked coldly towards Ara who was letting out a sigh of relief.
“Why do you think that we’ll lose when we fight?”
“……Because you people are weak.”
It wasn’t something she wanted to say. The El Search Party that Ara had spent her days together with wasn’t weak at all. Rather, they were an ideal group that covered for each other’s weaknesses and fought together by joining their strengths.
It was enjoyable to fight together with them.
It was great to see Elsword become stronger day by day and Eve’s on point support was dependable. How Rena cleaned up everything with just a single arrow was beautiful and plans that Add put forth were marvellous.
She was happy that she could fight in their front line.
She could just a couple days ago……. But now she couldn’t. While barely holding back the tears welling up in her eyes, Ara shook her head heavily.
“No, that’s not true. You people aren’t weak. Elder Brother is too strong. He’s too powerful…..”
“No, I’m actually weak.”
Ara’s eyes widened at these unexpected words. But Eve was speaking with a tone as if she was analyzing herself realistically.
“My role in the El Search Party is supporting with mid-range firepower. But everyone should already know that I lack firepower.”
“T, that’s not true! Ms.Eve had always fought very well!”
“Thank you for those words but that’s not an objective evaluation. I’m weak.”
Add agreed internally to Eve’s calm words. Well actually….you couldn’t say that Eve was strong. Her completeness as a Nasod was best ever in the history but that didn’t mean she was the strongest Nasod.
It was more along the lines of she fought well despite not being a combat purpose Nasod.
“But that’s not the issue here.”
“We fought regardless, there were times when we won and times when we lost. Our fight with Karis before was actually a loss as well. Since we lost you.”
Ara was flustered and couldn’t answer. Eve opened her eyes then continued her words.
“If we lost this time, we just have to win next time. I think that’s a good phrase.”
Add scratched his head. He felt embarrassed for some reason.
“We lost last time so we came to win this time. So will you assist us Ara Haan?”
Ara stared blankly at the hand Eve held out towards her. Her shadow clone had disappeared before she realized. Eve had her hand held out towards her and waited silently.
Ara who had been entranced by that hand came to her senses late then shook her head.
“No, you can’t. Ms.Eve, I can see already. If you fight Elder Brother, all of you will certainly be…..”
“I’m asking you to help us so it won’t turn out like that.”
Ara’s gaze shook. She was anxiously looking at the hand Eve held out towards her. However, just when she was about to open her mouth…… a laugh filled with void suddenly rang across the hall.
“……Be careful!! Ms.Eve!”
Ara immediately threw her body to push Eve away. Add who had been standing ready behind her caught Eve as she suddenly flew into him. But he couldn’t withstand her weight and got pushed back far. But he didn’t have any time to think about Eve’s weight.
Since with a swipe of sword aura, a dark skinned demon appeared in the place where Eve had been standing.
Chung instantly fired a cannonball but when Ran held up his hand, a dark shadow rose up to become a barrier than guarded his surroundings. An intense explosion was created but not even a single hair of Ran was scathed. When Ran swung his sword to respond, the shadow rushed towards Chung and caused an explosion on impact.
It was such a fast counter attack that Chung gave up dodging and defended by raising his Destroyer. He managed to block it but it was quite a powerful attack that it pushed his body back far.
Ran snorted after displaying to Chung who was superior with a single exchange of offense and defense.
“You are Helputt’s son? Your skills are lacking compared to your father.”
“Elder Brother! I said I’ll handle this. Why did you come out?!”
“I got bored while waiting for things to end……”
Ran raised his sword and murmured in a hazy voice.
“I’m going to erase you all.”
“……Everyone, get ready for battle!”
The El Search Party’s fight for Ara started with Add and Elsword’s shout.
Karis was nowhere to be seen. Then the battle was 1 vs many, they had a chance if they stormed him with Elsword at the front!!
While thinking this, Add was about to fire a Void Impact but noticed an abnormally and yelled quickly.
“I got it!”
Rena also noticed the abnormally and quickly changed the direction of her bow. Shadow under Ran’s feet looked like it was squirming then rose up all of a sudden to take the shape of a giant shadow demon.
Shadow Master had been created from Ran’s shadow. Not just one, but 3 of them.
“I’m really getting sick of these guys now!”
Add quickly fired a Void Impact at the Shadow Master while giving instructions.
“Elsword! Take Ran just for a bit!”
Ran made a tired smile when Elsword charged at him.
“……Flame chosen by the El? Well, everything is ending already. It will be fine to kill you.”
Elsword didn’t give ear to Ran’s words and swung his sword widely to aim for Ran’s shoulder. But Ran narrowed his eyes then swung his sword to block Elsword’s strike. He then swung once again multiple times faster than before to cut across Elsword’s chest.
Elsword instinctively sensed the incoming danger and pulled out his body to avoid the incoming second attack. He managed to avoid fatal injury, but severe amount of blood was dripping from the cut across his chest…… He would have fallen if he had dodged even slightly later.
Elsword was shaking even now. It looked like he won’t be able to defend properly if Ran attacked again.
“Don’t break formation Eve! I’ll go!”
Eve who was swinging a whip against two Shadow Masters noticed Elsword’s danger and tried to join in. Add shouted to stop her then quickly tried to approach Elsword on his Dynamos…….. But Chung’s sudden attack was faster.
Chung jumped with his Destroyer in front of him then tried to smash down. But Ran smiled as he slightly moved out of the attack’s radius. At Ran’s movement that looked like it was mocking him, Chung clenched his teeth then tried to charge at Ran again by holding the Destroyer in front of him. But for some reason he stopped and took a guarding position.
“You’re not attacking son of Helputt?”
Chung only groaned in vexation and didn’t charge at Ran. If he charged in, Elsword who haven’t managed to recover yet will become defenceless. Seeing that Chung was firmly guarding his position, Ran made a vague smile as he positioned his sword.
“Then shall I attack instead?”
Chung and Ran’s were confronting each other for a short while. Add arrived at Elsword using this moment and quickly examined Elsword’s condition. Thankfully, Elsword was getting up on his own strength. Even though he was bleeding, he wasn’t injured to the point where he couldn’t continue to fight.
Elsword quickly grabbed the potion Add threw at him then put in on his chest wound. He then held his sword firmly with two hands again. He almost died just now but the fighting spirit in his eyes hasn’t dwindled even a bit.
“Ran, he’s really strong.”
“He’s still weaker than Elesis.”
“You think so too right?”
No matter how strong he was, he was still weaker than Elesis.
Elsword was about to rush in again after gaining his confidence. Then a sound of metal creaking was heard as Chung came sliding backwards and stopped right in front of them. Chung had managed to block Ran’s entire flurry of strikes but he got pushed back due to the sheer power of the attacks.
“Mr.Add, what should we do now?”
“This is unexpected. You’re not suggesting that we attack him head on?”
“I made a promise after all. Also……it’s frustrating but he’s not an opponent that can be beaten so easily.”
Chung was calmly putting aside the burning rage inside him. Add read his will and grinned. He was a quite a decent guy for manipulating.
“Alright, then shall we go shatter that stupid demon’s horn?”
“I have to go in front right?”
“No, approach slowly with me. Chung, stand ready then bombard him. You’ll be able to tell the timing on your own.”
Add patted Elsword’s back as they both headed towards Ran. Rena and Eve couldn’t move from their positions because they were facing the Shadow Masters and minions they spawned. Ara was far away at a loss for what she should do.
“Do you remember what Ara did when we first met Chung? This is the applied version.”
“What? What do you mean?”
He’s not getting it even when the plan was explained for him. Add sighed then spoke simply.
“Just go cut him down when I tell you to.”
“Alright, got it.”
Elsword would have normally rushed in but now he was following Add’s lead and was slowly approaching Ran.
Closing the distance this slowly when a fierce battle was occurring around them was something that tested their patience…… It even made Ran frown.
“You’re acting too leisurely.”
As Ran said this, shadow beneath him shook again and two more Shadow Masters appeared. Now there were total of five Shadow Masters, there were too much for Eve and Rena to handle.
Shadow Masters could continue to appear long as Ran was still standing. They would obviously want to try and take Ran down quick as possible. But even though Rena and Eve were getting pushed back, Add and Elsword had their feet planted firmly on the ground and were approaching as if they were slowly sliding across.
“…..I don’t know what you’re thinking but.”
Ran dashed in gracefully as if he was skating on ice. Swift sword strike, it was too much for Elsword who fell behind in speed to handle directly.
Just when Ran was rushing in to cut both of them down at once, Add smiled in satisfaction.
“Well, that was easy.”
Clank!! Dimensional distortion barrier Add had calculated beforehand activated. Dimensional distortion barrier had the effects to reduce physical shock and it could be used to protect allies. But it wasn’t invincible. It got shattered from Elesis’ Blood Cutter and Karis’ Death Strike.
While it had a very impressive defensive ability, it wasn’t very useful against general class enemies……- who said that was true?
With a shattering sound, Ran’s sword got deflected up from the dimension distortion barrier that appeared all of a sudden. The barrier got shattered a bit but it didn’t break just from a single hit!
Add grinned in satisfaction at how things went as he planned.
Elsword knew what he had to do the moment when the dimension distortion barrier came up. The frustration that he felt back then when he couldn’t do anything but to watch Ara get arrested, Elsword put this emotion in his sword as he kicked the ground with full strength and dashed towards Ran.
The dimensional distortion barrier…… didn’t have any feature to prevent people inside from leaving.
After getting his attack blocked and deflected by a strange barrier then seeing Elsword using this chance to rush towards him, Ran tried to quickly turn his sword around. But Elsword’s actions were faster this time!!
Blood splattered with a sound of flesh tearing. Elsword’s strike cut across Ran’s side and caused a critical damage. Even while injured, Ran quickly held up his sword and blocked Elsword’s continued attacks. But in that moment, Add who withdrew the dimension distortion barrier fired a Void Impact.
Ran turned his head to dodge the Void Impact but he couldn’t stop his horn from getting shattered. Rage rose up in Ran face which had been filled with confidence before. Ran quickly created a wall of shadow to block Elsword’s attack then backed off to collect his breath.
When Ran pressed his hand on his side, shadow started to fill Ran’s wounds. But in that moment, Chung who had been standing ready raided him with cannonballs.
Cannonballs didn’t end with just one shot and continued to explode on him. Ran was trying to focus on recovering so he made a painful groan as he curled his body up to minimize the damage.
“Don’t give him any room! Elsword and I will finish this!!”
This was a great opportunity, they’ll storm Ran and crush him while he’s in a disadvantage. Add instructed Elsword to run at Ran as he rushed in as well.
Ara’s sharp warning was heard. Was this a warning about Ran? Or……..
Add’s brain immediately started analyzing but the prey in front was way too enticing to pass up. They couldn’t back out when the chance to capture the wounded lion was right in front of them!
In that moment, Ran opened his eyes wide then a magic circle was activated around him. Elsword and Add’s body as they were rushing in suddenly started to float up helplessly.
“Huh! What is this?!”
“……Oh, I forgot about this.”
Add recognized the skill late and tried to escape quickly but his body couldn’t move freely in this reverse-gravity state. Add gave up escaping and quickly calculated the space coordinates to create a dimension distortion barrier that covered both Elsword and him.
A frightening sound effect was heard. The trace Ran’s sword drew in the air tore the space apart as it made a horrifying sound. It felt like they heard a sound of paper tearing when Ran swung his sword, then the shock got transferred to the two that were inside the barrier.
Elsword and Add both fell backwards and rolled on the floor. They were safe only because the damage had been mitigated by the barrier. They would have died instantly otherwise.
Elsword and Add who fell and rolled on the floor immediately tried to stand back up. Their bodies were aching from the bruises but the fight wasn’t going to wait for them to recover. Chung came running to guard the two from Ran while they stood up.
Ran spoke in a sinister way after covering the wound on his side with shadows.
“You guys this time are pretty strong. But there’s no use. Everything will end soon.”
“I do not understand what you mean.”
There was a flash of light then long screams of Shadow Masters were heard. Eve was positioned behind Ran while pompously brushing back her hair.
Rena had gathered all of the Shadow Masters in one place then Eve had cleaned all five of them up at once. This would have been impossible for Eve from before. This firepower was possible because this was Eve who had been enhanced from awakening to Memory of Time and Space.
“We are not particularly interested in you. We’ll take Ara Haan back and defeat you while at it.”
“Is everyone alright?”
Rena put her hands on Add and Elsword’s shoulders as she asked worriedly. It must have been difficult to lure five Shadow Masters but Rena was only sweating a bit. Not a single strand of her hair was harmed.
“This is nothing!”
“Shall we end this?”
Add and Elsword straightened their backs and stood up. Eve from behind, the other Search Party members at the front, Ran was completely surrounded. Their fight up till now should have confirmed that the El Search Party’s firepower could easily stomp on Ran’s defenses plus the Shadow Masters he summoned.
Eve confirmed this fact then took a slight look behind her. Ara was looking at her with a deathly pale face.
“Don’t worry, Ara Haan. We’ll win.”
“No…….No! please don’t, Elder Brother!!”
Ara shook her head as she screamed deplorably. Search Party members got an ominous feeling from this and all looked towards Ran.
Ran was laughing as his shoulders shook.
“Yes, there should be this kind of turnout sometimes. But……”
While Ran was speaking incomprehensible words, his shadow stood up on its two legs. It was the technique Ara had shown before. Just when Add was about to order an attack…….the number of shadows increased.
From one to two, two to four, four to eight, eight to sixteen……
Rans’ clones continued to multiply. Add felt a chill from this and quickly opened up the dimension distortion barrier.
“Eve! You block on that side too!”
Ran’s cold voice rang out across the hall. Then his shadows also followed after him and shouted as well.
“Black….” “Black….” “Black….” “Black….” “Black….”
Soon as Ran swung his sword, demonic energy stretched out forwards and swept over Add and the other Search Party members. Add managed to block it because he already had the barrier up. But the problem was…… this wasn’t ending with just a single wave.
Demonic energy continued to strike. Add groaned after seeing the cracks slowly appear on the distortion barrier.
Although the El Search Party’s firepower could overwhelm Ran’s defenses plus his ability to summon minions, the opposite was true as well. Ran’s firepower could crush the El Search Party’s defenses!
“Mr.Add! Will you be okay?”
Chung quickly grabbed hold of Add and shouted. Add swallowed his scream as he shook his head.
It was a power that surpassed Death Strike. Not being able to see what was going on outside the dimension distortion barrier due to the continued waves of Black Destiny made him even more anxious. He couldn’t get a grasp on when this ceaseless storm of demonic energy would end.
Elsword and Rena must have realized Add’s thoughts as they stuck close together to reduce the distance between them much as they could. Thanks to this, the area Add had to defend with the distortion barrier decreased and took some burden off him…. But Black Destinies were continuing to strike.
How many clones were there again? Was it 32? What was this time…..was it the 20th one?
Just when Add was continuing to count in his head while clenching his teeth….. Just when larger and clearer cracks were starting to form on the dimension distortion barrier, the storm of Black Destinies finally ended.
Even though Add no longer had the strength to maintain the barrier, he still maintained it with sheer willpower as he examined the situation. Ran and his 32 clones were still there. Ran shook his head sorrowfully then sighed.
“Trying to challenge D with just this? Fools, I’ll end your lives right here.”
Ran remarked coldly then raised his sword again. 32 shadows followed after him and also prepared to swing their swords.
“Big Brother Add!”
“Don’t talk to me right now! I’ll block it somehow!!”
He seriously wanted to time travel if Eun came out right now. But Ara was at where Eve was and even if she was here, Eun would have intervened already if she wanted to. Eun was almost completely keeping herself out of this Hamel incident.
Asking her about why can come later, survival came first right now!
The problem was that Ran was still leisurely. He looked leisurely enough to do the same attack as before many more times. As if he wanted to prove Add’s worries, Ran shouted again while swinging his sword.
Ceaseless wave of demonic energy swept over the El Search Party again.
Eve quickly brought up the shield to block another attack from Ran. This power she obtained from awakening to Memory of Time and Space was much superior to Add’s dimension distortion barrier if you only counted its defensive capabilities.
It was an obvious result since in the first place, Add’s dimensional distortion barrier was intended for time travel. Physical defense was an additional feature.
Their positions were off. Add, Eve and all of the El Search Party members should have stayed all together so they could stack dimensional distortion barrier and Atomic Shield together. They were separated right now.
It was the repeat of the same mistake they made back during their fight with Karis.
“Ms.Eve! Please stop!! I’ll persuade Elder Brother to stop!”
When Eve opened up the Atomic Shield again, Ara behind her called desperately. But Eve firmly shook her head.
“It’s fine. This shield’s has an outstanding defensive capability.”
Unlike what she said, the shield shook and cracks formed on it every time waves of Black Destinies struck. Eve was preparing to open the Atomic Shield again while calculating the period that the waves were hitting.
“This isn’t the end of Elder Brother’s power! He can do much more than this!”
Eve paused after hearing what Ara shouted. It felt like Ara wasn’t wrong. Ran could probably bring out more copies of himself than this and could probably stomp down on the El Search Party using more powerful Black Destinies or some other skills.
Actually even the initial confrontation felt more like he got hit while going easy on them.
“So I beg you. Please stop this…..”
At Eve’s cold reply, Ara made a face as if she was about to cry. Unlike the dimension distortion barrier, Atomic Shield’s structure was so that people inside couldn’t go out without Eve’s permission.
After confirming the shield’s durability, Eve turned slightly to look back towards Ara.
“I don’t intend on repeating the same mistake from before. You went out last time saying you’ll bring Add back, and then did something else.”
Although it was to save Add, she submitted to Karis’ threats. Eve shook her head.
“I have no intention of handing you over to Ran.”
“…..Why? Why is Ms.Eve doing all of this for me?”
“I don’t know myself. No, it would be more correct expression to say I didn’t know.”
Eve spoke calmly then stretched out her hand to repair the Atomic Shield. At her order, Nasod machines flew up and quickly filled up the fissure on the shield.
“What is it that you wanted to do? Was it to stay here together with Ran forever?”
Ara couldn’t answer. She never wanted something like this. She just wanted to stop the terrible future of the El Search Party members dying while facing Ran.
A wave of Black Destiny struck again. Eve didn’t waver even for a bit even when the vicious tongue of demonic energy in front was trying to consume her.
“Elsword believed in me when I wanted to give up. So I’ll believe in you this time.”
“Why? Just why…. for me…..?”
“Why did you go outside of the shield to save Add?”
Eve added as if she just remembered.
“I know that it wasn’t because of male-female relationship.”
Ara’s face turned red even though this wasn’t the time for it. Eve didn’t mind Ara’s reaction and continued her words.
“When I woke up after hibernating for a long time, it was already after the Nasod Civilization had fallen. The name Nasod had been long forgotten and most people only treated them as stuff of legends.”
“I was alone. No, I made a mistake of thinking that I was alone. Elsword had been beside me all along, but I realized this too late.”
Her tone was as if she was regretting it quite a bit. Ara was surprised from Eve was talking like this that she just listened on with a blank expression.
“I don’t intend to be late this time.”
“I’ll say this because I think you’re misunderstanding. You’re not alone, Ara Haan. We have never fought alone. Whether we wanted to or not, we’ve always fought together. But why are you thinking that you have to fight by yourself right now?”
Strangely, there were emotions mixed into Eve’s voice. Ara realized that she was angry.
“The fight in Elder, the fight in Velder, we fought together in those as well. But why are you trying to fight by yourself?”
Because the issue with Ran was something she had to settle by herself. Also, because she absolutely didn’t want to see the other Search Party members get killed by Ran.
“Why won’t you believe in us? When I was filled with sense of helplessness in front of that giant Shadow, the one who believed I could defeat it was you. Then how come you won’t believe in us? Do you give up already because you think we’ll lose?”
Ara’s eyes became wet from Eve’s words that were filled with resentment. Eve must have thought she spoke too much so she caught her breath.
It was such a human like action.
“I request you, Ara Haan. Please believe in us. And also fight together with us. We will win here. We’ll win…..then go back to Velder and fight Elesis one more time.”
“So be together with us in that fight as well. Because we have always been together, because we’re…….”
Eve hesitated for a while as if she didn’t know which word to choose then finally finished her words.
Tears welled up in Ara’s eyes soon as she heard those words.
All of her pent up emotions until now, the words she couldn’t say, pains she felt from power to look into the future, how she felt lost and stayed up many nights from not being able to find out what justice was, all of these disappeared as if snow was melting away…..then combined into one.
Ara was already grabbing her spear before she realized it. She grasped it tightly. She knew who she had to fight.
It felt like she knew what justice was.
Ceaseless wave of Black Destinies finally ended. When Ran steadied his breath and withdrew his sword, his clones also withdrew their swords as well. Dimension distortion barrier on Add’s side was completely shattered and Add was unconscious being held in Elsword’s arms.
Add had already been injured. He was only moving around by injecting anesthetic to himself to suppress his pain. He gave his all to block up till second wave Black Destiny. But he lost consciousness right after.
Atomic Shield on Eve’s side was still fine but it didn’t matter. It will get cleaned up with one more wave of Black Destiny.
In that moment, Atomic Shield got withdrawn then someone stepped forwards. Ran raised his eyebrows to see that it was Ara.
She’ll probably beg him to spare the El Search Party. But Ran didn’t intend to listen anymore.
Ran nodded slowly as he held his sword horizontally. He was about to deny right away then use Black Destiny one more time to finish this at once.
“I’m sorry, but I’ll…..take you down Elder Brother.”
“…..Nonsense. You should know the result of this fight already.”
“Yes, even so…… I figured it out now.”
Ara nodded. Even at this moment Ara could see into the future due to the foresight ability.
The El Search Party will get annihilated if Ran fires Black Destiny one more time.
“I was afraid to fight you Elder Brother. No, I didn’t want to harm you. It was also because my strength was lacking. But even if my strength was enough, my goal was to turn you back into Elder Brother Aren.”
“No matter how much evil you committed, no matter how many people you have harmed……you were still my Elder Brother. I thought that it couldn’t be helped because you have done all these horrible things while you were a demon. I thought that at least I should be by your side.”
Ara shook her head then collected her breath. She steadied her posture then aimed her spear at the enemy.
“But not anymore. You are not my Elder Brother. Elder Brother I know isn’t like this.”
“How selfish. For younger sister to try and define her older brother.”
“No! Actually, it doesn’t matter if you are Elder Brother or not!”
Ara put strength in her hands as she shouted confidently.
“Slaying evil in the name of justice is the martial artist’s duty! Even if it’s Elder Brother, I’ll defeat you if you’ve become corrupted and evil.”
“Is that the answer you’ve found? Even if it’s me, you’ll slay me if I’m evil?”
“I want to turn Elder Brother back. But if Elder Brother refuses, and if you try to commit any more evil to this world, then I’ll stop you with everything I have! I won’t let you harm the others!”
Ran nodded then drew his sword in the air. It was difficult to control the damage output for Black Destiny. He had to deal with this directly.
“Then come at me. I’ll show you what true despair is.”
“Back when I was a human, was there ever a time when you beat me?”
With Ran’s cold smile, his clones charged at Ara. Ara also concentrated to call out her own clones but there were only 2. They weren’t capable of handling Ran’s 32 copies.
Ara held her spear in long reach then rotated around widely, she launched all of Ran’s clones away with a Full Moon Slash. But Ran came rushing through the copies that were flying away.
What a terrifying speed! He was much faster than Ara!
Ara quickly somersaulted to dodge but Ran didn’t stop his offense. Not only that, but the clones that went flying also landed and all charged at Ara.
In that moment, Eve threw her body into the fight as she dispersed metal shards around her to launch all the clones away. For Eve who didn’t specialize in close quarter combat to step in front…..? Ara screamed.
“Stay focused, Ara Haan!”
Then Rena’s voice rang out as sound of arrows flying and explosions were heard. Rena and Chung started assisting Eve to sweep through Ran’s clones.
Elsword takes care of Add who was unconscious while anyone who could still move fights!!
Thanks to the others, Ara was able to focus only on Ran and his clones directly nearby. Ara sent her own shadow clones forwards then clashed weapons directly with Ran.
Sparks flew in the air as the spear art of the Haan family and the sword art of the one who was once a Haan family mingled together.
“Your skills improved quite a bit. But you’re still too slow!”
Ara couldn’t withstand Ran’s continuous attacks and got pushed back. She couldn’t let her guard down even for a moment because Ran was relentlessly pouring in chained strikes. She was raising her spear to block and turning her body to dodge, but her hair got cut and blood sprayed from her skin getting grazed every time she defended.
Such strong and fierce attacks, it didn’t look like she could win no matter what. Not only that, the enemy was her beloved Elder Brother. It would be strange if her resolve didn’t waver.
“Ara, hang on just a bit longer!”
“We’ll come to assist you right away!”
Her friends that were facing Ran’s clones were shouting at her. Stay strong just a bit longer, that they’ll come and help if she brought out just a bit more courage.
Ara who was blocking Ran’s fierce attacks suddenly kicked the wall then jumped in a triangular formation in the air. Then she fell down on top of Ran while swinging her spear widely. Ran seemed slightly surprised by this bold attack aiming for his head, but blocked it by stepping backwards.
Ara even gave up breathing to charge in and stabbed continuously without a moment of rest, but Ran calmly blocked everything as if her attacks were too slow. He then finally swung his sword widely to throw Ara back.
Ran was superior both in speed and strength. Ara wasn’t a match for him in close quarters. But Ara’s speciality was close quarters combat. Her chances became even lower in a ranged combat.
“I’ll spare at least one of them if you surrender now.”
“No, we’ll all go back together.”
Ara who was panting immediately shook her head to refuse. Ran shook his head as if he couldn’t understand.
“Why are you so desperate? You should know already that your strength is lacking. The result of this fight won’t change. The future is already decided and the time will end.”
She could finally understand why Eve was angry and why everyone came all the way here. She wasn’t able to clearly describe what this feeling was in words before, but she could say it now.
“Because my friends are with me.”
“Life and death is the path of warriors! I’ll move forwards by fighting together with my friends! No matter what kind of future awaits! Even if it turns out to be the path where I have to slay Elder Brother!”
“I see. Then I’ll…..end you here as well.”
Ran seemed to have given up persuading because he held his sword straight. Ara tried to internally call Eun but shook her head right away. She couldn’t win in her state right now. Not even Eun’s Celestial Fox state, not even this form where she was wearing her heart’s shadow was match for Ran.
This from was the shadow? Ara unknowingly looked down at her feet. She then looked up at the ceiling. Temple of Water’s ceiling had gotten shattered from the battle and light was coming in through the gap to create her shadow.
It was a brilliant sunlight.
It felt like she could figure something out. Ara thought as she fixed the grip on her spear.
Shadow wouldn’t do. She wanted to win as herself. She needed power. She needed greater power in order to move forwards with her friends.
Great light was required to create a great shadow. Then what was that light?
Ara stared for a moment at the people that were battling Ran’s clones. Smile unknowingly got drawn on her face.
She finally knew. Why she had been so lost, why it had been so difficult.
It was because she had people she wanted to be together with but it seemed as if she couldn’t be together with them anymore. She had been so scared of that happening. She had been so fearful, so worried that she hid, got disheartened and struggled to figure out what she should do.
She had been scared to lose this precious light she managed to find.
“…..It’s just like what Mr.Add said. I’m an idiot.”
“It’s just like what Ms.Eve said.”
Ara closed her eyes. Ran’s blade was in front of her but she wasn’t afraid.
She thought she was alone but she wasn’t. Everyone came running for her to prove this.
Her heart felt hot. Her heart was beating loudly to forewarn her of change. But she wasn’t scared. Even though her eyes had been closed…… she could feel a radiant light in front of her eyes.
The El Aisha gave to Ara, the Memory of Time and Space was floating in front of her.
“Here I go.”
Ara let out a low shout as she grabbed the Memory of Time and Space. Her palms heated up as if they were burning as the light enveloped her body. Ara closed her eyes as the orange pillar of light burst through the ceiling.
She wanted to win.
Together with everyone.
The battle paused due to the giant pillar of light that blew away the Temple of Water’s ceiling entirely. Eve, Rena, Chung and Elsword who were facing Ran’s clones also looked towards the pillar of light.
Tearing through the pillar of light with her spear, Ara walked out. Horns on her head and the attire that looked like Ran was gone.
Ara with a more mature impression than before inhaled lightly as she stared at Ran.
“Prepare yourself, Elder Brother!”
Ran frowned at Ara’s changed appearance then held his sword horizontally. Stance to make a wide slash, all of the Haan family’s spear art was in Ran’s head already.
The core to Haan Family’s martial arts was speed. They were all based on swiftness. The key was to arrive faster than your enemy even if you started late. No matter how fast of an attack Ara uses, Ran will cut her down faster than that.
But soon as Ara kicked the ground…..all of these suppositions became useless.
Ara’s form disappeared. No, she didn’t disappear…… it looked like she disappeared because she was so fast! Ran felt a chill so he quickly summoned clones around him….. But Ara’s spear flashed by even faster.
Ran’s clones dropped on the ground like leaves before the wind with each flash of Ara’s spear.
Ran realized what was going on in this short moment where he didn’t even have any time to speak.
Ara had compressed all of her body’s energy into her legs and was using her foresight ability up to its limits……She was attacking by reading her enemy’s attacks and movements beforehand.
Currently, her speed had surpassed swiftness and became god speed(神速)!
After cutting down all of Ran’s clones in a short time that lasted less than 1 second, Ara grabbed her spear in short reach and stabbed. But Ran desperately managed to raise his sword to barely block the tip of Ara’s spear.
Ara got surprised and panted when her final attack was blocked. Judging by the sweat on her forehead, this skill wasn’t something one could use lightly.
“Pinnacle of spear arts, Flying Kite. I thought it was a skill that existed only in ancient stories…….”
Ara didn’t answer as she tried to hold up her spear right away to stab. But Ran could see it coming now. Just when Ran was about to pull up a wall of shadow to block it…..
Space tore then Ran’s arm holding his sword got deflected to the side. When Ran opened his eyes widely to look…..Add was panting with his hand held out in Elsword’s arms.
Wasn’t he unconscious…..? No, was he aiming just for this chance?
Powerful foes including Ran had always blocked Add’s space attacks by nullifying it. At first glance, it looked like they were making light of it….. But if you thought of it other way around, it meant that it was an attack they had to watch out for by nullifying it no matter what.
Why? Because it’s an instant fatal injury if you get hit directly.
Add had calculated this…..so he had been waiting only for this single chance!
The arm with Ran’s sword rose up towards the air. In front of him was the blade of Ara’s spear. Ran tried to focus but Ara coming in with a shoulder blow was much faster than he could react.
Shoulder blow carrying her weight hit directly and broke Ran’s collarbone, then a spear swipe to cause a slashing wound in the abdomen, then a slash across Ran’s legs followed by a quick side kick!
It didn’t end there as Ara smashed her spear on the ground to shatter it then directly pushed in as she tore apart Ran’s shadow.
With his body in tatters from the continuous attacks, Ran had no choice but to get hit helplessly.
When Ara gathered the entire energy in her body then drew an arc with her spear…..stream of light got created as it cut through Ran’s body.
Ran’s body broke down before the spear of justice that tore apart time and space.
Ran was defeated. Ara withdrew her spear and gathered her breath. She then turned her gaze towards Add and bowed.
“Thank you for your help, Mr.Add!”
Add was about to say something to answer but coughed and shook his head.
It looked like he wanted to snap as usual…..but he couldn’t even say any words properly because his condition was very bad. After confirming that Elsword was helping Add stand up, Ara turned her gaze towards collapsed Ran.
“……What will you do now?”
Chung asked as he approached from behind. Ran was currently completely defenceless. This was a chance for Chung to take his revenge if he wanted. But he was giving Ara a chance to choose right now.
“I’ll turn Elder Brother back to human then have him atone for his sins all his life.”
Chung looked at Ran with a complicated expression and was about to continue his words…. Then he suddenly looked up towards the ceiling. Ara also followed his gaze to look up then got shocked as she quickly grabbed Chung and moved out of the way.
Giant armor fell down. Mysterious person that crushed the ground just from falling quickly grabbed Ran. Chung who saw the person’s red-black armor got surprised and shouted loudly.
Giant armor that was about turn around stopped. But he soon waved his hand to create a dimension gate.
“I’ll see you in Velder.”
Despite Chung’s call, man in giant armor took Ran and disappeared through the dimension gate.
It happened all too sudden. Only silence dwelled in the Temple of Water after Ran and the mysterious man disappeared so suddenly.
“Just what’s going on?”
“I, I’m not sure myself. Father was certainly was slashed by Ran’s sword while fighting him then fell down the cliff……”
Eve spoke calmly when Chung who fell into a state confusion couldn’t continue his words.
“Let’s first get out of here. We also have a patient.”
“…..Who’s a, patient…… cough.”
Add’s condition was quite bad. He coughed whenever he spoke, and blood flowed out of his mouth each time. He hadn’t even recovered from his previous injuries yet he overworked himself to protect the other Search Party members from Black Destiny’s explosions to the point where his body broke down in.
“We won, Add. So don’t overdo it anymore. If will be difficult to go into our next battle if your wounds get worse.”
Add pouted but didn’t say anything anymore. Ara who had been standing blankly suddenly got surprised then raised her hand.
“Uh, um we won right? What should we do now?”
“Should we try shouting? We wooooon~!”
It seemed Elsword wasn’t joking and he actually shouted loudly. Add who had to listen to Elsword shout from right beside him had had his eyes shut tightly as if he was being tortured.
Ara’s face as she was about to follow after Elsword suddenly turned dark. She then bowed towards the others.
“I’m sorry everyone. I troubled all of you…….all because of my stubbornness. I’ll make sure this won’t happen again so please let me……”
“Hey, Elsword. Cough. Aren’t you hungry?
“No, I’m actually full.”
Add made a face as if he wanted to punch Elsword. Rena smiled as she shook her head.
“Ara, you don’t have to apologize. Everyone is here because they wanted to.”
“Still, I’m at fault here.
“And it’s our fault for not realizing you were having such a hard time. So let’s just be careful from now on so something like this doesn’t happen again. That should be enough.”
When Rena spoke, Ara made a blank face then tears started dripping from her eyes. At how Ara was crying without a sound……everyone looked towards Eve.
“…..Why is everyone looking at me like that?”
Eve was startled by the silent pressure that fell upon her. Then Rena pushed Eve’s back and she ended up sticking close to Ara. Ara didn’t notice because she was crying so much.
With crying Ara in front of her, Eve made a troubled expression as she looked around at the others, but no one made eye contact with her.
“It’s fine, Ara Haan, no…… Ara. We just have to go forth together again.”
“Yes, yes. Thank you……”
“You don’t have to thank me. We’re……”
Nasod that was alone finally realized what she had wanted all along and why she was in this spot right now.
Eve spoke kindly as she embraced crying Ara close to comfort her.
“Friends after all.”