She couldn’t move.
Rena panted while pressing down on the ground with her still somewhat fine left arm. She wasn’t a physical combat specialist. Even if she had to fight close up, she used a method of dodging and aiming her kicks at enemy’s joints.
Rena’s archery skills were nearly divine but her body was still made out of blood and flesh.
Of course, she was still better than Add who had stamina and endurance of a normal person, no, possibly less stamina and endurance than a normal person. But she fell behind compared to Elsword and Ara who were close quarter combat specialists. And there was no way her defenses were stronger than Eve who was a Nasod….. So her defensive ability was second to last amongst the group.
And Dark Nephilim was charging at Rena who had the second to last defensive ability.
“Phew, this is difficult.”
Rena pressed on the ground with her left hand to launch herself up then lightly grabbed Dark Nephilim’s head. She made an exquisite use of her arm strength, inertia and flexibility to rise up vertically then smashed down on Dark Nephilim’s back with her knee as she fell.
She had just performed a parade of acrobatic attacks with just one arm but still couldn’t avoid falling off Dark Nephilim’s back right after. After falling off, Rena rolled on the ground and couldn’t get up. She panted heavily as she looked at Dark Nephilim.
Dark Nephilim that just charged noticed Rena had dodged and was slowly turning around towards Rena. It didn’t have any rage filled expression like before.
“It almost seems like a machine without thoughts……”
Did its insides change into Nasod during that slight moment when she wasn’t looking? Eve would have been quite offended and retorted back if she had heard this.
Rena unconsciously imagined that scene and chuckled.
It was a comfortable laugh even though she couldn’t get up because she forced herself to move with two legs that were covered in blood. These were injuries she received because she went into round 2 without knowing how Dark Nephilim had changed.
There won’t be any problem if she recuperated properly. She somehow managed to avoid her nerves from being damaged after all. Of course, there was still an enormous pain flowing in from the wounds. She had no excuses if she became permanently disabled from continuing to fight like this.
Actually, her continuing to tie down Dark Nephilim with parades of acrobatics right now was basically continuing to inflict harm onto herself.
She was barely holding on somehow because…… Dark Nephilim had lost its cognitive abilities.
“……Should I ask Chloe for help?”
Rena smiled vaguely as she saw Dark Nephilim stomping its feet again to charge. Chloe and the Dark Elf squad went to help the Velder Liberation Army so they won’t return.
Add and the other Search party members also must be fighting somewhere else. It was pointless to hope for them coming to help her.
“What should I do……?”
Rena tried to think of a solution but the answer was always the same. Rena’s knee smash just now…..would have instantly broken the spines of any normal beasts.
Of course, Dark Nephilim was a powerful spirit. It even had an ability to regenerate. But the reason Rena’s two legs were beaten up wasn’t because she hadn’t known about Dark Nephilim’s regenerative abilities.
Dark Nephilim right now couldn’t get injured. It wasn’t that Rena’s attacks weren’t doing damage…… All injuries it received were regenerating instantly soon as it was damaged.
It almost felt as if kicking the surface of water. There were impacts and signs of damage but they held no meaning.
As if Dark Nephilim knew this trait, it wasn’t acting like it was afraid of getting injured. The strategy it was using wasn’t trading blow to blow……. It was trading nothing for a chance to chomp down on its opponent.
This wasn’t a strategy that a normal creature existing in nature could utilize. That was the reason why even skilled Rena was pushed back and ended up like this.
Would things have changed if her arms and legs were still fine? Well, it would have been less precarious than now but she wasn’t confident that she could have taken it down.
Wasn’t it a monster that got back up even after getting hit directly by Gungnir?
Rena pressed on the ground with her left hand then threw her body towards Dark Nephilim. She confirmed that she couldn’t deal meaningful damage to it anyways, so she jumped over it.
She wanted to take it down if possible. But that was impossible. Then she had to make it her goal to keep it in place long as possible. How could someone else handle this beast that even she couldn’t handle?
Rena made her decision and was turning around….when Dark Nephilim kicked up on the ground. Rena face froze as she was putting strength into her left arm to throw herself forward again. Dark Nephilim was jumping up.
It was trying to crush her with its body.
It had been acting like a thoughtless monster until now. But it suddenly changed its strategy. Rena got startled and quickly threw her body sideways to dodge. But shifting her weight so suddenly put burden on her body. Trying to dodge only using her left arm when she couldn’t even get up properly was already an absurd acrobatic feat.
Even while screaming from a shock that smashed into her waist, Rena realized what had just happened. She had no choice but to prioritize dodging to the side, so she had been in no position to prepare for the next attack.
Rena’s body rolled across the outer castle’s garden after getting tackled by Dark Nephilim. The shock was near 3 times more than getting hit by a horse running at full speed.
“Ah, it broke……”
She ended up giving her left arm to protect her waist. Of course, that didn’t mean her waist wasn’t hurt…… she was certain that her bones just cracked.
Right arm? It definitely couldn’t be used today and she wouldn’t be in this situation if she could use her two legs.
To sum it up, she was only bearing injuries that wouldn’t make it a surprise if she was to drop dead right now. Rena was still alive because her movements were way too swift and she minimized the damage with her reflexes if she was about to get hit……. But she now completely lost all offensive abilites.
Rena still managed to slowly raise her body with her hand dripping with blood. Her legs wouldn’t listen to her so all she could manage was to kneel with one knee.
Dark Nephilim was quietly staring at Rena. It was as if it was waiting for someone’s order.
While Rena was looking at Dark Nephilim that was standing still, a blood traveling along Rena’s lips dropped on the ground. Rena saw the green grass getting dyed in red and realized that everything was over.
I’m going to die here. It’s not like I don’t have any regrets or lingering attachments…… But worry came before this thought.
What will happen to the other kids if I go down here? What if they are in more dangerous situation against even more powerful foes?
Worrying about such things when she was about to die right now? Even Rena thought it was a bit strange but it couldn’t be helped.
It wasn’t that her own life wasn’t precious. Of course it was precious…… But wasn’t it obvious to be worried about people she had been together with?
And worrying about the person she couldn’t do anything for even though they had been together.
Soon as Rena sighed then closed her eyes, Dark Nephilim charged in as if that was a signal. Sounds of it stomping across the ground to end her life came closer.
Last face that came into Rena’s mind as she prepared for the end was……..
Sound of space getting torn apart rang out through the air. But there was no pain that she had prepared for. When she slightly opened the eyes she had tightly shut……. dust cloud was blowing by.
And the white clothing waving amidst the dust clouds.
Blade that was slashed down heavily was precisely cutting Dark Nephilim in half.
Energy behind the utmost extreme bladework ignored the regeneration ability or whatever else and cut Dark Nephilim down in a single strike.
As Dark Nephilim fell over after getting sliced in half, the man slowly withdrew his blade. His stance made him look like a veteran who’s been through countless ferocious battles, but not a single piece of his clothing looked worn out.
It wasn’t that his clothing hasn’t worn out. He wasn’t someone that fought like that. Rena had mended it every time it was worn out.
“I’m sorry. I made you wait too long.”
The man who wasn’t showing his face spoke. Rena slowly shook her head.
“We decided not to apologize to each other.”
“I’ll be careful next time, Rena.”
Rena made a helpless laugh at what he said. Joy from this unexpected reunion only lasted for a moment. Rena quickly came to her senses and requested.
“I’m fine now so can you please go help other places?”
“You don’t have to worry.”
The man said this and didn’t move. He was looking only forwards like a statue and didn’t say anything. But Rena soon realized what he meant.
Airship broke out of the clouds and was approaching Velder. Rena looked closely to see familiar faces on the airship.
“……They are Black Crow.”
Rena didn’t know what to say at these unexpected reinforcements. Of course, Black Crow was a group that was highly trained for combat. They should obviously welcome their help with open arms…… But wasn’t this a past that this man abandoned?
“It’s something that I decided for myself.”
The man spoke stiffly as if he read Rena’s thoughts. But Rena knew that those words weren’t light. Rena unconsciously looked at the man’s left arm, a cold mechanical arm then swallowed her sigh.
You couldn’t speak carelessly towards someone with such a large wound. You might hurt them unintentionally.
The man confirmed the Black Crow members dropping from the airship then turned around as he took off his coat. He then put his coat around Rena who was covered in blood with injuries on her arms and legs.
Rena sent him a gaze of thanks then was about to nod but paused. The man was looking at her with an ever so sad expression.
“I’m sorry, Rena. I shouldn’t have been here right now. But there was no other way this time as well.”
“……What do you mean?”
Wasn’t everything going to turn out well because this man managed to arrive? But there was an unknown rage and bitterness on the man’s face as he bit down on his teeth tightly.
“No matter what happens, I’ll at least…..you”
Soon as Rena realized something was off and called out the man’s name, he held Rena up with his arms. Before Rena said anything in response, her body felt like it was getting lifted up as her sight started getting blurry.
Elsword and Elesis’s fight with sparks flying about suddenly stopped. Elesis had suddenly stopped her sword and was looking far off into the distance.
Elsword who had been fighting joyfully stared strangely.
“Big Sister? What’s wrong?”
“……Raven ended up coming back to Velder.”
Elesis shook her head bitterly. It was such a bitter tone unfit for the intense fight they’ve been having until now. Elsword instinctively realized something was wrong but he couldn’t figure out what was wrong exactly.
“Big Brother Raven is here? But why is that…..”
“I’m sorry, Elsword. Our fight…..ends here.”
Elsword sensed danger and held up his sword from Elesis’s regrettable words but it was too late. With the feeling of his body getting strongly pressed down, his vision started getting twisted.
“Don’t worry. I’m also coming with you.”
Elesis said quietly while looking at Elsword ever so tenderly. With a face saying she’ll go together with him wherever he goes from now on.
With a face filled with resignation and despair.
Spear and blade, cannon and armor collided against each other. Then Ran suddenly swiped his blade horizontally to push Ara back then backed out a long distance.
“Crow has returned.”
“So he ended up coming. That final man.”
Helputt also pushed Chung back with a furious attack then backed out himself to exchange words with Ran. At this sudden ceasefire, Ara and Chung also stopped their attacks and stared at the two men.
“…..Just what’s going on, father?”
“The truth that you guys need to know, and despair.”
Soon as Ran’s words ended, Ara and Chung’s visions started getting twisted.
Add realized he was standing the moment he came to his senses. He had been certainly sitting near the stairs holding Eve’s hand but he was now standing in a place he had never seen before.
Forced teleport? Add felt the chills and quickly looked beside him. Eve was looking forwards with a cool expression.
“This seems to be the throne room.”
“This is the place where they are turning El into Dark El?”
Just like Eve said, there was a very long carpet and stairs in the front. Add looked around and saw that the throne room was completely empty. No one else was here.
There was a large curtain placed around the location where the throne should have been. Inside of the curtain couldn’t be seen very well.
But there was a vague silhouette as if someone was sitting on the throne. Add trying to focus on this silhouette when his surroundings shook then voices were heard.
“Where is this place?”
Familiar voices, Add turned to see that Elsword, Chung and Ara had appeared beside him. Then after a moment later, Rena and a man carrying her appeared.
“Big Brother Raven? You’re really here!!”
Elsword noticed and rejoiced. Add’s eyes turned back forwards after seeing Raven wordlessly nod. A sudden large scale teleport, Aisha had displayed this before……but he had a bad feeling about this for some reason.
“Kiyahahaha! So the fools are gathered.”
Dimension gate opened in midair then Karis jumped out while laughing. It wasn’t just her…..a teleport phenomenon occurred in front of the El Search Party. Then Ran, Helputt and finally Elesis appeared.
“……It’s a final decisive battle.”
The El Search Party instinctively grabbed their weapons when Add spoke quietly.
There wasn’t any explanation but everyone understood the current situation. They didn’t know why the party members that were fighting in various places suddenly gathered, but that didn’t matter.
How many or how powerful their enemies were didn’t matter. They were the El Search Party.
“Alright! I’ll go in first!”
“Wait, Elsword. Rena looks injured.”
“Hey, Raven. You fight instead of Rena.”
Add spoke to Raven daringly. Add actually didn’t know too much about Raven but he knew that Raven held incredible skills.
They had a chance for victory now that Raven joined back up.
The El Search Party all stared at Raven and Rena with a single mind. As everyone’s gazes gathered on them, Rena who was being carried by Raven got startled and whispered quietly.
“Raven, can you let me…..”
Rena asked as if being carried was embarrassing. But Raven didn’t listen to her and started moving.
Everyone stared blankly at Raven’s back as he walked towards Elesis, Ran and Helputt with Rena still in his arms.
Soon as Rena’s face turned pale after realizing something, Raven turned around.
Raven put Rena down then held her with his Nasod left arm while holding his blade with his human right arm.
“I’ll cut down whoever that comes close.”
No one in the El Search Party could open their mouths. Of course, they didn’t have that much deep relationship with Raven. Actually, Elsword, Ara and Add had only met and talked with Raven for a day.
“M, Mr.Raven?! Why are you standing on the side of the demons?”
“Big Brother Raven! What are you doing?!”
Elsword and Ara burst out in anger from an emotion that surpassed their relationship with Raven. They didn’t know Raven but they knew Rena. Everyone knew how strongly Rena trusted Raven.
Rena blinked widely then tried to say something. But before she did, the tip of Raven’s hand pressed on Rena’s forehead lightly….. Rena tottered then closed her eyes as she fell unconscious.
Raven momentarily made a painful expression from the word Rena left before she fell asleep. But he bit his lips in the end then turned his eyes towards the El Search Party.
He held Rena with one hand and held his blade with another. What this meant was……
“…..Raven is our enemy.”
Add who was clenching his teeth put an end to the group’s confusion. He had no idea what happened but Raven joined their enemies and Rena became a hostage.
It wasn’t just him. Ran, Karis, Helputt…..and Elesis were also still standing.
“Elsword, are you ready?”
But they still had Elsword who succeeded in awakening the Memory of Time and Space on their side. Elsword answered reliably as he stepped up front. Eve and Ara followed after him and took their positions. Chung also prepared to assist.
Add tightly gasped the El in his pocket and enflamed his will to fight.
There was nowhere to run anyways. This was the time to stake everything and fight.
“Kiyahahahaha!! Fight? Fight against us? No, it’s already all over. You guys lost.”
Karis laughed. Ran replied depressingly.
“Everything is over now.”
“It’s now the moment for the time to end.”
Helputt continued. Elesis sorrowfully finished.
Why were they talking about same things as if they had planned beforehand? Not only that, they were declaring their victory but none of them except Karis looked joyful at all.
They cried out in grief and dismay as they despaired.
“King of time has arrived!!”
Add who didn’t understand the reaction of the demons and the humans who stood on their side…… suddenly opened his eyes widely.
His body was relaying to him faster than thinking with his head.
A strange heartbeat that he had forgotten at some point, Add got attracted to it and looked up towards the air between allies and foes. Add looked, Eve also looked, Elsword looked, Ara looked and Chung looked.
Everyone was looking up towards the air.
Space twisted. As if it was being squeezed, it was twisting and shaking as if someone was clenching the space with their hand.
Add’s heart beat rapidly from an ominous feeling. Did Aisha come to help? No, it wasn’t something like that. Add stared at the rupture in space while shivering from the sense wanting to throw up.
Why…..didn’t he think about the final variable?
It’s strange. It’s totally strange. Come to think of it, Add had worried and agonized so much about turning this Velder Liberation plan into a success. But there was a name that he hadn’t thought about even once through all of this.
The person that tenaciously tried to destroy Eve. The person that was mentioned infrequently amongst the demons. If the battle in Velder was a final decisive showdown, then he should have obviously prepared to fight against this foe as well.
But he didn’t. He hadn’t thought about it. He didn’t think about that part. He purposely cut off that thought as if he shouldn’t think about it.
He stopped thinking about it after some point.
Something came up his throat. As Add kept suppressing his scream, the El Search Party all looked at him worriedly. But Add couldn’t avert his eyes from the rupture in space.
Why, just why….. Just when did he stop thinking about D?
Add had always prepared by coming up with an elaborate plan. But he didn’t even consider D. This didn’t make sense.
It didn’t make sense but it actually happened. Why did it happen?
The answer was simple, it was the opposite of how he knew the names and abilities of the demons he met for the first time. How he knew things he shouldn’t have. He wanted to ignore something he already knew.
He didn’t want to think about it.
Because that was…..
Space shattered then answer to Add’s question appeared. It appeared by breaking through the space and finally showed itself to the world. While everyone was in middle of being appalled and stared at the waving light purple hair……Add screamed.
That was Downfall
That was Destruction
That was Despair
That was Darkness
That was Death
That was Destiny
Why did he fail for more than 20 million times? Who thwarted him? Who plotted all of this? Who tried to destroy Eve? Who tried to wipe out the El Serch Party from this world?
Who created this broken world, this Dystopia?
Who committed all of these sins? The answer appeared before their eyes.
That was the devil, Diablo!!!
“It’s time to end it.”
The devil smiled.