Chapter 1 complete
The day’s work was over. El Search Party earned the right to sleep inside the outer castle because they finished various jobs.
But because there weren’t enough guest rooms due to there being so many other workers, they ended up all sleeping in the same room. Lights out bell was heard and everyone rolled out their beds and lied down.
Soft moonlight came into the room as they all conversed naturally.
“Sleeping all together like this fun too.”
“You’re right it reminds me of the time when we camped out.”
“Want me to make a campfire in the middle?”
“You can’t light fire inside the building. Mr.Elsword.”
“Good work today everyone.”
It was a small room where everyone had to sleep head to head. It was a lodge without any proper beds but everyone looked like they were enjoying it.
Add clicked his tongue and changed the topic.
“Enough with the small talks. Spit out everything that you all found out today.”
“Chung and I talked with the other people while cleaning the storage. Everyone….praised Big Sister.”
Wouldn’t this guy praise Elesis saying it’s a magnificent sword skill even if Elesis destroyed the world?
When Add looked at Elsword with a dumfounded expression, Chung denied Add’s guess.
“They said the reason why there was no pillaging despite the demon takeover was because Ms.Elesis decided so. Also, she opened up the outer castle like this and took care of the citizens so that they are not discomforted. All of the Velder citizens working inside the outer castle were praising Ms.Elesis.”
“…..It felt like the fact that Big Sister was on the demons’ side wasn’t very important to people here.”
Elsword had a very complicated expression. Add read the worry in his voice and asked sharply.
“Don’t tell me you are thinking Elesis purposely sided with the demons for the sake of Velder’s citizens.”
Add asked just in case but judging from the no answer, he was right on the mark. Just how much does this kid admire Elesis?
“Don’t get any useless thoughts. No matter what Elesis is thinking, what we have to do doesn’t change.”
“I know. I won’t hesitate when we end up fighting.”
Even though Elsword would worry about the fact that Elesis was his enemy, he wouldn’t hesitate to let his sword do the talking. That was enough.
While Add was feeling satisfied, Ara butted in.
“Me too….no matter what Elder Brother’s reason is…..I’ll stop him no matter what!”
“I…also have to hear the answer from father. I won’t hesitate to fight.”
At the continued words from the group, Add felt dumfounded and spoke.
“Why are there so many people that have their family member on the enemy’s side?”
Eve called Add coldly at what he said without a thought. Add waved his hand while still lying down.
“I’m not blaming anyone. I just said so because I’m curious.”
“Maybe it’s destiny?”
Ara spoke hesitantly. Add focused his ears on what Ara was saying. Did she use the foresight ability again?
But that didn’t seem to be the case as Ara carefully continued her words.
“I don’t understand it too well, but it feels like it wasn’t a coincidence that I met and fought alongside all of you.”
“I think so too Big Sister Ara.”
“Yea, me too.”
“Actually, I also think so…..”
Add lightly taped the floor when even Chung embarrassedly spoke out.
“Don’t change the topic like this. I told you all to share the information you gathered. Why are you all derailing into idle talk?”
“I was able to grasp around half of the outer castle’s structure while cleaning today.”
“I already know that. Let’s take the window cleaning job again tomorrow if possible.
Window cleaning job was rigorous but it was useful. They could move about without attracting suspicions from demons. Thanks to this, they could easily scan the outer castle’s inner structures.
“So Rena, how did your meeting with Chloe go?”
Rena seemed to hesitate for a moment then continued her words.
“I think everyone should know after all.”
Everyone became dead silent and listened to Rena’s explanation. They had all fought back against the demon invasion but no one had known the exact reason why the demons did all of this.
“I thought Dark El was an ingredient that’s used to open dimension gates. Aren’t demons using dimension gates for this invasion? Why are they consuming Dark El when they came to secure more?”
Add suspected if this was a misinformation but Rena shook her head.
“I don’t think Chloe lied to me.”
“Demons never used dimension gates however they wished. Damage done to other cities and Hamel was great but they only used the dimension gate once. Now I can understand the reason behind it.”
Add nodded skeptically at Chung’s words. So demons can use dimension gates but they don’t use it unless it’s for something really important.
But that means…..
“Why are you looking at me like that Add?”
Why did they attack Eve by even investing in dimension gates? The reason why demons didn’t attack Eve again using dimension gates after Elder was understandable. They probably didn’t want to use any more Dark El.
But he couldn’t figure out why they went out of their way to expend even a little bit of Dark El to attack Eve. Of course there had been ambushes through dimension gates after Elder but they were all ambushes aimed at the El Search Party, not Eve alone.
There was a strange entanglement of information.
“I’m just organizing my thoughts. Anyways….”
“Then could it be that Elder Brother…..is also siding with the demons to protect the Demon Realm?”
“I don’t think my father is someone who’d do that.”
“If that’s what Big Sister wanted to do, she wouldn’t have done it this way.”
Ara, Chung and Elsword didn’t look too convinced either. But it didn’t seem like the information Rena brought was a lie either.
“This is important information but I don’t think we can make any conclusions yet. Let’s discuss this some other time.”
“Okay, I’ll continue talking with Chloe.”
“You might get found out if you get too close to her. Give it up.”
“It feels like I still have to talk with her some more.”
Rena probably means there was something she could gain from talking with Chloe despite the danger. Well, this is Rena so she should be able to handle herself. Add determined this then quietly stood up and put on his jacket.
“Where are you going?”
“I’ll go scout out their night security.”
Add brought in his Dynamos that were maintaining optical camouflage to hide the group’s weapon and clothes.
“You all go to sleep. I’ll go quietly by myself.”
“Ara, follow him.”
Eve spoke while ignoring Add’s words and Ara quickly got up from her spot.
Eve replied while not even looking back at Add’s dumbfounded gaze.
“You must be tired from the day’s work. Bring Ara with you just in case.”
“Just leave it to me, Mr.Add!”
Add’s head started to hurt after looking at Ara who was in high spirits.
“It’s not that important of a mission, I’ll go by myself…..”
“Then be careful Big Brother Add.”
“Contact us if you’re in danger. We’ll come to help.”
“Both of you be careful.”
……Just bringing her along will probably waste less time.
Outer castle at night.
Add carefully walked along the silent hallways. Even though the outer castle was using an appeasement policy on the citizens and provided food and shelter to the workers, they warned sternly to not walk around at night.
“Next corner will be dangerous.”
Add drew the royal castle’s internal structure he knew so far in his head and decided to take the long way around. Demons would also want to use minimal amount of manpower for their night security. That meant they had no choice but to make effective security lines.
Add saw through their security during the day’s examination so he could respond appropriately right now. Add went far around and tried to move up to the third floor. A worried voice came from behind him.
“Uuuuuu, it’s scarier because it’s so quiet.”
Should he ignore her? When Add continued walking as if he hadn’t heard anything, Ara asked nervously.
“Aren’t you scared Mr.Add?”
“Those that are on night patrol are probably only small fries.”
Add couldn’t ignore anymore so he answered bluntly. He alone should have been enough for night scouting but now he had an extra baggage because Ara followed unnecessarily.
There was no way a general or lieutenant would be on guard through the night.
“No, I…. I heard a ghost appears in the castle during the night.”
“Don’t get scared from something so stupid.”
Add criticised while frowning but worry didn’t leave Ara’s voice.
“Umm… all of the Ms.Dark Elves said they saw it.”
Were demons afraid of ghosts just like humans? Add also felt the chills but walked up the stairs leading to the 3rd floor as if he wasn’t fazed.
Elesis was supposed to stay in the 3rd floor. Add nervously scanned the area with the Dynamos but there were no life signatures.
“Wouldn’t Ms.Elesis be here?”
“I’m getting nothing. But we have to check thoroughly even if it will be dangerous. There’s two ways into the inner castle. First is to just boldly go through the main gate and second is using the overpass on the third floor.”
It was obvious but the first method will immediately draw attention. All of the demons’ attention will focus on them soon as they head toward the inner castle. Demons will find out that they are the El Search Party and they will instantly get swarmed. It was too dangerous.
But they had to risk running into Elesis if they wanted to use the third floor’s overpass. That’s why they came to scout it out beforehand. But there was nobody here.
“There’s no one here.”
Add didn’t answer saying that was the reason why it was strange. Placing Elesis in the 3rd floor which was the route into the inner castle was a proper decision….. But why was it completely empty?
Add stopped walking and thought deeply. Then he asked Ara.
“Do you still have those dreams?”
“No, I became able to control Lord Eun’s powers.”
Add haven’t talked to Eun ever since hearing that he failed for more than 20 million times until they arrived in Velder. Naturally, time he talked to Ara also decreased so this was the first time he asked her about this.
“It’s thanks to Mr.Add continuing to care for me. I’m sorry for causing so much trouble for you in Hamel.”
“Who was caring? What I meant just now was…..”
They could possibly use Ara’s foresight ability to find out if there’s some kind of trap in the 3rd floor. But Add closed his mouth in middle of his sentence.
Ara was looking at him seriously.
“I’ll fight with all I have to protect all of you even if Elder Brother is my enemy. I could make this decision thanks to Mr.Add, Ms.Eve and the others. Thank you.”
“……Stop saying useless things.”
“I wanted to thank you properly.”
Add scratched his head and abruptly turned his head away when Ara being shined by the moonlight thanked him while smiling.
“Stop with the nonsense. Just look ahead to see if there’s anything strange.”
Add scanned carefully as possible to figure out where Elesis was but he couldn’t catch anything even from Dynamo’s wide area scan.
“I can’t see that far out anymore. Lord Eun said I can only look at events short distances ahead.”
“Then…. say right away if there’s a danger as we walk.”
Eun had nonchalantly hidden information from Add….. But her affection towards Ara must be honest. Even if she hid information from Ara, that was probably for Ara’s sake.
‘Although she has a cruel side…..’
Was Eun ignoring Ara’s suffering in Hamel in order to awaken her to Memory of Time and Space?
Then why had Eun hidden the fact that Add’s memories were missing and why did she tell him now? Was there some kind of reason behind it?
It wasn’t the time to think too deeply about this. Add carefully headed to the overpass while being on guard.
He already knew there was nobody on the overpass because he scanned it. The inner castle across the stone bridge was uncomfortably quiet.
Darkness…..was waiting in there.
Add stopped right in front of the overpass after seeing the inner castle. Ara who had been following after Add’s footsteps stopped and asked confusedly. Add pressed on his head as his mind became more chaotic and let out a small cry in pain.
He felt uncomfortable and sick.
“Mr.Add, are you hurt somewhere?”
Add tried to shake Ara’s hand off when she held him worriedly but he didn’t have the strength to. He felt sick and his head spun dizzily soon as he thought deeply into the gap in his memory.
Just why did he lose his memories?
Did he go insane because he failed so many times? Well, 20 million was an unimaginably large number. He wouldn’t have any excuses if someone objectively called him insane.
There was a past that he couldn’t remember.
Well, this wasn’t something too unlikely. Humans weren’t very rational and reasonable creatures…… They could always rationalize and distort their own memories. Don’t they forget most of their memories as infants?
In order to forget something so horrible, it wasn’t impossible to rewrite one’s the memory of that time into blankness.
While sweating heavily, Add struggled not to throw up. Something tired to come up his throat even though he hadn’t eaten.
“Mr.Add, it’s okay. Stay calm.”
Ara spoke in a low voice while supporting Add who had no strength and couldn’t even stand properly from dizziness. Her face looked like if she was about to cry at any moment. It was as if she wanted to shout but was holding it in because this wasn’t the situation to.
“I’ll stay beside you.”
Add was drenched in sweat and panting. Then he saw Ara’s tear filled eyes looking at him and chuckled.
Ara from before would have gotten flustered from not knowing what to do. She was acting rather calm now. Did she grow up from Memory of Time and Space too?
“I’m good, let me go.”
“……Will you be okay?”
“To make you worry about me. How low I’ve fallen.”
Add muttered as he put strength in his knees. Cold sweat dripped down his back….but he now could stand on his own two feet. Ara finally let go of Add’s arm and stared worriedly. But Add ignored her and stood up straight.
He still felt sick but didn’t intend to cry about it.
“Mr.Add, could it be that your wounds aren’t fully healed?”
“……No I just felt uncomfortable for a bit. Don’t tell the others about this.”
Ara didn’t answer right away and hesitated when Add said this. It looked like she wanted to ask others for help so Add pressed for an answer.
“I’ll take care of my own business. Don’t tell them. Got it?”
Ara reluctantly nodded. Add collected his breath then turned around to go back the way they came.
He staggered for the first couple of steps but forcing himself to walk seemed to gradually help with his body’s condition.
Ending up like this just from trying to remember about 20 million failures… Add felt dumbstruck and laughed coldly.
“Kukukuk, I must really be crazy…….”
It must have been such a hard time that he had to end up sealing his own memories. Add closed his thoughts and wiped the sweat off his forehead. He can think about the failures he had no recollections of….later.
Let’s focus only on liberating Velder for now.
After deciding this, Add was about to head back the way they came but his body moved up suddenly. As his body floated up on its own, Add looked blankly at the floor for a moment then noticed that Ara had suddenly kicked the ground to grab Add and started running.
Wow, she’s really fast. He would have died instantly if this was an attack.
“Let me g……”
Celestial Fox state, Ara’s hair had already become white as she warned sternly. She moved inside a room while still carrying Add on her side. Ara dropped Add and looked around the room to find a large closet then quickly opened it.
She probably has a good reason for this. Add didn’t question her and entered the closet just like she told him. Then Ara also came inside the closet and carefully closed the door.
It was a large closet but it was still bit too small for two people to hide in. Their foreheads were almost touching. But Add suppressed the stifling feeling and focused on what was going on outside.
A seductive voice was heard along with the sound of door opening.
“Strange, I don’t see anyone.”
It was Karis’ voice. She had fought Ara and Add before so she will be able to notice them right away. The infiltration and Velder liberation mission was all over if she saw them.
Add and Ara would have to worry about their own lives before that.
Karis must have been flying because they heard wings flapping instead of footsteps. They could sense that she was looking around the room.
‘…..This is the worst.’
How come demon who’s a Succubus Queen was personally patrolling the castle during midnight? But he could think about the reason later. Add thought of a countermeasure when the sound of Karis’ wings got closer.
Ambushing to get the upper hand should be their final measure. Optical camouflage was useful but it was just a visual trick. It probably wouldn’t work on generals.
Add asked with an eye gesture to see if Ara had any plans since she had already looked ahead to see that Karis would appear. But Ara who was focusing on the situation outside suddenly grabbed Add’s clothes and pulled him close to her.
Then the sound of air tearing was heard…..as a scythe broke through the place where Add’s head was just now.
After being saved from death by just 2 seconds, Add froze up and couldn’t even move a finger. Karis’ scythe that came in breaking through the closet got pulled out then a voice was heard.
“Did I understand the order wrong?”
Although Karis was a demon, she probably doesn’t have a hobby of destroying perfectly good furniture for no reason. Her words were as if she came here after receiving unclear information.
She must have given up flying because footsteps were heard and sounds of Karis looking around were heard.
“Did they run away already? Or….did they hide somewhere here?”
It didn’t seem like she will give up and leave. If that was the case, they have to stake everything and fight.
He can go back using time travel if it doesn’t work out.
Just when Add was about to relay to Ara that they should fight…. Another voice was heard.
“What are you doing here, demon?”
“……I was just taking a night stroll, human.”
It was Elesis’ voice. When Karis’ footsteps got further, Add examined the situation outside through a crevice between the doors.
Elesis was standing in the hallway, and Karis was standing inside the room glaring at each other. One could tell they weren’t friendly with each other just from a single glance.
“I manage this place. You shouldn’t be here.”
“But you let Chloe play around all she wants. Why are you discriminating me? Former Ms.Red Knight?”
Karis spoke in a sticky voice when Elesis’ expression turned intimidating.
“Do you mean you aren’t going forgive me if I harm humans?”
“Want to try it?”
Elesis grabbed her sword’s hilt as if there was nothing more to talk about. At the atmosphere as if Elesis was going to fight if Karis said anything else, Karis winced for a moment but laughed wickedly after.
“You don’t have to be so serious. I just wanted to have a friendly chat with our new comrade. You should consider my feelings too.”
“I don’t have anything to talk about with you. Don’t come here ever again.”
“Wow….that’s so harsh.”
Karis tilted her head and looked at Elesis.
“What a pretty face. You can be eternally beautiful if you become a demon. I don’t understand why you refuse to become a demon even after joining us.”
“Could it be that you have other thoughts? Maybe it looked like you betrayed Elrios but you are actually plotting something else?”
Elesis closed her eyes and took her hand off her sword hilt.
“Stop meddling, demon. I won’t let you off if you do this again.”
Elesis ignored Karis’s words and turned around. Karis spoke again.
“Come to think of it, that El Search Party that your little brother is in. They defeated Ran in Hamel. They should be arriving in Velder soon.”
They’ve already arrived but the news must have been delayed because of Velder’s spatial barrier. Generals could probably break through the barrier it but it didn’t look like they could go in and out as they pleased.
“Will you be able to fight properly when they come to attack us with your brother as their vanguard?”
Slash. There was a flash of light and Karis quickly jumped back. Sword aura slashed past the place where Karis’ head had been just now. Elesis spoke shortly after swinging then withdrawing her sword so quickly that it didn’t look like she had swung her sword at all.
“I won’t miss next time.”
Unlike what Karis said, her expression was stiff. Her neck would have really gotten chopped off if she dodged just a little late.
It wasn’t clear who was the strongest amongst the demon generals because they haven’t fought each other.
Still, Berthe was weak, Chloe was no match for Ran and Ran was very strong but still under Karis. This kind of unspoken ranking existed. But the ranking wasn’t clear for Elesis and Helputt that just joined recently.
Elesis was an extremely skilled individual that even Karis couldn’t treat lightly. It could work out if Karis risked her life and fought with everything she had. But Elesis was definitely not someone she wanted to provoke just for fun.
“Then…. let’s talk under more leisurely circumstances next time.”
Karis shrugged from Elesis’ cold glare as she quickly flew out through the open window in the room.
Elesis put away her sword and entered the room when Karis flew away towards the inner castle.
Karis left and now it’s Elesis? Ara must have realized Add’s dismay as well because she couldn’t hide her nervousness and was grabbing her spear tightly. Ara was the one who sent Add an eye gesture this time.
She was saying they should ambush her if it came down to it. But Add shook his head.
Speaking from the experience of having fought both of them….. Elesis was even more dangerous in this situation. Ara wouldn’t lose to Karis if it became a close quarter combat but he couldn’t imagine Ara being able to beat Elesis.
Of course, Ara had her foresight ability and defeated Ran with her immensely increased skills from awakening to Memory of Time and Space. But they couldn’t forget that she could do so only because she had help from Add and the other Search Party members.
Elesis closed the window Karis exited from then looked around the room. Her gaze remained on the furniture inside the room.
Two inside the closet held their breaths.
“…….I should go drink some tea.”
Elesis spoke to herself then withdrew her gaze on the furniture as she left the room.
Sound of a door closing was heard. After a long time had passed and footsteps couldn’t be heard anymore, Add and Ara both let out a huge sigh.
“……It was so scary.”
“That was dangerous.”
He had been so nervous that his body was drenched in sweat. Add came out of the closet and felt relived from the fact that the danger was over. But his brain was working busily even now.
“Elesis and the other generals don’t have a very good relationship. Rather, they are hostile…..”
Could they use this information somehow to help with liberating Velder? But to use this information to their advantage, they had to know why Elesis sided with the demons. But that won’t be easy to find out.
“Karis is already a formidable opponent and Ms.Elesis here too….. Will we be able to win Mr.Add?”
“…..We can win.”
Ara’s worries were obvious. Demon generals were individuals that the El Search Party had to focus their entire efforts on to defeat. But in this Velder, there were not only one but multiple demon generals.
No matter what kind of amazing plan he came up with, there was no meaning to it if the skills of the people carrying out the plan was lacking. Current El Search Party didn’t have enough strength to defeat all of the demons crawling in Velder.
But Add spoke with certainty.
“Ah, of course. Mr.Add and Mr.Elsword both received the El from Ms.Aisha.”
Ara’s thought was different from Add’s but Add didn’t bother to correct her. Add looked at the moon hanging up in the night sky through a closed window and made his resolve.
“I’m going to win this time…..for sure.”
He didn’t know why he failed 20 million times.
But him from this time will win for sure.