Volume 5 translation starts.
It had been a bustling capital city of the Velder Kingdom but it was now currently occupied by the demon army. Those that united to take this city back from the demons were the Velder Liberation Army.
Velder Liberation army’s command center.
“It’s been a while Sir Penensio.”
“I’m sorry for returning late Ms.Vanessa”
Vanessa who had been commanding the Velder defense forces and Penensio who just returned from Hamel greeted each other.
“Let me introduce you. These people are…..”
“That’s enough greetings. We met already anyways.”
Add cut off Penensio’s words then approached the strategy map and looked down at it.
“There’s almost no losses compared to before. Were there no engagements since then?”
“Yes, thanks to the court magician putting up the barrier, demons are unable to come out from Velder.”
So what Aisha said about taking care of the problem in Velder wasn’t a lie.
Add was deep in thought looking at the map when Vanessa looked at the other members and asked.
“You have one more person than last time.”
“Hello, my name is Chung. I decided to join the El Search Party and fight together with them. Nice to meet you.”
“Ah, could you be Hamel’s….”
Vanessa must have heard Chung’s name before and made a surprised expression. But Chung politely shook his head.
“You don’t have to treat me as Hamel’s lord right now. I just intend to help with liberating Velder as the member of the El Search Party.”
“Thank you for coming all this way to help.”
Vanessa thanked politely. Add who was observing snapped.
“How long are you going to greet each other? We should come up with a plan soon as possible.”
Vanessa looked troubled and trailed her words. Her gaze was directed towards behind Add’s back.
“Potato here tastes great as always.”
“Yea, it’s great.”
“Ara, don’t eat so hastily. You’ll choke. Here, have some water.”
“Aren’t you going to eat Big Brother Add?”
Add groaned after hearing the voices coming from behind him. They were the ones who were eating but for some reason it felt like he was the one who should apologize.
“……Foods during the trip weren’t very good.”
“I think it’s better for us to continue after a meal.”
Add shook his head when Penensio spoke and tried to leave.
“Let those guys eat. We’ll start right away with just us. Tell me everything starting with most recent developments.”
“Yes, then I’ll start. Since all of you left…..”
After hearing Vanessa’s explanation, Add organized only the key points.
“So there were no engagements but you sent some people inside to get intel. And according to the intel Elesis is staying put only in outer castle’s 3rd floor?”
“About captain Elesis….”
“I explained it to you already before. Don’t ask any further.”
Add spoke strongly to Penensio.
Add told him while returning from Hamel that they had to face off against Elesis in Velder, that for an unknown reason she sided with the demons.
“Alright, it’s time to finish things with Big Sis.”
Elsword deliciously swallowed his potato then clenched his fist.
Add noticed potato crumbs on Elsword’s mouth and frowned. He gestured towards Elsword with his finger telling him to wipe it.
“Hmm? Is there something on my face?”
I told him to clean up his mouth why is he rubbing his cheek? Add was about to say something when Eve took out her handkerchief and wiped Elsword’s mouth with it.
“Eat more carefully.”
“Ah, on my mouth. Thanks Eve.”
No, couldn’t she have just handed him the handkerchief? Why does she have to clean it up for him? Add glared at Elsword with a terrifying expression.
Seeing this, Ara quickly handed Add a steamed potato.
“Mr.Add was hungry too right? Here, eat up.”
His mind had been on edge from hunger and Elsword hit his nerves, then Ara couldn’t read the atmosphere and hit it again. He couldn’t tell if this place was a strategy meeting or a mealtime in some poor countryside.
Rena spoke just in time when Add was about to snap.
“You said Velder’s royal castle is composed of inner and outer castle right? And ruler of the outer castle is Elesis?”
“Yes, although she almost never shows herself.”
“I know the internal structures of the Velder castle. May I be of help in this plan?”
Rena’s hand was slightly pressing down on Add’s shoulder. Add who was about to get angry couldn’t help but to follow along with the conversation.
“If it’s about castle’s inner structure, wouldn’t the knights know as well?”
“Knights are not permanent residents of the castle. But I had a chance to stay there for couple of days.”
“Just as you said, we don’t actually know in all the detail about castle’s inner structures. And those who knew were….during the invasion.”
“I’m not sure as well.”
Just like Vanessa said, Velder defense forces were a group that fought enemies invading from the outside. They weren’t castle’s security guards.
Penensio also didn’t seem too interested in that department. Although they had sent spies inside, it had been too much for them to figure out the castle’s inner structures as well.
Thus, no one had known the castle’s inner structures too well. But a random unexpected person had known instead.
“…..How do you know?”
Add looked questionably at Rena and asked.
Actually, only architects would have been interested in the inner structure of a building that they didn’t even live in. According to Rena’s words, she an elf had a chance to spend her days in the royal castle?
“I stayed there couple of days with Raven before.”
“What? Do you mean….that Raven?”
“Leader of the Crow mercenaries?”
Penensio and Vanessa got shocked and asked Rena.
“Is he that famous?”
“Yes, I wouldn’t be standing here if it weren’t for his valiant actions during the 3 days rebellion.”
“He’s an outstandingly skilled individual. There’s almost no one that can match up to him in Elrios.”
Vanessa and Penensio looked like they couldn’t hide their excitement for a moment then suddenly became quiet. Add saw this and tilted his head.
At this point, shouldn’t they say that it would be great if someone that skilled participated in this liberation effort? Why do they have faces as if they’ve sinned?
“Hmm, that’s not true. Raven made up his mind now.”
Rena quietly shook his head. Vanessa looked like she wanted to say something more but Rena smiled and changed the topic.
It meant that this topic ended here.
“So I think I can be of some help in taking back the Velder royal castle.”
“…..I see. We’ll be thankful for your assistance.”
It was an unnatural end of conversation but Vanessa didn’t speak about it further. It was as if bringing up Raven was forbidden.
When the atmosphere turned awkward, Add lightly opened up the map.
“So, what are we going to from now on? You couldn’t be thinking that we should face them head on right?”
“Of course not. Our forces are too lacking.”
“Also, it’s not just captain Elesis. There are also reports of seeing Chloe and rumors of seeing other generals such as Karis and Ran.”
“So they are all bunched up.”
Add clicked his tongue as he looked down at the map then took a slight glance sideways. Ara’s face was calm despite how Ran’s name was mentioned.
“What’s wrong Mr.Add?”
Add snatched the potato that Ara was still holding out towards him chomped down on it. He had to take care of his hunger first if he wanted to think properly.
“Court magician told us that if we are successful in stopping the demon army’s process of turning the El in the throne room into a Dark El, most demons will lose their power and get banished back into the demon realm.”
He didn’t know if that was possible but if that purple magician had said so, then it won’t be a lie. In that case, they should obviously try to stop them from changing the El inside the inner castle into a Dark El. But demons should be guarded against this as well.
“Direct confrontation won’t work no matter what. Then we should….”
Add unconsciously dragged his words when he felt all their gazes focus on him. Penensio,Vanessa and the other El Search Party members were all waiting for his words.
Their gazes were as if they were anticipating the plan he will put forth.
Add spoke awkwardly after feeling his heart tickle strangely. Elsword spoke as if he understood.
“It’s the same plan we used in Elder.”
“We have to sneak into the castle, defeat the generals while evacuating the people right?”
“But will infiltrating into the enemy territory go so well?”
Ara nodded at Chung’s worry filled question.
“We’ll all go together so there’s no need to worry!”
“Ah, I see.”
Add pressed his palm down on his forehead at how the group was conversing energetically. Chung at least managed to bring up a sensible opinion……but he got caught up by what Ara said.
Since when did the El Search Party’s atmosphere turn like this? No, had it always been like this?
“I’m not done explaining. Listen up. There are couple problems we have to address. First is Elesis. We avoid fighting her much as possible, even if we must, we’ll face her very last. You all should know why already.”
“You don’t have to worry about me, Big Brother Add.”
“I’m not worrying about you. We have three main objectives, evacuating the civilians trapped inside the castle, stopping the enemy from turning the El into a Dark El and finally defeating the demons and liberating the royal castle. Depending on the situation, we’ll give up on the last objective.”
Eve questioned Add with a puzzled expression.
“I’m not saying we’ll give it up on it forever. I’m just saying that we should handle them separately. Just from the intel we already have, we have Ran, Karis, Chole and Elesis all together. We don’t know what else might be in there. Trying to defeat them all at once is reckless. We avoid engagement much as possible, and face Elesis if it’s absolutely necessary.”
“……I got it Big Brother.”
Elsword understood what Add said and nodded.
“But if it comes down to it…. Leave it to me.”
“I don’t know how things are going to turn out in there so I can’t make any promises.”
Add cut Elsword off then went back to the main topic.
“Second, the generals. Karis and Ran knows our faces. Getting found out by them will ruin the whole plan.”
“Yea, then we should disguise ourselves.”
“That’s right Mr.Add!”
Add became uncomfortable when Ara spoke while smiling brightly. The atmosphere became strange for some reason.
“We’ll have to use the same method we used in Elder.”
“Let’s prepare right away.”
“I’ll help much as I can too!”
What did they do…..in Elder again? A chill went down Add’s spine as he recalled.
“Chung, you should do it together too.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“……No. I’m never doing that again!”
Eve spoke calmly when Add shouted.
“It’s an effective disguise.”
He won’t cross-dress no matter what.
He managed to avoid cross-dressing after a desperate resistance. After finally getting a breather, Add exited the tent and looked around.
Atmosphere of the soldiers had become quite brighter. It’s probably because the Velder Knights joined up.
Add muttered then turned around abruptly after feeling a sudden presence. Rena had followed him without him realizing and playfully locked her arm with his while sending him a wink.
Add got surprised by the soft sensation he felt on his arm and pulled his arm out as if he just got burned.
“Ah, I just wanted take a stroll with you.”
“Just say what you came to say.”
“Hmm, so Add doesn’t want to take a stroll with me?”
Add put his hands in his pockets and ignored Rena’s sad looking face. He could now tell from a mile away that this was a prank and……
“Speak up already if this is about Raven.”
He had a hunch what she wanted to talk about. When Rena made a troublesome smile, Add spoke again while looking up towards the night sky.
“Don’t say it if you don’t want to. I won’t question anything.”
“Yes, Add did never ask why Raven won’t regroup…..”
This was something Add had been always curious about. Rena and Raven had been traveling together since long before. She should have at least been curious at how there was no news from Raven for so long. But Rena had never shown such signs.
No matter what she was thinking.
“Add, you should have also figured out from the conversation before. You can’t say that Raven likes the Velder Kingdom. Raven lost everything because of the Velder Kingdom. More accurately, it was because of something a noble in the Velder Kingdom did….. But you should know well that it’s difficult for people to distinguish these.”
It felt as if Rena was choosing her words very carefully.
“I see, so what? Are you trying to say that Raven isn’t returning to the El Search Party because of his past? He’s not helping because he has a grudge against the Velder Kingdom?”
Add turned his head to glare at Rena.
“You know very well that isn’t true.”
“Stop trying to sound out my thoughts when you’re already decided. You are trying to convince me while knowing already that’s not the case. You want to tell me that Raven isn’t like that. That he has some other circumstances preventing him from regrouping. Don’t drag this on. It’s a waste of time.”
Add shook his head.
“I trust you.”
“I don’t know about that left arm Nasod but I’ll trust what you say. So stop worrying about useless things. You know about the castle’s inner structures and I’ll use that to turn this liberation operation into a victory.”
Add spoke stiffly at Rena who had a surprised expression.
“You don’t have to reveal everything. We will win this time and unite our strengths into one for that purpose. That’s enough.”
“Yea, you’re right.”
Rena smiled at Add’s words then nodded. Even though Add was the one who said it, he became somewhat embarrassed by it so he turned his gaze away while muttering.
He knew very well that Rena always spoke while caring and thinking deeply about others. He didn’t know what kind of words and feelings she shared with Raven that wasn’t here right now…… But she was probably trying to explain the situation to him because it could cause a problem in Raven regrouping in the future.
‘And it’s obvious that that left arm Nasod’s life story wouldn’t have been a good one…….’
Raven was a human with Nasod parts implanted into his body. There was no way he could have led a bright and lively life. He must have a twisted and dark past and that’s probably related to the Velder Kingdom.
The reason Rena hadn’t brought up Raven’s past before was because she thought it wasn’t something she should say. But she must have thought she couldn’t hide it from Add and the other search party members anymore since Raven’s name was mentioned during the strategy meeting.
……She was seriously too kind.
Add was thinking deeply but then got surprised from the sudden soft sensation. When Add was deep in thought, Rena had used this chance to lightly kiss his forehead.
“Looks like Add became able to care about others too. Thanks.”
But nothing came into Add’s ears because he was so flustered. He instinctively glared at Rena because of a sudden feeling that leapt up from his heart…. But Rena was just smiling beamingly.
He’ll be the strange one if he got angry at that smiling face.
“Never….do… something like this again.”
“But I do this to Eve and Ara all the time.”
“Don’t treat me the same. I’m….”
His voice shook the more he talked. When Add swallowed his words, Rena looked sorry as she lowered her head slightly in apology.
“Sorry. I’ll be careful next time. Then I’ll be going now. Let’s all have dinner together later.”
When Add didn’t answer, Rena apologized with an eye gesture again then went back inside the tent. Add looked down at his own feet while listening to Rena’s footsteps get further away then furiously scratched his head.
“…..What’s wrong with me?”
Wasn’t it just a light joke? Just like she said, it was something she did for Eve and Ara as well. It was a normal gesture she showed towards cute kids. Add didn’t accept it any differently either.
But separate from how his head understood it…. His heart throbbed and an emotion that was difficult to describe kept flowing up.
The name of that emotion was longing.
It was something that person often did for Add when he was young.
Add clenched his fists from the images that he felt like he could recall if he just closed his eyes.
He was almost there. He’ll liberate Velder and destroy the demons’ schemes…… then everything will end after he steals Eve’s core in that absolutely greatest moment.
He just had to wait a little more to meet that person again.
When Add was raising his head after suppressing his surging emotions, he could hear footsteps from behind.
White hair that stood beside him, nine white tails that mocked the night breeze, she placed her hand on top of her eyes to look far towards Velder.
It was Eun.
“That place looks ominous just from a single glance.”
“…..Isn’t it a scene you’ve seen 20 million times already?”
“There has been not too many cases where boy has reached this far. It’s a new record this time. Since you arrived here without losing anyone in the El Search Party.”
Eun replied slyly. Add scoffed.
“Is that so? Then how many times have I reached here so far?”
“Do you really want to know? Then I’ll count it for you.”
“Let’s see, hmm……”
When it seemed like she really was counting, Add waved his hand to activate the Dynamos then fired an electric current. But soon as the Dynamo activated, Eun had already performed a back somersault to dodge.
“Attacking without saying anything? how cruel, boy.”
“Be glad that I didn’t kill you.”
“Ara will die as well if you kill me. So boy cannot kill me. Aren’t I right?”
Add glared at Eun coldly. Eun was smiling seductively but to Add she looked more evil than any other demon.
Eun hid the fact that Add had time traveled countless times, and also the fact that he lost these memories.
“That’s not the reason I’m leaving you alone right now.”
“So it’s not because of Ara? Then what’s your reason? Could it be that you’ve fallen for me, boy?”
“I don’t know what your goal is. And even if you tell me…..I can’t trust that it’s the truth.”
Eun’s smile disappeared.
“But my goal is clear. I don’t know why I failed countless times before…. But it’s different this time. I’ll create a different result.”
“……..Is that so?”
“Yes, I’ll make use of you and your powers to achieve my goal. If you manipulated me for your own goals, then I’ll also manipulate you for my goals as well.”
It was a haughty declaration. But Eun didn’t object to it.
“That’s rather a good spirit even after finding out the truth, boy.”
“Don’t mock me.”
It wasn’t that he was not enraged at Eun. But it was also true that Eun treasured Ara and she was lending her powers to Add for that reason. Also, Add couldn’t distance himself from Eun for the sake of time traveling.
Even though she had hidden the truth of 20 million failures from him, this wasn’t the time to nitpick about that.
As Add glared at the Velder royal castle far off the distance, Eun stood beside him and whispered quietly.
“I’m honestly praising you. You rightfully deserve praise for challenging again despite knowing that you failed horrible amount of times. I should praise you…..since I’m the only one in the world who knows boy is trying so desperately…..”
Eun smiled at Add’s hateful gaze.
“Then, shall we start? This final battle where we sing out our despair.”
Foxed declared while looking at the night, at the darkness.
“In order to jump over the end of time.”
The 2nd Velder liberation attempt started.