Around half of chapter 2
Midday, outer castle’s hallway.
“Are you alright Add?”
Add was cleaning the windows when he finally realized Eve had called him and turned his head around.
“You don’t look too well.”
“…..Don’t mind it.”
Add was deep in thought about something else as he reviewed today’s situation.
Eve and Add got the window cleaning job again. Ara and Chung were washing dishes, Elsword was working at the storage…..and Rena went to serve Chloe.
“I’m worried about Rena but I’m sure she’ll handle it well.”
This was enemy territory. Every demon in the city will pour down their attacks on them soon as they are found out as the El Search Party. But Rena was boldly trying to approach Chloe to find out more information despite this risk.
Figuring out reason for the demon invasion yesterday was a great accomplishment. It was all over if Rena was found out but Rena was reliable enough to entrust this task with.
“It’s not because of that……”
“Then what is it?”
Eve asked as she took her hand off the window. She looked around the surroundings slightly then leaned on the windowsill.
“Let’s take a break for a bit.”
Eve was a Nasod so she didn’t have any concept of stamina. She didn’t get tired no matter how much labor she did. Thus, her suggestion just now was out of consideration for Add.
Add realized this a moment later and his heart fluttered.
Certainly….Eve changed so much. Before, even if she knew that humans got tired, she would have glossed it over by saying something like humans are so inconvenient~. But now, she had changed to the point where she was the one suggesting they should take a break.
Add also took his hands off the window and stood beside Eve. Other humans and demons passing by took slight glances at the two of them taking a break but no one said anything. They wouldn’t get paid anyways if they didn’t meet the work quota….. Also, demons most likely didn’t care about glamorization of the outer castle. So you had to say this appeasement policy was actually intended for the Velder’s citizens so they could still make a living.
‘……It was probably Elesis’ idea.’
Add’s head thought restlessly even while his body was resting.
“Was there any problem during the last night’s scouting? Ara told me nothing was wrong.”
Add had forbidden Ara from talking about the incident last night with Karis and Elesis by saying he had his reasons. Add sighed after hearing Eve’s questioning.
“There’s something I’m troubled about.”
“You can tell me.”
“You don’t even know what it is.”
Her tone just now was as if she will certainly solve it for him if he told her. Eve must have read the meaning behind Add’s gaze so she added.
“Your troubles can be solved if everyone gathered their strengths. “
“Kukukuk…. It’s not something like that.”
Add shook his head. The reason he forbade Ara from talking about events yesterday was…..Because it was way too strange when he thought about it again after a while.
How come Karis appeared in that exact moment?
It certainly didn’t feel like she was talking a night stroll. She came to look for an intruder. Add could make couple of theories regarding this.
- There is an alarm system that activates when someone approaches the overpass. Add would know about this if it was made from science. But he wouldn’t know if it was magic.
- There’s someone in the El Search Party leaking information to the demons.
No.1 had the highest possibility. No.2…..was a serious problem requiring attention if you thought about this objectively. There were already three members in this party that had their family member on the side of demons. It was obvious for Add to be extremely suspicious.
“…….I’m stupidly soft too.”
But he absolutely couldn’t believe that Ara, Elsword or Chung would betray them. There was also situational evidence that they couldn’t possibly have leaked information soon as Add went out to scout….. Still, Add couldn’t deny that his beliefs were more based on his subjective opinion.
There was no way that there was a traitor in the El Search Party.
“I don’t think it’s a bad change.”
Add got surprised and turned to look at Eve from what she said out of the blue. Eve spoke shortly while looking only forwards.
“You also changed a lot since when I first saw you back in Ruben.”
At Eve’s continued words, Add didn’t know what to do because his heart started beating loudly. He couldn’t understand why Eve was suddenly saying this.
“H, how did I change?”
Eve trailed her words then closed her mouth.
What evaluation did she have for him? Add suppressed his beating heart and waited for her to continue speaking.
Just like Add had observed Eve all this time and had become amazed at her changes…. Had Eve also been secretly observing Add as well?
“You’ve become more….”
How did Eve think of him? He was curious.
“You’ve become more considerate about other people. Even just this morning, you repeatedly warned Rena to be careful.”
Add’s face turned red and he couldn’t figure out how to answer.
“T, that’s because the entire mission will be over if that woman made a mistake! I can’t have you guys ruin my perfect plan!”
“You also asked Chung to take good care of Ara.”
“That’s because that idiot is going to accidentally break some dishes for sure! It will all be over if she draws suspicions from that!”
Add was thankful that no one else was here looking at them. He raised his voice to his heart’s content while thanking this fact. Eve listened to him silently then answered.
“Much as you’ve become more considerate about others, you’ve become less considerate about yourself.”
“Humans can get hurt easily. So be careful.”
To think Eve would say something like this. As Add stared blankly, Eve added a reason.
“And you did actually get hurt the most.”
“No, that was…..”
Others had all died at least once. And Add knew of that future. That was why he tried his best to change that result even while disregarding his own safety.
But to Eve who didn’t know Add’s circumstances…… it must have looked like he was throwing himself into danger without any hesitation for the sake of others.
“I don’t know what you’re troubled about. But if I can be of any help to you, you can talk to me about it any time, Add.”
“I’ll do my best for Elsword and the El Search Party.”
Add couldn’t figure out what to say so he just nodded silently. Then Eve started to silently clean the windows again as if this talk was over. It seemed liked she was slightly embarrassed.
But Add couldn’t notice this because Eve’s words were still ringing in his ears.
He was very close to accomplishing his goal of making Eve turn around to look at him. If he could just finish this Velder liberation mission perfectly….
After an ambiguous feeling, anticipation of the future to come and an excitement about his sweet accomplishment had passed. A new question was left behind in Add’s head.
By combining the worry Add had since last night and his 20 million failures, a new 3rd theory that wasn’t detection by magic or betrayal from within the group came into his mind.
For Add who had the power to turn back time to fail so many times, you had to say there was a likely reason for it. Thus, either it was just like their problem with Elesis during their first battle in Velder where the enemy was so powerful that they couldn’t win no matter how many times they turned back time, or….
Just like Add had Eun who can look ahead into the future, there was someone amongst the demons that had a similar power.
It was a nonsensical theory. The El Search Party would have been already annihilated long before if something like that existed.
Add stopped thinking and grabbed the rag. He didn’t intend to let Eve work by herself because she was a Nasod that didn’t tire.
There was a familiar guest waiting for her when she returned to her office.
After seeing Rena sitting on a guest chair waving her hand, Chloe pressed her hand on her forehead and groaned.
“What….do you think you’re doing crawling in here without permission like this?”
“But they guided me here when I told them I wanted to meet Chloe.”
Chloe was at a loss for words and glared at her subordinates that were standing nearby. Dark Elves were numbly staring at Rena then got surprised from Chloe’s furious gaze and lowered their head.
“I heard that she bathed together with you yesterday general…..”
“And she said she was a friend of general Chloe…..”
No, why are they acting so embarrassed as if they are confessing to someone of opposite gender? When Chloe closed her mouth feeling dumbfounded, Dark Elves stared at Rena as if she was blindingly bright. They all let out a silent cheer when Rena noticed their gazes and lightly waved her hand.
They were all befuddled looking at Rena. Isn’t this a same reaction as fans meeting a popular opera singer?
No, Rena was a girl(Of course, they bathed together yesterday) and her subordinates were girls as well. So why was there such a sticky atmosphere in here right now?
Of course, even to Chloe who was a Dark Elf, Rena was a very outstanding beauty. Chloe didn’t think her own beauty was lacking (Didn’t things like beauty not matter to warriors?), but Rena was to the point where she could easily be called a goddess.
It was honestly vexing but she was indeed pretty. Her beauty was unparalleled even amongst Elves.
“You idiots! Hurry up and return to your posts!”
“Are you going to talk to such a pretty Elf by yourself general?”
Front most subordinate let out a sullen voice. Chloe got angry and kicked her shin. Dark Elves realized that Chloe was angry and quickly left the room.
Chloe sighed and was about to sit down on a sofa but noticed the resentful gazes coming from her back. When Chloe angrily looked backwards, Dark Elves peeking inside the room through the slightly opened door got surprised and quickly closed the door.
“……such lack of discipline.”
“Hmm, I’m fine with everyone talking together.”
Rena smiled softly as she gracefully put down the teacup. …..It was annoying but she was indeed a beauty.
Feeling rebellious, Chloe frowned and put her legs on top of the table.
“Why did you come here? Didn’t you come to the castle looking for work?”
“You don’t need me for bathing assistant today?”
Chloe pressed her hand on her forehead again from Rena’s affectionate voice. She called this Elf here yesterday because she was curious about why an Elf had come to the outer castle looking for work….. She never would have guessed she was such a daring individual.
“Is there something wrong with your nerves? I thought Elves would loathe Dark Elves for assisting demons in their invasion.”
“Ah, as I thought. You must regret invading.”
What’s with her way of talking? Rena nodded as if she was relieved when Chloe frowned and looked at her.
“……What do you mean glad? Our talk should already be over.”
“Then shall we drink tea?”
Rena brought out a teacup in front of Chloe as if this office was her own room then poured tea into the cup. Rena’s actions were skilled as if she knew where everything was already. Chloe was so dumbfounded by this that she snapped.
“Enough with the flattery. Don’t you have any pride? Elves wouldn’t normally act like this.”
“Hmm? Why do I need to care about pride when I’m having tea with my friend?”
Did this Elf drink some lye up her nose while bathing yesterday? Chloe opened her eyes widely from befuddlement but Rena was smiling beamingly.
Chloe covered her eyes with her hand then made an aching cry.
Chloe did indeed think this Elf was unique yesterday. But how can such an Elf exist? Weren’t Elves normally famous for being conceited and prideful? She couldn’t understand how there was an Elf with such affectionate social skills.
Well, this Elf was impudent enough to walk into Velder that was sealed off by a spatial barrier. You couldn’t expect her to be within reason.
“I’m telling you right now, I don’t have time to play around with you.”
“Then may I help you with your work?”
Rena answered refreshingly when Chloe continued to stare at her as if she didn’t hear correctly.
“Since I entered Velder anyways, I can’t go out unless the spatial barrier is gone. So I’d like to help you.”
“…..Just what are you thinking? Do you think I’ll change my mind if you keep flattering me like this?”
Chloe recalled the talk they had while bathing yesterday then clenched her fists. Her goal was to change the El in Elrios into Dark El. She didn’t intend to be swayed by this Elf’s talk about coexistence and harmony.
“Hmm, of course I’d be thankful if you did.”
Rena didn’t hide that she had such intentions. She smiled gently as she looked at Chloe.
“Chloe called for me yesterday because you wanted to meet me right? I also came to visit Chloe today because I wanted to meet you.”
“Isn’t it a very rare opportunity…… for an Elf and a Dark Elf to sit face to face and talk like this?”
Chloe internally agreed as well. That was actually why she hadn’t kicked Rena out despite her nonchalant approaches. If she really didn’t want to see her, she would have driven her away soon as she saw her in her office.
“So you want me to let you help me with my work? Hmph, do you think you can handle it?”
“I heard that Dark Elves were in charge of keeping public order in Velder. I think I can also help with preventing the Glitter soldiers from oppressing the citizens.”
“…..Alright, but I have a condition.”
Well, Chloe also had some interests about Elves so it didn’t matter if she complied with Rena’s request. But she suddenly felt like being mean.
It irked her to see Rena so leisurely coming into her office as if it was nothing.
“You also have to wear clothes of us Dark Elves just like my subordinates. That’s the condition.”
“Ah, is that all?”
Don’t you have any pride? When Chloe got dumbfounded and blankly stared at her, Rena thought for a moment then suggested.
“Umm, then can I wear the same clothes as the ones Chloe is wearing right now?”
“I want us to wear matching clothes. Can I?”
“……It’s not like you can’t.”
Chloe ended up answering like that for some reason when Rena asked seriously. Rena clapped and stood up with a happy expression.
“Then can you lend me some?”
As if mesmerized, Chloe stood up to approach the closet and took out a single set of clothes and handed it to Rena. Then Chloe got surprised and shouted from Rena taking off her maid uniform without any hesitation.
“You idiot! Why are you taking them off here?!”
“But there’s only Chloe here.”
Ah, that’s right. Not only that, they even bathed together yesterday. Chloe got confused from her own reaction but turned away when Rena started to change as if nothing was wrong. For some reason, it felt like she shouldn’t watch Rena change.
“How can there be such an impudent Elf……”
Overwhelming beauty that surpassed the Elf species and such friendly social skills. Chloe could understand why her subordinates got so mesmerized by her. As Chloe suppressed her complex thoughts and sighed, Rena spoke with a troubled voice from her back.
“Umm, Chloe. I’m sorry but…..”
“This one is too tight on the chest. Do you have a bigger one?”
She’s such an incomprehensible Elf.
The day’s work was over. Add changed into his original clothes and stood on the outer castle’s balcony by himself while staring down at Velder’s streets. Velder city looked rather peaceful despite the demon occupation.
And he could see the Velder Liberation Army standing ready far away. They will come running to the Velder outer castle soon as the El Search Party signalled them.
“…..This is not good.”
Today was day two. They almost have a complete understanding about the outer castle’s structures. Ones that moved about often in the outer castle were Dark Elves and the general Chloe. Elesis seemed to be staying in the 3rd floor but she never came down. Other generals weren’t coming out from the inner castle.
Thus, they just needed to take care of Chloe and Elesis to capture the outer castle. But…..
“What to do….”
What were they going to do if Ran or other generals came out from the inner castle? There was too few information to formulate a plan. Just winging it to see how the future goes then turning back time was also a way….. But it wasn’t too desirable.
Add didn’t want to try so lightly as if he was rolling a dice. He needed to become more cautious since he failed so many times before.
“Are you troubled?”
Add looked backwards from hearing Rena’s voice coming from behind then he became very surprised. Rena who wasn’t wearing a maid uniform but instead wearing an outfit that revealed a lot of her belly and chest was approaching him.
“……What’s with that getup?”
“It’s a gift from Chloe.”
She improved her relationship with a demon general so much in just two days? As Add was being even more surprised by this, Rena stood on the balcony’s ledge platform beside him and bathed in the breeze. Wind blowing in the twilight lightly shook Rena’s long hair.
She was indeed a beauty no matter how many times you saw her. When Add looked on with a feeling of staring at a beautiful painting, Rena brought up the topic first.
“I don’t think Chloe is feeling too great either. It’s mostly because her forces were greatly reduced by Aisha. Her being stationed in the outer castle also seems more like her getting kicked out from the inner castle.”
“……and she told you all of this so easily?”
“She wasn’t too strong with alcohol. I won.”
He hadn’t realized it until now but there was an unusual sweet scent coming from Rena. Add was troubled about how to react when Rena suddenly stretched out her hand to pet his head.
“Our Add is a good boy.”
“……What are you doing?”
Add realized this late and quickly pushed her arm away. But Rena smiled beamingly as she ruffled Add’s head with her other hand. Add couldn’t beat Rena in physical strength. She was also standing on the ledge platform so pushing her away might be dangerous.
Add gave up resisting and glared at Rena with a discontent gaze.
Rena petted Add as if she was soothing a grumpy cat then smiled vaguely.
“Aren’t you going to scold me about why I left drunk and defenceless Chloe alone?”
“……You must have your own thoughts.”
Chloe was a general. Getting rid of her should make things much easier. But making use of Rena’s sociability that even got her relationship with Chloe to the point where she got clothes as gifts and even hang out drinking together…….could be a good method as well.
But Add wasn’t too keen on it.
“And just getting rid of Chloe alone wouldn’t be enough. Our identities will be revealed once we start acting. So we have to finish everything in one go when we move.”
“Yes, thank you for believing in me.”
Rena smiled warmly after treating everything Add said as an excuse. She must not be a type that acted too much while drunk. She only looked tired and sleepy.
“Chloe seemed to be regretful about all of this…. So….I’ll try my best to convince her.”
“May I do that?”
Add clicked his tongue when Rena asked for his permission.
“Aren’t you going to do it anyways even if I said no?”
“I’d really like it if Add cheered me on.”
“Just be careful. Entire mission is over if you get found out.”
Rena nodded then suddenly hugged Add. Add got very surprised by this and tried to escape….. But embarrassingly, he wasn’t a match for her in strength.
Rena laughed when Add who had his face buried in her chest stopped struggling.
“Thank you for worrying about me.”
“…..Just go and sleep quietly if you’re drunk.”
Rena started humming as if she was soothing a cat in her arms.
She must really be drunk. Add sighed internally but didn’t resist anymore. There was no point in resisting……and it also felt warm.
Old memories surfaced without him realizing it.
“Thank you for worrying about me. I’ll do my best.”
Rena must have been satisfied because she let go of Add then staggered. It wasn’t like Rena to show even a slight sign of weakness so Add added.
“Ask Eve to look after you if you are going to bathe.”
“Yes, alright. You should come down soon too Add.”
Rena left after saying this. When Add couldn’t hear her footsteps anymore, he sighed then looked up at the sky.
Setting sun was dying the sky with an ominous crimson color.
“……There’s no good plan.”
But they might get found out if they spend too much time like this. Even if Chloe didn’t know the Search Party’s faces….. Everything will be over if they run into Elesis by accident.
“There’s no other way.”
He didn’t like it but he had to borrow that fox’s power.